Monday, January 30, 2017

Cress - Marissa Meyer (Review)

Cress - Marissa Meyer
SerieThe Lunar Chronicles #3
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Publication date: 
Feb 08, 2014
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Format: audio 15 hours, 41 minutes
How I got it: Overdrive from my public library 
Buy it: Amazon Barnes & Noble 

My rating: 4/5 

In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they're plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who's only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she's just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

My thoughts:

This is the third book in The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer.   The story continues to follow along with Cinder who is trying to figure out how to save the world and Kai from marrying Queen Levana.  The cast of characters that we have met in the previous two books are all present again and we get introduced to a new character Cress. 

Cress is a girl form Luna who happens to be a shell.  She lives on a satellite and helps to conceal the Lunar ships from Earth.  She has very advanced computer skills and uses them to help Luna since that is where she is from.  Cress is very fascinated by Earth.   Cress really grows on me during the book.  At first I am not sure what she will be able to bring to the group since she is presented a little childish, but she really comes into her own during the book.  Cress might not have had a lot of interaction with other people, but she is really learning quickly. 

I enjoyed listening more to Cinder in this story.  I feel like she has grown so much during the first three books and she is almost an entirely different person.  Cinder is really getting better at thinking on her feet and developing plans.   She is embracing her current situation and working on fixing it.  I feel like she is working towards growing into a leader that she didn't even know was there. 

I felt a little disconnected from Scarlet since she is more MIA during this story.  I feel like she is setting up to be a bigger character in the next book, but I did feel for Wolf losing his Alpha in the book.  It was painful to listen to his suffering and Cinder really helped to show how bad he was suffering in the book. 

Captain Thorne might have been my favorite character in this book.  I completely agree with Cress's description of him that he doesn't realize when he is getting in trouble that it might be he is doing something for the greater good.  The comedy that Captain Thorne adds to the story is great.  I feel like he really shinned in this book and I can't wait to see what happens to him in the next book!! Also, I can't believe there is only 1 book left in the series I can't wait to listen to the conclusion. 

The author did a great job with continuing on the story.  She stayed very true to her writing style and the book was very fast paced.  There was a few side stories leading up to the big event, but the side stories really kept the book moving along and kept my undivided attention. 

I am not sure why I can't give this book a 5 for the series.  I did enjoy listening to the audio, but there was something I just can't put my finger on that didn't feel the same as the other two books.  Maybe it could have been the book dealt with a lot of planning for an event and once it occurred it felt rushed to me. 

I would suggest this as a nighttime read or listen.  The book is easy to follow along with as well as has natural stopping points. I enjoyed listening to this story.  The audio version is great the narrators did a great job with telling the story. 


About the Author

One of my first spoken words was “story” (right along with “bath” and “cookie”), my favorite toy as an infant was a soft, squishable book, and I’ve wanted to be a writer since I first realized such a job existed.
When I was fourteen my best friend introduced me to anime and fanfiction—over the years I would complete over forty Sailor Moon fanfics under the penname Alicia Blade. Those so inclined can still find my first stories at Writing fanfic turned out to be awesome fun and brought me in contact with an amazing group of fanfiction readers and writers. As Alicia Blade, I also had a novelette, “The Phantom of Linkshire Manor,” published in the gothic romance anthology Bound in Skin (CatsCurious Press, 2007).

When I was sixteen I worked at The Old Spaghetti Factory in Tacoma, Washington, affectionately termed “The Spag.” (Random factoid: This is also the restaurant where my parents met some 25 years before.) I attended Pacific Lutheran University where I sorted mail that came to the dorm, carted tables and chairs around campus, and took writing classes, eventually earning a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and Children’s Literature. Knowing I wanted a career in books, I would also go on to receive a Master’s degree in Publishing from Pace University (which you can learn more about here). After graduation, I worked as an editor in Seattle for a while before becoming a freelance typesetter and proofreader.

Then, day of days, someone thought it would be a good idea to give me a book deal, so I became a full-time writer. CINDER is my first novel, though I have an adorable collection of unfinished ones lying around too.

I now live with my husband and our three cats (Calexandria Josephine, Stormus Enormous, and Blackland Rockwell III), who go in and out, in and out, about eight hundred times a day. My favorite non-bookish things include Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, re-watching episodes of Firefly, and playing all manners of dress-up.
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Around the World in 80 Tales - Dave Tomlinson (Review)

29240920Around the World in 80 Tales by Dave Tomlinson
Genres: Memoir
Publication date: 
August 16, 2016

Publisher: Dave Tomlinson
Format: ebook259 pages
How I got it: Dave Tomlinson for an honest review
Buy it: Amazon Barnes & Noble
My rating: 4/5 

80 Stories, 25 Countries, 5 Continents, One Heck of a Ride! 

Come with me on a journey of captivating true travel stories from around the world. This fascinating kaleidoscope of people, places, history, food and culture will inspire, amuse and even amaze. Experience the challenges, rewards and fun of budget travel without leaving home!


My thoughts:

This book follows the author as he travels to various locations over the world and gives short stories about his time there.   The stories are short in nature and tell about one location at a time of where he is visiting.

I enjoyed reading about some of the less known locations around the world that he visited.  While I was reading I was able to google some of the locations because I wanted to know more information about the stops.   Some of the more remote places seemed great to me because sometimes you want to get away from it all.

I liked that the author not only told stories of great travel trips, but also gave stories of when he had issues traveling.   It made the book feel very genuine and relatable because sometimes travel plans don’t work out.   It felt like while reading I was getting a complete picture.

I also enjoyed that the author was very focused on different cultures when he was traveling.  I liked that he wanted to get to know the locals and how they lived their daily lives.  It was nice when reading to hear his reflections on the people he was visiting while traveling.  I always find it important to see what the daily life is like while traveling because it could be vastly different from your life.

The author did a great job describing all of the locations that he went to.  I liked how the author included photos of the locations that he stopped at as well as described how he got to the photos in the chapters.

My one complaint would be I would have loved to have the different stories from the different countries sort of in order.  There were a few stories about the same trip to different reasons and I would have love to read them back to back to keep the story fresh in my mind since there were so many locations talked about.

I would suggest this as a read for when you are ready for a vacation.  This book has great travel location suggestions and gives some great places that are a little off the beaten path that might be very relaxing and rewarding to travel too!

I received a copy of this book from the author for the purpose of providing an honest review.  This does not affect my opinion of this book. 


About the Author

I'm originally from beautiful New Zealand and now live in Brisbane Australia. My passion is for travel, outdoor adventure and cultural understanding. I've now explored over 50 countries across 5 continents of the world. Apart from photography, I have used my love of travel to create my website and write two books. Travel Unravelled is a guide book for anyone wanting to travel the world on a budget and Around the World in 80 Tales is a collection of my unique experiences doing exactly that! There is plenty more information on the About Me and FAQ pages and you're also welcome to contact me through my website. 

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

{Blog Tour} Bare Bones - Liah Penn (Spotlight)

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Book Description:

Love and Suspense – Southern Style

When a skull is found buried in the courtyard of the Art House during renovations, executive director Meredith O’Neill is forced to halt the over-budget and oft-delayed project. Working with architect Kieran Ford has been a nightmare, despite his icy good-looks and brilliant design. Now that the Art House is declared a crime scene, the entire project is threatened. Forced to work together in close proximity, Meredith and Kieran soon find the tensions between them changing into something else entirely. Still, she can’t help but wonder how long the heat between them will last, especially when Kieran was once so cold.

Kieran is donating his time and talents to the Art House renovation, but working with Meredith is driving him crazy, and his pro bono project is quickly going south. When the skull of a child is discovered, Kieran must confront his own loss as well as keep the project, and Meredith, on task.  Keeping his emotions in check proves to be impossible, and Kieran soon realizes that he is falling for Meredith. When he is framed for a crime, Kieran must learn to trust again. He and Meredith form an uneasy alliance as they seek answers to the mystery at the Art House. But someone is intent on destroying the historic building . . . and won’t hesitate to harm anyone who gets in the way.


The skull was small, that of a woman or child, the lower jaw separated in the dirt, as if the mouth had been open during the internment process. The foreman scraped away at the mud revealing a few bone fragments. The clenched hand, turned upward, was disarticulated from the arm, as if the skeleton had thrust its fist in anger at the gods. The man jerked back. It was definitely a human skull. And this was no cemetery.

“Call the police,” he said to his worker. “And you better call the architect, too.”

Meredith stood over the hole, her four-inch heels sinking into the red clay, her linen dress sticking to her body, slick with perspiration. She could clearly see bits of bone and the smooth curve of the skull. There were a few longer bones scattered about and what appeared to be a hand, balled up and reaching to the sky. The grave was shallow, only a few feet deep, and it was a wonder that the bones hadn’t appeared sooner. Meredith placed her hands on her hips, resisting the impulse to jump into the hole and free the remaining skeleton from the dirt and cradle it in her arms.

“It’s got to be human.” The foreman wiped his brow with a dirty towel. Red clay smeared his forehead like dried blood.

“It’s a child,” Meredith said. She crouched down, looking closer. Yes, it had to be a child. She cleared the muck from the back of her throat. Digging her fingers in the mounded dirt, she felt the soil clump together before she released it. The resting place for this poor soul. “I called the police. Did you call the architect?”

The foreman nodded. The courtyard was quiet, the digger now stopped, the work crew standing idly by, their heads hung in deference to the grave.

Meredith stood up and brushed the morsels of clay from her fingers. “I suppose we’ll be delayed again.” She didn’t know what else to say. Turning her back on the hole, she saw the crowd of workers part and the architect trudged toward her, his sleeves rolled up in the heat, his expression that of exasperation. “Hello, Kieran,” she said. She offered her hand to him even as her back stiffened. Although he was the project manager on this job, he was still the last person she wanted to see.

“I halted the work. I’m sorry. I know we’re behind schedule already…” He flung a tube of blue prints to the ground. He had a sheen of perspiration in his forehead, which he wiped away impatiently. Dressed in khakis and a button-down shirt, he looked as wilted as Meredith felt.

“The police are on their way.” Meredith stepped back as Kieran gave her a look and then made his way to the edge of the dig site and looked in.

“Shit.” He ran his fingers through his fair hair, the strands sticking together and becoming disarrayed. “I’ve seen this before. In Mosul. That’s definitely human.”


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Liah Penn is an author and attorney who resides outside of New Orleans, Louisiana with her husband and two sons.  A former prosecutor, she has worked on an Indian reservation, on the Mexican border and as a small town lawyer.

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