Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Wrath and The Dawn by by Renee Ahdieh | Review

Title: The Wrath and The Dawn
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Pages: 404
Publisher: 
 G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Goodreads Rating: 4.18 stars
Published: May 12th, 2015
Source: Hardcover//Bought


Description:


One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?



My Thoughts:

I'd seen this book floating around the blogsphere for a while, and then a few people had posted photos of the new covers on their Instagram pages.  But the real push to get this book and read it was when I saw my bookish soulmate gave it a 5 star review on Goodreads.  I've yet to read a book recommended by her that wasn't at least a 4 star read, and this did not disappoint.

Shahrzad is such a well written character - she has courage and guts; courage to do what she knows she needs to do and guts to actually get it done.  Although, she learns after a while that what she thought needed to be done isn't actually the case anymore.  She begins to have feelings for Khalid, and, while she doesn't let that blind her {well, not too much}, she does let it make her hesitate just enough {for what you'll have to read and find out!}.

There is so much to Khalid, and I feel like he didn't get much of the story he deserved.  Yes, I realize he's a secondary character, but, as Ariel in The Little Mermaid says "I want more!"  Maybe I'll get that in the second book; I guess I'll just have to wait and see.  His character was well written, and we as readers do get a great insight into him and his struggle with what he's been cursed to do {as well as those around him who know of the curse and are trying to make sure the worse of it does not come to pass}.

The setting of a desert land in need of water to keep the people healthy and thriving is just perfect, and I love diving into a bit of a different culture {even if a good deal of it is fictional}.  For her first novel, Renee Ahdieh did a subperb job bringing these characters to life and creating a world so alive you get sucked into it every time you open the pages!  I'm excited to read the sequel and see what happens to my beloved Shazi and Khalid!

Friday, November 3, 2017

October Recap!

October was a really good month for me, reading wise!  And also for books, as I discovered Book Outlet {seriously... amazing prices on some great books!} and ordered my first set of books from Book Depository {totally didn't realize they offered free shipping to the States!}.


This month was one of the firsts where I was able to listen to a few audiobooks along with what I was reading {either on my Kindle app or physical books}.  Maybe because its been colder, so we've done more inside then the last few months {which means I can occasionally read a book while the kids play legos, My Little Pony, Star Wars or watch a cartoon}, or maybe its just because this month I've made it more of a priority for any "me time" to be reading or away somewhere that I can listen to my current audiobook, but whatever the case, I read so many more books this month than normal!  My little bookworm heart was so happy.  I started up a couple series that I've been meaning to either start or finish over the past... well, is time really important with that one? Ha ha!  I also finished a series that, frankly, I have mixed feelings about.  I'm not entirely sure what to say about that one, but I did review it.  So I kind of knew what to say.  Moving on.

The last few months I've also joined in on some Instagram book challenges, and I've really enjoyed taking the photos for them.  Plus that's also been a reason I've read more: to see how many books at the end of each month I can complete!  It's been nice getting closure on some series and discovering new amazing authors.

The last few months have been great for me with reading; how have they been for you?  Next goal: start reviewing more books!!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

My Week with the Bad Boy by Brooke Cumberland and Lyla Parish | Review

Title: My Week with the Bad Boy
Author: Brooke Cumberland and Lyra Parish
Pages: 262
Publisher: CreateSpace Independ Publishing Platform
Goodreads Rating: 4.62 stars
Published: November 2nd, 2017
Source: eBook/From Authors


Description:

Never trust a man who answers the front door wearing nothing more than a pair of low-cut jeans and a panty-melting smirk.

That should’ve been my first sign.

I write about guys just like him for a living—sexy and charming, yet reluctant to get into a serious relationship. His body screams sex appeal, but his condescending personality makes him a classic f*ckboy. 

And I want nothing to do with that.

Writing romance novels comes with its perks—traveling, meeting new people, creating characters from the voices in my head—but Ethan Rochester enters my life and rearranges all my preconceived notions about writing what inspires you. 

One week is all it took. One week to realize that not everything is as it seems.

One week with the bad boy, and I wanted more.
 



My Thoughts:

Gah.  I wanted to like this.  Like, a lot.  I really enjoyed most of the Checkmate series, although by the time I got through book 6 I found myself frustrated with all of the unnecessary foul language.  I get it, some people curse a lot.  My husband says I have the mouth of a sailor at times, but I definitely don't drop F bombs in everyday talk... or really any curse words.  Tiny ears in my house with tiny mouths that like to repeat what I saw and ask me what it means.

Vada is a writer in a slump, and Ethan is an artist trying to shake his sad past by keeping everyone {except his Mom and Aunt Millie} at arms length.  That includes only ever having one-night-stands with women he is attracted to.  Until Vada rents the cottage behind his house to cure her writer's block.  Ethan comes on to her strong, and when she discovers that he can help release her tension and make the words for her next novel flow, she's all for a purely physical relationship while she's there for the week.

Like most women, she starts to have feelings for the man she's sleeping with.  Ethan had built mental walls to shield from any emotional attachments, but he finds that Vada seems to fit in his life just perfectly.  Like, despite what happened in his past, she was there and made to be his other half right when he needed it.

I would like to say that, despite the language, I did enjoy the back story to Ethan a lot.  I mean, not how sad it was, but the depth it gave him as a character.  Vada has an interesting history, but Ethan definitely is the one I was drawn to more out of the two {which is funny, because his cocky attitude and cursing kind of rubbed me the wrong way}.  In real life I'm generally not a fan of the bad boys, because they aren't like fictional bad boys - no heart of gold.  Ethan, despite his crass language and rough edges, really does have a heart of gold.

Honestly, if it weren't for the language {and an unnecessary sex scene or two}, I probably would have rated this higher.  But those are just my personal preferences.  If you don't mind the language and lots a wild sex scenes are your thing, then you would probably really like this book!


Monday, October 30, 2017

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | Review

Title: Illuminae
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Pages: 608
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Goodreads Rating: 4.32 stars
Published: October 20th, 2015
Soure: Handcover/from a friend

Description:


This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes
. 




My Thoughts:

Oh my lands.  My thoughts are all over the place on this one!  I have yet to be disappointed by a book by Amie Kaufman... in fact, I think all the ones I've read by her I've given at least 4 stars.  The funny thing is I avoided reading this one because I wasnt' sure how I would feel about the layout and formatting of the story.  It didn't matter, because once I got into the story I was hooked.

Kady and Ezra are a typical young couple fresh from a breakup... who find themselves in a not-so-typical situation when their planet is attacked by a corporation wanting to wipe out the colony they're a part of and destroy any evidence of what that colony was {illegally} doing.

Honestly, I really don't think I can give a decent review of this book without spoilers!  Kaufman and Kristoff take the readers for an intense ride, with twists and turns.  Quite literally, actually, as certain parts of the book read in curves and swirls.  I have learned with all of the books I've read by Amie Kaufman, never take anything for face value and always keep reading.  I think that's the one bit of advice I would give any reader tackling on of her books: just keep reading.


Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Fortunate Ones by R.S. Grey | Review

Title: The Fortunate Ones
Author: R.S. Grey
Pages: Unknown
Publisher: R.S. Grey
Goodreads Rating: 5.00 stars
Published: November 1st, 2017
Source: eBook/From Author

Description:

At Twin Oaks Country Club, there are the fortunate ones, and then there are the rest of us: the waiters, the caddies, the valets, and in my case, the cabana girls. Most days, I’m poolside in a pleated skirt, dishing out margaritas to tycoons and titans. It’s not exactly my dream job, but it does come with one perk…

James Ashwood.

He’s my silver lining in a custom black suit.

Besides being a legacy member at the club, he’s a tech mogul and Austin’s most eligible bachelor. Oh, and those dimples? Yeah, they make my stomach dip too.

On good days, I catch his sleek Porsche winding down the tree-lined drive. On better days, I steal a glimpse of his handsome profile as we pass in the hall. And on the absolute best day, I find him alone at the bar, looking for company.

“Come have a seat.”

Those four little words set me down a path I never could have imagined. Private planes, penthouse suites, and temptations around every corner make it impossible to keep my distance. His world feels decadent and wild—but overindulgence comes with a cost. Every kiss comes with strings. Every erotic encounter is a promise I’m not ready to keep.

When I pump the brakes, he hits the gas. James doesn’t want to go slow—he wants a commitment.

And the thing about the fortunate ones?

They’re used to getting what they want
. 


My Thoughts:

Okay, I have loved the other few books I've read by R.S. Grey {aka Rachel... she totally makes you feel like you know her and her little family via her Instagram}, and I knew this would be no exception to that rule.

Brooke is a fun character {and she must have been a blast to write!}, choosing to live in her hippie building than with her family after being fired from a great nannying gig.  It was the perfect job for her, but she finds herself working at the local country club {you know, one of the ones that only old money can buy their way into}.  She wants to see the world, to travel, to use her degrees in French and Spanish in tutoring {or nannying}... but she really, really just wants to travel and have absolutely no strings holding her down.  Kind of like her mother did when she left Brooke and her sister Ellie when they were younger.

James Ashwood is not quite the typical member of Twin Oaks country Club.  While on the outside he seems like a young and unattached version of many of the club's members, the James that no one sees in much different.  He still wants most the same things any 36-year-old man might want {family, success}, but unlike a lot of people in his circle he doesn't feel the need to find someone else who comes from money.  He just wants someone he can connect with who desires the same things as him.

Brooke and James meet out of a misfortune for Brooke - her closing down the dining room in the club one night when James decided to stay late.  Their doomed relationship blossomed from there, though both had hopes the other would change.  With Brooke's desire to travel, she just knew she wasn't dating material for a man who wanted to settle down.

I really liked Brooke and James.  They're both rich in character and depth, with Brooke's history and desire to see the world, and James' desire and drive to help those in need.  They both have hearts to help others {though I don't think Brooke really realizes she does until later}, and ultimately I think that's what really brings them together and solidifies their relationship.

I 'm glad the author didn't have everything end up roses so quickly.  Or that they didn't get together and "that's that".  Brooke needed time to herself to find herself, and she got that.  It's refreshing having the characters come into their own before settling down with the other.

Now the only reason I gave it 4.5 stars instead of 5 is because of the few times James was a little too aggressive with Brooke, kissing her forcefully when she very obviously was not reciprocating.  Granted, we as the reader are in her head and know she very obviously wants to kiss him, but on her terms {or is just trying to not want to kiss him}.  But James can't totally read her mind {though she does seem to be a bit of an open book to him}, and I just wish it would have been handled a little differently in the writing.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo | Review

Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Pages: 358
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
Goodreads Rating: 4.05 stars
Published: June 5th, 2012
Source: Paperback/bought

Description:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.



My Thoughts:

I was a little blindsided by this book.  Honestly, at first I had a little trouble getting sucked into it {books that seem to just be about fantasy war don't tend to hold my attention}.  However, I needed a break between a a couple books in the same genre, and this was the only one I had with me on vacation.  Plus, I was doing a read-along with a group of bookstagrammers, so I thought it would be the perfect time to give this trilogy a try.  I'm so, so glad I joined that read-along!

Alina is very much what you would imagine an impoverished apprentice mapmaker might be like.  Skinny, dark circles under her eyes, and none of the boys or men she travels with give her a second look, especially her friend Mal, whom she's loved almost as long as they've known each other.  But they're ripped apart when a power she doesn't even know she has comes roaring to life.  Taken to the Darkling and to be trained in the Grisha ways, Alina finds herself floundering in this unknown world, with few friends and many enemies.

Leigh Bardugo has an amazing writing style and it seems like a knack for getting the reader to become entirely immersed in the worlds she creates.  It did take me a little bit to get into the book, but once I did, I was hooked!  I needed to know more about Alina, how her power worked, who the Darkling even is {that is a whole can of worms that is barely even opened yet} and what the bleep was going to happen.  This books leaves the reader with more questions than answers, but I guess that's okay considering it's the first in a trilogy.  I can't wait to get my hands on the next one!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Checkmate Boxed Set (Travis & Viola) by Kennedy Fox |

Title: Checkmate Boxed Set (Travis & Viola)
Author: Kennedy Fox
Pages: 552
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Goodread rating: 4.71 stars
Published: April 3rd, 2017
Source: eBook/bought


Description:

Travis King is the worst kind of a$$hole with good looks and enough confidence to last two lifetimes. 


Viola Fisher is a goodie two shoes know-it-all who prefers fictional love stories over her own. 
The only thing they have in common is their mutual hatred for each other. 

She’s had a secret crush on him since she was ten, but Travis has always made it very clear the feelings aren’t mutual. He’s cruel, crass and takes every opportunity to get under Viola’s skin. She’s smart, beautiful, and too good to be true. Hating him is her religion, but needing her is his. 

Although Viola loathes his very existence, against her better judgment she let him into her bed. Her sexy curves and filthy smart mouth make Travis want her even more and although she’s succumbed to his manwh*re ways, she’s determined to not let that change a thing. 

Too bad he has other plans. 

Viola’s always been off-limits, but Travis is determined to keep crossing that line. She can try to push him away, but he always gets what he wants and he’ll do anything to prove he’s done playing games. 

Until then, they’ll play by their own rules to see who will win the biggest battle yet—love or hate? 

Checkmate. 



My Thoughts:

Okay, at this point I've read all but the last book Checkmate series, and I have to admit this was my least favorite.  While they were still fun books, I wasn't too knocked out by the story.  Maybe because I really couldn't connect with Viola and her attraction to Travis {who was a total d-bag for a good portion of the first book}.  Also, I'm review this as the set, but I read them both separately.  I just find this a bit easier, especially since I'm a little behind in my reviews!

I really liked Viola, especially since she's a bookworm and a Potterhead! I think a lot of women can relate to the frustration and downright hatred she feels towards Travis King, after he was her closest friend, then burned her {and that friendship} as a young teen.  Viola is good and sweet, but Travis brings out the spitfire in her.  It doesn't help that, through everything that happened with Viola and Travis, he has remained her brother Drew's best friend.

Travis comes across as the worst sort of man for any woman.  He behaves towards women very much like a boy in that he uses them for one night {and it seems to be one amazing night, according to many of the women and Travis himself}.  But he doesn't want any relationships or attachments.

Thanks to one daring night with a lot of passion and not so much clothes, Travis and Viola find themselves wanting the other.  And not just for the physical intimacy, but because they actually start to enjoy spending time with each other.  Soon, what once was two enemies battling it out with words every time they saw each other, there are two people who very much care about each other {but still enjoy some verbal sparring}.  Until a wrench gets thrown in those plans.

The second half of this Duet has Viola finally confronting Travis about said "wrench", and the continuing story is how, together, they find a way to use that to build a solid relationship, get to know each other even better, and really put the past in the past.

Overall, I'd probably give this story 3.5 stars.  Like I said, I've been avoiding writing this, because I did enjoy the rest of the series so much.  And while *SPOILER!!!* Travis does turn out to be a pretty decent man, his beginning left me ready to just smack him.  Maybe I was a little protective towards Viola, I don't know.  She was a sweetheart who I thought needed a gentleman, but she helped Travis see what kind of gentleman he could be.  And he showed Viola that tart can be a good thing at times.