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.

Netgalley Review: Families and Other Enemies

famiilies and other enemies

Title: Families and Other Enemies
Author: Christiana Dodd
Series: Short Story
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Harlequin
Page Count:
Type of Book: Arc, Kindle Ebook
Received: Netgalley
Rated: 3 stars
Review Word Count: 300
Notes: It’s got the word ‘lies’ in ‘Families’ so that counts for Buzz-Word-a-Thon, right?

Well, this was a bit different from my usual read, though it was short so I could easily knock it off the list. This has a potential minefield of triggers, though, so let’s just get into that before doing the review!:

Warnings: child abuse, homelessness, attempted murder, murder, spousal abuse, one scene bashing lesbians (old aunt stuck in her times), hospital scenes, church scenes, veterans, homeless veterans, homeless teenagers, drugs, addicts, abuse, amnesia, dementia, other

I don’t remember an entire year of my life.…
I still don’t remember, but I know what happened now.
I had a baby, and that changes everything.

Kellen Adams has fought battles, saved lives, earned the respect of her colleagues and the love of her friends. But now, can she triumph against the greatest challenge of her life — her family?

-Description from Goodreads

This was a fast short story to read, but also a hard hitting one. It touched on a lot of issues, and some of it made me angry and uncomfortable (such as the old aunt), so it’s not going to be one of my favorite short stories, I don’t think, but it was still a good important read.

There was a bit of mystery, life and death situations, people doing good, people doing bad. I can’t give away too much without revealing the entire plot, but the main point of the story was a woman survived her husband’s attempt to murder her only to get amnesia in the process and switch identities with her cousin who looks almost exactly like her. It was an interesting take, and I liked the main character, though I questioned her intelligent at times.

Overall, I liked it. It’s definitely worth a re-read in the future, if I feel up for it, and I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars!

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book.

Netgalley Review: Realm

A Realm

Title: Realm
Author: Alexandra Weis
Series: Standalone
Genre: Historical Romance (Adult Fiction)
Publisher: Vesuvian Books
Page Count:
Type of Book: Netgalley ARC, Kindle Ebook
Received: Netgalley, from the Publisher
Rated: 4/5 stars
Notes: Not available on Goodreads yet, so have to wait to review this there.

This was a long book with over 60+ chapters. It took me about four and a half days to read, it was long, but worth it. I loved the history of this book, the Greeks and the Persians, and I loved the characters and world-building. The storyline was good, but a little over halfway I was just wanting to be done already. There was so much there, that I think the author would’ve done better if she’d split the book in two. Or perhaps its just my short attention span these days, lol.

A woman unlike any other, she will conquer the unconquerable and be loved by a man who is worshipped as a god.
When her homeland is conquered by the mighty Alexander the Great, Roxana—the daughter of a mere chieftain—is torn from her simple life and thrown into a world of war and intrigue.
Terrified, the sixteen-year-old girl of renowned beauty is brought before the greatest ruler the world has ever known. Her life is in his hands; her future his to decide. Without formal education or noble blood, Roxana is chosen by the Greek conqueror to be his bride. Soon she comes to know profound happiness and unyielding desire in her warrior’s arms.
However, being the king’s consort comes at a heavy price. To survive her husband’s treacherous kingdom, she must endure continuous warfare, deadly plots, jealous rivals, victory-hungry generals, and the stigma of being a barbarian. Persian blood will keep her from claiming the grandest title of all—queen—but her reign will seal the fate of an empire.
History tells his story. This is hers.

-As seen on Netgalley.

My main gripe with this is that it seems while there was a strong female lead character, most of the other women weren’t fighters, and looked to her for her bravery and strength. She’s so much stronger and better than the rest of the women that I encountered in the book, it grew a bit annoying. Though I still liked Roxana’s character, sometimes she grated on my nerves.

Also, Alexander seemed a bit like an entitled a**. Then again, so do most men of that era, thinking that they should own and control everything. I probably wouldn’t have lived long in that time period, lol.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was definitely a refreshing change of pace from my typical read, and I always appreciate that when reading new books. Overall, I’m giving this 4/5 stars.
Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

Netgalley Review: A Spell for Murder

A Spell for Murder

Title: A Spell for Murder
Author: Clea Simmon
Series: book 1
Genre: Mystery (Cozy)
Publisher: Polis Books
Page Count: 400
Type of Book: Netgalley ARC, Kindle Ebook
Received: Netgalley
Rated: 5/5 stars

This is a cozy mystery book that’s seemingly told from the cats point of view. Need I say more? Well, apparently I must for this to be a full length review that’s more than a hundred words, so here goes.

{“It’s Harriet’s fault. It’s always her fault, not that she’ll ever admit it.” So begins A Spell of Murder: A Witch Cats of Cambridge mystery, the first in a new cozy series that mixes feline fiction with a touch of the paranormal, and a little romance as well.

Becca, newly single and newly unemployed, wants to believe she has psychic powers. With nothing but time – and a desire for empowerment – she’s studying to become a witch. What she doesn’t know is that her three cats – Harriet, Laurel, and Clara – are the ones with the real power. And when Harriet – “a cream-colored longhair with more fur than commonsense” – conjures a pillow for her own comfort, Becca believes her spells are finally working. Could that be why Trent, the coven’s devilishly handsome leader, has been showing her special attention? Or why Suzanne, a longtime coven member, draws her aside to share a secret – a confidence that may lead to murder?

-As seen on Goodreads}

I loved the cats. I loved how accurate they were described in their behavior, I loved the humor and feel-goodness of it all. It was a perfect read, and I hope to be able to continue the series soon. I really liked the whole mystery set up too, and I can honestly say that there are very few books that I’ve read where the cats are the ones to go on the case to solve a mystery. I think this will be one of my favorites. Especially with the magical elements, the witches, and the dark atmosphere throughout the book itself.

If you like cozy mysteries featuring cats, then this book will definitely be to your liking. It’s fun, it’s clever, and it’s thoroughly magical. 5/5 stars for a an excellent first read from a new author, and I definitely look forward to getting to the rest of the series!

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

Netgalley Review: The Quiet You Carry

The Quiet You Carry

Title: The Quiet You Carry
Author: Nikki Barthlemew
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Fiction
Publisher: Flux
Page Count: 300
Type of Book: ARC, Kindle Ebook
Received: Netgalley
Review Word Count: 600
Rated: 5/5 stars
Notes: Loads of trigger warnings in here for depression, anxiety, suicide attempt, child sexual abuse, physical abuse between spouses, foster care system, and I think that’s it.

Get your box of tissues ready, because this book was an emotional roller coaster ride! Complete with lots of triggers and terribly depressing scenes. There was at least one scene that made me almost cry because of how angsty it was. Therefore, of course I’m going to give this book a high rating, not only because of how emotional it was and the fact that I love reading emotional books like this, but because of how realistic and true it rang with every page.

I wasn’t ever in the foster care system, so I was lucky that way. But I knew exactly what the main character, Victoria, was going through in several parts of this book. It made me cringe each scene, wondering how she was going to get out of it, and if the bad guy in the book (the dad in this case) was going to get put away. The answer is, he drives off, fleeing from cops, and we never see what happens to him.

It takes place as Victoria is planning on attending college, but has a year of high school remaining. After getting shoved out of her home in the middle of a freezing cold winter night, social workers take her away to a foster care system where she resides, attempting to figure out how to fix everything, and why her father would lie about her like that.

She meets Connie, the ‘foster mother’ of a small home for girls, and follows rules, and feels as though she has no control over anything anymore. Her father won’t speak to her, her sister and stepmother refuses to talk to her as well, siding with her father. She fears for her sister, and what will happen in leaving her within her father’s grasp for long periods of time.

There’s a lot of abuse in this book, and it’s pretty heavy hitting at times. I was really impressed with how the author handled this, she weaves a story well, and the writing is splendid, and rings true for the situation, as well as the characters themselves. She’s obviously done her research, and my hat goes off to her for doing such a terrific job in pulling such a topic off in YA literature.

I’m giving this a 5/5 stars, because it was beautifully written, and the rating is well deserved. I definitely am now invested in any of the authors future works, because if her books are just as good as this one all the time, then she’s going to continue to be one of my absolute favorites! I highly recommend reading this, even buying this, as soon as it comes out!

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book.

Netgalley Review: The Stars Now Unclaimed

The Stars Now Unclaimed

Title: The Stars Now Unclaimed
Author: Drew Williams
Series: Book 1
Publisher: Tor
Page Count: 500
Type of Book: Arc, Paperback
Review Word Count:
Received: Netgalley ARC
Rated: 4/5 stars
Notes: Science fiction, how I love thee.

While not a book I would have selected were I at a library or bookstore, I selected this one out of the list of books available for review because I’d heard a lot about it, and I’d just finished reading The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers and was definitely in the mood for more of the same. I’d hoped this was similar, and while it’s a good book, I don’t think the two quite match up.

This was a slow burner of a read for me. Science fiction is either super fun and fast paced (see listed book above, as well as The Expanse series, as well as several others) or ridiculously slow and heavy paced with SCIENCE! And while I like science just fine, sometimes there’s lots of paragraphs that explain how things are, and so on. I’m pleased to say that this wasn’t one of those books, and while it wasn’t as fun as The Long Way it was still pretty entertaining to read!

I’m behind on reviews, so I’m posting this late, but overall I really did enjoy this book. It was fun, lots of characters and action and drama. Not sure I’m going to go out and buy a copy, but perhaps one day if I have space/money/time I might.

Overall, I’m giving this a 4/5 stars!

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

Netgalley Review: The Psychology of Time Travel

 

The Psychology of Time Travel

Title: The Psychology of Time Travel
Author: Kate Mascarenhas
Series:
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Page Count: 400
Type of Book: ARC
Received from: Netgalley
Rated: 4/5 stars
Notes: That was interesting!

Imagine if you would, four women inventing time travel. You could only travel to the point in time when they made the machine, but still…to be able to see your family and friends again after they’ve perished, to see how things worked when they did…it’s a fascinating concept, that’s for sure.

Therefore, while the idea was good, I was surprised by how much I just didn’t care for any of the characters or their unique ambition in creating time travel. While initially it began as a cool concept, it soon became more about the characters and the lives they lived. Not something I was super interested in.

Still, the story itself was rather cool, and I really liked the first half of it, so I’m giving this a 4/5 stars. Bonus points for that splendid looking cover.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

Netgalley Review: The Turnaway Girls

The Turnaway Girls

Title: The Turnaway Girls
Author: Haley Chewins
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Candlewick
Page Count: 300
Type of Book: ARC, Netgalley Read
Review Word Count:
Rated: 3/5 stars
Notes: DNF’d at about 50% of the way through. Sigh.

I couldn’t finish this book. The writing wasn’t bad, and neither were the characters, I just couldn’t keep focused on it. Perhaps its my mentality state and trying to read so many books, one after the other, so that I can finish and write up my many belated reviews, but…I didn’t much like this one. It wasn’t grabbing me, and I didn’t feel any strong connection to it.

I’m sorry to the author, I know menial reviews like this hurt their product, but it just wasn’t for me. I’m going to try again in the future to read it, and finish it, but after weeks of forcing myself to keep flipping pages…

Meh.

3/5 stars for this book.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book.

Netgalley Review: No Man of Woman Born

 

No Man of Woman Born

Title: No Man of Woman Born
Author: Ana Marsdell
Series: Anthology
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Acacia Moon Publishing
Page Count: 300
Type of Book: Netgalley ARC, Kindle Ebook
Review Word Count: 600
Rated: 5/5 stars
Notes:

No Man of Woman Born. The title is what caught my eye, it was catchy and interesting and sounded like the kind of thing I would read. Then I realized it was a collection of short stories, and while I’m not normally one for Anthologies, I definitely had to read this. It was exactly what I hoped for; true love, heroes, girls turned boys, boys turned girls, dragons, magic, witches…it was an amazingly, awesome experience reading this book.

I wish to thank the publisher for letting me have a copy of this on Netgalley. I was crossing my fingers, but wasn’t sure I would receive it, and am thrilled to have gotten it, and even more thrilled in reading it. Yet before I dive into the review, let’s go over the trigger warnings, shall we? Because there’s quite a few of them to list here.

Warnings: trans-characters in trying situations, non-supportive family members of a trans character, death of family members and children, imprisonment, murder, war crimes, suggested genocide of certain kinds of character, suggested rape

There’s various different kinds of short retelllings you might notice in here. The ‘sword from the stone’, not to mention the ‘sleeping beauty’; but there’s also quite a few that I didn’t recognize as being retellings. If they are, they’re done well enough that I’ve missed it, and it doesn’t state it in the story either.

I liked all the stories, though I think my favorites are probably “the Father’s Son” and “The sword from the Stone” remixed version. The writing was strong, the characters were believable, and I wish, I wish that I had found and read this as a thirteen year old teenager when I was confused about gender and everything else. While I’m not trans, I have a lot of trans friends, as well as gay and lesbian friends too. Most of my circle is part of the LGBT community, in fact. I have the feeling that had I read this as a teenager, it would have helped me to grow and figure a few things out a lot quicker.

I can’t review this book without spoiling it. I will say that there are quite a few scenes that are dark and heart-wrenching to read. So if you’re easily triggered or there are things you don’t like reading in fantasy books that deal with the LGBT community…I highly suggest not reading it.

But if you’re not scared away so easily, then I highly recommend reading this book. Because it is an important book, especially if you’re new to the LGBT community. It shows just how important gender identity is, and why it matters what you call a person.

I’m giving this a 5/5 stars because of how powerful the message is in this book, and I really hope that any who reads this review at least checks this book out and spreads the message that there’s a positive book for LGBT people to read that’s in the YA fantasy genre.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

Netgalley Review: Empire of Sand

EmpireofSandARC

Title: Empire of Sand
Author: Tasha Suri
Series: Book 1
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Page Count: 500
Type of Book: ARC, Netgalley Read, Kindle Ebook
Review Word Count: 500
Rated: 5/5 stars

I think this might be one of my top #5 books of the year. I’m still in awe of this book that I’ve just finished reading. I read a few chapters here and there the past couple of days, but when I reached chapter fifteen, I didn’t stop reading for almost an entire day, and now it’s currently resting at 9pm at night. That’s a lot of attention from one book. I just couldn’t stop. Merh was such a fascinating, empathetic, and completely believable character. The world-building was breathtaking and enormous, and there was just so much going on in each chapter, it was almost bewildering. It was a grand, epic fantasy adventure that I’d been craving since I’d last read The Expanse, or Outlander, or even Harry Potter-but in a completely different and wholly unexpected way.

Merh struck a deep cord in me, with her trying to keep her family safe from the Emperor and his people, while avoiding her mother’s side of the family and striving to be the quiet, obedient daughter of the Governor. She’s strong, however, and likes to test the bounderies of what she can and cannot do. But things begin to backfire, when her mother’s roots begin to show…and she begins to loose control of the peace she’s carefully built for herself over the years. Her stepmother hates her, and wants her away from her sister, while her father is slowly growing away from her, in large parts thanks to her hateful stepmother. Things are taking a dark turn.

And then the story opens up into such a wild and emotional ride with so many things that I didn’t see coming that I can’t help but keep flipping page after page. It’s imaginative, and glorious to read such a tear-jerker and gut-puncher of a story. Prepare to have tissues on hand, I nearly cried a few times, and it takes a lot to make me cry over a book.

Warnings: minor character deaths, suggested rape, attempted annihaliation of a race, forced arranged marriage, characters that you will hate, and scenes that might make you cry…

I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this book, and deeply thank Orbit for approving me of a copy. I read the description of the book, saw the line on the cover that read “magic is in her blood” and knew that this was going to be one of my all time favorites, and I’m thrilled to say that I was absolutely right. I’m planning on buying this book when it comes out, to add to my top favorites, it’s that good. Needless to say, I’m giving this book 5/5 stars for its beautifully written tale of love, danger, and magic.

Until next time,
Pass Me That Book.