Friday, December 30, 2016

Shadow magic (audiobook)

Connor was just a normal teenage boy with a father who taught ancient languages.  His world completely changes with a visit from his aunt, who happens to want to kill him.  He is transplanted into another world, Tir Na Nog,  where there is a prophecy of the son of the handed king.  There he meets another family member, his uncle, as well as his mother.  After a quick battle he is separated from his parents and he teams up with 3 other companions to find his way across Tir Na Nog to find his parents.  Everyone within the realm wants to kill him and Connor must work with his companions to find their way to their destination.  Along the way Connor discovers things about his friends as well as himself and grows stronger in the process.  Will Connor succeed in his quest and make it safely to his family?

I listened to this book as an audio book via LibriVox, and it is read by John Henahan himself.  I am not sure how I feel about audiobooks.  I tried it to see if I would enjoy them while I am at work or driving.   I found I had a hard time paying attention to the story because it quickly became background sound to the other things that I was focusing on, so I ended up listening to it when I wasn't doing something.  I enjoyed this book a great deal when I was able to finally focus on it.  The author read it while slight inflections in his voice when different characters were speaking.  That was a hard things to work through, knowing when someone was speaking and who.  When I read the dialog it is easier to understand when dialogue belongs to different people.

The story was very interesting and humorous, children in the age range (it says 7-10 but I would say 8-15) would greatly enjoy this story and get lost within.  I enjoyed the use of different Celtic folklores like imps and leprechauns.  There is a lot of action throughout the book, enough to keep readers (or listeners) interested and eager to find out what happens next.  The narration reads (flows) much like a teenager is speaking/writing which adds to the effect that the main character is in fact a teenager.  He acted and spoke the way a teen would rather than someone older than they were supposed to be.  Some of the descriptions were hilarious such as when he describes himself dismounting as resembling a giraffe on an escalator.  It was refreshing to "read" a book that had battle scenes and the sense of war, but didn't have a lot of blood or gore.  It focused more on respecting the people, plants and animals of the land, such as asking a tree for permission before picking an apple or asking a boar if it was alright to kill it.

I would recommend this book to young reads and older readers as well, it is refreshing to read something youthful and airy for a change.  I anticipate reading the other books in this trilogy, I may also listen to it on audiobook if it is available.  I give this audiobook a 4 out of 5 rating, and think I will give audiobooks another change, but I am not sure if they are for me.  We shall see...

Happy reading!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


I cannot begin to describe how much I dislike this book.  I  was barely able to finish it, and for those of you who know me know that is saying a lot.   There was only 1 time I never finished a book.  I don't know where to begin...throughout the book Rose continues to proclaim she and her family are not vampires, they just have vampire like qualities so what are they, all we get is immortal.  Unless you chop their heads off or if they apparently lose a significant amount of blood.
A LARGE portion of the book is Gabriel trying to get Rose to be his girlfriend and Rose fighting it...basically it goes "Rose I love you," "We  can't be together Gabriel, it's not safe." "Why not?," "I can't tell you."  Have this happen several times in various formats and you have about 75% of the book, along with Gabriel getting superhuman abilities and a foreign exchange student.  Very cliche throughout the whole book.
The characters were blah, Rose was just whiney and weak the whole time.  Gabriel is so cliche: football jock who wants more in life but step-daddy won't let him.  Sadie could have been more interesting but wasn't developed enough.  William again cliche: best friend's brother who crushes on Rose and hates Gabriel...just a little more original I felt like I read these characters before.
Don't get me started kn grammer and misspellings.  I thought editors would have gone through this and pointed those thingsout, maybe not.  I was more than disappointed in this book.  The summary made it sound so interesting, but sadly it wasn't.
I  would be willing to read something else from this author but not in this genre.  Sadly for the second time, I do not recommend this book and give it a 1.5 out of 5 rating.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Black Bird

Black Bird is a manga series that follows the life of schoolgirl Misao, who can see supernatural beings such as demons and such. After she turns sixteen, she is frightened to learn that now these beings are hunting her and seek to kill her.  A childhood friend Kyo, comes to rescue time and time again.  Surprisingly, Kyo is also a demon and Misao learns she is known and the Bride of Prophecy, a rare and coveted being.  Kyo is the one who needs to protect her from the blood-thirsty demons who wish to feast on her blood and become more powerful. 

This is a relatively shorter series, about 12 volumes I believe, but it reads rather quickly as I have found with most manga series.  The artwork in this is beautiful and I found myself wanting to cos-play as Misao.  The story follows the artwork in the beauty and fine crafted story-telling skills.  It held my attention throughout all the volumes and makes me want to watch the anime series/drama if there is one, I haven't looked.  I found the story and plot to be very interesting and wanted more when the series came to an end.  It was unique in that it wasn't vampires needed her blood or needing her blood to sustain themselves, but rather to gain power over one another.  Also in that it was only her blood that could do this rather than any person that they would come across.

If you enjoy manga series, or are looking for something a little different than novels, I would suggest checking out not only this series but other manga series.  This one particularly is great for those who enjoy the supernatural and demon type of stories.  I give this series as a whole a rating of 3 stars.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Meowy Christmas

Meowy Christmas from our library to yours.  May it be filled with happiness and
joy as we put down our books and enjoy precious time with our loved ones. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Where The Lost Girls Go

Laura is a rookie cop trying to show she is capable of doing her job despite her small stature and meek manner.  She obtains her first investigation when a car crashes into a tree and goes up in flames.  Clues point to a homicide, possibly involving the daughter of a famous local author.  As Laura digs for clues and interviews the family she is convinced she knows who the killer is.  But then the identity of the Jane Doe is revealed to be a missing girl, the investigation takes a different path.  How did the missing girl find her way into the Jameson estate and eventually one of their cars?  How did she meet her end and why?  Admist this investigation is another bigger one into the corruption of the police force and how deep does it go.  Why are some officers given special duty, while others are hung out to dry?  Get ready for an action packed novel that will keep you guessing until the very end.

I had the honor of receiving this book from the publisher/author via NetGallery.  I could not have been more excited for the opportunity to read this book.

It starts out with excitement with the fiery car accident and the mysterious driver, but as the story goes on it deeper into a homicide and keeps you guessing at what will happen next.  There seemed to be a lot of premature theories and jumping to conclusions, but I guess that would come from the main character being new to the force, just off her training.  There was another sub-plot about corruption in the force that I think was unnecessary, the story stood well on its own without that added tidbit.  It almost feels a little too overdone - corruption in the force, but the main character and a few secondary ones are working to expose it as they are the only good ones.  I hope there is a bigger story that come from that, but at this point it is still a mystery why that was included. 

There are still a few questions within this story as I got to the end that leaves the book feeling almost unfinished. The moments of Laura expressing feelings for her neighbor felt more like fluff than anything else especially after he "sort of is seeing someone,"  that left me with a let down as there was a build up of possibly them getting together or a huge surprise twist him being the mastermind behind it all, but no.  Again something else that could have been left completely out of the story and it would not have made much of a difference.  I highly enjoyed the story and liked the added touch of "squatters" in the woods that was something different added to the story. 

It was a mixture of predictable and unpredictable, if that makes any sense.  There were parts I was able to figure out while others were a complete surprise.  It held my attention throughout the story, I couldn't wait to find out who was the mastermind behind the murders.  There were a few things that I was surprised wasn't revealed earlier such as the gravesite, I think having someone find it earlier and finding the girls already in it would have added to the story and suspense of who was killing these girls.  I could almost see this plot reflected in a crime drama or movie.

I would highly recommend this book to mystery lovers of all sorts, as well as general fiction, suspense fans.  I think there is a little of something everyone can enjoy in this book.  I give this a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Woman In Cabin 10

Lo is a travel journalist scheduled to go on a luxury cruise for an assignment.  A few days before the cruise is to set sail, he apartment is broken into shaking her up and causing her to be more on edge and frightened than normal.  It disrupts her sleep, eating and emotions.  But she decides to go on the trip anyway and try to get ahead in her field.  While there she meets people perfect for networking during a dinner.  Afterwards she tries to find some sleep only to woken by a sound in the cabin next door, and the sound of the sliding door opening and a something being thrown overboard.  Her heightened nerves already on edge she notified security and he informs her that no one was in Cabin 10.  She goes on a wild goose chase to find this woman she knew was there and figure out what really happened and who on the ship could be a murderer. 

Woman in Cabin 10 is Ruth Ware's second novel, and is taking the literary world by storm.  She has the strong ability to create a suspenseful, edge of your seat thrill of a tale.  She develops a story that takes the reader on a wild goose chase of a who done it, heightened with the unknown identity of the woman in cabin 10 as well as Lo's own anxiety and fears after being burgled a few nights before the cruise.  Ware, draws on the readers emotion to create the suspense and thrilling atmosphere of this novel and keeps the reader guessing.  There are a lot of twists and turns in this novel, although there were plot ideas that arose but were never expanded on, such as the internet/phone service being an issue.  She does a great job at building the suspense and making the reader want to know what will happen next.

The characters were a little hard to get attached to, maybe because there were so many to keep track of, I'm not sure.  Your heart goes out to Lo in the beginning, but she self medicates with alcohol a little too much in the novel, but again that plays into the storyline.  I downright despised Ben and couldn't believe Lo continued to trust him after his actions after dinner the first night.  I wanted more of Cole and some of the other characters, especially Anne and Richard.  The pacing starts out slow, but then picks up after the possible murder happens, but even then it still feels just a little bit slow as readers and assaulted with numerous possibilities and theories, though none of them are really followed up on.  Regardless of a few faults this book is a real attention getter from the beginning and keeps you interested/entertained until the very end.

I enjoyed it and finished within an evening.  I would recommend this highly to other mystery, and fiction lovers.  I give it a happy 4 star rating and look forward to what Ruth has in store for us next.

** If you haven't yet, check out the review for Ruth's debut novel In A Dark Dark Wood.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Purr M Murder

Sydeny left New York after ending her engagement and returned hom to Deer Park where she now helps her sister run the local animal shelter.  Syd and Kat organize a fun fundraising event with a local café shop: a cat café! where people can pay an extra fee and have their coffee and play with adoptable cats.  Things are going great that is until Trowbridge Littleton begins to make troubles from them and threatens to not only shut down the event, but also the shelter.  Kat and Syd decide to try and reason with him only to find his dead body.  Now the sisters need to try and clear their names off the list of suspects.  When Syd starts investigating further, with the help of a tabby cat Toby, the killer sets their sights on her.

We cats decided the human needed to review a book with the hero is a cat! I mean, we are the literary cats after all right?  The human was honored to review a copy of the book from the publisher via NetGallery, awesomesauce right?   The cover is cute with the orange tabby looking all mischievous with his skull cookie, and makes the reader wonder what the book will be about and how the cat will play a part into the story.  It reminded me a lot of the "Cat Who" series by Lilian Jackson Braun.

While this novel was light and airy, it was very suspenseful and keep me guessing at what would happen next to the characters.  It doesn't have many dark undertones that most mystery novels have, but then most mystery novels that have an animal as a central character seem to be light and airy.  Lotempio creates characters and a setting that leaves readers invested in them.  I couldn't wait to find out what would happen with the shelter, almost more than I wanted Littleton's murderer found, is that odd?  The story was almost hypnotic in that it pulls readers into the story and time seems to stand still until something interrupts you.

It is an easy read, but not to the point of feeling too simplistic or "childish" (I'm not sure if that is the word that I want).    I found myself curled up on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa getting lost in the book on a snowy afternoon.  It was exactly the kind of book I needed to read to lift my spirits and bring a smile to my face.  I seen on the cover that it is a part of series, and I look forward to what Lotempio has in store for us in other books.  I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys mystery novels, animals, cats, a good soft read, and reading in general.  I would even allow a child of pre-teen age read this because there isn't a lot of gore, sex, or otherwise inappropriate material.  It's a good, clean, fantastic book.  Keep up the good work Toni.

My rating is an enthusiastic 5 paws up.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Unexpected Gifts

Andi has endured on of the hardest years of her life.  She lost her baby and her boyfriend left, leaving her facing her grief and pain alone.  When the Christmas plans turn out less than expected she takes a ski resort up on it's complimentary offer to stay for an extended time.  Upon arrival she discovers they do not have a room for her.  Colin is an attractive acquaintance, who offers a room in his villa.  After mentioning she hated Christmas, Colin makes it his mission to make Andi enjoy Christmas once more.  The two begin to fall for one another and Colin begins to think he just might be able to change his playboy ways and have a relationship with Andi.  When the resort needs someone to help plan their big Christmas party, Andi steps up and fulfills then need calling in her partner to help with the planning.  Everything seems to be going perfectly for Andi, that is until Blaine shows up and changes things.  Where will Andi's heart take her; into the arms of Colin, or back to the man who left her in her time of need?

It wouldn't be Christmas without a review of a Christmas novel.   Normally I would not go for a sappy love story like this one, but I decided to step outside the comfort zone and read something new.  And I admit, I kind of like the sappy love story.  It was well written and the reader really gets a strong feeling for Andi and her lose.  I wanted to cry at her heartache at losing the baby and got angry at Blaine for what he did (won't give away spoilers!)  I loved the setting of a mountain lodge which will be the setting for future novels.  I love how Aitken developed the relationship between Colin and Andi rather than them immediately jumping into bed together.  She even has Andi develop a rule of no sex on the first date AND Colin respecting that.  Which seems to be hard to find now-a-days.

A lot happens in this short novel that drags the reader into Colin and Andi's story. It leaves readers wanting more, and I was a little disappointed to find out that the next novel would not have the two lovers as the characters.  I was hoping to see their relationship develop and grown beyond their time at the lodge.  It almost felt like the book ended too quickly.  Aitken did a wonderful job at creating the romance and bond between her characters, she made it so I could feel the connection from them.  Almost made me wish I could find something like what they had, almost jealous!  I finished this book within 5 hours or so, I couldn't put it down once I began reading it.

I highly recommend this novel for those who love a good romance novel, and for those who want a good novel to test the waters with.  I would give this a 4 out 5 simply because it ended too quickly and I would love more from this couple.  I will definitely be checking out more novels from Elena Aitken.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Night Circus

A mysterious circus arrives in town, it is only open at night and there is not a sign of color only black, whites, and shades of grey.  Patrons are dazzled by the acts and displays throughout the circus that they long for it to return again.  Some even follow the circus around to different cities.  What the patrons don't know is there is a competition going on behind the scenes.  Marco and Celia are in the midst of a duel since childhood.  The two don't know the exact rules of the game, aside from that they control the circus but cannot interfere with one another.  There can only be one winner in this battle of imagination and skill.  Despite their best efforts the two stumble into love.  Regardless of their love the game must keep going, even with the fate and future of those involved with the circus are at the hands of Celia and Marco.  Who will become the victor?

I originally fell in love with the cover of the book, it really drew me into the story and got in me interested.  The story within didn't completely disappoint.  It was a little difficult to get used to how the story jumped around in the beginning, but there was a lot of story to follow and each character's story meant something in the end.  Everything weaved together and played off of the last that I was on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what will happen.  The first few chapters were incredibly interesting with magical undertones and the promise of a fast-paces magical competition, but the middle began to drag on, filling readers with characters that didn't seem to make sense to the story.  Don't get me wrong the characters are interesting and the images are exploratory.

Marco and Celia start out not knowing who the other is and continue to create tents for one another.  At some point, without much build -up, the two begin a love affair (which we also do not see) and continue to profess their love for one another.  Neither try hard to get away from the competition, aside from Celia mentioning being in pain simply from  thinking about leaving.  I kind of expected more from that as well as the battle between the two other than creating more tents.  I understand the idea was the two of them controlling and providing energy/protection to the circus, but I hoped for a little bit more to that.  I think part of this is because there was so much going on in the story and so much descriptions.  While I like descriptions and being able to feel as if I was a part of the story, but not at the risk of losing development of the characters.

I liked the characters enough, but it didn't feel like there was enough for them to be developed enough in the story. There were times when I was wondering how the story got to different points because there didn't seem to be anything that lead up to, and after reading it I am not entirely sure what happened at the end.  I tried explaining this book to someone and was unable to do so.  Regardless of some of the less savory aspects of the book..i really liked it.  I was drawn into the story of Marco and Celia and kept wanting more from them.  While I wasn't compelling to spend all night reading it, I was still anxious to pick it back up.  I would recommend this book, but not as enthusiastically as I have in the past.  I would give this a 3 out of 5 rating.  I wanted more from the book, but I did enjoy reading it and getting lost in the circus.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Cheesecake Cookbook

I will fully admit my biggest weakness is cheesecake.  I can never pass up a cheesecake dessert no matter how stuffed I am.  It is the perfect comfort food, creamy and sweet.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it!  When I seen this cookbook on amazon, I needed to add it to my cookbook collection and I am happy I did.  I haven't gotten the chance to make too many of them yet, just one or two.  But the recipes are so easy to  follow and easy to make.  I don't think there is a way to mess up cheesecake, especially if you had this book to guide you.

Who knew there were so many different variations on cheesecake?  I plan on making one or two for Christmas especially the Gluten-free recipe as I have a few family and friends who need to be gluten-free.  This book gives you many ideas and is filled with interesting tastes, such as the Japanese Cherry Blossom cheesecake.  I never had it nor have I worked with some of the ingredients and am excited to give it a shot.  There are a large amount of ingredients I have never worked with or thought to include in a cheesecake. 

Sharon Belcher even gives cooks ideas on how to decorate and serve the cakes which is very helpful if you want to create a wonderful presentation before devouring your creation.  For anyone who enjoys cooking or wants to start out with something new, I highly recommend this cookbook.  It is beyond helpful and easy to understand.  I give this a rating of 5 out of 5 because's cheesecake now to devour a whole cheesecake myself....don't judge.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

A Woman of Strength and Purpose

As a strong-willed woman, you meet the world head-on, undeterred by those who say something can’t be done. When applied in the right ways, your God-given passion produces clear-eyed purpose, deep compassion, and a bold spirit that can change the world. But sometimes your determination leads to misunderstandings and fractured relationships.

Sometimes people view a strong-willed or determined woman to be overwhelming, competitive, even intimidating. Cynthia Tobias take that strong will and shows woman how we can turn it into something positive, something that draws people towards us rather than away.  She stresses the idea that when you add God to a strong willed woman she will be able to move mountains to so to speak.  She will be able to walk bravely and accomplish things that others may shy away from. 

Tobias uses her writing style to help women learn how to use their strong-willed nature to overcome their weakness and become strong women of God while forming solid relationships with those around them.  This is a quick and easy read, a couple of hours or  a day if you really delve deep into what Tobias is telling her readers.  I enjoyed how she pointed everything back to God and how to turn that natural instinct into a passion for Christ.  There are also discussion questions at the end for small groups or personal development as you read the book.

Something I did enjoy most was as a meak-willed woman, I learned some ways to become more outgoing and stronger willed in my pursuit of Christ.  I think this book is perfect for every woman to read whether she is strong willed or not.  I give the book a 4 out of 5 because it did make me really think about what was going on in my own life and how I can change that.

Thursday, December 8, 2016


One day while cleaning up at work, Hannah opens the dressing room door to a man in the middle of changing his clothes.  This is the awkward beginning to a journey that will change Hannah's life forever.  She is surprised to find Ethan is a new student in her school rather than a tourist.  When he consistently seems to always be present to save her from harm, Hannah begins to question his motives in her life.  When Ethan saves her from an attempt on her life she finds out how important she truly is in this life.  While Hannah tries to piece all this crazy puzzle of her past together she struggles with accepting that she is anything more than a normal high school girl looking for her adoptive parents.  Ethan struggles with discovering what makes Hannah above the other protected and why so many are hell-bent on trying to end her life.  

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Hleo from Rebecca Walker herself.  Such an honor.  It starts out as any romance novel would; girl embarasses herself in front of a hot guy (what woman hasn't done something embarrassing in front of a really hot guy??), finds out he in school with her and gets death stares from other girls when he pays her attention.  BUT then things start to diverge from romantic to science-fiction, fantasy based  to hot guy being a part of a super secret organization meant to protect special people like her.  It takes several chapters to really pick up, but the building chapters do exactly that, it builds up the story and develops the setting and characters so that readers become attached to them.  There were moments when it was hard to feel for Hannah or even Ethan because they seemed a little dense when it came to certain things. 

At times there was a lot of information dump, a lot of information thrown not just at Hannah, but at the reader as well.  I had hoped Hannah would have done a little bit more research after she found out the possible names of her parents or even after finding out about the Hleo.  But I also understand way Rebecca Walker did things the way she did and why there was a need for a lot of information at once because it would have been difficult to get a hold of what was happening if we didn't. It does keep the reader guessing at what will happen next and where the story with turn. 

Rebecca created a story that her readers rave about and demand (ok ask nicely) for more.  Fans are recommending this book left and right, and I am no different.  I do recommend this novel for young adult fantasy fans.  It will keep you guessing, wanting more and it will not disappoint.  I give Hleo a rating of 3.5 out of 5 and hope that Rebecca Walker writes more.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Branded (Fallen Angels #1)

For the longest time, Jessica had nightmares.  Nightmares where she was being judged for other people's sins, and branded by the angels for those sins.  When she awakes, she finds the brand is still on her skin, burning.  She hides it from her friends and family who think she has gone crazy because of these nightmares.  Suddenly two men come into her life, each completely different, but both compelling and alluring.  Jessica cannot help but be drawn to both of them.  She will do anything to be with one of them even if it means telling him everything about her nightmares and the mark.  The other, draws her into a downward spiral towards her own judgement.  Her worst nightmare could very possibly come true.  Will she be able to find her way out of the judgement and into the arms of a man she loves?

Very interesting plot and idea, unsure if it was executed right.  First off the repetition gets a little boring, for example almost every chapter until the men show up (even a bit afterwards) Jessica goes grocery shopping for her shut in neighbor Sally.  It would have been nice to see Jessica do something else for Sally other than grocery shop.  She comes off as a self-centered person despite her seemingly good deeds towards Sally.  She gets angry with Emily because she can't tell her how she made the dreams stop even though Emily revealed her traumatic abuse (there is a lot of abuse happening in this book, was there nothing else for the characters to have experienced?)  There isn't much dialogue, but a lot of internal monologue from Jessica.  At points it gets annoying.  The male love interests are less than believable.  Do we really want our girls to think it is acceptable behavior for a man she barely knowns to barge in on her shower just to ask her to dinner?  Couldn't that have waited?  Not only does he barge in her shower, but he barges in all the time.  Doesn't he have any respect for her privacy even after she asks for it?

Everything in this story is over-exaggerated, over described.  Nothing was left to the readers imagination.  It gets boring quickly and a little difficult to finish.  There's nothing that is memorable about the book and falls flat, very flat.  Jessica's character doesn't have depth and is confusing to me.  She is shy and highly guarded, afraid to let anyone close to her, but quickly falls in love with a man she barely knows after only about 5 minutes of knowing him (think Anna falling in love with Hans).  It was very hard to accept their romantic interest in each other, it didn't feel real.  There were a lot of things that were hard to accept with this novel.  The end felt too rushed as if the author didn't know what else to do but end the novel quickly.

I am on the fence on whether or not I would recommend this novel  While I think there are people who would enjoy it better than I would, I don't want to recommend a book and have then thoroughly dislike it as much as I did.  Unfortunately the rating I would give this is low, a 2 out of 5.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Heritage: S.M Boyce

Heritage is the third book in Boyce's Grimoire Saga.  It picks up with Kara in turning to learn how to control her Isen power enough to lead the other vagabonds.  Braeden is working to learn the inner workings of his kingdom to help the other Bloods plan an attack and finally defeat his father. Braeden has to learn how to gain the trust of the other bloods.  Kara has to learn how she can learn the vagabonds and how to sway the other bloods to her mission.  As part of her training, Kara visits the home of her grandfather, a notorious Isen who killed millions of people.  She had thought she'd known all about him until she took a trip through his memories and discovered the truth about him and herself.  This helps her accept her powers and learn to control them.  Now she sends her vagabonds back to their kingdoms and campaigns for the assistance of the other bloods to join her cause for peace.  Will Kara be successful?

After reading the previous two novels in the saga and loving them, I found this one to be lacking a certain..opf.  I love the idea of Kara being an Isen, it adds a deeper quality to her character and a twist in the story.  I have a feeling there is more to this surprise in the next novels.  There was a lot of re-cap from the other novels, and while having a recap can help remind readers of what happened previously, it started to take away from the story.  It started to feel like the momentum of the series started to slow down in the beginning of the novel, but once Kara revealed her powers the story picked back up. I was sucked back into the story, eager to know what will happen next. 

It almost felt like that story didn't progress much until about the last 75% of the novel.  There was a lot of build up to what will happen towards the end.  A lot was predictable, but then again Boyce tells the reader things will happen.  It does push the story along a little bit, but I think this book is intended to focus more on Kara learning her identity, who she truly is and her place within the world.    Throughout the other two books, Kara didn't feel connected to the people she was fighting to save, and now she does as well as change the viewpoint of Isens.  It is something that was needed to give Kara that connection to everyone and everything to really fight for unity.

I did enjoy this story, it was different from the previous ones in that it had a different air to it.  While it was slower and had a different feel to the story, it was one that is needed for the series.  It does deviate a little bit, but it is a necessary deviation.  I enjoyed reading it and look forward to reading the next one.  I do suggest not only thing book but also the series.  I give this novel a 3 out 5 rating.  S.M Boyce is doing a great job at developing a story and world.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Healer's Apprentice

Rose is the daughter of a wood-cutter, and has been appointed as the apprentice to the healer.  She tries to her best to do well and make the healer proud, but the sight of blood makes her queasy!  When the prince comes in needing assistance with a gash in his leg, Rose must gather the strength to mend his wound thus beginning an unlikely friendship.  Hamlien encourages Rose to accept his brother Rupert despite his reputation in an effort to get her off his own mind and heart.  Hamlien has other things to worry about such as finding an evil sorcerer so that his betrothed (whom he has never met) may come out of hiding.  Rose and Hamlien struggle to hide their feelings for one another, will they be able to forget their feelings?  Will the prince find his betrothed?  Read on to find out!

I have read Melanie Dickerson's Merchant's Daughter previously and enjoyed her re-telling of Beauty and the Beast.  Healer's Apprentice is her take on Sleeping Beauty.  She does a wonderful job at presenting a new story for these classic fairy tales.   The novel is considered Christian fiction and Dickerson does a great job incorporating those elements into the story without them being too overwhelming, such as the characters praying or encouraging one another with a verse.  It didn't feel overdone or thrown in the readers face.  Perfect execution of this.  Another thing she does wonderfully are the romantic elements.  She develops the romance through friendship and interaction.  Anytime Rupert suggests something scandalous Rose rebukes him informing how inappropriate it would be.  She even flusters at either man kissing her hand in public or being seen unaccompanied with them.

This being the second book of Dickerson's that I have read, I have come to love this author.  She has an outstanding talent for writing and captivating her audience.  While this is a "romance" novel it is not typical romance in that it does not have sex scenes and shows healthy development of the relationship, something young women need to read.  I think this is a great book for a young woman and older women as well to pick up and read on a Saturday afternoon.  I finished it in an evening, okay I may have been  up until 2 am wanting to finish it.  The story really draws you in and makes you eager to know what happens next.  I know there are other books in this series and I certainly will be looking for them.

Healer's Apprentice is the type of book to make young woman daydream about the perfect man.  Every woman wants a valiant man like Hamlien, some may even want a little imp like Rupert.  I am excited and happy to have this book in my collection.  I am giving it a rating of 4 out of 5.  The story of the evil sorcerer seemed to have taken a backside to the romance, I would have liked to see more of that in the story.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Steel Maiden

Elena would do anything to escape the Pit and establish a new life for her and Rose, even stealing from the Temple of the Sun priests.  She thought she was able to do it until she went to sell it to the buyer, and he betrayed her.  Now the priests has forced her to join a race for a magical stone with the promise of releasing her and Rose unharmed.  There is a secret to Elena that no one else in the race knows about, she has magic and possibly the power to overcome the priests.  Soon Elena finds herself in the middle of a rebellion against the priests and struggle for power.  All the while coming to terms with her new-found gifts and accepting who she has to become in order to accomplish her task.

This was a fairly easy book to read as it basically gives the reader a play by play of what is happening.  The sentences are very short and sequential.  "I shifted nervously.  The wound at the back on my neck throbbed.  The pain was increasing as we neared the city."  While this makes the book easy to follow and understand, it makes it feel like the reader is being spoon fed information.  This happened and then this happened and then this....Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed reading this book, I think there were ways to accomplish the same thing without it feeling completely laid out. Elena is an interesting character in that her magic is different from what have seen in other fantasy novels.  She has the ability to weld any weapon and is immune to other magic.  Richardson does a good job at bringing that ability to life in her character and the misunderstanding some of the people have towards magic-users.  I liked how she showed prejudice through this, once the other members of the race found out she was a magic user they reacted to her differently treated her worse than they did when they thought she was just a peasant woman. 

There were times when it felt like I had already read this book, the idea of a woman being chosen to be the king/priest's champion to capture a magical relic and discovers magic within herself.  It felt like it's been done before.  BUT, Richardson takes that idea and creates something new and unique with it. Some things were a little predictable like Mad Jack being a part of a rebellion within the Pit or Prince Landon betraying her, but any reader could see these things happening as we begin to feel like we are inside Richardson's head with this book.  We can see clearly her intent with the storyline and what she was doing.  There was no room for confusion.

I think she has a great beginning novel with Steel Maiden.  It gives the readers enough story to help launch their interest and keeps them wanting more from the story.  I know I am eager to find out what happens in the next book and where Richardson's story will lead readers.   Overall I will give this book a 3.5 out of 5 rating because There were strong and weak elements, Richardson could have taken the Steel Maiden thing so many different places and I hope she does so in the next novels.

Friday, November 25, 2016

White Heart

Mae is craft born, something she never wanted, something she wishes she could be rid of.  The realm of Aegunlund needs magic to survive.  The king has been searching for the first-craft born to marry his son and bring magic back to the lands.  The king's men come to Mae's village believing there is a girl there gifted with the craft, but they are not there for Mae.  In process and small battle ensues and Mae's father is killed and the potential bride is kidnapped.  She decides to venture into the woods to find her father's killer and the kidnapped girl.  Thus beginning a her quest through the Waerg forest with her stag and the prince as her companion.  She will face perils she never dreamed of, finds the meaning of being true to oneself and acceptance of her gift.

This is the first book in the White Hart series, and it is a well written beginning.  It sets the stage for what's to come in the following books.  She opens the book with Mae and her inner battle about her gift and slowly she comes to learn the truth behind it and what it means to accept it.  The theme of accepting oneself is very strong in this novel and it is done very well.  The novel ends perfectly as well leaving readers hungry for more. Dalton creates a main character that girls would want to emulate.  She is one that is easy to relate to and see yourself as.  She starts out strong and grows in strength.  She is independent and doesn't have her primary focus being on a man.  Sometimes it seems like Casimir is only there to help drive the story not as a romantic interest, and that is something that made me love this book.  Too often novels try to make a romantic interest happen when it isn't needed.  Dalton doesn't do that.

A lot of time we see magic in the form of fire, wind, ice, water, healing, electric or mind manipulation.  In White Hart it is nature based, something I enjoyed seeing, something different from what I have read in the past.  The story felt complete when I finished reading it, but knowing there is more to the series makes me want to see what will happen, where else will Dalton take this story.  The possibilities seem endless at this point.  It didn't feel predictable nor force fast.  It felt like I was beside Mae as everything happened.  I felt her emotions and actions throughout every scene.

This was a highly enjoyable read and I do recommend it to those who enjoy young adult novels.  It will show young readers a strong female lead who finds strength in herself and knows when to ask other's for help.  I will give this novel a 4 out of 5 rating. because I think more could have been done with Mae's magic.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Saint by Ted Dekker

Saint is the second book in Ted Dekker's "Paradise Series."  I have already talked about Showdown a few months back, and this book is a continuation of that story.  In Showdown, a strange man comes into town and people begin acting weird, evil almost.  Children in a monastery find books where what they write in the book, it comes true.  The children are a part of an experiment to see if they will remain innocent if they are secluded from the influences of the outside world.  Carl has been recruited for Black Ops and given his life to the most brutal kind of training any man or woman could endure. He was here because he belonged here. To the X Group, an assassin. The most effective killer in the world. And yet . . . Carl Strople struggles to retain fleeting memories that betray an even more ominous reality. He's been told part of the truth, but what's the rest. Invasive techniques have stripped him of his identity and made him someone new for this he is grateful. But there are some things they can't take from him. The love of a woman, unbroken loyalties to his past, the need for survival.

This second book in the Paradise series is just as amazing as the first.  The story is a little different and stems away from the kids in Paradise, and the kids in the monastery, but the reader gets the feeling that this story is equally important for the final showdown. This novel has a strong start and middle, but sadly the end starts to unravel and fall very short of expectations and the quality we tend to expect from Dekker.  It is a Christian novel, so there is a lot of emphasis on love and grace.  Some may think this takes away from the novel, but I think it adds a different quality to the thriller.

This is the second book of Ted Dekker's that I have ever read, and I read it a few years ago and still absolutely love Ted Dekker as a writer.  That being said, this is probably one of the novels I like the least.  As mentioned it is a part of series, but doesn't follow the story of the first book which threw me off a little but still helped cement my love for this author.  He has a way of writing that draws the reader into the story.  You will almost feel as if you are standing beside Carl as everything happens and that you are experiencing the same things that he is.  Dekker has the ability to implement the Christian elements without making it feel like the reader is being preached to, or overdone.  It is the right amount, at the right times.  While it feels like this is one of the less enjoyable books to read of his it still shows his mastery of the written word.

I don't think there has been a book of Dekker's that I have not recommended and this is no different.  You don't have to read the books in order to understand what is happen you could read this one first and then Showdown then Saint or Saint then Showdown.  But you do want to leave Sinner for last because it does tie the other two stories together.  I highly recommend this for those who haven't read Dekker yet as well as those who have.  I give this book a 3.5 out 5 because it does fall short at the end and becomes disappointing when knowing the skills of this author.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Nefertiti's Heart

Cara's father has recently passed away and it is now up to her to settle his estate.  She had hoped it would be something quick and easy, something she could put into the hands of someone else.  She never wanted to return to the home where she faced horrors 7 years ago at the hands of her "husband."  Her plans to only be in town a short time are disrupted when the police are looking at her for her father's death, as well as the murders of high society women her age.  The women are found wearing an Egyptian nightdress and a strange key embedded into their chests.  Cara struggles to deal with her feelings for Nathanial Trent, the viscount helping her dispose of her father's artifacts, her fears, as well as finding the truth behind this mysterious murders.  Their search leads them to Nefertiti's Heart and the legend surrounding it.  Could the legends be true?  Could her father have stumbled upon something beyond value?

I have a lot of conflicting feelings about this book, which is generally rare.  There is a lot going on in this story, so much that one would think the story wouldn't work or it would be too much, but it isn't.  It somehow works.  First we have the murder of her father, and the strange circumstances surrounding his death.  This alone would have made for a good book.  Cara searching to find out clues to who would have wanted her father dead while dealing with her own horrors.  But no there's more, then we have the romance between Cara and Nathanial.  He wants her, desires her but she is scare of physical contact.  Reasonable substory for the novel, I can accept that in the midst of searching for her father's killer.  BUT, then we have the murders of the high society girls.  The book focuses on their murders more than the father's.  It's almost as if his murder takes the back-burner because no one liked him.

I want to say that Cara is a strong character, but there are times when she doesn't seem as such.  She becomes almost a slave to her past and feelings for Nathanial.  I feel like there is so much more in Cara that readers don't get to see because so much emphasis was placed on what happened to her when she was 14.  When she reflects back to it, at times it took me away from the story, but at the same made me feel for her.  I liked Nathanial, but I would have wanted more imagery of what made him less reputable man of society.  Towards the end it felt like things were starting to get rushed, that things were being thrown at readers for suspects and things.  It began to feel like too much at one time.  The steampunk elements were nice, but I would have liked to have seen more description other than steam powered coached or mechanical horses.  I craved more of those elements.

Would I recommend this to someone else?  Sure, just because I have mixed feelings doesn't mean someone else won't completely love it.  I know this was the first book in a series, and I would be interested in seeing what is next in the series.  I would give A.W Exley another chance to simply blow me away, and I hope that happens with the next book.  I will give this book a 3 out 5 rating.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Oh such a tough life being a literary kitten.  Sometimes it seems there is no time to read a book between climbing, running, sleeping and terrorizing my brothers.  My human tries to tell me books aren't for noms, but I think she's wrong, they look tasty to me plus they take her attention away from me.  That's terrible isn't it?  My human and I are reading an interesting book at the moment...I think it's called "The Search for Significance."  Hmm her significance is to pet me and take care of me....maybe that's what this book says.  I will let you know what it is about soon.

Bye for meow!
~  Harley

Thursday, November 17, 2016

What She Left Behind

Sara and her mom had it all planned out, finally they will be able to escape her abusive father and start a new life together.  Sara waits eagerly for her mother to pick her up, but her mom never shows up and doesn't answer her phone.  She is convinced her father has something to do with her mother's disappearance, although he continues to claim she on a business trip.  Her friends know something isn't right as Sara begins to act on edge and jumpy, but she doesn't want to endanger anyone else.  As each day passes her fears and worry grow stronger as she tries to find out what has happened to her mother, and pray it doesn't happen to her.

This book is marketed as YA, but I honestly think adult readers would enjoy this thriller as well.  It is one of those books that will keep you on the edge of your seat. There is a dark, deep atmosphere to this book that doesn't waver through the story and draws you in.  I found myself almost biting my nails waiting to see what would happen next.  Sara is a strong female lead.  I like the fear in Sara that radiates off the page especially at the thought that she has no help from the cops as her father is still friends with many of them.  Bilen does a great job at making her readers feel the emotion with her characters.

While I loved this book, there were a few short comings such as the feeling of disconnection to some of the other characters.  We don't get a chance to feel connected to her mother before she disappears, and then Alex just pops onto the scene which is almost jarring.  I understand he provides the romantic interest for Sara, but in a story like this a romantic interest is not necessary and almost at times takes away from the story.  There are things that make the story memorable, but other elements that make it forgettable.  I feel like the story was very well written and well told to the readers.  Bilen does paint a terrifying picture with her words, it's just some elements were un-needed, others almost unrealistic.

If you enjoy mysteries, dark thrillers, suspense then this is a book you should look into adding to your collection.  What She Left Behind is Bilen's first novel, and I think it was a great beginning and look forward to seeing what she has in store for readers.  Overall I give this book a 3.5 out of 5.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Neverland Wars

Gwen is a typical 16 year old girl, dreaming about the boy in her algebra class and hoping he will ask her to homecoming to getting frustrated at her little sister and parents.  Then her little sister goes missing and her parents tell Gwen that Peter Pan has taken her to Neverland, and that magic is real.  She escapes to Neverland to try and bring her sister home only to find out there is a war going on between the two worlds.  Peter Pan is not the child we remember from the stories, but is now a teenager due to his constant visits to reality.  Gwen is faced with a decision of whether or not she will join Pan and his band of children in their war or hurry home to her normal teenage life

I have never been more disappointed in a book than I was with this one.  I had such high hopes for Neverland Wars.  I haven't read a "re-telling" of Peter Pan yet, so when I found this book I was eager to read it.  But when I got to the point where it discussed Peter Pan as kidnapping children and reality engaging a war with Neverland.  I am not sure what exactly I was expecting but that wasn't it.  Granted once Gwen gets to Neverland there is a lot of the Peter Pan elements like flying, child-like imagination, mermaids, the crocodile etc.  It was interesting of reality wanting to harness and utilize Neverland magic, I am not sure if it was executed properly.

It starts off setting the premise of Gwen being a teenage girl in love with the homecoming king, Jay Hoek.  I honestly thought somehow this would come back to him being somehow related to Captain Hook, but no cigar.  All of this becomes a moot point when Rosemary is taken and everyone is in an uproar, not because she is taken, but because they need to explain to Gwen now about magic and how it is being used to operate things like smartphones.  Ookay, cut the next scene where she runs off with Peter Pan to Neverland and the next large portion of the book feels like nonsense of the kids playing and having festivities.  At times Peter is borderline abusive to Gwen calling her a dumb girl and instead of standing up for herself, she takes it and agrees with him.  Like what the heck? any man calls me dumb and I will fight heaven and hell to prove him wrong.  So far were are about 70% into the story and there is still no sign of a war until suddenly a bombing attack of Molotov newspapers which is almost immediately forgotten.

Finally when there is about 10 - 15% of the story left is when things shift to Gwen going back to the reality (sans Rosemary which was her whole point of going to Neverland) and again nothing remotely close to the original plot line of a war between the worlds, but hey she finally kisses the boy of her dreams before being attacked by a shadow.  Yes a shadow....this is the part when I got completely confused and unsure of what in the world was happening.  I honestly have no idea what happens in this part, to the point where i kept asking WTF. 

The writing was good enough, I think the issue was there is a lot of build up for future novels.  Sometimes when trying to develop a series too much time is spent building up the story in the first book and I think that is what happened here.  I hope the next novel in the series (if there is one) follows the storyline better and provides more to the war between the two realities better.  Unfortunately because it came off as being so laughable, I am giving this a 2 out of 5.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Darkest Part of The Forest

Hazel and her brother grew up in a quiet small town, much like any other.  Everyone looked out for each other, supported one another.  They lived in a quaint little town, with one thing different from other towns.  They shared their forest with the faerie folk.  They have become a tourist attraction because in the forest is a close coffin, with a horned young man within.  Hazel and her brother grew up making up stories about who this boy could be.  One fateful night someone released him from his prison and something sinister starts attacking the children of the town.  Everyone seems to have their secrets and in time those secrets are revealed.  Will Hazel, her brother and Horned-boy be able to work together to save not only the town, but themselves from the mystery monster that plague their lives?

It has been a while since I have read such a well written book that completely captivated me from beginning to end.  I found myself whimpering when I needed to close it so I could sleep. The characters are so compelling and interesting, I could see myself as Hazel at times.  I have seen other reviews of people complaining about the LGBT element to the story (Ben falls in love with the Horned-boy).  In all honesty, I think it adds to the story.  Simply because two of the main characters are homosexual males does not take anything away from the story.  It was almost refreshing to read something that shows love from a different angle.

The story itself is well done, young prince imprisoned only to be awakened to be hunted and chased.  I was on the edge of my seat so to speak.  Black writes in  a way that drags her readers into the story.  It opens a whole new world to readers.  She ties everything together in a nice little bow that leaves readers craving more from her, I know I certainly am.  The story starts out slow while Black builds the world and characters for her readers, but once everything is established it all takes off like a bat out of hell from there.  She does a fantastic job at creating strong relationship ties that are believable and realistic.  What girl hasn't fallen in love with her brother's best friend?  Who hasn't longed for the fantasy relationship? Romantic relationships, familial and friendships are all crafted well within this story.

I love what Holly Black has created and I look forward to seeing what she has in store for readers.  I would give this book a 4.5 out of 5 because the beginning was a little slow to begin with.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Heir Of Fire

I am falling more and more in love with this series.  In the third installment we find Celaena begins to train and learn more about who she is the power that resides in the fae form.  While she is training she learns that there is someone or something targeting demi-fae and sucking the life energy out of them.  Meanwhile things at the castle are heating up and Chaol discovers more of the king's treachery as Dorian begins to fall for one of the healers who has a secret of her own.  Celaena grows stronger in her power and gains more allies to become the queen she is meant to be, but is she ready to take on this role and power that comes with it.  Is she ready to begin a battle save her kingdom and her people and rebuild all that they have lost?

I think so far this is one my favorite books in the series.  I loved that there was more of her fae form and she comes to accept who and what she is.  I also suspect a new potential love interest in Rowen.  Even though the book doesn't focus on that and doesn't suggest it, as a reader who loves the characters I want to ship them even is Maas doesn't.  I wish we had a little bit more from Rowen, but the mystery adds to the charm of his character.  I expect to see great things from him in the next novel, and interested to see how Chaol will react to his presence.  I liked how all three books have flowed together seamlessly.  It didn't feel like I have stopped reading the series for a couple of months.  It picked up right where the last one left off and provided enough backstory to remind readers of what happened in the previous novels, but not too much that made readers think it was simply re-telling the previous volumes.

Sarah Maas is an exceptional story teller.  I admit I was a little weary of the series when I started it, but I simply cannot wait to get my hands on the next book and have already started telling people they need to read this series.  Mass captures her readers from the very first words and develops a world that makes readers want to visit become a part of. I found the Blackbeak story line interesting as well and look forward to seeing more from them and seeing how Manon changes as we already started to see.

Overall this is a fantastic book that fantasy lover will enjoy greatly.  If you haven't started reading this series then you need to begin it,  I give this book in the series a 5 out of 5 as it just keeps getting better.  Characters remain flawless and continue to develop even when you think they can't anymore.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Newest Addition

 Recently there was a new addition to the Literary Cat family.  A gentleman at my church had brought in a basket of kittens and this precious gem sat on my shoulder and purred away.  At the moment she is a little over 2 months old and completely made herself at home.

Her name is Harley and she is a little fluff ball of energy and likes to climb, particularly my back while I am sitting on the floor.  At first we were worried about how she would get along with the other two cats, but she worked her way into their hearts as she has done mine.  Harley makes a beautiful fun, youthful addition to the family.  We shall see how she responds to books.  Once already I have had to tell her we don't nom on books.  She is precious and I love having a young kitten in the house again.   You shall see much more pictures of her cuteness.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Hyde by. Lauren Stewa

 Eden is a kind, loyal, sweet woman simply trying to escape her demons.  She doesn't lie, cheat, or anything else that would trigger the monster, especially not waking up in a random man's bed.  But that is exactly what happens, and the scariest part is that Eden doesn't remember how she got into his bed.  She begins having flashbacks to people and places she doesn't remember and the one person who could have the answers is the man who's bed she woke up in.  Mitch has his own demons he battles on a regular basis.  He struggles to keep people at bay and goes out of his way to try and avoid Eden's attempts for answers until he finds out that she faces the same demons he does.  They both think what they are battling within is something they were born with, not something that was created and controlled within.  Nor do they know they are being manipulated into different scenarios.  Where will this take them, will both Mitch and Eden learn how to control the beasts within.

Okay so this is supposed to be a take on the Jekyll and Hyde story, but isn't marketed as a re-telling.  While there are other amazing reviews of people loving this book, I do not share their enthusiasm for this book.  While I did find it a good read, and full of potential there were points where the book had lost me.  The book took a long time to progress and develop, the characters while interesting and seemingly complex they fell short of believable.  Some of the transition points felt choppy and difficult to move on.  It left me with more questions than answers.  For example had did Mitch and Eden be chosen for what they are?   Why did Mitch know what he was but Eden not know?

Regardless of the points where the book fell short for me it was an interesting story and not what I was expecting at all. Honestly I am still not sure how i feel about this book.  It is the first in the series so I am willing to read the other books to see where the story goes and if some of the questions I have get answered.  I am going to give this a 3 out of 5 stars because there were moments when I wondered what the heck was happen and how things were progressing the way they were.

Monday, October 31, 2016


A few month back I added "Coven" to my to read list on Goodreads because I seen Andi O'Connor was the editor and as some of you know I absolutely lover her work.  Then I went to a literary convention here in picture and met up with some author friends.  Imagine my surprise when I see Coven sitting on their table!  They had worked with Andi, and had a short story included in this anthology.  So this book is incredibly special to me for various reason, that aside and people know I will remain completely bias in this review. 

The majority of the stories I loved reading.  So many of them included everything that caught my attention and held me throughout.  Many made me want to find the author and read more of their work. It is a great anthology that introduces readers to fantastic authors like Shenoa Carroll-Bradd and Benjamin Sperduto. I love that it includes a little introduction to the authors before their stories that help readers get to know the author.

I absolutely loved "Across Silence and Darkness" where in order to have a magical gift one must sacrifice something. dr. derryl can turn dying people into animals. His world is shaken when a dying woman asks for him specifically, and quickly finds out how he knows her.  It was such a heartwarming story that I loved reading.

I am not one for anthologies, but   I am happy I bought the book to help support my friends and favorite authors, because I found numerous new authors to completely love.  I give the anthology a 4 out of 5 rating and look forward to looking up some of the other author included in the book.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Tree Spirited Woman

This was a short little book, easily read within an hour or two, that focuses on many aspects of life that we struggle with on a daily basis.  It tells of one woman's meetings with a woman who referred to herself as Tree Spirited Woman.  The narrator(author) spends time with this woman learning her wisdom and knowledge she accumulated throughout the years.  It is a book that makes you look at your own spiritual journey and wonder how you can turn away from the negative things in your life or negative outlook on this and find positive gentle ways of dealing with them such as death and heartache.

While a lot of the things mentioned in this book are things that we have heard before in other forms, but this one puts it in a story format and addresses the ideas in a new light and encourages readers to think about these things differently than they previously have in the past.  I know it has made me rethink some things.  This is one of those books that you will re-read in the future and learn something new each time you pick it up. 

I found it to be a fantastic book to read and enjoyed it.  I am glad I picked it up on an impulse.  I believe I will be reading it again in the near future and see what else I can pick up from it.  I will give this lovely little book a 4 out 5 rating because I actually wish it was longer.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

12th Demon

With Halloween right around the corner, I thought it would be appropriate to review something a little scary.  Okay maybe not too scary, I haven't been able to bring myself to read something from the horror genre, but at some point I will.

On the cusp of the demise of the 13th demon, the 12th demon tries to make his mark and take over 13's territory, but he is not the only one trying to do so.  Raven is a woman with certain skills that make her appealing to those who want someone to wind up "in the gutter" so to speak.  When she is hired to assisnate various members of Kendrick's board she runs into Jonathan Steel and is amazed he is still alive.  She holds a portion of his past that he still struggles to remember.  After seeing her he begins to get more memories back, but nothing concrete yet.  He is working to obtain guardianship of Joshua who makes it his mission to save his girlfriend from people who believe themselves to be vampires and they try to "recruit" Joshua in the process.  With a cast of interesting characters, will Jonathan be able to save Josh, regain his memories and defeat the 12th demon?

There is so much going on in this book that it is hard to pinpoint where to start this review, other than saying there is so much going on in this book.  As a reader you don't know what is happening at times and may find yourself wanting to skip over parts of the book.  Please don't do that because you may just miss something important.  This is the second book in the Jonathan Steel series, following the 13th Demon.  There is enough background included in this story that you don't need to read the first book to understand what is happening.  We are given more to Jonathan's background but still some questions regarding who or what he is, Raven just adds to these questions.

The novel does hold on the readers from the beginning until the end, but I admit there are moments when the story felt like it dragged on and bordered upon the cliche especially with the inclusion of the wanna-be vampires.  Josh continues to be the typical teenage boy and Hennigan does a great job at portraying his characters the way he intends.  I love the way he writes and look forward to reading the next book in the series which is entitled.....11th Demon.  Surprise right?

As for the rating I will give it a 3 out 5 because there were numerous moments when the story dragged on and some of the flashback parts felt forced and drull.  That being said I do suggest this book to other thriller, spiritual thriller, even mystery fans. 

Monday, October 24, 2016


Graylee was a typical high school student.  Dressed in her own style, tried to do well in school while remaining somewhat invisible.  What makes Graylee special is that she has magical powers, as does her twin sister and several other students in the school, but they are skilled at keeping their gifts a secret.  Graylee was once one of the most gifted among her coven, until one day her gift started to mysteriously not work as well.  Then suddenly and unexpectedly Gray passes away, and through the loving attempts of her mother to get her back, Gray ends up sharing the body of her twin sister.  Every other day Graylee is herself and the other days she is her sister.  The days when she is herself she strives to find out the answers to her death and magic.  The answer is not something she expecting and shakes her to her core.

I was hooked on this book straight from the beginning.  It was really unpredictable and found myself genuinely surprised at the end.  Jefford tells a great tale of magic and the bonds of friendship and dangers of jealousy among those with magic.  Entangled is the first book in a series and I will be sure to read the other books to see what happens to Graylee and her sister Charlee.  I loved the character of Graylee and could see myself being friends with her in high school, Charlee is the exact opposite of Graylee and Jefford does a fantastic job at distinguishing between the two girls once they begin sharing a body.

There is a lot happening in this book that sets the stage for future books.  It is a great start the series and gets readers interested in the storyline.  I am excited to see what else will happen to Gray in the future books.  I would recommend this to young adults and mature adults who enjoy a good fantasy novel.  I could also see this novel being made in a movie gaining a strong fan-base.  The rating, is a 3.5 out of 5 because I think Jefford could have done more with the character of Raj and made him a little more bad-ass rather than the brooding young man with a crush on Gray.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Heart of Evil

I have read a few of Heather Graham's novels in the past and have enjoyed a great deal of her books.  When I picked up this novel, I had such high hopes for it, but those hopes feel real short.  The story focuses on Ashley Donegal, who's family plantation is known for dining, atmosphere and legends.  They play host to re-enactments from the Civil War.  After one of these enactments a corpse shows up in the same situation.  She turns to a team of paranormal investigators which includes a previous love interest.  As the continue to investigate they find secrets buried deep within the plantation.  Will they be able to unravel these mysterious secrets. 

I found that this book seemed to fall short of the other books that I have read by Heather.  In this book the ghosts interact with the characters which is something that I have seen in the other books, but in this one it seemed everyone could see the ghosts not just a select few which seemed to take away from the feel of the book.  There are to many of them and the are too prominent in this book.  It is better when there is only one or two ghosts in the book but not a whole bunch.  It almost felt like being spoon fed everything rather than learning and developing as the story developed.  I almost didn't finish the book I felt so cheated. 

I have a huge fan of Heather Graham and have enjoyed many of her books in the past, I am dumbfounded at how much I disliked this book.  The writing almost did not feel like it was Heather writing it.  It felt completely different from the other book which had so much mystery and thrills in it where this one was almost predictable.  The romance in the book was incredibly cheesy and unrealistic.  The novel completely drags on and feels like it goes no where,  it so relentlessly slow that it took me months to read it rather than the day it normally takes me to read a novel.  I kept walking away from it, not feeling compelled to read it.  I kept with it because I had hoped it would get better, but it didn't.

While I would recommend Heather Graham's novels to other mystery lovers and those who like a paranormal aspect to their stories, I don't think I would recommend this one.  Sadly I give this novel a 1.5 out of 5.  This was far from one of Heather's better novels, and I do know they get better because I've read other books in the series.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fall is starting to make it's presence known, while i love this time of year and it is one of my favorites.  I greatly miss the days when I can lay out and enjoy a book book, good drink and the beautiful weather.  Hopefully there will be a nice day soon that I can sit out in the cool crisp air and read a lovely book.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Record of the Fallen Vampire

This was an interesting manga series to say the least.  I had picked it up because the art work looked interesting and the idea of a vampire king looking for his queen seemed interesting to me.  What I got was something a little different.  What I got included half-vampires, an alien invasion and a vampire queen bent on revenge.  There seems to be a lot of stuff going on in this manga series.  A lot of weird things mixed together.  There were things that didn't make sense with the storyline, I don't think they needed the alien invasion part, but the author made it work with the storyline. 

I have always loved the art of different manga series' and this one is no different.  I love the art work of Fallen Vampire and fell in love with it from the first volume I read.  With 9 volumes, it doesn't seem like there is enough time for the author to appropriately tell the story.  There were times when things seemed to happen too quickly and other times when it seemed like nothing was happening.  Although the storyline felt flawed, I still fell in love with the story!  I was surprised at how much I simply loved this series I mean vampires fighting aliens, how bizarre is that?  But it still draws you in, maybe it is the artwork that sucks readers into the story like a succubus.

Overall it was an interesting idea, how well it would have been executed in a traditional novel, I am not sure.  I don't think it would have been as entertaining to read.  I would give this series a 3 out of 5 rating because it was captivating at times and you couldn't help loving the vampire king.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Scary Tales of Scariness by Chris Pisano and Brian Koscienski

Chris and Brian such interesting characters.  This year at Confluence I got to spend another day with them (I spent a day with them last year as well) and the shenanigans these to come up with...  I also go the chance to hear them do a reading or two from some of their books and there is nothing like hearing these stories come to life through these two.  This book contains a collection of short stories featuring Chris and Brian as well as Jeff  Young as they interact with the creatures that are supposed to be scary like vampires, spiders and the Devil.  But true to their nature, it ends up being funny rather than scary.

These two authors have a unique ability to bring humor to their writing regardless of the genre they are writing in.  Their character personas are true to their real life personas.  The speech patterns and actions are reflective of who they truly are.  It's fun seeing these characters come to life in different stories.  And knowing them personally adds a different dimension to the stories as well.  If you get the chance to meet them at a convention do so, they are a hilarious duo.  You can almost picture these two nuts interacting with things like the crocogator.  Just complete randomness and humor.

It was nice to take a break from series books and read something that would lighten the mood and bring humor into the day.  There are three or four more books in the Drunken Comic Book Monkey series and I do look forward to picking them up as well.  You never know what you are going to get when reading these two authors, or when you spend time with them!  If you enjoy books filled with humor and randomness then I highly suggest this book to you.  I give it a 4 out of 5 rating.  Love these guys.

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Mystery Box by Eva Pohler

Yvette comes home to a box sitting on the stoop, having been delivered by UPS.  When she opened the box she discovers baby clothing and a card addresses to a woman named Mona and a different address.  When she calls UPS the inform her that there was no mistake, that the box was to be delivered to her.  She decides to take the book to Mona, and discovers she is the neighbor who has been giving her a lot of troubles.  Mona tells Yvette that she has a story she needs to tell her and spend the next several days asking Yvette to come over in the afternoon to listen to her sordid tale of love, abuse, and kidnapping.  Throughout these visits Yvette believes someone else is in the house despite Mona claiming the sounds she hears is the cat.  Through her tale, Yvette learns of a shocking secret Mona has been carrying for several years.  Now Yvette needs to decide if Mona is truly friend or is she foe.

I was honestly blown away by this book.  I seriously could not put it down, and when I did it was ll I could think about.  Eva Pohler is truly a talented wordsmith and creates a story that will chill you to the core, but at the same time evoke sympathy and concern for the characters.  There are points when the reader isn't sure if they should feel bad for Mona or feel like she silly for getting involved with her professor, but regardless of poor decisions she makes, no deserves the things the professor puts her through.  Pohler describes everything in fine detail that makes the reader feels as if they are a part of the story listening beside Yvette.

I was almost able to predict what Mona's deep secret was, but at the same time there are things that were unpredictable and surprising.  The ending came up fast and seemed to wrap up faster than the rest of the story.  Pohler takes time to build up the climax so the ending came quickly for me and I wanted more from the story even though I know the characters found their appropriate ends.  Eva does a fantastic job with this book and I have added some of her other books like the Gatekeeper's Saga, and The Mystery Tomb to my to read lists.  I am excited to pick them up!  I give this book a resounding 5 out of 5 because it was truly a work of art.