Friday, July 31, 2015

Review: The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:
For the past five years, Hayley Kincain and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.
Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over? The Impossible Knife of Memory is Laurie Halse Anderson at her finest: compelling, surprising, and impossible to put down.

MY TAKE:
I decided to read this book partly because I loved Speak and because I was looking for a book with an intriguing plot and just a little bit of romance.

In The Impossible Knife of Memory, Hayley and her father are trying to start a new life in her father's hometown after being gone for so long. It's not that easy, though, as Hayley's father suffers from PTSD. Things keep spiraling downward until one day, something gives.

This book didn't make me laugh and cry as much as Speak did, but I still enjoyed it. I don't think I've ever read a book that focused on PTSD from the viewpoint of a family member, though I have read accounts from people, especially soldiers, who battle PTSD. It's no picnic for the person experiencing it, and it's no fun for the people around them either.

You can't really tackle this issue without going a bit dramatic, so I didn't mind the difficult scenes wherein Hayley's dad lost it a few times. It made it easier to sympathize with Hayley, as well as her hated stepmother.

The book is told mostly from Hayley's point-of-view, with some material interspersed that appears to have been written by her father. Her father's writing was a little disturbing and a lot sad. It really makes you question sometimes if war is worth the price.

As for the characters, they were mostly broken, but still likable. Hayley reminded me a lot of Daria Morgendorffer. She's sarcastic and they have the same sense of humor and delivery of lines. I wasn't too sure about Finn at first, but he's charmingly weird and eventually he won me over. Their romance was mostly fun to watch, although at one point there, it went to a dark place that made me want to yell at them to go see a therapist.

THE GOOD:

  1. Hayley and Finn are good together.
  2. The characters are by no means perfect, but their flaws feel natural.
  3. The story is heartbreaking and dramatic. 

THE BAD:

  1. It can be emotionally difficult to read sometimes. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
I needed to hear the world but didn't want the world to know I was listening. 
READ IT IF:

  1. You know someone who has PTSD.
  2. You think PTSD is something that isn't that hard to conquer.
  3. You like heroines that are quirky and sarcastic. 

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Review: The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2) by Richelle Mead


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:
The second thrilling installment in Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy spin=off series, Bloodlines.
Tough, brainy alchemist Sydney Sage and doe-eyed Moroi princess Jill Dragomir are in hiding at a human boarding school in the sunny, glamorous world of Palm Springs, California. The students--children of the wealthy and powerful--carry on with their lives in blissful ignorance, while Sydney, Jill, Eddie, and Adrian must do everything in their power to keep their secret safe. But with forbidden romances, unexpected spirit bonds, and the threat of Strigoi moving ever closer, hiding the truth is harder than anyone thought.
Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Richelle Mead's breathtaking Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive. In this second book, the drama is hotter, the romances are steamier, and the stakes are even higher.

MY TAKE:
This book was just okay for me.

In The Golden Lily, Sydney and the vampires learn that there may be some truth to Clarence's crazy theory. Who are these vampire hunters and what could their existence mean for the future.

Plot-wise, I thought there were some high points and low points. One of those high points was the presence and purpose of the vampire hunters. It could lead to some very interesting stories in future books, and it works with what we already know with the first book and the VA series. One of the low points for me was the whole magic thing. I mean, I get that this is central to the series, but there were moments when it just felt forced to me.

As for the romance, the romance was just a little above average for me. As a couple, I do like them together, although Adrian's declaration of love is very similar to ones I've read in countless books and seen in many movies and television shows. As individuals, though, I'm not really a fan of Adrian or Sydney. Adrian gets on my nerves when he acts cocky, but I sympathize with him better now after that whole thing with his father. As for Sydney, I like rational Sydney, but when she goes into her scared Alchemist mode, it irritates me. It's like she has a split personality.

Jill and Angeline still haven't grown on me, but at least Eddie, Dimitri and Sonya were around, so I at least got to read about a few characters that I liked.

It's kind of funny, but for a good chunk of the book, I had no intention of continuing the series, but the ending, as always, was quite good and made me want to read what's next. I have a few other books on my to-be-read pile, but after that, we'll see if I still feel the pull to read this series.

THE GOOD:

  1. The ending makes you want to read the next book.
  2. There's a new group that could be an important part of the series.
  3. The pieces of the puzzle are starting to come together.

THE BAD:

  1. Sydney can be irritating. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
“Every relationship is different. Everyone loves differently.” 
READ IT IF:

  1. You like forbidden romances.
  2. You like bittersweet endings.
  3. You like Adrian.

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?
Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Review: Teddy Bear Doctor: A Let's Make & Play Book: Be a Vet & Fix the Boo-Boos of Your Favorite Stuffed Animals by Deanna F. Cook


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Got a teddy bear with a tummy ache, a feverish plush puppy, or a dinosaur who scraped her knees while skateboarding? Never fear! This delightful book offers everything kids need to set up their own veterinary clinic and enjoy hours of fun playing doctor with their stuffed animals. It features dozens of DIY projects to make with common household items, including a thermometer made from a pencil, a lab coat made from an old t-shirt, and a hospital bed made from a cardboard box. The book includes four sheets of fun and adorable stickers for making a doctor's name tag, eye patches, medicine bottle labels, and much more, as well as cute cut-out props, such as a nurse's cap. For ages 3 to 8.
MY TAKE:
When I saw this book, my first thought was "Oh, like Doc McStuffins!"

In Teddy Bear Doctor: A Let's Make & Play Book: Be a Vet & Fix the Boo-Boos of Your Favorite Stuffed Animals, kids learn more about becoming a toy veterinarian and creating their instruments and work spaces like waiting room and examination room.

This is a must-have book for children who love playing doctor or veterinarian. The book focuses on stuffed toy animal patients, but with a little tweaking here and there, kids can use this book for other toys as well.

There are many things I liked about this book. One of them is the inclusion of templates, stickers and forms. Kids can create their own instruments like headlamps and stethoscopes using easy-to-find and/or cheap household items and templates or stickers included in the book. I was also impressed with the forms included such as the patient check-in and exam forms. If this had been around when I was a child, I would have been all over it.

I also liked that there were trivia like the heart rates of different animals. Plenty of kids will probably find that interesting and it may pique their curiosity enough to consider becoming a veterinarian when they grow up.

The pictures, layouts and color choices for this book were all cute and something children will enjoy. I think this book could be a bestseller, and I would love to see this as a series that lets children explore careers (doctors, chef, etc.).

Thanks to NetGalley and Storey Publishing, LLC for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. The crafts use materials that are easy or cheap to obtain and most can be completed with minimal adult supervision.
  2. It covers everything from what instruments kids would need to how their exam rooms should look.
  3. There are templates, stickers and forms provided.

THE BAD:

  1. It would be even better if it included other toys as well. 

READ IT IF:

  1. Your child likes to pretend he/she is a doctor or veterinarian.
  2. Your child likes animals.
  3. You're looking for activity books that can keep your child occupied and also helps him learn something. 

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?
Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

“He shouldn't have said that," repeated Adrian, eerily serious. He leaned his face toward mine. "I don't care if he's not the emotional type or the complimentary type or what. No one can look at you in this dress, in all that fire and gold, and start talking about anachronisms. If I were him, I would have said, 'You are the most beautiful creature I have ever seen walking this earth.”      

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Review: As If! The Oral History of Clueless as told by Amy Heckerling and the Cast and Crew by Jen Chaney


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Acclaimed pop culture journalist Jen Chaney shares an oral history of the cult classic film Clueless in the ultimate written resource about one of the most influential, revered, and enduring movies of the 1990s—in celebration of its twentieth anniversary.
Will we ever get tired of watching Cher navigate Beverly Hills high school and discover true love in the movie Clueless? As if! Written by Amy Heckerling and starring Alicia Silverstone, Clueless is an enduring comedy classic that remains one of the most streamed movies on Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes even twenty years after its release. Inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma, Clueless is an everlasting pop culture staple.
In the first book of its kind, Jen Chaney has compiled an oral history of the making of this iconic film using recollections and insights collected from key cast and crew members involved in the making of this endlessly quotable, ahead-of-its-time production. Get a behind-the-scenes look at how Emma influenced Heckerling to write the script, how the stars were cast into each of their roles, what was involved in creating the costumes, sets, and soundtrack, and much more.
This wonderful twentieth anniversary commemoration includes never-before-seen photos, original call sheets, casting notes, and production diary extracts. With supplemental critical insights by the author and other notable movie experts about why Clueless continues to impact pop culture, As If! will leave fans new and old totally buggin’ as they understand why this beloved film is timeless.

MY TAKE:
Clueless is one of the movies from my childhood that I remember fondly.

In As If! The Oral History of Clueless as told by Amy Heckerling and the Cast and Crew, we learn more about the making of the movie, as well as its impact on popculture and fashion.

The main reason why I wanted to read this book was to see if it was something that my cousin, who is a huge Clueless fan, would enjoy getting as a gift. After reading it, I think she'd like this a lot, and it may even inspire her to watch the movie again. I certainly felt like watching Clueless again after reading the book.

The book contains interviews with the cast about certain key things involved in the making of the movie. I was a little confused as to whether they were all interviewed at the same time or not, because sometimes it felt like they were responding to something that another person said, but it could also be that some of them were interviewed later than the others and they were just asked about what the other person said. Whichever it may be, I still enjoyed how it was presented. It was funny seeing how people recollected some things better or differently than the others, but in the end, they still agreed that the movie came together quite beautifully and there were only a few minor problems during its filming.

Aside from interviews, there were also production information, such as the locations used for the shoots, plus mentions of Polaroids, etc. there were also mention of the soundtrack, which was pretty cool, especially since there were some comments from some of the singers and other people who were part of the bands that were on the soundtrack.

I also learned a lot of things, such as that Jeremy Renner and Johnny Galecki were up for a role in the movie, and that two extras (the ones who were making out in the pool) met that day on set and got engaged. No update, though, on how their marriage is going, but hopefully, they're still together.

As for the fashion in Clueless, as well as its effect on real-world fashion, that's also mentioned here. I guess I never really thought about it, since I don't live in America, and the effect wasn't as huge here, but I did have a black leather mini backpack during that time.

The only issue I had with this book was the lack of pictures, although that may be because this was an e-ARC. I only saw one tiny picture, but in the Acknowledgements section of the book, the author thanks several people for sharing their picture, so maybe the finished copies will have more colored pictures.

Thanks to NetGalley and Touchstone for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's a fun trip down memory lane.
  2. You learn a lot of new things about the movie and how it was made.
  3. You gain a deeper appreciation for the movie and its impact and message. 

THE BAD:

  1. It would have been better if there were more pictures, although this may be an ARC issue and not a finished copy issue. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You're a fan of Clueless.
  2. You're interested in fashion.
  3. You like reading behind-the-scenes material about movies.

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?


Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

In My Mailbox


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

FROM NETGALLEY:


Benji Franklin: Kid Zillionaire: Money Troubles by Raymond Bean
Chloe by Design: Balancing Act by Margaret Gurevich

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Review: Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks comes a tender story of hope and joy; of sacrifice and forgiveness -- a moving reminder that love is possible at any age, at any time, and often comes when we least expect it. At forty-five, Adrienne Willis must rethink her entire life when her husband abandons her for a younger woman. Reeling with heartache and in search of a respite, she flees to the small coastal town of Rodanthe, North Carolina to tend to a friend's inn for the weekend. But when a major storm starts moving in, it appears that Adrienne's perfect getaway will be ruined -- until a guest named Paul Flanner arrives. At fifty-four, Paul has just sold his medical practice and come to Rodanthe to escape his own shattered past. Now, with the storm closing in, two wounded people will turn to each other for comfort -- and in one weekend set in motion feelings that will resonate throughout the rest of their lives.
MY TAKE:
My only experiences with Nicholas Sparks' work before this book were watching A Walk to Remember and The Notebook and reading A Walk to Remember.

In Nights in Rodanthe, Adrienne is a divorcee who is looking after her friend's inn. Paul is a former doctor, who is also a divorcee, who is the inn's only guest that week. A storm comes to the area, which prompts the two of them to become even closer than they probably originally intended.

Before reading this, I was already aware that this was also made into a movie. I never watched it, though, because when it came out, I was still quite young and I felt like I wouldn't be able to relate to the characters because of their age.

Now that I've read it, I can say that while younger me probably wouldn't have liked this story, present-day me thought it was sweet and heartbreaking in a way that you'd be familiar with if you've read Nicholas Sparks' other books.

I guess I should have expected this story's outcome, given what happened with A Walk to Remember. The book's ending was less predictable than I expected, although the emotions it brought was actually expected, if that makes any sense.

I liked the description of the storm. I live in a country that typhoons, the really strong ones too, like to pass through. In fact, as I was reading this, it was raining here. I've come to like the rain over the years, especially if everyone is safely indoors and we can just watch the storm pass.

Paul and Adrienne made a sweet couple, although I never truly felt connected to them. I don't think it's their age that's the problem though. Maybe it was all the backstory that distracted me.

THE GOOD:

  1. It has an important message.
  2. It will appeal to more mature readers.
  3. It's classic Nicholas Sparks. 

THE BAD:

  1. The backstories and descriptions can get boring after awhile. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
“Men are like that sometimes - if they meet someone and fall in love, it's real, no matter how fast it happened. But if someone falls for a woman they happen to care about, all they do is question the man's intentions.” 
READ IT IF:

  1. You feel like you'll never find love.
  2. You liked the movie Nights in Rodanthe.
  3. You liked Nicholas Sparks' other books. 

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?
Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Review: Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1) by Richelle Mead


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:
Blood doesn't lie...
Sydney is an alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of human and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives. When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she's still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir - the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir - is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill's guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the last place anyone would think to look for vampire royalty - a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. But instead of finding safety at Amberwood Prep, Sydney discovers the drama is only just beginning...

MY TAKE:
While I didn't like this as much as the first Vampire Academy book, this book certainly set the scene for an interesting series.

In Bloodlines, Sydney the Alchemist is tasked with helping hide Jill from assassins. Assisting her are Eddie, Adrian and another Alchemist whom Sydney despises. They assumes the identities of siblings at a boarding school in Palm Springs, on the assumption that the Strigoi wouldn't like that environment. However, there are things afoot there, and the Strigoi are the least of their problems.

If it weren't for the implications of a couple of discoveries that came about during the final confrontation at the end of the book, I probably would have rated this book a three. There were plenty of plot twists, to be sure, but I was able to figure out majority of them fairly quickly early on in the book, even who the real bad guys were.

I was sort of meh about Sydney in the Vampire Academy series, and while I still don't like her as much as I did Rose, I did sympathize with her. Her father is a jerk, and Keith is just evil. As for Adrian, I hated him in VA, but here, while I still think he's immature, self-centered and a charmer, I did like him a little bit better.

I'm excited to read the next book in the series to find out what happens next in the VA universe.

THE GOOD:

  1. There are several interesting new discoveries.
  2. Rose and Dimitri make brief appearances.
  3. It's a promising start to the series.

THE BAD:

  1. A lot of the plot twists were predictable. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Dimitri Belikov had arrived. 
READ IT IF:

  1. You liked the Vampire Academy series.
  2. You like Sydney.
  3. You like Adrian.

RATING:
Photobucket


Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Review: 365 reasons to be proud to be a Londoner by Richard Happer


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
London – one of the world's most exciting cities. Teeming with life, bursting with history, it houses over 8 million people, and has thousands of stories to tell. 365 Reasons to be Proud to be a Londoner is a quirky, fun exploration of the people and events that make London so special, with an entry for every day of the year. From the building of London's frankly awe-inspiring sewer system to the founding of the iconic Abbey Road recording studios, from the diary of Samuel Pepys to the invention of the World Wide Web, this fascinating book provides 365 compelling reasons why every Londoner should be proud of their wonderful city. Maybe it's because you're a Londoner…that you'll love this book! Word count: 30,000 Related titles: 365 Reasons to be Cheerful (9781906032968) 365 Reasons to be Proud to be British (9781907554391) 365 Reasons to be Proud to be English (9781909396715) 365 Reasons to be Proud to be Irish (9781909396401) 365 Reasons to be Proud to be Scottish (9781907554872) 365 Reasons to Look on the Bright Side (9781907554681)
MY TAKE:
If you love fact-a-day or on-this-day calendars, then you'll love this book.

In 365 reasons to be proud to be a Londoner, readers get to learn more about the people, places and events that are part of London's history.

While there were some topics covered here that I wasn't particularly interested in (the buildings, mostly), I did pick up a number of new things that I thought were pretty cool. For example, I had no idea that the traveller's cheque was invented in London or that Marlboro originated in London. I also learned how prolific a writer Enid Blyton actually was. Since there are 365 entries here, you're bound to learn something new and find something that you'll find interesting.

The book is written with a relatively light tone, and there were several jokes here and there that I found humorous. There were also a couple or so David Cameron jokes that I didn't quite get since I live in a different country, but which you'll probably appreciate if you're familiar with David Cameron and his politics.

Thanks to NetGalley and Pavilion Books for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's very informative.
  2. It's written in a light, entertaining tone.
  3. There are quite a few funny jokes here. 

THE BAD:

  1. It's not the type of book that you read in one sitting. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You are visiting London.
  2. You have lived in London for a long time.
  3. You want to learn more about London and its history. 

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?
Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Review: Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues by Erik Burnham


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Once upon a time, a troupe of has-been actors that starred on an old sci-fi show were enlisted by an alien race to save them from an intergalactic tyrant. Despite being way out of their depth, the cast somehow managed to save the aliens and stay alive... but their actions in outer space may have had dire consequences for another world. The cast of Galaxy Quest have enjoyed a career resurgence since returning from their intergalactic adventure, but all that is about to be interrupted by Qint, an alien with a very surprising ax to grind against Jason Nesmith and the crew of the NSEA Protector!
MY TAKE:
Galaxy Quest is one of my favorite movies, so of course I just had to read this one as soon as possible.

In Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues, a new group of aliens has come to seek the NSEA Protector crew's help. This quest may be more dangerous than their first mission, but this time, the crew has more help from an old, reliable Questian.

The story itself was enjoyable for me, and the action here matched the level of the movie. The main story takes place years after the movie, but the actual start of the plot takes place in relation to a pivotal moment in the film: the activation of the Omega 13. I thought that was brilliant, and I loved how it was able to connect with the movie.

The Thermians don't get much screen time here, but they are there and they do provide much needed help to Jason and his crew. It's too bad that my favorite characters Alexander and Tommy didn't get as much focus as I would have liked, but Alexander did get some funny lines, at least. One thing that did bother me, though, was that Guy is a bit of a self-centered jerk here. It seems that success has gotten to his head. That's too bad because I kind of liked him in the movie.

Anyway, as far as humor goes, the film is a hard one to top since it had a lot of funny lines, plus this graphic novel is less than 100 pages long. The first half of the story didn't really make me laugh, but the second half was funnier and felt closer to the spirit of the film.

Another little quibble I have, that I guess can't be helped since this is done in the style of comics like DC and Marvel, is that the characters here don't really look a lot like their movie counterparts. There were a few times wherein I wondered who the character speaking was. This applied to the times wherein Guy, Fred, Jason and Alexander sans costume were talking in close proximity to each other. Once the action shifted outside Earth, though, I didn't have any trouble anymore.

Thanks to NetGalley and IDW Publishing for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. There's a possible next book/story after this one.
  2. You get to see what happens after the film to Jason and the others.
  3. The story fits in well with the Galaxy Quest canon. 

THE BAD:

  1. Guy is kind of a jerk here. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You liked the film.
  2. You want to find out what happens next in the Galaxy Quest story.
  3. You wished that the Questians had a more prominent role in the movie. 

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?
Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

“Physical attraction that strong is addictive. And knowing that kind of magic isn’t just a fantasy makes me want to find it again. But what about being with someone who makes me a better person? What about sharing my life with someone who adores me as much as I adore him, whom I can always count on, who helps me find my way when I’m lost?”       

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Review: Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6) by Richelle Mead


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:
They come first.
My vision was growing dimmer, the blackness and ghosts closing in. I swore it was like I could hear Robert whispering in my ear: The world of the dead won't give you up a second time. Just before the light completely vanished, I saw Dimitri's face join Lissa's. I wanted to smile. I decided then that if the two people I loved most were safe, I could leave this world.
The dead could finally have me.

Rose Hathaway has always played by her own rules. She broke the law when she ran away from St. Vladimir's Academy with her best friend and last surviving Dragomir princess, Lissa. She broke the law when she fell in love with her gorgeous, off-limits instructor, Dimitri. And she dared to defy Queen Tatiana, leader of the Moroi world, risking her life and reputation to protect generations of dhampir guardians to come.
Now the law has finally caught up with Rose - for a crime she didn't even commit. She's in prison for the highest offense imaginable: the assassination of a monarch. She'll need help from both Dimitri and Adrian to find the one living person who can stall her execution and force the Moroi elite to acknowledge a shocking new candidate for the royal throne: Vasilisa Dragomir.
But the clock on Rose's life is running out. Rose knows in her heart the world of the dead wants her back...and this time she is truly out of second chances. The big question is, when your whole life is about saving others, who will save you?
Join Rose, Dimitri, Adrian, and Lissa in Last Sacrifice, the epic, unforgettable finale to Richelle Mead's international #1 bestselling Vampire Academy series.

MY TAKE:
It's always nice when there's a happy ending.

In Last Sacrifice, Rose and her friends need to find out who killed Queen Tatiana and pinned it on Rose. However, things quickly become complicated and what they find may not be what they were expecting at all.

There were certainly a lot of things going on here. I thought the epic road trip was pretty cool, especially since it eventually included some characters that I liked.

The inclusion of Lissa in the nominees for queen was also interesting, especially when she had to undergo the monarch test. I kinda wish they'd administer something like that to politicians who want to be president.

As for the big mystery of who-done-it, well, I had my eye on one individual at first, but after one particular scene, it became crystal clear to me that it was someone else, and my new guess was correct. I can't say I'm surprised because this is exactly the type of plot twist that goes with the least likely person who turns out to be a perfect candidate if you look close enough. Too bad, though, because I sort of liked this person.

As for the Dimitri-Rose-Adrian triangle, while I don't approve of how Rose handled it, I'm happy that Dimitri and Rose are end-game. I've never been a fan of smooth-talkers like Adrian, and I really like the strong and silent type, so really, in my world, there really was only Dimitri for Rose.

THE GOOD:

  1. Dimitri and Rose get their happy ending.
  2. There were some unexpected plot twists.
  3. There are plenty of funny lines and witty banter. 

THE BAD:

  1. Some parts were bordering on melodramatic. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
“What the hell?" I asked. Is this daring escape being sponsored by Honda?” 
READ IT IF:

  1. You want Dimitri and Rose to be together.
  2. You like lots of action.
  3. You like the other books in the series. 

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

In My Mailbox


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

FROM NETGALLEY:


I Know Sasquatch by Jess Bradley
Even Monsters Say Good Night by Doreen Mulryan Marts

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Review: Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5) by Richelle Mead


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:
Dimitri gave Rose the ultimate choice. But she chose wrong...
After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri's birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir's-and to her best friend, Lissa. It is nearly graduation, and the girls can't wait for their real lives beyond the Academy's iron gates to begin. But Rose's heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he's out there, somewhere.
She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and now he is hunting her. And this time he won't rest until Rose joins him... forever.

MY TAKE:
Still not better than Shadow Kiss, but this book was mostly okay.

In Spirit Bound, Dimitri is now coming after Rose. What he doesn't know is that Rose and Lissa have found a way to turn Strigoi back. Will they succeed, and if they do, what happens then?

One of the things I liked most here are the action scenes, of course. One particular scene that didn't have as much description as I would have wanted was Rose's final guardian test. What was described was pretty cool, but the lack of specifics for the rest kinda took some of the awesomeness away. It would make a pretty good movie scene, though.

I also liked all the angst between Rose and Dimitri here. I mean, I wouldn't want it to continue for too long, but here it feels necessary.

The reason why I didn't really like this book, though, was Rose and Adrian. I despise Adrian with every fiber of my being. At first he was charming, but now he's just a d*****. Rose isn't any better. Now I'm all for the occasional love triangle if it's done in a way that creates sympathy for everyone involved. However, with this one, it just made me dislike Adrian and be annoyed at Rose. Rose doesn't seem to know what she really wants with Adrian. She's trying to force something there, I think mostly out of anger and hurt because of Dimitri. Her attitude towards him seemed more like a friends-with-benefits thing rather than a love thing. Sigh. Adrian has made sure that I have very little fond memories of this book.

THE GOOD:

  1. Rose's guardian test was badass.
  2. Rose and Dimitri angst.
  3. The action scenes were cool. 

THE BAD:

  1. Rose and Adrian's relationship. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
“Don't fight them anymore.I'm going to go with them."
"No. I won't let them take you."
"You have to," I begged.
He was breathing hard, every part of him braced and ready to attack. We locked gazes, and a thousand messages seemed to flow between us as the old electricity crackled in the air.”  
READ IT IF:

  1. You want to know what happens next in the series.
  2. You are curious about what happens between Rose and Dimitri.
  3. In a love triangle, you prefer the charmer over the steady guy. 

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?
Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Review: 365 reasons to be proud to be a Dad by Ian Allen


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Being a dad is a 365-day job. Let this nifty little book help you along the way, with a hilarious dad-related fact for every day of the year. Discover how 26 August is the anniversary of the car you probably learned to drive in, and stroke your smooth chin thoughtfully as you learn that 13 May is the day the electric shaver was invented. Find out when and where the first piece of flatpack furniture was invented (Ancient Greece, no less, and it was more of a temple than a wardrobe...), and, on 19 November, remember that there's always a more incompetent parent than you as you recall the day a certain baby boy was dangled off a balcony. Packed with stories of dad derring-do, this book is the perfect buy for any dad you know, or someone who's about to become one. 
MY TAKE:
This book is pretty much a fact-a-day calendar but in book form.

In 365 reasons to be proud to be a Dad, each day is matched with an event that happened on that day which is somehow related to dads or which is something that dads might be interested in (sports, beer, etc.)

What's challenging about creating a book like this is not only coming up with facts that are related to or might be of interested to dads, but filling up every single day of the year with something that happened on that day. There were some facts in those book whose inclusion I thought were a bit of a stretch (such as the mysterious footprints in Devon), but otherwise, I enjoyed this book.

There were plenty of "Dad jokes," which were corny but funny, and made the book more fun to read. Of course, the book didn't rely on these jokes. The book was written in a light, conversation tone that feels like you're talking to a friend. This was particularly important to me when topics I weren't interested in came up, such as cricket, which made an appearance quite a few times.

Just a note: the book appears to be written mainly for a British audience so there's plenty of British slang. It wasn't an issue for me, but it may be a problem for you if you have trouble understanding the occasional British slang.

Thanks to NetGalley and Portico for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's written in a light tone.
  2. The facts cover a wide variety of topics.
  3. There were plenty of corny but funny jokes.

THE BAD:

  1. I would have loved it if there were more illustrations to break up the monotony. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You're a dad.
  2. You like dad jokes.
  3. You love fact-a-day calendars. 

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Review: Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4) by Richelle Mead


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:
Rose Hathaway's life will never be the same.
The recent attack on St. Vladimir's Academy devastated the entire Moroi world. Many are dead. And, for the few victims carried off by Strigoi, their fates are even worse. A rare tattoo now adorns Rose's neck, a mark that says she's killed far too many Strigoi to count. But only one victim matters ... Dimitri Belikov. Rose must now choose one of two very different paths: honoring her life's vow to protect Lissa—her best friend and the last surviving Dragomir princess—or, dropping out of the Academy to strike out on her own and hunt down the man she loves. She'll have to go to the ends of the earth to find Dimitri and keep the promise he begged her to make. But the question is, when the time comes, will he want to be saved?
Now, with everything at stake—and worlds away from St. Vladimir's and her unguarded, vulnerable, and newly rebellious best friend—can Rose find the strength to destroy Dimitri? Or, will she sacrifice herself for a chance at eternal love?

MY TAKE:
While I didn't like this book as much as the third one, I found plenty to enjoy here.

In Blood Promise, Rose travels to Siberia to look for Dimitri and try to kill his Strigoi form. However, when the time comes, will she have the strength to destroy him?

I enjoyed Rose's Russian adventures a lot. I was a little iffy about the Alchemists and I'm still not a hundred percent sure how necessary they are to the overall story. I did like Abe, though. I also liked Rose's interaction with Dimitri's family. With the exception of Viktoria, who is a brat, I liked Dimitri's immediate family. His grandmother is kinda scary, but in that traditional grandmother kind of way.

I hadn't expected much in the way of romantic scenes between Rose and Dimitri, so I was pleasantly surprised by how a third or so of the book is about Rose and Dimitri's romance as Strigoi and blood whore. That was unexpected and quite brilliant.

The only thing I hadn't liked much here was whenever the action would shift to Lissa. I found it a bit boring, although that whole Spirit battle scene at the end was pretty cool.

THE GOOD:

  1. The action scenes are awesome.
  2. The Rose and Dimitri scenes were hot, as usual.
  3. Most of Dimitri's relatives are lovely people. 

THE BAD:

  1. Some of the scenes with Lissa were kinda boring. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
“Why?" I asked softly. The word was carried away on the wind, but he heard.
"Because I want you."
I gave him a sad smile, wondering if we'd meet again in the land of the dead. "Wrong answer," I told him.
I let go. 
READ IT IF:

  1. You like the first few books in the series.
  2. You like stories with plenty of action.
  3. You like the idea of Dimitri and Rose as a Strigoi power couple. 

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Review: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend by Justin Hill, Wang Dulu


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Another life-altering quest, another struggle between honor and lust for power, another generation of warriors forging alliances and enmities. The adventure, romance, and artistry of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon continues in this novelized companion to the first ever Netflix debut film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend based on the novel by Wang Dulu.
Seventeen years after the legendary fighter Mubai dies protecting the world-conquering sword The Green Destiny, four great warriors are called together to guard the formidable weapon once more. The forces surrounding the sword irrevocably altered the life of Shulien, Mubai’s lover, but seventeen years later she is still honor-bound to defend the blade from the power-hungry warlord Hades Dai. The young fighters Wei-fang and Snow Vase, switched at birth, also have heritages and inheritances that inextricably link them to both each other and the fate of the sword. And Silent Wolf, Shulien’s former fiancĂ©, returns from presumed death to thwart Hades Dai—and rekindle an emotionally isolated Shulien’s feelings.
Jam-packed with all the hallmarks of an epic adventure—sacrifice, battles, betrayal, vengeance, redemption, and destiny—this saga also explores the deeper meaning of true heroism and virtue. As Wei-fang and Snow Vase search for identity and forge their places in the world of warriors and heroes, Shu-lien and Silent Wolf struggle to reconcile both the traditions and heartbreak of the past with a fragile hope for the future.

MY TAKE:
I love wuxia films and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is one of my favorite films.

In Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend, the story picks up seventeen years later from the events of the film. Duke Te has died and Shulien must retrieve the Green Destiny sword from his household before Hades Dai gets his hands on it. Complicating the mix are Silent Wolf, Shulien's betrothed; Wei-fang, the son of a concubine; and Snow Vase, the daughter of Jiaolong (Jen Yu in the movie).

This book feels much like your standard wuxia films, but it did have some interesting twists to it. There were magical elements here that were more prominent than from what I remember from the first film. I'm not quite sure how I feel about that, as my favorite parts of the movie were the action scenes, and adding some more mystical elements to it may or may not work for the good of the film.

Speaking of action scenes, there are some pretty good ones here. There are also new warriors introduced here, which vaguely reminded me of Hero (the Jet Li movie).

As for the characters we know and love, there are only two left at this point: Shulien and Jiaolong. I was never really a fan of Jiaolong in the movie, but I started to like her a little bit here. Shulien is still my favorite character because of her grace, discipline and composure, which have not disappeared with age.

The appearance of Silent Wolf was a surprise and I was prepared not to like him. He won me over, though, and I think he and Shulien can work things out. The two youngsters, Wei-fang and Snow Vase, weren't my favorites. Wei-fang was impulsive and proud, and I didn't like him at first. Snow Vase, on the other hand, was too much like Jiaolong, who I'm not a fan of either.

Overall, I think it's a good story, and I'm interested to see how it plays out on the big screen.

Thanks to NetGalley and Weinstein Books for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. The fight scenes are worthy of the legend.
  2. You get to learn more about the characters from the original book and movie.
  3. There are some beautiful, introspective lines here.

THE BAD:

  1. It's harder to get the full effect of the fight scenes on paper compared to seeing it on screen. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You loved the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon movie.
  2. You like wuxia films and novels.
  3. You wondered what happened to Shulien and Jiaolong after the end of the movie. 

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

“I’d mentioned this odd wardrobe choice to Adrian a couple of weeks ago:
“Isn’t Dimitri hot?”
Adrian’s response hadn’t been entirely unexpected:
“Well, yeah, according to most women, at least.”       

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...