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review 2018-09-13 19:08
The fairy tale you thought you knew...The story of the Sea Witch, the villainess from Hans Christian Anderson's classic tale The Little Mermaid.
Sea Witch - Sarah Henning

 

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~BOOK BLURB~

Sea Witch

Sarah Henning

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Ever since her best friend Anna died, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. Hiding her talents, mourning her loss, drowning in her guilt.

Then a girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears on the shore, and the two girls catch the eyes of two charming princes. Suddenly Evie feels like she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.

But magic isn’t kind, and her new friend harbors secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad—or on two legs—without Evie’s help. And when Evie reaches deep into the power of her magic to save her friend’s humanity—and her prince’s heart—she discovers, too late, what she’s bargained away.

 

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~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

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This wasn't exactly what I was expecting…at first its girls dancing with boys and "wouldn't it be fun if we got together with cousins, what fun we would have, oh la".  Ugh.  There was a little bit of darkness and witchiness lurking in the story at that point.  Then about 60% into it…BAM…the story takes a twist down the dark & nasty…

 

Overall that turn made this, by far, a better story than it was shaping up to be.  So if your willing to hang in there through the less than worthwhile parts of the story, I think it will end up being a mostly satisfying read, as long as you don't pick apart its inconsistencies. And especially, if you like the Little Mermaid, although it's more of a backstory than a retelling.

 

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~MY RATING~

☆3.5☆STARS - GRADE=B-

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 3.7/5

Main Characters~ 3.5/5

Secondary Characters~ 3/5

The Feels~ 3/5

Pacing~ 3.5/5

Addictiveness~ 4/5

Theme or Tone~ 4/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 2.8/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 3/5

Originality~ 4/5

Ending~ 4/5 Cliffhanger~ Well…

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Book Cover~ It's super gorgeous…love it.

Narration~ 3.5 for Billie Fulford-Brown, she was okay…I just had a difficult time with her accent.

Setting~ Havnestad, Denmark

Source~ Audiobook (Library)

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I used this for Fear the Drowning Deep Square in Halloween Bingo

 

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review 2018-09-13 03:44
Dared and Confused
Dared and Confused - Adara O’Hare

This was sometimes weird, mostly sweet friends-to-lovers short story.

 

The sweet: Jackson has never been attracted to or interested in anyone, male or female, until his best friend Chet kisses him on a dare during a truth and dare game. And suddenly it's fireworks and Jackson realizes there are things about himself he didn't know that he didn't know. Watching him trying to sort out his confusion and figuring out he's gray-ace was a treat.

 

Chet was super patient and supportive, and he's clearly been in love with Jackson for years but never said anything so as not to pressure him. There was lots of good tension leading up to the sex scene, which thankfully wasn't too long. Still, I was starting to lose interest by the time it finished.

 

Jackson's mom was a pure delight, y'all. She was like Christmas in July. :D

 

The weird: Why would Jackson's dad be so opposed to him wanting to be a veterinarian? You need those on ranches. Just find someone else to run the ranch, geez.

 

I also didn't care much for the hyper-sexualized truth and dare game at the beginning. There is such a thing as being *too* close to your friends, lol. I did like how it was used later though; it was a nice little callback.

 

Oh, then there's the Texas-speak that's all over this book like burrs in a billy goat's hide. Darn tootin! :P You can either read it or it'll drive you up the wall, lol.

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review 2018-09-12 02:26
A Love Made New (Amish of Birch Creek #3) by Kathleen Fuller
A Love Made New (An Amish of Birch Creek Novel) - Kathleen Fuller

It seems as if everyone is falling in love in Birch Creek, including Abigail Schrock. But when heartbreak descends on her already fragile world, she can’t help but feel that if she’d only been a little prettier, she could be on her way down the aisle. To make matters worse, Abigail’s two sisters have found love, and all Abigail can seem to find is the chocolate she has stashed away in the pantry. Asa Bontrager has never had trouble with the ladies in his Amish community—his good looks have always gotten him far. Which is why he’s baffled by the call he’s received from God to pursue Abigail, a woman who seems determined to turn him away. Can Abigail find the peace and joy she so desperately desires? Will she allow herself to stop running and melt into the embrace of unforeseen comfort? If she does, she may discover a love powerful enough to restore her hope in a promising future.

Amazon.com

 

 

 

This series has been following the emotional growth of three Amish sisters -- the Schrock ladies; Sadie, Joanna and Abigail -- after a personal tragedy. Abigail, the 22 year old less pretty middle sister is trying to heal from her own recent run-in with heartbreak. Though she gave her heart to Joel, he turned around and promptly dumped her for perky, petite Rebecca. 

 

Then in walks Asa Bontrager. Previously known as a bit of a ladies man (by Amish standards), the handsome charmer believes he is given a divine message one day to pursue lonely, hurting Abigail. But Miss Abigail is a little self-conscious about her recent weight gain from secret food binges and is not altogether certain she wants a new romance right now. Or so she says. But Asa has big plans on how to bring down her defenses and heal her wounded heart. His speech to help ease her fears about her weight gain were a good start, I have to admit:

 

"You need to stop cutting yerself down...I'm not going to judge you if you want donuts or a hamburger or a candy bar. It doesn't matter to me what you eat. It shouldn't matter to anyone else, either...You deserve someone who will treat you well and put you first in his life. Someone who will love you the way you are, for the rest of his life, who thinks you're perfect the way you look right now."

 

*Though part of me also thinks, it's sweet, but some of what he says to her toes the line between being supportive in a healthy way versus being an enabler to bad choices. 

 

Readers also get an update on Sol, who shows a noticeable temperament shift in this book.. is he becoming... likeable?! Thanks to a meddling mother with an itch for matchmaking, Irene Bailer is wrangled into working as Sol's assistant, painting his birdhouses. Irene proves to be a sweet influence on Sol, teaching him how to forgive himself for past indiscretions and struggles with alcoholism, loosen up and find his inner child again. 

 

As the reader, I sometimes struggled with how believable the romance between Asa and Abigail was --- nothing between them, I actually grew to like them together, but in the beginning it seemed like Asa's intensely deep feelings for Abigail came out of nowhere. I get that he got the idea to court her because he felt he was divinely inspired but guy had no chill at the start! Ease into things, son! Wouldn't a guy want to make sure he ACTUALLY had feelings for a woman and wasn't just doing something because God said so?! But as I said, he and Abigail do end up as a good match, IMO. I had a good laugh at Asa's utter SHOCK at Abigail's dislike for anything pickled. 

 

 

FTC DisclaimerTNZ Fiction Guild kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own. 

 

___________

 

My reviews for the previous books in this series:

 

#1 A Reluctant Bride

#2 An Unbroken Heart

 

*Note: a fourth installment, The Teacher's Bride, is due to be released this December.

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review 2018-09-11 20:38
My very first cozy mystery...
A Geek Girl's Guide to Murder - Julie Anne Lindsey

 

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~BOOK BLURB~

A Geek Girl's Guide to Murder

Julie Ann Lindsey

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IT manager Mia Connors is up to her tortoiseshell glasses in technical drama when a glitch in the Horseshoe Falls email system disrupts security and sends errant messages to residents of the gated community. The snafu's timing couldn't be worse—Renaissance Faire season is in full swing and Mia's family's business relies on her presence.

Mia doesn't have time to hunt down a computer hacker. Her best friend has disappeared, and she finds another of her friends murdered—in her office. When the hunky new head of Horseshoe Falls security identifies Mia as the prime suspect, her anxiety level registers on the Richter scale.

Eager to clear her name, Mia moves into action to locate her missing buddy and find out who killed their friend. But her quick tongue gets her into trouble with more than the new head of security. When Mia begins receiving threats, the killer makes it clear that he's closer than she'd ever imagined.

 

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~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

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Cozy Mysteries are not really my cuppa…and I'm probably not the best one to judge this type of book.  But overall this ended up being not so bad.  The first half did kind of drag and did feel a little too sickly sweet…but once the mystery started getting closer to being solved, I started getting into it more.  I even lol'd a few times.  I can see why others would like this genre of mystery…it's probably perfect for someone who doesn't like a lot of graphic gore and sexy type scenes.

 

 

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~MY RATING~

3.5STARS - GRADE=B-

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 3.7/5

Characters~ 4.3/5

The Feels~ 3/5

Pacing~ 3/5

Addictiveness~ 2.8/5

Theme or Tone~ 4.3/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 3/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 3.5/5

Ending~ 3.8/5 Cliffhanger~ a "to be continued"…

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Book Cover~ I like it.

Series~ Geek Girl Mysteries #1

Setting~ Horseshoe Falls

Source~ Kindle eBook (Library)

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I used this for Cozy Mystery Square in Halloween Bingo (Duh...)

 

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review 2018-09-10 22:15
Land of the Lost for the modern times...
City of the Lost - Kelley Armstrong

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~BOOK BLURB~

City of the Lost

Kelley Armstrong

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Casey Duncan is a homicide detective with a secret: when she was in college, she killed a man. She was never caught, but he was the grandson of a mobster and she knows this crime will catch up to her. Casey's best friend, Diana, is on the run from a violent, abusive ex-husband. When Diana's husband finds her, and Casey herself is attacked shortly after, Casey knows it's time for the two of them to disappear again.

Diana has heard of a domestic violence support town made for people like her, a town that takes in people on the run who want to shed their old lives. You must apply to live in Rockton and if you're accepted, it means walking away entirely from your old life, living off the grid in the wilds of Canada: no cell phones, no Internet, no mail, no computers, very little electricity, and no way of getting in or out without the town council's approval. As a murderer, Casey isn't a good candidate, but she has something they want; she's a homicide detective, and Rockton has just had its first real murder. She and Diana are in. However, soon after arriving, Casey realizes that the identity of a murderer isn't the only secret Rockton is hiding - in fact, she starts to wonder if she and Diana might be in even more danger in Rockton than they were in their old lives.

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~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

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This is my first Kelley Armstrong book…I've never read any of her paranormal stuff of which she is well known for.  Her writing in this was easy to listen to and her characters were easy to root for.  Especially, Casey…she kind of rocks.  I wish I could have gotten with who she chooses to be her love interest more, but I was left liking the other guy…I think it may have been the voice that Therese Plummer chose for him, I just didn't really care for it.

 

City of the Lost is a "city" out in the Yukon, somewhere between Alaska and Canada I believe, that is sort of like it's own little commune, minus the religion.  The people go there to live and get away from their problems in the real world, whether it's an abusive ex or a crime they've committed, they are all running from something or someone.  They even pay money for the privilege of going there to live.  I never really understood where the money goes to, some sort of council that doesn't even live there…sounds fairly sketchy to me.  But otherwise, a worthwhile and fascinating story, with everything from possible cannibals, wild dogs, cats, grizzlies and a red fox; to drinking, drugs, casual sex and oh-so-much more.  Including some unforeseen twists that will have you reeling.

 

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~MY RATING~

4.3STARS - GRADE=A-

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 4.2/5

Main Characters~ 4.3/5

Secondary Characters~ 4.5/5

The Feels~ 4/5

Pacing~ 4.5/5

Addictiveness~ 4.5/5

Theme or Tone~ 4/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 4.5/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 4.5/5

Originality~ 4.5/5

Ending~ 4/5  Cliffhanger~ Not really…

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Book Cover~ It's okay…

Narration~ 4.5 for Therese Plummer, she does so many different voices very well.

Series~ Rockton #1

Setting~ Rockton, Canada

Source~ Audiobook (Library)

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I used this for my Terrifying Women Square on Halloween Bingo

 

 

 

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