Friday, October 30, 2015

The Beast of Barcroft by Bill Schweigart

I was looking for a book to get me into the Halloween spirit and The Beast of Barcroft by Bill Schweigart definitely did the trick.
I am a fan of Stephen King and love horror novels so I can be a bit picky at times. I was hoping this book would be an ok read but it was way better than my expectations. The dark brooding atmosphere and the description of the woods were so well done that I felt I was there with Ben and Lindsay. The unsettling question of "what is that thing?" was foremost on my mind throughout most of the book and the author did not offer an explanation until near the end which helped to keep the suspense going.
Ben and his then fiance move to a new house in a new neighborhood. They fail to realize that their next door neighbor is everyone's worst nightmare but she is not the worst thing stalking the neighborhood.
The main characters were well thought out but did not take up too much space which was left for "the beast". I am excited to know that there will be a second novel to this one. 
I received a copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.

Four out of Five Stars

Monday, October 26, 2015

Bad Bones by Graham Marks

This is actually the first book I have read in the Red Eye series. I had no idea what I was getting into when I started so I didn't even know that it was a gruesome YA novel. It wasn't the most exciting book I have read but it really isn't too bad either. It was a nice around the campfire read and I think my kids especially my sons will like this when they become teenagers. It is definitely meant for the younger crowd which may be why it didn't appeal to older adults. The main pitch of the story is nice and I like how the author relied on old standbys like cursed gold, good vs evil, and subtle horror that is not too graphic. It would be a fitting book to read on Halloween night. I received a copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.

Three out of Five Stars

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Hanover House (Hanover House Chronicles # 0.5) by Brenda Novak

Hanover House is the tantalizing introduction into a forthcoming new series by Brenda Novak. I say tantalizing because this short novella only whets your appetite and gives you a hint of what will be coming in the series itself. 
I have always been interested in psychopaths and what makes them tick so quickly requested this book because of the story line. 
Dr. Evelyn Talbot is opening a new institute in Alaska to study psychopaths and the new subjects are the worst examples of psychopathy available. Evelyn has a personal reason for wanting to dissect the psychopathic mind. She was violently raped, tortured and left for dead when she was a teenager by someone she completely trusted. Her past has left her afraid and emotionally scarred but determined to use her experience to help others. What she doesn't know is that she is being stalked in order to finish what happened long ago.
Brenda Novak has stated she researched psychopathology and I am expecting it to show in the novels to come. As it is, there was only a hint of it here and there is more focus on Evelyn and her struggle to over come her fears. If this had been a stand a lone novel, I might have been a bit disappointed in the romantic side being embellished over the psychopathic but I can see that she is setting the stage for character development and I expect we will see more hardcore psychopathology as the series continues. Judging from this first introductory novella, I think the series is going to be fantastic. I am definitely looking forward to the first book in the series!
I received a copy of this book from the publishers (thank you!) via Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.

Four out of Five Stars

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Bella's Christmas Bake Off by Sue Watson

Bella Bradley and Amy Lane grew up as best friends but betrayal drove them apart. Now Bella is a famous tv cooking show star, and Amy is a Maths teacher. 
When Amy discovers that Bella has "stolen" her mother's cherished Christmas recipes and published a book claiming them as her own she is outraged and then devises a plan for revenge. What ensues is absolutely hilarious....and mouth watering. This is definitely a feel good Christmas story but it is so much more than that. There is a deep vein about forgiveness and the choices we make in life. I loved getting to know Bella and Amy and was in tears by the end of the book (happy ones). Pick this up for a feel good Christmas read. You won't be disappointed. I received a copy of this book from the publishers (thank you!) via Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.

Four out of Five Stars

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Sage's Eyes by V.C. Andrews

I have always liked V.C. Andrew's books especially the story lines and brooding atmosphere. She (and the writer who took over the job of writing her books) is one of the few authors that I will automatically read without knowing what the book is about. 
When I requested this book, I didn't realize that it was a stand a lone novel and not the first in a series. Sage is a young teen who has been "protected" by her family to the point where she has been stifled and there are so many mysteries regarding her family and Sage herself. 
The book does have the same kind of taboo story line and brooding atmosphere as previous V.C. Andrew books that slowly builds but the ending seems a bit unresolved and abrupt to me. I did enjoy the book but would love to see this expanded into a series. There are so many unanswered questions about Sage, her background, parents background, and an ex flame etc. 
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.

Three out of Five Stars

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Tale of Three Cities by Alexander McCabe

A Tale of Three Cities is the second novel to "Greater Expectations" and is a continuation of the story of Z and Penny. I actually enjoyed this novel even more than the first one. It seems to have a lot more depth and seems very well rounded. Don't get me wrong. I did like the first one but I found the second one to be even better than the first one which is the way consecutive novels should be. This second novel has more suspense, adventure, and yes a touch of romance but what I really liked was the development of the main characters and the introduction of other main characters. The first novel was light and funny but this one takes on a darker tone that is resolved in the end. I am hoping that there are plans for a third book (hint hint). A bonus is the fact that this book can be read as a stand alone novel.

Four out of Five Stars

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Room by Emma Donoghue

Room is one of those kind of books that stay with you long after you turn the last page. It was a very powerful and emotional story. The story is told through the eyes of Jack, a 5 year old little boy. His world consists of "Room" where his mother has been kept since she was kidnapped years ago by Old Nick. The book is an account of their life in Room, and how they deal with the world outside once the situation changes. I found this very powerful because there have been true cases of people imprisoned for years until they were rescued. This is really an amazing book and I highly recommend it.

Four out of Five Stars

Monday, October 12, 2015

Twain's End by Lynn Cullen

This was definitely an eye opening read for me. I am familiar with Mark Twain's novels but not the man himself or his personal life. He was definitely a very complex man and all too human with his good and bad qualities. I thought the author did a wonderful job with showing Mark Twain as a very talented and flawed man. The novel details (very delicately) the relationship between Twain and his secretary Isabel Lyon and the mystery of their parting. It is obvious that Lynn Cullen did a lot of research with diaries, and letters and it shows in this exquisite novel. It would really appeal to anyone interested in one of most revered authors of our time, and also those who like love stories especially doomed ones. I will definitely be reading more by this author.

Four out of Five Stars

Salvage by Duncan Ralston

I love ghost stories and can be very picky with the books and short stories I read. Many times they fall short of what I enjoy and expect from a ghost story. I really liked everything about this story. I enjoyed how the author set the pace and atmosphere of the novel. It really helped to create an underlying sense of unease. He also did a great job of developing the main characters. Sometimes too much time is spent fleshing out the characters but there was a nice balance here. This would definitely be a great book to read for Halloween. Highly recommended.

Four out of Five Stars

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Storm by Virginia Bergin

I was drawn in by the title, cover design and especially the story line with "The Storm". I haven't actually read "The Rain" yet (it is sitting on my self to read next) so this was my first introduction to Ruby and the apocalyptic world she now lives in. This book could actually be a stand alone novel which is impressive in itself. The author did a wonderful job of getting into a young teen girls head and how she might think and react to a truly horrible situation. I found the book to be realistic, well written and very original. I can't wait to find out what her next book will be! I received a copy of this book for free from the publishers (thank you!) via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Four out of Five Stars

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Borden Murders by Sarah Miller

I have always been interested in Lizzie Borden and the Borden murders. I have read quite a few books on the subject but was curious to see how a book written for middle grade children would be written. 
Usually, a book written about the subject will have an agenda to prove as to whether Lizzie "did it" or someone else was guilty. This book was a pleasant change. It is a factually based account of what happened and the trial that followed. It leaves the reader to make their own decision (if they have one that is). I found the book to be well written and very appropriate for the age group that the book is intended for. I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Four out of Five Stars

The Queen of Heartbreak Trail: The Life and Times of Harriet Smith Pullen, Pioneering Woman by Eleanor Phillips Brackbill

In all honesty I was blown away with this book. It is like reading a grown up version of "Little House on the Prairie". The best part is that it is all true and is really an amazing and comprehensive account of a very important part of American history. Namely, the travel to and settlement of the west. It is a riveting story of the author's ancestors including where they came from, why they chose to move west, and the struggles they faced. The center piece or person of the story is an incredible lady by the name of Harriet Smith Pullen. Yes, she is the same lady who is also known as "The Mother of the North" but this book gives more life and details of her accomplishments and determination to make a good life for herself and her family. The amount of time and effort the author must have taken to pull this book together in a readable format is commendable. The book may not appeal to everyone but it most certainly will to those who love history. I really recommend this book. It will give you a more personal account of the people who lived in "pioneer days". I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review. I am so impressed with this book that I actually went a bought another book the author wrote :)

Four out of Five Stars