Rambling Reviews

There is no doubt about it, I should probably be going to meetings for my book addiction. Not only do I love reading, but I have this really bad habit of buying WAY more books than I could ever hope to read. But to me that's part of the fun. After all I never know what I'll be in the mood for so having a relatively large selection is justified, right? The thing that I love about reading is that it is a great way to escape the stress of everyday life. And best of all, I can do it pretty much anywhere! When I can't (or just flat out don't want to) cope with whatever life's handed my way I can just glide on over to my trusty bookshelf. From there I can decide if I want to go back in history, or on some thrilling hunt for a murderer, or have a steamy little fling with a hunk right out of a New Adult novel. Whatever mood strikes, I can transport myself there and get a break from the real life madness.

Reality Boy....Hmmm?

Reality Boy - A.S. King

* I was provided a free copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review *

Reality Boy is a heartbreaking story that is very much an eye opener. We often forget that children on reality TV aren’t given the choice of being on the show or not. And it’s just as easy for us to ignore the impact that may have on them as they grow up. This book is a perfect reminder of that. Another thing it reminds us of is that what “reality TV” shows most likely is not reality, but just extracted parts of their lives that have been pieced together to show whatever the powers that be want to show.

And while this is the main focus of the novel, it really is just a tool the author uses to explore the other problems in Gerald’s life as a little kid, and how they’ve grown into much larger issues. Overall the plot was great, and honestly I felt like it was story that would deserve to be in the bestsellers, with the exception of two problems I had. The first was the writing. The writing is kind of bland, especially when it comes to the dialog. It seemed more like a script when there was talking back and forth. And to be honest this really didn’t stand out to me too much until I reread a section out loud to my husband (because I thought it was funny, in its own very messed up way). The other problem I had with this story was he depended on Hannah so heavily. Had they broken up, I’d hate to have seen where the story would have ended up. Yes Hannah and Gerald seem like a great couple, with their comparable issues, but this might give kids the wrong idea as well. At least the author did emphasize how important to take it slow, although his wanting to wait to break rule #5 sure didn’t last very long.

I think that while some things definitely could be improved upon, the story itself is heartbreaking, hopeful, and original. A few characters might have benefited from further development, but others were well written, even the ones we are meant to dislike. Overall it’s an enlightening story, that while a good read the first time through, probably won’t warrant a second read from me unfortunately. 

Possession Series...not so Possessive

Possession  - Elana Johnson Surrender: A Possession Novel - Elana Johnson Abandon  - Elana Johnson

I read Possession a couple of years ago, and when I read it I know I thought it was pretty good. But I couldn't remember what exactly it was about. Sure I'd read the jacket, but that didn't really bring back very many strong memories. In fact I probably wouldn't have continued the series, except I'd already pre-ordered Surrender. So in an effort to get caught up on my reading, I'm trying to finish up series that I've already started but are now completely out. So I (finally) picked up Surrender. I blew through this second installment fairly quickly. Once I got reintegrated into the world, the first story started to come back a little bit. There were still parts of it I didn't fully remember, but overall it was a decent story. However by the end of Surrender, I was glad I had Abandon fairly accessible (although I had to wait on the library for a day or two). Actually it was a bit of a struggle to wait those couple of days, and to be honest I did debate on just buying the dang thing (but at $16 for the hardback--and of course I had to have hardback vs ebook simply because my other two are hardback-- I'm OCD like that :D ).

Anyway, I flew through Abandon about as fast as I did Surrender. It wasn't so much that they were that compulsive (or possessive) of a read, so much as they were just that easy to get through. The characters, while intriguing, weren't very relatable for me. I read to see what would happen next. Not neccessarily to find out if Vi really does end up with Jag or Zenn, but more which parts each character plays to bring about the downfall of Freedom. The plot was decent but there were parts of the story that weren't fully fleshed out in my opinion, but overall it wasn't a bad story. But it wasn't a great story either. Felt like an average, already done, dystopian series. And for that it gets 3.5 stars.

Experiment in Terror? More like Torture (in a good way!)

Darkhouse - Karina Halle Red Fox - Karina Halle Dead Sky Morning (Experiment in Terror) - Karina Halle Lying Season - Karina Halle On Demon Wings - Karina Halle Into the Hollow (Experiment in Terror) - Karina Halle

So a couple of months ago I finally sat down to read Darkhouse by Karina Halle. I was really skeptical of this book, in part because it's out of my typical genre choices, but also because it was a freebie from Amazon. And let's face it, free more often than not is free for a reason. I had not read any of her other books, so I went into this pretty blind and a little apprehensive. But by the time I got through Darkhouse, I had to know what was going to happen between Perry and Dex. So then of course I just HAD to read Red Fox. 


Red Fox was probably my least favorite of the series. It wasn't that it was lacking really, so much as it just was not subject matter that interested me. I've never been too interested in Native American lore and whatnot, so this really just was not up my alley. But as previously stated I had to know what happens next between the two main characters. So I put on my big girl panties, sucked it up and dove in. And ya know what? It wasn't great, I did get bored part way through, but Perry and Dex kept me reading until the end. I dare say, I think I even liked it more than I thought I would.


After the struggle I had to get through Red Fox, I took some time off from this series, but after a few weeks, I started thinking about the series again, so I picked up Dead Sky Morning. It was much better, and thus began my Experiment in Terror binge. In 9 days I managed to read Dead Sky Morning, Lying Season, On Demon's Wings, and Into the Hollow in about 9 days. I just couldn't manage to put them down. They were so addictive. And of all four, I only have one single complaint, I hated the ending for On Demon's Wings. It wasn't a bad ending, except it wasn't much of an ending. But it's the only story that had a cliffhanger for the ending, thankfully (not a fan of cliffhangers!!) however now I'm hesitant to start on Come Alive, as the next book isn't due out for 58 loooong days! What if it ends like On Demon Wings did?! I can't go 58 days to find out what happens... and then the last book won't even be out until May. I can't wait that long. It's pure torture! 


So alas, I must force myself to take a break from the series at least until Ashes to Ashes is out, although it might be safer to wait until the last book, Dust to Dust is out as well. Oh I don't know if I can wait that long! Needless to say this is an awesome series, Karina Halle knows how to write an amazing series. Each story can standalone and unique, and yet when combined, creates an even better, larger story. This is what series are supposed to be. Not just one story spread out over 3 installments that only make sense when read in order. 

Sekret - Lindsay  Smith *I was provided a free copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

I had a few issues with this story, but overall the writing and uniqueness of this story have me rating it as a solid 4 star read.

Sekret starts off as a riveting story that pulled me right in. I felt like I was right there with Yulia as she’s trying to stay under the radar in the marketplace. The writing was great; I was caught up in the story, ready to see where it was going to take me. And then I had to put the story down around page 68. That was probably the worst thing I could have done. When I came back to the story I had a very difficult time getting absorbed into the world again. I felt a bit lost when they were on missions or using their powers. Sometimes it was real clear what was happening. Then others I had a difficult time differentiating what was happening within the mind (especially when linking powers) and what was happening outside of their minds. I’m sure this is more my fault and not the story’s, since I probably just picked a bad time to take a break. Eventually the story does pick up again, and I did get re-engrossed in it enough to finish, but it was a struggle for me to get there.

This story tries to stay pretty close to actual history. It’s billed as “an espionage thriller
with a dash of both history and dystopia.” However, I have to say the history aspect definitely outweighed the dystopia aspect. In fact, because this story does follow close to actual history, I have a very difficult time accepting this as a dystopia. When I hear dystopia I tend to think either a) way in the future or b) complete alternate reality. The only aspect of a dystopia I saw in this story was that there was the impoverished lower class and then there was the Party class. So I supposed technically the case can be made that this is a dystopia novel, but had I read it with that expectation, I would have been grossly disappointed.

The foreign names, while authentic, where a bit confusing for me at first. This was mostly when both the first name and the nickname were both being used for each character. Yes, there is a note regarding this in the beginning of the story, but reading a digital copy did not make it easy to switch back and forth to check names. However, once the name game settled down and the nicknames were primarily used, the confusion was cleared up.

Another problem I had, that likely contributed to my confusion towards the beginning of the story was the different powers each of the characters possessed. Yes some of the powers were the same, but others were so similar and yet different, I had a difficult time keeping who had what straight. I also got tired of “we just want you to be safe, Yulia” towards the middle of the book. Yeah, ok we get it, that’s great and all but why? Why do these strangers care so much about her safety? Masha certainly couldn’t care less (granted she’s not exactly a nice person either), but why is Yulia’s safety so concerning to Larissa and Sergei? They’re not exactly childhood friends or anything along those lines.

Overall, it’s a well-written story that has some unique aspects to it. While this is bound to intrigue those interested in Russian culture, interest in Russia is not a requirement to enjoy this story. Having very little interest in Russia myself, this story kept me intrigued and although I may have felt a bit lost (even contemplated quitting at one point) I’m glad I saw this story through to the end of the first installment. What I really like about this story is that due to the ending, I don’t feel forced into reading the next book, as this really is a solid story in itself. However there are a few loose ends that may lead to me reading the next book.

Stupid and Contagious - Caprice Crane I would seriously consider giving this a five-star if the writing was better. However, it was very simplistic, and corny at times. And I still don't fully understand where the title comes into the story. But overall the humor totally made the book worth reading. And the ending...while I might not have felt much of a connection with the characters (other than the fact that they reminded me of myself at times) I totally teared up a bit at the end. Which, to have no emotional connection with a story for the first 95% of it, and then tear up at the end is pretty impressive I'd say. So between the humor and the ending, this book earned a solid four stars in my opinion.
Requiem (The Providence Series) - Jamie McGuire Hmmm, well, um, yeah... so this wasn't quite as good as the first installment. Which really isn't saying too much. Was it good? Eh, it wasn't bad. It just felt like they were always running around, usually frantic, and that time just flies by. I guess my big issue with this one was that the first book took almost 500 pages, and covered about a year. This one was closer to 300 pages, and covered more like 15 months I think.

I got bored reading this one too, but for different reasons. It seemed like the majority of the novel was just Jared looking for the book. That's it. But again, as with the first, once I hit about 60% the story really picked up and made it a worthwhile read. My only wish was that this was a common trend throughout the book, and not saved for the last 40% of the story. But I guess I know what to expect upon picking up the third installment, which is up next on my to read list.
Providence - Jamie McGuire I probably wouldn't have picked this up if it wasn't for Beautiful Disaster. However, this book really stands on its own. When I perused the reviews prior to reading this book, there was one that liked it to that of Twilight. This made me a bit apprehensive. And yes, I can kind of see where they got that presumption. It has a similar feel to it, especially the whole insta-love aspect. However, the insta-love can kind of be explained away by the plot. At least that's how I reasoned it out, because insta-love is obnoxious, but this time it didn't bother me.

So, if I were to base my rating on the last quarter of the book, it'd be an easy 5 star. However, the book did take a bit to get into. And then there were super slow, tedious parts. I'm sure there was a reason for them, but I got tired of reading about her meeting up with her friends all the time. I wanted action, I wanted to know where it was going, which really didn't take off until the last third of the book. Overall the book was fairly well written, with a few slight complaints, mainly in terms of editing. This definitely could have benefited from editing. Wrong words, words randomly spaced (i.e. bell owing). My other big issue was continuity. For the most part this was okay, but there were parts where I had to re-read paragraphs because their actions didn't make complete sense.

Overall, definitely a very sweet para-romance story. It's not as good as Beautiful Disaster, of course, but I'd almost prefer Jared to Travis. But that's just personal preference.
Palace of Spies - Sarah Zettel I think I'd have to give this one a 3.5 to 4 stars. It was a little slow picking up, and there were times I really was just bored. But then there were parts where it picked up, and they were really good. The author really did try to avoid slow areas, by the way she would briefly skip over things, using the writing device of speaking to the reader directly. This was actually a refreshing aspect to the story, and gave it a comical feel. Usually books about court intrigue are more serious and that can get a little boring for me, even with all the spy intrigue going on. But the added comedy was much needed and really helped this story stand out to me.

I think the best part for me was the fact that while I had my suspicions, the actual "who done it" really took my by surprise. My guess was partially correct, but also was off at the same time. Also, I liked that the author would dumb down some of the more complicated plot aspects. If a particular part of intrigue was overly complicated, it was repeated in a more simplistic way. Thus even younger readers will fully understand what is happening.

One thing I really appreciate, as a reader, is that there is no cliffhanger. If you want to read more about what happens with the characters (and I do) then there will be another book. However, this book stands pretty much completely on its own. With so many books lately relying on cliffhangers to get readers to pick up their next book, I really appreciate an author who believes enough in their writing to not rely on the cliffhanger to hook the reader, and write a full story in one book.

*I was provided a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Disintegrate - Christine Klocek-Lim I see a lot of potential in this story. However it is in desperate need of an editor. I spent a lot of time being confused. Things felt so disjointed, one minute they're at his grandfather's, the next she's back in her dorm room. Which would be ok, as long as it was better explained why the sudden transition. Or even if it only occurred once, but the chapter transitions don't flow. The writting seems very surface like.

The book did suck me in at first, and the story certainly has a lot of potential, as it is fairly unique. But the lack of depth to the story, and lack of explanation does not keep the reader engaged. I think if the author would take what she's written, and develop it a bit more, expand with more detail on what's happening, as well as working at building the world a bit better, this could certainly be a good read.
The Hollow (Hollow Trilogy) - Jessica Verday I had high hopes for this one. I had all three books in the series, and kept meaning to get around to reading it. I finally sat down a week ago to start the series, hoping I could just fly through it. Unfortunately I couldn't even finish this first installment.

I'm normally one of those people that can read a book in a day or two. After a week I FINALLY made it to 100 pages, and was still bored. After 100 pages a book should at least have you hooked a little, to the point the reader wants to know what's going on and what's going to happen. This didn't happen. I still felt like I was in the dark, nothing had really been developed, just that it's overly established that Kristen is missing, thought to have hit her head, fallen into the river and died. Oh and she's met Caspian...like 10 pages ago.

Considering I already have the other two books in this series, I might have kept reading except for the pacing is way off, character development is almost non-existant during this first part, and the writing just seems shallow. I don't feel like I'm "in" the story so to speak. I really hate having spent the money for all three books, only for it to turn out I won't/can't read them. I guess that's the risk you run waiting for an entire series to come out before reading them (and letting them sit on your shelf for an embarassing amount of time).
Red Fox - Karina Halle There's something about these books. They start out kind of slow, for me anyway, but the ending is so fast paced and I feel like I just got off a rollercoaster. Mid-way I can't wait to finish the story and move onto something else, but by the end I instantly have to read the next one. This is more accurate for this book than the first one. But I think that's because the Native American mythological aspect of it just doesn't interest me. But overall still a good read.
Prodigy - Marie Lu That stupid ending!!! It was a worthy sequel all up until the ending. I'm so mad right now! Bah!
Deadly Game - Cara Lockwood I was provided a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

At first I thought the avg rating of 2.6 stars must be off (I mean there were only 5 reviews at the time) and having read previous Cara Lockwood novels I knew her writing was deserving of much more than a 2.6 rating. Well apparently I should have just listened to the other readers.

It's not that it was terrible. The story certainly has potential. However it's just such a short part of the whole story, that by the time I finished the story was just picking up. At 66 pages I hadn't had a chance to even get attached to a single character. I also found it absurd that after finding the body, Cal and Daniel decide to have sex just randomly. I'm sorry but if I woke up next to a dead body and was on the run from the authorities, pretty sure I wouldn't stop to have sex. It felt like these sex scenes were arbitrarily thrown randomly into the book just to sell more copies. Add to that the fact I really had zero interest in who "did it" the whole time, and unless the second one has several reviews stating that the story is much improved upon and makes up for this initial installment, I think I'll be passing on this one.
Etiquette & Espionage - Gail Carriger I think this one is closer to 3.5 stars. I love the setting and the concept of the finishing school. However some things could have been better explained. For example, it's mentioned multiple times that their luggage was lost on the way to the school. Yet it never really is explained how they got clothes once they got to the school. Some of the transitions weren't fully explained either, whereas a lot of time was put into explaining and setting up the school concept. I feel like this was mostly story setup, with a thin storyline thrown into the mix. The storyline could have been expanded upon to give more depth to the story. However, as previously mentioned, the setting is well built, the characters are lovable, and it's a great concept. I look forward to the sequel with hopes that it's less set-up and more story.
Whole Lotta Trouble - Stephanie Bond This was a very cute chick-lit mystery novel. My only complaint is that the murder and mystery part really doesn't evolve until halfway through the book. And then it is wrapped up so quickly. However I halfway expected this, and the characters are so lovable. So all in all, definitely a good read if you're in the mood for some chick-lit, but want a little thrill and mystery as well.
Golden - Jessi Kirby More like 3.5 stars. This was kind of a slow story for me. However, I think in a lot of ways it was necessary to the story, as it let some crucial things sink into the reader's mind. I think the reason why I enjoyed this story so much was that while you're along for Parker's story and watching her find herself, you're also along for another story and the questions posed cause intraspective moments for the reader as well. So, although brief, while Parker is finding herself, the reader questions themselves as well (well at least I did.)

The summary leads you to think this is a mystery, and I suppose technically it is, but it doesn't come across like most mysteries, specifically in this genre, do. It doesn't really keep the reader guessing. But it does a great job at maintaining the reader's interest, once the story takes off (after about the first 50 pages).