END OF THE YEAR REVIEW

Happy Sunday! It’s cold outside and very, very quiet. The cries of heartbroken Sooner fans are heard faintly in the air. I personally think they should be grateful they got to spend a week in Florida, but seriously did they think they could beat Alabama? I mean do you know Nick Saban? The man takes notes on the field so he can tear you a new one at halftime. And I counted at least 17 uses of the F word after he broke his headset.

I have completed my Goodreads Challenge with around 179 books. I’ve read others, I just wasn’t obligated to review them, thank the gods. No one wants to know what I thought of new LSAT study guide. Or the Nuclear Facility Policies and Procedures Manual.

Normally I would do a post on the best books but this year I can’t. There were so many good reads out there this year. This year I also branched out, reading new authors to me from the UK, Pakistan, India, Korea, Scotland and Ireland and Russia, Norway, Denmark too and I have yet to be disappointed in any of them.

A few things I would like to see change this year from Amazon is letting us post on Amazon UK. Why must I have a different account to do that? So if you would fix that little problem I would greatly appreciate it.

Also whoever does those blurbs….stop comparing authors. You know what I mean. “If you loved Gone Girl, you will love ________ (fill in the blank). Well I hated Gone Girl but I loved this book and it wasn’t even in the same genre as Gone Girl. And you don’t have to tell the entire story in the blurb. Why do I need to read it when I already know what happens?  I actually told an author that on Goodreads they were comparing her to another author who isn’t even a thriller author. She was not amused. So let’s stop that mess. Also if you disagree with someone else’s review you don’t have to attack them. This isn’t Kindergarten. You aren’t required to comment. Reading is subjective. Every reader puts their own interpretation on a book, based on their own experiences and knowledge, so grow up and stop that.

And that’s all I have to say about that. I wish you a new year full of hope, peace and love. Be Kind. It’s free. Don’t judge. That position is filled. Stand up straight, hold your head high and own your shit.

Thanks for coming over!  Happy New Year to you all. And don’t forget to re-tweet other reviewers posts. Thank you for everyone who does this for me and I’ll keep doing it for all of you!

Much love  P

THE BROKEN GIRLS BY SIMONE ST.JAMES

The Broken Girls

“Sonia envied her, the way she could turn her brain off, think about absolutely nothing. It was a trick Sonia herself had never learned. That was what books did – they turned off your thinking for you, put their thoughts in your head so you wouldn’t have your own.”

 
“That was what the books did—they turned off your thinking for you, put their thoughts in your head so you wouldn’t have your own.”
Vermont, 1950. There’s a place for the girls whom no one wants–the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It’s called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it’s located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming–until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .

Vermont, 2014. As much as she’s tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister’s death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister’s boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can’t shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past–and a voice that won’t be silenced. . . .

This is truly a ghost story! And the setting is one of my favorites. A gothic style girl’s school in the middle of nowhere Vermont. Set in the 1950’s, when being anything other than perfect could get you packed off to what we will loosely call a girls boarding school.
The school itself is a dark, spooky place, with things going bump in the night and strange smells and writing on the mirrors. Four girls, Katie, Roberta, CeCe and Sonia. As different as can be but bound by their mutual fear and pasts.
The story is told from the girls points of view and in the present by Fiona. A journalist with a connection of her own with Idlewild Hall. And when she hears that someone has bought the old place and is going to renovate it, she feels a strong pull to write about it, investigate the rumors of Mary Hand, the ghost who haunts the school as well as find out about her sister’s murder.
There is a little bit of everything in here. Nazis, Concentration Camps, illegitimate children, PTSD, some horrible thing has happened to all of these girls and they come up with a plan to escape but they never forgot. With a little help from Fiona they just may get justice after all.
Like I said this is a ghost story with an actual ghost and I loved it.
When I tried to review this book on Amazon, it notified me that they were not accepting reviews for this book because of some suspicious activity with a lot of the reviews. That has never happened before. As soon as I hit Write a Review a notice came up that no reviews were being accepted. Wonder what happened there?
xx Patricia

Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins

Blood and Gold #1

Daughters of the Storm (Blood and Gold, #1)

Five very different sisters team up against their stepbrother to save their kingdom in this Norse-flavored fantasy epic–the start of a new series in the tradition of Naomi Novik, Peter V. Brett, and Robin Hobb.

FIVE ROYAL SISTERS. ONE CROWN.

They are the daughters of a king. Though they share the same royal blood, they could not be more different. Bluebell is a proud warrior, stronger than any man and with an ironclad heart to match. Rose’s heart is all too passionate: She is the queen of a neighboring kingdom, who is risking everything for a forbidden love. The twins: vain Ivy, who lives for admiration, and zealous Willow, who lives for the gods. And Ash, who is discovering a dangerous talent for magic that might be a gift–or a curse.

But when their father is stricken by a mysterious ailment, they must come together on a desperate journey to save him and prevent their treacherous stepbrother from seizing the throne. Their mission: find the powerful witch who can cure the king. But to succeed on their quest, they must overcome their differences, and hope that the secrets they hide from one another and the world are never brought to light. Because if this royal family breaks, it could destroy the kingdom.

Five daughters. One Kingdom. Bluebell is a warrior. She strikes fear into the heart of those she meets on and off the battle field and does not suffer fools lightly. I imagined her as Xena. Everything is cut and dried for her. It’s right or it’s wrong based on how it affects the Kingdom and her father. Eventually she will rule.

Rose has been married off to the King of another area that assures peace for both countries. But her heart is with the man she couldn’t have. And her daughter may be his also. She is tender-hearted but can get the job done if need be.

Ash has been hidden away for years studying to become a counselor, but when she is called home when her father becomes ill, she finds herself surrounded with magic and knows she has to leave.

Willow has lived with her Uncle and comes home to find her ill father. She has taken up the faith of another God and is obsessed with it and the voices in her head. She has no loyalty to anyone including her sisters.

Ivy is the flighty, boy crazy one. She has no problem stealing your boyfriend or her sister’s husband. But she gets neither.

Now they must work together to get their father to safety and to find the undermagician who can make him well again. All the while their step-brother is planning on killing Bluebell and taking the throne with his mother as Queen. I did not care for his character. Shallow and calculating, he kills with no care and yet cares tenderly for a blind child.

This is the first book in the series and I found it to be quite entertaining. A new fantasy series in which all of them are just discovering who they are and what they are.

Ms. Wilkins has created smart, conflicted and addictive characters here. I can’t wait for the next one!

Netgalley/Del Ray  Release March 06, 2018

 

Beignets and Broomsticks: A Maggie Miller Mystery by J.R.Ripley

It’s Halloween, and cafe owner Maggie Miller’s special pumpkin spice beignet promotion is proving popular. But the evening ends in disaster when Maggie discovers the body of one of her regular customers, strangled to death with an expensive cashmere scarf.

The late Nancy Alverson had tended to keep herself to herself – but what secrets was she hiding? And why had she been studying books on witchcraft?

Of one thing Maggie is certain, it was no witch who killed Nancy. But has someone taken advantage of the spookiest night of the year to commit a brutal murder . . .?

Maggie just can’t keep her nose on her own side of the street. If there is a mystery that needs solving, Maggie is your girl.

Table Rock is a quirky town full of equally quirky people and Maggie fits right in! Still in the trial and error phase of her Beignet Cafe’, Maggie is busy coming up with new flavors and with her recent purchase, she is venturing in to the espresso business as well.

When she heads across the street to deliver some beignets to Nancy, who is living above Maggie’s competition, Karma Koffee, she literally runs into VV, the town prosecutor and worst enemy of Maggie. When she sees Nancy dead with a cashmere scarf around her neck, she thinks the worst.

When she is threatened it only makes her more determined to find out who killed Nancy and why. And what does any of this have to do with the strangers in town or the Witchkraft Center just out-of-town?

Maggie will have to whip up more than beignets to solve this one! Maggie is becoming more confident in herself and her abilities and this series is devoloping nicely!

Netgalley/Severn House   March 1, 2018

Finished Up All Of My December Reads!

How are all of my fellow Book Bloggers doing on your Goodreads Challenge?

I will be gone next week so I’m getting all of my ARC reviews turned in beginning to read the May releases.

We had a death in our family last night, so I’ve loaded up the Fire Tablet, the Kindle and got a new book in the mail yesterday so I can sit in a corner and read wherever we may be.

Have a good day. Be Nice!

xx Patricia

THE IMMORTALISTS by Chloe Benjamin

The Immortalists

If you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?

It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

Their prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in ’80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11, hoping to control fate; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality

How would you live your life if you knew the exact timing of your death?

The Gold children are living in New York and are bored to death! When they hear of a mysterious woman, who can tell you things. Mysterious things. Such as when you are going to die.

Knowing changes them all. Four siblings who shape their futures on the word of a palm reader. The youngest off to San Francisco to live life the way he wants. Along with him goes Klara who dreams of being a magician or illusionist. While Daniel studies to become a doctor and Varya becomes a scientist pushing the boundaries between science and immortality.

This book was nothing like I expected. It is so many small stories rolled into one big story. There are the individual stories of each member of the family along with the story of them as siblings. It’s about science, religion, family, dreams and the reality of life.  About what is expected of us as family while remaining true to our own dreams and hopes.

Excellent Book!

Netgalley/January 9th 2018 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Accessories To Die For by Paula Paul

Accessories to die for

Good old-fashioned murder lurks behind the Old World charm of Santa Fe, New Mexico. And nobody knows that better than former attorney turned consignment-shop owner—and part-time amateur sleuth—Irene Seligman.

When New York assistant DA Irene Seligman moved home to take care of her demanding mother, Adelle, she thought she was leaving a world of corruption and violence behind. But after opening her store, Irene’s Closet, and getting reacquainted with the locals, she learns that something’s rotten in sunny Santa Fe. Even upstanding citizens like her friend Juanita Calabaza, a Native American artisan, can’t seem to escape the decidedly unfashionable surge in crime.

Juanita’s handcrafted jewelry has been known to catch the eye of many a tourist on the plaza in Santa Fe’s historic district. But lately she’s been attracting the wrong kind of attention . . . from the police. With her son missing after falling in with a bad crowd, Juanita foretells the death of one of his associates—which comes back to haunt her when the scumbag actually turns up dead. Now Juanita’s trading in her turquoise beads for an orange jumpsuit, and Irene will need to call upon all her old investigative skills to clear Juanita’s name—before her friend pays the ultimate price.

Paula Paul’s delightful mysteries featuring Irene Seligman can be read together or separately:
A KILLER CLOSET | BROKEN POTTERY

I love the cover art on this book. This was my first book by this author.

I finished this book and still couldn’t tell you much about any of the characters. They felt one-dimensional and flat. I could never get a good read on Irene and her mother was a bit over the top.

The ending felt rushed and very violent for a cozy mystery. For me, the character development is key. And that was sadly missing here.

Unfortunately I wouldn’t read it again.

Netgalley/Penguin Random House  December 05, 2017