Tag: #newreads

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 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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A Short July TBR

July is always a busy month for me, so I probably won’t have a ton of reading time. I also decided to start a massive book at the end of June. I imagine it will take up a big chunk of my time. I’m hoping I have more time to read than expected, but I’m keeping it simple this month in case I don’t. Here is my July TBR.

Fall of Giants

Synopsis:

Thirteen-year-old Billy Williams enters a man’s world in the Welsh mining pits…. Gus Dewar, an American law student rejected in love, finds a surprising new career in Woodrow Wilson’s White House…. Two orphaned Russian brothers, Grigori and Lev Peshkov, embark on radically different paths half a world apart when their plan to emigrate to America falls afoul of war, conscription, and revolution…. Billy’s sister, Ethel, a housekeeper for the aristocratic Fitzherberts, takes a fateful step above her station, while Lady Maud Fitzherbert herself crosses deep into forbidden territory when she falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a spy at the German embassy in London….

These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as, in a saga of unfolding drama and intriguing complexity, Fall of Giants moves seamlessly from Washington to St. Petersburg, from the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. It is destined to be a new classic.

I started Fall of Giants in late June. It is a tome that is going to take me awhile to read. I have made it to page 184 and I’m still only 18% in. I love it though.

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Pestilence

Synopsis:

At the dawn of the Renaissance, Alfred – the eponymous second son – must discover the special destiny foreseen for him by his grandfather. Now, the unthinkable has happened: Alfred’s brother is king. And it isn’t long before everyone’s worst fears are realized. Traditional allegiances are shattered under a style of rule unknown since the grand bargain that formed the kingdom was struck over two hundred years ago. These will be the most dangerous years of Alfred’s life, forcing him to re-examine his duty to personal honor and to the kingdom, while the threats posed by his brother constantly remind him of his father’s final words of advice. What choices will he have to make to try to protect the things he holds most dear?

I’m so excited to read this! I will be participating in the blog tour on July 25th, so keep and eye out for that. Reading it excited me anyhow. Then, the author wrote me a letter because she recognized my address. Her father worked at a pharmacy that my family frequented. I loved that connection. The blog tour poster is included if you want to learn more.

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So that is my simple July tbr for this month. I hope to read more, but if not then so be it. What are you reading this month?

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Home Before Dark by Riley Sager Review

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Home Before Dark was one of my most anticipated books of the year. Riley Sager continues to be one of my favorite authors. Home Before Dark did not let me down.

Maggie Holt is tired of living in the shadows of House of Horrors, the book her father wrote many years ago. Maggie doesn’t remember her time at Baneberry Hall. If it was as terrifying as the book says wouldn’t she remember? Houses can’t be haunted because ghosts don’t exist. Twenty five years later, Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death. Maggie moves in to remodel it. She soon finds that the stories from her father’s book might be true after all.

My Thoughts on Home Before Dark

As always, Riley Sager’s ability to create an eerie, complex atmosphere amazes me. It could feel the walls of Baneberry Hall surrounding me. It was spooky and unsettling. I could feel the tension building.

I loved the inclusion of excerpts from House of Horrors. It perfectly paralleled the events that were happening to Maggie, which added to the suspense. It was impressive that Sager could change his writing style enough to make House of Horrors seem like it was written by someone else. I have read books with faux excerpts of other books where the author’s style bleed over and takes away from the contrast between the two. That wasn’t a problem here. Honestly, I wish House of Horrors was an actual book because I would love to read it.

Sager’s endings are always shocking. I thought I had anticipated the plot twist, but then he added another twist in. The ending was not as jarring as the endings of The Last Time I Lied or Final Girls. I did miss that wow factor, but it was still a solid twist. I can’t wait to see what he writes in the future.

My Rating: 4/5

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Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens Review

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I can’t believe I hadn’t wanted to read this. For some reason, Where the Crawdads Sing wasn’t on my radar. My husband was shopping one day and he picked it up for me because it sounded like something I would like. I am so glad that he did.

Everyone in Barkley Cove, North Carolina has heard about the “Marsh Girl.” In 1969 when Chase Andrews is found dead everyone suspects Kya, the Marsh Girl. Misunderstood Kya is intelligent and strong. She has survived for years in the marsh alone. Then two young men become interested in her and it changes her world forever.

Thoughts on Where the Crawdads Sing

For some reason when the book was first published I read the synopsis and assumed it was a romance. It shocked me when I read the synopsis again. I can’t believe how much I missed. It is part murder mystery, part coming of age story, all wrapped up in a book dedicated to the love of nature.

I have to say this came very close to beating My Dark Vanessa out of my favorite of the year spot. The writing was stunning. I felt like I was in the marsh with Kya.

The depictions of Kya’s early years were absolutely heartbreaking. I can’t ever imagine a child going through what she lived through. We watch her grow from a frightened child to a strong adult who makes a life for herself in her beloved marsh.

The murder mystery is told in snippets throughout the book. It is woven into the parts about Kya’s childhood. When Kya finally reaches the age that the murder took place the two timelines blend and goes from there. To watch the town’s prejudice against Kya is sickening. The people judged her just because she lived differently.

I so loved the way Owen’s ended the book. The plot twist didn’t shock me, but I adored it nonetheless. I am so glad my husband picked up this book for me.

My Rating: 5/5

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Whammy by Ted Akin Review

Whammy was an interesting adventure. It was part mystery, part comic book. It was a lot of fun.

In Lily Grove, Texas two things keep the town moving, farming and the oil field. When an accidental death happens, Klive Anderson tries to find out why it happened. Stacey Karlise owns a coffee shop by day as a front for her other, less legal, business. She has lived in Lily Grove her whole life and small town life is wearing her down. But something is about to shake up her small town.

My Thoughts on Whammy

The story starts out by alternating between real life and the comic inspired book that Klive is writing. Klive started writing it to help relieve the pressures of his job at the oil field. When a death occurs that seems a bit suspicious, Klive’s book begins to turn into a mystery.

While Klive is researching a real life mystery, Stacey begins to read Klive’s journal. She starts giving him feedback and encouragement. When Stacey begins to get involved with the real life mystery it triggers the events that happen in the next part of the book. That’s really all I can tell you without spoiling the rest.

This book is a lot of fun. It is a quick read that I flew through. Klive is a likable character, but Stacey was hilarious. I loved her.

About halfway through the book there is a major shift in the events. Stacey becomes the main character. My only complaint is that there is no closure at the end. When Stacey becomes the main focus that is the last we hear of Klive. I wish he was included in the end to make it all come together. It made it feel a bit disjointed.

My Rating: 4/5

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Disclaimers: Thanks to the author for providing a copy in exchange for my honest review. I am a Books a Million affiliate. If you purchase from my link I will get a small commission at no extra cost from you. Thanks for supporting the blog.


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