Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Blown Away

I haven't done a non-themed blog post in a while so here it is, long overdue. If it's not for a challenge or book club, I've mostly been reading multiple series that I'm trying for wrap up. It's hard when I get easily distracted by other, newer novels. And being a part of three separate book clubs is finally catching up to me. I can't read them all and read my other side books. When it comes to reading, I'm a free agent. You can't tie me down. 
Chicken Chicken (Goosebumps, #53)

Chicken Chicken by R.L. Stine
Book # 53 of the original Goosebumps series
2 STAR RATING

This was such a filler book for the series. It felt like it had been written in a hurry. And that ending was more annoying than anything. You just got changed back, why would you go and be rude again? The cover is hilarious though. It makes me think of chicken nuggets for some reason lol

Happily Ever AfterHappily Ever After by Elizabeth Maxwell
BOOK CLUB READ
4 STAR RATING

Okay, that was awesome! I wasn't really sure what this book was about so I wasn't jumping at the chance to read it. I feel like that worked in my favor. The surprise fantasy quality of the novel really hooked me in. I was not expecting Sadie's characters to actually come to life. Everyone was expertly written and my only complaint was that this book was not longer. I wanted more Greta. Seriously, that housekeeper needs her own spin off. I have high hopes for Maxwell's next book. For a debut novel, this one was damn near perfect.

The Hunted (Vampire Huntress Legend, #3)The Hunted by L.A. Banks
Book #3 of the Vampire Huntress Legend series
BOOK CLUB READ
3 STAR RATING

At this point, I feel like the series is all over the place. Damali and Carlos got crap piled on top of crap that they have to deal with. And this book was packed to the brim. There was no reason for the novel to be over 400 pages. Most of it was filler and unnecessary. The saving grace of this one is the connection between Damali and Carlos. When they finally got it on, I was DONE. I literally screamed with glee. I hope I see more of them together than apart on future books from the series. And that the drama is toned down just a little. 

Deadman Wonderland Vol 12 by Jinsei Kataoka
5 STAR RATING

Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 12I'm almost at the end but I feel like I still have too many questions and not enough answers. But the bonus stories were really cute so I had to give this volume 5 stars. I'm still holding out hope that Shiro and Ganta will have their happy endings. I hope everyone will make it to the end too. I don't want any more killings except Toto's. He needs to get got.







The Invisibles by Cecilia Galante
3 STAR RATING

The InvisiblesThis book is the complete definition of a filler read. I enjoyed it throughout but it will quickly fade from my memory and I will be hard pressed to recall ever reading this novel. Chick lit just rarely does it for me. It's sappy and melodramatic. It has the potential to be great but then falls short. The emotional ending of the story turned me off. I was riding high with the drama of these old friends reuniting but was left unsatisfied for the finale. I could relate to some of their issues but I was mostly annoyed. I'm still glad I gave this book a chance. Now on to better reads, hopefully.


Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
NEW FAVORITE
BOOK CLUB READ
5 STAR RATING

This book is in a league of its own. It's damn near perfect. It was confusing at times and sometimes hurt my eyes with the writing style, but I loved every bit of it. I'm still not sure what this book is exactly about but I know I want more of it. Ezra, Kady, and AIDAN. were just awesome. You don't get much of Ezra but he's a strong presence. He's a lovable goofball and I'm happy that SPOILER he didn't die like AIDAN told Kady he had. I was devastated when I read that. I actually teared up a bit. SPOILER Kady was annoying but the final showdown definitely had me rooting for her. AIDAN was the anti-hero and I still don't know how I feel about him...it...whatever. All I know is that I am beyond excited for the next book.


Monday, March 28, 2016

Reading Challenge 2016 #3

March had a great challenge, in my opinion. The goal was to read a novel with a color in the title. Again, Goodreads had a list already prepared for me to choose from. I was pleasantly surprised to see that A Clockwork Orange was very high on the list and already on my to-read list.

I was nervous starting it because of the slang and almost listened to it on audio instead. But after the first chapter, it became very easy to read. My friend had an easier time reading his book. He finished it way before I finished mine. His choice was actually a double entry, with Laura Lippman being a Maryland author (January's challenge). He had never completely finished Americanah so he had a debt to settle.

BLUE

Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan #1)At first it was interesting to see Baltimore through the eyes of someone whose relationship to the city is different than mine. Evidently the grit, grime and violence are not seen any differently by those who live in the other shade of Baltimore, points for keeping it authentic and not nostalgic. Laura Lippman earns few more points for weaving an interesting story together using a thread of a sport rarely encountered by the broader society. 

The wrap up at the end is where I was lost. The red herrings were cleaver. The balance between investigation and luck was believable. In the end the neat bow with which the story was wrapped up was too tidy, to circumstantial to avoid a fairy tale “happily ever after”-esque , saccharine after taste.





A Clockwork OrangeORANGE

I have read the always missing 21st chapter. And I am glad to say, it doesn't change my opinion of the movie. I'm glad we got the bleak and depressing ending. But I will say that I loved the real ending for Alex's story. It almost made me uncomfortable, feeling empathy for such a fucked up delinquent. It raises the question, "Does everyone deserve a second chance?" I would have liked to say no but Burgess expertly described Alex in a way that makes you feel for him. Not during his ultra-violence moments, obviously. It came across as a lost child who didn't really know what he wanted out of life. And that is something I can relate to.











Monday, March 21, 2016

Review for Best Women's Erotica of the year: Volume 1 by Rachel Kramer Bussel

a free copy of the book was given to me by Rachel Kramer Bussel for an honest review

Can I just say wow! This collection of erotic fiction featured the much needed diversity that Dirty Dates was missing. I can't tell you how happy it made me to see a sexy viable man described with dark skin. It literally made me squeal with joy. But the assortment of love interests were not the only reason I loved this volume. The writing was really really good. I found myself wishing that more than half of these stories were full length novels. Everything was unique and intriguing and sexy and awesome. The stories that really struck a cord with me were:

Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1Demimonde by Valerie Alexander
Ophelia the Second by Jade A. Waters
Flying Solo by Rachel Kramer Bussel
Starstruck by Lazuli Jones
Matilda's Secret by L. Marie Adeline
Alvin's Night by Elizabeth Coldwell
Enter Me by Tabitha Rayne
The Wolf at His Door by Deborah Castellano
The Carnalarium by Rose Caraway
Two Doms for Dinner by Dorothy Freed
The Assistant by Tiffany Reisz

I have such high hopes that the second volume will be even better than this one. I have complete faith that Bussel will deliver no less. 



Midnight Secretary

This manga series was one that I had first read back in high school. I would lurk on Manga Reader and search for erotic stories to pollute my young impressionable mind. Lo and behold, this one caught my interest. It's a great series with a dash of sex scenes that will entertain any paranormal romance reader. It seemed so much racier to me back then but it's barely pushing a mature rating. Still such an amazing fun story.

Midnight Secretary, Vol. 1I remember first reading this series back in high school. I found it on one of those manga websites and devoured the whole story. It was back when everything I read was sexual in some way, shape, or form. So far, this book is holding up to my memories. I found them on a shelf at my local library and couldn't resist checking them out. I can't really recall what happens but if I'm excited to find out...again.






Midnight Secretary, Vol. 2Kaya and Kyohei finally do it. They get down and dirty because apparently that makes the blood taste better during a feeding. I call bullshit but the love scene was very sweet. The author can really draw. I'm off to read the next volume which will probably have some flimsy conflict that drives them apart again. Honestly, I just wanna see more sex scenes. I'm in a smut kind of mood.







Midnight Secretary, Vol. 3This one gets 5 stars because of the bonus story. It was so cute and a bit funny. Seeing how people react to Kaya's baby face is amusing. And I totally called some tomfoolery keeping them apart. But now Kyohei is back and he's being as open as he can be with Kaya. I'm guessing no love proclamations will be said to each other until the last or second to last book. These manga characters are so hard headed.






Midnight Secretary, Vol. 4Who is this bitch Marika?! I vaguely remember her from when I first read this series. But she is seriously getting on my damn nerves. Stop putting yourself between my lovebirds. They already got enough crap keeping them apart, I don't need a side chick added to the equation.








Midnight Secretary, Vol. 5This is just the best. Kaya's mumble proclamation of "I love you" to Kyohei was so damn cute. Now that they've said it to each other's faces, I don't want no more nonsense to keep them apart. There are only two books left in the series so I just want happy chapters from here on out. I doubt I'll get that though.








Midnight Secretary, Vol. 6This volumes gets all the stars. Again, the bonus story outshone the actual volume. Princess the cat is fucking awesome! She should have her own spin off series. I would definitely read it. And It would need it because this story is almost over. I'm a bit sad to finish the last volume. I wish this had 20-30 books but Ohmi knows when to wrap it up.



Midnight Secretary, Vol. 7


The finale left me feeling bereft of satisfaction. You don't see anything past the wedding. This series could have been stretched out to about 20 volumes without any filler story lines and been fine. But no, Ohmi has to leave me with Kaya pregnant and the clan still threatening her and Kyohei. I definitely have a feeling they can get through anything but I wish I could read it for myself.







Saturday, March 5, 2016

Reading Challenge 2016 #2

February's challenge was to read a book that was published the same year you were born. Goodreads came right to the rescue with their lists. All I had to do was Google books published in 1992 and viola, a list was provided for me to choose from. And wouldn't you know, Along Came a Spider was on the top. I have had this book on my to read list for years now and now had a valid excuse to read it.

My friend struggled with finding a book to read to complete last month's challenge. So I suggested reading a children's book. To me, a book is a book is a book. I don't care of it's written for a 4 year old or a 24 year old. As long as you read a book that suites the challenge, I say you're golden. So he picked a classic, Strega Nona.

1992

Along Came a Spider (Alex Cross, #1)I really thought I wasn't going to be able to finish this book in a day, but I was determined and now I have accomplished my goal. And what a freaking roller coaster ride it was. I found myself completely bored in the beginning. It was too dark of a start to the series and the tone was overly abrupt. The short chapters were not appealing and I had zero interest in the crimes being committed. But then Patterson hooked me. I can't really tell you exactly when or how he snared me, only that he did. I was skimming heavily to finish this novel for a challenge. I was no longer reading for pleasure but for a deadline. That changed about a third of the way in. I was now speed reading because I couldn't get enough words into my brain. I was genuinely taken by surprise by the twists and turns. The reveals of this sick twisted plot were done brilliantly. The only issue I now have with this book is will I continue with the series. I have high hopes that I'll like it but the slow start has me hesitant to read more. I'll add it to my read list but I am in no hurry to actually do so.


                                                                                                                                            1975


Strega NonaI find few things more pleasurable than sharing a reading experience with my daughters. Strega Nona afforded me that pleasure. Seeing my oldest daughters eyes light up when I presented the book to my youngest was beautiful. Then reading with my 8 year old to my 13 year old who was wrapped with pleasant memories of the story is a memory that I will cherish.  







Thursday, March 3, 2016

NetGalley Fail Part Deux: Review for We are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt

...so about that last post where I said I was done with NetGalley. I found another book on my Kindle that I had never got around to reading from them. I know, I know. I am just the most scatterbrained blogger ever. But here goes, for reals this time. I bid you farewell, NetGalley. I swear I have finally read and reviewed any and all book I was approved for.

We Are the Goldensa copy of the book was provided through NetGalley for an honest review
I really wanna give this book four stars but the slow start and second person POV won't let me. It really took me out of the story to keep reading "you" on the page. It was a bit annoying. And the beginning was draaaaging. For such a short novel, it look its sweet time grabbing my attention. But once it did, I was captivated. Nell definitely has a voice for a young adult audience. I could completely relate to her, even though I am a only child. Her relationship with her sister was bittersweet and that ending left me hanging. I desperately want to read about the fall out of Nell's confession and her blossoming relationship with Felix.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Self Help Guru

I am the worst when it comes to impulse buys. I just can't help myself when I'm in a store with cash to burn. And the book store is definitely my kryptonite. Two of them were right by the check out and I was powerless to not grab them and have them for my own. So far, I am loving all three and can't wait until I've finished them completely. 

Calm: Calm the mind, change the worldCalm by Michael Smith
4 STAR RATING

I found this book on a Buzzfeed list. I was looking for ways to calm myself since my doctor has told me my blood pressure is sky high. I didn't wanna rely on medication so I bought this book as a present to myself. I am so glad I did. It's a great book to keep your mind off of unnecessary stress. The activities are fun and easy but some inspire you do dig deeper and find a permanent solution to your problems. I'll be reading this book throughout the year to see if it'll really make a difference in my life and I'm fairly certain it will.


642 Tiny Things to Draw


642 Tiny Things to Draw
3 STAR RATING

This book is a bit out of my comfort zone. I bought it on impulse because I wanted to get back into drawing, something that I was really interested in when I was younger. The random things it'll tell you to draw are more difficult than not but I still love the challenge. I try to draw something every few days just to keep my fascination fresh. I'm sure it'll take forever for me to finish.




642 Tiny Things to Write About
5 STAR RATING

Between this one and the drawing book, this one is definitely my favorite. I often times find myself wanting to write but having nothing come to mind. This little pocket book takes care of that for you. No more writer's block. The simple, absurd, and random prompts will have you writing like a maniac. At least with me it has. I can't wait until it's completely filled.
642 Tiny Things to Write About