Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (4)

I was looking back and I saw the last time I did a TTT was on August 5th!  Horrible.  So I decided to do one for today.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  Every week, The Broke and Bookish post a new topic that that week's top ten lists are based on!  This week's topic is: Top Ten Books That Were Hard For Me To Read (because difficult of book, subject matter, because it was cringeworthy-- however you want to interpret).

I'm going to use all of those definitions...



This book just didn't... grip me I guess...

Goodreads

My Review













The main character in this book was so horrible and her POV was just a barrage of hate.  And it was also about a murder so you know.

Goodreads
My Review











This whole series went from okay to pretty cringeworthy.  This is the last book and I'm kinda regretting I bought it (it wasn't available in my library) even if it was only $2.

Goodreads
My Review






It was hard to get through this book mainly because it's written in verse and I've never actually read a book written in verse.  It just took some adjustment.

Goodreads
My Review







This was just a bizarre book for me.  I understood it... it was just weird.

Goodreads
My Review








Keeping all the characters straight was harder than it was when I read And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.  Seriously.

Goodreads








This is the same deal as Brave New World.  It was just weird and I couldn't get into it.

Goodreads
My Review





This literally took me 3 months to read.  It was so dense and sometimes pretty boring in long sections.  And the dialogue!  It went on and on and on.  Sometimes, one person would speak for a good 3 pages.

Goodreads
My Review







This story was stretched out farther than it needed to be in my opinion.  I had to force myself through it.

Goodreads
My Review








This is a good series - don't get me wrong.  I just got so bored during the introduction and sometimes the style of writing would leave me in the dust.  Watching the movies helped me so much.

Goodreads








Have you read any of these books?  How'd you like them?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Book Review Monday: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

This is another review from The Master List that I have yet to post here!  I believe this is actually the first book review I ever posted - it's so weird how much my reviews have changed in a year!

Goodreads Blurb:
"Eight years have passed since the young Princess Bitterblue, and her country, were saved from the vicious King Leck. Now Bitterblue is the queen of Monsea, and her land is at peace.

But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisers, who have run the country on her behalf since Leck's death, believe in a forward-thinking plan: to pardon all of those who committed terrible acts during Leck's reign; and to forget every dark event that ever happened. Monsea's past has become shrouded in mystery, and it's only when Bitterblue begins sneaking out of her castle - curious, disguised and alone - to walk the streets of her own city, that she begins to realise the truth. Her kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year long spell of a madman, and now their only chance to move forward is to revisit the past.

Whatever that past holds.

Two thieves, who have sworn only to steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck's reign. And one of them, who possesses an unidentified Grace, may also hold a key to her heart . . ."


Review:
I have to confess I got a little more than confused by the time I reached the middle of the end of the book. A few of Leck's behaviors as well as other relevations were left to be figured out by the reader which I'm not the best at... Aside from that it was an absolutely amazing book. This series has been an absolute pleasure to read. 

Bitterblue was written with a slightly different style than Fire and Graceling. Graceling was very simplistic and I found myself charmed by Katsa and Po immediatly and I absolutely loved their romance.

Fire was a bit more complex and took a little more time in explaining some events and a little less time in others so it was paced in a different fashion.

Butterblue was, in my opinion, the most complex book in the series with the ciphers and all the mysteries involving Bitterblue's advisor's and their efforts to begin again.

Overall it was a wonderful book that involved our beloved Katsa, Po, Giddon, Raffin, Bitterblue, etc. There were various subplots - sometimes you couldn't tell the difference fron the plot and the subplot but it made for a great read all the same.


Quotes:
“Bacon improved things dramatically.” 


“Find something useful to do with your morning,' she thought to him as she neared her chambers. 'Do something heroic in front of an audience. Knock a child into a river while no one's looking and then rescue him.” 


“Katsa and Po were trying to drown each other and, judging from their hoots of laughter, enjoying it immensely.” 


“I was doing science," Giddon said. "He threw a bean."
"I was testing the impact of a bean upon water," Bann said.
"That's not even a real thing."
"Perhaps I'll test the impact of a bean upon your beautiful white shirt.” 


“Your face will freeze like that, you know, Kat," Raffin said helpfully to Katsa.
"Maybe I should rearrange your face, Raff," said Katsa.
"I should like smaller ears," Raffin offered.
"Prince Raffin has nice, handsome ears," Helda said, not looking up from her knitting. "As will his children. Your children will have no ears at all, My Lady," she said sternly to Katsa.
Katsa stared back at her, flabbergasted.
"I believe it's more that her ears won't have children," began Raffin, "which, you'll agree, sounds much less—” 


“Why does everybody throw every troublesome thing into the river?” 


“Teddy grinned again. 'Truths are dangerous,' he said. 
-'Then why are you writing them in a book?'
-'To catch them between the pages,' said Teddy, 'and trap them before they disappear.'
-'If they're dangerous, why not let them disappear?'
-'Because when truths disappear, they leave behind blank spaces, and that is also dangerous.” 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Book Review Sunday: Awakening Foster Kelly by Cara Rosalie Olsen


Goodreads Blurb:
"If only a pile of wayward curls and the inability to stay on her feet were seventeen year-old Foster Kelly’s most pressing concerns. Unfortunately, stubborn hair and clumsiness is just the tip of it. It was only a mistake, but when at the age of five Foster is told “You don’t belong here” the result is one broken heart. These four carelessly spoken words have shaped and shadowed Foster, and now—a senior at Shorecliffs High School—she seeks the wallflower’s existence, denying herself the most casual of friendships, much too afraid that someone will see what Foster believes is certain: she does not belong anywhere – or with anyone. This reality would continue to suit her just fine, however . . .

Love has a long-standing history of undoing broken hearts.

Like a comet, an unexpected arrival knocks Foster out of the crowded, starry sky, sending her directly into the limelight. Exposed and afraid, she will attempt to regain anonymity; but it isn’t so easy now that someone is watching. He pursues this shy enigma, confronting Foster’s deepest fears head-on, and in the process falls wholly and completely in love with her. But there is something he is not saying; a secret capable of certain ruin. There are two probable outcomes: either he will break her heart once and for all, or he will heal it.

In the end, though, it is Foster who must decide if she is worth mending."


Review:
Thank you to the author, Cara Rosalie Olsen, for gifting me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

To begin, the author provided me with a link to read the first 10 chapters for free before I decided if I'd like to read it all.  Once I got to the end of chapter 10, I was convinced there was some shady fantasy going on so I had to read more.  And that right there is why it's a 3 star instead of a 4 star book.  Let me explain.

As I was reading those first 10 chapters, I got the feel that something... else was going on with Dominic and it was going to turn out to be this big secret fantasy thing.  Even though it doesn't say that in the blurb, I was totally convinced.  These next few paragraphs will be kind of difficult to write without giving away the ending so bear with me!

The way it ended... it explained the fishiness at the beginning but somehow it was a different kind of resolution.  It was like it started out at a fantasy/paranormal book that morphed into it's current self.

So the ending.  I'm not really sure how I feel about it yet.  It was a twist on a cliche ending that they tell you never to end with in 7th grade English class.  It worked... but I think I was unable to let go of my prejudices against that type of ending.  I'm actually doing this whole mystery thing pretty well!  I can definitely see how the title ties in.  In the middle, I thought it was referring to Dominic's quest to get Foster to acknowledge herself.

Otherwise, I had one other problem with the book.  It had a page count of 672 pages.  That's right up there with the Inheritance Cycle series which are the longest books I've ever read.  Those books are epic fantasy that take place over the course of... a year and a half I believe.  So where did all that length come from?  The sheer amount of information that went through Foster's brain.  It does show how incredibly smart she is but I think it could have been toned down a bit at the end.

Let's talk about some good stuff!  I was completely immersed in this book and couldn't stop laughing at Foster, Emily, and Jake.  I especially loved Foster's character and the growth that took place over the course of the book.  Dominic was also a powerful symbol (and yes I'll let you figure that out for yourself) that added so much to the book.  I also loved Foster's parent's relationship.  It was so sweet and adorable - that's what true love is to me :)

The Final Verdict
This book was a bit long and I'm not really sure about the ending but the character growth is amazing as well as the overall message!
3.5 stars


Quotes:
"My experience with relationship began and ended with fictional characters in books and a second-hand proximity"


"'It may take some time, but eventually she'll see how kind, thoughtful, and incredibly sw-' I met his eyes, which were rife iwht amusement and expectation. 'Sw-ell,' I finished'"


'That,' he squeaked, sniffing uncontrollably, 'was just... so touching,' he sobbed"


"'It's my favorite movie,' he said, 'because being together wasn't the simple answer tot their happiness; it was the only answer.'"


"'Did you-'
'Prune the sick areas, yes I tried that,' she said without turning. 'It spread even faster.'
'How about-'
'Isolation the bacteria didn't work either.  It's pandemic.'
'You could try-'
'I am-but don't say it aloud.' She turned, a sneaky smirk on her lips and winked. 'I think that's why they aren't getting better; they're prepared for our defense.'"


"'Fost,' she intoned, sounding almost bored.  She rose up on one elbow, pressing her knuckles into her cheek.  'You make it sound like it's rare that we win.  Where have you been for the last year and a half?'"


"'Oh, Fost, I won't lie, your face right now is kind of awesome; like a question mark exploded.  It would seem my work is done here for the day.'"


"'I don't' think the place you start is as important as the starting itself.'"



"I had to wake up.  It didn't mean, however, that I had to stop dreaming.  Our story, it's not for the logical, certainly not for the unimaginative; it belongs to the dreamers."

Friday, September 26, 2014

Giveaway and Book Review: The Guardian by Lydia Rodriguez-Clement


Goodreads Blurb:
"THE GUARDIAN is a story about how Sarah's spiritual beliefs are reaffirmed when the existence of Angels and Demons are horrifically revealed. Never had she dreamt that her mundane life would be caught in not only a struggle to stay alive in this clash of worlds, but also in a sadistic plan by the Dark Angels to lure Jacob, her own Guardian, to fall."


Review:
Thank you to the author Lydia Rodriguez-Clement for gifting me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Hmmmm... where to start...  I suppose I'll start off by saying that there were pretty much equally good things and things to work on in this book for me.  Let's start off with the good shall we?

Sarah's character development.  I was actually laughing at her character in the beginning and how sheltered she was and just how... young she was.  But by the end, I was impressed with the way her character improved and grew.

I also really liked how Sarah and Jacob didn't push their physical relationship.  It wasn't the most important thing to them.  You don't see that a whole lot anymore in... well in a lot of genres now I guess.  That was really a breath of fresh air!

Additionally, the way the whole guardian angel's thing was set up was very original.  I especially loved the Captain's bit and their part in the hierarchy.  I do wish there would have been more on the supernatural side of things but I suppose you can only fit so much into a stand-alone book.  However, if the author so chose to, I think this would make a wonderful series.

I had two main problems with The Guardian that pretty much balance out all that good stuff up yonder.

1.  Word choice - specifically the words 'stated' and 'casually'.  'Stated' really doesn't convey much emotion and 'casually' was used in some iffy circumstances.  Those were also some of the most used words used to describe the way dialogue is said in The Guardian.

2.  Jacob and Sarah's romance seemed like a whirlwind romance that was also accepted without much of a fight on the angelic side of things.  I won't say anymore to avoid spoilers but I think there could have been a bit more tension in that area of the book.

The Final Verdict
Overall, a very decent book.  Sarah's character development as well as her relationship with Jacob really impressed me although their romance was a bit quick and met with little resistance on the paranormal side of things.  Also, the word choice could use some work.  The idea behind the book is excellent in addition to the structure of the guardian and Captain system.
3.5 stars


The Ultimate Quote in the book:

"'When I'm flying up into the sky and Heaven separates the clouds to embrace me; that is how good your arms feel around me.  When the sun's warmth caresses my face; that is how your smile makes me feel.  When I'm soaring down the side of a mountain, and the wind whips through my sings; that exhilaration is how you make my spirit feel every time I see you.  That is how I know I love you.  So don't tell me I don't know what love is.'"


About the Author

Lydia Rodriguez-Clement, a native Texan, grew up in the beautiful city of San Antonio where this story takes place, and where she attended a local college and university. It was in high school, however, where she was told she had a flare for writing, and decided many years later to persue this noble art. She has been married for 19 years, and has five children and two dogs. Her family life keeps her very busy, but after surviving Leukemia, with the help of God, family and friends, she followed her life long dream to continue writing.

Connect:
Twitter:  lydiaclement6


Giveaway
Your information will not be used other than to contact and to get the prize to you.


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Book Review Friday: A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee

So here's another book from the review pile (I've been going alphabetically down the A-Z Master List of all the books I haven't posted here yet)!  Things have been pretty busy so I can only read a chapter of each book a night.  This review is also from 2013.


Goodreads Blurb:
"For readers of Jonathan Franzen and Richard Russo, Jonathan Dee’s novels are masterful works of literary fiction. In this sharply observed tale of self-invention and public scandal, Dee raises a trenchant question: what do we really want when we ask for forgiveness?

Once a privileged and loving couple, the Armsteads have now reached a breaking point. Ben, a partner in a prestigious law firm, has become unpredictable at work and withdrawn at home—a change that weighs heavily on his wife, Helen, and their preteen daughter, Sara. Then, in one afternoon, Ben’s recklessness takes an alarming turn, and everything the Armsteads have built together unravels, swiftly and spectacularly.

Thrust back into the working world, Helen finds a job in public relations and relocates with Sara from their home in upstate New York to an apartment in Manhattan. There, Helen discovers she has a rare gift, indispensable in the world of image control: She can convince arrogant men to admit their mistakes, spinning crises into second chances. Yet redemption is more easily granted in her professional life than in her personal one.

As she is confronted with the biggest case of her career, the fallout from her marriage, and Sara’s increasingly distant behavior, Helen must face the limits of accountability and her own capacity for forgiveness."



Review:
A Thousand Pardons is about a family of three. A mom, dad, and daughter. The dad isn't satisfied with his life and commits a crime, goes to jail, the whole bit. The mother and daughter move, but their lives grow further and further apart. This book is their story and how they got through a trying time in their lives.

Overall, this was a really good book but it wasn't amazing. There was only one thing I had a problem with: the ending. I really hate cliffhangers or those endings where the author really doesn't give you anything to go on in terms of imagining the rest of the characters lives. I don't want to have any spoilers in this review so I'll just say this: the ending resolved a few questions but it doesn't resolve the bigger ones.

That said, the book was really good. I read this because I saw it in the nominations for the Goodreads book of the year (or whatever category it was in). It's a good life book with some drama but it doesn't really have too much action or resolution in it. It was a nice calming book, however, and somehow that kept me reading. I read this in two days. It's fairly short.

Four stars for this book - excellently written but lacking in the whole resolution thing.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mashup Book Review Thursday: The Athena Effect Series by Derrolyn Anderson



Amazon(The Athena Effect #1 is free for a limited time on kindle!)  Goodreads  Barnes and Noble(#1 is also free on Nook!)

Goodreads Blurbs:
The Mackenzie Legacy:
"As their story continues, Calvin and Caledonia find themselves madly in love, on the run, and nearly out of money. When Cal stumbles upon a way to cash in on Cali’s powers, their life on the road becomes a life of leisure. Despite the easy money and newfound luxury, Caledonia’s conscience begins to trouble her.

A disturbing warning only serves to confirm her misgivings, making her question her purpose in life. Finally, a shocking discovery about the true nature of her powers points the way forward, sending the two Cals on a dangerous rescue mission.

Caledonia tries her best to right the wrongs of the past, but will she only end up provoking new and even more dangerous enemies?"


The Caledonian Inheritance:
"After a winter spent in a tropical paradise, Cali and Layla are ready to put all of the drama behind them and find some meaning in life. Along with Calvin and Michael, they return to their remote property, only to discover more troubles hidden away in the bucolic wilderness.

The two Cals settle in happily, but Layla and Michael struggle with their sense of identity, each one seeking out a different coping mechanism. Just when things are starting to look up, Layla’s need to recreate the past leads her back to a dangerous place, opening the door for for evil to return. 

Will Layla’s foolish mistake jeopardize everyone’s newfound happiness?"


The Redcastle Redemption:
"Things finally seem peaceful for Cali and Calvin, but the twins are still struggling with their new-found freedom. Layla senses that more trouble still lurks in her future, while Michael's happiness is being crushed under the weight of a terrible secret.
When someone new discovers the girl's special talents, he will stop at nothing to put them to use. The cousins must face their most brutal adversary yet, and everyone is forced to fight for both their lives and their loves."


Review:
Thank you to the author, Derrolyn Anderson, for gifting me with the rest of the series after I liked The Athena Effect (read my review HERE) in exchange for an honest review!

This series is one of those hidden gems that all indie readers dream of finding.  I loved nearly everything in this series!  Because I'm such an organized person, I've devised a nice little list.

1.  I loved the endings of all three books.  They definitely weren't cliffhangers but they weren't completely closed off either.  There was just enough closure to tide me over until I read the next book!  Mind you, because I had them all downloaded to my kindle,  was able to start them one after another which basically led to this mashup review.  I can't really tell the books apart in my mind anymore because I read them one after another.  It's just one continuous story to me.

2.  Staying true to the first book, the Cal's were so adorable and amazing together.  I loved their relationship although there was more physical stuff in the rest of the series (it doesn't go into detail though for those of you who don't like that sort of thing).

3.  The 'villains' in all four books were just right.  They all made sense and they all were connected to their origin's if you catch my drift.  It wasn't like... say... the Maximum Ride series where villains were just popping up left and right out of nowhere.  This seems like a given to a lot of people but after reading that series, I'm starting to appreciate the villains role a lot more.

4.  There was some excellent action and self introspection going on.  And right now... you're thinking "those things have nothing in common, why are they in the same bullet??".  I don't really have an answer to that... sorry?  So anyway, in one of the books (well really all of them I suppose) Cali helps Layla through so much and also helps her to change her perspective on life.  That was so touching.  The action scenes were also fairly well done and weren't too intense or boring.

So.  That's all that lovely, gooey, wonderful stuff.  There was one problem I had with this series - the relationships (other than the Cal's).  It seemed like Rowan and Layla's relationship was bit of insta-love and Michael and Mina's was created for the sole purpose of just being there.  Like it was a kind of goal - if you find someone you love romantically, it will all be okay and then you can have more people on your side that will help you and worry about you!

The Final Verdict
This is a hidden gem.  Most everything from the villains to the endings were very well done.  Two of the relationship's that were created did get on my nerves from time to time.
4 stars


Quotes from all three:
"The two Cals had been thrown together by fate, united by curiosity, and forced to run by circumstance, but now they were bound together by pure true love."


"She spoke slowly, her hand on Cali's arm.  'Just tell me - What does she want'
'I have no idea,' Cali said. 'What does anyone want?'"


"'Is it any good?'
'What?'
"Star Wars.'
The look of horrified shock on Michael's face made both girls laugh."


"'Now you're dating a cop?' Michael was aghast.
'We're only friends!' Layla protested. 'Ramon is really nice.'"


"She hadn't changed his colors once."


"She stretched out her legs with satisfaction.  Now she finally knew how she wanted to use that power.  She would become the avenger of the abused, the protector of the innocent, and the defender of the helpless.  She would take the curse of her ability and turn it into a blessing."

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

WWW (2)

WWW Wednesday's is a weekly event hosted by Should Be Reading!  All you have to do is answer three questions:

1.  What are you currently reading?
2.  What did you recently finish reading?
3.  What do you think you'll read next?



I am currently reading two books (the other ones on my currently reading list are ones awaiting my review):


Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo

Amazon  Goodreads  Book Depository  Barnes and Noble

My aunt recommended this to me so I decided to give it a shot!  It's off to an okay start... I'm only 22 pages in so far.






Warzone: Nemesis by Morris E. Graham

Amazon  Goodreads  Book Depository  Barnes and Noble

This is an R&R book (I AM still in my own little R&R September!).






I recently finished reading:


The Redcastle Redemption by Derrolyn Anderson

Amazon  Goodreads

This is an R&R book I just finished.  I actually read the whole series all in a couple of days.  After I had reviewed the first one and liked it (see my review HERE), the author offered me the rest of the series - how could I resist??  My review will be up this week or next.



The Guardian by Lydia Rodriguez-Clement

Amazon  Goodreads  Book Depository  Barnes and Noble

Another R&R book!  Ms. Rodriguez-Clement has offered to do a giveaway (ebook and book swag) so look out for that as well as my review on Saturday!



What I think I'll read next:


Bloody Bess and the Doomsday Games by Nick Iuppa

Amazon  Goodreads

This is the next R&R book on my list!








The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Amazon  Goodreads  Book Depository  Barnes and Noble

This is one of the last remaining books from the library.  It's due in the beginning of October sometime so I have to get cracking!





What are you're WWW's?
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