Saturday, January 31, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (80)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon
From NetGalley:
Visions in Silver by Anne Bishop
What books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, January 30, 2015

Discussion Question: Do You Recommend a 3 Star Book?

If you give a book a 3 star rating and someone asks you if you recommend reading it, how do you respond?  Sometimes I think 3 star books are misunderstood.  I mean, to me, a 3 star rating means the book was good.  Is good not good enough? Obviously you would recommend a 5 star book, and probably a 4 star book if the person is a big reader (I mean, if they only read a few books a year, you probably wouldn't even recommend a 4 star book).  But what about the 3 star book?  In my head, I know a 3 out of 5 is good, but at the same time, it's more average, there's usually something not so special about it.  It means I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't read it again.  

If it's the first book in a series and you rate it 3 stars, does that mean you read the second book in the series?  Only if it gets great reviews?  Or are you done?  

What's interesting is that I generally stay away from books if the Goodreads average rating starts going below a 3.5.  But why?  And then it means I feel bad for rating a book 3 stars because I know if a lot of people do that, people reading the reviews are more likely not to read the book.  So 4 has become my modal rating.  Now that's also due to the fact that I know what I like and I only read books I want to read, but at the same time, I feel like I inflate my ratings.  

What about you?  Do you recommend a book you give 3 stars to?

Posted by:  Pam

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Book Review: When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill (Liz Czukas)

When Joss Met Matt
Author:  Ellie Cahill (a.k.a. Liz Czukas)
Publisher:  Ballantine Books, 368 pages
Expected Publication Date:  February 24, 2015
*ARC received from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
Dating can be fun, but it can leave a nasty taste in your mouth. For Joss, ever since her longtime boyfriend cheated on her, she doesn’t want her last memory of a guy to be that jerk. Enter her college friend, Matt. They come up with a theory: after a bad break-up, a person needs to cleanse the palate with a little sorbet sex. Lovers for a night, but always back to being friends in the morning. The two can handle it because they have a contract: rules they wrote, rules they follow and rules they can sometimes bend. The arrangement works: everyone needs a little sorbet now and again … until it starts to be the only thing you want. And then Joss breaks the one rule they never wrote down: don’t fall in love.

It's a familiar friends with benefits story, but so well told.  Pretty adorable, actually, with a perfect balance between humor and sad/serious moments.  Some of the dating/relationship disasters are hilarious.

Joss and Matt meet in their first year of college and the novel chronicles their friendship to love story during a seven year period.  The story is told from Joss's POV, but we get to know Matt fairly well through their interactions and dialogue.  

The dialogue is incredible because it reveals the characters' relationship to one another, their personalities, moves the story forward, and increases the tension.  Very realistically written.  It evokes the way people actually talk in real life.  

I loved that the story spans seven years and that Joss and Matt know each other so well and are such good friends.  And they obviously have a great physical relationship.  Whenever one of them breaks up with someone and the other one is unattached, they have "sorbet sex" to cleanse the palate.  But more and more, Joss finds herself finding reasons not to date or to break up with her current boyfriend.  They have a messed up relationship (I mean, come on, we all know it's not going to work), but at the same time, they're perfect for each other and you just want them to realize it already.  But the fact that they go through so much and make mistakes along the way makes this a more true to life love story.

A light and fun romantic NA novel, When Joss Met Matt is refreshing and entertaining, I highly recommend it.

Posted by:  Pam

Monday, January 26, 2015

Book Review: Remember by Eileen Cook

Author:  Eileen Cook
Publisher:  Simon Pulse, 320 pages
Expected Publication Date:  February 24, 2015
*ARC received from publisher via Edelweiss

From Goodreads:
A thrilling tale about what a girl will do to get back a memory she lost…or remove what she wants to forget.

Harper is used to her family being hounded by protesters. Her father runs the company that trademarked the "Memtex" procedure to wipe away sad memories, and plenty of people think it shouldn't be legal. Then a new demonstrator crosses her path, Neil, who’s as persistent as he is hot. Not that Harper’s noticing, since she already has a boyfriend.

When Harper suffers a loss, she’s shocked her father won’t allow her to get the treatment, so she finds a way to get it without his approval. Soon afterward, she’s plagued with strange symptoms, including hallucinations of a woman who is somehow both a stranger, yet incredibly familiar. Harper begins to wonder if she is delusional, or if these are somehow memories.

Together with Neil, who insists he has his own reasons for needing answers about the real dangers of Memtex, Harper begins her search for the truth. What she finds could uproot all she’s ever believed about her life…

I'm fascinated with books dealing with memories and I enjoyed the unique premise of a treatment that allows people to soften their memory of sad or traumatic events.  They don't forget about what happened, but it makes them not feel it as strongly and not care about it as much.  So if you're a victim of a crime or a soldier dealing with post traumatic stress, maybe this makes sense.  But what about if you had a bad date?  What about if your dog dies?  Should you be able to eliminate that pain?  Are we better people for going through horrible things and feeling those things?  I loved that this book made me think about these issues.

I have to say, though, Harper's an idiot and her friends barely try and talk her out of getting the procedure.  And it's completely unrealistic how easy it is for Harper to get it without her parents' permission.  After the procedure, Harper suddenly starts remembering things that don't make sense.  Has someone messed with her memories?  And if so, why?  Fast-paced and action-packed, Remember is an entertaining read.

Posted by:  Pam

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (79)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
No Life But This by Anna Sheehan
From NetGalley/Edelweiss:
Collide by Melissa West

What books did you add to your shelves this week?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Recommend It?

I got this idea from Danielle at Love at First Page.  I read a lot of books that I don't review so I thought I would give a super short review of some books and let you know whether I recommend them or not.

Dead of Winter (The Arcana Chronicles #3) by Kresley Cole.  The world-building and the plot are amazing and unique, I don't think I've ever read anything like it.  This is the third book in a series that I think will be six books, and while I liked it, not a lot happens, I feel like the plot didn't progress at all.  And for those of you who do not like love triangles, this whole book was about Evie trying to decide between the two guys.  They actually both have their good points and bad points so it's a true love triangle and she really is quite torn between them.  I do recommend the series, but this book was a bit frustrating.
Golden Son (Red Rising Trilogy #2) by Pierce Brown.  What a great sequel! It's dark, filled with action action action.  An insanely high kill count and a bloodydamn cliffhanger.  My jaw was practically on the floor by the end of it.  What???  Definitely recommend.
Endsinger (The Lotus War #3) by Jay Kristoff.  One of the best series enders ever!!!  Awersome.  Amazing.  Epic.  You will not be disappointed.  I was on the edge of my seat the entire time because I was so worried about how this one would turn out.  There were happy moments and tearful moments.  I have been put through the emotional wringer.  Fell in love with the characters, the last one was my favorite. Yes, recommend!
Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1) by Heather Demetrios. There were some things I liked in this book (the complexity of the characters and the world of Arjinna, although we didn't get to see much of it except in some flashbacks), but the pacing…it was soooo slow. Almost nothing happened until the very end. Do not recommend.

Posted by: Pam

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Auto-Buy Authors

                             Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

Pam's List:
1.  Cassandra Clare.  I LOVED both the Mortal Instruments series and the Infernal Devices series.  She's writing more Shadowhunter books and I say, keep them coming!
2.  Jessica Shirvington.  The Embrace series is one of my all time favorites.  And the Disruption duology was fantastic!  Her stand-alone book, One Past Midnight (a.k.a. Between the Lives) was also incredible.  She writes in such a way that I feel all the feels!
3.  Richelle Mead.  Vampire Academy and Bloodlines…LOVE them both!  I also love her adult books as well, especially the Age of X series.  
4.  Kasie West.  Every book written by Kasie West just makes me happy.  Banter, swoony romance…it doesn't get any better.
5.  Stephanie Perkins.  Again, her books just make me happy.  I smile almost the whole time I'm reading them.  Even though her next book is a horror novel, I'm still going to read it.

Sheri's List: Many of Pam's choices would be on my list as well but I thought I would add a few more favorites.

1. Marissa Meyer. Marissa Meyer helped me fall in love with  fairy tales once again, but of course these are not your typical fairy tales.
2. Diana Peterfreund.  I fell in love with her style and world building in For Darkness Shows the Stars and I can't wait to read more.
3. Claire LaZebnik.  I am always looking for a well-written Jane Austen spin-off and these books never disappoint.
4. Kerstin Gier.  Her Precious Stone trilogy might be one of my favorite time travel YA series and I can't wait to see what she writes next.
5. Scott Westerfeld, Stephenie Meyer, Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth. Each of these authors hooked me from page one and I definitely can't wait to see what they right next.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Book Review: Frostfire by Amanda Hocking

Frostfire (Kanin Chronicles #1)
Author:  Amanda Hocking
Publisher:  St. Martin's Griffin, 321 pages
Publication Date:  January 6, 2015

From Goodreads:
Bryn Aven is an outcast among the Kanin, the most powerful of the troll tribes.

Set apart by her heritage and her past, Bryn is a tracker who's determined to become a respected part of her world. She has just one goal: become a member of the elite King’s Guard to protect the royal family. She's not going to let anything stand in her way, not even a forbidden romance with her boss Ridley Dresden.

But all her plans for the future are put on hold when Konstantin– a fallen hero she once loved – begins kidnapping changelings. Bryn is sent in to help stop him, but will she lose her heart in the process?

I really do not enjoy writing negative reviews but I did not like this book and here's why:

1.  The premise of this book just irked me.  Bryn is a tracker and she tracks changelings.  Basically, the way this world works is that the Kanin don't like hanging with humans so they live apart, but to get money, they switch their babies with the babies of wealthy families and then drop the human babies off at orphanages.  Then, when the changelings (the Kanin babies that have been living with a human family) are almost adults, the tracker gets to know them, earns their trust, then reveals who they are and takes them back to her world and they give their trust money to their "real" parents.  What???  And Bryn has no problem with this, apparently.  She doesn't seem to struggle with it, she's proud of being such a great tracker, she has such "honor" (yeah, right) that she thinks it's a bad idea to fall in love with her boss. How am I supposed to feel about this? Am I supposed to like her?  Like anyone? Root for her?  Just so strange.  At this point, I'm rooting for Konstantin.  Now, to be fair, maybe that's the point.  Maybe Bryn figures out she's an idiot and her world is wrong, etc.  But I will never know because I'm not reading any more in this series.

2.  Bryn acts like a robot and I just didn't like her.

3.  Almost nothing happens.  Glacial moving plot.  A bunch of boring nothing.

Posted by:  Pam

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (78)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

What books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Book Review: Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

Never Never (Never Never #1)
Authors:  Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher
Publisher:  Hoover Ink, 140 pages
Publication Date:  January 8, 2015

From Goodreads:
Best friends since they could walk. In love since the age of fourteen. Complete strangers since this morning.
He'll do anything to remember. She'll do anything to forget.

Loved the premise of this book. It's such a fun suspenseful thriller, with Silas and Charlie trying to figure out what's going on, remembering nothing, not even who they are. Sort of reminded me of the Mara Dyer series. I really can't say more without ruining it, because it's twisty. It's better to go in blind.

But this is not a complete book and it just ends right when it was getting really good. Sooooo frustrating, I'm actually a bit pissed off. This "book" is only 140 pages. Why not just finish the entire thing and then release it? Why torture me like this??  It would have been AMAZING had the authors just waited until they wrote the entire book to release it.  And as far as I know, there's no news regarding when the next part will be released.

If you read it, just know going in that this is only PART of a book.  And it ends in a HUGE cliffhanger.  

Posted by: Pam

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Series Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Something Strange and Deadly Series
Author: Susan Dennard

I hate to admit it but I love YA book covers.  Especially when there is a beautiful dress with a foreboding background.  Without even reading the summary I thought this book would be about a pampered  young woman facing unknown dangers and looking gorgeous while doing it.  I was mostly right with one important difference. Eleanor rarely if ever looks gorgeous in these books and when she does look gorgeous bad things generally happen.  Eleanor is a brave zombie hunter, a loyal and loving sister and daughter, and a girl suffering from a major crush.  I loved the distinct setting for each book, Philadelphia, Paris, and Egypt.   The evolution and development of the main characters made sense and the new characters kept the trilogy fresh and interesting.  I'm not sure if Dennard intended for the reader to focus on Eleanor's physical changes but I couldn't help but be fascinated by the underlying meanings.  Book three brought the story to a close for me but in unexpected ways.  I choose not to binge read this series because each definitely stood on their own and I knew I would be able to keep the story and characters straight over time.  That said book three would have been more emotionally gripping if I had read them one after the other. I would definitely recommend this series for anyone who enjoys books about fighting zombies, strong friendships, and a straight forward love interest.

A Dawn Most Wicked (Prequel)
Publisher: Ebooks, Epic Reads, 150 pages
Publication Date: June 4, 2013

From Goodreads:
Daniel Sheridan is an engineer’s apprentice on a haunted Mississippi steamer known as the Sadie Queen. His best friend–the apprentice pilot, Cassidy Cochran–also happens to be the girl he’s pining for … and the captain’s daughter. But when it looks like the Sadie Queen might get taken off the river, Daniel and Cassidy have to do whatever they can to stop the ghosts that plague the ship.

Fortunately, there happens to be a Creole gentleman on board by the name of Joseph Boyer–and he just might be able to help them.

Something Strange and Deadly (Book 1)
Publisher: Harper Collins Harper Teen, 388 pages
Publication Date: July 24, 2012

From Goodreads:
Philadelphia 1876. The Dead are rising. A zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor Fitt. Whoever controls the Dead Army has her brother. She avoids her mother's choice of husband for the lab of Spirit Hunters, including the maddeningly stubborn yet handsome Daniel. The situation threatens her reputation, and the lives of everyone in the city.

A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Book 2)
Publisher: Harper Collins Harper Teen, 406 pages
Publication Date: July 23, 2013

From Goodreads:
1876 Paris. Her brother dead, her mother crazed, narrator Eleanor Fitt heads to Paris for Spirit-Hunters — Joseph, Jie, and Daniel - where the Dead have risen. On the steamer, friendly Oliver entices her sweetness of black magic. Hypnotism makes targets turn against what they stand for. Rich Marquis du Bazillac, LeJeunes, and his sister sponsor Hunters in Society.

Strange and Ever After (Book 3)
Publisher: Harper Collins Harper Teen, 387 pages
Publication Date: July 22, 2014

From Goodreads:
In the conclusion to the trilogy that Publishers Weekly called “a roaring—and addictive—gothic world,” Eleanor Fitt must control her growing power, face her feelings for Daniel, and confront the evil necromancer Marcus...all before it’s too late.

He took her brother, he took her mother, and now, Marcus has taken her good friend Jie. With more determination than ever to bring this sinister man to justice, Eleanor heads to the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt in hopes of ending this nightmare. But in addition to her increasingly tense relationships with Daniel, Joseph, and her demon, Oliver, Eleanor must also deal with her former friend, Allison, who has curiously entangled herself in Eleanor’s mission.

With the rising dead chomping at her every move and Jie’s life hanging in the balance, Eleanor is convinced that her black magic will see her through to the bitter end. But there will be a price. Though she and the Spirit Hunters have weathered every battle thus far, there will be consequences to suffer this time—the effects of which will be irreversible. And when it’s over, only some will be able to live a strange and ever after.

Susan Dennard will leave readers breathless and forever changed in the concluding pages of this riveting ride.

Posted By: Sheri

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Monday, January 12, 2015

Book Review: Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

Seeker (Seeker #1)
Author:  Arwen Elys Dayton
Publisher:  Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 448 pages
Expected Publication Date:  February 10, 2015
*ARC received from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
The night Quin Kincaid takes her Oath, she will become what she has trained to be her entire life. She will become a Seeker. This is her legacy, and it is an honor. As a Seeker, Quin will fight beside her two closest companions, Shinobu and John, to protect the weak and the wronged. Together they will stand for light in a shadowy world. And she'll be with the boy she loves--who's also her best friend.

But the night Quin takes her Oath, everything changes. Being a Seeker is not what she thought. Her family is not what she thought. Even the boy she loves is not who she thought.

And now it's too late to walk away.

I loved this book and here's why:

1. Unpredictable plot. I had no idea what was going to happen and when I thought I did, I was wrong. I don't want to say much more because I don't want to spoil it, but the book spans a few years, there's violence and betrayal, and it's set in a world that is basically like ours, but you would never know it. In the beginning, it seems like it's set in a different world, like a fantasy, but then you get hints that it's sort of like our world (at one point one of the characters is watching a TV, and then the second part, there are futuristic elements). Fascinating and engrossing plot and setting.

2. Character development. The three main characters evolve and change so much in this book, and in unexpected ways. They are also very complex, with shades of gray. No one is innocent, but no one is necessarily evil either. It makes you think about what horrible things you would do if you thought you were doing them for the right reason. Is the villain really a villain?

3. The love story. There are two love stories, but I wouldn't call this a love triangle. So for those of you that are anti-love triangle, don't let the fact that there are two guys and one girl keep you from reading this book. It's complicated. Characters change. A lot of time passes. It's not a matter of two guys like me and I have to choose which one. Not at all. Just when I thought I knew what was happening when it came to the relationships, there was a twist I didn't see coming. So well done.

An amazing read, I can't wait for the next one!

Posted by: Pam

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (77)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole
Golden Son by Pierce Brown

What books did you add to your shelves this week?