Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Pies & Prejudice" (A Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery #1) - Ellery Adams

Hello fellow bibliophiles! While pursing the library a couple weeks ago, I stumbled across this little gem of a cozy mystery! Pies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams is the first in its series with it's fourth book just coming out this past spring. First off let me just say, I LOVE cozy mysteries. They are the perfect book to grab a cup of coffee and cuddle up on the couch with a blanket! Plus there are HUNDREDS of cozy mysteries. I will never be left without a book to read. Not that I ever have that problem, hence my ever growing to-be-read list. I am constantly finding new cozy series and authors. That area of the library can get me in some series danger. So when I found Pies & Prejudice, I was smitten to say the least.

Ella Mae LeFaye (what a name!) has just returned to her small hometown in Georgia after being away in NYC for seven years. Heartbroken and penniless, Ella Mae does what only she knows how to best. She bakes pies. From the first pie, Ella realizes she not only has a gift for baking, but that her pies are seeming to have "magical" effects on those who eat them. With help from her 3 aunts and mother, Ella Mae opens her dream cafe, The Charmed Pie Shoppe. But not everyone is excited for her return to Havenwood. Her high school nemesis, Loralyn, is reaching out to do whatever possible to make her close down shop and leave for good. When Ella's rolling pin is found as a murder weapon on Loralyn's future husband, Ella and her ragtag family do all that they can to clear her name and save the reputation of the cafe.

I enjoyed this book from start to finish and cannot wait to get my hands on the next book. There was a lot left unsaid and definitely more to the story that I am itching to know! If you like a good cozy mystery, I recommend picking this up. Well wrote and full of fun! As always, feel free to share any recommendations, suggestions, or comments!

Happy reading fools :)

"The Chase" & "The Job" - Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Par for the course I am behind again writing reviews for you. Whoops! Here's a couple to get started with and more to come! Recently I posted a review about the Fox & O'Hara series by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg (post located here!). The Chase and The Job are the next two books in the series. If you're in the mood for a light, fun, ridiculous evolving mystery then these are the books for you.

Let me just give it to you straight. They're not the greatest books ever wrote nor are they wrote all that well but I did enjoy them. The dynamic between Fox and O'Hara is irritating, annoying, and at times unrealistic. That said, I did find myself laughing out loud and enjoying every minute. Readers of my past reviews will know I have issues when it comes to series. Once I start, no matter how good or bad, I cannot stop until I have finished the series. I'm already on the wait list for the next book that comes out in September! Anyways, back to the books. Here's a quick synopsis:

The Chase (Fox & O'Hara  #2): In this book, Fox and O'Hara set out to bring down Carter Grove, former White House Chief of Staff who now runs and operates an elite band of private security known as BlackRhino. According to Fox's acquaintances, Carter is in possession of a rare rooster that is suppose to be on display at the Smithsonian. What they don't realize is the one on display is a fake. Fox and O'Hara set out to acquire the real rooster, bring down Carter, and swap it with the fake before the Chinese curators who have been sent to collect it realize the difference. Full of crazy stunts and scams, as well as visit from the ever enjoyable Willy, Boyd, and their merry band of pirates!

The Job (Fox & O'Hara #3):  Fox and O'Hara pick up right where they left off, hunting down brutal drug lord, Violante. The problem is, Violante had his appearance surgically altered and no one knows what he looks like or his current identity. But Fox, as always, has a few tricks up his sleeve. It seems the drug lord has a weakness for gourmet chocolate and buried treasure. With Fox and O'Hara backed by Willie, Tom, Boyd, Jake O'Hara and his fellow retirees, the laughs are non-stop. With an elaborate scam in place, O'Hara gets put into a sticky situation. What will Jake and Fox do to pull out all the stops and make sure she is handed back in one piece? Grab the book and start reading :) No worries, the rocket launcher makes it's appearance once again!

Like I said earlier, they're not the greatest books ever wrote but worth the read if you are a fan of Evanovich. The books and writing are very similar to her other series! Stay tuned. I will have more for you tonight and throughout the week! As always, feel free to share any recommendations, comments, or suggestions.

Happy reading fools :)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

"The Secret History of the Pink Carnation" - Lauren Willig

Hello fellow bibliophiles! For this post, I have a throwback to the first book in one of my favorite series! The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig is the first of twelve books in this same titled series. I have an itch to go back and reread the complete series as the last, and final, book will be coming out this fall. I love this series for many reasons. I'll list a few of them for you :)

1. The story is wrote from two different perspectives. Present day Eloise, the scholar who is desperately trying to complete her dissertation on aristocratic spies during the late 1700's, and the spies themselves. If you've read any of my previous reviews, you know I love a good past and present story line!

2. Spies. Spies who name themselves after different flowers. Spies who wear masks and dash around in tights and capes in 18th century England. Dashingly handsome, witty, and clever spies. Spies with titles who write their messages in code and seal the envelopes with wax and a seal. Did I mention spies?

3. Letter writing. Stage coaches. Manors in the country. Balls and masquerades.

4. Present day relatives of these dashing spies who are trying to hold their families secrets of these spies.

5. A wonderful woman named Mrs. Arabelle Selwick-Alderly and her charming, handsome, and sometimes rude,grandson Colin.

I could go on and on! Short version: Elosie, down on her luck, goes to England to finish researching the spies for her dissertation. Mrs. Selwick-Alderly holds these secrets, and their stories. Through them both, the reader is transported back to 18th century England on a whirlwind of espionage. And what kind of story would this be without a little bit of romance?! Don't worry. You don't have to fret. There's romance and plenty of it. Ball gowns and corsets. Men in tights. These books are fantastic. Willig is a great writer. She's descriptive, but not overly descriptive. Historical yet comical. I often find myself laughing out loud throughout the story. The reader is on a fast-paced struggle of wanting to know how the story comes together yet covering the next page to prevent yourself from jumping ahead. I highly recommend this series to all fans of historicall intrigue, mystery, and a little bit of romance. I cannot wait for the final book in the series!

Happy reading fools :)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

"The Heist" - Janet Evanovich

Hello fellow bibliophiles! I'm sure everyone has heard of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich and like all readers of that series, I'm sure you have the same dilemma as I. They are great, fun, quick reads but they get old and tiresome by about book 11. Yet we have continued to read them and cannot wait to get our hands on the newest piece in the series which is now into the twenties. Not being able to stop a series, no matter how good or bad, I guess you could call one of my quirks. I have to finish what I started. So back to the book at hand. While I was excited to get my hands on another Evanovich book, I worry this could happen again in this new series. But it has not deterred me from starting it anyways!

The Heist by Janet Evanovich is another predictable, yet entertaining, start to a series that I was unable to put down. Kate O'Hara is an ex-Navy SEAL now FBI agent hunting down criminal mastermind and con, Nicholas Fox. Fox continues to slip through O'Hara's hands yet taunting her all the same. For Fox, it's a game. A game he loves to play. But O'Hara is set on catching him at all cost. Once caught though, everything she has worked for seems to no longer matter. When O'Hara and Fox are forced to work together to go after an even bigger con, all her limits will be tested. From Berlin to Indonesia and California, O'Hara will have to trust in Fox and his band of merry thieves to follow through on his word to help catch investment banker con who has run off with $500 million in innocent people's money. But will Fox fulfill his role or will be run off? Can O'Hara trust his word or will her heart get in the way? Grab your copy and get to reading!

I liked the book. While I was able to figure out what was going to happen pretty earlier on, like most Evanovich books, but I enjoyed it all the same. Evanovich brings to light typical characters that are constantly in a back and forth with each other, making me laugh and yet keeping me yearning for more.  I will continue reading the series and already have the next one sitting in my "To Read Pile." As always feel free to share and comments, suggestions, and recommendations!

Happy reading fools :)

"That Summer" - Lauren Willig

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Second review for the day is ready to go! This week in addition to Yes Please by Amy Poehler, I also finished a book by one of my favorite authors, Lauren Willig. I have been a fan of Willig's ever since I randomly picked up The Secret History of the Pink Carnation while perusing the bargain books at Barnes and Noble. I was instantly enthralled with the series and have been a diligent reader since. As that series has been coming to an end, Willig has been branching out and writing stand alone fiction books that are just as amazing. I love her writing! I am constantly recommending her books to friends, colleagues, random strangers :)  If you have read any of my previous reviews, you know I am a fan of books that tell two, entertwining stories between the past and present. Willig is the queen of this. She also writes strong, female main characters which is always a positive in my opinion!

That Summer by Lauren Willig tells the story of present day Julia, living in NYC, who inherits a house in Herne Hill, England, a place she has not been to since her mother died when she was 5. The other half of the story is set in the 1840's with Imogen Grantham who lives at Herne Hill, dealing with decisions that have not always ending the way she was hoping. While Julia is trying to remember the past she has worked so hard to forget, Imogen is struggling to deal with right, wrong, and virtues with the hear. The whole book also has a center around art. Artists, paintings, mysterious pictures, and lives as art historians in both the past and the present. The reader is lead on a journey of self discovery, love, and trust through twists and turns that leave the you wanting for more. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Another home run for Lauren Willig! Make sure to check out her other books. I will be posting a throwback review for you later this week about her Pink Carnation series!

As always, feel free to share any recommendations, opinions, or suggestions! I'd love to hear from you!

Happy reading fools :)

"Yes Please" - Amy Poehler

Hello fellow bibliophiles! I hope you enjoyed the posts from last weekend! I have been busy reading through my stack of books and have a couple reviews to get out for you this weekend. First up is Yes Please by Amy Poehler. While I LOVE Amy as a comedian, I am not sure how well her book matched up unfortunately. I know it is a memoir. That said, it is funny as I expect any book by a comedian to be wrote.

The book starts out a little slow. For the firs 70-80 pages, I often felt Poehler was trying too hard to be funny which was taking away from the story she was telling. Once she gets to the chapters about her start in Improv and stand up, I was more interested. The middle of the book was the best, in my opinion. While there were good bits towards the end, I often found myself skimming. My favorite two favorite parts were the chapter wrote by Seth Meyers and Amy's chapter about Tina Fey. I love hearing about their friendships. What I wouldn't give to be part of that group!

Over all I would I would say the book was pretty good. Not the best comedian wrote book but not the worst. It does have some funny stories and I did enjoy hearing about how she came up in the stand-up world. It's worth taking a read! As always feel free to share any comments, suggestions, and recommendations!

Happy reading fools :)

Monday, July 13, 2015

"The Last Sacrifice" (Vampire Academy #6) - Richelle Mead

Hello fellow bibliophiles! I really wonder who those people are that get a nice, slow, relaxing summer. I feel like I have been going non stop since May!! No worries though. I have been making sure to set time aside for reading, it's just getting these reviews typed up for you that has been difficult! Excuse the slow pace. I type all day sometimes for my job so by the time I'm home, it's not quite what I feel like doing. But I keep you waiting no longer!

This next review is the FINAL book in the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. If you have read any of my other reviews, you know all about my feelings towards this series and how desperately I have been trying to finish it. Well look no farther, I have! Make sure to check out my reviews on all 5 other books in the series. If you have not read them, skip the next section as it will have spoilers for those of you who have not read the first 5!!

The Last Sacrifice picks up right where Spirit Bound left off, Rose in jail, convicted of murdering Queen Tatiana. Now I do not want to ruin or give anything away about the book but needless to say if you have read the other books, it's safe to say you can guess a few things that are sure to happen but alas I will leave your mind to wander. There was plenty of disobeying of the rules, trysts and internal conflict between Rose, Dimitri, and Adrian, and little hidden secrets that all come out in the open. I will say this: no matter how much I have whined about this series from book 2-5, the ending was perfect. Mead did a fantastic job at wrapping up the series and bringing everything to a (somewhat) logical conclusion. I do think this book is probably the best in the series since book one. I thought she did a great job with the way things ended between Rose and Dimitri as well as bringing together all the questions surrounding Spirit. Did she leave any room for more books in the future? Absolutely. Do I hope there will be any? No. But Mead did leave the door cracked, just in case. Let's just say, I'm glad I'm done and on to the next quest!

Speaking of new books, I made the "mistake" of going to the library without a list this past Sunday. I'm normally one of those people who either has a set list of books with their call numbers when I walk into the library OR I request the books ahead of time and can walk right up to the counter and leave. Sunday that didn't happen. I went in with one book in mind and perused......and perused......and perused. The destruction that followed filled my entire bag plus me carrying one.

So now comes the task of choosing my next book. I have everything from spy and intrigue, mystery, and young adult to autobiography, children's, and cozy mystery! Get ready! I hope everyone has a fantastic week!

Happy reading fools :)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

"Disclaimer" - Renee Knight

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Last review for the weekend coming your way! I just finished a crazy psychological suspense thriller, Disclaimer by Renee Knight. This book definitely kept me guessing, throwing loops the minute you think you have it all figured out.

The story bounces around between a few different characters focusing on two different sides or rather families. The first is Catherine Ravenscroft. A working class, married woman with a grown son who comes across a book on her nightstand where she quickly realizes she is the main character of that book. The other side is the "writer" of that said book, Stephen Brigstocke. Stephen is a depressed, retired, older man who has recently lost his wife to cancer and now is on his own. The story that Stephen has made into a book holds a dark secret about Catherine that she thought was long and buried. Boy was she wrong! Stephen uses the book, as well as a few other props, to bring pain and suffering down on Catherine and her family in order to bring himself clarity and peace. Stephen sees it as revenge for the act she has committed. But what are the real facts? And what is Stephen missing that only Catherine knows?

The story starts off a little slow and at first I was not sure if it was going to be any good. But it quickly picks up and leaves the reader yearning for more. The moment I thought I had everything figured out, a new piece was thrown into the mix and I was left guessing all over again. It is a great suspense book if you enjoy those types of novels. I only gave it a 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads for the simple fact that it does start off a little slow and I wasn't completely happy with the way it ended. But that's just my opinion :) Feel free to share any thoughts, comments, or suggestions!

Happy reading fools :)

"The Wishing Spell" (Land of Stories #1) - Chris Colfer

Hello fellow bibliophiles! I've dipped into my inner child for this next review. I think Chris Colfer quoted it best at the start of this book with "Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again" C.S. Lewis. Even though this is a "children's book" it was still daunting at 400+ pages. I think it would be suited towards kids 10 and older if they are reading it themselves.

The Land of Stories series is about twins, Alex and Conner, who are transported into their grandmother's fairy tale book. These aren't your normal "happily ever after" stories though. Most of the characters relate closer to the Hans Christen Andersen and Brothers Grimm versions along with a few other twists. The twins set out to find the wishing spell in order to get back to their real lives. They encounter many different characters along their quest throughout the different kingdoms. They befriend a man turned into a frog, cross paths with Snow White, run from the Big Bad Wolf Pack, burn down Red Riding Hood's castle, and try to collect all the items for the spell before The Evil Queen and her Huntress. There are many adult connotations written into the story, making it enjoyable for all ages. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series to see where the story goes from here. Great book for all ages. I would definitely recommend reading this to all kids at bedtime! As always, feel free to share any recommendations, suggestions, or comments!

Happy reading fools :)

"The Elite" & "The One" - Kiera Cass

Hello fellow bibliophiles! I hope everyone had a fantastic day celebrating our country's birth! Mine was perfectly relaxing. Today's post is a double whammy! The Elite and The One by Kiera Cass are the next two books in the Selection series. Check out my review of the first book, The Selection here. I really like how this series has came together. While the writing is still a little second rate and choppy, I do like the message the books present.

I will make this review short as not to give too much away. If you have read the first book, its pretty easy to somewhat figure out where the story goes simply based on the titles of the next two books. I liked the way Prince Maxon's character has developed throughout but America still  tends to get whiny and be difficult at times. I often want to yell at her to stop being so stupid! Overall the books are a great new YA series. While I wish there would have been a little more to the ending of The One, it did wrap up well. I have read the description for the next book, The Heir, but I am not sure if that book is going to be as good. I know the story jumps ahead but I hope Cass fills in from where we left off to see how things have or have not changed. Hopefully she doesn't disappoint! As always, feel free to share any recommendations, suggestions, or comments!

Happy reading fools :)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

"All the Light We Cannot See" - Anthony Doerr

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Happy Early Birthday to America! While I am sure many of you will be out celebrating on what looks like will be a nice weekend, I will be here, sending you reviews upon reviews! I'm sure you are all looking forward to BBQ's, fireworks, and a few tasty adult beverages but I happily have NO work and NO plans for once! I am perfectly content with this and plan to spend majority of it on a blanket in the park reading the large stack of books awaiting on my coffee table!

First up is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr which has been a huge hit since its release and was a Goodreads choice winner in 2014. I was finally able to get my hands on a copy from my local library and it did not disappoint! I was transfixed by page 11 and did not put it down until I finished. The story follows two main characters throughout the latter half of WW2 in Germany and France. Marie-Laure is a blind girl living with her father in Paris who's world is turned upside down when they have to flee to the seaside town of Saint-Malo to live with her great-uncle. The other main character is Werner, an orphan in a German mining town who is transfixed by radios and becomes a self taught fixer/builder of said radios leading him to an academy for Hitler Youth and eventual a soldier in the war. The very short chapters go back and forth between their lives in both past and present until they eventually converge in Saint-Malo.

Other smaller characters also are followed throughout the book and play important parts from start to end which I really liked. If you have read of my previous reviews, you will know that I am a fan of books that go back and forth between time periods. That said, I did not think it was necessary in this book. If the story was wrote in chronological order, I think it would have had the same affect and meaning. I find books wrote during this time period enchanting. There is always another side to see, another view point to take, and more to learn. For Marie-Laure, she struggles to trust what she cannot see while Werner struggles to trust what he can see. The way they both think is so similar yet completely different and still they are drawn together in a way neither could see coming. I did really like this book and do recommend it. That said, I don't think it is as great as everyone has been saying. Maybe it is because I have recently read the Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (see review here) which is set in the same time period. That book was UNBELIEVABLE and it can be hard to not compare books with similar premises. Still, two completely different books, both great in their own right. Check out both books. You won't be disappointed! As always, feel free to share any comments, recommendations, or suggestions! Check back this weekend as I have 5-6 more reviews to post!

Happy reading fools :)