Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Wrong Number, Right Guy - Elle Casey

Book: Wrong Number, Right Guy
Author: Elle Casey
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Montlake Publishing

I have read books by Elle Casey in the past, and LOVED them.  They are usually fun, sometimes naughty, and generally fairly decent.  So, I bought this book, expecting it to be at least somewhat as good as previous books I've read by her.  I was, sadly, disappointed.

The book opens with May talking to her sister.  Her sister is about to get a new phone.  So, later, when May gets a text from an unidentified number, she thinks it's from her sister.  (The thought never occurred to May that her sister could switch her number to her new phone.)  Anyway, long story short, May ends up at this biker bar in New Orleans, where she is shot at, almost killed, and then saved by a hairy guy who drags her back to his place.  The rest of the story is pretty much summed up by the following: May thinks about sex a lot and complains about her sore muscles.  There you go!

A few things that were good about this book:
*The dogs - they were cute (but probably played a much bigger role in the book than they could have!)
*The fact that most of the people who work for Ozzie are willing to look out for each other.

Now, let's talk about what wasn't so good.
A. May is 29years old - 29!  She should be mature enough to speak like a grownup, at least when she is at work or out in public.  Yet, she constantly says and thinks things like "Oh, poop."  She talks about tooting, and says she has to leave so she can unclench her buttcheeks before she toots.  Seriously - I know a lot of people in their 20's.  I don't know a single one of them that talks or thinks the way May does, because - guess what?  They aren't 7 year olds!

B. If this is supposed to be a romance novel, why isn't there more romance?  Ozzie and May hardly ever see each other, and yet, they claim they are attracted to each other and want to have some adult fun together!  How can you have a little romance with or crush on someone if you NEVER SEE THEM?!

C. Character development - there was none.  None.  There was no growth in the book.

D. The Plot - there is no plot, really.  It's all just thinking about sex or beating each other up.  I thought maybe something was starting to develop, but then it just fell flat.  Did it get lost in the bad writing and thoughts about tooting?  I guess we'll never know.

Honestly, I am a little disappointed at how disappointed I am.  I had hope for this book - and it let me down.  So, in all fairness, I can't recommend this book - though I will continue to read other books by this author - just not books from this series. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

A Darkness Strange and Lovely - Susan Dennard

I'll be totally honest with this review: I am putting spoilers in this review.  I just have so much love for certain things that happened in this book, and I can't help but share them.  So, if you don't want to read any spoilers, come read this review after you read this book!
So, when I took the picture of this book, I couldn't resist sharing the cute yarn bookmark I made.  It's simple, but I like it - and it's easy to use.  Anyway, just a random bookmark thought.
If you've never heard of this series, you are missing out.  I know it's strange that I am reviewing the second book in the series first, but I promise the review of the first book is coming soon!  Anyway, I loved this book.  Here's a little synopsis.
The main character - Eleanor Fitt - is a young lady who has had to sell many possessions in order to pay for her mothers stay in an institution.  She lives on her own now in her home, which is becoming increasingly threadbare.  Eleanor thinks often of her friends Jie, Daniel, and Joseph, who are in Paris working as Shadow-Hunters.  They hunt the dead to keep the city safe.  El's life takes an interesting turn when she makes a decision to go to Paris and, on the way, meets a demon who convinces her to bind herself to him.  While there, she learns much new information about herself, her demon, and her friends - all in the midst of chaos and havoc in the city of light.
I loved this book - from the first page to the last.  I think it was charming, and devious, and had some excellent magical antics and ideas going on.  The characters were all well-developed, and they all grew and learned things about themselves throughout the books.  The romantic aspect of the book was there, but it wasn't overpowering - the book had the right amount of romance for the story. 
The plot was well-developed and I didn't find myself figuring things out easily.  There were some surprises in the book, and that was good! 
Overall, this is a book you want to read!  Add it to your TBR pile and be prepared to give it at least 4 stars!

Beautiful Darkness - Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Not even going to deny it - this review contains major spoilers.  As always, if haven't read the book, and you don't want to know what happens til you do, save this review for later. 

Beautiful Darkness is the second book in the Caster Chronicles series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.  The book starts where the first book left off, and only spans the course of a little over a month.  During that month, Lena loses herself, then claims herself, Ethan meets a new girl who is training to be a keeper, Ridley loses her powers, and Uncle Macon comes back from the not-dead.

As you all know, I was kind of middle of the road as far as Beautiful Creatures went. I didn't totally love it, but it wasn't the worst book I've ever read.  I wish I could say the same about Beautiful Darkness.  I had some negative feelings about this book pretty early on.  The magical aspect of the book was still intriguing, but other than that I had trouble finding a whole lot that I liked about this book. 

I think it was good that the characters stayed true to who they were in the first book.  That being said, there was no development in this book.  Their was no growth, no maturity - nothing.  Just characters that stayed the same. 

The plot seemed feeble in this book - and a little predictable.  From the beginning, it is easy to know that Lena is absolutely going to be claimed in this book.  There is NO surprise in that area.  The potential love triangle was also weak and uninteresting. There was no development in that area - Liv appeared, and Ethan seemed to be attracted to her, but then the story was just dropped and went nowhere.

While reading this book, I found myself asking so many questions, including:

*How, exactly, did Ridley lose her powers?  What did Sarafine do to her?
*How on god's green earth did Macon trap HIMSELF in the Arclight, when Incubuses are not supposed to be able to do that?
*How and why was Sarafine able to bring up a claiming moon on Lena's 17th birthday?

Overall, friends, I found this book to be unsatisfying.  It left to many questions unanswered and had to many plot holes for me to really care.  I would give it 1.5 stars.  Save your reading time for a different story.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Lumberjanes Volumes 1-3


Hi y'all!  Let's talk about Lumberjanes.  I am reviewing the first three volumes in one post, because they are shortish and really easy to read.  I finished each volume in one day. 
If you've never heard of Lumberjanes, you are missing out!  This comic book series is, in a word, amazing.  It is full of great characters, humor, a lot of inclusiveness, and just general awesomeness.
The main characters in the book are:
*Jen - the Roanoke Counselor
*Rosie - the camp Scout master
The campers - Mal, Jo, April, Ripley, and Molly - are spending the summer at camp, being led by their quirky counselor Jen.  They get into all sorts of crazy trouble, including a run in with dinosaurs, and a trip inside a magical outhouse.  Did I mention this is a fantasy series as well?  It's great! The camp scout master - Rosie - is hilarious.  She's always getting Jen's name wrong, and just sort of fumbles about sometimes. 
Each volume is filled with action, adventure, and some romance.  Mal and Molly - two of my favorite characters - are in mutual like with each other.  I can't tell you how awesome it is to read a comic that has a same-sex relationship, and presents that relationship as just as real, valid, and excellent as a hetero relationship.  The growing romance between Mal and Molly is free from stereotypes and the characters are each presented as just being your typical teenage girls. 
It's hard to decide what my favorite part of these books has been so far - it's kind of a tie between the time the dinosaurs came out of the magical outhouse, or the time that Mal and Molly followed the bear woman into the outhouse and got trapped in a different world while they were on their date. 
There are so many awesome things about this series.  Let me just tell you a few of the awesome things:
- Humor: this series is FUNNY! 
- Adventure: there is plenty going on in this series to keep you interested and wanting to read more.
- A little magic and mystery: who doesn't love magic and mystery.
- And of course, the romance!  Everyone needs a little romance in their lives.
If you haven't read any of these books/comics yet - get on it! You won't regret it.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Bout of Books - Day 7 Update

Hey gang - Yesterday was the final day of Bout of Books!  What am I going to do with my time now that it's over?  I had a blast - and I can't wait for the next one. 

This is my wrap up post and update from Sunday - Day 7 of Bout of Books.  I hope you all enjoyed the event as much as I did! 

Now, the update:

Pages read on Sunday:
102 pages of Beautiful Darkness

Total Pages read during the event: 1,215

Books Read:
- Beautiful Creatures (Finished)
- Lumberjanes Vol. 1 (Finished)
- Lumberjanes Vol. 2 (Finished)
- Lumberjanes Vol. 3 (Finished)
- A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Finished)
- Game of Thrones (Still Reading)
- Beautiful Darkness (Started, still reading)

Overall, this was a great event - and I am so happy I found out about it!  I can't wait to participate in the next one.  If you are a reader, I urge you to get involved in the next Bout of Books as well - they are super fun!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Bout of Books - Saturday Updates

Hi again!  It's Sunday Morning - and this is the FINAL day of Bout of Books.  I can't believe it's going to be over in a matter of hours.  Anyway, here's my update from Saturday:

I finished reading A Darkness Strange and Lovely.  It was such a wonderful book - but I have a couple other books I want to review first, so you will have to wait a few days to read everything I thought about it. 

So, Page Totals:

Saturday: 162 Pages

Total Pages Read: 1,113

Books Read:
- Beautiful Creatures (Finished)
- Lumberjanes Vol. 1 (Finished)
- Lumberjanes Vol. 2 (Finished)
- Lumberjanes Vol. 3 (Finished)
- A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Finished)
- Game of Thrones (Still Reading)
Stay Tuned - starting tomorrow, I'm going to have more book reviews going up throughout the coming weeks! 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Bout of Books - Day 5 Update

Hi again, y'all!  I'm back.  I didn't get a chance to do my day four update, but I'm here with my update for day 5 of bout of books!  I hope you all are enjoying this week of reading as much as I am. 

I'm going to tell you how much I read on Thursday and Friday. 

Thursday was a slacker day: I only read another 25 pages of A Darkness Strange and Lovely.  BUT that's better than nothing, right?! 

Yesterday, I read 5 pages of Game of Thrones.  Then, I read Vol. 3 of Lumberjanes.  Those books are so fun, and quick to read, it's actually HARD not to read an entire volume in 1 day. 

So: Page Totals:

Thursday: 25 Pages
Friday: 117 pages

Total Pages Read: 951

Books Read:
- Beautiful Creatures (Finished)
- Lumberjanes Vol. 1 (Finished)
- Lumberjanes Vol. 2 (Finished)
- Lumberjanes Vol. 3 (Finished)
- A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Started, still reading)
- Game of Thrones (Still Reading)

Now, let's talk about a challenge - picking out my favorite moments from my first ever (but certainly not my last) Bout of Books.

Discovering and reading the first three Volumes of Lumberjanes.  I love them all!

Also, meeting new book peoples on twitter.  I think that's the best favorite moment from the week. 

And my third choice for favorite moment: lucking out on finding A Darkness Strange and Lovely and Beautiful Darkness at my local (small) library and being able to read them sooner than I thought I would!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Lumberjanes Vol. 2 - and A Bout of Books Challenge

Hi y'all - it's me again. I'm still in the midst of talking about Bout of Books this week.  So: Update for yesterday.  I was going to try and get a bunch more read in A Darkness Strange and Lovely.  BUT, then I started reading Lumberjanes Vol 2. and finished it.  So, yesterday I read:

A Darkness and Strange and Lovely - 25 pages
Vol 2. of Lumberjanes - 112 pages

Page total for Wednesday: 137

My totals for the week so far:

Books finished: 3

- Beautiful Creatures (Finished)
- Lumberjanes Vol. 1 (Finished)
- Lumberjanes Vol. 2 (Finished)
- A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Started, still reading)

Total pages read so far: 834

Now, challenge talk!  Today's challenge is: If you love ___, try reading this.  I'm not going to post my recs in the blog post - so if you want to find out what I think you should read, come follow me on twitter @magglepie

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Bout of Books and Five Favorite Fantasy Books

Hi Y'all!  Here I am again talking about Bout of Books.  Let me tell you about my progress from my post yesterday.

I didn't get as much reading done yesterday as I did the day before, but that's cool, because the week's only half over!  I was thinking about starting Bad Monkey, but decided to save that one - so I started reading Sarah Dennard's A Darkness Strange and Lovely.  I haven't finished yet, but I am 196 pages in.  So far, I am LOVING it.  I'll let you in on a secret: my favorite part of the book so far... is the cover!

Isn't that just one of the most divine book covers you've ever seen?  I love it!

Now, fair friends, let's talk about the Bout of Books challenge for today!  Wednesday's challenge is to pick your 5 favorite books from anything.  Favorite book boyfriends, favorite classics, etc.  So, I am sharing with you my five favorite fantasy books.  This isn't easy, as fantasy is one of my top 3 favorite genres, but here we go.

I'll start from the bottom work up to my favorite:

5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.  Not the whole series.  Just the first book.  It was dark, and creepy, and weird, and so well written that I couldn't put it down.  I read all three books in a matter of days.

4. The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman.  This story was another amazing story that drew me in and compelled me to read the rest of the series.  The whole book is a magical, wondrous, story that was hard to put down and completely unforgettable.

3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling.  Now - I loved the whole Harry Potter series.  From the first time I met the boy who lived in the cupboard under the stairs, to the battle of Hogwarts, and even 19 years after.  I loved every single moment with Harry and his friends.  But, The Prisoner of Azkaban is definitely my favorite book from the series, and totally worthy of being in my top five.  I feel like it's the books where Harry and his friends really come into their own, and where Rowling really got into her groove with the series.

2. Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R Tolkien.  Let's face it: Tolkien is hard to top.  But he still comes in at number 2 with Lord of the Rings, because my number one had such an impact on me.

1. And coming in a Number One: American Gods, by Neil Gaiman.  There are so many amazing, truly amazing, well written fantasy books out there.  But to me, not one of them can even compare to the amazing, stunning work that is American Gods.  Read it.  You'll love it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Bout of Books and Beautiful Creatures

If you've been keeping up with my posts, you know that this week I am participating in Bout of Books 16, a week long readathon.  This is a pretty nifty event - and this is the first one I've participated in.  The idea of Bout of Books is just to read more during one week than you normally do.  Sounds fun, right?!  It is!  So, this is a little Bout of Books Update for Day 2! 

Books finished:
*Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.  I technically started this one a day or two before Bout of Books started.  But since I finished it during the event, I am the pages I read yesterday and last night. 

*Lumberjanes Vol. 1 - I have been hearing so much buzz about Lumberjanes.  Yesterday, I lucked out and found Volume 1 on my local libraries digital checkout site - so I got it on my kindle and read the whole volume right away.  They are pretty short, so they are quick to read.  I don't know that I'll right a full on review for this one.  I'll just give you a condensed version: It was funny, the characters were fantastic, and this is a book I would rate as MUST READ!

Total Pages Read so far: 501

Now, for the next part of this blog post: My review of Beautiful Creatures!  There may be a few spoilers, so if you haven't read the book yet, you may want to stop reading this post right now.  If you have read the book, or you don't mind a few minor spoils, continue on.

"There were only two kinds of people in our town.  'The stupid and the stuck,' my father had affectionately classified our neighbors."

So starts the book Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.  I was intrigued about this book series, but had put off reading it for a while.  I finally picked up a copy of this book at the library.  Although the book did have its faults, the story was decent enough that I put those aside. 

The premise of the book is that Ethan falls, hard and quick, for the new girl in town, Lena Duchannes.  Lena is a Caster, and on her 16th birthday, she will be claimed by either Light or Dark.  Many people, herself included, believe Lena will go Dark.  I won't say how that particular scenario pans out, but I will say that what happens is a bit of a surprise. 

A few things that I did think were kind of odd were:

*Everyone in Gatlin calling the Civil War the "War of the Northern Aggression."  It wasn't all the North's fault. 

*The way the cop in town was always and only referred to as Fatty, as if that were his name.  The people of Gatlin clearly don't like fat people, and it makes me wonder if they authors feel the same way.

*Name changes - throughout the book, we learn that Casters don't know their real, actual name until they turn 16 and get claimed.  So, until then, they are called by a "fake" name.  Lena, for example, is not really Lena - that's just what she goes by until her 16th birthday.  It gets a little confusing, too, because Macon and Ama are being referred to by those and different names throughout the book.  Most people call Macon and Amma by those names, but they call each other Melchizedek and Amarie.  It just seems odd to me.

I appreciated the magical aspect of this book.  I think the authors did a good job of making the scenes with the locket and flashbacks feel real and wonderous to Lena and Ethan.  It was a good way to give them and the readers a glimpse into their past.  There was also a good element of... fear for what would happen to Lena if she went Dark or if her mother found her.  (See, there's this rule in the caster world that kids don't live with or meet their parents until they are 16 and get claimed.  Lena has never met her mother, and for a long time, she thought her mother was dead.)  I think the authors did a good job of putting in some mystery about that aspect of the Casters lives. 

It was hard to decide who my favorite character in the book is.  I think they were all pretty well- rounded and distinct though.  Many reviewers have said that they think Ethan would not really talk about clothes as much as he did, but having grown up around guys who really really care about their appearances, I would disagree. I think sometimes guys think about clothes and stuff, and to imply they don't just because they are guys is sexist.

I would recommend this book to others, but would give it 3.5 stars at best.  Read it with the knowledge that it will likely just be for fun without having to think too hard.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Books on the Shelf

It's been a while since I've posted one of my Books on the Shelf posts.  So, here are the books currently on my TBR pile.  (It's a long pile - it might take me a while to get through them all.)

A Darkness Strange and Lovely - Susan Dennard
I first heard about this series through another book blog, and knew I had to read them all right away.  I have the first book in the series on my TBR pile as well - and can't wait to get through the series.

Bad Monkey - Carl Hiaasen
Carl Hiaasen is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.  I've read several of his books and can't wait to read this one.
Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
I am about halfway through this one - this is another one I had heard about from another book blogger.  I had heard a lot of bad reviews about this book, but thought I would give it a chance.  You'll find out what I think in a few days.

Ravencliffe - Carol Goodman
I heard about the first book in this series, Blythewood, last October when I participated in the Wicked Reads Campaign.  I read Blythewood and fell in love and knew I had to read the rest of the series.

Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard
I don't remember where I first heard about this book - it was likely on another book blog.  But after reading about, I knew I had to read it. 

Paper Towns - John Green
I fell in love with John Green's stories when I read The Fault in Our Stars, then read the description for Paper Towns and knew I had to read this one too.

Strange and Ever After - Susan Dennard
This is the last book in this series, and because it looks so good, I'll be whipping through the first two books as fast as I can.

Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye - Tania Del Rio and Will Staehle
I picked this book up just because it looked interesting.  It's technically another kids book for middle grade readers, so it will be an easy read.