Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith


This book has been sitting on my TBR list since January 2012.  It looked incredibly cute when it was first released and I read some great reviews, so I have no idea why it took me so long to finally read it.

Hadley is on her way to London to see her father, whom she hasn't seen in over a year. She has been filled with bitterness ever since he accepted his dream job at Oxford University and tore their happy little family apart. Now her soon to be step-mother, Charlotte, has asked her to be a bridesmaid in their wedding.  She used to be so close to her father, but he is like a stranger to her now. He has a new life with a new woman she has never met in a country she has never even visited. Just when she thinks things couldn't get any worse, she misses her flight.

While waiting in the airport she meets Oliver, a British boy who just so happens to be sitting in the same row on her newly assigned flight. They are both dealing with difficult family situations and are a welcome distraction to each other. They quickly hit it off.  What could have been a long boring flight filled with anxiety, Hadley gets claustrophobic, seems to pass by in the blink of an eye.  Now they must tackle their family situations independently, but Hadley can't seem to get Oliver out of her mind.

This story takes place over the course of only one day.  It is so magical that it is hard to believe so much could be accomplished in only 24 hours. I listened to this book on audio and would highly recommend it.  Who doesn't love a boy with a British accent?  Hadley and Oliver are drawn to each other like magnets throughout the day and continue providing comfort and support to each other as they both conquer the demons life has thrown their way. By the end of the story you feel like their lives may once again be filled with hope and promise for the future. It was as if the fates had aligned to bring these two together when they needed each other most. 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Review: Rowan by Josephine Angelini


Rowan is a short 30 page novella that is 1.5 in the Worldwalker series. It shows how Rowan discovered Lily in his world and the events that transpired shortly after her arrival.  Rowan believed she was Lillian and couldn't understand what was wrong with her.  She acted like she had no idea who he was, she was having allergic reactions to things Lillian has been able to control for years, and was basically weak and helpless.  How could this possibly be the Salem Witch who has been reeking havoc on his world and family?  But what other explanation could there possibly be?

Overall this was a nice addition to the story, but I don't feel like it was essential to the story line. I have already read the first two books in the series and do not feel like I was at a loss without this content, which actually took place somewhere within the first book.  The back story is helpful in getting some of Rowan's perspective on the situation, but we can also get that through mind speak and the sharing of vision within this series.  

I downloaded this for free to my kindle from the library, so it was well worth my time to read.  It is listed for $1.99 on Amazon, which seems a bit crazy to me.  Many authors release these short novellas for free, assuming readers of this content are also buying and reading the rest of their series.  That is what should have happened here.  Charging people for a few scenes, which were probably cut from the original book, will likely disappoint many readers. Definitely try to get this book from the library.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Review: The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead


This is the third book in the Bloodlines series, which is a spin-off of the Vampire Academy series. We have some of the same characters, but the primary focus is now on Sydney and the Alchemists.

Sydney and Adrian's relationship is starting to heat up, but she is still hung up on her Alchemist's belief that any sort of personal interaction with vampires, even Moroi, is wrong. She is constantly trying to push him away and deny what her heart is telling her.  On the other hand, she is beginning to question the motives and actions of her superiors.  She discovers another Alchemist, Marcus Finch, who was able to escape the organization.  He too became too close to the Moroi and wants to help them on his own terms.  He does not want to be held to the strict standards and beliefs the Alchemists have passed down for generations.  He has a network of former Alchemists that he has helped escape and wants Sydney to join his team.  He has gathered some compelling evidence and Sydney is definitely interested in what Marcus is trying to accomplish.

In addition to the above story line, Sydney continues to study magic with her history/independent study teacher Ms. Terwilliger.  She is no longer afraid of the magic and can see the benefits in her line of work.  When another witch begins harming local teens, Ms. Terwilliger is convinced Sydney could be a target and escalates her training. In addition, she sends Sydney to warn others who could be in danger. In order to mask her identity she takes Adrian along, which leads to a number of dangerous and sometimes romantic situations.  

Adrian was by far my favorite character from the vampire Academy series and I absolutely love him in this series as well.  He has had a rough go of things, so I am happy to see that he may finally have a chance at being happy for once.  Sydney and Adrian have both grown by leaps and bounds throughout this series and I can't wait to see what is in store for them in the next installment.  Things certainly will not be easy for them, but I think they may finally be on the same page.

There continues to be an assortment of drama with the remainder of the Palm Springs contingent, Eddie, Angeline, Jill, and Trey, which keeps Sydney occupied in her "free time".  At the very end, things are complicated even further with the arrival of a couple of additional characters.  

I do not want to give away any spoilers, so I will leave it at that. I'm happy with how things are unfolding in this series and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.  More of Adrian is always welcome in my book.


Thursday, June 6, 2019

Review: The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Millennium, #3)

This is the third and final book in Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy and picked up pretty much where the previous book left off.  Lisbeth Salander is taken to the hospital and is fighting for her life after a violent confrontation with her father, Zalachenko, and half brother. Even though Zalachenko tried to kill his daughter, he is claiming self defense and the security police are once again trying to clean up his mess.

Lisbeth and Mikael Blookvist must unravel decades worth of corruption and conspiracies if they are going to clear Lisbeth of all of the charges against her.

The one person who is actually telling the truth, Lisbeth, is painted in the media and by everyone in authority to be incompetent. She should be locked in a mental institution where she can no longer harm herself and others.  The stories she tells are so ridiculous they can be nothing short of fantasies. In fact, she must be a paranoid schizophrenic. This is basically what the prosecution is basing its case upon.  The courtroom drama that ensues was nothing short of spectacular. Mikael, Lisbeth, and her lawyer Annika Giannini (Mikael's sister) had all of their ducks in a row and completely rocked the courtroom.  You almost wanted to cheer as the "bad guys" were taken down one by one.

I don't want to spoil the book for those who haven't read it yet, but I have to say this series was an absolute masterpiece.  Even though it is fiction, it makes readers question what lengths organizations like the FBI, CIA, etc. might go to in order to protect their own interests.  What may start out as a mission with good intentions could easily spiral out of control and impact the lives of ordinary citizens in unthinkable ways.

The only thing that I did find to be a little odd was the level of detail provided to every day situations.  I would like to know exactly how many cups of coffee were served up in this book.  Hundreds I'm sure. These characters are always turning on the coffee pot or pouring a cup of coffee at all hours of the day or night.  We also know exactly what everyone is wearing in every situation and precisely what they ate at every meal.  We knew exactly what street they are on at all times and precisely when they need to use the toilet.  If you think I am joking...I am not.  It seemed like a lot of additional information that wasn't necessary to propel the story forward, but I guess it provided a greater connection with the characters' every day lives.  I didn't find it annoying...just very unusual.

I will once again add a disclaimer that this series contains a lot of graphic content that is not suitable for younger readers, but it was an excellent mystery/thriller for adults. I read the first book, but it took me a long time to get through with all of the Swedish names.  I opted for audio for the send book. For the third, I listed to the audio while following along in the book.  I found this to be the most enjoyable because I didn't feel like I was struggling with how to pronounce all of the names and locations I wasn't familiar with.  

I'm participating in the Year of Epic Reads Challenge. This book fulfilled the Read a Book Set in a Country you want to Visit challenge.


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Review: Fire Walker by Josephine Angelini

Firewalker (Worldwalker, #2)

Goodreads Overview:

Worlds divide, magic slays, and love lies in the second book of Josephine Angelini’s The Worldwalker Trilogy.

"You think I’m a monster, but my choices, as ruthless as they seem, are justified."


Lily is back in her own universe, and she's ready to start a new life with Rowan by her side. True, she almost died in the Pyre that fueled their escape from New Salem, and must hide her magic for the safety of everyone she cares about, but compared to fighting the Woven, the monstrous creatures inhabiting the alternate Salem, life is looking pretty good.


Unfortunately, Lillian, ruthless ruler of the 13 Cities, is not willing to let Lily go that easily. If she can’t persuade Lily to return to her world, she will force her to come back by doing away with the ones she loves.

Review:

Fire Walker picked up pretty much where Trial by Fire left off.  Lily is back in her version of Salem and now has to explain her lengthy disappearance.  Her family and friends assumed she had been kidnapped and was dead.  Nobody will believe what really happened, the fact that she is a witch and can travel to alternate universes, so they concoct a story. Her mom has a history of mental issues, so she must have "forgotten" where she went and reported her missing.  The authorities aren't buying the story, but they have no proof to the contrary once her mom backs up the story.

As much as Lily wants to stay in her own world with Rowan, he can't just abandon his friends and family back in his world.  He decides he needs to return and begins training some other mechanics to take care of Lily in her world. Lily doesn't like the plan, but eventually understands his point of view. Just when Rowan is about to return to his world, things take a turn for the worse in Lily's Salem. Lillian and her mechanics start inflicting damage that Lily can't ignore. In order to stop the violence, Lily and her mechanics return with Rowan to his world to stop Lillian once and for all.

Throughout the book Lily is hiding things from Rowan to "protect" him from what Lillian has shown her. Lily is beginning to understand why Lillian has done some of the terrible things she has done. She doesn't agree with her methods, but understands she is trying to do what is best for the greater good.

We learn more about the woven and the dangers in Rowan's world. Lily devises a plan to save Rowan's Salem, but it is risky and divides her coven.  Some of her claimed aren't willing to take the risk she is asking of them. She understands and sets out to save the world with anyone who is willing to join her.

It has been a long time since I read the first book in this series, but I didn't have too much trouble getting back up to speed. I felt like the first part of the book was pretty slow, but the last half flew by once the action picked up. I didn't really care for the secrets and tension between Lily and Rowan. It would have been more entertaining and productive, in my opinion, if they were honest with each other and worked together. Hopefully they will get to that point in the final book in this series. I enjoyed some of the new characters that were added from Lily's world and look forward to seeing how everything will unfold in the Witch's Pyre.

I don't think this series is nearly as good as Angelini's Starcrossed series, but it has been entertaining. I am curious about how it will conclude and really hope she will ratchet things up to the 4 or 5 star level I have come to expect from her. The first two books in this series have been 3 stars for me.  I have enjoyed them, but they haven't captivated my attention like Helen and Lucas did in her Starcrossed series. 

I am participating in the Year of Epic Reads challenge and selected this book to complete the week 11 challenge. Read a Book Featuring Time Travel.


Monday, May 20, 2019

Review: High Five by Janet Evanovich


High Five is the fifth book in the Stephanie Plum series. Stephanie works for her cousin Vinnie as a "bail enforcement officer"...AKA Bounty Hunter. 

In this installment, Stephanie's Uncle Fred goes missing.  He went out to run some errands and never returned. They know he was having some difficulty with his account at the garbage company, but a dispute over a couple of dollars is certainly not worth killing someone over.  Fred also has a history of fraternizing with married women, which could have lead to his disappearance. Since business is slow at the bail bond agency, she begins looking into the case.

Fred's case isn't going to pay the rent, so Stephanie begins taking some odd jobs from Ranger, a far more skilled bounty hunter.  He has some side businesses that are more in the gray area, but Stephanie really needs the money. Stephanie ends up in a number of hilarious situations, which could only seem to happen to her.

Joe Morelli has been Stephanie's on-and-off boyfriend going back as far as high school. He is now a vice cop and is somehow working on a case that seems to be connected with Uncle Fred's disappearance. Stephanie becomes frustrated when he will not discuss the case with her, so she takes matters into her own hands. They eventually begin sharing information, but it is amazing how the unskilled Plum always seems to be one step ahead.

This series is more of a comedy to me than an action packed thriller.  Yes, there is usually a mystery to solve or a fugitive to apprehend, but the tone is very light. The interactions between Stephanie and her mother and grandmother will literally make you laugh out loud at times. In addition, there is now a potential love triangle between Stephanie, Ranger, and Morelli that escalated in this installment.  Stephanie is well aware of Morelli's lack of commitment and has been burned by him multiple times in the past, but he is an honest working police officer. Ranger, on the other hand, has a number of fine qualities mixed with an element of danger. She knows she should stay away from him, but it seems to be getting harder for her to walk away. I can't wait to see how things will play out in the next book, Hot Six. 

I have been participating in the Year of Epic Reads Challenge.  This book qualified for week 19's Read A Book with a Mystery.

Week 19 - May 6 - High Five by Janet Evanovich.

Monday, May 13, 2019

COYER Summer Hunt Sign Up


I love the summer COYER challenge because all the rules are thrown out the window. I have tried the winter challenge, but not being able to read library books pretty much takes me out of the competition.  They are adding a treasure hunt this summer, which also sounds like a fun idea. You can find the official sign up post here.  

The following is a summary of the basic rules from Because Reading is Better than Real Life's post. Be sure to check out the link above for more details about the social media events that will be taking place all summer.

It’s time to sign up for another Summer COYER. Summer COYER will run Saturday, June 1 – Saturday, August 31! Sign-ups will be open until Saturday, July 6th.

The Rules

  1. You must create a sign-up post anytime between now and July 6th – on blog, goodreads, fb, google+, etc. Yes, that means you can sign up until July 6th! But don’t wait, you’ll miss most of the fun!
  2. You must link to the sign-up linky below (don’t link to your blog, link to the sign-up post).
  3. You must review books somewhere & link the reviews to the review linky to be eligible for one of the grand prize giveaways.
  4. Have Fun!
Normally you’re only allowed to read eBooks that were less than $5 for COYER, but since this is Summer Vacation you can read whatever you want! To be clear, here are some questions you may be asking…
  • Can I read a book that cost $10? Yes!
  • Are Tour books and Author Review books ok? Yes! Yes!
  • Can I read a paperback? An audio book? An eBook? Yes! Yes! Yes!

Getting the idea? There really are very few rules here. For those that just want to do your standard summer vacation, you can enter your reviews on the review linky and each entry on a linky will be worth 1 entry. So if you’ve added your link there, you’re in the first giveaway for your choice of a $10 gift card to Amazon or B&N. But if you want have to have some REAL fun… we have Treasure Hunt!

Treasure Hunt

We’re going on a Treasure Hunt this summer! Use this old map that Cora Coyer found to navigate your way through the summer to the treasure at the X. There’s a variety of ways to move forward a space on the map on this treasure hunt list. You’ll get the list on the kick-off post June 1st.
This map has 65 spaces from the start at “COYER Summer Hunt” to the X with the treasure. As the list will reveal, you can move forward 1 – 5 spaces with every book you read. You’ll use the list to navigate the map towards the treasure. Participating in Read-a-thons will help catapult your forward towards the treasure at the magical x. Making progress, but not quite getting to the treasure will still earn you points!