Double Major

Double MajorTitle: Double Major
Author: Catherine Gayle
Series: Portland Storm #4.5
Also in this series: Breakaway, On the Fly, Light the Lamp, Delay of Game, Taking a Shot
Genre(s): Contemporary Fiction, Love & Romance, Sports Fiction
Pages: 97
Published by Night Shift Publishing on 2014-09-18
ASIN: B00MQ2182E
Format: eARC
Source: author

FTC Disclosure: Regardless of how I received this book, this is an honest review based on my own opinions. Read my full disclosure here.

 
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From the back cover...

This is a novella of second epilogues to books 1-4 in the Portland Storm series. It is approximately 35,000 words long.

It’s the NHL’s draft day, but the whole Portland Storm team is back together for an entirely different event. Complete with a double wedding, an unanticipated guest, overdue apologies, unexpected goodbyes, and fresh starts, this big day has the potential to get them all called for a Double Major.

My Review

I have loved every book in the Portland Storm series and this one is a great addition to the series!  It is a collection of epilogues to the first four books in the series, so we get to revisit some of our favorite couples.  And the story lines are just as emotionally driven as ever, with real issues and with all the messiness that comes along with real life

The novella gets everyone back together, but this time it isn’t for hockey.  It is for a double wedding within the Portland Storm family.  I love that each section is from a different perspective, each telling their own story while adding to the main event.  There are parts that had me on edge and other parts that had me in tears.

Things to love…

  • The emotions.  They aren’t sugar-coated and the reality really draws the reader in.
  • The story lines.  Not everything is perfect, with perfect endings.  I love that because that is real

Things I wanted more/less of…

  • More everyone, which is why I can’t wait for the next book!

My Recommendation

If you love hockey, this is a fantastic series that really brings the pro hockey world to life.  The story lines are those of real life, messiness and all,  Books 1-4 should definitely precede Double Major.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 4.8

About Catherine Gayle

Catherine Gayle is a bestselling author of Regency-set historical romance and contemporary hockey romance with a New Adult feel. She’s a transplanted Texan living in North Carolina with two extremely spoiled felines. In her spare time, she watches way too much hockey and reality TV, plans fun things to do for the Nephew Monster’s next visit, and performs experiments in the kitchen which are rarely toxic.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Reading Speeds

This is a fun test!  I got 808 wpm, 223% faster than the average American with 100% accuracy.  According to this test, this means…

  • I read faster than high-level execs (under 600), college professors (under 700), and high-scoring college students (800), but less than speed readers (1500 wpm).
  • I could read Tolstoy’s War in Peace in 12 hours 7 minutes.
  • I could read J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone  in 1 hour 35 minutes.  ←  (I actually read it in less than that.)
  • I could read Tolkein’s LoTR in 9 hours 52 minutes.   ←  (I don’t think so.)
  • I could read 2.8 books on my Kindle Fire before I needed to recharge.

Take the test yourself by clicking the link below.  It is a page of timed reading, followed by three questions for accuracy.

ereader test
Source: Staples eReader Department

Taking a Shot

Taking a ShotTitle: Taking a Shot
Author: Catherine Gayle
Series: Portland Storm #2.5
Also in this series: Breakaway, On the Fly, Light the Lamp, Delay of Game
Genre(s): Contemporary Fiction, Love & Romance, Sports Fiction
Pages: 86
Published by Night Shift Publishing on 2014-09-04
ISBN: 978-0990412670
ASIN: B00MR9FUM0
Format: eBook
Source: personal purchase

FTC Disclosure: Regardless of how I received this book, this is an honest review based on my own opinions. Read my full disclosure here.

 
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From the back cover...

Katie Weber has lost her health due to leukemia, and now her chemotherapy treatments have taken her hair. She’s not about to show up to her senior prom bald and let her classmates steal her dignity, too. Prom is no place for a girl who looks more like an alien than a high school student, especially when her so-called friends all dropped her like she had the plague at the first mention of the word cancer. Katie could never get up the courage to ask Jamie—her crush for almost two years, ever since he joined her dad’s pro hockey team—to take her. Not with the way she looks now. Besides, her dad would absolutely murder him.

Jamie Babcock knows its bad news to fall for his Portland Storm teammate’s daughter, but he’s had a thing for Katie since the first time he met her when he was just a wide-eyed, eighteen-year-old rookie. Now cancer might take her away before he ever grows the balls to do anything about it, though. Her father won’t be happy about it, but Jamie has to take a shot and ask to take her to her prom. It seems like Katie has just about given up, and he can’t let her go without giving her some good memories…something to hold on to. She’s still got her whole life ahead of her—she just has to keep living it. If he can convince her of that, nothing her father might do to him will matter.

My Review

This is the book/novella I have been waiting for!  This is the story of Jamie/Babs and Katie, two of the characters that I fell in love with in the second book, On the Fly.  I love these books for so many reasons… hockey, romance, and real issues and emotions.  This one is no different.

Even as short as it might be, there is so much emotion packed into it.  Katie’s story alone is heart wrenchingly poignant and cry-worthy.  Jamie is everything I could ever want in a Book Boyfriend.  He is kind and caring and completely grounded in the important things.

I absolutely love this storyline and I am thrilled that they will be back in April 2015 in Dropping Gloves, Book #7 in this great series!

Things to love…

  • The intense emotional pull of the story
  • Babs… he is NOT what the stereotype of NHL players may be.

Things I wanted more/less of…

  • Babs and Katie!!

My Recommendation

This is technically Book #2.5, but it can really be read any time after On the Fly and before Double Major.  It is a fantastic addition to the story!

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 4.9

About Catherine Gayle

Catherine Gayle is a bestselling author of Regency-set historical romance and contemporary hockey romance with a New Adult feel. She’s a transplanted Texan living in North Carolina with two extremely spoiled felines. In her spare time, she watches way too much hockey and reality TV, plans fun things to do for the Nephew Monster’s next visit, and performs experiments in the kitchen which are rarely toxic.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

A Knight of Witchwood Park

A Knight of Witchwood ParkTitle: A Knight of Witchwood Park
Author: S.W. Develin
Series: Witchwood Park #2
Also in this series: A Tale of Witchwood Park
Genre(s): Children's Fiction, Fantasy & Magic, Middle Grade
Pages: 83
Published by S.W. Develin on 2014-06-23
ASIN: B00M2HTT7Y
Format: eARC
Source: author

FTC Disclosure: Regardless of how I received this book, this is an honest review based on my own opinions. Read my full disclosure here.

 
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From the back cover...

Jimmy, the reformed school bully, has accepted his first challenge as the new Knight of the Witchwood. He rides into the swamplands armed with only the Hero’s Sword and his own determination. But the evil Grey Mist hides terrible secrets, from swamp-goblins to a forest made of petrified people – including someone he loves more than he knows. When the swamp goblins attack, Tree Stump the troll and a feisty young girl Jimmy knows as “Ping” ride to his rescue. Together they head for the fabled Witch’s Tower, led by flickering images of a little girl running ahead in the distance. If Jimmy can wake the Witch of Creation, he just might be able to save them all before the sinister Grey Mist consumes them…

My Review

A Knight of Witchwood Park is the sequel to A Tale of Witchwood Park, a fantasy series written for younger readers.  This is a short novel, just over 83 novels and it is full of adventure and magic.  I loved the premise behind the first book and I am happy that it continues in this installment.  The heroes of the story are elementary school-age children, providing a great message that kids can be heroes, too.

This book centers around Jimmy who has recently been given the title of Knight by his queen, Kendra.  This is a new role for him, a kid known for his bullying ways in their elementary school.  There is a lovely message there about changing one’s ways.  He is on a quest to find the Wizard and, with his friends, ends up on an adventure against the evil that lives in the woods.  His dad makes an appearance, too, and there is a touching story that revolves around the two of them.

Ping is on the adventures with Jimmy and Tree Stump and she is a great foil for Jimmy.  She doesn’t let him take himself too seriously, even being a little mean to him sometimes.  She is strong and loyal and is a good example for little girls about their ability to be strong and to contribute.

Things to love…

  • Elementary school kids as heroes.
  • The messages imparted.

Things I wanted more/less of…

  • Still more Tree Stump.  There was more of him this time, but I just love him!

My Recommendation

There is a bit more violence in this book, but it is not out of hand.  Although the narrative surrounds children about 10yo and younger, I would say the violence level probably makes this a good read fo 9-10+.  I, however, am NOT 9 or 10 and it was also an enjoyable read for me!

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 4.5

About S.W. Develin

S.W. Develin lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania with his wife, Julie, and their three children: Brigid, Jack and Garrett. He has a dog named Pink, a cat named Floyd, and a small kitten disguised as a cow.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Forest of Whispers

Forest of WhispersTitle: Forest of Whispers
Author: Jennifer Murgia
Genre(s): Fantasy & Magic, Historical Fiction, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 328
Published by Spencer Hill Press on 2014-09-09
ISBN: 978-1937053567
ASIN: B00MK3MJB8
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

FTC Disclosure: Regardless of how I received this book, this is an honest review based on my own opinions. Read my full disclosure here.

 
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From the back cover...

Raised by an old fortune-teller within the dark veil of the Bavarian Black Forest, Rune has learned two valuable lessons: only take from the forest that which you can use, and never, never look anyone in the eye in the village. For something terrible happened in the forest long ago... and now, the whispers of a long-dead mother with a vengeful secret have come haunting.

Forced to flee all she has ever known, Rune soon learns of a legacy she is bound to--one that is drenched in fear, witchcraft and murder--a birthright that stretches beyond the grave to the trees where Rune is no longer safe.

My Review

Forest of Whispers is set in the villages and forest of Bavaria, in a time of fear brought on by the spreading plague and the witches that wield their magic in the forest.  The fear of the unknown is beginning to give way to hysteria, placing the blame at the hands of a mysterious young girl who was raised in the forest by a crone.  The villagers have surreptiously gone to the girl and the crone in the forest for years… for potions and fortunes and herbal healing.  But now fear is spreading and where better to lay the blame for things that are going wrong with the world?

The author’s writing is beautiful, vivid in its emotions and descriptions.  The dangerous beauty of the forest is easily imaginable.  The fear and desperation of the villagers is palpable.  The bleakness of the witch prison is horrifying to envision.  It is the kind of book that just draws you in and keeps you there.  While the story itself is fiction, the settings are real places, making the story that much more believable.

Rune is our girl of the forest, raised in the woods by Mathilde, the crone.  At first, I found it a little hard to connect to her.  We aren’t quite sure who she is, what her story is, and the mystery distances her.  But when we start to learn more about her and how she came to be where she is now, that connection is forged.  Laurentz is her love interest, the epitome of the boy from another world.  He is of noble descent, destined for political greatness.  Yet he risks it all for a girl he meets only by chance at an awkward moment.

The points of view flipped between Rune and Laurentz, allowing us to really know both of these characters.  We discovered Rune’s story right along with her and there were so many things that happened that I didn’t expect to see.  Laurentz had his own story that was just as important as Rune’s.  Their stories wove together in some very interesting ways, giving us a side of the story that we wouldn’t have been able to get if we were dependant on Rune alone.

Things to love…

  • The weaving of the real and the imagined
  • The vivid imagery and emotions
  • The twists and turns

My Recommendation

This is a beautiful and well-written book.  If you enjoy the magic and fantasy associated with the early 1600’s, you will enjoy this read!

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 4.3

About Jennifer Murgia

Jennifer Murgia has been writing ever since she was nine years old. After receiving recognition for her poetry, she went on to use her talents to bring characters to life in fiction novels that are authentic, intriguing, and personal. She currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: