Monday, September 26, 2016

Book Review: Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson @raecarson

Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson book cover and review
Like a River Glorious is more relentless than the first book, Walk on Earth a Stranger.

Leah (Lee) and her friends are subjected to one hardship after another as they try to stake their claims and defend themselves against claim jumpers and much worse.

I like Leah because she's so strong. She makes a decision and goes for it.  She has come to love the rest of the caravan like family and is constantly worried for their safety, given she knows her Uncle Hiram is coming after her. I love every character in this book, even those that are evil.  Carson is really good at building them up. Every time Hiram appeared on the page I got an uncomfortable feeling in my stomach.

Jefferson is still her good friend, and he has made it clear he wants more than friendship. I won't say any more about that.  Leah's powers are continuing to help, and there's more to that aspect of the story too.

I enjoy these stories because the are historically accurate, and history is my favorite genre. But, they have the little touch of magic that adds additional excitement and intrigue.

The ending is satisfying.  They are in a good place.  But I'm sure it's not going to stay that way since there's going to be another book.  Like a River Glorious can be recommended to teens who like historical fiction or magic -- this one should satisfy both. But I highly recommend reading Walk on Earth a Stranger first.

Published by Greenwillow, September 27, 2016
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
416 pages

Rating: 5/5





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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Book Review: Yesternight by Cat Winters

Yesternight by Cat Winters book cover and review
In YesternightCat Winters has once again woven together a compelling tale of the supernatural with the historical.

It's 1925 and Alice is a psychologist who spends her time traveling around giving IQ tests to school children to identify those that need assistance.  But what she finds in Gordon Bay, Oregon, is something quite unexpected.  Janie O'Daire remembers things from a different time and place as if she's lived through these events.  She remembers her sister and a life in Kansas. She remembers drowning.

Being a scientist, Alice cannot believe these stories.  But the child is also a math genius, and as Alice begins to investigate, she can't overlook the facts.  Janie is the reincarnated version of a girl named Violet.  Being a female in a male profession is hard enough for Alice, but investigating a reincarnation is sure to ruin her professionally.  But investigate she does.  She and Alice's father and mother take Alice to Kansas to meet the person who was once her sister.  All of Alice's feelings are confirmed, and she is convinced of Alice's reincarnation.

Alice herself has a somewhat cloudy past and as she begins to believe, she also wonders if some of the weird things she has experienced are because she is also reincarnated.  The rest of the story follows Alice, assisted by Janie's father, as she investigates her own possible past life at a hotel called Yesternight.

Yesternight is well paced and kept my interest, as Winters always does.  The resolution was unexpected and I'm not sure I liked it, but I guess it fit.  Winters is a favorite author of mine, and I've read all of her books. Yesternight isn't my favorite, but I'll still look forward to reading her next creation.

Yesternight is an adult book (she's written for both teens and adults) and contains more sexual references than any of her other novels. I would only recommend this to mature teens.

Published by William Morrow, October 4, 2016
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
400 pages

Rating: 4/5





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Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Other Side of Life - Visit My Other Blog!

I haven't posted to my other blog for several years, but I'm in the process of completing a year-long house build and am now decorating, so I'd like to share my journey with you if you are interested.  Below I've posted part of my first post.  If you are interested, please follow me at annetteshobbyspot.blogspot.com

To start out, I'm just going to post a few pictures of the whole project.  My son is my contractor, which made this all the more special. It was very much a "hands on" project for me, so we are all proud of our accomplishments.

My son, the contractor, makes beautiful things! You can see many of creations at http://smithbuild.weebly.com. Follow him to see the beautiful furniture and other pieces he creates.

#millsnewhouse Land Cleared
Cleared


#millsnewhouse basement
Basement

#millsnewhouse Framing
Framed
#millsnewhouse Almost finished!
Almost Finished! Taken July 1, 2016
We began clearing the land in early September, 2015.  Follow me, and I'll share our journey with you!





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Friday, September 16, 2016

Stacking the Shelves - A Thriller



I couldn't resist one book this week.  A thriller, compared to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. This book doesn't even release until January but it's already been optioned for a film.

For Review:


The Girl Before by J. P. Delaney book cover
The Girl Before, by J. P. Delaney from NetGalley

Did you find some thing that you couldn't pass on this week? Let me know! Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to visit our hosts, Team Tynga's Reviews. Happy Reading!





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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Book Review: The Hawkweed Prophecy by Irena Brignull

The Hawkweed Prophecy by Irena Brignull book cover and review
The Hawkweed Prophecy is a book about witches.  If you like witch stories, this is a good one, even if a bit long.

The 100-year-old prophecy says that one of the Hawkweed sisters will give birth to the next queen.  Raven Hawkweed is bound and determined that her daughter will be the queen, so she uses all her witchly powers to make sure her sister, Charlock, does not give birth to a baby girl.  When she finds out that Charlock is pregnant with a baby girl, she switches the baby with another newborn.  So Ember Hawkweed is a witch with no powers.

Poppy is a misfit.  Weird things are always happening around her, and she feels responsible, but she doesn't know why these things happen.  She and her father have had to move to new schools several times because of things that happen around Poppy.

When Ember and Poppy meet, an unlikely and serendipitous friendship occurs. And, we couldn't have a story without a boy.  Poppy meets Leo, and for some reason he gets her.  He doesn't think she's weird, and the attraction is strong.  Then Poppy takes Leo to meet Ember, and Ember falls hard for Leo.

The Hawkweed Prophecy rambles a bit, especially in the middle.  Poppy and Ember are building a relationship but it seemed like it took a long time, and things could have moved a bit more quickly.  There really wasn't a need for Leo, but what's a teen book without a romance?  The lore was interesting and the way the coven lived intrigued me.  I felt sorry for both Poppy and Ember - both were obviously not happy living their lives.

The ending was exciting and sad too.  At times the writing seemed like this one was more appropriate for younger teens, but I think fans of fantasy, especially involving witches will love The Hawkweed Prophecy.

Published by Weinstein Books, September 6, 2016
ARCobtained from the publisher
363 pages

Rating: 3/5





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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Audio Book Review: Torn from Troy: Odyssey of a Slave, by Patrick Bowman

Torn from Troy by Patrick Bowman book cover and review
Torn from Troy is a retelling of The Odyssey from the point-of-view of a 15-year-old Trojan slave. For a book that I didn't have much hope for, I was really entertained.

Alexi is "Torn from Troy" when they are invaded by the Greeks.  He is enslaved by none other than Odysseus himself.  Alexi despises the Greeks, and has difficulty holding his tongue, which gets him into trouble over and over.  The only thing that saves him is his knowledge of Trojan healing methods, which are more advanced than the Greeks'.

They face a harrowing, storm-ridden sea journey and have to fight off an advancing army. They are almost taken under the spell of the Lotus-eaters and almost eaten by a Cyclops. Alexi learns some secrets and is also keeping some of his own. He earns some respect from Odysseus.  And in the end, we are left hanging as to what will be Alexi's fate.

I must admit that I know only the basic facts about The Odyssey, so I'm not sure how exactly this portrays that story. But Torn from Troy was exciting and fast-paced.  Both Odysseus and Alexi are clever and get themselves (and all the Greeks) out of several life-threatening situations. Yes, some of it is a bit over the top and there is a lot of luck, but it's all great entertainment.

The audiobook, narrated by Gerard Doyle, is very good.  The voices were helpful and not over the top.  Very easy to listen to and understand.

There are two more books in the series, Cursed by the Sea God and Arrow through the Axes, and I'm looking forward to continuing. Recommend this to younger readers who enjoy mythical adventures.

Published by Ronsdale Press, 2011, audio by Post Hypnotic Press
Audiobook obtained from Sync YA Literature
200 pages

Rating: 4/5





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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Book Review: A Deadly Affection by Cuyler Overholt

A Deadly Affection by Cuyler Overholt book cover and review
I'm not sure what prompted me to request a review copy of A Deadly Affection, but I was thoroughly entertained by the main character and her story.

Genevieve is a plucky  main character who pushes the boundaries for women in the early 1900s.  First of all, she's a doctor.  And not only that, her specialty is psychiatry, which no one puts much faith in. When a patient from her group session is accused of murder, Genevieve believes she couldn't possibly be guilty but feels some guilt herself for possibly driving her to violence.

A Deadly Affection takes the reader on a ride through Genevieve's ups and downs, concerning the case as well as her relationship with her father and an old flame.  She is convinced of her patient's innocence when faced with all sorts of evidence against her.

We get a taste of New York society life and the plight of those less fortunate.  But the best part is the unexpected twist towards the end and an even more unexpected murderer!

A Deadly Affection is the first in a series called  the Dr. Genevieve Summerford Mysteries, and I'm ready for another one.  It satisfied my craving for historical fiction and also provided a great mystery.  This is an adult book but totally accessible to teens who enjoy a good detective story with an historical setting.

Published by Sourcebooks Landmark, September 6, 2016
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
448 pages

Rating: 4.5/5





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Saturday, September 3, 2016

Stacking the Shelves: Upping the Pace

I'm starting to get back in the swing, reading-wise. I've been able to spend more time reading, like I used to, so I'm happy about that.  I am still way behind reading review books, but I'm doing my best.  I managed to grab a couple more this week.

For Review:


Yesternight by Cat Winters book cover
Yesternight, by Cat Winters from Edelweiss
One of my favorite authors! And this cover is gorgeous!  Can't wait.

The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa book cover
The German Girl, by Armando Lucas Correa from NetGalley
The blurb compares it to The Nightingale, Schindler's List, and All the Light We Cannot See.  All great books!

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett book cover
Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett
I've read a couple of her books and really enjoy her writing and her stories.

What did you get?  Leave me a link so I can add to my list.  Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to drop by Team Tynga's Reviews, our hosts.





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Thursday, September 1, 2016

2016 EBook Challenge - Post Your September Reviews Here

2016 EBook Reading Challenge
Hard to believe it's September already! I hope you are making more progress than I am on your EBook Reading Challenge!  Thanks for joining us.

You can sign up for the 2016 EBook Reading Challenge here.

You can see my progress on my 2016 Reading Challenges Page.

Here's a link to the August Reviews Link Page.

Post your September reviews below:






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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Book review: Possession: Diary of a Haunting by M. Verano

Possession: Diary of a Haunting by M. Verano book cover and review
Possession fell flat for me. While haunting, it fails to step-up the tension which makes it seem slow and repetitive.

The story is narrated by Laetitia, first as she writes entries in her very popular blog, then as she changes those posting to private.  She had lofty ambitions to be a famous singer, but all that changes as she loses her singing voice and begins to have very realistic dreams about being tortured in which she actually feels the pain. She begins vomiting up weird things. These same symptoms happen over and over which makes the story drag.  She stews about what's wrong with her for a long time before we ever see any action towards figuring out what is happening. Although Laetitia has serious problems, they don’t seem to progress or get any worse until the very end.

There is a side story about the trial of a police officer for shooting a black teen that doesn’t add anything. There are several bits of the story that seem just thrown in and not fully explored. There's a kid she has a crush on who is involved in the protesting, but all she ever does is "wonder how he is." There are two episodes where she apparently brings an animal back to life. Her friend Angela who gets mad at her in the middle of the book and suddenly appears at the end and they make up. All of this feels incomplete and therefore unnecessary. The ending, written as a very short editor’s note, was anticlimactic and so quick it didn't have any emotional impact.

There are photographs and reports from various medical and legal professionals that add an interesting element. Mom, Gramma, and Miss Pierre’s magic are the highlights of Possession. And while I found it repetitive and somewhat boring, die hard fans of stories about possessions will relate to the vivid and horrid dreams and the other gruesome symptoms Laetitia exhibits.

Possession is the second book in the Diary of a Haunting series, but it isn't necessary to have read the first book.

Published by Simon Pulse, August 30, 2016
ARC obtained from School Library Connection Magazine
340 pages

Rating: 2.5/5





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