Categories
Fantasy

The Fifth Knight by Claire Luana and Jesikah Sundin

Title: The Fifth Knight

Authors: Claire Luana and Jesikah Sundin

Publisher: Forest Tales Publishing

Release date: 10/15/18

Rating: 4/5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Forest Tales Publishing for an eARC of The Fifth Knight, in exchange for an honest review!

The story: I did enjoy the plot. The action was steady and kept me fully engaged throughout the whole book. This is a unique take on the King Arthur story, told with a woman as the fifth knight. They are seeking the blessed grail, a fae relic, in order to save the kingdom from a dark fae curse.

The characters: There is a very likeable group of people in the story. The knights are playful and handsome and fun to read about. Princess/Sir Fionna is a butt-kicking heroine with a double mission, battling all sorts of conflicting feelings about the knights. The dark fae sound like a nasty bunch, especially Morgana who is the central villian to this story. The book is a reverse harem story, so along with the camaraderie of the knights, there is also a healthy but not too intense amount of romance between them.

The editing: I know we are reviewing an advanced copy, so I can’t speak for the editing of the final copy but there was a lot of proofreading needed in this version. I am slightly guilty but willing to admit that I enjoyed this book a lot, I am happy to volunteer proofreading for the next one😊

I would recommend this for 18+ readers that enjoy King Arthur retellings, knights, strong female characters, and fantasy/romance.

Categories
Fiction Paranormal Uncategorized

After Hope Dies by Lily Haraden

First off – I am so sorry for missing the publication date on this, I was swamped at work all weekend but feel bad!!

Title: After Hope Dies

Author: Lily Haraden

Release date: 10/20/18

Length: 350 pages

Thank you first to Lilly Haraden and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review!

The publisher’s warning should definitely be taken seriously, there are multiple upsetting themes and rough language used throughout.
Some of those themes include child prostitution, rape, murder, suicide, racism, a lot of big ones! On the flip side she also uses some stunningly beautiful language, such as any time when the cranes of hope and despair appear. It feels like an intentional balance the way the passages are placed.

Some of the language forced a slower read for me to keep track of what was happening at times, and I got the feeling that the reader is supposed to shrug and accept the supernatural aspects- much like the characters. Sometimes it was hard to understand what happened but the idea is there. The story has some unique points such as the characters creating monsters that create more monsters/spirits/ entities, very cool.

I really did enjoy the hope, despair and death imagery. I loved Hugo’s character, and most disliked the vampire because she felt thrown into the mix and unrelated.

As a social commentary the book does it’s job, if nothing else evoking some strong feelings and making us think about class, race, desperation, and despair among brighter aspects. It definitely is not meant to be a happy story but it is a good one. I would rate 3.5/5 stars and recommend this to those with a strong stomach and big imagination. Fans of the supernatural and fantasy won’t be let down.

Categories
Fiction General Fiction

The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay

Title: The Rain Watcher

Author: Tatiana de Rosnay

Release date: 10/30/18

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Length: 240pages

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the free eARC in exchange for an honest review!

This is the story of the Malegarde family, told through Paul(the father)’s written account and Linden(the son)’s memories. There is a terrible flood in Paris where the core of the family is convened for Paul’s birthday. As the waters rise, so does the tension as the family deals with illness, tragedy, and coming to terms with past traumas.

Once I figured out the flow of who was narrating at what time, this became a lovely read. Paul’s voice is so unique, here is a brief quote just because I love it:

” I played with the trees. They were like living things to me, as alive as humans. They seemed to whisper secrets. Maybe I was the only one who heard them . Trees were at the heart of things. I was four years old, but I sensed that already.” – from Paul’s transcript.

While I was not fully engaged in the story at times, the writing is truly beautiful. Linden’s descriptions of people, places, and the flood are amazingly vivid. I would have enjoyed the story more if I knew Paris – I skimmed some of the tales about the city but I could see French people truly loving this book.

The characters are very real, well developed, and likeable. Each Malegarde faces and comes to terms with a past or present trauma in the novel. The dialogue is also very well done except some times the book switches from conversation to a third person telling, right in the middle.

As a nurse I also really liked the hospital evacuation scenes, how cool would it be to work disaster relief!

I would 100% recommend this to anyone with even a vague knowledge of Paris, lovers of language, and a good fiction. 4/5 stars only because the author lost me at times in the pages of stories!

Categories
General Fiction Thrillers

Vendetta by Iris Johansen

Title: Vendetta

Author: Iris Johansen

Release date: 10/23/18

Pages: 413

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Rating & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟 yes to fans of the author and genre

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley for the opportunity to read the eARC of Vendetta in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own!

This was an honor!

In the 5th Catherine Ling thriller, a team of intelligence operatives must work together to locate and bring down the Red Star terrorist group before they wreak havoc on the west coast. I was expecting to see more of Catherine, but she plays a supporting role to Rachel Venable (Carl’s daughter) and they make a strong female team. Brandon, Hu Chang, Nate, Monty, and Cameron make up a great supporting cast of characters. I found the characters to be one of the strong points in the book – their relationships and access to international intrigue.

Johansen’s writing style is absorbing and easy to read.Β  My one qualm is that she used “jerkily” and “dryly” quite a few times- strong or distinct words like those stand out FAR too much to be used as frequently.Β  I know that Johansen has a vast vocabulary to pull from and likely she didn’t realize she was doing it. Speaking of oddball items – Cameron threw me off as well, where does one supernatural(ish) man fit into the world? He really does not and I feel like he takes away from the book, but just ever so slightly.

The plot and story itself are amazing. I love the deep level of intrigue between the CIA, Red Star, Nemesis, and the various other groups trying to vie for information and results.Β  At times there was too much talking, sitting around the house, chatting on the veranda…. The background is interesting and important but there is just too much of it, then the action came and went rather quickly. Very awesome and intense action though, I couldn’t stop reading once it started heating up.

Overall I would recommend it to Johansen fans and fans of action. It does work as a stand alone novel but doesn’t do Catherine a lot of justice so I wouldn’t start with it.

Again, thank you NetGalley and the aforementioned, I really was thrilled to be able to read and review this!

Categories
Fiction General Fiction

24 Hours of the Phoenix by Caroline Bertaud

Title: 24 Hours of the Phoenix

Author: Caroline Bertaud

Release date: 11/3/18 **Debut novel**

Length: 327 pages

Rating: 3.5/5 stars!

First off, thank you to NetGalley and Caroline Bertaud for this eARC in exchange for an honest review! This is Bertaud’s debut novel and I enjoyed it for the most part!

This book asks the question “What would you do if you had 24 hours left to live?” Thrown into this position, 21 year old Phoenix navigates her emotions and life review in this novel. The premise and format is fairly unique as each chapter constitutes an hour in the countdown that is supposedly left of her life. This format served to break the novel up into readable and well organized portions. I appreciate the perfect length of the chapters and it kept me hooked, I kept thinking “Yes I have time for one more!”

The premise itself didn’t quite work for me (and unfortunately the plot twist didn’t either) because I am an RN and just couldn’t wrap my head around Phoenix’s behavior while she was in the hospital. I firmly don’t believe in spoilers but the plot twist was not a realistic occurrence and it threw my nurse-mind for a loop… but the book made me think quite a lot about {certain medical conditions} – is any of it possible? A lot of Phoenix’s life review and finding of meaning in things seemed a little cliche as well – I laughed when she stated it herself! Once I put that aside, I still found the book to be a very readable and enjoyable story.

I give this a solid 3/5 stars, and would not hesitate to recommend it for anyone who enjoys a work of fiction with a twist of romance! Really, it is a great debut novel! I warn you that this book will make you think about your life and might inspire you to call your parents!

As always, thank you for reading! All it takes is an email and a password (no complicated registration) to interact with this website, and I hope you will all let me know that you were here!

Categories
Fantasy

They Mostly Come Out At Night by Benedict Patrick

Title: They Mostly Come Out At Night

Author: Benedict Patrick

Length – 200 pages

Rating – 4.5 stars

I think I found this book through BookBub and am SO GLAD that they featured it! The story has all the elements of a good dark fairy tale, fantasy with some light gore and a healthy dose of folklore. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good folk tale!

It isn’t a happy story – but a very good one; it is well edited and reads smoothly. If you are a person judging books by their covers you won’t be disappointed either – the cover art is stunning.

In brief summary: think of the perfect dark fairy tale. A lower and elite class, animal races, the villager hero willing to sacrifice everything for his loved one{s}. A Magpie King and an Owl queen, a pale lady….all mixed with the past and present folklore of Yarnsworld. Patrick has a solid start on the world building as well, and I can’t wait to see how he develops it.

The writing is a little basic and most of the dialogue doesn’t flatter the characters, but the art is in the storytelling here. I was blessedly able to just read the story. I stayed hooked for the four hours it took me to devour the book!

I think the author will develop his groove and make this into a great series, four books and some short stories are available and they are on my short list right now!

As always, thank you for reading! All it takes to like this post or leave feedback is an email and password, no lengthy registration process, and I encourage people to do so! Happy weekend everyone

Categories
Science Fiction

Daisy’s Run by Scott Baron

Hello everyone, happy Saturday to you! Let’s talk about Daisy’s Run by Scott Baron. This sci-fi thriller will release on 11/15/18 and the good news is that it looks like the rest of the series will also release at that time. I know that I can’t wait to find out what happens next!

I would first like to thank NetGalley and the author for my eARC, I received my e-copy for free in exchange for an honest review – and honestly I loved this book!

As their spaceship is damaged and the crew is awoken early from stasis, we meet Daisy and company. Enter a world of technology and artificial intelligence, mystery, conspiracy, friendship and some bluntly described romance. Daisy and her shipmate Sarah are likeable characters and a big part of the hook was the development of our feelings towards the rest of the crew – for good or for worse.

The most interesting point to me is that the book bluntly asks the question: How do you feel about artificial intelligence? Daisy has to do a lot of self-reflection regarding her views on cyborgs, technology, and humanity in general. Baron adds a great but short passage about how Earth looked before current events, including how with overseas travel becoming cheaper and quicker, xenophobia was all but gone as cultures mixed and erased old misguided prejudices. Speaking of misguided assumptions – that plot twist!!!

The majority of the novel takes place as Daisy runs from potential captors on her ship and learns their secrets. The conclusion rushes in and smacks the reader in the face with a baseball bat. I feel like that is intentional though; we can palpably feel Daisy’s shock and it sets up the next novel well. I didn’t quite grasp the full extent of what happened though so I wish he had drawn it out a bit more at the end with more background.

The book is fairly well edited with a few passages that seem repetitive, such as when Sarah was described later on. There is plenty of tech-speak reminiscent of Star Trek, which I love but some may end up skimming over

Summary: 4/5 stars. I would recommend this fully to any Sci-Fi fans, and only caution for some coarse sexual language. Thank you again to NetGalley and Scott Baron!

Categories
Fiction General Fiction Historical Fiction

In the Far Pashmina Mountains by Janet MacLeod Trotter

Welcome back! I was thrilled to receive my first early reading copy for Kindle from the Goodreads giveaway! Thank you to Goodreads and the Author/publisher for the opportunity!

I rapidly devoured this book despite it’s length (544 pages). We follow the life of main character Alice over the span of about 40 years. It is a story of love and history, with a good deal of adventure, heartbreak, betrayal, beauty and horror, native culture, and so much more.

The characters are developed beautifully throughout, some we love and others – not so much. Whether a bad, good, or grey character, I feel like MacLeod Trotter captures the ethnicity, personality and also age of them in such a real way. Her writing is also vividly descriptive at times, when other times she gets lost in the history. As her author’s note suggests, an obvious mountain of research went into this book!

While I won’t pretend to know anything about the British invasion of Afghanistan and the tribal conflicts, I could feel the horror of the prisoners and stayed up until 0300 to reach the ending. I would have sacrificed some historical details in this part of the book to find out more about what happened to Alice at the end πŸ˜‰ The ending was tied up very neatly and felt rushed but satisfying.

I would 100% recommend this to anyone interested in historical fiction or romance, or just a great read! It changes settings and introduces new adventures enough to stay very interesting!

As always, thank you for reading! I included a link to the author’s website below!

http://www.janetmacleodtrotter.com/

Categories
Fantasy

The Legends of Muirwood Trilogy by Jeff Wheeler

Good afternoon and happy October! I am covering the first Muirwood trilogy today by Jeff Wheeler. I read it in pieces over the past month and hope that any fan of young adult/fantasy, or those with a young reader in the house hold will read this review! I apologize for the length but it is a very involved series!

The trilogy opens with The Wretched of Muirwood. All three books were published in January of 2013 through 47North, a division of Amazon. The first important thing to note is that Mr. Wheeler takes most of his writing motivation in this series from religious context and ritual, so one could either relate to the history of, or learn quite a bit from his writing if they cared to investigate his references. The author is very blunt about this and until the third book…we will get there.

In this first book we meet Lia, a young girl with no Family and no parentage (a wretched is even lower than an orphan). She is abandoned at Muirwood Abbey where the wretcheds work as cooks, launderers, gardeners, etc. Lia is a mischievous girl and very likeable from the start. Her adventures begin when a Maston named Colvin is delivered injured to her kitchen, pursued by the evil sheriff of the region and who knows what else.

What we learn is that Lia has some connection to the Medium, which seems to me like powers granted through a supreme being in religious context. Either they open themselves up willingly and entirely to the Medium and are granted power, or some can control it through force. The gist is that the king is opposed by the Mastons and a war is brewing, I got a very Crusades vibe from this story arc. Lia rides off with Colvin to join the battle. Are you hooked yet, because I was!

I don’t need to continue with the plot summary to say that the character development in these books was my favorite part. I loved that learning to read and write was Lia’s goal, and the power that was given to the written word in these books. Lia was a stubborn girl from the start but she had to take a lot of risks and be brave, trusting, and develop a rapport with a difficult Colvin to make her journey succeed.

The downside of the first two books is that they are fairly predictable, the idea of a heroine rising from nothing to (insert plot spoiler here) is not unique, and at times the editing and grammar and typos were terrible. I would have gladly read a much longer book to learn more about the area of Muirwood, the geography, the battle at the end…the book was a little bit cut and paste. There are a lot of unique and interesting elements though, mostly in the characters,

The second book is The Blight of Muirwood, centered on the idea of a plague coming due to the sinful ways of the populace, rejecting the medium. Enter another journey with Lia and Colvin and a host of great characters along the way. There are so many that I can’t start to list them all, but wow does Wheeler write them well. We are starting to get hints of who Lia is, and her struggles just seem to grow. A lot of the story happens through dialogue and description that is fantastic world building, I just would have liked more in some places. The Colvin and Lia friendship – I love it.

Now the third and final book is The Scourge of Muirwood, and I have to write spoilers to adequately express my mixed feelings here. The first two books were more of the same, then the third takes a wild turn into left field and keeps running until it crashes into a brick wall. I love the idea of unborn evil souls inhabiting people’s bodies, and the Queen Dowager is a lovely villain, but I just can NOT get behind the plague being a gentrified STD (passed through a kiss), brought on by women in entirety being the scourge of civilization. The Hetaera are the evil to the Maston’s good, except women can also be Mastons. The overlying story arc went from believable within the world, to entirely not with Lia’s final adventures. Again I would have read a much longer book to learn more about so many things here, including how Colvin located and made use of THAT one specific book.

The other huge overlying issue was that the writing and language turned into that of an excited teenager towards the end of the book, with gross typos, half sentences, and a general lack of editing that killed me. I want to stay lost in your story, not keep coming up for air every other page because the proof reader went to sleep! I also really appreciate the fact that Wheeler loves the national parks, but for a man that substitutes words for “city” or “region” with words like “hundred”, I don’t feel like vividly describing the Redwoods fit in context.

The whole series ended in general impending apocalypse that reminisced of Noah’s ark and a new Adam and Eve story, It wrapped up so neatly for the remaining characters that I felt glad and sad and still disbelieving of the book in general, if not for the typos I would have read it twice just to make sure I absorbed all of it. Then the preview to the second trilogy…….. πŸ™‚

I apologize again for the long review, and would definitely recommend this for young adult. The language stayed clean and the worst they did was kiss, although I wouldn’t be afraid to discuss some of the overlying themes and biblical views towards women with my kid if I had one. I would also mention that the level of proofreading is entirely unacceptable.

Overall I give the series 3/5 stars, I would give it 5 if he had proofread and not given me a week long book hangover with the ending. It was impossible to talk about all the things I want to here, if anyone has read it I would love to hear your thoughts!

Categories
Fiction General Fiction Literary Fiction Uncategorized

Review of Pygmy by Chuck Palahniuk

Good evening everyone and welcome back! I finally finished Pygmy by Chuck Palahniuk, has anyone else read this or any of his work?

My first thought about this novel is that it is not a good one to introduce yourself to Palahniuk with. This is an obvious conclusion after getting midway through two chapters. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Invisible Monsters, Fight Club, Diary even, but this book requires warming up to.

This is a satire of American culture, seen through the eyes of a young foreign operative. I would guess Czech Republic or one of those countries. The protagonist is a genius yet supposedly speaks in terrible broken English, in which the entire book is written. I felt like I missed important things due to the way that the language made me want to skim paragraphs. The language is also very repetitive at times.

To the meat though – if you can stomach the shock of a graphic sodomizing, or tolerate the 13 year old’s constant fixation with genitals, the book really is hilarious. Trips to Wal-Mart, religious propaganda outlets, his reverence of great war hero Colonel Sanders, mixed with quotes from all of the European dictators … it all does make for a difficult but entertaining read. The take home point is reading this in the mind frame that it is satire, and taking the recurring shock points for what they are.

I would recommend this for adults who are already Palahniuk fans or like his minimalist style. You can google similar authors faster than I can type them!

Recap: 3/5 stars for difficult structure. Redeeming point is that he managed to make Pygmy out to be a real person with feelings by the end. Also made me alternate between laughing out loud and cringing, at least every chapter.

Find me on IG at OneReadingNurse and as always, let me know if you are here! Thank you!