Author: Mark Edwards
Title: The Magpies
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Date published: September 19, 2013
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Fear lives next door...
When Jamie and Kirsty move into their first home together they are full of optimism. The future, in which they plan to get married and start a family, is bright. The other residents of their building seem friendly too: the horror writer and the middle-aged herbalist who live upstairs, and the Newtons, a married couple who welcome them to the building with open arms.
At first, the two couples get on well. But then strange things start to happen. Dead rats are left on their doorstep. They hear disturbing noises, and much worse, in the night. After Jamie's best friend is injured in a horrific accident, Jamie and Kirsty find themselves targeted by a campaign of terror.
As Jamie and Kirsty are driven to the edge of despair, Jamie vows to fight back – but he has no idea what he is really up against…
THE MAGPIES is a terrifying psychological thriller in which the monsters are not vampires or demons but the people we live next door to. It is a nightmare that could happen to anyone.
I got this book from KU because it was a top choice for me in Whispersync, and I couldn't get any of the audiobooks on my phone to work in my kindle app. I really did nothing more than glance at the reviews and cover before starting it.
When I'm about 5% in, I'm curious enough to know what I've gotten myself into. I'm not regretting it, and I'm actually enjoying it thus far, and I read the synopsis... followed by the genre. And I facepalmed. I'm a very emotional reader. I react similar to the characters, if they're written well enough, and I had just started a thriller. I was doomed.
Promising myself I would stop it if I needed to, I continued reading/listening. (By the way, Elliot Hill was pretty great as a narrator for this. I'll have to check out more of his work.) And I couldn't stop. I got about halfway into it and was forced to go to bed that night. I had a weird dream, I'd like to point out. (You'll understand if you read this) In which a witch showed up and killed my cat, Bruce Wayne.
Anyway, the next day I started it up on my way to work. There was one part that highly amused me, and that was when the musical version of War of the Worlds was brought up. My sister and I, to this day, still like to freak each other out with the music from it. Just last week, she was discussing names for her little girl (due in December), and I sent her a clip of the Martian's call, "Ulla".
After that bit, things just kept escalating. I was, quite shamelessly, reading during the wee one's swim lesson instead of watching. And I continued being unable to put it down until there was about a quarter left. Something happened that made me close the app and say some expletives. I couldn't bring myself to open it for the rest of the day.
I debated just stopping it entirely as I had promised myself I could. But curiosity got the better of me. As I write this review, I am literally shaking. Remember what I said about being an emotional reader? It's totally a thing.
For a book I had no idea what I was reading, I was quite pleased with it. In which I mean, it totally freaked me out. I'm also glad I live on the first floor of my apartment complex, and my neighbors are too old to to do most things on their own, so I don't have to be afraid of them.
There's a letter at the end, after the epilogue. Don't skip that bit, if you decide to read it.
Author: Sara York
Title: Pray the Gay Away
Series: A Southern Thing
Genre: LGBT New Adult
Date published: March 13, 2014
Star football player, Jack Miller, had it all. The perfect family, looks, girls hanging on his every word, and the respect of most people in his town. But one thing was missing--a man to be his own.
When Andrew Collins showed up in small town, conservative Sweet, Georgia, he looked more scrawny mutt than high school senior. Andrew's plan was to keep his head down and graduate high school, leaving his family behind to start his real life.
When he meets Andrew, Jack thinks he's found heaven, but reality holds him in check until one night when his lips gently slide across Andrew's and fireworks go off.
As lust and something a little deeper brings them together, compelling them to take chances, people start to notice. Then the unthinkable happens, and Jack's parents find out he likes guys. The battle lines are drawn and they vow to pray the gay away.
I picked this book up a bit ago, when I saw it was free. I've been meaning to read it for a while, but the RT signing coming up in Houston is what gave me the final push to start it.
Before I say anything else, I want it known that I did enjoy most of what I read. It was an interesting story, and I'm glad the author decided to write this topic. It brings up a lot of important issues that children of closed minded parents come up against.
I really wanted to love this book, but there were really too many issues to overlook. First of all, there is a small, but noticeable, amount of typos. The most obvious of them being someone's name. Example: "Like" instead of "Luke". More commonly is the abundance of contradictions I found.
The part that bothered me the most was how gay males were depicted. It was a bit ignorant at times, almost offensively at points. I have no doubt this was not intentional, but it would have helped to run this story by an editor that could have fixed the typos, contradiction, and hopefully the representation of gay males.
I mentioned closed minded parents earlier. That is a very important topic this book addresses. There are too sets of parents depicted in this book that are homophobic. One has alternative methods of punishment, limiting food/sleep, the other is said to be more physical, except there is really only one instance of it happening. There is lots of talk about it though, so I felt that it was underplayed.
My biggest issue would be with Jack's mother. She supposedly assumes Jack is gay, yet thinks he's having sex with a girl and doesn't find it odd when she asks him about it, he said, "I did not have sex with a girl" multiple times. She is known for keeping the dad from hurting the kids, yet the dad is known as someone who hurts them and the mom sends Jack home alone to deal with the dad alone when the dad is very angry.
As I've said before, it's an interesting book, and I am planning on continuing the series because of that. I feel this could have done such a better service with it's message had more work gone into making sure this was of a higher quality.
Author: Kirstin Chen
Title: Soy Sauce for Beginners
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Date published: January 1, 2014
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Gretchen Lin, adrift at the age of thirty, leaves her floundering marriage in San Francisco to move back to her childhood home in Singapore and immediately finds herself face-to-face with the twin headaches she’s avoided her entire adult life: her mother’s drinking problem and the machinations of her father’s artisanal soy sauce business.Surrounded by family, Gretchen struggles with the tension between personal ambition and filial duty, but still finds time to explore a new romance with the son of a client, an attractive man of few words. When an old American friend comes to town, the two of them are pulled into the controversy surrounding Gretchen’s cousin, the only male grandchild and the heir apparent to Lin’s Soy Sauce. In the midst of increasing pressure from her father to remain permanently in Singapore—and pressure from her mother to do just the opposite—Gretchen must decide whether she will return to her marriage and her graduate studies at the San Francisco Conservatory, or sacrifice everything and join her family’s crusade to spread artisanal soy sauce to the world.
Soy Sauce for Beginners reveals the triumphs and sacrifices that shape one woman’s search for a place to call home, and the unexpected art and tradition behind the brewing of a much-used but unsung condiment. The result is a foodie love story that will give readers a hearty appreciation for family loyalty and fresh starts.
I picked this as one of my monthly choices as a Prime member last December, and I decided to finally give it a go when I saw it was a Whispersync option on KU. (Knowing that I can press play on a book I'm reading when I'm busy cleaning or driving is a fabulous thing, especially because I hate stopping a good book.)
Before I get into the review of the book, I want to say that I felt Nancy Wu did a wonderful job as a narrator, and I plan on listening to more of her work (seriously, I already have the other two of her works available on KU downloaded into my phone).
As someone who has been through divorce, similar to Gretchen's, in that there were no assets or children involved, so I could easily relate to how she was feeling. I do enjoy when I can form an emotional connection to a character. I remember the confusion and how much I struggled during those times.
My favorite part would have to be getting to experience the culture of the privileged of Singapore. I found it fascinating, and the setting was done so vividly that I could easily picture it as I read/listened.
I now have a deeper appreciation for soy sauce after reading this. I was never a big fan of it before, as it is too salty for my taste, but I'd like to experience the flavors talked about in this story. Especially with the Sprite.
The end, although I noticed it bothered many people, didn't upset me. I like open endings. It means I can reflect on the multiple possibilities.
Author: Jessica Park
Title: Flat-Out Celeste
Series: Flat-Out Love, #2
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Date published: May 22, 2014
Source: Kindle Unlimited
For high-school senior Celeste Watkins, every day is a brutal test of bravery. And Celeste is scared. Alienated because she’s too smart, her speech too affected, her social skills too far outside the norm, she seems to have no choice but to retreat into isolation.
But college could set her free, right? If she can make it through this grueling senior year, then maybe. If she can just find that one person to throw her a lifeline, then maybe, just maybe.
Justin Milano, a college sophomore with his own set of quirks, could be that person to pull her from a world of solitude. To rescue her—that is, if she’ll let him.
Together, they may work. Together, they may save each other. And together they may also save another couple—two people Celeste knows are absolutely, positively flat-out in love.
Whether you were charmed by Celeste in Flat-Out Love or are meeting her for the first time, this book is a joyous celebration of differences, about battling private wars that rage in our heads and in our hearts, and—very much so— this is a story about first love.
After being warned that there would be feels in this, I decided to give myself a couple days before going through the drama that happened when I read the last two books in this series. I needed to prepare myself for what was to come.
The first thing that happened when I started this was close it immediately, message a friend of mine who had just finished it, and asked her, "What the hell is going on here?!" She told me to keep reading, and I did... but I kept messaging her every now and again, telling her to fix it immediately.
I'm glad she forced me to keep reading. I know this is a story about Celeste, but Matt reminds me a lot of my husband and his story is also important to me, dammit.
There was one part where I was all, "I swear to gawd, if this happens that'll be so stupid. *smacks head* It's actually going to happen isn't it. Oh my gawd, it is happening! THIS IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE!" There was likely tears in my eyes, and I'd thank you not to judge me.
I really enjoyed this one, in a much different way than the other two. I loved how, even though the story was told from another voice, it was still the same world as the last two. Getting to see things from Celeste's point of view was pretty awesome. I was interested in her, but I had no idea just how much I would end up liking her.
And Justin. He's pretty great as well.
I loved how neither of them are a typical romantic lead in a story. Yet, they were fantastic. Somehow, even though I don't know how it is possible, I really loved this one more than the last two. It give me different feelings, and the drama was a different sort... but I absolutely adored this.
Lastly, and most important of all... I REALLY hope there's going to be a Flat-Out Justin companion. I would be very interested in seeing what's going on in his head.
Author: Terry Maggert
Title: The Forest Bull
Series: The Fearless, #1
Date published: December 2, 2013
Source: Audible - Gifted from Author, Ebook - Amazon
Three lovers. Two immortals. One mystery.
When Ring Hardigan isn’t making sandwiches for, and with, his two partners, Waleska and Risa (they’re cool like that), he’s got a busy schedule doing the dirty work of sending immortals to the ever after. Wally and Risa provide linguistics, logistics, and finding the right place for him and his knife.
A reclusive Baron from the timelost forests of Europe asks for their help—find a stolen collection of jewelry, and find the thief—his daughter Elizabeth, an immortal of purest evil who wants nothing less than control of Hell itself. With the help of a 2400 year old succubus hooker named Delphine, they might just live long enough to what is evil, who is human, and exactly who wants to reign in hell.
I had originally tried to listen/read this toward the end of May, but Bob (another platypire) went into labor early and I was so completely out it that even though I'd read through half of the book - I hadn't retained a thing. I couldn't even tell you one single name. (The baby was fine after a small complication, and she's doing well) I knew I'd need to start it over.
And then my phone broke. The sound on it was kaput. So it would be over two months before I could give it another shot.
Much of this story is engaging, and written in a way that paints vivid pictures. There are some issues though, mostly with the constant change of POV and its wordiness. There was more filler bits than I would have preferred.
I did felt that Rebecca Cook did a fantastic job with the narration of this story, and I especially loved her many accents. She definitely helped keep me going in the story when it became harder to read.
It isn't what I expected And I say that in a good way. That's mostly thanks to the different types of villains. Also there's a good portion of sex in this book. Not really my thing, but it was done tastefully.
I do recommend this to people more into more unique paranormal stories.
Book: 3.5 platypires
Narration 4 platypires
Author: Cassie Mae
Title: How To Hook A Bookworm
Series: How To, #3
Genre: Young Adult Romantic Comedy
Publisher: Cookie Publishing
Date published: January 2, 2015
Source: Kindle Loan
Getting kissed for a birthday present should not be a big deal. Especially for Brea Mason, who doesn’t think of her best friend, Adam Silver, in any way other than… well, a friend. But after the liplock she can’t seem to get him off her mind. And she has to, because Adam is a senior while she’s stuck in high school for another two years.
Then BAM, the perfect distraction comes along in the form of a new, hot sophomore who actually seems interested in Brea, despite her anti-social personality. And with the stress at home, stress at school, and ignoring the reality of all her friends leaving come June, Brea welcomes the distraction.
But when she sees four fat Fs on her report card, Brea needs a study buddy, and the best candidate is Adam, book nerd and math whiz. So she enlists his help, hoping the birthday kiss was just a fluke. After all, she has a boyfriend now. It should be easy to ignore the butterflies and fizzy feelings that arise with the bookworm… right?
*bangs head on the table* I finished this book over two months ago, and I forgot to write the review. It gets better... the only thing I wrote about finishing it was, "need to write review. Almost punched Adam in the face." That's what happens when you read a book that's so fantastic that you couldn't even put it down to take notes.
Thankfully, I remember the book pretty well. It helps that I read it at the same time as two of my friends (one of which is Sofia, which is the reason I even read Cassie Mae in the first place.)
Out of the three books in this series, How To Hook A Bookworm is both my favorite and the one that made me bang my head on whatever device I was reading from at the time.
Warning to those who don't know me: I am not violent in real life, but I am an overly emotional reader. The first half of the book was so annoying. I wanted to smack Bree upside her head for her inability to see WHAT WAS OBVIOUSLY RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER THE ENTIRE TIME. The second part had me wanting to punch Adam in the face. Especially one bit. I was about to go on a rant about it... but, spoilers.
Just like the other two books in the series, there's a lot of adorable nerdiness - which makes me love this series so much.
There were a couple parts that I was a bit put out with the situations going on. Most of which revolved around Bree's mom. But, I do realize I saw things from the point of view of someone nearly a decade older than Bree with different life experiences. So, I do understand her reaction to those things.
Anyway, this was fantastic and I loved it. Also, bookworms are damn sexy - and Adam is the best love interest in the story - I'm just saying.
Author: Amy A. Bartol
Title: Sea of Stars
Series: The Kricket Series
Genre: Science Fiction
Date published: March 31, 2015
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Eighteen-year-old Kricket Hollowell was looking for her place in the world when she discovered that the universe was bigger—and more dangerous—than she had ever dreamed. Now, whisked across space to the planet Ethar, Kricket learns that her genetic ability to see the future makes her a sought-after commodity…and the catalyst for war between her star-crossed parents’ clans. According to Alameedan prophecy, one house will rise to power and the other will be completely wiped out, and Kricket’s precognition is believed to be the weapon that will tip the scales.
A target of both the Rafe and the Alameeda houses, Kricket finds protection—and a home—in the arms of Trey, her Etharian bodyguard-turned-boyfriend. But her visions of what’s to come disturb her deeply, especially since she must discover whether the gift of foresight will allow her to rewrite the future, or if her fate is as immovable as the stars.
There's so much more to the story added in this one. You thought Under Different Stars was a lot of crap happening to Kricket... ha! The poor girl definitely needs a giant tub of ice cream after everything that's gone on in this one.
This book had a lot more fighting going on than the first one, although much of it felt a little too filler for me. I'd compare it to DBZ, but to a lesser extent. There were some points where I had a hard time focusing on what was going on, and ended up having to back track. Basically, the entire first half.
Things changed for me in second half, which was more "holy crap what is going on?!" It was fantastic and I couldn't stop reading/listening.
And then there's the end. Gawd freaking dammit... Urg! I have to wait for book 3.
Author: Angela J. Townsend
Title: The Forlorned
Publisher: Crimson Tree Publishing
Date published: July 21st, 2015
Source: Clean Teen Publishing Elite Reviewers
When Tom Doherty first laid eyes on the lighthouse he knew it was damned.
An advertisement lured him to the island, offering a job renovating the old lighthouse and ramshackle buildings. What he didn’t know was that he was the only applicant. None of the locals wanted the job – no one dared.
Isolated and alone, Tom soon discovers why. Messages from disembodied voices; ghostly visitations and escalating horrors draw Tom deeper into the island’s evil past—a darkness that forces Tom to unbury the truth and bring demons of his own into the light.
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I've read a few other books (Moonflower and both Angus MacBain) by this author, so I jumped at the opportunity to review this when CTP made it available.
It's a fast read, and it's interesting. I really enjoyed how everything and everyone was connected. The author is great at folklore in her stories, and it is one of the reasons why I love her stories so much.
Unlike her other stories I had no emotional reaction to anything, and I'm a highly emotional reader. I felt no sense of fear, and I'm a spaz that is afraid to turn the lights off in the bathroom at night. I do believe this would have been more accurately labeled if it was under "paranormal" instead of "horror". I also had no connection to any of the characters. I found them to be fascinating, but that was it.
It's an entertaining story. I recommend it to people who have an interest in folklore.
Author: Jessica Park
Title: Flat-Out Matt
Series: Flat-Out Love, #1.5
Genre: New Adult
Date published: March 25, 2013
Matt is a junior at MIT. He’s geeky, he's witty, he's brilliant.
And he’s also very, very stupid.
When beautiful, cool, insightful Julie moves in with Matt’s family, why (oh why!) does he pretend to be his absent brother Finn for her alleged benefit?
It seems harmless enough until her short-term stay becomes permanent. And until it snowballs into heart-squeezing insanity. And until he falls in love with Julie, and Julie falls in love with Finn.
But … Matt is the right one for her. If only he can make Julie see it. Without telling her the truth, without shattering them all. Particularly his fragile sister Celeste, who may need Julie the most.
You saw Matt through Julie’s eyes in Flat-Out Love. Now go deeper into Matt’s world in this Flat-Out Matt novella. Live his side of the story, break when his heart breaks, and fall for the unlikely hero all over again.
Take an emotional skydive for two prequel chapters and seven Flat-Out Love chapters retold from his perspective, and then land with a brand-new steamy finale chapter from Julie.
I couldn't start this immediately after finishing Flat-Out Love, because I wasn't ready yet. It left me with so many conflicting emotions, and I needed to back up off it a bit before diving in to this world again.
So I read another couple books, then came back to this one. I figured that was enough time and I'd be okay.
There's some pretty intense moments in this one. Loads of feels. When it ended, I was elated. It was perfect. But then I just started crying once everything caught up. I was pleased with how things came to be, but seeing more into Matt - what he had been having to go through. It hurt my heart. He's so much more awesome to me now, as well.
I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoyed Flat-Out Love. It's a wonderful companion story.
No longer used
5 Platypires - Oh my holy fluff, this book was amazing and everyone needs to read it immediately!
4 Platypires - Great book. Enjoyed it a lot. Minor issues. Highly recommend.
3 Platypires - Good book, but I would have enjoyed it more if there weren't so many issues.
2 Platypires - The book was okay, but it needs a lot of work.
1 Platypire - I didn't like the book. Major changes needed.
DNF - I couldn't finish. Too many issues.