Tuesday, 10 January 2017

First arcs of 2017

Staying faithful to my new resolutions of only requesting arcs of authors whose previous works I've loved, here are:

  

I'm a fan of Kelley Armstrong "Cainsville" series despite still haven't read the fourth volume that was published last year. This one, "Lost Souls", from what I've read takes place before that one, so now I only have to re-read the first three books, and then I get to attack this one!

As for Lucy Parker's "Pretty Face" I pretty much loved her debut novel (right?), "Act Like It", so my hopes are way up high concerning it. The only reason I still haven't devoured is because I simply haven't had the time.

What the 2016 Reading Challenge Taugh Me


Basically that I've become extremely jaded.
According to my Goodreads page it says that I've read one thousand, seven hundred and five books. Total.
Truth is, I've most likely reached the two thousand number: there's hundred of harlequin books (remember those Bianca, Sabrina's and Julia's?) that I've not accounted for... because that would take way TOO much trouble, and I'm not in the mood to add hundred's of info into GR's and Booklikes.
Then there's the ones I read as a young teen, such as Enyd Blyton's, the "Patricia" series and so on and on...
So yes, I've most likely reached the two thousand book mark. With that, my love for paranormal romance has almost disappeared. Books that I once loved, I now eye with extreme disapproval.
My tastes have expanded but that doesn't mean I've become a literary snob. Books that I no longer care about, helped me go through many phases in my life. They provided me with entertainment and a chance to disappear into their plots. I miss that. That feeling of "I can't wait to pick up that book again!" Or of staying awake most of the night to see what would happen.
That feeling has mostly disappeared in the last year, maybe because most of what I read were completely forgetful. Or if not, it was because they were SO BAD, that they're kind of engraved in my brain. Much to my regret.
This year my new resolutions regarding books are:
_ Request even less arcs ( of the twenty three requested last year, most of them were a did not finish and "Oh My God, I HATE MY LIFE!")
_Finish series that I love, mainly the Marcus Didius Falco series (then begin with its spin-off), and the Amelia Peabody.
_ Try to diminish my actual physical book pile;
_Go for reads of favourite authors;
_DNF even more books. Thing is, I know when it's not working, so why force myself? Because instead of giving it a one, I may give it a two star rating?
_Say no to review requests... unless we're talking about big favourites :)

My Gr's challenge was to read hundred books, and were it not for Nalini Singh's short stories I wouldn't have made it. And even so, it was complicated as hell! lol

Thing is, from the hundred stories I read, only these are worth mentioning:

The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen, #1) Spinning Thorns When the Moon Was Ours Act Like It

Once Broken Faith (Toby Daye #10) Not Quite a Husband Finnegan's Field The Girl Who Drank the Moon

               The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil, #1)The Star of New Mexico (InCryptid #0.14) Lobster Is the Best Medicine: A Collection of Comics About Friendship
                             These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1) This Shattered World (Starbound, #2)

As for the re-reads, there's two all time favourites.
"Valiant", still a five star rating: I just love this plot.  Just do yourself a favour and go read it!
The other was "Once Upon a Rose", a solid four star in the contemporary romance department.



Valiant Once Upon a Rose  


Friday, 30 December 2016

The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Bishop Crispell






Rachel has spent most of her life trying to ignore her magical "gift", and with good reason: sixteen years ago it ruined her family's life...
For all it's faults, this story has a truly original concept: more the pity for the way it turned out.
The initial dark tone ends up disappearing in an avalanche of badly explained facts, stereotypical characters, and a never ending mention ( and eating) of pies!
I really don't understand how all of that people aren't diabetics. Really!

Even so, it was readable, so, there's that...

The story starts with twenty six old Rachel still living in her family home. And I say still, because that house doesn't harbour happy memories... When a wish suddenly appears ( in front of her eyes, written in a piece of paper like they used to) after a long hiatus of them not bothering her, Rachel freaks out and decides to disappear town, before something bad happens to her friends. You see, Rachel doesn't have a good relationship with her gift ever since a catastrophe happened.
SPOILER: At ten years old she wished her young brother would get lost. After that, Michael disappears never to be remembered by his parents. Only Rachel remembers him.
Dark right? Well it even gets darker!
But then Rachel arrives to this little town, Nowhere, capital of the "Lost and Found".
I don't know what I was expecting, maybe a town full of odd ones?
But with the exception of Catch, a seventy five old woman who makes magical pies, with which she binds people's secrets, the rest of the folks were basically normal. Which was kind of disappointing.

I was expecting more out of Catch's and Rachel's relationship. Although it ends up developing itself in a very aloof and cranky way, it always felt too superficial. And the same thing happened with the rest of the story and it's characters.
I wanted more out of Catch's background. When did she start making the pies? SPOILER When did she start getting sick? Who was that stupid ex-husband of hers?
Instead, the author decided to present her as just this cranky old lady constantly making pies: normal pies and magical pies.
________
Badly explained fact #23... why would people eat her pies if they suspect that someone may be trying to make them forget something??
Look, I don't know about you, but I would probably swore pies off for LIFE.

Then there's Ashe, our broken hearted hero...
Handsome, attractive, always ready to help... and with a wife of whom he still hasn't divorced. Can you say, awkward much?
The ex wife is presented as a cheater, although I really don't understand how Ashe found out about it. Her name is Lola ( -__-) and we really don't understand why she cheated on Ashe SPOILER (WITH THE GUY'S FATHER FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!... well, there's mentions of great charm involved. Another magical ability??
Unfortunately that _ and that person's motives _ were never developed. Maybe because she didn't want to enter the soap opera domain. *cough* Too late I'm afraid...
Like I said there's a lot of mentions of people eating pie.
Constantly.
So, I guess there wasn't space or time to develop any thing else.
As for the final part, it went from magical realism to Disney land. Which was awkward.
Another plot that was extremely important, ends up not being resolved, and the ending was really wish washy.
Basically, great concept, but the execution could've been (way) better.
Also as a fan of Sarah Addison Allen I am not impressed...



Thursday, 29 December 2016

Mind Games (The Disillusionists, #1) by Carolyn Crane





DNF at 36%

I give up. The world building is pathetic. Strange words thrown from time to time, do not constitute proper world building to me...
Justine, the main character?
Well she's really too stupid to live. And to read about.
The plot?
There's a killer on the loose: and he uses flying bricks... with his telepathic powers?? -_-
Really guys, with this kind of plot I rather see some Kim Possible.
In Iko's* wisest words, I "don't compute".
Too bad, because this had a really cool concept.

 Author's Official Site





*Marissa Meyer's character

Becoming Beauty by Sarah E. Boucher






Sometimes you read the first paragraph in a story and it's enough to know that you're going to hate it... that was not the case here. -_-
The beginning was actually pretty decent with a different twist to a well known story.
In this tale, Bella is this selfish vain girl whose reckless request leaves her father in a world of troubles.
What happens next is pretty standard SPOILER except for the fact that Bella's sister, Cass is the real Beauty of the family  in which after awhile, Bella ends up at the Beast's manor.
As for the Beast?
Well he's very emo. And prone to fits of temper SPOILER also not really a Beast in the literal sense of the word -_- actually the guy just needed a few baths, and a hair cut. Oh, and a manicure and pedicure.
That was disappointing!
If I wanted to read about an over emotional dude that decides to go reclusive I would read a new adult book!
So Bella and the emo guy start bickering with each other. Bella basically becomes his ( and of another guy who lives there) servant. And some months later she's basically "healed" of her spoiled ways. Because hard labour strengthens the character!*repeat after me!*
After this, the book's plot basically crashes: everything that was mildly interesting disappears.
The Beast, Phillipe, becomes this super accommodating dude who just wants to worship her.
This confuses Bella. *hands up in the air*
Then Bella decides that maybe she's in a love triangle, even though her interactions with the other dude (sorry, can't remember the guy's name any more) were minimal.
The only bits of "magic" that the story has, are related with this pendant that Bella uses and that connects her with the necklace previous owner... memories.
Surprisingly this doesn't faze any of the characters. In reality it was lame as hell...
What happens next is worth of a crazy soap opera SPOILER Bella decides that it is the other guy that she loves, but what will be of Phillipe? *cue depressing music* But wait, don't despair! Bella's beautiful sister Cassandra is more than willing to take her place! o_O
Definitely not what I was expecting. But hey, this is 2016 and everything basically sucks!

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Mind Games (Lock & Mori #2) by Heather W. Petty




TW: CHILD ABUSE, VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

Another amazing book by Heather W. Petty, and a worthy sequel at that!

We get right back to where we left: Mori's father is behind bars and she's trying to piece her life back together. 
Her mother's friend, Alice, comes to stay so the kids don't have to be put in the system, as we were given to hope in the last book.

Sherlock is trying very hard to patch up his relationship with Mori after the events from the last book and their relationship is super cute while being completely unobtrusive within the plot at the same time. I love it when romance is written like this!

It seems, however, that Mori cannot rest yet. Someone is trying to frame her for her father's murders and the police aren't making things easier since they believe they need to protect Mori's abusive serial killer father since he is one of their own.

It's so frustrating, but so important to see this reaction from the authorities to domestic abuse, and I love how Heather W. Petty didn't skirt around this issue or tried to diminish it in any way. It is there in all its disgusting and revolting glory.

I also loved how feminist Mori is, and how her relationship with Lock hinges on her choices without any manipulation or demand from him to do things for their ~love~. He always respected her choices even when he didn't like them and this type of relationship is so important, especially in YA. This needs to be normalised instead of those sick abusive "relationships" so often written across all genres.  

The only reason this book isn't getting 5 stars is because it leans quite heavily on a trope I particularly dislike: the It's Not You It's My Enemies trope (WARNING: that link will take you to tv tropes where you may end up trapped for days).
It's a nice trope for angst and it's often seen when it comes to tortured and clueless male heroes -  the thing is, I feel that Mori, even though she's so young, is too clever to waste so much time on this trope. 

That being said, it's still an excellent book and I highly recommend it! I didn't guess the plot twist at all! 

Can't wait for the next one!



Heather W. Petty's official site

Buy Mind Games 
@ The Book Depository (with free worldwide delivery)


Sunday, 18 December 2016

The Obsession by Nora Roberts





A long and boring story about a house renovation ( look, for that there's "House Rules"... of which I'm fan), with a lukewarm romance _ the number of stereotypes in which the guy falls is ridiculous _ and almost no suspense (with the exception of the beginning of the story), in a supposed thriller.
The only reason this doesn't get a one star is because the author obviously knows how to write.

I've read so many NR's books and lately it seems as if the author has fallen into this clinical writing style that annoys the hell out of me.
As for the romance, it is probably the weakest of them all.

A big meh for a big book.

How this got nominated for "best romance" _ by GR's _ is beyond me.


Bookdepository.com 

The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna van Praag




Lately I can't seem to find the patience, or the will, to write reviews. Especially for books that I don't like ( which unfortunately seems to be the rule lately).
I feel emotionally drained at all levels, so my patience for half assed stories is even more reduced.
This was my first story by the author, and most likely will be my last...

Some writing styles and stories work out for me, others don't: what is supposed to feel magical realism feels lame to me, and sometimes I just feel like dnf a book after a first paragraph.
But then bad things happen, and I feel so lousy, that this is just the kind of story that I should be reading: a story in which I didn't care about anything. Or anyone! ;)

I thought this was going to be about a character, Cora. Instead there was a myriad of characters _ most of which I couldn't care about _ with their vastly pov's, who would change briskly at the will of the wind?
Every single time I would start feeling some connection to a character, boom, there would be a pov's change.
For me the characters felt cardboard, the romances weak as hell ( with the exception of the police officer and his wife... that one I would have liked to have had more), and one of the characters _Milly_ almost made me throw the Kobo against a wall. -_-
Not for me I'm afraid.

Author's Official Site

 Bookdepository.com

Troublemaker by Linda Howard





This is a story about a golden Retriever named Tricks and the humans she dotes upon.
Some of you _ the ones who have read this _ will probably laugh, and call me exaggerated... but really I'm not. The dog really is the main character...so if you love dogs, this is just the book for you!

Look I love dogs and cats: that's why I sometimes find myself without knowing what to do with my life, when I think of all the animals that I've taken care, and the ones that I still have in my life.
________
Why I am telling this?
Because reading is an escape from reality, and sometimes I don't want to read books that have animals in them ( most of the times they end up dead or being hurt :/).

From the beginning I could see that this was going to be a story about a dog... maybe because the author wouldn't shut up about all of Tricks wonderful nature...
I got to the middle of the story and I got kind of tired of it. Even loving dogs as I do.
But then Saturday, November 19 th happened, and I lost my cat Fiona, and somehow reading about Tricks helped me.
I started questioning myself: can't you see yourself in Bo in the way she mostly prefers her dog to the rest of the world?
Aren't I a slave of my diva cats, the way she is about Tricks?
I am.
And I hope I will be for the longest time ever.
The rest of the story, the developing romance was okay, I guess. Kind of hard to evaluate a romance when I was mostly felling numb. And heartbroken.
As for the thriller part I also felt that it could have been more developed since in the end, it felt more as an afterthought.
Basically I've read way better stories by the author.

Hardback edition

Mass Market Edition

Thursday, 10 November 2016

The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill





I definitely need to read more Kelly Barnhill stories, because this is my second book by the author, and once again I've given it five stars...
Look, I don't know how to properly review this story. Part of me just wants to gush about the writing, the plot, the characters, the depth, the symbolism, the enchanting magical realism writing style.
I don't want to pick things apart, like I normally do.
This is a story about finding out who you are. A story about love and friendship, and what makes family.

 In the end this is about moving on, because the world doesn't stop changing and neither do we.
Just read it.


Author's Official Site 

Bookdepository.com 
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