Saturday, January 30, 2016

"Cinder" - Marissa Meyer

Hello fellow bibliophiles! I finally started The Lunar Chronicles, something I have been wanting to do for about 4 months now. I have book one, Cinder, finished for you today and I'm hoping to have books 2 & 3 ready for you at the beginning of the week in a combined post. I'm currently waiting for my request of book four from the library! Apparently, I've been swept into the YA science fiction/fantasy realm :)

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.


First off, can we just talk about this cover. So gorgeous! And all the books in the series have covers just as amazing. Talk about some cover envy! Okay, back to the reason we're here. Review. What a great start to a series! This book is brimming to the core with new world orders (New Beijing, Luna), technology advancements (androids & cyborgs), and a futuristic spin on Cinderella. Meyer follows along with the classic fairytale but throws spins and twists throughout that kept me reading and begging for more. Cinderella as a cyborg (made of human and metal parts) living in a world being ravaged by a deadly plague with no cure. The Imperial Highness's health hangs in the balance as the Evil Queen from Luna continues to refuse to sign the peace treaty, threatening war with every step she takes. Cinder is stuck in a crappy situation with an evil stepmother and two stepsisters controlling her every move. But she is a strong, honest character, thinking about how her actions will affect others no matter how beneficial it may be for herself. And that goes for other characters in the book as well, always thinking of their actions will affect the rest of the people. I really liked Kai and reading from his point-of-view. I'm looking forward to seeing how his character grows and develops into the next book, Scarlet

Meyer is a great writer. While some parts of this new world are not always explained as soon as I would have liked them to be, Meyer does eventually get to it and explains everything clearly. She kept things intriguing and suspenseful throughout until the end. I am anxious to see where the next book picks up from as the end was fairly abrupt. This would be a great series for upper middle school aged kids and older to read. Some violence and a little foul language every so often but nothing too drastic. I will definitely be recommending this series! As always, feel free to share any thoughts, comments or recommendations! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Happy reading fools :) 

Friday, January 29, 2016

"How to Fall" - Jane Casey

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Today's review is a great Young Adult mystery I just happened to come across when perusing the library shelves. I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it!  Even better, its a series!

Sixteen-year-old Jess Tennant has never met any of her relatives, until her mom suddenly drags her out of London to spend the summer in the tiny English town where her family's from. Her mom's decision is surprising, but even more surprising is the town's reaction to Jess. Everywhere she goes, people look at her like they've seen a ghost. In a way, they have—she looks just like her cousin Freya, who died shortly before Jess came to town.

Jess immediately feels a strange connection to Freya, whom she never got to meet alive. But the more Jess learns about the secrets Freya was keeping while she was alive, the more suspicious Freya's death starts to look. One thing is for sure: this will be anything but the safe, boring summer in the country Jess was expecting.

Beloved author Jane Casey breaks new ground with How to Fall, a thrilling and insightfully written mystery.


I think for me, the biggest surprise was how well wrote the mystery of the book is for being a YA book. It wasn't cheesy or typical in any way and I honestly didn't know what the final result was going to be until I was actually reading it. Usually, I have a good idea how YA mysteries will end before I get there, so this was a nice surprise to be kept guessing. There's a lot of normal teenage drama typical of this demographic but it wasn't overpowering and fits the book since it is directed towards teens. Jess is a strong, very determined, hardworking main character. I am intrigued to learn more about the smaller characters like Will, Jess's mom, Petra, and Hugo. Maybe those questions will be answered in the other books. The plot line itself does not continue, though. Don't worry, no cliffhangers! But Casey does continue with Jess Tennant into 2 (so far) more books titled Bet Your Life and Hide and Seek. Both have been added to my TBR list! There is some romance in the book, but nothing too over-the-top. I'm looking forward to seeing how that progresses! Overall, pleasantly surprising YA mystery book that would be great for teenaged girls! As always, feel free to share any comments, suggestions, or recommendations!

Happy reading fools :) 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

"The Debt" - Rachel Dunning **SPOTLIGHT!**

 Hello fellow bibliophiles! Today I have a special spotlight for you! Check out the Debt by Rachel Dunning, and New Adult Sports Romance novel, expected to be released on March 2016! Read below for a blurb, where to get pre-order the book, and where you can connect with author, Rachel Dunning! 



BLURB:
The Debt Collector

I pay my debts, and I expect others to.
I was raised in the slums of London, I knew nothing of privilege. My father was murdered when I was seventeen. Morty figured my father's passing meant I would automatically take on dad's debts. I refused.
And I paid for that refusal.
So did my sister.
So now I fight. All I know how to do is fight. The best cash is in the states, so that's where I am now. A big fish called Vito came along offering me a "favor" when I arrived.
Another debt.
I paid for that one too.
I knew Kyla Hensley would be trouble when I met her. But I wanted her. I could see through the falsehood of her wannabe-slutty clothes and her sexy legs. So I chased her.
Besides, trouble is my middle name.

Kyla Hensley

I was brought up in privilege, but I lacked everything else. My father is a business tycoon who buys and sells and doesn't care who gets rolled over in the process.
I never knew my mother, and all I have of her is a photo with a note scrawled on the back in French saying "I'm sorry." The only Female Figure I had growing up is my dad's wife who is a bleach blond with seven boob jobs. We never bonded.
I drink. I party. I meet guys.
But I wasn't always like that.
I've had a string of lovers in the last few years, the worst and most recent of which was Vince Somerset. My best friend Vera was dating a guy called Rory Cansoom who is the opposite of Vince in so many ways, and yet so the same.
She and I hit the road for the summer, getting away from the two college psychos and just trying to have some fun.
But there's a funny thing about trouble, the more you run from it, the more it finds you.
Which is when I met the Debt Collector.
It was only supposed to be sex. He made that clear. I made that clear.
That's all it was supposed to be.
I never expected to fall in love. I never expected to fall so deeply, madly, uncomfortably in love with a man who is wrong, so wrong for me.
And yet...so unbelievably right.

***Content Warning***

Not intended for readers under the age of seventeen.

Links:

About Rachel





Rachel Dunning hit the scene in August 2013 and is the author of the highly praised Naive Mistakes Series, Truthful Lies Trilogy, Johnny Series and the paranormal romance series, Mind Games.

A prolific writer, she sticks to stories where Alpha Males aren’t pricks and where women have guts.
She’s lived on two different continents, speaks three different languages, and met the love of her life on the internet. In other words, romance is in her blood.

Get Rachel’s Newsletter

Sign up for Rachel’s Newsletter and never miss a release or a special.

You can sign up here:



Where Else to Find Rachel
Blog / Website: http://www.rdunning.com
Facebook: http://bit.ly/RachelDunning
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RachelDAuthor
Amazon: https://amazon.com/author/racheldunning
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/RachelDunningBN
iTunes: http://bit.ly/RachelDunningiTunes
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/racheldunning

Monday, January 25, 2016

"The Winter Girl" - Matt Marinovich

Hello fellow bibliophiles! First things first, shoutout to Netgalley for today's ARC. Thank you! If you're looking for a great site to read and review books as well as connect with authors, make sure to check out Netgalley! The Winter Girl by Matt Marinovich instantly caught my eye the moment I started reading the book description. "A scathing and exhilarating thriller that begins with a husband’s obsession with the seemingly vacant house next door." Another suspenseful thriller that is highly popular these days. 

"It’s wintertime in the Hamptons, where Scott and his wife, Elise, have come to be with her terminally ill father, Victor, to await the inevitable. As weeks turn to months, their daily routine—Elise at the hospital with her father, Scott pretending to work and drinking Victor’s booze—only highlights their growing resentment and dissatisfaction with the usual litany of unhappy marriages: work, love, passion, each other. But then Scott notices something simple, even innocuous. Every night at precisely eleven, the lights in the neighbor’s bedroom turn off. It’s clearly a timer…but in the dead of winter with no one else around, there’s something about that light he can’t let go of. So one day while Elise is at the hospital, he breaks in. And he feels a jolt of excitement he hasn’t felt in a long time. Soon, it’s not hard to enlist his wife as a partner in crime and see if they can’t restart the passion.

Their one simple transgression quickly sends husband and wife down a deliriously wicked spiral of bad decisions, infidelities, escalating violence, and absolutely shocking revelations.
Matt Marinovich makes a strong statement with this novel. The Winter Girl is the psychological thriller done to absolute perfection." 


Sounds intriguing right? I was highly disappointed. It did not live up to my expectations. The book starts off well. The two main characters are well layered. Both going through a lot personally with their jobs and family which is in turn highly affecting their marriage. Coupled with the stress of Elise's dying father and moving to the Hamptons in the winter, you have a recipe for disaster. But the book takes a weird turn. Things get strange real quick. And the stranger things get, the less the characters seem to be worried or concerned by the different events. This I found extremely odd. Without giving anything away, I'll just say I'd be freaking out. Plain and simple. I never understood how Scott was okay with everything that he learned about Elise and Victor. The writing itself wasn't terrible but it wasn't great. I didn't feel like everything flowed throughout the book. Certain sections jumped around quickly and could have gone into more detail. I think there was definitely room for more throughout the entire book, especially concerning Elise's past. This would have vamped up the book and may help the reader have a better view towards the book as a whole. 

As always, feel free to share any thoughts, comments, or suggestions!

Happy reading fools :) 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

"Hanover House" - Brenda Novak

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Today has been a fantastic day to stay inside and cozy up on the couch with a blanket and cup of coffee. I have been able to get caught up on some much-needed reading :) Thanks Netgalley for the opportunity to read this prequel! Hanover House is a digital prequel for the upcoming Hanover House Chronicles by Brenda Novak, with its first book, Whiteout, coming out this September.

"Welcome to Hanover House….

Psychiatrist Evelyn Talbot has dedicated her life to solving the mysteries of the psychopathic mind. Why do psychopaths act as they do? How do they come to be? Why don’t they feel any remorse for the suffering they cause? And are there better ways of spotting and stopping them?


After having been kidnapped, tortured and left for dead when she was just a teenager—by her high school boyfriend—she’s determined to understand how someone she trusted so much could turn on her. So she’s established a revolutionary new medical health center in the remote town of Hilltop, Alaska, where she studies the worst of the worst.

But not everyone in Hilltop is excited to have Hanover House and its many serial killers in the area. Alaskan State Trooper, Sergeant Amarok, is one of them. And yet he can’t help feeling bad about what Evelyn has been through. He’s even attracted to her. Which is partly why he worries.

He knows what could happen if only one little thing goes wrong…"


This book was great. I am beyond excited for the series. A group of psychopaths secluded in a remote Alaskan town to be studied by a small group of psychiartrists, one having a crazy background dealing personally with a psychopath who was never caught. Mystery, suspense, sexy cop, and crazies. Hellll-O! This prequel was a great way to set up the series. A lot of information is given into Talbot's story both currently and from her past and sets up a couple different story leads that are going to be vital to the first book. While the first book in the series will be able to be read without reading this prequel, I think it definitely would be beneficial to read this first. Having a clear idea where Talbot is coming from and how things started with Hanover House, Amarok, and the psychopaths will make more sense when reading Whiteout. Granted I haven't read that yet since it's not released until September, so I could be wrong. But I feel I will have a better understanding by having read this first. I. Can't. Wait. Check out this prequel. It's a real quick, short read!

As always, feel free to share any thoughts, comments, or suggestions!

Happy reading fools :)

Friday, January 22, 2016

"Under a Painted Sky" - Stacey Lee

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Last week's Clean Slate Read-a-thon took its toll on me. So this week, I have been taking a little breather. Today's review for Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee is this month's book for my FYA book club. This is generally not a book I would pick up on my own, but one of the reasons I love book club! It forces me to get outside of my comfort zone and introduces me to new authors and genres I would normally pass over!

Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.
 
This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it’s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.


I went into this book without knowing much about it beforehand. For me, it was a struggle to get into the story. I couldn't relate to any of the characters, everything came way too easy, a lot of cliche ideas that are typical for YA books, and not a time period I have much interest in. Understanding the themes and message the author was trying to get across was easy to get yet at the same time, they weren't prevalent enough for me personally to put too much thought into them. The writing wasn't amazing but it wasn't terrible either. A very easy, quick read. If asking what age group this book is best suited for, I would say young, middle school aged kids. It's a great book for girls that age to introduce to them ideas of race and the struggles girls in our past faced. It also does a great job at showing how race and gender don't matter. Anyone can do anything if you put your mind to it. Overall, it was a "meh" book. I think I just wasn't interested in the story itself. 

As always, feel free to share any thoughts, comments, or recommendations! 

Happy reading fools :) 

Monday, January 18, 2016

"The Sisters of Versailles" - Sally Christie

Hello fellow bibliophiles! I hope everyone was able to enjoy the three-day weekend and have a little time to relax and read. Today's review was the final book I finished as part of the Clean Slate Read-a-thon. And what a great book it was! I think I was most excited to find out that The Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie is part of a trilogy, with books two and three coming out this year! Those have definitely been added to my TBR list. Who doesn't love a good French Court, 18th-century scandal :) Thanks Netgalley and Atria Books for the ARC!

"A sumptuous and sensual tale of power, romance, family, and betrayal centered around four sisters and one King. Carefully researched and ornately detailed, The Sisters of Versailles is the first book in an exciting new historical fiction trilogy about King Louis XV, France's most "well-beloved" monarch, and the women who shared his heart and his bed.
 
Goodness, but sisters are a thing to fear.
 
Set against the lavish backdrop of the French Court in the early years of the 18th century, The Sisters of Versailles is the extraordinary tale of the five Nesle sisters: Louise, Pauline, Diane, Hortense, and Marie-Anne, four of whom became mistresses to King Louis XV. Their scandalous story is stranger than fiction but true in every shocking, amusing, and heartbreaking detail.
 
Court intriguers are beginning to sense that young King Louis XV, after seven years of marriage, is tiring of his Polish wife. The race is on to find a mistress for the royal bed as various factions put their best foot - and women - forward. The King's scheming ministers push Louise, the eldest of the aristocratic Nesle sisters, into the arms of the King. Over the following decade, the four sisters: sweet, naive Louise; ambitious Pauline; complacent Diane, and cunning Marie Anne, will conspire, betray, suffer, and triumph in a desperate fight for both love and power.
 
In the tradition of The Other Boleyn GirlThe Sisters of Versailles is a clever, intelligent, and absorbing novel that historical fiction fans will devour. Based on meticulous research on a group of women never before written about in English, Sally Christie's stunning debut is a complex exploration of power and sisterhood; of the admiration, competition, and even hatred that can coexist within a family when the stakes are high enough."


Five sisters all connected in some way to King Louis XV, fighting for power and to be his mistress?! How scandalous! And how intriguing! This book was pure gold. Christie banters back and forth between all the sisters, including both narrative and letters they wrote back and forth to each other. I loved seeing the story and struggle from each of their points-of-view! The story was full of drama, intrigue, power, and romance, romance for both the king and for each other as sisters. Positively thrilling! There are a lot of other characters throughout the book that sometimes I confused, but not enough that it had an effect on the story itself. Even better, the entire premise of the story is wrote based on actual facts. Yes, the book is historical fiction but the idea came from actual accounts. As a debut author, Christie is someone I am definitely looking forward to reading more from. She uses GREAT vocabulary. I'm all about the use of the word "pious." Don't ask. I have weird quirks :) I can't wait for books two and three, The Rivals of Versailles and The Enemies of Versailles, both due to be released this year, to complete the Mistresses of Versailles trilogy. My only fault, I wish I would have read this book sooner! As always, feel free to share any thoughts, comments, or recommendations.

Happy reading fools :)

Friday, January 15, 2016

" The Bronte Plot" - Katherine Reay

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Another book finished for the Clean Slate Read-a-thon. Four books down, one to go! Today's review is brought to you by NetGalley. Thanks again! The Bronte Sisters, English countryside, and full of history, mystery, and romance. What more could you ask for?

"Lucy Alling makes a living selling rare books, often taking suspicious measures to reach her goals. When her unorthodox methods are discovered, Lucy's secret ruins her relationship with her boss and her boyfriend James—leaving Lucy in a heap of hurt, and trouble. Something has to change; she has to change.

In a sudden turn of events, James's wealthy grandmother Helen hires Lucy as a consultant for a London literary and antiques excursion. Lucy reluctantly agrees and soon discovers Helen holds secrets of her own. In fact, Helen understands Lucy's predicament better than anyone else.

As the two travel across England, Lucy benefits from Helen's wisdom, as Helen confronts the ghosts of her own past. Everything comes to a head at Haworth, home of the Brontë sisters, where Lucy is reminded of the sisters' beloved heroines, who, with tenacity and resolution, endured—even in the midst of change.

Now Lucy must go back into her past in order to move forward. And while it may hold mistakes and regrets, she will prevail—if only she can step into the life that's been waiting for her all along."


Sometimes all you need is a good, intriguing romance to curl up with. The Bronte Plot was just that. It wasn't necessarily a great book but it was good. Everyone can relate to the main character, Lucy, in some aspect. Girl meets boy; romance ensues; unfortunate events occur; answers to long awaited questions are answered. But is she making the right choice? Lucy must face her demons and her past in order to move on fully in her life, something I think we can all relate to. Throw in delightful grandmother, Helen, who is fighting her own demons, the English countryside, literature, history and you will be hooked. The story itself has multiple relationships. The relationship between Lucy and James, the relationship between Lucy and Helen, and the relationship between Lucy and her past. For me, the most enticing part that kept me reading was the relationship between Lucy and Helen. While their relationship is reliant on Lucy's relationship with James, I felt Lucy and Helen's relationship built up a lot better. James and Lucy were too quick and abrupt at times. Things happened quickly. But with Lucy and Helen, the story continually built at a steady pace. I was intrigued to see how things would play out, often forgetting about James altogether. I don't know about you, but London and the English countryside sound simply magical. I have desired to go there for some time just to see the places where writers wrote so many of their most famous works and to stand in the moors and homes that have inspired so many. Absolutely enchanting. Heart swooning. Okay, I'm stopping now. You get the point! As always, feel free to share your thoughts, comments, or suggestions! Make sure to check out my progress post for the Clean Slate Read-a-thon! 

Happy reading fools :) 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

"My Life on the Road" - Gloria Steinem

Hello fellow bibliophiles! We're halfway through the Clean Slate Read-a-thon, I hope you're keeping up! Today's review marks the third I finished this week for the challenge. My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem was a last minute change-up on my reading plan for the week. I had planned to read an ARC I had from Netgalley but forgot to get it downloaded and unfortunately, it was archived. Whoops! Then I heard about Emma Watson (aka Hermoine Granger)'s new book club on Goodreads and had to join in on that! (Details at the bottom) It just so happened that the first book, My Life on the Road, was published last year so I threw it in the challenge in place of the other. Thanks Emma!

Gloria Steinem—writer, activist, organizer, and one of the most inspiring leaders in the world—now tells a story she has never told before, a candid account of how her early years led her to live an on-the-road kind of life, traveling, listening to people, learning, and creating change. She reveals the story of her own growth in tandem with the growth of an ongoing movement for equality. This is the story at the heart of My Life on the Road.

What I wouldn't get to spend a day listening to her tell stories. I was hooked from the prelude. I started suggesting the book to others before I was even finished with the prelude! Gloria Steinem, you're a true force to be reckoned with. You made my soul ache even more for a wanderlust lifestyle. I want to travel more and learn more and meet all the incredible people you talk about who are smarter than I can ever imagine being! The book is very candid and simplistic; sometimes I didn't think it was always laid out in the best format or timeline of events, but I still hung on to every word. There were two sections that I enjoyed the most. Steinem telling stories from talking with cab drivers across the country and her section on political campaigns. And hold onto your hats for the last chapter about her friend Wilma. Oh my, oh my. Wilma Mankiller, I wish I could have known you even if it was just to shake your hand and say hello. Your concepts and thoughts are something I cannot even describe. 

Go read this book. Don't walk to get it, run. It's something that will lead to new thoughts and ideas, changes in our world. Steinem has been making waves and taking steps for years and years towards change. It's time to make a jump.

As always, feel free to share your thoughts, comments, or suggestions! I'd love to hear what you thought of the book! If you would like to check out Emma Watson's book club through Goodreads, CLICK HERE! Below is her description for the book club, Our Shared Shelf:

"As part of my work with UN Women, I have started reading as many books and essays about equality as I can get my hands on. There is so much amazing stuff out there! Funny, inspiring, sad, thought-provoking, empowering! I’ve been discovering so much that, at times, I’ve felt like my head was about to explode… I decided to start a Feminist book club, as I want to share what I’m learning and hear your thoughts too." -Emma Watson-

Happy reading fools :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

"I'll Meet You There" - Heather Demetrios

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Today's review is the second book I have finished as part of the Clean Slate Read-a-thon. I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios was part of the FYA book club that I am in. Unfortunately, I was unable to finish it at the time and boy do I regret that now! What. A. Book. I started the book last night, and once again, didn't put it down until I finished. Finishing a book like this is so bittersweet. Oh book ache....

If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.

Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

I loved this book. The characters. The relationships. The plot line. The hopes and dreams. Everything. Simple as that. I felt I could resonant on many levels with parts of all the characters. Growing up in a small town, same friends since preschool, and all the feelings that come with the summer before college, I harbored all those sentiments about getting out and away for college and beyond.  Then there was Skylar and Josh. My oh my! I loved all aspects of them. The back and forth. The worries and concerns they both had. The building of the relationship from friends to more. And then the final debate, will be together or is it too much for either of them to take on? The book came together really well. It brings to light issues a lot high school and college aged kids are facing, especially the military aspect of the book. Demetrios researched a great deal to perfectly portray how young kids are dealing with PTSD, missing limbs, and all aspects of life after coming home from war and the struggles they face. Great book! I highly recommend it! As always, feel free to share any comments, suggestions, or recommendations. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Happy reading fools :) 

Bookish Revolutions! (Clean Slate Read-a-thon Mini Challenge #1!)

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Today's post is the first mini challenge in the Clean Slate Read-a-thon! Today's mini challenge is Bookish Resolutions hosted by Novel Ink.  I have a lot of resolutions this year for myself pertaining to books and this blog! And while it is already the 2nd week of January, I have already started on these! Tell me your resolutions! What are looking forward to reading this year? How many books are you hoping to finish? Share your thoughts!

Bookish Resolutions

1. Blog OVERHAUL! I started this blog almost a year ago with not many plans or ideas on where I wanted to go. It was more of an experiment. Since then, it has grown to be so much more! This year I want to work on bettering the blog itself. New themes, custom buttons and plugins, exciting sidebars, more non-review posts! So much new will be coming over the next few months so make sure to keep stopping by!

2. Organizing. It's the only thing that makes sense to me. I long to make spreadsheets in every part of my life. I'm weird. I accepted this a long time ago :) I hope to organize and create the world's greatest spreadsheet for my books and what I need to finish and post each month. The spreadsheet is already in the works, just needs some tweaking!

3. ARCS's. Limiting the amount of ARC's I request and agree to read each month to 3. I often request a whole bunch at a time without paying attention to dates and then get swamped. Reading isn't as enjoyable when it's something you have to do. 

4. Book buying. It's on a hiatus. Or a book buying freeze! I have an entire shelf of books to read as well as an ever going TBR list that needs some serious attacking. The library and I are going to become even greater friends than we already are :) Only exception, my birthday. I always buy myself a birthday book! 

5. Read more books! Last year I read 103 books. This year I made the lofty goal to read 150. Woah, that's a scary number but I am up for the challenge! Thank heavens for Goodreads. I use that site religiously to keep track of my books. It's amazeballs. 

So there you have it! My bookish resolutions for the year. Make sure to keep coming back throughout the week as I will be posting more book reviews than normal as part of the Clean Slate Read-a-thon. Lots of changes coming throughout the next few months. Make sure to let me know if there is something you want to see improved or added to my blog!

Happy reading fools :) 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

"Coal River" - Ellen Marie Wiseman

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Today's review is the first book in conjunction with my "Clean Slate Read-a-thon." I received this book as an ARC from Netgalley so huge shout out to them! Thanks! Make sure to check out my progress for the read-a-thon on my progress post which can be found HERE. Coal River by Ellen Marie Wiseman was a great way to kick start the challenge. I picked this book up and did not put it down until I had finished it. So disappointed in myself for putting this book off!!

In this vibrant new historical novel, the acclaimed author of The Plum Tree and What She Left Behind explores one young woman's determination to put an end to child labor in a Pennsylvania mining town.

As a child, Emma Malloy left isolated Coal River, Pennsylvania, vowing never to return. Now, orphaned and penniless at nineteen, she accepts a train ticket from her aunt and uncle and travels back to the rough-hewn community. Treated like a servant by her relatives, Emma works for free in the company store. There, miners and their impoverished families must pay inflated prices for food, clothing, and tools, while those who owe money are turned away to starve. 

Most heartrending of all are the breaker boys Emma sees around the village--young children who toil all day sorting coal amid treacherous machinery. Their soot-stained faces remind Emma of the little brother she lost long ago, and she begins leaving stolen food on families' doorsteps, and marking the miners' bills as paid. 

Though Emma's actions draw ire from the mine owner and police captain, they lead to an alliance with a charismatic miner who offers to help her expose the truth. And as the lines blur between what is legal and what is just, Emma must risk everything to follow her conscience. 

An emotional, compelling novel that rings with authenticity--Coal River is a deft and honest portrait of resilience in the face of hardship, and of the simple acts of courage that can change everything.

This book was great. The writing was easy to follow, it had fantastic depictions of the scenes that were being described, and twists that I never saw coming! I really liked the historical aspect of the book. I  have not read other books about coal mining and did not know much about the effects it had on all aspects of the people and the towns the mills were in. Emma was a well-rounded character who had seen and suffered more than someone her age should have yet she had desire and hope, a longing for more that she never gave up on. I felt I was able to easily put myself into the scenes and see exactly what Wiseman was talking about. She had clear definitions for all the characters and their roles. I really liked the character, Clayton Nash. There could easily be a book on him alone. His dynamic with Emma seemed a little odd at times, but I liked how things came together in the end. What I liked best were the twist and turns. The book is suspenseful but not "sitting on the edge of your chair" suspenseful. It builds really well and then BAM! out of nowhere! If anything, read it just for that fact alone. Like I said, I did not put it down until I had finished. Great book! I'm kicking myself for putting off for so long. Once again, thanks Netgalley for the opportunity to read it! As always, feel free to share any thoughts, comments, or recommendations!

Happy reading fools :) 

Clean Slate Read-a-thon Progress! (END RESULTS!)

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Today starts the kick off for the Clean Slate Read-a-thon hosted by Novel Ink, Latte Nights Reviews, and Lost in Lit. This page will be serving as my progress page and be continually updated throughout the week. Make sure to check back each day! I will also be posting the reviews on separate posts for the books I finish, so don't miss those as well!


BOOKS TO READ:






Book Change: 

I'm swapping out Should've Said No for My Life On The Road by Gloria Steinem! I thought I downloaded the first one but apparently I forgot and it was archived before I had a chance to do it. Sad day! But I went back through my books and this one was published last year as well! I started Steinman's book today (Sunday) and it's fantastic!

WEEKLY PROGRESS:

Sunday, January 10
Reading: Coal River & My Life On The Road
Pages Read: 354
Books Completed Today: Coal River

Monday, January 11
Reading: My Life On The Road & I'll Meet You There
Pages Read: 388
Books Completed Today: I'll Meet You There

Tuesday, January 12
Reading: My Life On The Road
Pages Read: 176
Books Completed Today: N/A

Wednesday, January 13
Reading: My Life On The Road & The Bronte Plot
Pages Read: 470
Books Completed Today: My Life On The Road & The Bronte Plot

Thursday, January 14
Reading: Sisters of Versailles
Pages Read: N/A (I need a break for a few days!)
Books Completed Today: N/A 

Friday, January 15
Reading: Sisters of Versailles
Pages Read: 0 (still on my break!)
Books Completed Today: N/A

Saturday, January 16
Reading: Sisters of Versailles
Pages Read: 27
Books Completed Today: N/A

Sunday, January 17
Reading: Sisters of Versailles
Pages Read: 405
Books Completed Today: Sisters of Versailles

FINAL PROGRESS:

Total books read for #cleanslatereadathon : 5
Total pages read for #cleanslatereadathon : 1,820


Happy reading fools :) 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

"The Alphabet House" - Jussi Adler-Olsen

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Today's book, unfortunately, falls under the dreaded "Did Not Finish" category. Sad sad day. Literary world you've let me down again :( I had high hopes for this book as I like the Department Q series that Alder-Olsen wrote. Not everything can be great, though. Check out the description and my thoughts below!

In the tradition of Alan Furst, the #1 international bestselling author delivers his first stand-alone novel, a psychological thriller set in World War II Nazi Germany and 1970s England

British pilots James Teasdale and Bryan Young have been chosen to conduct a special photo-reconnaissance mission near Dresden, Germany. Intelligence believes the Nazis are building new factories that could turn the tide of the war. When their plane is shot down, James and Bryan know they will be executed if captured. With an enemy patrol in pursuit, they manage to jump aboard a train reserved for senior SS soldiers wounded on the eastern front.

In a moment of desperation, they throw two patients off the train and take their places, hoping they can escape later. But their act is too convincing and they end up in the Alphabet House, a mental hospital located far behind enemy lines, where German doctors subject their patients to daily rounds of shock treatments and experimental drugs. The pilots’ only hope of survival is to fake insanity until the war ends, but their friendship and courage are put to the ultimate test when James and Bryan realize they aren’t the only ones in the Alphabet House feigning madness.

Millions of fans around the world—and in this country—know Adler-Olsen for his award-winning Department Q series. His first stand-alone, The Alphabet House, is the perfect introduction for those who have yet to discover his riveting work.


Doesn't that description sound riveting?! Ugh so disappointing. As I was struggling with the beginning of this book, I checked out Goodreads to see what others had said about it in the reviews. One idea stuck with me from their comments. This book has an amazing premise for a fantastic movie plot! There would be a lot of action, suspense, and all around pull on the heartstrings moments. Sadly as a book, though, it's just too much to process at once. A lot of names, places, things happening at a fast pace. A lot to keep track of and I only made a third of the way through. I tried. I gave it my best and multiple days. 

Tomorrow starts my "Clean Slate Read-a-Thon," hosted by Lost In Lit, Novel Ink, and Latte Nights! Be on the lookout for posts throughout the week as I plan to finish up 5 books I was unable to complete before the end of the year. As always, feel to share any thoughts, comments, or suggestions! 

Happy reading fools :) 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

"A Beautiful Blue Death" - Charles Finch

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Today's book comes to you thanks to Netgalley! If you haven't checked out their site, do so. It's a great opportunity to get your hands on books before they are released and help review them for authors and publishers. Thanks Netgalley! I received this book a couple months ago and kept pushing it aside. So finally, I was able to sit down and finish it for you last night. I'll start by saying this, I only gave it 2 stars on Goodreads. It was a struggle to finish. The book seemed to have great potential based on its description!

On any given day in London, all Charles Lenox, Victorian gentleman and armchair explorer, wants to do is relax in his private study with a cup of tea, a roaring fire and a good book. But when his lifelong friend Lady Jane asks for his help, Lenox cannot resist another chance to unravel a mystery, even if it means trudging through the snow to her townhouse next door.

One of Jane's former servants, Prudence Smith, is dead -- an apparent suicide. But Lenox suspects something far more sinister: murder, by a rare and deadly poison. The house where the girl worked is full of suspects, and though Prudence dabbled with the hearts of more than a few men, Lenox is baffled by an elusive lack of motive in the girl's death.

When another body turns up during the London season's most fashionable ball, Lenox must untangle a web of loyalties and animosities. Was it jealousy that killed Prudence? Or was it something else entirely, something that Lenox alone can uncover before the killer strikes again -- disturbingly close to home?

This book had a Sherlock meets Clue vibe to it. You have Charles Lennox, amateur sleuth, aka Sherlock, and his band of merry men set about solving the mysterious death of Prudence Smith, a servant. The members of the house were all conveniently in the drawing-room together. Classic Clue case of whodunit. No one seems to remember anything. You have wax drops on the floor but a brand new candle. A bottle of poison on the desk but a different kind than that that killed the girl. Open windows, crates of gold, and mysterious characters all around. But following along with all of this was a sheer struggle. A  lot of information that was not relevant to the case was thrown in and went on for pages and pages, often causing me to get lost in the storyline of what was actually part of the murder case. A lot of historical facts were thrown in about random items and studies as well as random snippets where Finch would suddenly jump years ahead for no apparent reason and then backtrack to the scene at hand. Finch's writing is full of beautiful vocabulary, don't get me wrong, but he tries to be too clever. Following the end rationale for who committed the crime and why was excruciating! I was only intrigued to see out the end for a short period of time, never very suspenseful or had me sitting on the edge of my seat. Overall, there was just too much "other" filling up the pages. 

Thanks again to Netgalley for the opportunity to read the book. Unfortunately, not every book can knock you off your rocker. Alas, until next time literary world. I refuse to lose even an ounce of hope in your endless stories. As always, feel free to share any comments, suggestions or recommendations!

Happy reading fools :) 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

"Conspiracy In Death" - J.D. Robb

Hello fellow bibliophiles! If you have read any of my past reviews, you may have noticed the In Death series pop up a few times. Fair warning, you will continue to see more since there are currently 41 books in the series and currently I just finished number 8. I promise to continue keeping all spoilers out! If, for some reason, there is information in the review that may be a spoiler for those who have not read the series, I promise to forewarn you ahead of time!!! Make sure to not skip ahead when reading my reviews!

"Streetwise cop Eve Dallas and her trusty sidekick Peabody face a methodical killer in this latest addition to the In Death series by J.D. Robb, better known as the bestselling author Nora Roberts. In the late 21st century, on the streets of New York City, a street sleeper is found murdered, his diseased heart removed with surgical precision. His death would typically drop to the bottom of a list of senseless and inexplicable killings, but Lieutenant Dallas, who "would stand for the dead and the living," is not about to let that happen. When her research uncovers similar crimes in several cities that were dropped under mysterious circumstances, Dallas knows she's facing a killer cruel enough to prey on the weakest in society and powerful enough to conspire an extensive coverup. To complicate matters further, Dallas faces an equally troubling threat to her career when she's linked to the death of a fellow cop. Now she must fight to restore her good name as well as track down the killer. 

In Conspiracy in Death, Roberts creates a futuristic world of evil that Eve Dallas negotiates through tough talk and brute force. While Robb crafts the crimes with great care, she assumes a familiarity with the characters that new readers will lack. But fans of the In Death series and newcomers alike will enjoy the thrill of the chase as Eve Dallas sets out to get her man."


As I have stated before, these books are generally something that would be out of my wheel-house. I'm not usually into the "futuristic" genre, but something about this series is different. The characters are engaging, witty, and highly intelligent. The books are full of suspense and mystery, and usually, I am left guessing until the end. While I am still highly intrigued into this series, there were parts of Conspiracy In Death that lost me. There are many characters who hold positions in varies medical fields throughout the book. Some hold minor roles but others are key players yet they all come in and out throughout the entire book. It sometimes got to be confusing on who was who. As before, I love the relationship between Eve Dallas and Roarke. It's real yet unrealistic; it's witty yet full of seriousness, and it's full of back-and-forth romance. So far, I haven't lost interest and I hope I never do. Until then, I will keep reading the series! As always, feel free to share your thoughts, comments, or recommendations!

Happy reading fools :)