Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Room by the Lake

34818163When Caitlin moved from London to New York, she thought she had left her problems behind: her alcoholic father, her dead mother, the pressure to succeed. But now, down to her last dollar in a foreign city, she is desperately lonely.

Then she meets Jake. Handsome, smart, slightly damaged Jake. He lives off-grid, in a lakeside commune whose members practice regular exercise and frequent group therapy. Before long, Caitlin has settled into her idyllic new home.

It looks like she has found the fresh start she longed for. But, as the commune tightens its grip on her freedom and her sanity, Caitlin realizes too late that she might become lost forever...

*May Contain Spoilers*

Emma Dibdin writes of how wonderful living off the grid can be... except when it comes with manipulation, a forced regimen, and unlicensed therapy. The Room by the Lake is a thrilling novel that takes a girl who is running away from her troubles and gives her peace, but the price is high. 

Almost a year after Caitlin loses her mother, and her father resumes his alcoholic tendencies, she decides on a whim to leave London. Ending up in New York with very limited money and no friends, Caitlin struggles to move forward. It's during this time of feeling lost that Caitlin actually becomes lost in a lakeside commune in upstate New York. After meeting Jake, a seemingly nice yet slightly damaged young man, he takes her to the commune. 

Caitlin is an intelligent young woman who has just graduated from Oxford. I think readers will mainly connect with her based on her emotional states and internal feelings because most of the book is focused on this in one way or the other. Whether Caitlin is examining her own feelings or being evaluated by Don, the therapy leader in the commune, readers get a very detailed look into Caitlin's psyche. However, that also includes the confusion and uncertainty that comes with Caitlin being manipulated by those around her. So at times, the reader will definitely question Caitlin's sanity. This aligns with Caitlin questioning her own sanity as the environment really starts to shift away from peaceful and toward the edges of frightening. 

The novel follows both Caitlin's entry into and exit from the commune. Though the building of suspense is a little slow, the climactic scene is worth the agony of waiting. The evolution of the story includes Caitlin wanting to leave the commune immediately and shifts to her slowly accepting the restrictions and rules that the commune shares with her (or forces upon her). At first, this new routine and the expunging of social chaos is freeing. But when Caitlin begins losing time, struggling to remember key details and finds another commune member dead -- the peaceful feeling disappears instantly. She begins to realize something is drastically wrong but can't stay conscious long enough to figure it out. During these chapters, I think readers will be unable to put the book down. I know these sections were the only parts that kept me reading at a frantic pace. The only big thing that bothered me, and though it's explained it still bothers me now, is that Caitlin trusted everyone so easily. If I was suddenly forced into a strange camping situation with rules and restrictions that I immediately felt uncomfortable with, I don't think I would have stayed for more than one night. But manipulation is a strong force so I can't really blame Caitlin for falling into this facade of peace, acceptance, and the illusion of bettering one's self. With a mixed stream of consciousness writing style and the unreliability of the narrator, I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy psychological thrillers. 

Rating: 3/5 Cups

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Teaser Tuesday (290)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.

34818163

The Room by the Lake
(Kindle 51%)
    - Emma Dibdin

"I do feel more stable here. The structure, the activity, but then I worry I'm just distracting myself from whatever's going on in my head. Maybe I'm just a time bomb." 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Short Story Sunday - Language of Thorns #6


34076952
When Water Sang Fire

This story is the longest in Bardugo's collection, The Language of Thorns, and therefore provides the deepest character connections and the most intricate, magical detail. "When Water Sang Fire" is the story of a mermaid, Ulla, and her dearest (if only) friend, Signy. As mermaids, or merpeople, these special creatures have the power to sing magic into being. When they are young, Ulla and Signy learn that together they are the strongest singers in their colony. They can sing almost any magic into being.

The trouble with this story comes when Ulla and Signy are chosen by one of the princes, Roffe, to accompany him onto land for three months. During those three months, all of the princes are tasked with trying to win the kingdom by bringing the current king a gift from the mortal world. Roffe knows that his best chance at winning the title is with the help of Ulla and Signy. Though Ulla knows this, Signy's feelings for Roffe cloud her judgment. When Ulla realizes that bringing the current king fire would undoubtedly let Roffe win, she tries to find the right spell for it, but the cost is greater than what she thinks possible. Roffe does not agree and forces her to do it.

This short story seems like it may be Bardugo's prequel to "The Little Mermaid" stories, but in it, we learn about Ursula. This idea is mentioned in the author's note at the end of the book and the sadness and terror of this specific story are more than enough to drive someone good to become someone evil. "When Water Sang Fire" covers themes of love, friendship, ambition, and sacrifice. The main theme of love and friendship is borne between Ulla and Signy but is threatened by Signy's feelings for Roffe. The theme of ambition is shown to be a dangerous one as Roffe is willing to hurt others for his own gain. And the overwhelming feeling of sacrifice echoes hollowly after Ulla gives everything for Roffe and Signy but receives nothing in return. Though this is the longest and most in-depth story of the collection, I don't think it's my favorite, but I do think it'll be the one that haunts me. Its message is powerful and melancholy as it cries out that trust is not always deserved and is often morphed by betrayal.

Other Stories:

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

What's Next, Wednesday (80)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

36513399

I'm looking forward to... 

The Thursday Night Club and Other stories... by Steven Manchester. I've already read and reviewed the story "The Thursday Night Club" but this book includes two other stories that I'm excited about reading. Manchester's work always gives me a 'feel-good' constitution after reading it and sometimes that just exactly what a person needs, especially during the stressful holiday season, which will be here any minute now. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Flats (A Liz Boyle Mystery #1)

35966212Detective Liz Boyle knows there is no crime more heinous than the murder of a child. When she and her partner, Tom Goran, are called to a new scene in an area of Cleveland known as The Flats, they find that a killer has taken that to new levels.

As the investigation takes them deeper into the city’s seedy underbelly, the case hits frighteningly close to home when someone Liz loves is added to the list of possible suspects. While fighting her personal demons, she must also pick her way around the department bureaucracy to avoid being pulled from the case.

Liz and Tom will need to solve the most mind-bending mystery of their careers, one in which their personal and professional allegiances—and maybe their sanity—will be tested. But Liz vows to bring the killer to justice at any cost.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Kate Birdsall introduces Detective Elizabeth Boyle in this spine-chilling murder mystery that takes the life of a young boy. When the young boy's body is found, Detective Boyle is slowly taken back to when her police career had just begun. And the case will become more and more personal as the clues stack up. 

Liz Boyle is a troubled woman who mentally suffers from shooting a criminal while on duty. This coupled with her last break-up seems to define her. This gives the impression that Liz has trouble letting go and trouble moving on from tragedy. Or perhaps, sadness in general. She isn't the type of person to share the whole story and she doesn't follow the rules very well. However, she has a trustworthy gut that helps her close cases. Readers will connect with Liz both sympathetically and empathetically as the reader gets more information about Liz than anyone else in the story. I think readers will also enjoy, and respect, how hard Liz is trying to be a more complete person or a more stable person, for lack of better terms. She recognizes the problems that she does struggle with and is focused on overcoming them. Though Liz is a little unpredictable, untrusting, and has a bad-girl vibe, she's a good person who is loyal and truly wants to help people. Although this does make the cases she works affect her more than others. 

The case that this first installment revolves around includes a young boy's kidnapping and the subsequent discovery of his body in an alley, missing a hand. Liz and her partner Tom are assigned to the case and it turns out that the mother of the son was one of Liz's professors in college. Here begins the connection to Liz's past and the path that she will take to save not only herself but also someone very close to her. As the novel progresses, more clues are uncovered and the person responsible hits Liz pretty close to home. I admit that I did not have it figured out before the murderer was revealed nor was it too far-fetched that I didn't believe it. The book itself was moderately intriguing though at times I felt like it moved a little slow. I liked Liz's character but I didn't feel myself getting too invested. It wasn't a book that I couldn't put down but it was interesting to read when I wanted to pick it up. 

Rating: 2.5/5 Cups

Teaser Tuesday (289)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


34818163

The Room by the Lake
(Kindle 9%)
    - Emma Dibdin

My friend Sophie told me this, once, trying to persuade me to think less. 'It's not about thinking of nothing,' she explained, hands resting cool on mine. 'It's just focusing on something external, so you can sort of quiet down the noise.' 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Short Story Sunday - Language of Thorns #5


34076952
The Soldier Prince


Droessen is a clocksmith who creates little wonders for his customers. But he wanted more than to be just a tradesman; he wanted to be rich and have a wife. He sets his eyes on a young girl named Clara, who he believes he can make love him as she grows into a young lady. He gives Clara a nutcracker as a gift and it has a strange hold over her as it can speak to her and take her to amazing and unbelievable places.

Though the Nutcracker lives in her dreams and takes her to magical places, showing her fantastical things, it makes her life seem dreary in comparison. With the help of other toys Droessen has made, the Nutcracker learns of a way that he could become real. He begins to want and though Clara refuses his desires, her brother Frederik helps him.

The siblings name him Josef and as he becomes real, he struggles to keep his focus on his new wish: to go outside. When the desire for something is subdued, he begins to turn back into a toy. This new development upsets Droessen as he was using the Nutcracker to learn about Clara, as a spy. When the Nutcracker meets Droessen, the clocksmith uses words to force him back into his toy state. The Nutcracker battles his own mind to remain real and then battles Droessen. With determination and will, everything the Nutcracker says becomes true and he gets to live.

I think this story is one of the most fantastical in the collection. It speaks to themes of growing up, dreaming, escaping the hold that other people have on you, and getting lost in fantasy. It also includes the idea of forcing someone to love you and how that doesn't work, demonstrated by Clara falling in love with the toys, but not with Droessen. Though none of the characters seemed to really learn anything from this, I guess you could say that they all got what they deserved. Especially Droessen. The evil that he (seemingly) used to create his toys eventually returned in the form of karmic retribution. This wasn't my favorite story so far, but I really enjoyed the magical aspect of it and the intricate descriptions that Bardugo used. The details she includes add a little more spark to all of the aspects of the story.

Next story: When Water Sang Fire

Other Stories:

Review of the entire collection will come after next week's Short Story Sunday. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

What's Next, Wednesday (79)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

25735012
I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith, the third book in the Cormoran Strike series. I loved the first two books and I really need to make a bookstore run to pick this one up. This time, Robin, Cormoran's assistant, gets a disturbing package that sends them through a list of four suspects.
It seems like a lot of mysteries have been on my reading list lately... which I'm fine with.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Teaser Tuesday (288)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


35966212
The Flats (Kindle 71%)
    - Kate Birdsall

"They'll charge Miller," Goran says.
I shake my head. "It doesn't add up."
"What murder has ever made sense?"

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

What's Next, Wednesday (78)


  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

34818163

I'm looking forward to...

The Room by the Lake by Emma Dibdin. Main character Caitlin moves from London to New York in order to escape all her baggage. But when she meets Jake and joins his group, things aren't exactly what they seem and her dreams of escape are slowly and maniacally dashed. This book sounds like it could be an intense psychological thriller and I'm definitely excited about reading it. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Teaser Tuesday (287)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


35966212

The Flats (Kindle 7%)
    - Kate Birdsall

Guy standing next to a dead body who leaves before detectives can talk to him? Yeah, that's suspicious. I don't ask why no one bothered to follow procedure and put him in a zone car.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Aaru (The Aaru Cycle #1)

35649191Rose is dying. Her body is wasted and skeletal. She is too sick and weak to move. Every day is an agony and her only hope is that death will find her swiftly before the pain grows too great to bear.

She is sixteen years old.

Rose has made peace with her fate, but her younger sister, Koren, certainly has not. Though all hope appears lost Koren convinces Rose to make one final attempt at saving her life after a mysterious man in a white lab coat approaches their family about an unorthodox and experimental procedure. A copy of Rose’s radiant mind is uploaded to a massive supercomputer called Aaru – a virtual paradise where the great and the righteous might live forever in an arcadian world free from pain, illness, and death. Elysian Industries is set to begin offering the service to those who can afford it and hires Koren to be their spokes-model.

Within a matter of weeks, the sisters’ faces are nationally ubiquitous, but they soon discover that neither celebrity nor immortality is as utopian as they think. Not everyone is pleased with the idea of life everlasting for sale.
What unfolds is a whirlwind of controversy, sabotage, obsession, and danger. Rose and Koren must struggle to find meaning in their chaotic new lives and at the same time hold true to each other as Aaru challenges all they ever knew about life, love, and death and everything they thought they really believed.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Aaru by David Meredith explores a possibility in the ever-expanding technological world that could eradicate the idea of death from the world. Yet, the way that people will view this advancement, good or evil, is up for debate. 

Koren and Rose Johnson are sisters and the main characters of this book. Rose is dying of leukemia, but she's been selected to participate as one of the first minds to be uploaded to Aaru, a new virtual world where the dead can go on living.  While Rose is still in the hospital, she's very weak and can hardly speak. Readers will form a sympathetic connection with her as her suffering continues. When she's relocated to Aaru, readers will come to see a new version of Rose: a strong and healthy young girl who lets her imagination run wild. After Rose's death, Koren falls into a deep depression. At thirteen years old, her older sister is the first family member she's lost to death. Koren goes through an appropriate and intense mourning period, but then when she learns that Rose is still 'alive' in the world of Aaru, her emotional turmoil ends. However, when Koren becomes a spokesperson for Elysian Industries, she becomes incredibly busy and famous as she works nonstop to promote Aaru.

Both Rose and Koren are relatively likeable characters. The fact that both of these main characters are teenagers brings out the caring nature of the reader. And when both of them are threatened by a tech-savvy stalker, readers start to worry if Rose and Koren are going to survive this book. 

The plot of the book revolves all around Aaru and the Johnson sisters. It gives the reader flashes of the world inside Aaru and Koren's job working as a spokesperson for the company. Though, to add a little controversy to the mix there is also a character (government official) who objects to the program of Aaru and the previously mentioned stalker. The Magic Man, as the stalker like to call himself, believes that Koren is meant to be his, as he becomes more and more obsessed with her. He even devises a plan that involves Rose to bring Koren closer to him. This really ups the ante of the novel and echoes the fear that many people have about computer privacy. 

I enjoyed reading this book as it was unlike anything I have ever read before. Though at times I struggled to really get into it. The last four chapters were definitely entertaining as everything came to a climax, but the discussion of Aaru and the tech jargon that appeared sometimes threw me off. I would recommend this novel to lovers of science fiction who enjoy a little danger. 

Rating: 3/5 Cups

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Short Story Sunday - Language of Thorns #4

34076952
Little Knife


This is the story of how a once bustling town decayed into a decrepit haunt that everyone tries to avoid, as its curse could crawl away with any visitor.

Yeva, the main character, is a girl who only grows more beautiful with age. She is so beautiful that even friends would try to kidnap her. And though this may seem wonderful, for Yeva it is not. Eventually, she is too beautiful to leave her home without someone trying to take her or chaos breaking out in response to not having her. Her beauty works as a sort of spell to twist the will of anyone who sees her.

When she comes of age, Yeva's father creates a contest to win her hand in marriage.

Semyon is a Tidemaker, a member of the Grisha, and though he is very poor he decides he wants to marry Yeva. His powers to control water help him complete the initial task, but Yeva's father sets another because he doesn't want his daughter marrying anyone but a prince.

Throughout this 'contest' Yeva is focused on only one thing: how do these tests determine if the man will be a good husband? (Good question, sister!) I think it's this question that aligns the readers with Yeva. Through her repeated asking, readers realize that she doesn't really care about gold, or fancy food, or imported fabric. She's deeper than that. 

Semyon completes the second task but then comes a third and final trial. Again, Semyon achieves the task's goal but wonders if Yeva's father will just try to continue setting tasks or kill him after he hands over the prize. Semyon thinks he comes up with a plan to avoid this, but he underestimates the power of Little Knife, the river who helped him complete all of the tasks. It turns out he cannot control the water; the water had been using him to reconnect with its separate pools. The river takes Yeva away giving her a sense of freedom from being eagerly and relentlessly sought by men. 



This is my favorite story so far in this collection! I love that Yeva gets to voice her concerns and ultimately choose her self over the suitors that are only obsessed with her beauty. I did not expect her to be given the option to choose no-one and was both surprised and happy that she was. Though this story does have a twist, like all of the others thus far, it was of a different kind. Again, there was the theme of trusting someone/something that you don't really know, but this time it was for the main character's benefit.  I also really appreciated that Yeva wasn't taken in by her own beauty. Receiving that kind of attention could have turned Yeva into a selfish woman who only cared about the beauty of others and what they could give to her -- which was kind of demonstrated by her father -- but she didn't. She didn't fall prey to her own power. She remained a woman only concerned with how she would live her life and if she would marry a good man, not a rich or handsome man. Beauty has a been a troublesome characteristic throughout these stories and there's a recurring message that beauty isn't everything. There are more important things in life and for Yeva that was freedom. 

Next Story (Nov. 5th) - The Soldier Prince

Read about the first three stories:

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

What's Next ,Wednesday (77)


  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

35966212

I'm looking forward to... 

The Flats by Kate Birdsall. This is the first installment of another murder mystery series. Liz Boyle is the head detective when a murder victim is found in an area of town called the flats. When someone close to Liz makes the suspect list, this case becomes the most difficult and interesting of her career. I'm always up for the challenge of a mystery and this one seems like it's going to stump me. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Teaser Tuesday (286)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


35649191

Aaru (Kindle 38%)
   - David Meredith

"Aaru is a system by which we can save whole people," Askr went on. "Save whole minds. Every thought and feeling..." 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Short Story Sunday - Language of Thorns #3

34076952
The Witch of Duva

The monsters of Langauge of Thorns seem to always be closer than you think. In this short story, in the town of Duva girls start disappearing as winter begins. Whispers of a Khitka, a vengeful spirit, start sweeping the town. The main character is a young girl named Nadya. When her mother dies, a widow in town decides she wants to marry Nadya's father, Maxim. Karina, the widow, doesn't seem to like Nadya very much and the story takes the feel of the evil stepmother. Before their marriage, Karina warns Nadya that she must leave her home and her father. Nadya believes that it's because Karina doesn't want to have to take care of her through the winter. After they marry, Maxim starts to ignore Nadya, spending his time gambling, drinking, or with Karina. 


With the seeming goal of getting rid of Nadya, Karina begins sending Nadya to the woods each day to check the traps for food. One evening, Nadya gets lost in the woods and meets Magda. Nadya learns that Magda mixes tonics and potions for people who need them as the Witch of Duva. Yet, Nadya stays with Magda instead of returning to her home. For the price of two fingers, Magda helps Nadya make her home safe for her return. But again, like many of Bardugo's stories, the monster isn't the one readers have been led to believe. Nadya learns that her father was responsible for the disappearing girls. After her father's death, Nadya continues to live with the witch, learning potions and tonics, deep in the woods.


This story, like the two before, shares the message that what you think about people isn't always the truth and those you trust may not be trustworthy. However, the end of this story is a bit more disturbing than the others. It seems in the Grishaverse, monsters are always hiding in sheep's clothing which brings to focus the overarching theme of danger hiding in the least likely of places. One thing that I like about these stories is that many of the character's motives and goals are unpredictable. I like that Bardugo offers twists in her stories through both action and characters. I'm also starting to notice that none of the parents in any of these stories are good. They don't seem to actually care about their children or something causes them to stop caring. There is also the reoccurring instance of the main character being female (in the first story and this story) causing me to wonder if the morals of these stories are gender-focused.  We'll see if these patterns continue in the final three stories.

Next Story: Little Knife

Read about the first two stories:

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Brewing Up Murder (Coffee Cup Mysteries #1)

35697563As the owner of Mystery Cup CafĂ© in Wilton, Missouri, a town made famous by a string of long-ago murders, Blake Harper is used to the mysterious. When her barista is found strangled in a mound of coffee beans, Blake vows to find the killer, even though her sister, the town’s lead police detective, tells her to stay out of it.

Blake finds plenty of suspects, like the owners of a rival coffee shop and the handsome new bookstore owner. But when new threats are made, she soon realizes the danger is centered around Mystery Cup and someone is targeting her personally.

Will Blake be able to solve the murder, find a new barista, and perfect her recipe for espresso brownies before she becomes the next victim?

*May Contain Spoilers*

Neila Young introduces a new series with her first installment, Brewing Up Murder, combining the perk of being a coffee addict with the dangerous nature of murder. The main character, Blake, is a coffee shop owner on a street in which all shops boast a name associated with murder or death. When murder does return to this small town, Blake's curious nature threatens to get her into a grave of trouble. 

Blake Harper is one of the hubs of the small town this story takes place in. As a coffee shop owner, she sees many of the townspeople every day while also serving tourists who visit the small town with a murderous history. As a fellow coffee lover, I really liked Blake's character. She's nice, loyal, curious, but she definitely struggles to stay out of situations that could result in a mortal injury. Even though she has an insatiable need to know what's going on, I think if a killer warned me personally to stay out of it -- I would. I also found it very interesting, and entertaining, that Young would open up a love triangle in the middle of the murder mystery. It definitely seems to break some rules about murder mysteries, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The two men that appear with a deep interest in Blake are a bookstore owner and a doctor. While one is dark and brooding, the other seems to have a southern accent and loves to use the pet name, 'Sugar.' This line of romantic interest may just be the link connecting all of the Coffee Cup Mystery books because both men are set up with dates by the end. Even though Blake makes some silly decisions when it comes to her personal safety, I think readers will connect with her mainly through her personality. She's fun and interesting and can't help but poke the hornet's nest. 

The main plotline follows the murder of one of Blake's employees. With hardly any evidence but a long list of suspects, Blake decides to try to solve the crime even though her detective sister directly tells her not to. Of course, this gets Blake into a couple of very sticky situations. Most of the novel is Blake trying to put the seemingly disjointed pieces together, getting hurt, while the side plot love stories slowly build. I do admit that I wasn't able to identify the murderer before the novel ended, which is always nice. I like being wrong every once in a while, but in my defense, I was on the right track with the clues. I would definitely recommend this book to readers of romance and mysteries as this book combines them pretty well. 

Rating: 4/5 Cups

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

What's Next, Wednesday (76)


  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

35649191

I'm looking forward to...

Aaru by David Meredith. A dying girl is given the chance to live on in a computer-created heaven, life everlasting with a price tag. But there's a lot of controversy swirling around the idea of a virtual heaven. I'm excited to read this one mainly because of the techno-fantasy feel this book's synopsis gives off. I think it's going to be both eerie and entertaining. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Teaser Tuesday (285)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


35697563

Brewing Up Murder (Kindle 93-94%)
    - Neila Young

"Well, I wanted to talk to you about a few things. I know Kyle finally got a hold of my records from the campus police in Lawrence, but I wanted you to hear everything from me first." 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Short Story Sunday - The Language of Thorns #2

34076952
The Too-Clever Fox


In this short story, all of the animals of the forest can speak, and though they are distinguished as prey and predator, they must come together to face a previously unstoppable hunter.


Koja is the main character of this story and though he's ugly his name means handsome. He's a clever fox that is always escaping death. Koja uses his words to trick his predators and his words and wit become his symbol for hope. This brings a major theme into this short story. As long as the fox has a voice, he has hope.

The fox becomes friends with a bear, Ivan, after outsmarting him to keep his life. But, his friend is lost when a dangerous hunter comes to the woods. Koja becomes focused on stopping this hunter and he dedicates his mind to doing so. To achieve this, the fox doesn't let fear cloud his logic and he notices that the hunter's sister, Sofiya, may be the key to learning more about the hunter. As Koja studies Sofiya, he observes that she seems sad and unhappy to be the bearer of the trophies her brother kills, in the form of a coat made of animal hides. Koja approaches Sofiya and slowly becomes her ally against her brother.

She tells the fox of a charm her brother always wears and they devise a plan to steal it. Yet, when she is successful, Koja learns that he has been tricked by a pretty face and a pair of sad eyes. Before he dies, Koja uses his voice to cry out, calling his friend the nightingale to come. She blinds Sofiya and saves Koja, ending the reign of the true hunter and freeing Sofiya's brother from her malevolence.


As a reader, when Sofiya's trap is revealed, there's a sense of betrayal and a tone of deceit. Just as Koja had, readers trust Sofiya because of the very characteristics that tricked the too-clever fox. This echoes a theme from the first story in the book, that beauty can be deceptive and we can't rely on how we see people when it comes to trusting them. However, it also demonstrates how people, or animals, come together when there is a greater threat to their way of life. The prey and predators of the forest all became prey at the hands of the Huntress. This shifted the laws of the forest and put all of the animals on the same side, knowing that they had to face this threat together. Finally, this story also shows that the lowest member of society can be brave and helpful in times of trouble. Just as the unloved child saves the town in "Ayama and the Thorn Wood", Koja saves the forest even though he was born a runt. By demonstrating these themes in this specific way, they become powerful tools that save those who use them and Bardugo uses these themes to share larger moral messages that translate to contemporary society.

Next Story: The Witch of Duva