Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller | Review

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller | ReviewThe Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing on September 20th 2011
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 384
Format: ebook
Source: Bought
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5 Stars

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their difference, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper - despite the displeasure of Achilles' mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

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The Song of Achilles wasn’t even on my TBR until about a month ago.  I saw Nikki from There Were Books Involved reading it and after seeing her reactions to it, I added it to the TBR.  I didn’t think I’d get around to reading it for a while but I decided to just throw it on my November TBR and see what happened.  I couldn’t resist it for too long and it was definitely a good life choice to read it.  The Song of Achilles made the history nerd in me very happy.  Madeline Miller did a wonderful job with this retelling of the story of Patroclus and Achilles.

Like I already mentioned, I’m a history nerd.  I’m minoring in history and I only just recently took a class on mythology so the story of Achilles was not new to me.  Heck, even the story of Patroclus and Achilles wasn’t new to me.  That didn’t matter though because Madeline Miller took this age old tale and made it all her own.  She has a way with words that completely blew me away.  I’m not always a fan of writers that are really wordy but in this case it just works.  The writing only made this gorgeous story better.

I truly don’t even know what to say at this point.  The Song of Achilles broke me.  I knew this story, I knew what was going to happen, I knew exactly how it would end.  That did not matter one bit!  Patroclus and Achilles came to life through Madeline Miller’s words.  They were more than just the things they became known for.  Patroclus was always in the background of the story but that’s because he chose to be there.  He didn’t need to be the center of attention, he just needed to be the center of Achilles’ attention.  As for Achilles, he was more than just the son of a goddess or the hero he came to be known as.  He never wanted any of that.  He just wanted to be loved by his people and by Patroclus.  The development of their friendship and their romance was just beautiful.

Overall, I just want you to read The Song of Achilles.  I can’t even begin to put into words the beauty of this book.  It’s something you have to experience for yourself and I suggest you do that.

What others are saying about The Song of Achilles:

There Were Books Involved’s review: “If you are at all into Greek mythology/The Iliad or historical fiction (despite its mythological elements, itdoes almost read like historical fiction), if you like a good tragic romance, and/or if you just need a good cry, pick up this book.”

Angieville’s review: “What an exquisite agony reading The Song of Achilles was.”

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Mayhem (Mayhem #1) by Jamie Shaw | Review

Mayhem (Mayhem #1) by Jamie Shaw | ReviewMayhem (Mayhem, #1) by Jamie Shaw
Series: Mayhem #1
Published by Avon on January 20th 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 258
Format: ebook
Source: Bought
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4 Stars

When college freshman Rowan Michaels meets gorgeous, up-and-coming rock star Adam Everest, she knows a player like him is the last thing she needs after her ex-boyfriend shattered her heart. But she can't stop thinking about the kiss they shared on his tour bus.

On the first day of school, Rowan is stunned when Adam saunters into her French class. He's soon failing miserably, and, on a whim, she offers to tutor him. But Adam doesn't recognize her as a makeup-free, glasses-clad college student—a far cry from the beautiful, mysterious "Peach" he met at his concert.

During a wild weekend on tour with the band, Rowan can't help falling for the sweet guy buried beneath Adam's rocker persona. Yet she knows she could never compete with the girls constantly throwing themselves at his feet. She'd just end up hurt … again.

Peach is all Adam thinks about, though, and when Rowan realizes this, she has a decision to make: stay just friends to protect her fragile heart … or reveal the truth about the night they met and admit she's fallen completely, hopelessly in love with him.

picadillyblueI saw someone talking this series up on Twitter one day and I had the urge to read a new adult book so I decided to give Mayhem a shot. Boy am I glad I did. Jamie Shaw is a new author to me but she impressed me with Mayhem and continued to do so with the following books.

Admittedly, the story wasn’t anything new or all that unique but I found myself hooked from the start. Rowan and Adam meet, hook up, and then go their separate ways. Rowan didn’t expect to see Adam in her French class on the first day of school, however. That throws her for a loop, especially since she is still extremely attracted to him and he doesn’t even recognize her. Rowan can’t avoid him though, especially when she volunteers to tutor him so he doesn’t flunk out of their French class. During a weekend on tour with the band, she starts to get to know Adam and the attraction becomes more than just physical.

Adam and Rowan were extremely cute together. Their banter and bickering were adorable. Adam was so full of himself and Rowan put him in his place more than once. She didn’t let the fame go to his head. She brought out the normal guy in him and I could definitely understand why she fell for that guy. As for Rowan, she was smart, levelheaded, confident, and kind. I would have slapped Adam if he didn’t fall for her. They kept pushing each other away, though. (Nothing can ever be easy in new adult books.) It was fun watching them try to figure each other out and decide what exactly they could mean to each other.

The romance was steamy, the characters were hilarious, the story was captivating, and the ending left me with a smile on my face. Mayhem had everything I wanted and definitely left me intrigued about the other members of Adam’s band.

Overall, Mayhem was the perfect place to start with this series and Jamie Shaw definitely has a new fan.

What others are saying about Mayhem:

Cocktails & Books’ review: “Cute, in a Disney sort of way.”

Book Binge’s review: “In the end it was a fun book that didn’t have a whole lot of angst – which was awesome.”

Little Dixie Readers’ review: “Filled with fun sexy times and a great voice in the New Adult genre, Jamie Shaw is a rising star!”

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Drowning Is Inevitable by Shalanda Stanley | Review

Drowning Is Inevitable by Shalanda Stanley | ReviewDrowning Is Inevitable by Shalanda Stanley
Published by Random House on September 8, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Bought
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4 Stars

"A literary knockout with the loudest of beating hearts."
John Corey Whaley, Printz Award winner of Where Things Come Back

Olivia has spent her whole life struggling to escape her dead mother’s shadow. But when her father can’t even look at her because Olivia reminds him of her mother, and her grandmother mistakenly calls her “Lillian,”  shaking a reputation she didn’t ask for is next to impossible. Olivia is used to leaning on her best friend, Jamie; her handsome but hot-tempered boyfriend, Max; and their wild-child friend, Maggie, for the reality check that her small Louisiana town can’t provide. But when a terrible fight between Jamie and his father turns deadly, all Olivia can think to do is grab her friends and run.

In a flash, Olivia, Jamie, Max, and Maggie become fugitives on the back roads of Louisiana. They’re headed to New Orleans, where they hope to find a solution to an unfixable problem. But with their faces displayed on all the news stations, their journey becomes a harrowing game of hide-and-seek from the police—and so-called allies, who just might be the real enemy.

Shalanda Stanley’s breathtaking debut novel explores the deep ties between legacy, loyalty, and love, even as it asks the question: How far would you go to save a friend?

picadillyblueThis is one of those books that’s really hard to review.  It’s not that I didn’t like it or that I loved it, it’s just kinda right there in the middle.  Drowning is Inevitable is definitely a strong debut but it’s one of those books that will appeal to some people but not at all to others.

Shalanda Stanley’s writing is beyond stunning. She’s one of those authors that could write a phone book and make it captivating. I wish I still had my ARC of the book so I could share some quotes but just take my word for this.  Her style of writing is extremely lush and descriptive.  It’s perfect for the setting of a small-town in the south and New Orleans.

Olivia is a hard character to like.  She’s spent her whole life in the shadow of her dead mom and she’s come to accept that she is not her own person.  It takes some extremely drastic measures for her to finally realize that she is an individual who makes choices of her own and has a life ahead of her that is all her own.  Even after she starts living her own life, she doesn’t make the best decisions.  She’s completely loyal, though.  I will give her that.  She loves Jamie with all her heart and can’t, even for a second, see that there might be something bad in him.  Personally, I couldn’t see the bad in him either.  He made a bad decision that affected him, his family, and his friends, but he did it out of love and terror.  As for Max and Maggie, I didn’t have many feelings for them, one way or the other.  Max was not the smartest guy out there and he was extremely jealous of how close Olivia was with Jamie.  That doesn’t mean he wasn’t willing to do whatever it took to see Olivia and Jamie safe.

The story is a lot more slow moving than I expected from the synopsis and the start of the book.  Things take off early but from there they fizzled out a bit.  Jamie, Olivia, Max, and Maggie go on the run and things only get worse for them from there.  They don’t know who they can trust and they don’t always trust the right people.  Family means nothing to these kids’ actual families.  They are more family to each other than any of their parents.  They were pretty much on their own and they did whatever they had to do to protect one another.

As much as I could see things coming, I couldn’t stop reading.  This book is very much like a train wreck.  You know it can’t end happily but you just can’t look away.  Even though they may have been in less trouble if they’d turned themselves in early, you know they can’t completely get away with what they’ve done.  They either take their chances on the run (which they do) or they take their chances with the law.  It was a lose-lose situation from the start.

While the story really does center on these 4 teens while they are on the run, it’s also a story about Olivia and her mom.  Her mom committed suicide shortly after she gave birth to Olivia and that death defined the beginning of Olivia’s life.  Her dad couldn’t stand to look at her because of the similarities to her mom and her grandmother only saw the similarities between Olivia and her mom.  Then there was the fact that everyone in town expected her to follow in her mom’s footsteps.  Olivia’s life wasn’t her own for most of the book and it took this crazy trip for her to finally start to see that maybe she could make her own decisions and her own mistakes.

Overall, Drowning Is Inevitable is a stunning debut novel that will take readers by surprise.  It’s a story full of layers that continued to take me by surprise.

What others are saying about Drowning Is Inevitable:

Emily Reads Everything’s review: “This book was both heartwarming and heartbreaking.”

The Book Hookup’s review: “Drowning is Inevitable perfectly captured life in all its complicated glory.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Shadows (Black Dagger Brotherhood #13) by J.R. Ward | Review

The Shadows (Black Dagger Brotherhood #13) by J.R. Ward | ReviewThe Shadows by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #13
Published by NAL on March 31, 2015
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 592
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
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4 Stars

Two brothers bound by more than blood fight to change a brutal destiny in the heart-wrenching new novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by #1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward.

Trez “Latimer” doesn’t really exist. And not just because the identity was created so that a Shadow could function in the underbelly of the human world. Sold by his parents to the Queen of the S’Hsibe as a child, Trez escaped the Territory and has been a pimp and an enforcer in Caldwell, NY for years- all the while on the run from a destiny of sexual servitude. He’s never had anyone he could totally rely on... except for his brother, iAm.

iAm’s sole goal has always been to keep his brother from self-destructing- and he knows he’s failed. It’s not until the Chosen Serena enters Trez’s life that the male begins to turn things around... but by then it’s too late. The pledge to mate the Queen’s daughter comes due and there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no negotiating.

Trapped between his heart and a fate he never volunteered for, Trez must decide whether to endanger himself and others- or forever leave behind the female he’s in love with. But then an unimaginable tragedy strikes and changes everything. Staring out over an emotional abyss, Trez must find a reason to go on or risk losing himself and his soul forever. And iAm, in the name of brotherly love, is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice...

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I think it’s safe to say that by book 13 of a series I’m pretty hooked. The Black Dagger Brotherhood series was a series I started late but I’m definitely an invested fan now. Trez and iAm’s story got me just as much as the original brothers!

Trez and iAm are not members of the Brotherhood. In fact, they are a whole different race; shadows. They are similar to vampires but they have different abilities and different rules to live by. Trez has been promised to the princess of the shadows since he was born but he’s been fighting it for years. However, time is about up for him and not only is there no solution in sight, he’s also in love with Selena.

This series really gets me with the characters. Trez and iAm were no different. Trez was a strong male who had a lot of difficulties in life. iAm was his rock. The twins had a special bond and I loved how they were there for each other through everything. As for their females, I wasn’t quite as invested there. Selena was one of the Chosen, meaning she was very reserved and hard to connect with. As for maichen, she was closed off as well but for very different reasons. I eventually came to like the couples but I didn’t have that immediate love for them like I did the other couples in the series.

There was once again a shit ton of stuff going on throughout The Shadows. There is, of course, still the war with the Lessening Society but it really took a backseat to everything else. The Band of Bastards are stepping up their game now but it’s hard to tell whose side they will be on in the end. Xcor and Layla’s relationship took a new turn in The Shadows. I’m not sure how I feel about the two of them together but Xcor has really grown on me and I feel for him.

Rhage also took center stage in The Shadows which I was not expecting. He has always been one of my favorite brothers so I was excited to see more of him but I’m confused about the direction his story is going. He was very shook up by the events of this book and his ending was very up in the air. I’m wondering what is going to happen with him and Mary from here.

There were also a few new characters introduced and it makes me wonder how many more books are going to be in this series since there are so many open stories now. Paradise is the newest character to be introduced and I already like her. She’s young and eager to learn to fight for the Brotherhood. I love females like her and I hope J.R. Ward introduces more in the future books. I can’t wait to read her story in the spin-off series.

Overall, The Shadows left me with more questions than answers but I still enjoyed it immensely. I have no clue where J.R. Ward is going to take this series next but I will definitely keep reading.

What others are saying about The Shadows:

That’s What I’m Talking About’s review: “Without spoilers, I will tell you that the ending of this book, the ultimate resolution, was so egregious in my mind and heart, that it left me unsettled and speechless.”

vampirebookclub’s review: “I would still recommend picking The Shadows up for simply to see where the Black Dagger Brotherhood members are going.”

Red Hot Books’ review: “In the end of it all, I was just left tired… and disappointed.”

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Nearly Gone (Nearly Gone #1) by Elle Cosimano | Review

Nearly Gone (Nearly Gone #1) by Elle Cosimano | ReviewNearly Gone by Elle Cosimano
Series: Nearly Gone #1
Published by Penguin Teen on March 25, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 388
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
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5 Stars

Bones meets Fringe in a big, dark, scary, brilliantly-plotted urban thriller that will leave you guessing until the very end.

Nearly Boswell knows how to keep secrets. Living in a DC trailer park, she knows better than to share anything that would make her a target with her classmates. Like her mother's job as an exotic dancer, her obsession with the personal ads, and especially the emotions she can taste when she brushes against someone's skin. But when a serial killer goes on a killing spree and starts attacking students, leaving cryptic ads in the newspaper that only Nearly can decipher, she confides in the one person she shouldn't trust: the new guy at school—a reformed bad boy working undercover for the police, doing surveillance. . . on her.

Nearly might be the one person who can put all the clues together, and if she doesn't figure it all out soon—she'll be next.

picadillyblueSuspense novels for teens are hard to find.  Good suspense novels for teens are extremely hard to find.  Nearly Gone fits into that second category.  Elle Cosimano’s debut novel blew me away.  I was up all night reading.  I dare you to put this one down once you start it.

Nearly (yes, that is her name) spends her Friday mornings searching the personal ads in the newspaper, not always sure what she’s looking for.  One day she discovers an ad with a sinister undertone and realizes that it is meant for her.  It sets her on a course of action that brings her in the path of a killer and changes her life forever.

Nearly is a character that is impossible not to like.  She’s smart and spunky and the girl has attitude.  She was a major nerd (way smarter than I could ever be!) and while she embraced that nerdiness it also made it hard for her to fit in with most people.  She was an outsider at school and her classmates were not nice about it at all.  She wasn’t afraid to stand up for herself though and she did have some friends to back her up.  Jeremy and Anh are Nearly’s two closest friends.  It’s pretty obvious from the start that Jeremy wants more with Nearly but even so, he’s still a good friend to her.  He’s got some issues having to do with his home life and I truly wanted to see him happy.  As for Anh, she was Nearly’s friend but also her biggest competition.  I never really knew what to think of their friendship.

Then there was Reece.  Where do I even begin?  Elle Cosimano found and exploited my weakness for tattooed, pierced bad boys with good hearts.  Reece and Nearly have undeniable chemistry and their banter made me love them together.  They had some serious rough patches but they worked well together.  Reece had the street smarts and Nearly had the book smarts.  Together they made an unstoppable team.  Also, angry makeout sessions are the best.

The mystery is what really hooked me.  I was stumped from the start.  There is so much going on that I could never tie it all  back to one person.  There were definitely some red herrings that kept me on my toes too.  Elle Cosimano also doesn’t pull any punches just because it’s a YA book.  It’s not gruesome or overly horrifying but it’s not toned down for a younger audience.

As for Nearly’s ability, it helped with her investigation into the killer but it didn’t play as prominent a role as I expected.  She can sense feelings by touching someones skin.  It helped her sense when someone was lying but it’s not like she had the ability to sense what someone was lying about.  It was definitely an interesting ability though and it kind of broke my heart that Nearly could feel all the bad things people thought of her.

Overall, Nearly Gone is what I am always looking for in a YA suspense novel.  It’s fast-paced with a mystery that never becomes obvious.  Elle Cosimano’s debut is perfect for suspense fans.

What others are saying about Nearly Gone:

Presenting Lenore’s review: “NEARLY GONE is the rare mystery that is both character and plot driven. Definitely worth a look, especially if you like puzzles.”

Shae Has Left The Room’s review: “A large part of my enjoyment of this book rests on the narrow shoulders of the fantastic Nearly Boswell.”

The YA Kitten’s review: “That’s not to say the novel is a terrible mystery–honestly, the mystery angle of the novel is one of the only angles it gets right–but it needed much more work to be a good, fully formed book.”

Monday, May 11, 2015

Dangerous Boy by Mandy Hubbard | Review

Dangerous Boy by Mandy Hubbard | ReviewDangerous Boy by Mandy Hubbard
Published by Razorbill on September 4, 2012
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 272
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
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3 Stars

A modern-day retelling of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hydewith a chilling twist

Harper has never been worried about falling in love, something she is skeptical even exists. But everything changes when Logan moves to town, and to Harper's shock, the two tumble into an intense romance. It's everything she never thought she wanted.

Then she meets Logan's twin brother, Caleb, who was expelled from his last school. True, he's a bad boy, but Harper can't shake the feeling that there's something deeply sinister about him--something dangerous. When Logan starts pulling away, Harper is convinced that Caleb's shadowy past is the wedge being driven between them. But by the time she uncovers the truth, it may be too late.

The author of Prada & Prejudice, You Wish, and Ripple delivers a modern-day retelling of a famously gothic tale, full of suspense, lies, and romance.

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Dangerous Boy captured my attention with the prologue and I decided to pick it up solely based on that.  While it was not what I expected I found myself flying through the pages.  It’s nowhere close to being a favorite of mine but it entertained me and kept me guessing until the end.

First off, apparently this is a retelling of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  I didn’t know that until the end of the book but it would not have made any difference to me since I’ve never read that book.  Fair warning though, if you’ve read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde the twists in Dangerous Boy might not be so shocking.

The story is dark and twisted though not horror movie scary.  Strange things are happening in Harper’s town; bones being left in mailboxes, birds dying in large groups, and bloody hand prints showing up places.  Things get even creepier when Harper meets her boyfriends identical twin brother, Daemon.  He’s creepy and bit stalker-like.  He’s obsessed with the murders that happened at their home and he uses the house’s history to terrify Harper.  He’s definitely not quite right.

Harper really did nothing for me and neither did her boyfriend, Logan.  They were a bit too cutesy for me.  Also, Harper was not the smartest.  She gets stalker-like messages and doesn’t tell anyone.  She’s terrified of some of the weirdest things and yet Logan can easily talk her into overcoming these fears.  It all seemed a bit too easy.

Also, nothing against the book but I kept thinking of The Vampire Diaries while reading.  Two brothers, one named Daemon, move to town with their uncle, one brother good, the other bad.  And I won’t spoil anything but those aren’t the only comparisons.

Overall, Dangerous Boy is an okay book if you’re looking for a fast-paced thriller.

What others are saying about Dangerous Boy:

Bookish’s review: “It started out so good. And turned around just as quickly.”

Itching for Books’ review: “Dangerous Boy is a creepy, mysterious, fast-paced story.”

Sarah’s Random Musings’ review: “I would recommend this book to anyone that wants an intense read with great atmosphere.”

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater | Review

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater | ReviewThe Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Published by Scholastic on September 18, 2012
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
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5 Stars

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

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I feel like at this point anything I say about The Raven Boys and Maggie Stiefvater will just be reiteration.  I adore her writing and The Raven Boys is probably the best thing she’s written so far.  And I can say that because I’ve read all her other books.

Where do I start with this one?  There was honestly not a single thing about it that I didn’t like.  The characters, the writing, the setting, the story, every last thing about it was completely perfect.  I’ve always had a bit of an issue getting into Maggie Stiefvater’s books because while her writing is gorgeous it is a little weighty at times.  I didn’t find myself having that issue with The Raven Boys.  The story was so captivating that I was hooked from the very start.

The characters in The Raven Boys are some of the quirkiest characters I have ever read about and I mean that in the best possible way.  Blue and her family are psychics.  Well, technically Blue’s family is full of psychics, she just has this weird power to amplify all their supernatural energy.  Growing up in her family made Blue far from normal and she loved to seek out other things and people that were not exactly normal.  I loved that about her.  Her family cracked me up.  Maura was a very chill mom but she definitely looked out for her daughter.  Calla was volatile but fun.  Persephone was just plain odd.  As for Neeve, she was a mystery.  To be honest, all of Blue’s family was a bit of a mystery.

As for the Raven Boys, I honestly don’t know which one I love the most.  Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah were all such intricate, amazing characters.  Gansey was a little entitled but he meant well most of the time.  Ronan was a badass but I loved him.  He definitely had some attitude problems but he intrigued me from the start.  Adam was such a sweetheart and my heart broke for him.  Noah was a bit of a mystery but he was such a cutie.  They were a group of guys I never would have expected to be friends but they all worked together.

The story was so intricate and I never had a clue what was going to happen next.  There is mythology mixed in and magic and romance and so many awesome things I couldn’t help but love.  The Welsh mythology about Owen Glendower was something I knew nothing about and while there wasn’t a whole lot of information about it, it added just another great layer to the story.

Overall, The Raven Boys deserves every bit of hype that it has gotten so far.  I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to read it but I’m also sad that I don’t have all the books in the series to devour in one epic binge-reading session.

What others are saying about The Raven Boys:

Writer of Wrongs’ review: “Characters is how Stiefvater won me over, and characters is how she earned my heart, and Gansey characters is why I neeeeeed the sequel nowwwwww.”

Oh, The Books!’ review: “As if the plot wasn’t enough to keep me going, this book has some great characters.”

The Great Noveling Adventure’s review: “Though Raven Boys seems to be marketed toward the plotline about Blue and the fate of her true love, it’s the quest and characters that carry the story.”

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Scoring Wilder by R.S. Grey | Review

Scoring Wilder by R.S. Grey | ReviewScoring Wilder by R.S. Grey
on June 15, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 402
Format: ebook
Source: Bought
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5 Stars

What started out as a joke— seduce Coach Wilder—soon became a goal she had to score.

With Olympic tryouts on the horizon, the last thing nineteen-year-old Kinsley Bryant needs to add to her plate is Liam Wilder. He's a professional soccer player, America's favorite bad-boy, and has all the qualities of a skilled panty-dropper.

• A face that makes girls weep – check.
• Abs that can shred Parmesan cheese (the expensive kind) – check.
• Enough confidence to shift the earth’s gravitational pull – double check.

Not to mention Liam is strictly off limits . Forbidden. Her coaches have made that perfectly clear. (i.e. “Score with Coach Wilder anywhere other than the field and you’ll be cut from the team faster than you can count his tattoos.”) But that just makes him all the more enticing…Besides, Kinsley's already counted the visible ones, and she is not one to leave a project unfinished.

Kinsley tries to play the game her way as they navigate through forbidden territory, but Liam is determined to teach her a whole new definition for the term “team bonding.”

picadillyblueI’m quite obsessed with new adult novels lately.  I don’t know what it is about them but they grab my interest much more than other books.  Scoring Wilder was no exception.  I was hooked from the first page and I read the 400+ page book in one day!

Liam Wilder and Kinsley Bryant are immediately attracted to each other.  However, they can’t act on that attraction.  Liam is one of Kinsley’s new soccer coaches.  She isn’t willing to endanger her Olympic dreams just for one sexy soccer player.  Especially when everything she’s heard about him says he’s a player in more ways than one.  Fate keeps throwing them together though and the attraction proves to be more than either one can resist.

Kinsley is a kick-ass character.  She’s strong and feisty and knows exactly what she wants in life.  She’s a top soccer player with dreams of playing for the Olympic soccer team.  Those dreams are within her reach when she meets Wilder.  He’s a pretty awesome character himself.  He’s funny, protective, kind, and sexy.  He’s a professional soccer player with a bad boy rep.  That rep is what leads him as a coach for Kinsley’s team.  He’s a bit frustrating at times with his moodswings but I couldn’t find other flaws with him.

The fame aspect really got me.  I love reading romances involving one or both famous people and R.S. Grey did a good job with that aspect in Scoring Wilder.  Wilder is older, rich, and very much a hot bachelor.  Kinsley even had some fame but she was definitely more of a nobody than Wilder.  I liked how that affected their relationship.

I greatly appreciated the fact that the story wasn’t super overdramatic.  Kinsley and Wilder approach most things very maturely.  If they have problems they don’t run from them.  I was expecting some dramatic breakup for some stupid reason and it never happened.  Instead, Wilder and Kinsley always tried to work past their issues.

One other thing I loved were the family and friend relationships.  Both Wilder and Kinsley have awesome families that they are very close with.  Kinsley and Wilder also cared about their friends a lot and took time away from each other to stay close with their friends.

Overall, Scoring Wilder is a great novel.  Even if you’re not a new adult fan, I suggest checking this one out.  It’s a very fun read.

What others are saying about Scoring Wilder:

Itching for Books’ review: “This is my first experience with R.S. and I must say that I’m impressed, motivated enough to want to read her other works.”

Fandomly Bookish’s review: “All in all, SCORING WILDER is a great, fun and light read that you totally don’t want to miss.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) by Diana Gabaldon | Review

Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) by Diana Gabaldon | ReviewDragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander #2
Published by Dell on July 1, 1992
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 947
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
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5 Stars

For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland's majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones ...about a love that transcends the boundaries of time ...and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his ....

Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire's spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart ...in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising ...and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves....

picadillyblueDragonfly in Amber, the second book in the Outlander series, brings readers back into the lives of Claire and Jamie Fraser.  This book just confirmed my love for this series.

All the original characters are back in this sequel but it also introduces readers to a bunch of new characters.  Two of those characters play a prominent role in the story but I wasn’t all that impressed with them.  Brianna Fraser and Roger Wakefield are introduced early in the book but readers are not given a lot of background information about either of them.  I know this is a long series and these characters are going to play parts in the following books though so I’m assuming Diana Gabaldon did that on purpose.  I liked them both but I look forward to finding out more about them.

As for the original cast of characters, I didn’t think it was possible to love them more but I was wrong.  Jamie and Claire only grow more amazing throughout the course of the book.  Claire is just as strong as she was in the first book, if not stronger.  She may not fit the mold of women in the eighteenth century but she doesn’t care and neither does Jamie.  Jamie is a strong man who loves Claire exactly the way she is.  They are both stubborn and like to argue but I think that only added depth to their relationship.  I loved Jamie but he was seriously hard-headed and made some very bad choices in Dragonfly in Amber.  He did make up for them though.

The story is full of politics and mystery and a good amount of romance.  The politics are what really had me hooked though.  The majority of the story is set in the eighteenth century and it focuses on the rising of Charles Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie.)  I don’t know how much of the story was fact and how much was fiction but it was so captivating!  This is definitely one of those books that will have you intrigued enough to actually look into more of the history surrounding the story.

Overall, Dragonfly in Amber is a solid sequel to Outlander.  I’m continuing my binge read of this series with Voyager and I seriously need to get started after that crazy ending!

What others have to say about Dragonfly in Amber:

The Lit Bitch’s review: “Now that I am done with Book II, I absolutely MUST continue on with the series…though they are long (each book is about 800-900 pages) but I simply cannot move on to something else until I know what happens next.”

The Hope Chest Reviews’ review: “With her amazing talent and enthralling writing style, Diana Gabaldon has also earned a place among my favorite authors.”

I’m Loving Books’ review: “It was a great follow up and although it’s very long, it was fairly easy to keep turning the page to continue.”

Monday, August 18, 2014

Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon | Review

Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon | ReviewOutlander by Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander #1
Published by Dell on June 1, 1991
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 896
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon—when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord . . . 1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life . . . and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire . . . and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

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After watching the first episode of the new Starz TV show, Outlander, I couldn’t resist picking up the first book in the series that it was adapted from. I’d heard about Outlander before watching the show but I’d never actually picked it up. I’m so glad the show gave me that final push to give the series a try.

Outlander is unlike anything I’ve read before.  It’s such a mix of genres that I honestly have a hard time describing it when people ask about it.  It’s definitely mostly historical fiction but it’s also romance with a hint of science fiction and fantasy.  Outlander incorporates everything I love from all those genres and it all blends so perfectly in this series.

The characters are what will keep readers invested in Outlander.  The book is long.  The version I read was almost 900 pages but I never once felt the urge to stop reading.  By 100 pages in I wanted to know everything that would happen to Claire, Jamie, Frank, Colum, Dougal, and the others.  Every character is extremely unique and that’s hard to do with a cast of characters that is so large.  Jamie and Claire were by far my favorites though.  Their love story was absolutely amazing.  Jamie was strong, fierce, protective, and kind.  Yes there was one thing he did that I did not approve of but it didn’t change my opinion of him.  (If you’ve read the book, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about!)  Claire was a lot like Jamie.  She was strong and protective but she was also so smart and so outspoken.  It definitely made for some interesting situations seeing as women weren’t really like that back then.  She and Jamie butted heads quite a bit but it only made their relationship stronger.  Also, don’t ever think you can trust someone in this book.  Holy crap were they a bunch of backstabbers.

The first 100 pages are a little dull.  Don’t let that stop you from reading though.  Outlander is a wonderful start to the series of the same name and I’m eager to continue with the series.  I’m 100% invested in the lives of these characters now.

Note: There are explicit scenes in Outlander.  It is an adult novel.  It contains graphic descriptions of torture and rape.  You have been warned.

What others have to say about Outlander:

Eating Bender’s review: “Her ability to portray historical characters is outstanding, and even though I will caution that there are some very explicit scenes (see the section below for more on this subject), the story feels authentic and heartfelt.”

I’m Loving Books’ review: “Despite what I didn’t like I liked the book overall and I just adore their love story, it’s very lovely.”

Confessions of a Book Addict’s review: “I can’t wait to revisit Jamie and Claire’s captivating world.”