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When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

When We Left Cuba - Chanel Cleeton

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was such a wonderful story! I really enjoyed Chanel Cleeton's Next Year in Havana so I was really excited to learn that one of my favorite characters in that book would get to tell her own story. This is that story. The events in this book take place after those in Next Year in Havana and while I enjoyed seeing all of the characters again, this story stands on its own. I was hooked by this story from the very beginning and had a fantastic time with this book.

This is really a big story. Beatriz and her family are living in Florida after fleeing Cuba when Castro came into power. The family has suffered a lot of losses and it has been a difficult adjustment. Beatriz and her family hope to go back to Cuba but are also trying to make a life in Florida. Beatriz's mother would like to see all of her daughters married but Beatriz has other ideas. She has turned down quite a few marriage proposals and is more focused on revenge.

This story was filled with excitement. Beatriz works with the CIA and let's just say that her life is far from boring. She was passionate about the cause that she was working towards and it was really quite interesting to see her in action. Some of her missions were more exciting than others but it was great to see her in action. 

I was really taken by the romance in this story. It was not your average romance and I am actually somewhat surprised that I was so taken with it but I just found myself swept away by their chemistry. Nick and Beatriz were just great together. They were incredibly attracted to each other and couldn't seem to stay apart even when they tried. There were so many things that seemed to work against the possibility of a relationship between them but they just couldn't stay away from each other. There were things about their relationship that made me sad and I wouldn't necessarily say everything turns out well but I think they were both better for knowing each other.

I really enjoyed the politics and history that were a part of this book. This was such an eventful period of time and I loved seeing some of the events that I have learned about worked into this story. I thought that all of the little details that the author included really added to the authenticity of the story. 

I would highly recommend this book to others. This was a captivating story about a passionate character working to make a difference in the world while trying to find some happiness for herself. I cannot wait to read more from this talented author.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
This was great. I loved Beatriz in Next Year in Havana and knew I had to read her story. She is really an amazing character. This book has a lot of politics and history worked into the story which I found really interesting. There is some romance in the book and I must say that the chemistry between Nick and Beatrice was so well done. I felt like it may not be the best relationship for either of them but I just understood why they wanted to be together. Definitely a book to pick up.

The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie

The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe - Ally Condie

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I really ended up enjoying this book. I went into this book without a whole lot of expectations. I think that I might have read one of the author's earlier books years ago but don't remember a whole lot about it. The premise sounded really interesting so I was excited to give the story a try and was surprised by how quickly I was hooked by this adventurous tale. I thought that this was just a whole lot of fun.

Most of this book takes place on a ship used to dredge the river for gold. The book opens on Poe's first voyage where things take a horrible turn and the man she loves is killed. Poe is determined to make sure that nothing like that can ever happen again and designs armor that will cover the ships for all future voyages. 

Poe is put in command of the newest voyage which is the first time she has been out since tragedy struck. It was really interesting to be in Poe's head as she worked to establish her position of leadership while being unsure if all of the members of her crew are trustworthy. When things go wrong, she becomes even more suspicious of the others working on the ship. 

I loved the fact that this book had plenty of action. There are some fairly violent scenes that had me holding my breath and worrying about the characters. Poe had a hard time trying to figure out who could be trusted and which crew members had their own agenda. I liked that Poe became a true leader because of her actions and that she was willing to take stand even if it came with a lot of risks. Poe was a great character and I thought that the key secondary characters were very well done. 

I would recommend this book to others. I found this book to be very well done with an interesting world, great characters, and an adventurous story. While I thought that this book stood perfectly fine on its own, I do think that there could be a possibility of future books featuring this world or group of characters in the future. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

I received a review copy of this book from Dutton Books for Young Readers via Bookish First.

Initial Thoughts
I really liked this book. It was different which I liked and I thought that the world it was set in was pretty unique. I liked Poe and understood why she had a hard time trusting others but appreciated the fact that she was willing to listen. There was plenty of excitement that kept the pages turning. 

This Book Is Not Yet Rated by Peter Bognanni

This Book is Not Yet Rated - Peter Bognanni

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I really enjoyed reading this book. This book first got my attention with its eye-catching cover and great title. After reading the book's description, I knew that I had to give this book a try and I am glad that I did. Once I started reading this book, the pages seemed to fly by and before I knew I had finished the entire book in a single morning. It really was the perfect book to lose myself in for just a little while.

Ethan loves movies. His life has been filled with movies and watches at least one movie every day. Ethan works at the small Green Street Cinema, which is not your average theatre. Ethan actually serves the role of manager at the theatre since the real boss has been missing in action for some time. This theatre plays lesser-known films and caters to a certain clientele and has more a few issues.

Ethan was a great character. He has had a hard time dealing with his father's sudden death just a few years earlier. He has really been in a holding pattern with the cinema being his refuge. I liked Ethan more and more as the story progressed and I learned more of his history. It was great to see him start to deal with the things going on in his life.

Ethan was best friends with a girl named Raina when he was younger. This was before she was discovered by an agent and was thrust into stardom. When she finds that fame isn't exactly what she wanted, she goes home and is suddenly back in her old friend's life. I liked Raina. She was really down to earth and had her own issues to deal with. I thought that Ethan and Raina were good for each other and loved how they came together to work on a problem.

When the cinema is scheduled to close, Ethan and the rest of the crew work to find a way to keep it going. I loved the quirky group of characters that worked at the theatre. They were all very different but as a group, they worked well together. The cinema almost felt like another character with all of its flaws, including a rather large rodent issue.

I would recommend this book to others. I thought that this was a very well written story about finding yourself while fighting for the things you care about and learning to move on. The book is filled with great movie quotes and references that add to the charm of the story. I would not hesitate to read more of Peter Bognanni's writing in the future.

I received a review copy of this book from Penguin Publishing Group - Dial Books.

Initial Thoughts
I enjoyed this book. Ethan (or Wendy) was a great character and I really enjoyed getting to know him in this story. The group of characters working at this dying theatre were quirky and just a lot of fun. There were a lot of movie references, some I knew and some I didn't, that just seemed to work perfectly with the story. I thought that this was a wonderful story of finding something you love while you find yourself and learning to move on.

Blood Rites by Jim Butcher

Blood Rites  - James Marsters, Jim Butcher

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I think that I might have enjoyed this book even more than I did the first time I read it. It has been several years since I worked my way through the Harry Dresden series the first time and I have been slowing re-reading the series on audio. I am somewhat surprised that I remembered as much of this story as I did but I think that this is really a pivotal book in the series and it stood out in memory for that reason. I really had a blast with the story and am glad that I made the decision to pick it up when I did.

Once again, Harry has his hands full. The book starts out with Harry delivering some temple dogs to a monk which sounds like it should be a lot easier than it actually is. One of the dogs stows away in Harry's car and I really enjoyed having the pup along for much of the story. Harry is a good guy and always seems to do what is right even when it costs him. This book takes Harry on quite the ride and spends some time on the set of an adult film where things don't really go as planned.

This felt like a pivotal book in the series because there are some pretty big revelations that are made. You get some insight into several characters which will have an impact for the rest of the series. I also liked the fact that we see others make some sacrifices for Harry. Harry always seems to give but it is nice to see that he does have some true friends that are there for him and can be trusted.

James Marsters does a phenomenal job with this series. I am really quite in awe of his ability to bring Harry and the story to life. If I were to read one of these books, the voice that I would hear in my head for Harry would be James's voice. He is able to add excitement to the story when needed and seems to have perfectly captured Harry's sense of humor. He handles all of the voices very well and is easy to listen to for hours at a time. 

I would highly recommend this series to others. It is a series that needs to be read in order since each book builds on the previous installments. I had a great time with this wonderful story and can't wait to continue my re-read of the series.

Initial Thoughts
I actually remember a whole lot of this book from the first time I read it which is kind of amazing since my memory sucks these days. This book does not suck though. It was great. There are a lot of important things revealed in this book which is probably one reason it stayed in my mind. Plus there is a puppy in this book...how can you do anything but love a puppy?! Lot of excitement and fantastic narration. 

Book source: Audible purchase

Cursed by Benedict Jacka

Cursed - Benedict Jacka, Gildart Jackson

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I liked this book even better than the first installment. I think that the biggest difference was that I was already familiar with the characters and the rules of the world instead when I started this one. It was really easy to slip back into Alex's world and I was really curious about how everything would work out. This was a book that I wanted to listen to for hours at a time so I finished it up pretty quickly.

This book picks up shortly after the events of the first book. Alex has received some attention but he is back in his shop just getting through each day as it comes. One of Luna's friends stops in the shop and picks up a dangerous item despite Alex's warnings. There also seems to be some strange deaths of magical creatures that are raising a lot of questions. To top things off, someone seems to be trying to kill Alex.

I am really growing to like this group of characters. Alex is very loyal and is determined to protect those that he considers his friends. As far as that goes, Alex is pretty quick to try to protect anyone who he thinks needs it. I love how he is able to use his abilities and I think that it really keeps the story interesting. Luna is a fun character but she makes some terrible decisions in this book. There are some other really colorful characters that help to move the story along as well.

I thought that this book was pretty exciting. There was a lot going on and I was never quite sure what would happen next. It was fun to watch Alex try to juggle so many things while looking into the future to see potential outcomes. There were a few twists that I didn't see coming and a few moments that had me a bit worried before everything drew to a close.

Gildart Jackson continues to do an amazing job with this series. It was so easy to listen to this book for hours at a time. His pacing is perfect for the story and I think he adds a lot of excitement and emotion to the reading. He does a great job with all of the character voices as well. I do believe that I probably liked this book just a little more because I made the decision to listen to it.

I would recommend this series to others. This is the second book in the Alex Verus series which really does need to be read in order. I found this to be a very exciting and intense story that was very hard to put down. I cannot wait to start the next book!

Initial Thoughts
I liked this one even more than the first installment. It was fun watching Alex try to figure everything out in time to save the day. I think that some of the decisions that he made in this book really show who he is as a person. I listened to the audiobook and thought that the narrator did a fantastic job.

Book source: Audible purchase

Wild Country by Anne Bishop

Wild Country - Anne Bishop

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was another wonderful installment in a fantastic series. I have devoured each book in the series and eagerly look forward to each new installment. I had a digital review copy of this book but decided to go with the audiobook this time around and I think that it was a good choice. I was hooked by the story right away and had a hard time putting the book aside. I really enjoyed the experience of reading this book.

This book takes place at the same time as some of the events are happening in Etched in Bone. There are some mentions of familiar characters but for the most part, this book tells the story of a new group. This book is set in the small town of Bennett where the town is led by the Others but humans are settling in and living alongside them. It is a big adjustment for everyone, especially the town's Wolfguard sheriff and human officer.

I liked the characters in this book and really enjoyed the variety of the cast. Really, there is a little bit of everything in this book. There are regular humans, just about every kind of shifter that you could imagine, the vampire-like Sanguinati, blood prophets, and even a few close encounters with the Elders. There are even a couple of puppies worked into the mix which was a big plus for me.

I thought that this book was pretty exciting I was eager to learn how everything would come together. There are some scenes that are pretty action packed but I also liked the quieter scenes that illustrated how everyone was working together to make the community work. The only complaints that I really had would be the stupidity of some of the humans and the fact the pack of wild dogs had to be dealt with as they were.

This was the first time that I have had the chance to listen to the narration of Alexandra Harris. I thought that she did a great job with all of the different characters and their voices. She had a very pleasant speaking voice and was able to add some emotion into her reading. I really enjoyed listening to her narration of this book.

I would recommend this book to others. This book does touch on a lot of things that occur in the first five books of The Others series so I would recommend that the series be read in order. I cannot wait to read more stories set in this wonderful world created by Anne Bishop!

I received a digital review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group - Ace via NetGalley and purchased a copy of the audiobook.

Initial Thoughts
This was another great installment. It is always fun to slip back into the world of The Others. I liked all of the characters featured in this installment and all of their interactions as they worked to set up their little town. It was nice to hear a bit more about the group from the original books as well. This story was exciting and had a lot of layers to it. I decided to listen to the audiobook and thought that the narrator did an excellent job with the story.

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

Small Spaces - Katherine Arden

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I enjoyed this middle-grade book quite a lot. After finishing The Winter of the Witch, I was in a bit of book hangover so I decided to see what else Katherine Arden has written because I needed more of her writing just as soon as possible. When I found out that she had recently published a middle-grade novel, I was really quite eager to get my hands on it so I put in a request at my local library and waited for my turn with the book. I am so glad that I decided to check this book out.

I liked this book as an adult but I am pretty sure that as a child I would have absolutely loved it. I found this book to be a really quick read, reading it in its entirety on a single morning. I don't think that I put it down even once which says a whole lot about the book. The writing had a really wonderful flow as I would expect from this author.

Ollie is a rather spunky girl who has been through a whole lot. When she sees a woman throwing a book into the water, she feels like she needs to save it so she does. Her class takes a field trip to a local farm the next day where she runs into the same woman once again. That is when things really start to get strange.

I loved the atmosphere in this story. This is a really spooky story which could at times be rather intense. As the story progressed, we learned more about what Ollie has been through and I fell in love with her character. She really was a very brave girl. Two of her friends are with her and I really liked seeing how they worked together and grew close over the course of the story. 

I would recommend this book to fans of middle-grade stories. This book featured a wonderful group of characters making their way through a difficult and often spooky situation. I loved how hopeful the book's ending was and enjoyed some of the more touching moments along the way. I definitely plan to read more of this series once it is available.

Initial Thoughts
I enjoyed this book as an adult and I think that I would have loved it when I was younger. I have to admit that I decided to read this book simply because I love the author and was curious about her writing for a younger audience. This book did a fantastic job of creating wonderful characters and a rather creepy story. I am glad that I decided to give it a try.

Book source: Library

You'd Be Mine by Erin Hahn

You'd Be Mine: A Novel - Erin Hahn

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was a wonderful romance! I went into this book without a whole lot of expectations. I picked this book up largely because it sounded somewhat original. I don't remember ever seeing another book about a pair of young adult country music stars so I decided to give it a chance. That risk worked out pretty well. This was one of those books that sucked you in and didn't let go. I just had a great time with this book.

Annie is the daughter of country music superstars. Her parents are gone so her grandparents are her closest family. She is leary of walking in her famous parent's footsteps but she has a gift. When Clay knocks on her door to recruit her for the opening act on his tour, she decides to go along with the rest of the trio, which includes her cousin and close friend.

Clay is headlining the tour and has been on the music scene just a little longer. Even though he is underage, he has spent a lot of time on the road drinking or hanging out with girls. He has some things in his past that he is also trying to deal with and he isn't always dealing with them all that well.

I loved Annie and Clay together. From the very start, I thought that the scenes between them were the times when they were completely real. Clay wasn't always such a nice guy when other people were around but Annie seemed to bring out the best in him. I loved their chemistry both on the stage and off. I really thought that these two were good for each other and it was a ton of fun watching them find their way.

I would recommend this book to others. It was a very well done story about two people working to get over their pasts while they fell for each other. I look forward to reading more from this new author.

I received a digital review copy of this book from St. Martin's Press - Wednesday Books via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
This was a wonderful book! I loved Annie and Clay more and more with each chapter. They both had demons from their past to deal with and it was interesting how differently they chose to do it. I thought that they were great together and I loved seeing how everything wrapped up.

A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn

A Dangerous Collaboration - Deanna Raybourn

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I had a fabulous time with this book! I can't even tell you which book from this series is my favorite because they have all be consistently good. I think that my favorite just ends up being whichever book I am reading at the time or just finished. After finishing the previous book in the series, I was pretty eager to get started with this installment and I was not disappointed. The book grabbed me from the beginning and held me until the final page had been turned. I really enjoyed the time that I spent with this wonderful story.

This book is the fourth book in the Veronica Speedwell series. While this book does focus on its own mystery, I do recommend reading this series in order since the relationships between the characters are an important part of the story and have progressed throughout the series. This book picks up shortly after the events of the previous book and quickly finds the characters dealing with a new situation.

I really liked the fact that the bulk of this book takes place on a small island. There are a limited number of characters but the characters that do play a role were all really interesting and sometimes colorful characters. Most of the story occurs in a castle on the island which really made things interesting. The castle had a lot of great features such as a poison garden. I enjoyed discovering all of the things the castle had hidden right along with Veronica and Stoker.

I thought that the mystery in this book was really well done and kept me guessing which is always a big plus. The mystery was very complex and I was quite impressed by how everything ended coming together. I think that Veronica and Stoker make a wonderful team when they are working together on a crime. I also really liked the developments in their relationship in this installment. There were some really great moments between these two that has left me eager to read more as soon as I can.

I would highly recommend this series to others. This is a series with fantastic characters who are smart and able to solve any puzzle thrown at them. I found this to be quite the page-turner and I cannot wait to read more of this wonderful series.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
I really liked this installment in the Veronica Speedwell series. Almost the entire book takes place on a small island with a small cast of characters. There is a mystery from years before that is tied to Stoker's brother and a newer mystery before the book is over. Stoker and Veronica are both wonderful characters especially when they are working together.

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Moxie: A Novel - Jennifer Mathieu

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I really ended up enjoying this book! This was a review book that completely slipped through the cracks and was left to sit somewhat forgotten. By the time I pulled it out of the pile, I didn't completely remember why I had been drawn to it in the first place. I wasn't too far into the book when I realized just how good this story really was and I had a fantastic time with it.

It has been a long time since I was a teenager or went to high school. A very long time. My youngest daughter is currently finishing up her final year of high school and my oldest is a young adult so I have lived with teenagers for quite a few years so I feel like I know what they are like and I thought that this book was filled with realistic teenagers which is one of the things that I really really enjoyed about it.

I wish that the things that happen at Vivian's high school during the course of this book didn't happen. I know that they happened when I was in school and I don't think it is too much of a stretch to think that they still happen quite often in certain areas. I was mad. I was disappointed. And I was disappointed. How could the adults let these things happen and not speak up? How was it that none of the parents of daughters from the school were demanding change? The one thing that I would have loved to see happen in this book would be for Vivian, or one of her friends, to tell the adult in their life exactly what was going on. 

These girls didn't let others fight their battles though. Vivian sparks a movement that eventually works its way across her school. I was so happy to see these girls stand up and fight the things that were wrong together. It was a very uplifting message about how change can happen if you get enough people to stand up with you. 

I listened to the audiobook version of this book which turned out to be a fantastic choice because Suzy Jackson did a wonderful job with the story. She really was the voice of Vivian and I thought that she did was able to bring this story to life. All of the character voices were really well done and I had no problems listening to this book for hours at a time.

I would recommend this book to others. I had a great time watching this wonderful group of characters fight for a cause that was easy to get behind. I look forward to reading more of Jennifer Mathieu's work in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group via NetGalley and borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library.

Initial Thoughts
Such a good story! This was a story about girls standing up for themselves, for what is right, and for each other. It makes me mad that we live in a world where treating certain people differently than others still happens but I love the fact that people are working to make a change. I listened to the audiobook and thought that the narrator did a fantastic job with the story.

Fated by Benedict Jacka

Fated - Benedict Jacka, Gildart Jackson

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was a great start to the series! I am always on the lookout for new urban fantasy series to try so when a group of friends decided to read this series, I was eager to join in. It turns out that it was my kind of book and I think that my decision to listen to the audio version increased my enjoyment quite a bit. I am glad that I decided to give this book a try.

I thought that the world-building in this book was very well done. I like the idea of a secret world that is hidden in plain sight. I thought that Alex's abilities were very interesting and very useful. Alex is a diviner which means that he can see all the possibilities of the future. Alex is a bit of a loner since he does not interact with other mages but he does have a few people that he trusts like Luna and Starbreeze.

I thought that the story was pretty exciting. It definitely kept me guessing to the end and I was eager to see how things would work out. There is some action and excitement in the story but also a lot of outsmarting the other party. I did like how everything came together and was pretty satisfied with the ending.

I believe that this was my first experience with Gildart Jackson's narration and I was quite impressed. I think that his accent worked very well with the story. I think that he was able to bring Alex to life and also did a great job with all of the other characters in the story. He has a very pleasant voice that was easy to listen to for long periods of time.

I do recommend this series to others. I thought that this was a very well done introduction to an interesting cast of characters and I look forward to reading more of the series very soon.

Initial Thoughts
This was good. I really liked the world that this book was set in and I thought Alex was a great character. There was plenty of excitement and events that kept me guessing in this book. The narrator did a fantastic job with this story. I can't wait to start reading the next book in the series.

Book source: Audible Purchase

The Good Ones by Jenn McKinlay

The Good Ones - Jenn McKinlay

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I had a wonderful time with this book! Having read several of Jenn McKinlay's contemporary romances, I was eager to give this book a try. I was not disappointed. This was one of those books that I didn't want to stop reading once I got started. Too bad life got in the way. I did enjoy every moment that I spent with this charming story.

Maisy has inherited her aunt's old Victorian home which happens to be full of romance novels. She has just left her position at the local college and has this crazy idea of opening a romance bookstore. Ryder is a single dad who works as an architect. His task is to help Maisy bring the old house back to its former glory...and add a turret. 

I loved the characters in this book. Maisy and Ryder were both wonderful people and I thought that they were fantastic as a couple. They had a lot of chemistry and it was fun to see them interact with each other. There were some other key players in this story that I thought were equally well done. Ryder's teen daughter, Perry, was a great kid and I loved how caring she was. Savannah, or Savy, was quite the firecracker and I really liked the fact that she was there to put Maisy straight when needed. As a group, these characters work to save a tiny kitten which helped to show each character's softer side and added a nice dose of cute to the overall story. There were a few other characters introduced that I hope to see in future novels. 

I would recommend this book to others. It was a charming romantic novel filled with a cast of wonderful characters. I loved all of the book references that were worked into the story and had a great time watching Maisy and Ryder build the bookstore and find their own happily ever after. I can't wait to read more of this delightful series.

I received an advanced reader edition of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
I really enjoyed this one. Maisy and Ryder were wonderful together and the secondary characters were a lot of fun. I want to go to Maisy's bookstore!

The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston

The Little Shop of Found Things - Paula Brackston

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was a wonderful story! I have to admit that I was probably first drawn to this book by its lovely cover. Isn't it gorgeous? I also loved the idea of a book set in a little shop but once I knew that the story had an element of time-travel, I knew that I had to read this book. I was completely captivated by this book and couldn't wait to see how everything would work out.

Xanthe and her mother, Flora, are starting over. They have bought an antique shop that they will be opening to the public as soon as possible. Xanthe is particularly suited for this kind of work because she has a very handy special ability. Xanthe is called to certain objects and intuitively knows the history of the items that speak to her. Xanthe sees a chatelaine at an auction and that purchase will end up taking her on quite the adventure.

The chatelaine is tied to a young girl from the seventeenth century. The girl's mother is a ghost in Xanthe's present day and she insists that Xanthe go back in time to make things right for her Alice. I had a great time watching Xanthe trying to navigate the past and solve the mystery of what really happened with Alice. While in the past, she is able to help Samual with a project he is working on and he helps her work to save Alice.

I believe that this was the first time that I have had the chance to listen to Marisa Calin's narration and I thought she did a fantastic job with this book. There is a lot of emotion in this story and I thought that she really brought it out through her narration. The voices that she used were very distinct and I thought that the dialogue in the story flowed nicely. This was a book that I found myself wanting to listen to for hours at a time.

I would highly recommend this book to others. The ending was a little bittersweet but since it is the first book in a series, I have a feeling that there will be more developments in future novels. I had a fantastic time with this book and cannot wait to get my hands on future books in the series.

I received a digital review copy of this book from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley and borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library via Overdrive.

Initial Thoughts
Such a wonderful time travel novel! There is some romance but it isn't all romance. I really liked the fact that the main goal was to solve a problem. I loved the characters and liked the fact that their motivations made sense. I thought that the ending was a little bittersweet but works to get me excited about the next book in the series. I listened to the audiobook and thought that the narrator did a great job with the story.

A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn

A Treacherous Curse - Deanna Raybourn

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

Why did I wait so long to read this book? I have no excuses but now that I have finished the book, I know that putting it off for a year was a bad plan. I really enjoyed this installment in the series, probably even more than the previous book. Once I got into this book, I didn't want to put it down because I was completely pulled into the mystery. 

The mystery in this book was solid. Veronica and Stoker are trying to find a missing man. A man who happens to be a big part of Stoker's past. This mystery reaches all the way to the caves in Egypt and is much more involved than originally thought. I was pulled in a lot of different directions and was completely stumped when it came to trying to figure out what really happened. 

One of the things that I love about this series is the characters. Veronica is very smart and able to think on her feet. She isn't like most women of her time and cares less about what is proper than what she wants. I knew that Stoker had a very interesting past and was thrilled to get some big pieces of it filled in during the course of this book. I think that the things that we learn about Stoker in this book really make it easier to understand him better. I love the relationship between Stoker and Veronica. They work so well together and make a great team. There is a part of me, okay a big part, that wants to see a romance develop between the pair but I am also okay with the sexual tension between them continuing to pop up and make things interesting.

I would highly recommend this book to others. This is the third book in the Veronica Speedwell Mystery series which really should be read in order if at all possible since the relationships between the characters have built over the course of series. This book was filled with fantastic characters solving a very well done mystery and revealing a few secrets. I can't wait to get started on the newest book from this series very soon.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via Edelweiss.

Initial Thoughts
It took me a long time to read this book that has more to do with my life than the book. Once I had a chance to sit down and read, I didn't want to put this book down. I was completely stumped by the mystery and didn't figure out anything until it was revealed. Veronica and Stoker are great characters and it was nice to learn a bit about Stoker's past. 

The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth

The Things We Keep - Sally Hepworth
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This book was wonderful. The story that it told is my worst nightmare in so many ways. Dementia and Alzheimer's disease can change so much about a person as the disease takes away memories. Early-onset Alzheimer's disease seems like an even crueler fate since the individuals being affected haven't had the chance to live a full life yet. I think that this book did a fantastic job of really making me think and more importantly making me feel.

Anna is in her late thirties and has early onset Alzheimer's disease. She has reached the stage where she and her family realize that a care facility is the best place for her so they find a facility with another patient dealing with early onset dementia. The author did a fabulous job of really getting into Anna's head and she is dealing with her memory loss. Anna's decline over the course of the story was also handled very well. 

This book also tells a love story. Anna meets Luke at the care facility. Both are dealing with dementia at a very young age and they are drawn to each other. I really thought that they were so good for each other and it pained me that they didn't find each other until after they were experiencing memory loss. Anna never could seem to remember Luke's name but she always knew who he was and his presence seemed to bring her peace. 

This book also deals with people trying to make the best decisions for those that they love. Anna's brother was put in the position of having to make decisions for Anna. There is no doubt that he loved his sister and wanted to do what was best for her. Unfortunately, Anna couldn't always share what that was. 

We also get to learn Eve and her daughter Clem's story. Eve has just taken the position of cook at Anna and Luke's care facility. Eve hasn't worked for quite a while but is willing to do what it takes to care for her daughter. They have been through a lot after a scandal hit their family. I thought that their story was well done and interesting and I loved the way that Eve fought to help Anna get what she needed. 

The narrators did a wonderful job with this book. I have listened to Therese Plummer quite a few times in the past and love her work but this was the first time that I have had the chance to listen to Barrie Kreinik's narration. There were three distinct points of view in the book and I really liked the use of multiple narrators to perform the story. I thought that they both brought a lot of emotion into the story and were very pleasant to listen to for hours at a time. I am glad that I decided to listen to this book.

I would highly recommend this book to others. I thought it was a really well-done story that I found very thought-provoking. I would not hesitate to read more of this author's work in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley and borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library.

Initial Thoughts
This was a beautiful story in so many ways. Yes, there were some equally tragic parts as well but I thought that there was a lot of hope to be found. Dementia is cruel to both the patient and their family. It is one of my biggest fears. The things that were happening to Anna broke my heart but the powerful connection that she was able to make with Luke was beautiful. Eve's story was also somewhat tragic but she had a great attitude and was willing to do what needed to be done to move forward in her life. Clem's voice was a surprise that added a lot to the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this story about love, family, and trying to do what is best. I listened to the audiobook and thought that the narrators did a remarkable job with this story.

 

This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

This Is Where It Ends - Marieke Nijkamp

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I hate the fact that we live in a world where school shootings happen. I have mixed feelings about the fact that a book like this even exists because I don't want to use a tragedy as entertainment. I have had a review copy of this book for years but never got around to it. My daughter actually encouraged me to read this book because she thought it was well done. I didn't grow up in a world where school shootings happened with alarming regularity but my daughter has and it is something that she thinks about. I found this to be an engaging story and a really quick read.

This book is told from multiple points of view while a school shooting is taking place. We see what is going on in the locked auditorium and outside of it as well. This is a tragic story filled with needless death but there is also a bit of hope and a few individuals that prove to be heroes. This book doesn't really get too deep into why the shooting happened but I can't think of a good reason or one that would make sense so I am okay with the decision to focus on the students fighting to survive.

The story did have a few problems. Students do call 911 as things start and the police in this little town must have been out having a few doughnuts because it takes them forever to actually get to the school. I had some pretty big issues with that delayed response and I think it made the story very unrealistic. I also never felt like we got to know any of the characters very well. I didn't want any of them to die but I wasn't particularly emotional when it happened either. 

I did really like the fact that this audiobook was narrated by a full cast. Each point of view had its own narrator which made it very easy to keep track of who the focus was on. I thought that each narrator did a fantastic job with the story. I know that I liked this book a lot more because I decided to listen to the audiobook.

I would recommend this book to others. I thought it was a well-told story despite having a few issues. I wouldn't hesitate to read more of this author's work in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley and borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library.

Initial Thoughts
So, I have had this book for a long time and am just now getting around to reading it. I think that I did start to read it a while ago and it didn't grab me in the first few pages so I moved on to something else. This subject matter is hard to read about but my high school age daughter encouraged me to give this book another try since she thought it was well done. I listened to the audiobook which I thought was very well done. The cast of narrators did a great job of bringing the characters to life. This isn't a story that dives deep into reasons behind the shooting or how it could have been stopped. It is just a play by play of what happened from several points of view and I think it captured the fear and bravery of the students. It makes me sad that we live in a world where this kind of thing ever happens.