Archive | September 2013

Have you?

New York

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The New York, New York Hotel. Las Vegas, Nevada. 2013

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Book Review: Cranwood by J. Bryer

Cranwood cover

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Abby Hill and her mother have moved to England to help her grandmother run the inn she owns in Cranwood. However, Abby Hill isn’t a normal sixteen-year-old girl. No, no, no. She hears/sees dead people and tries to save the ones they warn her are in trouble!

For example, David, the cute neighbour in the village. Though she struggles with her visions, Abby is desperate to help everyone she can. When a particular haunting spirit warns her of friend in trouble, Abby will have to figure out who to ask for help or if she can try to do it all on her own.

The harsh reality: Well, I don’t have anything nice to say about this book, it’s terrible and there’s noting Young Adult about it. The book is written in an elementary age range instead of fourteen+. I’m talking, ‘I’m having the best day ever!’ kind of sentences. There is a time and place for juvenile writing, and Young Adult fiction is not it.  

For instance: Abby gets ‘mad’ that David hasn’t called her so she walks over to his house to see if he’s home. When he’s not, she pouts and hates her life until he finally calls which then the day suddenly becomes the best ever! I’m sorry, but nothing about that passage makes sense! How can a day be the best ever, when it clearly wasn’t?

Le sigh, the main problem is that the age range is all wrong for this book. If the author tweaked the characters age and made changes to the story that fit the writing range it might have a chance at working, but as is, it’s awful and I’m sorry for stating that. It’s not easy to hear but I grew so frustrated with the clunky language, thin plot and ignorant assumptions on people different from Americans. To top it off, Abby states how she’s been living in England for while, but her mother who must be English (because hello, the grandmother obviously is?), clearly only speaks like an American. It. Just. Doesn’t. Work.

And the cover? Beautiful, but honey there is no way that girl is sixteen. Try twelve and you’ve got yourself a better start. Make like a knitter and rip it up. Start over and either read a lot more R. L. Stine for appropriate age range or start reading constantly current YA fiction to learn how it’s written. The ideas are there, but there needs to be much more practice. 

Book Review: The Impossibility of Tomorrow by Avery Williams

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Please note this is the second and final book in the Incarnations series and does contain spoilers.

For my review on the first book, The Alchemy of Forever.

Seraphina continues her story as sixteen-year-old Kailey Morgan. She was supposed to finish her life, end everything…until she met Kailey’s next door neighbor Noah. Sera is smitten, but her ex Cyrus is still lurking after her. He’ll do anything to return Sera to the fold, even if it means killing Kailey’s classmates in a man hunt to find Sera…

Sera thought she wanted a final rest, but now her priorities have changed, if Cyrus has taken Noah then his demise is the only answer for her safety. No one can be trusted and Sera lies on edge wondering who is truly who around her. She must find Cyrus before he discovers who she is, and everyone’s life depends on it.

I have to say that I love how this is another two book YA series. They’re really starting to grow on me and I am pleasantly surprised that two is enough. There were a couple of other surprises in this book and I praise Williams for not making her characters cliché.

Sera as a character tries to stay strong, but it’s the lovely bit that is her downfall. I felt her reactions to many plot points were weak and I wish her fiercely willed parts were more prominent. Ironically, I found myself wishing the real Kailey Morgan had more of a voice on the book. I’d be interested to read a prequel of her story as she is quite the fascinating girl that should be written about more in YA.

Overall I enjoyed the series. It hits all the targets for modern day YA with a few more diversity boxes checked, which YA is sorely lacking. For a romance series I am a fan and would recommend this range to anyone looking for a different series to be sucked into for a couple of days. 

Washington State Bookstore tour: Seattle Mystery Bookshop

There is a place where only mysteries are sold. From the beginning with Agatha Christie to modern day standouts such as The Cuckoo’s Calling, you can find anything and everything you’re looking for. 

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Welcome to Seattle’s Mystery Bookshop!

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Just up the hill from the opening of Pioneer Square, SMB has an impressive space that is wall to wall of everything that is mystery books!

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Enter along the ?, and begin your browsing! This fantastic bookshop has sections of everything from by author to YA and even the silly formulaic mysteries organized by topic, such as cooking, or cats. 

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The staff are warm, welcoming, host local mystery writer events all the time and if they by chance don’t have what you want, they will order anything you wish! It doesn’t have to be a mystery. For a local bookshop that only sells one genre type, it’s a small but fantastic key aspect that ensures their happy customers keep coming back for more. I wish I lived closer so I could make this my local! 

SMB books

Whether you live in Seattle or happen to pass by for a visit, please pay this lovely shop a few minutes of your attention! It’s totally worth it even if you don’t normally read mysteries. Branch out! Try something new! And please help support fantastic local bookshores like Seattle Mystery Bookshop!

Book Review: Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy

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I chose to use the Goodread’s book summary – due to the popularity of the Netflix show, I don’t want to give any other information away by mistake:

“The body of a young girl is found mangled and murdered in the woods of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania, in the shadow of the abandoned Godfrey Steel mill. A manhunt ensues—though the authorities aren’t sure if it’s a man they should be looking for.

 Some suspect an escapee from the White Tower, a foreboding biotech facility owned by the Godfrey family—their personal fortune and the local economy having moved on from Pittsburgh steel—where, if rumors are true, biological experiments of the most unethical kind take place. Others turn to Peter Rumancek, a Gypsy trailer-trash kid who has told impressionable high school classmates that he’s a werewolf. Or perhaps it’s Roman, the son of the late JR Godfrey, who rules the adolescent social scene with the casual arrogance of a cold-blooded aristocrat, his superior status unquestioned despite his decidedly freakish sister, Shelley, whose monstrous medical conditions belie a sweet intelligence, and his otherworldly control freak of a mother, Olivia.

At once a riveting mystery and a fascinating revelation of the grotesque and the darkness in us all, Hemlock Grove has the architecture and energy to become a classic in its own right—and Brian McGreevy the talent and ambition to enthrall us for years to come.”**

**I don’t really agree with this statement.

My thoughts: I am a HUGE fan of the show. I have really enjoyed seeing the creative differences McGreevy did in transition from book to screen. I do agree with many of the reviews on Goodreads, I felt the show was a lot better than the book.

That aside, the preface was poorly written and McGreevy is a huge one for overwriting. My mind would get frustrated with the lack of punctuation and sentences that didn’t make sense. It seems ideas were all over the place and it was rare for a connection to be made.

However, there were a few gems scattered throughout the chapters. My breath would be caught by descriptions of the moon, or of the gothic beauty of Hemlock Grove. There are many bits in the story that are full of wonder and you can’t help but be sucked into the mystery in this town.

The book left me wanting more answers. It really has the potential to be a great book, but there are many bumps and sidetracks that keep the reader turning pages but we aren’t given any real answers, which is a letdown. The book is just as jumbled as the show. I highly suggest watching it because it’s just such a mess with your head – and addicting to watch! I feel that the book has the better ending, explanation wise, but it is so worth watching too.

Has anyone else jumped on the bandwagon and blown through the Netflix Original Series in three days like me? What do you think about it? Would you consider/have you read the book as well? Please let me know your thoughts, I’m kind of a fangirl about the hot mess!

September Purchases

I went off the grid this month:

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Oh yes, I bought some second, oldish magazines! Love me some Martha recipes and I’ll never say no to anything Halloween! Lots of prep time this year!

I also bought a new dessert cook book:

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1001 cookies! This should keep me plenty busy next year!

What have you bought this month?