Wednesday, March 29, 2017

R&R Review Wednesday: Escaping the Rainfield by Eliza Rich

Standalone to date

Goodreads Blurb:
"“April 12, 2003. “Beep. Beep. We interrupt your radio station to bring you this important message. The counties of… no. The states of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and southern portions of Iowa and Nebraska are in a Flood Warning.””

This was no typical flood warning. With eleven states expecting three to ten inches of rain for an unprecedented number of days, the United States was in a frenzy. Families were evacuating their hometowns in hopes of locating refuge on dry land, but Hannah Davis’ family thought that they could out wait the storm. When their panicked Grandmother reaches out to them, requesting help, they find themselves fighting the weather and time to rescue her. As if that wasn’t enough, shortly after joining forces with two of Hannah’s classmates, Adrian and Ophelia, they come face to face with a gang that wants Adrian dead. As the days go by the family grows increasingly wary whether or not they will reach their Grandmother in time. Will the Davis’ be able to come together to outwit the storm and its surrounding catastrophes? Or will Hannah’s affection for Adrian put her family in more danger than it is worth?"

Thank you to the author, Eliza Rich, and Olivia (who organizes the Review Chain) for gifting me with a copy of Escaping the Rainfield in exchange for an honest review!

This book, sadly, was mostly a disappointment for me.  Perhaps I've read too many complex novels, but everything needed more development.

1.  The characters.  The characters definitely needed more development.  I frequently found myself baffled by their actions and by the main character, Hannah.  She continually frustrated by me jumping to insane conclusions and consistently falling into the sexist Christianity stereotype (which I'll talk a bit more about later).  The characters didn't always have separate voices which led to several moments of confusion on my part.  There weren't a lot of character development moments or descriptors so much so that I was even confused on the ages of the teenagers until around halfway through the book.  One character I loved, though, was Hannah's younger sister, Abi.  She was written so well and she stood out from the others and made me feel more connected to the story.

2.  The plot.  The plot was very well structured and did keep me interested although several other elements of the book didn't help.  It follows the dystopian mystery plot line and structure which really worked in the book's favor.  I loved the addition of Adrian's past and learning more about him through plot events.  One issue I did have with the plot was the ending.  To me, it seemed very perfect and very fairytale like.  That doesn't bother me if it fits the content but I don't think this kind of story deserves that type of ending.  Another issue I had was the lack of technology.  You would think that they'd be looking for a radio or something to listen to the news and see what's going on but instead, they just keep pushing on and don't seek additional information.

3.  The setting.  This is where I had the most problems.  In general, I wish the author had more descriptions and more exposition at the start.  I felt like I was just dropped in and nothing was really elaborated on.  The settings and physical spaces weren't described nearly as well as they could have been which made me feel very removed from the story.  Also because of the lack of description, a lot of character traits were lost as well for me.

4.  Religion.  I'm not one to dislike religion in a book.  Religion is a large part of a lot of people's lives so I think it's entirely accurate to have it portrayed (especially in a life or death dystopian).  However, I do think that perhaps the author could have toned it down just a smidge.  I mentioned above how the characters didn't seek any information about the storm.  Instead, they simply prayed and kept discussing whether it was God trying to flood the earth again (think Noah and the Ark).  While that's an entirely reasonable assumption for a  person of Christian belief, it irked me a bit that it was all being boiled down to a religious issue.  Also, like I mentioned above, the characters frequently fell into the sexist Christian stereotype where men are expected do all of the heavy lifting and the woman are supposed to always agree and go along with what the men want.  I resented that.

5.  The romance.  There isn't much romance in this which I truly appreciated.  Romance can be amplified so much by life or death situations and I loved how the author refrained from making it a focal point.  However, the ending was a little meh for me in terms of the relationships that are formed.

6.  The idea.  This is the best aspect of this book and what drew me to it in the first place.  If you read the blurb, you know what I mean.  I've never read an apocalyptic novel focused on rain before.  They're all about illnesses or heat or climate change or something; not a giant spout of rain that causes intensive (think 5 feet of sitting water) flooding.  I loved the concept and the idea that the author had, just not the way it was executed.

The Final Verdict:
This novel, unfortunately, fell flat for me.  While the idea is fabulous, I don't think the characters or setting were executed properly and left so many holes.  I did appreciate the toned down romance, however.
2 stars

Meet the Author

I grew up in Iowa with a vast intrigue for the unexpected. Like many of my peers, I began to question how to would handle situations differently from my parents and fellow classmates in middle school. My imagination ran wild with all of the potential “what if’s”, but the question of how to outwit Mother Nature always stuck with me. Over the next eight years, I revised the plot for Escaping the Rainfield and let the characters find unexpected solutions to the dilemmas I would throw in their path. Now, as I finish college, I am excited to share the tale of one family seeking refuge from the greatest flood America has ever known.


Friday, March 24, 2017

50/50 Friday (25): Novel Worth/Not Worth the Hype

50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @The Butterfly Reads and I and focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc).  Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!

Today's Topic: Novel Worth/Not Worth the Hype


Goodreads Blurb:
"Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times)."

I saw this book everywhere and everyone was telling me that it was amazing and that they loved it.  I read it and it was so worth it!  The language and writing is gorgeous and the ideas presented make you think about life in a whole new light.  If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it!

Not Worth:

The 5th Wave #1

Goodreads Blurb:
"After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother-or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up."

I heard such great things about this book and I was really expecting a great dystopian but I ended up being disappointed.  I just didn't think the romance worked out and the attitudes of the characters annoyed me quite a bit.  The idea is original though so I've decided I'm going to continue with the series and see how everything shakes out.

What books do you think are worth or not worth the hype?  Do you agree with my picks?  Make a post and link up down below!

Next Week's Topic: Best/Worst Book Read in March

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

R&R Review Wednesday: Johnny and Jamaal by K.M. Breakey

Stand alone to date

Goodreads Blurb:
"Two athletes from different planets are on the verge of greatness. Johnny’s a carefree Canadian making his mark in the NHL. Jamaal’s set to follow LeBron and Kyrie out of the ghetto. When their worlds collide, the catastrophic clash ignites racial conflict not seen since Ferguson. The incident tests the fledgling love of Johnny’s best friend Lucas and his African-American girlfriend Chantal, and sets them on a quest for truth and justice in the perverse racial landscape of 2016.

As chaos escalates across American cities, an MLK-like voice rises from the ashes. Wilbur Rufus Holmes may be salvation for Luke and Chantal, but can he stop society’s relentless descent into racial discord?

Johnny and Jamaal is awash with sports, violence and political taboo, as America’s seething dysfunction is laid bare."

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Live Action Remake (1991)

IMDB Blurb:
"An adaptation of the Disney fairy tale about a monstrous-looking prince and a young woman who fall in love."

Friday, March 17, 2017

50/50 Friday (24): Best/Worst Debut Novel

50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @The Butterfly Reads and I and focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc).  Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!

Today's Topic: Best/Worst Debut Novel

Thursday, March 16, 2017

ARC Review and Release Thursday: Endurance by Amy Daws

Part of the London Lovers universe (but can be enjoyed as a stand-alone)

Release Date: March 16th, 2017 (TODAY!)

Goodreads Blurb:
"Tanner Harris has been busy shagging his way through the ladies of east London, but getting caught by the paparazzi buck-naked with his trouser snake in his hands means he’s sowed his last wild oat.

Dr. Belle Ryan once thought Tanner Harris was the perfect kind of bearded bad boy she needed to relieve a bit of stress after her intense job as a surgical fellow, but an icy cold rejection from London’s sluttiest footballer puts the two at each other’s throats.

Fate and a favour conspire to put Tanner and Belle back in each other’s paths and they’re forced to do a lot more than get along to save face and their careers.

Rage turns to passion and tempers run sizzling hot when they realise they aren’t just falling for each other—they’re jumping head first. And neither have the endurance to keep their hands to themselves."

Friday, March 10, 2017

50/50 Friday (23): Best/Worst King or Queen Character (Good/Evil)

50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @The Butterfly Reads and I and focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc).  Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!

Today's Topic: Best/Worst King or Queen Character (Good/Evil)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

ARC Review Wednesday: Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean

Standalone to date

Release Date: April 4th, 2017

Goodreads Blurb:
"Shortly after 17-year-old Maren Hamilton is orphaned and sent to live with grandparents she’s never met in Scotland, she receives an encrypted journal from her dead mother that makes her and everyone around her a target. It confirms that her parents were employed by a secret, international organization that’s now intent on recruiting her. As Maren works to unravel the clues left behind by her mother, a murderous madness sweeps through the local population, terrorizing her small town. Maren must decide if she’ll continue her parents’ fight or stay behind to save her friends.

With the help of Gavin, an otherworldly mercenary she’s not supposed to fall in love with, and Graham, a charming aristocrat who is entranced with her, Maren races against the clock and around the country from palatial estates with twisted labyrinths to famous cathedrals with booby-trapped subterranean crypts to stay ahead of the enemy and find a cure. Along the way, she discovers the great truth of love: that laying down your life for another isn’t as hard as watching them sacrifice everything for you."

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Tag Tuesday: Book Lovers Tag

I was tagged a while ago by Azee @Under Cover Critique (2/12/15 to be exact!).  I haven't been doing tags for a while and I thought I'd start to get back into them!  I won't be tagging people for the older tags because they've probably been done by everyone already but if you haven't done a tag that you really like, consider yourself tagged!  And with that, let's get into it!

Monday, March 6, 2017

February Wrap-Up

So if you hadn't noticed, February has passed us by!  It's now March which means it's time to reflect on the past month.  Let's get to it!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

R&R Review Sunday: Taken by Witches by Nick Iuppa

Stand alone to date
Goodreads Blurb:
"When he was a child, Niko Madonie was terrified of his over-protective grandmother. Somehow he know she was a witch possessed of overwhelming supernatural powers and determined to save him from the real and imagined dangers of the modern world. Now a successful writer in Hollywood, Niko is helping create and animated version of Hansel and Gretel while he struggles to protect his beautiful young wife from sexy, New Age witches who hope to sacrifice her to please the ancient crone.
This is an epic horror romance set against a background of legends, with complex villains, a magical young couple, and a storyline straight from the darkest pages of the Brothers Grimm."

Friday, March 3, 2017

50/50 Friday (22): Best/Worst Book Read in February

50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @The Butterfly Reads and I and focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc).  Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!

Today's Topic: Best/Worst Book Read in February

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

ARC Review Wednesday: The Last Shadow Gate by Michael W. Garza

The Shadow Gate Chronicles #1

Release Date: 3/3/17

Goodreads Blurb:
"Summer vacation was never supposed to be like this.

It was bad enough Naomi had to be shipped off to her dad's home for the summer and deal with her half-brother Gavin, but when the siblings are forced to spend their break with their great-grandmother in upstate New York, everything changes. An investigation into the strange disappearance of their great-grandfather forces them to retrace his footsteps. They discover a gateway between worlds and encounter extraordinary creatures in a land where the people are desperate to escape the coming of a shade lord. To survive their adventure, Naomi and Gavin must settle their differences and find the elusive shadow gate that will take them home again.

*Grab a copy today and begin your search for the Shadow Gate*


Book 1: The Last Shadow Gate
Book 2: A Veil of Shadows (Coming 2017)
Book 3: The Shadow of War (Coming 2018)"

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