Sunday, May 31, 2015

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

by:  Sara Gruen
published by:  Spiegel & Grau
publish date:  March 31, 2015

After embarrassing themselves at the social event of the year in high society Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve of 1942, Maddie and Ellis Hyde are cut off financially by Ellis’s father, a former army Colonel who is already embarrassed by his son’s inability to serve in WWII due to his being colorblind. To Maddie’s horror, Ellis decides that the only way to regain his father’s favor is to succeed in a venture his father attempted and very publicly failed at: he will hunt the famous Loch Ness monster and when he finds it he will restore his father’s name and return to his father’s good graces (and pocketbook). Joined by their friend Hank, a wealthy socialite, the three make their way to Scotland in the midst of war. Each day the two men go off to hunt the monster, while another monster, Hitler, is devastating Europe. And Maddie, now alone in a foreign country, must begin to figure out who she is and what she wants. The novel tells of Maddie’s social awakening: to the harsh realities of life, to the beauties of nature, to a connection with forces larger than herself, to female friendship, and finally, to love. 

So I kept hearing this was like a Scottish Downton Abbey.  Um no.  These are American people that are visiting Scotland.  That's not Downton Abbey.  Anyway, this book reminded a lot of a Sarah Jio book so I think fans of her's would really like this book.

At the Water's Edge was about Maddie and her husband Ellis traveling to Scotland after a disgraceful incident in America.  I was a little unclear exactly what that incident was, but I guess there was some drunken behavior.  So, Ellis decides to go hunt the Loch Ness monster.  His father famously failed to find the monster and Ellis thinks that if he finds it he will gain his father's favor.  However, Ellis is spoiled, greedy and lying about his colorblindedness.  He spends all his time with his friend Hank and leaves Maddie alone in a foriegn country.  Maddie begins to realize her marriage isn't what she thinks it is.

I liked this book, but the characters were very unlikeable.  I'm pretty sure Ellis was in love with Hank and not his wife.  Hank and Ellis were so annoying.  I don't understand how Maddie ended up involved with them.  Like I said it reminded me a lot of a Sarah Jio style book.  The setting was great and all the supporting characters were interesting.  I would recommend this with the caution that the main characters are frustrating.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Books We Didn't Finish - May Edition

How to be a Good Wife:  This was one of those books that I thought was going to be a super awesome psychological thrillers.  It wasn't really.  It was about a housewife that spends most of her time either drugged up or coming off the drugs.  Her husband was making her take them, because apparently the key to being a good housewife is staying drugged up.  I didn't like the unreliable narrator and her hallucinations.  It just got boring after awhile.
Cuts Through Bone:  I didn't get through much of this book before putting it down.  It had the feel of being a like a detective noir novel and I don't like that.  I felt like I had to read it in a Humprey Bogart voice or something.
Gideon:  Started with a family tree.  Kari and I had just discussed how that was always a bad sign regarding another book she was reading.  It didn't bode well for this book either.  If you need to put a family tree in the beginning of your book, it's too complicated.  Seriously, just don't make books this hard to read.  I shouldn't have to flip to the family tree in the front to figure out what's going on.
The Pocket Wife:  The main character was so hysterical and whiny.  I listened to this one on audiobook and maybe that tainted the characters for me, but I couldn't stand to listen to anymore of the character and her whiny voice and complaining about everything.  This was just not a book for me. (Kari didn't like this one either!)

The Country of Ice Cream Star:  Vernacular/Dialect.  I don't like when books are written in weird language that I have to spend time trying to decipher.  I understand the purpose, but I don't care to read books written like that.

Beauty:  I liked the idea of the book, but I don't understand finance and things like mergers.  I think the author had the concepts fairly dumbed down so normal people could understand it, but it was still pretty boring stuff.

Crash and Burn:  First off, I didn't care for the font that this book was printed in.  I looked for one of those pages where it says what it is and I couldn't find it, but it was something tall and narrow and dense.  This book already had a bunch of pages and the dense font made it even more...wordy.  That wouldn't be so terrible, but those words were profane.  I got really tired of it after 70 or so pages.
Geek Girl-Wow, I really thought I was going to like this book.  I went in expecting a light and fluffy YA book.  I felt like it was over the top immature.  I didn't care for the main character.  She seemed like she was supposed to be an older teenager, but she acted like a much younger child.  I didn't care for the disparity.

Tinseltown: I think this is definitely a case of why I don't read a lot of non-fiction.  I got bored with it and wanted to cut to the chase quickly.  I ended up learning more about it by using Google than the book.  I lost track of the players in the crime.  I could see what the author was trying to do with the book, but he too hard to make it a book noir.

Love and Other theories: I was hoping for a quirky and amusing YA, but I knew right away the girls were going to be mean girls who would annoy me.  I just wasn't willing to give up my reading time to finishing the book.

Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover:  It really makes me sad to not finish this one. I loved the first three books in the series.  I just found this one repetitive and boring. How many times do I need to be reminded that she has to marry for her daughter's reputation?  I thought her motives for marrying were dumb given the way she shirked convention most of her life. I did skip to the end to read the HEA and see how the previous characters turned out.

Where They Found her: I think I just wasn't in the mood for this one.  I'm not sure what I was thinking starting a book about a dead infant. I usually find these types of books depressing.  After reading the first chapter, I knew it wasn't  for me.  (Autumn didn't like this one either!!)

Red Queen: I had a hard time orienting myself to the world in this book.  The book had a big lack of world development in the beginning.  I felt like I had walked into the middle of a movie and couldn't catch up.

The Day Before: I really tried to get into this book.  But I couldn't. It's another case of poor initial world development.  I had no idea what was going on with the characters.  Once they started talking clones, my eyes glazed over and I gave up.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Blog Tour: Love and Miss Communication by Elyssa Friedland

Author: Elyssa Friedland
Publisher: William Morrow
Date of publication: May 2015

This unforgettable debut novel asks us to look up from our screens and out at the world . . . and to imagine what life would be like with no searches, no status updates, no texts, no Tweets, no pins, and no posts

Evie Rosen has had enough. She’s tired of the partners at her law firm e-mailing her at all hours of the night. The thought of another online date makes her break out in a cold sweat. She’s over the clever hashtags and the endless selfies. So when her career hits a surprising roadblock and her heart is crushed by Facebook, Evie decides it’s time to put down her smartphone for good. (Beats stowing it in her underwear—she’s done that too!)

And that’s when she discovers a fresh start for real conversations, fewer distractions, and living in the moment, even if the moments are heartbreakingly difficult. Babies are born; marriages teeter; friendships are tested. Evie may find love and a new direction when she least expects it, but she also learns that just because you unplug your phone doesn’t mean you can also unplug from life.

Love and Miss Communication was for the most part an enjoyable read.   I really wanted to love it because of the premise.  Who hasn't been tempted to walk away from the internet at times?  Having grown up with out it, I KNOW we all survived.  But could anyone really do it these days given how much business and society relies on it?  Definitely something to think about.

As I said I wanted to love the book, but there were a few things that bugged me about it.  First, Evie's character drove me crazy.  She is supposed to be 34 but for most of the book acted like she was in her early 20s.  Who doesn't know not to use their work e-mail for personal use?  Her reason for being fired from her law firm was just plain ridiculous and anyone over the past 15 years would know better.  I also found her friends a bit hypocritical.  They get on her for not being supportive about their issues, but they can't seem to remember her determination to give up the web.

I was happy to see some growth in Evie over the course of the year she stayed web free.  Although I think it was probably more being fired from her job and having people keep telling her what a great interior designer she is that made her realize what she truly wanted to do for a living.  It wouldn't be a chick-lit without a HEA and I have to admit I loved hers in the end.

About the author:

Elyssa Friedland attended Yale University, where she served as managing editor of the Yale Daily News. She is a graduate of Columbia Law School and subsequently worked as an associate at a major firm. Prior to law school, Elyssa wrote for several publications, including Modern BrideNew York magazine, Columbia Journalism Review, CBS, Yale Alumni Magazine, and Your Prom. She grew up in New Jersey and currently lives in New York City with her husband and three young children.

Find out more about Elyssa at her website, and connect with her onTwitter and Facebook.

Elyssa’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, May 12th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, May 13th: West Metro Mommy
Thursday, May 14th: BookNAround
Friday, May 15th: Book Babe
Monday, May 18th: Into the Hall of Books
Tuesday, May 19th: Many Hats
Wednesday, May 20th: Kritters Ramblings
Thursday, May 21st: 5 Minutes For Books
Monday, May 25th: Mel’s Shelves
Thursday, May 28th: Raven Haired Girl
Thursday, May 28th: 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews

Friday, May 29th: From the TBR Pile

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Meet Me at the Morgue by Ross Macdonald

Author: Ross Macdonald
First published in 1953 by Bantam

Meet Me at the Morgue is the story of a kidnapping that led to four murders. In his search for the killer, Howard Cross digs deep into the Los Angeles underworld, finding along the way a beautiful, lost adolescent mourning a dead lover, a suitcase hidden under an aging sadist's bed, and a slovenly gentleman with an ice pick in his neck. Ross Macdonald has never written a story quite like this, and neither has anyone else.

I spent some time recently on my library's Overdrive website looking for older novels for Throwback Thursday.  Meet Me at the Morgue was a random pick.  Written in the early 1950, it's an entertaining mystery.  It reminded me of a straight police mystery that you might see in black and white on screen.

I found I enjoyed listening to the book.  It was refreshing to read a mystery that was solved based on solid detective work and little technology.  In the 50s, there was nothing like CSI in existence.  Howard Cross is actually a parole officer who is convinced his parolee isn't involved in a kidnapping or murder.  I liked his character and it's a shame that this is a stand alone novel because I would probably seek out other stories with him in it.

I definitely would recommend this one if you like mysteries.  It wasn't easy to solve and had a good twist in the end.

Book Spotlight: Square Affair by Timmothy J. Holt

Author: Timmothy J. Holt
Publisher:Christine F Anderson Publishing and Media 
Date of publication: January 2015

In the small Midwestern town of Dewers, among the turmoil of the 1960s, the conversations of five men leads to sexual exploration, which takes them and the town on a journey through good and evil that will change the entire community and confirm the town’s resolve to survive.  

Arrested on charges of public indecency for anonymous sex in the courthouse restroom, five men reveal complex, unknown, and differing motivations for their actions. As they face not only criminal prosecution, but also the tribunal of Dewers, two questions are on their minds: Who am I, and is anyone out there like me?

Clara May and Frieda, guardians of Dewers gossip, narrate Square Affair, where the reader becomes a citizen of Dewers: walking the square, in a bar drinking, trick-or-treating, in a store buying a hat, or in a car gossiping. It is not erotic, but gives the reader an insight into the behavior’s erotic appeal.

Purchase links:
Barnes & Noble

About the author:

Timm spent his childhood in rural Illinois, his early adult life in Chicago, and has recently returned to Chicago after a long absence. He received a BA degree in sociology from Ill Wesleyan Univ., a MPA from Roosevelt Univ., and a MD from Loyola Stritch School of Medicine. He is a retired physician with a specialty in geriatrics. He has numerous articles published in medical and trade journals, as well as, a book for the Catholic Health Association on integrating long term care services. His poetry can be found in an array of literary journals. As a playwright, Obsession, Teddy's Nightmare, and Aurora Borealis have been produced at the Marigny Community Theater in New Orleans. When he is not writing, Timm likes to travel, hang out with his partner, his 2 children, his dog Miss Otis, and his cat Goldie.

Visit his blog:

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Blog Tour: Love is Red by Sophie Jaff

Author: Sophie Jaff
Publisher: Harper 
Date of publication: May 2015

This electrifying, addictive, and hypnotically beautiful debut spins suspense and literary fantasy into a stunning epic—the first volume in the Night Song Trilogy—ablaze with fear, mystery, and possibility.

Katherine Emerson was born to fulfill a dark prophecy centuries in the making, but she isn’t aware that this future awaits. However, there is one man who knows the truth: A killer stalking the women of New York, a monster the media dubs the “Sickle Man” because of the way he turns his victims into canvasses for his mesmerizing, twisted art.

Unleashed upon Manhattan after lying dormant for centuries, the Sickle Man kills to harvest the precious hues of his victims. As his palette grows, so too does his power. Every death brings him closer to the one color, and the one woman, he must possess at any cost.

While the city hunts the Sickle Man, Katherine must decide what to do about two men who have unexpectedly entered her life: handsome and personable David, and alluring yet aloof Sael. Though she’s becoming increasingly torn between them, how well does she really know them? And why is she suddenly plagued by disturbing visions?

Have you ever read a book and when you finished it you said to yourself, "What did I just read?"?  Yeah that was me at the end of this book.  I'm still not sure I can say whether or not I liked it.  It was just strange.  In Love is Red, there is a serial killer on the loose in NYC and he kills women and uses a sickle to carve symbols into their body.  The book goes back and forth between the killer's musings and Katherine telling her story.

I was actually enjoying the book for the most part. The killer seemed very deranged and it added to his mystique. I did figure out who the killer was pretty early one but that was OK.  So, I liked the first about 75% of the book.  The mystery was cool and I was looking forward to the resolution.  But then it got very strange.    It was like I  was reading a thriller then all of a sudden the characters seem to go into a fantasy world or on an LSD trip maybe. I'm not even sure I can say what was going on in the end.  That brought the book down a point or two for me.

This is supposed to be the first in a trilogy. So I do want to read the next book with the hope it clears up some things for me. While I do like some abstraction in my literature, I don't want to have to work too hard at understanding what the heck is going on.  I'm going to leave this one as a read it for yourself and see what you think type of book.

About Sophie Jaff

A native of South Africa, Sophie Jaff is an alumna of the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, and a fellow of the Dramatists Guild of America. Her work has been performed at Symphony Space, Lincoln Center, the Duplex, the Gershwin, and Goodspeed Musicals. She lives in New York City.

Find out more about Sophie at her website and connect with her on Facebook.

Purchase Links

Sophie’s Tour Stops
Monday, May 11th: My Bookish Ways
Tuesday, May 12th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, May 13th: A Bookish Way of Life
Thursday, May 14th: Spiced Latte Reads
Friday, May 15th: Kahakai Kitchen
Wednesday, May 20th: Doing Dewey
Monday, May 25th: Booksie’s Blog
Tuesday, May 26th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Wednesday, May 27th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, May 28th: Ageless Pages Reviews
Monday, June 1st: Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
Tuesday, June 2nd: Jenny Waldo
Wednesday, June 3rd: My Shelf Confessions
Thursday, June 4th: A Dream Within a Dream
Monday, June 8th: In Bed with Books

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

by:  I. W. Gregorio
published by:  Balzer + Bray
publish date:  April 7, 2015

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place.  But Kristin's "first time" isn't the perfect moment she's planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy "parts."

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin's entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?

Before this book I had never heard the term intersex and I didn't know what it meant.  I'm in nursing school and that's kinda bad right?  Basically, it means you're born with both male and female sexual organs.

None of the Above tells the story of Kristen Lattimer.  Living her dream life as a track star and a homecoming queen.  She has the perfect boyfriend and when she finally decides to have sex with him, it definitely doesn't go to plan.  After a visit to the gynecologist, she finds out she has both male and female sex organs.  She tells the wrong person her diagnosis and everyone knows.  Suddenly, her track scholarship is in jeopardy and she doesn't know who she can trust anymore.

I really liked this book a lot.  This book was a great learning experience.  I have 3 kids that play sports at a very competitive level and we see girls that are "impossible" sometimes.  I always chalk it up to some kind of genetic or hormonal thing.  This book gave me the insight to see them with a little more compassion.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Guest Post: Dianne Duvall, Author of A Sorceress of His Own

We are really excited to have back with us, author Dianne Duvall.  She joins us today with a guest post as she promotes the first book in her new series, A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN.  Make sure to come back on June 4 for my review on the book!

Publisher: Self
Date of publication: June 2, 2015

From the New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Immortal Guardians series comes an enchanting new series full of romance, danger, and loyalty: The Gifted Ones

Since the day Lord Dillon earned his spurs, rumors of his savagery on the battlefield have preceded him into every room, stilling tongues and sparking fear. Weary of battle, he wishes only to find a woman he can wed who will approach him not with fear, but with the tenderness that has been absent from his life for so long. Yet only the wisewoman seems invariably at ease in his presence. Perhaps because she garners the same fear in others that he does himself.

For seven years, Alyssa has been by Lord Dillon's side, counseling him from the shadows, healing him with her hands, and staving off the worst of his loneliness while his fearsome reputation keeps others at bay. Blessed—or cursed—with gifts that label her a sorceress, she is forced to conceal her youth and the love she harbors for him beneath umbral robes that lead Dillon and his people to believe she is the same aged wisewoman who served his father.

All is revealed, however, and passions flare when an enemy threatens Dillon's life and Alyssa sacrifices everything to save him. When Dillon discovers that the wisewoman is far from elderly, he is instantly entranced. And, as he and Alyssa work together to defeat an enemy bent on destroying them both, Dillon will risk anything—even the wrath of his king—to be with her.

Thank you for joining me today!  And thank you, Kari, for letting me visit From the TBR Pile again!  I’m very excited to be here today, celebrating the upcoming release of A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN, the first book in my new series The Gifted Ones.

If you’ve ever wondered what inspired my Immortal Guardians series (paranormal romances that feature powerful immortal warriors and kick-ass heroines, action, passion, and some laughs in between), this book, A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN did.  I actually wrote it before I wrote DARKNESS DAWNS, the first book in my Immortal Guardians series.  And, thanks to the what ifs the characters and ideas in it prompted, moved on to create my Immortal Guardians series.

But I couldn’t forget Dillon and Alyssa’s story.  So—inspired by the many readers who have written, asking when A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN would be released—I decided with much excitement to self-publish it as the first book in The Gifted Ones series.

Launching a new series while continuing my Immortal Guardians series has presented a number of fun challenges.  It helps that there is some crossover between the two series.  Both contain gifted ones:  men and women who were born with extraordinary abilities.  In the case of Alyssa, the heroine of A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN, those abilities inspire fear in others and compel them to label her a sorceress.  Interestingly, the historical research I did while writing A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN aided me in creating more realistic characters in my Immortal Guardians series, because Roland (the hero of DARKNESS DAWNS, Immortal Guardians Book1) and Marcus (the hero of NIGHT REIGNS, Immortal Guardians Book 2) were born in 11th century and 12th century England.  You’ll actually see Marcus as a teenaged squire in A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN, because it takes place before he was transformed into an immortal.  J

I think the biggest challenge for me has been shifting from one time period to another.  While The Gifted Ones series will eventually span multiple eras (the Spring 2016 sequel, RENDEZVOUS WITH YESTERDAY, will be a time travel romance), A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN takes place in 12th century England.  So the language used in dialogue has more of a medieval feel to it.  And I had to be careful in narration to avoid words that weren’t used until well after the 12th century, to continue to cultivate that historical feel.  So moving back and forth between working on my latest contemporary paranormal book and working on the historical took some adjustment.

Another challenge, of course, is enticing fans of my Immortal Guardians series into giving the new series a try.  I hope the fact that Marcus, Seth, and Roland (all characters found in my Immortal Guardians series) make an appearance in A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN will help on that front.  :-)   I’m also hoping historical romance fans who have never read my Immortal Guardians books will be tempted to read the new series.  I’ve always loved Dillon and Alyssa’s story.  Both have lived somewhat isolated existences, their fearsome reputations keeping others at bay.  So I enjoyed “watching” the two find friendship, passion, and love with each other as they battled the despicable enemy who rises up against them.  A love so deep they will even defy their king to be together. 

I hope readers will enjoy their story as much as I enjoyed writing it.  :-)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author:

Dianne Duvall is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Immortal Guardians paranormal romance series and The Gifted Ones series. Her books have twice been nominated for the RT Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Vampire Romance and are routinely deemed Top Picks by RT Book Reviews, The Romance Reviews, and/or Night Owl Reviews. Reviewers have called Dianne's books "utterly addictive" (RT Book Reviews), "fast-paced and humorous" (Publishers Weekly), "extraordinary" (Long and Short Reviews), and "wonderfully imaginative" (The Romance Reviews).

Dianne loves all things creative. When she isn't writing, Dianne is active in the independent film industry and has even appeared on-screen, crawling out of a moonlit grave and wielding a machete like some of the vampires she has created in her books.

For the latest news on upcoming releases, contests, and more, please visit

You can also find Dianne online . . .

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Pre-Order Links:

Blog Tour: Ruby Ink by L. J. Wilson

Author: L. J. Wilson
Publisher:AB Edge
Date of publication: March 2015

Aaron Clairmont has been granted an early parole. He returns home to Nickel Springs and finds employment at Abstract Enchantment, a trendy new inn. But Aaron’s mind can’t let go of its predecessor, the vintage Rose Arch Inn, the setting for his passionate love affair with Ruby Vasquez. Ruby—the girl he lost after his secret underworld life unraveled, shocking everyone who thought they knew him.

Freedom comes fast at Aaron—a family desperate to reconnect, an employer cast as his savior, and the steamy memories he can’t escape. Just as Aaron surrenders to starting anew, he realizes the diabolical trap he’s been lured into—a fresh hell that makes prison look like a country club. Lives are at stake, his family and Ruby’s. Ruby Vasquez—the woman Aaron never thought he’d see again. The one destined to collide with his future.

I kind of had to sit on this one for a bit before writing up my review.  Ruby Ink is a well written book, but I'm not all that sure I loved the while story.  I did like it for the most part, I just didn't love it. Aaron and Ruby were in love until he tried to kill her father and went to prison.  Now he is out on early parole and trying to get his life back together.  But he can't forget the one woman he loved for so long.

What I did like about the story was the bond and love that Ruby and Aaron still can't deny.  I liked their back story and how their love grew slowly and strong.  I was really rooting for the couple to find their way back to each other.   

What I didn't like was the rest.  I guessed at the plot twist pretty early on so I wasn't too surprised at the reveal.  I also felt like I didn't have enough understanding of how Aaron got involved with the DEA and underworld.  That was all a bit vague to me. I think I might have like it more had there been more flashbacks leading up the murder attempt.  But what really turned me off were the sex scenes between Stefan and his mistress, Vanessa.  I felt like they were unnecessary and disturbing. 

The story has received high reviews, so I do urge you to try it out for yourself.  I do look forward to Alec and Jess's story up next.  

About L. J. Wilson

L. J. Wilson is the pen name of award-winning author Laura Spinella. The Clairmont series novels are her foray into seductive romance, a facet of her women’s fiction that had readers clamoring for more. Beautiful Disaster and Perfect Timing, her mainstream work, have earned multiple awards, including the distinguished Golden Leaf and Golden Quill awards for Best First Book, as well as being named a RITA finalist.

Written with a “best-of” mindset, L. J. Wilson novels are sensual reads for discerning book lovers—stories that delve even deeper into her characters’ relationships and romances.

Laura describes herself as an “East Coast kind of girl,” growing up on Long Island, graduating from the University of Georgia, and having lived on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. She now resides outside Boston with her family. Readers are also invited to visit

Connect with L. J. Wilson

L. J. Wilson’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, May 4th: Mignon Mykel Reviews
Wednesday, May 6th: Bewitched Bookworms
Monday, May 11th: Book Babe
Wednesday, May 13th: One Curvy Blogger
Saturday, May 16th: One Curvy Blogger – author guest post
Monday, May 18th: Bell, Book & Candle
Tuesday, May 19th: The Sassy Bookster – review and excerpt
Tuesday, May 19th: Written Love Reviews
Monday, May 25th: From the TBR Pile

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Mini Musings - May Edition

Sometimes we read books, but have no open dates to write up a full review for them.  To remedy this, we present to you a new monthly series: Mini Musings in which we will give you a glimpse into our thoughts on some of these books.

Hard to be Good:   This was a great edition to the series.  I loved being able to read Jeremy and Charlie's story.  They were really cute together. Can't wait to read the final book!

The Art of the Brick: A Life in LEGO: This was a very interesting look at the man behind some of the coolest LEGO art I have ever seen.  It's definitely worth a read, even if you just look at the pictures!

Beautiful Bastard: This one started out shaky, but definitely improved by the end.  I ended up liking Bennett a whole lot. He was a jerk, but I really loved watching him fall for Chloe. Chloe was frustrating with her over reaction tendencies.  This is worth a read and another fan-fiction that turned out better than Fifty Shades of Grey!

Not Quite Dating:  This is the first in an older series from Catherine Bybee.  It was such a cute Cinderella type story.  I loved Jessie and Jack together and was rooting for them the whole time!

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey:  This is the companion book to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce.  That was one of my favorite books.  This book tells Queenie's side of the story.  It's a sweet, sad story.  I think they're great books to read together.  I highly recommend both.

A Really Awesome Mess:  This one was a bit iffy for me.  It's about a bunch of teens that are in a mental health facility for a variety of issues from anger management to anorexia.  If you've every seen the inside of a mental health facility or witnessed group therapy, you'd know that this book does a poor job of portraying the reality.  However, this book is presented in a cutesy type manner so I don't know how much realism is
actually expected.

Sick:  This was a pretty good addition to the zombie genre.  I always like the "trapped in a high school" story.  This book reminded me a lot of the Quarantine series.  I think if you like those books, you'd like this one.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy

by:  Benjamin Percy
published by:  Grand Central Publishing
publish date:  April 14, 2015

A post-apocalyptic re-imagining of the Lewis and Clark saga, a super flu and nuclear fallout have made a husk of the world we know. A few humans carry on, living in outposts such as the Sanctuary-the remains of St. Louis-a shielded community that owes its survival to its militant defense and fear-mongering leaders. 

Then a rider comes from the wasteland beyond its walls. She reports on the outside world: west of the Cascades, rain falls, crops grow, civilization thrives. But there is danger too: the rising power of an army that pillages and enslaves every community they happen upon. 

Against the wishes of the Sanctuary, a small group sets out in secrecy. Led by Lewis Meriwether and Mina Clark, they hope to expand their infant nation, and to reunite the States. But the Sanctuary will not allow them to escape without a fight.

I liked this book for the most part.  But I like these types of book in general.   It was a post apocalyptic journey across the country type book and there are a bunch of them.  The Dead Lands ranked pretty high in the group.

In this book a super flu has wiped out the country.  Nuclear bombs were used to stop the spread of the flu so the landscape and survivors are dealing with the after effects of radiation.  The country is a horrible, unrecognizable place.  The survivors in St. Louis live in the Sanctuary under tight rule and with little water.  A rider from Northwest comes promising rain and plenty of food, but the small group that goes with her go against the wishes of the Sanctuary.  They struggle against harsh deserts and armies of survivors that are looking for slaves.  

This was a well written book.  It was a good story.  It was just familiar I guess.  There are so many book out there like this one.  Add vampires or zombies and you'll be like "OMG this book is just like..."  I guess I was a little disappointed by that aspect, but what else can possibly be added to this sort of genre?  Anyway, if you like this kind of book, you'll like it.