Month: June 2018

Jessica’s Thoughts on Thunderhead

Author: Neal Shusterman
Published: January 9, 2018

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: May 29-June 14, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the second novel of the chilling New York Times bestselling series from Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?

Jessica’s Review:

It is all Kim’s fault that I read Scythe and Thunderhead. It was her review of Scythe that piqued my curiosity of the series.  I listened to both novels on audio and love the narration. My review of Scythe is here.

Thunderhead picks up where Scythe left off and it just keeps the story going. All your favorite scythes as well as hated scythes are back for the continuation and a few more characters become important to the story as Thunderhead continues. There will be a third book in the series (possibly being released next year) titled The Toll and I cannot wait to read it! This is a series where you finish the first book then you MUST have the next book. These books are that addicting. Shusterman has created a fabulous future with the Scythe series that really causes you to ponder and debate.

There are several jaw dropping events that happening and I won’t even begin to go into the climax of the novel other than to say this: I wish I had The Toll  to read now! Shusterman really knows how to keep you hanging and needing more!

Thunderhead is very highly recommended.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Women in the Castle

Author: Jessica Shattuck
Published: March 28, 2017
400 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Three women, haunted by the past and the secrets they hold

Set at the end of World War II, in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to all of German high society, a powerful and propulsive story of three widows whose lives and fates become intertwined an affecting, shocking, and ultimately redemptive novel from the author of the New York Times Notable Book The Hazards of Good Breeding.

Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany s defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once-grand castle of her husband s ancestors, an imposing stone fortress now fallen into ruin following years of war. The widow of a resister murdered in the failed July 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold the promise she made to her husband s brave conspirators: to find and protect their wives, her fellow resistance widows.

First Marianne rescues six-year-old Martin, the son of her dearest childhood friend, from a Nazi reeducation home. Together, they make their way across the smoldering wreckage of their homeland to Berlin, where Martin s mother, the beautiful and naive Benita, has fallen into the hands of occupying Red Army soldiers. Then she locates Ania, another resister s wife, and her two boys, now refugees languishing in one of the many camps that house the millions displaced by the war.

As Marianne assembles this makeshift family from the ruins of her husband s resistance movement, she is certain their shared pain and circumstances will hold them together. But she quickly discovers that the black-and-white, highly principled world of her privileged past has become infinitely more complicated, filled with secrets and dark passions that threaten to tear them apart. Eventually, all three women must come to terms with the choices that have defined their lives before, during, and after the war each with their own unique share of challenges.

Written with the devastating emotional power of The Nightingale, Sarah s Key, and The Light Between Oceans, Jessica Shattuck s evocative and utterly enthralling novel offers a fresh perspective on one of the most tumultuous periods in history. Combining piercing social insight and vivid historical atmosphere, The Women in the Castle is a dramatic yet nuanced portrait of war and its repercussions that explores what it means to survive, love, and, ultimately, to forgive in the wake of unimaginable hardship.

Kim’s Review:

It’s hard to criticize a book like this because of its subject matter and our need to condemn the past. I have rated it based on the fact that I enjoyed reading it, I liked the story and didn’t like the characters. I appreciate the way this book lays out life, not as black and white, but in many shades of gray.

I went into this story expecting to like the main character of Marianne because I agree with her on a moral level, and by the end, I did have some good feelings toward her. But for most of the book, I couldn’t stand her. She’s that annoying, overbearing, self-righteous, do-gooder who won’t leave you alone until you do exactly what she’s told you to do. I didn’t like Benita much either. She was far too self-centered for me. I expected to like either one or the other, because liking Marianne OR Benita seemed to be mutually exclusive. But nope, I actually disliked both of them. Ania, I liked. She seemed the most human and realistic of all of them. Yes, she did wrong, but then she stopped doing wrong to protect her children. And she admitted her wrong doing! That is what was so important to me about Ania. Although she had life excuses for why she did things, she admitted they were wrong and then tried to live her life the right way.

So, in the same way that you enjoy reading something you disagree with because you disagree with it and have fun pointing out why you’re right and the book is wrong, I enjoyed this book because I disagreed with and disliked some of the characters. I would recommend this book to readers who like historical fiction and those who enjoy moral dilemmas.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Blog Blitz: The Note by Andrew Barrett

Today Kim and I are participating in the Blog Blitz for the short story The Note by Andrew Barrett: We are reviewing it! This is a short story introduction to CSI Eddie Collins! Bloodhound Books is the publisher.

 Short Story Description:

Have you ever had that feeling of being watched but when you turn around no one’s there?

I have.

It was raining, and I was working a murder scene around midnight when that prickle ran up my spine. If I’d listened to that feeling, if I’d thought back to my past, maybe I could have prevented the terror that was to come.

Back at the office, I found a death threat on my desk.
I had no idea who sent it or why they wanted to kill me.

But I was about to find out.

I’m Eddie Collins, a CSI and this is my story.

The Note
Author: Andrew Barrett
Published: May 5, 2017
80 pages

Reviewed by: Jessica and Kim
Jessica and Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Jessica’s Review:
Dates Read:
June 7-8, 2018

The Note is my introduction to CSI Eddie Collins and it is quite the introduction! This is part of a series that is being re-published by Bloodhound Books. Eddie tells the story himself and it pulls you in from the beginning as Eddie is at a crime scene!  You can see that Barrett took his experience of being a CSI to the page for his readers. I am sure the rest of the series is just as good as The Note.  I would be interested in reading more of his stories in the series.  It can also stand by itself as a standalone story, but why stop here? Keep on reading!

The Note is dark and disturbing: Eddie is a far from perfect person, but this is why you end up liking him.  The description intrigued me which was why I wanted to read it; and I had no idea that it was going to go in the direction it that it did!   This short story makes me want to know more about Eddie.

If you like crime stories, give The Note a try! It’s short and can be ready very quickly, so you have nothing to lose.

Kim’s Review:

This was a really great novella! Y’all know that I love a good creepy read! Plus, I’m a Criminal Minds fan so a book like this is right up my alley! The story was interesting, and the length was perfect! If it had been any longer, it would have been too predictable, but it wasn’t and the little twist at the end made me gasp! I will admit that the first confrontation with Dibble confused me when Eddie gave a false name . . . because I didn’t see the cover when I started reading and I didn’t realize his name was Eddie, but that was my fault so I can’t blame the author! Overall, I really liked this story! Eddie isn’t the most likeable character, but I think that’s why I like him. He’s a great forensic investigator with a great work ethic who is content being in his own company. I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who loves and good detective crime story.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

About the Author:

Andrew Barrett has enjoyed variety in his professional life, from engine-builder to farmer, from Oilfield Service Technician in Kuwait, to his current role of Senior CSI in Yorkshire.

He’s been a CSI since 1996, and has worked on all scene types from terrorism to murder, suicide to rape, drugs manufacture to bomb scenes. One way or another, Andrew’s life revolves around crime.

In 1997 he finished his first crime thriller, A Long Time Dead, and it’s still a readers’ favourite today, some 200,000 copies later, topping the Amazon charts several times. Two more books featuring SOCO Roger Conniston completed the trilogy.

Today, Andrew is still producing high-quality, authentic crime thrillers with a forensic flavour that attract attention from readers worldwide. He’s also attracted attention from the Yorkshire media, having been featured in the Yorkshire Post, and twice interviewed on BBC Radio Leeds.

He’s best known for his lead character, CSI Eddie Collins, and the acerbic way in which he roots out criminals and administers justice. Eddie’s series is four books and two short stories in length, and there’s still more to come.

Andrew is a proud Yorkshireman and sets all of his novels there, using his home city of Leeds as another major, and complementary, character in each of the stories.

Contact Andrew:
Twitter @AndrewBarrettUK