Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Gone Fishing~J. W. Metcalf | Review

Title: Gone Fishing (Tony Gavel #1)
Author: J W Metcalf
Genre: Mystery
Length: 179 Pages (Kindle)
Publication: December 2014
My Rating: 3/5 Stars

I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

This novel has a lot of potential and I really enjoyed reading it. Tony is the type of character who seems to find trouble no matter where he goes, so it's no surprise when his relaxing stay in his woodland cabin turns into a manhunt for a missing serial killer. And then Tony's friend Josh ends up dead, creating an even more dangerous situation. 

The mystery in this novel was really interesting. The concept was what had me interested in the first place. Mystery novels are just fascinating and the setting and premise of this one sounded great. 

I really enjoyed reading this novel and it kept me interested as I read. It's always nice to try and figure out the mystery along with the main characters. It was fun to work alongside Tony and try to discover what was happening and why all of these seemingly unconnected events and people were suddenly connected. 

The setting was great. We spend the majority of the novel in a small mountain town where everyone knows everyone. Despite its small size, the town is very diverse. It seems like a quiet town that people moved to in order to get away from the hustle of life and ended up bringing the hustle along with them. I don't want to discuss too many of the details of the novel in case I spoil the mystery. 

There are really only two reasons that this novel did not get a higher rating from me. The first is the characters. I think that all of the characters had much more potential. The reader is thrust into the main mystery almost from page one, which is good in some ways. It would make reading more compelling to have a bit more of an introduction to Tony and his past (even though some of that would have come in the previous novel) before jumping directly into a new mystery for him to solve. It left me feeling like I wasn't really connected. 

All of the characters throughout the novel were interesting, I just wish there were more development to them. I had a hard time connecting with the story lines. Just a little more background and some of Tony's history with these individuals (since he already know so many of them) would be great. 

The writing was the only other thing that fell flat for me. The novel could use some more polishing to make it more easily read. The writing itself was alright, it just needed some touch ups. A few commas here and there, some apostrophes, that sort of thing. 

Overall, I think the novel was a fun read and the ending was great. The mystery worked itself out nicely and it was able to keep me thinking the entire time. I was always chasing the characters, trying to figure out their motives and intentions. This novel is great for mystery fans who want a quick read. With some polishing this would easily be a four star book for me. With those edits and some more background into the characters it could be a five. This is a really fun and entertaining read.

Fantasy of Frost~Kelly St. Clare | Review

Title: Fantasy of Frost (The Tainted Accords #1)
Author: Kelly St. Clare
Genre: Fantasy
Length: About 400 Pages (Kindle)
Publication: January 2015
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

This book throws you right into the world and then builds that world around you. It is really beautiful and detailed. The world building is fantastic. Everything was introduced quickly and with detailed, but not overly tedious details. The worlds of Osolis and Glacium were both interesting and well depicted. 

The characters were one of the reasons this novel is so good. Lina, the main character, is strong, intelligent, loving, kind, and flawed all in good measure. I never really felt that she was overdone. She knew she had limitations but she wasn't afraid to test her bounds on anything. And since we're in her head we get to see a lot of what has shaped her.

Sometimes with first person narratives the other characters fall somewhat flat. I did not find that to be the case here at all. Each character offered something and we got to see several different sides of their personalities. There are plenty of questions surrounding many characters, but I never felt that any of them were forced or introduced without reason. Kedrick and Jovan are two of my favorites. Being a prince and king of Glacium, they are very different than the people Lina is used to, but each of them has so many layers to their personalities. I'm interested to see if their younger brother Ashawn has more of a part in the next novel. The delegates are all very interesting as well. 

It was great to see two very different societies. We didn't see as much of Osolis as we do Glacium, but there is enough there for comparison. The author did a wonderful job differentiating the two societies and their customs. It was always easy to keep the two straight in my head. 

We also get to see Lina grow a lot as a character. She discovers new places and people. Although strong in the beginning, she gets even stronger as the story progresses. I love the way her relationships with the other characters push her to improve. 

I'm very interested to see where this story goes and what happens with the characters. I have some ideas. I guess we shall see if I'm right when book two comes along! I was somewhat confused by  the movement from location to location based on the weather. I found myself thinking in circles when I first read about the rotation through the different sectors in the beginning. I honestly don't know why. I'm sure it makes much more sense than my brain can make of it at the moment. I often over think things. 

This novel was a great read. The world, the characters, the mystery introduced within its pages is just so beautifully crafted. I am very much looking forward to reading the next installment. I just wish I had it right now! I think this would definitely appeal to fans of high fantasy who enjoy strong female leads. It's a very compelling read.   

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tuesday Talks | Interrupting Reading

Tuesday Talks is a weekly discussion hosted by Janie and Janelle. You can find the goodreads group here if you're interested in joining in on the discussions.

Is it rude to interrupt someone who is reading?
I think the severity of how rude the interruption is has to be based on more than one factor. There are different reasons you might interrupt someone. Some of them are definitely rude while others may not be so rude. It also depends on how you go about doing it. Being overly obnoxious about getting someone's attention while they are reading is definitely not cool. So here are some of my thoughts.

If you need to ask somebody a question or tell them something then interrupting is not necessarily rude. I personally like to pause at the end of a paragraph while I'm reading, so someone not waiting for me to finish that paragraph can be extremely annoying. If they actually need to tell me something and wait for me to pause once they've gotten my attention then it's not a big deal. I can easily start back where I just left off once they've communicated their information. 

Interrupting someone just to interrupt them or to get their attention on something else is just rude. It's not ok to force someone out of their reading and into an activity that is more appealing to you at the time. I hate when people do that to me. Asking if I want to go and do something with them after I finish a certain section of my reading is one thing, just pulling my attention away however, is definitely not ok. 

If you interrupt someone to discuss the book they are reading this can go either way. Just letting them know you enjoyed the book is fine, I think. Stopping their reading to start a long discussion is not cool though. Let them read!

So basically what I'm saying is that there are sometimes reasons for interrupting someone's reading that are ok. The way in which you get the person's attention is a big factor. If you are polite about interrupting them and actually have something to say, then it's generally not a big deal. At least for me as a reader. Being overly loud and attention grabbing just to get them to focus on you is not cool.

What do you think about interrupting someone's reading? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Dragon Dodgers~V.R Cardoso | Review

Title: Dragon Dodgers (Wounds In The Sky Prequels #1)
Author: V. R. Cardoso
Genre: High Fantasy
Length: 78 Pages
Publication: October 2014
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review

This novella begins by throwing you directly in the action of the story. Enrig, a fourteen year old boy, wants to venture above his underground home with a group of Watchers. The Watchers are watching for dragons. Enrig's real goal is to become a Runner. The Runner's travel on the surface from place to place, evading the dragons as they go. It can be a lonely life, but also full of adventure. 
It was great being thrown right into the story. I often wish that full length novels would do this more. Sometimes it can be too slow getting into the world and the setting, but here we're thrown right in and introduced to the world right away. For a novella of this length it was a necessity, but it also worked really well and grabbed my attention. Sometimes too slow of a buildup can leave me wanting more. 
The main bulk of the story follows Enrig as he embarks on a quest with a group of Runners fronted by Captain Targon. We witness fights among the Runners, attacks by dragons, and overall adventure. It has a nice Lord of the Rings feel to the adventure and some elements similar to The Hobbit, particularly in reference to the dragons and their lairs and attacks. I really liked these similarities. It wasn't a copy of another story, but rather pulled elements from some great works that are still loved today. 
The main drawback for me in this story was that I felt I never became attached to the characters. Probably due to the length of the story, the development of the characters meant that none of them were able to reach their full potential. This left me without much connection to any of the characters. The story would be more powerful if I had been able to become more fully invested. 
I did really enjoy reading this and look forward to future stories set in this world. The ending was somewhat surprising and a nice twist. I highly recommend this to lovers of the fantasy genre.    

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Remedy Files: Illusion~Lauren Eckhardt | Review

Title: Illusion (The Remedy Files #1)
Author: Lauren Eckhardt
Genre: YA Dystopia
Length: Around 280 Pages
Publication: December 2014
My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Click the title for more information about this novel.
I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Many people are under the misconception that a three star rating means I didn't like the book. That is certainly not the case. I enjoyed this novel very much. Now that that is out of the way, let's get started with the real stuff. 
The story follows Evangeline, a girl living in a society where there are no feelings, physical or emotional. As is the case with most dystopias, I could see elements here that were familiar from other stories. It had very many similarities to Delirium by Lauren Oliver and Matched by Ally Condie.  This did not, however, diminish my liking for the story. As I said before, that was to be expected. I actually thought that the combination of elements from those two stories worked very well together.

The main reason this novel did not receive a four or five star rating was the pacing and the love story. The beginning felt somewhat slow. There was a lot happening and it held my interest, but I felt the world was introduced too slowly. The novel picked up after a few chapters and the world and its history started unfolding more rapidly, which helped me see the society and how it was defined more clearly. This in turn helped me understand more about our main characters and how they had been shaped throughout their lives.

I am not a huge fan of love triangles and this one introduced one that I was not particularly happy with. I thought that Evangeline and Gavin were cute together, but his character was never explored deeply enough for me to really become attached to him. I appreciated some of the flash backs to their first meetings, but it just wasn't enough to really get me invested. Their relationship was also sporadic. They would be best friends one minute and having a screaming match the next. It was a little too abrupt in that sense. 

Insta love was the other factor of the love triangle that really pushed it over the edge for me. Evangeline meets Liam and then can barely have a thought without him appearing. Her immediate connection with him was just somewhat off putting. I can understand being attracted to someone after first meeting, and yes, people do fall in love after only one meeting, but it's hard to portray that in a novel. I have yet to find a novel that I think that type of a story line works with.

As I said before, the story picks up and by the halfway point I was having a hard time putting it down. Evangeline starts to realize all of the flaws within her community, questioning everything she's ever been taught. Because of this, the story became more action packed and intense and I was constantly waiting to see what exactly was going to happen next. My only real issue during the last half was that it became too focused on the love story. It could use some more balance where the love story and the questions of changing society are concerned during the last half or so of the novel.

While well written, this novel could use some polishing. It's nothing major that kept me from enjoying the story, but I think some tweaks here and there could make it a better overall read. There were some sentences here and there that could be improved through use of commas and other punctuation to separate ideas or just rearranging the word order. Authors generally improve as the go, so I expect the next installment to be more polished than this one.

The novel ended with quite the cliffhanger and I'm honestly not exactly sure where the story is headed at this point. Overall I really enjoyed reading this and will definitely be reading the following novels. I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys dystopias. If that's a genre you like to read, this novel is one to add to your list. It's a very enjoyable read!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Saint Odd~Dean Koontz | Review

Title: Saint Odd (Odd Thomas #7)
Author: Dean Koontz
Genre: Thriller
Length: 338 Pages
Publication: January 2015
My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Click title for more info (linked to goodreads).

"You are destined to be together forever."

Warning: Spoilers for previous novels in the series.

In this novel Odd finally returns to Pico Mundo where his story began. The novel reads much like the first one, with many parallels between the two stories. Even the covers of the novels are very similar. Odd has known all along that things would end where they began. He's not running, in fact, he's looking forward to it. 

After his love, Stormy Llewellyn, was killed during an attack on the Pico Mundo mall nearly two years earlier, Odd has been trying to earn the destiny given them by Gypsy Mummy when they were sixteen. Now Odd, our ghost seeing fry cook, is pretty sure he's close to either stepping into that destiny or stepping forever away from it. He doesn't seek death. To do so would make him unworthy of the promise he received. He doesn't hide from death either. He does what he has to do.

I found this novel to be the perfect conclusion to the story. Odd is once again trying to foil the plans of a satanic cult before they can devastate the world. His main obstacle is that now they know what he looks like and have guessed some of his abilities.

There were actually fewer encounters with ghosts in this novel, which I thought was very interesting. I guess I just assumed there would be more of the lingering dead around, trying to help Odd along the way. I also thought more of them would be wanting his help to settle scores with the satanists, but it made sense in a way that there were not. 

Some readers may find the Odd novels slow, but I find them beautifully paced. They are slow and fast all at once. Odd's humor is what makes the novels so perfect. He's just so funny (as are most Koontz characters) and his attitude is one to envy. I wish I could be as good a person as Odd. 

We also get to see some favorites that have had very minor parts since book one. Ozzie Boone, Odd's novelist friend and surrogate father and Chief Wyatt Porter, Odd's other surrogate father both make appearances. I love these characters and was thrilled to have them back again.

As Odd tries to prevent a new disaster he is lead by visions in dreams, words from his friends Annamaria, Edie Fischer, and the guidance of strangers who see the good in him. We see Odd struggle with some of his decisions, questioning his own motives for certain acts he has always felt he's done out of necessity. The struggles made his character that much more enjoyable. 

Overall I thought his was an excellent novel and a beautiful conclusion. I will miss not having future Odd novels, but am looking forward to re-reading the series. It is definitely one of my favorite series. This will definitely be one of my top reads of 2015.    

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tuesday Talks | Reviews with Spoilers

Tuesday Talks is a weekly discussion hosted by Janie and Janelle (you should go check them out, right now. Well, first read this post. Then check them out. Just click on their names for a link to their YouTube channels!). Every week we all discuss fun bookish topics. Come join the goodreads group here.

Reviews with Spoilers
I generally don't write reviews with spoilers. Obviously a few will slip in here and there (just minor things that I don't normally consider spoilers), but I avoid spoilery reviews as much as possible. The few reviews where I do have spoilers included, I always give a warning. Usually, here on my blog, I will set it off with a different color and font or something and say that's where the spoilers start and where they end. 

Book discussion with a group of people who have already read the book are great places to have spoiler filled conversations. It's fun to discuss the details of a novel with someone else who will understand them. Generally, reviews are not the place for spoilers.

To me a review should be your overall impressions of the story, characters, relationships, writing, etc. When I read a review I'm looking for someone to persuade me to read the novel they are reviewing. That can be done with just the barest of details into the story. All it takes is explaining why you feel the way you feel. It doesn't involve saying anything about what triggered those emotions in the story. 

I like to read reviews for novels I have never read and sometimes ones that I don't really plan to read. It's not to find out what happens. I read hoping that someone will give me a reason to want to read the novel. I don't want the details, I want the feelings. When you feel passionate about something it comes across in your writing. 

So, do you share spoilers in reviews? And if you do, do you give a warning first? Let me know in the comments!

Giveaway! One of my Favorite Reads of 2014

For those who have been following from the beginning, you probably know that the beginning wasn't all that long ago (October!). In those few short months I have done so much. And my blog has gotten more views and interaction than I ever imagined. I don't blog for others. I blog for myself, because I love talking about books. If others can gain something from my blog, that's an added bonus. I still have many improvements I would like to make with my blog, but I'm thrilled that people actually want to read some of the things I have to say.

To say thank you for all of the amazing support for my blog, my booktube, and just my reading in general, I am giving away one of my favorite reads of 2014. It also happens to be by one of my favorite authors. That novel is The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson. This is a great YA fantasy novel with a great magic system and alternate history setting.

So thank you for the support and good luck in the giveaway! 


You must live in the US (Sorry, international friends!)
You must be 18+ years or have a parent/guardians permission to enter.
The Winner will be contacted at the end of the giveaway and must respond within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 19, 2015

Love and Other Unknown Variables~Shannon Lee Alexander | Review

 Title: Love and other Unknown Variables
Author: Shannon Lee Alexander
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 331 Pages
Publication: October 2014
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
For more information on this book click the title to link to the goodreads page. 
"'Sick of circles,' I grumble and immediately feel guilty. I love circles. They're amazing. It's not the circles' fault I'm stuck here mixing the new ick with the old ick and chopping up bigger pieces of ick with the point on the shovel."
I won this book in a giveaway done by Anna. I had never heard of this novel and had no idea what to expect, but the cover and title drew me right in.

I happen to be a mathematician (at least somewhat, I mean I have a degree in mathematics) and this title and cover are amazing! I particularly love the fact that you can see small math symbols inscribed on the cover as though it were a whiteboard. Beautiful. And it definitely fits the story. 

This novel was beautifully written and kept me almost glued to the pages. Charlie is so easy to relate to, even if you're not a mathematician. He is written so well and his logical approach to life is easy to follow. He and Charlotte are perfect opposites in so many ways that make them absolutely perfect together. 

The references to math and math related things kept me laughing and smiling the whole way through. I loved how Charlie would occasionally get upset with his line of thinking and then be upset about that because he was inadvertently dissing math. It was great. 

All of the characters were so well developed and real. I felt like I could know these people and that I would be friends with every single one of them. Charlie was great with his logical approach to life and insecurities. Charlotte's art and personality were great. Becca's shy, recluse like personality reminded me so much of myself. Greta was funny and grounding. James was supportive and somewhat impulsive. Jo (or Ms. Finch) was exactly what you would expect from her character and it was perfect. Mrs. Dunwitty was absolutely amazing. Together they were all just beautifully crafted. 

I adored the way that Charlie and Charlotte's love story progressed throughout the novel. It was heartbreaking and beautiful. I cried more than once while reading. I also laughed quite a lot. One thing that I thought was great was the fact that Charlie, while falling in love, accepted the fact that he didn't know if his love would last forever. In some ways all love lasts forever, but he knew that just because Charlotte was his first love didn't mean she was his last love. I think it's great to only have one love, but often that's not the case and so often in YA novels this happens. It was nice to see something more realistically portrayed purely in the fact that he questioned himself. 

Every single relationship was beautiful. I don't know if I have a favorite. Charlie's family was great. His and Becca's relationship as brother and sister was so cute. His and Mrs. Dunwitty's interactions were marvelous. Becca and Charlotte were great. Greta and James. James and Charlie. Overall, just great.

I do, however, feel that the hate for English and literature was a bit overdone here. Every mathematics professor I have ever had (who would have been about like Charlie as teens), are huge readers. They love fiction and literature. So I think that was a bit much at times. Also, as I've stated in other reviews, I'm not huge on cursing and there were quite a few uses of the f word in here. That was a drawback, but I loved the story anyway. 

This story was beautiful, emotional, powerful and just about perfect. It made me laugh and cry. It was definitely not a book I will be forgetting anytime soon. I highly recommend this novel to anyone and everyone. Go read it. It's a great read. 

Have fun reading! Tell me what you thought of the novel if you've read it!


Raspberry Kisses~Cecelia Dowdy | Review

This review is brought to you by my sister Katie. (I'm trying to convince her to start a book blog).

Title: Raspberry Kisses (The Bakery Romance Series #1)
Author: Cecelia Dowdy
Genre: Christian Romance
Length: 271 Pages (Kindle)
Publication: December 2014
My Rating: 5/5 Stars

I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

To find out more about the novel, click the title which will link you to the goodreads page.

This novel follows Rhea Morrison, a young widow facing eviction from her apartment and will be forced to close her bakery. When she borrows money from her twin sister Raven she agrees to go on a singles retreat to spy on Martin Lane, a pastor Raven claims to be dating. 

The characters were well developed and multidimensional. Rhea was a likable protagonist and reading about her development of a new recipe for her bakery was interesting. Her growing connection with Martin and his involvement with her bakery added a nice storyline for the novel to follow.

Each of the characters were fighting demons of their own and their interactions with each other brought out the depth of their personalities. Rhea lost her husband only two short years ago and has sworn of pastors. Martin's present situation is constantly hindered by his past mistakes. As the characters faced their own fears and insecurities they were able to draw more closely together while keeping each other at bay, creating a realistic setting. 

The novel was very well written and easy to follow. Dowdy was able to bring the characters to life through her imaginative style. The novel also had a strong focus on Christianity that I really enjoyed.

The only downside of this novel was that some of the plot elements were executed rather slowly. It felt like some of the major plot lines could have converged earlier on in the novel and made the ending that much better. 

Overall I really enjoyed this novel. I am eager to see if the later installments in this series will feature Rhea and Martin or move onto other characters as the focus. I will definitely be reading the following novels once they are released. 


Friday, January 16, 2015

Doorways To Arkomo~Jaqueline Dooley | Review

Title: Doorways to Arkomo (The Spirit Oak's Gift #1)
Author: Jaqueline Dooley
Genre: Fantasy
Length: 213 Pages
Publication: April 2014
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Eleven year old Grace has been diagnosed with liver cancer. While in the hospital undergoing treatments and tests, Grace meets Sorel. Sorel is from a magical world known as Arkomo and a magic tie between Sorel and Grace has allowed her to open doorways between Arkomo and modern New York. 
The two girls become fast friends, but nothing comes easily and they must work to remain close. The Departure, an ancient ceremony in Arkomo, is drawing closer and Sorel fears that it is much darker ceremony than she's been taught to believe. 

This novel is very engaging from the beginning. I found myself drawn right into the world and the characters. The story is told from multiple viewpoints, with Grace and Sorel being the most dominant. We also get to see some scenes from Grace's parents and the Kings of Arkomo. 

This is a fantasy novel, but not high fantasy. I'm sure there is a specific fantasy classification, but I am unsure of what that is. Here we have a completely fantasy based world-Arkomo- and New York. Arkomo is full of magic while New York is modern and lacking in magic. The crossing between these two worlds and the explanations about the doorways that allow such crossing is all very interesting and well explained. 

Sorel is a princess-the only one-and must stay hidden among her brothers and the other princes. Of the princes, only her twin brother Sabian knows about her. It is this seclusion that prompts Sorel to share her loneliness with the Oak tree outside of her tower. The Oak then opens a doorway that allows Sorel to visit a strange place she calls Hospital-a hospital in New York-where she meets Grace.

One of the best things about this novel is the prophecy that tells of the Departure. The entire novel is very well written, but this prophecy is beautiful. Prophecies are such an essential part to so many fantasy stories that having a well written, intriguing prophecy is very important. It was also nice that this one is not all revealed in the beginning, but rather comes forth once the reader has gotten involved in the world and knows the characters. 

I found the magic, while not overly huge in the story, to be very well written and utilized. Obviously the most magical thing is the crossing between worlds, but there are many smaller elements that make things interesting along the way. 

Dooley was able to write the reactions of the characters as they crossed into different worlds and encountered new people very well. 

The two main settings are Arkomo and Hospital. There are some discussions of medical topics as Grace undergoes treatment for her tumor. I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys light fantasy reads. Be aware in advance, however, that much of the events take place in a hospital and surround a child with cancer. 

This was a great story and I am looking forward to reading the sequel Doorways Home

Enjoy the reading, friends!


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

UnDivided~Neal Shusterman | Review

Title: UnDivided (UnWind Dystology #4)
Author: Neal Shusterman
Genre: YA Dystopia
Length: 372 Pages
Publication: October 2014
My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Connor, Risa, and Lev are trying to take down the corrupt government that made their unwinding legal. Cam is working hard to take down Proactive Citizenry from the inside and Hayden is broadcasting his own commentary about the state of the nation. 
The world is a dangerous place and there is no exception to the rule. Connor, Risa, Lev, Cam, Hayden and anyone else standing in the way of unwinding is standing on unstable ground.

This was the best possible ending to this series that I could have hoped for. It was heartbreaking in so many ways and I actually cried at several points of the novel. It was definitely a strong ending to a very strong series.

One of the best things about this series in general is the characters. Each character is important. Even characters who show up for only one scene somehow play major roles in the main story. This novel was told from several perspectives, as the previous installments in the series. Shusterman is definitely a master at his craft and I was never lost or disappointed once in all of the switching viewpoints. I didn't feel like it took away from any of the characters. In fact, I feel that it made many of them stronger.

The main characters continued to grow throughout this final installment, facing hard decisions and situations. Connor's growth was focused on more than some of the others, but I feel like many of them got more attention in the previous installment. Risa was strong and dependable. Lev was just plain great. And I found that I liked Cam much more this time around. I never really disliked him, but I just found myself enjoying his character more.

The relationships throughout this series were also beautiful. They were so well developed and meaningful. And the role of unwinding in many of them was never ignored. It was heartbreaking to see just how many lives unwinding had changed over time. I don't want to give too much away.

One thing that I really appreciated was that the end didn't try to make the reader believe there was a definite fix. It was satisfying, but believable. It was beautiful. One of the best series conclusions I have had the privilege tor read.

I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a good story that has the power to tear you apart and then piece you back together. Be unwound with the UnWind Dystology. 

Happy reading, all!


Learning to Fall~Christine Meunier | Review

Title: Learning To Fall (Free Rein #4)
Author: Christine Meunier
Genre: Juvenile Horse
Length: 84 Pages (Kindle)
Publication: December 2014
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Jacqui outgrew her leased pony Matty and is trying to deal with life without a pony of her own. When her parents decide to buy her a pony for her birthday they arrange for her to go ride the pony (without knowing he will soon be hers). 

Jaq is just the pony Jacqui dreams of riding, but after a few falls she becomes shaken in her ability and nervous to ride. Now she has to face her new fear and defeat it before she gives up riding altogether. 

I think this is a great story for the age group it's intended for. I read a lot of Saddle Club novels when I was younger and this reminded me of those in a lot of ways. I think young girls a boys who love horses would enjoy reading this and experiencing life with Jacqui and her friends. I have not yet read the first three novels in the series, but this one was great on its own.

This novel is very focused on Christianity and Jacqui's relationship with God. I really liked this aspect of the story and thought that it was great to see how Jacqui and her friends Hannah and Geordie responded differently to religion. The girls were still able to remain close despite some differences in opinion and belief, which was a nice touch. 

The horse references were very nice. Being a rider myself I was eager to see how things would be described. There weren't great details into the riding or care of the horses, but the ones that were there were excellent. And a few were working in nicely here and there as thoughts rather than real pieces of the story. The author obviously knows a lot about horses.

The author of this novel is Australian and I found it really interesting to see the differences in writing from US authors and Australian authors. It made the read that much more interesting for me. I don't think I've ever really read the works of Australian authors, so it was interesting to note those mostly subtle differences. I really enjoyed it.

The main drawback for me with this story was that the characters sometimes seemed too young. Jacqui was supposed to be twelve (I think), but at times acted much younger. And I know that's not completely unrealistic, we all have a tendency to not act our ages, I just don't think it was portrayed that well at times.

Overall I think this was a very enjoyable read and would recommend it to children (around 8-12 years old) and their parents, of course. Also anyone who wants a read a story that will take them back to their younger days. It's an enjoyable, quick read. 

Go and ride a horse! It's fun!


Tuesday Talks | Sharing Negative Reviews with Authors

Tuesday Talks is a weekly discussion hosted by Janie and Janelle. You can find the goodreads group here. Come and join in with the fun for these weekly discussions!

Sharing Negative Reviews with Authors
I think that it is very important to be honest when reviewing a novel. You should show respect for the author and the work they obviously put into the writing, but be honest in what you thought of the novel. I have recently reviewed several novels for authors and tend to share the review no matter what my opinion. They wanted my honesty and I will give them my honesty. 

There is no need to be overly harsh in a review and I try to avoid that in my reviews. I try to give thoughtful suggestions for improvement as well as areas where I think the story or writing is lacking. No one is perfect and we all have different tastes, but sharing our opinions can help authors improve whether the review be positive or negative. 

It's important to be honest. If you don't like something then share your dislikes. Authors in general are used to receiving good, bad, beautiful, and ugly. It doesn't help to give praise where we see fault. We just have to do so in the right way. Sometimes that can be difficult because not all people are the same and will respond in the same way, but being honest is always the best policy.

Keep on reading and reviewing!


Friday, January 9, 2015

Chronicles of Kilix~T.K. Chapin | Review

Title: Chronicles of Kilix (Chronicles of Kilix #1)
Author: T.K. Chapin
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Length: 166 Pages (Kindle)
Publication: October 2014
My Rating: 3/5 Stars

I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

In the year 2055, the world was almost overtaken by artificial intelligence because humans were inefficient. To prevent the complete collapse of society, the current form of coding was destroyed and bridled to prevent it from overtaking humanity. 
Now, forty years later, Kilix is a sixteen year old beginning his freshman year of high school. When he clashes with a group of kids at school, Kilix turns to his only friend: Lola, an unbridled A.I. But dealing with other teens is not Kilix's only problem; his mother is very sick and needs his help to survive. What he has planned is dangerous and may reveal his darkest secret: Lola. Having an unbridled A.I is a serious crime. But Kilix can't pull off his plan alone.

This novel was told from two perspectives: Kilix and Loren-the girl in the group that clashes with Kilix the first day of school. I really enjoy these dual perspective stories. Seeing the story from multiple perspectives is always an interesting touch.

The concept of Artificial Intelligence taking over society and wiping out humanity is by no means new, but this was a nicely constructed and fresh take. The fact that the society is so technologically advanced but has these laws regarding the A.I and their use is very interesting. 

The characters are very nicely developed and the story line intriguing. Kilix and Loren have an instant connection and I was glad it was not overdone. Having both of their perspectives helps you understand how they are drawn to each other. At times the development of the characters could use some work, but overall I really enjoyed all of them.

Lola was a fascinating character. I found her lines the most funny and interesting of all. I am very interested to see what exactly happens with her in the two following novels. The fact that she can morph in and out of various technologies and communicate with the code imbedded in them is very interesting. For someone who is not particularly tech savvy the easy to follow descriptions were very nice. 

The main reason this novel is not getting a higher rating is the overall polishing of the story. I found it very interesting and easy to follow, but it could use some more polishing to make it more captivating. Also, toward the end the dialog becomes somewhat choppy and the characters start to break form somewhat. I still feel that overall it was a very nice read, but some more work with these aspects of the story and structure would improve the read overall.

I definitely recommend this novel to anyone interested in a quick, fun science fiction read. It's short, sweet, and to the point. I find the mixed story lines and society very interesting and am looking forward to reading the next two.

As usual, happy reading!


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

If~Nicholas Bourbaki | Review

Title: If
Author: Nicholas Bourbaki
Genre: Experimental
Length: Varies
Publication: July 2014
My Rating: 3/5 Stars

I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

If is a story of choices. You are the main character and must choose where to go at the end of every chapter. There are twenty-two possible endings based on the choices you make throughout the story. 

I do agree with the author that this novel would work better in a print version, but the kindle version was ok. I really like the idea of these novels. I read one when I was younger-though I can't remember the name-that was very similar. It involved choices at the ends of the chapters. Here the reader is the character, a young boy in the beginning, who must make several life altering decisions. 

My main problem with this novel was the story. I thought the connection based on different decisions-I followed more than one path to see how it would flow-was done very well. I just didn't feel like the story, no matter which path you chose, was very developed or interesting. I think this type of novel could work better with some type of mystery. Or maybe it was just the paths that I didn't like. I'm not sure. I just didn't feel like the story did much for me.

There is not a whole lot I can say about this story. Since it's up to the reader to make choices that determine what follows the story can have several different endings. It's definitely an interesting concept so if you like the idea then picking this up might be interesting for you. 

Happy reading my friends!


Driven To Kill~Eugenio Salvato | Review

Title: Driven To Kill (The Killing Game #1)
Author: Eugenio Salvato
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Length: 495 Pages (Kindle)
Publication: March 2014
My Rating: 1/5 Stars

I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Jake Knight is a detective with an uneventful career. Baxter Black is a vigilante with a mission who cannot be stopped. Until Jake locks him up for life.
Lillian is heartbroken when her daughter Clara is diagnosed with cancer that cannot be cured. Her only hope lies in a new wonder drug that's being used as a treatment for cancer. But the trial was set up long ago and the drug won't be released for another two years; too late to save Clara's life. Grace, Lillian's older daughter, has access to the drug and comes up with a plan to steal some for her sister. She has no idea how far reaching the consequences will be.
Jake Knight is assigned a new partner, a rookie named Dayna Colton. Dayna may be their only shot at getting inside Baxter's head to stop a new killing spree that must be connected. But is everything really as it seems?

This novel sounded interesting enough so I decided to review it. Unfortunately I was not impressed. I read almost the entire novel, but toward the end only skimmed the chapters. 

My main problem with this novel was the writing or, actually, the formatting. The concept was similar to other mystery thriller novels and seemed interesting enough, but was not well planned out. The dialog was very difficult to follow. I had a hard time keeping track of who was saying what. There was too much shrugging and sighing. It drove me crazy. Honestly I think this was more of the formatting than the actual writing that confused me during dialog. I read the kindle version of the novel and found that it was too choppy. Again, formatting error.

The characters lacked development. More planning needed to go into their story and personalities. This seemed more like a first draft, not a final product. And like I said before, most of the revelations that came near the end were obvious from the beginning. I felt like there was no real mystery or anything to keep you hooked.  Definitely a concept that could use further exploration, but needs more work.

There was also no connection between the characters. I just never felt that any of them had any real chemistry. 

Enjoy the reading!


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Review Requests and Other Information

I have recently had questions regarding my review policy and if I take requests from authors for reviewing their works. I decided I would write a post for anyone who may be interested.

How to Contact me
  • Email:
You can also find me on other forms of social media:
Do I take requests?
Yes! If you like my reviewing style and think I would be interested in your novel then please ask. You can email me at the address listed above with a brief synopsis of your novel and any additional information you would like for me to have. I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Please note: I don't enjoy novels with lots of, or explicit, sexual content. I also avoid books with excessive cursing/profanities/obscenities. These are just things to keep in mind when requesting a review.  

 How Long Does it Take me to Read and Review?
I generally try to have reviews posted within a month of receiving the novel, but this has become increasingly difficult due to scheduling conflicts recently. If you have a specific deadline requirement please make note of that in your email and I will let you know if I can meet that requirement.

I also run a goodreads group, Read Together, Blog Together, where we take requests for review, so if you're interested in offering copies to that group feel free to visit the goodreads page or email me through the email listed above. 
Do I post all reviews or only good ones?
I write a review for every novel I read. I tend not to complete novels that I do not like at least by the half way point-if this is the case for your novel, let me know in advance if you would like for me to rate/review or not. I try to explain in my reviews why the novel received the rating it did. I may not mention the rating itself, but I will discuss my likes and dislikes in detail. Receiving a free copy will not change my opinion of the novel. I always share my honest opinion.

Where I Post Reviews
All reviews will be posted here on my blog. I also write short reviews and link back to the full review through goodreads. I do the same for Amazon in many cases, so let me know if you would like me to post on Amazon as well. I occasionally do video reviews on my YouTube channel. If a video review is something you would like, please let me know in your email.

I'm sure I will have more information to add and/or change in the future, but for now these are my policies and practices regarding reviewing. If you have any questions please ask!


Legend~Marie Lu | Review

Title: Legend (Legend #1)
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: YA Dystopia
Length: 305 Pages
Publication: November 2011
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

What was once The United States is now split into two separate societies: The eastern portion is known as the Colonies and the western portion is the Republic. In the Republic, everyone takes a trial when they are ten years old. Earning a high enough score gets you into high class jobs, receiving a low score means you're sent to a Labor Camp. 
Day failed his trial and was believed dead. Instead he has spent the past five years fighting the system. June is a prodigy, the only known person to score a perfect 1500 on the Trial. When Day is believed to have murdered Metias (a young military captain and also June's brother), June is called in to track Day down. But nothing in the Republic is really what it seems. June and Day soon learn that there is more going on beneath the surface.

 "Each day means a new twenty-four hours. 
Each day means everything's possible again.
You live in the moment, you die in the moment,
you take it all one day at a time. 
You try to walk in the light."

This is my second reading of this novel. The first time was two and a half years ago. I'm sticking with my original rating of 4/5 stars, although I enjoyed the novel even more this time around. It was much faster (surprisingly) the second time around and I found myself even more engaged with the story. 

Marie Lu has a very nice, simple writing style that I have come to appreciate through her works. Her writing is good, but not over the top. There are beautiful portions throughout this novel that just made me want to cry. She really has a talent for writing emotions that readers can feel.

The characters are very well developed and easy to relate to. June and Day are both excellent characters and I have a hard time picking a favorite between the two. The story is told dual perspective from both of them and that is one thing I love about this novel. June frustrates me at times with her blind acceptance of things, but she grows throughout the novel and although still very logical allows herself to be swayed by her emotions. 

Metias became one of my favorite characters this time around. Although we only get to see him living only briefly, June's memories of him really let me connect with him. I also really enjoy Day's family. There are portions throughout this novel where I just had to cry (only a little, but it did happen). I also really like Tess and Kaede. They both add their own flare to the story.

Commander Jameson and Thomas are fascinating. I won't say too much about them here, but knowing what I know about them from the later novels definitely changed my view on this second reading.

There was so much I didn't remember from my first read of this novel and so much I feel like I was able to pick up on because I already know what happens later on. I think I'm going to have to start re-reading all of my favorite series a couple of years after my initial reading. 

June and Day's relationship was a little rushed (that was one of my problems my first time around), but it was never the complete focus so it wasn't too annoying. I also love them together and the way they bring out new aspects in each other. They really are like two halves of a whole in many ways. And both of them are very connected to their families and the memories of their loved ones. I think that draws them together even more because they understand the pain the other feels. 

This is definitely a novel to be read if you enjoy the dystopia genre. An excellent trilogy by a talented author. 

Let me know what you thought of this book!

Happy reading!


Tuesday Talks | Reviewing: Self Published vs Traditionally Published

Tuesday talks is a weekly meme hosted by Janie and Janelle where we all get together to discuss bookish topics! You can find the goodreads group here and join in with the fun. It's always great to discuss books and bookish things with other readers and book lovers.

Reviewing: Self Published vs Traditionally Published

Over the past few months, since starting this blog, I have gotten really into reviewing novels. I used to occasionally write a reviews on Goodreads and during 2014 I wrote a review for every novel I read. Since joining BookTube and starting this blog, reviewing has become something I love. 

I started reviewing novels for authors in November and have had great success so far. As far as self or traditionally published novels go, I'm not really sure I have a preference. I am working toward publication myself and will likely self publish my first book this year, so I like to support those doing the same. This doesn't change my opinion of the novel. If I dislike it I will definitely say so. 

I have reviewed several novels from self published authors as well as for authors who have publishers. Usually they have been lesser known publishing houses, but publishing houses nonetheless. I also read popular novels, thus I have something to compare them to. The only thing that seems to be different is the editing, in general. Self published authors are generally not able to put as much into having their novels editing, meaning they tend to do more of the work themselves. I have read some very good self published novels recently, so I think a lot of it has to do with the author. 

I really just like reading and if I'm going to enjoy a story and the writing then process of publication doesn't play a role in my reading and reviewing. I tend to search out self published authors or lesser known authors when seeking novels to review. I like helping those who are already doing what I plan to be doing myself. 

A lot of a what makes a good novel is the writing and the story. A good author can make their novel a good story no matter how they go about publishing it. Sure, their first attempt might not be the best, but it will still have some of the qualities that will hint at future success. Good writing is just good writing. 

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Good luck with all those reading goals for the new year!


Monday, January 5, 2015

A Barricade in Hell~Jaime Lee Moyer | Review

Title: A Barricade in Hell (Delia Martin #2)
Author: Jaime Lee Moyer
Genre: Historical/Paranormal
Length: 331 Pages
Publication: June 2014
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Delia is living a happy life with her husband police Captain Gabriel Ryan. Delia and Gabe have known their share of heartache in their lives and their short marriage has had its share of ups and downs. When two murder investigations set Gabe and his partner Jack on edge they call in Isadora and Delia. The two women can communicate with spirits and it looks like they might be their best chance of catching the murderer before it's too late. Then more bodies begin washing up at a local plant on the coast and everything seems connected. When the ghost of a young girl starts haunting Gabe, Delia is sure it's all connected. And the spirits of two of the dead men have gone missing. These weren't just murders, but ritualistic sacrifices.

It's been a while since I read the first Delia Martin novel, but I was able to catch up on everything pretty quickly. I can't say which of the novels I enjoy most, since I haven't read the first one in over a year. I did find this one very interesting. 

The paranormal aspect of these novels is always an interesting touch. Delia's connection with ghosts paired with Gabe's position as a police Captain always has an interesting story. In this novel Delia is working more closely with Dora (Isadora) as her apprentice in the spirit realms and their friendship is always nice to see. 

The novel is set in the early 1900s, around 1917 in San Francisco. The historic aspect, paired with the paranormal portions makes for a very interesting read.

One of the things I love most about these novels is the relationships. Delia and Gabe have a beautiful, solid love that is depicted so marvelously. Their love is not overdone and I never feel that the story surrounding their relationship takes away from the mystery in any way. It was really nice to see the progression of their love from the first novel to this one. 

Delia and Gabe's friendships are also beautiful. Their lasting connection with Jack, Sadie, and Dora are wonderful. All of the young police officers that show up throughout the story are great as well. It's just nice to see a series where the friends work together and not against each other. I feel like so many novels I've read recently have love stories that are riddled with insecurities and miscommunication, so this one is beautiful in it's simplistic devotion to shared loyalties. 

The novel is spit between Delia and Gabe. Delia's portions are told in first person and Gabe's are told in third person. I find the difference to be a nice touch overall. The novel is well written and the characters well developed. It can be slow at times, but I never found myself bored by the story. I will definitely be reading the next novel in the series. 

If you enjoy historical or paranormal novels, give this one a try. I would love to know what you think of the story so let me know if you have read or plan to read this novel. 

Until next time, Friends.


Poisoned Waters~Ermisenda Alvarez | Review

Title: Poisoned Waters
Author: Ermisenda Alvarez
Genre: Mystery/Historical
Length: 258 Pages (Kindle)
Publication: August 2013
My Rating: 2/5 Stars

I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

The Diamond Royale is a cruise ship bound for New York. When Helen Gardener is murdered aboard the ship and her murderer is unknown a search for the killer begins. The story follows seven different individuals as their lives are changed in various ways through the events of this cruise. Each of the seven must face their own demons and come to terms with who they truly are. 

This novel sounded really interesting. I really wanted to like it. I just couldn't. I didn't even end up finishing the entire novel. I just skimmed through the last half or so. What started as a promising story quickly went downhill for me.

I found the writing enjoyable and easy to follow, but the characters were what turned me away. I usually enjoy novels that are split between multiple perspectives, but I found this one hard to follow. It took me a long time to figure out who everyone was with the constant changing of perspective. And even when I knew who they characters were, I didn't like any of them. 

I understood going into the novel that all of the characters were greatly flawed and I was fine with that. Flaws are what makes us human. Having flawed characters is what allows us to relate to them in the first place. I just found that none of these characters were relatable. I'm sure there are many people who enjoyed their story, but I didn't find myself drawn to any of them. 

The mystery itself was interesting and something I think I would have enjoyed ordinarily. Again, it comes back to the characters. The murder mystery on a cruise ship in the 1950s was an interesting idea, I just couldn't connect with anyone involved. I found that the more I read, the less I liked the characters and the more I just didn't care about the mystery. 

Overall I think the story had many interesting aspects and I'm sure many readers would enjoy the novel. It was well written. Not overly compelling, but easy to follow. The mystery was well played out and I found the conclusion satisfying based on what I read (I only skimmed the last half). I was never drawn to any of the characters and that is where my enjoyment fell short. I need to connect with at least one main character to enjoy a novel and this one just didn't have anyone I could connect with. 

Happy Reading!


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Revelation~C.B Stone | Review

Title: Revelation (Unbelief #3)
Author: C. B. Stone
Genre: YA Dsytopia
Length: 171 Pages (Kindle)
Publication: December 2014
My Rating: 5/5 Stars

I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Sinna has decided that the only way to help Alex and Jasper get home and rescue her father is to become their prisoner and have the two return her to Rehabilitation. She refuses to consider taking Jacob. When the three leave the Garden-the city among the ruins where believers dwell-Sinna doesn't know if she'll ever make it back. She doesn't know if she'll ever see Jacob, but she has to take the risk. Because she also left Samantha behind and they will have to rescue her too.

One of the things I continue to like about this series is their length. Stone doesn't use a lot of filler just to bulk up the story. She gets straight to the point and keeps it there. They are super fast to read, with a well developed plot. 

This novel was a nice conclusion to the story, but left me with just a few problems. Many of the events toward the end of the novel are not explained very thoroughly. Since we are inside Sinna's head we aren't privy to much of the information that would have been necessary for many of these events. I do think their should have been some more explanation in the end as to exactly how things were working and where the characters were headed. 

I wish there had been some closure with Miriam as well. She was only in Rehabilitation briefly, but I would have liked some more about her to pop up here. 

I do like the fact that Stone started to show both sides of the story here. Sinna started to realize that neither side of the argument was completely right or wrong. Many of the Elite soldiers believed in their cause. It wasn't something they were forced into, but they actually believed in what they were doing. I thought this was a brilliant touch since so many novels in this genre ignore this. It's just like the people on the other side are automatically wrong or forced/brainwashed. It's always been something that bothers me.

I don't want to give too much detail into what happens in this story because I don't want to ruin the story for anyone. If you've enjoyed the first two novels, you will likely enjoy this one. It's definitely worth the time it takes to read and Stone has a nice writing style.

I do think that Stone would do well to consider continuing on with these stories. Perhaps not by writing more novels, but by taking and expanding on these shorter ones. There is definitely a lot more material that could be developed into a longer novel. The society and people could be explored more deeply. It would definitely be something I would re-read as a longer, more in depth series. I've heard of other authors doing similar things in the past. And after getting all the feedback from readers now it could be expanded in the next few years to be a longer, deeper story. 

Whether she writes any more about Sinna or leaves this story behind to explore a new one, I look forward to reading more of C.B. Stone's work in the future. 

Happy New Year and good luck with all of your reading goals!