Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage (Tales from Ivy Hill, #2)The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Category: Adult, Christian

Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance
Content: Clean

 
Living with the two Miss Groves in Ivy Cottage, impoverished gentlewoman Rachel Ashford is determined to earn her own livelihood . . . somehow.

Rachel's friend and hostess, Mercy Grove, has given up thoughts of suitors and fills her days managing her girls' school. So when several men take an interest in Ivy Cottage, she assumes pretty Miss Ashford is the cause. Exactly what--or who--has captured each man's attention? The truth may surprise them all.

Return to Ivy Hill in The Ladies of Ivy Cottage as friendships deepen, romances blossom, and mysteries unfold.


The Ladies of Ivy Cottage is the second book in Julie Klassen's Ivy Hill series. I enjoyed the first book, but this one was even better. I loved reading about the different characters in the village of Ivy Hill. This time around the main focus is on Rachel and Mercy and I found their stories pretty compelling. The way Rachel ends up supporting herself was brilliant and I enjoyed reading about her as she started this endeavor and eventually gained more confidence in herself. Mercy was also an interesting character to read about. I loved how she cared so much for the girls in her school, and felt for her as she struggled with wanting a family of her own.

There is more romance in this book and quite a bit more focus on religion, both of which were woven into the story really well without being overly romantic or preachy. As for the romance, I loved the way Rachel's love interest ends up declaring his love for her, even though I wanted to hit him over the head few times along the way. Also Jane, who was the focus of book one finds love as well, and I'm just going to say that I love him, and one scene in particular was very romantic.

There are some plot threads that have not been resolved, Mercy's story being one of them, so I am eagerly looking forward to the next book. This book felt a bit like reading a classic at times. If you like books like Cranford, or Jane Austen's books you might like this series.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Bethany House for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for a review.


Here's a photo of a cottage I took in Lacock. It reminds me a lot of the one on the cover.





View all my reviews

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill (Tales from Ivy Hill, #1)The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Content: Clean


On a rise overlooking the Wiltshire countryside stands the village of Ivy Hill. Its coaching inn, The Bell, is its lifeblood--along with the coach lines that stop there daily, bringing news, mail, travelers, and much-needed trade.

Jane Bell lives on the edge of the inn property. She had been a genteel lady until she married the charming innkeeper who promised she would never have to work in his family's inn. But when he dies, Jane finds herself The Bell's owner, and worse, she has three months to pay a large loan or lose the place.


The innkeeper of Ivy Hill is the first series Julie Klassen has written and so far I like it. I was expecting this to have more romance in it since Klassen is known for writing historical Christian romances, but the focus here is more on other types of relationships, with the main focus being on telling Jane's story, while touching on other characters in the town of Ivy Hill as well. There is also very little focus on religion in the book, making this a straight up historical fiction. The author mentioned classics like Cranford as inspiration for the series. The author also said she used the cute historic town of Lacock as the layout for the town of Ivy Hill. That was helpful to me when it came to picturing the town since I've actually been there.






Except for a few details that I would have liked to have been included in the book, one being why and how Jane fell in love with John - an innkeeper - to begin with, I think the author has done a good job. I look forward to reading more.


View all my reviews

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Written in Red (The Others, #1)Written in Red by Anne Bishop

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Content: Strong Language


As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.

I was looking for something fresh and new to read in the urban fantasy genre for a while and considered several, but just couldn't get interested in any of them enough to pick them up. I finally came across this one when a friend read and liked it enough to give it 5 stars. I'm happy to say I got what I was looking for. Right from the beginning I could not put Written in Red down. The world and the characters are all interesting and it felt like something no one else has written even though it has several similar elements to other urban fantasies.

The shape shifters seem a lot less human in this than most other fantasies, and I liked that. I loved the elemental ponies. I loved the crows and their shiny objects and the way they referred to Meg and "The Meg". There was enough humor in the book to balance out the darker parts, which I always appreciate. Ponies and crows with shiny objects aside, this is a pretty brutal world that includes shape shifters, vampires, elementals, and apparently a few unknowns. Most of them consider humans meat, and will not hesitate to eat a human if they are crossed.

I like the way potential romantic relationship is evolving slowly, I haven't seen that in any of the books I've read in a while. By the end of the book we are in on the way they feel about each other and they haven't even realized it yet. Shape shifters don't fall in love with humans in this world as far as I can tell - the whole food thing I suppose - so this will be interesting.

If this book has a weakness I would say it is the Asia Crane part of the plot. I just had a hard time buying that she would be taking all of those chances just to become an actress on a TV show and didn't really get how it tied together. She was mostly annoying and I felt like the author could have come up with something better to advance the plot.



View all my reviews

Monday, December 4, 2017

FleshFlesh by Laura Bickle

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Horror
Content: Strong Language


Charlie Sulliven thinks she knows all the secrets of the dead. Raised in a funeral home, she’s the reluctant “Ghoul Girl,” her reputation tied to a disastrous Halloween party.

Chewed human bodies are appearing in her parents’ morgue…and disappearing in the middle of the night. When one of Charlie’s classmates, Amanda, awakens in the cooler as a flesh-eating ghoul, Charlie must protect her newfound friend and step up to unravel the mystery…and try to avoid becoming lunch meat for the dead.


Flesh is what I would call YA horror, although it's mild. There are some gross out scenes in the morgue, but nothing is really all that scary. I felt like the end wrapped everything up a little too quickly, and it was missing the creepy aspect that I was hoping for, and that made it just an ok read instead of a good read.

I've read and liked other books by Laura Bickle, but this one was not one of my favorites. I'm glad it's a stand-alone since the story is all wrapped up in this one book. I probably wouldn't have been interested enough to read a sequel.



View all my reviews

Friday, December 1, 2017

Never Forgotten (Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery #3)Never Forgotten by Terri Reid

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Paranormal, Mystery
Content: Clean 


The curse had killed another law enforcement officer in Stephenson County – this time it struck on Christmas Eve. Nearly a dozen good men had died in the past four years and they all had the same unexplained symptoms. And Mary knew Bradley was next.

***There are some minor spoilers in this review, but just small things, and nothing that should ruin the reading experience plot wise.

Never Forgotten is the third book in the Mary O'Reilly series and so far the worst. I liked the first book despite its flaws, but with each book this series has gotten weaker and weaker. Yet again we are told who the killer is. I really am frustrated with the lack of mystery for the reader to solve. Why not keep us guessing? It would make the stories so much more interesting if we had to figure everything out along with Mary and Bradley. However, I know good and well I would have figured it out long before they did, which is another problem with this series. Bradley needs to turn in his badge and Mary needs to give up being a P.I. because it was so obvious who did it and how they did it that these two have lost all credibility as a police chief and an ex-cop, not that they had a lot to begin with, especially Mary. And I'm not just saying that because I was privy to information they didn't have. There was so much staring them in the face that they were too dumb to see.

We also get a little more info on Bradley's missing wife Jeannine, but I am completely frustrated with this aspect of the book. There are several questions that come to mind like why all of a sudden are there the ghost rules that Jeannine says she has to follow? None of the other ghosts have had rules. And why after his wife has been missing for 8 years, and he has clearly moved on wouldn't Bradley be able to accept that his wife may be dead? It seems like that would be an easier thing to accept than that she walked out on him while pregnant and completely disappeared. Why didn't Bradley realize he had a near death experience and not just a dream when he saw Jeanine while near death? Why didn't he ask about their daughter? And why wouldn't Mary drop bigger hints about Jeanine to help Bradley come to the right conclusion about her, even if she couldn't just come out and tell him she was dead herself? None of it really makes any sense and it all just seems contrived to draw out the mystery - the only real mystery in this series so far - out for several books.

I'm glad I listened to most of this one on Audible while working around the house, so I didn't really feel like I wasted a huge amount of time on it since I was doing other things too. I feel so frustrated with this series that I've decided not to keep reading it, even to find out exactly what happened to Jeanine.



View all my reviews

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Cloaked (Once Upon a Western Book 1)Cloaked by Rachel Kovaciny

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult, Christian
Genre: Western, Fairy Tale
Content: Clean



Mary Rose feels uneasy around Mr. Linden from the moment she meets him on the stagecoach ride to her grandmother's ranch in Wyoming Territory. But he works for her grandmother, so that means he's trustworthy, doesn't it?

She tries to ignore her suspicions until one night, she discovers his real reason for being at the ranch. Now, if she's going to save her grandmother -- and herself -- she's going to need to run faster than she's ever run before.


2.5 stars. Cloaked is a re-telling of Red Riding Hood and that's what drew me to it in the first place. I usually love reading re-tellings of that story, but unfortunately this one fell flat for me. I thought maybe it would include a supernatural aspect to it, but this is straight up western, which isn't really my thing. I don't know how to define this other than that. It's not really a romance, but there is romance in it. It also isn't really a mystery, although there is a slight mystery to it. However, it's easy to figure out what Mr. Linden is up to, and it's pointed out from the very beginning that he's a suspicious person. This was really short at 143 pages, but it felt longer because it was very slow moving and rather boring. This is the first book in what will be a series. If I could guess I would say a companion series. I will not be continuing on with the series though, because I just didn't enjoy this enough.



View all my reviews

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse, #1)Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Sci-fi, Space Opera
Content: Strong Language


I read this book three yeas ago and I thought I would share my review of it on my blog since I'm about to read the second book in the series in December and I've recommended the TV series to quite a few friends.

Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, the Scopuli, they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for - and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.

Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to the Scopuli and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.


Leviathan Wakes is a mix of space opera and Noir which brought to mind Voice of the Whirlwind by Walter Jon Williams, and those hard-boiled detective type books as well. The prologue drew me in immediately, I was really interested in Julie and how she was going to get out of the situation she was in. Unfortunately we don't find that out for a huge chunk of the book. We are introduced to Holden and Miller in the first chapter of the book and they both came up a bit short for me. Holden and Miller were both the polar opposite of each other. I really had a hard time liking either of them or caring what happened to them for a while. The book was so much better when they finally met and teamed up.

Miller was very cynical, but smart and observant. But his being in love with a woman he doesn't even know was ridiculous. Love may not be the right word. More like obsessed. He becomes obsessed with solving the case of the missing Julie Mao and in turn obsessed with her. I guess we can blame it on the fact that he is a really messed up drunk. He was really hard to like in the beginning, but by the end I was crying for him.

Holden was the naive idealist who has good intentions, but messes everything up because he sees everything too black and white. Honestly I really hate when the "good" guy is characterized this way. Holden does eventually learn a few things and becomes less annoying and more likable later in the book.

A couple of other small complaints I have about the book would be: Do I really care or need to know what is happening to their certain body parts when they hit a certain amount of Gs? No...no I don't. And I don't care about the fact that they have catheters stuck in them in the med bay either. Too many references to body parts. It just seemed a bit juvenile for the writers to keep going there. Also there is a big revelation that Miller has near the end of the book that I feel should have happened long before it did, I figured out early on in the book what was happening to those people who got infected. For Miller to be characterized as someone so smart and observant about people, he really wasn't too smart and observant there.

With those negatives out of the way I will say that I thought the story was good and there are a lot of layers to peel back in upcoming books. Overall I liked the book. It didn't blow me away, but it wasn't bad either. I'm not sure if I will read any further into this series yet.

Update 12/23/15: I've been watching the TV adaptation of this on Syfy and after seeing the first three episodes I am really liking it. I'm finding the TV show more compelling than I found the book.

Update 2/6/16: After finishing the first season of the TV adaptation, this story has just continued to grow on me. I was so pleasantly surprised by the first season of this. It's easily one of the best TV shows on Syfy in a very long time, just leaps and bounds above the other space opera shows they've offered in recent history. It's an odd thing when I think a TV show is better than the book it was based on, but that is the case here. I do feel like I was probably too hard on this book in my initial review, maybe because it wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but I am seeing it through different eyes now. The show has taken these characters that I wasn't all that crazy about and added more depth to them and this in turn has renewed my interest in reading the rest of the books in the series, especially since I've heard the characters deepen and become better in subsequent books.



View all my reviews

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Locker NineLocker Nine by Franklin Horton

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Post-Apocolyptic
Content: Strong Language, Some rather brutal killings


Grace Hardwick’s dad is a science fiction writer who makes his living destroying the world. When Grace decides to go away for her first year of college her dad can’t help but think of all of the potential ways that society could collapse and strand his daughter hundreds of miles from home. Then it happens. Robert reminds his daughter of the key he gave her when she left for school. She doesn’t know what it opens. She doesn’t know where the engraved numbers will lead her. All she knows is that her dad is not the type to let her go hundreds of miles from home with no backup plan.

If I could sum up Locker Nine in one sentence it would be: This is every worst case scenario a prepper prepares for.

Honestly it's one thing to be prepared, but this dad borders on paranoid. No one should have to grow up thinking of all the bad things that could happen to them and carry around everything it would take to save them, but that's Grace in this book. From the key she never takes off her neck to the ginormous truck she drives, complete with armored bumper, Grace is prepared for anything and suspicious of everyone, thanks to dad. I personally couldn't stand to live that way. But of course in this story Grace is right to be suspicious every time. I personally don't think society would deteriorate as quickly as it does in this book. I mean there are thieves and murders lurking around every corner the very next day.

In the beginning of the book there is a coordinated terrorist attack that leaves much of the US without electricity and other important resources. I thought the book would continue on with the point of view of the terrorists, but as soon as the attack happens we never see them again. It was all just the set up for Grace to begin her journey across the US to get home, and an excuse for her to use every single resource her dad has given her, even the armored bumper on the big truck.

Grace is accompanied by her lifelong friend and college roommate, who is the complete opposite of Grace and inexplicably is surprised by some of the things Grace says and does, even though they have been friends since they were 6 years old. One thing that really irked me about this book was the fact that the best friend is portrayed as a rather weak character, but she is also the only character that shows any real emotion in the book. Grace is quite a Mary Sue, as she is good at everything, and shows next to no emotion, even after having to kill someone. There is one time she shows emotion near the end when someone dies, but other than that it's like she's on auto pilot.

There are also chapters from another character's point of view that I disliked a lot, and in the end I felt like his character and several others were just pointless to the plot. I think it would have made more sense if the book had focused on the terrorists and Grace trying to get home and left this other person out. But what really annoyed me the most about this book was that in the end after all that preparation and Mary Sue-ing on Grace's part, someone has to step in and save her because of her one emotional moment.

I also have to add in here that there is a part in the book where someone who has just been pretty much burned to a crisp gets up and walks for miles and does all kinds of other things in this condition, and that shouldn't be possible. Eventually this person knocks at a door and the person who answers the door just opens the door to them without even doing a double take at their appearance. It's like it completely goes unnoticed. I'm pretty sure if someone that looked like that knocked on my door I would hesitate to let them in, or at least want to know what happened to them.

This book was not what my fellow book club members and I thought it was going to be. I think I can definitely say this book was not for me, but if you like post-apocalyptic stories that include a lot of preppers and all that encompasses you might like it.



View all my reviews
The BreathlessThe Breathless by Tara Goedjen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Gothic, Suspense
Content: Some mild cursing


No one knows what really happened on the beach where Roxanne Cole’s body was found, but her boyfriend, Cage, took off that night and hasn’t been seen since. Until now. One year—almost to the day—from Ro’s death, when he knocks on the door of Blue Gate Manor and asks where she is.

The Breathless is a slow paced Southern Gothic that felt a bit disjointed at times. In the beginning I was confused by all the jumping from different points of view which included flashbacks into the past. Once I got used to it, it wasn't so bad, but I think the book could have be structured better.

Once I got into this book it kept me turning the pages. There were things I liked about it; the atmosphere of the book, the crumbling mansion, the woods, the creepy secret passages, and Mae-I really liked her a lot. Those were the elements that kept me reading. Like all Gothics, there was little bit of creepiness present, but unfortunately the book never reached the level of creepiness or suspense I was hoping for.

The books biggest failing for me were the unanswered questions, especially about Cage. I liked him, but felt the author dropped the ball with his character because of those unanswered questions. I'm sure they were intended to make the reader wonder about things for a while after the end of the book, but they annoyed me. Some of those questions needed to be answered for the story to make more sense. And speaking of the end, I can't say that I liked it. I was hoping for a different outcome. Mostly it wasn't a bad read, but it wasn't great either.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for sending me a copy of this book for review. More Info



View all my reviews

Friday, November 24, 2017

Good Tidings (Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery #2)Good Tidings by Terri Reid
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Paranormal, Mystery
Content: Clean



Black Friday – the official opening of the holiday shopping season – and Patrice Marcum is stuck in the middle of her local superstore with a crying infant, a near-hysterical desire to just abandon the diapers and milk she desperately needs, and the snowstorm of the century dumping half a foot of snow on the parking lot outside. She needs a miracle.

In Good Tidings Mary is visited by the ghost of a 6 year old boy who wants her to help him find his kidnapped baby brother. Just like the last book, there is the main mystery, and we get another side mystery. To be honest neither of these are really mysteries. The bad guys are pretty much just laid out for us and we are left figuring out the why behind it. There is some suspense while this goes on, but anyone going into this series thinking they are going to read a challenging mystery with lots of twists and turns will be sorely disappointed. The real mystery so far, of both of these books is the one surrounding Bradley's missing wife. We still don't know exactly what happened to her.

Mostly I did not like this book as much as I liked the first one. This one lacked some of the charm the other book had and wasn't as funny, mainly because they leave the small town and spend most the book in Chicago. There is also a loose end left in this book that seemed kind of pointless to the plot, but maybe that will be continued at a future point in the series.

I still have the same complaints about this book that I had about the last one about Mary not being believable enough as an ex-cop and doing things that don't seem consistent with the way an ex-cop would think or act. Why does she even have a gun? I have no idea, she never uses it. And her over protective brothers really got on my nerves in this one. I do like that Bradley can see and hear the ghosts when he is touching Mary and the added discovery that he seems to neutralize them when he is near her made it more interesting, but it kind of felt like the author added that for convenience to the story. It would be interesting to explore the relationship Mary and Bradley have concerning the ghosts and why they affect each other the way they do around them.

I can see how this series could get old fast if the author doesn't step up the mystery aspect of it or add some new element to it. It could end up being very repetitive. I'll stick it out for at least one more book though or until we find out what happened to Bradley's wife.


View all my reviews

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Loose Ends (Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery #1)Loose Ends by Terri Reid
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Paranormal, Mystery
Content: Clean



Dying is what changed Mary O’Reilly’s life.

Loose Ends is a light mystery read. I thought it was both charming and humorous. Mary O'Reilly was a Chicago police officer who was shot in the line of duty. She died but was resuscitated. Since that day she has been able to see the ghosts of people who have not crossed over. She decides to quit the police force and opens up a paranormal detective agency after moving to a small town.

For the most part I liked this. I would give it 4 stars for the charm and humor, and the characters. I really enjoyed her banter with the two other business owners that befriend her. I liked the potential love interest and the way they met. I also really liked that there wasn't just one mystery introduced in this book, but three. One of which I'm going to guess will not be as easily solved as the other two were in this book. It will probably span at least a couple of books before it's resolved.

The things that I found to be shortcomings in this book, and what kept me from giving it 4 stars were first, the main mystery. It was pretty obvious who did it and I was hoping it would end up being a red herring, but at one point in the middle of the book the author for some reason decides to just let us in on it completely. If I hadn't found the rest of the book so likable I would not have been able to overlook this as easily. The second thing that sort of bothered me was that Mary did a couple of things that I thought a former cop wouldn't have done.

I will continue reading this series because I liked it despite those issues. It's a self published series so I wasn't expecting perfection, and the books are short; this one was only around a 6 hour read. Sometimes that's what I need, a quick, light read that doesn't take itself too seriously and this fit the bill.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Daughter of the Forest  (Sevenwaters, #1)Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale
Content: A rather intense rape scene



Lord Colum of Sevenwaters is blessed with six sons: Liam, a natural leader; Diarmid, with his passion for adventure; twins Cormack and Conor, each with a different calling; rebellious Finbar, grown old before his time by his gift of the Sight; and the young, compassionate Padriac.

But it is Sorcha, the seventh child and only daughter, who alone is destined to defend her family and protect her land from the Britons and the clan known as Northwoods. For her father has been bewitched, and her brothers bound by a spell that only Sorcha can lift.


Daughter of the Forest has been on my to-read list for ages. I kept putting off reading it for one reason or another, so when the Fantasy Buddy Reads group on Goodreads decided to buddy read it, I joined in on the read. I love Juliet Marillier's writing so much. I know probably I say that every time I read a book written by her, but she is truly one of my favorite fantasy authors. That being said, this book was not an easy read. It's heartbreakingly grim at times and at one point I put it down for something lighter. I honestly considered not continuing on for a minute there, but knew I would regret that. There is always a huge pay-off in the end for readers of Marillier's books. Ultimately this is a beautiful story about love and sacrifice. One of the most beautiful I've read.

“For indeed you have a choice. You can flee and hide, and wait to be found. You can live out your days in terror, without meaning. Or you can take the harder choice, and you can save them.”


I fell in love with the characters in this book, in particular Sorcha, who had to be so strong for the ones she loved, and Red, who treated her with such love and care, even when he didn't understand the reasons behind the things she was doing. And then when he did come to understand a bit of why she was doing what she was doing when no one else could see it, I loved him even more.

"Each of you was put through many trials; each of you proved strong, strong enough for their purpose. So strong, indeed, that you came close to thwarting them, for each of you chose to give up what was loved best, in the hope that the other would find happiness."


Then there were Sorcha's brothers. Finbar holds a special place in my heart above the others with Conor a close second. There were times when her brothers were very inconsiderate of what Sorcha might want, and there was a point when I thought they did not deserve the sacrifices that she had made for them, but most of them redeemed themselves in my eyes by the end of the story.

“The end of the story is of your making, nobody else's. You can do with it as you choose. There are as many paths open to your hero as branches on a great tree. They are wonderful and terrible, and plain and twisted. They touch and part and intermingle, and you can follow them whatever way you will.”


I recommend this book if you like fairy tale retellings, historical fantasy, or enjoy Marillier's other books. This one is based on The Swan Princes (princes not princess). There are companion books that span more than one generation, and I'm looking forward to eventually reading them.



View all my reviews

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The View from Rainshadow Bay (Lavender Tides #1)The View from Rainshadow Bay by Colleen Coble

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Category: Adult, Christian
Genre: Mystery, Romance
Content: Clean


The View From Rainshadow Bay is a mystery with some romance thrown in. There are Christian undertones to it as well. I had some issues with the consistency of the characters, the story, and some things that seemed pretty far-fetched.

As for the characters, I felt like the killer was not consistent. The killer goes from gleefully killing certain people to not wanting to kill others, and uses a different method for every single killing. Also one of the staged accidents would have been near impossible to stage. How would the killer have known exactly where they would be or exactly when to lie in wait?

There are other things like one person tying three men up while holding them at gunpoint with a rifle. There is no way one person could do that and still keep the rifle on the men. The three men could have overpowered that person and gotten away pretty easily.

As for the inconsistencies in the story, one example would be this: there is a package that has something in it that the killer wants, but the killer did not know the sheriff had the items that were in the package, so the killer goes after two different people in the book believed to have those items. But later on suddenly the killer knows the sheriff has these items, but gave one of them back to the main character? That doesn't make sense. Things like this just really annoyed me about this book. And don't get me started on guns being able to shoot off locks and silencers making guns completely noiseless, which is also included in the book. There were just too many inconsistencies and implausibilities in this book for me to completely enjoy it.

This is the second Colleen Coble book I've read. The other was Haven of Swans. I liked it better than this one, and I did not catch the same types of inconsistencies and implausibilities in that one. Other than those issues, so far I feel like her books are a little slow and just not compelling enough for me, especially for a series. Plus this one was very predictable and it was very easy to figure out who the killer was. This is the first book in a series, but I don't see a need for this to be a series, since everything is wrapped up in the end, and it works fine as a stand-alone, so I'm going to leave it at that.

I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher Thomas Nelson for giving me a copy of this book for review.


View all my reviews

Friday, November 3, 2017

Renegades (Renegades, #1)Renegades by Marissa Meyer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Content: Clean

 
Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

I was delighted to be gifted an advance copy of Renegades by the publisher through Netgalley. I'm a huge fan of Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series, so I had been looking forward to reading this book since I first heard about it, and Renegades was not a disappointment. I loved this book! I especially liked the themes of self-reliance and personal liberty that are sprinkled throughout the book from the point of view of Nova. Sure she is one if the villains, but it isn't exactly that simple. There's good and bad on both sides. I also really liked the discussions of what makes a hero, and how anyone can be one, because super powers do not make a person a hero, what's in one's heart and what one decides to do makes a person a hero.

This was similar to Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson, so if you liked that series you will probably like this one. I personally liked this book more. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series.



View all my reviews

Monday, October 30, 2017

Ice Kissed (Kanin Chronicles #2)Ice Kissed by Amanda Hocking

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Content: A sex scene


In the majestic halls of a crystal palace lies a secret that could destroy an entire kingdom…

Bryn Aven refuses to give up on her dream of serving the kingdom she loves. It's a dream that brings her to a whole new realm…the glittering palace of the Skojare.


Ice Kissed starts off pretty much where Frostfire ended. Brynn and Ridley are reporting to the King and later Brynn has a vision sent to her from Queen Linnea telling her to find her. So off they go to find Queen Linnea, and that eventually leads Brynn right back to the Skojare palace. A huge complaint I have here is that it doesn't make any sense that they would bring her back to the place where she felt her life was threatened. It seemed like her disappearance happened for no good reason, even after we get the explanation as to why it still didn't make much sense. It just felt like a wild goose chase, and I mainly found the whole part of the novel spent in Storvatten pretty dull. Plus Queen Linnea is incredibly immature and kind of annoying.

Honestly nothing really happened in this book to advance the overall plot of the series. We get answers as to where Linnea is and why she disappeared and who was behind it, although as I said already it doesn't make much sense; the romantic aspect of the plot advances somewhat, however the love scene was something close to what you would find in a NA book and didn't belong in a YA book; Brynn grows a bit as a person and isn't a selfish jerk, but everything pertaining to the main plot line was pretty much already told to us in book one. It was obvious by things Konstantin Black had said to Brynn in book one, how things would end up in this book. And there were some pretty obvious clues as to who is behind everything, at least some of the who. And speaking of Konstantin Black, he was the most interesting character in book one and I was hoping to get more about him in this book. Unfortunately we get even less of him here. Mostly we just follow Brynn from place to place as she tries to get answers and she never really does until the end and it's nothing I didn't see coming, so it just felt like a waste of time.

I do find it impressive that the author was so successful as a self-published author which is what I guess led to a publisher picking up this series and another one that she wrote. I've never read any of her other works but I will say, compared to most YA fantasy I've read, this series is kind of shallow. I probably will not read the rest of the books in this series, because I think there is much better out there and I would rather spend my time on those.

I received I free copy of this from the publisher through a Goodreads giveaway.



View all my reviews
Frostfire (The Kanin Chronicles, #1)Frostfire by Amanda Hocking

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Content: Clean


Bryn Aven is an outcast among the Kanin, the most powerful of the troll tribes. Set apart by her heritage and her past, Bryn is a tracker who's determined to become a respected part of her world. She has just one goal: become a member of the elite King’s Guard to protect the royalty.

Frostfire starts out with Bryn, the main character in a modern day city tracking a changeling. Once Bryn returns to the city where the "trolls" live it feels like we are in a old world fantasy type setting. This is mainly due to the fact that they care little about technology there and still run around using swords instead of guns. In my opinion an old world time period would have suited the book better.

At times I didn't find Bryn all that likeable. She seemed a bit selfish and couldn't seem to look at things from any perspective but her own. There were a couple of times that she was so rude to her friends that I wondered why they were friends with her. One of those times was when her friend Ember gets a mission and all Bryn can think about is herself and why she wasn't sent on it. The second time was even worse when Bryn finds out a secret (which to avoid spoilers I will not mention here) her friend Tilda has been keeping about herself. To Tilda it was something good, but Bryn was so horrible to her about it. The things she said to Tilda made me angry with her.

The villain of the book, Konstantin Black was the most interesting character because the reader is kept wondering what his motivation is. He definitely is more than he seems to be. But he is hardly in the book at all. One issue I did have with his character was that if he is supposed to be good enough to have been on the King's guard then why is he beaten so easily by a teenage girl who has no special Fae...I mean troll powers, more than once?

All of that said I think the biggest problem I had with the book was the whole changeling thing and the "Troll" society in general. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to root for a whole race of people who steal human babies and then dump them in orphanages so they can replace them with their own, only to steal that child too once it's a teen. And it's all done in the name of money. For me this was not a real plausible explanation. Money isn't good enough. That just made them seem greedy and too lazy to work for what they get. Am I supposed to believe that the "trolls" can't come up with a way to earn money in the world? They can blend in well enough with humans that they aren't noticed when they go out on missions so there is no excuse for stealing babies. And how do these humans not notice what is going on? Nothing is mentioned about that at all. And doesn't it ever bother the changelings that they have left the parents who raised them and their lives behind?

I'm not sure why the characters in this book are called trolls when there is nothing troll-like about them. Do they live underground? No. Are any of them ugly? No. They most definitely seem a lot more like the Fae. Overall Frostfire was a lackluster read. Not a lot really happens in the book and I found myself bored with it on more than one occasion. It also didn't feel like there was enough thought or planning put into the whys and hows of the "troll" society. Even though I wasn't crazy about this book I read the next book in the series too, because I won a free copy of it.



View all my reviews

Thursday, October 26, 2017

YesternightYesternight by Cat Winters

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Paranormal, Mystery
Content: Language, sex and talk of sex


In 1925, Alice Lind steps off a train in the rain-soaked coastal hamlet of Gordon Bay, Oregon. There, she expects to do nothing more difficult than administer IQ tests to a group of rural schoolchildren. A trained psychologist, Alice believes mysteries of the mind can be unlocked scientifically, but now her views are about to be challenged by one curious child.

Yesternight starts off when Alice Lind arrives at a small coastal town in Oregon to administer IQ tests to the students at the local school, but she is soon swept up in the mystery surrounding one of the students, Janie O'Daire. Janie's father is convinced she lived a past life as someone else. There is all kinds of evidence to support it, but Alice, a trained psychologist believes there must be some other explanation. As she delves into the mystery surrounding Janie, Alice begins to believe that her past may be similar and maybe even related to Janie's. Meanwhile there is a growing attraction between Alice and Janie's father, Michael. That's all I'm going to say about the plot so that I don't spoil anything.

I thought this book started off really good, but the more I read the less I liked it. I ended up not liking any of the characters. Alice never learned from her past mistakes. She just kept making unwise choices and lamenting that certain things were unfair for women. Well that may be, but don't be an idiot about it. As for Michael, on one hand I felt like he was a nice guy who really cared about her, then on the other hand he seemed manipulative. I was never really sure which he was, maybe a little of both. He was certainly selfish, and in the end he ended up being not likable.

The thing that ruined this book for me the most was the ending. I couldn't stop thinking about how horribly this book ended, and how terrible the characters ended up being in the end. In all honesty, the last quarter of the book had a completely different feel than the rest of the book and it just didn't fit well with the rest of the story. The thing that bothered me the most I'm going to put under a spoiler here so skip the next paragraph if you don't want to read the spoiler.

***Spoiler*** In the end when Alice hears her son John say "remember when you hit me in the head with your shoe, Alice?" and it becomes obvious that John is Michael reincarnated - yes, that's right, he is his dad reincarnated - all I could think of was that if her son remembers that, then surely he must also remember them having sex right before that too. And that just got way too weird for me, not to mention gross! I really wonder if the author even thought of that when she made things end up that way. ***End of spoiler***

Yesternight is the first book I've read by Cat Winters. I have two other books by this author on my to-read list, but after reading this, I'm wondering if I really want to read them. I'll probably give the YA book a try, but I'm not sure about the other one.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Rolling StonesThe Rolling Stones by Robert A. Heinlein

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Sci-fi, Space opera
Content: Clean
 
It doesn’t seem likely for twins to have the same middle name. Even so, it’s clear that Castor and Pollux Stone both have “Trouble” written in that spot on their birth certificates. Of course, anyone who’s met their grandmother Hazel would know they came by it honestly.

Join the Stone twins as they connive, cajole, and bamboozle their way across the solar system in the company of the most high-spirited and hilarious family in all of science fiction.


The Rolling Stones was our fantasy book club pick for October and I thought it was a fun, light sci-fi read. The twins Castor and Pollux reminded me a little bit of Fred and George Weasley from Harry Potter. They, and their grandma Hazel were the best things about this book.

One thing I was slightly disappointed in was that the daughter kind of faded into the background, and her father didn't seem to have enough faith in her abilities. But then there is the very positive portrayal of the mother, who is a doctor and the grandmother, who is an engineer and very independent and I liked that.

A couple of things to note are that the "Trouble with Tribbles" episode of the original Star Trek series was a complete rip-off of the flat cats in this book, and there are numerous ideas from this book that seem to have influenced other sci-fi stories and books over the years. The Expanse series came to mind with its Belters and Martian colonies.

While there were some enjoyably funny moments, I did feel like the book was a bit dull at times. I did like that it was short and easy to get through even through the parts that dragged. This was written way back in the 50s so some of it feels a bit dated. Clearly Heinlein did not predict digital technology, but I'm not sure anyone would have at that point. If you want to try some classic sci-fi, then I say give this a try.



View all my reviews

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Banishing the Dark (Arcadia Bell, #4)Banishing the Dark by Jenn Bennett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Content: Strong Language and more than one sex scene. 


Complicated does not begin to describe Arcadia Bell's life right now: unnatural magical power, another brush with death, and a murderous mother who's not only overbearing but determined to take permanent possession of Cady's body.

3.5 stars. This was the last book in the Arcadia Bell series. I didn't enjoy reading it as much as I did the other books in the series. There were some big coincidences that I thought were really convenient for the story telling, like characters showing up somewhere and discovering an event happens only once a month but they luckily got there at the right time. This happened twice in the book. Also, there were too many people coincidentally living in the same area.

This book also ventured way too close to romance novel territory for me. Too many sex scenes and too much talk of sex for me. Plus Cady constantly thinking about how hot Lon is and lusting after him got old fast. I'm just glad we weren't in Lon's mind too.

Also with the abilities Cady gained I felt like it made things all too easy for her to get out of every situation she was in. There were also certain characters I missed in this book that were not really present, and we are introduced to a new one and I didn't see the need to do that so late in the series.

Mostly I enjoyed this series, especially when it forgot about the hotness of its characters and focused on the family dynamic and what they really meant to each other.



View all my reviews

Monday, October 16, 2017

Binding the Shadows (Arcadia Bell, #3)Binding the Shadows by Jenn Bennett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Content: Strong language and a cheesy bedroom scene.


Renegade mage and bartender Cady Bell has had a rough year, but now the door to her already unstable world is coming completely unhinged.

This is the third book in the Arcadia Bell series and I liked it just as much as the two previous books. The bar is robbed while Cady and Kar-Yee are there by earth bounds who are wielding some extra suped-up powers, so there is the whole mystery to solve there. Then if that wasn't enough, Cady meets Lon's ex-in-laws who are still a big part of Jupe's life, Of course Yvonne (Lon's ex-wife) ends up showing up, and Cady gets asked by Yvonne's mother, Rose to do something unexpected.

The relationships between Cady, Lon, and Jupe continued to grow in this book and I still love the family interactions between them. The biggest negative is that there is a fair amount of swearing in this series. Unless it's constant, I can skim over and ignore most of it, but certain types of swearing I have a harder time ignoring. Swearing with God's name bothers me and this series has a lot of that.

This book ends in a huge cliffhanger and it's after something horrible happens and we find out something important, but - at least for me - not surprising. Needless to say I started the next book immediately.



View all my reviews

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Ace of Skulls (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #4)The Ace of Skulls by Chris Wooding

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Content: Some strong language.


They've been shot down, set up, double-crossed and ripped off. They've stolen priceless treasures, destroyed a ten-thousand-year-old Azryx city and sort-of-accidentally blew up the son of the Archduke. Now they've gone and started a civil war. This time, they're really in trouble.

This is the last book in the Tales of the Ketty Jay series. Overall this book pretty much lived up to my expectations, although I do feel like some characters didn't live up to their potential. Jez in particular became less likable to me and I can't say that I really liked the way her story ended, although I was not surprised. I just feel like there was wasted potential there. Frey annoyed me a bit with his obsession over Trinica, although I understood the root of it and what it meant to him personally to win her back. I did like his story arch overall (the man who sets out to redeem himself after being a huge jerk and a womanizer). He learned some things and that was good, but I don't feel like he learned enough. Did he ever feel badly about the way he treated anyone else? I'm not sure, but he ended up better than he was before and that was good.

Mostly I enjoyed reading about these characters and their adventures. They were all flawed, but for the most part they were engaging. There was some humor that I appreciated as well, especially in book three. I recommend this series if you are looking for some light fantasy adventure with a steampunk flare to it.



View all my reviews

Friday, September 29, 2017

Long Lost (Kate Burkholder, #4.5)Long Lost by Linda Castillo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Mystery
Content: Strong language and sex is implied.

This is a short story set between books 4 and 5 of the Kate Burkholder series. Kate and John decide to take a couple of days off and head to a B and B for a romantic getaway. Of course we all know that things aren't going to go quite as planned. Kate and John learn about the mysterious disappearance 22 years ago of one of the B and B's guests, and though they are both resolute about leaving it be and enjoying their time off, they just can't help themselves and eventually begin to investigate. I enjoyed the story, but I did figure the mystery out right away, and I'm pretty sure the police would have too, instead of it going cold for 22 years. Of course one of the characters in the book does call the local police a bunch of Barney Fifes so there is that.





View all my reviews

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Tethered Mage (Swords and Fire #1)The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy



Unfortunately this is going to be a DNF. I'm about 40% in and gosh, it's so boring. I liked the idea behind the story, but nothing has happened. There's a lot of talk, political machinations - or talk of it - and I just don't care about any of the characters. Thanks to NetGalley for sending me a copy of this to review.



View all my reviews

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Kind Worth KillingThe Kind Worth Killing by Peter  Swanson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Content: Strong language


On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning and mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing very intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage that’s going stale and his wife, Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him.

But their game turns a little darker when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.” After all, some people are the kind worth killing.


The Kind Worth Killing is a mystery/thriller that is different from anything I've read before. I don't even know if I should call it a mystery because, to be honest there really wasn't much mystery involved. There wasn't much wondering about who did what because we are inside the heads of each of the characters, and the small mysteries that did exist were pretty obvious to me. It starts out a lot like Strangers on a Train, which is what drew me to the book in the first place, but it ended up disappointing me, especially after a certain person was killed, which I must add, surprised me because it happened so early in the book.

I don't tend to like reading books where there are no real likable characters in them, but I went into this one knowing that would be the case and I was ok with it. In the beginning, I thought Lily was pretty clever but she eventually gets sloppy. There were mistakes she made that I thought were not consistent with what her character would have done earlier in the story.

I think overall the author had some interesting ideas and I like the way the story shows how even the best laid plans can go awry, especially when it's a murder that's being planned. The ending was ok. It was a little unclear, but at the same time it seems like we know how things will end up.



View all my reviews

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Emperor's Soul -September's Fantasy Book Club Book

Our book for book club this month was The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson. This is a book that I've been wanting to read for a long time, so I was really happy that it got chosen.

The Emperor's SoulThe Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Content: Clean


Shai is a Forger, a foreigner who can flawlessly copy and re-create any item by rewriting its history with skillful magic. Condemned to death after trying to steal the emperor’s scepter, she is given one opportunity to save herself. Though her skill as a Forger is considered an abomination by her captors, Shai will attempt to create a new soul for the emperor, who is almost dead.

The Emperor's Soul is set in the the same world as Elantris, but has no other relation to that book. I have to say, this novella really impressed me. Sanderson's magic systems are always wonderfully imaginative and this one was no exception. There is so much brilliance packed into this little story. I absolutely love reading Sanderson's novellas. Because there isn't room for a lot of filler, they do not get as wordy as his full length novels and I like that.

“No person was one single emotion; no person had only one desire. They had many, and usually those desires conflicted with one another like two rosebushes fighting for the same patch of ground.”


Shai's undertaking of forging the emperor's soul provided a wonderfully layered story that was thought provoking. All the many facets of a personality and what makes a person a unique individual; the way Shai is so perceptive of those around her; and in the end her true work of art were things that I loved about this book. This is one of the best books I've read this year. Sanderson created a true masterpiece.

“He found himself weeping.

Not for the future or for the emperor. These were the tears of a man who saw before himself a masterpiece. True art was more than beauty; it was more than technique. It was not just imitation.

It was boldness, it was contrast, it was subtlety.”



And we soul stamped the refreshments :)



View all my reviews


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Battlemage (The Summoner, #3)The Battlemage by Taran Matharu

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Content: Clean


The Battlemage was a good ending to the Summoner series. There were a couple of things that were left open ended that could be revisited if the author ever decides to continue the series, but everything was pretty much wrapped up nicely. What I like most about this series are the demons. I love the giant turtle demon that they encountered and I loved what we found out about Ignatius. Overall this is a good series with all the books being equally likeable. This is a YA fantasy series that I would recommend to any teen interested in reading fantasy. It's fun and not too dark.



View all my reviews

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

An Inconvenient Beauty (Hawthorne House, #4)An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: Adult, Christian
Genre: Historical Romance
Content: Clean


An Inconvenient Beauty is part of the Hawthorn House series of clean romance books. This is the second book in the series that I've read, but I didn't read them in order. It worked out ok though as each book stands on its own. I didn't like this one as much as A Noble Masquerade. It wasn't bad, but there were a few things that I found mildly irritating.

I felt there was too much emphasis on Isabella's beauty. I know it played a big part in the whole plot, but it got old and I wasn't really sure if I liked that it played a big part in the plot. On one hand I feel like the book made superficial beauty too important, but then at times it seemed to be trying to say that beauty wasn't so important. I'm not altogether sure what it was saying to be honest.

Griffith's height and size was also mentioned way too many times. Alright already, we get that he is really tall, has long legs, and is a big guy. We don't need to be reminded constantly. The book also employed the often used romance novel trope of keeping things from the person you love. Just tell him what's going on already! Then there is the whole special license thing. One couple in the book decides against it because he doesn't want to compromise her reputation by getting one, but then at the end of the book the other couple gets one. So does it compromise a lady's reputation or not? It just seemed very contradictory.

Those complaints aside, this was a sweet romance and I liked Griffith a lot. Any woman would be lucky to have a guy like him. I also really liked Isabella's cousin Frederica. I kind of wish the book had been about her instead. I also enjoyed getting a peek at what was going on in the lives of Miranda and Ryland from the other book. I'll probably continue on with the series at some point. I like reading these when I'm in the mood for something light.

Thanks to NetGalley for giving me a copy of this book.



View all my reviews

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Iron Jackal (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #3)The Iron Jackal by Chris Wooding

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Content: Strong language and implied sex.


Things are finally looking good for Captain Frey and his crew. The Ketty Jay has been fixed up good as new. They've got their first taste of fortune and fame. And, just for once, nobody is trying to kill them.

I enjoyed reading The Iron Jackal, the third installment of the Tales of the Ketty Jay series. This book was probably my favorite of the series so far. I enjoyed the humor. It kept me laughing which is always a plus. The air chase in the beginning, the train robbery, the part with the bomb, and the race were probably my favorite parts of the book. Oh and the cat and the toast.

As for the characters: Pinn grew on me a lot in this book with his antics. Frey was still Frey. He's definitely a love/hate type of character. His obsession with Trinica could get very old, but I kind of ship them. I'm probably as foolish as he is. We finally find out all about Silo's past, and Jez continues to battle the daemon inside her. Jez is still probably my favorite character in the series and I've enjoyed her exploration of her abilities. Malvery gets to shine a bit here, and Harkins does as well, even if it's in Pinn's name. Crake and Samandra Bree meet up again, something I was looking forward to as I ship them as well. There is also a new crew member, Ashua. It remains to be seen how she will impact things overall, but I think she is a good addition.

There was more digging into the characters and the world in this book and I liked that. The world building was interesting with the strange hybrid type creatures they encounter later in the book, and I like the combination of fantasy with the guns, vehicles and electricity, etc. There's one more book to go in the series and I'm looking forward to reading it.





View all my reviews

Monday, September 4, 2017

Fairchild (Fairchild, #1)Fairchild by Jaima Fixsen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Historical Romance
Content: Clean


Good English families all have a house in the country with a deer park, a trout stream, and an army of gardeners. They should have a son and if it can be managed, he should be handsome. Cleverness isn’t important. Daughters in limited quantities are fine so long as they are pretty. Bastards are inconvenient and best ignored. It's not a big problem, unless you are one. Unfortunately, Sophy is.

Fairchild was yet another really good, clean historical romance that I got for free from Amazon. The characters where very well drawn and I couldn't help but love Sophy. I did feel like Sophy and Tom's feelings for each other happened kind of sudden, but the secret meetings and glances at each other were quite fun. I just wish we had gotten a little more of those in detail. The book was mostly focused on Sophy, but I felt the author did a great job of introducing us to Tom and fleshing his character out despite the limited amount of time we spend with him in the book.

This was such a sweet romance novel. There is a companion novel, Incognita, about Alistair, one of the other character's from this book that I immediately wanted to read and I ended up enjoying it almost just as much. I'll post my review for that one in the near future.



View all my reviews

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Ready Player One 80s Book Club Party





For our book club night this week we decided it would be fun to dress 80s since the book was Ready Player One. From Top Gun to Madonna to Mullets to 80s preppy to Ghost Busters to striped tube socks, the 80s were well represented. We all had a great time!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Elissa Blue (The Winged #1)Elissa Blue by T.K. Perry

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: New Adult, Young Adult, Christian
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Dystopia
Content: Clean


Reading Elissa Blue is like watching The Bachelor, only everyone has wings. Initially I thought this was going to be a book about fairies, but it ended up being about human-butterfly hybrids. It's hard to classify this book. It has a bit of a fantasy feel with some dystopian elements that are not all that fleshed out, but it also is a romance with a definite Christian aspect to it as well. The age of the characters make it fit into the new adult age group, but it's completely clean and reads like a young adult novel. The overall theme of the book is, be wise about who you choose to marry and spend your life with.

What I liked about this book the most was that it somehow kept me glued to it despite the fact that I thought the whole human-butterfly hybrid thing was pretty silly, and the main character drove me crazy at times with her wishy-washy indecisiveness. She went back and forth between three guys so many times.

Now about the guys. I think I met and dated a guy exactly like each of them in college. There is the one that you like and is really nice, but are not attracted enough to. The one who is very attentive and takes care of you and is fun to be around. The one who is attractive but rough around the edges, has a good heart, but maybe isn't all that smart. The one that you know is bad for you, but the attraction is strong. I'm not going to spoil who is who here, or which one Elissa ends up with, but I was happy with who she chose.

Things that I thought could have been improved upon were:
-The story was a little long.
-Too much going around and around in circles with the guys and her feelings about them.
-The days felt super long. Two days felt like two weeks to me.
-Too insta-love like for me. A couple of days isn't enough time to get to know a person.
-The dystopian aspect of the book was underdeveloped.

Things I liked were:
-The funny last names based on types of butterflies. Mr. Sootywing and Mr. Hairstreak, :) :).
I actually looked up these butterflies to see what they looked like.
-The fact that the book kept me glued to it.
-Mit and Holis :)
-The choice she makes about who she will marry.
- The overall theme of the book.

Thanks to the author for giving me a copy of this book for review.





View all my reviews

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Waking LandThe Waking Land by Callie Bates

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Content: One love scene that is moderately descriptive.


It's been fourteen years, since King Antoine took Elanna hostage. Fourteen years since her father's rebellion failed. Fourteen years spent being raised by the man who condemned her people to misery. A man she's come to love as a father.

The Waking Land was a mixed bag for me. I wanted to like the main character Elanna, but there were too many times that I just wanted to slap her silly. I get that she was probably going through Stockholm Syndrome and confusion because she genuinely thought the king cared about her as a daughter, but she also came across as willfully stupid at times. She also had the annoying habit of contradicting herself over and over. She's not going to do this, but she does it. She doesn't ever do that, but then she does. She changed her mind about things way too easily at times, and then at other times was stubborn to the point of stupidity.

I liked the love interest quite a lot, but would have liked if the romance and the relationship between the two of them had been explored more. It came off a little too much like insta-love for me. Also, the whole "wedding the land" thing was just weird and there wasn't enough explanation as to what exactly happened and how it worked. And the love scene makes this book too mature for younger readers in my opinion.

There were some things about this book that I did really like. I liked the way the magic worked with Elanna drawing on the land and nature for assistance. I also thought the way the land would fold and then they would be in another location was really cool. I liked that it showed how conflicted Elanna was about who she was, her origins, and where her loyalties were; even though I don't feel like it was executed all that well. This looks to be a stand-alone, which is ok with me. I'm not sure I would want to continue on with it if it was a series.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Random House for giving me a copy of this book for review.



View all my reviews

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Gone Missing (Kate Burkholder, #4)Gone Missing by Linda Castillo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Mystery
Content: Strong Language and implied sex.


A missing child is a nightmare to all parents, and never more so than in the Amish community, where family ties run deep. When the search for the presumed runaway turns up a dead body, the case quickly becomes a murder investigation. And chief of Police Kate Burkholder knows that in order to solve this case she will have to call upon everything she has to give not only as a cop, but as a woman whose own Amish roots run deep.

After reading the last book in this series I almost gave up on it. Kate was just too hard for me to like in that book, but I'm glad I gave it another chance. This time around Kate seems to have made some changes. She has stopped the drinking and she seemed a lot more focused on keeping her life straight. I also liked Tomasetti a lot more in this book as well. Things get more serious between the two of them in this book and I like the direction their relationship is heading.

The negatives for me this time around are not plot related, but rather the amount of repetition in the writing. We are told the same things too many times. We only need to be told about what rumpringa is once, and Kate reflects on the fact that she used to be Amish over an over as well. We don't need to be beaten over the head with these details, especially not at this point in the series where we have already read this over and over in previous books.

The mystery this time around was one of the best of the series. It kept me guessing about a few things almost up until the end. And that ending! I like it a lot if it means this will be a plot thread that is revisited in other books. But I'm not sure I would like it to just be left that way. Unlike the last book, this book has definitely left me wanting to continue on to the next book. I was tempted to start right away, but I have other books that have to be read before the end of the month so it will have to wait a little while.

I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for a review.


View all my reviews