Monday’s Minutes

 

MM

Lately, I have just not been in the mood to read. This week I’ve been sick with the flu, which meant two days home from work, laying on couch and catching up on Dexter. Last week I tried starting several books, a couple of which I’ve heard really good things, but just couldn’t get into any of them. I finally borrowed The Best Man by Kristan Higgins from the library and read it again because it’s light and fun and I knew what to expect from it. It did a good job of filling my reading necessity.

WHAT I’M READING

The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter, #1)

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd. I bought this book because it was only $1.99 and I’ve seen it around. I’m maybe half way through with this book and I’m not all that impressed so far. After a fast start, it’s dragged. The suspense is not very suspenseful, the plot isn’t very believable. The characters are not very developed, outside of Juliet and I think because of her name and the concept of going mad, I keep comparing her to Juliette from the Shatter Me series and am finding her lacking. However, I’m still interested in finding out what happens and hope to finish this soon.

WHAT I’M READING NEXT

The Distance Between Us

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West. I’ve read several favorable reviews on this book lately, so I’m hoping it lives up to the hype.

What are you reading?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Things On My Reading Wishlist

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Things On My Reading Wishlist (if you could make authors write about these things you would. Could be a specific type of character, an issue tackled, a time period, a certain plot, etc.)

I really love this topic! I think mine will be a mixture of general ideas/characters and requests to specific authors.

1. While I love a good romance, I think I would like to see something where the main character does NOT end up with the guy/girl. Unrequited love in books often turns into the main character ending up with “the one you never expected who loved you all along” or something like that. I’d love a well done, realistic unrequited love story.

2. A realistic Christian character. In regular fiction, Christian characters are often portrayed as religious nuts who are more concerned with appearance and judging than anything actually Christ related. In Christian Fiction, the characters are often just on the verge of perfection. I’d like to see a more realistic portrayal: someone who has faith, but still has struggles. Who can hang out with his/her non-Christian friends and not be all judgey or boring.

3. Mermaids! I don’t know why.

4. Workplace Satires. I was recently talking to one of my newer co-workers about her previous place of employment that was just a horrible atmosphere. Even though our office has pretty great people now, there are still some of the same types of personalities in every office: The Suck-up, The Gossip, Everybody’s Friend, The Psycho, The Status-Climber. I’d love to read something funny and think, “Oh that’s so (Fill-in-the-blank)!”

5. Realistic appearances. The average person is not stunningly beautiful. The average man does not look like an Abercrombie model. Too many books use looks as a reason for the characters to be attracted to each other and then come up with the secondary reasons later. I’d like to see some slightly out of shape people get together once in a while.

6. An entire series released at one time. I HATE starting a series only to realize that there’s a long wait for the third or fourth, etc. book to come out next. I know that this is a completely unrealistic request, but wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to wait a year between books?!

7. More (well done) multiple 1st Person POV. Because it’s my favorite.

8.  Rainbow Rowell – More Lincoln & Beth! More Eleanor and Park! More Cath and Levi! Just more in general. I love you.

9. Suzanne Collins – How about a Gale Hawthorne spin-off? Because seriously, what happens with him?

10. Veronica Roth and Lauren Oliver – How about some Alternate Endings that I could pretend are the real thing to your latest series enders?

What do you want to read about?

Monday’s Minutes

MM

Monday’s Minutes is my weekly post where I share what I’m reading and what I’m reading next.

WHAT I’M READING

Fear the Worst

Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay. I’ve shared before my great love for all things Linwood Barclay and this book is just reaffirming that. I’m a little more than half way through and I’m enjoying it. There are times, of course, that in terms of the mystery I feel a little “get on with it, already!”, but the character development is so good!

A Million Suns (Across the Universe, #2)

Also, I started A Million Suns by Beth Revis last week and I’m trying to decide whether or not I want to finish it before it expires. I read the first book quite a while ago and I think I mostly enjoyed it. I’ve wanted to read the rest of the series since then, but it’s just failing to interest me right now.

WHAT I’M READING NEXT

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, #1)

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. I keep hearing great things about this series, so I think it’s time I finally read it.

What are you reading?

Review – Untold (The Lynburn Legacy #2) by Sarah Rees Brennan

Untold (The Lynburn Legacy, #2)

Synopsis from Good Reads:

It’s time to choose sides… On the surface, Sorry-in-the-Vale is a sleepy English town. But Kami Glass knows the truth. Sorry-in-the-Vale is full of magic. In the old days, the Lynburn family ruled with fear, terrifying the people into submission in order to kill for blood and power. Now the Lynburns are back, and Rob Lynburn is gathering sorcerers so that the town can return to the old ways.

But Rob and his followers aren’t the only sorcerers in town. A decision must be made: pay the blood sacrifice, or fight. For Kami, this means more than just choosing between good and evil. With her link to Jared Lynburn severed, she’s now free to love anyone she chooses. But who should that be?

Warning – there were be spoilers from the first book and one spoiler from this book.

Plot

Now that the lines are drawn, Kami and the gang are focused on getting more sorcerers to join their side and trying to figure out how exactly to beat Rob. And now that the link has been broken, Jared has reverted back to his reckless, bad boy default and Kami can no longer read him, this boy she’s always known as well as herself. While there are some developments and sweet moments, just not a lot happened. I felt like this book kind of fell into the sophomore slump, where it’s mostly holding pace until the third book.

*SPOILER ALERT*Also, did I miss something somewhere? Jared and Kami cannot be linked again? I thought they could. Or is that only if he makes it through the suicidal ceremony in the Crying Pools? If that’s the case, then Kami linking with Ash makes more sense because at the time I was a little bewildered why she just let Jared go out and fight and then linked with Ash. And Ash didn’t really do much with the power surge. *END OF SPOILER*

Even though the ending made me a little angry, I wasn’t entirely expecting it, so that makes up for it a little bit. I hate to be able to call everything that happens. And it guarantees that I’ll be reading the next book (out sometime this year, but no release date that I’ve seen yet).

Characters

Pretty much every character is more developed in this book and I love it. In addition to Kami’s POV, we also get Holly and Ash. While I can’t say that getting their view has endeared either of them to me any more than before, I do feel like I understand them better. Ash reminds me a lot of Tobias in Allegiant – Spends most of the book feeling sorry for himself and desperately wanting the love of his parents, even though they’re horrible people.  I also enjoyed the more we got to see of Kami’s dad, Lillian, and Rusty. I would’ve liked a little more Rob, though, just to see what the other side is up to.

Readability

Brennan’s style is still clever and witty, but I didn’t find it quite as good as the first book. I spent a long time being annoyed that we weren’t getting Jared’s POV, but after thinking about it, I think it was the smart move. Kami had always known how Jared was feeling, but now with the link gone she finds that she can’t read him. By not getting Jared’s POV, we are also like Kami, not always understanding his motivation or what he means. Though I will say, as I mentioned in my review of the first book, when it comes to Jared’s feelings for Kami I think it’s pretty obvious that he’s saying one thing and meaning another. And I was pleased that we do get some of Jared’s POV towards the end of the book.

Enjoyability

While I didn’t love this book as much as the first, I still really enjoyed it. The writing style is still unique and while I felt the plot dragged a little, the character development really helped make up for it. This is a series I would still recommend and will be anxiously waiting for the next installment.

Rating (out of 5):
Plot: 3
Characters: 4
Readability: 4
Enjoyability: 4
Overall Average: 3.75 stars

Review – Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan (The Lynburn Legacy #1)

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?

I’ve read a couple of favorable reviews on Unspoken lately, so I decided to give it a try. I’m very glad I did! Love.

PLOT
While not every idea in the book was original, everything was done in it’s own unique way. Our main characters, Kami and Jared, have each grown up – in separate countries- with imaginary friends, who never went away as they grew older. When Jared moves back to Sorry-in-the-Vale, they discover their imaginary friend is a real person. They each thought they made everything up about each other and their worlds and experiences. They know everything about each other. They can read each other’s minds. While there’s a good deal of stories out there that include some form of mind reading, I’ve never seen it quite like this before.

Kami is an aspiring journalist and has made it her mission to find out the mystery of the Lynburns. With the help of her friends, Angela and Holly, and a couple of Lynburns themselves, Jared and Ash, Kami goes on a search for answers. There are a few twists I didn’t see coming and a few that I did, but it was all enjoyable.

The only issue I really had with the plot is towards the very end where it veered a little into the romantic cliché: “I’m-going-to-say-one-thing-and-mean-another-and-everyone-will-realize-it-but-you”. Unless said person really did mean it. I haven’t read the next book so I can’t say for sure, but I doubt it.

CHARACTERS
I love Kami! She’s funny and smart and caring and stands up for herself. She was a very well-rounded, very likable character. I also very much liked her family, especially her dad who I found super humorous. I actually would’ve liked to have seen a little more of him. I liked Holly, Angela, and Rusty (Angela’s brother), but I feel there is still plenty of development to be done.

I also liked Jared a lot. Though he’s got the whole bad boy cliché going for him, Kami knows who he really is and thankfully we’re spared the annoying bravado. I liked his relationship with Kami and his growth throughout the story. I would’ve liked to have seen a little more of the other Lynburns, but they were pretty well developed, as well.

READABILITY
I loved, loved Brennan’s writing. It’s clever and witty and the humor often took me by surprise, but was never out of place. Though there were moments where not much happened, it never felt like it was dragging. The pacing, the level of description, the emotion – it was all pretty close to perfect.

ENJOYABILITY
I really enjoyed Unspoken. It was fun and intriguing and emotional. I would definitely recommend it – to everyone, but especially fans of Gothic literature. I’m definitely reading the rest of the series.

Rating (out of 5):
Plot: 4
Characters: 4
Readability: 4.5
Enjoyability: 5
Overall Average: 4.375 stars

 

Review: Shattered (Alaskan Courage #2) by Danni Pettrey

Shattered (Alaskan Courage, #2)

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Piper McKenna couldn’t be more thrilled that her prodigal brother, Reef, has returned to Yancey, Alaska, after five years. But her happiness is short-lived when Reef appears at her house covered in blood. A fellow snowboarder has been killed–but despite the evidence, Reef swears he’s innocent. And Piper believes him.

Deputy Landon Grainger loves the McKennas like family, but he’s also sworn to find the truth. Piper is frustrated with his need for facts over faith, but he knows those closest to you have the power to deceive you the most. With his sheriff pushing for a quick conviction, some unexpected leads complicate the investigation, and pursuing the truth may mean risking Landon’s career.

With Piper waging her own search, the two head deep into Canada’s rugged backcountry–and unexpected complications. Not only does their long friendship seem to be turning into something more, but this dangerous case is becoming deadlier with each step.

Plot

This is the second book in the Alaskan Courage series and I think it was better than the first in just about every way. The wrong man imprisoned for murder isn’t exactly a new idea, but I don’t mind it. What I did mind was that most of the book is about the characters following twists and turns that ultimately DID NOT LEAD THEM ANYWHERE. It was like half of the book was just wasted and then they zero in on a lead that they overlooked earlier and, hey, here’s this whole other conspiracy out of nowhere. I would have found it more satisfying if they would have spent more time on what actually happened, instead of rushing through it towards the end.

Where the plot lacked in the suspense/mystery department, it made up for in the romance. While Piper and Landon are chasing the leads (that mostly go nowhere), they slowly take stock of their new and growing feelings for each other.  The romance does also not overpower the rest of the story, which I appreciate.

I feel like overall I would have to give the plot about 2.5. I would’ve given it more, but I just can’t reconcile that half of the book was so pointless and the murderer came kind of out of nowhere.

Characters

The reason I continued this series after the first book was because I liked Landon and Piper in the first book. I continued to like them in this book. I also liked that the rest of the McKenna clan was still involved with the story. I didn’t love the new addition of Darcy, the reporter that believes in Reef’s innocence and assist their search for answers.

Overall, I would give the Characters a 4. Landon and Piper were both well developed and Landon showed a lot of growth throughout the book. I would’ve liked to have seen Piper take some responsibility for her bad decisions, though. I also enjoyed the development of Gage.

Readability

I think Pettrey’s writing improved from the first book, though there’s still some room to improve. The pace was mostly pretty slow, with an occasional quick burst of action. I also don’t completely care for the style of getting the anonymous villain’s POV occasionally through the story. It didn’t really serve any purpose for the most part except to let us know that Reef is definitely not the killer and that he’s following Piper and Landon, which we could infer from Piper saying she thought she’d seen the same man at several of their locations. I give Readability a 3.

Enjoyability

I really enjoyed most of Shattered. I liked the characters and I enjoyed most of the mystery. However, the out-of-nowhere twist/conspiracy towards the end that proved who the real killer was just annoyed me. I give Enjoyability a 3.

Overall, I mostly enjoyed this book. I feel it improved upon the first book in the series and I would recommend it to someone interested in Christian Romantic Suspense.

Rating (out of 5):
Plot: 2.5
Characters: 4
Readability: 3
Enjoyability: 3
Overall Average: 3.125 Stars

 

Monday’s Minutes

MM

Monday’s Minutes is my weekly post (except for last week when I posted on Thursday because I thought it was Monday…Holidays in the middle of the week apparently confuse me) where I share what I’m reading and what I’m reading next.

WHAT I’M READING

Submerged (Alaskan Courage, #1)

Submerged by Dani Pettrey. I just started this so I don’t really have an opinion yet, but I’ve heard good things about the author.

WHAT I’M READING NEXT

Heartsick (Gretchen Lowell, #1)

Heartsick by Chelsea Cain. I haven’t heard a whole lot about this series, but it’s been a while since I read a good mystery and this recently became available as an e-book at my library. I’m hoping it’ll be a good one.

What are you reading?