End of month round-up

As September draws to a close I though I would share the books that I read this past month that I really enjoyed, in addition to the ones I have already reviewed. While I can’t review them, all here are some more of my top reads this month.

imageReaders of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

My rating: 5/5 stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imageSparrow by L.J Shen

My rating: 4/5 stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imageDark Matter by Blake Crouch

My rating: 5/5 stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imageSiracusa by Delia Ephron

 

My rating: 5/5 stars

 

 

 

 

 

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The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant by Drew Hayes

imageSome people are born boring. Some live boring. Some even die boring. Fred managed to do all three, and when he woke up as a vampire, he did so as a boring one. Timid, socially awkward, and plagued by self-esteem issues, Fred has never been the adventurous sort.

One fateful night – different from the night he died, which was more inconvenient than fateful – Fred reconnects with an old friend at his high school reunion. This rekindled relationship sets off a chain of events thrusting him right into the chaos that is the parahuman world, a world with chipper zombies, truck driver wereponies, maniacal necromancers, ancient dragons, and now one undead accountant trying his best to “survive.” Because even after it’s over, life can still be a downright bloody mess. 

 

Who wouldn’t like a vampire book where the vampire in question is called Fred. He isn’t your usual vamp, he’s not muscular or fast or even good looking. Fred is an accountant who wears button down shirts, sweater vests and loafers for crying out loud! He doesn’t understand most of his power, he knows he is fast, has a faster metabolism and has heightened senses. He is also a bit of a coward, he likes to avoid confrontation and runs away from danger.

He gets himself into some seriously dangerous situations when he meets up with an old high school friend, Krystal, who is part of an organization called The Agency, who deal with parahumans. Along with a zombie called Albert, a werehorse called Bubba, mages Neil and Amy he finds himself in some strange situations.

This book is a hoot! It’s not your normal pumped up vampire paranormal book, it’s about a strange young man who was made but not really understanding everything he needs to know regarding his powers. He is the least likely vamp you will ever meet. That’s what makes it so much fun, instead of using brawn to get out of situations he uses hits wits. If you are looking for something different, look no further!

4/5 stars

Crash

Buy:Amazon

Buy:Amazon UK

 

The Graveyard Apartment by Mariko Koike

imageThis tale of a young married couple who are harboring a dark secret is packed with dread and terror, as they and their daughter move into a brand new apartment building built next to a graveyard. As strange and terrifying occurrences begin to pile up, people in the building begin to move out one by one, until the young family is left alone with someone… or something… lurking in the basement. The psychological horror builds moment after moment, scene after scene, culminating with a conclusion that will make you think twice before ever going into a basement again. 

As  Misao, Teppei and their daughter Tamao start a new life in a beautiful new apartment and  things seemed to be getting better for them. While only half of the apartments in the building are sold, owning to the fact it’s built on land that is occupied by a graveyard and crematorium, they still feel upbeat despite their surroundings.

As they settle in things starts to get strange rather quickly. First of all Tamao gets hurt while playing in the basement. It’s an injury that couldn’t be obtained from the confines of a basement. Then the elevator gets stuck and it takes ages for help to get to her. There are stairs but only to the ground floor, the only way in and out of the basement is by the elevator.

As things get more ominous tennents begin moving out. After several warnings from others and other strange occurrences the family decide it’s time to get out while they can….. Or they try to anyway.

I love a good Japanese horror story.  It was a slow simmer, one that gave you bits and pieces as to what may be happening. It didn’t really kick in until the last 25%.  I did enjoy the fact that while nothing outwardly is graphic in showing the horror of what is happening, it’s mostly psychological leaving you to imagine what keeps happening in the basement. The tension kept being cranked up a notch as the story unfolds.  The ending left me wondering a bit as to what and why things happened, you are left to leave it up to your own imagination. I think this may have played out well as a movie.

ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review

3.5/5 stars

Crash

Buy:Amazon

Buy:Amazon UK

Buy: B&N

Billionaire on the Loose by Jessica Clare

imageTaylor is a genius when it comes to computers, but understanding the opposite sex is beyond her. Because she always fumbles her flirtations, she needs help in finding her Prince Charming. So when her friend, Gretchen, sets her up as a tour guide for a new guy in town, she says yes despite her misgivings.

She just doesn’t expect Mr. Charming to actually be royalty…

A faction in his country wants him to be king, but Loch has no intention of taking the crown. To keep from being named as the next successor, he hatches a scheme to marry a totally unacceptable American woman. Quirky Taylor seems like the perfect person for the job, until Loch realizes he likes more about her than her ability to keep him off the throne.

When Loch’s secret schemes come out, his chance of happiness with Taylor are blown—unless he can find a way to get the nerdy object of his affection to believe she’s truly the queen of his heart… 

I have to be honest, I didn’t care for Taylor or Loch at the start of this book. She lived on line in games, and was barely able to function outside of her gaming group. I loved that she was a nerd and loved the references though. Loch was bland and seemed to lack any sort of personality. He’s a rich royal who has never worked a day in his life and has had everything done for him, he was like a child who couldn’t do anything for himself. Neither character impressed me. The whole “let’s have sex.” within minutes of meeting each other put me off slightly. They are as alike as oil and water, no compatibility at all. I can understand why she would be interested in a hunk of guy but his attraction to her? That was the part I couldn’t understand. Sure she didn’t know who he was or how rich he was and he found that appealing, but still.

I was going to give up on this one but I stuck with it and the characters did grow and become more bearable. Loch befriended a homeless man who was the only one with any bit of sense. Loch went from wanting to marry Taylor to solve his own problems without thought or any regards to her feelings to actually caring about her.

It ended up being an ok piece of easy reading, what I would call a “palate cleanser” book. Something nice and light after a previous heavy reading  book.

ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

2.5 stars

Crash.

Buy:Amazon

Buy: Amazon UK

 

 

Books vs tv shows

imageWhen it comes to watching the tv show based on a book series, do you read the books first or watch the show first?

As season two of Poldark begins I’m torn between watching the show first before I start these two books, which are the basis for the second season.  I have always seemed to watch the tv shows first, I’ve done it with The Vampire Diaries and Outlander to name a few.  Even though I have all the Outlander books, I have yet to read them as I don’t want to spoil the next season when it comes out. But is that being fair?

As as we know from movie adaptations that the movie can be vastly different from the book. The way we pictured it in our minds doesn’t always match up what is on the screen, and don’t get me started on what they leave out or add in.

While I’m eager to know what happens and I can find out easily by reading the book, I’m not quite ready to give up imagining the stunning scenery that is provided by the tv show.

Maybe, just maybe I’ll break my self imposed ban by reading the books this time before I watch the show……. Maybe.

 

Crash

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

imageNothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

 

Alex comes from a long line of Brujas’ a family that is strong when it comes to magic. She discovers that of all her family she is the strongest and has qualities of all magical aspects. As Alex’s Deathday approaches she is so fearful of her magic she chooses to relinquish it, or at least she thinks she can. But what happens instead unleashes The Devourer, a force so dark and twisted it need magical energy to survive. She, along with Nova,another Bruja and her best friend Reshi, travel to the world of the dead to right the wrongs Alex has committed.

This is a wonderful magic filled adventure. The writer based a lot of the background of the Bruja and the ceremonies on the Day of the Dead and other similar Spanish rituals regarding honoring the dead and the Brujeria faith. Wonderful start to a new series.

ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

4/5 stars

Crash

Buy:Amazon

Buy: Amazon UK

Buy:B&N

 

zoraida-head-shot

About the Author:
Zoraida Córdova was born in Ecuador and raised in Queens, New York. She is the author of the Vicious Deep trilogy, the On the Verge series, and the Brooklyn Brujas series. She loves black coffee, snark, and still believes in magic. Send her a tweet @Zlikeinzorro or visit her at zoraidacordova.com.
Social Media Links:
Author Website: http://www.zoraidacordova.com/
Labyrinth Lost Website: http://books.sourcebooks.com/labyrinth-lost/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CordovaBooks
Twitter: @zlikeinzorro

Rafflecopter Giveaway Link for 2 Copies of Labyrinth Lost with Signed Labyrinth Lost Bookmarks

Runs September 6-September 19 (US & Canada only)

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/54ca7af7402/

 

September book choices

I’m a few days late in getting around to this and I want to make this a regular monthly feature. There are so many books that come out every month and it makes choosing the ones I look forward to and want to read challenging. These are my choices for this month.

What books are you looking forward to this month?

 

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The Orphan Keeper by Cameron Wright

imageBased on a remarkable true story.
Seven-year-old Chellamuthu’s life is forever changed when he is kidnapped from his village in India, sold to a Christian orphanage, and then adopted by an unsuspecting couple in the United States. It takes months before the boy can speak enough English to tell his parents that he already has a family back in India. Horrified, they try their best to track down his Indian family, but all avenues lead to dead ends.

Meanwhile, they simply love him, change his name to Taj, enroll him in school, make him part of their family—and his story might have ended there had it not been for the pestering questions in his head: Who am I? Why was I taken? How do I get home?

More than a decade later, Taj meets Priya, a girl from southern India with surprising ties to his past. Is she the key to unveil the secrets of his childhood or is it too late? And if he does make it back to India, how will he find his family with so few clues?

From the best-selling author of The Rent Collector, this is a deeply moving and gripping journey of discovering one’s self and the unbreakable family bonds that connect us forever. 

 

The story of Chellamuthu is raw and brutal. Kidnapped from his family and then shipped out to a family in  a country so far removed from his is heartbreaking to say the least.  Taj never fully fits in anywhere and it gets him agitated, not fully belonging in the US but also not feeling like a proper Indian should. As he grows and starts to forget his past things start to change when he spends two semesters at a university in London. His surrogate family is Indian and as he navigates their world through culture and food  memories slowly come back in flashes that he tries to remember but are just out of his reach.

Through many coincidences he meets Priya, his future wife and through her, the means to get back to India to try and find the family he was ripped away from.

This book is about filling a deep aching hole, knowing that something is missing but unable to fully grasp just what is missing.  The need to connect with family roots, and to find where he fits in and belongs.  It was a heartbreaking read one of loss and struggle but an incredible story from start to finish.

ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5/5 stars

Crash

 

Buy: Amazon

Buy:Amazon UK

Buy: B&N

 

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko by Scott Stambach

imageThe Fault In Our Stars meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Seventeen-year-old Ivan Isaenko is a life-long resident of the Mazyr Hospital for Gravely Ill Children in Belarus. For the most part, every day is exactly the same for Ivan, which is why he turns everything into a game, manipulating people and events around him for his own amusement.

Until Polina arrives.

She steals his books. She challenges his routine. The nurses like her.

She is exquisite. Soon, he cannot help being drawn to her and the two forge a romance that is tenuous and beautiful and everything they never dared dream of. Before, he survived by being utterly detached from things and people. Now, Ivan wants something more: Ivan wants Polina to live

Ivan is a child of the  Chernobyl disaster .  Born with severe physical deformities as well as a connective tissue disorder that makes his face sag, he isn’t the prettiest of things, but he is incredibly intelligent.  He causes mischief among the staff and residence of the hospital but he is alone and isolated due to the fact that the rest of the “mutants” have the minds of small children.  He has no peers to talk to, the staff, bar one nurse, hates him for reasons unknown.  He doesn’t know who his parents are or when his birthday is.  The only person that shows him any love or affection is Nurse Natalya and the only joy he has is reading. His life is one boring routine, being invisible and making it his business to know what is going on with all the staff.  He is proficient in knowing everything that happens in the hospital by being there but unseen.  He susses out all of  his fellow mutants and in some cases develops soft spots for some.

He writes his life story after the arrival of Polina, a 15 year old orphan who has found out recently that she has leukaemia. After getting hold of her diary he thought it would only be fair to let her in on his life story. They make slow going of becoming friends. Polina  opens Ivan’s world in ways he never thought possible.  She is intelligent, shares his love of reading, making mischief and breaks through the loneliness that has surrounded him since his birth.  She brings him outside, something he never wanted to explore.  She shows him life, she makes him laugh for the first time in his life and in a round about way, love.  They develop a strong bond but one that is doomed.

This isn’t a YA book, even though it’s told through the eyes of Ivan, this is an adult book.  It has many heartbreaking moments mixed with realistic themes and has a sharp edge to the harshness of it all.  The settings seem too real to be fiction but as we know that because of the setting and the time frame this story could be based on reality. I had to keep reminding myself that it was actually a fictional book. It’s about struggle to find some sort of happiness in the bleakest of situations and settings.  Ivan was an asshole but when Polina came into his life he changes.  Not only does she save him, he in turn, saves her.

The ending is heartbreaking on so many levels, I did cry a bit at the end.  It left me very emotional and I felt incredibly bad for Ivan but it also had some hope for him at the end, to find peace and whatever joy he could. This is a raw and harsh book, the narrative was incredibly well done. There are some funny bits and black humour in it, you laugh in parts you know you shouldn’t but you can’t help it. This is one that will stay with you.

ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review

5/5 stars

Crash

Buy:Amazon

Buy:Amazon UK

Buy:B&N