Place(s) Traveled To: Orono, Maine // Vinalhaven, Maine
First Line(s): Heath said he would never leave me.
To say that I had issues with YOU MAKE ME by Erin McCarthy is an understatement. About the only good thing that I can say for this book is that I finished it and I'm not even sure how I managed to do that. While YOU MAKE ME is filled with McCarthy's usual good writing the plot and the characters were just things of frustration. The main characters, Heath and Caitlyn, are ones that I'm not entirely sure deserved a happily ever after. Which is almost a sacrilege to say when talking about a romance novel. And while I wanted them to be happy I just don't think that they were meant to be happy with each other.
Cat and Heath were childhood sweethearts and they shared a wonderful summer together when they were 16/18 years old and then Heath just dropped off the planet without a word. For four years. During that time Cat went away to school, grew up and moved on with her life and getting engaged on the very night that Heath drops back into life. There is no real explanations and Cat forgives very easily and its not long before she's conflicted and pretty much cheating on her boyfriend of several years.
These characters are all pretty dysfunctional and I later learned that YOU MAKE ME is a modern adaptation of WUTHERING HEIGHTS, a book I read in high school and hated for so many reasons. So its no real surprise to me that I did not enjoy YOU MAKE ME. Its really hard for me to put into words just what I didn't like until I stumbled on THIS REVIEW from Dear Author who says everything that I've been trying to put a finger on and she does it so very well! (Seriously if ever I was to steal a review, this would be the one.)
All these characters are deeply flawed and yet they also felt really superficial. Like they were all living on the surface and just going through the motions. They had no depth or life in them and I felt no chemistry between Cat and either of her love interests. This whole book was very flat and lacked personality. The only emotions it made me feel were ones in which I wanted to toss my ereader against the wall. Hard. And if I'd read a physical book I would have done so. I have read and enjoyed several other books by Erin McCarthy but I think for my own sanity I am going to stay away from other books in this series.
People who liked this book better than I did:
2 Book Lovers Reviews - "There is a ton of turmoil in this book and that is exactly what I like! This is not an easy love story where everything is cut and dry. The characters are flawed and their emotions are real. Call me a sucker for punishment, but I appreciate a story that can tear at my heart."
Bec's Books - "Ultimately, this story is a second chance romance of two people reconnecting to find that their fate is to be together. Cat is real. She is so confused about her life and what she wants. Her moments of breakdown felt raw and genuine."
Place(s) Traveled To: Edwinstowe, England // Nottingham (roughly 1191)
First Line(s): The fire breathed, the dying embers flaring and cooling in a hot pulse.
Lady Thief by AC Gaughen is the second book in her Scarlet series which is a retelling of the Robin Hood story where Will Scarlet is not a boy but a kick ass girl. Lady Thief starts out with a bang and its not long before my emotions are turned to a pile of goo. I had tears in my eyes by the time I hit the half way mark and didn't know what else Gaughen could do to make the ending so horrible. Until I got there and I wanted to toss my book across the room. AC Gaughen is an evil evil author and that ending was so uncalled for!! But damn if Gaughen didn't deliver a stellar book as she systematically ripped out the heart of this poor reader.
When you hit the end of this book you just sit back and go...wow.
Its a crazy roller coaster ride of emotions and the action is pretty much non-stop once it gets going. And if you thought that Guy of Guisbourne was bad, just wait until you meet Prince John! This book is filled with lots of old friends and includes so new one as well. Stepping into its pages is like stepping into a hug until you are knifed in the heart by all emotions and feels that this book brings. This book made me swoon and it made me cry and it made me shout things like "No! No! No!!" There is tension and intrigue and so much goodness that the pages just fly by.
Lady Thief is a book that is far and above its predecessor Scarlet. Everything is just so much more in this story and once I started I found it hard to put down and when I hit that ending I was so glad that I had Lion Heart by my side because my need to know totally surpassed my fear of endings. Seriously, I don't know what readers have done with themselves as they waited for the third book to come out because as I said on Goodreads when I hit the final page "WTF is up with that ending?!?! Sweet mother but Gaughen is the most evil of authors right now!!!!"
The dialect speak does still get to me a little but it seems like its less in Lady Thief than it was in Scarlet or maybe I'm just more used to it now. Lady Thief is a wonderful little book (even if it hurts your soul a little) and its one that I strongly recommend for all to read. There is something in it for everyone...action, adventure, romance, intrigue, and so much more. If you haven't checked it out yet then you are seriously missing out. I'm also giving away a copy of Lady Thief (or other book in this series) as part of my January 2015 wrap up post just head over to this post and enter for your chance to win!
Beauty and the Beast has never been my favorite fairy tale and when I received an advanced copy of Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge I was intrigued but never seemed to find the time to pick it up. Recently though a few people began to recommend this book to me and I had also downloaded the audio via Audiobook Sync's annual program of 2014. I was having trouble settling on a new audiobook recently and was looking through the titles I had received from Audiobook Sync and thought I'd listen to a small clip of each of the titles I'd downloaded last year and then choose one. Only when I started the audio of Cruel Beauty I found that I couldn't turn it off. The narrator, Elizabeth Knowelden, was enthralling. And while she sometimes mixed up her voices I found that I didn't mind overmuch as I just loved the way that she told this story and brought it to life.
As I listened I also learned that Cruel Beauty wasn't just a Beauty and the Beast retelling. There were also hints of other fairy tales mixed in Bluebeard, Rumpelstiltskin, and East of the Sun West of the Moon to name just a few. Cruel Beauty also contained not just fairy tales but Greek mythology and this mix of stories added depth and uniqueness to the story. I enjoyed this story and loved Nyx's struggle as she dealt with her internal struggles over what she was raised to do and what she wants to do. I enjoyed Nyx's interactions with Ignafex and was intrigued by there relationship. While her relationship with Shade and her sister just annoyed me. Oh how her sister annoyed me. For someone who was supposedly so good she harbored a lot of ill will in her heart.
For this one I am partial to the audiobook and I am not sure if I'd feel differently if I'd read this one in print instead. As I said above I found Elizabeth Knowelden's narration to be enthralling and she's the one who kept me listening and engaged in the story through that slow beginning. She's the one who kept me listening when I got really annoyed with Nyx's sister and with Shade. Knowelden is definitely a narrator that I am going to be looking into more because I'd love to see how she narrates other stories.
For me, Cruel Beauty had a slow start and was a little repetitive at times but repetition is something that is becoming more and more common in books these days so I think its something that I have to learn to deal with and accept. What I really liked about Cruel Beauty was how it ended. The ending wasn't something that I was expecting and yet at the same time it was fitting for the story that Hodge was telling. Things were wrapped up nicely and I like knowing that this is a standalone book. I love me a good fantasy story and it can be so hard to find a standalone fantasy. I like that Hodge has a companion story to Cruel Beauty in her novella, Gilded Ashes (my review), but do think that it is a story that should be read before this one.
If you like Greek mythology and fairy tale retellings then you should really give Cruel Beauty a try. Its a beautifully written story and one that I enjoyed. The mystery aspect of it is a little simplistic and easy to figure out but I didn't mind that as I enjoyed the time that I sent in this world. Its a world that I wouldn't mind revisiting and a book that I will most likely re-read at some point. This one wasn't quite what I expected and I enjoyed it more than I thought. Its a story that I'd recommend especially for those that listen to audiobooks.
Place(s) Traveled To: Prythian - Unnamed Village // Spring Court // Under the Mountain
First Line(s): The forest had become a labyrinth of snow and ice.
Its not a huge secret that I wasn't the biggest fan of Throne of Glass (my review) but I gave it the old college try and read 3 of the books before calling it quits. And just because I didn't like one series doesn't necessarily mean that I'll give up on an author entirely so when I heard that Sarah J. Maas's newest series was going to be based off of a fairy tale I was intrigued. I do love a good fairy retelling after all. At first I was a little disappointed that A Court of Thorns and Roses was using Beauty and the Beast as its primary base as that is one of the most over done fairy tales in print and on screen. But A Court of Thorns and Roses wasn't just a Beauty and the Beast retelling it also contained elements of East of the Sun, West of the Moon and Cinderella.
A Court of Thorns and Roses started off a bit slow for me and I really disliked Feyre's sisters. To me its not all that realistic for the youngest sibling to take care of the older ones but its a common enough trope and does help add to the Cinderella aspect of the story. I did start to enjoy this one once Feyre moved into the faere world and I enjoyed getting to know Tamlin and Lucian. Lucian is one of my favorite characters in this whole story and I really hope that we get more of him as the series moves forward. I also believed in the friendship and growing chemistry between Feyre and Tamlin and this one totally made my heart ache at times.
While I did mostly like A Court of Thorns and Roses Feyre did annoy me a lot of the times and I also don't like the use of the pointless breakup. Seriously, the whole second half of the story could have been avoided if Feyre and Tamlin just talked to each other and were honest. But that would be too easy and you wouldn't have 'drama' so while I wish that things had occurred in a different way I do know that they could have been worse. Overall, I liked the second half of the book but did find that things got a bit repetative at times and am not a fan at the potential brewing of a love triangle to this story. I hate love triangles with a fiery passion and if that happens I will not be a happy reader.
As endings go, this one is relatively mild. I have a pretty good idea on where the next two books in this series will go (assuming that its a trilogy) though only time will tell on if my thoughts are correct or not. I am interested to seeing where things will go but I'm not dying for it as I am with some series that I've read. I like the concept of A Court of Thorns and Roses and like most of the characters. If you are like me and you didn't enjoy Throne of Glass then you might want to consider trying out this book. It has a different tone to it and Feyre, while annoying at times, is a lot stronger and more likable (at least for me) than Celaena.
First Line(s): Once upon a new school year, Raven Queen was packing.
The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale is the first book in the Ever After High series which was created by the same people who did Monster High and is a spin off of sorts. Though instead of "monsters" this story is filled with the children of the fairy tales we grew up listening to. We quickly learn that all the children in this story have a destiny that they need to fulfill and that destiny is to live out their fairy tale story as written and as determined by the Storybook of Legends. If your mother was an Evil Queen then you are supposed to grow up to be one too, even if you don't feel so very evil. Which is Raven Queen's dilemma as the new school year starts. This is her legacy year, the year she signs the book of Legends and seals her fate. Only she doesn't want to be evil and wonders just what will happen if she doesn't sign the book after all.
Along the way you meet her friends and a girl named Apple White, the daughter of Snow White, and the girl that Raven is supposed to grow up and poison so she can have her happily ever after. Apple is supposed to be good but what I love about this book is that the lines are blurred between good and evil and just because someone is perceived to be good doesn't mean that they are. I really liked how fun and imaginative this story was and I did so enjoy the youtube cartoon tie-in as well. I liked all of the characters and the mystery that was contained in its pages. It was a fun fairy tale retelling and one in which I look forward to reading the other books in the series.
While I enjoyed the story I did get a little frustrated at times because I couldn't understand why if each fairy tale character had two parents then why did Raven have to follow her mother's path when her father was a good king. And what about the fairy tale characters that had multiple children? How do their stories play out as if there are 3 girls then they can't all be Cinderella, can they? And just what happens if you don't follow your destiny but instead forge your own path? These are all questions that I hope get answered as the series moves on. But for now, I was happy with it and do think that younger readers will enjoy it as well.
Liked it but it felt unfinished. Turns out it's a series but it's like they took one book and sectioned it off to make 3...full review to be posted...Liked it but it felt unfinished. Turns out it's a series but it's like they took one book and sectioned it off to make 3...full review to be posted...eventually ...more