Thursday, February 26, 2015

Book Review: Wide-Open World

Wide-Open World: How Volunteering Around the Globe Changed One Family's Lives ForeverWide-Open World: How Volunteering Around the Globe Changed One Family's Lives Forever by John Marshall
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication Date: February 2015
Source: Netgalley

John Marshall needed a change. His twenty-year marriage was falling apart, his seventeen-year-old son was about to leave home, and his fourteen-year-old daughter was lost in cyberspace. Desperate to get out of a rut and reconnect with his family, John dreamed of a trip around the world, a chance to leave behind, if only just for a while, routines and responsibilities. He didn’t have the money for resorts or luxury tours, but he did have an idea that would make traveling the globe more affordable and more meaningful than he’d ever imagined: The family would volunteer their time and energy to others in far-flung locales. 

This started off really good, and I was smiling and even laughing a little bit as I was reading. As a person who would love to travel around the world, I thought this was going to be a favorite book for me. And it really started out promising.

But then somewhere around India I started to get a bit bored. I just didn't care anymore, and was ready for the book to be over. I don't know if it's that the author cared a bit less at this point, and didn't try to make the book as interesting, or if I was just over it. Their last volunteer stop just bored me completely, and there was almost nothing interesting about it.

I'm glad I read this, if only to let me know that I probably don't want to go volunteering around the world. I'd rather travel as a tourist, as selfish as that might make me sound.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Book Review: Shadow Study

Shadow Study (Soulfinders, #1)Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Source: Netgalley review copy

Once, only her own life hung in the balance.

Oddly enough, when Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. But she'd survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia. Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands and protect her relationship with Valek.

Suddenly, though, they are beset on all sides by those vying for power through politics and intrigue. Valek's job - and his life - are in danger. As Yelena tries to uncover the scope of these plots, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked. She must keep that a secret - or her enemies will discover just how vulnerable she really is - while searching for who or what is responsible for neutralizing her powers.

Yes, the days of tasting poisons were much simpler. And certainly not as dangerous,

When I saw this available on Netgalley to review, I was pretty excited. I love it when I can get favorite author's books early. I enjoyed this one, but was a little disappointed in it. I felt like it moved a bit too slowly until the end when everything happened way too quickly.

I didn't understand how the story was going to get all wrapped up when there wasn't very much book left. Well, it didn't really get all wrapped up. Obviously there's more to the series, but this book left a lot of things up in the air, and what it did resolve it did so in a matter of pages.

I liked the characters, but the more I read books set in this world, I find Janco less endearing and more annoying. Still, I did enjoy reading this, and will definitely continue on with the series.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Book Review: Snow Falling on Bluegrass

Snow Falling on Bluegrass (Bluegrass, #3)Snow Falling on Bluegrass by Molly Harper
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication Date: September 2014
Source: Netgalley review copy

 Kentucky Tourism Commission employee and executive assistant extraordinaire Kelsey is known around the office for having everything under control. So it’s not surprising that she and her boss, Sadie, have everything planned to the second for the office winter retreat. But there are things even Kelsey can’t micromanage.

An unprecedented snowstorm smothers half of Kentucky and knocks out the power, closes the roads, and generally shuts down the state. Luckily, the lodge has working fireplaces and enough food to keep the staff from turning on each other like something out of The Shining. Kelsey wouldn’t mind being stuck inside if it wasn’t for the tension with her not-so-secret crush, Charlie, the office’s statistician. But handsome Ranger Luke, the lodge’s only employee on hand, is there to take Kelsey’s mind off her discomfort.

Even though this weekend is supposed to be a planning session for KTC, Kelsey can’t help her mind from wandering and finds herself conflicted over Luke and Charlie. Someone’s love will keep her warm, but whose will it be?

This is the third book in a series, and I didn't read the first two. But I saw this on Netgalley, and I've liked Molly Harper's books in the past, so I figured I'd give it a try.

I really like Molly Harper's writing. It's easy reading and there's always some humor and fun in the stories. I didn't really get a good feel for any of the characters, though. I feel like maybe I would have "known" them more if I had read the previous two books.

That's not to say that I didn't like the characters. They were fun, and I liked the geeky references some of the characters made. I might go back and read the first two books someday, but I probably won't be in a huge hurry to do so.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Book Review: Inked

InkedInked by Eric Smith
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Publication Date: January 20, 2015
Source: Netgalley review copy

Tattoos once were an act of rebellion.

Now they decide your destiny the moment the magical Ink settles under your skin.

And in a world where Ink controls your fate, Caenum can't escape soon enough. He is ready to run from his family, and his best friend Dreya, and the home he has known, just to have a chance at a choice.

But when he upsets the very Scribe scheduled to give him his Ink on his eighteenth birthday, he unwittingly sets in motion a series of events that sends the corrupt, magic-fearing government, The Citadel, after him and those he loves.

Now Caenum, Dreya, and their reluctant companion Kenzi must find their way to the Sanctuary, a secret town where those with the gift of magic are safe. Along the way, they learn the truth behind Ink, its dark origins, and why they are the only ones who can stop the Citadel.

Although there were some original elements in Inked, I couldn't help but feel like it was a story I'd read before. There was nothing that really drew me in, and I spent the whole time while I was reading waiting for it to get going. I never warmed up to the characters, setting, plot, or any of it, for that matter.

This might appeal to someone (maybe teenage or younger boys) looking for a book with a male protagonist, but it just wasn't my thing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Book Review: You Had Me at Bonjour

You Had me at BonjourYou Had me at Bonjour by Jennifer Bohnet
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Publication Date: September 2014
Source: Netgalley

If you’d asked Jessica a year ago, she would have told you that her life was pretty near perfect. But one year – and one very messy divorce – later, she’s not so sure. Which is how she found herself boarding a plane to the south of France, determined to put her past behind her… preferably via some deliciously chilled rosé.
Meeting a new man was never part of the plan. Yet when she meets Nino, her new neighbour’s impossibly sexy nephew, steering clear of romance seems easier said than done. Suddenly, Jessica finds herself right back where she started: with her heart on the line. But now she’s made a new start, perhaps it’s time for Jessica to throw caution to the wind, take a few risks… and learn to regrette rien!

The diary format of this book just really didn't work for me. It was very dry and quite boring. I never really felt much about the main character, and definitely not any of the secondary characters. There was absolutely nothing to pull me into the story.

It was like if I picked up some random person's journal and started reading it, but it was all just boring day to day stuff. Not something I would read past the first couple of pages. But since this was a review book, and fairly short, I pressed on.

I thought I would like this since it's set in France, and I have liked diary formats before (like Bridget Jones's Diary). But the main character has to be interesting, and has to write in a voice that makes me want to read more. This book just fell flat.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Book Review: Nine by Night pt. 1

I received Nine by Night for review from Netgalley. Since it is nine books long, I will periodically post some short reviews for the books included in the collection. Here are the first two:

Witch Hunt  (Preternatural Affairs, #1)Witch Hunt by S.M. Reine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
 This was okay, but I didn't love it. It's different reading an urban fantasy from a male POV, so I guess that was nice. The romance, what there was of it, was annoying to me. I didn't buy it, and it happened way too fast. Which I guess was my main problem with the book as a whole, is everything moved so fast. There was a lot of plot, but not a ton of world or character building.

Death's Servant (The V V Inn, #0.1)Death's Servant by C.J. Ellisson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I read this as part of the larger Nine by Night collection that I got for review from Netgalley. I really feel like this will only appeal to fans of the V V Inn series, which I had never heard of before reading this novella. I don't think it's aimed at all as an introduction to the series, because it just didn't seem to be written in a way for the reader to meet and connect with these characters.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Book Review: I'm Dreaming of an Undead Christmas

I'm Dreaming of an Undead Christmas (Half-Moon Hollow, #2.7)I'm Dreaming of an Undead Christmas by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publication Date: December 2013 on audio, November 17, 2014 on ebook
Source: Netgalley review copy

College co-ed Gigi is headed home to Half-Moon Hollow for her first Christmas since her sister, Iris, was turned into a vampire by her beloved undead husband, Cal. Iris is working overtime to make this holiday as normal and special as possible. After all, it’s taken her months of working with Jane Jameson and the Hollow’s vampires to convince herself that she won’t bite her baby sister on sight.

Gigi has her own worries. She’s falling out of love with her high school sweetheart, Ben, and has no idea how to tell him. She’s got a secret job interview with terrifying teen Council official, Ophelia Lambert. And there’s a handsome but cagey vampire following her around town and then disappearing before Gigi can confirm that he’s not, in fact, a figment of her fertile imagination. Holidays with family are complicated. Christmas with an undead family can be downright dangerous.

This was a really fun read for the holidays, when you're busy and you don't have a whole lot of time or brainpower. It was really short, and I did feel like it ended rather abruptly. I realize it's a short story, and part of a larger series, but I really thought that we would at least find out who the mystery vampire was. Granted, I haven't read any of the other books in this series, so maybe it made more sense to those who had. I have read the Jane Jameson series, though. So this world wasn't entirely new to me.

I enjoy reading this author's books, and they always make me laugh, or at least smile.