January 25, 2014

Mini-Bloggiesta: I shall try!!

So yeah! I'm going to attempt doing the mini-version of Bloggiesta. 

I don't know how much I'll get done because I also got a pile of work from... well, work, but i shall try to at least attempt some stuff. 

So, my super short list goes like this:
  • Clean Tags from posts.
  • Search for posts whose images have gone kaput.
  • Update my review index (which I haven't done since march of last year).
  • Set post for upcoming reviews.
  • Attempt at least one challenge. 
  • Organize review books by expiration date and pub date
  • Clean up my goodreads tags
So, good luck everyone! And May Pedro be ever in your favor!

January 21, 2014

Book Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

At First Sight: For as long as she can remember, summer means going Beechwood Island, to her grandparent's summer house, where all of her mom's family gathers each year for the season. Her family is relatively wealthy, well regarded and influential... and they like it that way.

Candance mostly loves these summers, where she gets to spend time with Mirren and Johnny, and Johnny's best friend Gat (who has been coming to the island almost as long as the rest of them). The rest of the time they live too far apart, but every summer they pick up right where they left and become the Liars.

The Summer Candance was fifteensomething happened, something that meat she couldn't go back for Summer Sixteen. But now, on Summer Seventeen and things will be as they always were. Or will they?

Second Glance: I'm being vague with the summary because I don't want to spoil anything for anyone who wants to read We Were Liars, but also because I don't really have much to say about this book. I didn't like it, the writing style was often stilted and oddly formal and like it wanted to be all lyrical but just sounded weird, like I often stopped myself to think "Who the heck talks like this?"

It has to do with what happened in Summer fifteen but it just annoyed me - I felt the mystery was kind of flimy and went on for too long, but had We Were Liars been better, I could have over come that - lets be honest, after years of watching Sherlock, House and countless CSI, mysteries are always kind of flimsy to me - but for me, with E. Lockhart, it always comes down to motive.

This "thing" that happens and why it happens... well, it was just about the stupidiest thing to me, and I know these were 15 year olds and impulsive and whatever, but the thing is that it doesn't read like what happened it was impulsive, it sounds like these four otherwise brilliant kids thought it was a Great Idea. Like, all the roads that lead them there are kind of dumb, and I can't imagine being fifteen and being in the same situation as them and say "Oh, yeah, that'll work." And I was and impulsive, often morose kid and I did some pretty stupid things in my day.

So yeah the motives this kids have so don't work with me. So, rather than loving this book it was like reading Frankie Landau-Banks all over again. Which I know a lot of people love but which I hated on principle - Frankie's goes ahead and messes with all these boys because they wouldn't let her join their secret club. You know what you do when that happens, Frankie? You go and creat your own damn club and make it more awesome!!!!! But I disgress.

Bottom Line: We Were Liars wasn't for me. I think some people might like it - same as with Frankie Landau-Banks - but for me it just fell flat. There were some bits of really good writing on it, but it was just too much to muddle through to get there. And I had no emotional connection to these people whatsover, largely as a result of the writing style.

We Were Liars is out May 13th, 2014


January 18, 2014

Minis: January Wish and February or Forever by Juliet Madison

The January Wish

The Deal: Dr. Sylvia Green is a practical woman, she works hard as a GP in her small costal town, she's dating a surgeon from a near by hospital and is generally happy with her own life. But a flight of fancy took her to the Tarrin's Bay Wishing Festival held every january at the town's park, and made her throw in a coin and make a wish, even though she knows it's silly. 

But, when a week later, her all grown up daughter - the daughter she gave up for adoption 18 years before, shows up she realizes you must be careful with what you wish for. 

Disruptive as this new development is, she's quite happy to reconnect with the daughter she never thought would get a chance to meet, even if her world is now upside down

My Thoughts: The January Wish was a quick and fun read. For me the main plot was about Sylvia and her daughter (who also had a few secrets up her sleeve), I was pleasantly surprised to see how mature they were about the whole "long lost daughter" thing. Sylvia's daughter Grace loved her parents and just wanted to know Sylvia on a curiosity level, she wasn't angry or anything. 

There is also a bit of a romance plot going through, which was well done and enjoyable, but to me that wasn't the focus.

All in all, a sweet read. 

The Deal: Chrissie Burns has plenty on her plate: she's just went through a divorce, and her son is till adjusting to the whole "Daddy doesn't live with us" anymore thing. She has moved to Tarrin's Bay to renovate the house her aunt left her there - a house she once loved but that also saw terrible things happen - and sell said house for profit. 

Meanwhile, she works as a yoga instructor at a local spa, where she meets singer/songwriter Drew Williams when she's assigned to be his private instructor for a month. Drew is nice and kind, and makes her smile - even though instructor/client relationship are forbidden - and the town starts to win her over little by little as the arrangement she thought was temporary starts to feel more permanent.

My Thoughts: In this book we return to Tarrin's Bay and get to see a bit of a different side to it. Chrissie was a lovely character, she was fun and I liked seeing her flirt with Drew. She's also a pretty good mom - I loved how she didn't give in into her son's tantrums much as it hurt her when he called her mean (and the boy was, like, 6 so he rang pretty true). 

I found this book to be a little more romantic than The January Wish, but pretty light hearted. Again, a quick and easy read with more romantic elements. I actually quite liked Drew, he was very down to earth. 
Both books get starstarstar1/2

January 16, 2014

Speed Date: Love in Writing by Elsa Winckler

The Plot (from GoodReads) :
Margaret Parker is a hopeless romantic whose fantasies fuel her writing. For Graham Connelly, science fiction is the perfect genre to express his cynical world view. A chance meeting in a lift leaves them both interested and aroused — with no clue as to the other’s identity. 

Margaret has been looking for a face to match her new fictional hero — and Graham’s is it. Graham has been looking for proof that innocence and optimism still exist — and he’s found it in Margaret. But fantasy isn’t reality, and both Margaret and Graham are used to controlling their fictional worlds. Can they step off the pages long enough to find their own happy-ever-after?

First Date: Well, Graham is an ass. No really, it's only page 5 and I kind of dislike him already, he is too full of himself. I like Margaret though, but she seems a little naive... I hope it's not too naive for me. I do love she owns a bookstore called Happily Ever After!

Second Date: All right, I'm really liking the references to South Africa and surfing and even writing - as both Graham and Margaret are writers and the book actually shows them writing sometimes, though these passages tend to go on a bit too long (in a book that's about 135 pages long). But I do like how they keep running into each other and the setting. 

Third Date: Well, that was a little too fast and too neat for me. And I guess Graham never completely won me over from his first encounter with Margaret, I kind of get where he's coming from but still. 

Relationship Status: There won't be a second date. 
This doesn't have to do with the writing, for the most part the story is quite enjoyable, but I just didn't click all the way with these characters, so I won't probably visit them again. But, still, if you're looking for a quick, funny romance read and like leading men who can be jerky, then Love in Writing is a good option. 

I just hoped I would love it more. 



What's a Book Speed Date, you ask? It's a quickie review--about 150 words or so--of any genre book (variety is the spice of life, after all).

If you want to join in or just read other speed date reviews, check out The Book Swarm

January 10, 2014

Book Review: Helper 12 by Jack Blaine

At First Glance: 
Helper 12 - or Benna as her name turns out to be - works as a BabyHelper in the Pre-Ward, where the babies spend the first few months of their lives, before being assigned to different jobs and raised to serve that purpose. Her life is hard: she works long hours, has basically not rights, and lives in a rundown apartment complex yet is basically as helpers like her have no right to form families and such.

Yet, Benna takes comfort in three things: her friendship with a fellow baby helper, Kris; the bond she sometimes forms with the babies in her care, and her art. Even if that last one thing could get her killed if she's ever found out.

When one of the babies in her care is illegally "adopted" by a wealthy family, Benna finds herself sold to the same family (she's meant to act as a nanny to the baby) and immersed in their world.

It quickly becomes obvious that everyone at the Sloane's house is keeping secrets, particularly Thomas - the family's eldest son - who seems to have a big bone to pick with his parents, and who is very drawn to Benna none the less. 

Second Glance: Helper 12 starts as many other dystopian books do: something happened in the future and the world is now divided between Haves (Society members) and Have-nots (Laborers). We are quickly explained some of the ground rules: Society members have all the rights, money and power, they can study whatever they want and basically be whatever they want (or almost, but more on that later). Meanwhile, Laborers get "tracked" and assigned into a profession depending their natural characteristics and abilities. 

Once you get you assignment, you can't deviate from said assignment without paying some pretty dire consequences.  We are not told why things are the way they are, but the world makes sense most of the time. 

Our titular Helper 12 is thrown into an unusual situation, as she learns that even being a member of "Society" with an actual family unit does not mean your life will be any easier, specially if you are different.

The book itself is pretty easy to read and what I like to call Dystopian light - there is not lots of details about the world, but it's not hard to understand what's going on, and it doesn't have ant overwhelmingly dark aura that some dystopians have - my one problem is that we aren't always told or shown why things are they way they are.

You can pick up a lot of things in the context but no clear explanations are ever given. And the ending is a bit contrite, but I actually enjoyed reading this book while I was doing it. I'm not sure I'll read it again soon, but I liked it all in all.

Bottom Line:  If you kind of like dystopia but aren't willing to go into some of the darker and gloomier books, Helper 12 is a good read for you. Is very readable, and you're never bored with it even if it is a bit predictable in some regards and the world could use a bit more developing (Though, I hear this does happen in the second book Twitch). 

January 6, 2014

Book Review: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

The Deal: Ivan is a gorilla, a Mighty Silverback to be exact, and he lives at the Exit 8 Big top mall, and for the most part he doesn't mind. He's used to humans staring at him and making faces, and he spends most of his days just watching an old TV in his domain (he likes Westerns) and keeping company with Bob, a small stray dog who sleeps in his domain, and Stella, an aging circus elephant. 

Ivan doesn't like to think about what his life was before the Mall, when he and his twin sister clung to their mother in the wild, when his father kept them safe. But he does like to think about Art, for Ivan has the soul of an artist and he always tries to capture the things around him.

Ivan's life gets shaken up with the arrival of Ruby, a baby elephant who has been taken from her family and who makes Ivan see the world around them with new eyes.

My Thoughts: The One and Only Ivan is excellent. 

I would be pretty happy just leaving it at that, but I'm pretty sure you want me to elaborate ( ;) ). Told entirely from the perspective of Ivan, in short but thoughtful chapters (and illustrations), this story broke my heart wide open. Ivan's voice is gentle but determined, and he was just such a lovely soul. I loved him from the start, and that love only grew as I learned more and more about his history. 

I loved his relationship with Stella and Bob and Ruby, and with Julia (the little girl who is always giving him crayons and paper so he can do his art, and whose dad works at the mall). 

Totally recommend this book, if you're an animal lover this is a book for you, if you're not an animal lover, this is still a terrific story and great if you want something to read with kids. It was the first book I finished this year, but it was a good one, it made me cry first because I was sad, and them because I was so happy. 
starstarstarstarstarPersonal Favorite 

January 5, 2014

Listmaniac: Books I'm really looking forward in 2014

Okay, so this is my last list, at least for right now, where I tell you all about the books I'm most looking forward in this 2014. I think it's officially my first post of the year!!

Anyway, in no particular order, here they are:


I'm the first one to admit I'm not a huge fan of Jenny Han, but this book sounds pretty awesome and though I didn't love The Summer I Turned Pretty Series, it wasn't all entirely bad.

I loved My Life Next Door, it was such a good contemporary YA book, so I'm really looking forward to this one on those grounds alone, plus she writes some pretty awesome guys.

I've discovered this pattern with Ms Eulberg, I love one of her books, don't care about the next, then love it again. I didn't care for the previous book, but if this patten holds true I'm going to love this one.

I'm really intrigued by this, plus I kind of liked Amy and Roger's Epic Detour so, yeah.

New to Me author but she's doing a retelling of Mansfied Park, and Fanny (well, her name is Ashley in this) gets to be a super awesome math wiz. Totally sign me up.

Love Linsey Levitt, so I'm basically going to read whatever she publishes.

I love, love, love this series and the third book sounds like it's going to be a riot!

Well, yeah, I liked Crash into You a lot and I'm intrigued to stay in this world, so I'm sticking around for this one.


Lisa Kleypas is going back to the Travis Family to write about the last brother standing, Joe, and I'm super pumped for it! the only thing that would make me happier would be if she got back to historicals, because I love those best of all. Still, I'll take Joe Travis

Since she wrote one of my favorite books of last year - The Countess Conspiracy -  and I actually grew to like Free Marshall on that one, I'm really looking forward to her story. 

Currently, one of my very few auto-buys in the romance genre, I don't love all of Ms Mayberry's books with the same intensity, but I always have a goo time. 

Because with every book she writes, Rainbow Rowell gets better and better, and because Attachments was one of the best contemporary romances I've read in a good, long while.

I gave up on this series a long time ago but we are going back to Beth and Wrath and I guess hope springs eternal that I'll get some Rhage thrown in the mix. (Yes, I'm aware the dude's names are utterly ridiculous). 

I love Catherine McKenzie's books because they always have such unusual plots, yet they always ring true and I always wind up rooting for her characters.  Technically not a romance but there are usually some pretty strong romantic elements. 

Special Shout Out: Dark Lycan by Christine Feehan
Dmitri and Skyler's book. FINALLY! 16 books after they were introduced and 7 books since I gave a damn about this series. Huzzah! 

So, that's me! And I promise this will be the last list for a while!
Next time some actual reviews! 


January 1, 2014

End of the Year Survey


So, after I saw this @Addicted to Romance, I decided to join in the fun as I have been meaning to put up my list of favorite books I read this year but I didn't get around to it before and this sounded fun. This list covers books that I read for the first time in 2013, regardless of when they were first published.

And here it goes:

1. Best Book You Read in 2013?
Middle Grade: Pandora the Curious by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams
YA: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Contemporary Romance: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Best Over All: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. 

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going to Love More But Didn't?
Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle - don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed it tons and it was super fun and I love Frederick, Duncan and Snow (and even Briar Rose) but Liam was a douche through out most of it and it killed my buzz a little. 

3.  Most Surprising (in a Good Way) book of 2013?
Paper Chains by Nicola Moriarty - I loved this book so, so much. The writing was beautiful and it twisted and tore at my heart.

4. Best Book you read in 2013 and that you recommended to people the most in 2013
Probably it was Rainbow Rowell's books, each time I read a new one I would rave about it and recommend it. Also, Paper Chains and If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

5. Best Series You Discovered in 2013
MG: Confectionately Yours by Lisa Papademetriou 
Romance: Anchor Island by Terri Osburn
YA: I don't think I started any YA series this year, actually. 

6. Favorite New Author You Discovered in 2013
Rainbow Rowell, hands down. 

7. Best Book that was out of your Comfort Zone or was a new genre for you?
If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch - I go out of my way to avoid books that I know will have a very dark subject matter, I couldn't avoid this. Read it all in one night, and it broke my heart. 
Special Mention to Superman: Birthright, because I so don't like comics, but this one was pretty good

8. Most Thrilling Un-putable-down book in 2013?

9. Book You read in 2013 that you're most likely to re-read Next Year.

10. Favorite Cover of a book you read in 2013?

11. Most Memorable Character of 2013
Everyone but Liam from Hero's Guide to Storming The Castle and George from My Life Next Door

12. Most Beautifully Written book you read in 2013.
Paper Chains by Nicola Moriarty and Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta

13. Book that had the Greatest Impact on you in 2013
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

14. Book You Can't Believe You waited until 2013 to finally read.
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell and Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg

15. Favorite Passage or Quote of a Book You Read in 2013
"When facing unbeatable odds, just think of yourself as unbeatable odd." - Duncan (Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle)

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read in 2013
Shortest: My Everything by Heidi McLaughlin
Longest: Quintana of Charyn 

17. Book that Had a Scene in it that had You reeling and dying to talk to someone about it?

18. Favorite Relationship from a Book You Read in 2013:
Friendship: Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg
Romantic: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 from an Author You had Read Before?
Take a Vow by Elizabeth Eulberg and Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

20. Best Book You read in 2013 basely solely on the recommendation of someone else

21. Genre You read the most in 2013?
Contemporary Romance, apparently. 

22. Newest Fictional Crush from a Book You Read in 2013
Sebastian Malheur from the Countess Conspiracy, and Jase from My Life Next Door 

23. Best 2013 debut you read in 2013?
The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider and Riding on Air by Melissa Gilbert

24. Most vivid World/Imagery of a book you read in 2013?
Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta

25. Book that was the most fun to read in 2013. 

26. Book that Made You Cry or Nearly Cry in 2013?

27. Book You Read in 2013 that you think got Overlooked in 2013 (Or when it came out)
Two of a Kind by Yona Zelda McDonough

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014? 
My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kuger, I've had it on my TBR pile for ages, but I just haven't gotten around to it.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)? 
Brown Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas.

3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I don't really follow debuts that closely, more like I find out about them as they are published. 

4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014? 
Stephanie Perkins's Anna-Lola-Isla. I've been waiting for so long for Isla and the Happily Ever After that it's probably  not going to meet my expectations, but I just want it to be over already.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014? I
I hope to read more fun stuff, to plain just read more. As for blogging, I hope I get into some sort of schedule that allows me to post regularly.

Well, that's me!!
Happy New Year everyone!! May this one be full of awesome.