Thursday, May 28, 2015

Audiobook Review: The Magicians (The Magicians #1) by Lev Grossman

Title: The Magicians
Book Series: The Magicians, Book #1
Author: Lev Grossman (Twitter)
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy, Magic
Format: Audiobook (Amazon | Audible)
Narrators: Mark Bramhall
Length: 17 hours & 24 minutes
Release Date: August 11, 2009
Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn't real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn't bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin's yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they'd imagined.

Psychologically piercing and dazzlingly inventive, The Magicians is an enthralling coming-of-age tale about magic practiced in the real world-where good and evil aren't black and white, and power comes at a terrible price.

I'd read this before about four years and hated it. It was hard to pinpoint exactly why I felt this way, but I remember having a strong dislike for this book. Someone else I spoke to at a book club meeting expressed the same sentiment. I think I know why -- that idiotic comparison to Harry Potter. I could just imagine myself getting to the end of this book and thinking WTF that was nothing like HP!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Quickie Review: Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Genres: Graphic Novels
Format: Hardback (Amazon)
Length: 323 pages
Release Date: July 15, 2014

Reading Challenges: 2015 Goodreads Challenge

Katie’s got it pretty good. She’s a talented young chef, she runs a successful restaurant, and she has big plans to open an even better one. Then, all at once, progress on the new location bogs down, her charming ex-boyfriend pops up, her fling with another chef goes sour, and her best waitress gets badly hurt. And just like that, Katie’s life goes from pretty good to not so much. What she needs is a second chance. Everybody deserves one, after all—but they don’t come easy. Luckily for Katie, a mysterious girl appears in the middle of the night with simple instructions for a do-it-yourself do-over:

1. Write your mistake
2. Ingest one mushroom
3. Go to sleep
4. Wake anew

And just like that, all the bad stuff never happened, and Katie is given another chance to get things right. She’s also got a dresser drawer full of magical mushrooms—and an irresistible urge to make her life not just good, but perfect. Too bad it’s against the rules. But Katie doesn’t care about the rules—and she’s about to discover the unintended consequences of the best intentions.

I really enjoyed his book. It was a great introduction to graphic novels outside of Manga. I thought the story was cute and inventive, if not completely realized. I think the plot had some holes, but surprisingly it didn't stop it from being an engaging read. Katie's strange attitude got on my nerves a bit; I liked her inner monologue a lot more than her and chuckled when it made fun of her. Overall, I thought it was a good cautionary tale on consequences and not looking for easy fixes, growing up, yada, yada, yada.

Seconds    Seconds

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Audiobook Review: Mothership (Ever-Expanding Universe #1) by Martin Leicht & Isla Neal

Genres: YA, Science Fiction, Aliens
Format: Audiobook (Amazon | Audible)
Narrator: Connie Ventress (Audible)
Length: 9 hours & 7 minutes

Teen pregnancy is never easy - especially when extraterrestrials are involved.

Elvie Nara was doing just fine in the year 2074. She had a great best friend, a dad she adored, and a bright future working on the Ares Project on Mars. But then she had to get involved with sweet, gorgeous, dumb-as-a-brick Cole - and now she's pregnant.

Getting shipped off to the Hanover School for Expecting Teen Mothers was not how Elvie imagined spending her junior year, but she can go with the flow. That is, until a team of hot commandos hijacks the ship - and one of them turns out to be Cole. She hasn’t seen him since she told him she's pregnant, and now he's bursting into her new home to tell her that her teachers are aliens and want to use her unborn baby to repopulate their species? Nice try, buddy. You could have just called.

So fine, finding a way off this ship is priority number one, but first Elvie has to figure out how Cole ended up as a commando, work together with her arch-nemesis, and figure out if she even wants to be a mother - assuming they get back to Earth in one piece.

This was a cute read. However, I don't think I would have stuck it out if Elvie's quick wit wasn't so entertaining. While the premise was unique and intriguing, the plot was only so-so.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Shards of Hope (Psy-Changeling #14) by Nalini Singh

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event that spotlights eagerly-anticipated upcoming releases.

Book Series: Psy-Changeling, Book 14
Author: Nalini Singh (Twitter)
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Erotic Romance
Release Date: June 2, 2015

The “smoldering heat, epic romance, and awesome action” of Nalini Singh’s New York Times bestselling series continues as two Arrows find themselves caught in a chilling conspiracy that spans all three races…

Awakening wounded in a darkened cell, their psychic abilities blocked, Aden and Zaira know they must escape. But when the lethal soldiers break free from their mysterious prison, they find themselves in a harsh, inhospitable landscape far from civilization. Their only hope for survival is to make it to the hidden home of a predatory changeling pack that doesn’t welcome outsiders.

And they must survive. A shadowy enemy has put a target on the back of the Arrow squad, an enemy that cannot be permitted to succeed in its deadly campaign. Aden will cross any line to keep his people safe for this new future, where even an assassin might have hope of a life beyond blood and death and pain. Zaira has no such hope. She knows she’s too damaged to return from the abyss. Her driving goal is to protect Aden, protect the only person who has ever come back for her no matter what.

This time, even Aden’s passionate determination may not be enough—because the emotionless chill of Silence existed for a reason. For the violent, and the insane, and the irreparably broken…like Zaira.

Why I Picked It:  This is one of my favorite series, so I'll be catching all the books until the very end. I also love the Arrows, so I'm excited!

Shards of Hope (Psy-Changeling #14)

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

30 Day Book Challenge

Hosted by Mocha Girls Read

Reading Challenge Details:
In the month of May, Mocha Girls Read would love to hear more about what you’ve read and the wonderful (or not so wonderful) impressions they’ve made on you. Below is a simple daily remembrance of those stories that may have ‘tickled your fancy,’ made you cry , or completely made you put the book down to pick up another. Either way, we’d LOVE to hear from you and have an open discussion. And hey, if you want to do more than one at a time that’s okay too!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Quickie Review: Carter Finally Gets It (Carter Finally Gets It, #1) by Brent Crawford

Author: Brent Crawford (Twitter)
Genres: YA, Humor, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Format: Audiobook (Amazon)
Narrator: Nick Podehl
Length: 8 hours & 21 minutes
Release Date: April 7, 2009 

Meet Will Carter, but feel free to call him Carter. (Yes, he knows it's a lazy nickname, but he didn't have much say in the matter.) Here are five things you should know about him:

1. He has a stuttering problem, particularly around boobs and belly buttons.
2. He battles Attention Deficit Disorder every minute of every day...unless he gets distracted.
3. He's a virgin, mostly because he's no good at talking to girls (see number 1).
4. He's about to start high school.
5. He's totally not ready.

Join Carter for his freshman year, where he'll search for sex, love, and acceptance anywhere he can find it. In the process, he'll almost kill a trombone player, face off with his greatest nemesis, suffer a lot of blood loss, narrowly escape death, run from the cops (not once, but twice), get caught up in a messy love triangle, meet his match in the form of a curvy drill teamer, and surprise the hell out of everyone, including himself.

THIS BOOK read like a 90s teen movie, so I was immediately hooked. It was loaded with laughs and I cracked up all the way through. I haven't read much contemporary YA from a male's perspective, so I found it really refreshing. While this book was with talk of boobs, butts and sluts, it also managed to be poignant and insightful. At first, I didn't get what the book was supposed to be about until I realized it was just a capture of a year; everything it took for Carter to "finally getting it".

Carter himself was a great character. Deep down, he was a decent guy but still managed to act like a clueless jerk most of the time. But changing from a preteen to a teen sucks, and I love how the author captured the good with the bad. He sinks to peer pressure just as much as he sometimes rises about it. I liked learning about ADD and thought it was really interesting to learn a bit about its affects.

The most disturbing part... Carter is only 14/15 when all of these things happen. It seems so young, almost too young. I'm not going to say it's unrealistic just because it wasn't my experience, but shit. It gives some insight into how some people evolved over 8th grade break, for sure! Even though there was a lot of teen drinking, I like that pretty much every drinker made a spectacular ass of themselves. Didn't glorify it in the least.

Carter Finally Gets It (Carter Finally Gets It #1)    Carter Finally Gets It (Carter Finally Gets It #1)

NICK PODEHL deserves more than five stars. He's my new favorite narrator!

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Quickie Review: Animate Me by Ruth Clampett

Author: Ruth Clampett (Twitter)
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: ebook (Amazon)
Length: 395 pages
Release Date: April 29, 2013

Reading Challenges: 2015 Goodreads Challenge

She seemed far beyond his reach…could love draw them together?

For years shy animator Nathan has carried a torch for Brooke, the beautiful and dynamic Director of Development at their animation studio, even creating B-Girl, a comic-book heroine in her likeness. When a new project throws the two of them together, lovestruck Nathan finally seizes his moment – only to find Arnauld, head of the animation studio, claiming exclusive rights to Brooke’s affections.

But Nathan, it turns out, is not giving up on his dreams so easily. With inspired determination, he sets out to be the super hero of wooing his girl. Threatened by his persistence, Arnauld plays dirty – only to spark an uprising at the studio that unleashes the sort of havoc only a building full of frustrated animators can create. While Nathan pulls out all the stops to win his B-girl, Brooke has to choose. Should she pursue the sparkling career that has taken her years to build…or follow her heart?

This was a cute, fun read. I'm a huge fan of "geek gets girl" books, because I've always liked my men a little nerdy. Nathan was definitely what held my interest. I've been awkward all my life, so I sympathized and identified with him. Using his talents in animation to involve in order to be with the woman he desires is something I'm very, very familiar with. There was one boy in high school who was the inspiration for three years worth of angsty poetry.

Top 5 Best Book Covers: May 2015

Top 5 Best Book Covers is monthly meme created by The Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The rules are simple: on the first Saturday of every month, post your 5 favorite books covers that are being released in the current month!

Author:  Keri Lake (Twitter
Genre(s):  Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Release Date:  May 2015

The only sure way to destroy a man is to take what he cannot live without.
Three years ago, I had everything.

A beautiful wife.
A son.
A reason for living.

Until a ruthless task force, assembled under Mayor Michael Culling, with a brutal strategy to make the streets of Detroit ‘safe’, ripped away everything I loved in a deadly hunt called The Culling.

They tried to kill me, too. I wish they had. Now I'm cursed by the memories of that night, and the words I whispered to my dying wife.

A promise—to avenge the wrong and set it right.

I’m no longer Nick Ryder. I’m a masked vigilante. Faceless. Loveless. Fearless. A man with nothing left to lose—one who's seen the dark and violent truth behind the city’s flawless veneer.

Michael Culling doesn’t know who I am. Or what I want. All he knows is that I’ve kidnapped his beautiful wife.

An eye for an eye—isn’t that how the saying goes? And Aubree Culling is the perfect pawn to destroy him.

If she doesn’t destroy me first.