Mini Reviews (Maya Banks, Sarah MacLean, Kenneth Oppel)

I seem to love letting the read books pile up after I finish them, so I’ll be doing a mini review post for some of the ones I’ve finished to save some space. Of course “mini” review means short, so we’ll see how longwinded I get … 

never seduce a scotNever Seduce a Scot (The Montgomerys and Armstrongs, #1) by Maya Banks

Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Bought (ebook)
Rating: 5/5

So this was my very first Maya Banks book! I had heard SO many wonderful things about her books and decided to finally – FINALLY! – give her a try since I love historical romance and wanted something fun to read. This one fit the bill perfectly! Although, when I started reading, I was a little nervous since the main character was deaf — not a bad thing about her, but how would that convey in the book? Would we constantly be in her head? Would there be chemistry between her and the male lead? Soon I was completely devouring the book and loving the fact that even though one of the characters really didn’t speak, there was still TONS of chemistry between her and the male lead and SUCH a great story to be had! The characters in this story were very engaging and had such depth to them. And I kind of loved the whole family-hating-family aspect of it all, like a forbidden romance. It was kind of predictable towards the end, but I had so much fun reading this story and know that I’ll have to go back to the series soon — as well as try some of Maya’s (many) other series.

rogue by any other nameA Rogue By Any Other Name (The Rule of Scoundrels, #1) by Sarah MacLean

Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Won (Paperback)
Rating: 4/5

Just like Maya Banks, I had heard so many good things about Sarah MacLean. I had won this book and was very interested to read it, but thought I might not like it because of the hype. Turns out, it was a nice little book, though I definitely didn’t love it like everyone else. I think a lot of this was because of the whole “adventure” part of Penelope’s life. All she wanted was adventure and really, what she got didn’t seem very adventurous to me, and by the end of the book I was kind of annoyed by the whole “adventure” prospect. However, I did kind of love Bourne and I felt like him and Penelope had some great chemistry, AND I loved that they were getting together after knowing each other as children. This was one of those books that went on and on and had me thinking that all things could be resolved if only the two characters would just talk to one another, for goodness sake, BUT it was still a nice historical romance read. I’m still interested in the rest of the series … I’m sure it has to do with Penelope’s sisters, or the other men at Bourne’s gambling hell, but either way I’m sure they’ll be fun as well.

such wicked intentSuch Wicked Intent (The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, #2) by Kenneth Oppel

Genre: YA Horror
Source: Won (Hardcover)
Rating: 5/5

When I won a copy of Such Wicked Intent from the publisher, I was so excited. I had just finished the first book in the series and was eager to dive into the second. This was two years ago. Clearly, I wasn’t as eager as I had thought. I was hesitant about diving in this past week because I figured I would forget everything from the first book and this one wouldn’t make sense, BUT I just don’t have time to reread ALL the books now, so I dove in. And was pleasantly surprised at how engaging the whole story was, how super creepy aspects of it were, AND how easy it as to really get into it, having read the previous one years ago. Kenneth Oppel sure knows how to write creepy! And it’s written in such a gothic and interesting way. I loved all of the characters, especially how different Victor, Henry, and Elizabeth were from one another. And for most of the book I wanted to strangle Elizabeth, but that was a good thing. I’m pretty sure the reader was supposed to feel that way. What else can I say? Mud babies. No, no thank you. Super awesome book – I’m not sure if there are going to be more in the series, but I sure hope so! It ended in a way that made me think there could be more, so we’ll see. At any rate, I do want to read more Kenneth Oppel!

Have you read these books? What are your thoughts?

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{Blog Tour} The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing by C. K. Kelly Martin

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I’m so excited to be a part of The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing Tour, hosted by Giselle over at Xpresso Book Tours. Click on THIS LINK to visit other blogs on the tour!

SweetestThingThe Sweetest Thing You Can Sing by C.K. Kelly Martin
Publication date: September 1st 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Synopsis:

Losing weight over the summer gains Serena some popularity, but it also means discovering first-hand the pains of being a fifteen-year-old girl in a world that both sexualizes and shames young women. After narrowly avoiding exploitation in a shortlived relationship, Serena aligns with a new friend who was the victim of an explicit image that was shared at school. When Serena finds herself in a relationship with a new guy, she is surprised to find a different set of expectations. But have her previous experiences damaged her too much to make it work? As Serena struggles to find who she is as opposed to who she is expected to be, she begins sighting Devin – her older brother who disappeared months earlier.

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Giveaway (US/CAN)

A selection of YA fiction from Dancing Cat Books’ fall releases (4 books including a print copy of The Sweetest ThingYou Can Sing)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Excerpt

I turn to see what’s behind me, expecting my heart to stop in fear. I’m positive it will be a psycho killer with a knife or some ancient horned evil, but it’s neither of those things. A version of Devin’s standing there under the bridge with me. He’s gotten so skinny that he looks like something from a medical journal. His head doesn’t sit right on his shoulders and his anorexic arms are stiff like a zombie’s. I know in an instant that he wasn’t chasing me and doesn’t mean to harm me. He doesn’t even know I’m there.

He’s gone. Lost.

I stare at the empty person in front of me and watch him walk. He thuds right by me, into the night, his eyes dull in their sockets and his face expressionless.

That’s the moment I wake up, alone in the dark missing a brother. He could be anywhere. He could be dead. I shiver and sweat at the same time, thinking about that.

Back in mid-July a jogger in Newmarket stumbled across a body near a running path in the woods. The newspaper described it as a young white male, fully clothed. My mom’s hands started shaking and my dad kept saying there was no reason for Devin to be in Newmarket, no reason. We live about an hour away from Newmarket, but I’ve never been there and I’d never heard Devin mention the place either. Like my father said, there was no reason for Devin to be in Newmarket.

Only maybe he hadn’t started out in Newmarket. He could’ve been kidnapped or gotten himself in the middle of a drug deal gone bad. Maybe he was screwing some married woman and her husband found them together and got violent. My mind raced as my mom’s hands continued to shake. You never knew with Devin. He’d become the kind of person anything could happen to.

By the time he left us, he’d already lost touch with lots of his old friends. The only people I saw him with were ones who either wouldn’t look you in the eye or would stare for too long and make you want to take a step away from them. There were random girls too — one who wouldn’t stop shouting while they were in his bedroom and who later stumbled out having forgotten to button up her jeans and another whom I caught a glimpse of him having sex with (her miniskirt hitched up and her thong around her ankles) through the wide open bathroom door before I realized what was happening and took off for Izzy’s house.

“There’s no reason at all for us to assume it could be Devin,” my dad repeated, his face pale. “This article gives next to no details. The description probably fits a million people in this country.”

My mother said we should call the Newmarket police department, and the suggestion made my dad raise his voice. “No one’s calling the police department,” he insisted. “Devin’s not a missing person. He left of his own free will. We can’t ring up police departments across the country every time we open the newspaper, for God’s sake.”

My mom scrunched up her eyebrows. “We’re talking about our son,” she said hoarsely. “If I have to call police departments across the country, I will.”

Mom snatched up the cordless and dialled information to ask for the number. Dad listened to her without offering another word of protest. The two of us sat there trying to piece together details from the half of the conversation we could hear. Mom’s fingers trembled worse than ever as she hung up. She said that the body had just been identified as a young man from Quebec but that the police wouldn’t reveal any more as the family had yet to be notified. I silently cursed my brother for making us miserable, even as relief clawed at my throat.

My mind sifts through it all again as I roll over in bed — dream Devin, missing Devin, the Devin who would’ve applauded me for calling it quits with Jacob and the one who raged at my mother, accusing her of trying to make him fat when she was only trying to get him to eat some pot roast and peas.

It makes me so sad to think about that I can hardly stand it. Does anyone bother to coax Devin to eat dinner anymore?

CKKellyAbout the Author

C.K. KELLY MARTIN’s bestselling debut novel, I Know It’s Over, was published in 2008. It was followed by One Lonely Degree, The Lighter Side of Life and Death, My Beating Teenage Heart and the sci-fi thriller, Yesterday. A graduate of the Film Studies program at York University, Martin loves good books, movies, music, web design, and Ireland. She currently resides in Oakville, Ontario.

AUTHOR LINKS
WEB | TWITTER | FACEBOOKGOODREADS

PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON / BARNES & NOBLE

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{Book Review} At a loss for words, a.k.a. the aftermath of a really good book.

everything leads to youAs I sit here trying to come up with what to say about my latest read, Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour, I’m at a loss for words. In fact, I have no words. After I finished reading the book, I knew that I loved it, but I couldn’t pinpoint why I loved it. Was it the characters? The atmosphere? The cover? No idea, but once I finished I knew that one BIG reason about why I loved it was that it made me think about why I loved it.

Are you confused yet?

It’s almost bedtime here (the baby’s, not mine, though that’s debatable) so my brain functioning is probably reaching low capacity, so I’m glad that I finished this book in the afternoon. I also find it so funny that when I posted about reading this book yesterday, I mentioned the overlap of one of the characters to the TV show I fell in love with because just before I started this one, I started rereading Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins and thought it was funny how these two books also overlapped with one another.

(Before I get into that, I hope I’m not the only person who deliberately looks for overlaps between my past and current read — like, two characters might have the same name, or there’s a similar theme, or something happens in one book that happened in the last book. It’s like a bit of an easter egg hunt and I always get so giddy when I find something.)

In this book, Emi is a movie girl. Unlike Anna in Anna and the French Kiss, she doesn’t just watch movies, but she designs the sets for movies, which is what I loved. I’ve read books about music and dancing and everything in between, but books about art, specifically the thought that goes behind the movies I love, make me appreciate the things I watch on TV. It’s amazing how much thought goes into every little detail, how something in the background that’s just that, the background, is still something that might have taken weeks or months to find and even though most people might not notice it, it’s still there for the sake of the atmosphere of the room. It’s fascinating.

I personally have NO skill at doing this. I’m not one to scour garage sales and auctions in order to find that perfect piece, but Emi is. But that’s in her professional life. In her personal life, it seems that she keeps falling for the same old, same old. It takes a few wrong turns and a few right ones for her to find that beauty in imperfection.

In this story, love is both in the foreground and the background. It’s interesting to see how people are falling in love, but it’s not something that takes precedence in the story, and yet it’s the WHOLE story. In the end, it seems like it was too easy, but the journey wasn’t easy at all.

Am I making sense?

In a way, this whole book seemed to revolve around these BIG HUGE THEMES that are impossible to miss, but then there are these small subtle things, these little stories throughout the big picture. The hidden easter eggs in the room. Those gems from the auction or garage sale.

I also don’t want to point it out since Nina LaCour did a great job of not pointing it out, but this is a LGBT novel and yet it’s another thing that doesn’t seem to take over the story. It’s not about that — it just is. It was kind of nice to have such a sweet story that isn’t about struggling with being LGBT but just a story about falling in love.

The only point of criticism I have with the story is that I felt like the characters were too old for their age. It’s a young adult novel, so the characters are 18 years old, but part of me wanted them to be older, like mid- to late-twenties or something. I felt like they needed to live more life in order for their stories to be truly romantic and realistic.

But aside from that, it was a fast-paced and beautiful read. I was initially completely drawn in by the gorgeous cover (can we have more like that, please?), but in the end I really loved the whole theme of movies and design and falling in love.

Which category do you fall into — the set designer or the star of the show?

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