Sunday, June 5, 2016

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes | Review

Title: Me Before You
Author: JoJo Moyes
Pages: 369
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books/Viking
Goodreads rating: 4.31 Stars
Published: December 31, 2012
Source: Audiobook/Library


Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

My Thoughts

Contemporary fiction usually isn't my "thing".  That being said, I really enjoyed the quirkiness and wit in Me Before You.  I'd been told a few things about this book before reading it, mostly that it will make me just cry my eyes out and/or that it’s amazing and brilliant and that I have to read it.  Having two little ones running around and needing constructive direction doesn't leave a whole lot of reading time, so audiobooks have become my saving grace in how I get things "read".  {I think at some point I'll write up a nice big post about that and everything it entails at some other point.}  I'd borrowed this from my local public library, only waiting a few weeks for my hold to come in {amazing, since the movie was very publicized and on its way to the theater}.

The story follows a very perky, slightly eccentric young woman while she works through family situations and tries to figure out who she is, after landing a job as a caregiver {so long as she doesn’t have to wipe bums, she’s okay with it}.  Hearing her on the audiobook, she sounds like sunshine personified most the time, but not in a way that makes you cringe.  She is very relatable, even if you happen to live on another continent living an entirely different type of life.  Listening while I ran my errands or while my kids napped I was completely transported to wherever Lou was, watching what she was doing or listening to what she was saying.

Will Traynor... guys, he's going to kind of hit you in the gut.  He does just about anything to get Lou to just ignore him/go away.  He made a deal with his parents, and he just wants to have it finally reach its end.  He has six months left of his deal when Lou comes on as his caregiver, and he is determined not to let anything or anyone get in the way of his goal or derail his plan for the end of his six months.  But Louisa Clark is a force to be reckoned with, and has soon wormed her way into Will's life and eventually his heart.

Ultimately this book did bring me to tears in the end.  The general ending was kind of what I expected {since everyone told me it would make me cry ugly tears}, but I won't go into details so that I don't spoil it for any of you!  It was worth every minute I spent listening to the book, and JoJo Moyes has such a way with characters that you will be both thanking her and cursing her for the beauty that is Louisa Clark and Will Traynor and the relationship she weaves between them.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Amazon Burning by Victoria Griffith | Review

Title: Amazon Burning
Author: Victoria Griffith
Publisher: Astor + Blue Editions
Goodreads rating: 4.47 Stars
Published: October 1st, 2014
Source: Paperback/From Publisher
Purchase: Amazon


When 22-year-old aspiring journalist, Emma Cohen, is forced to flee the comforts of her NYU student life, she maneuvers an internship from her father at his newspaper in Rio de Janeiro. There, Emma is immediately swept into a major news story--and a life-threatening situation--when a famous jungle environmentalist, Milton Silva, is mysteriously murdered.Emma must now enter the Amazon rainforest with her father to investigate; both awed by the enormity and beauty of the Amazon, and appalled by its reckless destruction. Not only will Emma have to brave the primal world of the Amazon, she must fight to survive the kidnappers, villains, corrupt activists, and indigenous tribes that lay in wait along the ever-twisting trail of the murder case. Stretched to the brink, it s up to Emma, her father and the dreamy news photographer, Jimmy, to unravel the mystery and live to tell the tale. Amazon Burning by Victoria Griffith is a spectacular debut Young Adult novel.

First, I know the description says "Young Adult", but this is definitely New Adult.  Unless the young adults you know read very graphic books, both with violence and sex {not a ton of the later, but a good deal of the former}.

Amazon Burning was interesting, even though it's not the type of contemporary book I normally read.  I don't mean to say that I didn't like it, because I did enjoy it.  Just not as much as some other {not quite so violent} contemporary New Adult books.  You can tell Victoria Griffith has researched her topic, which makes the book more believable and enjoyable.  I also enjoyed the main character, Emma Cohen, and her quick, believable personality.  Without such a good core character for the book, I think I would have ended up putting it down less than halfway through.

While I did finish the book, it isn't something I would reread, but that's mainly because its not necessarily something I would have read to begin with.  For those who enjoy this topic, I would definitely recommend this book {male or female}.  If the description sounds interesting to you, I would suggest borrowing it from your library or picking up the Kindle edition to see if you like it.  It was written well and is an interesting topic, and it didn't take too long to read.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Maddy Kettle and the Adventure of the Thimblewitch by Eric Orchard | Review

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

August Moon by Tammy Morea | Review

Title: August Moon
Author: Tammy Morea
Goodreads rating: 3.83 stars
Published: June 2014
Source: Paperback/From author for review


What do you do when the one who broke your heart, is the only one who can fix it?

There is nothing in this world stronger than the powerful emotion of being in love.

Except, maybe the paralyzing pain of a broken heart.

Moving to a small unfamiliar beach town in the summer before her senior year of high school is really going to suck. Raven, a black haired beauty, from a well- off family was certain about that. Miserable in her circumstance’s, nothing could convince her otherwise, until Raven meets Quinn, a local with a love for surfing and a bad reputation to go with it. Despite the very different worlds they live in, their desire for each other is undeniable. Raven’s fears and misery start to vanish as she and Quinn fall deeper and deeper into each other.

But things change drastically when Raven is unknowingly used as a pawn, in a turn of disastrous events, caused by Quinn’s older brother.

The events that follow could silence Raven’s heart for eternity and completely destroy what’s left of Quinn’s soul.

August Moon is a captivating story of young love.

Bringing two unlikely hearts together.

Only to be shattered by one tortuous decision.

Putting these star-crossed lovers on course for the ultimate challenge of forgiveness.

The whole idea of young love lasting and being something to fight for had me excited to read this book.  The beginning was good, and I really enjoyed the writing style of the author {a good mix of descriptive and conversational writing}.  However, that sadly did not last {yes, it was sad, because from the snippets I though I would have an entirely different feel towards this book}.

The story starts with and follows Raven, who's been moved from the city to a nice beach town with her family right before her senior year in high school.  She has some family out there, including a cousin her age, which helps her settle in a little easier.  Raven is confident and sure of herself, although she does have a little bit of insecurities {which most teenage girls do, am I right?}.  She ends up meeting Quinn shortly after arriving, and has a strong pull towards him.

This is where the book started to lose me - if you know me, I don't believe in "love at first sight".  I never have; you can have lust at first sight {strong attraction to the physical aspect of the person}, but you don't know them enough to actually love them.  Well, this is a love at first sight story, which I'm okay with for fiction so long as it actually blossoms into something that I would consider love.  While reading, I never really got the sense that Raven and Quinn were more than infatuated {albeit a very, very strong infatuation... the kind that makes it so they will try to stay together no matter what}.  Yes, they were incredibly infatuated with each other, wanting to spend every second with each other like young lovebirds do, which is sickeningly sweet.  They're the couple that everyone says "aw, you guys are so cute - get a room!"

The relationship of Raven and Quinn reminded me a lot of an awful one that I was in when I was younger - "knowing" you're in love, yet a lot of things would have any observer saying "you really shouldn't be together.  That relationship is not good."  The reason I say this is because of how easily Quinn would go off at Raven about something {jealously because another guy was looking at her too long or a male family friend [who also likes her] giving her a hug}, and Raven would come back and reassure Quinn about her undying love for him {which was very unrealistic since they'd only known each other for maybe two weeks at the most}.  So, my review and reaction to this book might be a little bias.

The book does take an interesting twist towards the end that had me wanting to know what happens next, although not quite why you would think.  I won't say anything about it, as I don't want to ruin it for anyone!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

My Soul Immortal by Jen Printy | Review

Title: My Soul Immortal
Author: Jen printy
Pages: 310
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing, LLC
Goodreads rating: 3.89 stars
Published: February 15, 2014
Source: Paperback/From author for review


An endless love, for an endless price.

Jack’s immortality is exposed when he prevents a liquor store heist, forcing him to flee to protect his secret—a secret not even he understands. But when he meets Leah Winters—a mirror image of his decades-lost love, Lydia—his very soul is laid bare. He begins to question his sanity. Is she real, and if so, what does that mean for Jack and his secret?

Jack’s not the only mystery man in town. A stranger named Artagan hints at knowledge Jack is desperate to possess. But can he trust Artagan, or does the dark newcomer harbor deadly secrets of his own?

As Jack’s bond with Leah grows, so does the danger to her life. Jack must discover just how much he is willing to risk in order to save the woman he already lost once.

Honestly, this was not what I was expecting, but in such a great way.  I totally got sucked in and found myself up late reading because I just had to finish the next chapter {only to find that I really just needed to read a little bit more}.  When I saw that this had "Immortal" in the title, I thought "hmmm... another vampire/gods/etc" book, which are all subjects/genres I've enjoyed.  I really don't want to give anything away, but this book surprised me in such a good way.  No, "good" seems like a lame word.  I was hooked into this book like I would be in one of Jennifer L Armentrout's awesome stories.  As the Ninth Doctor would say, "Fantastic!"

The story follows Jack, who's upwards of 150 years old.  He doesn't know why he won't age, but around his 20th birthday he just stopped looking older.  He also can't be killed - Throughout his life he's had plenty of experiences that would have killed him {should have killed him}, but they never do.  After another such experience, he finds himself traveling across the US to Portland, Maine, to start over yet again.  It seems to be what he needs until he sees what has to be a walking, talking hallucination of his lost love Lydia, who died over a century and a half before and an ocean away.  Instead of going somewhere else, curiousity gets the best of Jack, and he needs to discover what is going on with this girl, who is indeed not a hallucination, but a girl who bares a most uncanny resemblance to Jack's beloved Lydia.

The story is beautifully written, with just enough detail on everything so you're not feeling like any information is missing, but not so much you get bored.  I love the author's writing style, the depth she goes into, just sucking me into Jack and Leah's life.  Also, MAINE!  I want to go vacation on the Northern East Coast so bad, but for now I will live vicariously through some fantastic books.  And this is definitely one fantastic book, guys!  I sincerely hope more people pick up Jen Printy's My Soul Immortal, because this book will not let you down.  And the ending... Aw, the ending!  Go, pick it up, read it, and let me know what you thought!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Laika in Lisan by Maron Anrow | Review

Title: Laika in Lisan
Author: Maron Anrow
Pages: 280
Publisher: Createspace
Goodreads rating: 4.23 stars
Published: May 2014
Source: Paperback/From author for review


Historian and private tutor Laika Roen has long been fascinated by Lisan, a mysterious country where the citizens worship their despotic leader. When Laika is invited to study in Lisan, she drops everything in her unsatisfying life to pursue adventure. Laika gets more than she bargained for when her trip is disrupted by violence and she's forced to set out on her own. She soon meets Rodya, a man who's living in the mountains to avoid Lisan's oppressive government. With his guidance Laika witnesses firsthand what is normally hidden from foreigners like her: the widespread abuse and deprivation of the Lisani people. Trapped in a maze of moral ambiguity, Laika must choose between her conscience, her feelings for Rodya, and the greater good.

The historian in me really enjoyed this book! And so did the reader! While I normally read paranormal and fantasy and the like, the one was a great not-quite-fantasy-but-not-quite-historical-fiction read. It definitely reads more like a historical fiction than fantasy, but it's technically categorized as fantasy, since it takes place in a fictional world with the country of Trea and Lisan. 

The story follows Laika, who travels from Trea to Lisan doing a scholar exchange of sorts {only no Lisani are traveling to Trea in exchange}. Not even halfway into her trip to the capital, her carriage is attacked and she's left alone in the middle of Lisan, without food, clothes {other than those on her back} or any hope of getting to the Holy City or back to Trea.  Enter Rodya, who saved her life while she's getting ready to starve.

Rodya and Laika form a bond, close to friendship, but without full disclosure and trust.  Rodya helps her get to the Holy City, but not before Laika gets to see what life is like in the rural farming areas of Lisan - something Laika was not supposed to see {and she manages to keep a that a secret so she can continue to teach in the Holy City}.  When she gets to the Holy City, she begins to assimilate into the culture, and eventually gains an audience with the son of the Lord of Lisan.  Things begin getting a little dicey for Laika after that point...

While this isn't normally my type of read, I really did enjoy it.  The plot kept a good pace and it was really well written.  If you're a fan of historical fiction, this might be right up your alley.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards by Kit Brennan | Review

Title: Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards
Author: Kit Brennan
Pages: 274
Publisher: Astor + Blue Editions LLC
Goodreads rating: 3.18 stars
Published: January 1, 2013
Source: eBook/From publisher for review


A wild and sexy romp through history based on the real-life adventures of the audacious Lola Montez. It is 1842, London, and the gorgeous, ever-capricious 22-year-old Eliza Gilbert, (aka Lola Montez) is in deep trouble and seeks escape from a divorce trial. Desperate to be free, Lola accepts an alluring offer of a paid trip to Spain, if she will only fulfill a few tasks for Juan de Grimaldi—a Spanish theatre impresario who is also a government agent and spy for the exiled Spanish queen, Maria Cristina. Lola soon finds herself in Madrid, undercover as a performer in a musical play. But when she falls dangerously in love with the target, General Diego de Léon, Lola becomes a double agent and the two hatch a plot of their own. Disaster strikes when the plot is exposed, Diego is captured, and Lola is forced to flee on horseback to France, with a dangerous group of Loyalists in hot pursuit.

First off, the cover had me believing this was going to just be some little "bodice ripper", but it wasn't, and that actually made it better.  While this isn't quite what I was expecting, and pretty far from what I'm used to reading {definitely not YA or paranormal, ha ha!}, it was a very interesting read!  Well written with enough to keep me guessing until the very end, this is definitely a book I would recommend to others who enjoy this genre {historical fiction lace with intrigue, politics, romance, "sexy bits" and a touch of humor}.

Lola Montez {who is actually referred to by her given name, Eliza Rosana Gilbert, through most the book} was actually a honest-to-goodness real historical person.  I didn't realize this until I was looking up the image for this review {did that prior to reading the book}!  There was some "lost time" in her life, where no one really knows what happened to her or what she did.  And this tale is what could have happened to Eliza, AKA Lola.

Like quite a few good books, this begins in the end.  We find Eliza as Lola, being questioned by the police.  Is it because of her divorce?  Did something happen to her ex-husband?  Or one of her past lovers, who'd supported her financially while she was their "kept woman"?  It wasn't until getting a little further into the book that I realized it was more than I thought.

While I'm generally not a fan of politically inclined fiction, I'll let that slide with this story.  It was a bit heavy on the politics, but it was so well woven into the story that it didn't really bother me at all.  I mean, the whole story revolved around politics, but it didn't really feel that way.  I would almost liken it to a Phillipa Gregory novel {only I tend to like the medieval times a wee bit better than the mid-19th century}.

All in all, an enjoyable read!