Friday, April 29, 2016

Feature and Follow: April 29th

The Feature and Follow is the premium BLOG HOP of Book Bloggers. hosted by AlisonCanRead and Parajunkee.  Running for over five years, the Feature and Follow’s goal is to promote the book blogging and author community to join together and support each other – even if it is just through a simple follow.

This week's blog prompt is:


The only hard piece to this prompt is that I have so many favorites that it is difficult to choose only three.  Here goes:

Charley Davidson:  I've loved all nine books in the Charley Davidson series so far, mostly due to the fact that the main character, the grim reaper herself, is sassy, snarky, a little bit trashy, and one badass heroine.  She is a character who I can always count on to make me laugh out loud no matter how lousy I am feeling.  I also love her wide array of inappropriate t-shirts.

Sephronia Temminnick:  From the Finishing School series by Gail Carriger. Sephronia is supposed to be a proper young lady and concerned with manners and etiquette but her natural personality is just the opposite.  Her adventures and daring as she trains to be a spy/assassin in this steampunk Victorian setting are so much fun to read.

Mary Russell:  The main character in the Mary Russell Mysteries by Laurie R. King. Mary is the new apprentice of Sherlock Holmes and eventually becomes his much younger wife and partner in crime solving. She is strong and resilient and a perfect match for Holmes.  She is the main crime solver in these stories and is completely deserving of the spotlight.

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Review: A Cold Legacy

The series is over.  I've finished all three books and loved each of them.  If you haven't heard of these or read my previous reviews on the first two books, you should definitely go back to check them out from the beginning.  You can see all three books on Amazon by clicking here.

A Cold Legacy continues the story of Juliet Moreau and her quest to find her true self amidst the chaos that seems to follow her wherever she goes.  In this installment, which has a strong tie-in to the story of Frankenstein, Juliet and her friends escape London and hide from the law in the north with Elizabeth, at her estate.  What Juliet finds however, is that even here, things are not normal. Elizabeth, it turns out, is related to the original Frankenstein family and holds the only written evidence of re-animation, bringing the dead back to life.   This of course, just feeds into Juliet's obsession that she is fated to be just like her father, and her curiosity leads her to places she shouldn't go, even though her friends warn to to stay away.  I found myself getting angry at Juliet at times because her inner thinking and decision making was just so frustrating.  This happened in the other books too, but it doesn't take away from the quality of the story.

Hemsley is the re-animated child in the story, brought back to life by Elizabeth years ago.  He is fascinating to read about and really brings the Frankenstein feel of the story home.  His one white eye, inhuman strength, lack of pain, and temper all worked together perfectly to create his persona.  I felt both empathy and horror when reading about him.

All of our beloved characters are still with us for this story. Balthasar, Montgomery, Lucy, and Sparky the dog; but I warn you, this is the last book and there is quite a bit of violence and some heartache to be had throughout.  That being said, I was satisfied at the end and wouldn't have minded another book to continue the story to see if everyone ended up happy with the choices they made.  

Highly recommended if you love horror/romance that brings back pieces of an old classic monster tale.  A great series by an author whom I will definitely read again. If you want to know more about the author, Megan Shepherd, click here to visit her website.

Enjoy your reading!
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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

WWW (April 13th)

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by Sam at  The goal is to share your books with others who may also like what you are reading.  This past week was actually a good reading week for me.  While I usually only read one or two books a week since I also work full time, this week I was able to grab some extra time to enjoy my books.  I also made time to write a couple of blog posts, and participate in a Twitter chat!

What I recently finished (All NetGalley Books):

Audible Books

What I am currently reading (one Audible/one NetGalley):

What I plan to read next (All Kindle):

Have a wonderful week. I'm looking forward to seeing what others are reading!

Review: Her Dark Curiosity

I cannot express how much I am enjoying The Madman's Daughter series.  I've chosen to listen to the books on Audible since I drive forty minutes to and from work each day and each book is about 10-12 hours of listening.  However, with both of the first two books, I found myself listening at every chance I got, including walking on the treadmill, on my Amazon Echo while cooking, and while waiting to pick up my children from their various activities.  

I think what I love about these books the most is that they each connect to a classic that is reminiscent of my childhood, whether I read the original or saw a film based upon it.  The first book, The Madman's Daughter, was loosely based on the story of The Island of Dr. Moreau.  The second installment, Her Dark Curiosity, brings what can compare to Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. Finally, the conclusion of the series, A Cold Legacy, will connect to the story of Frankenstein.  I'm so looking forward to starting it this afternoon. If you haven't read the first book, you may not want to read ahead, although I have done my best not to spoil.

Her Dark Curiosity continues to focus on the life of Juliet Moreau, daughter of the infamous mad scientist Dr. Moreau.  She has returned from the island and discovered that she has been followed by Edward, a man she cared very much but who also has a much darker and more dangerous side.  The story revolves around Juliet trying to cure him and keep him from the chaos that ensues when he loses control.  As the story progresses, a conspiracy is uncovered, other island members return, and Juliet continues to be torn about her own inner self and between the two men in her life.  We are introduced to a few new and very well written characters, including Elizabeth, who seems will have a larger roll in the third book, and we also see a just end to a few characters who are quite deserving of their finale (in my opinion anyway).  Murder and mayhem are in no short supply and a few disturbingly gory sections had me both amazed and horrified at the same time.  I was enthralled each time I listened to the story and I can honestly say that there wasn't one moment where I was bored or distracted. I was so excited as the end approached and I started to figure out which classic story the next book would originate from.  Don't read the synopsis on Amazon if you want to figure it out for yourself.  It's much more fun that way.

I highly recommend this entire trilogy.  Rarely do I come across a series where I can truly say that the second book was as good as the first, if not better.  I have high hopes for the third and I am sure I won't be disappointed.

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Monday, April 4, 2016

Guest Post: Laura McNeill

Five Ways to Get More Reading Time in Your Life
Laura McNeill

Everyone’s time is precious—and it seems we’re all trying to squeeze in a few minutes more for our families, our jobs, and those extracurricular activities we really adore.

For bibliophiles, it’s especially crucial. Reading is like breathing, after all. Words and stories are sustenance. Books help us think, they make us feel emotion more deeply. Characters become our friends. Great novels sweep us away to new places, and we crave that feeling—that high—which only comes from discovering a really spectacular story. We love the feeling that comes from an insatiable need to turn page after page just to find out what happens next.

So, how to get more reading time in your life? Here are five ways:

1.     Turn off the Television. I don’t have cable. And while it might sound strange, my children don’t complain, and I have a more peaceful home. If we want to indulge in a TV show or movie, we use Netflix or go to Red Box. I also have the television hidden in an armoire, so it’s not the first thing everyone sees or thinks about when they walk in my front door.
2.     Listen in the Car.  I sneak in hours or reading time in the car. I am an Audible member and subscribe to the Daily Deals, which allows listeners to snag incredible books priced below $3.95. Nook owners can check out the Nook App for deals, too! I easily make it through one new book every two weeks, just at carpool, going to the grocery story, running errands, and on trips to visit family and friends. (I even listen when I am folding laundry!) NOTE: Free audio books are also available on Apps like Overdrive, LibriVox, and Hoopla.
3.     Carry a book with you. During the day, there are five minute snippets of time that often go wasted…waiting in line, waiting on hold, waiting for a meeting to begin, etc. On my smartphone, I’ve loaded the Kindle App and the iBooks App, so I always have a book ready to go. If, by chance, I’ve just finished a novel, I can download as many book previews as I like and decide (during that time) what will be up next on my reading list. That said, you can always pop a “real” book in your bag and carry it wherever you go!
4.     Join a Book Club. When you belong to a book club, you are expected to read a book and contribute to a monthly discussion, whether online or in person. This creates a sense of urgency, responsibility, and ownership. I love the exchange between readers and often, if the whole group chooses the title of the month, I find that I’m reading and enjoying books that I never would have picked up in the first place!
5.     Shop at the Library. Once a week or once a month, get yourself to the library. If you want to get in and out, before you go, shop the library website for your new selections. The library will hold your selected books, put you in a queue if there is a waitlist, and notify you by email, phone, or text when your books are ready and waiting! If you have a pile of new books by your bedside, ready and waiting, it’s more likely you’ll be tempted to get in a quick chapter.
6.     Get in your Steps. Like to exercise? Have a Fitbit? Listen to audiobooks while you’re walking outside or on the treadmill at the gym. Getting in those 10,000 steps means you’ve just logged 5 miles and burned lots of calories. Think of how many chapters you can sneak in every day! Listening to a great audiobook seems to make the time go by faster…and just think, you’ll probably walk even more quickly when you’re listening to a great thriller or suspense book!

I especially like taking thirty minutes on a Sunday morning, especially in the Spring, to sit outside, listen to the sounds of nature, and lose myself in the pages of a wonderful story.

There are so many ways to squeeze in more reading time. I’d love for you to share your ideas about getting in an extra chapters each day. What works for you?

Want to connect with Laura McNeill? 
Social Media for Laura:

Laura McNeill is the author to Center of Gravity (July 2015) and Sister Dear (April 19, 2016). When Laura is not writing or reading, she makes time to run, share pictures to Instagram, and adores the color pink! 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Mini Review: Graffiti in Love

Back in November, for Novella November, I read a novella by G.G. Andrew called Crazy, Sexy, Ghoulish, which was completely out of my reading comfort zone.  Yet, I really enjoyed the story. There are very few romances out there that I find appealing.  I often find them to be too sexy, too cute, or just boring and predictable. And if there are half naked people on the front cover... forget it.  I won't even read the teaser.  Not because I am a prude; I read Fifty Shades just like everybody else, but because I'm just not impressed by that sort of cover art.

So, because I enjoyed Crazy, Sexy, Ghoulish, and was offered this book in return for an honest review, I decided to leave the zone again and try Graffiti in Love.  Again, I really enjoyed it.  It wasn't deep but I felt that the characters were interesting and had some depth to them.  The plot was original and fun with just a little bit of adventure mixed in.  I laughed a few times and even though I knew the story would have a happy but slightly predictable type of ending, I still kept reading.  In fact, I read the whole book in one sitting and can honesty say that it was another fun, light read from this author.

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Review: The Madman's Daughter

I am a lover of horror and monsters and things that go bump in the night.  Not the slash em' up kind of horror, but the scary kind of horror that keeps you on the edge of your seat with ghosts and creatures of the night.  When I was young, I loved watching movies like Mysterious Island, 10,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and other adventures. One of these was The Island of Doctor Moreau, the original story by H.G. Wells.  I remember the story clearly and when I fell across The Madman's Daughter and realized it was the story of Doctor Moreau's child, I had to grab it to see what they came up with.

This book was so much fun and the pace didn't allow for much down time.  There were moments in the story where I was anxious, surprised, and even completely appalled at what was being described. Juliet was perfect as Dr. Moreau's daughter.  She was strong, yet also unsure of herself, constantly questioning whether she was stable or cut of the same cloth as her father.  She desperately wanted to believe that he had some good in him.  She was terrified and curious and then terrified and disgusted at her own curiosity.  The pure horror of what the island is could put anyone over the edge but Juliet somehow manages to keep herself together, even after she realized how dire the situation really is and that her life may end on the island if she doesn't find a way to escape.

Dr. Moreau himself is a genius of the mad scientist type.  He is portrayed as both brilliant and insane, and truly believes that his experiments are just and acceptable. The details of the experimentation and the creatures on the island are not always easy to read about but also give the story that dark edge which is both difficult to read but fascinating at the same time and really pays homage to the original story. The creatures/humans were both creative and disturbing but also instilled empathy and compassion from both myself as the reader and from some of the characters in the story.

There is a bit of a love triangle in the story and I'm usually not a fan of this, but it works in this book and it doesn't overpower the rest of the story. Both male leads were written very well and I actually loved the direction they both took in the story. The romantic plot line was a little bit tiring due to Juliet's constant back and forth and there were a few moments where I wanted to slap some sense into her but the way it ended (to be continued) was both unique and a bit surprising.  I had some theories but I didn't realize exactly what was going to do happen until just before the end. 

The Madman's Daughter gets a five star rating from me.  I have already bought the second book and can't wait to get started to see what happens next.  I highly recommend it to anyone who likes this genre.

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