Book blogger, chef, gamer, avid reader, hockey fanatic. Potential book hoarder and cat lady.

3 Stars
Great story but translation bogs it down
A Hero Born - Anna Holmwood, Jin Yong

Despite what you read on the covers (e.g. “It’s like Lord of the Rings”) ignore all of that. It’s nothing like it. There is no epic adventure to fight evil (at least not yet - this is the first book in the series). So before you get all disappointed in what the outside quotes say, completely disregard them. 


Translation will always be an issue with these kinds of books. It’s hard to keep it true and coherent. Sometimes you get a good one that is completely comprehensible and makes the reading a journey well worth it. Then you get one like A Hero Born and it’s not the greatest translation. The writing style is dry and hard to get into. Sometimes it gets too descriptive, but other times it’s not descriptive enough. It can be a little long winded at times and it drags - I’m not too sure if that’s because of the run on writing style or the plot itself. Either way by the last third of the book it was getting to be tiresome.


Speaking of the plot, it was good! There’s plenty of action, a bit of intrigue here and there. If you don’t mind something akin to Chinese historical fiction movies with classic martial arts fighting then perhaps this is for you. There are small elements of political intrigue which keeps the story interesting, however keep in mind there are a lot of characters to keep track of, but luckily there is a cast of characters in the beginning of the novel so that should not be a problem. This isn’t a book to put down and turn back to later, this needs to be consistently read you will easily lose your place. 


There’s also several plot arcs that happen throughout the novel so it’s best to keep track of them carefully. They are all intertwined at some point. It’s a great plot and if it wasn’t for the horrible writing/translation.


I don’t know if I could recommend this one to anyone. I would under normal circumstances but the writing just do the plot justice. It’s too bad, it would have been such a great series.

3 Stars
Watch the Friendship Bloom
The Municipalists - Seth Fried

I didn’t imagine I would like this novel much but in fact, I did. It’s a rather quick read but the adventure is quite the ride!


Henry starts off as an average, run of the mill model employee. He pretty much blends in the background and plays by the rules. Sounds uninteresting doesn’t it? He’s got a thing for trains and his past isn’t shining bright considering what happened to his parents. He’s a wallflower with a sad past and he just immerses himself into his work.


Then comes OWEN. 


He changes Henry - a lot. Their friendship is laughable at first and off to a rocky start. (like most when you have an odd couple/opposites in a team) OWEN has wit and a rather unconventional way of solving things whereas Henry likes to stick with the rules. Yet it’s because of OWEN that Henry’s character develops and changes. They end up being a likable pair and they start growing on you despite the rather awkward start. OWEN does provide the comic relief in the story though, he’s a supercomputer you would not mind hanging out with.


The plot is straight to the point and there’s not much in the way of twists and turns. There are a few revelations here and there but it’s mainly about Henry and his view on the world and how it changes. That’s really the main point of the novel. There’s some action scenes and some intrigue but nothing over the top. There are going to be parts that pack a punch but it’s effective as you really do connect with both Henry and OWEN.


 It’s a quick read and an enjoyable one, I say read it for character development and watching the friendship between Henry and OWEN- and enjoy it.

3 Stars
Slow to start, ending was great!
The Nanny - Gilly MacMillan

This one was off to a slow start but it was worth sticking through it. As the story progressed it got more interesting and intriguing. With a really good ending it was well worth the read.


The story alternates between several different points of view. At first, it may seem haphazard and all over the place. At certain times it’s a little confusing and as mentioned earlier, it’s slow to start. The time jumps back and forth also add a bit to the confusion but once you get the characters straightened it makes a whole lot of sense (and adds a lot of the mystery that is scattered throughout the novel)


None of the characters are likable although Virginia starts to grow on you as you learn more about her and what she went through. It’s surprising at first because she comes across as high brow, snobby and doesn’t really treat Jo like she should. As the story goes on however, you figure out why and what was behind her behavior. All the pieces start falling into place and it makes for a real good plot.


As mentioned before, the plot jumps back and forth and may be hard to follow. Eventually everything starts making sense and turns out to be a well written thriller. The ball gets rolling as the story progresses. I have to admit, however , the role of the police in this book wasn’t much of an impact and it looked like they were just there to tie loose ends and to be a filler. Oh well, I suppose the police can’t do everything right?


Well worth the read if you stick with the slow start. Absolutely loved the fitting ending!

3 Stars
Slow plot compromises the book
Early Riser - Jasper Fforde

I enjoyed the concept of this one and the world building. It was interesting and definitely something different. 


Charlie is your lovable loser who doesn’t have much going for him but has this perfect opportunity to do better. Other characters make the story colorful and engaging (The Toccata/Aurora arc is amusing and fun to read). Each character has their own quirks and personality traits which makes the book develop a personality of its own. 


The concept of people going into hibernation, and the viral dreams is interesting and makes the world unique and unbelievable but also fun to read. The world building itself in the novel is also interesting. I took a liking to the Villains and their stamp collecting, although they play a small part in the novel, think of them as elegant pirates with a penchant for stamps. 


So although the characters and the setting is interesting, the plot itself falls flat and is very slow. There’s sporadic moments to carry the book along, but overall the book in its entirety is slow paced. It did feel a bit of a chore to read for the most part which is unfortunate as there the setting and the characters proved to be promising but the plot could have been better.


This was my first Jasper Fforde book, so I’m willing to give the other books a chance as I’m sure they’re better this one. It’s not that I didn’t like reading it, but it was the slow pace of the plot that nearly compromised my attention and rather affected my reading and enjoyment of the book.

3 Stars
Bland and Dry
The Silent Patient - Alex Michaelides

I don’t quite understand what the whole hype is with this book. 


It did go off to a good start and kept me interested in the story, but then it started taking a rather bland and dry turn. It started focusing on Theo’s obsession with Alicia and although it builds up to what happens to be a really good twist at the end, I didn’t think it was a great read.


Theo is just so unlikable and boring. There was nothing about him that really made the story stand out, he started getting annoying afterwards and as mentioned before, it wasn’t until literally the last few pages where the story blows up. 


Yet as the plot progressed, you’re left wondering with what was going to happen next and it’s slowly drawn out and wasn’t grabbing my interest at all. The pace was slow, the plot was rather flat and coupled with an uninteresting main character definitely left the story lacking. 


There seems to be a lot of positive reviews on this, but it’s just not for me. There’s much better suspense novels out there that held my interest more than this one. 


4 Stars
Quick read from cover to cover
No Exit - William Taylor Adams

Oh Lordy! Where do I start with this one!


Let’s say first of all, I could not put this one down. It was very fast paced and you wanted to keep reading until the end. You were on constant pins and needles throughout the novel and it was a job well done. 


You cheered for Darby. She was no nonsense, and kept fighting on even when it felt like there was nowhere to turn to and things started turning really ugly. Yes she obviously did some very stupid mistakes along the way and this may infuriate some readers. However I liked her grit and her determination to keep that child alive. 


The twists in this book is enough to put you on the edge of your seat. It keeps you interested and makes you want to keep reading to see what might be coming up next. I have to admit, the ending seemed a bit outrageous and it got to the point where it was a little over the top in dramatics. However, I’ll forgive for this time as I enjoyed reading this book.


The villains were well created, albeit cruel and horrible. Lars and Ashley do make a rather interesting duo and the little twist involving some bystanders at the rest stop was a nice addition to the plot. I did not care too much for the animal cruelty though, but I suppose it’s to be expected with someone of Ashley’s cruelty and manner. The little subplot involving his uncle was also interesting and adds another dimension to the book (albeit a small one). 


Definitely take the time to read this! It’s a quick fast paced read and you feel the tension and suspense throughout the book. If you can ignore the over the top craziness towards the finale, you’ll find an enjoyable read from start to finish.

4 Stars
Couldn't put this one down.
For Better and Worse - Margot Hunt

**Spoilers ahead, you’ve been warned**


This was an intensely insane book. It was filled with such tension and apprehension that you’re filled with pins and needles all throughout the book. You knew it was inevitable and everything was going to be crumbling down with Nat’s plan but the question was how and when. 


You have to admit, despite everything Nat’s plan was just so well thought out all for one thing - relying on a drug dealer. Of all kinds of people, she relies on one that could (and did) ultimately turned tail and pretty much ruined the entire plan. That was the biggest flaw of the entire thing and you have to wonder if she didn’t rely on him, would the whole thing have worked out?


You have to admire her smarts for pulling this off. Her character is excellent and she’s fiercely protective of her family as a unit (understandably so) it’s almost scary to underestimate her as Will seems to have done (and is still doing.) And it’s so hard to like Will in fact he’s so unlikable you don’t understand why Nat just picks up her things and leaves. Aside from also nearly ruining Nat’s plan he’s pretty much a spineless nitwit and doesn’t contribute much to anything. Nat should have kicked him to the curb a long time ago (or when she found out about his stupidities)


The plot itself was so well done it was hard to stop reading. It pretty much grabs you from cover to cover. It’s seamless with no interruptions, it can get frustrating because of some of their actions, but it’s such a good read. The ending, although everything did come to a close, makes you want to be extra careful of Nat.


I enjoyed reading this one and it’s definitely recommended.

2 Stars
Not what it's hyped up to be
The Hunting Party - Lucy Foley

 I somewhat liked the mystery aspect of the novel. That’s what got me into reading this one in the first place. However it wasn’t what I thought it would and I finished the novel only because I wanted to know who it was that did the murder and the story behind it. 


The plot itself could use a little more as it’s lackluster and not interesting. If you’re looking for a murder mystery that’s a classic whodunit it’s not here. There may be slight similarities to it but it’s really more of a bunch of thirty somethings in a house and something bad happens. The events leading up to the murder are each told in a point of view of a character. 


At first it may be difficult to tell which one is which. You rather forget who is who as the characters are rather bland and uninteresting. Miranda stands out the most but even she’s not that likable. She’s a resentful spiteful twit who likes to step over others and hates their successes as she’s amounted to pretty much nothing. I’ve never seen such a spoiled brat as Miranda. Then you have Katie and Emma who aren’t that interesting either. Although if I had to choose, it’ll be Katie who was somewhat interesting. Until of course, she decides to do something extremely stupid and she ends up being just as spiteful as Miranda. Goodness, I didn’t think I was watching one of those soap operas or reality shows where they have this much drama.


Then there’s Heather and Doug who aren’t a part of the group of friends but they each had their own story to tell. Well not really. Not much was revealed from them except they had horrible pasts. Okay. Details please. It’s nice to have well rounded characters but they ended up being vacant and lifeless. 


The mystery element (what little of it) was there and it came and went throughout the chapters. When all is final and revealed well, it’s all right but it’s not the best either. There’s not much in the way of background information and if there was, not much is given and the characters have no substance at all. The plot comes up empty and the whole thing with Iain, was that meant to be a red herring? This entire story just didn’t amount to what I thought it would. It’s disappointing as I wanted to like the book and was hyped for it. 

Don’t really recommend this one. If you really want to read it, I suggest library take out. Otherwise skip this one entirely. 

5 Stars
Engrossing read, almost finished in one sitting
The Lies We Told - Camilla Way

This one was engaging and a good read overall. I read this one in nearly one sitting because it was that good. The plot itself is engaging and the mystery aspect of it kept you guessing and wondering until nearly the end of the book - and even then there’s still potential after that.


Although the plot was really good, and the writing itself was also well done, I didn’t think much about the characters. Which goes to show how well the writing is. You shake your head at some of the decisions made by some of these characters (all in the name of putting on a good face) but you just feel compelled to follow along to see what will happen. There’s plenty of twists here and there and a breadcrumb trail of clues to follow but what you think might happen, might actually surprise you.


You may, or may not sympathize with Hannah. She had it pretty rough after finding out a life changing truth. On the other hand her actions and personality made you see red. She was awful to the core. If you have ever read Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage, you’ll find similarities between the two girls who are ironically, both named Hannah (spelling varies).


There is room for a sequel, although I think it should end here. Sure, there’s an open ending but it’s not a cliffhanger. It may leave you with some questions but it’s a good enough ending to let things lie. A sequel may be overdoing it and stretching this story unnecessarily.


Such an engrossing read. Give yourself time to read this. Once you open it, you won’t be able to stop reading until it’s done.

5 Stars
Great engrossing read, definitely recommended
The Huntress - Kate Quinn

I loved reading this one! A great blend of action, intrigue and romance complete with a cast of likable characters. Each one with their story to tell and it’s told well. For some background information it would help to read up on the subject of the Night Witches and their exploits during World War II (which is a fascinating subject on its’ own)


Of all the stories to read, Nina’s naturally, is the most interesting. She’s a wild child, does her own thing and doesn’t care about norms, conventions, and rules. She does her own thing but joins up with her squad not because of the love of her land and country but because she loves to fly. It’s her passion and it shows. I love reading about Nina because of her free spirited attitude and her drive. It’s what keeps her going.


The plot is free flowing and the chapters goes back and forth time-wise, and changes perspective depending on the character. Besides Nina, Jordan’s point of view is also interesting. She’s also got an independent streak in her and it’s nice to see her go on her own path based on her decisions. It’s unheard of back then in the day (we’re talking about 1950’s here) so it’s nice to read.


The writing is excellent and it grabs your attention from page one. I rather wish there was a small glossary to see what Nina says in Russian (although I’m sure it’s rather colorful language) but other than that small bit, the characters are engaging, and it’s nice how they all come together in the last third of the book.


The Author’s Note is also good for explaining what she’s done historical speaking wise. If you are stickler for history perhaps this isn’t for you - it’s more character and story driven. Still an engrossing read and greatly recommended!

4 Stars
Emotional read...yes this stuff really did happen in the last century
Darktown: A Novel - Thomas Mullen

This is such a great powerful read. On one hand you feel like going into the book and start punching every bigot you see since they’re such awful hateful people. Yet on the other hand, you feel for Boggs and Smith. They’re trying so hard to elevate themselves and make everything a better place for the community and pretty much for their race. Yet they’re non stop met with opposition from both sides and it’s disheartening to see yet the most awful thing about all of this is, this all happened in the last century. It’s mind blowing and horrible how humans are but it’s a reality we all must know and be aware of.


The plot itself was very interesting and the pace is steady. There’s plenty of characters to read about and the supporting characters gives the story plenty of substance. The emotions and tensions are dutifully felt in the book and you can only read on with the feeling of hopelessness as Boggs and Smith attempt to try and do their jobs as best as they can but they’re thwarted at every turn. It’s amazing they stick with the job, and admirable because of the amazing amount of strength and grit they display to go through all the obstacles they face while trying to do their investigation.


The plot was also good at showing both sides of the story. Besides Boggs and Smith you also have Rakestraw who seems more moderate thinking than the rest of the characters, his behavior is certainly different and he tries to be understanding - however still maintaining his superiority mentality. It’s a start I suppose to eradicate this kind of behavior in a character but you can’t help but feel frustrated as this type of hatred and belief that is so deeply ingrained in everything; in society, thinking, in life. It’s horrible to see and to think this type of behavior still persists in other forms and methods.


Definitely recommend this read despite the awful things some characters do in the book. It’s eye opening and gripping read. It will elicit powerful emotions but it’s accurate and detailed. No sugar coating here but the truth. Worth the read.

3 Stars
Slow steady plot, take it or leave it
Saving Meghan - D.J. Palmer

The pace of this plot was steady and although it did keep your reading and page turning, there just didn’t seem to be enough to get me to really like the book. Yes I was intrigued by what was going to happen next, if everything was really all in Becky’s head, if there were other things behind it, or if Meghan really was sick with some weird rare condition.


The mystery aspect of it was not too bad and getting to the bottom of it was basically what carried the novel for me. It did feel like bits here and there were dragging and by the last third of the book I pretty much wanted it over with as it was just getting too much. You really do feel for Meghan here because she’s caught between both her parents and you can feel her isolation.


I don’t feel much for the other characters mentioned in the book. They’re really not that likable - Meghan would probably be the one I like the most in this book but even then her personality is flat and not that much substance is put into anyone.


The last third of the book got me to forgive the slow dragging plot. It was like watching an avalanche go down a hill and the pace got super quick after that. It was enough to get me to forgive the book for the slow dragging plot as I pretty much wanted to know what was the final outcome and what was the ending of it all.


Slow plot, great mystery aspect with bland characters, it’s an interesting read and if you’re into the slow build up to a climactic ending, then by all means read it. It was okay for me.

4 Stars
Anti heroes join this great read
The Conqueror's Shadow - Ari Marmell

I haven’t read a good fantasy in such a long time! And this one was excellent! It’s fun to see a bunch of misfit anti heroes come together to try and save the world because not only did they leave on bad terms back then in the day, Corvis actually had the galls to come back to ask them for favors (we all had that one friend didn’t we?)


Each of the characters have their distinct quirk and personality. Also they’re not afraid to tell Corvis how it is (and he surprisingly takes it...which makes them a more fun bunch to read) I can’t really say I have a favorite although I admit I was disappointed in Khanda towards the last half of the book. He definitely had the best and more fun personality to read on but he just *had* to do it didn’t he? (you’ll see when you finish the book)


The plot had a steady pace and it was good. I was actually surprised as to who the Serpent really was as you’d think it was obvious. It was a good surprise and the action in the last third of the book was massive with lots of action. Although it gets pretty dark at times and Corvis isn’t a hero per se (more like a terrorizing horrible despot who decimates towns and villages to his liking) it has black comedy elements in it and overall because of this provides a ‘lightness’ to the story. It helps that the cast of characters have witty retorts and comebacks which also provides a few laughs here and there.


The world building and setting is pretty much your standard fantasy setting that is portrayed in most novels of the genre out there. Nevertheless it doesn’t take away from the novel and still provides a good foundation for it.


A plot rich with a variety of characters, good light banter, and some action is what makes up this book in a nutshell. I definitely recommend it as it was an enjoyable read.

3 Stars
Good Retelling of The Iliad
The Silence of the Girls - Pat Barker

This is a retelling of The Iliad - no need to read it however a bit of the basics of it would help you understand this book more, just for background information.


It can be a rather difficult read. Not to say it’s hard to understand, but more of the detailed subject matter. It’s shocking to read when these women are going through an era where war is prevalent, and the best outcome for them is to be a trophy, instead of a slave. (Although, those two terms are pretty much the same thing if you think about it) It’s scary, and eye opening at the same time. These women go through a lot of trauma and Briseis has it slightly better than the other women out there (which says a lot). They’re pretty much treated like cattle and nothing could be done with it. Unfortunately this is the norm during war.


The relationship between Briseis and Achilles was interesting. Despite the conqueror and war trophy titles, it develops and evolves as Achilles goes though life changing events through the novel. You do however, have a heart for Patroclus. He seemed more human and his friendship with Briseis is what might have kept her going through all this time in the book. In a sense too, she also benefited from being with Achilles (albeit, not her choice)


This is definitely word a read through if you’re interested in Greek Mythology and retellings this is worth the read, despite the slow but steady pace. The retelling of the Iliad from Briseis’ point of view is a good one.

3 Stars
Quick but Disappointing
Creed - Trisha Leaver, Lindsay Currie

This one read out like a B movie. Entertaining for the most part, but then you’re left empty and at times it felt like you were cheated out of a potentially good story. It was over so quickly hence why you get the feeling you were cheated. Which is too bad. The plot had promise, but it fell short.


It started off well. Just enough to get your attention, the creep factor was all set. A breadcrumb trail was set up and it was good enough to keep the plot going steady. Considering the length of the story, you don’t really have the time to connect with the characters, which is all right. I suppose the same would be said of characters in a horror movie. You’re just there to see their untimely end ;)


Despite there being a shocking moment in the book, it wasn’t enough to redeem the plot. There were so many unanswered questions and a rather drab mediocre last third of the book. You wanted to know so much and yet nothing much was produced. I’m not sure if that was meant to be a teaser but it was disappointing.


It was a quick read, this could be considered something to read in between books, or a light one to pass the time. Nothing eye opening or any wow factor will redeem this one. You’re not going to miss much if you pass this on.

4 Stars
Great start to this series (yes I'm late to the party)
Throne of Glass - Sarah J Maas

It can be somewhat on parallel with Hunger Games except on a fantasy setting and sans the dystopia. Celaena is quite the character to like. She’s witty, smart, she’s got the talk and has the walk to prove it, she’s everything you like in a strong female character and more. I love her sass and overall personality.


The plot itself was good and engaging to read. There’s a mix of everything. Mystery, intrigue, action, and romance. I’d have to say it’s a little bit too much of a mix. I was really more into reading about the competition and Celaena’s skills. The mystery aspect did not really capture my attention and didn’t think it was very exciting. Sure, it did keep you guessing but it wasn’t filled with any twists and turns one might expect in a mystery.  The romance was all right although I also didn’t think a love triangle was necessary in this one. (It was pretty hard to choose which one of the two were better. They both had their qualities that made them likable so I’m going to sit on the fence and be neutral on this)


I also enjoyed reading into Celaena’s and Nehemia’s friendship. I rather liked the bond they shared and Nehemia can hold her own as well so I liked how the two of them shared some common ground.


The ending was excellent and I’m going to be reading the rest of this. I hear it gets better! So I’m looking forward to getting the second.