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The Fool (Virtual Arcana Book 0)
The Fool (Virtual Arcana Book 0)
Price: $0.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Start!, November 8, 2014
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Virtual Arcana
Series Number: 0
Profanity: none
Violence: none
Sexual Content: none
Age Recommendation: 12+
Author Website: http://www.karenamandahooper.com/

Karen Amanda Hooper's first installment of The Arcana caught my attention quickly and held it the entire story leaving me desperate for more by the end. There was so much packed into this short amount of text and I loved it!

The Fool opens with 3 of my favorite things, coffee and books, and excellent writing. Karen Amanda Hooper doesn't waste anytime trying to explain away all the rules of her brilliantly crafted world, instead she drops readers straight into the story providing details as needed. Kelsey's word is a complicated one filled with rules and regulations and she and her twin sister are desperate to get out. They are just starting at a new town and school because her sister was caught playing illegal video games when Kelsy run's into the mysterious and alluring Xander.

Xander is by far one of the most interesting male leads I've read recently. He's genuine and not over done. I love Kelsy as well! Finally there is a lead female who is self aware! I loved her comments about 'if this were a book I'd be doing ect' It was great. Her personality really shines, and I love the way she stay's true to her character when faced with Xander's proposal. I can't wait to see more of these two in further installments, and see how they grow and change. Kelsy's sister, Keekee, is an interesting character as well even though we get to see little of her in this first installment.

The world building so far in The Fool is wonderful. Karen paints a world that is controlling but plausible. She points out a lot of interesting issues in the society without sounding preachy or whiny and I really enjoyed that. I also love the idea of virtual reality and people who still cherish books that are real and printed.

This was a wonderful start to what I hope to be an amazing story. I cannot wait to see what happens next and what Kelsy ends up deciding. I am eager to see some of the mysteries set up in this first installment answered and filled out as the story goes on. I'd recommend this to anyone interested in a good scifi who loves to read and doesn't mind a dash of romance.

Note: I received an electronic copy of this book from Netgalley for my fair and honest review which I have stated above.


Doctor Who: Lights Out: Twelfth Doctor: Twelfth Doctor (Doctor Who 50th Anniversary E-Shorts)
Doctor Who: Lights Out: Twelfth Doctor: Twelfth Doctor (Doctor Who 50th Anniversary E-Shorts)
Price: $2.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Quick Read, November 6, 2014
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Doctor Who
Series Number: n/a
Profanity: none
Violence: none
Sexual Content: none
Age Recommendation: 12+
Author Website: http://blackholly.com/

Lights Out is a delightful little addition to the Doctor Who franchise. This book focuses mostly on the character nicknamed by the Doctor, Fifty-one. It's a great story about growing up, mystery, murder, and great coffee, in short it is perfect Holly Black.

I loved Fifty-one, his narration was a delight to read and it was good to read a Doctor Who book from the perspective of someone not human. I really enjoyed getting to know him and see the Doctor from his point of view. The Doctor took on a lighter tone in this book than he does in the series, and at the start of the story he actually felt a little more like his 10 and 11 incarnations than typical Capaldi.

The story was an interesting one, and as I said earlier filled with murder and mystery (not to mention coffee). As the story progressed and I got to know Fifty-one better I realized that the mystery was about much more than just murder. I began to wonder what the scientist had to do with anything, and what had really happened in Fifty-one's past to make him the way he was. When I finally learned the truth I was as surprised as Fifty-one was. The conclusion was written in Holly Black style, complete but it left me wanting to read more.

Lights Out is a great read for both young and old Doctor Who fans and should be included in any fan's reading list. Holly Black did a wonderful job with the Doctor, making me want to see what she could do with a whole episode.

Note: I received an electronic copy of this book from Netgalley for my fair and honest review which I have stated above.


Dreaming of Mr. Darcy (Austen Addicts Book 2)
Dreaming of Mr. Darcy (Austen Addicts Book 2)
Price: $9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Cute Story, October 30, 2014
Series: Austen Addicts

Series Number:2
Profanity: mild
Violence: none
Sexual Content: Very Mild
Age Recommendation: 16+

Dreaming of Mr. Darcy is a sweet story set in the beautiful backdrop of Jane Austin's Lyme. It focuses on Kay and Adam but also delves into the lives of the other characters, mainly Gemma and her love interest. I enjoyed reading this book and liked it's sweetness.

I loved the idea of a film being shot in Lyme, it made way for lots of good story to happen. And the fact that the writer, Adam was from the area helped as well because readers were introduced to his wonderful Gran. The setting, and how it affected the characters was one of my favorite parts about the book. I also loved Kay's bed and breakfast. I've always liked the idea of them and it was a great part of the story. The romance however felt a little strained. It felt like Victoria Connelly was trying to do too much with each character romantically and the only place she really hit the mark for me was with Oli's romantic line. It felt like the other two romantic focuses, Kay and Gemma took too long to develop and ended up being love at first sight leaving me shocked out of the story.

I liked the entire cast of characters and really found myself drawn to Gemma and Adam. Their shy personalities resonate with the way I often feel and I liked seeing them change through the book. Oli was another character that caught my interest with his carefree attitude that hid more than he was willing to say. I really liked Kay in the stories opening, she made for an interesting character but after she moved and fell head over heels for Oli she began to loose her charm. It almost felt like the author wrote two different characters with the same name, the Kay from before Oli shows up and the Kay after he does. All her spunk and spontaneity fell away to be replaced by a pile of romantic mush.

Overall I give Dreaming of Mr. Darcy a 3.5 rating, it was sweet but that's about all it was. I recommend it as a good beach read or something to take with you on a long flight. Anyone who wants a snugly romance should take a look at this book.


The Shell Game: A Fox and O'Hare Short Story (Kindle Single) (Fox and O'Hare series)
The Shell Game: A Fox and O'Hare Short Story (Kindle Single) (Fox and O'Hare series)
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $0.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Prequel, October 22, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The Shell Game is a short prequel to The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg intended to give readers a look at Kate and Nick's first meeting while simultaneously making fans of the series desperate to read the next full book, The Job.

It does it's job splendidly.

The Shell Game has the same witty tone as the other books, if it's a little light on the heist side of things (which as anyone who's read my reviews of heist books would know is my favorite part). That's not to say there isn't a heist running through the whole story, there just isn't enough time in this short story to fully flesh it out like it's done in the full novels. The aim of The Shell Game is to give readers something we never knew we needed before now, the story behind how Kate and Nick met.

I loved getting to see more of Kate and Nick, this story provided good incite into why they are so drawn to each other and the drive behind each one. The ending was particularly good for many reasons, leaving me with a giddy smile plastered on my face.

As a side note, I hope that a few of the characters who were introduced in this short story make an appearance in The Job, they were interesting and I'd love to see more of them.

Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg kept me laughing through the story and by the end the only thing I regretted was that it wasn't longer. The Shell Game is a great piece to introduce new readers to the Fox and O'Hare series and a must read for fans who are already in love with it.


Shades of Milk and Honey (Glamourist Histories Book 1)
Shades of Milk and Honey (Glamourist Histories Book 1)
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $8.89

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!, October 2, 2014
Initially Shades of Milk and Honey caught my attention with it's beautiful cover and curious blurb, 'The fantasy novel you've always wished Jane Austen had written'? As a Jane Austen fan I knew I had to read it. And after starting the book it didn't take me very long to realize how true that statement had been.

Shades of Milk and Honey reads, feels, and is every inch something I could see Jane Austen herself penning if she'd ever had the inkling to write a fantasy. Mary Robert Kowal does a great job of capturing the time period and language of of the late 18th and early 19th century. Her writing is beautiful and the story flows in the general shape of an Austen novel. One of the things that the author does in this book is keep it very clean there is little to no profanity and absolutely no explicit content of any kind. This makes it a safe read for the young, old, and anyone in between.

The story itself was very well written. I tend to really enjoy books written in this time period so it's no wonder that I loved each of the little secrets that were revealed and I enjoyed getting to see each of the characters grow and change through the story as well. Mary Robert Kowal's pacing kept me interested even in places where the story could have stalled or at least grown stale. And by the end it had picked up to such a pace that I felt like I was reading as fast as Jane was riding to catch up to her family.

All of Kowal's characters shine in their own way and for different reasons. She does an excellent job of really making each character feel fleshed out even if they have very little time in the story. Jane and her sister Melody stood out to me in the way their relationship played out. It wasn't the perfect relationship I sometimes come across in books, and it wasn't a constantly stormy one like I encounter in others. It had it's ups and it's downs like any sisters would. Jane herself stood out to me because she had flaws and readily stated that she did, she also often acted out of jealously and love. Her character felt the truest to me of all of the wonderful characters populating Shades of Milk and Honey. Vincent however came off a little odd to me, he just didn't pull my attention like many male leads do. That's not to say I didn't enjoy his character, I did. I just felt like he could have been a little more in the story, but I believe that will be rectified in later books.

Kowal's incorporation of glamour into the story is done in such a way that I felt like I'd always lived life with people around me able to manipulate glamour. She didn't waste time explaining it or trying to get readers to understand exactly how it worked she simply wove it into the story naturally. While glamour played a large part in the story I don't think it did it in such a way that would alienate readers who are either not familiar with fantasy or don't care for it.

Shades of Milk and Honey turned out to be a wonderful find for me, and I am eager to read the rest of this sure to be astounding series. I'd recommended it to Jane Austen fans and fantasy fans alike. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.


Doctor Who: The Blood Cell
Doctor Who: The Blood Cell
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Can I Love This Doctor Any More?, September 19, 2014
The first thing to capture my attention about The Blood Cell was the blurb on the front cover promising death if the Doctor wasn't released. It was all I needed to want to dive headfirst into the story to see where the story would take me. From the blurb to the last line The Blood Cell had me hooked, so hooked that I read the entire book in one sitting.

This Doctor Who story is told from a different point of view than most of the Doctor Who books I've come across. It's written in first person from a man simply known as "the Governor." While I was reading I was reminded of when I listened to the Doctor Who Audio book Dead Air (read by David Tennant). The first person narrative is pulled off through the clever use of it being a journal of what had happened, which is similar to the recorded narrative of Dead Air. This takes some of the focus off of the Doctor in the beginning of the story, but because of the nature of the prison and my curiosity to find out more about the Governor I didn't mind.

James Goss did an excellent job writing both the Doctor and Clara. He masterfully incorporated the 12th Doctor into the story and I loved getting to see more of one of my favorite Doctors. Clara is brilliant in her parts as well, easily stepping into each new situation with the Doctor. As with all the Doctor Who books I've read recently featuring Clara I'd love to see more of her but for this story she fit just fine. The other characters in this book were also well written and interesting. I found myself really liking a few, and really disliking others. The Governor interested me from the very beginning and I truly enjoyed getting to know him and his back story.

The Blood Cell is a little darker than most of the Doctor Who books, but this doesn't at all take away from it's enjoyment. It balances the dark with the Doctor's quirky and often laugh out loud funny reactions to situations and people. Can anyone say sonic spoon?

Overall I was very pleased with The Blood Cell. It was a great chance to get to see more of 12 and Clara as well as give me an entertaining read between DW episodes. I'd recommend it to anyone in need of a good Doctor Who fix.

Note: I received an electronic copy of this book from Netgalley for my fair and honest review which I have stated above.


Jackaby
Jackaby
by William Ritter
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $11.30
59 used & new from $7.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!, September 15, 2014
This review is from: Jackaby (Hardcover)
What caught my eye first about Jackaby was it’s beautiful cover and the blurb about it being Doctor Who meet’s Sherlock clinched it for me as a need to read book. Jackaby did not disappoint.

The story follows Abigail Rook as she tries to make her way in the world. She’s just arrived in New Fiddleham disappointed from what should have been her great adventure, but only turned out to be too much work for not enough reward. Still eager to find her place in the world and not have to rely on her parents she takes a job with the eccentric R. F. Jackaby an investigator who is more than he seems. What follows is a sometimes serious, sometimes funny, and often insane investigation of the strange and chilling murder of a reporter.

Jackaby surprised me with its delightful prose that pulled me right into the world William Ritter has created. Ritter does an excellent job weaving together his words as he paints a delightful Victorian setting and more than often I would actually stop reading just to re-read a passage of description to take in the scene he was describing. Words that jump off the page at you and pull you right into the story is something I really enjoy reading but don’t often see.

Each of the characters was a delight to meet and grow to know as I made my way through this book. Abigail’s strong personality and optimistic spin on things helps to root me in the ground whenever Jackaby starts to get a little crazy. And what’s not to like about the odd investigator? His quirks, like his affection for his silly hat, and his tendency not to notice the normal things are endearing qualities. And whenever I almost lost myself in his silliness he always does something to remind me how sharp he really is. The other characters that show up are all well rounded as well and I was pleasantly surprised to meet a vibrant cast of characters. Too often in mystery books the main characters are the only one’s given personality and spark but I felt like I really got to know each character in this book.

The mystery was interesting to work out. There were quite a few times I thought I had it figured out, but every time I’d completely missed it. At some parts of the book I felt like I was on the same page as Jackaby, while during other time’s I was right there with Abigail trying to figure it out while being surrounded by the supernatural.

Speaking of the supernatural, William Ritter does a great job tying it in to this novel. It’s not just thrown in to be something that moves the story along. It is woven into every piece of the story. Ritter makes sure not to overuse any of the many clichés that have formed around the supernatural genre and finds interesting ways of integrating both new and old kinds of creatures.

One of the things that did bother me in this book was that an early chapter is ‘omitted’ by request of Jackaby. This normally wouldn’t bother me, except that the story never stopped to tell you that you were reading were Abigail’s notes on the case. This was the first instance of that in the story, and then there are no other mentions of these being any kind of notes until the very end when the Supplemental Material (which I recommend you read by the way, it’s a very funny addition to the story) shows up. I would have liked to have been warned that we were reading her notes, and if this is included in future books be warned there as well. The way it is now it was confusing for me. But overall it doesn’t take away from the story.

As for the blurb about it being Sherlock meets Doctor Who, I can agree with that. Except that the Doctor Who feel I got from it dealt more with Jackaby than with time travel or aliens. Jackaby had a very Doctor-y feel to him, which I really enjoyed. And if you are a fan of Sherlock in any way than you will most likely enjoy this book.

All in all I really enjoyed reading this book. It grabbed my attention from the very start and didn’t let go until I’d finished the story. I give it a 5/5 rating and would recommend it to anyone looking for a good mystery or fun story.

Note: I received an early copy of this book from NetGally for my honest opinion which I have stated above.


The Diamond Thief
The Diamond Thief
by Sharon Gosling
Edition: Paperback
25 used & new from $2.08

5.0 out of 5 stars An Intriguing Adventure, August 21, 2014
This review is from: The Diamond Thief (Paperback)
I've said before that I have a weakness for a good thief story and so it comes as no surprise that I was immediately attracted to The Diamond Thief. The fact that it was also set in Victorian London with a steam punk/fantasy twist had me hooked almost before I began reading it. And after I finished it I loved it even more.

I really enjoyed the story, it could have gone many different ways and still been wonderful, but I like the direction Sharon Gosling took it in. I really enjoyed the sprinkle of both steam punk and a little bit of fantasy into the story. There were so many mysteries dotted through the story I had fun wondering which would tie into what and how everything would turn out. There were a few moments where I wondered why a character was brought in so suddenly or how someone could have possibly survived a few of the more crazy situations but overall I really enjoyed the story.

The characters were all very fun to get to know as well. I really enjoyed Rémy's fiery attitude and Thaddeus was absolutely charming with his always do the right thing attitude. I also really enjoyed the other characters especially J and Desai. J was endearing while Desai had a mysterious charm to him that I'd love to see more of in the next book. The only character who really bothered me was the Professor, his personality seemed to shift a little too often for me.

Another thing I loved about this book was the dialog and syntax. Many times when I'm reading everyone sounds the same when they speak. This was not the case in the Diamond Thief. The cast of characters were from many different places and walks of life and the way they spoke reflected that. This aspect of the book was one of the charms that really made me like it.

There were a few plot holes and many things that seemed too easy or coincidental through this book. Despite that I really enjoyed reading this book and I am eager to see the next one. I hope that the holes in this book will be fixed in the next book and I am eager to read The Ruby Airship. I see a lot of potential in Sharon Gosling and I hope to see more from her.

I would recommend this book to teens about 14+. mostly because there is a little coarse language in the book but it is infrequent and very mild when used. Anyone looking for a light read, a steam punk adventure, a Victorian era book, or even a little romance should take a look at The Diamond Thief.

Note: I received an electronic copy of this book from Netgalley for my fair and honest review which I have stated above.


Princess of the Silver Woods (Twelve Dancing Princesses Book 3)
Princess of the Silver Woods (Twelve Dancing Princesses Book 3)
Price: $6.15

5.0 out of 5 stars A Fit Ending, August 13, 2014
Princess of the Silver Woods is the third installment of Jessica Day George’s fantastic Princess of the Midnight Ball series. This book focuses on the youngest of the 12 sisters, Petunia. When she first appeared in Princesses of the Midnight Ball she was very young so I was excited to see how she’d progressed. We also get to see more of her other sisters and get a glimpse into their lives and what’s been going on since the events of the previous two books.

Petunia has grown up to be quite loveable. She is dead set on making it on her own and can be deadly with her pistol when needed, but she’s not quite as tough as Poppy. When the story starts she is on her way to meet old friends. Her plans run awry when her carriage is attacked by a pack of wolves, or rather a pack of thieves calling themselves the Westfalin wolves. Things are further thrown into disarray when she finds out the reason they are robbing carriages and meets their handsome leader, Oliver. Her spunk seems to fade a little bit as the book progresses, but she never loses her charm.

Oliver as a character is your pretty basic ‘prince’ and while others may see him as bland I thought he was perfect for Petunia. This story was more about action and unraveling the mystery behind the Palace Under Stone and I thought Oliver fell into place very well with how late he’d been pulled into the girl’s predicament.

As with the other two books in this series Jessica Day George paints a beautiful story filled with romance, adventure, mystery, and suspense.

Princess of the Silver Woods is a perfect finish to this series. In this book we finally get to find out more about the origins of the King Under Stone and his sons as well as unravel more of the mystery behind the curse the sisters have been fighting against since the first book. I was very excited to see the big reveal and it wasn’t anywhere near a disappointment.

Princess of the Silver Woods was a great wrap up for this whole series. I really enjoyed seeing all of the princesses back, and loved getting to know Petunia more. I’d recommend this series to any fan of Fairy tale retellings or just good princess stories.


Playing With Matches
Playing With Matches
by Suri Rosen
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.25
37 used & new from $5.48

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Read, August 3, 2014
This review is from: Playing With Matches (Paperback)
Playing with Matches is the story of Raina Resnick- matchmaker extraordinaire. After Raina is expelled from school in New York she is sent to Toronto to live with her Aunt. Instead of getting a new start nothing seems to go right for Raina, she's having trouble at school, she can't seem to make friends, and worst of all her best friend- and sister- blames her for ruining her engagement. Things finally start to look up when she manages to hook up her friend from the bus rout and the match turns out to be a hit. Raina is then swept into the world of matchmaking, finding out that she's actually pretty good at it.

I loved this book, from the beginning I was hooked by Raina's strong voice and the mystery of what happened to send her all the way from New York to Toronto. The story was light and fluffy mixed with bittersweet love lost and love found. Peppered through the book were hilarious scenes that had me rolling with laughter. Suri Rosen did an excellent job of balancing the tone between serious and fluffy.

Playing with Matches could have easily been a simple love story, but instead it covered a wide range of emotions and issues that young people face. I loved the way Suri Rosen covered issues like popularity in school, moving, sisterhood, and romance.

Raina isn't the only strong voice in this book. Throughout the book a large cast of colorful characters are introduced, some for a short while and others showed up constantly but each left an impression. I really liked the surprises of who many of the singles corresponding with Raina turned out to be. The book's conclusion was great, tying up the last of the questions I had and leaving me very satisfied.

Suri Rosen's Playing with Matches was a wonderful tale that will resonate well with teens and young women alike. I'd recommend it to anyone in need of a light story or a good light romantic read.


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