Review: Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3)Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

12/12/18: Reflections of 2018 continue with this book, Heir of Fire my favorite book read in April. Since reading this, I have also completed, Queen of Shadows. At the time when I finished this one, it was my FAVORITE of the series. Now it is QoS. For me, they keep getting better and better.

I know haters out there.

That’s fine. No shame here. I am TRASH for this series. Fight me.

Manon gives me life and getting to know her during the course of this book was so entertaining for me. I am equally obsessed with Abraxos and know that my heart is ultimately going to end up being broken in that regard ((NO SPOILERS PLEASE)).

Also, it is now apparent to me that I never wrote a full review for this so, boo on me. Fail.

Original: Oh. My. Wyrd. What an ending! This series! (Fans self) Full review to come…

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Review: Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia

Bellweather RhapsodyBellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**A quirky and oddly compelling tale**

Bellweather Rhapsody was like nothing I have ever read before. I really enjoyed it. It was 100% unique and read like a Wes Anderson film.

The setting is the Bellweather Hotel: large, a bit in disrepair and possibly haunted. The cast of characters: flawed, nerdy, dangerous and dramatic. The plot: a weekend music gathering for the most talented young musicians in the state of New York; obviously dramatics ensue.

Two of our main characters from the high school perspective are Alice and Rabbit Hatmaker, a brother and sister duo, who are basically the novel interpretation of what would happen if Rachel Berry and Kurt Hummel were brother and sister.

Aspirations and attitudes are high both among the kids and the adults. This was completely entertaining even though I can hardly form into words an accurate description of what I just read. There is a lot going on including murder, hauntings (both external and internal), disappearances, shouting matches, a love affair, self discovery, robbery and so much more.

I am so glad I picked this up. It was as random as this storyline and I’m down for that. I would recommend this for any music geeks out there – you know who you are. Be proud and read this book!

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The Troop by Nick Cutter: Revisited

The TroopThe Troop by Nick Cutter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

12/7/18: Continuing my reflection on books I read in 2018, The Troop is going to win my ‘Favorite Book of March’ award.

It was a tight race between this and Wizard & Glass: Book 4 of The Dark Tower. I decided on The Troop because it was my first ever Nick Cutter book and to say I was impressed would be the understatement of the year. This man can write some horror and I am down for that. Now one of my autobuy authors, this book placed him towards the top of my most loved author list. Well played, Mr. Cutter. Well played.

Original: I finished this book back on March 18th and still haven’t written a review. The main reason for this is that I am nervous about being able to adequately express how much I enjoyed it.

This is a horror novel that follows a group of boys who are taken by their Scoutmaster to a island off the coast of Eastern Canada for a weekend camping trip. When a very ill stranger stumbles into their cabin, a horror is unleashed that is beyond all expectation.

The characters were so well drawn and their relationships and inner thoughts so well expressed that in spite of being a horror novel, this can be appreciated as a true character piece. In a way, it reminded me a lot of Lord of the Flies. With this comparison I am thinking of how each character is sort of placed into a stereotypical societal role and then we see how those roles play off one another. Among the group of boys we have the tough guy, alpha male; the nerdy, know-it-all, mother of the group; the golden boy who excels at sports and gets along with everyone; a wiry, cagey little guy with the absentee father and bad temper; and finally the sociopath who’s inner thoughts are a horror story unto themselves!

I was so impressed with the quality of Cutter’s writing and have already purchased another book of his, The Deep, which I plan to read in May. One of my favorite aspects of this book was the incorporation of mixed media sources; I believe I read in the Author’s Note him citing being inspired by Stephen King’s, Carrie, for this which is also very cool. I am so happy to have found a new horror writer that is original and who I can enjoy for years to come!

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Review: The Mansion by Ezekiel Boone

The MansionThe Mansion by Ezekiel Boone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

…there’s no way we’re going to stay here and wait for Nellie to go all redrum on us.

What would happen if HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey were set up to run The Overlook Hotel from The Shining? This book would happen.

Billy Stafford and Shawn Eagle created ‘Nellie’ – a computer system built to serve, better than AI and continually rewriting herself for your ‘happiness’ – and installed her into a creepy old haunted mansion secluded in the woods of upstate New York. Then Billy and his wife go to live in the mansion, during the winter when they could be snowbound there for days at time, in order to work out the kinks. What could go wrong?

Heavy in The Shining feels…I mean REALLY heavy…I appreciated the ubermodern twist it took. The Shining is one of my all time favorite books, and I know some fans who I could possibly see not liking this or calling it a ‘rip-off’, but to me it was a solid doffing of the cap to one of Sai King’s masterpieces ((in my humble Constant Reader opinion)).

To me, this book reads like a techy-scifi with some horror elements sprinkled throughout. There were a few scenes that really raised my anxieties but I suppose it all depends on what you are afraid of. If you’re like me and more than slightly nervous about your Smart Phone, Smart TV or the ever-looming Smart House, this may be a good one for you to pick up. Additionally, I always love a good ‘haunted house’ story and there were definitely some ghosts woven throughout this book…and twins, don’t forget to add some creepy twins in there because regular twins won’t do.

The beginning started out a little slow for me but by the time Billy and Emily arrive at Eagle Mansion I was elbows deep in this horrifying goodness. Overall, I found the storyline very readable and I kept wanting to go back for more. I am happy with the way things turned out although the final scene seem a bit too rushed compared with the extended build-up. It all seemed a little too easy in the end. I would definitely read more books by Boone, this was my first, and have been told to check out his Hatching series.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Atria Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I really enjoyed this and appreciate the opportunity!

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Review: Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser

Not That I Could Tell: A NovelNot That I Could Tell: A Novel by Jessica Strawser
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I get the sense she views neighbors the way I do–sort of like family. You don’t get to pick them, and you’re stuck sharing space whether you like it or not, so you might as well try to get along.

When neighborhood women gather around a fire pit drinking wine into all hours of the night, you never know what’s going to happen. Unfortunately for this group of ladies in Yellow Springs, Ohio, fun and games turn to fuzzy memories and a lot of questions come Monday morning when Kristin, one of the group, doesn’t show up for work and her twins don’t arrive at school.

The police asking questions of Kristin’s whereabouts quickly devolves into an all-out media circus in this once quiet neighborhood. Suspicions fall at the feet of Kristin’s estranged husband, Dr. Paul, one of the creepiest doctors you’ll ever meet.

The main course of the book follows along with the lives of the women remaining; showing how Kristin’s disappearance has affected them, their lives and their relationships to one another. Izzy, the newest member of the neighborhood gang, and the only single-woman, plays a very special role in the drama as she appears to have befriended Dr. Paul.

This is a very well written book. I think Strawser really excels at writing and examining different types of relationships. Additionally, I feel she does a great job exploring women’s issues: what it is like to be a mother, a stay-at-home mother versus a working mother, a single woman, women in love with other women, women’s relationships to their families, different expectations placed on women at different points in their lives, etc. She writes so fluidly; it all has such a nice feel to it.

I was surprised to find that overall the Goodreads rating for this book is around a 3.50; although that still means it is a ‘good’ book, I would have assumed it would be higher, more like a 4. I think the main problem is the fact that this is classified as a Thriller and I would disagree with that designation. I would classify this as a Domestic Drama or even Women’s Lit. It is my opinion, that her books would be better served if they were marketed in that way as if you go into this looking for ‘Adult Thriller’ you may be disappointed. Of course this is solely my opinion, I do not work in publishing, so really, what the hell do I know?

Overall, I had a really enjoyable time with this book. Strawser’s writing always sucks me in and I will definitely pick up anything else she writes in the future. Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. I always appreciate the opportunity to provide my opinions.

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What’s on my Christmas List? ((Part I))

Welcome Bookworms to the first installment of what’s on my Christmas list and why it should be on yours! I thought I would choose a few books off my Christmas list and go over them a wee bit. All anticipated books that I just haven’t gotten to this year but would love to add them to my shelves.

  • The Window by Amelia Brunskill – This is the story of Anna & Jess. Identical twins who may look alike but are different in many ways. They are very close however and tell each other everything, or so Jess believed. When Anna falls to her death sneaking out her bedroom window, Jess isn’t so sure she knew her twin as well as she thought. She sets out to discover her twin’s secrets but may regret that once all is said in done. This YA Thriller released in April of this year and just sounds like a very compelling plot to me. I believe I first heard this talked about on Chelsea Palmer’s channel on Booktube. I have wanted to read it ever since!
  • Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend – This is the 2nd book in the Nevermoor series, a middle grade series reminiscent of Harry Potter. I have the 1st book in the series and although I haven’t read it yet, I just know I am going to absolutely love it when I do and will want the second one to read right away. All talk I have heard of this series is absolutely glowing and I can’t wait to start it. Anything involving kids, a magic competition, a magic school, I will buy, I will read and I will tell you what I think about it! Yes, please, I want this book!
  • The Devil’s Thief (The Last Magician Book #2) by Lisa Maxwell – As with Wundersmith, this is the 2nd book in a series I haven’t started yet but know I will love. The reason I haven’t read The Last Magician yet is because I was waiting for this 2nd book to come out. This is a YA Fantasy novel that is full of magic and involves one of my favorite tropes: time-travel. I believe it begins in modern-day NYC and then travels back to 1902-NYC. It sounds incredible and gets very solid reviews on Goodreads & Booktube. I am ready for this one!
  • The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James – This YA Scifi Thriller follows Romy Silvers, who finds herself alone on the spaceship, Infinity, after her parents’ tragic deaths. She tries to make the best of her horrible situation and wait out her rescue by a nearby ship, Eternity. She even starts exchanging messages with that ship’s Captain, the mysterious J. As the Eternity gets closer however, Romy thinks something may be amiss. This sounds soooooo good. I love me some ‘lost in space’ adventures and this one has a really compelling synopsis. From what I have heard it is pretty stellar scifi and I def want to check it out for myself.
  • These Rebel Waves (Steam Raiders #1) by Sara Raasch – Pirates. Need I say more? Yes, you want me to say more? Okay, here goes. Words that jumped out at me from the synopsis include: Soldier, oppressor, Council, dangerous, outlaws, magic plants, black market, abduction, heretic, forbidden, shocking and conspiracy. I’m like…
  • Kill Creek by Scott Thomas – This book has been cluttering up my Instagram feed since last Halloween and it is high time I find out what all the fuss is about. A haunted house tale that follows a horror author who gets invited to spend Halloween night at said house. Three other authors join him on that fated night and what starts out as a fun adventure soon turns into a fight for survival. Yep, that definitely sounds like something I would enjoy. Plus the cover is bloody fantastic. I need this beauty on my shelves!

Those are just a few of the many, many books stacking out my Christmas list this year. Have you read any of these? What books are you asking for this holiday? I want to know. Leave a comment below or contact me on any of my social media outlets.

Cheers & Happy Reading!

My Favorite Read of January 2018

The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower, #3)The Waste Lands by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reflecting back on 2018, I have decided to pick my favorite book I read per month to officially come up with my ‘best reads of the year list’. ((Inspired by an Instagram challenge – #bookstabest2018 – check it out if you are on Insta)). For January, it was an easy choice. This book blew my mind.

The incorporation of all the riddles and the story of Blaine the Mono. I mean, who comes up with this stuff?

The King, that’s who. Stephen. Freaking. King.

Original: Okay, well, I finished this over a week ago and I still don’t know how I can possibly review this adequately. What more can I say besides the fact that I freaking loved it?! As you know if you are reading this, this is the third book in King’s epic Dark Tower series. This book knocked The Drawing of Three out of the top spot for me – it was that good! Most compelling was the resurgence of my favorite character of this series and it just made me so, so happy!

There is really nothing else I can say about this that would be any more creative or insightful than what countless others have no doubt written in their reviews. For me, one thing I always think when reading a book from this series is how absolutely EPIC this story is. The detail, the atmosphere, the artfully drawn characters – it is truly astounding to me that all of this, ALL OF THIS, came out of one man’s brain!

I have already started the fourth book in the series and it is equally amazing, although the pace is a little different thus far. I look forward to seeing this series out to its conclusion.

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Review: The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

The Lying Game: A NovelThe Lying Game: A Novel by Ruth Ware
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Meg’s Ware Ratings

1. The Woman in Cabin 10: 3-stars
2. The Death of Mrs. Westaway: 4-stars
3. The Lying Game:**4.5-stars**

When Isa Wilde receives a text from her old boarding school friend, Kate, that states, ‘I need you’, she packs her bag, her infant daughter, kisses her husband goodbye and boards a train. Destination = the idyllic ((but remote)) coastal town of Salten.

There she is reunited with her ole’ school chums Kate, Fatima and Thea. Think Mean Girls but nastier.

But Kate has more in mind than a reunion. A local woman out walking her dog has just uncovered a bone, most likely human, and Kate is petrified of what the repercussions of this find may be. She calls her friends because they are the only ones who know. They all have a secret. A dark secret that they have been holding for many years, but as we all know, secrets very seldom stay buried forever.

I have previously read two of Ware’s other books, The Woman in Cabin 10 and The Death of Mrs. Westaway. I can easily say I enjoyed this one the most out of the three. I think basically it boils down to the fact that boarding school stories are my jam. The fact that this had a present day time line weaved together with flashbacks of boarding school days did it for me. I love boarding schools, I love mean girls (fictionally) and I love secrets that just won’t stay secret. It was like this story was made for me. I know it won’t be for everyone, I can tell that from the ratings…

For me, it was great. Thoroughly enjoyable and now I feel like I have to read In a Dark, Dark Wood so that I may fully rank all of Ware’s works. After I finished The Death of Mrs. Westaway I took all of her other books off my tbr so I am super glad that I, on a whim, decided to give this one a try. Lesson Learned: Never give up on an author, every work is different and everything deserves a good honest try.

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November Wrap-Up/December TBR

Happy December 1st Geeks & Gals! ‘Tis the season for bookish goodness…but isn’t that all year round, really? Today I thought I would quickly go through my November Wrap-Up and let you know my December reading plans and TBR.

For November I successfully completed 11 books, which although still great, is down from an epic 16 books completed in October. I believe I reviewed all of the books I completed in November previously so I will just go through a quick run-down with star ratings:

  1. Abandoned (Max Revere series)                              4 stars
  2. The Lying Woods (ARC)                                              5 stars
  3. A Study in Charlotte (audio)                                     3 stars
  4. Winterhouse (middle grade ARC)                           4.5 stars
  5. My Sister, the Serial Killer (ARC)                             3.5 stars
  6. Wolves of the Calla (Dark Tower series)                5 stars
  7. This is Our Story                                                          5 stars
  8. Strange Grace                                                               4 stars
  9. The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (ARC)      5 stars
  10. Love a’la Mode (ARC)                                                  5 stars
  11. The Lying Game (audio)                                             4 stars

As you can tell by the star ratings listed above, I had a pretty stellar reading month. There were no books that I did not enjoy. The lowest star rating of 3, A Study in Charlotte, was still a fun book it just didn’t WOW me like some of the others. The book I would say that had the largest impact on me for the month of November was probably, The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. It was just such a unique Adult Mystery/Thriller. I had never read anything like it before. It was so confusing, pretty much the whole way through, but so insanely addicting, I had to keep reading!

Moving on to December – I have big plans this month. Firstly, I am participating in two readalongs this month with book friends from Instagram. The first is the #manxcarpooltochristmasland where I will be rereading Joe Hill’s fantastic Holiday Horror novel, NOS4A2. I read NOS4A2 for the first time last December and loved it soooooo much that I even bought a copy of it for my sister for Christmas. Initially I read it on my kindle but have since bought a hard copy for myself and the plan is to annotate it this time round. Really looking forward to jumping back into that twisted tale!

Second, I am participating in the #ChristmasinZephyr readalong where we will be reading Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon. This is a coming-of-age story that follows young, Cory Mackenson, and his friends and family living in the small town of Zephyr, Alabama. I have heard so many wonderful things about this book, in fact it is a few of my book friends all-time favorite novels, so I am really excited to check it out. I have also heard it compared to Stephen King’s short story, The Body, which I love so I have a strong feeling this will be a 5-star book for me. *Side Note: The Body was adapted into a fabulous movie called, Stand By Me, which if you haven’t watched it yet, you should.

In addition to the two readalongs, I am not overloading myself with too many other commitments. I would like to get at least halfway through, Song of Susannah, which is the sixth book in King’s Dark Tower series. I want to stretch it out a bit because I only have one book left after this one. The last thing I want to focus on is a techy scifi book called, Killing Adam, that was sent to me by the author, Earik Beann. He was so gracious to send me a copy in exchange for an honest review. The premise sounds very interesting and I can’t wait to get started with it. It is fairly short so I don’t think I should have a problem getting through it by the New Year release date.

Currently, I have read 128 books for the year. I would be VERY happy if I could get to 135. That would feel like a HUGE victory for me, considering my initial goal was 62 which I then bumped to 72 and again bumped to 92. I have definitely exceeded my expectations.

I do have a lot of great plans for 2019, which include hopefully finally starting by BookTube channel! I just need to do some more research, studying, learning how to edit, etc., before I get going with that. I will do a 2019 Goals post closer to the end of the year so stay tuned for that. What books are you hoping to finish before the end of the year? Have you already set your reading goals for 2019? I want to hear about it! Leave a comment below or contact me through any of my social media links.

Cheers & Happy Reading!


Review: Love a la Mode by Stephanie Kate Strohm

Love à la ModeLove à la Mode by Stephanie Kate Strohm
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“…part of the magic of food. It didn’t last. It couldn’t. Each bite was only a moment transformed into a memory.”


This book stole my heart right out of the gate. A departure gate at O’Hare International Airport to be specific. We meet our main characters, Rosie Radeke and Henry Yi, aboard a plane to Paris. Both teens have been selected to attend the very prestigious Ecole of Chef Laurent. The program is part competition, part culinary school, open to only 20 students per year. Being selected is an honor in itself and both Rosie and Henry are full of excitement and trepidation on their flight.

This book was absolutely adorable ((one of the best ‘Meet Cutes’ I have ever read!!)) and reminded me that sometimes it is okay to just read something that makes your heart happy. There was nothing complicated, no horrible hidden secrets or murders or deceptions, just love, reflection and growth…oh and a heck of a lot of fun, food and friends!

In addition to Henry and Rosie, the story incorporates quite a few of the other students who are from different areas around the world and brought such unique personalities to the story. If you are someone who enjoys stories with a strong friendship group you should definitely pick this one up. I loved the support and camaraderie amongst the main cast. Yumi in particular, loved her so much!! The banter between the characters is great; I was laughing out loud by only 3% into the book.

“There’s no one else I’d rather eat with.”

As a romance-heavy YA Contemporary will do, this book is replete with the angsty sort of romance tropes that you would typically find in a YA but, that being said, they were really well done here. It never felt cheesy to me or overplayed, just nice, steady and sweet. I loved watching the evolution of the relationship between Rosie and Henry, even through the miscommunications that made me want to scream, I just truly felt filled to the brim with warmth from this story.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney-Hyperion, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity to provide my feedback and I look forward to hearing what other readers think of this one! Well done, Ms. Strohm. Very well done.

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