Mini Reviews (Cora Carmack, Karina Halle, & Melanie Benjamin)

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I hadn’t intended on doing mini reviews on the blog, but since I have a lot of reviews already scheduled and other posts already scheduled and other days allotted other kinds of posts, I just didn’t know where to put reviews for some of the books I’ve read this year that I still haven’t gotten to talk about. I thought about saving them for 2015, but I’m pretty adament about starting that year completely fresh with new ideas and a new outlook on blogging. So, mini reviews. Of course, “mini” means that I don’t get longwinded and we all know how well I can be with that …

Losing It twoLosing It (Losing It, #1) by Cora Carmack

Genre: New Adult
Source: Purchased (Paperback)
Rating: 3/5

As I’m sitting here trying to write a review for this book, I’m drawing a blank on what my thoughts about it were. I’m guessing that it wasn’t that memorable of a book, which is why I gave it a middle-of-the-road rating. I think what bugged me about this book is that it had no substance. Not that a new adult book really requires substance, but I felt like everything happened too easy between Bliss and Garrick and that there wasn’t that much really between them. There was the whole “forbidden romance” part of the book, but it didn’t seem like THAT dire of a thing. I did like that Bliss was a theatre girl — I love any book that has anything to do with the arts — but other than that, there really wasn’t much to it. It’s a shorter read, and definitely not one that made me absolutely need to read the rest in the series. That’s too bad because it really did sound like a great read in the beginning. Based on the cover, it seems like you’re getting a hotter read than it is. It’s really just light and fluffy. It’s fine if you have an afternoon and just want to read something, but if you’re looking for something deeper, then I’m sure there are other better books out there.

ashes to ashesAshes to Ashes (Experiment in Terror, #8) by Karina Halle

Genre: Horror (& Canadian!)
Source: Purchased (eBook)
Rating: 5/5

This is the second last book in this series and I’m so sad that eventually (that is, in a few months) it has to end. I’ve loved Dex and Perry right from the beginning and it’ll be weird to not look forward to another installment of their show anymore. That being said, this book was still just as awesome as the rest in the series, though the only thing that gets to me is the sexier scenes, or even the “sexy” things that Dex says. I’m hesitant to say that I love, love, loved this book because I feel like the things that Dex and Perry say to one another (well, Dex mainly) are just getting raunchier and raunchier and it’s just not that sexy anymore. There’s also the characters of Dex and Perry. They’ve grown a little bit, but not much since the first book. Yes, things have happened, but I feel like they’re still the same people after 8 books.

HOWEVER, this story also takes place in a school that used to be a sanitorium. It has the premise to be super scary and it really, really was. Karina Halle just does “scary” very well and I look forward to whatever new scary books she comes up with. This really isn’t a book that you want to read in the dark, alone in the house, during a thunderstorm. Unless you have ALL the lights on and maybe a dog or three.

the aviator's wifeThe Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin

Genre: Historical
Source: Bought (Paperback)
Rating: 4/5

When I started reading this book — actually, even when I finished reading it, too — I had no idea that it was based on real events and a real-life couple. I just wanted to read it because it sounded really, really good and had to do with airplanes. In fact, this is the second airplane book I’ve read this year. Maybe I’m on some kind of kick? Anyway, I really enjoyed this one. I wanted to kick the main character so many times, but enjoyed seeing her grow throughout the book. Then there was her husband, Charles. I’m not really sure how Anne put up with him because he is definitely a different breed. Very particular and almost Sheldon Cooper-ish with the strict way he needs things done. I also really hated the fact that everything had to be about him. There was the recurring theme of Anne wanting to write her book and how Charles would almost be joking when he said that she was the writer of the family. It’s sad to think that this is how relationships were back then, that everything revolved around Charles and that’s how it was supposed to be. If anything good happened to Anne, he would sulk and try to turn things back to him (kind of reminds me of the whole Petrovsky/Carrie relationship in Sex and the City).

That being said, it was still a very engaging read and went by faster than I wanted it to. I absolutely loved the bits about Anne learning to fly. I’m a little disappointed that the girl on the cover of the book doesn’t quite resemble the Anne in my head, but putting that aside, the book just works. It’s got some humour, its sad, and it’s the perfect painting of the famous couple. The only thing that might drag you down while reading this is that Charles is just really, really unlikeable. But we can’t like them all, right? I’d still be interested to try something else by Melanie Benjamin — and maybe another airplane book!

Have you read these books? What are your thoughts?

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Mini Reviews (Graeme Simsion, Kathleen Winter, & Patrick Ness)

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I hadn’t intended on doing mini reviews on the blog, but since I have a lot of reviews already scheduled and other posts already scheduled and other days allotted other kinds of posts, I just didn’t know where to put reviews for some of the books I’ve read this year that I still haven’t gotten to talk about. I thought about saving them for 2015, but I’m pretty adament about starting that year completely fresh with new ideas and a new outlook on blogging. So, mini reviews. Of course, “mini” means that I don’t get longwinded and we all know how well I can be with that …

the rosie projectThe Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Genre: Contemporary
Source: Purchased (Paperback)
Rating: 5/5

As you all know, I tend to shy away from any book that everyone loves because chances are, I’ll hate it. SO not the case with The Rosie Project! Actually, when I started reading it, I was still sure I wouldn’t like it because it did take a little getting used to. Now, I’m a huge fan of The Big Bang Theory, but it could be a little jarring to get inside of Sheldon Cooper’s head. That’s exactly what it was like getting into Don’s head in this book. BUT I persevered and soon I couldn’t put the  book down. It was just so charming in its own way. Of course, I couldn’t help but picture Sheldon Cooper as I read the story, which made it even more charming, like I already kind of knew the character before I even started the book. It was so fun to see Don change as the book went on, kind of like how fun it is to see Sheldon change throughout the seasons (seriously, so hard not to compare the two characters!).

I still feel so hesitant to call this book a romance because it just doesn’t fit into your typical girly romance genre, but it kind of is. Instead of having the tall, dark, and mysterious hero of the story, we have Don, who is such a real character with real idiosyncracies and quirks. And then we have Rosie, who is the complete opposite of Don, but still they compliment one another. It’s funny and charming and well worth putting a weekend aside for reading. It’s one of my favourite reads of the year so far!

annabelAnnabel by Kathleen Winter 

Genre: Contemporary (& Canadian!)
Source: Purchased (Paperback)
Rating: 3/5

In my search for more Canadian literature for my bookcases, I came across Annabel while perusing the bookstore. For people like me who like to look at tables of books rather than through the actual shelves, it was nice to come across a table marked ‘Canadian Authors.’ With this book, it was the cover that caught my eye first. Being a winter girl, the snowy whiteness with the deer in the background was just beautiful. Then the synopsis is what pulled me in to buy the book right away. Usually I’d hum and haw over buying a book for full price at the bookstore but this one reminded me so much of Jeffrey Eugenides’s book Middlesex, which I loved. But when I finished this one I was kind of in the middle of the road. I did like the writing — Kathleen Winter does have quite a nice way with words — but there seemed to be a lack of conflict throughout the story. Based on what happens — deciding to raise the child as a boy — I would have expected some outrage at some point, some kind of conflict, but we really don’t get that. It’s a really gentle kind of book where everyone seems to get along with everyone else, despite what happens. I mean, yes, it’s not all fairies and unicorns throughout the whole story, but I wanted something a little more intense at some point.

Still a really great concept for a book, Annabel is still one that will remain with me, but I still think that Eugenides did a better job at conveying this kind of topic.

more than thisMore Than This by Patrick Ness

Genre: YA Dystopian
Source: Gift (from Aylee!)
Rating: 3/5

After I completely fell in love with A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness, I knew I had to read more of his stuff. Now, with A Monster Calls, it wasn’t just him. It was a story based on a story by another author, which Patrick Ness adapted beautifully in his illustrated story. I knew that work written solely by him might not have the same punch, but I was willing to give it a go. Actually, it was the book trailer for this one that sold me on the book. It was one of the most engaging and intriguing book trailers I had seen in a long time (since a lot of them can be so cheesy, amirite?) and I was so interested to read the book after watching it.

Unfortunately, this book didn’t quite pan out how I wanted it to. It was so, so, so intriguing after the trailer, but the book was just … long. And weird. Really, the whole “currently” part of the story was a lot less intriguing than the backstory. We’re told about Seth’s history through flashbacks and I wanted more of those instead of the actual story. And then there’s the ending. If I had known that we’d get the ending we got, I probably wouldn’t have started this book in the first place. It was just one of those endings where you were like, “Really??” This book still has me interested enough to try more stuff by Patrick Ness, but I think A Monster Calls will still remain my favourite.

Have you read these books? What are your thoughts?

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Unfinished Books (#4)

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a study in scarletA Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes Graphic Novels Adaptation, #2) by Ian Edginton (adapter) and I.N.J. Culbard (illustrator)

Synopsis:
After the success of their other Illustrated Classics editions, Ian Edginton and I.N.J. Culbard have once again teamed up. This time, they’ve created a visually compelling graphic novel adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s masterpiece A Study in Scarlet—which introduced the world to the immortal detective Sherlock Holmes and his friend and chronicler, Dr. Watson.

The superb writing and beautiful art takes Conan Doyle’s supernatural tale to new heights.

My Thoughts:
As with most stories that I end up DNF-ing, I really wanted to like this one. I had read the original story by Arthur Conan Doyle, so I thought the graphic novel would be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it really didn’t add a lot to the story. The illustrations seemed to drag together and the story was just … told. There was nothing really spectacular about this one. Personally, I think the best way to read this book is to READ it, as in reading the original. The pacing just works in the original, as do the descriptions and characters.

419419 by Will Ferguson

Synopsis:
A car tumbles down a snowy ravine. Accident or suicide?

On the other side of the world, a young woman walks out of a sandstorm in sub-Saharan Africa. In the labyrinth of the Niger Delta, a young boy learns to survive by navigating through the gas flares and oil spills of a ruined landscape. In the seething heat of Lagos City, a criminal cartel scours the internet looking for victims.

Lives intersect, worlds collide, a family falls apart. And it all begins with a single email: “Dear Sir, I am the son of an exiled Nigerian diplomat, and I need your help …”

419 takes readers behind the scene of the world’s most insidious internet scam. When Laura’s father gets caught up in one such swindle and pays with his life, she is forced to leave the comfort of North America to make a journey deep into the dangerous back streets and alleyways of the Lagos underworld to confront her father’s killer. What she finds there will change her life forever…

My Thoughts:
Will Ferguson is a well-loved Canadian author. I have a few of his more humourous books and was hoping to really get into this one, a story based on one of those scam emails you may have seen in your inbox. While that one story intrigued me, a lot of the book tends to go off to other stories in other parts of the world which just didn’t catch my interest. I think my lack of interest was because these other stories had a LOT of descriptions and not much else. The chapter length varied, but I’d hit one of these long descriptive chapters that just seemed to go on forever, when I really wanted to get back to the family who fell for the scheme. Maybe I just didn’t get the novel, but when I found myself not wanting to pick the story back up again, I decide enough was enough.

deadlyDeadly Appearances (A Joanne Kilbourn mystery, #1) by Gail Bowen

Synopsis: 
Andy Boychuk is a successful Saskatchewan politician – until one sweltering August afternoon when the party faithful gather at a picnic. All of the key people in Boychuk’s life – family, friends, enemies – are there. Boychuk steps up to the podium to make a speech, takes a sip of water, and drops dead. Joanne Kilbourn, in her début as Canada’s leading amateur sleuth, is soon on the case, delving into Boychuk’s history. What she finds are a Bible college that’s too good to be true, a woman with a horrifying and secret past, and a murderer who’s about to strike again.

My Thoughts:
I was very excited to read this one, seeing as I had read book number seven in this series and liking it, but I got a ways in and found myself kind of bored by the political plot. I’m not really someone who likes reading books that deal with politics a lot, so I found that I was forcing myself to pick it up and read it. This makes me sad because I have met Gail Bowen and she is a lovely, lovely person — AND, like I said, I liked another book in this series. This is a pretty long series and I had managed to pick up quite a few books from the used bookstore, which I’m not sure if I’ll get to or not, unfortunately. If you do like Canadian political mysteries, maybe this book would be for you. Gail Bowen does know how to write, but this book just wasn’t for me.

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