Monday, October 2, 2017

September Wrap-Up (2017)

I can't believe September is already over. It flew by and I only read four books. Although I am currently reading two-Dragonfly in Amber and The Crown.

But I did expect this month to go this way. A bunch of my time is being spent on working overtime or getting ready for my Disney vacation. And I don't expect a big difference for October. But I'm ok with that. And I was happy with the quality of the books I read, too.

Here are the books I read this month and their ratings:

The Jewel-4 Stars
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Scrappy Little Nobody-5 Stars
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Marked in Flesh-4.5 Stars
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Etched in Bone-4 Stars
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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Review: Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop

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Series: The Others Book #4
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 489
Rating: 4.5 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Paranormal
Publisher: Roc

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Since the Others allied themselves with the cassandra sangue, the fragile yet powerful human blood prophets who were being exploited by their own kind, the delicate dynamic between humans and Others changed. Some, like Simon Wolfgard, wolf shifter and leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn, see the new, closer companionship as beneficial—both personally and practically.

But not everyone is convinced. A group of radical humans is seeking to usurp land through a series of violent attacks on the Others. What they don’t realize is that there are older and more dangerous forces than shifters and vampires protecting the land that belongs to the Others—and those forces are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect what is theirs…
 
Review

Well that was an adventure. There was a ton of tension which kept me engaged and turning the page. But that also stressed me out. There are so many characters and I care about so many of them, but they can’t all make it out of the series alive right? And the sexual tension went up a lot. At  this point if there isn’t some kind of resolution between Simon and Meg I’m going to be pissed.

I have no idea where this is going in the next book. I’m pretty sure I say that every time and it’s good that Ms. Bishop is keeping me on my toes. And my understanding is that the last one in the series/following these characters. I’m not sure I’m ready for this series to end.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, September 25, 2017

Review: Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

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Stand Alone
Format: Audiobook
Rating: 5 Stars
How I Got It:Borrowed from Library
Genre: Non-fiction, humor
Publisher: Touchstone Books

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Even before she made a name for herself on the silver screen starring in films like Pitch Perfect, Up in the Air, Twilight, and Into the Woods, Anna Kendrick was unusually small, weird, and “10 percent defiant.”

At the ripe age of thirteen, she had already resolved to “keep the crazy inside my head where it belonged. Forever. But here’s the thing about crazy: It. Wants. Out.” In Scrappy Little Nobody, she invites readers inside her brain, sharing extraordinary and charmingly ordinary stories with candor and winningly wry observations.

With her razor-sharp wit, Anna recounts the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture as only she can—from her unusual path to the performing arts (Vanilla Ice and baggy neon pants may have played a role) to her double life as a middle-school student who also starred on Broadway to her initial “dating experiments” (including only liking boys who didn’t like her back) to reviewing a binder full of butt doubles to her struggle to live like an adult woman instead of a perpetual “man-child.”

Enter Anna’s world and follow her rise from “scrappy little nobody” to somebody who dazzles on the stage, the screen, and now the page—with an electric, singular voice, at once familiar and surprising, sharp and sweet, funny and serious (well, not that serious).
 

Review

I requested this audiobook months ago and my hold finally came through. And I loved this books. But that isn’t much a surprise. I came in as a fan of Anna Kendrick and she was the one reading the audiobook.

This book was funny, inspiring, and a little random. I don’t idolize celebrities, but I will admit to thinking of them as “different”. But here life shows how normally they are. And I like knowing that at least she isn’t completely comfortable with everything.

It was weird how much I connected with her. I’m also an expert grudge holder. And I feel like a weirdo a lot of the time. She’s also pretty inspiring. Even though she was scared she continued to push for her dreams.

I’m really glad I read this and I want to buy a physical copy or get it for Christmas.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fall TBR (2017)

My summer TBR went well so I'm hopeful for my Fall TBR.

I picked books that I've been putting off for various reasons. And they have some serious tones or are fantasy books. For whatever reason I think books like that feel like fall. 

I've also decided to start putting a non-fiction book on my seasonal TBRs. I don't read them a lot but have some on my shelves that have been around for years.

Here are the five books I want ot read this fall:

The Remedy
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Creating Magic
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Theft of Sword (Book #2)
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Team Human
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Mortal Heart
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What do you want to read this fall?

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, September 11, 2017

Review: The Jewel by Amy Ewing

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Series: The Lone City Book #1
Format: Ebook
Rating: 4 stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from Library (Overdrive)
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Publisher: Harper Teen

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.
 
Review

I didn’t think I would like this as much as I did. And it went places I wasn’t expecting. Yes, this is a young adult Handmaid’s Tale, but I thought the YA thing would hold it back more. My only real issue is the romance which I’m not really feeling. It actually came across more forced and as a story point then love.

The characters are the strongest part. Violet is good, but does make some silly impulsive decisions. But I do enjoy the other characters more-like the Duchess. They just seem to be more complex and well-developed. And I am intrigued by all the inter-personal/political relationships. I’m mostly curious to see what happens there than to Violet as an individual.

So, I’m not going to spoil anything, but I saw that ending coming from page one. And I think I’m ok with that.

I’ve already placed a hold on the second and third books through my library. Hopefully, I’ll have them in the next few weeks.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, September 8, 2017

Review: The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan

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Series: The Brothers Sinister Book #4
Format: Ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Self-Published
 
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Miss Frederica "Free" Marshall has put her heart and soul into her newspaper, known for its outspoken support of women's rights. Naturally, her enemies are intent on destroying her business and silencing her for good. Free refuses to be at the end of her rope...but she needs more rope, and she needs it now.

...a jaded scoundrel...

Edward Clark's aristocratic family abandoned him to die in a war-torn land, so he survived the only way he could: by becoming a rogue and a first-class forger. When the same family that left him for dead vows to ruin Miss Marshall, he offers his help. So what if he has to lie to her? She's only a pawn to use in his revenge.

...and a scandal seven years in the making.

But the irrepressible Miss Marshall soon enchants Edward. By the time he realizes that his cynical heart is hers, it's too late. The only way to thwart her enemies is to reveal his scandalous past...and once the woman he loves realizes how much he's lied to her, he'll lose her forever.

Review

Part of the reason I hadn't read this yet was because I thought I wouldn't like it. Why? I have no idea. It wasn't waht I thought it would be in the best possible way. It has some very serious content, but had a lighter tone then the others in the series.

My favorite thing about this is the banter between Free and Edward. They play off eachother so well. And it felt very fast so I could hear them going in my head. There was a push and pull between them, but it was never disrespectful or harsh.

I did also like them as individual characters. I like Edward just a little bit more than Free-he was a little more engaging and complex. But Free was interesting especially wiht her outlook on life, society, and women's rights.

Speaking of-the suffragette movement was a huge part of this story. And it was very easy to see that there was commentary on how far we have or haven't come in 100+ years. That doesn't bother me, but I thought I should mention it.

One disappearing things is the side characters. I felt there were crumbs left out for their stories especially Patrick, but there was no fulfillment. I just feel a little let down by that, but maybe I'm reading too much into things.

Thanks for reading!
Holly 


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Review: Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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Stand Alone
Format: Paperback
Pages: 449
Rating: 5 Stars
How I Got It: Gift
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.

On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?

Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a stranger? Um...

Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane's list. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go skinny-dipping? Wait...what?

Review

Holy crap! I was a little nervous for like the first hundred pages because it wasn't gripping me. But the book did end up sucking me in and had me crying by the end. And I think this is my second favorite Morgan Matson books.

The romance was cute and incredibly well-paced. But it was the friendships that really hooked me. I loved the exporation of different friendships-new, old, male/male, female/female, groups, etc. They all felt very real and organic.

And I really liked Emily. I have a lot of things in common with her. So, it was great to listen vicariously through her. And I felt like it was kind of inspiring.

Thanks for reading!
Holly