Thursday, January 30, 2014

Death Bed: A Detective Geraldine Steel MysteryDeath Bed: A Detective Geraldine Steel Mystery by Leigh Russell (DI Geraldine Steel #4)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery/Crime/Thriller



With a depraved murderer on the loose Geraldine finds herself grasping for witnesses and evidence to get this monster off the streets but a stray thought running through her head is all she needed to lead her in the right direction.

I liked this mystery but was a little disappointed because after having read Dead End (#3) I expected a little more. This is #4 in the DI Geraldine Steel series and though they are a series they are written to be stand alone reads also which means there is a lot of "information repeat" that can be tedious for those that are in it for the whole series and not just as a stand alone read.

I simply could not stand a lot of the characters in this book, whiners the whole lot of them wanted to give them the fictional slap across the face. However, out of the whole bunch I think the most well developed character in the book was Douggie, he acted just like the perfect car thief would.

I finished this one with an "ugh", it was good but not memorable.

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dead EndDead End by Leigh Russell (Di Geraldine Steel #3)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery/Crime/Thriller




A fast paced mystery filled with revenge and ghastly murders. Makes one truly wonder about the tangled web one weaves throughout his or her day and how those decisions could have far reaching implications. Even though this is part of a series it is also an excellent stand alone read, but I found most of the books in this series to be.

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Signature of All ThingsThe Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction




Elizabeth Gilbert has not only proven that she can write a highly entertaining memoir but that she can write one AMAZING novel!

I was a little daunted at first by the girth of this novel, I mean it is like one and half books compared to the size of the books I would normally read. I am not complaining but The Goldfinch was also on my to read list this month but guess what it will have to wait till February the complexity of my ordered reading list is ridiculous but it makes me, well me.

Back to this amazing read, even though this whole novel is about the Whittakers, primarily about Alma, I still found that Hanneke, their housekeeper and Alma's mothers former nursemaid, was my favorite character I cannot quite put my finger on it but her no nonsense ways were a breath air of fresh air on the pages to the odd Whittakers.

The only thing I did not get was the purpose of Alma's visits to the binding closet in the library to attend to personal, cough-ahem, matters; what bearing did this have on the story at all? I still cannot figure it out, it is quite infuriating. Ugh.

On to the story as a whole, it is beautifully written and at the end with the tree holding Alma up I must admit that I got quite teary eyed, Thank You Ms. Gilbert for not letting Alma die in the end I would have looked like Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer for at least two days; oh and I didn't spoil it by spilling the beans that she doesn't die just look at it as friendly advice that you will only need a pocketbook pack of tissues and not a whole freaking box!

I gave this 5 out of 5 stars because I absolutely loved the book. I was so lost in the story I could barely put it down. I sacrificed sleep (got about 4 hours a night) and may even have ignored my kids and husband to finish the book (my husband actually slept on the couch for me because my book light was broke and I had to have the lamp on my nightstand on, but he knew I wouldn't have been able to put it down) and even then it haunted me long after the final page (Yep still thinking about it). Plus I took it in the tub, to the bathroom, and pretty much every weird place you could think of, I think I even read some of it in the Dollar General while I was picking up some stuff!

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Between, #1)Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke (Between #1)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal



This was a guilty pleasure read for me because I have been reading to review and reading as many bestsellers and new releases as I could get my hands on but that left my TBR pile all alone collecting dust, well not really dust my 7-year-old has a Swiffer Duster that she named Bob there is no dust in my house thanks to Emma and Bob. Okay sorry about the ramble I am back on track now, it was a guilty pleasure read indeed!

Seriously though I would love to meet a real live version of Violet's Grandma, Freddie, man does she like a spit-fire and even though she is dead in the book just Violet's memories of her still made Freddie my favorite character. I love YA because not only are they entertaining but they are normally a fast read for me and Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea did not disappoint in these respects. The underlying but never realized sexual tension, that is so typical in YA Fiction, between Violet and River kept me flipping through the pages as fast as my eyes could move and my brain could comprehend! Oh come on don't lie everyone loves underlying sexual tension realized later or not.
I would have normally given this book a 3 out of 5 stars as a rating but it gave me a reading vacation and for that I am giving it an extra star!


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Friday, January 24, 2014

House of BathoryHouse of Bathory by Linda Lafferty
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction




I thoroughly enjoyed this book, with a mix of the modern and the historical, the House of Bathory, had me on the edge of my seat (well it was my bed but you know what I mean)!

The parallels between Zuzana and Betsy's are wide in respect to their situations in life but the ending shows the similarities between their fates, luckily Betsy survives hers but Zuzana gives the ultimate sacrifice against evil.

Zuzana by far was my favorite character not only did she struggle through her disfigurement but she worked and lived amongst pure evil as best as she could.

The relationship between Betsy (therapist) and Daisy (her patient) is extremely well written, I felt the tension and strangeness that would be present in any therapist/patient relationship that goes beyond the office, it is a true writer who can make the reader feel the same emotions as the characters.

Add this all together with an evil Countess that soaks in the blood of her victims and you got an amazing read!


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Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Constellation of Vital PhenomenaA Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction




For me A Constellation of Vital Phenomena started out a bit slow, after the first chapter I wasn't to sure that I was even going to finish the book, thank God I persevered because by the end of chapter four I became enthralled by this book and honestly didn't put it down until I was done with it. It is a tie between Akhmed and Natasha for my favorite character, I love how sweet Akhmed is even if he is not the world's greatest doctor and Natasha is a survivor even if she is a bit selfish. Sonja was a great character to but I couldn't get myself past her brashness to look beyond into the life that had made her that way in the first place. I loved that this war was portrayed through the people and the impact that it had on the average person and not like a history book, overrun with the facts and figures of wars. It is a testament to life and death and I found myself more mindful of how I live my life and treat others since finishing the book. I was transformed so to speak.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What Next? (Jeremy Shuttle Adventures, #2)What Next? by Jeffrey M. Daniels (Jeremy Shuttle Adventures #2)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Children's Middle Grade Fantasy



I found certain parts of the book a little confusing, like Jeremy's dad who isn't his dad, but other than that I found the pages turning faster with book #2 than book #1 because Jeremy's adventure this time around is more perilous and fast-paced than in the first book. I'm happy that Jeremy found his "real" dad in the ending of the book but it kinda sucked for Natalie and Jeremy's mom because they are stuck dealing with three very dangerous men all the time waiting for Jeremy to come back to them from the sketch book.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Revenant of Thraxton Hall: The Paranormal Casebooks of Sir Arthur Conan DoyleThe Revenant of Thraxton Hall: The Paranormal Casebooks of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Book #1 by Vaughn Entwistle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery


Oscar Wilde is by far my favorite character in the book not only is he a great friend towards Conan Doyle but he made me laugh, he actually reminded me a lot of my brother with the way he is about his clothes. At the end Wilde's foresight really astonished me because he seems so self-absorbed that you wouldn't think he could be deliberately calculating as he turns out to be, but in a good way! I didn't find any parts in this tale predictable which for me means a lot since I read so many mysteries/crime/thrillers I normally already know who did it before I even get to the good part (which of course is the reveal of who done it) but this one had me guessing all the way up until the criminal reveals himself to the reader. The coffin scene in the story where Conan Doyle struggles with life and death was outstanding the author's narrative delved into many paranormal incidences surrounding death and coming back from the brink of death. This one was definitely a page-turner for me!
Recommended for: Mystery Lovers.

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Z: A Novel of Zelda FitzgeraldZ: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction



After hearing so much buzz about Z I wanted to read it but I kept putting it off but then on a recent trip to the library there it was ripe for the picking and I couldn't tell myself "I will read it soon" anymore. I don't know if I over anticipated it or what because I thought this was going to be one of those reads that you finish in one sitting whilst consuming large amounts of junk food but it wasn't, at least not for me, I mean I really liked the book I just didn't fall in love with it like I thought I would. I hope this does not deter any of you from reading Z because I did thoroughly enjoy it, here are some of the things I loved: 1.)Scott and Zelda before fame and fortune, I envy all the wonderful places they visited and got to live though but they paid such a high price for it; 2.) that Zelda was a writer to and even though Scott was such a famous writer she didn't let that intimidate her into stopping; 3.) Scottie, I'm glad we got to hear about the parent side of Zelda and Scott and not just about their social/working lives. Things I hated: 1.) Ernest Hemingway; 2.) that Scott placed most of the blame on Zelda for just about everything; 3.) that Zelda mentally suffered so at the end of her life.

Recommended for: Historical fiction lovers (particularly those that are interested in the jazz age), anyone looking for a tale of love and hate.

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Thursday, January 09, 2014

Lady of Ashes (Lady of Ashes, #1)Lady of Ashes by Christine Trent (Lady of Ashes #1)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction




During the Victorian-age, when it was legal to beat your wife, Violet stands out not just because of her rather morbid occupation but for the fact that she is a woman that is good at her profession. Her marriage is in disarray and with an ever increasing absent husband the last thing Violet needs is more complications but it comes in the form of a mute Susanna. Violet and Susanna take to each other and a bond is formed. Violet soon finds herself in the company of Sam Harper and even though she is married she is attracted to this attentive and kind gentleman; I must say that Sam is my favorite character for those very same reasons. The only part that I found confusing in the book is the ill-fated quest Graham, Violet's husband, finds himself on because it is hard to imagine anyone harboring that much hatred towards an entire country for me it just didn't seem like the best possible fit.

Recommend for: Anyone that has an interest in the Victorian Era and loves a mystery with a romantic ending.

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Wednesday, January 08, 2014

The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery/Crime/Thriller




Cormoran Strike, a private investigator, finds himself embroiled in a case, did Lula Landry jump or was she pushed from her balcony? It is up to Strike to find out and he is anything but conventional. Robin, Strike's assistant, is my favorite out of all of the characters. She is smart, discreet, and kind. The hint of sexual tension between Strike and Robin lingers throughout the story making the read that much better. The ending is my favorite part I won't ruin it for you to much but Strike gives Robin quite the gift!! Love it! Love it! Love it! Hoping for a series for these characters.I would recommend this to anyone and everyone, if you love a great crime/police novel then this is the book for you.

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Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Paper ValentinePaper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: YA Mystery/Fantasy/Paranormal




Lillian is a selfish, nagging ghost always goading Hannah for everything; she is essential of course to the story but I don't like her, to bad you can't punch a ghost in the face because if Hannah could have and did I would have cheered for her. I was surprised a bit about who the killer turned out to be but he was on my list of suspects. The last few chapters are extremely well written and I found them to be the best part of the story. The story reiterates that friendship never dies even if one of those friends happens to be dead.

I would recommend this to anyone that loves YA mystery/supernatural books. If your looking for a great read with ghosts and a killer then you should read Paper Valentine.

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Monday, January 06, 2014

The Missing Manuscript of Jane AustenThe Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen by Syrie James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction



Loved, loved, loved this book!!! Who wouldn't want to be Samantha finding a mysterious document that may be Jane Austen's and then finding out it is followed up by a hunt and a great read of an unpublished Austen novel. GEE! It makes this Austenite extremely happy to be able to enjoy novels such as this one. I cannot wait to read Syrie James other Austen themed novel, The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen.

Recommended For: Lovers of Jane Austen and anyone looking for a literary mystery with some romance thrown in.

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Sunday, January 05, 2014

Year of WondersYear of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction




Anna is quite the woman, I am not sure I could bear the loss of my children (heaven forbid) if they died such a horrible death, but Anna soliders on and helps those in need. The ending was the most surprising part of the story as I was reading it my eyes got really big and I was like "what" or in the words of my daughter "OMG". The lesson that I got from this story is that even when surround by so much death and grief love is still able to blossom.

Recommended for: Those that enjoy historical fiction especially those that are interest in how major historical events might have effected everyday people, this is fiction so we know that it is not completely truthful but it gives us all a glimpse into how it might have been.


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Saturday, January 04, 2014

The Penny ThiefThe Penny Thief by Christophe Paul
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery/Thriller



A different sort of crime thriller but one that I enjoyed. The only thing I didn't like to much about the book was the financial/technical talk which I didn't understand what so ever but of course it was an essential for tying all the aspects and characters of the story together. My favorite character was Valerie her extreme kindness towards Henri was contagious to some of the other characters involving them in an act of kindness that is rarely seen in this day and age.

Recommend For: Those who enjoy thrillers with some moderate romance mixed in.


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Thursday, January 02, 2014

Save YourselfSave Yourself by Kelly Braffet
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Thriller/Suspense



Poor Patrick not only did he have to call the cops on his own dad but the only family he has left, his brother, thinks that everything that happened was all Patrick's fault needless to say Patrick withdrawals inside himself. Then Layla who is extremely confused and overly blunt, I mean way past rude, walks into Patrick's life. Layla begins an obsession for Patrick that walks the fine line between scary and full blown stalker. Meeting Layla changes Patrick's life for the better but not till after a shotgun gets waved around at him and he ends up shot. My favorite character was Caro, she had a messed up past but she was searching for love and normalcy none the less, she was very easy to relate to. I was not expecting the ending to turn out like it did it took me for a complete surprise I thought the ending would be Mike, who is Patrick's brother, hurting or killing Patrick but I was wrong.

Recommended for: Those who enjoy a book with dark thoughts and some messed up teenage angst (over the top, really).

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