Monday, December 16, 2013

The Holders by Julianna Scott

The Holders (Holders, #1)The Holders by Julianna Scott

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


The Holders... hmmm, I am not quite sure what to say.

I liked that we have a new spin on people with super powers. I liked that some of those super powers felt new and different (from mind reading, mind control, telekinesis and projection... Fun!)

I even liked the whole mystery school ala Mutant Academy/Hogwarts, but to be frank the whole soul mate/piece of my soul had me less than enthused.

Beyond that last thing, one is bound to get a kick out of her protective streak. One is also bound to like the powers and secrets and how-to's Alex lays out for her. I did... mostly.



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Sunday, December 15, 2013

She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick

She Is Not InvisibleShe Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


So many things in this make it different: all those interesting tidbits on what coincidence is and what others had to say about it. Then the world as experienced by Laureth, her reality and how she perceives contrasted to how others do. Sprinkle on some of what's precocious in a kid brother who's not a spoiled brat! Plus a set of parents with a different tack on how to get things done.

But I feel let down...

... that ending especially had me wondering where all the awesome went. It could have been more; instead we're left with a character at first perceiving things as she had not before because of the journey her father had begun in his writing; and then... well, nothing. 

All's not lost though; I think my favorite thing here was the ideas of her father and how those opened her to all those something else's. Yet things stopped there; possibilities and thoughts and all these maybe-connections between what's mundane for one but deep and profound for another. So cool, I felt... but where'd all that go? From deep ruminations to the not deep at all  with an adventure that I still can't get behind.

Sure we could go back to this book being all about what's great for another not being the same for the rest, but really? It was like jumping back and forth between that Jim Carey movie (the scary one with the numbers) and Home Alone 2. And while I'm not exactly knocking the second one (it's a Christmas favorite, as all HA movies are over here,) it's just that the gap between the first and the second is almost impossible to bridge.  So, yes, 'let down' is precisely what I'm feeling.

Still, thank you, NG! 



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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally

Racing SavannahRacing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Aha! Hundred Oaks has finally paid off! The first few books felt too much of something at one point or another (too preachy or too drama) and then less and less about girl and sports. But this pair had me coming back despite my lack of time (said lack a fact I foresee happening more and more with rhis year's end.)

So what'd with them? Her: all about the goal, with feet planted solidly on earth. But it's this same thing that had me wondering if I'd like her. Frankly, those moments of insecurity and what-for had me drawing back. Him: I still don't like it. That Kenneally us not shy about having her leads less than perfect should have me loving the same. Except... he could be such ab ass!

Beyond the two. we have the awesome bonus of their spares pairing up (kind of at least.) The others in this made reading RC more entertaining and funny. Because sure, both have that pair-unlikely thing going on, but for Star Wars blanket kid and Ms. Beautiful that wasn't all they were about.

Additional bonus: all thise characters of old popping in randomly. I just wosh they had made a stronger impression tje first tkme around because as they were mentioned or as they appeared all  I was thinking was 'that name sounds familiar.. But where?'

Being less preachy and not so much about the drama, I say HO has just gotten better!



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Friday, December 13, 2013

Secret (Elemental, #4) by Brigid Kemmerer

Secret (Elemental, #4)Secret by Brigid Kemmerer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


great. good. fine.  great. good. fine.  great. good. fine.  great. good. fine.  great. good. fine. great. good. fine. great. good. fine.  great. good. fine.  great. good. fine.  great. good. fine.  great. good. fine. great. good. fine. great. good. fine.  great. good. fine.  great. good. fine.  great. good. fine.  great. good. fine. great. good. fine. great. good. fine.  great. good. fine.  great. good. fine.  great. good. fine.  great. good. fine. great. good. fine. great. good. fine.  great. good. fine.  great. good. fine.  great. good. fine.  great. good. fine. great. good. fine. great. good. fine.  great. good. fine.  great. good. fine.  great. good. fine.  great. good. fine. great. good. fine. great. good. fine.  great. good. fine. great. good. fine.  great. good. fine.   great. good. fine.  great. good. fine.  great. good. fine. great. good. fine. GREAT

thank you, ng!







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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Love the One You're With (Sex, Love & Stiletto, #2) by Lauren Layne

Love the One You're With (Sex, Love & Stiletto, #2)Love the One You're With by Lauren Layne

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Love the One You’re With. So, recall Julie’s Dating, Love and Sex versus Mitchel’s Kiss, Cuddle, and Fuck? We’re on Love/Cuddle now, only now that’s not who Grace is, as she’s turning over a new leaf (for good reason.) Her little 1.0/2.0 split is hilarious because the changes? They’re drastic… plus, just to make things more interesting: she’s faced with a guy who goes against all the conclusions she’s made for herself about men. 2.0 is all about ball busting and cutting through BS, but the one she’s with is misunderstood.

I love that they both start with preconceptions (some spot on, others not even close.) Better is how they work with what they think is coming and manipulate the situations, themselves or each other. It’s all a game… till it isn’t, then things become more for each of them… despite them insisting that nothing of that sort is happening. They’re all so reluctant about where things were going… very “I like you… Maybe? Not?”

Basically, that shift FROM them thinking they both know how things are going to go TO the both of them being so turned around about what was happening. So. Cute.

Thank you, Net Galley!




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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

One & Only (Canton, #1) by Viv Daniels (Goodreads Author), Diana Peterfreund

One & Only (Canton, #1)One & Only by Viv Daniels

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


So here’s a statement that merits both boldface and all caps in the typing:

MY FAITH IN NA HAS BEEN RESTORED BY ONE & ONLY.

Not one moment in this is annoying or over the top. Rather we’ve a girl exploring who she is what she wants. Plus, a boy doing the same. Sure, there are some messed up family connections, but wait for it… it’s not dramatically done!

I enjoyed how there’s a past that we start with linked to a present that she’s working through. But mostly, I loved the absence of clichés: no bestie pushing her into unlikely situations or heroine who’s clueless about everything and nary an alpha type in sight! All of them are simply regular people figuring out what it is they want while being certain about what they don’t want:

What they don’t want:  not to hurt anyone, not to repeat the mistakes of others.

And what they do: their place, their choice… EACH OTHER! *sigh*

It’s an intense connection that they find plus an almost too-perfect matching up of interests and goals that should have felt unreal… but there’s no denying the way they clicked and the way their chemistry just sucked me in. Yet, it’s each one’s actions and the other’s reactions that made it clear: matching up wasn’t all there was to them.

And OK, so maybe there was drama: but it’s not overdone; what’s here is presented in a way that’s plausible but still had me feeling for her and the set up of things. The conflicn, especially, on her part on whether she should or shouldn’t do something or how she’d see parallels between her choices and actions versus those of another… all proof positive that she’s more than the typical NA heroine.  Plus, the emotion of it all, that ‘you can’t pick who you love’ thing is especially felt here, but beyond that it’s the realizations on all parties involved that you do get to choose what you do about the same.

Oh, next one, please.





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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Isn't She Lovely by Lauren Layne

Isn't She LovelyIsn't She Lovely by Lauren Layne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Isn’t She Lovely. Every time I think of the title, the song of the same name plays in my head! This pays homage to every single romantic comedy you have ever seen and or will see. What’s cute is how the characters both incorporate what they do know of that story type into what they’re doing WHILE simultaneously partaking in their own romance (intentionally at first, and then later…not.)

But more than the initially manufactured romance, there’s how things progress for them. Particularly, how they’re aware of things shifting for themselves but unsure about how things are going for the other. Things go from ‘Meet-Cute‘ to ‘I Love Him/Her… Maybe?’ That insecurity is what took the “manufactured” out of the mix, making the connection between the two all the more entertaining to witness. And sure, it’s unbelievable the things that they got themselves into, but still this does prove that the extent to which one is able to suspend disbelief is directly related to how entertaining things become. Because I didn’t quite believe all of it, but  bought was rooting for them.

So what I liked:

>That awareness on both their parts that they’re playing at something.

>That despite said awareness, a shift to the real

>The family and how non-drama things could be

>In fact, that may be the best thing in this one: the over-all non-drama-ness of things.

>Well, that and all nods to ROM COM made time and again:

So let’s start with a Boy Meets Girl by way of the Meet-Cute via a Crash Into… Hello. Then them Literally Loving the Neighbor plus all those excruciating complications of the She’s Not My Girlfriend. Then questions of Will They or Won’t They (that’s still got me grinning) because there’s one, their False Start. Two, the Held Gaze  and their Almost Kiss. And three, (oh three!) the Convenient Slow Dance as well as the whole She Cleans Up Nicely. 

All the while we’ve Sexual Tension  up the wazoo going from Unresolved to Belligerent. Eventually, there’s how Nothing Is the Same Anymore  mixed in with all those Aborted Declarations of Love, first, with his Green Eyed- Epiphany then second,  with her Maybe Ever After/  Maybe Never. Things pick up again with their Relationship Upgrade, not a Falling In Love for Cripes sake, but a starting toward it, with the First Kiss of  Slap-Slap- Kiss variety (verbal slap-slap, of course) plus the I Got you a Drawer combo.

But the Complications! Of which there are many, mainly lots of the That Didn’t Happen’s. And then Boy Loses Girl (or could that be the other way around?)  given all those questions Was It a Lie? But then yes, the Boy Finds Girl Again. Layne’s play on Closed Door Rapport,  and predictably The Grovel/ Anguished Declaration of Love,  by the way? So. Effing. Cute. Hint: it involves LEATHER PANTS. So, Exit Point? Well, sure, but only after That Big Damned Kiss and the I Uh You Too… only they don’t say “Uh.”


I really enjoyed this one.




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Monday, December 9, 2013

After the Kiss (Sex, Love & Stiletto, #1) by Lauren Layne

After the Kiss (Sex, Love & Stiletto, #1)After the Kiss by Lauren Layne

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Wasn’t this a movie… only in reverse?

I kind of loved it… all her plotting and him in the not knowing. Plus him and a very She’s All That set up… dude, it was so cute... both of them were! I enjoyed the little nods to Romantic Comedy (have I told you all how much I like them?) Because again thins in this one? TOO. CUTE. but sexy too.

The whole going against the grain and taking things a step further for the dating guru made for some uncomfortable situations, but it’s Wall Street and The Bet that make it all even more interesting, They’ve both got an agenda… and find themselves being swept up  in everything. So. Hot.

Give me the next one, please.




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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Great by Sara Benincasa

GreatGreat by Sara Benincasa

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I finally read the inspiration for this book. And yeah, I stand by my original assessment. GREAT is… not so great. I do appreciate the way the things have been made more accessible and young and ‘now.’ Hell, there are CUPCAKES. What’s more ‘now’ than cupcakes?

That aside, I thought it all too simple: the connections, easily seen and the twists, not that difficult to foretell (and this from one who had not read the original!)

It’s an OK story. The girl who sees all and how this connects to that and so o and so forth, initially living a life foreign to how she’s lived it so far. But it’s not juts about the cool kids and her looking in. No, not at all… because she’s part of it, and if a bit disdainful of things at first, things change with each thing cropping up.

So that the way she sees herself, as really being a part of things, and consequently, being able to see the bigger picture that others couldn’t… well, that initial distance that she’d put between herself and everything… events in this have that distance growing smaller and smaller. That the picture isn’t the big one anymore, but more detailed. The specifics are what make for the interesting, and yet there was still something lacking here. (Upon reading the original, perhaps this updated version just lacks heart… it mimics and makes parallels, but lacks that ineffable extra.)

Thank you, Edelweiss!




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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Night of Cake & Puppets (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #2.5) by Laini Taylor

Night of Cake & Puppets (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #2.5)Night of Cake & Puppets by Laini Taylor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



And now my head feels full of moonlight or starlight or something. Or snow. My head feels like a snow globe that's been shaken, and the glitter is swirling around it like unmoored stars.


I love that they're both so in love... this was most awesome and adorable.






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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

Openly StraightOpenly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Hollaback Girl and Boy Scouts will never be the same for me again.

Openly Straight is funny and smart; Rafe and the people around him quirky yet solid. But more than the quirks they offer and the so-awesome one-liners that had me laughing that my sides hurt, there’s the deeper point from which things start: explorations of who a person is beyond him being out.

Beyond the label, there’s that whole budding friendship then shift that takes place. It’s sweet then sweeter, till’ it, understandably, wasn’t anymore. That one part of the book has got me wanting more because its outcome is not surprisingly heart-breaking at all. Still, it’s their ‘what’s next’ that’s got me pondering.

Things make clearer sense with each moment of him recalling through his writing the numerous instances where his interactions and conversations revolve around what it’s like or not like to be out as he was, so I got it; the thing about how “exhausting” it must have been.

And I bought it, too except things took unnecessarily long in the exposition when the whole point of this is about self; not about tolerating, or accepting, or even celebrating, but merely owning who you are then opening up to see that these facets that make you up, do make you up rather than accessorize.

Read this. It’s a laugh-think-smile book.




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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog, #1) by Anne Blankman

Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog, #1)Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


(3.5/5)

Twisted.
The relationships they all have, and no, not the Forbidden Love angle either (what do you take me for?) It’s that between her and her family. It’s that between her and Hitler himself. No, make that especially, that between her and Hitler. I once saw a History channel special on Hitler and his women; this book skims on some of what that revealed. And yes, the research is remarkable. If only. If only more of it were revealed… mainly because it is what made reading this veer unexpectedly toward the skeevy and creepy. 

Surprising, considering the title truly had me expectant of beautiful prose and mysterious situations combo like that in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Blame my expectations of that sort on the title and my having skipped the synopsis again. Not to say that this wasn’t beautifully written, its elements are cleverly woven together and despite the varied things covered it all works quite well. So many aspects together, including the historical (may be) facts made more intriguing given a mysterious death then made even more complicated with hints of forbidden love AND all those exchanges within her  messed up family plus the idol worship that’d be inconceivable today.

Mystery.
The way things have been put together in this one, we end up with a murder-mystery set in a period when most everyone knows something or at least someone in it (Hitler, yeah?) But the questions become not about him, but about who she is to him, who her family is to him and why that’s the case. So that it’s how her own history plays a big part, how that history may have been retooled so that she’s not sure about what’s true and what’s not. There are questions on roles and perceptions that shift unexpectedly because all of it has her peeling back layers of people and time to confront the possibility that her truth isn’t the truth at all. 

The makings of a psychopath.
(view spoiler)

Forbidden Love...
...Done right.
But more than just them  it’s truth in general. That slow realization on her part that the truths she’d been raised on are not truths at all; slow recognition by her own action of her peeling things back, and letting herself piece her past together and see the horrible possibilities coming their way.

Thank you, Edelweiss!
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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Love Letters to the DeadLove Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


She read almost too young; and I think that that’s the bottom line: she’s too young to be dealing with all that she had to. Then what she’s dealing, how it’s slowly and painfully revealed was done in a way that me even more shocked and pissed on her behalf.

That hero-worship, idealized vision she had of who her sister was is made complicated by the darker feelings she holds, those of anger and guilt and betrayal all made LETTERS a compelling read. Despite the narrator’s young voice, there’s still truth to all she’s feeling. The connections as sisters; the changes to that brought forth by the other one growing up; the roles they’d assign themselves and the shifts there because of outside factors… then a tragedy that’s left her struggling to deal with a matter she’s so obviously ill-equipped to deal with.

New day, new school; aunt instead of mother; father instead of mother and only part time at that; then out-there girls instead of the sister she’d come to count on: everything’s was changing at a point when the worst thing had just happened, so that the newness of things for her is colored by this nostalgia for what things were like with her sister in the picture and notions of what could have been for her had she stayed in said picture.

Some parts in LETTERS worked for me; yet a lot more didn’t. The letters to those she picked were yet another link to her idolized sister. Yet in the latter’s absence there’s growth in that world making it clear she’s trying to be her own person… and eventually she does become her own person. But in the meantime, it’s that the younger couldn’t be her own person and WHY that was which sort of broke my heart. Yet, it’s in seeing parallels with the lives of the rich and broken that felt a touch to precocious and precious and there fore unreal to me.

I too liked the boy because he’s not perfect; that imperfection had him reading MOST REAL to me. The imperfection of all their reactions, in fact, is what made them all real for me.  It’s each their imperfect (re)actions that hit hardest.

Thank you, Net Galley!

...
im split on this... on one hand a couple of the 'deeper' moments read too profound and written in purposefully to pull the heart strings, but then there were other instances, too...

review in a bit


much thanks, netgalley!



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Monday, December 2, 2013

Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor

Maybe One DayMaybe One Day by Melissa Kantor

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


It’s a relatively quick read with maybe one or two moments that I felt authentic rather than not prompted out of me given the subject matter. Overall, though I was waiting for that moment where I would stop asking ‘is this where I cry now?’ Going into it I knew there would be some sad moments, but I kept waiting for That Moment. But that’s fine, despite that waiting, the narrator is not hard to like, and her story easy to connect with.

The backdrop of them as dancers and them as more sisters than best friends made it perfectly clear:  Zoe’s not just some bystander. The addition too of that romantic development for her made things even better because clearly: even with all the sads happening, life goes on. While you could argue that things stopped at the point of them finding out what’s wrong (and for a long while that’s what seemed to be happening,) the good thing is while it seemed that way, it’s really not the case. Things were still happening, and people and perception of the same shifting … despite what they all wanted, needed even.

The new discoveries for her: that what she wanted and what’s meant doesn’t always line up; that she’s not just Liv’s best friend; that certain others could form part of her life in the most unexpected ways. It’s all realistically depicted and not over the top; in fact, that shared history between them had everything else that followed feel most authentic:

It’s their friendship that felt most real; that there’s up’s and down’s linking the two; there’s an extension of self for the two of them in the other, and I just loved that. Yet, it’s not just that they’re an extension of each other either; because there’s growth that’s basically forced to happen. Separated as they are, Zoe learns exactly what being Zoe means (the Funny one? the Nice one? Undecided? Committed or Complicated?) There’s all those facets tot her that’s explored, and I also liked that. Except of course I kept waiting for that moment: where I’d stopped thinking ‘Stop teaching me things, and just tell me the story. Now, the romance was at best predictable, and the developments because of it likewise; still… that the book isn’t just about that One Thing makes the addition of that love connection a good one.

Thank you, Edelweiss!




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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

Plus OnePlus One by Elizabeth Fama

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Plus One

This makes five in a series of books I’ve read over the last couple of days that’s made reference to someone’s too intimate use of tu over the more usual (and possibly more formal)  use of  vous. Granted the first four books were actually a part of series revolving foodie romances set in France. Perhaps it’s me encountering the very same thing here, that’s got me remarking on it... because really, those four foodie romances are leaps to this particular YA post apoca.. dystopia.. urban fanta.. read… well, whatever this was, it’s got elements of all those things but without any being the main thing in it. I confess I loved almost everything in this (most everything because there were those disconcerting moments of Gigi as Noma and how unexpected almost vulgar the confrontations with her could get.) 

It’s very cleverly fleshed out this alternative path the world would have gone post-Spanish Flu. That little bit of truth and how far Fama’s imagination has taken things allows us a world that’s not totally implausible as a result… but scary still… scary in the same vein as Offred’s world was (Hello, Handmaiden’s Tale.) It’s Night and Day and the why that is that creates a fascinating romp that covers alt history and speculation on what could be…  though ‘lite’ on both aspects, as mostly this is about a girl and the choices she’s to make. Plus there’s a romance that’s based on a connection not wholly unexpected.

Perhaps it’s that last bit that works best; the way most developments in this are ‘not wholly unexpected.’ Fama’s laid the groundwork for everything so that whatever eventually did happen was not that much of a stretch; yet at the same, despite the laying down of things, not once did anything get boring.

The start alone and the description of her day-to-day (night-to-night? heh.) makes it clear that she’s more than poor girl growing up on the wrong side of things. There’s a standard-feel to her at first, sure; but I mean that in the least negative way: she’s standard YA heroine: kick ass and smarter than she let’s on but wait a blink and she’s all heart on sleeve AND fly by seat of. In short: she’s a mess of a lead, but an endearing one because while there’s no perfection to her makes it’s that fact that had me rooting for her even more.

I have to point out the neat way the world is built up; no info-dumping here, instead there’s a clever meshing of personal histories and present realities that paints a vivid picture of a world divided and people with their places. Day on one had; Night on the other… then this third group that doesn’t fit in either of the first completely, Noma. It’s in these distinctions that some of the darker come out. The shocking exchanges shouldn’t have been so shocking but they still were… but those were side events, ‘exclamation points’ even, because mostly the story was of a girl trying to do right by that she loved; then the same girl opening herself up to possibilities unforeseen.

I enjoyed the more personal aspects too. Her and her family and the little dramas she’s working through. Memories of how things were and how different things had become total throat lump moments there; and even the boy... No, I am not going to go into that and spoil it… needless, there’s a sweetness between then that’s incomprehensible at first as in where did this start again, but eventual connections and well, it worked for me. Hell even the call for change and clamoring for their ‘truth’ worked me.

Thank you, Net Galley!




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Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Chocolate Touch (Amour et Chocolat #4) by Laura Florand

The Chocolate Touch  (Amour et Chocolat #4)The Chocolate Touch by Laura Florand

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Chocolate Touch…Oh, make me stop grinning.

This beats Thief, Kiss, and even Rose because Dominque and Jaime are such sweet hearts. Even the play on words and the play on her name and what he was hearing still has me grinning. She gives him her name, “Jaime” and he asks something like “What do you love?” No kidding but that’s but one moment that has me sighing so hard right now. Then there’s the funny on purpose moments too: the whipping so hard and the licking off of something: all that worked just as well, too. This book works on so many levels, in fact:

She’s lost and figuring things out. He really is a tough guy but puts on a sensitive front for her; both these things are so against the grain I could almost imagine the struggle. Then her and her wonderment over what he was seeing in her. In fact, the same wondering over each their worth and what the other saw; it’s  all so precious! His and her “what” then “why,” made it obvious that the both of them while strong have insecurities that are laid out neatly enough but don’t drown out the romance. There’s a dark touch but that darkness doesn’t overpower the sweet romance going on. And it was sweet… from him seeing her for the first time, to her “using” him as she was, and even to the complications her family was proving themselves to be. Though the family’s not really a complication either… as they all allow some of the more entertaining confrontations to take place.

I enjoyed every bit of this.




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Friday, November 29, 2013

The Chocolate Rose (Amour et Chocolat, #3; La Vie en Roses, #1) by Laura Florand

The Chocolate Rose (Amour et Chocolat, #3; La Vie en Roses, #1)The Chocolate Rose by Laura Florand

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I’d normally hate the clinging and desperate wanting going on in this one, but that it’s HIM doing all that and being funny while at it is, was something different. The way she’s stuck in the middle and the way he’s so aware of everything about their situation made everything just a bit more funny and sexy. Even when it shouldn’t have been: the domineering and controlling and demanding way he could be. The bluntness in his ways, calling everything out: her desire, what they both wanted, and what they ought to be doing about it. It’s all done in his direct to the point manner that his way became sexy. That is just the way he was. She wasn’t that far off with her marshmallow comparison.

I enjoyed this: it’s a different romance between them; sure, we have another sure-cocky chef male lead… but that he’s not just that has the rest of us seeing that just because he’s sure about one thing doesn’t make him that way about all things; that vulnerable side to him? It was… adorable.

I can’t seem to get enough of this series… so Chocolate Touch here I come!



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Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Chocolate Kiss (Amour et Chocolat #2) by Laura Florand

The Chocolate Kiss (Amour et Chocolat #2)The Chocolate Kiss by Laura Florand

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Is there anything more sensual-sexy-decadent than the chocolate in CT (#1)? Apparently there’s plenty more in his MACARONS. Locally all the macarons I’ve come across are chewy sweet and coconut-filled… which while not bad, are concoctions that I highly doubtful to be comparable to anything like what they’re talking about in this book.

If you take Phillipe and Magalain out of the picture, the gastronomic creations here are a character in their own right. Better: each is an extension of the two MC’s in terms of who they are and what they have to offer and what they become for each other. It all gets very sensual and sexy, rich and decadent: and I don’t just mean the creations.

Except things don’t stop there; we soon discover that the sparks between the two have a basis. That push pull between them isn’t just because they’re hot for each other… that competitive streak in her, that self assurance in him, that using of what they both do best contrasted to the shooting the other one down (either purposefully or inadvertently) SPARKS! All the ways and instances their paths cross was had me all a-shiver waiting for the next encounter then the next encounter… then the next. This got hot and scorching right off the bat, but got funny too. And it’s the funny… that’s what made me love them more.

I like the clever way her vision of who they are plays into this as well: prince to witch, lion to gazelle:  each with a certain role to play versus the reality of the both of them plus the fears she’s hiding as well as the things he wants. So it’s not just sexy; there’s a story to work through here… and I enjoyed every bit of it.

Biggest surprise: Philippe what ever you may think, there’s a sweetness to the guy, so that “honest self evaluation versus arrogance” and all that I still was rooting for him.



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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Chocolate Thief (Amour et Chocolat #1) by Laura Florand

The Chocolate Thief (Amour et Chocolat #1)The Chocolate Thief by Laura Florand

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Holy moly! Give me some of what ever he is making. Sylvain and Cade make for a fun introduction to a series I expect I’ll be reading more of (sooner as opposed to later.) It’s fun and sassy and funny. There’s very plenty opportunities for a double entendre and darn it it’s not just funny as each moment is perfectly so that whatever was coming out of his overly confident mouth or hers had me all  a-shiver in anticipation as to what next would be coming.

Now, the tus and the vous each time that was mentioned I had no clue what they were referring to… but overall I enjoyed this, the push-[pull thing between them; the confidence they both had regarding their places in the world; then the working out of who they could for each other and how the food his making became a metaphor for the connection they were building.

Next up: Chocolate Kiss!



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Monday, November 25, 2013

Lady Thief (Scarlet, #2) by A.C. Gaughen

Lady Thief (Scarlet, #2)Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I loved the romance of it all: decisions being made on being with a certain someone and wanting to stay true to that decision then doing so despite everything else going on. Consider: there’s more than one heart-wrenching moment here. The way things work out… him in a dark place and her purposefully putting herself in an even darker one. So that there’s almost an old–school romance feel here; the star crossed kind of them matching perfectly up but being hindered by so many incidentals to get were I wanted them to be.

Merry band of brothers they aren’t. Ron and his Scarlet are plagued with all these things that wrench them part. Little John and his wants make things even more difficult. The only thing I took issue with is her absolute goodness. She’s too good and because of said goodness things (all manner of things that had me shocked) were happening.

The ending has me pissy though; unlike the first one which wrapped things up nicely, this one has them dangling… and phew, but where are things to go now?



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Time After Time (Time Between Us, #2) by Tamara Ireland Stone

Time After Time (Time Between Us, #2)Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Equally sweet and heart wrenching as the first… but maybe a little more of the second? That it’s him this time around and not her doesn’t make things easier or more new. That what she’s experiencing is not the same thing he’s feeling makes the story started in TIB a more complete one:

The way she’s always waiting, you don’t expect the same thing for him… but he is: waiting as well, and worse; the temporary nature of things for things on his end of the time line. And how despite the two of them being in a relationship, they aren’t at all equally situated; so that there are two things going on simultaneously here: her waiting, him moving: sad… obviously, and the romance of it all as well so big, but the fact is his experience of who they are is equally as heart wrenching as things were for her in the first because she’s not just the girl for him, she’s the one in the past… yet, what about in the meantime?

Then all that’s further complicated with family : who his father wants him to be versus what his mother wants for all of them.. plus all those questions of what if’s.” So, it’s not just a love story, it’s not just her and him; mainly it’s him working through the consequences of what he can for himself and others (not just her.)



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Sunday, November 24, 2013

World After by Susan Ee

World After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2)World After by Susan Ee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Totally unrelated but I'm posting it anyway because I want to share teh cute:


   photo 1384972041_zps691f1faf.jpg


So, though you may or may not be able to tell, that's a picture of four of our eight new puppies. And thanks to World After, one of them is getting named Pooky Bear!

I had so much fun reading this. You see, there’s a girl with a mother who’s not exactly the stable sort, both on the look out for the former’s little sister. Wait a minute. Hold up as second, you say. One might recall hos all that is essentially what book one was all about. Why yes, except this one? This one has taken things up several degrees, up several levels of awesome. Not to mention the moments with old faves, plus surprise laugh out loud moments, coupled with really quick pacing, and fierce face offs several times over.


You really need to read this.




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Saturday, November 23, 2013

The House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

House of Ivy & SorrowHouse of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


The House of Ivy and Sorrow has the same issues I had with the author’s Transparent.

The strength of this lies in the descriptions of what it takes to be what they are. Whipple’s take on witchy lore is not just ‘different name but same ole’ thing; there’s a whole new world here. It’s not good witch versus bad witch or light and dark. It’s all dark... but in degrees.  She’s taken some commonly known things and tossed them out with the whole place of power, Consuming and Controlling.

If only the narrator (hell the entire cast) were equal to what was offered up. There’s a breezy and almost too easy/young feel to how the Main Character is presented (or presents things). Granted this is YA, but even for YA, her trio ‘read’ younger. Anyway, despite liking the witchy aspect, the witch herself? Uhm, nope.

Except perhaps it’s that young feel that had events in HOUSE progressing quickly because things went FROM girl-in-love TO girl-dealing-with-Curse in a blink. BUT! But, it’s also what made things feel… too simple.  Need good girl? Need good family? Need hot boy? Need Curse? Need baddy? We have all those; they all fall into place in very short order one after another. I blame the cover (Oh pretty, beautiful gothic-looking scary book cover) which had me expecting something more.  Sadly, I didn’t get that any of that because there’s a disconnect between what’s being described (fingers and nails and pounds of flesh even, curses and places and families of a certain type) AND the too easy-breezy voice that she’s got. And yeah I couldn’t quite make the connection.

Too bad.

Thank you, Edelweiss!




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Friday, November 22, 2013

The Almost Girl by Amalie Howard

The Almost GirlThe Almost Girl by Amalie Howard

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This was up down up for me. So my feelings for this are in the middle. Or may be not? I liked some of it, but (and I’m sorry) I found the bulk of it old hat. Sci-fi world of jumping here to there and back again plus missions being accomplished plus plot twist one then plot twist two then plot twist three. There’s a whole lot of action but not as much heart as I thought that I was going to get.

Mainly, things had a tendency to get obvious. In fact, that title? Major spoiler all its own. But I’m getting ahead of myself: to the good first: the start is solid. You may not know what you’re getting into, but what’s slowly revealed is she’s different. Hell, they’re all different, you just don’t know how or why. Better yet, the lead isn’t just kick ass; she’s kick ass and smart. Little slips establish that she knows stuff and though I didn’t know head/tails nor the rightness/wrongness of what she was saying, it sounded right (believable?) this had her standing out to me a little bit more.

I wish I could dwell on the good, but really... things did get obvious. Not just that title, either; there are all those supposed plot twists ~ which they were not. Anyone could see them coming miles in, even with the little information we’re given to work with … because not much is new. We know she’s from another world. We know she’s Super Soldier and Mad Scientist’s daughter. We know she’s got all these feelings that she’s ignoring; all these feelings, for all these people. Plus there’s this guy! And how all those threads come together? Well, as I was reading it I could tell what was next coming.

So it starts with odd girl/new girl on a mission. Things shift and turn all Terminator ~ which I liked. This shift established just how different she was. I wish I could stop there, but the way other people find themselves in the crosshairs: TOO PAT. There’s more than one too-convenient meeting and making of connections between vital players at just the right moment and in just the right place. Yup, I didn’t love that.

Then there’s the whole other side of things. Now this is where I’m torn: the world itself is, as expected: different. So does the predictability of that turn cancel out the novelty of what’s described? Scorched earth, hybroid this versus android that and all the tech? For me, it sort of did.

I enjoyed some of this, but strangely enough found myself… bored.
Thank You, Net Galley!




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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hushed by Kelley York

HushedHushed by Kelley York

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


it isn't as simple as bad guy doing bad things. there's twisted  purpose to all his actions so that we have a figure righting the wrongs... sometimes in the wrong way; but more there's that slow slow realization on the rightness of his choices. and the dawning that the opposite might be true. it’s that which weighs on him. so that things shift from him as protector, avenger and what not to him, simply being this kid with a history and the acknowledgement that he is just like her in some respects.

his twisted purpose and their twisted relationship went in sharp contrast to who ethan was becoming for him. except frankly, ethan had me doubting his goodness too. the boy read almost too perfect in being there and knowing but accepting, so that you could almost see another vivian in the making. still, it’s their connection that made reading this easier given the complications and all those strings that vivian held.

vivivian, though i sort of liked except maybe i should say was fascinated by. so obviously manipulative, so obviously not right. It’s her part of the story that felt too pat for my liking. there’s an almost too perfect thing in there being a comeuppance for her; there seemed to be no other way for her part to be tied up, and well, maybe things could have been explored?

thank you, net galley!




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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Champion (Legend #3) by Marie Lu

Champion (Legend, #3)Champion by Marie Lu

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


With all these series coming to an end, I cannot help but make comparisons and draw parallels where there are. What’s common: heroic endings as the first step to some well deserved (?) new beginning. I personally thought Allegiant’s end well-done, despite the redundant-feel its first two thirds offered; found Into the Still Blue even better than that, with not one moment in it lagging as each instance cropping up was related clearly to where the story began; thought Pandemonium mind numbingly boring but worse (and a little like Horde) ending with a too- easy fix unrelated to the origins of both their stories. Comparatively, I’d say CHAMPION is equal to the excitement that Allegiant eventually offered AND almost as heartbreaking as ITSB/Horde became. Sure, none of these conclusions are my “absolute-fave” but I appreciate each of them for varying reasons.

My biggest problem with these conclusions are how certain story lines came out of nowhere to resolve problems raised in prior installments; Allegiant, Pandemonium and, for me, a little of Horde suffer this issue. Not so with DAY JUNE and ANDEN, they stuck to their guns and progressed logically from there, but minus the predictability: She’s soldier; he’s rebel; and the other guy’s leader; they grow from these roles, but better yet, they don’t stick to what’s common in getting whiny angsty and mired in all the emotion.

There’s internal confliction, sure, but things don’t get too wishy-washy, angsty. Time and again, they’d all remind me of what initially got me caught up in them in the first place: Day, all about the brother; June, all about the guilt; Anden, all about what’s expected; and the three of them all about what’s best for the Republic. Then there’s a building upon what’s there from soldier or rebel to leader; from leader to symbol. And the more personal elements of what they’d become for each other. That said: there’s constancy without things staying still. 

Staying still and becoming too angsty  *cough* Pandemonium*cough* were given no opportunity here as something was always happening. Recall in LEGEND, my minor complaint of it being too action adventure so much so that the dystopian element had been set aside… in hindsight: maybe not a bad thing? Because things don’t let up here do they? Not to say this was all action no heart because there was heart here. June and Day and all those feels? The back and forth on what they each want and deserve versus what need doing..? *heart-clutch/quiet-sob*

Now I leave you with a question mark: I don’t know how I feel about Day-June and that last bit of the book. I am still processing because at times I find myself asking if this was this another Pandemonium? A resolution written to satisfy all sides; and then in another moment I feel like I did with Allegiant… as in *ugly sob* because it’s just not the same. I’m still processing here.




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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Landry Park (Landry Park #1) by Bethany Hagen

Landry Park (Landry Park, #1)Landry Park by Bethany Hagen

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I still don’t get why that particular period was chosen because in the end LANDRY PARK felt like it was trying to be For Darkness Shows the Stars but didn’t measure up. I get the period in FDSTS because it’s  a retelling, yes? But why that period here?

That aside, the questions on who they are why are all that’s interesting here, especially given mentions of a certain type energy and its unforeseen consequences. So in that we have ambitious background to work with, but all those interesting tidbits as to what happened and why aren’t quite pulled together in the end because instead we’ve have all these romantic entanglements that end up the focus. Oh, what wasted possibilities!

Anyway, new world meets old world (interesting.) The whole set up of her and the few like her being privileged with the rest not being so (OK.) The whole set up of her carrying on the family name and being duty bound to do this or that. (Yeah, I think I’ve read a version of all that before.)

LANDRY PARK has all these elements that individually should have been good, but when taken together as they were here they’ve ended up being: bland. The push-pull love/don’t love going on should have been romantic but ended up frustrating. Secret rebellions versus societal positions should have intrigued (and they did) but lacked something somehow because really, I felt like it should have been harder to piece things together, but it’s not as they’re all there laid out too obviously. Worse yet: the ending is a bit nonsensical.

At least there’s no love triangle.

Thank you, Edelweiss!




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Monday, November 18, 2013

Life By Committee by Corey Ann Haydu

Life by CommitteeLife by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


“It’s something [someone] in a movie would do, and it’s scary and delightful and hopeful and sweet… It may be the crazy-person thing to do, but at least it’s powerful and optimistic.”

(What is foreshadowing?)

That whole thing up there encapsulates my feelings for this book; there’s this step by step toward an a too-Hollywood happy ending that’s almost too perfect with its mix of sweet and sad and improbable. Because the ending is so “only in the movies” that that ending is, if nothing, impossible…. effectively killing most of the good feels building up in me for it.

But early moments first: frankly, ‘twas all those bits and pieces of her as girl-frustrating that worked best. It was how everything was a wreck for her and though we’re unaware “why” that was; at least in this one: she’s (trying to) move on anyway. 

The way things kick off is “aftermath”; we’re plopped in the midst of her epilogue playing out. The Why? Who? How? are recalled. In the mean time: Her life moves on.
>And she’s in love (Or thinks she is.)
>And in the mean time, her mother and father are both hip-cool and are totally unlike any the other parental unit. (More accurately, like her, they are in transition. They’re the three of them in this in-between place that’s shaky and scary… but perhaps, necessary?)
>And in the mean time, she’s not friendless but not popular either, but still happy enough being the book-weirdo and not the tech-weirdo ( Except really, there’s this lonely vibe she’s sending out that had me sympathetic to what she’s going through and what she’s purposefully averting her attention from.)

And it’s because of all that, that I was drawn to this... but Lordy, could things get frustrating! Could she get frustrating! And the Boy! And the Labels! And the friends but not friends, too. She’s not the only one who could screw up… but it’s that fact where admissions are made, that in-your-face strength on her part to owning up to missing someone/loving someone/ being jealous of someone/ and basically not being perfect that made this better, less frustrating. Yet time and again, there’s be a choice made: then it’s made clear again then again then again that though she’s no angel (by any stretch,) she’s still just a kid.

There’s truth in the naivety in her that’s pointed out, in her method of “if I wish it hard enough, often enough, then it’ll come true” Because that’s how things were early on… particularly with regard to her and Joe. But things do move on from there (even if there are some hiccups on the way;) it’s the Committee she’s living through that does it. They had me thinking the opposite of the “more” that they were plugging. It’s so patently optimistic? young-minded? naïve? their live with others and live for The Best (not what’s Right) thing that they were rallying on about. Yet with others choosing her next step (which on paper reads brave but actually reads the opposite), there’s a safety, a buffer between her and having to choose for herself. It’s very ‘safe’ when some nameless faceless someone(s) is out there doing it for her. Star’s” it’s real life” felt most right; in a way, it’s this aspect of that was most successful. That magic lamp feel The Committee had me feeling is brought home in the end: it’s indeed too good to be true.

But despite all the choosing for self or chosen by others, despite the owning up to faults but seeing that it’s not all her doing, despite the I between growing up that everyone is doing in this… that darned too hokey-Hollywood an ending sort of dropped kick my enthusiasm from a maybe four to a three starrer.

Thank you, Edelweiss!




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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Exile by Kevin Emerson

ExileExile by Kevin Emerson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


3.5/5

EXILE makes me want to read his Lost Code now because Somewhere and Some when you all are probably hearing the long echoing of a
  “Nooooooooo….”
in the background. That’d be me. There is a next one, yeah? Because I enjoyed most everything in this even when things got unlikely, even when things are allowed to go easily by un-explained, or even when things veered into an area I’d best not revisit (more on that later.)

They all talk Music. In. Caps. I love that. There’s a heartfelt truth to how they’d go on about it… in particular there’s her lack of talent but her appreciation for it all just the same, which is something I related to. Because hello, me! But it’s all the others’ heartfelt love for their Music that did it for me. It’s a passion I could get behind.

There’s also that remarkable feat of having their music feel true; Caleb’s lyrics had me feeling it plausible. His words are not something from someone ‘trying too hard.’ Come on! I can’t be the only one who’s been let down by too sweet-saccharine/angsty-dramatic  lyrics of past singer-songwriter type characters! Yes, lyrics in books people, you know what I refer to!  Anyway I’m not a Music girl. I appreciate a good ballad; I get misty eyed if the tune is right, get excited and am moved, but I’m no Music girl. I couldn’t tell you who did what and where and why, but that the people in this might/could have? They all had me enjoying this more and then some more again.

Plus, I love the whip smart way she could be even when she wasn’t doing the smart thing. There’s an edgy-ness to the two leads here, akin to how cool-smart John Green MCs tend to be. Here, it’s the Music that drives them. (Again) there’s a passion in her that drives and eventually clouds things up, so that things become not just about the music. In fact, there’s a bit where things get twisty and mystery filled… surprisingly so. But it’s also this aspect that’s balanced out by that predictable romance that was unfolding for her. (And though I say ‘predictable’ the same isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s predictable because… well, name one YA right now without a romantic angle.) It’s this where my 'more on that later' springs; it's the complications here that have got me squinty-eyed, trying to recall if what I think happened did (or didn’t) but going into it might turn spoilery, so I’d best not.

So there’s a Romance, which was sweet and expected. And there’s the Music, which I loved. But it’s not all roses, this. There’s an almost-too-easy way things and people line up. We’re brought in on this one with her past out. She’s the one left out, but her working her way back in was a smidge too quick, the finding of the right person, the connecting of the right people all happen a bit too neatly in this. Even identifying the good guy as well as  the-not good guy is all done in quick order. So in this respect, things felt too pat; but there’s everything else to consider: how she’s not the only one with a past and how the rest of them have something to offer that made things less linear and 1, 2, 3. His past in particular is what allows for the mystery to come into focus….  And yes, it’s fine a Music+Romance+Mystery combination, except for the fact that things felt like they ended to soon.

Thank you, Edelweiss!




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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sorrow's Knot by Erin Bow

Sorrow's KnotSorrow's Knot by Erin Bow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


4.5

Sorrow’s Knot… I have yet to read Erin Bow’s Plain Kate book, but if that is anywhere close to how good this one is then I’m game. SK offers something different with its people and their mystic magical connection.

There’s simplicity in presentation; a matter of fact feel to how their connection is explored. What they all do is very basic, made integral to who they are and how their world works. Much later, they (and we) discover that there are bigger things to consider.

The culture is different, with women in focus. The whole set up of their community: it’s different, fascinating… but not too different as there are threads of possibility. Their way felt real like it could be, or even could have been. The way things are ordered, they way each has a function and the way each function is passed on… it’s not dumped on the reader, but cleverly doled bit by bit. In fact each detail had me expectant for the next because each detail layered on the first and so on painted something different but not too different. There’s clever world building at work here.

But more than world, it’s the characters that are the biggest draw. The community and the roles each player is cast extending to the more personal connections of mother-daughter, and that of “Okshae” (sp)  just gripped me. Each action of one had me pondering the why; each perceived betrayal had me digging deeper; then each discovery of who they were and what they were growing into doing both. Little changes versus things that remained establish that NONE of them are your regular YA read of hero-girl etc. They are more than that:

It’s a girl and her connections plus how those connection propel her forward. But it’s also how she propels others to discover how they do things and why they do things and the consequences of all that. Clever but not just clever… because theirs emotion here, too… emotion stemming from those connections. It’s those connections: old ones and newly formed ones that I loved.




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Friday, November 15, 2013

Four Seconds to Lose by KA Tucker

Four Seconds to Lose (Ten Tiny Breaths, #3)Four Seconds to Lose by K.A. Tucker

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Four Seconds to Lose is another title that I don’t quite get. But hey, it’s a quick read minus the college age leads with the too dramatic life. I like that this takes things toward the not real at all:  he’s a strip club owner and she’s working for him. But more, she’s got a past (yes, a dark murky past is given in all NA’s) and surprise: so does he!

But wait again:  it’s all good because minus the good girl on college track, and not-bad boy of all college girl’s dreams, we’ve two characters who make things interesting in what they do and why. Nobody is innocent in this one. Nobody is JUST dark and scarred… they are active characters (thank the gods!) whose stories interesting ones… highly unlike ones, but hey interesting ones, because they were not all about daddy-issue this or absent-mom that.

The way things are for the both of them: fantasy land and that’s fine, too. Because there’s not pretense of things being “real” and “true” and about the “emotion”  they bring out in each other. It’s all very action-movie ish, with a dash of sexy; B action movie-ish at that complete with not well-known actors playing out certain scenes. Am I making sense? My point is I enjoyed this and was less frustrated by the implausibility of it all because we don’t go into it with her as girl to be saved, nor with boy-man doing the saving. We don’t go into it with college age people doing non college things…and then the fact that it's sexy… and yes, quick.




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Thursday, November 14, 2013

One Tiny Lie by KA Tucker

One Tiny Lie (Ten Tiny Breaths, #2)One Tiny Lie by K.A. Tucker

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


So, someone explain the title again please. What’s the one tiny lie? I have yet to read Ten Tiny Breaths, but I picked this thinking another it would be another New Adult easy read, both the drama and the sexy notwithstanding. And indeed all those are present because I need a quick read (if just to pad my reading challenge before the year is up) But seriously, this wasn’t bad… too bad:

Another girl with a past; another boy with a past his own… both whose lives are complicated by boy-perfect’s presence as well as complicated some more by people in authority doing the most unexpected things. (Doctor… are you a doctor?)

Not quite simple though… yes, there’s boy-girl-boy troubles, but it’s their respective histories that make for an interesting read. There’s Livie and her good girl directed-ness, who life is shaken up on purpose by the doctor who does not read like one. There’s Ashton, bad boy and forever girl… I still don’t get him, but sexy, things got with him in the picture. Then take all those declarations of forever girl and I love you (maybe?) and man, the drama level did sky rocket, yes?

It’s OK… sometimes implausible with the declarations; sometimes nonsensical in who is who for another but at least it’s quick.




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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ten Tiny Breaths by KA Tucker

Ten Tiny Breaths (Ten Tiny Breaths, #1)Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


TEN TINY BREATHS

So, Trent doesn’t actually do anything in this does he? Only to the end is his role made clearer. And yes, it’s something you can call out early on because the hints? There were many in this. That said,  TTB is readable with Kaycee broken as she was. And what’s made reading it more interesting isn’t the plot twist (that’s not really a plot twist if you’re paying attention) but the whole broken girl moving on or trying to.

Storm and Livvie and Tanner and Ben and yes, Trent... plus that doctor? All of these old and new people in her life have her revealing that’s she’s more than more than tough girl/sad past. Because though she’s all that, there’s funny moments as well as authentic heart wrench that she’s part of too.

I will admit that it’s how her past catches up to her AND the blow up that follows that shifts TTB from being just another NA  so-so read to this: something that felt like it was going somewhere else.  But the best thing is how the big blow up isn’t followed up by an easy fix. Because both leads eventually prove that pasts meeting up does not mean being made for each other. Things get complicated and melodramatic but not without reason; the things that happen make sense; their way of thinking a bit simplistic and the solutions they wanted to offer each other likewise too easy, but their eventual facing up to things and how things stand? That’s the bit that worked for me.




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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry

The Summer I Found YouThe Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


The Summer I Found You… outside their respective issues, the two main leads lacked something vital. That is: personality. Her head in sand and him wanting to be seen for more than what’s been lost made things drama heavy, and at times could become a bit much. 

It touches on some undeniably important things too but they’re tackled so that the impact ended up less than what it could (should?) have been... for both the leads. With the way things are set up: the meeting, that 'just' knowing, and then that build up towards there being a ”them,” all that had everything else swept aside. And while that may have been the point (the both of them ignoring what’s in their face,) the needy moments coupled with the frustrating wrong headedness they both could be got old fast. The them together felt too perfect with each other’s needing and wanting; they felt too matchy-matchy with him helping her through things and vice versa, all the while no one’s actually voicing out what really needs addressing. That for her, there's a need to face up to the gravity of things; for him, it’s an inability to move on, simply because his “what now” is a blank.

That type of heavy-ness? I could have dealt with, but when it’s the romance that’s become the focus more and more (or the complications that arise from that) that propel things forward… well, it’s just not enough.

This could have been more.

Thank you, Net Galley!




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Monday, November 11, 2013

Dark Witch by Nora Roberts

Dark Witch (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, #1)Dark Witch by Nora Roberts

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Dark Witch… the way they all get together and the way she knows who she is and what she’s there for, wasn’t that great … there’s next to zero build up. It’s all straight to the points of romantic or magical and dangerous. I had no opportunity to figure out if I liked who she was, when it’s just said that she’s this one, then he’s that one and please go with it. 

There’s no build up. There’s no introduction to who and why and what. The first chapters had me thinking otherwise, but fast forward to present day setting and we have her and we have him and we have them… and things just are.

Just thinking about what could have been... and I could have really loved the whole burn your bridges and build new ones for her... except there’s really not that much known about her. And too much know about how much like Cowboy/Pirate/ Something or other he was for her….

Also hello, brother-sister-sister trilogy, last I read on of you was with Shane in that other Irish setting Nora Roberts book. Oh how I have missed thee.





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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

AttachmentsAttachments by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I am swooning so hard and not over Lincoln either... Although… that ending and his spiel on inevitable explicable and plausible has me slightly (more than slightly) happy over the possibility of a guy like him. But it’s all the Y2K stuff that’s got me jazzed… nostalgia, i'm feeling it. Plus, the BFF-ship going on in this one. And OK, OK, Lincoln too… but not just.

I loved most of this because
This was pure nostalgia…
The what would Tom Hank/MegRyan/ or some other random rom com standard do if so and so?
Then Matrix and those bullets.
Incidental mentions of Backstreet Boys (I cringe now as I cringed then)

But the deeper aspects too…
Jobs and wondering why you’re doing what you are.
Of best friends and random talk…
Wanting more.

And yes…
Love at first sight VERSUS love before that.
Yes. I Swoon. Swoon. Swoon. Swoon. How can I not?




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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Horde by Ann Aguirre

Horde (Razorland, #3)Horde by Ann Aguirre

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


2.5

I suggest you read this in one go… because the stop start method I went with killed the momentum allowing for moments of consideration on my part. And man, I wish I was just in it for the ride… because I didn’t love it. There’s an abruptness to events that have me feeling necessary hero now please. Plus abruptness in development of who gets to do what and realize what and be what for the rest of them. Plus unlikely moments that come out of nowhere because what now? Allies from where now? And what’s she planning now? Naaah, I loved the necessary toughness that she started out with, but she’s morphed into someone else I could not completely believe. From huntress to softy but not exactly; it’s being topside with the rest of them has her becoming someone else. Which was OK? I guess. But it’s Deuce of old that hooked me to begin with.

So, there’s a tenderness here that’s not a bad thing, but frankly, glaringly felt out of place. Who she’s become for Fade and vice versa, and who Stalker then Doc had become? There’s change in all of them that I could barely see the connection to who they were and where their stories started. It’s partially good… because people change, right? But the whole reason I was so into it all to begin with was what I saw initially. Mainly it’s the softness contrasted to her go get them attitude that’s got me wondering if that’s what she was from the first. Was she? It’s been so long, I’m just not sure.




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Friday, November 8, 2013

The Temptation of Lila and Ethan (The Secret, #3) by Jessica Sorensen

The Temptation of Lila and Ethan (The Secret, #3)The Temptation of Lila and Ethan by Jessica Sorensen

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Ethan and Lila… This is what I was looking for what picking up book two in the Ella-Micah story. She’s not good for herself; he’s not good for himself; yet something about the two of them works well enough. Except, once again, push-pull-push-push. There’s a sizzle to the two of them AND it’s them not owning up to it that has that same thing becoming this BIG thing. 

It worked ‘till all the drama came up, of her seeing herself a certain way, and her needing him a certain way. And him being there all the darned time. I don’t think I like knights and their shining armor…. Too bad, because Ethan does a lot of saving in this one and I wish that were not the case. Because  it’s the screwed-up matter of fact-ness that they both were on their own that I bought completely. But the “I messed up” and “I need...”  someone else to do the picking up? I wish things didn’t pan out that way.  Because man, save yourself please!




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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fault Lines by Christa Desir

Fault LineFault Line by Christa Desir

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Give me the conclusion that I want! Hell, give me ANY conclusion. FAULT LINE is a painful read in the same way that Pieces of Us and the Storyteller were. It’s rape but tackled in a way that had me divided.

The impact of that one night goes beyond the girl and her thereafter. It’s a personal violation, yes? Even the most personal of violations there could be, right? Yet, it’s in the way things are told, how the impact of that one night and how said impact is  given broader reach than expected (or wanted); so that it’s not her trauma alone to get over; it’s not her putting her life together anymore. At least that’s not what we’re privy to here. There’s just something about that that bugs me… though what that is, I’m not quite able to put in words… yet.

So FAULT LINE has us witness how the one on the sidelines deals with her as she (doesn’t) deal with it. It’s not just one person on the side either, because there are people there for him and it’s the same people who are either unaware or too aware of what’s going on that takes us a one then two more degrees away from point of impact.

It’s in stepping away from her that they both become victims in my eyes and I couldn’t wrap (still can’t) my head around that shift in perception. From the start I was all “ho-hum” about the guy because from the start I knew something bad was coming, yet for a good long while things were good; the change from good to really bad for them had everything in hyper-focus. As in me, jaw clench and feeling all these feels for her…then for him… then for them.

But the progression of him in the spotlight as opposed to on her had me stepping back. WTH?! Why him? Why his point of view? Then with each those “other” change in who she as from former free spirit to current damaged girl, well those had me taking one more, then two more steps back. Why? She felt over-simplified; and his role, felt over-emphasized… at first because there’s another realization that I wasn’t alone in feeling that way:

”Again with the common reactions to rape? Is everything a common reaction to rape?
***
“This all sounds like it comes out of a ‘very special episode’ of some crappy TV show. Seriously. Are you reading from a book? This is Ani. She’s not some poster girl for the damaging effects of irresponsible drinking or how rape can change your life. She’s Ani. My Ani.”


Yet, the longer I read the less I begrudged the boy telling the story his way because even if Ani were at the core of things; it’s the after that becomes the focus. How she, then he, then they change so drastically. Still, there’s the sentiment that she’s not the only one surviving that I was (still am) having a hard time with.

“This shit is bigger than you. You gotta talk to someone. You’re not gonna fix her or make her better. And honestly, who do you think you are to even try?”




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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Very Bad Things (Briarcrest Academy#1) by Ilsa Madden Mills

Very Bad Things (Briarcrest Academy, #1)Very Bad Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Very Bad Things. Oh well, I can tell you now, I was expecting more out of this. It all boils down too being same old-same old: her with some dark secret thing haunting her; him with some of that but being all strong AND pressing forward. Unless. Unless one considers how strong and in your face the girl could be. And funny. There one or two moments of her saying the right things (and the wrong one, too) that had me believing her.

The start hooked me right in as she’s so sure of who she is or rather who she doesn’t want to be. And it’s compelling, reading her set her sights on a goal, do what she’s doing, and just be. That certainty on her part for him allows for some of the more intense electric moments, but it’s also what allows for most of the melodrama to seep through. (Again, melodrama no big deal as it’s NA, right?)  Yet despite the whole building up of things… it’s not quite all that is it? Why that it, I’m not so sure.

Perhaps it’s because there’s not enough to have this standing out for me… but it could have. Because as things were, we went from good to bad to boring and then back and forth then sides ways there. For instance, her past notwithstanding, she’s strong (or was trying to be;) or his past notwithstanding, he’s not all alpha perfect all the time. He screws up! So does she! But neither of them got stuck there! till’ something else would come up. They weren’t consistent; this wasn’t’ and perhaps, that’s my main issue with this.




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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Sex & Violence by Carrie Mesrobian

Sex & ViolenceSex & Violence by Carrie Mesrobian

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


It’s more than coping, though the same makes up a big portion of this.  Sure, half of this is about where he’s going but the other half is where he’s been; a lot of this is how the latter’s shaped (redirected?) the former, so that there are stretches of Evan figuring out who he was, where he is, and why; but there’s the unexpected given ‘new place’ and his past left long ways behind… only that’s not what happens, or not just what happens; because in the meantime, we’ve others’ pasts/presents/futures crossing with his.

On the past: who his mother was/is to his father. On his present: how he is his father’s son, all “economical” but not just that. On the future: Baker, Jim, Tom, etcetera with all their Last Chance Summers.  With all that going on, thins could have ended up scattered, yet things tie up anyway, concluding in such a way that’s got me (may be?) hopeful and not just for him…OK, mainly for him.

But me loving the story’s progression toward that ending has me skipping some of its very well-done aspects. Like how refreshing and accurate a depiction “getting better” is given in this one. It isn’t one step forward then another. For him, it’s stepping out of a comfort zone (slowly), then in other instances, getting dragged back into old patterns. Nothing happens in a snap... nothing A. B.C. And that’s great because each moment with him telling the story had me believing  that he’s not just some made up kid by in some author’s head. Yes, that’s even with the tragic point at which the story starts… mainly because he wasn’t all tragic all the time.

Which brings me to yet another thing that kept me reading: there’s the fear,  anger, and the guilt; there’s also whole thing on responsibility/blame; but there’s the day-to-day regular stuff  of “new kid” problems, of strutting your muscles and feeling like a douche in doing so, or thinking others douches in doing so.. The crabby, nitpicky but funny way he lays it out for me to laugh along with. Heck, even the even the ogling and boy-speak was done in a non-douche way; instead both were half-apologetic and half-honest, as in “it is what it is and I do what I do… because.

But this got heavy and not just for the usual reasons because there’s this new perspective for him, as he contrasts how he was to where he is; as he contemplates over what he and his father were, but more importantly what they could be. And even heavier still, him FINALLY knowing first hand what friends do, and what friends are. It’s different because it’s not limited to what’s obvious. In the telling, his voice is fresh; there’s an accuracy to how things are laid out, not crude (at least not often) but more basic, not flower-y  or prettified, just very as is. All those relationships that he allows himself balances out the tragic; there’s angst and jealousy but there’s also the humor and (re) connections made. Basically, things don’t just pivot on that one event.





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