Book Review: Decidedly Off Limits

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Synopsis:

Best Friend Rule #1: never want the guy’s sister.
Oops.

Trent Salway is one of San Francisco’s hot up-and-coming-under-thirty bachelors. A highly successful mutual fund portfolio manager, a workaholic, and a ladies’ man, he’s got everything he could possibly want…except one thing.

Physical therapist Kelsey Quaid dumped her ex-fiancé six months ago because she was tired of not even being a distant second to his career. Which is why despite secretly crushing on her big brother’s best friend for as long as she can remember, there’s no way Kelsey can go there. One workaholic in her life is more than enough, thank you very much.

Before Kelsey’s brother leaves on his Navy SEAL mission, he asks Trent one simple request: make sure Kelsey isn’t dating any assholes while he’s away. As Trent does his best to do just this, he and Kelsey spend more and more time together. Sparks fly, as do a few items of clothing, and the next thing they know things are getting physical between them. Now, Trent has to decide what to do about the woman he’s falling for—the one whose brother would take him down faster than he takes down the enemy. And Kelsey will have to decide if Trent is just another workaholic or if he’s decidedly off limits.

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Review

I’m typically a fan of the “best friend’s sibling” trope but the writing style of this novel really ruined it for me. Told in alternating POVs between Kelsey and Trent, both of their narrations are written as if they’re having a conversation with you and expecting you to respond. For example, at one point in Kelsey’s narration we get this:

Did you see who was third in line? That’s right. The Viking.

Then later in Trent’s POV we get a similar thing:

Did you recognize the woman who tried to outbid Kelsey?  She was Beatrice Peterson, or Reese, as she preferred to go by.

Also, I still I have no idea who Beatrice is and why she’s so terrible, besides the obvious reasons, so no Trent, I did not recognize her. This was literally so frustrating. It was as if the author, Stina Lindenblatt, was attempting to do a breaking down of the fourth wall, like in House of Cards, but with a book and it just didn’t work well here. At least not for me. The thing is I know I’ve read other books that are kind of written like this that I loved but I think Lindenblatt just tried too hard with this, especially because we got it in both POVs so the voices started to sound a little similar.

Additionally, there were just too many points where the narrators kept asking me to “imagine” things or “remember when” something. This seemed to happen at the start of a lot of chapters and in both POVs and it was so irritating. Still, despite how infuriating I found the writing style to be I did push through and finished the novel and it wasn’t totally terrible. The plot itself was fine, in that it was exactly what I expected it to be. Boy likes girl, girl likes boy, both think they can’t be together, they hook-up anyway, keep it a secret, there’s some kind of conflict, they go their separate ways, only to realize they’re perfect for each other. One major issue I did have with the plot was the “break-up” scene. It just felt so anticlimatic to me and completely out of nowhere. There was no build up and it was so abrupt that I had to go back and read it over to make sure that was the break-up scene. Seriously, the whole moment only took like two pages.

Still, I did really like Trent and Kelsey as people though. I thought their dialogue was great and their chemistry was good. Even so, overall I wasn’t all that impressed with this novel and I’m glad I only spent 99 cents on it.

Stars:

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Favorite Line:

“I love everything about you. Your love for your job and the kids you help. Your love of life. Your love of those funny little owls. Your amazing photographs. Your heart. I love it all.”

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Book Review: Throne of Glass

Synopsis:

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

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Review

After reading A Court of Thorns and Roses everyone told me I had to read Throne of Glass. Well after waiting for the latest book to come out I’ve decided to binge read the whole series and I’m loving it so far. I just made it to book three and I’m so hooked. For now though I’m just going to discuss the first novel, which was a great start to the series.

The novel follows Celaena, an assassin that was enslaved after being betrayed. Now she’s made a deal with the Crown Prince, Dorian. In exchange for her freedom she will compete to become the King’s Champion and if she succeeds she will work for the King for a few years and then finally be really free. Of course nothing comes easy and living in the castle along with the nobility and the other criminals and warriors competing for the Champion title is difficult for Celaena. Especially when Dorian sees her as more than just his Champion and her friendship with the Captain of the Guard, Chaol, is so tumultuous it’s difficult to tell how he actually feels about her. Worse than anything, though, is the mysterious secrets the castle holds and the evil that’s lurking around every corner. Celaena will have to keep her guard up at all times to face off against threats but to also keep her own secrets.

Like I said I’m totally hooked. I couldn’t put this book down. There was romance, hilarity, mystery, and adventure. I absolutely love Chaol and he’s definitely my favorite but I also really liked Dorian and Nehemia, who befriends Celaena. This book made me laugh a lot but also made me swoon and a little concerned for my favorites. I was on the edge of my seat throughout this book and never knew what would happen next.

I’m excited to continue this series and see where it goes from here. I know I’m in for a lot of despair and crying but thankfully I’ve been warned enough that I feel emotionally prepared. At least I hope so. The point is you should really read this series if you haven’t already. As my friend once said, it’s never too late to join the bandwagon. So hop on my friends! It’ll be a wild ride.

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“You could rattle the stars. You could do anything, if only you dared. And deep down, you know it, too. That’s what scares you most.”

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'Crooked Kingdom' Review

Spoiler-Free Book Review: Crooked Kingdom

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Synopsis:

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

Purchase From:

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Review

*Warning: There will be minimal spoilers about Six of Crows in this review. Read at your own risk.*

I went to the NYC launch for Crooked Kingdom so I got the book a day early, which was awesome. As soon as I got it I dived in and loved it immediately. Crooked Kingdom begins pretty soon after the end of Six of Crows and the main mission is obviously to save Inej from Van Eck, which of course is easier said than done but if anyone can do it it’s the Dregs. Right? Naturally Kaz has a plan up his sleeve but what I really liked about this book and Six of Crows is Bardugo doesn’t just tell us what it is, she just let’s it unfold in front of us. Also, if you were hoping this book would begin in Kaz’s point of view, with him being totally distraught over Inej’s kidnapping then you don’t know Kaz or Bardugo. We don’t even get to Kaz’s point of view until part two, which let me tell you, almost killed me. But it’s worth the wait.

I won’t go into the plot because I promised no spoilers but I will say Bardugo wove this story together perfectly. I was excited, nervous, proud, a little sad, and swooning. There are so many swoon worthy moments in this one but still not so many that it was overkill and seemed out of character for the Dregs. Everyone was still their typical selfs and though it was frustrating at times (I’m looking at you Kaz) I’m glad that Bardugo made us work for the swooning because in the end it was worth it.

My favorite part about this novel was we learned so much about everyone’s pasts, particularly Inej, Jesper, and Wylan. We really got to know the Dregs in this novel and that was awesome. I think Six of Crows was really about establishing the team but Crooked Kingdom is about really getting to know them and what brought them to where they are now. I also thoroughly appreciated the throwbacks to the Grisha trilogy that appeared in this novel as well as the little Hamilton references.

The dialogue was great and I loved how the Dregs all interacted with each other and play off each other. There friendship is simple but it’s filled with love and trust. As with Six of Crows, Kaz’s schemes always surprised me, which made this novel really fun. The writing was superb and I couldn’t skim because every word was worth something. Overall, I loved this novel and I stayed up until 4 a.m. reading it because I just couldn’t put it down. It’s now filled with post its because I found something to love on almost every single page of this book.

Even though this is the lsat book in this duology I desperately need more of this world. In particular there’s one of the Dregs that I’d love to see more of but I won’t say who because I promised no spoilers. So I’ll leave you with this: read this book! It’s so good and I’ve been resisting the urge to pick it up and read it all over again. This is definitely a contender for my favorite book this year and that’s saying something because I love A Court of Mist and Fury with all my heart. But Crooked Kingdom is amazing. Definitely give it a read immediately!

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“I would come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together—knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”

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'Kids of Appetite' Book Review

ARC Book Review: Kids of Appetite

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Synopsis:

Victor Benucci and Madeline Falco have a story to tell.
It begins with the death of Vic’s father.
It ends with the murder of Mad’s uncle.
The Hackensack Police Department would very much like to hear it.
But in order to tell their story, Vic and Mad must focus on all the chapters in between.

This is a story about:

1. A coded mission to scatter ashes across New Jersey.
2. The momentous nature of the Palisades in winter.
3. One dormant submarine.
4. Two songs about flowers.
5. Being cool in the traditional sense.
6. Sunsets & ice cream & orchards & graveyards.
7. Simultaneous extreme opposites.
8. A narrow escape from a war-torn country.
9. A story collector.
10. How to listen to someone who does not talk.
11. Falling in love with a painting.
12. Falling in love with a song.
13. Falling in love.

Purchase From:

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Review

*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from First in Line and B-Fest. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel will be released on September 20, 2016.*

If Coco was here she would say, “Did you have any intention of reading this book? Tell the truth.” To which I would say, “No CoCo I actually didn’t plan on reading Kids of Appetite, it just fell in my lap.” Because that’s the truth. I won this book at B-Fest and although I was so happy to win an ARC I had never heard of David Arnold before and I had no idea what I was in for. But free books are free books so I happily took my winnings home, put it on a shelf, and then left it there for months on end.

Until a few days ago when something compelled me to take this book off my shelf just to see what it was all about. Intrigued by the synopsis you can read above I literally stood in front of my bookshelf (mind you it was at least after midnight at this point in time; I had just finished another book) and began to read and was immediately sucked in just with the cast of characters. How many books begin with a cast of characters? Not many. And I needed to know more about these interesting characters and why people were being referred to as chapters. So I dived in and couldn’t put this book down.

First of all, the characters in this book are so well done and I loved all the Kids of Appetite. There’s of course Vic and Mad who tell the story in alternating first person point of views. Then you have the brothers, Baz and Zuz, and then the youngest of the group, Coco. Also, can I get a nice slow clap for the diversity in this book? Arnold, I applaud you. I don’t want to give anything about anything so sorry if this is vague but just know that Arnold put together an amazing cast of characters and did so really well. He deals with two important subjects and handles them flawlessly. Honestly, reading his author’s note at the end made me cry because you can practically feel how much he cared about getting this story right.

Kids of Appetite was the perfect mix of tragedy and comedy (which is apparently called a tragicomedy). It was heartfelt, the romance was there but not in a cheesy way, and it was just the right amount funny that didn’t make it feel like it was trying to hard. I liked the running themes throughout the book, like Vic’s Super Racehorse idea and CoCo’s use of “frakking” as a substitute for the f-word. I also liked how the plot fit together and everything came together in the end. I was definitely surprised and I also appreciated the fact that this book wasn’t as predictable as I thought it would be. In summary I just really loved this book, okay?

Anyway, I’m going to go grab Mosquitoland because apparently someone forgot to tell me that David Arnold is an amazing writer. In the meantime everyone go pre-order this book.

Stars:

5 stars

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A Study In Charlotte

Book Review: A Study in Charlotte

A Study In Charlotte Book Review

Synopsis from Amazon:

Jamie Watson has always been intrigued by Charlotte Holmes; after all, their great-great-great-grandfathers are one of the most infamous pairs in history. But the Holmes family has always been odd, and Charlotte is no exception. She’s inherited Sherlock’s volatility and some of his vices—and when Jamie and Charlotte end up at the same Connecticut boarding school, Charlotte makes it clear she’s not looking for friends.

But when a student they both have a history with dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

*This book is part of my POPSUGAR 2016 Reading Challenge.*

Honestly, I don’t have a lot of knowledge about Sherlock Holmes. I definitely saw one of the movies with Robert Downey Jr. but that was about it. I’ve never even read the books and I don’t watch Sherlock. Still, when I heard about this book I desperately wanted to read it. I don’t know what but I’ve always liked Sherlock Holmes, just from a distance. Anyway, when I was finally able to grab it from the library I was super excited and immediately dived in. Thankfully, it did not disappoint.

The book is told in the point of view of James Watson, who prefers to be referred to as Watson but people keep calling him Jamie. He’s sent to an American boarding school in Connecticut where Charlotte Holmes is currently attending school. Watson has fantasied about meeting Charlotte his whole life and he imagines the great adventures they’ll go on together just like their ancestors did. Of course, things don’t happen exactly like that.

Instead, one of their fellow classmates is found dead and Charlotte and Watson are the primary suspects. But luckily for Watson, Charlotte is a Holmes at heart and she’s got a plan. However, this mystery is not as cut and dry as it first seems.

I absolutely loved this book. I loved Watson’s descriptions and how he interacts with Charlotte. His narration of the books was really fun to read and Charlotte’s character is very interesting. Like I said I don’t have much experience with the original Holmes but I think the author did a great job capturing the characteristics of Charlotte and Watson in comparison to their ancestors.

At one point Watson’s father even gives him a sort of guidebook on how to handle a Holmes and it’s hilarious. Also, the author didn’t make this book too juvenile, which I really liked. The mystery was very real and the villain was diabolical. Plus Charlotte has a lot of issues she has to work through and the author didn’t sugar coat that at all.

Honestly, this book was fantastic and now I’m impatiently waiting for the next book. Oh and the epilogue of this book will give you all the feels. I won’t say why because even though it’s not really a spoiler I still don’t want to spoil it. In summary, definitely read this book.

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Stars:

5 stars

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The Love That Split The World

Book Review: The Love That Split The World

The Love That Split The World

Synopsis from Amazon:

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start…until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

I didn’t love this book like I thought I would. I almost didn’t finish it but after I finished reading Maybe Someday I returned to it at the advise of many people on Instagram. However, it’d be wrong to say this is a bad novel. It’s not. Emily Henry crafted a well-written and thought provoking novel. It just wasn’t the book for me.

Throughout most of her life Natalie has received visits from a mysterious woman she refers to as “Grandmother.” One night during Natalie’s senior years of high school “Grandmother” warns Natalie that she only has three months to save “him” but of course, “Grandmother” doesn’t explain who the “him” she’s referring to is.

Enter Beau, an equally mysterious character that suddenly appears in Natalie’s life. And I mean that literally. He just pops up on the football field and Natalie’s the only one that sees him. Soon Natalie’s life is getting more and more strange. She’s seeing things that aren’t really there and what she thought was there one moment suddenly disappears. Beau seems to be the key to all of Natalie’s problems but she’s not sure exactly how everything’s connected and Natalie believes she must find “Grandmother” to get answers.

Unfortunately, after “Grandmother” gave Natalie the warning she didn’t come back. But with the support of her best friend who believes “Grandmother” is some version of God, and the help of a mysterious woman “Grandmother” tells Natalie to find, Natalie may be able to finally figure out the truth. But will she be too late to save someone’s life?

The cloud of mystery surrounding this novel was way too much for me. And I wasn’t at all interested in “Grandmother’s” stories and kept skimming through them even though I knew they were important to the book as a whole. I just couldn’t care enough to read them. I was bored. My favorite scenes were when Natalie was with Beau or talking to her best friends.

I think The Love That Splits The World falls into the magical realism category and I now know I don’t like this type of book. I didn’t like all the theoretical aspects of this book and although I think Henry did a great job of explaining why Natalie and Beau were the way they were in the end, a part of me just wished it wasn’t so complicated.

Like I said, I really wanted to like this book. I just couldn’t get into it. However, I can see why other people loved it. This one just wasn’t for me.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow.

Stars:

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Favorite Line:

It’s true that nothing has the potential to hurt so much as loving someone, but nothing heals like it either.

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Book Review: Love Lies Beneath

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Source: Atria Books

Synopsis from Simon & Schuster:

Tara is gorgeous, affluent, and forty. She lives in an impeccably restored Russian Hill mansion in San Francisco. Once a widow, twice divorced, she’s a woman with a past she prefers keeping to herself.

Enter Cavin Lattimore. He’s handsome, kind, charming, and the surgeon assigned to Tara following a ski accident in Lake Tahoe. In the weeks it takes her to recover, Cavin sweeps her off her feet and their relationship blossoms into something Tara had never imagined possible. But then she begins to notice some strange things: a van parked outside her home at odd times, a break-in, threatening text messages and emails. She also starts to notice cracks in Cavin’s seemingly perfect personality, like the suppressed rage his conniving teenage son brings out in him, and the discovery that Cavin hired a detective to investigate her immediately after they met.

Now on crutches and housebound, Tara finds herself dependent on the new man in her life—perhaps too much so. She’s handling rocky relationships with her sister and best friend, who are envious of her glamour and freedom; her prickly brother-in-law, who is intimidated by her wealth and power; and her estranged mother. However perfect Tara’s life appears, things are beginning to get messy.

*This book is part of my POPSUGAR 2016 Reading Challenge.*

I absolutely love Ellen Hopkins and there’s only one book of hers I haven’t read yet but I’m hoping to change that soon. Anyway, the point it, when I discovered she had a new book out that was written in prose instead of her typical poetic style was over the moon.

I’m a big fan of Hopkin’s poetic style of writing, which is why when I discovered Love Lies Beneath was written in prose I was shocked but also intrigued because it’s new. And although the book is mainly written in prose we do get a poem every couple of chapters. But if I’m being honest, which I always am, I could’ve done without them because I felt like they took me out the story and didn’t really add anything.

If you don’t know anything about this book (because truthfully I didn’t until I stumbled upon it in the library) it’s Hopkin’s third adult novel and follows Tara, a forty year old woman who’s been divorced three times. And she’s filthy rich.

Tara also comes a pretty tough background. She grew up with just her sister, mom, and whatever boyfriend her mother had the time. Her mother wasn’t the best, to say the least, and all Tara ever wanted to do was leave her mother and past behind, which is exactly what she did.

I really liked this book. It kept me on the edge of my seat to the very end. I never knew what to expect or who to trust. Everyone was suspicious to be and Hopkins still somehow managed to hit me with a big surprise in the end. Unbelievable. Seriously, Hopkins is one of the greatest storytellers I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading and if you haven’t read any books by her yet I definitely recommend this one (and all the others!).

Really, though, this novel was excellent. It was mysterious, sexy, and I couldn’t put it down. Definitely give it a read!

Borrow or Buy: Buy!!!

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“Even as a kid I had to be the adult.”

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