Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Ten Books That Will Make You Laugh

I'm participating in today's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's prompt is:

Ten Books That Will Make You Laugh

This was actually the prompt from a few weeks ago, but I like laughing, plus I think the prompt goes well with other lists I've done naming books that will make you cry and books that will make you swoon.  So here go with books that will make you laugh:

10. Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
This one is so delightfully sweet and funny.  I laughed so many times while reading.

9. The Martian by Andy Weir
This book is pretty spectacular for a lot of reasons, one of which being the constant humor in even the most distressing of circumstances.

8. Austenland by Shannon Hale
I'm pretty sure Ms. Hale was a jester in a previous life.  She can always bring a smile to my face.

7. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
The emails are so full of witticisms that I was laughing left and right throughout this book.

6. The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
The humor is the best part of this book, for me.  So many throw-away lines that had me rolling on the floor.

5. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
This one is more brazenly funny, and I'm not sure everyone would think it was as funny as I do.  But it's my list, so there.  :)

4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
So sad.  So heartfelt.  So real and raw.  And so, so funny.  Cancer patients laugh too.

3. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
Flavia is a kick in the pants.  I think the plot leaves something to be desired, but being in Flavia's head is more than worth it.

2. Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by James Finn Garner
My college roommate and I stayed up late one night just dying over this book.  It is seriously, seriously funny in a dry, sarcastic way.

1. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
I started folding over the corner of pages that made me laugh out loud.  By the end of the book I had folded over dozens and dozens of pages.

What books have made you laugh?  What authors do you reach for if you want to smile?  Give me your recs!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Weekly Words: Annonymous

Reading is by far the most successful pursuit of happiness.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Mini-reviews: The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty and Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty
Rating: 4.5 stars
Source: Library
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "Sophie Honeywell always wondered if Thomas Gordon was the one she let get away. He was the perfect boyfriend, but on the day he was to propose, she broke his heart. A year later he married his travel agent, while Sophie has been mortifyingly single ever since. Now Thomas is back in her life because Sophie has unexpectedly inherited his aunt Connie's house on Scribbly Gum Island -- home of the famously unsolved Munro Baby mystery.
Sophie moves onto the island and begins a new life as part of an  unconventional family where it seems everyone has a secret. Grace, a beautiful young mother, is feverishly planning a shocking escape from her perfect life. Margie, a frumpy housewife, has made a pact with a stranger, while dreamy Aunt Rose wonders if maybe it's about time she started making her own decisions.
As Sophie's life becomes increasingly complicated, she discovers that sometimes you have to stop waiting around -- and come up with your own fairy-tale ending.
As she so adroitly did in her smashing debut novel, Three Wishes, the incomparable Liane Moriarty once again combines sharp wit, lovable and eccentric characters, and a page-turning story for an unforgettable Last Anniversary."
Mini-reviewCharming, fun, witty, a little gritty, and everything else Moriarty is known for. This one probably isn't as loved as some of her other books, but it certainly holds a special place in my heart. It had me sobbing for personal reasons, though I'd be surprised if that was a widespread reaction to this book.  I think most of the world would give it between 3 and 4 stars, but because it hit such a sensitive nerve at the precise moment I needed it to, it merits a higher rating from me, personally.  (I can't get into why without being spoilery, but if you've read this book and want to chat, hit me up!)

Review in a GIF:
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Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Library
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes."

Mini-reviewPhew! That was a pretty insane and wild ride. It took me a week or two to get through the first 15%... and took me less than a day to inhale the rest. Exhilarating and surprising with high stakes action and a great conclusion (set up for book 2 is in place, but this book actually has its own conclusion) this was a pretty thrilling read. Also, it was a really original format, what with everything being presented as a collection of hacked documents.  I knocked off a star because some of the dialogue between characters was annoyingly crass, and I nearly stopped reading because of it. Also, the violence level here is pretty intense. I didn't lower my rating for that, but feel like I should give fair warning to the squeamish.  (Side-note: I do not mean to be condescending by calling anyone squeamish.  I am definitely squeamish when it comes to film, so I feel your pain.  But for whatever reason it doesn't really affect me in print, so, you know, bring on the bookish zombie invasions.  I just wanted to warn those of you for whom a lot of violence is a deal breaker.)

Review in a GIF:
movies the hobbit our beard conversation

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Five Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed

I'm participating in today's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's prompt is:

Five Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed

I actually had a hard time with this one.  After going over my list of books I've read, I felt pretty steadily the same about almost all of them.  I guess the good news about that is that my gut reaction to books is pretty accurately how I feel about them over time.  Or maybe that makes me boring since, once set, my opinions don't really change...?  Who knows.  There are a few exceptions to my rule, though.  Here they are:

This one is pure entertainment.  There was and is a lot to enjoy here, but, at the end of the day, this book doesn't have a whole lot of substance.  While I still like this book, it's not one that made me think very hard or really do anything besides chuckle.  I think funny books are perennially underrated, so I don't want to knock off too many stars.  It's a good book, and I'm not sorry I read it, but it maybe doesn't quite deserve the nearly 5 stars that I originally gave it.

I remember being really excited when I heard about this book, and then feeling extremely let down when I actually read it.  My disappointment stemmed from the book introducing important themes of gender equality, freedom, and choice, and then never really exploring those themes.  As time has gone on, however, I've been a little more forgiving of this book.  I still think it really oversimplified things, but I've started thinking that that's not such a bad thing.  This book won't satisfy older readers, but I think it definitely has a place with younger audiences.  It's just not one of those YA books that crosses over well to adults.  But that's okay.  There is plenty of room for books like this.  So while it wasn't as thought-provoking to me, it could still be useful in introducing important themes to younger readers who may not have considered how damaging sexism can be.  (And then, when they grow up, they can pick up Margaret Atwood.)

My review for this book is positively glowing.  According to me, this was a really gripping, thrilling read, and I was apparently dying for book 2 to be released.  Now, nearly a year later, I cannot remember a single thing about this book.  Seriously. I couldn't even tell you the name of the main character.  So it may have been a fun ride, but apparently it was a very forgettable story.  Now I'm not even sure if I'll be picking up the sequel.

I loved this book when I first read it, but I think I love it even more now.  I didn't give it 5 stars when I wrote my review because I was a tad overwhelmed with the sheer number of hot topics this book addresses.  However, the more I think about it, the more impressed I am with Moriarty's handling of all those hot topics.  I think if I were to re-review this book, I'd give it 5 stars now.

I only gave this book 5 stars when I should have given it 50.  If you haven't read it yet, GO READ IT.

Does your opinion change over time about books you've read?  Or are you like me, and feel pretty steadily the same about what you read over time?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Weekly Words: P.J. O'Rourke

Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it. -P.J. O’Rourke #quote

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Mini-reviews: The Queen of the Tearling and The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Rating: 4 stars 
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "An untested young princess must claim her throne, learn to become a queen, and combat a malevolent sorceress in an epic battle between light and darkness in this spectacular debut—the first novel in a trilogy.

Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom's haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.

Long ago, Kelsea's forefathers sailed away from a decaying world to establish a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea's nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen's Guard—loyal soldiers who protect the throne—have appeared to escort the princess on a perilous journey to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling.

Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsea has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in the heart of her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom into turmoil—and unleashing the Red Queen's vengeance. A cabal of enemies with an array of deadly weapons, from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic, plots to destroy her. But Kelsea is growing in strength and stealth, her steely resolve earning her loyal allies, including the Queen's Guard, led by the enigmatic Lazarus, and the intriguing outlaw known simply as "the Fetch."

Kelsea's quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea's journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend . . . or destroy her."

Mini-review: This book is a slower political fantasy peppered with some pretty spectacular moments of excitement. There's a lot to like in this fantasy novel, largely including Kelsea herself, but it's a bit strong. Definitely for adult readers. I plan on reading the sequel, and soon before I forget anyone.  (This book's cast list is loooooooong.)

Review in a GIF:

The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Rating: 3.25 stars
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.

But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling —and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out."

Mini-reviewI honestly can't figure out if this is a fantasy or a dystopia. I give this series major props for originality, but wish it spent more time answering my questions than giving me new ones.  I felt like my focus was constantly being ripped from one plot thread to the next, and rather than build together towards a sweeping climax, the various plot threads just piled on top of each other in a hot mess.  There was so much going on, and I was invested in each plot thread, but they never connected in the end.  I so badly wanted all those plot threads to be woven together so that I could stare at a giant tapestry, but came away feeling more like I was staring at a pile of spaghetti noodles.  There's another book to come, so hopefully it comes together in the end.  But as the series stands right now, we have a long way to go from spaghetti noodles to tapestry.  I'm hopeful that we get there, though, because I'm rooting for Kelsea and her struggling Tearling.

Review in a GIF:
Rodney Dangerfield what confused thornton melon reaction

Monday, May 16, 2016

Weekly Words: Eleanor Crumblehulme

Cutting libraries in a recession is like cutting hospitals in a plague. –Eleanor Crumblehulme #quote

Friday, May 13, 2016

My Summer To-Read List

My TBR pile is as insanely long as ever.  Does picking what book to read next stress you out?  Sometimes it stresses me out because I know each time I pick up a new book it means another book won't be read (I only have so much time I can devote to reading) and I am afraid of missing out on something amazing.  Usually I'm pretty good at dismissing that fear and just getting down to the business of reading, but now that my reading time has severely diminished I feel that pressure to make good choices and read only the books that I'm really, really interested in.  Here are a few books that made it to the very top of the pile, and why:

I devoured The Queen of the Tearling (book 1) this past January, and have been badly wanting to return to this world.  I'm worried that I've already begun to forget details, so I want to hurry and read this one before too much more time goes by.

It's the final book in the trilogy.  I'm only lukewarm about this trilogy, but I need closure, and I really, really need to return the box set to my brother-in-law.  (SORRY.)

It's a new Moriarty book, ergo I will be reading it immediately upon its release on July 26th.  Fact: I have a google calendar marked specifically for book releases precisely for books like this.  I am ashamed of nothing.

It seems like most people usually have many Thoughts and Opinions on Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love, but I'm actually not all that opinionated about it.  I read it, mostly enjoyed it, and then moved on.  I have enough positive feelings about it to give this book a shot, though.  Plus that cover is pretty.  The many favorable reviews don't hurt either.

Another Chima series set in her Seven Realms world a generation after Han and Raisa's epic story?  GIMME.

I have a few friends who basically double as my bookish overlords - they command me to read something, and I read it immediately.  This book landed on my list from such a friend, so obviously I need to read it pronto.  That being said, I had requested the ebook via my Salt Lake library card, and my card got cancelled after we moved and before I could read it.  So I need to find another way to get my hands on it.  (There is only one library where I now live, and I have not been overwhelmed by its selection.  I am trying not to have a massive crisis over this fact.)

The sequel to The Wrath & The Dawn, which I loooooooved, is now available!  I am really excited about this one, but I need a refresh on the story before I jump in.

Sarah J. Maas is up there with Liane Moriarty and Rainbow Rowell on my list of auto-read authors.  I loved A Court of Thorns and Roses so, so much (I gave it 5 stars) and am way jazzed to return to this world.

This one looks really thought-provoking.  I choose my non-fiction even more selectively than my fiction, but this book is just begging to be read.

Everything about this book appeals to me.  Sometimes you just need to laugh in order to get through the muck, right?  Plus, that raccoon is killing me.

Have you read any of these?  What did you think?  What else are you reading this summer?  What should I add to my list?  Give me your recommendations!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mini-reviews: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella; Carry On by Rainbow Rowell; The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Rating: 4.5 stars
Source: Library
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family."

Review: This was a short, sweet, uplifting read.  It's not a book about a girl's anxiety, it's a book about a girl.  She has friends, challenges, family issues, a sense of humor, and anxiety, among other things.  I loved how anxiety wasn't the focus of the book, and yet how the book demonstrated how anxiety can seep into every crack of your life.  This book does a fantastic job of balancing the deep stuff with lightheartedness.  Sweet, filling, and really, really funny.

Review in a GIF
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Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Rating: 2.75 stars
Source: Library
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.  That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters."

ReviewWell, okay. Rowell is forever awesome, amirite? But I just didn't love this story. Her characterization is always top notch, and I appreciated the tension and the mystery in this story, but plot wise this book really, really dragged. Plus, it was rather bizarre to be reading a fictional book based on the fictional characters within another fictional book who are a parody of an altogether separate fictional book. That many levels of meta were amazingly original, so why was the book so dull? On the whole, this book in concept was brazen, imaginative, and gutsy.  In execution, however, this book was really, really bloody boring. Of all her books, I think this is the one I'm least likely to reread.

Review in a GIF:
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The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins
Rating: 3.5 stars
Source: Library
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "The debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people's lives.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?"

Review: The more I read, the more I wanted to read.  But, good grief, that was depressing.  Also, I wish someone had warned me that this book may be triggering as it deals with the death of a baby.  I don't handle that topic well, and this book really bothered me.  Not because of how it dealt with it, but because I, personally, do not do well with that topic.  If this topic is triggering for you as well, I'd strongly recommend skipping it.  That being said, I know a lot of people who really loved this book because of the gripping mystery.

Review in a GIF:
O&O, Inc scared oops lotr gifscapade

Monday, May 9, 2016

Weekly Words: Annonymous

You can't read all day if you don't start in the morning

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Guest Post: Sara Pascoe

I feel so lucky to share today's post with you by Sara Pascoe, author of Ratchet, the Reluctant Witch!  As one who loves travel, her words make me badly want to go to Turkey.  Also, fun fact, I went to college with a girl named Rachel Hollingsworth, so I have her pictured in my head as Ratchet, even though the real person I knew has very little in common with her fictitious doppelganger.  Anyway, give a warm welcome to Sara!  

After I moved from the US to England to follow my then boyfriend (it was planned, not stalking), we lived in a story-book cottage on the edge of a village next to a farm. There was a huge, skinny, balding black and white cat hanging around the periphery of our yard, who bolted every time I stepped outside. I thought it was feral. Then one day, when I was weeding, he came up to me, then wouldn’t leave my side. In this village, where everyone gossiped about each other’s cats (really) no one knew who’s he was, although they all had stories of his stealing food—even taking a bite of an unattended Christmas turkey. He decided to stay with us. With no other explanation, my husband decided he must have fallen off a witch’s broom as she flew over the field next door.
            During this same time, I was working as a child psychologist for the National Health Services in outer London, including with a number of kids in foster care, as I had in previous jobs in the US. Getting to know kids in foster care is always moving. Imagine knowing the people taking care of you can toss you back, if you become too much. Or going to a meeting with a room full of grownups deciding your fate. Or being at school and someone telling you, you are going home to a different foster family, and you don’t even get to say goodbye to the people you left that morning. Or at eighteen, aging out of the system, with nowhere to go for holidays, or advice, or company.
            Rachel Hollingsworth (Ratchet) is fictitious, as are the details of her life. The heart of the story is her journey from shunning human bonds, given how painful attachments have been in the past, to her slowly letting some plates of armour slip away, letting love in.
            This all happens within an historical fantasy, with a fast paced plot, and that is funny in places.  Ratchet thinks she wants her independence and runs away. But she doesn’t know she’s a witch, and with her powers out of control she accidentally travels back in time to 1645 England, in the midst of the Essex Witch Trials when hundreds of poor, disenfranchised women were executed for ‘witchcrafte’. With her spiky hair, jeans (women didn’t wear pants, and zippers weren’t for another 250 years), and having a cat with her (Oscar was transported with her), she’s thrown in jail. There she awaits trial with other real life historical victims. You get to know these unlucky souls, along with what life was like during the English civil wars through the eyes of this stroppy fourteen-year-old.
            We had been visiting friends in Turkey when I was in the midst of writing the novel. Although I had a full outline of the plot, as is my habit, I wasn’t happy with it. I thought it needed more zip. Then one morning when I woke up in our friends’ apartment overlooking the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul, it clicked. While facing execution, but with her powers still out of control, instead of coming back to modern London, she remains in 1645, but transports to Istanbul.
            I promptly inhaled material on Ottoman history. This presented a fascinating comparison to life in the rest of Europe during this time which was a fear- and disease-ridden backwater. Women, and most men, had few if any rights. Xenophobia was codified in law, and half the population did not live past sixteen. But in Istanbul, there was hot and cold running water, all sorts of social nets for the poor and hungry (they had free hospitals for people and animals), and women could own business and bring cases to court. In fact, quite a few women fled Europe for a life in the Ottoman Empire, often on their own.
            Life in Istanbul is great. Maybe running away was the right thing after all. She’s gaining control of her skills, and she becomes a sought-after fortune teller. She’s not sure she wants to return to modern London. She’s offered the chance to read the Sultan’s wife’s future. How could she resist—a poor foster kid now invited to one of the worlds’ most amazing palaces? But it turns out the Sultana has another, deadly job in mind for Ratchet. And if she doesn’t do it, the very people she started to let in, to become attached to, will be killed. Talk about a rock and a hard place.
            Writing Ratchet was an immense joy. I love the combination of developing the characters, plot and applying information from research, which I also adore (I used to work in neuroscience research). My next book is out now, too—a middle-grade novel set in suburban Washington, D.C., Oswald, the Almost Famous Opossum. Other novels are in the works, too, both for kids and adults.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Review: The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight


The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight
Rating: 3.75 stars
Source: ARC received by the Publisher (Thanks!)
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "It all starts with a text: Please, Wylie, I need your help. Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fightBut that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself.

This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice but to ignore her gut instinct and go with him.

But figuring out where Cassie is goes from difficult to dangerous, fast. As Wylie and Jasper head farther and farther north into the dense woods of Maine, Wylie struggles to control her growing sense that something is really wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling them? And could finding her be only the beginning?

In this breakneck tale, New York Times bestselling author Kimberly McCreight brilliantly chronicles a fateful journey that begins with a single decision—and ends up changing everything."

Review: ***I received an advanced review copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my review.  This in no way effects my views.***

This is the first ARC I've accepted since coming back from maternity leave, and, folks, I picked a good one.  But maybe not a great one.

The Outliers is a YA mystery/thriller full of twists that had me gripping my paperback so hard it left marks on the cover.  That being said, I read a different blurb than the one above when I first was pitched this book, and the blurb I read gave away a main plot point that isn't actually revealed in the novel until nearly the very end of the book.  I was bugged when I realized that I had been spoiled ahead of time on the main, big reveal.  Also, that main plot point was the reason I accepted this novel for review.  I obviously can't tell you what that plot point is, but suffice it to say, I was expecting a very, very different kind of book from the one I received.   

So, considering how different this book turned out to be from what I wanted and what I expected, I'm kind of surprised to say that I still quite liked it.  Which makes me think that with the right pitch, this book and series could really be great.  This book is still worth a shot, and there is still a lot of fun to be had.  Just be careful what blurbs you read so that you're not spoiled like I was.  Here are a few of my favorite things about this book, and a few reasons why I think you should consider reading it:

1) It has a fantastically creepy mood to it.  The atmosphere is very chilling, and will have you looking over your shoulder and examining your instincts for like a week after reading it.

2) It is unpredictable.  There are twists and turns falling from the sky in this one.  Take what you think this book is about and throw it out the window, because I guarantee this book will surprise you.  (Even if you don't go in with skewed expectations like I did.)

3) It never lets up.  There was no boring middle section.  No clunky filler scenes.  Everything kept me breathless and on the edge of my seat.

There were a few things I really didn't like about this book though:

1) Wylie's relationship with her brother.  I know not all siblings get along, but this relationship felt weirdly and needlessly antagonistic.  This isn't really a problem with the book itself, just my own dissatisfaction with how much animosity was between them, given that it really didn't contribute much to the plot, plus it felt disingenuous considering their family circumstances.

2) The last 20% of the novel gets wacky.  Like, crinkle-your-nose-bad wacky.  There is a twist that I can't go into detail about without being spoilery.  (I'm not referring to the main plot twist I was spoiled about in the blurb I was pitched with, this is a different twist - like I said, lots of twists in this book.)  But I can say that I think that twist was too big.  I don't say that much around here, but, people, this twist is practically a genre change.   It was so jarring that I was more confused and, frankly, a little annoyed that such a big rug got pulled out from under me.  It had me reevaluating the whole book, and not in a good way.  It's like I had been in the forest, driving recklessly past bobcats and hunters, when suddenly the backdrop switches from forest to... the moon.  It's just strange.  I said that this book was unpredictable, and that is usually a good thing.  But not all surprises are good surprises.  And a few of the things that happened in what was meant to be climactic scenes were just flat out weird. 

3) ) There is a giant cliffhanger at the end of the book.  I'm not necessarily against cliffhangers, but this one just felt like a ploy to make you read the next book.  

So I clearly had some problems with this story.  There are a few things I would have really liked to change.  But, in the end, I still had a fun time with it, and thoroughly enjoyed the heart racing moments.  There are some issues, but this book still offers a wild and creepy story that will definitely keep your attention and surprise you along the way.

Review in a GIF:

Bottom Line: Consider this one if you like the unpredictable!  If you can get past a few more convoluted moments in the end, this creepy and breathless thriller is worth its weaknesses.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Weekly Words: Annonymous

Reality - that annoying time when you are not reading