Thursday, May 1, 2014

End of 2013 and Early 2014 Reading Recap

It has been so long since I last sat down to write here and I'd like to TRY to get back to it.....

Easiest way to do that without killing myself right now would be to just recap what I wrapped up in 2013 and what I've since read in 2014. So without further ado....


Started The Giver series....well now called The Giver Quartet

The Giver (The Giver, #1)Gathering Blue (The Giver, #2)

Book 1 & 2
read December 27-28, 2013 & December 28-29, 2013


Wrapped up The Giver Quartet

MessengerSon (The Giver #4)

Book 3 & 4

read December 31, 2013- January 1, 2014 & January 1-6, 2014

Continued on with a Lois Lowry kick....

Gossamer by Lois Lowry

read: January 6-7, 2014

Got some sci-fi action....kind of anticipating the next book...

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

read: January 9-13, 2014

And on to some fluffy mystery...

High Five (Stephanie Plum, #5)

read: January 22-28, 2014

A little bit of young adult...

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

read: January 28- February 1, 2014
I absolutley LOVED this book. Great lead female character!!!


read: February 1-2, 2014
this one was just ok

Back to sci-fi...

Parasite by Mira Grant

read: February 7- March 1, 2014
this took FOREVER and had I known it was only the start of the series....I may not have kept with it. Not sure if I'll continue.

What I thought was the last book in my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE SERIES......

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches (Flavia de Luce, #6)

read: March 1-2, 2014
This book series is amazing! Seriously the best spunky female lead I've ever had the honor to meet and follow....Flavia De Luce. She may only be 11 but the world better watch out cause she has more knowledge of chemistry than any one person her age should!! She is forever getting wrapped up in a mystery that she needs to solve, and she never ceases to amaze the reader. I'm excited to learn that there will be more of Flavia, and I look forward to meeting her again!

A stroll through the past....

Gidget (Gidget series, #1)

read: March 2, 2014
I caught the ttv show with Sally Field on a Sunday a few months ago and was intrigued enough to see what was behind the real Gidget. The story was ok, but I'd rather watch the show since I like Sally Field.

On to some young adult...

See What I See

read: March 2-3, 2014
This was a nice find in the young adult section. I ended up picking up a couple of Gloria Whelan's novels and while I only read once, I did enjoy it.

Nothing but Ghosts

read: March 6-7, 2014
Nice quick little read. It was a nice change of pace from the typical young adult novels that seem to get stuck in these love triangle loops.

And on to a little non-fiction....

American Legends by Charles River Editors

read: March 8, 2014
Love James Dean. This was pretty informative. Really did not know as much about him as I thought.

Freebie from Amazon....

Death's Avatar by S.M. Reine

read: March 8, 2014
Just a free book I have had for a long time on my kindle that I FINALLY sat down to read. This was a great introduction to a really interesting series. I'll be continuing this series soon.

Something a little different for me....

The Women of Brewster Place

read: March 8-9, 2014
I LOVED this book. The stories were engaging, brutal and heartbreaking. I had to know what happens to the men of Brewster Place so.....

The Men of Brewster Place: A Novel

read: March 10-13, 2014
This was just ok compared to the first novel. The novel of the women was great, while this didn't give me the ending or the explanations I was expecting. I felt it was lacking in comparison.

The much anticipated.....
Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)

read: March 13-23, 2014
This was such a letdown after having waiting so long for this series to continue. It took forever to read and I just couldn't get into it. I had to force myself to finish. I guess part of my problem was the series is getting too much entangled with the love stories. Which, yuck. The character introduced in this book, Cress, was soooo annoying and just ga ga. That was part of the reason it was so tough to read.

Revisiting a new favorite author....
The Good Luck of Right Now

read: March 25-29, 2014
I read a Matthew Quick novel last year and really liked the character. This novel was no different. What originally pulled me to read this was that it is epistolary and I love a novel in letters!! The unique story here is that the main character is writing to Richard Gere in his letters as he copes with his mothers death. I knew I had to read more of Quick's novels.

Because I was hooked on epistolary novels....I picked up something slightly different...something that faces pain head on and unflinching....
Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas

read: March 29-30, 2014
Beautiful. Moving. Heartbreaking. Triumphant. A truly wonderful ending that had me cheering out loud. Truly wonderful find.

Another unflinching novel....
Life Size CL

read: March 30- April 3, 2014
A look at anorexia from the view of a patient. Her thoughts about herself and her relationship with food was interesting and tough to read. It made me want to shake her and make her eat, yet talk with her an attempt to understand her mind.

Back to young adult....and on to horror...

The Hand of the Devil by Dean Vincent Carter

read: April 3-4, 2014
One of the strangest novels I've ever read. Ever. And it was entertaining. It had me looking this freakish creature, that now that I read the book description I see it is not named, but wow it is a freak of nature!!!

From horror to death....

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

read: April 5-6, 2014
An ok novel. Not quite what I was expecting. I very nearly but the novel down, but I kept with it. I won't be reading any further as I think there is another book, but that's because I just didn't feel a connection to the characters. Sadly it didn't matter to me whether she stayed or not.

Back to Matthew Quick....this time a female lead!!!

Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick

read: April 8-11, 2014
This was a great novel too!! I'm a Quick fan now!! No doubt. This was nice to see him write not only from a female perspective, but a teenage girls point of view and he did a nice job. The character is compelling and engaging.

Back to the epistolary novels....

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn

read: April 13, 2014
I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! I was so glad to have found it at the library. I started it and even put it down frustrated with it. But then picked it up again and I am soooo glad I did. This was an incredibly entertaining novel especially for people who love words!!

Oh Miss Plum...

Hot Six by Janet Evanovich

read: April 14-19, 2014
Stephanie is always good for a light read and a funny story, and this did not disappoint!

Seven Up (Stephanie Plum, #7)

read: April 19-23, 2014
Had to pick up the next one.....

And guess what I'm reading now!!!!!

Hard Eight (Stephanie Plum, #8)

The annoying thing I'm finding with Janet Evanovich's novels however is that she ends on a cliffhanger....but she never gives you the moment you miss where the last book ends!!! How annoying!!! Don't pick up MONTHS later!!! Especially when you are going to end with RANGER IN STEPHANIE'S BEDROOM, DROPPING HIS UTILITY BELT ON THE FLOOR AFTER SPENDING THE NOVEL TELLING THE READER THAT WE WILL BE SEEING SOME ACTION BETWEEN THESE CHARACTERS!!! UGH!!!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Envy by Gregg Olsen

Read: December 22-27, 2013
read in 6 days
pages: 285

Envy (Empty Coffin, #1)

Book Blurb:

Crime lives--and dies--in the deceptively picture-perfect town of Port Gamble (aka “Empty Coffin”), Washington. Evil lurks and strange things happen--and 15-year-olds Hayley and Taylor Ryan secretly use their wits and their telepathic “twin-sense” to uncover the truth about the town's victims and culprits. 

Envy, the series debut, involves the mysterious death of the twins' old friend, Katelyn. Was it murder? Suicide? An accident? Hayley and Taylor are determined to find out--and as they investigate, they stumble upon a dark truth that is far more disturbing than they ever could have imagined.

I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I was unsure what to expect because I did not know anything about it, just that this was a very creepy cover. However I found that I was sucked in very quickly and DID NOT SEE THIS ENDING COMING! I liked the twins and their eerie connection to each other and ability to see things. I'm still debating if I want to go further since it is a series. I liked the idea of the novel ending where it did rather than the twins continuing to solve crimes or mysteries. I liked that there was a connection between these girls and the crime in this novel. From what I read of the next book I'm not sure I'm really interested.

Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer (Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer #1) by Van Jensen

Read: December 21, 2013
read in less than an hour
pages: 128

Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer

Book blurb:

After seeing Geppetto die at the hands of vampires, Pinocchio swears revenge in this darkly funny graphic novel. As the vampires plot the enslavement of mankind, only a one-puppet army stands in their way. But will a wooden boy and his endless supply of stakes - courtesy of plenty of lies and his elongating nose - be enough to save the day?

Don't really remember how I came across this title, but it sounded interesting so I checked out the first I continuing....nah I don't think so. It was an okay read, but it didn't really capture my attention enough to want to read further. 

The Hidden Staircase (Nancy Drew #2) by Carolyn Keene

Read: December 11-14, 2013
read in 4 days
pages: 182

The Hidden Staircase (Nancy Drew, #2)

Book Blurb:

Teenage detective Nancy Drew uses her courage and powers of deduction to solve the mysterious happenings in an old stone mansion.

Book two in the Nancy Drew series. These are super short, quick and easy reads. I enjoy them enough to keep reading them. They are light and fluffy. I don't even try to solve them, but that is not why I'm reading them!!! So sure you could easily solve the crime yourself should you so is junior fiction after all....but I choose not to. I choose to be entertained and that is all I'm looking for in these books!!

Long Live the Queen (The Immortal Empire #3) by Kate Locke

Read: November 26-December 6, 2013
read in 11 days
pages: 311

Long Live the Queen (The Immortal Empire, #3)

Book blurb:

Xandra Vardan thought life would be simpler when she accepted the goblin crown and became their queen, but life has only become more complicated. Everyone -- vampires, werewolves and humans -- wants the goblins on their side, because whoever has the goblins -- wins. 

Queen Victoria wants her head, Alpha wolf Vex wants her heart, and she still doesn't know the identity of the person who wanted her blood. What she does know is that a project from one of the 'secret' aristocrat labs has gotten free and she's the only one who can stop the perfect killing machine -- a sixteen year-old girl. With human zealots intent on ridding the world of anyone with plagued blood and supernatural politics taking Britain to the verge of civil war, Xandra's finding out that being queen isn't all it's cracked up to be, and if she doesn't do something fast, hers will be the shortest reign in history. 
The fantastic conclusion to the series that started with the spectacular undead steampunk debut, God Save the Queen and The Queen is Dead.

The conclusion to the series, and honestly I'm glad. This was not my favorite series because I was fooled into thinking this was steampunk when in reality it is not. Far from it in fact. Just some world building and cool gadgets that are suspiciously just like what we have in modern times. All in all I'd say the series is entertaining I guess. I really kept reading because I liked the male love interest. His name alone makes you take notice: Vexation "Vex" MacLaughlin. He's a super sexy Alpha Were that was hands down my favorite character. I liked him better than the lead character Xandra because she is run by her emotions and gets herself into these messes or situations she never needed to be in.

Would I recommend?? Yes. IF you've read the others in the series and want to know what happens in the end. Would I continue on the off chance that more come from this I'd be very hard to persuade....

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Diamond of Darkhold (Book of Ember #4) by Jeanne DuPrau

Read: November 25-29, 2013
read in 4 days
pages: 285

The Diamond of Darkhold (Book of Ember, #4)

Book blurb:

It's been several months since Lina and Doon escaped the dying city of Ember and, along with the rest of their people, joined the town of Sparks. Lina knows they are lucky to be there, but life aboveground is hard. Instead of opening a can for dinner, they must plant and harvest their food. And while there was no sun or moon in Ember's sky, neither was there rain, sleet, or wind. Now, in the middle of their first winter, Lin finds herself feeling homesick for her old city.

It's during this dark time that Doon finds an unusual book. Torn up and missing most of its pages, it alludes to a mysterious device, a piece of technology from before the Disaster. Doon becomes convinced that the Builders of Ember meant for them to find the device when they left the city, to help them in their new lives. Together, Lina and Doon must go back underground to retrieve what was lost and bring light to a dark world.

In the fourth Book of Ember, bestselling author Jeanne DuPrau juxtaposes yet another action-packed adventure with powerful themes of hope, learning, and the search for truth.

The final book to the series was a nice wrap up of all that had been happening in the series. This was an ending full of hope and shows the wonder of the human spirit and the ability to overcome moments of true darkness. With this final novel we return to Sparks and find Lina and Doon worry once again about the people and their chances of surviving the winter months. They are tired of the struggle and believe there has to be a better way to overcome the hardships they are facing. Once again the two set out to save everyone from disaster and while they bring trouble in their quest they are able to prove they are plenty capable of getting the job done. Overall the series is a nice little escape that proves to be heartwarming as it speaks of hope and of finding the happiness and goodness that is in life. Helps to make you realize that there are hardships in life that are necessary. These are what make life's easy moments so much more happier and special.

The Prophet of Yonwood (Book of Ember #3) by Jeanne DuPrau

Read: November 23-24, 2013
read in two days
pages: 289

The Prophet of Yonwood (Book of Ember, #3)

Book blurb:

It’s 50 years before the settlement of the city of Ember, and the world is in crisis. War looms on the horizon as 11-year-old Nickie and her aunt travel to the small town of Yonwood, North Carolina. There, one of the town’s respected citizens has had a terrible vision of fire and destruction. Her garbled words are taken as prophetic instruction on how to avoid the coming disaster. If only they can be interpreted correctly. . . .

As the people of Yonwood scramble to make sense of the woman’s mysterious utterances, Nickie explores the oddities she finds around town—her great-grandfather’s peculiar journals and papers, a reclusive neighbor who studies the heavens, a strange boy who is fascinated with snakes—all while keeping an eye out for ways to help the world. Is this vision her chance? Or is it already too late to avoid a devastating war?

In this prequel to the acclaimed The City of Ember and The People of Sparks, Jeanne DuPrau investigates how, in a world that seems out of control, hope and comfort can be found in the strangest of places.

This along with the first book would have to be my favorite in the series. This was removed from the series by 50 years all prior to the City of Ember and was an attempt to show some of the things that lead up to the need for Ember. Although I really expected to read of the actual events that LEAD to the City of Ember instead this book was a really a sanitized version of what may be happening in one little town that is in the grips of the threat of war. This was a bird's eye view of one town and their way of coping with what could be the end of days. I enjoyed the characters in this story a little more than the characters in the rest of the series, but too it could have been that there was a bit of a change of pace in this book and a change of scenery. I can see the need for this book, but think the placement in the series feels a little awkward as it broke up the continuation of what was happening in Sparks.