Book Reviews

Brave Run by Philip Arnold

You better hold onto your hats for this one because it will take you on a dangerous journey through a barren desert, a pelting hail storm, enemy territory, and much more. 

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, but I found myself very much enjoying it. We are immediately introduced to the action and the stakes at hand and while these play out, we catch glimpses of the protagonist’s background. The latter was a nice addition because it allowed me to get to know John. It was especially interesting to see how he grew up in the Tarahumara tribe and how he used this to save Angela’s life. I thought their relationship was sweet and I almost wish that they had been able to spend more time together. In fact, I would say that I wish there had been more of everything. And I mean this in a good way. Perhaps that would have slowed things down too much… But I enjoyed the story a lot and would have liked to linger in this setting a little longer. 

The writing was good. I found there was a bit more telling rather than showing, but I suppose that is merely my opinion. 

Lastly, it was a clean read. There was no profanity or explicit content. There was some violence, although I think: how can there not be in a setting like this? And besides, every gruesome detail was not vividly described. 

Overall, I would recommend this book. And I especially encourage you to support this indie author.    

 

Book Reviews

A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

“The hardest lesson I had learnt upon my travels was patience. There are times when every muscle, every nerve, screams for movement, when every instinct urges escape. But the instinct to fly is not always a sound one. There are occasions when only stillness can save you.”

Once again, I was absolutely charmed by Raybourn’s writing. It was intelligent and beautiful and fit well with the personalities of the characters. And that is the perfect segway… XD 

Veronica: fearless, independent, and astute. Yet, not very much changed from the previous novel. I wish that there had been more character growth, but maybe that will still come in the following novels. However, I did love how Stoker and Veronica’s relationship deepened and they learned to trust each other beyond the intermediate level of book #1. As for their romance… I have no idea where that will go or if it will go anywhere at all. They have a strong friendship, but I’m not sure if it could develop to something beyond that.

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I absolutely adore these covers! ❤

The pacing was quite good – they were almost always rushing hither and thither to visit royalty or to do some sleuthing. Again, though, the story was dialogue-heavy and I found that there was much time spent on discussing theories and guessing at who might be guilty of murdering Artemisa. 

Lastly, I was actually rather grossed out by how many insinuations and blatant mentions of sex there were. The entire mystery revolves around infidelity and the addition of the grotto… Well, I was not a fan. I love Raybourn’s voice and her characters are interesting and intelligent, but I am rather unimpressed by this element. So, perhaps, someday I may read book #3, but I think, for now, I need a break from this series. 

I hope you all have a lovely Sunday!

Enjoy the last day of summer.      

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Book Reviews

If I Live by Terri Blackstock

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I read this book so fast I’m not even sure I’m qualified to write a review. But… I’m going to try anyway. Just let me catch my breath.

“This is all so tangled and so impossible, but God did the impossible tonight. He does it all the time. I’m so overcome by it that I can’t formulate an elaborate prayer. I simply whisper, “Thank you.”
― Terri Blackstock, If I Live

What a smashing ending to this series!

The plot of was gripping and fast-paced and I was completely engaged the entire time. Perhaps there could have been a little more development, but that might have dragged things out too long. The writing was similar – it was concise and said what needed to be said. I think this is a talent as much as elaborate, colourful writing is. It’s not easy to write such an impactful novel while keeping things simple.

I loved how realistic Casey’s character was. Over the series, she became stronger, but she also developed a weariness. It’s been weeks since she discovered Brent’s body and since that day, she’s been running for her life. She’s tired. Blackstock did a marvellous job with communicating these emotions. Again, Dylan was supportive and kind. What a sweetheart! However, in terms of the romance, things moved a little too quickly. No spoilers, though, so I’ll leave it at that.

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Author Terri Blackstock

 

This was a clean read in terms of profanity and sex. But there was a lot of violence! At one point, I sat back and thought, “People are dropping like flies, no one’s going to be left at the end!” Thankfully, this wasn’t the case, but there was a significant number of murders.

Despite this, though, it was a well written, nail-biting, breath-stealing, ending to an amazing series. If you haven’t read it, I definitely recommend. If you have, what are your thoughts on the conclusion to If I Run?   

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Book Reviews

If I’m Found by Terri Blackstock

Wow! Just wow! I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to do. This is just way, way too intense! But one thing I know: I am very thankful that I bought book #3 when I bought #2. (Yes, I’ve already started reading it….)Image result for mary poppins nannies gif

So I liked the first book, it was good, but it didn’t knock me off of my chair or anything. With this one, I was blown away!  

Okay, sorry. I’ll stop blabbering and get to the review.

“Every expression of gratitude is a prayer, which means the practice of intentional gratitude leads directly to a life lived in continual worship.” – If I’m Found

The plot for this book was well executed. I was engaged the entire time and I never felt bored, but I also didn’t feel left behind. Blackstock spent enough time on things to effectively develop them. It is interesting, though, that there isn’t a huge amount of description. This usually bugs me, but Blackstock was careful to mention just the right things in order to efficiently tell the story. She also progressed the events of book 1 or as I like to say, “ She ‘thickened’ the plot.” As a result, I was left hanging and completely overwhelmed by the suspense.      

I loved getting to know Casey and Dylan better. One of my favourite things was being able to see how Casey interacted with someone she wasn’t hiding from. Up to this point, a lot of Casey’s POV was her on her own, running and hiding from others. However, she is finally portrayed openly connecting with another person. Dylan… What a sweetheart. Even though he has been through some difficult times, he is still willing to risk his life if it means doing what’s right. Image result for if i live terri blackstock

I definitely recommend this book (and series!) if you enjoy a good thriller. You won’t be disappointed!

Keep your eyes open for a review of book #3! I assure you, it will be showing up soon.

P.S. I love these covers! So beautiful. They made my Top Ten Covers of 2018

 

Ramblings, Uncategorized

Top Ten Reads of 2018

Happy 2019!!

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Looking back at 2018, here are some of my favourite reads.

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The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

This was a magical read! I was completely captivated by each strand that Franklin wove to create this colourful tapestry.

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The Wendy by Erin Michelle Sky and Steven Brown

I was captivated from the very beginning. The authors have a way of writing that enchants the readers and draws them into this colourful, exciting world.Image result for if i run series

If I Run Series by Terri Blackstock (If I Run by Terri Blackstock)

Oh my goodness, this series! So good! I was sitting at the edge of my chair the entire time. Review for books #2 and #3 are coming soon.

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The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork

The world Wallwork immediately established was magical and intriguing.

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Changeling (Sorcery and Society #1) by Molly Harper

I loved this book! It was such a beautiful and captivating story. I can’t wait to read book #2!

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I was immediately sucked in by Morgenstern’s beautiful and descriptive writing style. There was something magical about it, something intricate like a delicate spider web glistening in the morning sun.

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Garden of Thorns by Amber Mitchell

The first little bit had me wondering if the entire book was going to be so dark. I thought, “There is a good chance I won’t finish this book.” Then Rose escaped the Garden and met Rayce. That’s when I fell in love with the story and a certain character….

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The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

I definitely recommend this book. It was a lovely read and I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series and discovering where Tiki’s journey will lead to next.

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Shadow and Thorn by Kenley Davidson

The first thing that caught me was the writing. To me, it had a certain grace about it which danced with elegant steps across the pages. And it took me by surprise, I had not anticipated such charm when first I turned to “Chapter 1.”

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Cleopatra’s Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter

This book is a golden little nugget I found while digging through piles of dusty books at my local book fair.

And lastly, the honourable mention goes to…

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Bandaging the Blitz by Phyll Macdonald-Ross & I.D. Roberts

As a book co-written by someone who actually lived through these things, it had a beautiful authentic atmosphere. Each time I picked up this book, it was like I stepped through a portal into the 1940s.

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While I was writing this up, I kept thinking, “Oh, ya! That was such a good book! I should read it again.” Haha. I definitely recommend all of these books. They are amazing and very enjoyable.

Have you read any of these books? Are they on your favourites shelf?

Book Reviews

The Darkest Star by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Where I do I begin? Perhaps with a little background… I’ve looked at Armentrout’s books before, but I’ve never actually picked one up to read. They have rather good reviews so when I saw “The Darkest Star” on Netgalley, I requested it.

I want to say it started out good but… Here, I’ll share a quote from the first chapter.

“My lips parted on a soft inhale. The reaction was startling and embarrassing. I sort of wanted to smack myself, but in my defense, the guy was stunning, the kind of beauty that almost didn’t seem real at first.”

Shall I continue? It gets better.

“Messy brown hair toppled his forehead in waves and curls. Even from where I was standing, I could tell that his face knew no bad angle, the kind of face that needed no filter. Impossibly high and broad cheekbones were paired with a carved, square jaw. His mouth really was a work of art…”

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Okay, I’ll stop now.

After reading this only 2% of the way through, my skepticism skyrocketed. Things didn’t get better and I stopped at 47%.

What I did like: The idea of the Luxen and Origins was quite interesting – it has a lot of potential. To me, it is a unique twist to the whole “aliens from another planet inhabiting earth.”  

However, the characters weren’t compelling since they lacked depth. Evie wasn’t very smart and had few interests so this gave her little to no personality. Luc, I felt like I didn’t get to know him because every other description mentions his insanely good looks. I care more about who he is than what he looks like. The dialogue between the characters, especially Luc and Evie, did not flow nicely and was riddled with sarcasm and sassiness. At first, I let it slide since it gave the characters some fire, but simply put, it was overdone. Further, the writing contained minimal flourishes. It wasn’t a work of art, it was vague shapes and lines. I expected more from an author who has so many published titles.

And lastly, this was not at all a clean read. The characters swore frequently and up to 47% there wasn’t any sex, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the other 53% contains it.

Altogether, I do not recommend this book and I don’t think I will read any other books from this author either.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

Book Reviews

If I Run by Terri Blackstock

26263487I was really excited about this book, not only because it was a paperback, but also because I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. And I wasn’t disappointed!

Blackstock didn’t waste any time getting into the action. She jumped right in by introducing us to Casey who had just discovered the body of her murdered friend. But even from the start, Casey proved herself to be a beautiful character. Despite what happened, she was still compassionate and sweet. She was also very brave and intelligent. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I could avoid the cops for that long. And Dylan… My heart broke for him. He went through so much and had to make so many tough decisions. I wanted to wrap him up and give him a huge hug.

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The writing was good, I think it fit well with the genre of this book. However, I found that there were a lot of sentences that began with “I.” And at times there were two sentences in a row that started with “I.” Maybe I’m just being picky, but considering the number of books which Blackstock has written, I expected more. As far as the plot, it was engaging and well paced. The only thing I thought could have been better, was the incorporation of the missing girl. It was a brilliant addition, but it felt like just the outlines, it lacked detail. Perhaps with a little more explanation, especially concerning motive on the criminal’s part, things would have come together better.   

This was a clean read in terms of profanity and sex; however, there is of course murder and porn is mentioned as well.

Lastly, I must mention the cover… I really, really like it. It fits well with the story and is quite haunting. Hehe 🙂

Altogether, I highly recommend this book and I will certainly be reading the sequel, “If I’m Found.”   

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What are your thoughts on this book? Would you read it based on the cover?   

Book Reviews

Shadow and Thorn by Kenley Davidson

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I dove into this book not knowing what to expect, but it didn’t take long before I was wholly and utterly captivated. The first thing that caught me was the writing. To me, it had a certain grace about it which danced with elegant steps across the pages. And it took me by surprise, I had not anticipated such charm when first I turned to “Chapter 1.”

To put it bluntly, the characters were amazing! I think Zara has slipped into my top ten list of female heroines. She was strong and witty and smart enough not to fall for Rowan’s silky charade. Alexei was rather bitter at first, but as the book progressed, his faults allowed for some lovely character growth.

Now, this is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast; however, it is twisted in many very appealing very innovative ways. Most retellings stick closely to the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast, but Davidson allowed her imagination to take different pathways along the journey and I loved this. It was new and exciting and wonderful.

Lastly, this was a clean read. I was waiting for that one part or that bad word, but it never came and so, I was able to fully enjoy this story. I definitely recommend “Shadow and Thorn” to all those who love a fairytale retelling or a clean YA fantasy.     

Ta ta for now,

E.J. Hill  

Book Reviews

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

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“Soft hearts make the universe worth living in.”

     My first impression of this book was not so great. I don’t know why, but Chapter 1 and 2 were not written well. At all. The sentence structure was weak and there was a lot of telling instead of showing. I found myself wondering what in the world happened to the bestselling author of Divergent. Thankfully, it improved in chapter 3 with Cyra’s point of view. But altogether, the writing was average, I didn’t find it to be overly stunning. It was just a story, it wasn’t really a work of art.  

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    Okay, so the characters. Not perfect and that was great! At one point Akos observes Cyra fingering a pimple on her chin. I had to read it twice because I couldn’t believe it. Sorry, maybe some of you are cringing, but that is real life relatable and not something I read about on a regular basis. Anywaaays, I liked that Roth added this element to the characters.

“I may be in pain, but I am not weak.”

Now, Cyra’s attributes were a clear result of her upbringing, she was as strong as a lion yet as fragile as a butterfly – I actually kind of liked her in the end. Akos, though… I’m not really sure about him yet. He seems a tad selfish and maybe a little weak too. I think this improved as the story went on and we’ll see what book #2 brings.

   To be honest, the plot was kind of slow. It did pick up a bit in places, but I felt like I had to plow through it instead of being able to sit back and enjoy the ride. Also, the story was rather violent and brutal. Killing played such a large role that I didn’t enjoy the book quite as much as I had hoped. I’m not convinced it’s even moral to write about something like this and pretend it’s okay. Yeah, there were and are violent cultures and we should be aware of that, but I don’t think we should romanticize it. What do you guys think?

     So it was a pretty clean read. There wasn’t much swearing and they didn’t have sex, but nope, I’m not going to recommend it. It was a cool idea; however, en masse, it wasn’t a great book.

    Have you read this book? What did you think?

    Have a fantastic weekend my friends!

    E.J. Hill

    

 

 

Book Reviews

The Matefinder by Leia Stone

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I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect with this book, but as a whole, I quite liked it. The main plot was interesting and a different take on your typical werewolf story.

However, I found that especially the beginning, was extremely fast-paced. It felt like one big thing happened after the other, just boom, boom, boom, and there was barely any room to breathe and to get to know the characters personally. Further, although I really liked Aurora’s strength, she lacked flaws. For me, it’s those imperfections which improve over the course of the book that make for beautiful and colorful characters.

One thing that I really liked and respected, was that Kai and Aurora made the decision not to have sex until marriage. This is something that’s getting to be increasingly rare in books so ones like this always stick out to me. Nevertheless, there was quite a bit of profanity. So I don’t know if could recommend it. I think the best I can do, is give my honest opinion and leave it up to the reader.

Do you have a favorite werewolf novel? If so, what is it? Feel free to comment below, I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by,

E.J. Hill

P.S. Check out my novel Ashes of Glass!

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