Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Babysitters Coven (The Babysitters Coven #1) by Kate Williams

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*No Major Spoilers*

Seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl has a babysitters club. She knows it’s kinda lame, but what else is she supposed to do? Get a job? Gross. Besides, Esme likes babysitting, and she’s good at it.

And lately, Esme needs all the cash she can get, because it seems like destruction follows her wherever she goes. Let’s just say she owes some people a new tree.

Enter Cassandra Heaven. She’s Instagram-model hot, dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster, and has a rebellious streak as gnarly as the cafeteria food. So why is Cassandra willing to do anything, even take on a potty-training two-year-old, to join Esme’s babysitter’s club?

The answer lies in a mysterious note Cassandra’s mother left her: “Find the babysitters. Love, Mom.”

Turns out, Esme and Cassandra have more in common than they think, and they’re about to discover what being a babysitter really means a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from a seriously terrifying evil. And all before the parents get home.

Since it’s the Halloween season, and this happened to catch my interest, I thought this would be a lovely book to read to get me into the spooky season. So let’s begin my review of The Babysitters Coven!

I feel like the Young Adult genre is a hit or miss, in my opinion. I’ve read some good, bad, mediocre and everything in between. I understand that it’s the same for any group of novels. However, I would place The Babysitters Coven in the four stars category.

This novel reminded me of how integrated texting lingo has become. The characters often said LOL and OMG. I found it annoying, but then I had to remind myself that even I talk that way occasionally.

Even though the characters are younger than me, I could somewhat relate to Esme. She overthinks everything and hates gym class. Seeing her gain her confidence through learning about her newfound powers made me happy.

I didn’t like Cassandra though, she abuses her powers and doesn’t seem to care how it affects her or those around her. For instance, she and Esme go to a department store and Cassandra sets small fires to distract the employees so she can steal some name-brand jeans. Esme felt guilty even though she protested what Cassandra was doing throughout her crime.

However, I am interested to see if Cassandra learns the consequences of her magical mischief, or is she becomes a “bad guy” of her own. Whatever way Ms. Williams chooses will suit me just fine.

I won’t spoil the ending, but I guessed 1/2 of the mystery. So the other half surprised me and kept me engaged in the story overall. I love how this novel ends on a good note and leaves just enough to continue the story.

Overall, I enjoyed this novel. I found the story overall to be creative, and I felt the characters were real people and not cardboard. If you are fans of Young Adult paranormal, enjoy novels about witches, or just want an entertaining read, then I’d highly recommend The Babysitters Coven.

Read other Young Adult Reviews Here

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Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Green Ember (The Green Ember #1) by S.D. Smith

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*No Major Spoilers*

Heather and Picket are extraordinary rabbits with ordinary lives until calamitous events overtake them, spilling them into a cauldron of misadventures. They discover that their own story is bound up in the tumult threatening to overwhelm the wider world.

Kings fall and kingdoms totter. Tyrants ascend and terrors threaten. Betrayal beckons and loyalty is a broken road with peril around every bend.

Where will Heather and Picket land? How will they make their stand?

“All of life is a battle against fear. We fight it on one front, and it sneaks around to our flank.” He paused, looked kindly at her. “Yes, Father. I understand.” “I regret many things I’ve done,” he said, “but most of all I regret those moments when I said to Fear, ‘You are my master.”
S.D. Smith, The Green Ember

If you have even heard of the classic children’s book, Watership Down, then I would add The Green Ember to your “to be read” list! This novel runs in a similar vein to Watership Down in that it’s about displaced rabbits who have to fight for survival. Although not as dark or grim as the classic, The Green Ember tells a story of survival, betrayal, loss, and overcoming obstacles.

The story is mostly told from Heather’s perspective, even though Picket sits in the narrator’s seat from time to time. Heather and Picket’s learning about how the real world for all rabbits really works, and their family history, feels genuine and real.

I enjoyed this story a lot, all of the characters are well developed, and the history for the rabbit colonies was well fleshed out. I could tell the author put a lot of love and care into the mythos of this world. My most memorable character other than the siblings was the wise elderly rabbit, Maggie Weaver. She is a mother/grandmotherly figure to those who live in the community. She is the fastest sewer, and she gives the rabbits a shoulder to lean on when times are rough.

!!This might be a small spoiler, so be warned!!

Near the end of the novel, Ms. Weaver makes an astounding speech to all of the rabbits. Reminding them she is just another elderly rabbit. She doesn’t see herself in this grandiose way that the rest of the colony seem to view her. She lost her husband in the fall of the last king, and she reminds the other rabbits that she is no one special.

This is a children’s illustrated chapter book. However, I listened to the audiobook and the audiobook was just as amazing as reading the ebook. I would definitely say that this novel is appropriate for most ages. The violence is PG, or in video game terms E10+. There is no bad language, so the only thing for parents to worry about is violence.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Green Ember. I would highly recommend it for a nice family read. I would also recommend this for lovers of fantasy, animal protagonists, and of course, rabbits.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Mind Games (Kaely Quinn Profiler #1) by Nancy Mehl

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*No Major Spoilers*

Kaely Quinn’s talents as an FBI Behavior Analyst are impossible to ignore, no matter how unorthodox her methods. But when a reporter outs her as the daughter of an infamous serial killer, she’s demoted to field agent and transferred to St. Louis.

When the same reporter who ruined her career claims to have received an anonymous poem predicting a string of murders, ending with Kaely’s, the reporter’s ulterior motives bring his claim into question. But when a body is found that fits the poem’s predictions, the threat is undeniable, and the FBI sends Special Agent Noah Hunter to St. Louis.

Initially resentful of the assignment, Noah is surprised at how quickly his respect for Kaely grows, despite her oddities. But with a brazen serial killer who breaks all the normal patterns on the loose, Noah and Kaely are tested to their limits to catch the murderer before anyone else–including Kaely herself–is killed.

First off, I must mention that this is Christian fiction. Not very often do I find this genre intriguing enough for me to read. I felt this novel was a nice break from all of the sex and foul language that most modern novels have. It reminded me that a story doesn’t have to have sex and vulgarity just to make it interesting.

Kaely is a Christian herself, she discusses it with her new partner Noah. Even though this book discusses religion, I didn’t feel like the author was shoving it down my throat. Kaely believes, but she doesn’t pressure others to share her beliefs.

One interesting characteristic is that I diagnosed Kaely as having schizophrenia. As the novel progresses, she’s slowly starting to lose grip on her “technique”. I can’t wait to see how this aspect of her affects her in the novels to come!

This novel’s plot twist was amazing! The pool of reasonable suspects was large enough to keep me guessing until the big unveiling. Along with the plot twist, I felt the murderer’s motives were reasonable and I could understand his frustration and pain.

Mind Games reminded me of the story of the Happy Face Killer. He was a serial killer who is well known for not only his despicable crimes but also because his daughter is out in the media, doing interviews, building a support group for families of serial killers. She feels the need to put some good in the world despite who her father is.

I recommended this novel to my mom. If anyone would be interested in what my mom says about this novel, I might post her review/thoughts in an upcoming blog post.

I would recommend this novel for lovers of Christian FictionMystery, and those who are interested in reading novels about protagonists with mental health issues, low key romance, novels loosely based on true crime, and serial killers and their families.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Arsenal: Full Metal Superhero (Full Metal Superhero #1) by Jefferey H. Haskell

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*No Major Spoilers*

Amelia Lockheart can’t walk, but she can fly. As the armored superhero-Arsenal, she has the power of a small army at her disposal. Fourteen years ago her parents disappeared after a horrific wreck which left her wheelchair bound. With thieves salivating to steal her armor, and supervillains trying to kill her, Amelia must learn to trust her new team if she wants to survive long enough to learn the truth.

This novel caught my attention because of the cover, the series name, and the concept. With the Marvel and DC movies battling it out at the theatres, one might hesitate to go into a superhero series without drawing connections to previously established characters. However, I felt that this would have been unique enough to be entertaining on its own two feet.

I felt like Amelia was amazing in the facts that she doesn’t let others tell her what to do just because she’s a handicapped woman. She is brilliant in what she can build and create with just enough imagination and determination.

At first, her thoughts about what really happened to her parents sounded like a coping mechanism. When something tragic happens, you naturally want to blame it on someone or something. Blaming her parents’ disappearance in the company they worked for is logical and reasonable.

As you go through the battles and struggles with Amelia and her new friends you find that there is something more going on than meets the eye. Is someone trying to set them up to fail? Who is really after Amelia’s armor? These questions and more are what drives this story and the over-arching plot forward.

I couldn’t help myself but draw connections between this novel and Marvel superheroes. It never took anything away from the novel, but it was kind of fun to be like “oh this guy sounds like Doctor Strange”. Or “This sounds like a combination of Captain America and The Hulk”. I found that instead of being direct rip-offs, they were their own unique identity.

The final battle shows how determined and how brilliant Amelia truly is and how her cool head and thinking under pressure is more valuable to the team overall. She is able to do just as much when she is Arsenal, and when she’s just Amelia.

I know this was meant to be an adult novel, but for some reason, I couldn’t get the thought of this being a Young Adult novel out of my head. Something about how Amelia is portrayed had me thinking she was a teenager instead of being in her early 20s.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, it was a breath of fresh air to have some new superheroes to read about. I felt like this novel is appropriate for everyone of all ages to enjoy. If you like underdog stories and superheroes, then this book is for you!

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Atlantis Code (Thomas Lourds #1) by Charles Brokaw

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*No Spoilers*

A thrill-seeking Harvard linguistics professor and an ultrasecret branch of the Catholic Church go head-to-head in a race to uncover the secrets of the lost city of Atlantis. The ruins of the technologically-advanced, eerily-enigmatic ancient civilization promise their discoverer fame, fortune, and power… but hold earth-shattering secrets about the origin of man.

While world-famous linguist and archaeologist, Thomas Lourds, is shooting a film that dramatizes his flamboyant life and scientific achievements, satellites spot impossibly ancient ruins along the Spanish coast. Lourds knows exactly what it means: the Lost Continent of Atlantis has been found. The race is on, and Lourds’ challengers will do anything to get there first.

Whoever controls the Lost Continent will control the world.

The mystery of the Lost City of Atlantis has fascinated the human race ever since Plato wrote about its wonders and glory was spread throughout the world. With questions like, ‘how did Atlantis sink?’ and ‘was it really as wonderful as the stories made it out to be?’ anyone would be willing to put their life and career on the line for the fame of finding this lost city.

This book is in the vein of The Da Vinci Code a treasure hunt, secret societies, and mysteries that fascinated society since their beginning. I am not familiar with The Da Vinci Code series, however, I feel that The Atlantis Code was a nice introduction into the world of treasure hunting and solving ancient mysteries.

I would say if you’re sensitive to novels that discuss religion in an untraditional way, I would say to either to be wary of this novel or take the warning and enjoy it for what it is: a fictional treasure hunt.

Overall, I enjoyed this novel. The only thing I wasn’t a fan of was the “love triangle” between Lourds and his two female companions. I felt like the TV hostess was just used for tension and plot advancement.

I found the ending was cinematic, and I actually felt like everyone’s lives were at stake. The plot threads were neat and nicely wrapped up. Even though the story had a complete and fulfilling ending, I would be interested in going on another adventure with the professor and his friends again soon.

I would recommend this novel for lovers of ancient mysteries and treasure hunting. The Atlantis Code is a perfect story for those who are intrigued by the Atlantis legend and who want an exciting adventure across the world.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: A Sticky Inheritance (Maple Syrup Mysteries #1) by Emily James

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*No Major Spoilers*

Nicole Fitzhenry-Dawes feels like she’s the only failure amid a family of high achievers. Her last serious boyfriend turned out to be married and her career as a criminal defense attorney is in tatters. When her uncle passes away and leaves her his maple syrup farm in Northern Michigan, she thinks it might be time for a career change—hopefully one that allows her to stay as far away from murderers and liars as possible.

For half a day at least.

Her uncle’s suicide quickly begins to look like it wasn’t a suicide after all, but the chief of police is reluctant to investigate and soil the reputation of his serene little tourist town. Murder’s bad for business. Nicole has no choice but to search for the killer on her own, with a little help from the handsome county medical examiner—who’s exactly her type and all wrong for her.

And as she closes in, she not only risks becoming the murderer’s next victim but also starts to wonder if the truth is even worse than the lie…

This novel caught my eye because of the fall color theme, and the Maple leaf behind the title. I thought the idea of an ex-lawyer taking over her uncle’s maple farm sounded unique and I had to read it.

A Sticky Inheritance actually reminded me of a video game I love called Stardew Valley. It’s a game where your character takes over his/her’s grandpa’s farm, and you get to meet a unique cast of characters as well as uncover some hijinks going on in the small town.

However, that’s where the similarities between Stardew Valley and A Sticky Inheritance end. Other than the fact you’re taking over a family farm, and the interesting town folk this book has the mystery of figuring out who actually killed your uncle.

I enjoyed this novel. I liked the charm that this small town has as well as the possibilities this fictional small Michigan town has. I hope to be continuing this series in the future.

One part of the story I liked was how this small town has a brewery that contributed to the tourism factor that the town needs to survive. One of the ingredients that’s in the beer plays a major part in the mystery.

Overall, I was slightly surprised at how much I enjoyed this novel. A Sticky Inheritance is a fun entertaining read for those who are looking for a good cozy mystery. I would also recommend this novel for lovers of small towns and quirky characters.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Rise Again (Rise Again #1) by Ben Tripp

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*No Spoilers*

Forest Peak, California. Fourth of July. Sheriff Danielle Adelman, a troubled war veteran, thinks she has all the problems she can handle in this all-American town after her kid sister runs away from home. But when a disease-stricken horde of panicked refugees fleeing the fall of Los Angeles swarms her small mountain community, Danny realizes her problems have only just begun – starting with what might very well be the end of the world.

Danny thought she had seen humanity at its worst in war-torn Iraq, but nothing could prepare her for the remorseless struggle to survive in a dying world being overrun by the reanimated dead and men turned monster. Obsessed with finding her missing sister against all odds, Danny’s epic and dangerous journey across the California desert will challenge her spirit . . . and bring her to the precipice of sanity itself. . . .

I thought I’d make a return to the zombie subgenre after a hiatus. This novel definitely satisfied my craving for a good zombie apocalypse. There’s action, suspense, violence, and plenty of blood and gore.

My major complaint with this novel was I felt like there were too many survivors that the author focused on. I found it difficult keeping track of who’s who and what motivates them.

I did like how the author made the protagonist a female veteran. Even with what she’s seen during her service and the injuries she’s suffered from, she was still able to feel fear and confusion throughout the novel. I felt this made her more likable and relatable.

My favorite character was Amy, the local veterinarian. Even though she worked on animals before the apocalypse, she was still able to help fellow survivors and give first aid when needed. She slowly gained the ability to lead the others after Danny goes alone to look for her sister.

When Danny goes rogue from her group to go look for her sister, the finality of the apocalypse sets in really strong during this time. Towns abandoned, littered with corpses and abandoned cars. It also foreshadows the coming conflicts between various groups of survivors. You can feel the tension as Danny is on her selfish mission.

I enjoyed this novel, and I am highly interested in reading the next one in the series. I would also recommend this for lovers of female protagonists, zombie apocalypse, and science fiction.