Thursday, June 30, 2016

Sequel Love: Reviews of A Court of Mist and Fury and The Rose and the Dagger

Title and Author: A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorn and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas
Goodreads Synopsis: Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people. Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

Review: It really feels like I have been waiting for this book FOREVER!! I need to learn to wait until the entire series is out before I start reading it because waiting for the sequel is just torture. But alas, I have no willpower. After reading the first book, my feet were firmly planted with Team Tamlin. I was dreading the possibility of a love triangle with the new guy, Rhysand. 

I guess this one was supposed to be a retelling of the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone and I totally get it. Rhysand just grew on me. I didn't like him that much at first and I spent way too long wishing Feyre and Tamlin would just work out their issues. But there was just so much to love about the tortured Rhysand. I realized that he was just so much better for Feyre and their chemistry was freaking HOT. Seriously, it was the slowest burn romance in book history and it was torture to see if they would give in or not. Tamlin who? Sarah J. Maas's world building is incredible. We saw more kingdoms and they were all beautiful in their own ways. Maas has such a way with words that I could really see every kingdom so clearly. The writing was just as beautiful and spectacular as the first one. We also meet several members of the Night Court and they are extremely entertaining. The banter made me laugh out loud a couple of times. Here was one issue I had: this book was way too long. There were several times in the middle of this book where it just dragged and it was kind of boring. I would find myself not really wanting to read it that much. The writing was still great, but the story itself was lacking. Then it picked up again and for the last thirty percent of the book, I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. 

The ending of this book was freaking jam packed with action and heart breaking moments. Another thing I had an issue with was that Maas just completely changed the character of Tamlin. There were things he did in this book that I did not get. But I guess the goal was to make me hate him and it worked. The ending was crazy shocking. There were a couple of things resolved, but there was still this massive cliffhanger and leads me to cry over the fact that I have to wait a whole year for the finale. Argh!!!
Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one!

Title And Author: The Rose and the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2) by Renee Ahdieh
Goodreads Synopsis: In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid's empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan. While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn't yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.
Review: Ahh . . . I have been waiting on this book for so long and it did NOT disappoint! I freaking loved it. Do you know what the only disappointing part of this book was that this is the END! I had no idea this was a duology and I hate it. 

Anyway, let's talk about all the many things I loved about this book. First, there was the setting. I don't know how the author does it, but the setting and the world building were impeccable. I could see and feel and even smell everything so clearly. There was also nonstop action. Sometimes the pacing in sequels can be off, but not this time. There was not one single moment of boredom. I still loved Khalid and Shazi and still shipped them big time. Of course, there weren't as many swoon worthy moments just because they were apart more than they were together. But there were still a few moments there where I swooned, so it's all good. 

Really, you need this sequel (finale) in your life. And maybe if we beg enough, the author can write more stories for these characters? I am not ready to say goodbye! 

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Twisted by Hannah Jayne

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is July 5, 2016.

When her father is accused of being a serial killer, Bex becomes the ultimate bait in this game of cat and mouse. Bex is ready to start a new life in foster care. There, she won't be known as a serial killer's daughter. Though her father was never tried for the murders attributed to "The Wife Collector," he disappeared after questioning. And Bex struggles with the guilt that she provided the circumstantial evidence that convicted him in the public's perception—and drove him to abandon her. But when a body turns up in her new hometown, all signs point to the Wife Collector. Bex's old life isn't ready to let her go. The police want to use Bex to lure in her father. But is she baiting a serial killer or endangering an innocent man? 

I know the author was going for a thriller vibe with this one, but it just felt like the author was trying too hard. Some things were silly, some made no sense and some things just didn't fit.

First, let me say that I adored Bex's foster parents. I could really tell that they wanted to be Bex's parents and they were trying so hard to be parents and they didn't even know what that looked like But here's the issue I had with them: they didn't know anything about Bex's family history or even her real name. Come on, that would never happen. That didn't make any sense. Also, they kept calling themselves her parents (which is fine), but there was never any mention of a possible adoption, nor was there a caseworker in the picture. You would think that a caseworker would make regular visits to see how she was getting along.

Can we talk about the name of that high school please? It was Kill Devil Falls High. I don't know why, but that name bugged me. It's like the author was trying to make the name of the high school creepy but she failed miserably. Bex drove me crazy. I get that she felt guilty about putting her dad in prison, but I don't understand why she was terrified of her father. Judging by her memories, her father never abused her or threatened her so why would she jump out of her skin all the time. And Bex was ALWAYS freaking out. It got so incredibly annoying. I mean, I get it: your dad is an alleged killer and it sucks, but can we go ONE paragraph without you jumping or throwing up from stress or spacing out around your friends or bursting into tears. I kind of hated her by the end of the book. 

Here's something that really made zero sense: why on earth would people blame Bex for her father's actions? Bex was SEVEN. Not only that, but she had a flashback of being in the courtroom during the trial and the lawyers were arguing over whether she should be in the room when they showed the pictures of the bodies. One guy actually said that she should be in the courtroom so she could see what her dad did. REALLY?? I want to know why the hell she was in the courtroom to begin with. There is no way that the lawyers would make a seven year old sit there throughout the trial. And what psychopath would say that a SEVEN year old is responsible for her father's mistakes. Insane. Another issue was Bex's mother. She had supposedly ran off when Bex was six. No one could find her, so no one even knew if she was alive or dead. With all of Bex's flashbacks, there were NO flashbacks of her mother and no interest in finding her finding out what happened with her. I mean, there was ZERO interest throughout the book regarding her mother. That was so weird. 

Throughout the book, the pacing was all off, mainly because the ONLY thing going on was Bex freaking out about the possibility of everyone finding out who she was. I kept reading because I wanted to get some closure to the mystery, but the author's attempts to make me creeped out (didn't work) and all of Bex's emotions just annoyed me. Towards the end, there was talk of another murder suspect but I didn't buy it at all. The theory that Bex suddenly started believing was just stupid and I wanted to hit her because she was falling for it. The end was kind of predictable and also rushed. When the killer was revealed, I still had questions, like about the motive. I did expect some kind of motive or reasoning behind the killing, but there was none of that. The book ended so abruptly. I felt a bit unsatisfied from it.

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Skip this one.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Literary Characters I Would Totally Name My Children After

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. They feature a different top ten list every week. This week's topic was a freebie. The topic I chose is favorite literary characters (and authors) that I would totally name my children after.

1. Natsya from The Sea of Tranquility  by Katja Millay
2. Belle from Beauty and the Beast (the only movie character on the list, but she is my favorite literary character ever)
3. Isabelle from The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (love this character and I love the name!)
4. Charlotte after Charlotte Bronte (Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books)
5. Westley from The Princess Bride after William Goldman
6. and 7. Harper after Harper Lee and Atticus from To Kill A Mockingbird
8. Leslie from Bridge To Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (the first book to ever make me cry)
9. Sheldon after Shel Silverstein (love him so much!)
10. Luna from Harry Potter by JK Rowling - Yeah she is one of my favorite characters. Love her!

Monday, June 27, 2016

DISCUSSION: Finding Time to Read

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that I am a super fast reader. In the month of May, I read 28 books. Now it does help that I am unemployed, but I thought I would share a few of my secrets for finding time to read.

Let's face it: there are certain things we can all give up for the sake of more reading time: 

1. Cleaning

Do those dishes really need to be washed? Does your toilet really need to be cleaned? And come on, that laundry doesn't need to be done. You still have a pair of pants somewhere that aren't dirty.
2. Cooking

Okay, I love food so I would never advocate that you give up eating (if I ever do, that is code for I have been kidnapped and I am in trouble).  No . . . but you can give up cooking. Grab a power bar. Or better yet, grab a couple dozen pieces of chocolate. It's cool to have chocolate for dinner, right?
3. Exercise

I try to work out and for the most part, I am successful. But I have been known to skip a workout because I just have to finish the book I'm reading. So skip that session on the treadmill. That book is way more important than any calorie burn.
4. TV

I know Netflix is tempting, but TURN IT OFF! Binge watch Gilmore Girls later . . . that book is just too good to resist!
5. Talking with loved ones
Come on, you talk with your loved ones all the time. You need a break. They need a break. No socialization until you finish that book!

6. The Internet

Ahh, this one is the hardest of all of them. I know it's so easy to get sucked into Facebook and Twitter and comments on your blog . . . . but your book must come first.
7. Sleep
This is my favorite activity to skip in favor of a book. Or maybe, it's just the one I use most often. Whatever. But if all of the other methods on this list fail you, this one is GUARANTEED! You can get by on three hours of sleep, right? Worth it.

So what do you think of my list? Do you have any tips you would like to share? Any activities that I didn't mention that are working skipping in favor of reading?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Make Me Read It Readathon Sign Up!

I am so excited to sign up for my very first Make Me Read It Readathon! I have so many books on my TBR list and I am so incredibly indecisive when it comes to picking my next book. I love the idea of letting you guys do it for me!

The Make Me Read It Readathon is hosted by Ely @ Tea & Titles and Val @ The Innocent Smiley. Basically, this readathon allows your friends and audience to vote for what you’ll be reading. This year, the readathon will be from July 9th to the 16th! So that will give you guys a month and a half to set up voting and polls and all that! Sign up here and while participating use the hashtag #MakeMeRead!

What is the readathon about?

Look at the books you own, either physical, e-book or ones you've borrowed from the library and pick out a few you really want to read, or feel like you should read. It’s up to you how many you pick, personally I'd pick a few more than you expect to be able to read in a week. Example: if you think you’ll only read two, pick out five books or if you think you can read seven, pick out ten. Make a list of these books on your blog, or make a video, or a Goodreads shelf or post a picture on Instagram—whatever is easiest for you. Then get friends, other bloggers/booktubers etc. to vote on which books you HAVE to read. When the readathon comes along, you read the books in the order of most votes. For example, if one book gets 10 votes—you read that first, then the one that got 7 and so on. If there's a tie, then it's your preference. The goal is to read as many as possible. 

Below are the books that you guys can choose from. A few are ARCs, but most of them are ones I have purchased. 
Feel free to vote for as many choices as you want. I gave several of them, but I don't think I can read them all (I'm not that good). I will probably end up reading about seven (especially since one of the readathon days includes twelve hours of travel flying back from the States to Italy). Vote for as many of the books as you think I have to read this week.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: The Memory Book by Lara Avery

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is July 5, 2016.

Sammie was always a girl with a plan: graduate at the top of her class and get out of her small town as soon as humanly possible. Nothing will stand in her way--not even a rare genetic disorder the doctors say will slowly start to steal her memories and then her health. What she needs is a new plan. So the Memory Book is born: Sammie's notes to her future self, a document of moments great and small. It's where she'll record every perfect detail of her first date with longtime crush, Stuart--a brilliant young writer who is home for the summer. And where she'll admit how much she's missed her childhood best friend, Cooper, and even take some of the blame for the fight that ended their friendship. Through a mix of heartfelt journal entries, mementos, and guest posts from friends and family, readers will fall in love with Sammie, a brave and remarkable girl who learns to live and love life fully, even though it's not the life she planned.

I really needed this book. It seems like every book I have been reading lately has been mediocre or just blah. I needed a book that made me feel and this was it. First of all, I had to look up the disease that Sammie suffers from and it's real. I guess I was hoping it was fictional because of everything Sammie had to go through. One day Sammie is working towards being a valedictorian and practicing for debate tournaments; the next day, she receives a diagnosis that changes everything. She has NPC, a genetic disease that will slowly eat away at her body and will cause her to forget everything and everyone. I can't even imagine what it must be like to be seventeen and to know that you may soon forget everyone you know.

This entire book is written kind of as a letter or journal. It's Sammie writing to herself so that she can look back and remember things. At first, this letter format kind of got in the way of connecting with Sammie, but I think that's because Sammie wasn't feeling a whole lot at first. I mean, yeah she was angry and upset that this was happening. But she was also in major denial. She still thought she could move away and go to college at NYU and become a lawyer. Sammie was a rare case because she didn't start manifesting symptoms until she was seventeen and apparently, that is a lot older than people usually are when they are diagnosed. Maybe it was because she didn't even get sick until later than the usual patient, but she thought she was different from so many other patients. God, I loved this girl's determination. She was so focused and she didn't want to let ANYTHING get in the way of her plans. I hated watching it in a way because I had a feeling I knew it would end badly. And when she did have an episode where she forgot something, I hurt for her.

Sammie's family was so damn awesome. I don't say that much, but I will say that about this one. Her parents were supportive and yet they were afraid. They wanted her to live her life, but they were terrified she would forget where she was in the middle of crossing a street or something. I loved how they tried to encourage her, even though they weren't as optimistic as Sammie was. And Sammie's siblings were so freaking adorable. I wish they had showed them more, but I loved the way Sammie talked about them in her memory book. I absolutely loved the friendship between Cooper and Sammie and I wanted more between them. Sammie had started dating a guy she had been crushing on forever (Stuart) and even though he was really sweet, I didn't like him for her nearly as much as Cooper.

One thing that bugged me was Sammie's friend, Maddie. Sammie didn't tell her or anyone else about her illness for a long time because she didn't want to be treated differently. I get that. When Sammie finally told her, Maddie acted awful. Maddie said she couldn't handle her being sick and that Sammie was selfish for telling her when she did and that Sammie was using her. Maddie made Sammie's illness all about her and she didn't even try to understand why Sammie wouldn't want to advertise it. They eventually made up, but I never really forgave Maddie for that.

This book was so incredibly heartbreaking. I know I said that it was a bit hard to relate to Sammie in the beginning with the format, but it didn't take long to fall in love with her. And the format ended up working REALLY well when Sammie's disease started progressing. You could tell by the lack of formatting that things were getting worse. By the end of the book, I was crying. Yeah, I was up at 4:00am reading this book and trying not to let my crying wake my husband. Not the first time. This book was heartbreaking and emotional, but is WORTH READING! I loved every word.

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2) by Rachel Caine

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my review. The scheduled publication date for this book is July 5, 2016.

With an iron fist, The Great Library controls the knowledge of the world, ruthlessly stamping out all rebellion, forbidding the personal ownership of books in the name of the greater good. Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but serving in its army is nothing like he envisioned. His life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered forever. His best friend is lost, and Morgan, the girl he loves, is locked away in the Iron Tower and doomed to a life apart. Embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies make one wrong move and suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library’s deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria, all the way to London. But Jess’s home isn't safe anymore. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon, Jess must choose between his friends, his family, or the Library willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control.

I loved the first book in this series, so I was so excited to read this one. It had its moments, but to be honest, it was not nearly as good as the first one. The first one was so action packed and full of suspense. This one . . . eh, not so much. Jess and all his friends who survived the class, are doing their jobs and trying not to get in trouble with the Library. That's hard stuff, especially since Thomas is in prison, Morgan is locked away in the tower and people are still determined to kill Wolfe.

I will tell you the most interesting part of this whole book: the automata that patrolled the Library. Those things were super intense and they were not afraid to rip the throat out of anyone they felt was a threat to the Library. The scenes where the automata lions were chasing Jess had my heart pounding. I craved more scenes with them. I know they were vicious things, but they added more excitement to an otherwise very slow plot. Another thing I loved: the emails and messages between the higher ups in the Library. I actually loved those a little bit more than Jess's POV. These messages added intrigue and drama and clued me in a little on who was doing what. 

In between scenes with the automata, not a lot happened and that's probably why I got a little bored with certain parts. Jess complained about the Library, Jess smuggled stuff he shouldn't, and Jess kept trying to get Morgan to forgive him for his part in putting her in the tower. I'll be honest: I didn't really understand just why she was so mad. The Library will always find you. If Morgan didn't know that before this book, she knows it now. I know I got their relationship in the first book and maybe it's because Morgan was only in about half of this one, but I kind of prefer Glain. That being said, I guess it's nice to see a genuine friendship between a straight man and a straight woman. You don't see that all the time. Glain is Jess's Commander, so she is in charge (LOVE THAT!!!!). On the field, he listens to her and respects her. Off the field, they had a great chemistry and there was a lot of loyalty and protectiveness between the two of them. 

Other than the stuff with the automata and the occasional messages between members of the Library, the book didn't really get suspenseful until more than halfway through. At that point, all the characters from the first book were together again and they were on the run for their lives from the Library . . . again. Seriously, this Library is freaking evil. (I never thought I would say those words.) There was one part (no spoilers) where Jess just started crying because it was so traumatic and I have to say that if I were in his shoes, I would feel the exact same way. And just when you thought Jess and his friends were safe, BOOM . . . something would happen and they were screwed again. There were a few twists and turns with the plot and I was super interested in the cliffhanger. Even though I had a few issues with this one, it was still entertaining and I am still excited for the next one.

Buy/Borrow/Skip: If you love this series, I would recommend buying it!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite 2016 Releases (so far)

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. They feature a different top ten list every week. This week's topic is my favorite books that have been released this year (so far).
1. Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

2. This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

3. You Were Here by Cori McCarthy

4. The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith

5. Only In Naples by Katherine Wilson

6. Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake

7. One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

8. The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry

9. The Rose And The Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2) by Renee Ahdieh

10. A Court Of Mist And Fury (A Court of Thorn and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas

What are some of your favorite books released in 2016?

Monday, June 20, 2016

DISCUSSION: Easier to hate than to love

Have you ever noticed that it is so much easier to hate on a book than to love on it?
Here's what I mean: I have discovered that it is way easier to write a book review about a book I hated than a book I loved.

Last week, I read a book that I loved and I swear, the review took forever to write. I mean, what am I supposed to say?

Let's face it: there are only so many ways I can think of to tell you just how much I adored a certain book. At some point, my brain runs out of ideas and I can't thin of enough synonyms for awesome and earth shattering.
But then when it comes to books I disliked . . .  just try and shut me up.
I read a book that I had very strong (negative) feelings for this week and I am kind of worried that my review may be too long.
It's just so much easier to think of all the things I dislike about a book and all the reasons why the book may not be the best one for you.

So if my rave reviews seem a little on the short side to you, please don't take it as a sign that I didn't enjoy the book enough. You should actually take shorter reviews as a sign to READ THE BOOK IMMEDIATELY!

Does anyone else have this problem? Do you find it easier to review books you disliked than books you loved?

Friday, June 17, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is June 28, 2016.

Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing; Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes their family, their different responses to the event splinter their delicate bond. Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. As the anniversary of their tragedy looms and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them, but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover they need each other more than they knew . . . and that in the recipe for true happiness, love always comes first.

I have been a fan of Emily Giffin's work for a while, so I was excited about this one. But it's hard to like a book where you despise both of the main characters. 

Let's start with what I did like: the setting of Atlanta. I grew up outside Atlanta so I just loved the references. My favorite was when they talked about Cracker Barrel and Meredith ordered the chicken dumplings. Yes, they are a bowl of starch as Meredith described but they are SO GOOD. Seriously, I started drooling just thinking about their chicken dumplings and butter biscuits. Amazing. I also loved that Josie decided to take charge of her own life and try to get a baby, even without a man. She was really independent and she went after exactly what she wanted. That was one character trait I loved about Josie. I also liked the portrayal of friendship between a straight girl and a straight guy (Gabe). They had a great friendship and it is so rare to see that kind of friendship in books, where the man and the woman genuinely feel no attraction towards each other. 

Meredith and Josie drove me completely batty. They fought about absolutely EVERYTHING. It was the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. And let me say that I do have a sister and we have a far more complicated relationship than Meredith and Josie. My sister is actually very selfish (unlike Jose, but we'll get to that in a second) and I disagree with so much of what she does on a daily basis. But here's the thing: since we are both in our 30's, we have learned to be civil to each other and sometimes we even have fun together. One thing we don't do is start a fight with EVERY SINGLE CONVERSATION. God, these two women acted like children every time they were together. Even Josie saying something on the phone like, "I guess I'll let you go." was enough to bring out a bitchy response from Meredith.

And then there was Josie's decision to have a baby on her own. Meredith was so judgmental and said that Josie was selfish for making that decision. Another thing I really didn't understand was that Meredith said Josie's baby would eventually become HER burden and that Josie was not ready to be a mother because she wasn't responsible at all. I have no idea where that came from. Josie had her own job, she supported herself, she didn't appear to make any selfish decisions, so where was this idea that Josie was totally irresponsible coming from? Meredith's insane jealousy, that's where.

Josie was not as irritating a character as Meredith, but she came close. I don't understand her very first date with Pete. She just decides before going in that it will be her last date ever because she wants a baby and she refuses to even give him a chance. Seriously? Okay, have a baby if you want but to totally dismiss Pete after one conversation was a bit much, especially since they had a lot of great banter going on. But of course, he ended up sticking around (kind of), so it was fine.

The whole brother dying thing was just overdone and I felt no emotion from it. Their brother, Daniel, died fifteen years ago. I get that losing a brother would be hard, but it was FIFTEEN YEARS AGO. It seemed like Meredith and Josie used his death as an excuse for every bad decision they ever made and I didn't buy it. And they got pissed off that his girlfriend at the time didn't spend her entire life mourning him. There were also a couple of subplots that never really went anywhere. First, there was their dad's alcoholism. First, they said he started drinking a lot more after Daniel's death but then they said he was already an alcoholic before that. But they never really did anything with his alcoholism so I don't understand why it was mentioned. Then there was Josie acting like a brat about Gabe's girlfriend, Leslie. Leslie didn't even do anything and Josie was acting like a jealous girlfriend or something with all of her cattiness. But that jealousy disappeared as quickly as it came and no one ever did anything with that either. So what was the point?

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Skip this one.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Read Me Like A Book by Liz Kessler

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. 

Ashleigh Walker is in love. You know the feeling - that intense, heart-racing, all-consuming emotion that can only come with first love. It's enough to stop her worrying about bad grades at college. Enough to distract her from her parents' marriage troubles. There's just one thing bothering her... Shouldn't it be her boyfriend, Dylan, who makes her feel this way - not Miss Murray, her English teacher?

I had been looking forward to this book for a long time and I was a bit disappointed. The story itself was okay, I guess. It was just lacking something and it's hard to put my finger on it. Maybe it's the whole crush on a teacher thing. I don't necessarily have a problem with this storyline, as long as it is handled well and it doesn't glorify those types of relationships. This book didn't glorify it and I think it was handled well. The problem was that I didn't understand why Ashleigh fell for Ms. Murray so hard. She didn't seem to stand out as a particularly exceptional teacher. She was just kind of blah. I understand Ms Murray was really just a plot point to help Ashleigh come to terms with who she was, but I guess I wish there had been more scenes between the two of them that would explain why Ashleigh fell so hard.

Ashleigh's family was AWFUL. They fought all the time. When they weren't fighting, they were giving each other the silent treatment and the mom would do childish things like ask Ashleigh to tell her dad to do something, even though HE WAS RIGHT THERE. Man that was annoying as hell. Her mom didn't know anything about Ashleigh's life. Her parents had no clue that she had a boyfriend at all.

Speaking of boyfriend, I didn't get the attraction to Dylan or the speed at which their relationship developed. They went out for a couple of weeks and suddenly, Dylan is telling her he wants to have sex with her. And she was considering it even though she was a virgin! Rubbish. 

And let's talk about her friends, who were just as poorly developed. Ashleigh's best friend, Cat, was not even in the picture that much. She was mentioned sporadically and then all of a sudden, the two of them are having a fight about how awful a friend Ashleigh is. Really? The fight literally came out of nowhere. Both of them kind of acted like brats about the whole thing and it just made Ashleigh feel even more alone. I would have loved for friendship to be more of a focus so that Ashleigh would have someone to talk to, especially since her family was so royally screwed up.

The ending was kind of predictable, I guess, but it did wrap everything up. I was just kind of bored by the end. I wanted there to be more emotion and more feels, but there was just the feeling that I wanted to hurry up and finish. Very disappointing. 

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Skip this one.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - 2016 Books I Am Drooling Over

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. They feature a different top ten list every week. This week's topic is top books I am anticipating for the rest of 2016.

There are so many great looking books came out this year! I have divided this list into two categories: sequels and stand-alones. The links will take you to that book's Goodreads page.


1. Shiny Broken Pieces (Tiny, Broken Things #2) by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

2. The Midnight Star (The Young Elites #3) by Marie Lu

3. A Torch against the Night (An Ember In The Ashes #2) by Sabaa Tahir

4. Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

5. Blood for Blood (Wolf by Wold #2) by Ryan Graudin

6. Tales of the Peculiar by Random Riggs 

1. Heartless by Marissa Meyer - An Alice and Wonderland retelling by Marissa Meyer? YES PLEASE!

2. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake - A new fantasy series where three sisters (triplets!) must battle to the death for the crown.

3. The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron - I loved Rook, so I am super excited for her new release.

4. One Half From The East by Nadia Hashimi - This book is set in Afghanistan and it's about a preteen girl who starts dressing like a boy to bring the family luck. This one sounds so interesting!

5. Look Both Ways by Alison Cherry - The story of a girl who goes to a summer theatre camp, only to fall for her roommate.

6. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay - I absolutely love Roxane Gay's writing and I am so excited for her memoir. 

What books are you most excited about for the rest of 2016?

Monday, June 13, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Empire of Dust (Blood of Gods and Royals #2) by Eleanor Herman

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is June 28, 2016.

In Macedon, war rises like smoke, forbidden romance blooms and ancient magic tempered with rage threatens to turn an empire to dust. After winning his first battle, Prince Alexander fights to become the ruler his kingdom demands--but the line between leader and tyrant blurs with each new threat. Meanwhile, Hephaestion, cast aside by Alexander for killing the wrong man, must conceal the devastating secret of a divine prophecy from Katerina even as the two of them are thrust together on a dangerous mission to Egypt. The warrior, Jacob, determined to forget his first love, vows to eradicate the ancient Blood Magics and believes that royal prisoner Cynane holds the key to Macedon's undoing. And in chains, the Persian princess Zofia still longs to find the Spirit Eaters, but first must grapple with the secrets of her handsome--and deadly--captor.

I had been looking forward to this sequel for so long and in a few ways, it was better than the first one. There was so much world building and the author had this incredible ability to transport me to that time period. This author definitely did her homework about so many things. There was one twist that surprised me a bit about Alexander, but I guess it shouldn't have. In the author's notes, she talked about how there were rumors swirling about that during King Alexander's reign. I didn't really know much about the time period before reading this series so I love reading the author's notes and reading about how much of this book was accurate.

I loved Heph and Katerina. Heph spent a majority of the book trying to get back in Alexander's good graces while trying to ignore his feelings for Katerina. I think I am coming around to the Katerina and Heph pairing. They just fit better than Katerina and Jacob. And the slow burn of the sexual tension between them was AWESOME. I do think that Heph's realization that he loved Katerina was a bit fast, but I think that's how things worked back then so I was fine with it. Speaking of Jacob, he is still enmeshed with the Aesrian Lords and is trying to make a name for himself with them and also trying to forget about Katerina. Then there was Cynane and Olympias . . . both of them are evil to the core and yet, I LOVE THEM.

Okay, here's why I didn't give this book more than three stars: WAY TOO MANY POV'S. Honestly, there were so many characters than the ones I mentioned (I just talked about my favorites). There were several POVs that I didn't care about and I would actually skim those sections. Regarding the POVs that I did care about, the author would cut them off at a crucial point and then when the author picked their story back up, there would be a small time jump with that person. It drove me crazy. There were also a LOT of subplots and I didn't really understand how most of them connected with each other until the end. There are still a few subplots that I don't get.

There was a lot of action though and a lot of battles and a lot of betrayal and drama. There were also some twists that I did not see coming and the ending left me craving the next book in the series!

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Borrow this one. No, this is not my favorite YA Fantasy series but it's still one worth reading.