Scandal – A TV Rant

Today I’m going to branch out from books and talk about one of my other loves – tv! This will be a disorganized mess of thoughts, so don’t expect too much, other than some ranting.

Scandal- This show is like crack. You end up just wanting to try it and the next thing you know you're prostrated on the floor confused and delirious and hating yourself for giving your whole weekend to it. And yet you go back for more.

Scandal, starring the amazing Kerry Washington, is a guilty pleasure show of mine. It’s often ridiculous, but also addictive and entertaining. As time has gone on it’s become increasingly ridiculous and a little less entertaining, but I still watch it every week.

This season’s finale really bugged me, though. SPOILERS AHEAD. First of all, the wrap-up (for now at least) of the B613 storyline was pretty lame. Huck working for “command” kind of came out of nowhere and we all know Quinn isn’t going to kill him. They are the only two gladiators left, can Olivia Pope & Associates really lose any more employees?

Scott Foley

Secondly, I am soooooo Team Jake. He’s definitely had his shady moments, but at the end of the day he’s been there for Olivia and is her equal. They complement each other well and could do great things. And, hey, he isn’t married. Him leaving at the end of the episode really disappointed me.

My biggest problem, though, is with Fitz – like always. I really hate this character. I have never, ever shipped the Fitz and Olivia relationship, despite the fact it’s supposed to be the core of the show. But let’s set that aside for a moment. What really annoyed me was Fitz’s response to finding out Mellie had an unwitting hand in the murder of a busload of people and then didn’t tell him about it. He very holier-than-thou told her to get out of “his house”.

Can we please take a moment to reflect on all the reasons why Fitz has no right to be so judgey?

-He shot down a commercial plane full of innocent people (under the orders of the same person Mellie gave the list of names to for the bus).

-He, as President, ALMOST STARTED A WAR just to save one person.

-He KILLED A SUPREME COURT JUDGE to hide his own secret of the FIXED ELECTION that got him his presidency.

So, really Fitz? He can act like a huge douche and then the show ends with he and Olivia being all lovey-dovey? LAME.

Do you watch Scandal? What did you think of the finale? Do you ship Fitz and Olivia – if so WHY?

Review: Never Never Part 1 by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

Never Never (Never Never, #1)

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Best friends since they could walk. In love since the age of fourteen.
Complete strangers since this morning.
He’ll do anything to remember. She’ll do anything to forget.

I’ve seen nothing but rave reviews about Never Never since it came out several months ago, but I honestly had no intention of reading it. I’ve only read one Colleen Hoover book and while I enjoyed it, I still don’t quite understand all the hype. However, this book was recently free for a limited time for Nook so I thought, “why not?”

The very brief synopsis does not give much away. Charlie and Silas are high school students, a couple, and they both have suddenly lost their memory. The brief story follows them as they try to figure out not just what happened to them, but who they are. They don’t tell anyone that they lost their memory and fake their way through several awkward encounters with their friends and family. They slowly discover things about themselves and their relationship, mostly things they don’t like. It’s not until the final chapter that something is discovered about their sudden amnesia.

Alternating first person POV is my favorite and it’s done well here. Fisher writes Charlie and Hoover writes Silas. The authors do work well together and while I thought it was obvious different authors were writing the different characters, I liked it because the characters are so different. I liked Silas and his little brother Landon (I hope we get more Landon!). I really didn’t care for Charlie at all. She’s the stereotypical YA heroine I hate – the one who acts tough to hide her vulnerability, the one who is always pushing people away, the one who more special than she realizes. *Le Sigh*

It took several chapters for me to get into the story. I was all ready to give this book 1-2 stars, but then I got to know the characters a little bit more and wanted to know what happens to them. This is a Part 1 of a story that has at least three parts, so there was not a lot of resolution. I have to say that I kind of hate the way this is being published. I wish it would just be one regular sized book instead of several novellas. But whatever pays the bills, I guess.

Overall, I liked Never Never more than I anticipated. The story was intriguing, if a bit slow. The characters are well written and I look forward to finding out what happens next.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 stars

3 stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I REALLY Want To Meet

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Ten Authors I REALLY Want To Meet

How Rainbow Rowell Turned A Bomb Into A Best-Selling Novel

1. It should be no surprise that I want Rainbow Rowell to be my best friend.

HBO Adapting British Thriller Drama Series ‘Utopia’ With David Fincher & Gillian Flynn

2. Though she kind of terrifies me, I’d love to meet Gillian Flynn.

Maggie Stiefvater

3. Maggie Stiefvater

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4. JLA

Karin Slaughter

5. Karin Slaughter

Linwood Barclay

6. Linwood Barclay

Allison Leotta

7. Allison Leotta. She’s also a former federal prosecutor from DC. Man would she have some stories!

Jojo Moyes

8. Jojo Moyes

Tahereh Mafi

9. Tahereh Mafi

Erin Morgenstern

10. Erin Morgenstern

What authors would you like to meet? Have you made me super jealous and met any of the above?

Review: Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

HER PERFECT LIFE
IS A PERFECT LIE.

As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.

But Ani has a secret.

There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.

With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that’s bigger than it first appears.

The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free?

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

Luckiest Girl alive will be available May 12, 2015.

I think the synopsis of this book makes it sound much more intriguing than it is. There aren’t really any huge twists and the ending didn’t pack the punch I was hoping for.

Ani has done her best to rise from her somewhat humble upbringing to become one of the rich, sophisticated women she’s always admired. Marrying a successful Wall Street-er who comes from old money is the ultimate prize to clinch the life she’s always wanted for herself and to shut up the naysayers that don’t think she deserves it.  The only problem is that it’s not making her happy and living the lie is getting exhausting.

For about half the book there are references to an event from Ani’s past that made her infamous, an event she’s always tried to overcome. There’s a documentary being made about said event and Ani agrees to be part of it so she can finally share her side of the story. The story is told in alternating past and present sections that slowly (very slowly at times) clue us in to what happened. While the event was indeed quite tragic, it wasn’t as surprising as I was expecting it to be.

Ani was not a likable character. Perhaps because of the comparison to Gillian Flynn, I was expecting Ani to be kind of a psychopath, someone I could love to hate. Failing that, an unlikable character that was at least sympathetic. However, for most of the book I just plan didn’t like her. She was mean and self-centered and catty. She went through some pretty horrible things as a teenager, but she was such a stupid, stupid girl, too caught up in popularity and showing very little empathy for anyone else, that all I could feel was sad for her. But not in a way that made her a sympathetic protagonist I could root for.

The supporting characters, including her fiancé and best friend, were also unlikable. The teenagers she was so desperate to be friends with were awful with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. The one bright spot was her old teacher, Mr. Larsen. He was kind and caring and protective. Even though he had a few moments of weakness, he ultimately remained the good guy and I was glad for it.

I know it sounds like I hated this book, but that’s not the case. It’s true that the first half or so of the story I had to make myself keep reading (and only did so because it’s an ARC), but once we got to the actual event, it became a much more compulsory read. The pace picked up and was about more than Ani’s goal of anorexic thinness and her disillusionment with her fiancé. I did keep expecting for there to be some sort of crazy twist, though, and was a little disappointed that there wasn’t.

Overall, this book was ok for me. While the start was hard to get into, it definitely got better as the story went on. While the ending wasn’t what I was expecting, it did end up painting the main character in a more favorable light and I can appreciate the growth she went through.

Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

3 stars

Review: A Good Killing (Anna Curtis #4) by Allison Leotta

A Good Killing (Anna Curtis, #4)

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Former federal prosecutor and critically acclaimed author Allison Leotta’s spellbinding thriller follows prosecutor Anna Curtis as she heads home to Michigan to defend her sister in a case that will bring her to her knees.

Newly single after calling off her wedding, sex-crimes prosecutor Anna Curtis is summoned home to Michigan when her old high school coach—a hometown hero—is killed in a fiery car crash. But Anna isn’t there to prosecute a crime, she’s home to support her innocent sister, Jody, who has been wrongfully accused of the coach’s murder.

But maybe Jody isn’t so innocent after all? The police are convinced that Jody was having an affair with the married coach and killed him out of jealousy. As Anna investigates with the help of her childhood friend Cooper Bolden—an Afghan War veteran with a secret of his own—she slowly peels back the facade of her all-American hometown and discovers that no one is telling the truth about the coach, not even the people she thought she knew best.

When the town rallies against them, threatening not just Jody’s liberty but both sisters’ lives, Anna resolves to do everything she can to save her sister and defend the only family she has left.

In her best book yet, Leotta, “a highly entertaining storyteller” (George Pelecanos), explores the limits of vigilante justice, the bonds of sisterhood, and the value of the truth.

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

A Good Killing will be available May 12, 2015.

Where has this series been all my life!? When I requested this book from NetGalley, I was not aware that it was #4 in a series. That always kind of bums me out when I realize it after the fact because I hate jumping into an established series without reading the preceding books. However, this felt like it could have been a first in a series. While there were mentions of events from previous books, the prior characters were minor ones in this installment and I didn’t feel lost at all. That said, I’m still definitely going back to read the first three books in this series.

Anna is a DC prosecutor who goes to her small hometown in Michigan when she gets a call that her sister, Jody, may be in trouble. She’s happy to go since she has just called off her engagement. When she returns home she finds that the well-loved high school football coach has died in what appears to be a car crash. However, the police believe the crash was staged and that it was done by Jody, who was the last person he was seen with. Anna decides to stay in Michigan and defend her sister, with the help of her old friend Cooper. While Anna whole-heartedly believes her sister is innocent, Jody’s evasiveness to all of Anna’s questions, as well as the mounting evidence against her, begins to make Anna doubt.

I really enjoyed A Good Killing. The story was told in 3rd Person POV with alternating chapters giving Jody’s 1st person account to Anna of the past events leading up to Owen’s murder. I’m a sucker for alternate timelines and multiple POVs so I really loved the writing. I thought the characters were well developed and mostly very likable. I was very invested in the possible relationship between Anna and Cooper and enjoyed seeing their friendship develop throughout the book. The synopsis suggests that Cooper has a secret and I really don’t have any idea what it’s referring to. He was so completely wonderful that there were times that I thought he might be too wonderful and became suspicious of him. I would suggest ignoring that little phrase referring to him having a secret before reading.

Overall, A Good Killing was a very well-written, well paced, and well done mystery. The plot had a lot of layers and I enjoyed seeing them getting fleshed out, even as some of it horrified me. The characters were well-developed and likable and I look forward to finding out what happens to them next. I would definitely recommend this book to fans of mystery/crime books and I’m going to begin the series from the start.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

4 stars

UPDATE – 6/25/15

So I have now read the first three books in the series and re-read this book. I enjoyed this just as much the second time around and it did add some emotional depth to the story knowing Anna’s background with both her sister and Jack. I can also appreciate how this book is a bit of a departure for Leotta. The previous books were all in 3rd person POV from multiple perspectives and set in DC with Anna as prosecutor. In A Good Killing, we change settings, Anna is working for the defense, and the POV is switched between only 2 people, one of those told in 1st person. While I liked the first three books, I like how this one shakes things up, as well. While I can’t see Anna staying in Michigan, I am still 100% Team Cooper! I was kind of at a loss why Anna would still be hung up on Jack when I read this the first time – he’s in love with another woman – sleeping with that other woman – but still telling Anna how much he misses her etc. Understanding their history lets me understand a little bit about how she still loves him, but I am even more disgusted by Jack now. He definitely doesn’t deserve Anna and Cooper is fricking wonderful! Overall, this is probably my favorite new series I’ve read this year and I’m really looking forward to more of it.

Unpopular Opinions Tags

I saw this over on Howdy Yal and thought it looked fun as I often disagree with the masses on beloved book series.

A book or series that everyone seemed to hate but you loved:

Jackaby (Jackaby, #1)

I don’t think “everyone” hates it, but I have seen a fair amount of Sherlock and Dr Who fans hating on Jackaby, just because the synopsis compares itself to those shows. As I’m not a die hard Dr Who or Sherlock fan it didn’t bother me – and Jackaby did remind me of a Sherlock Holmes character with a little Dr Who. I liked it quite a bit, actually.

A love triangle that didn’t end the way you wanted it to. – *SPOILER ALERT FOR THE COVENANT SERIES*

Sentinel (Covenant, #5)

Alex-Aiden-Seth from The Covenant series. I was always, always Team Seth! Aiden was just ok for me. I never really got into him. But, thankfully Seth got his own spin-off..

A book genre you hardly ever reach for.

New Adult. While there are a few that I’ve enjoyed and there are still a few that will peak my interest, for the most part it’s just Young Adult Erotica and I can’t get behind it.

A popular or beloved character you did not like.

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)

Somewhere in book 2 of the series, Tris really got on my nerves. And in Allegiant. Forget about it.

A popular author you just can’t enjoy.

Cora Carmack. I’ve heard lots of great things about her books, tried one and couldn’t get through it. Then again, this is a New Adult author which I’ve already said I don’t really like.

A popular trope you’re tired of:

Memory Loss. I’m actually reading a book that features this right now, but it seemed to kind of blow up recently and they all seem pretty similar.

A popular series you have no interest in reading.

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

I’m changing this to no interest in CONTINUING reading. Throne of Glass series. I read the first book and really have no idea what all the fuss is about. I just did not care for it at all.

A TV show/movie that was better than the book.

Pretty Little Liars is a guilty pleasure show for me. While I haven’t really liked the past couple of seasons as much, I did like the first couple. I’ve read most of the series and I have to say I like the show much better.

Free Books Abound

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This week has been great for free books for me! I decided to share my excitement.

FROM THE AUTHOR

-I received (signed!) copies of Remember Me and Get to Me by Lara Van Hulzen from the author for review.

-I also received a signed copy of Boy Band by Jacqueline E. Smith. I bought the Nook copy of this book, but I brought to her attention some formatting errors in the final copy (they’re working on it!) and she very graciously offered me another copy. I’m looking forward to re-reading this one!
GIVEAWAY WINS
-I received a copy of The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks from Cook’s Reviews.
-I also won, but have not yet received, The Fill-in Boyfriend by Kasie West from Confessions of a Book Geek and A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab from Lost in a Great Book.
The Fill-In Boyfriend   A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, #1)
And last but not least, don’t miss your chance to win a free book! Click the above link to go to my Tax Refund Share the Wealth Giveaway and win any book I’ve reviewed on my blog – open for two more days!
Happy Reading!

Review: Eeny Meeny (Helen Grace #1) by M.J. Arlidge

Eeny Meeny (Helen Grace, #1)

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Two people are abducted, imprisoned, and left with a gun. As hunger and thirst set in, only one walks away alive.

It’s a game more twisted than any Detective Inspector Helen Grace has ever seen. If she hadn’t spoken with the shattered survivors herself, she almost wouldn’t believe them.

Helen is familiar with the dark sides of human nature, including her own, but this case—with its seemingly random victims—has her baffled. But as more people go missing, nothing will be more terrifying than when it all starts making sense….

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

Eeny Meeny will be available June 2, 2015.

Eeny Meeny is an intense thriller that kept me glued to the pages for days.

Helen Grace is a detective investigating a disturbing murder. In a Saw-like scenario, two people are trapped with no escape and are left with a gun with one bullet. Once one of them is dead, the other will be freed. After the first “winner” of the game escapes, it is not long before another couple go missing. The cases get even more disturbing for Helen when she suspects the victims are somehow connected to her.

I really liked the writing style of this book. It’s told in 3rd person POV and we get the perspective of Helen and her fellow officers Charlie and Mark, each of the victims, the killer, and a BDSM dominant who may have feelings for his mysterious client (don’t worry, it’s not as Fifty Shades as it sounds). The shift in perspectives, as well as the short chapter lengths, really made the story clip along at a quick pace and kept me engaged.

Helen was not an easy character to like, but I was definitely rooting for her throughout the book. She’s a good cop, but struggles with all personal relationships. I liked Mark and was really hoping for his happy ending. I felt like the character development was done very well, especially when juggling so many characters and some of them are only seen for a few chapters.

One word of caution is that the book can get quite graphic at times. No detail is spared when describing the precarious conditions the victims are facing, especially after they’ve been trapped for a couple days.

Overall I enjoyed Eeny Meeny. It was an intense thriller with well-developed characters, smart writing, and a plot that will make you question your own humanity. I recommend it to fans of crime/mystery/thrillers, who don’t mind a little bit of the graphic and resolutions that aren’t necessarily Happily Ever After.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

4 stars