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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Future Classics


Greetings Fellow Book Dragons!

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme within the book community that was created by Lainey of GingerReadsLainey, but is now hosted by Sam of Thoughts on Tomes.  If you're interested in participating, find out more on the Goodreads group.

This week's topic is Future Classics! Let's talk about those books that you believe will one day be considered classics that everyone will or should have to read. Disclaimer:  I'm not going to include Harry Potter because that series goes without saying!

Here are my selections in no particular order:


The Hunger Games


This book catapulted the dystopian novel to what it is today. While these kinds of stories have always existed, the book's enduring sense of hope creates enormous appeal and features both the best and worst about society with an amazing plot and strong character development. 


Graceling


I had to include a fantasy, and while my instinct says that I have to put Game of Thrones on this list because entire course catalogs could be devoted to teaching that incredible tome, I wanted to include something that would have a stronger appeal to larger audiences. 

Featuring a strong female protagonist, Katsa is a Graceling, a person born with a rare supernatural ability or Grace.  She is gifted with the ability to kill and becomes the King's personal assassin; however, she secretly forms a council and uses her grace to seek out and right injustices. There is also an incredibly believable and swoon-worthy romance because of course there is! And because fantasy is one of those genres that is hard for people to get into, this is a great introductory book to dip your toes in before moving on to bigger and bolder worlds.


The Hate U Give


This is an incredibly important book, defining a time in our society that will be studied and talked about for generations to come.  All of the hype is completely warranted with this one and I can't recommend it enough.


The Book Thief


We will forever study World War II, and great novels about this dark period in our world's history are important.  This book is one of them.  Featuring an unforgettable narrator, this book is heart-breaking, eye-opening, and truly captures the ability of books to feed the soul.


Gone Girl


This book turned the psychological thriller on its head and made the summer beach read of 2012 a very dark and twisted one.  Five years later and marketing campaigns are still trying to sell readers the next "Gone Girl."  This is a brilliant study in dual perspectives and building tension and suspense towards the ultimate climax.  

So those are my picks for future classics!  What are some that you want added to the classics canon?  Let me know in the comments!


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Blog Tour: Starting Over on Blackberry Lane by Sheila Roberts (Romance)

Displaying Starting Over on Blackberry Lane banner.jpg 

Greetings Friends! 

Today I am so excited to be participating in a blog tour stop for the cozy Romance book Starting Over on Blackberry Lane by Sheila Roberts.

 

Rating: 


Synopsis:


Stefanie Stahl has a husband with renovation ADD.  He can't seem to finish anything he starts and her house is littered with his projects.  If he doesn't smarten up, she swears she's going to murder him and bury him under the pile of scrounged lumber in the backyard.

Her friend Griffin James is suddenly single and thinking maybe she needs to sell her fixer-upper and follow her career bliss up the ladder of success, even if that scary ladder is clear across the country.  Getting her place ready to sell proves harder than she originally thought.  She needs help.

She's not the only one.  Cass Wilkes, their neighbor, has an empty nest - with a leaking roof.  When her ceiling crashes in, she knows it's time to do something.  When Grant Masters offers his handyman services at a fund-raiser auction, the three women go in together to outbid the competition and win their man.  (Cass's friends think she should win Grant in a different way, too!)  Now it's time to make some improvements...in their houses and their lives.


Review:  


I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review.

This was my first experience reading Sheila Roberts and I'm so glad that I did!  I'm also not a romance reader and had mistakenly gotten it in my head that this book was a cozy mystery.  Then when I found out it was book #10 in a series, I had even more doubts, but I absolutely adored this book, and honestly woke up the morning after finishing it missing the Icicle Falls ladies!  And not to worry - there is absolutely no reason to feel that you have to read them in order.  Just like the people within the story, you are lovingly welcomed wherever you chose to begin.  Now I have the first three books in the series on order and can't wait to start this town's story from the beginning.

This is a charming story that focuses on three women, each navigating different stages of their lives while also exploring the changes to their relationships that they suddenly find themselves facing. I was immediately drawn into the story and characters from the very beginning.  They are all so friendly and likeable that you feel as though you could very well be friends with them too. Roberts' writing style expertly wove such believable emotions into these characters that really brought them to life, and you will more than likely find yourself smiling, laughing, or sympathizing with them along the way. The female friendships are so inspiring and such a pleasure to read about, as everyone supports each other and jumps right in to help when problems arise.

The romance aspects of the story are subtle and more conversational in tone rather than being in your face, which I really appreciated. I enjoyed that it instead focused predominantly on family, new beginnings, and working to move on and accept the past. Ultimately, we're never too old to learn and grow nor to experience our very own happily ever after!

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Icicle Falls in this sweet story about second chances and I can't wait to come back to this special community!


About the Author:  

 

 Displaying Sheila Roberts.jpg


Bestselling author Sheila Roberts has seen her books translated into over a dozen languages.  Her novels On Strike For Christmas and The Nine Lives of Christmas were made into movies for the Lifetime and Hallmark channels.  When she's not hanging out with her girlfriends or dancing with her husband, she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women's hearts:  family, friends, and chocolate.

You can find her on:

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Website

I hope you enjoyed this feature and check out other blog stops on the tour here.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Angsty Romances


Greetings Fellow Book Dragons!

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme within the book community that was created by Lainey of GingerReadsLainey, but is now hosted by Sam of Thoughts on Tomes.  If you're interested in participating, find out more on the Goodreads group.

This week's topic is Angsty Romances!  This topic has been much requested!  Let's chat about our favorite ships that have a healthy side of angst (definition:  adj.; describes a situation or literary piece that contains dark, depressing, angry, and/or brooding emotions from the participating characters).  

Here are my selections in no particular order:


Abigail and Gabe


The Ones We Trust: A Novel by [Belle, Kimberly]

When former DC journalist Abigail Wolff attempts to rehabilitate her career, she finds herself at the heart of a US army cover-up involving the death of a soldier in Afghanistan. And she certainly never thought she would find herself falling for the slain soldier's brother, Gabe.  There is much to love about either Abigail or Gabe, but together they really make a dynamic pair as they try to figure out what truly happened in his brother's death.  All of the secrets and intrigue create a fragile line between the two of them that adds so many layers to the story as well as their budding relationship.  I rooted for them when they were together and despaired for them as they tried to work out what was between them.  The tangled plot and well paced tension add to making this book hard to put down. 


Reilly and Chris



This book follows CSI Reilly Steel who has moved from the United States to Ireland to head up the Dublin police forensic team.  She ends up working closely with Chris, a detective, and their mutual attraction to one another makes you wonder throughout the series will they or won't they.  While you root for them to give each other chance, you can genuinely believe why they are so cautious.  I enjoy the development of their relationship and the mutual respect they have for each other, so that any romantic notions are good background story rather than at the forefront, so it never becomes distracting to the case.


Simon and Meg



Meg is a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, who can see the future when her skin is cut.  She escapes her Controller and heads to the Lakeside Courtyard, a business district operated by the Others, and is hired by Simon, a wolf shape-shifter, as the Human Liaison.  Simon suspects that something is different about Meg and has to decide if she is worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow by becoming involved.  This is a richly developed world that is fascinating to read, especially as the relationship between Meg and Simon is explored.


Arya and Gendry


These two fight like cats and dogs, but there is this feeling of mutual respect and adoration for each other that is built further through the struggle they share in this world.  I truly hope that they find each other again and can find some peace even if it is for only a short time because you just never know with GRRM!


Nick and Amy



They are the embodiment of angst and drama, and quite honestly, by the end, I could only say that these two deserved each other.  And I loved every minute dysfunctional minute of it!


So those are my top angsty couples!  Who are your favorites?  Let me know in the comments!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Borrowathon Readathon TBR!


Greetings Friends!

So I did manage to make it to our library and pick out some books for the readathon that I have been interested in for a while, which is even more surprising considering I managed to find them with the boys in tow!


I absolutely loved the first book and have been wanting to pick this one up, so I hopeful that it will happen this week.  This one leaves right where the first book left off, so I won't say anything more than that.  If you haven't read the first one, use this week to read it!



This one is my pick for a book that takes place in a library.  When Mackenzie is 11, her Da passed along the responsibility of being a "Keeper," one who is in charge of returning Histories to the Archive.  A History is a sort of ghost, but more like a copy of a dead person's life.  Librarians keep every History on a shelf in a complex and rigid order, but every once in a while one slips and escapes the orderly Archive into the chaos of the Narrows, a lightless series of corridors filled with doors.  A Keeper's role is to return the Histories to the Archive before they escape into the real world.  I hear a lot about Victoria Schwab (V.E. Schwab), but I haven't had the chance to read anything by her.  It seems that her books are a mixed bag, but I have heard that that the ones people enjoyed the most turned out to be this series.  We shall see!



This is my graphic novel selection, which is a coming of age story about a girl named Sadie who is not thrilled about the idea of starting a new school, so she fabricates a peanut allergy to generate sympathy and garner attention.  As she makes friends and develops a relationship with a boy, it becomes harder and harder to keep up the lie.  Now she is faced with the realization that instead of being best known as the girl with the allergy, she'll be the liar and have to face all the ramifications of telling the truth.



Seventeen year old Che loves his ten year old sister, but he's also certain that she is a psychopath.  His family's business takes them place to place, allowing his parents to brush off warning signs.  Now, in New York City, this new location provides too opportunities for Rosa to play her increasingly disturbing and complex games.  Although Che has always been her rock, the world may now need protection from Rosa.   


The Borrowathon Readathon begins this Sunday, March 19 at midnight, so you do still have time to borrow some books and join me!  Check out my previous post for all the details!

As mentioned previously, there are a few challenges and I've included which books I've chosen will suit each challenge should I end up completing any or all of them, which is very, very doubtful

  • a book that you'd like to purchase - A Torch Against the Night
  • a graphic novel - Peanut
  • an author you've never read - Victoria Schwab, Justine Larbalestier, Ayun Halliday
  • a book that's been recommended - My Sister Rosa
  • a book that's cover is your favorite color - A Torch Against the Night
  • a book that features a library - The Archived

Don't forget that you can combine challenges using one book to meet more targets!

So that's my overly ambitious TBR for next week!  I hope that you will join me in Borrowathon and please let me know in the comments if you plan to participate and what books you'd like to get read!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Books I Felt Betrayed By


Greetings Fellow Book Dragons!

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme within the book community that was created by Lainey of GingerReadsLainey, but is now hosted by Sam of Thoughts on Tomes.  If you're interested in participating, find out more on the Goodreads group.

This week's topic is Books You Felt Betrayed By!  Beware the Ides of March!  Let's talk about books or characters that you felt betrayed by for whatever reason...big or small.

Here are my selections in no particular order.


This is the third book in the Reilly Steel series, which you could essentially skip and you wouldn't miss anything.  When I discovered the first book, Taboo, I was blown away.  I couldn't believe I had never heard of this series before, so of course I had to get my hands on the next book, Inferno, which turned out to be even better than the first one.  However, Hidden doesn't even read like the first two.  It's slow and the conclusion to the main mystery is so unsatisfying.  A completely different case is showcased near the end and that small bit is way more interesting than the entire book.  Overall, this one was a complete letdown that I was very unsure about continuing on with the series, but ultimately, I'm glad that I did because the next three books that are currently available continue to get better and better.  Unless you feel that you have to go through a series in order, then just do yourself a favor and skip this one altogether and move to book four - The Watched.  


Celaena Sardothien



While I do enjoy this series, I'm just not a fan of Calaena's character.  I felt that she was too much tell and not enough show, especially since she's an assassin.  I want to see her in action not listen to her constantly refer to how awesome she supposedly is.  If you've read the book and feel the same, I encourage you to check out this hilarious and very honest review about how ridiculous this character truly is.  




Amy Dunne 



This is one of my favorite books, so without giving anything away, I just felt betrayed that I was fooled by her character.  Funny enough, I'm not mad about that aspect, but was more shocked how everything played out with her.  While I began with so much empathy towards her situation, I was so completely blown away by the end at how different I felt towards her and her circumstances.  




This is the fifth book in the Library Lover's Mystery series, and unfortunately, this one is another example of asking yourself, "What happened?"  The series starts off well about a librarian in a small Connecticut town who becomes an amateur sleuth and solves cases that pertain to incidents surrounding the library.  However, beginning around book three, the plots start to drift away from the library slightly and into other aspects of the community.  This book just took it a little too far by delving into a coffee cartel on a completely different continent!  I struggled with this one and had a very hard time understanding much less suspending my disbelief about some of the character's actions.  Future rereads of the series will not include this one.  Thankfully, the sixth book returns readers to the workings of the library and was such a relief after the hot mess that was this one!


Show Jaime from Game of Thrones

Image result for jaime game of thrones

Book Jaime undergoes a massive character arc, which is amazing to read about and was being portrayed fairly well as the show was progressing into season five.  However, with season five things began to drift away from the source material and he became way more allied to his sister Cersei than was represented by the character arc in the books.  I was not a fan of this slow dragging out of their continued reliance on each other, but as season six ended, I am hopeful that he begins to return to the character growth he was experiencing in the books in order to finally make the decision to sever ties from his sister completely.  


So those are my picks!  What are some books or characters you've felt betrayed by?  Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Sailors, Ships, and Seas Book Tag!

Ahoy maties!

photo credit:  @darkfaerietales

The theme for the March OwlCrate box is Sailors, Ships, and Seas!   They start shipping out tomorrow, and as we wait for our boxes to arrive, the team over at OwlCrate launched a fun book tag inspired by that theme, which I wanted to participate in!  You can watch the original video here.  If you're interested in subscribing to the box, please visit OwlCrate.  They also have past boxes available for a one time purchase.  So, yo ho ho!  On to the tag!


Pirate Ship:  Your favorite "ship"

 

Rhysand and Feyre


 

If you've read the book, you know.  If you haven't read it, what are you waiting for?


Hidden Treasure:  Your favorite under-hyped book

 

 

I talk about this series a lot, so I'm not going to spend a lot of time on it.  This is the first book in a thriller series that follows a CSI named Reilly Steel.  It's essentially a police procedural, but you do get some of the forensic science involved in tracking down the killers.  The cases are gruesome, but it's not overly gratuitous, so the gory details are spared.  These are fast-paced with excellent tension, so you will fly through them.  The Kindle and paperback editions do have a lot of typos and editing errors, but if you don't get distracted by that, then these are really great reads that I can't believe had been hiding from me all these years!


Sail the Seven Seas:  Your favorite journey in YA

 


This book received lots of hype prior to its release and it deserves every bit of that hype.  Starr moves between two worlds:  the poor black neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends.  Then the uneasy balance between these two worlds is shattered when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer.  Khalil was unarmed.  Her searing story is essentially ripped from our own headlines, showcasing an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances.  Her journey is heart-wrenching, but heartwarming and needs to be heard.


'X' Marks the Spot:  Your favorite fictional place you'd like to find

 

 The Citadel in Westeros 


 


This one is kind of a confusing response because on one hand I NEVER want to find myself in Westeros; however, I would love to explore the Citadel, which serves as the headquarters to the order of the maesters and houses all information about the known world.  It's also a lighthouse, which I adore and definitely romanticize about.


Walk the Plank:  Which character would you make walk the plank

 

The Commandant 



I won't give anything away, but this character is horrible, and if there was ever a character who should walk the plank, it's this one.

 


Treasure Map:  Your favorite book map


 The Kiss of Deception 




I have problems with the book overall and I did not continue with the series, but I loved this map!  It was so detailed and well drawn when compared to a lot of other young adult fantasy stories.  I had such expectations for this, but it just didn't work out for me, but I can always appreciate a great map!


Kraken:  Your favorite mythological creature


The Green Man



I liked how the monster starts off as scary to Conor, but then, quite unexpectedly, it becomes exactly what he needs in order to come to terms with the situation he is dealing with.  The Green Man forces Conor towards the ugly truths in our world, but not in a vindictive or cruel way, but rather to help him come to the realizations that we need to find peace.  Monsters have nothing on how terrifying the real world can be.  In the same way that life is both beautiful, but difficult, this story is that as well.


Scallywag:  Your favorite mischievous character


Kitty 


 

I had a bit of difficulty selecting someone for this question because tricksters are not characters that I pay attention to or even like for that matter.  Ultimately, I picked Kitty who is Lara Jean's younger sister and her actions lead to the letters getting sent out to all the boys.  While Kitty does it as an act of revenge, I gave her some slack because the result is why this story is being told.  She's also so little that she probably had no clue just what kind of ramifications would occur.  Plus, she can be so spunky that I found myself being charmed by her just like everyone else.


Well, that's it!  This was a fun tag and definitely made me even more excited for this month's box!  I tag anyone of you lovely readers that would like to participate as well!  Drop your links in the comments below!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Book Review: Killing Kate by Alex Lake (Thriller)


Greetings Friends!

This book pulled double duty this month!  Not only was it something that I was really interested in reading, but it was also chosen by my book club as our pick for this month!  We haven't met yet to discuss it, but once that happens, I can post an update with any additional feedback from them.


Rating:




Genre:  Thriller, Suspense
Release Date:  January 2017

Synopsis:  

A serial killer is stalking your home town.  He has a type.  All his victims look the same:  They look like you.
Kate returns from a post break-up holiday with her girlfriends to news of a serial killer in her home town and his victims all look like here.  It could, of course, be a simple coincidence.  Or maybe not.

She becomes convinced she is being watched, followed even.  Is she next?  And could her mild-mannered ex-boyfriend really be a deranged murderer?  Or is the truth something far more sinister?

Review:

I was really intrigued by the premise of this story since we all know that I have quite a thing for reading about serial killers.  While there is quite a bit going on, it is super fast-paced and full of red herrings that will keep you guessing all the way until the end.  There is a mix of past and present events as well as dual perspectives from the main character, Kate, and her ex-boyfriend, Phil.  They are both so unreliable that it definitely adds additional layers to this confusing situation they find themselves facing and makes you question right along with them what the heck is going on!

Interspersed very sparingly are these small glimpses into the friendship that existed between Kate and three other girls, who called themselves the "Fab Four."  You quickly discover that the friends are now a trio, as something happened to one of them, Beth, and no one is quite sure where she is or what she is up to.  At first, I felt kind of jolted out of the present story about the serial killer in order to go back into the past to get such little information about this mysterious character.  And just as quickly as it came into the story, it was over, and I was left feeling so puzzled as to how this was all going to relate; however, as the story reaches it climax, everything begins to make more sense and I truly began to appreciate why it was written like that.  Especially after the dialogue heavy info-dump confession the killer provides so you know exactly who, why, how, and what happened in regards to everything about the murder spree.  I like seeing the steady unraveling as characters discover clues that lead them towards the horrible understanding of what is going on, so I thoroughly enjoyed the reveal of the killer just not the way in which we learn the details through all the exposition.  And while I did figure out an element of the twist fairly early on, that never stopped me from frantically reading well into the night to figure out how everything was going to come together.

Overall, this was an entertaining read.  It's a great option for people who like thrillers, but don't necessarily want them too intense.  A lot of the focus is on Kate's relationships, so the majority of the tension that is built becomes slightly diminished when it transitions to her interactions with other characters.  Definitely pick this one up if you're looking for a quick escape that doesn't require much to think about.

Many thanks to Alex Lake and Harper for providing my copy via Edelweiss.  It was a pleasure providing an honest and thoughtful review.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Borrowathon Readathon!


Greetings Friends!

I recently came across a new readathon that will happening March 19 - March 26 called Borrowathon, which encourages you to read books from borrowed sources such as your local library, your friends and/or family, or anywhere else you can borrow books.  I would also encourage you to check out Little Free Library and search their map to see if there are any in your neighborhood!  You can also check out Books and Lala for more information.  You can also follow along on Twitter for reading sprints and other fun things going on during that week.

The idea of this readathon speaks volumes to me because as many of you know I worked as a librarian before deciding to stay home with my children.  We frequent several local libraries multiple times a week and try to actively participate in programs as much as we can.  Libraries are an integral part of any community and serve so many more functions and roles aside from providing books, so I hope that if you've never taken the time to visit your local library, you will use this week as an opportunity to stop in and check out what's really going on...pun intended!

There are also a few challenges associated with the readathon that you can keep in mind when selecting your books and those include:

  • a book that you'd like to purchase
  • a graphic novel
  • an author you've never read
  • a book that's been recommended
  • a book that's cover is your favorite color
  • a book that features a library

Feel free to combine challenges using one book to meet more targets!

I wanted to share this with you all to give ample time for planning and gathering, as I know we all lead hectic lives!  I plan on having a TBR to share sometime next week, as I need to actually get over to the library, and with two little boys anxiously wanting to get to the children's section, the books I select may come down to what I can hurriedly through into my book bag!

I hope that you will join me in Borrowathon!  Let me know in the comments if you plan to participate and what books you'd like to get read!