TBR Month is Over (September Book Buying Ban)!

SUCCESS! (Kind of)

For the month of September, Bella from A Girl Reads a Book was hosting a TBR Month or September Book Buying Ban. We all had so many books sitting on our shelves waiting to be read, but kept going out to pick up more or even acquiring review copies of books. So, we all got together and decided to give our poor, neglected books and authors our attention for the month of September.

Here were my results:

So, the month wasn’t a total bust, but I did acquire four books I didn’t expect to (but still love of course!!!). I did stay out of the bookstore even though there were a few books that I would have impulse bought. I did keep a spreadsheet and overall, I would have spent $65.45 and had a few others I would have absolutely kept my eye on. So, it was a win especially because Tropical Storm Hermine came through our area and it now looks like my kitchen is going to undergo a major remodel because we had some minor flooding. Glad I saved my bucks for a rainy day (oh this pun WAS intended)!

I had a terrible ache to buy a few books, but I had so much fun on the ban meeting new bloggers and moping about on Twitter. I found that we distracted ourselves a lot with other conversation as well and got to know each other better which was AWESOME. I don’t know that I’ll ever do another complete ban, but I’m going to do like Amy from Amy Reads did and give myself credits. I think I’m going to make it that so that I can buy 1 book for every 5 that I read in my house. It might change to every 3, but yeah…that’s my choice if I do it that way! haha!

Thanks again to all the bloggers that were in the challenge with me and a huge thanks to Bella for hosting the challenge. It was heaps fun and I love that all you guys are so awesome! Here’s my first vlog and watch to the end (or skip to the end) where I send out a call for help from all you non-native English speaking bloggers!

Magic Bleeds – Ilona Andrews

Book: Magic Bleeds (Book 4 – Kate Daniels)
Author: Ilona Andrews
Publisher: Ace Fantasy
349 pages
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Magic Bleeds starts off where Magic Strikes (Book 3) leaves off. To prevent spoilers, I will just say that what you are anticipating after finishing Magic Strikes you will read about in the first few pages of Magic Bleeds. Kate is still working for the Order as a consultant and Curran is still running The Pack as Beast Lord. The story starts off with Kate being called in to investigate a fight at a local bar. She discovers that not only is it a fight with major carnage, the behavior of the bar patrons is not typical of a normal bar fight. Through her investigation she finds that the person responsible for the bar fight is linked to her in a very unique way and is ready to put Kate to ultimate test and fight of her life.

Where do I start with this book? Well, it’s the last one that is published at the moment and while Ilona Andrews has a contract for three more books, her fans are left pining for the moment when the next book is released. And pine we will because this book lived up to what the series has been so far and has what I have been looking for…a much more layered story. Kate and Curran’s relationship finally comes to a head and she has to decide if her lifestyle can mesh with Curran’s responsibilities as the head of The Pack. Kate’s background finally gets described in full force in this book and sets up the subsequent books for an ultimate battle that is sure to be nail biting.

The one thing in this book that kept it from being my favorite in the series was the development in Kate and Curran’s relationship. There is a minor spoiler here about the development, so scan down to the next paragraph if you don’t want to see! I was appalled at how Kate and Curran finally end up together. It was a fairly violent fight scene that ended in them consummating their relationship. Why does it have to be violent? It was just a big turn off for me and kept me from truly enjoying the rest of the book as much as I probably would have if it had not included a fight (in fact, that’s the only reason it didn’t get 4.5 or 5 stars from me). After this initial scene, their relationship does normalize. I should note that the world is a very different world and Kate is a tough mercenary-type so the scene fits in with her tough upbringing. I wouldn’t let this turn you off of the books by any means. I am anxiously awaiting the next book in the series.

The battles in the book are awesome and Kate breaks the mold with toughness. Even with the romantic storyline that has developed throughout the series, it hasn’t taken over Kate’s ability to handle herself. She is tough as nails and is an excellent swordfighter, and her supernatural abilities are beginning to be explained more and take shape more than ever. She still exhibits her characteristic snark through part of the book, but it quickly becomes a much more serious story where Kate and the rest of her friends are in real danger and face a foe that is the most menacing yet. I actually had serious doubts about who would and wouldn’t survive in this book!

I cannot wait for the fifth book in the series to come out. As of September 2010, Ilona Andrews’ website says that the fifth book is still untitled and is under contract. It’s a good thing that I haven’t read her On the Edge series yet because I am aching for more from this husband and wife writing team! This series has been infinitely fun, and I am waiting to see how the overall story arc is going to come together in the next three books. Through these four, the suspense has just built up rather than fizzle out like some series tend to do. If you are looking for a series that takes you on a wild ride, I highly recommend picking up these books! Kate Daniels is no wallflower, and I love it!

*Notice of Disclosure: I received this book for review from Penguin Books.

**I am a Book Depository and IndieBound afilliate so If you purchase any of the books I have featured through the links I posted or from the banners in my left hand sidebar, I get a small commission from them. I am in no way compensated for the reviews I post of my books.

Links of Note

Guest Post #5 – Courtney from South Carolina, USA tells us about her Book Read ‘Round the World Experience

World Map 4 (EA)
The Enchanted April = Red Pin
Journeyed from Cayce, SC, USA to Logan City, QLD, Australia
Distance Traveled = 9334 mi / 15986 km
Total Distance Traveled to Date = 17229 mi / 28691 km

Guest Post #5
Courtney from the USA

Lynda at My Reading List has received her package from Courtney so now it’s time to post Courtney’s guest post about her Book Read ‘Round the World experience! After you read this post, make sure you go check out Courtney’s blog, Stiletto Storytime. Courtney is currently participating the A to Z Challenge and just recently posted her “Z” book. Lynda also has a wonderful blog with an eclectic mix of reviews and her thoughts about reading. Make sure you head to her blog, My Reading List to check out her reviews. She reads everything from David Mitchell to Stephen King!

*If you haven’t already entered the Book Read ‘Round the World Giveaway. It’s international and includes a signed copy of The Lunatic Express by Carl Hoffman and two pairs of origami earrings made by my cousin. The giveaway closes in just a few days, October 1, so make sure that you enter! 


Hello, this is Courtney. I am an American book blogger from South Carolina, which is located on the southeastern coast of the United States.  I am a former librarian turned stay at home Mom, book reviewer and freelance writer.  For almost four years now I have been blogging about books at Stiletto Storytime. It’s seen me through my early librarian years and into motherhood and the many steps in between. I review just about everything from picture books to adult fiction. Special topics that often come up at Stiletto Storytime include libraries, classical literature and Jane Austen.  However I really think that there is something for everyone at Stiletto Storytime. My goal is simple…to match people to a book they will enjoy and therefore promote reading no matter the age.

From Iris in the Netherlands

   I have been so blessed to be a part of Book Read Round’ the World. I was lucky enough to be receiving a package from Iris at Iris on Books whom I had some knowledge of in the blogging and the Twitter world. I was so excited to get my box. I have been to the Netherlands unfortunately it was only a two hour layover in Amsterdam on my way to India so I was unable to leave the airport. When the package came my husband and I both eagerly opened it to find such well thought out gifts.  Iris read my blog and knew I have a one year old son who loved to “read” so she focused many of her gifts on children’s literature from the Netherlands which was perfect not only for my son but for me as a children’s librarian as well. Miffy will be well loved for a long time to come! Iris also sent a postcard telling me about her country and some droppies…. which my mother-in-law loved. (Sorry I must admit I hate licorice but I did try them!).  Thanks again Iris!

For Lynda in Australia

After opening Iris’ wonderful gifts I began to think what could I send to Lynda in Australia? After some research I learned Lynda enjoys just about everything! She loves to cook and that seemed perfect. The South is famous for our cooking and while I could not send her any delicacies such as shrimp and grits or chicken bog, I did send some family recipes. Lynda now has Southern family recipes for Chicken Bog and Boiled Peanuts as well as information on their origin and traditions.  I also included some playing cards from our recent visit to Hilton Head, which is a lovely island right off the coast. I wrote Lynda a postcard about South Carolina and our symbol of the palmetto tree.  Other items I included were a Palmetto koozie, drink coaster and University of South Carolina key chain. I live in Columbia, South Carolina home of the University and state capital. I also got my undergraduate degree in English Literature and a Masters in Library and Information Science there.  As I looked at my assembled package I realized it looks like I am lush but ah well…it was interesting to try and find things that were shippable and not too heavy for postage! I hope Lynda will enjoy them.

Questions I was asked

1. What is the thing you are most proud about when it comes to where you live?

I am very proud to be a southerner born and bred.  I have traveled all over the world but there is just something about the South and its people and heritage. We are as friendly as they come, polite and we appreciate the simple things in life. Good food, a glass of sweet tea, family and friends…that’s what we love. I’m also very proud to be an American and to enjoy my freedom and to always remember those who gave their lives to make that possible.

2. Which sites would you show your blogging friends if they were to visit and why?

Well, we would have to go to Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA. My two favorite southern cities that are alive with the South of today and the traditions and history of the past. We could also head to the beach…I suggest Hilton Head, Isle of Palms or Folly Beach. And of course we would have to eat at some of my favorite Southern restaurants…that’s what we do when we like you in the South…..we feed you!

Steampunk Challenge

Steampunk Challenge
October 2010 – October 2011

What?!!! Another challenge you say? Yeah, exactly. I’m not exactly passing with flying colors on my current challenges, but this isn’t school and I can do what I want so here it is.

Rikki from The Bookkeeper is hosting a Steampunk Challenge that will run from October 2010 – October 2011. She has had a wonderful response in the comments from fans of the steampunk genre so I’m getting some good ideas of what to read for this challenge.

What exactly is steampunk? Well, Rikki used the New Oxford American Dictionary on her blog and defined it as,

“a genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology.”

I keep seeing super cool steampunk cakes and even steampunk wheelchairs so you know what? I’m game!

This genre looks awesome so I can’t wait to start. My first book will be The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi which I’ll be reviewing in October. Please leave me a comment if you have any other recommendations for me. I’m going to start off with a goal of 5 steampunk books over the next year, but if I love the genre I might even read more!

If you are interested in signing up for the challenge, click HERE to go to Rikki’s blog and sign up! It’s going to be heaps fun!

Oh, and I can’t leave off without showing you this awesomeness which partially inspired Rikki and I to talk about doing a Steampunk Challenge!

Friday Coffee Chat (11) – When a series drags on for far too long…

Friday Coffee Chat-4
Have you ever burned out on a book series?

Last week on Friday Coffee Chat we talked about books that you thought were so bad, you couldn’t pass it on to anyone else. It generated good discussion and people were, shall I say, VERY forthcoming about the books they abhorred.


This week, I want to talk about those books you love and are part of a series, but somehow seemed to drag on for so long that the story has become stale and you just can’t wait for it to end.

Jennifer from Girls Gone Reading is talking about a similar topic this week in her portion of Friday Coffee Chat. She wants to know if a book can still be interesting when there is very little action and the characters don’t seem to do anything. Head over to her blog to post your thoughts!

I’m going to admit it. I love a good series. I get so connected with the characters that they end up feeling like family to me. I love it when and author makes their story and characters so rich and full of life that I sit away and pine for more while they work on their next book. Anne McCaffrey did this with her Pern series. Masterharper Robinton became like a father to me and Menolly was my best friend for many years. I dreamed of having a fire lizard as a pet, a dragon as a companion, and life on a planet that while unfriendly at times (I mean, spores that ate anything organic did fall from the sky) was so wonderful that I just wanted to move there.

Not every series does this for me. There are some that I love but now just feel like I’m in it for the long haul or I’ve just decided that I’m tired of feeling like the author is trying to milk their series for every last penny. You know…there are the books that seemingly have an end, but then you find out there’s a prequel. Or a prequel to that prequel. Or better yet, a few hundred years have passed and now you’re reading about the characters’ great, great, great grandchildren.

Terry Brooks’ Shannara series is kind of like this for me. Oh make no mistake…I’m in it for the long haul. I didn’t even like the first book in the series, but it was a trilogy so I reluctantly read the second book, The Elfstones of Shannara and ended up really liking it. I devoured just about all the books in the series and thought I was through, but no, I found out there was a prequel. I read the prequel and liked it, but then I found out that there were books that took place in the future and…well, you get the point. I’m finally toward the “end” of the series, but I just found out that he just released a new Shanarra book, Bearers of the Black Staff, in an apparently new series called Legends of Shanarra. Sometime along the way, the books just stopped being super fun and now I feel like I’m watching an episode of ER. I’m so connected to the world that I HAVE to finish the series, but the story has kind of fizzled and the characters don’t have the draw that they used to. The cover of the book even features the series name larger than the title of the book. I just can’t help but feel like Terry Brooks is wringing that pile o’ cash out to see if a few more pennies will fall out. That being said, despite my lamenting that this series has gone on too long, I’ll most likely be at the bookstore picking up a copy of Bearers of the Black Staff at some point in the future!

I’ve also heard people say similar things about Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s series, and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I’ll even begrudgingly admit that I’ve felt that way about my beloved Pern. Anne McCaffrey passed the series on to her son after the books came to a good and satisfying conclusion (the last book I might add, sat on my shelf for 3 years before I read it because I was SO sad that the series was ending). Granted, there is history on Pern that Todd McCaffrey is now writing about, but the first book was kind of rough. They’ve since gotten better and of course I won’t give up my Pern but I would also be completely ok if they decided to let Pern only live on in the heads of its fans.

I have to give props to writers like J.K. Rowling who had a story in her head, wrote it all out on paper, and ended the series once her story was told (although don’t get me started on the Epilogue to Harry Potter). Why don’t some authors realize that all the compelling storytelling has passed when the conflict in the story has been resolved? Why do I keep buying books for series that should have ended long ago? A part of me feels like a sucker.

 My questions for you this week are:
  • What series’ do you wish would just end so that life can go on as normal?
  • Do you think authors still have stories to tell in their series, or do you think that publishers are trying to ride a wave of success and they push the author to write more?

Magic Strikes – Ilona Andrews

Book: Magic Strikes (Book 3: Kate Daniels)
Author: Ilona Andrews
Publisher: Ace Fantasy
310 pages
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

In Magic Strikes, the third installment of the Kate Daniels series, Kate finds herself wrapped up in the fight of her life when she finds her friend Derek nearly dead from a fight that no one can explain. Her investigation leads her to an invitation-only Gladiator style competition, the Midnight Games, where the fighters are deadly and magical. In order to save Derek and the city of Atlanta, Kate must infiltrate the Midnight Games and defeat those responsible for nearly killing Derek.

Each book of the series thus far has featured mythical creatures from different areas of the world. Magic Strikes is no different—Hindu mythology takes the forefront in this book as Kate’s investigation unfolds. I am really liking how the mythology is different in each book. While it is just a taste of what the mythology is, it’s introducing me to so many new things that I can go and read about. I think the books are mainly meant to be a quick, fun read so I can’t complain much about them being short on explanation. It gives just enough explanation that I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.

The mythical creatures are so menacing which is an aspect of this book that I love. Gone is the paranormal/urban fantasy with just romance and questionable female characters. Kate Daniels is awesome! She kicks so much booty in this book and her powers and back story keep developing. It just makes me like her more. The gladiator theme of this book is so appropriate because Kate Daniels reminds me a little bit of a Spartan from the movie 300. She is tough as nails and cares a great deal for her friends. There is more romance in this book, but there’s so much action that the romance doesn’t overwhelm the book. I’m not a huge fan of romance, but Curran and Kate’s interaction continues to leave me wanting more so Ilona Andrews must be writing the romance right!

The humor is also not lost in Magic Strikes. In addition to the action, this book is flat out funny at times. There are times when I caught myself laughing out loud and getting looks from my husband like I was a crazy woman. Kate’s internal commentary often bleeds snark and it often comes out in the dialogue to her own detriment. Her friends are also really likeable people, and I really root for all of them. They all argue like family but work together well as a team.

I’m a little sad that I’m getting toward the end of published books. Ilona Andrews has been contracted to write seven books but as of now, only four are published. I’m going to crack open the fourth book of the series, Magic Bleeds, right after I finish this review and then pine away with all my friends who are Kate Daniels fans until the fifth book is published. If you haven’t read the earlier books in the series, you really should start at the beginning of the series (Book 1 is Magic Bites and Book 2 is Magic Burns) because you’ll miss some of the character development if you read them out of order. They can be read as stand-alone books, but the relationships between characters in the books definitely have a continuity throughout the series that is best read from the beginning.

If you are looking for an ultra fun series that is quick and enjoyable, I highly recommend picking up this series.

*Notice of Disclosure: I received this book for review from Penguin Books.

**I am a Book Depository and IndieBound afilliate so If you purchase any of the books I have featured through the links I posted or from the banners in my left hand sidebar, I get a small commission from them. I am in no way compensated for the reviews I post of my books.

Links of Note

In My Mailbox (97) – The Great Grocery Bag Exchange!

(hosted by The Story Siren)

(Don’t you just love this Autumn themed mailbox? I love Autumn and wish we actually had one here in Central Texas. I found this awesome mailbox on Flickr and it is courtesy of Graham here.)

So a few of us have become obsessed with reusable grocery bag swaps when we ship international packages to each other. They are simply awesome. They always have something on it that identifies where it’s from, sometimes has a cool foreign language, and always makes you look cool when you go shopping! They are also a good way to help keep plastic bags out of landfills and they’re something you can use all the time and don’t gather dust on your mantle (I hate dusting!).

The last few weeks I have gotten two VERY cool packages from two wonderful bloggers! The first package was from Judith from The Netherlands (@leeswammes on Twitter). She writes Leeswammes’ Blog. I sent her The Tricking of Freya by Christina Sunley after I finished reading it because she also has a great love of Scandinavian culture and countries (You can read Judith’s review of The Tricking of Freya, too). In return, she sent me a Doris Lessing book called Alfred and Emily which I’m very excited about reading. It also included a beautiful bookmark of Mariska Meijers called Red Blossom and Double Luck. She also sent me a VERY cool grocery bag from her local market that says Hamster Weken on it (it means Hamster Week). It’s such a cute and funny bag. I love it! She also included a nice handwritten note. I love European handwriting! It’s so pretty!

The second package came from Rachel from Australia. She was wanting a copy of Let the Right One in by John Ajvide Lundquist and my husband had just finished the book so I offered to mail it to her. In return, she sent me a very cool potato sack grocery bag with a picture of the world with Australia on it! So cool! Usually when I see the globe as decoration on something it’s always North and South America on it so it was a neat change to see a globe with another continent on it. She also sent me a book by an Australian author called Hell Island by Matthew Reilly. I’m really excited to read it because I haven’t read too many Australian authors yet! She also sent me two very cool bookmarks: Gamnut Babies by May Gibbs and Turtles Underwater Playground by Terry Johnstone. You can find Rachel on Twitter under @andplotthickens or on her blog, And the Plot Thickens.

Another thing I got was something completely unexpected. Sometime last month I requested a copy of The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi from Nightshade Books. It’s a pretty popular book, won the Nebula Award, and just won the Hugo Award so I didn’t have much hope of getting a copy to review, but while I was on vacation in New Mexico visiting family, I got a copy in the mail. It was a total “jump up and do a little jig” moment! I have been wanting to read this book for months! I’ll be reviewing it in October!

The last thing I got I actually have had for a few weeks as well. Penguin Books was nice enough to send me the rest of the Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series because I liked Magic Bites so much. They even sent me a copy of On the Edge which is her new series! I am so excited about reading it because the Kate Daniels’ series is heaps fun! I have already reviewed Magic Burns as a mini read-a-long with Bella from A Girl Reads a Book. Her review can be found HERE.

So that’s it! That’s my mailbox full of awesome sauce for the last few weeks! I love my blogging friends and I love swapping bags and bookmarks from other countries. It’s silly, but it’s like a little burst of goodwill between countries and it’s amazing and makes me want to squeal with joy!

*I am a Book Depository and IndieBound afilliate so If you purchase any of the books I have featured through the links I posted or from the banner in my left hand sidebar, I get a small commission from them. I am in no way compensated for the reviews I post of my books.

Friday Coffee Chat (10) – Are some books a waste of paper?

Last week I took the week off for Friday Coffee Chat because BlogFest was starting and I was a participant. Jennifer at Girls Gone Reading did a fantastic post about authors that are overblown and overexposed. It created some good discussion and if you haven’t read it, I definitely recommend dropping by her blog to read and comment on it. Of course, I had a lot to say about it!

This week Jennifer is talking about women in literature and how they seem to always fall into certain stereotypes in her post, Just Half a Girl. I know almost everyone has an opinion about that so make sure you check out her post!


This week I want to talk about those books that you abhorred so much that you a) thought they were a waste of paper, b) thought they were too bad to even give away to a friend, and/or c) left you questioning how the book got published in the first place.

First up is Eragon. I have no worries about Christopher Paolini weeping about my dislike of this book because if he is, he’s certainly weeping into $100 bills. This book was WILDLY popular. Everyone read it and loved it. Oh all these people on Shelfari, Amazon, and other forums where people talk about books just fell all over themselves about this book. You know what?!! I thought it was terrible. Not only do I think he stole parts of his story from just about every fantasy writer and series that I liked, I think he did it blatantly. Some of the names were changed by one letter or not even changed at all. There are several blogs/websites that go into greater detail than I will here, but here are a few examples:
  • Arya -- He has an elf character named Arya. So does George R.R. Martin in his Song of Ice and Fire series that was published seven years earlier.
  • Lord of the Rings -- Oh there are so many names here that it’s just annoying. How about The Lonely Mountain, The Grey Folk, Elessari (Elessar in LotR) to name just a few.
  • The similarities in storyline or unique elements in other books by other authors--Earthsea and Pern I thought were VERY similar in some ways and on another site someone said that David Eddings work was also plagiarized.
Here are two sites that have gone into greater detail: Pixie Dust and Matchstick. Check them out if you are interested.

A lot of people say that Paolini was so young when he published the book that it is a feat in and of itself for him to create such a work. Does that give him a pass? Hmmm...not in my book because last time I checked, you could be thrown out of college for plagiarism. Why does it not work the same in high school? Yeah, I don't buy it. Paolini gets a big thumbs down and a razzberry from me. Luckily, I borrowed this book so I didn’t have to throw it in the fireplace.

The next book I thought was not worth the paper it was printed on was Web of Debt by Ellen Hodgson Brown. This book was about the Fed and how corrupt and secretive it is. Sounds like an interesting topic and had the potential to be a very good book, but it just devolved into cheap conspiracy theorist fodder that I had trouble even finishing. I finished it only because it was for a book group, but any author that purports the Middle Ages to be a time of prosperity for most people gets a thumbs down in my book. I guess she’s overlooking the fairly short life expectancy during the Middle Ages for the obvious benefit of seeming to have endless amounts of leisure time to build cathedrals and other massive buildings without any fear of starvation for their families. I’m paraphrasing here, but she advocated the use of different forms of currency and bartering instead of a national monetary system and lauded the use of things like “Ron Paul dollars” while glossing over the South’s economic crisis during the Civil War when the Southern states had numerous currencies which eventually contributed to the collapse of the economy. There were so many contradictions in this book that it just became a jumbled mess. A lot of the things she argued for as a solution, she refuted as a problem in other parts of the book. I’m so embarrassed that I bought this book that I considered using it as kindling in my fireplace. Yup...I actually considered burning a book until I found this awesome wreath made by Julie on Book Hooked Blog. I don’t have to feel guilty about burning a book, but I don’t have to have massive guilt for contributing to someone else’s delinquency by passing it on to read.

These two books obviously have an audience. There are 149 reviews of Web of Debt on Amazon.com--128 of which gave the book 5 stars. Some people in my group even enjoyed the book as did my Dad who thought it was excellent. As far as Eragon goes, Christopher Paolini is bathing in a shower that shoots out $100 bills so plenty of people have obviously loved his book. Still, I was so upset after I read these two books (as you can see in my description of them) that I could never, ever in good conscience send these books on to someone else.

So my question for this week’s Friday Coffee Chat is:

Have you ever had such a negative visceral reaction to a book you threw it away or refused to pass it on to someone else (or made a pretty arts and crafts project out of it)?

If so, let us know why OR tell me why you think I am way off base for refusing to pass on certain books that other people might actually enjoy.

Magic Burns – Ilona Andrews

Book: Magic Burns (Book 2: Kate Daniels)
Author: Ilona Andrews
Publisher: Ace Fantasy
260 pages
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Kate Daniels is back in Magic Burns, the second installment of the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. This time around, the former Guild merc is now working for the Order and is confronted with magical beings from Welsh and Irish mythology. In this book, Kate Daniels sets out to retrieve some stolen maps for the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapeshifters when a young girl named Julie is sought by sea demons and Kate must intervene to keep her from being harmed. The story that unfolds is action packed and threatens the city of Atlanta with destruction.

I admit it. I am not a fan of the covers of these books. I would never have moved these books to the top of my TBR List if it weren’t for Chachic from Chachic’s Book Nook. Even after Magic Bites, I was disappointed with the cover of this second installment. I was even a little embarrassed to pull it out on the plane a few days ago when I was flying home from vacation. However, the book was so engrossing that I ended up not caring at the few looks people gave and just thought that they were likely missing out on this fantastic series if they decided to judge the book by its cover.

Kate Daniels continues to be awesome. She is a little more vulnerable in this book, but still in a very kick ass way. There are little snippets of her back story in Magic Burns that will hopefully be expounded upon in the next few books in the series. I want to see how this part of the story will play out in further books. Her character grew and developed quite a bit in this book so I have high hopes for seeing how she continues to deal with her past and her present in the upcoming books.

I really enjoyed the Celtic mythology in this book. It’s just a small snippet of information since the book is only 260 pages, but a little trip to Wikipedia helped familiarize me with the characters in this book. I would actually like to read some more on Celtic mythology now that I’ve finished it. Morrigan and Morfran are interesting mythological characters and since they aren’t the super popular Greek and Roman gods/goddesses, it helped give the book a freshness that I wasn’t expecting.

Curran, the leader of the Pack also returns in this second installment and the witty banter between him and Kate is everything that the first book had and more. I’m usually not much one for romance, but the snarky dialogue between them creates a lot of sexual tension that I actually enjoy. I would compare their relationship to Castle and Beckett from the TV show Castle. The tension is there and you end up rooting for them to go the romantic route.

There are so many likeable characters that bring humor to the different situations that happen that I found myself laughing out loud a few times. The book really had everything that you could look for in a fun Urban Fantasy read. There is action, good character development, a strong female lead that isn’t whiny, and interesting antagonists. My only complaint is the same from the first book. I really wanted more world building, but that might be because I typically read longer books that have tons of detail in them. Magic Burns just left me wanting to immediately crack open the third book in the series, Magic Strikes which I will mostly likely do right after I finish writing this review. Yes folks, the series is that fun! I love it!

*Notice of disclosure: I received this book for review from Penguin Books.

Links of Note

BlogFest Winners!

Well, BlogFest is over and even though I was out of town, lots of people dropped by my blog to enter my giveaways! How exciting! Thanks to everyone who dropped by and became a follower—it wasn’t required to enter, and I was overwhelmed by how many people subscribed to my feed and became followers! You are all awesome!

BlogFest 2010

I also want to thank A Journey of Books for hosting BlogFest. It was a lot of fun to participate! So, with no further delay, here are the winners of the two giveaways that were specifically for BlogFest.

Winners of Giveaway #2 – Reclaiming My Shelf Space
Winner of Beat the Reaper – Josh Bazell

                Teri Hardy

Winner of The Bourne Identity – Robert Ludlum 

              Connie Black

Winner of The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein

                Michele Pineda

Winner of Empress Orchid – Anchee Min

                  Carrie Rundhaug

Winner of Giveaway #3 – Celebrating Becoming a Book Depository Affiliate

The Book Depository

For my last giveaway, I am advertising becoming a Book Depository affiliate by giving away any book of your choice that is less than or equal to $15 USD. This giveaway was International.

The Winner is:

Fool Moon – Jim Butcher

Book: Fool Moon (Book 2 - The Dresden Files)
Author: Jim Butcher
Publisher: New American Library/ROC Fantasy
342 pages
My Rating: 4/5 stars

foolmoon[1] Fool Moon is the continuing adventures of wizard Harry Dresden. In this second book of The Dresden Files, Harry finds himself idly waiting for the Special Investigations unit of the Chicago Police to call him as a consultant. He doesn’t have to wait long because a gruesome murder has been committed in Chicago that screams supernatural. Suspicious paw prints are found at the scene and Karrin Murphy calls on Harry to help her solve the crime. Little does Harry know that his reputation also makes him a person of interest in the case. While holding off Karrin Murphy’s Special Investigation unit Harry must stop what he suspects might be a bloodthirsty pack of werewolves from wreaking further havoc on the city.

Harry Dresden might be one of my favorite characters in urban fantasy. He’s snarky but good-hearted and has a great sense of humor to boot. Fool Moon picks up where Storm Front left off. Harry is hanging out at his favorite pub, McAnally’s when a woman asks him for help in deciphering some symbols from a circle she has seen. No sooner does Harry finish talking to the woman than Karrin Murphy appears and tells him about a case that needs the services of Chicago’s only practicing wizard. It only takes two pages in the book for the action to start. Murphy tells takes Harry to the scene of a brutal murder where the person has been torn to shreds and strange paw prints are all over. Harry learns that this strange murder is not the first and that the FBI has become involved. Harry goes home to Bob, one of the coolest spirits on the planet and asks for his help. What he learns is that the paw prints can belong to more than just werewolves which doesn’t bode well for Harry.

This book is no different from Storm Front. It’s fun and action packed and Harry Dresden is still spot on with his humor. I really enjoyed just about every moment of this book while reading it and can’t wait to move onto the next book. I loved the werewolf mythology (I have no idea if it’s accurate or just a creation of Jim Butcher’s mind) and the continuing banter between Murphy and Harry. There is also another familiar character that returns in this book. Marcone, the shady gangster is heavily involved in the plot. I was a little sad that Bob didn’t have more of a role in the book than he did. I kept waiting for Harry to have more interaction with him, but it never happened. Bob is hilarious and I hope that Butcher gives him more of a role in the later books.

I can’t wait to move on to the third book in the series, Grave Peril. These books read really fast and are great if you are needing a break from more serious reads or just from life in general. They are especially good reads with Halloween just around the corner so if you are looking for fast moving urban fantasy that is high on fun and thrills, definitely pick up Fool Moon. I will say that it is best to read the first book in the series (Storm Front) before you read this one, but if you decide to start here you won't be lost.

**Notice of Disclosure: I received this copy of Storm Front from Penguin Books.

BlogFest is Here!

On Fridays I normally do Friday Coffee Chat posts but this week is special because it’s time for BlogFest! Don’t worry though because Jennifer at Girls Gone Reading is still doing a Friday Coffee Chat post so get your cup of joe ready and go chat with her about Overblown Authors—Too much hype, too little delivery. I can think of a few myself so I’ll be sure to take my opinion to her chat!

BlogFest 2010

A Journey of Books is hosting BlogFest this year and during the days September 10-12, 2010, blogs that have signed up have agreed to post at least one giveaway on their blog. I am posting a few giveaways this weekend!

Giveaway #1 – Book Read ‘Round the World (Giveaway Closed)

The first is an ongoing giveaway that will run through October 1. The giveaway is international and is open to anyone who would like to enter! For my Book Read ‘Round the World event that is ongoing, I am giving away a signed copy of The Lunatic Express by Carl Hoffman. Mr. Hoffman was excited about the event and was nice enough to provide a copy to give away. The book is fantastic. Click HERE to read my review.

I am also giving away two pairs of origami earrings that my wonderful cousin made. The first are paper cranes and the second are kimonos. I love them both and secretly want to keep them even though she sent me my own pair as well!

This giveaway is open through October 1, 2010 and is International. Winners will be announced shortly after October 1.
**You MUST write in what order you prefer the prizes (ex. 1. The Lunatic Express, 2. Kimono Earrings, 3. Paper Crane Earrings)**
*Winners will be chosen by Random.org.

Enter the Book Read ‘Round the World Giveaway!

Giveaway #2 – Reclaiming My Shelf Space
Giveaway closed

OK…I’m not gonna lie. I need to get rid of some of the books I’ve read to make room on my shelves for some shiny new books! So here are a few that I am getting rid of and can be yours to read!

This giveaway is U.S. Only and will be open until September 12. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, September 15.
*Winners will be chosen by Random.org

Beat the Reaper – Josh Bazell
From the back of the book:
Dr. Peter Brown is an intern at Manhattan’s worst hospital. He has a talent for medicine, a shift from hell, and a past he’d prefer to keep hidden. Pietro Brnwa is a hit man for the mob, with a genius for violence, a well-earned fear of sharks, and an overly close relationship with the Federal Witness Protection Program. Nicholas LoBrutto is Dr. Brown’s new patient, with three months to live and a very strange idea: that Peter Brown and Pietro Brnwa might—just might—be the same person… As goons, G-men, and death itself descend on the hospital, Dr. Brown must do whatever it takes to save his patients, himself, and his last shot at redemption. He just has to get through the next eight hours—and somehow beat the Reaper.

The Bourne Identity – Robert Ludlum 
From the back of the book:
Jason Bourne. He has no past. And he may have no future. His memory is a blank. His bullet ridden body was fished from the Mediterranean Sea. His face has been altered by plastic surgery. A frame of microfilm has been surgically implanted in his hip. Even his name is a mystery. Marked for death, he is racing for survival through a bizarre world of murderous conspirators—led by Carlos, the world’s most dangerous assassin. Who is Jason Bourne? The answer may kill him.

The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein
From the back of the book:
A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope—a captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life…as only a dog could tell it.

Empress Orchid – Anchee Min
From the back of the book:
From a master of the historical novel, Empress Orchid sweeps readers into the heart of the Forbidden City to tell the fascinating story of a young concubine who becomes China’s last empress. Min introduces the beautiful Tzu Hsi, known as Orchid, and weaves an epic of a country girl who seized power through seduction, murder, and endless intrigue. When China is threatened by enemies, she alone seems capable of holding the country together. In this “absorbing companion piece to her novel Becoming Madame Mao” (New York Times), readers and reading groups will once again be transported by Min’s lavish evocation of the Forbidden City in its last days of imperial glory and by her brilliant portrait of a flawed yet utterly compelling woman who survived, and ultimately dominated, a male world.

Giveaway #3 - Celebrating Becoming a Book Depository Affiliate
Giveaway closed

The Book Depository

For my last giveaway, I am advertising becoming a Book Depository affiliate by giving away any book of your choice that is less than or equal to $15 USD. This giveaway is International and will be open through September 12. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, September 15.
*Winners will be chosen by Random.org

Last, but not least, here is the link to the next blog for BlogFest! Make sure you visit:

Blog #256 - Jordan Deen

For a full list of blogs participating in BlogFest, make sure you visit (and also for trackback purposes):

A Journey of Books

The Lunatic Express – Carl Hoffman

I am giving away a copy of The Lunatic Express by Carl Hoffman on my blog for the Book Read ‘Round the World Event. Mr. Hoffman was nice enough to send me a signed copy of his book for the event so if you are interested in owning a shiny new copy, make sure you enter the giveaway.

The giveaway is open until October 1 and is International.
Click HERE to enter. (Giveaway Closed)


Book: The Lunatic Express
Author: Carl Hoffman (Click author’s name to go to his website)
Publisher: Broadway Books
283 pages (I purchased and read the Kindle Edition of the book though)
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Daily travel for the developed world is a relatively safe endeavor for most commuters. When newspaper articles kept popping up about how unsafe transportation in many nations is, Carl Hoffman decided that this would be an excellent experience to write about. So, he packed his bags and set out across the world to experience the world’s most dangerous modes of transportation. His journey took him to South America, Asia, Africa, and North America where he took planes, trains, automobiles, and ferries that would at the very least give most of us pause and would send most of us fleeing in the opposite direction. What he finds on his journey is an amazing demonstration of the goodness of people and a special connection that would not have otherwise been made had he not lived like the locals.

The book starts off with Carl Hoffman traveling to Cuba by plane—not just any plane--a  fairly ramshackle and unsafe feeling plane. Well, I obviously knew that he survived his trip so I felt like I could roll with his adventure through the streets of Havana before he moved onto South America. By the time Peru rolled around, I wondered how many pages would either be ghost written or blank because I was truly terrified. You see, the roads in Peru are not good roads, AND they happen to hug some wicked cliffs. In fact, the introduction to one of the sections on Latin America included a news story of a bus that had disappeared of a 1,600 foot gorge. I have a small fear of heights…ok…a BIG fear of heights. My stomach is actually feeling a little tingly and weak just thinking about that section because I cannot even imagine being in a bus on sketchy roads that hug cliff faces. I was really glad when the Latin America section was over and Mr. Hoffman moved on to Africa.

Each section is preceded by a news story of some terrible transportation accident or physical dangers from people that might do others harm. It sets up each trip he takes as harrowing even though he is just a passenger. Every section was unsettling and dangerous, but the people he meets in each place transcend the danger and make the journey an interesting and worthwhile experience. If anything, the book helps restore some faith in humanity as complete strangers open up themselves and at times their homes to Hoffman. I found that beautiful and was thankful to see that despite language and cultural differences, there is a common humanity that people can exhibit especially when they have so few material things to give. This was my favorite thing about the book as Hoffman traveled around the world. It was a rare moment when his willingness to share the experience of the traveling poor wasn’t rewarded with an act of kindness. Even in places where the camaraderie was in short supply, there was usually a small incident that showed how wonderful people can be.

I also really enjoyed how candid Carl Hoffman was about his experience and his motivations to take the trip. It was more introspective and raw than I was expecting, and it made me enjoy the book that much more. I think it must be so difficult to express some of the internal trials that we all go through as human beings, but Hoffman shared a part of himself that I wasn’t expecting and his honesty was refreshing. The trip was as much about discovering where he was in his life as it was about discovering the world’s most dangerous transportation.

There was one thing I found lacking in the book. The map in the Kindle edition is not very easy to examine. I was lucky enough to have a paper copy that I could look at as well. While that was disappointing, it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the book in the least. It was an amazing journey all-around and it made me look at travel in a whole different way. I can’t say that I would be willing to travel in a broken down truck with no heat in the cold desert of Mongolia, brave a war torn country like Afghanistan, or sleep on a ferry that I shared with thousands upon thousands of roaches, but it definitely makes me want to embrace more experiences that might cause some personal discomfort but will open the world to me in ways which I never expected. I enjoyed every moment of the book and highly recommend it if you are looking for a book about really off the beaten path travel.

Links of Interest
Sophisticated Dorkiness' review of The Lunatic Express
Website for the book, The Lunatic Express
Carl Hoffman’s Blog
Follow author Carl Hoffman on Twitter

**Note of Disclosure: I purchased my copy of The Lunatic Express for my Kindle, but I did receive a copy of the book from the author, Carl Hoffman, for a giveaway on my blog.

Guest Post #4 – Book Read ‘Round the World: Iris from The Netherlands shares her Book Hobo Experience

World Map 3 (EA)The Enchanted April = Red Pin
Journeyed from Groningen, The Netherlands to Cayce, South Carolina, USA
Distance Traveled = 4287 mi / 6899 km
Total Distance Traveled to Date = 12182 mi / 19604 km

Guest Post #4
Iris from The Netherlands

Courtney at Stiletto Storytime has received her package from Iris so now I am free to post Iris’ guest post! After you read this post, go check out Iris’ blog, Iris on Books. She has made the 2010 BBAW shortlist for Best Eclectic Blog and Best New Book Blog. Courtney also has an amazing blog that features what her “Little Man” is reading and she has recently been published in Wink Magazine!

**Also, make sure that you sign up for the Book Read 'Round the World Giveaway. It is international and includes The Lunatic Express by Carl Hoffman and two pairs of origami earrings made by my wonderful cousin. It is open until October 1. My review of The Lunatic Express will be posted tomorrow!


Hello, this is Iris from Iris on Books. I am a Dutch book blogger who focuses mainly on literature (contemporary and classic), YA and non-fiction about religion and history. I find it hard to put up any adequate description of my blog, but I always love to make new blogging friends so feel free to leave me a note!

I am currently blogging from Sweden, and I was lucky enough to receive my package from Sandie Lee just in time to read the book and assemble my own gifts for Stiletto Storytime.

It was quite a thrill unpacking the package when it was delivered at my home address. Sandie Lee put in all kinds of small souvenirs from Canada and wrote down information on her country and the area she lives in on different postcards. It was really nice. I especially enjoyed the moose keychain!


And that is when the hardest thing about the Book Read 'Round the World Event started: I had to think of gifts for Courtney. I had a hard time thinking of nice but small gifts (postage in my country in crazy, I ended up spending 20 euros on postage alone). I didn't want to buy her typical touristy things, I'm sorry if that was what you were hoping for Courtney. The thing is, when you're from the Netherlands, you get fairly tired of being known as the country of the "wooden shoes, tulips, cheese, windmills, drugs and Amsterdam". So all of these things were a no go for me. Instead, I decided to focus on small things I enjoy about my country. That all became a little easier when I noticed Courtney has a son. It gave me the perfect opportunity to include Miffy by Dick Bruna. Miffy is I am sure a well known children's figure worldwide, but originated in the Netherlands. I actually told myself I could read because of these books when I was just 3. Because I knew the stories by heart I pretended to read them while turning the pages in time with the story. I hope Courtney's son enjoys the story as much as I did when I was little, I am of course not sure if it works as well in English as it works in Dutch.

Apart from the Miffy book, I bought Courtney a "Jip and Janneke" shopping bag, to stick with the theme of bags that seems to be going on during this event. I felt most uncertain about this gift. It is childish, I know and in the end I think I bought it more because of my own fond memories of these illustrations.. I used to collect these items and Jip and Janneke is a very well known children's story in the Netherlands as well. Ask anyone, and they will show you their ragged copy of the book. Or at least that is my experience. I also included some "dropjes" which is translated in English as liquorice, but I have always been told that it is only available in this variety in the Netherlands. However, shopping in Sweden showed me that the people who told me this might have been wrong.

And last I included a postcard that says "Lieve groetjes uit Groningen" (Kind regards from Groningen). Groningen is the city where I have lived these past 5 years, during my time at university. It is the biggest city in the North of the Netherlands, but not very well known. It is surrounded by grass and farms and so the sheep sees fitting.

All in all, I really enjoyed this event, it was nice getting to feel more in touch with bloggers from around the globe and I'm eagerly awaiting the other posts in the series. I do hope the event will be organised a second time. I did wish I could've included even more gifts and I'm sorry that I could not do so.


Before I forget, Sandie Lee asked me two questions about the seasons and wildlife in the Netherlands. Below are the answers to the questions Sandie Lee asked me:

“Here in Ontario Canada, we have 4 definite seasons; Winter/lots of snow. Spring/rain. Autumn/rain-snow mix. Summer/hot and humid. What is the climate like in your area? Do you experience definite seasonal changes as well?”

We do experience definite seasonal changes and like in Canada there are 4 seasons. I think the difference between the seasons might be less extreme though. Winter is cold compared to the United States for example, but we do not have snow regularly. There are years and years in which it only snows for a few days and then there are years like last year when it snows for 2 months. In winter we mostly hope for frost so we get to skate on what we call “natural ice”: lakes and small rivers that are frozen and we get to skate on. It has been years since we have had the opportunity to skate for weeks and have big events like the eleven city race, sadly.Spring is a mixture of sunshine and rain, while summer is usually sunny, but we have years in which it rains a lot (The Netherlands is similar to England in that it rains a lot over here). In summer the temperature usually ranges from 18-25 degrees Celcius. Autumn can be defined by two words: rain and wind.

“I’m a huge wildlife enthusiast – What different types of wildlife and birds do you have?”

This is a very hard question to answer. Why? Because the only thing that comes to mind when I think of wildlife in the Netherlands is that it is nothing special, at all. We do not have large animals and I do not know if there are any animals that are specific to our country. I think it is important to realize that there are living over 16 million people in a very small territory in this country. There are woods and large stretches of grass, but most of these areas are only 5 minutes away from a city. I think that what Holland is best known for are the many areas close to water and that is certainly true. I am not an expert on it though and I couldn’t tell you if any animals of interest live there. I do like the nature in my country and the way it looks, but I think for foreigners the most special thing is that a) it is incredibly flat, we have no real mountains, except a few very small ones in the south of the Netherlands b) there is water in the cities, which means that there are boats in most cities.

**Be sure to check back for a link to Iris' review of The Enchanted April. I will link it in this guest post when she posts in on her blog and it will also be linked in the Mr. MckLinky in my right hand sidebar. 

Let the Right One In – John Ajvide Lindqvist

I have been seeing some buzz around Twitter about Let the Right One In. One of the great things about Austin is that we get a lot of indie and foreign films in the movie theaters here. Last year, my husband Kevin went to a midnight showing of the Swedish film, Let the Right One In. He thought it was fantastic so I went out and bought him the book. It sat on the shelves for year until I told him he should read it when I saw my Twitter friends talking about the new American film. So, being the wonderful guy he is, he picked it up and read it. You know what is even better? He sat down and wrote a review of the book when I asked him to do a guest review for me! Here it is!

Book: Let the Right One In
Author: John Ajvide Lindqvist
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
480 pages
Kevin’s Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Let the Right One In is the story of Oskar, a 12-year-old boy, and Eli, the girl who might be something else entirely. Oskar is bullied at school and lashes out against the world in private. His life is drastically changed when he meets Eli, the new girl in his Apartment complex. Eli talks differently, seems oblivious to the cold of the Swedish winter, and doesn't come out during the day. The two form an unlikely friendship considering that Eli ought to see Oskar as food. Unfortunately for Eli, it's not easy for a vampire child to function in society on her own. When her adult companion is caught trying to gather blood for her, Eli must risk exposing herself as the townspeople become more and more suspicious of what might be in their midst, and Oskar might be the only one who can help.

Let the Right One In is a horror story unlike any other I've ever read. It's an atmospheric read that tends to be creepy rather than scary most of the time, but still managed to have certain scenes I found scarier than most anything I can remember. The Vampires are mostly traditional although they are some pretty cool twists to them, that I wouldn't dream of spoiling.

While many of the principle characters in Let the Right One In are children, it has very adult themes, focusing on love, sex, pedophilia, alcoholism, divorce, bullying and the pains of growing up. It's definitely not a happy book. All of the characters are flawed in some way, even the ones who'd generally be considered the protagonists. I think this provides an emotional depth that is uncommon in this genre.

I read this book after seeing the original Swedish movie and I think they complement each other very well. The movie is much more straightforward and cuts out a lot of the subplots (including the scariest part of the whole book!) but is excellent in its own right. I imagine that people who read the book before seeing the movie could be disappointed, but coming to them in the order I did made a lot of sense. I was even a little disappointed at first because for the first 100 pages or so the book seemed to be almost identical to the movie, but then it began to expand and flesh out the characters and circumstances a lot more.

I highly recommend the book and the movie to anyone who likes their horror to have a little depth to it. Definitely don't wait for the US remake which they'll surely screw up.

Shanghai Girls – Lisa See

Book: Shanghai Girls
Author: Lisa See
Publisher: Random House
336 pages
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shanghai Girls tells the story of Pearl and May, two sisters living a privileged life in Shanghai when their world is turned upside down by their father’s gambling and the Japanese invasion of China. The girls make a tumultuous journey together through China to escape the Japanese threat and to meet up with their new husbands through arranged marriages. Eventually, Pearl and May end up in America where they make a new, modest beginning and work hard to make a good life for themselves. Though the book is not perfect, it is an excellent commentary on the immigrant experience in mid-20th century America.

I have been waiting to read this book for a few years. I am not sure why I didn’t pick it up sooner, but when the opportunity finally presented itself I jumped at the chance to read it. For some reason, I am drawn to novels about the Asian experience. I have to say that while I enjoyed the book, I had a little trouble caring for Pearl and May. Because they lived such a privileged life, I felt like their reaction to the change they experienced was written well, but it made them kind of unlikeable. For about two-thirds of the book I felt like I just didn’t like either Pearl or May very much, but as time went on and through adversity their character grew, they became women that I began to admire. After thinking about it for a week, I think that Lisa See’s writing was masterful because of this. When a writer can make me actually dislike their characters and then come full circle by the end, I think that is just effective writing!

The part of the book I most enjoyed was Pearl, May, and their family’s experience as immigrants to America. The immigrant experience (especially for the Chinese) in post-WWII must have been difficult when Mao Tse Tung came to power. Lisa See’s depiction of Pearl and her family was eye opening and very relevant since immigrant issues have become such a major point of contention in the U.S. I know there are many stories of immigrants coming to America to make a better life for themselves, but this was the first one I’ve read that took place and addressed the Red Scare and McCarthyism. It was this aspect of the book that tipped the scales up to a four star book for me. There is inherent value in keeping past stories of the immigrant experience in America alive so that we know our history and see the struggle that people went through to make the United States the country it is today.

The book is perfect for anyone who is looking for a story where the characters experience real growth and for those looking to understand the Chinese immigrant experience in America. After reading Shanghai Girls, I am definitely interested in reading more of Lisa See’s work.

*Note of Disclosure: This book was received for review through Crazy Book Tours.

Crazy Book Tours
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