2014 Reading Challenge
Sleeping Beauty and the Beast by Melissa Lemon
Trapped in a cursed sleep, the only experiences Princess Eglantine has are the ones in her dreams. There she meets Prince Henry of Fallund, a neighboring kingdom on the brink of war.
Meanwhile, Prince Henry's brother Duncan discovers a vicious beast imprisoned for murder. Captivated by her, he works to free her from both the prison bars she's locked behind and the ones surrounding her heart and mind. Sleeping Beauty and the Beast reinvents and seamlessly intertwines the classic fairy tales Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast.
I love fairy tales with a makeover and this combined two of my all time favorites. The first half of the book was great! From the very first page, this story was full of action and suspense that kept me guessing for a while. Since this was a dual fairy tale, there had to be two princes, right? I loved that the two princes were twins with totally opposite personalities. I also loved that the beast was a barbaric female and not the typical deformed man that we've come to expect. The second half of the story, however, fell a little short for me. I thought the ending was rushed and anticlimactic. The way the prince ended up at Sleeping Beauty's castle was totally unbelievable--even for a fairy tale. I also wanted to see more of the happily-ever-after with the beast's story line and a more meaningful reunion with the two brothers. Overall, I did like the story and thought it was creative and engaging.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Heart Shaped Rock
Very Bad Things
Quick, fun read. I think what I liked most was the writing style. This is the first book I've read by this author but it won't be my last. I also thought the mystery was well done. There were two obvious suspects that seemed completely unrelated so it was fun to read as the pieces started falling into place. As an avid reader, sometimes I just want to pick up a great story that is quick, well organized, concise, and compelling and this was that kind of book for me. I really enjoyed it!
I received a free copy of this book for an honest review. This was a fantastic story! I loved the combination of historical fiction, fae hunting, romance, and some great steampunk devices thrown in for good measure. I was definitely left wanting more as the story ended with a major cliffhanger in the middle of an epic battle. It's difficult to even write a review since I feel like the book just ended in the middle of the story. Needless to say, I can't wait to read the next book!!
This book was incredible--the kind that sucks you in, consumes you until the very last page, and sticks with you long after you've finished reading. Set on an island near Charleston, the imagery was breathtaking. Spanish moss hanging from old oak trees, plantation homes, and the scent of jasmine in the air are just a few of the things I love about South Carolina. As a southerner myself, I related to the small town quirks, the southern drawl and family secrets hidden for generations. The magical realism even brought to mind old wives' tales I was told when I was growing up. The secrets uncovered and mysteries revealed made the story even more captivating. I loved it and will definitely read it again since I have to wait over a year for the next book. My favorite read so far this year!!!
Fissure Free is book 2 in the Schasm series by Shari J. Ryan. After reading Schasm, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book! It’s no secret how much I loved Schasm and I had very high expectations for Fissure Free. Maybe my expectations were too high, but I thought Fissure Free fell a little short. The majority of this book takes place in the dreamlike state referred to as The Drift. The fantasy elements in Schasm swept me up and took me along for the ride but in Fissure Free I felt more like I was reading a really fabulous fairy tale. Don’t get me wrong, the writing was beautiful—almost poetic. The power of love between Alex and Chloe couldn’t have been more expressive if Celine Dion was singing it herself. The realistic aspects of mental illness and the tricky nature of the mind that was so brilliantly shown in Schasm, however, were almost missing entirely in Fissure Free. I actually found the fantasy elements to be more believable in Fissure Free than the reality. Although the story didn’t go as I had hoped and there were some obvious plot holes, it was still a very enjoyable read. I’m looking forward to the next book and hoping to see more of the realistic aspects that I found so wonderfully perplexing in Schasm.
Originally posted at the Author Alliance.
This was possibly the most disturbing book I’ve ever read, but also incredibly thought provoking and compelling. I sat for a long time after I finished reading and just contemplated the possibilities of what I had read. This book left me with more questions than answers. I can’t say with any certainty which parts were reality and which were fantasy–the line between the two was a blur. Mental illness is a scary topic to explore. The human mind is a fragile thing and the author did a fabulous job of demonstrating this fragility through Chloe. The question of whether committing a normal person to a mental institution could actually cause psychosis or insanity is a plausible argument. Since the story was told from Chloe’s perspective, I didn’t really believe her “condition” was an illness. The people she should have been able to trust most–her mother and doctor–were manipulating and controlling her through mind altering drugs and sedatives. Couldn’t that happen to anyone? If a doctor says you’re mentally ill and you say you’re not–who is everyone going to believe? What a terrifying thought! After finishing the book though, I had to remind myself that the story was told from Chloe’s perspective. If it had been told from someone else’s perspective, I would probably have agreed that she was crazy. After all, she does “drift” in and out of alternate realities. I will probably still be thinking about this book for weeks to come. I loved it–highly recommended!!
Originally posted at the Author Alliance
This was a quick, easy read and well written. I liked the spooky element of the mystery and the sweet G-rated romance. The wrap up might have been a little too tidy but still entertaining. I will read the sequel.
The tension was so incredible in this book, I had to wait a day for my nerves to settle down before writing my thoughts. The synopsis on Goodreads compares this book to Seraphina and Graceling. While I haven't read Graceling (yet), I can see the similarites with Seraphina. The comparison that I kept calling to mind, however, was A Game of Thrones. Roland is the first character I've hated as much as Joffrey. Moreover, there were strong political themes, conspiracies for power, and forbidden love. What I liked most about this book is that it kept me guessing until the very end. Also, the writing was very good with mostly likable characters. I would have liked more resolution on some plot points and a more satisfying ending but I guess I will just have to wait patiently for the sequel. Overall, it was very entertaining and I really enjoyed it. I would highly recommend to fans of epic fantasy.
The genre description I received for this book was "YA paranormal thriller" and it was indeed a thriller. This is the first book I've read that involved psychokinesis so I had no idea what to expect. I really liked the main character, Danny--a teenage boy with supernatural abilities who was recruited by a government agency to work as a spy. Even with the paranormal aspect, Danny was still a really believable and likable character. I also liked the biological weapon conspiracy which seemed more relevant than bombs or guns and added depth to the suspense. Like all great thrillers, the pace quickened toward the end and my anticipation grew with every plot twist and surprise. I can't say the end was completely satisfying - as I still feel a little unresolved on some things - but I hope that means there is a sequel in the making. The writing wasn't perfect but there wasn't really anything that I disliked about the book. There were a few plot holes and areas where I felt confused but not enough to lessen my enjoyment of the story.
Originally posted at the Author Alliance
Kindle Fire HDX Giveaway
Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value) This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT! Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HDX 7".
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Giveaway Details 1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International). There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire HDX 7". Ends 3/31/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
The Wonder of Audiobooks
In 2008, a TV series began called Legend of the Seeker based on the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. The show wasn't anything spectacular but the characters and story intrigued me enough to buy the first book, The Wizard's First Rule. I hadn't read any fantasy novels since middle school and I was blown away with this book. I immediately bought all of the books in the series that had been published thus far and was so captivated with this story that I also bought the audiobooks so I could listen during my commute to and from work. I would try to end my reading at the end of a chapter so when I got in the car I could easily find my place on my iPod and pick up right where I left off. It was this series of novels that awakened my love of fantasy fiction and introduced me to the wonderful world of audiobooks.
Today, my audiobook library contains over 300 titles and I have one audiobook on my "currently reading" list at all times. I still read everyday but I can't deny that audiobooks have enhanced my experiences as a book lover and I want to share some of those experiences with you.
1. The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness
2. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
3. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
4. Grave Mercy & Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin Trilogy) by Robin LaFevers
5. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
6. The Girl of Fire and Thorns Trilogy by Rae Carson
7. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
8. A Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R.R. Martin
9. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
10. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
11. The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth
12. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
13. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
14. The Sword of Truth Series by Terry Goodkind
15. Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger
16. Healer Series by Maria V. Snyder
What are some of your favorite audiobooks? Do you have a favorite narrator?
I’ve given much thought to this review over the past few days and still don’t know how to begin. There are so many things I liked about this fantasy novel. Ms. Mitchell’s storytelling ability captured my attention with the first sentence. I really liked how the story unfolded from the alternating perspectives of a brother and sister and how her writing style created the perfect mood for reading fantasy. There was also just enough intrigue to keep me wanting more. The ending was definitely too soon for me, but it was a clever cliffhanger of an ending and I will be watching for the next installment.
Unfortunately, here comes the hard part. The grammar was terrible. I can overlook a sprinkling of misspelled words and punctuation errors, but this book didn’t appear to have been proofread at all. When reading fantasy, I expect to stretch my imagination to grasp the ideas and concepts being written and depend on quality editing that doesn’t distract from the flow and meaning of the words written. That was the biggest challenge for me with Past’s Prologue. The consistent use of misspelled words, missing words, punctuation errors, fragmented sentences, etc. were so distracting, I would have given up on the book altogether had the story been any less compelling. If this had been an audiobook with a decent narrator, my rating would be much higher.
Overall, I would say the story was excellent and would recommend to anyone not easily distracted by grammatical errors. If this book fell into the hands of a good editor and was republished under a more fitting name, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it on the shortlist for YA fantasy awards.
Originally posted at the Author Alliance
A to Z 2014 Reading Challenge
A-Z 2014 Reading Challenge
Any books used to complete this challenge can be used for any other challenges you may be doing, but each book can be used for only one of the categories in this challenge.
A is for April (the month in which you read the book)
Taste of Darkness 4/30/14
B is for Bathing Suit (this book takes place at least partly in hot weather months)
The Spectacular Now 4/8/14
C is for Children's book
Gwynne, Fair & Shining 4/2/14
D is for Doctor (one of the characters)
E is for Ever (in the title)
F is for Family (book is about a family or family relationships)
Olive Kitteridge 1/11/14
G is for Geography (the story takes place in at least two different countries)
Fissure Free 5/3/14
H is for Heart (it's a love story)
The One 5/9/14
I is for Ice (the setting is cold - snow, ice, rain)
J is for Jokes (the book is humorous)
Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops 1/3/14
K is for Keyboard (at least one character plays a musical instrument)
Stolen Songbird 3/8/14
L is for Lamp (the book takes place before electricity was discovered)
Grave Mercy 1/24/14
M is for Mom (one of the characters)
My Best Friend's Girl 1/31/14
N is for New-to-you author
The Wishkeeper 1/19/14
O is for Out of This World (where the story takes place)
Girl Meets Underworld 3/21/14
P is for Pilgrims (the story involves moving someplace new)
The Girls of Atomic City 4/21/14
Q is for Question Mark in the title
R is for Run (the main character is running from something)
Past's Prologue 1/28/14
S is for Sequel to a book you've already read
Dark Triumph 2/6/14
T is for Time (the book travels time, moves through time quickly or flashes back)
U is for Useful (which you found the book to be)
V is for Veteran (at least one character is/was a member of a military force)
W is for Wind (the book blew you away)
X is for XXIV (it's the 24th book you read this year)
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian 4/14/14
Y is for Yo-Yo (your emotions were up and down as you read the book)
Accidents & Incidents 1/9/14
Z is for Zoo (there is an animal on the cover)
The Crane Wife 2/14/14
There are no words to describe how deeply I was touched by this book. It tugged on so many different heart strings--one minute I was happy crying and 20 minutes later I was ugly girl crying. All of those awkward emotions and insecurities and new experiences from my high school years came rushing back to me in vivid color. The beauty of reading great YA fiction in my 30s as opposed to in my teens, is that I can relate to the characters from many perspectives--as a mother, a daughter, a wife, a girlfriend, etc.--which only increased my emotional involvement in the story. This book was just so REAL for me...I'm speechless. Highly recommended!!!!