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review 2018-06-20 02:15
3 Out Of 5 "I wish I could've fully loved this" STARS
The Surviving Trace - Calia Read

 

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~BOOK BLURB~

The Surviving Trace

Calia Read

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Will is my fiancé. The shy man I met years ago in college. The person I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life with. 

 

This is the life I’ve always wanted until finding a picture of four men changes everything… 

 

Étienne says he’s my husband and the year is 1912. He can’t stand the sight of me, but I don’t know why. 

 

Oh, and he’s one of the men from the picture. 

 

I’ve done the impossible and have become trapped in time and I know Étienne is my key to going home. 

 

The more time I spend with Étienne, the further I fall for him until I’m questioning which time I belong in and if the life I left behind is the one I truly desire. 

 

All I know for certain is I need to survive time. 

 

I need to survive love. 

 

And I need to make it out on the other side alive.

 

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~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

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I know that when it comes to a time-travel romance you have to be able to suspend belief, otherwise it won't work…this may have been asking too much suspension of belief for me.  I feel there were too many plot holes that felt like she was trying to keep you in the dark about what was really going on in 1912, that left me confused, even after I got to the end.  I don't know if it was is an editing thing or what???  I also felt that things were a little too contrived to be palpable.

 

The one aspect of this story that I loved was the romance between Serene and Étienne, their chemistry was quite hot.   I really adored Étienne.  Serene, well, I liked her most of the time, but she had her witchy moments.  But the dynamic of these two, offset by Étienne's siblings, Livingston and Nathalie were what kept me reading despite the issues I had with it. 

 

Apparently, there are more books coming, I'm not sure if it's one or two that will continue the story between Serene and Étienne.  Knowing there are more books helps the ending make a lot more sense, though.  I have a feeling I will read the next one, in hopes that they will help this story come together.

 

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~MY RATING~

3STARS - GRADE=C

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 2.5/5

Main Characters~ 4.2/5

Secondary Characters~ 4/5

The Feels~ 4/5

Pacing~ 3/5

Addictiveness~4.2/5

Theme or Tone~ 3.5/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 2/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 2.5/5

Originality~ 3/5

Ending~ 3.5/5 Cliffhanger~ Nope.

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Book Cover~ Beautiful!

Series~ Surviving Time #1

Setting~ 1912 Charleston, SC & 2017 Pennsylvania & Virginia

Source~ Kindle eBook (KU)

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review 2018-06-13 04:06
Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4) (Audiobook)
Drums of Autumn - Geraldine James,Diana Gabaldon

As I mentioned in my review for Outlander, I started this series with the fourth book by accident. I was just out of high school, my mom was having health issues and I was the one who was driving her around to her various appointments and spending a lot of time in waiting rooms. So when I saw this book sitting on the new releases shelf in the bookstore, the only thing I cared about what that it looked interesting and it was thick. It would give me hours and hours and hours of reading time. So I got it, started reading, and got to around a quarter of the way through when I realized this was part of an ongoing series. I kept reading though and enjoyed it. It provided exactly what I needed at the time and even got me to go back and read the first three books.

 

Now, twenty plus years later ... this got annoying. It starts off really slow and rambling. All the books in this series ramble, but it gets worse the longer the series goes on. The first three books at least have obvious plots right off the bat. This one takes over 500 pages to get around to it's main conflict, and up till then it's basically just the four main characters doing stuff. I still really enjoy Claire and Jamie's relationship, but I couldn't give two figs about Briana and Roger's courtship, especially when Roger gets all caveman about it. 

 

I was never a fan of Briana, but wow. For someone so smart, she can be really stupid. Roger's kind of a jerk but he's tolerable. Neither one is prepared for 18th century living, despite both of them being history majors. They not only lie to each other about crucial things, but they make one reckless decision after another. How in the world they survived is beyond me. 

 

Actually, the main conflict isn't exactly what I would call contrived. Considering what Bree's been through and that she just barely met her father, her decisions make sense, even if they're illogical. Given what Lizzy thinks she knows, and what she tells Ian and Jamie, their actions also make sense. What doesn't make sense is

Claire not telling Jamie what Briana told her. She could've done that and kept Bonnet's name out of it.

Also, if you're looking for someone, a physical description usually helps.

Also, both Claire and Briana went by different last names when they went through the stones, so it makes zero sense they wouldn't consider Roger doing the same.

Also, Jamie would've killed Roger based on the info Lizzy told him. But of course he couldn't because the reader - and Bree - wouldn't be able to forgive him if he had.

(spoiler show)

The Big Misunderstanding required these characters who are usually extremely good with communication to be really bad at it.  

 

And it's just a little ridiculous that these characters are all encountering the same villain no matter where they are in the world. 

 

But once I got through all that nonsense and the characters all started to act like their intelligent, rational selves again, it got way better. The last third of the book is definitely the strongest.

 

Not enough Lord John though. 

I hate that he sleeps with one of the slaves. It's not on page, but it's implied. I guess I can have a smidgeon of consolation that John wouldn't have forced himself on anyone unwilling, and he's a pretty perceptive fellow, so he could probably tell if someone was just pretending to be willing. But still. Don't sleep with slaves, John.

(spoiler show)

 

Edit: Oh, and I forgot to mention the narration. Davina Porter does her usual stellar job, but she doesn't even attempt an American accent for Briana. I guess she's the UK's answer to Kevin Costner. ;) But since I'd rather listen to a pleasant British accent than a terrible American (much less Bostonian) one, I wasn't bothered by it too much.

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review 2018-06-13 00:24
A Matter of Time by Michael J. Bowler
A Matter of Time - Michael J. Bowler

This is basically a Titanic story with a vampire and some time travel. For me, it was a very slow start. Set in 1980s California at the beginning, there is lots of college angst and it doesn’t take much angst to wear me out. Jamie is worried about his looks, do the girls like him, do the guys want to be his friend, is he worthy in his chosen field of study, etc. Of course, some of the other students have some of the same angst. Maggie, one of 2 female characters that have names and lines for the entire book, has been dating Jay but she has to admit she has growing feelings for someone else.

I have to mention that there were too many J names in this book. First off, Jamie goes by James, Jimmy, Jack…. and then there’s his friend Jay, who for a time I thought was just another nick name for Jamie. Somewhere along the line we get a John.

Let’s talk vampire! Because I thought it was high time we had a Titanic-time-travel-vampire mash up. I’ve read the original Draculaand an in-depth bio on Bram Stoker so you know I have a fondness for references to the original Dracula. When Jamie starts experiencing symptoms that point directly back to Renfield (a character in the original Dracula), I was finally interested in the story. Jamie has spent some considerable time researching the Titanic so he soon realizes that his symptoms and his dreams and the Titanic are all wrapped up together. Hence, he drags the story out into the middle of the Pacific for the second half of the book and that’s where we get the paranormal transport through time.

Back in 1912, Jamie meets Kate, our second female character for the book. There’s some insta-love, which I rarely like. So, yes, we have Jack (aka Jamie) and Kate (think of Kate Winslett who played Rose in the movie Titanic). Rose’s love interest in the movie was also named Jack. So if you have pined for a sequel to the movie all these years, here it is in book form.

OK, back to the ladies. Why are there only 2? Not realistic. Women are everywhere and in fact actually attended college in California in the 1980s in droves. There’s a few other ladies that pop up here and there and they either have no lines or no names. Kate and Maggie actually get to interact at some point and they do indeed talk about men. Sigh…. I was disappointed in the ladies all around.

OK, so what about that vampire? Well, yes, he is a danger and he must be dealt with but for the most part, he was not memorable. The impending Titanic disaster is much more of a danger to more people. The strain of vampirism in this tale lacked the dark sexuality, mystery, and danger I expected.

I did like that Jamie is faced with some very tough choices once he’s on the Titanic. He wasn’t thinking clearly before his little time trip, but once he’s there, he has to choose whether or not to do his best to avoid or mitigate the disaster. Even after all the big scenes are over, Jamie still has some tough surprises and I really felt for him.

All told, I feel the author tried to pile in too much to one book and therefore all aspects felt a little stretched thin. The love story didn’t work for me. The time travel was by the simplest of mechanisms – a paranormal event. It was a penny tour of the Titanic instead of a deeper historical fiction. The vampire tale was more of a distraction than an added bonus. 3/5 stars.

 

I received a free copy of this book.

The Narration: Aaron Landon did a good job with this story. His voice for the angsty Jamie is perfect. He does a good job with Jamie’s emotions through the story. He also makes a good angry Jay. His female voices are feminine. He also did voices for the elderly well too. I also liked his regional accents. 5/5 stars.

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review 2018-06-06 11:29
A Secret Twice Hidden
A Secret Twice Hidden - Shanna Lauffey

by Shanna Lauffey

 

I tried to read this episode a chapter at a time but there was some fast action and I just couldn't stop. Needless to say this series is still holding my attention!

 

The regular characters have been developing throughout the series and we've seen a different side to Kallie this time, one more vulnerable. She's still a strong female character but we get a look at some of her younger life and how it has affected the woman she became.

 

There are a couple of new characters who bring a new dimension to the ongoing story and the primary nemesis from the early books resurfaces. He has also developed over time but not in a good way. A couple of story lines are left open for the next episode, but I don't mind that in an 8th book of a series. The first book of this one (Time Shifters) tied up neatly so that it felt complete, but it's worth continuing because it keeps getting better and better!

 

Other previous characters have at least been mentioned which suggests to me that they are likely to reappear in the last two books. I get the feeling that all the factors are coming together for the series end, which I can't even begin to guess! There are a few sentimental moments too. I have some hopes for where the end of the saga may go but it's yet to be seen if things will go that way.

 

One thing I can definitely say for this series is that enough new elements get introduced that it's still holding its own 8 books in. Most series get too samey after a few books and I end up abandoning them. Not this one. I can't wait for episode 9!

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review 2018-06-05 03:05
Interim Errantry: On Ordeal (Young Wizards)
Interim Errantry: On Ordeal - Diane Duane

Roshaun - 4 stars

 

When we first met Roshaun, he was an obnoxious prince with very little care about anyone around him. Or so he seemed. While he never really changed much, the more we learned about him and the world he comes from, the easier it was to understand him. And it's kind of hard to hate a guy who loves lollipops that much.

 

Of the three central characters here, he's the one whose Ordeal we knew nothing about prior to this collection. It was fascinating then to go back to a time prior to when we met him and see what he was like as a kid and how it was like for him to grow up in an environment where daily assassination attempts against the royal family are treated the same as picking up the mail. Unsurprisingly, the Lone Power tempts him with the opportunity to get away from it all, and Roshaun's Ordeal becomes a particularly interesting game of subterfuge. 

 

Mamvish - 2 stars

 

I wasn't sure what to expect from this, except that Mamvish had been a favorite despite not knowing very much about her. We knew already that the LP never showed up for Mamvish's Ordeal, so I wasn't surprised to see this was the shortest story of the three. I was surprised that instead of telling us the story of Mamvish's Ordeal, we got a mythical telling of Mamvish's birth and youth as she goes on a quest to fix her world after the LP ravaged it. 

 

The world-building here is both extremely imaginative and frustrating. Aside from the gross out factor (the Tuawff are forced into cannibalism to survive the extinction-level event caused by the LP), it just doesn't make a whole lot sense. The mythical style of the tale gets repetitive fast and large chunks of time go by without much of anything happening. Mamvish goes on this epic quest to become the best, strongest, fastest and smartest Tuawff ever so she can fix her planet, and the way the story ends we have no idea if she does or even if she ever attempts it. 

 

Disappointing, disjointed and not very appetizing. I admit, I skimmed quite a bit of this one.

 

Ronan - 4 stars

 

In contrast to the other two, we've gotten to know Ronan over several books in this seres and we knew a good deal about his Ordeal already from when he told Nita about it in A Wizard Abroad. This then becomes more about seeing the specific events, including the parts Ronan left out, and how exactly wizardry works differently for Irish wizards. It was a joy to see Ronan have so much fun with the Knowledge as he's first experiencing it, and of course there was the One's Champion and the LP playing an ongoing tug-of-war over Ronan's fate as both tried to influence his choices - and it wasn't always easy to tell who was goading him which way either. ;)

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