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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Review: Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones

Posted by Irish in Review1 Comment

Title: Third Grave Dead Ahead (Goodreads)
Publisher: St Martin’s Press

Source: Library
Publication Date: 31 Jan 2012
Series or Standalone: Series
ISBN: 1250001544
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 310

The Author on the Web:

Place(s) Traveled to: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

First Line: There was a dead clown sitting in my living room. Since I wasn’t particularly fond of clowns, and it was way too early for anything coherent to come out of my mouth, I pretended not to notice him.


Charley Davidson Series Order
Book 1: First Grave on the Right
Book 1.5: For I Have Sinned (novella)
Book 2: Second Grave on the Left
Book 3: Third Grave Dead Ahead
Book 4: Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet
Book 5: Fifth Grave Past the Light (July 2013)
Book 6: Sixth Grave on the Edge (Summer 2014)

You know that I am in love with a series when I do a little dance when the next book in the series comes into the library just as I’m finishing up book 2 and just before I’m about to head onto a plane and all that glorious uninterrupted reading time. This was the case with Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones which became available the day before I was headed out to see my sister in New Mexico (where it should be noted this series is set, though just further north than where my sister lives.) I don’t usually travel with library book but this was a special circumstance as I just needed to know what happened next! I may have even asked my sister if she could request the 4th book for me from her library but alas that was not to be. 
The story picks up not long after Second Grave on the Left ends and features all the characters that we’ve come to know and love from the previous books. Charlie is her usual, crazy sarcastic self and I love being her head throughout this series. Not to mention the shenanigans that is Cookie and Swopes. I just love when these characters are on the page and their banter with Charlie. I also loved all the very hot, sexy scenes that involve our favorite son of Satan, Reyes. There were also some new characters in this book some which are nice and other are down right terrifying. 

As with previous books Charlie is wrapped up trying to help her Uncle Bob with cases for the APD and also doing some of her own investigating but stakes are also raised to a whole new level. There is a whole lotta action in this book and Charlie has so much that needs to be done in a short amount of time and she does it all on almost no sleep. Seriously, there were moments when I got tired on her behalf during my read of book. Third Grave Dead Ahead is one of the best books in this series and I just loved every moment. I blitz read through this one almost as fast (if not faster) than the previous 2 books. 

I was also so glad that the 4th book in this series was out when I finished this one I just had to know what happened next! Talk about your crazy cliff hanger but not the sort that forces you to read the next book. All the big story ARCs started in this book are wrapped up but this ending leaves just enough open that you just can’t wait to know what happens next in Charley’s life. There are new mysteries revealed to the overall series ARC and some wonderful twists and turns that keep the reader on the edge of their seat. I am a total fan of this series and can’t recommend it enough. 

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review: Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

Posted by Irish in Review1 Comment

Title: Nantucket Blue (Goodreads)
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Source: Publisher
Publication Date:07 May 2013
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: 1423160517
Format: Ebook (ARC)
Pages: 304

The authors on the web:

Place(s) Traveled to: Providence, Rhode Island // Nantucket, Massachusetts

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

First Line: Even without Holly Howard and Dori Archer, who’d been suspended for drinking on campus, we were supposed to win that game.

Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland had the potential to be a great summer read but in the end it was just a meh book for me. While there are things I liked there were lots that just annoyed me (some more than they should have.) First off, lets talk setting. Nantucket Blue starts in Providence, Rhode Island which thrilled and struck fear into my heart. You see, I am a Rhode Islander born and bread. I know Providence well and its outskirts better. Especially one area of the book that was mentioned, Bristol, which is where I went to high school. 

So that brings me to nitpick number 1. Rhode Islanders tend to be distance phobic. We don’t just hop of a bike and ride 15+ miles (1.5-2hrs) from Providence to Bristol to grab coffee and check out antiques. Especially if you are a teenager. Oh I liked antique stores when I was a teen but I’d go to the ones in my town when I happened to be near them I would travel 15 miles for one. Not that I’ve never made that trip. I have, but it took planning and it was never determined on a whim. So that part of the novel, while such a minor thing to most readers, just made my eye twitch. Though I did love the reference to Del’s Lemonade. Del’s is an institution in Rhode Island and its just wasn’t summer until you heard the first Del’s Lemonade truck roll through your neighborhood. 
There were also times when it felt like a character was cut out and then merged with another, the one who became Zach. Zach was supposed to be around 15/16 years old but he never felt that young he always seemed so much older like he was in college. And Cricket, well there were times when she definitely acted like she was a young teen and not a high school senior. But she always felt complete and real. While Zach seemed to have a split personality. This made it hard to connect with him for much of the book. Though when I could I found his character to be sweet and I really pulled for him and Cricket. 
I really disliked Cricket’s so-called best friend, Jules, wow what a b#$*!! She so mean to Cricket throughout much of this book and yet Cricket still wanted to follow her around like a puppy. Often, creepily so. Cricket was a borderline stalker and I wonder if maybe she started to hang out with Zach because he was Jule’s brother and as such was a connection to her. Nantucket Blue is supposed to be about this great friendship between Cricket and Jules but I’d never want a friend like Jules and neither should Cricket. Jules is not a good person and I know she’s dealing with some issues but that doesn’t excuse her behavior. I also had some issues with Cricket’s parents. But I won’t get into that here as I don’t want to spend this whole review on what I didn’t like.
Now, it might seem like I hated this book but I didn’t. I didn’t love it but it was a really quick read and its a good beach read. Its a book that doesn’t require much thought and you can just spend a couple of hours lost on an island paradise. This story made me want to hop of a ferry and head off to Nantucket to explore that island. Growing up we went to Martha’s Vineyard or Block Island so I’ve never been there but now I want to go. Maybe I’ll be able to find some time this summer to do so. This book isn’t anything super special. Its not one that I want to re-read over and over but I don’t feel as though I wasted my time on it. Its flawed but I felt that the writing held promise and I look forward to Howland’s next book.


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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Audio Review: Unwholly by Neal Shusterman

Posted by Irish in Review1 Comment

Title: Unwholly (Goodreads)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Source: Audible.com
Publication Date: 30 April 2013
Series or Standalone: Series
ISBN: B00CL8ICA4
Format: Audio
Audio Length: ~12.5 hrs
Narrator: Luke Daniels

The Author on the Web:

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

First Line: He’s fighting a nightmare when they come for him.

Unwind Series Order
Book 1: Unwind
Book 1.5: Unstrung (novella)
Book 2: Unwholly
Book 3: Unsouled (15 Oct 2013)

When I first finished Unwind by Neal Shusterman I was upset when there was no audio for the next book in the series, Unwholly. When I can I like to stay in the same format that I started a book, there are exceptions to this of course, but its always nice to stick with it. Then I was browsing through my audible.com when my credits renewed last month and low and behold there was now an audio for Unwholly and I downloaded it immediately. As with Unwind the synopsis of this story is a bit misleading and as with the first book Unwholly is also told from multiple POVs there are the ones you’d expect from book 1 Connor, Resa, and Lev. Then there are new voices Starkey, Miraclena and Cam along with a couple of random one off POVs that do nothing for the story but act as a cheat (easy way) to get things across. 

Despite the fact that this book was released years after the first one it picks up about a year or so after events in Unwind end. Connor, Lev and Resa are all still adjusting to life after Happy Jack and trying to do the best they can. Then there is Miraclena who is a tithe and plays the roll Lev filled at the start of Unwind and Lev is more like Connor trying to convince her that her path is wrong. I never really understood her whole purpose in the story and hope that it will become clear in book 3. Otherwise, it was just all a bit of pointless filler that I could have done without. 

Connor and Resa are both a bit different in this story as well. They aren’t as close as they once were and that makes me sad. I was expecting more in terms of romance from them but all I got was annoyance and frustration as they both kinda refused to communicate what they were really thinking. Though Resa’s journey in Unwholly ends up being far from dull even as it was a bit predictable at times. But one of the most interesting characters was Cam, the hodgepodge human created entirely from unwinds. A character that Dr. Frankenstein would have been most impressed with. Cam is complex and funny and I really liked his addition to the story. Even while at the same time being a bit horrified for how he came to be. I look forward to seeing where his story goes in the third book providing of course that he makes the POV cut. 

The story in this one wasn’t super complex or even as riveting as Unwind and it definitely comes across as more of a set up/transitition novel. While Unwind is able to stand on its own. There are threads left dangling in this story and while its not a major cliffhanger there are still enough pieces missing that you need another book to finish them up. Which is a bit of a shame as there were lots of filler type moments in this one that could have been eliminated so the story was more complete. I am still a bit fascinated with this world though so I will be reading the next book, I just hope that there is more to it substance wise than in this one.

As for the narrator, Luke Daniels returns to tell this story and he does just a so-so job this time around. A lot of the voices seem to get a bit muddled and Cam, while I liked the ultra raspy approach to him, always sounded far far older than the teenage boy he was supposed to be. It was always a bit jarring when his ‘age’ was brought up. There were also times when it was hard to tell who was speaking when as Daniels seemed to use similar voices for certain characters and it was messy if they happened to be in the same room. The whole thing just seemed a bit rushed in some ways and the narration just didn’t have a polished feel to it. It was almost as if Daniels was a new narrator and not one who has a long history of reading audiobooks. Despite that though I will still go with the audio of Unsouled if there is one available and only if its read by Luke Daniels.
 

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Audio Review: Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Posted by Irish in Review0 Comments

Title: Monument 14 (Goodreads)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Source: Publisher
Publication Date: 04 Oct 2012
Series or Standalone: Series
ISBN: 1427211302
Format: Audio
Audio Length: ~7 hrs
Narrator: Todd Haberkorn

The Author on the Web:

Place(s) Traveled to: Monument, Colorado (2024)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

First Line: Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus.

Monument 14 Series Order
Book 0.5: Dress Your Marines in White
Book 1: Monument 14
Book 1.5: Jake and the Other Girl
Book 2: Sky on Fire
Book 3: Savage Drift (~2014)

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne starts with a second person narrative and as I am not a fan of that style I almost turned it off immediately. Fortunately that didn’t continue for long and I continued on with the story and was pleasantly surprised by the results. Whenever I read a book by a debut author I never know what to expect its not just the words that are new by the voice and perspective. Emmy Laybourne chose to tell her post-apocalyptic story from a a teen boys perspective and I wasn’t quite expecting that. Its so east to fall into assumptions as a reader that female authors will typically write female POVs and male authors will write the boy perspective. So when the author does the opposite with what you expect its a bit surprising but not badly so. 

Laybourne also chooses to set her story in a superstore, not unlike a Super-Walmart. She, like I’ve often done myself, has been in these stores and thought…well, this wouldn’t be a bad place to hole up during an apocalypse for you’ve got everything you need to survive for a good long while. Of course, in an apocalypse those are usually the first places to be raided so safety only goes as far as the security you have. Fortunately for the kids in Laybourne’s book they are driven into the story (literally) just as the sky starts opening up in this massive hail store that is the results of a larger disaster father away. There is a chain reaction of events that eventually leads to a cloud of toxic gas to be released into the air that affects those of particular blood types in a variety of ways. But since the kids got to the store just as events began to unfold they were able to secure it and so not only give themselves a great shelter but protection as well. 

During the course of this story the reader doesn’t learn too much about the outside world. Thanks to an EM Pulse of some sort the network connecting everything is down (goodbye internet, deep breath addicts its just a book) so this is a very character driven story. There is Dean, our faithful narrator, and some others from his school as well as a bunch of younger kids and they are all just trying to survive hoping that their parents will come and rescue them. One thing that I recall most from this book is that there is a lot of cooking involved. It seemed an excessive amount of time was devoted to this, but as I was telling a friend on Twitter that I’d rather many cooking scenes than lots of long drawn out ones about paintball

Monument 14 is evenly paced and made all the more scary as its premise is plausible. I can easily visualize these events coming about. But there was something lacking in the story that prevented me from falling head over heels in love with it. I liked Dean and his POV but never really connected with him as I’ve done with other book characters. I think part of my trouble was with the narration. Todd Haberkorn does a good enough job with the overall story telling but when it came to voices his little kid ones sounded overly whiney and his female voices just off. When it came to the male voices he always made them sound older than a teenager and so I always had to remind myself that the main characters were all ages 5 to 16 years in age. 

As a debut, I think that Laybourne has promise. I liked the world that she created and even though I was a bit disappointed when I first learned that Monument 14 wasn’t going to be a standalone. I am curious to see where things will go next. There is a flood of dystopian/post-apocalyptic books out there and you can do worse than Monument 14 but its not my favorite in the genre either.

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Review: Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs

Posted by Irish in Review4 Comments

Title: Blood Bound (Goodreads)
Publisher: Ace

Source: Purchased
Publication Date: 30 Jan 2007
Series or Standalone: Series
ISBN: 0441014739
Format: ebook
Pages: 292

The Author on the Web:

Place(s) Traveled to: Tri-Cities, Washington

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

First Line: Like most people who own their own businesses, I work long hours that start early in the morning. So when someone calls me in the middle of the night, they’d better be dying.

Mercedes ‘Mercy’  Thompson Series Order
Prequel – Homecoming

Book 1 – Moon Called
Book 1.5 – Wolfsbane & Mistletoe (short story)
Book 2 – Blood Bound
Book 3 – Iron Kissed
Book 4 – Bone Crossed
Book 5 – Silver Borne
Book 6 – River Marked
Book 7 – Frost Burned 
Book 8 – Night Broken (~2014) 

As with most books that I start on audio I debated on if I wanted to continue the series that way or move to print. Since I was out of audible credits and I had a gift card this time around I opted to read the ebook of Blood Bound. Sometimes this transition is easier than others and this time around the ebook was a bit harder to get into after the audio. Part of me wished that I’d waiting to get the audio and the other was happy to just read at my own pace.  

Blood Bound pics up not long after the events of Moon Called end and this time Mercy’s vampire friend Stefan needs some help. Mercy and her friends are quickly sucked into a dangerous mystery with the vampire clans and its a heart racing ride until the end of the story. Patricia Briggs really knows how to spin a tale and I love the mythology and world that she has created. As this series primarily involves werewolves one would think that I would hate it but Briggs has such a way with telling a story that I find in this case that I like them. 

I don’t like the love triangle and every time the two Alphas, Samuel and Adam, are exerting dominance trying to get Mercy to choose I just roll my eyes and sigh. I may be willing accept werewolves as a plot point but I don’t think that I will ever be ok with a love triangle. Although Patricia Briggs does present a more realistic triangle than most authors. In her story its not a choice between the ultimate bad boy and the good boy next store. Where the heroine is inevitably drawn to the bad boy as she knows that he will be healed by the gift of her love. *gag me* In Patricia Brigg’s world both Adam and Samuel are a flawed characters but they mean well and they care for Mercy. They are mostly good but they are will to do what it takes to protect those they love. 

They mystery that is at the foundation of Blood Bound is interesting and it holds a reader’s attention. Its not impossible to figure out but its fun to see the various clues that Briggs lays out for the reader to find. I also liked learning more about the vampires and Stefen and he’s grown to be a favorite character. As has Zee and some of the other members of the wolf pack. With a series its always fun to see how characters grow and change over the course of the books. And while in book 2 we are still just getting to know them the reader gets that feeling of visiting with old friends while reading the story. 

As with Moon Called, I enjoyed Blood Bound more than I expected. I was immersed in the world as I read it and I felt a little lost when I left. This is a series that I will definitely be exploring more although I might switch back to audio as I do enjoy the narrator, Lorelei King. 

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Review: Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones

Posted by Irish in Review2 Comments

Title: Second Grave on the Left (Goodreads)
Publisher: St Martin’s Press

Source: Library
Publication Date: 16 Aug 2011
Series or Standalone: Series
ISBN: 0312360819
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 302

The Author on the Web:

Place(s) Traveled to: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

First Line: “Charley, hurry, wake up.” Fingers with pointy nails bit into my shoulders, doing their darnedest to vanquish the fog of sleep I’d been marinating in. They shook me hard enough to cause a small earthquake in Oklahoma. Since I lived in New Mexico, this was a problem.

Charley Davidson Series Order
Book 1: First Grave on the Right
Book 1.5: For I Have Sinned (novella)
Book 2: Second Grave on the Left
Book 3: Third Grave Dead Ahead
Book 4: Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet
Book 5: Fifth Grave Past the Light (July 2013)
Book 6: Sixth Grave on the Edge (Summer 2014)

After finishing First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones on audio I debated long and hard on if I wanted to continue the series in that format or not. I loved the audio narration and really could have done the whole series that way. But I also wanted to devour these books and that is something that the steady pace of an audio doesn’t allow you to do. Since Second Grave on the Left was just sitting there on a shelf at my library it seemed like the right choice to make to move to print. At first it was a tough transition, yes the reading was faster but it lacked the nuance of Lorelai King’s narration. So it should come as no real surprise that in the back of my mind I heard her voice as Charley’s as I was reading this book. 

Second Grave on the Left picks up not long after the first book ends and it starts off running. Well, it does once Cookie is able to get Charley out of bed. That girls loves sleep almost as much as I do. lol As with the previous book this story is filled with lots of humor but its not all fun and games. There is the mystery that spans the book from cover to cover that keeps the reader engaged and entertained. And then there is this bigger secondary mystery that carries over from the first book. One gets resolved as this book ends and the other lays a trail of seeds that leads the reader into the next book. Yet, despite the secondary story arc not being fully resolved the reader is not left unsatisfied. Instead, this does what all those crazy bomb dropping cliff hangers that are so popular in series reads fails to do for me. 

These little seeds make me want to read the next book as do all the characters that just grow and become deeper and more real as a series progresses. There is no big huge cliff hanger and if you never read the next book then you aren’t disappointed. As a reader, you can make your own ending, or you can move on and see where Darynda Jones leads you next. Its that desire to know what happens next that is key. Its what makes it so hard to put the book down once you start reading it. And for me this is one of those unputdownable reads. 

Second Grave on the Left is a laugh out loud funny story but there is a seriousness to it too. There is drama in Charlie’s world and lots of tension with her evil step-mother and uber hot and so very confusing Reyes. Oh, Reyes, if you pick up this serious for just one reason than he is enough. I adore Charley and I love her friends and family but there is just something special about Reyes. I like how he keeps Charley on her toes and keeps her off balances. I actually like that he’s the ultimate bad boy and yet he’s not totally evil. He’s just such a fun character and you never quite know just what side of the board he is playing on. 

Darynda Jones is a talented writer and I love her writing style. I love the characters and the world that she has created and I loved getting to know all these characters even better. I love a series in which you can see character growth and added depth with each new book. If you are looking for a fun and entertaining mystery then you will enjoy this book. Its perfect for the beach or for curling up on the couch on a cold winter’s day. I promise you’ll devour this story and immediately want to dive into the next book. I know I did.


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Monday, June 10, 2013

Review: Inhale, Exhale by Sarah M. Ross

Posted by Irish in Review2 Comments

Title: Inhale, Exhale (Goodreads)
Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: 04 May 13
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: B00CNIMOG0
Format: Ebook 
Pages: 241

The author on the web:

Place(s) Traveled to: Brunswick, Georgia

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

First Line: 

Related Post: Sarah M Ross talks about the setting for Inhale, Exhale

Lately I’ve been all about this “new adult” category that’s constantly increasing in popularity. I like the possibility of it and so have been jumping up to try out new titles that fit this in between time of not quite young adult and not quite adult but can sometimes fit in one bucket or both. Inhale, Exhale by Sarah M. Ross takes place the summer after Jillian gets out of high school. She’d planned on parties and beaches and instead finds herself working in cubicle city as her mom insists that she work. 

I found Jillian to be a bit of a cliched character, her klutziness and constant blushing. Her inability to see how pretty she is despite how people tell her all the time. And how she’s supposed to be really smart and yet as much as we’re told this we don’t really see it in action. Fortunately she’s not a TSTL sort of character as I’d probably never be able to finish the book but there are times when her smarts are questionable. I was also not a big fan of some of her life choices. She has a long time boyfriend but then constantly thinks about the hot guy at work, Grant. The one that everyone in the office wants (old and young) and who has no interest in anyone until he meets Jillian. Grant is a bit of a cliche as well. If you want YA/Romance tropes then this book has them!

But even with the tropes it wasn’t a bad story. Once I was able to get into it that is. The first chapter was a bit rough and filled with lots of foreshadowing. But then there was an even flow to it and even though there were times that Jillian made me all eye-twitchy the parts told from Grants POV helped me move past that. I really liked Grant, in all his vanillaness, and if it wasn’t for his telling parts of the book this one may have been a DNF for me. Especially when Jillian and Grant get together and Jillian is still quite firmly attached to her boyfriend. Cheating is not something that I like. Ever. Even in fiction. 

Jillian also has a tendency to overreact at the strangest of moments and yet be so blind in others. Then there’s this whole WTF-ery crazy scene at the end that makes the reader blink and wonder what just happened. I wasn’t expecting that bit of drama and while I normally love things like that there should be some better integration into the story so that its just not suddenly there. 

Inhale, Exhale has its flaws but I did finish it quickly and for the most part it held my attention. Its not a book that I’d rush to recommend but I wouldn’t dissuade anyone from reading it either. I think that there is a big audience out there for people whole like their heroines a little klutzy and in need of saving. I prefer my heroines to be a bit more feisty  and who can walk more than 3 steps without tripping or blushing. Overall, not a bad read and I’ll probably check out more from Ross at some point but I won’t be rushing to devour her backlist just yet.


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Friday, May 31, 2013

Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Posted by Irish in Review8 Comments

Title: Attachments (Goodreads)
Publisher: Dutton

Source: Library
Publication Date: 14 April 2011
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: 0525951989
Format: Ebook
Pages: 323

The author on the web:

Place(s) Traveled to: Omaha, Nebraska


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
First Line: Would if kill you to get here before noon?

After blitzing through Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park (my review) and Fangirl I knew that I had to get my hands on her debut novel, Attachments. Luckily for me my library had an ebook of it available for immediate download so I was able to dive right in. Attachments differs from her other books as its told in two different formats. There is Lincoln’s POV which is more like your standard narrative and then you learn about Beth via emails that she writes to a friend and co-worker. We get to see these emails as its part of Lincoln’s job to monitor the email of the newspaper where they all work.

I enjoyed Attachments but I didn’t like it as much as I did Rowell’s other books. I enjoyed watching Lincoln fall for a girl he had never met via her email though at the same time it was a little creepy. I also felt that we never really got to know Beth as we only saw a small part of her via her correspondence. When the paths of the two characters finally cross their romance just sort of happens and its too quick. It never felt real and then the book was done. We never get to see them as a couple or even get any real scenes of them getting together.

The whole story was this big buildup to Lincoln and Beth meeting….as a reader you are cheering for them wanting them to get together. So when it happens and its rushed, well, I was disappointed. I remember closing the book and asking myself, that’s it? And it was and I was just sat there and went huh…I wanted more.

Maybe if I’d read Attachments before Rowell’s other books I might have been happier with how events played out. But as it was I know the sort of deep and meaningful connections that she can write and I just wanted to experience more of that here. Maybe if Beth’s POV wasn’t entirely in emails I might have been able to connect with her character more as I did with Lincoln. There always seemed to be a disconnect with her and as a result she was a very surfacy character.

I did enjoy Attachments my heart ached at times for Lincoln and my wanting him to find a true connection with Beth. As with Rowell’s other books I read this one in a single sitting and the time just flew by. Unlike her other books I may not re-read this one but I am glad to have read it. If you are a fan of Rowell then you should look into picking this one up if you haven’t done so already. Then be sure to move on to Eleanor & Park and then pre-order Fangirl. Rainbow Rowell is on my autobuy, autoread, auto-recommend list and she should be on yours as well. You won’t regret it reading any of these stories.

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Review: Five Summers by Una LaMarche

Posted by Irish in Review1 Comment

Title: Five Summers (Goodreads)
Publisher: Razorbill

Source: Publisher
Publication Date: 16 May 2013
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: 1595146725
Format: ARC
Pages: 384

The author on the web:

Place(s) Traveled to: Onan, New Hampshire (Lake Ossipee)


Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
First Line: There are some things that seem like they’ll just never happen.

Growing up I didn’t go to summer camp often, there was always so many fun activities going on in the community that I grew up in that it seemed silly to go away somewhere to do the same things. Plus the the kids that were in my neighborhood may not have always been the ones that I hung out with at school for various reasons. But when I did go to summer camp there was always something magical about it and so I’ve always enjoyed reading books that deal with the subject. Five Summers by Una LaMarche is the newest summer camp book that is told from the points of view of the four best friends (Emma, Maddie, Skylar, and Johanna) over their five summers at camp.

The girls all come from different areas and home lives and they reinvent themselves in different ways at camp. Each summer they come together grow and bond and then they go home for the winter and wait until the next summer. Eventually they grow too old to attend the camp as campers and while some return as counselors the girls mostly drift apart. That is until the annual reunion weekend comes and the girls reunite. Over the course of the book you learn what brings the girls together, what drives them apart, and what bonds them all over again.

Five Summers is a tale of friendship at its best and while there is romance in the story it doesn’t dominate it. In some ways, Five Summers reminded me a little of Morgan Matson’s Second Chance Summer (my review). Although it was lacking some of the magic that I found in that book. While I enjoyed Five Summers I wish that it had a bit more depth to it. The whole story was a bit predictable and superficial and while part of me was glad the romance wasn’t the focus I also wish that there was more of it.

Five Summers is a book about camp. If you’ve ever been to camp or dreamed of going to camp then it should bring up some fond memories. Five Summers is a book about summer and its lazy days. Its a book about friendships and first loves. Its a quick read and would be a great book to bring with you to read at the beach. Its what I would call a brain candy book in which its fun to read but doesn’t tax the brain too much. To be a brain candy book isn’t a bad thing, sometimes you need those light books to distract yourself from the world. The sort of book that is like an episode of Full House where everything is resolved in 30 minutes and everyone is happy and smiling at the end.

This was Una LaMarche’s first book and while it didn’t wow me as some other debuts I did like it enough to know that I will be looking out for her next book. She may not focus on romance but she does know how to write about friendships. She also writes a pretty entertaining blog so you should check that out after you finish reading her book. If you are a fan of Morgan Matson then you might enjoy this book as well. LaMarche and Matson have a similar style and I look forward to seeing LaMarche’s writing grow over future books.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Audio Review: Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Posted by Irish in Uncategorized2 Comments

Title: Unwind (Goodreads)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Source: Audible.com
Publication Date: 01 November 2009
Series or Standalone: Series
ISBN: 142337309X
Format: Audio
Audio Length: ~10 hrs
Narrator: Luke Daniels

The Author on the Web:

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

First Line: “There are places you can go,” Ariana tells him, “and a guy as smart as you has a decent chance of surviving to eighteen.”

Unwind Series Order
Book 1: Unwind
Book 2: Unwholly
Book 3: Unsouled (15 Oct 2013)

Unwind by Neil Shusterman is a book that I remember buying shortly after it first came out. I thought the premise sounded interesting and just a tad bit creepy…the whole idea that a parent could decide to unwind their child was just terrifying. But for whatever reason the book just sat on my shelf and I eventually gave it away. Then one day I was searching through audible and stumbled upon the title once again. Since I’m always on the hunt for a good audio I listened to the sample, liked what I heard, and not long after I was listening to this story. 

Events in Unwind start off with a bang. There is no long build up you are thrust into the action and the world and the pace never really lets up. What really surprised me the most about this story was that it was told from three main points of view. What I didn’t like was that sometimes Shusterman would head jump into other characters to help the story along. When its done for ease of plot movement I am not a fan. Although I did enjoy being in the head of one character towards the end as he was going through a procedure. Well, enjoy is the wrong word but it was one of the creepier scenes in the entire book and it had me riveted. 

The ending was also a bit rushed for my tastes and I thought that there was a bit of a hypocritical action that happened in terms of one of the mains even when there was little choice in the matter. I totally found myself rolling my eyes and thought…oy with the poodles already did that really happen? And it did so I rolled my eyes again for good measure. 

There was also a romance to be found in Unwind which was also unexpected. But it was very understated and I think that is one of the main differences between male and female authors. Male authors tend to put more emphasis on the story and not as much on love (unless of course you are Nicholas Sparks, but he’s an anomaly) while with many female authors the romance of a story tends to be more on the front burner. Both styles I enjoy and sometimes its really nice to have more of a plot then just two characters mooning over each other. 

All in all I really enjoyed Unwind and I thought that Luke Daniels did a fabulous job with the narration. Yes, his female characters weren’t the best but then I find its always hard for narrators of one sex to do voices of the other so I don’t hold it against them. Unless of course its excruciatingly bad. There were a few times when the voice would slip from one character to the next but never too terribly that I had trouble knowing who was speaking when. I’m also really glad that they recently recently released the audio of book two, Unwholly, as I was pretty disappointed when I finished Unwind and learned that I’d have to finish the series in print. That, to me, is one sign of a good narrator and fortunately for me Luke Daniels is back with the sequel and I’ll be starting that one once there is a break in my schedule. That is, if I can wait that long. 

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