Thursday, December 14, 2017

Play (Stage Dive, #2) & Lead (Stage Dive, #3) by Kylie Scott

Mal Ericson, drummer for the world famous rock band Stage Dive, needs to clean up his image fast—at least for a little while. Having a good girl on his arm should do the job just fine. Mal doesn't plan on this temporary fix becoming permanent, but he didn't count on finding the one right girl.

Anne Rollins never thought she'd ever meet the rock god who plastered her teenage bedroom walls—especially not under these circumstances. Anne has money problems. Big ones. But being paid to play the pretend girlfriend to a wild life-of-the-party drummer couldn't end well. No matter how hot he is. Or could it? Goodreads
“We’ve broken my bed,” I said, stating the obvious.
“In battle, sacrifices must be made, pumpkin.” 
This was another book that had thousands of quotes to choose from! Mal is hysterical, and Anne doesn't take any shit from him. “The first male to pee on me, however, would pay with his balls.”

I think I might have enjoyed Play even more than Lick, if that's possible. Mal and Anne have their problems, but they also have their individual demons to deal with. It was lovely watching the two of them learn to depend on each other, and finally connect emotionally. There was no judgment between them, just love and acceptance. 

Also, Mal is a riot to read about! I really enjoyed his character in Lick, even though his appearances were brief. It was great to hear his story and learn more about him.

As the lead singer of Stage Dive, Jimmy is used to getting whatever he wants, whenever he wants it, whether it's booze, drugs, or women. However, when a PR disaster serves as a wake-up call about his life and lands him in rehab, he finds himself with Lena, a new assistant to keep him out of trouble.

Lena's not willing to take any crap from the sexy rocker and is determined to keep their relationship completely professional, despite their sizzling chemistry. But when Jimmy pushes her too far and Lena leaves, he realizes that he may just have lost the best thing that ever happened to him. Goodreads

“Even with the head start, he was gaining fast. Given he liked jogging and I liked pie, this was to be expected.” 
The first two books made me really dislike Jimmy, so I was excited to see how he would be portrayed in Lead.

I don't know if I liked it more than Play, but it was another delicious read! I love how all of their stories are intertwined, so we still see familiar characters from the previous books. There's also no confusion, and Scott sets up their stories beautifully. I already have an idea what the last one will be about!

Lena was an awesome female character, and I love that she admitted to having feelings for Jimmy in the beginning. Both she and Jimmy were aware of her feelings, but they tried to make them go away instead of acting on them. It was sweet and heartbreaking at the same time. It was also an interesting spin for their story, and very different from the previous two books.

You learn a lot about Jimmy's childhood and the many obstacles he's had to overcome. Not all of his problems went away just because he became famous. If anything, they only made some of them worse. He's learning to deal with his addictions, and Lena plays a large role in that.

I am absolutely in love with this series and cannot wait to read the final book! 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Where I Found You (Sea, #1) by Heidi R. Kling

After her mother's plane went missing over the Indian Ocean, seventeen-year-old Sienna Jones gave up everything she loved about living in California. No more surfing. No more swimming. No more ocean, period. Playing it safe, hiding from the world, is the best call.

Until her dad throws down the challenge of a lifetime: spend the summer with his humanitarian team in Indonesia, working with orphans who lost everything in a massive tsunami.

The day they arrive, Sienna meets a mysterious boy named Deni, whose dark, intense eyes make her heart race. Their stolen nights force her to open up and live in a way she thought she couldn't anymore. When she’s with Deni, she remembers the girl she used to be… and starts to feel like the woman he sees in her.

A woman he wants for his own.


But when Deni’s past comes looking for him, Sienna’s faced with losing another person she loves. She can’t do it. Not again.

Fortunately, this time, she has a plan. Goodreads
"I wanted to tell him that you can meet someone and they can change your life forever, even if you have only known them for a short while, that when you leave, you’re a different person than before you met them…"
I received an e-arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Also, the quote I used may have changed or been altered in some way, I am just quoting from what I received.

I wish the book had been longer! I feel like a lot happens in too few pages. I would have enjoyed seeing more of the orphanage, or pesantren, and spent more time with the children there. The art and group therapy were interesting, and I would have liked for it to have been expanded on. It was eye-opening listening to them recall their memories of the tsunami, and seeing how far they had come after such a traumatic experience.

It's a sweet story with a whirlwind romance. I wouldn't really call what they had an insta-love, it was more like an insta-attraction. I like that Sienna wasn't afraid to act on her feelings, and that she trusted herself and Deni. Their feelings did grow rapidly, but don't all new relationships start off that way? They were both in a unique situation, and they never forgot that their time together was temporary. They wanted to enjoy what they had and live in the moment.

Deni is still a mystery to me. His entire life before Sienna and the tsunami is still unknown, and something else I wanted to know more about. I also felt like the information about her friends at home, Bev and Spider, was limited. I had hoped to learn a little more about them, too.

Oh, and Bapak? Deni made a lot of serious accusations against him that were never investigated. I feel like someone should have either verified his claims, or at least looked into them. I really love the story and the concept for this book, I just wish there had been more

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Hunter (Hunter, #1) by Mercedes Lackey

They came after the Diseray. Some were terrors ripped from our collective imaginations, remnants of every mythology across the world. And some were like nothing anyone had ever dreamed up, even in their worst nightmares.


Long ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were ripped open, and it’s taken centuries to bring back civilization in the wake of the catastrophe. Now, the luckiest Cits live in enclosed communities, behind walls that keep them safe from the hideous creatures fighting to break through. Others are not so lucky.

To Joyeaux Charmand, who has been a Hunter in her tight-knit mountain community since she was a child, every Cit without magic deserves her protection from dangerous Othersiders. Then she is called to Apex City, where the best Hunters are kept to protect the most important people.

Joy soon realizes that the city’s powerful leaders care more about luring Cits into a false sense of security than protecting them. More and more monsters are getting through the barriers, and the close calls are becoming too frequent to ignore. Yet the Cits have no sense of how much danger they’re in—to them, Joy and her corps of fellow Hunters are just action stars they watch on TV.

When an act of sabotage against Joy takes an unbearable toll, she uncovers a terrifying conspiracy in the city. There is something much worse than the usual monsters infiltrating Apex. And it may be too late to stop them… Goodreads
“If you don’t look after your fellow man, if you think that what you want is always more important than what anyone else wants or needs, you’re not human, and that’s that.”
There were other quotes I really liked from this book, but since it was an audiobook I couldn't dog-ear the pages. I can usually find quotes on Goodreads, but there were only three. I really want a physical copy of this book, so I might be able to add more eventually.

Short version: I cannot stop thinking about this book! Joyeaux and her story have stayed with me for days. I was deeply saddened when I went to downloaded the next audiobook and there were none available. I've placed a hold, but that could take up to three weeks. 

I love the world Mercedes Lackey has created. There is so much amazing detail and world-building. She manages to tie in different mythologies and religious practices, magic and the otherworld. If you're not a huge fan of lengthy descriptions, you might say this book has a lot of "info-dumping," but I enjoyed it immensely. I was captivated by the story and was enthralled with the depictions of the creatures and scenery. The author paints a beautiful picture that easily played out in my head.

I have my theories about this book and Joy's multiple problems. I'm curious to find out if I'm right! *highlight to view spoiler» I think there are Hunter's working with the Folk and letting in more and more monsters. The one she ran into on the train said he wanted her to work for him, and that there were others. People, too. I want to know if the Folk are going to end up playing a larger role and helping Joyeaux in some way. 

I do wish we had been able to see what her life had been like on the mountain with the monks. She tells us all about it, but I would have really liked to experience that with her and not as a memory. It would have been an interesting perspective to see.

Now, I wait...

Edit 12-10-17: Elite became available at my library yesterday! It wasn't available when I wrote this post, and I am so very happy I do not have to wait three weeks for it. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

All-New Wolverine #25-27

Yes! If you need a new comic to read, please grab this one! Laura (the all-new wolverine) made an appearance in my Hawkeye comic (Kate Bishop), and I really liked her character. I know it's not guaranteed that the cameo character and the actual comic will be the same, but it at least piqued my interest enough to make me go back and get the legacy issue and the two that came after it (so now I'm up-to-date). It did not disappoint! I actually took all of J's comics away until he read these three so we could talk about them, haha. He enjoyed them, too! Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) even made an appearance.

The Orphans of X story arc just started. They are people that have lost something to mutants, so obviously their goal in life is to destroy Laura and her "family". There's a magical sword, Old Wolverine is mentioned, and the living/leftover Wolverines appear to be their only targets. I don't know why they are going after the mutants that can regenerate and are nearly impossible to kill, but I'm sure it will be interesting. Oh, and let me just say that all Wolverines have a tragic, horrible beginning.

I think this is the first comic to make me feel afraid for the characters. It's a little more gruesome than the others I'm reading. They are Wolverines, so they heal and everything, but it's still awful to see.

Also, Daken's abs have abs. I know comics exaggerate a little, but I'm not complaining. 😁

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Fill-in Boyfriend by Kasie West

When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she'd been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it's not the real Bradley she's thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn't even know. But tracking him down doesn't mean they're done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend's graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship. Goodreads

“We rarely find a depth by looking inside of ourselves for it. Depth is found in what we can learn from the people and things around us. Everyone, everything, has a story, Gia. When you learn those stories, you learn experiences that fill you up, that expand your understanding. You add layers to your soul.”

After the first few minutes, I thought this book was going to be as empty as Gia's head. Her personality left a lot to be desired, and she was so vain. Again, this is a story that could have been avoided entirely if people just told the truth.

I liked that the main conflict was with Gia and her friends. Boys played a role, obviously, but it was minor compared to her friend and family issues. I enjoyed seeing how those played out, and I commend Gia on her patience. She didn't like conflict, and she showed a lot of restraint when people were clearly using her or lying to make her look bad.

The ending was not wrapped neatly and tied with a bow. There were loose ends and things left unsaid, uncertain and unknown. I will say that Gia made progress with her personality. She didn't seem as shallow, and appeared to really be making an effort. 

I didn't love or hate this book. It was a fluffy, light read that didn't require a lot of thinking or feeling on my part.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1) by Ilona Andrews

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world. Goodreads

“One school of thought says that the best way to handle an issue like this is exposure therapy," Mad Rogan said. "For example, if you're terrified of snakes, repeated handling of them will cure it."

Aha. "I'm not handling your snake.”

This entire review could easily just be quotes from the book. I had so many favorites! Like, “If you’re really hard up, I can introduce you to my grandmother. She’s a fan.” Adam blinked. “She doesn’t typically sleep with pretty young things, but she would make an exception in your case. You might even learn a trick or two."

There are many others, but I'll let you read the book and discover them for yourselves--definitely worth it! I always mark the pages that have meaningful moments, or quotes that I want to go back to, and this would have been filled with bookmarks and post-it notes if it hadn't been an audiobook.

I will say this about Nevada... the girl has way too much self-control. Seriously. If I was being *highlight to view spoiler» magically touched in a very good way, I would seriously consider letting the world burn. 

But that didn't happen. Nevada is sensible and likes to be in control. She's proud of what she has accomplished, and she wants to remain as independent as possible. I can respect that. I will also admit that she has actual, decent reasons for not immediately having sexy times, but I still wish she had acted on more of her impulses and desires.

While I may have wanted more romantic scenes, this book wasn't lacking in action or humor. I smiled and laughed the entire time. It could have been just a small quip from Nevada, or Rogan asking an intentionally devious question--I loved it all!

I've been promised less self-control in book two, so my fingers are crossed!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Stacking the Shelves #2

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. This meme is for sharing all the books you’ve added to your shelves throughout the week.

The family and I have been ridiculously sick since Thanksgiving. I'll spare you the gory details. 😰 I'm just lucky my husband was off and able to watch the kiddos (who were also sick). In sickness and in health, right? I still feel miserable. I wasn't able to eat for over 48 hours. I couldn't even keep water down. WATER. Anyways... 


The Winter King by C.L. Wilson
The Sea King by C.L. Wilson
King by T.M. Frazier

Library Basement (BookCellar):

On the Hunt by Gena Showalter, Shannon K. Butcher, Jessica Andersen, Deidre Knight
Immortally Ever After by Angie Fox
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

#TBTBSanta ( @eli2squared )

Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong
Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr
Uprooted by Naomi Novik


Where I Found You by Heidi R. Kling

I'm so excited about my #TBTBSanta books! Thank you Eli! I'm so happy you included one of your favorites, too. I love the synopsis!

I was really surprised when I received a random copy of Where I Found You on NetGalley! 💕 I added it to my Wish List and just got incredibly lucky! Whoo!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road, #1) by Katie McGarry

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home. Goodreads

“There’s a reason why people shouldn’t talk at four in the morning. Exhaustion eliminates the ability to lie. It demolishes the ability to tiptoe around the truth. Emotions are too exposed and real. Heightened to the point of explosion.”

This is a beautiful story about family, and the lengths people will go to in order to keep them safe. Emily is unaware of her mother's past, as well as her own, and soon finds herself needing to uncover the truth no matter the consequences. She not only puts herself at risk, but endangers Oz and the new family she has started to care about.

Katie McGarry has always been able to write compelling stories with amazing characters, and Nowhere but Here was everything I wanted it to be. I fell in love with the people in this book, even though their way of life was unfamiliar to me, and likely not something I will ever experience for myself. It was different, and I'm glad I was able to see the world through that perspective. I love that books allow you to view a part of the world that you might not ever see for yourself.

Lying never works. It doesn't work in life, and it doesn't work in books. Lies create problems and make existing issues worse. If Emily's family had been honest with her from the beginning, there would have been a lot less danger and heartache.

I really enjoyed alternating perspectives between Emily and Oz. They are two completely different people, but they were able to see past their differences and find what really matters.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Lick (Stage Dive, #1) by Kylie Scott

Waking up in Vegas was never meant to be like this.

Evelyn Thomas's plans for celebrating her twenty-first birthday in Las Vegas were big. Huge. But she sure never meant to wake up on the bathroom floor with a hangover to rival the black plague, a very attractive h
alf-naked tattooed man in her room, and a diamond on her finger large enough to scare King Kong. Now if she could just remember how it all happened.

One thing is certain, being married to one of the hottest rock stars on the planet is sure to be a wild ride. Goodreads

“I was going to kill him. Slowly. Strangle him with the overpriced thong. A fitting death for a rock star.”  
Lick is another audiobook I stumbled across on Overdrive (it's synced to your library with your library card). Overdrive is free, which is awesome, and they offer ebooks and audiobooks. I know a lot of people use Audible, but Overdrive lets me pull from most of my local libraries with one library card.

I was looking for a quick romance with steamy sex scenes, and that's exactly what I got. 🤤 There was also a deeper story there that I wasn't expecting, and it made everything else more meaningful. It was also completely believable. I could honestly see myself reacting similarly to their situation. There wasn't an ista-love, or anything like that, it was just two people that fell in love twice.

One of my favorite quotes from David is, “It’s not fair that I remember and you don’t, Evelyn.” He knew exactly what he was doing when he spontaneously married Evelyn. David, a rock star with girls begging to be with him, chose to marry her. It kills him to remember the reasons why, and what they did together, only to find out that she can't even recall who he is. I would have been furious if that had happened to me.

Ev is understandably shocked when she starts putting the pieces together, and I love how careful and kind she was. She desperately wanted her memories from that night to come flooding back to her, but I thought it was sweet the way she would remember just a fraction of a story only to have him elaborate and give her more details. Those moments were special to him, they meant something.

It didn't take me long to get through this book, so if you have an afternoon to spare, read this. Seriously. I giggled and laughed, swooned a little, and cheered them on from the sidelines. I borrowed the audiobook from my library, but now I own physical copies of the entire series.

I think the next book, Play, is from Mal's perspective. I loved his character in this book, even though his appearances were brief, and I'm excited to read about him on a more personal level.

"Close the door down there and lock it," David yelled. "Don't you come up here under any circumstances. Not till I tell you it's okay. Understood?"
There was a pause then Mal yelled back. "What if there's a fire?"

Thursday, November 23, 2017

My Weekly Pull #3

I completely forgot to do this last week (and possibly the one before that). My work schedule was weird, and J has been on call, so life has been a little hectic. I'll post the comics we got last week in addition to the ones we got this week.

Last Week:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ghostbusters II #3
The Mighty Thor #701
Spider-Men II #4
The Punisher #218
Hawkeye #12
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #76
Guardians of the Galaxy #147
Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #297
The Incredible Hulk #710
The Amazing Spider-Man #791

This Week:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ghostbusters II #4
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe #16
Spider-Man Deadpool #24
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #25
The Invincible Iron Man #594
Black Panther #167

Let me know what comics you've been reading! Is there anything I should try? 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court, #1) by Richelle Mead

Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands… Goodreads
“Do you think my being someone else's wife will change anything? Don't you know that I'd lie with you in the groves, under the light of the moon? That I'd defy the laws of gods and men for you?”  
I love the Vampire Academy series, but I haven't read anything else by Richelle Mead until now. I just couldn't pass this up when it became available as an audiobook at my library. The cover is stunning! It also goes well with the story, which is a bonus. I hate when a cover has absolutely nothing to do with a book.

There are various settings for this book, which I enjoyed, but that also means there is a lot of background being given. That made this book feel like a longer read (or in my case a longer listen, hah), which I was completely okay with. I never felt like I was being bogged down with information, or that the pace of the story was lagging. Despite this, there are certain aspects of the story that remain shrouded in mystery. It was a little frustrating at first, but I later learned that it was because Tamsin and Mira would get their own books, which would explain their stories as they happened alongside Adelaide's. There are quite a few things that I need to know, but I guess that was Mead's intention. I'll have to read the other two books to learn their secrets.

I was thinking this book would be a little more fantastical, but it wasn't. It was very practical while also being incredibly engaging. I don't know why I felt compelled to listen to it nonstop, but I did. There's just something about it that hooked me from the beginning. The characters weren't annoying or unbelievable. I felt like I was listening to something that actually happened. They tried to do what was best for themselves, and in the end *highlight to view spoiler» it ended up being each other.  Cedric did love her enough to let her go. He tried to find a husband for her that she wouldn't hate being married to, and she was willing to commit forgery to help him. I'm really happy that things worked out for them in the end. It wasn't perfect, and the journey was messy, but things could have been a lot worse.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Stacking the Shelves #1

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. This meme is for sharing all the books you’ve added to your shelves throughout the week.

I discovered something amazing this week! One of my local libraries has a somewhat secret basement filled with extra books. When they have too many of one book, or they need to make room, they store the extras and sell them for 25¢ to 50¢.

These are just the books I bought for myself. I got a lot for my kiddos, too! Total amount spent: $29.

Stack 1

When You Were Here by
Witchlanders by
Virtuosity by
Sea Change by
Hidden (Firelight #3) by

Stay by

I have read a few of these, but I didn't have copies for my shelves. Others I have been wanting to read for years and never had the time. I just couldn't pass up this opportunity! My husband and I had to carry the girls so we could roll the books in the stroller. I'm sure we looked ridiculous, but books make us happy. 

I loved Bitter Spirits, so you can imagine my excitement over seeing The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett. There were also a few 2017 books like, The Dazzling Heights by

Monday, November 13, 2017

A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1) by Claudia Gray

Marguerite Caine's physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite's father is murdered, and the killer—her parent's handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul— escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly fam
iliar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul's guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father's death is far more sinister than she expected. Goodreads
“I meant it when I said I didn’t believe in love at first sight. It takes time to really, truly fall for someone. Yet I believe in a moment. A moment when you glimpse the truth within someone, and they glimpse the truth within you. In that moment, you don’t belong to yourself any longer, not completely. Part of you belongs to him; part of him belongs to you. After that, you can’t take it back, no matter how much you want to, no matter how hard you try.”
First, I want to start by saying I didn't know Claudia Gray was a pseudonym. I happened to see that little fact on her Goodreads profile. Am I the only one that didn't know this??

Now, to the book! Well, audiobook. I've learned that during this stage of my life, audiobooks work best for me. There are no paper pages for little fingers to grab. My husband lost a beloved book this way (and why I keep all of mine on the higher shelves). The twins will be one this month, and they are in EVERYTHING.

I was intrigued by the synopsis for this book, so I downloaded the audiobook from my library. It was the first I had heard of it, so I didn't really know what to think when it started. Gray throws us into the story from the first page. Marguerite is in a body that is both hers and not hers, and doing things that make absolutely no sense. It was great! I loved getting knee-deep into the story before getting more background. My interest was piqued, and I was hooked. I needed to know more!

I did hate how easy it was for Marguerite to blindly want to destroy someone with very little evidence, and only half of the facts. I get that she was emotional and hurt, but if you're going after someone with the intention of killing them (or stranding them in another dimension), you had better be a million percent sure you are correct. There's no room for doubt when someone's life hangs in the balance. You also shouldn't try to kill someone else, but what do I know. 

I was slightly annoyed by the love triangle, but I've never really been a fan. I don't like it when the main character's heart is torn in two different directions. Someone always, always gets hurt.

Everything considered, this was a captivating and unique story. The science aspects weren't confusing, but still complex enough to explain travel to other dimensions. I never felt lost, or that concepts were over my head. Marguerite also never jumped somewhere boring. Her blended background allowed for numerous possibilities, and we get to experience a few of them.

A Thousand Pieces of You makes you think about decisions, and whether each one potentially changes the outcome of your future. Is everything fated, or do the small choices we make have a bigger impact than we know?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs. So she convinces her best friend, Harvey, to help her with a crazy bucket list that's as much about revenge as it is about hope.

But just when Alice's scores are settled, she goes into remission, and now she must face the consequences of all she's said and done. Goodreads
“Then he left, and with him he took the sun, the moon, the stars, and anything inside of me that might have been good.”
I keep picking up books with awful characters! (Don't misunderstand...great book, frustrating characters.) Alice is a bitch. There is no other way to say it, and to call her anything less would be an insult to her character. She knows she's a bitch, and yet she continues on a path of self-destruction. Then she compounds the problem by dragging decent, loyal, genuinely good people down with her. I understand that Alice got cancer as a teenager, but that doesn't give her a free pass to treat people the way she did. She thought she would die and not have to deal with any of the aftermath, but she was wrong.

I don't know why Alice found out she was going to die and then immediately thought REVENGE. I'm not in her situation, nor have I have ever been, but I would like to think I would be the type of person to make amends and find resolutions. I doubt I would have the energy to seek out perceived enemies and destroy them. We're also in drastically different stages in life, so I'm sure my final moments would be spent with my children. Alice had a lot to deal with, and she was so young and afraid. She just didn't want to admit to being afraid. She allowed her feelings to swallow her up from the inside, and would never say what needed to be said. She was selfish, cruel, and unrelenting in her pursuit of payback. There are actual enemies, sure, but what teenager (or adult for that matter) doesn't have an enemy or two. I wish she had focused more of her time on the people around her, and expressed her feelings instead of burying them. It all bubbled out at the same time, which never ends well.

Harvey. Sweet, innocent, blind Harvey. I don't know where his self-respect went, but I wish he had found it a lot sooner than he did. His love of Alice was almost like an obsession. He just knew from a very young age that he loved her and would always love her. How is that healthy? Harvey knew more about Alice than he knew about himself. You have to determine who you are by yourself before you can be you with someone else. Especially when that someone is as toxic and all-consuming as Alice. *highlight to view spoiler» He does try with another girl, but we all know it's never going to work out. At least the two of them are honest about it.

Alice made me crazy. I lost so much oxygen just from sighing heavily throughout the book. If I had kept rolling my eyes, they would have been permanently affixed to the tops of my eyelids. Harvey needed to put himself first, but was always too concerned with Alice.

Then it starts to get interesting. They are two broken, helpless people that grow and find themselves as the story progresses. They don't remain obnoxious, unlikeable characters forever. They change and evolve. It was beautiful to watch, even when it hurt. Alice's pain wasn't just from her cancer. It was from betrayal, and a loss of trust. Harvey never wavered in his affections, but he did stop taking shit from Alice. *highlight to view spoiler» (I honestly don't know how he still managed to blindly trust her in the end, but he did.)

Side Effects May Vary was a tragically hopeful story, and I'm happy with how it concluded.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Hawkeye: Kate Bishop #1-11

While I wasn't a huge fan of the cover art in the beginning, it has started to grow on me. It's also not reflective of the inside art, which I do enjoy. They're both uniquely interesting, and I feel they capture the essence of the story each issue.

I also like that there isn't just one foe for Kate Bishop to battle, but many. There are a lot of side stories, and they all seem to (somewhat) tie into this unforeseen evil lurking in the shadows. She makes a few friends in the beginning, and I love how diverse and devoted they are to her. They accept her as she is, crazy sass and all. They're also there for her whether she wants them to be or not.

Kate is dealing with inner demons as well as physical ones. Her father plays a key role in who she is today, but probably not in the way you would expect. Her mother is still a mystery waiting to be solved, and she mentions a sister I haven't seen yet. Clint Barton is like a brother/mentor, but he has been absent from her story as well. Jessica Jones made an appearance for a few issues, which resulted in a lot of black boxes obscuring her words.

I love Kate's voice and quirky comments. She accepts who she is, and she really seems to love the life she has made for herself. She doesn't doubt her abilities, and knows just how good she is. She also never turns away someone that needs help, even when she obviously has issues that she needs to work out for herself. The needs of others always come before her own.

If you're looking for a comic with a hilarious, strong female lead--look no further! Kate Bishop is the Hawkeye you need in your life. The real Hawkeye, or so she would tell you.

Friday, November 3, 2017

One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf

In the midst of a sudden spring snowstorm, an unknown man armed with a gun walks into an elementary school classroom. Outside the school, the town of Broken Branch watches and waits.

Officer Meg Barrett holds the responsibility for the town's children in her hands. Will Thwaite, reluctantly entrusted with the care of his two grandchildren by the daughter who left home years earlier, stands by helplessly and wonders if he has failed his child again. Trapped in her classroom, Evelyn Oliver watches for an opportunity to rescue the children in her care. And thirteen-year-old Augie Baker, already struggling with the aftermath of a terrible accident that has brought her to Broken Branch, will risk her own safety to protect her little brother.

As tension mounts with each passing minute, the hidden fears and grudges of the small town are revealed as the people of Broken Branch race to uncover the identity of the stranger who holds their children hostage. Goodreads

"Will," Marlys said sharply. "If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging."

“That's the wonderful thing about the human heart, there's room enough for all kinds of love.”
Negative: so many grammatical errors. I feel like these take away from the flow of a story. I'll be caught up in a book, but then a misspelled word or an incorrect pronoun will stop my thoughts. I have to pause and read through it all again to see what word was meant to be there, or how a sentence was intended to be written.

One of the first books I read when I started reviewing (many, many years ago) was Heather Gudenkauf's The Weight of Silence. It was an emotional, gut-twisting book that I haven't been able to bring myself to read again. It was a great book on a horrible topic, almost like One Breath Away. Now that I am a mother, I view things like this a little differently. Instead of imagining any child being held hostage in a school, I picture my child and it freaks me out. What would I do in that situation? I hope I never have to find out. 

This story is told through multiple perspectives. Five, I think. If you don't like cliffhangers, you might not like the way this story is told. Every chapter seems to end right in the middle of something important, so you're left wondering what just happened as you read about events through someone else's eyes. Then that person leaves you with more questions than answers, and you move on to the next. Every time it circles back around, the story picks up and progresses a little more. 

I was so very tempted to skip to the end and find out who was behind everything. It tells you how good the story is, because I desperately wanted to know how it ended and the anticipation was brutal. I love when I'm unable to figure a story out, and One Breath Away didn't disappoint. I never skipped ahead, and I'm glad I didn't. It was a beautiful, unexpected story.