Saturday, December 31, 2016

Stacking the Shelves #50



I am really excited to participate in Stacking the Shelves, a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews

Happy New Year!  I am really looking forward to a nice long weekend with my family.  I didn't have any plans for New Year's Eve but I think that I just gave my 16 year old daughter permission to have a slumber party at our house so things may not be so quiet after all around here.

Digital Books

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (Kindle Purchase)
Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas (Kindle Purchase)
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (Kindle Purchase)
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood (Kindle Purchase)
A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab (Kindle Purchase)
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (Kindle Purchase)
The Last One by Alexandra Oliva (Kindle Purchase)
Sisters One, Two, Three by Nancy Star (Kindle First Pick)

I went on another book buying spree this week.  There have been so many great sales on Amazon this week and I just could not resist these books.  I am most excited about All the Ugly and Wonderful Things and hope to read that one very soon.  I am not really sure when I might read the others since most of them are part of a series and I haven't read the earlier books yet.  I think that I like to collect books almost as much as I like to read them.

What books do you add to your shelves this week? 
Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave a link to your own STS post!

Friday, December 30, 2016

#Spotlight & #Review - Breath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet @AuthorABouchet @SourcebooksCasa #excerpt #giveaway

 A Letter from Amanda Bouchet
A note to readers of The Kingmaker Chronicles

Breath of Fire comes out on January 3rd and I couldn’t be more excited about it! I hope that readers who met Cat and Griffin and followed their exploits in A Promise of Fire will be looking forward to this second installment in The Kingmaker Chronicles, and I hope that new readers will be interested in giving this fantasy romance trilogy a try. The story picks up right where A Promise of Fire left off and with a shocking moment of truth: Cat’s secrets are finally revealed to all. But with the cat out of the bag (pun definitely intended!), important plans can now form to move Thalyria toward unification under Cat and Griffin’s joint rule—plans that will certainly keep Beta Team on their toes. But while Cat’s violent past and lingering self-doubt still haunt her on a deep level, Griffin won’t let her back down from the fate she’d love to avoid. As Griffin propels her toward her inevitable destiny and Cat tries to come to terms with the prophecy that’s haunted her for eight years, readers can expect plenty of adventure and danger, more of Cat’s smart-mouthed humor, exciting Beta Team moments, and a romance that heats up to positively scorching levels. Friendships solidify into unshakable bonds, and perilous quests lead the members of Beta Team into uncharted territory where monsters, magic, and mayhem abound. With Breath of Fire, I hope that readers get swept away and caught up in the emotion and adventure as Cat and Griffin try to navigate their developing and intensely passionate relationship while also taking on the daunting and dangerous task of conquering the world. But most of all, I hope you simply enjoy the book!

The Book
Breath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
Series: Kingmaker Chronicles #2
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Date Read: December 11, 2016
Source: NetGalley

SHE'S DESTINED TO DESTROY THE WORLD…
BUT NOT IF SHE CAN HELP IT

"Cat" Catalia Fisa has been running from her destiny since she could crawl. But now, her newfound loved ones are caught between the shadow of Cat's tortured past and the threat of her world-shattering future. So what's a warrior queen to do when she knows it's her fate to be the harbinger of doom? Everything in her power.

Griffin knows Cat is destined to change the world—for the better. As the realms are descending into all-out war, Cat and Griffin risk sacrificing everything they’ve fought for. Gods willing, they will emerge side-by-side in the heart of their future kingdom...or die trying.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23014705-does-this-beach-make-me-look-fat

My Review

This is just my kind of book!  This one really has it everything from excellent characters to an exciting plot that rarely slows down.  I am loving this new fantasy romance series and already know that this is a book that I will most likely read again.  This book picks up right where the first book, A Promise of Fire, leaves off so you really do want to read this series in order.  From the moment I finished the first book, I couldn't wait to start reading the second one and it lived up to my expectations.

All of Cat's secrets are revealed at the start of the story and it seems that everything she has feared is now coming true.  Cat does have power and abilities unlike anyone else.  To save and protect the people she cares about and the kingdom, Cat goes on a quest with Griffin, Carver, Flynn, and Kato where all of their lives will be in danger.

This book started out with a really strong romance feel and I was a bit worried that the awesome fantasy of the first book was going to be overshadowed by romance.  I had no need to worry because the fantasy in this book is quite strong.  There really is a little bit of everything and the excitement never slowed down.  I don't want to give any of the story away but as I sit here thinking about what happens in this book, I can't believe that it all fit in this single volume.

The characters in this book are just wonderful.  Cat is fierce and caring.  She is brave and will sacrifice herself to keep others safe.  Griffin is smart and tough.  He will not let anything happen to Cat no matter what.  We get the chance to know Kato, Carver, Flynn, and Jocasta better in this book and I grew to like them even more.  Kato had a really important role in this book and my heart ached for him at times.

The book was very well balance.  It was filled with excitement and fantasy elements.  The romance between Griffin and Cat is strong and their chemistry is still off the charts.  There are a couple of secondary romances that are just starting to show promise in this book as well.  There are moments in the story that I found rather funny as well and thoroughly enjoyed the banter between the characters.

I would highly recommend this series to others.  I think it is well crafted and highly entertaining.  I can't wait to read more of the Kingmaker Chronicles.

I received an advance reader copy of this book from Sourcebooks Casablanca via NetGalley. 


Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Excerpt


The Series

A Promise of Fire - My Review
Breath of Fire

The Author
Award-winning author Amanda Bouchet grew up in New England and studied French at the undergraduate and graduate levels, first at Bowdoin College and then at Bowling Green State University. She moved to Paris, France in 2001 and has been there ever since. She met her husband while studying abroad, and the family now includes two bilingual children, who will soon be correcting her French.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Audiobook Review - A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness @Patrick_Ness

A Monster Calls
Written by Patrick Ness
Inspired by Siobhan Dowd
Narrated by Jason Isaacs
Candlewick on Brillance Audio
Publication Date: September 23, 2011
Date Read: December 22, 2016 (2nd read)
Source: Purchased - Audible

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming.... This monster, though, is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth. Patrick Ness spins a tale from the final story idea of Siobhan Dowd, whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself.

Darkly mischievous and painfully funny, A Monster Calls is an extraordinarily moving novel about coming to terms with loss from two of our finest writers for young adults.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23014597-what-doesn-t-kill-her

My Review

I liked this book even more the second time around.  I first read this book several years ago and liked it then so when I saw the audio on sale earlier this month, I decided to revisit the story in audiobook.  I really enjoyed the book the first time that I experienced it but I absolutely loved it during this re-read.  I am not sure if it is where I am in my life that made the difference but the story just seemed to speak to me this time.

Conor is a 13 year old boy living with his mom.  His mom is sick with cancer and Conor has had to adapt. People treat him differently because of his mother including the teachers and kids at school.  Some of the kids bully him while teachers seem hesitant to reprimand him.  Conor really just wants his life to be the way it used to be and for his mom to get better.

A monster pays a visit to Conor.  The monster tells Conor that he will share with him 3 stories and at the end of the third story, Conor will share his story.  Each of the stories were incredibly entertaining and I found myself unable to stop listening.  Conor seemed to let more of himself out when he was with the monster.  I found the monster to be more wise than scary and loved the parts of the book that featured him.

The narration of this audiobook was outstanding.  Jason Isaacs handled a wide variety of voice expertly.  I loved the way he brought the monster to life.  This is an emotional story and I really felt every one of the emotions that Conor was dealing with.  I think that the narration really elevated this story to another level.  I hope to listen to other books narrated by Jason Isaacs in the future.

I would recommend this book to others.  It is a rather short book that tells a really big story.  This book is one of those rare gems that just captures everything perfectly.

About the Author

Patrick Ness is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Chaos Walking trilogy, as well as the Carnegie Medal-winning A Monster Calls, inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd. Among the numerous awards he has received are the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the Booktrust Teenage Prize, and the Costa Children's Book Award. Born in Virginia, he lives in London.

Author Links: Website | Twitter

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Review - One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews @ilona_andrews

One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #3
Publication Date: December 20, 2016
Date Read: December 24, 2016
Source: Purchased
★★★★☆
Dina DeMille may run the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, but she caters to a very particular kind of guest… the kind that no one on Earth is supposed to know about. Guests like a former intergalactic tyrant with an impressive bounty on her head, the Lord Marshal of a powerful vampire clan, and a displaced-and-superhot werewolf; so don’t stand too close, or you may be collateral damage.

But what passes for Dina’s normal life is about to be thrown into chaos. First, she must rescue her long-distant older sister, Maud, who’s been exiled with her family to a planet that functions as the most lawless penal colony since Botany Bay. Then she agrees to help a guest whose last chance at saving his civilization could bring death and disaster to all Dina holds dear. Now Gertrude Hunt is under siege by a clan of assassins. To keep her guests safe and to find her missing parents, Dina will risk everything, even if she has to pay the ultimate price. Though Sean may have something to say about that!

My Review

This book was so much fun to read!  I look forward to every new Ilona Andrews book that I can get my hands on.  I think it is amazing that this book was written as a serial novel and available to read on their website for free.  They don't have to do that but they do just because they really are that nice.  I didn't read the book as a serial because I know that I am the kind of reader that wants to sit down and read the whole book at once but I think it is awesome that they do this for their readers.  This was the kind of book that was really hard to put down and ended up being just as good as I had hoped it would be.

Dina is an Innkeeper and has a special kind of magic.  Her inn, Gertrude Hunt, is almost a living character as well with its own brand of magic and abilities.  Dina's inn serves beings from around the universe which she must remain hidden from residents of Earth.  When Dina's sister, Maud, sends a message to be picked up, there is no question about whether she will go.  Not only does Dina have her family's welfare to consider in this book, she is also asked to protect a Hiru which may cause her inn to be attacked.  There is no shortage of excitement in this story!

I actually liked this book a bit more than the previous one in the series and I think that is largely because there was a lot more Sean in this book.  I really missed Sean and the last book so I was thrilled to see him featured though out this story.  Dina and Sean's relationship really takes off and the chemistry that has always been between them is finally put to good use.  I also really enjoyed the new characters in this book.  Maud and Helen were both awesome in their own way.  Maud has been through a lot but is competent to handle anything that comes her way and proves to be a big help to Dina.  Helen was a really interesting character and it was nice to see a child worked into the story so well.

I would highly recommend this series to others.  This book is highly imaginative with a lot of excitement.  There is a wonderful balance of action, humor, and romance to keep readers happy.  I would recommend that this series be read in order so that you have the background of the relationships and abilities.  I can't wait to read more from this fantastic writing duo!

The Series
Book #1: Clean Sweep - My Review
Book #2: Sweep in Peace - My Review
Book #3: One Fell Sweep
About the Author

Ilona Andrews” is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Texas with their two children and many dogs and cats.

They have co-authored two NYT and USAT bestselling series, the urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge and working on the next volumes for both.


Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Review - A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourne @deannaraybourn @BerkleyPub @FirstToRead

A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn
Series: Veronica Speedwell Mystery #2
Berkley Publishing Group
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
Date Read:  December 10, 2016
Source: First to Read
★★★★☆
Veronica Speedwell returns in a brand new adventure from Deanna Raybourn, the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries... 

London, 1887. Victorian adventuress and butterfly hunter Veronica Speedwell receives an invitation to visit the Curiosity Club, a ladies-only establishment for daring and intrepid women. There she meets the mysterious Lady Sundridge, who begs her to take on an impossible task—saving society art patron Miles Ramsforth from execution. Accused of the brutal murder of his artist mistress Artemisia, Ramsforth will face the hangman's noose in a week's time if Veronica cannot find the real killer.

But Lady Sundridge is not all that she seems, and unmasking her true identity is only the first of the many secrets Veronica must uncover. Together with her natural historian colleague Stoker, Veronica races against time to find the true murderer—a ruthless villain who not only took Artemisia's life in cold blood but is happy to see Ramsforth hang for the crime. From a Bohemian artists' colony to a royal palace to a subterranean grotto with a decadent history, the investigation proves to be a very perilous undertaking indeed....

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23014597-what-doesn-t-kill-her
My Review

I enjoyed this book but I didn't think it quite lived up to the first book in the series.  I had a really hard time getting into the book at first but once the story got moving, I found myself really enjoying it.  I think that the characters in this series are amazing and this book lets us get to know them just a little better than before. Overall, this was a very enjoyable read.

Veronica Speedwell is such a fun character.  She is extremely intelligent and not afraid to live by her own rules instead of bending to society's dictates.  She is called upon by a member of royalty to look into the murder of an artist.  The man that has been accused is scheduled to hang very soon even though some believe he is innocent.  Veronica enlists the help of her friend, Stoker, to help her discover the truth about the death.

I really enjoyed the fact that Veronica and Stoker are not the average pair of detectives.  Veronica is an expert on butterflies and Stoker is a remarkable taxidermist.  They are both intelligent and inquisitive and well suited to solving the puzzle of the murder.  They have wonderful chemistry together and truly make a great pair.  This isn't a romance although they both seem to have feelings for the other that they seem to be suppressing.

This was a smart book with a really complicated puzzle to be solved.  It is nice how the reader gets to be with Veronica and Stoker at every step during the process to solve the murder.  I loved the way that there were quite a few funny moments to keep the book nicely balanced.  Veronica and Stoker both have complicated backgrounds which added some depth to their characters and gave me something to think about and helped explain some of their motivations.

I would recommend this book to others.  It is the second book in the Veronica Speedwell series but I do think it would work as a stand alone.  I look forward to future books featuring Veronica and Stoker!

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via First to Read.

The Series
Book #1 - A Curious Beginning - My Review
Book #2 - A Perilous Undertaking
About the Author
Photo: © Sigmon Taylor Photography
Deanna Raybourn, the author of the award-winning New York Times bestselling Lady Julia Grey series and several standalone novels, is pleased to introduce her new Victorian-set mystery series featuring Veronica Speedwell.  Deanna lives in Virginia with her husband and daughter.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!


I want to wish all of my readers that celebrate the holiday a very Merry Christmas!  I hope that Santa is kind to you this year and leave you lots of goodies under your tree.

We have already celebrated Christmas with our extended family so this will be a quiet day at my house.  Unfortunately, my husband will be at work all day today but my daughter and I are looking forward to a quiet day at home.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful day today!


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Stacking the Shelves #49



I am really excited to participate in Stacking the Shelves, a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews

Merry Christmas!  What a busy week this ended up being and I honestly don't feel like I really was able to get anything done.  We celebrated Christmas with my husband's family last Saturday and my family last Sunday.  I will be going to see my mom and my sister's family today but plan on a quiet day for Christmas.

After trying really hard to adjust to my new prescription for contacts, I gave up.  My eyes were hurting really bad and I couldn't read at all so I knew it wasn't going to work out for me.  I should get a new pair of glasses next week and I hope that helps.  I have had a lot of headaches this year and I believe my eyesight is partially to blame.

Digital Books

Ill Will by Dan Chaon (NetGalley)
Frostblood by Elly Blake (NetGalley)
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder (Kindle Purchase)
Tell Me Three Things by (Kindle Purchase)
One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews (Kindle Purchase)
Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder (Kindle Purchase)
Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry (Kindle Purchase)

So much for not adding any new books to the TBR pile.  I didn't expect Ill Will but got an email from NetGalley that my wish had been granted for it.  I honestly don't remember wishing for the book but I am sure that I did.  I grabbed Frostblood when it was available as a Read Now.  I picked up a few books that were Kindle Daily Deals this week since I can't seem to pass up a good sale.  I was thrilled to get my hands on One Fell Sweep this week.  I almost never pre-order books but I make exceptions when it comes to Ilona Andrews so I am happy to get to start reading this one.

Audiobooks

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (Audible Purchase)

I actually read this book several years ago and enjoyed it.  It was the Audible Deal of the Day earlier this week for less than $2 and after I listed to a sample of the narration, I knew that I had to have this audiobook.  I started listening to it right away and since it was a short listen being just under 4 hours, I have already finished it.  I was a fantastic listen.

What books do you add to your shelves this week? 
Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave a link to your own STS post!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Review - Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall @Rock_andor_roll @HMHKids

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Date Read: December 16, 2016
Source: NetGalley

Norah has agoraphobia and OCD. When groceries are left on the porch, she can’t step out to get them. Struggling to snag the bags with a stick, she meets Luke. He’s sweet and funny, and he just caught her fishing for groceries. Because of course he did.

Norah can’t leave the house, but can she let someone in? As their friendship grows deeper, Norah realizes Luke deserves a normal girl. One who can lie on the front lawn and look up at the stars. One who isn’t so screwed up.


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23014597-what-doesn-t-kill-her

My Review

I thought that this book was very well done.  It wasn't a feel good novel and it could be almost hard to read at times.  It really felt like an honest book and that is what I really liked about it.  It can be really hard to imagine the reality of living with mental illness as Norah does in this story but this book does a nice job of giving the reader something to think about.  This was definitely a book worth reading.

Norah is a teenage girl that spends a lot of her life in fear.  She has OCD and agoraphobia and her life is very different than most other teenagers.  She stays in her house and the only person that she really spends any time with is her mother.  When Luke, the new next door neighbor, helps her get the groceries in her house, she really isn't quite sure what to do with him.  Luke starts spending time with Norah at her house and they develop a very close relationship but Norah fears that she is keeping him from doing things.

This book is told from Norah's point of view.  We get to see inside of Norah's head and know exactly what she is thinking and it could be hard at times.  Simple things could end up being really hard for her which is incredibly frustrating to her.   She wants many of the things that other teens want but she doesn't know how to overcome her crippling anxiety and fear in order to allow it to become a possibility.  I thought that Norah's inner dialogue were some of the most powerful moments in the book.

I would recommend this books to others.  It was an honest look at mental illness that really was eye opening at times.  This book could be hard to read at times simply because of how realistic it felt.  I thought that this was a strong debut novel for Louis Gornall and look forward to reading her future works.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group via NetGalley.

About the Author

Louise Gornall is YA aficionado, film nerd, junk food enthusiast, and rumored pink Power Ranger. Under Rose-Tainted Skies is her first novel, and she can be found on Twitter @Rock_andor_roll. She lives in England.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Audiobook Review - Beneath This Ink by Meghan March @Meghan_March @BlackstoneAudio

Beneath This Ink
Written by Meghan March
Narrated by Andi Arndt & Sebastian York
Series: Beneath #2
Blackstone Audio
Publication Date: February 9, 2015
Date Read: December 15, 2016
Length:  7 hours 36 minutes
Source: Audible Purchase

I’ve always known she was too good for me, but that never stopped me from wanting her.

And then I finally had her for one night.

A night I don’t remember.

I figured I’d blown my shot.

But now she’s walked back into my life, and this time, I have the upper hand. I want my second chance.

Will she be able to see the man beneath this ink?


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26825372-beneath-this-ink

My Review

I enjoyed listening to this audiobook.  This is one of those books that I think really is more enjoyable in audio format largely because of the wonderful pair of narrators.  This is the second book in the Beneath series but it can easily be read as a stand alone since it focuses on one pair of characters.  This was a really quick and entertaining story that had a lot going for it.

This book focused on Vanessa and Con.  Vanessa is a rich girl working at a not for profit who needs something from Con.  Con is a tattooed bad boy who is all alpha male.  They have known each other since they were in school and even spent one night together a couple of years ago that Con can't remember and Vanessa can't forget.  They strike a deal to spend a bit of time together before Con's land changes hands.

I liked Con and Vanessa together.  It was evident early on that there was more to each of these characters than the obvious and they seemed to see that in each other.  There was a lot of chemistry between the pair from the start that only intensified over the course of the story.  There were some pretty hot scenes and some that were more tender.

There were a few things that I found problematic in the story.  Vanessa's issue with eating in front of other people vanished really quickly with just a word from Con.  If she had as big of an issue as it was made to be, I don't think that she would overcome it as fast as she did.  I also wanted to see Vanessa speak up for herself more because she seemed to let everyone push her around.  I was able to just go along with these things and enjoy the story despite these minor issues.

I absolutely loved the narration of this audiobook.  I have listed to two other books in this series with the same pair of narrators and that is what made me decide to purchase this audiobook.  Sebastian York does such a good job at narrating a bad boy with a softer side and Andi Arndt captured Vanessa's personality perfectly.  I think that the alternating points of view paired with different narrators really made the book come alive.  I plan to listen to both of these narrators again soon.

I would recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance.  I would definitely recommend picking up the audio in this book if at all possible because I think it adds to the overall experience.  I hope to read more from this author soon.

About the Author

Meghan March has been known to wear camo face paint and tromp around in woods wearing mud-covered boots, all while sporting a perfect manicure. She’s also impulsive, easily entertained, and absolutely unapologetic about the fact that she loves to read and write smut. Her past lives include slinging auto parts, selling lingerie, making custom jewelry, and practicing corporate law. Writing books about dirty talking alpha males and the strong, sassy women who bring them to their knees is by far the most fabulous job she’s ever had. She loves hearing from her readers at meghanmarchbooks@gmail.com.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

2017 Blogger Shame Reading Challenge Sign Up

Blogger Shame 2016

2017 Blogger Shame Challenge hosted by Herding Cats & Burning Soup

I have been hesitant to sign up for any challenges but I really need this one.  I have so much guilt about all of the review books that I just haven't had a chance to get to just yet.  I have had some of these books for over 3 years at this point and I really need to make a dent in the pile.  I wanted to work on my backlog in 2016 and it just didn't happen so I am going to be a bit more official (and accountable) with this goal in 2017.

What Counts?
Any review book that is over 4 months past due counts for this challenge.  

Goals
There aren't any official levels so I am just going to try to get as many done as I can while still reading some current books.

I currently have 85 NetGalley books, 9 Edelweiss books, and 1 book sent by the publisher that qualify for this challenge so I shouldn't run out of reading material.

Check In Posts
There will be three posts for this challenge.
Sign Up Post
Mid Year Check In: First week of June
Wrap Up Post: Last week of December

To Sign Up
Sign up at The Herd Presents if you would like to join in!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Review - Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist #LoveAndFirstSight @JoshSundquist @TheNovl @lbkids

Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Date Read: December 6, 2016
Source: Won - Novl


In his debut novel, YouTube personality and author of We Should Hang Out Sometime Josh Sundquist explores the nature of love, trust, and romantic attraction.

On his first day at a new school, blind sixteen-year-old Will Porter accidentally groped a girl on the stairs, sat on another student in the cafeteria, and somehow drove a classmate to tears. High school can only go up from here, right?

As Will starts to find his footing, he develops a crush on a charming, quiet girl named Cecily. Then an unprecedented opportunity arises: an experimental surgery that could give Will eyesight for the first time in his life. But learning to see is more difficult than Will ever imagined, and he soon discovers that the sighted world has been keeping secrets. It turns out Cecily doesn't meet traditional definitions of beauty--in fact, everything he'd heard about her appearance was a lie engineered by their so-called friends to get the two of them together. Does it matter what Cecily looks like? No, not really. But then why does Will feel so betrayed?

Told with humor and breathtaking poignancy, Love and First Sight is a story about how we related to each other and the world around us.


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23014597-what-doesn-t-kill-her

My Review

I enjoyed reading this book.  I was pulled into the story right away by the wonderful characters, an interesting premise, and just the right amount of humor.  This was a super quick read for me largely because I had a hard time putting the book down.  The descriptions were vivid and I couldn't help but imagine what it would be like to be in Will's position.  I am very glad that I decided to pick up this book.

Will is starting a new school.  He previously attended a school for the blind but is transferring to a mainstream high school.  He starts out having to deal with a well meaning but unhelpful assistant pricinpal and before the day is over he has not only made a girl run from the room crying but has also sat on another student's lap at lunch.  Before long, Will seems to find his place at his new school with a group of friends that keep him busy.

Will has the opportunity to have an experimental surgery that can make it possible for him to see for the first time in his life.  Once he has the surgery the sudden ability to see isn't as smooth of a transistion as you might expect.  Since he has never had the sense of sight, he has no reference point.  His brain developed without visual input and it takes a lot of work to understand what he can now see.  The descriptions regarding his sudden ability to see were incredibly strong in this book.  I felt Will's frustration along with him and his family.

Will's relationship with Cecily was a major focus of the story.  They develop a strong friendship through their work together on a school project.  Their personalities just seemed to click and they both seemed to gain a lot by being together.  When Will can finally see her, things don't go exactly as planned and I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed by Will's actions.  I do understand that he was upset by the fact that things were kept from him but I hated that he was willing to make as big of a deal about it as he did.

I would recommend this book to others.  I found it to be a quick read that was rather eye opening.  Will's quest to be independant and fit into the world was such an interesting story.  The humor was nicely woven into the story and really added a lot to the story and character developement.  I plan to look for future novels by Josh Sundquist.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers TheNovl.com.



About the Author

Josh Sundquist is a Paralympic ski racer, cancer survivor, popular YouTube vlogger, motivational speaker, and Halloween enthusiast. Every Tuesday, Josh releases a new video to 200,000-plus subscribers on his YouTube channel. He is the author of We Should Hang Out Sometime and the bestselling Just Don't Fall. As a motivational speaker, Josh speaks to schools, conventions, and corporations across the world. He invites you to visit him online at joshsundquist.com or follow him at @JoshSundquist

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Audiobook Review - The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon @Writer_DG

The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon 
Narrated by Davina Porter
Series: Outlander #5
Dell / Recorded Books
Publication Date: November 6, 2001 (print) & November 3, 2011 (audible version)
Date Read: December 9, 2016
Source: Audible Purchase
Length: 55 hours 34 minutes

The year is 1771, and war is coming. Jamie Fraser’s wife tells him so. Little as he wishes to, he must believe it, for hers is a gift of dreadful prophecy — a time-traveler’s certain knowledge.

Born in the year of Our Lord 1918, Claire Randall served England as a nurse on the battlefields of World War II, and in the aftermath of peace found fresh conflicts when she walked through a cleftstone on the Scottish Highlands and found herself an outlander, an English lady in a place where no lady should be, in a time — 1743 — when the only English in Scotland were the officers and men of King George’s army.

Now wife, mother, and surgeon, Claire is still an outlander, out of place, and out of time, but now, by choice, linked by love to her only anchor — Jamie Fraser. Her unique view of the future has brought him both danger and deliverance in the past; her knowledge of the oncoming revolution is a flickering torch that may light his way through the perilous years ahead — or ignite a conflagration that will leave their lives in ashes....


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23014597-what-doesn-t-kill-her

My Review

Anyone who knows me knows how much love I have for this series.  I really enjoyed listening to this book. I have recently listened to the first four books in the series after having read them years earlier.  This was the first time that I have experienced this book and I was a little nervous about listening to it instead of sitting down with a book but I think it worked out well in the end.

So much happens in this book!  That is really kind of normal for this series but this book has so many things going on.  I guess that really should be expected since this book is also really long.  It is like 3 or 4 books if you just compare page counts.   There were a few sections of the book that I did think went on a little longer than was really needed.  The book starts out at a gathering and I wasn't sure that they would ever leave but they did in the end and the book did start to really pick up steam quickly.

All of the characters that I have grown to love over the years were back in this book.  Jamie and Claire are getting a bit older and it is really nice to see watch them grow over the course of the series.  It is refreshing to see a couple that have been married for a long time still have the passion and love that Jamie and Claire have for each other.  Brianna and Roger go through a lot in this book.  In a lot of ways this book isn't very kind to poor Roger.  Jemmy is growing up and his personality really starts to shine through in this book.

I really enjoyed the narration of this audiobook.  I think that Davina Porter does a fabulous job with this series.  In this book, she is able to give a unique voice to all four of the main characters.  She is able to convey a lot of emotion during her narration.  I found myself not wanting to stop listening because I had to know how things would work out.

I would highly recommend this book to others but I do believe that this is a series that needs to be read in order so please start with Outlander.  The ending of this book really was exciting for me and I came really close to moving directly into the next book in the series.  I can't wait to read more about Jamie and Claire!

The Series

Book #1 - Outlander
Book #5 - The Fiery Cross
Book #6 - A Breath of Snow and Ashes
Book #7 - An Echo in the Bone
Book #8 - Written in My Own Heart's Blood

Click the links above to read my other reviews for this series!
About the Author

Photo: © Nancy Castaldo
Diana Gabaldon is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the wildly popular Outlander novels—Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes (for which she won a Quill Award and the Corine International Book Prize), An Echo in the Bone, and Written in My Own Heart’s Blood—as well as the related Lord John Grey books Lord John and the Private Matter, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, Lord John and the Hand of Devils, and The Scottish Prisoner; one work of nonfiction, The Outlandish Companion; and the Outlander graphic novel The Exile. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with her husband.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter
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