Tag Archives: 4 Stars

The Bitter Taste of Betrayal by CeeCee James

The Bitter Taste of Betrayal by CeeCee James

The Bitter Taste of Betrayal is a pleasant cozy mystery. The story is engaging. I’m not sure how she figured out where the (not) dead guy was being held. That was kind of sudden, but if you just go with it and don’t think too hard it’s fine. There are a lot of characters, some who are important but not mentioned for long periods of time so you have to try to remember who is meant when they pop back up. Overall, it’s a nice bit of brain candy. I recommend The Bitter Taste of Betrayal to anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2023: 6
Pages Read in 2023: 1988

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Filed under Cozy Mystery, Reason: B&N Book Challenge, Reason: Flourish & Blotts Reading Challenge, Reason: Grim Readers, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Rise Up From the Embers by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons

Rise Up From the Embers by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons

Rise Up From the Embers picks up right where Set Fire to the Gods ends. The chapters alternate point of view between Ash and Madoc (which gets quite interesting once Anathrasa takes control of Madoc’s mind). There is one short and rather unnecessary sex scene near the beginning of the book. The epilogue is adorable. All in all, it’s an excellent conclusion to the duology. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Set First to the Gods.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2023: 1
Pages Read in 2023: 341

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Young Adult

Maus by Art Spiegelman

Maus by Art Spiegelman

Maus is a graphic novel in two parts (you can get Maus I and Maus II separately or together as The Complete Maus). It is mostly about the author’s father’s time in the ghetto in Poland and then in Auschwitz. It is sometimes brutally honest in its portrayal of his father which adds to the big picture of how he was affected by the Holocaust. The pictures are all drawn in black and white which adds to the starkness of the topic. I recommend this book to everyone.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 112
Pages Read in 2022: 38,989
Graphic Novels: 4

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Filed under Graphic Novel, History, Reason: Grim Readers

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Using the fake dating trope extremely well, The Love Hypothesis is very predictable (this is not a bad thing). Olive is pretty dense for such a smart woman, but her character is written so incredibly authentically that I can “see” people I’ve known in her. All the characters are well written for that matter. The sex scene is not overly graphic and I found myself laughing out loud a couple times at just how clinically Olive was viewing what was going on. I was a little sad when the book ended. I had grown to really care about Olive and Adam (and Malcolm too… he’s hilarious) so closing the book was like saying goodbye to friends. I recommend this book to adults who enjoy smart, funny romances.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 109
Pages Read in 2022: 38,404
Graphic Novels: 3

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Filed under Contemporary Fiction, Reason: Grim Readers, Reason: It sounded interesting, Romance

Remember Me by Christopher Pike

Remember Me by Christopher Pike

What if you died from a fall and everyone assumed you had died by suicide? What if you really didn’t think you jumped? What if you thought one of your friends might have murdered you? What if you were a ghost and had to wait for the investigator to figure it out? What if someone else might die if he takes too long? All this plus questions of the afterlife and moving on and the dead communicating with people who are still alive are covered in Remember Me. It reads very quickly and pulls you completely into the story, which is told from the point of view of the dead girl. It is dark and sometimes creepy (but not very dark or creepy… I have a low tolerance for both). I recommend it to teens and up.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 98
Pages Read in 2022: 34,670
Graphic Novels: 3

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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: Grim Readers, Young Adult

Ballad & Dagger by Daniel Jose Older

Ballad & Dagger by Daniel Jose Older

For those who grew up reading about Roman, Greek, Egyptian, and Norse mythology by Rick Riordan, Ballad & Dagger is the first young adult book from Rick Riordan Presents. This one covers the myths of the island of San Madrigal, an island in the Caribbean Sea. Spanish is liberally sprinkled throughout. There is a lot of humor, but it is definitely more serious than Rick Riordan/RR Presents middle grade books. The mythology is laid out in a very understandable way as the story is told. The writing is often poetic and dreamlike. I recommend this book to teens and up who enjoy Rick Riordan/RR Presents books.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 94
Pages Read in 2022: 33,594
Graphic Novels: 2

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Reason: Owlcrate, Young Adult

Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres

Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres

Julia and David were raised as virtual twins. Julia is white and David was black. I found the treatment of David (and their other adopted brother Jerome) horrifying. The parents were racist white saviors who enjoyed looking extra pious to their church community for raising these boys “as if” they were family. The author’s writing is very engaging and paints a terrible picture of a few terrible lives. The treatment of the boys and the religious abuse are very triggering. I recommend this book to adults who enjoy memoirs, but be aware of those triggers before reading.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 92
Pages Read in 2022: 32,754
Graphic Novels: 2

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Filed under Memoir, Reason: The Coven of Forbidden Books

All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman

All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman

All of Us Villains is extremely well-written Hunger Games fanfic. Take the Hunger Games, add magic, and make it between children in seven specific families and you have the premise of this book. A character even comments that someone else almost made him spill his drink on his pants. The story is told from the alternating viewpoints of four characters, three chosen as their family’s champion and one not. I got sucked into the story and then it just ended. There was no resolution whatsoever. It just got to a point and, boom, done. I wasted no time ordering the second book of the duology, but it still annoyed me a bit. I have no problem with series, but I do like for each book to wrap stuff up at least somewhat. This one answered one single question (who wrote A Tradition of Tragedy) and that’s it. Not satisfying at all. Other than that, I loved the book. I recommend this book to people who like magic set in the current day and enjoyed reading The Hunger Games. Just be aware that the two books really should just be one single book and expect to move on to the second book quickly to finish the story.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 85
Pages Read in 2022: 30,226
Graphic Novels: 2

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Grim Readers, Reason: Literati, Young Adult

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing is a slow moving book. I generally do not care for books like that, but for this one it totally worked. It just fits the vibe and makes you kind of feel like you’re in the marsh, living a little slower, noticing things happening around you. The character development in this book is phenomenal. Even some of the side characters grow and change. The descriptions of things living in the marsh are incredible and vivid. The ending is both surprising and, when I think about, just what part of me hoped for. Kya learning to read so quickly and being able to comprehend high level textbooks is somewhat questionable as is her ability to so easily communicate with others even though she was so young when her family left her and spends long periods of time all alone. I recommend this book to adults who enjoy contemporary fiction.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 83
Pages Read in 2022: 29,583
Graphic Novels: 2

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Filed under Contemporary Fiction, Reason: Book Club, Reason: Grim Readers

The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor by Shaenon K. Garrity and illustrated by Christopher Baldwin

The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor by Shaenon K. Garrity and illustrated by Christopher Baldwin

The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor is really funny. I laughed out loud several times. The pictures are very nicely drawn. I recommend it to people who like graphic novels, especially those who also like gothic novels.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 82
Pages Read in 2022: 29,204
Graphic Novels: 2

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Filed under Graphic Novel, Reason: Grim Readers, Reason: Literati