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Review: Sleep Train by Jonathan London

Posted April 19, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 6 Comments

Review: Sleep Train by Jonathan LondonSleep Train by Jonathan London
Illustrator: Lauren Eldridge
Series: standalone
Published by Viking Books for Young Readers on April 3, 2018
Genres: Childrens, Picture Books
Pages: 32
Format: Hardcover
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 perfectly pitched bedtime story and counting book for sleepy train lovers, illustrated in dramatic 3D sculptures!
A little boy climbs into bed with a book and starts counting the train cars in it, between the engine and caboose. "Ten sleepy cars going clickety-clack," reads the refrain. But as the boy counts cars and gets sleepier and sleepier, his room looks more and more like one of the train cars from his book--the sleeping car, of course!
Rhythmically told by the author of the Froggy books, Sleep Train is also stunning to look at. 3D illustrator, Lauren Eldridge, has sculpted an entire train full of intricate details. Part bedtime story, part counting book, part children's fantasy, Sleep Train is a magical ride to dreamland.

When your little one is ready to sleep, and loves trains, Sleep Train is a great book to pull out during those night time hours.

It’s a quick story about a sleep train making its way through the night with a little boy on the train who counts the box cars to sleep instead of sheep.

My son really enjoyed the story, but he is also really in love with trains so it was perfect. He loves the part where the little boy in the book starts counting the train cars and has even remembered some of the names.

I do believe both girls and boys will enjoy the story. I like that it does rhyme for the most part, but it tends to end up a little choppy at times. My son obviously did not mind it, as he enjoyed the story overall.

The illustrations are pretty, I like the night time setting, it’s very catchy. I do wish that the little boy in this book was a bit better done, I found him myself to be a little on a creepy side as he looked like a wooden boy that belongs in Pinoccio.

Overall, this was a great addition to our nighttime routine and my son enjoy the train.

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Review: All the Beautiful Girls by Elizabeth J. Church

Posted April 17, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 7 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: All the Beautiful Girls by Elizabeth J. ChurchAll the Beautiful Girls by Elizabeth J. Church
Series: standalone
Published by Ballantine Books on March 6th 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Heat:two-half-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.

A powerful novel about a gutsy showgirl who tries to conquer her past amongst the glamour of 1960s Las Vegas--and finds unexpected fortune, friendship, and love.
It was unimaginable. When she was eight years old, Lily Decker somehow survived the auto accident that killed her parents and sister, but neither her emotionally distant aunt nor her all-too-attentive uncle could ease her grief. Dancing proves to be Lily's only solace, and eventually, she receives a "scholarship" to a local dance academy--courtesy of a mysterious benefactor.
Grown and ready to leave home for good, Lily changes her name to Ruby Wilde and heads to Las Vegas to be a troupe dancer, but her sensual beauty and voluptuous figure land her work instead as a showgirl performing everywhere from Les Folies Bergere at the Tropicana to the Stardust's Lido de Paris. Wearing costumes dripping with feathers and rhinestones, five-inch heels, and sky-high headdresses, Ruby may have all the looks of a Sin City success story, but she still must learn to navigate the world of men--and figure out what real love looks like.
With her uncanny knack for understanding the hidden lives of women, Elizabeth J. Church captures both the iconic extravagance of an era and the bravery of a young woman who dances through her sadness to find connection, freedom, and, most important, herself.

TRIGGER WARNING for Child Abuse/Sexual Assult.

 

I wish I knew about the trigger warnings in this book before I started reading this. I love historical fiction and have read quite a bit of it in the past, so needless to say when the author dwells into parts of child sexual abuse as part of her story, it took me a bit by surprise. I never expected it to be so in my face and in a way, graphic. I would have appreciated it if the author had implied the fact, but this felt like it crossed a line when a scene between the main character and her uncle takes a very disturbing turn. Was it meant to shock people or make them aware of such incidents?

The story follows a young girl named Lily, she is the sole survivor after her family ends up in a car crash. She ends up living with her Aunt and Uncle and as a little girl, she always craves for her aunts love and approval. Only problem is? Her aunt never had children and does not really know how to give love in the way Lily craves it. Her uncle on the other hand, is a disgusting pig who visits Lily at night time and takes advantage of her. I found these parts really hard to read, but I have this bad habit of not finishing a book so I somehow managed to plow on through all the stomach rolling scenes. To top it off, the frustration mounted when Lily, as a teenager finally lets the secret slip in front of her Aunt and she does not believe her despite the shock that rolls through her.

I felt as a reader, I am aware of certain things and that the author wrote some of the scenes between Lily and her uncle as a shock value. If it’s meant to educate, I guess I can understand that, but I felt that implied would have been enough in the case that this is a historical fiction.

Moving on, Lily is in Vegas and is struggling. She is now going by the name of Ruby Wilde. She really wants to be a dancer, but is not cut out to be the type of dancer she wants. She is approached by a man asking her to reconsider being a showgirl and upon attending a show, Ruby Wilde changes her mind about how distasteful it is and becomes a showgirl.

This book started out rocky, it got a lot more interesting in the middle. I loved the entire part about her being the showgirl and her struggles with her past that she had to overcome in order to be comfortable around men and in her own skin. I have never read anything about Vegas in this era before so it was fascinating to learn about the type of bubble they lived, the glitz and the glamour while the rest of the world was going through reality and struggles.

I really loved how Ruby got close to her girlfriends and there was a struggle with drug use, but she managed to get past that with the help of her friend Rose.

It felt like it was going great, until Ruby meets a man and the book takes a disturbing turn into abuse category again. To top it off, it also proved that there was no character growth for Ruby until the last few chapters of the book. It was both infuriating and frustrating, especially since so many people who she trusts tried to warn her and help her.

I do have to say, the writing itself in this book was actually really well done. The author is a gifted writer, that is for certain, it’s just the story in general did not work for me.

Overall, once you bypass the first part that wasn’t just hard, but disturbing and disgusting to read – the Vegas parts of this book were informative – and then it takes a turn with the love interest I did not care for. I can’t say I recommend this book, but if your interested, a library is a great way to go.

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Review: Can Somebody Please Scratch My Back? by Jory John, Liz Climo (illustrator)

Posted April 4, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 10 Comments

Review: Can Somebody Please Scratch My Back? by Jory John, Liz Climo (illustrator)Can Somebody Please Scratch My Back? by Jory John, Liz Climo
Series: standalone
Published by Dial Books on March 20th 2018
Genres: Childrens, Picture Books
Pages: 40
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 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.

Persnickety Elephant has an itch--a big one--and he can't reach it! While he isn't above asking for a little help, no one is up to the task. Turtle is too lazy, Snail is too slimy, and Alligator... well, Elephant isn't sure he wants his assistance. Does Elephant have to do everything himself?

A story about an Elephant who isn’t able to reach an itch on his back, so he is looking for someone who can help him scratch his back. He asks an array of different animals and each pose a bit of a problem when it comes to back scratching, until a very unlikely helper comes along.

I thought most of this story was really cute. I liked the illustrations because they were clean, well done and very eye pleasing. I liked that it featured different kind of animals doing what they can to help the elephant with his problem.

I did not understand the end…

It was funny, sure, but the elephant used the one animal that tried to help him and kind of tossed him aside in turn causing the animal its own problem. I thought the lesson of the story would be “if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” but the lesson was kind of lost on me when the elephant turned out to be kind of rude.

Maybe I am overthinking this? My son did enjoy the book and found it funny, but I am trying to teach him using the example in this book – that if someone helps you with your problem, don’t use the person and be rude about it, because you never know what consequences might come of it. It is always better to respect the people who help you.

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Review: Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

Posted March 28, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

Review: Black-Eyed Susans by Julia HeaberlinBlack-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin
Series: standalone
Published by Ballantine Books on May 31st 2016
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Psychological Thriller
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

A girl's memory lost in a field of wildflowers.A killer still spreading seeds.
At seventeen, Tessa became famous for being the only surviving victim of a vicious serial killer. Her testimony put him on death row. Decades later, a mother herself, she receives a message from a monster who should be in prison. Now, as the execution date rapidly approaches, Tessa is forced to confront a chilling possibility: Did she help convict the wrong man?

Black-Eyed Susan is about a woman named Tessa, who somehow survived the serial killer responsible for killing a bunch of young girls and burying them among the flowers Black Eyed Susan. Years later, she is still known as the surviving Susan, but with the “killer” on death row, Tessa teams up with Bill and Jo to uncover the truth about the real killer and hopefully release the wrongly accused man from being sentenced to his death.

This book follows two different timelines. We follow Tessie, a 16 year old girl and a survivor of her monster and Tessa in present time as a grown woman.

I don’t know how to feel about this to be honest. The mystery was interesting enough, but it was riddled with holes and the pacing made it hard to be really excited about.

Maybe it was just me, but I did not understand how they got the man that they did (the wrongfully accused) as the Black-Eyed Susan murderer. I thought it was going to be revealed through Tessie’s chapters, but I never got the answers I was looking for.

I did not understand why Tessie was spared and the other girls weren’t. How was she picked to be one of the victims?

I also did not understand who kept planting the Black-Eyed Susans years later.

The Lydia storyline seemed a bit far fetched an the end and really hard to believe.

I enjoyed the premise and felt it had a lot of potential, but it fell a bit flat for me. Also enjoyed the underlining commentary and an attempt to bring awareness of the whole justice system in Texas as far as Death Row goes. It was a bit terrifying and uncomfortable. I also enjoyed learning about forensic science and have discovered things I have never heard of before as far as bone identification goes.

Overall, it was a decent read but the pacing and the holes left in the story made me want a bit more. The ending I did not see coming and I was thankful for that, it took me a while to figure out who the killer really was.

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Review: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Posted March 20, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 15 Comments

Review: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra ChristoTo Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Series: standalone
Published by Feiwel & Friends on March 6th 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 342
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.

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.
The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

To Kill a Kingdom is a loosely based Little Mermaid retelling. It follows Princess Lira one of the most dangerous sirens who one time a year, rips a prince’s heart out. Her collection keeps growing with now seventeen Prince’s that she has murdered. But when the Queen decided to punish Lira for taking a heart too soon before her Birthday, she turns her into the thing that Lira hates the most – a human.

Prince Elian loves the ocean and is the only place he calls home despite being an heir to one of the most powerful Kingdoms. He is a pirate that travels on his ship with his crew while hunting Sirens, and has given himself a name as a notorious Siren killer. When he discovers a naked woman in the middle of the ocean, he knows she is far more than what she appears – but she promises him help finding the Eye of Kato – a powerful weapon that can take down the Sea Queen.

As far as as sirens, mermaid books go, I think this is the best one I have read in a long time. The author does a good job with how she handled mermaids and sirens a like and I found it interesting and original. The writing was really good too and for the most part kept me engaged, despite some pacing issues.

That being said, I felt like this book could have made an interesting adult book. Sometimes the character roles make you forget just how old everyone is and when you finally remember, it sometimes felt hard to believe. Like Elian is about 17 to 18 years old and yet he is one of the most feared Pirates and spends his life killing sirens and building his name around it, at times his age felt off. Until, you remember that he was also completely naive when it came to Lira. He found a naked woman in the middle of the ocean, with no ships in sight, and she seems to know a lot about sirens as well as their action – and he couldn’t put that all together?

The pacing was good for the most part, I did love the world and the world building. I did wish there was a bit more, but I get how the story was supposed to flow and be fast paced. Of course, most of the story ends up being about the crew travel to a Kingdom that holds the Eye and the rest 10% or so dedicated to a battle. At that point I found that I was reading the story just to finish it.

In my honest opinion, for me the book sits at between 3.5 and 3.75 stars but because this was one of the better siren, mermaid books out there I did round it up to 4 stars it is definitely worth the read if you enjoy those type of books because thus far it is one of the better ones out there. I did enjoy it and I did find the writing really good and loved the world the author created.

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Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Posted March 20, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 7 Comments

Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret RogersonAn Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
Series: standalone
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on September 26th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fae
Pages: 300
Format: Kindle Edition, Audiobook
Source: Publisher, Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

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

A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.
Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.
Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

A few points about An Enchantment of Raven

  • The writing was gorgeous. The world was beautiful, Margaret Rogerson really has her way with words and she weaves together a stunning, vivid, dynamic world that really makes your imagination come alive.
  • Thought, the world and the writing are beautiful, where the book really hurt was the characters and the weak plot line. The story follows a 17 year old girl named Isobel, a human with painting as her Craft. They live in the world where summer does not seem to go away. The Fair ones hunger for human craft, and Isobel’s paintings are highly coveted. When Isobel gets her first prince – Rook of the Autumn lands – she paints sorrow in his eyes and puts Rook in danger. For Isobel did not know that showing emotion is dangerous and can get him killed.
  • Isobel is 17 years old, Rook is hundreds, if not thousands of years old. There is a bit of instalove between Isobel and Rook. I did not get the romance between the two and was quite frankly a bit confused about it. If Fair Folk are not meant to feel, how does Rook fall in love not once but twice? Also, if Rook is as old as he is and in love with a 17 year old, felt a bit off Isobel had moments of maturity but she also had bouts of juvenile tendencies as well. They have this heated kiss scene at which she comments afterwards that sex really turns people into imbeciles. Which I guess just reminds you that she is a 17 year old girl who just got grabbed by a Fair Folk that is hundreds of years old. I couldn’t get past that, mainly because he was so much more mature and experienced as her that the duo was making my head hurt.
  • There were a few other parts that confused me. The Hemlock plot line just felt kind of underdeveloped. At one point it is said Rook is losing his magic, I did not understand if he was going to recover and get it back and the whole conflict just felt a bit confused and one I found I really did not care for. The Ardan King is somehow poisoning the lands, but I did not understand how or why.
  • Isobel is a special snowflake, only she can save Fair Folk lands with her craft.
  • Overall, the writing was magic, stunning in it. But it faltered in characters, romance and a plot line that just didn’t completely work.

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Review: Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

Posted March 15, 2018 by Lily B in Audio, Reviews / 11 Comments

Review: Waking Gods by Sylvain NeuvelWaking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel
Series: Themis Files, #2
Published by Random House Audio on April 4th 2017
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 9
Format: Audiobook, Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she’s dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers—and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force.
Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth . . . and maybe even the stars.

I listened to Sleeping Giants last year and absolutely fell in love with not only the audiobook but also the story.

Waking Gods picks back up a few years after the events at the end of Sleeping Giants. Now it seems that Themis isn’t the only robot out there as another Giant robot appears on Earth, than another, than another. Soon Kara, Dr Rose, Vincent and their mysterious friend are out there again trying to figure out why the robots are showing up and are they a danger to Earth.

This was a thrilling ride. I love having all the voice actors and the characters right back telling the story. They do such a great job with the book it is both exciting and an interesting listen. There were a few parts that I found myself reading the actual book for (mostly the scientific parts), but overall the audio is my favorite part.

The story itself is exciting as a reader, I was eager to find out what happens to the characters and what do the giant robots want from the Earth. This definitely had some science fiction elements to it, but it was easy enough to get into the story. Sylvain Neuvel really knows how to bring the characters and their personalities to life through simple character dialog and files. This is not written as a traditional book which I think makes it even more exciting.

I did have some gripes about it

First, I didn’t like the voice of Eva. I get that she is suppose to be 10 year old girl, but she was super whiny and listening to it was a bit grating.

The second gripe might be a spoiler so please read at your own discretion below

View Spoiler »

 

That’s all. I am enjoying this series, it’s really well done and I am looking forward to digging into book three and seeing how it wraps up. That ending definitely threw me in for a loop.

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Review: A Kiss in the Dark by Gina Ciocca

Posted March 10, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 12 Comments

Review: A Kiss in the Dark by Gina CioccaA Kiss in the Dark by Gina Ciocca
Series: standalone
Published by Simon Pulse on March 6th 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 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.

When the lights go out at a Georgia high school football game, Macy Atwood finds herself in the arms of a boy who kisses her senseless – but is gone by the time the lights come back on. All she knows is that there was something special – and oddly familiar – about her mystery kisser.
Noah Granger, Ridgedale’s resident bad boy and newest transfer student, has no problem taking credit for the kiss, but Macy can’t shake the feeling that he’s lying. Especially since a photograph of Macy and former star football player Joel Hargrove resurfaced online moments before the blackout, a not-so random reminder of how hard she fell for Joel last year. And how doing so ultimately sent her lifelong friendships with Meredith Kopala and Ben Collins up in literal smoke.
Soon junior year’s wounds begin to reopen as Macy realizes the events that unfolded are somehow tied to her mystery kisser. Discovering how means finally facing what really went wrong with Meredith, Ben, and Joel – and finding out what Noah is covering up.
But the closer Macy gets to figuring it all out, the more she starts to worry that the boy who kissed her in the dark and the boy who is stealing her heart might be two very different people.

Macy had a rough junior year and is hoping to make the best of her senior year, including mending some relationships that were destroyed last year. When the lights go out at her high school during the football game, Macy finds herself in the arms of a boy who kisses her senseless. The boy seems to know her and everything about him is familiar, but she can’t quite figure out who is he.

Noah, the resident bad boy has no qualms about taking credit for the kiss and Joel – her junior crush who bailed from taking her to homecoming is acting weird again.

But Macy is also trying to build a bridge between her best friend Meredith and her former friend Ben after something happened during Junior year as she continues to try and find the boy who kissed her in the dark.

Okay, this book was… Okay.

First, I am very confused because the football game happens at night and when the lights go out, well am I the only one who is confused how Macy still did not see this person? Because I did not get an impression that this was a dome setting (maybe I missed the part?) because otherwise, Macy should have been able to see the person who kissed her. Not really up to how she was so blind that moment.

Two, Macy was a sweet character and easy enough to follow, but oh my god I did not understand how she was super oblivious. Like the signs were everywhere and the other characters knew, but no one apparently bothered to tell her what was going on. I found this beyond frustrating and I wanted to throttle her. She was always confused about Ben and Joel and was questioning their behavior and “mysterious” words the entire damn book and somehow could not see what is in front of her? I find it hard to believe. That, or the character herself really was that thick.

This book takes place during senior year, but we get chapters that tell us what unfolded during junior year. I liked Meredith and I felt so sorry for what she went through.

I thought the romance could have been so sweet, but a lot of the book focused on Macy navigating senior year and a lot of it was about homecoming. I couldn’t relate to the obsession of homecoming because when I was in high school about ten years ago, we didn’t have homecoming in my school. The romance kind of happens slowly and by accident, but the focus of the book felt like everyone around Macy were mad at her the entire time because she seemed to just…Not get it.

Overall, I found some of the book cute. It was a fast read. I just found some things to not make sense and the whole case with Macy being completely blind to everything was a little frustrating through the book. But, I did find that I still enjoyed it well enough. Also, I LOVED Macy’s parents and I was glad for positive parent representation in the book.

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Review: The Pajama Frame by Diane Vallere

Posted March 8, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 9 Comments

Review: The Pajama Frame by Diane VallereThe Pajama Frame by Diane Vallere
Series: Mad for Mod Mystery #5
Published by Henery Press on February 27th 2018
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 268
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.

Nightie Night!

Interior decorator Madison Night is no stranger to the occasional odd inheritance. But when an octogenarian friend dies and leaves her a pajama factory, the bounty is bittersweet.

Once a thriving business, Sweet Dreams closed decades ago after a tragic accident took the life of a young model. Or was that simply a cover up?

Between her friend’s death and her own stagnant life, Madison is tempted to hide under a blanket of willful ignorance.

But when family members and special interest groups lobby to expose the secrets of the factory, Madison gets caught in a tangle of secrets and lies and discovers that sometimes, the bed you make is not your own.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

THE PAJAMA FRAME by Diane Vallere | A Henery Press Mystery. If you like one, you’ll probably like them all.

When a friend of her’s dies, Madison Night inheritance her pajama factory. Sweet Dreams use to be a thriving business hiring women that needed jobs during the war, but closed decades ago after a tragic accident that had taken the life of one young model. Years later, some of the locals still believe that the entire thing was a cover up and that it was actually murder.

But when Madison and Tex discover the body of the lawyer that contacted her inside Sweet Dreams, things go south really fast. Now Madison is being set up, and it’s up to her and Tex to figure out by whom and why.

I read the last book in this series and really enjoyed it. Madison Nights series is a fun read, it’s fast paced, the writing and the storyline flows and before I knew it I was blowing through the pages. I once again found myself reluctant to part with Madison and her story until the mystery wrapped up. I loved the characters, I really liked the dynamic with Tex and Madison and I am curious to see where the author will take the relationships of the main characters as this series progresses.

If you are looking for a fun, fast paced cozy mystery with a down to earth character – I recommend the Mad for Mod series. I do love Madison and her Doris Day obsession as well as all the trouble that seemed to follow her. I did enjoy Tex in this book because I loved the way the two worked together.

Overall, a great series that I will continue to follow and eagerly await the next book.

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Review: The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine

Posted March 7, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 10 Comments

Review: The Cursed Queen by Sarah FineThe Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine
Series: The Impostor Queen, #2
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on January 3rd 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Glbt
Pages: 432
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 2.5 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.

Ansa has always been a fighter.
As a child, she fought the invaders who murdered her parents and snatched her as a raid prize. She fought for her place next to Thyra, the daughter of the Krigere Chieftain. She fought for her status as a warrior in her tribe: blood and victory are her way of life. But the day her Krigere cross the great lake and threaten the witch queen of the Kupari, everything changes.
Cursed by the queen with fire and ice, Ansa is forced to fight against an invisible enemy—the dark magic that has embedded itself deep in her bones. The more she seeks to hide it, the more dangerous it becomes. And with the Krigere numbers decimated and the tribe under threat from the traitorous brother of the dead Chieftain, Ansa is torn between her loyalty to the Krigere, her love for Thyra, and her own survival instincts.
With her world in chaos and each side wanting to claim her for their own, only one thing is certain: unless Ansa can control the terrible magic inside her, everything she’s fought for will be destroyed.

My Struggle with The Cursed Queen was real…

The Cursed Queen is a companion novel of The Imposter Queen. Although the two are set in the same world, they follow two different sets of character. In this specific book, we follow Ansa, who as a child lost her parents to Krigere invaders and was taken and raised by that tribe of people. All Ansa knows is blood and the thrill of being a fighter, nothing else seems to matter outside of her love for Thyra, the daughter of the Krigere Chieftain.

But on one mission Ansa faces of the Witch Queen and something happens. Now Ansa fears that she is cursed by the same magic of the Kupari Queen and must not reveal the war waging inside her. As Ansa battles the invading magic from destroying everything around her, Thyra is now the new Chieftain and her tribe is being escorted by Jasper, of another Krigere tribe in hopes of “combining” their forces under Thyra’s uncle Nisse.

Got it?

Okay, I had a lot of issues with this book. I knew it wasn’t going to follow the same sets of characters, but I wasn’t expecting to be trusted into a world where there seems to be that the Krigere have, almost like a civil war going on. It felt like we started in the middle of the story and it quickly got confusing.

It did not help that Ansa was a really hard character to warm up to through most of the book. She comes off childish, with loose loyalties, immature, and flip flops so much it was giving me whiplash. Ansa was easily manipulated and what was going on between Thyra and her uncle felt like way over her head. She seemed a lot younger than Thyra especially with the level of competence she kept presenting. I also did not understand her way of turning her book on people she cared for most, especially Thyra. She kept saying how much she loves her and would follow her, but continually through the book demonstrated the opposite.

Ansa’s loyalties were all over the place and she just did not know how to trust anyone. It was a wonder that most of the characters tried to alienate her from their plans, she couldn’t really be trusted. I found her character super frustrating and I did not like her very much. She finally grew as a character, but it was also like 90% into the book and by then I was already set on not caring.

I loved the world and Sarah Fines writing was still good, there was a lot going on in the book, but it did take a while for you to kind of get used to everything. A lot of stabbiness, a lot of blood and death.

The other thing that did not work for me was the romance. I prefer mine to develop over time, this one is just there and we are supposed to accept it. I like that there was a female/female romance in this, which gave this book diversity – but it was hard to accept the romance because of Ansa’s character. For someone who was so in love with Thyra, she had a funny way of showing it with the lack of faith she started to have in her.

Overall, this is advertised as a companion novel. If you want to know more about Ansa before the third book, go ahead, but don’t hold it with too much expectation. I DNF’ed it a couple of months ago, but in light of the third book I decided to finish it. I struggled, but hopefully others had/will have a better experience.

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