Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Book Haul August 2018


This post is long overdue! Sometime in between July and August my lovely friend Tress had a bunch of books she wanted to get rid of on her shelf. She ended up donating them to my shelf, and for the most part what she sent was a total surprise to me. It ended up being eight pounds of books! I now desperately need to rearrange my bookshelf to make room for them. I quite possibly need to clear off another shelf altogether. One of these days I may try to do some kind of tour of my bookshelf post.


I'm not going to go in depth with this haul as I normally do. I'm just going to do a quick list and an overview at the end.

1.) Timeline by Michael Crichton


2.) Lightning by Dean Koontz



3.) The Two Dead Girls by Stephen King



4.) The Mouse on the Mile by Stephen King


5.) Coffey's Hands by Stephen King


6.) The Bad Death of Eduard Delacroix by Stephen King


7.) Night Journey by Stephen King


8.) Coffey on the Mile by Stephen King

9.) Born in Fire by Nora Roberts


10.) Wild Horses by Dick Francis


11.) Sea Swept by Nora Roberts


12.) Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts


13.) Key of Light by Nora Roberts



14.) Key of Knowledge by Nora Roberts


15.) Key of Valor by Nora Roberts


16.) Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts


17.) Black Rose by Nora Roberts


18.) Red Lily by Nora Roberts


19)  Shiny Water by Anna Salter


20.) The Darkness that Comes Before by R. Scott Bakker



Overview:

First of all, thank you so much, Tress, for all of the lovely books! Now if I could only find the time to read them all! 

I'm eager to read all of these books. Tress and I talk every day, and I think she's got a pretty good grasp on what I'll like or not. She did get me into the Dresden Files, after all. I think the ones that I'm most eager to read are Timeline, Lightning, and The Green Mile series. Of the Nora books, I think I'm most excited to read the Key Trilogy. There's definitely a lot of good material on here to put on to the 2018 reading challenge (found here.) If nothing else, the Green Mile series is super short and will pad my Goodreads yearly challenge. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Blog Review: Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts


Goodreads Summary: In the town of Hawkins Hollow, it’s called The Seven. Every seven years, on the seventh day of the seventh month, strange things happen. It began when three young boys—Caleb, Fox, and Gage—went on a camping trip to The Pagan Stone...
It is only February, but Caleb Hawkins— a descendant of the town founders—has already seen and felt the stirrings of evil. Though he can never forget the beginning of the terror in the woods twenty-one years ago, the signs have never been this strong before. Cal will need the help of his best friends Fox and Gage, but surprisingly he must rely on a stranger as well.

Reporter Quinn Black came to Hawkins Hollow hoping to make its eerie happenings the subject of her new book. She too can see the evil the locals cannot, somehow connecting her to the town—and to Cal. As winter turns to spring, they will shed their inhibitions, surrendering to a desire that will grow and form the cornerstone of a group of men and women bound by the fight against what is to come from out of the darkness…
Goodreads Rating: 4.16 stars with over 45,000 ratings
Genre Listing: Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery
Get the Book: AmazonBook Depository
Goodreads Challenge: 20/30
2018 Reading Challenge: 5.) A book by Nora Roberts (Find the challenge here.)

Review:

I finally have time to sit down and do this review! I feel like I've not stopped moving around the past two weeks or so. Between working 40 hours, being a full-time student, running a jewelry business, and running the blog, I feel like a crazy person. Sometimes I get asked if I sleep. My functionality each day is 100% proportionate to how much Starbucks I've had. Anyways, that was my gibberish way of saying that I finished this book like a week ago and haven't time to write about it. The good news is that once I graduate in May (hopefully), I should have more time to read and have thoughts.

So, the lovely Sister-in-law has been jumping up and down (for gods knows how many years) to read Blood Brothers. Another friend and I were discussing it as well, so I figured I should probably give it a try. Plus, I needed a Nora book for the challenge, so it worked out. I don't know why I'm hesitant to read Nora Roberts. I'm assuming it's because I've had it in my head it's going to always be a sappy romance.

I've got mixed feelings about Blood Brothers. So, I'll start with the good. I'm just running through my thoughts with this one, so there's probably going to be all kinds of spoilers. I liked the premise of the boys' birthday, and the things happening every seven years for the week surrounding their birthday. It made me think of the earlier seasons of Haven with "The Troubles." I felt that even though the book didn't quite get into the upcoming birthday in the storyline, it gave good details on how it affected different people in the town. I also really liked the historical aspect of the plot. I could probably just read a book on Giles and Anne Hawkins and be completely happy. 

I'll even give the book a lot of credit regarding being creepy. There were parts of the story regarding the Pagan Stone, Hester's Pond, and the Demon that legitimately freaked me out. I questioned reading the book alone in the dark. If a supernatural book can actually give me the creeps, it's usually a plus for me. 

Here's where I have the issues. First off the characters/romances. When the boys go to the woods and make their blood pact they're nine.  The things they were sneaking around doing seemed a bit older than what they're projected as. It's even mentioned in the book, but it feels forced. The age doesn't match the actions and just seems like they were that age to make the every 7 years theme work. 

The relationships in this book made me roll my eyes a lot. I felt like they moved too quick and Caleb and Quinn declaring their love for one another just didn't make sense for when it happened. When Quinn first arrived into Hawkins Hollow, I felt like I was missing something. I actually checked a couple of times to make sure I was reading the first book in the series. Basically, there's this connection with them that doesn't come out until the end of the book. Which is fine, but instead of coming off as surprising it makes the early part of the relationship just not make sense at all. Or, at least the speed of it. They go for business-esq meetings so Quinn can get to know the town and she ups and decides they're dating. Then like three days later profess their love for one another. 

Another glaring issue I have with this is that Gage and Cybil felt forgotten in the story. Fox and (can't think of her name at the moment) made enough appearances that I could remember their presence, so that wasn't too big of an issue for me. But towards the end of the book it just felt like "Oh yeah, I forgot to include Gage and Cybil." To make matters worse, Cybil comes across as a complete bitch. Finally, the end of the book was really anticlimactic for me. The guys take all three girls to the Pagan Stone/ Hester's Pond. The Demon shows up and tries to show off his power. The group basically just stand there holding hands giving it the carebear stare until it goes away. The end. 

Basically where I'm at with this is I really liked the premise, I liked the history, and I liked the spookiness. Those parts were super interesting to me, and I do want to continue on with the series because of that. The characters however definitely left a lot to be desired. I'm hoping that they'll have some more development that makes me care about them in the next book. 



Friday, August 24, 2018

Book Review: Curse of the Poppy by Emily Organ


Goodreads Summary: A woman dies in a burglary in Fitzrovia. A man is murdered in an opium den in Limehouse. Gutsy Fleet Street reporter Penny Green suspects the two deaths are connected, but how can she prove it?
The answer may lie in Whitehall where the India Office reaps the benefits of Britain’s opium trade. But when Inspector James Blakely of Scotland Yard begins investigating, an unforeseen danger looms.

Soon Penny is forced to act alone and is put to the ultimate test when her quest becomes personal.

Curse of the Poppy is Book 5 in the Penny Green Mystery Series set in 1880s London. The books can be read in any order:
Goodreads Rating: 4.32 stars with about 75 ratings
Genre Listing: Mystery, Fiction, Historical Fiction
Get the Books: Amazon
Goodreads Challenge: 19/30
2018 Reading Challenge: #52 A book with a flower on the cover (See the challenge here.)

Book Review:

Have I gushed about the Penny Green series by Emily Organ, yet? Oh, I have? Go read this series then. Curse of the Poppy is the fifth book in the Penny Green series, and it kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. This one just dropped a couple of weeks ago, so there aren't many reviews on it, but it's definitely worth the read. The series is supposed to be able to be read in any order, but I personally believe they should be read in order. I don't think the interactions in the books would be as impactful if read out of order. 

I thought the storyline in the Curse of the Poppy was interesting, and with this one, I really didn't have any clue who the murder was. It was suspenseful and definitely kept me on my toes. I liked how Penny's Brother in Law gets involved in the investigation. I think it could definitely open up some potential plots going forward. There's a lot that happened in this book, and it's made me so pumped for the 6th book. Seriously. When I finished it, I'm pretty sure that I just sat there for a minute with my mouth open.

There's so much about this book that I want to discuss, but if I do, I'm going to spoil it so bad. Seriously, someone binge-read the entire series and talk to me about it. I will say that the search for Penny's father sort of went where I thought I would, but I was pretty surprised at the conversation surrounding it. I need book 6 to exist like a week ago. Sadly, I've stalked the internet, and I can't find a release date for it. I'm assuming that there will be more books because there's no way the series can end with that gigantic cliffhanger.

I can't say it enough if you've like mystery and shorter novels this is a great series. You can get the entire series on kindle unlimited, and even if you buy them outright, the books aren't that expensive at all. Emily Organ actually has another series, which I haven't had the privilege of reading yet. It's called the Runaway Girl series, and it's definitely in my TBR pile. I will say that Emily Organ and other authors on Kindle Unlimited are definitely inspiring me to get my butt in gear and finish my 13 or so writing projects I've got going on.


Saturday, August 18, 2018

Book Review: The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Goodreads Summary: Wall Street Journal bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg returns to the enchanting world of The Paper Magician.

Alvie Brechenmacher has arrived in London to begin her training in Polymaking—the magical discipline of bespelling plastic. Polymaking is the newest form of magic, and in a field where there is so much left to learn, every Polymaker dreams of making the next big discovery.

Even though she is only an apprentice, Alvie is an inventor at heart, and she is determined to make as many discoveries—in as short a time frame—as she can. Luckily for her, she’s studying under the world-renowned magician Marion Praff, who is just as dedicated as Alvie is.

Alvie’s enthusiasm reinvigorates her mentor’s work, and together they create a device that could forever change Polymaking—and the world. But when a rival learns of their plans, he conspires to steal their invention and take the credit for it himself.

To thwart him, Alvie will need to think one step ahead. For in the high-stakes world of magical discovery, not everyone plays fair…
Goodreads Rating: 4.14 stars with over 3500 ratings
Genre Listing: Fantasy, Young Adult, Fiction, Magic
Goodreads Challenge: 18/30

Book Review: 

Oh Em. Gee. I am in love with The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg. For those of you who don't know, The Plastic Magician is the sort-of fourth book in the Paper Magician series. It's more of a spin-off that takes place after the original series. I was pleased to see that Ceony and Mg. Thane made a cameo appearance in The Plastic Magician. Another familiar face that we see is Bennet, a folding apprentice to Mg. Bailey.  I really loved the inclusion of Bennet, and his sister Ethel. Alvie and Bennet have this sweet relationship that I just utterly adored.

I initially had a love-hate relationship with the Paper Magician books. I absolutely loved the Plastic Magician. Alvie is exceptionally clever and just seems so relatable. She's a bit quirky and does random calculations in her head to alleviate her anxiety, prefers pants to the fashionable skirts of the time, and is fascinated with taking things apart and figuring them out. I didn't feel like she was the one who put herself in danger in this story, but was quick thinking enough to save herself.

I think the best part of The Plastic Magician is that where the folding  (paper) magic is described as pretty magic, this is functional magic. What's even better is that it combines magic and science, and I'm so excited to see how Alvie and Mg. Praff's discovery impacts the world that Holmberg has created.

I was completely engrossed in this book and found a couple of quotes from The Plastic Magician that I particularly enjoyed, and thought I'd share them.

"There were plenty of people waiting with signs for disembarking passengers, but none of those signs read "Alvie," "Brechenmacher," or "Lost Apprentice." - page 16

"She had the nagging feeling she and the Polymaker's daughter were very different vegetables."- page 25

"I was able to attend on the fortune my father made by developing the very technology you seem to think redundant. Not everyone can afford a Gaffer light, and the light bulb can illuminate places where no magician has ever stood. That technology is the very reason I'm here."- page 44

"We don't know each other terribly well, but I see your drive. People with drive do amazing things."- page 67

"Oh, hello, Bennet. Not only did I forget about your dinner, but I'm apparently crazy for your mentor. La-di-da, something British."- page 89

"Help! This man is trying to have a conversation with me, and I don't like it!"- page 93

"My papa said that the world can take all it wants from a man, but he has to give up his integrity freely." -page 112

"Treat your magic with respect and loyalty, and it will do likewise. Leave this world a better place than it was when you entered it. The future calls to you. Now is the time to answer." - page 223

"After all, it wasn't about the magic. It was about the discovery." - page 225 (This is the very last line of the book, and I think it is a phenomenal last statement."

Overall, I absolutely loved The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg.  Alvie is a fantastic character with a lot of spunk and intelligence. She feels relatable, and the way that her magic is brought into the world is fascinating to read. I loved how her journey also showcased the differences of how magic is used differently in the U.S. compared to England. I don't really know if who was the culprit of all of that happened in the book was really a surprise, but I don't really feel like it was meant to be. I think this could probably be read without reading The Paper Magician, though there are quite a few references and comparisons to the magic. I really hope that Charlie N. Holmberg continues Alvie's story. It was great to read.




Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Book Review: The Inventor by Emily Organ


Goodreads Summary: London 1884. Electricity pioneer Simon Borthwick lights up Victorian London with a stunning illuminations display – then shoots himself in a hansom cab.
Plucky Fleet Street reporter Penny Green witnesses the inventor’s death and suspects the clue to his suicide lies in a mysterious letter he left behind. But can she persuade Inspector James Blakely of Scotland Yard that a crime has been committed?

Borthwick isn’t the only person who died that day, and Penny soon encounters a shadowy world which the police can’t get close to. When the intimidation begins, Penny starts to fear for her own safety. James does what he can to protect her, but is it enough?
Goodreads Rating: 4.27 with just around 200 ratings
Genre Listing: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Fiction
Get the Book: Amazon
Goodreads challenge: 17/30
2018 Reading Challenge: #15, A book in your favorite color (find the reading challenge here.)

Review:

I am so addicted to this series. I love how quick each book flows and gets right into the action. I've been jumping up and down since book one for others to read this series so that I can have someone to talk about it.

The thing I like about Penny is she's fairly independent. Yes, there are romantic interests, but for the most part, it doesn't wholly consume her thoughts. She's smart and puts pieces together in the crimes that others may not see (or don't want to see). The mystery aspect of it was interesting, but it didn't leave me on the edge of my seat like the rest of the series.

I thought the story behind "Maria" was interesting, but it definitely did not go the way I thought it was going to. I really got it in my head that "Maria" was going to be someone connected to Penny's father in some fashion. I did feel a little disappointed in this book regarding the plot behind her father's disappearance. It was mentioned, but I felt like it got pushed to the side in The Inventor. I'm actually really intrigued by where that storyline goes.

I'm kind of annoyed by the relationship between James and Penny at this point. It's bordering on an affair, and I don't care for it. Mr. Edwards kind of grew on me in this book, so I'm more curious to see where his relationship with Penny goes than James'. The dynamic between them just felt kind of weird and a little wrong in The Inventor. They were openly flirty with one another, and it just didn't fit in my mind. I'm pretty over James and Penny, but some of that may be because I started the next book on my lunch break today. I actually finished The Inventor a little bit ago, but haven't had the time to review it.

Overall, I liked The Inventor by Emily Organ, but it wasn't my favorite in the series. I'm hoping that Curse of the Poppy touches more on her dad's disappearance and the mystery behind it. As well as a budding relationship with Mr. Edwards.


Sunday, August 5, 2018

Book Review: Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon


Goodreads Summary:  From the author of Outlander... a magnificent epic that once again sweeps us back in time to the drama and passion of 18th-century Scotland...
For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland's majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones ...about a love that transcends the boundaries of time ...and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his ....

Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire's spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart ...in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising ...and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves...

Goodreads Rating: 4.32 stars with over 234,000 ratings
Genre Listing: Historical Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Time Travel
Get the book: AmazonBook Depository
Goodreads Challenge: 16/30
2018 Reading Challenge: #50, A book over 500 pages ( see the reading challenge post here)
Other Review on the series: Outlander


Review:

I FINALLY finished this damn book. I started this book back in April, admittedly I wasn't reading it as quickly as I could have. I think I would have finished it a lot quicker if I had read it on Kindle instead of paperback. I swear big books seem way less daunting in e-book format. It doesn't help that I read mainly in bed, and haven't had that great of a book light to get through this at night. But I finally finished it.

I thought it was really interesting how Dragonfly in Amber started in the 1960's and works it's way back to how Claire got back to her own time. I will say that if you are the type of reader who needs to be instantly drawn into a book, this one may be a bit of a challenge for you. It was for me. I was immediately intrigued at the start when Claire was bringing Brianna and Roger into the story. However, when she starts discussing her life with Jamie in France, it gets a bit tedious.  There's a lot of espionage, but it's a lot of fancy dinner parties, pretending to be friendly with others, and stealing letters. There's not a ton of action at first. 

There were some subplots that I thought were interesting, and some that I thought were reasonably predictable. I do like that Claire starts considering the ramifications of her time traveling. I'd be curious to see if that's addressed more as the series continues. Because of just how much was going on in this book, I can't quite discern if she's changed anything in the book's history or not or if everything is just sort of a fixed point in time and going to happen regardless. Throughout the book there's a question of Frank's lineage and if the happenings are going to affect him ever being born. Claire keeps checking her ring as though it's proof, but honestly, throughout the interactions, I figured out fairly early on that his lineage wasn't precisely what he thought it was. 

Along with this line, there's a subplot regarding Roger and Gellis that I hope gets more attention in Voyager. I think it's fair to assume that Claire tries to go back in time to find Jamie, and I'm kind of curious to see what happens to Fergus. He somewhat felt like an adopted son and thought he was an excellent character addition. One of my favorite side characters in Dragonfly in Amber was Master Raymond. I have no idea why, but I somehow pictured him to be like Billy Crystal's character Miracle Max from Princess Bride. Once that got in my head I couldn't get it out, and it made any of Master Raymond's scenes a hoot to read. 

Overall, I loved Dragonfly in Amber. Diana Gabaldon does a fantastic job of combining fantasy elements with historical fiction elements. I love how she truly makes it feel realistic. She doesn't glamorize the past, she shows it gritty and dirty. I can't wait to read Voyager. Unfortunately, I'm probably going to put it off for a bit because I just don't have it in me right now to read another 900-page book. 







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Friday, July 20, 2018

Discussion: 5 Bookish Questions!



Hey, Hey readers! I thought it was long past time to do a discussion post. I think this is going to be a really fun one, and I hope you'll all join in on the fun in the comment section or on the facebook page at LinzTheBookworm.

I'm trying to get better at posting more frequently, and a while back a friend gave some suggestions for discussion topics she'd like to see on the blog. Another friend sent me a few different links to ideas as well. While I was going through them I realized that I probably couldn't do a full post for a lot of them, so I thought I'd do a 5 bookish questions thing.

5 Bookish Questions:

1.) What are your favorite kinds of books you like to read during certain seasons/moods and why? (Requested by a lovely reader, Danielle. Hi!!!) 
  • This is an interesting question for me because I don't really change my book tastes with the seasons and moods. My selection of what to read is entirely random at best. I do have some reading trends, but it's more based on what I've already finished reading. I tend to binge read series a lot. I'll think about a character like they're an old friend, wonder how they're doing and what they're up to and pick up where I left off in the series. I'll end up finishing the book and immediately go into the next book in the series because I feel like I need to stay on this adventure with them. I'll do this for a few books and then move on to something else. I will say if I start getting stuck in one genre for too long I'll find myself needing a break. Which is why you'll see a run of urban fantasy type things and then random historical fiction books. 
2.) What do you think makes a compelling romance in a book? (acquired from the list posted here on pages unbound.)
  • For me, I think a lot of it's the flaws in the romance being depicted and how deep the relationship actually is. I guess I want it to seem realistic. If the book's central love is primarily based on how attractive someone is and all of the good I'm going to give myself a migraine from how much I roll my eyes into the back of my skull. I want it to be gritty and ugly, and some days it's a struggle to like the other person kind of relationship. I'm actually reminded of the Velveteen Rabit by Margery Williams, and I honestly think it explains what I find most compelling for romances in books. The husband person and I actually had this bit from the book read at our wedding, so it's extremely important to me. “It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time.  That’s why it doesn’t happen to people who break easily or have sharp edges or who have to be carefully kept.  Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.  But those things don’t matter at all because once you are real you can’t be ugly except to people who don’t understand.”  
  • TL;DR realistic ugliness that comes with relationships.
3.) What are some of your bookish pet peeves? (Also from Pages Unbound, see above for the link.) 
  • Part of my peeves was mentioned in the above question, actually. If a good chunk of a person's feelings for someone in a book is about their attractiveness and I'm hearing how they're so gorgeous someone is every 3rd sentence I'll eventually just get irate. 
  • An extensive vocabulary that's entirely out of place and has shitty context. Yippie Skippy for you. You found a Thesaurus. 
  • Books that actually don't need to be a series. It's completely okay to have a single book. Not everything needs to be a 15 book series. 
  • Series numbers are not on the books for all series. For the love of everything sane tell me on the dang cover what order in the series it is. My craptastic phone hardly ever works in stores. I don't have the time, energy, or patience to try and pull up a list of the series in a bookstore while I'm shopping.
4.) Do you read nonfiction? Why or why not? (Also from Pages Unbound, see above for the link.)
  • I very rarely read nonfiction. It's not something that I am usually drawn to. A good chunk of why I read the things I do is to escape- be it a stressful day, anxiety, or whatever else. I feel like reading nonfiction would defeat this purpose for me. .Nonfiction tends to make me think of educational reading, and as a full-time student, I don't even want to read the textbooks I'm required to read, let alone pick one up for funsies. 
5.)  What book did you receive as a gift that is really special to you? (Also from Pages Unbound, see above for the link.) 
  • I have two answers for this. The first is my set of Harry Potter books. My Mother-in-law is a Pre-school teacher and runs the Scholastic Books thing where she works. She had enough points to get this gorgeous set of all of the HP books, brand new, in a Hogwarts trunk. I actually refuse to read the books because this set is pristine. If I want to reread the HP series, I'll pull them up on Kindle, but those beauties they're staying in the trunk on display. Not only is it a really cool set, but it really means a lot to me that she used her points to get me the set. 
  • A few years ago, the husband face got me two really gorgeous book editions. One is Wicked and Son of a Witch, the other is Alice in Wonderland. They're large leather (or fake leather, not sure) bound books with gorgeous details. Not only are they pretty but I love anything to do with Wizard of Oz and also Alice in Wonderland. And of course, the Hubs picked them out. 
  • I was going to post pictures of both the trunk and the two leather bound books, but I'm lazy and don't want to get out from under my blankets. Using your imagination is good for you anyways.

So, there's my answer to 5 random bookish questions. This was kind of fun, and I still have a decent list of items from different blogs so I may make a few posts like this. I would love to read some answers below, so feel free to comment! If you have any questions or bookish topics you'd like to see me discuss let me know! I'm always open to suggestions, and if there's something you suggest it helps me get more posts out.