Sunday Scribbles: Are You Afraid of the Dark

Each week I read a writing prompt and write the first thing that pops into my head.

 

You, a grown adult, are afraid of the dark.

Explain why this is a legitimate concern, so your friends won’t laugh at you.

 

Look, I know what you’re thinking. Someone in their thirties shouldn’t be afraid of the dark. But I am, and you should be too. This is no laughing matter. You know what’s out there in the dark? Neither do I. It’s dark.

Have you ever tried to find your way to the bathroom in the dark? I bet you ran into a door, a wall, or the corner of a dresser. That wouldn’t happen in the light.

You know what the darkness hides? Shadows. I’ve seen Doctor Who. I know to count the shadows. If the shadows get me, I’m a goner. No thank you.

Just about every scary movie I’ve seen has any number of reasons to be terrified of the dark. Monsters, demons, psychopathic killers with knives or chainsaws. If it were light, we would have seen them coming.

I read an article recently. It talked about how like, these rats were forced to smell something, then they were given a shock of electricity. They soon learned to associate that smell with pain, and they were afraid. They were then bred, and you know what? Their offspring would smell the scent that their parent was trained to fear, and they were afraid. That’s right, having never been shocked themselves, their DNA they inherited from their parent was changed so that they were afraid of that smell. I’m pretty sure everyone is actually afraid of the dark. It’s a primal fear. From when we lived in caves. Or ran from dinosaurs. Or whatever. Sabertooth Tigers probably hid in the dark. And they’re scary as hell.

So if you say you’re not afraid of the dark, you’re probably lying.

Because you should be.

REVIEW: Mercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti

Mercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti

Series: Scorpius Syndrome #1

Read: December 29, 2016 – January 7, 2017

Format: ARC Ebook (NetGalley)

My Book Rating: 4 Stars

Publisher: Kensington

Release Date: January 26, 2016

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Pages: 384

READING CHALLENGE: #TBRChallenge

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

With nothing but rumors to lead her, Lynn Harmony has trekked across a nightmare landscape to find one man—a mysterious, damaged legend who protects the weak and leads the strong. He’s more than muscle and firepower—and in post-plague L.A., he’s her only hope. As the one woman who could cure the disease, Lynn is the single most volatile—and vulnerable—creature in this new and ruthless world. But face to face with Jax Mercury…

Danger has never looked quite so delicious…


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

While being entirely way too smutty for my tastes, Mercury Striking is a well thought out page turner.

With the Scorpius bacteria on the loose, more deadly than the plague, Jax Mercury has created his own community in Los Angeles where the people are protected and everyone does their part. Meanwhile, Lynn Harmony aka “Blue Heart” is fugitive #1. Said to be carrying a mutated strain of the Scorpius bacteria, she is supposed to be turned into what’s left of the government if she’s found. As the former head of the CDC, she’s too valuable to let go.

So obviously this is a romance. And it’s a steamy alpha male romance at that. Personally, I don’t get the whole alpha male attraction. They’re mostly just jerks. Jax isn’t too bad, as far as Alpha’s go. He’s got a lot of backstory and reasons for acting the way he does. He’s got a past and demons to conquer.

Lynne is far from the damsel in distress herself. She’s got a brain and knows how to use it. She’s got her own demons to vanquish and together with Jax, they may just be able to take on the world.

I was surprised by how much I liked about this book. The action was good and kept the story moving. The explanations for the Scorpius bacteria was well thought out and interesting, it wasn’t a last minute cop out thrown together by the author in order to get the characters in bed together. It was legit. And I liked it. The side characters were also very interesting and I have a feeling there is plenty to find out about each of them in the future.

As far as what I didn’t like, as I said before, I’m not one for books with lots of sex. It’s just not my reading preference. If you like a lot of sex scenes, this is the book for you! For me, it was too much. Especially a particular scene in the book which was WAY too rapey for my liking. The author knows each partner wanted it, but there was no way that Jax knew she really wanted it. She said no, and he did it anyway. It left a really bad taste in my mouth and if I were the kind of reader who quit partway through a book, I would have quit. Aside from that scene, I had no other major issues with the book.

 

So, should you read it? If you like LOTS of sex scenes and romance novels that have more substance than just the romance aspect, YES. If you don’t like sex scenes, you may have a harder time. You could always skip over them, but you’ll miss some of the relationship development.



Get the Mercury Striking here:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

~ Add to Goodreads ~


QUOTES

 

Her shoulders went back, and she rested her head, staring up at the roof. “I’d love to be useless.”

 

Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed. – G. K. Chesterton

 

“I have an IQ well into the triple digits, Mercury. Killing you right now surrounded by your people would be incredibly stupid. I’m not stupid.”

 

The world either wants her dead because they blame her for not stopping the illness, or they think somehow there’s a cure in her blood since she’s the only one with a blue heart.

 

The guy was quoting Nietzsche? What kind of an ex-gang member turned army special ops turned leader of a vigilante group knew philosophy?

 

“A gentleman would give me the bed.”
He scratched the stubble next to his scar. “All the gentlemen are dead, baby. Soldiers and survivors are what we have now.”

 

For a badass, dangerous killer of a soldier who had no problem wielding a belt, Jax Mercury sure liked to cuddle.

 

“This doesn’t mean I need to get your name tattooed to my ass, does it? With the former gang affiliation, with military and the new group, I’m unaware of the protocol.”

 

“You need a woman.”
“A woman is the last thing on earth I need,” Raze countered.
Jax raised an eyebrow. “A guy, then?”

 

Sunday Scribbles: The Dying Houseplant

For Christmas my mother-in-law bought me a book of writing prompts. Yay!

I’m going to try something new in 2017.
I’m going to attempt to do at least one writing prompt per week, then share it here in a little segment I’m calling Sunday Scribbles.

I say attempt, because I work EVERY Sunday and actually don’t even get to look at my computer all weekend, so I’ll have to be good about setting these posts up earlier in the week. Like today. It’s Wednesday as I get this post ready, and it was Tuesday (my birthday!) when I wrote this little ditty.

Are you a fan of writing prompts?
Share your favorites in the comments!


Image courtesy of Dreamstime.com

A houseplant is dying.

Tell it why it needs to live.

You can’t die.

I stare at the miserable looking orchid in the pot before me.

Where once there were a plethora of little pink petals, all lined up in a row, as if begging to be first in line for attention, there are now only two pathetic, slightly brown, silky, misshapen circles.

I watch as one petal gives up, falling feather soft into the soil at its base.

Make that one petal, still clinging for life.

I carefully pour just a little more water onto the soil, hoping a little moisture is all that will be needed to miraculously bring the once glorious houseplant to life.

I remember when the orchid first came into my possession. It was a gift from the love of my life. But like the plant, that love has also withered, as if his presence had been the only thing keeping it alive.

I absently wipe a stray tear that has found its way down my cheek.

I will not cry.

I will not give up.

I will the plant to live. If you survive, maybe he will to.

Two weeks. That’s how long it’s been since the plant began dying. Two weeks since the accident that left him at the edge of deaths door.

The plant grows weaker every day in the pot in my small apartment, while he grows weaker in a bed in the ICU.

Live, I will the plant. If you live, so will he.

I stare at the nearly empty stem, as if daring it to do something.

The last petal falls, and then the phone rings.

REVIEW: Crossing The Barrier by Martine Lewis

Crossing The Barrier by Martine Lewis

Series: Gray Eyes #1

Read: July 14 – 21, 2016

Format: Ebook (Kindle)

Publisher: Self-Published

Release Date: March 22, 2016

My Book Rating: 2.5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary Romance (with a minor touch of paranormal)

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

High school student Malakai Thomas, star wide receiver of the varsity team, collides with band member Lily Morgan on his way to football practice. As days go by, Malakai cannot get the petite clarinetist out of his head.

Lily Morgan can feel everyone’s emotions. She loses her ability to shield herself against them the day Malakai runs into her. Now she must try to maintain her sanity in the emotional jungle that is high school, as well as deal with her growing feelings for Malakai.

Can Malakai get over the social stigma and his own internal struggle to be with Lily? Is Lily’s secret too big to accept, even for him?


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

I went into this book expecting a YA paranormal romance, instead I got a YA sports romance with a touch of paranormal.

Right off the bat I have to state that I hate sports. So reading about sports doesn’t interest me, already that puts this book at a disadvantage for me. I’m a paranormal girl, I like to get lost in worlds where I need to extend my imagination and suspend belief. Contemporary novels, for the most part, don’t hold my interest. I get enough of reality in the real world. I want a little bit of magic.

The paranormal in this book comes in play with the main female protagonist, Lily. She’s an Empath, meaning she can sense / feel other peoples emotions. Normally she has mental shields to block the emotions out, but early on in the book she loses those shields. What I found more interesting about Lily is that she’s basically living a Cinderella life. Her father has passed away, leaving her alone with a mother who never wanted her. Anyone would be able to see just how unwanted Lily is by her mother Beatrice, but by being an Empath, Lily can feel every evil, nasty, vicious thought and feeling toward her. It’s a classic case of both physical and emotional child abuse with how badly Lily is treated. A girl growing up being treated so badly, you’d think she’d be forced to grow up pretty quickly, but I was actually surprised at now painfully naive she was at times. At one point I wanted to throw my Kindle at the wall and yell at her.

Meanwhile, Malakai, has his own demons at home. His mother left when he was a child and no one has ever told him why. His father is military, constantly leaving him home alone for weeks or months on end since he turned seventeen. Malakai starts out as a very good and chivalrous guy, but by the end of the book I really didn’t care much for him. He became almost controlling of Lily, and though from the thoughts that are presented to us through both his POV and Lily’s Empath ability, we know his actions are in no way malicious, but they just rubbed me the wrong way. He also became full of self-loathing. What happened to the confident boy in the beginning? I wasn’t feeling that.

I ultimately failed to love this book for a few reasons. The first being the aforementioned genre, it reads very contemporary and the paranormal is very light. That’s just not for me. The other things that drew me out of the story were the follow:

  1. As is common in YA books, there is a good amount of info dumping in the very beginning. Things I’d rather see happening than be told about.
  1. The author uses a lot of passive language which prevented me to actively engage with the events as they happened, i.e.: “She had wanted to go with him…. Lily had wondered….”
  1. I never could fully grasp what the central plot was. I think it was the romance between Lily and Malakai, but I’m not sure. In the beginning Wes and Zoe were sort of the villains, then they disappeared until the end when I’d all but forgotten them. Beatrice then became a bigger villain, shifting the focus from Wes and Zoe. Then we touch on Malakai’s parental issues. For me, all of the different conflicts never really “meshed” together well enough for me. I guess I just prefer the 3 act story arc formula.
  1. Malakai’s reactions. I mentioned above about the self-loathing, but Malakai has something happen near the end of the book and he reacts in a way that seemed completely out of character for him. Because we read half the book in his POV this shift in character could easily have been explained with his own internal monologue, but instead we’re given nothing. I actually had to stop and think, wondering if I’d somehow skipped ahead in the book and missed an important chunk of text that described his internal emotional turmoil. But I didn’t. I checked.
  1. The ending (before the epilogue) was cheesy. I think young teens girls will eat it up. For me personally, it didn’t work. It felt too soon and out of place.

That seems like quite a list of things that I didn’t like or didn’t work for me, but there were things I did enjoy. This book touches on a lot of relevant hot topics including bullying and racism, which is important to me. It’s obvious that the author really cares about her characters and though she gives them obstacles, it’s easy to root for them to get past them. I will also say this. Despite all of my grievances with this book, the epilogue piqued my interest (and seems to show that the series will PROBABLY be going in a more paranormal or sci-fi direction and I will quite likely read it and hope to see the author continue to grow as a writer.

Final thought: If you are a fan of contemporary romance (especially sports romance) you might enjoy this. I think younger teens will enjoy this book more than older teens and adults due to the writing style.



Get the Crossing The Barrier here:

Amazon (Free with KU)

~ Add to Goodreads ~

 

 

REVIEW: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Series: Me Before You #1

Read: November 17 – December 16, 2016

Format: Paperback

My Book Rating: 4 Stars

Publisher: Penguin

Release Date: January 5, 2012

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.


REVIEW

Warning – if you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know what this book is about, there will be spoilers. You’ve been warned.

 

With the movie based on this book, I heard about Me Before You everywhere. Everyone absolutely loved it and I had to read it. I put myself on the list at the library – I was something like 685 on the wait list. I ended up removing myself from the list when my mom bought the book for herself, then let me have it when she was done.

I wasn’t so sure at first that I would like the book. I mean, I love romantic comedies when it comes to movies, but but I have yet to find a contemporary romance or women’s fiction that really drew me in. Until now.

Louisa Clark is such an easy to like character. She’s naive and happy to live her simple existence in her tiny town living with her parents, sister, and nephew. But after she loses her job, she realizes she’s not really qualified to do much of anything. On a whim she interviews and is offered a job as a caretaker for a paraplegic. Enter Will Traynor.

Will is an arrogant, depressive, asshole. But I couldn’t really hate him for that. He went from an extremely active and independent life, to being a slave to a wheelchair. The common cold could easily turn to pneumonia and kill him. His existence since his accident has been nothing short of hell for him. Will is not the type of man to rely on others. Yet that is now his reality.

The main issue of this book, the right to end ones own life, is heavy and depressing. I really think Moyes did an excellent job of remaining neutral on the subject. Will is hard set on ending his misery. Louisa, ever the optimist, is convinced she can change his mind and give him something to live for.

The romance in this book is a slow build, but easy to see coming. There were little moments where Will would show just a glimmer of happiness, even if it was just a slight smile, and my hopes would rise.

If you have been living under a rock, I won’t tell you how this ends. I’ll just leave you with my final Goodreads update upon reading THE END: “I’m not crying, you’re crying! *Sniffles* What a beautiful story.”

There you have it.

Bring tissues.


Get the Me Before You here:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

~ Add to Goodreads ~


QUOTES

 

“Um. . . Have you ever considered joining the entertainment industry?”

“What, as a mime artist? Opera singer?”

“Actually, no. But there is an opening for a pole dancer. Several, in fact.”

 

 “Believe me, when you’ve done shifts at a chicken processing factory, working in Guantanamo Bay for six months looks attractive.”

 

“What the hell else have you been sneaking into my food? You’ll be telling me to open the tunnel so that Mr. Train can deliver some mushy Brussel sprouts to the red bloody station next.”

I considered this for a minute. “No,” I said, straight-faced. “I deal only with Mr. Fork. Mr. Fork does not look like a train.”

 

 Dear Clark,

This is to show you that I am not an entirely selfish are. And I do appreciate your efforts.

Thank you. Will.

 

 “… I cannot for the life of me see how you can be so content to live this tiny life. This life that will take place almost entirely within a five-mile radius and contain nobody who will ever surprise you or push you or show you things that will leave your head spinning and unable to sleep at night.”

 

 “There have been times when I’ve stayed over and he’s woken up screaming because in his dreams he’s still walking and skiing and doing stuff and just for those few minutes, when his defenses are down and it’s all a bit raw, he literally can’t bear the thought of never doing it again. He can’t bear it….”

 

Deja Revu: January 10, 2017

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Déjà Revu is a weekly review round-up that is open to all book review blogs.
(This edition is a delayed post from December 2016)
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Fantasy

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Fantasy

Woman’s Fiction

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Mystery

Romance

Woman’s Fiction

Caroline’s Best Books of 2016

I read quite a few duds in 2016, not all of them even made it to my blog. I try to focus on the good though, so I’m going to say goodbye to 2016 and ring in 2017 with a list of my favorite books from this year. Not all of these books were published in 2016, but I read them this year.

Each title links to my review of the book in a new window.

Are any of these books on your Best of 2016 list? Which would you add?

 

 

The Shadow Queen by CJ Redwine

* YA FANTASY *

This retelling of Snow White and the Huntsman is full of action, romance, and magic! (Plus a few sexy dragon shifters!)

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

* YA FANTASY *

An epic adventure of magic and friendship. There’s some steamy romantic chemistry there too.
I can’t wait to get my hands on book 2, Windwitch, in a couple weeks!

Girl on the Brink by Christina Hoag

* YA CONTEMPORARY *

An emotional book about a teen girl in over her head. A realistic look at how a smart young girl can end up in an abusive relationship.

Walk The Edge by Katie McGarry

* YA CONTEMPORARY *

Romantic. Sexy. Edgy. These characters are different as night and day, but they might just find what they need in the other.

Who I Am With You by Missy Fleming

* CONTEMPORARY *

Possible triggers for those who were personally affected by the 9/11 attacks. I wasn’t there, but this book had me crying like a baby at times.

Black Blade Series by Jennifer Estep

* YA FANTASY *

This entire series is a lighthearted and fun journey to a magical town filled with monsters, magic, and danger. The sparks between Lila and Devon add just the right amount of romance.

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

* YA ROMANCE *

Be still my heart! This book gave me butterflies. So much romance and adventure. It’s not 100% fantasy, but the countries are made up, so it’s also not quite historical, though it feels that way.

Fifteen Lanes by S. J. Laidlaw

* YA CONTEMPORARY *

This was my first time reading about another culture. In this case, the slums of India. A heartbreaking and uplifting tale of the daughter of a sex worker. This one stayed with me for some time.

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

* CHILDRENS *

The only children’s book on this list, this one was so good that after receiving a digital copy to read from NetGalley, I bought it for my own daughter for Christmas! The pictures are bright and beautiful, and the message is important.

Kernel of Truth by Kristi Abbott

* COZY MYSTERY *

My first cozy mystery! I devoured this book about a popcorn shop owner trying to solve the mysterious murder of her friend and shop neighbor.

Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead

* SCI-FI ROMANCE *

I put off reading this one for a long time, thinking it would be too sci-fi for me. I was so wrong! Filled with dynamic characters and romance, this was a must read!
Goal for 2017: Find and read book 2!

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

* NON-FICTION *

My first win from Goodreads. This book helped me learn to let go of items I don’t need. Nothing stresses me out more than a bunch of junk cluttering my life. I’m still a work in progress, but this book was a good start for me.

WAR OF THE PRINCES SERIES by A. R. Ivanovich

* YA FANTASY *

I devoured this 4 book series. Though book 1 remains my favorite, the whole series is worth reading. Mysterious magical powers. War. Secrets. Wow, what a ride!

The Martian by Andy Weir

* SCI-FI *

I went out with a bang in 2016, finishing this with only days to spare before ringing in the new year. I never thought a book about a man stranded alone on Mars could be funny. Boy was I wrong! I can’t wait to see the movie next!


BONUS

Since I didn’t start book blogging until the end of 2015, I never put together a list for that year. Below are some of my favorite reads from 2015.

The Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg Cabot

* YA CONTEMPORARY MYSTERY *

The last book in the Heather Wells series, but the first that I read. Though the book revolves around Heather trying to solve a murder, this book is FUNNY! I love Heather Wells!

Should’ve Said No by Tracy March

* CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE *

I don’t read a lot of contemporary romance, but this one has a mystery theme to it, so I was completely engrossed!

Hourglass by Pauline C. Harris

* YA SCI-FI *

A completely unique spin on Peter Pan! What if Captain Hook was a 17-year old girl and illegally captaining a space ship manned by a teenage crew? And what if they found a mysterious planet with a boy named Peter?

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

* YA FANTASY *

This book was not at all what I expected it to be. It surpassed my wildest expectations and the ending left me with my jaw on the ground. I listened to the audiobook of this one and the only reason I haven’t finished the series yet is because I have not yet found the audiobooks of the remaining books! (2017 goal!)

The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by Max Firestone

* MYSERY / HUMOR *

If you’re not a gaming nerd (past or present), you may not get this book. However, for recovering World of Warcraft addicts like myself, this book was an absolute riot!
I can’t wait to see what’s next for Dahlia!

 

REVIEW: Ever The Hunted by Erin Summerill

Ever The Hunted by Erin Summerill

Series: Clash of Kingdoms #1

Read: Decenver 17-20, 2016

Format: ARC Ebook

My Book Rating: 3 Stars

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Release Date: December 27, 2016

Genre: YA Fantasy

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 Ever The Hunted is the story of Britta, a teenage girl who is shunned by her people due to the fact that her mother was from a country that her kingdom is at war with. A mother killed for being a traitor. When Britta’s father dies, she’s left with absolutely nothing. When desperate times come to desperate measures, she ends up poaching and is caught by the kings guards. And now our story begins…

In exchange for being allowed to live, Britta must help the king’s guards track down her fathers accused killer. Her former friend, Cohen. The boy she was in love with before he left and never came back.

I think the problem with this story for me was too much time spent tracking Cohen. I was just bored. I felt like I was reading military fiction, I just wanted things to get moving. Once she separates from the guards the pacing picked up and so did my interest. The magic introduced in the second half of the book helped too.

In the end I did enjoy this story, I just didn’t love it. I know this is the first in the series and I think the next book will probably pick up as far as pacing so I’m not counting this series out just yet. I will most likely read book two and I look forward to seeing what’s in store next for Britta.



Get the book here:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

~ Add to Goodreads ~


QUOTES


Each time I lean forward, Leif pulls me back against his chest. If the captain doesn’t hang me, this ride may be torture enough to kill me.

 

I hate the way Cohen makes a mess of my thoughts. Hate that I’m here in these woods, hunting him for murder. Hate the doubts tangling in my mind because they’re meaningless next to the truth in Lord Jamis’s words.

 

My gaze briefly drops to the sweat mark on his shirt and then to his full lips framed by rugged facial hair. The sight does something strange and liquid to my insides.

 

I kept my secret for years, so perhaps this time he can keep his.

 

“Admit I smell just fine, Britt.”

“Get off me.”

“Admit it, or you’ll be smelling me all over you the entire night.”

Honestly, he smells wonderful.

 

“He’s no more a murderer than you are a gentleman.”

 

His ragged exhale hits my bare back, enticing a shiver to dance through me a moment before his fingers connect with my skin and make mincemeat of my thoughts.

 

Suddenly, I feel like I’ve been pretending my entire life. Acting as though I don’t care when people say unkind things to me. Acting like it doesn’t matter that no one wants to be my friend. Acting as if I’m not lonely.

 

Seeds and stars, it should be illegal for him to go shirtless.

 

 

REVIEW: The Shadow Queen by C. J. Redwine

This review is seriously overdue for my blog. Wow.
Well, consider this promo for the series before the sequel comes out in early 2017!

If you like badass heroines and fairy tales and retellings this one is for you.


 

The Shadow Queen by C. J. Redwine

Series: A Ravenspire Novel

Read: August 30 – September 6, 2016

Format: Ebook (Kindle)

My Book Rating: 5 Stars

Publisher: Scholastic / Balzer + Bray

Release Date: February 16, 2016

Genre: YA Fairy Tale Retelling

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.


REVIEW

I haven’t read many of fairy tale retellings, but those that I have read I’ve loved, and The Shadow Queen is no exception!

In this retelling of Snow White and The Huntsman we follow Princess Lorelai in the role of Snow White. She’s no damsel in distress though, when she fled her wicked stepmother, she took to learning to fight and defend herself.

The huntsman in this story is Prince Kol. He’s from a neighboring kingdom of dragon shifters and desperate to save his kingdom from the invading ogre army. So desperate he’d do anything, including making a deal with the evil queen. A deal that goes very wrong.

I loved the chemistry between Lorelai and Kol. On their own they’re great, both strong and willing to do anything for their people. But together? *Swoon* Their relationship had a few plot twists that kept things from getting boring.

I loved the magic in this book. The incantations were really interesting and the powers Lorelai and Queen Irina possessed were really cool. Especially Irina’s apples! And everything, including the rivers, trees, and earth, having a ‘heart’ for their magic to call upon for assistance. The authors choice to make Kol from a dragon shifter people was also especially awesome and as soon as I read that I knew I’d be hooked on the story.

There was never a dull moment in this book and I was eager to keep reading (or listening to my Kindle read the book aloud to me at work!)

I think those who love fairy tale retellings will appreciate this rendition. It had all of the staples of Snow White—evil witch, runaway princess, magic, apples, handsome prince, huntsman, hearts—but with the authors own unique magic twists. Plus there are dragon people. How cool is that?

Go buy this book now and read it. Seriously.

 Psst! This is also a stand along series – check out the cover below for the next book ‘The Wish Granter’ which releases Feb 2017!



Get The Shadow Queen here:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

~ Add to Goodreads ~

 

 

Preorder the sequel, The Wish Granter, here:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

~ Add to Goodreads ~

 


 

QUOTES

 

“Mirror, mirror in my hand, show me the state of Eldr’s land.”

“Why does it have to rhyme?” Trudge muttered.

 

Only a miracle would save him now, but miracles didn’t happen in Ravenspire.

Miracle’s didn’t happen, but magic did.

 

He shook his head, trying to think, to remember, but his dragon heart blazed within him, begging for blood and fire.

 

He was fire. His chest burned with every breath, and only the girl’s heart would make it better.

 

“No! I mean…we’ll be fine. We’re just going to talk.”

Gabriel snorted. “That’s what we called it in my day too.”

 

You make me want to break one of your ground rules every time you look at me like this.

 

Did she love him? What would it cost her if she did.

 

“…The strength of my heart is the only thing standing between you and total destruction.”

 

“You don’t go into battle because you’re sure of victory. You go into battle because it’s the right thing to do.”

REVIEW: The Martian by Andy Weir

 

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m finding it hard to believe 2017 is less than a week away!
How the hell did that happen???

I’m a couple books behind on my Goodreads reading challenge. That’s not to say I didn’t read enough books, I just haven’t written the reviews for them yet! It’s going to be a scramble these last few days getting these posted!

I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas (or, if you don’t celebrate – a fabulous weekend!) I know I did. I spent plenty of time with family. The kids had a blast opening gifts and playing with cousins. Food was bountiful and delicious. And I got a new Kindle Fire HD 8! Woohoo! The screen on my 2012 Kindle Fire HD was starting to fade at the edges and was quite sluggish. I’m so stoked for my new beauty. I’ve just ordered a case and can’t wait until it arrives!

By new years, watch for my BEST OF 2016 post! I’ve got a list going of my favorite reads for the year. I can’t wait to share them with you all!


The Martian by Andy Weir

Read: December 17 – 25, 2016

Format: Paperback

My Book Rating: 4.5 Stars

Publisher: Random House

Release Date: February 11, 2014

Genre: Sci-Fi

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

A mission to Mars.
A freak accident.
One man’s struggle to survive.

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars’ surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive. And even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, Mark won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark’s not ready to quit. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills—and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength–he embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth.

As he overcomes one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next, Mark begins to let himself believe he might make it off the planet alive.

But Mars has plenty of surprises in store for him yet.


REVIEW

I’m late to the game on this one. I heard about this book when I heard about the movie. I have yet to see the movie, but I’m glad I waited until I read the book first. (Fun fact – I found the book in my neighborhood Free Little Library! Now that I’m done it’s making the rounds to my dad next.)

You wouldn’t think a book about a man stranded alone on Mars would be funny, but this book is HILARIOUS. The hero, Mark, is probably the best person to be placed in this situation because he’s got the personality and humor to see the bright side. He’s also a mechanical engineer / botanist. Strange combo, but it worked out well for him!

Though this book is full of techno mumbo-jumbo, Mark’s humor makes it easy to follow what’s going on, even when the details went over my head. It was just the details that made it feel real, and because I’m not a science nerd*, I’ll have to just believe the author knew what he was talking about. Even if it’s all BS, I’d never know.

Despite being an absolute page turner, I can’t give 5 stars to this book. The dialogue was downright comical in it’s ridiculousness. It read like bad fan fiction. I would rather the book have remained 100% Mark’s log of his time on Mars. But, because I was engaged in the rest of the story, it still gets a solid 4.5 stars from me.

I can’t wait to see the movie next. I’m trying to imagine how they pulled this off.

(*NOTE: I wish I was a science nerd.)



Get the The Martian here:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

~ Add to Goodreads ~


QUOTES

 

Log Entry: Sol 6
I’m pretty much fucked.
That’s my considered opinion.
Fucked.

 

Remember those old math questions you had in algebra class? Where water is entering a container at a certain rate and leaving at a different rate and you need to figure out when it’ll be empty? Well, that concept is critical to the “Mark Watney doesn’t die” project I’m working on.

 

Godspeed, little taters. My life depends on you.

 

In high school, I played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons. (You may not have guessed this botanist/mechanical engineer was a bit of a nerd in high school, but indeed I was.)

 

If ruining the only religious icon I have leaves me vulnerable to Martian vampires, I’ll have to risk it.

 

I’ the first person to be alone on an entire planet.

 

Maybe I’ll post a consumer review. “Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10.”

 

I don’t want to come off as arrogant here, but I’m the best botanist on the planet.

 

I can’t wait to have grandchildren. “When I was younger, I had to walk to