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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Sort-Of Return of a Terrible Blogger (aka Rapid Reviews #1)

Posted by Irish in Review1 Comment

Ack!!

2017 has not been a good year for me blogging wise. Its not that I don’t want to blog I just get so overwhelmed with how far behind I am on reviews and so run away from the open blog post window and escape into a book. Which then just makes the cycle repeat. So I think that I am just not going to try. Which is a terrible thing for a blogger to say…but its October 2017 and I’m like 158 blog posts in the hole….there is no way I am digging myself out that that with any grace. lol

So instead what I am going to do is draft up a series of posts listing out the books I’ve read each month. Starting with some of my 2016 backlog….yes, I still have books to review from 2016. 

 

I will mention the book, my star rating, and will add in a line or two of thoughts for those books I remember enough to comment on. Maybe one day, for some of them, I’ll write up something longer. But for now I think that this is what I can handle and then I can start of 2018 with a clean slate. Because I do miss blogging. I’ve just been doing this for ten years and got a bit overwhelmed so I think this break has been good for me. That said here are my first Rapid Reviews.

READ IN 2016 – Part 1

1. Title: All Note Long
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: Perfect Harmony, Book 3
Genre: New Adult, MM Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Netgalley
Rapid Review: This was such a fun story and I just loved the push and pull between these characters. They gave me all the heart-achy feels that I love and I had such a hard time putting this one down. A great end to a fun series.
Recommend: Yes!

2. Title: Interference
Author: Kay Honeyman
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Edelweiss
Rapid Review: This one left me wanting something more. I also did not like the main character. She was so clueless about everything, her love interest was always trying to make her look like an idiot, and her parents were just awful. I went into this one with high hopes and found it to be just so-so.
Recommend: Not really

3. Title: Even Odds
Author: Elia Winters
Series: Slices of Pi, Book 1
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Netgalley
Rapid Review: So…I kind of recall reading this one but I also don’t really remember much else. GR says I read it in a day which is usually a good thing, but I made no notes. So, in the end a forgettable read.
Recommend: um…maybe? lol

4. Title: Two Summers
Author: Aimee Friedman
Narrator: Frankie Corzo
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Parallel World
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: This was such a fun story!! I loved how Friedman pulled off the parallel words and how she brought everything full circle for a satisfactory ending. The narrator was A+ and really helped to bring these characters to life. I wasn’t always a fan of the secondary characters (Ruby 😡 ) but I could totally relate to Summer.
Recommend: Yes!

5. Title: The Star-Touched Queen
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Narrator: Priya Ayyar
Series: The Star-Touched Queen, Book 1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating: 2 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: ZOMG this MC bugged the ever loving crap out of me! Talk about your TSTL sort of heroine. I spent much of the book wanting to shake her and the rest rolling my eyes. I found the plot to be repetitive and really the only thing that kept me in this one until the end was the narrator.
Recommend: Nope!

6. Title: Girl Against the Universe
Author: Paula Stokes
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Publisher
Rapid Review: This was one of those books that I didn’t mean to start when I picked it up and then became so engrossed I couldn’t put it down. I loved these characters and the story that Stokes told. I do think that some things were a little rushed but overall just a great story that kept me up into the wee hours of the morning. <3
Recommend: Yes!

7. Title: Holding Up the Universe
Author: Jennifer Niven
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Publisher
Rapid Review: This was sent to me by a sales rep friend of mine and I wasn’t sure if it was a me book. But my starts, this friend gets me and the books that I like. I fell in love with these MCs and had such a hard time putting this one down. It just hit me right in the feels and I can’t recommend it enough.
Recommend: Yes!

8. Title: Wolf by Wolf
Author: Ryan Graudin
Narrator: Christa Lewis
Series: Wolf by Wolf, Book 1
Genre: Young Adult, Alternate History
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: I went into this one with high hopes and was terribly disappointed. It was so very sssllllooowww! Nothing seemed to happen for much of the story and then you blink and its over in this crazy convoluted climatic scene. Ugh. I was annoyed more than anything and not sure if I’ll ever pick up sequel as I really don’t care about these characters.
Recommend: Maybe

9. Title: Connection Error
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: #gaymers, Book 3
Genre: New Adult, MM Contemporary Romance
Rating: 3.5 stars
Source: Netgalley
Rapid Review: Annabeth Albert is a total must read author for me as she writes such wonderful characters. There is angst and heart ache and everything just ends in a happy sigh. I know when I pick up an Albert book that I’ll most likely read it in one sitting and be left wanting more and this one was no exception.
Recommend: Yes

10. Title: Shadow Magic
Author: Joshua Khan
Narrator: Ramon de Ocampo
Series: Shadow Magic, Book 1
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: It took me FOREVER to start this one, not because anything was wrong with story but because I was so scared I wouldn’t like it that I was afraid to start it. But once I did I was totally sucked in. Loved these characters (HADES!!!) and this world. Such a fun, fast paced middle grade series. My only real disappointment was that they didn’t use two narrators. There were POV chapters from Lily’s POV and they would have been even better with a female narrator to go along with them.
Recommend: Most definitely!

11. Title: The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You
Author: Lily Anderson
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Netgalley
Rapid Review: Holy geekery goodness! I loved everything about this story. Trixie was a character that I could easily relate to and this story took me notice or at all to read. I think I had a big smile on my face for much of the book. Lots of pop culture nerd references which you don’t see a lot of in YA characters. The only real thing missing was that the romance wasn’t super romancy (i.e. not enough kissing) but there is a companion coming out so I hope to see more of these characters in that book!
Recommend: Si Senor

12. Title: Gemina
Author: Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files, Book 2
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Publisher
Rapid Review: I DEVOURED Illuminae and was super excited for Gemini. While I didn’t love this as much as the first I did still enjoy it. This one was a wee bit more love triangly (though not terribly so) than I would have liked. Overall this was still an addicting read and I am really curious to see where things go in the third book.
Recommend: Heck yeah!

13. Title: One Silver Summer
Author: Rachel Hickman
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 2 stars
Source: Gift
Rapid Review: This one seemed like it would be totally up my ally but oh my stars it was painful to read!! I did read it in a single sitting as I kept hoping for improvement but alas this one was a dud. Too many one off POVs, easy story lines to figure out and a way to annoying heroine just wrecked this one for me.
Recommend: Nope. Nope. Nope.

14. Title: Cold-Hearted Rake
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels, Book 1
Genre: Adult, Historical Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: Kleypas is usually an easy sell for me but I didn’t love this one as much as her others. I really wasn’t a fan of how the heroine’s sister hijacked much of the book. This is all the more annoying when you know that book 2 is the sisters book so much of what happened here should have happened there. I liked the characters for the most part those the heroine did annoy me more than I would have liked as well.
Recommend: Yes, but not to everyone

15.Title: The Deepest Blue
Author: Christina Lee
Series: Roadmap to Your Heart, Book 2
Genre: New Adult, MM Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: I always love a good Christina Lee story and have been enjoying her foray into MM romances. And while I enjoyed this one there was just something missing that kept me from loving it entirely. I liked the family interactions and the push/pull between the two MCs…I just can’t put my finger on what didn’t set my heart aflutter. Still worth the read though if you stumble on it 🙂
Recommend: Yes

16.Title: Overexposed
Author: Megan Erickson
Series: In Focus, Book 4
Genre: New Adult, MM Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: Oh star this book!! Oh how these characters made my heart ache in all the best possible of ways. I could not put this book down and its totally my favorite in the series. I loved how this story progressed and how Erickson brought them to their HEA. Biggest regret is that it had to end.
Recommend: YES!!

17.Title: All the Wrong Places
Author: Ann Gallagher
Series: Bluewater Bay, Book 14
Genre: New Adult, MM Contemporary Romance (Ace MC)
Rating: 3 stars
Sourced: Library
Rapid Review: This one drew me because of the Ace MC but I did feel like I was being lectured to a lot about the different types of love. It also seemed a little too, gay for you at times as well, but that may have just been my frustration with how some of the characters acted and all the lectures. I also really hated on character and wasn’t a fan of the epilogue. Why oh why do I read epilogues? Overall though, I did like how different types of sexuality were explored in this book as there aren’t enough Ace characters in books.
Recommend: Yes

18.Title: Fly With Me
Author: Chanel Cleeton
Series: Wild Aces, Book 1
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Publisher
Rapid Review: Hello sexy fly boys! I don’t read a ton of military romances but I did enjoy this one. The characters were fun and the chemistry sizzled off the page. There was lots of great banter and angst and I just rushed right through this one until I hit the end of the book.
Recommend: Yes

19.Title: Shuffle, Repeat
Author: Jen Klein
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: This one started off of so adorably cute and I was loving every page. I was flying through the pages but then it all just took a turn near the end. I still liked it but it totally killed some of my enjoyment of the whole story.  Definitely worth the read though if you are looking for something cute to pass the time.
Recommend: Yes

20.Title: Frazzled: Everyday Disasters of Impending Doom
Author: Booki Vivat
Series: Frazzled, Book 1
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Edelweiss
Rapid Review: I don’t read a ton of middle grade but I did adore this one. Its a mix of drawing and story and it just all flowed really well. Abbie Wu is a character that was easy to identify with and the story made me laugh out loud at times. It was a super quick read and I am looking forward to reading more of Abbie’s adventures in middle school.
Recommend: Yes

Reviews Left in the Queue

2016: 30
2017: 111
Total Reviews: 138

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Review: A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLeanA Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean
Series: Scandal & Scoundrel #2
Published by Avon on August 30th 2016
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Regency, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 392
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: The Season, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart, Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover, The Rogue Not Taken

Place(s) Traveled To: London, England (1834)

First Line(s): Miss Lillian Hargrove was the most beautiful woman in England.

 

I always get a little giddy when a new Sarah MacLean books is placed in my hands and I was super excited to get an early copy of her newest, A SCOT IN THE DARK. I really liked the first book in this new series, THE ROGUE WORTH TAKING (my review) and was looking forward to seeing more of King’s friend the Duke of Warnick. And while I liked this book I didn’t love it as much as the first in the series but any book that has Freddie (aka the Earl of Stanhope) in it will always hold a very special place in my heart. I enjoyed the chemistry between Warnick and Lily but, for me, there was just something missing from this one and looking back I can’t quite put my finger on what.

A SCOT IN THE DARK was a quick read but its also one that I found easy to put down. There was nothing about it that made me want to keep picking up. Though when I was reading it I was throughly engaged and even laughed out loud on several occasions. There is some good banter between the hero and heroine but they just paled in comparison to King and Sophie from the first book. Those two just set a really high bar and Warnick and Lily didn’t live up. But they did have some really fun scenes together and I loved the cameos from the Talbot sisters. I think perhaps, part of my disappointment with A SCOT IN THE DARK is because it wasn’t a Talbot sister book. I just got really attached to that crazy family and it was hard to say goodbye to them.

scot-in-the-dark-quote

My disappointment is all my own. I think that any devoted reader of Sarah MacLean will love A SCOT IN THE DARK. There is humor and adventure and potential for scandal around every corner. There is chemistry and heart ache and a book that has a lot but still remains true to the love story at its core. There is some fun banter between the main characters and some good side scenes when they are not sharing a page. I just wish that I was able to connect with the lead characters more which would have had me liking this book more than I did.

A SCOT IN THE DARK is a book that can be read as a standalone but why would you want to? It totally helps to read all of MacLean’s books in publication order because then you can enjoy the cameos all the more. I just love how those little cameos really help to flesh out a world and make it seem more real across the various series that MacLean writes. And MacLean can write, that is something that never changes from book to book. She is a gifted author and one that I think all lovers of romance should experience. I know that I, for one, am already looking forward to her next book even though April 2017 seems like its an eternity away!

 

irishdarkblue

ir-scot-in-the-dark

Add Lady Bridget’s Diary by Maya Rodale to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Duke of My Heart by Kelly Bowen to Goodreads.

three-stars
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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Me Before You by Jojo MoyesMe Before You by Jojo Moyes
Series: Me Before You,
Published by Viking Adult on 31 December 2012
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 481
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Stortfold, England // Mauritius // Zurich, Switzerland (2007, 2009)

First Line(s): There are 158 footsteps between the bus stop and home, but it can stretch to 180 if you aren’t in a hurry, like maybe if you’re wearing platform shoes.

ME BEFORE YOU by Jojo Moyes is one of those books that I’d heard about but didn’t give much thought about until I saw previews for the movie version of it. I was intrigued by the previews and like many readers I decided to read the book before trying to see it. While I liked ME BEFORE YOU and found it to be a quick and emotional read the more I thought about it the more complex I felt about it. At first read, I really liked this book and the journey that Lou Clark takes in living the life that she was always meant to live. At the start of ME BEFORE YOU, Lou is stuck working dead end jobs in a small town in order to support her family. She’s shy and unassuming and completely miserable. It also doesn’t help that her family is absolutely retched to her.

Then Lou meets Will and her life changes in ways that she never thought possible. Will is a quadriplegic and is suffering from severe depression as he used to lead a very adventurous life.  When Lou first starts to work as a companion to Will their relationship is very strained but I loved watching them bother get to know each other and to grow and change from that interaction. But most of all I loved who Lou became through her association with Will. She grew into herself and became more confident and self assured and that is a message that I loved in ME BEFORE YOU. That its ok to be who you are. That you should live each day to its fullest and to always try to find wonder and adventure in even the smallest of things.

Me Before You Quote

But where ME BEFORE YOU leaves me feeling less that good is with the ending. Oh how I didn’t like how things went the way they did and it wasn’t an ending I was expecting. Well, I knew the what I just didn’t know the how and its the how that I didn’t care for. That is a message that we see all to often in books and media and its one that doesn’t paint the best of pictures. It was an easy out and one that definitely involved emotions but I don’t think that it was the right choice. There is more that I want to say on this but its hard without spoiling (well, any more than I’ve probably done) and its hard to find the right words for my thoughts.

I also didn’t like the random POV changes to Lou’s sister which only made me dislike Lou’s family more. I really wish that the entire story was told from Lou’s perspective and I wish that the ending had been a little different. If so, then I think that ME BEFORE YOU would have been a book that I was completely and utterly over the moon about. Instead I liked it, I’ll probably recommend it to some, but its not a book that I long to be able to read against for the first time. I am also on the fence on if I want to read the sequel, AFTER YOU. Its a book that has come up in my library queue but I keep tossing back and then putting back on my holds list.

I liked where Lou was at the end of ME BEFORE YOU despite all the heartbreak that she had gone through. In terms of how Lou thought about herself she was in a very good place. She was hopeful and ready to live the life she’d always dreamed about. I’m afraid that if I read AFTER YOU that will changed. Books need conflict in order to move forward after all so Lou can’t be happy in the way that I want her to be. So I may not read it. I may just keep Lou in that place where she is in my mind and continue her story in my own way.

irishdarkblue

IR - Me Before You

Add God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo to Goodreads.

Add P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern to Goodreads.

four-stars
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Friday, April 1, 2016

Review: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

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

Review: Bloodlines by Richelle MeadBloodlines by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines,
Published by Razorbill on 23 August 2011
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Friendship, Mystery & Detective, Paranormal, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 421
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Spirit Bound, Last Sacrifice

Place(s) Traveled To: Palm Springs, California

First Line(s): I couldn’t breathe.

BLOODLINES is the first book in Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy spinoff series and focuses on alchemist Sydney who we meet in those books. As the events in this book directly relate to how LAST SACRIFICE (my review) ends I strongly suggest that you read the Vampire Academy books before moving on to BLOODLINES. In the Vampire Academy books I wasn’t a huge fan of Syndney so I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy a series that revolved around her and so was a little reluctant in picking these books up. But friends I know and trust say that this series is better than Vampire Academy so I thought why not take the plunge now that I’ve finally finished VA and this series is fully available in stores.

As a first book in a series, even a spinoff series, I found BLOODLINES to be really slow. It took a bit to find its groove even though there were many returning characters from the Vampire Academy books. There were also some new ones introduced and they were complete douche nozzles and I just wanted to set fire to those pages. Like for real, Sydney’s dad and the ‘golden boy’ Keith were terrible terrible characters who frustrated me so much that I almost DNF’d this book because of them. I don’t expect all characters to be likeable but my stars at least have some potential for redemption! But its really had to come back from being an asshole so I think we are stuck with them as they are. *le sigh*

Bloodlines Quote

There were many things in BLOODLINES that I found really predictable and so when the big reveals happened I was left underwhelmed. I also thought that the main plot lines/mysteries were very anticlimatic in how they were wrapped up and dealt with. So much time was spent on the tattoos that these normal teenagers were getting and then instead of a bang it was all resolved in a wee little poof. Not even a poof….more of a puh. And then the story dragged on longer than I expected it to with other big moments that really weren’t ending in what I think was supposed to be a mic drop moment but left me going…eh, why do I care?

The main bright light in this book was Adrian, I adored him as always and I kind of hate how he’s tied to Jill. That kind of squicks me out a bit since there is such an age and personality difference between them. I also really liked how Adrian and Sydney interacted with each other. She added some grounding that he needed and he made her character a lot less annoying that she’d been in previous books. I do also think it helped a bit that we got this story from her POV but she’s still not a favorite character of mine. Nor is BLOODLINES a favorite book that I’ve read. I was left underwhelmed and I don’t know when or even if I’ll continue with this series.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Bloodlines

Add Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill to Goodreads.

Add City of Bones by Cassandra Clare to Goodreads.

three-stars
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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Review: Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Dumplin’ by Julie MurphyDumplin' by Julie Murphy
Published by Balzer + Bray on 15 September 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Girls & Women, Health & Daily Living, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 375
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Clover City, Texas // Odessa, Texas

First Line(s): All the best things in my life have started with a Dolly Parton song.

I’m not going to lie, when I first heard about DUMPLIN’ by Julie Murphy I had my reservations. Even before all the hype around it began and that hype only increased my wariness of this book. I really didn’t think that DUMPLIN’ was going to be a me book and I didn’t even consider picking it up until I was traveling in Greece with a friend and she sold me on this book. A thing for which I’ll be forever grateful to her for doing because I *loved* Willowdean and couldn’t get enough of her story. DUMPLIN’ is a powerful little story and I found that once I picked it up I couldn’t put it down again. I was engrossed. I was enthralled. I was completely and totally lost in its pages.

DUMPLIN’ is a story that will speak to many readers on many different levels. Its not just Willowdean’s story but the story of everyone who has ever struggled to fit in and find their place in the world. Its raw and amazing and I wish that I had this story when I was a teen. Willowdean is a perfectly flawed character. She’s strong and insecure. She’s smart and naive. She’s everything and nothing all at once. Her journey is all about learning to love yourself and learning that your imperfections are what make you uniquely wonderfully perfectly you. Willowdean teaches us that no one can do you better than yourself so you better be the best dang you that you can be.

Dumplin Quote

Another thing that I like about DUMPLIN’ is that while there is a romance to the story the story isn’t about the romance. Its not about Willowdean trying to find someone to love her but about her learning to love herself. But what romance there is will just make your heart ache! My only complaint is that there weren’t enough scenes between Willowdean and Bo as I would have liked to have seen more of them together. Because even though DUMPLIN’ is the story of Willowdean I do so enjoy my swoony moments. So I do hope that these two make a decent cameo in the upcoming companion which will be released a millenia from now in 2018.

DUMPLIN’ is a book that I think everyone should read. If you are one the fence then jump off of it and into this story. If I’d listened to my first instincts I would have missed out on reading this amazing unputdownable read. It was fresh and funny and had all the things that I love in a story. There was laughter and tears and moments that just hurt my heart. We’ve all been a Willowdean and we all could learn from her knowing that its okay to let our sparkle shine no matter what anyone else says. We are all beauty queens and we don’t need the crown to prove it.

irishdarkblue

IR - Dumplin

Add Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

Add The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Monday, March 7, 2016

Review: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Posted by Irish in 4.5 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan MatsonThe Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon & Schuster on 03 May 16
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Pages: 496
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars
Also by this author: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, Second Chance Summer, Since You've Been Gone

Place(s) Traveled To: Stanwich, Connecticut

First Line(s): I flexed my feet in too-tight shoes and made myself stand up straight, trying to ignore the rapid fire clicking of cameras going off all around me.

Dear Reader,

Oh how you are in for a treat when it comes to Morgan Matson’s newest book, THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING. Unlike the title this book was everything I expected and more. I adored the character of Andie who is struggling a bit due to a scandal her political father finds himself in which ends up messing up some of her carefully laid plans. Andie is the sort of girl who doesn’t just have a 5 year plan, she has a 10 year plan, and the spreadsheets to go along with it. She’s smart and driven and most importantly she’s focused. So she’s at a bit of a loss when her premium, hard won internship is yanked out from under her right before she’s supposed to depart and at a bit of lose ends for the summer. All the prime internships have filled up months ago and she’s adrift on trying to find something to fill that gap on her college applications.

But sometimes the unexpected isn’t the worst thing that could happen and maybe, just maybe, traveling on the road not taken is the best decision that you can do. Which is how Andie finds herself walking dogs for the summer complete with a clever spin on how to make it work on her applications and discovers something about herself and all her carefully laid plans. She gets to spend more time with her friends and actually living life while also getting to know her father a little bit more. Her father has been mostly absent for years due to his politician job and so there there a bit of clashing when he tries to parent a girl who has parented herself just fine for the last few years.

Unexpected Everything Quote

As with all Morgan Matson books there are some fun cameos from past characters and its always fun to catch these little glimpses. Matson also really excels at the character development and I loved the journey that Andie takes from the girl she thought she was to the girl she really is. I loved her friends and her romantic interest Clark and I loved watching Andie walk on the unexpected path. I totally devoured THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING and I loved almost ever word of it. I could have done without the book excerpts, which were a little too reminiscent of FANGIRL for me, and ones that I ended up skipping entirely as the book went on. Though I did like the story that Andie and Clark talked about on their walks and thought that was a lot of fun to read. And while I would like to read that story, and even the one in the excerpts, I would prefer to have a full book and not these random snippets that don’t add to this particular story.

Like most Matson books, I devoured THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING. It made my heart ache and I couldn’t read the words fast enough. This book made me long for summer days and hanging out with friends and I totally wanted to partake in Palmer’s Scavenger Hunt. THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING is a wonderful book of family and friendship and finding your way. Its a great book that shows that maybe what you’ve always thought you wanted isn’t really what you need. Its a book that reminds you to enjoy life and friends and knowing that every day is a day of self-discovery and that your life journey is always unfolding. THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING is sure to wow all Morgan Matson fans and hopefully bring new ones into the fold. I know that, as with all Matson’s books, that I’ll be re-reading THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING often and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

 

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IR - Unexpected Everything

Add Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-half-stars
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Friday, March 4, 2016

Review: The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: The Mirror King by Jodi MeadowsThe Mirror King by Jodi Meadows
Series: The Orphan Queen, Book 2
Also in this series: The Orphan Queen, The Hidden Prince, The Glowing Knight
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on 05 April 2016
Genres: Assassins, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 544
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: The Orphan Queen, The Hidden Prince, The Glowing Knight

Place(s) Traveled to: Skyvale, Indigo Kingdom // Aecor City, Aecor

First Line(s): The Prince’s blood was on my hands.

If you’ve read THE ORPHAN QUEEN (my review) then you know what complete and utter shit that ending was. Like seriously! I’ve read terrible endings by evil authors but THIS one…my stars…Jodi Meadows didn’t pull out any stops and if I was anything like Wilhemina then I’d have been hunting her down demanding answers, and maybe a little vengeance. But I am not Wil, so instead all I could do was sit and weep as a part of my soul had been crushed by how that story ended. No really, here is an actual photo of me after I finished reading THE ORPHAN QUEEN:

a river of tears

Therefore, you should not be in the least surprised to know that the moment I was able to get my hands on a copy of THE MIRROR KING that I did so.

Push through a crowd

For me, THE MIRROR KING was a drop everything and read title because I *HAD* to know what happened next! And fortunately Meadows doesn’t putter around and she picks up the story almost immediately after THE ORPHAN QUEEN ends. Oh how I had missed all of these characters and this world. The banter between all the characters is so amazingly good that I found myself laughing in between bouts of tears as Meadows tried her damnedest to stop on my heart some more. This author, folks, she is evil incarnate. I know that comes with the territory of her being an author but really did she need to do THAT?!?!  Is it really too hard to give a HEA at say page 1? Is that too unrealistic?

Not how it works

Mirror King Quote

So, feelings aside I really enjoyed THE MIRROR KING and I am oh so very very glad this this was a duology and not a trilogy as I couldn’t have recovered from 2 books with cliff hangers. Especially with that one in THE ORPHAN QUEEN! THE MIRROR KING is filled with lots of twists and turns and gasp out loud moments along with ones that will break your heart. Seriously, this book is an emotional roller coaster but its ending is totally worth the journey in getting there. Because while the ending of ORPHAN QUEEN made me weep and toss my book across the room the ending of THE MIRROR KING made me happy sigh and clutch my eReader to my chest.

book hug

But what utterly and completely kills me with THE MIRROR KING is THAT LETTER!!! If you’ve read PERSUASION by Jane Austen (my review) then you know the sort of feels that I mean. While the letter here is more of a list it is oh so perfect of a list and oh so perfect for this story. It “pierced my soul leaving me in half-agony and half hope” much as Captain Wentworth told Anne in those final moments. There may have been an eternity* to wait between THE ORPHAN QUEEN and THE MIRROR KING but oh how it was worth it because Meadows really delivered a wonderful story that was so perfect for this world and her characters.

Though its a bittersweet ending because this story is over and there are no more words. Its really really hard to say goodbye to a beloved story and characters. That Meadows can get me so attached in just two books is truely a remarkable thing and I can not recommend this series enough. Its fantasy at its best and if you know me then you know just how hard I am on fantasy, especially YA fantasy. So well done Jodi Meadows, well done. You’re still evil but I still love you. Thanks for writing a kick ass book! *muah*

two thumbs up

*This may be a slight exaggeration.

irishdarkblue

IR - Orphan Queen

 

Add The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetter to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

five-stars
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Monday, February 29, 2016

Review: Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Last Sacrifice by Richelle MeadLast Sacrifice by Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy,
Also in this series: , Spirit Bound
Published by Razorbill on 7 December 2010
Genres: Action & Adventure, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Paranormal, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 594
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Spirit Bound, Bloodlines

Place(s) Traveled To: Unknown, Pennsylvania // Harrisburg, Pennsylvania // Roanoke, Virginia // Altswood, West Virginia // Lexington, Kentucky // Paris, Kentucky // Ann Arbor, Michigan // Detroit, Michigan // Sturgis, Michigan // Greenston, Michigan

First Line(s): I don’t like cages.

There was almost five years between my reads of BLOOD PROMISE (no review) and SPIRIT BOUND (my review) and I told myself that it wouldn’t that much time pass before I actually finished up the series. I had meant to read LAST SACRIFICE almost immediately after SPIRIT BOUND but it can be so hard for me to say goodbye to a series that it took me a few months before I was able to pick it up. As an ending, I liked LAST SACRIFICE and I managed to read this 600 page book in about a day. It was a quick read and fast paced but it isn’t my favorite in the series. Maybe its just the distance from my devouring of the first four books between now or maybe there was something else at play. For one, LAST SACRIFICE is a bit of a love triangle and we all know how I feel about those.

The main character, Rose, has been in love with Dimitri since VAMPIRE ACADEMY (my review) and they’ve had their ups and downs throughout the series. But in the final two books Rose has put aside those feelings and has started a relationship with Adrian only she really hasn’t. Which makes my heart hurt so much for Adrian who I’ve grown to love so much over the course of the series. Granted I never thought of Rose and Adrian as OTPs but he deserved better than how she treated him and I know that did affect my feelings towards this story in many ways.

Last Sacrifice Quote

I also think that LAST SACRIFICE could have been shorter than it was. Yes, there is the mystery of trying to figure out who framed Rose but I just felt it was a little stagnant at times as the characters just sort of shuffled about. Then the end result was kind of anti-climatic and didn’t seem to justify nearly 600 pages. Most of which was spent running around America getting to know the alchemist Sydney more as her story will be the focus of the BLOODLINES spinoff series (goodreads). I also really wasn’t a huge fan of how often Rose peaked into Lissa’s life. I get that there was no easy way to tell the reader all that was going on in court but I would have preferred a dual POV story than all the mind-link stuff. Especially since no matter how often Rose said she’s still full away of her surroundings when she was in Lissa’s mind she really was anything but.

Overall, I am glad that I finally finished this series and I know that I will be continuing on with BLOODLINES, which hopefully won’t take me over five years to read! But I wasn’t in love with the end of this series as I was in the beginning. I think that with time I’ve changed as a reader and I know for a fact that I’m a lot harder on books now than I was five years ago. I was invested in the story but I could have done without some of the angst and with what happened to Adrian. That boy needs love and he didn’t deserve to be treated as he was by Rose. I’m told that he makes an appearance in BLOODLINES so I’m hoping that there is a better end to his story than this.

irishdarkblue

IR - Spirit Academy

 

Add Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost 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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Friday, February 19, 2016

Review: 26 Kisses by Anna Michels

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: 26 Kisses by Anna Michels26 Kisses by Anna Michels
Published by Simon Pulse on 24 May 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Butterfield, Michigan // Trawley, Michigan

First Line(s): Seth loved me first.

When I picked up Anna Michels’s debut 26 KISSES I was hoping for a cute story with a happily ever after. I was also wary of 26 KISSES because the whole premise is for the main character, Veda, is to kiss 26 boys as a way to get over her long time boyfriend who broke up with her because he’s an asshat. Yes, I was happy that Vee was trying to move on in a unique way since the regular method (crying and ice cream wasn’t helping) but I also wanted her to find a new happily ever after….or at least a happily for now….with someone new. How can she do that though if she’s busy kissing other guys?

I needed have worried though because Michels writes a fun, quirky summer time read that made my heart ache in all the right ways. I love the challenge that Vee’s friend, Melinda, comes up with that Vee should kiss a boy whose name begins with each of the different letters of the alphabet. Now before you think that 26 KISSES is one big make out session that isn’t the case at all. Vee takes a creative mind to the kisses and while there are some make out sessions there is also Elmo the dog and a kiss on the forehead from her father. And along the way there is Killian. *swoons*

26 Kisses Quote

Killian is sure to become many a readers book boyfriend. He is sweet and funny and compliments Vee in so many ways. I love so much about this boy and I totally want to see the dashboard of his jeep! I swear if I was back in high school with my beater of a car I’d want to start doing something similar. Next to Vee I think Killian was my favorite character in 26 KISSES but I also loved Mel and Seth and all in all the secondary cast in this book is just full of win.

26 KISSES is a quick, fun read that I enjoyed more than I thought I would. Its well written and is a total feel good, brain candy sort of read. Once I started this one I found it hard to put down and had a smile on my face almost the whole time. I am really glad that I put aside my fears of love triangles and picked this one up because even though there are lots of kisses there is only one real romantic story line and its so heart-achingly good. 26 KISSES isn’t out until 24 May but you totally want this on your wishlists!

irishdarkblue

IR - 26 Kisses

Add The ABC’s of Kissing Boys by Tina Ferraro to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

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

four-stars
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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Mini Review: The Glowing Knight by Jodi Meadows

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Mini Review: The Glowing Knight by Jodi MeadowsThe Glowing Knight by Jodi Meadows
Series: The Orphan Queen,
Also in this series: The Orphan Queen, The Hidden Prince, The Mirror King
Published by Epic Reads on 01 September 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Friendship, Mystery & Detective, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Short Story / Novella, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 58
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: The Orphan Queen, The Hidden Prince, The Mirror King

Place(s) Traveled To: Skyvale, The Indigo Kingdom

First Line(s): James was down there fighting. I was not. And this was what jealousy felt like.

THE GLOWING KNIGHT is the second prequel novella in Jodi Meadow’s Orphan Queen universe. It is the continuring adventures of Tobiah and James as Tobiah becomes the Black Knife. I loved this early look at James and Tobiah and I totally ship the bromance that is between them. I also love how James and Meredith interact and I would love to see a romance between them but alas fates and kings have different plans for those two. In THE GLOWING KNIGHT we also get a little glimpse at the start of the glowmen and of Wil and her Ospreys. It was a fun look at how things were before the paths of all these characters started to cross years later.

THE GLOWING KNIGHT is a fast read and includes some more preview chapters of THE MIRROR KING (Goodreads), which are totally killer! Its a great little snippet to help tide one over after the crazy ending of THE ORPHAN QUEEN (my review) although its still not enough. It is never enough. I love this world that Meadows has created and I hate it each and every time when I have to say goodbye. This world is so rich and detailed that it almost leaps off the page. I also love these characters and I like these little glimpses into their lives. I love to see the world through Tobiah’s eyes and reading these makes me wish that the main books were dual POV stories as I’d love to know more about his thinking.

 

irishdarkblue

Glowing Knight Quote
three-half-stars
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