Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp [Review]

The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides (Adventures of Kit Bristol, #1)3.5 out of 5 Robots!

The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides by Ben Tripp
Series: The Adventures of Kit Bristol #1
Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
Release: October 14, 2014
Hardcover:  304 Pages
Publisher: Tor Teen
My Copy: Purchased
Reviewer: Shannon

Book Summary:
The Accidental Highwayman is the first swashbuckling adventure for young adults by talented author and illustrator, Ben Tripp.

In eighteenth-century England, young Christopher “Kit” Bristol is the unwitting servant of notorious highwayman Whistling Jack. One dark night, Kit finds his master bleeding from a mortal wound, dons the man’s riding cloak to seek help, and changes the course of his life forever. Mistaken for Whistling Jack and on the run from redcoats, Kit is catapulted into a world of magic and wonders he thought the stuff of fairy tales.

Bound by magical law, Kit takes up his master’s quest to rescue a rebellious fairy princess from an arranged marriage to King George III of England. But his task is not an easy one, for Kit must contend with the feisty Princess Morgana, gobling attacks, and a magical map that portends his destiny: as a hanged man upon the gallows….

Fans of classic fairy-tale fantasies will find much to love in this irresistible YA debut by Ben Tripp, the son of one of America’s most beloved illustrators, Wallace Tripp (Amelia Bedelia). Following in his father’s footsteps, Ben has woven illustrations throughout the story.

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
Ugh, I wanted to like this book so much!  I loved the description and was very excited to read it.  But I was just...bored.  It had so much potential! Was it the book?  Was it me?  Either way, I ended up skimming through a lot of it.

What I Liked:
- I like the setting of 18th century England and the little history lessons peppered throughout the story.  I'm always impressed when an author that weave in historical and cultural references and teach us a little about them without it coming across as pedantic
- The story is definitely unique, even as it skewers the archetypal fantasy plot.  There are a lot of things that will stand out in my mind after reading this book.
- I liked the how the story is written by Kit many years after the events took place and include the reader in the story.
- I liked the little illustrations throughout.

What I Didn't Like:
- It was, as previously mentioned, a little boring.  And it frustrated me because there was so much happening that it shouldn't have been boring at all!
- While the reading level was perhaps YA, it felt a little young.  And as much as I liked the historical references and footnotes, they didn't help to dispel my feeling that this book is better geared to a younger audience.
- Kit was brave, loyal, but kind of a dolt.
- It felt long.  Partly because it was kind of boring, but also because I think it was too long.

Overall, it just wasn't as enjoyable as I had hoped.  But it is getting a lot of good reviews so it is very possible that I just didn't gel with it.  I encourage you to read it if you've been interested to see if you have the same conclusions as me.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman [Review]

After I'm Gone4 out of 5 Robots!

After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman
Genre: Mystery/Crime
Release: February 11, 2014
Hardcover:  352 Pages
Publisher: William Morrow
My Copy: Publisher
Reviewer: Shannon

Book Summary:
The acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of The Most Dangerous ThingI'd Know You Anywhere, and What the Dead Know returns with an addictive story that explores how one man's disappearance echoes through the lives of the five women he left behind—his wife, his daughters, and his mistress

Dead is dead. Missing is gone.

When Felix Brewer meets nineteen-year-old Bernadette "Bambi" Gottschalk at a Valentine's Day dance in 1959, he charms her with wild promises, some of which he actually keeps. Thanks to his lucrative—if not all legal—businesses, she and their three little girls live in luxury. But on the Fourth of July in 1976, Bambi's comfortable world implodes when Felix, facing prison, vanishes.

Though Bambi has no idea where her husband—or his money—might be, she suspects one woman does: his devoted young mistress, Julie. When Julie disappears ten years to the day after Felix went on the lam, everyone assumes she's left to join her old lover—until her remains are discovered in a secluded park.

Now, twenty-six years later, Roberto "Sandy" Sanchez, a retired Baltimore detective working cold cases for some extra cash, is investigating her murder. What he discovers is a tangled web of bitterness, jealousy, resentment, greed, and longing stretching over five decades. And at its center is the man who, though long gone, has never been forgotten by the five women who loved him: the enigmatic Felix Brewer.

Felix Brewer left five women behind. Now there are four. Does at least one of them know the truth?

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
Based on the description of this book, I was expecting a heavy focus on the mystery of Julie's death.  But that isn't really what I got.  Julie's death actually takes a backseat to everything else until the very end.  Instead, the story meanders between the past and present in little vignettes of lives of Bambi, her three daughters and Julie.  The only time the story focuses on the mystery is when Sandy is poking into Julie's cold case.

But even if this wasn't the mystery I was expecting, I did find this book compelling.  Felix is missing throughout most of the story, but he looms large in everyone else's lives.  He is very much a secondary character whose actions created ripple effects felt for years after his disappearance.  My only complaint is that it was a little hard to keep all the timelines straight in my head.  Be sure to pay attention otherwise you will probably be a little lost!

Disclosure:  I reviewed a copy free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cover Your Hair Review and Giveaway! contacted me to see if we might like to do another review.  We were only too happy to accept since we really enjoyed our past reviews. offers a wide variety of Chic HeadbandsBaby Hats, Hair Rollers, Bandannas and so so much more.  You can find pretty much anything you want!  No, seriously.  They have everything! kindly sent us three headbands to try.  Kaylee's favorite was the one with the rhinestones because she loves sparkles.  I personally liked the tie-dye one because you could wear it in a variety of ways as a headband or as a kerchief. 

And they are offering a special holiday coupon for 20% off!  Use the code "blogdec31" It expires January 1, 2015 has also generously offered one of our readers $25 worth of surprise hair accessories!

Enter in the Rafflecopter below.  Giveaway Ends December 31st at 12:00AM PST

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Disclaimer:  I was sent free products in exchange for my honest opinion.  I was not compensated monetarily or otherwise.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.


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