Category Archives: book review

Review of The Hazel Wood, by Melissa Albert

I borrowed an audio copy of Melissa Albert‘s The Hazel Wood through Overdrive.

Description from Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

Review:
I actually checked this out from the library thinking it was something else. Once I realized my mistake I was wary to start it; I’ve just been so jaded with YA books lately. But I’m happy to report this isn’t an angst-ridden, soppy mess. There’s no real romance and Alice moves through the story of her own volition. I did think it lagged a bit at times and she conveniently hooked up with the one person who knew everything she needed to learn and could/would fund her. But all in all I enjoyed it. There’s some appreciable diversity in the cast a happily ever after grounded in realistic struggles. I don’t regret listening to the story and I thought Rebecca Soler did a fine job with the narration.

Review of Once Upon a Haunted Moor, by Harper Fox

I bought an Audible copy of Harper Fox‘s Once Upon a Haunted Moor.

Description from Goodreads:
Gideon Frayne has spent his whole working life as a policeman in the village of Dark on Bodmin Moor. It’s not life in the fast lane, but he takes it very seriously, and his first missing-child case is eating him alive. When his own boss sends in a psychic to help with the case, he’s gutted – he’s a level-headed copper who doesn’t believe in such things, and he can’t help but think that the arrival of clairvoyant Lee Tyack is a comment on his failure to find the little girl.

But Lee is hard to hate, no matter how Gideon tries. At first Lee’s insights into the case make no sense, but he seems to have a window straight into Gideon’s heart. Son of a Methodist minister, raised in a tiny Cornish village, Gideon has hidden his sexuality for years. It’s cost him one lover, and he can’t believe it when this green-eyed newcomer stirs up old feelings and starts to exert a powerful force of attraction.

Gideon and Lee begin to work together on the case. But there are malignant forces at work in the sleepy little village of Dark, and not only human ones – Gideon is starting to wonder, against all common sense, if there might be some truth in the terrifying legend of the Bodmin Beast after all. As a misty Halloween night consumes the moor, Gideon must race against time to save not only the lost child but the man who’s begun to restore his faith in his own heart.

Review:
I finished this several days ago and forgot to write my review. I quite enjoyed it. Granted, it’s a novella, so not as developed as I might have liked. Gideon and Lee’s attraction isn’t instant, but it’s pretty close. But I’ll forgive the story the lack of relationship development because I like Fox’s writing style so much. I have a tad more trouble forgiving the cliched motive of the villain. I really  was disappointed in it because it’s been seen so often before. But all in all, the story was lovely and Tim Gilbert did a great job with the narration.

What I read on my June vacation

I’ve just come home from a week and a half road trip to visit my family. My husband, children and I spent a week in Florida and then three days in Tennessee. This enabled me to see my mom and her husband, my sister and her family and my aunt and uncle, which 100% of my immediate family. (My in-laws visit us in just under two weeks. So by the end of the summer I’ll have seen everyone.)

As you can imagine, it was was a busy ten days. But there was quite a bit of driving involved, so my Kindle got a good workout and I accomplished a decent bit of reading. I managed internet access once and went ahead and wrote several reviews. They were for the books I’d read on the fourteen hour drive from Missouri to Florida and then in the first half of the week there. They were: Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet, The Library, the Witch and The Warder, Uncommon Grounds, and Revenge of the BloodslingerFeel free to check them out.

After that one crack at a computer, I didn’t get to update the blog at all. Rural Tennessee is beautiful, but it’s not great for speedy internet service. In the time away from modern technology I read Marine Biology, Thornfruit, Knight of Ocean Avenue and The Moonling Prince. Plus one that I didn’t finish (no one should ever write in first person present tense).

Rather than go through and write another four review posts, I thought I’d go ahead and review the four I haven’t yet done all in one go. Though I don’t plan to make them particularly detailed.

My husband jokes that I have ‘waitress brain,’ meaning I can remember a million details about something for a short amount of time. For example, when I waited tables during university, I could take the order of an eight-top (including substitutions) and never write anything down. But if you asked me two seconds after I put the order in what they wanted, I couldn’t tell you. I only remembered for as long as I needed to.

I’m a bit the same for books. I remember all the details until I write the review and then poof, they’re gone. And if I don’t write a review right away, they fade. We’re in the fading now. Sorry, but that’s just the reality of reading books back to back and THEN trying to review them.

Be that as it may, I do want to review them. So, here we go.


Marine Biology, by G. L. Carriger

This was cute and fluffy. Very much in line with the rest of the series. I just love Carriger’s sense of humor. Being a novella, it’s short of depth though.

 

 

 

 


Thornfruit, by Felicia Davin

I recall really liking the characters, the world and the storyline. But also feeling like a lot of things happened too conveniently and not enough really wrapped up by the end. Having said that, I really wanted to know more. I’ll be looking for the next book. Plus, I love the cover. So pretty.

 

 


Knight of Ocean Avenue, by Tara Lain

This one was another one designed to be cute and fluffy, and it was. But I  had a lot of problems with the presentation. One of the characters is effeminate and he’s called girly several times. Which might be alright if girly wasn’t synonymous with bad in the context used. Similarly, Billy, who is just discovering he’s gay, keeps saying how much better men are (in sex). As a woman, I have no problem with him preferring men, but I don’t know why it has to be phrased as men being better all around. Lastly, problems were repeatedly presented and then miraculously solved, such that the happily ever after felt too easy. So, it was just so-so for me.


The Moonling Prince, by Wendy Rathbone

Meh. Not bad all around, but not much to it either. I liked both of the characters, though I thought Arulu’s character inconsistent. Not to mention he spent 20 years in debilitating pain and seemed to have no resulting mental trauma. Additionally, I really would have liked to see the relationship develop more. The writing was pretty though.

 

 


So, there you go, four more books read and off my kindle. I’m halfway through another one that I started on the drive home, this afternoon. But I’ll give it it’s own post when the time comes.