Thursday, June 30, 2016


Book: Feverborn
Series: Fever #8
Author: Karen Marie Moning

When the immortal race of the Fae destroyed the ancient wall dividing the worlds of Man and Faery, the very fabric of the universe was damaged and now Earth is vanishing bit by bit. Only the long-lost Song of Making—a haunting, dangerous melody that is the source of all life itself—can save the planet.

But those who seek the mythic Song—Mac, Barrons, Ryodan and Jada—must contend with old wounds and new enemies, passions that burn hot and hunger for vengeance that runs deep. The challenges are many: The Keltar at war with nine immortals who’ve secretly ruled Dublin for eons, Mac and Jada hunted by the masses, the Seelie queen nowhere to be found, and the most powerful Unseelie prince in all creation determined to rule both Fae and Man. Now the task of solving the ancient riddle of the Song of Making falls to a band of deadly warriors divided among—and within—themselves.

Once a normal city possessing a touch of ancient magic, Dublin is now a treacherously magical city with only a touch of normal. And in those war-torn streets, Mac will come face to face with her most savage enemy yet: herself. -Goodreads

Review: I was skeptical going into this knowing that Mac was the main POV. She wasn't that interesting in book #7 and I felt like the focus should be more on Jada. And while I'd still like more Jada, this book was definitely a fun read. It was fast paced, there was good action and Mac was back to her old self. I cannot wait for book #9!

Grade: 4/5

Under the Influence

Book: Under the Influence
Author: Joyce Maynard

Drinking cost Helen her marriage and custody of her seven-year-old son, Ollie. Once an aspiring art photographer, she now makes ends meet taking portraits of school children and working for a caterer. Recovering from her addiction, she spends lonely evenings checking out profiles on an online dating site. Weekend visits with her son are awkward. He’s drifting away from her, fast.

When she meets Ava and Swift Havilland, the vulnerable Helen is instantly enchanted. Wealthy, connected philanthropists, they have their own charity devoted to rescuing dogs. Their home is filled with fabulous friends, edgy art, and dazzling parties.

Then Helen meets Elliott, a kind, quiet accountant who offers loyalty and love with none of her newfound friends’ fireworks. To Swift and Ava, he’s boring. But even worse than that, he’s unimpressed by them.

As Helen increasingly falls under the Havillands’ influence—running errands, doing random chores, questioning her relationship with Elliott—Ava and Swift hold out the most seductive gift: their influence and help to regain custody of her son. But the debt Helen owes them is about to come due.

Ollie witnesses an accident involving Swift, his grown son, and the daughter of the Havillands’ housekeeper. With her young son’s future in the balance, Helen must choose between the truth and the friends who have given her everything.-Goodreads

Review: June was my book club selection and I chose this book. I've enjoyed Maynard's writing in the past and the synopsis sounded interesting. Unfortunately, the synopsis was a little too thorough-it's was like watching a movie preview that highlights all the high points and not enough is left to the imagination. So..there was nothing surprising in the plot. The book was slow and none of the characters were particularly likable. It was frustrating seeing Helen make such bad decisions regarding the Havilland's over and over and over. However, my heart did break for her when she lost custody of her son. Seeing how their relationship was damaged was just devastating. I think this book brought up some good questions-Was she really an alcoholic? (something we discussed in book club). Do you know people like the Havilland's (yes, people like them definitely exist). I did enjoy how she redeemed herself at the end (she finally grew a backbone, yay!) and I liked how the book ended on an open note. However..I would hope that Elliott would have moved by then, she treated him horribly. 

Overall-not my favorite read, but I liked it. 

Grade: 3/5

The Man I Love

Book: The Man I Love
Series: The Fish Tales #1
Author: Suanne Laqueur

Erik "Fish" Fiskare loves the theatre, but he’s more intrigued by the wizardry behind the red curtain than the spectacle center stage. That is, until Daisy Bianco steps into the spotlight. The moment Erik lays eyes on this ballerina, his atoms rearrange and the young stagehand will never be the same.

For two years, the romance thrives within a tight-knit circle of artists and friends. Then, a newcomer arrives—James, a brilliant but erratic dancer with a misguided infatuation and a burning desire to belong. Rejection sets James on a course for destruction and when the smoke clears, Erik’s world is torn apart. He soon discovers that in the face of heartache, grief and betrayal, love is not always enough to make you stay. And sometimes, it’s the only thing that can bring you back. -Goodreads

Review: I started this book without reading the synopsis and based on the first few chapters, thought it was a romance about college kids who grow apart. Wow, was I wrong. This book is about many things, including friendship, love and betrayal. There are also some intense, dark story lines that I didn't see coming (at least when I started the book). I really loved the dance aspect of this book and cannot wait for read the sequel, which appears to be the story written from Daisy's point of view. I think my only challenge with this book is while I loved the story, I never felt fully connected with the characters. 

Overall, really good read. So happy to have found this author. 

Grade: 4/5

A Court of Mist and Fury

Book: A Court of Mist and Fury
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #2
Author: Sarah J. Maas

Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights. -Goodreads

Review: I had conflicting feelings about book 1 in this series and I'm happy to report that book 2...was one of the BEST books I've read this year. I loved it! Feyre is experiencing major depression when the book starts after what happened with Amarantha. Tamlin, unable or unwilling to see that she is wasting away, decides keeping her locked up in the house and not sharing intel with her if the best way to deal with things. Luckily, Rhys decides it time to call in his bargain with Feyre and she embarks on a journey in the Night Court. 

I will avoid spoilers but Feyre gets her mojo back:

“I was not prey any longer, I decided as I eased up to that door.
And I was not a mouse.
I was a wolf.”

We are also introduced to Rhys' inner circle in the night court and I loved all of them. I also loved...well, Rhys. I thought he was one of the best parts of book 1 and he certainly didn't disappoint in this installment. 

“There are different kinds of darkness,” Rhys said. I kept my eyes shut. “There is the darkness that frightens, the darkness that soothes, the darkness that is restful.” I pictured each. “There is the darkness of lovers, and the darkness of assassins. It becomes what the bearer wishes it to be, needs it to be. It is not wholly bad or good.”

This book also had a fabulous ending, I cannot wait for book 3 next year!

Grade: 5/5

What She Knew

Book: What She Knew
Author: Gilly Macmillan

In a heartbeat, everything changes…

Rachel Jenner is walking in a Bristol park with her eight-year-old son, Ben, when he asks if he can run ahead. It’s an ordinary request on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, and Rachel has no reason to worry—until Ben vanishes.

Police are called, search parties go out, and Rachel, already insecure after her recent divorce, feels herself coming undone. As hours and then days pass without a sign of Ben, everyone who knew him is called into question, from Rachel’s newly married ex-husband to her mother-of-the-year sister. Inevitably, media attention focuses on Rachel too, and the public’s attitude toward her begins to shift from sympathy to suspicion.

As she desperately pieces together the threadbare clues, Rachel realizes that nothing is quite as she imagined it to be, not even her own judgment. And the greatest dangers may lie not in the anonymous strangers of every parent’s nightmares, but behind the familiar smiles of those she trusts the most.

Where is Ben? The clock is ticking...-Goodreads

Review: If you are looking for a fast paced thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat, this book will be a disappointment. It is slow and there is little action. However, if you are looking for a book that dives into the psyche of people whose kids go missing, how policemen deal with their involvement in the case and how viscous the court of public opinion can be, you might enjoy this. I happened to be reading this while the Ohio zoo incident occurred (young child climbed into gorilla exhibit and the gorilla was shot). My facebook feed was half 'it's the mother's fault for not watching her kid, she should be prosecuted' to 'it was an accident.' It really paralleled this book on many levels. Now, there were characters that could have been eliminated entirely (one of Rachel's friends for instance) but overall, I really enjoyed this.  

Grade: 4/5

Lady Midnight

Book: Lady Midnight
Series: The Dark Artifices
Author: Cassandra Clare

In a kingdom by the sea…

In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.

A parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?-Goodreads

Review: A new series by Cassandra Clare? Yes! I was so excited to read this and for the most part, it did not disappoint. I really enjoyed Emma as a main character-I found her more likable than Clary on almost every level. The side characters were great too, especially Julian (Emma's best friend and parabai), Mark (Blackthorn brother who has been living in faery for several years) and Cristina, who is doing a study abroad type program at the LA Institute. I love the relationship between the Blackthorn kids-although a minor pet peeve, as a parent of a 7-year old, the youngest child, age 7 in this book, is written more like a 4-year old. Ok..back to the story at hand. It started a little slow, but the plot was good and kept me interested. The 'big bad' was someone I never felt we knew too well as a reader so I didn't feel too connected to him on any level. I really enjoyed this until the end. After spending 600+ pages reinforcing how Emma would do anything for Julian, understands the need to keep his family together, yadda yadda...her actions at the end completely undermine everything we know about her character. I understand that parabai's cannot fall in love and she is struggling to deal with that. I understand she's a teenager. But her way of dealing with it was so destructive on so many levels...ugh. 

Not my favorite ending, but I'll def continue with the series. 

Grade: 3/5

Marrying Winterborne

Book: Marrying Winterborne
Series: The Ravenels #2
Author: Lisa Klepas

A ruthless tycoon

Savage ambition has brought common-born Rhys Winterborne vast wealth and success. In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants. And from the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. If he must take her virtue to ensure she marries him, so much the better…

A sheltered beauty

Helen has had little contact with the glittering, cynical world of London society. Yet Rhys’s determined seduction awakens an intense mutual passion. Helen’s gentle upbringing belies a stubborn conviction that only she can tame her unruly husband. As Rhys’s enemies conspire against them, Helen must trust him with her darkest secret. The risks are unthinkable… the reward, a lifetime of incomparable bliss. And it all begins with…

Marrying Mr. Winterborne-Goodreads

Review: If you are looking for a cute, quick and surprisingly sexy read, Marrying Winterborne might be the book for you. I wish I had read the first book in the series which introduced these characters, because there was no cat and mouse here. They are coupled up quickly (and it's steamy from the get go!). While Winterborne is unquestionably the more interesting character, Rhs and Helen made a good couple. I wish there had been more drama and obstacles getting them together, but overall, fun read. 

Grade: 3/5

Whisper to Me

Book: Whisper to Me
Author: Nick Lake

Cassie is writing a letter to the boy whose heart she broke. She’s trying to explain why. Why she pushed him away. Why her father got so angry when he saw them together. Why she disappears some nights. Why she won’t let herself remember what happened that long-ago night on the boardwalk. Why she fell apart so completely.

Desperate for his forgiveness, she’s telling the whole story of the summer she nearly lost herself. She’s hoping he’ll understand as well as she now does how love—love for your family, love for that person who makes your heart beat faster, and love for yourself—can save you after all.-Goodreads

Review: I thought this book would be a light-hearted YA/NA romance and was pleasantly surprised to find it was a much more serious story. A serial killer is loose on the Jersey Shore-when Cassie finds a severed foot on the beach, she starts to hear a voice. The voice tells her to hurt herself, engage in OCD type behaviors (like excessive cleaning) and restricts her (does not permit her to speak to others, will not allow her to read, etc). While Cassie attempts to deal with her mental illness, she befriends a girl named Paris (who has a myriad of her own issues), and she embarks on a relationship of sorts with an unnamed boy who rents the apartment over her father's garage. 

There were many things I loved about this book. Probably my favorite thing was the format-the entire book is an email from Cassie to  Mr. Brown (he is unnamed in the book but entering Brown in the fall..thus I will refer to him as Mr. Brown). There are no chapters and I think it flows nicely. I was also intrigued by Cassie's treatment and relationship with her father. I think the biggest issue with this book is the relationship between Cassie and Mr. Brown. I would never call them boyfriend/girlfriend and they definitely were not in love by any stretch of the imagination. Most of their interactions were quite awkward and they kissed a few times. They do embark on an investigation of sorts but it didn't last too long. I felt his reaction to their 'breakup' (if you can call it that) was completely over the top given their few interactions with each other. 

Overall-the 'love' aspect of this book was lacking but I did enjoy this. Looking forward to more by this author.  

Grade: 3/5