Review – The Book of Life(All Souls Trilogy #3)

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3)
By: Deborah Harkness
Website: https://deborahharkness.com/
Release Date: July 15th, 2014
Publisher: Viking Adult
Series: All Souls Trilogy
Award: Goodreads Choice Award for Fantasy (2014)
Rating:


Sometimes, I really hate when I’m right. I was hoping against all odds that book three would save this trilogy for me but it didn’t. While I can still say I liked the book, that the series was okay, I found myself giving book three my lowest rating for the entire series. Probably out of frustration more than anything but, here we are.

There are a ton of characters flying across the pages in this book and many details and small facts thrown together at once which left me feeling lost at times. I ended up resorting to a wiki page for a brief summary of book two so I could recall the important plot points and focus my brain a bit better on this book.

I felt like the first book could have been a standalone and I’d have been satisfied. The second book, while amusing at times, created many subplots and even though these things were referenced in book three I felt a lot of it was hastily resolved, glossed over or in the case of a few unimportant things, not really resolved at all. Though, in the broad scheme of things, it’s okay because we did get some major answers in this final book.

A quote I enjoyed in the middle of falling out of love with this series seems a fitting reminder to the world lately.

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.

With that I’ll say that if you enjoyed the series I’m glad you did and if you didn’t, or fell out of love with it, I understand. I’d cautiously recommend this book, but I’d say you should be warned about the ongoing cliches and the drawn out stories. However, if you’re looking for a world of fantasy mixed with history, alchemy and romance, you may enjoy this, regardless of the small faults I found.

Review – Shadow of Night(All Souls Trilogy #2)

Shadow of Night(All Souls Trilogy #2)
By: Deborah Harkness
Website: https://deborahharkness.com/
Release Date: July 10th, 2012
Publisher: Viking Adult
Series: All Souls Trilogy
Award: Goodreads Choice Award for Paranormal Fantasy and Nominee for Goodreads Author (2012)
Rating:


So, as if the world of fantasy wasn’t enough for Deborah Harkness we pick up amid time travel with Diana and Matthew as they are now in Elizabethan London.

Diana is looking for a tutor to help her grow her magical skill, Matthew is looking for answers in his past and both of them are focused on finding out more about Ashmole 782.

I’ll admit that this book felt a little too long and that I found myself wanting to “get it over with” at times but each time that happened something interesting took place and I was sucked back into the side of liking the story.

Overall not a bad installment but can feel myself straining with this series now. Also, Matthew is insufferable and far too cliche with the tortured vampire trope. I understand the reasons he is dark and brooding but, seriously now, how many times can he go on and on about how dangerous he is, how he’s lost people he loves, etc.

The cameos by historical figures were entertaining in this installment and I enjoyed those funny little moments of humanizing them.

All in all, not a bad book. Not a great book. As a part two in a trilogy it was okay but I’m worried my enjoyment for this series is dwindling.

Review – A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1)

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1)
By: Deborah Harkness
Website: https://deborahharkness.com/
Release Date: February 8th, 2011
Publisher: Penguin
Series: All Souls Trilogy
Rating:


I’ve seen this book around ever since it was published and I was always tempted by the title and the cover. However I was…hesitant. And I don’t know why I was. My aunt Deb read this series as soon as each book came out and was obsessed, constantly telling me I needed to pick it up. Still, I didn’t do it and still I’m not sure why. This isn’t some glowing review of how wrong I was to resist but the first book in the trilogy was, as a matter of fact, enjoyable.

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library Diana Bishop, a descendant of witches, accidentally calls a manuscript to her, the magic responding to her own but it is this act that serves as a catalyst for the rest of the book. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries. And she’s also discovered that she hasn’t buried her magic as deeply as she thought she had.

Diana meets Matthew Clairmont but he isn’t some genius geneticist as many believe. Well, he is, but he is also a vampire. In Harkness’ world the two species are not meant to mix so, of course, the inevitable happens. They fall in love. And while this trope bothers me as it is so constant in the world I did look beyond it to the rest of the story because I was drawn in by the characters (both main and side characters) as well as trying to understand the motives and the world better. Call me a sucker if you want, at least I enjoyed another book.

I’ll admit that parts of this felt a bit too much like Twilight while other parts felt like they were trying to have the Anne Rice feel. However, Harkness did a great job in creating an interesting plot and a great cast of characters and I can’t fault her effort. I also did enjoy all the alchemical, historical and mythological references made throughout this which leads me to believe Harkness went on a deep dive to give us this story. So I respect her dedication on that front as well.

Another note to add: a show was made of this book and it can be found on Amazon Prime as well as AMC and Sundance network.

Review- The Good Widow

The Good Widow
By: Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke
Website: https://www.lizandlisa.com/the-good-widow
Release Date: June 1st, 2017
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Rating:


Again, here I go with the crime and mystery. If you’re looking for a story with lots of twists and turns, this is a good one to pick up.

Jacqueline “Jacks” Morales receives a shock when police officers show up at her door, reporting that her husband James is dead. To add to the shock of this loss she’s told he wasn’t in Kansas on a business trip, as she thought, but in Hawaii… with another woman. The other woman, Dylan, leaves behind her own heartbroken fiancee, Nick as well. The heartbreak doesn’t end and the shock doesn’t stop when Nick shows up at Jacks’ door and says they should look for the truth together.

Now, Jacks has to face the truth that nothing is ever what it seems, not her marriage, her husband, her love for James or even his death. Nothing is straightforward in this novel and every word must be read with suspicion.

“It’s ridiculous how your life doesn’t need your permission to turn upside down.”

Again let me say that if you aren’t a fan of mystery and romantic suspense that you shouldn’t pick this book up. I’ll say that I wouldn’t even call this romance except that I know a lot of people have read it that way. The romance isn’t in your face, in fact there is more mystery than anything else going on here but the classic format can be found. I read for the escape and enjoyment of reading and the entertainment I’ve found here is more than enough for me.

I have to say some parts of this book were a bit of a reach for me (I’m sorry, you want to go to Hawaii with a stranger?) but in the end I could look beyond that and other hang ups I was having because I had to acknowledge that I was enjoying the read, even if parts were ridiculous.

Review – Good as Gone

Good as Gone
By: Amy Gentry
Release Date: June 26th, 2016
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Rating:


I will start this review by saying that I understand I’m a suspense and crime junkie so any book that can feed that for me is already ahead of the game. However, this book by Amy Gentry definitely did not disappoint.

This story is about a girl named Julie who was taken from her home as a child and how the family is dealing with this years later, especially when a young woman appears, saying she is Julie.

The shifting perspectives are not everyone’s cup of tea and I recognize that and while it definitely isn’t my favorite thing ever it worked in this story to give us a better understanding of all the characters.

When we realize it has been eight years and Julie, now twenty-one years old and, aside from the expected psychological scars, unharmed returns home there is an immediate air of something not being quite “right”. Anna, the mother of Julie and June, isn’t quite sure what to do with a young woman, especially one she can’t connect to. The pressing, constant nagging question of whether or not this is really Julie won’t leave Anna alone and as a reader you grow suspicious too.

This was a relatively quick read, I finished it in a few days and I wasn’t disappointed by the end. If this sounds like something up your alley, give it a go. It’s a standalone work so you won’t be pulled into a series and you can walk away after if you aren’t pleased, you get enough answers at the end that you can move on with your life.

Review – Walking on Her Grave(Rogue River #4)

Walking on Her Grave(Rogue River #4)
By: Melinda Leigh
Website: https://melindaleigh.com/
Release Date: November 18th, 2014
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Series: Rogue River
Rating:


This, ladies and gentlemen, is how you round out a series! I have to say that while I tend to lean toward the characters in Kendra Elliot’s half of this novella series I was pulled in immediately by Melinda Leigh this time and the final book in the novella series. If you’ve read novellas one through three already, go ahead and finish the series. If you haven’t read any start with number one, you won’t regret it.

Review – Her Grave Secrets (Rogue River #3)

Her Grave Secrets (Rogue River #3)
By: Kendra Elliot
Website: https://www.kendraelliot.com/home/
Release Date: November 4th, 2014
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Series: Rogue River
Rating:


We’re back in Solitude, Oregon and things aren’t as peaceful as the town name implies (of course). When a skull is found on the Rogue River banks Stevie and Zane are rushing to piece all the clues together before more victims fall and before the spread of the drug takes over their town.

Review – Gone to Her Grave (Rogue River #2)

Gone to Her Grave Gone to Her Grave
By: Melinda Leigh
Website: https://melindaleigh.com/
Release Date: October 21st, 2014
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Series: Rogue River
Rating:


In the second novella of this series we focus on Social Worker Carly Taylor. Believing a kid has been falsely accused of dealing a lethal new drug she works to prove the kid innocent. This determination puts her at direct odds with her estranged husband Seth, the detective in charge of the investigation.