If you read my review of Brannan's first book, In the Belly of Jonah, you know I wasn't a huge fan, but that all changed with this book. I loved the cIf you read my review of Brannan's first book, In the Belly of Jonah, you know I wasn't a huge fan, but that all changed with this book. I loved the character development, the story, the details, and how quickly the story moved. I was guessing who the killer would be from the start and was surprised to find myself on the wrong path right up until Liv figures it out. That doesn't happen often.
Brannan's ability to describe events and to misdirect you is astonishing. I felt like I was deep within the annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis and while it is a rough, raw, and sometimes hard to swallow place, it allowed me to experience something I would never have the balls to do in real life. The story can be graphic at times, but it's not over embellished or drawn out for the sake of blood and gore. It makes the story what it is, a ghastly murder with some bad bikers at the center of the story.
I love that the story of Liv was expanded, and that Streeter Pierce was in this one as well. I wasn't that excited about it when I finished the first book, but I'm so glad I gave this one a chance and read it as well. I'm waiting patiently for the next to be written.
The one thing I can only hope Brannan will wrap up in her next book is the murder of a family friend, and just who is the Crooked Man. I hope the references to them in this book were put there to intrigued and perhaps foreshadow what is to come.
If you have read In the Belly of Jonah, then I know you'll want to pick this one up. And if you haven't, then you can read this one and go back later to read the first in the series (you won't be lost if you read them out of order at this point) or go ahead and spend a weekend wrapped up with two spectacular murder mysteries....more
This is a wonderful book. It gives a whole new look at the classic Cinderella story and I'm a sucker for a good fairytale, especially the traditionalThis is a wonderful book. It gives a whole new look at the classic Cinderella story and I'm a sucker for a good fairytale, especially the traditional darker versions of the Disney-fied tales. Sally mixes in the main elements of the well-known tale but with a more believable reason for the fairy godmother and other magical elements. It's quite a good mix of old and new. I enjoyed the bit about Rapunzel that is thrown in there to explain the disappearance of the prince's older brother which results in the prince needing to find himself a princess.
It's a quick read and quite entertaining, so if you get the chance, pick it up....more
Isn't that cover GORGEOUS?!? I received this as an ARC from JKS Publications and while I wasn't sure I would like it, I gave it a chance. I'm so gladIsn't that cover GORGEOUS?!? I received this as an ARC from JKS Publications and while I wasn't sure I would like it, I gave it a chance. I'm so glad I did as it was an amazing read. I think I prefer stories with witches and vampires to just the too often seen everyday girl falls for vampire stories that are out now.
So what is this book about? Well witches, vampires, and of course young love. Not just a love story though as there is plenty of action and some amazing imagery. I don't want to give away too much of the book, but you should check it out. I haven't read a book lately that I was so excited by and I cannot wait for the sequel....more
I actually stopped by the Sourcebooks booth during the BEA for a different title, Alice in Zombieland, but I wasn't able to speak with anyone about thI actually stopped by the Sourcebooks booth during the BEA for a different title, Alice in Zombieland, but I wasn't able to speak with anyone about that title. I happened by the YA section, and saw this. Thankfully, Danielle was there to tell me all about this book and suggest I read it. I'm so glad she did. At times I felt like I knew what was going to happen, but then it would throw in a twist that I hadn't thought of and keep me going to the very end. I loved that it took an idea like this and really fleshed it out. I felt that it was believable, and well written.
I truly liked that this book gave you a lot of food for thought. It wasn't just a story that you read and forget. I'm waiting on my friend to finish reading it so we can discuss it. The concepts brought forth in this book were well researched and thought out. Not to give anything away, but at the very end there is a discussion about the type of violent crime someone is supposedly predetermined to commit and whether it is premeditated, spontaneous, or self-defense and if that is also predictable. Quite interesting I must say.
I hope you add this to your wish list. It's available for pre-order on Amazon and other sites now, and is scheduled to hit the shelves in September. Feel free to check out Christine Seifert's blog or her Facebook profile for more news as the title nears it's release....more
I met Elizabeth J. Kolodziej at this year's Book Blogger Convention and while I didn't realize at first that she was a novelist, I was happily surprisI met Elizabeth J. Kolodziej at this year's Book Blogger Convention and while I didn't realize at first that she was a novelist, I was happily surprised when she told me about her book. I am grateful to her for loaning me her last physical copy (as I've mentioned before, I'm a little less than excited about ebooks.) I will be purchasing my own copy to add to my keeper shelves as I loved it so much the first time, I know I'll want to read it again and again.
And now, my review. I have to say I love strong female leads and this book definitely has that. It has a good solid love story at the base of it, but it is so much more. There are witches, werewolves, vampires, gods, and who knows what else will come in the next book. I can only imagine the hours of research she put into this book as there are ample references to folklore and mythology that is intricately woven into the story.
Some people may not like it, but I enjoyed how she spends the first couple of chapters going back and forth from Faith and Trent's perspectives at times overlapping to give you a more rounded view, but to also expand on the events as it effects each of them. I thought it added a little something extra to the story as it unfolds.
I found that the writing strongly conveyed the challenges and the accomplishments of Faith as she grows into her powers and accepts what she must do. Beautifully descriptive and yet it doesn't get lost in the descriptions, moving the story along at a good pace and leaving you wanting more.
I'm super excited that the next in The Last Witch series, Werewolf Descent, will be released as an ebook later this month and in print shortly thereafter....more
I don't know how Derek from Candleshoe Books found out that I like all things Alice, but I'm so glad he did. And I'm so glad he offered to send me thiI don't know how Derek from Candleshoe Books found out that I like all things Alice, but I'm so glad he did. And I'm so glad he offered to send me this to read and review. This little book, so unassuming from the cover, is filled with original and I must say beautifully written poems that follow up on some of Alice's encounters in Wonderland. The writing is superb. It flows freely and with purpose, leading you back to Wonderland and all the amazing people and animals first encountered in Lewis Carroll's classic tales of Alice.
I won't spoil it, but one of my favorite parts is the tale of The Walrus and The Carpenter, and Holden wrapped up that story exquisitely.
The artwork is done by Andrew Johnson and I love it! Check out the Cheshire Cat, who I think it embodied perfectly in a mischievous Siamese-like cat. It reminds me a bit of the American McGee's Alice video game characters although that is much much darker.
And the tea party pictured here is so detailed and really brings to life the madness of the Hatter and the March Hare.
I have to say I recommend this book for children and adults alike who have a love of Alice in Wonderland. The story is lovely and truly captures the audience, and I just couldn't put it down till I'd devoured every last line. And then I read it again! It's really that good.
This one is going on my keeper shelf next to my favorite copy of both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. It definitely belongs in good company....more
I really didn't think I would like this one at first. It took me a bit to get into it, but once I was about 40 pages in, I couldn't put it down. The iI really didn't think I would like this one at first. It took me a bit to get into it, but once I was about 40 pages in, I couldn't put it down. The interactions between Kelly and Jake are not those of star crossed lovers or even those of attorney and client with a mutual attraction, but they somehow come to life and are all the more believable for it. Ziman does a wonderful job crafting a story so intense and so intricate that you can't help but be amazed as each twist of the story unfolds.
There are a lot of stories that I want to end a certain way, not everything has to be a happy-happy ending. Ziman, while I did wonder along the way how it would all turn out, does her story justice with its ending. Like how I didn't tell you just how it turns out? Maybe it ends happily, maybe not. Either way, you should pick this up if you like a good mystery/crime drama as this story will definitely tickle your fancy.
Reading her website after I finished the book, I learned that she is an active advocate for the foster children of this world. Clearly she knows something about this as she portrays how a foster home childhood can go terribly wrong and one woman's struggle to avoid that for her children even at the height of her struggles....more
The story follows Jules as she adjusts to life in NYC and pushes past every obstacle thrown up in her pursuit of a career in front of the camera. It fThe story follows Jules as she adjusts to life in NYC and pushes past every obstacle thrown up in her pursuit of a career in front of the camera. It flashes from present to past and back and forth, but not in a jumbled way. The flash backs allow the reader to glimpse just a little bit of why the current circumstances are just so difficult and in the end why the decision she makes, while it can hurt, is the right one for her. Jules falls for an anchor of the news station she gets a behind the scenes position as she works to get her foot in the door and finally in front of the camera. Who would guess that he is the one who she just can't forget.
While the story is a psuedo memoir for Jennifer and her experiences in the broadcast media, it is also a story that many of us have been through. I know I have. I met someone, funny enough while I too was living in NYC, and while I was madly in love with him, he was not the man for me. That didn't stop me from dropping everything when he was around or putting up with his lame excuses for why he didn't show up when he said he would be coming over. It was an off and on thing for 3 years and while my friends always honestly told me that he was no good for me, I just couldn't let him go. Even after I moved away from NYC, he would occasionally send me an email or text and I would let in back in for however long he wanted. Much to the dismay of my friends and the potential boyfriends, I would back away from them and let him throw my life into a complete upheaval. Eventually I wised up, and like Jules, made the decision that while it wrenches your heart wide open, in the long run, is the one that will set you free.
It was hard to accept that he was holding me back from being who I wanted to be and that every time I let him back in my life it just threw everything into upheaval until he was gone again and I was left to pick up the pieces and put myself back together again. And looking back on a lot of my relationships, I felt that somehow I was settling with someone who wasn't right for me, just because it worked then. If there is one thing I learned a few years ago, don't ever settle, even if it means you're going to go to the movies by yourself or go out to dinner with your friends who all seem to be coupled up. It'll work out in the end. I know it has for me. I met a great man, and never once has the thought that I might have 'settled' for him ever crossed my mind. This is something I particularly spent some time thinking about when the old memories started to flood in as I read the book. It's a great feeling, and I hope that my love for him will continue to grow and that I don't ever feel as if somehow I settled to be with him. (And hopefully he doesn't feel this way about me either.)
Jules learns that as well, and while her story isn't quite as cut and dry as mine, it was well worth the emotions and memories that it brought back as I relived through her some of my own experiences. While this gives away some of what happens, you cannot fully grasp the complex and yet common experiences she goes through in her struggle to find herself.
On a side note, I did a little reading about the author, Jennifer, after I finished the book, and figured out why I thought her face looked familiar in her picture on the book. She was a reporter on NY1. That was one of the few stations I had in NYC whether I had cable or not, and lived by their news reports. She was on the air during the time I lived in NYC, so of course she looked familiar. While I don't know what parts of this story are true and which are fiction, she tells a wonderful story that is both enlightening and heart wrenching at the same time.
It's a good read, and the only reason I didn't finish it the day I started reading it was I had to get some sleep, so the last 35 pages waited until the morning....more
Oh how I really tried to like this story. But alas, it joins those rare books that just don't do it for me. I picked this one up at the Book Blogger COh how I really tried to like this story. But alas, it joins those rare books that just don't do it for me. I picked this one up at the Book Blogger Convention, and figured I'd start with it since it was a short audiobook. Only two discs, and two days in the car running errands finished it up. I was a little leery to listen to her other audiobook Fallen which I had picked up at the same time, but thus far, that one is turning out to be good so it doesn't seem that it's the writer. Perhaps it was the reading which is done by actor Wayne Knight, well-known for his roll as Newman from Seinfeld. Some of the story just didn't work and his ability to change his voice wasn't really up to par with some of the other audiobooks I've listened to recently.
But maybe you'll feel differently, maybe not. ...more
This story is an excellent tale of mediums, ghosts, the late 1800s in London, and yet it's also a tale of love's triumphs and tribulations. I couldn'tThis story is an excellent tale of mediums, ghosts, the late 1800s in London, and yet it's also a tale of love's triumphs and tribulations. I couldn't help but think of Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone while I was reading this. While Collins is not a YA author, but he did write some amazing mysteries in his day. I've read a couple of his books, and loved each of them. I can only say that to remind me of him is a great accomplishment.
Violet is a very believable character, as are the others involved throughout the story. I was kept guessing until the end when the mystery finally comes to a head. I loved the interactions between her and her mother as well as her and Colin, who was definitely a dreamy presence in a story filled with fickle boys as was common in those days.
I would suggest you pick this up and read it. It's quick and will suck you in. I haven't read any of her other books, but I fully intend to add them to my TBR list. And I can only hope Harvey writes another book like this (maybe a sequel, maybe not) for me to read....more
I picked this up while at the BEA and I have to say for a kid's book this is pretty informative. I didn't learn much that I didn't already know havingI picked this up while at the BEA and I have to say for a kid's book this is pretty informative. I didn't learn much that I didn't already know having been interested in it as a child when we covered it in school. However, I think had I read this book then, I would've found it very enjoyable. It had some great details, but it flowed without getting to heavy on the dates of events. (One of the things I was always bad with when it came to history.)
If your child is looking for a good book on the Salem witch trials, I would suggest this once it is finished. The drawings that were included in this preview copy went along well with the text and I think once it is complete it will be a very nice finished book. If you don't know anything about the trials, this is a good book to start with as it will give you a lot of detail on the main people (adults and children) who were involved....more
I had intended to write this piece last week while sitting in my favorite Austin coffee shop, Epoch, but they were having network issues and so it jusI had intended to write this piece last week while sitting in my favorite Austin coffee shop, Epoch, but they were having network issues and so it just didn't happen as planned. But it would have been awesome to have a piping hot raspberry mocha to sip while writing a review all about coffee.
This book falls into the non-fiction that I love to read. I love reading the history of things, how they came to be a part of life today, where the small things related to them originally sprung up, some things I've read about have been banned and so I learned why and any myriad of other tidbits about an item.
Coffee, holds a very dear place in my heart. But it has to be really good coffee. The best I'd ever had was in college a neighbor in the next room over would invite me over for his specialty while we played chess or cards. (I think I miss his coffee as much as I miss playing chess and cards on a regular basis.) He would slowly warm the milk up to just below boiling, hand grind the coffee beans (I wish I could remember what they were specifically) then measure out the grounds into his french press, add the milk, set his timer and then press it when finished. Amazing! I've tried to replicate it, but haven't been successful. Apparently his attention to detail and the painstaking time he spent perfecting his technique was well worth it, almost a trade secret.
Learning about the rise of coffee, how it made its way into the heart of the American culture, and its spread around the world was quite enjoyable. I learned about the rise of coffee shops and how several rulers tried to control their public by banning coffee, thankfully without much success. Satin even tells how coffee is raised, harvested, and readied for roasting. I learned some things I didn't know, but having been a coffee fan for a number of years now, there was a lot of the information such as the difference between a bean that is sun-dried with its skin versus those that are dried with the skin on during the process, and of course thanks to modern movies, I even knew about the super-expensive, super-elite coffee that comes from the droppings of a wild cat. If you haven't seen The Bucket List I suggest you at least watch the bit about the coffee. It's very entertaining.
All in all I found this book to be a good read. I did find it to lose some of its cohesion towards the last half as Satin seemed to jump around a bit from quotes about coffee to how to make coffee, and then going back to some of the history of it. However, it did not distract enough from the whole to make me not suggest this book.
There is another book on my wishlist that also covers the history of coffee, and it will be interesting to compare the two when I finally get around to getting a copy of the other. Perhaps my next non-fiction should be about sugar, or something that is somehow linked to coffee. We shall see....more
This is truly an amazing book. It's a full book, plenty of action, great characters, and a unique style. It's written as though you're experiencing itThis is truly an amazing book. It's a full book, plenty of action, great characters, and a unique style. It's written as though you're experiencing it from a computer in that it is full of HTML and it uses that to its advantage. The reader is given emotions and insight through the tags and this helps to really bring the book to life. I'm sorry I put it off on my TBR pile for so long.
In more ways than one, this book makes a lot of valid points about our society and where its potential lies. It is not hard to see the potential of the WHO of Tuan's world coming to a reality in our not so distant future. I feel I would be like Tuan and break out of society's mold, putting myself out there into potentially dangerous situations for the possibility of securing alcohol or tobacco, vices we take for granted today, just to feel different.
But there is also a part of me that desires what the WHO offers, a way to maintain your existence without having to make all the decisions yourself. The computers tell you what to eat, monitor your vitals, never getting sick, and while that can be good for a while, I wonder if people could really exist like that for any long term period of time. Perhaps if, as Tuan's predecessors experienced, something extremely horrible happens and it is the way found to prevent it happening again.
I suggest you pick this up if you enjoy a good dystopian novel. It is truly amazing and I was looking forward to reading more of the author's work when I finished. Alas, when I read the small blurb at the end about the author, I learned that he passed away a few years ago, and that this was the only book. If nothing else it is a book to read and savor as there will be no more to come. And if that's not enough of a selling point for you, it has received rave reviews and won a number of awards. It's just that good....more