Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Review: A HOLIDAY OF WITCHES by Amanda M. Lee

After reading Any Witch Way You Can and Every Witch Way But Wicked, I was looking forward to this new book by Amanda Lee.

This is a collection of novellas centered around the holidays. I was looking forward to the snarky, candid, funny repartee of the Winchester witches, particularly those from bitter, old Aunt Tillie. I’m sorry to say that this collection fell short.

Most of the stories weren’t even told in the POV of a Winchester witch. What I liked best about the previous stories was that they were told by Bay Winchester, the witch that can see ghosts. But, no, these didn’t have that. There was only one story that was told in the POV of one of the aunts, but the rest were narrated by random strangers that generated more confusion than anything else.

“A Solstice Celebration” – This was the only story I loved because this one had good ole’ Aunt Tillie. This one gave better insight to the Winchester clan as they prepare to celebrate their annual solstice celebration. However, it seems that this could be ruined by the presence of a lost ghost, something that only teenage Bay could see. Humor and mystery: two things that I love!

“Bewitched” – This was narrated by somebody named Sam, who has the same ability as Bay (they can both see ghosts.) Although this had the same witty puns and humor, this story mainly concentrated on the romantic interest between Sam and Clove. There was really no mystery. Okay, there was a missing girl from a teen party, but that’s about it. Still, there was too much lag and not enough mystery, magic, or Tillie.

“Witchdependence” and “Happy Witchgiving”, I admit, I didn’t even finish reading because they were too much like “Bewitched”—told in the POV of strangers with the Winchester witches playing in the background.

So to rate this as a whole, I’d first have to rate individually:
1. “A Solstice Celebration” – 5
2. “Bewitched” – 3
3. “Witchdependence” and “Happy Witchgiving” – 1

So the average rating would be 2.5 stars. This book was such a disappointment.


My rating: 2.5 stars

Friday, February 17, 2017

Review: FINDING KYLER by Siobhan Davis

After the horrific death of her parents, Faye Donovan has no one else she can count on…or so she thought. Suddenly, she’s being sent to live with the Kennedy’s. No, not those Kennedy’s, but these people are just as filthy rich as any of them. And, according to her parent’s will, she must live with an insanely rich uncle she never knew about. Whoa, talk about intimidating.

Right away the reader feels for young Faye as she battles the devastating loss of losing her parents and being shipped off to live with a stranger in another part of the world. The thing is that she doesn’t know how to deal, so she drowns her sorrows, hoping to numb the pain. But that all seemed to change when she meets Kyler, one of the cousins, whom she finds a sizzling attraction for. No, it wasn’t love at first sight because Kyler starts off as a total douche bag that opposed this whole living situation. Keep out of my way and I’ll keep out of yours. What a warm welcome. Of course, once she enters the mansion, she sees that it’s nothing but a beacon to male hotness and obnoxious testosterone. It’s a rich boy’s club!

Needless to say, Faye has a tough time adjusting, especially living in the rich boy’s club with their crude remarks and inexcusable behavior.  That alone would annoy me to no end. But, soon, Faye realizes that Kyler is different somehow. Yes, he’s a nagging pain, but that’s because he is in pain, which she can relate.

Overall, story was well-read with some lagging areas here and there. It was kind of hard to keep track of all the Kennedy boys. To me, they all seemed the same—all screwed up. Obviously, this centered on the connection between Faye and Kyler, but how inappropriate to fall for your cousin? That has scandal written all over it, especially when you’re a Kennedy.

This book didn’t intrigue me as much I expected. I thought it was too complicated and daunting. I mean, who wants to hear the problems of a bunch of rich kids? Just drama, drama, drama.



My rating: 2.5 stars

Review: STORMY WEATHER by Glen Ebisch

When a meteorologist is involved in a murder, life gets stormy.

Stormy McCloud, according to her stage name, makes her living on the weather. When the senior meteorologist, one who did not appreciate the competitions of his successor, turns up dead, Stormy becomes a suspect. How did he end up in Stormy's backyard? Was it a set up?

Not wanting to risk possible imprisonment, Stormy appoints herself to help the detective on this case.

Apparently, there is a slew of people that this guy dead. The challenge was trying to keep track of everybody. Sometimes, I forgot who was who.

Story carried a witty dialogue and an easy pace. The investigation might have been a bit too slow and daunting, but the fact that the killer was out there was interesting enough, especially when he or she returns to the scene of the crime. And for what? To settle a score with Story?

Overall, this was an easy read with some lagging areas. An okay mystery.


My rating: 3 stars

Review: GROWTH AND CHANGE ARE HIGHLY OVERRATED by Tom Starita

"I’m convinced time is nothing more than an endless circle, repeating the same events over and over and over again. The names may change, the circumstances may be different, but ultimately we all end up back at the same starting point." (4)

In this book, Lucas James recounts events after his breakup with his "Apple Jack."

"One of the problems Jackie had with me was steady employment, or lack thereof. I would try to tell her I was an artist and you couldn’t imprison an artist inside the mortal cage of the nine-to-five, to which she would laugh and ask me where were my artistic endeavors?" (14)

Soon, he comes to the conclusion that, in order to have food and a roof over your head, he was going to have to get a job, and that's when he starts working for "That Store."

"My attitude has always been focused on the two “ances”: avoidance and ignorance."

Character tells the story in a refreshingly candid way, although sometimes he veers the subject, going off tangent with his random "squirrel" moments. Sometimes I found myself wishing he'd get to the point already. You could say he's bit neurotic, but he also carried a witty banter at times. "You can never call Lucas James a liar because he doesn't know the truth." (13)

Although he wasn't the brightest person in the world, Lucas' mindless ranting were that of an average Joe, which made him relatable. And, when you think about it, some of what he said made a little sense.

I liked how the story revealed the true reality of working in a frank, indelible way, although, at times, I found the dialogue to be daunting and skeptical.

When the character asked, "Are you picking up what I'm putting down?," all I could say was, "Not really."

Although this book was not entirely terrible, it wasn't that great either.


My rating: 3 stars

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Review: REAL ROMANCE by Ginny Baird

Marie works in a bookstore and loves to read romance, hoping to live out the passion experienced by those heroines. She is engaged to Cecil, a “starving artist,” who is nice but just doesn’t do it for her. Then after a 20 minute eye appointment, she becomes infatuated with her hunky optician.

The two take an instant liking to each other, but each thinks the other is involved, which results in misinterpretations and mixed signals.

Characters were sweet and the story was nice and simple, even though the ending was a little too convenient and cliché. Really, the bulk of the story was about them fantasizing about each other. I mean, how could they dream of a future together when they hardly even knew each other?

A story bound by the world of books and fantastic fiction.

“Fiction is supposed to be about feeling better, about forgetting.” (LOC 1090)


My rating: 4 stars

Review: CUPID ON THE LOOSE: A Valentine’s Day Anthology of short stories

“Valentine’s Day was invented by men in an attempt to make single women desperate enough to accept clearly inferior males.” (LOC 268)

From a female plumber looking to score on V-Day to old lovers reuniting in a scene from a live reading at a bookstore, stories are a mix of cute and fun. Not all were that great or funny. Some were boring and dumb. Obviously, the thing that ties all these stories together is a stray cupid on the loose—some guy with wings and a diaper.

My favorite one had to be the story of Annabelle Lopez and her secret admirer. Another good one was the one with a strong, resilient woman realizing that her boyfriend is not the one for her and puts her own needs first.


My rating: 3 stars

Review: THE ST. VALENTINE’S DAY COOKIE MASSACRE by Elisabeth Crabtree (novella)

Kat (a.k.a. Kitty Kat) is a food critic that’s actually a journalist that’s filling in. She thinks one of the restaurants she’s been critiquing might be trying to poison her. Possible? I wouldn’t want to be a food columnist, not so much because of the death threats, but because of all the fatty foods.

Her next assignment is at The Cookie Jar, where she is forced to eat cake, cookies, pies, candy and some pink concoction called “Cotton Candy Rush.” OMG, where’s the barf bag?

Now a body has been found behind the dumpster of The Cookie Jar. It looks like it was “Poison by Cookies.” Who could it be? And is someone after Kat?

A witty and light mystery read!


My rating: 4 stars