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, who 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.