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Tina (HDB)

Book reviews, random musings and all things mischievous. 

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A Raven's Heart
K. C. Bateman
Progress: 62 %
Emma Raveling

Review: Corporate America is crazy

B.S. Incorporated - Jennifer Rock, Michael Voss

Real talk, this book stressed me out. It took me a few extra days to read it because I just couldn't deal with the too real stresses of a job I basically lived through. For a moment I wanted to rate this book lower because of the stress, but I realized that the authors did a superb job bringing you into the story and characters and it's not really their fault that I worked for a similar company that went through a similar situation and ended up having to leave the company because of it. Call it corporate PTSD if you will, but I think the authors did a good job capturing the corporate world in this humorous book.


Will is my favorite type of character, sarcastic and pragmatic. He is navigating the system and chaos of things he basically has no control over, while simultaneously trying to keep his job. If you've ever worked in a corporate environment, or known someone who has, the banter and insight Will shares with his trusted friends/coworkers will make you laugh. Every office needs a Will.


Anna was a less likable character, but she grows on you as the story progresses. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to say I liked her character until the very end of the story, which can be a good thing. You're never quite sure where her loyalties lie and that brings about an interesting turn of events. I really enjoyed her "real" moments when she wasn't projecting Corporate Anna and actually acted like a normal human being.


All in all I would say this book is a funny read. If you've been through a corporate transition, there may be some stressful "too real" moments for you but hopefully the humorous take on everything will bring you through the story with a smile.


I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Reading progress update: I've read 42%.

B.S. Incorporated - Jennifer Rock, Michael Voss

Have you ever read a book that hits a little too close to home?


That's how I feel about this book right now. Having worked for the same type of company as the characters before, their stress is stressing me out because I've literally dealt with the same issue. 


I guess you can call that good storytelling, because I feel like I'm there. 

Review: Melody's Key by Dallas Coryell

Melody's Key - Dallas Coryell

Ah, the romance. *Sigh*. I have a lot of love for this book, despite some minor flaws it was a well thought out story with some great characters.


Music is good for the soul. I love that Tegan is a songwriter/singer that only writes for herself. The songs included in the book are poetic and I could actually hear the rhythm as I read them. She is a smart character with a lot of sass and a self-sacrificing devotion to her family. I adore that she wasn't blind to her family's struggles and the witty sarcasm about their various tenants throughout the summer kept the mood light and funny.


Mostly, I enjoyed that there was no insta-love between Tegan and her rockstar. They start off on very rocky footing and bumble around each other for a bit before realizing their attraction. Their snarky comments and embarrassing moments had me laughing throughout the book.


It is always hard for me to get into the endless-cash-flow type stories because sometimes it feels like such an easy fix to life's problems. This particular story I didn't mind it as much, which says a lot about the writing. It didn't feel like a "throw money at the problem" situation, but a genuine interest in the issue and solving it permanently. Having contacts and money certainly helps, but I can't fault our hero for taking an interest in the problem.


Final thoughts: If you're a fan of soulful connections and heartfelt families, you should definitely pick this up!

Review: HP Book #8

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - J.K. Rowling, John Kerr Tiffany, Jack Thorne

Where to begin? For those of you that have been reading my blog for a bit, you know that I'm a huge Harry Potter fan. I watch the movies every year at Christmas, I re-read the books every few years and consider myself an avid fan. Despite all that, I was nervous about this new release. The 7 Harry Potter books are, in my humble opinion, a perfect story. The ending was enough for me and I was worried I would be disappointed by opening up another story in that universe. I can say that I was fretting over nothing.


Cursed Child picks up 19 years in the future, Harry, Ginny, Hermione, Ron and Draco all play a part in the story and it was fun to see them interacting as adults. Of course the main characters are their children, Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy. I won't go into any spoilers, but I will say that their friendship is one to be inspired by. 


Reading the stage directions and dialogue really brought this story to life for me. While it was a short(er) read than a standard book, I think it really added a lot. If I ever got the chance to see this play in person, I'd be overwhelmed with joy.


There is a lot to learn from Albus and his relationship with Harry. The eloquence with which Harry bumbles his interactions with his son are endearing and cringe worthy. Frustrating as it is is for Harry as a parent, there is definitely a lot of love there. Unlike a lot of the original 7 books, Harry is not the good guy in this and I kind of love J.K Rowling for making him more flawed. 


Final verdict: If you enjoy the Harry Potter franchise/universe, I think you'd enjoy this play. Leave your expectations at the door and enjoy a heartfelt coming of age story. You won't regret it. 

Review: Not what I was expecting, but not bad

Deception Island - Brynn Kelly

Hrmphh. That is the only way to describe how I felt after reading Deception Island. It was a lot darker than I expected, with a lot of sad pieces all tied together. I don't know if I was ready for this kind of story when I picked it up but at the end I couldn't really say that I didn't enjoy it.

There is a lot going on in this story, but the main focus is on Rafe and his quest to save his son from the mercenaries who took him. What unfolds is an adventure filled story with lots of twists and turns. Murder, despair, backstabbing; it is all part of this crazy story about a man trying to save his only son.

As far as the romance between captor and detainee, there wasn't a lot of steam but there is definitely a lot of discussion about both Rafe and Holly overcoming their sordid pasts. I could have done without a lot of the self deprecating thoughts that the author included for both characters. I think it's pretty obvious by their past that neither character feels like they would be a good partner. The constant rehashing of their inadequate feelings took away from the story a bit for me.

I can, however, say that I did enjoy the action and the surprises along the way. Pirates, fake kidnappings, human trafficking, mercenaries and bloodshed were not what I was expecting, but it was all tied together in a pretty natural way. I have to give the author credit, there weren't any lingering questions at the end.

Final thoughts: If you're a fan of action, twists and a bit of romance thrown in, this will be a book that you'll greatly enjoy. Despite the expectations I may have had at the beginning, overall this was a good read.

Review: Floor 21 by Jason Luthor

FLOOR 21 - Jason Luthor

If you aren't a fan of open endings/cliffhangers then this is not the book for you. However, if you are willing to wait, I think this is going to be a great series. Floor 21 is full of unanswered questions and the author does a wonderful job of bringing you into Jackie's very inquisitive character.


The narration technique of using the characters "recordings", while interesting, didn't really meet my expectations. There were several instances where there was a conflict of storyline vs. actually being able to record. I think at some point my brain just skipped over the idea of the recording and I enjoyed it as a first person narrative. Jackie is the main narrator, but we do get insight into other happenings in the tower which add a lot of depth to Jackie's story.


Jackie is an interesting lead character. She questions everything around her and challenges the status quo. At the same time, she willingly obliges her bff with dance parties in her room. There is a lot of unknowns in her world and she's not afraid to see what else could be out there. I would say that this book is geared towards the young adult audience, if only that the main character is a bit young and her point of view can be a little grating (also whiny) at times. It's very representative of her age group and appropriate given the world she lives, but some chapters were harder to get through.


What is the Creep you ask? Terrifying is what it is. I became so engrossed in this book that I literally had a dream about the walls of my house being alive. I'd say that's pretty indicative of a good story. I've read a fair amount of dystopian and this is a fresh story with lots of opportunity to grow the characters and story line.


I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction into the Tower and look forward to jumping into the sequel soon!


I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

If you like Nancy Drew, you should check out Kitty Hawk

Kitty Hawk And The Curse Of The Yukon Gold (Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency, #1) - Iain Reading

As an avid Nancy Drew reader growing up, I couldn't help but snatch up a copy of this series and I was not disappointed. Kitty Hawk is a fun, adventuresome teenager with a specific set of skills (flying) and a curiosity that sometimes gets the best of her.


Kitty's character was interesting and heart felt. The inner dialogue that is included in the story was a little frustrating at first but by the end of the book it was a nice picture into her current mood. After all, who doesn't argue with themselves when they get into a tight spot?


What I enjoyed most about this story was the in depth details of the history of the Klondike Gold Rush and how Kitty was learning about the history of the area as she was going through her adventures. The landscape, the tools, the trials and tribulations of the people who came for the gold rush were so well written you felt like you were there for it. Education and adventure? A great combination in this story.


If you enjoy a good mystery/adventure then I recommend this series. There are twists and turns that keep the story moving and you won't want to put it down!

Review: Cable Car Mystery by Greg Messel

Cable Car Mystery (Sam Slater Mysterys Series Book 6) - Greg Messel

I have to say this was a refreshing week for me in the reading department. I received this lovely book a few weeks ago and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I haven't read any of the previous books in the series, so this can definitely be read as a standalone, but there are definitely references to the other books if you feel inclined to read more about Sam Slater.


All of the characters are well developed and interesting, and the story flows flawlessly. The dialogue is great and the San Francisco backdrop is fun to read about. Sam and his wife Amelia run a PI firm and get caught up in the Cable Car Mystery when Sam saves a lady after falling from a car. Their research into the woman he saved brings about new questions and a problem to solve.


Amelia's character has her own story line with her neighbor and it compliments the main story well. I really enjoyed the banter between her and Sam, especially since the newspaper pictures put him in a risque position with the woman he saved. There is just enough background information and references to previous books (aka character history) that keep the story moving without rehashing everything from the rest of the series.


This was a fun, short mystery that I would highly recommend to all readers. I will definitely be looking for more books by this author!


I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


Tea Cups and Carnage - Lynn Cahoon

I don't know why but nothing I've read lately has been great. I know it's partly because I'm not reading a lot of books but this one just felt meh. I requested it from Net galley and was hoping for a fun mystery. By the end of the book I didn't really care who had done it. *sigh*


The characters were well written, there was just a lot of mundane details that weren't necessary to the story. I got bored of reading about walking home, feeding the dog and making dinner (there were several times this scenario was written out).


All in all I was not a big fan of this book. 

All of the Feels

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

Of course it is happening inside your head Harry, but why on earth should thatmean that it is not real? -Albus Dumbledore


All good things must come to an end. I really enjoyed this read through of the whole series again, especially since the audiobook gives it a different feel and voice. I don't think I'll ever get tired of reading the Harry Potter books and I (unabashedly) hope that my daughter falls in love with them someday too. 



Deathly Hallows is such a good book because it not only is the climax of the series, but also brings out the best/worst in each character. I had forgotten how involved Kreacher was in the series (since the movies leave out a good portion of the house elf stuff) and I loved when he comes to help in the final fight. 


I think I'm having a book hangover (again). I thought reading these as an adult (well an older person... adult is questionable) wouldn't be as magical, but it is. 



Review: The Run Begins

Lou Malloy: The Run Begins (A Lou Malloy Crime Series) - J. Frank James

Let it be known that this is a prequel to the Lou Malloy Crime Series. I haven't read any of the series but this short little taste makes me want to read more. For fans of the series I imagine this is a great back story on Lou Malloy, the main character.


In only 52 pages, J. Frank James gives us a taste of what life was like in small town Kansas for Lou and his family. Everyone knows everyone in their town and Lou and his brother have a hard time dealing with small town life. They both have big dreams of leaving, and one day, they do.


There is definitely a cliffhanger ending (if you haven't read the first book in the series) so I'd recommend you pick up Dead Money Run so you can jump right in to the story.


All in all this was a well written introduction to the series and leaves you wanting more.


*I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Reread Review: Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

I feel like OOTP gets a lot of flak from the Harry Potter community because Harry is very whiny in it. Now that I'm a little older and wiser I think it's a pretty accurate portrayal of the anxiousness and isolation that teenagers sometimes experience. Removing magic from the picture, not hearing from my friends all summer and living with an abusive family would make me pretty upset too. Then to be publicly ridiculed at school, one of his "safe" places, would be hard for any adult, let alone a teenager to deal with.


I'm not saying moments of the story weren't grating, I'm just saying it was a much easier read this time through. 


I mentioned the narrator's, Jim Dale, female voices were bothering me and I have to say that is still true. He did a great job with what I imagined Umbridge would sound like, but Luna Lovegood was, in my humble opinion, awful. Instead of flighty/whimsical (which is how she was described several different times in this book) the voice was grated and rough. Aside from that I think he's doing a good job with the book as a whole. 


I still love this book. The Dept of Mysteries, the Order getting together, the DA... all of these are some of my favorite parts of the series. I really enjoyed the end of the book when Dumbledore finally starts filling Harry in on the prophecy and his theories about the connection between him and Voldemort. 


On a side note, I think the movie version did a great job of the Dumbledore/Voldemort fight in the Ministry of Magic forum. It really brought to life that scene in a way I haven't appreciated before. 



Reading progress update: I've listened 1215 out of 1586 minutes.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

Well it's just that you seem to be labouring under the delusion that I am going to -- come quietly. I am afraid I am not going to come quietly at all, Cornelius. I have absolutely no intention of being sent to Azkaban. I could break out, of course -- but what a waste of time, and frankly, I can think of a whole host of things I would rather be doing.




Albus Dumbledore knows how to lay the smack down in such a way that you can't help but admire him. 

Reading progress update: I've listened 800 out of 1586 minutes.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

Just because you've got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn't mean we all have. - Hermione


Ah teenage boys and their lack of understanding about how complicated we women can be. hahaha

Reading progress update: I've listened to 275 out of 1620 minutes.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

Jim Dale's voice for Luna Lovegood is more grating than his voice for Hermione. This may be a hard listen if it doesn't improve. 



Reading progress update: I've read 95%.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

Bahahahaha I forgot about the part where Crabbe, Goyle and Malfoy get hexed by Harry, Hermione, Ron, Fred and George on the train. 


Tentacles growing from Malfoy's face... soooooo good!