Spider’s Revenge by Jennifer Estep

Spiders revenge.jpgSpider’s Revenge by Jennifer Estep

Hey Readers!

Happy International Literacy Day! You know I love my obscure holidays, but this one has been around for a while in 1966 the UNESCO center founded International Literacy Day to help spread the word about an international crisis, illiteracy. Thomas Jefferson said, “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.” I take this quote to heart in all my efforts, whether they be here with this blog, in my community with my non-profit, or even at work and home. This year UNESCO’s theme for International Literacy Day is creating a culture of literacy. Continue reading

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Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Out-of-my-mind.jpgOut of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Hey Readers!

I have a confession. I almost always judge my books by their covers. I’ll admit it, I’m bad about my book choices. So often, I will pick a book strictly by its cover, or even just their titles. Cute cat on the cover? Sounds Lame, I won’t touch it. Kick butt female fighter, most definitely. I do the same thing with wine, and records sometimes, too. Occasionally, this works out in my favor, or at least works well enough. Others, I learn a lesson: cute doesn’t always equal quality. The same can be said for people and this week’s read speaks exactly to that message. When I first read the title, “Out of My Mind,” I thought this book was about a crazy person, or someone who feels like they’re going crazy. In my defense, I enjoy books about brains gone wrong. I find them fascinating, and they open me to very diverse experiences. I wasn’t wrong with this book.

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Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Hey Readers!

Do you ever just get into an author and want to devour everything they’ve ever written? My husband does that, but I’m a bit more flighty with my reading. I have few loyalties, aside from Tamora Pierce and J.K.Rowling. That’s not to say I won’t run through a series, I finished all of the True Blood series in a summer including that last two books. But normally, I will read a book and then move on to another trying to complete my challenge. It annoys my husband greatly. He loves to read straight through an author’s entire body of work. In fact, I just got him hooked on Tamora Pierce Tortall universe, which he is about a third of the way through now. He started two weeks ago. After I finished reading the Lunar Chronicles I was hungry to read more by Marissa Meyer. Heartless is her take on wonderland’s own Queen of Hearts. This was a fantastic retelling and I love the trend of investigating fairy tales and redressing villains. It really speaks to my personal motto that every villain is the hero of their own story.

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Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith

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Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith

Hey Readers!

Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder in Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith, this weeks book in review, and when the eye belongs to a private investigator it’s sure to be an honest assessment. I picked this book to fit the PopSugar Reading Challenge category of a story set in a fascinating place. I have traveled to Africa many times, but never to Botswana, which has a rich culture and fascinating history. This is the third novel in Alexander McCall Scott’s series The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, which is a fiction mystery series. The Series was also turned into a BBC radio drama, which is the first time I’ve ever heard of that before. I happened to have this book on my shelf, but I’m not sure where or when I picked it up originally. As I was reading this book, I realized I had read it before. I remembered some portions much better than I remembered others however, so I decided to continue through it and I was pleasantly satisfied again. Continue reading

The Magician by Michael Scott

The Magician: The Secrets of The Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott

Hey Readers!

Immortals, Magicians, and animated gargoyles, Oh My! This week we are reviewing The Magician by Michael Scott. I chose this book to fit my 2018 Popsugar reading challenge category, the next book in a series you’ve started. I read the first book in this series, The Alchemist, many years ago, and simply never made my way back to the next book. Based on the title and the cover, and a bit of past experience, I can expect a teen fantasy book that focuses on mythology and the occult. The cover of this book includes alchemical symbols, the astrological symbol of Aries, the Greek war god, and a symbol often associated with the Illuminati. This book jumps right in with a brief diary entry by the title character, which serves to refresh the reader’s memory of events that passed in the first book. This was a super juicy read, full of intrigue, drama, and danger. Continue reading

The Smart Cookies Guide to Making More Dough Review

The Smart Cookies Guide to Making More Dough: How to Spend Smart, Get Rich and Live a Fabulous Life by Jennifer Barrett, Angela Self, Katie Dunsworth, Robyn Gunn, Sandra Hanna, Andrea Baxter

Hey Readers!

This week I am reviewing a book that sat on my shelf for many, many years, producing much guilt and collecting much dust, Smart Cookies Guide to Making More Dough by The Smart Cookies with Jennifer Barrett. My mother gave me this book when I started college in an attempt to help me manage my money and make healthy financial choices. Until now, I hadn’t so much as flipped through the pages, and I regret it. I added this book to my 2017 reading list because it fit the challenge category; a book with career advice. While the book certainly has some career advice; for example, how to negotiate a raise, and how to determine if a job offer is worth the switch, it is definitely about making money moves.

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Time of Death by J.D. Robb

Time of Death by J.D. Robb

Hey Readers!

This week I am reviewing Time of Death by J.D. Robb. I read this paperback to fit my 2018 PopSugar Challenge category: a book written by a female writer using a male pseudonym. I thought about reading a Robert Galbraith work instead however, I already had this one. Back when I worked at Barnes and Noble they had an undiscussed program for employees where we could take home books that were destined for the dumpster. I was a huge fan of this program and would check every night and grab any that seemed remotely interesting. This is how I collected almost the entire series of Sookie Stackhouse Series books and why a large portion of books in my library do not have front covers. Whenever I start planning a reading challenge, I try to incorporate as many of these titles as I can, as my collection is substantial. Much to my happiness, this book is actually three in one: Eternity in Death, Ritual in Death and Missing in Death. I enjoyed each one quite a bit.

J.D. Robb’s “In Death” Series combines crime novels with aspects of fantasy and science fiction in a delicious cocktail that doesn’t require too much suspension of belief. Better yet, the main character, Lieutenant Eve Dallas is just the right balance of skeptic and open-minded to ease the reader into the “far-fetched” criminals of each novel. Complete with her more new-age partner Peabody, and her husband Roarke, a sizzling multi-millionaire with a dark edge, she solves gruesome murders that would leave other detectives reeling. J.D. Robb is actually Nora Roberts, the prolific romance novel writer. She began writing under the pseudonym J.D. Robb in 1995 taking the initials J and D from her the names of her two sons; Jason and Dan, and Robb as a shortening of her existing last name. Since then, she has completed 39 books for the “In Death” Series on top of her other publications.

Time of Death is a great collection of stories, and a satisfying example of J.D. Robb’s storytelling skill. In Eternity In Death Dallas faces off against a seductive ex-con turned club-owner who is manipulating wealthy women with the promise of eternal life as his vampire bride. In him, Eve sees her own monsters and dark past, and struggles to rectify her desire for justice with the desire to wipe his greasy memory from her city, future New York. In Ritual In Death one of Roarke’s properties, and some of his employees are targeted by magic-capable citizens in order to carry out a satanic ritual. From the outside the plot seems foolproof, down to the should-have-been-dead patsy found roaming the halls doused in the victim’s blood. But even the One God isn’t a match for the combined powers of New York’s Finest. Finally, in Missing In Death, Eve and Roarke go toe to toe with each other in a real life game of Spy VS Spy. You’ll have to read to find out whether good or evil wins in this book. Decide for yourself where the line is drawn.

I really enjoyed these books. They were very quick reads, and the relationship between Dallas and the other characters was fun and honest. Her team at work and home respected her, but not without fault, and her romantic life took at much effort as her work. J.D. Robb did a great job of characterizing the strengths of woman, without falling into the stereotypical weaknesses. I have never read any other works by Nora Roberts, so I am not familiar with her writing style, but I am very interested in picking up one of her books to compare. These books would be great for anyone looking for a quick, satisfying read, or viewing fans of shows like Castle or Law & Order SVU.

If you enjoyed this book or this genre you should check out The Nikki Heat Series by Richard Castle, another procedural cop series written under a male pseudonym, but with a tie in to a great TV Show. If you haven’t seen it watch it.

If you enjoyed the writing style here, look into some of Nora Roberts other works, there are nearly three hundred to choose from. Maybe you can start with The Witness, where one crazy night changes a woman’s life forever.

For another twist on Romantic Suspense, take a look at Samantha Jellicoe series by Suzanne Enoch. In this action packed series the criminal must prove her own innocence. Will she tripped up by love?

 

Have you read any of these books before? What do you think of the In Death Series, or Nora Roberts’ other works? Have you seen any of her TV Movies, or Castle? I’d love to hear what you have to say so please comment below or email me at cherrieschocolateanddirt@gmail.com!