Sunday, March 19, 2017

Reader Questionnaire

Hi readers,

I wanted to branch out and get some thoughts from you all! I'm really hoping you'll comment as it will help me out a lot.

I want to start taking reader suggestions on what to read. I know that a few people have given me ideas, and I wanted to try and compile them in one place. So what I would like from you lovely readers is to comment below with books you'd really like for me to review. It can be one book or a list of books. Just comment below and let me know what you want a review on!  I think this will make reading my reviews more enjoyable for you all and also make me expand my boundaries.


Thanks :)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Book Review of The Merciless by Danielle Vega

Goodreads Summary: Forgive us, Father, for we have sinned
Brooklyn Stevens sits in a pool of her own blood, tied up and gagged. No one outside of these dank basement walls knows she’s here. No one can hear her scream.

Sofia Flores knows she shouldn’t have gotten involved. When she befriended Riley, Grace, and Alexis on her first day at school, she admired them, with their perfect hair and their good-girl ways. They said they wanted to save Brooklyn. They wanted to help her. Sofia didn’t realize they believed Brooklyn was possessed.

Now, Riley and the girls are performing an exorcism on Brooklyn—but their idea of an exorcism is closer to torture than salvation. All Sofia wants is to get out of this house. But there is no way out. Sofia can’t go against the other girls . . . unless she wants to be next. . . .

In this chilling debut, Danielle Vega delivers blood-curdling suspense and terror on every page. By the shockingly twisted end, readers will be faced with the most haunting question of all: Is there evil in all of us?
Goodreads Rating: 3.62 with over 7,000 ratings
Genre Rating: Horror, Young Adult, Paranormal, Exorcism
Get the book: AmazonBook Depository
2017 Reading Challenge: #19 A book you chose because of the cover

Review:

I've meant to read The Merciless by Danielle Vega for a while. I originally saw it on Net Galley when I was still active on there. I had no clue what it was about but wanted to read it because it was girly pink with a pentagram. Literally, the only reason I wanted to read it. Eventually, I learned it was about Exorcism, and that got me a lot more intrigued. The best way I can describe this book is the movie Mean Girls had a relationship with the movie The Craft and had an affair with Pretty Little Liars, and the result was The Merciless.

I feel torn on this book. I like the idea of it, and the sequence of events was fascinating, but I hated the characters. All of them. I don't feel like there were any strong characters or even had any redeeming qualities. All of the characters felt extremely one dimensional to me. There wasn't anything to connect me to them what so ever. You get very little detail about any of their lives, and they all seem incredibly fake. I think the only character I actually liked was Sofia's grandmother and the only word she says in the entire book is "Diablo."

I know some of this was probably meant to create some mystery revolving around their sins, but the lack of detail just made the characters feel like placeholders. Had there been some character development, I think it could have been a really interesting book. It definitely was twisted, but being messed up and gory isn't enough to make me love it or really even like it. The only reason I actually finished it was because it was so short and it was the book I said I was definitely going to read this month. I felt like Sofia's big sin was predictable. Grace and Riley's sins were underwhelming. Alexis' sin was the only one that actually shocked me, but she kind of gave off the psychopath vibe anyways. Brooklyn was just weird.

Maybe I had too high of hopes for this, but I was just really unimpressed with the whole story. Don't even get me started on the relationships. Or why Riley has it out for Brooklyn. I'm not going to make any promises about reading the second book in the series. I don't really have any desire to at this time, but stranger things have happened. 


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

February Reading Challenge Update

Good evening, readers! I am way behind on this post, and I apologize for that. I've been insanely busy lately.  I didn't read as much as I'd have liked to in February, but I did manage to get three books read.

You can check out my reading challenge here.


6. A book that's considered a classic


I almost listed this one as my choice for the Dystopian novel, but given that I really don't read classics I thought this was a better fit. Mainly just to make it easier on myself.

46. A romance novel 

I'm thinking I went with the obvious choices for my list this month. I wanted to do explanations, but I feel like these are pretty self-explanatory.

8. A book about royalty


I feel like half the books I read could probably be under #8. I read a lot of historical fiction about royals. This one was about the Queen of England/France back in the 1100-1200s.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February Books of the Month


Hello, readers! It's time for me to post my Books of the month! As a reminder on how this works, I'm going to briefly talk about two books. The first will be my favorite book I read in February and the second will be a book I intend to read in March.


I only got a chance to read three books in February. I was pretty busy and incredibly sick for most of it. That being said, Public Secrets by Nora Roberts was by far my favorite of the three. I could not put it down. This was my introduction to Nora Roberts, and it has me hooked. I can't wait until I can read some more of her work. I really liked how Public Secrets combined mystery, romance, and the drama of a Rock and Roll life. It was very entertaining. If you'd like to check out my review, you can find it here.


Before I get into March's book I intend to read, I have to talk a bit about the book I meant to read for February. So the Book for February was supposed to be The Book Thief. However, the copy I have is a used copy. Normally that wouldn't be an issue, but this particular copy is riddled with someone's notes, highlights, and thoughts throughout the entirety of it. It was really distracting, and I couldn't get past a couple of pages because of it. So that being said, I'm pushing The Book Thief back until I can get a different copy.


My book I intend to read for March is The Merciless by Danielle Vega. I have a feeling I'm going to have a love/hate relationship with this book. But what I've heard about it has me incredibly intrigued. I'm not sure I've read about exorcisms before, so it should be interesting (or so I hope.) I'd love it if anyone wanted to read this in March as well so we can discuss it later on!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Book Review of The Agincourt Bride by Joanna Hickson

Goodreads Summary: 
The epic story of the queen who founded the Tudor dynasty told through the eyes of her loyal nursemaid.
Her beauty fuelled a war.
Her courage captured a king.
Her passion would launch the Tudor dynasty.

When her own first child is tragically still-born, the young Mette is pressed into service as a wet-nurse at the court of the mad king, Charles VI of France. Her young charge is the princess, Catherine de Valois, caught up in the turbulence and chaos of life at court.

Mette and the child forge a bond, one that transcends Mette’s lowly position.
But as Catherine approaches womanhood, her unique position seals her fate as a pawn between two powerful dynasties. Her brother, The Dauphin and the dark and sinister, Duke of Burgundy will both use Catherine to further the cause of France.

Catherine is powerless to stop them, but with the French defeat at the Battle of Agincourt, the tables turn and suddenly her currency has never been higher. But can Mette protect Catherine from forces at court who seek to harm her or will her loyalty to Catherine place her in even greater danger?
Goodreads Rating: 3.79 Stars with over 1500 ratings
Genre Listing: Historical Fiction, French Culture, European Literature
Get the Book: AmazonBook Depository
Book Challenge: #8 A Book about Royalty

Review:

I finished this a few days ago, and just now got a chance to sit down and post my review, so I'm sorry for the delay. The Agincourt Bride by Joanna Hickson was surprisingly delightful historical fiction. It was something I picked up for relatively cheap on Kindle, and I had a really hard time putting it down.

The story is narrated by Mette, who when the story starts is a young girl barely 15 years old. Her tale begins when she has just lost her first child and ends up becoming a midwife to the Royal Princess, Catherine. After a series of unexpected events, Mette finds herself rising above her station as Catherine grows from a princess to a queen. 

I really liked Mette as a character and a narrator. I thought she was brilliant and had a lot of wisdom for her age. It was interesting to see the court life from a servant instead of just the royal character or a lady in waiting. I felt that Catherine was a strong character as well. She was witty, charming, and valued things like what someone was reading or how they treated someone. 

The thing I appreciated the most about this historical fiction is it didn't make the time seem glamorous. It didn't skip over the unsavory parts of the time frame like the disease, rape, or unclean living conditions. It made it seem more realistic. I'm not saying that I necessarily want to read about those terrible things, but regarding historical accuracy, it feels appropriate. 

I was really surprised by the living situation of the royal children when they were younger. It is not at all what I expected of princes and princesses, and there were a few spots in this book I gasped at the depravity they faced. Joanna Hickson does a fantastic job of making the reader feel 100 different emotions throughout this book. 

Due to the length of this book, readers not only get to read about Mette being in service to Catherine but also Mette's husband and children. While I enjoyed reading about Mette's daughter Alyc, I kind of felt like Mette's husband and son got the raw end of the deal. There's something that happens to Mette's husband, and he ends up disappearing for a while and it felt like that part of the story could have been polished up a bit more. The same with her son. Sometimes it felt like Mette even forgot that she had a son, though it was interesting that he kind of ends up on the opposite side of the war. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was nice to read about a royal character I haven't read about yet, and it gave me a chance to learn about the French court instead of the English court. It looks like this is a series, and if so I have every intention of checking out more of the books. 



Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Book Review of Public Secrets by Nora Roberts

Goodreads Summary:  From Nora Roberts, the incomparable New York Times bestselling author of Sanctuary and Montana Sky, comes a mesmerizing story of a woman trapped by a dangerous desire and threatened by a murderous secret, one of Nora Roberts's most popular novels. Emma. Beautiful, intelligent, radiantly talented, she lives in a star-studded world of wealth and privilege. But she is about to discover that fame is no protection at all when someone wants you dead....
All she has to do is close her eyes and she remembers the magical day her father came into her life. She was a frightened, lonely toddler, hiding, always hiding, from her mother's wrath, when Brian McAvoy swept in and took her away. She didn't know then that she was his illegitimate daughter or that she had just been rescued by pop music's rising new star. All she knew was that suddenly she felt safe.
And there wasn't only Brian...his new wife became Emma's loving stepmother, his band members became her surrogate uncles, and soon Emma even had a new baby brother to care for. Then just when everything seemed perfect, a horrifying event shattered all their lives: a botched kidnapping attempt, shocking the
world, traumatizing Emma, leaving her bereft of her newfound happiness.
Yet now, after so many years of pain and guilt, of being overprotected and hounded by the press, Emma finally feels as if she's put the tragedy behind her. A determined, self-sufficient young woman, she has carved out a thrilling career, and even dared to fall rapturously in love. But the man who will become her husband isn't all that he seems. And Emma is about to awaken to the chilling knowledge that the darkest secret of all is the one buried in her mind--a secret that someone may kill to keep.
With Public Secrets, Nora Roberts has woven an absorbing tale of a woman you can't help but care for, trapped in a terrifying web of suspense that will keep you reading long into the night.

Goodreads Rating: 3.94 stars with over 10,000 ratings
Genre Listing: Romance, Romantic Suspense, Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery
Get the Book: AmazonBook Depository
Reading Challenge: #46 a Romance Novel
Book Haul: January 2016

Review:

Let it be known that my Sister-In-Law is a damn enabler. She and I went to Half Priced Books back in January, and I told her to pick me out a Nora Roberts book. This is one of her favorite authors, and she's always trying to get me to read Nora's work. I finally caved, and she picked out Public Secrets for me. I can not stress enough that I could not put this book down. I was completely engrossed in this book. I found myself doing a little bit of work and then reading a few chapters, going back to work, and stopping to read a few more chapters. And then staying up way late into the night to finish it. I actually had the book done a few days ago, I've just been trying to catch up from reading it that I haven't been able to do a post about it. I'm in trouble because I know Nora has like 800 books, so I'm probably never getting anything done ever again if I try to read any more of them.
This book has just about everything, rockstars, romance, mystery, awesome characters, less than savory characters. It's incredibly well-written, and I liked how the tone of the book changed with Emma aging. The book starts off when Emma is just three and is living with her awful excuse of a mother. Jane Palmer, Emma's mom, is a coniving terrible witch of a woman. Everything about Jane made me disgusted and feel sorry for Emma and Brian for having to deal with that woman. Luckily, it made Emma into a really strong character. I instantly felt sorry for her and wanted to read about her growing up and getting beyond all the hurt caused by Jane. I think that Emma is one of the strongest characters I've read about, at least any time recently. She overcomes a great deal of pain to eventually find happiness.

I thought Brian was an interesting character and showed a lot of depth. He was a rockstar, devoted husband, and father, but then he also had his flaws. I really felt like this book showed him working through a lot of his issues with the help of Emma. I liked his bandmates as well, with Johnno being my favorite. I thought he played the role of charming surrogate uncle very well.

I thought that the who Emma ends up with and who the killers were was pretty obvious for a good chunk of the story. It didn't really deter me in any way, there just wasn't any real shock and awe factor for me because of it. She definitely ended up with who I wanted her to end up with, and I think it played out in a really interesting way. The other one is completely vile, and not worth mentioning. That being said, he definitely gets what he deserves.

I loved this book, and can't wait to read more of Nora Roberts books. Though, I think I'll have to devote time to them as I'm sure I will not be able to put them down. 


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Book Review of 1984 by George Orwell

Goodreads Summary: The year 1984 has come and gone, but George Orwell's prophetic, nightmarish vision in 1949 of the world we were becoming is timelier than ever. 1984 is still the great modern classic of "negative utopia" -a startlingly original and haunting novel that creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing, from the first sentence to the last four words. No one can deny the novel's hold on the imaginations of whole generations, or the power of its admonitions -a power that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.
Goodreads Rating: 4.13 stars with over 1.9 million ratings
Genre Listing: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Literature, Fantasy, Philosophy, Politics, British Literature
Get the Book: AmazonBook Depository
Book Challenge: #6 A Book that's considered a classic

Book Review:

I finished a classic! Woohoo! I feel like I should get some kind of award when I actually finish a classic. I don't know what it is, but I have a hard time reading them. 1984 by George Orwell was a bit of a rollercoaster for me. At times I found myself completely engaged in it and not able to put it down, but then there were a lot of occasions where I felt like it was painfully boring and I just wanted it to get on with the point. I really didn't find myself getting into it until around 40% and after that my interest in it was sporadic at best. 

Given that this book was produced in the late 40s early 50s, it's actually a bit terrifying. There were definite places that I could draw some connections to modern day. I can also see why this year purchases of it have skyrocketed, but I'm not going to dive any further into that subject. You all can infer what you want from it, and leave it at that.

I thought the idea of Winston's job was really interesting and how there are entire organizations to altering previously recorded information. The workers in the party just seem to go with it and update it as needed and no one but Winston seems to question it. I also found it interesting, and terrifying, that the entire culture was built on hate and fear. The world that Orwell created seems dark and awful, which I suppose is what Big Brother intended. 

The imagery created was something I really enjoyed. I thought that Orwell went into a surprising amount of detail about the devices used, the scenery, and just the every day to day life of an outer party member. The gadgetry almost seemed a little steampunk to me, but given that this would have been 30 years into the future for Orwell, I thought it was pretty incredible that he created it. 

I didn't really get the relationship with Julia, and I really disliked her. She seemed really vapid to me and like she just hated the party because it was something to do, and nothing to do with her actual thoughts. I honestly could have done without her in the story, but I suppose Winston's relationship with her is what progressed him into diving further into his own thoughts. 

The ending surprised me quite a bit. I was expecting something completely different, but I'm not disappointed in the actual ending. It fit really well with the darkness and bleakness of the story, and honestly, I think it made everything a bit more interesting.  The one thing that really threw me off was the chapters that were written from "the book." I felt like they were dreadfully boring, and honestly, I mostly skimmed them so I wouldn't fall asleep.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. I can see why it's a classic. It's not going to be my favorite book ever, but I'm glad I took the time to read such an important classic. I definitely think that it's the backbone and inspiration of a lot of dystopian books that are out today.