pie and papercuts

i like books. all the books

The Impossible Fortress

The Impossible Fortress - Jason Rekulak Okay, at the start this gave me a little bit of an Eleanor & Park vibe, which if you know me is high praise. That comparison didn't necessarily hold throughout The Impossible Fortress, but I still really enjoyed this book. The plot to get the Playboy, the romance between Billy and Mary, and that little twist at the end. The pacing and writing were great, the characters fun, and just an overall really enjoyable read.

Taking Charge

Taking Charge - Ruth Cardello I just ... am I missing something by picking this up without reading the first books in the series? There was a little backstory given, which I assume is from previous books, but this just feels out of context. The prologue felt like it was trying to set up this backstory for Lucy and David, to explain why he is suddenly jumping to her rescue, but when it actually did was make it feel like David fell in insta-love with Lucy, and then suddenly we are in the future the story is heading in the direction of a second chance love.

But it doesn't actually read that like. If Cardello had done away with the prologue and started with chapter one and added a condensed backstory for Lucy and David, it may have worked better. As written, it feels very disjointed.

All that said, Lucy is very flat and many of the other characters are almost over the top in their characterization. The good ol boy southern gentleman, the evil ex, and so on. In the end, it just did not work for me at all.

*A free copy was provided by the published/Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Better Late Than Never

Better Late Than Never - Jenn McKinlay Boy oh boy, this should have been right up my alley. A book about books? About a library/librarian? Mystery!? I mean, it seemed like something I should devour and then want to immediately reread. And I did devour it, I guess. It was a quick, easy read. About a librarian, who solves mysteries.

My issue came in the characterization. Everyone was so super over dramatic. Bit characters. The sourpuss Ms. Cole who nearly faints at the mention of a name, the British actor who claims to be head-over-heals for Lindsey and falls down with a 'broken heart' in the middle of the library when she rejects him, and so on. It's very cartoony feeling. And leads to scenes that don't really progress the mystery at all, but rather fill up space.

I loved the concept, a super overdue book belonging to a murder victim mysteriously showing back up 20 years later. But the mystery part just seemed to play second fiddler to all the personal drama of the main characters. As this is the 7th book of the series, it sparked my interest enough to check out at least the first book of the series.

*I received a copy of this book from First To Read in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Always a Cowboy

Always a Cowboy - Linda Lael Miller Not gonna lie, the avoiding-each-other-to-married-in-weeks thing just didn't work for me. Luce and Drake had no true relationship development, and by date 2 were planning their wedding. I tried to get on board with it, I truly did. Sure, they had the horses in common, but after that? Meh, they spent so much time not with each other, disagreeing with each other, and then suddenly they were married. I just ... The writing was fine, and the story pacing was fine overall, it was just the relationship part that didn't work for me.

Finding Heather

Finding Heather - Alison Ragsdale Finding Heather had the potential to be a true favorite for me, but there were just a few things that held it back. Once Heather makes the decision to move herself and her twins back to her home in Scotland, the story began to drag. There was a whole chapter about her cleaning out the closet. That's it. No big reveal, no hidden secrets of her deceased husband's. Just cleaning out the closet and finding pictures. I kept waiting for there to be some connection to be made, some hidden truth revealed. But nothing.

I think the intention was to highlight that she loved and missed her husband, that this was a big, tough decision and that he had been a good guy. But for me, unless you give me a good reason why she wouldn't be sad about the death of her husband, I'm going to believe that he was a good guy and that she does miss him. For me the first third of the book seemed to drag with unnecessary little scenes that were setting up what I would already assume to be truth unless told otherwise.

Once they get moved and Elspeth takes her tumble down the stairs and Max disappears, the pace picks up and the story seemed to flow much better. But then once again, once Max is found and back home, things began to drag again. Setting up the relationships between Heather and Fraser, Elspeth and Davy, and lastly Murdoch and Chrissy seemed to just drag on more than necessary. All of the setting up of the relationships could have been happening during actual action.

All in all, Finding Heather is a sweet story of moving on, not just for Heather and her children but for many members of her family. I just feel as though there could have been more action moving the story along rather than little cut scenes.

*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher/Netgalley in exchange for a review.

Girl Under Glass

Girl Under Glass - Monica Enderle Pierce It is ... some time in the future and the Earth has been taken over (I guess) by these humanoid alien people. Rachel Pryne lives with her daughter Pearl, castoffs from the small community, Suffer. In pretty typical dystopian fashion, the community is under the charge of "Elders", one in particular Cyrus who just ... ugh.

Anyway, one night one of the Ohnenrai shows up at her door injured, and Rachel decides to nurse him back to health. She slowly falls for him while continuing to be treated like dirt by most of the community in which she serves as a healer. There's a big to-do about the Elders taking her daughter away from her, and Rachel and Pearl run away with Ehtishem, the Ohnenrai soldier, and that's where the story kind of lost me.

I feel like this book really lost its way about a third of the way through. While still at home in Suffer, Rachel seemed strong but beaten down, but once she ends up separated from her daughter she seems to lose her fire. I realize even the strongest people can only take so much, but she almost immediately seems a different person. Back and forth with her emotions. Does she love Ehtishem, hate him, or even trust him? It's like running in circles trying to keep up with. And Ehtishem, ugh. While on Earth he's got the strong, silent type going on, but once back on the Ohnenrai ship and taking his rightful place as leader (or second or third in command, I dunno, it got kind of complicated) the strong, silent thing goes by way of irritating.

That said, sci-fi isn't my usual cup of tea, but the concept grabbed my attention, as did the story itself when I first started reading. I just really felt like the second half of the book did not seem to flow as well as the first half. This is listed as book one in a series, and should the series continue I would be interested in reading more.

*A free copy was provided by Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Carry On

Carry On - Rainbow Rowell It took me a while to get fully immersed in this book, which was quite painful considering my love for Rainbow Rowell. But in the end we found our mutual groove. As always Ms. Rowell's writing sucked me in, and inspired me to write.

Tell Me Again

Tell Me Again - Michelle Major Oh man, did I want to enjoy this book. And before I get into it, the writing is fine and perfectly readable. It's the characters that present the biggest problem for me. Sam got 'out' early to get away from a less than stellar homelife, leaving behind a twin sister and Trevor, her ... admirer? Some 13 odd years later she returns home one night to find the daughter of her twin sister, the daughter that Sam knew nothing about, waiting for her. Grace thinks Sam is her mother. And Trevor, the past love interest?, is her father.

Sounds interesting enough. Except Sam and Trevor do not act like 30-something adults. A little banter is fun, a lot of childish bickering and name calling is not. I just could not want these two to get together.

I'd be interested in giving Michelle Major's writing another shot, but this book just did not work for me.

*A free copy of this book was provided by netgalley/the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

What You Do to Me

What You Do to Me - Barbara Longley Sam and Haley are perfect for each other. Perfect in that neither of them knows what the heck they want and they both turned so totally neurotic halfway through the book.

The concept is cute: Haley's mother tries to set her up with Sam, the handiest handyman in town, after her fiance leaves her just weeks before their wedding. Haley finds out about the setup and decides to turn things around in an effort to get her mother to back off. In the process, Haley and Sam fall for each other.

But oh my dear gracious. Does he, does she, will she, won't he, and so on. I get hesitance, but the back and forth between wanting to jump each other and being afraid of this "relationship" is just ... well, it gets old.

Overall, cute concept, not crazy about the main characters. And sidenote, my mom would do anything for me but I don't think she'd ever set me up with a potential one-night stand.

*A free copy of this book was provided by netgalley/the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

The House on Schellberg Street

The House on Schellberg Street - Gill James I tend to devour books based during WWII, and this was no exception. From the first page you're pulled into the atmosphere, and sense of what's to come. This is a very moving story, very difficult to put down.

Girl Number One

Girl Number One - Jane Holland DNF

The writing was very draggy, and Ellie was irritating. She was more concerned about someone not calling her back than the fact that she discovered a dead body in the woods. I tried to push through, because this seemed right up my alley, but I grew very bored.

Faithful: A Novel

Faithful: A Novel - Alice Hoffman 3.5 Stars

I'm not sure how to go about reviewing Faithful. Is it coming of age? Is it a redemption story? I mean, I guess in the end it is both. Shelby, who was driving the night she and her friend, Helene, are in a horrible accident, both comes of age and slowly redeems herself over the years following.

The story feels very real, and yet farfetched at times. Shelby's actions, fueled both by guilt and depression, range from self-destructive to selfless.

Mostly I couldn't help thinking that Shelby needed help. Yes she spent time in a psychiatric hospital, but obviously she still needed yet. I'm sure the idea of the story is that she helped herself by helping others, or some such, but she really and truly needed help.

Alice Hoffman does have a way with emotions, sucking you into the character's world. This was my first Alice Hoffman novel, though I'd heard a great deal about some of her past books. I am tempted to pick up another to give it a try.

*A free copy was provided by the publisher/netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

The Roanoke Girls: A Novel

The Roanoke Girls: A Novel - Amy Engel Not for the faint of heart.

Roanoke is a house with a dark, dark secret, and the Roanoke girls have a way of getting out, whether by leaving or dying.

I gotta say, I went into this expecting, as some point, a feel good (ish) story of a girl coming back home. And of course, being from Kansas I was excited to think I would be able to relate, at least in some small part, to the characters.

And really, there were things about life in Osage Falls that I picked out and thought, "Yep, I can see that." But thank goodness there was very little else I could relate to. The Roanoke's dark family secret was darker than I expected, producing a family of broken girls with dark secrets. Secrets many of them died to get away from.

If I had known ahead of time just exactly how brutal this book would turn out to be, I might have shied away. But in the end I'm glad I didn't. It was completely unpleasant and cringe worthy for the most part, with only hints of redeeming shining through in rare places. But still, the story sucked me in and kept me reading through to the end. The scenery and characters were vivid, if unlikable to downright despicable.

*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher/netgalley in exchange for my honest review.


Fractured - Catherine McKenzie Imagine going up this ridiculous incline for a roller coaster. All that anticipation and build up. You know the top is there, but it's so far away. And as you get closer and closer to the top, you just know the ride down is going to be awesome, right? With how long it has taken you to get there, all the promise of a wild ride.

And then ... A short little bloop and you're done.

That's how this book read for me. The jumping of timelines and perspectives, the hinting, foreshadowing. Playing coy with the end game. And then a very anticlimactic ending. For all the build up, I really expected some earth shattering reveal. Alas, it fell pretty short.

Maybe it would have felt bigger if I had cared about any of the characters enough to be invested in what happened to them. But I just didn't like them that much. Cindy was probably the most interesting character, followed by Heather. Julie and John and their little ... Fling? Meh.

I really wanted to like this more, and it did keep reading until the end, but I feel a little lead on.

*A free copy of this book was provided by the publisher/netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Two Days Gone: A Novel

Two Days Gone: A Novel - Randall Silvis Ryan DeMarco and Thomas Huston had formed a sort of friendship while Huston was doing research for a novel, and now suddenly Huston is a suspect in the murders of his entire family.

The shifting perspectives for most of the book is something I'm not usually a fan of, but it worked here. It was far heavier in DeMarco's perspective, I supposed as to keep the 'whodunnit' alive. I understand why Silvis didn't just stick with the single perspective the whole book, but he probably could have made it work.

Silvis' banter between his characters was witty and believable, and pleasant to read.

The mystery of the story was well done. I really enjoy books that have me thinking I know what happened/who did it, but keep me second guessing myself at the same time, and Silvis accomplished that here. Did Thomas Huston murder his wife and kids? Did one of his fellow professors fly into a jealous rage and kill his family for revenge?

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Two Days Gone, though reading about young children dying is always hard for me to do. 3.5 stars. I would definitely read more by Silvis.

A Bull Rider's Pride

A Bull Rider's Pride - Amanda Renee Meh, pretty basic stuff. Insta-love, stubborn hero/heroine, HEA.

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