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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hexed (YA)

Book #70 Read in 2014
Hexed by Michelle Krys (YA)

This is the first book in a young adult paranormal series.  Indigo is a junior in high school, a cheerleader and one of the popular crowd.  Her mother has always been a little odd, calling herself a witch, and she owns a Wiccan shop.  But the witch part throws itself into Indie's life full force when bad guys kidnap her mother and want Indie to unlock a binding spell on the witch bible that her family has protected for ages.  With help from hunky warlock Bishop and her childhood friend Paige, Indie battles the bad guys to save the family Bible.

This book was a good, quick read.  It had good elements of action, romance, humor and paranormal creatures.  The characters are intelligent and brave.  I will keep an eye out for book #2. 

I received a copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for a honest review.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Snow Child

Book #69 Read in 2014
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Jack and Mabel move to the Alaskan frontier after the loss of their baby.  One winter, on the first snow, they build a snow child.  Shortly after that, they see a blonde girl who seemingly lives in the woods by their house.  Eventually they meet the child, Faina, but she will not allow them to let her stay with them.  Faina is a wild spirit who eventually falls in love with their neighbor's son, Garrett.  But marriage and a family cannot contain her. 

This book was an interesting mix of fantasy and reality.  The trials that Jack and Mabel faced to survive were very real but Faina had a mix of not really existing throughout most of the book.  Therefore, this book is hard to define.  That being said, I enjoyed the characters in it and liked the writing style.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I Work at a Public Library

Book #68 Read in 2014
I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan

This was a cute, quick read.  In this book, librarians tell their stranger-than-fiction stories of what library patrons ask for, request of them or do in the library.  Some are laugh out loud stories, some are disturbing and some are heartwarming.  Anyone who is a library lover will enjoy this book. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Murder in the Mystery Suite

Book #67 Read in 2014
Murder in the Mystery Suite by Ellery Adams

This is the first book in a new cozy mystery and I loved it.  The book is set in a quaint village called Storyton with the primary setting being a wonderful literary retreat called Storyton Hall, a reader's dream.  Rooms are named after authors and characters and this book is during a murder mystery themed retreat, which was the brain child of Jane Steward.  Jane is a single mother of twin boys (her husband died when she was pregnant) and the manager of Storyton Hall, owned by her aunt and uncle.  Jane is intelligent, brave and an avid reader.  When a guest dies in his room, things get a bit more complicated and Jane is forced to take on a more adventurous role than she ever anticipated.

I loved this book.  The setting was ideal for a reader.  The characters were interesting and engaging.  Personally, I loved Muffin Cat.  This book had a good mystery with twists and turns to keep readers guessing. I look forward to book 2 next year.

I received an ARC of this book from the author in return for a honest review....thank you, Ellery!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Truth About Alice (YA)

Book #66 Read in 2014
The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu (YA)

This was a great, gritty, realistic young adult read.  Alice supposedly sleeps with two guys in the same night.  The talk about it spreads through the little Texan town and Alice becomes the high school pariah.  Girls in her class start the "slut stall" where they write tales about what Alice has supposedly done...she's had an abortion, she has slept with this one and that one.  On top of that, shortly after the party the star quarterback (and one of the two guys that Alice supposedly slept with) dies in a car accident and his friend who was in the car with him tells adults that the quarterback was distracted because Alice was constantly texting him.  Alice retreats within herself and isolates herself from her peers.  The geek of the class, Kurt, reaches out to her to help her with her Math homework.  But will it make a difference?

This book shows how cruel teenagers can be to each other and how vicious gossip and rumors can be and what effect they can have on people's lives.  Alice, while not a perfect character by any means, was treated cruelly.  An all too true and all too sad accounting of what can happen when people believe whatever they hear, this was a book I could not put down.

I borrowed this book from my public library.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Say What You Will (YA)

Book #65 Read in 2014
Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern (YA)

This is the author's first foray into young adult literature and she does a wonderful job.  This book focuses on Ami, a high school student with Cerebral Palsy, and Matthew, one of her schoolmates with OCD.  Ami wants her senior year to be special so she convinces her parents and the school to do away with adult aides for her, hiring classmates in their stead.  She has four helpers--Sanjay, Sarah, Chloe and Matthew.  Secretly, Ami is using this as a way to get to know Matthew better....he intrigues her since he is the only one who speaks to her honestly.  The two begin a friendship that is not without its bumps, but has huge benefits for both.

McGovern's writing shows a talent for creating great characters...complex and multi-layered, but also real.  I read this book in a day because I just could not put it down.  I came to care about these characters and wanted to see how things ended up for them. 

I received this book in exchange for a honest review through the Amazon Vine program.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Book of Secrets

Book #64 Read in 2014
The Book of Secrets by Elizabeth Joy Arnold

I finished this book just now and am wondering how much can one family go through and live to tell the tale?  Chloe and Nate were childhood sweethearts...Nate from a ultra-religious family; Chloe's mother was a teenager who became pregnant.  Chloe becomes a part of Nate's long as their scary father isn't home...and they exposure her to books and reading.  Chloe tries to not expose them to the realities outside of their safe haven home.  Worlds collide when 18 year old Chloe becomes pregnant with Nate's child.  Obstacles are thrown at them constantly. 

At the start of the book, adult Chloe and Nate are having marital problems and Nate has returned back to their hometown.  He did not share details of why with Chloe.  She uncovers a notebook that he has been keeping in code and begins to decipher the code and Nate's feelings.  Chloe follows him back to their hometown.

I enjoyed Arnold's writing style and the way she wove books into the story.  Her characters were flawed but interesting.  I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened to them.  All in all, a very good read.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Cuckoo's Calling

Book #63 Read in 2014
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)

This is the first in a series featuring private detective Cormoran Strike, a war veteran and son of a rock star.  In this book, Strike is hired to look into the death of a supermodel; the police call it suicide but her brother believes it was murder.  Strike looks into her death, with help from his trusty sidekick and assistant, Robin.  He realizes that there is many layers to Landry's life and tries to untangle them to find out what really happened to her. 

This book was a good read but a slow read for me.  It bogged down a bit for me in the middle but picked up in the second half.  I liked the character of Strike and I liked Robin.  I have the second one in my TBR pile.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Book #62 Read in 2014
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

This book is an excellent follow up to Moriarty's bestseller The Husband's Secret.  In Big Little Lies, the book begins with a death at a trivia night fundraiser at a private school.  The identification of the victim is not revealed.  Then the book flashes back to six months before the trivia night fundraiser and details all the happenings of the characters...bullying children at the private school, seemingly perfect marriages that are not so perfect etc....leading up to the trivia night.  There are good twists and turns that will keep readers guessing who will be the victim and who will be the killer.  In addition to a good mystery, there is also humor and interesting and engaging characters.  Moriarty's writing flows so nicely...this almost 500 page book was one that I could not put down. 

I highly recommend this book.  I received a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review from the Amazon Vine program.

Friday, July 4, 2014

And We Stay (YA)

Book #61 Read in 2014
And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

This was a great young adult read, told in prose and poems.  Emily is dealing with the fact that her boyfriend brought a gun into the school library and killed himself.  To help her heal, her parents send her to a boarding school, just around the corner from Emily Dickinson's house.  Emily (modern Emily) begins to write poems as a sort of therapy and begins to feel a kinship with the poet Emily, and she begins to research the poet's life. 

While a quick read, this book has a lot of meat to it and deals with a variety of tough topics.  Emily is a complex main character and I like that she is intelligent.  She is definitely broken and this book is sort of a raw wound as one reads it. 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review through the Amazon Vine program.


Book #60 Read in 2014
Inferno by Dan Brown

This is the 4th book in the Robert Langdon series.  I liked this one more than The Lost Symbol (book #3) but did not love it as I did Angels and Demons and The DaVinci Code.  Inferno begins with Robert Langdon waking up in the hospital in Florence and not remembering how he got there or what has happened to him for the past few days.  He meets Sienna, a young doctor, who helps him escape the woman he believes is trying to kill him.  The two set off on an adventure and are chased by groups of people--military?  Government?  Spies?  Robert realizes the more important question is how can he try to stop a plague from being released onto humanity.

This one dragged a bit for me in the first half but picked up in the second half.  There were good twists and turns at the end.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Accidents of Marriage

Book #59 Read in 2014
Accidents of Marriage by Randy Susan Meyers

I enjoyed the author's book The Comfort of Lies and the book was just as good.  In this novel, Maddy and Ben have a marriage that is struggling due to Ben's anger issues.  Those reach a high point when his angry driving plays a role in causing a car accident, which leaves Maddy in a coma with a traumatic brain injury.  Maddy eventually comes out of the coma but her road to recovery--of her words and emotions, of her marriage, of her life--is one that is not easy.

I enjoyed Meyer's writing.  She told this story in alternating viewpoints of Maddy, Ben and their oldest daughter Emma.  This fleshed out these three important characters more to readers and made them even more engaging.  Meyer is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.

I received a copy of this book from BookBrowse, in exchange for a honest review.

June Reads

June Reads:

1.  Final Sentence (4/5)  1st in series
2.  Afterworlds (YA)  4/5
3.  Right Click (5/5)  3rd in series  Kindle
4.  Small Blessings (4/5)
5.  An Unlikely Cat Lady (4/5)
6.  Operation Titanic (YA)  3.5/5
7.  The Rosie Project (4/5)  Kindle
8.  Lockwood and Co:  The Screaming Staircase (YA)  4/5  1st in series

Year to date:  58 books