Government drone by day and book lover and geek girl by night!
It's a dark fairy tale that isn't really doing much for me. I think that the whole thing feels kind of rushed. I am more interested in the fairy tale stories we are told than the actual action that is going on with Alice and Finch. And now I am realizing that this is the first in either a duology or trilogy and I just don't see how which means that I am probably going to read a cliffhanger.
I did like this book though thought the flow wasn't great in a lot of places. Way too many things felt over explained too. And the action scenes were kind of blah. I did love how Bardugo brought in the Greek mythology in her story though (we revisit Helen of Troy) and I loved the whole idea behind it.
"Wonder Woman: Warbringer" is a nice little set up of showing Wonder Woman as a teenager who is doing what she can to prove herself to her fellow Amazons. Due to her mother Queen Hippolyta bringing Diana to life through clay, Diana is seen as outside the Amazons by many on Themyscira. While Diana prepares to run a race, she sees a young woman (Alia Keralis) in the ocean about to drown, deciding to save her, Diana sets things in motions that could see the end of Themyscira and the World of Men. When Diana goes to visit the Oracle and is told that Alia is a Warbringer (a direct descendant of Helen of Troy) and the best thing she can do is to let Alia die, she decides to do what it takes to keep Alia safe even if it means traveling to Alia's world.
I really liked Diana in this one. Bardugo shows that she (Diana) is smart and capable. Diana may not know what the World of Men is like, but she catches on quickly and promises to be there for Alia and Alia's friends and her brother no matter what. I do wish that we had time to delve into Diana bit more. We know that she feels separate from the other Amazons and that she wants to be battle-borne like them, but it definitely feels like she has no one she can really trust or talk to until she meets Alia.
I love that Alia and Jason (her brother) are portrayed as black. I initially thought due to the last names that Alia and Jason would just be seen as Greek. Alia and Jason's friends Nim and Theo are also POC as well which was great to see. Nim and Theo are loyal to the end and there are hints of romance between Alia and Theo that we really don't get into since most of the book is the five of them running from attackers.
I wish that all had been developed a bit more too. Diana is the best developed, but Alia, Jason, Theo and Nim felt a bit thin to me after a while. Probably because they keep running and are trying to figure out to keep the world exploding into war.
The writing was okay. We are able to get into Diana's head a bit more. Maybe this would have worked better as a first person via Diana instead of third person via everyone. I think the book just got too jumbled after a while. The flow was not that great though. It felt like the book kept just randomly ending after a while. Also reading about people running for their lives and occasionally fighting is boring. Bardugo tries to set up a romance between Diana and Jason and it didn't work at all. I hard shrugged that thing and wasn't feeling it. Same issue with Alia and Theo. I feel like it's a YA requirement to have love triangles or whatever going on in YA books.
I also didn't like the twist/reveal since it made zero sense and just felt like it got put in there to show even more conflict.
The setting of the book moves from Themyscira, to New York, and to Greece. I didn't really get a good sense of locations beyond Themyscira though. I think that Bardugo could have made New York and Greece come alive a bit more.
The ending sets things up to show that Diana is eventually going to be Wonder Woman. She's totally clueless though and I thought the whole thing made zero sense since she should know what she looks like.
If you want to read a book about terrible people and the decisions they make, this is for you. I loathe romance books that have adultery as the main theme. We have a married couple (each contemplating adultery) a woman who has had an affair (and gotten pregnant due to the affair) two teens, one who is horrified that her mother is not special/awesome enough and that's pretty much the whole story.
Ross jumps around to Julia (married woman), Miranda (had the affair) and Faye (Julia's daughter) and also Julia's husband Paul. We get their four points of view throughout the story and honestly I didn't root for anyone. The majority of this book was people excusing or being excused for terrible crap they did. The fact that Julia and Paul's son had an eating disorder (at least it seemed to me) was glossed over. I hated that Julia and Paul never had real conversation, instead they both are looking to other people to paper over the cracks in their marriage. I loathed Paul more since he was contemplating an affair with his assistant. Apparently sexual harassment isn't a thing in the UK?
The writing wasn't great. Maybe if Ross had stuck to Julia and Miranda and left out the other POVs. The flow was too choppy too. At one point I was confused on the timeline and realized I didn't care and continued on with it.
The ending was definitely some pie in the sky stuff, not realistic at all.
The first book in a planned quartet by Roshani Chokshi. I thought this was wonderful and could see this being a life long favorite with children just like His Dark Materials and Harry Potter. Aru Shah is a heroine for the ages and I was so reluctant to put this book down. Not going to lie, there were a few rough spots here and there with flow and a few times I may have went, well this just seems like an obstacle to keep the story going. I loved the mythology, the characters, and the setting. Any book that returns to the Night Bazaar is always going to be an instant win for me.
"Aru Shah and the End of Time" is about 12 year old Aru Shah. She and her mother live in a museum (I know, I may have squealed with delight) called the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture in Atlanta, Georgia (I maybe squealed again). Aru feels a bit lost. Her mother is always gone looking for antiquities, she is at a new school where she feels like she doesn't fit in, and she lies (and feels bad about it). One of her lies catches up to her and three of her classmates arrive at the museum to confront her. Feeling pressured, Aru does something she has been told to never do, she lights the Lamp of Bharata which causes her world to turn upside down. Soon Aru finds out she is one of a reincarnation of brothers (soul, not biological) who are children of the gods. Aru is to seek out her fellow family and see about going against someone called "The Sleeper" before he wakes Lord Shiva and the world ends.
Aru made me laugh. However, will admit that at times I got frustrated with her. Her trying to make excuses for her lies didn't really sit well with me. Chokshi has her face some repercussions for that, but still. She also does something I thought was a necessary cruelty that sounds like it's going to come back at her later in her life. I honestly don't know what choice I would have made.
Not going to lie though, my favorite in this story had to be her fellow soul sister Mina. Mina is me all over. The two of them going off on a quest to save their families and the world was great. I also maybe laughed at the dismay everyone had that girls were doing the saving of the world thing and not boys.
Aru due to being kept in the dark about her past is going purely on instinct. Mina is going based on the fact that her family has known about the pandavas. I also loved that Mina is Filipino and Indian. Her talking about her family and grandmothers was pretty cute.
We have other characters we meet (gods, their chariots, The Sleeper, the Seasons, and the two sisters teacher/mentor/flying pigeon called Boo).
I do have to say that it was kind of a cop out for Chokshi to show us parts of Aru's mother's history but not have them discuss it.
The writing was so good. I became familiar with some of the figures mentioned in this book because I have read and devoured "The Star-Touched Queen" "A Crown of Wishes" and "Star-Touched Stories."
The flow wasn't that great though after the initial start, I think the chapter endings needed to be tighter IMO. It did feel after a while though a little bit to me that Chokshi threw too much in this first book. It just read as overly long in places. Plus a few times Aru and Mina would be upset with each other and it felt like it was just done away with too fast. I get it's the first book though so I let that go.
This book is the same setting as the "Star-Touched Queen" series. We hear about the Night's Bazaar (and get to see it again too!) but we get a new adventure that we realize is going to be dealing with these mythical brothers (now girls it seems) who are going to be reunited. We also get an inkling that something dark may be coming for Aru.
The ending set things up nicely for the next book in the series, very interested to see where that book goes next.
This will be short. This book is terrible.
The characters are not redeeming except for two of them (Maddy and Kerr) and if the book had stayed on just Maddy and Kerry I would have liked it more. Instead we have male characters calling female characters fat, ugly, and all kinds of crap. We get some ridiculousness when one character treats a woman separate from his girlfriend with respect (that is how you know he cares about her) and the constant bed hopping though people claimed to be in love with someone was it.
Usually Mansell can juggle multiple story-lines, she can't in this one. And I am realizing that most of her books follow the same formula and it's getting old. We usually get a woman who is in her 40s and widowed (Maddy's mother) a woman who can't seem to find a boyfriend or has a terrible one (Maddy's best friend) and then just random characters that flit in and out of the story.
I didn't take any pleasure in the writing or flow since I just felt annoyed and wanted the book to get over with already. The ending was a big old shrug from me.
With the usual caveat that I may change things up due to book availability or my own mood.
Darkest London: Dracula by Bram Stoker
Terror in a Small Town: Salem's Lot by Stephen King
Shifters: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Relics and Curiosities: Christine by Stephen King
Spellbound: The Witchcraft of Salem Village by Shirley Jackson
Murder Most Foul: The Hollow Man by John Dickson Carr (a borrow from Moonlight!)
Slasher Stories: Psycho by Robert Bloch
Genre: Horror: Something by Stephen King because I am too lazy to think of a book
A Grimm Tale: The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
Romantic Suspense: I will just find something by Nora Roberts that fits the bill
Amateur Sleuth: A Geek Girl's Guide to Murder by Julie Anne Lindsay
Creepy Carnivals: The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
Free Space: Dean Koontz (old school something)
13: Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie
Fear the Drowning Deep: Jaws by Peter Benchley
You have heroes calling the heroines in this one fat to their faces and to strangers. One woman just puts up with her boyfriend treating her like crap, and when he gets with someone else is not nasty to her. It's implied because he really cares for the second woman, and only felt meh towards the first so that's okay that he was a misogynistic and nasty asshole.
You have constant bed hopping (not that I care, but you can't root for a freaking couple that way when you know they just slept with someone else).
The why behind why the two leads can't be together is terrible. I just felt bad for them and wondered how they wandered into this appalling book.
And a man blackmails his mistress into having no life and ughhh this whole book is awful.
This year's buddy read theme is:
We will be doing one buddy read to begin on October 1, 2018
Please nominate ONE book that is related to the general theme of "haunted houses". Prior to nominating something obscure, do some research on sourcing. Ideally, the book will be still in print for a reasonable price, and will be widely available through the library so everyone can join in if they want to!
Nominations are open through next Monday! Once the nominations are closed, I'll make some decisions about polling. If there are more than 5 or 6 nominations, I'll probably do two polls - an initial poll to narrow down the choices, and then a final poll to select the book.
As was the case last year, the buddy read book can be used as a "wild card" to fill any space, so long as the reader finishes the book and posts at least one substantive post on the discussion thread! Buddy reads can be a lot of fun!
Nominations thread and other information can be found here!
Setting up my calls today.....
Perfect day to do it since I am home waiting on a contractor to show up and apparently I may have an upper respiratory thing (again). Bah. At least I can read in bed and keep an eye on any important work emails if they pop up.
How can I wait until September 1?????
There is plenty of time to still request your bingo card!
Where should you go to sign up?
This one just felt a bit off to me. Probably because I realized going in after being introduced to everyone, I knew who was going to pair off together. So I felt annoyed waiting through the whole book for the characters to figure it out themselves. It didn't help though that we get a random wrench thrown in this one (a character who makes a terrible mistake that impacts another) that didn't seem atypical for this character at all. The book was too fast in wrapping things up I thought.
"You and Me, Always" deals with characters living and visiting Stanton Langley. Lily has been raised by a friend of her mother's Coral and her husband since her mother died when she was 8. Lily's two best friends, Patsy and Dan (brother and sister) have all known each other since they were babies. When Lily receives the last letter from her mother on her 25th birthday, it seems to be the kick she needed to get in contact with a man that her mother tells her was the love of her life (Declan). Lily also meets movie star Eddie (hiding out in Stanton Langley) and wonders if this is the man to get her over her decades long crush of Dan.
Usually I think Mansell can juggle multiple characters well, but not in this one. I think it's because the stories were sometimes opposed to each other and it felt like we should just be reading stand-alones. We have Coral dealing with being a widow and starting to have feelings for Declan. I found it interesting, but it didn't gel well when we would bounce back to Lily and Patsy. The three women are not really in the same age group so it didn't feel right they were on top of each other so much and didn't seem to have other friends besides each other.
Patsy's marriage and bad dating woes were pretty hilarious, but I think Mansell jumped at her getting a HEA and didn't put in enough work for us to be rooting for her or her love interest.
I didn't really care about Lily and Eddie, they never did work for me.
The writing was typical Mansell, the flow could have been improved though.
The setting of this village felt even tinier than I can imagine. Usually Mansell can have me imagine a place and I feel there, this just felt blah to me.
Was in the mood for some romance, this one didn't work for that really (probably because I didn't like the guy who was slated as the romantic lead) and this book's flow really took a long time to get going. It didn't help that I think that there were some loose threads in the end that just made me shake my head. I loved Delinsky's "The Summer I Dared", "Suddenly", and "Coast Road." This one just didn't sing for me as well as those books did.
"A Woman's Place" has Claire Raphael floored when her long time husband Dennis surprises her with a request for divorce and demand she leave their home. Claire doesn't understand why Dennis is all of a sudden saying they haven't had a marriage in a while, he's also saying what a bad mother she is to their two kids. Though Claire is a successful though busy businesswoman, she thought she was juggling everything wonderfully. When the courts and a court ordered doctor tell Claire that the choices she has made in her life is wrong, she wonders what her future is going to hold.
I liked Claire. I just wish she had been more of a fighter and I hated that she needed to rely on her best friend and business partner Brody so much. The fact that Dennis and the courts accuse Claire of having an affair with Brody, I have to wonder why in the world she would even contemplate starting a relationship with him. There doesn't seem much to recommend Brody (IMHO) he doesn't listen to what Claire says (her real concerns of losing her kids) and thinks that everything is going to work out okay. I thought it was interesting how this book shows how a woman is punished for being great at her job. Her husband resents her, her sister does too (slightly) and I just wish we had seen Claire at her job and actually showing why she was good at it.
Dennis is just a jerk. There is a slight change to the character in the middle and end of the book, but that didn't work for me at all.
There are some characters that are so over the top and don't feel realistic due to how in the world would they have not lost their licenses or been censored (the judge and court ordered doctor). I hate that some of these people don't get in trouble for what they did and said though.
Some of the book feels quite dated. There also seems to be some call-out regarding abortion that I can't believe would be allowed to be used in a court case. Also several men in this book paint Claire as unnatural for having a career. This book was first published in 1997 and that definitely doesn't feel like something that would be a thing back thing. I don't know. Maybe it's so normal for me to see women in the work place and the fact my own mother, grandmother, and aunts worked it didn't hit me as it being strange.
I wish I had liked the romance, it just felt too paint by numbers. Maybe if we had Claire opening up to someone new it would have worked better for me.
The book ends on a happy note that I wonder at based on what comes before.
Not going to lie, this one so far is my least favorite of the series. It just drags and it's pretty obvious who has to be the bad guy because we are only introduced to one person who could have done it. Also for a book about Edgar Allen Poe this was boring. I have to admit though, I had no freaking clue the Baltimore Ravens were named for Poe's "The Raven" poem. How did I not know that? Interesting premise, but it just doesn't work.
"In a Strange City" has Tess and Crow dealing with the renovation of the house they bought. Tess has some downtime and gets asked about being hired to unmask the famed Visitor (a man who goes to Edgar Allen Poe's grave and toasts him, leaves flowers, and a note every year) that has become a Baltimore tradition. Tess is outraged about anyone trying to unmask this person so she decides to go with Crow to make sure that the Visitor is left alone. Instead two men meet at Poe's grave, and one is shot to death. With the police involved, Tess decides to track down the man who originally tried to hire her. She ends up running into the police and another private investigator on this one.
Tess is usually on her game, but in this one she gets beaten up twice and not really able to link things as well as she usually does (well not until the end). Tess and Crow seem to be solid, but honestly I needed him in a corner out of the way, he doesn't add much to this book. We hear about Tess's parents, but they are not in this one and her Uncle Spike has moved. So we have some of the usual characters missing and it is felt.
The writing is okay, it just felt like Lippman kept trying to loop in Poe references and it doesn't really work. When you see how Poe is involved I maybe rolled my eyes.
The flow was not good though, the first part of the book really does drag. I honestly didn't think things picked up much until we dealt with a second murder that happens. At this point the book moves a bit faster and it feels as if Tess is rushing to just name the murderer already.
The ending was odd, no other way to call it. I just didn't see much of the point in this. It doesn't help that the so called Poe Toaster stopped being a thing in Baltimore in 2010. It restarted again in 2016 though lost it's flair for the unknown when the Maryland Historical Society picked someone to be the new toaster.
This one is heartbreaking though at first I was confused by all of the players. Lippman does a great job of showing the consequences that Tess has to live with when she refuses to let a case go. Tess's family pays for it and it leaves her slightly estranged from her father. Considering that we never really got a sense that Tess's father was disapproving of what Tess did for a living, it was surprising to see him and Tess fighting in this one. In the end, the ending was very well done and I loved how Tess was about dealing with an eye for an eye (messing with her family does not go unpunished).
"The Sugar House" has Tess being asked to look into a murdered girl by one of Tess's father's friends. The woman who asks, Ruth, believes that her brother was set up to take the fall for a girl the police say he took back to his house and murdered. While in jail he was murdered, and Ruth wants someone to pay. Tess initially thinks this case is going to be one long dead end until she finds out enough clues to trace the unknown dead girl to a house for young teens who are dealing with eating disorders. As readers know, Tess dealt with an eating disorder when she was young, she also finds out her long time friend Whitney dealt with one as well.
When Tess starts to find links between the dead girl and possibly some people that her father knows, that is when things go from bad to worse.
We have the usual suspects in this one, Aunt Kitty, Jackie, Whitney, Uncle Spike and now we have Crow (he and Tess are trying again and are deliriously happy) and Tess's friends at the paper, along with her cop friend too.
I do love how Tess is still haunted by the choices she made in book #1 and realizes she doesn't want to just look the other way again. She knows that some people did something terrible to this girl and it stings that her father is telling her to let it go and who cares.
The writing was really good and I have to laugh at Whitney coming along as Tess's sidekick in this one.
The flow was great and I maybe read this one too fast. I was so worried that something was going to happen to several characters in this one.
The ending was great and it's nice to see that Tess is earning a good reputation as a private investigator.
I got so behind with my reviews and realized I fell down on keeping up with my reviews of Tess and her many adventures. This one is almost a five star read. I marked it down one star since I thought the whole why behind one of the villains doing this was a reach. And I mean a really big reach. It also doesn't make sense why this person involved Tess in this. I did love the fact the action takes Tess away from Maryland. It allows us to see how she does in another location. Tess is still fast on her feet and not willing to let things go even when she should. This book also brings a resolution to her relationship with her ex, Crow.
Tess is still smarting from being foolish and letting her ex Crow go. Though she thinks she has gotten better in the almost year apart they have experienced, she still has pangs. When she gets a cutout from a newspaper saying In Big Trouble, Tess wonders if Crow is alright. When she is asked by his parents to track him down and let them know if he is okay, Tess reluctantly takes the case.
Tess in Texas is funny at times. She misses Baltimore and feels a bit lost while in San Antonio trying to track down Crow. The characters Tess comes across are unique and interesting. I did have a hard time with her taking her dog though. Come on.
The mystery aspect of things kicks into high gear when Tess finds a dead body and all signs points to Crow as the murderer. With bodies dropping, things seem to be looping back to an old case of kidnapping and also a multiple murdering incident that still haunts some of the characters in this story.
I loved seeing Jackie and Tess's Aunt Kitty in this one (only briefly). We have Jackie settling in with her new life raising her adopted daughter. Kitty seems to be moving onto something long-term too which has Tess horrified (I loved who the new love interest is) and pretending it's not happening.
The writing was typical Lippman. I feel like I know Tess and even though I would have told Crow to pound sand after a while, I get why Tess keeps trying to save him.
The flow was pretty good, not too bad until almost the end where it felt like too many coincidences kept happening.
Moving the setting from Baltimore to San Antonio was interesting, but was happy to see Tess back in familiar surroundings in the next book.
This was a struggle to finish. It was really not that good. We had Hand and Ashton taking on Jane Eyre and deciding to include ghosts. The characters of Jane and Mr. Rochester were blah and the way that the book ended made me want to pull my hair. There is enough dropped here to show that this and book number one are taking place in the same timeline/world though.
"My Plain Jane" deals with the character of Jane Eyre and author Charlotte Bronte. No I don't know why they incorporated them both in this book, I just know that it doesn't work very well. So we have have the book falling Jane Eyre except for a few new characters and of course we have ghosts.
Jane is just lifeless for me in this one. I loved Jane Eyre because she and Mr. Rochester just made sense. The whole story worked for me from beginning to end. I don't even want to go with what Hand and her fellow authors decided to change up, but it got a lot of readers fired up.
I haven't read any biographies about Charlotte Bronte, so don't know how realistic she was portrayed in this one.
The friendship between Jane and Charlotte didn't work and the other characters were unimportant. I think if they had kept it to just going back and forth between Jane and Charlotte it would have worked a bit better. Instead the story zig-zags between them and Alexander Blackwood (supernatural investigator).
The writing was okay, I didn't laugh at all while reading this unlike when I read the first book in the series. The flow isn't great either. This whole book drags and even when we do get some movement/action it takes forever for the story to just sort itself out.