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

Crash into You (Pushing the Limits, #3)

Crash into You (Pushing the Limits #3) by Katie McGarry. So I know I wasn’t planning on continuing this series anytime soon after I finished the first book, but they were already available at the library, so I just went with it. I only have a few chapters left and I’m kind of ambivalent about it. I like the chapters from Rachel’s POV. Isaiah still isn’t my favorite, but he has grown on me a ton in this book.

WHAT I’M READING NEXT

I’m not sure. I think I need to do a re-read of Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm

 

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Review: Undetected by Dee Henderson

Undetected

I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Synopsis from Good Reads:

When asked what he does for a living, Commander Mark Bishop is deliberately low-key: “I’m in the navy.”

But commanding the ballistic missile submarine USS Nevada, keeping its crew trained and focused during 90-day submerged patrols, and being prepared to launch weapons on valid presidential orders, carries a burden of command like few other jobs in the military. Mark Bishop is a man who accepts that responsibility, and carries it well. And at a time when tensions are escalating in the Pacific Rim, the navy is glad to have him.

Mark wants someone to come home to after sea patrols. The woman he has in mind is young, pretty, and very smart. She’s a civilian, but she understands life in the navy. And he has a strong sense that life with her would never be boring. But she may be too deep in her work to see the potential in a relationship with him.

Gina Gray would love to be married. She has always envisioned her life that way. But a breakup she didn’t see coming has her focusing all her attention on what she does best–ocean science research. She’s on the cusp of a breakthrough, and she needs Mark Bishop’s perspective and help. Because what she’s told the navy she’s figured out is only the beginning. If she’s right, submarine warfare is about to enter a new and dangerous chapter…

It took me several chapters to get into this story. The beginning is so weighed down by Naval description and procedures that I had to put the book down. While this got better – for the most part – as the story went on, there was way too much Navy procedure and scientific descriptions for me. It didn’t feel necessary to the story, as much as one of those instances when the author is stating, “Hey, look at all the research I’ve done for this book!” I also thought the formality was a little overdone. Almost every time the story comes back to focus on Mark, he’s introduced to the readers again as, “Captain/Commander Mark Bishop.” This got better after maybe ten chapters or so, but then it would do it sporadically. There aren’t so many characters in this book that I can’t keep track of one by their first or last name.

Gina Gray is a genius. She’s worked on many discoveries for the Navy, all with the intent on keeping her brother Jeff safe. She comes to his Naval base to visit him after she had a bad break-up and begins to work on her latest theory – which leads to another theory – and another theory…She’s super smart, guys. However, she’s not so smart with relationships and she wants to get married before she’s thirty, so she asks her brother to set her up. Jeff wants to set her up with his best friend, Mark, but Mark is hesitant since he’s about 11 years older than Gina. Jeff settles instead for the kind and funny Daniel.

However, Mark begins to develop feelings for Gina after spending some time with her and from there the love triangle begins. It’s not your normal  love triangle, though. Both guys are super chill with each other and go out of their way to help the other guy. Also, Gina doesn’t realize Mark is interested until late in the game. And he’s not just interested, he’s ready to get married interested.

I found Mark’s pursuit of Gina a little off-putting at first. Though he does love her and wants to be with her, I often got the feeling that he was talking down to her,

“Marry me, Gina. You need me. I want you as my wife. there are worse reasons to get married.”

“We’re going to disagree occasionally, Gina, on what is best to do with a discovery. That’s one of the reasons these kinds of decisions are never simple. There are two perspectives, and both might be valid. I’d like to think you’ll come to trust me on these difficult calls.”

Though it took awhile, I did begin to  like their relationship. I also really liked that all the romance in this book was based on more than attraction. There was never a statement of how Gina is the most beautiful woman ever created or description of how Mark’s muscles ripple under his t-shirt that just happens to be a little tight around his big, broad, tan shoulders. (Seriously, try to find a romance that doesn’t involve those type of statements.)

While the story focused on character and relationship development, I enjoyed it. When it veered off into the overly descriptive Navy/science scenes, I found it a little hard to get through. I did like how all the time spent on Gina’s discoveries didn’t go unused. I also was surprised to find out that this is either a book in a series or a companion book to another Henderson novel, Unspoken, that focuses on Mark’s brother (which I recently bought at a library sale, but haven’t had the chance to read it).

Overall, I did enjoy Undetected. I would have preferred less of the Naval and scientific jargon, but the rest of the story helped to make up for it. I would recommend this book to fans of Hendersons and Christian Fiction.

Rating (out of 5):
Plot: 3.5
Characters: 3.5
Readability: 3
Enjoyability: 3
Overall Average: 3.25 stars

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I almost put down, but didn’t.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Broke and the Bookish, is: Books I almost put down, but didn’t.  I usually CAN NOT put down books (or series) once I start them, but I’ve been working on it. My list are books I didn’t put down, but wish I did. So, it’s the TOP TEN WORST BOOKS I ALMOST PUT DOWN AND DIDN’T.

Friday Night Alibi

1. Friday Night Alibi by Cassie Mae. Silly premise. Silly characters. Waste of time.

Passion (Fallen, #3)   Rapture (Fallen, #4)

2. & 3. Passion and Rapture by Lauren Kate. The first 2 books were readable. These last two were AWFUL.

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

4. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas. Everyone seems to love this book, but I thought it was horrible.

Mini Shopaholic (Shopaholic, #6)

5. Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. I like Sophie Kinsella, but after the first couple of Shopaholic books, I just could barely stand them anymore.

What I Thought Was True

6. What I Thought was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick. I kept reading because I thought it would get better. It didn’t.

Cruel Beauty

7. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. Another book I kept reading because I thought it would get better.

The Innocents

8. The Innocents by Francesca Segal. I wanted to like this book. I did for awhile. I wish I would’ve stopped reading before it completely let me down.

The Dressmaker

9. The Dress Maker by Kate Alcott. I thought this was supposed to be this popular, wonderful book. I’m not sure how popular it became, but it was not wonderful at all.

Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1)

10. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire. There was so much hype about this book, so I made myself finish it. It was ridiculous.

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

Dare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2)

Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) by Katie McGarry. Ok. So I had no intention of continuing this series anytime soon, but I found myself faced with a few review titles that are long-ish and serious-ish and I’m just not in the state of mind for serious reading. I also find I’m not in the mood to read anything I really care about it, so this came up at the library and I decided to try it. While it appears to have heavier themes than most YA romance, it’s still, at it’s core, YA romance, which always fills the bill when I need something fluffy to read.

WHAT I’M READING NEXT

Ruins (Partials Sequence, #3)   Undetected

Ruins (Partial Sequence #3) by Dan Wells and Undetected by Dee Henderson. I’ve been putting off Ruins because I was pretty disappointed with book 2 in this series. I haven’t heard great things about the conclusion to the series, either. But I still want to read it. I enjoyed the O’Malley series by Dee Henderson, so I of course had to request Dee Henderson on NetGalley. However, it’s a pdf and not an epub, so reading it on my Nook is super annoying. But I’m still looking forward to it!

What are you reading?

 

Review: Look Behind You by Sibel Hodge

 

Look Behind You

I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not affect my review.

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Chloe Benson wakes up kidnapped and bound in an underground tomb with no memory of how she got there.

She escapes through deserted woods with her life, but no one believes her story.

And when she suspects her husband is lying to her, Chloe is forced to retrace her past, following in her own footsteps to find the truth and stay alive.

But who is following Chloe?

Look Behind You. You never know who’s out there.

I was expecting Look Behind You to be a fast-paced psychological thriller. While it had those elements, it was more of an in-depth look at the psychological and emotional effects of abuse, within a mystery.

Chloe wakes up in total darkness, bound and without knowing how she got there. Hodge does a good job of describing the terror and the physical exhaustion Chloe feels as she tries to escape. When she eventually does, she winds up at the hospital where she learns that she had recently been admitted into the psychiatric ward for hallucinations that sound startlingly close to what she has just experienced. When no one believes that she was really abducted, she sets out to prove that it really happened.

While Chloe starts to put together the pieces of the seven weeks she doesn’t remember, she begins to suspect her husband, Liam. Liam is a verbally and emotionally abusive husband. He’s manipulative and controlling and Chloe begins to wonder if he is dangerous, as well. A good deal of the book dealt with Chloe’s feelings of loneliness and lack of self-worth that led her to initially fall for Liam. It gave a realistic view of living with abuse until something happens to eventually make her believe she’s deserves more and wants to do something about it.

While the story was a little slower paced than I would’ve liked, there were some good twists that I enjoyed and didn’t always see coming. I suspected several different characters throughout the story and was ultimately satisfied with how it ended. Overall, I enjoyed Look Behind You. I would recommend it to those interested in psychological exploration and mystery.

Rating (out of 5):
Plot: 3.5
Characters: 3
Readability: 3
Enjoyability: 3.5
Overall Average: 3.25 stars

Review: The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass

The One (The Selection, #3)

Synopsis from Good Reads:

The Selection changed the lives of thirty-five girls forever. And now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen.

America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.

From the very first page of The Selection, this #1 New York Times bestselling series has captured readers’ hearts and swept them away on a captivating journey… Now, in The One, Kiera Cass delivers a satisfying and unforgettable conclusion that will keep readers sighing over this electrifying fairy-tale long after the final page is turned.

After the train wreck that was The Elite, I did not have high hopes for The One. However, while I wasn’t blown away, I was pleasantly surprised with this final installment of The Selection.

It starts out with a lot of the same – America and Maxon having a sweet moment just to have it ruined. And so on and so on. America says once, “I walked away, angry with Maxon for making me feel this way…and angry with myself making things so much worse.”I was also quite annoyed with this.

The rebel subplot is much more prominent in this book and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. In the previous books I thought it was an unnecessary distraction and that the outcome for it was a little obvious. While my suspicions were confirmed in this book, I think Cass handled it well – much better than the first books.

The pacing was a little slow and it felt like most of the action was packed into the last few chapters. However, I enjoyed the character development of the rest of The Elite and especially Celeste, who was previously my least favorite character. I also really liked the series of letters that Maxon wrote for America.

Overall, I found The One to be a mostly satisfying ending to The Selection. If you’ve already started the series, I would recommend that you read this. It was far better than the last book!

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

Review: Divided (Dualed #2) by Elsie Chapman

Divided (Dualed, #2)

I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not affect my review. Divided goes on sale May 27, 2014.

Synopsis from Good Reads:

The hunter becomes the hunted. . . .

West Grayer is done killing. She defeated her Alternate, a twin raised by another family, and proved she’s worthy of a future. She’s ready to move on with her life.

The Board has other plans. They want her to kill one last time, and offer her a deal worth killing for. But when West recognizes her target as a ghost from her past, she realizes she’s in over her head. The Board is lying, and West will have to uncover the truth of the past to secure her future.

How far will the Board go to keep their secrets safe? And how far will West go to save those she loves? With nonstop action and surprising twists, Elsie Chapman’s intoxicating sequel to Dualed reveals everything.

So. Hmm. Divided. I just don’t know. I mostly enjoyed the first book in this series and have been looking forward to reading this one, but I found it a little underwhelming.

It’s been awhile since I read Dualed, but I don’t remember it ending on a cliffhanger. West Grayer (I love that name) is an accomplished striker (assassin) and has defeated her alt and should be able to live her life in peace with her best friend/boyfriend, Chord. However, West is still dealing with the emotional fallout of her past sins. When she’s summoned to the Board, she’s offered a way to not only make up for her past, but to protect her future.

This is where things start to fall apart for me. West feels guilty not so much for killing people, but not knowing whether she killed the right alt or not. If she killed the more worthy alt then she’s put her city at risk by providing inferior soldiers to guard the barriers. The Board Operator wants to make a deal for her to work as a striker to kill the alts of Board children. He makes the case that they are the worthy alts and that it’s just an extra precaution for them to not actually face the challenge. West buys this logic, along with what he’s willing to offer her in exchange and sets out to relive her days as a striker.

There are some twists and turns while she’s fulfilling her contracts and we get a lot more background information about the city origins. Some of this I found interesting, but mostly I was just trying to get through it. The pace was pretty slow and a lot of parts that should have been exciting seemed a little anticlimactic. I just couldn’t get on board with West’s rationale and thought process through most the book and that hindered my enjoyment.

I can’t tell if this series is a duology or trilogy. I couldn’t find anything about a third book. While Divided wraps up some things, it still leaves a lot of loose ends and if this is the last book, I found the ending a little unsatisfying.

Overall, Divided was an ok read. I enjoyed the extra world building and the background information and the twist with West’s final contracted alt. I would’ve liked a little more character development of both West and Chord. If this is the final book, I would’ve liked more things wrapped up, but if there’s more to the series, I’ll read it to find out what happens.

Rating (out of 5):
Plot: 2
Characters: 3
Readability: 3
Enjoyability: 2.5
Overall Average: 2.625 stars