**Notice** Due to transfering back from a godaddy hosted wordpress blog back to blogger, reviews published before june 2017 don`t all have a pretty layout with book cover and infos. Our apologies.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Stacking the Shelves [290]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
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Enregistrer It's cold here in Atlanta. In fact, it even snowed again this week. This is the kind of weather I moved down here to get away from. What's going on?

But the cold weather makes curling up with a good book (and a cat or two) even more tempting. While my complete and surprisingly short stack is over at Reading Reality, I do have a couple of books to tease you with.


The Day of the Dead by Nicci French
Yes, I know the title is a bit creepy. But this is the final book in what has been an absolutely awesome psychological thriller series. If you like suspense thrillers and have not met Frieda Klein yet, start with Blue Monday.



Good Luck with That by Kristan Higgins
Higgins always does wonderful slice-of-life, contemporary romance/women's fiction, and this looks like another winner, as well as being considerably less creepy a teaser than The Day of the Dead!

Please link your STS post in the linky below:


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Stacking the Shelves [289]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
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Enregistrer Do you still have to stop yourself before writing the date as 2017? 2018 is well and truly on its way!

I have some fun books to tease you with this week. My complete stack is over at Reading Reality, but there were three books I just can't wait to share.


Someone to Care by Mary Balogh
The Westcott series, beginning with Someone to Love back in 2016, has been absolutely marvelous from beginning to end. If you like historical romances that feature interesting heroines, this series is just a treat.


To Die But Once by Jacqueline Winspear
I have a soft spot for historical mysteries, and the Maisie Dobbs series is simply one of the best. This is the 14th book in the series, but every single one has been a gem, and Maisie is a character to admire and want to follow. Each year's entry in the series is a treat for me, and I hope you'll take a look.


Celta Cats by Robin D. Owens
After a bit of a rocky start, the Celta's Heartmates series has become one of my all-time favorite fantasy/SF/futuristic/paranormal romance series. I know that's a lot of genres, but it fits a bit in all of them. This little collection of short stories is not, however, about the humans who populate Celta, but instead features their highly intelligent familiars, or fams, especially the fam-cats who make the series so much fun. For lovers of the series, this little collection is just a treat.


Please link your STS post in the linky below:


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo Six of Crows 2Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: High Fantasy
Hardcover: 560 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Release date: September 27, 2016

Series:  Six of Crows, #2

Source: Purchased

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.


I'll tell you. After I finished Six of Crows, I was dying for this book. But when it came out, I thought, Oh no! If I read this, then it will all be over. Leigh (Bardugo) doesn't have anything else coming out. *insert despair/dying emoji here*.

So, there it sat. Taunting me on my bookshelf. Saying you know you want to read me because you'll love me, but I'll absolutely ruin you. MWHAHAHA!

UNTIL! *victory trumpet* Recently, she's had her The Language of Thorns published, which is a collection of short stories in the Grishaverse, AND she's announced she's writing King of Scars which centers around King Nikolai. Whew. A huge sigh of relief and now I can breathe and get on with this.

Crooked Kingdom picks up with the revelation that the Shu are hunting the Grisha in Ketterdam while our beloved crew had just experienced the crushing loss of Inej being taken captive by Van Eck. Kaz and crew have had some time to form a plan and they're just putting things into place to rescue Inej. In Inej's capture, Kaz's hard exterior has been bored through and he's anxious and reliving moments from his past that have made him vulnerable. Kaz has previously been thought to be bloodthirsty and fueled by greed, impenetrable by feeling. When it comes to Inej and his crew, this isn't the case, actually, and the others start to notice.

Kaz possesses a formidable amount of determination to succeed in his goal of freeing Inej and also besting Van Eck, but this determination, when levied by the humanity of his crew, threatens to fall apart. Nina has barely recovered from her emergency use of jurda parem and is still craving the potent drug. She hasn't been able to use her power since the event, either. Matthias has been taking care of her diligently, but he is a stranger in a foreign land and a wanted jailbird. Wylan is still wearing Kuwei's appearance, and dealing with his father's treachery and his own flaws of severe dyslexia. Jesper's betrayal was revealed, and he wrestles with his penchant for gambling as well as the news that his father has come to Ketterdam in search of him. Kuwei, their newest addition, is both collateral and a big liability as he doesn't even know the language or customs and stands to be fleeced or murdered if he even steps foot out of their custody.

Our heroes and heroines definitely possess less bravado this go around, though they haven't reached the limit of tricks up their proverbial (or in Kaz's case, literal) sleeves. The character development is more pronounced and relationships hinted at in the last book are better fleshed out. Since his encounter with Kaz & co., Van Eck has learned to respect their capabilities, and Kaz seems surrounded on both sides, since even he makes a deal with the devil, his personal devil Pekka Rollins. Favorite moment: When Kaz has a showdown with Per Haskell. Loose ends, like Rollins and Nina's Grisha connections and Jesper and Wylan's respective family issues, are all neatly and masterfully dealt with in the final climax of the novel.

Despite this being less of a delightful surprise than Six of Crows, Bardugo still pulls off a skillfully ingenious wrap up to the duology. If this series had food comparisons, Six of Crows would have been the mystery surprise of exotic flavors you didn't know you craved while Crooked Kingdom is full-bodied and richly satisfying to devour and complete the palate. I love this series and these characters, despite them being a bunch of teenage criminals. I am so sad to leave them! This duology will likely remain one of my top all-time favorites.


Download & Read an Excerpt

Watch the trailer with Leigh

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Stacking the Shelves [288]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
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Enregistrer Welcome to the first Stacking the Shelves post of 2018. Life is slowly heading back towards "normal" around here, for select definitions of normal. And it's bloody freezing here in Atlanta. I've lived plenty of places that were colder, but they were also usually a LOT better insulated.

As always, my full stack is over at Reading Reality, and I have a couple of books to tease you with here. Most of the "big" stack consists of Thea Harrison's Elder Races series. I never read them, but fell in love with the series over one of the novellas in Amid the Winter Snow. But I'm collecting the series from the library, and as Murphy's Law has it, I have almost all of the series at this point except, of course, the first book.


Rainbirds by Clarrissa Goenawan (isn't the cover gorgeous?)


Since Last Christmas by Jeffe Kennedy (that looks like one naughty elf!)


Please link your STS post in the linky below:


Thursday, January 04, 2018

Warcross by Marie Lu

Warcross by Marie Lu

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Hardcover: 353 pages
Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Release date: September 12, 2017

Series:  Warcross, #1

Source: Library

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty-hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. To make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.
If Marie Lu wrote it, I'll probably read it, so I've been waiting on this book for months, especially since it is a virtual reality gaming book. And look at this beautifully designed cover! I am blown away. It looks like a maze or block or symbolic for interlocking code.

Before I go further into the review of this book, I'll also say I recently completed Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, which you've probably heard about because the movie's coming out in 2018. (For years, I've also heard everyone rave about this book). For the sake of comparision, it is about young man who plays another virtual reality game called OASIS and goes on a scavenger hunt within it for the recently dead creator's "keys" to his vast fortune.

Right off the bat, it's hard to not draw similarities from Warcross to Ready Player OneWarcross might be about virtual reality, but it draws less off of games we have played before (unlike RPO, which mainly talks about games from the '80s) and creates its own world and game. The game part that is actually Warcross is complicated to explain. Warcross the game is rather like a version of ultimate capture the flag but "you" are a real player, and there is vast world-building and special abilities you can obtain in-game and trade. (Side note: when explaining this, I get an image of versions of old Halo games for capture the flag.)

Another difference is that Warcross virtual reality can be a lens through which you can interact and exist in the real world. Things are revealed in your surroundings as you go about your daily life, and Warcross points are awarded for doing things in life. (RPO has this too, but on a much smaller scale.) This is about where the similarities begin and end between the two books. If you're a big fan of RPO, sure, you might like this. If you hated RPO but are still interested in gaming books, it's different enough that you really might like it.

I really enjoyed the creativity of this book! The hardest thing to grasp for me though was the visual representation of the hacking. I'm a gamer too; I understand that there are limitations for describing video games in print. I think this is one thing that will divide readers. It's harder to relate to and see in your mind because the game and the representation of hacking within it are brand new.

Emika is an creative, determined, yet uniquely vulnerable heroine. She has no family because her father has died and her mother left them some time before. She is crawling with debt, mainly left from her father, and due to an infraction at school, is banned from computers for two years, unable to work at something she's actually gifted at: hacking. Instead, she is a bounty hunter within Warcross and her captures keep getting taken out from under her. Her luck, though, has finally run out and she's facing homelessness and extreme poverty until she performs a hack within the Warcross Championship game. This accidentally glitches her into the game where everyone can see her instead of her [null] hacked character. Emika is whisked off to Tokyo where she's facing multiple new experiences and challenges she's never encountered before. She's part of a team, which functions like a family of sorts, she's got a steady job with money though it's a secret, and she's romantically interested in Hideo Tanaka, the wealthy enigmatic creator of Warcross. Because of her loss and her self-reliance, she is a strong female character, but then, for such a strong female, you might be wondering why she falls so hard and so fast for Hideo, an insta-love situation. As a reader, I thought this was off-putting, but when you consider it, it still can be believable. Emika's rather a loner, having had few friends growing up and still fewer in her poor state, plus with the loss of her family. It doesn't change her strong character, but it does allow that she has areas with little experience and obvious vulnerability. No spoilers, but Emika does gain some perspective by the end of the book and grows emotionally.

Speaking of the ending, the twist at the end I guessed, but still very much enjoyed reading and understanding some character development. In the next book in the series, I would like to see Emika have more interaction with her teammates and have them grow to be more well-rounded characters. Not that they were flat, but they didn't have as much depth because Emika wasn't opening up to them. I thought they were intriguing side characters and want more! I'll be looking forward to reading the next installment and seeing what new exploits in virtual reality Marie Lu is able to dream up.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Stacking the Shelves [287]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
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Enregistrer Welcome to the last and final Stacking the Shelves post of the year. A post in which I'm not actually stacking anything. I did get a few books this week, but not much. As I said in last week's STS over at Reading Reality, my mother went into hospice last Thursday. She passed away on Xmas Day, and her funeral was Wednesday. It was a blustery 6 degrees in Cincinnati that day. I had to borrow one of her coats to have something halfway warm enough to wear at her graveside ceremony. Which felt more than a bit weird, but it still smelled like her perfume and that was surprisingly comforting.

We're finally home, but it seems that I brought a case of food poisoning home with me along with everything we cleaned out of her apartment. I'm toast. Which doesn't mean that you shouldn't add a link to your Stacking the Shelves post in the linky below.

Happy Holidays, Season's Greetings and a safe New Year's to you and yours.


Please link your STS post in the linky below:


Saturday, December 23, 2017

Stacking the Shelves [286]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
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Enregistrer Welcome to the Christmas Eve Eve edition of Stacking the Shelves. While my complete stack is over at Reading Reality, I do have, as always, a couple of titles to tease you with.

The season wouldn't be complete without one last holiday romance, and my year wouldn't be complete without one more book from Anna Hackett.

Happy Holidays, Season's Greeting and Merry Xmas!


Crashed on an Ice World by Anna Hackett


Once Upon a Christmas Eve by Elizabeth Hoyt


Please link your STS post in the linky below:


Saturday, December 16, 2017

Stacking the Shelves [285]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
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Enregistrer Welcome to the "Here kitty, kitty!" edition of Stacking the Shelves, in honor of the late Captain Midnight, a friend's rather large house panther who recently went to the Rainbow Bridge.

For my teaser (full stack at Reading Reality) I have a couple of cat themed books to whet your reading appetite. I just could not resist the adorable little face peeking out of Talk to the Paw. And any visit with Diesel in Miranda James' series is always a treat, and the covers always picture the very handsome (and also large) Maine Coon.


Claws for Concern by Miranda James


Talk to the Paw by Melinda Metz


Please link your STS post in the linky below:


Friday, December 15, 2017

Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik

Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Del Rey
Release date: April 30, 2013

Series:  Temeraire, #7

Source: Library

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

Former Aerial Corps captain Will Laurence and his faithful dragon, Temeraire, have been put out to pasture in Australia—and it seems their part in the war has ended just when they are needed most. The French have invaded Spain, forged an alliance with Africa’s powerful Tswana empire, and brought revolution to Brazil. With Britain’s last desperate hope of defeating Napoleon in peril, the government that sidelined Laurence swiftly offers to reinstate him, convinced that he’s the best man to enter the fray and negotiate peace. So the pair embark for Brazil, only to meet with a string of unmitigated disasters that forces them to make an unexpected landing in the hostile territory of the Incan empire. With the success of the mission balanced on a razor’s edge, an old enemy appears and threatens to tip the scales toward ruin. Yet even in the midst of disaster, opportunity may lurk—for one bold enough to grasp it.


Our heroes are out of the Land Down Under! Because the Tswana have invaded Brazil intent on reclaiming their people kidnapped into slavery, Laurence and Temeraire and their very depleted crew have been reinstated into the Aerial Corps, and now, joined by Iskierka and Kulingile and their crews, they travel on a diplomatic mission to Brazil on the Allegiance, accompanied by their old friends Captain Riley and Arthur Hammond, the former ambassador to the Chinese. On the way, they meet a storm and disaster, leading to a close brush with death and capture by the French who are on their way to the Incan Empire. Iskierka befriends an Incan dragon, and the French feel threatened enough to abandon them on an island in the Pacific. When they finally reach the Incan Empire, they discover the Incan customs about dragons challenge all of their previously held beliefs. Here, Incan dragons are, like the Tswana dragons, caretakers of their people, but other dragons steal people too, hoarding them like men frequently do with Incan gold. Temeraire, Iskierka and Kulingile, since they are carrying men from the Allegiance, are met with high status. Iskierka's impulsiveness lands her in a battle over a man she's stolen and this eventually leads them to the Incan ruler. Through Iskierka's wiles, she proposes an alliance and an absurd marriage.

In the past, we've seen dragons owned as property, dragons as weapons, dragons as independent "people", and dragons as ancestors reborn, but a new attitude is one of dragons as herdsmen -- literally, herding men and whole families. This has intriguing consequences and spurs more philosophical talk amongst Temeraire and Laurence.

To the stoic sensibilities of the British, Iskierka's proposal of a marriage to Granby is preposterous. She even doesn't consider Granby's own wishes, which normally the dragons act with great care to their human partners. However, it is not as if Iskierka has ever behaved with sensibility and empathy towards her much chagrined captain. . . She frequently runs right over whatever advice he gives and stubbornly does what she wants, his will or no. But not this time. Granby finally asserts some authority and it's refreshing to finally see Iskierka getting a dose of humility and consideration. Though she is a wonderful dragon, her attitude can be insufferable!

Another conflict pops up as Iskierka attracts attention from a high-placed Incan dragon and there's talk of romance and eggs. Temeraire, consequently with Iskierka being allowed to be their representation to the Inca, gets a healthy helping of jealousy and confronts his irritation and feelings towards Iskierka, who has always wanted to have an egg with Temeraire. We will have to see if anything plays out in this thread in the next novel. (!!)

Speaking of romance, Demane and Emily Roland's affection has been noticed, and Laurence feels a sort of fatherly guilt at letting Emily, who without being the heir to Excidium, should possess a chaperone and proper gentlewoman etiquette. He pays for a chaperone to accompany them, and this is a sort of side farce in itself, as naturally, Roland wants nothing to do with feminine frippery and formalities. (I just love Roland.)

Lastly, the real reason they're in South America -- to stop/negotiate with the Tswana -- doesn't happen until the last quarter of the book. Most of the action is at sea, on an island, and through the Incan territory. I will say, this last bit is resolved with ingenuity though it feels rushed. There is also another former character spotting as the former Mrs. Erasmus pops up when they meet the Tswana.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Stacking the Shelves [284]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
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Enregistrer I am in Atlanta. It's Friday. And it's absolutely snowing buckets. And it's just at the right (or wrong) temperature for it all to stick. We have actual accumulation.

And I moved down south to get away from this stuff!

But it will be a great weekend to curl up with a cat or two and a good book or three. I got lots of wonderful things over at Reading Reality, but here are a couple of teasers.


Hurts to Love You by Alisha Rai


Lake Silence by Anne Bishop


Why Kill the Innocent by C.S. Harris


Please link your STS post in the linky below: