Monday, January 23, 2023

Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff: Aurora Rising

In the first in a new series Kaufman and Kristoff take on a intergalactic space travel where to ensure the future of worlds, lies with a young woman from the past:

The year is 2380 and the cadets from the Aurora Academy are extremely excited to be graduating and to start their missions. Instead of being part of the graduation, star pupil Tyler Jones responds to a distress call to a ship that had been missing for hundreds of years. So although Tyler was a Hero with the rescue mission, he missed the draft to pick his team, so instead of having the dream team, he is left with the recruits that no one wanted (other than his sister and best friend). They accept their first mission but something is not right especially when they discover the woman, Auri, that Tyler rescued stowed away on their ship. Auri is a woman out of time and space but seems to be the key to many things and possibly the catalyst for war. Now this team of misfits must race across space as they are the last hope to save the galaxy.

This is the first book that I have read by Kaufman and Kristoff (yes do not come for me, I have not read their Illuminate series) and I really enjoyed this book. I do not read too many sci-fi books as I can get lost in the technical terms and all the science they try to put on the reader, but I found this book was easy to read, follow and understand. I really enjoyed that they were able to create such an intricate world with different species without getting too technical about it. 

Wow that was quite a ride, and I really enjoyed this book and I loved that each character had their own chapters to give their POV of what was happening around them. You will tend to like some characters more than others, which happens in any book, but was I the one who I liked best was Zila . I know she had extremely short chapters but she is awesome in her craziness and sociopathic natures. There really is a character that anyone to like in this book and I didn't really find fault with any of the characters in the book, they are all different enough that they do not begin to sound the same.

When the bad guy is fully revealed, it was just wow, truly wow that is a scary beast, that I would not want to mess with. I am really looking forward to see how Kaufman & Kristoff use what the bad guy is capable of and how far they are entrenched in the worlds/society that this book takes place in. From where they are in this book it already seems pretty far.

So far it seems like there is not going to be any type of love triangle which is common in YA novels, so I am happy for that. Is there some relationships that appear to be developing, Yes, but they do not overshadow the overall story.

Loved this book and I wish I would have read it sooner (but also glad that the other 2 books in the series have already been released). I cannot wait to see where Kaufman & Kristoff takes this series.

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Monday, January 16, 2023

Kate Alice Marshall: What Lies in the Woods

In Kate Alice Marshall's latest novel she shows that confronting your past can be deadly:

Naomi, Cass and Olivia have been best friends since kindgarden, and they would spent their days and summers in the forest, playing and creating games. The last summer is was the Goddess Game, but it suddenly ended when Naomi was attacked but miraciously survived the 17 stab wounds and along with Cass and Olivia they were able to ID the man that hurt her. The girls were seen as heroes, but the problem is that they all lied. Now 22 years later. when he dies suddendly in prison, Naomi feels obligated to head home where she discovers that Olivia wants to tell the truth. Naomi has been running from the truth for this long, but she feels she is finally ready to face what happened that night and what really happened. But this town has many secrets and it is a dangerous game to seek out the truth.

Alright, start the car and go grab this book if you want to read a really good mystery with a side of thrills. This is how you write a book. I was hooked from the very beginning and would have read this book in one sitting if I could have. I enjoyed the main characer, the flow, the mystery and multiple twists and turns along the way. I also loved the setting with the a small town secrets to spare and so many are revealled along the way in this book. 

Alright it has been a long time since I have read a book that had so many twists and turns throughout that had me questioning thing throughout the story. Was I able to figure it out before the end, Yes, but that did not stop me from questioning what I thought as well wanting me to read more and more to see if I was right. I think that what Marshall did really well was there were so many people that Naomi could not trust around her and the small town if full of secrets and those trying to protect themselves. I enjoyed that the book was dealing with a mystery in the past that had some present day consequences for many individuals within the town. I wouldnt say that this book is a thriller though as that has different set of parameters for me, there are some thrilling moments but it is not constant in the book. It is mainly about Naomi trying to figure out what happened that night 22 years ago and whether she sent the wrong man to prison with her lie.

Naomi was an interesting character to have the story told through as she is not a realiable character when she is reliving the events of the past, as what happened to her she can physically cannot remember what happened the night that changed her life forever. I love that Naomi does not shy away from what her body and face look like. She never covers her scar that bisects part of her face. To say Naomi has some issues may be an understatement. She can be hard to like as a character at times but if you survived 17 stab wounds one of which disfigured your face, I’m thinking issues are bound to happen 

This was a great mystery novel that had many aspects that I love in  mystery book. I cannot wait to read her other works and to see what she is able to come out with next. 

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Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Laken Cane: Blood Magic

You will need to read the first book in this series, Broken Moon, to understand the characters and relationships plus one of the bad guys that Kait fights is also in this book.

Laken Cane is back with her next book in her Kait Silver series, Kait finds out just how much darkness is in the supernatural world:

Kait has been flung into the supernatural world with the release of her wolf and though she has craved to be part of a pack, she's not sure if she or the pack is ready for that yet. Kait's power is growing and she is itching for a job, so when a human walks in and want to hire her to go after a Master Vampire, she is all in. But this world is new to Kait and her actions have some serious consequesces as not only is she going to have to deal with the vampires but a certian Demon comes calling and he will stop at nothing to get his knife back.

This was a good follow up book to the first one but it just didn’t hit like the first one did, and I think it was a the pacing. It would go super fast then super slow and the fight scenes were on point for me but I’m not sure just the flow was just off to me. I think that Cane tried to do too much in this book, this book could have been about 3 books in one. I don’t mind multiple cases or bad guys but none of the stories seemed completely fleshed out and just rushed through our. I also didn’t like that what drew me to the first book, Kait being a loan wolf whose power was hobbled was already taken care of.

I like that Cane like to introduce different creatures in her book (not as many as the first book), especially in the final vampire battle that was pretty cool. And I loved that the Vampires were not weak beautiful kind but deadly, torture those around you kind. Makes the big bad that much worse in this book

It was a little tiring hear her talk about how she’s the baddest one in the room, I mean I like a kickass heroine and all but they don’t need to brag about it. Kait also seems to have endless power that has not yet been fully explained and nothing seems to really hurt her or keep her down for long.

I did like this book, but not as much as the first. I will continue on in the series to see where Laken takes this series and characters plus this book is a lot darker than I thought it would be, which I am here for.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Stacy Willingham: All the Dangerous Things

Stacy Willingham shows that a mother will stop at nothing to find her son, whether he is dead or alive

On year ago, the unthinkable happens, Isabelle's toddler son, Mason, is taken from his crib at night and has not been seen since. The only evidence is an open window and Mason's dragon found a short distance away. With little evidence and no leads, Isabelle fears that her son's case will be lost in the shuffle of time. She decides to take her story to true crime conferences around the country in order to keep the case in the spotlight. Ever since Mason has disappeared Isabelle has not been able to sleep and it has been affecting her entire life but entire existence is about finding Mason. In the hopes of stirring new information, she agrees to be interviewed by a true crime podcaster, who has has success in the past with finding someone who was missing, but Isabelle is not sure she can trust him as some things are not adding up. Will Isabelle be able to find Mason, or is Mason not the only one who is in trouble of disappearing.

This is a good read but I am not going to lie, it is slow...I was honestly questioning if I should con6tinue on reading it at the 50% as nothing had happened. Once you hit around the 75% mark things start to happen but it was quite a drag to hey there. So does the last 25 % make up for the previous 75% being slow. Yes and No. I mean the twists were well done but I was able to figure out one of the twists and most of the other. But I struggled reading this book as at times as there appeared to be nothing happening other than Isabelle questioning herself and you can only do that so much. Isabelle is really more concerned about the past and what happened to her sister, and there is no additional investigation really done with regards to what happened to Mason, is just sort of comes together in that last 25%.

I like the format that Willingham has done in both their books, with 2 mysteries occurring but at different time periods but yet they are related in some way. I also appreciate that this book's plot is completely different from Willingham's debut novel, though I will say the formula is similar.

I appreciate that it talks about how difficult motherhood can be and how people put on it’s perfect face to try to cover it up and still feel ashamed when they talk about how difficult it can be. This really plays well into the plot of the book as Isabelle becomes a unreliable narrator with her lack of sleep and not knowing if she has done things while sleep walking or when her insomnia gets really bad we are reminded more than once that this can cause hallucinations. You cannot help but feel sorry for Isabelle, throughout the story, everything that she has gone through, the lack of support she receives and just her never-ending relentlessness to find her son.

I do like Willingham's writing style/format and that both of her books have been creative, I just wish this one was more fast paced instead of just all coming together in the end. I will read the another book by Willingham to see what she can come up with next

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Friday, December 30, 2022

Amy Lea: Set on You

In the her debut novel, Amy Lea shows the pros and cons of having a gym enemy:

Trolls are some of the most harmful people on the internet, but curvy fitness instructor and influencer Crystal Chen has built her career shattering gym stereotypes and encouraging people to love themselves no matter what. When there is a new guy at the gym who seems intent on always taking her space and machines, sparks fly and a gym competition begins. What they did not expect is to run into each other outside of the gym in a most awkward situation, and they decide to have a truce. Bonding over family fitness, DM chats and pick up lines, Crystal thinks she has found her soulmate. But there is always the niggling in the back of her mind that Scott is too good for her and when a photo of them goes viral, the Trolls are out in full force and it will test the strength of not only themselves but their relationship too.

First off the only reason I picked up this book was due to the fact that the main male lead was based upon Chris Evans (and I am not really sure I see it other than that is how he described as looking like). So now you know my motivation going in. This is a cute book, but almost too cute at times for me. I just wanted more to the story than just a relationship.

I wasn’t really able to connect with the main character for some reason. This is not to say I did not feel for her, some of the trolls that are highlighted in the book are just awful but I just could not relate. Also some of the drama that occurred I did not understand what the overall big deal was and I do not think that Lea did a good enough job explaining it. I have never had to deal with trolls but I can imagine the hurt you could feel if you got it everyday especially in relation to your life and your life choices. I will say it was great to see Crystal grow as a character in the book and change her opinion on the whole body positive idea, as it truly is a struggle to love yourself (inside and out) all the time.

I did like how the relationship started between Crystal and Scott and I was invested in it from the beginning with them being gym enemies to that steamy locker room scene, I just wanted something more to happen in the book other than their relationship. Yes, I know that this is a contemporary romance book but I have read others in this genre and the plot/stories just seemed more robust. I felt that a lot of Crystal's influencer life and her getting the bigger and new contracts was pushed to the side in the story just to highlight the romance. I was also expecting more sex in the book as well, and I think people will be shocked that there will be less than you think as I said the book is cute.

I love the message that is presented throughout especially at the end that we don’t have to love ourselves all the time but things will get better. 

I don’t think I will read the next book in the series it was just a bit too cute and romance based for me but I know there are many people out there that loved this book but if you don't constantly read in this genre then this one may not be for you too.

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Friday, December 23, 2022

Simone St. James: The Book of Cold Cases

Simone St. James shows that secrets in a small town will always haunt you:

1977, the town of Claire Lake, Oregon, is shaken by the murder of two random men and the only clue is a witness sees a women fleeing the scene. The murderer is coined the Lady Killer. In 1977, Beth Greer not only fit the description of the suspect but was an eccentric and rich 23 old women, and the community was shocked when she was acquitted. Beth became a recluse after that. Now in 2017 Shae Collins is a receptionist by day and the authors of The Book of a old Cases by night, her true passion. On a chance meeting Shae asks Beth if she can interview her about the Lady Killer case and shockingly Beth agrees. Shae thinks this is a chance of a lifetime but there is something off about Beth and the house she lives in and Shae cannot help feel if she is being manipulated by a master and that darkness is coming. 

I enjoyed this book and really like St. Jame’s writing style and format but I think I would have enjoyed it more if the paranormal/ghost aspect would have been intilized more. I actually did not realize that this book was going to have a paranormal aspect till I was reading it. 

The serial killer aspect and overall mystery aspect was interesting and well done but I was able to figure the big twist about halfway through the book and there weren’t a lot of twists and turns along the way to change my mind. But I still enjoyed how it all played out. Plus this book takes place in a small town, rich family with secrets, I’m a sucker for this setting.

I like the overal concept of the book, with our main character Shae having a crime blog (The Book of Cold Cases) where she delves into crimes that Have remained cold finding as much information as she can as well as having debates with people who follow her site. I feel like this is very Now, with the amount of pod casts and sites dedicated to this very concept and this is not the first book I have read that has used this concept. There is something about the armchair investigators that is appearing more and more in books.

I found that Beth was the more interesting of the two characters, this is not to say Shae was interesting (her past is very tragic) just Beth’s POV was more dynamic and St. James really used her POV to show the crimes of the past as well as what everyone thought of her then and now.

This was a good book and the first I have read by St. James and I look forward to reading her other works as I do like her style.

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