Saturday, October 13, 2018

Review: The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow by Alyssa Palombo

The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow by Alyssa Palombo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was provided an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  This is out already and if you like historical romances with a slight paranormal element I highly recommend it.  It is well written and well researched.

This was not at all what I expected. It was more of a historical romance than a paranormal romance. I was expecting the latter, but got the former. I was expecting magic to be a much more prevalent element of the story, and while I guess there was what you could consider magic present it is not what I consider magic or a magic system. I think had I read the description a little more closely I wouldn't have expected it to be so paranormal. That being said the book is a great retelling of the original Sleepy Hollow telling and I feel that Palombo did the original tale justice by keeping key elements and spinning her own tale around it.

As far as the romance goes, it was very insta-lovey. I really don't care for that in any romance and this being historically based it just didn't fit the theme. The propriety of the times and the characters just didn't fit their actions. Katrina, our main character, is supposed to be a feminist character for the time. She is well educated, reads all the time, and is headstrong and speaks her mind. From that perspective I can see why this would have a feminist spin. However she makes alot of rash decisions and often leads with her emotions.

Much like the original tale, Katrina is pursued by both Ichabod Crane and Brom Van Brunt until Ichabod's untimely demise. Every suspects our favorite pumpkin headed Hessian has spirited him off to the underworld but as the description of the book says, nothing is as it seems. Katrina and her best friend Charlotte vow to solve the mystery of Ichabod's disappearance. Along the way they find things they did not expect, and Katrina learns that her love may not have abandoned her afterall.

Overall, I think it is my fault that I thought this was a paranormal romance. It was a good romance, I just wasn't expecting it to be what it was. Once I realized it wasn't what I was expecting I was able to enjoy it for what it was. I also went on to read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving and the story made alot more sense to me. Palombo did a great job with this retelling.



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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Cover Reveal: The Boy I Grew Up With by Tijan





The Boy I Grew Up With 

Author: Tijan 

Release date: Oct 29, 2018



Blurb:


I have loved Channing Monroe all my life.

In first grade, he asked for my Trapper Keeper.
I hit him in the head with it.
Third grade, we were best friends. We kissed in seventh grade.
Eighth grade, he turned into a bad boy and the rest was a tumultuous storm. 


Growing up, the problem was never love for us.
Bad times. Good times. There were times when I felt our love in every inch of my body, vibrating, making me feel like it could bring me back to life.

The problem was us.

The problem is that we’re from two different worlds now.
Fallen Crest and its millionaires for me. Roussou and their criminals for him. I was thriving in mine and he was running his.

But…

But there were nights I felt we couldn’t be further apart than we were, and there were nights I felt we shared the same heartbeat.

When was it time?
When was it time to either sacrifice, make a change, or walk away from the boy I grew up with?


Crew paperback giveaway here!

http://www.tijansbooks.com/blog/signed-crew-paperback-giveaway



Crew is leaving Kindle Unlimited first week of November.

www.tijansbooks.com/crew.html


Links:

Amazon will go LIVE on Oct 29th

Preorder links: https://www.books2read.com/u/3J8wRg

Website: www.tijansbooks.com

www.tijansbooks.com/the-boy-I-grew-up-with.html

Reader group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TijansFanPage/







EXCERPT





“What are you doing here?”

His arms tightened a little around me, and his hand rubbed over my leg. I was buck naked in his arms. I should’ve dressed, but I didn’t have the energy.

His breath felt good on my neck as he answered. “I was up with the guys. I missed you.”

Meaning: he’d either been fighting or drinking with the group of guys he considered more family than family.

I lifted one of his hands to inspect the knuckles, rubbing a thumb over them. “They don’t look bruised up.”

His body tensed, all six feet of pure muscle.

Channing had a face for the fashion runways, a body of tattoos that could appear in any magazine, and an attitude that made him a leader among the rowdiest and most criminally inclined. He was whip smart, ruthless, cunning, cocky, and had a charming side that had started some of our fights. He could be too charming at times, putting his name on a lot of girls’ to-do lists. It’d been a problem for us since we were kids, and though it’d gotten better over the last few years, I knew women came onto him regularly.

But being transparent here, that wasn’t the cause of our problems lately.

His voice was quiet. “I wasn’t fighting.”

I turned and tried to smell his breath. There was a slight trace of bourbon, but that might’ve been mine. “You don’t seem drunk either.”

He chuckled, his eyes studying every inch of my face. He did this when he was trying to figure out where I was going with my statements and if that’d take us into a fight. We acted like we were married and in our sixties by now.

His thumb went to my mouth and pressed there, softly. “I really was just hanging out with the guys. Cruz came over, said you closed for him. I gambled, thought maybe you’d be up—or not.” That dimple again. “I was hoping just to slide in next to you.”

I sighed, and his thumb caressed my cheek before his hand returned to my leg. I moved back, resting in his arms again. 




Friday, October 5, 2018

Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Narrated by: 
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really loved this. The mention of so many of my favorite movies, songs, and old games was so nostalgic for me. As a child of the 80's so many of the references were spot on and I loved it. Wil Wheaton did an awesome job as the narrator. One critique on the audio is that I could hear the turning of the pages on the edition I had, every so often I could hear the swishing of a page turning. It didn't take away from the experience or the book content.

This was such a fun story from beginning to end. I love dystopian story lines, and while at the heart of it this one isn't terribly unique and the plot is fairly convenient, I was sucked in from the beginning. Cline puts such a unique spin on it and I couldn't get enough. I loved all of the 80's pop culture references and all the techy, gamer lingo. At the heart of the story we have Wade, a struggling teen who doesn't really have much in the ugly real world of 2044. In Oasis though he can be whatever he wants to be, and like everyone else Wade is tirelessly trying to solve the mystery of keys that the Oasis game designer left behind. Wade has been at it for years in an attempt to win the prize, which will get Wade out of his pretty dire circumstances. When Wade finally solves the first of the puzzles his avatar becomes famous and he finds himself on an arduous journey through cyber-space. He makes some great friends and some even greater enemies as the best gamers continue to close in on the final puzzles and try to claim the final prize.

I highly recommend this if you are a fan of the 80's, you are a gamer, you like sci-fi, and you like nerdy techno jargon. Cline did an amazing job of blending pop cculture with science fiction and humor. I laughed so many times throughout this book. My 10 year old loved it as well, and while there is some content I would have liked to have kept him from a little longer it wasn't too mature or graphic. I'm thinking back to my Tandy 1000 days, when life was simple and Space Invaders and Oregon Trail were the best games out there.

I'm using this to fulfill one of my reading challenge prompts, A book you borrowed or that was given to you as a gift.  I borrowed the audio from the library, and I actually did read a chapter of the physical book which was also borrowed.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Review: Broken Things by Lauren Oliver

Broken Things Broken Things by Lauren Oliver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review.  This was released today October 2nd.

I really enjoyed this. I really loved the premise, and it kept me turning the pages until I was done. It blends fantasy, magical realism, thriller, mystery, and reality together in such a great way.

The story follows Brynn and Mia, two estranged best friends who were accused of murdering their other best friend Summer five years ago. They were all obsessed with a fantasy novel, and the lines between reality and fantasy became very blurred when they started writing their own fan-fic about their favorite book. Summer was the ringleader of their trio, and her murder was a scene out of their book. Brynn and Mia as well as their friend Owen were charged and acquitted of the murder, but they were always treated as monsters.

Now after five years on the anniversary of Summer's death, Mia and Brynn find themselves reunited with Owen and back in the pages of the story that ended in her death. They set out to finally solve the murder and find justice for Summer and themselves. As they go through the original book and the sequel they started, they begin to uncover clues that Summer left behind about the demons she was dealing with. This forces the girls to deal with their own current and past demons.

As I said I loved this. I do feel that the character development was lacking just a bit. I really liked the main characters, the side characters were great I just wanted a little more about them. I really enjoyed the snippets of Lovelorn, but I still have no idea what the book was truly about. I think I missed the memo somewhere. Overall, an awesome YA thriller/mystery and I highly recommend it!

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Review: Fight or Flight by Samantha Young





Fight or Flight Fight or Flight by Samantha Young
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was provided an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.   This comes out October 9th.

I couldn't put this book down. I read it in about 24 hours. Caleb and Ava might be my new favorite Samantha Young couple!

If you like hate to love romances, this is the book for you. Caleb, a handsome Scotsman, literally bumps into Ava at the airport, which is only the beginning of a long line of run ins that they continue to have as they try to make their way from Phoenix to Boston. They fight with each other from the time he almost knocks her over until, well they fight just about the whole book, but as they get to know each other it turns from mean to playful banter. Both of them have judged each other by their appearances and they both start their journeys out in a bad mood. As they find themselves stuck at the airport hotel for the night, they end up finding that while they don't like each other, they are attracted to one another and things take off from there.



Ava returns to her life as a beautiful, put together, successful interior designer in Boston. She never expects to see Caleb again after their tryst at the airport. Caleb happens to be friends with one of Ava's design clients and friends, who also wants to set them up. They agree to be friends with benefits, as Caleb will be staying in Boston longer than planned to work through the financials at his company's US office. As you can imagine they get to know each other and eventually fall for one another. They both have some baggage to deal with along the way, and I love the way they handle their issues. There were a couple of scenes where Caleb was being all possessive neanderthal man, but he stopped when he realized Ava wasn't really enjoying that and they talked it out. I really appreciate when characters talk through their issues.

Samantha does great banter, it is something I look forward to when reading one of her books. The banter between Caleb and Ava is excellent as is the banter between Ava and her best friend Harper. I also really loved the dialogue regarding the issues all of the characters had to face in their backstories. I felt like each of them was well developed, and while they had flaws they owned them and knew who they were. Also there is plenty of steam, the chemistry between Ava and Caleb is perfect.

I love Ava's best friend. I hope to see Harper get her own story or atleast a novella at some point. I need to know how her story ends. She is such a great character. I loved their friendship.



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Monday, October 1, 2018

September Wrap Up

September got off to a rough start.  I've been kind of in a reading slump.  I've been really busy with work, back to school, and fall activities, so I haven't had much time to read.  When I finally get time to read I'm either too tired or just not focused.  Nothing I've read lately really gripped me.  I'm starting to get behind on reviews so that just stresses me out more and I don't want to read because then it feels like work and it's just not fun.  I started this blog because I love reading and I actaully enjoy reviewing books.  When it starts to feel like work, I just don't want to do it.  I think I'm coming out of it as we have started to get into a groove with fall sports and I've read some stuff I actually like.

Books/Ebooks/ARCs

  • Ruin of Stars by Linsey Miller
    • Review
    •  I really loved Mask of Shadows but Ruin of Stars fell short for me.  There wasn't enough action and it was just too slow.  It wasn't terrible it just wasn't as good as the first one.
  • Rule by Ellen Goodlett
    • Review
    • I really enjoyed this YA Fantasy.  It came out this month.  It was a pretty quick read and while it wasn't the most complex, I liked it and am looking forward to the next one. 
  • The 7 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
    • Review
    • I've had this for a while now and its about time to get to it.  This came out on September 18th.  This was so unique and I really enjoyed it.  It takes place over the course of 8 days as our main character relives the same day in a different person to solve a murder.  He has to take what he learns each day before the murder happens to solve the crime.  It kept me on my toes.  I recommend it if you like mysteries and groundhog day types of books.
  • Broken Things  by Lauren Oliver
    • Review
    • I've read a bunch of Lauren Oliver's other books and I really like her thriller/mysteries.  This one is no different. I loved every minute of this book.  This comes out October 2nd.  
  • Scattered Plume by J.M. Miller
    • Review
    • I loved the first book in this series, Fallen Flame.  It was really well done and I loved the mythology aspect of it, the 2nd book is no different.  This took me a while to get into because I had to remember what was going on, but once I got into the story I really enjoyed it.  This was released on September 27th.

Audiobooks

I think I had a pretty good audio month.  A few of these were pretty long, and most of them were really good.
  • Strange Weather by Joe Hill
    • I didn't really care for this one.  I liked 2 of the stories and didn't like the other 2.  For a short story collection I think that's not unreasonable.  I read this for a Popsugar Reading Challenge Prompt for a book I saw a stranger reading.  I have a couple more Joe Hill books on my TBR.  
  • Before The Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray
    • I love this series.  I found a couple parts of this problematic, but it wasn't enough to deter me from the series.  I'm impatiently waiting for the next book.  I also love January Lavoy as a narrator, she is by far one of the most talentend audiobook narrators I have ever had the pleasure of listening to!
  • Circe by Madeline Miller
    • I love mythology and you don't often hear the story of Circe retold.  You always here the hero's tales told over and over again.  I really enjoyed this.  I read several negative reviews about this being long and boring and I think reading this in book format would have been a bit of a task but I recommend it on audio.
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
    • This is excellent.  It lives up to all of the hype.  The story is so unique.  I love all of the mythology and the magic.  I love the characters.  My only complaint was the unnecessary romance between Zelie and Inan.  Bahni Turpin is a wonderful narrator, she does an amazing job with this.
  • Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake
    • I really enjoy this series, and the audio books are great.  I didn't love the ending of this installment, but overall the book was great.  It was dark, full of plotting, and you still have no idea what's going to happen with the sisters in the end.  I'm very much looking forward to the next book.

October TBR



Happy October!  Where did the rest of the year go?   It is hard to believe it is October already!  I love fall so I'm happy October is here, though I'm in disbelief that another year is coming to an end.

A new month means some updates to the blog.  I discovered a couple of new widgets on Goodreads and I like them better than what I had going on before.

I didn't get to a couple of these books in September and they are out in October.  I really fell behind with my reading the last few weeks.  I read a couple of longer books which didn't help, and I was really in a slump for most of September.  Everything I'm committed to read comes out at the beginning of October and it is all stuff I really want to read so that should help get me out of my slump.  Most of the books on my TBR are mystery, thriller, or have a paranormal element which is perfect for October.  I love Halloween and I'm excited to get to these.
  • Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
    • This is one of the mysteries on my October list.  It comes out on the 2nd.  The description reminds me of the RL Stine books I read in elementary school where there was a monster and the teens have to solve the mystery Scooby Doo style.  I'm really for that right now.  I need something light and not too complex but gripping at the same time.
  • The Case of the Hidden Daemon by Lucy Banks
    • I really loved the previous books in this series and I'm anxious to find out what happens in the next installment.  The group of ghost-hunters is pretty histerical and I really enjoy Banks' writing style and humor.  This comes out October 23rd.
  • The Spellbook of Katrina VanTassel by Alyssa Palombo
    • This is perfect to get into the Halloween spirit.  This is a retelling of Sleepy Hollow.  I used to love the Headless Horseman cartoon when I was a kid because it was scary and I really enjoyed the TV show for a while.  I'm looking forward to getting to this.  I comes out October 2nd, and early reviews have been nothing but glowing.  
  • Fight or Flight by Samantha Young
    • This is the newest offering from Samantha Young.  It comes out on October 9th, and I'm excited to get to it.  I need a good contemporary in my life right now.
  • The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
    • One of the reading challenge prompts is to read a book about or set on Halloween.  This has been recommended several times.  I've got it on hold in e-book format and audio so we'll see which one comes up first.  It is pretty short so I'm excited to get to it.
Audio

As usual I've got a bunch of audiobook holds setup at the library.  I want to knock off a couple of challenge prompts for the Popsugar reading challenge and I've found audio has been the best way to get those knocked off my list.  These ones I should definitely get to this month.  I'm also listening to one with my son, but we only listen to that on Wednesday on our way to and from basketball practice.  Penguin Random House does free audio books periodically and I also have a copy of Frankenstien, also perfect for October and it has been on my TBR forever.  We'll see if I get to that.
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
    • I've already got this checked out.  I'm going to read and listen to this one.  My son just read it, and he loved it.  Although he said there is alot of swearing.  To be fair he's 10.  His friend lent him a copy so in an effort to get through it a little more quickly I'm going to use the book and audio to get it back to the owner.  I've been wanting to read this for quite a while and it covers a book challenge prompt.
  • The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
    • I've already got this checked out and it's next up after Ready Player One.  I'm really enjoying this series, and I'm excited to see what happens to Gen as he embarks on his next adventure.
  • Warcross by Marie Lu
    • This should fulful my cyberpunk reading challenge prompt.  I've enjoyed Marie Lu's other works, and I'm looking forward to this one as well.  This will be a departure from what I normally read, but I like her writing style so I have high hopes.
  • The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
    • This has gotten a ton of hype and lots of great reviews.  The other bloggers/vloggers I trust have loved it so I figured why not.  I need a good fantasy in my life.  It sounds amazing and I'm looking forward to it.