Monthly archives: November, 2015

Movie Mondays: Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 2

Movie Mondays: On the occasional Monday, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:

Book: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins | Movie: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (2015)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

Warning: For those who have not read the final book of the Hunger Games Trilogy, Mockingjay, while I tried my best, there may unintentionally be spoilers!

Series: The Hunger Games Trilogy
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Competition, Romance, Action
Point of View: First Person, Single

thoughts

It’s a toss-up between Catching Fire and Mockingjay for my 2nd favourite novel in the series. I honestly only really remember the start and end to Mockingjay–it’s all one big blur. But I do really remember liking it and how it shifted more to the politics of everything. There were also some great plot twists that kept me on the edge of my toes.

overall

It was a solid way to end the series and ties up all the lose ends that you possibly want tied.

Rating: 5/5
Series Review: Full series review here!

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Were My Expectations Met?

Considering I was against the idea of splitting up Mockingjay into two parts, I suppose yes, my expectations were met. The first movie is such a dud to me and this one was definitely more thrilling. We get all the action I wanted to happen in the first one even if I did feel like some parts went on too long in this one.

How Close is it to the Book?

It’s been 5 years since I read Mockingjay but given the Wikipedia synopsis, I would say pretty close. I actually get the impression that most of the important stuff actually happens in this movie and not the previous one in terms of plot points. Not entirely shocking…

There is one scene in particular that really seemed subdued compared to the novel and I was a little disappointed in that. The movie didn’t have as much as an impact as I would have wanted.

Did I Like the Cast?

Yes! Like I said in all my other reviews of the movie, the casting for this series is phenomenal!

Donald Sutherland as President Snow was by-far the highlight for me in this movie. He is a fantastic villain from start to end. Of course, Haymitch and Effie stole the show for me whenever they were on screen. I also thought Josh Hutcherson did a fantastic job with Peeta.

thewinneris winbook

I think I still like the book the best. It was really hard for me to move away from seeing this movie as nothing more than a cash grab for fans. However, I think this was a much better movie than Part 1 and I wish this was the only Mockingjay movie we had for the Trilogy.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Mockingjay (from Goodreads):

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games.  She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive.  Katniss should be relieved, happy even.  After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale.  Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be.  Gale holds her at an icy distance.  Peeta has turned his back on her completely.  And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol – a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she’s afraid she cannot stop.  And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try.  As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever.  If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

Trailer:

Single Sundays: Queen of Blood by Jill Myles

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Queen of Blood (from Goodreads):
For one hundred years, Seri’s people have lived under the thumb of the Blood, the cruel and mysterious rulers of Athon. Seri wants nothing more than to put food on the table and marry the hotheaded but handsome Rilen come spring. But when a noblewoman asks Seri to be her handmaiden, Rilen insists she move to the enemy’s castle . . . and spy on the newly arrived prince.

Prince Graeme has grown weary of his family’s curse. The Blood are powerful and immortal, but doomed to live in the shadows, flitting from lover to lover, always in search of the mythic Eterna—the one woman who will sate their hunger. Now his father has sent him to the outskirts of the empire to stamp out a rebellious Vidari faction. But when a wild and alluring Vidari girl shows up at court, he finds himself torn between following his father’s orders and following his heart . . .

A war is brewing between Athonite and Vidari, between Blood and man. As uprisings sweep through the land, Seri and Graeme find themselves at the center of a storm with only one choice: betray each other, or betray their people.

breakdown

Author: Jill Myles (aka Jessica Clare)
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Paranormal, Vampires
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: Third Person, Single
Publication Date: June 30, 2015
Source & Format: NetGalley–eBook

disclaimernetgalley

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I randomly found this book on NetGalley thanks to its stunning cover. It drew me in and when I read the synopsis, I just had to request it! It’s been a long, long time since I read a vampire story and so I couldn’t wait to dive into this one!

Did I fail to mention the whole forbidden love and politics? That was a big draw for me as well!

The World:

I really enjoyed how simple this world was. I don’t mean simple to be a bad thing either–in this case it was perfect! What I mean is that the world isn’t overly complicated and it is easy to follow along. Within a few chapters you know why the world is the way it is, why Seri struggles with her new position and how Graeme and his people operate. Getting a strong handle on the world a few chapters in really let me connect to these characters and their story–instead of focusing on what this term or that term is.

The Plot:

I got HOOKED into this story. Everything built at a great pace when I was reading. In hindsight, it took a long time to get to what the synopsis describes and I think the beginning is slow action wise. It also felt a little rushed at the end. However, I think it goes to show Jill Myles’ talent that none of that really mattered to me as I was reading. I was addicted to see what happened next and didn’t mind that it took me awhile to get there.

I would say the plot mostly focuses on Seri learning who she is and becoming comfortable with that person. It’s very “New Adult” in that respect. While the politics of the world are important, don’t expect some great political saga or action (ie fighting) packed story. The tension of the plot comes from the romance and the character development.

The Characters:

It took me a while to like Seri–but I think that is part of the point. As I said before, it is her coming of age story in a way and so I expected her to have some great growth as we progressed and she did.

I did immediately like Graeme though. I think because we don’t really get his POV, he comes across as an already established character. He easily became a book boyfriend for me I think 😛

The Romance:

This is what sold me on this book: the sexual tension. WOW, it was off the charts. I’m not one for insta-love but I expected it given the synopsis–and in the end, I really didn’t mind. I really saw how these two worked together and it was a blast watching them find out for themselves. Definitely a New Adult romance and not a YA read.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

Perhaps I just read this book at the right time but I really, really enjoyed it! It was a lot of fun to escape into this world. The romance is passionate and drives the story forward. I wish the plot had a better flow but I honestly didn’t realize until I had finished the book. If you want a New Adult vampire book, I recommend this one!

Read if You Like: vampires, forbidden romance, New Adult
Avoid if You: don’t like insta-love/connections, want more political drama

similarreads

  • The Selection by Kiera Cass (The Selection Series #1)
  • Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey (Jessica Series #1)
  • The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski (The Winner’s Trilogy #1)

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Series Review: The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Orphan Queen Series

 

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Orphan Queen (from Goodreads):
Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: YA Favourite 2015
Series: The Orphan Queen
Author: Jodi Meadows
# of Books: 2 (The Orphan Queen, The Mirror King)

There are 4 short stories. Find them all here.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Adventure, Romance, Magic, Supernatural
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: March 2015 – April 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Jodi Meadows has been on my radar for a long time with her Newsoul Series (though I wasn’t able to read them until I finished this series). Earlier this year, I really got into high fantasy YA and this was one of the many books floating around. It was getting great reviews and from the synopsis, it seemed like it was my kind of story:

  • Political intrigue ✔
  • Independent heroine ✔
  • Undercover premise ✔

Needless to say, I was super excited to start this one!

What I Liked:

–The Layers–

Compared to other novels in this genre, I didn’t find the action to be completely overwhelming. This book was a lot of learning about the world and the journey Wil takes to get to her throne. When there was action, it was great but I never found myself bored between those scenes. Instead, you had Wil working undercover at the castle or Wil doing her vigilante work or her learning more about the wraiths. The plot always kept moving and kept my attention. It never felt slow to me (well, besides the first chapter) when it easily could have been.

–That is it going to be a duology!!!–

I’m loving this trend of having books that only have one sequel! While I think this series could definitely have a third book, I like that everything is going to be wrapped up in the sequel. It makes the story a lot stronger in my opinion–you don’t get filler fluff to pass the time away.

–Wilhelmina–

What I really liked about Wil’s character is that she isn’t invincible or egotistical. She’s passionate about helping her people but it doesn’t cause her to be impulsive or take stupid risks. She thinks about things, can admit when she is wrong and can take care of herself when she needs to. She can fight, but she isn’t some world-renowned fighter. I like that she is more subdued–it really adds to her character development as the story progresses.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Predictability–

For the most part, this book wasn’t overly predictable. There were some plot twists (mainly the ending) that I didn’t see coming so I liked that. It has me on edge to see what is going to happen next.

However, I knew Melanie’s secret behaviour within five seconds of its first appearance; and it was totally obvious to me who the Black Knife was. Perhaps my over indulgence in this genre has made me hyperaware of the various plot twists/elements authors use and so I knew right away.

My other hypothesis is that the reader is supposed to pick up on these things while Wil isn’t–thus adding to her character development/flaws. By having her oblivious to what is happening around her, it does make her more human rather than some untouchable heroine who can do no wrong. I liked that about her but it did make me frustrated at times because it just seemed so obvious to me what was happening.

The Novellas:

I read The Hidden Prince and The Glowing Knight after I read The Orphan Queen and I think that is the best way to go about these novellas. While they are prequel novellas, they kinda give away spoilers about a particular character and I liked that he was a bit of mystery when I was reading The Orphan Queen. I grew to love him in The Orphan Queen so reading these novellas is a bit of a treat for fans of his character and I like that aspect.

The novellas are chronological, meaning they follow the progression of a certain plotline so you do have to read them in order. They add depth to the world and its characters and I think they are very well done. Plus, they are a great way to pass the time while waiting for The Mirror King (and they have teaser chapters!)

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

When I read the last page, I really, really hoped it wasn’t going to be the last one! There are so many aspects still waiting to be solved and I am super excited to see how it all wraps up in the final story.

updates

–May 13, 2016– Book #2: The Mirror King


The Mirror King was one of my most anticipated sequels of 2016 so I went in with high expectations, egged on by the teaser chapters in the novellas that were released prior to the publication.

The Mirror King was a little slower than I thought it was going to be given the ending of The Orphan Queen. It starts with a bang and then proceeds at a somewhat slower pace. It has a similar pace to the first novel but has a few “WHOA” moments along the way. I wanted more action but everything has to go through the motions.

Overall, I really enjoyed the ending. While parts were predictable–though there were some things I never saw coming–I still enjoyed reading everything and I never got bored. The characters are what drive this series for me and getting to spend that time with them in this book is great. I felt a whole range of emotions reading this novel–and that’s what I want in a grande finale. A great ending to a great duology.

My Rating: 4.5/5

The Orphan Queen 4.5/5 | The Mirror King 4/5

overall

I really enjoyed this book and I feel like my review doesn’t reflect that! This one was really hard to write. While it isn’t my favourite book ever, it is one of my favourites in the genre for sure. I just loved the way it built and the various layers to it. I never got bored while reading it. Highly recommended for those who want to get into High Fantasy and have little exposure to it.

Read if You Like: world-building, lost princess stories, independent heroines
Avoid if You: easily predict stories, want more romance

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Series Review: The Program by Suzanne Young

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Program (from Goodreads):
In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

breakdown

Series: The Program
Author: Suzanne Young
# of Books: 4 (The Remedy, The Epidemic, The Program, The Treatment)

There is also a novella after The Treatment called The Recovery

Book Order: Chronological & Connected

The Remedy & The Epidemic are paired; The Program and The Treatment are paired

Complete?: No, The Epidemic will be published April 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: April 2013 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

NOTE: I have not read The Remedy.  See why not below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Suzanne Young’s A Need So Beautiful was one of the first books I put on my TBR once I started keeping an actual list. I have yet to read it. Shocking, I know 😉

What drew me to The Program was the cover. The bright yellow in a very white clinical setting? Call me intrigued. And when I read the synopsis? Even more intrigued. So I put my name on the holds list, eagerly awaiting there arrival

The Remedy + The Epidemic vs The Program + The Treatment

I just want to set the record straight about these books. This series contains 4 books, but they are two dual sets. The RemedyThe Epidemic are one duology focusing on one set of characters and The Program & The Treatment follow a different set. All take place within the same world. The Remedy is listed as a prequel to The Program as its events precede the events in The Program; it was published a few years after The Program.

I chose to read The Program & The Treatment first. I have also decided to further break up my headings into subheadings to review keep each duology separate.

The Concept:

The Program & The TREATMENT

The idea that there is a massive epidemic of young people committing suicide is a rather morbid basis for a book albeit unique. It is a tough topic to handle but one I think Young does well (though I wish there was a little blurb at the end about suicide prevention/information). It doesn’t glorify it and I think it shows the impact suicide can have on someone’s family and friends really well. It helps shed light on an issue we often shy away from in society.

The Plot:

THE PROGRAM & THE TREATMENT

The plot for The Program is extremely slow! Nothing really happens until the halfway point and even then, it’s a slow incline. The first half really establishes the world and the relationships Sloane has. I personally could of had half the number of pages and still had the main idea. I found it to be dull and because it deals with such a depressing topic, it isn’t a very uplifting read, making it hard to get through at times.

Once we actually get to the nitty-gritty of the epidemic, that’s when things get interesting and The Treatment keeps the pace going…for all of 10 pages. WOW, I didn’t think things could get duller but they did! This book was a lot of waiting around and romantic pining. WAYYY too much focus on the romance! I did appreciate the science fiction elements when they were there but, I wanted more. I wanted so much more that I almost quit reading just before the halfway point. But the need for answers (ie why the epidemic? why the program?) had me reluctantly pressing forward.

The Characters:

THE PROGRAM & THE TREATMENT

Sloane was incredibly dull to me. I didn’t love her, but I didn’t hate her either–which is not good. Indifference is the death to any character and poor Sloane just never managed to get me on her side. While I understand her difficult situation and why she isn’t the first person jumping at the opportunity to save the world (I actually found that lack of motivation oddly refreshing), I just really wanted her to DO SOMETHING! Something other than pining for James or the other person in her unnecessary love triangle.

I didn’t really connect with any of the characters and that made reading this not as enjoyable as I had hoped.

The Romance:

THE PROGRAM & THE TREATMENT

I don’t really enjoy stories where the romance is already established. I like watching couples fall in love as I read and with Sloane and James, they have already been a couple for a while. Don’t get me wrong, they are cute and I like them together. But they are that nauseatingly cute couple that get too sugary sweet as you read. So by the time I got to The Treatment, I was a little over them as a couple. Oh, and it didn’t help that there are love triangles abound with them as well. It’s not a good thing when the romantic relationships can’t even save the dull plot.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m really, really undecided about reading The Remedy. I’m really intrigued by the premise and I want to give these new characters a shot. But at this moment, I’m holding off on picking it up.

THE PROGRAM & THE TREATMENT

Series Rating: 2.5/5

The Remedy TBD | The Epidemic TBP | The Program 3/5 | The Treatment 2/5

overall

The Treatment was a huge disappointment. I wanted a science fiction YA with a dash of romance; but instead, we get a YA romance with a dash of science fiction. In the end, The Program wasn’t for me!

Read if You Like: dystopian worlds, lots of romance, books about mental illness
Avoid if You: want more action

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Single Sundays: Rook by Sharon Cameron

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Rook (from Goodreads):
History has a way of repeating itself. In the Sunken City that was once Paris, all who oppose the new revolution are being put to the blade. Except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a red-tipped rook feather left in their place. Is the mysterious Red Rook a savior of the innocent or a criminal?

Meanwhile, across the sea in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy’s arranged marriage to the wealthy René Hasard is the last chance to save her family from ruin. But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to her doorstep, Sophia discovers that her fiancé is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she.

As the Red Rook grows bolder and the stakes grow higher, Sophia and René find themselves locked in a tantalizing game of cat and mouse.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: 2015 YA Fav, New Author to Watch
Author: Sharon Cameron
Genre: Young Adult, Suspense, Post Apocalyptic, Romance, Adventure, Politics
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I can’t remember where I first stumbled upon this book. It was either on NetGalley or through someones blog; but what got me to add this to my TBR and get really excited was the synopsis. I mean the cover is gorgeous but a “game of cat and mouse”…that it right up my alley and I couldn’t wait to dive in.

The Concept / The World:

I am a HUGE steampunk fan, so to read a book where machines are taboo was really quite the change for me. Especially when everything about this world is so steampunk-esque in terms of politics and society. But I loved how this world came to be–and the scary thing is I could see it happening with today’s society! Our dependency on technology definitely has its strengths and weakness and I liked that this book explored that concept.

The Writing:

I added this subheading because I feel like this is people’s biggest complaint about the book–and I totally get why!

Third person narratives are always hard to get into; especially if you primarily read first person POVs like I do. I find the more familiar you are with an author and their style, the easier it is to read subsequent novels by them. But this is my first Sharon Cameron book, though it won’t be my last!

The narration in this book is not as forthcoming or honest as one would expect; but it has to be. It is a suspense novel so scenes are going to be left vague or a character will be referred to in generic terms until it is beneficial for the reader to know their exact identity. You also get multiple POVs to keep the plot moving and evolving. It makes for a frustrating read from the readers perspective but I always felt like the big reveal was worth it.

Now, that doesn’t mean I didn’t have to reread lines to make sure I was fully understanding what was happening…because I did. But eventually I got used to the flow of the book and I really enjoyed the narration by the end of it.

The Plot:

As I said, there is a lot going on at times. Which is great for a reader like me who loves layers to their novels. You have the game between Rene and Sophia; Sophia and the debt collectors; the Red Rook and LeBlanc; LeBlanc and Rene; the Upper and Lower parts of the city…I think you get the point. There are a lot of players in this game and they definitely keep things interestingAnd the great thing is that I never felt overwhelmed by it all!

I was sucked into the plot pretty quickly. I feel like it builds really well and has a great balance between all the different elements. Things were always changing and it kept me on my toes, trying to figure out what was going to happen next. This book felt really long when I first started but I pretty much read it in a day as the pages just flew by.

The Characters:

This book probably has some of the most intelligent characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I expected LeBlanc (the “villain”) to be a bumbling fool easily outwitted by the Red Rook but he was so on point it was almost scary! A worth adversary who definitely kept me on my toes whenever he figured something out. Of course these characters all have their flaws but their wit and tenacity really captured my attention.

Also, I just have to add this quote because I absolutely adore it:

The idea that women are not fit for certain tasks is based on cultural expectations, not the science of fact. It is an old-fashioned belief coming from the less civilized centuries after the Great Death, and has nothing to do with medicine. Any man of science knows that.

I just loved the strength of the female characters in this novel! Sophia was amazing as a heroine! She is everything I adore in my leading ladies and exactly what I had hoped for. René was a perfect opponent for Sophia and I loved their interactions together. He was a solid character in his own right and kept my attention throughout. The rest were just fun and balanced the leads and the story extremely well.

The Romance:

I really, really liked that the romance didn’t overshadow this book. It shone when it needed to but stayed dormant when it didn’t. There is a love triangle but it actually contributes to the plot in an obvious and beneficial way.

My Rating: 5/5

overall

This book just hit all the right points for me! It was fun, twisty and full of action and mind games! I was really hooked into this only a few chapters in! I think the writing will turn some people off, but once you get used to it, it moves at a great pace!

Read if You Like: strong heroines, suspense, post apocolyptic worlds
Avoid if You: want more romance, don’t like third person POVs

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Tag it Thursdays: Bath & Body Works

tagitthurs
Tag it Thursdays: I occasionally get tagged by fellow bloggers to complete various tags. Twice a month (or so) I will post my response. Please, feel free to tag yourself if any of these tags interest you!

This month’s tag:

Bath and Body Works Tag

I was tagged by Summer @ XingSings wayyyy back in August–thank you Summer! The tag was originally created by Analee @ Book Snacks–who states that she really loves Bath and Body Works. I myself don’t really shop there all that much–I find the store to be really smelly, not in a bad way, just in a way that makes me have to blow my nose every 5 seconds. They do have some really great products though and some crazy deals every once and a while too! Maybe I should make an effort to buy my hand soap there….

The Perks of Being a WallflowerPure Paradise: A book that was simply perfection

This one was really tough! At first I was going to pick a book that I read this year but then decided to go with a classic. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of my all time favourite books. I think I felt every emotion reading that book. And I can’t forget to mention the absolute perfection that is the movie adaption! It might not have followed the book exactly in terms of plot but it was so on point with the themes and the characters that I was really impressed!

The Heartbreakers (The Heartbreak Chronicles)Sweet Pea: A romance/contemporary novel that you really enjoyed

YA Contemporary is just not my thing. This year I’ve tried to jump on that train but have failed every time… until I read The Heartbreakers! This book was exactly what I needed after a reading slump! The romance was adorable, the drama was delivered perfectly and the characters had great development. It was just fantastic and I can’t wait to read more in this series!

Vengeance RoadFresh Strawberries: A book you really enjoyed that came out this year

I’ve never read a Western novel before (I think Dmitri from Vampire Academy reads them all the time though right?), but Vengeance Road makes me want to read every single book and watch 5 Western movies! I’ve read a lot of great books this year but this one really stands out for me with its different plot line and strong female lead. Plus, look at that cover!

Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road, #1)Warm Vanilla Sugar: A character and/or book that made you feel all warm and smiley. 

I have an official list of book boyfriends on my Riffle account, but my most recent addition to that list is Oz from Nowhere but Here. He just had that right combination of being a bad boy and being a total sweetheart at the same time. Talk about swoon-worthy!

As for a warm book: The Heartbreakers is the most recent one I think.

RookParis Amour: A couple you majorly ship together

It’s just pure coincidence that there is an Eiffle Tower on this cover! I literally just picked the last couple I added to my fav couple list on Goodreads and it was Sophia & René from Rook. They were just a couple that I wanted to get together as soon as I met them.

If you want to know about the couples I rooted for but alas they weren’t destined to be, check out this Top Ten Tuesday Post.

Legend (Legend, #1) I <3 Cake Books: Favorite book/character

I saw this and immediately thought “favourite heroine” and that would be June from the Legend Trilogy. She is such a strong, intelligent female character and I simply loved that. It had been a long time I found a lead heroine that I could really respect and root for before I read Legend and I was just really impressed with her character.

My fav book series is Vampire Academy with the kickass Rose.

Frigid (Frigid, #1)Winter Candy Apple: A book set around Christmas or during winter. 

Gulp! I panicked on this one! I don’t think I read very many wintery books so I just picked the first one I saw with snow on the cover. And Frigid was it! I think this takes place on Christmas break or maybe it’s Spring Break? Regardless, it snows a lot in this book!

I suppose Kiss of Frost also would have worked!


The Gathering Storm (Katerina, #1)Beautiful Day: A book with an unusual/interesting/appealing setting

For some reason, Imperial Russia really intrigues me! From the politics to the outfits, it seems like a very interesting time period to have lived in. That’s part of the reason why I adore the Katerina Trilogy. While I wouldn’t want to live in that time period forever (just read Anna Karenina and you’ll get my gist), I think it would be fun to attend a royal ball or a ballet.

Dazzling Diamonds: Gorgeous cover(s)

A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, #1) Rogue Wave (Waterfire Saga, #2) Mechanica The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight, #1) A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1) The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)

Of the books I’ve read this year, these are my fav covers so far!


Thanks again Summer! This one was a lot of fun–and a great distraction from doing homework!

Feel free to tag yourself!

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Reading Rendezvous: London, England [2]


Reading Rendezvous: is a weekly feature created by the Fern Team for the Book Blogger Creativity Project that acts as a travel guide, highlighting places we would like to visit and recommending books that take place there.

I haven’t been able to do this feature on a weekly basis, but I plan on doing it on a bimonthly place. It’s really hard to come up with places that various book series take place because they A) take place in a fictional world or B) happen in the same major cities.

This week, my inspiration comes from one of my all time favourite series: The Infernal Devices. It’s kind of a six degrees of separation thing I have going on, seeing as my inaugural Reading Rendezvous took place in New York City, the setting for the first Mortal Instrument Series.

I have yet to go to London, England but it has been on my Bucket List for YEARS! Here are a few places I want to go and see.

Places to Visit:

–London Eye–

Ferris wheels always use to freak me out when I was a kid at the fair but now I appreciate the great views they provide of the city. This on is so iconic that I’ve wanted to go on it for years!

 

–Buckingham Palace–

Although Canada is its own country, we still recognize the Queen as our sovereign even though she really has no power in our political decisions. I still think it is a really cool tradition that we recognize our origins and would love to see the palace!


London Underground Sign - (c) Solar Worlds Photography–The Tube–

Call me weird, but when I visit other cities, I love taking their public transportation. It think it’s really cool how people get around and the Tube is one of the most interesting subway systems in the world.

Other Books Set in the Big Apple:

(Click for my reviews)

Ruby Red (Precious Stone Trilogy, #1) The Name of the Star (Shades of London, #1) The Girl on the Train

Next Travel destination:

Vancouver, Canada

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Single Sundays: The Mad Tatter by JM Darhower

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for The Mad Tatter (from Goodreads):
Reece Hatfield has just one rule when it comes to falling in love: don’t fucking do it. There’s no room in his life for another person. He can barely keep a handle on things as it is. A shadow of the man he used to be, Reece spends his days tattooing, the artist inside of him longing for the chance to do something different.

Avery Moore is all dance, all the time. Ballet is all she’s ever known, and she’s damn good at it. Her body is her art, a living canvas that captivates Reece the first time he lays his eyes on her.

He yearns to leave his mark on her body… in more ways than one.

The tattooed degenerate with a shady past. The beautiful ballerina with a bright future. They live in different worlds, yet somehow, they fit. But just because they fit doesn’t mean they belong together. Cracks sometimes form. Two pieces don’t always make a whole. The course of love never did run smoothly. Things get messy.

And Reece doesn’t do messy.

Not anymore.

breakdown

Author: J M Darhower
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single *Male POV*
Publication Date: April 12, 2015
Source & Format: Own–Kindle

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Well, just look at the cover for one. Then look at the title (I love plays on words). And then I looked at the price ($1) and thought, why not?

I was looking forward to a book that had seemingly opposite people attract and fall in love. Tattooed bad boy meets a ballerina? Yes please!

The Plot:

I definitely thought this book was going to be more erotica based but I’m really happy that it wasn’t. Actually, the plot in this book really wasn’t anything I expected. The romance was more of a slow burn and the focus was mostly on Reese coming to terms with who he is.

Which was actually very refreshing for me to read. I enjoyed watching Reese grow as a character and man. I loved watching him interact with Avery. It was a very sweet story to watch unfold even if it wasn’t packed with action or a whole lot of drama.

The Characters:

Because it wasn’t told from Avery’s POV at all it was really cool to read and subsequently understand Reese more than you normally would if Avery was the one telling the POV or it was an alternating POV. I really enjoy male-only POV romances–they keep things interesting if you ask me. And what I really liked is that Reese is a genuinely nice guy. He isn’t some crude, alpha male who describes women like objects or simply wants to possess Avery because he can. You really fall in love with him and root for him to succeed.

I also really liked Avery. Even though she doesn’t get her own POV, I still feel like I had a good grasp on her character. And I actually appreciated the fact that she does take a bit of a back-seat to Reese’s development. She was a great leading lady!

The Romance:

Like I said earlier, it was definitely a slow-burn romance–which I really liked! It was great watching these two form a sincere connection with each other. They weren’t banging each other on every available surface or falling too fast. It was a great balance and they were a fantastic match, so I was rooting for them the whole way!

My Rating: 4/5

overall

I’m glad this book wasn’t what I thought it was going to be! It was a great slow burn, male POV romance. Don’t judge the book by it’s cover! There is so much more to The Mad Tatter than meets the eye!

Read if You Like: slow burn romances, tattooed leads, artist leads, male POVs
Avoid if You: want more “romance”, want more drama

similarreads

  • Confess by Colleen Hoover
  • Dance for Me by Helena Newbury (Fenbrook Academy Series #1)
  • All the Pretty Poses by M Leighton (Pretty Trilogy #1)

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Series Review: The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

The Girl at Midnight Series

Synopsis for The Girl at Midnight (from Goodreads):
Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she’s ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she’s fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it’s time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, though if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it’s how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

But some jobs aren’t as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.

breakdown

Series: The Girl at Midnight
Author: Melissa Grey
# of Books: 3 (The Girl at Midnight, The Shadow Hour, The Savage Hour)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult,  Urban Fantasy, Magic, Supernatural, Romance, Adventure
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: April 2015 – July 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook; Audiobook (Shadow Hour)

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

This book was everywhere when it was first released. I loved the cover but everyone’s positive reviews really drew me to read the synopsis. It sounded like my type of book: a blend of action, urban fantasy and prophecy. Plus, it has been a really long time since I’ve read an Urban Fantasy and waiting for the next Mystic City novel is leaving me with a bit of an urban fantasy hangover.

What I Liked:

–The Mortal Instrument Vibes I got–

Don’t get scared off by this statement if you aren’t a Mortal Instruments fan and really wanted to read this book! They really don’t have that much in common besides some very basic urban fantasy tropes (like teleportation across the world, war against two different races, magic, etc), set in NYC and the fact that they are both narrated in the third person by multiple characters.

It was the narration that spoke to me the most. I got really attached to the side characters with The Girl at Midnight. Echo was a little on the dull side as a heroine for me so I liked having multiple characters tell the story instead of just Echo. (Who I grew to like more, for the record)

–It Surprised Me!–

There were some twists at the end that I wasn’t expecting. I probably should have but I just didn’t put two and two together. So I really liked that! It made the last 100 or so pages exciting to read.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Slow Start–

I’m all for gradual plot progression but this book just took too long for me. I felt like nothing really happened for the first 200 pages (its was ~295 eBook pages). Sure, some minor plot leads were there and they definitely added to the awesomeness that was the last 50 pages that knocked my socks off, but otherwise, this book was on the drier side.

I think I was expecting more action given the fact that Echo is labelled as a thief. Thief just equates to action/suspense to me but this book reads more like an adventure/journey. Which is fine, just not what I wanted. I find adventure novels can be dull until the end and this is definitely the case here.

–The Romance–

I wouldn’t say that I didn’t like the romance, I’m just not sold on it quite yet when it comes to Echo. (I’m definitely on board with some other potential romances though!). The direction Echo’s romantic life is going in is completely different from what my intital impression was when I first started so I’m interested to see what is going to happen next. It’s just going to have to work a little harder to get me to ‘ship her romantic life.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m really curious to see where this series is going to go next! There were a lot of neat spins that were added near the very end that make me want to read the sequel. I’m not dying to read it though.

updates

–April 8, 2018– Book #2: The Shadow Hour (Audiobook)

I enjoyed this middle novel enough. It did take me awhile to get into it because I have been away from this world for a very long time but I also think not a lot happens at the start either so it was a nice gradual approach. I still really like all the characters so I enjoyed the various spurts of growth they experience. However, this series is very singular in its plot despite having a cast of multiple characters to follow. They all approach the main problem with different angles but I often wished for something else to be happening in the background. We get a few good twists along the way but nothing really impressed me.

As for the audiobook–unfortunately it’s narrated by one of my least favourite narrators so that was a bummer. But it was a great way to read this book regardless.

concSLOW

My Rating: 3/5

The Girl at Midnight 3/5 | The Shadow Hour 3/5 | The Savage Dawn TBA

overall

I wasn’t blown away by this series like I had hoped. It’s a little too one dimensional when it comes to the plot for my liking (ie not a lot of subplots). However, I really liked the cast of characters and how we move around from person to person. It keeps the narrative moving at a steady pace, even when much else isn’t happening.

Read if You Like: slower stories, urban fantasy, adventure stories, the Mortal Instruments
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, dislike adventure

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Series Review: The Fowler Sisters by Monica Murphy

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Owning Violet (from Goodreads):
I’ve moved through life doing what’s expected of me. I’m the middle daughter, the dutiful daughter. The one who braved a vicious attack and survived. The one who devoted herself to her family’s business empire. The one who met an ambitious man and fell in love. We were going to run Fleur Cosmetics together, Zachary and I.

Until he got a promotion and left me in the dust. Maybe it’s for the best, between his disloyalty and his wandering eye. But another man was waiting for me. Wanting me. He too has an overwhelming thirst for success, just like Zachary—perhaps even more so. He’s also ruthless. And mysterious. I know nothing about Ryder McKay beyond that he makes me feel things I’ve never felt before.

One stolen moment, a kiss, a touch . . . and I’m hooked. Ryder’s like a powerful drug, and I’m an addict who doesn’t want to be cured. He tells me his intentions aren’t pure, and I believe him. For once, I don’t care. I’m willing to risk everything just to be with him. Including my heart. My soul.

My everything.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author
Series: The Fowler Sisters Trilogy
Author: Monica Murphy (aka Karen Erickson)
# of Books: 3 (Owning Violet, Stealing Rose, Taming Lily)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Erotica, Drama, New Adult
Heat Rating: hot, Kink: mild
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

I really enjoyed Monica Murphy’s New Adult series, One Week Girlfriend (understatement: I loved it) and I also liked her contemporary romances as written by Karen Erickson. So picking up this series seemed like a no-brainer to me.

The Concept / The World:

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began Owning Violet. The whole “owning” bit of the title gave me the impression that this was going to be a BDSM novel–which are not my preferred cups of tea. But because it was Monica Murphy, I was going to give it a shot. I happy to say that there isn’t any BDSM though it definitely is erotica.

The series follows 3 sisters as they try to balance their love lives and family empire. It’s very soap opera in premise (it reminded me a little of The Young and the Restless :P) but not as cheesy or with as many characters involved.

The Plot:

Like most contemporary romance novels of the adult variety, this series followed the formula of “meet”, sex scenes, last few chapters wrap up the plot. And that didn’t really work for me. All of these books had so many great elements to it but they never reached their full potential. I also felt like I was rereading the previous book only with a different female lead and a few little twists (Stealing Rose and Taming Lily nearly have the same identical premise).

You have the work drama, and the crazy plots that bring these characters together but they weren’t very “crazy” to me. They were rather subdued and I wanted all the juicy drama.

I did like that there was an overarching plot that linked each of the sisters stories together. It made me want to keep reading the series even if I wasn’t totally in love with these characters.

The Characters:

I was shocked when I got to chapter two in Owning Violet to see that Ryder was going to get his own POV chapters. I totally thought that the book would only be from Violet’s POV and I was looking forward to unearthing what Ryder’s dirty secret was. Having Ryder’s POV put a different spin on this novel for sure but I’m not sure if it was more harmful than helpful. I thought it really took away from the suspense of the novel and as a reader that made it boring to me.

I also wish there was more to these characters. In Taming Lily I had really hoped that Max’s character would have been developed more with the little inklings we get of his past. But in the same token, I thought Lily had the best character development of any of the sisters so I was really torn over the rating for that book.

The Romance:

All these leads had great sexual chemistry and for the most part they did establish an emotional connection as well. I just didn’t LOVE them as much as I had hoped and I think it was because I was a little tired of reading about them having sex constantly and wanted more drama.

Also, their romances happen very fast and so do the feelings. I just wanted more than endless descriptions of how attractive the girls were or how fantastic it was to have sex with each other. I needed to see more emotional connections (ie sharing of past experiences).

My Rating: 3/5

Owning Violet 3/5  |  Stealing Rose 3/5  |  Taming Lily 3.5/5

overall

This series just really underwhelmed me. I wanted more from these characters than sexual romps in an office and lacklustre character development.

Read if You Like: Contemporary Erotica, Workplace romances, quick romances
Avoid if You: don’t like erotica, want more character development

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