Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Book Review: The Cove by Ron Rash

The Cove by Ron Rash book cover and review
The Cove is a beautifully atmospheric story set during World War One that involves complex characters and emotions.

Laurel lives with her brother, Hank, in an isolated cove in the Appalachian valley. Their parents are recently dead, and Hank has returned from the war, minus one hand.

It's a hard life, made even harder because the people think the cove is cursed and that Laurel is a witch. A secretive man appears who is mute, and ends up staying to help Hank with the farm. He's also taken a shine to Laurel.

The man's secrets are slowly revealed. We know right away that he has escaped from prison, but there's more to it.

Not much happens in The Cove. It's a somewhat simple story of love and secrets. But the way it is written keeps you in the story. The norms of a society at war and the difficulties of digging a well are just couple examples of explorations in The Cove that make the story rich in atmosphere.

I do have another complaint, though. I'm confused by the last sentence of the book. Does that change everything? Am I getting that right?

I decided to read The Cove because of Rash's other book, Serena, that was weirdly awesome. The Cove just didn't have the same tone, so I can't say I liked it as much, but it was still a very positive reading experience.

Published by Ecco, 2012
eBook, purchased
272 pages

Rating: 3.5/5

Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2015 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Stacking the Shelves - Fairy Tale, Anyone?

Happy weekend! I just got one book this week -- couldn't pass up this cover!

For Review:

The Shadow Queen by C. J. Redwine book cover

The Shadow Queen, by C. J. Redwine from Edelweiss

How about you? Can you entice me with any gorgeous covers? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for stopping by and be sure to visit our hosts, Team Tynga's Reviews.

Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2015 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Book Review: Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch book cover and review
Ice Like Fire moves the story along and ramps up the tension at the end, but doesn't have the amount of action that was in the first book, Snow Like Ashes.

Spoilers for Snow Like Ashes, so stop now if you haven't read it and intend to.

Miera is adjusting to being queen of Winter. Their alliance with Cordell is shaky and Miera doesn't trust them. When the lost chasm of magic is found in a Winter mine, Miera and Theron must go on a quest to find three keys that will allow this magical door to be opened.

Miera struggles with her dealings with the other kingdoms she visits, and Theron doesn't help. She is losing trust in him, and he is taking liberties with Winter's assets. His main objective is to get all the kingdoms to sign a peace treaty. Miera knows this will not solve their problems.

There are a lot of characters, and it took me a while to remember all the characters and subtleties of the first book. Most of Ice Like Fire is about Miera's inner turmoil -- trying to be queen and stay true to her friends. Protecting her kingdom, but allowing herself to be the warrior she is. With each stop along the journey, she figures out more about herself, and of course, the questionable motivations of others. If you're in it for the romance, you won't find much in Ice Like Fire. Yes, there is a kind of love triangle, but it's not at all a focus of the book (or Miera.)

There isn't very much action in Ice Like Fire except at the end. This book is more about the characters and the different kingdoms and just how difficult it is to survive in this complex world where each kingdom is looking out for themselves. And the ending is not only full of action, but some surprises too.

Ice Like Fire is by no means the end. A war is brewing, and it seems like it's going to be a huge struggle for Miera and the people of Winter.

The Snow Like Ashes Series introduces an interesting world and complex political beliefs along with a magical element that will appeal to a wide range of fantasy fans.

Published by Balzer + Bray, October 13, 2015
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
496 pages

Rating: 4/5

Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2015 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Violent Ends, by Shaun David Hutchinson and Others

Violent Ends by Shaun David Hutchinson book cover and review
Violent Ends offers many different perspectives on a a school shooting, but it left me wanting more.

I like the concept. Each story is written by a different author from the perspective of a character that somehow knew Kirby Matheson, the shooter. Some had negative opinions of him and some positive, but no one really thought he'd so something like this. Some perspectives were from before the shooting, some during, and some after. The list of contributing authors is quite impressive, and for that reason alone, Violent Ends is worth it.

This technique does get the reader thinking. Especially someone like me, who is in a high school environment every day and encounters all kinds of kids. Quiet ones, popular ones, and those that just don't fit in. It's really impossible to know and that is scary.

However, the book just left me wanting more. I really wanted Kirby's perspective. I don't think Violent Ends is complete without it. I get the reasoning, but I think Strasser's Give a Boy a Gun does this much better.

Violent Ends is unique. It made me uneasy, since as seen from these perspectives, it seems we are helpless to prevent these incidents.

Published by Simon Pulse, September 1, 2015
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
352 pages

Rating: 3/5

Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2015 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

Monday, October 5, 2015

Book Review: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis @MindyMcGinnis

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis book cover and review
Not only did I love the historical element of A Madness So Discreet, I was surprised by the path the story took, and that's always a good thing.

Grace has been put in an insane asylum because she is young, unwed, and pregnant. And there's more to that, but I won't tell you. She's the daughter of a rich and powerful man. Back then fathers and husbands could commit their daughters and wives for pretty much any reason. When she loses the baby, she's expected to be returned to her family, but things take a turn, and that's not at all what happens.

She ends up posing as a mental patient in a different asylum, far from her family. Because of her astute powers of observation, she's assisting a doctor who studies murderers. In today's terms, we would call him a profiler.

Every character in A Madness So Discreet is distinct and memorable. Each one has their own motivations and challenges and the reader understands them completely. When characters are that real, the book just comes alive and you feel like you are IN it instead of reading it.

Wow. I didn't expect Grace to do what she did. What an interesting turn, and that's not even the end of the book. Love when people get their just deserts. That's all I'll say...

Read it. Recommend it.

Published by Katherine Tegen, October 6, 2015
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
384 pages

Rating: 5/5

Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2015 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Stacking the Shelves - A Kindle Daily Deal

Happy Weekend! Hope you have a good one. Here's what I got this week:

The Cove by Ron Rash book cover
The Cove, by Ron Rash, eBook
I enjoyed Serena, so I couldn't pass this one up.

So what did you get? Leave me a link in the comments. Be sure to visit our hosts, Team Tynga's Reviews. Thanks for stopping by.

Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2015 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Book Review: The White Rose, by Amy Ewing @amyewingbooks

The White Rose by Amy Ewing book cover and review
The White Rose, the second book in The Lone City Trilogy, is a substantial addition to the series that enriches the world and the characters that we were introduced to in the first book.

May be spoilers from The Jewel.

I don't think it's any secret that Violet and Ash are somehow going to escape from the seemingly inescapable predicament they were in at the end of The Jewel. (How could there be a second book if they didn't?) They are assisted by many people, all part of an underground group called The Black Key. This society is out to destroy the royals and take back the Jewel. During their dangerous travels to the Farm and also after their arrival, Violet learns much about what the surrogates really are and more about her powers called the Auguries.

We get a lot of development of the world and of both Violet and Ash, and we meet a new and quite interesting character at the White Rose. The pacing kept me wanting to read and thinking about the book when I wasn't. There are certainly surprises and the dreaded cliff-hanger ending, but I'm all-in for the third installment of The Jewel.

I've decided I need to push this series to my teens a bit more. I think The Jewel and The White Rose have a lot to offer in a familiar dystopian trope with a lot of unique elements.

Published by HarperTeen, October 6, 2015
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
320 pages

Rating: 4/5

Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2015 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

2015 EBook Challenge - Post You October Reviews Here

2015 EBook Challenge hosted by Annette's Book Spot
Here's the sign up page for the 2015 EBook Challenge if you are interested.

You can see my progress for the year on my 2015 Reading Challenges page.

You can post your September reviews here.

Add your October reviews below:

Happy Reading!

Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2015 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Book Review: Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith

Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith book cover and review
I had some problems with Dreamstrider. Granted, fantasy isn't my favorite genre, but there's more to it than that.

Livia is a Dreamstrider. She can take over people's bodies while they are dreaming. Or, something.... She's working for her government, the Barstadt Empire, to help determine if and when their enemies are going to attack and to help find a way to stop them.

Livia used to be a tunneler, a low class citizen that lives in poverty underground. She was saved by a professor who studies dreams because of her talent. The deity in this Empire is the Dreamer. Livia is devout; fervently praying to the Dreamer for his guidance. And the "devil" is the Nightmare. But supposedly the Nightmare no longer exists. Livia believes Nightmare is coming back, because she has encountered the Nightmares while she is dreamstriding. Or something...

The politics and the religion are intertwined. The whole Dreamstriding experience was confusing and I never really understood what was going on. There are a lot of characters introduced, but many are superficial. I couldn't sink my teeth into the magical lore of this world. And, one of my biggest problems with fantasies, things are sometimes resolved too easily by using magical elements.

The ending was confusing. I can't really say much without giving it away, but Livia figures something out, and I didn't understand how or why it "fixed" everything like it did. There is also a lot of verbose, flowery language that maybe was supposed to explain her revelation, but really didn't mean anything. The romance was the best part of the story, and that part I understood!

I didn't know any of the characters well enough to care about the outcome, with the exception of Livia. The explanations of the dream world and dreamstriding was unclear, and the rules seemed to keep changing. I never understood why priests can be in the dream world, but they aren't dreamstriders -- because they are priests? Or something... I can just keep on with my questions, but you get the idea. Dreamstrider was just really muddled for me. Kind of like this review.

I hate writing negative reviews. I respect authors, including Smith, because I certainly couldn't do any better. But I also think that when I have to read passages over and over, and try to make lists of places and characters and still don't fully understand what is going on, then I need to reveal my difficulties. I can't recommend this book, but I encourage you to look for other reviews that are more positive.

Published by Roaring Book Press, October 6, 2015
ARC obtained from School Library Connection Magazine
391 pages

Rating: 2/5

Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2015 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Audio Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins book cover and review
If you require characters that you can love, then The Girl on the Train is not the book for you. The characters are all pretty much despicable. And if you can't handle cheating, then stay away from this one. Other than that, The Girl on the Train is a great read.

Rachel is The Girl on the Train. She rides the train to work every day, passing by the house she used to live in with her husband, Tom. He still lives there with his new wife, Anna, who he dumped Rachel for. And they have a new baby. Talk about painful. Rachel deals with this pain by drinking. A lot.

Rachel becomes interested in a house just down the road from her old house where another young couple lives. She names them "Jess and Jason." And they seem to have the most perfect, loving relationship. "Jess," whose real name is Megan, takes care of Anna's child. Megan does not have the perfect life, as Rachel thinks. Megan has lost the art gallery she used to run and now has nothing to do with her days except mope around.

Rachel sees something shocking from the train and after someone disappears, she goes to the police with the information. But she's been drunk so many times, she can't even be sure of what she's telling the police, and they don't believe much of what she says.

Hawkins weaves an intricate web around these five people. They become intertwined, unwillingly, in unexpected ways. These characters are awful. The more we learn about them, the more we loath. I get that they are unhappy for different reasons, in different ways. But jees. Do something for yourselves instead of complaining. I think the story takes a while to get going, but when I'm listening I tend to be more patient with a slow-building plot.

I did suspect (not right away) who the bad person was (well, they were all bad, but I mean the perpetrator.) That didn't take away from the fascination I felt while watching this all play out. The Girl on the Train has been compared to Gone Girl, and while it did have the contemptible characters, it's a different story.

If you are a fan of the twisted who-done-it, (as long as you can handle the characterizations and subject matter) then you should definitely pick up The Girl on the Train. Teens should like this one too.

Published by Riverhead Books, January 13, 2015
Audiobook obtained from the library
336 pages

Rating: 4.5/5

Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2015 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

There was an error in this gadget


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...