Bottomland by Michelle Hoover

Book Review

 


BottomlandBook Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery

Book Series: N/A

Released: 3/1/16 by Grove Press

Pages: 336  Price:$16.oo paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this book from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

At once intimate and sweeping, Bottomland—the anticipated second novel from Michelle Hoover—follows the Hess family in the years after World War I as they attempt to rid themselves of the Anti-German sentiment that left a stain on their name. But when the youngest two daughters vanish in the middle of the night, the family must piece together what happened while struggling to maintain their life on the unforgiving Iowa plains.

In the weeks after Esther and Myrle’s disappearance, their siblings desperately search for the sisters, combing the stark farmlands, their neighbors’ houses, and the unfamiliar world of far-off Chicago. Have the girls run away to another farm? Have they gone to the city to seek a new life? Or were they abducted? Ostracized, misunderstood, and increasingly isolated in their tightly-knit small town in the wake of the war, the Hesses fear the worst. Told in the voices of the family patriarch and his children, this is a haunting literary mystery that spans decades before its resolution. Hoover deftly examines the intrepid ways a person can forge a life of their own despite the dangerous obstacles of prejudice and oppression.

My Review:

Alright, confession time.  I’m breaking my rules by reviewing this book.  I swore after a psycho author harassed me at work I would never review an All Iowa Reads book again.  Ever.  I would read them of course so I could participate in the book discussion held at my library but my thoughts of that year’s title would not leave that room and never be posted on my blog again.

So, why am I reviewing this year’s selection?  Well, mainly because I really liked it.  This is by far the best All Iowa Read’s selection that I have read in my years working in a small town Iowa library.  I am totally shocked!  I have to give props to the panel this year’s title was a good call.

There was so much I could relate to in this book.  Being from Iowa I knew this family, or rather one just like it.  In fact, my best friend growing up was a first generation German and I remember spending so much of my youth at their farm.  I felt like I knew these people and could identify with them even though I am only part German.  I have a feeling that most people are going to be able to either see themselves or someone they know in these characters.

Surprising that isn’t what hooked me, though, it was the mystery of what happen to those girls that held my interest.  This was a well-crafted puzzle that I didn’t quite figure out and was pleased to see how everything turned out.  I also thought this book was very timely for the current immigrant drama going on in our country.  So many forget that their family too came from elsewhere and that they probably weren’t welcome here either.  It seems that after a few generations we forget to have any compassion to those just arriving and how much new blood contributes to our society.  The book delves into to sexism and should remind us just how far woman’s rights have come and just how far they have yet to go.

This was a surprisingly good listen.  I find myself still reflecting on it and remembering my childhood.  I’ve lost connection to that childhood friend and her family, it often happens.  I wish them well, though, and thank them for letting me experience their culture for a time.

My Rating:4 Stars

Month in Review: February 2017

Month in Review

Read this month: 7 Books, 2,691 Pages 

Read this year: 14  Books, 4,957 Pages 

The Turn (The Hollows #0.1) Death Blows (The Bloodhound Files, #2) Killing Rocks (The Bloodhound Files, #3) Agents of Dreamland

 Born of Legend (The League, #9) Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson, #10) Blade Bound (Chicagoland Vampires, #13)

Two of the books shown above do not have links to their review because they have not been released yet.

Looking Back:

Seven books, not as many as I had hoped to read during my recovery but still, not too shabby as all of them were print and not audio.  Also, two of them were quite long so page wise I have practically a whole other book length that I managed to read in February.  So basically I went for substance over quaintly.  Have to say I did enjoy most everything I did read last month.  The novella read for review was a bit strange but still worthy of a 3-star review.  Over all I don’t feel ashamed over this month of reading one bit.

Looking Ahead:

I hope to be released to return to work today so March will return to normal reading time wise.  I am going to stick with reading what catches my fancy and work on catching up on some of my series.  I might mix in a few science fiction books as well.  I have recently picked up some Star Trek books and it might be time to start diving into them.  I keep bringing them home I should read one or two already.  After all, most of them aren’t actually that long.  One of my recently acquisitions was the very first Star Trek book I ever read.  Read during my early teen or pre-teen years and was based upon the plot from the original series.  I also happen to pick up that episode at a Flea Market recently and it made me nostalgic for that book so I ordered it.  March might be the perfect time to read that one.

Happy Reading ~Amy

Born of Legend by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Book Review

 


Born of Legend (The League, #9)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Paranormal, Romance

Book Series: The League #9

Released: 6/21/16 by St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 726 Price:$28.99 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I own a copy of this book.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

It is in the darkest hours of a universe’s past that their legends are born and their heroes rise…

No one knows exactly how much heart they have until their mettle is put to the hazard and they reach the lowest point of hell. There, they have only two choices. Lie down and die. Or find the strength to push themselves to their feet and fight back with everything they have.

Dagger is the alias that is used by Ushara’s husband, and the father of the twins, who is on the run for his life. This is his story and shows how he became a member of the Tavali and what happens to them after Born of Betrayal ends.

My Review:

Ms. Kenyon has done it again.  She has taken a long-standing villain, turning him into a hero, and made us fall in love with him all the while breaking our hearts over the life he has led.  If you are a fan of her Dark-Hunter series this is very similar to what she did with Acheron and Styxx.  Thank you, Ms. Kenyon, thank you for encouraging us to think about the people that we think of as evil or the enemy and realize that it is always a matter of perspective.  That they are often victims too.

This is a long book that covers a pretty long time frame, five years I believe, it also covers much of the same time period and events that have been focused on in previous books.  I know some might find this annoying, they want a fresh plot, I get that, but personally I enjoyed the rehashing.  Not only to it refresh my memory it also gives us that different perspective and lets us fully grasp what happen.  It gives us a bigger picture of the action that took place.  I appreciate that as a reader it truly lets me crawl inside this universe and experience it fully.

I loved this book, probably because I come from my own dysfunctional family I could easily identify with Dagger’s feeling of abandonment and isolation and resentment.  His anger and need for vengeance too.  It also made my heart soar to see him find a family that loved and appreciated him.  For me, it had been long enough from the earlier books that I didn’t remember all the crap Dagger did to his brothers so I found myself not feeling any resentment toward the character like I did with Styxx.  It was easy for me to warm up to him.  I loved Ushara and Val too.  I couldn’t imagine a better family for Dagger to end up with.

The next book is Bastien’s and from the reviews, I see there are quite a few disappointed readers on Goodreads.  I’m thinking the fault they are finding might not be such a big deal for me but it still gives me pause.  I am going to put a book or two between this and the next one.  Give myself a bit of time to forget the plot in this one so I don’t get annoyed by recovering so much of the same plot in that one.  This one however, was a great read and if you have ever felt like an outcast in your own family then you will appreciate Dagger’s story.

My Rating:5 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Why I’m Not Reading…

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

February 28: On hiatus (so I made up my own).

The good people over at The Broke and The Bookish have decided to take a much-earned break from creating Top Ten Tuesday topics for the next two weeks so I have decided to create my own to share with you each week.  My first topic came about from the fact that I have been recovering from surgery for the past five weeks and have not read nearly as books in that time as I had hoped to.  So this week I am going to give you ten reasons why I’m not reading…  Piss poor as they might be.

Ten Reasons I’m Not Reading…

  1.  YouTube: This is the main reason I am not reading.  We all do it log on and say I’m just going to watch one video while I eat and then get to work, or reading in my case.  Three hours later you have watched dozens of videos and wonder where the day went…  I need to learn to just avoid this website altogether.
  2. The Young Turks: This is the main channel I watch when I visiting excuse number one.  I admit it. My name is Amy and I am a political and news junkie.  I feel this obsessive need to be informed and actually pay attention to what is going on in this country.  I have also been known to call my Senators and yell at their staff.  (Maybe not yell so much as call them out on the bullshit (although I have almost broken down in tears as I pleaded with them to save ACA so patients like me with Cancer don’t lose health insurance))
  3. FaceBook: I also have spent way too many hours sharing videos from one and two and checking up on my feed on Facebook.  I think I need to just not turn on the computer until I have a few hours of reading done.
  4. The Sims 3: When I knew I was looking at possibly six weeks of recovery from my hysterectomy I decided to reinstall my favorite and only computer game.  Yep, maybe that was a mistake.
  5. Image may contain: cat and indoorKittens: So if I do manage to not turn on the laptop there are still these three cuties that distract me to no end.  Meet Sabi, Zoe, and Lulu aren’t they cute (when asleep).  It isn’t all fun and games, though, they are currently in the rebellious teen years of kittenhood and I spend half of my time pulling them off curtains and stopping them from poking holes in plastic…
  6. Bifocals: I still do not have these yet and it is just getting harder and harder to focus on the words on the page.  Time to buck up and make an appointment.  Maybe after I learn how much my surgery is going to cost.
  7. Image may contain: bedroom and indoorSleep: Isn’t my new bedding pretty.  I used to be able to read into the wee hours of the night, now I find myself falling asleep after about 20 minutes if I read in bed, or on the couch…
  8. Changing Taste: I still think my reading taste has changed.  I am losing a little of my love of romance and find myself drawn to sci-fi and urban fantasy more.  Time to stop fighting it.
  9. No automatic alt text available.Hot Flashes: Menopause sucks.  I am experiencing anywhere from 15-30 hot flashes a day.  As soon as I find myself settled down to read the heat hits me and I have to stop and adjust my layering.  A good part of my day revolves around taking off and putting on clothes.  It disrupts my reading flow and is highly annoying.
  10. : Lastly, I’m simply not making it a priority.  I am allowing everything above affect my reading.  Some are valid reasons some are simply me wasting time.  Basically, it all comes back to me.  I am the reason I am not reading more and I take complete responsibility.

 

So what stops you from reading?  Share in the comments.

Agents of Dreamland by Caitlin Kiernan

Book Review

 


Agents of DreamlandBook Genre: Science Fiction, Horror, Mystery

Book Series: N/A

Released: 2/28/17 by Tor.com

Pages:112  Price: $2.99 E-Book

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publishers through Net Galley for an honest review.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

A government special agent known only as the Signalman gets off a train on a stunningly hot morning in Winslow, Arizona. Later that day he meets a woman in a diner to exchange information about an event that happened a week earlier for which neither has an explanation, but which haunts the Signalman.

In a ranch house near the shore of the Salton Sea a cult leader gathers up the weak and susceptible—the Children of the Next Level—and offers them something to believe in and a chance for transcendence. The future is coming and they will help to usher it in.

A day after the events at the ranch house which disturbed the Signalman so deeply that he and his government sought out help from ‘other’ sources, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory abruptly loses contact with NASA’s interplanetary probe New Horizons. Something out beyond the orbit of Pluto has made contact.

And a woman floating outside of time looks to the future and the past for answers to what can save humanity.

My Review:

Well, that was weird and I’m not quite sure what I just read.  It was science fiction that read more like a horror story (of which I usually steer clear of, not a fan of scary).  It almost felt like an episode of the X-Files or the Twilight Zone.  The story is short, however, which encouraged me to press on as I figured the book would need to get to the point pretty quick.  So stick with it as after three chapters I had a pretty good idea where the author was taking us.

The story jumps back and forth in time but the author is helpful in sharing the date of the current action at the beginning of each chapter.  Being a short story that is quite mysterious there isn’t much time to become invested in any character but I did find myself drawn to Signalman and could see a series of these short stories that feature him handling these strange cases.

I’m not quite sure what or if there was a point to the story, besides being entertaining, as the story is almost as mysterious at the end as it is at the beginning.  This is a book that holds its plot close as it slowly discloses what is going on.  It is one of those books that lingers in your mind as you try to figure out what the heck you just read.

My Rating: 3 Stars

Monday Morning Check-In: Almost Over

Monday Morning Check-In

Good Monday morning everyone!  Not a lot of reading over the weekend as we listed on eBay and watched the Oscars on Sunday.  Plan to listen to my news this morning and then hit the books.  I am just over half way through my current mammoth read and would like to finish it by Tuesday at the latest.  Why?  Well on Wednesday is my post-op follow-up and I hope to be released to resume my normal activities most important work.  So my time off is almost up and I haven’t read as much as I had hoped but that’s ok.  Come back tomorrow when I tell you what I’ve been doing instead of reading in my Top Ten Tuesday.  Well, I need to get reading!  Have a great week.

Happy 3rd Anniversary!

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Just wanted to take a moment and say thank you to all my followers as I celebrate the third anniversary of my blog Read What I Like.  So thank you for the likes and comments and I’m still thrilled that you find my opinion about what I read entertaining.

Refection

It seems hard to believe both that I have only been blogging for three years, it feels like it should be longer, and at the same time that it has actually been three years because I feel like such a novice to all this.  The blog still feels small to me and that is by design.  I’m not looking for major page hits or tons of comments, I simply want a small little corner where I can share my love or loathing for the books I read.  A highly successful blog is a lot of work and I’m not interested in that.  For now, I simply want my blog to remain an authentic extension of my reading hobby.  This space started out for me and it shall remain that way; that is probably why it still surprises me that almost 1000 people have subscribed.

Looking Ahead

Don’t look for a lot of changes.  I have scaled back some of my ambition over the past year as life continues to get in the way of my reading.  I will continue to be selective in my review request books and focus on reading all those titles I put on my TBR list ages ago.  The blog is named Read What I Like for a reason and I want to get that passion for reading books I like again.  In the beginning of the blog, I got too wrapped up in memes, givaways, review deadlines, challenges, etc. While all of that was fun, it was also a lot of work and sucked some of the joy out of simply reading.  Blogs come and go and I want to have staying power, so that means cutting some of the stuff that kills my joy.  I hope you understand, I appreciate you all but the blog is going to stay small scale.  I’m about authenticity in my reviews and when I get too gimmicky I feel like the blog doesn’t represent who I am.

My name is Amy and  I am a reader.  I read books and review them honestly for you.  Thanks for being a part of my passion.

Happy Reading~

Top Ten Tuesday: Not a Fan

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

February 21: Ten Books I Loved Less/More Than I Thought I Would (recently or all time)

First off sorry I didn’t get a post out yesterday.  We left for town to get the car alignment done early and I just didn’t get around to it in the afternoon.  This week I am going to not select single books but paranormal series/authors that I just didn’t click with.  I tried to stick to major names that have wide fan bases and not just obscure authors few have heard of.  So shall we see who I’m just not a fan of?

Ten Paranormal Series I Didn’t Like

  1. Dark Prince (Dark, #1)  Christine Feehan: Took me several books before I realized that this author’s writing style and I didn’t gel.  It has been a while so I can’t remember exactly why she didn’t work for me just that I didn’t care for her series and decided to pursue greener pastures.
  2. A Hunger Like No Other (Immortals After Dark #2) Kresley Cole: Another series where I read several books into the series before abandoning.  Also, another series that I attempted so long ago that I forgot why.  Thank goodness for Goodreads otherwise, I would be picking up work by these authors that I don’t care for all the time…
  3. The Darkest Night (Lords of the Underworld #1) Gena Showalter: I so wanted to enjoy this author’s work that I attempted two different series by her.  Neither one clicked for me so now I know better than to pick up a tempting book by Ms. Showalter.  Pretty covers, though.
  4. Bitten & Smitten (Immortality Bites, #1) Michelle Rowen: Read like three books in this series.  It was enough.
  5. I Burn for You (Primes, #1) Susan Sizemore: Ditto.
  6. Betrayed (House of Night, #2) P.C. Cast: Picked up this series shortly after my Twilight phase.  Just didn’t care for it.  Too much poetry and too imature.
  7. Undead and Unwed (Undead, #1) MaryJanice Davidson: I tried with this world.  The main character ended up doing me in and I just couldn’t continue after like five books.  Not a fan.
  8. Kiss of Pride (Deadly Angels, #1) Sandra Hill: Just couldn’t get into the second book in this series.  I do own the next two books however so this one is the only series on the list that I will be making another attempt at someday…
  9. Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #1) Laurell K. Hamilton: This author and the next are so popular that I am almost ashamed to put them on the list.  I had to though because in the end I didn’t like either of these series one I managed to get like five books into before abandoning the other I dumped halfway through the second book.
  10. Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1) Jim Butcher: See above.  Dumped halfway through book two.  Sorry but I could not stand his characters.

 

Well, I hope that I have not offended too many of you this week’s selections.  Just remember that just because something didn’t work for me doesn’t mean you won’t love it so go give these a try to make up your own mind whether they are good or not.  What authors haven’t worked for you?

Killing Rocks by D.D. Barant

Book Review

 


Killing Rocks (The Bloodhound Files, #3)Book Genre: Mystery, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Book Series: The Bloodhound Files #3

Released: 12/28/2010 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Pages: 308 Price: $7.99 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I own a copy of this book

 

 

Book Synopsis:

FBI profiler Jace Valchek’s ticket home from the twisted parallel universe where she’s been called to duty hinges on the capture of serial killer Aristotle Stoker—and an alliance with a sorcerer known as Asher. The problem: Asher has joined forces with some of the most dangerous creatures Jace has ever encountered. The solution: There is none, without Asher’s help…

Jace’s goal seems simple enough—to get her man, like always. But just hours after she arrives in Vegas, she’s abducted…and she isn’t even sure who the real enemy is. Now Jace has to wonder if she’s the predator or the prey in a very dangerous game that could change not only her fate, but the world’s…Meanwhile, a serial killer is still on the loose. And time has already run out…

My Review:

Let me be blunt.  I didn’t care for this book that much and it has made me a little hesitant to continue on with the remaining three books.  I enjoyed the first two and still like most of the characters but this book was just off.  I struggled to become invested in the plot and kept waiting for it to simply be over.  I got down to the last 50 pages and almost walked away because I simply didn’t care.  I stuck with it and in the end, I’m glad I did, but man, this was a chore to read at times.

Now let me tell you why.  The flashbacks and side stories were the big issues for me.  I’m okay with one or two flashbacks but a reading pet-peeve of mine is when they continue through the entire book and this one did.  Also, most of the characters I cared about were absent for much of the book.  Instead, we get Jace paired up with this other woman from yet another world and I really never did care for her much so it didn’t bother me much when she simply disappeared without any resolution because I had been wanting her to disappear for most of the book.

I still enjoyed Jace as a character but this book was all over the place and felt a little like it was searching for a plot.  That the whole point of the book was to fill in back-story for the main character.  All of those details should have been spread over multiple book to lessen the info-dump feel that it ended up giving this one.

Sigh… simply put this book didn’t work for me as a reader and while I might have said good-bye to this world and moved on with my life normally I already own the remaining three books in the series and feel like I should really see this one out.  I truly hope the series gets better, closer to what attracted me to in book one.  I do think I will be taking a break, however,  perhaps if I put a couple of book by other authors between this one and the next I will be able to approach it with an open mind.  Fingers-crossed.

My Rating:2 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Couples

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

February 14: All About Romance Tropes/Types — top ten favorite hate-to-love romances (from books or movies or tv), top ten favorite (or least favorite) insta-love romances, favorite slow-burn romances, favorite star-crossed lovers, etc. etc. Can go so many ways with this one).

First off Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!  I know this is a made-up holiday and many people hate this day as much as I hate Mother’s Day.  Personally, I don’t really celebrate the holiday beyond using it as an excuse to go out for lunch and justifying a new book purchase.  For this week’s list I decided to share my favorite couples from the series I read.

My Ten Favorite Couples

  1. Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, #1) Bones and Cat: I also enjoy the couple in the spin-off Night Prince series almost as much as the original but wanted to limit each author to one spot on this list.  This will become more difficult in future picks as you will see. This series, however, was a great example of a strong female paired with a strong male.  This series isn’t so much about Cat as it is about the bond and chemistry between her and Bones.  They make this world.
  2. First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1) Charley and Reyes: How could this couple not be on this list.  The dynamics between Charley and Reyes is off the chart!  I love watching these two work at couplehood.  They are such strong contrasts that can almost seem to flip in an instant.  Just when you think you have these two figured out they shift or trade persona and it has your head spinning.   Love these two!
  3. A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1) Diana & Matthew: Sigh.  I so miss these two.
  4. Night Play (Dark-Hunter #5, Were-Hunter #1) Bride & Vane: This was a difficult series to pick just one couple from.  If you know the series it might surprise you that I picked these two.  Sure there were lots of great books but when I considered who to select I wanted to go with a couple I enjoyed together not just a book where I had a crush on the male lead.  This is probably the earliest case where that happen in the series.
  5. Cry Wolf (Alpha & Omega, #1) Anna & Charles:  What?   Why didn’t I pick Mercy and Adam?  Because while I love Mercy’s series I often feel that the chemistry between her and Adam falls flat. Anna and Charles have a richer dynamic that I love.
  6. Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse, #4) Sookie & Eric: Spoiler alert! But Sookie doesn’t end up with Eric… I know and that is why Ms. Harris is dead to me forever and I will not read another of her books.  I LOVED Sookie and Eric together and felt the entire series was about these two coming together only for the author to tear them apart in the last few books to pair Sookie up with the equivalent to a brother.  No fire at all between them.  Yes, I’m holding a grudge.  
  7. Some Girls Bite (Chicagoland Vampires, #1) Merit & Ethan: As I’ve said before it took me four books to root for these two but when I finally jumped on board these two because one of my favorites.  I will miss them.
  8. Raphael (Vampires in America, #1) Raphael & Cyn: These two are hot and fortunately even though the series has moved its focus off of this couple we still get to check in with them every now and again in novellas.
  9. Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #3)  Zsadist & Bella: This is another series where there were so many great couples to choose from I had a difficult time remembering who I enjoyed most.  I went with these two because their story is just so phenomenal.
  10. The Time Traveler's Wife Clare & Henry: The story of these two’s love just breaks my heart.  If you want a heart-wrenching bitter-sweet love affair then this is the book for you.  That last chapter, that last page man had me wiped out.  Such a beautiful story.

There you have some of my favorite couples this Valentine’s Day.  Who are some of your favorite couples?