Home Feed
Home
Search
Search
Add Review, Blurb, Quote
Add
Activity
Activity
Profile
Profile
CaramelLunacy

CaramelLunacy

Joined October 2016

only the unimaginative can fail to find a reason to drink champagne
review
CaramelLunacy
Whiteout | Adriana Anders
post image
Pickpick

An enjoyable adventure romance meets thriller plotline about a virus that will continue throughout the series.
Angel Smith is the cook at an Antarctica research station - but when she thwarts bad guys with quick thinking, she and glaciologist Ford Cooper escape across the most desolate continent fighting for survival.
The adventure is good, the thriller unfinished but Ford acts like an emotionally constipated idiot especially in the second half.

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Panpan

Massive recap infodump at the beginning (for 74 pages) during which no new plot happens. The rest of the book is pure waffling between two unattractive love interests while ignoring any and all responsibilities as Queen of the Underworld. There is a bit about a dire threat to the existence of all magical creatures, but it is so subordinate to which boy to pine for this page that it might as well not be happening. Not for me.

review
CaramelLunacy
The Sun Down Motel | Simone St. James
post image
Pickpick

Creepy mystery / paranormal story told in dual timelines set in the small town of Fell in upstate NY - site of a disproportionate number of murder victims. In 1982, Viv Delaney suddenly disappeared from the night shift at the creepy haunted Sun Down Motel. 35 years later, her niece Carly Kirk comes to town to try to puzzle out what happened.
Told in dual timelines - part mystery, part horror - how it could be any of us. I really liked this.

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Mehso-so

Zach Sharper, an outdoor outfitter and guide with a caveman attitude, discovers 7 sets of skeletal remains in a cave in the woods of Oregon. Forensic anthropologist and investigator (and former runway model) Caitlin Fleming is called in to lend her expertise to catch the lurking serial killer.
Cait seems very competent and takes no nonsense. Sharper has some cave-man attitude we are meant to think of as rugged and manly but just ticked me off.

review
CaramelLunacy
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
post image
Pickpick

I first became aware of Belle da Costa Greene in an episode of the Annotated podcast, so was eager to read this.
The sections about her work and outwitting those who underestimate her are fascinating, the passages where she talks about segregation and the pressures of passing are sad and insightful. Her romantic relationships are frustrating as none of her partners was portrayed in a way that I understood the attraction.

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Pickpick

An archaeological dig searching for the lost Ninth Legion, Scotland (and a bonny man in a kilt) and a mysterious ghostly sentinel. Plus a love story and some Gothic family drama. Behold, so much catnip! I absolutely loved this.

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Pickpick

A really interesting look at deserter, traveler, archaeologist and unwilling spy Charles Masson who spent much of his life searching for one of Alexander the Great's lost cities in Afghanistan.

My main quibble? The book is more about the political situation in Afghanistan, the larger than life characters and the cruelty and betrayal of the East India Company than it is about Masson's search for Alexandria. Foremost in his mind, but not in text.

blurb
CaramelLunacy
post image

Pretty good blurb - they should have put this on the back cover...
I am sure as heck intrigued!

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Pickpick

Picked this one up because I was enjoying the Netflix series and was happily drawn in on page as well. A much pined-after best friend, newfound powers, a dangerous quest - all accounted for. Plus there is a map. I love a book with a map!

I enjoyed this and have grabbed the next two from the library to devour immediately.

review
CaramelLunacy
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
post image
Pickpick

An interesting, chatty, tangent-filled tale centering around the Los Angeles Central Library, the characters who inhabit(ed) it and the devastating fire that destroyed or damaged over 1 million books.
I empathized with the author's reminiscences about what libraries meant to her, delighted in the exploits of various librarians (Charles Lummis sounds a hoot) and puzzled over the possible culpability of an alleged arsonist. An absorbing read.

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Pickpick

The first in a series about the "tea-soaked disaster magnets" of St Mary's where historians investigate major events in "contemporary time" (the term time travel is frowned upon).
Headstrong but ingenious ancient historian Madeleine Maxwell joins the team at St Mary's and finds herself investigating all manner of events, including a stay in the Cretaceous that ends up going even more haywire than usual...

blurb
CaramelLunacy
Battle Royal: A Novel | Lucy Parker
post image

Suddenly a wild Baker appears! Hold my responsibilities, please, I have a Lucy Parker to devour...

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Mehso-so

Sleazy bookseller Bruce Cable refuses to evacuate during a hurricane (don't do that, y'all) and gets drawn into investigating the possible murder of a writer of political potboilers.
Instead of being drawn in to the underlying issue (including abuse at nursing homes), we spend a lot of pages in a disaster area whining about warm beers and lack of electricity and the state of Bruce's marriage. Not enough happens and not to people I cared about.

review
CaramelLunacy
The Blue-Eyed Aborigine | Rosemary Hayes
post image
Mehso-so

Given the wreck of the Batavia involved mass murder and rape, the book seemed aimed a bit young - older kids, young teens.
Fascinating subject matter, but the gruesome historical occurrences were too glossed over for my taste (given the complicity of the protagonist) which made it feel a bit more like an adventure story without either emotional or actual consequences.
I wanted some actual exploration of how a person gets sucked into atrocity.

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Mehso-so

Fairly wholesome - feels like a Babysitter's Club for the Wiccan middle schooler set. After a love spell gone very wrong in the last book, Kate now tries to balance her interest in Wicca and the new friends who helped her with wanting to fit in with the more "normal" popular crew.
When she decides to attend a ritual for the Vernal Equinox, Kate meets an intriguing boy with golden eyes and a new girl who has secrets.

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Pickpick

A sad and often times enraging story about Irish mother and baby homes, paid for adoptions and the Reagan administration's homophobia and response to the AIDS crisis.
Well-told, this focuses on the humanity and complexity of Michael Hess and his mother Philomena who spent their whole lives searching for one another.
Minor quibble at times the recreated dialogue sounds very British/Irish to be coming out of the mouths of Midwesterners.

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Mehso-so

Grisham returns to Clanton and Jake Brigance once again. This time, Jake is dragged in to represent a teenage boy who shot the man abusing his mother - who happens to be one of Clanton's most admired deputies, which makes this a capital case.
Much is made of Jake's past brilliance, but this outing is not as satisfying either emotionally or as a peek at lawyering and the railroad subplot takes up a lot of page time before fizzling out.

review
CaramelLunacy
All Stirred Up: A Novel | Brianne Moore
post image
Pickpick

A modern day Persuasion retelling featuring competing chefs and Edinburgh.
Susan Napier is fighting hard to save her grandfather's restaurant after her family's poor business decisions. But she wasn't expecting competition from her old flame turned celebrity chef Chris Baker, who still bears a grudge about their break-up a decade ago...
I enjoyed this, but know going in that it takes a lot of pages for the hostility between leads to ebb.

CaramelLunacy I also think the cover makes this look like a light and fluffy romcom, but the emotional beats track Persuasion pretty closely so it deals with some pretty dramatic stuff. 5mo
5 likes1 comment
review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Pickpick

I knew very little about this going in, but figured out very quickly that Chase Andrews needed murdering. Lovely lyrical writing (though too much poetry for my taste if I‘m being honest) combined with heartbreaking subject matter that doesn't feel manipulative. I enjoyed this.

16 likes1 stack add
review
CaramelLunacy
Legacy | Nora Roberts
post image
Pickpick

Adrian Rizzo has drive, determination, a loving family - and a poet stalker. Raylan Wells works as a comic book artist. For the most part a slice of life sort of story with good people working towards happiness. The suspense elements here were good (though decidedly back burner), but didn't strike me as organic as in Roberts' The Obsession.
This felt familiar, but enjoyable.

blurb
CaramelLunacy
Remarkable Creatures | Tracy Chevalier
post image

Napoleon Bonabear is proud to have conquered the latest bookhaul

review
CaramelLunacy
The Burning Times: A Novel | Jeanne Kalogridis
post image
Mehso-so

Set in the mid 1300s in France (and particularly around the impressive Carcassonne) during the Inquisition, this is more of a fantasy with historical elements than others of hers that I have read (which tended to the Philippa Gregory end of the soapy scale).
Pagan magic up against inquisitors and a lot of fated mates - grand sweeping arm gestures and a lot of torture and burning at stakes. This one just didn't click for me.

review
CaramelLunacy
The Gravity of Us | Phil Stamper
post image
Pickpick

Cal never signed up to leave his planned life in Brooklyn, but when his father is selected as an astronaut for the Orpheus missions to Mars, Cal ends up in Texas, dealing with being on a reality show and crushing pretty hard on fellow Astrokid Leon.
A sweet romantic book where everything is saved because a teen uses his social media following for righteous good. We touch on mental health issues but it's mostly a pleasant splash in the shallow end

review
CaramelLunacy
The Bourne Identity | Robert Ludlum
post image
Mehso-so

Started off fast and interesting (though at times appallingly sexist), but I got very turned around in Part 3 in terms of well...Bourne's Identity.
I enjoyed Marie once she got to be the super competent diplomatic financial wizard we all knew she could be, but heck if I understand why she bothers with Bourne half the time.
Also, Mr. Ludlum, if you are so uncomfortable with sex scenes, just fade to black. Weird euphemisms are just uncomfortable.

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Pickpick

A fun quick short story - our hero, Grant Franklin, just wants to enjoy his season tickets to his beloved Cubs. But then his new seat neighbor shows up decked out in Yankees pinstripes when the Yankees aren't even playing!
Lily Castillo didn't plan to wear Yankees attire to every game...until she noticed how much it riled up Grant. Over the course of the season, their sparring turns to appreciation and affection. A nice story if a tad rushed.

review
CaramelLunacy
Hideaway: A Novel | Nora Roberts
post image
Pickpick

Daughter of a Hollywood dynasty, Caitlyn Sullivan's life is turned upside down when a family party ends in betrayal.
A pleasant read as Cate grows up and becomes the competent heroine Nora loves to provide us and pairs with a strong patient man. The suspense elements don't work as well for me here as in others, but I wanted to spend all the time in the world in the kitchen of the Coopers' farm (even if it does mean I would be pressed into work).

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Mehso-so

When Laios and his D&D team run out of food and money, he and his team of a halfling rogue and a squeamish elven offensive mage join up with an experienced dwarven monster cook to feed themselves and take on the red dragon currently digesting Laios' sister.
It's a fun concept - the chapters are structured around recipes, which is fun. But the story to make this more than food-related episodes is fairly weak and lacks urgency and characterisation.

review
CaramelLunacy
Just One Day | Gayle Forman
post image
Pickpick

Goody two shoes Allyson Healey is presented with a chance to transform into Lulu, somebody more adventurous, glamorous, interesting. Someone a handsome Dutch Shakespeare nomad could fall in love with. They steal one magical day together in Paris...until reality hits.
I actually loved the second half of this book more - Allyson going to college and growing into a "herself" she chooses rather than who she thinks she is supposed to be.
Sequel time!

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Mehso-so

A historical thriller about a triple murder in 1869 Highland Scotland told in the form of the accused's memoir, witness statements, medical reports and trial transcripts. I love the format and piecing together what happened from the bits and pieces, but ultimately I thought things dragged and rather too much was left to be inferred. I would have liked a few additional POV and less emphasis on sanity/insanity (hence M'Naghten rule, get ye gone!)

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Mehso-so

I picked this up as it is a kind of oral history by Mair Russell-Jones about her life including her time at Bletchley Park with background and context provided by her son.
I was fascinated with Bletchley Park, but less enthusiastic about Mair herself who felt increasingly judgmental and at times unpleasant. I respect her convictions and her work, but found I didn't want to spend much page time with her.

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Mehso-so

Short humorous riffs on classics as if the authors and/or characters had signed into Very Old Skool Facebook. Funny in parts, but the format now makes this feel dated and I wasn't amused enough to keep.

review
CaramelLunacy
Love Your Life | Sophie Kinsella
post image
Panpan

Scattered Ava meets an attractive man at a writer's retreat and is smitten - but the hitch is they know nothing about one another, not even their real names... when they get back home, they try to make it work, but really have nothing in common. I think I was supposed to take from this that lust is a solid basis for a relationship even if you drive each other nuts, but both Ava and Matt were so extreme that I wanted to smack them both.

review
CaramelLunacy
Hermann und Dorothea | Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Mehso-so

I read this in German (from Project Gutenberg) - my German is rusty and I would probably have served myself better reading a version with notes to help with some of the unfamiliar words and poetic sentence construction that needed unboxing to make sense.

A pleasant story poem about a young man who falls in love with a refugee from the French Revolution despite his father's misgivings.

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Mehso-so

Ophelia Jensen is a librarian in small town Iowa. After a trauma, she closed herself off from others and the magic she inherited from her Appalachian grandmother. But a nosy stranger is poking around chemical thefts and her family's secret - and then they discover a body.
The hero is pushy and doesn't understand "no", the heroine's curmudgeonliness tips into meanness and her worry about the town finding out that Abby's a witch seems overblown.

review
CaramelLunacy
Once Upon a Marigold | Jean Ferris
post image
Pickpick

A troll determined to become a competitor to the Tooth Fairy (to improve business practices) finds a small boy in the forest who is determined not to go home. He stays, tinkers with inventions and when he is grown begins a pen pal relationship by carrier pigeon with Princess Marigold - there are nefarious plots, terrible jokes, machines powered by dogs and mangled figures of speech and love, of course. A pleasant fairy tale.

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Pickpick

A quiet, contemplative story about a girl who follows her Museum Feeling of times and people past to discover the spirit (?) Of a young woman of Napoleonic times named Dominique and who helps the curator unravel what happened to her father. I really enjoyed the dreamy quality this had and Nina's determination and insight. More feeling than plot, but in a good way.

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Pickpick

Really enjoyed this - Captain Jefferson Kidd makes a living reading newspaper stories in small frontier Texas towns. In Wichita Falls he is entrusted with a "rescued" Kiowa captive whom he takes on a long trek across Texas to her remaining family.
I really liked this Western - especially loved the way characters talk and the interactions he has with Johanna. Definitely worth picking up.

review
CaramelLunacy
The Case of the Shipwrecked Tree | John R. Erickson, Gerald L. Holmes
post image
Pickpick

Hank the Cowdog reports his investigation of a Turkey Rebellion, escorting the mailman and invasion by pirates before landing in a tight scrape doing his best to protect some tuna fish sandwiches from the sniveling Pete the Barn Cat.

Just what you would expect from Hank - I love these. No foolin'

6 likes1 stack add
review
CaramelLunacy
Loathe at First Sight | Suzanne Park
post image
Pickpick

Melody Joo is a novice game producer in a heavily "white bro" environment. When a joke about a female targeted apocalyptic zombie game featuring male strippers (they have to be shirtless for the vitamin D) turns into her project, she moves heaven and earth to meet nigh-impossible timeline and budget targets.
A soft pick because despite admiring her strength and snark, there was a LOT piled on with little reprieve that could be pretty exhausting.

9 likes1 stack add
review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Panpan

Funny little book - about 60 pages are a summary of notes for a book about the wreck of the Batavia and the subsequent massacre, but with some smug asides that just made the author seem unpleasant. The author rightly points us to a better book on the wreck (by Mike Dash) and notes from which he has drawn much of the information he presents. Essentially, no reason to read this.
Prosper is an essay on a tuna fishing trip. I didn't care.

review
CaramelLunacy
Secret Letters | Leah Scheier
post image
Pickpick

For those who wanted a slightly more coherent Enola Holmes with fewer fisticuffs, for those (like me) who harbored a crush on Baker Street Irregular Cartwright comes this story of an inquisitive and observant young gentle woman who comes to London to discuss her cousin's extortion with the inimitable Sherlock Holmes only to discover he has been killed at Reichenbach Falls and she will need to help investigate herself.

review
CaramelLunacy
North and South | Elizabeth Gaskell
post image
Pickpick

I very much enjoyed this story - sensitive Margaret Hale must move from the idyllic parsonage of her youth to the bustling mill town of Milton. It's a bit like a Pride & Prejudice story with a social conscience around worker's rights. The miniseries with Richard Armitage is excellent.

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Pickpick

Light pick - I love the premise of these, and I am extremely fond of the footnotes. But while I worked out the "how" nigh-immediately and the "who" in good time, I found the "why" a bit of a hopeless muddle.
An enjoyable read let down by the resolution...

review
CaramelLunacy
Pompeii: A Novel | Robert Harris
post image
Mehso-so

A historical thriller set during the final days of Pompeii. I enjoyed remembering the streets of Pompeii- and following along on a map of the site as the descriptions are clear enough to pinpoint where they are, though I also wish they had spent more time there.
I found the water/aqueduct stuff more fascinating than expected and the actual volcanic eruption underwhelming in terms of emotional tension.
Plot interesting, characters unengaging...

review
CaramelLunacy
A Vision of Murder | Victoria Laurie
post image
Mehso-so

This was fine for what it is - psychic Abby Cooper buys a fixer-upper that turns out to be haunted, deals with real-world dangers by being reckless and stupid and is fairly petulant with her charming but equally immature boyfriend Dutch.
The underlying research/ghost plot is fine, but I found it fairly predictable. I would have enjoyed this more if I hadn't been angry at Abby for teetering on the brink of Too Stupid To Live.

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Pickpick

Enjoyable second book in the Mediator series that has Suze working with her new friends to unravel a mystery of a series of possible murders, the possibility of vampires, a cat and a new potential boyfriend.

I found this one less compelling than the first as it didn't seem like Suze herself did much until the end, but it was fun fluff.

review
CaramelLunacy
The Rake's Wicked Proposal | Carole Mortimer
post image
Panpan

I hated this couple - He puts his foot in his mouth, she insists on taking offense. She makes a decision (even if he agrees!), he must bend her to his will. It is exhausting and miserable and he makes some threats that just put my hackles up. I don't buy the love. All they agree on is sex; they cannot seem to talk to one another.

There is also a strange sort of side plot that doesn't get enough screen time to really register.

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Mehso-so

Daniel Wilson made a name for himself as part of Inspector Abberline's team hunting Jack the Ripper. Now he is called to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge when a (recent) body is found in a sarcophagus. Daniel enlists the help of Abigail Fenton, a classicist who catalogues artifacts for the museum as the body count adds up.

Set in 1894, this was enjoyable though there were a number of irrelevant plot lines that seemed to just be dropped.

review
CaramelLunacy
City of Ghosts | Victoria Schwab
post image
Pickpick

Perfect for fall/Halloween - a girl who can cross the Veil and see ghosts accompanies her parents to the world's most haunted cities for their ghost-hunting show. First stop - Edinburgh in Scotland.
I really enjoyed this and Edinburgh is the perfect place to start a tour of haunted places. I have been to a lot of the places mentioned and while I quibble with some, it felt recognizable to me. I want to go back...

AkashaVampie This sounds awesome!! 13mo
CaramelLunacy @AkashaVampie I really enjoyed it - will have to grab the sequel as they're headed to Paris next 13mo
Kboltz I like this cover!! 8mo
13 likes3 comments
review
CaramelLunacy
Extreme Honor | Piper J. Drake
post image
Mehso-so

David Cruz helps run a K-9 training and rehab facility. When a dog he trained loses his handler in a friendly fire incident, dog training consultant Evelyn Jones comes to help manage Atlas' grief. But in taking care of Atlas, they stumble upon the sinister reason for his handler's death.

I liked Atlas and the parts working with the dog - I would have loved to see more of what he could do. The suspense, I found confusing and the romance rushed.