Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What's Next, Wednesday (48)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.


I'm looking forward to...

Hannah's Moon by John A. Heldt. This book will be the final installment of the American Journey series. The series revolves around the ability to time travel and honestly, I will miss the historic stories of love and the paradoxes of time travel. I've reviewed all of the books in this series, and though I don't want the series to end, I'm really excited about reading this final journey. This time, the characters are traveling to 1945 which promises danger in the face of WWII. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Teaser Tuesday (257)

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• 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! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


M.A.R.R.I.E.D. (Kindle 59%)
   - Lindsay Marie Miller

"But she's my mother," I croaked, on the verge of tears. "I just wish for once she could stop being so critical, stop judging everyone, especially me. I just..."

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Storm of Attraction (Willowdale #1)

32969765Alexa Wolving has just one rule: never give a guy a second chance. That works just fine in the safe life she’s built. In the charming town of Willowdale, her day job as a librarian balances perfectly with her evening job as a black belt instructor. But when she attracts the attention of a stalker, Alexa’s carefully built world begins to crumble.

Drew Cosimo knows he broke Alexa’s heart five years ago when he took his first Ranger assignment and disappeared from her life. Now that he’s out of the army, he’s moving back home to Willowdale. He’s not looking for a fight, but making peace would be easier if Alexa hadn’t told the entire town he was a money-grubbing jerk. Despite the tension between them, Drew is quick to offer his protection when a stalker forces Alexa from her home.

As the stalker’s attacks escalate, Alexa and Drew are forced to face their painful past and the simmering attraction between them. They must fight to save each other before everything they care about goes up in flames.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Lily Black introduces her Willowdale series with it's first installment, Storm of Attraction. In this small town, everyone knows everyone and gossip spreads quickly. But there's one person hiding in plain sight, stalking main character Alexa, with hopes of teaching her a dangerous lesson. 

Alexa is a librarian by day and a martial arts instructor by night. Her two career choices demonstrate her intelligence as well as her athletic ability. Readers will enjoy Alexa's dedication to her self, as they also notice she seems to hide in her careers. Her rule of never giving a guy a second chance, keeps her on the edge of the dating pool. And her past experience with Drew Cosimo allows readers to see how she's still suffering from a broken heart that is still healing after five years. While her past will give readers an initial emotional connection, the fact that she has a stalker will also bring readers to her side as the fear continuously rises. At first, Alexa wasn't frightened of the anonymous person leaving her gifts. She chalked it up to a nice student or a friendly neighbor. But when her tire is purposely slashed, it seems the stalker's game just rose to the next level. 

This action brings Drew back into Alexa's life. Drew has just finished his career as an Army Ranger and has decided to move back to Willowdale to open up his own mixed martial arts training center. When Drew learns of Alexa's stalker, his protective feelings for her kick into overdrive as he promises to protect her. His strength, courage, and caring nature are highlighted for readers to witness. Even though he broke Alexa's heart in the past, readers learn his side of the story and are able to forgive him with hopes that Alexa can forgive him too. 

The main plot of Storm of Attraction is the blossoming relationship between Alexa and Drew while they try to figure out who her stalker could be. The situations escalate quickly from gifts to attempted murder, pushing Alexa into a constant state of fear and Drew into a worried state of protectiveness. All the while, Alexa is learning about the more mature Drew, the Drew that has grown up through his tour as an Army Ranger and the Drew that regrets how he treated Alexa five years before. Also, importantly, through this frightening situation, Alexa also learns about herself and why she's shut herself off from second chances and believing in people. Her epiphany helps her evolve into a more self aware character who understands how outside influence and misplaced feelings can cloud her judgement. Though this book does involve a bit of action and a chilling stalker, I think Storm of Attraction is mainly a romance. This puts the focus on Alexa and Drew's relationship while the stalker adds a degree of intrigue and terror. Therefore I think readers who enjoy romances with a side of danger would like this book. 

Rating: 3/5 Cups

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Finding Molly: An Adventure in Catsitting - Volume 1

30290979Fresh out of art school and creatively unfulfilled, Molly is stuck in the suburbs with her parents and their cat, Pishi. When she is offered an opportunity to cat sit, she sees it as a way to get closer to her friends who live in the Los Angeles Arts District while fulfilling her dream of making a living as an artist.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Justine Prado, Jenn St--Onge, Carey Pietsch (and others) all play their part in creating the comic book/graphic novel that is Finding Molly. This graphic novel is all about Molly discovering herself as an artist, balancing on the cusp of adulthood, while trying to create her own path to her dreams. The book is published by EMET Comics, a company that focuses on women's empowerment and adding diversity to a generally male guided genre. 

Molly is a young woman who has just graduated art school. She dreams of moving to downtown LA to live with her friends, who are also artists. The only problem is she isn't making any money as a recent graduate, something I think a lot of young adults can relate to. Molly is an intelligent girl who struggles to find inspiration for her art work among the stress of wanting to move out and find a paying job so she can support herself. She's consistently nagged by her father to find a job and a husband. Though her father knows she's talented, he doesn't want Molly wasting any time. This adds an interesting father-daughter dynamic as he sets her up on dates with unsavory young men. 

Though Molly isn't a big fan of cats (at the beginning), cat-sitting kind of falls into her lap as a way to make money. A drawing of her own family's pet is seen online and she's immediately contacted by a fellow cat owner to commission a drawing. This opens the door for Molly's cat-sitting business venture. I think this will translate to many readers as young adults, even those fresh out of college, sometimes have to work jobs that are not aligned with their degree. I know I had to and still am as I work on my Master's. This creates a pretty strong foundation on which a deep character connection with Molly can be established. As Molly works to pursue her artistic dreams, readers see the chaos that cat-sitting can bring. We all know that cats each have their own distinct personalities (I sometimes refer to my cat as a demon) and the situations that Molly finds herself in because of her cat-sitting add a great deal of humor to the graphic novel. 

There are also two other dynamic relationships that work to bring readers closer to Molly. Sarahh, Molly's best friend, is also an artist who has a successful job and an on-and-off boyfriend. From Molly's perspective, Sarahh kind of has it all, which gives off a sort of jealous vibe. Sarahh is also very blunt with Molly, challenging her and pushing her to follow her dreams. The second dynamic relationship is that between Molly and Mateo. Mateo is a well known LA artist who has a strong place in Molly's group of friends. It's also very obvious that Mateo has a crush on Molly, though she doesn't seem to actually realize it. This adds a little intrigue to the story as well as another layer of depth to Molly's life. 

My favorite thing about this graphic novel was Molly's web comic that is featured every few pages. In the web comic, Molly creates a humorous scene out of her cat-sitting adventures as well as her interactions with friends and parents. The way that Molly interprets her own life and creates funny work out of stressful situations lets readers see into her psyche. It demonstrates her positive outlook on life even though she's struggling to find her way as an adult and as an artist. 

Speaking of art work, the style that Finding Molly has is refreshing and bold. Each character has their own specific traits that the work seems to focus on, allowing readers to see the personalities of the characters through their artistic representations. There are also some allusions within the book which speak to certain readers. I personally loved the reference to the Beat movement, because I recognize my own obsession with that culture and am not ashamed. 

Finding Molly definitely works to showcase young women and empower them through opportunity and drive. The fact that it does this with humor and creativity will help the book resonate with female readers. For readers who enjoy female focused stories of achievement, art and creativity, and of course cats, I would definitely recommend Finding Molly

Rating: 3.5/5 Cups

What's Next, Wednesday (47)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.


I'm looking forward to...

M.A.R.R.I.E.D. by Lindsay Marie Miller. This book is a sequel to a book I reviewed last year, S.I.N.G.L.E. I'm interested to see the 'happily ever after' Jessie and Graham are finally together and their wedding is on the horizon, but it doesn't seem like they'll make it down the aisle before a few stumbles. The first book was a little repetitious in its events, so we'll see how this one goes. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Teaser Tuesday (256)

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• 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! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


Storm of Attraction (Kindle 11%)
   - Lily Black

She knew Keri didn't understand her reluctance to go to the police, and she wasn't sure she understood it herself. She just knew -- from painful experience -- that getting the police involved meant paperwork, questions, and a willingness to let them examine every private detail of her life.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Smugglers and Scones (Moorehaven Mysteries #1)

33512844Pippa Winterbourne runs Moorehaven, the Oregon Coast’s quirkiest bed-and-breakfast and former home of world-famous mystery writer A. Raymond Moore. Guests come there to write their own crime novels. When a real-life murder takes a local’s life and washes a handsome boat pilot into her arms, Pippa is yanked into a deadly plot of her own. A tangle of secrets crashes past into present, and Pippa must uncover clues dating back to Seacrest’s Prohibition days, including a secret Moore himself hid from the world.

Juggling her book-writing guests, small-town intrigues, secret club agendas, and a possibly fatal attraction, Pippa must sort fact from fiction to know who to trust before a desperate killer claims a final revenge nearly a century in the making.

*May Contains Spoilers*

Morgan C. Talbot manages to keep her murder mystery lighthearted in her novel, Smugglers and Scones, where authors are characters and everyone has a good pun about mortal demise. In a town known for a famous mystery writer, it's easy to see how everyone could become a bit of an expert on the subject. Pippa, one of the newest citizens of Seacrest, is the owner of the Moorehaven B&B, tailoring to authors while offering an almost perfect writer's retreat. 

Pippa Winterbourne is a woman in her early twenties in charge of a deceased mystery writer's mansion that has been converted to a bed and breakfast. She spends a lot of her time being a sounding board to authors, baking up brain food, and generally taking care of all things bed and breakfast related. She even hosts events for the authors, including book signings and meet and greets. Pippa's honesty about her former romantic relationships will provide a foundation for an emotional connection with readers, while her creative mind and intuitive nature will give her credibility as a strong female character. 

Though the town has always been full of mystery (writers), the event of an actual murder throws everyone for a loop, including Pippa. When a boat crashes and Pippa is the first to arrive on scene, she saves the life of a young man named Lake. It isn't until the crash is investigated that it's revealed a murder was committed on board the destroyed ship. Though Lake is the prime suspect, something about him tells Pippa he isn't the murderer. Not able to stay out of all the hubbub, Pippa participates in trying to find the murderer and this situation of conflict allows Pippa's bravery and intelligence to shine. 

The best part about this book is the mixture of humor and mortal danger. Talbot does a fantastic job in keeping the book light and fun while the threat of a killer on the loose shakes up the little town of Seacrest. The fact that the town is known for mystery writers helps add to this air of lightness. If everyone wasn't so familiar with the idea of murder, revenge, motive, and justice, then the surprising murder would have undoubtedly driven the whole town to live in fear. This familiarity with mystery and murder plots allows the people in the town to continue their lives, while their intrigue drives them to help solve the crime. Even the authors that are staying at the bed and breakfast jump in, ready and willing to live in a 'true, real life' investigation in order to gain experience that will translate to make their writing better and more believable. 

Talbot also makes the murder mystery more interesting by connecting it back to the original mystery writer of Seacrest, A. Raymond Moore. The combination of past and present works to create a large web of mystery that involves various characters and their relationships with one another. Smugglers and Scones is as reader friendly as a murder mystery can be, giving readers a slight buzz of danger while evoking a few laugh out loud moments. I would definitely recommend this book to readers who enjoy easy to read, lighthearted stories, that are fun and intriguing. 

Rating: 4/5 Cups

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Scattered Souls (Flames of Time #2)

32699788Ava Flynn is cursed.

After barely surviving an epic battle between her warring soul mates, Ava is stranded in the past with Laith, while Maddox frantically searches across the decades. Laith will stop at nothing to prove his love to Ava, and a desperate Maddox must race against time to find her before his brother can win her heart.

Torn between the two brothers, and with her eternal soul at stake, Ava comes to the horrifying conclusion that only she can break the curse. But the cost may be more than she is willing to pay.

*May Contain Spoilers*

The curse continues in the Flames of Time series with Scattered Souls by Erica Lucke Dean. Though I did not read the first book in this series, I definitely should have. I think it would have helped me have a better connection to Ava as well as understand the curse more fully and see both Maddox and Laith more clearly. But I just couldn't say no to reading this book. 

Ava Flynn: teenage soul reincarnation of a young woman named Elizabeth who committed suicide after finding out that she had two soul mates who hated each other and would never let her live her life in peace with just one of them. Ava, as her own person, is still suffering from the loss of her father while living with her mother and brother in Maine. As the reincarnated soul of Elizabeth, Ava is destined to love both Maddox and Laith, twin brothers who suffer from a terrible curse of sharing a soul, though it resides divided in both bodies. This sequel to Splintered Souls does a good job in explaining that Ava has feelings for both young men and is just as confused as Elizabeth was. 

However, at the beginning of this book, Ava was just saved/kidnapped by Laith, the brother she originally wasn't too impressed with, from certain death involving falling off a cliff. Instead of letting her die, Laith jumped over the cliffside, grabbed Ava as they both fell, and time traveled them to the past. 1928 to be specific. Yes, that's right -- time travel. A big reason I couldn't not read this book. I think this shows an important part of Laith's character as he put his own life in danger to help Ava, even though at the time she was involved with Maddox. 

Laith and Maddox seem to be complete opposites in this series except for the glaringly obvious part about them being soul mates with the same woman. This literary technique, called foil, is used to compare and contrast a main character in order to highlight certain attributes. In this book specifically, Maddox's obsession and insane perseverance highlight Laith's good qualities even though he was made out to be the 'bad' brother. As the story progresses, Laith slowly evolves into the 'good' brother while Maddox simultaneously shows his true colors as being completely insane. 

As Dean wanted, throughout the first half of the book, I did not like Laith. I thought it was wrong that he saved her life only to take her back in time and keep her to himself, hiding her from Maddox. Ava's feelings for Maddox both turned on alarm bells for Laith as well as blurred the true nature of Maddox. This works to put readers into the same position as Ava herself: Which brother has the truer intentions? Also, which brother is being honest in his personal representation and which one just wants to have Ava to beat the other? 

I really enjoyed how put in this strange situation, Ava refused to sit it out and let the boys decide what was best for her. She shows bravery and courage when she decides to steal Laith's stone, travel back in time, and figure out how to stop the boys from being cursed in the first place. Though it proves not to be very successful, as the past resists being changed, I admired Ava for attempting it. 

I also liked how Dean dealt with the small paradoxes of time travel. Her terms like 'jet wash' really helped explain how it works in the confines of this novel and this curse. 

The only real problem I had with this book was the dialogue. Not between the modern day characters like Ava, Laith, and Maddox, but with the characters from the past. As a student of English literature, the people in England from the 1600s would have spoken Early Modern English and therefore, there would have been a little difficulty in Ava understanding them and vice versa. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it bothered me that Ava could converse with the characters in the 1600s so easily. Though Ava's modern references definitely added a bit of humor to the more serious situations she experienced while in the past.

In regards to the plot, the main focus is the love triangle between Ava, Maddox, and Laith. The first half of the book works more as a character reveal of Laith as Maddox searches through time to find where Laith is hiding Ava. When Ava realizes that neither brother will submit his half of the soul to the other, she decides to take things into her own hands and try to stop the curse from ever being placed to begin with.

I think readers who enjoy time travel and love stories will enjoy this book, and perhaps this series as a whole. I know I feel invested in how this series ends and will look forward to reading the next installment as there was a huge cliffhanger ending. However, I do highly recommend starting from book one. I usually try to follow this advice, but sometimes I just can't wait. 

Rating: 3/5 Cups

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Warped Ambition (Jo Riskin Mysteries #1)

31943344When the battered body of a teenage girl is found in a dumpster, Lieutenant Jo Riskin is called to take the case. Investigating with her partner, Detective Lynae Parker, Jo uncovers secrets, loyalties, and ambitions that give motives to a surprising number of suspects , including a boyfriend from the wrong side of the tracks.

While immersed in her current case, Jo is battling her own personal demons. After two years, she is still grieving over the loss of her husband, who was killed in the line of duty. New information that could help solve his murder, and let her move on with her life, is within her grasp.

Barricading her heart, Jo is determined to solve both cases and bring the killers to justice.

*May Contain Spoilers*

The title fits the crime, and the criminal, in the mystery novel, Warped Ambition by Debbie S. Tenbrink. Joellen Riskin battles her demons while she fights to solve the murder of a fifteen year old girl and maybe even find the man who killed her husband. 

Jo, short for Joellen, is a woman who has lost the most important person in her life. She struggles to stay sane as she works as a detective for the Grand Rapids Police Department. For a woman in so much pain, Jo hides it well. Though her mind wanders to Mike constantly, she keeps her main focus on her case. I couldn't help but instantly connect with Jo. First of all, I have a deep respect for any police officer, especially female officers. It's a tough job and they step up. Jo's the same way in this book. And second of all, Tenbrink does a fantastic job at balancing Jo's struggles with her bravery, courage, and persistence. I think readers will sympathetically connect with Jo while enjoying her playful attitude, when it does creep out. Tenbrink sets up an interesting dynamic between Jo and her current case which also works to bring readers into Jo's circle.

The fifteen year old who is the victim of the murder was also pregnant. At the beginning of the novel, the young girl decides to not go through with the abortion she had planned and is killed for that decision. It's Jo's job to find out why and who would kill over this unplanned pregnancy. At the same time, Jo keeps searching for clues to her husband's unclosed case. The death of which caused her to miscarry because of the stress and despair that Jo experienced upon losing her husband. This dynamic works both for and against Jo as her personal experiences open her up to be vulnerable. Though, it turns out to be a good thing, as it brings her closer to her partner, Lynae. 

The plot of Warped Ambition is messy with multiple suspects and clues that all point to different people. I think all of which are placed nicely in with the unfolding case. Though it was a little easy to figure out who the killer actually was, kind of like a neon sign blinking in my face. (However, to be fair, I read a lot of mystery novels.) My favorite thing about the book was the balance between personal struggles, detective work, and the case related to the death of Jo's husband. Tenbrink created a three dimensional world for Jo to work and move within. I always like when I get to see more of the 'real' life of the characters, outside the office and the mystery. I think it adds to the reader/character connection greatly. 

I am looking forward to future installments of this series. I like Tenbrink's writing style as well as her character development. I also like (and dislike) how it seems there's much more to Jo's husband's case that hasn't been revealed yet. So I'm definitely excited to see where that goes. I think readers who enjoy a strong, yet understandable, main character and the murder mystery / crime thriller genre will enjoy this book, and probably this series. 

Rating: 3.5/5 Cups

What's Next, Wednesday (46)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.


I'm looking forward to...

Scattered Souls (Flames of Time #2) by Erica Lucke Dean. Though I haven't read the first book in this series, I'm jumping right in for two reasons. One - I've read Dean before and she didn't disappoint. And two - I really love time travel books! In this novel, Ava has been taken to the past by Laith, while his twin, Maddox, is jumping through time trying to find them. All three are connected by their souls but they're simultaneously cursed. Sounds exciting right? 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Teaser Tuesday (255)

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• 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! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


Warped Ambition
(Kindle 81%)
   - Debbie S. Tenbrink

Sliding her phone back into her pocket, Jo smirked at Jack. "You can get me that warrant now. We have our smoking gun."

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Fixer: The Killing Kind (Katerina Mills #2)

32791422Kat’s back and in over her head with crooks, cops... and killers.

Christmas is around the corner but professional “fixer” Katerina Mills isn't feeling the holiday spirit, juggling college classes, a lovesick cop, and demanding clients.

Obnoxious hedge fund manager Simon Marcus wants his prized Porsche back from his vengeful wife. The job is hard enough until wise guy Anthony DeSucci shows up and orders her to bring the car to him.

Rock star writer, Paul Patel needs something “special” to finish his next bestseller, something that will get Katerina a “Go Straight to Jail” card if she gets caught.

And what about mysterious Thomas Gallagher? His jobs are simple and easy. Is he just a bored billionaire, or is he watching Kat’s every move, making his own plans for her?

As the jobs heat up, handsome, elusive thief Alexander Winter re-enters Kat’s life to tutor her in all things criminal. But can she trust him?

Katerina Mills is still haunted by her first assignment...and her first assignment is about to come back to haunt her...a deadly enemy who's closer than she thinks...

*May Contain Spoilers*

Would you believe that Miss Katerina Mills is just trying to pay for college and get into law school? Jill Amy Rosenblatt combines action with sarcasm in her novel, The Fixer: The Killing Kind, the second book in the Katerina Mills series. As Katerina attempts to make money to pay for her real career, she dabbles in the criminal sector, working as a fixer. Fixing anything and everything that's thrown at her. But this time, she might be in over her head. 

I didn't read the first book in this series, so I was a little nervous that I wouldn't catch up with the story in this sequel. Though the details are still blurry, I think I got the gist enough to completely understand this book. However, there are a lot of characters right off the bat who obviously claimed their spot in book one. That makes it a little confusing to keep everyone straight, especially with short action filled chapters. 

Regardless, Katerina is the main character and she's drowning in work. It seems a lot of bad people need things fixed. Though she struggles to juggle everything, I feel like she does keep her head above water for the most part. Katerina's character is nervous but committed, afraid but determined, and sarcastic yet smart. The only main flaw Katerina has is that she isn't perfect at being a criminal yet. But when she gets pushed to the edge, it's bravery mixed with stupidity and sharp commands all the way. And there are a few criminals in the bunch who do push her to the edge. Although, one main thing I didn't like about Katerina was the detective boyfriend who, technically, wasn't her boyfriend. The way she treated him didn't sit well with me, even though I understand she needed any information she could gather. (But to be honest, I didn't really like Ryan either. I think he's a bit too pushy.) 

For supporting cast, I really enjoyed Moose's character. He's the owner of a chop shop and steals cars aplenty, or has others steal them for him. The conversations between Katerina and Moose were the most funny to me and added a lighter air to dangerous overtones of the novel. And even though they bartered back and forth about this and that, Moose stepped up when Katerina needed him, proving he was a solid, and dependable, man even though he was also a criminal. And of course, I liked Alex Winter with his OCD and caring nature. I really liked how Rosenblatt associated certain colors (white, cream, beige) with Alex, symbolizing not only his mental anguish for everything to be pristine, but also his work as a 'ghost.' His feelings for Katerina are real, I think, and it will be interesting to see how the next book works to bring them together or threaten their entire relationship.

The most interesting aspect about this novel is that nearly everyone is a criminal, so as a reader you kind of put that aside and draw a line between good criminals and bad criminals. I think it's interesting that an author is able to do that, blur the line between right and wrong, and I think it gives a nice depth to the novel. Once I started this book, it was tough to put it down. The Fixer: The Killing Kind is action packed with surprises behind every locked door.

Rating: 3.5/5 Cups

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

All Darling Children

30462067All boys grow up, except one.

On the tenth anniversary of her mother's death, fourteen-year-old Madge Darling’s grandmother suffers a heart attack. With the overbearing Grandma Wendy in the hospital, Madge runs away to Chicago, intent on tracking down a woman she believes is actually her mother.

On her way to the Windy City, a boy named Peter Pan lures Madge to Neverland, a magical place where children can remain young forever. While Pan plays puppet master in a twisted game only he understands, Madge discovers the disturbing price of Peter Pan's eternal youth.

*May Contain Spoilers*

The story of Peter Pan continues with All Darling Children by Katrina Monroe. Wendy Darling has grown up. When she had a daughter, Jane, something happened and she disappeared. Wendy swears she's deceased, but Margaret (Madge), Wendy's granddaughter refuses to believe that. Madge is the main character of this adventure to Neverland, after she's visited by Peter and told that he can take her to her mother. 

Neverland has never seemed like the most inviting and safe place and Madge is in for a nightmarish collection of games when she arrives in Neverland. Madge is a young girl who has always been shunned and mistreated by her grandmother. Locked away constantly, Madge wants nothing more than to escape. Her persistence not only gets her into more trouble with Wendy, it also introduces her to the world of Peter Pan. When she meets the Lost Boys in Neverland, she fears them but also comes to care for a few of them. She sees the awfulness Peter puts them through and wants to help. Readers will side with her on this and support her resistance of Peter's methods. However, there is a mean streak underneath Madge's caring exterior. A streak that gives her the edge to perhaps finally defeat Peter Pan, which Tiger Lily and Hook have been trying to do for years. Madge is a brave little girl who depends on herself. She's the heroine of this story, but details about her family history make me wonder if she'll remain the hero after her plan to defeat Pan is complete. 

Captain Hook and Tiger Lily also play important roles in this story, supporting Madge and pushing her to defeat Peter Pan. Though Hook is now a ghost who cannot actually help in any physical way, he provides important advice and guidance for Madge and Tiger Lily. Tiger Lily is the next chief of the Red Men and she must fight for her people's survival, as Peter consistently attacks their camps. She pushed Madge to destroy Peter, but doesn't worry about what consequences Madge will face if she succeeds. 

The plot of All Darling Children is all based around the destruction of Peter Pan. Madge visits Neverland and though she enjoys the island, she is also afraid. She learns that Peter is not just a boy who likes to have fun and never wants to grow up. He's a boy with a wicked sense of humor and a severe lack of morals. Though Peter Pan is usually thought of as a children's story, this continuation of Peter Pan is anything but. The book contains adult language, adult situations, and a few grisly scenes. Readers who enjoy fantasy and fairy tales, I believe, will enjoy this book, but the mindset needs to be more adult than you'd think because this fairy tale has a dark side. And it may not be over... 

Rating: 3/5 Cups

What's Next, Wednesday (45)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.


I'm looking forward to...

The Fixer: The Killing Kind by Jill Amy Rosenblatt. A college girl who works as a 'fixer' struggles to keep everything separate as her assignment list grows. This book is a sequel so I am a little nervous that this book will struggle to stand alone, but I'm also excited. It seems like this book is going to be a wild ride from beginning to end and I can't wait to see what a 'fixer' actually does and how Katerina survives the (sometimes) criminal world. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Teaser Tuesday (254)

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• 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! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


All Darling Children (62% Kindle)
   - Katrina Monroe

"I still don't understand what's happening."
"What's happening," Pan said, "is the assured, continued existence of Neverland."

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1)

25494343In a kingdom by the sea…

In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.

A parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?

The darkly magical world of Shadowhunters has captured the imaginations of millions of readers across the globe. Join the adventure in Lady Midnight, the long-awaited first volume of a new trilogy from Cassandra Clare.

*May Contain Spoilers*

First off, it just feels so great having another Shadowhunter series to dive into. I cannot believe I waited this long to read Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare, especially when it was everything I thought it was going to be. At the end of the Mortal Instruments series, Emma Carstairs and the Blackthorns are introduced as fellow victims of Sebastian. In Lady Midnight, it's been five years since Sebastian Morgenstern used his army to attack institutes around the world and Emma is still looking into the death of her parents. Her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn has also grown, into the big brother who takes care of everything for his brothers and sisters: Livvy, Dru, Ty, and Tavvy. He even takes care of the Los Angelos Institute itself. 

Emma Carstairs is a very different female main character than Clary Fairchild. And I mean that in the best way possible. Clare gave Emma her own brand of badass which includes being obsessed with training. Emma trains constantly. Her dedication to being in danger is entertaining and obviously dangerous, which is also entertaining. Yet, Emma is a scarred girl. She is so focused on getting revenge for her parents, figuring out who killed them, that she'll stop at nothing, often breaking laws. Readers will witness two sides to Emma. The first is witty, sarcastic, bold, and strong. The second is scared, hopeful, cautious, and caring. All of these characteristics work together to create a very complex main character that will undoubtedly grow through this series. 

Julian Blackthorn is Emma's parabatai, but he's sort of been regretting that lately. Julian has a lot of responsibilities on his shoulders. Ever since his brother Mark was taken by the Faerie Hunt, Julian has been the caretaker of his family. He's determined to keep them together so he lies. He lies about his uncle's illness, he lies to his family to protect them, and he lies to Emma about his feelings for her. However, he does somehow hold it all together. Julian is the sort of character that never lets you down. He's caring, he worries, and he understands. I think readers will really enjoy Julian's character while also being afraid for him, as his love for Emma (and her feelings for him) threaten their future as Shadowhunters. 

There are many important characters in this book and Clare does a great job at using the way she writes to help readers gain a deeper sense in regards to each one. She does this in such a way that it works to build the plot while providing intimate details about the cast and creating connection with readers. The plot of Lady Midnight is focused around a spree of killings that include dead faerie languages, various types of victims, seawater, and fire. The M.O. even matches that of Emma's parents. Emma knows that this is it, the chance to find out who killed her mom and dad. If she can solve these murders, then she can gain her revenge. 

Though it's always a lot more complicated than it seems. Clare gives readers a twist at the end that was incredibly surprising and let's just say that perhaps the murderer didn't need Blackthorn blood to succeed... The only thing I didn't really enjoy about the book was the Parabatai curse. I'm assuming that the next books will continue to tackle this, and maybe I'll understand it the more it is explained. But, I didn't like it. I don't want to stand for it. However, we do need to celebrate the return of some amazing characters from previous books including Clary Fairchild, Jace Herondale, Tessa Gray, and Jem Carstairs! And let's not forget the favorite Magnus Bane! Jem and Tessa's story (in the Clockwork series) was amazing and made a fan of Shadowhunters and Clare's fantasy work. To see them again in this new series is going to be fantastic. Don't wait as long as me to read this book! And for any fantasy fans out there, if you haven't read the Shadowhunter series, I highly recommend it. 

Rating: 4.5/5 Cups