Monday, August 25, 2014

A Shell Full of Books: 2013-2014

Well, it's been a long time since I've done one of these. I believe a year in fact. Anyway, this is where I post the books I got over the past year from people.

And here they are!

I've already read this one, and Racing Savannah, and I've loved them both!
Read them!

As you can see, I've gotten a lot of books over the past year. Plus, a bunch of e-books that I have bought/won and didn't write down.
Thank you to everyone who I won the books from and who I traded with.
And thank you to Amazon for existing.
 Sooner or later I'm going to do another post with all the books I don't want that I need to get rid of. Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Review: Breathe, Annie, Breathe (Hundred Oaks #5) by Miranda Kenneally

Title: Breathe, Annie, Breathe (Hundred Oaks #5)
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Series: Yes
Finished or ARC: ARC
Source: I won it

Goodreads: Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.


The first thing that really hit me when I read this book is how far along the characters from the first book, Catching Jordan, are. Jordan is now the coach for Hundred Oaks football team and the Health teacher. Sam is an SEC agent for the Titans. I hope in the next book see more of them. Then there is Matt Brown and his fiance, Kate, from Things I Can't Forget. Matt is a big part of Annie's goal. What I hate is that he went for a literature degree, and now he's not doing much with it. (Well, maybe he's writing a book that Kenneally didn't tell us about). I'm happy he's engaged to Kate though. 

Anyway, I loved this book. Annie is a great character and running a marathon for her dead boyfriend is amazing. It's sad how he died, but it's amazing what Annie is doing to honor him. What I hate is how she feels guilty about what happened. It's like when a person feels horrible for something bad that is not directly related to them, but they find that one little thing that gives them enough reason to feel guilty. I don't like people who do that to themselves.

The dynamics of Franklin, TN, really has affected the characters of the Hundred Oaks series. There was Parker, and how the Christians of the town looked down on her lesbian mother, which in turn turned Parker into who she was. Then there is Ty, who didn't like hand outs since he was poor. And now Annie, with the way her friendship with her former best friend turned out. It's sad to see what did happen to their friendship, but what really ticked me off was Annie didn't express how she felt about her situation with her friend. 

Jeremiah. I'd probably have a relationship with him like the one Annie did. I'd love him for how free and fun-loving his personality is, but I would be deathly afraid he's going to get himself killed from what he does to earn money (no, it's not the Mafia or stripping). His relationship with Annie is a complicated one. Yes, complicated. I said it. Annie has issues and Jeremiah has issues. Jeremiah is more willing to fight through his than Annie is, but Jeremiah helps her get through them. What I loved is that he is willing to do what Annie wants to do without pushing her. 

There is much comedy in this book. It's mostly Jeremiah, but every now and then Annie thinks of something funny.

I loved (can you tell how much I love the Hundred Oaks series?) how besides the characters from the first three books, we get to see the characters from the previous book, Racing Savannah. Tie-ins, they are great.

Now I have to sit and wait a YEAR for the next one, Best Day Ever. Though I'm disappointed this doesn't include the title character's name (like Catching Jordan, Stealing Parker, Racing Savannah), at least I know her name and her love interest's name: Maya and Jesse. You can find them here: Hundred Oaks Peep Diorama 

The Big Kahuna

Not a fan of the clouds for the background.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Review: Racing Savannah (Hundred Oaks #4) by Miranda Kenneally

Title: Racing Savannah (Hundred Oaks #4)
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Series: Yes
Finished or ARC: Finished
Source: I think I bought this, but I'm not sure. I might have won it.

Goodreads: They’re from two different worlds.

He lives in the estate house, and she spends most of her time in the stables helping her father train horses. In fact, Savannah has always been much more comfortable around horses than boys. Especially boys like Jack Goodwin—cocky, popular and completely out of her league. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries.

With her dream of becoming a horse jockey, Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules either. She’s not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack…

Moral: not all rich people are stuck up snobs and that social class shouldn't matter when it comes to love.

Like all of Miranda Kenneally's books, there is a heroine that is pretty awesome and a guy that has some issues. Jack's issue: the fact he is forced to pretend to like someone he doesn't like, and he can't have Savannah because of it and the fact she is him employee. Classic love story situation. Yes, cliche. No, it's not cheesy. This situation between them is funny, but sweet in a way.

I loved the comedy in this book. Kenneally never fails to make me laugh. What I love is that when things are going horrible for Savannah, she inserts a bit of humor in to lighten up the mood. 

Savannah is a great character--funny, smart, and kind. What I love about her is that she doesn't take crap from anyone and is very strong willed when she wants something. I love that she was willing to do anything to make sure her unborn sister had a good life, even if she didn't like Cindy, her father's girlfriend, all that well. 

There are some really, really sad moments in this book that made me want to cry. I'm not going to indulge you on what they are, but those moments are ones that can happen in real life, which is what I like about Kenneally's novels. She creates real situations and turns them into amazing stories. 

Jack. I have mix feelings about Jack. I thought he was really sweet, but he could be the biggest jackass. I did believe that Jack truly cared for Savannah, but during one scene, I wanted to jump into the story and beat him. He asked a question that was so rude that I can't believe Savannah went back to him. Of course, Jack redeemed himself and everything worked itself out.

Overall, this book was a great read and I loved it. 

Rating & Cover:
The Big Kahuna
I love the cover of this book. I love Savannah's outfit.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mini Reviews #9: Christmas in July with A Man's Heart

I loved this book! Debbie Mason is a brilliant writer who crafted an amazing story about finding love again. While I hated that there was a love triangle and Grace's insecurities made her a bit...irrational, I loved that Jack never gave up on winning her back. I loved Jack, though he was a total idiot for what he did to Grace before he lost his memory. And then while he was gone, he was still an idiot, even if he did lose his memory. I loved how everything worked out, but I kinda feel that Maria's back-story was a bit overdone. If you read the book (which you should), then you'll know what I'm talking about. Overall, this book was really good. (I will admit though, I skipped the first two chapters because they sounded a bit boring to me).
5 starfish!
Image from Goodreads

A Man's Heart by Debbie Macomber
Like all of Debbie Macomber's books, I loved this one. While some may not appreciate some of the cheesy romance Debbie may sometimes come up with, I love it. Reading her books makes believe that there are great guys out in the world waiting for their other half to find them. (Yes, I'm a romantic. Sue me.) What I loved about the first story, The Way to a Man's Heart, was that the character's age difference didn't matter to them. And no one judge them! In the second story, Hasty Wedding, the main heroine didn't care that her husband was Indian. Getting past all the prejudice and seeing him the man he is, the heroine fell in love and forgot about her awful ex. Yes, some of parts of the stories is unrealistic and cheesy, but isn't that what makes a great romance novel? I think so.

5 starfish!
Image from Barnes N' Noble

Review: Origin (Lux #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Origin (Lux #4)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Yes
Finished or ARC: Finished
Source: I think I won this, but then again, it's been awhile since I got it.

GoodreadsDaemon will do anything to get Katy back.
After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.

All Katy can do is survive.

Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?

Together, they can face anything. 

But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on? 

And will they even be together?

Like all of Jennifer L. Armentrout's books, Origin is full of kick ass characters, awesome action scenes, hilarious comedy, romance that makes your blood sing, and a hot boy. In Origin, Katy is trapped in Daedalus's labs, forced to do whatever they say to stay alive. Daemon is on the hunt for Katy and rescue her from Daedalus. I was surprised that Daemon's quest to rescue Katy wasn't longer. Sure, we had a few chapters of Katy in the labs, but Daemon's "rescuing" her, as in, just getting to her, wasn't very long. Like maybe two, three chapters. I was expecting some sort of huge obstacle, like Daemon's siblings or Matthew. But nope.

I really admire that Katy didn't crack from all the crap Daedalus made her do. Sure, there were some things I thought she'd crack under, but nope, she stayed strong and powered through it with Daemon. And unlike Beth, she didn't step aside when shit got real and the fighting started. Daemon was just Daemon in all of this. Fighting for who he loves, being a badass, and sassy.

I really liked Asher. At first I thought he was going to become another Blake: an unnecessary love triangle. Thank you Jennifer for not doing that! Asher is serious, but can be funny when the opportunity presents itself. I hated it when he said he has never been to an Olive Garden. That is a scandal in itself! I'm happy that he didn't on Katy. That would have made me hate him.

While the characters are great, and the plot itself is good, there is one thing that you should know before going into this book: it's full of cliches. Like when the bad guys say they aren't "bad", and that the good guys aren't actually "good". Or the classic cliche: the world may end tomorrow, let's do something crazy! (I'm not saying what it is, but think about Vegas.) I didn't like them, but of course, the awesomeness that is Daemon made up for it.

The romance in this book is.....something. While there is sweet moments between Daemon and Katy, there are some of their "moments" that I could have done without all the details...or just without in general. If you've read the book already, then you know what I'm talking about. I get that it does happen with teens theses days (I am still one, and except it from my friends, but still...), but some things don't need to detailed as Daemon's and Katy's was. I'm not saying their sex s was graphic with explicit detail, but there was just enough that I thought it was a bit too much. But you be your own judge.

The ending....CLIFFHANGER! I hated it. Let's put it this way: I wish there was more of an indication on what is going to happen in the next book. Of course, Opposition has already come out, so I need to get it soon.


I'm sorry, but as much as I love Daemon, this picture of him sucks. He doesn't look like he's going to kill someone. He looks like he's hungry. And honestly! If you are going to show his abs, don't cover them with a stupid jacket! I also don't like the background. I think there should be more flames if you are going to burn down a city.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mini Reviews #8: At 3:59, at the Red Pyramid, the Son of Sobek Married Two Friends with the Staff of Sephasis over two Bleeding Hearts

Okay, I’m going to try to do these reviews in five words, one phrase, or less, minus the rating and technical info. Click on the titles to go to Goodreads!
(I just really don't want to write a full review for any these because it's been ages since I've read them and I didn't write anything down at the time I finished them.)

1) 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil 
5 starfish
            Creepy, amazing, why isn't it a movie yet, why isn't there a sequel, awesome characters.

2) The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles #1) by Rick Riordan  
5 starfish
            Plot, characters, and funniness reminds me of the Percy Jackson series (which made me a bit sad). Crazy but funny monkey. Characters were more emotionally involved than some in Riordan’s other series. Why haven’t I read the sequel yet? It’s freaking amazing.

3) The Son of Sobek by Rick Riordan  
5 starfish
            Awesome combination of his two series: Kane Chronicles and the Percy Jackson world. Funny. (PERCY DOESN’T DIE!) What is planning to do with the two worlds? And is he going to introduce his Norse mythology series with it? Great plot.

4) The Staff of Serapis by Rick Riordan  5 starfish 
            Funny. Annabeth and Sadie are a hilarious combination. Now I know what may happened if Riordan combines the two worlds. WHEN DOES THAT BOOK COME OUT?! The sneak peek at The Blood of Olympus (which the cover---eh. Wish it had Percy on it) was awesome!

5) Marriage Between Friends by Debbie Macomber  
4 starfish
            A sweet book for quick reading. Love the romance. A little cheesy, but still funny.

4 starfish

            Funny, fast-paced, romantic, and one of the best couples ever. (Didn’t like how fast Connor was ‘falling’ for Christabel and how fast-paced the book went. Good book anyway!)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Review: The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

Title: The Book of Broken Hearts
Author: Sarah Ockler
Series: No
Finished or ARC: Finished
Source: I won it (I think)

Goodreads: Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.

Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?

Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?

Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.

When I read the summary, I thought it sounded good, but wondered what this “Book of Broken Hearts” was and what it had to do with the overall plot. After reading it, I understood. The whole story revolves around it.

Jude’s dad is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Jude found his old motorcycle, which she hopes to fix up to restore some of his memories. Now, how does that involve the “book”? Well, it does by who helps fix up the bike.

1) This book is extremely sad. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but it is sad. I knew Alzheimer’s was bad (who hasn’t seen the Notebook), but reading about it through Jude makes it worse. This book is a heartwrencher.

2) The romance between Emilio and Jude is a true summer whirlwind romance. It was great reading about Jude’s struggle to follow her heart and to keep her promise to her sisters. And it’s one of those promises that could be very real between any sisters, which makes it great.

3) The Book of Broken Hearts. How is it involved? Spoilers: it revolves around sisters and their relationship to Emilio’s family. It also was about Jude finding herself instead of being her sisters.
And the book had a lot of Jude finding herself. Not the cheesy “I don’t know who I am”; more of the fact she has live in her sisters’ shadows and clothing and influence for so long that she doesn’t have a sense to follow her heart instead of her sisters’ influence.

All the characters are strong in their own way. Jude is strong in her quest to get her dad to remember. Emilio is strong by helping Jude and not being a total jerk like his brothers. The older sisters are older sisters in the sense they believe they know what is good for Jude, yet each have stood on their own by finding their way through the world despite what they have encountered (which is in their Book). Christina and Zoe were the only characters I didn’t like. And of course, they were the characters that were the ones that were incapable of understanding Jude’s need to help her dad and thought of only their summer trip before college.

The ending was great. Period.


How could you not love that cover?