Thursday, March 30, 2017

Review: Famous in a Small Town

Famous in a Small Town Famous in a Small Town by Diana Anderson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This one just didn't grab me. Apparently I'm in the minority because there are some amazing reviews, I simply didn't love it. I just liked it... sorta.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Review: Alibi Aficionado: A Gripping and Humorous Mystery Novel Featuring Edwin Burrows

Alibi Aficionado: A Gripping and Humorous Mystery Novel Featuring Edwin Burrows Alibi Aficionado: A Gripping and Humorous Mystery Novel Featuring Edwin Burrows by Harvey Church
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this friggin' book! The fact that this is a debut novel seems preposterous because it is REALLY good! It's hard to write legitimately good humor but Church makes it look like there's nothing to it. This was so much fun to read, I slowed myself down to make it last longer.

Edwin Burrows... where do I start? Talk about lacking a filter! Although that may be my favorite of his attributes. He is hysterically funny with his self depreciating humor. You'll never look at accountant or a man named David the same way again. I couldn't wait to read what he would say or do next. He didn't irritate me once and that's saying something as I'm an irritable gal in general.

Other characters, from the bit parts to the 'also-starring' roles were played to perfection. Without the quirks, whimsy, and idiosyncrasies of Alyson (the ex-Mrs Burrows), Anjun, Ted Danforth, Rachel, Sera with an e or Yannick, everything could have fallen apart. The mystery on it's own was interesting and I wanted answers but the way it came together with these characters in a perfect storm - or novel as the case may be - created a series I am already a huge fan of. Anything else that this author writes goes directly to the top of my To Read list, no questions asked.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Review: The Mortal Falls

The Mortal Falls The Mortal Falls by Anna Durand
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A fantasy world I can fall into.

I'm normally not the girl who would entertain the fantasy/romance book with a half naked, sword wielding Adonis on the cover. Save your 'don't judge a book by it's cover' chiding, I get it, I'm just being honest here. I'm glad I went against my first instinct this time. The romance is steamy, the action is thrilling, and the Unseen Realm is a supernatural world I wouldn't mind returning to.

The Mortal Falls is the first book in the series.I find that many books that are written with sequels in mind tend to spend too much time setting the stage and cementing character attributes in the beginning. Thankfully Durand knows how to avoid this annoying issue. From the first paragraph the reader feels and experiences the setting rather than having it painfully described. You meet and get to know the characters rather than having them spoon fed to you and told exactly how to feel about them.

I am a character focused reader so I have to focus there. In my opinion, Lindsey's juvenile thoughts and reactions are irritating but what can you expect from a 32 year old virgin? *insert eye roll emoji* Even that aspect I got past because at least her character stays consistent throughout the book. I appreciate the consistency, good or bad. She's funny at times, too, in an acidic, biting way that I admire.

Nevan is our Hero. He's a pretty boy, sweet, protective, blah blah blah... Too good to be true. Well, I think too good to be true pretty boys are boring, even supernatural ones. However, once I remind myself that Lindsey isn't me and I accept the story as it's written, I can totally get behind Nevan.

I loved Travis from the beginning. I think I was supposed to hate him but I have a thing for cops so maybe that's it. His flip floppy stance on Lindsey got tiresome and his hokey Texas sayings definitely knocked points off his hotness factor.

I could go through all of the characters but that would get boring. Just suffice it to say that this character focused reader was not disappointed.

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Review: The Heart to Kill

The Heart to Kill The Heart to Kill by Dorothy Place
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story.... these characters... it's a journey, that's for certain. For me it was the characters that made it so I'll focus there. As has happened from time to time, I don't fall in line with the norm so it didn't come as a surprise to me when I loathed some of the characters I feel like I was supposed to love and adored those that were written not so lovable.

Let's start with our protagonist. Sarah Wesser, jelly spined law student desperate for daddy's approval (even though daddy is a tyrant and a bully), returns home to her small town of Eight Mile Junction. She has been turned down for an internship that daddy all but arranged for her and starts working for the law firm who is defending the best friend she's blown off for the past few years, JoBeth. See, JoBeth hasn't been important to Sarah lately but now she's the key to a job so here we are.

JoBeth is the one character I can't come down on one side or the other on. She's a small town girl who only ever wanted to be a small town girl. She married her high school sweetheart, had a couple of kids and the rest is a small town happy ending. Only not for JoBeth. No, JoBeth killed those little darlings after Prince Charming dumped her, setting the stage for her old pal, Sarah, to ride in on daddy's coat tails and save her.

JoBeth's lawyers, John-Two and Al, both are firmly entrenched in the good ol boys club. John-Two is a chauvinistic blow hard who has no idea he's a chauvinistic blow hard. He serves his purpose in the story though.

Al is the brooding, handsome, mystery man. He bored me.

Now, all of that sounds like maybe I didn't love the book but you'd be wrong! I really did. I loved finding out the small town secrets and uncovering betrayal. My emotions swayed from sympathy to horror at the intricate story and I was invested in the outcome. I look forward to reading more of Dorothy Place's work.

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Review: Nothing Is Predictable

Nothing Is Predictable Nothing Is Predictable by Adalina Mae
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Normally, I probably wouldn't have picked up this book because the 'I am woman, hear me roar' theme isn't what I usually spend my time reading. Not reading this would have been a mistake, though. That first page, whoa! I was glad to get the conclusion to that scene pretty early on in the book because I really couldn't concentrate while that question was in the back of my mind.

This is a quick read with plenty of gut punches thrown in to keep things in turmoil. This isn't a story simply about an incredibly strong woman paving her own way, overcoming tragic circumstances, and succeeding without help from any man. Zara does all of that, yes, but she also tried desperately to lean on men along the way. It wasn't her fault they all let her down, were weak, and failed her. The story is as realistic and heartbreaking as it is life-affirming and inspiring. The words Go, Zara! are printed many times but only about half as many as I found myself saying them in my own head.

I enjoyed reading about the Lebanese culture and all of Zara's travels around the world. An ethnically, culturally, and religiously diverse world is portrayed truthfully without the author coming down on any one side definitively. The issue of religious differences in a relationship were handled realistically and in a mature manner, even by immature characters.

Zara is Lebanese American and one of the biggest conflicts I felt in this book was of her straddling the two cultures. Mainly she lives in the U.S. and assimilated quite well yet she felt very comfortable and familiar when she was in Lebanon. I kept feeling like she would eventually latch on to one firmly and distance herself from the other but that didn't happen. After thinking about it, I think that, too, is realistic and I only felt the need for Zara to attach to one because I've never known the struggle of being of two cultures. Nothing is Predictable made me yearn for some more cultural diversity in my life and that is truly something no other book has done for me.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Review: Everlost

Everlost Everlost by Neal Shusterman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Such a unique story. When Nick and Allie are killed in a car crash and wake in a peaceful, lush forest, they are at first confused about what happened. They meet Leaf who has been in the forest for a very long time. He tells Nick and Allie about other children like them he has met and about a monster named The McGill. Eventually they set out together to explore this strange new world called Everlost. One odd thing they come to realize is that only children live in this afterlife. Something else surprising is that there is a great deal of danger even to the 'dead'.

Neal Shusterman has written an engaging story full of twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes. This is not simply a YA novel, adults can fall under it's spell just as easily and teens. The story doesn't end on a cliffhanger but I can't imagine not wanting to dive right into the next book in the series.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Review: The Mask of Zeus

The Mask of Zeus The Mask of Zeus by Desmond Cory
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Mask of Zeus by Desmond Cory is the second in the series which focuses on mathematics professor John Dobie. As you will find out quickly, Dobie's wife was murdered in the previous book and he was accused of the crime. This story begins with Professor Dobie trying to go on with his life as well as he can while his fellow professors and University administration conspire to rid themselves of the negative publicity he courts. He is sent to the island of Cyprus as a visiting professor, replacing a faculty member, Derya Tuner, who it appears was recently murdered by her husband, Adrian Seymour. The stage is now set for a new murder mystery mixed with some humor and wit.

Professor John Dobi is not your average academic nor is he your average literary hero. He is as whip smart as he is socially awkward. The other island residents are all offbeat, original, and utterly entertaining which fleshes out the story perfectly. Even the dead characters were given full character power and added wonderfully to the story.

It did take a bit to really get into the flow of the story, maybe because I hadn't read the first book but it was worth the effort to bring myself up to date. There is a lot of mythology throughout the book which may be a difficult mesh with a murder mystery. It worked for me though.

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Review: Self-Publishing: The Secret Guide To Becoming A Best Seller

Self-Publishing: The Secret Guide To Becoming A Best Seller Self-Publishing: The Secret Guide To Becoming A Best Seller by Richard McCartney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

McCartney takes self published authors through all the steps of marketing their book. From the very best to the absolute wrong way to promote a book and everything in between. He is no fan of the social media route to making sales and convincingly proves his point, complete with the numbers to back up his position. He is honest by saying you get what you pay for so you're going to have to spend money on successful promotion.

Amazon is still the center of attention in the literary world and the author rightly puts a lot of focus there. You will find specifics on how to get on the Amazon list you need and want to be on. He provides solid advice about reaching readers and reviewers while stressing the importance of quality reviews. McCartney also helps to explain Amazon's algorithms, categories, and even search features which is oddly fascinating.

While Amazon is a major avenue, the author does give plenty of non-Amazon alternatives such as ebook subscription services and paid book promoting sites such as his own KindleBookPromotions.

A book about book publishing could have easily been boring, mundane, and difficult to get through but not this one. There's a lightness and a positive overall tone even when delivering somber news to those who were so sure their book's Facebook page was going to translate into a million sales.

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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Review: Burned

Burned Burned by P.C. Cast
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

#7 Much better! That last book had me on the verge of giving up on the series but the Cast girls brought me back!

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Review: Marked

Marked Marked by P.C. Cast
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Spell Vampire with a Y and it's a whole new breed. But really, the twist on the vampire genre is a welcome one.

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Review: Hunted

Hunted Hunted by P.C. Cast
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

#5 I'm loving this book!

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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Review: Betrayed

Betrayed Betrayed by P.C. Cast
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

#2 and I'm still in. And being entirely too old for YA, that's saying something.

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Review: Tempted

Tempted Tempted by P.C. Cast
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

#6 It's not that the story is necessarily going downhill, I think I'm just losing interest. The YA is getting harder for me to relate to. That said, I have a teenageer in my household who is still Fan Numero Uno of the House of Night series so there's that...

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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Wednesday, March 8, 2017