January 29, 2015

Books I Didn't Blog About: The Pretty Good (YA Edition)

I can now officially say with this post that I am 100% caught up on the reviews I needed to write that were left over from books that I read last year. I feel so free. I am even more excited to write reviews now that I don't have a huge stack staring me in the face. This time I'm sharing with you the young adult books I read that were pretty good.

3 (three) STARS

Let it Snow
by John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle
I borrowed this one from the library.
I love how all three stories connect. The first story was pretty fun to read and had a very funny main character. The second story had some annoying kind of sexist teenage boys and I didn't really like it. The third story was cute, if not simply because it features a teacup pig.

In a Handful of Dust
by Mindy McGinnis
I borrowed this one from the library.
I still love the characters and enjoyed the survival story in this sequel to Not a Drop to Drink, but it wasn't what I was expecting. It wasn't as epic as the first book. Make no mistake, I still am glad I read this dark and sometimes gruesome sequel.

by Sara Zarr, Tara Altebrando
I own it.
There are many things that I liked about Roomies, how different the two main characters were, how it made me reminisce about getting ready for college, just to name a few. On the other hand, it wasn't as funny as I thought it would be and it wasn't that easy to really connect with either character.

by Mindee Arnett
I borrowed this one from the library
I don't read a lot of science fiction books but THAT COVER. I just had to find out what was behind that beautiful cover. I liked the characters. I liked the plot. I liked the somewhat surprise twists. I just didn't really love anything, and the info dumps were kind of annoying. I will probably read the next book since this is a duology.
January 26, 2015

Books I Didn't Blog About: Adult Edition

I had about 15 book reviews from books I read in 2014 that still needed to be written. The problem, I wanted to feel fresh and not behind at the start of 2015. Therefore, I decided to compile most of these reviews into super short mini reviews. I got the general idea for the format of these posts from Christine @ Buckling Bookshelves. Without further ado, here are all the adult books I read in 2014 that I had yet to write reviews for. They are organized by their star ratings.

5 (five) STARS

Five Days At Memorial
by Sheir Fink
I borrowed this one from the library.
A hard emotional book to read about very important ethical questions. I hate to admit it, but I didn't even realize how much went on during Hurricane Katrina at the hospitals until I read this book, it was an eye opener. I really am glad I read this well paced/written non-fiction book that made me take a step back and think.

4 (four) STARS

by Mary Beth Keane
I borrowed this one from the library.
This one had an interesting premise that actually delivered. Full of complex characters, ethical revelations, and a little bit of craziness, Fever is an interesting story about Typhoid Mary.

The Husband's Secret
by Lian Moriarty
I borrowed this one from the library.
I enjoyed seeing how four different women's lives connected in this opposite of light and happy novel about secrets and what ifs. This was a solid read.

The Storyteller
by Jodi Picoult
I own it.
The Storyteller has a frustrating and flawed main character, Sage, that I really liked. Although this book can be difficult to read at times due to its tough subject matter, I devoured it. I liked finding out the secrets that Josef Weber, the man who wants Sage to kill him, is hiding. This book proves just how powerful a story can be.

3 (three) STARS

by Edan Lepucki
I borrowed this one from the library.
It wasn't what I thought it was going to be. I liked this adult dystopian novel with its dual point of views, funny tidbits, and interesting (but kind of hard to like) characters, but it lacked any adventure/action and well done world building. Bottom line, it was a little boring.

The Heist
by Janet Evanovich, Lee Golderg
I own it.
The Heist is a typical Janet Evanovich novel, but still worth reading.The main character, Kate, is a girl you would want to be. I loved how it reminded me a little of the television show White Collar and how it made me chuckle here and there. I will probably be reading the second one next time I am looking for a light read.
January 23, 2015

I Feel Like Gabbing Today - TV Show Edition

**I have no idea how often I will have this post or when exactly I'm going to post it. This is a work in progress. I do however know that I want to share with you the very random thoughts that pop into my head. Many are bookish thoughts and many are not. I feel like I don't have enough discussion type posts on the blog so I am giving this a whirl.

I have a slight addiction to binge watching
TV shows. Actually, I get so immersed in my television shows that sometimes I don't even make time to read or I even forget that I am in the real world. So today I want to take a second and freely fangirl over my favorite TV show characters. If you aren't watching these shows... shame on you.


The Bad Boy with The Best One Liners (Also The Sexiest Man on Television)
Damon Salvatore - The Vampire Diaries

The Adorkable Dad
Phil Dunphy - Modern Family

The Bad-Ass Queen
Mary Stuart - Reign

The Slick Criminal Hottie
Neal Caffrey - White Collar

The One Who Needs No Introduction
Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead

The Awkward and Yet Somehow Loveable Smarty
Sherlock Holmes - Sherlock

He is LITERALLY My Favorite
Chris Traeger - Parks and Recreation

The Best Monotone and One of The Funniest Men on Television
Captain Holt - Brooklyn Nine-Nine

The Woman With The Best Sass
The Dowager Countess - Downton Abbey

The Scary and Crazy Evil Genius
Francis Underwood - House of Cards

The One Who I Want to Win The Whole Damn Thing
Daenerys Targaryen - Game of Thrones

What are some of your favorite television show characters?

January 22, 2015

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Withering Hope by Layla Hagen

Withering Hope by Layla Hagen (Jan. 19, 2015)
Genre: Adult/Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a free copy for an honest review for a tour from the author through the Xpresso Book Tours.
Purchase: Kobo | iBooks | Amazon

Aimee’s wedding is supposed to turn out perfect. Her dress, her fiancé and the location—the idyllic holiday ranch in Brazil—are perfect.
But all Aimee’s plans come crashing down when the private jet that’s taking her from the U.S. to the ranch—where her fiancé awaits her—defects mid-flight and the pilot is forced to perform an emergency landing in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.

With no way to reach civilisation, being rescued is Aimee and Tristan’s—the pilot—only hope. A slim one that slowly withers away, desperation taking its place. Because death wanders in the jungle under many forms: starvation, diseases. Beasts.

As Aimee and Tristan fight to find ways to survive, they grow closer. Together they discover that facing old, inner agonies carved by painful pasts takes just as much courage, if not even more, than facing the rainforest.

Despite her devotion to her fiancé, Aimee can’t hide her feelings for Tristan—the man for whom she’s slowly becoming everything. You can hide many things in the rainforest. But not lies. Or love.

Withering Hope is the story of a man who desperately needs forgiveness and the woman who brings him hope. It is a story in which hope births wings and blooms into a love that is as beautiful and intense as it is forbidden.

My Review

Withering Hope is pretty much your run of the mill contemporary romance, luckily with some splashes of unique color among its pages. It is mainly a romance novel with some survival stuff thrown in. My favorite part was reading about how Aimee and Tristian were trying their best to survive in the Amazon rain forest, which I could never imagine myself being able to do. There are many interesting scenes involving bugs, many animals, and hard to find water and food, but I would have liked to see even more.I also would have liked to see a little more comic relief thrown in, but I can understand why there wasn’t since the whole situation was serious, but it would have been nice.

Now let's talk characters. Aimee is a little hard to relate too, but a cute girl who may be a little annoying but handles herself pretty darn well in the wild considering she doesn’t even like camping. Tristan is the sexy pilot who is determined to protect Aimee at all costs since he sees a strength and kindness in her that he admires. Although the book is mostly told through Aimee’s POV, I like that we get snippets from Tristan’s POV here and there throughout the novel.The main thing, the romance, wasn’t as steamy as I would have liked it. I just felt a kind of disconnect with this coupling, I have no idea why.I was very happy to see that their relationship wasn’t insta-love. That was very nice. I was worried the minute they crashed Tristan would do something heroic for Aimee and she would immediately forget about her fiancé, but luckily that wasn’t the case. On the other hand, I still felt that the romance was unrealistic and a little forced.However, at the end of the novel I did finally feel something for them, they were cute. I can say that Tristan and Aimee do make a good team.

Although Withering Hope didn’t hold too many surprises inside its pages, I did take joy in reading it. I liked watching the closeness between Aimee and Tristan unfold while they tried to stay alive in the rain forest. I really loved the unique setting.

The Author

My name is Layla Hagen and I am a New Adult Contemporary Romance author.I fell in love with books when I was nine years old, and my love affair with stories continues even now, many years later.I write romantic stories and can’t wait to share them with the world.And I drink coffee. Lots of it, in case the photo didn’t make it obvious enough


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January 20, 2015

TTT #31 - Childhood Favorites

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Since this week's topic is a freebie I decided to share some of my favorite childhood books with you all.

My Top Five Favorite Books When I Was a Kid
1.The Rainbow Fishby Marcus Pfister
2. Amelia Bedeliaby Peggy Parish, Fritz Siebel
3. The Berenstain Bears by Stan & Jan Berenstain
4. Little House on The Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
5. Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard, James Marshall

My Top Five Favorite Books When I Was a Teen
1. The Princess Diaries Series by Meg Cabot
2.The Sweep Series by Cate Tiernan
3. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
4. Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer
5. Flight #116 is Down by Caroline B. Cooney

January 19, 2015

Series Review: The Grisha by: Leigh Bardugo

Here is my somewhat generic (becauseI try really hard to avoid spoilers and think I do) and very rambling review of The Grisha Trilogy.

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by: Leigh Bardugo
358 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Source: The Library
Purchase: Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository | Amazon
Goodreads Summary: Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy.

My Review: So after a long time of contemplation, reading a fellow friend's five star review and insistence to read them, not to mention pretty much everyone saying these books are awesome, I finally read Shadow and Bone. I finally said...
Right from the beginning I was hooked. I wanted to know everything there was to know about The Fold. I wanted to know everything there was to know about everything. I was growing attached to Alina and liked watching her come into her own, to really discover who she was and embrace it. I was falling for The Darkling. I was liking Mal but frustrated with him and for Alina. I was scared by the creatures in the Fold. Most importantly,I was loving all the action. Books with a lot of action are my thing. I was enjoying Shadow and Bone like I never thought I would. Then I started to get some mixed feelings about a certain someone and well let's just leave it at this...
I had to work through the stages of grief with that reveal even though I kind of had a feeling it was coming.
I was on the edge of my seat while reading Shadow and Bone and as soon as I finished I was ecstatic that I had the next book sitting on my shelf waiting to be read.

**WARNING: The next two reviews contains spoilers of the previous books in the series.

Siege and Storm (#2)
432 pages
Source: The Library
Goodreads Summary: Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her--or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

My Review: At this point I can say that I officially love Mal and Alina and want to read about them for all of times. I ship them and that is painful/frustrating at times. I also couldn't be happier to report that there was also a great deal of action in the second installment as well. We get some new characters, one in particular I'm sure will have many female readers fawning over. This picture kind of reminded me of said trouble maker.
There were a few times that Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising gave off some Harry Potter vibes.
The ending of Siege and Storm left me nervous. This trilogy is dark and only seems to be getting darker.
Ruin and Rising (#3)
417 pages
Source: The Library
Goodreads Summary: The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

My Review: How I felt before I started reading Ruin and Rising.
I entered, and I only mildly survived.
Ruin and Rising had an always moving plot that was fast paced. I was loving Mal even more, especially his tracking skills. Anyway, this was me throughout the whole book.
I was frustrated and I wanted some answers. I was stressed out. I was freaked out, and I was that way until the very end.
When I finally finished the book. I did feel content.
Now it is time for the burning question. What did I think of the trilogy as a whole?
My Overall Rating of The Grisha Series by Leigh Bardugo...
January 18, 2015

The Bookish Report

Here are all of the top bookish stories, blog posts, pictures, and videos I found this past week. I put this post up every Sunday so come back again next week for more bookish awesomeness.Click away and enjoy your Sunday!

Fun Bookish News

Do you love inforgraphics like I do? What about bookish infographics? See what age authors were when they published their most famous works.
This Harry Potter article will make you laugh. This Harry Potter article will make you swoon.
There may be a Gone Girl sequel... I don't know how I feel about that.
Can this couple get any more awesome?!

Fellow Book Blogger Posts

Of Spectacles and Books - Free Books and Awesome Opportunities for You- I may be doing this. I just need to be sure I can commit.
The Emerald City Book Review - What makes a great blog design?- This is relevant since I will be getting a new blog design soonish.
Bookishly Boisterous - Books on Your Back - Shoe Edition- Yup, love these.
The Attic - Behind the Blogger - I am featured in this Behind the Blogger edition!!!

Photo of The Week

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