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A Merciful Death – Book Review

A Merciful Death by Kendra Elliot

This A Merciful Deathbook is a mystery/romance by Kendra Elliot.

Mercy Kilpatrick was born into a “prepper” or survivalist family. They prepare for TEOTWAWKI or “the end of the world as we know it”. A secret drives her and her family apart and she’s moved away from her home of Eagle’s Nest Oregon and become an FBI Agent. Her job has brought her back to Eagle’s Nest to investigate murders of preppers. Local law enforcement Chief Truman Daly is helping Mercy investigate.

On some level I knew survivalists/preppers existed but it was interesting to read about how much they actually prep. From food to shelter to having communities of people with certain skill sets to ensure their survival was fascinating. I wish it had sparked some sense of prepping in me, but I’m afraid all it sparked up was anxiety. Though not enough anxiety for me to stop reading, of course.

Mercy is a great strong character. I loved that she was strong enough to move away and take care of herself after being shunned. Having her come back to her home despite that only made her more strong. Even though I didn’t enjoy Truman’s name (last name as first name is kind of a pet peeve of mine) I enjoyed his character, he was a great compliment to Mercy as he challenged her without being an ass about it and was lovable. His backstory made me like him even more.

You could see a tiny spark between Mercy and Truman from the start but it was not the main theme of the book. Finding the killer and Mercy’s relationships came first and I liked that a lot.

I have loved every book I’ve read by this author. Her writing draws me and and her characters are down to Earth and realistic. This book was no exception.

4 Stars. ∗∗∗∗

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A Thousand Boy Kisses – Book Review

A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole

I have been staring at this blog post in my drafts box for almost a week. I thought I was going to be over the moon about this one and I wasn’t. I was disappointed however, the more I think on the story the more I didn’t hate it. I would say it’s more of a 3.5 star book rather than a 3 star book. ATBK

This story is about Poppy & Rune. At the age of 5 Rune moves in next door in the room opposite Poppy’s and they are best friends instantly. Poppy then receives a boy kiss jar from her Mamaw (thank goodness I watch Raising Hope or I’d have had no idea how to pronounce that) at the age of 8. The kiss jar is filled with paper hearts that she’s supposed to write down all the super special boy kisses in. The reasoning behind the jar is Mamaw’s fondest memories of Poppy’s Pawpaw are all his kisses they shared together and how much the ones where her “heart almost burst” meant to her. She wanted to share that with her granddaughter. I thought this was incredibly endearing and original.

Here’s where I start to get iffy. At the same young age of 8 Rune gives Poppy her first boy kiss. The kiss itself didn’t bother me, having an 9 year old boy, I know girls is something that he thinks about it, however, i know he doesn’t think “forever always” when he thinks about them. After that kiss and for the rest of the book they are so in love. They are kids and it seemed a little to unrealistic.

Poppy & Rune grow to age 15 and then Rune has to move back to Oslo, Norway. They are both heartbroken. Rune vows to hate his Pappa and Poppy throws herself into her schooling until she cuts of all contact with Rune for two years with no explanation as to why. Two years later Rune moves back with a whole new rebel without a cause attitude and is trying to unravel what went wrong. He’s definitely not my dream guy, long blonde hair, all black clothing, skinny jeans, boots, way to emo for me. And Poppy really seemed like she was stuck in her 8 year old self. She was constantly wearing giant bows in her hair. Maybe I’ve been in the 2000’s for too long but teenagers, especially seniors do not do that. It’s way too much innocence in this day and age. Unrealistic.

 

I very much enjoy descriptive writing. I like to know what colors, smells, and sounds the characters are seeing, smelling, and hearing. I like to know everything. It’s what attracts me to reading in the first place. I feel transported into that world for the time I’m reading. Ms. Cole’s descriptions of the world around them was wonderfully written. I wanted to be in that Blossom field. I could almost smell it and feel the sun and wind on my face. I loved the way she described Poppy playing the cello and the way Poppy felt while playing and what the music itself did to her.

(I actually looked up Bach’s Cello Suites to listen to while I read. Now it’s my go to music for when I’m at work and need to concentrate but would like music too.)

Overall I’d say it was a  good story, I just felt as if it was a little too much, “I love you so much forever and always” for me and I’m a sap. Like this quote

When you’re near, my heart doesn’t sigh, it soars.

What? I mean I just couldn’t get past it. It was lines like that over and over. It didn’t really seem believable.

I did cry but I didn’t cry those big fat ugly tears everyone keeps talking about. I also didn’t enjoy the epilogue. I love happily ever afters as much as the next reader but I don’t always feel the story has to go there. Sometimes stories end sad, it’s part of life. I felt this epilogue was a little to perfectly wrapped in a neat little bow. It annoyed me, a lot.

I’m definitely going to try another Tillie Cole book. I enjoyed her writing style and even though I wasn’t over the moon for Rune & Poppy and their journey, I did like them and I rooted for them. I feel like her writing is definitely worth another try.

 

 

 

 

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Never Never Series- Book Review

Never Never

Never Never by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher

I blew through these and not only because they were novellas but because I could not put them down. I had to know.

I’m a girl who has a love hate relationship with suspense/mysteries. I love them because I love trying to piece things together and see what happens in the end. I hate them because I absolutely cannot stand the wait. I feel like I cannot read fast enough. I especially love them when I don’t see what’s coming.

Written in alternating point of views, we start of with Charlie in a classroom. She hasn’t a clue how she got there, who she is, or any immediate memories. Then we go to Silas and he cannot remember anything either. I will admit at first it was strange and I found myself being sort of annoyed. As if I wasn’t in on something. A few chapters later and I was past the point of no return.

We follow Silas and Charlie through their journey to find out who they are. Through their days in school and meeting their friends and families for the first time, you feel like you’re there with them. Their anxiety about who they are and why they don’t know is so real. I felt as if I was with them on Bourbon Street trying to figure things out.

There isn’t a whole lot I can say without spoiling. You just have to go for the ride yourself. Hoover is one of my favorite contemporary writers and this didn’t disappoint although I think I would have preferred one book but it was fun and the cover art on all the books is beautiful and sort of foreshadowing.

Destiny. Fate. They are real. I believe that.

 

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Book Review – Bright Side

Bright Side by Kim Holden is a story about Kate. Kate up and moves from California to Minnesota leaving her best friend Gus behind and marking college of her bucket list. She’s nicknamed Bright Side by Gus because he claims this is where she lives, on the Bright Side. Kate is all about optimism and being a good person. It was so wonderful to not hate the heroine at any point. She meets Keller Banks and falls in love. Keller is smart and focused and not the typical “I’m good looking and I’m allowed to be a giant tool” guy. Both carry secrets and we all know secrets in books have a way of knocking you on your ass, and this one did just that.

Bright Side

The characters were stunning. All of them, even the loathsome aunt.

I’m so sad that I bought the Kindle version because I would have loved to mark this up and dog-ear it. This book is filled with life lessons and damn good advice. It’s filled with gems like this:

I’ve always been pretty good at accepting the whole of someone, the good with the bad. I see it all, but try not to let it cloud my judgement. People are complicated. Life is complicated

Today, my life is awesome.
I don’t want to think about tomorrow.
Or the day after that.
So I repeat to myself: Today, my life is awesome.

Don’t judge each other. We all have our own shit. Keep your eyes on yours and your nose out of everyone else’s unless you’re invited in. And when you get the invitation, help, don’t judge

There isn’t much I can say about this book that doesn’t spoil the ending and I don’t want to do that. I hate that. But I will say that you will probably cry a river of tears, I certainly did, but it was worth every single one. I feel like a better human after reading this beautifully crafted story.

I’ll leave you with this final quote and thought:

Just when you think you know someone, they change. Or you change. Or maybe you both change. And that changes everything.

Life is full of change. No matter how hard you fight change, it happens. You have to accept those changes and keep going and look at the Bright Side because there is one, you just have to find it.

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Book Review – Me Before You

Me Before You

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes is about Lou, a girl who loses her job and as a last resort takes up a caregiver position (sans bum wiping) for a quadriplegic named Will Traynor. Lou is a big personality and Will is hardened as I suppose an able bodied man now confined to a wheel chair would be.

This book was recommended to me quite awhile ago. It has been sitting on my Kindle for the better part of two years, if not longer. I was terrified it would leave me in a state of depression because there couldn’t be a happily ever after in my mind. I guess that makes me a cynic? Anyway… it came highly recommended and with the average review on Goodreads being a 4.31, I finally sucked it up and read it.

I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner.

I’m not going to lie, this book broke my heart, tore it into tiny little pieces and all I can say is it was worth the heartbreak.

Lou was completely likable and loud and just herself. I’m so thankful to have not read about a character whose main theme was to fit in, be the same, or blend. She just was, crazy outfits and all. I loved Will, a-hole qualities and all. I think it was sort of excusable for him to be how he was. It was completely lovely to watch these two sort of grow on each other and blossom.

Experiencing things in Lou’s head was quite the experience and I connected with her in so many ways.

Do you know how hard it is to say nothing? When every atom of you strains to do the opposite? I had practiced not saying anything the whole way from the airport, and it was still nearly killing me.

&

I hadn’t realized that music could unlock things in you, could transport you to somewhere even the composer hadn’t predicted. It left an imprint in the air around you, as if you carried its remnants with you when you went.

It was as if she was in my head.

I absolutely loved reading Will’s, Nathan’s, Katrina’s, Mr. Traynor’s and Camilla’s perspectives. It allowed me to get into their heads and helped me feel the story that much more. Camilla being Will’s mother especially spoke to me.

It’s just that the thing you never understand about being a mother, until you are one, is that it is not the grown man – the galumphing, unshaven, stinking, opinionated off-spring – you see before you, with his parking tickets and unpolished shoes and complicated love life. You see all the people he has ever been all rolled up into one.
I look at him and see the baby I held in my arms, dewing besotted, unable to believe that I’d created another human being. I see the toddler, reaching for my hand, the schoolboy weeping tears of fury after being bullied  by some other child. I saw the vulnerabilities, the love, the history

Now, my oldest child is only 8 years old and I felt this paragraph just as if it was me. Tears couldn’t even convey the emotion I felt, the heartache.

In the end, although I was sobbing my heart out (and part of that I will admit could have been that my daughter made me watch Tinkerbell and the Legend of the Neverbeast twice the day I finished it) nevertheless I felt every last word of this book. It was beautiful and tragic and romantic and lovely.

This ranks right up there with The Fault in Our Stars for me. Even if you’re skeptical, even if you hate endings you deem unhappy or sad, read it. You won’t regret it.

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Left Drowning – Book Review

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I loved this book.

Jessica Park’s ability to write interesting and deep characters is one that I’ve been finding hard to come by lately. Especially in the contemporary genre. Many authors now get stuck in overly descriptive, explicit sex scenes with no substance to their characters.

Blythe was not just a one dimensional college girl with an obsession over a guy. Her pain, guilt, and hurt were easily felt and it made me connect with her almost instantly. Sabin was a lovable teddy bear of a first friend and the entire Shepard crew grabbed me from their entrance to the story. I could easily see what they all went through as something totally realistic and tragic and Christopher was right up at the top of the list of guys who think they aren’t deserving of love but who are deserving of it the most.

I was slightly bothered by the swearing and the sex scenes were explicit but also real and in the end I didn’t mind reading them. The story was so much more than sex.

4 stars Ms. Park, well done!

**This review also appears on my Goodreads.

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Requiem – Book Review

requiem

Do not read this. If you don’t want to know what happens. SPOILER ALERT!! I’m serious. This will ruin the book for you. Do not click. And if you do… it’s on you. Just sayin’.
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**Spoilers start here. I hate to write down spoilers, but honestly I can’t get on with my day until I get this out.

I am extremely disappointed in this book. The only reason I’m not giving it less than 3 stars is because I truly enjoy Oliver’s beautiful writing. She has a way with descriptions and words to suck you right in and keep you reading until the last infuriating word.

That being said if I had not purchased the Kindle version I would have thrown this book right out the window when I was done. Or possibly mailed it back to Oliver shred in tiny little pieces.

My first issue (which I think is actually my own) I didn’t read Delirium and Pandemonium right before I read Requiem. I forgot a lot and was, at first, lost in the Wilds and the characters it held.

My second issue lies in the back and forth between Alex and Julian and the addition of Coral. As if a triangle wasn’t enough yes, please let’s make it a foursome and it was already clear that Coral wasn’t a threat but girls being girls Lena thought she was.

Issue number three, her mom. It was this huge shock in Pandemonium and wasn’t addressed until the last third of the book. WTF? Then all of a sudden they have a talk and all is good in mommy/daughter land? I call bull shit.

Issue four all the building and building for nothing. It was all for nothing. The ending fell so flat and short that I was left staring at my Kindle thinking someone had played a cruel joke on me.

She doesn’t choose Alex or Julian. The war is still going on. No resolution whatsoever.

While I can understand the point she was trying to make with her stating over and over again to “tear down the walls” it came too little too late. It wasn’t the main theme (in my humble opinion) in the trilogy. It seemed at this point in the book to be a cop out. Maybe she loved them both but in the end you have to choose. She chose freedom, she chose to love, even if that meant living in the Wilds but in the end she couldn’t pick a boy? She couldn’t say YOU (insert Alex or Julian) I choose YOU. Again. I’m calling bullshit.

I quite enjoyed Hana’s POV. Seeing the role she played in Lena’s & Alex’s getting caught and how she dealt with her guilt and how she actually helped the resistance despite being cured was a great addition to the book.

Also I think her maliciously killing Raven was so not needed.

This book ruined the series for me.

This book review also appears on my Goodreads page.