Review of ‘The Town Built on Sorrow’ by David Oppegaard

The Town Built on SorrowThe Town Built on Sorrow by David Oppegaard

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Release date: September 26, 2017

*This review was actually written a few months back, when I used to attempt to write my own book summaries, so after this one, I’ll be going back to attaching the ones provided by the publisher.*

A strange book that features a pioneer girl’s diary, a serial killer, and a long forgotten skull. (Yes…a skull…).

In Hawthorn, Minnesota, a serial killer is dumping his victims into the town’s river, and the police are no closer to finding out who it could be.
While this is going on, Harper Spurling is becoming more and more obsessed with the locally published diary of Sofie Helle, a young pioneer girl and one of Hawthorn’s original settlers.
Sofie’s diary describes the settler’s journey to Hawthorn, as well as the strange things that happen when they arrive. But the strangest thing has to be the way it ends–abruptly, and then there’s the fact that no one knows whatever actually happened to Sofie, since she’d disappeared not long after.
Harper’s obsession has her delving further into this mystery, and doing so also unwittingly brings her closer to the serial killer as well.
But will Harper survive long enough to solve the mystery of Sofie’s disappearance?

The title of this book is what initially drew me in. Not only did I like the way it was worded, it also intrigued me enough so that I had to request it from Netgalley. But how sad was I to find this book not quite as interesting as I’d thought it’d be?

Anyway, so there are three MCs in this book, Harper, the serial killer (whose name I won’t mention, just because I feel it’s a bit spoiler, though you do find it out fairly quickly), and Sofie Helle’s account, as well.

I thought that Harper’s interest in Sofie’s diary was refreshing, since not many people her age would usually care about an old diary that seemingly has no relevance to the modern teen. It was kind of strange how her accounts in this book pretty much revolved around the diary. For example, she had a party she was going to one night, but after telling her friend she has a date to said party (and being told the things she should do to get ready for it), she grabs the diary to read, and honestly, though the diary had some strange things going on in it, the entries weren’t really all that interesting. Harper mentions that she likes how Sofie ‘notices things most people do not, and that she describes things so well, you can see it in your mind‘…but these things that so impressed her? Yeah, I didn’t quite get the same impressions…

Really, this book just read so random for me in regards to the fact that most of it seemed so…unnecessary…
Harper’s obsession with Sofie’s diary; Sofie’s accounts of the early days in Hawthorn, and the disconcerting/bizarre things that had seemed to plague those settlers; and finally, the serial killer.

Seriously, this town just needs to call the FBI, cause the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit for those not in the know) would have had this case solved so fast! The killer was by no means complex, so I’m surprised the police had nothing. Psh.

Along with the whole ‘reading random’ thing, I feel like I have to add that when we get an explanation for the skull I had mentioned earlier, it ended up being so…simple. I had expected something more–anything more–but the answer was just so not satisfying.

Anyway, at this point, I think it’s safe to say that this book was a little too all over the place, the characters weren’t fleshed out enough, and the whole wrap-up was just disappointing for me.

Because of my own response to this book, I will not be recommending it.

Thank you to Flux, via Netgalley, for giving me this copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘When Dimple Met Rishi’ by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met RishiWhen Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was such a cute, adorable, and fun read – can I use any more adjectives? – that I really enjoyed!

Synopsis taken from publisher:

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.
When Dimple Met Rishi was a book that I had had on my radar for awhile. The fact that this was centered on two Indian-American teens with such different ideals when it comes to their culture?

Gimme Gimme!!

So, being that I am already a sucker for cutesy romances, I was really looking forward to see how Dimple and Rishi’s relationship would end up playing out.

Now, let’s start off by saying that Dimple and Rishi were fantastic characters. I enjoyed them both for their differences. Dimple is super independent, though her mother would love to see her embrace her culture more – mainly the part where she’d find the Ideal Indian Husband, that is. But Dimple’s goals are far different, and a husband is definitely not in the plans.
Then there’s Rishi, who definitely fits the Ideal Indian Husband description to a T. And he is more than happy to do the things that would make his parents proud, including marry the woman his parents have chosen for him. But still, he’s more than just being the ideal Indian guy, and it was cool seeing that he had something he really enjoyed outside of his parent’s expectations. (I won’t go into it, since you should be reading the book anyway.)

Anyway, when these two meet, it’s most definitely not love at first sight…course, it didn’t help that Rishi said, “Hello, future wife…I can’t wait to get started on the rest of our lives!” On some girls, that might work, but on Dimple Shah (and most normal people)? Nope. And so comes into play the scene depicted on the back cover, of Dimple throwing a coffee in to Rishi’s face.

Of course, a moment in which Dimple is very much justified.

Though the first meeting went far from well, I really loved seeing the two characters get closer, as well as seeing them come to understand each other more. There’s definitely growth from both, and that does help make for a more interesting read!

Before I finish my review, I feel I should touch upon the fact that the two happen to be attending a summer program for aspiring web developers – something Dimple is very much interested in – and I think it’s a pretty cool setting that shows just how driven these characters are when it comes to getting what they both want. Though, Rishi’s end goal is a wee bit different than Dimples…

Finally, in conclusion, I really did enjoy this book and would be more than happy to recommend it!

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Mini Review of ‘Wake the Hollow’ by Gaby Triana 

Wake the HollowWake the Hollow by Gaby Triana

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary provided by publisher:

Forget the dead, Mica. It’s real, live people you should fear.

Tragedy has brought Micaela Burgos back to her hometown of Sleepy Hollow. It’s been six years since she chose to live with her father in Miami instead of her eccentric mother. And now her mother is dead.

This town will suck you in and not let go.

Sleepy Hollow may be famous for its fabled headless horseman, but the town is real. So are its prejudices and hatred, targeting Mica’s family as outsiders. But ghostly voices carry on the wind, whispering that her mother’s death was based on hate…not an accident at all. With the help of two very different guys—who pull at her heart in very different ways—Micaela must awaken the hidden secret of Sleepy Hollow…before she meets her mother’s fate.

Find the answers. 

Unless, of course, the answers find you first. 


I really liked this book, and if not for a few annoying moments (mostly stemming from the fact that Micaela would be talking to either of her confidants — who would each tell her to not trust the other — and she’d basically be like, ‘okay, so I shouldn’t, like, trust him? Only you?’ It seemed to just go back and forth and she only ended up a nervous wreck with no idea what she should do), I probably would have rated this a five.

I loved the whole idea of merging the story of Sleepy Hollow with the life of the actual writer, Washington Irving to make for a creepy, somewhat ghostly, story. It wasn’t really scary, but that could be because I don’t scare easily, though I still liked the way the creepy scenes played out.

Anyway, back to the whole Sleepy Hollow/Irving aspect.
In this book, Irving plays a huge part in the history of Sleepy Hollow, having used it as the setting of one of his most famous works, and having his own personal history with the town itself, so it only makes sense Irving would have some secrets that would end up playing a huge part in the MC’s life, and the craziness of the town, right? Yeah, so there’s the usual things that comes with being in a small town. Everyone knows everyone, and everyone knows who the outcasts are. In this case, that would be Micaela, because she’s the daughter of the ‘town crazy’. I liked how well her role played out, because things made sense! They actually seemed plausible! I can’t really complain about a YA book that is actually pretty well written, can I?

All in all, I really enjoyed this book, and will be glad to recommend it!

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Review of ‘Carve the Mark’ by Veronica Roth

Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark #1)Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What should have been a compelling, exciting new read from a best-selling author, somehow managed to bore me, taking forever to bring any real excitement or interest for me.

Carve the Mark is set in a galaxy where everyone has some sort of gift, powered by an invisible force called the current. For some, the gifts can be useful/helpful to themselves or others; but for some – like Cyra, sister of the Ryzek, the brutal ruler of the people of Shotet – the “gift” can be awful.
Cyra is used as a weapon by her brother, because she is able to inflict pain upon others but the simple touch of her skin, and this is how he keeps his people in line.
But when Ryzek brings in Akos, a Thuvesit – who are also enemies of the Shotet – with the gift to block other’s abilities, Cyra may finally have some peace from the pain her gift afflicts on her own body.
Akos, though, has a different goal in mind, and that this is to rescue his brother, an oracle, out of her brother’s clutches.
Obviously, with Cyra and Akos being constantly in one another’s company, they begin to grow closer, learning that many of their beliefs concerning their peoples, are actually misconceptions; that maybe they’re more alike than they’d even thought possible.

I’ll admit that I’d never read the final book in the Divergent series (Allegiant), because too many spoilers had ruined it for me, and honestly, I’m not sure I’ll ever actually do so. But even with my lack of wanting to read the book, I still had enjoyed the first two, so I figured Carve the Mark would invoke the same feelings in me. Unfortunately that was a ‘no’.

The story progression bored me to death. I just couldn’t seem to motivate myself to read this book and just thinking of the plot had me pushing it away for other reads.

Funny enough, though, is that contrary to my finding the storyline boring, I LOVED the two MCs!

Cyra was so fierce and unapologetic, and honestly, I couldn’t find myself hating her. Sure, her actions could be pretty deplorable. Cheesy as it is to say, she’s a survivor, and most people (though some may claim they wouldn’t) will do anything to survive…even at the expense of others.

Akos is quite the opposite, willing to sacrifice himself for his brother, but though I usually find such characters annoying with their over-the-top, self-sacrificing ways.
(Okay, so I may have still gotten annoyed at times…).
But I still liked Akos nevertheless. His abilities are pretty cool, and it was just interesting to see how different he was in the beginning, as opposed to later on in the story.
Because, character growth, you know…

Ugh. Reading back on what I’ve just written, there’s a lot of cliches going on, and sure, I can be fine with cliches – God knows I read a lot them – but I can’t help but think that that may be why I was so bored with this read?’

Maybe I just read this at the wrong time?

Na. I’ll just trust my original instincts.

In conclusion, this book wasn’t quite what I thought it would be, nor did it interest me as I thought it would. I did have high hopes, so that may also be my own fault.
I’m not sure I would recommend this book, but boredom works differently in different people, so maybe you’ll like this, and enjoy it with no problems…whatever.

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Review of ‘Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)’ by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beautiful wording and lovely imagery both show that Laini Taylor knew just how to engage this reader!

In the Kingdom of Zosma lives a boy named Lazlo Strange. A war orphan, Strange is not only the predicament he was found in as a baby, but the name given to label the orphan children without names of their own.

Since he was five years old, Lazlo has been obsessed with stories about Weep, lost city or myth, depending on who you asked. But it’s while he is on the path to becoming a full-fledged librarian, that Eril-Fane, the legendary Godslayer of Weep, arrives with his band of warriors to Zosma, and Lazlo is given the opportunity to go to Weep.

In Weep, new mysteries abound for Lazlo, as well as strange dreams. Dreams that feature a lovely, blue-skinned goddess…but in a city where gods and goddesses should no longer exist–hence the title ‘Godslayer’–why is Lazlo dreaming of one, and why does she seem so real?

Lazlo is determined to find answers, but when he does, will they be too shocking to accept?

I have only read one other Laini Taylor book, Daughter of Smoke & Bone–though I will likely have to reread it because I just can’t remember anything about it–but I have the feeling that I will not be forgetting Strange the Dreamer though, because I couldn’t help but be fascinated by Taylor’s writing, it’s beautiful, and not in a way that felt at all pretentious to me.

I’ll admit that in the beginning (for maybe a good 25% of this book), I wasn’t quite sure what exactly was going on, because all of the beautiful, complex writing went right over my head (the reason I also had to dock a star), but I kept on with it, and ending up loving this book!

The characters were all so interesting, and I really enjoyed delving more deeply into their lives. Lazlo, of course, was by far the most interesting of all, and I found myself very intrigued by the mysteries that surrounded him. Like, where did he come from? Who were his parents? How did he become an orphan, and why is Weep so important to him?
I wish I could say more, but I really don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll just say that I can’t wait to learn more about him!!

I won’t go at all into the subject of the blue-skinned goddess, instead choosing to raise your curiosity for this book, though the goddess does prove to be pivotal to the story, and another aspect I’d love to learn more about.

Finally, Weep itself, was interesting as well. The mystery behind its disappearance from the rest of the world, leading to its essentially becoming forgotten, is definitely a key plot point, and I seriously cannot wait for the next book!!!

I feel like I can go on and on, gushing about this book, but I think by now it’s pretty obvious I loved it!

So on that note, I will end this review with this little bit that I absolutely loved from this book:

‘And that’s how you go on. You lay laughter over the dark parts. The more dark parts, the more you have to laugh. With defiance, with abandon, with hysteria, any way you can.’

Yes, I totally recommend this book!!!

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Review of ‘Shadow Run (Kaitan Chronicles, #1) by AdriAnne Strickland and Michael Miller

Shadow Run (Kaitan Chronicles, #1)Shadow Run by AdriAnne Strickland and Michael Miller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An exhilarating space opera that will be sure to keep you enamored with its cast of cool/misfit characters, and the constant action that seems to infuse their everyday lives.

Seventeen year old Qole is the youngest person ever from Alaxac to own and captain her own ship, and one of the best when it comes to harnessing shadow, an inky, black substance that is used for its ability to produce massive amounts of energy.

As ‘shadow fishers’, Qole and her crew are kept busy with catching the shadow and selling it for profit.

It’s with the arrival of new crew member, Nev, that things start to get shaken up. Because the mysterious Nev has secrets, and one very big one depends on his convincing Qole that she is the key to some groundbreaking discoveries, which also means he needs to get her to his home planet. With or without her cooperation.

What Nev doesn’t count on, is his rivals also finding out about Qole, and wanting her for themselves. Dead or alive.
Neither does he ever think he’d possibly grow to have feelings for her…or that she could possibly be returning them.

But with new dangers now following Qole and her ship, she will have to learn to trust Nev so that she and her crew can survive.

I have a friend to thank for telling me about this book, cause otherwise I would have missed out on the opportunity of going to the authors talk and signing in my city, considering we don’t get as many opportunities up here in Alaska…

Anyway, let’s move on.

Knowing that the authors are Alaskans, I definitely feel like there were similarities to Alaska, and Alaskan living. For instance, shadow fishing is very reminiscent of commercial fishing, in that they both accumulate large quantities of ‘fish’, and sell for profit.
Then there’s Alaxac itself, which bore many similarities to Alaska, what with its small town living.
Finally, there’s the fact that Qole and her brother Arjan who are very much like Native Alaskans, taking from them the heart and strength that comes with survival in rough terrains.

Now for the characters.
Qole and Nev are our MCs; both from very different lives, and both having very different views. But each are passionate when it comes to what they believe, and I really respected that about them. Admittedly, both can be pretty narrow-minded at times, and that can get annoying, but fortunately the good out-weighed the bad, so I still liked them.

The supporting characters aren’t given much back story, nor “screen time”, but if I had to highlight any of them, it’d probably be Basra, the gender-fluid crew member who specializes in selling the shadow to the best buyers. I think Basra’s inclusion in the story definitely shows how hungry readers are for diverse characters. Now, I’m not going to say that because of this, Shadow Run is somehow making history or anything so monumental, but I appreciated it none-the-less, and will likely remember this book more because of this.

Definitely one I’ll recommend!

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Review of ‘Duels and Deception’ by Cindy Anstey

Duels and DeceptionDuels and Deception by Cindy Anstey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Though fluffy and sweet, this book entertains and will have you engaged by the MCs and their clever/funny conversations.

Lydia Whitfield is a young woman of good social standing in a time when your fortune and pedigree defined you. The only child of her mother and late father, she is the one who currently runs her family estate–though not without her mother’s brother’s “assistance”, and the land manager under her uncle’s thumb. Until she marries, she must also deal with her uncle’s ridiculous ideas concerning the property.
It’s because of these ideas that Lydia thinks it is time to get married to the man her late father had picked out for her; a man that would also be somewhat easy for her to influence when it came to things running smoothly. But he is not quite ready to marry, and wants to wait a few years, so Lydia tasks her new law clerk, Robert Newton, with drawing up a marriage contract that should work in her favor as well.
But it’s outside of Mr. Newton’s office that Lydia and Mr. Newton end up being kidnapped! This experience draws the two closer together, and it’s with Mr. Newton’s assistance that Lydia (when both have escaped) must find out who is trying to extort money out of her, as well as attempt to tarnish her family’s reputation.
Digging deeper into this investigation will bring forth uncomfortable and unsettling revelations in regards to people she thought she knew…but with Robert Newton’s help and their growing attraction to each other, she may be able to make it through this storm. (Did you like how I got all Harlequin with that?)

I really found this book to be super cute and fluffy. It was also sweet in an almost exaggerated way, but honestly, I did not mind it at all.

I loved the pairing of Lydia and Robert! The two are obviously into each other, though a few things do stand in their way (including Lydia’s eventual fiancĂ©); and their conversations with each other show not only similar humor, but similar mindsets as well.

I also liked the variety of secondary characters sprinkled throughout the book. Like Robert’s friend, the Lord Cassidy, who is challenged to a duel for an offense he does not remember, and to top it off, he doesn’t even remember the issuer of the challenge! This whole instance really was just so comical!

There are other interesting characters, but I’ll have to say that Lord Cassidy was by far my favorite.

The kidnapping and escape did bring an interesting bit of action/thrills, but nothing overly much. The experience does play a significant part in this story, but in a slightly comical way that doesn’t seem to make all that much sense when it happened. I liked how this experience in a way did bring a more natural –well, considering the circumstances as natural as one can– reason for the two to become so close in such a short time. It’s no wonder when people gravitate towards each other during what appears to be a life or death situation, but this pairing was so much from the idea of imminent death, but from the fact that these two genuinely liked each other. The circumstances only served to bring out more feelings for each other, though the two don’t actually address these feelings as anything more than they really can.

Anyway, long tangent aside, I really did enjoy this book and will be glad to recommend it!

Thank you to Swoon Reads via NetGally for giving me this copy in exchange for an honest review.

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