Discount Prices (Heroes for Hire #1) by C.S. Feldman — A Review

29106592Discount Prices (Heroes for Hire #1) by C.S. Feldman

RaeleighReads rating: Hot_Coffee_EmojiHot_Coffee_EmojiHot_Coffee_EmojiHot_Coffee_Emoji

Really very enjoyable.

Need a hero? Are you a bargain hunter? Well you’ve come to the right place. In Cantrial you can hire heroes to complete your quests. Unfortunately for Peg Brickner, she finds herself in Cantrial quite unexpectedly and is unprepared for the creatures and monsters she encounters.

Coerced into completing a mission for a low-rate hero scout, Peg must travel with strange companions so that she may return to her own home on planet Earth. Along the way she finds bumps, and cuts, and bruises plus terrifying bitey creatures. But she also finds friendship, loyalty, and a new sense of self. There were definitely some warm and fuzzy moments amid the action scenes.

This was a delightful heroic adventure story – perfect for a summer read. Perfect for anyone who likes quirky stories, or stories where women find their own strength. Also, have you guys seen that preview for Teen Titans Go!? This reminds me a bit of that. Our band of “heroes” isn’t very strong or burly or talented, but they do have a lot of heart!

The writing was very good, the pacing was excellent. Sometimes Peg really bothered me with her whining, but she won me over in the end. I can not wait for Heroes for Hire #2. I don’t see it listed on Feldman’s author page on Goodreads, but I do hope it’s in the works! So, why not five coffee cups? Because I really do reserve the five cupper for books I find transcendent. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Happy reading everyone!

 

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Clarence Olgibee by Alan S. Kessler — A Review

29464607Clarence Olgibee by Alan S. Kessler

RaeleighReads rating: Hot_Coffee_EmojiHot_Coffee_EmojiHot_Coffee_EmojiHot_Coffee_Emoji

Synopsis: In 1974, 17-year-old Jimmy Tate Sullivan watched his two friends bludgeon to death a black man. Sentenced to life for abetting the crime, Sullivan is initiated into a white- supremacist church by a fellow convict, once the best friend of an African-American teenager, Clarence Olgibee.

Shifting back to 1954, this family saga is about race, religion, and the powerful white men in a sleepy Midwestern town who plan a new world order Olgibee tries to escape.

Small choices have fateful consequences— in this life and the next. Olgibee’s choices lead him back to the two women he loved and an ultimate decision.


The terms like and dislike do not seem to apply here.

This is a very well-written indie book, though the writing style did take some getting used to. Mr. Kessler most certainly has a voice all his own.

For most of this book I could not connect with the main character, Clarence. His outlook on life, and his actions, were foreign and appalling to me. I think, perhaps, that was intentional. Kessler spares no character in this novel. The whole thing is overridden by a cloud of pessimism and disgust at the human condition, and most of all, a disgust with the racism that still pervades this country.

He shows us the worst of humanity — lying, cheating, degrading, using. No character was redeemable. They were all complicit in their own state of misery. Honestly, it’s left me feeling a bit hollow. I began this book with a pretty low opinion of most of human-kind, but after this book, I’m feeling a little hopeless. I need some puppies or unicorns.

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There, that’s a little better.

Please don’t mistake me. I do not mean to make light of this book. In its pages, one can find very real parallels to today’s events even though its setting is back in 1954 and 1974. It is as though nothing has changed. It gives me an eerie, spider-crawling-up-my-spine feeling. White supremacist groups, racism, eugenics…those are just a few topics Mr. Kessler’s pen stabs into the page.

It really was quite a read! It has made me ashamed of humanity, aware of my own privelege in that I rarely, if ever, have to think about these things, and pumped up to do something that will change our world (starting with myself) for the better. This is a read I’m sure I will not soon forget.

The cover of my review copy looks like this:

clarence olgibee

I happen to prefer my cover to the one with the smudgy red background. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

N.B. I believe this book may have undergone some edits since I received my review copy, so please keep that in mind, and apologies for not getting this review out sooner.

The Fire and the Forge by Jack Geurts — A Review

36283631The Fire and the Forge by Jack Geurts

RaeleighReads rating: cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3

Have you ever seen Troy or The Mummy? Well, that’s where my mind’s eye kept going while reading this, except, this is not set in Greece or Egypt. And there are no quippy one-liners, and you definitely do not get to see Brad Pitt’s ass. There is just loads and loads of fire, and So. Much. Fighting., and So. Much. Death, and stupid squabbling gods ruining things for all the regular folks.

So, why the three cups you ask? Normally I like loads of fire, and fighting, and death? You are correct. I do like those things. This book wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t very captivating either. That said, I was at the tail end of a cruise when I started it, and I was getting sick. I got this horrible, yucky cold, and it is still lingering. So, I was taking some pretty heavy duty cold medicine, and I was very, very sleepy. This may or may not have had some affect on my reading of this novel. Just, ya know, as an FYI.

The Fire and the Forge weaves together several different story lines. We meet Gaius and Imharok, blacksmith and apprentice, neither of whom fit in to their town. These two eventually meet a Qo-Hadast (Shadefolk) girl, Asherah, who opens Imharok’s eyes to the larger world stage. There is Caelos, god of fire, and his brother Ferraros, who falls in love with Caelos’ human wife, Libera. Ferraros and Libera sneak off in the night to try to live a normal life, bringing them into contact with one of the characters we’ve already met. Additionally, there are Gaius’ brother and his wife, Claudia, whose importance doesn’t really come into play until the end of the book.

The telling of all of these people’s stories weaves back and forth, from past to present and back again, from one person to another, until at the end, when we finally get to see how all the characters are related. It got a bit confusing at times, and I’m not sure if that’s because the writing was confusing or because I was hopped up on cold medicine. Le sigh.

Anyhoo, apart from the structure, the writing itself is good, but I’m afraid I just found it a rather forgettable and somewhat bland tale. In fact, I had to go back and look things up so I could write this review. The story did not stick with me. It is book one in the Pantheon series, but I have no desire to read the rest of the series. I guess this one just didn’t click with me. The rest of the reviews I read were pretty much raves, so you might want to take that into consideration.

I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Hope by Grier Cooper — A Review

26170198Hope by Grier Cooper

RaeleighReads rating: cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3

 

Dudes! Two romantic books back-to-back! What even is my life right now?

Okay, it’s not really a romance like Hate to Want You, but the main character’s feelings do get put through the wringer when a fellow dancer seems to be interested in her. She starts to like him back, and it seems like they may be starting a relationship, but then…maybe not? And this does-he or doesn’t-he nonsense is really the last thing she needs.

Hope is about the lives of teenage dancers, ballet (obvs), and pushing yourself to be your best you, while still being a decent human being to those around you. Indigo is the main character, a teenager who struggled very hard to gain her spot at the New York School of Ballet. This school is just a stepping stone on her way to becoming a professional dancer. Following are her thoughts at the beginning of Hope.

Here’s what I’ve realized in the one hundred and fifty-one days since I first arrived at the New York School of Ballet:  Every second counts. It isn’t enough to work hard and sweat; there has to be something more. Each moment is a new chance to reach just a little further, move one step closer to perfection.

Indigo and her group of friends struggle to maintain the balance between dance classes, high school classes, friendships, and boys. Felipe is the foreign, and super sexy, boy who seems to like Indigo, and then maybe he doesn’t, and then he definitely does, and then he doesn’t again. C’mon boy! Make up your mind!!!! Pauvre Indigo. 😦 At least he’s a first-rate pas de deux partner!

Image result for ballet gif

Anyways, these professional teenagers are under a huge amount of pressure. Their ultimate goal: to get a job dancing for a good company. Remarkably, most of them make it to the final performance, the workshop they’ve all been busting their buns (pun intended) to be cast in, without completely falling apart.

I really enjoyed reading Hope. It is the second book in Grier Cooper’s Indigo Dreams series. I didn’t read the first book, Wish, but I felt okay going into book two without much background information. Currently, Cooper does not have a book three. I really, really hope that she plans to write one!!!! Hope ends well enough, but I want to know what’s next for Indigo. Does she get a job? Does she tank the workshop and have to find an alternate career? I NEED TO KNOW.

I would recommend this book to those who enjoy YA fiction, stories about ballet (obvi), stories about friendship, and stories about going for your dreams. I will definitely be seeking out the rest of the series. I just cannot resist a well-told story about ballet and dancing. Who am I kidding, I can’t resist anything ballet! Pretty sure my patronus is toe-shoes. 😉

Image result for ballet gif

I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Robin Lockslay by Lana Pecherczyk — A Review

Robin Lockslay by Lana Pecherczyk

RaeleighReads rating: cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3

It really saddens me that more people have not read this delightful retelling of Robin Hood. At the moment there are only two ratings on Goodreads and one review (mine). I’m just going to leave a link to it on Amazon here for you. Do with it what you will. (Linking of my own free will. I get absolutely nothing for this.) I mean it’s free on kindle unlimited. I’m just sayin’. Okay, okay, on to the review!

Robin Lockslay is a street urchin. And as many street urchins are, she is an excellent thief. Her thieving leads her into the life of a man she calls Richard Lionheart. Together they spy on Richard’s company to try to keep the bad guys at bay. When Richard suddenly goes missing, Robin and her crew of diverse satellite characters are slung into a chase that leads down some very dangerous paths. Breaking and entering, high-stakes poker, it’s all just part of the quest for Lionheart.

Originally, this was published as a serial, but the author then compiled them all into a novel. So glad she did. This book is such fun! It’s fast-paced, it’s funny, and I just loved Robin! I mean, it’s about time someone rewrote this tale with a female protagonist, amiright!?

One of the challenges for Book Riot’s 2018 Read Harder Challenge is to read a “one-sitting book”. This totally qualifies! It’s an easy read, and it’s just delightful. I highly recommend it.

I received the first two episodes in exchange for an honest review, and then I went out and bought the darn thing because I liked it that much!