Sunday, April 23, 2017

Review: The Dead List

The Dead List The Dead List by Jennifer L. Armentrout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received this free eARC novel from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Even though this book was available on Wattpad for the longest time, I never got around to reading it. There's just something about reading a book on a computer that bothers me, so I was very happy to hear that she was going to publish this book to add to my collection! :)

Ella went through a terrifying experience four years ago and still hasn't really recovered from it. She's learned to live with the acknowledgement that she won't say his name out loud. Now she is just waiting to graduate high school so she can leave her small town and start over again.

Things get a bit a twist, though, when Ella is leaving a party one night and someone in a clown mask tries to kidnap her. Ella was able to escape, but only because Jensen - her once really close friend - is going to his car and stops the kidnapper from successfully taking Ella. When the cops come, they clue her in that this might be in association with another disappearance of a student that Ella goes to high school with, and they may have a huge serial killer case on their hands when the missing girl gets found by Ella dead in a barn attic.

Now Ella is not really thinking about graduating high school. She's just hoping that she will surviving until graduation, because the clowned killer is stalking Ella, trying to get her again. Ella decides that she needs to learn how to defend herself and takes self-defense classes. What she wasn't aware of until she got to her class is that it is taught by Jensen - the guy she's had a crush on for 4 years but the guy she keeps her distance from because she's been hurt by him 2 too many times in her life.

But the more her and Jensen are together, the more right it seems and that they are meant to be together. The only problem is that they need to figure out why this clowned killer is after Ella and how to stop him. Otherwise, her and Jensen being together won't mean a thing if he actually does kill Ella.

Jennifer L Armentrout does a great job with mystery novels. She has just enough suspense in them to keep the reader guessing, and enough yummy hot main guy to keep the reader gushing. I was able to figure out the clowned killer about 70% of the way through the novel. I've read enough mysteries that I can usually come up with the reasoning and the person because the reason, but this one did keep me guessing and going back and forth between different killers. There is a twist, though, that perhaps many readers might not figure out before the end of the novel, so I think a lot of readers will enjoy that.

The best thing about this book is that Ella is not going down without a fight. She is trying to learn how to defend herself and take action, rather than just let the men in her life take care of her. She may not be the most amazing fighter by the end of the book, but she was able to use the information and the moves that she learned throughout the novel by the end of it when her life was in danger.

And another great thing about this novel is Ella and Jensen's relationship. They were best friends when they were younger but everyone grew up and things happened to make them virtual strangers. But the more they are together, the more that the secrets that were keeping them apart were revealed and the strained past that they have has been fixed. Watching them learn to trust one another again was great, and the chemistry between them is amazing!

Also, the part where Ella and Jensen are watching "Supernatural" and Jensen's name, and Ella's favorite Winchester brother? That made me laugh so hard for so long, and it's only because I know how much JLA loves "Supernatural"!

I'm so excited to have had an eARC of this book and I have already pre-ordered my copy of the physical book to add to my library! Fans of JLA will love this new novel of hers! :D

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Review: The Magician's Nephew

The Magician's Nephew The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I actually really liked this novel! This was a pick for my book club and it was picked as the #1 book in the Chronicles of Narnia series because it is placed at the beginning, rather than when it was published year wise.

And I actually really enjoyed reading this first because it gave me an idea of how Narnia was created. Most of the times, readers don't really get the explanation of how magical places are created but rather this is here and we are living in this world and you just need to accept it and move on. But C. S. Lewis gives the readers the satisfaction of how it was created - down to how the Sun and the Earth were made. And I loved that so much.

It also gives us the explanation of how the wardrobe was created at the end of the novel, to give a back story for the rest of the series and when the 4 siblings stumble into Narnia.

This is a short novel and I flew through it so quickly, I almost wanted to re-read it and enjoy the story again.

I hated the uncle - which I was supposed to. He was a low life, good for nothing man that was all talk but when it came time for action, he was a scared old man. He made his nephew and his friend do all of the dirty work, but wanted to take credit for their finds. I'm glad that his plan got changed and he had to realize his mistakes.

Narnia is a great world and I look forward to finding time and reading the whole series for once. This was a great introduction to the series and I can't wait to get my hands on the rest eventually.

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My bookclub picked this book for the month's book to read, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

Aristotle was a pretty lonely boy until he met Dante one summer. Aristotle was determined to learn how to swim, and Dante just showed up and asked Ari if he could teach him how to swim. It was like it was meant to happen for them to become best friends.

As the summer continued, Ari and Dante were constantly hanging out: either at each others houses, at the pool, or just outside wherever they found themselves to go. It didn't matter what they did, but they were always around one another. Ari was happy that he finally found a friend he could hangout with.

But then Dante told him that his family was going up to Chicago for the school year, so Ari wouldn't be seeing him for 9 months. Now Ari is back to being by himself again. He is growing solemn and lonely again, so he starts to work at a burger joint, runs in the morning with his dog, and lifts weights in the basement that were his dads. By the time Dante sees Ari again, both boys are very different from when he left.

It isn't just the physical part of Ari that has changed, though. Ari is getting quieter and more serious. He doens't know what it wrong with him, but with the secret that his parents are keeping about Ari's older brother, the silence that his father has about being in the Vietnam War, and not really having many friends, Ari is not sure what is going on with himself.

And being away from Dante is getting to Ari as well. He doesn't write nearly any letters to Dante, even though Dante has written 2-3 letters a week to Ari.

When shit hits the fan, though, everyone in Ari's life comes together to work on their individual issues in order to help Ari figure out what his inner struggle is trying to say to himself, but he is just too stubborn to listen to it.

This was a great book. It was written so well and the message that the novel is giving to the reader is priceless. I won't give away too much, but I will say that Dante is gay and Ari doesn't have a problem being friends with a guy who likes to kiss other guys.

I don't read too many novels about GBLT characters. Most of the time, I can't relate to their inner struggles they go through in the book because I'm not GBLT. It makes it a bit hard for me to read because I can connect with the readers like I do with other novels. Being able to relate or connect is 98% of the time why I read the novels that I do, and then the other 2% is the adventure and story that goes on that I probably won't ever experience in my life. But being able to have that inner connection - the understanding - helps me enjoy the rest of the made up story.

But I have to say, I really didn't have that issue with this novel because Ari was the main character and the story wasn't 100% about GBLT. So maybe I need to start reading more and seeing if all novels are like this one. Maybe I'll enjoy reading all of them!

I really loved Ari. He is such a hero and wants to be accepted by all, but then he doesn't really give a shit if he's not liked by anyone at all. He's a very complicated character, but he certainly is not drama filled at all. I love his family. He dad has been through hell and back in the war and he's a very quiet man, which is where I think Ari gets it from. And his relationship with his mother is fantastic. I seriously love the scenes with those two. I love that he got his dog Legs and how Ari grew up into a great man. I can seriously picture him going through his daily routine of running, working, school, lifting weights. And that is a guy that I would try to get to know.

It is a bit weird to think that this book was set during the year that I was born... And that the subject of being gay was so bad back in the 80s. I mean, depending on where you are at, the subject of being gay today in the 21st century might have the exact same reaction, but there are some parts in the world that have gotten significantly better. But it just hurts my heart that what happened to Dante happened. He was so sad and down spirited afterward and that is not the Dante that the reader fell in love with.

I saw that there is going to be a second novel?? I'm very excited about this and I cannot wait to see what happens after this ending! I'll be anxiously waiting for it to be published and I will devour it and love it.

I'm very glad that Benjamin Alire Saenz wrote this novel and I am going to explore more of his novels :)

Read this novel. It will touch your soul.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Review: I Am the Messenger

I Am the Messenger I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was the book picked for our book club, so I went into this novel pretty blind.

Ed was an unusual character that the reader had to follow around. He was just an ordinary guy, doing ordinary things, and living an ordinary life. But when he found himself in a bank robbery, his whole life was about to change. Especially when him and his friends were antagonizing the robber and Ed ended up following the guy out to the car and shooting the window, where the cops came and arrested the robber.

Yeah, things got real interesting after that. People in the city knew who he was. He was recognized by way too many people for him to feel comfortable, but he was managing.

Until the messages on the Ace cards started showing up. Now, Ed finds himself on a mission to help 3 people - 12 people total with 4 Aces. Some people are easy to help. Some are hard. Some involve a beating, and some involve a broken heart. Ed has no idea who is doing this, but now he thinks about all of the people that he has helped and what their lives are like now that he has had a role in their life.

But things are not as they seem for Ed as the mystery continues.

This book was a bit rough for me, to be honest. I know Ed is 19 so he's basically an adult, but the content in this novel did not make me scream "Young Adult". Maybe because this is set in Australia and they are more mature and sophisticated than American's? I'm not too sure, but I just kept thinking, "the teen book club is reading this...I'm not sure if that is appropriate for them to read..."

But I trekked through it and I really liked the message that it portrayed by the end of the novel.

The mission with Milla is by far my most favorite one of Ed's. He is just so kind and amazing toward her. So patient. I seriously tear up just thinking about it still. And that he kept going back to make sure that she was okay - just touches my heart.

And honestly, I loved almost all of the messages that Ed was told to do throughout the book. About 80% of them. I really think that this was a good thing for Ed to do, even though it was presented in a very weird way. If I was Ed, I probably would have thrown the first Ace away and wouldn't have thought twice about it. I'm glad it was given to Ed instead.

This might be a very good book to discuss and I am glad that I read it, even though it has a few topics in here that I usually stay away from when reading books for fun.

Markus Zusak is a very gifted author and I'm glad that I am making my way though his books slowly in my reading career :)

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Review: Like a Memory

Like a Memory Like a Memory by Abbi Glines
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was so excited about this novel - connecting two of Abbi Glines most popular series together with their kids?! Of course I was game to read this book!

And seeing them meet in the other two series as an epilogue really was amazing and made me want this book, so I was extremely happy (and surprised!) that it was only $3.99!! Usually Gline's kindle books are $8.99+!

Overall, I thought this was a good book. I was really annoyed by Nate and the decisions he made in this book when he saw Bliss again after 7 years. He was being childish and ridiculous. And his whole "not wanting what he parents have because he never wants to rely that much on one person in his life in case something happens to her" bullshit is a terrible way to live. Seriously, dude, go travel and do your own thing, but give Bliss a chance to say what she would like to do. Nate doesn't know Bliss that well and to just make assumptions of what her hopes and dreams are is way too much for me to handle.

Bliss is a kick ass girl, going through that nightmare when she was just a teenager. Good for her to start being normal and being out on her own for the first time. She took one step and was well on her way to greatness. Oh, and her new job at the end of the novel? LOVE!! :D

Overall, this is 4 stars because of Bliss. If I had to rate it on Nate, it would be 2 stars because he was such a pain in the ass baby, making all sorts of trouble for everyone around because he couldn't make up his damn mind.

I'm glad I got to read this and I see it's part of a new series? So that might mean more books? If so, I'm really going to have to refresh my memory on whose kid is who's haha.

Glad I got to read it and I know that other readers that are fans of Abbi Glines will love this new addition!

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Review: Fanning The Flames

Fanning The Flames Fanning The Flames by Chris Cannon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received this free eARC novel from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

I adored the first and second novels in this series. I devoured them and couldn't wait to get my hands on the next ones in the series. But for some reason, book three and four have been a bit of a letdown for me...

Bryn is a great dragon and she has had to face a lot of difficulty because she is a mixed dragon - a blue and a red dragon. So of course, the Blues are too elite to associate themselves with her and the other dragons (orange, black, green, red) are not sure what to do with her. She's an outcast and is trying to survive in this new world.

But in Fanning The Flames, Bryn has her own group of close friends and she is now becoming a bit more welcomed in the Blue society since her grandparents have taken her in and accepted her difference. And Bryn also has Valmont, her knight. Things should be going great, right?

Not really. With her grandparents trying to get a marriage pact accepted to mate with Jaxon, things are very awkward between the two couples: Bryn and Valmont and Jaxon and Rhiannon. But there is a plan in action if the marriage pact goes through - even though it wouldn't seem appropriate in most societies.

So with things getting complicated in Bryn's personal life, of course chaos has started with the Rebel dragons who want to make mixed dragons accepted in society. Never fails in Bryn's world. The Rebels are cooking up something and Bryn seems to be in the middle of that mess, even though she is just trying to have a normal life.

But shit hits the fan by the end of the novel and Bryn is completely lost at what to do.

So, my opinion? It was okay. I am just going to come right out and say, I think Bryn needs to focus on herself and not try so hard to have a boyfriend. She has all of the time in the world for that, so why she feels like she will never be loved and have the love of her life in her life is beyond me. Try to live past the Rebels trying to destroy your home and school, then worry about who you want to spend the rest of your life with.

Though I do have to say, I really hate her and Valmont together. It seriously is so stilted and awkward between the two of them. There is more chemistry between Bryn and Jaxon than her and Valmont. Just saying, I am not Team Valmont.

Also? The way Valmont reacted to a certain piece of news? Very crappy, Valmont. Very terrible indeed...

I'm hoping there is another one coming because the ending was a bit better than I thought it would be and I'd like to see where Chris Cannon will go from here. I'm not giving up on this series because I really do like it. So I'll be waiting for news on the 5th book! :D

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Review: Up in Flames

Up in Flames Up in Flames by Abbi Glines
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The end... This is the end of the series. I feel...sad and happy all at the same time. There is a lot of different emotions going on right now.

Nan is the "villain" of this series. Everyone knows that she is the most hated character out of the bunch - no matter what other character tried to be the "bad" character. So of course, there is a lot of different opinions going around about Nan getting her own story. I didn't like her too much, but I was very curious about who in the world she hadn't been with yet, and who would be able to match her personality to love her with all of his heart.

Major is a sweetheart, but he is a complete man whore. He really likes Nan, but is keeping his options open by telling Nan that he doesn't want to be exclusively with her. Basically he likes pretty girls and he wants to have his options open for any available females who like what they see when they look at him.

So when Major doesn't reply to Nan and she knows he's with another girl, she decides that she needs a trip away and ignore Major when he wants to crawl back into her bed. He is hurting her too many times for her to be okay with, and she needs to do herself rather than pine for Major. Give him a taste of her own medicine.

Nan is at a club when she sees the mysterious stranger. They dance. They grab drinks together. His name is Gannon and Nan is so entranced by his darkness and mysteriousness, but also how gorgeous he is. Nan has never been with a rougher looking guy - usually she is all about the pretty boys like Major. But Gannon has snared her attention and she can't get him out of her head. And especially not after having intense interactions with him that she never in her wildest dreams thought she'd be into.

Gannon knows how to tame Nan and knows just what she wants in everything.

But Major realizes that he is losing Nan and wants a second chance. Now he is doing everything in his power to make her understand that he wants a commitment and be only with Nan.

Nan needs to decide who she wants more - Major who she thought she loved 2 weeks ago and is everything she's ever looked for in a guy, or Gannon, the mysterious stranger she met, but feels a deep connection with.

Before she can make her final decision, though, both Major and Gannon have a deep secret that they are hiding from Nan, and once that secret is unveiled, Nan will have to decide who to trust and keep forever.

I have to say, even though Nan is the nasty person that she is, I was rooting for her to find her happy ending with the one. And I will admit, I did have a guy I wanted her to be with between Gannon and Major - and that was Gannon. He just got her. He understood her so much more than Major ever did. Even though he was keeping a lot of secrets from her and had a completely different life than what Nan was aware of, in my opinion, he was a better fit for Nan.

And the sexy scenes between Gannon and Nan...wowweee!

There was definitely some mystery involved in this novel and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I really liked Nan's story. It wasn't the all time best book out of the whole series, but Abbi Glines found a way to make most of her readers accept Nan's story and root for her happy ending.

I'm so glad that I read this novel and finally finished the series. I'm excited to see the characters pop up from time to time in the spin off novel "Like a Memory" and what they have been up to during these years away.

I am definitely recommending this series to everyone I know! :)

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