Sunday, November 23, 2014

Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

Book Summary
I never believed in ghosts. Until one tried to kill me.
When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, her world begins to unravel. She doesn’t know that paranormal forces in a much darker world are the ones pulling the strings. Not until identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into Kennedy’s room and destroy a dangerous spirit sent to kill her. The brothers reveal that her mother was part of an ancient secret society responsible for protecting the world from a vengeful demon — a society whose five members were all murdered on the same night.
Now Kennedy has to take her mother’s place in the Legion if she wants to uncover the truth and stay alive. Along with new Legion members Priest and Alara, the teens race to find the only weapon that might be able to destroy the demon — battling the deadly spirits he controls every step of the way.
Suspense, romance, and the paranormal meet in this chilling urban fantasy, the first book in a new series from Kami Garcia, bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures novels.

Flo's Review
So much love for this one! It was a quick, easy, but most importantly FUN read, which is exactly what I was needing when I read it! I know, you're thinking, "Demons? Fun?? Um, Flo..." But it was! The characters were really fun to read about. I loved reading about the different members of the Legion, their different talents, and seeing how they work individually and together. I finished this book in no time. And with the ending -- thankfully I already have Book #2, Unmarked, on hand!

It was really neat because not more than a week after I finished reading this book, I got to hear Kami talk about it at the Miami Book Fair. She's hilarious and I really enjoyed hearing her story about how this series came to be. (Basically, it involves all of her favorite things: a historical back story, killing, food -- you know, the usual!) She also wanted to create a story where her characters could not do it on their own: they had to work together. She definitely succeeded, as you can plainly see from how well the Legion works together. Even with Kennedy being new to the fold, she learns quickly and jumps right in to help the others. And they help her in return.

Also: the brothers. Is is awkward that I'm in love with both of them?? Their relationship was strong but was being tested in this book, and it broke my heart to read about it. I just read the first chapter of Unmarked and OMG! I'm thinking I will be continuing to gush about this series shortly. 

Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof

Book Summary
From debut novelist Martha Woodroof comes an inspiring tale of a small-town college professor, a remarkable new woman at the bookshop, and the ten-year old son he never knew he had. Tom Putnam has resigned himself to a quiet and half-fulfilled life. An English professor in a sleepy college town, he spends his days browsing the Shakespeare shelves at the campus bookstore, managing the oddball faculty in his department and caring, alongside his formidable mother-in-law, for his wife Marjory, a fragile shut-in with unrelenting neuroses, a condition exacerbated by her discovery of Tom’s brief and misguided affair with a visiting poetess a decade earlier. Then, one evening at the bookstore, Tom and Marjory meet Rose Callahan, the shop's charming new hire, and Marjory invites Rose to their home for dinner, out of the blue, her first social interaction since her breakdown. Tom wonders if it’s a sign that change is on the horizon, a feeling confirmed upon his return home, where he opens a letter from his former paramour, informing him he'd fathered a son who is heading Tom's way on a train.  His mind races at the possibility of having a family after so many years of loneliness. And it becomes clear change is coming whether Tom’s ready or not. A heartwarming story with a charmingly imperfect cast of characters to cheer for, Small Blessings's wonderfully optimistic heart that reminds us that sometimes, when it feels like life has veered irrevocably off track, the track shifts in ways we never can have imagined. 

Flo's Review
I didn't expect to enjoy this one as much as I did. There were just really some great characters and some great surprises! This novel seems like it will be your usual warm, fuzzy fiction read, perfect for blankets, tea, and rainy days. But several times throughout the book Martha Woodroof threw in a new plot twist that I absolutely was not expecting! I loved the surprises!

Another thing I really enjoyed about this novel was the idea for Rose that it would be taking a risk to stay in one place. This plays against the idea that usually it takes courage to leave and go someplace new. But for Rose, moving around is her safety. It takes courage for her to stay in one place, set up roots, and -- more commonly -- open herself up to deeper connections. I also found it interesting how her mother, Mavis, was presented in the book. Except for two instances, she is just a voice of reason in Rose's head -- but still, she is very much a character in the story.

Henry seems to good to be real for a 10-year-old boy, but he was endearing and I think that's what the author was going for with him. All of the main characters experience tremendous growth during the time frame of the novel and it was just really enjoyable to experience it with them.

This book is definitely worth reading! 5 out of 5 stars!

Thank you to Macmillan Audio for providing me with the audiobook.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Review: 4th of July by James Patterson

4th of July (Women's Murder Club, #4)

Jacque's Review:

This is the fourth book in the Women's Murder Club series.  Lindsay Boxer is a homicide detective for the San Francisco police department.  While off duty she was having a couple of margaritas with the other members of the murder club...chief medical examiner Claire Washburn and Cindy Thomas, a local reporter.  The three women often collaborate on cases, so this was par for the course until Lindsay's former partner called.  He found a car matching the description of the car spotted leaving two murder scenes and he was on the way to pick her up.

The events that transpire leave Lindsay in the hot seat.  She is accused of wrongful death and is on trial for a large portion of the story.  We are introduced to her attorney, Yuki Castellano.  I'm confident we will see a lot more of Yuki throughout this series as the newest member of the Women's Murder Club.

Lindsay was advised to take some time off to relax and prepare for her trial.  Her sister offers Lindsay her beach house as a place to escape the media circus until the start of the trial.  It doesn't take Lindsay long to notice that several murders that occur while she is visiting this small coastal town have similarities to one of her cold cases.  She begins investigating and eventually earns the trust and respect of the local sheriff.  Together they work to solve the viscous murders.  

From the beginning we are able to see the murderers plot and execute the crimes.  We know that three people are working together, but we have no idea who the perpetrators are until the very end.  I never would have guessed one of the character's involvement, but the other two I considered suspects from the very beginning.  The one twist that I did find interesting was the reason for the murders.  These weren't random acts of violence like they appeared to be.  

It looks like there are now 14 books in this series, so I have a long way to go if I'm going to catch up.