August 25, 2015

When the Professor Got Stuck in the Snow by Dan Rhodes

T I T L E: When the Professor Got Stuck in the Snow
A U T H O R: Dan Rhodes
P U B L I S H E R: Gallic Books/Aardvark
P U B L I S H--D A T E: October 1, 2015
I S B N: 9781910709016
Literary Fiction (Adult)

Everybody at the Women’s Institute in the village of Upper Bottom is eagerly awaiting the arrival of a very special guest speaker: the world famous evolutionary biologist Professor Richard Dawkins. But with a blizzard setting in, their visitor finds himself trapped in the nearby town of Market Horten, with no choice but to take lodgings with the local Anglican vicar.
Will the professor be able to abide by his motto – cordiality always – while surrounded by Christians? Will he ever reach Upper Bottom? And can his assistant, Smee, save the day?




     I do love irony and this book contains its own bit of its own as well as a fair amount of quirky humor.
     Professor Richard Dawkins is both delusional as well as pompous. The irony comes into play when he talks about Christians being zealots in regards to their religion when, in fact, he is just as zealous in attempting to convert everyone to Humanism. He is such an extreme character that you can't help but laugh about some of the remarks he makes or the situations he gets himself into. Luckily, he has Smee to help him out, even though the Professor seems clueless what a boon his assistant truly is.
     I found all of the characters very likable and the book itself was lots of fun. It's well written, fairly face paced and an easy yet entertaining read. If you enjoy ironic humor and quirky characters, then I definitely recommend you pick this one up.


4 STAR


A M A Z O N          G O O D R E A D S

August 20, 2015

Darken The Stars by Amy A. Bartol

__________R E V I E W__________

★★★★

     This is the third and final book in the Kricket series. I’m a little sad to see her go. I fell in love with a new character this book, a new side of the story. From start to finish, the flow was good; a slow gradual build to the end to a wrap up the series. There was a bit of everything in this one: friendship, romance, love, intimate moments, adventure, growth, betrayal, and stuff that goes boom. It was everything I expected from the series and more. The ending fit; now, looking back, I should have seen it coming. (Though, I personally wanted it to end differently.)
     As a young adult series, it kept me reading. It is the only one this year; I’ve started many, but only Kricket and her world kept me interested. Anyone who knows me knows that is a ton of credit to the books. Not just the story, but the writing, and the storytelling. It’s all great.  
     To be honest, I’m not ready for it to end. I want more. I'm going to miss these characters, and this world.


__________B O O K__D E T A I L S__________

T I T L E: Darken The Stars
S E R I E S: Kricket Series (Nº 3)
A U T H O R: Amy A. Bartol
P U B L I S H E R: Amazon Publishing/ 47 North
P U B L I S H--D A T E: September 8, 2015
I S B N: 9781503947429
Romance, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Kyon Ensin finally has what he’s always wanted: possession of Kricket Hollowell, the priestess who foresees the future. Together, their combined power will be unrivaled. Kricket, however, doesn’t crave the crown of Ethar—she has an unbreakable desire to live life on her own terms, a life that she desperately wants to share with her love, Trey Allairis.
As conspiracies rage in the war for Ethar, Kricket’s so-called allies want to use her as a spy. Even those held closest cannot be trusted—including Astrid, her sister, and Giffen, a member of a mysterious order with a hidden agenda. But Kricket’s resolve will not allow her to be used as anyone’s pawn, even as the Brotherhood sharpens its plans to cut out her heart.
As the destiny prophesied by her mother approaches, Kricket will backtrack through her fiery future to reshape it. For she knows one thing above all else: the only person she can truly count on is herself.

AMAZON *  BARNES & NOBLE * GOODREADS



*I received an advanced copy of this via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review*

August 19, 2015

Mother of Demons by Maynard Sims

T I T L E: Mother of Demons
S E R I E S: Department 18
A U T H O R: Maynard Sims
P U B L I S H E R: Samhain Publishing
P U B L I S H--D A T E: August 5, 2015
I S B N: 9781619229822
Supernatural Thriller
The hunt is on!
Alice Logan has gone missing, and Harry Bailey and Department 18 have been called to help find her. The main suspect is Anton Markos, a satanic cult leader who has a predilection for young women like Alice. Members of Markos’ cult start turning up dead—shredded by what seems to be a wild animal. Is there a madman within the cult? Or is it something far more horrible?
Can Department 18 discover the impossible truth and end the spree of murder, insanity and carnage? Or will they become the prey?



     This was a fast-paced supernatural crime thriller. Even though the title suggests demons, the culprits were not your average Satanist cult members. For that reason, it was much different than your run of the mill good versus evil story. I liked that. In fact, I liked that very much.
     I haven't read any of the other Department 18 novels and wasn't aware that this was actually the fifth book in a series. That didn't really matter because it was very easy to follow along without being lost.
     I really liked the majority of the characters. They had depth and were developed well. The story was well written and intriguing. It held my interest from beginning to end. I finished it in two nights. I was surprised to find that this was written by two people instead of one. The writing was seamless and so well executed that it was impossible to tell that there was more than one imagination involved.      After reading this great book, I will definitely be reading more Department 18 novels.

4 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S

August 16, 2015

The Veil by Chloe Neill

H O P E ' S    R E V I E W:
★★★

     This was my first Chloe Neill book. I’ve heard loads about this author, but I’ve never managed to catch her at the beginning of a series. I love paranormal. While it’s not my go-to genre, when I come across a good paranormal book (series or not) it makes me happy.
     I’m glad I decided to give Chloe a chance. While there was nothing in this book that wowed me, or stood out from others alike, I did enjoy it. The characters are strong, and there wasn’t really one that I didn’t like or felt needed any more development than they were given (since it’s a series and all). The story is told in Claire’s POV, but none of the others are left out; you get a clear understanding of all the characters. It’s a very well executed first person. And thank Liam, because as I’ve stated many times before, first person is not my favorite.
     It was easy to read and everything was very understandable. I thought the pace was a bit slow, but it is the first book, and there is character development, and build, and past lead. Now that I think about it, I guess it wasn’t too slow.
     I can only give it three stars, because I didn’t love it, however, I will keep up with this series. I am officially a “Devil’s Isle” reader.

A N G I E ' S   R E V I E W:
★★★★

     I have been a Chloe Neill fan since reading the first book of her Chicagoland Vampire Series. Even though I haven't read any of her other works, I was excited when I learned that she was coming out with a new series and I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one. I was not disappointed. I loved it.
     The world that she built was vastly different from that of her Chicagoland series. Sometimes authors have a difficult time pulling that off when they start new works. Not so with Ms. Neill. The characters were developed well and very likable, especially Liam and Claire. I was so happy to see that Claire was not a wimpy female at all and not an idiot. That is another reason I like to read her books. Her female leads are always kick ass.
     I found this to be a great read with some action and a little touch of suspense, although it did start out just a bit slow in the beginning. It did, however, pick up later on. I am interested in seeing what plays out in the next book of this series.
     I am giving this one four stars.



__________B O O K__D E T A I L S__________

T I T L E: The Veil
S E R I E S: Devil’s Isle (Nº 1)
A U T H O R: Chloe Neill
P U B L I S H E R: Penguin / NAL
P U B L I S H--D A T E: August 4, 2015
I S B N: 9780451473349
Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Seven years ago, the Veil that separates humanity from what lies beyond was torn apart, and New Orleans was engulfed in a supernatural war. Now, those with paranormal powers have been confined in a walled community that humans call the District. Those who live there call it Devil's Isle.
Claire Connolly is a good girl with a dangerous secret: she’s a Sensitive, a human endowed with magic that seeped through the Veil. Claire knows that revealing her skills would mean being confined to Devil’s Isle. Unfortunately, hiding her power has left her untrained and unfocused.
Liam Quinn knows from experience that magic makes monsters of the weak, and he has no time for a Sensitive with no control of her own strength. But when he sees Claire using her powers to save a human under attack—in full view of the French Quarter—Liam decides to bring her to Devil’s Isle and the teacher she needs, even though getting her out of his way isn’t the same as keeping her out of his head.
But when the Veil threatens to shatter completely, Claire and Liam must work together to stop it, or else New Orleans will burn…


August 13, 2015

Dear Alysha - Nø. 3





     KNOCK-[BEEPING]-KNOCK.
     Are you there? Are you alive?
     Oh my god, did an alien land in your backyard, and because it wouldn’t play fetch with Dagwood, the little wiener barked to the point that the extraterrestrial being became overwhelmed with rage, and ate you since hot dogs aren’t a suitable energy substance? 

*GASP* (Hmmm . . . I feel I can do better than that. (Makes mental note to step it up next time.)
   
     So seriously, I [BEEPING] miss you. I was just thinking the other day about how much time we used to spend badmouthing horribly written books with lackluster stories, and the authors who wrote them. Of course, this was all very private, very catty, but loads of fun.
     I miss Bec going on her tirades about the erotic bullshit she feeds her brain. I miss when she verbally uses the craptastic phrasing from said novels, and we bust her female balls (very big ones, mind you) about it.
     How many hours did we waste on such fun? Probably more than we want to really think about; on second thought - don’t.
    The reviewing thing is going well. I mean, I don’t read as often as I’d like. Thankfully, Angie reads 3 times more than I do, so she holds the blog up for me while I mosey my way through books. Anyway, the process of adding the reviews on the blog has become mechanical for me; she starts the draft with all the information, and then I go in, add code and bada bing - posted. However, since I started this adventure of reading, reviewing, and then posting, I’ve noticed that more and more authors post these long, long bio’s about their life (author website excluded). These histories of how they became writers (that is sometimes cool, but they often drag it out), dogs, cats, kids, husbands, ex-husbands, education, where they live, blah, blah, blah. I feel like the only thing most of these bios are missing is: I like chocolate milk, or I do bad things behind closed doors, or death to Cersei Lannister.

Scratch that. I feel like I’m going to come across bios that do have those things. Except the Cersei Lannister thing, I am going to totally add that to my bio on here. 
   
     Yet the more author bios I read, the more I ask myself: What the fuck are they selling, themselves, or the stories they write? I mean, I’m totally guilty of judging a book by its cover, literally, but I’ve never, ever looked up a author’s information to help me decide if I want to read their book or not. Is it wrong that I don’t care what college they attended? I mean, going to Harvard doesn’t make them a great fiction writer; it doesn’t tell me if I’m going to like their newly released and much talked about novel. It makes them educated in whatever field they’ve graduated in. Is it in anyway bad to feel like authors are more interested in giving us their life history than giving us a decent blurb? I mean, that is what sells me on a book. I would think that is what sells most people. Shouldn’t the blurb (and cover, BUT that is an overdone topic) really be the most important?
     Am I expected as a reviewer to copy and paste the 32,146,541 word “about self” on my blog when I am reviewing their books? Would you expect that if I reviewed one of your books? Is it wrong that I shorten them and remove what I deem unimportant? I just need a different perspective. Sometimes I want to do away with the whole “About the author” section on the post. So, I’ve turned to you, my dear friend. Help a sister out.
     Oh, one more question. Would it be wrong of me to start editing the bios for grammar and punctuation errors?

Let’s not take forever to reply (laughing out loud),
X O X O X O



 

A L Y S H A ' S   R E P L Y

"While I fade in and out of lucidity on my couch I'm re-watching American Horror Story Coven and boy does it make me think of you. All those conversations we had over stories, our own and others, fact and fiction. I miss your fucking face. I miss our chats. We shall get them back. It also makes me think of my own work but that's a conversation for another day. . . ." R E A D   M O R E

Murder in The Merchant's Hall by Kathy Lynn Emerson

T I T L E: Murder in The Merchant's Hall
S E R I E S: A Mistress Jaffrey Mystery (Nº 2)
A U T H O R: Kathy Lynn Emerson
P U B L I S H E R: Severn House Publishers
P U B L I S H--D A T E: December 1, 2015
I S B N: 9780727885388
Historical Mystery
When Lina Walkenden is found clutching a bloody knife over the dead body of her brother-in-law and guardian, there’s only one person she can turn to for help: her childhood friend Rosamond Jaffrey. Rosamond vows to do all she can to prove Lina’s innocence, but when it transpires Lina was being forced into a marriage against her will and was instead besotted by her fiance’s charming yet unscrupulous nephew, her motives for murder seem overwhelming.
In desperation, Rosamond seeks out the help of the Queen’s spymaster himself, Sir Francis Walsingham – but when she overhears a conversation at the French Embassy, it seems Lina’s plight is irrelevant in the face of potential treason. Rosamond must do all she can to save her friend – and keep herself and her family safe from a desperate killer.



     I found this to be an enjoyable read. A great mystery that keeps you guessing.
     I have no complaints about the execution of this plot. It had me guessing who the murderer was right up to the end. The story was well written and the characters fully developed.
Rosamund was a great heroine. I do like heroines that are independent but sometimes she could be a bit too sassy and I wish that she would have let Rob help her a bit more than she did. Sometimes she seemed a bit insensitive to him, but despite those issues I did really like her a lot.
     Rob was also very likable. He was protective as well as manly without being too alpha male which was something I would have liked to have seen Rosamund appreciate a bit more.
     I do have to admit that though I did like most characters very much, there were two I didn't like much at all. First was Lina. She cried too much and was too self-centered for me to feel bad for her. Second, was Jennet Jaffrey, Rob's mother. I think by now she should have gotten over her anger with Rosamund.
     If you like mysteries set in the Tudor era, I recommend you read this one. It was a quick fun read.

4 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S

August 11, 2015

Archmage by R. A. Salvatore

T I T L E: Archmage
S E R I E S: Homecoming (Nº 1)
A U T H O R: R. A. Salvatore
P U B L I S H E R: Wizards of the Coast
P U B L I S H--D A T E: September 1, 2015
I S B N: 9780786965755
Fantasy
The pall that had descended over the North is gone, and a new day has dawned on a victorious Mithral Hall, but no matter how bright things seem on the surface, Drizzt and his companions know that what lurks just under their feet remains steeped in evil and charged with unimaginable power.
The dark elves of Menzoberranzan, including the powerful Archmage Gromph, aren't done with Drizzt yet. And consumed by their own power struggles, feeling backed into a corner, the drow may just be desperate enough to call on demonic forces from the deepest reaches of the Abyss, and unleash a disaster even the Underdark could never have prepared for.


     I have been a Drizzt fan from the very beginning, which is a fair amount of time. In many instances when a series is written for as long as this one has been, it can sometimes get stagnant. But, I am here to say that does not happen with this story. R.A. Salvatore is a master at keeping the journey for the Companions of the Hall ever moving and interesting. I am never disappointed when I read one of these books.
     It goes without saying that by now the characters are well developed but that doesn't mean they are predictable by any means. And you can always count on the action keeping you on the edge of your seat and the plot moves everything along at a good pace. There are also a few unexpected events thrown in, or at least I didn't see them coming at any rate, which made it all that much more fun to read.
     This is another great installment in a fantastic long running series. I am confident that the next one will be just as great. If you are a Drizzt fan or a fan of the Companions of the Hall, then you will definitely want to read this one.

5 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S


August 10, 2015

Out Comes the Evil by Stella Cameron

T I T L E: Out Comes the Evil
S E R I E S: Costwold Murder Mysteries (Nº 2)
A U T H O R: Stella Cameron
P U B L I S H E R: Severn; Crème de la Crime
P U B L I S H--D A T E: December 1, 2015
I S B N: 9781780290782
Mysery, Thriller
An intriguing mystery. It starts out with a brutal killing, but not your average Colonel Mustard did it in the library with a candlestick type murder. However, it did show that the murderer definitely had a lot of pent up rage and was a bit on the insane side.
I really liked the village of Folly-on-Weir and some of the inhabitants. My favorites among the secondary characters were the Burke sisters Mary and Harriet. Though the main characters, Alex, and Tony were for the most part well developed, I felt Alex still had a lot of growing to do. She was a bit too stubborn for my liking and got herself into situations that were made her seem a bit thick. It is one thing to be independent, but she frequently seemed just plain obstinant, which is a character trait that I don't like in a heroine. That became annoying at times. Tony was very likable and I thought he was very patient with Alex when she did some rather unwise things.
Having said that the plot was a really good one and the writing was very well done. It was an enjoyable read and I will read more Cotswold Mysteries in the future.


     An intriguing mystery. It starts out with a brutal killing, but not your average Colonel Mustard did it in the library with a candlestick type murder. However, it did show that the murderer definitely had a lot of pent up rage and was a bit on the insane side.
     I really liked the village of Folly-on-Weir and some of the inhabitants. My favorites among the secondary characters were the Burke sisters Mary and Harriet. Though the main characters, Alex, and Tony were for the most part well developed, I felt Alex still had a lot of growing to do. She was a bit too stubborn for my liking and got herself into situations that were made her seem a bit thick. It is one thing to be independent, but she frequently seemed just plain obstinant, which is a character trait that I don't like in a heroine. That became annoying at times. Tony was very likable and I thought he was very patient with Alex when she did some rather unwise things.
     Having said that the plot was a really good one and the writing was very well done. It was an enjoyable read and I will read more Cotswold Mysteries in the future.

4 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S


August 6, 2015

The Obituary Society by Jessica L. Randall

__________R E V I E W__________

★★★

     Honestly, I had my doubts when I began reading this book. It's just not something I would normally read, and I do judge books by their cover, and this one screamed "not you, move along," but I accidentally hit download, and then it took me to the Amazon page, and by that point I saw it was free and figured what the hell . . . who in their right mind turns down free books. Seriously?
     I'm glad I downloaded it, and I'm glad I read it. Other than the confusion surrounding the family tree, this little story was a joy to read. I very much want to be apart of an Obituary Society myself now. Screw bingo.
     It's a quick, and easy read. The type you can read in a day or two. Since it's not a complicated mystery it's really easy to keep up with, though there were a few places that caught me by surprise.



__________B O O K__D E T A I L S__________

T I T L E: The Obituary Society
S E R I E S: An Obituary Society Novel (Nº 1)
A U T H O R: Jessica L. Randall
P U B L I S H--D A T E: July 28, 2014
A S I N: B00M8JIVW0
Mystery, Women’s Fiction
When Lila Moore inherits her grandfather's house, she finds herself in a small Midwestern town where margarine is never an acceptable substitution for butter, a coveted family recipe can serve as currency, and the friend who will take your darkest secrets to the grave will still never give you the secret to her prize-winning begonias.
Lila is charmed by the people of Auburn, from the blue-eyed lawyer with the southern drawl to the little old lady who unceasingly tries to set Lila up with her grandson. But when strange things begin to happen, Lila realizes some of her new friends are guarding a secret like it's a precious family heirloom. It's a dangerous secret, and it has come back to haunt them. Lila is caught in the middle, and her life may depend on uncovering it. But even if she can, can she stay in Auburn when not everyone is what they seem, and even the house wants her gone?

AMAZON * BARNES & NOBLE * GOODREADS

August 3, 2015

The Sleeping King by Cindy Dees/Bill Flippin

T I T L E: The Sleeping King
A U T H O R: Cindy Dees/ Bill Flippin
P U B L I S H E R: Macmillan - Tor/Forge Books
P U B L I S H--D A T E: September 8, 2015
I S B N: 9780765335142
High Fantasy

The Sleeping King is the first in an epic fantasy series, featuring the best of the genre: near immortal imperial overlords, a prophecy of a sleeping elven king who's said to be the savior of the races . . . and two young people who are set on a path to save the day.







     Wow, what an adventure. This book has everything you would expect in an epic fantasy story. Magic and mayhem, a quest to save the world taken up by reluctant heroes, really evil villains, elves, and orcs just to name but a few. I could go on and on.
     This book was a great read although, it did move just a bit slow from time to time. However, once it picks up it really gets going with great battle action and page-turning scenes. The authors do a great job with the world building and the characters are all well developed. This is definitely a series that I will be following and I am looking forward to the next book.
      This novel is based on the game Dragon Crest and even though I haven’t done any gaming in years, after reading this story I am very tempted to check it out.
      I enjoyed this adventure immensely and feel it is worthy of five stars. If you love high fantasy I highly recommend you pick this one up.

5 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S

August 1, 2015

The Demon's Librarian by Lilith Saintcrow

T I T L E: The Demon’s Librarian
A U T H O R: Lilith Saintcrow
P U B L I S H E R: BelleBooks/ImaJinn Books
P U B L I S H--D A T E: July 31, 2015
I S B N: 9781610260084
Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
It’s not just another day at the library...
When demons are preying on schoolchildren in her city, Francesca Barnes does what any red-blooded librarian would do—she does some research and goes hunting. But the books she finds in a secret cache don't tell her the whole story. Chess has no idea what she's just stepped into—or just how special she really is...
Orion (Ryan) is Drakul, part demon, and a loyal servant of the Order. He doesn't expect a motorcycle-riding librarian to be messing around with demonic forces, and he doesn't expect her to smell so damn good. But Ryan's got bigger problems. His partner has disappeared, and the forces of Darkness are rising. Now Chess is Ryan's only hope of finding his partner, and Ryan is Chess's only hope of survival, because the demons now know Chess exists—and that she is the heir to a long-lost power that could push back their dark tide.
If Ryan can keep her alive long enough, she just might be the key to destroying the demons completely. But Ryan doesn't know he's been betrayed by the very Order he serves. And if Chess does, by some miracle, survive, he won't ever be able to touch her again…



     Once again this is another great book by Lilith Saintcrow. This was a fun read. Let me start by pointing out the things I liked about this story.
     The concept was a great one. I mean really, a demon hunting librarian how badass is that? I could picture the library in my head and thought it would be a pretty cool place, especially with Chess' hidden library in the basement where her collection of books containing magic and demon hunting tips were hidden. There was also some fast paced action, so you can't go wrong there either.
     Now, let's talk about the characters a bit. Chess or Francesca is the librarian that hunts demons. While I liked her, I didn't love her and here's why. In my opinion, she contradicted herself a lot of the time. In the beginning, she made a magic knife that alerted her when demons were near and she used it to slay a demon on her own in the sewers of the city. Then a few scenes later she rushed out in her pajamas to defend Ryan whom she didn't know yet from a demon. I was thinking at that time that she was a heroine that was pretty tough and brave. However, she disappointed me from time to time in later scenes where demons were involved. She fainted, cried and just plain went into hysterics when she should have been showing the courage she had initially. It was also annoying when she seemed to take Ryan at his word then suddenly she didn't. I was also left with questions about why she was a "potential". I wanted to know where she inherited that from. Was it from her mother who perhaps didn't know that she herself was more than human or did she inherit from her father? I think I would have liked that explained a bit more. But, I was happy to see that she finally grew a pair and stood up to the head of the Order where Ryan was concerned. I just wish she would have reached her potential a bit sooner in the story.
     This brings me to Ryan. For the most part, I really liked him a lot. I thought he was a great male protagonist. Although, he seemed slightly contradictory as well. His protective instincts were kind of questionable at times. I wasn't sure how having thoughts of throwing Chess on her bed and taking what he wanted was protective. But, that is my only complaint regarding him. Thankfully, he only mentioned that once or twice and never voiced it out loud, so his other qualities made it easier to overlook that bit, especially since he never acted on it.
     All in all, I thought it was a fast fun read and I enjoyed it a lot. I would have liked to read more but unfortunately, this was a stand alone novel. It would make a good series and one that I would definitely read. I am giving this book four stars, though, because the contradictions in Chess annoyed enough that I can't really give it five.

4 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S