Monday, November 30, 2015

"Peach Pies & Alibis" (Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery #2) - Ellery Adams

Hello fellow bibliophiles! I hope everyone has recovered from their Thanksgiving feasts and Black Friday shopping! I had a fun-filled weekend with friends and then decorated my apartment for Christmas!! I ended my night wiping down my kitchen counters to somehow randomly stab my figure with a small piece of glass. Needless to say typing right now is not an easy task with two fingers taped together :( Alas, it is not holding me back! Today's review is the second book in the Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery series by Ellery Adams. I stumbled across this cozy mystery series one day while shelf perusing at my local library. You can find my review of book one HERE!

Ella Mae LeFaye's Charmed Pie Shoppe is wildly popular in Havenwood, Georgia--which is not surprising since Ella Mae can lace her baked goods with enchantments. The shop's extraordinary success seems destined to continue when Ella Mae meets an engaged couple who hire her to handle the dessert buffet at their wedding.

But Ella Mae has a lot on her plate. She is also searching for the origin of her magical powers--and hoping to determine if the spark of attraction she feels for the handsome Hugh Dylan is authentic or just her new abilities gone awry.

Then Ella Mae discovers a high-standing member of the community dead, and a wedding guest becomes seriously ill at the event she's catering. Now she'll have to use all her sleuthing skills and culinary talents to prove her pies don't contain a killer ingredient...

Due to the throbbing finger issue at the moment, I'll keep this review short and sweet for you! I really enjoyed this book. The characters have great layers with parts in the main storyline, as well as, their own side stories that I am sure are being set-up for parts in future books. The mystery aspects of the books are well developed and I was kept guessing until the end. I love the "charm/magic" part of the book! This book explains that part of the storyline in a lot more detail. Questions I had left over from the first book were answered and new were brought to light. I'm intrigued to keep reading! Check out Adams other cozy series at ! As always feel free to share any comments, suggestions, and recommendations!

Happy reading fools :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

"Tricky Twenty-Two" - Janet Evanovich

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone has a great time with friends and family while stuffing your faces with delicious food! Today's review is the newest installment in the Stephanie Plum series. The perfect cozy mystery to curl up with as the weather turns cold. If you haven't read any of her previous books in the series, don't worry about spoilers! Evanovich breaks down all of the characters and their roles in the story at the start of each book. While there are some relationship developments better understood by having read from the start, you can still get a good idea without having read the other 21 books.

"Something big is brewing in Trenton, N.J., and it could blow at any minute.

Stephanie Plum might not be the world's greatest bounty hunter, but she knows when she's being played. Ken Globovic (aka Gobbles), hailed as the Supreme Exalted Zookeeper of the animal house known as Zeta fraternity, has been arrested for beating up the dean of students at Kiltman College. Gobbles has missed his court date and gone into hiding. People have seen him on campus, but no one will talk. Things just aren't adding up, and Stephanie can't shake the feeling that something funny is going on at the college -- and it's not just Zeta fraternity pranks. 

As much as people love Gobbles, they hate Doug Linken. When Linken is gunned down in his backyard it's good riddance, and the list of possible murder suspects is long. The only people who care about Linken's killer are Trenton cop Joe Morelli, who has been assigned the case, security expert Ranger, who was hired to protect Linken, and Stephanie, who has her eye on a cash prize and hopefully has some tricks up her sleeve."

Once again Stephanie is up to her normal tricks. Hunting down "bad guys," constantly reconsidering her life choices, and forever in an epic love triangle between Ranger and Morelli. I have a big fan of this series for a few years now. I loved the first 8-9 books. But like any series with this many books, I felt the series started to get repetitive after that. I could always figure out exactly what was going to happen. The story lines were all the same. I feel though that Evanovich has made a resurgence with the last couple books. While much of it is still "repetitive," I think the book overall was still good. I enjoyed the story line of the "FTA's," Lula and Grandma Mazur continue to crack me up constantly, and I was continually hoping that the triangle between Ranger, Morelli, and Stephanie would FINALLY come to a conclusion (I won't ruin that debate for you!). If you have read any of my previous reviews, you will know that once I start a series, I continue reading through to the end no matter what. I can't help it. Good or bad, I will continue reading. I think you should pick up this series if you haven't already! They are great cozy mysteries. Exactly what Evanovich does best! Check out her other series and books as well. They're great! I highly recommend her books if you are looking for an easy, light read.

As always, feel free to share any recommendations, comments, or suggestions. I'd love to hear your thoughts! Have a safe holiday!

Happy reading fools :)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Reading struggles

Hello fellow bibliophiles! I don't know about all of you but today I woke up to snow on the ground.... I now want to hibernate until April. I absolutely HATE snow. Why I don't live in a warmer place, is a questions I ask myself every day!

Plus side of hibernation? READING! I was hoping to have a couple reviews for you today. Sadly, I am struggling to find "attention-grabbing" books. For the past two weeks, I have tried multiple times to pick up the following two books. Each time I have to push myself to keep reading and continually lose interest. I don't know if it's time for me to switch up my genres or what. It's very upsetting. All I want to do is curl up with a good book, make a delicious cup of coffee, and read my afternoon away. Over and over I've just been let down. So below I have listed the two books I have had to add to the "Did Not Finish" pile. I hate this pile. It makes me sad. Especially these two books. I have heard rave reviews and recommendations from others. Maybe they are good books. I'm going to try something new and maybe pick these books up at a later date and try again. Feel free to share with me any comments you have about either book. I'd love to hear your thoughts! I WANT them to be good books!! Convince me they are!

Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Recently I reviewed a couple different books by Rowell as preparation for my October book club meeting. Compared to her other books, Landline just falls short in my opinion. The characters didn't grab me. The story line itself confused me at times. I had trouble following the dialogue. Nothing against Rainbow Rowell. She's a great writer. That being said, I prefer her YA books better!

The Girl From the Train by Irma Joubert
I have been hearing great things about this book. It's right in my alley genre wise. I have read more books than count or remember on WW2 and the Holocaust. I find it fascinating in a historical context. I have now tried starting this book 3 times. I can't seem to get farther than about a third of the way through. This really makes me sad. I want this book to be good. Not just good, but GREAT. I promise to try again at a later date. Maybe I just need to set it aside and pick it up another time. Please read this book. Tell me how it is. I need to hear how great it is. I know it has to be. I know it has huge potential. Someone fulfill this need!!

As always, feel free to share any comments, recommendations, and suggestions. I'd love to hear your thoughts! Next up, Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich! 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

"Bliss" - Shay Mitchell & Michaela Blaney

Hello fellow bibliophiles! I hope everyone had a great weekend. As normal, I had my weekend all perfectly planned out. Lots of reading, unpacking, cleaning, and more reading. Let's simply say things didn't go as planned. So back at the grind yesterday for work and now revamping my reading schedule for the week. So let's get to the review so I can get back to the stack of books currently waiting to be read! :)

"Following your dreams might lead you down a rocky path, or it might get you everything you ever wanted. For twenty-one-year-old BFF's Sophia, Demi, and Leandra, that journey comes with epic hangovers, soulless jobs, and thirty-something boyfriends who act half their age.

Sophia: She's mapped out every aspect of her glamorous life as a Hollywood actor on her vision board. But her life in Toronto is anything but glamorous. Attending countless auditions and working at a douchey nightclub, Sophia is starting to feel like she's going nowhere...slowly.

Demi: Unlike Sophia, she didn't go to college. Short of a vision board, she puts all her energy into building the perfect relationship with an older man. And when that relationship crashes and burns, Demi is left to pick up the pieces. Will she learn from her mistakes?

Leandra: She doesn't give a crap about hard work or a loving relationship. She has other plans, Leandra sets out to travel the world in the yachts, planes, and limos of ridiculously wealthy men. Maybe one of them will be able to show her what love really means--if she can take off her Chanel sunglasses long enough to see it.

Set against a backdrop of Hollywood glamour and international glitz, Bliss is all about the age when you can count on nothing and survive anything, if you're lucky enough to have truly great friends."

Following your dreams, dealing with the ups and downs, and finding what will make you truly happy. A book of friendship. But this book struggled to hold my attention. The only reason I finished it is because I felt it had potential and might get better. The story jumps around between the 3 main characters, Leandra, Sophia, and Demi, all trying to find their way in the world. I found their storylines unrealistic, especially for their age. Yes, I know things like this do happen to people like getting your dream job, jetting setting across the globe, cheating boyfriends and they can all be realistic scenarios. But what I found unrealistic is the amount of time that all of these situations were taking place and playing out.

The main characters all had very different personalities which can be normal with life-long friends, but I felt each character's thoughts and emotions were played out to the most extreme extent of each trait. Parts of the story were left unfinished and unanswered as if the authors are considering writing a second book (I hope not). I read the book because of author/actress Shay Mitchell and my love for Pretty Little Liars. The writing is very similar in the extent that just like Pretty Little Liars, the plot line steered too far off the beaten path of normal life and lost my interest. The writing itself isn't terrible, but sometimes it went too far with its descriptions specifically with Leandra. I know she is supposed to have a narcissistic personality, but she was too harsh even for that role. I don't necessarily recommend the book but if you do plan on reading it, I definitely suggest high school or older aged readers due to the mature content in the book. As always, feel free to share your thoughts, comments, or recommendations! I'd love to hear what you think of the book!

Happy reading fools :)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

"Until We Meet Again" - Renee Collins

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Huge shout out to NetGalley for an advanced copy of today's book! Can you believe Thanksgiving is just 12 days away! Where has this year gone?! It feels like Fall was barely here. I love fall. Cool weather, sweaters, football. What's not to love! So while today's review is not a fall themed book, it is a sappy, young adult romance. Think Lake House but with teenagers. Ah, teen love :)

"They exist in two different centuries, but their love defies time. 

Cassandra craves drama and adventure, so the last thing she wants is to spend her summer marooned with her mother and stepfather in a snooty Massachuttes town. But when a dreamy stranger shows up on their private beach claiming it's his own -- that the year is 1925 -- she is swept into a mystery a hundred years in the making. 

As she searches for answers in the present, Cassandre discovers a truth that puts their growing love -- and Lawrence's life -- into jeopardy. Desperate to save him, Cassandra must find a way to change history ... or risk losing Lawrence forever."

I had a hard time putting this book down. Renee Collins wrote a beautiful, touching, "pull-on-the-heartstrings," teen romance. Until We Meet Again is written from both Cassandra and Lawrence's points-of-view, back and forth between 1925 and present day. Not only is the reader experiencing the love and relationship between Lawrence and Cassandra but also their own struggles and stories outside of their summer romance with each other. I loved the romance mixed with time travel and history. There are some "cheesy" moments, but I mean, come on. Would you expect anything less? I also felt that both character's acceptance of the entire "spacetime continuum" was a little rushed. I know I would have a hard time accepting it and not thinking I'm going insane! Great book for young adult readers, high school age and above. I highly recommend it. Thanks again NetGalley! As always, feel free to share any comments suggestions or recommendations!

Happy reading fools :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Downfall of e-books

Hello fellow bibliophiles! I hope you're having a great week. For me, it's been a huge struggle bus and one thing after another. Tonight when I got home from work, life just continued to slap me across the face. Let me just say this, I am one of the biggest proponents of physical books. The feel of a dusty, paper jacket. The smell of musty, torn pages. The crease in an old book spine. I love them. Unfortunately, to read most ARC's, these books only come as e-readers. *Sigh*. I've dealt with it and moved on. In order to bring you new reviews and do what I love, I have no other choice. So here's another one of the downsides:

Come home from a weekend with friends. Sit down to start a new book. Realize iPad has no charge. Plug said iPad in. Pick up iPad the next day to start said new book again. iPad still dead. Realize that the power cord was not fully plugged in. SCREAMS IN FRUSTRATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So there's that. It's been a crappy work week and just a crappy week in general. But don't worry, I've triple checked and it's charging for real this time. So for tonight, I'll do what I love and read a physical book. Good thing I have a ton of them laying around :) Though, this may have thrown my reading schedule off for the week, but I promise to have a couple reviews throughout the remainder of the week/weekend to make up for it. So until then, let me know what books you're reading! I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommendations!

Happy reading fools :)

Monday, November 9, 2015

"Twain's End" - Lynn Cullen

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Today's e-ARC was made possible thanks to Netgalley! Thank you!! Twain's End by Lynn Cullen was interesting. Viewing a life from someone else's perspective always adds an intriguing dynamic to what you know about a person.

In March of 1909, Mark Twain cheerfully blessed the wedding of his private secretary, Isabel V Lyon, and his business manager, Ralph Ashcroft. One month later, he fired both. He proceeded to write a ferocious 429-page rant about the pair, calling Isabel 'a liar, a forger, a thief, a hypocrite, a drunkard, a sneak, a humbug, a traitor, a conspirator, a filthy-minded and salacious slut pining for seduction.' Twain and his daughter, Clara Clemens, then slandered Isabel in the newspapers, erasing her nearly seven years of devoted service to their family. How did Lyon go from being the beloved secretary who ran Twain's life to a woman he was determined to destroy?

In Twain's End, Lynn Cullen reimagines the tangled relationships between Twain, Lyon, and Ashcroft, as well as the little-known love triangle between Hellen Keller, her teacher Anne Sullivan Macy, and Anne's husband, John Macy, which comes to light during their visit to Twain's Connecticut home in 1909. Add to the party a furious Clara Clemens, smarting from her own failed love affair, and carefully kept veneers shatter. 

Based on Isabel Lyon's extant diary, Twain's writing and letters, and events in Twain's boyhood that may have altered his ability to love, Twain's End explores this real-life tale of doomed love."

Lynn Cullen is a great writer. She took information gained through research from Lyon's personal diary, Clara Clemen's biography of her father, and many other works depicting Sam Clemen's life to narrate a great historical fiction novel based on his real-life events. While the book is mostly narrated from Isabel's point-of-view, there are times when the reader is seeing things from Mrs. Lyons or Clara's viewpoint. The beginning of the book was a little hard for me to follow as I know nothing about Sam Clemens or Mark Twain. I had trouble following things chronologically (I need to pay better attention to dates when reading!) as well as the flow of the writing until I got the hang of Cullen's style.

Now in terms of the storyline itself, let me be upfront with you. I'm not a fan of the classics. AH, I know, shame on me! That's not to say that they are not great. They just don't interest me. If you were to ask me about The Odesessy or Huckleberry Finn, I would have nothing to say. I'll admit it. I skated by in school by reading the spark notes versions. They're just not my thing. That being said, overall this is a good book. I'm still torn between whether I enjoyed the book, but that goes towards my interest in Mark Twain and nothing at fault of the author. If you like Twain, then I'm sure you will love this book! Thanks again NetGalley! As always, feel free to share any comments, suggestions, or recommendations! I'd love to hear what you think of the book!

Happy reading fools :)

Follow Lynn Cullen on Twitter: @LynnCullenBooks or check out her website and other books at !

Saturday, November 7, 2015

"Orleans" - Sherri L. Smith

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Today's throwback review comes to you from an ARC I received from Goodreads giveaway a couple years back. Thanks Goodreads & Putnam Juvenile Publishing! At that time, this book was way outside my normal genre but has now become something I'm very interested in. Orleans by Sherri L. Smith was really different. A good different. I was transfixed with this book from the moment I received it. Here's why:

"First came the storms.
Then came the Fever.
And then the Wall.

After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct... but in reality, a new primitive society has been born.

Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader's newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans. In the end, they are each other's last hope for survival. "

Needless to say, the book has an interesting concept to it. The beginning half was a little slow going for me, but I think that is entirely due to me learning about the different tribes and how Orleans and the world "now" operate. The book was something different than anything I had read at the time and I really liked the whole concept. To me, it was a fantastic idea and a little scary at the same time as some parts of the book are potentially possible. I liked the blood type/tribe aspect of the book which is how people are now classified and segregated. I thought it added a new angle and different direction than other dystopia books. The two main characters, Fen and Daniel, have well-written story lines and I liked how they interconnected throughout the book. Overall, it's a good story. I wish it had turned into a series. I would have liked to learn more and see how the world would progress! As always, feel free to share any comments, suggestions, or recommendations!

Happy reading fools :)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

"The Martian" - Andy Weir

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Can you blieve it's already one week into November?! Where has this year gone?? Today's review is for The Martian by Andy Weird which is now a hit movie. Simply put, its a great book. Attention grabbing, suspenseful, and highly captivating.

"Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Marks finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive -- and event if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills -- and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit -- he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

I really liked this book. It was great. But explaining to you why I liked it and giving specifics has proved not to come as easily as it normally does for books that I like this well. Maybe it was the characters. Maybe the genre, or the writing stlye. Maybe it's all of the above.  The main character, Mark Watney, is great. Andy Weir did a fantastic job writing this character. He's smart, innovative, witty, and sarcastic. Watney's relentless drive to stay alive gives the reader an emense sense of hope. You have to root for him! I loved his journal entries and continually found myself laughing at his random comments and sarcasm. I cannot imagine what I would write in a journal if I was left all alone somewhere. It's probably better actually if I don't try to imagine :)

Be forewarned, there are alot of numbers and science/chemisttry jargon throughout, especially in the beginning. While understanding his math and knowing how long each necessary component will last him (food, water, air, etc.) is important, these sections can be skimmed over easily. I couldn't put the book down. Thrilling and suspenseful from the start to the end. It's easy to see why they made it into a movie. I have yet to see it but have heard great things. As always, feel free to share any comments, recommendations, and suggestions about the book or movie! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Happy reading fools :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

"Jackaby" - William Ritter

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Today's review comes with a bit of disappointment. I heard a lot of good things about Jackaby by William Ritter. I know it's been pretty big in Young Adult book clubs. I, unfortunately, wasn't able to get through it to the end. The writing was good and the characters are interesting. I, though, found the story line boring and dull. From the beginning, it failed to hold my attention. I tried to give it the benefit of the doubt but by halfway thru, I quit. Once again, I'm a quitter.

I think the plotline had potential. Sherlock meets paranormal. Maybe I'm just not in the mood for this genre right now. Either way, I just couldn't get into it. There are too many books in the world to waste time on one that isn't grabbing my interest. So onto the next! As always, feel free to share any comments, suggestions, or recommendations! I'd love to hear what you think!

Happy reading fools :)