Woman Reading

“Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.” ― Napoleon Bonaparte

 

Reviews at Badass Book Reviews with 4 other wonderful ladies.

Personal Book Blog: Birdie Bookworm

Blast from the Past

Once a Rancher (The Carsons of Mustang Creek) - Linda Lael Miller

First, and most importantly, how in the world did they know they needed Jason Priestley to pose Priestleyfor that cover all the way back in the 90’s?! Seriously, maybe it’s just the pose, but the likeness is uncanny! Every time I look at it I giggle. It actually makes me feel better about how that model doesn’t look anything like how I pictured Slater during my read.

It wasn’t until just this moment that the name Slater began resonating in my mind with Saved by the Bell, and now I have a weird mash-up of Jason Priestley and AC Slater in my head. Picture Brandon Walsh, wearing parachute pants and a mullet, riding a stallion. Just no. No.

Okay, now, let’s get serious. Once a Rancher was a nostalgia selection for me. As a young teen, 13-14, I was an avid reader. More avid than I am even today. We’re talking a book a day. If I went on vacation for 10 days, I took 10 books, and I read all of them. Many times I would take one or two books with me to my older sister’s house, when I was there for a weekend, and finish them too quickly. Since not having a book to read is akin to death for a reader, I’d start digging through her drawers of books. She didn’t have book shelves, she put her books in her guest room drawers, oddly enough. Inside those drawers I discovered true Historical Fiction, like Mary Queen of Scots by Margaret George, or heavy fiction like Through a Glass Darkly by Karleen Koen… but mostly inside were quick light romantic reads by authors like Nora Roberts, Jude Devereaux, and of course Linda Lael Miller. To be perfectly honest, prior to today I hadn’t read a book by any of these authors in decades. Despite that, when I saw Once a Rancher on the list of ARC’s on Netgalley’s website something inside me just had to request it. It wasn’t that I was ever a huge fan, or if was my favorite genre, it was purely in remembrance of my youth.

What I discovered, reading now in my mid 30’s, is that Romance as a genre has come so far. The set up in Once a Rancher felt exactly the way it felt when I was young. ‘Hot’, tall, virulent, man meets woman and is taken aback by her fiery personality, thrown for a loop at her independence, and of course she happens to be the most beautiful woman he’s ever laid eyes on. The heroine is hesitant, for whatever reason, to begin a relationship but finds herself quickly and irresistibly drawn to him. She’s so drawn to him that she overlooks slightly aggressive behavior that in our current decade has quickly become frowned upon, such as being invited by said man somewhere but, without waiting for her agreement, he just assumes the answer is yes and proceeds as such. Or, assuming that the female MC wants to have sex, without any real discussion, and proceeds as such.

That’s not to say that I think Slater was a ‘bad man’, or that Grace couldn’t have said no at any time and he would stop. Lucky for the both of them that the actions were appreciated or this could have been a whole different story. The truth is that even though the plot felt regurgitated, and the characters felt one dimensional, I actually did enjoy reading this book. It was fast, a day read so it was like a blast from the past, it was sweet, and it even made me highlight one passage:

One night does not make us lovers. And for the record, ‘lovers’ is an archaic term only used in historical romance novels, along with smelling salts and perfectly tied cravats.”



Maybe it’s because I read a lot of historical, but that made my giggle audible.

So, what did I learn from this walk down memory lane? I learned that formula is important to a story. I learned that I prefer present day romance novels, because they’re more meaty. I learned that that none of that really matters, because despite how much substance this story lacked, I will probably be right there requesting the follow up story. With ‘Always a Cowboy’ as the title, me thinks it’s about Drake and I can’t help my curiosity.

 

Thank you to HQN Books and Netgalley for providing a copy of his book, in exchange for an honest review.

To read this review and more, visit us at Badass Book Reviews

Knowledge is power is time is money.

Storm and Silence (Storm and Silence Saga) (Volume 1) - Robert Thier

Immediate Final Thoughts: Wow! That was awesome!

In an effort to keep it real, I’m fully admitting that selecting your next read based entirely off a synopsis can be pretty hit or miss. I’d say most of the time books selected this way will run anywhere from lukewarm to total flop. For that reason, no matter how excited I feel, I can’t help but prepare myself to be let down. Storm and Silence has a really great synopsis. It may not be a long blurb, but it packs a punch. In addition it has an eye-catching cover and a slew of glowing reviews to back it up. Again, despite all, I was both looking forward to the read and preparing myself to be the one voice of dissension. That so didn’t happen.

Storm and Silence had a momentum that only went uphill, starting in the first chapter. In the first few paragraphs of that first chapter, I started giggling. In the proceeding chapters, while continuing to giggle, I began to fall in love with Lilly. Toward the middle of the story I was completely in love with Mr. Ambrose. And secretly, without any awareness at all, I realized that I had actually fallen in love with nearly ALL of the characters! Each one was so completely different from the rest. They were so unique, even to characters I’ve read in other books too. I promise you, there isn’t another Patsy in any other story I’ve ever read.

I’m a character driven reader, so larger than life characters are a very important draw for me. However, that’s not to say that the plot or setting lacked. It didn’t. It was clever and I believe that the story created the perfect atmosphere for those brilliant characters to shine.

I also love a good, drawn out, romance. It didn’t hurt that the feelings between Mr. Ambrose and Lilly were a slow burn. This is not a story about unrequited love. This is a story of two people who would love nothing more than to run as far and fast from each other as possible, if it weren’t for the fact that they believe they’re stuck with each other. And of course Lilly has that pesky little voice inside her that continues to draw her to Ambrose’s side. I absolutely loved that what Mr. Ambrose finds himself attracted to, or at least what I think he’s attracted to, is the life and vibrancy inside Lilly. She is a woman, and yet she continuously outsmarts him, in the most hilarious way possible. In addition, despite his belief that nearly nobody can be trusted, she has proven her loyalty over and over, even when it’s a loyalty that he doesn’t even want. I’m pretty positive that he’s fallen in love with Lilly because of who she is, and not like heroes in other romance novels where all we hear is about is beauty. Lilly may actually BE beautiful and yet we don’t read that as the viewers, we get to read about her mind and her personality, and I love that.

I can’t conclude this review without mentioning that there were sections of the Storm and Silence that could have been edited down. I know there are readers out there who don’t think a book should exceed 400 pages, but I’m not one of them. A good story should be written with as many words as needed to convey something magical. Most everything in this book was necessary. There were just a few specific scenes that I thought, for me, could have been tightened and trimmed a bit to benefit the written emotion. Still, that was the only larger critique I could come up with to prevent my review from just being one big gush-fest.

It’s no surprise that Robert Thier has an underground fan-base already. His writing is witty and imaginative, and completely swept me away. I’ll be doing my very best to spread the word about Storm and Silence, because everyone I know should read good books and this was one darn good book. (With a crushing ending! I need book two, stat!)

Last thought, there was a surprise chapter at the end, a scene from Ambrose’s point of view. It was cute, Mr. Thier. It was also a tease. What we really want is a flipped POV of the drunken scene, and you know it. :)

Rating: 4.5 Stars = A

Thank you to Robert Thier for providing a copy of his book, in exchange for an honest review.

Read this review, and others like it, at Badass Book Reviews!

The Truth of Now

Scardust - Suzanne van Rooyen
Scardust had a very interesting plot. I read it pretty quickly, and I was fully engaged the entire time. It’s just odd because all the reasons I have for liking the story are also all the same reasons I had for not liking the story. It feels like some strange paradox. The other interesting thing about Scardust is how to review it without discussing key aspects of the story, which are exactly what I need to discuss! They are the reasons I both liked and disliked the book in the first place.

Basically the story is about Raleigh, or Raw as his friends call him, and the messed up life he’s had. His life long dream is to work as an astronaut on Mars, getting away from his past. He finds Crow (Meteor Man) in the desert, devoid of any memories prior to Raleigh finding him, and their two lives become intertwined.

Scardust works hard to remind you that it’s very likely Crow isn’t even human. From the indigo hair that grows that way from the root, to the swirly scars covering his body, you’re never able to forget there’s just something not right about him. It doesn’t stop you from liking him, or liking the way that Crow is with Raleigh. It gets even harder to keep your emotional distance after they begin sharing memories. Through those flashbacks not only do you get the sordid history of Raw’s life in Dead Rock, you also get glimpses of what we believe is likely Crow’s prior life.

I liked that! I liked that we can’t forget. These weird things keep happening to Crow and you’re so worried as you read, wondering how in the world this is going to work out for everyone. It’s not just Crow either, it’s all the trauma that happens after Raleigh and Crow are united. So, I liked it, but at the same time I didn’t like it. It felt real, and then it also didn’t feel real. Sometimes it was just too perfect, their relationship worked out too well. I don’t know, it’s very hard to describe.

And the end, that was even more of a mindf*ck. On one hand, I actually really liked the twist toward the end. It was one answer that, maybe it’s just me, I totally didn’t see it coming. It wasn’t anything at all that I would have guessed. It was intriguing, and clever. I liked the resolution after the twist too. It was sweet. Yet, underneath all that I was also really sad because of what was lost. It was the sacrifice of something sweet, for the possibility of something sweet. A paradox.

See, this is so hard to review without giving anything away. There’s a mystery at the core of the story, and overall I’m very glad I read it.

Thank you to Entangled Publishing and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

Read this review, and others like it, at Badass Book Reviews!
 
 

 

Nudge

Fire Touched - Patricia Briggs

I love reading about Mercy and her crew. The series may not be at the top of my list of favorites, but I know every single time I pick one up I'm going to get a solid enjoyable read. Which is exactly what I felt like I got with Fire Touched.

Yes, the book is a 'bridge' book. The events in Fire Touched will shape future books, both in the Mercy Thompson series and in the Alpha and Omega series. Yes, the book could have been more action packed or had a more aggressive plot. Still, it had Adam, it had Mercy, it had pack hierarchy... it also added Aiden, who I think will eventually be one of my favorites. It had Adam and Mercy feeling parental with him. It had Aiden and Jessie butting heads, and then getting along. It didn't have Stephen but it did have Thomas.

Overall, a decent installment.

Group Review feature at Badass Book Reviews!

Firsts - Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

What the heck do I say about this. I disliked it vehemently. I disliked it so much that I'd rather not even get into my issues.

If you liked it, you may be interested in our Group Review in the link below.

Group Review feature at Badass Book Reviews!

The Squeaky Dance

Marked In Flesh - Anne Bishop
I'll always love this series for how unique and unapologetic the world, and The Others, are. We definitely got more of that in this installment, even getting our first glimpses of the Elders that Simon has talked about over the course of the series. They were terrifying.

The only issue I had with this installment is that there are so many different POV's we're following now, we're getting less and less time with Simon and Meg. For me, Simon and Meg and the developing relationship between them is the driving force of the series. Unfortunately there wasn't a whole lot of that.

There was the end... the end did have a pretty major change. Hopefully in book 5 there's more of that. :)

Group Review feature at Badass Book Reviews!
 
 

 

The Sound of Your Heart

Just Listen - Sarah Dessen
This is my very first Sarah Dessen.

I held off for a specific reason, that her writing would be too light for me. It's hard because I know this book covered some pretty serious topics, like Anger Control, Sexual Assault, and Anorexia... I just don't think that it covered those topics in a way that felt realistic.

Don't hate me. I'm going to try more... maybe this was a fluke.
 
 

 

The Reaper has come. And he’s brought hell with him.

Morning Star - Pierce Brown

That was amazing.

I wouldn't change anything about this book!

Why is it that the books that you loved so very much, that you feel so inspired by, are the ones that are so hard to review? I loved Morning Star so much. I loved the entire Red Rising series so much, I want my review to reflect how incredible and detailed the series is, but without giving away spoilers. And yet, I feel like I have no words.

There isn’t anything I would change about this story. These characters, most of them, are not perfect. They’re flawed, and they occasionally make poor decisions. They can be easily led by their emotions, even in directions that we hate. That’s what gave them such forceful personalities.

For me, it was the characters who were the more flawed that I loved the most. Mustang is a wonderful character, but she didn’t stumble often enough for me. I prefer to see my favorite characters falter. I’m not complaining, though. I think Mustang was perfect. She filled a specific role. Darrow needed her to keep him steady. To show him the possibilities.

Darrow… When I started Red Rising I felt like Darrow was already a man. At only 16 he was married, he was living an adult life, with adult responsibilities. Now, reading the last page of Morning Star, I realize how young and naive Darrow actually was. Darrow, in the end, was so humble and centered. He loved so deeply. I think that was one of my favorite characteristics of his personality, his ability to love and forgive. He was the sword of his people, killing when he needed to, but he always loved so deeply. I know there are readers out there probably rolling their eyes at his compassion and empathy, but for me it was his greatest attribute. Those were the reasons I would have followed him.

What I really loved the most, though, was Darrow and Sevro’s unbreakable friendship. No matter what circumstance Darrow found himself in, he has always had an ally in little ornery Sevro. In return, Darrow has loved Sevro more than he loved anyone else. (Even more than Mustang, I believe.) It’s not hard, I loved Sevro more than anyone, too. He wasn’t always right, or good, but he was always real. He made me a Howler in my heart.

What it all boils down to is that Pierce Brown wrote a story full of hope, revolution, love, and betrayal. People you thought would stay connected were torn apart, and people you thought would hate each other forever found their way back to friendship. He filled you with so many characters to love, and some of them we lost. I cried in the middle, and then in the end while I read the last paragraph, I cried all over again.

I’m so thankful for the news that this world is not over. That we don’t have to say goodbye. We’re very lucky fans, getting a follow up trilogy with the entire group. It made the end not quite so painful.

Read this review, and others like it, at Badass Book Reviews!

Falling out of my Mouth

You Were Here - Cori McCarthy

Best part, Mik and Zack. Hands down.

You Were Here wasn’t exactly what I expected it to be. First, it jumped around with POV’s, which I didn’t expect. It was also made up of art, and graphic novel pages, which I didn’t expect either. I ended up really liking it though, which was good since I was nervous going in. The reviews were up and down, both good reviews from people I trust and bad reviews from people I trust. I wasn’t sure where I would fall upon completion. I’d say it was somewhere in the middle.

On a whole, I’ve read gritty YA stories that were far better, like Friday Brown by Vicki Wakefield. However there were definitely parts of the book that will stick with me, and that’s what counts the most. Like Mik. Call me ridiculous but there’s something that I really love about characters with social anxiety. I relate to them. I’ve never had the urge to not speak, not from nerves, but I could understand the feeling of being uncomfortable with conversation. In addition, the idea that he was willing to wear, or be, whoever Jaycee needed in order for her to enjoy being around him. Having been her brothers best friend, hanging out with Mik brought back all her memories of Jake.

I also really liked Zack. He was carefree, wild, and a little bit of an alcoholic. He was also sweet, and had a way of making everyone feel good. He knew how to talk to everyone, how to put people at ease. And there’s nothing wrong with just enjoying the moment, even when everyone else is looking forward, or back in Jaycee’s case.

It’s not surprising at all that the part of the book that lagged for me was anything that had to do with the girls. Usually I try to make allowances for characters that are traumatized, and that’s exactly what this book was about, people who were traumatized. Even knowing that I still struggled with how horrible Jaycee was. Particularly a scene that happened with Zack. She was just mean. Period. She was a mean person.

So overall, giving the things I liked and the things I didn’t, I’ll give this a badass score of 3.5 stars.

Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

Read this review, and others like it, at Badass Book Reviews!

Memento: A PsyCop Short - Jordan Castillo Price

As much as I love Vic, and as much as I personally relate to Vic, there is something really awesome about being in Jacob's head. To actually hear how much Vic means to him is pretty spectacular.

One of my favorite fictional couples.

Survivor's Sadness

Sunrise - Mike Mullin

It took me quite a while, but hey I finally finished this series! Yay me!

That was a really satisfying ending to the series. Everything worked out, but not so much that it felt like a pretty packaged ending.

I'm actually not sure what there is left to write about, so I'm not sure where Mullin is going with the 4th book. I'll read it, but I'm dreading it too because in order to make the book good he has to eff things up, and they've worked so hard and the ending was good.

It was raw, and violent, but in the end it was happy.

Setting a New Standard

Magic Stars  - Ilona Andrews

Man, was this novella good! I was reading it and just wishing it were longer, or wishing that there were more installments.

I loved seeing how strong Julie has grown, so much like her foster mom and dad. She's fearless, and funny. She's brutal with her tomahawk and her magic. She makes a great heroine and I can't wait to see what happens next.

Derek was equally spectacular, especially his strength. We really get into his head, and find out just exactly what it is he's going through. He's incredible, and still so witty and funny despite what's going on internally.

BUT, it was Julie and Derek together that made the story what it is. They have a really awesome banter that I loved, and it's Julie who seems to center The Gray Wolf and keep him sane. I feel like I'm going to get exactly what I've always hoped for in my heart.

Hello, Lover.

Kings Rising: Book Three of the Captive Prince Trilogy - C.S. Pacat

For the first time since I was 15, another love story rivals Jamie and Claire as the most epic.

I laughed, I cried, I trembled with emotion, I shivered in fear... I ached, I loved...

Laurent and Damen are everything.

Group Review feature at Badass Book Reviews!

I want to be Jericho Barrons when I grow up.

Feverborn: A Fever Novel - Karen Marie Moning

I know that I might be repeating myself, but I can’t help it. I simply adored the first five books in the Fever series. Shadowfever was one of the best finales I’ve read, until it suddenly wasn’t a finale and Karen Marie Moning announced that there would be even more books in this world. I was ecstatic, because that meant more Barrons!

Iced was awful, though. I try to always stay objectionable, but honestly it was just awful. I almost quit, until people convinced me to keep reading and I found out that Mac would be the main character again, and hopefully that meant that we wouldn’t have to read Dani’s warped childhood anymore.

To say that Burned was a step up is putting it mildly. I actually enjoyed the series again. It wasn’t the magic that I thought the first five books were, but it was reminiscent and it made me hopeful. It meant that when Feverborn was released I was actually excited for it. I couldn’t wait to read.

I was overjoyed when Feverborn was even better than Burned! It was funny, and fast paced. It even made me cry! Jada has really grown on me, and I know that there are even better things to come with her. There was a shocking twist with Mac that I never saw coming, and I have no idea where it’s going to go or how it happened. And that cliffhanger! I’ll tell you what Karen Marie Moning always got right, torturing us oh so sweetly, are spectacular cliffhangers! I’m even more excited for the next book!

I don’t want to say too much, because I don’t want to give anything away. I’ll just leave it with this: Bring it on KMM! I’m ready for you!

Read this review, and others like it, at Badass Book Reviews!

Feeling All of It

The Sea of Tranquility - Katja Millay
I'm pretty outspoken about my heartfelt dislike of books that are overly angsty. I can't stand whiny characters, or characters that I feel act horrible to further the plot of the book. If there's going to be heartbreak, or 'angst', I need to be able to understand it. I need to be able to find a way to relate.

Sea of Tranquility is FULL of angst and heartache, but I can understand why. Nastya and Josh were two teenagers who had both been through Hell. And sometimes, coming out the other side of a journey as wrecked as these, we're broken people. Nastya, in particular, was utterly broken. Knowing that, I could forgive her transgressions more.

The fact that both of these two characters were so damaged, that they felt they had nobody, made it all that much better as they slowly found each other.

I know that this will be a book that I'll read again and again.

4.5 stars

 

The Sea Sings

The Scorpio Races - Maggie Stiefvater

Horses, Water Horses, brooding man, romance, Maggie's lyrical writing... loved it.

Despite all the glowing reviews, and my own love of The Raven Cycle series, it took me a really long time to finally read The Scorpio Races. I don’t really have a good reason for it. I really appreciate Ms. Stiefvater’s prose, how romantic it feels, and I have always had an affinity for books about horses. This is even better, because it’s about a Water Horse race! I literally have no excuse for why it too me so long to crack this one open.

When I start to get into the meat of the story, my instinct is to say that there aren’t a lot of characters, outside of Sean and Puck. Then when I start trying to talk about the plot I realize that there was actually a whole town full of characters. The story just melded so seamlessly that you didn’t really notice the amount of people in the story. Puck had two brothers, and a whole community of people who cared about her. Sean was a more solitary character, but everyone knew him and he brought the story all the way around by knowing all the riders. I really thought that Puck and Sean’s friendship, and eventual relationship was unhurried and sweet. I love the way Ms. Stiefvater doesn’t rush through the story just for the romance. I love how the story would still be just as brilliant if the romance wasn’t written, and yet the romance doesn’t ever feel like excess. It’s the perfect medium.

The horses! The author knows horses! It’s obvious she’s spent a lot of time with them, knows how they move, knows mannerisms. The real world horses were perfect, particularly Dove, but the fantasy of the Water Horses was beautiful. I would never want to ride one, but I understood why Sean both loved and distrusted his Water Horse, Corr. They sounded stunning, but exceptionally dangerous.

I don’t have anything negative to say about The Scorpio Races. I know some people felt it was too slow, or two meandering, but that type of writing style is what I loved most about the book. It felt legendary. As though The Scorpio Races are a long lived folktale.

Read this review, and others like it, at Badass Book Reviews!

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