Wednesday, November 25, 2015

{Review} A SMALL INDISCRETION by Jan Ellison

ISBN #: 978-0812995442
Page Count: 336
Copyright: January 20, 2015
Publisher: Random House

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

At nineteen, Annie Black trades a bleak future in a washed-out California town for a London winter of drinking and abandon. Twenty years later, she is a San Francisco lighting designer and happily married mother of three who has put her reckless youth behind her. Then a photo from that distant winter in Europe arrives inexplicably in her mailbox, and an old obsession is awakened.

Past and present collide, Annie’s marriage falters, and her son takes a car ride that ends with his life hanging in the balance. Now Annie must confront her own transgressions and fight for her family by untangling the mysteries of the turbulent winter that drew an invisible map of her future. Gripping, insightful, and lyrical, A Small Indiscretion announces the arrival of a major new voice in literary suspense as it unfolds a story of denial, passion, forgiveness—and the redemptive power of love.

Mandy's Review:

There are decisions made in our past that come back to haunt us in the future. When the decisions are made, we don't consider the consequences. We just live. Like a drop in a body of water, though, our decisions also form concentric circles of consequence that continue to expand the farther out it goes. This is what happens to Annie. A not-so-smart decision in her past is causing horrible consequences for her future. The worst part is that those consequences are affecting her family as well. Is this a situation that can be corrected and put back on track?

From the moment I began reading this novel, I was intrigued. The novel does flip flop between past and present so you'll need to be able to adjust your thinking while you're reading. The best thing about this story is that it does not reveal all its secrets at once. It'll keep you guessing until almost the very end. I really appreciate that in a story. I love to keep guessing as long as all the loose ends are tied up at the end.

If this is Ms. Ellison's first novel then it shows she has a promising start to her career.

*A physical copy of this novel was provided by the publicist in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

{Review} FROM THE ASHES by Shelby K. Morrison

File Size: 733 KB
Page Count: 305
Copyright: April 24, 2015

Book Summary:
(Taken from Goodreads)

For eighteen years Aia Wynnald has lived a lie. Raised as a highborn in the Kingdom of Tharien, she’s filled her days with tutors and archery lessons. But simmering beneath her polite surface is a dangerous gift, one which she must keep a secret. Aia is a Bender. And in Tharien, Benders are feared and hunted.

When her unruly power breaks free with dire repercussions, Aia’s lifelong goal of independence shatters. As she scrambles to piece her life back together while evading capture, she disturbs a vengeful force intent on destroying the kingdom.

Now, with the help of an unlikely ally, Aia will decide the fate of Tharien. To rescue those she cares about will require accepting what she is. But can she risk becoming the monster she’s dreaded to save the very citizens baying for her blood?

Kathy's Review:

This is the second book I’ve read by this author (Shattered was the other one), and I think I liked Shattered better. This book held my interest, but I felt like I showed up late to the party and missed some major gossip that everyone else was privy to. A key piece of the plot felt like it was missing from the get-go. The story begins with Aia on the run. Why is she on the run? Slowly we find out it is because she is a “Bender.” But I have no idea what a Bender is, nor do I understand what a “Breaker” is. I don’t know why she is sometimes called Maia. It’s never explained, so I guess people just get her name wrong? Kind of like how my music teacher called me “Kristen” from first through seventh grade, and at some point I just stopped correcting her.

Ilcina is the bad gal of this story, and she is a powerful, legendary Bender who everyone thinks is dead. In person, though, when she is with Aia, she doesn’t seem like such a horrible person. Maybe I missed that nuance, too.

There’s definitely some good to the story. I’m intrigued by the whole concept of the Benders. What kinds of powers do they have? Do they all have different powers? What is Cole’s power? Will Maia find any other relatives? What is her destiny?

Of course, those will be answered in future installments of the book. Suggestion to the author: let’s get some backstory on Benders, some backstory on Cole, etc.

*An ecopy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

{Review} FLEETING PROMISE by Sherban Young

ISBN #: 978-15146889110
Page Count: 254
Copyright: July 27, 2015
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


The world is changing for John Hathaway, newlywed and occasional PI.

He has a wife who is pushing to start a family, a best friend who is keeping a secret from him and a mentor who may soon be dropping the prefix on his semi-retirement. Even the number of Maltese dogs in his life has doubled.

Fortunately for Hath, there are some things that never change. Invited to a restaurant opening, he immediately lands in the midst of another zesty murder. Apparently, he’s not the only one with a taste for the past. An old foe has emerged, and everyone will need to watch their backs.

Charlene's Review:

In the latest Enescu Fleet series, we catch up with all the usual suspects, er, characters. Johnny, and new wife, Lesley; his buddy, Hutton and fiancee, Ate; and of course, the sleuth himself, Enescu Fleet. Invited to a pickle purveyors restaurant opening, Johnny, or Hath, as otherwise known, arrives to find Hutton and Fleet in attendance, although no one knows who sent the invites. Of course, where ever this gang goes, murder is sure to follow, and the madcap adventures begin.

I am a die-hard Enescu fan. Fleeting Promise is my seventh review of Mr. Youngs’ work and I am never disappointed. Hath has a self-deprecating quality, as well as a dry humor that I especially appreciate. The Enescu Fleet mysteries are characterized by a light, humorous style that focuses more on the people and their foibles than the murders.

Enescu Fleet always gets his man, and leaves the reader with an entertaining perspective. How does a semi-retired sleuth with a weird name and a bunch of well meaning misfits do it? To quote from Fleeting Promise, "He’s Eskimo effing Fleet, that’s how."

I highly recommend Fleeting Promise, and all of Mr. Youngs work to anyone that appreciates intelligent, sportive mystery stories.

*A physical copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

{Review} THE BEAUTIFUL BUREAUCRAT by Helen Phillips

ISBN #: 978-1627793766
Page Count: 192
Copyright: August 11, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.


A young wife's new job pits her against the unfeeling machinations of the universe in this dazzling first novel Ursula K. Le Guin hails as "funny, sad, scary, beautiful. I love it."

In a windowless building in a remote part of town, the newly employed Josephine inputs an endless string of numbers into something known only as The Database. After a long period of joblessness, she's not inclined to question her fortune, but as the days inch by and the files stack up, Josephine feels increasingly anxious in her surroundings-the office's scarred pinkish walls take on a living quality, the drone of keyboards echoes eerily down the long halls. When one evening her husband Joseph disappears and then returns, offering no explanation as to his whereabouts, her creeping unease shifts decidedly to dread.

As other strange events build to a crescendo, the haunting truth about Josephine's work begins to take shape in her mind, even as something powerful is gathering its own form within her. She realizes that in order to save those she holds most dear, she must penetrate an institution whose tentacles seem to extend to every corner of the city and beyond. Both chilling and poignant, The Beautiful Bureaucrat is a novel of rare restraint and imagination. With it, Helen Phillips enters the company of Murakami, Bender, and Atwood as she twists the world we know and shows it back to us full of meaning and wonder-luminous and new.

Charlene's Review:

Normally, this would be where I deliver a short synopsis of my own, but honestly, I can’t. I’m not entirely sure what I read. Or why. The sheer strangeness was the only constant, and while I understood the outcome, most of the surrounding details of the novel did not actually play into it. I finished it, mainly because I kept hoping it would all make sense to me. It never did.

A very short novel, but not very entertaining for me. Perhaps true sci-fi readers would get more out of it, but I just did not.

*A physical copy of this novel was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

{2015 Amazing Book Race Challenge Review} THE FIRST FIFTEEN LIVES OF HARRY AUGUST by Claire North

Lupe's Review:

It's not often that I am truly blown away by a book, so much so, that as I sit alone at home and close it, I still say "Wow" out loud to no one. This does that. It was closely reminiscent to The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, with the whole ability to come back in another life, but in this case, Harry August comes back as himself over and over, and has to relive his past time and time again. He always sees his mother die, always finds the Chronus Club and always befriends Vincent. Their friendship (which is an immensely complicated and unhealthly codependent one) is one of true beauty. Combine this with the fact that suddenly members of the Chronus Club and, by and large, others with the ability to die and come back, are vanishing or worse, not being born at all, Harry is tasked at the deathbed of one of his lives to find out WHY the world is ending so much faster than it should. This is a fantastic work of time travel, historical fiction, mixed with some quantum physics. I wasn't sure what I expected this novel to be, but what I was given was so much better. I was given hearbreak and sadness, with a mix of awe and reverence. I am saddened that this is a library book and that I have to turn it in, since I would re-read this in a heartbeat. So I will have to make this a staple on my bookshelf instead. Really, this was a wonderful work and I feel like I need to go and think about it a bit more.

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