Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones

23113602So this is a NetGalley ARC I have had on my shelf for a while now. A few things about this book right off the bat: first of all, it took me a long time to read. My attention just wasn’t held the way I hoped it would have been. Especially because it felt rather like it was going to be a YA historical/almost-cozy mystery, which would have been right up my alley. Still overall regardless of exact genre, the plot moved very slowly.

Secondly, the magic in this book was not very exciting, widespread, nor well explained. Was it unique? Yes. You will never find Harry, Ron, and Hermione sewing glamours. However, that is the only magic in the book and its not shiny magic, its really not magic that Annis is really confident in or that she learns from some great wizard or a secret family recipe or anything like that…she hardly practices in any big, adventurous, fun way except for exhausting herself to save herself from bankruptcy. It was a bummer.

daniel-garcia-418370Third, the characters were unextraordinary to me mainly because I never trusted any of them. I never felt like we got a good enough glimpse into any of them because there was just too much going on with Annis and her cherades.

So those are my criticisms. All of that being said, I did enjoy other aspects of the books. I did like the setting of the book and the genre in general. There are not many YA historical mysteries out there. I would LOVE to read more books like this! Especially with young women at the center. The Jackaby books are good as well! I also thought the ending and the resolution in general saved the book in general. I wish the pacing would have been better throughout the book, but I have to say that I thought the ending was well done and I hope there is another book because I would pick it up.

Book soundtrack: “Skyfall” by Adele

signature

Advertisements

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

22489107THIS. BOOK. (!!!)

If you have read/are reading this series, this novella is a must read. I have completed the entire series and I am so glad that I went back to read Levana’s story. The book is numbered “3.5” but really it takes place before any of the series take place, when the main characters of the series (Cinder, Winter, etc.) are being born and Levana is first rising to power. It does cover a long time span, I suppose, and ultimately, it leaves off during the book series.

Here is what you really need to know about <u>Fairest</u>: It is the story of how the ‘villain’ of the Lunar Chronicles (Marissa Meyer’s 4 book series) becomes the villain. As always, Meyer’s writing is beautiful as she describes Levana’s sordid childhood as the bullied younger sister. She grows up and falls in love with a man who never loves her back, and is barren her entire life. In a nutshell you can see why she’s bitter. Other things we learn (very generally, without giving any details): how Levana got her scars and why she wears her glamour, why Lunars decide to unleash a devastating disease on earth and how it originated, why Levana is so seriously twisted, and much, much more!!

Honestly, I cannot understand how the author crammed all of this information into a mere 222 pages. I never felt like I was bored or restless, I was just so interested in the characters and the story. Also, the audiobook is great for this as well. I definitely recommend it!

Book soundtrack: “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence

signature

Book Blogger Hop: 11/17 – 11/23


Book Blogger Hop

This Week’s Question:

If you had an author-only Thanksgiving party, who would you invite?

So if I had an author-only Thanksgiving party, I would invite Neal Schusterman, whom I have met twice now and I know him to be super intelligent, very funny, and he has so many stories to tell. He is just an all around amazing guy. I would also invite Diana Gabaldon because I love her books and she also is very intelligent (I think I’m seeing a pattern here. Also, Suzanne Collins, Maggie Stiefvater, and Adam Silvera. I think Stephen King would freak me out too much.

 

What about you? The whole purpose of the blog hop is to gain interaction with followers (and lurkers *wink wink*) and to learn about new books or authors. Share some food for thought with me if you’d like. ūüôā

signature

 

Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

22663629All righty, I’m a little bit torn about this book. First off, I listened to the audiobook and I feel like that always throws my rating off a little bit. Was it the book I did/didn’t like or was did the reader throw my bias a bit? I actually thought the reader was pretty good on this book. She has a dramatic voice without being over the top or whiney or overdone or anything like that. I thought she was right where she needed to be. So great job to the narrator, in my opinion.

It is important to go into this book with an open mind. Just read the synopsis and go with it–don’t assume¬†this or that, just let the story unfold. I’ve read several of the other reviews on this book and trust me, readers who expect one thing or the other only set themselves up for disappointment and this book truly is unique.

What Kali Wallace has done with Shallow Graves–in my opinion, at least–is create a unique kind of story. I don’t think I have read a book quite like this, where the main character wakes up dead and not remembering why. The mystery is who killed her, what type of creature she is, what other creatures actually live in the world, who is friend and who is foe, and how is she supposed to move on from here. There are several creep factor moments and then the book has its lulls…but overall, I was pretty entranced with the book so I recommend as a good fall/Autumn book!

Book soundtrack: “Graveyard” by The Devil Makes Three

signature

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

For several months now, I’ve been seeking a good YA mystery/thriller. As I read more of them, it just seems that contemporary YA authors just fall into cliches and I dislike them and drive me farther and farther away. Not this one, though. My hope has been renewed! Thank you, Karen McManus! And this is a debut novel! Bravo!!

23472238_10100116527721319_209185853208846123_nAll righty, so as indicated by the above, that alone is a recommendation from me. One of Us Is Lying basically begins with murder in detention (dun dun DUN!!). The four survivors alternate narration as they navigate the media storm of their classmate’s death. The ‘victim’ was the school gossip mill via his own app, but also–as we find out–very interested in online chats about other school shootings and acts of violence. We learn about the four survivors’ secrets as they become closer to each other and how they ultimately unravel the truth and the lies behind what the bigger plan really was for detention that day.

Here is my brief opinion of the cliches I mentioned earlier that I usually see in YA horror and/or thriller and/or mystery: way too much high school drama i.e. the he said/she said heartbreak gossip OMG LOL ETC. BS. I can’t handle all of that. Or at least too much of that. I understand that I am reading the YA genre so I expect some of it. Fine. <u>One of Us Is Lying</u> has some, but does it with grace and gets the heck past it. There are way bigger issues to worry about. Like a MURDER. Lawyers to be hired. Press and media. Parents. Still trying to keep life in line and get into college. This was realistic to me. Yes, there were still petty high schoolers being jerks, but these kids (“the murder club,” they were taunted by the other kids in school) just banded together and got through it together and the story moved on. I loved that about this book. THANK YOU!!! Miracle!

Other big perks: I guessed at the killer, but I didn’t KNOW. Plus, I was too engrossed with the characters to really care about the story line. Sorry but, I hardly even cared about the story line. I cared about the characters’ lives and what would happen to them, LOL. There were maybe a couple draggy parts (not much though) and I marked it down to 4 rather than 5. The book wasn’t perfect. However, the end redeemed it. I loved the ending. We get our happy ending. Loved that. I can’t deny it….I absolutely LOVED it because (without spoiling anything)….yeah….dude is my GUY!!!! That’s my trope right there! ‚̧

So if you have not yet, check this book out. +19 weeks at the top of the NYT bestseller list and a 4.06 rating on Goodreads…this book is killin’ it (no pun intended).

Book soundtrack: “Bad to the Bone” by ZZ top

signature

Book Blogger Hop: Nov. 3-9

Book Blogger Hop

This week’s question: When reading a book, do you use a bookmark to mark your place in a book, or do you just fold over the top corner of the page?

23231290_10100115096803889_5978470626375544124_nI love my bookmarks! I may or may not have an addiction. I have magnetic bookmarks as well as straight bookmarks and I love choosing a different bookmark for every book I read. Sometimes I pick depending on the book or the season or my mood. They’re just so fun! I used to be a page corner-er so I’m not 100% morally opposed if I must but usually I’ll find something to use as a bookmark. Post-it note….receipt….some other scrap paper….whatever is handy, you get the idea.

So how about you – what do you use? What is your method of saving the page? Bookmark? Dog-eared page (that’s what my mom always called it)?

signature

 

Tag Tuesday: HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

3581b9d3642ab0640f56ac757077b052Happy Halloween, everyone! I hope you all have had a fun month of reading and celebrating in your own ways! I have read a few spooky books, baked some fun things, watched a couple good movies, and overall had a pretty good month!¬† Like usual, of course it all went fast and I can NOT believe tomorrow is the first day of November. Almost time to start prepping for Christmas. Really?! Wow. All of that being said, I’m trying to savor fall for at least another couple of weeks. I absolutely¬†love Christmas, but fall never seems to last long enough.

All right. So now for the reason we are all here. The tag of the week: HAPPY HALLOWEEN! I found this one on the blog of Danielle at Welshie Books and Thoughts. She Googled for a Halloween tag and found this one so…mad props girl! Here we go!

1. Carving pumpkins- What book would you want to carve up and light on fire?

194m9p0pttis2jpgOh my gosh,¬†The Vampire Diaries. Awful! Let me say this though: For those who read the books first, they usually think the show is awful. Well, I’m in the party of those who watched the show first and think the books are cheesy as hell. So my recommendation…pick one or the other and stick to it!

2. Trick or Treat- What character is a trick, what character is a treat?

My favorite tricky characters have always been the Weasley twins! Talk about guys who work toward their goals and have a blast doing it!! They are funny, they are good people, they are great to their family, did I mention that they are hilarious?? I just love them!! Best tricks ever. As for treats, I’ll take my treat in the form of Jean-Claude from the Anita Blake novels by Laurell K. Hamilton. I feel like he’s always licking his lips and being seductive and I just love him. I love a good paranormal romance and this series is my perfect poison to get me addicted and keep me reading!!

3. Candy Corn- What book is always sweet?

Hmm, always sweet? The Hunger Games. I absolutely love The Hunger Games. At all times, and in all places, I love HG. Love the story, the characters, the message, all of it. No, the violence is certainly not sweet and the idea of rebellion and the twisted plot of people against government is not sweet, but again, the idea that ordinary people can make a difference and remake their own reality is such a powerful one.

4. Ghosts- What character would you love to visit you as a ghost?

This one is tough because there are many!! I think I would definitely like to visit Dumbledore! My favorite thing about old Dumbley is his wit and his knowledge. I would want to learn so much about the wizarding world, but yet I would also want to know about him, and yet I would just want to hear tales of his adventures and about plain old nonsense!! I think he just has stories to tell and things to say!

5. Dressing up in costume- What character would you want to be for a day?

outlander-outfits-1I would love to wear any of the big gowns from when Claire was in France on¬†Outlander! Even her English dresses are pretty too but in France, WOW. Emma Watson had a couple dresses I’d love to wear as well from¬†Beauty and the Beast but overall, I’d way rather be Claire for the day and spend time with Jamie. YES. PLEASE. (!!!!)

6. Wizards and Witches- What is your favourite Harry Potter moment?

Oh my gosh, really? How can anyone pick a favorite HP moment?! McGonagall stepping up her game and defending Hogwarts? Harry defeating Voldemort?

7. Blood and Gore- What book was so creepy that you had to take a break from it for a while?

The Shining and¬†Doctor Sleep. Pretty much any scary/creepy/gory books I can’t read before sleep and books like these I just have to read really slowly so I don’t ingest them too quickly and then have nightmares!! I love reading them but my imagination goes wild!

signature

Book Blogger Hop | Oct. 28 – Nov.

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. This is my first post with this circle of awesome bloggers and I am looking forward to meeting some amazing new people and visiting a bunch of fun new blogs!


Book Blogger Hop: Halloween Edition!

 

This weeks question: Candy corn, a chocolate bar, or popcorn. Which of these are your favorite to eat while reading?

My answer: Popcorn!! I love salty, buttery popcorn! Although usually I pair it with something sweet like M&Ms or Raisinets. THAT is my perfect snack!

So follow me and leave your links and I’ll come check your pages out as well! Can’t wait!

signature

Bride of Glass by Candace Robinson

**This book was provided for me from the author in exchange for an honest review – Thanks so much, Candace!!**

35128602
Book 1 – Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault

In case anyone is reading this and doesn’t know,¬†The Bride of Glass¬†is the sequel to¬†Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault. Yes, you¬†must¬†read book #1 first AND I recommend reading both books back to back, or at least fairly close to each other because the stories are very closely related and if you wait and forget details, not much time is spent rehashing the plot in book 2. So either read them together (I, personally wouldn’t have minded having them just being one long horror book, myself, though the cover art is vivid and gorgeous!) or take good notes for when you come back to book 2¬†later on. Just some friendly advice!

 

34861186
Book 2 – The Bride of Glass

Ok, moving on. If you read¬†my review¬†for the first book, my favorite part was experiencing the characters’ travels through the different fairy tale displays in the Glass Museum. I felt the first¬†book lacked very much character depth, however. Enter: book two and¬†voila!¬†I get my wish, but the roles are switched. Much more characterization and some back story, which was great, but much less (and still the same as before, and much less) display movement. We finally see real relationships form or mend; we see flashbacks from before our heroes (and antiheroes) are in the Glass Museum.

As for the ending, I almost felt a little unsettled by it. I think I was meant to? In some ways the events of the Glass Vault served as an apocalypse, wiping out part of the population. All of the main characters basically have to start their lives over again, (hopefully) in peace.

*Conclusions* I will say that these books are certainly unique, creative, engaging, and colorful, considering that they are dark horror/fantasy. They walk a fine line between YA and adult and contain some violence/gore and suggestive sex. That being said, I am not opposed or afraid of these themes or genres AND its October so this book was completely welcome and appropriate for me at this point in time and it was a great read. Thanks again to the author, Candace Robinson for providing me with a copy! I’m looking forward to reading more from her(you) in the future!

Book soundtrack: “Alive” by Escape the Fate

signature

Grave Errors by Carol J. Perry

33871472I love my cozy reads. From the cover I was hoping this would be a Halloween book but in stead, I got a post-Halloween¬†dia de los Muertes book, which was okay too. The book is set in Salem, Mass. and centers around Lee Barrett and her TV production class, which is working on a project to extend the Halloween season. One of Lee’s pupils, Dorothy, wants to learn about investigative reporting by looking into her sister’s suspicious death and asks Lee to help. Lee pulls out all the stops and together with her boyfriend, aunt, cat, and best friend, they discover a link to another case and of course, ultimately crack the case.

I think I have been reading a few too many short cozies on Amazon prime lately because all of a sudden, this 364 page cozy seemed dragged out and long. The plot barely unfolded until about a quarter of the way in and by a third of the way I had things figured out. That said though, I did enjoy the book. There are plenty of twists and turns, kooky characters encountered along the way, Salem cemetery tours, suspicious suspects, death threats, and so much more.

Allow me to throw out that Grave Errors is the fifth book in the Witch City Mystery series and I have read none of the books before this. With that being said, I didn’t feel like I was missing any pieces or like I needed to go back or anything like that. There was a romance that had been established and family background dynamics which obviously had been talked about but I felt that there was just enough information to fill me in and keep the story moving. Oh, and there is a touch of paranormal-ness in the book but really not much. This is NOT really a witch-y book so don’t expect a ton of witchcraft or anything. Just a heads up. ūüôā

Book soundtrack: “Mercy” by Shawn Mendes

signature