Category Archives: Book Review

Chemotherapy by Kat Richardson

Overview
Murder and Mayhem in Muskego: Jordan, Jon & Ruth, Phillips, Gary,  Richardson, Kat: Amazon.com.au: Books

Title: Chemotherapy
Author: Kat Richardson
In: Murder and Mayhem in Muskego (Jon & Ruth Jordan)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Crime
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Down and Out Books
Year: 2012

Thoughts

This short story had a completely unexpected turn. It was quite dark and filled with death and crime (expected), but with a much, much, much darker ending than I expected. Like, actually kind of horrifying. Although that could just be because it hit some of my sensitive points.

The little girl in this is just so damn adorable. But honestly, all I could think about when I finished this was how scared the child is going to be. It was totally heartbreaking. There was so much emotional connection in this story, and it was very difficult to not feel kind of sad at her story.

I honestly thought that this story was about a murder and would be a bit if a whodunit. But, as mentioned earlier, it was filled with unexpected twists and turns. So, ultimately it was about something entirely different. And I just loved that fact…

<- ChatterThe End is Never Pretty ->

Image source: Amazon

Chatter by Gary Phillips

Overview
Murder and Mayhem in Muskego: Jordan, Jon & Ruth, Phillips, Gary,  Richardson, Kat: Amazon.com.au: Books

Title: Chatter
Author: Gary Phillips
In: Murder and Mayhem in Muskego (Jon & Ruth Jordan)
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Crime
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Down and Out Books
Year: 2012

Thoughts

This short story was pure dialogue. Which makes sense, considering the fact that the title of it is literally Chatter. I mean, the whole thing read like chatter. And it was chaos, pure and simple. Considering it’s a short story in a collection about murder and mayhem, that was seriously apt.

This short story was rambling and chaotic, but really fun. Although, admittedly, it was so rambling that I’m not 100% sure of what was happening throughout. Still, that lack of understanding was kind of fun and is part of the reason I’d like to reread this story.

Even with my lack of understanding, I found this story to be wonderfully dark and twisty. Seriously enjoyable.

<- SerenityChemotherapy ->

Image source: Amazon

Blue Christmas by Erin McCarthy

Overview

Title: Blue Christmas
Author: Erin McCarthy
In: Unwrapped (Erin McCarthy, Donna Kauffman & Kate Angell)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Medium
Format: eBook, Novella
Year: 2011

Thoughts

I always love a good romance by Erin McCarthy. They’re always light, cute and just an incredibly easy read. This novella was no different. But with a lovely Christmas twist. I do love that the female was the grouchy, Christmas hater too. With a very happy and cheerful male lead instead.

I don’t always love the idea of a grouchy grinch lead. But something about Blue’s sass won me over from the very beginning. She was just pessimistic enough to be interesting, but not so much that I found her overbearing stereotypical and painful. Likewise, Christian was incredibly and almost painfully cheerful, but not quite over that line that made you want to smack him one. After all, pretty much no one is that damn happy.

Althpug I totally guessed how this novella would end, it still took a few extra twists that I didn’t quite expect. Plus, I loved that although this was a bit of an insta-love tale, it didn’t end with a declaration of love. Rather it was a declaration of intent and trying to make their relationship work. Far more tenable and realistic in my view.

<- UnwrappedSanta in a Kilt ->

Image source: Amazon

The Blind Date Diaries by Brenda St John Brown

Overview

Title: The Blind Date Diaries
Author: Brenda St John Brown
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Medium
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2020

Thoughts

I downloaded this book on the suggestion of one of my favourite authors, so I had absolutely no idea what to expect. But it was most definitely a pleasant surprise. I mean, i actually seriously enjoyed this story. It was easy, light and fun. Very cute and just all round enjoyable.

I like how Jake and Angelina are at constant loggerheads from the beginning, all because of one simple misunderstanding. And a whole bunch of insecurities. It’s a great reminder of how first impressions always stick with us and are hard to change, no matter how incorrect they are. That, and sometimes jumping to assumptions is a huge mistake that could potentially cost you your future happiness.

It was kind of fun to live vicariously through Angelina on her blind dates. I’ve never actually been on a date, and have no dating horror stories, so I’m always love reading about the joys and pitfalls of this. Plus, the whole set up just gave this novel such a beautiful romcom vibe. That, and the fact that you are constantly questioning whether Jake’s mother knew of his feelings or not…

The Blind Date Diaries is a fantastic novel that transported me to a fun and easy world where love triumphs overall. It was funny and sassy, with enough heartfelt moments in it that your heart gets entangled. I absolutely adored the adorableness of this story and can’t wait to read more tales of romance and love from Brenda St John Brown.

<- More Brenda St John BrownMaid in England ->

Image source: Goodreads

Unwrapped by Erin McCarthy, Donna Kauffman & Kate Angell

Overview

Title: Unwrapped
Author: Erin McCarthy, Donna Kauffman & Kate Angell
In: Unwrapped (Erin McCarthy, Donna Kauffman & Kate Angell)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romanceShort story collections
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology, eBook
Year: 2011

Thoughts

This was a fantastic anthology of cutsie Christmas romances. All three novellas were fun and adorable, incredibly fun and ridiculously yummy. I loved the winter feeling of each of the stories and the imagery of snow falling around.

Each of these novellas were fun and light, with just enough drama to make them interesting. Plus, each and every one had a great little happy ending. One that left me with a happy smile on my face.

What a great collection of authors, old and new. I love a good Christmas romance, and the length of these novellas made it perfect to read just before bed without keeping me up too late.

<- Snow AngelBlue Christmas ->

Image source: Amazon

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Overview

Title: Every Heart a Doorway
Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: Wayward Children #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: FaeFantasy, Mystery, Young adult
Pace: Fast
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2016

Thoughts

This story was absolutely nothing like what I was expecting. It was kind of dark and twisty, without all of the feel good that I’ve been reading a bit much of in some of my young adult books. Plus, this was actually and truly about misfits. There are way too many YA stories which feature a “misfit” who is actually seriously cool. These kids aren’t. For that, I love them.

I’m always diving into tales of the fae. Tales that are a little bit uncomfortable and sweep you away to some incredibly unexpected places. What I loved about this is that a whole variety of alternate lands are featured. There’s not one doorway to go through, but a whole range. A different land for a different kind of person to fit in. It was nice that each of the characters in this story found their own lands to fit into. Their own places to experience a happily ever after.

This is a great reminder that we all fear death. And fear makes people do stupid things. Nancy may have come from a land of the Dead. But that doesn’t mean she causes death, or even desires it. I love how she is immediately looked upon with suspicion amongst people who know, themselves, what it is like to be a misfit. It’s a reminder that human nature tends to ostracise others, regardless of how we may have been ostracised ourselves. Particularly in instances when there is a whole heap of fear running rampant.

I was completely not expecting the ending of this story. It had such a wonderful Frankenstein, Dracula, Wuthering Heights feel. I might kind of hate Wuthering Heights, but I loved the other two, so it was a good feeling. A good feeling in a bad way…

<- More Seanan McGuireDown Among the Sticks and Bones ->

Image source: Kobo

Doomsday Can Wait by Lori Handeland

Overview

Title: Doomsday Can Wait
Author: Lori Handeland
Series: Phoenix Chronicles #2
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: AngelsDemonsFae, Paranormal fantasy, Urban fantasy
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Year: 2009

Thoughts

It’s been a long while since I read Any Given Doomsday. So it did take a little time to get into this… mostly because I kept forgetting what had happened in the past book. But, once I got my head back into the world building… I was hooked.

One of the things I still find weird about this series is the whole sexual empath thing. Its certainly enjoyably unique, but I’ve been mainlining contemporary romances lately. And this really doesn’t fit the bill. Again, something that took me a little while to get my head around. But, I am looking forward to seeing how that will evolve in the following book.

I liked the idea of Liz and Jimmy reuniting in Any Given Doomsday. But the more I got to know Sawyer in this, the more I enjoyed their dynamic. The complexities of the relationships in this world got very heavy very quickly in Doomsday Can Wait. I can’t wait to see how they will develop further into the series.

I was completely taken by the relationship complexities in this novel. But there was a lot of action as well. Liz’s desire to win the day, no matter the cost and the fight between good and evil was pretty intense. It added a brilliant and much needed element of darkness to this fantastic story.

<- Any Given DoomsdayApocalypse Happens ->

Image source: Goodreads

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Overview

Title: Wicked Saints
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Series: Something Dark and Holy #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Gothic, Magic, Young adult
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Year: 2019

Thoughts

I started trying to read this book last year at some point. And I remember liking it, but not really getting into it. Picking it up again… I’m REALLY not sure why I couldn’t get into it. I mean, this book is fantastic. I honestly couldn’t put it down. Again, not entirely sure what it was that made me put this aside last year. Because WOW.

To start off with, I loved the twist at the end of this. It was horrifying, and you thought that there might be something horrible. And then the horrible thing happens and you were just… gobsmacked. I mean, what a damn betrayal! And what a way to make me thirst for the next book in the series… like seriously, and desperately thirst for it. I just can’t even believe the power that this book holds over you, long after you turn that final page. Even now, when I’m finally getting to sit down and write a review of it… I’m still completely enthralled and gobsmacked.

I’ve read a lot of stories which are based on historical Europe, but not Slavic Europe. It did take me a little to get my head around the character names. And I am 100% certain that the way I say them in my head is completely incorrect. Which is fine, because no one else is inside my head. Partner that with the holy war that is going on… and although there was a slight sense of familiarity due to the European aspect to it, this felt like a whole new world. One that I seriously can’t wait to get back to… I mean, it is dark and twisted. And, for someone who is a little freaked out by anything with religious connotations, impossible to not want to dive straight back into.

Duncan’s world building is insane and intense. She is able to construct a world that you can’t turn away from. And although a lot is revealed in this novel, there is a lot more to the world and the conspiracies than is imparted in one novel. Which, again, is what makes me want to dive into Ruthless Gods so badly. I mean, the world building and the politics are phenomenal. And even with the betrayal that I didn’t see coming, there is a whole slew of other aspects to this storyline that need answers. Relationships that may become more and more complex…

<- More Emily A. DuncanRuthless Gods ->

Image source: Goodreads

Touchstone by Karen Stivali

Overview

Title: Touchstone
Author: Karen Stivali, Heart Eyes Press
Series: Speakeasy Taproom #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Medium
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2021

Thoughts

I have to admit, having Sam as the male lead was incredibly yummy. And I’m not normally all that interested in reading about hipsters. Or just hipsters in general. But, he’s Wiccan, so the hipster thing was forgiven, and I actually enjoyed getting to know this so very yummy man a little bit better… there’s just something about not only his characterisation, but also the gorgeous relationship he has with his grandmother and great-aunt that had me smiling and digging further and further into this story.

Although I’ve been reading a lot of contemporary romances lately, I actually haven’t read many that feature the internet. I love that this tale actually uses the internet and our current obsession with memes to drive the storyline. It’s kind of a cruel beginning – memes drive a woman out of her life and thrust her into a whole new one. But I do love that it is something that generally happens these days. Plus, I seriously can’t get the idea of Phoebe with a huge hunk of meat flung over her shoulder, righteously marching off.

I’ve never been to America, let alone Vermont (where I think this is set). But I love the feeling of this setting. It actually kind of made me think of the tiny towns scattered throughout the Adelaide Hills. That sense of greenery and seclusion is so peaceful as you’re travelling through the region. It’s certainly the feeling that I get when I’m journeying into this tiny town. A feeling that I look forward to returning to with the reading of Heartwood.

Not only did I really enjoy both Phoebe and Sam independently and together, I also really loved all of the cooking and food throughout. I’m definitely developing an obsession with any kind of romance that features food and cooking. It’s just too delicious and… yummmm. So I had multiple reasons to drool while reading this fantastic romance.

<- More Karen StivaliHeartwood ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Silver Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon

Overview

Title: The Silver Gryphon
Author: Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon
Series: The Mage Wars #3, Valdemar #3
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, Mages, Magic, Medieval fantasy
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Year: 1996

Thoughts

I found this whole Valdemar trilogy a bit of a hard whack. I just didn’t feel emotionally connected with the characters like the other books. And it was even harder with this novel, because it was about the children of the main characters.

In fact, I found this book almost impossible to get through. The leads were kind of whiney and annoying. I mean, I’ve read a lot of stories which feature the children of those famous, and often they complain about the exact same things. But for some reason I found these guys SO MUCH MORE irritating.

I always find it hard to write reviews about books that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy. And, like my enjoyment, they tend to be a bit shorter. Mostly because I still try to focus on what I liked. And whilst I didn’t hate this book, there’s much I can recall that I actually LIKED.

<- The White GryphonMagic’s Pawn ->

Image source: Kobo