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.

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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.

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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.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Poisoned House: A Ghost StoryThe Poisoned House: A Ghost Story by Michael  Ford

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre:  Mystery, Paranormal
Content: Clean

The Poisoned House is set in Victorian London where 15 year old scullery maid Abigail Tamper has lost her mother to cholera. She works in the home of the aging widower Lord Greave who is becoming more and more distant and seems to be losing his sanity. His sister-in-law, Mrs. Cotton is the head house keeper and has pretty much taken over the household, acting as if it belongs to her, while being incredibly mean and nasty to Abigail. Lord Greave's son Samuel is off fighting in the Crimean War at the beginning of the story, but returns home injured. Strange things begin happening in the house that eventually convince Abi that there is a ghost. I won't go into any more detail than that, because I don't want to spoil anything.

If you are looking for something to really scare you then this book is not for you. While there were a couple of rather creepy scenes, mostly this book is very mild. I will admit I was a bit disappointed that this book wasn't creepier, but at the same time I really liked the writing and the characters. The mystery of who the ghost is, why the ghost is haunting the house, and who did what isn't very hard to figure out either, but the book just kept me reading anyway.

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Friday, August 18, 2017

The Inquisition (Summoner, #2)The Inquisition by Taran Matharu

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Content: Clean

With loyal friends Othello and Sylva by his side, Fletcher must battle his way to the heart of Orcdom and save Hominum from destruction…or die trying.

The Inquisition was a good follow up to The Novice. The book starts out a year after the last one left off with a trial soon following. Once we get through the trial and all that, Fletcher and his friends are sent on a mission deep into orc territory along with others who are not so friendly. They are divided up into four different teams. The teams get divided up pretty predictably, with each given a guide to lead them through the jungle. During the quest, to make things even more dangerous, there is a someone who keeps trying to kill Fletcher, obviously trying to frame the Dwarfs. There are a few revelations in this book that are not all that surprising. I predicted most of them, but maybe younger readers will not.

This as a simplified fantasy, that's definitely written for YA readers, but still quite enjoyable. The characters are pretty black and white and plot-wise, the story follows a traditional route with nothing really new added. I did like the addition of the gremlins. The idea of the goblins coming from a cross between gremlins and orcs was new to me. I loved poor Blue and wish we could have seen even more of him and his group. Once again my favorite aspect of the book are the demon pets that the mages have. Who doesn't love a Gryphon or an Alicorn or one of the many others?

Just like the last book, this one ends with a cliffhanger-like ending. I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next.

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

SunshineSunshine by Robin McKinley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Content: Strong language, implied sex, and an almost sex scene.

There are places in the world where darkness rules, where it's unwise to walk. But there hadn't been any trouble out at the lake for years, and Sunshine just needed a spot where she could be alone with her thoughts. Vampires never entered her mind.

Until they found her...

I really liked this vampire novel. This is a rare adult novel written by Robin McKinley, and it was also the first book I read by her. The book is pretty clean except for one almost sex scene that uses a couple of very coarse words that I could have done without. The other love scenes are more fade to black.

One of the things I really liked about this book and found to be a welcome difference from other vampire books is that this vampire is not a beautiful creature. At one point in the book he turns himself human looking for a little while and he is rather ugly as a human. How refreshing that he isn't mesmerizingly beautiful.

I only wish there had been a sequel. This could have been the start of a pretty awesome urban fantasy series, with Sunshine teaming up with the vampire. Constantine from time to time to help him out with problems of the supernatural variety. Unfortunately Robin McKinley has said that she has no interest in writing one. It is fine as a stand-alone novel though.

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Dystopia, Fantasy
Content: Strong language (I did not finish this so there could be more).

So I've been reading this book, or supposed to be for three weeks now and I still have not finished it, and I have zero desire to get back to reading it. Let me tell you why...

The plot is not all that compelling to me. It's Willy Wonka in a virtual reality loving, dystopian future. That really doesn't appeal to me. I know this is going to be an unpopular opinion because just about every one of my friends seemed to absolutely love this book, but sorry, I just don't.

If you are in love with 80s pop culture then you might love this book. I was a teen in the 80s, it was ok, but nothing to worship. And this kid clearly worships at the altar of 80s pop culture. For me it started to feel like the author was just name dropping 80s thing after 80s thing to prove that the main character here was really into the 80s. The list went on and on and on. It got old. How in the world has he had time to play every one of those games, watch every one of those TV shows and movies, etc.? It would take a person years. More years than this kid has been alive.

The virtual reality world in the book was interesting, but not enough for me to want to keep reading. So I'm dumping this book for now. I don't really foresee a time that I will actually want to pick it up and finish it, but who knows, maybe something crazy will happen and I will one day. Honestly though, I just don't think it's for me.

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Dead To Me (Detective Kate Matthews, #1)Dead To Me by Stephen Edger

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Mystery, Thriller

How do you catch a killer who knows your every move?

Dead To Me is the first book in a new detective series. This is the first time I've read a book by this author and I thought it was just ok. The good thing about it is that I was completely wrong about who I thought was behind the murders. The bad thing about it is that I felt like it sort of came out of left field.

For me a well-plotted mystery points clues at multiple people, while still leaving you surprised at the end, but feeling like you should have seen that coming. I didn't feel that way when I read this. I felt like there were really no clues pointing to the culprit here. The reasoning behind why he did some of the things he did were not explained either. Why the creepy cyber stalking? Sending her the messages the instant she signed up on the dating website was way too coincidental. And the thing with Kate's mother didn't seem to have any reason behind it either, other than to cause her distress.

I didn't find any of the characters all that likable, not even Kate, and she did some really stupid things. She was also a lousy deadbeat mom. I was happy in the end that Kate realized she needed to be a mother to her daughter. She redeemed herself somewhat after that. As for the other characters, all of the detectives kept getting into pissing contests with each other and the cases they were solving seemed more about their personal egos than about finding justice for the victims. I hope this isn't the way most real detectives behave.

Although I liked that the book kept me guessing, I just didn't care for the overall plot of the story and the killer's behavior felt a little all over the place. For those reasons I think I will pass on reading the rest of this series. Thanks NetGalley and Bookouture for sending me a copy of this book for review.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

 The Black Lung Captain (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #2)The Black Lung Captain by Chris Wooding

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

Deep in the heart of the Kurg rainforest lies a long-forgotten wreck. On board, behind a magically protected door, an elusive treasure awaits. Good thing Darian Frey, captain of the airship Ketty Jay, has the daemonist Crake on board. Crake is their best chance of getting that door open—if they can sober him up.

In this installment of Tales of the Ketty Jay, Darian Frey is back to his old tricks. He's robbing an orphanage in the beginning of this book, and that didn't endear him to me much. By the end of the last book Frey had learned a few things and for a little while I thought he had forgotten every one of them, but he ended up proving me wrong. Yet again Chris Wooding surprises me with the character growth of not only the main character, but all of them. Even the cat, Slag gets a tiny part of a chapter in his point of view. I still dislike Pinn to a great extent, but even he ended up better by the end of this book. Crake and Jez in particular have great story arcs where they face their demons and come to grips with themselves. Crake's efforts to restore Bess is an especially emotional one. Speaking of Bess, whenever I read about her I can't help but think of Fullmetal Alchemist.


That's how I picture Bess.

Not only is the whole crew of the Ketty Jay present here, but Frey's former love and nemesis, Trinica Dracken is back, as well as the Century Knights. I liked the story arc with Trinica and also would love to read more of the Century Knights in the next books. We also learn a lot of interesting things about the Mane and The Awakeners. In general there is a much deeper level of emotion involved with the characters this time around, which is something that was missing in the first book. I'll definitely be reading the rest of the series.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Lethal Bayou Beauty (Miss Fortune Mystery #2)Lethal Bayou Beauty by Jana Deleon

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Mystery, Comedy

No one in Sinful liked Pansy Arceneaux, but who hated her enough to kill her?

Lethal Bayou Beauty is the sequel to Louisiana Longshot. This time around Pansy Arceneaux, ex-beauty queen and aspiring actress returns to her hometown, Sinful Louisiana to help with the beauty pageant portion of the Summer Festival. No one likes Pansy, who has been through almost every guy in town, even the married ones, so when she ends up dead no one is surprised.

While Lethal Bayou Beauty was amusing at times, I didn't like it quite as much as Louisiana Longshot, which did actually make me laugh out loud once. Mostly I feel like this series relies too much on dumb humor derived from unbelievable situations. There are too many bumbling mistakes made by the main character and she is completely unprepared to pose as an ex-beauty queen/librarian. What kind of spy would fail to do her homework to make the role convincing? Also who in the world doesn't know who Lady Gaga is? You'd have to be living under a rock to have never heard of her. Fortune would also have to at least know of some TV shows. Maybe Fortune had her head buried in the sand when she was playing assassin in the Middle East. This series has completely failed to convince me that Fortune is a CIA agent or a real person at all for that matter.

Despite my complaints I like other things about this series enough to give it another chance, like the Louisiana charm and Ida Belle and Gertie, the outrageous ladies of the Geritol mafia, so I'm still keeping this series on my to-read list for now.

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Name Unknown (Shadows Over England #1)A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

A Name Unknown is a Christian historical romance set in the Edwardian period on the cusp of WWI. The main character is a thief who accepts a job from a mysterious man who calls himself Mr. V. The job involves getting hired on by a man with German ancestry and finding information that will prove he is a traitor to England. I enjoyed reading about the time period a lot and I liked the characters of Rosemary and Peter. The slow buildup of the friendship and then romance that developed between them was one of the best things about the book. The Christian aspect of the book was well done as well and was nicely woven into the story. The only thing I felt was missing was actually being able to read the letters that Rosemary and Peter wrote to each other every day. I really would have liked if they had been included in the book. I think it would have given us as readers more insite into their developing friendship.

This is the first of a series and I am interested in continuing on. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Bethany House for giving me a copy of this book for review.

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