Monday, September 28, 2015

Review: The Sleeper and The Spindle

This book I fell upon completely accidentally while looking for an audio book for my evening walk.  I honestly don't even remember exactly how I ended up finding it but I'm glad I did.  The cover is absolutely gorgeous! Then, when I read the teaser and realized that Gaiman was doing a book mashup of my least favorite princess and my favorite princess,  I just had to see how it turned out.

I have to say that for a 64 page book, I was pretty impressed.  Not that Neil Gaiman doesn't always impress me, but I wasn't sure what he could pull off in such a short book with what I thought would need a lot more depth and detail.  I was wrong.  This story is exactly what it should be, a very unique fairy tale with a bit of an edge, characters who delightfully stray from the norm, and even though not one of them has a name, we as the reader can figure out exactly who they are, which just adds to the fun.

If you are a fan of Neil Gaiman's brand of writing, this will be a great addition to your library.
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Review: The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs

The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs is the second book I read for the books of fall.  It was generously given to me in exchange for an honest review.  

The first thing that attracted me to the story was the premise.  I loved the idea of a grown woman going back to her hometown to confront the person who bullied her in school.  I mean, who hasn't wanted to go back in time at one point or another to make a different decision or get a second chance at something? Caroline isn't exactly going back in time but she is trying to deal with her past in the hopes of moving forward.  Caroline isn't an unhappy person in the story but she does feel that her introverted behavior is in part due to her past experiences.  This is a story of growth, not only for Caroline but also her daughter Polly and for their relationship.  I applauded Caroline's determination to go back and face something that has been eating away at her for years. I think many of us can relate to her story in one way or another. 

I liked the book.  I liked Caroline, and Polly was the perfect example of a teenage daughter going through a stage of her life when she feels no one understands her.  This isn't a story full of action and adventure but it was still a page turner in my opinion.  I wanted to see how Caroline's journey ended and I was happy with the result.  I closed the book knowing that she would be ok and on a new path in life.

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Review: A Curious Beginning

Less than two weeks ago, I mentioned in a review that The Girl on the Train was going into my "Best Books of 2015" list.  I still have every intention of adding it, but this book, A Curious Beginning, is going to be right next to it.  The beautiful cover was the first thing I noticed and it attracted me to the book right away.  I knew Deanna Raybourn was also the author of the Lady Julia Gray mysteries, which I adored, so when I was contacted to read and review her newest work, I was excited and it went right to the top of my TBR list.  I'm so glad I dove right in right away because this book was just as much fun as her other series and engaged me immediately.  I love a good British mystery and this book delivered exactly what I was hoping for.  

As with her Lady Julia Gray series, the main character in A Curious Beginning is a fascinating study.  Veronica Speedwell (a great name for a British heroine if I do say so myself) is a woman ahead of her time.  She is a female scientist who oozes independent thinking, women's rights, and who of course, is a supporter of the free love movement, much to the shock and dismay of her peers in this time period.  Veronica's forward thinking and blunt conversational style produce quite a few laughs throughout the story.  The mystery itself reveals itself once we are acquainted with Veronica's situation and revolves around a murder connecting to her past. She teams up with a sexy but shady (and initially unwilling) sidekick/protector and the interplay between the two is full of clever wit and shenanigans. We are sent on an adventure with various clues, red herrings, and a bit of intrigue. Anyone who is a fan of Amelia Peabody or Mary Russell will adore Veronica Speedwell. I'll certainly be on the look out for the next book in the series.

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Saturday, September 5, 2015

Review: Truth or Beard

The Winston Brothers were introduced in one of my favorite books in the Knitting in the City series, Beauty and the Mustache. When I found out Penny Reid was writing a new series about them, I couldn't wait to read it. Contemporary romance normally isn't my style but Reid's books are fun, full of wit and sarcasm, and of course some extremely handsome leading men.

Synopsis from Amazon:
Beards, brothers, and bikers! Oh my! Identical twins Beau and Duane Winston might share the same devastatingly handsome face, but where Beau is outgoing and sociable, Duane is broody and reserved. This is why Jessica James, recent college graduate and perpetual level-headed good girl, has been in na├»ve and unhealthy infatuation with Beau Winston for most of her life. His friendly smiles make her tongue-tied and weak-kneed, and she’s never been able to move beyond her childhood crush. Whereas Duane and Jessica have always been adversaries. She can’t stand him, and she’s pretty sure he can’t stand the sight of her… 

But after a case of mistaken identity, Jessica finds herself in a massive confusion kerfuffle. Jessica James has spent her whole life paralyzed by the fantasy of Beau and her assumptions of Duane’s disdain; therefore she’s unprepared for the reality that is Duane’s insatiable interest, as well as his hot hands and hot mouth and hotter looks. Not helping Jessica’s muddled mind and good girl sensibilities, Duane seems to have gotten himself in trouble with the local biker gang, the Iron Wraiths. Certainly, Beau’s magic spell is broken. Yet when Jessica finds herself drawn to the man who was always her adversary, now more dangerous than ever, how much of her level-head heart is she willing to risk? 

One of the reasons I love these books so much is that they make me laugh.  Feeling down?  Pick up any Penny Reid book and you will smile from beginning to end.  This book is no different.  The main characters, Duane and Jessica, have a chemistry that is evident from the first chapter, even though she won't admit the attraction is there.  Add to the romance a threatening biker gang, inappropriate Halloween costumes, muscle cars, and a lot of sass.  I loved that I had a few days left before school started up again to read the book because I used every spare minute I had to read.

My recommendation is to start with the first book in the Knitting in the City Series, Neanderthal Seeks Human. You'll be completely hooked. Then move on the Winston Brothers from there.  However, any of Penny Reid's books can also be read as a stand alone.

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