Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week is a summer freebie, so I'm doing my Summer TBR...which probably looks a lot like my spring TBR. Oops!

Catalyst a Rogue One Novel By James Luceno

I actually only have 80 pages left in this book, so I hope to be done soon. It's a cool book if you want more background on Galen and Orson from the Rogue One movie. It's definitely for Star Wars geeks like me!

Blood of Elves By Andrzej Sapkowski

One day I will actually finish this book, but other review books keep on getting in the way. I actually just found out that Netflix is developing a tv series based on the book series (not the video games) so I actually really do want to start reading these again.

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

Um...ditto to the above. This book is just so long that it's a huge commitment and other books keep on getting in the way!

Heartless By Marissa Meyer

I'm a couple pages into this, and I'm just not sure about this one. I know it's gotta mixed reviews, but I still want to try to read it. 

A God In Ruins By Kate Atkinson

I started the audiobook on this one, and then I just didn't feel like listening to it and it was given to someone else so I have to wait for it to come back to me. I loved Life after Life and this is supposed to be a companion novel, but I just think it wasn't what I was expecting.

City of Miracles By Robert Jackson Bennett

I didn't know there was going to be another book in this series, but I literally got a review copy of this the day before it went public and this one is pretty long. Definitely want to read this one sooner rather than later. 

The Princess Diarist By Carrie Fisher

I'm waiting to get the audiobook from the library because Carrie herself narrates it. I've heard nothing but good things, and I really want to listen to this sooner.

Wynonna Earp Comics

We watched the first season of the tv series on Netflix recently, and by "we" I mean I watched it and my boyfriend just fell asleep! I really enjoyed it, and I found out that the guy that plays Doc Holiday is actually going to be helping to write a five-part arc in the comics. That's pretty cool, so I'm interested to see how the comics are different. 

Ahsoka By E.K Johnston

I'm kinda of waiting this one out so I can get the audio because Ashley Johnson (Voice of Ahsoka) does the narration. I've heard it's quite good and she really channels the other voice actors from Clone Wars/ Star War Rebels.

Thrawn by Timothy Zahn 

If you are a fan of the original Star Wars Expanded Universe like me, you were probably excited to find out that Thrawn is now canon. YAY! I haven't read this one yet, but I'm pretty excited to read about this diabolical genius. 

Which books are on your list this week?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Audiobook Review: We Have Always Lived in The Castle

We Have Always Lived in The Castle By Shirley Jackson
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Release Date: June 1st, 2010 (original print date 1964)
Format: Audiobook narrated by Bernadette Dunne
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★★1/2

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

Merricat Blackwood lives on the family estate with her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian. Not long ago there were seven Blackwoods—until a fatal dose of arsenic found its way into the sugar bowl one terrible night. Acquitted of the murders, Constance has returned home, where Merricat protects her from the curiosity and hostility of the villagers. Their days pass in happy isolation until cousin Charles appears. Only Merricat can see the danger, and she must act swiftly to keep Constance from his grasp.

I had zero idea what this book was even about, and only read it because it was on a list from BookRiot.com of audiobooks one poster highly recommended. And if you do get the chance to read this, I would suggest doing the audio because Bernadette Dunne does a really good job. You can get a sense of the creep factor with the Blackwood family, and you really get a feel for the time period of when this book is supposed to take place. This book was so eerie, and I think Dunne had a lot to do with that. I was creeped out so much, and that was the point!

So I was really interested in who actually poisoned the rest of the Blackwood family, because I really did not believe that it was Constance. We did have an unreliable narrator in Merricat, because we just saw Constance in her eyes. However, just the way Constance took care of everyone and managed the household made me believe this wasn't a person that would do something like this. Also, what was her motive? I really had to know. Was it Uncle Julian? Someone outside the family? I even thought that they were just never going to tell us, but they did and I was actually pretty surprised by it. The book does leave you in suspense for a long time before you find out who did it, so it was definitely a shock for me! Maybe i missed this, but I didn't get a sense for WHY the person who did it, did it and that does bother me a little.

The whole village is full of terrible people that are just awful to this family. They really believe that Constance did this horrible thing, and even if the court decided otherwise they KNOW she did it. Things just get worse when their mysterious cousin Charles shows up. I'm still not 100% sure if Charles really was their cousin and he was after their money, or if he was just a conman and was after their money. I don't think the book is very clear on this, only that Merricat really does not like this dude. I think this aspect of the novel is really telling that she is afraid of the unknown. This family never ventures outside of their home, and guests are not welcomed very much because it is out of their comfort zone. This family really does not go out of their way to do things they don't like to do. In the end of the novel you can really tell that they will never get of out their comfort zone of each other. They don't welcome guests and they just want to be left alone.

This novel was a great, creepy story that I really enjoyed! It's an older book, but I think at it's core it reflects a lot about society and how people treat each other. This book was actually the last thing we would get from Shirley Jackson, as it was published 3 years before her death. It was so creepy and very much the story of that old creepy house that every kid has a scary story about. I really loved it, and if you are looking for a classic, gothic tale, go read this!

Have you read this? What are your thoughts? Have you read anything else by Shirley Jackson?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Review: Boy Meets Girl

Boy Meets Girl
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: January 6th, 2004
Format: Kindle version
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★★1/2

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
Meet Kate Mackenzie. She:
works for the T.O.D. (short for TyrannicalOffice Despot, also known as Amy Jenkins,Director of the Human Resources Division at the New York Journal) is sleeping on the couch because her boyfriend of ten years refuses to commit can't find an affordable studio apartment anywhere in New York City thinks things can't get any worse.
They can. Because:
the T.O.D. is making her fire the most popular employee in the paper's senior staff dining room that employee is now suing Kate for wrongful termination, and now Kate has to give a deposition in front ofMitch Hertzog, the scion of one of Manhattan's wealthiest law families,who embraces everything Kate most despises ... but also happens to have a nice smile and a killer bod.
The last thing anybody -- least of all Kate Mackenzie -- expects to findin a legal arbitration is love. But that's the kind of thing that can happen when ... Boy Meets Girl.
This is the second book in Meg Cabot's "The Boy" series, and I have to admit I didn't like it quite as much as the first book, but I still found it really enjoyable.

This book experiments a little bit more with writing style as it is not only written in emails, but also in memos, scraps of notes on the back of receipts and even with recorded voicemails. I think this might be where it lost me, since I read this on my kindle and sometimes the formatting was all messed up. This might be a book that is better read in the print version.

If you haven't read the first book, it doesn't matter because although there are cameos from the characters in the first book this is not a direct sequel. This novel deals with Kate a woman who has a tough boss to deal with on top of moving out of her apartment with her ex-boyfriend of ten years. If anything, watching Kate try to find an apartment in New York City (even back in the early 2000s) really cemented why I would never want to live there. Rent is so damn expensive!

The book really does show you that there are some terrible people out there, like Kate's boss Amy and her fiance Stuart. Stuart is the reason that Amy makes Kay fires Mrs. Lopez because she won't give him any dessert. The situation is kind of funny, but I think one thing that bothered me was I don't think we ever find out WHY she won't give him dessert. When pressed she says, "he knows what he did" but we never find out WHAT she is talking about. So that bothered me a little, but it's not a deal breaker.

This is another not-so-serious, fun book to read if you just need something that doesn't make you think too hard or if you need a break from depressing books. I think the most interesting thing about this story isn't necessarily the plot, but the experimental style in which it was written.

Have you read this book in the series? Which is your favorite of this series?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Deanna Listens: Book Riot The Podcast

Deanna Listens is a monthly feature on the first Monday of every month (sometimes) I created to showcase some of my favorite podcasts. I kind of unexpectedly took a few months off from doing this feature, and this month's is actually late by a week. Mostly because life has been pretty stressful, but I am hoping to get back into the swing of things. For this month, I'm talking about Book Riot - The Podcast. 

If you're not familiar with Book Riot, which is so strange to me, like get your life together people, you can check out their website. I get a lot of my book/publishing news from them, and also get a lot of great recommendations for books to read. They also just have a ton of discussions that other readers would be interested in. They also have a podcast. 

So I was a little unsure if I would like this podcast. I listen to a lot of podcasts so sometimes I have "podcast ADD" and I jump around a lot and skip over podcasts I want to listen to for a long time. It's a problem. So one day I finally decided to take the plunge and listen to a complete episode, and I found that I did really enjoy it. It was nice to hear people talk about new things in the book industry, and hear qualms about ebook pricing,  something that bothers me too. I haven't listened to too many episodes of this podcast, but of the ones I have, I've enjoyed listening to Rebecca and Jeff talk about different issues in the book community.

I think Rebecca and Jeff have a good rapport on the show, and I enjoy listening to them talk to each other. One of the things I like about the Book Riot community in generally is that they are very socially conscious. When a book is problematic they don't have an issue with calling it out. In one of the episodes they talked about "that book" and wouldn't name it because they didn't want to give credit to the person in question. You can probably guess which one that it is, it's the one that eventually got cancelled. I like that they didn't want to give this person any publicity for actually saying the name of the book or the author. 

I haven't listened to many more episodes of this podcast, but so far I am really enjoying it and what they have to say. If you are interested in this podcast but don't know where to start, I would suggest starting on You Asked Us Anything or 2016 Year In Review. 

Got a great podcast you love? Give me a recommendation in the comments. No serious, please help, I'm running out of podcasts to listen to!

Happy Reads Everyone!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Review: The Boy Next Door

The Boy Next Door By Meg Cabot
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: October 25th, 2005
Format: Kindle version
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
Gossip columnist and single New York City girl Mel lives in the most exciting place in the world, yet she's bored with her lovelife. But things get interesting fast when the old lady next door is nearly murdered.
Mel starts paying closer attention to her neighbors—what exactly is going on with the cute boy next door?
Has Mel found the love of her life—or a killer?

This is surprisingly one of the few Meg Cabot book series that I just never read. I think I just didn't have that much interest in it, but I listened to an interview with her recently talking about the newest book in the series, so I figured I would give it a try. Also, I was really frustrated with reading the The Roanoke Girls, that I needed a happy palette cleanser and this book did the trick.

This book doesn't try to take itself too serious, and that's kind of why I liked it. It's kind of like reading a romcom about a girl that gets swept up into a whirlwind romance for it all to come crashing down. Mostly because the dude is a an idiot and doesn't tell her off the bat that he's not the actual person she thinks he is.

This book is kind of a blast from the past, as it was originally first published in 2002 and is set during a time when most offices and people where first starting to get email addresses and start corresponding with them. I was a kid when the internet became a thing, but I do remember a time where email did not exist. So although the book might seem really dated, I almost would like to read from a historical perspective, especially since the entire story is written in emails. I wasn't sure if I was going to like this format, but props to Cabot for experimenting with her writing. I still felt like I got the gist of the story, and I whipped through way too quickly.

The story is quick to get through, and it was just a fun read that I couldn't put down. If you ever want to know what life was like in the early internet days, I would recommend this one. Man does it read dated, but I think it's almost like stepping into a different time, even though it wasn't really that long ago.

Have you read any of Cabot "Boy" series? What do you think?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Review: Roanoke Girls

The Roanoke Girls By Amy Engel
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Release Date: March 7th, 2017
Format: Hardback, 279 pages
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.

After her mother's suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother's mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between Lane's first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.
Let me just preface this review by saying this book just wasn't for me! Also before I get into the rest of my review, if sexual abuse is a trigger warning for you or just something you are really uncomfortable reading about (like me) I would suggest staying clear of this. There wasn't really any indication that this would be a major plot point in any of the promotional material, which I think really did a disservice to readers.

So I really did want to like this book, and when I first started it I liked the southern gothic feel I got from the setting and I thought the writing style was really lovely. I will say that I did like the back and forth narrative of "then" and "now" so we got a feel for Lane's life as a teen on Roanoke farm and as a broken adult coming back to help find her missing cousin. I thought it was going to be a cool mystery thriller, and I was almost hoping maybe it would have a supernatural touch to it. But, nope, this was just about how the grandfather has had sexual relationships with all the women in this family---his sisters, daughters, and his granddaughters-- and it really pissed me off!

Sexual abuse was pretty much the whole point of this book, and it's revealed like 50 pages in so I wouldn't really say that this is a spoiler. You learn early on that Yates (Grandad) has had relations with the women in his family, and none of these women (or really girls) think it's wrong. Having it being used as a plot device, where it is mentioned so much, but none of the characters in the book actually talk about it really annoyed me. Reading about all the gross incest made me sick to my stomach. The only reason why I actually finished this book was that I wanted to find out what happened to Lane's cousin Allegra. 

So other than the gross incest being used as major plot device, the rest of the novel was pretty predictable. I wanted to find out what happened to Allegra, but I wasn't surprised when I found out what did, and the outcome of that. I won't give that away, but if you've gotten this far in the book you will probably see it coming.

I just generally did not enjoy this book, but that doesn't mean other people won't like it. If you want to read about dysfunctional families with a slight thriller aspect, this is a book for you. It just did not work for me. 

*I received this book from Bloggingforbooks.org in exchange for my honest review.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Review: Remembrance

Remembrance By Meg Cabot
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: February, 2nd 2016
Format: Kindle Edition, 403 pages
My Rating: 

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N TBD
You can take the boy out of the darkness.
But you can’t take the darkness out of the boy.

All Susannah Simon wants is to make a good impression at her first job since graduating from college (and since becoming engaged to Dr. Jesse de Silva). But when she’s hired as a guidance counselor at her alma mater, she stumbles across a decade-old murder, and soon ancient history isn’t all that’s coming back to haunt her. Old ghosts as well as new ones are coming out of the woodwork, some to test her, some to vex her, and it isn’t only because she’s a mediator, gifted with second sight.

What happens when old ghosts come back to haunt you?
If you’re a mediator, you might have to kick a little ass.

From a sophomore haunted by the murderous specter of a child to ghosts of a very different kind—including Paul Slater, Suze’s ex, who shows up to make a bargain Suze is certain must have come from the Devil himself—Suze isn’t sure she’ll make it through the semester, let alone to her wedding night. Suze is used to striking first and asking questions later. But what happens when ghosts from her past—including one she found nearly impossible to resist—strike first?
If you have ever stumbled upon this dumb little blog before you probably found out really quick that I love Meg Cabot. I spent a lot of years reading her Princess Diaries series, and she is probably the reason I read so much today. So it might shock a few of you when I say...I think her Mediator series might be my favorite series she's ever written.

I really enjoyed this new installment of Suze and Jesse's story. Like I blew through it so quickly, that it made me realize that maybe I'm just not reading the books I actually want to anymore. Whenever I pitch reading this series to someone I explain, "it's kinda like Buffy, but like with ghosts." I stand by that explanation. Suze has an attitude and sometimes she does really stupid shit, but that's why I enjoy reading about her so much!

I think the main thing I like about this series is that it's a part-paranormal, part-investigation novel. In order to help the ghosts move on, Suze has to first figure out why they are still here, and sometimes the ghosts are just not helpful. Like Lucia the little girl ghost that Suze tries to help in this novel. A little violent ghost that has plenty of reasons to be so angry about her death. I do like that Suze really can't do everything on her own and she enlists her research team (CeeCee) and the muscle (Paul Slater begrudgingly) so she can solve the issue of what is keeping Lucia on this plane. 

I actually love that Cabot makes it pretty clear that we were never supposed to like Paul. He's such a douche, and that's really clear is this novel with him trying to knock down Suze's old house that may effect Jesse! I hate that dude, so I'm really glad in the end of this novel everything works out for Suze and Jesse. 

There were a couple things about the adult Suze that made me really like her. First off all, in this novel Suze is the one that is more interested in sex than Jesse. Of course Jesse wants to abide by his beliefs of not having sex before marriage, which makes sense due to his upbringing and the time in which he was alive. I kinda of love that the woman is the one interested in sex, because we don't see that a lot. Even though woman like sex too! So I really appreciated that being included. The other thing I loved about her was the swearing. Dude, I swear a lot, like I just can't help myself anymore, so I loved to see another woman around my age swearing up a storm and everyone getting mad at her. That is pretty much my life, so I could totally relate. 

I will admit that the plot is not that different from the other books in the series. There's a ghost Suze has to help, Paul tries to mess up her relationship with Jesse, and Suze has to kick some major ass. But in all honestly, that's what I wanted out of this novel. I wanted to come back to these characters I loved and read them in action again. If Meg Cabot writes anymore novels about Suze, I will buy them all.

Have you read this series? What do you think of this adult installment?

Happy Reads Everyone!