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Friday, June 3, 2016

Review: Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Captive Prince by C.S. PacatCaptive Prince by C.S. Pacat
Series: Captive Prince,
Also in this series: Prince's Gambit, Kings Rising
Published by Berkley Books on 07 April 2015
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Fantasy, GLBT, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Royalty, Survival Stories
Pages: 270
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
Also by this author: Prince's Gambit

Place(s) Traveled To: Ios, Akielos // Arles, Vere

First Line(s): Damen came back to himself in stages, his drugged limbs heavy against the silk cushions, the gold cuffs on his wrists like lead weights.

When I first heard about CAPTIVE PRINCE by C.S. Pacat  prior to its release by Berkley Books I didn’t think it was a book for me and so promptly forgot about it. Fast forward to a year later and it seemed like I couldn’t get away from mention of this series in all my social media from a variety of readers. I then decided to look into CAPTIVE PRINCE further and requested a copy from my library to read. Regular readers know that I’m usually really wary of hyped up books and that was the case with CAPTIVE PRINCE and yet its because of the hype that had me curious to know more. The story is told from the POV of Damen who is the Crown Prince of Akielos who is captured and sent into a life of slavery by his own half-brother who has overthrown the kingdom. To increase tensions the place where Damen is sent is to Akielos’s rival nation and he’s given to Prince Laurent, whose older brother Damen killed years earlier during a war between the nations.

Tension abounds in CAPTIVE PRINCE and I have to admit that I was enthralled with this novel. The political intrigue was gripping and tensions were high. I loved Damen’s voice and really felt for the situation that he found himself in. I was also really drawn to Laurent, who reminded me a lot of Gen from Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series. Like Gen, Laurent is always several steps ahead of everyone and is an expert at holding his cards to his chest and in pretending to be something he’s not. I loved how these two interacted together as they started to feel each other out and while there is no real romance in CAPTIVE PRINCE you can see the seeds being set for the romance that is to come. But first both Damen and Laurent must go through some personal journeys and deal with some hard truths before they can get to their HEA.

Captive Prince Quote

Another thing that I liked about CAPTIVE PRINCE was the world building. Pacat created a rich and vibrant world that was easy to visualize throughout the story. I loved how she set up the various kingdoms and how distinct they were. I also liked how vivid the tensions were between Akielos and Vere which were also reflected in the tensions between Damen and Laurent. Although, I will admit that there were some things that happened in the court of Vere that I did not care for. There was a rape culture that existed that just made me uncomfortable and I rushed to get through one scene in particular. I also felt that CAPTIVE PRINCE was well written although Pacat seemed to have a fondness for big fancy words that were often unnecessary where a normal word would do. I pride myself on my vocabulary but there were times that I was glad to be reading CAPTIVE PRINCE on my kindle as it was easy to look some words up.

CAPTIVE PRINCE isn’t a perfect book and its not a book for everyone but I for one enjoyed the story. As I said, I didn’t think that it was going to be for me but in the end I was really glad that I gave it a shot as I really liked the overall story even as there were things here and there that I didn’t not care for. CAPTIVE PRINCE was a book that took me by surprise and then stayed with me long after I turned the last page. Its a compelling read and one where I was glad to have easy access to the second and third books of this series because once I finished CAPTIVE PRINCE I wanted to jump into the other books immediately. This is definitely a book that I’ll be re-reading in the future as I just fell in love with the main characters and their story. And I think that many of you will as well if you just give it a shot.

irishdarkblue

IR - Captive Prince

 

Add Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Important Note: Even though I compare CAPTIVE PRINCE to YA titles this is not a YA book and contains mature themes. This Irish Recommends is more for the adults who read YA and my blog. 

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Audio Review: The Remedy by Suzanne Young

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Audio Review: The Remedy by Suzanne YoungThe Remedy by Suzanne Young
Narrator: Rebekkah Ross
Series: The Program,
Also in this series: The Program, The Treatment, The Epidemic
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on 21 April 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Death & Dying, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 9 hrs and 45 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: The Program, The Treatment, The Epidemic

Place(s) Traveled To: Corvallis, Oregon // Eugene, Oregon // Portland, Oregon // Lake Oswego, Oregon

First Line(s): It’s time to say good-bye.

When it came to Suzanne Young’s book THE PROGRAM (my review) I fell hard and I was sad when the series was over as I just loved this world that she created. When I heard that Young was writing a prequel duology I was both excited and scared and sad. I was excited because I wanted more of this world and I was scared because I wasn’t sure if THE REMEDY would live up to its predecessor and I was sad because our old friends wouldn’t be in this one. I should not have worried though as Young totally knocked things out of the park with this creepy origin story to how The Program came to be. THE REMEDY is told from the POV of Quinlan McKey who is a Closer. That is she is a girl that pretends to be girls who died in order to help grieving families move on.

Quin’s life is never fully her own due to the work that she does and its something that her father has had her do for the past 11 years. Which is far far longer than the recommended time to be a closer. In THE REMEDY she’s sent out on a long term assignment not long after coming off a job and as a result she begins to lose herself a little. Quin has never lived a normal life but in this role she gets to experiment with what may have been if her life was different and she likes it. Quin also begins to uncover some shocking facts and learns that all may not be what it seems with the company that she works for and with the world in general. There seems to be an epidemic starting and if she isn’t careful she might get sucked in.

The Remedy Quote

I didn’t think that I would like a character more than Sloane from THE PROGRAM but Quin totally wins the reader over with her actions. She’s smart and vulnerable and as a reader you just want her to find peace and happiness. You want to shake her father for making her do this work and you want to slap Deacon for some of the things that he does. I was totally invested in THE REMEDY and found myself coming up with reasons to drive around town just to listen to more of this story. Its twisty and turny and there are just some things you can’t see coming until after they’ve happened. Rebekkah Ross is a fantastic narrator and her voice just totally sucks you into this story and won’t let you go. Ross *is* Quin and you can’t ask for any more than that when it comes to a books narrator.

THE REMEDY was a total emotional roller-coaster ride for me and just when I thought I had things all figured out Young would toss in some new fact or detail to totally surprise me. THE REMEDY left me in awe an amazement and I just don’t understand when everyone isn’t totally buzzing about this story. Its realistic and stunningly written and I love trying to find all the connections between THE REMEDY and THE PROGRAM. Its a book that can be read independently of the other series but I think it just becomes all the richer for reading in the order that it was written in. THE REMEDY is one of the best books that I’ve read so far this year and I can not wait to see where Young goes with this series next.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - The Remedy

Add Altered by Jennifer Rush to Goodreads (Click here for my review.)

Add The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

five-stars
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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Review: The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: The Stars Never Rise by Rachel VincentThe Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent
Series: The Stars Never Rise,
Published by Delacorte on 9 June 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Death & Dying, Demons, Dystopian, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: New Temperance, Unknown

First Line(s): There’s never a good time of day to cross town with a bag full of stolen goods, but of all the possibilities, five a.m. was the hour best suited to that particular sin.

Before reading THE STARS NEVER RISE by Rachel Vincent I wasn’t sure what to expect from it. I knew some of my trusted friends had read and really enjoyed this dystopian novel so when a copy landed in my lap I decided to give it a shot. I thought that THE STARS NEVER RISE was an interesting read and a change on your typical dystopian story but it also took me longer to read than it should have and I can’t full place my finger on why. There was just something about the story that didn’t compel me to pick it up and as such I became easily distracted by other things until I forced myself to sit down and finish the story.

I thought that the world in THE STARS NEVER RISE could have used a bit more development but overall it did have more character to it than many of today’s dystopian reads. I also liked the characters and thought that Nina was strong and courageous and dealing with a whole mess of things that no teenage girl should have to deal with. And it certainly doesn’t help when she learns that the demons that her world has to deal with are an even bigger threat than initially thought. That’s right, I said demons. THE STARS NEVER RISE is full of them and I liked Rachel Vincent take on this mythology and how she incorporated religion into her story. For in Vincent’s world the Church has taken control of all as a way to hold back the demon horde but all is not as status quo as the Church wants everyone to think.

Stars Never Rise Quote

There is also a very interesting romantic interest in this book and those that aren’t a fan of love triangles will have to beware before picking up this book. While THE STARS NEVER RISE doesn’t have a love triangle in the traditional sense there are aspects to this story that may be off putting to some. I thought it was interesting and I do wonder where Rachel Vincent is going to go with it. Although I do have a theory so I am curious to see if things unfold the way that I think it might. If it does I will be really disappointed so here’s hoping that Vincent is more clever than I when it comes to that situation.

Readers should also know that THE STARS NEVER RISE does end with a cliff hanger. For me, its not a gripping edge of your seat I need the next book now sort of cliff hanger but it does have me wanting to see how it all ends. As such, I will be picking up the next book THE FLAME NEVER DIES (Release Date: Aug 2016) but don’t think that I will be rushing out to read it. I also think that THE STARS NEVER RISE is just a duology and I like that we’ll be getting an ending ending with the next book. Although I could be wrong about this and I’m just going off what Goodreads is showing me. Overall, I liked THE STARS NEVER RISE but I didn’t love it. I think that fans of dystopian reads (even those who are tired of the genre) will enjoy it but maybe wait until August because…you know…cliff hanger.

 

irishdarkblue

 

IR - Stars Never Rise

Add The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

Add The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Beach Reads

Posted by Irish in Top Ten Tuesday4 Comments

Graphic made by David at From My Bookshelf

Graphic made by David at From My Bookshelf

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish this weeks topic is all about beach reads! Summer is upon us and some of us will be hitting up the beach every chance we get. I love reading on the beach and when I go I don’t want anything too heavy but I do want a compelling story. Here’s a list of ten books that I’ve read this year that I think would be great as your next beach read!

In Real Life Quote

1. In Real Life by Jessica Love (Goodreads // My Review)

Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, regularly shower each other with presents, and know everything there is to know about one another.

There’s just one problem: Hannah and Nick have never actually met.

Hannah has spent her entire life doing what she’s supposed to, but when her senior-year spring-break plans are ruined by a rule breaker, she decides to break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friendship feelings for him.

Hannah’s romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and finds out that Nick has been keeping some major secrets. Hannah knows the real Nick can’t be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has one night in Sin City to figure out what her feelings for Nick really are, all while discovering how life can change when you break the rules every now and then.

26 Kisses Quote

2. 26 Kisses by Anna Michels (Goodreads // My Review)

Breaking up with her boyfriend is not how Veda planned on starting her summer. When Mark makes it clear that it’s over between them, Veda is heartbroken and humiliated—but, more importantly, she’s inspired. And so she sets out on the love quest of a lifetime: use the summer to forget about Mark, move on, and move up. All she has to do is kiss twenty-six boys with twenty-six different names—one for each letter of the alphabet.

From the top of the Ferris wheel at her hometown carnival to the sandy dunes of Lake Michigan, Veda takes every opportunity she can to add kisses (and boys) to her list, and soon the breakup doesn’t sting quite as much. But just when Veda thinks she has the whole kissing thing figured out, she meets someone who turns her world upside down.

By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Anna Michels’s debut is the story of one girl who realizes that moving on from the supposed love of your life means taking a chance—and having the courage to love again.

Defending Taylor Quote

3. Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally (Goodreads // My Review)

Captain of the soccer team, president of the Debate Club, contender for valedictorian: Taylor’s always pushed herself to be perfect. After all, that’s what is expected of a senator’s daughter. But one impulsive decision—one lie to cover for her boyfriend—and Taylor’s kicked out of private school. Everything she’s worked so hard for is gone, and now she’s starting over at Hundred Oaks High.

Soccer has always been Taylor’s escape from the pressures of school and family, but it’s hard to fit in and play on a team that used to be her rival. The only person who seems to understand all that she’s going through is her older brother’s best friend, Ezra. Taylor’s had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. But it’s hard to trust after having been betrayed. Will Taylor repeat her past mistakes or can she score a fresh start?

Beta Test Quote

4. Beta Test by Annabeth Albert (Goodreads // My Review)

Player vs. Player. Fight!

Brilliant graphic designer Ravi Tandel is ahead of the game—he’s just been asked to present a top secret project at a huge conference in Seattle. All systems are go…until he learns his buttoned-up office nemesis is coming along for the ride.

Tristan Jones isn’t really the gamer type, but he knows the back end of the video game business inside out. Together, he and Ravi will give an awesome presentation. If they survive the cross-country trip first.

Tossed together in close quarters, Ravi’s shocked to see Tristan’s sexy, softer side emerge from such a conservative shell. He’s less shocked to learn his handsome colleague’s prominent family would never support an out-and-proud son. But Ravi didn’t struggle through his own coming out to hide who he is now. To be together, Tristan will have to push past his fear and ultimately decide: Does he want a future with Ravi? Or is it game over before they’ve even begun?

The Remedy Quote

5. The Remedy by Suzanne Young (Goodreads // My Review – coming 02June)

Can one girl take on so many identities without losing her own? Find out in this riveting companion to The Program and the New York Times bestselling The Treatment.

In a world before The Program…

Quinlan McKee is a closer. Since the age of seven, Quinn has held the responsibility of providing closure to grieving families with a special skill—she can “become” anyone.

Recommended by grief counselors, Quinn is hired by families to take on the short-term role of a deceased loved one between the ages of fifteen and twenty. She’s not an exact copy, of course, but she wears their clothes and changes her hair, studies them through pictures and videos, and soon, Quinn can act like them, smell like them, and be them for all intents and purposes. But to do her job successfully, she can’t get attached.

Now seventeen, Quinn is deft at recreating herself, sometimes confusing her own past with those of the people she’s portrayed. When she’s given her longest assignment, playing the role of Catalina Barnes, Quinn begins to bond with the deceased girl’s boyfriend. But that’s only the beginning of the complications, especially when Quinn finds out the truth about Catalina’s death. And the epidemic it could start.

Because of Miss Bridgerton

6. Because of Miss Bridgerton (Goodreads // My Review – coming soon)

Sometimes you find love in the most unexpected of places…

This is not one of those times.

Everyone expects Billie Bridgerton to marry one of the Rokesby brothers. The two families have been neighbors for centuries, and as a child the tomboyish Billie ran wild with Edward and Andrew. Either one would make a perfect husband… someday.

Sometimes you fall in love with exactly the person you think you should…

Or not.

There is only one Rokesby Billie absolutely cannot tolerate, and that is George. He may be the eldest and heir to the earldom, but he’s arrogant, annoying, and she’s absolutely certain he detests her. Which is perfectly convenient, as she can’t stand the sight of him, either.

But sometimes fate has a wicked sense of humor…

Because when Billie and George are quite literally thrown together, a whole new sort of sparks begins to fly. And when these lifelong adversaries finally kiss, they just might discover that the one person they can’t abide is the one person they can’t live without…

V23 new typeface tagline.indd

7. Tell Me Three Things (Goodreads // My Review – coming soon)

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

Six of Crows

8. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (Goodreads // My Review – coming soon)

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Bittersweet

9. Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen (Goodreads // My Review – coming soon)

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the orchard.

The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago.

At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price.

Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way.

They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some.

Captive Prince Quote

10. Captive Prince (Goodreads // My Review – Coming 03 June)

Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos, but when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.

Beautiful, manipulative and deadly, his new master Prince Laurent epitomizes the worst of the court at Vere. But in the lethal political web of the Veretian court, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen finds himself caught up in a play for the throne, he must work together with Laurent to survive and save his country.

For Damen, there is just one rule: never, ever reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else . . .

irishdarkblue

 

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Audio Review: You by Caroline Kepnes

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Adult, Audiobook, Review0 Comments

Audio Review: You by Caroline KepnesYou by Caroline Kepnes
Narrator: Santino Fontana
Series: You,
Also in this series: Hidden Bodies (You, #2)
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on 30 Sept 2014
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Suspense, Thrillers
Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Hidden Bodies (You, #2)

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Bridgeport, Connecticut // Little Compton, Rhode Island // Fall River, Massachusetts

First Line(s): You walk into the bookstore and you keep your hand on the door to make sure it doesn’t slam.

 

My first thought upon finishing YOU by Caroline Kepnes was “what the heck did I just read?” but more than that I was lost in just how good it was. YOU is supremely well written and takes a character, in this case Joe Goldberg, who is a terrible terrible person and makes you LIKE him. Not just that but you kind of sympathize with him and understand why he is doing what he is doing. Which is a total mind fuck since Joe is a deranged stalker who kills people and so shouldn’t be a sympathetic character. From the moment that I started YOU on audio I was enthralled. Santino Fontana *is* Joe Goldberg and he totally brings this character and this world to life. I can’t imagine experiencing this book in any other format than the audio because Fontana is just such a great narrator. He gave me chills and he made me like Joe. Again, Joe is not a character to like so its slightly disturbing and part of what makes YOU such a good book.

I know that YOU isn’t a book that is for everyone and I think that a reader will either love it or hate it. I don’t think that there is any shades of grey with this one. Because Joe is crazy. There is no way around it but the people that he meets aren’t the best either. Not that any of them deserve their fate but when you see them through Joe’s eyes and hear his thoughts you can believe his rationale as it works for him. Even as you sit on the edge of your seat begging the other person to make a different choice since you know what Joe has planned if they make the wrong one. Before I read YOU I really didn’t think it would be a book that I would like but after…well…after I found it hard to leave Kepne’s world behind because she is just so talented and her words so powerful that I wanted the story to last.

You Quote

If you like thrillers and audiobooks that I strongly recommend that you experience YOU in that format. I think that the spoken word is just so powerful at times and with Fontana as the narrator it almost feels like you are sitting across form Joe listening to him tell his story. Which is terrifying since, as I’ve said, he’s a crazy stalker who kills people and not the sort of person that you ever want to cross paths with. Joe is a total sociopath and I just bow down to Kepnes in her characterization of this character. Joe is just so real that you really think he’s in the room with you as this book progresses whispering in your ear and sending chills down your spine. The images that Kepnes’s words evoke are so vivid that if I closed my eyes I could picture each and every one.

YOU was a fantastic listening experience and one that I wish I could experience again for the first time. This is seriously one of my favorite reads of the year and I like it more the more I think back on it. YOU is the sort of book that stays with you long after you read it and is a really hard experience to describe to others. I could not stop listening to this book and think its unlike any other story out there. Its totally riveting and I really can’t wait to see what Kepnes comes up with next. If you haven’t experienced this book yet then you need to move it up your TBR pile. I don’t think that you’ll be disappointed!!

irishdarkblue

IR - You

Add Stolen by Lucy Christopher to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

As of this posting, there is only one book that I can think of that makes a good read-a-like for YOU. If I think of something later then I will update this post. Or if you know of I good read-a-like then let me know in the comments and I’ll credit you and link back to your review!

five-stars
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Friday, May 27, 2016

Review: Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Shades of Earth by Beth RevisShades of Earth by Beth Revis
Series: Across the Universe,
Published by Razorbill on 15 January 2013
Genres: Abduction, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Futuristic Romance, Love & Romance, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military, Young Adult
Pages: 369
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Violent Ends

Place(s) Traveled To: Centauri Earth

First Line(s): “Wait,” I say, my heart clenching.

SHADES OF EARTH is the thrilling conclusion to Beth Revis’s Across the Universe trilogy. Its a book that has been living on Mt TBR for way longer than it should have been but better late than never, right? As always, I enjoyed Revis’s writing style. She has a gift of world building and writing engaging prose that keeps the reader engaged and wanted more. Like all the books in the series its a quick read but its one that I didn’t enjoy as much as the others in the series. I think that’s because in SHADES OF EARTH Revis introduces a love triangle and I am so not a fan of love triangles. Granted this one is minor in comparison to others I’ve read but its still a nuisance because I have loved how the relationship between Amy and Elder has progressed over the course of these three books.

I also really didn’t like Amy’s father. My stars he was such an asshole! I hated how he wouldn’t listen to Amy or Elder despite all the knowledge and experience that they had gained about the Godspeed, the people on it and the planet they landed on. I didn’t like how her father kept trying to make things be how they would have been back on Earth and how he couldn’t seem to accept the changes that had happened over the course of the journey while he and the other Earthens were asleep. Although he did remind me a bit of the adults on the CW show The 100 when the ARC first crashed back on Earth and how they wanted to keep treating Clark and company as the children they wanted them to be and now as the capable adults circumstances forced them to be.

Shades of Earth Quote

SHADES OF EARTH also introduced a bit of WTF-ery into the story and so it lost me a bit there near the end. Overall though I was satisfied how this series finished up but I do think that Revis stretched believably a little too far with some of the choices that she made. Though things could defiantly have gone far far worse so I have grown to accept and care for on how Revis decided to end things as she did.  As I said above Revis can write and she brings that gift of words throughout this entire series and I am glad that I finally picked SHADES OF EARTH up in order to finish it.

If you like sci-fi adventure stories that contain a little romance and mystery then you should probably pick up Revis’s Across the Universe series. Its a fast paced series and one that I don’t think that people talk about enough. I’m glad to have read it and my only real regret is that I didn’t get to SHADES OF EARTH sooner than I did. But then again I do so hate when a series ends so that probably didn’t help matters. But you, dear reader, may not have that problem. So go forth and grab these three great reads today!

irishdarkblue

IR - Shades of Earth

Add Across the Universe by Beth Revis to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Aime Kaufman to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Review: Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review1 Comment

Review: Alexander Hamilton by Ron ChernowAlexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
on 29 March 2005
Pages: 818
Format: Paperback
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Like so many other people I know, I have fallen down the Hamilton Musical rabbit hole. I have become a bit obsessed with listening to the soundtrack and its not uncommon for me to use lyrics in my every day conversations. With this, I’ve had a renewed interest in reading non-fiction. I used to read a lot more non-fiction books than I do now and I do miss it. I miss learning things but non-fiction reads often take longer to get through and I’m so busy that I often pass them over in favor of lighter reads. But once I started to listen to the Hamilton soundtrack I became more interested in learning more about the man that inspired it. This led me to picking up Ron Chernow’s biography ALEXANDER HAMILTON as it was the source material for the show.

ALEXANDER HAMILTON is a *BIG* book and I admit to being intimidated by it as the print is also small. So I decided to tackle this one in small chunks at a time and I was very glad that I did. I really enjoyed learning more about this founding father as I really don’t remember much of him from when I was learning about American history in school. All I could really recall was that he was a founding father, he was never a president, and he was on the $10 bill because he helped found the financial system. After reading ALEXANDER HAMILTON, I learned that he did just so much more. Its a bit intimidating when you think about just how much he did in such a short amount of time and here I am thankful I managed to make it through the day without spilling coffee on myself.

I will admit though there there was a huge chunk in the middle of ALEXANDER HAMILTON that went over my head and bored me. Those were the sections where Chernow covered Hamilton’s financial plan and covered in detail all that he did to set up the banking system, stock market, and so much more. It was dry and my brain doesn’t naturally gravitate to numbers and such so the book lost me a bit there. But I do know that so much of what we know of modern American banking and government wouldn’t exist as we know it if it wasn’t for Hamilton’s influence. Hamilton was a genius and a visionary and we are so lucky to have had him on our side during the revolution.

What I loved about this book was learning all the personal details of Hamilton’s life. I was happy/sad to learn all the details that Lin-Manuel Miranda changed to make the musical flow better. I also may have cried when I got near the end of this tome. The musical has effected me on such an emotional level that its hard not to get teary eyed when it comes to reading about Phillip’s death and then Hamilton’s. I think this may be the first time that a non-fiction read has effected me this much. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. If you are a fan of the musical, or even of history, then ALEXANDER HAMILTON is a book that you should pick up. Its informative and important and gripping in many ways. Reading ALEXANDER HAMILTON has also renewed my interest in reading non-fiction and now I want to read more about our founding fathers to see how other biographers portray Hamilton and how their subjects contrast to how Chernow wrote about them. When I was reading the book I was lost in Hamilton’s life and at the end I was so glad to have invested the time to read it.

irishdarkblue Hamilton Quote
four-stars
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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Audio Review: Love, Lucas by Chantele Sedgwick

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Audio Review: Love, Lucas by Chantele SedgwickLove, Lucas by Chantele Sedgwick
Narrator: Allison McLemore
Published by Audible Studios on 17 July 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Length: 6 hrs and 47 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Unnamed, Utah // Huntington Beach, California

First Line(s): Everyone tells me funerals help with the grieving process, but I think those people are full of crap.

LOVE, LUCAS by Chantele Sedgwick is a book that I picked up on a whim one day while browsing Barnes and Noble where it then promptly sat on my shelf for a bit. Then one day later on I was browsing Audible looking for a new book to listen to and noticed that they had LOVE, LUCAS so I decided to use one of my credits to download a copy. From a listening point of view I really enjoyed this one. This was the first time that I think I’ve listened to Allison McLemore and I thought that she did a good job bringing Oakley and the rest of these characters to life. From a wishlist standpoint I do wish that there was a male narrator to read the letters written for Oakley by her brother Lucas but overall I really liked how this one play out. I also found myself listening to LOVE LUCAS whenever I could and managed to get through it in just a few days time.

The plot of LOVE LUCAS though is where things kind of go sideways for me. LOVE LUCAS is one of those books that reminds me a lot of an ABC Family (sorry Freeform) or Lifetime movie. Which doesn’t make it bad but it doesn’t make it great either and yet there is something addictive about it. Oakley annoyed me as she was just filled with so much angst. I get that she was grieving so I can give her a little bit of leeway but it just got to be a bit much for me over the course of the story. However, I don’t think that this will bother others as much. I also think that if I’d read my print version of this book that her angst wouldn’t have seemed as great. There is just something about listening to a book that really highlights the words in a story. As a reader, your forced to slow down and to really pay attention as to what is being said. So little things can something become bigger than what they really are.

Love Lucas Quote

I enjoyed the plot of LOVE LUCAS and liked how Oakley worked through her grief. Although the timing seemed off on some things. I also found LOVE, LUCAS to be repetitive, always giving same info several times but treating as if it was first time we’d heard it. I get some repetition in a book but this just seemed excessive. But again this could just be more noticeable (re: annoying) to me because I listened to the story instead of reading it. Like I said above though, I really did like this audiobook and would recommend it in that format but if your book pet peeves are similar to mine then maybe try it in print as these things might be more muted.

LOVE, LUCAS is a quick read. I got lost in the story when I was listening to it and I do plan on reading more from Sedgwick. This is a book that reminded me in a lot of ways of TWENTY BOY SUMMER and I think that while it has sad undertones is a book that makes for a good summer time read. LOVE, LUCAS is a book that isn’t really about grief but rather how does one move on from losing someone you love so much. Its a bittersweet journey but its ones that I am glad that I took with Oakley.

irishdarkblue

IR - Love Lucas

Add Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Hold Still by Nina LaCour to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Review: Short Stay by Heidi Cullinan

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Blog Tour, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Short Stay by Heidi CullinanShort Stay by Heidi Cullinan
Series: Love Lessons,
Also in this series: Love Lessons, Fever Pitch, Lonely Hearts
Published by Self-Published on 24 May 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, GLBT, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, New Adult, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Short Story / Novella
Pages: 272
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: Love Lessons, Fever Pitch, Lonely Hearts, Dance with Me, Enjoy the Dance

Place(s) Traveled To: Chicago, Illinois // Las Vegas, Nevada

First Line(s): Elijah Prince would rather go to a sing-along showing of Frozen dressed as Elsa with a thousand whining children than go to the Acker Annual New Year’s Eve Party.

SHORT STAY is a novella by Heidi Cullinan that is a crossover between her Love Lessons and Special Delivery series. SHORT STAY is told from the POVs of Elijah and Baz from LONELY HEARTS (my review) and picks up not long after that book ends so you’ll definitely want to read that book before seeing where these two end up. SHORT STAY also includes lots of cameo interactions from Cullinan’s Special Delivery series which I had not read prior to reading this novella. So there were times when I was a little lost about which character was with who but overall I was able to make it through more easily than if I’d read the Speical Delivery series and not the Love Lessons.

I enjoyed reading SHORT STAY as I really missed Baz and Elijah but felt that there was a little more telling in this book than showing. The story felt a little more surfacy but it was a worthwhile story to read if you are a fan of these two characters. Even though only a few months have passed since LONELY HEARTS ends and SHORT STAY begins it was nice to see where these two were. I liked seeing how they still struggled a bit settling into their happily ever after but without adding in any unnecessary drama or pointless breakups. Elijah and Baz as still broken but they are much more healed than they were in LONELY HEARTS and by the end of SHORT STAY the reader knows that they are going to mend all their broken bits.

I do wish that there were more Walter and Kelly moments since they traveled to Las Vegas with Baz and Elijah as they almost seemed forgotten about once there in favor of all the Special Delivery characters. A cast that I may have been more excited to see if I knew more about them. Though I do plan on picking up those books as soon as I can just to see where all those characters originated from. Overall though, I did enjoy this story and would recommend it to fans of the series. There are some good heart achy moments and the story flows in a natural and organic way. It was fun revisiting old friends again along with meeting some new people. SHORT STAY is a book that will leave you smiling by the end and those are always the best sort of reads.

 

irishdarkblue

Short Stay Quote
three-half-stars
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Monday, May 23, 2016

Review: Lonely Hearts by Heidi Cullinan

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Lonely Hearts by Heidi CullinanLonely Hearts by Heidi Cullinan
Series: Love Lessons,
Also in this series: Love Lessons, Fever Pitch, Short Stay
Published by Samhain Publishing on 11 Aug 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, GLBT, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians, New Adult, Performing Arts, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 355
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Love Lessons, Fever Pitch, Short Stay, Dance with Me, Enjoy the Dance

Place(s) Traveled To: Saint Paul, Minnesota // Chicago, Illinois // Minneapolis, Minnesota

First Line(s): As far as Elijah Prince was concerned, gay weddings could choke on their own cheery goddamned glitter and die.

LONELY HEARTS is the third and final book in Heidi Cullinans Love Lessons series and follows two characters that we’ve met in previous books, Baz and Elijah. LONELY HEARTS picks up not long after FEVER PITCH (my review) ends and it deals with a lot of the fall out from that book. Of the three books in this series, I think that LONELY HEARTS is my favorite. This is a series that just keeps getting better with each book and LONELY HEARTS is sure to make readers feel ALL THE FEELS. At least, it did for me. I just loved Baz and Elijah and the growth that they both go through over the course of the story. These two are both broken in different ways and I just liked how they both helped each other to heal.

There are times that I felt that LONELY HEARTS was a bit surfacy and even a little cutesey near the end but overall I just fell head over heels for the story and found it really hard to put down. Overall though, LONELY HEARTS is a bit deeper and grittier than the previous books and that is due in part because the demons that Baz and Elijah are fighting are bigger. Elijah had such a screwed up upbringing and at the end of FEVER PITCH he’s left adrift and seemingly alone. But fortunately for him, he had Aaron for a roommate and Aaron isn’t about to let Elijah disappear into himself. Between Aaron and Baz and the rest of the gang Elijah really comes into the person that he was always meant to be. He’s not perfectly in his happy place by the end but he’s definitely on his way there.

Lonely Hearts Quote

Baz too is dealing with issues and I really liked how Elijah accepted his medical issues and also helped him to deal with them. Baz was injured badly in an accident years before LONELY HEARTS begins and so some of the affectations that you see in FEVER PITCH are really much needed shields that he’s put into place to help him lead as normal a life as possible. Baz is also pretty adrift at the start of the book unsure where to go especially with most of his friends having recently graduated. So it helps him to have a project (if you will) in Elijah as it helps to give him purpose. And through that he also stumbles onto a path that will give him a life after graduation because that’s not something he can put off forever.

I just loved how Baz and Elijah interacted throughout the entire story. Oh they had their ups and downs but overall they were just perfectly matched. They made my heart ache and had me turning the pages as fast as I could just to see how their story would end. But at the same time I hated to hit that last page because I didn’t want to say goodbye to them. This is one of those stories that I wish was longer, more drawn out, because then I could stay with these characters longer. Saying goodbye is the hardest part with a book series and that is so very true with this one. If you like a heart achy romance then you should definitely give this series a try!!

 

irishdarkblue

Lonely Hearts Quote

 

Add Strong Signal by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

Add With This Heart by R.S. Grey to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

four-stars
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