Katy, TX, United States | Member Since 2012
Some books can absolutely destroy you, rip out your emotional insides…and then in just 2 words, put you back together. This is exactly what The Sea of Tranquility did to me. Several people that I met at a book signing in January recommended this book to me. Few books that come with such high recommendations meet my expectations. This book surpassed them! In search of the ever elusive HEA, I was propelled by a compulsive obsession to finish this book! The author took me right up to the edge where I was almost ready to throw the book aside and scream that I will never believe in HEA’s ever again when I read the final page. Worth every tormented minute of reading!
Author, Katja Millay crafts a painfully dark narrative of two damaged, grief-stricken souls both in desperate need of healing. Despite the tragedy Nastya and Josh have experienced in their own individual lives, this is a story about the creation and offering of second chances. Sometimes when books are of a dark nature, the author allows the darkness to carry the story and propel you to find the answers out of simple interest. Katja Millay does not allow the darkness to define her book, even as Nastya permits the darkness to define her life. Bit by bit, Millay masterfully reveals Nastya’s tragedy. Piece by piece, Josh attempts to rebuilds his life. These two forge a new, if not unlikely, friendship and one would think the story would end there with a nice big HEA. However, this book is too real and edgy for that to happen. Josh and Nastya have had too much happen to them in their young lives, too much destroyed and taken away. Part of healing is not just intellectually knowing that what happened in your past is not your fault and should not control your future. Part of healing is actually embracing this knowledge and moving forward with life. Nastya struggles with this:
“It’s not that I wanted to be dead, I just felt like I should be. Which is why it’s hard when everyone expects you to be grateful simply because you’re not”
Josh struggles with this as well. Having lost everyone he has ever loved, he finds it almost excruciating to be vulnerable again. Together the two must overcome and heal from their past or it will consume their future as well.
I could go on forever and never do this book justice. Millay’s writing style is so fluid that I frequently forgot that I was a reader and not actually a part of this book. It is a book I could read again and again and be affected each and every read. Deep, dark, edgy, and simply exquisite.
I really really liked this story. I usually prefer stories that are contemporary, set in present day and real time. I am honestly not one for high fantasy. However, this book was amazing. I loved how unique it felt. I have truly never read another book like it. The book is written in the third person, usually being told from the POV of that of Karou, but occasionally switching to Akiva. For me, the characters either make or break a book. I absolutely loved Karou. She was funny, intelligent, unique (to say the least) and genuinely a “good” person. She was witty and saracastic and never ceased to entertain me. Akiva was likable as well. He was raised in a brutal world of nothing but war and strife, and yet, he was kind and gentle. I liked how he was instantly protective of Karou even before he knew much about her. I found their story very believeable despite being about fantastical creatures like seraphim and chimaera. I loved the setting in this book as well. Prague was unique and ghostly; the hauntingly perfect place for such a story as this to seem real and possible. Zuzanna was another favorite character, too, of mine. Her dry humor was absolutely hilarious throughout the book. I ached for these characters. The plot kept me guessing and just when I, along with Karou, uncovered the past and the truth, my heart broke right along with her’s and Akiva’s. I am very glad there is a sequel to this book, because I so desperately want my HEA. A book that had a similiar feel to me, was Kristin Cashore’s Graceling. Both books are fantasy and have a strong female protagonist.
This was my second time listening to this book. (I have never actually read this book, like in print. The first time, I rated it a 4. This time I struggled between 4 and 5 stars, deciding that a solid 4.5 stars is more the case and rounded up.) Told from the alternating POVs of Noah and Echo, Pushing the Limits is a mature YA read for those whole like contemporary romance, but it is certainly not a light hearted read. I loved Noah and Echo and was equally interested in each character’s stories. Noah is oh so sexy, and your typical bad boy with a heart of gold. Echo is socially withdrawn with severe “daddy” issues. Actually, she has family issues period. Both characters have been dealt a debilitating hand by fate. Katie McGarry, the book’s author, did a masterful job of getting me to instantly like and care about what happened to her characters. I really wanted to see Echo heal and Noah get his family back. I even cared what happened to the supporting characters. Isaiah and Beth, Tyler and Jacob, Lila, even Grace was interesting. What I really noticed the second read-(er, listen-) through, was the McGarry did not rush her story. I really liked that she took the time to develop the plot, yet the story got going right away. I was interested from the first 30 seconds into the book. I also appreciated that McGarry did not end the book abruptly. Noah and Echo’s lives were messy. And it would have been a huge injustice to their story if the author simply tried to end everything with your typical YA high school romance neat with-ribbon-and-bow ending. She took the time to really flesh out all the major (and even more minor) plot points and left me with an ending that I found remarkable and extremely satisfying. I would definitely recommend this read to anyone who liked Slammed by Colleen Hoover and Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles. Also, I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, Dare You To.
This is my new fave book. Amazing!
“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird, evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book-” (so says Hazel Grace from John Green’s book, The Fault In Our Stars; this is how I feel about Hopeless. If you have not read this book, stop everything you are doing now and read it already!
I first heard of Hopeless via facebook when one of my favorite authors, Tammara Webber (Easy, Between the Lines Series), posted what she was currently reading. I had never read anything by Colleen Hoover prior to that (I know, it was a sad and dark time in my life to which I never wish to return) and so it became the first book I ever purchased on my brand spanking new Kindle Paperwhite. I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! Okay, so obviously I do not give out 5 star reviews very often and this one got 5 stars from both me and my co-blogger, Julie, so you have to expect that it is a good book. (It is also the inspiration for this blog’s name. At an interview with ABC’s Nightline that I was privileged to be a part of , Ms. Hoover read my favorite excerpt from Hopeless and it was the part on how sometimes in life, you just need a chapter break. Hence the blog name.) Not only was the story incredible and the characters unforgettable, but the writing was amazing! Colleen Hoover was able to craft her book (I would say write, but she truly is a master at her craft) in such a way that I never knew what was going to happen next, and even if I could guess, I never expected it the way it actually DOES happen. The characters in this book delighted me. I wanted to know more about all of them and none of them were one dimensional. My emotions ran the gamut with this book. I laughed out loud, sighed deeply, and cried an ocean. Sky’s past is revealed slowly in such a way that the pieces fall into place perfectly, but never predictably. Holder is totally confusing, but dead sexy shirtless, according to Sky. So sexy she passes out, – like for real passes out. Sky is frustrated beyond belief by Holder’s intensity and seemingly sudden mood changes. He comes off as “too intense. And moody. And a little bit scary.” Sky is dismayed to find she’s “finally introduced to the one guy that [she] finds attractive, and he’s a high school dropout with the word hopeless tattooed on himself.” But if Ms. Hoover teaches us one thing, and in fact she quite often teaches us a good many things in her novels, it is that appearances can be deceiving and you can’t believe everything you hear from other people. Sky is constantly challenged throughout the book to make her own assessments about the truth and nothing is ever black and white. And does this reader get her HEA? Well, I do not want this review to contain any spoilers, so I cannot answer that, but I will say that Sky does not get her HEA exactly, but what she does get is exactly what she needs. All she needs, in fact. And I was totally happy with that.
Let me just state that if I turned into a zombie and ended up spending my zom-days lumbering around my job site, I would be one disappointed soul. Wait, do zombies even have souls? My overall impression of Jonathan Maberry’s Rot and Ruin? Humans are far scarier than any zombie could ever be and Tom Imura is HOTT!!!
Okay, so even in my limited experience with zombie lit, I think that this book offered something different. At the beginning of the book, Benny Imura is young, naïve, immature and doesn’t look past the surface level of anyone or anything in his small circle of existence. Tom Imura, Benny’s older brother, is patient, compassionate, and a skilled fighter, but a man who sees himself as less than perfect. It is my personal opinion that Tom is far harder on himself than Benny could ever be. Benny dislikes his brother based on an obscure recollection he has as a very small child of Tom running away, small Benny clutched in his arms, their parents victims to the “disease.” Benny spends the first 15 years of his life believing Tom is a coward, until the time comes for Benny to join the family business, killing zombies, bounty hunter style. Benny is interested in learning to kill zombies, even if he is not too keen on working for his brother, Tom. However, according to his school teacher, “learning to kill is the sort of thing you should learn from your folks.” So, with decent jobs scarce and the impending threat of losing half his food ration, Benny goes to work for his brother, Tom. It is there, out in the great rot and ruin, that Benny learns about who his brother really is.
Throughout the story, Benny changes a lot. He sees less black and white and recognizes more gray in the world around him. He is more skeptical of people and places and no longer accepts everything at face value. In the great rot and ruin, Benny learns that there are 2 types of danger, - the unthinking incessant zombies and the deliberate malice of fellow bounty hunters, Charlie Mathias and the Motor City Hammer. By the end of the novel, Benny looks at a person’s motives in order to draw conclusions rather than just his/her words. Benny also develops a relationship with childhood girl friend,Nix. Despite Benny’s vow to never fall for a girl he was already friends with, he finds himself crushing on her pretty hard core. The relationship between Nix and Benny develops slowly and is realized by a sweet, gentle yet, standard issue YA kiss. While the kiss maybe formulaic in terms of plot, Benny’s feelings for Nix are not.
“Nix, I know you’re hurt. I wish I could fix it, I swear to God. I wish I could make it all different, make what happened not true…If you need to lash out at me, say anything, throw me off this tower, if it will help even a little, then do it. I don’t care what happens to me anymore, I got what I wanted. I got you back safe… the monsters didn’t get you.”
Beside the many awesome quote-ables, the main strength of this novel is the exciting plot. I liked that in this particular novel, the world had turned to zombies some decade prior and the characters were living in a post-apocalyptic zombie North America. Despite its many info-dumps (usually via Tom Imura), the story telling was supreme, ending the book with an obvious sequel. While not the best choice for a romance, the writing was seamless and potent.
“The truth is the truth. What changes is what we know about it and what we’re willing to believe.” Tom Imura.
This book as been somewhat of an enigma for me. I first purchased this book in audiobook format to occupy my time on a long drive home from South Caroline. I nearly fell asleep and wrecked my car! Now, whether that was because I was simply exhausted by my tenth hour in, or if it was because the book literally bored me to sleep, I cannot really say. However, I put the book away and eventually sold it to Half Priced Books...or so I thought. Upon hearing of the movie being released, my book club decided they wanted to go see it, so of course, me being their fearless leader and all, I had to read this book! Well, I purchased this book AGAIN on audible.com (you are welcome, Stephenie Meyer) and began listening. I was just about finished with all 23 hours that is this book when I noticed, sitting on my bookshelf, in plain sight, looking all innocent and oh so nonchalant, was (you guess it) my original copy of The Host on cd's. So apparently I only THOUGHT of selling it back to Half Priced and just wanted to purchase the book again from audible. Hmph! At any rate, I was able to complete my listen this time and I am glad I did. The book, while slow, was definitely better written than her Twilight books. However, I do think this book was exceptionally slow. It wasn't until like hour 12 that I really started getting into the book. Quite possibly because that is when there finally appears to be some (view spoiler) and we all know how I like that! Overall, I would say the book was okay. Perhaps had I not discovered the original copy I purchased, this book would have gotten a slightly more upbeat review. I could be harboring some ill-will toward this book due to it not living up to a double purchase standard.(Few books can). As it is, I will most likely NOT be keeping this book. I mean, I should at least sell back ONE copy right?
So hopefully this is the last time I have to blame my pos Samsung Galaxy S4 for being the absolutely worst phone on the face of the planet!!!! I mean, in a review at least….for a while… But yes, sadly, I made several notes for my review and after listening for 44 plus hours, I’ve lost every last audible bookmark/note. It is common knowledge that SD cards can and do corrupt, but the Samsung Galaxy S4 has an insatiable taste for SD cards, 8gigs, 16 gigs, 32 gigs… it can never get enough. BUYER BEWARE!!!
Okay, so this book is ridiculously long. It is well researched to the point of being tedious, but I love this series so much I don’t care how tedious it gets. I do miss the intense relationship between Jamie and Claire. Jamie and Claire are basically in a holding pattern for the majority of this book. They are cursed with the burden of knowing the future and because of this, they are constantly on the lookout for signs that the American Revolution is beginning. I, too, was waiting. Waiting for the good parts. Are there good parts? It’s Diana Gabaldon, so heck yes there are! Does it balance out the book and make up for the tedious (I refuse to call it “boring”) parts? For the average reader, probably not. For the dedicated Outlander fans, I’d say yes. In this book, we get to know Roger even better. The more times I read this series, the more I like Roger. Brianna, on the other hand is always a little hard for me to connect with. I read a comment from a reader online that described Brianna as a girl torn between 2 worlds and 2 fathers. Sometime I think she is even torn between the two men in her life, little Jemmy and Roger. This made me sort of understand Brianna a little better. But mainly, to me, this book is about Roger. Roger, who has risked everything to come to this world and be with Brianna, suffers even greater treachery in this installment. I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, but all I can say is Roger’s own greatest skill, the one Jamie Fraser does not really know how to value, music, is brutally ripped from his life. I feel for Roger so much in this book. This is actually as far as I have read in the series. I am anxious to know how much more Diana Gabaldon will subject poor wee Roger Mac to. As for Jamie and Claire’s story, I really felt like they were on the backburner for most of this book. I’ve heard tell that book #6 focuses back to their story and I so hope that’s true. Also, give me more of young Ian!
So, Jamie McGuire’s new book, Red Hill, good? Bad? Ugly? Well I can tell you one thing, it definitely is not Beautiful. I mean, duh, it IS about Zombies, so who would expect beauty, but it also isn’t anything like her previous two books, Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster. The main difference is that this book is not New Adult. Despite the tag line on the back cover of the book, “When the world ends, can love survive?” this is not a romance. While there is romance in the book, it is never the plot’s central theme. My overall impression of Red Hill was that it read like an episode of what I imagined the TV series, the Walking Dead to be like. I have never seen a single episode, so I could be way off, but that was my main impression. The book is told from the alternating viewpoints of Scarlet, an x-ray tech and single mother of 2 girls, Nathan, who has a daughter and a less than present wife, and Miranda, a college student en route to her father’s ranch with her sister and their boyfriends. While the different narratives are all told from the first person, I still felt slight removed from these characters. Scarlet is tough and determined. Nathan is nurturing and likable and Miranda is confused about her relationship with her boyfriend and her intense attraction to a new comer to their little community at Red Hill Ranch. The story tracks these three until they all make their way to the ranch. On the way to the ranch, they each see or unknowingly interact with each other, but never realize it until after they reach the ranch. The relationships in this book are all over the place. Nathan and Scarlet’s love was a little unbelievable to me and Miranda and Joey’s story was too underdeveloped for me to feel any real emotion. While the characters go through a lot, I cannot say for certain whether they truly grew or not. The plot was exciting, if not predictable. However, the ending I did NOT predict. The entire book, Scarlet is waiting for her two girls to find their way to the ranch. After months, everyone but Scarlet thinks the girls must be dead. I will not tell you if the girls ever make it to the ranch or not, you have to read the book to find out for yourself, but I will say that McGuire kept me guessing until the end. I do not know if the ending of the book is satisfying enough given all that these characters endure. One complaint I did have is that the end is told only from Scarlet’s point of view and I felt that there really should have been follow up with Nathan’s and even Miranda’s characters. There was a lot of action in this story and the plot advanced at a nice pace, never leaving this reader bored. While it was not my favorite, (I never truly connected with the characters or felt any real emotion with this book) I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in reading an intense, plausibe survival account of a zombie apocalypse. As a side note, I thought the narration was top notch. And just a small tid bit of "neat-o" the voice of Nathan is read by Zachary Webber, Tammara Webber(author of Easy)'s son.
I love Davina Porter's narration! She is by far one of the best narrators out there. No one else could narrate The Outlander Series. I swear its like I am watching a movie, not reading/listening to a book!
Wee Ian and Roger. I love how wee Ian picks up on EVERYTHING. He is truly a "young Jamie" and I like Roger in this book. We get to know him better and he is a noble, gentleman but with guts!!!
She is always amazing. I have listened to the entire Outlander Series thus far narrated by Davina Porter.
this book will make your emotions run the gamut!
the book is perhaps a little slow the first one third, but hang in there... it gradually picks of momentum and as the pace picks up, you will be so glad you kept reading. great book! Better than Voyager IMHO.
If you are a fan of the Outlander series, you have to read this book.
I like that Jamie and Claire had to get reacquainted. I like that it told the story of what had happened to both Jamie and Claire in the 20 yrs they were apart
She does an amazing job with the accents and languages and her voice IS Jamie Fraser.
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