Saturday, September 13, 2014

Full Steam Ahead- Karen Witemeyer

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston, Texas, to find her father deathly ill. Though she loves him, Nicole's father has always focused on what she's not. Not male. Not married. Not able to run Renard Shipping.

Vowing to find a suitable husband to give her father the heir he desires before it's too late, Nicole sets out with the Renard family's greatest treasure as her dowry: the highly coveted Lafitte Dagger. But her father's rivals come after the dagger, forcing a change in Nicole's plans.

After a boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana nearly took his life, Darius Thornton has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. Even if it means letting a female secretary into his secluded world.

Nicole is determined not to let her odd employer scare her off with his explosive experiments, yet when respect and mutual attraction grow between them, a new fear arises. How can she acquire an heir for her father when her heart belongs to another? And when her father's rivals discover her hiding place, will she have to choose between that love and her family's legacy?

My Thoughts: Full Steam Ahead is about a woman trying to balance what she wants in life with her father's expectations. It is also about a man who believes that his life worthless if he can not put an end to most boiler explosion. I believe that there is something similar with which most of us struggle. That, and the delightful way in which Karen tells a story is what made me enjoy this story.

The reason I do not give it five stars is that I kept yelling for the Renards to just hand over the dagger. I know I would have. Either that or I would have sold it. I also thought that Darius was rather rude in the beginning, though I do understand his reasoning even though I do not agree with it.

Still, I enjoyed the way in which Karen managed to pull me into the story. Her descriptions are good and her characterization great. I look forward to her next novel.

I received this book through Bookfun in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Independent Study- Joelle Charbonneau

My Thoughts: 2.5 Stars

Description: In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas—and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her.

My Thoughts:  The story was interesting enough to keep me reading and interested in what was happening. I liked that Cia actually had to use logic to overcome obstacles rather then randomly choosing a course of action. Beyond that though, there were some problems.

First, I can't stand Cia's boyfriend. He is wimpy, needs her to save him a lot, and she forgives him for keeping things from her because she loves him. I don't care, dump him.

Just as much as I don't like Thomas, Cia seems to dislike other girls. Like they are all evil. Every last one. Even her "friend" Stacia can not be trusted as much as the boy she just met, Enzo, or the other boy she just met too.

The last things is that Cia knows everything. Ok, not everything because she admitted to not know a map was drawn wrong. But she knows everything else. Like how to open a locked door, disrupt a tracker, outsmart traps... and all this while passing (with top grades) nine classes. And she has an internship. She is so awesome, she can do all that work, hang with her frenemies, and work for a rebellion, all on like five hours of sleep.

Don't get me wrong, Independent Study did hold my attention. I finished it in a few days and was fascinated by some of the ways Cia overcame her problems. But not enough to ignore that she has the Midas touch.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Deluge- Lisa Bergren

My Rating: 4 Stars


The Bettarinis and Forellis have found rich fulfillment together in medieval Italia. But after fighting off countless enemies, they now must face the worst foe of all. As the Black Death closes in upon them, threatening everything and everyone they hold dear, Lia and Gabi–and the knights they love–must dig deep within to decide how they might remain safe…and if they need to risk it all in order to truly live as they’re called.

My Thoughts: First things first- FINALLY! I have been waiting for this for so long. Now to the review:

The River of Time series is one that I have loved since I first picked it up. When Deluge came on kindle, I immediately bought it. And then my sister stole my kindle and I had to wait to get it back. Read her review here.

The beginning of Deluge was a bit... fluffy for my tastes. There was romance and heartache, but little of the she-wolves I had come to love. Though I liked that there was some explanation for how the hand prints in the tombs worked, I wish that it had either been more part of the plot or else that it had been over looked so that the girls had not needed to spend so much time at court (I am not a fan of political maneuvering).

However, once the Plague struck, I was hooked, staying up late into the night to finish. There are some who do not like the amount of death or the maturity of the characters in this final book, but is was my favorite part. The end made the whole store seem more real to me and made me care about how the characters' lives ended. Yes, many died, but I never felt like Bergren killed them just because (as I have with other series), I think their deaths made the story all the more inspiring.

After having read the Epilogue, I can only hope that Lisa will write a spin off series.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

All for a Sister- Allison Pittman

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Description: In Hollywood during the Roaring Twenties, Celeste DuFrane has it all. Her father's work with color movie film opens doors that lead to the stardom she's always aspired to. But after losing her mother, she discovers that half the estate has been left to a woman accused of killing Celeste's baby sister before Celeste was even born. Dana Lundgren arrives on the steps of the DuFrane mansion having spent most of her life imprisoned for a crime that never happened. After accusing her of murder so many years ago, why did Marguerite DuFrane leave her a sizeable inheritance? As Celeste and Dana learn each other's stories, they come up with more questions than answers. Then a surprising discovery begins to fill in the missing pieces: Marguerite DuFrane's written confession, penned shortly before her death. Uncovering the treachery and deceit that changed the course of countless lives--most of all, their own--the two women find more than they ever dreamed of.

My Thoughts: All for a Sister beautifully depicts life in the twenties, complete with hairstyles and attitudes. Celeste behaved much the way I imagine the actresses in older movies behaving behind the set and as many women did in old clips I remember watching in high school. Pittman definitely did her research to make this time period come alive.

Even though I liked the portrayal of Celeste from Dana's point of view, I was not really able to connect with Celeste herself. She seemed a bit disconnected from the world around her, even this new woman who has come to live with her, a woman how she was raised believing had killed her sister. Even if I had learned that such was not true, I think I still would have been wary of a someone who had been hurt by my family in such a way.

I also found it difficult to follow the shifts in time. Though the dates were given at the head of each chapter, it still took me a little while to figure out who was speaking and at what time. I did notice a certain movie like quality to this (where time frames shift) and liked it from an artistic point of view, but found that it pulled me from an otherwise interesting story.

This is the first book I have read by Pittman, and so I do not know if she uses these time shifts in her other novels. If not, I am certain that I will love to read them and plan to find more of her novels as she has a beautiful way with history and layers of conflict.

I received this book from Tyndale publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Merlin's Nightmare- Robert Treskillard

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Haunted by the past, chased by the present.

Arthur is now eighteen, and Merlin, tired of hiding and running from his enemies, wants nothing more than to spend his days with his family and train Arthur for his rightful place as king. But when Arthur goes missing, a desperate Merlin must abandon all other quests to find him before a shadowy pursuer catches Arthur first.

Having everything to fight for, and almost nothing to fight with, Merlin and Arthur must rally Britain’s warriors against three overwhelming enemies: Saxenow hordes in the south, Picti raiders in the north, and a chilling new enemy that has arisen in the west.

At the same time, Mórgana brings Merlin’s deepest fear to life and sets a horde of werewolves loose to destroy Britain. But when the secret purpose of this nightmare is finally revealed, will Merlin and Arthur find a way to survive—without unleashing an even greater evil?

My Thoughts:Merlin's Nightmare continues sixteen years after Merlin's Shadow. Arthur has grown up and Merlin is married to Natalyena, which I thought was great. Being a fan or King Arthur, I liked to see him actually taking part in the adventures, rather than being more along for the ride as a baby. The story held my interest far better than Merlin's Shadow because I was able to see how the story played into Arthur's future as King.

I know that Treskillard has an accompanying series in the works and can not wait to read it. The Arthurian legends have always fascinated me, and I can not wait to see what life Treskillard breaths into them.

If you enjoyed the first two novels in the Merlin's Spiral trilogy, you will love this one and its host of characters. Get ready, because the true battle for Britain has just begun.

I received this novel through CSFF in exchange for an honest review.

Robert Treskillard's website 
Buy the book

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Day in the Life of Bookishqueen

Ok, I am actually going to tell you what I have been up to for the past month, but A Day in the Life sounded like a better title, so please forgive me.

Late last month, by Grandma and my Aunt came for a visit and we all went to Gatlinburg TN, Tail of the Dragon NC, and then a dam in NC that I can not remember the name to. We shopped and had a lot of fun (well, other than the name, I am not much of a fan of The Tail of the Dragon, a road with some 300 curves in 11 miles) but the rest of my family loved it. Here are some pictures:

Gatlinburg has a strip mall called The Village. There, I found and rode this majestic horse. :)

Got my Mom (left) and Aunt (right) to join in.

Even played in the river with my brother and sister.

Then we stopped at the Aquarium and got to take a picture with one of the divers there. I know it is a little had to see, but I am the short one.

On the way to the Tail of the Dragon, we saw this view. Ok, so I really climbed out on a cliff to take that, but we were still going to the dragon.

Speaking of which, a the Dragon, I found this sign. Love it.

Then we stopped at the dam, where I found a lot of story inspiration if I ever want to write a dystopian.

What about you? What had all my readers been up to? I would love to know. And later this week, I will share more of the past month.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rise and Shine- Sandra D. Bricker

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: Shannon Malone thought she'd found her happy ending when she married Edmund Ridgeway, but a diving accident on their honeymoon left her in a coma. Waking up to the news that she's thirty years old would have been daunting enough . . . but she also learns that Edmund has lost his interim battle with cancer and the world has marched on without her. Her gorgeous doctor, Daniel Petros, seems to know everything about her and becomes Shannon's tour guide into a whole new world of madness where reality television has taken over the planet and everyone's life appears to revolve around a tiny screen on their cell phones!

As Shannon struggles to navigate through the changes-both in the world and in her-she also must discern real memories from imagined ones. Did she really ever wear capris pants and entertain in her living room, or was that Laura Petrie from her favorite classic TV show? And where is her beloved dog, Freeway? Oh, wait! That was Jonathan and Jennifer Hart's dog, not hers.

Shannon's three elderly aunts flit through her life in true Sleeping Beauty style with her well-being always a priority. And Edmund's sister Millicent descends like the Evil Queen she is, trying to extract Shannon from any claim on the Ridgeway family fortune. When a tornado moves through town and Shannon is knocked unconscious, will Daniel's kiss awaken her once and for all?

My Thoughts: I have only ever read one other Sleeping Beauty retelling and must say that I like this one better. Coming up with a reason for someone to be asleep for a long time is difficult, and I believe that Sandra came up with a good reason. It is also terribly sad, with everything Shannon must then wake up to.

I found the way Sandra handled someone waking up after ten years in a coma to be realistic in the changes one would face, while also bringing a touch of humor. Imagining what someone's reaction to different technological devises would be if they had never seen them had me laughing and realizing just how much I rely on my smartphone.

Overall, Rise and Shine is a very sweet romance that had a bittersweet beginning. I hope to see more fairy tale retellings from Sandra Bricker soon.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.