Review: Seas (Wendy Darling #2)

Book Title: Seas (Wendy Darling #2)

Book Author: Colleen Oakes

Book Rating: ☆☆☆☆ (4 out of 5 stars)

Published: September 20, 2016

Synopsis: “Wendy Darling: Seas finds Wendy and Michael aboard the dreaded Sudden Night, a dangerous behemoth sailed by the infamous Captain Hook and his bloodthirsty crew. In this exotic world of mermaids, spies, and pirate feuds, Wendy finds herself struggling to keep her family above the waves. Hunted by the twisted boy who once stole her heart and struggling to survive in the whimsical Neverland sea, returning home to London now seems like a distant dream—and the betrayals have just begun.

Will Wendy find shelter with Peter’s greatest enemy, or is she a pawn in a much darker game—one that could forever alter not only her family’s future but also the soul of Neverland itself?

Colleen Oakes’ twisted re-telling of Peter Pan continues in this adventurous sequel to the first installment.  While the first book in the series was good, I definitely prefer this follow-up.  Seas was much more exciting and the plot line seemed to move along much more smoothly.  The story picks up exactly where the last left off: With Wendy Darling and her brother Michael being taken on to Captain Hook’s ship after escaping from the sadistic Peter Pan.  Wendy and Hook become unlikely allies in the fight against Peter Pan, and they each begin to share with each other their knowledge of Pan in the hopes that they can eventually find a way to defeat him and escape Neverland.

One of my favorite things about Oakes’ books are the wonderfully detailed descriptions that she paints with her words.  I could see Neverland…I could felt as though I could sense the rocking of the pirate ship, feel the pearlescent sands of Port Duette under my feet, and there were even moments when my heart pounded with suspense.  As I mentioned before, I felt that this installment had much more action than its predecessor, and I enjoyed watching Wendy develop into a strong woman willing to do whatever it takes to protect her brothers and herself, and to find their way back home.

Like its predecessor, this book ends with…not really a cliffhanger, but a surprising turn that will leave you wanting more!  I can’t wait for the last book in the trilogy to be released later this year!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley.

Review: Sit, Stay, Love

Book Title: Sit, Stay, Love: A Novel for Dog Lovers

Book Author: Dana Mentink

Book Rating: ☆☆☆ (3 out of 5 stars)

Published: April 1, 2016

Synopsis: “Take one abrasive professional athlete, a quirky out-of-work schoolteacher, and an overweight geriatric dog, and you’re ready for a lesson in love…Tippy style.

Pro baseball pitcher Cal Crawford is not a dog guy. When he inherits his deceased mother’s elderly dog, Tippy, he’s quick to call on a pet-sitting service.

Gina isn’t thrilled to be a dog sitter when her aspirations lie in the classroom. Furthermore, she can’t abide the unfriendly Cal, a man with all the charm of a wet towel. But with no other prospects and a deep love for all things canine, she takes the job caring for Tippy.

As Gina travels through Cal’s world with Tippy in tow, she begins to see Cal in a different light. Gina longs to show Cal the God-given blessings in his life that have nothing to do with baseball or fame. When her longing blooms into attraction, Gina does her best to suppress it. But Cal is falling in love with her too…

Discover the charming story of Tippy, the dog who brought a family together.

Cal Crawford is a successful and well-known professional baseball player; he’s a rough-around-the-edges type of guy with a past, and who doesn’t let people into his life easily.  When his mother passes way, he inherits her elderly dog named Tippy.  Cal is definitely not a dog person, but he just can’t seem to let go of the little dog, holding on to her as a last connection to his mother.  Because of his career and his lack of patience, he hires a dog sitter to help him care for Tippy.

Gina is the exactly opposite of Cal in every way: She is warm, friendly, aspiring teacher who knows nothing about sports, and is absolutely a dog lover.  When Gina is hired by Cal to care for Tippy, their relationship starts as just a mere tolerance for one another.  Later, as they bond over Tippy, their relationship blooms into a sweet romance.  They both help bring out the best in the other, with Cal providing Gina stability and comfort, and Gina helping Cal to open up and experience the blessings that God provides.

This isn’t a book that I normally would have picked out for myself, but I was drawn in by the sweet dog on the cover.  If you are looking for a breezy story with a lot of heart and clean romance, you should give this one a try!  There are some minor issues with the plot, and it took me a while to warm up to this quirky story, but it was an enjoyable read. Overall, this is a fun and sweet Christian romance novel.  This would make a quick beach read for the summer, and yes…it is a perfect story for any dog lover!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley.

Review: Bowie on Bowie

Book Title: Bowie on Bowie

Book Author: Sean Egan (Editor)

Book Rating: ☆☆☆ (3 out of 5 stars)

Published: May 1, 2015

Synopsis: “Bowie on Bowie presents some of the best interviews Bowie has granted in his near five-decade career. Each interview traces a new step in his unique journey, successively freezing him in time as young novelty hit-maker, hairy hippie, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, the Thin White Duke, plastic soul man, fragile Germanic exile, godfather of the New Romantics, eighties sellout, Tin Machinist, and, finally, permanently, artistically reborn beloved elder statesman of challenging popular music. In all of these iterations he is remarkably articulate. He is also preternaturally polite—almost every interviewer remarks upon his charm.”

I originally received this book from the publisher via Netgalley well over a year ago, and unfortunately put off reading it for far too long.  It wasn’t until David Bowie passed away at the beginning of the year that I picked it up, and I’ve been reading these interviews off and on ever since.

Each interview provides readers with a look into who David Bowie was as both an artist and a person, and the articles span several decades–from 1969 to 2003 to be exact.  Most of Bowie’s most famous interviews are included, in particular the interview he conducted with Melody Maker in 1972 where he stated that he was gay.  It was quite fascinating to read about him over such a vast about of time and through all of his musical personas.  Overall, as a huge David Bowie fan, I found this collection pretty enjoyable.  But do I think you should purchase this book?  Well, maybe.

There aren’t any new or never before read interviews, and I don’t think it would be difficult to find most (if not all) of these articles on-line.  I think that my biggest complaint is that the book has no photographs.  I feel that a least a few photos throughout would have been a nice touch and broken up some of the text well. The editor does include some background and insights as to preface to each interview to help put them into context, which some readers may appreciate. Mostly I think this would be a nice addition to a fan’s memorabilia collection, and my 3-star rating has more to do with the originality of the book rather than a lack of interest as a fan and/or reader.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley.

Review: The Girls

Book Title: The Girls

Book Author: Emma Cline

Book Rating: ☆☆ (2 out of 5 stars)

Published: June 14, 2016

Synopsis: Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.

Emma Cline’s remarkable debut novel is gorgeously written and spellbinding, with razor-sharp precision and startling psychological insight. The Girls is a brilliant work of fiction—and an indelible portrait of girls, and of the women they become.”

I feel like there must be something wrong with me. I keep hearing such wonderful things about this debut novel, and I was completely underwhelmed. The Girls is filled with prose that just screams “I am Literary!!! Look at all of these pretty words!” And while I love descriptive writing that draws you into a story, there is such thing as overkill. I am also a little irritated by the comparisons of this novel to The Virgin Suicides. I love The Virgin Suicides and can see the parallels about growing up in a world that is not always kind to teenage girls, but The Girls is just not as engaging and not nearly as well-written.

The story begins with an aging woman named Evie, who we quickly learn was part of a cult during her early teenage years. I think the author intends for readers to be shocked by this fact that this unremarkable woman has such a sordid past. After the first chapter, the book flashes back to the year 1969, and describes how Evie went from being a typical 14 year old girl to a member of one of the most infamous cults in history. Unfortunately, the story just seemed to drag on and on. Of course we need background on our character to understand why she would be interested in joining a cult, but it was just too much. Too much mundane description and not enough plot.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley.

Review: The One Thing

Book Title: The One Thing

Book Author: Marci Lyn Curtis

Book Rating: ☆☆☆☆ (4 out of 5 stars)

Published: September 8, 2015

Synopsis: “Maggie Sanders might be blind, but she won’t invite anyone to her pity party. Ever since losing her sight six months ago, Maggie’s rebellious streak has taken on a life of its own, culminating with an elaborate school prank. Maggie called it genius. The judge called it illegal.

Now Maggie has a probation officer. But she isn’t interested in rehabilitation, not when she’s still mourning the loss of her professional-soccer dreams, and furious at her so-called friends, who lost interest in her as soon as she could no longer lead the team to victory.

Then Maggie’s whole world is turned upside down. Somehow, incredibly, she can see again. But only one person: Ben, a precocious ten-year-old unlike anyone she’s ever met. Ben’s life isn’t easy, but he doesn’t see limits, only possibilities. After awhile, Maggie starts to realize that losing her sight doesn’t have to mean losing everything she dreamed of. Even if what she’s currently dreaming of is Mason Milton, the infuriatingly attractive lead singer of Maggie’s new favorite band, who just happens to be Ben’s brother.

But when she learns the real reason she can see Ben, Maggie must find the courage to face a once-unimaginable future… before she loses everything she has grown to love.”

I am really surprised that this book isn’t receiving more attention…it was pretty great! As the synopsis states, Maggie has recently gone blind, but she hasn’t taken the time to properly process and deal with her loss.  Instead, she cuts off all of her old friends, and completely closes herself off from the possibility of moving on with her life. That is until she meets young Ben Milton…a person she can actually see…and she learns her disability doesn’t have to prevent her from living again.

For a book dealing with such a heavy subject, this story was hilarious.  I absolutely adored Maggie and all of her little quips. I thought that the reason Maggie could see Ben was way too obvious, so I never really considered it as a possibility, but it ended up not taking too much away from the story.  Other than that, the romance was sweet, but I particularly enjoyed seeing Maggie’s relationships with her friends and family begin to repair over the course of the book.  The author took us through the process of Maggie dealing with and healing from the tremendous loss of her vision in a way that was very believable.

Please read this book, I don’t think you will be disappointed!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley.