4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Edelweiss, Fiction, K, Maggie O'Dell, RATING, Read in 2013, Review Book, SERIES

2013.27 REVIEW – Stranded by Alex Kava

by Alex Kava

Copyright: 2013
Pages: 336
Rating: 4/5
Read: June 23-26, 2013
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 27
Format: E-Book
Source: Edelweiss

Blurb: Tired travelers and weary truckers have stopped at rest areas on the nation’s highways for decades to refuel, grab a bite, and maybe get some shut-eye, but one man’s rest stop is another’s hunting ground. For decades the defenseless, the weary, and the stranded have disappeared along the highways and byways, vanishing without a trace, but these seemingly unconnected incidents are no coincidence, and a madman stalks the freeways.

When FBI special agent Maggie O’Dell and her partner, Tully, discover the remains of a young woman in a highway ditch, the one clue left behind is a map that will send Maggie and Tully on a frantic hunt crisscrossing the country to stop a madman before he kills again.

As the body count rises and Maggie races against the clock to unmask the monster who’s terrorizing the nation’s highways, she turns to a former foe for help since he seems to know just what the killer’s next move will be. As she gets closer to finding the killer, it becomes eerily clear that Maggie is the ultimate target.

Review: I was over the moon excited when I found out that Alex Kava’s newest book was available to request on Edelweiss. I try not to request too much on Edelweiss or NetGalley. I’m not a huge fan of e-books in general, so I typically shy away from them altogether. However, Alex Kava’s Maggie O’Dell series is one of my absolute favorites and I couldn’t resist. You can imagine how excited I was when I was approved for it.

And let me tell you, dear readers, this was really a book I needed to read. I had been in a little bit of a slow slump, but I devoured this book in 3 days and loved every single word of it.

I don’t even know what to say about this book. The writing was good. The storyline was good. The character interaction and development was good. The killer was a surprise to me. I feel like Maggie O’Dell is back on top of the game with this book, and I was really excited about it!

I am really a fan of Maggie O’Dell’s character. She just seems so real to me. She’s likeable, she’s tough, she’s determined, she’s successful. And yet she’s flawed in some ways too, she has commitment issues. A few books back there was a big change-up with the characters, and at first I was not impressed. However, I must say that I really liked the direction Maggie’s boss is headed back in. There was very little mention of another character, highlighting Maggie’s commitment problem, so I’m kind of confused as to how Creed plays into the storyline in future books.

I’m excited to see what happens in future books. Between the introduction of Creed’s character and Gwen’s diagnosis, I am very interested in seeing where the series goes in the next book.

This is a series that I recommend to a lot of people, since for whatever reason, it doesn’t seem to be as well-known as some other series out there. There are a couple of duds in the series, in my opinion, but overall the series itself is extremely good.

Overall a great and exciting book for summer reading! Highly recommended.

A, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Edelweiss, Fiction, Read in 2013, Review Book

2013.19 REVIEW – The Boleyn King by Laura Andersen

The Boleyn King
by Laura Andersen

Copyright: 2013
Pages: 368
Read: April 15-22, 2013
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 19
Format: E-Book
Source: Edelweiss

Blurb: Laura Andersen brings us the first book in an enthralling trilogy set in the dramatic, turbulent, world-altering years of Tudor England. What if Anne did not miscarry her son in January 1536, but instead gave birth to a healthy royal boy? Perfect for fans of Philipa Gregory and Allison Weir.
The Boleyn King
Henry IX, known as William, is a 17-year-old king struggling at the restraints of the regency and anxious to prove himself. With the French threatening battle and the Catholics plotting at home, Will trusts only three people: his older sister, Elizabeth; his best friend and loyal counselor, Dominic; and Minuette, a young orphan raised as a royal ward by Anne Boleyn. Against an undercurrent of secret documents, conflicting intelligence operations, and private murder, William fights a foreign war and domestic rebellion with equal resolve. But when he and Dominic both fall in love with Minuette, romantic obsession menaces a new generation of Tudors. Battlefields and council chambers, trials and executions, the blindness of first love and the betrayal of true friendship…How far will William go to get what he wants? Who will pay the price for a king’s revenge? And what twists of fate will set Elizabeth on the path to her destiny as England’s queen?

Review: Oh. My. Goodness. I almost don’t know where to start with this review. I can’t begin to tell you how much I truly enjoyed this book. And how much I hate that it’s a trilogy and I can’t hardly wait to get my hands on the second book.

Personally I liked the premise of this book – what if? What if Anne Boleyn hadn’t miscarried? What if she had given birth to a healthy baby boy? That’s where this book really starts. Then it skips forward to when William is 17 and is about to become a “full” king – not having to have his councillors.

While William would obviously be the main character, most of the book is written in Minuette’s perspective. As Elizabeth’s lady-in-waiting and a close childhood friend to both Elizabeth and William, she really has a nice place for herself within the court. But it’s really amazing to see just how things change when these childhood friends grow up and become young adults. Add into it the fact that royalty is involved, it really makes for some interesting ideas.

Overall I found this book to be really good. But that’s not to say that it was perfect. There were a few issues that I had with it. First, I sometimes had a hard time keeping the characters straight. Not the main characters, but the ones who were William’s councillors. I guess that’s probably because they were secondary characters and popped in and out throughout the book. I’m not sure why I struggled with that. I also had a slight issue with how the transitions to different characters were done. Or I really should say, lack thereof. I felt like this was the weakest part of the book.  The reader would be going along with Minuette’s character and then we would be immediately thrown into the battlefield with Dominic. I found it a little difficult to keep track of at times. However, it didn’t really make me like the book any less, but it was something that I noticed throughout the novel.

I must warn you, dear readers – this book ends with one heck of a cliffhanger. I almost couldn’t believe it! I kept hitting the forward button on my Nook hoping that the book wouldn’t end how it did. It is what it is, but it will definitely leave you wanting more immediately!

I think I’ve read more historical fiction this year than I have in the past 5 years combined, but for some reason it’s really caught my interest. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to finishing the trilogy – I can’t wait to find out what happens!! (That cliffhanger … !!)

Highly recommended.

AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Edelweiss, Fiction, P, Read in 2013, Review Book

2013.9 REVIEW – The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper

The Demonologist
by Andrew Pyper

Copyright:  2013
Pages:  306
Read: Feb. 2-13, 2013
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 9
Format: E-Book
Source: Edelweiss

The DemonologistBlurb: Fans of The Historian won’t be able to put down this spellbinding literary horror story in which a Columbia professor must use his knowledge of demonic mythology to rescue his daughter from the Underworld.

Professor David Ullman’s expertise in the literature of the demonic—notably Milton’s Paradise Lost—has won him wide acclaim. But David is not a believer.

One afternoon he receives a visitor at his campus office, a strikingly thin woman who offers him an invitation: travel to Venice, Italy, witness a “phenomenon,” and offer his professional opinion, in return for an extravagant sum of money. Needing a fresh start, David accepts and heads to Italy with his beloved twelve-year-old daughter Tess.

What happens in Venice will send David on an unimaginable journey from skeptic to true believer, as he opens himself up to the possibility that demons really do exist. In a terrifying quest guided by symbols and riddles from the pages of Paradise Lost, David attempts to rescue his daughter from the Unnamed—a demonic entity that has chosen him as its messenger.

Review: I received a digital copy of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. It is set to go on sale March 5, 2013.

Way back in December, I saw a review for this book at A Book and a Review and I was immediately intrigued by the description. It sounded so interesting to me. I was thrilled to find it on Edelweiss and even more thrilled when I was approved for it! Then I let it sit. Why do I always seem to do that?

When I finally started this book I was immediately sucked in. The beginning really had me wanting to know what was going on … I honestly couldn’t get through the first 150 pages fast enough. And then for some reason it lagged a bit for me. I think it was my “yeah, right” instinct coming out. There was just something about the middle part of the book that didn’t really sit all that well with me. But I continued on, determined to find out what happened. And I have to say that while I wasn’t necessarily disappointed with the ending, I was a little surprised at how abrupt it was. Once again I was stuck with that “yeah, right” feeling.

Overall I enjoyed this book. I don’t read a lot of horror novels anymore (although I gobbled up every Stephen King and Dean Koontz book I could when I was in high school!), but this one really wasn’t all that bad. I would definitely recommend it.