Thursday, July 31, 2014

ARC Review: The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

Title: The Good Girl
Author: Mary Kubica
Published: July 29, 2014 by Harlequin Mira
Amazon Goodreads

Synopsis: "I've been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don't know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she's scared. But I will." 

Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn't show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, at first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life.

Colin's job was to abduct Mia as part of a wild extortion plot and deliver her to his employers. But the plan takes an unexpected turn when Colin suddenly decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota, evading the police and his deadly superiors. Mia's mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them, but no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family's world to shatter.

An addictively suspenseful and tautly written thriller, The Good Girl is a propulsive debut that reveals how even in the perfect family, nothing is as it seems….

The problem with reviewing mysteries or thrillers is that it's incredibly difficult to give you any information about the book that will not give anything away. As a person who actually likes spoilers, it's even more difficult. I managed to do it, but bear with me because this will more than likely be a very short review. The one thing I will say is if you like these kinds of books (the cover compares it to Gillian Flynn and Tana French) then pick this book up, it's complex and interesting with dubious characters and an engrossing plot.

I think what struck me the most about this book was the complexity and creativity of it. It is told from the perspective of three different people at two different times. Our narrators include the mother of the woman who was kidnapped, the detective tasked with finding her, and the kidnapper. And we hear from them both before and after the kidnapping. This creates such a complex and layer stories. Most of the time these kinds of stories are just told from one perspective, usually the kidnapped or the detective. But because we got the mother's perspective we really got to understand the fear and confusion about having a person you love taken away from you. And because we got to spend some time in the head space of the kidnapper we get to understand why and how he was able to kidnap her. It was such and interesting concept.

And because we spend so much time with different people, it was easy to empathize with a wide range of characters including people you may not normally empathize with. When I was about half finished with the book my only thought was, "I'm not sure who's side I'm on." Mary Kubica did an excellent job of making not only want the detective to succeed but want the kidnapper to succeed as well. It was like the TV show The Wire in that way. Everyone is dubious, everyone is likable, and even though they are at odds with one another you want them all to win in the end. I wasn't sure how I wanted it to end but I knew either way it was going to be bitter sweet.

What I did miss a little bit from this book was the sense of mystery and investigation that you get a lot with these kinds of psycholigicalesque thrillers. While there was a small part of the book that allowed you to hunt for clues and solve something I wanted more. This book was more character-driven and about their relationships with Mia and one another than it was about solving a mystery. For me when I'm reading a thriller I want a good mystery to solve.

But that didn't make this book any less engrossing. I read it in a few a days and would find myself devouring whole chunks of the book before I even realized what was happening. And because I was so invested in the different characters success despite the fact that they couldn't all win, there was this desire throughout the book to get to the ending to see how it would all conclude, and that made it very enjoyable.

I give The Good Girl by Mary Kubica an 8 out of 10

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys thrillers in the vein of Gillian Flynn. Or if you are looking for a complex story with different characters that 

Have you read The Good Girl? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July Wrap Up & August TBR

I was planning on posting this tomorrow but I need an extra day to finish my current read (The Good Girl) so I bumped this up a day.

Read in July
July was kind of a slow reading month for me. Life got in the way and I went through a bit of a reading slump caused by temporarily losing one of my most anticipated books of the year. But I was able to read a total of 9 books and am very close to finishing a 10th book. Okay so it's eight books but I will finish 9 by the end of the month.. And now that I say it, that is a good month. 

1.) Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Rating: 9 out of 10 Full Review
2.) The Awakening of Miss Prim 
by Natalie Sanmartin Fenorella
Rating: 8.5 out of 10 Full Review
3.) Looking for Alaska by John Green
Rating: 9 out of 10 Full Review
4.) Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Rating: 9 out of 10 Full Review
5.) The Kiss of Deception by Mary Pearson
Rating: 7.5 out of 10 Full Review
6.) Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein 
Rating: 9.5 out of 10 Full Review
7.) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Rating: 9 out of 10 Full Review
8.) The Fracking King by James Browning
Rating: 6 out of 10 Full Review
9.) The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
Rating: ??? Full Review to Come
10.) The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman
Rating: ??? Full Review to Come

To Be Read in August: Historical Fiction
So first things first I will be taking part in an amazing and very cool challenge hosted by Octavia and Shelley over at Read.Sleep.Repeat called ARC August. The goal of the challenge is to tackle that giant pile of ARCs and that Netgalley or Edelweiss Queue that have just been sitting there unread. I have barely made a dent in my BEA ARCs and I keep requesting eARCs on Netgalley even though I have tons that I haven't read. So I am taking part in the the challenge. So most of my planned books this month are ARCs and I hope to read at least five of them.

Now onto my theme! This month I will be reading one of my absolute favorite genres, Historical Fiction. It was originally going to be historical fantasy but then I realized my theme for next month and decided to stick with straight Historical Fiction. I know a lot of fellow bloggers are just getting in to Historical Fiction but I love it and I'm really excited to read a lot of different books and hopefully you can find some you may be interested in. Here's the list!

ARCs from Netgalley

1.) Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little - Add to Goodreads
This one doesn't fit the theme, it's a mystery/thriller but it's an ARC 
2.) Grace and the Guiltless by Erin Johnson - Add to Goodreads
A YA Historical Fiction set in the Wild Wild West with a kickass female heroine? Yes, please!
3.) Neverhome by Laird Hunt- Add to Goodreads
I'm so intrigued by this book about a woman who disguises herself as a soldier when her husband leaves for the American Civil War. I usually love those kinds of stories!

Physical ARCs

1.) Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper - Add to Goodreads
YA Historical Fantasy about whaling and a witch who has to live in a non-magical world. Also the phrase "tattooed harpoon boy" is a serious draw!
2.) Jackaby by William Ritter - Add to Goodreads
A supernatural detective in Victorian England. I cannot wait to read this one!

The Classic

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Add to Goodreads
My original theme was historical fantasy and this is classic Historical Fantasy!

The Series 

1.) Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard - Add to Goodreads
2.) A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard - Add to Goodreads
3.) Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard- Add to Goodreads
The final book just came out so I'm really excited to binge read this steampunk series about zombie fighting in the Victorian era. I've heard nothing but good things!

What have you read in July and what are you planning to read in August? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING! 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I That Own the Most Books From.

A weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Authors I Own the Most Books From
When I started completing this prompt I realized something. I don't have a lot of books from the same author, even some favorite authors. With most of these authors I just own all the books in a particular series and maybe a few others.

1.) J.K. Rowling - Number of Books Owned: 11 
This is probably the top of a lot of people's lists. Personally I have all seven books in the Harry Potter series, a Canadian version of The Order of the Phoenix, an Italian version of The Half Blood Prince, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and The Cuckoo's Calling.

2.) Janet Evanovich - Books Owned: 9 
I used to be totally obsessed with The Stephanie Plum series. I read all the way to Sizzling Sixteen and then moved on from cozy mysteries and haven't read any of the more recent ones. But I own the first four books, 14, 15, two between the numbers books, an an eARC of The Heist which she co-wrote with Lee Goldberg.

3.) Ann Brashares - Books Owned: 7 
And another series I am a huge fan of is the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I own all five books (and kind of want the redesigned paperbacks) in that series. I also have a copy of My Name is Memory which is fantastic and an eARC of The Here and Now.

4.) Gregory Maguire - Books Owned: 6 
Again, I'm a huge fan of the Wicked Years series which is much darker and with a lot more political than the musical would lead you to believe. I kind of want the last two books in mass market paperback to match the first two because they're so pretty! I also have a copy of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and an ARC of Egg and Spoon (review forthcoming)

5.) Anna Godbersen - Books Owned: 5 
In my opinion The Luxe series is one of the most under-appreciated series in YA literature. It's a fantastic piece of historical fiction with great characters and an amazing romance. I own all four books in that series and the first book Anna Godbersen's Bright Young Things series set in the 1920s.

6.) George R.R. Martin- Books Owned: 5
The rest of these are not going to be very exciting as it's mostly just all the books in one series. Like the A Song of Ice and Fire series for which I own all the mass market paperbacks.

7.) J.R.R. Tolkein - Books Owned: 4 
And I also own the entire Lord of the Rings series, for which I have to movie tie-ins and a copy of The Hobbit which I may own because I never returned it to my high school English teacher (oops?).

8.) Libba Bray - Books Owned: 4 
Libba Bray is a recent addition to the amazing authors I love list. Last year I read the Gemma Doyle trilogy and loved it! I own those three books and an audiobook version of Beauty Queens. I would like to own more Libba Bray books most notably The Diviners series!

9.) Milan Kundera - Books Owned: 4 
I was went through a total Milan Kundera phase in college and immediately after graduating. I read The Joke in one of my political philosophy classes and loved it so much I read The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, and bought Immortality which I started and never finished.

10.) Rainbow Rowell - Books Owned: 4
She may be new to me but quickly has become one of my favorites and an auto-buy. I own every one of her books: Attachments, Eleanor & Park, Fangirl, and Landline. Everything she writes is pure brilliance and I can't wait to read more books by her!

What authors do you own the most books from? Have you read any of these authors? Do you love them as much as I do? Leave me comment with your thoughts? Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Feature & Follow Friday #35

A weekly meme hosted by Alison Can Read & Parajunkee's View

How it Works: 

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!

How does this work? First you visit the blogs of our illustrious hosts and leave your name on the post using using the linky tools, then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!

What sets this Hop apart from others, is our Feature. Each week we will showcase a Featured Blogger, from all different genres and areas. Find out below. Just remember it is required, if you participate, to follow our Features and you must follow the hosts (Parajunkee & Alison Can Read) as a courtesy. How do you follow someone? Well, if you have a preference, state it in your #FF post. A lot of blogs are transitioning to Wordpress in which they do not have the luxury of GFC, so an RSS subscription is appreciated or if you choose an email subscription. If you don't have GFC please state in your post how you would like to be followed.

This Week's Question: 

What is your favorite TV series that you could watch over and over again on Netflix

This Week's Answer: 

So I am currently without Netflix, it's a long and tortured story that I don't care to recount it, so I'm not sure how accurate my answers will be. But I do have Amazon Prime and their streaming video is amazing and I totally love binge watching certain shows on weekends (currently I'm watching Six Feet Under). These are a few of my favorite shows that I could watch over and over again (but they may not be on Netflix)

Veronica Mars - this is my favorite show of all time! When it was cancelled I boycotted The CW. It's a fantastic teen detective show with a snarky and badass female MC and a shipabble romance that makes me swoon!

Friday Night Lights - When the show first came out I didn't get the draw but my best friends talked me into and now I'm hooked! The drama, the romance, the football, Tim Riggins!

Avatar: The Last Airbender - I am obsessed with this magical system. Plus this show is hilarious dramatic, well-animated, and full of dubious characters. I've been watching The Legend of Korra and it makes me want to rewatch The Last Airbender, again!

 How about you? What's your favorite tv shows to watch over and over again on Netflix? Leave me a comment with your thoughts.

 And remember this is a blog hop so take a look around and if you like what you see give me a follow and leave me a comment so I can follow back. I am indifferent to the manner in which you follow so pick your poison: GFC, Bloglovin, and/or Twitter. I just started a BookTube channel so can check me out HERE and subscribe! I've been posting videos every Friday! Thanks for dropping by, Happy FF and HAPPY READING!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Book Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Title: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Author: Betty Smith
Published: Originally 1943 by Harper & Brothers
Amazon Goodreads

Synopsis: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness -- in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.
One of the most interesting things about this book is that I'm not really sure how to categorize it. It's a fictionalization of the author's upbringing, so it's not quite a memoir but it's also not quite fiction either. But if it is in fact fiction it's hard to place it in a genre. The book was written in 1943 but takes place in the early 1900s. You could accurately say that it is Historical Fiction but it also feels very current and contemporary. What this book absolutely does is make the reader feel what it was like to grow up poor at the start of the 20th century in Brooklyn. It's a completely immersive experience.

The book was an extremely real and gritty portrayal of the life and the time period it was presenting. It didn't gloss over the difficulties of life and being poor. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn focuses almost entirely on those difficult and sad moments in life but it also shows how you need those moments to appreciate the good and happy moments in life. When you're reading this book you feel as if you are part of the Nolan family, struggling to make ends meet and wondering how you are going to find a nickel to buy food. But you also feel the sense of love within the family and the sense of hope that a better life is possible. I expected to have a serious emotional reaction to this book and while it didn't bring me to tears (which a lot of books do) I did feel a deep connection to this family and their struggle.

The plot of the book could very easily have become monotonous and dull but Betty Smith effortlessly immersed the reader in the world of Brooklyn and the Nolans with beautiful prose and a style of writing that allows you to easily connect with the characters. I read this book as part of my "Geek Books" month and the main character of Francie definitely fit the bill of the types of characters in this theme. She is a voracious reader who finds it hard to make friends and loves school but with her family situation employment has to take the place of further education. I instantly connected with Francie and her desire to succeed despite and because of her upbringing. I loved being along for the ride for her coming-of-age story.

This book made me appreciate so much about my life and personal experience. It made me appreciate my family and the opportunities I had, and it made me appreciate the fact that like Francie I can read to escape, learn, and explore something outside of myself. The book was a phenomenal classic and reminded me a lot of books like Little Women and Little House on the Prairie.

I give A Tree Grow in Brooklyn by Betty Smith a 9 out of 10

I would definitely recommend this book if you like modern classics from the mid 20th Century like To Kill A Mockingbird or The Catcher in the Rye. If you like coming-of-age stories with beautiful writing that illicits an emotional response then check this book out. 

Have you read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. If you haven't read it, what are some of your favorite Modern Classics, I love these kinds of books and would love to read some more. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING! 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

A weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Snow Like Ashes
Series: Snow Like Ashes #1
Author: Sara Raasch
Published: October 14, 2014 by Balthazar and Bray (HarperCollins)
Amazon Goodreads

Synopsis: Game of Thrones meets Graceling in this striking fantasy tale of dark magic, dangerous politics, and discovering your true self.  Sara Raasch’s debut fantasy is a lightning-fast story of loyalty, love, and controlling one’s destiny.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. The Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been searching for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild their kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, Winter’s future king—she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again. So when scouts discover the location of half of the ancient locket that can restore their magic, Meira decides to go after it herself—only to find herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics, and to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

Why I'm Waiting

As you may know I am pretty much in for any Young Adult Fantasy. It's basically my kryptonite. I heard about this book a few months ago and I'm not really sure where. It could have been from the YA Vals (a group of amazing YA authors) or it could have been from a Tea Time. But either way I knew one thing for sure, I needed this book in my life!

The first thing that caught my eye is the comparison to Game of Thrones (should be A Song of Ice and Fire but I'm a book hipster). I love that series for it's combination of political intrigue, mystery, and magic. A young adult book that combines that basically has me drooling. The other thing that caught my eye is the bad ass female heroine. While that can sometimes feel like a trope, it's one that I can get on board with and the character of Meira sounds like a reluctant hero and I pretty much always love those characters.

Then I found Sara Raasch's tumblr. Okay so right now it's mostly Avatar: The Last Airbender Zutara ship stuff but she also has had some amazing giveaways and sneak peeks into the world and characters of Snow Like Ashes. Every teaser I see just makes me more and more excited to read this book. The world sounds interesting, the magical system sounds unique (like so unique I'm slightly confused by this idea of conduits), and the characters sound complex and mysterious! I'm so excited to read it and the shiny copy to my ever growing YA Fantasy shelf!

What are you waiting for this Wedsnesday? Leave me a comment with your thoughts! Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island

A weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Because of Their Survival Skills
I mean if you are stranded on deserted island the most important thing is surviving. I know very little about how to hunt, search for food, or build a shelter. I'm basically hopeless. I'll need these characters to help me survive.

1.) Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Homegirl is a pro at surviving in the wilderness and could teach me a thing or two about that sort of thing. She survived two hunger games and has been providing for her family for years, I would have no shame about letting her provide for me. Plus she's pretty anti-social and I can only take so much human interaction.

2.) Mal from The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
He's an expert tracker, has survived on the run with Alina a few times, and could help me survive on a deserted island. But let's be entirely honest, this choice is all about the eye candy and the fact that he's really high up there on my list of book boyfriends. #TeamMal

3.) Liam from The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
For years Liam survived on the run providing for himself and others and he could definitely help me survive. Plus he's just a genuinely nice and supportive guy that would be great company if you are trapped on a deserted island.

4.) Taylor Renee Crystal Hawkins 
from Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
I would settle for being stuck on a deserted island with any of these characters. They really made the best of a bad situation and pretty much created their own society. But the best at survival and the most entertaining was definitely Taylor aka "Miss Texas." That girl knew how to survive on an island in style!

They Will Be Good in Case of A Fight
You never know what you're going to encounter on a deserted island. I've watched to much Lost to not be prepared for anything. I mean it's supposed to be deserted but what if it's not? I need someone to be there in case of an attack by a wild animal or worse...

4.) Four from Divergent by Veronica Roth
Four has pretty solid fighting skills and would definitely be prepared for anything the island were to through at us. Plus he has great survival skills, and is incredibly easy on the eyes. And like Katniss he's not much of a talker and that's the kind of island companion I would want.

5.) Jamie Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
Jamie is pretty good with his sword (thumbs up for the double entendre) and would definitely be prepared for anything on the island. Plus him and Brienne did a pretty good job surviving. And he'd be great company with his self-deprecating sense of humor and stories about Kings Landing!

6.) Captain Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
So I usually hate when people think that just because it's called a "deserted" island it must have a desert. But in case it does have a desert, I want Thorne there to help me get through it. Plus he would be amazing company and so much fun to be stuck on an island with. Maybe we'd even make a daring escape!

Because of Their Magic Skills
Being stuck on a deserted island it would be great to have someone who is able to do magic. The spells or ability to control the elements would come in really handy!

7.) Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
So Snape is always my choice of who to be stuck on a deserted island with and I can't really explain why. I mean there is the magic ability and that he can make all kinds of crazy potions with whatever plants and stuff are on the island. But really I just think he could use a vacation, a little sun, and some good company.

8.) Percy Jackson from Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
If you are stuck on an island the best thing would be to be there with the son of the God of the Sea. Not only could he control the oceans but he can also communicate with the denizens of the sea and convince one of them to rescue us. Plus he would be great company.

Because They Would Be Great Company
Sure helping me to survive or helping me to fight would be great but if I'm stuck on a deserted island with a literary character I'd want someone who would be fun to hang out with.

9.) Levi from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Levi would be amazing to share an island with. He is sweet, fun, and excellent company. Plus he's a farm boy so we could maybe plant some crops or keep livestock. And then there's the fact that he's easy on the eyes. And maybe if there is some coffee beans on the island he can make one of those fancy lattes for me!

How about you? Who would you want to to be stuck with on a deserted island? Leave me a comment with your thoughts.