Friday, July 13, 2012

Review: Slammed by Colleen Hoover

Slammed Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: YA, Contemporary Romance
Format: Kindle
Published: 1 January 2012
Publisher: Self/Amazon Digital Services
Series: Yes!
Price: $2.99 (worth every penny and more)

Synopsis: {via GoodReads}

Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she's losing hope.

Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.

Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.
Review:

This review might be short because, frankly, I found very little wrong with this book. I loved it, it was fantastic, and to go on for too long would just be gushing. While I think this book probably actually deserves gushing, I'm not really a gusher. So, I'll be brief, but I'll say that I think anyone and everyone interested in a touching story should read this book. Yes, it's romance, but it's much more than that. Give it a shot.

The Characters:

Both Layken (or "Lake") and Will are believable, sympathetic characters. Lake is going through a great deal of turmoil throughout the novel, but I never felt like she was petulant. She does have fits, but they're understandable fits. In a lot of ways, she and Will are in a terrible place. They're drawn to one another, but can't be together and you feel for them. Even Kel and Caulder are great little characters, as is Julia, Layken's mom, and Layken's best friend Eddie (a girl). All in all, the cast is well-rounded.

One thing to look out for here is that the book is not only first person, it's present tense and from the point of view of a teenage girl. Lake is eighteen, but she's young and the perspective works beautifully. We see, in many cases, her immaturity in dealing with Will and the bad spot they're in. But, she usually pulls it together in time to see her priorities and make choices that lead her the right direction.

The Plot:

This book really touched me. There were moments I laughed out loud, other when I cried. Crying is not a usual reaction for me, but this book has moments when you really feel for, and relate to, the characters. The plot isn't overly complicated, and while it had the potential--if handled incorrectly--to be cringe inducing (particularly given the news and climate with regards to some of this book's topic), it turned out to be endearing. Hoover handled a somewhat touchy subject with grace and the book was fantastic as a result.

The Issues:

I did feel a bit like the book left me hanging at the end, it's over a bit abruptly for my tastes, but the epilogue is available to help rectify that. It does end on a nice note, and in a place that I think worked, I just tend to believe much more could have been said. Still, it's a stylistic choice and I can respect that. Something else I'm a little bit put off by is that the second book in the series, Point of Retreat, has a different narrator.  Rather than being narrated by Layken again, the book is narrated by Will. I literally stopped reading a book series (Kushiel's Legacy) half-way through (after book 3) because I couldn't handle the idea of a new narrator (Immriel). So, this takes me outside my comfort zone a little bit. I think, though, if I can like this book and remember who the narrator is, then maybe I can go back to Kushiel's Legacy with a more open mind. We'll see.

The Verdict:

Rating: 5/5
All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It's a self-published novel and it stands together really well with some of the other self-published (and traditionally published) works in this genre. The story is heartwarming and heartbreaking at turns, but has a happy ending. I said so in my introduction, but I think if you're looking for a quick read that you should check this out. I can't wait to get into the next book, which I bought at the same time as this one in anticipation that I'd like it. I hope, if you take the time to check this one out, that you'll love it too.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: No. 8

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read 
  • Open to a random page 
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page 
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) 
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Not going to lie, after finishing and reviewing Love Unscripted by Tina Reber yesterday, I spent the better part of this evening moping around avoiding my Kindle. It's not an unusual response for me, but I normally only have it when I've just finished a book I really liked. Apparently, books I didn't so much like have this power over me too sometimes. Awesome. I think, in this case, the issue is that I fought so hard to make myself finish it and now that it's done I don't quite know what to do. Also, I have a lot of books on the TBR pile and choosing what will come next is never easy for me. But, I managed to do it, and so far, I'm enjoying Slammed by Colleen Hoover.

SlammedSynopsis:
Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she's losing hope.

Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.

Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.
Teaser:
 "May the force be with you!" He laughs and hops into his car as I stand there, staring down at the Darth Vader house shoes I'm still wearing. Classic.

I just started the book, so I thought this one was fun and sort of shows the characters' personalities a bit. Okay, have a lovely Tuesday!  If you're here by way of Teaser Tuesday, please take a moment to say hello so I can visit you, too! :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Musing Mondays: No. 2

Musing Mondays is a book meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. It's fairly simple, just check out the weeks question/prompt, answer it, leave her a comment with your link, and visit others who've done the same. Easy as that!
Have you ever read a book that, at the time, you didn’t feel a strong connection towards, but as time goes by you find yourself thinking about it a lot?
This one's both easy to answer and not, but two books really come to mind when I think about the question: The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton and As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. I read each of them for classes, the first for a Feminist/Female literature course, the second for an a graduate level course called The Southern Novel. Each of them left a lasting impression on my brain, which I tried to reject at first and still, to this day, can't seem to do. They're just the kind of novels that make stick to you, deep down, and refuse to let go and I've always been glad I've gotten the opportunity to read them.

HOMThe first, Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth is the story of a woman, Lily Bart, that sees herself as an object. She's looking for a wealthy man to care for, she's been told by her now-dead mother that her only worth is in her looks, but ultimately she cannot seem to settle for an advantageous marriage. She ruins herself along the way, all the while outwardly looking for something she inwardly cannot accept. The book is tragic and beautiful, and haunting. For Wharton, it was an inside look at the society of which she was a part. It was risky for a woman during the early 1900s to write a novel condemning her own social class, but she did it fearlessly. Edith Wharton has always been, and will continue to be, one of my very favorite authors of all time. I highly, highly, recommend this book if you're looking for a really good book.

as-i-lay-dyingThe second novel, As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner, is also the story of a woman. It's also tragic, but there's nothing really beautiful about it. Rather, it's gritty and uncomfortable, and there are moments I wish I never laid eyes on this book. Mostly, though, I'm thankful that I did because this book is another one that's taken hold and has absolutely refused to let me go. It's the kind of novel you never, ever forget once you've read it. It's about the events surrounding the death of a woman, Addie Bundren. It's told from several different view points, the most prominent of which is her son, Darl. Each chapter's title tells the reader who's speaking during the course of that chapter. This technique gives Faulkner the opportunity to explore, first hand, the different voices of the characters. Only one chapter is in Addie's voice, and it is absolutely heartbreaking. You learn, during the course of that chapter, how much this woman has suffered and how much she has hated her life. You really get the sense that she's glad it's over, but it's just not as simple as that. There are moments when Faulkner takes the metaphor of dragging the corpse of the old south around behind you to a literal level and it's disturbing, to say the very least. I recommend this one, too, but it's not for the faint of heart. If you've never read Faulkner, start with his short stories, "Barn Burning" and "A Rose for Emily" are amazing.

I hope you get the chance to check them out sometime, they're both amazing reads!

Have a lovely Monday, and if you're here for Musing Monday, please take a moment to say hello and leave me a link back so I can visit you, too!

Review: Love Unscripted by Tina Reber

Love Unscripted Author: Tina Reber {website}
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Kindle/ebook
Published: 25 May 2011
Publisher: Self/Amazon Digital Services
Series: Yes.
Price: $3.99

Synopsis: {via GoodReads}
Ryan Christensen just wanted to be an actor. Never in his wildest dreams did he ever think that accepting a role in an unknown film would toss his career into overdrive. His new fame has cost him dearly; anonymity is no longer an option. His fans stalk him, the paparazzi hound him, and Hollywood studios all want a piece of him. Despite all of that, Ryan Christensen craves the most basic of human needs - to have love in his heart and privacy in his life.

Taryn Mitchell, the story's protagonist, is a realist. She's been feigning contentment, running the family pub in Seaport, Rhode Island, while quietly nursing her own internal heartaches. Her feet are fairly glued to the ground and she doesn't buy into all the hype that has descended on her tiny, coastal town. In her world, men are safe if they're kept at a distance.

Fate has other plans for these two when their paths cross one sunny afternoon. A group of female fans has attacked him, leaving his shirt torn, his face cut, and Ryan in obvious distress. Bonds between them form from the most dramatic of circumstances while jealousy, insecurity, and the stress of his celebrity life try to tear them apart.

Through all the tabloid lies, secrecy, and pressure, can Taryn's peace and Ryan's high-profile insanity live together in harmony?

Review:

I really, really wanted to like this novel, but I really struggled to finish it. Most books, I'll finish in one night, maybe two. This book took me almost four nights. I finished it, largely out of respect for the author, because not finishing a novel isn't really my style. If Tina Reber can put her heart into writing it, I can respect her enough to finish it. Also, I paid for it and wanted to get my money's worth. Finally, I finished it because I was curious--I had to see if it got better as it went along. Sure enough, it did, but not until late in the novel. Mostly, I'm feeling somewhat disenchanted, and frankly deceived, by all of the five star reviews this book has gotten. For a debut novel, it wasn't terrible, but five stars is a bit much. I never read the reviews before I buy a book, I just read the synopsis and check the star stats on Amazon. If enough people liked it, I'll give it a shot. This book got a lot of five star reviews, so I trusted the reviewers and they sort of let me down.

The Characters:

Okay, here's the thing. I think my biggest issue with this book was the characters. They start out very stiff and one dimensional. They're just not believable. Or rather, Ryan is just not believable. Nothing about him screams movie star to me. I get that he has issues, but he's quite juvenile. As the novel progresses we find that he lies to her, leads her to believe half-truths, is overly jealous and possessive, and expects her to become the one thing she really doesn't want to be, reliant on him. As a matter of fact, he can be downright mean and nasty. He shouts at her, tells her what to do, and behaves quite hypocritically.

Taryn also really bothered me. She starts the novel as a woman in control of her life. She's suffered loss and had bad relationships, but she's educated (she went to Brown!) and is a savvy business owner/business woman. Single, she's in control and able to fend for herself, even if she is sort of alone in the world--though we learn that she does have family, she just refused to spend any time with them preferring to be alone. She turns down every man who walks through her door, doesn't give a whit about Ryan Christiansen, the famous actor, but when she finally meets him, she becomes this sort of mushy, wishy-washy girl who wants to please him. Very frustrating for a female character to start strong and deteriorate into something needy and neurotic.

I did, however, like Taryn's friends and Ryan's parents. All of them were well written, distinctive, and colorful, even if some of them were a bit stereotypical. Marie was what you expect a best friend to be, Tammy and Pete were fantastic additions to the cast, and Ellen and Bill were lovely. I liked each of them. I even liked the new-hire bartender, Cory, even though he wasn't given much in the way of personality.

Kyle was a problem for me. Mostly because, well, I liked him for the most part. At least up until the end. I thought he was attractive and friendly, and that both Taryn and Ryan were overreacting when there was nothing to freak about. If he gave her the creeps, or was overly pushy, why was she checking him out every time he was around? It can't really go both ways. She admits to attraction to him, but it's a little bit strange the way he fits into the story. His threads are a bit wonky too, since the smart and capable Taryn can't seem to see what's right in front of her face--she reminds me a bit of Oedipus in that, he was a great problem solver who couldn't see what was so obviously right in front of him. 

The Plot:

Overall, the plot was slow, but wasn't bad. For my taste, it took far too long to actually get anywhere. It just seemed like it was dragging on and on, and there were a lot of scenarios I didn't understand being included because they did nothing to add to the overall story. Also, small things took pages, while weeks would pass in one sentence, made the pacing awkward. By about 80% the story started to really pick up and a lot of important things started happening, which was awesome. I think she probably could have gotten to some of it much earlier in the book and it would have made for a more interesting read. But, the story does evolve and the character development is there, and for that Reber deserves much credit. By the end, you're rooting for Ryan and Taryn, or at least I was, and they had somewhat grown on me. Love Unscripted followed a fairly standard formula for it's genre, but that's fine, especially for a first novel.

The (Other) Issues:

Other than what I've already mentioned, my biggest issue was the stiff writing and unnatural dialogue. Reber uses many colloquialisms, which really detracts from suspension of disbelief. Also, she uses phrases that really distracted me, like "leave it go" rather than "let it go," but I'm going to chalk those up to dialectic issues because I don't know if people talk like that in the northeast. I know we don't in the south or on the west coast, but who knows. Also, she's unnecessarily wordy with descriptions and tells a lot of things she should be showing. There are a lot of explanations about the character's motivations, which is problematic because a savvy reader should be able to tell, from the character's actions, what their motivations are. The author shouldn't have to tell us. In this case, Reber didn't need to tell us, her characters motivations were perfectly clear and she could have left it at that, but for a debut novel it's a mistake that, perhaps, she will overcome as she produces more novels. 

Finally, and my biggest complaint, is that there were a lot of threads that go nowhere and things that're thrown in that doesn't turn into a plot thread. Several notable examples include: the empty condom wrapper she finds in his luggage (which is very shortly brushed under the rug, way, way later) that Taryn just chooses to ignore, or the person in his room he's hushing while he's whispering that he loves her rather than just saying it. Those are just two of many examples and it bothered me. I feel like she should have brought those things up if she was going to seed them. Very frustrating, as a reader, to wait for something to come full circle that just simply never does.


The Verdict:

Rating: 2.5/5
I think, if I had it to do over again, I would have passed on this one. I am, however, glad to have read it and, strangely, will probably consider buying Love Unrehearsed whenever it happens to be released (though it seems like a long time between release dates, considering Reber is still writing that sequel). I think, for a debut novel, this one could have been better but Reber clearly reaches an audience with this novel and for that she has to be commended. Hopefully her next novel will be much more praiseworthy--I'm willing to give her another shot.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Review: Effortless by S.C. Stephens

effortless Author: S.C. Stephens {facebook
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Kindle
Published: 25 February 2012
Publisher: Self (Amazon Digital Services)
Series: Yes!
Price: $3.99

Synopsis: {via GoodReads}
A continuation of the novel, Thoughtless...

A lot can happen in a year. You grow, you change, you learn from your mistakes. And Kiera had made a lot of mistakes to learn from. But she had learned, and she was determined to never cause a man pain again, especially the amazing man who currently held her heart. But life offers new challenges for every relationship, and when Kiera’s love is put to the ultimate test, will it come out the other side unscathed?

Love is easy…trust is hard
Disclaimer:

**First, please, please don't read this review if you haven't read this book or Thoughtless, the first book in the series, it could contain spoilers. If you have read Thoughtless, please take a moment to read my review!**

Review:

Just like the first book, I loved this book. I think I may have actually loved it more than I did the first one. And just like the first one, Thoughtless, I couldn't put it down. The characters and settings are just as amazing this time, with one little twist: Keira and Kellan are apart for much of the book. I think that's the one thing I didn't so much care for. I wanted them to be together, but for this story it worked. Right now, I'm eagerly awaiting the third installment of this series, but there's no release date just yet. Serious bummer, especially since this book, and Thoughtless, came out at really close together.

The Characters:

I love almost all of them and thought Keira isn't as much of a basket case in this one, she still gets there. She's grown up through her experiences in Thoughtless and she handles situations, like Kellan leaving, with much more maturity than she did in Thoughtless.  Something I really liked was seeing the dynamic between her and Kellan. They really click and work together, though they have issues. We see her family much more, too, and learn some new things about Kellan and his family, so there's a good deal of character development, which is nice.

I think one of the only characters I didn't much care for in this one was Denny, which was really surprising give that I really, really liked and felt for him in Thoughtless. In this book, to me, he comes across a bit of an ass. He comes back to town and meets back up with Keira, and though they're friends he treats her a bit harshly. It's understandable, for himself, but that he'd try to protect himself considering she crushed his heart into dust in the first book, but he feeds into her fears in a way that makes him an ass. Every time she thinks Kellan's being unfaithful, Denny is right there to tell her that she's probably right. It's really nasty, in my opinion. And you know, he has no desire to be with her, he has is own girlfriend, Abby.  Very uncool, but it reinforced my love of Kellan.

The Plot:

The basic idea is that Keira and Kellan must learn to trust one another, now that they're together. The underlying assumption is that they have trust issues because of how they got together. Being apart compounds their issues big time. This set up makes for amazing drama and when they come back together the drama is only heightened. Again, there are moments when you want to smack the characters or yell at them to do anything but what they're doing, but that makes the plot more believable.  There's also a sub-plot with Keira's sister, Anna, and her sometimes-boyfriend, Griffin, that's really good.  Overall, the book has really good flow and a plot that works really well. Sometimes, it's difficult to for an author to make a plot that travels around to different locations work, but Stephens pulls it off beautifully.

The Verdict:

Rating: 5/5
Buy this book!  I loved it, it was amazing. Stephens knows what she's doing, she knows what readers want, and she truly seems to care about her characters. I cannot wait for the next book in this series and will likely read anything else Stephen's writes. She's won a fan in me for sure. If you read it, I hope you enjoyed it!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy July 4th: The Book Flag

Happy July 4th to all of my American friends out there. I saw this and thought I would share. I saw it on the Sigma Tau Delta (English Honor Society) Facebook page, but it comes, originally, from Juniper Books.


On July 2, 1776 the continental congress voted on independence, two days later the delegates adopted our Declaration of Independence. So, whatever you're doing this Independence Day, please take a moment to remember the militia men and great thinkers, patriots all, who fought to win our independence.

My husband Matt and I are having hot dogs, hanging out, and going to see the local fireworks display. I hope your holiday is as lovely as ours has been so far!

Happy Independence Day!!

WWW: No. 4

First, to all of my fellow American's out there, Happy 4th of July!!

Okay now, WWW Wednesdays is a weekly book meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. If you'd like to play along, just answer three simple questions...

• What are you currently reading? 

• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

That's it, simple as that! If you don't do this meme, you should consider it. If you do and that's how you've found me please leave me a link to your WWW Wednesday post in the comments so I can stop by and say hello.

Here's what I've got going on this week...

Love UnscriptedWhat are you currently reading?
Love Unscripted by Tina Reber. So far, the book is just okay. I had really high hopes for this one, considering how much I've loved other books that are the same self-published genre, like Thoughtless and Effortless. But, I'm not that far along yet and I'm willing to believe that the stiff writing and dialogue will loosen up as the book goes along.

Easy What did you recently finish reading?
Easy by Tammara Webber. This book was fantastic, I loved it and was seriously glum when I found it was a stand-alone. I generally enjoy series, even trilogies, so to find a book with characters I like that's a stand-alone is a though thing for me. I think if I'd known it was a stand-alone before I picked it up, I wouldn't have. I'm so glad I did, though. This book has wonderful characters and a quite important message. Review forthcoming.
Gabriels Inferno What do you think you'll read next?
Gabriel's Inferno by Sylvain Reynard. I seriously debated about this book (which is the first in a series) because a lot of the reviews said it was very dark. I decided, after seeing it crop up over and over, however, that I'd give it a shot and I'm eager to judge exactly how dark is dark for myself. My understanding is that this book is a little different because, unlike most in it's genre, it was written by a man. I can't wait to see if it lives up to the promise!
So that's what I'm doing right now, all books that stem from my love of Fifty Shades. Each of them is self-published and have gotten excellent reviews. I can recommend, at least, Easy.

One last thing. I have a Google+ page now, if you want to check it out and follow me there. I'll be posting links to my blog posts, information about possible giveaways, things like that. I'm also considering a Facebook page, but I don't know yet.

Have a lovely Wednesday and thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: No. 7

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.
Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read 
  • Open to a random page 
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page 
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) 
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
So now that summer's here and I've just about finished grad school (I just turned in my thesis yesterday and will graduate in August!!), I'm trying to get back into book blogging. I've posted a few reviews, and have a few more coming as I actually have time to read a book now, but what better way to get back into the community than with memes?! And how better to find new reads than with teasers?!  So, here's mine...

Love Unscripted
Synopsis:  {via Amazon}

Ryan Christensen just wanted to be an actor. Never in his wildest dreams did he ever think he'd become the most sought after film star on the planet. Taryn Mitchell has been feigning contentment while running the family pub in Seaport, Rhode Island. Her peaceful life is tossed upside down when Ryan tries to outrun a group of fans by taking a shortcut through Mitchell's Pub.
Teaser:  {pg. 23, Loc 530 of 13791}
Ryan leaned over closer and smelled me again. I instinctively leaned farther away, almost tipping off-balance. His nostrils opened wider and a slight grin appeared on his lips.

"Peach scented perfume?" he asked.
I just started this book, but so far it's pretty good. Enjoy and happy Teaser Tuesday!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Review: Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens

thoughtless1Author: S.C. Stephens {facebook}
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Kindle
Published: 18 December 2011
Publisher: Self (Amazon Digital Services)
Series: Yes!
Price: $3.99

Synopsis: {via GoodReads}

For almost two years now, Kiera's boyfriend, Denny, has been everything she's ever wanted: loving, tender and endlessly devoted to her. When they head off to a new city to start their lives together, Denny at his dream job and Kiera at a top-notch university, everything seems perfect. Then an unforeseen obligation forces the happy couple apart.

Feeling lonely, confused, and in need of comfort, Kiera turns to an unexpected source – a local rock star named Kellan Kyle. At first, he's purely a friend that she can lean on, but as her loneliness grows, so does their relationship. And then one night everything changes...and none of them will ever be the same.
Review:

A quick admission right out of the gate: I loved this book. That said, I didn't love it from the first words. Frankly, when I started it I thought it was long winded and wordy. I don't particularly care for long winded, or wordy, and kept wondering when something that mattered would happen. Thankfully, I kept turning the pages and before long, I couldn't put the book down. When she got to Kellan, I was sold. I fell completely and totally in love with him. By the time the book was over, I was glad that Stephens had somewhat dragged her feet in the beginning because I didn't want it to end... ever. To this moment, as I type this, I still don't. So I read it's sequel, Effortless (which I'll review next time), and am eagerly (if impatiently) waiting for the third book in the series.

The Characters:

What I enjoyed most about Kiera, Kellan, Denny and the crew is that they're very realistic. They make choices that make you slap your head and scream, "Why did you have to do that?!" but they're choices that real people make. Keira is young and vulnerable. She's not mature enough to be in a long term committed relationship and, at the point in their lives when the book is occurring, neither is Denny. Kellan is, like many of the popular male leads, somewhat broken. He suffers the pain of a terrible childhood and is scarred, he can't have/sustain relationships and, until he meets Keira, he doesn't really want to. They're realistic to a fault and, I think I loved Kellan so much because he somewhat reminds me of my own husband--strangely true.

Though I've read reviews that suggest that Keira is wishy-washy and I don't agree. I think she's confused and doesn't know how to handle herself under pressure. She's 21 years old, she's not the most mature creature on the planet, but she does her best and her reactions to thinks are remarkably like what a 21 year old might do. I return to what I said earlier, all of these characters are remarkably lifelike.

The Plot:

Overall, the plot was quite good. Stephens takes some turns you wouldn't expect, rendering this novel much more about the journey than the destination. What I mean is, we all sort of know how contemporary romance will pan out because it's a familiar formula to any romance reader. Heck, it's familiar even to people who've never read a romance novel in their lives--thank you romantic comedies! However, Stephens makes sure the journey to that familiar ending is filled with twists and turns you can't see coming. Her characters act outside the formula and by the time the books almost done you're wondering if she might pull a Fifty Shades, break the rules, and deny us our happy ending. For a very character driven story, the plot works beautifully!

The Verdict:

Rating: 5/5
At this point I would normally discuss issues with the book, but I'm going to skip that portion of the review and jump right to the verdict. The only real issue I saw with this book is the slow start, but by the end, that wasn't an issue at all.  Above all, this book has climbed right to the top of my list of favorites this summer and made itself cozy there. I can't seem to kick the characters out of my head, where they've taken up residence. I cannot wait for the third book, which I know I'll love. There's still no prospective release date, but I'm optimistic that she won't keep me waiting forever.

If you're a romance fan, I highly recommend this book. I loved the story, I loved the characters, and I loved that the author self-published it. I'm finding that self-published novels are getting better and better and, as a writer, I really love that!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Fifty Shades of Withdrawal: The Book List

If you've read Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James, then you likely know where this is going. I finished them a while back, though I've only gotten up a review for Fifty Shades and not the the other two (yet), and have been suffering the kind of withdrawals that come from the sudden realization that something you loved, despite yourself, is done. It happens to me every time I read a really good book, sometimes more than others, and this is no exception. In fact, this time it's worse. This time I miss the characters and, occasionally, find myself wondering how they're making it. Crazy, but true. They're fictional, but that doesn't make me love them any less. What's crazy is that before Fifty, I never read contemporary romance, though I've always enjoyed Regency and historical romance, and erotica. EL James has opened me up to a whole new genre and I'm loving it!

So, when I came across Girly Obsessions post about what to read if you were going through Fifty Shades withdrawals, I set about finding and reading nearly all of them. Without those neat girls at Girly Obsessions, I might still be in a funk about Fifty Shades, and because of them, I'm in a whole new one--I'll explain that later when I review Thoughtless Effortless by S.C. Stephens!

In honor of that, over the next week I'll be posting reviews for some of the books I've been reading to fill the void finishing Fifty Shades has left in my book-loving soul!  Here they are:

  • Bared to You by Sylvia Day
  • Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
  • Thoughtless & Effortless by S.C. Stephens
  • Love Unscripted by Tina Reber
  • Slave & Need by Sherri Hayes

So far, that's all I've got, but that doesn't mean that's all there will be. The reviews may also not be in that order, who knows how my fancy will strike from one day to another! What's better, most of the books on the list are self-published! That just makes me giddy because I just love a good self-pub and some of these have been very good!

So be on the look out for those soon, as well as a review for Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.  Oh and I've got a book by Tammara Webber called Easy that I'll be getting around to here soon, as well!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Review: Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James

fify-shades-of-grey-review_320Author: EL James
Genre: Romance, Erotica, BDSM
Format: Kindle (also available in paperback)
Published: Vintage
Publisher: 3 April 2012
Series: Yes
Price: $9.99 (Kindle price)

Synopsis: {via Amazon}

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.
Review:

Let me tell you, I'm really struggling with this one. By the end of a book, I normally know exactly how I feel about it. With this book, I have no idea where to even begin, there are so many things I could say. So, I'm going to try to stick to my usual format (Characters, Plot, Verdict) and see where that gets me--and if I can't quite make it, forgive me, this may be wordy! I know this book is pretty controversial, people seem to either love it or hate it, and everyone has their reasons--it has ~1,100 5 star reviews & ~600 1 star reviews on Amazon as of right now. But, I bought it before I realized it was self-published and I started it before I knew that the author is a notable Twilight fan-fiction author. I went into this with zero preconceptions, except for the fact that everyone was talking about it and, since I enjoy Romance/Erotica I figured I'd like it. Any book so divisive was something I just had to read.

The Characters:

Anastasia Steele is a really interesting young woman and I liked her almost immediately.  She's "every-girl" and, in a way, is all of us. She's young and smart, but doesn't think much of her looks or her worth. She's really very sympathetic, but she's also a little bit Bella, at least at first. She has some of the same characteristics as Twilight's Bella, which are, incidentally, the only things about her I didn't like. Let's just say Bella isn't my cup of tea, she's fairly weak, and some of her weaknesses show up in Anastasia which I suppose is to be expected of an author famous for writing fan-fiction. For example, Anastasia and Bella both live in Washington State, they're both ungraceful and downright clumsy,and both of them are enthralled/in-love with men who they feel they're unworthy of. Fortunately, Anastasia redeems herself by doing things and making decisions Bella would never make, which make her much stronger than Bella.

Christian Grey is going on my "Leading Man" page; I absolutely adore him. I tend to be attracted to the darker characters, the ones who're most messed up, and he fits the bill. He's absolutely stunning, even though there are moments when Anastasia is admiring him that make me think "oh brother!" and roll my eyes (something he, incidentally, hates!).  He's got major issues, which render him much m ore believable and sympathetic than he might otherwise have been. Like, he's a major control freak. You don't wonder, the way you do with Edward & Bella, why he's interested in Anastasia. It's clear what he's looking for, it's clear he thinks she's it, but there are still some very Edward/Bella like moments. For instance, he tries to warn her off, which is something Edward also does. Overall, however, Christian is much deeper and more complex, which I love about him.

The other characters are all really on the periphery to the main story. Kate, Jose, Elliot, Ray, Carla, they're all sort of there as props and ways for the story to work, but aren't so much important. I do like them all, and they're all fairly unique and different, distinguishable from one another, which is a good thing.

The Plot:

The plot is fairly straightforward, but by the end of the book you certainly have a sense that this story is not anywhere near being done. There's still much to say and do for and about these characters, so the end of the book was grossly unsatisfying for me. Still, even though it's BDSM erotica, it's still the same "boy-meets-girl, boy-and-girl-have-issues" type scenario, but there's really no happy ending here, not yet, at least. There's no "boy-and-girl-live-happily-ever-after" in this story and if you're expecting it, like I was, you'll be disappointed, too. I must say, though, the pacing of the plot was perfect... beyond perfect, really. The way their relationship progresses is pretty fast, but is natural to the type of situation the author was setting up. It works, it's whirlwind, but it works. What I didn't care for about the plot was the seemingly innocuous situations she puts the characters into now and then, and while most of them pan out into something useful for the story, they're still not really all that interesting.

Issues:

Before I move on to The Verdict portion of this review, I'd like to take a few minutes to talk about some of my issues with this book. Foremost, the price is ridiculous for a self-published book. Further, the fact that the Kindle version is more expensive than the paperback sort of ticked me off. I've never paid more than  $7.00 for a kindle book, and I have never, ever, bought a kindle book that was more expensive than the paperback. I know a lot goes into formatting a kindle book, but it's almost free to publish, there's no paper, no ink, no binding, nothing that should lead this book to be more than $10 after tax.  I did like, no love, the cover and I think it's so appropriate to the story and so well done that it mislead me. I never even bothered to see if it was self-published, which is a good thing for the author.

My other problems are with the books mechanics. It needed a little closer editing and the writing was, at first, really stiff. The narration and dialogue were difficult to get through at first, but rest assured they actually do get better. There are still some cringe worthy moments, when the author uses too many rather big, and frankly unnatural, words--something she makes fun of herself for in the book, really--and the excessive uses of the words "baby," "inner goddess" and "subconscious." I mean really, her references to Anastasia's inner goddess are so frequent I started to be annoyed by them.

The Verdict

Rating: 4/5
The one thing I know about this book, beyond my struggle to decide how I feel about it, is that I could absolutely not put it down. While I should have been writing my last thesis chapter, I was reading this book. While I should have been in bed asleep at 2am because I had to be up for work at 7:30am, I was reading this book. I could not put this book down and had I had the next two books in the trilogy I wouldn't have gone to bed at all. I'd have been up, all night, reading. I'd still be reading, rather than writing this review and waiting not-so-patiently to get paid tomorrow so I can get books 2 & 3.  So even though it had issues, and I'm still upset about the cost, I have to give this book a good rating. I can't not, because now that I've thought about it and written about it, I think I really, really, liked it.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Review: Entangled & Entwined by Colette Gale

Entwined Author: Colette Gale {site}
Genre: Erotica, Classic Retold, Romance
Format: Kindle
Published: 23 January 2012 & 8 April 2012
Publisher: Avid Press
Series: Yes {serialized fiction}
Price: $0.99 & $2.99

Synopsis: {via GoodReads}
ENTWINED

When not-as-proper-as-one-would-think Victorian woman Jane Clemons convinces her father to take her on an expedition in the jungle, her only goal is to find her lover Jonathan, who disappeared three years earlier. She and her father, along with Jonathan’s trusted friend Kellan Darkdale, set off on their journey. But shortly after their party arrives on the coast of Madagascar, Jane finds herself enthralled not only by the freedom and beauty of the lush jungle, but a reclusive wild man who seems to be fascinated by her. ENTWINED is a novella (about 80 pages). It’s the first in a series that will follow Jane Clemons and her explicit, erotic adventures in the jungle.
Entangled
ENTANGLED

The erotic adventures of Miss Jane Clemons in the jungle of Madagascar continue in this second installment.

For mature, over-18 readers only.
Review:

I've been a fan of Colette Gale since reading Bound By Honor, An Erotic Tale of Maid Marian, in 2010. As a fan of classical romance, and the classical tales, these erotic re-tellings are right up my alley and I've enjoyed every book she's written! This, I admit, is no exception. The most awesome thing about them is that both Entwined and Entangled are really quick reads. That's a huge thing for me right now because as I race to finish up my master's thesis I have almost no time to put aside for casual reading--I think it may have taken me two hours to read both of them. Awesome!

The Characters:

As an erotic re-telling of an older story, the characters are all a very familiar part of our collective culture. We all know the story of Tarzan & Jane, so the characters are cozy from the start. Jane Clemons, the main character, is bright, young, and vibrant. She's fun and much more sexually liberated than most Victorian woman. What I liked about her is that although she has a very clear understanding that some of the things she's doing are culturally unacceptable for a good English girl, she doesn't much care.

Tarzan, on the other hand, is both Tarzan and isn't.  He's the perfect (sexy) Tarzan archetype, but his name is Zaran. She spends most of the book calling him "wild man" and lusting after him, which is quite believable. He's also incredibly sympathetic and there are moments when his mix of intelligence and innocence are very touching.

The other characters are a mix of good and bad. Jane's long-lost fiance, Jonathan, is not a nice guy but Jane can't see that. Meanwhile, his business partner, Kellan Darkdale is troubling and handsome, and while I get the feeling he's supposed to be a sort of bad-guy, I actually like him. I'm attracted to the darker guys, so it works for me, except for the fact that he's a little too sexually aggressive, and not in a good way, but you get the idea that he actually cares about Jane in his sick way, which, again, works for me.  Jane's father and her maid are also alright, but they're the only characters in the whole story I feel are stock archetype characters. They're okay, but not my favorites.

The only character issue I had is actually with Jane's maid, Effie.  In the first book, Effie has a dialect about her speech. In the second book, her dialect is all but gone. The change in her speech is really noticeable when they're read back to back, and while it's a small issue, it was pretty distracting.

The Plot:

So far, the plot is really good, but since this is only two of a serialized series it's hard to say what the future will bring. The frame of the story is pretty simple, but works brilliantly. Jane goes to the jungles of Madigascar with her butterfly hunting father and Kellan Darkdale, where they reside in an old "treehouse" built by, and abandoned, previous occupants. There Jane hopes to find her long-lost-fiance, Jonathan. Overall, I think it took longer to get to the sexy fun in this story than it has in any of her previous novels of this type, but when it does it's worth the wait. There are a few awkward moments, but the plot flows well from one point to the next and is believable.

The Verdict:

Rating: 5/5
I'm really, really looking forward to the next installment. The one thing I don't much like about this series is also the one thing I think is really neat about it: the serialization. Victorian literature was often serialized, so this works in the fashion of literature of the time. However, waiting months between installments is brutal. I want the rest of the story now, but there's no clear idea of how many installments there will be or how long it will take to publish the whole story. All in all, I definitely recommend this story to anyone who enjoys erotica, but it's definitely for audiences 18 and older.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday No. 1

Thanks to a really rough week, I'm still reading the same things I was last Wednesday. On a good note, I did get The Girl in the Clockwork Collar  from Harlequin on NetGalley--along with a whole bunch of others, thank you, Harlequin!! So this week, rather than WWW Wednesday, I'm going to take part in Wordless Wednesday (I know, this post isn't wordless) instead!

Here's my image (taken with iPhone 3GS & instagr.am)...

Gothic source books for my MA Thesis
Have a lovely Wednesday! See you soon. :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

WWW Wednesday: No. 3


WWW Wednesdays is a weekly book meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. If you'd like to play along, just answer three simple questions...

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

 Here's what I've got going on right now...


Much Ado About RoguesWhat are you currently reading?
Kasey Michaels' Much Ado About Rogues. I just started it, but it's great so far. Not much to report yet, other than I'm a little on the fence about the cover. I love the colors, they're beautiful. The male model is gorgeous, the dress she's wearing is gorgeous, but the woman wearing the dress doesn't really seem to fit with the rest of it. She's pretty, but out of place with him. I don't know, maybe I'm being picky. I read the first book in this series The Taming of the Rake, and I loved it (I also just realized that I never got around to posting a review for it). I'm hoping to love this one just as much.
Goddess InterruptedWhat did you recently finish reading?
I just finished Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter, thanks to the wonderful people at NetGalley. I absolutely loved it. Mythology is definitely my thing and I think Carter did a great job with this book. I enjoyed it more than I did The Goddess Test and I cannot wait for the last book in the series. If you've got this book, but haven't read it, do so. If you haven't got it, get it!
Clockwork Collar
What do you think you'll read next?
Fingers crossed, hoping and praying that it's Kady Cross's The Girl in the Clockwork Collar. I really enjoyed the first book, so I requested this one on NetGalley and am waiting anxiously to find out whether or not I'm approved. Not only can I not wait to see Finley and Griffin again, but the cover of this book is absolutely gorgeous! Just when I thought they couldn't top The Girl in the Steel Corset, they've just about done it. The clockwork collar is a steampunk dream! Cross your fingers for me!!

I can't wait to see what everyone else has been up to and I hope that if you drop in you'll leave me a comment so I can come and visit you, too!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Review: Goddess Interrupted

Goddess Interrupted Author: Aimee Carter {site}
Genre: YA, Romance, Mythology
Format: Kindle
Published: 27 March 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Disclosure: Acquired via NetGalley
Series: Yes

{Check out my review for The Goddess Test }

Synopsis:  {via author's site}
Kate Winters has won immortality.

But if she wants a life in the Underworld with Henry, she’ll have to fight for it.

Becoming immortal wasn’t supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she’s as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he’s becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate’s coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans.

As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.

Henry’s first wife, Persephone.
Review:

I said so the first time, and I'm going to say it again, I absolutely love Greek Mythology. Even if I'd given the first book a poor review, I'd still have been terribly tempted to read this one in hopes that it redeems itself. Fortunately, I really enjoyed The Goddess Test, the first book in this series, so that wasn't an issue. When I received this book from NetGalley, I couldn't wait to get to reading it. Unfortunately, grading and thesis had to come first. Last night, I had the opportunity to sit down and start this book, which I just finished about a half an hour ago. I absolutely loved it. I simply cannot wait for book three, and I'll probably hunt down the novella, The Goddess Hunt, too.

Above all else, this book evoked a good deal of emotion in me. Maybe I'm just in a crying frame of mind today, but this book made me cry. Not a little bit, not here or there, but quite a bit. Maybe that's crazy, but I couldn't seem to help myself.

The Characters:

I really liked Kate Winters the first time around and this time was no different. I still really, really like her. As a heroine, she's strong and intelligent, which are traits I really love in a central female character. Most of all, she was incredibly sympathetic to me. Her struggles with love, with Henry, really got under my skin and reached me. Genuinely, I adore her! Henry is still Henry, still cool and aloof, but you really come to understand him better in this book. He becomes as sympathetic as he can possibly be, given his character, and that's something I really enjoyed about it. He may be the God of the Underworld, but we come to see that he does have feelings and why he feels the way he does.

The villains are pretty interesting, too, as villains go. Calliope (Hera) was down right vicious and she never strayed from her conviction. As villains go, I like her! Cronus, Calliope's "daddy" is downright bad, but what's good about him is it's easy to see his motivations. He's not complex, but he has goals and they're impossible to misunderstand.

Seeing Persephone was really interresting, overall, and understanding more about her relationships with her mother, Henry, Kate, Ava, and even Adonis play out was well done. Otherwise, there is one twist I didn't see coming, that made me shake my head in... I don't know, disappointment. I was, though, surprised and I think you will be too. One character development I absolutely couldn't have foreseen. That's all I'm saying about that!

The Plot:

Though there were moments when the plot was pretty transparent, like Kate's excitement at going home and how that whole thing pans out, the plot was pretty solid for the most part. I really liked seeing Persephone and how she played into the plot. I also really enjoyed seeing how this book will work right into the next. The cliffhanger plot was well done, as cliffhanger plots go. I think they're a little bit cruel, considering how long it takes to get a book published, but if an author's going to do them, they should do them well and this one was done well.

Like the first book, there were moments when the plot can be a little bit sad. Kate's relationship with Henry, her desire to help even though she's ultimately helpless, her relationship with her mother and Persephone, and her relationship the the villain, Calliope (Hera) are all very solid parts of this story. All of the loose ends tie up, except for the cliffhanger, of course, and the plot is nicely paced. Overall, wonderful work!

Otherwise, the only issue I have with this book (and one I had with the last, as well) is that Henry's language is so stiff--not exactly a plot problem, but it fits here okay anyhow. He speaks like he's been alive for eons, which is fine, but all of the other gods use such relaxed speech that it's awkward. If all of the gods used stiff language with absolutely no contractions, then it might be okay. As is, Henry's the only one and it's distracting. 

The Verdict:

Rating: 5/5
I loved every second of this book, even the ones that made me cry. I'd read it again and I cannot wait for the next book to arrive. The mythology was very good, though naming Hera Calliope was, to me, a little bit awkward. I don't imagine her like that, like a Calliope, and since Calliope was a real mythological figure, it's a little bit confusing at first. Above all, though, this book was fantastic!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Book Tagged

I've been graciously tagged by Maria at A Night's Dream of Books for a new meme, a fun new way for book bloggers to get to know one another. The best part, it's really easy to take part and is a great way to make friends around the book blogosphere. So here're the really simple rules, really quickly:
1) Post the rules.
2) Answer the questions by tagger & make your own questions for your the bloggers you've tagged.
3) Tag 10 people and link them in your post.
4) Let the people you've tagged know you've tagged them.
The people I'm tagging for this meme include:
 1) Maria @ A Night's Dream of Books (tag-back!)
 2) Sarah @ Workaday Reads
 3) Lisa @ Lost in Literature
 4) Tiffany @ Book Cover Justice
 5) Danielle @ Mercurial Musings
 6) Marian @ A Sunny Disposition
 7) Kary @ The Once and Future Librarian
 8) Tara @ Hobbitsies
 9) Grace @ Livre D'Amour
10) Jodi @ Ocean in a Cup (not precisely a book blog!)

First, Maria's questions:

1.) What's your favorite book meme and/or blog hop? You can name more than one.

This is a tough one, there are so many I love! I think, though, that On My Wishlist, hosted by Book Chick City tops the list, WWW Wednesday, hosted by Should be Reading, and Feature and Follow Friday, hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read are my absolute favorites. I'm always on the look out for new memes and hops, but so far these are the ones I really enjoy the most.

2.) Would you ever like to reach more than 1,000 followers? Why or why not?

I don't know, really. I blog because I really enjoy it, and thought I'd love to reach a large audience, I don't think it would influence my content. I post about the books I love, I read for fun and to relax, and my reviews are always honest. So, I suppose if I could get to 1,000 followers who really wanted to interact and with whom I could interact, then sure! For me, it's much more important to build relationships than to find followers.

3.) When you first started blogging, did you simply follow the steps at Blogger (or some other platform), read a book/books about blogging, or visit blog instruction websites? Did you do all three? Please name any books or sites you've used.

I've been personal blogging since 2003, so blogging really is one of my favorite hobbies. When I first started blogging, my very first platform was Blogger. So, when I decided to start this blog, I started it as a self-hosted Wordpress blog. I decided, pretty quickly though, that Blogger was a much better platform for this particular type of blog, so I moved it over. Overall, I've never been big on instructional websites for bloggers, mostly because I believe blogging is a platform for personal self-expression, but I did get some really good tips about book blogging from Parajunkee's Book Blogging 101 series when I was just starting out.

4.) Have you ever read a book that you felt should never make it to the movie screen? Name the book, and why you feel this way. If you haven't read such a book, then give the title of a book whose synopsis you've read on Goodreads or Amazon. If you can't come up with any book, just skip this question.

The only book I've read that I've read that I absolutely hated was Bathory: Memoir of  Countess. It was absolutely horrible. I'm really interested in Bathory, so when I saw this book I thought it was a sure hit, but when I started reading it I realized it was just the opposite. It's also the only really bad book review I've ever written. So, yeah, this book would make a horrible movie, though there are some pretty good movies out there about Bathory.

Otherwise, I'm not sure that Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series would make a good movie, simply because it's so, so long and so filled with characters, it would be impossible to follow. That said, I really love Robert Jordan (R.I.P).

5.) Do you enjoy participating in blog tours? Why or why not?

I never have done a blog tour, but I wouldn't be opposed to doing so. I just haven't found the right one, and honestly it was a long time before I understood exactly what went on during blog tours. I also have no idea where to sign up.

6.) If you like romance novels, do you prefer realistic human men, or paranormal/fantasy ones? Please explain your choice. If you don't like romance novels, feel free to skip this question.

I like both, actually. It depends entirely upon the kind of romance I'm reading. Regency romance, which is my favorite, has to be human men. Of course, it always is so that's fine. For more contemporary romance, I like a mix. I like my romantic male lead to be a vampire, a werewolf, a Greek god, just as much as I like the humans.

7.) Some readers think that the romance genre is "trashy reading". Do you agree? Why or why not?

This might not be a fair question, I mean, I have a degree in English. Ha!  No, but in all seriousness, I really, really enjoy romance novels, but that wasn't always the case. There was a time when I thought they were trashy, but then I read Bound By Honor by Collette Gale (which is actually historical storybook erotica/romance). After that I started to get into regency romance, and I've never looked back. It's really my guilty pleasure. I love them, no shame at all. So no, I don't think they're trashy reading. I tend to believe that everyone needs a break from the serious stuff, and that some reading is just fun. That's romance for me, it's just a way for me to kick back and really relax.

8.) Have you ever read a book that you think you could have written much better? Which book is it? Name one thing you would change about this book -- whether it's the overall plot, the ending, a character's personality, or anything else you can think of.

I don't think so, no. I'm pretty liberal about what I enjoy and other writer's style. Okay, wait, I think I could have done Bathory: Memoir of a Countess much more justice than did the writer. Otherwise, not at all.

9.) What would cause you to stop reading a book in disgust?

If I didn't stop reading Bathory (and I didn't, I finished the whole thing in one afternoon), then I can't think of anything. I have a pretty strong stomach for violence, blood and gore, for horror, etc. I think maybe any kind violence against children or animals would do it for me. I can't tolerate people hurting the innocent. Otherwise, I'm open to almost anything... which doesn't necessarily mean I'll like it, it just means I'm willing to tolerate almost anything.

10.) What personality traits make it easy for you to like a specific character in a novel?

I really admire a strong central heroine. I love books that have female characters who can stand up for themselves, who have a central identity not dictated to them by the men in their lives, and I like for my heroine to be smart and self-aware. For male characters, I like what every woman likes, sexy! No, seriously though, I want a male character who respects women and who knows who he is.  I tend to like characters who are a little bit older, maybe late teens and up. I tend to turn away from characters who are too young or naive, which is tricky because I really enjoy YA lit.

Alright, now onto my questions:

1.) Do you prefer book series or stand alone novels? Why?
2.) How much time do you spend reading per week & what are your other hobbies?
3.) Do you write in addition to being a book blogger? If so, what genre do you write?
4.) What is your favorite movie based on a book? Why?
5.) What is your least favorite movie based on a book? Why?
6.) Name one book you simply couldn't put down and explain why.
7.) If you were going to recommend one book, what would it be and why?
8.) Do you have a Kindle or the like? Do you read e-books? Why or why not?
9.) What is the first book you remember reading?
10.) Are you more likely to read a bad book with a good cover, or a good book with a bad cover? Also, does a cover affect how you feel about a book, whether good or bad?


There you have it!  I just wanted to say that this meme is open to everyone and that I hope you'll participate. If you haven't been tagged above, but still want to participate, please leave me a comment and let me know, so I can add your tag above. I'm looking forward to reading your responses!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Re-run: On My Wishlist #5 (Sarah MacLean)

The following is a On My Wishlist re-run--originally posted on June 3, 2011. I decided to post it again because, well, these books are still at the top of my wishlist. One of these days, I'll get them. I think I might actually buy the first one today, because I've been waiting forever!


On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. Post the books you're dying to have but haven't gotten yet, head over to Book Chick City, add your name to the linky and you're off!

There are so many books on my wishlist, it's not funny. If I managed to have them all, my TBR list would be even more unmanageable than it is right now. Last week, I had a series on my wishlist. This week, another series! Since I'm a sucker for a good romance, particular regency, here's this week's On My Wishlist...

9rulestobreak


ten-ways-adored-mm-c1


Elevenscandals


I saw these three books on I'm Loving Books and Sarah seemed to enjoy them, so I put them on my wishlist. I love the titles and the covers, and the plots seem like something right up my alley.  I'm going to be looking to get them in the next few weeks for my Kindle. Can't wait to read them!

So tell me, what's on your wishlist?!

Blog Makeover & In My Mailbox #3

In My Mailbox is a weekly book meme hosted by The Story Siren. It posts on Sundays, so go check out her blog and join in the fun if you're not already!

I got a ton of books this week that I can't wait to jump into, but before I get to those, I wanted to find out what y'all think about my new theme? It's my first attempt at design with scrapbook kits. I think it came out really well, I'm really happy with it. I hope you are too!  Alright, now onto the books. All of the books below come from NetGalley, my favorite site on the web. I don't know what I'd do without them!

Goddess Interrupted

I loved the first book, The Goddess Test, so when I saw this book on NetGalley I knew I had to request it. Aimee Carter hit a home run with her debut novel, and I'm sure this one will be great, too. Thanks to the lovely people at Harlequin, I was able to get it for my Kindle. I haven't started reading it yet, but I can't wait to dig in. I've been waiting what feels like an eternity!

Much Ado About Rogues

Blackthorn Brothers, *swoon,* I love them!  I read the first book and loved it, missed the second book, but just got this one this week. I can't wait to read it. If you know how it goes, don't tell me! Considering my love for regency romance, this book was a given. Kasey Michaels can write on heck of a fantastic story. Once I finish Goddess Interrupted, this book is next on my list.

The Peculiars

Isn't the cover beautiful?! I got this book this week on NetGalley, thanks to the wonderful folks at ABRAMS. I'm really looking forward to it, it's third in line on my must-read-right-now-list. I suppose I'm just a sucker for YA, which is really a really weird juxtaposition with my obsession with regency romance. Anyhow, I figure any novel with a cover this beautiful must be fantastic. Have you read it? If so, let me know what you thought.

I got three or four other books, also from NetGalley, but the ones listed above are the books I'm most excited to read. So what did you get this week?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Hunger Games Read-A-Thon!!

Just like everyone else around the blogosphere, book or otherwise, I'm looking forward to March 23rd with an unrivaled giddiness. In fact, I can't think of a time when I was this giddy about anything and I can't imagine being this giddy again, except maybe when the next movie comes out. I am, of course, talking about the release of The Hunger Games movie. I simply cannot wait.

So, to celebrate the coming movie, I'm re-reading The Hunger Games (aloud to my husband who hasn't read it) and remembering all the reasons I loved the book the first time. It's just so amazing. I see myself going the Thursday night, at midnight, showing. Waiting for Friday just won't be an option. But, since I'm re-reading it, I thought I'd join in on The Hunger Games Read-A-Thon hosted by Smitten Over Books and Breathing Books.

I'm a little late, since sign-ups have been happening since February 1st, but since the read-a-thon didn't actually start until February 23rd, I'm not that late. The first discussion post happened on February 28th, so I'll be posting that very soon. If you're dying for The Hunger Games, like I am, go sign up and take part in the fun!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Feature & Follow Friday #3

I'm back! It's been forever since I've written here, and let me tell you, things have been crazy hectic over the last few months! I've been working on my thesis, teaching Composition and Research at my university (so much grading!), attending tons of meetings, and trying to make time for friends and family. But, I've missed blogging and I've missed reading all the book blogs out there. So, what better way to make a comeback than with a blog hop?!

Feature & Follow Friday is a blog hop hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read every Friday. This week's featured blogs are: Murcurial Musings (Parajunkee) & Owl Tell You About It (Alison). I hope you'll stop by and say hello, if you haven't already.

Okay, here's this week's question: What book would you love to see made into a movie or television show and do you have actors/actresses in mind to play the main characters?

This is really tough, actually, because I feel like they rarely get books right in translation to film. I enjoyed Twilight okay, and I liked Harry Potter, but neither of them got it completely right. I am dying to see Hunger Games, but who isn't? So, I think right now the answer to this is that I'd like to see any regency romance turned into a film. I love period pieces, I love romance, and I know this is a really weird choice, but I'd love it! Of course, I may be the only one, so the chances are slim... but hey, a girl can dream!

As for actors, I'd really like to see Gerard Butler as the leading man. I adore him and I think he's got just the right look to play a rakish high society rogue. Female characters are where I really struggle. The truth is,I have no idea about this one. But definitely Gerard Butler for the male lead.

Another series I'd love to see turned into movies would have to be Colleen Gleason's Ordo Dracul series. The Vampire Dimitri was fantastic, I absolutely loved it! Oh, and maybe The Goddess Test, too, I really liked that one and can't wait to read Goddess Interrupted. But again, no idea for the actors and actresses.

Well, there you have it. I hope you'll take a minute to say hello and leave a link so I can return the favor. See you for next week's hop!