5/5 Stars: The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches, by Sangu Mandanna

This book was exactly as it was described ‘a warm and uplifting novel’ – and I loved every second of it. Mika Moon is an isolated witch, and ends up moving in with three young children and their guardians, one of which is Jamie (the love interest). She has some baggage, but somehow doesn’t let it drag her down. The description of magic and how it works fit into the world very well, and I loved the character development, everyone felt real and brought to life. There were some parts of the book I was less interested in than others (Edward, for example, felt like a bit of a let down) but overall this was a book that I just melted into and I’m so glad I randomly decided to pick it up. A friend had it in their TBR pile and the title immediately jumped out at me. If you’re looking for a warm cozy read in cool fall weather, I highly suggest this one. I also now want to buy multiple cauldrons and start my own potion shop.

5/5 stars

5/5 Stars: Dungeon Crawler Carl by Matt Dinniman

Oh goodness. What can I say about this book.

The world has been all but destroyed, and the people who are left are dumped into an enormous survival style game that is being broadcast for aliens. Carl and his cat (Donut, also known as GC, BWR, NW Princess Donut the Queen Anne Chonk) are two of the characters trapped in this new ‘game’ and the key is survival.

I loved everything about this book – but it is quite over the top with violence, which might not appeal to everyone. The thing is, it’s SO over the top, that you can easily liken it to a video game, and it makes you feel a little bit better. As you get to the end of this first book you suddenly realize just how in-depth the story actually is, and yes, I most certainly will be reading the second one. Highly recommended, this is the book that I never knew I wanted to read.

5/5 stars

2/5 Star Review: That Time I Got Drunk and Saved a Demon by Kimberly Lemming

I wanted to love this book – but I just couldn’t.

First of all, the kindle version doesn’t come with the same warning ahead of the book like the physical copy does. The one that mentions the VERY r-rated sex, domination, and extreme violence. There’s rape, jokes about rape, and it was just not a comfortable read. I had no idea what I was getting into.

I’m not a prude by any means, but this book was too over the top for me. I feel like I am not the targeted audience, and that I am actually too old for this book. It started when the characters were talking and the word ‘suss’ came up.

Yep. Not for me.
I read it, and it had its moments, but there wasn’t nearly enough character development, the last part of the book just sort of trailed off and didn’t make sense, almost as though the author ran out of steam. It simply wasn’t the book for me.

2/5 stars

3/5 Stars: The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

I had some issues with this book. First of all, it’s dark. REALLY dark. There seems to be almost no joy at all or any happy occasions – they are continuously shadowed by dark and that continues throughout the entire book. Even when you think something good might be coming along, chances are, it is not.

Priya is a maidservant with a huge heart. She’s strong, stubborn, and I love the character – but it also seems very over the top. Her love interest is Malini, who is a prisoner trapped in isolation by her brother.

The thing is, there’s barely any explanation on why any of this is happening. This is the first book in a series, but I felt like I was plopped down half way through with absolutely no knowledge. There was no cohesive history lesson on what the world is, who the people are, why they are doing what they’re doing. I felt like every time an event happened that I should have known more about why it happened. I could feel the Indian inspiration, but since my actual knowledge is lacking, it just felt as though I was supposed to know more than I did. It was a bit disjointed because of that.

I also didn’t really enjoy the multiple POV, and felt there was no need to introduce more. The world building was beautiful, the writing lovely (that’s what helped me get past the points I didn’t enjoy) and while I’m glad I read this book, I’m not sure if I want to follow through with the next one or not.

4/5 Stars: Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs

After reading the novella, I was eager to jump into the first book of the series. It once again stars Anna, an Omega werewolf, and her love interest (Charles). There are a number of background characters who make an appearance but she is the center. Their relationship is deep and layered, and a bit frustrating at times. The main story is a bit more background then I tend to like (there’s a rogue wolf going around killing people in the woods) and the world building isn’t as strong as I like either, but the writing is absolutely beautiful and the character development worked. All in all, it was an enjoyable, simple read – which is exactly what I was expecting, and what I wanted. Sometimes you just want a good story, and I feel like this provided one.

4/5 stars

4/5 Stars: Alpha & Omega #0.5 by Patricia Briggs

I have to say, this book was not one that I would have normally picked up, but it came recommended to me by a handful of friends when I was looking for something ultra casual (but still a good story) to read. I wanted to start with the first book of the series, but I did some sleuthing and learned that the first book would make much more sense if I read the 0.5 one first – so I did.

Shapeshifters? Check. Romance? Check. Other supernatural beings? Check. Anna is the main character, unwillingly turned into a werewolf with more than one suitcase of baggage dragging along with her. I loved the play between her and Charles (another werewolf, and love interest of course), and she feels like a real character despite the fact that I was (at times) frustrated with her meekness (that passes as she discovers herself and heals). The writing is beautiful, and that’s what really made this a page turner. The world building felt complete, and it fully prepared me for what to expect in the first book. I didn’t have to work too hard at deciphering where the book was going, and I was able to just submerge myself in the characters. I love those types of books, even if this one ended too quickly since it was more of an introduction novel to the first of the series.

I hear that this novella comes either as a stand alone, or a compilation of three others – the suggestions mention that the other books are not nearly as good, so if you’re just looking for this one, buy it as the e-book stand alone. I’m glad I did, and I fully enjoyed moving forward to the first novel having read this one.

4/5 stars

3/5 Stars: The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit, by Michael Finkel

This book was fascinating – until it wasn’t.

I loved reading about Christopher Knight and his story was interesting until I got to the uncomfortable parts (the last 20 pages or so) where the author basically harassed the Knight family in order to get information. He (the author) tried to get close to Christopher, and even showed up at his house after being told not to. I didn’t enjoy any of that part, and it was uncomfortable to read about. I understand he’s a journalist, I understand their job is to find the truth, but the means in which he went about it left me feeling awkward. I at least appreciate that he put it in the book, and was honest about his means.

The story is unbelievable, and yet you’re left believing every word. I felt no sympathy towards Knight since he did steal and terrorize people (whether unintentionally or not) but I also understand the desire to get away from everything. Knight lived a life that few people these days can ever accomplish, and I think that’s why it makes a fascinating story. I just wish there were more ‘morals’ involved, if that makes sense.

3/5 stars

4/5 Stars: Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family, by Robert Kolker

This book was powerful. It’s a non fiction written about an American family that had 12 children (the oldest born in 1945, youngest in 1965) – 6 of them developed schizophrenia. The book goes into incredibly graphic detail about the family and their happenings, if you’re struggling with mental health this might not be the book for you. It also touches on subjects of self harm, violence, and rape.

I found the entire thing fascinating, and the author did an incredible job of melding together both the stories from the family, and the medical side of things. It spoke passionately about the human beings involved, and clearly about the genetic research, and science behind it all. This was one of those rare books I couldn’t put down – but had a few flaws that are not exactly the fault of the author but more due to the subject. Of course over time family members have passed, and near the end of the book the relationship between the daughters and the mother is a point of contention for me. There is huge emphasis on the history and grudges that has nothing to do with the rest of the schizophrenia that was supposed to be at the forefront. The book also paints Mimi (the mother) in a less-than-favourable light, when it’s not her perspective that we hear from, so we can only guess at her reasonings and decisions. Because this part of the book relies on the daughters’ accounts of things, it feels a bit uneven. In any case, this is certainly a book that makes you think, and hopefully gives you a deeper understanding.

4/5 stars

5/5 Stars: Sylvanas, by Christie Golden

I’m a huge World of Warcraft fan, but I’ve never taken the time to get into the lore on a deeper level before, and I have not read any of the prior books. Since I had knowledge of lore through the game, that wasn’t such a big deal.

I absolutely loved this book. I have to admit, I’m a pretty big Sylvanas fangirl, and Christie Golden did an amazing job with bringing this character to life and making her (dare I say) human. It didn’t let her (Sylvanas) off the hook for anything, but I left with a new understanding and appreciation. My only issue with it is that the first 75% of the book is beautiful, painful, and reads as a detailed biography, but the remaining 25% where it gets back into the video game happenings read different, and it was a bit jarring and noticeable. I didn’t enjoy the later half of the book nearly as much.

Still, I’m incredibly glad I picked it up and certainly look forward to reading more of the Warcraft world in the future.

5/5 stars

4/5 Stars: Legends & Lattes, by Travis Baldree

I picked up this book back in March on the recommendation of a friend, and I’m so glad I did. I didn’t intend on binge reading, but it was fantastic and exactly what I was looking for at the end of the day. The book had just enough action to keep me turning pages, and at a time where stress is everywhere, I felt like I could let go and relax a bit into Travis’ world. For a debut novel, Travis hit it out of the park, and I can’t wait to see where this takes him next.

We follow the story of Viv, an orc barbarian, who is trying to give up her heated battle forged ways and open a coffee shop. She (of course) comes up against trials and tribulations, and makes (and loses) some friends along the way. If you’re a fan of high fantasy worlds but want to see a lighter side, I highly recommend giving it a read.

4/5 Stars