Friday, March 31, 2017

ARC Review: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Release Date: March 1, 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Format: Kindle
Pages: 400 pages
Genre: YA , sci fi/ fantasy
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover  


Synopsis: 

In the captivating start to a new, darkly lyrical fantasy series, Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price...

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she's a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha-one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles...and make a powerful choice.

Review:

I really wasn't sure what to expect from this book but I was drawn in immediately.  The story goes back and forth between present day as Tea talks to the Bard who has come to learn her story and the past when Tea first learned that she would become a Dark Asha.

Chupeco has created a rich world with many layers and political intrigue.  Magic is common but the gift of the Dark Asha is looked at with fear and disdain. Tea's back story is interesting and slowly builds you up to present day.  You watch her grow from a scared 12 year old who accidentally raises her brother from the dead to a skilled kick ass woman at 17.

As the story unfolded I became more and more invested in the characters and really wanted to get to know a few of them a bit more.  Since this is the first book in a series I'm hoping that more will come from some of these other characters that Chupeco has given us a taste of.

Everyone in this world has a heartglass and the color of the glass tells you how you feel and also determines what you will be.  There doesn't seem to be any room for someone to make choices of free will in this world since you are pushed in the direction your heartglass leads you.

There are many different themes throughout the book that really seem directed at following your own heart and not so much what society thinks you should do.

I really liked this book and look forward to the rest of the series.




Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Audio Book: The Yellow Sock: An Adoption Story by Angela Hunt

Release Date: January 21, 2015
Publisher: Angela Hunt Communications Inc
Format: Audible
Length: 2 hours 55 minutes
Narrator: Becky Doughty
Buy: Audio | Kindle | Paperback


Synopsis:

Megan and Dave Wingfield want nothing more than to be parents--to welcome a child of their own. When they aren't able to conceive after two years of trying, they decide to adopt and find that journey is also fraught with mishaps and the potential for broken hearts. Can Megan learn to trust God with the desires of her heart?

Review: 

The narrator was a bit distracting - her pacing was a bit strange and her voice, though she tried to change it for each character seemed almost robotic and lacking in emotion. I felt like I was listening to Hal from 2001 a space Odyssey read a book.  I think I would recommend reading this on kindle or paperback instead of listening to the audio since the narration is so distracting.

Since I am not a very religious person and was not raised in the Christian faith some of the writing left me cold.  However the emotions about wanting to be a mother and wanting to be pregnant are things that I hear often in my work at an adoption agency.  I really appreciated the way the author brought a lot of adoption language and development to light and shared some of the feelings that many adoptive parents feel or have experienced.

The process of domestic and international adoption was a bit off from the way things really work and the description of private adoption isn't completely accurate but overall the intentions of this book were good.  It touched on the emotional side of infertility and adoption that many books gloss over or are afraid to mention.





Monday, March 27, 2017

ARC Review: Every Body Yoga Let Go of Fear. Get On the Mat. Love Your Body by Jessamyn Stanley

Release Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Workman Publishing Group
Format: Kindle
Pages: 232 pages
Genre: yoga - Health - Mind - Body
Buy: Kindle | Paperback

Synopsis:

It’s a book of inspiration for beginners of all shapes and sizes: If Jessamyn could transcend these emotional and physical barriers, so can we.
It’s a book for readers already doing yoga, looking to refresh their practice or find new ways to stay motivated.

It’s a how-to book: Here are easy-to-follow directions to 50 basic yoga poses and 10 sequences to practice at home, all photographed in full color.

It’s a book that challenges the larger issues of body acceptance and the meaning of beauty.

Review:

Jessamyn is an inspiration to everyone who doesn't look like the typical yogi.  Yoga is for everyone but in most studios you find the same smaller framed women and not many women of color. Jessamyn shows that you don't have to be skinny or white to find your peace on the mat.  Yoga is about YOUR experience not what everyone else in the room is doing but it can be intimidating.

I love Jessamyn's easy to read prose and her down to earth style of writing. Her stories of growing up made the book easy to relate to and her yogic history was at a level that even the most novice person can understand.  I loved that she used models of all different sizes to illustrate different asanas, it really made the book accessible and proves that these postures are obtainable by anybody!

As a yogi with injuries and a Kundalini yoga teacher I applaud Jessamyn's book and hope that her story will inspire more people who may not fit the stereotypical yogic mold.  Anyone can get on the mat and get something from their practice.


Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Audio Book: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Release Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: MacMillan Audio
Format: Audible
Length:10 hours 18 minutes
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Genre: YA
Buy: Audible | Kindle | Paperback


Synopsis: 

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful - and cruel - father. Now Scarlett's father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the faraway once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year Scarlett's long dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval's mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season's Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

Review: 

Scarlett has been obsessed with stories of Caraval and has been writing to Legend the head of the Caraval for years begging him to come their small island but she has never received an answer until now.  Days before her arrange marriage Scarlett and her sister Tella travel to attend the show but as soon as they get there Tella disappears and has become the object of the "game". Now Scarlett and everyone is trying to find her.

During the quest to find her sister Scarlett also needs to find herself, her strength and her power.  Her father is an abusive evil man and Legend has a long twisted past with her family that may be her undoing. Engaged to a man who she has never met but she feels is her only way to get away from her horrible father and save her sister, Scarlett needs to find the strength to stand on her own instead of being so afraid, that may be the only way to truly save her sister...and herself.

With lots of twist and turns this story holds your attention keeps you on your toes and keeps you interested. However this is a very dark story and may not be for all YA readers.  Descriptive with an intricately woven story I really found myself lost in the action.

Narrator Rebecca Soler also narrated the Cinder Series by Marissa Meyer and I loved her reading so much it lead me to this book and I was not disappointed.




Wednesday, March 22, 2017

ARC Review: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

Release Date:
March 7, 2017
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Format: Kindle
Pages: 288 pages
Genre: Mystery
Buy: kindle | Hardcover 


Synopsis: 

After her mother's suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother's mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran…fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

Review


Wow, this is a dark, twisted and disturbing book with a hopeful ending.  It seems that all the Roanoke girls have issues and die young, usually by their own hand.  After Lane's mother died Lane is brought to live with her grandparents and cousin Allegra who is a strange and disturbed young woman. Though the two cousins grow close eventually Lane like other Roanoke girls flees the family home but gets called back 11 years later when her cousin goes missing.

As Lane desperately tries to discover what happened to her cousin she also is reconnecting with her past love whose heart she broke when she left.  The two are drawn to each other but this time instead of bringing out the worst in each other they may just be able to help each other break free of their pasts.  With alternating chapters from past to present you discover the mystery of what goes on in Roanoke and why there is so much tragedy in this family.

This book is tragic and yet in the end you find hope that Lane will be able to break free and be happy unlike the other Roanoke girls before her.  Amy Engel keeps you interested and slowly pulls you into the secrets of what is happening in this strange little town. Many of us are shaped by our pasts but we don't have to be defined by them.  Lane doesn't have to be a " Roanoke Girl" she can be her own person. This book really touches on that and how we don't have to let tragedy or our families control our future. Well written this book will stay with me for a while.


Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. 


Friday, March 17, 2017

Audio Book: Overcoming Fears: Creating Safety for You and Your World by Louise Hay

Release date: May 10, 2006
Publisher: Hay House
Format: Audible
Length: 45 Minutes
Narrator: Louise Hay
Buy: Audio


Synopsis:

On this audio program, best-selling author and lecturer, Louise L. Hay, helps you overcome fears through the positive strength of mediation and affirmations. By listening, you can change your negative thought patterns into healthy, positive ones.

Louise's meditation visualizes a world where it's safe to grow and love each other without fear. She stresses the importance of loving your inner child, and her vision of the world as a secure, loving place will help give you the confidence and power to make your own contribution to a productive and caring society.

Review:

There are two meditation in this audio book.  The first is a beautiful guided meditation to help heal your inner child and let go of fear.  It is a way to imagine a better world and a more peaceful planet. Great way to relax and let go of stress. Combined with long slow deep breathing this is a really helpful meditation to relax your body.  I felt that the relaxed state I was in after listening to this stayed with me for several hours afterward.  The flute music in the background was very soothing.

The second meditation is a series of positive affirmations that helps let go of negative emotions and tapes that we have playing in our heads and replace them with soft soothing words that all you to let go of the pain an turmoil that we have experienced.  It may take a few listens to buy into her theory but I have been working with Louise Hay's work for a long time and have found it immensely helpful and healing.

I may listen to this daily for a week and see what kind of changes come about.





Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Audio Book Review: The Cuckoos Calling by Robert Galbraith (Cormoran Strike Book 1)

Release Date: May 16, 2013
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Format: Audible
Length: 15 hours 54 minutes
Narrator: Robert Glenister
Genre: Mystery
Buy: Audible | Kindle | Paperback


Synopsis:

Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel's suicide.

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: his sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.
You may think you know detectives, but you've never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you've never seen them under an investigation like this.

Review: 

I decided to read this based on the description of the story, it wasn't until I was almost finished that I found out that Robert Galbraith is the pen name of JK Rowling.  I'm almost glad I didn't know before hand so it didn't cloud my judgement.  I really love Harry Potter but they are very different books than Cuckoo's Calling.

Cormoran Strike is a flawed detective who is hired to investigate the death of a celebrity.  Despite his famous father Strike is anything but part of the "in" crowd.  Investigating the suicide of Lula Landry Strike finds himself immersed with celebrities and high fashion. He is a tall imposing man who is down on his luck but seems to be making due. He knows how to read people and is very good at his job and his luck seems to be taking a turn for the better.

Strikes new temporary secretary Robin is intrigued by detective work and by Strike.  Her job was supposed to be temporary but she begins to make herself indispensable to Cormoran and despite her fiances objections to her working for Strike she takes a full time position as his secretary.  I really liked Robin, she is a strong capable woman who really wants to help and get into detective work.

This book kept me interested and eager to listen.  I don't know if this was a product of the narrator or the actual book but either way it was very entertaining.  This is a good old fashioned detective novel and I loved it.  I have already downloaded the 2nd book in this series.  I think the narrator makes or breaks audio books and Robert Glenister is a fabulous voice actor. He changes his voice to the different characters really allowing you to become immersed in the story.



Monday, March 13, 2017

ARC Review: The Forgotten Girls by Owen Laukkanen

Release Date: March 14, 2017
Publisher: Penguin Group
Format: Kindle
Pages: 368 pages
Genre: Crime / Mystery
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover


Synopsis:

They are the victims no one has ever cared about, until now. Agents Stevens and Windermere return in the blistering new crime novel from the fast-rising, multi-award-nominated suspense star.

She was a forgotten girl, a runaway found murdered on the High Line train through the northern Rocky Mountains and, with little local interest, put into a dead file. But she was not alone. When Kirk Stevens and Carla Windermere of the joint FBI-BCA violent crime force stumble upon the case, they discover a horror far greater than anyone expected—a string of murders on the High Line, all of them young women drifters whom no one would notice.

But someone has noticed now. Through the bleak midwinter and a frontier land of forbidding geography, Stevens and Windermere follow a frustratingly light trail of clues—and where it ends, even they will be shocked.

Review:

This is the 6th installment of Stevens/Windermere series.  I haven't read the others in this series but that didn't seem to be too big of a detriment.  The Forgotten Girls is about speaking for those who society doesn't seem to think count. The homeless, the runaways, the prostitutes.  These are the women who have been disappearing for years and no one has figured out why.  There are rumors of a ghost that hunts along the Highline, but the law just think its a myth.  Stevens and Windermere discover the connection while a young runaway tries to find evidence to get revenge for her friend.

This book is more action driven than character driven but there aren't very many twists and turns.  I wish there had been more suspense or twists to the story.  Despite the story being predictable it kept me entertained and I felt it was a good read.  I wish I had connected to the main characters a bit more but there wasn't much to connect with.  I've heard that the other books by Owen Laukkanen are quite good so I may have to give this author another shot.  Overall I enjoyed the book I just wish there had been a bit more to it.


Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. 



Friday, March 10, 2017

ARC Review: Get it Together Delilah! by Erin Gough

Release Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Format: Kindle
Pages: 336 pages
Genre: LGBT YA
Buy: Hardcover


Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Delilah Green wouldn't have chosen to do her last year of school this way, but she figures it's working fine. While her dad goes on a trip to fix his broken heart after her mom left him for another man, Del manages the family cafe. Easy, she thinks. But what about homework? Or the nasty posse of mean girls making her life hell? Or her best friend who won't stop guilt-tripping her? Or her other best friend who might go to jail for love if Del doesn't do something? But really, who cares about any of that when all Del can think about is beautiful Rosa who dances every night across the street. . . . Until one day Rosa comes in the cafe door. And if Rosa starts thinking about Del, too, then how in the name of caramel milkshakes will Del get the rest of it together?

Review:

Originally published in Australia as The Flywheel, this book is a roller coaster of emotions. Filled with wit and deeper emotions we watch as Delilah Green tried to save her family's business while her father is off on the holiday she insisted he go on.  Her mother lives in another city with her new boyfriend and isn't really in Delilah's life.  With her group of friends Delilah struggles to go to school and manage the restaurant.  Her love life is a total disaster and she is being bullied at school.

I appreciate that this isn't your typical coming out YA LGBT book.  Delilah is gay, her family and friends accept this it isn't a secret and the story doesn't center around it.  Delilah is a strong young woman who is trying to juggle too many adult responsibilities along with trying to figure out what to do with her life.  She has the typical teenage love life that is a mess, broken hearts, etc but with the extra issues surrounding dating as an LGBT youth when not everyone is as open or out as Delilah.

I was drawn in by Delilah and her friends and was routing for her in both her love life and trying to keep the Flywheel open. I breezed through this story and found it delightful, funny and touching. This was a great debut for a new author.


Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

ARC Review: Never Forget (Saul Marshall Book 2) by Richard Davis

Release Date: February 20, 2017
Publisher: Canelo
Format: Kindle
Pages: 363 pages
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Buy: Kindle 


Synopsis:

Saul Marshall is on the run.
 As a wave of seemingly random assassinations engulfs California, Marshall finds himself drawn into a situation spiraling out of control. He soon discovers some of the webs’ most secure protocols have been compromised by a rogue team of former Chinese agents. When Marshall realizes what they plan, the stakes are raised… And that’s before the Secretary of State gets involved. Can Marshall unravel the deceit and tricks before it’s too late? Can he stop the carnage, or will he become part of it? One thing is for certain: either way his enemies will never forget.

Review:

Richard Davis got it right from the start on this one.  This book immediately hooked me from the beginning this book is a race to the finish.  Filled with political intrigue and cyber security Never Forget takes you down the path of hackers and terrorists. As our last political election proved cyber attacks are becoming more frequent and are being used to infiltrate governments and cause upheaval.

I liked Saul Marshall in the first book False Prophet and I still like him.  Ex-FBI who has his own moral compass. His back story was explained as we learned along with the woman he saved Ellen Kelden. We learned more about Saul's past as a con man and I actually can't wait for more stories from his past.  Davis really develops his characters and it seems that we may be seeing more of some of them again.

Davis has found his stride and taken all of the reviewers critiques of his first book into account and developed a solid well written book that still leaves you wanting more.  From beginning to end this is a great thriller and I was really happy and pleasantly surprised.





Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. 
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