Weekly Wrap up #17 – Slow Reading

Posted December 3, 2017 by Lily B in Recap, Wrap Up / 19 Comments

Weekly Recap

 

I’ve had a mixed reading week. It’s been a bit slow going ever since I read AN EX FOR CHRISTMAS BY LAUREN LAYNE. I really enjoyed it and it started my Christmas reading kick, unfortunately, it doesn’t feel like it’s going so well. A lot of Christmas books that I enjoy are romances, but for some reason Romances have not been working for me lately, so I am feeling a bit stuck.

I own about 127 Christmas books. You know what that makes me? A Christmas book Hoarder, heh.  So I will try and power through them.

Have you guys read anything really interesting lately? Looking to see what are your five star reviews this week/month.

Are you in the Christmas spirit yet? We are getting our tree soon, so that is exciting. I’m probably going to update the layout today or tomorrow, so hopefully I can start getting into the spirit myself.

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted here @ Caffeinated Reviewer

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Review: An Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne

Posted November 29, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 18 Comments

Review: An Ex for Christmas by Lauren LayneAn Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne
Series: Love Unexpectedly #5
Published by Loveswept on November 7th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Christmas
Pages: 218
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat:three-flames

She’s making a list—and checking it twice. But is there a nice guy among all her naughty exes? The New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines returns with a charming friends-to-lovers rom-com.
When a psychic tells spunky, superstitious Kelly Byrne that she’s already met her true love, she becomes obsessed with the idea of tracking him down before Christmas. Kelly immediately writes up an “Ex List” and starts contacting old boyfriends to figure out which one is the one. When her college sweetheart rolls into town, Kelly convinces herself that they’re meant to be. The trouble is, sparks are flying with someone she’s never given a chance: her best friend, Mark.
Mark Blakely has watched the guys on Kelly’s list break her heart, and he’s not looking forward to watching them do it all over again. Mark’s always been there for her, but the timing’s never worked out for their relationship to be something more. Now, just as Mark is ready to move on, the sexual tension between them is suddenly off the charts. With Christmas morning around the corner, he just hopes Kelly will wake up and realize that everything she wants has been right in front of her all along.
Lauren Layne’s USA Today bestselling Love Unexpectedly series can be read in any order
This ebook includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

When a psychic tells a superstitious Kelly Byrne that she had already met her true love, she becomes obsessed with tracking him down so she isn’t alone for Christmas. Kelly makes an “Ex List” and starts contacting her old boyfriends to try and figure out which one of these guys are her true love that she has passed up on. But, Kelly never expected that this Christmas sparks might be flying with someone else.

Mark Blakely has been Kelly’s best friend forever. He has watched the guys on Kelly’s list break her heart and isn’t really looking forward watching, or experiencing that again. Plus, Mark has been sitting on the sidelines long, and is ready to move on to something more. All he has to do is convince the woman who is looking elsewhere to see what is in front of her.

YES! This is exactly the type of romance I adore and always on the look out for. Kelly and Mark were so perfect together in this book. It’s been a while since I have enjoyed or read a romance, so when I picked this one up and was unable to put down, I knew I had a winner.

I enjoyed the humor and the romance. I totally love best friends to lovers tropes, so I was sold on this right away. Plus, Layne has a way of building up romances that are both adorable, tension filled and steamy. I really liked the build up, I loved when sparks flew between the two with both became aware of each other.

I loved that they co-own a dog and how wonderful and protective their friendship/relationship was. Turning the pages both warmed my heart and made me giggle. Layne does a great job of lacing humor into her books.

If you love Christmas, this really brings romance and holiday to the table as Kelly is a complete Christmas junky.

I did like Kelly, I liked her spunk and her personality, but her belief in the Sight and superstition turns into a gospel she lives by and feels a little crippling at times. When she was starting to discover her feelings for Mark, she never took the time to sit back and think about the woman’s words, what they meant, and that maybe, just maybe she didn’t have to live by them. It was especially exasperating when she mentions that she always wanted to feel like that about someone, as she does for Mark.

Mark totally won the story for me, I wish if she author was going to put one chapter from his POV in it that maybe there would have been more. I’d really liked to get into his head and find out his thoughts on Kelly’s process and how he felt about it, because it felt like Mark had a big role in what kept happening to Kelly and her Ex’s.

There was a bit of unnecessary drama thrown into the end, I honestly did not expect Kelly to actually get through her list and I would have been fine with that, especially with the way she felt for Mark.

But this was a totally cute, totally feel good Christmas romances that just melts your heart. I think it’s perfect for the holiday season.

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Review: Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan by Jonathan W. Stokes

Posted November 28, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

Review:  Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan by Jonathan W. StokesAddison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan by Jonathan W. Stokes
Series: Addison Cooke #2
Published by Philomel Books on November 14th 2017
Genres: Middle Grade
Pages: 464
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Goonies meets Indiana Jones in Addison's second laugh-out-loud adventure! A journey through Asia in pursuit of the legendary tomb of Genghis Khan.
Fresh off of a victorious treasure hunt and rescue mission in South America, Addison Cooke just can't seem to steer clear of rogue bandits, pesky booby traps, and secret treasure troves. But it sure beats sitting around in school all day.
Addison's aunt and uncle, on the other hand, are none too happy about their habit of attracting kidnappers. When they become pawns in a dangerous gang's plan to steal the most prized possession of the notorious Mongolian leader Genghis Khan, Addison and his friends find themselves once again caught in the middle of a multi-million-dollar international heist. Armed with nothing but their wits and thirst for adventure, they travel across Asia in an attempt to rescue Addison's family and stop the treasure from falling into the wrong hands.
Brimming with round-the-clock action and tons of laughter, Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan is perfect for fans of Indiana Jones, ancient history, and James Patterson's Treasure Hunters series.
Praise for Addison Cooke
"Combines the derring-do of Indiana Jones with a genuine archaeological mystery. Stokes brings a cinematic scope to the story. This lively debut promises more seat-of-the-pants thrillsfor readers who love adventure."--Booklist
"Cinematic pacing and action drive the story, but it's Addison and his friends who will keep readers engaged. Humor is never in short supply . . . and Addison's endless optimism and irrepressible confidence in his own abilities are endearing."--School Library Journal
"Addison is often one step ahead of the adults, but his lead is constantly threatened, building steady tension throughout the novel, screenwriter Stokes's debut."--Publishers Weekly

Schools out, summer is in, and Addison and his group of friends are off to Asia!

Trouble seems to follow Addison no matter where he goes, fresh of a treasure hunt and rescue mission in South America – Addison finds himself in a whole new set of trouble out in China.

When Addison and Molly’s Aunt and Uncle get kidnapped in China by the mysterious Madame Feng, they must use their knowledge as survival skills in order to beat Madame Feng to what she really wants – the Golden Whip from the lost grave of Ghenghis Khan.

This was a really fun read. At over 400 pages, the pace was steady and exciting. Addison is a very interesting 13 year old boy, who is witty, but a bit quirky at times. He hates germs, he loves to read and seems to always have the knack of knowing how to get his friends out of trouble.

The story and the progression was kind of interesting for me, because I was always interested in Mongolia and Ghenghis Khan. I actually did not know that his tomb/grave was purposely done so not even the Mongols could find it. I had to google that bit myself and the author did mostly stick to the fact at the beginning of the book about the possible locations and how he was buried.

I thought that was fun because not only does it provide middle grade kids with a fascinating plot, fun characters, great adventure and a strong set of friendships, it also educates quiet a bit.

I did have to take my time time with the rating because I wasn’t sure about a few things. I did have to keep in mind that this was a middle grade adventure novel and a lot of it does seem a bit out there, but that’s okay, because to me, it allows the children to get caught up in the excitement and imagination. That part I am fully aware of and perfectly fine with, despite some scenes. I especially loved how the author took the fact that they are kids into consideration and during a lot of scenes he limited their capabilities of what they can or cannot do. I love how they think it would play out in their head and how it actually happens is completely different because at the end of the day, Addison and his friends are still children. That kind of line of thinking was awesome and I think something that can be related to.

I wasn’t sure how the kids would relate to Addison thought because for a 13 year old, he is witty, he can talk circles around you and get himself out of sticky situations. He is also the type of kid that will read The Art of War. But, despite being a sort of prodigy (?) Addison still uses tactics that are childlike and it just makes you giggle.

This was a great book. It was fast paced. There is action, adventure, a mystery and it is really, really well written you guys. I absolutely loved the writing, Stokes just does a wonderful job that it even makes it really enjoyable for an adult because I forgot at several places that this was a middle grade book.

My favorite character I would have to say is Dax’s (the adult in this book) copilot Mr.Jacobsen a goofy Great Dane.

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Review: Poison by Galt Niederhoffer

Posted November 27, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 25 Comments

Review:  Poison by Galt NiederhofferPoison by Galt Niederhoffer
Series: standalone
Published by St. Martin's Press on November 21st 2017
Genres: Psychological Thriller
Pages: 320
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 1 Stars
Heat:two-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Poison is a literary psychological thriller about a marriage that follows minor betrayal into a bubbling stew of lies, cruelty, manipulation, and danger.
Cass and Ryan Connor have achieved family nirvana. With three kids between them, a cat and a yard, a home they built and feathered, they seem to have the Modern Family dream. Their family, including Cass' two children from previous relationships, has recently moved to Portland —a new start for their new lives. Cass and Ryan have stable, successful careers, and they are happy. But trouble begins almost imperceptibly. First with small omissions and white lies that happen daily in any marital bedroom. They seem insignificant, but they are quickly followed by a series of denials and feints that mushroom and then cyclone in menace.
With life-or-death stakes and irreversible consequences, Poison is a chilling and irresistible reminder that the closest bond designed to protect and provide for each other and for children can change in a minute.

Cass and Ryan Connor seem like a happy family on the outside. They have three children, two from Cass’ previous marriage and one between them. They have moved to Portland, have stable jobs, and a lovely family home. But the perfect marriage turns into a nightmare when Cass starts to discover that her husband had started to lie daily to her omissions and white lies that turn into a series of denials and threats. Soon Cass is in trouble as she goes up against her husband, who seemed like a loving father, but is now a completely different person and the people who are bent on believing a man’s word over the woman’s.

Okay, I hate giving one star reviews, but with this book I just couldn’t rate it higher.

I wanted to love it, but I quickly grew to despise it. If you are planning to read it and don’t want any spoilers, I’d stop reading the review now because the rant that follows is why I have such strong dislike for this wrong.

One, the format. It was all over the place. Sometimes the story jumped between present and past with no clear cut definitive line and it makes your head swim as you scramble to find out what just happened. One minute it’s in the past, the next minute the author is talking about the present, the switch is so sudden it felt like whiplash.

Second, I am not sure what the author was trying to do here. I get that she puts forth a lot of stuff she believes in and how she feels the world functions and it’s very feminist to the point of being overwhelming?

Like for example. Cass has this perfect family and out of no where, her husband grows another head and becomes a man that she no longer recognizes, capable of violence. There are odd scenes between Cass and Ryan when she confronts him about his cheating and he attacks her, and chokes her, and says your life is over now, you will leave me – something along those lines. It was the most random and weirdest thing, like… ever

Now here is the part that really starts to piss me off. Cass is being poisoned by her husband, but NO ONE believes her, with the exception of her best friend. She goes to the hospital and rather than checking her first for poison, they escort her to the psych ward because apparently hospitals don’t believe women if they come into the ER claiming that their husband is trying to murder them, only crazy people come into the hospital claiming to be poisoned. So rather than checking the person first to see if they are telling the truth, THAN sending them to loony bin if necessary, they do it automatically. Right…

So she goes to her lawyer, and he barely believes her.

She goes to the cops and they do not believe her…

She calls her father, who automatically accuses her of pissing her husband off. Oh, and does not believe her…

Even her mother turns on her.

So this well educated woman in her 30s? 40s? is suddenly being viewed by EVERYONE that she has a mental illness, because her husband said so and no one in this country believes women and they all try to discredit them, even our own parents and mothers will testify in court and say – yup this child I raised, who has a good education, has never had a mental illness is obviously mentally ill..

Excuse me? Are you KIDDING ME?

Fine… Let’s say there are hospital in the USA that will throw you into a psych ward if you come in accusing your husband with poisoning you (I’ve been told otherwise, anyone heard differently?) but it’s not like she didn’t have symptoms, she did.

But I never got the sense that her mother would turn on her, like what? Why? I mean, come on…

Also, why did he all the sudden turn on her? I understand she accused him of cheating, which we never got quiet the answer to that, or why he was trying to kill her.

It just did not work for me at all. I get the sense that the author had a strong dislike for the male population in general, including how this country is run in courts, in police, in hopsitals, there is a strong emphasis on male misogyny and was trying to spread the word (or hate) through a psychological thriller, but I never felt like it worked.

 

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Guest Review: Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery + Giveaway

Posted November 21, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 45 Comments

Good Morning Everyone! Hope you guys are having a great week so far. Sophia Rose is back on the blog today. She has a review of a classic and if you follow the instruction and rafflecopter below she also has a great giveaway for you! Enjoy!

Guest Review: Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery + GiveawayAnne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, Benjamin Lefebvre, J. Courtney Sullivan
Series: Anne of Green Gables #1
Published by Penguin Classics on March 1st 2018
Genres: Fiction, Childrens
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The beloved coming-of-age tale of a spunky heroine named Anne "with an E," now for the first time in Penguin Classics and packaged in a Deluxe edition. L. M. Montgomery's novel Anne of Green Gables recounts the adventures of Anne Shirley, an 11-year-old orphan mistakenly sent to a pair of siblings who intended to adopt a boy to help work on their farm in Prince Edward Island. Yet Anne's quirky personality and good-natured spirit causes the siblings to grow to love her anyway, and soon the entire town falls for the precocious little girl with bright red hair. Cherished by both children and adults, Anne of Green Gables is a celebration of fierce individualism, and the families we create, rather than the ones we are born into. This Deluxe edition is enhanced with a foreword by bestselling author J. Courtney Sullivan, and an introduction and suggestions for further reading by Benjamin Lefebvre, as well as reviews and a selection of early writing by L. M. Montgomery about the process of writing Anne.

Decades later and I still count Anne of Green Gables as one of my favorite all-time books. As a young girl, it was likely one of the three most influential books I read. Over and over. I delighted in the later TV film adaption, but still gravitated to the sparkling, light-filled prose of the print copy on my shelf. I have carried around that copy over thousands of miles and years.

I was all agasp when I was offered the Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition knowing that 2018 marks the 110 year anniversary of the book’s release and 75 years since the gifted author’s death. The book’s whimsical cover and end papers made me sigh with happiness to see and touch them. I’m a sucker for the rougher cut style cream colored pages. And it was fascinating reading the author biography, forward, introduction, and later the discussion of how Montgomery came to write in the author’s own words.

But the piece de resistance was the ageless story about a little red-headed orphan girl brought by mistake into the colorless, lonely lives of older siblings, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, of P.E.I.’s Green Gables farm.

Matthew, much to his own surprise, was enjoying himself. Like most quiet folks he liked talkative people when they were willing to do the talking themselves and did not expect him to keep up his end of it.”

You’re not eating anything,” said Marilla sharply, eying her as if it were a serious shortcoming. Anne sighed. I can’t. I’m in the depths of despair. Can you eat when you are in the depths of despair?”

I’ve never been in the depths of despair, so I can’t say,” responded Marilla.

Weren’t you? Well, did you ever try to IMAGINE you were in the depths of despair?”

No, I didn’t.”

Then I don’t think you can understand what it’s like. It’s very uncomfortable a feeling indeed.”

Anne with an ‘e’ makes her odd and endearing way into the hearts of many including readers because of her sincere, honest, but many times disastrous ways. Bosom friend Diana. Long bitter school rival Gilbert (at least on Anne’s part, wink). Mentor in teacher, Miss Stacy. Nosey, managing neighbor, Rachel Lynde. And oh so many more connections in the little village of Avonlea and beyond.

“Gilbert told Charlie Sloan that you were the smartest girl in school, right in front of Josie.”

“He did?”

“He told Charlie being smart was better than being good looking.”

“I should have known he meant to insult me.”

Miss Barry was a kindred spirit after all,” Anne confided to Marilla, “You wouldn’t think so to look at her, but she is. . . Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”

There are no flashes of swashbuckling danger or passion in this story, but there are universal themes of childhood, family, friendship, dreams, mistakes, and growing up from a child and adult perspective with which young and old, male or female can connect. The book still brings me to laugh, cry, and sigh throughout. I’ve been quoting Anne-isms now for years like ‘tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it’ or ‘I’m having a Jonah day’ or ‘bosom friends’ or ‘we’re kindred spirits’ or ‘I’m in the depths of dispair’. So many.

My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.”

I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does.”

Picking up this new edition with its classic tale was sheer joy. I meandered down to the Lake of Shining Waters and gasped at the beauty of the White Way of Delight, and sighed over the loveliness of October, and girlhood fancies and dreams. I was impacted by the uplift I got from reading of a more innocent time and place, but with real people going about their normal lives.

Whether you are a newbie or a long-time Anne lover, I can definitely recommend picking it up and losing yourself in the pages.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY

I have a treat today for US residents. Penguin Classics is offering up one print copy of the book to one of our US readers. Fill in the Rafflecopter for your opportunity to win.

  • U.S. residents 13 years of age or older (if you are underage have an adult enter on your behalf)
  • Must reply within 48 hours to collect your prize

Have you read or watched a film adaption of Anne of Green Gables? Do you have a favorite Anne-ism or favorite scene?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review: The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

Posted November 18, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 12 Comments

Review: The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv ConstantineThe Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
Series: standalone
Published by Harper on October 17th 2017
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller
Pages: 400
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A mesmerizing debut psychological thriller full of delicious twists about a coolly manipulative woman who worms her way into the lives of a wealthy “golden couple” from Connecticut to achieve the privileged life she wants.
Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted. To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne and her husband, Jackson—the beautiful philanthropist and the confident real estate mogul—are a golden couple straight out of a fairytale, blessed with two lovely young daughters.
Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn't have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrish family, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.
With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.

A story that follows two points of views, of two very different women. First, we have Amber, a small town girl who grew up dirt poor and believes she deserves better. In fact, she believes that so much that she had set her eyes on Jackson Parrish, the husband of Daphne Parrish – who happens to be handsome and rich – the two portraying the perfect golden couple. The second woman, is Daphne, the perfect wife, the perfect mother. She is gorgeous and rich, and Amber wants her spot.

This was a really interesting story, a really quick paced read with some interesting characters. I hated Amber, but we were meant to hate her. She was so deceitful that at times I couldn’t help but have to put the book down from the anger. I felt bad for Daphne, who we later discover has enough on her plate without this snake wiggling into her life.

This book was a good read, well written, totally engrossing with fantastic character development and progression. It was exciting, as it was uncomfortable and believe me the second part of the book had some really cringe worthy scenes when Daphne unravels everything and keeps us on the edge of the seat.

Unfortunately for me, the book was super predictable down to the bone because this was exactly like The Wife Between Us, but on steroids. There was just so much that was super similar, it was kind of weird how similar the two books were? There is even an expression nervous Nellie, which was odd cause it’s not something you see often for it not to be a coincidence? And there were other similarities as far as the story went.

Umm, the difference was how it was told, how it unrevealed and the authors of this one really went farther about the dynamics between Jackson and his wife. Plus the whole Amber plot line was completely different. It was still really well done. I really enjoyed it, a lot, in fact, and why wouldn’t I, I absolutely loved the storyline.

But after reading this, I am a little confused how that happened.

Anyway, that aside. Great book, great characters. The main plot line was different, but the point where this was heading and some things that occurred, felt the same…

I still highly recommended it for fans of psychological thrillers and domestic thrillers, because I found this to be enjoyable, uncomfortable, but still well done.

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Review: Digging for Trouble by Linda Fairstein

Posted November 16, 2017 by Lily B in Interview, Reviews / 12 Comments

Review:  Digging for Trouble by Linda FairsteinDigging for Trouble by Linda Fairstein
Series: Devlin Quick #2
Published by Dial Books on November 7th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Childrens, Mystery
Pages: 332
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Twelve-year-old supersleuth Devlin Quick heads to Montana to dig out dinosaur bones, but instead she uncovers a mystery.After successfully apprehending a map thief at the beginning of summer, Dev is going to spend the second half of her summer vacation in Montana with her best friend, Katie, exploring the outdoors and NOT getting into trouble. But after participating in a dinosaur dig, Katie and Dev suspect that someone bad is in the Badlands when Katie's found fossils are switched out for old rocks. The good news? With Mom back in New York, no one can stop Devlin from investigating! But the fossil thief isn't the only danger here, as snakes, scorpions, and bears abound, making Montana a treacherous place for finding answers. And when the mystery takes Dev and Katie back to Manhattan--to the Museum of Natural History--the case gets even more complicated, even with Dev's friend Booker there to help. Dev has to use her brains, brawn, and yes, okay, the lessons learned from her police commissioner mother if she wants to dig up the truth once and for all.

Devlin and Katie are off to Montana to help dig out some dinosaur bones. When Katie makes a huge discovery, it was suppose to be a big thing. But something isn’t right when the fossils the girls dig up gets switched up for rocks. Soon Devlin and Katie cannot help but feel that something else is going on in the Badlands, and the mystery takes the two girls back to Manhattan and the Museum of Natural History.

This was such a pleasant read. I enjoy the writing, the writing was really well done and the characters are well fleshed out and developed. Devlin is a wonderful character to follow, she is headstrong, smart, and just a charming 12-year-old girl.

I love the strong friendships in this book, especially with the positive relationship between Devlin and her mother as well as between Devlin, Booker and Katie. Devlin cares, and it is evident with the fact when she tries to get to the bottom of a mystery when she feels like her friend Katie’s discovery seems to be underplayed and possibly stolen.

The author also does a great job of incorporating some facts in her books about certain things that end up being weaved as part of the story and does not make you realize that you are in fact also learning.

Devlin Quick is a great series for both adults and children alike. Filled with interesting characters, positive relationships and a fun storyline that makes this book a true keeper.

Author Interview

Hi Linda! I’m Lily and I want to welcome you to my blog, Night Owl Book Cafe. Thank you for taking your time and answering some questions for us today.

Let’s get right to it. What is your new book, Digging For Trouble about?

DIGGING FOR TROUBLE is my second book in a new series for Young Readers (8-12 year olds) that debuted last year. The protagonist is a smart sleuth – a twelve-year old girl named Devlin Quick who lives in New York City and likes nothing better than to engage her friends in solving a mystery. This story opens in Montana, where Dev and her best friend Katie are on a dig for dinosaur bones, and then moves back to Manhattan where they are assisted by their pal Booker. They wind up in the iconic Museum of Natural History – to see whether someone tampered with Dev and Katie’s bones. – and to see whether they can make things right.

I have to admit, I love that it features dinosaur fossils. Where do you get inspiration for your books?

As a writer, I’ve long found that there is inspiration all around us, as long as we always have our eyes open. I grew up near New York City, and the first place in Manhattan that totally enchanted me was the Museum of Natural History. What kid doesn’t love dino fossils? And how those discoveries have changed over the years. Also, I spend part of every summer in Montana, which is unusually rich in fossils from the dinosaur ages, so the combination came pretty easily.

Devlin sounds like a fun character! How did you get inspired to write her character?

When I was a young reader – in exactly this age range – I became hooked on the adventures of Nancy Drew. I envied her courage and her independence – not traits you would have found in me back then – and I loved that she was a character who came back to her fans in story after story. My goal was never to imitate that great series of stories, but to write a modern day character – familiar with new forensic tools – as a tribute to the books that inspired me in so many ways.

Which character did you find the most difficult to write?

I think creating Devlin was the most difficult part of this undertaking. INTO THE LION’S DEN was the first book, and I was well aware – as a writer of a long-running series of crime novels – that if I didn’t get Dev ‘right’ from the outset, I wouldn’t capture the imagination of readers. So a lot of thought went into figuring out who Devlin Quick is before I sat down at the computer to write the first page.

Do the characters ever try to take over your writing?

Of course they do! Before I started to write, I’d listen to authors I admired when they appeared on TV talk shows or lectures, and I would roll my eyes when they would say that their characters ‘spoke’ to them and often took over the story-telling. Most days, and especially when you write a series populated by continuing characters, it’s entirely true! I hear Booker telling me not to make him ‘do’ certain things, and Devlin asking for more freedom to go rogue. It’s part of the great fun of writing these books.

How did it feel when you published your first book?

All my young life – in school yearbooks and such – I always said that I wanted to be a writer. My father, who was terrifically loving and supportive, encouraged me to go to law school so that I would always have a career and a way to take care of myself in case the writing didn’t work. In the middle of a very rewarding career in the law, I wrote a non-fiction book called SEXUAL VIOLENCE: Our War Against Rape, which was published in 1993. One can talk about dreams coming true, but it’s all an understatement. The day I went to the post office and opened the package with the first bound copy in my hands, well, it’s one of the most memorable moments of my life.

What is it that you find about writing children’s book most rewarding?

I was a voracious reader as a kid, and it’s a trait that has served me well all my life. I love books, libraries, bookstores and people who love to read as much as I do. The stories I connected with as a child were such an influence on the rest of my life that it is a real joy to think I might be able to return that kind of pleasure by giving kids a new and entertaining experience with a good book.

What is it that you want young readers, diving into your book, to walk away with?

I want my readers to be entertained, of course. I want them to have fun with Devlin and Katie and Booker, and to want to see them back in book after book. But I also want them to be a bit smarter at the end of the pages. There’s information about forensics in each book, and in this one, there is a lot to learn about dinosaurs. Entertain and inform each reader, which I think is a good combination.

Do you mind sharing what’s next for Devlin?

Devlin’s next caper is entitled SECRETS OF THE DEEP. She and Booker are ending their summer vacation at his grandmother’s home on Martha’s Vineyard. Dev is supposed to be working on a science project, when they make some very unexpected discoveries. That should hook my young readers, I hope.

Final question before you go. Thank you for sharing everything with us. I do have to ask. What would you say your favorite food or dish is?

Hands down, from childhood to right now, if I could have one thing to eat if shipwrecked on a deserted island, it would be a supply of chocolate ice cream. Thanks for inviting me into the NIGHT OWL BOOK CAFÉ!

Thank you Linda 🙂

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Guest Review: Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

Posted November 15, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 20 Comments

Guest Review: Stars Above by Marissa MeyerStars Above by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #4.5
Published by Feiwel & Friends on February 2nd 2016
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

The enchantment continues....
The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?
With nine stories—five of which have never before been published—and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s upcoming novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.
--The Little Android: A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles.Glitches: In this prequel to Cinder, we see the results of the plague play out, and the emotional toll it takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch….The Queen’s Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we’re introduced to the army Queen Levana is building, and one soldier in particular who will do anything to keep from becoming the monster they want him to be.Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky: Thirteen-year-old Carswell Thorne has big plans involving a Rampion spaceship and a no-return trip out of Los Angeles.The Keeper: A prequel to the Lunar Chronicles, showing a young Scarlet and how Princess Selene came into the care of Michelle Benoit.After Sunshine Passes By: In this prequel to Cress, we see how a nine-year-old Cress ended up alone on a satellite, spying on Earth for Luna.The Princess and the Guard: In this prequel to Winter, we see a game called The PrincessThe Mechanic: In this prequel to Cinder, we see Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s perspective.Something Old, Something New: In this epilogue to Winter, friends gather for the wedding of the century...

Stars Above was a delight. Sheer delight. For a fan of The Lunar Chronicles who just had not gotten enough of the series whenWinter was read and done, this collection of novellas came as a delicious dessert.

Stars Above is a compilation of nine stories. All, but one are prequels of sorts. Several were already released as in-between stories setting up the reader for the newly releasing full-length novel coming behind it while perhaps six were new and never before released.

Each of the stories is a snippet into the lives of many of the characters before they became the older heroes and heroines of the full-length novels. Only two novellas fall outside that. The Littlest Android is a Little Mermaid retelling and is a standalone story parallel to the beginning of Cinder and Something Old Something New is a long epilogue- sequel to Winter.

I loved each and every story for how it enriched the series and I definitely needed that last one, Something Old Something New, because Winter ended in a way that I felt needed just a bit more. But, surprisingly, the story I loved the best was the bittersweet standalone, The Littlest Android.

For the most part, the stories are expansions on shorter references within the novels so that I was familiar with each to a certain extent. It was fascinating getting the stories from the different points of view and feeling like I was right there when it was happening rather than the shorter summaries the characters gave in the later novels.

So, this is great for a nice follow-up to the series, bringing together all the shorter stories from before and adding several new ones. Definite fan gift from the author and worth the read whether the reader reads them in release order with the bigger novels or waits to read them after the series is over.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review: Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda

Posted November 14, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 13 Comments

Review: Best Day Ever by Kaira RoudaBest Day Ever by Kaira Rouda
Series: standalone
Published by Graydon House on September 19th 2017
Genres: Psychological Thriller
Pages: 342
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:one-flame

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I glance at my wife as she climbs into the passenger seat, and I am bursting with confidence. Today will be everything I’ve promised her…and more…
Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he’s the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That’s why he’s planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he's promised today will be the best day ever.
But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and toward the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. How much do they trust each other? And how perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really?
Forcing us to ask ourselves just how well we know those who are closest to us, Best Day Ever crackles with dark energy, spinning ever tighter toward its shocking conclusion. In the bestselling, page-turning vein of The Couple Next Door and The Dinner, Kaira Rouda weaves a gripping, tautly suspenseful tale of deception and betrayal dark enough to destroy a marriage…or a life.

Paul Strom is the perfect husband with the perfect life. He has a beautiful wife, two healthy boys, a dream career as an advertising executive, a big home and a vacation cottage. He brings home the money, he protects his family, he provides for them. Paul even planned a romantic getaway vacation to their Lakeside Cottage so he and his wife, who has recently been in poor health, can have the best day ever.

Paul has everything planned.

This book was a fast pace thrilling ride. Being in Paul’s head was hard, pulling me out of my comfort zone, made me cringe, but kept me on the edge of my seat.

Paul is a big narcissist who loves being in control and things always have to go his way.

This book was a fast pace thrilling ride. Being in Paul’s head was hard, pulling me out of my comfort zone, made me cringe, but kept me on the edge of my seat.

Paul is a big narcissist who loves being in control and things always have to go his way. As long as Paul stayed in control it was almost scary the way his thought process worked and how calmly he handled the entire day and what he had planned. To me it felt like the most chilling part of the book.

When Paul and his wife Mia hit the road, the tension starts to rise. I couldn’t seem to put this book down, the voice in the story kept me glued to the pages and devouring the book. It was fast paced, it was creepy, it was disturbing, but at the same time I needed to know how all of this was going to unfold.

It almost makes you feel a little dirty at times.

I do wish that things in the end wrapped up differently. I wasn’t a complete fan of the ending because of the way things played out. I thought Paul deserved a lot more than what he got, especially after everything that he did.

I had also wished we kind of got alternative chapter between Mia and Paul to give us some sort of a break from being inside of his head, but it wasn’t terribly needed. I think part of what made this book so interesting and uncomfortable was the fact that we got to witness how Paul’s thought process worked, the calmness until he wasn’t in control anymore, the calculative moves and motives, the ease he did everything with and holding no repercussions for his actions.

It was a page turner, and a plot well done. If you enjoy domestic thrillers, I definitely recommend giving this one a try.

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Review: The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen

Posted November 13, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 22 Comments

Review:  The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks, Sarah PekkanenThe Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen
Series: standalone
Published by St. Martin's Press on January 9th 2018
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Pages: 352
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat:one-flame

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.
When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.Assume nothing.
Discover the next blockbuster novel of suspense, and get ready for the read of your life.

The Wife Between Us is a story about a woman whose husband has left her for another younger replacement. Richard was a lovely doting husband, who was wealthy, charming, and attractive. She thought she gave him everything, but now she lives with her aunt in a small apartment and works for the department store trying to keep as low key as possible.

She thought she was done with Richard, until she find out that Richard is now getting married to her younger replacement and now she must stop the wedding from happening. Especially since the young replacement has no clue.

Oh.., Wow.., Wow.. I will stop right there. I don’t think I can go on past this point without ruining the book and with this book you have to go into this completely blindly. It is far the best way to experience what is coming.

There is an abundance of secondary characters at play and everything is very well done, including the main characters.

Hendricks and Pekkanen do and amazing collaboration job with this book. Once I started it, I was completely hooked from the first chapter. I could not put it down. The writing just drew me in and did not relinquish me until I was done. I wanted to know what was happening, I needed to know how it was going to end.

There are a lot of twists and turns, at times it feels like the authors spun you around into a circle. I don’t find it a bad thing, despite the fact that it felt a little flip floppy and at times I was questioning what I originally knew about the book. Looking back at it, it was all just part of the ploy to keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat until the very last page.

I applaud the two ladies for a job well done. For the addictive writing style of this book. For a well done, interesting plot that kept me hooked and flipping through the pages.

This book felt like a puzzle and it is because it’s not till you keep reading do you see the pieces come together as more is revealed through the story and finally everything starts to come together as a whole.

I personally found that I really enjoyed this, not because just for how it was done, but because of the plot. I found that I really loved the plot. It wasn’t easy to read at time, especially the relationship parts, but oh, I was hooked.

I think the only issue I had was, that I wanted to know more about Richard’s sister and the fact that at times it did feel a little flip floppy – but again – this was all part of the plan and that plan was the reason I was so hooked through the entire book. The style was creative, it felt original, I have not myself read anything like it, and I really appreciated it. But, guys I absolutely love books like these that feel like domestic thrillers, they get bonus brownie points.

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