Friday, August 29, 2014

Daughter of Smoke & Bone

8490112Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands", she speaks many languages - not all of them human - and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

*May Contain Spoilers*

Daughter of Smoke & Bone is a fantastical world of hope and magic, pain and resurrection. Laini Taylor erases all boundaries of belief for the first book in her series. The novel is pure poetic prose steeped in pinpoint sharp detail and it easily draws readers into the world of Karou and all that has been hidden from her. 

Karou is the main character and the entire novel revolves around her. She works as an errand girl for Brimstone, a Chimera (a creature made up of other creature features) who collects teeth. Being an orphan, she sees Brimstone and his helpers as her family, even though no one else knows they exist. Karou is an artist living and studying in Prague. She has blue hair, a desire to fly, and eyes permanently painted on the palms of her hands. Readers will enjoy her quirky, vengeful personality while reveling in the other-world she plays a part in. As the story evolves, Karou is forced to question who and what she is and readers will further connect with her as discoveries are made, pasts revealed.

The plot opens with Karou introduced as a unique art student who constantly draws beastly characters. It's soon shared with readers that those creatures are real and Karou was not only raised by them, but helps them with their work. Unfortunately, angels are planning a mass destruction of the portals that connect Brimstone's shop with the world. And one angel specifically, Akiva, has his sights set on Karou when he learns of her. But when he learns about her, the enemy Akiva becomes the only one who can tell Karou who and what she is. 

Karou is the past. She's the peace. And she's the future of a remade world. 

This first installment in the series draws readers into an astounding world of mysticism and magic. It's a whirlwind of whimsy filled with passion, love, death, destruction. The terrors of war and the hope of peace. Laini Taylor does a wonderful job in setting up the series. Now that the portals have been destroyed, Karou must find another way to reconnect with her family. Leaving an ominous to be continued at the end of book one. 

Rating: 4.5/5 Cups

Photo Friday

a love for old books.

For the love of old books. :) 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


18743462A child will die. You're afraid to live. Would you go to all lengths to save him? Darkness knows no bounds, as Alcott, an African American doctor sees all too well. The man is petrified by death. His fragile existence rests at the mercy of the universe. This fact is far too much for him to handle. From unyielding nightmares to elevator terrors, he's lost in paranoia.

Assigned to look after an ill child, Alcott's horrors only heighten. Gari is a nine-year-old boy with a fatal disease. He will surely pass on within the year. Alcott bonds with him more and more each day. Part of him knows this grim fate just isn't right.

Alcott befriends a hospital patient. This lunatic forces him to lug home an ancient text on bringing back the dead. Despite the man's obvious dementia, Alcott attempts the scheme. Charging up a cliff, he recites the chant over ocean gusts.

A god woman glides in from the horizon. She instructs Alcott on the trials to save Gari's life. These fearsome Obstacles require true strength. From battling sharks to wielding a flail, he must prove fortitude against genuine danger. Alcott decides his fate at this moment.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Obstacles is a paranormal fantasy novel, by Christopher Reardon, that examines what one group of people would do to change the fate of someone else. When Alcott is given an ancient tome that presents a chance to change a young boy's death sentence, he decides to take it. 

The novel shares the evolution of Dr. Alcott. He begins as a frightened man suffering from unexplained nightmares who focuses his waking hours on saving lives. Alcott is immediately respected by readers because of his profession. Even more so when he decides to try to save the sick boy's life. By agreeing to the challenge of the Obstacles, he also agrees to take the place of Gari if he succeeds. Through the story, Alcott's character is revealed. He is brave, strong, loyal, inspiring, and faithful. Readers will root for Alcott's success while he faces terrifying situations that seem impossible to overcome. 

The story line of the novel begins with the introduction of Alcott and his patient, Gari. Shortly after, Alcott is given a book that contains a way to challenge fate. To save Gari, Alcott must face six obstacles. If he wins three of them, he'll take Gari's place. If Alcott loses four, then he'll return to his life with no memory of ever being in the paranormal platform. Teamed up with four others who challenged fate, Alcott must fight for his life as he battles for Gari's. The story line is engrossing with a simplistic writing style, though the word usage was repetitive. Overall, Obstacles was both intriguing and creatively entertaining but I struggled with forming a full connection to the main character. 

Rating: 3/5 Cups

WWW Wednesday (112)

To 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?

18743462     22434917     13528340

01. Currently Reading:
Obstacles by Christopher Reardon. A doctor chooses to fight for his patient, battling fate to take the young boy's place when death comes to call.

02. Recently Finished:
The Bone Treaty by T.C. McKee. Addison has never been normal, and now that she's been discovered she must be protected from those who plant to use her powers to unlock the Seal of Solomon.

03. Reading Next:
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Karou struggles to find out who she is while becoming tripped up in shadowed wars and star crossed love.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Teaser Tuesday (125)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers


Obstacles (p.34)
   - Christopher Reardon

"The Obstacles are testing trials for those who wish to challenge death. If you win enough, the death cycle will be reversed."

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Bone Treaty

22434917A power as old as King Solomon awakens when a seventeen-year-old girl marks the brooding hot abductor ordered to seize her.

Addie Heaton’s not your average high school student. Orphaned at two, she’s spent most of her life reading the emotions of others. It’s a little trick she likes to call color-vision. But lately, a stranger has been trailing her, putting off shades of black and red—colors Addie hasn’t seen since the night her parents were killed—colors Addie never wanted to see again.

But when Addie comes face to face with Conal Reed, owner of the terrifying shades, she learns her stranger’s a little different too. He’s brooding hot, mysterious, and all too elusive. Conal loves to materialize, and then vanish at all the wrong times. Nice.


After years of keeping her ability a secret, Addie’s found another person with gifts, someone who may know what she really is. But Conal’s not talking. He’s having more fun showing up uninvited, teasing her senses, and disappearing at all the wrong times. Instead of finding answers, Addie finds herself reconsidering ever being alone and naked again.

*May Contain Spoilers*

T.C. McKee brings the ancestors of angels and demons to earth in her novel, The Bone Treaty. When the world goes off the (all things electronic) grid because of a terrorizing group of halflings, Addie freaks out. Add in an attempted abduction by a hot and cold cutie that Katy Perry would be proud of, and I'd be getting out of town. But not with a strange army trained Griffin, a guy claiming to be a dead relative, and a best friend who is more beanpole than buff as protection. Though no one really asks Addie her opinion. 

Addison, aka Addie, is the main character. She's intelligent, sarcastic, indecisive, loyal, and doesn't ask as many questions as she should. Or maybe, she just never gets the answers. Either way, Addie is a very special Elemental, which means she's a descendant from angels and demons. She can see emotional auras that allow her to know what others are feeling and if they're good or evil. Addison also discovers that she has the ability to shape shift, but is too scared to share any of her talents. As one of only two female Elementals, she is incredibly important and must be kept safe. Readers will enjoy her angsty teenager attitude and the love triangle that appears between the disappearing baddie and the loyal Griffin. Though it may be difficult to connect with readers through situational events, her personality and humor will create the bond. 

The novel begins with Addison being attacked by Conal. His job was to abduct her for an evil Elemental who wants Addie for a secret mission. After the attack, the people in place to protect Addie know that her cover has been blown and they whisk her away to the desert. She accepts all of this information rather well. She puts up a little resistance, but not as much as I would think considering she's basically being kidnapped by crazy spouting lunatics who beat around the bush when it comes to real answers. Since the desert hides a training facility, it's believed that Addie will be safe there. They don't know that she Marked Conal in order to save her own life and now he's bound to her, unable to stay away. Will Addison fall for Conal's charm and disappear into danger or will she find something worth fighting for on the side of good? 

Rating: 3/5 Cups

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Mystery of Moutai

21470026A teenager returns home from school to find a gruesome scene: the apartment he shares with his mother, Shao Mei, in Boston’s Chinatown has been ransacked and she is dead. There is a bottle of Moutai—the most exotic and expensive Chinese liquor—left at the scene and traces of rat poison in one of the two shot glasses on the kitchen counter. This was evidently a homicide, but who could possibly be the killer?

Ann Lee and Fang Chen, close friends of the victim, team up with the Boston police to solve this mystifying crime: why would anyone want to murder a harmless middle-aged woman, one who worked as an unassuming mailroom clerk, with no money, no connections, and presumably, no enemies?

Realizing that important clues behind the motive may be buried deep in the victim’s past, they travel to Beijing, where Shao Mei spent more than fifty years of her life. While there, surrounded by the antiquities of China’s rich and complex history, they stumble unwittingly into a cobweb of mystery and danger. Fearing for their lives but determined to press on, they end up unearthing a scandal more deceptive and far-reaching than either could have imagined.

*May Contain Spoilers*

G.X. Chen takes two amateur detectives on a worldwide search for a murderer in her novel, The Mystery of Moutai. When a dear friend dies, Ann and Fang Chen suspect murder, but the motive is unknown. The pair gets the okay from the Boston PD to help with the investigation by traveling to China to dig up the past. Set in 1994, The Mystery of Moutai is a novel about how far someone would go to keep a secret. 

Ann Lee and Fang Chen are the main characters as they research the death of Shao Mei. Ann is a college student, preparing to begin her graduate studies. She's intelligent, prone to far-fetched conclusions, just enough of a skeptic, and sweet. Readers will enjoy her inventive and creative mind. Fang Chen is a professor to the core, always in a button down and loafers. He's level headed and chooses tea over coffee. Readers will appreciate his balanced perspective and need for facts. 

The novel begins with the death of Shao Mei, discovered by her son. Ann Lee and Fang Chen decide to aid the investigation and ensure that the son, John, is taken care of. As Ann Lee and Fang Chen begin to collect the correct pieces to the puzzle, their lives are suddenly in danger, urging them to solve the case before it's too late. The plot is well planned and moves at a steady pace. The writing is quite dry at times with a textbook quality. The facts are presented plainly and repeated often. I didn't have the chance to draw my own conclusions because the direction of the story was clearly spelled out. Kind of took the fun away from the mystery, but overall it was an enjoyable and quick read. 

Rating: 2.5/5 Cups

Thursday, August 21, 2014


21538964Four years ago, Tyler Karras’ quest to avenge his wife's death led to all out war with San Francisco's Russian Mafia. With the Bratva’s collapse and its king, Dmitri Chernov, long dead, all Ty wants now is to put it behind him and enjoy a second chance at life with his new bride, Hannah, and the child they're expecting any day.

But Chernov's heir, Grigory Dmitriev, has returned, bitter and determined. He wants his kingdom back, and he's more than willing to leverage Ty's new family to get it.

First he targets Conner, Ty’s brooding nineteen-year-old stepson, manipulating the boy into a vortex of sex, drugs, alcohol, and gambling. Then he turns his sights on Hannah. At eight months pregnant, she’s the ultimate bargaining chip. With all their lives in jeopardy, Ty has little choice but to do as Grigory commands.

But Tyler swore he'd never kill again. He buried that monster four years ago and means to keep it that way. Grigory, however, makes that vow impossible to keep.

With his new family on the line, Ty will cross further into the dark side than he ever has before, challenging everything he believes about himself, and forcing him to face the ghosts of his past. Only then will Ty discover if he has the strength to sacrifice his last chance at redemption and save the lives of those he loves most.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Nancy S. Thompson carries on the Karras story with her novel, Leverage, sequel to The Mistaken. And I must say, the continued story is quite intense. Tyler, Hannah, and Conner share their point of views, giving readers a full account of events including how the Russian Mafia settles into each of their lives, waiting to strike. 

Tyler is a recovered soul. He's beaten alcoholism and tamped down his haunted past. With Hannah as his wife and a baby girl on the way, Tyler is finally living, so close to forgiving himself for his mistakes. But all of that changes when Tyler's forced into action. Readers watch as he is morphed into a monster who will do whatever it takes to save his family. Empathy and fear will connect Tyler to readers. Understanding that he has no choice if he wants to see his family survive the Russian Mafia, Tyler is under command of the enemy. Readers will feel his pain as he struggles to stay sane enough to see his family safe. 

Hannah, close to term with her daughter, is a strong and incredible woman. The situations she survives in this sequel are definitely equal to, if not worse than, the first installment. Readers will connect with her motherly instincts and desire to protect her family. They will also respect Hannah for standing up for herself, her son, and her husband. Her beliefs are strong and though she is cast as the damsel in distress for most of the novel, what she overcomes is unbelievable. 

Conner is a new introduction. He's Hannah's son from her first marriage, but was absent in the first novel. Conner is not an easy character to like or relate to. But he is essential to the plot. Conner gets into a lot of trouble after the death/murder of his best friend. He gambles away money that isn't his, gets himself beat up, and puts himself in mortal danger, multiple times. Though, he was set up, Conner's decisions are his decisions. His personality is good for the most part, but he seems vengeful and quick to jump to conclusions. Especially about things he doesn't understand. But he is a teenager and we've all been there. 

The plot of this novel is absolutely terrifying. I was scared to keep reading for the sake of the characters. I didn't expect to care about them so much, but when you go through the worst with the main characters by your side, it's a commitment to see it through to the end. It was a little obvious, to the outsider, that the supportive characters in the novel were Russian plants. And I prayed that somehow they would escape the huge mess of Russian revenge. Thompson did an amazing job at pulling all of the information together from the first book and incorporating it into the new story line, adding a few twists and surprises from the past. Leverage is a book that cuts deep and is definitely directed at adult readers with strong stomachs. 

Rating: 4.5/5 Cups

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

WWW Wednesday (111)

To 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?

21538964     21947952     21470026

01. Currently Reading:
Leverage by Nancy S. Thompson. The sequel to The Mistaken has me terrified for the survival of all characters. Such an intense story about the Russian Mafia and their desire to kill one man.

02. Recently Finished:
Elixir by Ted Galdi. A novel about the smartest (young) man alive who must go into hiding after he creates an equation that would nullify all internet security.

03. Reading Next:
The Mystery of Moutai by G.X. Chen. When a middle aged woman is found murdered, her close friends decide to help the police department find out who the killer is.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Teaser Tuesday (124)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers


Leverage (Kindle 28%)
   - Nancy S. Thompson

And who could possibly be behind that anyway? Everyone who ever had a vendetta against me, against my family, is dead.

Monday, August 18, 2014


22849611Meet 14-year-old Sean Malone. He has an IQ above 200, a full-ride scholarship to one of the country’s top universities, and more than one million dollars from his winning streak on Jeopardy. However, Sean wishes he could just be normal.

But his life is anything but normal. The US government manipulates him, using him as a codebreaker in pursuit of a drug lord and killing innocent people along the way.

For reasons related to his personal security, Sean finds himself in Rome, building a new life under a new name, abandoning academics, and hiding his genius from everyone. When he’s 18 he falls in love. The thrills begin again when he learns that his girlfriend is critically ill and it’s up to him to use his intellect to find a cure, a battle pitting him against a multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical company and the demons of his past.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Sean Malone is the smartest person in the world and a threat to national security in this novel of intrigue, accident, and escape, Elixir by Ted Galdi.  

For the first half of the novel, Sean is a fourteen-year-old boy. He's incredibly intelligent, suffering from guilt-induced depression, and overall, lonely. He hates his brilliance, viewing it as a curse instead of like a blessing. Sean struggles to fit in as the young genius when all he wants to be is a normal kid with his parents still alive. Readers will empathize with this version of Sean, laying a foundation for a stronger connection but not building on it. 

The second half of the novel, Sean is an eighteen-year-old who is in the FBI's protection program with a new name and new identity. He's escaped the weight of being famous and overly smart, giving him the chance to be a normal teenager. And he loves it. Sean discovers his enjoyment for art, through graffiti, and motorcycles. With this time lapse, readers witness Sean grow and get the life he wanted, allowing the bond to begin strengthening. But when Sean's girlfriend contracts Ebola, Sean is forced to dive back into the life he escaped in order to save her. 

The plot is a little twisty in this science fiction/action novel. With Sean being two different ages, it is almost like reading two different books. The first half (book) moves quite slowly. Sean wins Jeopardy, goes to SoCal Tech, and then accidentally creates an equation that could hack through any encryption without leaving a trace. Oops. Thus, he is mortally threatened and must use the resources of the FBI to obtain a new identity and flee the country. 

Four years later, the pace picks up and the book finally sinks its teeth into the reader. Sean lives in Italy and his lovely girlfriend is suddenly dying of Ebola. Sean knows he has the power to craft a vaccine but in order to do so, he must return to the United States and hope that he goes undetected. Though it definitely doesn't go that way. Elixir begins as a slow-paced action novel, but the plot and character struggle keep readers engaged. Quite enjoyable for Galdi's debut. 

Rating: 3/5 Cups

Friday, August 15, 2014

Photo Friday

Lots of villages in the UK have turned red telephone boxes into mini libraries, just take a book and leave one behind, we have one in our little train station waiting room, such a lovely idea
Found on Pinterest.
Can we make these more popular? 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Crystal Cove

14141318Justine Hoffman has made a comfortable life for herself on the island of Friday Harbor. She is the proprietor of a successful boutique hotel, and she has the safe, predictable life she has always wanted. Growing up with her flighty, nomadic mother, Marigold, has instilled in her a deep longing for stability. But in spite of everything Justine has achieved, there is still something missing. Love. And after years of waiting and dreaming, she is willing to do whatever it takes to change her destiny.

What Justine soon discovers is that someone cast a spell on her when she was born, with the result that she will never find her soul mate. Determined to change her fate, Justine finds a way to break the enchantment, never dreaming of the dangerous complications that will follow.

And when Justine meets the mysterious Jason Black, she accidentally unleashes a storm of desire and danger that threaten everything she holds dear . . . because Jason has secrets of his own, and he wants more from her than fate will ever allow.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Lisa Kleypas knows love stories. That's a given. But, when it comes to paranormal, fantasy, magic... not so sure. Crystal Cove is a contemporary paranormal romance that explores the relationship between a soulless man and a cursed woman. 

As a young girl, Justine had a geas (Scottish Gaelic spelling of geis) cast upon her. A word that can mean either a curse or a gift. The geas was placed upon her so she would never have to know how hurtful love can be after the witch's bane strikes. But Justine is a powerful natural witch and she's determined to remove the geas. Unbelievably, she succeeds. And the world goes into an imbalanced upheaval. 

Justine is an interesting character. In the previous series book, Dream Lake, Justine vowed she'd never fall in love, that she didn't need a man, and that she was happy alone. I guess she changed her mind because now she's on a mission to find true love. Justine is blunt, open, honest, and focused. She knows what she wants and that's powerful knowledge to have. Readers will connect with Justine's desire to share her life with someone. 

Jason Black has no soul and he's very much aware of it. Knowing that soulless people only have one chance at life, Jason knows that he must do everything he wants in the moment he wants it. He's an insomniac control freak who has too much money. Jason also knows that Justine's a witch and a certain spell could add years to his life. But falling in love with her wasn't part of his plan and he could end up putting both of them in danger. Readers will understand Jason's wish to live longer but I'm not sure they'll connect with him. Like him? Yes. He's a mysterious romantic man. Of course readers will like him, for the most part. 

The plot of the novel is quite complicated, with lots of tangles. Jason Black wants to build a sort of community center at Dream Lake so he visits Friday Harbor to iron out the details and make an offer. Him and his team stay at the bed and breakfast that Justine owns. This is how Justine and Jason meet, but Jason already knew about Justine before visiting. He actually sought her out because of her abilities as a witch and the grimoire she owns. At the same time, Justine is removing her curse and upsetting the balance of nature, putting her life in mortal danger. They fall in lust at first sight and so mote it be. 

Though the paranormal aspect of the story isn't Lisa's strong suit, I thought the novel overall was fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the two main characters battle back and forth, using mistakes as weapons, all while falling in love and looking for a solution to an unsolvable equation. 

Rating: 3/5 Cups

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dream Lake

9285100They say that opposites attract. But what happens when one has been devastated by betrayal and the other is so jaded that his heart is made of stone? Enter the world of Friday Harbor, an enchanting town in the Pacific Northwest where things are not quite as they seem and where true love might just have a ghost of a chance….

Alex Nolan is as bitter and cynical as they come. One of the three Nolan brothers who call Friday harbor home, he's nothing like Sam or Mark. They actually believe in love; they think the risk of pain is worth the chance of happiness. But Alex battles his demons with the help of a whiskey bottle, and he lives in his own private hell. And then a ghost shows up. Only Alex can see him, Has Alex finally crossed over the threshold to insanity?

Zoë Hoffman is as gentle and romantic as they come. When she meets the startling gorgeous Alex Nolan, all her instincts tell her to run. Even Alex tells her to run. But something in him calls to Zoë, and she forces him to take a look at his life with a clear eye and to open his mind to the possibility that love isn’t for the foolish.

The ghost has been existing in the half-light of this world for decades. He doesn’t know who he is, or why he is stuck in the Nolans’ Victorian house. All he knows is that he loved a girl once. And Alex and Zoë hold the key to unlocking a mystery that keeps him trapped here.

Zoë and Alex are oil and water, fire and ice, sunshine and shadow. But sometimes it takes only a glimmer of light to chase away the dark, and sometimes love can reach beyond time, space, and reason to take hold of hearts that yearn for it…

*May Contain Spoilers*

What is it about a man who has lost his way that attracts attention like a magnet? The answer doesn't exactly matter. All that matters in Lisa Kleypas' novel, Dream Lake, is Alex Nolan. He's a little cynical, very broken, and is haunted not only by his past. Ladies, eat your hearts out.

Readers will connect with Alex through their desire to help him. He struggles with alcoholism, fear of love, and low self-esteem. With help, Alex could be the greatest version of himself, but his stubborn nature might get in the way. Enter Zoë. 

Zoë is the girl next door. Blond hair, gorgeous, giving, a natural nurturer. She's an outstanding cook at the local bed and breakfast with a grandmother suffering from Alzheimer's. When she meets Alex, he takes her breath away and she wants to show him that love can change everything. She and her cousin hire him to renovate a cottage on Dream Lake so that it will be easy for Zoë to take care of her ailing grandmother. Thrown together, Alex fights his fate as his cynical nature takes over. Though his resistance can only stand against so much. 

With the help of a ghost, Alex might just get the message. Tom, a ghost who's been stuck on Rainshadow Road has never been able to remember his life. But when Alex shows up, Tom becomes stuck to him, going everywhere Alex goes, remembering bits and pieces of his life. And Alex is the only one who can see or hear him. With the ghost's help and Zoë, Alex might be able to stop drinking and turn his life around, allowing himself to fall in love before he ends up alone. 

Rating: 3.5/5 Cups