Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Animal Under The Fur by E.J. Mellow | Review

Title: The Animal Under The Fur
Author: E.J. Mellow
Pages: Unknown (Kindle Edition)
Publisher: Four Eyed Owl
Goodreads rating: 4.54 Stars
Published: March 30th, 2017

Source: Ebook/From Author


Orphaned on the streets as a baby, Nashville Brown, a.k.a Kill Operative 3, knows better than to rely on anyone. With heightened senses and superhuman strength to survive, she’s been raised as the perfect assassin.

The trick to her success? Keeping everyone, even her best friend, at arm’s length.

Losing his entire family in the span of a year, Carter Smith left his ability to love buried deep in their graves. His only concerns now are completing his missions and effortlessly charming the next temptress to warm his bed.

The key to his accomplishments? Working alone mixed with a Casanova smile.

But when a deadly weapon needs to be stopped from falling into the wrong hands, the lone wolves find themselves thrown into an explosive partnership. Can Carter and 3 lower their guns aimed at one another long enough to succeed, or will their unwillingness to compromise end up destroying more than their perfect records? Whatever their differences, both agree on one thing—in the game of lies and deceit, the line between friend and foe is often blurred by blood splatter.

My Thoughts

I really, really enjoyed this book!  I was a little unsure at first, because the very first part I found myself diving into 3's world, her brain and what she does.  Its a little intense, but a really good intense as I continued on.

Nashville/3 is such an extraordinary character.  She has these insanely amazing powers and abilities beyond the average human {hence why she's called an A+}, and the animalistic urges and actions that come come along with it can be all-consuming for her.  She's a character that has had a rough life from day 1, and I found myself terrified of her but also wanting her to have everything a normal human would have and then some.  Mellow did a great job sucking me into Nash's head and getting me so caught up in her life!  

Carter... well, Carter was kind of easy to dislike in the beginning.  He was what most girls/women want to stay away from.  Sleeping around, never really staying in one place very long {the job of assassin probably didn't help that}, and cocky as heck.  He knows he's attractive when it comes to women and he has the skills to get any job done {work or women}.  But, like Nashville, he's had a rough past, one that hasn't been blocked from his memory like hers.

Through an unlikely pairing, their two agencies placed them on assignment together, and it's hate at first sight.  Even though they're paired as a married couple under cover {on their honeymoon, no less!}, temper flare, fists fly, and things get a chance to heat up.  They have so much chemistry, I'm amazed my tablet didn't catch fire while I was reading their story!  Mellow really builds a great world and gives these characters depths that kept me reading and wanting to find out more about Nashville and Carter, and what kind of past either of them would have had to cause them to choose the life of an assassin. 

If you liked the show Dexter and enjoy action/romance/thriller {seriously, any of those, not even all of them}, you will love The Animal Under The Fur.  And you'll probably doing what I'm doing right now, wishing E.J. Mellow would write more of this awesome story.  Maybe it doesn't need to be a stand alone?  I wouldn't mind more Nash and Carter and adventure... *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*

All in all, it was a fantastic read!  I blasted through this book, reading it in about 4 days {the equivalent of a 1 day read pre-kids}.  It is so, SO good!  Snatch it up on Amazon, you will NOT regret it!  And the ebook is available for preorder for only $1.99 {it'll be that price until release day, this Thursday, March 30th}!  Pick. It. Up!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon | Review

Title: Everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Pages: 310
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Goodreads rating: 4.09 Stars
Published: September 1st,  2015
Source: Audiobook/borrowed


My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

My Thoughts

I decided I needed to read this book when I saw the previews for the movie.  A girl with SCID?  Who decides 'what the heck' and goes into the world when she knows it could kill her?  Oh, I had to know how that turned out the moment I saw the previews.  So I did what any mom with limited time on her hands would do: I borrowed the audiobook from my local library {seriously, I actually get at least half my reading in each year via audiobooks.  I know, I pledged to read the written word, but that was before I had kids...}.

Maddy comes across as a very sweet and lovable girl.  She was raised well {as well as her mother could, given the circumstances} and she enjoys her life {for the most part}.  She's fairly accepting of her fate and her disease, and tries her best to live her very sheltered life to the fullest.  That all changes when a family moves in the house next door.  Maddy becomes obsessed over the daily happenings of the family, especially the boy Olly. {Side note: I can't read that named spelled like that - in my head I always say it "Oily", so its probably a good thing I listened to the audiobook with this one.}  They exchange IM handles {honestly, the "how" is kinda hazy in my memory, as I was listening to that part while cooking}.

Maddy and Olly begin a unique friendship over instant messenger, and just really bond.  Maddy jumps head over heels into the friendship {most likely because its the first one she's really had aside from her mother and her caregiver}, but Olly also dives deeply into this new friendship.  Soon, Maddy is asking {begging} Carla to let Olly come over, even though anyone entering the house needs to have a thorough background check, health exam and be decontaminated for an hour before actually stepping foot into any part of the house Maddy would go in.  Amazingly enough, Carla caves {what the what??}, and allows Olly one very brief visit {"no touching!!"}.  But that's all Maddy needs to know that she needs to try to have more in life.

This book took a couple interesting turns, but was overall pretty predictable.  I enjoyed Maddy's explanations and descriptions of everything in her life, and the fact that she was pretty accepting of her disease and what that meant for her life.  One thing I did not expect was how much of the book was spent with Maddy still in her home, mainly because of how the movie trailer skips to her being out of her home with Olly, making it seem as if that happens fairly quickly in the book.

However, while the end was predictable in some ways, other ways kind of blew me out of the water.  Maddy handles her situation with patience {even though it makes her mad and she just doesn't want to be there}.  She takes it from a bit of an adult perspective and "mans up" - she sees the cards she's been dealt, and instead of folding and giving up, she takes them and plays as best as she can.  *Okay, enough with the card play analogies, because I obviously suck at them and am just using it to try to explain what happened without actually giving anything away.*

This book was very enjoyable and is something I would recommend to others.  Not sure how it compares to the movie, but I'll let you know when I see it in a month or two.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Beauty and the Beast

Tale as old as time...

How many of you went to see Beauty and the Beast last weekend?  How many have, like me, been anxiously awaiting this release for a few years now??  I first heard rumors about this becoming a reality the summer before my daughter was born {she's two years old now}, and Emma Watson actually announced her role as Belle the month my daughter was born.  So its been a little more than a tiny lifetime that I've been waiting for this film!

Before the movie came out, I'd been seeing things about how various characters were changed.  Belle is a downright feminist; Le Fou is now flaming gay; Gaston has homosexual moments with Le Fou; the wardrobe is even bigger.  Okay, maybe not that last one.  Honestly, Belle has always been a bit of a feminist - she can read, for goodness sakes.  While it is said to most likely take place right after the French Revolution, it was very odd for a women to have such an equal place in the household as Belle did with her father, Maurice.

Emma Watson's portrayal of Belle is just wonderful!  I was a little hesitant to fall in love with this version, mainly because how could they possibly make it better than the animated 1991 version?  {I should have known better, because Cinderella was amazing!}  She is the epitome of the perfect live-casting of Belle.

The entire cast, really, was just absolutely splendid.  I was talking with my best friend {and fellow Beauty and the Beast fanatic} about the casting, and we both agree they really couldn't have cast the movie any better than they did.  Josh Gad's Le Fou was brilliantly played, making him seem a little less foolish towards the end {not the blind follower throughout the entire film like his animated counterpart, though he's one step behind Gaston through most of the film}.

I've read complaints about the CGI characters and sets being so unrealistic and over the top.  Um, I'm sorry... in what world is talking furniture/appliances/dishware actually realistic??  The crew did a great job with creating intricate characters and giving them a whimsical feel while making it look like something you would find in a castle {Beast is a prince, after all}.  Also, Beast is more "beastly" than the animated version, but he looks like I would imagine a man would look after magically being transformed into a beast and being stark-raving mad about it - unkempt mane, dirty teeth, ragged clothes, claws... he's a beast.

Like the animated version, you can see him becoming warmer the more he's around Belle and her humanity and kindness...

This whole film gets to huge thumbs up as well as a standing ovation from me.  I will be seeing it at least once more before it leaves theaters, possibly more than that!  I'm hoping to take my mom to see it and go on a date with my husband to see it as well {though that last one might not happen with how much he's working right now}.  First Disney does Cinderella, then Beauty and the Beast... which one of their animated classics will they make into a daringly wonderful live-action film next?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid | Review

Title: Maybe in Another Life
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Pages: 342
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Goodreads rating: 3.75 Stars
Published:July 7th,  2015
Source: Audiobook/borrowed


From the acclaimed author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Do comes a breathtaking new novel about a young woman whose fate hinges on the choice she makes after bumping into an old flame; in alternating chapters, we see two possible scenarios unfold—with stunningly different results.

At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her. As the two alternate realities run their course, Maybe in Another Life raises questions about fate and true love: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps, most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?

Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him.

My Thoughts:

Hannah Martin has no clue what she wants in life or where she wants that life to be.  So, when her current situation ends up being a very bad situation, she goes back to where it all started: Los Angeles, her childhood home, and her best friend Gabby {and Gabby's husband, Mark}.  Closing up to her 30th birthday, Hannah is at a loss of what to do with her life, but being home with family seems like a good place to start.

Even though Hannah seems to be floundering as far as choosing where to actually start her life, she's doesn't seem to flaky.  Reid gives her the history of someone who is more of a butterfly, flitting from place to place, job to job, and just not finding whatever it is that she needs to settle down.

I got pretty hooked into this book.  I haven't read many books that have taken the "what if" and turned it into its own half of the book.  The first time it switched to the other scenario, it was pretty easy to figure out what Reid was doing {as far as giving Hannah a second chance at the first fateful night}.  I found myself rooting for one of the "sliding doors" a little more than the other, but I won't tell you which one *wink*.

Hannah has two love interests in this: Ethan, whom she's known forever, and Henry, who she's met following an accident in one of the storylines.  Its amazing to see how everything comes together {and frustrating to see how certain things fall apart}.  I found myself gasping when things happened in one storyline, but not in the other and jsut saying "no!  But that has to happen!  They have to know!"

However, I was not disappointed with how Taylor Jenkins Reid tied everything together and put a nice little bow on both storylines.  While I still have a favorite, there were aspects that I loved from each one.  She brought each story together beautifully, and I think no matter where you find yourself wishing the storylines would go, one will have you vclosing the book very satified, if not both.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 by Marissa Meyer | Review

Title: Wires and Nerve, Volume  1
Author: Marissa Meyer
Pages: 240
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Goodreads rating: 4.14 Stars
Published:January 31st,  2017
Source: Hardcover/bought


In her first graphic novel, #1 New York Times and USA Today bestseller Marissa Meyer follows Iko, the beloved android from the Lunar Chronicles, on a dangerous and romantic new adventure -- with a little help from Cinder and the Lunar team.

In her first graphic novel, bestselling author Marissa Meyer extends the world of the Lunar Chronicles with a brand-new, action-packed story about Iko, the android with a heart of (mechanized) gold. When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers' leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity. With appearances by Cinder and the rest of the Rampion crew, this is a must-have for fans of the bestselling series.

My Thoughts:

I really love that, unlike a lot of graphic novels out there for YA series, this one actually expands on the original stories, picking up where they left off.  While it is really fun to see the graphic novel versions of some of the books I've thoroughly enjoyed, its even better when a series I've loved is expanded on.

Wires and Nerve brings Iko to the foreground of the story, expending on her as a character and showing just how human she can be {while still being very much an android}.  I listened to the audiobooks for three of the four {five, if you count Fairest} of the Lunar Chronicles, and I loved how Iko was read.  She quickly became one of my favorites - her spunk, vulnerability and desire to have a real, honest-to-goodness life were wonderful to read.

I would give this 5 stars, but the illustrations were not what I was expecting after having read a few of the other books that have been redone as graphic novels. But the storyline is great and takes the reader back into the Lunar world. It's pretty great to see Iko go off on her own and be a kick-butt hero!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by JK Rowling | Review

Title: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay 
Author: J.K. Rowling 
Pages: 293
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Book
Goodreads rating: 4.44 Stars
Published:  November 18th, 2016

Source: Hardcover/bought


J.K. Rowling's screenwriting debut is captured in this exciting hardcover edition of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay.

When Magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when his magical case is misplaced and some of Newt's fantastic beasts escape, it spells trouble for everyone…

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them marks the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling, author of the beloved and internationally bestselling Harry Potter books. Featuring a cast of remarkable characters, this is epic, adventure-packed storytelling at its very best.

Whether an existing fan or new to the wizarding world, this is a perfect addition to any reader's bookshelf

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed HP and the Cursed Child, but Fantastic Beasts was above and beyond the other screenplay. Maybe because I could picture it a little more vividly since I'd seen the previews for the movie (though I still haven't actually watched the film yet). After reading this and getting sucked into the world of Newt Scamander and his brilliant case of creatures, I truly hope the rumors of a 5-movie installment are true - I'd love to read the screenplays for all of them!

I'm normally not the biggest fan of screenplays, since they tend to leave almost gaps in what's going on, and aren't too incredibly descriptive (at least not compared to a novel!). I will, hands down, read any subsequent Fantastic Beast screenplays.

Newt is a wonderful, trusting character who sees the beauty in all magical creatures (even the really scary ones). You can just feel his love for them through the pages, and the world in his suitcase sounds amazing! He is respectful and kind, but will do what he needs to in order to save the creatures he cares for.

This was a wonderful, quick read. The only downside: I wish it was longer!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Anything You Can Do by R.S. Grey | Review

Title: Anything You Can Do
Author: R.S. Grey
Pages: 247
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Goodreads rating: 4.14 Stars
Published:  February 2nd, 2017
Source: ebook/bought


Lucas Thatcher has always been my enemy.

It’s been a decade since I’ve seen him, but our years on opposite coasts were less of a lasting peace and more of a temporary cease-fire. Now that we’re both back in our small town, I know Lucas expects the same old war, but I’ve changed since high school—and from the looks of it, so has he.

The arrogant boy who was my teenage rival is now a chiseled doctor armed with intimidating good looks. He is Lucas Thatcher 2.0, the new and improved version I’ll be competing with in the workplace instead of the schoolyard.

I’m not worried; I’m a doctor now too, board-certified and sexy in a white coat. It almost feels like winning will be too easy—until Lucas unveils a tactic neither of us has ever used before: sexual warfare.

The day he pushes me up against the wall and presses his lips to mine, I can’t help but wonder if he’s filling me with passion or poison. Every fleeting touch is perfect torture. With every stolen kiss, my walls crumble a little more. After all this time, Lucas knows exactly how to strip me of my defenses, but I’m in no hurry to surrender.

Knowing thy enemy has never felt so good

My Thoughts:

I think this book is a lot better than I give it credit for.  Here's my reasoning: I read this right after The Hating Game.  Just don't do that.  They're both pretty stellar books, but Lucy from THG was like my ultimate girl crush/kindred spirit, and Daisy from Anything You Can Do is not.  While I can totally understand the hating game Daisy and Lucas have going on, its much, much more hate than Lucy and Joshua, and it seems more intense and spiteful  Of course, if Lucy and Joshua had been playing the hating game for their entire lives, it probably would have been just as intense!

Daisy is sweet and excited to be taking over her hometown's small medical practice.  Its her dream, something she worked for all through college and her residency.  She worked hard for her dream... only to have it turn into a nightmare with the knowledge of one person returning to their small town: Lucas Thatcher.  Rivalry started since birth, Daisy is not one to just hand the practice or {god forbid} share it.  Daisy and Lucas try everything to get the other person to give up and hand over the office, from pranks to actually attempting to cause each other physical harm.

While Daisy loathes Lucas {and the whole town has known it since day one}, an interesting twist happens about halfway through the book when the reader is given a glimpse into Lucas' mind.  I love that the author added this little insight, because it brings a new light on Lucas and everything that's going on between him and Daisy.  This little bit that the author gives us is pure gold, and I love that she included it.  It makes the book just that much more enjoyable.

My only advice I would give to other readers is to read Anything You Can Do before The Hating Game.  They are both amazing books, but the latter kind of overshadows the former.  If I could do it again , I'd read them in that order.  Both are amazing in their own way {while being similar}, and that's would have been the best way for me to enjoy them!  That being said, I plan on getting another R.S. Grey book ASAP!