Welcome to my train of thought. Just a warning, there might be turbulence. I'm a little eccentric, but hopefully you'll find something here that'll make the crazy worth it. Stay tuned for book reviews, ramblings on random things, and all sorts of stuff that tickles my fancy. But keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times. My brain is a scary place!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Review: Choose Wonder Over Worry: Move Beyond Fear and Doubt to Unlock Your Full Potential

Choose Wonder Over Worry: Move Beyond Fear and Doubt to Unlock Your Full Potential Choose Wonder Over Worry: Move Beyond Fear and Doubt to Unlock Your Full Potential by Amber Rae
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for providing an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

So, thanks to some personal stuff in my life lately, I've been on a self-help kick, so when I saw this one and read the blurb (and saw that it wasn't too long), I asked for an ARC. And I'm glad I did. While this book isn't extremely life-changing or chock full of advice, it was engaging and thought-provoking and really drives home the point that our perspective drives our happiness, our success, our lives. She uses personal stories to let the reader know she's been there, done that, got the tee shirt. She aims not to preach, but to connect.

All in all, a fun read that'll make you think and tweak the way you process and see the world/others. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to make some changes in how they live, as it's an easy read and brimming with encouragement.

3.5 stars rounded up. :)

Review to come at release date... initial thoughts: very engaging writing style, lots of things to think about. 3.5 stars, rounded up.

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Review: Roped In

Roped In Roped In by A.M. Arthur
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and Carina Press for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

I love Clean Slate Ranch - the ranch atmosphere, the west, the ghost town nearby, the cabins and horses and cowboys!

Unfortunately for me, this installment didn't live up to the first. It was still good, but the plot felt a little forced, Avery felt a little one note, and there was a lot of overly lovey dovey cliches that made it less believable. The first story had more of a narrative force driving the story, while this one really just seemed like a bunch of interactions between Avery and Colt and occasionally other characters but without an over-arching story or point to the novel. It also felt like a lot of stuff was repeated over and over, and probably could have been edited out. For example, Avery's wondering if Colt wanted HIM or just him as Sir was brought up time after time, and then a few more times just for good measure. It was distracting from the scenes and made it harder to keep an interest.

Also, I know that with an ARC, final formatting isn't always in place, but there were quite a few places where formatting and lack of proofreading left some glaring errors that pulled me out of the story in my head - the proofreading needed being mostly a lot of places where hyphens should have been used and weren't (example: on-the-go would be written as on-thego).

Overall, I really fell in love with Colt, and kinda want a Colt to myself (though I wouldn't be his sir... he'd be my sexy versatile cowboy!). I liked getting to see Mack and Wes again, and really can't wait to read Reyes' story. Hopefully he's up next.

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Review: The Death of Mrs. Westaway

The Death of Mrs. Westaway The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and Gallery/Scout Press for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

I finally understand why they are calling Ruth Ware the "Agatha Christie" of our day. I've previously only read one of her three published books (this one will make four total), that being The Woman in Cabin 10. It had a Christie vibe to it, but I wouldn't have called it particularly reminiscent of her besides the locked room feeling and the cast of potential suspects.

This one though... it really felt like a Christie book. Small cast of characters, dark and gloomy old mansion atmosphere, weather that cuts people off and leaves them stuck together... these are some of the fun classic Christie tricks of the trade, and Ware used them effectively for sure.

While I kind of figured out the who/the what long before the protagonist did, I had a blast following the story to its clash of an ending.

Now I feel like I need to go read The Lying Game and In a Dark, Dark Wood.

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Review: The Dark Angel

The Dark Angel The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!

Ruth, still reeling from the events of the end of the last book, is living day to day, trying to hang out. An old friend calls her up and invites her to help with some bones in Italy, so she packs up Kate, Shona, and Louis and heads to Italy... where of course, murder happens. Meanwhile, back in Norfolk, one of Nelson's cadre of historical arrests is released, and stuff happens at home as well.

I enjoyed watching Ruth getting to explore the little Italian town, be on vacation, and get to meet some new characters. The relationships from prior books all develop a little more, and we get some depth added to at least one character who previously had very little page time. And while some of the events at the end were expected (because of well-written build up throughout the course of the novel), one big thing was completely unexpected, at least to me.

Yet again, a Ruth Galloway novel that doesn't disappoint - it's like Elly Griffiths knows what she's doing! ;) Thank goodness she does. And thank goodness the publishers keep coming back for more. I know I'm ready for the next one!

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Friday, April 13, 2018

Review: The Plastic Magician

The Plastic Magician The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and 47North for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Holmberg's Paper Magician series did something really cool: it introduced a very unique and very fun magic system. This standalone follow-up/spin-off book follows the adventures of Ceony in the first three books and this time, it's through the very poor-sighted eyes of Alvie, a fledgling Polymaker (plastic magician) who is taking an apprenticeship in England, far across the sea from her home in the US. She's smart as a whip, and she's strong in her own way, but she doesn't suffer from the same quick-to-jump-into-trouble nature as Ceony did. She's logical and methodical, and a very good protagonist.

While the twist wasn't all that shocking (I mean, we'd figured out the twists pretty early on, hadn't we? *wink*), the magic was a fun ride, and the story had some cool ideas.

All in all, I enjoyed it.

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Review: Feed

Feed Feed by Mira Grant
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wanted to love this because, well, Seanan, but I felt like it was way too long, lots of long-winded explanations.

I did end up *liking* it though, so 3.5 stars... but it didn't feel like a "round up" situation.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Review: Grey Sister

Grey Sister Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!

Mark Lawrence, you've done it again. I raved about Red Sister (ps, thanks for sharing my blog post on your Facebook page! I got a bunch of views! WOOHOO!), well, because it was deserved. Like I said in my review for that, I struggle with high/epic/dark/true fantasy because it tends to be slower and harder for me to get into... and harder for me to forgive overused tropes and predictable plots.

So I said in my Red Sister review that Lawrence created a pretty easy to understand world (still true), a cast of characters with personality, depth, and vitality (he kicked that up another notch!), a cool magic system (gets even more badass)... and he does all of these things again in book two... all the while basically destroying the world he created in book one and building a new reality for our characters. This one, unlike the first, doesn't involve being safe inside the walls of the convent. This new world is DANGEROUS and full of enemies.

I also loved that we got chapters from the POV of Abbess Glass, and got to see her story unfold alongside Nona's.

All in all, to those who ask if this is "better than the first," I'll have to reply it's equal. I can't compare the two because it's so different, it so completely demolishes the world of the first book and deeply affects Nona to her very core.

That ending though? Mark, you're killing me here. Write faster. I need to know ALL THE THINGS. RIGHT NOW. *GIMME*

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