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Title: If Your Dream Doesn't Scare You It Isn't Big Enough
Author: Kristine K. Stevens
Genre: Travel
Rating: 5/5
# pages: 302
Date read: April, 2017

In honor of her 40th birthday, Kristine K. Stevens sold her house, quit her job and traveled solo around the world.

Carrying a backpack and the naïve belief that the trip was nothing more than a six-month-long vacation, she hit the road. As her journey moved on and off the beaten tourist path, she braved a monsoon in Zanzibar, a safari in Kenya, trekking in Nepal, kayaking in Thailand, caves in Laos, red plaid fish and lava in Hawaii, and grizzly bears in Alaska.

Little did Kristine know that she was completing a pilgrimage that would change her life forever. She gained self-confidence with every mile and relearned how to trust her instincts.

One of the best travelogues I've read in quite awhile. Kristine's way of writing really appealed to me, and I was fascinated by her adventures all over Africa, Asia, Hawaii and Alaska. Some of the places she visited (e.g. Alaska) have been on my bucket list for ages, and she just reaffirmed my desire to go there.

There's no doubt that Kristine was a very privileged traveler, in that she could stay with friends many places, and didn't really have to worry about money until the very end, so few people would be able to follow in her footsteps, but personally I loved living vicariously through her and can't remember when I've last been this immersed in a book.

I really appreciated that the book didn't just end with her returning home, but also included her struggles with going back to "every day life" again, and how she handled those challenges.
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Title: The Potluck Club
Author: Linda Evans Shepherd
Genre: Chick-lit, Christian
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 388
Date read: April, 2017

In the small Colorado town of Summit View, a surprising multi-generational mix of women from Grace Church meet once a week to pass a hot dish and to pray. But the Potluck Club, as they call themselves, is a recipe for disaster when they send up enough misinformed prayers to bring down a church. And the funny thing: the more they pray, the more troubles seem to come their way. It isn't until they invite God to the table that they discover friendship is the spice of life, and a little dash of grace, just like salt, goes a long way.

A nice, cozy novel about a prayer group in a small-town community. In style it reminded me quite a lot of "The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society" by Beth Pattillio as the plot very clearly takes backstage to getting to know the characters.

Of course - as per usual in such books - I grew more fond of some of the characters than others, but there were none I decidedly disliked (at least, not after I learned what made them tick) and all in all I really liked getting to know them, and enjoyed my visit with the Potluck Club.
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Title: The Pearl Thief (Code Name Verity #0)
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Genre: Historical, YA
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 336
Date read: April, 2017

When fifteen-year-old Julia Beaufort-Stuart wakes up in the hospital, she knows the lazy summer break she'd imagined won't be exactly like she anticipated. And once she returns to her grandfather's estate, a bit banged up but alive, she begins to realize that her injury might not have been an accident. One of her family's employees is missing, and he disappeared on the very same day she landed in the hospital.

Desperate to figure out what happened, she befriends Euan McEwen, the Scots Traveller boy who found her when she was injured, and his standoffish sister Ellen. As Julie grows closer to this family, she experiences some of the prejudices they've grown used to firsthand, a stark contrast to her own upbringing, and finds herself exploring thrilling new experiences that have nothing to do with a missing-person investigation.

Her memory of that day returns to her in pieces, and when a body is discovered, her new friends are caught in the crosshairs of long-held biases about Travellers. Julie must get to the bottom of the mystery in order to keep them from being framed for the crime.

While I never found it quite as engaging as neither Code Name Verity nor Rose Under Fire, I was still very pleased to get to read it.

It took me awhile to get into the story. Partly because I didn't care too much about Julie at first, partly because I really couldn't figure out what genre the book was trying to be! However, I was still intrigued enough to keep reading, and once the book decided for sure that it was going to be a mystery, I enjoyed it a lot more.

I was really, really frustrated by how people treated the tinkers, but guess that's pretty true for the time, and that describing it any other way would be "whitewashing" (for want of better word) history.

It didn't break my heart the way Elizabeth Wein's two other books did, but it's a cute story to tide people over, who want to know more about Julie/Verity.
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Title: Hul i hovedet
Author: Nicole Boyle Rødtnes
Genre: YA
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 212
Date read: April, 2017

"Du skulle have set Susan!" Ida himler med øjnene. "Festens tema var gangsters og ludere, men alligevel...!" "Hvor kort var hendes kjole?" spørger jeg. Eller det troede jeg. Men en rynke i Idas pande fortæller mig, at det ikke var det, der kom ud. "Hvad kost var festen?" gentager jeg, og nu kan jeg godt høre, at noget er galt. "Nå, hvad det kostede at komme ind?" spørger Ida. "40 kroner – det var ingenting." Jeg ryster på hovedet. Ida tænker igen. "Hvor mange, der kom? "Jeg ryster på hovedet igen. "Lige meget," siger jeg så. Jeg kan se på hende, at det slår hende lidt ud, at jeg klokker i det. Det må også være nederen at være den, der altid skal lege gæt og grimasser med spasseren.

Til en fest slår Vega hovedet og får en hjerneblødning. Da hun vågner på hospitalet, har hun mistet sit sprog, og det føles, som hele hendes liv er forsvundet sammen med ordene. Men en dag møder hun Theo, der ligesom hende har svært ved at tale. Men kan man elske uden ord? Og hvad skete der egentlig den aften, hvor Vega kom til skade?

Meget samme stil som "XY", men afgjort bedre! Jeg havde ikke de samme problemer med troværdigheden denne gang, og var væsentlig mere tilfreds med slutningen.

Men fælles for begge bøger er at Nicole Rødtnes tager fat i seriøse emner, som man ikke umiddelbart ser i ungdomsbøger. Afgjort en bog jeg ville anbefale til alle i målgruppen, og som jeg også selv nød, selvom jeg nok er lidt over den. Jeg kunne godt lide at følge Vegas og Theos venskab, og se hvordan de fandt ud af at kommunikere selv uden ord.

En rigtig good teenage-roman.
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Title: I'm Still Here
Author: Clélie Avit
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 262 pages
Date read: April, 2017

Elsa is spending her thirtieth birthday in the hospital bed where she's lain for months after a devastating mountain accident. Unable to speak, see, or move, she appears to be in an irreversible coma, but her friends and family don't know that she's regained the power of hearing.

That day, a stranger named Thibault enters the hospital to visit his brother, who's just been injured in an accident that killed two young girls. He instead seeks refuge in the room where Elsa lies, and quickly becomes intrigued by the young woman, returning day after day to sit beside her, convinced that his words are being heard.

As their connection grows, the doctors deliver a devastating blow to her family. Is it possible that Thibault knows something no one else does, and can he reach her before it's too late?

A quick and easy read. It didn't strike me until long after that it's obviously a retelling of the Cinderella story, because of course it is. I did find the love-story slightly more believable though -- at least from Elsa's POV.

But this is one book where different POVs really work! I liked that every second chapter was told by Elsa and every second by Thibault. It helped us get inside the minds of both, and I grew to care for both of them. Probably especially Thibault actually. I loved seeing how he interacted with his friends and goddaughter - very cute!

I did think the book ended just slightly too abruptly, which brought it down to 4 stars, but all in all I found it a very enjoyable story.
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Title: Hinds Feet on High Places
Author: Hannah Hurnard
Genre: Christian
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 147
Date read: April, 2017

This book is a beautiful allegory dramatizing the yearning of God's children to be led to new heights of love, joy, and victory. Follow Much-Afraid on her spiritual journey through difficult places with her two companions, Sorrow and Suffering. Learn how Much-Afraid overcomes her tormenting fears as she passes through many dangers and mounts at last to the High Places. There she gains a new name and returns to her valley of service, transformed by her union with the loving Shepherd.

It took me a lot longer to read this than I had expected from such a short book (almost a month!), but I discovered I couldn't read more than a few chapters in each sitting. In style it reminded me a lot of "Pilgrim's Progress", but that may just have been because of the naming of things.

I liked it :) As you can see from the rating, it didn't blow me away, but I thought it a very sweet read.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Hamilton: The Revolution
Author: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter
Genre: Non-fiction
Rating: 5/5
# pages: 288
Date read: April, 2017

Lin-Manuel Miranda's groundbreaking musical Hamilton is as revolutionary as its subject, the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States. Fusing hip-hop, pop, R&B, and the best traditions of theater, this once-in-a-generation show broadens the sound of Broadway, reveals the storytelling power of rap, and claims our country's origins for a diverse new generation.

HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION gives readers an unprecedented view of both revolutions, from the only two writers able to provide it. Miranda, along with Jeremy McCarter, a cultural critic and theater artist who was involved in the project from its earliest stages--"since before this was even a show," according to Miranda--traces its development from an improbable perfor­mance at the White House to its landmark opening night on Broadway six years later. In addition, Miranda has written more than 200 funny, revealing footnotes for his award-winning libretto, the full text of which is published here.

Their account features photos by the renowned Frank Ockenfels and veteran Broadway photographer, Joan Marcus; exclusive looks at notebooks and emails; interviews with Questlove, Stephen Sond­heim, leading political commentators, and more than 50 people involved with the production; and multiple appearances by Presi­dent Obama himself. The book does more than tell the surprising story of how a Broadway musical became a national phenomenon: It demonstrates that America has always been renewed by the brash upstarts and brilliant outsiders, the men and women who don't throw away their shot.

A true 5-star read. It made me laugh, it made me tear up, and it made me (even more than I did already) wish I could get to see the play with the original cast.

I know I said earlier that I didn't think it was a book I needed to own... I may have to rethink that decision, because it really was awesome! I put it down and didn't want to pick up anything afterwards... I needed to just let it percolate.

Highly recommendable to any Hamilton-fan.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: XY
Author: Nicole Boyle Rødtnes
Genre: YA
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 240
Date read: April, 2017

Da Asta som 15-årig får meldingen om, at hun er en XY-pige og derfor genetisk set en dreng, falder hendes verden sammen. Hun kæmper med vrede og selvmordstanker - men så møder hun Christoffer. Han har selv forsøgt at begå selvmord, og med ham kan hun tale om alt det, som de andre ikke forstår. Langsomt forelsker Asta sig i Christoffer. Men kan man elske uden køn?

Meget fascinerende og tankevækkende bog. Jeg havde svært ved at lægge den fra mig, og blev meget glad for både Asta og Christoffer.

Men - for selvfølgelig kommer der et men når jeg alligevel ikke gav den mere end 3 stjerner - jeg syntes ikke slutningen var troværdig.

Spoiler )

Jeg brød mig heller ikke særlig meget om Astas mor før til allersidst. Hendes opførsel var dog mere forståelig, omend stadig frustrerende.

Jeg ville ønske jeg havde læst den som teenager - så havde jeg nok været gladere for den.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane
Author: Ellen Berry
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 370
Date read: March, 2017

In the beginning...

Kitty Cartwright has always solved her problems in the kitchen. Her cookbooks are her life, and there isn't an issue that "Cooking with Aspic" can't fix. Her only wish is that she had a book entitled "Rustling Up Dinner When Your Husband Has Left You".

Forty years later...

On Rosemary Lane, Della Cartwright plans to open a very special little bookshop. Not knowing what to do with the hundreds of cookbooks her mother left her, she now wants to share their recipes with the world - and no amount of aspic will stand in her way.

But with her family convinced it's a hare-brained scheme, Della starts to wonder if she's made a terrible decision. One thing's for sure: she's about to find out...

Unfortunately not the feel-good chick-lit I had hoped for, and I almost put it down at 57% because it took such an unpleasant turn. Fortunately it improved, and I enjoyed the last 40%, but I did think that the build-up was FAR too slow compared to the actual plot and resolution.

I'm surprised by all the high ratings I see on Goodreads. This only just made it up to 3 stars for me.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: In Arcadia (Touchstone #5)
Author: Andrea K. Höst
Genre: Sci-fi
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 252 pages
Date read: March, 2017

One does not simply walk onto another planet. At least not without the help of a daughter who has developed unlikely powers, fought an intra-dimensional war, and then arranged for a family relocation to a futuristic clone of Earth. Laura Devlin would gladly have paid any price to have her daughter back, so living in a techno-paradise with spaceship views is merely an added bonus. And a dream come true.

But Arcadian paradises do not come without complications. Laura's include a plethora of psychic grandchildren. Interplanetary diplomacy. Her daughter's immense fame. And KOTIS, the military watchdog that seems to consider Laura's entire family government property.

Forewarned by her daughter's experiences, Laura had anticipated as many problems as she could, and didn't doubt her ability to cope with the rest. But she had not planned on Gidds Selkie, a military officer 'chipped from flint' and not at all the sort of man lifelong geek Laura had ever imagined would find her interesting.

Very satisfying follow-up to "Gratuitous Epilogue" and perfect for people who want to know more about how Cass' family adapts to a new planet.

I knew from the set-out that Cass wasn't the main character of this book, but was slightly surprised by just how little a role she played in it. At times it almost seemed like she was left out deliberately, which was a bit jarring.

But apart from that minor nitpick, I really enjoyed it. I loved hearing more about Cass' Australian family, and how they all managed the huge change to their lives. Of course the epilogue only resulted in making me want to know more! I hope Andrea Höst will revisit the universe at a later stage.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: De, der vogter
Author: Claus Holm
Genre: Short-stories
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 384
Date read: March, 2017

En gruppe turister spærres inde i en underjordisk bunker uden kontakt til omverden. De ved ikke, hvor længe de kan overleve dernede - eller hvad der er sket på jorden over dem.

Dreng møder pige i en historie om at forfølge sin egen drøm, frem for andres. Måske kan man også lære af de ting, man ikke ved.

En ung mor mister på én gang sin mand og sit arbejde - men måske kan en rød cykel bane vejen frem mod et nyt liv.

En nyfødt dreng får tildelt en agent fra Oven - og en fra Neden - men hvorfor er han så vigtig?

De, der vogter er fire forbundne historier om almindelige mennesker i ualmindelige situationer; om mennesker, som beskytter hinanden, og som indimellem selv har behov for at blive beskyttet. Frygt og sorg, afmagt og tragedie, alle har de en vigtig plads i fortællingerne - men i sidste ende indtager kærlighed, venskab og medmenneskelighed de altoverskyggende hovedroller.

Fra 1950'erne til nu; fra den faderløse femårige til den fortvivlede cirkusprinsesse. Når luften er ved at løbe ud - i metaforisk eller bogstavelig forstand - er spørgsmålet det samme for os alle: Skal jeg blive hvor jeg er, eller skal jeg bryde ud?

"De, der vogter" er en samling af 4 noveller, der ved første øjekast ser ud til at være uafhængige af hinanden... og så alligevel ikke. De er meget forskellige, og derfor nærmest umulige at anmelde under ét, så jeg har valgt at anmelde dem hver for sig i stedet.

Den første novelle, "Bunkeren", var også klart min yndlings. Jeg har altid haft en svaghed for dystopiske/post-apokalyptiske romaner, og fløj lige igennem den. Der var enkelte af personerne, jeg gerne ville have hørt mere om (f.eks. overlevelsesnødden som købte al vandet i starten af bogen), men det er ulempen ved (gode) noveller... man vil altid gerne vide mere! Og egentlig syntes jeg, det var et okay sted at stoppe - alt taget i betragtning. Jeg var helt vild med Sarah :-) 5 stjerner.

Starten på den anden novelle, "Kvinden og løverne", mindede mig utrolig meget om starten på "The Night Circus" (selv her ved anden gennemlæsning, hvor jeg ved at inspirationen er en helt anden), men det er dog kun starten, og historien fik hurtigt sit eget liv. Det ville være en skam at røbe for meget af handlingen, så jeg vil nøjes med at sige at jeg absolut ikke havde forventet den drejning historien ville tage, men efter det første chock begyndte jeg at gennemskue de hints Claus havde lagt ud, og endte med at synes, at det var en fin slutning. I sidste ende er det nok den af novellerne jeg er midst tilbøjelig til at genlæse, men jeg vil alligevel give den 3 stjerner.

"Gaven" fik mig til at græde. "Big ugly tears". Mærkeligt nok ikke der hvor man måske ville have forventet det, men ved Jessicas reaktion senere. Meget vagt, det ved jeg godt, men jeg prøver at undgå spoilers. Heldigvis endte historien på en mere positiv note (ellers er jeg heller ikke sikker på, jeg ville have kunnet klare det), men jeg ville have ønsket den havde været bare lidt længere, så de øvrige siders tragedie var blevet opvejet mere. 4 stjerner.

Den sidste novelle, "Vogterne", var jeg meget splittet overfor. Som kristen havde jeg afgjort nogle problemer med den*, men handlingsmæssigt fandt jeg den meget fascinerende. Den er baseret på et interessant koncept, og jeg kunne godt lide den meget bogstavelige tilgang til skytsengle og dæmoner. 4 stjerner.

Generelt en meget velskreven bog, som jeg er glad for at have fået chancen for at læse. Og specielt "Bunkeren" bliver nok en novelle jeg kommer til at genlæse ofte. Ikke dårligt klaret af Claus Holm, når man tænker på, at jeg typisk ikke er så meget til noveller. De fleste af disse er dog også lange nok til at gå under den engelske term "novella" snarere end "short story".... hvilket jeg værdsatte!

*Ikke så meget engle og dæmoner generelt - det er der præcedens for blandt kristne forfattere også... bl.a. hos Frank E. Peretti og C.S. Lewis, bare for at nævne to af de mest kendte... men ind i mellem var der nogle fraser som skurede i ørerne. Det er dog på ingen måde sikkert, at det er ting der ville genere andre end mig.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Final Girls
Author: Mira Grant
Genre: horror
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 112
Date read: March, 2017

What if you could fix the worst parts of yourself by confronting your worst fears?

Dr. Jennifer Webb has invented proprietary virtual reality technology that purports to heal psychological wounds by running clients through scenarios straight out of horror movies and nightmares. In a carefully controlled environment, with a medical cocktail running through their veins, sisters might develop a bond they've been missing their whole lives - while running from the bogeyman through a simulated forest. But... can real change come so easily?

Esther Hoffman doubts it. Esther has spent her entire journalism career debunking pseudoscience, after phony regression therapy ruined her father's life. She's determined to unearth the truth about Dr. Webb's budding company. Dr. Webb's willing to let her, of course, for reasons of her own. What better advertisement could she get than that of a convinced skeptic? But Esther's not the only one curious about how this technology works. Enter real-world threats just as frightening as those created in the lab. Dr. Webb and Esther are at odds, but they may also be each other's only hope of survival.

The first stand-alone stort-story / novella I've read by Mira Grant (all the others have been in her Newsflesh universe), and it reminded me why I prefer longer novels in order to flesh out the universe more. I loved the premise of the story (revisiting problems via dreams and augmented reality), but thought the writing could have been better. The suspenseful part of the story wasn't nearly as powerful as it would have been, if you'd gotten to know the characters better, and I missed some sort of proper resolution / explanation at the end.

Still, Mira Grant always writes stories worth reading, and despite my small complaints I did enjoy the book and am as always eager to read more from her hand.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Darker Side (Smoky Barrett #3)
Author: Cody McFadyen
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 379
Date read: March 2017

A lie, a long-ago affair, a dark desire—everyone has secrets they take to the grave. No one knew that better than FBI special agent Smoky Barrett. But what secret was a very private young woman keeping that led to her very public murder? And what kind of killer was so driven and so brazenly daring that he’d take her life on a commercial airliner thirty thousand feet in midair, a killer so accomplished that he’d leave only a small souvenir behind?

I think I've been reading too many of these too close to each other. It was still really good, but a) it gets a bit repetitive. b) it becomes increasingly difficult to find something new to write about the books.

But I liked it. It was a quick read, even if a rather disturbing one. I liked the extra insight into Stormy's psyche, even if I did think there ought to have been hints in the earlier books. It seemed a bit too much like it was just invented for this one.

I still want to read more books in this series, but think I may just take a small break before the next one.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Love for the Cold-Blooded, or The Part-Time Evil Minion's Guide to Accidentally Dating a Superhero
Author: Alex Gabriel
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 300
Date read: February 2017

Superheroes. Evil minions. And one hell of a conflict of interest.

Being related to a supervillain isn't a big deal to Pat West. So what if his mom occasionally tries to take over the world? All Pat wants is to finish university and become an urban designer. That he moonlights as an evil minion sometimes - that's just family tradition.

Then Pat accidentally sleeps with superhero Silver Paladin, otherwise known as reclusive billionaire Nick Andersen. It's a simple misunderstanding. Pat never means to impersonate a prostitute, honest. But soon Pat is in way over his head, and threatening to fall for the worst possible guy.

When Pat's mother returns to bring the world to its knees, Silver Paladin races to stop her... and all of Pat's secrets threaten to blow up in his face. How can Pat reconcile being a minion with wanting a hero? Will Nick's feelings for Pat overcome what keeps them apart? Or will they both lose everything?

I'll be honest - I almost entirely picked up this book based on the delightfully absurdity of the sub-title. "The Part-Time Evil Minion's Guide to Accidentally Dating a Superhero"? What's not to like?! (as an aside - my DH asked me what I was reading, and I gave him the full title. He blinked a couple of times... "I'm not sure how to process that" ;-D )

Fortunately the story itself mostly lived up to my expectations. It toed the line a couple of times in becoming too much of a stereotypical "romance novel" for my taste, but thankfully never crossed the line completely... which meant that I'd occasionally put down the book for a bit in order to brace myself for the next part... and then pick it up again, only to discover the "next part" turned out to be much better handled than I'd feared and there was no cause for preemptive wincing ;)

And there was so much to like with this novel! I liked reading about Pat and Nick's growing relationship (and Pat's realization of why Nick called for him in the first place!), I liked Pat's family, and I loved the idea of super-villains (excuse me - Challengers!) having families and that any children would be required to do minion duty :-D

So all in all, a very enjoyable read with a plot suitably absurd to fit the title :-)

Besides, the ending was just CUTE! I wish I could have been a fly on the wall at the next West family dinner though!
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Follow Me Back
Author: A.V. Geiger
Genre: YA
Rating: 2/5
# pages: 368 pages
Date read: February 2017

Tessa Hart's world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it's like his speaking directly to her...

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn't help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast - like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric's plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world's best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn...

Please note that this is a review of the book version only. There is also a version on Wattpad, which has some significant changes. Ironically, I believe I would have rated that one higher, but this is the version provided to me by NetGalley, so so be it.

It will be hard to review it properly without spoilers but I will do my best.

Most of the book was excellent. Well written and captivating - written in the style of a YA Liane Moriarty novel. Sure, it was kinda sweetly tacky in places, and unrealistic in a chick-lit kinda way, but it worked. I stayed up much too late to read it, and despite a few glaring plotholes (most notably the MET storyline which was never tied up... I also have questions about both Blair and the therapist) was ready to give it a solid 4 star rating.

But then came the last 5 pages. I realize they were added for shock value and to get people to read the sequel, but when I read them, I didn't know a sequel was in the works, and thought this was the end - and it basically ruined the book for me. Only the fact that I was reading it on my tablet saved it from being tossed across the room.

At that time I was ready to give the book just 1 star, but a quick look on Goodreads informed me that a sequel is indeed in the works (and spoilers are aplenty on Wattpad) and that all is obviously not how it seems. That mellowed my opinion a fair bit, and made me raise my rating from "I didn't like it" to "it was okay". Still not fond of the cheap trick though.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: We Are Okay
Author: Nina LaCour
Genre: YA
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 240
Date read: February, 2017

"You go through life thinking there's so much you need. . . . Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother."

Marin hasn't spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she's tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that's been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

I can't quite figure out what I thought of this book. I read it in one sitting, so it certainly had that going for it (even if it is short), but it was awfully depressing at times. I kept reading, because I wanted to know what the trigger was, but when it was finally revealed, I felt that it was far too 'little' to warrant such a major (over-)reaction, which detracted somewhat from my enjoyment of the book, and meant it packed less of a punch than it could have.

There were definitely aspects of it that I enjoyed, and I loved Mabel's parents, but as a whole, I was fairly underwhelmed.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Dawn Study (Soulfinders #3)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 478
Date read: February, 2017

Despite the odds, Yelena and Valek have forged an irrevocable bond and a family that transcends borders. Now, when their two homelands stand on the brink of war, they must fight with magic and cunning to thwart an Ixian plot to invade Sitia.

Yelena seeks to break the hold of the insidious Theobroma that destroys a person's resistance to magical persuasion. But the Cartel is determined to keep influential citizens and Sitian diplomats in thrall and Yelena at bay. With every bounty hunter after her, Yelena is forced to make a dangerous deal.

With might and magic, Valek peels back the layers of betrayal surrounding the Commander. At its rotten core lies a powerful magician and his latest discovery. The fate of all rests upon two unlikely weapons. One may turn the tide. The other could spell the end of everything.

A nice wrap-up to the Sitia-Ixia chronicles. It had a few weaknesses here and there, and it's obvious that Maria V. Snyder is done with the universe, but I still enjoyed it very much, and liked getting everything wrapped up.

As always with books told from multiple points of view, there will be some that are more interesting than others. That was also the case here, and I definitely preferred the chapters told from Valek or Yelena's POV to any of the others. But fortunately, they were also the ones with the most chapters, so it all worked out ;-)

All in all, I really liked it. It didn't blow me away like some of the others did, but I found it a very satisfying end to the series.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Obsession
Author: Nora Roberts
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 5/5
# pages: 464
Date read: February 2017

Naomi Carson is a survivor. As a child, her family was torn apart by a shocking crime. It could have destroyed her, but Naomi has grown up strong, with a passion for photography that has taken her all around the world.

Now, at last, she has decided to put down roots. The beautiful old house on Point Bluff needs work, but Naomi has new friends in town who are willing to help, including Xander Keaton - gorgeous, infuriating and determined to win her heart.

But as Naomi plans for the future, her past is catching up with her. Someone in town knows her terrifying secret - and won't let her forget it. As her new home is rocked by violence, Naomi must discover her persecutor's identity, before it's too late.

Nora Roberts writes ridiculously readable books, and this one was no exception. In fact, I think it may be the best book I've read by her so far. I was immediately drawn into the story, and enjoyed following Naomi through childhood, teenagedom to early adulthood. Quite often in books I'll find that one of those is decidedly more interesting than the others, but not so here.

I liked that though Naomi went through some utterly horrible things, this wasn't the kind of book where everybody was an asshole and she had to learn to manage by herself. While they can still be good, such books tend to drain me, because it gets exhausting reading about how one person goes through one horrible thing after another. In this one, Naomi went through some horrible things, to be sure, but she also had people who loved her and looked out for her. That, combined with all the awesome descriptions of the house she bought and restored almost made "The Obsession" feel like a comfort book in parts - despite the awful subject matter.

I'd guessed the twist ahead of time, but that didn't matter as it was still well executed. I loved the uncles, Mason, Xander, Kevin, Jenny, Tag, and pretty much everybody else at Point Bluff. I love reading about communities where people are actually nice to each other. Not angels, but just generally kind human beings.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Fatal Shadows (Adrien English Mysteries, #1
Author: Josh Lanyon
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 198
Date read: February, 2017

One sunny morning Los Angeles bookseller and aspiring mystery author Adrien English opens his front door to murder. His old high school buddy (and employee) has been found stabbed to death in a back alley following a loud and very public argument with Adrien the previous evening.

Naturally the cops want to ask Adrien a few questions; they are none too impressed with his answers, and when a few hours later someone breaks into Adrien's shop and ransacks it, the law is inclined to think Adrien is trying to divert suspicion from himself.

Adrien knows better. Adrien knows he is next on the killer's list.

I was actually surprised by how much I liked it, and kept finding excuses to read more. I can't even quite explain why, as the plot itself was fairly straight-forward, but the writing kept me interested, and I was satisfied by the ending, even if I had seen it coming ahead of time. I used to say that I don't like whodunnits, but I think it's probably safer to say that I'm very picky when it comes to that genre. I'm not a fan of Agatha Christie and that ilk, but love crime novels that read like an episode of CSI or similar. This was closer to the latter (despite the main character being a possible victim rather than a cop) and kept me nicely entertained for all 198 pages.

It's a very quick read, and nicely contained, even if it does pave the way for more books in the series.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Face of Death (Smoky Barrett #2)
Author: Cody McFadyen
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 475 pages
Date read: February 2017

A sixteen-year old girl holds a gun to her head at the scene of a grisly triple homicide. She claims "The Stranger" killed her adoptive family, that he's been following her all her life, killing everyone she ever loved, and that no one believes her. But Special Agent Smoky Barrett does. Her team has been hand-picked from amont the nation's elite law enforcement specialists and they are as obsessed and relentless as the psychos they hunt; they'll have to be to deal with this case.

For another vicious double homicide reveals a killer embarked on a dark crusade of trauma and death: an "artist" who's molding Sarah into the perfect victim - and the ultimate weapon. To catch him, Smoky is going to have to put her own fragile, once-shattered life on the line. For The Stranger is all too real, all too close, and all too determined. And when he finally shows his face, Smoky had better be ready to face her worst fear.

Almost as good as the first book in the series! I had a few more problems with the ending than I did with the first book, but thought the plot as a whole every bit as tightly written and executed. No odd translation errors in this one either! ;)

What happened to Sarah broke my heart, which is probably why I didn't find the ending satisfying enough, but I hope to hear more about her in the next book - much like we did with Bonnie in this one.

It's a fast ride, and hard to put down. I've already gotten my hands on the next book in the series.


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