Mini Reviews: The Duff & Lucy’s Chance

25076514The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone. GOODREADS.

My Thoughts:  This book impressed me. I was expecting the overused and abused trope of the ugly nobody gets the hot jerk etc. And OK it was there, but there were some truly beautiful girl power, love thy self, don’t judge others moments in this book.
The main character of Bianca was easily likable as were her two besties. Experiencing them navigate boys, high school hierarchy and family drama was actually quite entertaining and heart warming.
Keplinger’s writing flowed smoothly and I can actually see myself re-reading this book again if i’m ever in need of a quick fun feel good pick me up. I gave it FOUR what a pleasant surprise STARS.

Also: I watched the movie adaptation straight after the finishing the book, in which they changed so much the story was barely recognizable. Sadly I felt that they left out all the girl power friendship moments that actually made the book worthwhile! 😦

21969488Lucy’s Chance (Red Rock Ranch #1) by Brittney Joy

Sixteen year old Lucy Rose is spending her first summer away from home and she has two things on her mind: an abandoned, violent horse and a blue-eyed cowboy. Only neither is hers. Lucy has never attracted much attention from boys, but she can’t seem to ignore her blue-eyed co-worker, Casey Parker. A true cowboy, Lucy is fascinated by his gentle way with the horses at Red Rock Ranch. However, she is very aware that Taylor Johnson, rodeo queen extraordinaire, already has her spurs in him. And, there’s no crossing Taylor. . . . Not until a mysterious horse appears on the ranch and pushes Lucy and Casey together. The two are willing to do anything to save the black gelding that doesn’t want a thing to do with them or the human race. But, every step forward with the broken animal makes Lucy fall harder – for him and for Casey. GOODREADS.
 
My Thoughts: An enjoyable read filled with wonderful horsey goodness 🙂 Perfect for any young horse lover. The writing was sweet and easy to read. The story had a nice balance of action riding scenes, a young girl out to prove herself, developing young love and an adorable horse getting a second chance at a better life. I gave it FOUR warm and fuzzy STARS.

COVER REVEAL: Right To Silence by Lily Luchesi

Cover Reveal:
Right To Silence
(Paranormal Detectives Book Four)
by
Lily Luchesi
Jan 1st
The truth can be deadly.
In the first of this two-part novel, we learn the history of hunters Brighton Sands and Mark Evans in their two lifetimes, culminating in their final battle with the insane vampire they have been hunting for centuries.
In the second part, with Angelica Cross still on the run, multiple vampiric murders lead to the kidnapping of a famous vamp. Detective Danny Mancini must drag a mortal into the bowels of Hell in order to rescue her.
But why does Leander Price want her so badly, and what does she have to do with an ancient vampire prophecy?
Lily Luchesi is a young author/poet born in Chicago, Illinois, now residing in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle by the time she was twelve, and, as her family has always been what they now call “Gothic”, she doesn’t believe she shall ever change. She is also a hopeless romantic and avid music-love who will always associate vampires with love, blood, and rock and roll.
Her interest in poetry came around the same time as when she was given a book of Edgar Allan Poe’s complete work. She then realized that she had been writing her own poetry since she could hold a pen, and just had not known the correct terms. She finished her first manuscript at the age of fourteen, and was first published at twenty-one.
Her debut novel, Stake-Out (Paranormal Detectives Series Book One), was published by Vamptasy Publishing on May 19th, 2015. Book two, Miranda’s Rights, was released on January 8th, 2016. Book three, Life Sentence, was released on August 2nd, 2016 by Vamptasy Publishing, and book four, Right To Silence, was also just accepted by the publisher and will be released on January 17th, 2017.
She had a short story, “Undead Ever After” in the CHBB Publishing anthology Love Sucks (released on June 13th, 2015). Her first erotic short story, “Have No Fears”, was published in the Hot Ink Press anthology Naughty Bedtime Stories: In Three Words on October 10th, 2015. She will also have a short erotic horror story, “The Devil’s Dozen”, in the Hot Ink Press anthology Death, Love, Lust, which was released on February 4th, 2016. Her horror short “Too Young To Kill” was released in the CHBB Publishing anthology Lurking In The Shadows on June 28th, 2016.
 
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Bookish Babble: 2017 Challenges

aww2017-badgeI’m only setting myself a total goal of 60 books to be read for my Goodreads challenge in 2017, which will be half of what I’ve read this year, but with baby number two just arrived it is probably as much or more than I’ll be capable of.

The Australian Women Writers Challenge is all about promoting the wonderful works of our female Aussie authors.

I was going to set myself the goal of 12 AWW books for 2017, as that’s only one a month. But early in the year I think I might struggle to get even one book read a month. I really don’t know how I’m going to handle the two kiddlets and I’ll be returning to work earlier with Ethan than I did with Riley (we were renting the first time around, but we’re home ”owners” now and that costs quite a bit more per month – and there’ll be one more month to feed). So I decided to sign up to read 6 and any I read and review over that amount will be a bonus.

I have purchased a fair few #LoveOzYA books this year most of which are by lovely ladies I’ve seen speak, personally met or connected with online. #AWW2017 is an awesome reason to move them higher up my never-ending To Be Read list.

Life Update: Season’s Greetings and all that Jazz

Our second little man has entered the world! I had a spare five minuets so I though I would share my good news.

Ethan was born at 11.50 am on the 14th December. He weighed a whopping 4.42 kilograms (9.7 pounds), we already knew he was going to be big, as was his brother. He is big, beautiful and healthy and we are happy to be all home together.  So far Riley has warmed to the idea of being a big brother. But as an only child I am now in uncharted sibling territory. meeting-ethan

My mother knitted a Christmas hat and stocking specifically to take some cutesy photo’s of Ethan to print out for all the great grandparents and aunties. This is a big thing! My mother doesn’t knit! But we got the shots, so her effort paid off.img_8248

Anyways, I’m going to go take a nap while I can. I wish you all happiness and health during the holidays. I will be back to book blogging as soon as I can ❤ 🙂 ❤

Bookish Babble: 2016 Reading Round Up

I know what you’re thinking; Woman what are you doing the year ain’t over yet. But come on! I’ve got a baby due and I’m still not ready for its arrival. If I do manage to do any reading from now until after new-years it will be a miracle.

Here is a few of my favourite reads of 2016:medoran-collageLynette Noni’s The Medoran Chronicles. I am super keen for the April 2017 release of the third book (3rd out of 5) Draekora. This series has it all; a fantastic parallel fantasy world, show downs between good and evil, tested friendships, a strong female lead, great supporting cast and MAGIC! It follows teen Alex as she discovers this parallel world and the strength to be the hero that it needs. Oh yeah and It’s written by an Aussie, #LoveOzYA what more could you want. Goodreads.saga-collage

Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’s SAGA. If you haven’t heard of SAGA you must have been living under a rock for the past three years. This epic sci-fi/fantasy (for mature readers) follows new parents Marko and Alana (narrated by Hazel, their daughter) as they dodge those who don’t approve of their inter species family and seek to destroy them. Marko and Alana strive to create a loving family and figure out how parenthood works all while avoiding the battles going on around the universe due to a long running galactic war between their peoples. Goodreads.19547856

Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. The Homo sapiens Agenda. I finished this book with a smile on my face and a tear in my eye. I actually just sat on the couch and hugged the book. Read it! It’s heartwarming and beautiful and you can’t help but fall in love with Simon as you experience him grow and learn to accept himself. Goodreads.

kostakis-collageWill Kostakis! Far out I love this fella’s writing. The Sidekicks & The First Third are two brilliant stand alone #LoveOzYA masterpieces. Both touch on family, friendship, sexually and growing up Aussie style – Ok, ok, Greek/Australian style when it comes to The First Third, but both are set in Sydney. Goodreads.

The Mother in me fell in love with Simon (Simon vs. The Homo sapiens Agenda) Bill (The First Third) and Thommo (The Sidekicks) I wanted hug them and make them feel better. Harley, bloody Harley (The Sidekicks) Harley is the boy I loved, the one that no matter how old I grow a part of me will always fall for. There of course were other wonderful characters in these books, but I am trying to keep this post brief LOL)

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Christopher Currie’s Clancy of the Undertow. I saw so much of my teenage self in Clancy. Clancy is a beautiful, truly connectable character. The story touches on family, friendship and sexually, as you get to experience Clancy grow and discover who she is meant to be. It is a powerful and heartwarming read. Beautiful #LoveOzYA all the way! Goodreads.

disruption-collageJessica Shirvington’s Disruption duology. This duology is brilliant. I read both books back to back in a few days. We get blackmail, bad guy bullshit and sassy bitch brilliance in 833 pages of utterly enthralling action. Lead character Maggie is a strong young woman that is not to be messed with and who you can’t help but fall for. #LoveOzYA Goodreads.

tribe-collageAmbelin Kwaymullina’s The Tribe series. I’ve still to read the last book in this series, I purchased it earlier in the year, but i’m too scared! I don’t want it to be over. This is a dystopian like no other I’ve read; for one thing it’s better then most other books I’ve read labeled dystopian. The series is fresh and exciting with strong leading female characters, a focus on friendship, connecting with the natural world around us, doing what you believe is right and protecting the ones you love. #LoveOzYA Goodreads.

grievers-mark-collageKatherine Hurley’s Griever’s Mark series. I’m not sure exactly what it is about the first two books in this series that captivated me so. I’m still to read the third, fear of endings and all. But from the moment I finished reading the first book I haven’t been able to get the two main characters Astarti and Logan out of my head. So that’s got to count for something. I also really loved the earth magic that Hurley created. Goodreads.

Bellow are some of books I had hoped to fit in before bub was born, but haven’t managed to and thus will be top of my to-read list next year!to-read-collage

I really should hurry up and read Georgie Spider and Unbound, as there are way too many fictional characters with unfinished story lines running around in my head at the moment.

Review: A Toaster on Mars by Darrell Pitt

28237538For fans of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett comes a hilarious new space and time adventure.

Teenagers on skateboards jumped off walkways, dropped a dozen floors and activated rockets to safely land walkways below.
Blake took a deep breath, inhaling something that smelt like a cross between burnt plastic and toffee apple.
Neo City, Blake thought. Home, sweet home.

NEO City, 2509.
After a series of operational bungles, as well as
the accidental death of his partner, special agent Blake Carter’s career at the Planetary Bureau of Investigation is in trouble.
To make matters worse, he’s just been assigned a new partner—and the beautiful and brilliant Nicki Steel happens to be a cyborg.
When universe-famous criminal Bartholomew Badde steals a weapon capable of destroying whole planets at a time, Blake and Nicki must work together to recover it—an investigation that takes them to all corners of the weird and wonderful galaxy.
But things get serious when Badde kidnaps Blake’s teenage daughter, Lisa. Can Blake prove he’s still a first-rate agent—not to mention father—and save Lisa in time?

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

Thank You Netgalley, Darrell Pitt and Text Publishing for allowing me a copy to read and review.

My Thoughts: So straight up the synopsis has offered up some high expectation for this book to meet and as an Adam’s fan I was like “Bring it on Pitt”. While I did grow to kinda like the lead character Blake Carter, he was in no way the adorable Arthur Dent – but that’s ok because he wasn’t supposed to be.

We follow Blake Carter a middle-aged agent with the Planetary Bureau of Investigation as he gets kicked off his current long running case, assigned a Cyborg as a new partner and having to deal with his ex-wife after their daughter is kidnapped. And of course, *spoiler alert* getting the bad guy – with a lot of help from the Cyborg, the ex-wife, some Elvis’s and an odd pirate-like space captain.

The “Zeeb Says” sections throughout the story while humorous at times and very ‘Hitchhikers’ in the style of narration, which I should have loved, I found a nuisance. I’d just be getting into the rhythm of the story and they’d distract me from it. Why was this so? I really don’t know! Did they feel like a poor Adam’s imitations? No that wasn’t it. Was it just because I was trying to hurry and finish the book because it wasn’t floating my boat and they were slowing me down? Yeah, I think that was more it.

I thought this book was going to be right up my ally; sci-fi with silly humour etc. But no, while I liked the book and can see its merits, unfortunately we didn’t click. I had to force myself to stay focused and read on. This book is listed as Middle Grade, so I’m not the target audience. But I can’t quite get my head around this book’s listing.

I’m trying to figure out who on earth would be the right audience for this book, because it is by no means a bad story. I think it’s a good story despite my personal enjoyment issues. If it was a Friday night telemovie I could totally see my father chuckling while watching it on the couch with a beer in his hand as he’s sprawled out with only his green and gold footy shorts on unwinding after another week of working hard in the Aussie heat.

I would say it’s definitely not for Teens, those self-absorbed self-torturing darlings wouldn’t give two hoots about this middle-aged law enforcement officer from the future. I’m thinking 8/12-year-olds who have a love of sci-fi for sci-fi sake and don’t care too much about who the hero is if there is lots of action and adventure – yeah, it’d suit them. MAYBE even a “daggy dad” type who wants to switch off his brain after a long day at work and read something that’s simple and amusing – I totally thought I fell into this category, but apparently not.

I do intend to check out Pitt’s The Firebird Mystery and Diary of a Teenage Superhero and see how I go with them, because I think Pitt’s a good writer, just that this book wasn’t for me. THREE ‘I Liked It’ STARS.

Mini Reviews: a Summer Anthology + My Lady Jane + Fangirl

28817799Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories by Stephanie Perkins, Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev GrossmanNina LaCour, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, Jennifer E. Smith

Maybe it’s the long, lazy days, or maybe it’s the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love. Goodreads View. 
My Thoughts: Of course I found some stories more enjoyable than others, but that is to be expected in an anthology. Over all this book has a good mix of contemporary and paranormal stories, with a pleasantly diverse range of characters.
I would have to say that my favorite story was A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith and on it’s merit (and that fact that I didn’t dislike any of the stories) that I’m giving the anthology a FIVE STAR rating as a whole – yes it was that frigging adorable (and also the majority of the stories ranked high with me).

Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail by Leigh Bardugo – 4/5 Stars. The End of Love by Nina LaCour – 4/5 Stars. Last Stand at the Cinegore by Libba Bray – 2/5 Stars. Sick Pleasure for A and U by Francesca Lia Block – 2/5 Stars. In Ninety Minutes, Turn North by Stephanie Perkins – 4/5 Stars. Souvenirs by Tim Federle – 3/5 Stars. Inertia by Veronica Roth – 5/5 Stars. Love is the Last Resort by Jon Skovron – 3/5 Stars. Good Luck and Farewell by Brandy Colbert – 5/5 Stars. Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare – 3/5 Stars. A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith – 5/5 Stars. The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman – 3/5 Stars.

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My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England. Goodreads View. 

My Thoughts: This was a super fun romp, rewriting a much more enjoyable life story for some rather famous historic figures e.g. Edward VI of England and Lady Jane Grey. I’ve watched documentaries on Henry VIII of England, Edwards father, so I knew who he was, but I actually had to look up Lady Jane Grey. And yes I much prefer the life Hand, Ashton and Meadows have written for her.
I loved the whole the “Verities” verses “Edians” thing, filling the void for the ever present religious drama that’s always in the background of historic stories. Having the Edians (shapeshifters) added a comic element to this romantic romp that really made the story shine for me. FOUR I really liked it STARS.

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind? Goodreads View.

My Thoughts: Oh how cute this was! Falling in love with Levi was a lovely distraction 😛 I was absorbed by Cath’s world and got to take a break from my life for a day. Reading this was like getting a soul warming hug. FOUR I really liked it STARS. Nawww book hugs!

Cover Reveal: The Price of Magic by K.J. Taylor

You are here because you were born different. Born with a gift … and a curse.”

Big things are expected of Pip. Can he deliver? Magic is all around him and he is expected to be a great mage, but the path before Pip isn’t simple. Will he fulfill his parents’ expectations? Will he fulfill his own?

In Pip’s world, only those born with defects or deformities can wield magic. Struggling to find his place in an institute of talented mages, Pip sets out on a perilous quest to help his master face the suffocating cost of her gift. For every mage has a price; but in return for that price is power. Magic. The ability to shape the world and create wonders. But is it enough? Is the price of magic worth it?front-cover

K.J. Taylor published her first work, The Land of Bad Fantasy, when she was just 18 and went on to publish another six titles in quick succession. Published by the Black Phoenix Publishing Collective, The Price of Magic is a stand-alone fantasy novella encompassing the best of Taylor’s creative appeal.

To celebrate the release of The Price of Magic cover, the Black Phoenix Publishing Collective is running an eBook giveaway competition. Sign up to the Black Phoenix Publishing Collective mailing list, and WIN an eBook copy of The Price of Magic by KJ Taylor. Follow this link to be part of the conversation: http://www.blackphoenixpublishing.com/contact.php.

Competition is open to Australian residents only, and will run until 5PM 13 December 2016. The winner will be announced the very next day on the bPPc Facebook page!!

See the bPPc Facebook page for further details. Terms and conditions can be found here: http://www.blackphoenixpublishing.com/Terms-and-Conditions.php

This beautiful cover was designed and developed by Brisbane-based artist and graphic designer Sabrina Raven. You can view her portfolio HERE.

Links for Aussie K.J. Taylor (#LoveOzYA): Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Release Day Blitz: Gems Of Gratitude

Gems of Gratitude
Releasing November 14th, 2016
Author List:
Alana Madden
Chrissy Moon
Christie Stratos
Elizabeth Horton-Newton
Karen J. Mossman
LG Surgeson
Lily Luchesi
Markie Madden
Jennifer Roche
From the Gems of Strength authors comes the second book in the Gems of Sisterhood series! The theme of this book is, of course, gratitude!
Meet Detective Cara Solino, a young woman following in her father’s footsteps. Can she solve the case he was unable to?
Find out how Chloe’s mother discovers a way to keep her daughter’s dream alive under the worst possible circumstances! Read about young Lady Iona, a child of the Elven Forest, as she struggles to give her daughter a fighting chance in a harsh world.
Cheer on Sharliss as she finally takes control of her own life, and becomes a better person. Meet Julie, who gathers information on history, and Jody, an elderly dog whose time to cross The Rainbow Bridge is near. These stories and more are within these pages, just waiting for YOU!
Purchase Gems Of Gratitude via:
Check out some teasers for a few of the stories featured in the anthology below.

Review: Immortal Writers by Jill Bowers

30423330Young up-and-coming author Liz McKinnen has no idea that her life is about to change forever when she comes home from her first book tour. When she’s kidnapped and told by her captors that she has to kill her fantasy book’s antagonist, she thinks that she’s fallen into the hands of crazy, dangerous fans… until her antagonist sends a real, fire-breathing dragon after her. Liz is quickly initiated into the Immortal Writers, a group of authors from throughout time whose words have given them eternal life, and whose prose is so powerful that it’s brought stories over from the Imagination Field into the Reality Field. As Liz meets authors such as William Shakespeare, JRR Tolkien, Edgar Allan Poe, and Jane Austen, she has to learn how to control magic, fight dragons, and face her own troubled past before her power-hungry villain takes over the world. Will she survive the ultimate battle against the dragon lord whom she created?

Ebook, 296 pages. Expected publication: November 5th 2016 by Blue Moon Publishers
Thank You Netgalley and Blue Moon Publishers for allowing me a copy to read and review.

immortal-writers My Thoughts: The plot for this story is awesome. Writers who become immortal because of the power of their words. Sounds awesome, right?

As this is labelled as a young adult fantasy I was expecting a light-hearted humorous fantastical romp with William Shakespeare and Jane Austin riding off into the sunset on unicorns. Ok well not actually Shakespeare and Austen, but you catch my drift.

The story started strong and I was super excited, but as I got further into the book that excitement started to dwindle.

I found the lead character Liz’s serious and tortured back story detracted from what could have been a ridiculous light-hearted simple and fun read. And I mean ridiculous in a good way! Because the story was never going to be believable with Shakespeare, Tolkien, Austen, Plath, Hemingway, Twain, Poe and Wells hanging about a castle that’s being attacked by dragons in modern day America.

I found myself rolling my eyes at the romance. I mean it was so frigging cheesy at some points I could have used it to make a grilled sandwich. Yet Liz had this dark and abusive back story, which would be perfect for a modern contemporary, but was sending up red flags and contradicting everything in my mind. Liz the writer and Curtis the hero of her story get all loved up. She hooks up with her fictional creation. This isn’t sane or healthy. Hence why I think the story needed to stay light and funny so that it could pull it off. But that dark and abusive back story! Why Jill Bowers, why?

I don’t think the issue’s I had with this story would affect a younger audience, say 13-15. I think it would go over their heads and they would just see a young woman coming to terms with her past, standing up for herself and winning the battle over her inner and outer demons, while picking up a dragon battling hottie/spunk/fine-male-specimen along the way – which is what I think Bowers was going for.

All things considered the story ended quite strong with an action packed final showdown with the bad guy.

Conclusion: There were parts of the story I enjoyed but over all I’m feeling disappointed. As for a star rating, hmm somewhere between Two and Three stars.