Saturday, January 31, 2015


Book: Untold

Series: The Lynburn Legacy #2
Author: Sarah Rees  Brennan

It's time to choose sides....

On the surface, Sorry-in-the-Vale is a sleepy English town. But Kami Glass knows the truth. Sorry-in-the-Vale is full of magic. In the old days, the Lynburn family ruled with fear, terrifying the people into submission in order to kill for blood and power. Now the Lynburns are back, and Rob Lynburn is gathering sorcerers so that the town can return to the old ways.

But Rob and his followers aren’t the only sorcerers in town. A decision must be made: pay the blood sacrifice, or fight. For Kami, this means more than just choosing between good and evil. With her link to Jared Lynburn severed, she’s now free to love anyone she chooses. But who should that be?

A darkly humorous take on Gothic romance, Sarah Rees Brennan's Lynburn Legacy weaves together the tale of a heroine desperate to protect those she loves, two boys hoping to be saved, and the magical forces that will shape their destiny.-Goodreads

Review: This book has cemented Kami Glass as one of my favorite YA heroines. She's smart, funny and kept me chuckling throughout the entire book. With her bond to Jared severed, Kami has to learn to believe in herself. She also has to deal with her seemingly perfect family having issues. Let's not forget all the sorcerer drama going on in Sorry-in-the-Vale. Rob Lynburn has rallied most of the sorcerers in town around him and set a deadline for everyone to submit to his power. Kami, never one to back down from a fight, gets her friends together and works on a plan. She does it with determination and spunk.  A big surprise in this book was how much I loved Rusty, Angela's fun loving brother. Angie, Ash, Jared and Holly all annoyed me at times, but the book left off on a big cliffhanger and I can't wait to read the next installment.

Fun series!

Grade: 4/5


Book: Burned
Series: Fever #7
Author: Karen Marie Moning

It’s easy to walk away from lies. Power is another thing.

MacKayla Lane would do anything to save the home she loves. A gifted sidhe-seer, she’s already fought and defeated the deadly Sinsar Dubh—an ancient book of terrible evil—yet its hold on her has never been stronger.

When the wall that protected humans from the seductive, insatiable Fae was destroyed on Halloween, long-imprisoned immortals ravaged the planet. Now Dublin is a war zone with factions battling for control. As the city heats up and the ice left by the Hoar Frost King melts, tempers flare, passions run red-hot, and dangerous lines get crossed.

Seelie and Unseelie vie for power against nine ancient immortals who have governed Dublin for millennia; a rival band of sidhe-seers invades the city, determined to claim it for their own; Mac’s former protégé and best friend, Dani “Mega” O’Malley, is now her fierce enemy; and even more urgent, Highland druid Christian MacKeltar has been captured by the Crimson Hag and is being driven deeper into Unseelie madness with each passing day. The only one Mac can depend on is the powerful, dangerous immortal Jericho Barrons, but even their fiery bond is tested by betrayal.

It’s a world where staying alive is a constant struggle, the line between good and evil gets blurred, and every alliance comes at a price. In an epic battle against dark forces, Mac must decide who she can trust, and what her survival is ultimately worth.-Goodreads

Review: There are no words with how excited I was to read this book. Was it perfect? No. Did I devour it in almost one sitting? Yes. Let's dive in...

Mac was the main character in Fever books 1-5 and I thought Dani was the main focus for 6-8. Although I wasn't a huge fan of Dani's POV in Iced (young and immature) I was excited to see how she matured in this book. I knew Mac was going to play a bigger role in Burned but I was surprised she was the main POV. Don't get me wrong, I love Mac, but she spent most of her time in this book extremely passive and invisible. If you haven't read the book, you may be wondering what I mean by invisible. I mean it literally. She spent a good portion of the book invisible, eavesdropping on people. She also spent a good amount of time complaining about how horny she was and/or commenting on how hot every male around her was. Seeing her lust after everyone including Ryodan was just a little weird. There is even a scene were she has to meet with the Unseelie Princes who raped her and she comments on how hot they are. Um....what?!?! Mac wasn't her normal kick-ass self until the end of the book and I think I said out loud 'finally!' Some other issues I had-the main theme of the book is rescuing Christian, but I feel like that plot was secondary to Mac being invisible and horny.  

Now..what did I like? First of all, a summary of characters, places and things was included with the book and it was fabulous. I haven't read her MacKeltar series so I appreciated the recap. I loved the prologue written from Barrons perspective. There were a few scenes written from the perspective of Lor (one of the nine) that were hilarious. Kat only had a few sections but I think her character will be really interesting in the next installment. An Unseelie Princess was introduced in this book and has a lot of potential and while we didn't hear much from Christian, his character can go so many different ways. I'll avoid spoilers, but I really liked how Moning handled Dani's character in this book. I realize I am probably in the minority with that statement, but I liked the direction she took. I do wish we had more sections written from Dani's perspective (since she is supposed to be the main character) and I hope that is the case with book #8. I also like that the Sinsar Dubh is part of Mac and I can't wait to see how that plays out. There were also some great sections with the Unseelie King. 

Overall-while I didn't care for Mac's passive voice and the rescuing Christian plot was thin, I loved some of the secondary characters as well as the framework that was laid for the next installment: Unseelie Princess (princesses?), Sinsar Dubh inside Mac, V'Lane/Cruce, Kat, Lor, Unseelie King and the Seelie many fab things to get excited about. I just hope have a more interesting main POV. 

Grade: 3.5/5

Big Little Lies

Book: Big Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty

Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal. . . .
A murder… . . . a tragic accident… . . . or just parents behaving badly?
What’s indisputable is that someone is dead. But who did what?
Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads: Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?). Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay. New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.-Goodreads

Review: This is a delicious read about kindergarten moms and I couldn't put it down. Told in alternating narratives (with other parent's commentary in between chapters), we meet Jane (the young single mom), Celeste (the beautiful wealthy mom) and Madeline (the sassy mom). As readers, we know someone is dead but we don't know who or how. It was fun trying to figure out the mystery. This isn't just a light mystery though-Big Little Lies  tackles several issues including school politics, bullying, family dynamics and domestic abuse. It was cleverly written and very funny. Loved it!

Grade: 5/5

All the Light We Cannot See

Book: All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure's agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.

In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.

Doerr's gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work.-Goodreads

Review: This book was absolute perfection. Told in alternating timelines with multiple narratives, we follow Marie-Laure and her father as they flee Paris as well as a young German orphan named Werner who ends up at a military academy for Hitler Youth. The writing was absolutely beautiful and I was quickly engrossed in the story. It's only January but this is without question my favorite read of the year thus far. Fantastic. 

Grade: 5/5

I Am the Messenger

Book: I Am the Messenger
Author: Markus Zusak

protect the diamonds
survive the clubs
dig deep through the spades
feel the hearts

Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He's pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.

That's when the first ace arrives in the mail.

That's when Ed becomes the messenger.

Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary) until only one question remains: Who's behind Ed's mission?-Goodreads

Review:  I finished this book several weeks ago and still can't stop thinking about the ending. I both loved and hated it. At it's core, I Am the Messenger is about paying it forward. The message of this book is wonderful and Zusak is a master at writing realistic characters. The first chapter was excellent but it still took awhile to warm up to Ed, his dog and group of friends. Throughout the book Ed is sent cards and goes on missions (per say) that help people in various ways. Simply speaking-he's essentially a stalker who does (mostly) good deeds. Zusak is such a good writer however, I was routing for Ed and wondering who was behind the cards. That is where the controversial ending comes in. It's very 'meta'-I can't say how I wanted it to end or how it could have been different, but it's just left me feeling very unsettled. 

Overall-this is a wonderfully written book with a positive message and realistic characters. It was slow in the beginning and a little head scratching at the end, but I enjoyed it. 

Grade: 3/5

Girl Missing

Book: Girl Missing
Author: Tess Gerritsen

The first body is a mystery. She's young. She's beautiful. And her corpse, laid out in the office of Boston medical examiner Kat Novak, betrays no secrets - except for a notebook clutched in one stiff hand, seven numbers scrawled inside.
The next body is a warning. When a second victim is discovered, Kat begins to fear that a serial killer is stalking the city streets: a shadowy madman without mercy or apparent motive. The police are sceptical. The mayor won't listen. And Kat's chief suspect is one of the city's most prominent citizens. The final body . . . might be hers. With the death toll rising, Kat races to expose a deadly conspiracy and the brutal killer at its heart - a killer who will stalk her from the dangerous streets of the inner city to the corridors of power. Because he's closer than she ever dreamt. And every move she makes could be her very last.-Goodreads

Review: This is a boring mystery about an ME investigating overdose deaths. No one seems to care about junkies dying except Kat Novak (the ME) and she is literally canvassing the streets to investigate. This is the author's first 'thriller' after writing romance novels and we're told in a forward it's a romance/mystery. The romance aspect of this book could have been eliminated completely and the mystery, although it had potential, was not engaging.  The characters were one dimensional, the dialogue was ridiculous and the 'who dun it?' was pretty easy to figure out. 

Grade: 2/5

When She Woke

Book: When She Woke
Author: Hillary Jordan

I am red now. It was her first thought of the day, every day, surfacing after a few seconds of fogged, blessed ignorance and sweeping through her like a wave, breaking in her breast with a soundless roar. Hard on its heels came the second wave, crashing into the wreckage left by the first: he is gone.

Hannah Payne’s life has been devoted to church and family. But after she’s convicted of murder, she awakens to a nightmarish new life. She finds herself lying on a table in a bare room, covered only by a paper gown, with cameras broadcasting her every move to millions at home, for whom observing new Chromes—criminals whose skin color has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime—is a sinister form of entertainment. Hannah is a Red for the crime of murder. The victim, says the State of Texas, was her unborn child, and Hannah is determined to protect the identity of the father, a public figure with whom she shared a fierce and forbidden love.

A powerful reimagining of The Scarlet Letter, When She Woke is a timely fable about a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of the not-too-distant future, where the line between church and state has been eradicated, and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned but chromed and released back into the population to survive as best they can. In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a journey of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes faith and love.-Goodreads

Review: A futurist re-telling of The Scarlet Letter, When She Woke also reminded me of The Handmaiden's Tale. Jordan does a fantastic job world building (the religious right have taken over, abortion is illegal and criminals are mono-chromed (skin dyed a specific color for a specific time) to indicate their crime. Hannah is dyed red because she is a murderer. Her crime? Abortion. 

The first part of this book was fantastic. I could actually see how the society in this book could come to fruition and it's frightening. I really enjoyed seeing how Hannah grew up, the pressures her family, faith and church put on her as well as falling in love and having an affair with a high profile married man. Hannah's jail sentence (prisoners are recorded 24/7 like a reality tv show for the public to see) as well as her time in a halfway house (all kinds of crazy things going on) were both chilling and creepy. I loved the first half of this book. 

After Hannah leaves the half-way house, the book went downhill for me. The pacing was all over the place-there were a lot of 'almost' moments, like 'almost killed!', 'almost raped!'. Jordan is definitely a skilled writer but the action sequences didn't work. Another thing that didn't work-Hannah initiating a lesbian affair. This is a girl that was raised in a very conservative, religious family who never harbored secret fantasies about women and was repulsed by gay people. I understand she was finding herself and this was an awakening moment, but a kiss would have been more realistic than what occurred. Another odd thing about the second half of this book-I couldn't shake the feeling I was reading some required CCD book enforcing the idea that 'life is meaningless without God.' I'm not sure if that's what Jordan's purpose was but I felt like God was being rammed down my throat. 

Overall-loved, loved, loved the idea of this book and the first half of this book. Fantastic concept and flawless execution. Although I didn't enjoy the second half, I've recommended this to a few people and I will definitely read more of Jordan's work. 

Grade: 3/5

The Silkworm

Book: The Silkworm
Series: Cormoran Strike #2
Author: Robert Galbraith

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days—as he has done before—and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives—meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.

When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before...-Goodreads

Review: A bizarre murder, a crazy group of suspects in the literary world and my favorite duo comprised of PI Cormoran Strike and his resourceful secretary, Robin. Although slow paced, this was detailed, fun and I really enjoyed it. I figured out the killer (yay!) but I wasn't correct on the motive or the 'how.' I also loved the politics of the publishing world. Great read!

My favorite quote: “...writers are a savage breed, Mr. Strike. If you want life-long friendship and selfless camaraderie, join the army and learn to kill. If you want a lifetime of temporary alliances with peers who will glory in your every failure, write novels.” 

Grade: 4.5/5

Monday, January 5, 2015

Congratulations Winners!

Drum roll please......

The winners are:




Thank you to everyone who participated, keep checking the blog for more giveaways!

Happy Monday!