Monday, October 16, 2017

Greensmith Girls


Rowen Greensmith is an aspiring journalist and is beyond happy to have gotten away from her family, and their reputation.  But when her aunt calls about 2 dead bodies, Rowen returns to home for the story and to help her family avoid the press. Her whole family, and Eric Richardson get pulled into the a story of supernatural intrigue.


So this book was relatively shorter, coming in at alittle over 100 pages.  It is easy to fall in love with the idea of this family of women being pulled into a supernatural mystery.  But the idea and execution are two different things.  The writing itself was a hit and miss.  Something's were great while other things not so much.  The tone was very monotonous and hard to really get into. There is a lot of build up to what happened only for the reader to be let down with the "big reveal"  it wasn't all that big if you pay attention. 


There is a romance in the story, and I guess almost every story needs to have a budding romance in some form or another.  The characters aren't really all that deep, nor do they grow throughout the story.  Rowen decides to quit her job after a few short days of her family  having a sort of see-saw effect of welcoming her and not welcoming her.  They didn't seem all that warm enough to quit a job.  Once the book ended I had more questions that answers.  There isn't much to the story other than Eric and Rowen just  driving around.  I would have liked a little more from the ghosts speaking or interacting with the characters more, or more aspects of the women being witches.  That part of the story seems important, but isn't used much.


If you like a book that is incredibly easy to read and that you don't need to put a lot of effort into it, then sure pick up this book.  But if you want something with a little more meat to it, then this isn't for you.  Personally, I give this book a 2 out 5 stars.  I was not a fan of it.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Twisted

Aoife qanted nothing more than to protect her family and care for them.  She has rejected every advance from potential suitor.  She is happy with the way her life is going, if only her father would lay off the drink.  All that changes when, in a drunken stupor, her father promises the Duke that she can turn straw into gold.  Aoife does her best to show how the Duke can change his excess straw into gold, but he takes her father's claims literally and demands she turns straw to hay.  This begins a deal with a little wizard man, one that could end up costing Aoife everything she loves dear.

This story is a supposed retelling of Rumplestiltskin, but I feel as though I have read this story before.  It may be because I am so familiar with the tale and this book doesn't really deviate from the tale.  It is remains close to the tale we all know with a few exceptions. I admit it felt like to story progressed a little slow for me with details that are mundane.  It wasn't until Aoife began learning about the Duke and his birth that I felt like the story really picked and got interesting for me.  I didn't really feel I could relate or connect with Aoife.  I had a hard time with her loving Rumple, and despising the Duke then doing a complete 180 after she had married the Duke. 

There are a few twists and turns as the readers discover the truth behind the connection between Rumple and the Duke.  Rumple claims to love Aoife, but denies her love and becomes somewhat controlling telling her the only way they could be together is if she sacrifices her family.  If the man knew her all these years and loved her he wouldn't make this kind of request.  I like that the book showed Aoife's struggle, but she doesn't cave to his demand.  Too often I see books where the girl gives in to whatever the guy wants simply to make him happy.  WRONG!

I am not sure how I feel about the book.  I admit I skipped a few pages just to get past some things that didn't seem to fit in with the story.  I have mixed feelings about and not sure what kind of rating I would give this novel.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Dragonmark


Illarion is a dragon, who was force to become human, and then again forced to serve those same humans as a mount during their battles.  Understandably he becomes bitter as he is separated from his dragonkin and everything he ever knew.  He then is forced into the fey realm where he looses the one woman he loved...


Where do I begin with this one.  I couldn't give a more detailed synopsis because I honestly did not finish the book and that saddens me greatly.  I have been a fan of Kenyon since Fantasy Lover and all the way through the other Dark Hunter novels, but this...this book was shear crap and not up to the standards that I have held Kenyon.  This is probably her worst novel yet.  It is LITERALLY copy and paste from other books.  There were chapters from Dragonsbane and Son of No One.  Oh you might think those sections were rewritten with Illarion's point of view WRONG!  He was barely in his own book!  I actually pulled my copies of Son of No One and Dragonsbane from my shelf and compared the three....word for word the same info from those books in this one.  It is not an original story so to speak.  Honestly how dare Kenyon do this to her readers.


I cannot in good conscience recommend this book to anyone.  I don't even want to rate the book, so 0 out of 5 because there was no effort in this.  Granted in the past we have seen scene from other stories in with other books like Acheron, but never has she copied and pasted verbatim.  The scenes were always rewritten from the view of Acheron or whatever hunter the book was about.  I couldn't be more disappointed in this author.  This may be the book that makes me no longer read her work.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Beautiful Storm

Alicia has always been drawn to the beauty of lightening, more so after the mysterious death of her father.  During a storm one night Alicia witnesses a fight in between the flashes of lightening.  When she gets to the scene, she finds military tags with the name Liliana Valdez on it.  After some research, she discovered this woman has been missing for two months, and takes the tags to the police.  This is a piece to a the puzzle that allows the police to begin further investigations, but Alicia decides to try and see what she can find.  She meets Michael along the way, a man who is the prime suspect in the investigation simply because he spoke to the Liliana. They work together to piece together the puzzle of Liliana's disappearance, a quest that takes them half-way across the country and into something far dangerous and sinister.  Their search begins to spark more disappearances and murders, will Alicia and Michael find out the truth before it's too late?

This is another book I came across on BookBub (if you are an avid reader and don't use this, you should).  The story is very suspenseful and you don't know what is going to happen next.  You try to figure out who took Liliana, but when the truth is revealed you will be taken away.  I definitely was.  There was a little bit of romantic tension between the two, but it doesn't take over the story.  Freethy does a fantastic job including this into the foreground of the story, but maintains the true mystery of a missing woman.  I actually don't like when it feels like authors are pushing characters together just for the same of a romantic sub story, Freethy doesn't do this.  She develops a friendship with romantic tension mixed in. 

The characters had depth to them, both Alicia and Michael had their own demons to tame while performing their search.  I think this gave them the feel of being...well human.  I loved the idea of lightening having paranormal attributes, and almost wanted something more from this, something more to tie it into the story other than an explanation as to why Alicia and her father were obsessed with this act of nature.  It is not a "typical" mystery with blood, gore or anything like that.  It is relatively clean, it does have a few sex scenes.  Nothing too "steamy" but sex scenes nonetheless.

Overall this was a good enough book to read, I wouldn't say it was phenomenal or out of this world.  But it is one of those books that will draw you in and keep you interested until the very end.  I do recommend other mystery lovers to pick up a copy.  Also if you normally aren't a fan of mystery, I would say give this book a chance, you might be surprised.  I give this a 4 out of 5 star rating. 


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Watchmaker's Daughter

India's father had just passed away, on the same day her fiancĂ© kicks her out of the house and keeps her father's watchmaker's shop for himself.  The other shop keeps will not hire her, not because she lacks the skills, but because she is a woman.  At a lost for what to do and one who doesn't take things lying down, India goes to the shop to give Eddie a piece of her mind.  While there she runs into Matthew Glass who gives her a proposition of helping find a specific watchmaker to fix his watch.  One that is rare and carries an air of mystery around it.  While helping him find his mystery watchmaker, India begins to believe he is a wanted outlaw from America and wonders what do and how to prove her suspicions while trying to find out why the guild members are being so cold to her.  Danger seems to be lurking around every corner and India begins to discover new things about the man she is working and living with, as well as herself.  Will they be able to find the watchmaker before Glass' watch stops for good?  Will India be able to find proof of her suspicions and why she lost favor among?

This was one of the books I stumbled upon on BookBub.  Its hard to describe how I felt about this book. It was a good read and I enjoyed the characters but it felt like it took too long to develop and that there were too many things happening in it.  Whenever something happened or revealed my reaction was "oh..that's how that's being shown."  It had its suspenseful moments but overall it seemed somewhat predictable especially the "romantic" tension between India and Glass.


I don't feel like readers are able to feel completely connected to the characters, but they were interesting enough to finish the book. My opinion on India is like a love-hate relationship.  I liked her enough, but don't see her as a strong female lead.  I know this is the first book in a series and I have to wonder what the other books will be like and where the story will go.


As for a rating...i give it a 3 out 5.  Much more could have been done with the story, but young fantasy readers will enjoy it as well as many other readers.  I just don't think this was a book that demands me to read it again.



Monday, September 18, 2017

The Cat Who Could Read Backwards

Jim Qwilleran has his string of bad luck since leaving his job with a big city paper, not he has taken a position with the Daily Fluxion, and small town paper, doing a column he has no knowledge on...the art column.  Many of the artists in the town are hopeful that this means the replacement of the ever too critical art critic, many try to convince Qwill of how horrible of a man the art critic is while he attends art functions and does human interest articles on local artists.  Qwill decides to met this critic and ends up living in the same house on a lower level.  While the critic is away, Qwill takes care of his Siamese cat whom Qwill nick-named Koko.  This cat has extra ordinary talents of being able to read backwards and know when something is amiss.  Soon artists and others in the art community become victims of murder.  Qwill's old investigative journalist talents kick in and he begins o try and solve this murder, with the help of Koko of course.  The question is will Qwill be able to find the correct murderer and save the reputation of many artists as well as the critic? Or will he soon become the murderer's next target?


This is a series of books that I read when I was younger and starting to really get into mysteries and longer chapter books aside from the typical baby sitters club (that's like a rite of passage for little girls).  I loved that a cat helped solve mysteries by leading Qwill to different clues and seem to pick up on subtle things the humans in the books don't pick up one.  The cat in this book, Koko reminds me of my friend's cat Artemis (pictured on the left) with his perchance of running around the room, wanting specific food and making his discontent known.  Braun gives the cat as much personality as she does her human characters, which is something you don't see in many books with animal.  Normally the animal is just that an animal whereas in these books, Koko is another personality rather than a prop so to speak. 

I love this series even 20 some years after beginning to read the series and returning to it time and time again.  This is the perfect novel to begin with since I believe it is the beginning of the series as it introduces Qwill and Koko and how they became a dynamic duo. The writing isn't too complex and easy to understand which is one reason why it was great for a youngster as I once was.  There also isn't blood, gore, or sex in it.  Sure Swill has attractions to ladies and flirts a little, but it's all innocent and clean, another reason why it is a great starter series for young readers (and a nice break from stuff included in some books today). This is a short, cozy mystery that is easy to read within a day.  Perfect for a rainy afternoon curled up with your favorite feline. 

I do recommend this book as well as the series to any young reader who wants to grow in their reading library.  I also would recommend this to anyone who loves a cozy mystery, easy to read book or who feels a little nostalgic.  I give the book a 4 out of 5 for a rating, it needed more Koko!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Woodcutter


A man known as The Woodcutter stumbles upon a maiden's dead body, with no trace of foul play, nor who could have caused her tragic fate.  The only thing left behind were her glass slippers.  The Woodcutter seeks to find her killer before other maidens suffer the same fate.  The Woodcutter is not your average man, he is the keeper of peace between the kingdoms of man and the realm of the faerie.  He searches the realms for clues to the mysterious events happening around the kingdoms and the forest, along with three axes blessed by the River God, he begins to find clues to lead to the truth.  Shortly into his search he discovers information that is troubling: one of Odin's hellhounds has escaped, a nefarious mansion appears and disappears and princes and princesses along with it, pixie dust being turned into a drug ring, and more young woman proceed to go missing without a trace.  The Woodcutter must find the truth to all of these before it is too late, as task proven more difficult with an evil queen lurking in the shadows intent on stopping his every effort.  Will he be able to stop the queen before she destroys the kingdoms and the fae or will it be too late?


I love fairy tales.  Everything about them brings me back to my childhood.  I love reading retellings and other author's takes on the different stories.  When I picked this book up I expected it to be along the lines of the woodcutter in Snow White or Red Riding Hood, but was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be something completely different.  I love the idea of a mysterious protected of the realms that no one knows his name, his name never gets revealed and leaves the read in as much a mystery as the characters.  It almost makes you as frustrated as the queen in not knowing his name.  That adds an air of mystery around this character, and at the same time the reader knowing he cannot bear children but must wait until the fates bring a child to him and his wife makes your heart break especially after he comes across young children.  You can almost feel the fatherly desire in his heart.

Danley creates a world where the characters come to life, without specifically referring to the characters by name or tale, readers can get an idea of who is supposed to be who based off minor descriptions such as the glass slippers left behind when the maiden was killed.  Readers get the idea that someone harmed Cinderella without specifically being told.  It was also interesting that Danley incorporated some mythology in the tale with the use of Odin and the hellhounds.  That was a great touch though I wanted more from that storyline, it almost takes a backseat to the other events of the tale. This was a great story, one that I finished in a few short days.

I highly recommend this novel if you enjoy fairy tales, fantasy, young adult, and a good story.  As for a rating I will give this a 5 out of 5, pick it up today.  You won't regret adding this to your book shelf.