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
Something Wilder | Christina Lauren
post image
Pickpick

An Indiana Jones quest for hidden outlaw treasure, a second chance reunion between two former lovers, a band of misfits on an adventure vacation & a tribute to Romancing the Stone. This basically came emblazoned with *stuff Caramellunacy likes* and it wasn't wrong!
I missed some of Christina Lauren's witty banter, but the adventuring made up for it. More like this, please!!!

review
CaramelLunacy
Fleshmarket | Nicola Morgan
post image
Mehso-so

I picked this up because Edinburgh! Burke and Hare! But ultimately I was disappointed. To me, the book seeme more like a narrative jumping off point for a school discussion (history of medicine, body snatching, poverty, alcoholism) than a story in its own right. 14 year old Robbie spent most of the book in a self-destructive cycle that rarely touched much on the actual Burke & Hare crimes.

I didn't find myself eager to pick it up again.

mabell Burke & Hare! 2w
CaramelLunacy @mabell insufficient Burke and Hare for my (ghoulish?) self 2w
mabell Interesting/terrifying time and an interesting/terrifying duo! 2w
4 likes3 comments
quote
CaramelLunacy
post image

"Three other officers had turned up a few nights previously, one dropping down from an RAF plane apparently in a kilt - an unfortunate choice of uniform considering he landed on top of a pine tree."

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Pickpick

Sooyong Park spends months at a time in cramped bunkers dug in the wilderness of the Ussuri peninsula. But as a result, he gets to know generations of a Siberian tiger family, seeing them at play and hunting, and gets to know their individual personalities.
The writing is lovely and poetic and Park's perspective is unique due to the lengths he goes to in pursuit of footage and experience of these beautiful elusive creatures.

review
CaramelLunacy
The Uninvited | Heather Graham
post image
Pickpick

My first foray into the series. Here the Krewe is called in when a ghastly murder occurs in a historic house museum in Philadelphia and there is a historical mystery to unravel.
I enjoyed the ghost bits, but didn't really buy the love story. Allison is a historian and tour guide who adamantly doesn't believe in ghosts (even when she is seeing one) and spends at least half of the book being hostile to everyone before suddenly being all in
soft pick

review
CaramelLunacy
The Whistler | John Grisham
post image
Pickpick

A return to form for Grisham in a lot of ways. We have a determined smart investigator seeking to root out corruption, a complicated conspiracy and a quick plot involving a corrupt judge, Indian casinos and organized crime. Throw a murder or two into the mix and you end up with an enjoyable airplane read.

review
CaramelLunacy
The Perfect Love Song | Patti Callahan Henry
post image
Mehso-so

A sweet Hallmark movie of a novel that leans heavily on the previous book for emotional investment. The narrator character I found distracting rather than charming

Jimmy Sullivan writes a love song that is a "perfect" Christmas song and has to choose between his big break and being with his love/family for Christmas. Charlotte has no discernible personality. The end strings a lot of "miraculous" coincidences together and didn't pay off for me.

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Mehso-so

I found the mystery here far less compelling than in the first - and, honestly, it feels like the author did too. We didn't have the same sense of investigation either and the payoff was disappointing. Add to that too much unnecessary detail (how many coffees, exact shopping lists, exact routes etc.) About banalities and not enough about the crimes...
Also - why do so very many characters have surnames that begin with B?

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Panpan

Maybe this was an expectations problem, but I wanted to read about the Amazon - wildlife, people, preservation. Stafford doesn't give much of that (too tired, doesn't speak the language). Instead it is a lengthy, often dull look at his day to day state of mind (often poor) and some weird motivational speaker crap.
Plus, I didn't like the guy. He seems overconfident, underprepared, wholly self-centred and not at all self-aware.
(See comments)

CaramelLunacy I couldn't have done what he does, but it ultimately seemed pretty pointless other than to be in record books which I don't care about as motivation. 3mo
CaramelLunacy He is very upset by casual jokes about murdering him and how useless he is because he is a white guy. He talks about the antiquated attitude toward women, gays and other races and how differently they thought than him. But the thing is...I don't believe that. The guy was an Army officer and in London finance around the financial crisis. I'm not buying that he didn't hear the same stuff at home in the name of "bants". He just wasn't the target. 3mo
CaramelLunacy And then he talks about them eating (after about a month of low rations) as if they had "just been let out of a concentration camp". And dude. No. Just a big fat nope. Not at all the same. 3mo
8 likes3 comments
review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Pickpick

A true crime story that starts off as an investigation into the murder of an archaeology grad student and becomes an examination of misogyny, sexual harassment and the power of narrative to blind us to the truth.
While I found this a bit bloated at times (I didn't care about the author's boyfriend), it was a fascinating look at the pitfalls of true crime in addition to being a true crime story. Plus it has an actual resolution.
Don't Google!

Hazel2019 Oh wow. I need to read this one. 3mo
CaramelLunacy @Hazel2019 if you do, would love to hear what you think! 3mo
9 likes1 stack add2 comments
review
CaramelLunacy
Spoiler Alert | Olivia Dade
post image
Pickpick

I really enjoyed this fan/TV star plus pre-existing connection through fanfiction. Neither of our protagonists are a cookie cutter romance hero/ine and I loved the emphasis on them dealing with that through fanfic and then having to learn to translate to their actual lives (with corresponding angst).
I particularly loved seeing the ridiculous movie scripts and fanfic tags as part of the story - just felt right at home. Plus Steamy!

12 likes1 stack add
review
CaramelLunacy
In a Holidaze | Christina Lauren
post image
Pickpick

Sort of a Christmas Groundhog day - Maelyn has been in love with Andrew Hollis (a family friend's son) since she can remember. When what may be the last year the group spends together at their Christmas cabin retreat goes awry, she finds herself reliving the trip until she can figure out what and who makes her happy. And unlike Groundhog Day, she has to actually deal with the consequences because happy doesn't always mean smooth sailing...

review
CaramelLunacy
Call Me Maybe | Cara Bastone
post image
Pickpick

A cute and fluffy contemporary romance - the audio features two voice actors and they have really adorable chemistry. Vera calls customer service because the website for her small Date-in-a-Box business isn't working. After being on hold forever, she is unwilling to hang up until the problem is fixed - despite a number of mishaps and Cal ends up going above and beyond to help her and to get to know her better. Sweet.

review
CaramelLunacy
Loveboat, Taipei | Abigail Hing Wen
post image
Pickpick

Ever Wong just wants to spend her last summer dancing before she heads to parent-required med school despite her vertigo around blood. When her parents find out they send her on a study abroad trip to Taiwan to study Mandarin. But little do they know the program is known as "Love Boat" among its attendees - a chance to hook up, party and rebel away from parental restrictions.

A "good girl" finding herself and growing up. Very enjoyable.

review
CaramelLunacy
It Ends With Us | Colleen Hoover
post image
Panpan

Billed (inaccurately in my opinion) as a romance, this is a story about a young woman's abusive relationship, her abusive home life and how difficult it is to break that cycle. While this tries to show that "there are no bad people, just people who do bad things" and that people view domestic violence far too black and white, the whole thing seemed pretty manipulative and didn't work for me.
Not a romance and not for me.

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Mehso-so

I largely enjoyed this story of a Muslim Indian American teen with a filmmaking dream trying to navigate her love life (similar to Netflix Never Have I Ever feel), but then felt like I got tonal whiplash when the focus shifted to Maya's experiences with Islamophobia. Things got really rough for her on a lot of levels near the end, but the end felt like it belonged back with the first lighthearted section. I wanted more emotional payoff.

review
CaramelLunacy
Shiny Broken Pieces: A Tiny Pretty Things Novel | Sona Charaipotra, Dhonielle Clayton
post image
Mehso-so

2nd in the Tiny Pretty Things Duology, we are back at the American Ballet Conservatory with Gigi, Bette and June following their machinations and scheming as they vie for limited apprenticeships.
I liked June's story, but was a bit annoyed that Bette and Gigi seem to have swapped characters. Plenty of drama, insufficient dancing and not enough comeuppance for the boys.
If you like the books, the Netflix show is also fun.

review
CaramelLunacy
post image
Pickpick

Linnet Holland has had her fill of British fortune-hunters, so when a ne'er-do-well nobleman kisses her in front of the biggest gossip of the Knickerbocker set, she is determined not to reward his bad behavior with her hand. She heads off for England to choose among suitors at a house party - only to discover that Jack Featherstone is as determined to sace her reputation, win her affection and her hand.

CaramelLunacy This had some nice banter, including multiple Taming of the Shrew references. I would have liked if they had talked a bit more about how to be partners instead of just butting heads, but I enjoyed it. 5mo
4 likes1 comment
review
CaramelLunacy
Where There's a Whisk | Sarah J. Schmitt
post image
Pickpick

A lighthearted YA contemporary about teen chefs competing in a reality show for a culinary school scholarship. Fairly superficial - the depth in the characters is mostly underdeveloped - but a pleasant fun read about nice people doing what they love. A palatable snack of a book and just what I was in the mood for.

6 likes1 stack add
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. 10mo
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.