I Like What I Like

 

I feel like this is something I should just tackle. I kinda have before in Crap Critiquing Skills

To give a run down, I know I rate books pretty high. I do it knowingly.

Why?

Because I liked them… because they were enjoyable because that’s the rating I felt they deserve.

Now I know that I don’t really critique books in my reviews but that isn’t my point. My reviews are used to highlight what I liked/didn’t like about a book and lately, I’ve liked more than I’ve disliked. So sue me.

If there are areas of contention in a book I do try to mention them, I do try and say, hey I’m not sure how this will go for you all, but it’s there. And I’m going back through my reviews to add trigger warnings to anything and everything that I think needs it and that I’ve overlooked lately.

This is me trying to do better as a reviewer, but, the fact that I enjoy books shouldn’t be an issue. And almost no one aside from a friend has pointed it out to me, so I’m not here to defend myself against fake haters, I’m here to tell you all that it is absolutely 100% okay to like what you read, it is also okay to not like what you read. The reviews are not just for readers, they’re for you. You’re reflecting on what you read, you’re giving your opinion and voice to something you read.

Do not feel bad about hating a book everyone has loved, and on the same token, don’t feel bad for loving a book people hated.

Romance is your go-to genre and you tend to love them all? That’s wonderful, or maybe it makes you pickier, that’s also wonderful. I value your opinions and so do most, but even if we didn’t, you hold that head high and don’t worry about it.

It can be so easy to tear a book down, and sometimes it is so very very justified, but we have to remember to not tear down the readers with it.

[And unless it has some serious ethical problems [racism, sexism, prejudice, harmful language toward certain groups then maybe we should pause before tearing down an author with their book as well but I have to say I think we’re pretty good in our community about being supportive.]

My reviews are still growing, I’m still learning but I don’t think I should feel guilty about just really enjoying books I read and I hope others don’t either. You want to five-star rate the last four books you read? You do it! Want to DNF? Go for it! Want to give a 1 star because you absolutely disliked the book? Put that one star down, GoodReads is a community but those ratings aren’t just for other readers, they’re a reflection of your opinion. So give it honestly, and guilt-free.

Meanwhile, I’ll try to pterodactyl screech less while fan-girl raving and make my reviews a bit more coherent.

 

Down The TBR Hole #2

It’s a meme kinda day for me, I’m reading a couple of books simultaneously to try and play catch up, we’ll see if it works or if I break down in tears lol.

Down The TBR Hole, a meme originally hosted by Lia @ Lost In A Story where you clean up your TBR of all those books you’re never going to read and sort through it and get a better handle on what all you got! (If someone can slide me the current host, I’ll gladly update this post)

Most of you probably know this feeling, your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when you’re scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well that’s going to change! – Lia @ Lost In A Story

What do you do?

  • Go to your GoodReads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books.
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

I’m doing 10-15 today!

GoodReads: 

In this dark, thrilling fairy tale, it is the wolf who saves the girl. Fell, the dark-furred twin brother of Larka, the heroine of The Sight, must face life without his sister or the rest of his loving pack. He’s a lone wolf now, a “kerl,” an outcast from his kind who shares his sister’s fatal gift for seeing the future and the thoughts of others. This gift leads him to befriend a young girl, also an outcast from her people. They have a shared destiny: to free the land from a tyrannical ruler who would enslave man and animal alike.

I loved The Sight and I own this one, so, it stays.

 

GoodReads:
Part blistering espionage thriller, part riveting police procedural, and part piercing exposé on social injustice, The Girl Who Played with Fire is a masterful, endlessly satisfying novel. 

Mikael Blomkvist, crusading publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation. On the eve of its publication, the two reporters responsible for the article are murdered, and the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to his friend, the troubled genius hacker Lisbeth Salander. Blomkvist, convinced of Salander’s innocence, plunges into an investigation. Meanwhile, Salander herself is drawn into a murderous game of cat and mouse, which forces her to face her dark past.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Another that I own and loved the first one, so this one stays as well!

 

GoodReads:
The stunning third and final novel in Stieg Larsson’s internationally best-selling trilogy.

Lisbeth Salander – the heart of Larsson’s two previous novels – lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she’ll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. And, on her own, she will plot revenge – against the man who tried to kill her, and the corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life.

Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now Salander is fighting back.

~from the jacket

Another that stays, but, I’m labelling this as maybe. If I start to lose interest in the second one then I might just donate these and say I tried!

 

GoodReads:
Complete text of Legacy and Spellbound in a single volume.

Holly Cathers is not the same person she was almost a year and a half ago. After discovering her connection to an ancient legacy of witches, Holly has accepted her destiny as a descendant of the House of Cahors. She is determined to end an intergenerational feud that has plagued her family for centuries.

Holly will have to overcome unworldly obstacles as she battles to protect her loved ones — including Jer, a member of the rival House of Deveraux and her one true love. A war of magical proportions is being waged, and Holly is at the center of it all.

Lives will be lost, and sacrifices will have to be made…

Okay…Another that I already own, already read the first, are you seeing the pattern here? It stays. Man. I suck at this.

 

GoodReads:
WHAT IS LOST…
WILL BE FOUND

In this stunning follow-up to the global phenomenon The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown demonstrates once again why he is the world’s most popular thriller writer. The Lost Symbol is a masterstroke of storytelling – a deadly race through a real-world labyrinth of codes, secrets, and unseen truths…all under the watchful eye of Brown’s most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, DC., The Lost Symbol accelerates through a startling landscape toward an unthinkable finale.

As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object – artfully encoded with five symbols – is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation…one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom.

When Langdon’s beloved mentor, Peter Solomon – a prominent Mason and philanthropist – is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations – all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth.

As the world discovered in The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, Dan Brown’s novels are brilliant tapestries of veiled histories, arcane symbols, and enigmatic codes. In this new novel, he again challenges readers with an intelligent, lightning-paced story that offers surprises at every turn. The Lost Symbol is exactly what Brown’s fans have been waiting for…his most thrilling novel yet.

So I’ve read the first two but I’m not really in a hurry to read this, for now, I’m going to say it goes, if I get around to reading it, fine, if not, not bothered lol.

 

GoodReads: 
Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon awakens in an Italian hospital, disoriented and with no recollection of the past thirty-six hours, including the origin of the macabre object hidden in his belongings. With a relentless female assassin trailing them through Florence, he and his resourceful doctor, Sienna Brooks, are forced to flee. Embarking on a harrowing journey, they must unravel a series of codes, which are the work of a brilliant scientist whose obsession with the end of the world is matched only by his passion for one of the most influential masterpieces ever written, Dante Alighieri’s The Inferno. 

Dan Brown has raised the bar yet again, combining classical Italian art, history, and literature with cutting-edge science in this sumptuously entertaining thriller.

Goes. Same reason as #3 in the Langdon series!

Final Score:

3/6 Stay, 2/6 Go, 1/6 Maybe

At least it was better than my first round lol. Anyone else whittling away their TBR?

Charity Shop Finds!

We actually had like two HUGE hauls but it was so ridiculous I didn’t even bother sharing because we deserved to be in timeout after those sprees.

But it looks like we kinda mostly got it out of our system, slowly I’ll update the list on the Charity shop page to less publicly shame myself and my spending habits lol but today I’ll share with you what I bought this weekend.

It was the one store we tend to frequent where it was 2 for .99P so I just ended up taking two instead of one.

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2 for .99P!

I’ve really been wanting to read The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and not to mention as much as I love reading history books I couldn’t just leave The Holocaust The Jewish Tragedy behind, especially because most books are about WWII itself, the battles and the like and of course we do have books about the horrors of it all from the concentration camps to the battles but I liked that this one was focused on the people persecuted the most in that tragic time in history.

I’ve finished reading I Will Find You by John M. Taylor and will have the review up tomorrow but feel free to click on the link to the GoodReads page to learn more about it if you’re curious.

I know this is a  short post but it’s Sunday and I’ve spent the day at the beach and just want to sit here and pay Dragon Age II but I actually have to go read more now lolol, go see my book reviewing, a process post to find out which part of the never ending cycle I’m at!

Book Reviewing: A Process

Hey all, it’s Saturday, you know what that means?

I revel in being lazy lol.

But also it’s the weekend for most of us, so yay for that.

Today’s post is more of a way to hopefully give you a laugh than an in-depth look at my process as my process is really…having none lol.

Step 1. Pick Which Book to Read Next

I look through my list to see which one is next to come out chronologically but sometimes it’s not that easy, there’ll be multiple ones coming out within like a two day span of each other. And so it’s just mostly a lot of me being overwhelmed.

 

Step 2. Read the Book I’ve picked

This is so much harder than it seems, the less time I have to read, the more pressured I feel. But pressured by who you may ask? Me. Myself. Oh, and I. Even though I can read most books in a day, I choose to worry over it until like 10PM and then I settle in to the actual act of reading.

 

Step 3. In Between Reading Take Copious Notes

I take notes to help me be more critical when writing my review. At least that’s what I’m telling myself I’ll accomplish by taking notes. More often than not I just suck at taking notes as well as writing up reviews.

 

Step 4. Finally Finish Reading!

I’m pretty good at this step haha, once I finally get into a groove with a book I’ll break it up over one to three days into a few sittings just so I don’t get too bored or distracted unless the book is really gripping.

 

Step 5. Writing up the Review

At this point I begin to sit there and look over my notes and stare at the laptop. It’s a hard process for me who really just is like ‘I liked it. It was good.’ I never feel I’m qualified enough to write up a review for you all lol.

 

Step 5A. Forget Everyone’s Names and Have to Look Them up

I don’t know why this happens to me, I’ll remember like one person’s name and it probably won’t be the person I’m actually wanting to write about at the moment so then I have to go back and look.

 

Step 6. Finish Writing Review and Publish it

I sit there, proud enough of it to just throw it at you all, knowing I finished.

 

Step 7. JK. It’s Never Done. Pick Another Book

 

And there you have it, book reviewing, a process!

 

Toodles guys!

Droknina eARC Review

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GoodReads Blurb:
As the consort of the Prince of the Vampiri, Saphrona resolves not to lose her identity in Gideon’s shadowy world. Though she feels ever more drawn to him and sympathizes with his people’s struggle to emulate human compassion, she refuses to allow anything to threaten her autonomy. 

Gideon longs for Saphrona’s love, but he is reluctant to reveal the full reality of their new relationship, for fear it will drive an irrevocable wedge between them before he has a chance to win her heart. When Saphrona discovers his omission, it shatters her trust in him. 

Heartbroken, Gideon risks self-destruction to prove to Saphrona that her free will is sacred to him. Even as his gamble leads to a revelation that will bring them forever closer, the consequences of such a risk set the Followers on the path of war with Antonia and tragic betrayal in House Bloodstone.

Content Transparency Statement
1. This is hate-free fiction.
2. The Garden of Night Series contains:
(a) PG-13 rated sensuality
(b) R-rated violence
(c) Vampire characters. Some of them fall in love with humans. There will be talk of blood and biting one another.
Like Vampire stories?
Want an interesting vampire one set in a new world and is more like a Fantasy novel?
Like slow burning romances that make you ship harder?
How about a book where the female protagonist is a freakin sculptor and has a really strong personal/guild moral code she sticks to?
Cool beans. Let me drop Ghondatha at ya.
I was really unbelievably pleased with Ghondatha.

^ Staring my review for the sequel to Ghondatha in much the same way, so just leaving that there to entice you to read the first book’s review.

Droknina picks up where Ghondatha left off and it’s great, if you have the ability to just go from one to two, I would. The books aren’t very long and Ayres packs so much into these books and she paces them brilliantly. Her world building set the stage in book one and now she can focus on giving us more about the vampires, their plots, and their humans.

Ayres just enhances everything I loved in Ghondatha and this book was probably one of my favorite May reads so far.

Saphrona is still strong, but she is is no longer arming her heart to the teeth.

Gideon is the same little cinnamon roll, but we get to see more of his kind ways and the depth of his feelings for Saphrona.

We also get to see more of his ten (think of it as his royal council) and more of Bradley and Sheena which is great.

The story Ayres is weaving for us is intricate and layered, this is about the past and present, with a hope for the future.

I particularly enjoyed the Ferals in this book, and Saphrona’s kindness really just captured my whole admiration.

Sheena’s storyline is probably my favorite, but, I won’t say more, #nospoilers.

Antonia is badder than ever, and pushing her powers to the limit while all the while keeping her goal, Gideon, in mind.

Gideon and his followers want nothing more than to reclaim their humanity, to feel their hearts again but Antonia is pulling out all the stops to make sure Gideon is restored to his former ‘glory’ and under her influence once more.

The stakes are high and this is building up to be what I feel will be an intense third book and I can’t wait.

Pros:
– Strong female, and she has a heart of gold and sticks to her guns.
– Sheena really got the spotlight and I loved it.
– Complex relationship between humans and vampires that consort them, but we get into different issues in this book.
– The shared memories were amazing
– The book is short but it feels nice and full, and in fact you’ll want to dive right into the next book.
– Sheena and Bradley are still showing the different ways in which humans can be affected.
– I didn’t not see the few plot twists, they were brilliant.
– We got to see more Antonia just like I wanted AND more Qyva as I had hoped!

Cons:
– Still want more Leigh
– I really would have loved more Qyva but I don’t know, there could be more in book three, but I may just be greedy at this point lol.
– People may be put off by the fact that it has vampires in it.
– Pacing could feel too fast, but this series is meant to be exactly how it is, so, may not be for everyone.
– I would have loved a bit more time for Leigh and Saphrona to just reflect on their new lives but I did understand the shift from them to Saphrona and Gideon

Any Vampire book recs for me? Have you read Ayres books?

 

Toodles!

 

Mini Reviews

**Thanks to Kelly from BookGlow for sending me these two copies to read and review, in exchange for my honest review**


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GoodReads Blurb:
From USA Today featured novelist and Western Writers of America Spur award finalist Milana Marsenich, The Swan Keeperis an historical, coming-of-age novel set in 1920s Montana.

On her eleventh birthday, Lilly’s family visits the Cattail Marsh to see the newly hatched cygnets. The family outing turns tragic when Dean Drake shows up with his shotgun. Lilly sees him kill her father, injure her mother, and slaughter the bevy of trumpeter swans. The sheriff, her mother, sister, and best friend all think Lilly is trying to make sense of a senseless accident by blaming Drake. But Lilly knows the truth. Left alone she must bring him to justice. 

“Author Milana Marsenich has penned a dramatic page-turner brimming with authentic detail. She knows this Montana countryside inside and out, her vivid descriptions capturing the spirit of the craggy Mission Mountains.”—Maggie Plummer, author of Spirited Away – A Novel of the Stolen Irish and Daring Passage: Book Two of the Spirited Away Saga

Lily’s 11th birthday was supposed to be one filled with the magic turning 11, after all  Nell, Pa, and sister Anna told her it was a magical age to be. Instead she witnesses her father and mother shot along with the swans her family loved so much. Her sister too far to witness the shooting or Lily trying to save the swans and no one believes her when she says she saw who shot them.

Using a bit of mysticism in the form of swans and a bit of spirituality, Marsenich brings to the table a rather beautiful coming of age tale. The story makes you feel as if you’re there breathing the air with Lily, soaking in Montana and the beauty of the trumpeter swans. I really enjoyed this so much more than I thought I would after reading the first chapter.

With no one believing her, her Pa dead, and her mother unavailable to the world let alone her daughters, Lily finds strength in taking care of Pearl a trumpeter swan. Along the way though she doesn’t give up in her determination to catch the man who killed her father, taking the matter of the law into her own hands.

Along the way Lily does get a little help but being 11 means that the adults just will not listen, and the magic of 11 seems like a thing of the past when her family was still whole, and unfortunately 12 doesn’t look any brighter with Dean Drake the murderer still on the loose. Why he’s killed her Pa and why her mother survived is a tale as old as time: jealousy.

Lily searches for clues, protects swans, and battles with the stubbornness of the Sheriff and the right just to be heard.

I did enjoy this but do remember that this had an element of spirituality that may not be to your liking. I wouldn’t say it was overpowering but I just want to to make sure it’s mentioned.

 


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GoodReads Blurb:
The Ballet Lover exposes the beauty and cruelty of ballet, the performances, the back stage moments, and the personal dramas of the famous ballet dancers Rudolf Nureyev and Natalia Makarova as seen through the eyes of an American female journalist.

Paris, 1970s: the orchestra plays the first ominous note of Swan Lake. In the audience sits Geneva, an American journalist and ballet lover, waiting for the heart-stopping beauty and seduction of the romantic duet to start, but instead she witnesses Rudolf Nureyev failing to catch his Russian partner Natalia Makarova, allowing her to fall with a crash upon the stage. 

Geneva interprets the fall as an act of cruelty, a man with all the fame and power in the world brutally letting fall his delicate, wraith-like artistic partner. When other critics defend Nureyev and accuse Makarova of causing her own tumble, Geneva vows revenge on the page, creating havoc in her own career and discovering surprising parallels between herself and the fallen ballerina.

The Ballet Lover is a refined, mesmerizing, fictional account of two of the most celebrated dancers in the dance world, how one compromised the other, and how the drama on the stage often mirrors those played out in real life.

Geneva’s dedication to her writing is great and I love that this turn into a grand love story, her focus is writing about dancing. She holds fast to her opinion even when others disagree and I think that the ending of the story was perfect for her considering the bond she has with her Aunt.Baer mixes in tidbits of historical ballet facts with a novella that focuses on two ballet dancers in particular. Nureyev and Makarova.

The MC is the journalist who captures the feeling of the dancers on stage, watching the progress of the two dancers through out their careers. At the beginning of each chapter Baer gives us a snippet of a performance and though it doesn’t seem to add to the story itself as far as plot I feel it helps set the stage each time and those little snippets were my favorite part!

This is novella and not a fully fleshed out book, so that expectation could be kept in mind before diving in. It can easily be read in one or two sittings and if you enjoy ballet history I would recommend this.

WWW Wednesday

I know. It’s Sunday, but this isn’t my fault for once, things came up, today’s post is scratched, so I give you this and wonder why I’m not better prepared for the unexpected.

So.

It’s time for the WWW Wednesday meme brought to you all by Taking on a World of Words

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What Are You Currently Reading?

GoodReads Blurb: 

High seas adventure, blackmail, and meddling gods meet in Dark Shores, the first novel in a new YA fantasy series.

In a world divided by meddlesome gods and treacherous oceans, only the Maarin possess the knowledge to cross the Endless Seas. But they have one mandate: East must never meet West.

A PIRATE WITH A WILL OF IRON

Teriana is the second mate of the Quincense and heir to the Maarin Triumvirate. Her people are born of the seas and the keepers of its secrets, but when her closest friend is forced into an unwanted betrothal, Teriana breaks her people’s mandate so her friend might escape—a choice with devastating consequences. 

A SOLDIER WITH A SECRET

Marcus is the commander of the Thirty-Seventh, the notorious legion that has led the Celendor Empire to conquer the entire East. The legion is his family, but even they don’t know the truth he’s been hiding since childhood. It’s a secret he’ll do anything to protect, no matter how much it costs him – and the world. 

A DANGEROUS QUEST

When an Empire senator discovers the existence of the Dark Shores, he captures Teriana’s crew and threatens to reveal Marcus’s secret unless they sail in pursuit of conquest, forcing the two into an unlikely—and unwilling—alliance. They unite for the sake of their families, but both must decide how far they are willing to go, and how much they are willing to sacrifice.

I read 50% in like two small sittings, I’m finding it a really fun read and it comes out on the 7th in the US! (In the UK we’ll be waiting until June 1st!) I’m loving the mix of Roman soldiers and pirates so far the blurb is true to its word and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I’m hoping to finish this later tonight.

 

What Did You Recently Finish Reading?

 

GoodReads Blurb:

Being one of the most formidable archangels with the power to end the world doesn’t serve you well if you don’t know how to use it.

Thrown into a battle of courts and factions, tangled in a web of intrigues and palatial games, naïve Ariel is surrounded by powerful angels, chasing their own agendas.

There’s no one she can trust. Everyone stands to gain something from her death.

To avoid the bloody battle that Baza brought to her door at Uras, Ariel retreats back to Apkallu (Earth) to find her sister, but the Heavenly battles and intrigues she flees follow her, as Baza’s immense hold on Apkallu forces Ariel and Rafe to make uncomfortable choices.

Ariel’s fight for survival is far from over and it looks like it’s going to be a deadly one. 

Tuesday is my day for the tour for this book so you’ll have to wait until then to hear my thoughts. I read its predecessor Heavenward as well and plan on giving my thoughts on it in the tour post. A solid series for something quick and enjoyable with pretty decent pacing!

 

What Do You Think You’ll Read Next?

GoodReads Blurb: 

As the consort of the Prince of the Vampiri, Saphrona resolves not to lose her identity in Gideon’s shadowy world. Though she feels ever more drawn to him and sympathizes with his people’s struggle to emulate human compassion, she refuses to allow anything to threaten her autonomy. 

Gideon longs for Saphrona’s love, but he is reluctant to reveal the full reality of their new relationship, for fear it will drive an irrevocable wedge between them before he has a chance to win her heart. When Saphrona discovers his omission, it shatters her trust in him. 

Heartbroken, Gideon risks self-destruction to prove to Saphrona that her free will is sacred to him. Even as his gamble leads to a revelation that will bring them forever closer, the consequences of such a risk set the Followers on the path of war with Antonia and tragic betrayal in House Bloodstone.

I finally get to read book 2 of this trilogy by the talented Emery Ayres! I’ve been itching to get to it but wanted to get some other May reads done first.

I guess you could say I’m in a mini slump, but it’s not so much because I’ve lost interest rather than we’ve been super busy. I’m not too worried about it…yet…I also think that a couple of months of a scheduled TBR was okay but I can’t handle it all the time so I’ll be going a bit rogue this month aside form the books I’m reading for blog tours!

Toodles!