Reviews

Review: European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss

Review

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman


European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman

by Theodora Goss
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Synopsis
In the sequel to the critically acclaimed The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Mary Jekyll and the rest of the daughters of literature’s mad scientists embark on a madcap adventure across Europe to rescue another monstrous girl and stop the Alchemical Society’s nefarious plans once and for all.

Mary Jekyll’s life has been peaceful since she helped Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson solve the Whitechapel Murders. Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, Justine Frankenstein, and Mary’s sister Diana Hyde have settled into the Jekyll household in London, and although they sometimes quarrel, the members of the Athena Club get along as well as any five young women with very different personalities. At least they can always rely on Mrs. Poole.

But when Mary receives a telegram that Lucinda Van Helsing has been kidnapped, the Athena Club must travel to the Austro-Hungarian Empire to rescue yet another young woman who has been subjected to horrific experimentation. Where is Lucinda, and what has Professor Van Helsing been doing to his daughter? Can Mary, Diana, Beatrice, and Justine reach her in time?

Racing against the clock to save Lucinda from certain doom, the Athena Club embarks on a madcap journey across Europe. From Paris to Vienna to Budapest, Mary and her friends must make new allies, face old enemies, and finally confront the fearsome, secretive Alchemical Society. It’s time for these monstrous gentlewomen to overcome the past and create their own destinies.

What I thought
This is the second book in The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club the first book being The Strange Case of the Alchemists Daughter (see my thoughts here). Let me start by saying that this book is very long and it took me much longer to read than I thought it would. Now with that said I really enjoyed the ride that this book gave me. I love the friendship between these characters. It feels like a real friend group. They talk about how they do get on one anothers nerves, and how that also makes them all fit together.  Everyone brings there own uniqueness to the group and life is not rainbows and butterflies.

In this installment, they are traveling across Europe to rescue Lucinda Van Helsing. So I am going to say that you should know that last name and that it means vampires. I really like how this author can continue to add new characters to this series and it does not get overwhelming for the reader. I really like how the characters stay themselves, they do have growth however they are never magically changed to where you no longer recognize them.

If you have read the first one you know that there is a going commentary between the characters in the story on the manuscript.  I am always surprised by how much I enjoy this. It feels like you are seeing the characters not just how they are portrayed but how they think and feel about what is being said about them.  To me this makes them feel more real and I love it.

Could this book have been trimmed down some and not been over 700 pages and still been good? I think so and I have noticed that this is an ongoing complaint from a lot of the readers.  So here is to hoping that the next installment will be a little shorter.

My Rating: /55 Stars

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Reviews

Review: List of 13 by E.A. Comiskey

Review

I was sent this book for an honest review by the author.  All thoughts and opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way by receiving this book.

List of 13
List of 13 by E.A. Comiskey
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Synopsis
Death sucks, but there’s good beer in Purgatory.

Alice and her adult daughter, Claire, created a “bucket list” of thirteen experiences they would seek out before Alice died from cancer. They never expected to die in a plane crash attempting to cross off number three. Now, mother and daughter are stuck in the underworld, unable to move on to their ultimate destiny until they finish the list, but finding an Irish Pub near the Fields of Asphodel, or swimming naked in the ocean while being pursued by bloodthirsty Aztecs and a smitten Egyptian god is as hard as it sounds. When everything they ever thought they knew is challenged, will faith be enough to carry them through?

A LIST OF 13 moves between the time after Alice’s death and the time before, allowing the reader to explore the way her relationships evolve and intertwine throughout her life and beyond.

What I thought
I received this book from the author for an honest review. This story is told from two perspectives from Alice, before her death and in her journey through the underworld. When Alice finds out she is dying she makes a bucket list of 13 items with her daughter Claire. Since they did not finish the bucket list in life they now need to finish it in death before they can reach Heaven. I really don’t see this as being a spoiler since this was too easy to figure out they needed to finish the list from the beginning.  Some of the ways that they came across to accomplish these items on their list was a little far-fetched and I may have rolled my eyes, but I was there for the ride. It really was not bad but not what I was hoping for. Still, I would have read on if we would have only followed them. Occasionally the story flips to Rory Alice’s deceased (10 years) husband. He is living outside the gates of heaven in a village… not Purgatory. Yes, I know that is what most of you may be thinking. Anyway, he is there because he won’t go through the gates without Alice. So as you can imagine some sections are very religious. So do know this before you go into it. I know some people are really turned off by this.

While reading the parts from Rory’s perspective I became very frustrated. Rory is the most possessive character I have run across in a book in a while and it drove me crazy every time he referred to Alice or Clair they were his “my woman” “my girls” ‘my Alice” I get how this may come across to some people as his caring but it is way overdone and it was in one of his sections (page 137 of 233) that I realized I couldn’t do this anymore. Those sections made me so frustrated and I dreaded having to finish the book. I finally just decided that I have too many other things to read and I have been battling this book for over a week. After reading Rory’s first section I did not pick it back up for three days. So I realized that that would probably happen again and honestly doing that to myself is not fair to me.

If anyone has finished this I would like to hear what they think because I did not have any issues with the other characters. Let’s talk in the comments below.

I was sent this book for an honest review by the author.  All thoughts and opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way by receiving this book.

My Rating: /52 stars

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ARC Review: Fireside Chat with a Grammar Nazi Serial Killer by Ryan Suvaal

Review

Fireside Chat with a Grammar Nazi Serial Killer
Fireside Chat with a Grammar Nazi Serial Killer
by Ryan Suvaal
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Synopsis
Seventeen gruesome killings across the United States, within a span of six months and there is one clear connection among victims. They were all writers. 

While media is decorating the murders with sensationalist stories, and law enforcement is playing catch-up, the homicidal maniac remains elusive and secretive.
Things get very interesting, when one day she decides to appear on an internet talk show for an honest fireside chat.

What I thought
Okay, so I am going to keep this short because this story is only 23 pages long. So as you may expect this story is a conversion with a Serial Killer that has gained the name Grammar Nazi Serial Killer.  I listen to a number of podcasts and found that this story felt just like one. I was stopped in the middle of reading this and when I came back I picked up my phone to continue it only to realize that it was a book I was reading and not a podcast.  I have today that has never happened to before and I take it as a good thing.  If this sounds interesting to you in any way I would suggest you pick it up.  

My Rating: /54 Stars

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Read Along · Reviews

Review: Manners and Mutiny by Gail Carriger

Review

Manners & Mutiny


Manners and Mutiny
 by Gail Carriger
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Synopsis
If one must flirt…flirt with danger.

Lessons in the art of espionage aboard Mademoiselle Geraldine’s floating dirigible have become tedious without Sophronia’s sootie Soap nearby. She would rather thwart dastardly Picklemen, yet her concerns about their wicked intentions are ignored.

Who can she trust? Royal werewolf dewan? Stylish vampire Lord Akeldama? Only one thing is certain: a large-scale plot is under way. Sophronia must be ready to save her friends, her school, and all of London from disaster.

Read-along
Midway though this year I decided that I wanted to read the books from Gail Carriger’s Parasolverse in chronological order. This lead me to start the journey of the Parasolverse Read-Along in August 2018. If you would like more information about the read-along please visit my post about it here. At the beginning of each month, I will have a brief read-along post go up letting you know what the book for that month is. 

What I thought
Manners and Mutiny is the fourth and final book in the Finishing School Series. This world is a blend of paranormal, steampunk, and some romance. I love this world so much! It’s like someone sat down and took everything that I love and put it all together. Sophronia has now been at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing School for Girls of Quality for a little while. 

This is a wonderful conclusion novel for this series.  I have to say that I want so much more about these characters, because I have fell in love with them all.  I really hope that we will be getting more stories about these characters in the future. Yes some of them appear in the other series. I have to say that this is the most action packed book in this series and I found myself not wanting to put it down.  I loved how things wrapped up and the character still grow and you found out some back story you did not know before. Gail makes her characters feel real, they express real feelings and emotions as a real person would feel.  Due to the events from the previous books are now a lovely trio are still dealing with those outcomes. I love when an author is able to accomplish this because it makes the characters feel more relatable, and shows that the characters have layers and are not robots. I found myself rooting for them and laughing at some of the scenes. All in all these books always make me feel better after reading them.

I am sorry there is not much I can say about the plot without taking the chance of spoiling things. So I am going to leave you with a few quotes.

“A girl wearing a wicker chicken and playing the harp bopped me with a book about buns and then stuffed me under a piano.”

“We’re a team like tea and milk, or cake and custard, or pork and apple.”

“Sophronia felt bound to object. “I, for one, should prefer not to shoot at someone I like.”
“Admirable scruples, Miss Temminnick. Get over them. For you will do it anyway.”

“Please don’t. When you think about things, Sophronia, they only get more complicated. This thing between us could be so very easy, if you let it.”

My Rating: /5

5 Stars

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Review: Chroma Crossing Chronicles: Blood Moon Part 1 by S. Yurvati

Review

Blood Moon 1

Chroma Crossing Chronicles: Blood Moon Part 1
by S. Yurvati
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(Disclaimer: I was sent this book for an honest review. All thoughts and comments are mine and mine alone.)

Synopsis
Hunky pheromone-laden-man meets pretty accident-prone female—it should have been a love story with a happy ever after ending.

However, when the bored deities choose Candy and Thorne for an amusing game, the gods/goddesses put forth sets of circumstances that can tear the couple apart and wound them deep within their human souls.

City girl, Candy wanted to become a successful artist and maybe someday find a man who would make her feel loved and valued, a feeling she’d never known while growing up. However, with a name like ‘Candy Cane’, males never failed to remind her with a wink and snicker, how it sounded like she was a ‘professional’. And ‘professional’ held so many connotations, none of which she had in mind regarding relationships with men.
With her father’s sudden demise, Candy finds she’s inherited funds and a carriage house in beautiful historic Savannah. Not only can she now afford to go to SCAD, her future as an artist looks promising. Unfortunately, her step-mom (and her disturbing son Todd) resides in the main house. When Candy gets her first commission for a life-sized portrait of a beautiful woman from a rather unsettling man, she soon questions what had seemed coincidental.

Candy is a modest female who has always found solace in her artwork, whereas her widowed step-mom, Cherry Ann, considers physical pleasure and money as her measures of worth. And as Candy pursues her art, Cherry Ann pursues a new lover who expands her world of sexual gratifications far beyond past parameters. Cherry Ann finds her new risqué sex life to be addictive and doesn’t recognize the danger of the man she’s invited into her life.

After surviving a couple of ‘accidents’, Candy realizes someone apparently wishes her harm. When she’s chased (by the one thing she fears most) Candy accidentally, or so it seems, crosses into a new dimension, land or whatever. She finds herself in an unknown wilderness without resources, let alone a map, or GPS, plus she left her cell phone at home—again. Looking around she sees a curious terrain that is void of color, thus leaving the landscape looking like an old sepia photograph, hardly the Savannah spring day she’d left behind.

The artist in her wants to understand how primary colors could disappear to leave a land so colorless . . . so entirely beige-ish. How could such a phenomenal occurrence come about? A land without modern conveniences—almost as though she’d stepped into a time past, yet that wasn’t quite accurate either.

As Candy literally stumbles through the wild terrain, an intriguing hunter comes upon her. His presence makes her girlie parts beg to become ill-behaved, and before she knows it, her hormones are arguing with her strict moral compass.

What I thought
First I want to say thank you to the author for sending me this book to review. I really do appreciate it; however, this has no bearing on my thoughts and opinions in this review.

I really do not know how I feel about this book.  I started this review then waited a few days to see if that made any difference, and well I am still on the fence about what I read. So I think its best if I break down my thoughts here. Yes, this is going to look different otherwise it all is very rambly.

The Prologue:
This was a very interesting way to set up the book. However, after reading the book I think it was a set up for the series and it does not make sense with this book alone. But hey I still liked what it set up and makes me want to read on to see where in the series it comes into play.

Cast of Characters:
There is a good size cast of characters and you see chapters from most of their points of view. So are reading from 8 points of view.  This sounds worse than what it is.  She writes each character very differently so you do not feel lost in these switches.

There were characters that I really liked reading from Candy, Liam, Joe, Thorne and Coco. Coco is Candy’s kitten those chapters are really cute.

I would have been happy to never have read anything from the point of view of Mark Kingsley, Cherry Ann or Todd. I know that these characters are supposed to be unlikeable but they toe a lot of lines, and Mark’s chapters blow those lines to bits and if I am being honest they made me very uncomfortable.

There are some chapters that are not labeled with a character and they start with dead pirates talking to each other about what is going on.  I still have not figured this out yet.

The Story:
I enjoyed the first 57 pages of this book and I had no doubts about it to this point.  I liked Candy and Liam and I was really interested in where this story was going. Then for the next 200 and some pages, I really did not like the book you see more of the story from Mark/Cherry Ann’s perspectives and I get most of this is probably a set up for them for the rest of the series but I could have done without them. Now, why did I keep reading because this is supposed to be a portal fantasy and I kept thinking that once I get to that point they would no longer matter. It took until page 291 for the fantasy aspect to happen. Did I enjoy the rest of the book once she crossed realms? YES!

I have to say this is the most conflicted I have been about a book in a while.  I already have Part 2 so I will begin that book and see if it continues with Candy and Thorn.  I know I am not getting rid of Mark that easily but we will have to see how big of a part he plays in the other books.  Mark is just one huge warning label, everything he does is just repulsive/abusive/demeaning and so on.

Since I am so conflicted I am giving this book a middle of the road rating the parts I liked I really liked and the parts I didn’t like well I have strong feelings both ways.  Its now been days since I finished this book and I am still just so conflicted.

If anyone else had read this book I would love to hear your thoughts.

My Rating: /53 stars

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Reviews

Review: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast
Beauty and the Clockwork Beast

(Steampunk Proper Romance #1)
by Nancy Campbell Allen
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Synopsis
Jane Eyre meets Beauty and the Beast. 

When Lucy Pickett arrives at Blackwell Manor to tend to her ailing cousin, Kate, she finds more than she bargained for. A restless ghost roams the hallways, werewolves have been reported in the area, and vampires lurk across the Scottish border. Lord Miles himself is clearly hiding a secret. He is brash and inhospitable, and does not take kindly to visitors—even one as smart and attractive as Miss Pickett. He is unsettled by the mysterious deaths of his new wife, Clara, and his sister, Marie. Working together, Miles and Lucy attempt to restore peace to Blackwell Manor. But can Lucy solve the mystery of Miles? Can she love the man-beast and all?

What I thought

I first saw this book as a suggestion on book depository but I really weary about it.  It’s not that I thought the idea sounded bad but the complete opposite.  This books takes two things that I absolutely love and combined them into one book.  Beauty and the Beast was always my favorite fairy tale since I was little and then the idea of adding steampunk elements I got so excited. So I had to take a step back because I just really hyped this book up and I realized that there was a bigger chance that I was going to be disappointed than not. So instead of buying the book I decided to check with my local library surprisingly they only had the audio version. So I added it to my wish list and waited about a month and went into this with really low expectations. A recent reading of a pride and prejudice retelling kind of solidified the thought of how much I may not like it.

I am very happy to say that I was surprised by how much I liked it.  I loved the characters and thought that Miles made a wonderful Beast.  He was not cruel, but had a good heart and that made me love the story that much more. I really loved the mystery element of this story.  This retelling has paranormal and steampunk elements and I felt that they were done very well. I loved how independent that Lucy is and how not once did have to rely on a man to save her, even though with this time period women are not seen as they can take care of themselves.   I love books that have strong women in them.

I would suggest this book to anyone that loves Beauty and the Beast and Steampunk.

My Rating: /5

4 Stars

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Review: The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton

Review

The Price Guide to the Occult
The Price Guide to the Occult

by Leslye Walton
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Synopsis
When Rona Blackburn landed on Anathema Island more than a century ago, her otherworldly skills might have benefited friendlier neighbors. Guilt and fear instead led the island’s original eight settlers to burn “the witch” out of her home. So Rona cursed them. Fast-forward one hundred–some years: All Nor Blackburn wants is to live an unremarkable teenage life. She has reason to hope: First, her supernatural powers, if they can be called that, are unexceptional. Second, her love life is nonexistent, which means she might escape the other perverse side effect of the matriarch’s backfiring curse, too. But then a mysterious book comes out, promising to cast any spell for the right price. Nor senses a storm coming and is pretty sure she’ll be smack in the eye of it. In her second novel, Leslye Walton spins a dark, mesmerizing tale of a girl stumbling along the path toward self-acceptance and first love, even as the Price Guide’s malevolent author — Nor’s own mother — looms and threatens to strangle any hope for happiness.

What I thought
Price Guide to the Occult is a young adult urban fantasy stand alone novel. This book came out in the beginning of this year and since then I have heard more disappointing reviews than positive ones so even though I had already purchased it I was a little weary about reading it. I have learned this year that I need to trust in what I think I will like and not by what others reviews say. Since this sounded like something I would like I gave it a chance, and I am happy that I did. This may not have been the most action packed book but it was perfect for me when I read it.

The writing of this book is absolutely beautiful. This is the first book that I have read by this author but I am going to have to give her other book a chance just for the writing alone.  This story opens with a backstory that lays the ground work for the whole story. Yes the back story is important please do not skip it just because its before chapter 1. I am very happy you get this upfront instead of through out the story. It made everything make so much since from the beginning and there was no flipping back and forth trying to figure out what was happening.

I’m sorry I don’t have any really deep thoughts about this book and I am not going to go into too much detail due to the fact that it is a short book and would be very easy to spoil. This is not meant to be be a fast pace book, which is where I think most of the bad rep came from.  I read this coming out of a reading slump and it was the perfect time for me to read it.

There is a Trigger Warning for cutting and self harm.

If you are on the fence about reading the book because of all of the reviews I say you should give it a chance.

My Rating: /54 Stars

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