Tag Archives: pretty cover

Book Review: Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes

Harper Voyager
Published Sept. 17th, 2019
448 Pages

Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra cruise the galaxy delivering small cargo for even smaller profits. When her sister Mari is kidnapped by The Fridge, a shadowy syndicate that holds people hostage in cryostasis, Eva must undergo a series of unpleasant, dangerous missions to pay the ransom.

But Eva may lose her mind before she can raise the money. The ship’s hold is full of psychic cats, an amorous fish-faced emperor wants her dead after she rejects his advances, and her sweet engineer is giving her a pesky case of feelings. The worse things get, the more she lies, raising suspicions and testing her loyalty to her found family.

To free her sister, Eva will risk everything: her crew, her ship, and the life she’s built on the ashes of her past misdeeds. But when the dominoes start to fall and she finds the real threat is greater than she imagined, she must decide whether to play it cool or burn it all down.- Goodreads

Let us take a moment to enjoy this beautiful cover. I love everything about it and give mess a fantasy mess that I didn’t know I needed.

However, the book itself was just okay. I loved reading Captain Eva. The fact that she is Hispanic, Spanish is very part of her world i.e. the language, the name of her ship and even references to foods, I loved reading how causal she was. What I mean is it didn’t feel forced. Eva wasn’t trying to prove her heritage, didn’t have someone question her, she was being herself as natural as that is. This book is #ownvoices and that is clear and I am all for it.

I loved the space setting of this book. The author did a great job building this world. Although there could be more backstory, she did really well panting a very clear picture of where the world is now.;

The idea that she has to go into a world she really doesn’t want part of to save her sister is a good hook. But there was nothing really good on. Yes, the jobs were odd and dangerous and just getting more stressful by the moment but they didn’t provide the excitement that you would think would come from doing a dangerous job. There was a lot of do the job go back to the ship and about half way through the book, I was over it. It left me wanting more/wanting something better and scratching my head to what was going to happen next.

The other thing that I scratched my head about was the romance. It felt more like two people wanting to get laid than a actual romance. It didn’t develop as it should and it was a second part to whole saving the sister thing, which is what it should have been but it didn’t feel real.

Overall, the book was slow. It has a lot of potential within the characters and within the setting. I felt that with more development it could be perfect.

2 Pickles

Book Review: The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters

Amulet Books
TBP: April 16, 2019
368 Pages

Seventeen-year-old Edgar Poe counts down the days until he can escape his foster family—the wealthy Allans of Richmond, Virginia. He hungers for his upcoming life as a student at the prestigious new university, almost as much as he longs to marry his beloved Elmira Royster.

However, on the brink of his departure, all his plans go awry when a macabre Muse named Lenore appears to him. Muses are frightful creatures that lead Artists down a path of ruin and disgrace, and no respectable person could possibly understand or accept them. But Lenore steps out of the shadows with one request: “Let them see me!”-Goodreads

Let’s take a moment to admire this beautiful cover.  It is so far one of the best covers for 2019 ( and we are only in January).

This book is considered a retelling. And I believe the retelling is of Edgar Allan Poe and how/why he dipped into poetry when he did and of course his most famous poem The Raven. 

This book although not written in verse is poetry. The words are drawn out and written in a way as if they were poems. This proved to be an issue for me because it stretched the book out way longer than it needed to be.

Creativity was no lacking in this book. Poe’s muse Lenore proved to be just as creepy as some of Poe’s stories. And at one point I felt bad for her but then just like Poe, she did not listen to anyone and proceeded to insert herself into a world that did not want her.

The thing about Lenore is her presence was unwelcome because of how she looked and every time she opened her mouth. She cared for nothing but the poetry, which fed her and it took way too long for her to actually care about Poe. I loved reading Lenore’s point of view. She was the essence of the book because Poe was an annoying 17 year old boy who wanted the perks of an adult but didn’t want to be an adult.

I wanted to like this book. Edgar Allan Poe helped define my initial love of reading but this made me look at Poe as more of a brat than a talented author that preferred the dark side.

The book would have been better if it was written in verse. The way it was written, you can tell the author put a lot of thought and care into each sentence. It was beautiful but for a chapter book, not enough was actually going on and it didn’t leave a lot of anything for me to feel invested in the overall story.

However, I did complete it and it was an alright story. I strongly believe it would have been better if it was written as verse.

2 Pickles

Book Review: Nightblade’s Vengeance by Ryan Kirk

Published Oct. 24, 2017
333 Pages

In a feudal land, a Kingdom is at risk. With no heir to the fragile throne, its future rests with the powerful members of the dying king’s Council, including Minori, a nightblade warrior, and Kiyoshi, a dayblade healer. The two men are bound by the sword but divided by two opposing principles: rule the land, or serve it. In their challenge for supremacy, a spark has been lit.

Her name is Asa. Her creed is revenge.

A fierce nightblade warrior, she’s spent a decade in pursuit of the enigmatic general who killed her father in a violent revolt—then mysteriously vanished from all records. Now, her desire for reckoning has led her to the village of Two Falls—and straight into the heart of an impending civil war. Minori and Kiyoshi are vying for her loyalty. And Asa must choose sides.

As fresh betrayals unfold and a new uprising looms, Asa knows that chasing a ghost is no longer just a personal quest for retribution. It’s going to alter the fate of the entire Kingdom. -Goodreads

This could have been a really good book. It started off strong… really strong but there were things that caused your attention to drop.

Firstly, the book is told in different points of view. All the perspectives are connected and they add some much appreciated complexity to the novel. Although the transitions aren’t as smooth as I like, I did think the author did a good job of weaving in different stories to form a larger one. But the only issue was it lost focus on Asa. She felt more of a catalyst as opposed to a main character that I should invest into.  She was the boulder rolling down a already shaky hill.

I didn’t really care for her character. She wasn’t as strong as you initially believe and she is very selfish. She makes decisions and then expects people to forgive and understand to justify what she has done. She doesn’t grow and that was another issue for me.

Because the author was trying to add so much to the story, the book was slow. There are a lot of details and I don’t believe it was really necessarily to go that deep because it didn’t add to world building. It was more of justifying and getting the reader to like the characters and pick a side.

There wasn’t enough action or even confrontation with this novel, which left a disappointing taste when you actually finished the book. Then ending when you finally get there was not worth the hours you spend reading for the grand ending. Also the surprising twist? You saw it about half way through the book.

Despite all of this, I strongly believe this book is a good foundation. As this is the first in the series, you can only hope it gets better in book two right?


2 Pickles

Children’s Book Review: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Algonquin Young Readers To Be Published Aug. 9, 2016 400 Pages
Algonquin Young Readers
To Be Published Aug. 9, 2016
400 Pages

Once a year, the Protectorate leave a baby as a sacrifice to the witch that lives in the woods in exchange that she will not bother the town. But the witch, Xan, is nothing short of kind. Not understanding why the people of Protectorate do this every year, she brings the baby she finds to a family in the surround towns.

But one year is different. Xan finds a baby she is unable to let go and she feeds her moonlight instead of starlight and the child is filled with unfathomable amounts of magic. To keep, Luna, her new child safe, she locks her magic to be released when she is 13 years old. But when Xan is away the magic begins to release. 

At the same time a man from Protectorate, looks for the witch to save his people from the agony experienced each year. What is Luna to do when everything she comes to love is slowly slipping away. 

As a disclaimer, I need to say that if you are an Adult reading YA books, this book is not for you. This is for middle schoolers/children and it is written as such.

I am grateful that I was approved for the arc via Netgalley because this is such a cute, creative and entertaining read. I highly recommend it for children, who are getting into fantasy.

Its a detailed and complex story but not too complicated where someone will feel lost or feel as if something was missed. The pace was surprisingly great. I expected a slow book because it was a children’s read but also because Xan is the most self-sacrificing witch, I have ever read. She gives everything to Luna and to the people that sort her help. But what kept the book interesting was the switching of narratives. You move from Xan, Luna, the man looking to kill, a swamp monster named Glerk and a dragon named Fyrian. This kept the book interesting and I like that.

Luna, throughout the book, was still developing i.e. that is why this book is considering coming of age. Therefore, I will not dig deep into her personality. What I can say it the character development for her was done very appropriately. Luna was the main focus but she didn’t become the main character til closer to the end of the book. This isn’t a issue at all. Kudos to the author.

The book did take some time to get going and I also feel that there wasn’t enough intensity coming from the past. I would have liked more drama, considering Xan had a heck of a life; a little history would have helped as well.

Overall, recommended read for the kiddos.

4 Pickles

Book Review: Wendy Darling: Stars (Wendy Darling #1) by Colleen Oakes

Sparkpress Published Oct. 13, 2015 256 Pages
Published Oct. 13, 2015
256 Pages

Wendy Darling lives a comfortable life with her parents and brothers in the wealthy part of London. But when she begins to fall for a bookseller’s son, she realizes what her family is willing to do to keep their status in society.

One night when her parents are off at a ball, a boy comes into the room Wendy shares with her brothers through the window. The boy is Peter Pan and he promises them an adventure like no other. 

Falling completely over his charm, Wendy and the boys follow Pan to Neverland. But all isn’t what it seems once they get there. Wendy has a hard time remembering the life she had before she flew out the window and as Pan captures her heart she realizes there is a darker side to the magical world and the boy who controls it.

*Short Review*

I never understood the hype over Peter Pan. *Shrugs* it isn’t one of my go to classic children tales. But I was intrigued by seeing the darker side of Pan. I was hoping for some creepiness not a lot considering that is not the type of book this is but something that would make me go “ooooo.” There is a certain type of excitement seeing the good guy finally showing the jerk he really is.

While reading this book you have to keep in mind that Wendy is a child not a child adult but a child, who for most purposes, lived a privilege life. So like any child if you don’t get what you want you have a fit but when you find a new toy you forget what you had a fit about. That is Wendy in regards to her love life. I just wanted to put that out there.

I didn’t like the pace of the novel. The story was creeping by with each page. Wendy didn’t provide much help because she didn’t have much of a personality. I didn’t care for her relationship with her brothers because they turned on her the moment they could, especially John.

I felt that the story needed more than just Peter Pan and although the author does eventually give more life to the story, I couldn’t get into it. I also felt the author used Peter Pan way too much as a clutch for the story; there wasn’t enough originality.


2 Pickles

Book Review: Blood, Ink & Fire by Ashley Mansour

Upturn Publishing Published Dec. 1, 2015 464 Pages
Upturn Publishing
Published Dec. 1, 2015
464 Pages

The future is no place for books. The once beloved written word is replaced by a stream of images known as Verity, which is controlled by the Fell for the protection of mankind. Readers i.e. being able to read is forbidden.

Noelle sees words and needs to know what they mean. Since she was a child it has been her obsession and her secret. But the day before her 17th birthday, Verity is interrupted with a hidden message for Noelle.  A message that leads her to readers known as the Nine of the Rising and to a boy named Ledger. 

Noelle discovers that in a world without books, she may be the only hope to bring them back.

Drop dead gorgeous cover. It is perfect and I hope that the author, the publisher, whoever does not ever change it.

I loved the concept of this story. A world without books; a world where reading is illegal *nods head in approval* This was a pretty good idea. But it was poorly executed. The main issue lies with Noelle. She is a very dull character, which in the beginning of the book is perfectly fine. It is because she is in a controlled environment that limits life, for a lack of better term.

It is after she leaves that controlled environment. I expected to see some kind of color, life from Noelle because she really trying to come into her own but even at the end it was just like “oh, alright,” I didn’t get a really fulfillment from her. This applies to the surrounding characters as well. It felt as if they all were being controlled by something such as the Fell, who are big brother but with much more technology and science.

Another thing about Noelle, that I didn’t really enjoy, was her viewpoint on the world or at least what was going on around her. She didn’t really try to figure things out. I didn’t mind her bluntness or her questioning things; what I did mind was how she expected things to go certain ways and then would be there like “well dang” when it didn’t work out.

Beyond that, I did like the pace of the novel. I felt the author really took care of this aspect very well. But there was a lack of passion in the words that we are supposed to be so desperate for. That was the hardest thing about this book. The emotion wasn’t really there; everything was very dull and it broke my heart.

The romance was a bit forced. I enjoyed the beginning of it. . . without giving much away I like what the author did without causing a love triangle in the traditional sense, I guess. The creativity was there, throughout the entire book,  but it was coming up short.

Overall, I am going to have to give the book

2 Pickles

Impatiently Waiting For: I Swear I’ll Make It Up to You by Mishka Shubaly

PublicAffairs To Be Published March 8, 2016 352 Pafes
To Be Published March 8, 2016
352 Pafes

I Swear I’ll Make It Up to You is Mishka Shubaly’s apology for choices he wasn’t sure he’d live long enough to regret. It is a story of drinking, women, punk rock, and a journey so far down the low road that it took Shubaly years of running to come back.

A misfit kid in the best of times, Shubaly had his world shattered when, in a 24-hour span in 1992, he survived a mass shooting on his school’s campus, then learned that his parents were getting divorced. After the departure of his father, a decorated rocket scientist, his remaining family soon lost their house. In his first act to avenge the wrongs against his mother, Shubaly plunged into a 17-year love affair with alcohol.

In this fiercely honest, emotional, and darkly witty book, Shubaly relives the best and worst of these adventures: the disastrous events that fractured his life; his imaginatively destructive romances; his hot-and-cold career as a rock musician; his travels across the country in search of meaning, drugs, and his family; and the time he met his newborn nephew while tripping on cough syrup.

I Swear I’ll Make It Up to You is a memoir of a precocious young man trying to be good and failing (and failing, and failing)—until, one day, he succeeds. Taking a cab home one night after a bar fight, Shubaly decides to run five miles the next morning to retrieve his bike. Thus begins a new, much healthier love affair with running, and eventually a new life. And when Shubaly finally reunites with his distant father, he discovers the story of his childhood was radically different from what he’d imagined. Shubaly’s muscular prose, big heart, and sharp humor inflect this grand story of mistakes, their consequences, and eventual redemption. -Goodreads

Book Review: Beauty (Tales from the Kingdoms #3) by Sarah Pinborough

Titan Books Published Jan. 1, 2013 208 Pages
Titan Books
Published Jan. 1, 2013
208 Pages

A retelling of Sleeping Beauty. 

Simple summary right? But that is the best way to explain this book without giving too much detail. I haven’t read the first two books so I can’t say if there is a connection or not. When you are reading this book it doesn’t feel like you are missing anything. It starts like it is own story. I appreciate that.

What I loved about this book was its directness. It still left a lot to the imagination but it didn’t add unnecessary conflict, romance, love triangle or messy emotions. I loved the fact the characters knew who they were and what they wanted from themselves and others. It made the book much more enjoyable. It did not by any means take away from the book by having sure characters. If you want drama from every character and internal turmoil then don’t read this book.

I loved the pace of the novel. It was a quick read and it gave a bit of a dark twist of sleeping beauty. However, I wish the book was longer because Ms. Sarah was on to something with Beauty. If it was embellished more or even had a greater back story then it would have been perfect. I felt the ending was too easy and would have jumped for joy if the ending was either darker or twisted in some form of way. But it was a better ending than a lot of other endings I have read in these past few weeks.

I can see why some people didn’t and wouldn’t like it because this book could have been way bigger than what it is but it was a good piece of work despite that.

Short review for a short read. I think this book is worth it plus I love the cover.

4 Pickles


Book Review: Between The Spark and The Burn (Between # 2) by April Genevieve Tucholke

Dial Published Aug. 14, 2014 320 Pages
Published Aug. 14, 2014
320 Pages

River West Redding has left Violet in her lonely world. With his brother Neely, Violet is left to worry about the boy that shattered her world that is until one early morning, they hear a radio feed about a town experiencing strange events.

Immediately, they go in search for answers and in search of River. But it isn’t long before the find danger or a secret that can destroy Violet and Neely’s relationship. 

Here is the review for book one.


I try to give certain books a second chance by reading the second book. This action bit me in the ass with this book.

Violet is a depressing girl with almost zero personality and wouldn’t understand the difference between love and sick torment if it punched her in the face. I have to give her slight slack because she is young but she doesn’t get much. I also didn’t care of Neely. Both characters lack a personality and a spark of life.

The title of the book is wonderful as well as the cover but it does nothing to enhance the writing in this book.  It was slow, it was all over the place and it lacked a better purpose. Violet doesn’t understand love. She tries to find River because he gave her attention in a way she never had.

It is rough to read a book like this when you know there isn’t any personal development.  Reading this book was hard and it was almost a DNF.

Overall, no.

1 Pickle

NetGalley Review: Ticker by Lisa Mantchev

Skyscape Published Dec. 1, 2014 273 Pages
Published Dec. 1, 2014
273 Pages

Penny Farthing is near death when surgeon Calvin Warwick is able to successfully swap out Penny’s bad heart with a brass ticker. But the moment when it is found that Warwick killed people in order to save Penny with an updated Ticker, Penny isn’t so happy that she was saved.

During Warwick’s last day of trial, the Farthing factory was bombed, their house was broken into and Penny and her brother Nic receive a ransom notice, demanding their parent’s secret information in order to have their parents back unharmed.  

With the help of Penny’s best friend Violet, a gentleman around the town (whatever that means) Sebastian and a young army general Marcus, Penny and Nic go on the search for their parents and the truth about Penny’s ticker.

The first pretty cover of the year!!!!!

This book was a dry read. The plot, the characters everything seemed un-lifelike which is crazy considering that the topic of life centralizes the entire book. Penny  lacked development and character. She did what she wanted and how she wanted.  She had little regard for her own life, which again is crazy!

The storyline didn’t really provide enough to keep me interested in the story. As much as I love when books start off in a really great scene, there is a way to do it right and the author did not provide enough of a griping point in order for me to understand why things were moving the way they were. Yes, do you get that information but the vagueness of what happened to her, her sister and the man who gave her a new heart last for way too long for me to enjoy the book.

Also the author added a very unnecessary element to a world of science; paranormal. It was thrown in there without any type of back-story or anything leading up to it to make me believe that the paranormal topic should be there.

What I did like about this story was the steampunk aspect of it. It was detailed and creative and there was a lot of though behind it.

Overall, the book was okay. Nothing spectacular.

2 Pickles