Bookish Happenings

Home Sweet Houser at 100 Reviews on NetGalley!

Going to make this short and sweet but just wanted to share that I’ve officially reached 100 reviews on NetGalley!

100 Book Reviews

For those of you who don’t know what NetGalley is, it is a platform that publishers use to communicate with bloggers and reviewers.  It’s a way for publishers to provide electronic advanced copies of books to reviewers in exchange for them reading and reviewing the book.

For more information on reviewing through NetGalley, read my blog post titled The Baby Book Blogger’s Guide to ARCs.

I joined NetGalley two years ago when I started this blog and have made it a point to be responsible with requesting and reviewing books.  I’ve seen far too many people request dozens of books from publishers and then never read or review them.  So I always make a point to only request those books that I’m going to read (my feedback percentage is currently at 97% so I have provided feedback on almost all of the books I’ve committed to reading with a few waiting in the hopper).

Reaching 100 reviews felt so unattainable when I started this blog, but I’m super happy to have provided feedback on 100 books for publishers in the last two years and to get the word out for these fantastic authors and books.

Okay, I’m out of here.  Off to read the next 100!

Fantasy

Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan

Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy, #2)Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Just published!

To be honest, I have such mixed feelings about this book that it’s hard to rate it. This is the second in the Something Dark and Holy series and after reading the first book, Wicked Saints, I knew I wanted to continue reading the series.

This series is essentially about two countries at war, Tranavia and Kalyazin; one country believes in blood magic and the other believes in gods. They’re in an age old conflict about their beliefs.

The books follows two primary characters, Serefin who is the king of Tranavia and Nadya who is a cleric from Kalyazin, both trying to end the war in their own way. There are several secondary characters that impact the story as well.

Things I liked:
1. The characters. I enjoyed the individuality of the characters and appreciated that the author gave us some additional insight into the thoughts of the secondary characters in this book.
2. The overall premise of the story. I like the idea of two countries at war. I like the magical elements. I appreciate the twists and cliffhangers.
3. The further exploration of the gods. We learned some additional back story that I found interesting and thought added depth to the story.

Things I did not like:
The execution. I really struggled with the author’s writing in this sequel. I struggled a bit with the first book as well but this one seemed to be particularly difficult to follow. Here are some things I found tough:
-I had a really hard time visualizing space/location. I didn’t feel like the author did a great job describing the setting, especially for a book set in a fictional world where the reader has no frame of reference to draw from.
-The timeline was difficult to follow. I felt like the timeline would jump around a lot. One second the characters would be in one place doing something and then POOF the next second they would be somewhere completely different doing something else. And there wasn’t a great transition or explanation as to how they got there.
-The fictional language. I appreciate that the author is creating her own fantasy world and has created a language to go along with that. But there were times when random words were used throughout the story and there was no explanation or translation as to what they meant. It felt both useless and distracting. They’re also really difficult to pronounce with lots of letters side by side that don’t feel like they should go together (i.e. towy dzimyka, Telich’nevyi, Volokhtaznikon, etc.).

Overall, I feel like I’ve invested time in this series so will probably continue to read it when the next book comes out. But, if I knew then what I know now, I might not have started in the first place. This series has a lot of potential but I just wish I liked the writing more.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Emily A. Duncan, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.-

View all my reviews

Thriller

The Vacation by T.M. Logan

The VacationThe Vacation by T.M. Logan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Out July 21st!

Imagine going on a beautiful vacation at a gorgeous villa in the South of France with your three closest friends and their families. I’m in. Are you?

What everybody thought was going to a nice, relaxing vacation turns into jealousy, hidden relationships, and death.

If you like books told from multiple perspectives, this one is fantastic. It is told from the perspectives of several of the characters, including the children, which I thought made it very interesting. It did take me a second to get all the characters and their relationships straight in my head, but once I tied everybody together, it was much smoother reading.

This is the perfect beach read thriller for the summer. I’ve read both Lies and 29 Seconds by T.M. Logan, and I think this is by far my favorite of his books.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, T.M. Logan, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.-

View all my reviews

Historical Fiction, Romance

The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton

The Last Train to Key WestThe Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Out June 16th!

I fell in love with Chanel Cleeton after reading her books Next Year in Havana and When We Left Cuba. They both oozed Cuban culture and history. And although I wouldn’t technically classify them as a series, some of the characters translate from one book to the next. So I was ecstatic when I heard that Cleeton had a new book coming out titled The Last Train to Key West.

Told from the perspective of three strong female leads, The Last Train to Key West tells the story of each woman’s will to survive. Set during a hurricane in the Florida Keys in the 1930’s, they each are in search of something. Escape. Family. Love. Independence. And when their paths cross, their lives will be changed forever.

I always adore Cleeton’s writing and this novel was no exception. I always feel like I’m watching a movie in my head when I read her work. I can see everything so vividly. The story was captivating and I could not wait to see what happened next.

One thing that surprised me was the lack of Cuban history present in this story. The other two books were so rich in Cuban culture, I was expecting more of the same. While there is quick mention of Cuban government in Mirta’s story, the remainder of the book is lacking mention of Cuba. Instead, Cleeton swerved, focusing on the history of the Florida Keys post-Great Depression and WWI. It was equally intriguing but I just want to level set for anybody who has read her previous work and may be expecting another Cuban experience.

Overall, this was another strong novel by Chanel Cleeton. I think I prefer the first two books if I had to compare, but this is still a solid 5 star read.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Chanel Cleeton, and Berkley Publishing for the opportunity to review.-

View all my reviews

General Fiction (Adult)

The Dilemma by B.A. Paris

The DilemmaThe Dilemma by B.A. Paris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Out June 30th!

First off, let me just say that this book was totally not what I was expecting. I have read everything that B.A. Paris has written and the gal can write a thriller! So when I had an opportunity to read her latest book, I was expecting something in the same vein. The Dilemma deviates from her usual style, written as more of a domestic drama than a thriller.

This story is about the secrets that husbands and wives keep from each other, the dynamic of their marriage, the relationship they have with their children and friends and family, and how they all intertwine.

Typically anything B.A. Paris writes is a page turner for me. And this book was no exception. However, I was waiting for some sort of twist or surprise as the story evolved, and there wasn’t really that moment. To be honest, the ending was a tad underwhelming if you go into the book expecting her typical thriller-like writing. But, if you go into the book expecting a domestic drama, it’s excellent.

I would recommend giving it a try as long as you have the right expectations up front.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, B.A. Paris, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.-

View all my reviews