Thursday, March 19, 2020

London PrepLondon Prep by Jillian Dodd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a great adventure! I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I have to say thank you to Jillian Dodd (author) and the publisher for allowing me to join their early readers. I am an avid fan of books that allow me to step outside of my own background. I live in the U.S. and this book is based in London. I attended public school and this story takes place in what appears to be a private school. It is great to read a book that takes the reader out of their comfort zone and does a great job of showing them a different pont-of-view. I considered going to private school but, I wanted to stay with my friends. That was no longer a choice when I went to high school but, even with different types of school the same issues pop up like not wanting to do sports. I was voted the most non-dressing student in gym class as I always had an excuse for why I couldn't participate, well until I was forced to participate. I do relate to Mallory quite a bit.

Another striking thing about London Prep is seeing that students that go to private school and that live in London have the same issues in their family lives as U.S. students. It is interesting that despite how divergent our country's paths were some things are quite similar. Mallory did point out how different some things were also. I can attest to the great coffee shops in London as I found one as soon as I arrived for a visit a few years ago and made it my home away from hotel. Since it was directly across from the Victoria and Albert Museum, there was some great people watching to be done there.

London Prep is a funny book at the same time that it can be heartbreaking. It is hard to understand sometimes why adults don't always consider their actions and sometimes it is the case that families see everything as family business. But, when does something supersede or become more important than keeping things secret within a family? London Prep successfully highlights home situations that students have everywhere. For example, it is hard for a student to concentrate on school work and socializing when they don't have food to eat at home, a family member is sick, or any number of trying family situations. London Prep provides great characters who are well-written and that the reader can relate to regardless of age differences. It is the start of a great series and I really look forward to the next book.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Golden In Death (In Death, #50)Golden In Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am always truly excited when the new In Death books come out. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I had to get Golden In Death on audiobook as I love the narrator, Susan Erickson. She makes me forget that only one person is reading all of the roles in the book. I have re-read the first 10 books more than once and I start to dig out the audios, yes, I have all of the audios for the series as well. I did receive an early release ARC via NetGalley, but, I still like to own the audiobooks of this series.

I was driving the other day listening to the Golden in Death and it was on a part that had Dennis Mira and I realized what I like about the characters. Each one of the regular characters, i.e., Dennis, Charles, Louise, Nadine, etc., are written so well that you wish that they were people you could get to know in real life, or at least know people who are like them, even Roarke's majordomo, Summerset. Golden In Death is a great addition to the series and makes me realize that this series can keep going for some time as it never gets old.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Revolution (Cold War Magic, #2)Revolution by W.L. Goodwater
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Revolution is the 2nd installment in the Cold War Magic series. It is a new installment in what I consider to be a great newcomer in the Urban Fantasy or Speculative Fantasy genre. I would lean towards more calling it Speculative Fantasy because it tells an alternate version of what happened at the end of World War II where magic is a known entity and only some people were born with magic. Where the first book has a setting in Berlin and describes how magic played a key part in how the war ended and the repercussions of the use of dark magic which culminates in a book that multiple parties are trying to find. To some, the book is a myth. To others, it is a fact and they will do whatever is necessary to obtain the book.

Karen is on her last legs with the magic agency where she is employed. She is afraid of her magic and has decided that she would prefer to not use magic which means leaving her job. In the middle of making this decision, she receives a weird package that turns out to be a request for help from a former employee. He has uncovered something at his current employer that causes him to risk his life and the lives of others trying to assist him. This investigation takes Karen to Florida and to Cuba where she will have to decide whether she has a choice about using her magic. There is a lot more at stake than her job and it turns out that the book thought to be destroyed is still front-and-center in the story.

I have to admit that I love this series. The characters are flawed, including Karen, and she questions herself throughout the book but, at her core, she cannot help but stand up for those that need help which makes her an admirable character. She also realizes that she has no clue who really can be trusted and as usual who is good and who can be trusted is not always as clear as she would hope. I plan to follow this series and avidly wait for the next installment.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Archangel's War (Guild Hunter, #12)Archangel's War by Nalini Singh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Phenomenal! Archangel's War is an explosive entry in the Guild Hunter series. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I was so busy and I wanted to know what happened that release day was upon me so I bought the audiobook also. I love the narration in the audiobooks and this is a series that I re-read or re-listen quite often. One of my favorite aspects of this series is the vividness of the characters. When I read about Illium's feathers, the description is detailed that I can picture it like a colored photo or like watching a movie.

In Archangel's War, the title sort of speaks for itself. There have been multiple skirmishes throughout the series as Lijuan grows in power and loses more of the little bit of "humanity" or care for humans and other angels that she had. She is a brilliant tactician and serious "delusions of grandeur" except in her case they may not necessarily be delusions. Thinking that the other archangels will just bow to her and give up their people and territories is maybe the biggest delusion that can be attributed to Lijuan. Each of the archangels that have known her throughout history has memories of her being more humane but when the reader meets Lijuan it is clear that she likes playing games and manipulating everything around her.

What I love about Archangel's War is this innate desire to make the story go slow so that it is not over too soon. It is action-packed. I have to admit that something rare happened when I read this latest installment in the series. I hit a part that brought tears to my eyes. Elena and Raphael are so likable that the reader empathizes with them so it can be quite gut-wrenching when they feel emotional pain and sometimes when they feel physical pain. I admit to a fair amount of apprehension that this might be the end of things. But, I am happy to see that things just keep rolling and Nalini Singh is just the person to keep the readers hooked and looking for the next Guild Hunter book.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Showstone (Cal Donovan #4)The Showstone by Glenn Cooper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cal Donovan is a character I have a hard time liking sometimes The Showstone does not change that. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. The Showstone is the fourth book in the Cal Donovan series. It is a phenomenal story pitting good against evil with very detailed character studies of the major characters. The showstone was a character unto itself and the factual elements about John Dee were a great addition to this story. Tying in historical facts with the mystery is one of the things that Glenn Cooper does very well.

Cal learns a lot more about his father's history in The Showstone. He knew where he died and when, but, this story teaches him that he doesn't know a lot about his father's life He seems to be a wonderful historian and professor and a great friend. But, he is a bit of a mess. He seems to be a functioning alcoholic and some of the flashbacks in the book show when Cal started on that path. It is not quite clear why, but, some of the conversations and thoughts that the reader is privy to in the story allows the reader to hazard a guess. It was good to see Cal having a semi-normal relationship with his girlfriend Jessica But, he still seems to struggle with who he wants to be or how he wants that relationship to go and it is evident to Jessica and Cal's best pal, Father Murphy. Despite me throwing up my hands at some of the missteps that Cal makes throughout the story, it is obvious that he is a good man who at least thinks about doing the right thing. There were some great action scenes and the supernatural aspects of the story were not far-fetched I enjoy this series and look forward to reading the next installment in Cal's story.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

In the Hall with the Knife (Clue Mystery #1)In the Hall with the Knife by Diana Peterfreund
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I completely loved this take on the Clue game/movie. I received a copy via NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. In the Hall with the Knife will go down as one of my most enjoyed books for this year. I am an avid fan of the Clue movie.I especially love how the ending was handled. I do not want to spoil it for those who have not seen the movie. I have not played the game so I was unaware of the Orchid character. I have now gone and found an online version of the game and plan to familiarize myself with these updates. I was unaware that the game was evolving. This sounds like fun.

One thing I can say is that the reader does not feel like they are just reading a transcript of the movie. The author has definitely made her own twist on the story. The movie had comedic aspects where the book definitely has dark turns. They both provide a great mystery. It is difficult to discuss this book without some comparisons to the movie. My interpretation is that the author welcomes this as she is definitely a fan.In the Hall with the Knife includes some of my favorite book themes, i.e., mystery,young adult, in a boarding school environment. The book does a great job respecting how each of the characters are protagonists, Not just one of the characters. Each character has a background or problem they were escaping when choosing to come to the school-and throw in the antagonism from some of the locals and ramp up the tension with an emergency or disaster and each person starts to show more of their true character and secrets start to be exposed. It is a recipe for a well written story and a great beginning to a new series.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Vendetta in Death (In Death, #49)Vendetta in Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I do not know if J.D. Robb Has written a book that I did not love. I do not have favourite foods, colors, etc. If I was forced to choose a favourite series, the In Death of Eve Dallas series would have to be it. I did receive a free copy via NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am two finger typing this while on Nava in Europe so that should give an idea of how much I love these books. It seems sure that some series cannot break free of the second book syndrome when this series is 49 strong and still as Fresh and exciting for me as when I found this series. I read them. I listen to them on audio book and I am still surprised that nothing ever seems formulaic. Are there certain patterns in each book? Certainly. The reader can count on Roarke being involved somehow and McNabb will always have on bright clothes and boo around in air boots. But, the mysteries are still good. The world building is too notch. The character development is still one of my favorite aspects. Even if the reader knows who the killer is from the start, you can bet watching the team dig into is going to be great. I look forward to these books and love that we get a dose twice a year.

In Vendetta in Death, men are being murdered and it does seem like the reader would not have much sympathy for any of them given their past feeds as well as some of their current deeds. None of them appear redeemable but, the killings are so savage that the reader has a hard time not feeling bad for them despite their behavior. But, the reader also has good insite into their victims so we read and wait and let Dallas and crew work on giving justice according to my favorite motto. "NO MATTER YOUR RACE, CREED, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, OR POLITICAL AFFILIATION, WE PROTECT AND SERVE,* BECAUSE YOU COULD GET DEAD."

London Prep by Jillian Dodd My rating: 5 of 5 stars What a great adventure! I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book...