Tuesday, January 16, 2018

review: little monsters by kara thomas

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After moving to Broken Falls to live with the dad she never knew, Kacey is quickly befriended by two girls who have been best friends for years. Sometimes they're a bit distant though, like the night they don't pick up Kacey for the party. That might not have been a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it ends up being the night Bailey goes missing. As the cops investigate, it starts to look like Kacey, the outsider, knows more than she's sharing.

This young adult thriller was amazing! It reminded me a lot of a recent headline-grabbing news story (link is to the story which will spoil the plot), but Kara Thomas puts her own spin on it to make the story even more shocking. The writing is superb as the mystery unfolds. There are plenty of good suspects to keep the reader guessing, but not so many as to overwhelm. The inclusion of some of Bailey's diary entries is a nice touch that allows the reader to get to know Bailey while also letting Thomas reveal some important plot details.
5/5
Review copy from Amazon Vine.

Monday, January 15, 2018

review: the sisters of glass ferry by kim michele richardson

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In Kentucky in 1952 twins Patsy and Flannery are high school students. Flannery is quite serious while Patsy is more adventuresome and excited about an upcoming school dance. By 1972 (The Sisters of Glass Ferry is told in alternating timelines), Patsy has been missing for 20 years and Flannery is visiting her hometown when what happened to Patsy and her boyfriend is finally revealed. There is a lot of set up with nothing much happening until the end of the seventh chapter. It takes a few more chapters for the reader to find out what happened to Patsy and even more for Flannery to learn the truth.

While some stories lend themselves well to the alternating timeline form, all it did for The Sisters of Glass Ferry was make a potentially thrilling story boring. The Sisters of Glass Ferry suffers from a lot of backstory as well as unnecessary information about Flannery's life 20 years after her twin's disappearance. Furthermore, Kim Michele Richardson extends the story well beyond what was needed by time-jumping to 2012 with a new revelation that harkened back to a previous plot point hardly developed at all. It all seems to be done to make the female characters experience one huge tragedy after another.

About the audiobook: Marguerite Gavin is the narrator for The Sisters of Glass Ferry by Kim Michele Richardson. She does a good job with the content she was given placing the right emphasis on words and using appropriate inflections. She changed tone to show that Patsy was more carefree than Flannery. The audio version was published November 2017 by Blackstone Audio. It runs 8 hours.
2/5
Review copy provided by Audiobook Jukebox.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

a christmas to remember by lisa kleypas, et al.

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A Christmas to Remember features four historical romance novellas that are tangentially Christmas stories. The first, I Will by Lisa Kleypas, didn't feel like a Christmas story at all. Rather than centering on Christmas events, I Will is about a man manipulating a woman into pretending to be his significant other only to have the pair fall for each other. This one, like the second novella (Deck the Halls with Love) in this collection, is part of a series; that I'm unfamiliar with either of the series these first two novellas belong to could have contributed to my not liking them. Although it seemed like these should work as standalone stories, I had a feeling that some background would've made them more interesting. Deck the Halls with Love is about a couple who wants to be together, but aren't because he first proposed to someone else causing her accept another man's proposal. The fourth novella was also pretty ho-hum, in my opinion. The Duke's Christmas Wish features a man of science confused by the concept of love. Megan Frampton's No Groom at the Inn, the third story in the collection, is the gem in this group. Here a woman left destitute after her father's death accepts a deal to be paid (quite handsomely) by a man who must attend a lengthy holiday gathering and wishes to have a woman at his side to prevent interference from his mother. I appreciated the agency given to the female character. Frampton also injects a lot of humor which makes the story a fun read.
2/5
(4/5 for No Groom at the Inn)
Review copy provided by the publisher, Avon.

Friday, January 5, 2018

review: a line in the dark by malinda lo

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High school students Jess and Angie are best friends, but their relationship becomes strained when Angie begins dating Margot, who is wealthy and attends a private boarding school. Jess and Margot do not like each other with Jess saying that Margot's a bad person (Jess saw her shoplift and also knows someone Margot bullied) and Margot saying Jess is jealous (which she definitely is). There's typical high school drama until Jess discovers a secret while on the boarding school campus for her special art class. The plot intensifies when Jess gets drunk at a party and reveals the secret. Angie hurries Jess away from the party, but the fallout is huge--the girl Jess fought with is found dead. Soon the police are questioning everyone from the party and the drama heats up as the twists and turns play out.

The ending of A Line in the Dark was quite surprising. Part of it being surprising is that the actions of one of the teens felt out of character. It would've worked better if Malinda Lo had developed her character more to make it easier to believe she would do what she did. The build up to the ending was great though with the girls being just like so many I knew in high school.
4/5
Review copy from Amazon Vine.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

review: royally wed by teri wilson

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Loosely based on the movie Royal Wedding, Teri Wilson's Royally Wed finds a heartbroken musician called in as a last minute replacement to perform at Princess Amelia's wedding. Although Asher doesn't know it, the princess is being forced to marry her best friend's father in order to preserve the royal lineage. Circumstances (namely a dog named Willow) repeatedly bring Asher and Amelia together until the pair becomes romantically entangled.

Wilson's Royally Wed deviates enough from the movie's plot that the story is truly her own. Though a bit far-fetched, the cuteness of Asher and Amelia's relationship allowed me to become wholly caught up in their romance. Using Willow to bring the pair together worked well and added some fun comedy to the romance.
4/5
Review copy provided by the publisher, Pocket Star.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

top ten tuesday: new-to-me authors in 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday the site has a new top ten list with this week's being Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2017. All the links below are to my reviews.

Ania Ahlborn
Jillian Cantor
Natalie Charles
Amy S. Foster
Hollie Overton
Kristin Rockaway
Joanna Schaffhausen
Adam Silvera
Sherri Smith
Julie Lawson Timmer

Friday, December 22, 2017

review: lucky bang by deborah coonts

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Lucky Bang gets started with a literal bang when Lucky finds dynamite in the women's bathroom! Fortunately, everyone is safe, but Lucky knows the old dynamite sticks are connected to her past. As always, she plunges right into the investigation despite having been in the hospital after the explosion. This novella reveals more about Lucky's semi-mysterious father while also delving a bit into Lucky's potential love triangle. It's a lively tale absolutely fitting for Lucky's crazy life.
4/5
Review copy provided by the publicist, Kate Tilton.