Tag: #bookreview

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black Review

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I am so happy to finally mark The Queen of Nothing off of my tbr. It has rekindled my love of fantasy, and that makes me so happy. The Queen of Nothing wraps up The Folk of the Air Series, so if you haven’t read The Cruel Prince or The Wicked King, you might want to skip this review.

The prophet said, “He will be the destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.” Jude is now Queen of Faerie. The only problem is Cardan exiled her. Now she is stuck in the mortal world. Jude anxiously tries to find a way back to her throne. When her twin sister, Taryn, returns to the mortal world, an opportunity presents itself. Jude risks punishment to venture back into Elfhame to help her sister. Unfortunately, a lot has changed. Elfhame is on the brink of war, and Jude finds herself behind the enemy lines. When an ancient curse is released, Jude must decide between her ambition or her humanity.

My Thoughts on The Queen of Nothing

I can’t believe it took me so long to pick this up. I loved it! Holly Black’s writing is so clever. I loved the way she worked around the exile. It was an obvious solution, but still fun nonetheless.

The characters in this series are all morally grey, but the character arcs came to a satisfying conclusion. Strangely, I even began to like Taryn in this one. Every character is faced with a choice that makes them think of more than just themselves.

I have always loved the fairytale aspect of this series. It is literally a modern day fairytale. That fact stands true with The Queen of Nothing as well. The curse was brilliant. It felt like it could a Grimm’s Fairy Tale, but it was also still completely unique. I would love to see an illustrated version of this whole series.

Well, I think I have rambled on enough. I truly enjoyed this book. If you haven’t read this series, pick it up now! It is so, so good.

My Rating: 5/5

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Their Eyes Were Watching God be Zora Neale Hurston

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I read Their Eyes Were Watching God to complete my Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge for the month. I had to read a classic that I didn’t read in school. I’ve never read anything by Zora Neale Hurston, but I am super impressed. Let’s talk about it.

Beautiful, Janie Crawford, sets out to live her life. Through three marriages and unimaginable trials, she finds herself. She become an independent woman that can stand on her own two feet.

When I was looking at lists of classics this one caught my eye. Their Eyes Were Watching God was controversial when it was published. People didn’t like the fact that the main character was a strong-willed black woman. That really made me want to read it even more. I love a strong female lead, and Janie is just that.

This book has a slow start. I will say there were parts that felt like filler. I do believe it was necessary though. It helped portray Janies longing for a more fulfilling life.

Hurston’s writing style was impeccable. It was lyrical and moving, while also being blunt. She told it the way it was without sugarcoating anything. Her perception of life is still applicable today in many ways. I believe we all need to read it.

Finally, the ending brought everything together and tied it up well. I think it portrayed what most people hope for in life, and that is to live. Janie stepped out of comfort, literally, and finally started living the life she wanted. It was hard and there was sadness, but she persevered.

My Rating: 4/5

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Fiona’s Guardians by Dan Klefstad Review

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You guys already know about my love of vampires. I am here for all the vampire stories. The author reached out to me about a unique vampire story, and I had to say yes. I received an arc in exchange for my honest review. Here is what I thought about Fiona’s Guardians.

Daniel dedicated his life to his job. He is the guardian of a 250 year old vampire named Fiona. Daniel’s main duty is to supply Fiona with 10 pints of blood a day. In his spare time, he manages an investment portfolio to fund her need for blood. Then, Daniel’s job gets harder when Mors Strigae sets their sight on Fiona. Their main goal is to exterminate vampires. With the imminent threat to vampires, Daniel realizes he may never retire.

My Thought on Fiona’s Guardians

The concept of this story is awesome. Of course I want to read about the daily life of a vampire’s assistant. Daniel’s job was well defined. I knew exactly what his purpose was. Daniel as a character was not as well defined, but that was on purpose. He had very few thoughts or actions outside of his role in Fiona’s world. When he had a section of time on his own he wandered aimlessly. The author did an awesome job depicting how consumed Daniel was by his job.

The main conflict of the story was interesting. However, I didn’t love the execution. The perspectives’ of different members of Mors Strigae was included. Usually, I enjoy a story with multiple perspectives, but I am not sure that it was necessary in this case. It seemed to cloud the story. Therefore, I began losing track of who was speaking. The switch between perspectives and time periods made the story feel disjointed. It didn’t flow as easily as it could have. It moved the focus away from the main characters, which were the guardians.

With all that being said, I still really enjoyed it. It is fun and unique. All in all, it just needs a little polishing, in my opinion. And like I normally say, reviews are opinions. We all have different reading tastes.

My Rating: 3/5

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Fall of Giants by Ken Follett Review

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I finished Fall if Giants….finally. It is a beast of a book, but it is worth the read. It took me the entire month of July to read it. I have read books of this length in a shorter amount of time, but it is so detailed. You have to pay attention.

Fall of Giants follows five families through WWI, the Russian Revolution, and women’s right to vote. Five families from different countries are connected in unlikely ways. The Williams’ are a family of coal miners that works in the Fitzherberts’ family coal mines. Maud Fitzherbert falls in love with a German spy named Walter. Gus Dewar, an ambitious young aid to president Wilson, becomes entangles in their secret affair. Two orphaned Russian brothers dream of the freedom that America offers. Nobody’s life will remain the same.

My Thoughts

My first thought on Fall of Giants is wow. That’s it. Wow. But I know I would be a horrible book reviewer if I left it at that. Let me get my thoughts together. The character development is probably that best I have ever experienced. Each character is so diverse. They all have lengthy back stories and characteristics. You couldn’t convince me that these aren’t real people.

My next thought is the range of emotion that each character felt is amazing. Just like real life, each character had high moments and low moments. Follett captured the nuances of everyday life flawlessly.

Sitting at a page count of 985, Fall of Giants is dense. For the most part it kept my attention the entire time. Toward the middle I hit a couple of spots that lost my attention. That quickly shifted as major events developed.

Lastly, some of my favorite scenes happened toward the end. We see the end of WWI and the events slowly shift to the prohibition era. I loved how Follett used that change to transition into the next book. If it continues in the direction Follett pointed then I believe I might like Winter of the World even more.

My Rating: 5/5

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Pestilence by Pamela Taylor Blog Tour Review

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Today I am participating in my first blog tour. I will be reviewing Pestilence by Pamela Taylor. I’m excited to be participating in the blog tour, but when I received my copy of the book there was a note included. Pamela said that she recognized my address and decided to write. Weirdly enough, her father was a pharmacist at a pharmacy that my family frequented. I really enjoyed being able to connect with her. It brought back great memories for me. Now on to the book.

Set at the dawn of the Renaissance, Alfred the second son must seek a destiny foreseen by his grandfather. Alfred’s brother has taken the throne, and it’s worse than anyone imagined. The kingdom is shattered and Alfred must decide how to help the kingdom built by his family.

Pestilence was a great read. The contrast between Alfred and his brother was striking. I’ve always enjoyed that element. As an only child, it’s interesting to see how siblings can be so different. Alfred’s loyalty was to the kingdom, while the king’s loyalty was to himself. The story follows Alfred on his journey to help protect the kingdom. It was a high stakes mission because he bordered on the line of treason.

I loved when Alfred decided to keep record of the actions of the king. As a history lover, I think documentation is so important. It gave a clearer picture as to what was happening in the kingdom.

I think it is important to read the first two novels to get a clearer picture of the kingdom. Let’s see how the story develops in the next installment.

My Rating: 4/5

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The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths Review

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Guys, I finally finished a book! I’m actually getting to do a review! I picked The Stranger Diaries for my monthly challenge. The Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge prompted me to read a book nominated for an award in 2020. The Stranger Diaries won the 2020 Edgar Award for best novel. It deserved it.

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder, but most of the time it is a work of fiction. She is a high school English teacher that specializes in gothic horror. Clare’s life collides with her favorite novel when her friend is murdered. When Clare turns to her diary to document her feelings, she discovers writing that isn’t hers. Suddenly, she finds herself living in a horror novel.

The Stranger Diaries is what I wanted The Broken Girls to be. For instance, it incorporated a haunted school, a horror novel, and a murder mystery. Each element brought great depth to the story.

Above all, I loved the inclusion of multiple points of view. It had Clare’s point of view, her daughter Georgie’s, and Detective Sergeant Harbinder’s point of view. Even with multiple points of view I couldn’t single in on one suspect. There wasn’t a character that I didn’t suspect.

I didn’t expect the ending. It wrapped up so well. The friendship that developed between Clare and Harbinder was great. The Stranger Diaries was a well developed mystery with a lot of depth. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of it until now. It is definitely underrated!

My Rating: 5/5

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The Affliction of Praha by Simon Gillard Review

Murder mysteries and historical fiction have been my two favorite genres recently. The Affliction of Praha combines those into one quick read. Keep reading to see what I thought about it.

The citizens of 20th Century Prague adore the Teralov Family. Therefore, the murder of Peter Teralov shocked everyone. The family hired Detective Edgar Rollenvart to bring the killer to justice. Edgar teams up with Peter’s brother to learn more about the case. As suspects mount, the evidence dead ends, leaving the Teralov family with more questions than they had at the beginning.

The Affliction of Praha is fast paced. There was not a dull moment in the entire book. It didn’t take me long to finish. However, that did lead into my main problem with the book. The character development wasn’t great. I didn’t really connect with any of them. I couldn’t figure of the motive of the killer, because Peter was barely discussed. My reading preference leans toward character motivated stories, but if you like plot driven stories this might not be an issue for you.

Above all, I do hope the author continues to write. His writing reminded me of Agatha Christie’s. With a bit more polishing and development I think he will be a great mystery writer. Toward the end there are several plot twists that kept me on the edge of my seat. He put a lot of thought and creativity into them. It made for a strong ending.

My Rating: 3/5

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Thanks to the author for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!

The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben

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The Boy from the Woods was my first Harlan Coben experience. Unfortunately, I think it’s going to be my last as well. To be honest, I don’t have many positive thoughts on this one.

Years ago, authorities found Wilde living in the woods with no memory of his previous life. They turned him over to a foster home because they could not locate his family. Now he is living on the outskirts of town. When a girl goes missing, he must return to the community to help find her.

After reading the synopsis I thought the girl went missing in the woods. I thought Wilde would use his knowledge to help the community find her. That was not what I got at all.

Wilde gets involved when his godson, Matthew, becomes concerned about the missing girl from his class. The next thing I know the search for the missing girl turns political. Very political. Like dirty presidential candidate political. That was not what I signed up for. I am so dang tired of politics. I don’t even know why I finished this.

Between the lack of woods, a dirty politician, and a half baked kidnapping I was so over the whole thing. I guess I kept reading because I liked Wilde as a character. I wish he had have been more involved.

Lastly, the ending was almost painful. It was disjointed and half hearted. I’ve read several reviews that say that the entire book doesn’t even feel like Harlan Coben wrote it. I was definitely expecting more from The Boy from the Woods.

If you have read anything you liked by Harlan Coben let me know. I want to give him a fair chance.

My Rating: 1/5

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