Book Review: Marie Antoinette Serial Killer

Posted by Katrina Roets at 8:30 AM

Friday, April 28, 2017

Colette Iselin is excited to go to Paris on a class trip. She’ll get to soak up the beauty and culture, and maybe even learn something about her family’s French roots.

But a series of gruesome murders are taking place across the city, putting everyone on edge. And as she tours museums and palaces, Colette keeps seeing a strange vision: a pale woman in a ball gown and powdered wig, who looks suspiciously like Marie Antoinette.

Colette knows her popular, status-obsessed friends won’t believe her, so she seeks out the help of a charming French boy. Together, they uncover a shocking secret involving a dark, hidden history. When Colette realizes she herself may hold the key to the mystery, her own life is suddenly in danger . . .

Acclaimed author Katie Alender brings heart-stopping suspense to this story of revenge, betrayal, intrigue — and one killer queen.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Another of the books that I snagged from the free shelf at the airport and another one that was perfect for me to read when I spotted it...

The Good:
This book is such an amazingly easy read and though the author has a reputation of being a horror writer, this book isn't horror. I'm the biggest chicken in the world and nothing in this book even gave me a shiver. What it did give me was the joy in watching a teenager grow up and come a bit more into herself as the book progressed. It gave me a ghost story that was set in the present, but had its start in the past. I'm a history junkie and while this part was totally made up, I really enjoyed the historical aspects of the book.

The Bad:
If I had one complaint, and it's a small one, it's that not all of the french in the book is translated. Still, this was so minor and it didn't take away from the reading itself so I'm nitpicking.

The Summary:
This is another light reading book. It isn't a heavy mystery or a scary horror novel. It's a fun book geared towards the teenage set. Some have complained that the main character is a snobby bitch and that it gives girls the wrong impressions about fat girls, nice girls, and the lot, but the reality is that I have seen groups of girls made up of exactly the group depicted within this book. Is it always the case? Nope. Still it exists and Collette has to learn that fashion sense, the latest boy, and all of that doesn't define a person.

If you like light reading in this genre, I suggest you give this book a shot.

Photobucket

If you like what you've read here, please share it with others using these buttons:

Book Review: The Clockwork Scarab

Posted by Katrina Roets at 9:30 AM

Friday, April 21, 2017

Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes never meant to get into the family business. But when you’re the sister of Bram and the niece of Sherlock, vampire hunting and mystery solving are in your blood. And when two society girls go missing, there’s no one more qualified to investigate.

Now fierce Evaline and logical Mina must resolve their rivalry, navigate the advances of not just one but three mysterious gentlemen, and solve murder with only one clue: a strange Egyptian scarab. The stakes are high. If Stoker and Holmes don’t unravel why the belles of London society are in such danger, they’ll become the next victims.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Lately I've had some periods where I've needed to sit around and wait on the boys to finish whatever they're up to. It's given me some bonus reading time that I completely grabbed up. It gave me the chance to finish a couple of books that have been calling out for me to read them...

The first is The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason. I picked this up from a free shelf at the airport a couple of months ago and the title alone had me from hello. Then, I read the description and discovered that the two main characters were a Stoker and a Holmes and that was it. It left the shelf and went with me.

The Good: 
This book was fun to read. The characters were easy to relate to and while I've seen it said that Mine especially seemed judgmental for someone who was supposed to be brilliant, I have to say that it seems very much within a teenage girl's personality. Just because you're brilliant doesn't mean that you don't sometimes make assumptions. Aside from all of that, the story is very much plot driven and it's a plot that had me picking the book up whenever I had a few minutes to squeeze in some reading.

The Bad:
This book is a steampunk novel and while I don't mind that per se, I did mind that the author reminded us of it every other page or so. It wasn't necessary to the story building. The book also felt slightly unfinished. We don't know who was behind what was happening. We don't really know why the time traveling character was brought there or if he ever made it home. I know that this is book 1 of a 4 part Holmes/Stoker series so I'm hoping that the author revisits these in future books and resolves them.

The Summary:
Overall, this is a really fun book. It's certainly geared towards the teenage set, but as a not quite a teenager anymore, I enjoyed reading it and I'm going to try to track down book 2 to see what happens with this pair next.


Photobucket

If you like what you've read here, please share it with others using these buttons:

Book Review: Princess Nenji

Posted by Katrina Roets at 11:41 AM

Friday, April 14, 2017

Nenji lives a quiet life, but with a longing for adventure. Barely considered royalty, her life is uprooted when the Dragon King sets out to eliminate the threat of the Lorac Family revealed by prophecy. Nenji has to learn quickly about magic, politics, and herself as she takes on the roles of young lady, witch, and queen. Princess Nenji is a gripping novel. This fantasy story revolves around a young 14 year old girl, mages, royalty, dragons and creatures you never even imagined. This book gives new insights about justice and mercy, coming of age, and the power of a family's love. It is a quick read, both exciting and refreshing. You will be continually surprised at how the plot unfolds. The author has been called a creative genius, and this book is unlike any other book you have read.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Last week, I introduced you to Dani and the Dragon. Princess Nenji is set in that same realm. Heck, she's part of the same family as Dani. This book takes place after the events in Dani and the Dragon, although I believe it was written prior.

While I didn't enjoy this book quite as much as I did Mr. Carroll's other book, I very much enjoyed it. In fact, I read it in one sitting. That says a lot for a book. I loved the glimpses of characters that I had grown to love in the other book and the first thing I did upon completing it was to go to the author's Goodreads page to see if there were other books in this series. Unfortunately, there are not. I really wanted to find out what happened with all of the amazing characters that the author has put together.

If you're a lover of magic, dragons, fantasy, and princesses that can more than hold their own, I strongly suggest that you pick up Mr. Carroll's two books. It's been a long time since I've enjoyed an author so much.

Edit: The author has changed his pen name to Simon Driscoll. For information on how to find his books, check out his web page.

Photobucket
I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

If you like what you've read here, please share it with others using these buttons:

Book Review: Dani and the Dragon

Posted by Katrina Roets at 9:54 AM

Friday, April 7, 2017

Coming of age isn't easy for a homeless orphan girl. But when Mages, Kings, and Dragons all want to control her destiny, she must uncover her past to find her future.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I'm not going to lie to you. This book has been sitting on my shelf for far too long. That's what happens when you fall apart and have to put yourself back together. Things get set aside for far too long...but in some ways, it makes them that much more awesome when you pick them up again.

In this case, I had no idea what to expect from this book. I picked it at random from a stack when I knew I was going to be spending a lot of time sitting around while the youngest child performed with his steel drum band. Turns out that it was a really good random book choice!

All of the characters in this book are really well written. Dani is a character that you can't help but get attached to. With every step of her journey, you're right there with her. Though the book is fantasy, you believe that all of these things have happened or are happening to her. The writing is just that good. The story progresses at a steady pace and you're caught up in the world of royals and dragons and one girl who is just trying to figure out what's right for her.

Would I recommend this book? Yep. Totally. Go and get it. It's a great read and another one that I couldn't put down.


Edit: The author has changed his pen name to Simon Driscoll. For information on how to find his books, check out his web page.

Photobucket

I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own. 
If you like what you've read here, please share it with others using these buttons:

Book Review: The Moth Presents All These Wonders: True Stories about Facing the Unknown

Posted by Katrina Roets at 11:04 AM

Friday, March 31, 2017

From storytelling phenomenon The Moth, 45 unforgettable true stories about risk, courage, and facing the unknown, drawn from the best ever told on their stages.

Carefully selected by the creative minds at The Moth, and adapted to the page to preserve the raw energy of live storytelling, All These Wonders features voices both familiar and new. Alongside Louis C.K., Tig Notaro, John Turturro, and Meg Wolitzer, readers will encounter: an astronomer gazing at the surface of Pluto for the first time, an Afghan refugee learning how much her father sacrificed to save their family, a hip-hop star coming to terms with being a one-hit wonder, a young female spy risking everything as part of Churchill's secret army during World War II, and more.

High-school student and neuroscientist alike, the storytellers share their ventures into uncharted territory and how their lives were changed indelibly by what they discovered there. With passion, and humor, they encourage us all to be more open, vulnerable, and alive.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sometimes you pick a book and you're not sure why. That was the case for me and this book. I had no idea what was drawing me to it, but once I started reading, I knew that I'd made the right choice. While this book can be read in small snippets, I couldn't stop reading and actually read this in one sitting. Every story had something in it that made me nod or smile or even cry a time or two. I truly believe that there's something in it for every single person out there.

My one and only complaint was that the stories in the book are almost all from well known people. One of the things that draws people to The Moth are the average people who get up and talk. They were left out of this tome and I really wish that they had been more included. I'm just an average person and I really was looking for an average person to connect to in this book.

That being said, I know that this book is going to go onto my shelf and be one that I come back to time and time again. I sincerely hope that they do more in a series of books because storytelling is such a powerful tool and we all have something to share.

Photobucket

I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
If you like what you've read here, please share it with others using these buttons:

Kids...They Grow Up Fast

Posted by Katrina Roets at 1:33 PM

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

This past Saturday was a long one. Roger and I were up at 5am so that we could join his high school steel drum band at a festival for the day. The festival was pretty awesome and I'll share a link to the mass band performance at the end of this post, but that isn't what I want to talk about...I'm going to sit here and I'm just going to write about being a mom.

For the longest time, mom has been my primary title. It's been my world and my life. Those two boys have been my world and my life. It's only been in the past little while that I've started thinking about what I'm going to do when they're gone and living their own lives. I still don't really know but I am thinking about it.

On Saturday, I had expectations. I expected that this was an event that Roger and I were doing together. Except, the event really wasn't what either of us had figured it was. So, instead of spending the day with me, he spent it with his band and with his friends. He did pretty much everything with them. He sat with them. He had lunch with them. Since this wasn't my usual group of band kids, I wasn't invited to join them. I ate lunch alone. I sat in the bleachers alone. I watched them laughing and inside, a part of me hurt. I was happy he was having a great time, but it still hurt that I was on the outside looking in.

Still, there were those moments where he was completely my boy...he ran over to me to make sure it was okay that he spent $5 of the money we'd set aside for his band trip. During the concert, he was sitting on the opposite side of the gym from me and I realized that we were sitting in the exact same position. He'd make faces at me from across the room and I couldn't help but smile.

What's the point of all this you ask? Just that Sunday, after his dad had picked him up, I was sitting there thinking about the weekend and I realized something. The very fact that he was confident and comfortable enough to not need me on Saturday meant that I had done my job. He may not know how to sew a button back on but he's learned the skills that will help him become the man that he wants to be and the fact that he'll still make goofy faces at me from across the room means that no matter how old he gets, he won't forget he's my kid. With that realization, I was filled with peace and that, my friends, is a very good thing indeed.

If you'd like to check out the mass band performance, check out this video!


If you'd like to hear the HHS Steel performance, head on over to my YouTube channel where it's almost all kids, all the time.

Photobucket

If you like what you've read here, please share it with others using these buttons:

Book Review: The Clancys of Queens

Posted by Katrina Roets at 8:30 AM

Friday, March 24, 2017

Fifth-generation New Yorker, third-generation bartender, and first-time author Tara Clancy was raised in three wildly divergent homes: a converted boat shed in working class Queens, a geriatric commune of feisty, Brooklyn-born Italians, and a sprawling Hamptons estate she visited every other weekend. This childhood triptych comes to life in The Clancys of Queens, an electric, one-of-a-kind memoir.  

From scheming and gambling with her force-of-nature grandmother, to brawling with eleven-year-old girls on the concrete recess battle yard of MS 172, to hours lounging on Adirondack chairs beside an immaculate croquet lawn, to holding court beside Joey O’Dirt, Goiter Eddy, and Roger the Dodger at her Dad’s local bar, Tara leapfrogs across these varied spheres, delivering stories from each world with originality, grit, and outrageous humor.

But The Clancys of Queens is not merely an authentic coming-of-age tale or a rowdy barstool biography. Chock-full of characters who escape the popular imaginings of this city, it offers a bold portrait of real people, people whose stories are largely absent from our shelves. Most crucially, it captures—in inimitable prose—the rarely-heard voices of New York’s working-class women.

With a light touch but a hard hit, The Clancys of Queens blends savvy and wit to take us on an unforgettable strata-hopping adventure.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 I finished this book over a week ago and I've been trying to decide how to write this review.  I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked this book up. I love memoirs but traditionally, I choose ones by people that I actually know. In this case, I have and had no idea who Tara Clancy was, though I did get to know her throughout her book. In fact, I got to know quite a few interesting characters. When the book opened up, I smiled at her memories of her grandparents and what life was like when she was with them. As the book progressed though, I found myself smiling less as the language picked up and some of the stories seemed too out there to be true. Are they true? I don't know. I mean, I have stories that people look at me and say there's no way that happened, but they did. Then, the book abruptly ended and it didn't feel as if there were any closure to it. If I had to rate this book (and I kinda do), I'd give it at 3 out of 5. It's not a bad read, but I feel as if I may not have been the right audience for it.

Photobucket

I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
If you like what you've read here, please share it with others using these buttons: