30 September 2015

The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts

(Copy provided by NetGalley.)

From Goodreads:

"Kat Preston doesn’t believe in ghosts. Not because she’s never seen one, but because she saw one too many. Refusing to believe is the only way to protect herself from the ghost that tried to steal her life. Kat’s disbelief keeps her safe until her junior year at McTernan Academy, when a research project for an eccentric teacher takes her to a tiny, private island off the coast of Connecticut.

The site of a grisly mystery, the Isle of Acacia is no place for a girl who ignores ghosts, but the ghosts leave Kat little choice. Accompanied by her research partner, Evan Kingsley, she investigates the disappearance of Cassie Mallory and Sebastian Radcliffe on their wedding night in 1886. Evan’s scientific approach to everything leaves Kat on her own to confront a host of unbelievables: ancestral curses, powerful spells, and her strange connection to the ghosts that haunt Castle Creighton.

But that’s all before Kat’s yanked through a magic portal and Evan follows her. When the two of them awaken 129 years in the past with their souls trapped inside the bodies of two wedding guests, everything changes. Together, Kat and Evan race to stop the wedding-night murders and find a way back to their own time—and their own bodies—before their souls slip away forever."


The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts was a FANTASTIC mystery. I loved it enough to sacrifice a significant amount of sleep so I could finish it. The writing was strong, the characters were very well-developed, and the plot was all kinds of twisty, yet it made sense and came to a good conclusion. Ms. Tansley also proved that she's quite skilled with pacing and deft foreshadowing. That's the kind of book I like!

The reason I can tell you the characters were well-developed is because even though the heroine, Kat, seems to be a bit limp when it comes to dealing with things, I still liked her. I liked her counterpart, Toria, even more. But best of all was Toria's friendship with Alastaire, whom I immediately liked—his understanding of Toria's character made him my favorite from the very beginning.

This complex mystery, even with its rather serious dip into witchcraft and interesting take on reincarnation, is well-worth the reading time. It also set itself up well for a second book without ending on a huge cliff-hanger. I always appreciate that. Give this one a shot!

Gentle Reader Alert: I found nothing of concern.

29 September 2015

Being Layla Hart

(Copy provided by NetGalley.)

From Goodreads: "April Collins is freaking out. She completely embarrassed herself in front of the most crushable guy in school. There’s no way she’s returning to school, like, EVER. Why can’t she be pretty, popular and perfect like Layla Hart? Layla is a phony online profile - that is, until April wakes up as her! Will popularity prove as easy as it seems? And what happens when April’s crush finally notices her…as Layla?"


Being 14 is hard. I get it, I really do. Thankfully, I don't remember much about those years, but I'm pretty sure that they weren't much fun. Amanda McKelt manages to capture the tone and feel of being 14 perfectly while successfully weaving in A Moral without beating the reader over the head with it. Much.

That being said, there's capturing the voice of a 14-year-old and then there's screaming and twittering in the voice of a 14-year-old for 170 pages. That was a bit hard for me to read, so I ended up skimming a lot, and I don't feel like I missed much because I did. This was due in large part to the plot's utter predictability, the inexplicable magic that made things happen, and the stupidity of the people who should have been able to throw a monkey-wrench into the plot, i.e. April's mother. But no, dear Kath buys her daughter's inane story with hardly a flinch and exerts her parental authority not one whit. I despise parental characters who just let things happen without getting to the bottom of things. That's a parent's job! Not to play the role of innocent bystander. Innocent bystanders are not believable parents.

Rant over.

Anyway, the Moral is actually woven pretty well into the story. I think that if I were a tween, I would enjoy this book much more. But as an adult, well, it was a bit like revisiting childhood cartoons that make me cringe at my taste as a child. Very hard for me to read.

Gentle Reader Alert: I skimmed most of the book, so I don't truly know how heavy or easy it is on the swears. What I read was pretty clean.

28 September 2015

The Grave of Lainey Grace

(Copy provided by NetGalley.)

From Goodreads:

"Every year, when the last leaf of summer falls, roses are laid at the grave of Lainey Grace. No one knows who steals into the cemetery after the gates are closed and locked, least of all the head groundskeeper, Bob. When Bob is warned he’ll be fired if the rose-givers sneak in again, his ten-year-old granddaughter, Briar Ann Wade, decides to find out who the perpetrators are and why they only come each fall. Briar discovers the answer to the mystery only to learn, as her grandpa says, grief and love take many forms…and there is healing in both."


As a reader, I'm pretty tolerant. Yes, I have a master's degree in English, but instead of driving me towards books with high literary tone, earning my degree made me aware of the many ways an author can express his or her voice. Voice is unique. It can be brought out in its best form with training, with editing, with practice, but overall, each voice represents a person's story and THAT is what intrigues me, not how perfectly they write or use all the right tropes or blow up all the stereotypes.

So when I call a story beautiful, know that I mean it. The Grave of Lainey Grace is absolutely beautiful. Aaron Galvin has brought the essence of being a child and caught between the whimsy of childhood and the sometimes cold reality of adulthood to life with a deft hand. He's drawn his simple characters with quick, accurate lines and rich detail, but best of all, he's captured the rural dialect in a readable manner. The entire time I was reading the book, I thought fondly of my own down-to-earth grandfather and missed him more than I have in the last decade since his passing. And Briar Ann's reactions to the adults around her, with their confusing emotions and disbelieving reactions to things that seem so perfectly clear to her, are spot on. Best of all, all the authority figures in Briar's life--her grandfather and her parents--are presented as people, flawed but worth loving all the same. None of them are sidelined, which happens too often in YA stories.

Being caught up in a story of this caliber, I felt the grief and the love that intertwined the characters and brought the narrative to life. That doesn't always happen to me and I enjoyed the experience. Galvin is a writer to watch--I'm definitely going to hunt down his other books and settle myself in for a good read.

Gentle Reader Alert: I found nothing of concern.

24 September 2015

Ghost for Sale

(Copy provided by NetGalley.)

From Goodreads:
"Caitlin King can’t believe that her shopaholic cousin actually bought two ghosts off of eBay. But she can’t ignore the truth when she starts seeing sexy Liam O’Reilly, who’s been dead for over a hundred years. He’s a fascinating specter, and the more time Caitlin spends with him, the closer they become—sending them both spiraling into a star-crossed tailspin. No matter how desperately they long for each other, there’s just no future with a guy who’s already stopped breathing.

In order to help Liam and his twin sister, Anna, leave their earthly limbo and cross over into the light, Caitlin must find the ghost of Anna’s fiancĂ©. But a malevolent spirit is dead set against Anna moving on. Now Caitlin will have to unravel the mystery surrounding the twins’ past lives in order to keep Liam’s spirit safe—even if it means sacrificing her heart in the process."


Ghost for Sale was not what I expected. With a title like that, I was expecting more of a farce than a romance intertwined with a mystery. But a romance intertwined with a mystery I got, and so I read on!

The mystery of Liam and his death and the malevolent spirit holding his twin, Anna, back from going into the light was intriguing. I very much wanted to know who would hold back anyone from moving on from this life, and that storyline was well-presented and nicely resolved. I really enjoyed that part of the book.

BUT THE ROMANCE. Maybe it's my personal preference for slow-burning relationships, where the people involved actually bother to get to know each other and the reader gets to see why they fall in love with each other, but this part fell flat for me. Perhaps it's because all the getting-to-know-you interactions got summed up in a sentence or two. The reader doesn't need to spend hours and hours with the characters, but rather than telling us that they talked so easily about so many things, the author could SHOW us how they conversed so easily, despite their different times and different backgrounds. That's what I would have loved to seen. Instead, the love story feels rushed and unrealistic, especially as it takes place in a matter of days. 

Also, every character in this book was very one-note--Cat is meek yet a rich daddy's girl. Her eccentric cousin is also a rich daddy's girl who attracts all the boys and doesn't want any of them. The reader is told, repeatedly, that Liam is sexy and brooding and protective. No flaws in anyone so far. Nothing to rise above, nothing to overcome. Nothing to give the MCs depth or likability. Now, if the "ghost buster" had gotten some time in the narrative, things probably could have been more interesting. But no, he was brushed to the side, too. And the ending was very disappointing--it was complete, unsatisfying wish fulfillment.

What did make this story worth reading, aside from understanding the mystery, was Liam's reactions to the modern world. His first car ride actually made me chuckle. Overall, if you were looking for a fluffy, quick beach read with no depth, this would be the book for you. 

Gentle Reader Alert: This is written like a Harlequin romance, but there's nothing actually like that in the book.

23 September 2015

SERIES REVIEW: Legend of Rhyme

(Copy provided by NetGalley and Blue Moon.)

From Goodreads:

"Four-year-old Asher Caine vanishes while playing near the woods one day with his twin sister Ariana. Eventually, his family believes him to be dead. In the Kingdom of Falmoor, twins are cursed. Ever since the evil sorcerer Larque turned the good witch Elora to stone, all twins in the Kingdom are doomed to be separated, either through death or mysterious disappearances.

Now about to turn thirteen, Ariana learns that her brother is alive, and she must find him in order to save Falmoor. With their magic blood and powerful bond, the Caine twins must release Elora from her stone imprisonment. Only then will Larque be stopped from spreading darkness throughout the kingdom.

Will the twins find each other in time? Can they save Falmoor from evil and remove the curse of the twins forever?"


The people at Blue Moon are nice, nice folks. I requested what was the third in the Legend of Rhyme series, Teagan of Tomorrow, and they were kind enough to send me the first two books in the series, Elora of Stone and Into Coraira. There was enough backstory included in Teagan that I wouldn't have been too lost, but it was great having the full story. 

These books are perfect middle-grade fantasy. All the usual characters are there--unicorns, pegasi, fairies, pixies, witches and sorcerers--so there isn't a need for extensive world-building. The audience already has a handle on this kind of stuff. There are more twisty family relationships than the entire Star Wars series put together, and they bring a number of surprises to the story. I wasn't sure how I would handle the twin curse--I can't stand it when a parent has to lose a child, in stories or in real life--but while it's heartbreaking, the curse also ends up being turned to very clever ends. Also, the pixies were mischievous and made me laugh. I could absolutely picture them and their antics, and they did an excellent job of lightening the story. 

Unfortunately, the first two novels lacked depth, especially in their characterization. The reader is told several times, for instance, that the twins' mother, Gwendolyn, has a pure heart, but there are few demonstrations of it. The same with their father, Lochlan, and his magical ability--I would have loved to see more of what he could and couldn't do. I really would have loved to see more of their relationship develop--the little instances that brought them together and maybe hinted at the twisted family relationships that would haunt their lives. And Novah's relationship and care for the whole family was inexplicable--she had no ties to them that I could see and I immediately suspected the worst of her. These are things than can be glossed over for children, but as the reader matures, in my opinion it's better to let them "see" why things happen instead of just telling them. 

But by the third novel, Ariana and Asher, were well-rounded and believable. I loved watching them try to adapt to the situations they were thrown into. Teagan, too, was a fleshed-out character, and I liked her from the very start. She seemed spunky and capable of taking care of herself. Well, I also might be a sucker for any character who rides a skateboard. Skateboards are cool! And Grimblerod! His dining choices were questionable, but overall he's a sympathetic dark character, and I'm interested to see where his story goes.

Teagan of Tomorrow ends rather abruptly, right in the middle of the action. I'm left wanting more--never a bad thing--but it happened so suddenly I had to read the ending twice to make sure it was the end. Overall, I would happily hand these novels off to my own children and I look forward to reading the next in the series.

Gentle Reader Alert: I found nothing of concern.

19 September 2015


(Copy provided by NetGalley.)

From Goodreads:

"Sixteen-year-old Jae Hwa Lee is a Korean-American girl with a black belt, a deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows, and a chip on her shoulder the size of Korea itself. When her widowed dad uproots her to Seoul from her home in L.A., Jae thinks her biggest challenges will be fitting in to a new school and dealing with her dismissive Korean grandfather. Then she discovers that a Korean demi-god, Haemosu, has been stealing the soul of the oldest daughter of each generation in her family for centuries. And she's next.

But that’s not Jae’s only problem.

There's also Marc. Irresistible and charming, Marc threatens to break the barriers around Jae's heart. As the two grow closer, Jae must decide if she can trust him. But Marc has a secret of his own—one that could help Jae overturn the curse on her family for good. It turns out that Jae's been wrong about a lot of things: her grandfather is her greatest ally, even the tough girl can fall in love, and Korea might just be the home she's always been looking for."


I know I've read this story before--I can picture it sitting in the pile of library books next to my bed, my eye drawn to the fascinating cover. I remembered most of the plot. But my Goodreads shelf has NOTHING. What the heck? I would have at least marked some stars or something if I was feeling too lazy or overwhelmed to write a review, but nope. No record. Nevertheless, this is still going down as a retro review, since it was my second read of the book.

Gilded doesn't exactly turn stereotypes on their head, but I was happy to have something a little different this time, where the girl was the fighter and the guy was the brains. And it was set in Korea and loaded with Korean mythology, which was a new experience for me. The plot hung together well, everything met its mark, and yet....

Jae Hwa is a California girl forced to move to Korea while in high school. She's half-white (I think?!) and while her mom did her best to bring Korean culture into Jae Hwa's life, Jae Hwa herself sounds mostly like a Californian...and a spoiled California girl, at that. Sure, she's mastered Tae Kwon Do and the Korean horn bow, which shoots further than any other bow in the world (that dead horse got good and beat), but her whining and her angst weren't balanced by anything redeemable. She wasn't funny, she wasn't a loyal friend, and she definitely didn't take the initiative to improve her situation until the very end, and by then it was too late for me to like her. Also, there were a couple of points in the book where it felt like the action jumped or Jae Hwa changed her mind and somehow the author forgot to tell the reader. Like Jae Hwa's sudden allegiance to and love for her Komo--that came out of the blue. I was pretty sure Jae Hwa didn't like her and felt that the feelings were mutual.

Overall, the book was enjoyable, but I wouldn't give it more than three stars, at best. On the other hand, I'll happily read the other books in the series to see how Christina Farley grows as a writer.

Gentle Reader Alert: I found nothing of concern.

18 September 2015


From Goodreads:
"August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?"


I read Wonder a year ago, after my then-fourth grader raved about it. Miss Enthusiasm was just getting into reading books for fun and identifying what she liked versus what the crowd/her teacher likes. So when she said, "Mom, you *have* to read this book," I took her at her word.

She's got good taste.

Wonder is a spectacular novel, one that holds up to re-reading despite the heavy emotional issues that drive the plot. As other reviewers have pointed out, it's an "issue" story, but it isn't written in the heavy literary hand that many issue stories are as they try to beat the tears out of you. Instead, August's tone is filled with self-deprecating humor and a shrug of "what can you do?" that makes the experience palatable and August himself extremely likeable. In fact, Palacio does a masterful job of making everyone likeable, purely by writing from their perspective. It's a great lesson in "be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." I'm proud to have Wonder on my bookshelves and even happier to convince other people to read it and gain a little sympathy for the people in our lives who are having a hard time--obvious or not.

Gentle Reader Alert: I found nothing of concern.

16 September 2015

A Collection of Janette Rallison's Works

Covering All's Fair in Love, War, and High SchoolRevenge of the Cheerleaders; Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To Do List; and How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend.

From Goodreads for All's Fair in Love, War, and High School

"When your chances for getting into college and your date for the prom are all on the line…

Sixteen-year-old Samantha Taylor is used to having things go her way. She's head cheerleader and has all the right friends and a steady stream of boyfriends. But when she tanks the SATs, her automatic assumptions about going to college don't appear to be so automatic anymore. She determines that her only hope for college admission is to win the election for student body president. Unfortunately, with her razor wit and acid tongue she's better suited to dishing out insults than winning votes.

When she brashly bets her classmate Logan that she can go two weeks without uttering a single insult, Samantha immediately realizes that she may have bitten off more than she can chew. And when her current boyfriend dumps her, less than three weeks before the prom, it couldn't be a worse time to be forced to keep her opinions to herself. Finding a new boyfriend will be a challenge now that Logan shadows her every move, hoping to catch her slipping back into her old ways. Samantha is determined to win the election and find a dream date for the prom, no matter what it takes. After all . . . all's fair in love and war (and high school!)."

From Goodreads for Revenge of the Cheerleaders

"Chelsea's school year has taken a turn for the worse. After being dumped by her boyfriend and humiliated at the pep assembly by her younger sister's boyfriend, Rick, she's just concentrating on avoiding any other major embarrassments. That's when Rick and his band debut their new album, complete with a whole set of songs bashing cheerleaders. Chelsea's humiliation has reached a whole new level now that everyone is walking down the halls singing the words to "Dangerously Blonde." It's time to make Rick pay. All he wants is to win the High School Idol audition, so he can be on his way to rock star fame and fortune. But with the help of her best friends, Aubrie and Samantha, Chelsea is going to steal his victory right out from under him. The characters from All's Fair in Love, War and High School are back, only this time it's payback."

From Goodreads for Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To Do List:

"A PC school principal turns West Side Story into a comedy of errors. Sixteen year-old Jessica dreams of Hollywood fame, and when Jordan moves into her small town, she dreams of him too. He's a movie star's son, and hey, he's gorgeous to boot. Jordan has always wanted to get out from the shadow cast by his superstar father, but now that he and his mother have moved so far away from LA, how can he get his divorced parents back together? Jessica convinces Jordan the way to get his father to come for a long visit is to be a part of the school play. And if she's "discovered" in the process, all the better. Things go wrong when she lets Jordan's secret identity slip, and grow even more disastrous when the principal tries to change West Side Story into a gang-free, violence-free, politically correct production."

From Goodreads for How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend:

"Sixteen-year-old Giovanna Petrizzo finds it hard enough to fit in. Three years since her family moved to Texas, she's still the newcomer compared to everyone around her. It doesn't help matters when her twin brother, Dante, takes on the mayor's son by running for class president. The least she could expect, though, would be for her boyfriend, Jesse, to support their cause. But Jesse's apparent defection triggers Giovanna's rash emotional side, and before she knows it, she's turned Jesse from the boy of her dreams to the ex-boyfriend she dreams of winning back."


Thanks to the tiny aforementioned library in my hometown, I decided to work my way through a goodly number of Ms. Rallison's works because they were there. Well, and because My Unfair Godmother was so delightful. (Seriously, go give it a read!) I have to say, if I had the passion it took to write novels, Ms. Rallison would be my role model. Her books are genuinely funny, yet the characters don't lead charmed lives or miserable lives. They're just everyday kids who have to work to overcome their flaws and learn how to accept other people as they are and not how the protagonists wish they would be. I find them quite loveable because of it. 

The above description could leave you thinking that Rallison's works are a collection of morality tales, but they aren't--they have scope and some depth and a LOT of humor. At the same time, if in a few years my girls (who currently dwell in their limbo pre-pre-teen state and are blissfully unaware of boys in general except for how obnoxious their brother can be at times) were to have a problem that Rallison covers, I'd happily hand them the book and have a discussion later on how it could apply to their own lives. 

So, the upshot of this review is: GO READ THESE BOOKS! I found myself laughing out loud, but also nodding along and cheering for the main characters as they made difficult decisions and started becoming better versions of themselves. And the best part was that none of the heroines ever flapped their hands and gave up--they kept going and worked out solutions to their problems by themselves. Admirable.

Gentle Reader Alert: There was nothing of concern. 

15 September 2015

The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss

(Copy provided by NetGalley.)

From Goodreads:

"For fans of The Guild, New Girl, Scott Pilgrim, Big Bang Theory, Veronica Mars, or anyone who has ever geeked out about something.

The odds of Dahlia successfully navigating adulthood are 3,720 to 1. But never tell her the odds.

Meet Dahlia Moss, the reigning queen of unfortunate decision-making in the St. Louis area. Unemployed, broke, and on her last bowl of ramen, she's not living her best life. But that's all about to change.

Before Dahlia can make her life any messier on her own she's offered a job. A job that she's woefully under-qualified for. A job that will lead her to a murder, an MMORPG, and possibly a fella (or two?).

Turns out unfortunate decisions abound, and she's just the girl to deal with them."


Oh, this was a fun read! The author, Max Wirestone, states in his blurb that he wanted to create something that would appeal to the mystery lovers and the geek crowd. He managed it, and delightfully so. Dahlia is a realistic main character, clever but not too clever, depressed but not too depressed, and witty and capable of thinking on her feet. I liked her quite a bit, especially when she was skewering the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. There are some stereotypes that need to die, and the MPDG is definitely one of them.

Dahlia's need to know "Why?" drove this narrative and made her a realistic rookie detective. She didn't just stumble around the investigation and suddenly hit a wall of clues (another skewered stereotype), but drew reasonable conclusions from the information she was privy to. And BEST of ALL, SHE DIDN'T ASSUME ANYTHING! There aren't many literary devices that drive me more nuts than the artificial bias created by the main character deciding someone is guilty, twisting the evidence to fit their conclusions, and then oh no! Suddenly they find out they were completely wrong, usually when stuck in a compromising situation with the REAL villain who is now trying to kill them because they know too much! Hey, villain, if you hadn't tried to kill them, they wouldn't have figured it out and you would have gotten away with it!

Anyway, this is NOT that kind of book. Dahlia waited until she had all the information, THEN she put things together. Such a refreshing change! And geekery abounds. There was so much to love!

Gentle Reader Alert: There were a number of gratuitous f-bombs. If you can squint really hard and blur them out, that would be cool, because this was was a great story and you might enjoy it as much as I did.

12 September 2015


From Goodreads:
"Seventeen-year-old Annika Truman knows about the power of positive thinking. With a little brother who has cancer, it's all she ever hears about. And in order to help Jeremy, she will go to the ends of the earth (or at least as far as Hollywood) to help him believe he can survive his upcoming surgery.

But Annika's plan to convince Jeremy that a magic genie will grant him any wish throws her a curveball when he unexpectedly wishes that his television idol would visit him. Annika suddenly finds herself in the desperate predicament of getting access to a hunky star actor and convincing him to come home with her. Piece of cake, right?

Janette Rallison's proven talent for laugh-out-loud humor, teen romance, and deep-hearted storytelling shines in a novel that will have readers laughing and crying at the same time."


I was at my tiny local library the other day. They don't have any of the books on my to-read shelf, so I decided to randomly select something from the YA section. Janette Rallison's name tickled my brain--I'd recently read Son of War, Daughter of Chaos, which I really enjoyed--but it had been a long time since I'd read any of her other works. I picked up Just One Wish and My Unfair Godmother and read the latter just before starting this blog. (It was delightful, by the way, and I highly recommend it.)

According to Goodreads, I have read Just One Wish--six years ago! I seemed pretty impressed with it, but only gave it three stars. On this re-read, though, I had to give it another star. Madcap it may be, but the depth of the message adds a thoughtful quality to the story, something I don't think I caught the first time around. Or maybe I've matured as a reader. We'll go with a little of both.

Annika's determination to help her little brother with his pre-surgery positive thinking is admirable and believable, but what I love most of all is her confidence. She knows herself, she reads people well, and she uses her skills to her advantage, especially when her poorly thought out plans look like they're about to fail her. She doesn't always know what to do, or how to respond to a situation--she *is* a teenager, after all--but she doesn't stop trying. She never gives up. I will always admire that in a character.

This story made me laugh a lot--and the ending made me tear up just a little bit. But it was so well done that I couldn't be mad. There's no emotional manipulation here--just sincere belief and storytelling. I love it.

Gentle Reader Alert: I found nothing of concern.

09 September 2015

The Secret Fire

Goodreads entry for The Secret Fire:

"French teen Sacha Winters can't die. He can throw himself off a roof, be stabbed, even shot, and he will always survive. Until the day when history and ancient enmities dictate that he must die. Worse still, his death will trigger something awful. Something deadly. And that day is closing in.

Taylor Montclair is a normal English girl, hanging out with her friends and studying for exams, until she starts shorting out the lights with her brain. She’s also the only person on earth who can save Sacha.

There’s only one problem: the two of them have never met. They live hundreds of miles apart and powerful forces will stop at nothing to keep them apart.

They have eight weeks to find each other.

Will they survive long enough to save the world?"


The Secret Fire is written by C.J. Daugherty and Carina Rozenfeld, both successful authors in their own right in their home countries. Whatever magical being brought these two together should be adulated and adored, because The Secret Fire builds in a slow but believable way, with a fantastic blend of suspense and character-building. There is only a smidge of romance, and the magical systems are brought to light AFTER we get to know the main characters. Well, there is the fact that Sacha jumps off a building in the very first chapter, but the magic itself isn't really explained until much later, and it makes sense. Daugherty and Rozenfeld should be commended for their sense of timing--it's as deft as their characterization.

The only bone I have to pick is the rather obvious following of the hero cycle, in which a certain character expires before passing knowledge to the up-and-comers. But following the hero cycle is hit-or-miss. It makes some events predictable, but when done correctly, can make a story resonate with power as well. However, that is a judgement I'll have to reserve until after the next book has come out, since the narrative is incomplete. And I'm excited to read the sequel--this is definitely my kind of story!

Gentle Reader Alert: If you have any sensitivities to French swear words, be warned that the text contains quite a few.

08 September 2015

In The Beginning

It has been said that a reader who consumes a book in a day and several books in a week must be in want of a blog. Granted, if it was the husband of the reader who said it, and said husband is a wise man in possession of great perception relating to his wife's need for a literary outlet, he might be right. Do not tell him or it will go straight to his head.

Welcome to the inauguration of The Dragon's Nook, soon-to-be home of book reviews galore (if I've been reviewing books on goodreads for five years, *surely* I can transfer some of my reviewerly attention here!), a crafty bragging corner, and Retro Reviews, which will showcase a review of my favorite books from the past. In the sidebar you'll find a link to mormon.org, where you can request a free copy of the Book of Mormon or the Bible, and my goodreads feed, because I have been there and read that. I happily take book suggestions, though I prefer my books to fall in the PG-13 category and I don't really enjoy hard science fiction or anything Oprah might recommend.

Last, but not least, a little about me. My name is Karie. I have climbed very small mountains, been to a couple of English-speaking countries, earned a master's degree in English from BYU, been married to a very smart husband for 14 years, have four children ranging from nearly 12 years old to 4 years old (they will be referred to as The Eldest, Miss Enthusiasm, The Boy, and The Hurricane Princess), and we have lived in Texas for the last seven years. Yee haw!