Friday, October 30, 2015

Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen

288 p.
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Published: 10/27/15
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review
A beautiful violinist is haunted by a very old piece of music she finds in a strange antique shop in Rome. 
The first time Julia Ansdell picks up The Incendio Waltz, she knows it’s a strikingly unusual composition. But while playing the piece, Julia blacks out and awakens to find her young daughter implicated in acts of surprising violence. And when she travels to Venice to find the previous owner of the music, she uncovers a dark secret that involves dangerously powerful people—a family who would stop at nothing to keep Julia from bringing the truth to light.
My thoughts:

Another book I almost DNF'd because of one incident at the beginning. *spoiler (highlight to read)* She finds her cat stabbed and the likely culprit is her 3 yr old child. Two things I hate. Killing the animal and involving a kid. UGH. *end spoiler* I decided to push on because I had to know what happened to her child and I'm glad I did. Note to authors... stop it. Don't do what I said in the spoiler. I hate it and you could have done at least some of the same thing differently. Okay, off my soapbox. ;)

The rest of the story was engaging and I found myself captivated with the mystery Julia seems bound within the music. This part of the story feels haunting and paranormal and we aren't quite sure what is real. I love feeling off set in that manner. The story also shares a POV with Lorenzo who is an Italian Jew in WWII and how his story enter-twines with the music Julia found. The author ends up telling the story of Lorenzo and the others without dwelling on what happened but makes it no less horrific. The mystery is about how the music came about, and the players within the story both past and present.

I give this book 4 stars. I loved the authors prose and it was perfect to convey both the beauty of a piece of music as well as the tragic circumstances that surround it's inception and it's discovery. We find out all the parts of the story in the end and it is a satisfying ending to a short but powerful book. I do recommend it and if you find yourself in the same position as I did in the beginning, push through it, you will be happy you did.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

496 p.
Publisher: Random House Delacorte
Published: 10/27/15
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review
Set in gilded age New York, These Shallow Graves follows the story of Josephine Montfort, an American aristocrat. Jo lives a life of old-money ease. Not much is expected of her other than to look good and marry well. But when her father dies due to an accidental gunshot, the gilding on Jo’s world starts to tarnish. With the help of a handsome and brash reporter, and a young medical student who moonlights in the city morgue, Jo uncovers the truth behind her father’s death and learns that if you’re going to bury the past, you’d better bury it deep. 
Josephine Montfort is from one of New York's oldest, most respected, and wealthiest families. Like most well-off girls of the Gilded Age, her future looks set - after a finishing school education, she will be favourably married off to a handsome gentleman, after which she'll want for nothing. But Jo has other dreams and desires that make her long for a very different kind of future. She wants a more meaningful and exciting life: she wants to be an investigative journalist like her heroine Nellie Bly. But when Jo's father is found dead in his study after an alleged accident, her life becomes far more exciting than even Jo would wish. Unable to accept that her father could have been so careless, she begins to investigate his death with the help of a young reporter, Eddie Gallagher. It quickly becomes clear he was murdered, and in their race against time to discover the culprit and his motive, Jo and Eddie find themselves not only battling dark characters on the violent and gritty streets of New York, but also their growing feelings for each other.
My thoughts:

This isn't the gothic novel I expected from the blurb or the cover. There are dark aspect to this book, but really it is a historical mystery fiction. It really is a character book and while I loved Josephine's growth in the book, I did have a few problems with it. Really only one. She was terribly naive. Now, I did expect someone who is very sheltered to be naive, but she supposedly wanted to become a bluestocking and read accounts from Nellie Bly and had several papers snuck in by trusted servants. So, when she didn't know what a madam was or what she did with the girls, it did annoy me a bit. Not because she didn't catch on right away but because it seemed labored upon more than once. Even after it was fully explained to her she still had another incident where she was more naive than she should have been.

I also didn't like Eddie. He was fine at first but when he wanted her to give up her life for his, I thought it was very selfish. He knew what she would be giving up and he also knew she didn't quite have a clue. So, I found him very self-centered. This was not the only reason I didn't like him and toward the end I wanted someone else for Josephine. I hope that doesn't give too much away since the romance was secondary to the mystery at hand.

Now the mystery was done rather well. I really enjoyed how that played out and how it twisted within the story. In fact, I did guess one aspect of the mystery but not the others. I also didn't mind the Scooby Doo ending where the bad guy explains why they did it. There was even a "if it wasn't for you... (read crazy kids)" in there. LOL I did find that entertaining.

I give this book 3 stars. I did like Jo's growth and the mystery within the book. I enjoyed the historical references as it pertained to women at that time. I also loved the secondary character of Fay and how her mystery came about. I did have some problems with the romance but those who are reading the book for the mystery and history will enjoy this story a lot.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Series: Black Blade #2
368 p.
Publisher: Kensington
Published: 10/27/15
Source: From author for review
Something Wicked This Way Comes... 
As a thief, I stick to the shadows as much as possible. But when the head of the Sinclair Family picks me to compete in the Tournament of Blades, there's no escaping the spotlight—or the danger. 
Even though he's my competition, Devon Sinclair thinks I have the best shot at winning what's supposed to be a friendly contest. But when the competitors start having mysterious "accidents," it looks like someone will do anything to win—no matter who they hurt. 
As if I didn't have enough to worry about, mobster Victor Draconi is plotting against Devon and the rest of my friends, and someone's going around Cloudburst Falls murdering monsters. One thing's for sure. Sometimes, humans can be more monstrous than anything else...
My thoughts:

The first book started this series with a bang and this one follows. I think it is a great follow up to the first book and we get more insight into Lila's background as she finds out more about herself than she thought possible. This is also a good book for character growth and I can see Lila grow up and toward the woman we all know she will become. Of course there are some impossible things looming in the future so she needs all the maturity she can get.

I also, like the other Jennifer Estep books, love her secondary characters. Oscar was a little bit more in the background in this book, but still lent some loyalty, sweetness and twang to this world. I also cannot say enough about Devon who is the perfect swoony character for Lila to fall in love with even if this book is light on the romance. This is a good thing since I think it would have gotten in the way of the story and growth as well as her own realization into what she really wants in life.

I give this book 4 1/2 stars. It is an excellent book in this trilogy and I will be sad when it comes to a close. This is a great book for those that enjoy UF and YA and I recommend you don't skip any books to get into this one. Can I have the next book now? :)

Friday, October 23, 2015

Audiobook Review with Crafts!: A Sorceress of His Own by Dianne Duvall

Series: The Gifted Ones #1
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
11 hrs. 25 min.
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published 6/5/15
Source: Hoopla/Library
Since the day Lord Dillon earned his spurs, rumors of his savagery on the battlefield have preceded him into every room, stilling tongues and sparking fear. Weary of battle, he wishes only to find a woman he can wed who will approach him not with fear, but with the tenderness that has been absent from his life for so long. Yet only the wisewoman seems invariably at ease in his presence. Perhaps because she garners the same fear in others that he does himself. 
For seven years, Alyssa has been by Lord Dillon's side, counseling him from the shadows, healing him with her hands, and staving off the worst of his loneliness while his fearsome reputation keeps others at bay. Blessed--or cursed--with gifts that label her a sorceress, she is forced to conceal her youth and the love she harbors for him beneath umbral robes that lead Dillon and his people to believe she is the same aged wisewoman who served his father. 
All is revealed, however, and passions flare when an enemy threatens Dillon's life and Alyssa sacrifices everything to save him. When Dillon discovers that the wisewoman is far from elderly, he is instantly entranced. And, as he and Alyssa work together to defeat an enemy bent on destroying them both, Dillon will risk anything--even the wrath of his king--to be with her.
 My thoughts:

I'm a fan of Dianne's other series, Immortal Guardians, so I had to pick this one up. It is an offshoot, a prequel series in a way to the Immortal Guardians which takes place in 1198. We do see Seth and Roland from the other series make an appearance so that made it a nice bridge between the two series. I also loved the way things slowly developed between the two and how both characters grew within each other's love. Not just one character had some self-esteem issues but both and the way they handled it made me smile. Alyssa is wise but yet naive, Dillon is forceful and yet vulnerable. I really liked how this played out between the two characters.

There is not just romance within the book. As with the other series, there is war and someone trying to get the better of our heroes. You get several action scenes so you are not left wanting in that area. I enjoyed the ending and like how things evolved. In one way the answer was too easy, in another way it made sense. I think I was satisfied in how it wrapped up and so I'm looking forward to listening to the next book.

Kirsten Potter did an excellent job of narrating the book. Her voicing of the different characters were well done and she also did a good job of being the crone as well as the young woman with Alyssa's character. She really brought the scenes to life. I also didn't mind her male voices at all.

I give this audio 4 stars. I enjoyed this world and can't wait to see more crossover as the series continues. I love getting little easter eggs in stories like this and really look for them. I recommend it to those that love PNR with a fantasy edge.

And this is what I made while listening to the audio:
Teardrop Sling Bag 
pattern by RlR creations
Embroidery design by UrbanThreads
It features a flap pocket on one side, a pocket on the middle/narrow edge (I overlapped the design on the edge so it would be more hidden) and two pockets on the inside (same fabric on inside). The zipper pull was from my own stash. I didn't have a program to help me place the embroidery so there was a lot of nail biting...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

On My Wishlist: Brighter than the Sun by Darynda Jones

Brighter than the Sun
by Darynda Jones
Series: Charlie Davidson #8.5
112 p.
Published: 10/06/15
Publisher: St. Martin Press
All his life, Reyes Alexander Farrow has suffered the torments of the damned. Only one thing has given him hope: the woman who radiates a light that no mortals can see; a light that only the departed can see... 
Told from his point of view, BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN chronicles the first time Reyes ever encountered Charley, and how their relationship has been the one thing that can either save him or doom him.

I have yet to get my little hands on this novella and me want! Reyes is mine... ;) Just so you know...  

Monday, October 19, 2015

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Series: The Illuminae Files #1
608 p.
Publisher: Knopf for Young Readers
Published: 10/20/15
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. 
This afternoon, her planet was invaded. 
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit. 
But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again. 
Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.
My thoughts:

I have mixed feelings about epistolary books. I love the creativity of how it comes together, how it tells a tale, but I have a hard time connecting to the characters. It was the same in much of this book. I worried as to how I would see the book in the end, but fortunately I found myself fully engaged toward the end of the book and I also didn't want to put it down.

The mystery slowly reveals itself through a lot of visuals and dossier type of storytelling. We follow two characters, Ezra and Kady but Kady seems to be the biggest focus in this book. We find out how they came aboard these ships and what they are facing now. Without me giving too much away, I will say that if sci-fi has taught me anything (and this book is no exception) is that you should be nice to your AI and not give it too much power over you. Future people reading this review should see this as a warning... or as an I told you so. ;)

I give this book 4 stars. It is one that really took me by surprise and had a twist in the end I didn't see coming. Although it did take most of the tale for me to get into it, once I was there I didn't want to leave the world and wanted to know more. While there isn't a cliffie at all, there is space (heh) for another book. I look forward to getting into that one as well. I think this book may have changed my mind about epistolary books. I also think this story would work well as a multimedia book.

Bloggy PS. You can goto to get excerpts, vids and little details about this book. Here is one of the vids:

Friday, October 16, 2015

Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

Series: Snow Like Ashes #2
479 p.
Published: 10/13/15
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Edelweiss and publisher for review
It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell. 
Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves? 
Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats? 
As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.
My thoughts:

I adored the first book and I couldn't wait to get into this one. While the first book was more on the edge of your seat action, this one was more political and full of intrigue. Not everyone will like the pace of this one, but I see it as necessary for Meira's growth as queen as well as what is happening in the political machinations behind the war they are fighting. Those that need action will not be disappointed in the end.

In this book we not only get Meria's POV but Mather's POV as well. We see his struggles and growth mirror somewhat of Meira and both start to become stronger not only from their torment but from those they care about as well. Both learn from their mistakes but still hold hope for the future of their people.

While there were times I wanted to yell at Meria because I could see some of the twists coming a mile down the road. It made sense why she didn't see them, but my stress level still didn't wane because of that knowledge. I still wanted her to see around the corner she was not ready to see. Despite my growing frustration, I could see her growing in knowledge so I knew it would only be a matter of time before she couldn't refuse to see what was in front of her any longer. I also understood why she couldn't see it. Yea, I know... cryptic is my middle name, but this is all I can give you without totally spoiling the plot.

I give this book 4 stars. I really enjoyed the book despite the cliffie ending. I don't think I minded to cliffie as much since I got the big answer I needed even though I need to know more. It is a good companion to the first book. Do NOT read these out of order. :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Blog Tour with Giveaway!: Havoc Rising by Brian S. Leon

Havoc Rising
by Brian S. Leon
250 p.
Publisher: Red Adapt Publishing
Published: 6/16/15
Source: CBB Book Promotions for review and tour
Eternal life. Eternal battle. 
Steve—Diomedes Tydides to his Trojan War buddies—just had a bad day on his charter fishing boat in San Diego, but when the goddess Athena calls on her faithful warrior for another secret mission, he’s ready. The bomb that exploded inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art isn’t the crime American authorities think it is. Someone also stole the Cup of Jamshid, and Diomedes knows its fortune-telling abilities won’t be used for anything benign. 
Though Diomedes recovers the Cup from a determined shaman holed up beneath Central Park, when he finds his allies slain and the Cup taken once more, he knows he’s up against a truly powerful enemy. Over a millennium has passed since Diomedes last contended with Medea of Colchis, deranged wife of Jason the Argonaut, but neither her madness nor her devotion to Hecate, goddess of witchcraft, has waned, and she intends to use the Cup of Jamshid to release across the world a dark brand of chaos unseen in human history. 
Immortal since the Trojan War, Diomedes must once again fight for mortals he understands less and less, against a divine evil he may never truly defeat.
Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Google Play
My thoughts:

This reminded me of the Kevin Herne series, Iron Druid Chronicles in the way that mythology is real and most people know nothing about it. The main character has to work with and against these mythological entities to help humanity. However, in this series Diomedes is a team player even if he has to lead the team. He works much better with others.

The worldbuilding was well done here and it mostly deals with the Greek mythology. Other mythos are thrown in and also have a place in the world. We deal with unsurmountable odds like in most UF and the fight scenes were well done. I also enjoyed the ending which felt complete but still left enough space for more books in a series. While there is also potential for romance in the book, there is very little of it in this installment. However, foreshadowing tells us there will be more tension in that area in his life. My only small complaint is that I would have loved to have more of the worldbuilding and more about the mythos he works with and against.

I give this book 4 stars and recommend it to anyone who enjoys UF and fantasy. It also has some great secondary characters. and I look forward to reading more about this world and Diomedes. Would love to see more of his past worked into his present.


Brian S. Leon is truly a jack of all trades and a master of none. He writes just to do something with all the useless degrees and skills he’s accumulated over the years. Most of them have no practical application in civilized society, anyway. His interests include mythology and fishing, in pursuit of which he has explored jungles and museums, oceans and seas all over the world.

His credentials include an undergraduate degree from the University of Miami and a master’s degree from San Diego State University, plus extensive postgraduate work in evolutionary biology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he studied animals most people aren’t even aware exist and theories no one really cares about anyway.

Over his varied career, Brian’s articles have been published in academic journals and popular magazines that most normal people would never read. They can be found in The American Society of Primatologists, the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Proceedings of the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the like.

His more mainstream work came as an editor for Marlin and FlyFishing in Salt Waters magazines, where he published articles about fishing and fishing techniques around the world. He won a Charlie Award in 2004 from the Florida Magazine Association for Best Editorial, and several of his photographs have appeared on a number of magazine covers—almost an achievement of note, if they weren’t all fishing magazines.

Always a picky reader, Mr. Leon enjoys stories by classical masters like Homer and Jules Verne as well as modern writers like J.R.R. Tolkien, David Morrell and Jim Butcher. These books, in combination with an inordinate amount of free time, inspired him to come up with tales of his own.
Brian currently resides in San Diego, California.

AUTHOR ONLINE: Website | Facebook | Twitter @BSLAuthor



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Monday, October 12, 2015

Author Blog Post and Giveaway!: Motor City Shakedown by Jonathan Watkins

• Character Insight: Darren then vs. now - compare and contrast his character before and after his “fall”

A lot of Darren’s past is explored in the books that follow Motor City Shakedown, so I have to skirt some of those details to avoid potential spoilers. But, yes, Darren was certainly a different lawyer before the tragedy that sent him spiraling down to the depths in which we find him at the beginning of the book.

When I picture that earlier Darren, he’s the sort of lawyer who likes to get in front of juries. He’s a talker and a charmer, someone who can make convincing appeals to both reason and emotion. A trial lawyer.

Firms have these guys, the ones whose time is not spent researching or writing motions and briefs. Other lawyers work that side of the case. When the drop-dead date for trial shows up, most times there is a last minute settlement or plea and the jury is never needed. When that doesn’t happen, and a trial is inevitable, the lawyers who have been working the motions and doing the research and what-not aren’t the lawyers who are presented to the jury. Because this is ‘The Show’, and you need whoever your person is that can best put on a show. Darren was one of those guys.

Now, everything I wrote above is predicated on an unfortunate truth: a defendant only gets that kind of legal representation if they are rich. Not even middle class people can afford a legal team to keep them out of trouble. So while it wasn’t explicitly delved into in the book, Darren was likely associated with a prominent firm or was at least someone that other firms would bring in for the trial phase of a lucrative case.

Beyond his professional life, I think Darren was lonely. Ever since moving to Detroit, he’s lead a solitary existence up in the penthouse apartment of the Fort Sheldon Tower. I don’t think he dated all that much, not just because he was so busy with work, but also because he isn’t particularly frivolous with his heart. He was alone in his luxurious perch and probably his drinking habit first began there, though it took a tragedy to really turn that habit into something self-destructive.

When we find him, it’s in the aftermath. He’s taking court appointed cases, representing the poor. He’s been struggling with that new reality. Court appointed work means you, as the lawyer, handle every single aspect of the case from start to finish. The drudge work and the little legal details are all up to you. It is very rare that you go to trial and even when you do there is no money whatsoever to put on expert witnesses or hire jury consultants or craft good presentation aids. The most extravagant expense is usually running down to the local Salvation Army or Goodwill and finding a second-hand suit for your client to wear in front of the jury instead of his jailhouse jumper.

All of that has certainly been an eye opener for Darren by the time we find him running his law practice out of the back booth of Winkle’s Tavern. He still has a passion to help people, to be useful, but he’s paralyzed with guilt and self-medicating with alcohol. The phone rings, a big case is waved under his nose, and he ambles out into the light of day with the hope that maybe he can start his life over and get back to who he used to be. Then Izzy unwittingly stumbles into his life and it stops being about getting back things he’s lost, and instead becomes more about looking to a future where he doesn’t have to be alone anymore, up there in his tower.

Motor City Shakedown
by Jonathan Watkins
Series: Bright and Fletcher #1
Published: 11/5/15
Publisher: Carina Press
Amazon | B&N
Darren Fletcher, once the rising star of Detroit's criminal justice system, has fallen far. All the way to an office in a smoky dive bar on the wrong side of the city. But a single phone call could be the key to climbing out of his downward spiral: a police brutality victim needs his help, and the family's willing to pay. Big-time. 
Issabella Bright's daily panic attacks aren't entirely due to her decision to forgo a flashy firm and go out on her own, but that's a large part of it. She never thought she'd resort to ambulance chasing, until the story about a SWAT raid gone wrong proves too intriguing to ignore—it's the perfect chance to prove she made the right decision. 
But Issabella's not the only one after the job. 
Darren's connections are enough to get past the cops stonewalling them both at the hospital, but only a judge's order makes Issabella even consider teaming up with the disheveled attorney and his weird—and weirdly effective—methods. But as the case deepens and it becomes clear the Detroit PD is concealing a much bigger conspiracy, Darren and his methods may be all that keep her alive.
About Jonathan Watkins:
Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Jonathan Watkins lives and works in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Art and Children's Literature from Eastern Michigan University and his Juris Doctorate from Thomas M. Cooley Law School. A life-long fan of detective fiction, Jonathan is the author of the Bright and Fletcher mystery series. He lives in Ann Arbor with his wife, who is too good for him. They are blessed with two kind-hearted sons.

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Tour Schedule:

Monday, September 28th - Supernatural Snark
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Friday, October 2nd - Bewitched Bookworms

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Friday, October 9, 2015

We'll Never Be Apart by Emiko Jean

288 p.
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Published: 11/6/15
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review



That’s all seventeen-year-old Alice Monroe thinks about. Committed to a mental ward at Savage Isle, Alice is haunted by memories of the fire that killed her boyfriend, Jason. A blaze her twin sister Cellie set. But when Chase, a mysterious, charismatic patient, agrees to help her seek vengeance, Alice begins to rethink everything. Writing out the story of her troubled past in a journal, she must confront hidden truths. 
Is the one person she trusts only telling her half the story? Nothing is as it seems in this edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller from the debut author Emiko Jean.
My thoughts:

I knew I was in for a twisty mystery with this book. It is very much a psychological thriller that had me guessing more than once. While things get slowly revealed the scene of what happened changes and so the characters also seem to morph before our eyes. It also deals with a young girl's psychological illness but more in a way that enhances the story rather than teaches about a condition.

A slight warning. I swear I worried over any and all animals that came into this book. There is one incident where an animal is harmed, but it isn't graphic and it does lend itself to the story. I still didn't like it but it didn't make me put the book down or dnf the book. Usually that is a subject that will get me to dnf a book quickly. Still, perhaps I will save some worry by saying again, it wasn't graphic and it was a very small part of the book, but if you are like me, it will probably linger on your palate.

I give this book 3 stars. I highly recommend it for those that like psychological twisty mysteries and always trying to outguess the author. It is a very dark book and I know that the ending will surprise you as it did me.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

On My Wishlist: Demons in Disguise by A&E Kirk

Demons in Disguise
by A&E Kirk
Series: Divinicus Nex Chronicles #3
To be Published: Nov 2015
Survival. Time to make it their problem. 
With dead bodies piling up on this side of the Waiting World and the Mandatum closing in, Aurora is so over being prey. So the hunted becomes the hunter. Targeting the dangerous traitor who wants her dead catapults Aurora out of Gossamer Falls and way past her comfort zone.

But the master of deception won’t go down easy, armed with a diabolical plan and a legion of evil to take down anyone who gets in their way…including the Hex Boys. Aurora and her six Hexy Knights dive into the belly of the Mandatum beast and wade through murky moral waters where trusting the wrong people is the only way to make things right. 
What could possibly go wrong?

In Aurora’s case…everything.
Love this series! One that I got to be a part of interviewing a Hexy knight or two. FUN! Can't wait! 

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston

336 p.
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Published: Oct. 6, 15
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review
Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next. 
And so she is taken in her sister's place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin's court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time.But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong. 
Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air. 
Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.
My thoughts:
I do enjoy retellings and having A Thousand and One Nights Scheherazade's tale was one I could not pass up. I couldn't wait to get into the book. I also could tell from the beginning that this would be different since the protagonist self-sacrifices herself so others (not just her sister) would be spared this death. Since she goes to her fate willingly, Lo-Melkhiin does not kill her and tries to unravel the mystery before him.

The book is a bit slow at first but this is necessary to the telling of this tale. We need background and a good buildup of the settings where the book takes place. We also have a mystery that slowly unravels which brings you through the slow parts. When some of the mystery is better known (not solved) then the pace of the book picks up. It is really the woman's book (I'm assuming Scheherazade since her name was never given) and her journey not just in the magic realm, but of self discovery. About finding the power within her that has nothing to do with magic and everything to do with bravery and compassion.

I give this book 4 stars. I really enjoyed this retelling. I didn't love the ending. It was almost too sweet but yet it still felt complete. I also didn't hate the ending so it didn't change my mind about the book. I recommend it to those that enjoy retellings and magic.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Craft Book Review: Apartment Therapy Complete and Happy Home by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan

Technically this isn't a craft book, but really more of a decorating book. :)

320 p.
Published: 9/15/15
Publisher: Potter Style
Source: Blogging for Books for review
The most comprehensive and complete home book from Apartment Therapy, featuring every aspect of design and decorating from floor plans to paint, specific rooms to style approaches, with the goal of setting up and living well in a place you love.

“A complete and happy home is so much more than a series of pretty rooms. Between these two covers, we’ve captured everything we’ve learned at Apartment Therapy about decorating, organizing, cleaning, and repairs, so you can make and maintain your own fabulous home.”
—from the Introduction 
Getting a room to feel right is more instinct than science. You know a great space when you see it. Apartment Therapy trains your eye with more than 75 rooms, from bedrooms to kitchens and living rooms to kids’ rooms and workspaces. Explore every detail—lighting, color palettes, flooring, and accessories—that brings a home to life and, most important, makes you happy in it.

My thoughts:

I have seen various diy aspects to Apartment Therapy and loved the rooms they decorate. So, when I saw this book was up for review I decided to try it. I was hoping for some diy decorating but didn't quite get that. It is mostly for decorating in general and it has some beautiful pictures to go along with their examples.

While I don't think I'll ever achieve a perfect Apartment Therapy house, I do like looking at the pictures and perhaps get an idea or two to incorporate into my own home. While I did like the 3 aspects to the book, I did want more diy ideas on a budget (there were a few in there). Still, it is a great coffee table book and a great idea book if you are wanting a totally new look to your home. I recommend it just to look at the pictures.

I give this book 4 stars and recommend it to anyone who likes looking at the pretty pictures or is just going to decorate their home. The last section might be of interest to anyone maintaining a home and a few ideas on how to diy fix things. I was just disappointed that it didn't show me how to get a swoony handsome guy to come over and clean. ;)