Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: 2015-november-posts
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2015-12-01 02:55
Starting off the Christmas holiday... and some personal thoughts.
Unexpected Gifts - Elena Aitken

I'm not a Scrooge, but I also don't often celebrate much in terms of holidays either.


Even so, I decided that I'd start the Christmas season today by jumping into a short Christmas read to gear up those holiday feels and cheers.


Unexpected Gifts is an Amazon Kindle freebie I stumbled across (though I can't remember HOW I stumbled across it).  It sounded cute and has some good, positive reviews, so I went ahead and added it to my library and then started reading a bit of it tonight right before dinner.


I will probably have it completed by the time I get off work tomorrow morning since it's a rather short novella length book.  And while it's so far proving to be a typical contemporary romance fluff piece, I'm simply reading it for the light-hearted, warm tinglies you get when you think about Christmas and holiday and stuff.


Anyway, I may or may not read a few more Christmas themed books in the coming month.  I've got two other Amazon Kindle freebies that are Christmas themed and sounded cute.


Hope everyone's having a great holiday season so far, from Thanksgiving into Christmas!



I also wanted to take this moment to give my Thanks to the bookish community here (though I'm a little late for Thanksgiving) for letting me be a part of such a wonderful group of individuals.  I've enjoyed following everyone's blogs, reading reviews and posts and, in general, getting to know everyone... even though I don't often comment.


Thanks for sharing all of your thoughts and also thank you for reading and commenting on mine as well.  It feels good to know that there is a community of people who love reading as much as I do and like reading about what I have to say about books--I don't have as many bookish friends in Real Life and I often find myself wanting to explode with excitement over book releases, book events, book characters, and book plots, but no one around me actually understand my excitement or my rants.


I feel like the above book title is fitting, since I never expected to become a part of any kind of bookish/blogging community when I first started posting reviews on GR--I've never been a very social person in Real Life and had only thought to share my thoughts on various books and then move on.  Then I came here to BL, started following random bloggers, and the rest is history.


So thank you all for being here and making me feel welcome in this community!


Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2015-11-29 23:49
Thoughts: Shadow Fall
Shadow Fall (Tracers) - Laura Griffin

Shadow Fall -- Laura Griffin

Book 9 of Tracers series



I jumped right into reading Shadow Fall before I even bothered with the book's official summary blurb--I suppose this goes to show how much I've come to enjoy reading Laura Griffin's romantic suspense books and how much I've come to anticipate a Tracers installment.

Shadow Fall is immensely enjoyable despite the standard Romantic Suspense formula, because it is written with an intensity that keeps you interested and turning the pages without fail. I definitely enjoyed it a lot, although I am slightly less enamored with the way that the romance played out. But otherwise, the rest of the book focusing on the serial killer and criminal mystery was quite entertaining.

The Story:
A woman is killed in a gruesome manner and FBI Special Agent Tara Rushing is tasked to insert herself into the local law enforcement to investigate this murder because the victim is a former political candidate. Liam Wolfe, former marine and current owner of an elite security consultant service is one of the main suspects by local law enforcement--in recent history, Liam had taken the murder victim as a client.

As the investigation progresses, however, Tara finds that there might have been more than the one murder tied to the same killer MO--a serial killer may be operating out of these backwoods of East Texas. And as new evidence is uncovered and examined by the Delphi Center, Texas' best forensic organization, leads show a striking connection between the killings and Liam Wolfe or maybe the men who work for him.

Brief Thoughts:
Some aspects of Laura Griffin books tend to recycle themselves sometimes, but in my opinion, if I enjoy them and they work, then I don't really let it bother me. But it doesn't escape my notice. Nonetheless, as I'd stated already, this most recent installment of the Tracers series is highly enjoyable and quite a page-turning experience.

While the romance played out a bit more frustratingly, and there was less of a connect to the characters, the rest of the book progressed smoothly concerning the murders and crime thriller. I would have liked a bit more interaction between Liam and Tara before the "I love you"s were tossed around, even if they waited until the end of the book (Standard Romantic Suspense Procedure™) to throw them out there.

As far as the love story goes, I can usually get behind insta-lust (because that's human nature), but the insta-love came on the heels of that instant attraction way too quickly for me to be comfortable behind. Especially when Liam's idea of caring for someone or falling in love with someone means telling her to stop doing her job or run away from her responsibilities--his controlling behavior irked me just as much as it did Tara, which makes me glad that Tara doesn't just take his demands and runs with them.

In this aspect, I like Tara a lot; I'm glad she doesn't just let a man she's lusting after bulldoze his way into her life and start telling her what to do. Tara is a trained FBI agent (even if there are moments when she doesn't act like it), and also part of a SWAT team. Realistically, I'm glad she has a lot of flaws as well, playing on the "rookie investigator" angle of it all, but also being bad-ass enough to tell the man to "shove it" when he starts thinking he can tell her what to do just because he's developed some caveman protective instincts--as sweet as that may seem. Then again, at least Liam recognizes the futility of trying to be the controlling alpha leader around Tara and accepts it.

And so, in Shadow Fall the criminal aspects of the book overshadow the love story quite a bit, but still managed to remain balanced enough that I enjoyed it. We had all the typical investigating processes, though--collecting and examining evidence, profiling, interviewing witnesses... it all goes by in a blur and if it weren't for the analytical mind of Tara's, I might have zoned out. It takes a great character to put things into perspective rather than simply going through the standard operating motions.

The identity of the killer DID come out of left field, even if it didn't really feel like it at the time. And there were a lot of unresolved issues surrounding certain side characters and certain situation twists with the local law enforcement, although I guess this is fairly realistic that not everything has a proper conclusion, even if I don't care for loose ends.

The pissing wars between law enforcement organizations--local law and FBI--seemed irrelevant in the long term of events though, so I'm not sure how to take all of that.


Hot sex ensues, no damsel in distress situations, lots more of badassery by Agent Rushing, Happily Ever After™...

On a side note:
I'm definitely looking forward to the next installment which has a plot surrounding cyber crimes--I'm hyped already 'cause that is one of my more favorite plot devices in a crime thriller as of recent. If anyone's got some good recommendations for books with cyber crime aspects in it, please let me know. Apparently I'm not very good at finding them.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2015-11-28 09:43
Thoughts: The Luckiest Lady in London
The Luckiest Lady in London - Sherry Thomas

The Luckiest Lady in London -- Sherry Thomas

Book 1 of London trilogy



I don't often read Historical Romances. The one and only Historical Romance I read had been a long time ago, back when I was in high school and considerably more pretentious about my reading preferences than I am today. I had an English teacher who regarded Historical Romance novels (and Romance novels, in general), as uninspiring and trashy--she was a beloved teacher and I found myself going with a lot of things she said. However, in an effort to prove to my friends that I wasn't also prejudiced about my reading preferences, I borrowed a book from a friend, something by Jill Barnett, I believe, and gave it a go, with some reserves.

I can't say I gave it a fair trial though since, at the time, I read mostly textbook classics, human drama, a lot of Michael Crichton and books in the science or crime thriller genre. I ended up being very uninterested in that book, though, and couldn't quite get into it. I don't remember which book it was I had read, but I just recall that I never touched another Historical Romance since and adopted my English teacher's view on Romance novels.

Of course, times have changed and my biggest outlook on reading is simply this: Read what you like. Read what you enjoy. And over the years I've come to like reading a variety of books, including Romance novels and especially Romantic Suspense. Contemporary Romances are also books I may pick up randomly as well.

But Historical genres were still never a preference for me.

The main reason I even chose to put The Luckiest Lady in London on my reading list was because several trusted reviewers/bloggers I follow hyped about it. I then went on to read at least two or three other books that had a historical setting and quite liked them. Other more interesting sounding Historical Romances and Historical Mysteries also made their way onto my list.

And then The Elemental Trilogy happened and decided for me that Sherry Thomas would become an author to look out for.

Rambling aside...

The Luckiest Lady in London has been a highly anticipated book for myself due to positive reviews and the fact that there were elements listed within these reviews that piqued my interest. And then the book ended up on sale via Kindle and somehow made it into my library. As a means to expand my reading experience, I consciously chose to put the book on a pre-chosen Reading Challenge list.

So here we are.

And I'm glad that I made time for The Luckiest Lady in London. So very glad.

The Story:
The story of The Luckiest Lady in London is actually a fairly standard Cinderella-esque story. Lord Felix Rivendale is our wealthy and highly respected Marquess of Wrenworth. Louisa Cantwell, while coming from a respectable family of well-to-do station, is in fact on the poorer end of things with several sisters to take care of, including one with epileptic episodes, youngest sister Matilda. If her mother were to pass away any time in the future, all of the Cantwell sisters would be left without a penny or any assets to their names--in other words, they will either end up homeless and begging or they will have to figure out how to sustain their lifestyles by finding work.

Or another option would be to marry into a wealthy union.

While Louisa admits that she and her sisters would likely be able to get by if they all found jobs, she realizes that the best way to support her sisters is to marry well. So off she goes to London to present herself in the finest way possible in order to draw the attention of any eligible, well-to-do man who would also be willing to take care of Matilda as well. But, of course, she comes across Lord Wrenworth who's attention she manages to catch almost immediately, but who would most likely be the worst candidate for a husband since he is more inclined to NOT settle down and get married for a long time to come.

My Thoughts:
While the story itself was pretty clichéd and started off quite slow, I was ecstatic to find that the book's best quality happened to be the characters. Sure, we get a standard rich man-poor girl romance. Sure, we get a rocky start with the "Lust at First Sight" plot device and an almost instalove development. We even have an arrogant hero who always gets what he wants, shows people a sunny, gentlemanly side of himself (being known as "The Ideal Gentleman"), who has childhood issues to propel his present-day behavior. Which also happens to become a cause for romantic angst in the long run.

But the characters gradually grow on you, and eventually, I stopped caring that some of the events and plot twists where predictable. I even didn't even really concern myself with the mundane, banality of the day-to-day progress of the book's story line. I fell in love with our main couple.

It's not every day that you get a romance wherein the female main character openly expresses her carnal desires, or who has an ambitious, scheming mind in order to achieve her goals. And while Felix tends toward the carbon-copy standard Romance novel main male character, he does have an extremely charming air about him that makes it hard not to like him.

The entirety of the first 30% of this book was a hot and heavy courting ritual riddled with innuendo that felt like sexual foreplay--and the main character barely touch each other during this time--but things were hot, nonetheless. The duration of the couple's relationship, the development, and even the obligatory misunderstanding and ensuing angst wasn't really anything to write home about, honestly.

But the interactions between Louisa and Felix, the witty bantering, the few quips and one-liner conversations had between the two of them were absolutely amazing. In the end, it had been our characters, and even some of the side characters that really drew my attention.

Sherry Thomas has a knack for writing readily lovable characters (as I found with her Young Adult series, The Elemental Trilogy). Even with a standard fairy-tale-like love story such as The Luckiest Lady in London, her characters are still layered in complexity and unpredictable behavior and actions.

This was a wonderful and fun book to read, simple as that.




This book is a pre-chosen participant in the following Reading Challenge(s):



Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2015-11-22 10:49
Thoughts: Lark Ascending
Lark Ascending - Meagan Spooner

Lark Ascending -- Meagan Spooner

Book 3 (final) of Skylark trilogy



@62% into book
This last book is probably the least haphazard one of the trilogy with a much clearer direction. Even with new events surfacing that give rise to new plot twists, we’re at least still focusing on one main conflict, even if said main conflict is extremely predictable.

Unlike the first two books, I’ve yet to encounter too many dragging moments. And then, much like the first two books (with the exception of some of the first book), Lark Ascending is fast-paced with an urgent “need-to-know-what-happens-next” narration. At least it has that going for it.

However, also much like the first two books, the characters are hard to relate with--I find myself caring very little for them or concerning myself about what happens to them. This book is more plot driven than it is character driven; but as I’d mentioned in the other two Skylark reviews, the characters have a lot of potential for great story. They just don’t seem to come to life in the books.

@ Book’s Completion
To be honest, this wasn’t a bad ending for the Skylark trilogy, if only because despite having an ongoing conflict that was hard to grasp, each book also had it’s own well-rounded conflict and conclusion.

And maybe, aside from that fast-paced storytelling that made the books within the Skylark trilogy easy to read, I can give it a little bit of credit for the above-mentioned well-roundedness of each book’s sub-conflict within the bigger main conflict of the trilogy.

Of course, for all the other things I stated in the 62% few paragraphs further up in this haphazard review (characters that are hard to relate with, ready predictability of story direction, uncertainty of each book’s general direction throughout the series…), the overall impression I got from the trilogy was quite less than enjoyable.

Makes sense? Probably not. I’m not even quite sure I know what I’m trying to say.

Nevertheless, I still managed to fly through the books without too much trouble.

In this conclusion:
Basically, it feels like we’re moving forward in the main series conflict with the start of Lark Ascending. But at the same time, it feels like the book recycles the same formula and storyline from both, the first and the second book.

There’s traveling in the dark wilderness outside of the safety of magic-generating cities wherein Lark and her companions are headed to fight another evil. Except that, much like the first two books, she doesn’t know she’ll find another villain to save the world from--she’s just traveling to her destination to find answers she has lots of questions about. And in doing so ends up in another large-scale battle to save lives and overthrow oppression or defeat the bad guys or something like that.

There’s a lot of fighting, a lot of bloodshed, a lot of inner monologue-ing angst about darkness and evil and monsters and etc….

My Thoughts:
The only real difference between this book and the previous two in the trilogy was the fact that (as I’d already stated), the main conflict and the story’s direction are a little more clear cut. It made the book easier to read than the previous two books; I fell asleep less often and got bored less often. I turned pages with a good bit of urgency, curiosity, mostly; wanting to know how the series would tie up; disappointed that there were still a lot of loose ends. Of course, it could also be stated that because the storyline was easier to grasp, so was the predictability of future twists and secret reveals.

Even then, it doesn’t mean that the book itself wasn’t chaotic.

As a dystopian in a sea of other YA dystopian series/trilogies, Skylark isn’t a terrible set. As I’d stated before, the world created in Skylark has potential; the storytelling and the general YA formula, however, made it into “Just another YA dystopian trilogy”.




This book is a pre-chosen participant in the following Reading Challenge(s):



Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2015-11-21 02:15
Thoughts: Shadowlark
Shadowlark - Meagan Spooner

Shadowlark -- Meagan Spooner

Book 2 of Skylark



@50% into book
I fell asleep twice reading this book already. Whether it’s because I’ve been overly tired from lack of sleep or because the book is kind of boring, I’m not sure. Up to this point, there’s a fairly flimsy plot line wherein I have an idea where the book is headed, but I’m not entirely sure I know what is actually going on in this book. Even since the first book I’m not sure I know what the main conflict really is--

1. Lark is looking for her brother, Basil.
2. Lark is trying to find a place where she can live normally.
3. Lark doesn’t want to settle where the society will use her for their own needs.
4. Lark creates her own romantic angst by not knowing what she wants when it comes to Oren.

I honestly have no idea what’s really going on here and I’m having an even harder time relating with any of the characters. I’m not even sure Lark knows what she’s doing, honestly, but I suppose it helps that no matter where she goes, everyone likes her.

@ Book's Completion
I still have issues trying to figure out what all happened in this book. It still feels overly haphazard and confusing. And boring.

But at least it was fast-paced and still had some points where I could get into it and forget that I'm not exactly enjoying it. At least the characters are different and at least Lark is a strong character even if she makes a lot of misguided decisions (misguided by her own dramatic, wandering monologues).

And it's not like Shadowlark was a terrible book, or anything. It's got serviceable writing and a narrator who isn't entirely boring. And the situations DO present with a slight "Wait and see what happens next" vibe. And so I keep reading to figure out what happens next.

And also, Nix is kind of a new take on the R2-D2 of a YA world, with attitude and all. But, of course, Nix is no android Iko from The Lunar Chronicles (Yes. I'm still riding some residual Book Hangover from finishing Winter).

To Paraphrase:
Basically, Shadowlark picks up where we left off from Skylark wherein Lark is continuing her journey to finding her brother, Basil, if he’s still alive. After the events at Iron Wood, Lark is more determined to find Basil and figure out where she belongs in this world.

And she is joined by her human-like pixie, Nix, as well as Tansey, one of the scouts from Iron Wood. Of course, along the way, more conflicts happen, Oren rejoins Lark, but there’s the obligatory romantic angst for reasons… and so on.

And also, more evil stuff surfaces and more saving the world ensues.

My Thoughts:
My thoughts are pretty much what I’ve already stated above: this book was fairly boring. But on top of that, we’ve got some awkward emotional flip-flops all over the place. Scenes that were meant to be gut-wrenching or heart-breaking felt overdone to me. Scenes that required a more emotional reaction ended up narrating rather flat.

Once again, much like Skylark, I really DO feel like this series, this world, had a lot of potential. It’s creative and different. The history of Skylark’s world, however, is still rather vague. But at least back story is what these books have going for it.

The characters seem intriguing on paper, and even the situations and relationships have potential for development, for a more exciting storyline. But in the story itself, the characters are hard to relate with and kind of dull and kind of typical YA standard, even if their situations are a little more unique, especially the romance between Lark and Oren--a darkness to their realities that intrigued me to an extent.

Another fortunate aspect to this book is that it’s pacing is fast. I flew through it before I even knew what was going on. In fact, as I already stated above, I still had no idea what was actually happening in the book, but I breezed right through the entire thing pretty quickly. I mean, I get the events and I see the happenings… but I’m still not entirely certain I know what the point of the book had been. Nor did I understand where the book’s direction was headed.

At least not until the end.

And now, despite knowing what’s in store for the concluding book in this series, I’m not quite sure I’m all that excited about it. The only thing keeping me connected to this series is the curiosity--wanting to know how it all ends.




This book is a pre-chosen participant in the following Reading Challenge(s):



More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?