Author: tamaramorning

Book Review:   To Get to the Other Side, by Kelly Ohlert

Image belongs to Alcove Press.

Title To Get to the Other Side     
Author:  Kelly Ohlert
Genre:  Fiction  
Rating:  3 out of 5

Trixie isn’t exactly sure what she was thinking when she stopped her car in the middle of downtown Chicago, scooped up a chicken struggling to cross the road, and drove off… but she does know that she has to find a new home for herself and her new feathered friend. The landlord at her apartment doesn’t allow pets and has caught Trixie in one too many pet-smuggling attempts in the past.

Bear likes his quiet life with his close-knit family, who own a flower business, but he’s in for a rude awakening when his meddlesome sisters post an ad to rent the spare room in his simple home, without asking his permission. Still, when Trixie responds to the ad, he agrees to let her move in, despite immediate worries about keeping things platonic.

Determined to keep her new room, befriend Bear, and give her rescue chicken the care she deserves, Trixie fights to keep her walls up and resist her romantic feelings for Bear. However, it’s not long before the pair’s proximity and chicken parenting ignite flames that have Trixie and Bear testing the boundaries of their platonic ground rules. They have to figure out how to save a family business, pay for mounting vet bills, and navigate their own emotional baggage if they want to find the love that they all deserve.

The premise of this sounded really cute, I mean, a rescue chicken? Definitely some humor in there. But, these characters felt like caricatures:  with some overexaggerated features (Trixie’s unexplained “quirkiness”, Bear’s fear of his bad-guy father) but only surface level personalities. They felt like paper cutouts that the author had thrown darts at a dart board to pick out their character traits, without bothering to do the work to make them real. This made the entire story fall flat, and made me almost stop reading.

Kelly Ohlert lives in Michigan. To Get to the Other Side is her debut novel.

(Galley courtesy of Alcove Press in exchange for an honest review.)

The Best Books I Read in November (2022)

In November, I only read eight books. EIGHT!! I can’t remember the last month I had only a single-digit reading month. This leaves me at 198 books for the year, waaaaay short of my yearly goal of 250. Oh well. of those, one was fantastic and two were very good.

Greywaren, by Maggie Stiefvater. Man, I love these characters! I kind of feel like some old friends just moved away and left me behind now.

Never Rescue a Rogue, by Virginia Heath. This was a fun read! I enjoyed seeing more of the Merriwell sisters and their antics.

The Wilderwomen by Ruth Emmie Lang. I enjoyed this second novel, and another filled with magical realism. The older sister was a bit of a selfish jerk, and that was almost enough to make me want to put the book down, but I ended up enjoying it.

What I Read in November (2022)

Books Read in November: 8

Books Read for the Year:  198/250

Topical Books/Monthly Goal Books:

Greywaren, by Maggie Stiefvater (TBR). Man. I’m sad to see this series end. I love these characters, and I’ve enjoyed all the hours I’ve spent with them through the years. Great read!

The Handwriting on the Wall, by David Jeremiah (spiritual/TBR). This was a fascinating read.

Jane in Love, by Rachel Givney (audio, TBR). This…greatly annoyed me, actually.Jane was beyond annoying—and you don’t mess with Jane Austen like that.

Welcome to the School by the Sea, by Jane Beaton. This was such a fun read!

The Library at the End of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy. I enjoyed the setting of this novel immensely. The characters were a bit meh, though.

For Review:

Never Rescue a Rogue by Virginia Health. I enjoyed the first book in this series, and I loved this one, too. Quirky characters that aren’t afraid to be themselves are my jam, and the Merriwell sisters have that attitude in spades. This was a fun read!

The Wilderwomen, by Emmie Ruth Lang. I liked this read, although I wasn’t too sure about the older sister for a while. She was pretty selfish and oblivious to everyone else. I liked this author’s previous book, so it was nice to see this one live up to that. Gorgeous cover, too.

Just Because:

The 28-Day Prayer Journey, by Chrystal Evan Hurst.

Left Unfinished:

Salt and Sugar by Rebecca Carvalho. This felt very juvenile and contrived, and I made it to less than 15%.

What We Never Say, by Paulette Stout. Okay, so…the topic of this book was very intriguing. The execution? Was sub-par, at best. These characters did not feel realistic in the slightest. Kyle’s reactions felt like the reaction a woman would have in the situation, not a man. And Rebecca was selfish and completely unconcerned with Kyle’s feelings, thinking only of herself and how things would make her look.

Children of Ragnarok, by Cinda Williams Chima. I read the first 15% of this and found it boring. Very slow, and the characters just seemed tedious. Solid writing, just not a good fit for me.

The Magic Kingdom, by Russell Banks. This cover is absolutely gorgeous! The book…well, I only made it about 5% of the way into it because it felt sooooo sloooow. I’m not saying the beginning of a book needs to be at warp speed—that definitely depends on the genre—but a leisurely meander was not what was going to keep my attention.

The Hiker by M. J. Ford. I read 20% of this and it didn’t capture my interest at all. It was slow and the two sisters seemed like selfish jerks.

Defending Alice by Richard Stratton. The premise of this sounded fascinating. The reality of it was excruciatingly drawn out, repetitive, and, frankly, pointless. I love reading about the 20s, but do you really expect me to to believe that this girl of supposedly good character would describe her sex life to a lawyer she barely knows in graphic detail? Really? The repetitive details did nothing at all to enhance the plot, and I was bored in the first ten percent.

Book Review:   The Wilderwomen, by Ruth Emmie Lang

Image belongs to St. Martin’s Press.

Title:   The Wilderwomen    
Author:  Ruth Emmie Lang  
Genre:  Fantasy  
Rating:  4 out of 5

Five years ago, Nora Wilder disappeared. The older of her two daughters, Zadie, should have seen it coming, because she can literally see things coming. But not even her psychic abilities were able to prevent their mother from vanishing one morning.

Zadie’s estranged younger sister, Finn, can’t see into the future, but she has an uncannily good memory, so good that she remembers not only her own memories, but the echoes of memories other people have left behind. On the afternoon of her graduation party, Finn is seized by an “echo” more powerful than anything she’s experienced before: a woman singing a song she recognizes, a song about a bird…

When Finn wakes up alone in an aviary with no idea of how she got there, she realizes who the memory belongs to: Nora.

Now, it’s up to Finn to convince her sister that not only is their mom still out there, but that she wants to be found. Against Zadie’s better judgement, she and Finn hit the highway, using Finn’s echoes to retrace Nora’s footsteps and uncover the answer to the question that has been haunting them for years: Why did she leave?

But the more time Finn spends in their mother’s past, the harder it is for her to return to the present, to return to herself. As Zadie feels her sister start to slip away, she will have to decide what lengths she is willing to go to to find their mother, knowing that if she chooses wrong, she could lose them both for good.

At first, I wasn’t sure I was going to like Zadie too much. She tended towards being self-absorbed and oblivious to how she hurt other people’s feelings. She grew on me a bit as she started to become—slightly—more self-aware. Finn seemed so young to me:  doing everything on a whim and a prayer and not bothering to think a single thing through before leaping into thin air. I really enjoyed the sisters’ relationship, and became invested in their search for their mother and finding out what happened to her.

Ruth Emmie Lang was born in Scotland but now lives in Ohio. The Wilderwomen is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review:   Never Rescue a Rogue, by Virginia Heath

Image belongs to St. Martin’s Press.

Title: Never Rescue a Rogue
Author: Virginia Heath  
Genre:  Romance  
Rating:  4.5 out of 5

Diana Merriwell and Giles Sinclair only tolerate one another for the sake of their nearest and dearest. Everyone believes that the two of them are meant to be together, but Diana and Giles know that their constant pithy barbs come from a shared disdain—not a hidden attraction. Diana loves the freedom of working at the newspaper too much to give it up for marriage, and Giles is happily married to his bachelor lifestyle. But they do have one thing in common—the secrets they can’t risk escaping.

When Giles’ father, the curmudgeonly Duke of Harpenden unexpectedly turns up his toes, it’s only a matter of time before someone comes crawling out of the woodwork who knows the true circumstances of his only son’s birth. As the threat of blackmail becomes real, Giles must uncover the truth of his parentage first, or else he and all those who depend upon him will be ruined—and dogged bloodhound Diana is his best hope at sniffing out the truth. As Giles and Diana dive into his family’s past, the attraction that the two of them insisted wasn’t there proves impossible to ignore. Soon, the future of the Sinclair estate isn’t the only thing on the line…

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, and this one was a lot of fun, too. Diana is exactly the kind of character I like to read:  unashamedly herself, she goes after what she wants to do—no matter what anyone says or thinks about it. She and Giles were a joy to read about, and their witty barbs made me alight several times. This is a fun read!

Virginia Heath lives in London. Never Rescue a Rogue is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.)