Moonlight Over Manhattan (From Manhattan With Love #6) by Sarah Morgan- a 5/5 Star Review!

Yet another great book in Sarah Morgan’s From Manhattan With Love series! This is the 6th book in the series but all books can be read as a standalone, in my opinion.  See reviews: #1#2#3#4#5, & BONUS!

Harriet has lived a sheltered life, protected by her older brother Daniel and twin sister Fliss. But when Daniel finds true love and Fliss is reconnected with the love of her life, Harriet is left to figure out life on her own. She comes up with a plan: Challenge Harriet. Every day until Christmas she is going to do one thing outside of her comfort zone whether it is to go on blind dates or wear stilettos, she is going to do it.

Dr. Ethan Black is an ER doctor and married to his job with no time for anything else. That is, until his sister calls in a favor-to dogsit. Fortunately, his sister has been a long-standing customer with The Bark Rangers and her dogwalker, Harriet, will help out. After an incident with the dog, Dr. Ethan Black loses his temper and Harriet’s stammer from childhood returns. Can Harriet overcome this Challenge working with Dr. Ethan Black?

As I said earlier, this love story is another great one by Sarah Morgan. I think I say this with each new book that she releases in this series, but this one is my new favorite! It has the magic of Christmas mixed with unexpected romance and overcoming complicated pasts. A beautiful combination of the three made me giddy while reading this book. I kept forcing myself to stop every couple of chapters because I wanted to savor the book rather than speed through-which was a Challenge!

I would absolutely recommend this book (and the other books in this series) to any adult reader who enjoys romance with comical moments. Also for readers who enjoy reading character development and overcoming the past to find themselves. This fast-paced book showed strong character development not only with Harriet, but with Ethan as well.

I would not recommend this book for readers who may be sensitive to or offended by mild foul language, violence, and sexual scenarios.

Please note: an electronic copy of this book was generously provided for free by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review (thank you!).

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Quick Lit: What I Have Been Reading Lately (Inspired by Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Blog)

 

One of my favorite blogs that I follow is Anne Bogel’s Modern Mrs. Darcy.  She has a book out that I am currently reading and will include in this list, Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything.  She also has a podcast What Should I Read Next?.  I highly recommend all 3!  Enough fangirling, her blog post Quick Lit for November 2017 ( https://modernmrsdarcy.com/quick-lit-november-2017/) has inspired this post about what I am currently reading (thanks Anne!)

Moonlight Over Manhattan (From Manhattan With Love #6) by Sarah Morgan: I am a big fan of Sarah Morgan’s From Manhattan With Love series.  I have read the whole series up until this point, admittedly out of order, and each book can be read as a standalone.  Which makes it fun when characters from the previous books are mentioned and thank goodness I am reading it on my Kindle as the highlighting is borderline out of control.  Along with my somewhat obnoxious notes of “:)” or “!!!!” or “AWWW”.   Back to the point:  Moonlight Over Manhattan focuses on Harriet Knight, twin sister of Fliss and younger sister of Daniel (both of whom have already had their own stories in this series).  Fliss has been Harriet’s protector their whole lives and now Fliss has expanded their dog walking business, The Bark Rangers, to the Hamptons, leaving Harriet in Manhattan alone.  Now Harriet has to figure out how to fend for herself, and find herself, in the big city during one of the biggest holidays of the year: Christmas.  It is off to a charming start, as per usual with Sarah Morgan’s books, with humor and identity discovery.   See below for links to my reviews of the other books in the series:

  1. Sleepless in Manhattan (From Manhattan With Love #1) by Sarah Morgan-5/5 Star Review!
  2. Sunset In Central Park (From Manhattan With Love #2) by Sarah Morgan- A 5/5 Star Review!
  3. Miracle On 5th Avenue (From Manhattan With Love #3) by Sarah Morgan Review: 5/5 Stars!
  4. New York, Actually (From Manhattan With Love #4) by Sarah Morgan- a 4/5 Star Review!
  5. Holiday in the Hamptons (From Manhattan with Love #5) by Sarah Morgan- A 5/5 Star Review!
  6. BONUS! A New York Christmas Story by Sarah Morgan-5/5 Star Review!

 

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (Dash & Lily #1) by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan: Another book that has to do with the holiday season but this one was selected as this month’s Book Club pick in the Young Adult Book Club that I am involved in locally.  It revolves around two teenagers in New York City who could not be more different when it comes to the holidays.  Dash hates it, Lily loves it.  However, Lily and her brother create a Book of Dares and hide it on a bookshelf in the famous Strand Bookstore, and Dash stumbles across it, plays her game as instructed in the book, then comes up with a game of his own for her. I really like it so far because of it’s unique concept and it’s setting in NYC during the holidays.

Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel: As stated in the beginning of this post, I am a big fan of Anne Bogel.  Reading People  is a deep look into personality and how different traits factor in to making a person who they are.  She cites many reputable sources and breaks down complicated subjects into concepts that are easily relatable.  I am only halfway through but have learned so much! Especially about Highly Sensitive People and it has helped me understand people in my own life better.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Read by Wil Wheaton): I wanted to read this before the movie comes out next March.  Wade Watts is a teenager in the year 2044 with an obsession for video games and virtual reality.  His home life isn’t great, so he escapes to the OASIS where he can virtually go to school, hang out with friends, and play video games.  The creator of OASIS was a multi-billionaire who will give his estate to whomever finds five clues hidden throughout the game.  It has been years since and no one has found any clue.  The attention has faded, until Wade finds the first clue.  Now, the stakes are even higher as there is not only money on the line, but fame and even his life.  Wil Wheaton is a brilliant choice for the audiobook verison as he makes it very engaging.  So far it kind of seems like a Willy Wonka meets World of Warcraft but it is entertaining and full of ’80’s references.

Death Cure (The Maze Runner #3) by James Dashner:  I also wanted to read this before the movie comes out in January.  I have read the other two books in this series and it is a YA dystopian adventure revolving around Thomas and his friends (not the children’s series about trains).  Sun flares have scorched the earth and now The Flare is a virus that attacks the brain and turns the host into a “crank” (a.k.a. zombie).  In this book, the group is still trying to escape WICKED (World In Catastrophe: Killzone Experiment Department), the group of scientists that put this group of teens through excruciating experiments in order to design a cure for the Flare virus.  Fast-paced just like the other books and it is fun to be back in the group dynamic! Although I am ambivalent on how I feel about this book series, Minho is still my favorite :).

 

 

 

 

These Vicious Masks (These Vicious Masks #1) by Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas, Narrated by Heather Wilds- a 1/5 Star Review

 

Please note: A AudioCD copy of this book was generously provided for free through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program, in exchange for an honest review.

Piper by Jay Asher & Jessica Freeburg, Illustrated by Jeff Stokely-a 4/5 Star Review!

I had the exciting opportunity to meet and see a presentation by the author Jay Asher recently (Thanks to my local Westerville Public Library for hosting!).  Although he is very nice, funny, and everyone should go see him if they get a chance-I left really excited because of his next book that was being released: Piper.

Piper is a graphic novel collaboratively written by authors Jay Asher and Jessica Freeburg and illustrated by Jeff Stokely.  It is a retelling of the Pied Piper and the twist is that his music does not affect one person: Maggie.  Maggie is a deaf girl, hence why his music does not endanger her.  Maggie’s hearing was lost due to an act of violent bullying and the injustice only stems from there as villagers continue to bully her relentlessly.  Yet she continues to make the best of it by telling funny stories to her caretaker, Agathe.

The Pied Piper heroically comes to save the village from the rat infestation that has wiped out the population with starvation and/or disease.  But this rescue comes at a price.  A price that the village decides not to pay once the deed is done.  But if they refuse to pay in cash, they will have to pay at a different price-revenge.

Graphic Novels are something that I have only recently begun to develop an interest in, my first being Brian K. Vaughn’s Saga series.  I simply must find more graphic novels that have been illustrated by Jeff Stokely as the artwork is marvelous.  The expressions of the characters, the movement of the wind, and the playful innocence portrayed in a single panel where the Pied Piper is eating an apple under a tree in front of a peacock, for example.  I was just so moved by the illustrations and they greatly improved the storyline.

Personally, I was hoping for more out of the character of Maggie.  I was initially so excited about this graphic novel because it centered around a deaf character.  Both of my parents are deaf and so I expected great things from this character but I was a little disappointed.  I had to take a star away because it seemed like being deaf only came into play when someone walked up behind her and scared her, when she was incorrectly pronouncing words when Agathe wrote down her stories, or when she was being bullied.  I just wish a little more research would have gone into her character because although lip-reading is a way to communicate, there was not any sign language at all.  Granted, I was not expecting American Sign Language in a story based in the medieval times, some home signs between Agathe and Maggie would have been redeeming.  Furthermore, going back to the sneaking up behind her example, when I try to sneak up on my parents, they can feel the vibrations from my walking behind them and it doesn’t always work.  What is failed to be mentioned is that when you lose one sense, the other senses get stronger.

Although I had to take one (slightly biased) star away, the story itself is minimalist yet powerful.  The elements of greed and the despicable villagers are well-balanced by the purity and optimism of Maggie and Agathe despite their tragic situation. Another well-balanced aspect in this story is how both of their backgrounds are isolated, tragic, and yet they find hope in one another.  Furthermore, when they go in different directions, they still protect one another making their love story even more emotional.

I also enjoyed that this was a retelling of the Pied Piper as I thought that was unique.  So many fairy tale retellings have centered around the princesses and Red Riding Hood lately that this one stands out.  And since I heard about it, Eminem’s song “Lose Yourself” has been stuck in my head:

I was playing in the beginning, the mood all changed

I’ve been chewed up and spit out and booed off stage

But I kept rhymin’ and stepped right in the next cypher

Best believe somebody’s paying the Pied Piper

In conclusion, I would recommend Piper for readers who enjoy retellings, tragic love stories, unexpected heroes, and graphic novels.

I would not recommend Piper for those who may be offended on how Maggie’s deafness is portrayed, or those who may be offended or triggered by bullying, violence, kidnapping, and revenge.

Poison by Galt Niederhoffer- DNF at 20%

There are too many great books out there for me to waste time on books like Poison. It felt like I was reading a basic outline of a piece of fiction rather than a completed novel. I skimmed through a lot of this 20% that I did read because the writing style is excessive yet basic. For example, when describing the wife it was something along the lines of saying she’s a former single mother of two, now baby makes three, and new husband makes a family of five. She works from home, requiring a babysitter so she can work while at home, working on the household chores while working, baby screaming while she’s on the phone, covering the phone with her hand to block out the screams, yet keeping a professional tone despite the maternal desire to soothe the baby.

I wish I could say that was an extreme example, however, I do not think it was that far of a stretch. It was excessively wordy yet not really revealing anything. The new husband is also excessive. He is over the top in the examples of how seemingly perfect he is supposed to be that I already did not trust him within the first few pages. It is clear that he is a bad guy, but what is not clear yet is why and how. I am sure that is further discussed in the book but, quite frankly, I just don’t care.

Please note: An electronic copy of this book was generously provided for free from the Publisher via NetGalley in exhcange for an honest review (thank you!).

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia- a 3/5 Star Review

Antonina (“Nina”) Beaulieu is headstrong, passionate, and finally escaping the countryside to enter her first season in London. Instructed by her dispassionate and downright mean cousin, Valerie, to hide her telekinetic powers, Nina does not do a very good job of keeping it a secret. Mostly because she does not know how to control them (kind of like Elsa before she gets her gloves in Disney’s Frozen). She finally gets the chance to meet someone like her, Hector Auvray, who can help her rein her powers in until appropriate. But it’s not just her powers that attract Hector’s attention. It’s her connection to the one true love he could never get over; her cousin Valerie.

I took away one star because of the slow pace and how often it is beat into the reader’s head that Valerie is the villain. Although I appreciate that the reasoning for her cold and greedy heart was given, it still was too forced that she was the antagonist.

I took another star away for two reasons:

1. I did not get attached to the romance between Nina and Hector. I thought it was very immature and overly dramatic.

2. It is touted as sci-fi but that only came to the telekinetic powers that Nina and Hector have. I understand that the telekinetic element is supposed to unify Hector and Nina as it is something that they share as well as makes them outsiders in society, however, it didn’t scream science fiction to me.

When it comes to characters, my favorite was Entienne, Hector’s friend. He was calm, loyal, and had a dry, frank sense of humor. If there were to be anything further done with this plot, be it a sequel or spin-off, I do so hope it focuses on Entienne. He honestly saved the book for me at the points where I was tempted to put it down and be done with it. The other supporting characters seemed to be either shallow or weak. I can see why Valerie’s husband Gaetan should be weak (for the most part) to balance Valerie’s ferocity, however, it was still somewhat redundant.

I would recommend this book for readers who enjoy a manipulative and selfish villain. I would also recommend this book for readers who enjoy telekinesis. Lastly, I would recommend this book for readers who enjoy insects, particularly beetles, as they play a large part in the plot.

I would not recommend this book for readers who may be triggered or offended by the following: mild foul language, suggestions of adultery, bullying, manipulation, and attempted murder.

Please note: an electronic copy of this book was generously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review (thank you!).

Anna Dressed In Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare Blake- a 5/5 Star Review!

Cas is a ghost hunter, traveling all over North America to take down murderous ghosts with his special weapon; the athame. While still a high school student, hopping from one school to another does not exactly provide time and availability for long-term friends his own age. He is seeking to avenge his father’s death while saving the lives of the unsuspecting victims of the ghosts he kills. Until he meets the one ghost he doesn’t want to kill.

Anna.

Anna is famously called “Anna Dressed In Blood” in the small Canadian town of Thunder Bay. She haunts the house she died in decades ago and brutally murders anyone who dare step foot in it. Until Cas finds himself inside her house and lives to tell the tale.

I was very surprised at how much I loved this book. It was a Halloween themed pick for this month for a book club that I am in; it is perfect! It is equally haunting and humane. The best example of this is with the ghost of Anna. Her acts of violence are graphically gory, yet her backstory encourages sympathy.

The story was fast-paced and smooth, told in Cas’ perspective. The scenes are so well described that it the gore was discomforting, as it should be. It is kind of like a blend of the tv show Supernatural and the YA book Six of Crows. I recently read Six of Crows (see review here) and so I kept thinking that Cas in this book was misspelling Kaz. In truth, it was the scene in the basement with Cas that reminded me of the scene on the corpse boat with Kaz. The story itself is distinctive, however, particularly in how the story concludes. Therefore, I would certainly recommend this book for fans of Six of Crows and Supernatural.

Conversely, I would not recommend this book for those who may be offended or triggered by parental death, graphic violence, heavy foul language, domestic violence, murder, bullying, witchcraft, ghosts, or VooDoo.