Monday, February 19, 2018

In the Absence of a Body Review

In the Absence of a Body (A Frankie Wilson Story, Book 2)
By: K Britt-Badman

I WARNED YOU BITCH!

Frankie's left reeling by the shocking news of Verity Froom's apparent suicide. A stark threat, daubed in paint on her front door, confirms Frankie's belief that Verity's death was not a suicide—but murder. Before she can voice her suspicions, she finds herself fighting for her life.

After narrowly escaping death at the hands of Verity's killer, a high-speed police chase ensues. The police confirm that the killer has drowned but they can't find the body.

Frankie isn't convinced that the killer's dead. In fact, she's certain that the killer is still alive and continuing to stalk her a year on, but no one believes her. Frankie continues to live in fear for her life. Is Frankie right? Will the killer strike again? 




I was so excited when I was contacted by the author and asked to review this book for her. I loved the first installment and was excited to read the sequel to it. Especially as it ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, I needed to know what happened to Frankie! So thank you, K Britt-Badman, for the opportunity to read and review your book before it's release date.

If you read the first Frankie Wilson Story and liked it as much as I did then you already have high hopes for this book, and if you haven't read the first one, what the heck are you waiting for?? Read it already! I am pleased to report that this book is much like the first one, and you will not be disappointed. In the Absence of a Body began right where In the Strictest Confidence left off, which I was grateful for, I wanted to know immediately what happened with Frankie after the way the first book ended. The first couple of chapters had me on the edge of my seat as the author wrapped up the dramatic events of the first book. I was glad that she didn't drag it on throughout the whole book, making this a continuation of the first. It makes In the Absence of a Body a novel in it's own right, instead of having this book ride on the coat tails of the first book, lending it a glory that it doesn't wholly deserve. 

One of my most favorite facets of Frankie is her profession. I found some of the most interesting parts of this book to be during Frankie's counselling sessions. Her clients are always interesting and their stories and problems are fascinating. The writing of these sessions by the author is beyond impressive, not only does she give each character a complex personality but she also writes about them in such a way that I find myself contemplating each character more than I normally would; questioning the depths of their problems, their actions in response to their feelings, the way they might affect Frankie outside of her office, how dangerous they may be. That's right, I became a little paranoid while reading this book, so I understood where Frankie was coming from. There were a number of times while reading this that I was creeped out and I am still unable to ascertain if that is because the story was creepy at those points or if it was just really great writing. 

Another facet of Frankie that I enjoy is that her character is definitely relate-able making her seem more realistic. I love the fact that she juggles the struggles of being a single parent, the financial hardship of being the sole provider for her household, trying to increase her client-base, and trying to have some semblance of a personal life. Her problems are very much true to life problems, especially the parenting ones. It's refreshing to read about a woman who knows she is not a perfect mother, and doesn't concern herself with trying to achieve that title. She makes mistakes, she tries her best to prioritize her kids first and spend as much time with them as she can. She does her best to stay on top of them and be aware of what's happening in their lives, but we get to see her struggle with that as sometimes life gets in the way and things get pushed back to be dealt with later. I love that her overall message is that she is the does her best to be a good parent, and her kids are happy, loved and well adjusted and that's the best that any parent can ask for.

The villain in this novel was a bit of a surprise, although the author gave us an indication of who it was towards the end of the book. The dramatic events and villain were all multifaceted, keeping the reader on their toes with trying to solve the mystery as to who was stalking Frankie throughout the whole book. The culmination was great and I was a little relieved that there was no cliffhanger at the end of the book. I am hoping that there will be a third installment in the Frankie Wilson Story as I cannot get enough of K Britt-Badman's writing.

Final Rating:
✬✬✬✬✫
Probability of Rereading:
Yes

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6) review

Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6)
By: Sarah J. Maas

Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent's mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.

But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.




I want to start this review by first admitting that Chaoll Westfall has never been a favorite character of mine. At one point I used to dread his parts entirely because I found both his personality and his story lines to be very dull. It's pretty safe to say then when I found out that this installment of Throne of Glass was entirely about Chaol I did not rush out to buy it. I knew at some point I would have to read it or else that last installment (due out this year!! Woo Hoo!!) would probably not make as much sense to me. Luckily, I was given this book as a gift from my other half (thanks, babe!) and though I may not have been excited about the amount of Chaol I was about to digest, who could ever turn up their nose at a Sarah J Maas book?? She is a brilliant writer, and I knew that no matter what I would not be disappointed at the end of the book. I was so right.

This book was about Chaol and Nesryn's journey to Antica, for Chaol to be healed from the injury he received in the Queen of Shadows book and I looked forward to exploring a new place with new characters. It's always exciting to see what the mind of Mass will create next for her readers. This time she came up with a royal family with an interesting way of selecting the next heir, a group of prominent magical healers and potential new allies in the great war that's coming. 

One thing that disappoints me about Chaol's character is that he never evolves in any way. His thought processes, actions and values always stay the same no matter how much the world around him changes and evolves, or how much he learns about the wonders of this fantasy world. He's a bit of a caveman in that respect. Don't get me wrong he is still protective, observant, caring and mindful of the people and places around him, however because he comes at every new obstacle in much the same way as the last, his story lines tend to get stale quickly as the reader already knows what to expect of this character. I had hoped that during this 664 page tomb he would grow and become slightly more unpredictable, thus making him more interesting but unfortunately that didn't happen, and as such there were quite a lot of dry parts is this novel.

The new characters that Maas brought in were all rather interesting though, my favorite being Yrene. By the end of the book I could just feel that Yrene will be playing a very big part in the war, not that I expect her to survive to see the aftermath of it. Her character is powerful in a way that we hadn't seen yet and that power, combined with her extraordinary empathy was so refreshing to read. She definitely brings a lot of character and vigor to the series and I am very excited to see what she does next and how she handles meeting Aelin for the first time. 

Actually, one thing I can definitely say about this book is that it has built up so much excitement in me for the final installment that I cannot wait for October for it to come out! I am beyond excited to see the entire rag-tag cast of characters from all of the books finally culminate into an incredibly powerful force. The war is going to be something to behold that is for sure. 

Final Rating:
✬✬✬✫✫
Probability of Rereading:
Yes

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Fated (Relentless #6) Review

Fated (Relentless #6)
By: Karen Lynch

Christian Kent has many labels – warrior, protector, friend, lover – but the one label he never wanted was mate. In his lifetime, the only girl he has ever loved, was the one he couldn’t have. He left her to protect her heart, but his own will always belong to her.

As a girl, the one person she believed would never hurt her broke her heart. Now a warrior, she’s loving life and living for the next adventure. She’s put the past behind her, including the man who walked out of her life.

Fate brought them together once, and it’s not done with them yet. When they are suddenly thrown together to battle a lethal new foe, sparks fly and old feelings resurface. Chris will have to work hard to heal the rift between them. But will she be able to let go of the old heartbreak and open her heart to him again? Can they come together before the threat they are facing tears them apart forever?




The anticipation I had while waiting for this book to be released (it was released yesterday!) almost killed me. I so badly wanted to stay in the Relentless world that I reread the first five books more times than I care to admit and joined a few Relentless/Karen Lynch FB groups to satisfy myself with their Fated theories and discussions. I have to say doing so may have been a misstep for me. I was so caught up in all of the 'release day' hype and every group member's excited posts about how they had gotten their books and how "amazing" it was and how they absolutely loved it. Literally, so many posts from different people about how great this book is had me thinking non-stop about how I could not wait until it was released in Canada. Unfortunately for me I had to work on release day, but I get off fairly early and finished this book the same night I began it.

I have always loved Chris's character. I love how fearlessly he teases Nikolas all through the Relentless trilogy about his bond with Sara, I love how he knows how attractive he is and flirts shamelessly with every female he comes into contact with and I love how he's always fiercely protective of people he cares about. That said, I began this book with expectations of how Chris would behave and react based on the previous novels, and was a little let down when his personality didn't shine through in this book as it had in the others. I fully understand how the bond affects/changes Mohiri males, and that Chris was fully focused on Beth throughout the book, but I felt that he had become someone completely different. He was far less playful, teasing and generally fun. I don't think he teased anyone but Beth during this book which is completely out of character for him.

I liked Beth's character. She's very much like Jordan, just less intense. It was nice to see another Mohiri female in her ass-kicking glory. She also brought with her a new dynamic to the story since she had grown up Mohiri as opposed to Sara who was new to all of it. We got a glimpse at what her upbringing was like as well as the decision's she got to make for herself and her life after she graduated from the institute. The only reservation I had in regards to her character is how emotionally weak she came across. I felt that she held a grudge against Chris for far too long taking it to unreasonable lengths at certain points. 

I think my favorite component of this book was the villain. It was so refreshing to read about someone/something new and intimidating. It was fun to watch the conflict begin relatively small and then become something so large it spanned beyond the city's reach. Karen gave us little hints throughout the book to help us piece the puzzle together before the finale, and while I had already figured out who the villain was it didn't stop my surprise when I realized that I was only partially right. I also really enjoyed reading the fight scenes between the villains and anyone who was in their way. I think my favorite, though we only got to see a glimpse of it, was the Blue Nyx scene. It also lent the Blue Nyx characters some humanity, for lack of a better word. It's always nice to see even the smallest of characters show us a little of who they are.

Of course, the bonus scene given to us by Karen was such a treat. I will be honest when I say that I was happy with the way she ended Sara and Nikolas' story. The odd peek at their life in Haven and Fated only cemented the fact that they are happy; the rest I can make up in my imagination. But to get an official update (and from Nikolas's POV!) on their well-being by the author was extremely satisfying. Again, I am good if Karen decides not to write anymore about Nikolas and Sara centrally. I am happy for them to appear in the background of other characters stories (please Karen, give us a Jordan story!!). I am content in the knowledge that Nikolas and Sara have their happily ever after. 

Again, I want to reiterate that I did like this book. I didn't love it as I did with the first ones, but I will never say that it disappointed me either. I absolutely plan on buying the hard copy version, hopefully signed to go with the rest of my set, and rereading it multiple times down the road. I just wish Chris's character had a little more flavor. 

Final Rating:
✬✬✬✫✫
Probability of Rereading:
Yes

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Sunday, February 11, 2018

In a Dark, Dark Wood Review

In a Dark, Dark Wood
By: Ruth Ware

Nora hasn't seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back. 

There was a dark, dark house

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room

But something goes wrong. Very wrong.

And in the dark, dark room.... 

Some things can’t stay secret for ever.



I bought this book for my sister for Christmas because of the creepy yet cool cover. It drew me in. As well as the endorsement from Reese Witherspoon at the bottom of the cover illustrating how scary the book is. (Side note, did you know she had a book club and reviewed books? I didn't. And based on her comments about this book, I'm not entirely sure I trust her opinion!). My sister is in the middle of another series and hasn't yet read this book, so I borrowed it. And I'm glad I did! It's always a bit of a gamble buying a book you haven't read and giving it as a gift. It's the first time I've ever done it, I always play the safe route and give something I know and love. I think it paid off this time though. 

I began the book with the preconceived notion that it would be suspenseful and and terrifying. I was a little let down when I learned it wasn't that scary at all, but at the end of the book I realized I wasn't all that disappointed given the way the story went. There were definitely times I was creeped the fuck out, there were times when I was questioning everything and everyone, writing them all off as suspicious and guilty. The author set up the perfect environment for the story in a large, glass walled house set in the middle of a remote forest. There were no close neighbours, no cell service, no internet and at one point their only phone line out of the house to the real world was down as well. Honestly, the idea of that place alone gives me the willies. Throw in the notion of people being able to hide in the woods and clearly see everyone inside the house, as though they're in a fish bowl and potential intruders/vandals and I was telepathically screaming at all those characters to get the hell out of there!

The eclectic group of 6 people were all at the house to celebrate the future bride, Claire, in what the Brits apparently call a 'hen weekend'. How I love British dialect! The protagonist of the story is Nora, who has no idea why she's been invited as she and Claire haven't spoken in several years, or why she feels obligated to go. She spends most of the time at the house with their mutual friend Nina (who I love!) feeling out of place and trying to concoct a reason that would allow them to leave early. On the second night of the weekend things in the house take a turn for the worse for poor Nora and she finds herself wishing she had never gone on the hen weekend.

The antagonist of the book was definitely not who I thought it was going to be, actually I was completely blindsided by the incident that took place in the house and struggled along with Nora to try to figure out what happened. The story flips back and forth from past - the prior 2 days in the house, to present - Nora in the hospital with no memory of how she got there. 

I was so engaged with the book about halfway through that I don't think I stopped reading, until I was finished it, to do anything except relocate from the upstairs couch to the basement couch. The first half of the book was a little slow, but once it picked up it felt as though it never stopped and every part of it was intriguing. My only real complaint was that I felt the end of the book was a little open ended. Unless this was part one of a series, Nora's story should have been more complete. I don't understand how anyone could live through what she did and then just go home and carry on as though nothing ever happened. It should have changed her somehow.

Final Rating:
✬✬✬✬
Probability of Rereading:
No

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Friday, January 26, 2018

Beartown Review

Beartown
By: Fredrik Backman

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.



Oh my goodness this was a difficult read for me! For months I had seen Beartown popping up in bookstores and on my FB feed before I finally gave in to the idea that I needed to read this book and began reading it last week. It took me forever to get into it, and there were quite a few times (I counted at least 5) when I thought for sure I was just going to give up and move on. But the positive comments I saw about the book on FB lent me the tenacity I needed to continue on with it. It wasn't until chapter 12 that I finally started to accept the fact that no matter how dull I found the book to be I was not going to give up on it. Literally, I was about halfway through before I admitted to myself that I was in for the long haul. Then I finished the rest of the book in about 4 hours. Thankfully it was about 75% of the way through the book that it really finally picked up. 

The book began slowly with many, mostly vague, character introductions and a much longer intro about the hockey town that they all called home. Unfortunately, hockey does nothing for me (I love poutine though so my Canadian citizenship can't be completely revoked). The author didn't spend enough time on any character to give the reader time to develop any affinity's with any of them and the whole book went on that way, where even when a seriously tragic event happened and all of the characters in the novel were impacted in a negative way I didn't feel much for any of them beyond the typical sympathetic human response. 

The only thing I enjoyed about the novel was the way that the author dealt with the small-town response of its teenage hockey hero being accused of rape. There was a solid line drawn in the sand and Fredrik Backman made no bones about concretely placing the townspeople on both sides of that line, purely based on opinion instead of fact. In my opinion it was a very true to life depiction of what happens when sexual assault takes place and it was both disturbing and heartbreaking. 

I rarely feel such a sense of accomplishment after finishing a book but I really wasn't sure whether I would be able to finish this one or not. I find it a little odd that even though I did not enjoy this particular book or even the way that it was written with the choppy paragraph's, immediately after finishing this novel I googled more books by Fredrik Backman because something about his writing made me want to read more of his work. Hopefully the next one will win me over.

Final Rating:
✬✬✫✫✫
Probability of Rereading:
No.

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass#5)

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)
By: Sarah J. Maas

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius as war looms on the horizon. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don't.

With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

In this breathtaking fifth installment of the New York Timesbestselling Throne of Glass series, Aelin will have to choose what—and who—to sacrifice if she's to keep the world of Erilea from breaking apart.


This series has gone so far beyond what I expected of it when I first began reading it last year. This book was categorically better than the last one, in my opinion, but it still went pretty dry in the middle. The plot line of the story is moving along quickly enough but Aelin didn't really do a while lot in this book which made for a pretty long read in some chapters. There was more of Aelin in this book than in previous ones, which was too bad as the other characters were all doing more in their own story lines than Aelin. 


Throughout this book I was more interested in the story line of Elide and Lorcan, who were thrown together unexpectedly and had fantastic chemistry together. Both were more interested in getting to their final destinations than in each other and their journey is not without peril. I started rooting for something to develop between them early on. Who doesn't love the idea of a centuries old, powerful and heartless faerie doing the impossible and falling in love? This is probably the story line I'm most excited to see more of in the next installment, even if things didn't go as planned for them in this one. 

Now that we're getting further along in the war against Erawan we get to see more and more of our favorite characters (Manon and her thirteen, Dorian, Gavriel and Fenrys, etc.) come together and forge alliances, some temporary and some lasting, and its gratifying to see all of the previous plots and characters come together to form one powerful story.

While I found the middle of the novel pretty dry I was impressed with the end of the book. There was a fantastic culmination of powers and alliance changes that had me on the edge of my seat. The end of the book was such a cliffhanger that waiting until the next book to come out to find out what happens is killing me! 

Final Rating:
✬✬✬✬✫
Probability of Rereading:
Yes

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Friday, January 5, 2018

Queen of Shadows Review (Throne of Glass #4)

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4)
By: Sarah J. Maas

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.




Ok, so if you've read my previous TOG reviews you know that I love this series and this author, so believe me when I say that writing this review is a bit painful for me. I wanted to love this book. I began this installment already loving it based on the last 3 books in the series, but this book didn't do a whole lot for me. Don't get me wrong, by no means did I hate or even dislike it. It just didn't live up to the expectations that I had from the first three books. I did like the overall book, I did. But I don't know that it needed to be over 600 pages long. There was not enough action happening to warrant being that long a novel. 

I loved Manon in the last book, and I loved her even more in this one as her progression has her becoming more caring and more aware of her surroundings and those who lead her. I did not love that for the first half of the book her character was a waste of time. Other than her submission to her grandmother (and coven leader), which we saw the extent of in the last novel, nothing really happened. At least, nothing that made any bit of difference in the end of the book. 

The author introduced another new character that I find myself liking, Elide. I'm not sure yet as to what her powers are, if she even has any, or what her hopes are as far as her future, but I am hoping to see a lot more of her in the next book. 

It was very rewarding to get to see Celaena/Aelin finally get some long awaited revenge on people who have harmed her and the people she cares about in the past. Even more rewarding to see her make a new and lasting friendship with someone that she never used to like. It's nice to see a side of her character that you don't get to see often, a more human side of her. One that's not consumed with war planning and killing, not that I mind those parts of her either, but change is always welcome to keep the character from getting stale.  

The battle that Celaena brings with her  in this book is fantastic. It has been building for the last 3 novels and the end of this novel did not disappoint me in any way. The action, the war against the king, the alliances that Celaena makes along the way were perfection. It was exactly what the author's writing has been promising us throughout this series and we finally get to see it all unfold. 

I know I've made it all sound amazing thus far, but this book took me three days to read. I'm sure you're thinking that 650 pages in three days is pretty good, but for me it's not. Especially with this series. I've been known to devour the TOG books in a day, a day and a half at most; all the while still living my life, going to work, spending time with my family, getting housework done and making meals. I had no trouble plowing through the first third of this book, but once I hit the middle I was so disinterested and bored with the little things that were happening that I had to make myself sit down to read it to get through it at all. I think it took me longer to get through the middle of the book, than it has taken me to get through any of the other books in their entirety. It was painful. But if you read this book, the end is worth getting through the dull middle of the book. 

I have the next book on my shelf ready to read and now that Aeling is in Terrasen I am excited to read the next chapter in her story. The author has been leading up to a much larger war, a worldwide one and if the last battle is any indication of what is to come, I won't be disappointed.

Final Rating:
✬✬✬✬✫
Probability of Rereading:
Yes


Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

In the Absence of a Body Review

In the Absence of a Body (A Frankie Wilson Story, Book 2) By: K Britt-Badman I WARNED YOU BITCH! Frankie's left reeling by the shocki...