I've been waiting to write this review until I had some time to mull over exactly how I felt about Where I Want to Be. I won't deny that the setting o...moreI've been waiting to write this review until I had some time to mull over exactly how I felt about Where I Want to Be. I won't deny that the setting of sunny Napa Valley, and Olivia's love of wine drew me to read this book. I was intrigued by the idea of uprooting yourself for something new. Of Olivia's quest to shake things up in her life. From the humdrum world of finance, to the lush vineyards of Napa Valley. What could be better?
In fact, this turned out to be the perfect setting for this book. I was charmed with descriptions of delicious wines, decadent food, and a pleasantly laid back atmosphere. It's clear that Courtney Roudenbush has a soft spot in her heart for this place. It comes alive through her writing. I could see, taste, touch and smell everything around me just as Olivia was. This was my favorite part of the book. It was just the escape I was looking for.
Sadly, I couldn't relate to Olivia. Although she did grow a bit during the story, she never felt like a real person to me. Olivia has a lot of issues, not the least of which is her inability to see how beautiful and confident she has every right to be. That wouldn't have been so bad, if it wasn't for the fact that it never ended. Her friends constantly needed to be her source of self-confidence, and it was tough for me to get behind. I didn't need Olivia to be perfectly self-sufficient, I just needed her to cut herself a break.
In terms of the story line, it was sweet enough. Following along as Olivia broke into the dating scene was okay. I wasn't a huge fan of the men, who were all predictably bad matches for her, but it was nice to see her trying. As I said, I just couldn't get behind Olivia as a character. I wanted more from her.
I now know that this is the first in a series, and that each of the remaining books will focus on one of Olivia's other friends. This excites me! I loved Courtney Roudenbush's writing, just not this character, so I'm hopeful that I'll find more to love in this series.(less)
I can't resist a good fairy tale, and that's a fact. I'm a firm believer that you are never too old to enjoy fairy tales and, furthermore, that they a...moreI can't resist a good fairy tale, and that's a fact. I'm a firm believer that you are never too old to enjoy fairy tales and, furthermore, that they actually get better with age. This is precisely why I put Shadowskin on my reading list. It had all the markings of a good tale. A brave heroine, a magic mirror, and the curse of a deadly touch all in one book. I was ready to be swept away.
I'm happy to say that, overall, I enjoyed my romp into Archland. I found myself lost in a world torn by war, and filled with magic. A world that reminded me a lot of the numerous Fantasy books that I've come to love. I fell into step with Pomona, and genuinely enjoyed her as a character. Although she was shy, her ability to read the emotions of others and show true empathy made me smile. It's hard not to like her.
The problem I faced in Shadowskin was that so much was presented in such a short time. I went into this knowing that I was reading the first in a series, and so I hoped for a slow build up. Unfortunately, a lot was thrown at me in a short amount of time. The sheer amount of references to other fairy tales in the first half of Shadowskin left me breathless. Don't mistake me, I loved it! I just wish that it would have slowed down enough to give each story it's due.
Let me explain. There are elements from multiple stories at play here. You'll see bits of "The Six Swans", "Beauty and the Beast" and even "The Little Mermaid". It's a wonderful idea! To put so much fairy tale goodness in one book is genius. However because the book moves so quickly, it's easy to overlook these little homages. They aren't always fully fleshed out. I would have loved to see more, as Pomona set off on her quest. To better fall into the world that she was wandering through. I know that there are more books on the horizon, so I'll cross my fingers.
Final verdict? A pleasant, fairy tale filled read that all but flies by. I give this one a solid three stars, and look forward to seeing what happens next.(less)
Due to my overabundance of excitement at the premise of this book, I didn't notice that Bittersweet Darkness is actually the third book in a series. M...moreDue to my overabundance of excitement at the premise of this book, I didn't notice that Bittersweet Darkness is actually the third book in a series. My fault entirely. So, yes I did scramble for purchase a bit as I found my place in Faith's story. Still, this is a solid read even as a standalone! Nina Croft's writing has the ability to pull you straight down into the story. I might have been missing some details about the pasts of these characters, but in reality I didn't feel the sting too much. In fact, I've found a new world to love. You can bet that this bookworm is headed back to read the first two of these, as soon as possible.
Now on the to the actual review, shall we? Faith's character was absolutely wonderful. I have a place in my heart for characters like her. Characters who are loyal and kind, but also have no problem kicking ass when the situation calls for it. To Faith, the world lies in absolutes. There are good guys, and there are bad guys. There is darkness, and there is light. Most of all, monsters don't exist. Or do they? I watched as Faith's ideals were put into question, and I was so impressed. She's strong. She's fierce. Best of all? Faith isn't swayed by the bad boy type. That alone makes her a winner in my book.
Speaking of the bad boy type, Ash definitely fits that description. It still makes me giggle to call a demon "sexy", but there's no other word to describe it. In his human form, Ash is unstoppable. He's intelligent, sarcastic, and yet just enough of a gentleman to make him delicious. Pardon my gushing, but he is definitely worth swooning over. The banter between Ash and Faith is filled with sass and sparks! I'd have loved Faith no matter what, but Ash definitely complimented her perfectly.
Let's be honest, I'm a fan of PR. I eat Urban Fantasy up like it's candy. So it's really no surprise that I loved the premise of Bittersweet Darkness, what with it's action and intrigue. However that only scratches the surface of my enjoyment. Nina Croft's writing is easy to read, and fun to get lost in. This book is only a little over 250 pages, but I would have happily read for hundreds more. I loved the characters, I loved the world, and I honestly can't wait for more.(less)
Holy YA Batman. Seriously. The Waking Dark absolutely blew me away. Those of you who were following along with me as I read might have noticed it took...moreHoly YA Batman. Seriously. The Waking Dark absolutely blew me away. Those of you who were following along with me as I read might have noticed it took me a while to finish. Trust me when I say that it's not because this book isn't fantastic, because it absolutely is. I'll explain more below, but let's just say this isn't necessarily an easy read. I thought I was desensitized to violence, what with how much horror I read. This book tested that theory. It's dark and disturbing. You've been warned.
See here's the thing, it's the characters that suck you in. Each one of them is so very different. You have your jock, your church girl, your outcast, and more. If this sounds a bit like The Breakfast Club, let me assure you that it couldn't be farther from the truth. The thing is that each one of these characters has a full, rich back story. They each have a series of events that have led them to be what they are now, and a ton of buried secrets that you slowly uncover along with them. I was a slave to the pages. I had to know what happened to these characters. It was amazing.
That's just the surface though. The plot of The Waking Dark is equally impressive. Imagine your average town in the middle of nowhere. The one where everyone knows everyone else, and for the most part people are content to get along. Now imagine that same town going stark raving mad. It was intriguing how Robin Wasserman set this up. I hesitate to say too much, since I don't want to spoil anything, but every person in this book never stops being themselves. They just give in to the parts of themselves that they never let see the light of day before. That's what makes the story terrifying. It's also what makes it so hard to look away from.
This book is sad. It's violent and twisted. It's filled with bad things that happen to good people and, even more difficult, young people. This is what made this such a long read for me. I couldn't stop reading, and yet I had to because no one in this book ever gets a break. Really, nothing ever seems to go right. The Waking Dark stirred up emotions in me that I wasn't expecting.
So yes, I highly recommend Robin Wasserman's beauty of a book. It's not going to be the right fit for a lot of people, but it definitely was for me. Five gold stars go to The Waking Dark, and onto my favorites list it goes.(less)
Wow, what a book. The Rule of Three doesn't feature zombies. It doesn't have a huge decimating explosion that sets off the end of the world. What it d...moreWow, what a book. The Rule of Three doesn't feature zombies. It doesn't have a huge decimating explosion that sets off the end of the world. What it does have, is a realistic vibe to it. What happens when everything you take for granted is suddenly gone? Cars no longer work, cell phones are dead, and there's no way to know if any help is coming. What happens to society? This is what Eric Walters uncovers in The Rule of Three, and it's both amazing and terrifying.
It's a little hard to describe the pacing of this book. While it doesn't exactly pick up pace at any particular time, it has this slow burn feel to it throughout the whole book. There's never really a huge climax. Lots of small ones, yes. Lots of little things to keep you reading on and wondering what will happen next, but nothing explosive. It's an interesting read for that very reason. I'm used to books being either slow, and then picking up or vice versa. This was bit of an anomaly to me, but one that held my attention.
In terms of characters, Adam and his neighbors have the ability to be anyone. They might be the people down the street from you. The babysitter at the end of the block. I loved the realism here. I watched in fascination as normally happy, easy-going people were reduced to shambles. As society as we know it so very quickly fell apart. Adam's story is scary because it is one that could, and most likely would, actually happen. It makes it that much harder to put down.
In fact, I predict that this very fact is going to be a deal breaker for some readers. The Rule of Three does have a few things about it (such as Herb) that are more fictional, but still possible. However the majority of this book is very grounded in reality. It's a look at what we are all capable of when survival mode sets in. So, if you've been eyeing this book, know that I recommend it! I can only hope there's more around the bend.(less)
Peter Swanson's The Girl With A Clock For A Heart threw me for a loop. I'll admit that I went into this book completely blind. This was a total case o...morePeter Swanson's The Girl With A Clock For A Heart threw me for a loop. I'll admit that I went into this book completely blind. This was a total case of succumbing to cover love when I was offered this for review. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It's got a bit of Hitchcock feel to it, and it's a nice easy read.
George Foss is just an everyday kind of man. He's reached a point in his life where things have stalled. A mid-life crisis if you will. Which is why when a girl from his past, a girl he thought was gone for good, steps back into his life? He takes a chance. I liked George. He didn't always make the best decisions, his fascination with this girl wasn't always easy to understand, but underneath it all he was a good enough guy.
The thing about The Girl With A Clock For A Heart is that the whole plot hinges on the girl from George's past. If you can't believe in their connection, you can't really understand why he makes the decisions he does. I found this part to be a little weak. We see flashbacks to George's history with the girl, from a short time during his college career. Can you really build that strong of a relationship with someone in that short of a time? Enough that you'd agree to put yourself in danger for them when they show up out the blue, years later? I just don't know.
If you let all that go though, and just travel with the flow of the book, it's not a bad read. The mystery George finds himself wrapped up in is beautifully designed. I didn't see most of it coming. Even the ending, which wasn't entirely unexpected, was a surprise. I'm a little upset about the fact that it was so open-ended, but then again that's just me. I like resolution. The Girl With A Clock For A Heart gets three stars from this bookworm.(less)
What a surprise! I hadn't heard anything about The Polaris Uprising until I stumbled across a blog tour for it. I'm glad I did. This is a gorgeous hid...moreWhat a surprise! I hadn't heard anything about The Polaris Uprising until I stumbled across a blog tour for it. I'm glad I did. This is a gorgeous hidden gem. A dystopian book that features two very strong, very unique, sisters and their fight to keep what they believe in alive. It's been done before, but Jennifer Ibarra breathes new life into this story line. I was hooked.
I couldn't help but rally behind Ryla. Blame it on my own impetuous nature if you must, but she just stood out to me. The exact opposite of her sister Alanna in every way, Ryla was a spitfire. I loved her charisma, her ability to think on her feet, and the fact that she wasn't afraid to stand up for herself. Not that Alanna isn't a wonderful character as well! She's the kind sister, the older one who listens to reason, the one who tries to keep the peace. These two together were a pure joy to follow. I knew there was dissent coming, but the first half of the book held so much sisterly love in it.
What most impressed me about The Polaris Uprising was how easily it flowed. Every chapter brought something new to light and, even though the book switches between the view points of Alanna and Ryla, it was so simple to follow. I slowly had the opportunity to watch these girls grow up. To be right there alongside them as they discovered who they really were, and what they wanted for their futures. I can't really say much more without spoiling anything. Tragic, I know. You'll have to read this for yourself.
Suffice it say, I was impressed. I'm glad that Ryla and Alanna's story was put on my radar, and I can't wait for more! This is the first in the series, and I'm in for the long haul. That ending pretty much solidified it for me. Pick this up if you enjoy well-written dystopian fiction with strong female characters! You won't regret it.(less)
Poor Ella Peters. A mother should never have to mourn the loss of her child. It's a nightmare that no parent on Earth wants to live through. For Ella...morePoor Ella Peters. A mother should never have to mourn the loss of her child. It's a nightmare that no parent on Earth wants to live through. For Ella though, it's so much worse than that. Not only is her child gone, he died a monster. A killer. Dane Peters, the Rest Stop Dentist. A criminal who has been laid to rest. Or has he?
What is most heartbreaking about this story is that Dane wasn't born this way, he was made. Edward Lorn weaves a tale around the violent abuse of a young child, and the mother who stood by and let it happen. It's a testament to Lorn's writing that I felt empathy for Ella. As much as I hated her sometimes, as much as I wanted to reach into the book and shake her violently with both hands, I saw deep enough to understand. It wasn't the choices she made, it was the choices that were made for her in this brutal relationship. She was just trying to survive.
In fact, the writing throughout Life After Dane is gorgeous. Although I wasn't always on board with supernatural/horror aspect of this book, it never ceased to amaze me how deeply ingrained it was in my psyche. I'd find myself thinking about this book while I wasn't reading it. Wondering what might be going on in Ella's mind as a mother looking back on her broken past. It wasn't so much that I wanted to delve further into the horrors surrounding her, but more that I had to. I needed to know what happened next.
So why the three star rating you ask? There was a lot I enjoyed about Life After Dane, but I just couldn't wrap my head around the overall storyline. When Ella first started seeing things, I thought I knew what was coming. I was wrong. I was so, so very wrong. It confused the hell out of me. This is all on me, as a reader. It just wasn't my kind of read.
However, and this is a big however, I still highly recommend this book. Hold on, I'll explain. Edward Lorn's writing never fails to be brilliant, and that's glaringly obvious in Life After Dane. If I can be confused, but still care for the characters and be totally enamored with the writing? That's one hell of a book. And yes, Life After Dane is one hell of a book.(less)
After a very long week, I was in need of something fun and flirty to read. High Heeled Wonder fit the bill perfectly! A strong, sarcastic fashionista....moreAfter a very long week, I was in need of something fun and flirty to read. High Heeled Wonder fit the bill perfectly! A strong, sarcastic fashionista. A PI whose abs should be considered a deadly weapon. A mystery seeded deeply into the inner workings of the fashion industry. What's not love? I placed myself squarely into Sylvie Bissette's heels, and set off on what I hoped would be one smoldering adventure.
This was a quick read. Avery Flynn wastes no time pulling the reader into the tension filled world of fashion. I was introduced to key players, seduced with talk of perfectly tailored suits and designer clothes, then charmed with Sylvie's razor sharp wit. In fact, Sylvie's character was actually a huge surprise for me. Despite being part of the "gliteratti", she was so down to earth. Sylvie is strong, funny, and not afraid to go for what she wants. Points to Avery Flynn! This is a girl I can get behind.
Speaking of getting behind someone, I can't deny I fell head over heels for Tony Falcon. Please ignore his rather cliche name, because this man is perfection. Tony was instantly likeable. He's sweet, fiercely loyal, and just all around adorable. I loved the banter between Tony and Sylvie. These two had sparks flying between them the entire book, and I loved every minute of their chemistry.
I do have to say that I felt a little shortchanged on the overall romance though. High Heeled Wonder walks the line between romance and mystery. However I feel like, because of that, each aspect wasn't as fully realized as it could have been. I was able to figure out the mystery pretty early on. Then I was even further disappointed by the big reveal at the end. It felt so cliche. Most frustrating of all, that build up took away from "between the sheets" time. Come on, we all know we read these books for those scenes.
Anyway, therein lies the reason I gave High Heeled Wonder a three star rating rather than a four. I loved the premise, and the characters, but wasn't perfectly satisfied with the execution. Still, if you're looking for a fun and flirty read? One with a delicious male lead? High Heeled Wonderis a good one to get lost in. (less)
Etched on Me deserves a round of applause. Honestly, it does. It deals with situations that most of us shy away from talking about, but it does it in...moreEtched on Me deserves a round of applause. Honestly, it does. It deals with situations that most of us shy away from talking about, but it does it in a blindly honest and raw way. Things like childhood sexual abuse, depression, self-destructive behaviors, and just plain loneliness are all touched on. Lesley Holloway's story may be fiction, but the book speaks to those who know these feelings are real. Jenn Crowell shows that traumas like these have both the power to break us down, and to push us into the arms of the people we need to build us back up. It shows the reality of the long, hard climb back into the light.
In terms of the fictional side of it all, Lesley was a brilliantly written character. Sexually abused from a young age, we meet her as she has finally had the courage to escape from her abuser, and find the help she needs. What I loved about Lesley was how realistic her character felt. She isn't perfect. She's petty, jealous, loving, confused, hate-filled, and every other emotion there is out there. I eagerly followed her journey as she fought to make a life she could believe in. I cried with her, laughed with her, and felt all the bumps along the road as if I were her. Jenn Crowell has written one amazing character in Etched on Me.
In fact, that's what I loved about this whole story. The raw, gritty feel that it has to it. Lesley's recovery is brutal. It's filled with people who both lift her up, and dash her back down to the ground. She makes mistakes, stumbles and falls, yet still manages to pick herself back up. Everything about her journey made me feel like I was right there with her. This story shows us how much strength we all possess inside us. It reminds us that hope is out there. That help can be sought if you know where to look. That no one is perfect, but we can damn sure try to be our best selves. That fighting your way out of the darkness isn't easy.
I'm so glad I agreed to read Etched on Me. While I haven't had to deal with anything of this magnitude in my own life, I had no problem feeling everything Lesley felt. I honestly feel that Crowell's book has the power to change lives. To remind those out there who might be silently dealing with abuse, self-harm, or anything of that nature, that there is a voice for us all. Even if it's one told through fiction. Huge applause for this book. Highly recommended.(less)
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, this book has good bones. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy is filled with all the things I love in a good Mid...moreI've said it before, and I'll say it again, this book has good bones. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy is filled with all the things I love in a good Middle Grade novel. A quirky, young heroine, a tale filled with magic, and a setting that is just too good to pass up. Who wouldn't want to wander a giant museum full of oddities? Still, this book just didn't have that magic I was looking for. I'll do my best to explain.
I do have to give credit where credit is due, and admit that Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard is a charming protagonist. I have an affinity for characters like her. Quirky, small, underdog type characters who fight against the odds to accomplish the impossible. What's not to love? I remember being a young reader and wanting, more than anything, to be just like the girls I read about in my fantasy books. Even now, reading this as an adult, I see what I'd love about Ophelia as well.
Sadly, I didn't feel like the story written around her was worthy of our little Ophelia. While everything I wanted to see was there, it just felt off. This story has talk of wizards, giant owls, and even ghosts, but none of it had that spark that made me want to read like mad. There were parts that felt like they should have been exciting. Pieces of this story that were written to show Ophelia standing tall against things she should be afraid of. None of it felt real though. It felt a bit flat I think. I missed the magic.
I do see a lot of good in this book. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy seems like an excellent read for a parent to share with a younger child. I kept picturing this being read to me as a bed time story, and it seemed to fit the bill. So three stars it is. While it wasn't my favorite read of the year so far, I'm much to smitten with Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard to give her anything less.(less)
Just a quick review on this one! I honestly wish this book had been around when I was teaching children. It's a fun, adorably illustrated look at the...moreJust a quick review on this one! I honestly wish this book had been around when I was teaching children. It's a fun, adorably illustrated look at the moon and beyond. Each page is jam packed with a surprising amount of information and fun facts. Do you have a reader at home who loves Non-Fiction? A scientist, or astronaut in training? Put this into their hands. It'll be sure to delight!(less)
What a sweet little book. Peter Panda may be having a melt down, but I've never seen one look so cute! If it isn't already obvious, it was the illustr...moreWhat a sweet little book. Peter Panda may be having a melt down, but I've never seen one look so cute! If it isn't already obvious, it was the illustrations that initially made me want to check out this book. Even on my iPad, the illustrations were big, bright, and perfectly matched the lines on the page. Kudos to Jon Nez!
The rhyming scheme is spot on for beginning readers, and the repetition of Peter Panda's melt downs make it easy to follow along. Young readers might even see a little of themselves in Peter as they read. After all, melt downs happen! This has the potential to be an excellent parent/child read.
Why the lesser rating you ask? In my opinion, as sweet as this book is, the message is a little vague. While Peter's tantrums never get him any of the things he wants, his momma never really deals with them either. She just moves his attention to the next thing they will do. I just really would have loved to see a lesson in this book for the young minds that will be enjoying it.(less)
Ah, Butler Cove. We meet Keri Ann Butler at a part of her life where things are in flux. She's lost her parents, inherited a home that is slowly falli...moreAh, Butler Cove. We meet Keri Ann Butler at a part of her life where things are in flux. She's lost her parents, inherited a home that is slowly falling apart, and doesn't know where her future is headed. I have to admit that I wholeheartedly loved Keri Ann. She's bright, funny, and the perfect amount of gutsy. In fact, I actually liked her a lot more than I thought I would. There's a big stigma in this book about her being a virgin, and I can't deny that I was worried she'd be naive. She might be slightly, but let me tell you that she's lovable too.
As for Jack, he took me a little while longer to warm up to. From the beginning, he appeared a bit arrogant. I guess that's to be expected if you're a movie star? However he soon grew to be someone I enjoyed reading about. Keri Ann definitely brought out the best in him. If you're a fan of characters who are sarcastic and witty, he's your man. I loved the chemistry and banter between Jack and Keri Ann. Call me girly, but it made me feel all swoony inside.
Admittedly there is a bit of insta-love in this book. Don't worry, it's bearable. I was able to overlook it simply because these two were so sweet with one another. In fact, I didn't even really mind that the storyline was a little predictable. That's saying a lot, because I normally get easily annoyed by that. Instead, I was too busy gushing over the sweetness that pours off these pages. Best of all? This was an extremely quick and easy read. I ate it up like candy. Need a book to break things up? Try this.
There is a cliffhanger! I'll admit that I'm now absolutely ready to dive into the sequel. More Jack, more Keri Ann, more sweetness! Have I used that word enough? Grab some chocolates, kick back in your favorite comfy clothes, and dive into Eversea. You won't regret it!(less)
The highest compliment I can give Madeline Claire Franklin's Robot Pony is that I wanted so much more! Don't get me wrong, it is ab...more*wipes a tear away*
The highest compliment I can give Madeline Claire Franklin's Robot Pony is that I wanted so much more! Don't get me wrong, it is absolutely perfect as a short story. In fact, I'm almost certain that anything else would ruin the magic of it. Still, I can't let it go. It hit me in just the right spot.
A human girl. A robot pony who is meant to be nothing but a mere toy. The utterly beautiful friendship that builds between them. I loved it. Loved it all. I picked this up to take a break between longer books, and found myself wishing for more.
What else can I say without ruining this for you? Read this. Thank you to the wonderful people who suggested it to me in the first place!(less)
Louisa Ann is our present day main character. Recently graduated from a University in Boston, she's at a turning point in her life. She's unemployed a...moreLouisa Ann is our present day main character. Recently graduated from a University in Boston, she's at a turning point in her life. She's unemployed and frustrated. When she's offered the opportunity to travel to Scotland, she jumps right in. Who wouldn't? This is where things get interesting. Louisa finds out that she's somehow linked to Isobel Key. That there are secrets that she doesn't know about her past. Told in alternating points of view, we see the story from both time periods as the mystery unravels.
Here's the big problem I had. I thought that the chapters from Isobel's point of view were fascinating. They take the reader back to the 1700's, during the witch trials, which is a period I'm particularly interested in. I was enthralled by Isobel's story line as she had to fight the persecution surrounding her. I honestly would have been thrilled to read a whole novel about this topic. The history in these chapters was beautifully woven into fiction that kept me reading.
Louisa's chapters though? They felt boring to me. She did touristy things, pined over hot tour guides, and all the while had to put up with Tammy. In fact, I think it was Louisa and Tammy's friendship that didn't feel real to me. I constantly felt like Tammy was only put there to keep Louisa from feeling totally confident about herself. Even when she was on the right track, she second guessed herself. It got on my nerves. In my opinion, this book would have been more effective if Louisa was just by herself on this adventure.
Things did pick up towards the middle. As Louisa discovered more about the past, I found myself more invested in the story. Still, I never really felt like I was fully in love with Louisa's story line. It got to the point where I'd skim her chapters to get back to reading about Isobel. So points go to The Secret of Isobel Key for being about a topic I'm invested in. Points also go to this book for being well researched. Other than that, I still feel rather lackluster towards it. So, three star rating it is.(less)