The Sworn Virgin Had High Hopes…


When eighteen-year-old Eleanora’s father is shot dead on the cobblestone streets of 1910 Albania, Eleanora must abandon her dream of studying art in Italy as she struggles to survive in a remote mountain village with her stepmother Meria. Nearing starvation, Meria secretly sells Eleanora into marriage with the cruel heir of a powerful clan. Intent on keeping her freedom, Eleanora takes an oath to remain a virgin for the rest of her life—a tradition that gives her the right to live as a man: she is now head of her household and can work for a living as well as carry a gun. Eleanora can also participate in the vengeful blood feuds that consume the mountain tribes, but she may not be killed—unless she forsakes her vow, which she has no intention of ever doing. But when an injured stranger stumbles into her life, Eleanora nurses him back to health, saving his life—yet risking her own as she falls in love with him… (From

So what I really liked the most about the book is the historical background and aspect. It’s rich in detail and sheds a light on the customs in Albania. I loved the descriptions of the setting, the clothing especially and how family life was at the time. Despite that Eleanora lived differently from others in the village, traditions are deep rooted, strong and followed to the exact detail. It’s all about maintaining family honor and if disgraced, the way to gain it back is likely with someone killing the other from the rival family that did you wrong. It’s pretty harsh and during that time doesn’t give much voice to women in general, but Eleanora’s personality is strong and admirable even though she’s pretty much a daddy’s girl (which helps her let her be who she wants to be).

The first half of the book was great and got the reading going pretty quickly. It wasn’t until the last third of the novel where things bog down and I was afraid of this: the moment the ‘man of the her dreams’ came into the story. Then I was instantly reminded as to why I hated “Memoirs of a Geisha” so much and this mirrors it. Holy mother. The guy was the sun, moon and stars for Eleanora. I kind of get it after what happened to her dad but for crying out loud I was rooting for Eleanora for taking the vow and being strong. All it takes is an Adonis to break that all down. Eleanora then takes a complete 360 and becomes a mooncalf.

I lost admiration after her treatment of Meria. I get it. Meria shouldn’t have done that nonsense because she’s all obsessed with family honor and had Eleanora’s best interest even though it was far from beneficial. I thought her treatment was excessive to the point of abuse and cruelty and I felt like jumping in and giving Eleanora the beat down for her stupidities.

Then Eleanora’s mood swings go from pity party to guilt and goes back and forth for what seemed like the entire last third of the novel and it got tiresome to read. You know Eleanora, you could have solved all this if you JUST. TELL. HIM.

And when she does. Your patience is done with the book and depending how you found the book you either breathe a sigh in relief or roll your eyes because it took about 50 pages to get Eleanora to smarten up and the book would have ended sooner than later.

I liked the book at first, but it just didn’t hold it for me. The pity trips, and the self torment Eleanora goes through is just too much and made up a good half of the novel. I wish it could have been better because the historical aspect was excellent.

I give it a 3 out of 10.



The Night Eternal by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

The Night EternalIt’s been two years since the vampiric virus was unleashed in The Strain and the entire world now lies on the brink of annihilation. There has been a mass extermination of humans orchestrated by the Master—an ancient vampire possessed of unparalleled powers. The future of humankind lies in the hands of a ragtag band of freedom fighters—Dr. Eph Goodweather, Dr. Nora Martinez, Vasiliy Fet, and Mr. Quinlan, the half-breed offspring of the Master who is bent on revenge. It’s their job to overturn this devastating new world order. But good and evil are malleable terms now, and the Master is most skilled at preying on the weaknesses of humans. Now, at this critical hour, there is evidence of a traitor in their midst. . . And only one man holds the answer to the Master’s demise, but is he one who can be trusted with the fate of the world? And who among them will pay the ultimate sacrifice—so that others may be saved? (From Goodreads)

I liked the first two. This one I can’t say I’m too happy with the ending. I’d have to say at least the mood for the setting and the feeling throughout the book was pretty good. The violence and horror aspect of the book makes the setting have a post apocalyptic feeling so this part of the book was well done too.

The background story of Quinlan was also good. Although I can’t help but think the whole angels and Old Testament muck is just that. Muck something much more interesting could have been thought up but no. We have to go back the same past ideas that have been rehashed and reused over and over. I wasn’t interested in that. On top of that, the romance aspects and that horrible excuse of a love triangle with Eph, Fet and Nora was just terrible and unnecessary.

In fact the majority of the characters in this book just took a downturn for the not so interesting and blah. Eph becomes emo and whiny to the point where reading about him makes you want to cringe. Nora is okay but she suddenly becomes this besotted lovesick twit with Fet and they’re so bloody mismatched it wasn’t worth reading. Let’s not get started on Zack either. Oh my. Did I ever wish he would be choked to death by one of these vampiric beasts. Was he ever a waste of pages.

To top it off, the ending just didn’t do it right for me. When I read that, I nearly wanted to close the book in utter disgust but kept going a little more only to find more snippets of stupid Nora and Fet. Oh for crying out loud, I raved and loved the first two books only to get a real good slap upside the face with this drivel? Most disappointing final book in a series. Ever. This one just took that award by storm.

The only thing I liked? was Quinlan and the dark mood that set the setting and feeling for the book. Yet the rest of the characters just killed the story. I only finished it because it’s part of a series and a small part of me wanted to see it until the end. Disappointing, and sad to see it go a great series end this way.

I give it a 3 out of 10.

Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear

Innocent Darkness>When spirited sixteen-year-old Noli Braddock and her best friend Steven V Darrow take a flying car out for a joyride, neither expects Noli to be sent to reform school to mend her hoyden ways. While at the dreadful school, an innocent wish sends Noli tumbling into the Otherworld where the handsome huntsman Kevighn wants her as the next blood sacrifice to help restore his dying world. V arrives in the Otherworld to help Noli, but before they can return to the mortal realm they navigate the dangerous intrigues of the Otherworld and convince the High Queen to send Noli home while dealing with their emerging feelings for one another. But if Noli lives, an entire civilization will die. (from

Ohhhh I really tried to like this book. How it first started out had promise. I really liked how Noli was portrayed. She seemed like a strong character, and typical when you read some of these steampunk novels. They’re strong willed, always going against the social mores, and always tinkering – which Noli does. She’s also in love with botany – that was pretty interesting and different too.

As the plot progresses, I thought it was off to a good start. The reform school part really got me into the story and I thought it was going to get better. Then the faeries come in. I’m not much for faeries, they’re my least favorite paranormal beings (so perhaps I’m biased when it comes to this). Then the book suddenly stops becoming steampunk and goes into the romance and fantasy phase. This is where my interest in the book started to drop. Noli’s character started to becoming something that I wasn’t expecting at all. She becomes all girly, needy, clingy, and all around irritating.

The romance aspect of the book was starting to irritate me as well and the plot just seemed to have taken a nosedive from there. V was interesting at first as well, but then when the romance starts to happen I was personally starting to get real sick of all three: Noli, Kevighn, and V. Then when James and Charlotte joined in the picture the story got unbearable and predictable.

This book just wasn’t the one for me. Perhaps others will enjoy this one. It just stops becoming steampunk and then evolves into fantasy and romance. I was really hoping for a good novel featuring engines, gears and goggles. Not much so in this book. Sad to say I was very disappointed in this one.

I give it a 3/10

Thanks to the publisher for providing me a copy of this book via Netgalley!

Matched by Ally Condie



Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow. (From Goodreads).

I am trying to figure out what in the world the hype was all about for this book. I heard so many good reviews from it and gave it a try hoping it was good as everyone said it was. I fail to see what’s so great about it.

The beginning chapters of the book did manage to get my attention to keep reading. It was interesting and I wanted to read more. The moments with Cassia and her grandfather were touching and did hit a soft spot for me. I enjoyed reading Cassia and Xander. They were literally, perfect together. Then Ky comes in.

It came to the point where I really started to hate Ky. It wasn’t just Ky I started to hate. Cassia really got on my nerves. All the chapters were about Ky. Ky this. Ky that. What would Ky do? oh, I bet Ky would like that. Oh, Ky would have done something else. Ky is the light of my world. I want to kiss Ky but not yet. Ky looked so beautiful looking at the sun. Ky Ky Ky Ky Ky get my point? I understand she’s fallen in love, and fallen hard but it’s almost a very unhealthy borderline obsession and it just about made me stop reading. I didn’t know how I put up with reading endless pages about Ky. I don’t care about Ky. I want to know more about the dystopian society the characters were living in. I wanted some action and I wanted the plot to move.  It got even more frustrating because then she adds Xander to this mix. Then it became: I love Ky, but I love Xander too. Xander and I are meant to be. Yet I want Ky.  Egads Cassia, what in the world do you want? you want your cake and you want to eat it too?? At this point in the book I wanted to get in there and punch her to let her come to her senses.

The descriptions on the world were slow to come out. They were given in fragments and it felt as if you had to pull teeth to find out more about this dystopian society. It certainly had interesting concepts and the usual characteristics of a dystopian fiction and I did like the ‘three pills’ idea. however I just don’t get why the delay in explaining how the world was like? Why give bits and fragments here and there for the reader? It just made the book drag.

The plot was interesting at first, but it was slow moving and nothing really happened. Don’t expect any action until the very end, and by that time, I didn’t really care anymore and thought I wasted my time with this book.

If you just want a book with romance as the main central theme take this. If you’re expecting a dystopian fiction with romance on the side, but with a good exciting plot I suggest you try Hunger Games instead.

I give it a 3 out of 10

Review of How to Wash a Cat

How to Wash a Cat

How to Wash a Cat

It’s been a while since I’ve read a cozy mystery (somehow, reading them in the summer don’t quite fit in…reading them during winter on the other hand…) but I saw this one, loved the cat on it and decided to give it a try. It’s certainly a cute cover though!

Following the death of an uncle, our protagonist inherits his antique store in the San Francisco area. To solve the mystery however, she has the help of her two cats, an unwanted nosy neighbor, and a mystery that dates back to the California Gold Rush days.

I thought it was interesting that the book had a nameless protagonist. You actually don’t learn her name until the very end. Which is a little odd…but interesting nevertheless. I really enjoyed how Hale gave the cats two distinct personalities. They were cute and the way they interacted with the main character was almost human (perhaps a little too human for some readers).

The plot, well I can’t say it was great, but I can’t say it was bad either. It was, all right to say the least. Lots of history was involved, and a lot of fact reading which became more tedious than I thought. So there were some parts of the chapter were you had to read slowly as the facts just seemed to be jumbled together and things just didn’t make some sense. Things just didn’t make sense in some parts of the book either. It felt as if the plot was stuck in a rut and events weren’t coming together. Either they came too slowly or they were repetitive and it was starting to bore me. However, then there were times in the book where something would happen all of a sudden and I’m left thinking; “What just happened?” and I found myself re reading certain parts of the book to see if I understood what was going on. The only parts I did enjoy were the ones involving the cats.

The characters didn’t really stand out in my opinion. Monty was bloody annoying. I was also trying to figure out why he was so interested in her Uncle and the Gold Rush mystery – really what benefit would he get out of it? was it just out of interest? or something else? even after the book I was still wondering what was up with him. The other characters in the novel weren’t that great to begin with and they did nothing that caught my attention.

The ending was all right. Although I was left with a lot of questions and I was also left with a lot of confusion. If it wasn’t for the cats, I probably would have either put this book down, or might have quit reading it all together.

Confusing, a lot of fact reading, and leaves the reader with a lot of questions. Not sure if I am going to read the second one. It may deserve a second chance. Perhaps this book will suit cat and cozy mystery lovers, but for those that don’t really go read cozies might want to avoid this book.

I give it a 3 out of 10.

Review of Nibble and Kuhn

Nibble and KuhnFirst thank you Academy Chicago Publicity for providing me a review copy of this book. It was greatly appreciated!

Nibble and Kuhn is a law firm and Derek Dover is assigned a very difficult lawsuit case which seems to be totally impossible to accomplish. Besides the case, he also has his love, Maria Parma who is also in love with him too except for one thing; she’s engaged to someone else. Aside from those two main things, Derek finds himself caught in the politics of the law firm, a very difficult boss, and a law firm who seems to be a in trouble financially and are trying to “rebrand”.

This book isn’t my usual type of book I normally read. I gave it a chance anyway because I thought the case was interesting. The case being, the wrongful deaths of several children who contracted cancer as a result of a chemical plant nearby and dumping their waste materials into the water. I thought something like this would bring a lot of intrigue and a lot of plotting within a very cut throat law firm.

I was completely wrong. It wasn’t much like that. It was a quiet drama, with a satirical view of a prominent law firm which seems to be going downhill for several years. I liked the satire, it was under the main character’s narration and point of view (Derek Dover) and it was nice to read. You can hear the irony in his narration and how he takes a few jabs here and there about the firm. (With a firm called Nibble and Kuhn there’s bound to be a lot of jokes with that name). The way the story was written was clear and crisp. Straight to the point most of the time and it seemed like a quick read. Although it wasn’t what I expected it to be, it took me longer than usual to finish this novel because it didn’t have the intrigue I wanted it to have or the seriousness. (Perhaps I watch too much Law and Order)

As I progressed through the book more, I found myself really disliking Maria and Derek. For two grown up laywers, they act and behave like silly children. Maria, because with her personality, she had the backbone and the guts to tell her parents she’s in love with Derek, instead she sucks it in and continues being with her fiance – yet persists being with Derek. Derek could have just let her go with her fiance but that’s just too hard now is it? I felt myself rolling my eyes as more than half of the book was about their relationship, how they’re trying to conceal it from the firm (why? I don’t it taboo to date within the law firm?) I saw these two grown adults just act like pathetic kids and I found myself having to force myself to read through it and wishing there was more about the case than about stupid Maria and Derek’s relationship.

To my disappointment, you don’t read much about the case in great detail until way at the end, and even then it felt rushed and lacking. It seems Derek was just too obsessed with Maria to even care and just skipped the details and just talked about the case in about a two or three chapters and that’s it. That frustrated me as I picked this book up to read about the case, not about their silly romance and the office politics (which was interesting to read, but it got old fast).

The book got boring fast, after a while, Derek’s story about the office, and about Maria and less on the case made me want to put the book aside and read other things. I really had to force myself to read the last one hundred pages. Now mind you, if you’re into satire, and a “light” read with no heavy trial or heavy drama this might be the book for you. Otherwise, it’s really not for me and not my sort of thing. I was really more into the case and nothing but.

Overall, I was disappointed and wished it centered around the case and not about Maria and Derek. Pick this up if you want a light courtroom romance drama. Otherwise steer clear of it if you’re into heavier stuff like I am.

I give it a 3 out of 10.

Sunday Salon: Review of Beauty Sleeps

Beauty Sleeps

Beauty Sleeps

I love fairy tales. My favorite one is Sleeping Beauty. Speaking of that, the hombre also bought me Disney’s Sleeping Beauty on blu-ray today! so it’s a double Sleeping Beauty day. This book features a retelling of the classic fairy tale.

The book is your standard Sleeping Beauty tale. A princess is held under a curse where if pricked with a needle she’d be asleep for a hundred years until a kiss wakes her up from her slumber. The similarities end there. Aurore (the Princess) isn’t your typical royalty. She’s out on the fields working alongside the peasants on the farms and restoring houses. Basically she’s your “hands on” Princess. I think it’s more realistic than your classic fairy tale. The King and Queen are more present in this story. Oswald who is nicknamed “Prince Charming” is also more involved in this tale. It does make it slightly more interesting as you don’t see many of these characters in the original fairy tale so it adds another dimension to it.

I wasn’t really too interested in any of these characters despite their new presence into the story. Aurore is somewhat of a spoiled brat, a moody one too. As we are all familiar with the story there really is no need for character development, and there isn’t any. These characters are two dimensional and flat. Sad to say, despite this being my favorite fairy tale, I wasn’t really into this book. I couldn’t really get into the plot which was a little dull and not that exciting to begin with. There were a few parts in the book that caught my attention but then it instantly goes back to being flat in a second. The plot was rather dry and although there is an “evil witch”, the final battle…well let’s just say you’ll be disappointed as I was.

I’d say the only good thing I actually liked out of this is the increased presence of other secondary characters. Otherwise I wish I could have liked it more but I just couldn’t get into the story. It didn’t get my attention and the characters aren’t really that great. The ending was very different and it provides a different twist but it wasn’t enough to really get me to really like the book. Thankfully the book is less than 200 pages so it wasn’t a painful read, although I’m sure it could have been better.

I probably will pick up her next few novels just because I want to see the different twists she puts on the fairy tales. Although if they aren’t better than this one, then perhaps I wouldn’t go further. However I’m stubborn and I do believe in second chances, unless it’s something I really can’t stand.

Overall, tolerable, and interesting few twists on the fairy tale. However it falls short on plot and characters. It could have been so much better.

I give it a 3 out of 10.