Tag Archive | Book Review

REVIEW: Risuko by David Kudler

 

Last night at work I was alone folding laundry and able to finally finish this book!
Seriously you guys, the text to speech function on the Kindle is the greatest invention EVER!
Multitasking at its finest.

I was also able to do a little outlining on my novella due next year. Unfortunately, my Bluetooth keyboard wouldn’t connect to my Kindle so I couldn’t actually write. I’m hoping the keyboard just needed charging. Fingers crossed it works tonight!

Now that wedding season is calming down, there’s a little more down time at work so I actually take breaks. When things are busy, I just don’t take a break at work. At least, not one that lasts longer than it takes to eat something, and even then I’m ready to run to the front desk if someone walks in. I don’t mind though, I love my job.

And now, my review!


Risuko by David Kudler

Series: Seasons of the Sword #1

Read: October 5 – 26, 2016

Format: ARC Ebook (Kindle)

My Book Rating: 3 Stars

Publisher: Stillpoint Digital Press

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Can one girl win a war?

My name is Kano Murasaki, but most people call me Risuko. Squirrel.

I am from Serenity Province, though I was not born there.

My nation has been at war for a hundred years, Serenity is under attack, my family is in disgrace, but some people think that I can bring victory. That I can be a very special kind of woman.

All I want to do is climb.

My name is Kano Murasaki, but everyone calls me Squirrel.

Risuko.

Though Japan has been devastated by a century of civil war, Risuko just wants to climb trees. Growing up far from the battlefields and court intrigues, the fatherless girl finds herself pulled into a plot that may reunite Japan — or may destroy it. She is torn from her home and what is left of her family, but finds new friends at a school that may not be what it seems.

Magical but historical, Risuko follows her along the first dangerous steps to discovering who she truly is.

Kano Murasaki, called Risuko (Squirrel) is a young, fatherless girl, more comfortable climbing trees than down on the ground. Yet she finds herself enmeshed in a game where the board is the whole nation of Japan, where the pieces are armies, moved by scheming lords, and a single girl couldn’t possibly have the power to change the outcome. Or could she?

Historical adventure fiction appropriate for young adult and middle-grade readers.


REVIEW

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this cover art. It’s amazing, right? I’ll admit, I requested this book from NetGalley all those months ago because this cover is amazing. So pretty. Plus there was a little girl called ‘Squirrel’ who is supposed to unite Japan? Sounds awesome!

Unfortunately, I found the story lacking. I couldn’t really connect to the characters on a deep enough level. For example, in the beginning, Risuko is taken from her village after being purchased by Lady Chiyome, and she digs in her heels a little at first, but it really didn’t take much for her to seemingly “get over” being taken from her mother and sister. Sure on the outside she accepts her fate, but I find it hard to believe that a little girl would not even have any internal dialogue resenting Lady Chime or missing her family. She just kind of goes through the motions as if this is all normal.

Now, that isn’t to say that all characters were difficult to understand. The exception is Kee Sun, the Korean cook working for Lady Chiyome. He was fabulous! He has his own nicknames for everyone and just a very vibrant personality.

As far as pacing and plot, it took a really long time to figure out what the plot really was. Things were happening to Risuko, but it was almost like she was a bystander. Her actions were the result of people telling her what to do. It took a long time before her own actions began to drive the plot forward. By the time it ended, I liked where things had gone, but I just didn’t get enough sense of Risuko’s growth as a character. And while I can’t think of any scenes that should have been cut, I just didn’t see most of them really driving the plot forward.

There were some really cool things in this book though. I learned a little about ancient Japan and the Takeda empire. I loved the concept of these women being trained as shrine maidens, but also spies and killers. There was some interesting information about herbs that I enjoyed reading about. (Yes, I’m a nerd.)

Also, the tag line – Can one girl win a war? – is a little misleading. Because really, not much happened in this book. I can see maybe in future books this being a true catch line, but not this one.

So, would I recommend this book?

In the end, I think this book is just written for too young an audience for me. I think it reads more middle grade than YA and tweens and younger teens will probably get more from this story than older teens and adults, like myself. For those interested in ancient Japanese culture, this may be a good intro into the topic/culture. I’d say read the sample online to decide if the book is right for you.



Get the Risuko here:

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QUOTES


“…Some people think that I can bring victory. That I can be
a very special kind of woman. All I want to do is climb.”

 

Kee Sun fussed with the platters, placing a bunch of watercress at the end of each, then he turned to us, gravely, and said, “If any of yeh drops year platter, I’ll skin yeh with the dullest, rustiest knife I’ve got, yeh hear?”

REVIEW: Silence of the Lamps by Karen Rose Smith

I’ve been slacking in all departments lately.

Blogging, writing, my publishing job, life.

I started a new job at the beginning of September in the hospitality industry and I LOVE it. It’s a part-time job, but these past two weeks I’ve been given full time hours to compensate for just how crazy busy it’s been. No complaints though, who couldn’t use a little extra cash in their bank account, right?

Things have started to slow down a bit now, which means more time to get stuff done. Including reading. When it’s super slow at work and I’m all alone I can fold laundry and listen to my Kindle read to me. That’s how I got through the book I’m reviewing below. Hopefully that means I’ll be posting more reviews more frequently! (I do have 5 other reviews written and ready to post, plus a couple to be written.)

So that’s what’s up with me. What’s up with the rest of you? Leave a comment below, I’ll make time to reply. 🙂


Silence of the Lamps by Karen Rose Smith

Series: A Caprice De Luca Home Staging Mystery #5

Read: September 12 – October 2, 2016

Format: ARC Ebook (Kindle)

My Book Rating: 2.5 Stars

Genre: Cozy Mystery

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Caprice’s house staging is disrupted by Drew Pierson, a caterer who opened Portable Edibles, a business in direct competition with her sister Nikki’s Catered Capers. Nikki turned down Drew as a possible partner and he seems determined to undermine and bury her. However his successful launch of a deal for his blackberry barbecue sauce must have stirred up his enemies.

When Nikki visits the house where Drew lives with his grandmother to resolve differences, she and Caprice find him dead—murdered with the base of a valuable Tiffany lamp.
Caprice discovers clues about Drew’s sly business dealings—from stealing recipes from another chef, to friends who hold grudges, to a sister who will now inherit half of her grandmother’s estate since Drew is dead. In the midst of her own romantic relationship upheaval, helping her uncle set up his pet sitting-business, assisting a friend care for a pregnant stray cat, Caprice follows the suspect trail, inadvertently putting herself in danger once more.


REVIEW

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Earlier this year I read my first Cozy Mystery – Kernel of Truth by Kristi Abbott. I loved it. It was like, murder mystery-lite. A quaint small town and a regular gal trying to solve a murder mystery. After that, I went on a binge entering to win more cozy mysteries from Goodreads, and even requesting this cozy mystery from NetGalley. However, like all books, no two are created equal, and unfortunately for me, Silence of the Lamps did not reach the bar that Kernel of Truth set.

Now, I’m jumping into this series late. This is book 5 in the Caprice De Luca Home Staging Mysteries. Right off the bat, Caprice attends a family event and the reader is bombarded with details of her large family. At first it was a little difficult to keep them all straight, but I caught on quickly enough. It’s possible that the characters were introduced gradually in book 1, so I won’t fault the author/book too much for this because as book 5 it would suck for those who have read since the beginning to have to go through the introductions all over again.

The writing in this book is fine, I can’t complain about that, but the content is where I had issues. This book is so full of mindless filler I actually had to put the book down a few times and read something else. I was just bored. If you’re not an animal lover, you’ll hate this book. Caprice is absolutely obsessed with animals, which is all fine and well, but she’s to the point where she constantly has people “babysit” her dog. Every chapter. It’s fine that she does this, but as the reader, do I really need to constantly hear about it? And don’t even get me started on her outfits. I got it after the second clothing description, Caprice has her own sense of style, she only wears vintage, that’s cool and all, but after half a dozen times I’m ready to throw my Kindle at the wall. I really don’t need a head to toe description of every pair of bell bottoms the woman owns.

Onto the murder—there were so many possible suspects that by the end, when the killer was revealed, I had already forgotten who that person was. I still can’t recall the interaction with the killer prior to the ending.

I did like the ending though. It was dangerous and suspenseful. I really feel that with a lot of the unnecessary filler cut out (especially about Caprice’s family, pets, and her damn wardrobe descriptions!!!) this book would have been stronger. I thought I was reading a mystery surrounding a home stager, but that ended up being an aside to pet side plots.

So, would I recommend this book? Probably not unless you really love animals and want to read more about them than murder.

I would consider reading the first in this series to see how it compares, but the chances of that happening are pretty slim.



Get the Silence of the Lamps here:

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REVIEW: The Smaller Evil by Stephanie Kuehn

The Smaller Evil by Stephanie Kuehn

Read: July 27 – September 1, 2016

Format: ARC Ebook (Penguin First Reads)

My Book Rating: 2 Stars

Genre: YA Contemporary / Mystery / Thriller

ABOUT THE BOOK

Sometimes the greater good requires the smaller evil.

17-year-old Arman Dukoff is struggling with severe anxiety and a history of self-loathing when he arrives at an expensive self-help retreat in the remote hills of Big Sur. He’s taken a huge risk—and two-thousand dollars from his meth-head stepfather—for a chance to “evolve,” as Beau, the retreat leader, says.

Beau is complicated. A father figure? A cult leader? A con man? Arman’s not sure, but more than anyone he’s ever met, Beau makes Arman feel something other than what he usually feels—worthless.

The retreat compound is secluded in coastal California mountains among towering redwoods, and when the iron gates close behind him, Arman believes for a moment that he can get better. But the program is a blur of jargon, bizarre rituals, and incomprehensible encounters with a beautiful girl. Arman is certain he’s failing everything. But Beau disagrees; he thinks Arman has a bright future—though he never says at what.

And then, in an instant Arman can’t believe or totally recall, Beau is gone. Suicide? Or murder? Arman was the only witness and now the compound is getting tense. And maybe dangerous.

As the mysteries and paradoxes multiply and the hints become accusations, Arman must rely on the person he’s always trusted the least: himself.


REVIEW

I received an ARC of this book from Penguin First Reads in exchange for an honest review.

 

Basic premise: 17-year-old Arman has a crappy home life and is convinced that he screws everything up. He gets invited to go to this “retreat” by the groups leader, a charismatic father figure named Beau. Arman is led to believe he’s special, but then Beau is gone and Arman has holes in his memory. He’s been injured and doesn’t know how. He’s convinced Beau is dead, but the body is gone. Was it suicide? Did Arman kill him?

First things first, I wanted to read this book because I was convinced this “retreat” is really a cult. (It basically is.) I was intrigued. This is a step outside my normal reading box. And I enjoyed the journey. But this book did not leave me feeling satisfied. It left me wondering what I was supposed to take away. There was a conclusion in the end, we find out what really happened, but… I can’t figure out what the purpose of Arman’s journey was. There was a bunch of philosophical thoughts and ideas, and they just went over my head, I can’t imagine the average teenager taking away what the author meant, if she meant for them to take anything away.

There were also sections of text (un-numbered chapters if you will) in all italics, and I don’t know what it was. I think it was Beau talking to… someone? Maybe Arman? But maybe not? I didn’t get the purpose of it. I need someone to explain it to me!

In the end, this was a very strange book. It was mostly enjoyable, especially when I started to question EVERYTHING, including Arman’s sanity. I can’t give it more than 2 stars though because while the writing was very good, I didn’t really connect with any of the characters, and as I mentioned above, I just can’t figure out what I was supposed to take away from this book.

I’ve read other reviews of this book mention this being the authors strangest book yet, so I would consider checking out one of her other books, because she does have a compelling writing style.


Get the The Smaller Evil here:

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QUOTES

Faith is an investment, you tell her, when you see she doesn’t understand. You bargain now for what you hope matters later.

“You know what my father used to tell me about fear?”
“What’s that?”
“‘You only fear what you believe will kill you, never what will.’”
Dale stared at him. Then: “Your dad sounds like a dick.”

“Because always taking the easy route means forgetting there could be others. Maybe better ones. You can’t know unless you try.”

“What’s the doctrine of double effect?”

“It’s a philosophical principle that states an immoral act can sometimes be considered moral if the greater good outweighs the smaller evil.”

“Which would you rather believe in: a bad truth or a good lie?”

REVIEW: Truthsong by Elisabeth Hamill

Truthsong by Elisabeth Hamill

Series: Songmaker #2

Read: 2015

Format: Uncorrected Draft

My Book Rating: 4 Stars

Genre: YA Fantasy

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

When Telyn’s song magic freed ancient spirits of the Wood, it also awakened a long-slumbering evil. Now she and her beloved Mithrais must battle a spreading shadow that ignites crippling fear, and deal with the unexpected consequences of magic’s return.

More danger arrives with a royal delegation to the forest realm, sweeping Telyn back into court intrigue and the sights of a murderous lord. Mithrais may be forced to choose between his service to the Wood or the obligations of his royal blood.

As Telyn’s bond with Mithrais grows, she is torn between her love for him and the freedom of a wandering bard’s life. But when dark magic plunges the Wood into chaos, she must balance the two halves of her heart—or the Fates may take Mithrais from her forever.


REVIEW


Truthsong
brings us back to the world of Telyn and Mithrais; music and magic.

Telyn is a bard, exiled from court. Mithrais is her lifemate, a ranger of an ancient order. Together they helped bring magic back to the world, awakening the tree spirits who were dormant and dying for so long. But with good comes evil. A dark presence has taken hold deep in the woods. Together the pair must work to discover what this evil is, and try to stop it.

While I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as Song Magick, it is absolutely worth reading. Especially for fans of high fantasy. There is magic, romance, court intrigue, assassination attempts, and dragons. Yep, dragons.

Telyn loves Mithrais, there’s no doubt. But she’s conflicted. She longs for the life of a traveling bard, but being tied to Mithrais would mean putting down roots. Meanwhile Mithrais has his own conundrum, he is a ranger by birth and choice, but now he must face the possibility of having to give that life up for reasons I won’t give away.

I think what I love the most about this book is the tree spirits. They really are a character in and of themselves. They’re so much fun to read about. The dark presence is really cool too, and I can’t wait to read what happens next in book 3.

Ultimately, this is a book for fans of fantasy. If you don’t like fantasy novels, you’ll hate this book. If you expect a lot of lovey dovey romance, you’ll probably not enjoy this book as much as you’d like. BUT, if you like fantasy novels with magic and mystery and good and evil, then you should give this book a try. (But read Song Magick first! You’ll probably be lost if you don’t.)

P.S. There’s a Goodreads giveaway going on for this book HERE!

 

NOTE: I work for the publisher and designed the cover of this book. This in no way affects my rating and review. All thoughts are mine and do not reflect those of the publisher.


Get the Truthsong here:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo | Print

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Catch up with book 1, Song Magick, here:

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QUOTES

Once trapped by an ancient spell, her magic and life force bought their freedom.

“All magic is dangerous.”

The dragon opened a maw full of deathly white teeth – and yawned.

“I’ve never been afraid of the dark. I am now. Something besides dragons woke here.”

He smiled at her with pride. “Be yourself, as always.”

He turned toward her and rose up on one elbow, pale eyes gleaming in the starlight.
“Another story of darkness defeated by love.”

His forehead touched hers, voice husky with emotion. “You led me out of the darkness. I am yours, body and soul.”

 

REVIEW: Outlaw Cowboy by Nicole Helm

Outlaw Cowboy by Nicole Helm

Series: Big Sky Cowboys #2

Read: July 10 – 26, 2016

Format: Print Book (Goodreads Win)

My Book Rating: 4 Stars

Genre: Contemporary Romance

 

I received a copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads. This in no way affects my review or rating.


Now, I’m not a big reader of contemporary romance. Especially adult contemporary romance. However, I ended up really enjoying Outlaw Cowboy.

Caleb and Delia are both a little rough around the edges. She comes from an abusive home and has spent the last ten years finding ways to get her four younger sisters the hell away from their abusive father. Meanwhile Caleb is haunted by something his mother said, just before she walked out on the family forever. Both spent their teens getting into trouble, and both are trying to find their way as adults.

Caleb wants his family ranch. His older sister, Mel, is married now and no longer a Shaw, so he wants Shaw in his name, to be his legacy. In order to prove to Mel that he can handle running Shaw and bring the finances out of the red, he agrees to a land rental deal with the contingency that he must NOT have any dealings with any unsavory characters. And that’s exactly what Delia is.

Delia meanwhile is running from the law, and trying to find a way to get her youngest sister away from their father. After taking shelter in Caleb’s old cabin on his property, things get hot.

Now, the first almost half of this book is each of these characters internal monologues repeating over and over again what they need to do: “I need to get my sister out” or “I need to prove to Mel that I can run Shaw” etc. Had this not been a buddy read with Katie @ Just Another Girl and Her Blog, I probably would have quit. I’m glad I didn’t though, because about halfway through, things pick up. The story starts to move. It almost feels like the author needed to add to her word count, so she just repeated the same internal dialogue over and over again for the first half. But after that first half, it’s so worth it!

I actually really did like both of the characters. They were tough on the outside, but gooey on the inside, though they didn’t even realize it at first. I loved the history they had together, there were sweet moments and not so savory ones as well. In the end, they just fit. All of the problems were resolved in realistic ways. Toward the end I thought there was no way the author could wrap this up, but… she did. And well.

I’m not sure I’d go back and read the first book, about Caleb’s older sister Mel, but I’d certainly read one about younger sister Summer, she was a breath of fresh air amidst all the angst in this book!

This book also contains the longest sex scene I’ve ever read. It wasn’t super smutty, but I think it was hot enough to make romance fans happy. It was also very humorous. Yep, sexy and humorous. That’s a win!

I think fans of contemporary romance will eat this one up.

 


Get the book here:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks

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QUOTES

“You can’t go in there alone.”
“Why not? I’m a man with a gun.”
“You’re the one who said she could be dangerous!”
“I repeat, I am a man with a gun.”

(Re: a banging noise coming from outside)
A shadow lingered, but without any kind of light he couldn’t make it what it was.
Tree? Raccoon? Bloodthirsty thief?
He rolled his eyes at himself. Because bloodthirsty thieves were known for knocking on doors.

“But if you had something that was yours, that made you who you are, that gave you a reason to get up in the morning, wouldn’t you do everything to keep it? Wouldn’t you fight to keep the thing that made you feel like you weren’t a complete waste of space?”

“I know you don’t think of yourself as much of a knight in shining armor, and you’re kind of a dip shit, but you did save my life…”

But last night Caleb had fussed over her and put her in one of his T-shirts, and had not copped one feel.
Asshole.

…Time and time again, life had given her Caleb in her darkest moments.
Now  she was going to make sure he was there in the lightest ones too.

 

REVIEW: Lexie Maxwell & One Spooky House by Heather Balog with Tara Balog

Look at me on a roll with another book review!
I actually have a number of reviews written up, waiting for me to find the time to post.
Additionally, I finished two more books last night, so those will soon be added to the queue.
Why are there only 24 hours in a day people!

In other news, I started training at my new job this evening. I’m leaving retail (woohoo!) and moving onto hospitality, working the front desk at a hotel. Just call me Lorelei Gilmore. (But with less power. And less coffee running through my veins.)

Without further ado, below is my review of a fun young readers novella that my 9 year old daughter really enjoyed reading with me.


Lexie Maxwell & One Spooky House by Heather Balog with Tara Balog

Series: The Lexie Maxwell Diaries #1

Read: July 11 – August 10, 2016

Format: Print Book (Goodreads Win)

My Book Rating: 4 Stars

Genre: Children’s Books (9-12 years)

 

I received a copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads.

 

I win a lot of books from Goodreads and some excite me more than others. This was one I was pretty excited about because my oldest daughter is the perfect age to read it. I ended up reading this book aloud to both of my daughters at bedtime and they were both engaged in the story (my 9 year old more than my 4 year old). When we finished reading each night I’d get some whines accompanied by “Just ONE more chapter?”

Lexie Maxwell is spending her last summer before starting middle school trying to write a story for a contest but she keeps getting interrupted. Her mother is always demanding her attention for one thing or another. Her older sister is so annoying. Her brothers are loud and obnoxious. And was that a ghost and and her best friends saw in the empty house across the street???

Part of this story is actually the story Lexie is writing for her contest. It’s a really cute detective story about a missing dog. I especially enjoyed reading these sections aloud because I got to use the over dramatic mystery voice over. The kids enjoyed this part too because it was a mystery surrounding a missing dog.

The rest of the story takes place in the real world with Lexie and her friends trying to solve the mystery of the ghost. The mystery is solved in the end, but it was a little anticlimactic. Still, there was closure.

The only negative I can really say is that there were enough editing errors for me to take notice. Nothing a good proof reading couldn’t fix. Despite that, I would still recommend this book. In fact, as soon as we finished reading tonight, my older daughter snatched the book from my hand and said, “I want to read it again!” followed by, “I want to read ALL the books in this series!” So, you’ve got a new fan Heather and Tara Balog!

 


Buy the book:

Free on Kindle Unlimited or only 99 cents!

Amazon

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You can also snag book two, Lexie Maxwell & Two New Kids now as well!

Amazon

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REVIEW: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Series: The Raven Cycle #1

Read: May 14 – 25, 2016

Format: Hardcover

My Book Rating: 3 Stars

Genre: Paranormal / Fantasy Teen

 

I heard a lot of good things about this series so I had really high hopes when I began reading. I read Stiefvater’s book Shiver in the past and enjoyed it, though I didn’t love it. That ended up being the case with Raven Boys.

Basic premise: Daughter of a psychic (Blue) is told all her life that if she kisses her true love, he’ll die. So she doesn’t date or kiss boys. Ever. Meanwhile, a group of boys over at the prestigious Aglionby Prep school (aka raven boys) are on the hunt for some magical “ley line” which is supposedly going to lead the leader of the boys (Gansey) to some dead guy who will give him something he really wants. I didn’t really understand all the ley line talk.

Alright, so that’s that. The book starts out in Blue’s POV and I really liked her. She had a unique POV being the daughter of a psychic and living in a house full of other psychics as well. Meanwhile, she’s not even remotely psychic. All was going great, I was loving the book! Then….

We switch to Gansey’s POV and we’re inundated with talk of these ley lines. I was so confused. I was bored. I didn’t care. I just wanted to go back to Blue’s POV!

Finally after about ten chapters Blue and Gansey finally meet and the story REALLY starts. I did end up liking all of the boys by the end, there was a mystery surrounding one of the boys that was really eye opening once revealed. Had I not been bored so much in the beginning I’d be tempted to go back and re-read it just to look closer for the clues.

Finally the book ended. And it was…. Okay. I didn’t hate the ending, but at the same time I wasn’t left with a burning desire to read the next book. Chances are I will read the next book, but I’m not going to go out of my way to get my hands on it any time soon.

In all, this book was meh. There were good and interesting characters, but it took too long to get to know some of them so I didn’t really care what was happening to them, and what was happening to them was interesting, but… again, I just didn’t care.

I’m curious to see what other people thought of this book. I do think Ms. Stiefvater is very talented and has a lot of great ideas, I just haven’t found a book from her yet that really resonates with me and leaves me wanting more.


Quote worthy:

When it finally happened, when she finally saw him, it didn’t feel like magic at all. It felt like looking into the grave and seeing it look back at her.

 

Blue had two rules: Stay away from boys, because they’re trouble, and stay away from raven boys, because they were bastards.


He said, “I’ve always liked the name Jane.”

Blue’s eyes widened. “Ja—what? Oh! No, no. You can’t just go around naming people other things because you don’t like their real name.”

“I like Blue just fine,” Gansey said. “…However, I also like Jane.

“I’m not answering to that.”

 

“Aquamarine is a wonderful color, and I won’t be made to feel bad for wearing it,” Gansey said.

 

“Blue. My name’s Blue Sargent.”

“Blair?”

“Blue.”

“Blaise?”

Blue signed. “Jane.”

“Oh, Jane! I thought you were saying Blue for some reason.”


GET THE BOOK

(At the time of this review, the ebook edition of this book is only $1.99)

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REVIEW: Walk The Edge by Katie McGarry

So, last Thursday I got to meet my all time favorite author, Richelle Mead. It was amazing. I actually recorded all 20 minutes of her speaking and Q&A which I keep forgetting to upload to YouTube, but when I finally remember, I will share it with you all. Until then, check out this fabulous Instagram post I made that night.

 

 


 

Walk The Edge by Katie McGarry

Series: Thunder Road #2

Read: May 1 – 7, 2016

Format: ARC Print Book

My Book Rating: 5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary YA Romance

 

I don’t read a lot of contemporary romance, even in YA books. (Though, I feel like I have been reading more lately…) And I really have no interest in motorcycle clubs, I tried watching Sons of Anarchy but it didn’t hold my interest. So imagine my surprise when I sat down to start reading Katie McGarry’s Walk The Edge with the intent of “just one chapter” and ended up reading the first six instead. And I would have kept going, had it not been so late at night. This book is a page turner.

Despite being a book about a guy in a motorcycle club, something I don’t really ‘get’, I loved this book. The characters, Thomas aka “Razor” and Breanna, are both so real. They’re flawed and relatable and I was rooting for them the entire time.

 

“There are lies in life we accept. Whether it’s for the sake of ignorance, bliss, or, in my case, survival, we all make our choices.”

Razor is “the boy everyone sees but nobody knows.”

Born to ride with the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, Razor is one of the newest members, but the club is keeping secrets from him. They say once he’s proved he trusts the club, the club will then trust him in turn with its secrets. This doesn’t sit well for Razor. His mother drove off a bridge years earlier and everyone in town says she killed herself to get away from Razor’s father and his club. Razor wants the truth, and he’s afraid the Terror played a role in his mothers death.

 

“I’m overjoyed by their faith in me, but on the inside I’m a rose wilting fast forward on the vine.”

Breanna is “the girl who everybody knows, but nobody sees.”

She refers to herself as “5 of 9” because she is the 5th child in a family of 9 kids. Her older siblings do their thing, her younger siblings do theirs. Then there’s Breanna, alone in the middle. She’s the responsible one, often left to parent her younger siblings. She’s never fit in due to her uncanny ability to remember and regurgitate random facts. Once a puzzle is in her head, she can’t move on until she’s solved it. She’s a freak and has been treated as one by everyone her entire life, including her siblings. She just wants to be accepted.

Razor finds Breanna’s brain remarkable, but she’s too good to be with a guy like him.

Though he starts as just her bodyguard, Breanna quickly realizes there’s more to Razor than meets the eye, and she’s falling for the boy her parents would never allow her to be with.

When these two unlikely people come together, will they find what they need in one another?

 

“Yeah, I know. I’m supposed to be this twenty-first century woman and obsessed with a man desiring me for my massive intellect. I am woman, hear me roar, and all that stuff, but once, it would have been pretty freaking awesome to be the girl in the pretty dress let alone with the gorgeous bad boy who wants to kiss me.”

 

 “She should be worried,” he breathes into my ear.

“Why?”

“Because you’re alone with me.”

 

If you’re in the mood for a realistic romance between total opposites who compliment each other perfectly, this is the book. If you’re looking for a romance that also has a bit of a mystery to uncover, again, this is it. If you’re looking for a book with characters who grow and change as the story progresses, look no further.

This is the second in a series, and I have not read the first. Everything was set up so the book can be read as a stand alone. I plan to get my hands on the first book eventually, as well as the third book when it releases sometime in 2017.

So far, this is one of my top picks for 2016. Go grab a copy!

 

* I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Goodreads First Reads.

 

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REVIEW: Tiger Lily by Wende Dikec

Tiger Lily by Wende Dikec

Read: March 8 – April 17, 2016

Format: Print Book (Goodreads First To Read WIN)

My Book Rating: 3.5 Stars

Genre: YA – paranormal

 

I won a signed copy of this book from the Goodreads First Reads program.

 

First, I have to get this out of the way. When I saw this book on the list of giveaways, I had no clue its as a YA. For whatever reason, this cover doesn’t look YA for me. The cover is very dark and serious IMO, and the book is more light and comedic, though it does address some serious subjects. That said, I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that it WAS in fact teen fiction, because that’s primarily what I read.

The basic premise of this story is a teen girl named Lily crashes her car and dies for a few minutes. Upon being resuscitated, she realizes she’s now plagued by their weird blobby things. They follow her everywhere and are super distracting. Soon after, with the help of Zoe, a psychic medium goth from her school, she realizes they’re ghosts that have come back with her from the Other Side. There’s another presence, that of a really hot teen boy named Nick. She’s sure he’s a ghost, but he claims he’s not dead. He doesn’t look like the other ghost blobs, so what is he? Things are just starting to get weird for her.

Lily was a tough character for me to warm up to. She’s very prissy and OCD. She hordes hand sanitizer like it’s going out of style and likes things prim and proper. The story starts out with her being stupid and crashing her car because she’s staring at the polish on her fingernails instead of watching the road. (It was a really terrible color on her, or so she claims.)

I did eventually warm up to Lily, by about 30% in I was kind of liking her. By the end I did really like her. So, that was kind of cool, going from not really caring about her to actually feeling strong emotions over what she’s going through.

Actually, I think the author did a really good job with all of the characters. At first they appear one way, but then as you get to know them, you realize that there are layers beneath them that make them the way they are. Lily is OCD and perfect because her baby sister died at 3 months old and her parents have never been able to move on, even after 9 years. Afraid to step on any toes, she overcompensates by trying to be perfect. Then there’s Zoe, the goth girl from school who can see the ghosts. Lily always thought she was a super weird freak, but she soon realizes that Zoe is not only super nice, but also sort of insecure. Her parents don’t really seem to care, so perhaps she dresses in the goth style in order to get attention.

Rating this book was really hard. It started off with me not being so keen on the book, we were thrown instantly into the action and I almost felt like I was missing something. Then as it went on, I warmed up to the characters and the plot. But then it would drag for a while and I didn’t feel that “I NEED TO READ” feeling after putting the book down until the very end. I did read the last 45% of the book (some 80 pages) over the course of about 2 hours just because A. I wanted to be done reading this book, and B. There was suddenly a lot of action and I HAD to know what would happen next. If there had been more of that during the beginning/middle of the book, this would have been a 4-5 star read.

In the end, I was left with warm and tingly feelings, so when forced to choose a solid star rating, I will round up to a 4.

(I really liked Nick. I want to read more books with guys like Nick.)

REVIEW: Kernel of Truth by Kristi Abbott

No Tidy Up Tuesday today. I’ve been slacking. I have done little things here and there, like putting books on a shelf that were piled in front of it, but nothing worth blogging about. Hopefully soon I’ll find the motivation to dive into a bigger tidying project and really work to get this done!

I have been getting editing done on my teen vampire/witch novel (tentatively titled Blood & Magic) and hope to be done with the third draft soon. This is a story that began in my head back in 2008, was first drafted during NaNoWriMo in 2013, and has been somewhat neglected ever since. 🙁 This project is my baby though, and I intend to give it my all before I release her to the world.

I did finish a fabulous book last night though. This is one of the ARC’s I won from Goodreads First To Read and I’m absolutely stoked to share it with you all. So, read on!


I’m not crazy about the cover, but it’s appropriate.

Kernel of Truth by Kristi Abbott
Series: Popcorn Shop Mystery #1
Read: March 3-7, 2016
Format: Print Book ARC (Goodreads First To Read)
My Book Rating: 4.5 Stars
Genre: Cozy Mystery

I received an ARC of this book from Goodreads First To Read and Penguin Random House, Berkley Prime Crime.

I loved this book from page one.

“The caramel sauce was almost three hundred and fifty degrees when the screaming started.

I wasn’t proud that my first instinct was to ignore it. The screaming that is, not the sauce.” (Page 1)

I don’t think I’ve ever actually read a cozy mystery before, but if they’re all like this book, sign me up!

Rebecca Anderson is home again. After her rebellious teen years after her parents death, she ran away to California to attend a culinary arts school. There she met the infamous Antoine, fell in love, and got married. Eleven years later she’s divorced and, with the help of her beloved mentor Coco, has started her own gourmet popcorn shop, called POPS, on main street in her small town. Things are looking up for Rebecca, until Coco is found dead in her shop, Cocoa’s Coco, next door to POPS. Rebecca and Coco had plans to start a joint business venture together.


The cast of characters in this book is great. There’s Rebecca of course, who always seems to find her way into trouble. Dan, Rebecca’s best friend since forever and the town sheriff, who also happens to be married to Rebecca’s sister Haley. There’s Jessica, Coco’s niece, who has hated Rebecca since forever. We can’t forget Allen, the skeevy mayor who has his sights set on owning Coco’s storefront property. There’s Annie, another store owner on main street and close friend of Rebecca’s. Plus Jasper and Tom, a couple of panhandlers. Garrett is new to town, he’s Dan’s college friend and a lawyer. And Sprocket, Rebecca’s dog, who is practically human in his mannerisms.

Page 262

Page 262

I love character driven stories, and this was absolutely a character driven story. Every character was brought to life and had flaws and quirks that made them real. I want to live in this small town! I figured out who did it early on, though there were some red herrings thrown in. Even though I knew who did it and was waiting for the big reveal, I enjoyed every second of this story.

My only complaint is that at times the writing was overly simplistic, and I feel there should have been more commas used, but once I got over that and into the story I had a really hard time putting it down. Just one more chapter would turn into three more chapters. Before I knew it, my midnight bedtime had turned into 2 am.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! Will I read the next book in the series? Most likely!