Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Bitter Roots (Bitter Roots Mysteries #1) by C.J. Carmichael

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*No Major Spoilers*

Dispatcher Zak Waller prefers working behind the scenes in the Sheriff’s Office of Lost Trail, Montana, but when a newcomer to the sparsely populated town is brutally murdered—and the Sheriff is quick to pin the death on an unknown outsider—Zak starts his own private sleuthing.

On the surface Lost Trail is a picture-perfect western town, offering a simple way of life revolving around the local ranches and ski hill, but Zak knows the truth behind the façade. When his old school friend Tiff Masterson, whose family owns a local Christmas tree farm, moves back to town, the two of them join forces to get to the truth about the murder.

I found Bitter Roots on the iBooks app. They had featured some series starters for free, and this one looked the most interesting. I am not the biggest fan of small-town mysteries, but I’ve had decent luck with them here and there. Now, let’s see how this mystery unravels.

First off, this novel is told from primarily three points of view. Zac who works as a dispatcher at the local sheriff’s office, Tiff who is returning home after her big-city dream turns sour, and finally, Justin who is the town’s only lawyer who has adopted his best friend’s daughter and is helping both of them get on their feet.

I loved how this mystery was somehow connected to anyone throughout the town. You never figure who the bad guy is until the big reveal. However, I came close to solving the mystery before the end. Not too bad of a surprise ending.

There is no romance amongst any of the main characters. Only focused on character development and the murder mystery at hand. I liked how Zac and Tiff just remained “good friends” throughout the story. They not only grew up together, but they solved the mystery together.

I would highly recommend Bitter Roots for lovers of cozy mysteries, small-town mysteries, and Montana based novels. This novel is a quick read for those who are looking for a book to break a dry streak or to get out of a rut.

Posted in Discussions, Personal Blogs

My Goals for 2020!

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Happy New Year fellow bookworms! I’m glad 2019 is behind us and we can move and hope for a better 2020.

Here’s a small list of both personal goals and goals for this blog.

  • Get a new pair of glasses-super long overdue for them!
  • Take better care of my mental and physical health-more mental health though
  • Do my job to the best of my ability and hopefully can get hired on permanently-no more seasonal/temporary work for me!
  • Reach my reading goal for this year. I set a goal of 75 because I had already hit the 50 goal around September/October, but due to a difficult situation, I stopped reading and took a break. Let’s get to 75 books in 2020!
  • I am actually going to try and branch out and read some other genres I’m not as familiar with. I’m starting to get a bit bored with monsters and mysteries.

Well, there are some of my goals for 2020! What are some of your goals for 2020?

Posted in Personal Blogs

REVIEW: 2019 in Books

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2019 has been a fantastic year when it comes to books and movies! I know every year is a great year for bookworms. Especially for Stephen King or James Patterson fans.

So here is how I decided to do my lists, the list will be my top 10 from my stats from this year. I can make a separate list of my favorites if you are interested. Please let me know!

So here we go! Let the countdowns begin!

Top 10 Posts of 2019 According to Stats *In no particular order*

The Fixer (Lawson Vampire #1) by Jon F. Merz This novel about an underground vampire association who thinks that vampires and humans can co-exist. Only if things were that simple in Lawson’s world. Fighting against renegade vampires is no easy task, and makes this novel the more exciting to read if you’re looking for a new supernatural thriller to read in 2020.

Miao-Shan: The Awakening by G.A.M. Morris This is a novel I was invited to read by the author, I loved this novel and the universe Mr. Morris has created with Miao-Shan and her origin story. This is a well written coming-of-age story full of action and butt-kicking! If you’re looking for a foreign action-packed adventure, then I would highly recommend Miao-Shan: The Awakening.

The Atlantis Code (Thomas Lourds #1) by Charles Brokaw This series is for fans of The Davinci Code and other conspiracy-driven treasure hunts. Globetrotting in hopes of solving the mystery of Atlantis, this novel will leave you breathless and on the edge of your seat.

The Last Straw (Pigeon-Blood Red #2) by Ed Duncan This intense urban mystery that discusses modern racism and how loyalty is a wavering thought. I would highly recommend this novel if you’re looking for a good mystery that has underlining issues to make you think about the current world we live in.

The Curse of Crow Hollow by Billy Coffey This novel has it all, mystery, supernatural elements, and a small town caught in between their strong religious beliefs and an old legend. If you are looking for a small-town horror novel, then I would highly recommend The Curse of Crow Hollow.

Honky Tonk Samurai (Hap and Leonard #9) by Joe R. Lansdale I was actually found this novel on a book recommendation group on Reddit. The person who suggested Hap and Leonard made my time reading this novel to be a blast. There’s tons of humor and action as well as a mystery that others don’t want to be solved.

Ain’t No Messiah by Mark Tullius This novel intrigued me from the beginning. A coming-of-age story about a boy who not only grew up in a religious cult but is the main focus of this cult. I feel the premise alone is enough to catch anyone who’s looking for a unique take on religious cults.

Red River (Edge #6) by George G. Gilman I found this novel while I was in the mental hospital. There wasn’t much of a book selection and I’ve had decent luck in the past with the genre, so why not give this another go? I loved this novel, I felt like I was transported back in time to where the west was wild, and the Civil War was close to ending. This is an adventure worth taking if you’re interested in a quick read.

The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore The history classes I have always found to be lacking in some way or another. Even though this is fiction, a lot of what takes place is historical events. I never knew there was an inventor war between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse. As well as the high demand for Nikola Tesla’s scientific mind. This is a fascinating read if you’re looking for a nonromance historical fiction novel.

The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner I did not know that this was considered a classic novel. This novel takes place in not an Orwellian future per se, but in a world where the pollution is so high that most people have to wear gas masks when they leave their homes and even sometimes when they are at their workplace. If you are looking for a realistic post-apocalyptic novel without the zombie and aliens, then I would recommend this novel.

And that concludes my first list, some of these would be on my personal list as well. So there you have it!

Let’s go into 2020 with a Gatsby-like bang! Cheers!

Posted in Discussions, Personal Blogs

Podcast Review: American Elections: Wicked Game by Wondery Media

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From Wondery:

On Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020, the citizens of the United States will cast ballots to elect their president, and it feels like the country couldn’t be more divided.

America will have to endure another 58 weeks of shouting, outrage, and the worst sort of political rancor. How has it come to this?

It turns out, it’s almost always been this way. And the 58 weeks we have remaining is just enough time to review the entire history of presidential elections, from the unanimous and inevitable election of George Washington in 1789, to Donald Trump’s surprise electoral victory in 2016.

I am always open to learning new things. I feel that our current education system is failing most American students, and learning on my own through trusted sources has taught me so much about the world.

I have enjoyed learning about each election, what happened leading up to the vote, and the aftereffect of each election. My favorite episode so far has been the ones about George Washington. He was so dedicated to serving his country that he couldn’t happily retire to Vermont. He knew where the nation was heading by making the government a two-party system. Sadly to say, he was right.

I would highly recommend this podcast for lovers of political history, history in general, or for those looking for a new podcast to. It’s going to be a wild and insane ride to 2020, so we might as well learn some history to get away from the insanity.

Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: In the Hall With the Knife (A CLUE Mystery #1) by Diana Peterfreund

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*No Major Spoilers*

When a storm strikes at Blackbrook Academy, an elite prep school nestled in the woods of Maine, a motley crew of students—including Beth “Peacock” Picach, Orchid McKee, Vaughn Green, Sam “Mustard” Maestor, Finn Plum, and Scarlet Mistry—are left stranded on campus with their headmaster. Hours later, his body is found in the conservatory and it’s very clear his death was no accident. With this group of students who are all hiding something, nothing is as it seems, and everyone has a motive for murder. Fans of the CLUE board game and cult classic films will delight in Diana Peterfreund’s modern re-imagining of the brand, its characters, and the dark, magnificent old mansion with secrets hidden within its walls.

“Just then, there was a horrible crash right outside the door, and suddenly the sound of the storm got a whole lot louder.”

I loved playing the CLUE mystery game while I was growing up. So when this novel was on a list from one of my newsletters, I knew I had to read it.

This novel is perfect for mystery lovers. There are twists and turns, as well as learning about all of the characters involved in this mystery. The story is told from different perspectives, and at first, it was difficult to tell Orchid and Scarlet apart until more character development helped me differentiate the two.

Scarlet Mistry, she was on the Council for Beautification. She lived, along with other students, in the Tudor Dorm. She would also try to keep up and boost morale with the female students to do better at their schoolwork and activities.

Also, she and Finn Plum were essentially a “Power Couple”, together they ran schemes and Finn helps Scarlet with her Chemistry homework.

Orchid McKee, she never saw Scarlet as a friend, but while they were snowed in at the dorm she confided in Scarlet her biggest secret. It’s a spoiler, but I felt like this should be mentioned because Orchid is a private person.

One of the characters I suspected to be the murderer in this story was Vaughn Green because when the other characters would ask about his sudden change in personality, he would internally blame his brother for the mishaps around the dorm. Even though when Vaughn was introduced we met his brother, he hated the school and the students because they were all preppy, rich kids and the only reason Vaughn was able to attend the school was because of a scholarship. So Vaughn was sort of considered an outcast because his home was next door to Blackbrook in the next town over. Only hearing about his brother during the murder investigation, I suspected Vaughn having multiple personalities.

A character I didn’t know much about in this story because he was introduced about halfway in the story was Sam “Mustard” Maestor. He was a former military academy student and he was kicked out, but we never find out why. The only thing we know anything about his background was when he was first introduced into the story from his perspective. He starts referring to his military experience but never says exactly why he was kicked out.

Beth “Peacock” Picach, is Blackbrook’s best tennis player. She is always righting down what she eats and the calories included and what her exercise routines were. All of her chapters included this log and a few thoughts about her day. She was the most suspected character due to an altercation between her and Headmaster Boddy.

I would highly recommend In the Hall with the Knife if you are a fan of locked room mysteries, the board game Clue, and a twist you won’t see coming, this a great book I’d highly recommend.

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