Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Today Tonight Tomorrow

Today Tonight Tomorrow
by Rachel Lynn Solomon

On her last day of her last year of high school. Rowan Roth reflects back on what she thought high school would be and what it ended up being. The only thing that hasn't changed is her need to beat Neil McNair at anything and everything, including Valedictorian and the Howl senior game.

When she and Neil are forced to work together, she remembers every time he bested her in school from their first essay contest to their election to the Student Council.

But THIS... this she will win no matter what.

And then she will head off to college to learn how to be the best writer possible and fulfill her dreams of being a romance author and give power and advice to all those girls who were just like her in high school.

What she doesn't realize is that being exactly who she really is is tougher than she ever thought possible. And that maybe Neil isn't who she thought he was, either.

Final thoughts: Cotton candy fluff with a predictable ending, but still a nice little ride. There were some formatting issues with the Kindle ARC, but nothing that couldn't be adjusted to pretty easily. It was also a nice little tour of Seattle and the overall story and relationships throughout felt real.

Rating: 3/5

Thanks to NetGalley, Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing, and Simon Pulse for the ARC

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Smoke Bitten

Smoke Bitten
by Patricia Briggs

Mercy has survived miniature zombie goats, vampire attacks, the fae, angry werewolves, a rapist, and her own bad luck. Now she needs to survive an unknown fae who has escaped Underhill, a rogue group of werewolves, the tension in her own marriage, and killer bunnies. (Monty Python would be so proud.)

For some reason, Adam, her husband and werewolf mate, has shut down their mating bond, while also spending late nights at work and sleeping in the guest room, effectively cutting Mercy out of his life. Mercy is trying to be patient and wait him out, but some people need a little offense instead of waiting in defense.

Tilly, the physical manifestation of Underhill, has dropped a door to her land in the Hauptman backyard in order to be closer to their semi-adopted son and former Underhill resident. Upon entering this world, she lets out an unknown fae who can take over the minds of its victims and make them do evil things to the people around them. 

There is a group of werewolves who have decided that now is the perfect time to try and take over their pack.

There's Wulfe, who has become radically changed after the events of the last book and who is now even more scary and unstable than ever before.

And there are killer bunnies...

With all the juggling that Mercy must do now, she should probably join a circus. 

Final thoughts: I love new Mercy books and this is no exception. She is such a strong character who knows her own mind and heart. She also seems to be the focus of a lot of bad juju, compliments of her father, Coyote. I hope that she gets a few days off of the crazy someday, although that will probably mean that I won't have anything to read and that would be sad. As with all of her books, Briggs has a complicated and convoluted story that makes sense at the end and makes better sense after a reread or two. I LOVE the return of some characters that we haven't seen for a while. I can't wait for the next book.

Rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Elsker

Elsker
S.T. Bende

When Kristia decides to take a leap of change and take a year of university courses in Cardiff, Wales, she never thought she'd end up on a course to save all life everywhere.

It helps that there's a literal Norse God there to help her out.

Final thoughts: Ugh! This is almost a literal plot point by plot point retelling of Twilight with Norse gods instead of vampires. Why?? It's dull, repetitive, plodding, and the "insta-love" has no chemistry whatsoever. 

Rating: 2/5

Monday, January 6, 2020

Join or Die

Join or Die
by J. Adrian Ruth

Alex Ayers is a regular kid with a bit of a temper, a best friend, a single mom, and a pretty good life in Las Vegas. That all changes when his absent father's best friend shows up and tells him he has to leave to attend an exclusive magic school before he Changes into some sort of mythological/magical creature.

At 14, he doesn't have any choice, so he's sent off to Fios Academy to learn about his past, his present, and his possible future as the next Scion who, with his ciorcal of friends, keeps the Creature community in line.

He's got competition for the Scion job, though, and also a few Creatures who aren't happy with any Scion being in charge. 

Alex has to learn about his own half-Creature self and history before things get out of control.

Final thoughts: I enjoyed the book while reading it, but I can't help comparing it to Harry Potter. He's about the same age. He si half-human (Muggle) and half-Creature (Wizard). He's a Chosen One. There are forces against him from the start from competition in the school to dangers from without. There's a barrier to protect the school from outside harm. There's a mysterious headmaster. He's forming a circle of friends who all specialize in different things that he'll need as time passes. The list goes on and on. But, again, I enjoyed the read. If I see the sequel pop up, I'll probably read it, too. And it does look to be at least a few books if it goes year-by-year at the school.

Rating: 4/5

Thanks to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for the ARC.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Of Silver and Shadow

Of Silver and Shadow
by Jennifer Gruenke

In a world of magic, the magicians have been all but wiped out. 

Generations before, the king purged all the silver wielders from the land except for his own family. Since then, the only magic in Erdis has been hoarded by the the royal family and used to keep the rest of the land and the surrounding countries in line.

But things are changing.

A new silver wielder has grown and she may be what the rebellion needs to finally take the country back and keep the king from destroying everything.

Final thoughts: I wanted to like this much more. The characters had a lot of depth and it was fun to read from four different character points of view. However, that multi-view did get a little confused from time to time and story had to backtrack more than once to cover the viewpoints. I also struggled with some of plot as ideas seemed to be thrown in after the fact to cover for plot holes. Why does she have this power when no one in her family did? Let's use this idea to over that hole. How are you going to convince the people to overthrow the king? Here's something to cover that hole (and we've been planning it for years so just go with it). And there were other issues here and there that bugged me like the repeating over and over at how skilled someone was at something. She's good with a bow and arrow. We get it!
I'm not sure if there's a sequel since the ending could be considered final by some. It is nice to see a fantasy novel that doesn't necessarily automatically have to be a trilogy.

Rating: 3/5 

Thanks to NetGalley and North Star Editions for the ARC.

Spontaneous

Spontaneous
by Aaron Starmer

For some people, Pre-Calculus is difficult enough to make a person feel like her mind will explode, but no one expected that to literally happen... Until 3rd period pre-calc when Katelyn Ogden goes BOOM!

Literally.

Blood everywhere. 

One-time fluke, though. Nothing to worry about.

Until Brian Chen explodes in the middle of a group therapy session for the pre-calc survivors.

Suddenly all bets are off and seniors start exploding pretty regularly.

The government has no idea what's happening. The doctors are confused. The parents are panicking. And no senior is safe.

But Mara and her fellow seniors can't just sit there. They have to do something. They can't just wait for the day to come and they go BOOM. They need to live what little life they have left.

And they do.

Even if it kills them.

Final thoughts: I am not sure what the author was going for beyond a live each day to the fullest message. Otherwise, this book is just weird. I also don't think this author should be writing a teen girl point of view because he doesn't really know what he's doing. Maybe he should have gone with Dylan instead. The ending is a little ambiguous and leaves room for a sequel, but doesn't really feel like there will be one. Overall, meh.

Rating: 3/5

Friday, December 13, 2019

By the Book

By the Book
by Amanda Sellet

Mary Porter-Malcolm has not been raised in the traditional way. Her parents are academics who have kept out technology and encouraged the reading of classics by every child they have. And, until this year, they have also had Mary enrolled at a small, charter school with an emphasis on Socratic seminars and independent study. 

Now MPM must attend the local high school and learn how to navigate the halls of the campus and the social orders. Luckily, she at least knows how to avoid the scoundrels because she's read about all kinds.

When she meets three girls who need a little guidance to avoid one of those scoundrels, MPM is happy to join them and they are happy to return the favor by giving her every possible high school experience by the end of the year. 

What MPM didn't expect was for that very first scoundrel to end up being the very person she might want to spend time with.

Final thoughts: This one was hard to get into because it felt like Sellet was trying her best to either show off all the classics that she had read and/or to try and convince her readers to go out and read them. So much of this book ended up being long discussions about book after book and all of the scoundrels contained in those pages. Even the first few chapters felt like Sellet was trying to write using the same language as those classic authors. That may have been a narrative choice as that language was toned down over the course of the book as MPM became more accustomed to modern interactions and kept her nose out of the books. The problem with that is that it makes it more difficult for the reader to get into the story from the start. The ending was also a little flat and sudden so, while Alex was a pretty cool character, we didn't get to know him and that brought the overall story down.

Rating: 2.5/5

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC

Shout

Shout
by Laurie Halse Anderson

The author of Speak still has so much more to say.
But she won't whisper these words
These words she will Shout!

She will let out all that has been fighting her inside
and outside
Everywhere
and nowhere
It is time to let that voice out
It is time to tell her truth
It is time for her words to be read
and heard
and felt
and taken in
and made a part of
and lived
and loved
and absorbed

By every person who has felt anything
Ever


Final thoughts: This is the first time I have ever wanted to write on the pages of a book. I wanted to note and comment and mark every passage. If I had a highlighter, I would have made this whole book yellow and pink and blue. I actually dog-eared a couple of pages for the first time since high school (oh so many years ago). This is a must-read. And page 243 is now my life-mantra.

Rating: 5/5

Monday, November 25, 2019

A Bad Day for Sunshine

A Bad Day for Sunshine
by Darynda Jones

Sunshine Vicram has returned to her hometown with her freshman daughter, Auri, in tow. Despite having tried to run as far away as possible (about 30 minutes), she's back and she has somehow become sheriff of Del Sol without even knowing she was running. (How do you win an election you didn't put your name in for?)

On the plus side, she's living in her parents' backyard in an "apartment" they'd had built just for her and her daughter (as if they KNEW she would win that election she didn't enter) and she's got her forever BFF as her deputy.

She also starts her first day with a flasher, a rooster-napper, a car through the window of the sheriff's office building, a kidnapping, and a run-in with the guy she has crushed on since she they were kids.

She'll take on the kidnapping as the easiest of the things to deal with.

At the same time, Auri is at her first day of high school in a new town and she's starting on a bad foot since just a few days prior, her mom's BFF deputy raided the completely secret but known by everyone high school party and confiscated the beer (for himself). Now Auri is suspecting of being a narc and the student body pretty universally hates her. Except for Cruz. He is difficult to read, but doesn't seem to be anti-Auri.

Now both mom and daughter must pool their resources to figure out why someone would take another freshman who looks a lot like Auri and how to stop that freshman's prophetic dreams of dying before her 15th birthday from coming true.

Final thoughts: I LOVE Darynda Jones and all of her snark. There are some very Charley-ish moments here (and a reference, so we're in Charley-land!), but the vibe between mother and daughter brings on a different feel. Plus we get swoons for multiple ages now so RL moms can start sharing this with their older teen daughters. Some of the plot points are obvious and future stories can also be predicted, but Jones weaves a complicated web for all of her characters and this is really a joy to read. The only negative that I had was with the formatting of the Kindle ARC since the two ladies trade off points of view for the story and it sometimes isn't immediately obvious that we've switched with the formatting as it currently appears. 

Rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to NetGalley and St Martin's Press for the ARC.

A Conspiracy of Stars

A Conspiracy of Stars
by Olivia A. Cole

All of her life, Octavia has lived on her planet and loved where she lived. Her parents, however, were born on a different planet and came to Faloiv years before. They and others set up a tentative peace with the natives who live on Faloiv. Until now, that peace has seemingly been beneficial to the humans.

Unfortunately, between the fact that their ship was damaged, possibly beyond repair, and the fact that some people don't like not being the dominant species, tensions have been getting higher.

Octavia has been immune to most of this until the day she travels with her father to another area of Faloiv and her world changes completely.

Now Octavia knows that some humans are making dangerous decisions and those decisions could lead to everyone's destruction.

Final thoughts: I definitely did not like this book. I read it for a class, so I couldn't give it up, but I probably wouldn't have selected it on my own. The one redeeming part of this book is that it is a sci-fi novel in which the main characters are all of color, rather than the whitewashed future often portrayed by the genre. Otherwise, the whole book is heavy-handed in its portrayal of the whitecoats (white hats), colonialism, and even vegetarianism. 

Rating: 1/5

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Sparrow

Sparrow
by Mary Cecilia Jackson

Savannah Rose, better known as Sparrow, is a brilliant dancer. Her lifts and jumps are the envy of everyone in the company. She will definitely be the Swan Queen in the next major showcase.

But Sparrow keeps her private life out of her dance. She tries very hard to keep them separate. Her friends are from ballet. Her social life revolves around ballet. And she has no one else.

Until Tristan.

He's everything a girl could dream of. He's kind. He's generous. He's gorgeous. And he says he loves her...

... after every time he abuses her.

His love has conditions. His love depends on her behaving. If he gets angry, then she must have done something wrong.

Sparrow learned this with her mother years before. If they are angry, you were bad.

No matter how hard Sparrow's friends try to show her the truth and no matter how hard they try to protect her, they are no match for her own deep insecurities. 

And they are definitely no match for Tristan's fists when he gets angry. 

Final thoughts: Whoa. This one hit every button in me. I literally cried more than a few times during this. It is NOT an easy read. But it IS a necessary one for many. The author really nailed all of the points of view on this one. While there were a few little things to nitpick, the overall story is deep and meaningful. There is no HEA (Happily Ever After) in this. It does end, but it's not the same, predictable ending that people have come to expect. This ending is real. I strongly recommend this, but warn that there are triggers here.

Rating: 5/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Tor Forge for the ARC.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Stars We Steal

The Stars We Steal
by Alexa Donne

Leo is the oldest daughter of her father who is the king of his ship, literally. She's a princess with no money and her father needs to her find a wealthy husband so that the king can keep up appearances and keep up his luxuries.

The only way they have gotten by so far is on the generosity of Leo's aunt who has let them stay docked on her ship and waived the normal fees. But now Leo must step up. It's either find money or find a husband with money.

Leo has her own plans that will keep her family solvent and keep her out of a marriage of convenience, but selling people on a water filtration system that includes the sewage isn't easy.

Things get more tense and complicated when Leo's former fiancee (of all of 12 hours) comes back into her life three years after leaving. He's got everything she needs and some of what she still wants.

Can they come together when everyone tried so hard before to keep them apart?

Final thoughts: This starts off as a Persuasion rewrite with some Bachelor additions. Even the rose on the cover is meant to evoke The Bachelor (the author makes sure to state that in the course of the book to make sure that we know). The problem is that it starts off far too close to Austen's Persuasion at the start and then goes way off-kilter. Suddenly there is crime, extortion, danger, elections, and more. I do not understand Leo's final choice at the end because it matches Persuasion, but doesn't match what she was saying halfway through the book. She's an inconsistent character. While the space setting is interesting, it also distracts from the story, especially when things seem to be brought in just for a moment for the story and then left behind. Finally, my last issue is that this feels like Donne is leaving just enough space for a sequel as a just-in-case-this-does-well option. While the story is technically complete, it feels unfinished and incomplete. 

Rating: 2.5/5

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

Friday, October 11, 2019

How to Speak Boy

How to Speak Boy
by Tiana Smith

Quinn is competitive. She's not just a little competitive; she is ultra competitive. She will do almost anything to win, except cheat. She's definitely not a cheater.

However, it looks like her biggest competition IS a cheater. Grayson seems to win at everything he does without even trying and rumor has it that he's cheated a few times to do it. 

Now Quinn and Grayson have become the co-captains of the speech and debate club so they have to work together. Quinn could finally learn the truth about Grayson and his winning ways. 

But she gets a little distracted when her AP Government teacher accidentally mixes up Quinn's essay with someone else's. With that simple mistake, Quinn now has an anonymous suitor who lifts her up and makes her stronger, even as Grayson seems to be trying to beat her at every turn.

Who is the letter writer who keeps leaving notes with perfectly timed messages in her box? And who is Grayson, really? 

Final thoughts: Cotton candy all the way and totally fun to read. This book is the YA version of The Shop Around the Corner and You've Got Mail. Everything is pretty predictable but it's still an enjoyable few hours spent.

Rating: 4/5

Thanks to NetGalley and MacMillan Children's Publishing Group for the ARC.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes
by Chris Crutcher

Sarah Byrnes and Eric Calhoune might be friends, or they might just be fellow outcasts. Sarah Byrnes is always Sarah Byrnes. Her facial scars from being burned as a toddler are things that she owns. If she is always Sarah Byrnes, then people can't take her name and turn it against her.

Eric Calhoune has been known as Moby for years. He's the whale of the swim team. He's fast and dangerous in the water, but trusts Sarah Byrnes to be there for him outside of the pool. She (and her attitude) scare everyone so Eric follows her and she trusts him.

When Sarah Byrnes ends up in the state hospital under psychiatric watch, only Eric knows the truth. While he waits for her to return, Eric must also deal with the people around him, including Sarah Brynes's scary father, an angry vice principal, and a Bible-thumping peer who judges everyone around him.

All Eric wants to do is date the Bible-thumper's girlfriend and win the next meet, but nothing will ever be that simple.

Final thought: I know this one is well-rated and received, but I'm just not getting it. There is just too much going on and it's far too messy. Granted, life is messy, but this book can be very hard to follow. There are extremely detailed descriptions going on for pages about the swim team practices and then barely anything when there is actual stuff happening outside of the pool. Things happen in the blink of an eye for some events and then drag on forever for others.

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Lucky Caller

Lucky Caller
by Emma Mills

It's Nina's senior year and everything is about to change. Not only is she getting ready for college, but her mom is getting remarried and moving the family out of the apartment they have called home for so long.

Since it's a time of change, Nina decides to take a chance on the radio broadcasting class offered at her school. What she doesn't expect is her ex-friend and current neighbor sharing the class with her, being in her radio group, and still giving her those feelings she'd had years before. 

She also didn't expect to suddenly have to come up with a celebrity guest for their radio show in time for the huge fundraiser that she and her radio crew accidentally fell into creating.

Final thoughts: This is cotton candy, but it's not really tasty. The characters are all pretty one-dimensional and the story is pretty predictable. There's a massive deus ex machina ending, which doesn't really fit the rest of the book; it feels like the author got herself in a bind and tried to have the cavalry come in at the last minute to rescue her protagonist. It was messy and not planned well. I didn't even remember Nina's name because it was mentioned just a couple of times, as if the characters themselves never said the names of the people around them. I don't understand the point of the sisters except to serve as contrasts to Nina and maybe give her some context, but it just felt forced. The romance was not very well done and there was just so much that could have been improved upon. Not a fan.

Rating: 2/5

ARC courtesy of NetGalley

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The Truth About Forever

The Truth About Forever
by Sarah Dessen

Macy Queen is the dutiful daughter and devoted girlfriend. She wakes every morning, does everything her mother asks and more, listens attentively to her boyfriend, and makes no waves. 

She wasn't always like this.

She used to be her daddy's little girl who ran with him every morning and joked with him every night. She had friends, a team, and a life beyond her home and school.

But when her father dies just steps from her home during the morning jog that she had waived off taking that day, Macy's world changed and she went from independent and lively to simply wanting to keep her mother sane and her own world from falling further apart.

However, her world can't help but crash when her boyfriend goes to brain camp, leaving her behind to take over his job at the library, and then leaving her behind altogether. 

Macy can't hold it in anymore. Especially not after meeting the insane bunch who work Wish Catering. Macy may finally have the chance to put herself back together. She just has to be willing to try.

Final thoughts: This is my first Sarah Dessen and it fits pretty well into the Chick Lit YA genre. There's the realistic girl with unrealistic expectations about herself and life. There's the cute guy who somehow just gets her. And there's the complications and drama that surround them both. Decent read overall.

Rating: 3/5

Monday, June 24, 2019

No Judgements

No Judgements
by Meg Cabot

After a bad year where her father died, her mother turns out not to be her mother, and her boyfriend's best friend tried to assault her, Bree Beckham has decided to take a break from her life. She stops going to law school and moves from New York to Little Bridge, Florida. And she actually seems to be doing pretty well for herself until the hurricane comes.

Now Bree has to first survive the hurricane with her newly adopted shelter cat and also try to keep the other animals on the island alive, as well.

She is helped by Drew, the annoyingly handsome and charming nephew of her employer and his family. But when her past comes to Little Bridge, can she find a way to stay in her present?

Final thoughts: I've been a Cabot fan for years, but this one just didn't do it for me. This felt like the set up for a new TV show or a disaster/romance movie. Bree's character was a little off the entire time. Staying for the hurricane? Actually going out during the early storm for her scooter? Spending half the book looking for animals? It just didn't read realistic and she was inconsistent throughout. Additionally, the storm itself is made out to be a huge part of the book, when it really isn't. It's actually treated as more of a convenience or even an afterthought. Just not a fan of this one.

NOTE: This is a New Adult book, NOT a Young Adult book. Not appropriate for most teens.

Rating: 2/5

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Babysitters Coven

The Babysitters Coven
by Kate Williams

Esme and her friend, Janis, are the last members of their local babysitters club. They work each weekend, taking care of the local children and making a little money on the side. It's better than getting a "real" job. 

But, except for her best friend and her babysitting, Esme just doesn't have much else. Her mom was committed to an asylum when Esme was young and Esme doesn't get along well with others. She's dealing with her life, though, such as it is.

Then Cassandra and Dion come into her life. 

Cassandra is nothing like Esme, but she seems to be determined to join the babysitters club for some strange reason.

It turns out Cassandra has her own home life issues and Esme may be the key to solving the mysteries that have surrounded Cassandra and her brother since their parents died.

When strange things start happening around Esme, she and Cassandra must work together to understand what's going on.

Final thoughts: Messy book. This is a bad combination of The Baby-Sitters Club and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's awkward and poorly written with very little to recommend. There is no build-up of anything, including tension. Things just happen without warning and then go away just as fast. Not good and not worth reading the next book.

Rating: 1/5

ARC courtesy of NetGalley

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Off Planet


Off Planet
by Aileen Erin

Years ago, Earth's SpaceTech led a "liberation" of the planet from the dangerous Aunare aliens who had begun to live and work with the humans who lived there. A mass exodus of the aliens from the planet was the start and the systematic killing of every alien and half alien ("halfer") was the next step. Any full blood Aunare or halfer that is found is fed to rabid dogs on the evening news and humans cheer.

Maité Martinez is one such halfer. Her father is a high-ranking Aunare who made it off planet before the murders began, but he left his wife and halfer daughter behind to spend their lives in hiding. Maité remembers almost nothing of her young childhood or her father because her mother had her memories wiped to protect them both. Now all Maité knows is that she's a halfer and that she needs to hide her identity no matter what. Her capture could lead to war. 

Unfortunately, she's not as hidden as she'd hoped to be and a mistake leads her to prison and a sentence to hard labor on a fiery planet.

Rescue efforts are coming and she is strong, but can she survive long enough to be saved?

Final thoughts: This one is a mess. The reader is dropped into the middle of everything and clues are dropped throughout the book about Maité and her past, but it's a struggle to figure it out. It doesn't help that things that are obvious to the reader are completely missed by the main character. There's no room to breathe for the reader or the people who populate this story. It's constantly in motion and that makes it all a little claustrophobic as a story. That might be the intention of the author, but it makes for a strain on the reader. It's hard to track time and the logic of things isn't always explained. For example, I spent the longest time trying to figure out why they had to be in cryogenic sleep to travel because it made no sense. Near the end, there was finally a line dropped in about how human bodies can't handle the speeds the space vehicles must travel so that they have to be put to sleep. Ah! Why didn't you say so earlier! It seems that there are many things like that that are last minute add-ons to explain things that should have been edited earlier. I might come back to the sequel if I notice it, but I won't actively look for it.

Rating: 3/5

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Other Side



The Other Side

by Sarah Hocut

Sadie had it all planned out. She has graduated high school with her boyfriend of three years and they are going to the same college in the fall. She has her job at the best ice cream stand in the world. And she has her best friend by her side for one final, fun-filled summer.

Until her boyfriend breaks up with her and starts a new relationship less than two hours later. 

Then the empty building across from the ice cream stand suddenly has a sign announcing a new store for a national ice cream chain is coming soon.

And now she meets a boy who is the complete opposite of her ex-boyfriend, who just happens to be the son of the guy who bought the storefront and will be installing her stand's competition. 

Summer plans are now up in smoke. 

Sadie's got some new plans to make, some thinking to do, and a future that must be decided. 

Final thoughts: This is cotton candy and has some good points to it. Sadie's constant internal battles and imagined confrontations are very realistic and kind of fun to watch from the outside. However, there is a perfect ending point about 75% in that could have been it and then Hocut keeps going. Granted, she does seal up some plot points that could have been holes if they had been left alone, but it just feels out of order. That perfect ending should be at the end, not the three-quarter mark. It's not horrible, but it does come off a little odd when you think you're done and then find out the final act hasn't even started yet.

Rating: 3/5

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Storm Cursed

Storm Cursed
by Patricia Briggs

One by one, 
Two by two,
The Hardesty witches
Are traveling through.
With a storm of curses,
They call from their tomes;
They will drink your blood
And dine on your bones.

Set three months after Silence Fallen, Mercy and Adam have settled into a pretty good routine and she's even gotten her garage back. They lead the Tri-Cities and help to keep the peace. As Adam and Mercy work to help the government and the Fae to come to an accord, other more sinister forces come to the area to try and destroy everything. 

It all starts with a goblin and some miniature zombie goats. Or maybe they are zombie miniature goats? And then just goes downhill from there. 

This may be the most difficult problem Mercy has had to face, and that's saying a lot. Even worse, Mercy will have to ally herself with the one creature she's sworn to avoid at all costs. 

This could be rough.

Final thoughts: Nice addition to the series with solid writing and some great moments. I loved learning more about one of the newer characters but I also missed seeing a number of others. The only problem that I have with this universe continuing is that the cast keeps growing and we start to miss out on seeing our faves. However, each new character helps to grow Mercy's story and adds to her, as well as the world itself. Can't wait to read the next.

Rating: 5/5

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Salem's Vengeance

Salem's Vengeance
by Aaron Galvin

It's been 20 years since the Salem Witch Trials and people are still haunted by what happened. Most people still keep a close lookout for witches in their area and try not to do anything that might lead to suspicion coming down on their heads.

Sarah Kelly is the eldest child in her home and is diligent about following the word of God and obeying her strict father. 

Except when the call to dance in the moonlight comes.

On those nights, she and her friends meet up in the forest and dance until near dawn, enjoying the freedom that comes with those nights.

But one night, things go too far. Sarah's friends are caught up in something new and different by a woman who is new, strange, and powerful. Before Sarah leaves, the woman hands her a journal, which will begin Sarah's education into what really happened in Salem. 

What Sarah doesn't understand immediately is how key her role is in the vengeance that is about to come down on one of the key players from 20 years before.

Final thoughts: Very slow paced at the start and then racing at the end, like a snowball starting at the top of the mountain, only to become an avalanche at the bottom. Sarah's story is interesting on its own, but it becomes horrific and grisly towards the end. While some of the information within is historically accurate, this cannot be said to be a historical fiction novel. There's just too much horror here for that. Ok, but not great. Don't need to read the rest of the series.

Rating: 3/5 (more like 2.5)

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC

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