Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Book Review: All Fall Down by Ally Carter

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Series: Embassy Row Book #1
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 310
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:

1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.

As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her -- so there's no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.

Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can't control Grace -- no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn't stop it, Grace isn't the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.
Review

Ally Carter's books are just so fun to read. And they just have a different feel than any other YA I've ever read.

This book was fast-paced and engaging. And there was a mystery throughout this one which helped keep me going. It was helped by the fact that I couldn't decide if Grace was a reliable narrator or not. It added a nice extra layer to the story.

I'm glad I already own this whole series so I don't have to wait to read them. I want to know what happens to Grace and her friends. I do really like that Ally Carter will flush out her books with good side characters/friends.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, January 15, 2018

Book Review: Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas

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Series: The Hathaways Book #5
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 332
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: St. Martin's
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

As a lover of animals and nature, Beatrix Hathaway has always been more comfortable outdoors than in the ballroom. Even though she participated in the London season in the past, the classic beauty and free-spirited Beatrix has never been swept away or seriously courted... and she has resigned herself to the fate of never finding love. Has the time come for the most unconventional of the Hathaway sisters to settle for an ordinary man—just to avoid spinsterhood?
Christopher Phelan is a handsome, daring soldier who plans to marry Beatrix's friend, the vivacious flirt Prudence Mercer, when he returns from fighting abroad. But, as he explains in his letters to Pru, life on the battlefield has darkened his soul—and it's becoming clear that Christopher won't come back as the same man. When Beatrix learns of Pru's disappointment, she decides to help by concocting Pru's letters to Christopher for her. Soon the correspondence between Beatrix and Christopher develops into something fulfilling and deep... and when Christopher comes home, he's determined to claim the woman he loves. What began as Beatrix's innocent deception has resulted in the agony of unfulfilled love—and a passion that can't be denied.
Review

Pretty sure this is the first time I've re-read this and it was better than I remembered. Or my likes have changed. Or both. But it was still my least favorite book in this series. The rest did get 5 stars though so it was a pretty high bar.

Beatrix is awesome. She's unique in an already unique family. I love her positive outlook on people and life. And her relationship with animals is just so cute.

Christopher is a good character. And he's dealing with some PTSD from war which I love reading about. Does it make me a bad person to like that?

The romance is nice. I really love that they really get to know each other through letters. That is one of my favorite storytelling devices. And it's nice to read about them dealing with his PTSD as a couple. Love is great but it doesn't just heal all of lifes' problems.

This is a great story with great characters. It was a nice conclusion to the Hathaways series. I'm glad I took the time to reread these.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, January 12, 2018

Review: Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen

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Series: Brooklyn Bruisers Book #3
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 336
Rating: 5 Stars
How I Got It: Christmas Gift
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports/hockey romance
Publisher: Berkley Books
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
Mike Beacon is a champion at defending the net, but off the ice, he’s not so lucky. A widower and a single father, he’s never forgotten Lauren Williams, the ex who gave him the best year of his life. When Lauren reappears in the Bruisers office during the playoffs, Beacon sees his chance to make things right.

Lauren hates that she’s forced to travel with the team she used to work for and the man who broke her heart. There’s still undeniable sexual tension running between her and Mike, but she won’t go down that road again. She’s focused on her plans for the future—she doesn’t need a man to make her dreams of motherhood come true.

Lauren plays her best defensive game, but she’s no match for the dark-eyed goalie. When the field of play moves to Florida, things heat up on the beach.

One of Mike’s biggest fans doesn’t approve—his teenage daughter. But a true competitor knows not to waste the perfect shot at love.

Review

It should come as no surprise that I loved this because I'm obsessed with Sarina Bowen. I read like 20 minutes on my lunch at work and then the rest was one sitting on my couch. My cat really appreciated just being able to sit on my lap for 3 hours.

Lauren was a real treat. Over the course of the series, she has gone from random bitchy girl to great character. It's a nice reminder not to judge people by how they appear. Mike was cute and I liked seeing him with his daughter. He's a little too impulsive for me, but that's personal preference.

As an aside, I want to talk about Mike's daughter and her manny. Their names are Elsa and Hans. I see what you did Ms. Bowen. Although, I did keep thinking of Hans from The Mighty Ducks.

The romance was well developed and pretty emotional. My eyes definitely teared up especially for Lauren. This is a reunited lovers story which is one of my favorite tropes. I would have liked a little more talking before jumping back into bed, but it wasn't a huge issue.

It was also nice to see a little friendship growing between all the ladies of these books. I hope that continues into the next one.

Speaking of, it better come out in February. I need Nate and Becca's story!!! There isn't a cover on Goodreads yet, so I'm a little nervous it will get pushed back.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Review: Ignite by Lily Paradis

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Stand Alone
Format: ebook
Rating: 2 Stars
How I Got It: Got for free
Genre: New Adult
Publisher: Empire Books
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

After her father’s untimely demise in a mining accident and her mother’s abandonment, Lauren Lindsay is no stranger to loss. She’s used to living life for one person: herself. That is, until another family tragedy thrusts three children into her care and uproots her life in ways she could never imagine.

Lauren's first instinct is to run, until she meets their striking, mysterious neighbor Dean Powell. Their immediate chemistry and his connection with her late father just might be enough to keep her in town long enough to uncover pieces of her past that she never had answers to. Dean’s shady past and her reluctance to trust him could cost her the life she's always been searching for, but will she run back to her old life?

Or will she choose to stay and live the life her father always imagined for her?
Review

At least I finished this book. This book needed some editing-both for form and content. I don't usually hold typos against authors because they're just people. But the inconsistencies in plot and characters I could not get over.

This book felt like someone cut out random chapters or various drafts with different ideas were accidentally put together. For example, Lily kept saying that Dean was mean to her, but I didn't see that. He would help with the kids and then she'd be like "he's so mean." Don't get me wrong, Dean has issues, but that didn't seem to be one.

There was potential here, but a few more rounds of editing would help. This is a pretty stereotypical story especially for New Adult. I'm ok with that, but it does mean you have to do more finessing with your characters and plot.

Despite my issues, I wouldbe willing to give Ms. Paradis another shot. For some reason, I feel like there may be more to what happened to this book than it seems.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, January 8, 2018

Review: It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

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Stand Alone
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 367
Rating:4 Stars
How I Got It: Christmas Gift
Genre: Contemporary Romance,
Publisher: Atria books
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up—she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan—her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.
Review

To start I'll say this is probably my least favorite Colleen Hoover book. It was a good read, but I wouldn't call it enjoyable.

This book was written with a purpose. It is a very valid purpose and an important message especially for new adult and romance. But that may have taken away from the story.

At it's core, this is about Lily. The romance is a much more secondary. But it feels like Ms. Hoover couldn't write it without some love, so it comes across a little confused.

I plan on doing a video review when I can be more coherent.

Trigger Warnings: Rape and domestic abuse/violence

Thanks for reading!
Holly


Friday, January 5, 2018

Birthday/Christmas Book Haul 2017

I thought I would put my holiday book haul here as well as on my YouTube channel. 

I'm so thankful that my family will spoil me like this. It helps me out-especially when I haven't bought a lot of books this year to save money and will probably continue to do so.

Here are the books I was gifted:

Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
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Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan
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Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder
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Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen
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Bountiful by Sarina Bowen
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United by Melissa Landers
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Take the Key and Lock Her Up by Ally Carter
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Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger
20980648

Manners and Mutiny by Gail Carriger
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Starflight by Melissa Landers
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Starfall by Melissa Landers
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Storyteller by Jody Piccoult
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Without Merit by Colleen Hoover
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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
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Written in Red by Anne Bishop
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What did you get this year?

Thanks for reading!
Holly 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

December Wrap-Up (2017)

I can't believe it's already the end of the year. And I definitely can't believe I read 12 books this month. 

I was busy with holiday and birthday stuff. And I read all day at my new job so I'm surprised I even wanted to read for entertainment that much.

And it was a good reading month when it comes to ratings. There were a lot of five star reads this month which is a little weird.

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

Tempt Me at Twilight-5 Stars
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Married by Morning-5 Stars
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Creating Magic-5 Stars
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Theft of Swords-Avempartha-4 Stars
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The Duchess Deal-5 Stars
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Writing Magic-5 stars
18295715

When It's Real-2 Stars
30731416

The Winner's Curse-4 Stars
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To Win Her Heart-3 Stars
9551700

The Winner's Crime-5 Stars
20443207

The Winner's Kiss-4 Stars
20443235

It Ends with Us-4 Stars
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What did you read this month?

Thanks for reading!
Holly