Monday, July 29, 2013

Review: Grave Mercy

I have to say that I spend a lot of time researching what I want to read.  I do like YA novels but not all so I read a lot of reviews and look at what others are recommending before I buy something.  This time, I saw Grave Mercy on someone else's blog.  I was drawn to the cover and knew immediately after reading the description that this was the next book for me.

Here is the synopsis from Barnes and Noble:
Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?
Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.
     Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?
I loved this book!  It really wasn't YA in my opinion.  I won't give away too much.  Ismae is young at the start of the story when she is mercifully brought to the convent after being beaten and almost raped.  We learn about the convent, who Ismae really is, and see some of her training to become a handmaiden of Death but the story quickly skips ahead three years to the main plot.  Because Ismae had such a hard young life, she walks into her assignment believing that she will follow the will of Death no matter what and that this is her only goal in life.  That serving Him is the only thing that will make her happy.  As the story progresses however, and she becomes more embroiled in the deception around her, she has several revelations and her feelings about these beliefs begin to change.  
The action scenes in this book kept me turning the pages and the relationship that slowly develops between Ismae and Duval as she learns to trust him was beautiful.  The supporting characters were all well developed and I especially loved Beast, who I believe has a larger role in the next book.
The historical setting was detailed and I felt as if I were right there in the time period with the characters.  There were just enough twists and turns thrown in to keep me guessing until almost the very end.  The story wrapped up nicely but could also easily continue and while I know the next book focuses on Sybella, another of Death's daughters, I hope to hear more about Ismae and Duval as well. I completely recommend this book and can't wait to read the next one!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday

Wishlist Wednesday 

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop hosted by Pen to paper where you post about one book per week that has been on your wishlist for some time,  that you can't wait to get onto your shelves.

The book I can't wait to get on my shelves is the sequel to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.  I absolutely loved this book and found out recently that the sequel called Hollow City, will be coming out in January of 2014.  It's a long wait but I am hoping it will be worth it.


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was the surprise best seller of 2011—an unprecedented mix of YA fantasy and vintage photography that enthralled readers and critics alike. Publishers Weekly called it “an enjoyable, eccentric read, distinguished by well-developed characters, a believable Welsh setting, and some very creepy monsters.”
This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.
Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerizing) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages.
I'm so excited!!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Review: A Share in Death

A Share in Death is the first in the Kincaid and James series by Deborah Crombie.  I was looking to start a new mystery romance series and most of the reviews for this series were great so I grabbed the first one with high hopes.

First off the synopsis from Barnes and Noble:
A week's holiday in a luxurious Yorkshire time-share is just whatScotland Yard's Superintendent Duncan Kincaid needs. But the discovery of a body floating in the whirlpool bath ends Kincaid's vacation before it's begun. One of his new acquaintances at Followdale House is dead; another is a killer. Despite a distinct lack of cooperation from the local constabulary, Kincaid's keen sense of duty won't allow him to ignore the heinous crime, impelling him to send for his enthusiastic young assistant, Sergeant Gemma James. But the stakes are raised dramatically when a second murder occurs, and Kincaid and James find themselves in a determined hunt for a fiendish felon who enjoys homicide a bit too much.
In this delightful new series, Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid of Scotland Yard takes a holiday at his lovely Yorkshire time share. But before the stress of crime-solving begins to disappear, a body washes up in the whirlpool bath. Kincaid won't be able to relax until the killer is sent packing.
This was a good book and I did enjoy it.  It was a fairly familiar plot where the characters are all in a central location and seem to be picked off one by one until the detective figures out who the killer is.  I found myself liking the main character of Duncan Kincaid but I didn't feel that the author spent much time describing him so I have a hard time picturing him in my mind and for me, I need to have that mental image to really connect with the story.  I had a better picture of his assistant Gemma and she was not a huge part of this first book which was a bit disappointing because I went into the story thinking there would actually be a romance but apparently, the romance doesn't ignite until the third or fourth book.  Not sure if I have the patience.
The plot was fun.  The minor characters all had unique and interesting personalities and their roles in the story were meaningful.  I loved the banter and sarcasm between Kincaid and the local constable.  When the constable was finally put in his place by his own superior, I laughed out loud.  I did have to backtrack in the story once or twice to remind myself who was who because there were so many characters.  I probably should have written them down.  There were several twists and turns in the story that kept me turning the pages and when I got to the end of the story, I finally understood the title... lol.
I was really looking for something like the Mary Russell Mysteries by Laurie R. King and this just wasn't what I wanted.  I just loved the Russell series and haven't quite found anything similar that grabs me like it did.  I guess I will have to be patient and wait for the next Mary Russell mystery, whenever that may come.  
You will enjoy A Share in Death if you like a mystery and don't care about the lack of romance.  I just wanted more.  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


WWW_Wednesdays4To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?
1.  Currently, I am reading A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie.  This is the first in the Kincaid and James mystery series.  It got gook reviews so I thought I would give it a try.
2.  Just finished The Unsung Hero by Suzanne Brockmann.  Give it a try if you like romance thrillers.  It is about an injured navy seal who comes back to his hometown, falls back in love with the girl next door, and solves a terrorist plot.  It was fun and a page turner.
3.  I have two books on my TBR list that I just keep bypassing.  Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden and Second Sight by Amanda Quick.  I guess it will depend how much I enjoy this new book to see if I read the second in the series or move to one of the two already in my Nook library..

Monday, July 15, 2013

Review: The Heist

As I stated in my last review, I grew tired of the predictability of the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich.  I stopped around the fifteenth book because it was just so predictable and the main character still hadn't made a choice between the two men in her life.

I'm so glad these two authors got together.  The Heist has all of the things I love about Janet Evanovich's writing and the addition of Lee Goldberg, who has written scripts for shows such as The Glades, Diagnosis Murder, and my personal favorite, Monk.  He has also written many books, including those based on the "Monk" series.

Synopsis from Barnes and Noble:
FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare is known for her fierce dedication and discipline on the job, chasing down the world’s most wanted criminals and putting them behind bars. Her boss thinks she is tenacious and ambitious; her friends think she is tough, stubborn, and maybe even a bit obsessed. And while Kate has made quite a name for herself for the past five years, the only name she’s cared about is Nicolas Fox—an international crook she wants in more ways than one.   
Audacious, handsome, and dangerously charming, Nicolas Fox is a natural con man, notorious for running elaborate scams on very high-profile people. At first he did it for the money. Now he does it for the thrill. He knows that the FBI has been hot on his trail—particularly Kate O’Hare, who has been watching his every move. For Nick, there’s no greater rush than being pursued by a beautiful woman . . . even one who aims to lock him up. But just when it seems that Nicolas Fox has been captured for good, he pulls off his greatest con of all: he convinces the FBI to offer him a job, working side by side with Special Agent Kate O’Hare.
Problem is, teaming up to stop a corrupt investment banker who’s hiding on a private island in Indonesia is going to test O’Hare’s patience and Fox’s skill. Not to mention the skills of their ragtag team made up of flamboyant actors, wanted wheelmen, and Kate’s dad. High-speed chases, pirates, and Toblerone bars are all in a day’s work . . . if O’Hare and Fox don’t kill each other first.

I would categorize this book into "fun summer beach reads."  First off, it had the perfect amount of humor and sarcasm.  It was also full of action and exotic settings.  Each character had their own quirks, such as Kate, who is all business and professionalism yet consistently spills food on herself whenever she eats.  Nick, the main male character, is the perfect con man and ever the charmer. He and Kate have a great chemistry once they start working together and she loosens up a bit.  There was some fun sexual innuendo and the two were clearly attracted to one another, but we will have to wait for their next adventure together to see if they give in to their feelings.  Apparently, this book is the first in the "O'Hare and Fox" series.  The minor characters in the story are just as brilliant and deserve recognition.  Kate's dad, Jake, a former Navy Seal, has several appearances in the story, and then we have Willie and Tom who are helping with the con for their own personal reasons.  No one but Nick has ever been part of a con so they are a kind of ragtag team but each member has individual talents needed to pull it off.   Every character has their own unique (but brief) back story and lends their own brand of humor to the story.  I found my self smiling often.  If any one of them were not present in the book, it wouldn't have been as enjoyable.  

This book would make a great movie in my opinion and I can't wait for the second book in the series!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Review: Fifth Grave Past the Light

Fifth Grave Past the Light was a book I have been waiting for impatiently since January.  It is the fifth book in the Charley Davidson series.  These are not YA novels and there does tend to be quite a bit of sex in them, sometimes a little too much in my opinion, but the books are so much fun to read that I just let it go.  Finished this one in a single day and enjoyed it even more than the last one.  :)

Synopsis of Fifth Grave Past the Light from Barnes and Noble:
Charley Davidson isn’t your everyday, run-of-the-mill grim reaper.  She’s more of a paranormal private eye/grim reaper extraordinaire.  However, she gets sidetracked when the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, moves in next door. To further complicate matters, Reyes is her main suspect in an arson case.  Charley has vowed to stay away from him until she can find out the truth…but then dead women start appearing in her apartment, one after another, each lost, confused, and terrified beyond reason.  When it becomes apparent that her own sister, Gemma, is the serial killer’s next target Charley has no choice but to ask for Reyes’ help.  Arsonist or not, he’s the one man alive who could protect Gemma no matter who or what came at her. But he wants something in return. Charley. All of her, body and soul. And to keep her sister safe, it is a price she is willing to pay.

These books actually remind me a lot of the Janet Evanovich books about Stephanie Plum.  Charley and her best friend Cookie can easily be compared to Stephanie and Lulu and have the same type of relationship, lending a good amount of humor to the stories.  Sometimes to the point where I laugh out loud.  I find that the Charley Davidson books however, aren't quite as predictable as the Plum series.  As much as I loved the Plum series,  I grew bored after a while reading the Evanovich books because it was the same thing over and over again.  Darynda Jones keeps the Charley Davidson stories moving forward with each novel.  The characters change, grow, and learn from their mistakes.  I can't wait for the next book, Sixth Grave on the Edge which comes out in 2014!
Next up, I found a book that (coincidentally) is by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg called, The Heist.  It looked fun and since it is summer, I am all about fun so I am going to give it a shot.  :)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Review: Finale

Finale was the fourth and last book in the Hush Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick.

Synopsis from
Fates unfurl in the gripping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Hush Hush saga.
Nora is more certain than ever that she is in love with Patch. Fallen angel or no, he is the one for her. Her heritage and destiny may mean they are fated to be enemies, but there is no turning her back on him. Now Nora and Patch must gather their strength to face one last, perilous trial. Old enemies return, new enemies are made, and a friend’s ultimate betrayal threatens the peace Patch and Nora so desperately want. The battle lines are drawn—but which sides are they on? And in the end, are there some obstacles even love can’t conquer?

I have to admit that I really enjoyed the entire Hush Hush saga, to the point where I am almost sorry it is over.  What made me love it this much?  The characters were a main factor.  At the beginning, my general feeling toward the main female character of Nora was dislike.  Her lack of common sense had me rolling my eyes and groaning out loud. However, as the story developed, so did Nora.  She was loyal, honest (for the most part), and grew stronger both physically and mentally.  By the end of this last book, I was completely on her side and wanted more than anything for her to triumph over all of the obstacles in her way.  Patch, her true love, was the typical tall, strong, handsome hero who we all dream about.  He was willing to do whatever was needed to keep Nora safe.  He protected her even when it meant that they had to be apart.  Scott Parnell was also a character I didn't connect with at the start but he turned out to be one of my favorites.  He transformed from cocky and obnoxious to a person who anyone would be lucky to have on their side.  And of course there was Vee, who gave us a bit of comic relief by making us smile whenever she entered the scene, no matter what drama or tragedy was ensuing. I only wish there was a bit more of her throughout the last two books.

The plot held together well.  There were some parts that reminded me of other YA books I have read, but not much.  I liked the story line of the fallen angels, the Nephilim, and the archangels and how they all connected.  The story was fresh and it kept me turning the pages well into the night.  I had my theories about how the book would end but I didn't find the book to be predictable and there were a few interesting twists and turns thrown in toward the end that I wasn't expecting.  There were times in the story where I was routing for the fallen angels and then other times when I found myself switching sides because I sympathized with the predicament of the Nephilim.  No spoilers here though.  You'll have to read for yourself to see which group was victorious, if any...  :)

If you are a reader of YA novels and/or series, I would completely recommend that you pick this one up.  In order they are Hush Hush, Crescendo, Silence, and Finale.  Happy reading!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Beach + book = happiness

Finally made it to the beach. The kids are making a volcano out of my feet, I have a book in my hand, and I've got a great view of the ocean...


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Review: Silence

Silence is the third book in the Hush Hush saga and I think this was my favorite in the series so far.  Click here for the link to Barnes and Noble if you would like to read the official synopsis.

At the end of the second book, we have a cliff hanger when Nora and Patch were overtaken at Delphic Amusement Park and separated.  I had to get the next book right away to see what was going to happen. We begin this third book with Nora being found three months later and remembering nothing of the last five months of her life... that's right, five months.  Which means, all memories of Patch are also gone and it seems like no one, not her mom, or her best friend Vee, want her to remember him.  This annoyed me a bit at first because it was just another wrench thrown into the story to keep them from being together a bit longer.  I predicted however, that this couldn't last long and I was right.  Once I read the first couple of chapters, I couldn't put the book down.

The author did an excellent job with Nora's search for her memories.  Nora was smart and determined and her character in my opinion was more admirable than in the first two books.  I really enjoyed her journey toward the truth.  Slowly, little pieces begin to come back to her through a combination of instinct, flashes of memory, and strange occurrences. Patch enters her life again, somewhat reluctantly at first, but then can't stay away and finally tells her what really happened when she was taken.  Once she puts it all together, she and Patch must try to stop the villain, who threatens everyone she loves.  Vee and Scott Parnell, also known  as "Scottie the Hottie" both return for a smaller part in this story but I got the impression toward the end that they will both have a bigger role in the final book.

This book, like many others I have read (City of Bones, Twilight, The Host, etc.), has a set of rival groups with several individuals in each who don't agree with the majority.  Those characters usually end up working together for the greater good.  In this book we have Patch, who is a fallen angel, and Scott, who is Nephilim, who in my prediction for the next book, will work as a team to help Nora on her quest to stop the brewing war between the two groups.  Will there be a love triangle?  I don't think so this late in the series but you never know.

I won't spoil the ending of the book but I was definitely satisfied and look forward to the final installment of the series, which I will most likely purchase today. My hopes...well, I always like a good deal of adventure, a little romance, some suspense, and an ultimately happy ending.  I guess I will have to wait and see if those hopes become a reality.  :)