Monthly Archives:: July 2014

Jul 31

Review * Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Reviews 4 ★★★

Review * Shiver by Maggie StiefvaterShiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: Wolves of Mercy Falls #1
Published by Scholastic Press on August 1, 2009
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 390
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add to: Goodreads
three-stars
For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

What I Thought…

The Wolves of Mercy Falls series wasn’t one that I had planned on reading, but when the whole trilogy came up for sale on Amazon for $3.99 it was too good of a deal to pass up. Since everyone has been talking about Sinner lately it put me in the mood to read Shiver.

Before I even talk about Shiver I need to talk about Stiefvater’s writing. It’s absolutely amazing. She could make the dictionary sound pretty and poetic. She could rewrite my least favorite book ever and I would read it, and I would probably like it. She’s very talented.

As with other books I’ve read by Stiefvater Shiver isn’t exactly fast paced, but it’s seriously hard to put down, there are things happening, it’s just at a more lingering pace. Except for Grace and Sam’s interest in each other, which is instalove, or maybe even instaobsessed as they have both been obsessed with each other since the incident. Despite their obsession Grace and Sam are cute together as they work through their relationship as humans, rather than Grace the human staring at Sam the wolf.

Stiefvater’s werewolves are a bit different from traditional werewolves. They are controlled by the moon phases, nor can they change at will. They change based on temperature. Even after one book I’m not completely sold on this idea for werewolves, but I trust that Stiefvater knows where she is going with it. It did present some unique challenges for Sam and his pack (and for Grace) as winter sets in.

One of the things I always hated about the Twilight series was that the wolves carried around clothes in some little container thing strapped to their leg. That idea was completely ridiculous in every way. I’m happy to report Stiefvater didn’t have any crazy ideas for her werewolves!

I liked Grace well enough, but I liked Olivia and Isabel a bit more (which has me very excited about Sinner). There wasn’t anything specifically wrong with Grace, I just didn’t “get” her. I liked Sam as well. I liked how focused he was on being human and how much love he had for his pack, even though they aren’t perfect.

I’m normally terrible at predicting things in books, but everything that was going on with Olivia seemed so obvious! Other than that though I didn’t really pick out much else, though after finishing there were some clues along the way.

Overall Shiver was an enjoyable read and I can’t wait to see what more is in store for Sam and Grace.

Kimberly


Jul 29

Top Ten Tuesday * Most Read Authors

Top Ten Tuesday 5

TTT

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the awesome people at The Broke and Bookish, who love lists as much as I do!

Top Ten Authors I Own the Most Books From

I did this the easy way and just pulled up most read authors on Goodreads. Not a YA author in sight, which doesn’t surprise me as I didn’t read a lot of YA until I started blogging. If I had updated Goodreads properly Christopher Pike, RL Stine and Ann M Martin would have been on this list. But I’m not good at marking books from the past so… they aren’t on it!

Nora Roberts Whiskey Beach1. Nora Roberts + JD Robb (33 + 25 = 58 books)

The most books by far, even if I count them as separate they are sill 1-2. Obviously you can tell I went through a huge Nora Roberts phase. I still read her occasionally, but as I’ve started blogging I’ve gotten away from her a bit.


VC Andrews My Sweet Audrina2. VC Andrews (21 books)

All of this came from back in the day (middle/high school). I devoured her books, and then one day they just stopped being good and I stopped reading them. You can tell which stories she started before her death and which ones came after.


Sycamore Row3. John Grisham (19 books)

I love a good legal thriller, though my love for Grisham has dwindled some as he has become super political in some of his more recent releases.


Match Me If You Can4. Susan Elizabeth Phillips (14 books)

SEP phase came after my Nora Roberts phase and started with her Chicago Stars series (love books with romance and sports in them). I still enjoy her books, but she doesn’t put out books as often as other authors (which is fine).


Charlaine Harris Dead Ever After5. Charlaine Harris (13 books) (tie)

All of my Harris reads are from the Sookie Stackhouse series. I should have quite the series long before, but I just kept hoping things would get better. I know she has other titles, but I don’t know if I really want to read them.


Head Over Heels5. Jill Shalvis (13 books) (tie)

My current favorite author. Love her books, and I still have lots of backlist books to choose from. As time goes by I know she will jump up on this list!


Perfect Match Kristan Higgins7. Kristan Higgins (12 books) (tie)

Another one of my current favorite authors. I have so much love for her books and can’t wait until her next release!


1st to Die7. James Patterson (12 books) (tie)

I’m over James Patterson. If I was making this list at the end of the year he wouldn’t even make it.


How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf7. Molly Haper (12 books) (tie)

Love her books so much. They are cute and sexy and hilarious. I eagerly anticipate her all her new books.


Sophie Kinsella Wedding Night7. Sophie Kinsella (12 books) (tie)

Cute. Funny. British. What more do you need to know?


 

Kimberly


Jul 28

Review * Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead

Reviews 2 ★★★★

Review * Vampire Academy Series by Richelle MeadVampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead
Narrated by Emily Shaffer, Khristine Hvam
Series: Vampire Academy #1-6
Published by Razorbill Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Also in this series: Vampire Academy Graphic Novel
Add to: Goodreads
four-stars
St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

What I Thought…

Since I blew through this series in just 10 days I thought I would do a series review. I will give a few thoughts on each book, be forewarned – there will be spoilers – it’s impossible to talk about the series without them.

I really enjoyed the vampire world that Mead created. The two different types of vampires and the guardians were unique and made for a very good series.

VA1Ok, I didn’t read this one. Don’t throw stones! I watched the movie and was dying to know what happened next so I just jumped right into book two. Shameful, I know. (I do plan on reading it later, I promise!)


 

VA2I really enjoyed Frostbite. I love the world that Mead created and I love how snarky Rose is. In Frostbite we learn a little more about the world that they live in and also the battle between the Strogoi and Moroi. One of my favorite parts of Frostbite is discovering the relationship between Rose and her mother. There is a lot of animosity there and this is the first time in a long time that they are in the same place. Also new guy, Adrian, appears.


 

VA3Shadow Kiss had quite a bit of action as the war between the Moroi and Strogoi heat up. The Strogoi are hell bent on taking out the Moroi royal families and the academy is the perfect place to start. There was so much action in this one it was almost impossible to put down. As I hadn’t planned on reading the series I wasn’t avoiding spoilers but now I wish I would have because I have some inkling as to what is going to happen with Dimitri.


 

VA4Blood Promise takes us out of St. Vladimir’s and into Russia as Rose leaves to hunt down and kill Dimitri. The first part of Blood Promise was a bit boring as Rose is just traveling through Russia looking for Dimitri. We do meet Sydney though, whom I really liked and I hope to see more from her in the future. Even though it was a bit boring in the beginning we learn a lot more about the Strogoi, Moroi and Dhampirs as well as some other little quirks that Mead created in her world. The second half of the book really picks up as Rose fights Strgoi and we get some more glimpses into Lissa’s head to keep up with what’s been happening at St. Valdimir’s (lots of shadyness going on). Since Rose didn’t exactly leave on good terms and her and Lissa are now separated things were a bit tense and I was frustrated that neither of them could figure things out!


 

VA5The hunt for the “cure” for Dimitri begins and Rose and the gang makes some pretty bad choices in their quest to help him. In some ways they had to do what they did of course things didn’t go as planned and unleashed a whole lot of crazy. Dimitri is looking for Rose. Lissa is determined to be able to stake a Strogoi. Adrian and Rose are dating but I feel like this is a Twilight kind of love triangle and Adrian really isn’t a choice for Rose. Nothing against Dimitri, but I do like Adrian and hope that he gets a happily ever after. Christian and Lissa dance around each other a lot and it’s painful to watch because you know they should be together. There is something very off about Queen Tatiana in Spirit Bound and it’s very unnerving (She is being way too nice). Also the whole thing with Victor is bothered me because the break out happened and then… nothing.


VA6Wow what an ending! I absolutely loved how the series ended. Last Sacrifice had a lot of action in it and was pretty fast paced. At times Rose’s inability to follow directions drove me crazy, even though I know she had her reasons. I loved the storyline with Lissa it was fascinating to see the tests that she had to go through. There were a few things that I could see coming (hints of foreshadowing in previous books), but that didn’t take away the enjoyment.


Overall I absolutely LOVED the Vampire Academy series and if you haven’t read it already I would add it to your list.


Kimberly


Jul 25

Review * How to Handle a Heartbreaker by Marie Harte

Reviews 0 ★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review * How to Handle a Heartbreaker by Marie HarteHow to Handle a Heartbreaker by Marie Harte
Series: The McCauley Brothers #2
Published by Casablanca on August 5, 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Also in this series: The Troublemaker Next Door, Ruining Mr. Perfect, What to Do with a Bad Boy
Add to: Goodreads
four-stars
It’s lust-at-first-sight when Brody Singer first sees Abby Dunn. Abby looks a lot like a woman he once knew, one who died years ago. But Abby’s definitely different—shyer but sexier.

Abby’s still trying to put her last disastrous relationship behind her and overcome the flaws her ex wouldn’t let her forget. But somehow Brody isn’t getting the hint. It doesn’t help that when writing her steamy novels, she keeps casting Brody as the hero.

Only Abby can write her own ending—will she choose her own happily-ever-after, or stay safe in her shell?

What I Thought…

• I’ve found a new contemporary romance author that I love in Marie Harte. How to Handle a Heartbreaker is cute, sexy, fun with a little bit of seriousness thrown in.

• Abby is still trying to get over her ex, and a breakup that was particularly painful (her ex criticizes her desire to be a little more adventurous in bed). She’s a little embarrassed by the reason why the broke up so only her two best friends know, everyone else thinks it was a “mutual” break up so her family doesn’t really understand why it still bothers her.

• Brody is a big flirt and even though he’s not technically a McCauley, he is their brother and they are his family. We meet him in the first book, The Troublemaker Next Door, and we know that the McCauley’s raised him, but we don’t know why. Here we learn why and it hurt my heart to hear his story. His “real” family is not so awesome and he is very lucky that he had the McCauley’s to be there for him. He’s still harboring some resentment towards his family (with good reason) and at times that can put him in a dark place at times.

• Abby writes steamy romances. I loved this aspect of the book, not only because she is a writer but also because I love how her friends can both support her and her writing and give her a hard time about “writing porn.” As we saw in The Troublemaker Next Door Abby and her friends have a great friendship. They may fight a bit at times, but they are always there for each other. I love when books have strong friendships.

• Abby and Brody danced around each other for awhile before finally coming together. They both say they want the same thing (casual) but you know they both think it’s something more serious and they are afraid. I enjoyed watching them come together, though I think things got cleared up a bit too fast at the end, though I appreciate her understanding of Brody and his issues and that even though he is acting like it’s his fault, she knows it’s not really her fault.

Overall I adored How to Handle a Heartbreaker and recommend it to contemporary romance fans!

Kimberly


Jul 23

Waiting on Wednesday * Isla and the Happily Ever After

Waiting on Wednesday 4

WoW

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine to highlight upcoming releases.

Today I’m waiting on Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins which comes out on August 14, 2014.

Isla and the Happily Ever AfterFrom the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

 

Why I’m Waiting…

Why wouldn’t I be waiting???? It’s finally coming and I could not be more excited. I plan on reading this on the 14th!

Kimberly


Jul 21

Review * Falling for Max

Reviews 0 ★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher via BEA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review * Falling for MaxFalling for Max by Shannon Stacey
Series: Kowalski Family #9
Published by Carina Press on July 29, 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
Add to: Goodreads
four-stars
Max Crawford has reached the point in life where he's starting to think about settling down. Unfortunately, he's always been a little awkward when it comes to social interactions, and working from home doesn't help. He spends so much time alone, painting beautiful, historically accurate model trains that half of Whitford has begun to joke that he may be a serial killer. Not exactly prime husband material.

Tori Burns has found happiness in Maine, thanks in large part to her shifts at the Trailside Diner. She likes the work, and she loves the local gossip. When shy, geeky Max Crawford becomes a regular, she's intrigued. When she finds out he's in the market for a wife, she's fascinated…and determined to help.

Molding Max into every woman's dream turns out to be much easier than expected. But has Tori's plan worked a little too well? As she turns his comfortable life all sorts of upside down, she'll have to find a way to show just how she's fallen for him…the real him.

What I Thought…

• I love small town stories and Whitford, Maine does not disappoint. It’s cute and gossipy, just like it I like it. And despite my dislike of winter I have an affinity for the northern small towns. Probably because it gives you a good excuse to get cozy.

• Max is adorably awkward. He is very literal and doesn’t spend a whole lot of time outside of his house. This is not to say he is anti-social, he’s more of a homebody. His literalness and awkwardness make this book better. Max is not your typical leading man, he doesn’t have to fix everything, or jump right in and solve his girlfriend’s problems, he just wants to be there and help. He meets Tori as part of his plan to get a date, as he is now 35 and it is “now an appropriate time to get married.” He’s also really into trains and sports. His reasons for getting into sports reminds me of how I got into football. He got into sports because it was a way for him to communicate with his dad and brothers, I got into football so that I would have something to talk about with my brother.

• Tori is your typical girl who struggles with relationship issues, which stem from her parents. Her parents are recently divorced and even though Tori was an adult when they got divorced they are putting her in the middle of everything and being extremely negative. This worried me a bit at first as I just read a book with a crazy momma, but there were only a few phone calls between Tori and her parents, most of the issue was internal for Tori. She was absolutely afraid that one day that would be her if she ever got married.

• Watching Max and Tori come together was both cute and frustrating. Cute because well, they are cute together. Frustrating because they kept dancing around the issue and because of Max’s awkwardness there were some misunderstandings. Though there were also some awesome moments of understanding between them as Tori knew and understood Max’s awkwardness.

• Lot’s of awesome secondary characters. You have your old lady gossipers. Your friends who force you to take a look inside yourself. The supportive friends. The family that just won’t stay out of your business.

• The ending happened a bit to fast for me. There was a lot of buildup for Max and Tori and then they had their big “we are breaking up” moment. And then like 15 pages later all is well. While everything was not perfectly solved (Tori’s parents are still an issue, but she has decided on a course of action) their relationship came together again with a short chat after an Epiphany. I wish there would have been more before the epiphany and more on their part to work through it, but oh well.

Overall it’s a cute small town romance recommended for contemporary romance fans!

Kimberly


Jul 20

In Bed With… Onyx and 32 Candles

In Bed With... 0

BlogHopInBedWithABook

In Bed With is hosted by Kate at Midnight Book Girl to share with everyone what you’re reading in bed!

I can’t even begin to tell y’all how much I am enjoying my summer off. I am reading ALL the books and it’s wonderful. Only one more month left and then it’s back to the daily grind.

32 Candles Onyx

Today I’m working my second job at home and listening to 32 Candles. This is a book club pick and so far I’m enjoying it. I should finish it up today. Later this evening I plan on finishing Onyx. Despite my dislike for all things alien this series is going to go the way of Vampire Academy and will be read fast and furious (well as fast as the library will give me the books anyway). While I’m reading I just kind of pretend in my head that they aren’t aliens, but they have super powers instead, which is easy since the aliens look just like humans.

What are you reading today?

Kimberly


Jul 18

Why I Returned to the Library

Random Thoughts on Books and Blogging 10

RTB

Random Thoughts on Books and Blogging is my opportunity to discuss my bookish and blogging thoughts, whenever I feel like!

Back when I was little my mom took me to the library all the time. Then I started earning some money and buying my own books. Then I got a real job and then a license and the library just kind of went away, replaced with the shiny and new. I did get a new library card when I moved to Virginia, but still, I didn’t really use it.

After some pushing from Kate (Midnight Book Girl) a little over a year ago I gave in to audiobooks and I’ve never looked back. I love listening to them and at times throughout the school year it was the only book I was able to get to. I have an audible account, but I have a 40 minute commute and I work from home about 12 hours a week, both prime opportunities to listen to audiobooks, and it just wasn’t enough. A fellow book club member talked about download books from the library so I decided to check it out.

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 9.49.35 AM

Getting downloadable books from the library is the best thing ever!

  1. You don’t have to worry about returning them because they just *poof* when your due date comes around.
  2. I don’t have to actually go to the library and hope they have something good.
  3. I can get them at any time of day or night.

Download audiobooks from the library also gave me a genius idea. Obviously I have a large amount of TBR books on my shelves, and as the school year progressed I struggled find time to read which made the shelves seem even more overwhelming. So I decided to get the audiobook from the library so I could listen to the book without have to purchase another copy. This is a win-win!

My only complaint about getting downloadable audiobooks from the library is that you can’t change the speed (which is actually an Overdrive issue, not a library issue). I have a seriously hard time listening at 1x speed. It feels so slow! To solve this problem I download the book to my computer and upload to my phone using iTunes, then I can play at 2x speed! Then I just delete the book when I am finished.

I also learned that due to where I live/work I can join multiple libraries. This is awesome and it is my mission to join them all. I am able to belong to 4 different library systems!

If you use the library how do you use it? Do you pick up print books or focus on the digital copies or both?

Kimberly


Jul 17

Review * Looking for Trouble by Victoria Dahl

Reviews 0

I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review * Looking for Trouble by Victoria DahlLooking for Trouble by Victoria Dahl
Series: Girl's Night Out #1
Published by HQN on July 29, 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Add to: Goodreads
one-star
A good reason to be bad...

Librarian Sophie Heyer has walked the straight and narrow her entire life to avoid paying for her mother's mistakes. But in tiny Jackson Hole, Wyoming, juicy gossip just doesn't go away, so the last thing she needs is for history to repeat itself. Falling hard for the sexiest biker who's ever rode into town would undo everything she's worked for. And to add insult to injury, the sexy stranger is none other than Alex Bishop--the son of the man her mother abandoned Sophie's family for. He may be temptation on wheels, but Sophie's not looking for trouble!

Maybe Sophie's buttoned-up facade fools some, but Alex knows a naughty smile when he sees one. Despite their parents' checkered pasts, he's willing to take some risks to find out the truth about the town librarian. He figures a little fling might be just the ticket to get his mind off of family drama. But what he finds underneath Sophie's prim demeanor might change his world in ways he never expected.

What I Thought…

I don’t enjoy writing these kind of reviews, but Looking for Trouble flat out annoyed me.

• It says that it’s the first in a series, but there are things that happened “before” that are never really explained in Looking for Trouble.

• Alex’s mother is completely crazy. You find out a little bit about the why (again, I never felt like I fully understood why) but it was so completely over the top and I just needed it to stop. Basically Alex’s father ran away with this Sophie’s mom 25 years ago and Alex’s mom is hell bent on screwing up Sophie’s life and is calling her a whore and a slut and being the biggest bitch ever to her all because she looks like her mom. There was soooooo much of this, at least once a chapter she was being hateful and rude to Sophie.

• Alex’s mother got a little more crazy and then there was this crazy explanation for the extra dose of crazy. Maybe this is a real thing, I don’t know, but you can’t take someone who has been that awful the entire book and then suddenly say this is what made her extra awful and now she’ll be this great person.

• Alex and Sophie seemed like they would be good together, but it was hard to tell because most of their interactions were about sex. Not a whole lot of other stuff going on here.

• One thing I really did love was the small town setting. I’m a sucker for small towns and all their cuteness and gossipness. This small town has potential. I also liked the reason behind why Sophie didn’t want to leave Jackson, I wish there would have been a bit more of that and less crazy mama.

Overall this contemporary romance just didn’t do it for me.

Kimberly


Jul 15

Top Ten Tuesday * Movies & TV Shows

Top Ten Tuesday 2

TTT

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the awesome people at The Broke and Bookish, who love lists as much as I do!

Top Ten Movies and TV Shows

TV Shows

Big Bang Theory1. The Big Bang Theory

2. So You Think You Can Dance

3. Chicago PD/Fire

4. Love It or List It

5. NCIS

 

Movies

Pitch Perfect1. Pitch Perfect

2. Day After Tomorrow

3. Fast and Furious

4. Hocus Pocus

5. Transformers

Kimberly