Books I’ve Recently Received for Review

Every now and then I get an email to review books and I am very grateful for them. I just received two great books read read and publish reviews. I definitely won’t get to them until next year, but I want to share them with you all because I’m so excited to read them!

 

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Motherless by Erin Healy

Released on October 28, 2014

Length: 368 pages

A whispering voice at the back of my mind reminds me that I’ve been this way for some time. Dead, that is.

The dead have a very broad view of the living, of actions performed out of sight, of thoughts believed to be private. I would know. Losing both parents is a trial no child should endure, and Marina and Dylan have endured enough. They deserve the one thing I could never give them: a mother’s love.

A mother’s love, and the truth.

 

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A.D. 30 by Ted Dekker

Released on October 28, 2014

Length: 432 pages

The outcast daughter of one of the most powerful Bedouin sheikhs in Arabia, Maviah is called on to protect the very people who rejected her. When their enemies launch a sudden attack with devastating consequences, Maviah escapes with the help of two of her father’s warriors–Saba who speaks more with is sword than his voice and Judah, a Jew who comes from a tribe that can read the stars. Their journey will be fraught with terrible danger. If they can survive the vast forbidding sands of a desert that is deadly to most, they will reach a brutal world subjugated by kings and emperors. There Maviah must secure an unlikely alliance with King Herod of the Jews.
But Maviah’s path leads her unexpectedly to another man. An enigmatic teacher who speaks of a way in this life which offers greater power than any kingdom. His name is Yeshua, and his words turn everything known on its head. Though following him may present even greater danger, his may be the only way for Maviah to save her people–and herself.
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New Trilogies For The New Year!

Recently, I’ve started to get really into reading trilogies. Some are fairly new and others were written more than a few years ago. Here’s the trilogies I’ve started and plan to start reading which will spill over into the new year..

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Shadow and Bone! I’ve had this book on my bookshelf for a few months and never got around to it until Friday. I finished it yesterday and I must say this book is amazing! Very well written and the characters are well developed. It’s mainly about a girl named Alina who has special powers who is in love with her best friend. I bought the second book from Barnes & Noble yesterday, but I plan to read it next month. The genre is epic fantasy.

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Next trilogy is Throne of Glass! I ordered this book last week and waiting on its arrival. It is about the most powerful assassin in the land and its a woman! I love novels with female assassins as lead characters. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book. The genre is fantasy.

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Flowers In The Attic by V.C. Andrews was first published in 1976. I’m not completely sure what it is about. All I know is something happens to the father and there’s an inheritance involved. The children have the worst end of the stick. Evil happens and the children are locked in an attic. There’s a Lifetime movie adaptation. I just started reading it this morning and it’s interesting so far. The genre is horror.

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Fury is the first book in the paranormal/suspense Fury trilogy. A group of friends get traumatized by the paranormal who want to inflict revenge for an event that caused the death of one of their classmates. I am half way done with it and it’s not the best paranormal book I’ve ever read, but I will finish the trilogy. It has its good parts.

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The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy follows an art student that was raised by demons and is visited by an Angel who shows are a different way of being. I do not own this book yet or ordered it. I do plan to start reading it soon and unfortunately it won’t be this year! The genre is fantasy.

I don’t know what I’ve started, but I planned to finish it! My plan is to read the next book in a trilogy every month until I’m done, so I should be done with them by the end of February. All of them except Daughter of Smoke and Bone and probably Throne of Glass as well because I don’t think I’ll receive it and finish it in time to have it finished by February, so it will be March when I finish that trilogy.

If you’ve read any of these trilogies or currently reading, tell me what you think!

Review: The Cellar by Natasha Preston

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The Cellar by Natasha Preston

Release Date: March 1, 2014

Length: 360 pages

For months Summer is trapped in a cellar with the man who took her—and three other girls: Rose, Poppy, and Violet. His perfect, pure flowers. His family. But flowers can’t survive long cut off from the sun, and time is running out…

The Cellar is about a 16 year old girl named Summer who was kidnapped by a man. Colin has longed for a perfect family since his mother died and he has his own issues with society. The book begins with Summer feeling unhappy with her appearance and being totally in love with her boyfriend and not exactly grateful for her parents. Summer leaves the house to attend a gig. She meets up with her friend and they get separated leaving Summer by herself walking through the park. Soon she hears a man call her Lily and he kidnaps her. Summer’s life will not be the same for months.

While locked in his cellar, Summer meets three other girls in which he named Poppy, Rose, and Violet. Summer was the last girl he had to kidnap to complete his family and she is Lily now. Quickly Summer learns that Colin is more than a kidnapper. He is a man of dark secrets that haunt him every day.

While reading this book I thought it had a lot of potential. The concept is great, but I think it was poorly written. It wasn’t terrible, but it could have been better. The organization was off and the book was longer than it should have been. I do not like when characters have their own chapters representing their points of view. The reader was able to see Colin’s point of view which I think was great, but it should have covered more. Summer and her boyfriend, Lewis had their own chapters as well. I think it would have been better if the author limited the point of views to Summer and Lewis or Summer and Colin.

Summer went from viewing herself as something that needs to be worked on to be seen as perfect when she was locked in Colin’s cellar. Again, I get the story the author was trying to tell. However, it was written in a way that left a lot of gaps and a little awkward to read because of it. The last two chapters weren’t needed. It took away from the ending. I would have liked for the girls to get their own revenge on Colin, but they didn’t. They were overpowered until the end. The author failed to mention what exactly happened when Summer and the girls were found. Who found them? What happened after Summer lost her senses? How did one of the girls die? Why did the girls not eventually know why Colin was doing it in the first place? If it didn’t take so long to get to the climax, I would have better feelings about this book. By the time the reader would have gotten to the climax, they would have lost interest because there was too much backstory and not enough of what was going on presently. I wish more moments in this book were more developed than they were.

Would I recommend this book to read? No. I would not recommend it solely because I believe it was poorly written and unorganized. If you just want something to read to pass the time, then give it a try. I did like Summer’s feisty personality and the love she shared with Lewis. That could have been the book itself. Honestly, I wish it was the book.

 

My Reading Week: November 9-15, 2014

I had a pretty good reading week. I managed to read two books and one short story.

 

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I finished reading Moon At Nine by Deborah Ellis. I have a full review of this book. You can read it here.

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I read A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.

This book is not like I thought it would be! It was very surprising and you can have conversations about this book from so many angles. I would love to get into the philosophy of it, but that would take me forever and I’m sure none of you would like to read a critical analysis of this book. However, I do plan to write one in the future. 🙂 This book is perfect for anyone of any age. Great book.

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I read S.O.S (short story) by Agatha Christie

I’ve been wanted to get into Agatha Christie’s work. She’s sold millions and millions of books (the only books that have out sold her is the bible and Shakespeare’s work). The S.O.S short story is a short horror read. I didn’t find it to be scary at all. It was more of a mystery than anything. I plan to read more of Christie’s work, but this title did not allow me to see her greatness. I will give her another try!

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I rarely ever read the books I say I’m going to read for the week (Short attention span and there’s just too many books!), but I can tell you what books I am currently reading this week and plan to finish by Saturday. Here they are!

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Gone by Michael Grant

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

Asylum by Madeleine Roux (If I finish this book, I’d be surprised)

And there you have it!

Just Picked: The Ocean At The End of The Lane by Neil Gaiman

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A brilliantly imaginative and poignant fairy tale from the modern master of wonder and terror, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is Neil Gaiman’s first new novel for adults since his #1 New York Times bestseller Anansi Boys.

This bewitching and harrowing tale of mystery and survival, and memory and magic, makes the impossible all too real…

I’ve been hearing a lot about Neil Gaiman’s work. I love horror books. Extremely crazy, mind bending, and dark books are my weakness and this author seems like he knows what he’s doing! The more I cringe while reading a book, the better. This just may be the perfect book for me to begin reading his work. I found the eBook on Amazon for $6.99 which I think is a mega steal. I can’t wait get into it!

Gaiman recently released, The Sleeper and The Spindle that seems even more amazing! I can’t wait to read it as well. It’s going to be a good November and December for books!

Why Book Covers Matter and Don’t Matter At All

Have you ever went browsing in the book store or ordered books online? If you haven’t then what are you waiting on! Even the biggest book collector can’t get enough of beautiful book covers. I have fallen under the spell of book covers several times in my book life, but I must say that maybe they aren’t as important as people think they are. What if the ARE as important as people think? Let’s face it! Authors want to make sure their book covers stand out from all the rest. ….even if the story isn’t as compelling.

Below I’ve gathered a list of things that would keep you from falling into the book cover lover trance.

  1. When you find yourself falling in love with a book cover, open it up or flip it over to read the synopsis, maybe the book won’t be as interesting as the cover.
  2. Find the price!
  3. Don’t look at the cover more than 3 seconds.
  4. Remove part of the dust jacket to see what the book actually looks like.
  5. Read the first chapter of the book.

Now let’s look at why book covers do matter…because it is part of the book, right? Right?

  1. You want to front face a book on your bookshelf. I have several books for that purpose.
  2. The book is a collectors edition.
  3. You want your trilogies to match.
  4. You want the movie cover.
  5. You’re a book cover lover.

I gave you a few reasons why book covers shouldn’t matter and why they should. I think we all give our reasons for both and quite frankly, I think the cover plays a huge part in what the pages of the book are about… but what is the synopsis for? Eh…

 

Moon At Nine: A Review

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Fifteen-year-old Farrin has many secrets. Although she goes to a school for gifted girls in Tehran, as the daughter of an aristocratic mother and wealthy father Farrin must keep a low profile. It is 1988; ever since the Shah was overthrown, the deeply conservative and religious government controls every facet of life in Iran. If the Revolutionary Guard finds out about her mother’s Bring Back the Shah activities, her family could be thrown in jail or worse.
   The day she meets Sadira, Farrin’s life changes forever. Sadira is funny, wise and outgoing; the two girls become inseparable. But as their friendship deepens into romance, the relationship takes a dangerous turn. It is against the law to be a homosexual in Iran; the punishment is death. Despite their efforts to keep their love secret, the girls are discovered and arrested. Separated from Sadira, Farrin can only pray as she awaits execution. Will her family find a way to save them both?
   Based on real-life events, multi-award-winning author Deborah Ellis’s new book is a tense and riveting story about a world where homosexuality is considered so abhorrent that it is punishable by death.

The love story of Farrin and Sadira is beautiful. Besides the love story, I loved the historical references. Ellis gives you a healthy dose of history for more understanding of the story and the life of the characters. It was a very political and dangerous life in Iran during the 80s. The setting is in 1988 when the Shah was overthrown and taken over by the Revolutionary Guards, a group of individuals who enforced the laws of religious practices and they will soon turn Farrin and Sadira’s life upside down.

I could not put this book down. What intrigued me the most about this book is that it is based on a true story. The story takes place in Iran and it is a place with strict rules involving social conduct, especially with women. Farrin and Sadira are of two different worlds, but find themselves in love and willing to die for it. The two were condemned by their families and even sentenced to death for loving each other. I must say the two girls were very smart and determined. They were mini activists and mature at such a young age.

The book is so well written that I could tell Ellis did a great deal of research of Iran’s history and an conducted in-depth interview with the real-life Farrin. I have a huge amount of respect for Ellis and Farrin. I am truly grateful to have been able to read such a powerful and courageous book of love and friendship in the times of conservative individuals who fought relentlessly to put it to an end. A series of events happen and the story ends in a very unlikely place! I don’t want to give too much away, but the story is very touching and gives us a glimpse of the lives of women in Iran who chose love regardless of gender and socioeconomic status.

Moon At Nine is a must read! It is available on Amazon.com and you can check your local bookstore for its availability. The cover is amazing, for all of the book cover lovers!

A major thank you to Pajama Press for providing this book for me to review. I will keep it on my bookshelf for years to come.

 

 

The Retribution of Mara Dyer

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It had to end sometime, but Mara had no idea it would end like this. Experience the mind-blowing conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Mara Dyer trilogy.

*The entire first print run will be signed by the author, Michelle Hodkin.*

Mara Dyer wants to believe there’s more to the lies she’s been told.
There is.

She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead.
She should.

She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance.
She will now.

Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.
Retribution has arrived.

If you are a fan of the Mara Dyer series as much as I am, then you would be very happy to know that the last and final book, The Retribution of Mara Dyer is available RIGHT NOW! As in TODAY! I’ve been waiting on this book for months and I cannot wait to get my hands on it. It will certainly go to the top of this month’s TBR list. I am thinking about putting Champion aside and delving into this very well-written story. If you haven’t heard of this trilogy or read the first book, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, then I suggest you do! You won’t be disappointed.

I Recently Added To My Kindle Family!

In case you all haven’t figured it out, I have a mild obsession with electronics as well. I don’t remember if I posted about buying the Kindle HD, but I do own one. However, I did not find it very rewarding when it came to reading, which is what I planned to use it for anyway. Later I bought a Kindle Paperwhite and I must say I love every part of it! I’ve had my Paperwhite for a little over a month now. I just dropped it this week and it got a few scratches. They aren’t bad scratches, but I would rather it not have any! I’m pretty bummed about that, but I ordered a protective case for it that should be arriving soon.

The Kindle Paperwhite is an awesome device for those who only want to read for many reasons!

  1. It doesn’t have the of glare the Kindle Fire while reading in direct sunlight (reading outside) and it’s a lot lighter.
  2. The battery life is said to last for two weeks, but I haven’t had that experience (maybe because I keep the backlight on). I think one would need to keep the light on very low or off to get the best out of the two week battery life Amazon says it is capable of achieving.
  3. It is easily transportable. I read a few people saying they are able to fit it in their pockets. I do no believe it is that small for me, but it fits in my purse without a problem which means I can take it everywhere I go.
  4. It is lightweight! I can read for hours. This is a huge plus. After reading on my iPad and Kindle Fire I can truly appreciate the Paperwhite in this area. No aching wrists!
  5. The black and white is beautiful! I do wish the letters would be more bold, though.

Where there is pros, cons will soon follow…

  1. What I sometimes find dissatisfying about the Paperwhite is that the pages load slow and you can see parts of the last page on the current page you’re reading. I think the only people who will get this are those who have used the ink readers instead of electronic.
  2. Another gripe I have about it that is more annoying than the page not fully refreshing is I can easily lose my place while reading! I mean, I can be in a totally different chapter at a simple touch and I find myself going to the chapter outline to find the correct chapter then waste time finding my place. That happens more often than I’d like!
  3. I do not think the battery is capable of lasting for two weeks. I’ve tried keeping it on very low light or off, but that doesn’t work. I still find myself charging it once a week. I don’t think anyone bought the Paperwhite to not use the backlight! And using the backlight uses up your battery life. *sigh* I wish I had a better solution for this.

All in all, the Kindle Paperwhite is an awesome device for avid readers. Its small size, light weight, and barely there glare in direct sunlight easily puts it as one of the best eReaders I’ve ever owned.

If you have a Kindle Paperwhite, tell me about your experience with it! If you would like to purchase a one and I did not cover your questions, please ask in the comment box!