Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Weekend Update - 11.1.14

Saturday, November 1, 2014 with No comments
So, since my end-of-the-week post isn't just about what I got in my mailbox or on my Kindle each week -- though that is a big part of it, I won't lie -- I decided to change up the title and intro a bit.  I might tweak the format a bit over the next few weeks, but for the most part, it'll contain the same stuff: stuff I got, stuff I did, and stuff that's coming up on the blog.  Plus, I get to use the awesome GIF you see here and blow kisses to all the people who sent me lovely books and bookish things.  Oh, and I've started linking up to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews since I'm not using a specific meme title anymore.  April's also doing her own Stacking the Shelves posts on Sundays.  Stop by and say hi!  =)

This is going to be such a great weekend, even if I can't believe it's already November. o_O It's Opening Weekend for rifle season here in Texas -- or our part of it, at least...I don't know all the regulations and I don't want to :P -- so the hubby is gone to the deer lease for four glorious days. GIRLS WEEKEND! And my sister-in-law is bringing her two kiddos over and we're going to have an epic sleepover tonight, just because we can. :D Which means I probably won't get as much reading done as I'd like, but I've already surpassed my Goodreads challenge, so I'm not worried about it. Too much, anyway. There are some books on my TBR shelf that are definitely calling to me, though. ;0)

Oh, and we are going to have a real fall-like weekend to enjoy, too! Our autumn always comes late and sticks around only briefly, so we have to make the most of it while it's here. Would sure make for some nice outdoor reading, though! My SIL is a reader, too -- though she prefers a much more, ahem, adult genre than I enjoy -- so maybe I'll get some reading in after all.

Anyway, here's what I scored this week:

For Review:

Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark (ARC) - This book sounds all kinds of adorable...or maybe I mean awkward and tragic and amusing, but that culminates into adorable for me. =)

Children's Books For Review:

Herman's Letter by Tom Percival (finished copy) - Oh, my goodness, this book is beyond cute. I wasn't expecting a finished copy when I requested it, but I'm glad that's what I got because those little "lift the flap" letters are adorable! I cannot wait until Katie and I get a chance to read this together. (She is still reading at TWO levels above her class, which makes me ever so happy!)

Audiobooks For Review:

Unraveled by Gennifer Albin (audio via Audiobook Jukebox) - I'm so glad to have gotten this audio for review because I don't know when I might have gotten to the end of this trilogy otherwise. And I really am trying my best to finish up some series before starting new ones.


In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken - I probably won't get to this one for a couple of weeks, but I just had to have it. I have to know how all of those kids make out.


Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander (finished copy) - I honestly didn't know much about this book, other than having seen that super cute cover everywhere right before its release, but I won a copy from Regina at Mel, Erin & Regina Read-A-Lot and she went on and on about this Charlie fellow I had to meet. I can't wait!

So, that's my haul. How about you? What did you get this week?

The Week in Review:

Current Giveaways: 

Check back soon! I'll be giving away a copy of this book very soon:

Promotional/Discussion Posts:  

Jen's Currently Reading/Listening To:

The Bone Season (The Bone Season, #1)Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin, #3)It's happening!!! I haven't been in a reading slump, per se, but I haven't exactly read anything truly enthralling in a little while. I know this will be the book to change all that. My sister's been recapping me on Dark Triumph while she reads it, so I'm ready for this book now. (I actually didn't get to start this book until the end of this week, so I'm still in the middle of it.)

Time for a re-listen -- as part of the read along but also in preparation for The Mime Order. I am so excited!!! But I'm also scared.

Upcoming Reviews:

Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1)Burying Water (Burying Water, #1)Killer Instinct (The Naturals, #2)Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin, #3)A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1)

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Friday, October 31, 2014

H A P P Y   H A L L O W E E N ! ! !

Did you read any good, scary books this October? We set ourselves some goals, while also providing some recommendations, and this post is where we see how we did all month. You can see how much progress we made on our Spooky TBRs below, as well as check out our reviews for the ones we did get to. =)

April's Spooky TBR
The Coldest Girl in ColdtownGirl of Nightmares (Anna #2)Rot and Ruin (Benny Imura #1)The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1)Born WickedUnspokenBeware the WildThe BargainingThe Fall

April's Progress:

3 / 9

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black (Review)
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Mulberry
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (Review)
Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker
The Bargaining by Carly Anne West
The Fall by Bethany Griffin (Review)

So there you have it. A total fail. I had high hopes, but I didn't do nearly as good with this list as I did with my summer list. I blame the new job for everything! lol. I'm happy with the three I did finish though. If you could see how behind I am on reading, you'd be proud of me too! :)

Jen's Spooky TBR

Jen's Progress:

9 / 15

Chaos by Sarah Fine (review)
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (review)
Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan (review)
This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
In the After Light by Alexandra Bracken
Mortal Gods by Kendare Blake
Lailah by Nikki Kelly (review)
Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini (review)
Creed by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie
Suspicion by Alexandra Monir
Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (review soon)
Mary: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan
Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick (review)
Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios (review soon)
The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas (review)

I knew I wouldn't be able to get to all of these, especially In the After Light which only just released this week. But I think I did pretty okay, all things considered. I was looking at my Fall TBR, and I think I have a real shot at finishing all of those books before the end of November. And I did read/listen to one ghost story that wasn't on my list, but it was a total waste of my time. Oh, well...

What spooky books did you read this month? Also, we were thinking of doing something similar for Christmas...have any recs for us? I can only think of a few Christmas-themed books, and at least one of those would be a re-read for me. :D

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Title: Sublime
Author: Christina Lauren
Narrator(s): Elizabeth Louise, Cal Wembly
Series:  n/a
Length: 8 hrs 2 mins
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
Source: audiobook received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Add to Goodreads
True love may mean certain death in a ghostly affair of risk and passion from New York Times bestselling duo Christina Lauren, authors of Beautiful Bastard. Tahereh Mafi, New York Times bestselling author of Shatter Me calls Sublime “a beautiful, haunting read".

When Lucy walks out of a frozen forest, wearing only a silk dress and sandals, she isn’t sure how she got there. But when she sees Colin, she knows for sure that she’s here for him.

Colin has never been captivated by a girl the way he is by Lucy. With each passing day their lives intertwine, and even as Lucy begins to remember more of her life—and her death—neither of them is willing to give up what they have, no matter how impossible it is. And when Colin finds a way to physically be with Lucy, taking himself to the brink of death where his reality and Lucy’s overlap, the joy of being together for those brief stolen moments drowns out everything in the outside world. But some lines weren’t meant to be crossed…

A ranty, snarky, SPOILERY review follows. Read at your own peril.

I wasn't interested in reading this writing duo's Beautiful Bastard series because erotica really isn't my thing, so I don't honestly know what made me think I'd like their foray into young adult. Well, besides the fact that I do have a lot of Goodreads friends who seem to like this pair's work, so I thought, Maybe this will be more my speed, and I can still see what all the fuss is about without venturing into that territory.

And it starts off fine, with a character that doesn't know who or what she is, only that once she sees Colin, she knows she's here for him. Their romance went from 0-to-90 in no time, and that's with Lucy revealing that she's a ghost and Colin discovering that he couldn't physically touch her without causing her some discomfort. Insta-love: boo. Romantic complications: intriguing.

Here's where things get interesting weird. Completely by accident, they discover that putting Colin at the brink of death lets him hover between this world and...well, whatever lies after. While he's in the in-between, he and Lucy can make physical contact. The places there "relationship" couldn't go before are suddenly possible and they're ready to explore them. Even though they've known each other mere weeks and she's a freaking ghost. Whatever, teenagers have done crazier things, right? /sarcasm

So, the pair calls on Colin's best bud to help them continually test the limits and leave Colin in this in-between state for as long as possible before true death sets in. They do so by recreating the same circumstances under which they discovered this miracle that very first time: dropping Colin into a frozen-over lake -- the very lake Lucy actually haunts -- and inducing hypothermia. Oh, they take precautions to make sure Colin always returns, but really, this is just about the dumbest idea I've ever heard. I get that both Colin and Jay are adrenaline junkies, but realistically, who would go to such lengths just to be able to touch his girlfriend? Move on, buddy.

With all the attention on these two gettin' it on -- and the fact that the authors write erotica for a living -- you'd have thought that when it finally does happen, it'd be more than just a fade-to-black sex scene. I don't have a problem with sex in YA, as long as it's not gratuitous and it's portrayed realistically. Nothing about this story was realistic, though, so I guess I should have expected this.

Going into this story, I knew it was unlikely I'd get a HEA. A ghost and a real, live boy, falling in love? Yeah, that's never going to work out. Not in any good way, anyway. Since everything else in this book was so utterly wrong, it shouldn't have surprised me that Colin made one final, stupid last-ditch attempt to be with his ghost girl by throwing himself back into that frozen lake. Without anyone knowing. And without any aide. This boy's survival instincts are seriously on the fritz. But the "walkers" like Lucy were known to take people with them, so maybe it was more Lucy's influence than the fault of Colin and all his risk-taking. It was clear to me that Lucy was draining a bit of Colin's life force each time they met in that overlap between their worlds, and so maybe some of his sanity left with it. I don't think it went to Lucy, though, because I'm pretty sure she was convinced that she was becoming less of a ghost because of Colin's presence in her afterlife, not because of anything she might be doing to him, whether intentional or not.

Pretty much, this book is only getting a star because I listened to the audio, and it features the voice of Elizabeth Louise for Lucy's chapters and Cal Wembley for Colin's. Louise has repeatedly lent her voice to one of my favorite new adult series, and considering what she had to work with, I thought she did a fair job on this audiobook. Cal Wembly sounded an awful lot like Kirby Heyborne, and when I did some research, I found both names listed as narrators for this book-- somewhere, but I can't find the link now that I'm trying to write up my review. Either way, I wouldn't be surprised if he were one and the same, as a lot of narrators have pseudonyms they record under based on the genre or type of book they're recording. When I first started listening to audiobooks, I couldn't stand Cal/Kirby, but his voice has really grown on me. But maybe it's those first stories that I initially disliked because I discovered that, as Colin, I found Cal's narration a bit annoying. That's a good sign that Cal becomes the character, but it doesn't bode well for the overall experience. Still, I probably wouldn't have even finished this book had I been reading a physical copy, so there's that.

I've read a story like this before, and I had a much better experience with that one than I did here. If you're curious, it's Hereafter by Tara Hudson. Mind you, that link takes you to my review, one of the very first ones I ever wrote here on the blog, and by my reviewing standards now, I'd probably only rate the book three stars. That's still much better than Sublime rates, though. And Hereafter's premise revolves around more than endangering one's life for sex -- like, saving a boy's life. Imagine that.

GIF it to me straight:
I don't even...what the...what the hell did I just read?!?

About the author:

Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners/besties/soulmates/brain-twins Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. The coauthor duo writes both Young Adult and Adult Fiction, and together has produced seven New York Times bestselling novels. Their books have been translated into 22 languages. (Some of these books have kissing. Some of these books have A LOT of kissing.)

Find Christina & Lauren:

Website | Christina Twitter Lauren TwitterGoodreads

Title: In Her Wake
Author: K.A. Tucker
Narrator(s): Sebastian York
Series:  Ten Tiny Breaths, book #0.5
Length: 3 hrs 53 mins
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: September 30, 2014
Source: audiobook received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Add to Goodreads
Before you knew him as Trent in Ten Tiny Breaths, he was Cole Reynolds—and he had it all. Until one night when he makes a fatal, wrong decision…and loses everything.

When a drunken night out at a Michigan State college party results in the death of six people, Cole must come to terms with his part in the tragedy. Normally, he’d be able to lean on his best friends—the ones who have been in his life since he could barely walk. Only, they’re gone. Worse, there’s the shattered body of a sixteen-year-old girl lying somewhere in a hospital bed, her entire life ripped from her because of a case of beer and a set of keys.

Everyone assures him that they know it wasn’t intentional, and yet he can’t ignore the weight of their gazes, the whispers behind his back. Nor can he shake the all-consuming guilt he feels every time he thinks of that girl who won’t so much as allow him near her hospital room to apologize. As the months go by and the shame and loneliness festers, Cole begins to lose his grip on what once was important—college, his girlfriend, his future. His life. It’s not until Cole hits rock-bottom that he can begin to see another way out of his personal hell: forgiveness.

And there’s only one person who can give that to him…

I am really going to miss this series. I've listened to every single book on audio, and these narrators have really become favorites for this genre. This is one of my favorite new adult series, too. So, when I had the opportunity to review the audio for Trent's story, the final -- or first, depending on how you look at it -- chapter in the Ten Tiny Breaths series, I had to jump on it.

Sebastian York is a fabulous narrator. I've only heard a few of his performances, but he has such a masculine presence, one that you won't easily forget. His voice is so deep and so seductive that it's hard to believe that he's not speaking directly to you, just for you. Bringing him back to portray Trent in this novella was the best idea. He just brings such a depth to Trent's character, a forlornness that I don't think was exactly visible the first time we met his character in Ten Tiny Breaths.

Honestly, if I didn't know the story already, I might have immediately written Cole's character off for his stalker tendencies and inability to move on, to put distance between himself and those he hurt. But I do know the situation and how things turned out -- and the fact that he owns up to a lot of what he does in this novella -- so I can forgive him. Also, seeking aide from Dr. Stainer goes along way for his character. I've missed seeing that guy in the last couple of books.

I don't know if I could pick a favorite book in this series. It's solid through and through, and the narration just made each book that much better. I'm going to miss these characters and all of their drama and also their happily ever afters. But I just might miss Trent most of all.

GIF it to me straight:

In Her Wake (Ten Tiny Breaths, #0.5)Ten Tiny Breaths (Ten Tiny Breaths, #1)One Tiny Lie (Ten Tiny Breaths, #2)Four Seconds to Lose (Ten Tiny Breaths, #3)Five Ways to Fall (Ten Tiny Breaths, #4)

About the author:

Born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.

Find K.A.:

Website | Blog | TwitterFacebookGoodreads

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