Saturday, February 28, 2015

Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova

A Brief Summary:
Joe O'Brien has been a Boston police officer, devoted husband and father for most of his adult life. Now he's been a major curve ball. A diagnosis of Huntington's Disease, a lethal nerodegenerative disorder. Along with him having this disorder his four children have a fifty-fifty shot of developing the disorder. Join Joe and his family as they face this terrifying disease.

My Review:
Before reading this book my understanding of Huntington's was limited to how it was portrayed on T.V., specifically on House M.D. Meaning I didn't understand but now I have a general understanding of what it is, and what it does. It's a brutal disease, attacking you both physically and mentally claiming your life in the end, it's also a dominant trait. Meaning if you have it your kids have a fifty-fifty chance of being handed a death sentence.

That's a lot to take in. I really like seeing how Kate Joe's youngest child handled the possibility of having HD. Mostly because that's how I'd react. I'd want to know, but I'd be terrified. She wavers back and forth on her decision. Unsure if she wants to start a life with this hanging over her.

Joe's transformation throughout the book is heartbreaking, and heartwarming at the same time. He displays remarkable courage in the face of his disease. His disease progresses at an alarming rate, a year after the diagnosis he seems to be going downhill quickly.

I absolutely loved t his book but the ending was so frustrating!!! It is a major, emotionally charged cliffhanger that will most likely never be resolved!

I received this book courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for my free and honest review.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Figaro Murders by Laura Lebow

A Brief Summary: 
Lorenzo De Ponte made a modest living as the court poet in Vienna. When he made an impulsive agreement, one that would cause him no end of hassle. This agreement, to help find his barber's birth parents, would embroiled him in a murder that he must help solve. All while working on The Marriage of Figaro with Mozart.

My Review:
Murder, betrayal, intrigue, unrequited love The Murder of Figaro has it all. This book originally caught my eye because a couple of my friends performed a duet from The Marriage of Figaro for solo and ensemble when we were in high school. I fell in love with that duet then, and with rose tinted glasses picked up the book. I enjoyed the book just as much.

Choosing to focus on the librettist (libretto writer, libretto being the singers copy) rather than the more famous composer (wrote the musical score) Mozart was, in my opinion, a great choice. He's lesser known so it gives you more wiggle room when writing a fictional story. Also the author so kindly provided some details from his real life, and about his operas in the author's note.

The characters that the author created for seamlessly into De Ponte's life. While the characters with real life counterparts stayed true.

I enjoy how all of the plot lines got resolved, from the premiere of Figaro, to the murder, and even finding the barber's parents. It's all interwoven and plays out beautifully, while subtly hinting that there maybe a sequel on the horizon.

This book is set to release on March 31st 2015.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my free and honest review.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Beautiful Ones by Lori Brighton

A Brief Summary:  Every month the beautiful ones come. They choose some of us, to take away from here forever. We tell ourselves it our reward for our good behavior. But what could someone as beautiful as they want with us?

My Review:
I love that the heroine questions everything. She doesn't just go with the flow like the others taken with her. She fights and wants to know whats going on. Bonus points she's a bookworm!

Thanatos is a mysterious beautiful one. He's not exactly like the others, but we don't know much about him.

All in all this is a tantalizing glimpse into a new series. For only 67 pages a lot is packed in, and makes you crave the first book in the series. To tie up loose ends and to see what happens to our main characters.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Mind Readers by Lori Brighton

A Brief Summary:
Anyone who learned about Cameron's ability thought she was a freak. After all she could read minds, so she kept the ability under wraps until she Lewis, a boy who shared her strange ability. He might be her only way to learn how to control her abilities. However will getting caught up in a vendetta be worth it?

My Review:
I loved the premise, an otherwise normal girl with the ability to read minds. In particular I liked how normal peoples thoughts were handled, you had crazies, vapid teen girls, horny teen boys, and then there's Lewis. As a fellow mind reader he learned to block his thoughts.

Another thing that I enjoyed was everything isn't black or white. Something much bigger and more complicated is going on beneath the surface.

Personally I liked Cameron she has a strong sense of right and wrong, even if she doesn't always act on her instincts. She's curious and spunky and I can't wait to see what happens to her in the future.

Lewis however is sketchy. I don't like him, I don't trust him, I foresee him being a problem in the books yet to come.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Courtesan Duchess by Joanna Shupe

A Brief Summary:
Pretending to be a courtesan is something no gently bred lady would ever consider. However when it comes down to it Julia decided she would rather play the part then be sent to debtors prison or be propositioned by a perfectly loathsome man. Now Julia is of to Venice to seduce her husband, conceive an heir and try not to lose her heart in the process.

My Review:
I have a deep seeded fondness for a good historical romance and this is a great one. I adore Julia she remains sweet and good natured despite dire circumstances. She also has a fiery personality that makes her the perfect compliment for her rake of a husband.

The only part I didn't love was how long it took Nick to get his head out of his ass and apologize. However it made his courting phase really rather cute especially since it's a side he doesn't show often.

Another character that I grew quite fond of is Simon. He's one of  Nick's oldest friends and considers Julia a sister. I'm excited to see just what is in store for him in the next installment of this series.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my free and honest review.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Nobody's Angel by Sarah Hegger

A Brief Summary: Going home can be hard, but going home to make amends is way worse. Nine years after leaving town with her friends boyfriend Lucy is back, to help her mom figure out what to do with her father who's getting older and starting to lose his mind. If dealing with one monster from her past wasn't bad enough, she has to confront and make amends to the man that she left behind.

My Review:
If you want a book with characters that will touch your heart this is it. All of the characters have their own issues. From our hero and heroine to characters you only meet a couple of times they're all exceedingly well developed and wrench at your heart. Personally I loved how the parents of the protagonists are portrayed. Lucy's parents consist of a dominating dad, and a people pleasing mother. Where Richard's mother, on the other hand, is a pretty typical soccer mom.

I also really loved how the love story developed between Richard and Lucy. It feels natural, has a history and depth, and it's fair share of problems. Namely Ashley and Elliot, Richard's soon to be ex-wife, and Lucy's would-be knight in shinning armor.

I also admire how Lucy's problem with alcohol is handled. In the story she's a recovering alcoholic on step nine of the twelve step program. She faces extreme challenges being in her childhood home. Her struggle is realistic and one that so many people face every single day.

I received this book compliments of NetGalley in exchange for my free and honest review.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

A Brief Summary:
Two ancient species locked in a seemingly never ending war. When one little pickpocket is sent on a mission to try and find the one thing that can end the war. Echo has been raised by the Avicen and now she's ready to risk everything for the family she's claimed for her own.

My Review:
This book was amazing!! The plot revolves around finding the firebird, a mythical creature that will end the war between the Avicen and the Drakhain. The Avicen are a human/bird race, and the Drakhain are dragon/human race. The two have been fighting for millennia, and an end to the war will only come in on of two ways. One or both sides are obliterated, or the firebird brings peace.

The world building is incredible. You have two completely unique species, with abilities, magics, politics and lore. I personally feel that only the surface of this subject has been scratched and I really hope to learn more about both cultures in the coming books.

Echo is the lone human in the party. She has her best friend from childhood Ivy, Jasper a fellow thief, Caius the Dragon prince, and Dorian Caius's captain of the guard. All of these characters we get to know pretty well, between switching POV's and impressions that we get from the others. We also get a couple of love triangles. Bonus points for adding an endearingly sweet gay relationship. It develops beautifully throughout the story and I can't wait to see where it goes in the rest of the series.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my free and honest review.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

H2O by Virginia Bergin

A Brief Summary:
When water becomes deadly you have to be careful in order to survive. But what good is surviving if everyone you know and love is dead? That's what happens to Ruby and the only thing keeping her going is the thought that her dad is out there waiting on her.

My Review:
I absolutely loved the premise, but the narrator killed me. Ruby is your stereotypical snobby teenage girl. One prime example of this is when she runs into Darius, one of the few people who have survived, and she wants nothing to do with him. Purely because he was a loser in school. Personally I can't stand that personality type and it hindered my enjoyment of the book.

Other then that I really liked the story. The idea that a bacteria could use water to infect living creatures is fascinating. The world is very well built, and I loved some of the side characters. Such as Darius, and Ruby's step father Simon. Both had survival skills and a head on their shoulders.

Overall change narrators and I'd love this book.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Broken Symmetry by Dan Rix

A Brief Summary:
Imagine that you could do anything that you wanted. Kiss the person of your dreams, go on a crime spree, take revenge on a person who wronged you, and then when you were done just step back through the mirror and none of it actually happened. That's Blaire's new reality but crossing over (going through mirrors to parallel dimensions) is dangerous to both her body and her mind. Now a cross over has gone wrong and she has to find her way home, but home isn't where or even what she thought it is.

My Review:
This book is trippy, and I loved ever second of it. Granted I love the idea of parallel universes and this book gives a new spin on the idea. One of the rules of crossing over is always know how to get back to the source, but one question has to be asked. Is this the true source?

Most of the characters were pretty standard. You have your reckless brooding love interested, the pesky distraction female, and your lead female. For the distraction girl, Amy, I wish she was better written I really do. You just don't get much about her and there's nothing to redeem her or make you like her. Damian is pretty typical, but I did like him and his soft side. Blaire, has her moments but over all isn't a favorite.

I loved the world. It's well thought through and developed. I also liked the concept of overlap. That's when you can remember something that happened to your reflection. It ends up being fairly important and in my opinion is very well played.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Operation Cinderella by Hope Tarr

A Brief Summary:
Macie is from a tiny town in bible country, gone full fledged New Yorker. Ross is a charming radio personality with a daughter with a wild streak of her own. Now Macie is going undercover as "Martha Jane" a nanny and housekeeper with old fashioned values to get back at Ross for slandering her article on his talk show. But will she get the dirt or will she fall for his southern charm?

My Review:
This is a sweet little love story, a classic opposites attract. He's super conservative she's extremely liberal.

I liked the characters a lot, he's very much a prince charming type, however you find out that he has flaws. Not many but still it humanizes him to a relatable level. Where as she is a major rebel due to her not so perfect high school years. This gives us two main characters that we can identify and sympathize with and Ross's daughter also has some secrets of her own.

The shoes that Macie receives from her friends before the beginning of "Operation Cinderella" are seeming like they're going to be what ties the series together. After all they have a story of their own and get passed on. I can't wait to see where the series goes from here.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Footsteps In The Sky by Greg Keyes

A Brief Summary: The Hopi came to this new world with the promise that it would be theirs. However the planet that they have painstakingly terraformed wasn't originally meant for them, the original terraformers have returned and they have to decide if the humans who have taken their planet are worth saving, or if they should sterilize the planet and start anew.

My Review:
I can't lie this book took me awhile to get into. It starts off pretty slow and it switches POV's causing a little bit of confusion. However once I got about halfway through the book I was hooked.

The characters are extremely well developed, and the worlds are incredible. I liked that the form that the original farmer of the world took was Pela, Sand's (one of the main characters) mother. It makes their relationship really interesting.

I also enjoy how there are multiple factions. The lowlanders, the traditionals, the Reeds, and the ancient farmers. I love the dynamic. You have these petty feuds and the very real possibility that they will be completely wiped out at any time.

It's an awesome metaphor. That things that you worry about can equal almost nothing when there is a bigger threat to worry about.

This book is set to release May 26 2015. It's defiantly worth the read.  

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my free and honest review.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

January Wrap-up!

The beginning of a new year is always an amazing time. Full of hope, grand ideas and so much potential. By February a lot of resolutions are abandoned or forgotten, not for me. Not this year at least. I've made my first of the twenty recipes, read some awesome new books and am working on what to do for my adventure. It's a slow process but I've made progress!

In January I read 21 books! A total of 5,643 pages which brings me to a grand total of 31,520/1,000,000
In five months I've read over 30,000 pages. Graunted that's only 3% towards my goal of one million pages.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Parallel by Claudia Lefeve

A Brief Summary: There's alternate dimensions that are parallel to the one that Etta lives in. Now she's being taken back to the dimension she was born in, and discovering that she has powers that nobody else possesses. The reason she has these abilities and why she was hidden in a different dimension is going to become clear very soon and when it does, it's not going be pretty.

My Review:
I love the idea of parallel dimensions. Where every decision no matter how minor creates a new dimension. It's fascinating, the idea that every relationship you've ever had ending badly and succeeding, every bad grade being a perfect one, all at once just in different dimensions.

I didn't love that the author didn't play with it more. That there's vague time jumping but not very much about the alternate dimensions. Granted this is the first book in a series so I hope the author will play with it more.

Overall the story was really good. The characters while most of them aren't fully fleshed out the have good potential. The one "good guy" I'm not a huge fan of is Cooper. His relationship with Etta is weird, I can't explain without major spoiler but I'm not a fan. At very least it should've been explained differently.