Category Archives: Book/Movie Review

The Unexpected Life of the Genie in the Bottle (Sort of): A Review of SUMMONED by Rainy Kaye

Summoned by Rainy Kaye (Ebook) I picked up this book on Netgalley. It centers on a male character who has to do whatever his master “wishes”. It is a genie/master relationship.

The only problem is, Dimitri has no magical powers. He has to figure out how to do what his master wants (Including murder) in a given amount of time, or he will experience intolerable pain.

Dimitri cannot afford relationships, instead living through a string of one-night-stands, until he meets the quirky Sid, who keeps coming back, no matter how hard he tries to push her away.

I really loved the premise of this book, and the unique take on Genie lore. This is what kept me reading. The characters seemed a little flat to me, although I can’t quite place why. They both have distinct personalities and backstories that should have hooked me. This may be due to the male POV character, who always scooted on the edge of his emotions (as I believe is realistic for his situation) We get a lot of thought from Dimitri, but for some reason I could not feel his pain (although I DID understand his pain)

I still gobbled up this book, though, really enjoying the whole idea. And when Dimitri’s master makes that last wish! Omigosh! Loved it… and then when things get even worse! (Can’t tell because of spoiler) I wish it were a little more fast paced in spots where the relationship was developing, but overall I really did enjoy this book – especially the roller coaster ride ending—and I am interested in seeing what the net book has to offer.


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Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound |


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The Tooth Fairy? Well, Kind Of: A Review Of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (Audiobook) This was a very bizarre book. It deals with angels and demons. Well, sort of.

The main character is a girl that is raised by a family of demon-like people, and her job is to collect teeth for one of them.

NOW WAIT! Stay with me a minute.

When I read the “teeth” thing I almost didn’t read this book, because, yeah, it’s weird, but it works in the context of the story.

And no, she is not the tooth fairy. She collects teeth from dead things…

Anyway, she uses these portals to get all over the world collecting teeth. Little does she know there is a huge war going on, and that cute angel that almost killed her knows who she really is (or used to be).

This book is wildly imaginative. It is not told in sequential order, which confused me at first, but after a while I got used to it. It flip flops back and forth from past to present, so you are, in effect, reading two books at the same time. On a few occasions, this tripped me up and confused me, but it worked for the most part. I’d definitely recommend this one, and I will probably be reading the next book some time soon.

Definitely one of my top three reads this quarter.

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Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound |


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Plugging the Holes and Dragging out the Claws: A Review of Rogue by Julie Kagawa

Rogue by Julie Kagawa (Audiobook) This is book two of the Talon series, about a young dragon girl who gets mixed up with a rogue on the run from dragon law. She is also involved (unknowingly at first) with a human soldier assigned to kill her. Book On (Talon) was the first book I read in 2016 and for six months had remained my number one. Book two MAY have overtaken this position (I want to give it some time to simmer) The reason being that book one left on a cliffhanger, with no real resolution to the original story. In my review, I mentioned that Talon seemed to stop mid-chapter in an action scene. This left me feeling just a touch annoyed, because I prefer a “hint” of conflicts to tease me into a new book, but a satisfactory ending to my current read. TALON did not provide that.

But Rogue totally delivers

However ROGUE did deliver on a satisfactory ending to the current conflict, all the while introducing a totally new one that I can look forward to in the next book.

ROGUE totally delivered on giving me more action, adventure, intrigue, and backstory on Riley and Wes, that was missing in book one.

I am definitely a fan of this series, and look forward to the next book, SOLDIER.


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Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound |


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Breathing Life into the Evil Twin: A Review of SPARK by @BrigidKemmerer

Spark by Brigid Kemmerer (Audiobook) This is book two of “The Elementals” series, which is about a family of brothers that can control the elements (Fire, water, earth, and air).

Book one, “Storm” was about the brother who can control water. Spark, if you hadn’t guessed already, is about the brother who can control Fire. I read book one as a free read last year (or maybe a discounted read. I don’t remember. It was a BookBub find), and I was really surprised how much I loved it. I am even more surprised how much I loved the second book.

Spark in no way suffers from “second book syndrome”. Instead of continuing the story of the two MCs in the first book, we now get a look into the life of the “evil twin”. Gabriel was a very unlikable character in the first book. At the start of the second book, I felt no different. But as the story moved on, and I fell deeper into his point of view, I discovered that this stuck-up *&**%&#* was actually a deeply troubled boy, and I found I could relate to his struggles on so many levels. And then we match up our guy who can control fire with a girl who has serious scars from being caught in a blaze as a child… It is perfect conflict that slowly lead up to chemistry and understanding.

If a year ago someone told me I would be rooting for Gabriel, I would have said “no way.” But Spark really brought this character to life for me. I think this is probably going to be one of my top five reads for this year. Maybe even in contention for number one. An easy five out of five stars for me. Really loved this one, and I’m holding myself back from grabbing book three right away, because I like to suffer like that.


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Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound |


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Whoa Nellie, was this a fun ride! A review of Devil and the Deep by @JAWalkerAuthor

Devil and the Deep by Julie Ann Walker (Ebook)

(Adult content warning)

This is a book two in a series. I did not read the first book, but what I needed to know was covered flawlessly so I was not lost at all. This book can stand on its own.

Plot: Maddy, an oil heiress, is snatched for ransom on a tiny island she is camping on. Luckily for her, she told her hot Navy SEAL friend where she was camping, and asked him to meet her there. Boy, are those kidnappers sorry when Bran and his buddy show up!

Whoa Nellie was this a fun ride!

It reminded me of the hey-day of action hero movies (If Bruce Willis or Arnold Schwarzenegger were turbo-hot Navy SEALS.) There was one small point where I rolled my eyes. It came when the two Navy SEALS and the heroine, Maddy, were trying to save three kidnapped girls. Maddy is very hot for ex-Navy SEAL Bran (after he apparently saved her life in the first book) and while they are in a very precarious situation, she starts making amorous advances on him. For a second, I thought this was going to be one of “those novels”, but that was the only ridiculous “overly romancy” scene. The rest is one fun thrill ride after another.

Note: This IS A ROMANCE so there is a lot of that “lovey dovey” stuff, but this is also an awesome high action thrill ride. I really loved the blend of the two, and I am interested in reading the first book in this series to find out how the characters met. I’d give this 4.5 stars, losing half a star for inserting a romantic scene where (in my opinion) it was unrealistic to have one.

Great fun!
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The dating game in a futuristic Utopian Society – MATCHED by Ally Conde

Matched by Ally Conde (Audiobook) This book takes place in a dystopian/Utopian society where everything is chosen and planned for every citizen to make sure that they have a happy, long, fulfilling life (Until they are 80, when everyone dies). But that’s not the conflict in the story.

In MATCHED, a teenage girl goes to her matching ceremony to find out who the society chose as her perfect husband. She ends up “accidentally” matched to two people, but only she knows about it.

Now she is publicly matched to someone who she sees every day, but she is also matched to another boy, who is forbidden to her.

This is a very interesting story that will leave the reader asking a lot of questions like, “What would I do?”

It would be hard for me, I think, to do anything when so much is deemed illegal. While I did enjoy this book, I was never really completely engaged. I think I had a problem believing that a world like that could actually exist. I mean, there were only 100 songs, 100 history lessons, 100 poems, etc. Everything else was destroyed so people didn’t have to be stressed by too many choices. I had trouble believing this world could exist.

However, if you are able to suspend disbelief in the society, this is a well written and engaging story.

CLIFFHANGER ALERT: A major character’s life is left in jeopardy at the end. Even though I’d like to know what happens to that character, I don’t think I’m worried enough about it to continue with the series. I would, however, pick up another of this author’s books. The world she created was very alive and vivid. I just couldn’t make myself believe in it’s plausibility.

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Survival of the fittest on an alien planet – A review of THESE BROKEN STARS

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman (Ebook) First of all, COVER LOVE! This is one of only a few cover buys I’ve ever made.  Take a moment to soak in the loveliness.  All good? Then let’s continue.

This book starts on a luxury cruise ship in space. Something catastrophic happens, sending all 50,000 passengers running to the escape pods.

We follow the story of two survivors who crash land on an uncharted planet where weird things start to happen (over and above them rooting through other escape pods and ship wreckage).

This is a combination of YA romance and a survival story. The first half disappointed me a bit. It seemed all they were doing is walking forever and thinking about how much they didn’t like each other (While wishing they were not attracted to each other – Typical YA) but there is a ghosty-like theme going on throughout. Is one of them crazy? Hmmmm…

I stuck with this book because we were reading in my book club, and I’m glad I did. There is a very interesting twist at the end, and I did end up liking the book. I think this is a three star for me. It loses one star for non engaging me for the first half of the book, and another one, because the reason the female lead was mean to the male lead was very weak. I mean, seriously… If you dad is going to kill the guy just for talking to her, just TELL THE DUDE THAT. Why keep that a secret?

So, yeah, three stars. Good, but this won’t be a favorite (By the way, I think the people in my book club all liked it more than I did, and it was my month to choose. Ha!)

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I don’t remember what this book is about – but who cares? A review of THE RAVEN BOYS

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stieveter (Audiobook) I’m a little conflicted on this book. The writing was great, and the character development of the side characters as well as the main characters is outstanding. I just wish I loved the story more.

Early in the book our heroine, Blue, daughter of a psychic, sees the death of a boy called Gansy. She soon meets him, and reluctantly joins him on a search for the “layline” which is a magical road powered by spirits.

It took me a very long time to start enjoying this book. I think what kept me going was the great characters. I wanted to know more about them, and to see how things panned out for each. All the characters were very different, and I thought it was great that we got to see their side lives intermingling within the main plotline without it becoming confusing. This is the part that I enjoyed. As far as not enjoying the story as a whole, I think that is a poor match of reader to book. The subject didn’t hook me. But I think that people into paranormal ghost stories with a little bit of mystery investigation would absolutely love this.

***Ha! I forgot I’d reviewed this already, so I wrote another review for this book two weeks later – this is what I said***

– I found this book to be quite a conundrum. I really didn’t enjoy the story. In fact, I couldn’t care less what happened in the plotline… but never once did I consider not finishing the book. And, oddly enough, when I made a few statements on social media noting this, quite a few people agreed that they had the same dilemma. This made me sit and ponder this for a while. I waited about two weeks between finishing the book and writing the review, just to see how I still felt about it after finishing some more novels. I also wanted to figure out WHY I felt this way. As the plot dwindled into a blur, almost forgotten, I realized I remembered a few things about this book. What I remembered was not what happened, and why, but instead, I remembered the characters. I then realized that I was so totally engaged with these characters that I didn’t care what was going on, I still wanted to read about them. For that reason, and that reason only, would I consider picking up the next book. Taylor is a master at creating characters that we will not only remember, but also that sink into our bones and become part of us. Someone told me that her other series what much better plot-wise. I will definitely be looking into this, because it is a rare day when I am totally engaged in both the plot AND the characters. I’d give this book a solid four star, dropping one because I probably won’t remember what this story was about in another few weeks.

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Just be glad you’re not #1! A review of I AM NUMBER FOUR

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (Audiobook) A teenage boy is one of nine aliens, the last of their kind, hidden on Earth. There is another alien race trying to destroy them. The kids wear a charm that makes it so they can only be killed in a certain order. When one dies, a ring burns into the skin of the others.

A third ring just burned into John’s ankle, and he is number four. No pressure. Try to live your life knowing there is an army of alien soldiers looking for you!

I enjoyed this book on many levels, because it is, you know, aliens. But this isn’t anything deep to make you think. In fact, they probably don’t want you to think much at all, because there is a huge plot hole that never got plugged for me (no matter how hard they tried to explain it away.)

The “hole” was this: The bad-guy aliens invaded #4’s planet and killed almost everyone. These 9 kids got away. The bad guys now have the planet, and have almost used up all the recourses. So, my question is: why send soldiers to kill the kids? Yes, they try to explain this away, but the plausibility never cemented for me. I just didn’t buy it. But while that particular hole screamed at me in almost every chapter, I was able, for the most part, to suspend disbelief and just enjoy a nice, fun ride.

Yes, I would recommend this, but don’t expect rocket science. Just enjoy an interesting and fun story.

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Bring on the gowns and tiaras! A review of “The Elite” by Kiera Cass

The Elite by Kiera Cass (Ebook) This is part two of “The Selection” series. I had super high hopes for this book, probably because I was so surprised by how much I loved the first one. I guess when hopes are so high, a book is bound to falter.

I think part of what I liked about the first book was that it was fluff. I mean really, it was total fluff and it fluffed well. It never tried to be more than fluff. But then here in The Elite, it tries to claw out of the world of fluff and become something more.

Problem is, I didn’t want more. I’d read a few heavy novels before this, and I reached for The Elite expecting more fluff. I got some fluff, maybe even more than normal, but it bothered me that it tried to become “something else.”

I pondered this for a while before writing a review, and I think if I had read this book first, I would have been fine with all the extra political turmoil, because I wouldn’t have been expecting something so light. Does that make sense? Anyway, I liked, not loved this book. I will probably continue with the series, but I will not be scrambling for the next book like I was after reading book one.

**That does not mean I didn’t enjoy this** I just liked the first one better.

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