Tuesday, May 31, 2016

30 Days of Books Days 10-13

Hi! I'm back! My husband and I are in the middle of replacing a fence in our backyard and well, that and the holiday and the weekend have me running behind. So, pardon me while I catch up.

Day 10: Favorite classic

Not only is this my favorite classic but Frankenstein is my favorite book of all time! If you want to read a post where I gush about it go here. Otherwise, just know that everything about this book touches my soul.

Day 11: A book you hated
I had such high expectations for this one and I truly loathed it. It was the biggest dissapointment. The MC acts like she's bipolar. Someone dies and the couple just shrug and start making out! Ugh! I hated this one.

Day 12: A book you used to love but don’t anymore
Now, Suey is going to give me a hard time because we had a Book Banter about this one. I adored this book the first time around and upon a reread I still liked it but it lost a bit of it's power over me. 

Day 13: Your favorite writer
This is a cruel, cruel question. I have many favorite authors but if I had to choose based on stories and actual GOOD, BEAUTIFUL writing, I'd go with Markus. The man can write! 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

30 Days of Books: Day 8 & 9

I'm doing two days today!
Day 8: Most overrated book

Red Rising was popping up all over the blogoshpere when I was getting back into blogging so I snatched it up as a Kindle Daily Deal...and couldn't even finish it. It started out with promise and then just turned into a Hunger Games without the story line. The MC didn't even believe in what he was doing so why should I? Ugh! I really don't get the love for this one. 

Day 9: A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving

So many people had negative things to say about this one and if it weren't a retelling of Beauty and the Beast I might not have read it. There was talk of another Edward like love interest. But I decided to give it a go and Oh. My. Gosh! I loved this book! It was the most beautiful blend of fantasy and mythology with sacrifice and and and! I just can't say enough! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Review: Black-Eyed Susans

Title Black-Eyed Susans
By Julia Heaberlin
Genre Adult mystery/suspense
Rating ⭐️⭐️

Tessa, is the sole survivor of a serial killer. Left for dead with several other victims in a shallow grave surrounded by black-eyed susan flowers, the victims become know as the Black-Eyes Susans. Years later the killer is on death row, his execution just months away, when someone starts planting black-eyed susans outside Tessa's house. Is the man on death row really the killer? Is the real killer still out there? Is Tessa and her daughter safe?

First Sentence
For better or worse, I am walking the crooked path to my childhood.   

I saw this book being talked about on Susan's blog awhile back. She hadn't read it but was mentioning she thought it looked good. Well, I concurred. It sounded very good. So, my radar for this book was on but I wasn't finding it for a price I liked. Enter my new foray into Overdrive and online library rentals. I placed this one on hold and a day or two later it was ready for me. I stopped everything I was doing and proceeded to read.

This book is more of a quiet suspense than a mystery. And by quiet I mean it was slower than I had anticipated. I read it in two days but wasn't nearly as riveted as I'd hoped. The story jumps back and forth from right after Tessa was found alive in the shallow grave to the present where she's helping a law firm try to save the man on death row for the murders. There's a lot of doubt that he's the actual killer and Tessa is quite sure it's not him.

But Tessa remembered nothing about what happened and she felt like a very unreliable narrator. I didn't know if she really didn't remember or was lying and it drove me a bit crazy. There was a lot of forensic details that, quite frankly, bored me to tears. The "romance" was unbelievable and unnecessary. The mystery, while it kept me guessing, was completely unbelievable as well. There's just no way! I can't say more. I don't want to ruin it but I was raising a skeptical eyebrow through the roof.

Still, I stayed up late into the night to finish it and I thought the writing was lovely. While I didn't outright hate the book I didn't love it either. Normally I'd chalk it up to my expectations being too high but, no, the story just didn't do it for me.

 Should you read it? 
I feel like I'm the last person who should decide that. If you're a fan of the TV show Bones you might find it fascinating enough but I still couldn't say if you'd like it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

30 Days of Books Day 7

Day 7: Most Underrated Book You've Read. Oh boy. I really had to think about this. I could choose a lot of books for the answer to this prompt but I think I'll go with...

Say What?! (sorry, 90's flashback) Yes, I Am The Messenger and let me tell you why. Sit down and hold on! A lot of book lovers out there have read one, only one, Markus Zusak book: The book Thief. Now while that's a great book, and don't get me wrong, I love it, it's a great book, it's not the best book ever or even the best book Zusak has written. Sure, sure, it's about WWII and is narrated by death. So what?! Yeah, I said it. So What?! I Am The Messenger is pure brilliance! It's about a normal Joe Shmoe like you and me who's called upon to do extraordinary things. And does he shrug them off? Does he look at one situation that seems less important than another and pick and choose what to do? Which task is worthy of him? No! He does each and every one to the best of his abilities and it's beautiful to watch. And the ending? People, if I hear one more person bash it I'm going to scream! Don't you get it? Don't you see the genius? Ugh! I could analyze the beauty of it but I guess if you don't get it, you don't deserve to get it.

Sorry, that was harsh. I just love this book so much and hate to see people call it mediocre next to The Book Thief. I even have this theory that the reason Markus has yet to grace us with another book is because even he has fallen victim to the greatness of The Book Thief. He thinks he can never top it. Honey, It wasn't even your best book. Let it go and give us more of your real books!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Review: Spirit Bound

Title Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy 5)
By Richelle Mead
Genre YA paranormal/supernatural
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Back from her failed attempt at taking Dimitri's life in Russia, Rose is graduating Vampire Academy as a Guardian. That is if she can stay out of trouble. Breaking a cunning criminal out of prison while being hunted by Dimitri who is determined to kill her isn't the best move she can make as a new Guardian but love has no boundaries and Rose will do anything if it means saving Dimitri.

First Sentence
There's a big difference between death threats and love letters-even if the person writing death threats still claims to actually love you.

I love this series! I'm a sucker for flawless world building and Mead knows how to build a world. I'm glad I finally decided to finish this series already! The fourth book left a sour taste in my mouth. I liked it well enough but it was slow and didn't leave me itching for the next book.

This book, people, this book! It was all over the place. And not in a bad way. For a second to last book in the series it sure opened up a ton more issues that need resolved! I was blown away by the cliffhanger ending! I had intended to pick up the last book right away but after that ending I had no choice! Wow! I can't wait to see how it all wraps up.

What more can I say? The world in these books is top notch! The plot is one hell of a ride and the characters are all so great!

Should you read it? 
I'm pretty sure a lot of you already have read this series. If not, yes! I'd highly recommend it. It's so much fun!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

30 Days of Books Day 6

Day 7: Book That Makes You Sad. Hmm, what kind of sad? Good sad or bad?

Good Sad

This one is a sad book about a sad kid. I'm not even sure there's a lot of hope in it but it makes me feel sad in a good way. Not hopeless or anything.

Bad Sad

Oh my hell! This book! I loathed it but for some reason (probably the inexplicable impossibility of the MC tasks) it made me just sob in frustration at life and horrible people...It was a dark time reading this book and I would NEVER read it again...or recommend it to anyone!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

30 Days of Books Day 5

Day 5: A Book That Makes Me Happy. Yay an easy one!

This book makes me laugh the whole way through it! I just adore Holling. He's so precocious and funny. He's just the best narrator for this story. If you haven't read this one and just need a pick me up, read this book!

Friday, May 20, 2016

30 Days of Books Day 4

Day 4: Favorite Book Of Your Favorite Series. Really? Let's just cause another day of stress for me as I try to pick a favorite book from my favorite series.

Just one? I can't! I just can't! The first one because it introduced me to this awesome character and a look at London that makes me drool! The Second one because it amused me so much the way everything just falls into place for Matthew. The third one because of the hint of romance. And the fourth one because of that kickass scene with the Electric Blue Angels!

Sorry, I couldn't just pick one.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

30 Days of Books Day 3

Day 3: Your Favorite Series. Oh boy, another hard one. I love so many series for so many different reasons. How can I pick just one? I guess I'll just pick ONE of my favorite series.

The Matthew Swift series by Kate Griffin. Come, now. You aren't actually surprised are you? I LOVE this series. If you love urban fantasy, London and kick ass heroes, you have to read this series! You'll love it too. I can't push this one enough.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

30 Days of Books Day 2

It's day 2! Today's topic, a book that you've read more than three times. Sadly, I haven't read very many books over and over. I'm pretty sure I've read most of the Harry Potter books more than three times but today I'll go with...

Oh, this book! It's a quick read so reading it more than once is no big deal but it's pure pleasure. I adore this book. I wrote a whole guest post on Suey's blog about how much I adore it. It speaks to me; reaches in to my soul and squeezes. If you haven't read this one, you need to! You can't just read The Book Theif and call yourself a Markus Zusak fan. You have no idea what you're missing if you skip these other books. Go! Go now and read it!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

30 Days of Books: Day 1

My friend, Jenni is doing this 30 Days of Books of her blog. From what I can gather it used to be around ages ago and she's revitalizing it. She "encouraged" me to participate since I've been in such a blogging slump. And you know what? I'm doing it! Anything to get out of a slump, right?  Check out her posts too! And you can join us. It'll be a great way to get out of a slump.

Here's the schedule of topics!

Day 1: The best book you read last year
Day 2: A book that you’ve read more than 3 times
Day 3: Your favorite series
Day 4: Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 5: A book that makes you happy
Day 6: A book that makes you sad
Day 7: Most underrated book
Day 8: Most overrated book
Day 9: A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 10: Favorite classic
Day 11: A book you hated
Day 12: A book you used to love but don’t anymore
Day 13: Your favorite writer
Day 14: Favorite book of your favorite writer
Day 15: Favorite male character
Day 16: Favorite female character
Day 17: Favorite quote(s) from your favorite book(s)
Day 18: A book that disappointed you
Day 19: Favorite book turned into a movie
Day 20: Favorite romance book
Day 21: Favorite book from your childhood
Day 22: Favorite book you own
Day 23: A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t
Day 24: A book that you wish more people would’ve read
Day 25: A character who you can relate to the most
Day 26: A book that changed your opinion about something
Day 27: The most surprising plot twist or ending
Day 28: Favorite title(s)
Day 29: A book everyone hated but you liked
Day 30 Your favorite book of all time

Without further ado....Day 1 The Best Book You Read Last Year: Ugh, she would start with a hard one. How am I supposed to pick just one?! Well, Fine. 

Bone Gap, this on goes to you! While I read some really great books last year and finished a favorite series, I'm still giving you this honor! Word is finally getting out about your awesomeness and I'm glad. You deserve to be read and cherished. Your writing is so exquisite, your story is breathtakingly entrancing and your characters still touch my soul! 

Seriously, if you've been on the fence about this one, get off it! Pick up this book and immerse yourself in grandeur! 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Review: Burning Glass

Title Burning Glass (Burning Glass #1)
By Kathryn Purdie
Genre YA Fantasy
Rating ⭐️⭐️

Sonya is an Auraseer, she can feel the emotions of those around her. Spending most of her life in hiding to evade being used as a tool has failed. She is forced to work for the emperor as his guardian from any who would wish him ill. But Sonya's powers are anything but ordinary and with talk of a revolution and her growing feelings for the emperor's brother, Prince Anton, Sonya is getting in over her head.

First Sentence
I clutched the carved figurine of the goddess until a splinter of wood bit my finger.

Another book club read. Sheesh! I feel like all I'm managing to read is book club books. I would have read this book eventually anyway as I went to the author's signing and purchased a copy. In theory, a book about an Empath that is being forced to work for the emperor makes for an intriguing story idea, no? I thought so. Alas, the execution wasn't as great as the idea. For one, the book was far too long. At nearly 500 pages I found my eyes glazing over more than once. Sorry to say it, but the author made a huge mistake in the opening scene. Sonya, our MC, makes a huge mistake that makes her very repulsive to the reader and only makes it worse by showing virtually no remorse for her actions. So, right from the start you're left with a bitter taste in your mouth about this girl you're supposed to be reading about for the next 500 pages. I nearly put it down. And that's saying something because I rarely refuse to finish a book that my book club is reading.

I stuck with it though and it got a bit better. The political plot kept me reading but it wasn't as intricate and exciting as I prefer. Plus, there were parts that were completely unrealistic but I feel that they might be addressed in the second book in the series so I'm willing to overlook them. I didn't have to force myself through this one, perse, but nor was it a thrilling, unputdownable book. Sadly, I will not be finishing this series.

I do have to add a note here because I started reading some user reviews of this book on Goodreads after I finished it and was incredibly annoyed. They all were talking about how there was zero story and the whole book was just one big love triangle. What?! Don't be fooled by that crap! Those people seriously need to pick up a dictionary and look up what a love triangle is! There was NO love triangle in this book. It had a plot and was not just a romance. UGH! People irritate me!

Sorry, I'll step off my little soap box now.

Should you read it?
I'd recommend this to people who like romantic fantasies that are light on political intrigue.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

Title Thirteen Reasons Why
By Jay Asher
Genre YA Contemporary
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Clay is stunned when his high school crush Hannah commits suicide. He's even more so when he finds a box of old cassette tapes recorded by Hannah. As he listens to the tapes and follows the map Hannah left he'll discover what no one knew and the thirteen reasons why Hannah took her life.

First Sentence
"Sir?" she repeats.

To be honest, I really had no desire to read this book. It's subject matter didn't appeal to me and I figured it would be too preachy, but when it came up as a Kindle's daily deal I bought it and not too long after started to read it. Sorry, I often have no real reasoning behind why I pick up a book. I liked the way the author wrote this story. That is, I liked following the map with Clay and the suspense it added to figure things out. I did not like the back and forth between Hannah's voice and Clay's.  For some reason I had to really focus to remember who was talking. But the suspense was great. I wanted to keep reading and see how everything ended. I felt Clay's pain even though I was being told about it rather than shown.

Was the book preachy? No, actually it wasn't bad. I felt like the author maybe had a message but he wasn't ramming it down anybody's throat or anything. This story is a hard story to read. On the one hand you want to slap all these dumb high school kids on the other hand you want to slap Hannah and tell her to man up. It was frustrating for me. In the end, I wasn't too impressed but after I read the author's notes I actually liked it better bringing it up to three stars for me. So if you want to read it just make sure you read the author's notes.

Should you read it?
I think yes. It's brings up some important topics but it's not easy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Review: Blackmoore

Title Blackmoore
By Julianne Donaldson
Genre Period Romance
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Kate Worthington has longed to go to her childhood friend Henry's estate Blackmoore for as long as she can remember. At last her wishes are coming true. But making a deal with her meddlesome mother and dealing with the disdain of Henry's own mother, makes the visit to Blackmoore less than pleasurable. Can Kate escape her burdensome life and win her freedom, or is her heart already lost to Blackmoore and it's future heir?

First Sentence
A woodlark sings of heartache.

There's this funny little discussion that comes up at my book club occasionally about Julianne Donaldson's books and it basically comes down to this: Team Edenbrooke or Team Blackmoore. Those are her two book's (in case you didn't know). Everyone has their favorite and while I had only read Edenbrooke, and couldn't participate in the discussion, it was always assumed that I'd like Blackmoore better.

I finally got in the mood for a "regency romance" and cracked this one open. For some reason I thought it was going to have a murder in it or some other dark mystery. I was way off. Sure, because of the moors and the mysterious estate with secret passageways, it felt more Gothic and dark than Edenbrooke, but it really was and is a romance at heart.

And that romance is sooooo swoon-worthy! Donaldson sure know's how to capture your heart and squeeze the breath out of you! The relationship between Kate and Henry was wonderful. I loved the romance that simmered beneath the surface of their banter. I liked the emotions Kate's predicament evoked in me. Living back then as a woman must have been unbearable!

While I did enjoy this one I did have issues, (are we surprised?) The ending of this one irked me. I felt Donaldson wrote our characters into a hole with no happy way out. There was really nothing that could have been done. And while desperately romantic, Henry's declarations were not okay with me. I don't want to get all spoilery so I can't go into detail but I will say this: Love between two people isn't necessarily about sacrifice and compromise. I might have said this once, maybe even as little as a few weeks ago but now I see it differently. Love is about living your dreams and letting your partner live theirs. And supporting each other in those dreams. OK, I'm done being all preachy. I just really was bothered by the ending of this one and it was a huge disappointment to an otherwise wonderful story.

Should you read it?
I'd still recommend this one. It's a beautiful romance that plays with your emotions and makes you swoon and smile just beware the ending.

Monday, May 2, 2016

April Wrap Up 2016

It's time for my April wrap up! I've been in such a blogging slump and my real life has been so jammed back but I did manage to read four books. I've decided to shake up my wrap up post. I'm stealing the idea from Kate over at Midnight Book Girl. I hope she doesn't mind. Here you have it.

Books Read:
Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffing, Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden and The Selection by Kiera Cass.

Favorite of the month:

Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson (Review to come)
Loved the banter and swoony romance but the ending irked me.

What did you read? Have you read any of these? Tell me what you thought.