#BookReview The Murder of Leopold Beckenbauer by K. Kris Loomis

Man, oh man. I did NOT see that ending coming! Like… wow! What in the world just happened?!

The Murder of Leopold Beckenbauer takes some wild twists and turns in this rather short story. K. Kris Loomis does an absolutely marvelous job at allowing us a peek at Claire’s life and the brains of a few musical geniuses.

When the best musical genius comes to town, everyone needs to see his brilliance! Many piano players take a trip to a historic plantation site. Claire is one of the many musicians ready to learn from the always brilliant, but slightly insane, Leopold Beckenbauer. Along the way, many musicians learn their abilities and figure out who the real Leopold Beckenbauer is. Oh, and as the title suggests, he dies.

Claire’s troubled marriage, her tragic past, Leopold’s wacky behaviour and the kooky cast of characters all make this story really engaging. I was honestly so pulled into this story that I could hardly believe it was over! K. Kris Loomis can tell a really good story in such a small amount of space! I’m kinda annoyed that it wasn’t longer and that I couldn’t spend some more time with these characters. I was truly enchanted by the descriptions of Beethoven’s music (and the other composers too!).

I didn’t see half of this story coming from a mile away, which was super awesome! I hate when I can guess the ending by the first few pages. It took me about half the book to figure out the big twist, but I’m glad it took me that long! It’s a ‘fun’ yet tragic twist that most readers won’t catch onto unless they are paying attention. So many hints were dropped along the way that it’s “easy” to catch onto the twist, but you have to be paying attention to really grasp what’s going on. I felt like Sherlock Holmes trying to solve these mysteries!

My biggest negative is this: I want to see more of Danny. I felt like I needed a little bit more of him in this book or to see what happens with Claire and Danny. What can I say? I like a happy ending.

Overall, this book was epic! I want more mysteries like this that really pull you in and drag you along. It was such a treat! If you like Murder on the Orient Express styled books, this story will be right up your alley!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author, K. Kris Loomis, in exchange for an honest review.

 

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If you liked this book (or review!) check out some other reads you might enjoy:
#BookReview After Namaste by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview Survving Revision: How One Writer Finished What She Started by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview The Sinking of Bethany Ann Crane by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview The Monster in the Closet and Other Stories by K. Kris Loomis

 

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#BookReview A Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon

The Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon is one of the loveliest books I’ve read this year.

Family drama, generations of Irish men & ladies, comedy, tragedy and character growth. What more could a girl ask for in novel? Not much else!!

I was truly surprised by how amazing this book was, considering it has so few reviews. It’s by far one of my favourite reads and it will sit high atop my shelves. Kathleen MacMahon has a beautiful sense of writing style and her prose is just magnificent. I can’t get enough of this book and I want more by her.

This story follows the MacEntees – an Irish family with four generations of men and women trying to deal with a long, hot summer. Deidre and Manus were once married, but Manus is now with his male lover and at Deidre is grasping with the fact that she is now “old” and in her 80s. Alma, Acushla and MacDara are their children and they all have to grasp with their own choices too. Alma and Acushla married twin brothers, and somehow their lives are echoing each other. The girls’ children, Constance and Nora, are also dealing with their own lives choices. The entire book follows these characters one by one and lets us into a world of family drama, insanity and growth.

I would have loved to read a book like this in high school, when you have the opportunity to pick apart lines and themes within the story. I loved seeing how each character interacted and how life didn’t end up the way they quite expected it. Lots of humors is thrown in with the tragedy, family drama is addressed in a very real way, and this book shows just how tough life can be (yet also how fruitful and silly we can make it). In summary, it’s all about perspective.

Kathleen does a great job showing the differences between the generations and how they interact with one another. The conflict felt so real and the book felt like it could have been a non-fiction retelling (but it’s not!). I really want to read more by Kathleen because she has a real knack for story telling. I was so attached to these characters and I was furious that this book had to end (and in the way that it did! I cried! I never cry at books!).

I HIGHLY recommend this book if you love fictional dramas, stories set in Ireland, and books about being a family.

Five out of five stars! I would give it more if I could.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out another book (or review!) that you might enjoy:
#BookReview Someone You Love Is Gone by Gurjinder Basran
To Wendy’s With Love: the 22-year Lunch by Diane Keyes- BOOK REVIEW
Quick Book Review: The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti
Quick Book Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

 

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#BookReview Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige is a YA, fairy tale adaption of The Snow Queen.

I had no idea what to expect from this book and I still don’t… I think I’ll need the sequel to better understand how I feel about this book… But at this time, I don’t know if a sequel is going to be made?!

Stealing Snow is based on The Snow Queen but has lots of elements of Snow White. Honestly, my local book store pegged it as Snow White to me, so I was a little shocked. I picked this book up because I loved Dorothy Must Die (plus it was on sale at my local book store and I’m a sucker for sales… go figure).

This book didn’t blow me away as much as Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige (this author) did. It really felt like this book needed the sequel to keep moving the story going because it was left at such an odd place. I wanted more at the end… It wasn’t just a cliffhanger, it just felt like the editor had cut out a large chunk. I felt a little bit cheated.

That being said, it was a good book! I’m not as fluent in The Snow Queen (even though I have read it, it’s just been a while and there aren’t many adaptions out there that I’ve read) so I didn’t connect as well with this story as I wanted. I did re-read the fairy tale before I picked the book up, but it didn’t help me much.

I see so much potential in this series – the potential love triangles, the heroic action scenes that could come, the fairy tales that could be woven in – but it didn’t hit all of the marks in just this book. It really needs it sequel. Seriously. Danielle better write it. Don’t make this book a one off, it won’t do the book justice.

What I didn’t like about this book:
1. Snow’s mental illness felt… weird. It felt forced and out of place. Sure, she has a mental illness (potentially) but she bites people and takes pills. It wasn’t flushed out enough for me to believe it or respect it.
2. She’s special. Every girl in every YA seems to be the chosen one, but the trope didn’t feel right here (at least, not with the twist ending…).
3. There was way too much going on. I felt like my brain was being attacked because there was so many different plot points and half of which didn’t get resolved. I like having my books able to stand on their own as well as be in the series – like most movies series.

Things I did like:
1. Kai and Bale. I don’t know why, but I kind of enjoyed it and I want more. I want to know more about that part of the story, but I’ve always been a sucker for love triangles in my YAs so that one is on me.
2. Danielle has the most elegant writing style. She’s truly an artist and is SO GOOD with her words. I can’t express enough how much I love reading her books because she knows how to write and connect with the reader.
3. The potential is extraordinary. With so many plot points introduced, this book is set up to be a series. I’d like to see what Danielle does with this story.

Overall, this book wasn’t as bad as the reviews led me to believe. I do want to keep reading this series because Danielle is wicked cool with her words (pun intended) but I don’t know what to expect.

Three out of five stars.

 

P.S. After I started putting my reviews up I saw the new cover and W-O-W! Some of these covers are just insanely amazing!

 

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If you enjoyed this book or review, check out another you might enjoy:
#BookReview Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
#BookReview The Coffin Club by Ellen Schreiber
#BookReview Bad Blood by Mari Mancusi

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#BookReview Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I bought this book YEARS ago when I got my wisdom teeth out. Actually, my Mom bought it for me because I was drugged up from having my wisdom teeth out and there was a massive book sale. I gave her a list of books and she got them for me, and then this book sat on my shelf because I forgot I told my Mom to go buy me books when I got my wisdom teeth out.

So colour my cheery when I finally cleaned my bookshelf and there it was! I picked it up instantly, decided to ignore my upcoming exams, and settled down with this book. AND MAN I WAS SO STUPID FOR NOT READING IT SOONER BECAUSE I AM OBSESSED.

I am an adult now, but when I bought it I was a “Young Adult” reader. Some of the YA books just don’t sit with me as well now, but this book totally did. Cinderella, fairy tale, Star Wars-esque, cyborgs, science fiction, crazy evil overlords, and more! How could someone like me not love a book like this?!

My friends had given me horrible reviews of this book so I was very hesitant to pick it up, but when I took the dive I realized that I really shouldn’t have listened to them. I devoured this book in about two hours and I could NOT put it down. Marissa Meyer crafted an intriguing story that echoes our fave fairy tales and sci-fi movies, but also sits well on it’s own. Cinder is special but she doesn’t know why (like most YA novels, wink wink, nudge nudge). The Prince needs her help so she complies. Through helping him, trying to avoid a crazy super bug/infection and dealing with some major losses, she finds herself in a world of insanity.

This is a great read, but it leaves with an awful cliffhanger. I was so furious that the book ended the way it did because now I HAVE to pick up the next book in the series. Like, thanks a lot Marissa! But good on her, she did an excellent job crafting this book to the point that I seriously need the sequels. It won’t be okay if I don’t find these books on my book hunts soon.

To list some of the positives of this book, I have to say it really works well for young readers (maybe 8 and up, as a good book with their parents) but also sits amazingly well with adults. I didn’t feel like I was reading a purely YA novel, it felt like a fun fairy tale. I almost wish it wasn’t on the YA shelf in my local book store because it’s not strictly made for the YA audience, even though the narrative fits well with YA.

My negatives? Cliffhangers. I hate them, so they will always be my negative. Also, sometimes the story just felt like it happened at the right place, right time and just happened to work out in the character’s favor. It didn’t bug me at all in this book, but sometimes that trope grates on my nerves.

Overall, SO AMAZINGLY GOOD. Five out of five stars all around! This book really got me back into a reading binge, so thank you Marissa!

 

Check out this book on:
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Kobo
Indigo/Chapters/Coles – Canadian Retailer
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#BookReview Yara’s Tawari Tree by Yossi Lapid

Yossi Lapid does it again with another beautifully written story with a truly marvelous (and important!) theme.

Yara’s Tawari Tree follows a young girl named Yara in her rain forest, jungle hut. Her parrot friend brings her to a little tree seedling that is going to be cut down due to deforestation and together they save it! Years down the road, her family needs that tree’s help and it delivers!

This is a truly wonderful story with absolutely remarkable art work. The water colour style really fits with this story and is really beautiful! I’d love to see more stories with this art style. Give a big round of applause to the illustrator because W-O-W! Throw in the fact that deforestation is a really big issue these days, and you’ve got yourself a real winner!

I love Yossi’s stories because they are cute, fun and always bring something to the table. When you’re looking for a quality children’s story book with lots of pretty pictures and an important theme, why wouldn’t you pick up this book? It hits all the marks that an educator or parents would want! There’s also a cute rhyming scheme so you could make a fun song up about this story!

Overall, I think this is a really lovely book and should be read by many parents, teachers and reading buddies alike! Stories like these are important to share and a fun, colourful way to spend time together.

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author, Yossi Lapid, in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:
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If you like Yara’s Tawari Tree, you might enjoy some of these books and reviews too!
Quick #BookReview Snowman Paul and Kate’s Olympic Dream by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview My Snowman, Paul by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview The Water War by Kevin Miller

 

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#BookReview A Play of Shadow by Julie E. Czerneda

A Play of Shadow by Julie E. Czerneda is a fantastical novel packed full of action.

I will admit that this book was hard for me to get through. My best bet is because I haven’t read the first novel in this series, so I just didn’t know half of what had occurred before this novel. That doesn’t mean this book isn’t good though! It was just very hard for me to push myself to read it. It almost felt like a chore because I couldn’t comprehend some of the past experiences of the characters. I did look up some information on the last book, but it didn’t help me. That being said, I don’t recommend jumping into this series without starting from the beginning.

This book did feel fantastical though! Julie is a truly mesmerizing author and I love her talent. I felt like I was reading a Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones styled tale. It’s full of fantasy, action and lore that was truly interesting.

I did like Jenn and Bannan together. They felt like a real couple and the were truly lovable. I found their development to be my favourite part of the story. I fell in love with them instantly despite not knowing what happened to them in the previous book. Shout out to Julie for doing so well with them!

The magic in this book was also fun to experience. It didn’t feel like the typical dramatic magic I’ve seen in romance novels (which is where I commonly see magic), so I enjoyed Julie’s spin on it.

Overall, not reading the first book really screwed me over with this book. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I read it in order the way it was intended. I think big fantasy lovers will enjoy this book way more than I do. I like to dabble in fantasy, but it’s not really my scene. Those who love fantasy will devour this book so quickly and will truly love it. I’m just not made for this type of novel! So I do truly think this book is amazing, but in my opinion it doesn’t do it for me as a reader.

Two out of five stars – since it was really hard to get into and really hard for me to get invested in.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out some more of my reviews that you may enjoy if you love fantasy:

#BookReview Marianne by Ruth Miranda

Book Review: HALFWAY DEAD (HALFWAY WITCHY #1) by TERRY MAGGERT

#BookReview Elves Get Organized? by Katja Vartiainen

#BookReview Virals by Kathy Reichs & Brendan Reichs

 

What was I thinking putting this book off?! It has been sitting on my shelf for years and I never got the nerve to pick it up. That was probably one of my biggest book related mistakes!

Kathy & Brendan Reichs have a real hit on their hand! I have been reading the Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs for years and I always wanted to get into Virals. Silly me bought the book and admired it for years, until I finally managed to dust it off and pull it into my reading pile. THANK GOODNESS because this book is a real gem and I need to binge this series. It’s just too freaking good to not read!

Now, before I get ahead of myself, readers must remember that this is a YA novel and not an “adult” novel like the Temperance Brennan series. There are fun story lines focusing around being a teenager, and people need to remember that this book was made for a younger audience. I love books like this, because I can get into the fun of a younger book. But, some readers won’t be expecting a “YA” novel – you should be!

Off to the races!!!

Tory Brennan is our lead (a distant, grand-niece of Temperance, if I am remembering correctly) and she’s just as smart as Tempe! She’s also sassy, barrels of fun, and gets in probably too much trouble in this book. She’s not a girly girl, she likes hanging with her guy friends and she likes being smart. Seriously, I relate way to much to this girl! Her gaggle of friends get into trouble on an island nearby, rescuing dogs, talking to monkeys and trying to solve murders. Typical teenage stuff, obviously.

I love that this group is smart and for the greater good. I also felt a twinge of “save the environment” themes going on. Mixing in all the fun and goofy scenarios the teens get into… I have to say I like this book. I also really love the terminology that’s used in the book. It’s not “dumb-ed” down and these kids know what they are talking about. Do they know too much? Maybe. Or they are just really smart kids.

What did I not like?
Mean girl subplots always annoy me because they are so common. I get this is a very typical trend, but I’d love it to see Tory have a girl friend who isn’t a total snob. Shockingly, there are some not snobby girls out in the real world! But, there has to be drama in this book so I totally get it. I remember in high school there were snobby girls all over the place too.

I also think that the introduction of fantasy was great, but it needed a little… more. There are more books in this series, so I’m assuming that the fantasy side will be explored more there. At least, I hope so! The little bits of fantasy just wasn’t enough for me! I want to know the ins and outs of it!

Overall, this book is lots of fun and super smart! I really enjoyed reading it and I couldn’t put it down! Books like these are why I love reading – I can whisk myself away into another world and just enjoy myself.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves YA with a fantasy twist, loves the Temperance Brennan series but wants a bit more “fun”, people who loved Bones (this SCREAMS the fun of Bones!) or if you just want a smart YA novel with fancy terminology (to teach yourself something new).

Five out of five stars!

Purchase this book on:
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Amazon.com
Kobo
Barnes & Noble
Indigo (Canadian Retailer)

If you enjoyed this book, you might also enjoy these reviews:
#BookReview Stolen by Kelley Armstrong
#BookReview The Water War by Kevin Miller
#BookReview The Mountain Man’s Dog by Gary Corbin

 

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