Netgalley Review: The Circus Infinite

Hello Everyone,

Another book I picked because of the cover. I have no shame. 😆

Book Title: The Circus Infinite

Author: Khan Wong

Series: Standalone (?)

Genre: Science Fiction, Adventure

Publisher: Angry Robot

Page Count: 400

Trigger warnings: scenes of violence, drug use, torture

Goodreads Summary:

Hunted by those who want to study his gravity powers, Jes makes his way to the best place for a mixed-species fugitive to blend in: the pleasure moon. Here, everyone just wants to be lost in the party. It doesn’t take long for him to catch the attention of the crime boss who owns the resort-casino where he lands a circus job. When the boss gets wind of the bounty on Jes’ head, he makes an offer: do anything and everything asked of him, or face vivisection.

With no other options, Jes fulfills the requests: espionage, torture, demolition. But when the boss sets the circus up to take the fall for his about-to-get-busted narcotics operation, Jes and his friends decide to bring the mobster down together. And if Jes can also avoid going back to being the prize subject of a scientist who can’t wait to dissect him? Even better.

My Thoughts:

I tried reading this three times. I managed to finish it. I’ve got mixed feelings about this book.

My Review:

Wow. This book is heavy. I had a hard time reading this. It took three tries like I said above. I have no clue how to write this review. On the one hand, awesome ideas. An ace main character that controls gravity and reads people’s minds? So cool!

But there’s also the negatives. This book is dark. And heavy. Please pay attention to triggers when diving into this book!

Let’s start with the world building. This was so cool. Loads of interesting things were in this book. The circus was only a part of it. The planets, the people, and the characters were all fascinating! The whole idea of the book was supremely intriguing and I so wanted to like it.

But there were scenes in this that just felt like it was trying to hard, and seriously stretching believability. I’m aware this is science fiction/fantasy, yet I struggled to connect with a lot of the characters. I didn’t really get the plot, and I just have no clue how to review this book.

Maybe I might need to read the again but I’m giving this a 2.5 stars rounded up to a generous three. It had great elements! It had a lot of promising features! But it just wasn’t to my taste.

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Netgalley Review: Dance of Twilight and Tears

Hello Everyone,

I’ll admit it. I was sold by this cover and learning that this was a Swan Lake retelling!

Book Title: Dance of Twilight and Tears

Author: Zara Mills

Series: I *think* it’s a Standalone? But I’ve been wrong before lol

Genre: YA

Publisher: FinnStar Publishing

Page Count: n/a

Goodreads Summary:

Algae and toe shoes, feathers and tutus

Behind the gilded doors of the Paris Opéra Ballet, two best friends, Madeleine and Lucie, dance the night away. But at first morning light, their human bodies transform into webbed feet, billed lips, and wings.

When enchanted, the girls are the Bois de Boulogne’s famous black and white swans. For ninety years, they have floated in the lake, unable to find true love and break the evil Dance Master’s curse. But when Madeleine meets American transplant Zig Young, everything changes.

Suddenly, Madeleine wins a coveted solo spot in an upcoming ballet, and her growing relationship with Zig means she’s on the verge of breaking the enchantment. However, doing so means leaving the Bois, the ballet, and Lucie forever—something she’s not sure she can bear.

Desperate to not lose her best friend, Lucie will do anything to keep Madeleine with her—including betrayal. She’ll stop at nothing—even if it means breaking Madeleine’s heart and dooming her to life as a swan forever; even if she ruins her own chance at happiness.

In this retelling of Swan Lake, the lines of good and bad blur as Madeleine and Lucie struggle to choose between the life they want and their friendship.

My Thoughts:

Okay, admittedly I don’t know much about Swan Lake. So I have no idea if this is a good retelling or not lol. You guys will have to tell me if it is or not!

My Review:

This was a fascinating book, in that I love books about dancing and mysterious elements, and yet I feel as though maybe I just wasn’t the right age for this book. It was weird. Good weird but weird. I loved the opening chapters, the dark atmospheric setting and the curse upon the girls that turn into swans. I don’t feel as though that’s spoilers, so apologies if it is. It’s literally right in the opening couple of chapters.

I haven’t read much dancing books. I think that the first book that had dance in it was Twilight lol. Remember Bella with the ballet studio in book one? For those that know, you know exactly what I am talking about. I think that was my first exposure to dance in fiction. I’ve since read a decent amount of books that will have dancing mentioned. I’ve watched both first films of Step Up (I think that was the title!) And I adore ballet but after watching a documentary about the hospital bills and how painful ballet really is? No thanks, definitely not for me!

That said, I am not an expert on dancing. I don’t dance, my balance is crap. So reading books about it is the best way to go. This was a good book. Descriptive but not over the top. Fun, but not a challenging read. But it is YA so maybe I shouldn’t have thought otherwise oopsie.

What’s this story about? It’s about a curse. It’s about romance. About dancing, and healing and figuring out what one wants. It’s a fast paced read; I easily managed to finish this in a few hours. I’m trying to be vague about this as I don’t want to spoil anyone! And as I don’t know much about Swan Lake, all I can say is that this was quite good and definitely worth reading! If you like curses, dancing, and darkly atmospheric books, then do check this one out!

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Netgalley Review: A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice

Hello Everyone,

Book Title: A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice

Author: Rebecca Connolly

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing

Page Count: 320

Date Published: April 5th, 2022

Goodreads Summary:

Based on the remarkable true story of the Carpathia—the one ship and her legendary captain who answered the distress call of the sinking Titanic.

Shortly after midnight on April 15, 1912, the captain of the Carpathia, Arthur Rostron, wakes to a distress signal from the Titanic, which has struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage. Though information is scarce, Rostron leaps into action, determined to answer the call for help. But the Carpathia is more than four hours away, and there are more questions than answers: Will his ship hold together if pushed to never-before-tested speeds? What if he also strikes an iceberg? And with the freezing temperatures, will there be any survivors by the time the Carpathia arrives?

Kate Connolly is a third-class passenger on Titanic, and she is among the last to receive instruction and help after it hits an iceberg. Despite the chaos of abandoning ship, Kate is able to board a lifeboat, though after seeing the Titanic sink into the abyss and hearing the cries from hundreds of people still in the water, she wonders if any rescue is even possible.

Told in alternating chapters from both Captain Rostron and Kate Connolly.

My Thoughts:

This was quite good, but with heavy religious overtones that rather began to annoy. The first half of the book I was hooked, but by the time the characters are rescued and being taken to New York, there’s a lot of prayer and singing.

My Review:

Everyone knows the story of the Titanic, and those who don’t ought to learn one of the most important events in history. The Titanic taught us that all ships can be sinkable. (And to always double our lifeboats just in case.) That we can plan for every structure to be huge and impossible but the slightest item can damage it in the blink of an eye. The story of the Titanic is one of my favorites in history. I can’t put my finger on why, exactly. Maybe it’s because of the heroism of those reaching the poor people that barely survived the sinking of the Titanic. Maybe it’s because I adore ocean stories and survival stories. Maybe because it was such big news back in the day that it still haunts us all even now. Whatever the case, I read every Titanic book I can get my hands on, along with other sunken ships.

This story is historically accurate in terms of events, down to the timing being listed on every chapter. I appreciated the story for it’s accuracy and I did like the characters that I read. I flipped through the book rapidly and had to sit and think about how this review was going to go. Because while the first half was absolutely brilliant, the second half was nothing but paragraph after paragraph of prayer, hymns, and “thank god we’re alive!”. Of which, yes I’m aware that they likely did all that. But I was hoping for more backstory about the ship that rescued the survivors of the Titanic, not half a book of prayer.

The first half of the book was amazing; strong characters, I felt as though I was right there with them, vivid details, lots of rushing about to safety. The author did a fabulous job in recreating history, she’s a great writer. I was seeing a five star book on the horizon.

Then the characters were rescued by the Captain of the Carpathia. They were pulled up to safety, to warmth, to life again. And that’s where the story swapped from harrowing historical events to prayer. Praying almost every page. Hymns being sung. I flipped through the rest, and that was it. Nothing else but grateful for being alive.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand that back then religion was rampant. As it is today. However I was really hoping for more information about the Carpathia. So I’m rating this four stars-reluctantly. After all. I did enjoy it. It just wasn’t what I thought it would be.

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Netgalley Review: Looking for Laura

Hello Everyone,

Title: Looking For Laura

Author: Ellen Shapiro

Series: Book One

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Publisher: Indies United Publishing House

Page Count: 400

Book Summary:

Like most private investigators, Tracey Marks is just trying to pay off the mountain of bills that never seem to stop. So when a client hands her $5000 to find his missing wife, she jumps at the opportunity. Although it’s her first missing-persons case, she really does need the money and charges ahead into the investigation.

But things quickly go sideways, and the more answers she gets, the more questions that arise. Everyone seems to be holding back, or even outright lying…and even the missing woman has a sketchy past. As Tracey digs in deeper and deeper, she finds herself drawn into a web of deceit. With warning signs everywhere, will Tracey even live long enough to cash the check?

My Thoughts:

This was a smooth read, quick, simple and easy. Though our main character would beg to differ for it being her first missing persons case, I flew through the pages rapidly, eager to see how Tracy would solve the mystery. I’m pleased to say that I liked this one, with it being written by a woman who was a private eye herself, this was a new favorite, with plenty of mystery, action, and a lot of fun.

As a cozy mystery fan, I felt that this was well handled. I enjoyed the atmospheric writing, and the suspenseful buildup was great too. Tracy was a real, likable character, and I’m happy to add that there’s a sequel called Secrets Can Kill, that I definitely hope to snag. The mystery wrapped up nicely and I have a new favorite author to stalk. Highly recommend for fans of cozy mysteries.

My Rating:

⭐ ⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

November TBR: Netgalley November, Nonfiction November, Novellas for November, Remember November…so much to read!

Hello Everyone,

Made with Canva.

I have a lot of projects this month and decided this year I’m not doing NaNoWriMo. Instead reading will be my primary focus, especially arcs as I have found that I have approximately 389 arcs on Netgalley…not counting the titles that got backlisted and are no longer there, oops. I have taken a year away for personal reasons but now I really need to play catch up. 2022 is already looking to being busy busy busy. But I’m hoping to get the arcs to a more manageable number. Sooner rather than later. Anyway here’s my ambitious November Tbr!

Netgalley Arcs To Read:

There’s way more arcs, of course, but these are my hopefuls! Then we have the nonfiction books on my tbr.

Nonfiction November:

I hope to do more than four, but honestly I generally don’t read a lot of nonfiction books. I have a few others I *might* can squeeze in…

Novellas for November:

These are the most immediate on my tbr, a few I have to wait for my library to get them. Network Effect is also an arc for Netgalley so bonus for that!

Remember November:

So many many books that I simply didn’t get to this year, and probably won’t be able to still. There’s authors who have large lists of books that I’ve only read a few. Classics that I hoped to read but didn’t manage it. Bestsellers. Prize winners. Favorite authors I still haven’t read of all their back titles. It was a good reading year but there’s still so much to read! Here’s hoping that the last two months of this year I can manage better than I had the past two.

Historathon:

A few of these you’ll have seen on here before. But I’m doubling up because some of these books are quite huge . These are series that I haven’t finished, or historical books I put off reading. The longest one I think (I could be wrong) is The Fall of Giants by Ken Follett. I’m not sure how big Diana’s last book in Outlander is yet but I look forward to finding out. I doubt I’ll get to all of these this year but I’m still quite hopeful. Hope your reading is going equally well. Let me know what I should prioritize in the comments!

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Book Review: The Time for Murder is Meow

Time for Murder

Title: The Time for Murder is Meow
Author: T.C. LoTempio
Series: Book 1
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Page Count: ?
Type of Book: Kindle Ebook
Received: Netgalley
Rated: 3/5 stars
Review Word Count: 300
Notes:

~*~

This was a quick enough read for me, read over the space of a day and a half. While the plot was interesting, the middle sagged a bit with not enough to keep me interested in the story overall, and admittedly I skimmed a bit towards the end. It wasn’t one of my favorite cozy mysteries ever, but it was still entertaining enough to read on through to the very end. I doubt that I’ll continue with the series, however. The animals were all fun to read, and the characters definitely had their own interesting points in regards to the plot. While I’ve seen some of the tricks pulled before in solving the mystery and therefore figured out the killer about halfway through the book, it was still a reasonable written novel that’s the first in a series.

Enjoyable, and would recommend to new cozy mystery fans. Therefore, I’m giving this a 3.5/5 stars, and I feel that anyone who likes ‘the cat who’ series would enjoy this one.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

Netgalley Review: Penne Dreadful

Penne Dreadful

Title: Penne Dreadful
Author: Catherine Burns
Series: Book 1 of the Italian Chef Mystery Series
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Page Count: 500
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Type of Book: Netgalley Read, Kindle Ebook
Received: Netgalley
Rated: 5/5 stars
Review Word Count:
Notes: A wonderful start to a new mystery series that will surely leave readers hungry for more!

I should start this off with a warning to readers: don’t read this book without snacks nearby. Especially tasty snacks. Because this book has described food that made me hungry and craving pasta for lunch (which I successfully had while reading this book!) and it’s description of food is definitely on par with a lot of chefs that I’ve met who know what they’re talking about when they talk about food. The type of food in this book is my favorite kind too-pizza, pasta, and many other things besides (except for eggplant. Blagh.)

This was a fun, yet depressing at times, mystery book. There was a murder, plenty of suspects, an overly helpful cat, another murder, several attempted murders, blackmail, robbery, and even a happy ending. This book was a non-stop action ride from beginning to end, and I spent two days flying through the pages wanting to know who would was the killer. I was half right in my guess, but forgot several factors, and was therefore still taken by surprise at the end. Clever of the author to do so!

I highly recommend this author’s book. It’s very fun, it’s a quick read, and it’s definitely one to be added to my shelves at home. Her writing is flawless, and her characters are realistic and entertaining each with their own secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end.

5/5 stars!

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

Netgalley Review: Contact by M.D. Neu

contact

Title: Contact
Author: M.D. Neu
Series: Book 1
Genre: Science Fiction
Page Count: 300
Publisher: Ninestar Press
Type of Book: Arc, Kindle Ebook
Review Word Count: 500
Rated: 4/5 stars
Received: Netgalley
Notes: Death of an lgbt character, but makes sense for the plot. Harsh swearing from two different characters, and a bomb attack about halfway through the book in a populated city.

This is a hard book to review. While I flew through the pages, there’s several things that I didn’t much like about the book-the harsh language, and the death of an lgbt character made it a bit darker for me to read. The harsh language was almost off-putting for me, though I skimmed through a lot of that.

There wasn’t much in the romance department, though the obvious love between the main gay couple was evident and real, and I liked it. There were some issues that I had Jerry and his attitude towards Todd, but it made the character seem more realistic as well.

There’s small handfuls throughout this book of characters bashing LGBT characters, but it improves over time. Todd’s brother started out as hateful and mean, but eventually grew out of that, into something that was a bit more bearable.

The science, aliens, and first contact approach with this book was great. I really liked the detail that the author put into the storyline; it was almost as if I was living it, though unfortunately that’s not the case. I think the coolest thing was Faa and the purple mountains comment.

I definitely look forward to reading book two. The ending was a little bit of a cliff-hanger, though without a lot of ‘must have book two now’ it was more of a, what will happen next kind of thing.

4/5 well deserved stars.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book.

Netgalley Arc: Lying Beneath the Oaks

lying beneath the oaks

Title: Lying Beneath the Oaks
Author: Kristin Wright
Series: Standalone/Debut
Genre: Mystery/Romance
Publisher: Bella Rosa Books
Page Count: 300
Review Word Count: 600
Type of Book: Arc, Kindle Ebook
Received: Netgalley
Rated: 4.5/5 stars
Notes: Read for the Buzz-Word-a-Thon! Really liked this one!

This book was beautifully crafted, well written, with strong characters, and definitely well researched material. Molly’s character was fascinating, and I loved her story though it definitely had some trigger warnings for child abuse. So, here are the warnings first before I dive into the full review:

Warnings: child abuse, suggested child sexual abuse, suggested child trafficking, attempted murder of both child and adults, suggested rape of adults and child, some swearing, steamy romance bedroom scenes, sexism, light racism (only one character), talks about fires, talks about hurricanes, a few chapters regarding religion/going to church, other

This book, though certainly dark and twisted at times, made me almost long for a trip back to Louisiana or any of the places down south for its rich atmosphere. Of course, having been to the south, those emotions were few and far between. There were also plenty of triggers in the book that made me want to flinch away and hide, but the book tells such a good story that I was mostly able to ignore it.

Molly is a complex, blunt, and strong female character. She’s served time for possibly accidentally killing her mother, and has paid for it for years. There’s lots of interesting (and depressing) history there, but the focus of the story is her waking up married to a complete (handsome) stranger named Cooper, who happens to belong to a wealthy southern family.

It’s a fascinating story, completely with twisted plots that I didn’t see coming, though a lot of it I did notice right off. I loved Aurelia, the town eccentric, who is one of my favorite characters. I loved Mia and the golden retriever and just all of this book shown with creative clever schemes and strong characters so that I couldn’t turn away from it. I read through it in most of a day, and wish that there was more available, and that I could have seen the bad guy getting his due, aside from the tiny snippet of it at the end of the book-that’s my only real complaint, really, is that we didn’t see him getting published enough.

I really liked reading this book, and highly recommend it-especially if you love gothic, southern crime/romance fiction. It’s rich in detail, and you won’t regret reading it, unless you absolutely loathe reading about the south. 4.5/5 stars!
Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

Netgalley Review: Conspiracy of Lies

conspiracy of lies

Title: Conspiracy of Lies
Author: Kathryn Gauci
Series: Standalone
Genre: Historical/Mystery
Publisher: ?
Page Count: 300
Type of Book: Arc, Kindle Ebook
Received: Netgalley
Rated: 3 stars
Review Word Count: 300
Notes: Not what I was expecting. Heavy sigh.

I gave up at 40% in reading this book. With so many five star reviews, I thought this would be a great read. It was an okay read, but I didn’t connect with the characters, or the plot, hardly at all. While the mystery was interesting enough to keep on reading-just what did happen to Marcel?-I couldn’t force myself to continue as the characters kept giving Sarah grief over her divorce with Alastair and basically treating her as if she was mentally incompetent, and that her mother’s heart attack was her fault. At least, that’s the way it read to me.

The historical bits were fascinating. I liked reading about the first attacks, the newscasters, and the stories the family told about experiencing the war in France. It was interesting, and well researched. My main problem with the story was just the characters. I didn’t connect with them, and found Peter and Alastair and others to be quite annoying.

Others may enjoy this story more than I, but I still appreciate being given the chance to read it. My thanks to the publishers for approving my request, and apologies that I can’t leave a more glowing review.

3/5 stars, and my second book for Buzz-Word-a-Thon.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book.

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