Thursday, December 29, 2016

REVIEW: Fellside by M. R. Carey

My Rating: 7 out of 10 stars
Fellside is a maximum security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire moors. It's not the kind of place you'd want to end up. But it's where Jess Moulson could be spending the rest of her life.

It's a place where even the walls whisper.

And one voice belongs to a little boy with a message for Jess.

Will she listen?
The story started off a bit slow—Jess Moulson as a junkie who winds up in the hospital and then prison, a horrible situation we've seen one too many times. It's terribly sad how heroin can over one's life and push everything else to the background. So though I wasn't impressed with the story throughout the first quarter of the book, it nevertheless managed to build a solid background and foundation for the main character.

I actually considered not finishing it if things didn't pick up as this definitely wasn't the story I signed up for. But I'm glad I persevered because by 25% in, a new ghostly character was introduced that shook things up considerably. In the end, I was was rewarded with a very satisfying, albeit sad, story.

Thank you to Orbit Books and NetGalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

REVIEW: The Skeleton in the Closet (Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries, Book 2) by Angie Fox

My Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

When Verity Long stumbles upon a dead body in the middle of the library, she's placed smack dab in the middle of a murder investigation, and in usual Verity fashion, she's quite determined to get to the bottom of things. With help from her ghost pal Frankie, along with the hunky deputy sheriff Ellis Wydell, Verity visits the "other side" to talk to the library ghosts who may hold some clues as to who killed poor Darla.

But there are no straight answers, and the clues she finds leads her deeper into a mystery that places her in the path of someone who'll go to any lengths to hide the truth. Can Verity and her friends emerge unscathed before the murderer puts an end to them as well?

Like the previous titles in this series, this book was light-hearted and fun with a good dose of mystery. Verity has a joie de vivre that is positively contagious. I would LOVE to hang out with this girl! All the other characters are interesting and well developed as well. I'm looking forward to see how the relationship between Verity and Ellis progresses in future books... and what sort of trouble Verity manages to get herself into next. :)

Thank you to Angie Fox, Season Publishing, and NetGalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, March 25, 2016

REVIEW: A Ghostly Gift: A Southern Ghost Hunter Novella by Angie Fox

My Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

This was a cute little cozy mystery short story that takes place between books 1 and 2 of the Southern Ghost Hunter Mystery series.

Verity Long can see ghosts, talk to them too thanks to the help of her ghost friend Frankie. Not that she asked for such a disturbing gift—it was simply something she inherited when she inadvertently dumped Frankie's urn out on her rosebushes. But since ditching Sugarland's golden boy at the altar, Verity's graphic design business has taken a hit and she has to take what she can get in order to keep a roof over her head. And if that means helping to clear a ghost from the local antique shop, then so be it.

Verity is extremely funny and likable, as is Frankie the ghost. Together they make for a bit of comic relief in this fun little cozy mystery. Though the story was quite short, it felt complete nonetheless, just a short little detour between the two full size books. I'm looking forward to starting book two, The Skeleton in the Closet, next.

REVIEW: Manners & Mutiny: Finishing School Book the Fourth by Gail Carriger

My Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

Another awesome read from Gail Carriger! I am sad to see this series come to an end. But fortunately, there's the whole Parasol Protectorate series I haven't yet read, of which this is a spin off, so I won't have to bemoan the lack of reading material from such a wonderful author, one who has easily become one of my favorites.

In this final installment of the Finishing School series, Sophronia is determined to put a stop to the Picklemen's dastardly plans once and for all. With a little help from her dear friends, Sophronia hurlies and obstructs her way around the airship, discovering secrets, taking out the enemy, and proving she's a true mistress of espionage!

I fell in love all the characters in this series. Yes, even those we're not supposed to like so much *cough* Monique, Preshea *cough cough*. Sophronia—so smart, determined, and headstrong—finally confronts her true feelings for former sootie Soap, and it's everything you wish it to be! A heretofore unknown secret is discovered about Agatha, one that proves she's a much better intelligencer than her friends believed. Dimity's strengths are put to the test, Monique actually becomes an ally, and even Pillover bravely steps up.

If you love the steampunk genre, mixed in with some young adult fantasy, and appreciate good writing, then this is a series you should not miss. Love, love, loved it! <3

Monday, January 25, 2016

REVIEW: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

My Rating: 8 out of 10 stars

The KonMari Method of decluttering is quite simple when you think about it—simply remove from your home any items that don't spark joy. Yes, I realize that may sound a bit oversimplified but the logic behind it is thus: if an item is no longer bringing you joy, it has reached the end of it's usefulness and you should let it go without regret or guilt. You do this for all your items starting with clothes, then moving on to books, then papers, then miscellany, saving mementos for last. If you tidy completely in this fashion, following her advice, you need only do this once and clutter should never infringe on you again.

I haven't yet put the advice from this book into practice yet but am very much looking forward to doing so this week. I also picked up the companion book Spark Joy which expands on some of the frequently asked questions and includes illustrations for folding and storing, and which I'm reading now. I will update this review after I've more thoroughly begun the process.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

REVIEW: The Conquering Dark: Crown & Key, Book 3 by Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith

My Rating: 5 out of 10 stars
Synopsis from the Publisher:
The Crown and Key Society face their most terrifying villain yet: Gaios, a deranged demigod with the power to destroy Britain.

To avenge a centuries-old betrayal, Gaios is hell-bent on summoning the elemental forces of the earth to level London and bury Britain. The Crown and Key Society, a secret league consisting of a magician, an alchemist, and a monster-hunter, is the realm’s only hope—and to stop Gaios, they must gather their full strength and come together as a team, or the world will fall apart.

But Simon Archer, the Crown and Key’s leader and the last living magician-scribe, has lost his powers. As Gaios searches for the Stone of Scone, which will give him destructive dominion over the land, monster-hunter Malcolm MacFarlane, alchemist extraordinaire Kate Anstruther, gadget geek Penny Carter, and Charlotte the werewolf scramble to reconnect Simon to his magic before the world as they know it is left forever in ruins.

Unfortunately, my interest in this trilogy began to wane significantly, as evidenced by the 3 months it took me to read, by the time I reached this third and final book in the trilogy, but seeing as I received it to review and I'd already read the first two, I was compelled to finish.

Although there were a few new revelations to drive the story forward, it came across to me as more of the same thing I read in the previous books. The action scenes seemed to drag on too long; they were too descriptive and wordy, and my mind started drifting before I was through. It seemed like 75% of the book was devoted to these highly detailed fight scenes and it really got tiring after awhile. Perhaps the story had just run it's course by the time the authors got to this third book, and by that time there was nothing new to add to the story but fight, fight, fight!

When compared with The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels, another action-filled steampunk series, Crown & Key just doesn't measure up.

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group/Del Rey Spectra for providing me with a copy of this e-book in exchange for an honest review.