The Couple Next Door

28815474The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

3 stars

 

It’s OCTOBER! My sis and I are reading some scary books as a theme this month. This was in the Mystery & Thriller section so here goes…

The Story:

You go next door with your husband to a small dinner party and leave your baby at home because the babysitter canceled. You protest but your hubby insists and says it will all be okay since the monitor is on. Well guess what? The baby is taken and it’s your worst nightmare.  And not only because you are missing your angelic child, NO, because now you are being judged. And really, that’s a parent’s worst nightmare right?

The Characters:

Anne: She’s a married rich kid still living off of mom and (step)dad. She also has postpartum depression and other baggage that’s revealed later on. DID Anne kill her child and get rid of the body?

Marco: He came from nothing and married up. His business is on the fritz. DID Marco stage a kidnapping of his own child?

Cynthia : She’s the sexy next door neighbor who hates kids. DID she do it because the baby gets in the way of her friendship with Anne?

Read it and find out!

LOL, I might be a bit delirious with exhaustion right now and I think my review is showing that. Sorry guys!

Wrap-up:

I’m giving it 3 out of 5 stars. It was a quick read but I was hoping it would be more suspense and it really wasn’t. It’s basically a whodunnit story with some twists. And nobody is who you think they are. And it basically confirms my mother’s paranoia that your baby is never safe and never, ever, ever leave it alone even to go to the bathroom. And yes, mom, I will double check that the doors are locked and the kids are in their beds sleeping before I turn in.

Hannah sig

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Spellslinger

25181955Spellslinger by Sebastien De Castell

3 stars

“There’s no amount of magic in the world that’s worth the price of a man’s conscience” 

Kellen is about to turn 16, the age when Jan’Tep prove their magical abilities or become a Sha’Tep for the remainder of their lives, serving those who are true mages. As each day gets closer to his birthday, he seems to be loosing more and more magic. It isn’t until Ferius Parfax shows up that Kellen starts to realize that a life of servitude isn’t the only option.

The Story-Spellslinger was unique enough to keep my interest. Here we have a story of a guy who sucks at magic, and despite the goodness of his heart, life really doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Everything Kellen does pretty much comes to the last ditch effort. He really does endure a lot despite the knowledge that no matter what, best case scenario he ends up as a servant for his uber powerful sister, worst case scenario..he’s dead and he drags his family’s name through shame.

The book ended at a point to where you could read it as a stand a lone or continue the series on. I for one, am curious to see where Kellen’s journey continues.

The World Building-How in the world did De Castell manage to make a hand working-magical-monk-esque world blend in with an outlaw-wild-west feel? When you think of both parts of this story separately you would not have guessed that combined they work. It wasn’t anything as epic as peanut butter & jelly (or whatever your favorite combo is) but, it still flowed well.

Basically were in a world where each family raises their kids to learn their magic. They’ve got these band tattoos on their arms so that when they are able to control a certain element the band “sparks”. These kids practice their magic standing around near the oasis, which is the source of their magic I guess. They move their hands in somatic formations, mumble a phrase, and blam magic.

Then you get this character, Ferius, who is like a card wielding Billy the Kid like character. Everyone is wearing of the outsider with her deck of cards. Suddenly, this magical story is a western. I know, odd right? But it somehow didn’t bother me!

There was a lot of thought that went into some of the details too. Such as, since they grow up having all these servants and really just standing around making magical spells, they are all rather out of shape, to the point that Kellen is a little weakling & hardly has any stamina.

The Characters
Kellen -Somehow by the end of the story you are rooting for this whiny kid. As an outsider, I just thought that I just wanted to punch him and yell and him to quit being such a selfish cry baby. Then there is this obsession with this girl. A girl he doesn’t seem to really interact with but is still crazy about. I had to remind myself that he’s 15, and well I mean his priorities are obviously all kinds of screwed up when he only cares about the fact that he hadn’t kissed a girl when his life is in imminent danger

Ferius Parfax -What a badass. I mean really, all she does throughout the book is speak obscurely in riddles, deal some cards and smoke her pipe. But somehow I idolize her as…well super cool. I think it’s the way she breaks the mold in such a mundane world.

Reichis -A squirrel cat with a serious attitude and an appetite for eyeballs. Let’s just say that I would want him on my side. Despite the fact that his attitude was a little annoying sometimes, he still made a compelling sidekick.

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Song of the Current

Song of the Current (Song of the Current #1)Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

3 stars

In an attempt to keep her dad out of jail, Caro a wherry(wo)man, must transport a crate and deliver it to Valonikos. Unfortunately, it isn’t just any crate, and there are pirates searching the rivers for it. Caro must rely on her friends and her own skill to complete her task – all the while hoping the god of the river will finally call out to her like all the other good wherryman have been called.

The Story-I love me a pirate story. This is my second one this year, and while it wasn’t as good, it was still mostly enjoyable. I loved that instead of your typical high seas type of pirates, we had wherrymen – which are essentially on river barges. Unfortunately for me, there were a few elements that were sort of lacking. The only other thing I thought was odd about this story was that if there was this boat chasing after them on water…why didn’t they just travel by land? I am sure there could be a million reasons why…but not one was mentioned…like going by wherry boat was the only way to their destination.

The World Building-Even though a majority of this book is spent on a boat, there was a little bit extra going on. Since the story was mostly set on the waters of a river, there were marshes and other boats for the story to take place in. I loved the culture of the river that was different from people of the sea/ocean. There was definitely a lot of boat jargon that I had to keep up with, some went a little over my head, but a little knowledge and imagination goes a long way when it comes to inferring what the heck the people were doing on their boats.

There were some magical elements that was included in the book that wasn’t really explained – shadowmen, frogmen & gods that speak to whatever you were called to….but not everyone can speak to the gods (of the sea, river, mountain etc). It didn’t feel forced on the story, but I wish a little bit of the culture surrounding it all was better explained – alas, that’s what second books are for! I hope that not only do they explain these elements a little further, but also introduce more. More drakons please. Let’s face it, I am a sucker for dragons, put one in the water, still just as cool to me.

The Characters-Sometimes when I am reading a book I feel really connected with the characters. I felt that this book wasn’t one of those books. Maybe it’s just me. The characters themselves were still fun. Caro was a little feisty girl – both headstrong and loyal. She’s happy with her life and doesn’t want anything besides making her father happy and finally hearing the river god call her. She really doesn’t take any crap from anyone.

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Odd Thomas

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

3 stars

I read a Dean Koontz book back in high school called Intensity. I remember it being so scary suspense that I couldn’t put it down and finished in a few hours. It was scary and in a good way that puts the fear of Jesus in you. I think I checked the locks and doors in our house for weeks afterwards.

It’s been a decade (or so) since then and now horror books and movies don’t appeal to me as much. So when a friend raved about this series I was a little hesitant. But I’m glad I picked this up. Guys, it’s actually not that scary! I’d say it’s more The Sixth Sense level than The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. In fact, that’s the premise behind this whole story.

The Story:

Odd Thomas is a fry cook for a diner, he’s a little strange and known for being the town wierdo. He sees dead people.

And he uses this paranormal gift to prevent crime or to solve them. In this first novel, Odd comes across a stranger, gets serious bad vibes and tries to save his podunk California desert town from apocalyptic danger with the help of his girlfriend Stormy and the town sheriff.

The Characters:

Odd- I really like him. He has some baggage, which you learn of in length as Koontz does a lot of character building, but seems like a really nice guy who just wants to marry his sweetheart and to stay out of the spotlight. Which is odd (is it a pun when it’s his name?) for a 19 yo guy. How many guys want to settle down at that age? He does seem a bit reckless at times too, however, it seems like all characters in horror books/movies do things that have you shouting, “NO, don’t go in there!”

Stormy- She’s beautiful, alluring, and eclectic. Perfect sidekick to a crime preventing, dead-people-seeing humble hero.

Wrap-up:

I’m giving it 3 out of 5 stars. It was a little slow and the whole time I kept thinking it was a rip off of The Sixth Sense. But I’m going to read the next one and see if it gets better. I’ll keep you guys posted.

Hannah sig

Legend

Legend (Legend, #1)Legend by Marie Lu

3 Stars

In a world in the distant future the US has somehow disbanded and a new government has been put in place. Children are tested on their abilities at the age 10-if they fail they are sent to labor camps, if they pass they go on for further education /job assignments. Legend follows the story of Day, a rebel who wreaks havoc against the Republic and June a prodigy girl from the upper class. When June’s brother is murdered, Day is the prime suspect. June is then assigned to avenge her brother by finally bringing Day into custody. Once June is fully into her investigation, she starts to uncover truths about the Republic that she can hardly stand to believe.

The Story-As a whole the book was pretty entertaining. The reveals in the book are pretty predictable, but it was still a decent read. I probably would have enjoyed this a little bit more if I was younger as it seemed a little juvenile, even as a YA. The maturity level of the characters was a little low, which is to be expected from 15 year olds. However, in the society presented I would have expected the children to mature a little faster.

The World Building-Our book takes place in a futuristic LA that has been divided into sectors. The world building is decidedly minimal. There is obviously a history to the downfall of what is the current United States, unfortunately we don’t really get much on that. What we know is probably the only parts that are relevant to the book, but still, it would have added a lot more depth if we had the hypothetical background…but it’s only book one, so maybe it’s revealed in the later books. What we do get are little snippets like finding a quarter from 1995 (? I think that’s the year at least) and having it be incredibly significant that it stay hidden from the Republic, that it would be incriminating to have that token proving some sort of history. Thus showing us that the population is vastly lied and controlled by a totalitarian government. Gone are the days of a 2 term limit presidency as there is a man who keeps renewing his leadership of the country, and a son that aims to also take over when his father retires, promoting a monarchy-esque rule.

We are given little information about what the Republic stands for, and what their enemies the Patriots are after. But like I said before…maybe their motives will be a revealed later.

The Characters– I liked both Day & June’s characters. They both had their convictions and beliefs that drove them. Day is sort of an enigma since he isn’t really with the Patriots but still causes problems for the Republic, seemingly only to be a rebel. It’s never really quite clear what his end result expectations are to be-aside from being a futuristic Robin Hood.

My only real issue was that considering the circumstances, both June and Day spent an awful lot of time **Spoiler**thinking about kissing each other. I mean, they both have the weight of their personal missions on their shoulders, but they just can’t not think about each other’s lips and being in each other’s arms. I’m on the run from the government, trying to get a cure for my brother, and here I am completely self-absorbed. It seemed out of character for both of them since they both started out so focused. **End spoiler**However, it was a quick easy story that was entertaining from start to an exciting finish.

 

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Rosemarked

Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne

3 stars
Published date: November 7, 2017

ARC received from Netgalley and Disney-Hyperion for an honest review

“And I can’t help but think how easy it is for a thing of this world to be destroyed, and how quickly something beautiful can disappear.”

Rosemarked is told from alternating views and tells the story of a young healer that catches a disease that she cannot cure and a man who has overcome the disease and must go on a mission with the healer to infiltrate the capital city as spies.

The Story-The pacing of this book was slow but steady. There weren’t many climactic points that had me at the edge of my seat, and when there was one, it was somewhat short lived. I had hoped with the espionage and a trained soldier there would have been a little bit more nail-biting time. Regardless, I was still entertained the entire time. The story was not very complicated which gave more time for character development. 

The World Building-I liked the idea of a country that has been ravaged by an empire overtaking it. Either lay down and let them control you and occupy your land or rebel and be slaughtered. Our characters were found from both sides-the healer catching the plague from the men that have occupied her country and a soldier that has history from the empire that haunts him. Since the characters do travel throughout the book I was hoping there would be a little more time spent in some sweeping landscape. I also would have liked to read a little bit more on the culture of the people and what life was like in the country before the invasion maybe. I appreciated the inventiveness of the plague and the stages that go with it.

The Characters-Our two main characters were definitely the most complex things about this book. The fact that Zivah is a healer but has an incurable disease is something that she has to grow and accept. I feel like it helps her transform from her naïve self to someone with a little more purpose with her life. There is something about a person’s impeding death that has them questioning how they will spend their remaining time: Sit in a cottage and slowly dieor use my knowledge for something good, something meaningful.

Dineas on the other hand has a second chance at life and somehow finds himself on a mission back to where he managed to escape from. It was really interesting to see his personality bounce back and forth throughout his mission to the point where he finally becomes whole by the end, accepting all parts of himself. 

Overall, it seemed like a decent start to a series, and I am curious to see how their mission affects their world and how the characters continue to grow. I really hope to see a little more action or suspense in the next installment. There is a lot at risk, and I really want to feel the anxiety that these characters must be feeling.

-Scrill

Mr. Big

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Mr. Big by Delancey Stewart

 

Publish date: August 29, 2017

I received an ARC from Netgalley for an honest review. 

3 stars


Before I start my review, let me just say, please don’t let the cover or even the title of the book give you any indication of what the contents of the book are. Because I know this looks like some giant sexy book, but I swear there is more to it!

With that being said, let me just say that this book was surprisingly delightful. Mr. Big is about a CEO who lost his parents and with that his identity. It’s not until he meets fierce, plan-everything, Holland that he actually starts to get his life back together.

What I loved about this book was how much both our characters battled with their own worth from how they were raised and who their parents or family was. This wasn’t a whirlwind romance between a CEO and a woman out to prove herself—okay, it was, but that wasn’t the entire premise of the story. It had depth in a way that hit familial issues as well as what you do when you find out you are into your boss.

Oliver/Hale was seriously a huge dick. It wasn’t something that went away either. There are times that he is a shining example of what some women might dream in a man. But oh my gosh, sometimes he really is a self-centered ass hole. He really was a man who acted like the world revolved around him, and sadly when he wanted to do something for Holland, I almost felt like he was doing something for Holland almost as a self-gratification to be feel like, I did this, I put that smile on her face, even if it wasn’t explicitly said in the text. It was honestly, just the vibe I got. 

It was sort of hard not to root for Holland. Here was this selfless, hardworking, undervalued woman taking the bull by the horns. She had a plan and she was going to make it happen. There were times when I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her yelling, “of course you got here on your own merit!” But alas, she is a woman working in a big business that favored men.

This book was delivered everything I expect out of a good chick-lit novel. A story about a girl getting her life together, no matter how hard the world batted against her. A steamy romance that wasn’t a huge factor to change it from chick-lit to erotica. A gripping moment that has your heart aching right along with our protagonist. It’s there, it’s the whole package. It wasn’t the best I ever read, but it was most certainly entertaining and moving.

-Scrill

Death and Night

Death and Night by Roshani Chokshi

Publish date: May 2, 2017

I received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley.

3 Stars

“I want to lie beside you and know the weight of your dreams. I want to share whole worlds with you and write your name in the stars. I want to measure eternity with your laughter.”


Roshani Chokshi has this way of writing that makes me feel like I am reading a beautiful LSD trip. In the land of Naraka there are creatures and immortal beings that run the unseen parts of the world. Death and Night is the prequel to The Star Touched Queen and tells the story of how Maya (Night) and Amar (Death) first came to meet and fall in love. I honestly would save this book for after reading TSTQ mostly because I think the revealing of their story in the TSTQ is part of the splendor.


Dharma Raja is such a sweetheart in this book. Though his original intentions were not as romantic as his end, he manages to be passionate from the get go. Everything he does for her throughout the story is so magical and idyllic for someone who wore the night sky on her skin. His relationship with Gupta is hilarious as he is clearly no help to Dharma Raja in his pursuit of a queen.


I love the idea of Night’s character. She was thought of to be apart of demons and nightmares just because of the darkness she brings. But in an effort to find happiness in the life that she had she sold fruit that brought dreams, with the only price being told the story of said dream.


A major part of the story that I adored was that not only in TSTQ but from the moment he decided to find himself a queen, Dharma Raja wanted an equal. He wanted someone to share his life with and build a world with. He didn’t just want the most beautiful women to bed and have as arm candy. I also loved that once he knew what it was like to have her in his life, the world dulled in comparison when he imagined it without her.


Death and Night was incredibly sweet and magical and is a great addition to the TSTQ series as a background story to the fated lovers.

-Scrill

Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

 3_stars

 

 

After a long wait, I finally finished Shadow and Bone and it didn’t let down on my expectations. Granted, I expected it to be good, but wasn’t exactly holding my breath. While the story of a character coming to some power that may very well change their world isn’t exactly original, Shadow and Bone gave us fresh look on magic, especially in a world where not everyone is blessed with a skill.


The world building and slavic inspiration was fantastic. The pacing of the story was well done while still incorporating character development and world building. Even though there were quite a few tropes throughout the book. I found them to still be refreshing in their new spins. I think my only issue was that there was a lot of build up and then a twist that lead to a few events that was ended up being quite anticlimactic for me. 


If you’ve read any of my reviews before you would know that I love when fantasy novels take on from cultural inspiration. From the language, to the food, to the surrounding lands Bardugo created a world that you can realistically imagine (if you’re educated in slavic culture at least, or know how to use google) while still having a fresh environment that isn’t overdone. I loved the creepy feeling I got while reading about the Fold and I loved the idea of the uniforms everyone and how even though all these grisha had powers, they each found station above others or banded together-like to like. The unique powers was definitely something I haven’t read about yet and definitely aided in the darkness in the book. HA…literally.

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Beauty and the Book Boyfriend

Beauty and the Book Boyfriend by K.M. Galvin 

 

3 stars

 

Copy from K M Galvin via Netgalley for fair review.


“Light golden skin is stretched tightly over his muscles, and even though he is wearing a loose work out tank and track pants, I can tell he’s hard all over. I can tell because that’s how I wrote him. I’ve known him for almost ten years now.”


Okay, this book was stinking cute. To be honest, as soon as I read the synopsis I was like eeeek yay. Bellamy Strong is a successful writer and is setting out on a tour for her series for the first time. Her publishers decide that along with book signings they would have her star as the heroine and find a model that looks like the hero of her book for the tour. Shy Bellamy has to deal with her expectations of her come to life hero and how to get out of the shell she has built around herself and grow.


The idea of the story was stellar. The entire time I pictured someone like SJM getting to go on tour with a Rhysand look alike. *The most beautiful man she’s ever seen* Gosh, just the idea is swoon worthy. Can I please have a three month tour with a hottie of my making by my side? I loved that the book boyfriend was nothing like the character that Bellamy had imagined and in fact had his own personality.


Caleb, the guy who is hired to model as the character Max is a hottie & the sexual tension that builds between him and Bellamy is hot. I love that they didn’t hit it off and have to be friends before they can even move onto romance. The initial hotness of course is scoured as soon as he opens his mouth. But it’s not until they are forced to sit in a car together for the lengthy road trip that they get along by some sort of peace treaty.


One of my qualms with the story is that their relationships progressed rather quickly so there was a slight lull in the middle. Luckily, the last 20% skim by really fast, and not in the ‘well that ended abruptly’ sort of way. In a, eek, this is hot, flip flip flip, awwwww, flip flip flip, ending. And though it ended the way I anticipated it ending, it was still rather sweet.


My other qualm with the story was the lack of bickering. I would expect that spending nearly every minute with the same set of 4 people would cause some sort of animosity. Instead, the characters just grew closer and closer. But really, even with the people I most adore, you have to have some personal space. I would have liked it a little bit better if tempers rose and people got a little tired of being with each other. It would have seemed a little more realistic.

 
-Scrill