Monday, April 17, 2017

10 Favorite Reviews From the Past Year

In no particular order: (Other than maybe when I read them)

Teen Hyde (High School Horror Story, #2)Teen Hyde by Chandler Baker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's a story driven by revenge, in the list of my favorite plot themes that's like second. I loved it from the very beginning; falling deeper into Cassidy's mentality and feeling her loss of control.

It's a horror story but I think what makes it so great, is that the truly horrific part is all too real in this world.
Maybe 'great' is a weird choice of words to describe it, when I put it that way but what I mean is the scary part and ideas that would keep me up at night already existed, and isn't something that is 'just your imagination.'

It's real and Baker does not shy away from it. Putting it in the horror category is simply one way to tell the story. This very well could have been straight fiction.

I've no doubt that some might say that the context of this book was merely another 'plot point' just used to sell a story but I doubt that too.
It's something that needs to be acknowledged and not swept under the rug. Baker makes that obvious.

Somethings just hit where they were suppose to and you never can tell if there is a real villain. At no pint in this did I find myself feeling sorry for the victims. Or should I say "the boys that go missing...that Cassidy never wanted to think of again." (They're victims of something- feelings of self entitlement- but nothing to feel bad about.)

I really admire how she managed to make a very important point in an equally entertaining story. It's an amazing story that you never know where it will go or how it will end, or even what will happen at the end of the chapter. I was so absolutely caught up in it, I couldn't get enough.

I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

WantedWanted by Betsy Schow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Two things I do remember from Spelled; and not just because I looked back on my review for it, I loved the mix of stories and Rexi was my favorite.

Just my luck because in this one we get twice the amount of both; so many new stories mixed in and this time it's Rexi telling the story.

It's not just a fairy tale mash in this one but well known legends and a bit of pop culture too, which was so much fun. And I think that's the overall point of this book: fun. Betsy Schow must have had so much fun coming up with some of these ideas because I had a blast reading it.

It's so imaginative and yet so familiar because you will know the characters and little things referenced. It's like looking for easter eggs in movies, but you really don't have to pay too close attention because you won't miss any.

As I already mentioned Rexi was always my favorite so I absolutely loved getting to spend time with just her. Not that we don't see all the characters from Spelled, they do show up and have some pretty interesting plot twists themselves. But, for me, Rexi has always been the best because in the first book she wasn't the hero, it was naturally expected that she would fall into the role of "faithful sidekick;" and she herself made it obvious that she is no sidekick. Which is what makes the story being all about her so great, we get more from her, her background, and who she really wants to be.

This is a fun adventure, great escape and a pretty interesting story all around.

I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Hollywood at Play: Celebrating Celebrity and Simpler TimesHollywood at Play: Celebrating Celebrity and Simpler Times by Stephen X. Sylvester
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love books, I love old photographs, and I absolutely love old Hollywood movie stars. Anyone who says they don't know what to get me as gifts must not know books like this exist
It's one of my favorite things.

Debbie Reynolds with Lucille Ball, Jane Russell with Vincent Price, Judy Garland and Elizabeth Taylor. Pairings that I probably never would have imagined.
Seeing everyone outside of a movie set just being natural, hanging out with friends is the greatest thing. It made them so real. No role, no act, just absolute Hollywood glamour.

I'm a believer that everything (and one) was so much prettier than now, I don't know what it is but there's something special to me about that time. The way everyone dressed, the way they did things and just the simplicity of the little things.

It was so much fun looking through the pictures in this book and reading some background on the actors themselves. There's something kind of magical about being able to take a look back at the world of something that seems so long ago.
I just loved it so much.

I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

VNemesis (Project Nemesis, #1)Nemesis by Brendan Reichs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"I don't know what this is!" My main thought once I got to the halfway point. I probably shouldn't share my thoughts on the first half because they did get a bit colorful.
I still can't say what this book is, other than something else entirely.

I became so caught up with it I had to continually give myself reality checks. "Real! Not real! These events are not actually happening!"  That was definitely a first. And I will say I kind of loved it.

"Kind of loved" my feeling of losing touch with reality. As for the book, that I absolutely loved.

Like I already said, it's something else entirely, there is no Point A to B here; it's more like Point G to Point T to Point K and everywhere in between.
And there is no attempting to figure it out; if you think you do figure it out you're probably lying to yourself.

It's a non-stop mystery where everything and possibly everyone is the mystery.

Calling it amazing would barely be the tip of that iceberg, this is beyond so many things that I'd probably have to go look for a thesaurus to fully justify it.

I received this book via in exchange for an honest review.

The Boy Is Back (Boy, #4)The Boy Is Back by Meg Cabot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Really just swoon.

Absolutely, more than anything, without a doubt loved it.
It's so sweet and all those other frilly words that tend to follow that word. Fill in the blanks.

There's something about books like this that, while so simple, give so much.

A couple of months ago I said I gave up on an anthology of love stories because: "I just wasn't feeling it." And that I wanted a love story: "that would make me go 'aww' or even better 'I want one of him.'"

Well, a huge "Aww' and a definite "I want one of him" goes to this book.

I have to admit that while reading this a part of me kept thinking "No more romances." But give me more love stories like this and I'll never stop. (Which would basically be a repeat of my high school years when I read all of Meg Cabot's books.)

I can't even start with the characters; like all other Cabot characters they're charming, hilarious and all around awesome.
They're all so real. Dare I say "authentic?"

It's books like this that leave me inspired. To do what I never know, that's usually the problem; but I have always loved that overwhelming feeling they leave. It lets me know that they really did effect me. And better yet that I can still be effected.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Snow White: A Graphic NovelSnow White: A Graphic Novel by Matt Phelan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Short, sweet, simple.

Snow White set in the 1920's with a film noir style, yes please.
Like I said above; it's short and simple, there isn't too much dialog and it just let's the stunning illustrations do the talking for themselves. We all know the story of Snow White and can probably figure it out in any format, era, or setting so it's not like we need the extra details. It's like they say a picture is worth a thousand words.
And I was absolutely caught up in each of these illustrations; to a point where I kind of forgot that it even was a book. I was just there.

I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

And I Darken (The Conqueror's Saga, #1)And I Darken by Kiersten White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

No one expects a princess to be brutal.
Well Lada is not only brutal, she's ruthless, smart and a total fighter. Which is why I absolutely loved her.
I have a bit of a soft spot for ruthless female characters; they get what they want when they want it any way they can get it. I can't not admire and immediately fall hard for them.

She's a fighter in no way content with being a "damsel" and giving everyone what is expected of her. She won't conform and makes it obvious that she has every intention on doing things on her terms.

I don't think there's one word to describe all that she is and everything I felt and thought about her. Memorable, instant favorite, someone I look forward to reading more about.
Actually that goes for all the characters and the book itself.

I can't believe this is just the first book, it's basically the tip of the iceberg of what I'm sure will become an awesome series.

These three characters go through and grow so much in this one alone that I can't wait to see who they will becomes at the end of the series.
(No pressure there.)

It's a wonderful reimagining set in a great historical setting that I did not mind at all getting lost in.


I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review 

The HereafterThe Hereafter by Jessica Bucher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First thought right after I finished reading: "Because I haven't been crying enough lately." I was kind of a mess (all for my own reasons) the last few days while reading this, but then as I was getting to the end I knew this was going to shatter me.
I was already cracked this just needed to finish me off.

This had me from the very beginning, I was ready to give it the five stars long before I even hit the halfway point. It's an amazing, one of a kind story that I absolutely fell in love with. It's in a very limited class with those few other books that left me a little sad because I knew I would never find anything like it again.

Instead of stars I think I'd rather give it hearts; because I have so much love for these two characters and their story(-ies).


I received this book in exchange for an honest review 

The Ultimate Guide to Solo SexThe Ultimate Guide to Solo Sex by Jenny Block
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At some point while reading this I had a moment where I just stopped and asked "What is this beautiful thing?" (No I wasn't trying anything I really was just reading.) I'm pretty sure that was around page two.

This book gets to the point and makes sure it hits.

It's filled with things I feel like I should have already known, and maybe thought I did, but that needed to be reiterated.

There's a lot of great background and history on the subject, plus the ridiculousness that is everyone's negative views on it. But there's also a lot of stories from women sharing their experiences that I loved reading, I think it has been a while since I've bonded so much with a person in a book.


I received this book in exchange for an honest review 

Where the Light Gets In: Losing My Mother Only to Find Her AgainWhere the Light Gets In: Losing My Mother Only to Find Her Again by Kimberly Williams-Paisley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Six years ago I read the book If I'd Known Then: Women in their 20s and 30s Write Letters to Their Younger Selves, which has a letter written by Kimberley Williams-Paisley (one of the main reasons it caught my attention in the first place) and in the short review I wrote for it I said:

Most of us usually compare our lives to the perfect lives we think these women have, but now we learn that they had some pretty hard times too...
This book is for young woman to realized that they are not alone in what they're feeling or going through.

And that's kind of what Where the Light Gets In is too; the story of someone who has this public image that we never really think to look past of.

It's also a book to let anyone in a similar situation know that they are not alone.

This was written for those people in a similar situation; who probably do feel alone and lost I did see a lot of moments where it's obvious that she felt alone in this. Even though she had her father, siblings and husband; she still had her moments of absolute helplessness. And considering this book was written in hind-sight it made it more heartbreaking because there were probably a few "What ifs?" going through her mind.

I can't even begin to imagine everything she felt. There are so many moments where you can really understand what she was thinking, but even then it's just the tip of the iceberg. Because the rest is something only someone in a similar situation would wholly understand.

She shares so much of what the entire family went through and all the things they tried to do for her mother. All the things she wished they had done.
Throughout I just kept thinking "This is what it's like to be a daughter/child isn't it?" One day the person you looked to will be looking for you.

Then to decide to share it with the world.

It's simply beautiful, heartbreaking, thought-provoking, inspiring and so much more.
It's life.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


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