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Archive for the ‘3 Star Books’ Category

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Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen

No one ever disappears completely…

You leave for work one morning.

Another day in your normal life.

Until you come home to discover that your boyfriend has gone.
His belongings have disappeared.
He hasn’t been at work for weeks.
It’s as if he never existed.

But that’s not possible, is it?

And there is worse still to come.

Because just as you are searching for him
someone is also watching you.

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 Mary Torjussen

Author’s Bio

Mary Torjussen has an MA in Creative Writing from Liverpool John Moores University. She worked for several years as a teacher and lives outside of Liverpool, where Gone Without a Trace is set.

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My Review

3 stars

Hannah Monroe has just attended some training for work and learns that she is up for a huge promotion. She can’t wait to get back home and share the news with her boyfriend of four years, Matt. But when she gets home, Matt is going and not just gone but all of his stuff is gone and Hannah’s is moved back in from storage. And I mean everything even the stuff in the refrigerator. But that is not all, his phone is disconnected, his social media is gone, and even the pictures in Hannah’s phone are gone. Hannah is upset and plans on hunting Matt down for an explanation. But strange things start happening and it seems that someone is watching her.

When I first read this description I was intrigued. How can someone completely disappear like this? Is Matt only in Hannah’s mind? What if Hannah is a complete psycho and Matt had to take extreme measures to get away from her? I had a hard time dealing with Hannah, she is so selfish and immature. And it’s a little worrisome how obsessed she becomes with finding Matt. She takes a great career and dumps it down the drain along with her personal well being.

I hate to say it but I started losing interest in the story when it was about 3 months later and Hannah is a complete wreck and she still has no information on Matt. Then there was the twist that I really was not that impressed with. From there the book should be wrapping up but things were still all over the place for me.

Overall, I have to say that I was not as impressed with the story. But I do see that this book has received several raving reviews. I think this is going to be one of those books that you will either love or hate. I strongly recommend checking it out for yourself, you may like this more than I did.

I received Gone Without a Trace from Penguin Random House for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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The Magicians

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The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A high school math genius, he’s secretly fascinated with a series of children’s fantasy novels set in a magical land called Fillory, and real life is disappointing by comparison. When Quentin is unexpectedly admitted to an elite, secret college of magic, it looks like his wildest dreams have come true. But his newfound powers lead him down a rabbit hole of hedonism and disillusionment, and ultimately to the dark secret behind the story of Fillory. The land of his childhood fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he ever could have imagined. . . .

The prequel to the New York Times bestselling book The Magician King and the #1 bestseller The Magician’s Land, The Magicians is one of the most daring and inventive works of literary fantasy in years. No one who has escaped into the worlds of Narnia and Harry Potter should miss this breathtaking return to the landscape of the imagination.

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 Lev Grossman

Author’s Bio

I was born in 1969 and grew up in Lexington, MA. My parents were both English professors, so naturally I read a lot. I read a lot in college too, and read even more in graduate school. Then I moved to New York City and started writing full time.

My first novel, Warp, came out in 1997. My second, Codex, was published in 2004 and became an international bestseller. The Magicians was published in 2009 and was a New York Times bestseller and one of the New Yorker‘s best books of the year. The sequel, The Magician King, came out in 2011 and was a Times bestseller too. The third and (almost certainly) last Magicians book, The Magician’s Land, was published in 2014 and debuted at #1 on the bestseller list.

The Magicians books have now been published in twenty-five countries and have gotten praise from among others George R.R. Martin, John Green, Audrey Niffenegger, Erin Morgenstern, Joe Hill, William Gibson, Kelly Link, Gregory Maguire, and Junot Diaz. A Syfy series based on the trilogy is currently shooting its second season.

I also write a lot of journalism. I’ve been the book critic at Time magazine since 2002—the New York Times described me as “among this country’s smartest and reliable critics.” I’ve written more than 20 cover stories for Time, and my essays and criticism have also been in the Believer, the Village Voice, the Wall Street Journal, the New York TimesSalon, Slate, Wired, Entertainment Weekly, the Week, Lingua Franca and many other places. I’ve won several awards for journalism, including a Deadline award in 2006. I make regular appearances on campuses, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Oxford, and as a commentator on NPR.

I live in Brooklyn with my wife, two daughters and one son, in a creaky old house.

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Book

My Review

3 stars

Quentin is a sullen teenager in Brooklyn with his friends that despises one for his easy nature and has a crush on the other. But through an odd series of events, he finds him at that magical school of Breakbills. He proceeds through the first half of the book learning about magic and how it’s not all wonderful and easy. There are some horrible parts and it is a lot of work even though Quentin finds himself comparing different things to the Fillory stories of four siblings that have various adventures in Fillory.

After graduating from Breakbills, Quentin and his friends find themselves in New York City with no real purpose. Since they spend the last several years studying they break out and party all the time, well everyone except Alice. Alice is trying to figure out where to go next. The group reminds me of most college graduates that they have this power but nowhere to use it or no motivation to go do something with their lives. Although Fillory did make the book end better than I thought it was going to.

Quentin and his friends are boring, dreadful, spoilt, lazy, and not really worth reading about. They mess around, getting drunk all the time, and bitterly criticize everyone. The only one I liked was Alice. She seemed to have brain one in her head but just fell into the rest of the group just like another sheep.

Breakbills was interesting. I liked how they made you have to work for your magic, each person had different strengths, powers, and abilities. But the key was you had to work for what you want. Personally I liked Breakbills south and the final challenge. What better way to prove your meddle. But then all you have is the friends hanging out, drink, do drugs, screw, and piss and moan about everything. The little excerpt of Fillory was not enough to save the book for me. I really don’t know if I will even bother reading the next book in the series.

Now I did listen to the audiobook and I have to say that I enjoyed Mark Bramhall’s narration. There was variety for each of the characters that drew you in. I do admit that he has a deeper voice so I ended up having to blare my stereo and the headphone to be able to hear everything. I think I’m just going deaf so that is probably the problem

I received The Magicians from eStories for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of the book.

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Make sure to check out eStories. They are a wonderful website that gives you plenty of audiobook for any reader. They have a subscription service that will beat Audible and an app on both the App Store and Google Play that makes playing the stories so easy. If you like audiobooks make sure to check them out.

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Leopard at the Door

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Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh

After six years in England, Rachel has returned to Kenya and the farm where she spent her childhood, but the beloved home she’d longed for is much changed. Her father’s new companion—a strange, intolerant woman—has taken over the household. The political climate in the country grows more unsettled by the day and is approaching the boiling point. And looming over them all is the threat of the Mau Mau, a secret society intent on uniting the native Kenyans and overthrowing the whites.

As Rachel struggles to find her place in her home and her country, she initiates a covert relationship, one that will demand from her a gross act of betrayal. One man knows her secret, and he has made it clear how she can buy his silence. But she knows something of her own, something she has never told anyone. And her knowledge brings her power.

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Jennifer McVeigh

Author’s Bio

Jennifer graduated from Oxford University in 2002 with a degree in English Literature. She went on to work in film, television, radio and publishing, before leaving her day job to do an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. She graduated in 2011.

She has travelled in wilderness areas of East Africa and Southern Africa, often in off-road vehicles, driving and camping along the way. The Fever Tree and Leopard at the Door were inspired by those experiences.

In 2014 The Fever Tree won the Epic Novel Category at the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards.

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Book

My Review

3 stars

Rachel grew up on an estate in Kenya. But when she is 12, her mother dies and she is sent to a boarding school in England where her parents are from. Rachel longs for Africa and 6 years later returns but nothing is the same. Her father has a new wife, Sara who is miserable and makes everyone else miserable. Michael, her former teacher becomes a love interest. Then there is strife in the Kikuyu community. After fighting in World War II, many want independence from England while others are fine with the current political events.

Rachel wants life to return to how things were in her youth. But you can never go back, only forward. I hate to say this but I couldn’t stand Rachel and her naivety. Her father was also weak and irritated me with his taking Sara’s side all the time.

I did like the story based on the Mau Mau Rebellion. I don’t know how historically accurate it is, but I liked this part of the book better than Rachel’s story. I am interested in reading more on the Mau Mau Rebellion.

This is a decent story but I don’t think that I would be reading other books by this author. It’s not a horrible story, I do think many will like it. I’m sorry to say that Leopard at the Door is not my cup of tea.

I received Leopard at the Door from the publisher for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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The Hidden People

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The Hidden People by Allison Littlewood

Pretty Lizzie Higgs is gone, burned to death on her own hearth – but was she really a changeling, as her husband insists? Albie Mirralls met his cousin only once, in 1851, within the grand glass arches of the Crystal Palace, but unable to countenance the rumours that surround her murder, he leaves his young wife in London and travels to Halfoak, a village steeped in superstition.

Albie begins to look into Lizzie’s death, but in this place where the old tales hold sway and the ‘Hidden People’ supposedly roam, answers are slippery and further tragedy is just a step away . . .

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Book

My Review

3 stars

Albie Mirralls briefly meets his cousin, Lizzie Higgs, during the 1851 Great Exhibition. There he notes her beautiful voice and quiet demeanor. Years later his father tells him about Lizzie’s death at the hands of her husband. It seems that her husband thought she was a changeling and burned her to death. He is rather upset and becomes obsessed with Lizzie. He travels to Halfoak to figure out what is going on. When he arrives he is appalled that Lizzie has not been buried.

Albie moves into Lizzie’s house while he tries to figure out what is really happening. This is a whole new world from what he knows and how the Hidden People play into this town. Albie’s wife decides to join him and it starts to look like she may be a changeling too. Is Albie falling into the same place with the folk lore of the town and area?

The Hidden People is wrote similar to stories in the 19th century so it gave the story a gothic feel to it. I also liked the attention to detail of the difference in language from London to Halfoak, details like this made the book even better.

I have to admit that I had a hard time getting into this story. It kind of dragged and the over whelming amount of detail just made the book slower. I just kept finding myself reading the same paragraph over and over. I even thought about not finishing the book. But I stuck with it and was rewarded in the end. Please don’t take this the wrong way, the book ends well. It was just not one that flowed well for me.

I received The Hidden People from the publisher for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of the book.

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A Light Beyond the Darkness by Mikel Wilson and Sherry Gist

Fantasy

Date Published: August 16, 2016

In a land not far from your imagination is a clan of Hybrids. This clan will show you great wonders, love beyond time and great adventure. To read about this clan will make you believe in the unknown and open your mind to wonders of your imagination.

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Mikel Wilson and Sherry Gist

Two people from different backgrounds meet and became instant friends. They realized that they were like minded. Others never understood the mind trappings of these two individuals. One day, playing around, they came up with the Hybrid Clan. Henceforth, a stronger friendship and a new book. Hope you all enjoy this book as much as they enjoyed creating it.

Here’s a funny fact for you reader’s out there, Mikel and Sherry meet about 7 years ago and they have been friends every since. They are both very unique individuals and everyone that meets them can plainly see that they have made a lifelong friendship. Mikel, or Kel as a few people like to call him, is a young man from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He now makes his home in Sweet Water, Alabama.  Sherry is a lady from a small town known as Meeker, Oklahoma. She calls Crossville, Alabama home now. They are both family oriented. They have lots in common and yet they are different. These two will dazzle and boggle the mind. Together they hope to bring your imagination alive in a whole new way.

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Book

My Review

3 stars

Sherry is an Amazon, but there is more to her. She starts feeling ill and learns from Mikel that she is a hybrid like him. Sherry is part Amazon part vampire. Mikel is part vampire part werewolf. Sherry becomes ill and her best friend Mags, the Amazon, helps her. Sherry is pregnant and Mikel is going to have to save her. Together they have a beautiful little girl that is the prophesized chosen one that has great power and can bring peace to the world. We follow along as the child grows and faces many challenges.

I have to say that I am a little torn on how to review this book. I liked the story, it was put together well and I liked how each part progressed. There were great powers and abilities and lots of adversity to face.

The part I had trouble with was the names. Sometimes Mikel goes by his name and other times Hybrid. Same for Sherry. But the part that got me was the flow of the story was rough. I admit that I could have read a rough draft so with some editing this could easily be fixed.

I think for a first book this one is a little rough. I do think that there could be future books that flow better but I had a hard time reading A Light Beyond the Darkness.

Reading Addiction

I received A Light Beyond the Darkness from Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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Rarity from the Hollow

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Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton

Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in The Hollow isn’t great. But Lacy has one advantage — she’s been befriended by a semi-organic, semi-robot who works with her to cure her parents. He wants something in exchange, though. It’s up to her to save the Universe.

Will Lacy Dawn’s predisposition, education, and magic be enough for her to save the Universe, Earth, and, most importantly, protect her own family?

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. It is a children’s story for adults, not for the prudish, faint of heart, or easily offended.

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Book

My Review

3 stars

Lacy Dawn’s life is full of abuse and death. Her father suffers from PTSD and beats and abuses both Lucy and her mother. Lucy’s best friend is Faith, a girl that was beaten to death by her father, and the trees. Lucy meets DotCom, a robot that offers her a chance to “fix” her parents if she goes shopping at the universes biggest mall. This shopping trip helps prepare her to fight the cockroaches that are taking over.

This book is told in a couple parts. The first part about Lacy and her home life is heartbreaking. I know things like this happen all the time but we seem to have blinders on as we go through our own lives. You can tell that Robert Eggleton has had a lot of personal dealings with this aspect of life. The next part is more of a satirical look at adults while Lucy trains in the universes largest mall. And then end battle with the cockroaches seemed to lose me.

Although the beginning is heartbreaking, I think the second half of the book could have been a story of its own. You do need some background on Lucy but when she heads to the mall the story gets turned on its head. It didn’t really flow well and left me feeling jolted and had a hard time recovering.

I did like the story if it would have been two different stories. But the best part of Rarity from the Hollow is author proceeds are donated to child abuse prevention. I would purchase this book just for that.

I received Rarity from the Hollow from the author in exchange free of charge. This has not influenced my opinion of this book.

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Broken

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Broken by Elizabeth Pulford

Critically injured in a motorbike accident, Zara Wilson lies in a coma. She is caught between many worlds: the world of her hospital room and anxious family, and that of her memories and a dream-like fantasy where she searches for her brother Jem. Jem proves elusive but Zaras adventures in her subconscious unlock dark secrets of a troubled childhood. Zara must face up to her past in order to accept her future.

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Book

My Review

3 stars

Zara Wilson is in a coma after a motorcycle accident in which her brother swerved to miss a toddler and crashed. Zara can hear everyone around her but cannot react in anyway. But she does see Jem and has to find him although he seems to be eluding her. Zara seeks Jem in a comic book like world of Hoodman and Dark Eagle. But Zara also has to deal with a kidnapping when she was seven years old. She never has officially deal with it beyond talking to Jem.

Zara has a broken mind and she has to get everything together if she plans on coming out of her coma. This was an interesting story as we follow Zara trying to find Jem although we know that he is dead. She navigates a standard comic strip that wasn’t really memorable. At the same time you follow along as Zara remembers being kidnapped. The problem is the story is not linear and doesn’t really have a mention of when each part of the story is so I was a bit confused.

This story meandered around and didn’t really catch my attention. Hoodman and Dark Eagle were bland and even the kidnapping didn’t flesh out. I didn’t really see any resolution to the kidnapping and was confused about the kidnapper. In the end I would say that Broken was not a book for me.

I received Broken a long time ago free of charge. This has not influenced by opinion of this book.

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