Saturday, March 28, 2015

Stacking the Shelves: The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  It is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, be it physical or virtual.  This means you can include books you buy in a physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Tynga publishes her post each Saturday, so be sure to link up your posts and check out what books others have added to their shelves that week.


A special THANK YOU to Flo for picking up an ARC of The Witch Hunter for me at a recent event. 

The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

The Witch HunterGoodreads Overview:

Elizabeth Grey is one of the king's best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. When she's accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to die at the stake. Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can track down the person who laid a deadly curse on him.

As she's thrust into the world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and all-too-handsome healers, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Review: The 5th Horseman by James Patterson

The 5th Horseman (Women's Murder Club, #5)

The 5th Horseman is the fifth book in the Women's Murder Club series.  In this installment, Lindsay, Claire, Yuki, and Cindy are working together to solve a suspected medical malpractice case.  Dozens of patients admitted to a local hospital through the ER with minor injuries and illnesses have died from apparent medication errors.  The director of the ER explained the increase in deaths with the quote "sometimes a bad wind blows".  SERIOUSLY?  Something is clearly amiss at this hospital and the ladies are determined to get to the bottom of it. 

Lindsay is also working on a case involving the murders of girls in their early twenties.  All of the women were found posed in luxury cars wearing designer clothing and an unusual perfume.  There doesn't appear to be a connection between any of the victims or a motive.  Just a crazy killer on the loose.  

I needed an audio book while I was traveling over spring break, so I picked this up from the library.  Even though this is a series and the characters' history and personal relationships develop with each book, they can be read as stand-alone novels.  Each book is about a new set of cases and there is a definite conclusion.  I really enjoy these murder mysteries, but they are not for younger readers.  I quickly discovered that I couldn't listen to this book with my 10 year-old son in the car.  There is graphic content and quite a bit of adult language that is not appropriate for even a PG-13 audience.

As a nurse, I was mystified by the explanations that were given for the medication errors.  There is no way those things could have happened if the nurse or doctor was checking the patient arm band and verifying the medication and dosage before administration.  If an error did occur, it certainly shouldn't have happened several dozen more times.  The hospital's administration should have caught onto the fact that there was a serious problem well before the women's murder club took on the case.

Overall, this was a fast read and an entertaining story.  One of the main characters was greatly impacted by one of the cases in this book, so it will be interesting to see how her character will progress in the sixth book. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: All Played Out by Cora Carmack

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

All Played Out by Cora Carmack (Book 3 in the Rusk University Series)
Release Date: May 12, 2015

Wow!!  I can't believe Cora is already releasing another book in this series.  The last one came out in December, so it will be less than 6 months between releases.  I'm not complaining, but yikes!!  I need to catch up.  

Goodreads Overview: 

All Played Out (Rusk University, #3)First person in her family to go to college? CHECK.
Straight A’s? CHECK.
On track to graduate early? CHECK.
Social life? …..yeah, about that….

With just a few weeks until she graduates, Antonella DeLuca’s beginning to worry that maybe she hasn’t had the full college experience. (Okay... Scratch that. She knows she hasn't had the full college experience). 

So Nell does what a smart, dedicated girl like herself does best. She makes a "to do" list of normal college activities.

Item #1? Hook up with a jock.

Rusk University wide receiver Mateo Torres practically wrote the playbook for normal college living. When he’s not on the field, he excels at partying, girls, and more partying. As long as he keeps things light and easy, it's impossible to get hurt... again. But something about the quiet, shy, sexy-as-hell Nell gets under his skin, and when he learns about her list, he makes it his mission to help her complete it.

Torres is the definition of confident (And sexy. And wild), and he opens up a side of Nell that she's never known. But as they begin to check off each crazy, exciting, normal item, Nell finds that her frivolous list leads to something more serious than she bargained for. And while Torres is used to taking risks on the field, he has to decide if he's willing to take the chance when it's more than just a game. 

Together they will have to decide if what they have is just part of the experiment or a chance at something real.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park

I read Fangirl and Landline by Rainbow Rowell when they were first released and loved them.  I'm trying to tackle some of the older books on my TBR list, so I decided it was time to read Eleanor & Park.

Eleanor comes from a broken family.  Her parents are divorced and her Mom is now married to Richie, who leaves much to be desired.  Eleanor is one of five siblings living in a two bedroom house that doesn't even have a real bathroom.  The family barely has enough to eat and new thrift store clothing is considered a privilege.

Eleanor meets Park on the bus her first day of school.  His mom is Korean and his dad is American, but he considers himself the only Asian kid in the neighborhood.  Even his brother takes after his dad and looks far more American than he does.  He reluctantly lets the new girl sit with him, but eventually they start to develop a true friendship.

I loved how Eleanor and Park bonded over the music and comics Park brought onto the bus.  Park even made Eleanor mix tapes to listen to at home, which I loved.  It is such an old school reference these days, but something I can definitely relate to.  While her family life was a complete disaster, she at least had her time on the bus to look forward to each day.

I was surprised by the direction Rainbow took with the last portion of the book.  We pretty much knew what was coming after reading the prologue, but I never expected the disconnect that came as a result. The ending seemed very abrupt to me.  It was like she was planning on writing an epilogue...or a short story...or perhaps a second novel in the future.  I would love to know what happens next!!

Overall, I really enjoyed the book.  The pacing was great, it seemed very realistic, and I enjoyed hearing the story from both Eleanor and Park's perspective.  This would be a great choice for any YA fan.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Review: The Inventor's Secret by Andrea Cremer

The Inventor's Secret (The Inventor's Secret, #1)

I've read and really enjoyed everything that Andrea has written that is set in the Nightshade world.  I've never read any steampunk, so this qualified for my "New to You" challenge.

Steampunk is very different from any other books I have read.  Everything is somehow altered and embellished with metal and there are "tinkerers" who are constantly working on their latest inventions.

The story takes place shortly after England won the Revolutionary war and the rebels were sentenced to 20 years of servitude.  Even the children are expected to repay this debt to the British Empire, so many have gone into hiding until they are eighteen and can join their parents in battle.  Charlotte and her brother Ash have been hiding in the Catacombs with several other children who's parents are part of the resistance.  

While Charlotte is out scavenging one day, she finds a boy running from one of the Empire's gathering machines.  She takes him back to the Catacombs, but there is something odd about him.  He is very cold, pale white, and he can't remember anything about his past.  He doesn't know his name, where he came from, or even why he was running when Charlotte found him.

Ash and Meg are the eldest in the Catacombs  and have taken on the leadership roles.  They decide their best course of action is to take the boy, who they refer to as Grave, to see Meg's mother in the city.  Hopefully they will be able to find out the truth about the boy, so they can determine  if he is a threat to the Catacombs.

I don't want to give away too much of the story, but the characters spend a considerable amount of time in the Floating City as we uncover the truth about several characters and the state of the war.  There is some relationship drama, which aids in keeping the pages turning.  I really hope the characters can sort out their feelings in the next book, so we can get past some of the awkward and tense encounters that plagued this novel.  

This book did not leave me with the same...I can't wait to get my hands on the next installment...feeling I had at the end of each Nightshade book, but it was an entertaining story.  I am invested enough in the characters and the story to read the second book, The Conjurer's Riddle, which is expected to be released in November of 2015.  I don't think I will seek out additional steampunk books in the future, but I will continue with this series for now.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Royal We

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
Release Date: April 7, 2015

I saw this a few weeks ago on several WoW posts and thought it sounded like a fun read.  I love the British Royal family and this sounds to me like a fictional take on Will and Kate's relationship.  They met while they were in college, now live in Kensington Palace, etc.  I can't wait to see what the authors have in store for this royal couple.  

The Royal WeGoodreads Overview: 

American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it's Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain's future king. And when Bex can't resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.

Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick's sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he's fated to become.

Which is how she gets into trouble.

Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she's sacrificed for love-her career, her home, her family, maybe even herself-will have been for nothing.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Movie Review: Alice in Wonderland

After reading Splintered by A.G. Howard, which is based upon Alice in Wonderland, I decided to pick up a copy of the Johnny Depp movie from the library.  

My 10 year old son and I watched this for our family movie night this weekend and he REALLY enjoyed it.  He said I should have given it 5 stars on Flixter, but I wouldn't go that far.  I gave it a generous 4 stars because Preston was watching.  I probably would have settled on 3.5 without his assistance.

I really enjoyed the costumes, bright colors, and the animation was very well done.  I haven't seen the original version in a really long time, but I enjoyed sharing the movie with my son.  I don't think he would have enjoyed the older version nearly as much as he enjoyed this.  He loves all of the new Disney Pixar films, but when I try to get him to watch some of the older classics, he loses interest.

Johnny Depp was an awesome Mad Hatter, but he was completely unrecognizable with the amount of makeup they had him wearing.  I guess I was expecting him to look more like A.G. Howard's version....

Unhinged (Splintered, #2)

Overall, this was a nice family film, but I'm glad I didn't pay to see it in the theaters.  I am, however, eager to read Unhinged to see how Howard continues her version of this classic story.