Tag: readers

Book Review: Things I’d Rather Do Than Die, by Christine Hurley Deriso

things I'd rather do than die
Image belongs to Flux Books.

Title:   Things I’d Rather Do Than Die
Author:   Christine Hurley Deriso
Genre:   YA
Rating:   4 out of 5

Jade Fulton is a senior in high school who only hangs out with her best friend. She spends time with her family:  her brother, half-sister, stepmom, and her dad. She watches high school drama from the outside and can’t wait to go away to college. Until her father is diagnosed with aggressive cancer, and her world just doesn’t make sense anymore. Then she’s held hostage in the gym where she works, locked in a dressing room with Ethan Garrett.

Ethan is the star quarterback, popular, high-achieving, and a Christian. He has his life planned out:  a scholarship to prove he’s not like his abusive, alcoholic father, life with his cheerleader girlfriend, and growing in his faith. But when he’s locked in the dressing room with agnostic Jade, he soon starts to ask himself questions he thought he already knew the answers to.

Their shared ordeal creates a bond between Ethan and Jade that lingers back in their regular lives. But those questions—and answers—they shared while locked in the dressing room cause them both to realize that what they always had in life is no longer good enough.

I’ve seen a lot of complaints and people marking this book as DNF…because it’s Christian, and they think Christians are too judgmental and close-minded. Which seems a bit hypocritical, considering they automatically refused to read it. And Christians are the ones who are judgmental? Right. Sure, some Christians are judgmental. Just like some people who aren’t Christians are judgmental. Judging an entire group by the actions of a few is never the right choice.

I was impressed that Ethan is a teenage boy with a strong faith. You don’t see that much. Here’s the thing:  Ethan actually listens to Jade and starts asking himself and others questions as he learns from her remarks. He realizes he needs to make some changes to the way he thinks, especially about non-believers. I found his wishy-washiness with his girlfriend and the way he kept taking her back pretty annoying, but he’s a teenager. He’s still learning.

Jade has a sizable chip on her shoulder because of her family history, her experiences with racism, her feelings about religion, and her dad’s illness. She’s plenty judgmental, but she’s too close-minded to see it. She does some stupid things during the story, but she learns and attempts to grow from them.

Christine Hurley Deriso is a YA author. Things I’d Rather Do than Die is her newest novel.

(Galley provided by Flux in exchange for an honest review.)

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Book Review: The Matrimonial Advertisement, by Mimi Matthews

The Matrimonial Advertisement

The Matrimonial Advertisement
Image belongs to Perfectly Proper Press.

Website:  Title:   The Matrimonial Advertisement
Author:   Mimi Matthews
Genre:   Historical romance
Rating:   4 out of 5

Ex-army captain Justin Thornhill needs someone to make his life a little bit easier. Orphaned and growing up in poverty, he’s spent 20 years paying back old grievances, making his fortune, and getting tortured in an Indian prison. Now he just wants to get along with the local villagers and have someone run his isolated household. A matrimonial advertisement seems the perfect way to accomplish that.

Helena will do anything to escape London, even traveling to the back of beyond and marrying a stranger. It’s a small price to pay for her freedom. She even starts to think she and Justin can be happy together. But when secrets from her past show up, will Justin keep her safe? Or will he listen to his own fears and walk away?

Occasionally I’ll read a book marketed as romance. Not often. And only if the premise and characters sound fairly unique and promising. Which is why I picked this one up. I’m glad I did. Helena’s secret was perfectly horrible and completely believable, given what I know about her era, but I loved her strength. Justin is deeply wounded, but so willing to help everyone around him. I loved how their relationship grew and developed.

Mimi Matthews writes about 19th century English history, historical romances, and she’s a lawyer. The Matrimonial Advertisement is her newest book.

(Galley provided by Perfectly Proper Press in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: The Late Bloomers’ Club, by Louise Miller

lbc
Image belongs to Penguin Group Viking/Pamela Dorman Books.

Title:   The Late Bloomers’ Club
Author:   Louise Miller
Genre:   Fictions
Rating:   4.5 out of 5

Nora owns the Miss Guthrie Diner and is happy with serving up tasty food and knowing her regulars’ orders. But when she and her rebellious sister Kit, an aspiring filmmaker, inherit Peggy the Cake Lady’s home and land unexpectedly, the diner isn’t the only thing on her plate.

Kit is happy when she finds out Peggy was in talks to sell to a big developer, but Nora’s not so sure, and the small town is divided over the issues, voicing their opinions to Nora everywhere she goes. The developer’s representative, Elliot, isn’t what she expected either, and soon Nora is torn between the good of the town, Peggy’s hidden secrets, and her own wishes. Finding Freckles, Peggy’s missing dog, is the one thing she can solve.

I enjoyed The Late Bloomers’ Club quite a bit. It’s not a face-paced novel, but the gradually unfolding storyline is so fitting for this small-town drama. The setting is very well-done and felt like small towns I’ve known. Nora and Kit are great characters, and the contrast between them is vibrant and vivid. This is a lovely read. Oh, and maybe don’t read it while you’re hungry or cake-less.

Louise Miller loves baking and writing and is an art school dropout. The Late Bloomers’ Club is her newest novel.

(Galley provided by Penguin Group Viking/Pamela Dorman Books in exchange for an honest review.)

What I Read in June (2018)

This post will not be as detailed as my monthly re-cap normally is. June was a crazy month for me, with lots of family stuff going on. My dad had major surgery. My grandmother is on hospice. I’m just not up to it right now.

Books Read in June: 11

Books Read for the Year: 83/150

Topical Books/Monthly Goal Books:

Never Stop Walking, by Christina Rickardsson (cultural). Interesting read about a Brazilian girl, adopted to a Swiss couple, who goes back to the poverty-ridden neighborhoods she grew up in in search of her mother.

A Swiftly Tilting Planet, by Madeleine L’Engle (classic). Hard to go wrong with a L’Engle book.

Station 11, by Emily St. John Mandel (TBR). Um…turns out I’d already read this. I found the resolution a bit anti-climatic.

Unexpected, by Christine Caine (spiritual). Excellent, inspiring read.

Cast in Chaos, by Michelle Sagara (TBR). Love this series. Kaylin is such a flawed but likable character.

For Review:

 

emperor

The Emperor of Shoes, by Spence Wise. This was…slightly more than so-so. The father was completely unlikable.

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Little Do We Know, by Tamara Ireland Stone. I enjoyed this story of a girl struggling to make sense of her beliefs.

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The Bookshop of Yesterdays, by Amy Meyerson. Loved this one!

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Convenience Store Woman, by Sayaka Murata. Meh. I couldn’t relate to this on ANY level.

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The Love Letter, by Rachel Hauck. I enjoyed this Christian romance that tells the story of two couples, in different centuries.

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Not the Girls You’re Looking For, by Aminah Mae Safi. 

So, honestly, this was lacking a plot. And the main character—and her three best friends—were not nice. Basically unlikable. I liked the diversity and the writing was solid, but the main character looked for things to be offended about.

Left Unfinished:

Harry’s Trees, by Jon Cohen. Just couldn’t get into it.

L’s Precarious Reality, by Layla J. Silver. This was a case of me not being the right reader.

Redeeming How We Talk, by Ken Wytsma. I liked the idea behind the book, but got bogged down in the analysis. I was looking for more concrete suggestions.

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick Lit.

 

Book Review: The Bookshop of Yesterdays, by Amy Meyerson

bookshop
Image belongs to Park Row Books.

Title:   The Bookshop of Yesterdays
Author:   Amy Meyerson
Genre:   Fiction
Rating:   4.5 out of 5

Miranda Brooks loves her job as a teacher in Philadelphia. She loves her boyfriend, Jay, whom she just moved in with, and she’s looking forward to their first summer together. Until she receives a package in the mail and a clue and knows that one of her uncle Billy’s scavenger hunts has started. Except the clue is closely followed by a call from her mother:  Billy is dead.

Growing up, Miranda loved her uncle, a seismologist. He taught her so many things using scavenger hunts, and she always loved the adventure. But when she turned 12, her mom and Billy had a fight, and she never saw him again. When she returns to California for the funeral, she finds that Billy has left her Prospero Books—his beloved bookstore, now teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.

Her mother will barely mention Billy—she didn’t even go to his funeral—and Miranda knows the scavenger hunt will lead her to the truth about the fight when she was twelve, the truth her mother doesn’t want her to know. Miranda works to untangle Billy’s clues while she searches for a way to save Prospero Books, the legacy Billy left her. Soon she realizes just how deep the secret her family has hidden for years goes—and wonders if happiness looks different than it did at the beginning of summer.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that I love a book about a bookstore, a book filled with literary clues and references. I enjoyed everything about this novel:  the setting (Can I just move into Prospero Books?), the clues, the mystery, and especially Miranda herself. I loved how her mind works, and how determined she is to unearth her family’s secrets. An excellent, engrossing read!

Amy Meyerson lives in Los Angeles. The Bookshop of Yesterdays is her first novel.

(Galley provided by Harlequin/Park Row in exchange for an honest review.)

What I Read in April (2018)

Books Read in April:  15

Books Read for the Year:  57/150

Topical Books/Monthly Goal Books:

(I added a couple of categories for my monthly reading).

Cultural Book:  Finding Fraser, by K.C. Dyer. Okay. so this wasn’t strictly a different culture…but it was set in Scotland, so I counted it. A fun, light read that I really enjoyed.

Spiritual Book:  God’s Not Dead, by Rice Broocks. I really enjoyed this evidence-based look at a spiritual subject–the historical Jesus.

Classic Book: A Wind in the Door, by Madeline L’Engle. I LOVE this follow-up to A Wrinkle in Time.

Personal Development:  Write. Publish. Repeat.

From the TBR pile: The Casquette Girls, by Alys Arden. I’m so mad this has been sitting in my TBR pile for months! I enjoyed it so much. The setting—New Orleans right after the Storm—was magnificently done, and I love the interwoven timelines. The characters were fantastic as well.

For Review

10,000 hills

In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills, by Jennifer Haupt. Wow. This book is (mainly) set in Rwanda, after the genocide (which I knew basically nothing about), and is about an American woman, Rachel, who is searching for the father who abandoned her years ago. It’s also set in America during the Civil Rights movement, and is about Lillian and Henry, who fall in love in Atlanta. There are several different timelines at play here, and at first  I found the book slow-going, but it ended up being such a good read.

fairies

The Fairies of Sadieville, by Alex Bledsoe. I had not read any of this series about the mysterious Tufa, a clan of people in Appalachia who are searching for the way back home.

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The Lion of the South, by Jessica James. A clean romance set in the Civil War…but with no mention of the issues behind the war itself. Instead, this story focuses on the characters and their relationships, which was a nice change.

whispers

Whispers of the Dead, by Spencer Kope. I thoroughly enjoyed this forensic mystery about Steps, an FBI special investigator who can see “shine,” bright trails of color unique to every person and where they’ve been. The murder mystery itself was well done, but what made the book for me was the characters, especially Steps and Jimmy, his partner.

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Then She Was Gone, by Lisa Jewell. This tale of a mother whose daughter disappeared 10 years ago who finds herself involved with a man whose daughter looks eerily similar to her own missing child was just alright. The mystery intrigued me, but the characters weren’t my cup of tea.

shattered mirror

Shattered Mirror, by Iris Johansen. The newest Eve Duncan book, this is dependable reading, with everything readers expect from Johansen:  mystery, danger, murder.

skyinthedeep

Sky in the Deep, by Adrienne Young. Can I just tell you how much I loved this book? Seriously. I read it in one sitting, straight through. Seventeen-year-old Eelyn is a warrior, fighting with her clan against the Riki, their age-old enemies. Fight. Survive. Repeat. That’s what her life consists of, until one day she sees the brother she loved who died 5 years ago fighting with the Riki. Eelyn doesn’t know what to think, but she ends up in the home of the Riki as she struggles to understand. This was a magnificent book!

suitorsandsabotage

Suitors and Sabotage, by Cindy Anstey. A light, fun, Regency YA.

Circe

Circe, by Madeline Miller. This was a wonderful read that brought mythology to life.

song

Song of Blood and Stone, by L. Penelope (review forthcoming). I enjoyed this diverse fantasy tale, and was engrossed from the very first page. Nice to see something that handles race and prejudice in this way. Highly recommended! (Also a beautiful cover.)

 

Book Review: The Fairies of Sadieville, by Alex Bledsoe

fairies
Image belongs to Tor books.

Title:  The Fairies of Sadieville
Author:  Alex Bledsoe
Genre:  Fantasy…ish.
Rating:  4/5

When graduate students Justin and Veronica find an old film cannister with three words on it, “This is real,” they aren’t prepared for the film inside, which shows a girl transforming into a winged fairy. Justin is desperate to find a topic for his thesis, so the two set out to find the mysterious Sadieville, a town that vanished off the face of the earth over a century ago.

In rural Tennessee, everyone seems to have secrets. Secrets that point to the Tufa, a clannish group with dark skin, dark hair, and white teeth. They all look similar and they seem to have an unusual affinity for music. But not everyone likes Justin and Veronica asking questions, although Tucker Carding seems happy to help them—for reasons unknown.

Soon, Justin and Veronica find a secret, hidden for years, that will have all the Tufa asking a question they never dreamed of:  if they could go back to their homeland of Tir na nOg, would they?

I should probably say that this is the first Tufa novel I’ve read. That really didn’t matter, as I was able to follow the story/history with no problems at all. This read like smart literary fiction with a fantasy element. The setting here is tremendously well-done, with Appalachia full of living, breathing life on every page. I really enjoyed reading this, and highly recommend it!

Alex Bledsoe grew up in Tennessee and now lives in Wisconsin. He’s the author of the Eddie Lacrosse novels, the Firefly Witch novels, the Memphis Vampires novels, and the Tufa novels. His newest novel, The Fairies of Sadieville is the final Tufa novel.

(Galley provided by Tor Books in exchange for an honest review.)

What I Read in February 2018

Books Read in February: 14

Books Read for the Year:  28/150

Topical Books/Monthly Goal Books:

A Wrinkle in time, by Madeleine L’Engle (classic). I wanted to re-read this, before the movie came out. I loved it again!

Daughters of the Night Sky, by Aimie K. Runyan (cultural book). This is about Russian women pilots during WWII, and was a very good read, although sad—the discrimination and issues the women faced was hard to read about. Also, it’s about war, so of course it’s sad.

sex

Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church Forgot, by Mo Isom (spiritual, review forthcoming). As I grew up in the (Baptist) church, and sex was something that was never talked about, this was an intriguing read. And Isom’s conversational voice is phenomenal.

For Review:

You Will Be Mine, by Natasha Preston. I expect some twists and suspense from Preston—and this delivered—but the characters that insisted on doing the stupidest things imaginable—like sneaking off alone while being stalked by a serial killer—kind of ruined this for me. Almost DNF.

The Book of Pearl, by Timothee de Fombelle. I enjoyed this translation of a boy from the world of story forced to grow up in a world without magic—here—and how he tries to gather proof of his home’s existence.

the rending

The Rending and the Nest, by Kaethe Schwehn. Very intriguing dystopian novel. Four years ago, most of the population and animals, a lot of the stuff, and the sunshine and weather disappeared for unknown reasons. The survivors are getting by, making new lives for themselves scavenging from the scraps left over.They gain new hope when one of the women gets pregnant, but when she gives birth to an object, the world comes crashing down around them again. This is a strange book, but it’s very compelling and intriguing.

the belles

 

The Belles, by Dhonielle Clayton. On the surface, this book did not seem like it would be right for me:  it’s about a society that reveres beauty above all else, whose inhabitants are born grey and must pay to change their physical appearance to match society’s trends (See? It’s about half of what bothers me so badly about our own society.). Camellia is a Belle, one of the elite who controls Beauty. She is determined to be the Favorite—the leading Belle—but when she reaches court she finds that there is far more going on than she ever imagined, and the darkness she finds has a long reach. This was an engrossing book, and about far more than what I first assumed to be trivial superficiality—though there’s some commentary on that as well. Extremely readable! (Like, I read this in a single day, and can’t wait for the next book!)

TLG

The Liar’s Girl, by Catherine Ryan Howard. This is about a girl whose boyfriend was convicted as a serial killer ten years ago…and now that more victims are showing up, he will only speak to her. She can’t rest until she finds out the truth about his claims of innocence.

tess

Tess of the Road, by Rachel Hartman. This is a fantasy book that deals with some hard subject matter—rape, emotional abuse, women’s’ rights—but above all else, it’s a book about a character that changes in profound ways as a person. Loved it!

BFM

Blunt Force Magic, by Lawrence Davis. I enjoyed this so much! The MC is very self-deprecating, but he steps in to helps save a stranger–even knowing it’s going to land him a whole lot of magical trouble! (Please read the review, as it’s more detailed. But I will definitely read more of this series!)

DotS

Daughters of the Storm, by Kim Wilkins. This is another one that you should read the full review on, as the writing was great, but I disliked the characters so much that it almost made me DNF the book.

thecoincidencemakers

The Coincidence Makers, by Yoav Blum (review forthcoming). This literary fiction is about three Coincidence Makers—exactly what they sound like—who have different specialties. One of them, a former Imaginary Friend, is haunted by the loss of the Imaginary Friend lover that he knew in his past. A dreamy, soothing read.

DNF:

Sugar Lump by Megan Gaudin. Vapid and superficial, despite the very intriguing premise of the book. (And I love YA, so that wasn’t the problem. But I like real YA, not surface-level, and I couldn’t get past that.)

A Cold Day in Hell by Lissa Marie Redmond. Only made it about 10%. I felt pretty distant from the main character to start with, but stuck it out until she met with the accused killer, a teenage kid who just randomly had sex with a girl he didn’t know in her car, and then she turned up dead a few hours later, and he’s totally confused about why he’s been accused. Here’s the thing: I don’t do stupid people. Or stupid characters. So his blasé attitude about the whole situation was a deal-breaker for me right then and there.

Just Because:

The Dark Calling, by Kresley Cole. I hate the idea that this series is almost over, because I love it so much. SO. MUCH. I think I got the first book free—and I knew the author was a good one—so that’s why I ended up reading the first one…just before the second book came out. And I was sucked in from the beginning. I hate when a character I like gets killed off, but it always makes sense in this series. Also…when a love triangle is involved, I usually have a favorite/one that makes mores sense for the heroine. This time I don’t. I love Jack and Aric both equally, and they both make sense for Evie. So…I kind of don’t want to know who she ends up with…

Linking up with Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick Lit.

 

 

What I Read in January (2018)

I upped my reading goal this year from 100 to 150, since I read 174 books last year. Who knows if that’ll happen, but it’s good to have goals.

Topical Books/Monthly Goal Books

The Birdwoman’s Palate, by Laksmi Pamuntjak (cultural book of the month). Rather conveniently I thought, this was one of the Amazon First picks for January, so I snapped it up. This books was pretty much all about food, but I enjoyed the characters very much.

O Pioneers, by Willa Cather (classic book). I was actually very surprised with how much I enjoyed this book. I thought it would be kind of dry and boring, but there was a lot going on!

Satisfy My Thirsty Soul, by Linda Dillow (spiritual book). I enjoyed this very much.

To Review

immortalists_1

The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin. So…I have mixed feelings about this book. Or, at least, less than positive feelings about it. It’s about four kids in the 1960s who go see a Gypsy psychic, and the woman tells them the exact dates of their deaths. Then it’s an in-depth look at the lives of each sibling in turn. I found the first two sections almost annoying, because of the choices the first two siblings made. The third was moderately more interesting, but still evoked mostly head-shaking from me. The final section was the best, in my opinion, and allowed me to actually care about the final sibling.

before i let go

Before I Let Go, by Marieke Naijkamp. I still don’t know what to think about this book. The writing is good. The characters are interesting—with a side of weird in some cases—and the setting is vividly drawn. (Okay, the thought of having to live in a tiny Alaskan town gives me the heeby-jeebies on a lot of levels.) Corey and Kyra grew up as best friends, but Corey left Kyra behind when she moved away. Then Kyra dies, and Corey goes back to say goodbye, and finds her hometown has become a strange, dark place, filled with secrets and people she doesn’t understand, all of them linked—somehow—to Kyra’s death.

an eye for an eye

An Eye for an Eye, by Caroline Fardig. The second murder mystery in the Ellie Matthews series. While the book fits comfortably in the murder mystery niche–forensics, questions, running out of time—the characters make it stand out from the rest. Ellie is a very conflicted person.

What the Valley Knows, by Heather Christie (read to review, but didn’t finish). I read about 30% of this—maybe—before giving up. The characters struck me as one-dimensional and the foreshadowing was pretty…blatant, to me, so I just passed on the rest of it.

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This is Not a Love Letter, by Kim Purcell. I’m not sure I can talk about this book yet. I picked it up on a Friday evening…and finished it around 11 p.m. Two days later, it is still fresh in my mind, and I’m still sad over the ending. And, let me tell you, I was sobbing when I finished it. True story. This is about love, race, and mental illness in a small town.

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Intraterrestrial, by Nicholas Conley. This book is about traumatic brain injury, bullying, and aliens. Yes, really. When Adam is injured in a car wreck, the voice he’s been hearing in his head makes sense, as the alien asks for his help escaping the Nothing that will destroy them all. Are there really aliens, or are they part of Adam’s TBI?

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White Chrysanthemums. Okay. This is an emotional, sad book. It’s about the Korean women/girls who were forced to be military sex slaves in the Korean/Japanese conflict. The idea is horrifying to me, but the book is so well-done and evocative it’s well-worth reading.

the night child

The Night Child, by Anna Quinn. This was not what I thought at all, but it was a good read.

lullaby road

Lullaby Road, by James Anderson. This is the second Anderson book I’ve read, the second about Ben and the desolate stretch of highway he lives and works on. While the book doesn’t sound all that interesting—a middle-aged truck driver hauling freight from one desert ghost town to another—the book is very, very good. The characters are quirky, but so believable! Definitely read Never-Open Desert Diner first, but read this!

thehazelwood

The Hazel Wood, by Melissa Albert. Sheer magic. Dark magic, to be sure, but I was enthralled from the first page of the story about Alice, who has spent her 17 years on the move with her mother as bad luck plagued them. When her mother is kidnapped by the Hinterland, Alice must brave the Hazel Wood and face her own story if she is to rescue her mom. So good!

the gone world

The Gone World, by Tom Sweterlitsch. I’m not going to lie:  this was a weird book. NCIS meets time travel, with space travel and multiple futures thrown into a murder investigation.

Just Because

Ricochet Joe, by Dean Koontz. I got an email about this book on January first, and decided to read it because…I used to read everything Koontz wrote. I’m a chicken, and his books used to terrify me, but sometimes his writing was so lyrical it amazed me. (There was one sentence, in one of the Odd Thomas books, that took my breath away. Making a mental note to read all of those again this year…) I found the Kindle in Motion aspect of this tale kind of cool, but the story itself was…sub-par, in my mind. Perhaps it’s been too long since I read a Koontz book?

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick Lit.

What I Read in December

I read 21 books this month, bringing my total for the year up to 174. Quite a bit past my goal of 100 books for the year…

Sir Percy Leads the Band, by Emmuska Orczy (classic). I found this “sequel” to The Scarlet Pimpernel to be a fun, entertaining read. And Sir Percy is such a fantastic character, able to change his persona so completely.

Life and Other Near Death Experiences, by Camille Pagan (cultural book of the month, except not). I thought this was going to be mainly set in the Caribbean, hence its place as “cultural” book, but it wasn’t. It was a very enjoyable read about a woman who finds out she has cancer, and, on the same day, her husband tells her he’s gay. So she runs away to Caribbean to deal with the idea of her pending death. A funny read, and Libby is such a likeable and relateable character that I finished this quickly.

Once Upon a Time by Debbi Macomber (spiritual book of the month). This author is one of the very few “romance” authors I’ll read, and this book was par for her:  well-written, thoughtful, and it spoke to me.

Empire of Ivory, by Naomi Novak (TBR/just because). Another solid read in this series. I can’t believe I let these sit unread on my shelf for years

as you wish

As You Wish, by Chelsea Sedoti (read to review). A magical realism read about a town where every person is granted one wish on their 18th birthday, and it always comes true.

bad call

Bad Call, by Stephen Wallenfels (read to review). This is a YA suspense about a girl and three guys who go hiking in Yosemite and end up in the midst of a snowstorm, with no food and no shelter. One of them doesn’t come back. A decent level of suspense, but the characters’ motivations had me wondering why so much that I’d rate the book three out of five.

How to Hang a Witch, by Adriana Mather (from my Tulsa book haul). So…I didn’t pay attention to the fact that the book was by one of the Mathers—of Salem Witch Trial notoriety—until I finished the book. The book is about a Mather descendant who moves to Salem and discovers the curse that haunts all of the descendant families—and she tries desperately to uncover the truth and stop the curse before it kills her father. I enjoyed this book, and it had a prominent dose of creepiness.

wolves of winter

The Wolves of Winter, by Tyrell Johnson (read to review). I loved this book! Finished it in just a few hours, straight through, because I couldn’t put it down. A dystopian about Lynn, who lives with her family in the Yukon after nuclear war and disease collapsed civilization. Survival is the focus, until Lynn meets Jax, who shows Lynn a destiny she can’t even comprehend. I can’t speak highly enough about this book, and its unique (to me) setting.

Where I End, by Elizabeth Katherine Clark (review forthcoming). The true story of Katherine Clark, who broke her neck when a boy on the playground fell on her. The doctors told her she’d never walk again, but God had other plans. An uplifting, inspiring read.

Believe, edited by Randy Frazee (person/spiritual). I’ve been reading this tome since August. Lots to digest here, but broken down into easy chunks.

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Mesmerized, by Candace Camp (read to review). Olivia works to expose mediums and their tricks, but finds herself in the midst of events she can’t explain away, when she starts seeing visions from Blackhope Hall’s past, events that seem to feature the current lord of the manor, Stephen, as well. A solid period romance, with the “mad Morelands” providing even more interest.

Wedding Bells, Magic Spells, by Lisa Shearin (as a treat). I love the Rain Benares books, and this was no exception. Lots of action, smart humor, and, of course, the lovely Mychael.

The Forgotten Book, by Mechthild Glaser (review forthcoming). This is a YA fantasy about Emma, who goes to a prestigious boarding school, and who finds an old book full of scribblings.  But this is not your typical journal:  everything written in the book comes true…in a manner of speaking. I enjoyed this book, and the myths and mystery added depth to it. I thought the school—and its students—were a bit too good to be true—no cliques, no enemies, and a whole lot of freedom, but I enjoyed this very much.

The Black Painting, by Neil Olsen (review forthcoming). This was merely a “meh” read to me. Frankly, the characters were too confusing, and the narrative was too disjointed–which makes sense for a novel about characters who arguably all have a mental illness–for me to really get into. And the painting by Goya is very creepy to me.

Firebrand, by Kristen Britain (as a Christmas weekend treat). I absolutely love this series. SO MUCH. Karigan is such a strong character, yet so flawed, and I can both sympathize with and respect her. The characters in this series are so vibrant I feel like I know them personally, and I am drawn into all their stories. This is probably one of the best fantasy series I’ve ever read. Loved it!

Breaking Rules, by S.B. Alexander (to review, but stopped reading). I made it about halfway through this before I stopped reading. There are a ton of good reviews on Goodreads, but the characters are too wishy-washy for me. One second, Train was charming and flirty, the next he was a rude jerk. And sometimes Montana was strong and independent, and sometimes she was also just a jerk.

Menagerie and Spectacle, by Rachel Vincent (Read the first as a treat, because it was already on my Kindle, then had to buy the second one immediately.) I am a huge Rachel Vincent fan, and Menagerie had such a unique concept. Sadly, I could totally see “normal” humans acting this way towards anyone different—because that happens all the time. Looking forward to the enxt one.

The Holy Bible, as an obvious spiritual choice, that I read via a 365-day reading plan.

The Stars Never Rise and The Flame Never Dies, by Rachel Vincent (Read the first as a treat, because it was already on my Kindle, then had to buy the second one immediately.) I finished the first one in about 3 hours, then had to make myself ration the second one…for two days. Fantastic concept. where demons really exist and have consumed all the available souls as they try to take over a world run by the Church, who is desperate to catch natural exorcists. So good!

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick Lit.