Saturday, December 26, 2015

My Year in Books! (UPDATED!!!)

I was able to squeeze in one last book before the end of the year so I have updated my totals below! Look for the review to come later today!!

Hello fellow bibliophiles! I thought I'd recap my year in books for you all. Thank goodness for Goodreads! I use that site religiously to keep track of the books I read each year. And they tally everything up for you! So here's some stats about my reading this year:


  • Read 103 books, beating my challenge goal of 100!
  • 36,778 total pages;
  • Shortest book: 132 pages (Beautiful Surrender by Priscilla West)
  • Longest book: 780 pages (The Boy Who Granted Dreams by Luca Di Fulvio)
  • Average Length: 357 pages
  • Average rating: 3.3 out of 5 stars
  • Favorites of the year: 
    • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
    • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
    • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
    • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
    • The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
This has been a great year for reading. I could list at least 20 books that I couldn't put down. Check out my reviews on all the above here on my blog. Just check the archives! This year, I started this blog with the intention to simply share my thoughts on books with others and it has grown to be so much more! I've read more than I thought I would, wrote more than I thought I was capable of, and had endless opportunities to continue to grow and improve upon with reading and reviewing. I'm glad I started this journey and hope to continue to grow and learn over the next year! I've decided to increase my reading goal to 150 books for next year. I already have a stack of ARC's and lists of books I'm looking forward to reading this coming year! I can't wait to share my thoughts with you and hear your feedback! Thank you for the support thus far! 

Happy reading fools :) 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

"Dead to the Last Drop" - Cleo Coyle

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Today's review comes to you from the latest in the Coffeehouse mysteries by one of my favorite cozy mystery writers, Cleo Coyle! I couldn't wait to get my hands on Dead to the Last Drop and devour the latest from master roaster Clare Cosi. And devour it I did! Make sure to check out my other reviews on her books in the series as well as her Haunted Bookshop mystery under her other pseudonym, Alice Kimberly! Cleo is a fantastic cozy writer! I anxiously await the arrival of her books!

After the White House asks coffeehouse manager and master roaster Clare Cosi to consult on the coffee service for a Rose Garden Wedding, she discovers a historic pot was used as a CIA “dead drop” decades before. Now long-simmering secrets boil over, scalding Clare and the people around her…
 
Clare’s visit to the nation’s capital is off to a graceful start. Her octogenarian employer is bunking with her in a charming Georgetown mansion, and she's invited to work with a respected curator on the Smithsonian's culinary salute to coffee in America.
 
Unfortunately, Clare’s new Village Blend DC is struggling to earn a profit—until its second-floor jazz club attracts a high-profile fan, the college-age daughter of the U.S. President. Clare’s stock rises as the First Lady befriends her, but she soon learns a stark lesson: Washington can be murder.
 
First a stylish State Department employee suspiciously collapses in her coffeehouse. Then the President’s daughter goes missing. Is she a runaway bride or is something more sinister in play? After another deadly twist, Clare is on the run with her NYPD detective boyfriend. Branded an enemy of the state, she must piece together clues and uncover the truth before her life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness come to a bitter end.


Oh, Clare Cosi, how I love thee! While this book is similar in terms of the same characters loyal readers have come to love and the charades they endure, it takes on a different personality from the other books. With the opening of a new Village Blend location in D.C., Cosi has not only the problems associated with running a new restaurant/coffee shop/jazz club but also with her normal antics of always being in the wrong place at the wrong time. When an unlikely pianist starts playing at open mic night, Clare has no idea to what extent and issues will follow. Add to the mix a terrible head chef caught in contract, D.C. politics, and the sketchy boss of the one and only NYPD Detective Michael Ryan Francis Quinn, things are bound to go haywire. And, of course, Clare and the Village Blend are caught up in the mix! Dead to the Last Drop is full of mystery, suspense, and witty banter. Cleo Coyle writes such fun and relatable characters that keep readers coming back for more! I love the back and forth banter and love between not only Clare and Mike, but the relationship that all of the characters have with each other. The Village Blend sounds like an amazing family to be a part of. Recipes, coffee tips, and presidential coffee history are a nice bonus section at the end of the book. I learn more every time I read her books from coffee tips to new recipes. Cleo. you are at fault for coffee related items constantly plaguing my Christmas and birthday lists :) 

The worst part about these books is waiting for the next one to come out! Readers, check out this series. They are the perfect cozy mystery books! To find out more about Cleo Coyle, her series, and tons of delicious recipes and coffee tips CLICK HERE! As always, feel free to share your thoughts, comments, or suggestions. I'd love to hear what you think!

Happy reading fools :) 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Blog Tour: "Shadows of Angels" - L.G. Rollins



Hello fellow bibliophiles! Welcome to my stop on the Shadows of Angels blog tour presented by author L.G. Rollins and Cedar Fort Publishing & Media. Huge shout out to both for the advanced copy and opportunity to review! Shadows of Angels is the first book in a the upcoming Zaad Stone triolgy by debut author L.G. Rollins. Check out my review, excerpt, and synopsis below!

After the forest dwellers destroy her home and kill her father, Aerbrin sets off on a journey to find the truth about her people, her kingdom, and the mysterious Zaad stone that contains a power she never imagined. Magic and mystery join forces in this intriguing fantasy world. Full of shifting alliances and twists you won't see coming, it's a can't-miss read.

This is a great start to the trilogy. The characters, settings, and plot line are all very imaginative and creative. While I did struggle with the first few chapters of the book, in terms of figuring out all of the characters (especially their names!) and what everything in the story was (creatures, places, settings), once I got past that part, I couldn't put the book down. The book flips back and forth between the different characters and their roles in the story. They are all connected yet have their own paths to go down to reach the end goal. I liked the back and forth; I liked reading the different perspectives. There are great messages within each character and their role. I saw similarities from other books that I enjoyed growing up. Narnia, Wizard of Oz, as well as strong and courageous female lead characters. It's fantasy. It's suspense. It's imaginative. Would be a great book for readers 14 and up. Great debut series! I'm going to be anxiously awaiting the next book in the series to see where things go from here!

Excerpt:
"Stay calm, her father’s words echoed in her head. When you find yourself in danger, above all, stay calm. Aerbrin took a deep, steady breath and leaned down, reaching for her bow. one of the Forest Dwellers charged. It collided with her and knocked her to the floor. Raising a knotted fist, he bashed her head. Sparks exploded across her vision. She tried to raise an arm, tried to call out. Her body wouldn’t respond. The Forest Dwellers grunted again. The creature above her raised its fist again. She looked up. This was the end, she knew. When these monsters attacked, they killed everything. Animals, plants, and particularly humans. No one survived. Closing her eyes, Aerbrin forced her body to relax. This time, there was no pain."

About the Author:
L. G. Rollins grew up in a far off land fighting dragons, stealing talismans, and traveling with dwarfs and elves. She is especially skilled at bribing giants with sweets. Currently, her husband and four kids live in Utah so that is where she spends most of her time. She may, or may not, have a Zaad Stone. To learn more about L. G. Rollins and her books visit LGRollins.com.

As always, feel free to share any comments, suggestions, or recommendations. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Click HERE to buy the book on Amazon!

Happy reading fools :)

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Clean Slate Read-A-Thon!

Hello fellow bibliophiles! I apologize in advance for the lack of reviews recently! December is unfortunately my busiest month in my real-life job :( I wish we could all just read, drink coffee, talk books, and be happy. Alas, this has put me behind in my books I planned to read this year sooooo, I'm participating in this year's Clean Slate Read-A-Thon hosted by Lost In Ink, Novel Ink, & Latte Nights Reviews! The Read-A-Thon runs from January 10 - January 17 to read all the 2015 books you hoped to read and weren't able to get to! Join me and we can clean our slates to kick-start the year off before we start on the new books for 2016!


Latte Nights Reviews


Here are the titles I hope to finish throughout the week of Jan. 10th - Jan. 17th:

           
                                                   

Sign up HERE to join me in cleaning my slate! Prizes and give-a-ways throughout the read-a-thon so make sure to sign up before JANUARY 10! Let me know when you join by posting your books to read in the comments. I'll be updating my progress throughout the week!

Happy reading fools :)



Thursday, December 3, 2015

"Death Before Decaf" - Caroline Fardig

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Finally, a book that kept my attention and was really good! Finding books lately  has been a huge issue. (Check out my reading struggles post here) Big shout out to Netgalley for the opportunity to read today's ARC! Thank you! Another cozy mystery series to add to my list.

"Perfect for fans of Janet Evanovich and Diane Mott Davidson, Caroline Fardig's captivating new mystery novel takes readers behind the counter of a seemingly run-of-the-mill coffeehouse... where murder is brewing.

After her music career crashes and burns spectacularly, Juliet Langley is forced to turn to the only other business she knows: food service. Unfortunately, bad luck strikes yet again when her two-timing fiance robs her blind and runs off with her best waitress. Flushing what's left of her beloved cafe down the toilet with her failed engagement, Juliet packs up and moves back to her college stomping grounds in Nashville to manage an old friend's coffeehouse. At first glance, it seems as though nothing's changed at Java Jive. What could possibly go wrong? Only that the place is hemorrhaging money, the staff is in open revolt, and Juliet finds one unlucky employee dead in a dumpster out back before her first day is even over. 

The corpse just so happens to belong to the cook who'd locked horns with Juliet over the finer points of the health code. Unimpressed with her management style, the other disgruntled employees are only too eager to spill the beans about her fiery temper to the detective on the case. Add to the mix a hunky stranger who's asking way too many questions, and suddenly Juliet finds herself in some very hot water. If she can't simmer down and sleuth her way to the real killer, she's going to get burned."

This book was the perfect mix of all things cozy. Bumbling main character constantly finding herself in the wrong place at the wrong time, witty side characters, mystery, intrigue, a hunky secretive man, and romantic tension, not to mention a coffeehouse! I loved it. I was kept guessing from start to end about what the actual crime was and who committed it. I liked the dynamic between main characters, Juliet, and her partner/friend, Pete. Great cozy mystery book. I'm looking forward to the next one in the series. I'm really interested to see where the story goes from here! Thanks again Netgalley for the ARC! As always, feel free to share any comments, suggestions, or recommendations. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Happy reading fools :)

Monday, November 30, 2015

"Peach Pies & Alibis" (Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery #2) - Ellery Adams

Hello fellow bibliophiles! I hope everyone has recovered from their Thanksgiving feasts and Black Friday shopping! I had a fun-filled weekend with friends and then decorated my apartment for Christmas!! I ended my night wiping down my kitchen counters to somehow randomly stab my figure with a small piece of glass. Needless to say typing right now is not an easy task with two fingers taped together :( Alas, it is not holding me back! Today's review is the second book in the Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery series by Ellery Adams. I stumbled across this cozy mystery series one day while shelf perusing at my local library. You can find my review of book one HERE!

Ella Mae LeFaye's Charmed Pie Shoppe is wildly popular in Havenwood, Georgia--which is not surprising since Ella Mae can lace her baked goods with enchantments. The shop's extraordinary success seems destined to continue when Ella Mae meets an engaged couple who hire her to handle the dessert buffet at their wedding.

But Ella Mae has a lot on her plate. She is also searching for the origin of her magical powers--and hoping to determine if the spark of attraction she feels for the handsome Hugh Dylan is authentic or just her new abilities gone awry.

Then Ella Mae discovers a high-standing member of the community dead, and a wedding guest becomes seriously ill at the event she's catering. Now she'll have to use all her sleuthing skills and culinary talents to prove her pies don't contain a killer ingredient...

Due to the throbbing finger issue at the moment, I'll keep this review short and sweet for you! I really enjoyed this book. The characters have great layers with parts in the main storyline, as well as, their own side stories that I am sure are being set-up for parts in future books. The mystery aspects of the books are well developed and I was kept guessing until the end. I love the "charm/magic" part of the book! This book explains that part of the storyline in a lot more detail. Questions I had left over from the first book were answered and new were brought to light. I'm intrigued to keep reading! Check out Adams other cozy series at elleryadamsmysteries.com ! As always feel free to share any comments, suggestions, and recommendations!

Happy reading fools :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

"Tricky Twenty-Two" - Janet Evanovich

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone has a great time with friends and family while stuffing your faces with delicious food! Today's review is the newest installment in the Stephanie Plum series. The perfect cozy mystery to curl up with as the weather turns cold. If you haven't read any of her previous books in the series, don't worry about spoilers! Evanovich breaks down all of the characters and their roles in the story at the start of each book. While there are some relationship developments better understood by having read from the start, you can still get a good idea without having read the other 21 books.

"Something big is brewing in Trenton, N.J., and it could blow at any minute.

Stephanie Plum might not be the world's greatest bounty hunter, but she knows when she's being played. Ken Globovic (aka Gobbles), hailed as the Supreme Exalted Zookeeper of the animal house known as Zeta fraternity, has been arrested for beating up the dean of students at Kiltman College. Gobbles has missed his court date and gone into hiding. People have seen him on campus, but no one will talk. Things just aren't adding up, and Stephanie can't shake the feeling that something funny is going on at the college -- and it's not just Zeta fraternity pranks. 

As much as people love Gobbles, they hate Doug Linken. When Linken is gunned down in his backyard it's good riddance, and the list of possible murder suspects is long. The only people who care about Linken's killer are Trenton cop Joe Morelli, who has been assigned the case, security expert Ranger, who was hired to protect Linken, and Stephanie, who has her eye on a cash prize and hopefully has some tricks up her sleeve."

Once again Stephanie is up to her normal tricks. Hunting down "bad guys," constantly reconsidering her life choices, and forever in an epic love triangle between Ranger and Morelli. I have a big fan of this series for a few years now. I loved the first 8-9 books. But like any series with this many books, I felt the series started to get repetitive after that. I could always figure out exactly what was going to happen. The story lines were all the same. I feel though that Evanovich has made a resurgence with the last couple books. While much of it is still "repetitive," I think the book overall was still good. I enjoyed the story line of the "FTA's," Lula and Grandma Mazur continue to crack me up constantly, and I was continually hoping that the triangle between Ranger, Morelli, and Stephanie would FINALLY come to a conclusion (I won't ruin that debate for you!). If you have read any of my previous reviews, you will know that once I start a series, I continue reading through to the end no matter what. I can't help it. Good or bad, I will continue reading. I think you should pick up this series if you haven't already! They are great cozy mysteries. Exactly what Evanovich does best! Check out her other series and books as well. They're great! I highly recommend her books if you are looking for an easy, light read.

As always, feel free to share any recommendations, comments, or suggestions. I'd love to hear your thoughts! Have a safe holiday!

Happy reading fools :)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Reading struggles

Hello fellow bibliophiles! I don't know about all of you but today I woke up to snow on the ground.... I now want to hibernate until April. I absolutely HATE snow. Why I don't live in a warmer place, is a questions I ask myself every day!

Plus side of hibernation? READING! I was hoping to have a couple reviews for you today. Sadly, I am struggling to find "attention-grabbing" books. For the past two weeks, I have tried multiple times to pick up the following two books. Each time I have to push myself to keep reading and continually lose interest. I don't know if it's time for me to switch up my genres or what. It's very upsetting. All I want to do is curl up with a good book, make a delicious cup of coffee, and read my afternoon away. Over and over I've just been let down. So below I have listed the two books I have had to add to the "Did Not Finish" pile. I hate this pile. It makes me sad. Especially these two books. I have heard rave reviews and recommendations from others. Maybe they are good books. I'm going to try something new and maybe pick these books up at a later date and try again. Feel free to share with me any comments you have about either book. I'd love to hear your thoughts! I WANT them to be good books!! Convince me they are!


Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Recently I reviewed a couple different books by Rowell as preparation for my October book club meeting. Compared to her other books, Landline just falls short in my opinion. The characters didn't grab me. The story line itself confused me at times. I had trouble following the dialogue. Nothing against Rainbow Rowell. She's a great writer. That being said, I prefer her YA books better!


The Girl From the Train by Irma Joubert
I have been hearing great things about this book. It's right in my alley genre wise. I have read more books than count or remember on WW2 and the Holocaust. I find it fascinating in a historical context. I have now tried starting this book 3 times. I can't seem to get farther than about a third of the way through. This really makes me sad. I want this book to be good. Not just good, but GREAT. I promise to try again at a later date. Maybe I just need to set it aside and pick it up another time. Please read this book. Tell me how it is. I need to hear how great it is. I know it has to be. I know it has huge potential. Someone fulfill this need!!

As always, feel free to share any comments, recommendations, and suggestions. I'd love to hear your thoughts! Next up, Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich! 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

"Bliss" - Shay Mitchell & Michaela Blaney

Hello fellow bibliophiles! I hope everyone had a great weekend. As normal, I had my weekend all perfectly planned out. Lots of reading, unpacking, cleaning, and more reading. Let's simply say things didn't go as planned. So back at the grind yesterday for work and now revamping my reading schedule for the week. So let's get to the review so I can get back to the stack of books currently waiting to be read! :)

"Following your dreams might lead you down a rocky path, or it might get you everything you ever wanted. For twenty-one-year-old BFF's Sophia, Demi, and Leandra, that journey comes with epic hangovers, soulless jobs, and thirty-something boyfriends who act half their age.

Sophia: She's mapped out every aspect of her glamorous life as a Hollywood actor on her vision board. But her life in Toronto is anything but glamorous. Attending countless auditions and working at a douchey nightclub, Sophia is starting to feel like she's going nowhere...slowly.

Demi: Unlike Sophia, she didn't go to college. Short of a vision board, she puts all her energy into building the perfect relationship with an older man. And when that relationship crashes and burns, Demi is left to pick up the pieces. Will she learn from her mistakes?

Leandra: She doesn't give a crap about hard work or a loving relationship. She has other plans, Leandra sets out to travel the world in the yachts, planes, and limos of ridiculously wealthy men. Maybe one of them will be able to show her what love really means--if she can take off her Chanel sunglasses long enough to see it.

Set against a backdrop of Hollywood glamour and international glitz, Bliss is all about the age when you can count on nothing and survive anything, if you're lucky enough to have truly great friends."

Following your dreams, dealing with the ups and downs, and finding what will make you truly happy. A book of friendship. But this book struggled to hold my attention. The only reason I finished it is because I felt it had potential and might get better. The story jumps around between the 3 main characters, Leandra, Sophia, and Demi, all trying to find their way in the world. I found their storylines unrealistic, especially for their age. Yes, I know things like this do happen to people like getting your dream job, jetting setting across the globe, cheating boyfriends and they can all be realistic scenarios. But what I found unrealistic is the amount of time that all of these situations were taking place and playing out.

The main characters all had very different personalities which can be normal with life-long friends, but I felt each character's thoughts and emotions were played out to the most extreme extent of each trait. Parts of the story were left unfinished and unanswered as if the authors are considering writing a second book (I hope not). I read the book because of author/actress Shay Mitchell and my love for Pretty Little Liars. The writing is very similar in the extent that just like Pretty Little Liars, the plot line steered too far off the beaten path of normal life and lost my interest. The writing itself isn't terrible, but sometimes it went too far with its descriptions specifically with Leandra. I know she is supposed to have a narcissistic personality, but she was too harsh even for that role. I don't necessarily recommend the book but if you do plan on reading it, I definitely suggest high school or older aged readers due to the mature content in the book. As always, feel free to share your thoughts, comments, or recommendations! I'd love to hear what you think of the book!

Happy reading fools :)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

"Until We Meet Again" - Renee Collins

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Huge shout out to NetGalley for an advanced copy of today's book! Can you believe Thanksgiving is just 12 days away! Where has this year gone?! It feels like Fall was barely here. I love fall. Cool weather, sweaters, football. What's not to love! So while today's review is not a fall themed book, it is a sappy, young adult romance. Think Lake House but with teenagers. Ah, teen love :)

"They exist in two different centuries, but their love defies time. 

Cassandra craves drama and adventure, so the last thing she wants is to spend her summer marooned with her mother and stepfather in a snooty Massachuttes town. But when a dreamy stranger shows up on their private beach claiming it's his own -- that the year is 1925 -- she is swept into a mystery a hundred years in the making. 

As she searches for answers in the present, Cassandre discovers a truth that puts their growing love -- and Lawrence's life -- into jeopardy. Desperate to save him, Cassandra must find a way to change history ... or risk losing Lawrence forever."

I had a hard time putting this book down. Renee Collins wrote a beautiful, touching, "pull-on-the-heartstrings," teen romance. Until We Meet Again is written from both Cassandra and Lawrence's points-of-view, back and forth between 1925 and present day. Not only is the reader experiencing the love and relationship between Lawrence and Cassandra but also their own struggles and stories outside of their summer romance with each other. I loved the romance mixed with time travel and history. There are some "cheesy" moments, but I mean, come on. Would you expect anything less? I also felt that both character's acceptance of the entire "spacetime continuum" was a little rushed. I know I would have a hard time accepting it and not thinking I'm going insane! Great book for young adult readers, high school age and above. I highly recommend it. Thanks again NetGalley! As always, feel free to share any comments suggestions or recommendations!

Happy reading fools :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Downfall of e-books

Hello fellow bibliophiles! I hope you're having a great week. For me, it's been a huge struggle bus and one thing after another. Tonight when I got home from work, life just continued to slap me across the face. Let me just say this, I am one of the biggest proponents of physical books. The feel of a dusty, paper jacket. The smell of musty, torn pages. The crease in an old book spine. I love them. Unfortunately, to read most ARC's, these books only come as e-readers. *Sigh*. I've dealt with it and moved on. In order to bring you new reviews and do what I love, I have no other choice. So here's another one of the downsides:

Come home from a weekend with friends. Sit down to start a new book. Realize iPad has no charge. Plug said iPad in. Pick up iPad the next day to start said new book again. iPad still dead. Realize that the power cord was not fully plugged in. SCREAMS IN FRUSTRATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So there's that. It's been a crappy work week and just a crappy week in general. But don't worry, I've triple checked and it's charging for real this time. So for tonight, I'll do what I love and read a physical book. Good thing I have a ton of them laying around :) Though, this may have thrown my reading schedule off for the week, but I promise to have a couple reviews throughout the remainder of the week/weekend to make up for it. So until then, let me know what books you're reading! I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommendations!

Happy reading fools :)

Monday, November 9, 2015

"Twain's End" - Lynn Cullen

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Today's e-ARC was made possible thanks to Netgalley! Thank you!! Twain's End by Lynn Cullen was interesting. Viewing a life from someone else's perspective always adds an intriguing dynamic to what you know about a person.

In March of 1909, Mark Twain cheerfully blessed the wedding of his private secretary, Isabel V Lyon, and his business manager, Ralph Ashcroft. One month later, he fired both. He proceeded to write a ferocious 429-page rant about the pair, calling Isabel 'a liar, a forger, a thief, a hypocrite, a drunkard, a sneak, a humbug, a traitor, a conspirator, a filthy-minded and salacious slut pining for seduction.' Twain and his daughter, Clara Clemens, then slandered Isabel in the newspapers, erasing her nearly seven years of devoted service to their family. How did Lyon go from being the beloved secretary who ran Twain's life to a woman he was determined to destroy?

In Twain's End, Lynn Cullen reimagines the tangled relationships between Twain, Lyon, and Ashcroft, as well as the little-known love triangle between Hellen Keller, her teacher Anne Sullivan Macy, and Anne's husband, John Macy, which comes to light during their visit to Twain's Connecticut home in 1909. Add to the party a furious Clara Clemens, smarting from her own failed love affair, and carefully kept veneers shatter. 

Based on Isabel Lyon's extant diary, Twain's writing and letters, and events in Twain's boyhood that may have altered his ability to love, Twain's End explores this real-life tale of doomed love."

Lynn Cullen is a great writer. She took information gained through research from Lyon's personal diary, Clara Clemen's biography of her father, and many other works depicting Sam Clemen's life to narrate a great historical fiction novel based on his real-life events. While the book is mostly narrated from Isabel's point-of-view, there are times when the reader is seeing things from Mrs. Lyons or Clara's viewpoint. The beginning of the book was a little hard for me to follow as I know nothing about Sam Clemens or Mark Twain. I had trouble following things chronologically (I need to pay better attention to dates when reading!) as well as the flow of the writing until I got the hang of Cullen's style.

Now in terms of the storyline itself, let me be upfront with you. I'm not a fan of the classics. AH, I know, shame on me! That's not to say that they are not great. They just don't interest me. If you were to ask me about The Odesessy or Huckleberry Finn, I would have nothing to say. I'll admit it. I skated by in school by reading the spark notes versions. They're just not my thing. That being said, overall this is a good book. I'm still torn between whether I enjoyed the book, but that goes towards my interest in Mark Twain and nothing at fault of the author. If you like Twain, then I'm sure you will love this book! Thanks again NetGalley! As always, feel free to share any comments, suggestions, or recommendations! I'd love to hear what you think of the book!

Happy reading fools :)

Follow Lynn Cullen on Twitter: @LynnCullenBooks or check out her website and other books at www.lynncullen.com !

Saturday, November 7, 2015

"Orleans" - Sherri L. Smith

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Today's throwback review comes to you from an ARC I received from Goodreads giveaway a couple years back. Thanks Goodreads & Putnam Juvenile Publishing! At that time, this book was way outside my normal genre but has now become something I'm very interested in. Orleans by Sherri L. Smith was really different. A good different. I was transfixed with this book from the moment I received it. Here's why:

"First came the storms.
Then came the Fever.
And then the Wall.

After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct... but in reality, a new primitive society has been born.

Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader's newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans. In the end, they are each other's last hope for survival. "

Needless to say, the book has an interesting concept to it. The beginning half was a little slow going for me, but I think that is entirely due to me learning about the different tribes and how Orleans and the world "now" operate. The book was something different than anything I had read at the time and I really liked the whole concept. To me, it was a fantastic idea and a little scary at the same time as some parts of the book are potentially possible. I liked the blood type/tribe aspect of the book which is how people are now classified and segregated. I thought it added a new angle and different direction than other dystopia books. The two main characters, Fen and Daniel, have well-written story lines and I liked how they interconnected throughout the book. Overall, it's a good story. I wish it had turned into a series. I would have liked to learn more and see how the world would progress! As always, feel free to share any comments, suggestions, or recommendations!

Happy reading fools :)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

"The Martian" - Andy Weir

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Can you blieve it's already one week into November?! Where has this year gone?? Today's review is for The Martian by Andy Weird which is now a hit movie. Simply put, its a great book. Attention grabbing, suspenseful, and highly captivating.

"Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Marks finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive -- and event if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills -- and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit -- he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

I really liked this book. It was great. But explaining to you why I liked it and giving specifics has proved not to come as easily as it normally does for books that I like this well. Maybe it was the characters. Maybe the genre, or the writing stlye. Maybe it's all of the above.  The main character, Mark Watney, is great. Andy Weir did a fantastic job writing this character. He's smart, innovative, witty, and sarcastic. Watney's relentless drive to stay alive gives the reader an emense sense of hope. You have to root for him! I loved his journal entries and continually found myself laughing at his random comments and sarcasm. I cannot imagine what I would write in a journal if I was left all alone somewhere. It's probably better actually if I don't try to imagine :)

Be forewarned, there are alot of numbers and science/chemisttry jargon throughout, especially in the beginning. While understanding his math and knowing how long each necessary component will last him (food, water, air, etc.) is important, these sections can be skimmed over easily. I couldn't put the book down. Thrilling and suspenseful from the start to the end. It's easy to see why they made it into a movie. I have yet to see it but have heard great things. As always, feel free to share any comments, recommendations, and suggestions about the book or movie! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Happy reading fools :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

"Jackaby" - William Ritter

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Today's review comes with a bit of disappointment. I heard a lot of good things about Jackaby by William Ritter. I know it's been pretty big in Young Adult book clubs. I, unfortunately, wasn't able to get through it to the end. The writing was good and the characters are interesting. I, though, found the story line boring and dull. From the beginning, it failed to hold my attention. I tried to give it the benefit of the doubt but by halfway thru, I quit. Once again, I'm a quitter.

I think the plotline had potential. Sherlock meets paranormal. Maybe I'm just not in the mood for this genre right now. Either way, I just couldn't get into it. There are too many books in the world to waste time on one that isn't grabbing my interest. So onto the next! As always, feel free to share any comments, suggestions, or recommendations! I'd love to hear what you think!

Happy reading fools :)

Saturday, October 31, 2015

"Carry On" - Rainbow Rowell

Hellow fellow bibliophiles! Today I have an intriguing review of Carry On by the bestselling New York Times author Rainbow Rowell to share with you. This is the first book in my upcoming newly joined FYA book club! Generally when I am reviewing/reading, I stay up later than I should reading the book and then write the review within the next couple days. But, as I finished Carry On, I felt a stroke of inspiration/brilliance/insanity to write, hence its almost 3 am and I'm scribbling away, pen to paper, West Wing reruns playing in the background. Shout out to Aaron Sorkin for being a literal G-O-D! Am I right?! And yes, I write everything out by hand and then type it. I'm old school.

First things first. Even though this book has ties to Rowell's book Fangirl (check out my review here!), it can easily be read as a stand alone novel. Rowell took Simon Snow, the fictional character from Fangirl, and gave him his own story.

"Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who's ever been chosen. That's what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he's probably right. 

Half the time, Simon can't even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor's avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there's a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon's face. Baz would be having a field day with all of this, if he were here -- it's their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't bother to show up. 

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you'd expect from a Rainbow Rowell story -- but far, far more monsters."

The story is broke into four "books" or parts. I found it difficult to get started and drawn in with this book. It took me pretty much the entire "Book One," about 150 pages to get into it. After that, I was hooked and didn't put it down until I was finished. It's a typical Rainbow Rowell novel. Full of normal teen-romance-friendship drama that her loyal readers have come to love and expect. Even though it took me a while to get into it, I did still like the book. Rowell is a great writer. She fully develops her characters and gives them a multi-dimensional facet. The only thing that did turn me off a bit, and maybe this is why  I struggled with the beginning, are all the similarities to Harry Potter. I grew up with HP. He embodied my reading years from grade school through high school. It's extremely hard for me to consider anything else that closely resembles HP solely due to the place in my heart it will always hold. Now there is a lot more to Carry On that just magic and evil nemesis' and being "The Chosen One." It is still a great story besides all of that. I LOVED the ending. I almost wish I would have read Fangirl after Carry On. Parts of that book would have made more sense, in my opinion. I often felt the fan-fiction sections in Fangirl that talked about Simon Snow and friends were out of place and by reading it after Carry On, I would have had a better understanding of them and their story. Just something to consider if you haven't read either book! Make sure to check out my other book reviews by Rainbow Rowell. She's quite fantastic! As always, feel free to share any comments, suggestions, or recommendations!

Happy reading fools :)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

"And Then There Were None" - Agatha Christie

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Happy Throwback Thursday! A couple years ago I received And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie from a friend. What's the way to my heart? Books, books, and more books. And obviously wine and pizza. What can I say? I'm a classy gal. I'm sure I would be hard pressed to find a reader who hasn't at least picked up one of Agatha Christie's novels but if you are one of those few, start here. You can thank me later. 

"First there were ten - a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they're unwilling to reveal -- and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one will fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion."

I devoured this book. And that is putting it lightly. While I have read others by Christie, this one consumed me. I couldn't put it down! Christie is fantastic when it comes to writing characters and the mysteries she places them inside of. Throughout the book, I felt I was always close to figuring out the "case", but then a new piece of information would come and I would be completely off base. Throw in a catchy little nursery rhyme and you have a thriller worthy of childhood nightmares. I have now read this book a couple different times and each time, I continue to find hidden pieces I missed the first time around, constantly enthralled until the end yet again. FYI this book is not a Hercule Perot book and can be read as a stand alone. I highly recommend this book as well as Christie's other books. She is a great writer and I have yet to find a book of hers that I could put down! As always, feel free to share any comments, suggestions, or recommendations!


Happy reading fools :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

"A Cowboy Firefighter for Christmas" - Kim Redford

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Another shout-out to Netgalley for the e-ARC of today's review. THANKS! Apparently I'm in a firefighter mood. Check out my recent review of Smoke by Catherine McKenzie (click here!) posted on Sunday and now this review for A Cowboy Firefighter for Christmas by Kim Redford. It's the first in the series "Smokin' Hot Cowboys" for Redford. Steamy title, eh?! :)

"Trey Duval, a rancher and local firefighter, is out of luck. His ranch has suffered from several 'accidental' fires and there is no explanation in sight. All he wants for the upcoming holiday is to get to the bottom of this mystery, but what he gets instead is hotter than any ranch fire when he meets city-girl Misty Reynolds."

Don't read too much into the description. I feel it leaves a lot out, but that's just my opinion. Misty Reynolds isn't just a "city-girl." Misty is a troubleshooter hired to help solve the mystery of the fires without exposing her role to the town locals and the people who may be potential suspects. I really enjoyed the book. It has all the parts a reader expects in a Contemporary Romance/Chick Lit novel. The characters are well developed, the writing is done well, and the whole book is overflowing with wit, humor, and charm. Not to mention brimmed full of steamy romance. Here's one of my favorite quotes from the book. Take note of Redford's fantastic description!

"This close, he appeared wild. Hazel eyes flicked back and forth, resting on nothing or on everything. Dust peppered his tousled dark brown hair. His broad bare chest was coated with dirt and sweat. He looked good in the rough and rugged kind of way that set a gal's thermostat on 'too hot to handle.' She quickly flicked her AC to a higher setting and relished the burst of cold air." (Page 7). 

Overall, good book. Perfect cozy romance novel to curl up with a cup of coffee on a Saturday afternoon during the upcoming holiday season! As always, feel free to share any comments, suggestions, or recommendations. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Happy reading fools :)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

"Smoke" - Catherine McKenzie

Hello fellow bibliophiles! First off, THANKS Netgalley for the opportunity to read an e-ARC of Smoke by Catherine McKenzie! I was intrigued from start to finish with this book! The characters, the mystery, the dynamics of relationships and marriage. I loved it.

"From the internationally bestselling author Catherine McKenzie comes an evocative tale of two women navigating the secrets and lies at the heart of a wildfire threatening their town. 

After a decade-long career combating wildfires, Elizabeth has traded in for a quieter life with her husband. Now she works as the local arson investigator in a beautiful, quaint town in the Rockies. But that tranquil life vanishes when she and her husband agree to divorce, and when a fire started in nearby Cooper Basin begins to spread rapidly. For Elizabeth, containing a raging wildfire is easier than accepting that her marriage has failed. 


For Elizabeth's ex-friend Mindy, who feels disconnected from her husband and teenage children, the fire represents a chance to find a new purpose: helping a man who lost his home to the blaze. But her faith is shattered by a shocking accusation.

As the encroaching inferno threatens the town's residents, Elizabeth and Mindy must discover what will be lost in the fire, and what will be saved."


As I've said before in previous reviews, I really enjoy books that flip back and forth between character perspectives. Smoke flips between Elizabeth and Mindy with ease. That being said, I did sometimes have trouble following some sections. There were times when the story would flip from one character to another without a clear transition. I did like how Elizabeth and Mindy were interconnected with each other. I wish McKenzie would have stated their relationship and background a little earlier in the book instead of trailing pieces throughout. I also felt there was more to say into the background and issues with Elizabeth and her husband Ben. There was definitely more to say about Elizabeth's relationship with fellow firefighter, Andy, as well. Something was left unsaid about the two of them but then again, maybe McKenzie wanted us to feel that way. Leaves a sense of mystery that keeps the reader hanging on.

Overall, I did like the book. Seeing the "fire" from two different perspectives and how it affected them each differently, had a good dynamic to it. The characters had good development from start to finish. The book begins with the start of the fire and ends with the end of the fire, a time span of only a week. Even with the short period of time, I never felt the book was rushed. That's a lot of plot line to squeeze into 370 pages yet McKenzie made it seem easy with her writing. Great cover. Like I said, I was intrigued from start to finish. It was just published on October 20 so head out and grab your copy (links below on where!). Once again, THANKS Netgalley! As always, feel free to share any comments, suggestions, or recommendations. I'd love to hear your feedback!

Happy reading fools :)

Check out Catherine McKenzie and her other books HERE!
Smoke can be purchased at Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

"Mug Meals" - Dina Cheney

Hello fellow bibliophiles! I have a different type of book for you today. A recipe book! I received this book through NetGalley. Thanks for the ARC! This review wasn't easy to write. I tried to focus more on the book and writing itself, rather than the recipes. Recipes, whether good or bad, should not be held against the author. That's simply a matter of opinion. My review, therefore, focuses on how easy or not the recipes were to follow, layout, etc.

"The secret to fast and easy meals cooked from scratch is hiding in plain sight in your kitchen. The microwave oven is not just for reheating leftovers and making popcorn anymore. With pantry ingredients, a mug and a microwave, you can create a meal in minutes that rivals those cooked in the oven or on the stovetop. Mug MEALS! is the perfect solution for new cooks, busy families, singles, college students, teens, seniors or anyone who just wants a hot meal without all the cleanup. 

Make a meal for any time of day. Breakfast options include Lox and Bagel Strata, Double Berry French Toast; for lunch try Moroccan Pumpkin and Chickpea Stew, White Bean Gratin with Olives and Lemon or Double Carrot Soup. Dinner entrees include Chinese Chicken with Noodles and Black Bean Sauce, Classic Shepherd's Pie and Lasagna; dessert selections feature Mango Coconut Crumble, Molten Chocolate Cake with Truffle Filling, Peach and Cornbread Stuffing and more."

The book was very well written. The beginning has a great introduction section that lays out the different ingredients, measurements, and items that Cheney uses throughout the recipes. Recipes are very easy to follow, many with substitutions for things like gluten-free or vegan. Photographs throughout the book are done really well. I did try 5-6 different recipes throughout the sections of the book. While I personally didn't care for the recipes themselves, like I said previously, I cannot hold that against the author. That's simply my personal opinion on what I like or don't like. As always, feel free to share what you think about the book or recipes. I'm open to any comments, questions, or suggestions!

Happy reading fools :)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

"Child 44" - Tom Rob Smith

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Since I won't be writing the review for the book I am finishing tonight until after midnight, I thought I'd give you a throwback review for today! Complete with a bonus at the end of my thoughts on the movie! Today's throwback is Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith. For those of you who know me, I have a love for all things pertaining to Russia. Russian books, books set in Russia, its history, current news, hockey, etc. (Looking for a challenge? Try reading In The First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. It took me 2.5 years). I fell in love with this book many moons ago and have always felt it has been underrated in the reading community. Don't worry Smith, I constantly recommend this book to others! 


"Stalin's Soviet Union is an official paradise, where citizens live free from crime and fear only one thing: the all-powerful state. Defending this system is idealistic security officer Leo Demidov, a war hero who believes in the iron fist of the law, but when a murderer starts to kill at will and Leo dares to investigate, the State's obedient servant finds himself demoted and exiled. Now, with only his wife at his side, Leo must fight to uncover shocking truths about a killer -- and a country where "crime" doesn't exist."

That description does not do the story justice at all. Smith does a great job of placing the reading into the communist state of the Soviet Union by demonstrating the fears and consequences that came about every day for people living within its walls. The struggle Leo faces not only with the State and his superiors but within himself is an amazing dynamic. How do you persevere and fight for justice when around every corner you could be facing death? I loved the suspense and fight for the truth. I highly recommend reading it. I would include it in my top 15 of all time favorites. When I recently reread the book not too long ago, I discovered there are actually 2 more books preceding this one that I had no idea about. No worries, I have added them to my TBR list! As always, feel free to share any comments, suggestions, or recommendations.

Happy reading fools :)

MOVIE REVIEW BONUS: Recently Child 44 was made into a movie starring Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, and Noomi Rapace. While I was definitely looking forward to watching the movie, it did not do well at the box office and made me question if I was willing to take the risk. I was afraid the movie might ruin the book for me. Alas, I went ahead and watched it anyway! The writers did well with sticking to the story line from the book and while I did like the movie and felt it was better than what others had said, it still lacked the luster and allure I felt while reading the book. It's still worth watching in my opinion!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

"One Wish In Manhattan" - Mandy Baggot

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Recently I received an upcoming new release by Mandy Baggot. Thanks Netgalley for the e-ARC! While I can't believe that there are only 10 weeks until the end of the year, I thoroughly enjoyed reading a Christmas book already :) One Wish In Manhattan was a wonderfully, sweet, cozy romance.  I loved it!

"It's the most wonderful time of the year... to fall in love. The temperature is dropping, snow is on its way and Hayley Walker is heading for New York with one wish on her mind... to start over. With her nine-year-old daughter Angel, Hayley is ready for an adventure. From hot chocolates and horse-drawn carriage rides in Central Park to ice-skating at the Rockefeller Center, and Christmas shopping on 5th Avenue -- they soon fall in love with the city that never sleeps. But there's more to New York than the bright twinkly lights and breathtaking skyscrapers. Angel has a Christmas wish of her own -- to find her real dad. While Hayley tries to fulfil her daughter's wish, she crosses paths with Billionaire Oliver Drummond. Restless and bored with fast living, there's something intriguing about him that has Hayley hooked. Determined to make her daughter's dream come true, can Hayley dare to think her own dreams might turn into reality -- could a New York Christmas turn into a New Yorker forever? Travel to the Big Apple this Christmas and join Hayley and Oliver as they both realise that life isn't just about the minutes--- it's about making every moment count. 

This book was great. It was everything I was hoping for in a cozy romance novel. Mandy Baggot is funny. Throughout the book, there is an on-going joke between two of the main characters, Hayley and Oliver, where they refer to themselves as Lois and Clarke/Superman. I loved the banter back and forth between the two of them.

"Hayley thought for a moment then spoke. 'Seeing as you say you're Superman, you can call me Lois.' She nodded. 'I've always had a bit of a thing for Clark Kent."

I also liked the references to other pop culture movies, books, artists, etc. that Baggot uses throughout. I really enjoyed the book. Fun, witty, full of romance and charm. Throw in the magic of Christmas in New York and an amazingly bright nine-year-old and you have a great book for the season! As always, feel free to share any comments, suggestions, or recommendations. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the book!

Happy reading fools :)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

"Fangirl" - Rainbow Rowell

Hello fellow bibliophiles! As previously stated in my review of Eleanor & Park (read here), I have another Rainbow Rowell review for you! As background for Carry On, my book club's book this month, I recently finished Fangirl.

"Cath is a Simon Snow fan... But for Cath. being a fan is her life -- and she's really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it's what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath's sister has mostly grown away from the fandom, but Cath can't let go. She doesn't want to. Now that they're going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn't want to be roommates. Cath is on her own. completely outside of her comfort zone. She's got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can't stop worrying about her dad, who's loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?"

Fangirl was good. Not great, but good. I have mixed feelings as I write this review. I feel like I had higher hopes for the book and author after reading Eleanor & Park. That's not to say this book doesn't deserve any credit, though. I liked the writing. Creatively, Rowell does a great job with metaphors and character descriptions. The romance aspect was not over done. I did feel the main character, Cather Avery, was sometimes too oblivious and ignorant to the things going on around her. I know that is how her character is "suppose" to be, but sometimes it was too much. While I know the fan fiction segments were needed, I often found them confusing and out of place. Simon Snow relates too much like the beloved Harry Potter, something that should never be imitated. That being said, it's easy to see why this book has been a hit in the Young Adult community. Overall, good book. Not my favorite by Rowell but still good. Great book for teenagers. As always, feel free to share any comments, recommendations, or suggestions.

Happy reading fools :)

Learn more about Rainbow Rowell's other books at her website HERE!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

"The Scam" - Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg

Hello bibliophiles! What a perfect Saturday for reading it has been. Gorgeous fall day, coffee, and my couch. Doesn't get much better than this! I have the newest installment from the Fox and O'hara series by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, The Scam, for you today. Shout out to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this! THANKS! In this book, Nick and Kate are at it again with their band of misfits to bring down the biggest and the baddest.

"Evan Trace is running a money-laundering operation through his casino in Macau. Some of his best customers are mobsters, dictators, and global terrorists. Nick and Kate will have to go deep undercover as high-stakes gamblers, wagering millions of dollars--and their lives--in an attempt to topple Trace's empire.

Its a scam that will take Fox and O'hara from the Las Vegas strip, to the sun-soaked beaches of Oahu's North Shore, and into the dark back alleys of Macau. Their only back-up -- a self-absorbed actor, a Somali pirate, and Kate's father, an ex-soldier who believes a rocket launcher is the best way to solve every problem. What could possibly go wrong?"

This book is exactly what you would expect from Janet Evanovich. Mystery, crime, humor, and a tension filled romance. It's a quick and easy read, jam-packed with action around every corner. I love the dynamic between Kate and Nick. It's your classic "will they or won't they" and I often find myself laughing out loud at their conversations. The writing and story lines are very similar to Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. I have not read anything by Lee Goldberg to give you a comparison for his writing and input into the story. It was a fun book and is a decent series. I'll keep coming back for more! Make sure to check out my reviews of the first three books in the series, book one HERE and books two and three HERE! As always, feel free to share any comments, suggestions, or recommendations. I'd love to here what you think!

Happy reading fools :)

To find out more about Janet Evanovich, click here!
To find out more about Lee Goldberg, click here!
To find out how you can get early releases from Netgalley, click here!

Friday, October 16, 2015

"In Death" series by J.D. Robb

Hello fellow bibliophiles! One thing I love when it comes to books is series. Once I start, no matter how good or bad, I feel I have to continue and see the series through to the end. Read my reviews on the Vampire Diaries and you will understand what I mean. The hard part with series as a blogger is keeping the reviews and posts new and fresh. Hard to do if you are continuing to write about the same characters and story if no one else has read the first book! I'm guessing that is why when I started the In Death series by J.D. Robb (otherwise known as the infamous Nora Roberts) back in August, the books escaped me when posting new reviews. And on top of that, there are a lot of books in this series. When I say "a lot," I mean there are 41 books currently. Talk about intimidating! That being said, I have recently finished the seventh book, Holiday In Death. So far, these books are great. Mystery, suspense, science fiction, and of course the romance that we all know, love, and expect from Nora Roberts.


The books are centered around two main characters, Eve Dallas, a NY police lieutenant, and Roake, who's the mega-rich handsome type that toes the line between what is right and his illegal roots. Both are plagued with dark pasts they continually try to forget and overcome throughout their daily lives. A murder in the first book, Naked In Death, brings Dallas in as lead lieutenant and Roake as one of her main suspects.

And the rest is history. The dynamic between the two is what readers have come to expect from any Nora Roberts book. They're love-hate, tension filled relationship continually evolves and keeps the reader coming back for more. Normally, I'm not a huge fan of science fiction, but I love that aspect to this series. Robb does a fantastic job making all of her ideas feel natural and normal. When reading it's easy to imagine flying cars, voice over commands to control everything, and robots as part of everyday life. That being said, don't feel overwhelmed or turned off if you think you don't like sci-fi. There is still a lot to the story that is no different than how life is now.

I do have one concern though for the series as a whole. I'm not sure how the series can continue without starting to feel repetitive. I'm hopeful but not optimistic. Reminds of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Seven books in and I haven't had this feeling yet but I think I will be taking a short break and read something new for a while. That is the nice thing about the series. It is easy to pick up and pause as each book begins and ends, no cliff hangers. All in all it is a good, cozy mystery series. I have enjoyed it thus far and think you might too! Check Robb and all the books at her website, www.jdrobb.com. As always, feel free to share any comments, suggestions, and recommendations!

Happy reading fools :)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

"Eleanor & Park" - Rainbow Rowell

Hello fellow bibliophiles! I've recently joined my first book club! I know... hard to believe I've never been in one before. In preparation for my first "meeting" I'm not only reading the book for the month, but other books by the author as I have never read any of her books before. A fellow acquaintance told me of the "bookache" she felt after reading Eleanor & Park and how "she wishes she could read it for the first time again." SO after checking out 4-5 books by Rainbow Rowell and getting this rave review I figured why not, let's start there!

"Two misfits. One extraordinary love. 

Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem darker and flatter and never god enough... Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises... Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds-- smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try." 

I laughed. I cried. My heart swooned and then it shattered and swooned again. I loved the innocence of the lyrics and references to Romeo & Juliet. It was sweet and emotional. Between it's pages the narrative held all the feelings that us "different" kinds of kids felt as teenagers who weren't the prom queen or star quarterback. I loved all the personality in the writing of the characters, both secondary and main. The descriptions were detailed to the point I could clearly see myself within it's pages yet wasn't bogged down with adjectives. There is so much I could say about this book yet no words to describe how I truly feel at this moment. So I'll put it simply. I picked up E & P and didn't put it down until I was finished. I wish I could read it for the first time over and over and experience the story again. I'll leave you with two of my favorite quotes from the book. Read it and you will understand why I picked out these two specifically!

"That night, Park made a tape with the Joy Division song on it, over and over again. He emptied all his handheld video games and Josh's remote control cars, and called his grandma to tell her that all her wanted for his birthday in November was AA batteries. (page 60)"

"And you look like a protagonist." She was talking as fast as she could think. "You look like the person who wins in the end. You're so pretty, and so good. You have magic eyes," she whispered. "And you make me feel like a cannibal." (page 113)"

Read this book. Dive head first and live within it's pages. As always, feel free to share any comments, suggestions, and recommendations!

Happy reading fools :)

P.S. Sorry for the delay in getting this out. For once in my life I am experiencing what it's like to watch October baseball! It's taken over a good portion of my life. GO CUBBIES!!!

Monday, October 5, 2015

"Land of Stories: The Enchantress Returns" - Chris Colfer

Hello fellow bibliophiles! I hope everyone is kicking their week off on a positive note! Today I finally have  a review for you after what has been a long 6 weeks since my last post (sorry!). I ended my Sunday by finishing up the second book in the Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer. Don't worry, there are no spoilers if you haven't read the first book yet! You can find my review of that book, The Wishing SpellHERE. The following quote is from the book, spoken by Old Mother Goose to Connor Bailey that I think does a great job at setting up the story:


"For years the world presumed she was dead -- her whereabouts were unknown and left unsaid. In the shadows she stayed, quietly plotting, a vengeful wrath she planned on igniting. Driven by rage and centuries of sorrows, a suppressed fear shall soon be tomorrow's. After failing to curse a princess's death, she's now set her sights on the world's last breath. 'Happily ever after' will be a thing of the past -- for the evil Enchantress has returned at last...." (page 111).  


One thing that is important to note is the audience this book is directed towards. Reading the book as an adult, I felt at times Colfer's writing fell short and was "elementary." Reading the book as a 10 year old, the audience that the book is wrote for, I wouldn't have notice something like that. That being said, kids will love this book and its characters. The way Colfer portrays classic fairy tales by taking the traditional and adding his own spin to them is hilarious, even as an adult. At the same time, I sometimes question if he went to far. Is it a good idea to portray Old Mother Goose as an alcoholic with a gambling addiction? Maybe not. Granted not all character descriptions are that drastic and that example is the most extreme out of all the characters in the story. You have to admit. It is pretty funny though. All that being said, the series still makes for great bedtime reading. The two main characters, twins Alex and Connor Bailey, give great messages throughout their time in the Land of Stories. They can teach the readers about bravery, courage, and standing up to bullies in a positive way. These, as well as many other themes, are presented throughout the stories and are great for all kids to read and learn about. Overall it's a good series. Great material for parents to read to their kids or for kids to read on their own. Currently there are four books in this New York Times Bestselling Series. I'm sure I'll get to the next two soon! I am quite curious to see how they progress!

As always, feel free to share any recommendations, comments, or suggestions. I'd love to hear from you!

Happy reading fools :)      

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Time Lapse

HELLO FELLOW BIBLIOPHILES!!!! I completely apologize for the long lapse in time since my last review was posted! Sometimes life just gets in the way and things like reading unfortunately get pushed to the side. Trust me, it's been a sad, sad time! BUT no worries, I'M BACK!

I am the queen of spreadsheets and scheduling. I love it. That being said, my reading and blog schedule is all mapped out for the next two weeks and my stack of books are ready and impatiently waiting! Okay. Enough with the exclamations and "shouty capitals." It's time to read :) Check back at the start of the week. I should have at least one, if not two posts up by the end of the day Monday.

As always, feel free to share any recommendations, suggestions, or comments. I can always use suggestions for new books and series!

Happy reading fools :)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

"The Heir" (Selection series #4) - Kiera Cass

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Today I bring to you the next book in the Selection series by Kiera Cass! The Heir is book number four written from Princess Eadlyn's perspective throughout the selection process. While I did thoroughly enjoy the first three books about America's journey, I was a little skeptical of this book as I thought the series was to be a trilogy only. As book three ended though, I was intrigued to see how the story was to continue. If you have not read the first three books or do not know anything about them, stop here. The description of this book gives away clues!!! You can find my reviews for those books here (book one), and here (book two & three).

Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and wont the heart of Prince Maxon-- and they lived happily ever after. Eadlyn has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she'd put off marriage for as long as possible.

But a princess's life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can't escape her very own Selection--no matter how fervently she protests.

Eadlyn doesn't expect her story to end in romance. But as the competition begins, one entry may just capture Eadlyn's heart, showing her all the possibilities that lie in front of her... and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn't as impossible as she;s always thought. 

What I have liked about this series is the way Cass writes the characters. She does a great job at presenting strong, female-lead characters who are not only opinionated and independent, but also show that they can be vulnerable and that's okay. In the first three books the reader meets America Singer who is led down a path that she thought was never something she could ever want. With this book we see a similar thing taking shape with her daughter, Eadlyn. I did feel that some of the situations and instances that have come up are similar to things that happen in the first books. Some of it felt like the same story just didn't characters. I am though looking forward to seeing how the series ends. Sure, some of it to me seems like I already know what will happen in a general sense, but other parts I cannot predict where they are to lead. Another great addition to the series. I'm sure young girls are eating this series up!

As always, feel free to share any recommendations, comments, or suggestions! I'd love to hear our feedback and thoughts on the book.

Happy reading fools :)

"An Ember In The Ashes" - Sabaa Tahir

Hello fellow bibliophiles! I hope everyone has had a great weekend. I have a page turner for you with "An Ember in the Ashes" by Sabaa Tahir. This book was unbelievable! I originally had my doubts when I began hearing about this book on various outlets that provide advanced reader's copies to reviewers. Boy was I wrong! First off, let me just say that this book is the first book in a series. I, the ill-informed reader, did not know this until I was reading the last word and literally yelled. What. A. Cliffhanger. You've been forewarned fellow readers!

"Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free. Under Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Empire risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear. 

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire's impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They've seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia's older brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from the rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire's greatest military academy. 

There, Laia meets Elias, the school's finest soldier - and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he's being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined - and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself. "

What a about a description! While I did find the beginning of the book a bit difficult to follow due to the amount of information given, (new worlds, caste, ranks, names) it was impossible to put down after the first 40 or so pages. Tahir writes the book from both Laia and Elias's perspectives, switching back and forth between the two. I liked being able to see the two different sides and while they were raised completely different, they have similar views and ideas. Tahir gives depth to all of the characters and does a great job of bringing their two stories together all the while keeping the reader holding on by a thread, grasping for more. Great start to a new young adult series. Perfect for ages 12 and up. I cannot wait for the next book!

As always, feel free to share any comments, suggestions, or recommendations! I'd love to hear your feedback and thoughts on the book!

Happy reading fools :)


Sunday, August 2, 2015

"The Scorch Trials (The Maze Runner #2)" - James Dashner

Hello fellow bibliophiles! I hope everyone has had a fantastic and relaxing weekend. Hard to believe it is already August! Only 30 more books to reach my goal for the year :) That being said, let's get right to this next review. Last night I posted the review for the first book in the series, The Maze Runner. Make sure to read that first before jumping in here and catching spoilers!

The Scorch Trials starts right where we left off in the previous book. The Gladers have been rescued after fighting their way out of the maze and are currently waiting to learn more about WICKED and their part in the trials. While the Gladers may think they are done, WICKED has more up their sleeve. Time to start Phase Two! The rules are simple. There are no rules, just a few simple instructions. Get to open air, head north, and arrive at the "safe haven" within two weeks. If only things were that easy. Scorching heat, blasted storms, crazed people infected with "The Flare," and of yeah, a group of girls known as "Group B" who have apparently been going through the trials as well and out to kill Thomas. More information is given about WICKED, the trials, and world since the sun flares to the Gladers but who can they really trust? Are their friends really who they say they are? And why were they chosen as candidates? Let's hope the next book sums everything up and brings it full circle! I mean, "WICKED is good," right?

I know many people did not like this book as much as the first. I can say I concur. But as a friend pointed out today, I think some people may have started reading the series because it was popular and didn't fully realize the genre that the series is until the books started getting down to the nitty gritty. These books are sci-fi and they fully live up to that. Simple as that. Yes, parts of the books are way out there, especially in this book, but that's the fun of a good sci-fi novel! I just hope Dashner starts bringing things all together. Their can only be so many trials and test before people start getting annoyed. That said, I'll be starting The Death Cure tonight and hope that their will be light shed on some answers! As always, feel free to share any recommendations, suggestions, or comments!

Happy reading fools :)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

"The Maze Runner" - James Dashner

Hello again fellow bibliophiles! I have been a busy reader today and have another review for you! To make things clear, I'm not the type of person to jump on the band wagon of popular books. If a new book comes out and people are going on and on about how great of a book it is, I won't read it. I know, I'm weird. I prefer to swim against the current instead of with it :) That being said, there are times when I give in and read a book everyone is raving about. And that leads us to the book for today. I never read the Maze Runner series by James Dashner when it came out and I didn't have any interest when the movie came out last year. I guess you could say the tides have changed.

A couple weeks ago I was flipping through the new movies on HBO when I noticed The Maze Runner. I wasn't that interested but I thought why not. I. LOVED. IT. So much that the moment the movie was over, I watched the trailer for the next one 3 times, logged onto my library website, checked out e-copies of all the books, and instantly started reading.

Dear James Dashner,
I'm sorry it took me so long to discover your incredible series. Please forgive me.
                                                 Your forever faithful reader, Kala.

The book was great. Sometimes fantasy/post-apocalyptic books can be all over the place. A lot are good while others fall short. I really liked the general idea and premise for the story. Kids thrown together on their own, given basic supplies and necessities but left to survive and figure things out on their own, doing all that they can to escape and live while being surrounded by a maze that seems to have no exit. And then one day, all things changed. A girl arrives with a message that no more supplies will arrive. The only thing to do is to find way out and survive. It's hard to give you any more than that without giving anything away! I do wish I would have read the book before watching the movie. I can't believe I am going to say this but there were parts of the movie that I liked better than the book. From the start, there are some big differences, but nothing that makes the story change. I actually liked the beginning of the movie better than I liked the beginning of the book. The ending of the book though gives a lot more detail into the story of the world and why these kids were put into the trials. I've already started the next book and cannot wait for the movie to come out this fall! I highly recommend the series! As always, feel free to share any comments, suggestions, or recommendations.

Happy reading fools :)