Sunday, January 22, 2017

Book Review- The Nightingale

Last week I finished reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah about a week and a half ago.

From Goodreads:

Despite their differences, sisters Vianne and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Vianne finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her. 

As the war progresses, the sisters' relationship and strength are tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Vianne and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.

I liked this book.  It wasn't one that I couldn't put down.  Or was one that I was completely engaged in.  But I'm really interested in anything about the Holocaust so that kept me going.

I didn't really connect with either of the sisters.  They were both such opposite ends of the specturm when it came to the war.  But without giving anything away, Vianne does eventually do something--and if I was going to do anything in the war, I'd do what she did.

There is a present-day narrator that has a few chapters and you know it's going to be one of the sisters.  I was wrong in who I thought it would be though.

Overall, I enjoyed the book.  I just wish I could have connected with the characters more.

I gave this book a rating of 3/5.

FTC Disclosure: I bought a copy of this book.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Book Review- The Woman in Cabin 10

I finished reading The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware earlier in the week.

From Goodreads:

From New York Times bestselling author of the “twisty-mystery” (Vulture) novel In a Dark, Dark Wood, comes The Woman in Cabin 10, an equally suspenseful novel from Ruth Ware—this time, set at sea.

In this tightly wound story, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

With surprising twists and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another intense read.

This is not a book I would normally pick up, but since it was for a book club I did.  And I wasn't a fan.  I didn't like the main character, Lo, at all.  I found her unreliable and I couldn't trust her.  I think I was supposed to feel sympathetic towards her because of what she went through before and on the trip, but I just didn't.  In fact, there wasn't a single character that I actually liked.

There were some good plot twists and I have to say that I didn't really see some of them coming.  So that's always a plus.  But I still had a hard time getting engaged in the story.  It didn't really get me hooked.

I gave this book a rating of 2.5/5.

*FTC Disclosure: I bought this book.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Book Review- Journey of Hope

I finished reading Journey of Hope by Lurlene McDaniel on Saturday.

From Goodreads:

HEATHER BARLOW HAS always been idealistic, and now that she has finished high school, she’s ready to make a difference in the world. After graduation she joins a mission group on a hospital mercy ship sailing to Africa.

Journey of Hope is two novels put together: Angel of Mercy and Angel of Hope.

I used to love reading Lurlene McDaniel's books as a kid.  So I was excited to dive into this one.  I wasn't expecting it to be so religious.  I can't remember if all of her books are so religious and I just never noticed when I was a kid or if it's just this one, but it kind of turned me off. 

That being said, I loved reading about the time in Africa.  I'd love to travel there someday.  And my best friend's little sister just left for a missionary trip of 11 countries in 11 months, so that part did strike close to home. 

Both novels in this book definitely had that classic Lurlene McDaniel twist in it and I found myself holding back tears.  I have a few more of hers on my bookshelf and I look forward to getting to them.

I gave this book a rating of 3/5.

*FTC Disclosure: I bought this book.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Book Review- Three Dark Crowns

I finished reading Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake last week for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.

I thought I would really enjoy this book since it had to do with queens and triplets.  Unfortunately, it didn't really do it for me.
Each chapter or so varied among the queens.  It took a while for me to really understand which queen was which.  All of the details were confusing.  And once I did figure out and understand the differences in the queens, I never really got into any of them.

And the story was pretty dark.  I'm not into completely dark stories.  I need some kind of light or majorly sweet romance or something. 

I suppose the overall idea of the story was interesting enough.  Triplet queens who are separated as young children and raised thinking they have a gift, or will come into one.  And that they have to kill their two sisters when they are 16 to because the true queen. 

I can't decide if I'll pick up the next book.  I guess I'll have to see how I'm feeling at the time.

I gave this book a rating of 3/5.

 *FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Book Review- Nemesis

I just finished reading Nemesis by Anna Banks for an Around the World ARC


From Goodreads:
The princess didn't expect to fall in love--with her nemesis.
Princess Sepora of Serubel is the last Forger in all the five kingdoms. The spectorium she creates provides energy for all, but now her father has found a way to weaponize it, and his intentions to incite war force her to flee from his grasp. She escapes across enemy lines into the kingdom of Theoria, but her plans to hide are thwarted when she is captured and placed in the young king's servitude.

Tarik has just taken over rulership of Theoria, and must now face a new plague sweeping through his kingdom and killing his citizens. The last thing he needs is a troublesome servant vying for his attention. But mistress Sepora will not be ignored. When the two finally meet face-to-face, they form an unlikely bond that complicates life in ways neither of them could have imagined.
Sepora's gift could save Tarik's kingdom from the Quiet Plague. But should she trust her growing feelings for her nemesis, or should she hide her gifts at all costs?

This book had it all--great characters. an interesting and unique plot, a love story, and some action.

I loved all of the characters in this book.  Sepora was feisty yet kind, loyal but peaceful, smart but humble.  And Tarik--he made a great king.  He had heart and wasn't cold or calculating. Heck, even Sethos grew on me.  And I want my own Serpen!!

The idea of Forging and what spectorium is was really neat.  To have all of that power in your hands would be amazing.  Yet Sepora only used it for good. 

The world of Theoria was so unique yet the author described the culture so well that I could easily see it in my head. 

Nemesis really kept me engaged.  It was easy to read and kept me interested the whole time.  I'll definitely be picking up the second one in this series.

I gave this book a rating of 4/5.

Nemesis will be released on October 4, 2016.

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Book Review- The Flame Never Dies

I finished reading The Flame Never Dies ( The Stars Never Rise #2) by Rachel Vincent last night for an Around the World ARC Tour

From Goodreads:

Nina Kane was born to be an exorcist. And since uncovering the horrifying truth—that the war against demons is far from over—seventeen-year-old Nina and her pregnant younger sister, Mellie, have been on the run, incinerating the remains of the demon horde as they go.

In the badlands, Nina, Mellie, and Finn, the fugitive and rogue exorcist who saved her life, find allies in a group of freedom fighters. They also face a new threat: Pandemonia, a city full of demons. But this fresh new hell is the least of Nina’s worries. The well of souls ran dry more than a century ago, drained by the demons secretly living among humans, and without a donor soul, Mellie’s child will die within hours of its birth.

Nina isn’t about to let that happen…even if it means she has to make the ultimate sacrifice.  

Rachel Vincent is one of my favorite authors, and I really liked the previous book in this series, so I was excited to read this one.  And it didn't disappoint.

The author writes in a way that just flows to me.  It's not too detail-y, but it's not scant in descriptions either.  The characters seem real (or as real as a character in a paranormal book can be) and speak in ways that sound right in my head.  And the plots always keep me engaged.  Just enough action and character development.

There were some places in the book that I found myself confused.  I'm not sure if it was because I stink at remembering exactly what happened in past books or what.  But I quickly caught on and plowed through the book. 

There were some definite surprises that I didn't see coming.  Maybe I should have, but I didn't.  And oh, one of them was really good!

I look forward to reading what's going to happen next in the series!

I gave this book a rating of 4/5.

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Book Review- Caraval

I finished reading Caraval by Stephanie Garber for an Around the World ARC Tour.

 From Goodreads:

Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game . . .Scarlett has never
left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their ruthless father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the legendary, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.Then, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation to Caraval finally arrives. So, Tella enlists a mysterious sailor’s help to whisk Scarlett away to this year’s show. But as soon as the trio arrives, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nonetheless soon becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with her sister, with Legend, and with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

 Ok, first of all, am I the only person who kept reading the word "Caraval" as "Carnival"?  I kept having to correct myself.

 Anyways, the idea of Caraval was interesting, but it was not at all what I expected.  It was all dark.  I thought there might be some lightness and fun to it but there wasn't.  A lot of it was confusing to me.  I mean, I guess that was the point of the game but I felt that there were twists and turns.  And then twists on those twists.  A lot of it left me thinking "huh?" 

 I'm not sure I really liked any of the characters.  Scarlett just didn't seem very exciting to me.  I didn't care about her. And Tella seemed too airhead and flouncy.  If I had to pick a favorite, it was Julian.
 The writing kind of bugged me too.  There were too many descriptions of things using colors.  All her feelings were colors and there were sensory words everywhere.  Sensory overload.

 I don't know.  I've read such great reviews about the book.  Maybe it just wasn't the right time for me to read it.

 I gave this book a rating of 3/5.

 Caraval will be released on January 31, 2017.

 *FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Book Review- The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily

I just finished reading The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

New York Times bestselling authors Rachel Cohn and David Levithan are back with a life-affirming Christmas romance starring Dash and Lily.
Dash and Lily have had a tough year since readers first watched the couple fall in love. Lily’s beloved grandfather suffered a heart attack, and his difficult road to recovery has taken a major toll on her typically sunny disposition. 
With only twelve days left until Christmas—Lily’s favorite time of the year—Dash, Lily’s brother Langston, and their closest friends take Manhattan by storm to help Lily recapture the holiday magic of New York City in December. 
Told in alternating chapters, The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily
reunites two beloved characters and is bound to be a Christmas favorite, season after season.

Who doesn't love a good Christmas book in August?? (I know I read an ARC so it won't be released until closer to the holiday season).  I love the holidays so I'm up for a holiday themed-book any time of the year!

This book kept me entertained.  It wasn't necessarily deep but it wasn't completely light either.  It was perfectly somewhere in the middle.

I liked Lily more this go round.  I thought she was more real and more depth.  And Dash got on my nerves this time.  He didn't seem as invested as Lily and there were several things he did that made me question if he really was as into the relationship as she was.  

But all ends as it should and kept this reader quite happy.

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily will be released on October 18, 2016.

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Book Review- Stealing Snow

I finished reading Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent the majority of her life within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she's not crazy and doesn't belong there. When she meets a mysterious, handsome new orderly and dreams about a strange twisted tree she realizes she must escape and figure out who she really is.

Using her trusting friend Bale as a distraction, Snow breaks free and races into the nearby woods. Suddenly, everything isn't what it seems, the line between reality and fantasy begins to blur, and she finds herself in icy Algid--her true home--with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai, none of whom she's sure she can trust. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she's destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change the fate of everything...including Snow's return to the world she once knew.

This breathtaking first volume begins the story of how Snow becomes a villain, a queen, and ultimately a hero.

I've said it many times before and I'm sure I'll say it many times again...I love fairy tales.  And if there's a retelling of one, I'm going to want to read it.  Unfortunately, this retelling of the Snow Queen story just didn't do it for me.

I can't pin it exactly.  But something about the flow of the story or the plot didn't work for me.  Snow jumped from here to there and guy to guy.  And things were too convenient.  They weren't believeable at all, even in the realm of fairy tale.

Sadly, I didn't care for Snow at all.  Or any of the other characters for that matter. I mean, I didn't dislike her.  But I just didn't care about her.  And I want to care about the main character.  Or hate them.  Or feel something for them.  But nope.

Ehh...I think this is supposed to be a series, but I'm struggling with whether I'll continue on with it.

I gave this book a rating of 2.5/5.

Stealing Snow will be released on September 20, 2016.

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Book Review- One Plus One

I finished reading One Plus One by Jojo Moyes last night.

From Goodreads:

Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being
bullied and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight-in-shining-armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages... maybe ever.

I really liked the book Me Before You by this author so I decided to give this one a try.  Unfortunately, it fell a little flat for me.

I loved the idea of the poor single mom working hard make ends meet for her two unique kids--a math genius and a teenage son that's a little different.  But I never connected with any of them.  If I had to pick one I liked the best, it would be the male lead, Ed.  I felt like the portrayal of Jess was maybe too extreme or something.  I wanted her to be more likeable.

Also, I think what made Me Before You so great was the heavy topics and it drew you in.  This book didn't really have anything like that to keep me hooked.  I didn't find myself looking forward to reading more--I just did it because it was there.

I do have the sequel to Me Before You to read too, so we'll see how that goes.

I gave this book a rating of 3/5.

*FTC Disclosure: I bought this book.