Adventures and Friends

Adventures and Friends

I work at a bookstore, i read way too much and buy books faster than i can read them. I'm an actress and a huge nerd. 

Review
3 Stars
The Art of Racing in the Rain
The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein, Christopher Welch, Christopher Evan Welch
Audiobook
Review
4 Stars
Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living
Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living - Nick Offerman

tl;dr - |✭✭✭✭✩ | I quite enjoyed this audiobook. There were some funny moments, but as it was listed in the humor section at my work, I did expect a bit more humor than was present in the book. Otherwise a fun story, and interesting to learn hear about his life. 

Description Nick Offerman's book is full of life stories, tidbits of wisdom,  and humorous anecdotes. 

So, I checked out this audiobook from my library after having listened to both Yes Please by Amy Poehler and Bossypants by Tina Fey, and enjoying both of those immensely. As apparently the trend goes with me, I found this audiobook enjoyable as well. 

This story basically goes through different portions of Nick Offerman's life. To his time on the farm as a kid and the lessons he learned from his family and working on a farm, to his theater experience both in high school and college, to his time in LA and working on things like Parks and Recreation. 

I've come to learn I enjoy hearing about people's lives and their stories. Since I typically spend most of my time reading scifi and fantasy books, I wasn't so sure how I'd like nonfiction. I wanted to break into the realm of nonfiction books, and I've found biography is proving to be a good bridge into that world. 

But yeah. If you like biography, like hearing stories about people's lives, this is definitely a fun one to get into. He has an interesting back story, many things I was surprised to hear, and peppers in some humors anecdotes. He also reads his own book, which in my opinion makes it that much better. Hearing his actual voice, and sometimes giggles, as he's recounting a funny part of his past makes it that much better. Also, its so adorable to actually hear him talk about his wife (as opposed to reading it from the page). 

Anyways, check it out if you enjoy those sort of stories! 

Review
3 Stars
Almost Royalty: A Romantic Comedy...of Sorts
Almost Royalty: A Romantic Comedy...of Sorts - Courtney Hamilton

tl;dr - | ✭✭✭½✩ | Honestly... the half star I had to tack on for the end of the book. This was supposed to be a humorous book, but I found it more sad and frustrating more than anything else. It was ok... I really can't think of the type of person I'd suggest it to. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Description: Courtney is a mid-30s lawyer working at a small firm in LA, navigating the murky LA dating scene while trying to hide her obsession with Velveeta. Her friends and family are absolutely useless in their dating advice, and the guys she meets can be described as wacky at best, and down right scary at worst. This story is a memoir-esque (but fictional) look at dating in your middle ages in the middle of LA, and navigating "LA Royalty".

So.... This book is supposed to be funny. And I am absolutely certain there are people who will find the scenarios in this book to be hilarious. I, unfortunately, am not one of them.

Mothers who try to pretend they're still in their early 20s and completely shirk off adult responsibilities and especially their parental responsibilities. Men who are in their 30s and 40s, who are basically giant man babies who cannot take care of themselves let alone contribute to a healthy relationship. Men who become stalkers when she turns them down, because they showed up late reeking of booze and instantly started insulting her when they met her.

I just, unfortunately didn't find it funny. If any of those, or the various other interactions with basically everyone she comes into contact with, situations had been even slightly amusing I would've enjoyed this book more. But because it just stressed me out and i was just disgusted with these minor characters, i had a really hard time getting into this book.

The book started picking up a bit more in the middle of the book, but overall it just left me wanting. It did have a fairly nice resolution, but some revelations about Courtney just felt forced. For instance, her reason for getting skin treatments and whatever.... at the point when she revealed it I wondered why it mattered anymore, unless to highlight just how awful her "best friends" had always been to her.

Also, the obsession with Velveeta was WAY overdone. After the 60th time in 100 pages (exaggeration, but maybe not. I didn't go count) of her mentioning her need/love/consumption of velveeta fake gross cheese, and the disgusting recipes she has for the gunk, I didn't need to hear about it again. It was very very repetitive, to the point that any time she'd bring it up yet again, I just wanted to roll my eyes. 

And then the man she ends up with.... I kind of forgot who he was and what importance he had to the story. He was far too underplayed, and the focus was on all the horrendous crazy men that I just felt like he was added for no real reason. I seriously had to try and remember who his character was at one point.

So, overall it was an ok book. It wasn't really to my tastes, but I'm sure there are people that would find everything that happened hilarious and enjoy this book far more than I did.

Review
5 Stars
Golden Son
Golden Son - Pierce Brown
tl;dr |✭✭✭✭✭| OH MY GOD. I need the third book, I need it right now. This book was SO GOOD! Read it. Go buy it, and read it. I received this arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 


Description Two years have passed since the events of Red Rising, and Darrow has gone to the academy to become the top of his class. As he takes on one of the Bellona sons in a war simulation, he comes to learn not all is as it seems. When he fails his assignment to the Bellona, he quickly learns the consequences will be swift and they will be harsh. The head of the Augustus family has no need for people who cannot complete the tasks they set out to do. As Augustus prepares to leave Darrow on Luna, potentially to his death as every Bellona family member wants him dead, Darrow decides to shake things up. He won't go quietly after all, not after all he's already been through. He vows to tear down the society that stands on the backs of red slaves, and he's willing to give his life to the cause. 


Oh. My. Goodness. 


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Ok. So when I saw this was on NetGalley, I just had to request it. And when NetGalley approved me, I about died of happiness. And then the reading began. I mean, there's not a lot I can say because so much happens in this story, and I cannot spoil any of it. I can't. 


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Right you are, dance master. Any who. What can I say to this book that is not spoiler related. It was amazingly done. There was absolutely none of the second book syndrome in this series, where the second book of the trilogy falls flat and is nothing more than something to push the plot forward. There is a lot of action in this book, its a wild ride from start to finish. 


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And can I just say, I absolutely love that griffins are pets in this world, and where can I get one? Because I want Icarus. He's a magnificent beast, and as ridiculous as it is, the addition of dragons and griffins to this world basically made it even more perfect. Even though it ends up being such a small point in this book, especially compared to everything else that happens, but ohemgee do I love them.


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So thank you for that, Mr. Brown. Read this book people. Love this book. Be prepared for your mind to be blown. I have no words - at least, I have no words that do not contain spoilers. I love Darrow. I know some people found him whiney, but I didn't. He was perfect, and exactly what he would be in the situations he faced. 

Review
5 Stars
The Young Elites
The Young Elites - Marie Lu

tl;dr - |✭✭✭✭✭| Oh. My. Goodness. THIS BOOK! I loved it. Marie Lu killed me, I absolutely need the second book! So good. SO SO good, read it!!!

Description (from Goodreads) I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside. Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites. Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all. Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen. Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her. It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

Ohmygosh this BOOK!

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I hate to admit that I've been a super slacker and its been a few months since I read this book, but just thinking about it gets me as excited for the story as it did when I read it. I loved it. It was such a good story, about the making of a villain instead of a hero. 

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I really enjoy Marie Lu's writing style. If you were a fan of her series Legend, you will definitely enjoy this book as well. It did feel a little rushed at times, like there could've been a bit more detail paid to certain parts. But it was never too rushed or felt totally lacking that would disrupt the story and make it feel wanting. 

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There was a bit of romance, but it definitely wasn't the focus of the story. That bit did feel a bit forced, but then again knowing Adelina's history, it makes a bit of sense. There was also a bit of a surprise at one point that left me - 

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I'm pretty sure there were some tears shed. So, you know, you've been warned. But yes. I loved this book, and think everyone should read it!

Review
5 Stars
Yes Please
Yes Please - Amy Poehler, Amy Poehler, Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Mike Schur, Eileen Poehler, William Poehler, Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner, Harper Audio

tl;dr - |✭✭✭✭✭| I really enjoyed this audiobook. It was fun listening to her life stories, and the random guest stars she had come read portions for the book. 

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Description - Amy Poehler recounts portions of her life and time as an actor, peppering in bits of humor and excerpts from friends and celebrities. 

This was quite fun to listen to. I adore Amy on Parks and Recreation and from SNL, so it was really enjoyable for me to listen to her tell her story. I know I've mentioned it before in my Bossypants review, but I really do enjoy hearing people tell their life stories. 

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There were parts of this audiobook that had me cracking up, and I did love the random excerpts of her friends and celebrities reading things - like Sir Patrick Stewart reading haikus. 

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Being an actor, books like this, Bossypants, and Paddle Your Own Canoe by Nick Offerman are fun to listen to/read because I get to see what their paths were like in building up their acting career. Its different for everyone, but its both interesting and fun to see how they made their way to their successful shows/movies. Not to mention the little tidbits of advice they dole out, hurray!

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So yes. Give this one a go if you're into biographies, want to start checking out nonfiction, or want an enjoyable audiobook. Warning, once you've finished, you will feel like you're best friends with Amy Poehler. 

Review
4 Stars
Other Systems
Other Systems - Elizabeth Guizzetti

tl;dr - |✭✭✭✭✩| Overall, I kind of loved this book. Not to say that it was perfect, or didnt have moments where I was frustrated with the characters. But I found myself wishing there was more when I finished the story.

Description (from Goodreads) Without an influx of human DNA, the utopian colony on Kipos has eleven generations before it reaches failure. Earth is over ninety light years away. Time is short. On the over-crowded Earth, many see opportunity in Kipos's need. After medical, intelligence, and physiological testing, Abby and her younger siblings, Jin and Orchid, are offered transportation. Along with 750,000 other strong immigrants, they leave the safety of their family with the expectation of good jobs and the opportunity for higher education. While the Earthlings travel to the new planet in stasis, the Kiposi, terrified the savages will taint their paradise, pass a series of indenture and adoption laws in order to assimilate them. When Abby wakes up on Kipos, Jin cannot be found. Orchid is ripped from her arms as Abby is sold to a dull-eyed man with a sterilized wife. Indentured to breed, she is drugged and systematically coerced. To survive, Abby learns the differences in culture and language using the only thing that is truly hers on this new world: her analytical mind. In order to escape her captors, she joins a planetary survey team where she will discover yet another way of life.

I picked this book up at my work because it was part of the local authors/ signed copies endcap. I had started reading it at the register one slow night, and was intrigued. I bought it, then months later finally got to reading it. Its hard to describe this book (not just because I finished it like 3 months ago), because it was so different than what I was expecting, and I don't want to ruin that for people. It was kind of enjoyable to see the story unfold the way it did, wondering where it was going to go next, and surprise me. 

Our main character, Abby, was at times absolutely infuriating to follow. But her story felt real, its something that has definitely happened to people immigrating to a new society, and in this book's case, literally a new world. Perhaps thats why I got so frustrated to her. I didn't want the things to happen to her like they were, but as a reader we are powerless to stop it. So we have to go on the same journey she does, and it isn't exactly a pleasant journey. 

This book is definitely more science fiction than fantasy. There is a lot of talk about the different technology used, the space ships and the physics involved in their space flight. Sometimes it went over my head, but overall it was interesting and felt as though it made the read a little more challenging. I definitely enjoyed this book and the story telling, as I mentioned in my little blurb at the beginning, I finished the book and was sad there wasn't more to read and explore. I would suggest this book to others who enjoy the scifi/space travel genre. 

Review
4 Stars
This Shattered World
This Shattered World - Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
tl;dr - |✭✭✭✭✩| I can't lie. I was torn on this book before I started reading it. I so adored Tarver and Lilac, I didn't know how I'd feel about a second book being about characters I didn't know in a plot that I wasn't sure I cared too much about, especially when it sounded too much like Marie Lu's legend series. With that in mind, I must say I loved this book. It was so good, and so well done, and I absolutely loved it. I received this arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Description Jubilee Chase is a military girl. Follows the letter of the law to a T. She doesn't goof off with the other soldiers, she doesn't mess around. She's a hard core soldier, not one to be trifled with. So when a new young recruit decides to chat her up in a bar, Jubilee decides to go along with it and put this new recruit in his place... until she realizes he's not a recruit, but one of the planet's local rebels. Their meeting at the bar changes everything, and their fates have now become irreversibly intertwined. Can they grow to trust each other and figure out what is going on with the planet, or will they get each other killed? 


So yeah. As I stated previously, I had some serious doubts about this book before I started it. It seemed too similar to Legend by Marie Lu, and that book was so well done. There could be no comparison, right? 


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Boy was I wrong. This book was so good. This story carries on the mystery of the invisible voices, the energy that has been trapped from the first book. Jubilee is a tough soldier girl, a no nonsense type of girl who is all business and pretty much no play. Flynn, however, couldn't be more opposite. He's kind and wants the best for his family, his people, and his planet. He's part of a rebellion, but he doesn't want a full out war. He doesn't want more of his people dying, and more of his planet being ruined by a poor terraforming job. He's convinced theres more to the story than the government has let out, and he wants answers. 


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I really liked how this book was written. It had such a good story to it, and while romance cropped up, it didn't take over the story like it did with the first book. This time around, it grew naturally and met resistance. And it was put second, as it should be in a time of war and uncertainty. It was so well done, really this entire book was just well done. I really enjoyed it, and would definitely recommend it to anyone who liked the first book.

Review
4 Stars
The Glass Magician
The Glass Magician - Charlie N. Holmberg

tl;dr - |✭✭✭✭✩| This book was a wonderful sequel to the first book, and was paced better than the first. Very enjoyable, and a very easy read. 

Description Three months after returning Magician Emery Thane’s heart to his body, Ceony Twill is well on her way to becoming a Folder. Unfortunately, not all of Ceony’s thoughts have been focused on paper magic. Though she was promised romance by a fortuity box, Ceony still hasn’t broken the teacher-student barrier with Emery, despite their growing closeness.When a magician with a penchant for revenge believes that Ceony possesses a secret, he vows to discover it…even if it tears apart the very fabric of their magical world. After a series of attacks target Ceony and catch those she holds most dear in the crossfire, Ceony knows she must find the true limits of her powers…and keep her knowledge from falling into wayward hands.

So I enjoyed this book a bit more than the first book. It didn't lag like the first book did, and the story overall seemed to flow better. The romance between the Ceony and Emery felt a little bit.... contrived. There were few moments where you could see some affection show through on his part, but overall it felt a little forced. I enjoyed it, but you could definitely feel that it didn't feel authentic. 

I also enjoyed the introduction of the different types of magic. It was talked about a lot in the previous book, but this time we actually got to see it in action. I also loved the development of Ceony and her powers, as well as the explorations and development of the way magic works. 

Overall this was a nice story. I will definitely read the final book in the trilogy when it comes out, and I liked the books enough to buy them, but I could understand why people wouldn't get into the story. Not the best books I've read, but fun easy reads. 

Review
4 Stars
The Paper Magician
The Paper Magician - Charlie N. Holmberg

tl;dr - |✭✭✭½✩|


I enjoyed this book. It had a few moments where it felt as though it was dragging, but overall I really liked the story.


Description: Ceony Twill has just finished at the top of her school - Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, which means she is about to be bonded to one type of magical element - paper, metal, glass, or plastic. Normally, a student gets to choose what material they bond with, but unfortunately for Ceony she is assigned to paper since so few people choose that material. Ceony is very disappointed, she wanted to bond with metal, and becomes very wary about the magic involved with folding paper when she meets the magician she’s been apprenticed to - Emery Thane. He seems mad, and the magic seems unimpressive and useless. But as he teachers her more and more spells, Ceony becomes intrigued by the magic. Her eidetic memory makes learning spells easy for her, and Magician Thane is impressed with her skills. But as she continues her learning, she also learns about Excisioners - people who practice dark, flesh magic. And when a vicious excisioner comes in and rips Mg. Thane’s heart from his chest, Ceony knows she must do something to save her teacher.


So, I found this book on NetGalley as a "Read Now" book, and I'm glad I decided to give it a try! It was a nice story, and I liked the take on magic and bonding to a single element. Ceony is less than thrilled to be bonding to paper, as she thinks its rather useless. Nothing more than party tricks and decorations. I loved going through the learning process with Ceony, of all the different things you could do with paper magic, because I, too, thought it would be a rather lackluster material to bond to. 


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And Magician Thane... oh boy. Sparkling green eyes that give away all his thoughts, dark wavy hair, scattered and very particular about his things. Mmm. I really like him. I can't lie, I am quite smitten with him! ha. 


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Though the interaction between Mg. Emery Thane and Ceony.... I'm a little shaky on that one. She clearly becomes smitten with him pretty early on (and really, the way I picture him... not a strange thing to happen), though it seems to be rather unrequited. He is 30, and her teacher, and she is 19 and fresh out of school. Still, who doesn't want an attractive teacher? 


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Also, the first part of the book is Ceony constantly complaining about having to bond to paper, and comparing it to what her like would be like had she bonded with smelting like she wanted to. While yes, we have to learn with her how wonderful bonding with paper can be, it gets rather tedious. She can be slightly petulant about it, though luckily it doesn't last too long. 


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So then the second half of the book starts. I mean, Emery's heart is ripped out about half way through the book which was unexpected. She's hardly learned anything about folding, but she just up and leaves to retrieve his heart and save her teacher. I mean, right on lady. She shows a lot of fight and snark in the beginning half of the book, but as she goes to retrieve Emery's heart and realizes just how little she knows about her own magic - let alone an Excisioner magic, she loses quite a bit of her snark for a while. She loses a bit of her fighting spirit, but that doesn't last too long.


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An issue I did have with this book was how Ceony was the main character, but she was almost a secondary character. I understand that we are bound to learn more about Emery because she has to literally walk through his heart and his memories, but the revelation of Ceony's major life moments felt like it was just blown through. She has some serious moments that she has lived through, and there was neither any build up to them, nor was there any real attention given to those moments. And thats not really fair to Ceony. Yes, Emery has had more time for those life events to happen.... and I enjoyed learning about him and his history. But I wish Ceony had been given adequate time and fleshing out of her own past, her ghosts. 


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Also, the heart thing... it started dragging here. I feel as though all the events (for the most part) that were revealed were important, and yet the story seemed to drag on. Ceony seems to linger too much, even though she is well aware of the fact that she as a strict time limit to stick to. And the action wasn't very well written (when it happened). There wasn't much suspense or build up, there wasn't any tension. 


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Anyways. I rather enjoyed the story, despite its flaws, and wanted to delve deeper into the world that was created. So I downloaded the next book on NetGalley! Review to come :)

Review
5 Stars
Waistcoats & Weaponry
Waistcoats & Weaponry - Gail Carriger

tl;dr - |✭✭✭✭½| OH MY GOODNESS! Gail Carriger, you are an absolute treasure. This book was WONDERFUL! So much fun, well written (as per usual!), and I really enjoyed the story.  **I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**


Description (from Goodreads) Class is back in session...
Sophronia continues her second year at finishing school in style--with a steel-bladed fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown, of course. Such a fashionable choice of weapon comes in handy when Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and the charming Lord Felix Mersey stowaway on a train to return their classmate Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. No one suspected what--or who--they would find aboard that suspiciously empty train. Sophronia uncovers a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos and she must decide where her loyalties lie, once and for all.


First off - when I was actually approved for this ARC from NetGalley, this was my reaction: 


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I was so surprised. And SO excited! I love the first two books, and knew that requesting the book on NetGalley couldn't hurt. So, starting this book you jump into the middle of the school year and Saphronia and the girls dealing with the repercussions of some things that happened in previous books. 



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But they don't stay at the school for too long, however. Saphronia's older brother is getting married so the girls are off to a ball in celebration of his engagement. The majority of this book does take place away from the school, which was fine. But I do so enjoy their shenanigans on the ship. I also understand how it would be a little too... redundant to have them on the dirigible again, and this story definitely needed to be told away from the school. 


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We also see some things happening that tie in to the Parasol Protectorate series - and if you've read them you'll know instantly whats going on. If you haven't, you'll be just fine reading it - there won't be any confusion, just a it of mystery. Along the way of these events, the girls stumble upon a more sinister plot. While helping Sidheag, Saphronia can't help but follow up on her curiosity and suspicions. 




We do, of course, have both Soap and Lord Mersey vying for Saphronia's affection. I personally, love Felix. I really just can't get enough of him, of his character. I like Soap just fine as a character, but for whatever reason I just don't feel any real chemistry between the two of them, and I just can't see them as a good pairing. As much as I usually hate love triangles, Ms. Carriger does write this one pretty well. It doesn't leave me feeling annoyed and infuriated, and while Saphronia does dwell over the two boys quite a lot during this book... it never felt like it was detracting from the story to me. That being said, events take place. There were some great moments, some surprises, and some really fantastic flirtations. 



So yes. This book was ABSOLUTELY wonderful to read. I loved it. I had so much fun reading it, and was most definitely not disappointed! I cannot wait for the next book, but I also don't ever want this series to end! Its just so much fun! But on one last note: I most definitely did miss Vive in this book. Sorry to say she doesn't make an appearance, though thats not much of a surprise since book 2 ends with her going off to Bunson's school for evil geniuses. Anyways, a must read for fans of Gail Carriger's work. 




Review
4 Stars
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer - Patrick Süskind

tl;dr |✭✭✭✭✩| This story was most definitely CREEPY! Great read for October, was a great period piece and such a unique and interesting story. I really enjoyed reading it.


Description: In eighteenth-century France, a young woman working in a market give birth to an infant – Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. The infant is small and sickly, and she was going to leave him to die amidst the rotting fish heads, until Grenouille opens his mouth and lets out a screech. Men find the baby and realize what the woman was planning, so they take the baby to an orphanage. Grenouille has a special gift, that of an absolute sense of smell. Growing up Grenouille is a quiet boy. He doesn’t learn the same as other children, nor does he act like them. But he can smell things no other human can, and he loves to explore and learn more and more scents. It is through his sense of smell that he is able to learn to speak, though the concept of god and religion and other abstract concepts he cannot understand. As a young man, Grenouille apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who, after much skepticism, teaches Grenouille the proper method of mixing perfumes. But Grenouille doesn’t just want to mix perfumes – he wants to capture every scent he has come across. One day, he catches the scent of a perfect human – a thing he had never experienced before. She was a young and beautiful virgin, and Grenouille becomes obsessed with replicating her scent. He will stop at nothing to capture her scent in a bottle.

This was a very different read. I’ve never read a book before which focuses solely on the sense of smell, and I felt Süskind did a fantastic job of relaying the world through Grenouille’s nose. Grenouille is a small, sad character. Everyone around him feels as though there is something off about him, and as such they avoid contact with him as much as possible. 

But it’s not until his adult years that he finally comes to learn why. As Grenouille’s inability to understand what is right or wrong, and other abstract ideas prevalent to the time make him a very intriguing character to follow for the story (aside from his superhuman smelling abilities).  

I felt this book did a good time portraying life in the 1700s in France – how dirty and overcrowded the streets were. The horrid smells that permeate in a large city like Paris that comes from a lack of hygiene, poor health, and no modern plumbing yet discovered. I had never thought about the way a person smells, or how to describe it, until this book. While reading it and the way scent is described, I realized how dead on and accurate it was for scents I never would’ve known how to describe. 

This book does have a feel of being written in Victorian times as well, though it was originally published in 1987. That being said, it did take a little bit of time for me to get into the flow of the writing. Once I did, though, it was a very enjoyable read with a very unique story. 

Review
4 Stars
The Falconer
The Falconer - Elizabeth May

tl;dr |✭✭✭✭✩| ELIZABETH MAY, HOW COULD YOU LEAVE THE BOOK LIKE THAT??? Read this book people. READ. IT.


Description Lady Aileana Kameron is not your average lady. For one, she wears pants. She tinkers with inventions. She sees fairies. Oh, and she hunts them down and kills said fae too. Aileana's mother was killed by a particularly vicious fae on the night of Aileana's debutante ball, and since then she has sworn vengeance against the fairy that killed her mother. But Aileana struggles with keeping up her reputation amidst her fae hunting, and being the only child in the family means she must secure a good marriage to help pick up her already tarnished name. Aileana doesn't want that life, however, the life of marraige and balls. And she must decide what to do, as a trouble with the fae is ever growing.


My lovely friend practically forced me (via texts) to read this book when she finished reading it. And boy oh boy, am I glad she did!image


So, I believe this was Ms. May's first novel. It was quite enjoyable, but you can kind of tell its her first novel too. Not that it is poorly written, but the pacing and general storytelling do feel like its early on in her writing career. Anywho, this book has a great setting (Edinburgh, Scotland) and wonderful characters.


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Gosh, I'm trying to figure out how to talk about this book without giving anything away, and thats really quite difficult. OK lets get into the characters!


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So Aileana aka Kam. She is a very intriguing, and there is definitely room for a ton of character growth within her. Seeing her mother die had a profound affect on her. I love her interactions with the little pixie and Mac, so much sass to be had.


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I am absolutely terrible at remembering details of this book. And I read in an article somewhere that people who read books in the actual physical book form retain the information and story better than they do if they read a story from an e-reader. I read this on my iPad, so I'm definitely believing it.


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Sorry for the segway, and the lack of real info. But basically this book is full of awesome sass, a vicious female heroine, gorgeous men, and a funny pixie who gets drunk on honey. (Spoiler alert, sorry. Its not really vital to the story). Read it and enjoy!

Review
3 Stars
Shiver
Shiver  - Maggie Stiefvater, Jenna Lamia, David LeDoux

tl;dr |✭✭½✩✩| So, I don't think I can do full on teen romance books. I still have Anna and the French Kiss, and I'll give it a shot, but paranormal teen romance is not really up my alley. As such, I wasn't really impressed with this story.


Description: Grace lives in Minnesota, her house backs up to an expansive forest area. As a little girl, Grace was attacked by some wolves that live in the woods, but then one of the wolves in the pack steps up and saves her from being killed. The wolf with the yellow eyes. Ever since then, grace has always watched the woods and looked for her wolf, inexplicably drawn to him.... .:. Sam lives two lives, his winter life and his summer life. He wishes he could stay in the summer, and with his summer girl. But when winter comes, he has no choice but to switch to his winter life and leave all hopes of being with her behind. .:. One day, a yellow eyed boy comes into the life of Grace and she knows he has to somehow be her wolf. As she learns the truth, its a race against winter to keep Sam human before he loses Grace forever.


Sigh. So, I've heard rave reviews of this series. So when I saw it was available as an audiobook from my library, I was like Hey! Why not?! I kind of love the covers, and people say they're good, so even though I don't really know much about this story lets give it a shot! I actually almost bought the book at work because I like the cover so much. I think I'm kind of glad I didn't buy it.


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So, I don't know if its because its a teen romance book, but if I'm gonna get into romance I think I prefer the ridiculous adult versions full of sex. I love paranormal/fantasy stories, and at my work Vampire Academy is shelved in teen romance (even though I disagree with that location for that series), so it seems like it shouldn't be bad. Or maybe it would've been better had I not listened to it as an audiobook. I mean, the cheesy/corny lyrics and poems, and the horrendous way they talk to each other: "Sam: She's obsessed with me Grace: well, I'm obsessed with you." UGHSJIODAS. SAY IT WITH ME TEENAGERS: OBSESSION DOES NOT EQUAL LOVE. Obsession =/= Love. EVER. But I just couldn't get into this story.


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I was kind of annoyed with the characters. Grace has the most forgetful and irresponsible parents ever, but shes also super judge mental. At one point in the book, she berates one of her best friends for having a crush on a guy (or having a boyfriend?). They're 17 years old. Its totally and completely average for a 17 year old girl to start developing feelings for people. This is not something new, nor is it gross. And I mean, it would've been fine had Grace ended up being asexual and unable to understand those feelings, because as a teen it can be confusing if your friends are getting romantic feelings for people but you are not at all. That would've made a much more interesting story for Grace to have. But no, its because apparently since that day like 10 years ago when she got attacked by wolves but saved by the yellow eyed wolf, she fell in love with an animal and was unable to have any sort of feelings for anyone else ever.


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I get teenagers are ass holes to each other. I've been there. I was one (both a teen, and an ass hole to some friends). But the fact that Grace goes from being disappointed in her friends for wanting to date guys, to all the sudden meeting human-Sam and is instantly this suave seductive girl..... ugh. No. I feel like sexuality isn't a switch you flip on in a moment of epiphany. Shoot, I've been unsocial lately and feel as though I've lost any and all seductive flirty techniques, so for a 17 year old to have no experience flirting with someone then all the sudden she meets this ONE dude and is able to have the most smooth lines ever.... no. That part bugged me a lot.


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I must say the pack dynamic was interesting here though. I've read a few werewolf stories (i prefer vampires tbh), and I did like the unique take on their shifting and the way their packs work. I felt as though the explanations given were a bit of a cop-out (re: warmer climates), but I did find it intriguing that they only had so many shifts before they permanently stay in their wolf form.


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I know I've done a lot of ranting so far, and how that looks. I didn't hate the book, and there definitely were some parts that I really liked about this book. For instance: NO LOVE TRIANGLE!! Hurray!! I really don't know that I would finish this series though personally. If I do continue on with the series, it will not be through audiobook. I wasn't impressed with the readers... the girl who reads for Grace was ok, except when she was doing a valley girl type voice for any girl that wasn't Grace or her photographer friend. The guy at first sounded too old to read Sam's parts, but then I just really didn't like his reading style at all. I cant pin it down, but I just didn't really enjoy any chapters he read.


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Overall, I didn't particularly get into it. I would suggest it for people who are into the teen paranormal romance genre, or who want an intriguing take on werewolf dynamics. Maybe if I ever finish my giant shelf full of to-read books, I will go back and give the next book (in book format) a try.

Review
4 Stars
The Book of You: A Novel
The Book of You: A Novel - Claire Kendal

tl;dr |✭✭✭✭✩| This book was SO stressful. I mean it. As soon as you start reading, you're steeped in stress and tension. I really enjoyed this book, but it was so stressful I had to stop a few times and take a break. I picked up an ARC of this book from work.


DescriptionClarissa cant go anywhere without Rafe being there. Literally. He stands outside her house, he bombards her with unwanted gifts and attention, and he stalks not only her - but anyone she comes in contact with. Clarissa is terrified of him, hates him, but when she called the police there was nothing they would do for her besides give her a help line phone number. So when her notice for jury duty arrives, she jumps at the chance to get away to an environment he cannot reach her. When she finds out she'll be on the jury for a high profile case, that she could be on jury duty for up to 7 weeks, she is thrilled. Seven whole weeks protected from Rafe! As the trial progresses, however, she learns it will not deter Rafe from getting to her, and she also learns how harsh legal processes can be.


Boy oh boy. This book. I saw it at work in our box of ARCs, and thought it was intriguing. So I picked it up and figured I'd give it a shot. A few pages into this story, and I was already stressed out.


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This story starts when Clarissa is already being stalked. She already feels uncomfortable and threatened by Rafe, so I was instantly on edge. Rafe is never really portrayed as charming or endearing, and that kind of makes it more creepy to me. Then again, I haven't read a story about someone being stalked by a former lover before this one either. So maybe thats just me.


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Anyways. Clarissa works with Rafe. She used to date a professor at the university they work at, but then he gets a job opportunity else where and leaves and the relationship ends. Events happen (no spoilers here!), and regardless of how many times Clarissa has told him she does not want to see him again, he will not leave her alone. He calls her incessantly. He leaves her unwanted gifts. He shows up where she least expects it. He corners her at work, even though she tries her hardest to never be alone with him. While most people find jury duty a punishment, Clarissa couldn't be happier. He wont know where she is, and she thinks he wont be able to figure out where to find her. She thinks she'll have temporary peace.


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But of course that doesn't last long. This book definitely has an obvious commentary on how women are treated in our current rape culture, how the legal system is made of flaws that allow men to commit such atrocious acts to walk free. When someone is being stalked, pamphlets say to not engage and to collect as much evidence as you can - but at the same time you shouldn't collect too much or too little or else you wont receive any help from the police. Then lawyers can find a way to wriggle out of any court proceedings. Pamphlets that seem to be full of contradicting statements. Its a scary enough world for a victim (of any sex) to have to go through, but add on top these things that are supposed to be helpful that end up being confusing or seeming to be of little help at all. Its a crazy culture we currently live in, and I feel as though this book captures it quite well.


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The secondary characters of this book are... ok. Most of the people Clarissa meets on jury duty are forgettable. They are not memorable characters, and they don't really have much interaction with her. I've honestly forgotten the names of the people Clarissa does interact with, and only really remember them by either their personality or jobs. There's the fire fighter, the divorced and cynical secretary(i think she is?), and then the random dude who makes a lot of sexually suggestive comments. Obviously the only people of any importance that she meets are the first two - the fire fighter who Clarissa is drawn to, and divorced woman who Clarissa befriends but has to push away because she is afraid of having her drawn into Rafe's craziness. That is another thing this book does well: it shows how a stalker or abusive partner is able to isolate the victim from their friends and family. The fear Clarissa feels for her friends and family, not knowing what Rafe may do to them, would he harm them or charm them? (Hehe rhyming...) Clarissa is trying to navigate murky waters, and its a difficult journey.


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I also found it interesting to have the trial draw some parallel's to Clarissa's currently situation. She learns from the trial what could go wrong if she doesn't take every precaution, how easy it would be for Rafe to turn everything around on her. It was a good addition to the story.


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The ending however, I did NOT see coming. I mean, there was still quite a few pages left so I knew there was more story to tell. But I didn't expect it go to where it did. Then I thought it was going one direction and it ended up going another completely different direction! I was thrown for a loop a few times, and honestly I'm not sure how I felt when I finished the book in entirety. The first part to the ending - that was fine. But then the final portions, where she is writing in a journal again and revealing the finishing details to the end of the story.... That was the part I don't think I liked. If you've read the book, you'll understand what part I am talking about.


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Anyways. It was an enjoyable story - albeit a very stressful one. I would definitely recommend it to someone who likes thrillers.

Review
4 Stars
Hysteria
Hysteria - Megan Miranda

tl;drI found this story interesting, and an enjoyable read.


Description: Mallory killed her boyfriend Brian. Since then, she’s been stalked by Brian’s mother, as well as being haunted throughout the night. When Mallory’s father suggests they send her to his old boarding school to get her away from the town, her mother agrees. Mallory is eager to leave, hoping to leave behind the memory that haunts her, but as she arrives at her new school she learns that its going to be harder than she thought. In a place where secrets are traded like currency, a place where it seems as though everyone already know’s about the murder, Mallory is struggling to keep hold of her dwindling sanity as the thing that haunts her is getting worse each day.


So, I cant lie. This book’s synopsis intrigued me. A girl kills her boyfriend? Oh man. And it jumps right in to the time following the murder - just a few weeks past the incident I believe.


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Mallory was an interesting character. She’s a typical teenager: young, immature, and acting like she’s older than she is. After murdering her boyfriend - and not being charged because it was declared self defense, she goes off to the boarding school her dad went to. Her dad wanted her to go to this boarding school for some time, but originally both Mallory and her mother said no. But after the traumatic events, they both decided Mallory getting away was for the best.


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Anywho. The pacing of the story was done well. You get current time with snippets of Mallory's memories surrounding the murder. She has resorted to taking sleeping pills before bed, however, because she is haunted every night as she falls asleep. When creepy things start happening in her dorm when she's away and asleep, however, she starts to rethink the sleeping pill thing.


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I really feel like this review is in-cohesive and I am sorry for that. My brain is dead today. Seriously, I'm super sorry. :(


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Anyways. The writing style was pretty good, easy to get in to and definitely written for teens. The characters were ok, I could see how some could find Mallory to be frustrating with her constant running away from everything and moodiness, but then again... she did just kill someone out of self defense. So, you know, that would happen. I thought it was a pretty good mystery, and definitely had some creepy elements to it. Worth a read, especially if you're looking for something quick that isn't part of a series.