04 October 2018

Cold Spell by Mia London & Susan Sheehey

Series: Sweet Escape, #3
# of Pages: 72
Publication: October 3rd, 2018
Source: Publisher Review Copy
Genre: Romance
Goodreads | Amazon 

She can't stand him. He thinks she's never more adorable than when she's angry at him. Liddy Drake would rather gamble on double black diamond runs than take a chance on love. Escaping dreary San Francisco for a Colorado mountain resort with her besties is just what the doctor ordered. But an injury on the first day lands her in the lap of a loud-mouthed ski instructor who knows exactly how to get under her skin. She doesn't have time to waste on a playboy with a too-easy laugh and gorgeous blue eyes. Luke Sawyer left New York ten years ago for the ski runs of Colorado, concealing his identity as a Rothchild heir. He'd seen money change too many people, never for good. Scrappy, sassy, and oh-so-sexy Liddy doesn't fall for the mask of his over-the-top charm. He accepts the challenge to show her his true self. Their chemistry is enough to melt snow-capped mountains, until she finds out the truth. There's no way her humble background could compete with America's royalty. How can he melt the ice around her heart and convince her that Mr. Wrong is actually Mr. Right, who loves her just the way she is?

Mia and Susan's third book in their Sweet Escape series did not necessarily meet my broad expectations; however, I found that it was a cute winter contemporary that would be fun for the holidays. There were several aspects of the novel that I enjoyed and others that I found quite challenging. I have not read the rest of the books in the series; however, I was able to read this book without being confused on who the characters were and their relationship to Liddy Drake.

What I loved about this book was the relationship that the main character had with her two best friends. They were constantly supportive of each other even in their worst moments. Liddy frequently struggled with attachment issue due to her less than thrilling time spent in foster homes. When she began to doubt her worth in regards to Luke's family, her friends reminded her how much of an amazing woman she was and how any family would be lucky to have her. I really appreciate books where female friendships and relationships are celebrated. Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed definitely was Luke's personality; he was hard on the outside, but so soft and kind on the inside especially for a man that was hurt by so many previous relationships. And of course I completely enjoyed the steamy romance scenes between Luke and Liddy.

The only part of the book that I did not enjoy was the pacing. Because the length of the novel is so short, the authors did not get a lot of time to develop the relationship between Luke and Liddy. It felt really rushed and unrealistic in terms of time. I did not think it was realistic that Liddy would not only sleep, but also fall in love with her ski instructor over the course of a few days. I'm not saying that it can't happen in real life; however, it felt inauthentic. From revealing their most intimate secrets and personal struggles to the insta-love made their romance feel as though it was something that could only ever happen in a book.

If you enjoy cute, contemporary romances then I would recommend this book; however, if you are put off by books where there is a presence of instantaneous love and romance than I would steer clear. Overall, I did enjoy it and I would take the time to go back and read the other two.

01 October 2018

Anna & The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Series: Anna & The French Kiss, #1
# of Pages: 372
Publication: December 2nd, 2010
Source: Personal Copy
Genre: YA Contemporary, Romance
Goodreads | Amazon 

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets √Čtienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, √Čtienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend. But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

Quick Facts Review (Overview of the Good, the Bad, & the Ugly)
  -Anna is a loveable character who never attempts to be anyone but herself. 
           -There is a grey area of whether a main character is actively cheating on his girlfriend
           -The setting of the novel is phenomenal. 

I always feel as though I’m the last person on earth to have read this book and started this series; however, I’m glad that I did start the series because I really enjoyed this book. There were likeable characters, the writing was easy to follow, and I love a cute, cheesy romance. All of these elements worked so well together and it really made for a fast, engaging novel.

The characters were phenomenal. I’m really picky about whether an author effectively develops characters that I can either relate to or understand and Stephanie Perkins did such an amazing job. I could not directly relate with Anna because she came from a decent family with a good enough income to send her to boarding school in Paris; however, she was extremely likeable. There was never a moment when I felt as though Ana was disingenuous or attempting to be herself. She was different from the rest of the girls in the novel and that’s what made her stand out. Like the other characters, Anna does have her flaws but they seem to make her more human. A character that did take me awhile to understand and appreciate was St. Claire. He had a lot of trouble determining how he could break up with his girlfriend so he could start dating Anna and it irritated me that he kept hurting Anna. However, honestly when I realized that St. Claire exhibited traits that were complicated, but human I began to appreciate him more and of course he treated Anna like a gem.

The plot of this story was not extravagant or complex. It was mainly a plot based around whether Anna and St. Claire would ever have the opportunity to explore a relationship. However, there were other elements of the plot that defined the personalities of the characters and made the story more enjoyable. For example, it was hard to watch Anna betray one of her close friends by accident when she developed feelings for St. Claire; however, it led to some complex moments and it really defined how Anna viewed her friendships with the other characters as she pursued a relationship with St. Claire. I liked the back and forth between Anna and St. Claire. I’m sure that it annoyed some readers, but the thrill of never knowing when their opportunity was going to arise made the story that much more enjoyable. I went into the book expecting nothing more than a fluffy contemporary; however, I was granted with the opportunity to learn so much more about the characters

The writing of the book was simplistic, but entertaining. Stephanie Perkins understands how to write a story that is simple in nature, but has complex characters that translate into a complex plot. I read this book in about two days because Perkins writing was so accessible. I do not categorize it as a fully contemporary; however, it is easy in nature.

Honestly if you enjoy contemporaries at all then I would recommend checking out this book and series. As I’m writing this review, I have already finished the second book and plan to read the third book sometime soon.

20 September 2018

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden (Musical Playlist)

Series: N/A
# of Pages: 256
Publication: September 25, 2018
Source: Copy provided by publisher
Genre: Middle Grade, Horror
Goodreads | Amazon 

Bestselling adult author of The Bear and the Nightingale makes her middle grade debut with a creepy, spellbinding ghost story destined to become a classic After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn't think--she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with "the smiling man," a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price. Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day to Smoke Hollow, a local farm with a haunting history all its own. There she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she's been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie doesn't have too long to think about the answer to that. On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back to the farm for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: "Best get moving. At nightfall they'll come for the rest of you." Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie's previously broken digital wristwatch, a keepsake reminder of better times, begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN. Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver's warning. As the trio head out into the woods--bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them--the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: "Avoid large places. Keep to small." And with that, a deliciously creepy and hair-raising adventure begins.

First let me start by saying that this book was AMAZING. I enjoyed every single book and I must confess that it really did scare me. I don't find many authors or books that are capable of making the hairs on my arm stand up. Instead of doing a review I've come up with a playlist of 5 songs that I aligns with the plot, characters, and theme of the book.

This Is Halloween: This song is not only one of my favorites, but it also best describes the atmosphere of the book. While it doesn't take place during Halloween, I definitely got some creepy vibes from all the scarecrows in the book.

Come Little Children: Okay, so this song not only freaks me out, but it definitely fits perfectly with the book. As Ollie and her classmates are spending time at the farm, they eventually are lured into a pretty bad situation where their bus breaks down and they have the possibility of being kidnapped by the smiling man and his associates. 

God Must Have Spent: So this song is a little more sentimental and while it doesn't sound as though it would fit into the parameters of the book, it reminds of the relationship Ollie had with her mom. They were really close and I know that she looked up to her mom and valued her so much. N'SYNC wrote this song for their moms and I think that the lyrics work perfectly with how Ollie feels about her mom. 

Thank You For Being A Friend: This song doesn't even need an explanation. I loved that Ollie went from being a loner to actually making friends. Their friendship is beautiful and I'm glad that it was the friendship that helped her make it through dealing with the smiling man and the loss of her mother.

Thriller: This list honestly wouldn't be the same without Thriller. Every time I hear this song I think about those scary behind pumpkins and how they were trying to kidnap children. It's literally the perfect song for this book. 

I honestly can't say enough about this book. It was completely and utterly fantastic. If you're looking for a good, spooky middle grade novel than this is the book to choose. 

19 September 2018

Waiting on Wednesday, #49 The Prophet Calls by Melanie Sumrow

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa over at Wishful Endings She has taken on a similar meme to Jills Waiting on Wednesday over at Breaking the Spine. Since Jill hasn't posted in a while I'm going to join in on this meme. To participate all you have to do is spotlight upcoming publications you're eagerly anticipating. Keep reading to see what I have chosen for this week.

Series: N/A
# of Pages: 288Publication: November 6th, 2018

Born into a polygamous community in the foothills of New Mexico, Gentry Forrester feels lucky to live among God’s chosen. Here, she lives apart from the outside world and its “evils.” On her thirteenth birthday, Gentry receives a new violin from her father and, more than anything, she wants to play at the Santa Fe Music Festival with her brother, Tanner. But then the Prophet calls from prison and announces he has outlawed music in their community and now forbids women to leave. Determined to play, Gentry and Tanner sneak out. But once they return, the Prophet exercises control from prison, and it has devastating consequences for Gentry and her family. Soon, everything Gentry has known is turned upside down. She begins to question the Prophet’s teachings and his revelations, especially when his latest orders put Gentry’s family in danger. Can Gentry find a way to protect herself and her family from the Prophet and escape the only life she’s ever known? This realistic, powerful story of family, bravery, and following your dreams is a can't-miss debut novel from Melanie Sumrow

I am soooo excited that this book is coming out and that it is being marketed as children's book. I have also been interested in anything related to the culture behind the religious combines that have existed out West. I think this will not only be a fascinating book, but also an important book.

What are you looking forward to this Wednesday?

18 September 2018

Top 10 Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR

Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope that everyone is having a wonderful start to their day. Since it's Tuesday that means it's time for another Top 10 Tuesday! This week we are supposed to discuss our top 10 books for our fall TBR. I honestly had a tough time haha I have so many books on my shelves that I need to read before the year is over.

Pride by Ibi Zoboi. Pride is probably one of my most anticipated releases of this year. It's a re-telling of Pride and Prejudice but in Brooklyn. If you didn't know, Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite classics of all time. It's romance done in such a beautiful way. A Court of Mist & Fury by Sarah J. Maas. I've actually read a good part of this book; however, I burnt myself out on fantasy so I've been taking a little break. Nana Series by Ai Yazawa. The picture above isn't necessarily the volume that I need to read, but it is indicative of my desire to read a great bit of the series this fall and winter. I love this series and it's one of my favorites to read when the weather gets cooler.

Fresh Ink by Various Authors. This was a compilation that I was looking forward to since last year. The book is actually upstairs in our office on my bookshelf. I definitely anticipate picking it up before the year ends. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. This own voices book has intrigued since before it was released. I love books that are written in verse and I heard that this one is phenomenal. Immortal Reign by Morgan Rhodes. Here's the thing, I absolutely love this series; however, I have literally forgotten everything related to the characters and the plot. It is a necessity that the previous books are read before I can pick up this one. It's going to be a long re-reading process, but I'm definitely looking forward to picking it up soon.

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton. I should really be ashamed that I still haven't finished this book because it was one of my most anticipated books of the year, but I definitely hope to get to it soon. Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston. I loved Ashley's debut novel and I'm thinking that this one is going to be just as good. I was able to get an owlcrate exclusive cover with purple stained edges. I honestly can't wait to get to it. It'll probably be a November or December read. The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro. So I have had this book for forever. Brittany is close to writing the fourth book for this series and I still haven't caught up. I read this first book when it first came out and really enjoyed it so I'm assuming that this will be just as good. I'm thinking about re-reading the first book before I get to this one.

Fables Series by Bill Willingham. If you know anything about me then you know that Fables is one of my favorite comic book series. I still haven't had the chance to finish the series; however, I'm thinking that this fall I'll continue my re-read of what I have read that way I can move on to the next books.

17 September 2018

Mini-Comic Review: Fence by C.S. Pacat

Series: Fence, Vol. #1
# of Pages: 112
Publication: July 31st, 2018
Source: Library E-Copy
Genre: Comic
Goodreads | Amazon 

Combines Issues #1-4. Nicholas Cox is determined to prove himself in the world of competitive fencing, and earn his place alongside fencing legends like the dad he never knew, but things get more complicated when he’s up against his golden-boy half-brother, as well as sullen fencing prodigy, Seiji Katayama. Nicholas, the illegitimate son of a retired fencing champion, is a scrappy fencing wunderkind, and dreams of getting the chance and the training to actually compete. After getting accepted to the prodigious Kings Row private school, Nicholas is thrust into a cut-throat world, and finds himself facing not only his golden-boy half-brother, but the unbeatable, mysterious Seiji Katayama... Through clashes, rivalries, and romance between teammates, Nicholas and the boys of Kings Row will discover there’s much more to fencing than just foils and lunges. From acclaimed writer C.S. Pacat (The Captive Prince) and fan-favorite artist Johanna the Mad.

One word...WOW. I did not expect this comic to be as amazing as it was! First, I am not a huge fan of comics that focus solely on sports; however, for some reason this one didn't even feel as though it was surrounding a sport. What I think I enjoyed most about this comic was that I learned a lot. I knew what fencing was prior to reading the book; however, I had no idea that it was so complex, had so many rules, and was so competitive. It was intriguing to watch the main characters navigate the sport whether they were experts or newly introduced to all things related to fencing. Speaking of characters, I like the varied personalities of all the characters. While they all enjoyed fencing, there were stark differences in their confidence, how they carried themselves, and how they treated other characters. 
This comic also contains great LGBT representation. I've become hesitant when people classify certain books or comics has having LGBT representation simply because a lot of times that representation is simply a random character that has been added for the sake of having a LGBT character. Fence definitely proves that it is beyond utilizing LGBT characters for the sake of diversity. The relationships between characters are smooth and natural and they feel like they are supposed to be a part of the story. Overall, the story was phenomenal and I really enjoyed reading about the characters, their love of fencing, and the fierceness of the competition. I'm really looking forward to picking up the next volume. 

07 September 2018

Friday #56, #53 Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

The Friday #56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's VoiceJoin in every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you've been reading. Here are the rules:

  • Grab a book 
  • Turn to page 56 or 56% in your e-reader
  • Find any sentence (or a few, don't spoil it) 

**Be sure to post the links to your Friday #56 below!

Happy Reading

Series: Outlander, #2

# of Pages: 947
Publication: July 1st, 1992
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Purchased Copy
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository 

From the author of Outlander... a magnificent epic that once again sweeps us back in time to the drama and passion of 18th-century Scotland... For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland's majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones ...about a love that transcends the boundaries of time ...and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his .... Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire's spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart ...in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising ...and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves....

There is an interesting story behind this book. I've already tried to read three times. : ) I think that I just get daunted by the size of the book, but right now I'm in the mood for a big book. I loved the first book and I'm buddy reading this one so I should be able to finish it by the end of the month.

"An ancient table stood against the back wall. Perhaps originally the center piece of the Reverend Wakefield's dining room, it had evidently gone through several successive incarnations as kitchen block, toolbench, sawhorse, and painting table, before coming to rest in this dusty sanctuary." 
What are you reading this Friday?