The Cruel Prince By Holly Black | A Book Review

TitleThe Cruel Prince

Author: Holly Black

Genre: Fantasy

About the book: The first novel in a new series called The Folk of the Air. I received an ARC from Hachette.

First impressions: The story grew on me. I’ve read books by Black in the past, yet I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one. It’s also been a while since I’ve read a fantasy novel, but I enjoyed the book more once I had a better grasp of the world.

Summary: Jude is a mortal who has to live with faeries. She wants to fit in, but the people there dislike humans. As a fight for the throne ensues, Jude has to go to great lengths to protect herself and the people she cares about.

Characters: It took some time for me to warm up to some of the characters, even the female protagonist. That said, I liked Jude’s attitude even though the odds were stacked against her.

Cardan is the youngest prince. He’s an interesting character to say the least. However, I feel I still don’t really know him. He’s not the nicest person in the world. In fact, he’s mean to Jude for most of the novel.

While I predicted how the romantic subplot would turn out, I’m not too fond of the relationship.

Quote:

“No one can really plan for every variable, though.”

Conflict: Mortal and faerie tension with a twist is the best way I can describe it. The pacing isn’t the best but it’s not awful. The plot starts off a little slow but picks up as the story unfolds. In my opinion, the ending got more and more intriguing.

Writing: The author did a solid job with the descriptions of people as well as places. She develops the book’s world quite well.

Final thoughts: The conclusion makes me want to read the next book. I was unsure about whether or not I’d continue the series up until the midway point. Then twists and turns started happening, especially during the last one hundred pages or so. In a way, the reading experience felt like a magical journey.

If you enjoy faerie fantasy stories with a modern moral twist, consider preordering The Cruel Prince. It comes out in January 2018.


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I Hate Being Bored

There’s something to be said for my hatred of boredom. I hate being bored. I’ll do just about anything if it means I’m doing something.

That explains why I also despise waiting. I try to do things while I’m waiting. Otherwise, I’d lose my mind.

But due to circumstances I didn’t see coming, I had to wait at the dentist for a while without anything to keep me occupied. I didn’t have pen or paper. I didn’t have a book. I didn’t have my phone.

So even though I felt a bit frustrated at first, I resorted to observing others.

I got to observe a father and son. Maybe a story will come out of it. Maybe not. I’ll have to add some kind of conflict or tension because the two were so happy. Meanwhile there was me being all bitter.

I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to handle parenthood, especially being a single mother. Although there wouldn’t be a dull moment in my life again if I had a kid to look after.

I kept thinking to myself why can’t I just sit and wait for a while? Because I don’t sit and wait ever.

I always feel like I should be doing something. I cannot not do anything. I feel weird and wrong doing nothing. I tried to relax. After all, there wasn’t much I could do. But to be honest I was anything but relaxed. I felt anxious. I felt I needed to be reading, writing, something.

Of course, I did a lot of thinking during the time. Part of me wishes I had a way of recording my thoughts then because I’ve forgotten them all now. I’d love to have some sort of technology to do that.

Of course, things worked out just fine. The world didn’t end. The sky didn’t fall.

Still, this isn’t an experience I’d like to repeat again. But it made me think about myself, about life in general.

Waiting at the dentist was almost as bad as watching paint dry.

Anyhow, this turned out to be one of the more interesting trips to the dentist I’ve had in a long time. That said, my last trip entailed running on about three hours of sleep right after an exam. That’s a story in and of itself.

Dangerous Illusions By Irene Hannon | A Book Review

Title: Dangerous Illusions

Author: Irene Hannon

Genre: Romantic Suspense

About the book: The first novel in the Code of Honor series. Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

First impressions: I found the synopsis intriguing. The first chapter does a great job pulling readers in by posing a bunch of questions. It made me keep reading.

Summary: Trish Bailey has a lot on her plate. Someone dies, and the unexpected death casts suspicions on her. But Colin Flynn investigates the matter until the scary truth comes out.

Characters: The story revolves around a female protagonist who loses just about everything. Trish is smart and strong throughout it all. Colin compliments her well. The secondary characters do too. Interestingly enough, there are multiple greedy villains in this one.

Quote:

“But all she could do was hope answers would be found and guilty parties apprehended without further incident.”

Conflict: I’ll never get tired reading about good guys and gals versus bad ones. The plot turned out to be more complex than I thought. Hannon threw a certain curveball from left field that took me by surprise.

Writing: I think the pacing works well, not too slow but not too fast. It keeps you on the edge of your seat. I found myself guessing right along as the story progressed.

The book’s well-written. I did find some clichés, but I enjoyed the different plot. I’ve never read anything quite like it.

As usual, the chapters aren’t too long. Hannon balances showing with telling, dialogue and description.

I’m not a big fan of romance. That being said, I didn’t hate Colin and Trish’s relationship. They’re good to each other.

Final thoughts: The ending ties everything together. It’s predictable and unpredictable at the same time.

I’m interested in reading more of her work. I’m not religious, but I didn’t mind the references to God.

If you’re into romantic suspense with a focus on detective work, Dangerous Illusions might be right up your alley.


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End Game By David Baldacci | A Book Review

Title: End Game

Author: David Baldacci

Genre: Thriller

About the book: The fourth novel in the Will Robie series. I received a copy from Hachette.

First impressions: I’ve read plenty of Baldacci in the past, so I went in with high expectations. The beginning got me even more excited. He throws readers into the action. Somehow the book got better as it went on.

Summary: Will Robie and Jessica Reel have to find their handler who went missing in Colorado.

Characters: I almost forgot how much I like both Robie and Reel, the two central characters. They’re so good at their jobs but, in some regards, so bad to each other. I enjoyed seeing the progression of their relationship as well. In my opinion, Baldacci creates memorable characters. He develops them. I’m all for his antagonists having realistic motivations. There’s just enough backstory to understand what makes each hero or villain tick.

Quote:

“And if someone can’t act on love, then what does anything else really matter?”

Conflict: The small town has big problems. The protagonists are put into dangerous situations time and time again from beginning to end.

Writing: The pacing is near perfect, especially during the climax of the story. I couldn’t wait to see how the novel would play out. I had a hard time accurately predicting what would happen next, so I was surprised by many of the plot twists. Even after I spoiled a chapter for myself, I still found myself in suspense.

Final thoughts: I whizzed through the last several chapters because I needed answers to all my questions. A part of me didn’t want to finish the book because of how good it was. While a lot of sad things happen, the story ends on a happy note. I’ll say no more lest I spoil it for you.

I highly recommend this novel. If you’re searching for an entertaining read, you almost can’t go wrong with Baldacci. Fair warning: his books aren’t easy to put down.

Even though I’ve read a lot of his stories, I think End Game is up there as one of my favourites by him. So I hope someday you get to enjoy it as much as I did. Happy reading!


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Children Of The Fleet By Orson Scott Card | A Book Review

Title: Children of the Fleet

Author: Orson Scott Card

Genre: Science Fiction

About the book: It’s a standalone in the Ender’s Game series, but it involves new characters. I received a copy of the novel from Raincoast.

First impressions: I read Ender’s Game in high school, and I’ve been meaning to check out Card’s other works. So I was looking forward to seeing where he would go with this story. I liked the beginning and getting to know Dabeet Ochoa.

Summary: Dabeet is incredibly smart, but he thinks he can’t attend Fleet School because he lacks the connections to get in. But then Colonel Graff visits and interviews him. Dabeet then gets sent into space where he learns how to become a good leader.

Characters: I appreciate the diversity of the children who are of different races and ethnicities. In my opinion, Dabeet is a dynamic, well-developed character. He isn’t the most likeable, but I had fun seeing him deal with his shortcomings. Dabeet is more book smart than anything, which I can relate to.

Quote:

“There is no curiosity without hope, and there is no hope without disappointment.”

Conflict: It’s a coming of age story where the main character has to deal with his flaws in order to save the school from outside danger.

Writing: Card writes in the third person point of view, but readers also get a glimpse into Dabeet’s thoughts. I think I would’ve liked a distinction between the two. Something as simple as italicizing his inner monologue would’ve helped for greater clarity.

The writing provides detailed descriptions of what’s going on. That said, some words and concepts kind of went over my head.

Also, the chapters aren’t too long, but a few felt longer than I expected. Some chapters starts off with dialogue between two people. At first, the book doesn’t reveal much about the parties doing the talking. Later, readers find out their identities. I found myself liking the somewhat cryptic conversations by the end.

I wish Card included more action and less description or just less telling with more showing. He doesn’t spend a lot of time world building, however. To be fair, the world has been established in previous novels already.

Final thoughts: At times, the book felt more educational than entertaining, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

I enjoyed the ending the most. It was exciting. I got the closure I needed, and I’m not left with too many unanswered questions.

You don’t have to read all the other books to understand Children of the Fleet. Nevertheless, knowing the history of the wars doesn’t hurt.

I think this particular novel wouldn’t appeal to everybody, but if you’re a fan of sci-fi in space, you might like it.

The book is supposed to be a standalone in a popular series, so kudos to Card for telling a complicated story about children.


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Deadly Proof By Rachel Dylan | A Book Review

Title: Deadly Proof

Author: Rachel Dylan

Genre: Romantic Suspense

About the book: It’s the first in the Atlanta Justice series. Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

First impressions: I felt excited to read something right up my alley. I found the beginning got off to an interesting start. Not knowing what would happen next kept me engaged.

Summary: Kate, a lawyer, and Landon, a private investigator, take on a case against a pharmaceutical company. The two slowly begin to fall for each other. Meanwhile, the company doesn’t want to go to trial, so certain individuals take extreme measures measures to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Characters: There weren’t too many people to keep up with but just enough to have a nice group with various motivations. I’m all for character development, which the author does well. Even though some of the central characters perpetuate certain tropes, Dylan creates individuals you can root for and against.

Quote:

“…people did their best work when they were motivated and valued.”

Conflict: Many of the events, even the betrayals, didn’t take me entirely by surprise. I enjoyed the plot involving drugs made by a pharmaceutical company. That’s a new and different narrative for me, so I looked forward in seeing where it would go.

Writing: There are some clichés in the dialogue as well as the description. I also feel the language is more telling than showing.

The romantic scenes between Kate and Landon didn’t appeal to me. I noted a ton of physical contact and touch. The two are good characters on their own, but together their relationship seemed somewhat forced or at the very least, too coincidental. I liked the other friendships though.

I enjoyed learning about laws and reading the legal jargon. This might not appeal to everyone however. Nevertheless, the writing is easy enough to get through.

Dylan also references faith and God throughout the text. That might not be your thing, but maybe it is.

Final thoughts: The mystery pulled me in all the way through to the end, which wraps things up.

If romantic suspense sounds like your type of book, Deadly Proof is definitely worth looking into.

I hope you enjoy it if you get the chance to read the novel one day.


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The Whistler By John Grisham | A Book Review

Title: The Whistler

Author: John Grisham

Genre: Legal Thriller

About the book: It’s a series. There’s a prequel.

First impressions: I finally got around to reading one of Grisham’s novels. The first hundred pages or so seemed like a slow buildup with a lot of backstory. Fortunately, the pace picked up afterwards.

Summary: Someone blows the whistle on a judge. Lacy Stoltz and her team investigate. They eventually uncover the ugly truth.

Characters: I didn’t care for many of the characters even the good ones. I’m not sure why. I guess I would’ve liked more reason to cheer for someone.

Quote:

“You just can’t trust anybody these days.”

Conflict: Bad guys versus good guys. There weren’t many surprises.

Writing: There was a lot more telling than showing in my opinion. Many events were stated or summarized. The dialogue was okay. Not super sharp but not dull either. I didn’t mind the descriptions.

Final thoughts: The ending ties many of the loose ends together. As I almost always do, I still have unanswered questions.

Even though I have an interest in law, the legal stuff didn’t engage me as much as I thought it would.

While the story was entertaining, it wasn’t thrilling. There was maybe one moment I didn’t see coming. But everything else follows the traditional arc of a typical thriller.

I didn’t love this particular novel, but I might still check out some of Grisham’s other works.

The Whistler didn’t meet my high expectation. It missed the mark overall. Nothing is bad but not really great either. That said, you might enjoy the story more than me.


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Echoes In Death By J.D. Robb | A Book Review

Title: Echoes in Death

Author: J.D. Robb

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s the 44th book in Robb’s series that follows a police lieutenant named Eve Dallas. Trigger warnings for just about everything.

First impressions: I wasn’t expecting the futuristic elements, so I felt pleasantly surprised at the advanced technology even if I needed time to wrap my head around it all.

Summary: Someone goes around committing crimes. It’s up to Eve Dallas and her team to catch the individual responsible.

Characters: Female investigators? That’s what I live for. Eve is likeable and relatable.

You don’t need to have read the previous 40 something novels to understand this one. There are some references to events that happened in the past though. I’m not sure if it’s just me or there were a ton of different characters and so it wasn’t easy to keep track of all of them.

I’m proud to say I suspected the perpetrator when Robb first introduced him. Maybe I’m getting better at reading these whodunit stories. But I didn’t see everything coming. There’s a reason why I’m not a detective and probably never will be.

Quote:

“Could death be a kind of freedom?”

Conflict: Lots of messed up problems between people.

Writing: Tough read content wise but the writing is easy enough to follow.

Final thoughts: Any adults looking for a thrilling novel set sometime in 2061 might enjoy themselves, but beware the mature themes.

I’m interested to read more of Robb’s work, especially other books in the series. I feel like I got a basic, surface level introduction to a few of the main characters, but as is always the case, I want more. I’d like to go deeper and delve into Eve’s backstory.

Despite suspecting the criminal early on, I still felt drawn in enough to turn the pages thanks to curiosity.

I think my only gripe is that everything came out so quickly at the end, it almost wasn’t natural or realistic to me. I understand the need to put a bow on things and tie loose ends, but certain characters revealed everything they did at once.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I think I expected Echoes in Death would be a lighter, easier read, but in some ways, it was not.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have you read J.D. Robb? Will you?

I’m also realizing just how many coincidences there are in the book. How convenient a cop runs into a victim of a crime.

Anyhow, the book is worth checking out if it sounds like a story you’d enjoy.


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The Promise Of Dawn By Lauraine Snelling | A Book Review

Title: The Promise of Dawn

Author: Lauraine Snelling

Genre: Historical Fiction

About the book: It is the first in a series called Under the Northern Lights. Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

First impressions: I read the blurb, thinking it would be a different yet interesting story. I found the Norwegian phrases pretty simple to understand based on the context even though I wasn’t expecting the other language at all.

Summary: A family travels from Norway to Minnesota. They work hard to build a new life in another country, which isn’t easy.

Characters: The story revolves around the Carlson family, which are a likeable bunch. Gerd and Einar, the uncle and aunt, are not, but that changes as the book progresses. I enjoyed the various family dynamics and interactions.

Because Einar is not the nicest man, to say the least, I anticipated some kind of backstory or at least a reason as to why he’s so mean. Unfortunately, I never got any answers.

Quote:

“Gratitude was valuable.”

Conflict: Both the uncle and aunt have high expectations. The mother, Signe, begins to lose her faith in God as a lot of things go wrong for her family in America.

More exciting events happened at the beginning and near the end, which left the middle feeling somewhat dull and flat at times.

Writing: It’s descriptive. Most of the Norwegian happens in dialogue or internal monologues. I think there were some minor errors and sentences that could’ve been written better.

I guess my only real gripe is that not a lot happens. I also feel some characters didn’t have much agency. Reading about the family’s day to day life got repetitive. Even some of the words or phrases were used often. Perhaps the book would’ve benefited if several parts were cut, and it was a shorter novel.

Final thoughts: Even though The Promise of Dawn isn’t what I normally gravitate towards picking up, I learned a lot while reading it. The story is set in the early twentieth century.

I recommend it if you’re interested in historical books with a particular focus on families.

Overall, it was a nice departure from what I have been reading recently and will likely continue to read. If you thought thrillers, you thought right. While I don’t mind historical fiction, I find them a bit tougher to relate to as the characters face problems so dissimilar from my own.


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The Importance Of Timing In Reading

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, especially when it comes to books.

Sometimes, maybe even most of the time, I’m hesitant to read a popular novel. For a few main reasons.

I don’t want people to hype up a book for me only for it to disappoint because of high expectations.

I also feel odd when I’m in the minority. Either I love a book that people generally don’t like or I dislike a novel everyone seems to adore. In that case, I tend to feel like I’m missing something. As if I didn’t get the essence of the story.

It’s easy to look at reviews or seek out other readers’ opinions nowadays. Thanks Internet.

It’s also easy to form a bias before reading something because of what someone else says. That’s why I typically avoid reading book reviews before I begin. I don’t mind looking at reviews after I’ve finished a novel.

Often times I find others are able to say what I want to say more eloquently than I ever could. Or better yet, reviewers are able to specify an issue or ten they had with a book that I did too.

When I decide whether or not I want to buy a particular book, I don’t usually read reviews. I’ll read the synopsis or summary. Maybe the back cover or the first page.

I want to form my own opinion without the influence of anyone else, even if I trust him or her.

Going back to popular books, there are a number of reasons why I haven’t read Harry Potter. And some days I wonder if I ever will. The whole being let down is part of it. As well as the prospect I may not love this series as much as my friends.

I’m a huge believer that timing matters. When exactly you read a certain book can change your entire perception of it. I know there are books I appreciate better now than when I read them five, six years ago. Even five, six months make a huge difference.

Same goes for books I’ve read recently. I feel I would have enjoyed them more had I read some earlier in my life like in elementary or high school.

Regardless, reading really is remarkable. So don’t let anything or anyone stop you from enjoying a good book at any time in your life.