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

Monday, September 4, 2017

August Wrap-Up (2017)

I'm surprised I read as much as I did this month. I worked a decent amount of overtime at work because it's our busy season. I love the extra money but it was exhausting and cut into my reading time.

This month's books were pretty varied which is nice. And they all got pretty good ratings. I did DNF one book but it just wasn't working for me at the time-I would pick it up again.

I may end up reading less in September. I'm going to Disney World at the beginning of October. So, I need to get prepared for that. Plus, I anticipate working more overtime.

Here are the books I read in August and their ratings:

The Boy Most Likely To-3 Stars
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Stolen Songbird-4 Stars
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Hidden Figures-3 Stars
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Doon-DNF
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Vision in Silver-4 Stars
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Damaged Like Us-4 Stars
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Twilight-4 Stars
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The Heir-3 Stars
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Mine Till Midnight-5 Stars
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Since You've Been Gone-5 Stars
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The Suffragette Scandal-4 Stars
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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Review: Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas

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Series: The Hathaways Book #1
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 376
Rating: 5 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Romance, Historical Romance
Publisher: St. Martin's

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

When an unexpected inheritance elevates her family to the ranks of the aristocracy, Amelia Hathaway discovers that tending to her younger sisters and wayward brother was easy compared to navigating the intricacies of the ton. Even more challenging: the attraction she feels for the tall, dark, and dangerously handsome Cam Rohan.

Wealthy beyond most men’s dreams, Cam has tired of society’s petty restrictions and longs to return to his “uncivilized” Gypsy roots. When the delectable Amelia appeals to him for help, he intends to offer only friendship—but intentions are no match for the desire that blindsides them both. But can a man who spurns tradition be tempted into that most time-honored arrangement: marriage? Life in London society is about to get a whole lot hotter.

Review

I've lost count of how many times I've read this book. As a series, this is my favorite Lisa Kleypas series. And this is one of my favorite books in it. 

Amelia is a fantastic heroine. She's so strong and independent. She's also a wonderful and caring sister. But she isn't a push-over with her family or men. Cam is also a great hero. He's intriguing and a little mysterious with the whole half gypsy/Roma thing.

I love the romance between Amelia and Cam. They balance each other very well. They're also a great example of what Ms. Kleypas does best: social differences. It is not normal or accepted in society for these two to be together. This is a reality they have to deal with. While this is a romance with a happily ever after it doesn't avoid harsh truths.

Oh, and the sequel bait. I forgot how much there was for the next book. There's so much angst between the next couple.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, August 28, 2017

Review: The Heir by Kiera Cass

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Series: The Selection Book #4
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 342
Rating: 3 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Harper Collins

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon—and they lived happily ever after. Eadlyn has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she'd put off marriage for as long as possible.

But a princess's life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can't escape her very own Selection—no matter how fervently she protests.

Eadlyn doesn't expect her story to end in romance. But as the competition begins, one entry may just capture Eadlyn's heart, showing her all the possibilities that lie in front of her . . . and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn't as impossible as she's always thought.

Review

I heard  a lot about Eadlyn before picking this up so I was prepared. I think that helped me enjoy this more than I might have.

Generally, I liked this book. It kept me engaged and I am interested in many of the side characters. I particularly like Kile, Erik, and Henri. Plus, it was nice to see the characters/couples from the original Selection trilogy. 

Then, there's Eadlyn. I really don't like her. She's such a selfish brat. She has no understanding of what other people are going through or that they are valid human beings. Now, I do hope this is leaving room for growth in the next book. I don't understand how Ms. Cass was able to write this character because she's so annoying. Like does anyone actually like her? America was annoying, but at least she was a good person.

I have a request with my library for the next book. I do want to read it, but I don't feel the need to keep/own these books on my shelf.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Review: Twilight by Meg Cabot

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Series: The Mediator Book #6
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 312
Rating:4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Publisher: Avon

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Suze has gotten used to ghosts. She's a mediator, after all, and communicating with the dead is all in a day's work. So she certainly never expected to fall in love with one: Jesse, a nineteenth-century hottie. But when she discovers that she has the power to determine who becomes a ghost in the first place, Suze begins to freak. It means she can alter the course of history... and prevent Jesse's murder, keeping him from ever becoming a ghost - and from ever meeting Suze.

Will Jesse choose to live without her, or die to love her?
 


Review

I finally finished my re-read of this series. This isn’t perfect or my favorite series, but it is enjoyable and I would read it again.

The tension didn’t feel as high in this book. But I did like the romance and even got a little teary-eyed at the end. I would’ve liked to see Suze grow up a little more, but she did develop a bit especially when it comes to her relationship with Jesse.

In the next couple months I plan on reading The Proposal and Remembrance. Both I’ll be reading for the first time.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Review: Damaged Like Us by Krista and Becca Ritchie

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Series: Like Us Book#1
Format: ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, M/M
Publisher: Self-Published
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
Maximoff Hale is a force of nature. A ship unwilling to be steered. Headstrong, resilient, and wholly responsible — the twenty-two-year-old alpha billionaire can handle his unconventional life. By noon, lunch can turn into a mob of screaming fans. By two, his face is all over the internet.

Born into one of the most famous families in the country, his celebrity status began at birth.

He is certified American royalty.

When he’s assigned a new 24/7 bodyguard, he comes face-to-face with the worst case scenario: being attached to the tattooed, MMA-trained, Yale graduate who’s known for “going rogue” in the security team — and who fills 1/3 of Maximoff's sexual fantasies.

Twenty-seven-year-old Farrow Keene has one job: protect Maximoff Hale. Flirting, dating, and hot sex falls far, far out of the boundary of his bodyguard duties and into “termination” territory. But when feelings surface, protecting the sexy-as-sin, stubborn celebrity becomes increasingly complicated.

Together, boundaries blur, and being exposed could mean catastrophic consequences for both.

Review

I've been excited for this book since it was announced. And I read it in a day and enjoyed myself. I want to make that clear, because this review may come across a little negative. I stand by the 4-Star rating but wanted to talk more about my "issues".

It's nice to spend time with all the Hales, Meadows, and Cobalts. But I thought this would have mroe of Jane and Sulli. Don't get me wrong, I love Moffy, but I wanted all three of them. I really like his relationship with Jane. Maybe they'll get POVs in future books. And I really like the bodyguards. They're a good addition to this ragtag family/group.

The romance was steamy. I do like Farrow and Moffy together. The Ritchies handled it well but I always feel a little iffy about romances with potential power issues this one.

And I absolutely love how normalized sexuality and LGBTQ lifestyles were. There are still some messed up people in the world, but there's much more acceptance. Hopefully, that's really what our world looks like in the future.

I thought I had more to say, but now I can't remember what those things were. I am excited for the next book to come out though.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, August 14, 2017

Review: Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop

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Series: The Others Book #3
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Roc

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
 
The Others freed the  cassandra sangue  to protect the blood prophets from exploitation, not realizing their actions would have dire consequences. Now the fragile seers are in greater danger than ever before—both from their own weaknesses and from those who seek to control their divinations for wicked purposes. In desperate need of answers, Simon Wolfgard, a shape-shifter leader among the Others, has no choice but to enlist blood prophet Meg Corbyn’s help, regardless of the risks she faces by aiding him.

Meg is still deep in the throes of her addiction to the euphoria she feels when she cuts and speaks prophecy. She knows each slice of her blade tempts death. But Others and humans alike need answers, and her visions may be Simon’s only hope of ending the conflict.

For the shadows of war are deepening across the Atlantik, and the prejudice of a fanatic faction is threatening to bring the battle right to Meg and Simon’s doorstep…


Review
 
I liked this, but I didn't love it the way I did the previous two books. I still love the characters and world. And there were certainly some emotional moments in this one. And those things have raised the stakes.
 
But most of the book felt like a set up for future things. Laying groundwork for a series is important, but the individual book should also have it's own story. It was just a little lacking in this one.
 
 Thanks for reading!
Holly 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

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Series: The Malediction Trilogy Book #1
Format: ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from Library (Overdrive)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Strange Chemistry

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the mountain. When Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she realises that the trolls are relying on her to break the curse.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind: escape. But the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time…

But the more time she spends with the trolls, the more she understands their plight. There is a rebellion brewing. And she just might be the one the trolls were looking for...

Review

I first heard about this from Bekah Awesome Book Nut. She loved it so I wanted to read it. But I was cautious so I wanted to get it from the library.

So, I did enjoy the story and characters. I’m a little confused about the world, but understood the troll politics at least. Cecile was an engaging character. I liked Tristin too, but his POV chapters were few and far between. The romance was a bit rushed. I just don’t think the “L” word needs to be dropped so fast.

I don’t have much to say obviously, but I have one potential spoiler.

So, Tristin makes a comment about how the Trolls aren’t from earth and that’s not what they are called. So, they’re fairies. I don’t know this for sure but the hints were heavy-handed. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I kind of wanted them to be real trolls, because I’ve never read a story about them before.

Thanks for reading!
Holly