Saturday, April 29, 2017

Series Review: Rose by Holly Webb


Synopsis for Rose:
The grand residence of the famous alchemist, Mr Fountain, is a world away from the dark orphanage Rose has left behind. For the house is positively overflowing with sparkling magic—she can feel it. And it’s not long before Rose realises that maybe, just maybe, she has a little bit of magic in her, too. . . .

The first book in an exciting, get-lost-in-the-world series about orphans, alchemy, magical powers and sinister child-catchers.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).


Synopsis for Rose and the Lost Princess:
The second spellbinding adventure with Rose… Turning the worn pages of her spell book, Rose can’t believe how much her life has changed. Once a poor orphan, and now an apprentice to the King’s chief magician! But when the country’s beloved Princess vanishes, everything changes. As rumours of dark magic fly through the city, the King asks Rose for help. She must find the missing Princess – before all is lost.
(Synopsis from Goodreads).


Synopsis for Rose and the Magician's Mask:
A precious mask of unimaginable power has been stolen from the royal palace. Rose suspects that dark magicians are at work – and that danger looms...

The race to stop the evil thieves will take Rose to the mysterious city of Venice, where nothing is quite what it seems... Can Rose use her magic to find the terrible mask, before its true powers are revealed?

(Synopsis from Goodreads).


Synopsis for Rose and the Silver Ghost:
Time has flown since Rose left the orphanage behind, and she loves her new family at Mr Fountain's magical house. But she still can't help wondering - what happened to her real family? Were they full of magic too, like her? Then Rose discovers a clue to the mystery: a silver mirror which once belonged to her mother. A mirror with a ghost...
(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Typically, I don't read a lot of middle grade novels. I used to love them when I was younger. As an adult, I feel that I am so beyond the intended audience that the magic and wonder is lost on me. However, I've been on this kick lately where all I want to read is middle grade. I'm glad that I am. I read all of the Rose series by Holly Webb in one day, and I loved it. It brought all of the magic and wonder back into reading middle grade novels.

Holly Webb has a way of writing books that make you believe you are there right beside Rose, in Victorian London, experiencing the same thing that Rose is experiencing. For a middle grade novel, the author created a complex, intricate world that was absolutely beautiful. I love the magic system that she created. It was great to see how Rose, Mr. Fountain, and Freddie explored their talents, and became stronger magic users throughout each book. I loved seeing their progression from the beginning of Rose, to the end of Rose and Silver Ghost. My only problem with the series as a whole was that it was very predictable. By the first few chapters of Rose and the Magician's Mask, the third book in the series, I had already guessed most of the plot twists in the book, and was correct.

The Rose series was full of a fantastic cast of characters. I can't think of a single character that I disliked. Even Gossamer, the main villain in the series, was charming in his own way. Even though I liked all of the characters, my favorite was Gus. This should be no surprise for those of you that have followed my blog for a while, and know how much I love cats. I didn't just love him because he was a cat though. I also loved how protective he was of Rose. He might have seemed harsh, and pushed her to her limits sometimes, but that was because he wanted her to evolve her magic, and grow stronger. I also loved his snarky sense of humor.

I loved the Rose series. Even though it was predictable at times, it provided me with a lot of enjoyment. I noticed on Goodreads that Holly Webb has books with names of some of the minor characters in the Rose series, such as Maisie, and Lily. I'm not sure if the books are related to the Rose series, but I plan on reading them to find out because I want more of this world. I recommend this series for kids looking for a quick, fun fantasy read.


I give the Rose series: 3.5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.holly-webb.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HollyWebbOfficial
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HollyKateSkeet

I received this series from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Away from the Dark by Aleatha Romig


Synopsis:
Nine months ago, Sara Adams awoke with no memory. The man holding her hand told her she’s a member of The Light, a tight-knit religious group led by the terrifying and charismatic Father Gabriel. As a woman in the community of The Light, her duty is to be unquestionably obedient and to submit to the will of her husband.

But as Sara’s memory starts to return and she remembers her past, she sees that everything she’s been told is a lie. The Light is an insidious and dangerous organization, and its corrupting influence reaches well beyond the confines of the remote campus where Sara is being held.

With everything at stake, Sara struggles to sort out her true memories from her indoctrination. The desire to escape consumes her, but who can she trust? And which other followers of The Light were forced into this life, brainwashed to believe they belonged? The more she remembers, the more it becomes clear that Jacob, the man who calls himself her husband, is keeping shattering secrets of his own.

But Sara cannot flee alone, leaving innocents behind. She must fight to extinguish The Light.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Away from the Dark was one of my most anticipated books of 2016. I read the first book, Into the Light, earlier in the year and it left off on a crazy cliffhanger. The wait for Away from the Dark was grueling, but I made it through. It was well worth the wait. The book was everything I wanted in a sequel, and more. 

Away from the Dark gave me all the answers I was looking for from the questions I had after reading Into the Light, but it also left me with completely new questions that I now need answered. The book was everything that usually makes Aleatha Romig's books great reads. It had a lot of suspense, combined with dark romance. While reading the book, I felt like I couldn't trust any of the characters. I wasn't even sure that the main characters were telling the truth ninety percent of the time. Just when the reader would think they knew what was going on, Aleatha Romig would throw another plot twist out there that makes you question everything you thought you knew.

I loved the characters even more in this sequel. They were the same characters, but they went through a lot of character development and growth. Sara went from being this meek little woman that did whatever her husband ordered her to, to a kickass heroine that didn't take any shit from anyone. She really grew into her own. I think part of that was her situation (trying to be vague so I don't give spoilers), but it was still refreshing to see.

I'm not sure if Aleatha Romig is going to write a sequel. She left the ending open to where the main character's major conflicts are resolved, but there's still some minor questions that need answered. I really hope that she does write a sequel. I desperately want more of this world in the future.


I give Away from the Dark: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: https://www.aleatharomig.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aleatha.romig.7
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AleathaRomig
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aleatharomig/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5131072.Aleatha_Romig

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Trilogy Review: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd


The Madman's Daughter Synopsis:
Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells’s classic The Island of Dr. MoreauThe Madman’s Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we’ll do anything to know and the truths we’ll go to any lengths to protect.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).



Her Dark Curiosity Synopsis:
To defeat the darkness, she must first embrace it.

Months have passed since Juliet Moreau returned to civilization after escaping her father's island—and the secrets she left behind. Now, back in London once more, she is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget Dr. Moreau’s horrific legacy—though someone, or something, hasn’t forgotten her.

As people close to Juliet fall victim one by one to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes, Juliet fears one of her father’s creations may have also escaped the island. She is determined to find the killer before Scotland Yard does, though it means awakening sides of herself she had thought long banished, and facing loves from her past she never expected to see again.

As Juliet strives to stop a killer while searching for a serum to cure her own worsening illness, she finds herself once more in the midst of a world of scandal and danger. Her heart torn in two, past bubbling to the surface, life threatened by an obsessive killer—Juliet will be lucky to escape alive.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).



A Cold Legacy Synopsis:
After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.

Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own.

With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy is about the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love—even our own humanity.
 

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
I've had The Madman's Daughter trilogy on my tbr (to be read pile) for quite a long time. A few months ago, it was Halloween, and I thought it sounded like the perfect creepy read. Therefore, I read the whole trilogy during a Halloween readathon. I am a little disappointed in myself for waiting so long to pick up the trilogy. It was so good. The trilogy spent all of this time sitting on my Kindle, being neglected when I could have been reading it and enjoying it.

The trilogy as a whole was phenomenal. It was a creepy heart stopping ride from The Madman's Daughter, to Her Dark Curiosity, to A Cold Legacy. There was never one time where I got bored with the trilogy, and wanted to quit. It had me laughing, crying, and everything in between. When the ending of book one, The Madman's Daughter, happened I wanted to chuck my Kindle at the wall. I kept yelling "No! No! This cannot be happening!". It's far and few in-between that a series makes me get that emotionally involved.

The characters were wonderfully written. I like how each character evolved over the course of the trilogy. Sometimes authors write entire series where there is no character growth, or maturity, and that drives me insane. These characters were almost completely different human beings by the end of A Cold Legacy, especially Lucy. Without a doubt, she was my favorite character. At the beginning, I completely hated her. She was stuck up, selfish, and shallow. However, by the end of the trilogy, she had turned into a badass, responsible woman. I ended up loving her, and respecting her a lot.

The Madman's Daughter trilogy (which consists of The Madman's Daughter, Her Dark Curiosity, and A Cold Legacy) was one of my favorite trilogies that I've read recently. It had the perfect amount of creepiness, suspense, and intrigue. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a great, creepy, read.


I give The Madman's Daughter trilogy: 4/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://meganshepherd.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/meganshepherdauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/megan_shepherd
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/meganshepherdauthor/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5108399.Megan_Shepherd

I received this trilogy from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Immortal Ties by Jennifer Malone Wright


Synopsis:
Some bonds reach beyond the realms. 

Molly McMillan has lived in Saint’s Grove her entire life and aside from the normal gossip and disputes that make up life in a small town, nothing exciting ever happened. 

Until one day, a cosmic event occurs and not only is Saint’s Grove suddenly overrun with beings only heard of in stories, Molly is attacked by one of the same creatures that have haunted her nightmares for years. Luckily, evil creatures aren’t the only beings that appeared in Saint’s Grove that night. 

Aero doesn’t know why he’s been pulled out of his realm, but the moment his feet planted on the ground in Saint’s Grove, he found himself surrounded by chaos and creatures that shouldn’t be roaming Earth. Nearby, he hears the fearful screams of a woman, and hurries to the rescue. 

Little did he know that by saving her, his life will be changed forever. 

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Jennifer Malone Wright has always been one of my favorite authors. She is on my list of authors that I will automatically buy her books as soon as they are released. When she asked me if I would review her new book, Immortal Ties, I fangirled for bit. Of course, I said yes. I loved Immortal Ties. It reminded me of all the reasons why she is an automatic one-click author.

I have always been obsessed with Greek Mythology. Jennifer Malone Wright perfectly blends mythology with suspense, romance, and intrigue to create a story line that had me captivated from beginning to end. It was absolutely perfect. I kept flipping pages, dying to know what happens next. I finished the book in one sitting, in a total of about two hours. I just needed to know how Molly was going to overcome everything that happened to her.

I loved all of the characters. The author wrote all of the characters in a way that made them relatable to the reader, even with the fantasy setting. I was able to picture myself as Molly while she was going through her situation. I also loved everything about Aero. He was the perfect book boyfriend. He was caring, and attentive to Molly. His parents cracked me up. I do wish that there would have been a little bit more of them in the story, especially Psyche.


I loved Immortal Ties. By the time I finished it, I was twitching to read the next book in the series, and learn more about the other citizens of Saint's Grove. I can't wait to see if the Greek Mythology plays into anyone else's story. I'm hoping that Jennifer Malone Wright will write a prequel at some point about Psyche's journey that led her to the Underworld. I recommend Immortal Ties to anyone wanting a new spin on Greek mythology.

I give Immortal Ties: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: https://www.jennifermalonewright.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjennifermalonewright/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jennichad217
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JenniferWrightAuthor
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/jenniferwrightauthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4824985.Jennifer_Malone_Wright

I received this ebook from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

ARC Review: The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library by Linda Bailey


Synopsis:
Eddie, a passionate reader and a shiny green bug, saves the school library in this funny, heartwarming tale that fans of Flora & Ulysses and Charlotte's Web will love. 
Eddie is a tiny green bug who loves to read and who lives behind the chalkboard in Mr. Wang's fourth-grade classroom with his parents, his 53 brothers and sisters, and his Aunt Min. But when Aunt Min goes to the school library and never returns, Eddie leaves the comfort of his home for the first time and begins the dangerous trek through the elementary school. After dodging running sneakers, falling books, and terrifying spiders, Eddie reaches the library, where he finds Aunt Min stuck on a desk with two broken legs! To top it all off, there's a substitute librarian who has terrible plans to close the library and turn it into a local testing center. No more books at all! Encouraged by the brave deeds done by small creatures like Stuart Little and Charlotte from Charlotte's Web, Eddie comes up with a plan to save the library--a plan that requires all the courage one little bug can muster. Perfect for fans of Chris Grabenstein's Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library and Lynne Rae Perkins' Nuts to You. Featuring extensive black and white art from Newbery Honor Medalist and New York Times bestseller Victoria Jamieson as well as references to classic children's literature sprinkled throughout."

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
I used to love middle grade books when I was a kid. Unfortunately, as an adult, I find them hard to get into. They don't hold the same magic and wonder that they previously held for me. I find myself getting bored after a few chapters. However, every now and then there will be an exception to that rule. The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library was definitely one of those exceptions.

I loved everything about this story. It captivated me from beginning to end. I felt the magic and wonder in this book, which a middle grade book hadn't made me feel in a long time. I kept wondering how Eddie was going to survive his various adventures, from going to the library, to his showdown with the mouse, and everything in between.

For me, the best part of the book, besides all of Eddie's crazy adventures, was all of the different literary references. It made me feel like I was being transported back to my childhood. I loved when Eddie started reading the librarian's copy of Stuart Little. It was my favorite book when I was a child, and brought back a lot of memories. Not only did it make me nostalgic, but it filled me with a lot of happiness.


I loved The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library. The book proves that no matter what size you are, you can do astounding things if you set your mind to it. I recommend this book to children and adults both. I will gladly pick up the next middle grade book that this author writes. 

I give The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library: 4/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.lindabaileybooks.com/home.html
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/186774.Linda_Bailey

I received this eARC from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

How My Cat Made Me a Better Man by Jeremy Feig


Synopsis:
Jeremy Feig was at rock bottom - broke, alone, and living in a shoebox-sized apartment. At the same time, his cat was perfectly content. What was her secret? She couldn't say it out loud, but it was clear she had all the answers to living a good life. How My Cat Made Me a Better Man is a hilarious self-help book for guys that gals like, too, based on the lessons of an edgy cat named Shelly. It's packed with useful advice on topics like relationships, dealing with stress, and even grooming habits. If you feel like your life is spinning out of control, this book will help you set things right - and keep you laughing along the way.

How My Cat Made Me a Better Man is a "darling" of cat bloggers, recipient of a Readers' Favorite 5-star review, and "highly recommended" by MidWest Book Review.

Delightfully illustrated with pen-and-ink drawings by Zhenya Yanovich.
 

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
I love books about cats. It's one of those subjects that I find fascinating. It's almost an instantaneous buy/one-click when I see one that I want to read. When I heard that How My Cat Made Me a Better Man was about a guy that owns a black cat, I was even more intrigued. I have a black cat named Sir Pig, and he is my world. He's just like my child. Therefore, black cats are my favorite cat breed, and I thought I would find the book enjoyable. However, I found this book incredibly disappointing. I didn't care for it at all. 

I'm not even sure where to start on why this book fell flat for me. I was hoping that How My Cat Made Me a Better Man would feature a lot of heartwarming stories about Shelly, the author's cat. Unfortunately what actually happened was maybe a paragraph or two talking about Shelly, and the rest of the chapter was him giving advice, and rambling about things. Rinse and repeat for one-hundred and fifty six pages, and that's the book. Also, I thought some of the advice that the author gave, and the things that he said, were terribly sexist. There were a few times while reading where I had to stop, and double check because I couldn't believe that he said what he did. 

There are two reasons why I'm giving How My Cat Made Me a Better Man two stars instead of one. The first reason is that although the stories about Shelly were short, I did like a couple of them.I especially loved the one where the author bought her a seven dollar cat toy, but she played with the wrapper instead. As a cat owner, I can definitely identify with that. The other thing I liked about the book was that in the end, the author had a section about the importance of adoption. As an animal advocate, I agree that adopting from an animal shelter is so important, especially for cats. There are thousands of cats that get euthanized in shelters each year, because it's hard for them to find homes. 

For the most part, I didn't care for How My Cat Made Me a Better Man. It didn't meet the high expectations I had set for it. Even though I didn't like most of it, I can't say that I completely hated it. I did enjoy one or two of the stories about Shelly, and the author's love for animal shelters. I'm not sure that I would recommend spending money on it. The description was slightly misleading. If you do want to read it, I recommend checking it out from the library.


I give How My Cat Made Me a Better Man: 2/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.jeremyfeig.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JeremyFeigAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jeremyfeig
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15103880.Jeremy_Feig

I received this ebook from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe


Synopsis:
“What are you reading?”

That’s the question Will Schwalbe asks his mother, Mary Anne, as they sit in the waiting room of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In 2007, Mary Anne returned from a humanitarian trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan suffering from what her doctors believed was a rare type of hepatitis. Months later she was diagnosed with a form of advanced pancreatic cancer, which is almost always fatal, often in six months or less. 

This is the inspiring true story of a son and his mother, who start a “book club” that brings them together as her life comes to a close. Over the next two years, Will and Mary Anne carry on conversations that are both wide-ranging and deeply personal, prompted by an eclectic array of books and a shared passion for reading. Their list jumps from classic to popular, from poetry to mysteries, from fantastic to spiritual. The issues they discuss include questions of faith and courage as well as everyday topics such as expressing gratitude and learning to listen. Throughout, they are constantly reminded of the power of books to comfort us, astonish us, teach us, and tell us what we need to do with our lives and in the world. Reading isn’t the opposite of doing; it’s the opposite of dying. 

Will and Mary Anne share their hopes and concerns with each other—and rediscover their lives—through their favorite books. When they read, they aren’t a sick person and a well person, but a mother and a son taking a journey together. The result is a profoundly moving tale of loss that is also a joyful, and often humorous, celebration of life: Will’s love letter to his mother, and theirs to the printed page. 

(Synopsis taken from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
I love books about books. I'll read fiction books about books, but typically non-fiction are my favorite. However, The End of Your Life Book Club isn't just a book about books. It's so much more. The journey that Will Schwalbe takes the reader on is one that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

I have to admit, when going into The End of Your Life Book Club, I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought I would probably hear a heartwarming story, and get some book recommendations, but it was so much more than that. I laughed, I cried, and everything in between. Not only did I get great book recommendations, but I learned a lot of life lessons too.

My favorite lesson that The End of Your Life Book Club taught me was about family, and how to treat those that you love. Always cherish them, because you never know when you might lose them. Treat them like every moment might be their last, because it very well could be. I loved reading about the interactions between Will and his mother. It was obvious from the way that he talked about her that he admired her, and really did love her.

I also liked hearing about all of the different books Will and his mom read. I have bought several of the books, just because they sounded so captivating when he and his mother are talking about them. My favorite that I've read out of all the recommended books that I bought was The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. 

I loved this book. It was one of my favorite books that I read when it was released in 2012. It was everything I wanted it to be, and so much more. I think it's one of those books that should be required reading for everyone. Maybe if everyone read it, people would learn how to act towards others. I can't wait to read Will Schwalbe's latest release, Books For Living. His writing style is very compelling, and I know I'll have another huge list of books to read once I finish it.


I give The End of Your Life Book Club: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.theendofyourlifebookclub.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WillSch
Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/willschwalbe/the-end-of-your-life-book-club/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/274511.Will_Schwalbe

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.