Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Review: We Will be Crashing Shortly

Title: We Will Be Crashing Shortly
Author: Hollis Gillespie
Series: April Mae #2
Publisher: Merit Press
Publication Date: June 15, 2015
Source: I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

April Mae Manning from Unaccompanied Minor is back, and back in trouble, but this time, she's run out of chances...
April Mae was raised on airplanes by her flight-attendant parents. But since her dad's death and her mom's remarriage to the nefarious pilot Ash Manning, April's been in nothing but danger: two airplane crashes; two car crashes; and now, as a student pilot, in an old plane crippled over the Caribbean. Can she survive, and save her friends, or is this the watery end to "Crash" Manning's story?
Praise for Unaccompanied Minor: "A laugh-out-loud thriller about family court, money laundering and skyjacking" ~Kirkus Reviews

April Manning is back in this sequel to Unaccompanied Minor and her life is just as crazy as ever! There something fishy going on with the wealthy Colgate family, which also happens to include April's best friend Malcolm. That dirtbag/stepfather Ash is back, but April is ready to face him with help from her friends Flo, Ned and LaVonda.

Realism is definitely not the goal of this series. So much crazy stuff happens that I highly double would ever happen in real life. But if you go in not expecting a realistic story, you will have a ton of fun!

My favourite character is still Flo. She's so feisty and funny and I hope I am like her when I get old! Officer Ned is another favourite and I loved the crazy, over-the-top things that LaVonda would say. And don't forget the oh-so-lovable Captain Beefheart!

This series hasn't wowed me so far, but it's just so much fun in the moment that it doesn't really matter and I hope that there are more crazy stories for April "Crash" Manning. Could you imagine if she became an actual pilot!?!?!

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: Shades of Earth

Title: Shades of Earth
Author: Beth Revis
Series: Across the Universe #3
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: January 15, 2013
Source: Purchased

Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh--to build a home--on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience. But this new Earth isn't the paradise that Amy had been hoping for. Amy and Elder must race to uncover who--or what--else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. But each new discovery brings more danger. And if their colony collapses then everything they have sacrificed--friends, family, life on Earth--will have been meaningless...

Shades of Earth had a bit different feel than the previous two books, mostly because it's not set on Godspeed (ok, kind of a spoiler for the earlier books, but it's in the description of the book, so I'm going to say it's fair game). Amy and Elder's relationship faces some new challenges in this book, as they are in a new environment and have new pressures.

Amy pissed me off a bit in this one. Mostly because she would kind of/sort of flirt with Chris a bunch, which annoyed me a lot. Elder was still a pretty sweet guy who I like quite a bit.

One issue this book addresses is the tendency for humans to not accept those that are not like them. I would like to believe that by the time this book is set in, we would be over that, but I think the division Beth Revis creates between the ship-born and the Earth-born is actually pretty realistic.

There's a pretty big twist towards the end of this one and I completely did not see it coming. Once explained though, I think it's a bit unrealistic that only one of the other characters would have figured out that something was up.

Across the Universe was definitely my favourite book in this series and Shades of Earth, while not as strong, was still a good read and a good ending to the series.


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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Review: Tangled Webs

Title: Tangled Webs
Author: Lee Bross
Series: Tangled Webs #1
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: June 23, 2015
Source: I received a complimentary ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

London, 1725. Everybody has a secret. Lady A will keep yours—for a price. This sumptuous, scandalous YA novel is wickedly addictive.

Lady A is the most notorious blackmailer in the city. With just a mask and a gown to disguise her, she sweeps into lavish balls and exclusive events collecting the most valuable currency in 1725 London—secrets.

But leading a double life isn't easy. By day Lady A is just a sixteen-year-old girl named Arista who lives in fear of her abusive master, Bones, and passes herself off as a boy to move safely through the squalor of London's slums. When Bones attempts to dispose of his pawn forever, Arista is rescued by the last person she expects: Jonathan Wild, the infamous Thief Taker General who moves seamlessly between the city's criminal underworld and its most elite upper circles. Arista partners with Wild on her own terms in the hopes of saving enough money to buy passage out of London.

Everything changes when she meets Graeden Sinclair, the son of a wealthy merchant. Grae has traveled the world, has seen the exotic lands Arista has longed to escape to her whole life, and he loves Arista for who she is—not for what she can do for him. Being with Grae gives something Arista something precious that she swore off long ago: hope. He has promised to help Arista escape the life of crime that has claimed her since she was a child. But can you ever truly escape the past?

I was pretty excited to read this book and I enjoyed it quite a bit, although it wasn't exactly what I expected. Briefly, it's a historical fiction story about Arista, who is basically a slave to this creepy London underworld lord named Bones. She is basically forced to blackmail people on Bones's behalf.

Arista wasn't the character that I was expected. I was expecting a sneaky, charismatic thief character (they are my favourite), but instead she she was filled with a lot of fear and hopelessness for her situation. This was not a bad thing, just not what I expected somehow. Despite her fear and desperate living situation, Arista is strong character and very loyal. I enjoyed her scenes with Becky, where it was very apparent how much she cared for her friend.

The other important person In Arista's life at the beginning was Nic. Nic also works under Bones and was Arista's friend and protector growing up. Now, Arista wonders if she might have feelings for Nic that go beyond friendship, but also worries about how the life they lead has hardened him. Nic was a complicated character for me. I was really conflicted by how good he could be to Arista, yet wasn't really a good person in general. I think it made his character multi-dimensional and real.

The final important character was Grae, who was the man Arista met one night and was super attracted to. Grae was such a kind and wonderful person. It made him likable, but also a touch on-e dimensional.

I can't think of anything about this book that bothered me or that I didn't like, but somehow it lacked the spark to launch it to a five star read.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Review: End of Days

Title: End of Days
Author: Susan Ee

Series: Penryn and the End of Days #3
Publisher: Skyscape
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Source: Purchased

End of Days is the explosive conclusion to Susan Ee’s bestselling Penryn & the End of Days trilogy.

After a daring escape from the angels, Penryn and Raffe are on the run. They’re both desperate to find a doctor who can reverse the twisted changes inflicted by the angels on Raffe and Penryn’s sister. As they set off in search of answers, a startling revelation about Raffe’s past unleashes dark forces that threaten them all.

When the angels release an apocalyptic nightmare onto humans, both sides are set on a path toward war. As unlikely alliances form and strategies shift, who will emerge victorious? Forced to pick sides in the fight for control of the earthly realm, Raffe and Penryn must choose: Their own kind, or each other?

The endings of triologies ae always bittersweet for me. On one hand, I'm happy because I have another book and get to find out more of what happens to my favourite characters. On the other hand, I'm heartbroken because it's over.

This book was exactly that. I love Penryn and her messed up family and Raffe and his guilt and indecision and all that. I am so sad to see this series end! I don't know what Susan Ee is up to next, but I hope it's more books, because she really is an engaging writer.

I want this review to be spoiler free for the series, so there's lots I can't really say, but I will say that Penryn continues to be both bad ass and mental tough. She breaks down a few times and acts like a normal teenager, but in general, her strategy of repressing her feelings really seems to work for her.

I really like the way Susan Ee writes action. It's so exciting and engaging. The big event at the end of this book was crazy and I could barely pull myself away when my lunch break ended and I had to go back to work!

As I'm sure I've said in all my reviews of this series, I love these ass kicking, death-dealing breed of angels. They truly are terrifying. I always see similarities between Susan Ee's angels and the angels in season 4 of Supernatural. And it seems like Uriel is always portrayed as a huge dick!

Anyways, before this review devolves into too much of a fangirling mess, I'll end by saying End of Days is a great ending to an awesome series. And just don't think to much about the age difference between Raffe and Penryn or you'll start to feel a touch Twilight-y

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Review: The Fault in Our Stars

Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green

Publisher: Dutton Books
Publication Date: January 1, 2012
Source: Purchased

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green's most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

So I am basically the last person on the internet to read this book. I feel like when a book has a ton of hype, it's at a disadvantage. So I will try my best to review this book like any other book, instead of subjecting it to the high expectations I had.

I liked this book. It was intelligent and interesting and unexpected. I don't read many (any?) illness books, but with all the hype surrounding this one, I thought I'd give it a try.

It's clear to me that John Green is a intelligent man. Despite the fairly simple writing style of in this book, some sections or sentences or phrases are really very good and helped remind you that you aren't reading just any book.

What I enjoyed about this book is that it more about LIVING with cancer instead of living with CANCER. Events happen other that the main character being sick. This was absolutely necessary to my enjoyment of the book. The characters do things and have conversations and fall in love, despite the presence of cancer in their lives.

The thing that bothered me a little were the characters themselves. They just did not seem likes really people. Well, Hazel I could most understand, probably due to our shared love of ANTM. But I am fairly certain that no teenage boy like Augustus has ever existed. People don't talk like that. People don't act like that. At least, not any teenage boy I ever met. And the cigarette thing. I don't get it. It strikes me as completely idiotic. Or pretentious. The latter is probably more likely.

Regardless of my small qualms with the characters, I did enjoy this book overall. While it's not a new favourite personally, I think I can see why it has gained such a following and fandom.

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Friday, June 5, 2015

Movie Review: The Fault in Our Stars

Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Director: Josh Boone
Writers: Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (based on the book by John Green)
Stars: Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort
Publication Date: October 6, 2014

Two teens, both who have different cancer conditions, fall in love after meeting at a cancer support group.

I thought the movie adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars was really well done. It was relatively faithful to the book, which is always important to me. Of course, they couldn't include every little thing, but they got the important bits.

I think Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort did a great job portraying their characters. It only took me a few minutes to warm up to them as Hazel and Gus and I enjoyed both of them in the film. I did find Hazel became a bit more snarky in the beginning of the film than in the book, but it was not an issue.

I did cry a bit in the film, but definitely cried harder in the book. I felt like Hazel's pain came through more strongly in the book than the film, but I now others I talked to found the film more emotional, so who knows.

Well, film reviews are hard! Here's few more random thoughs. Peter Van Houghton was definitely fat in my imagination. The woman who played Lidewij (Lotte Verbeek) was flipping gorgeous. And did anyone else find it kind of awkward when they realized Shailene and Ansel played brother and sister in Divergent?

Review: Armored Hearts

Title: Armored Hearts
Author: Pauline Creeden and Melissa Turner Lee
Series: Armored Hearts #1
Publisher: AltWit Press
Publication Date: April 16, 2013
Source: Won.

When a crippled young lord rescues a girl falling from a tree, it reveals a secret about himself and his mother's side of the family that could put him at the center of a war with beings he thought only existed in fairy tales. Tristan Gareth Smyth lived his entire life stuck at home at Waverly Park, left behind while his Grandfather makes trips to London, all because of his blasted wheelchair. Then an American heiress falls in his lap, literally, and he must find a way to keep her at a distance to protect not only his secret, but everyone around him from an assassin sent to kill him. 

I find the steampunk genre to be hit or miss for me and unfortunately, this one was a miss for me. And the entire reason was that I hated the main character for 80% of the book.

So let's get this out of the way and talk about the main character Gareth. I don't think I've ever disliked a main character this much and still finished a book (which I guess speaks to the other qualities of the book). I understand that he is bitter because he's in a wheelchair. But I've honestly could not stand him for almost the entire book. He's bitter, arrogant, chauvinistic, self-pitying and incredibly grouchy. It was probably for the best that I read this on my breaks at work, because I couldn't handle more than a few pages of Gareth at a time. About 80% of the way Gareth smartens up a lot, but it's really too late at that to save this one.

Most of the secondary characters felt a bit 1 dimensional. Except for Jessamine, who really is bat sh*t crazy. The sheer amount of effort she puts into Gareth is staggering. Honestly, if it were me, I would have met him once, then said "screw it" and gone back to America. Like this chick is obsessive. In my mind, she is the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme.

I also had a bit of an issue with the paranormal aspect of the book. One paranormal aspect is introduced in the first chapter and then there is nothing else for about 70% of the book, so when that reveal happens, it felt too sudden for me and like the book has madly changed directions.

On the bright side, the fact that I finished this book, despite my intense dislike of the main character, should be a compliment for the authors. I did enjoy the writing and that's what kept me going through this one.

If you like steampunk and paranormal and don't mind extremely unlikable characters and a very sudden change in direction, give this one a try. But if you're like me and actually need to like your main character to enjoy a book, move along.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Review: Sweet

Title: Sweet
Author: Emmy Laybourne

Series: Sweet #1Publisher: Macmillian
Publication Date: June 2, 2015
Source: I received a complimentary ARC in exchange for an honest review.

*People would kill to be thin.*

Solu’s luxurious celebrity-filled “Cruise to Lose” is billed as “the biggest cruise since the Titanic,” and if the new diet sweetener works as promised—dropping five percent of a person’s body weight in just days—it really could be the answer to the world’s obesity problem. But Laurel is starting to regret accepting her friend Viv’s invitation. She’s already completely embarrassed herself in front of celebrity host, Tom Forelli (otherwise known as the hottest guy ever!) and she’s too seasick to even try the sweetener. And that’s before Viv and all the other passengers start acting really strange.

*But will they die for it, too?*

Tom Forelli knows that he should be grateful for this job and the opportunity to shed his childhood “Baby Tom-Tom” image. His publicists have even set up a ‘romance’ with a sexy reality star. But as things on the ship start to get a bit wild, he finds himself drawn to a different girl. And when his celebrity hosting gig turns into an expose on the shocking side effects of Solu, it’s Laurel that he’s determined to save.

Emmy Laybourne, author of the Monument 14 trilogy, takes readers on a dream vacation that goes first comically, then tragically, then horrifyingly, wrong.

I really enjoyed this book. The concept was creepy and interesting and I enjoyed both the main characters.

Laurel was a rare case on the Cruise to Lose. A slightly overweight girl who wasn't dying to change her body. Plus bonus points for the fact that she had a hobby (classical guitar). Laurel was sweet, caring and shy, but also tough enough to survive when things got crazy. Plus she is a poster-child for body love, if that's something you would enjoy.

I found Tom to be an interesting character. A formerly overweight former child star trying to reinvent his image. He has dreams of being a film star, but is stuck going hosting gigs for entertainment shows and now the Solu Cruise to Lose. He's a rather serious guy, but very caring and always tries to be genuine, which is pretty rare on a ship full of minor celebrities and reality tv stars.

One thing that bothered me a bit was that I felt like the romance went too fast. It wasn't instalove, but I would have liked to see a bit more development there.

I liked the danger and building sense of something being wrong. I think Emmy Laybourne does danger and crisis well. Do I think something like this could happen in real life? No, not really, but I think the underlying theme of the dangers of untested 'supplements' is real.

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Don't Just Take My Word For It:
Xpresso Reads | Dark Faerie Tales | Out of Time

Monday, June 1, 2015

May Wrapup

Holy smokes, it already June! The weather is beautiful! However, I am sick, so that diminished my excitement a bit. I'm feeling a bit better today, so hopefully I will be back to 100% soon!

Books Reviewed in May:

Who is Mackie Spencer by Lin Kaymer - 2 stars
Kiss and Tell by Jacqueline Green - 4 stars
Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu - 4.5 stars
The Body Electric by Beth Revis - 3.5 stars

Average rating = 3.5 stars

Books Received in May:

For Review:

Tangled Webs by Lee Bross
The Road to You by Alecia Whitaker
Court of Fives by Kate Elliott - Thanks to Hachette Book Group Canada for the 3 above
Crossing into Brooklyn by Mary Ann McGuigan
We Will Be Crashing Shortly by Hollis Gillespie - Thanks to Merit Press for the 2 above
The Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan - Thanks to Tor for this one


Rat Queens Volume 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygoth by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch (artist)
Saga Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (artist)
End of Days by Susan Ee


Katia's Promise by Catherine Lanigan