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review 2018-01-16 23:45
"Year One - Chronicles of the One #1" by Nora Roberts
Year One: Chronicles of The One, Book 1 - -Brilliance Audio on CD Unabridged-,Nora Roberts,Julia Whelan

Year one is sort of urban fantasy twist on "The Stand". It tracks the path of groups of survivors of "The Doom", a virus which kills anyone who is not immune. As billions die, some of the immune discover latent magical powers and find themselves drawn to The Dark or The Light.

 

It's an easy to read entertainment that effortlessly manages the large number of characters and multiple initially parallel but eventually converging plot lines. The good guys are clearly drawn and instantly likeable. There are babies and a lab-cross dog. The bad guys are irredeemably evil and everyone else is either dead or consumed by fear.

 

Nora Roberts' accomplished writing kept me reading, in much the same way that high production standards make it easy to watch "Chicago Fire" or "Rookie Blue" but the good guys didn't become people I cared about and the bad guys seemed more like comic-book demons than people.

 

About halfway through, I realised that, although "Year One" was entertaining enough for me to stick with it to the end, something was preventing me from immersing myself in the story. It took me a while to isolate the cause: my lack of empathy with middle-class America. Most of the main good guy characters in this book come from privileged, sometimes very privileged, backgrounds. The Doom has destroyed their bright futures and now they have to adapt to survive.

 

It turns out that the secret to surviving the apocalypse is to band together with skilled people who embrace middle-class values, choose faith over fear, work together as a team and focus on "doing what comes next". Of course, emergent magical powers are also pretty useful.

 

There's nothing wrong with this. It might even turn out to be true. It's also not so far from the message of "The Stand". What spooked me about it in "Year One" is that Nora Roberts wraps such positive emotions around these values that they slid into my imagination already tagged as a Good Thing. Then I thought about the scale of loss, of the billions dead, of cultures across the world extinguished, of losing everyone you ever loved, of having the value of your previous life challenged or eroded and it seemed to me that the main characters react almost as if they're on medication. Their ability to focus "on what needs doing" is certainly a survival skill but the ease with which they do it, the unthinking adoption of the "I'll protect Us against Them" mindset and the strong link Nora Robers makes between this stance and The Light made it difficult for me to empathise with or care about these people.

 

Later, I struggled with Nora Roberts' obsession with the idea that some things are "meant", that they're part of a "destiny", that it isn't enough for people to be attractive, privileged, educated and have magical gifts, they also have to have some kind of pintable-tilting agents of fate on their side. This began to feel like the dystopian urban fantasy version of meeting Mr Right.

 

At about the same time, we got the sex scene between the Alpha witch couple, Max and Lorna, the two "good guys" that I liked least, and it surfaced everything I disliked about the book: the sex was glossy, the sentiment was saccharine and the allegedly spontaneous vows that followed were so cliché filled and delivered with such self-absorbed seriousness that I felt I'd dropped into the middle of a romance novel. I have less trouble accepting a world-ending-virus and the emergence of latent magical powers than I do believing that people actually talk to each other like this when there's no camera crew present.

 

I liked the end section of the book well enough, setting aside the drumbeat message about "doing what needs to be done". I disliked that fact that not one of the bad guys was given any motivation other than fear, ignorance or just being born that way. The idea of a Messianic "One" sent to save the world doesn't do it for me so I won't be bothering with book two in this series.

 

If this book appeals to you, I recommend the audiobook version. It's skillfully narrated by  Julia Whelan. You can hear her work on the SoundCloud link below.

 

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/378462590" params="color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true" width="100%" height="300" iframe="true" /]

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text 2018-01-02 02:00
2017 End of the Year Book Survey, Pt. 2

looking-ahead-books-2015

 

There were too many books I'm looking forward to this year, so I decided to split this give them their own section. 2018 looks like it will be a good year for books. Hopefully it will be good for many things.

 

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018?

These 4 are all books by authors I've loved, but I just didn't get a chance to get to their new ones before the year ended.

Roomies - Christina Lauren  Foolish Hearts - Emma Mills  Love, Life, and the List - Kasie West  At the Edge of the Universe - Shaun David Hutchinson  

Year One was recommended to me by someone who thought I'd love it. It does sound perfect for me.

Year One - Nora Roberts 

This is the book from the Jane the Virgin TV series, which I love.

Snow Falling - Jane Gloriana Villanueva 

And the rest are all books that caught my eye from book blogs.

Echo After Echo - Amy Rose Capetta  Speak Easy, Speak Love - McKelle George  Kissing Max Holden - Katy Upperman  Here and Gone: A Novel - Haylen Beck  Lucky Girl - Amanda Maciel  Prince in Disguise - Stephanie Kate Strohm

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018 (non-debut)?

These are all by authors I like whose upcoming books sound right up my alley.

The Cheerleaders - Kara Thomas  Listen to Your Heart - Kasie West  It Takes Two to Tumble: Seducing the Sedgwicks - Cat Sebastian  The Cruel Prince - Holly Black  Bygone Badass Broads: 52 Forgotten Women Who Changed the World - Mackenzi Lee,Ms. Petra Eriksson 

I'll confess it was the covers for these 2 that first made me want to read them. Then I read what they were actually about and was still interested.

Emergency Contact - Mary H. K. Choi  A Princess in Theory: Reluctant Royals - Alyssa Cole 

The rest of these came from upcoming release lists and all looked pretty good.

 Anger Is a Gift - Mark Oshiro  Girl Made of Stars - Ashley Herring Blake  Nothing Happened - Molly Booth  Lizzie - Dawn Ius  Dread Nation - Justina Ireland  Tyler Johnson Was Here - Jay Coles  The Prince and the Dressmaker - Jen Wang  

3. 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

My So-Called Bollywood Life - Nisha Sharma  Ship It - Britta Lundin  The F Word - Kiley Roache  The Unbinding of Mary Reade - Miriam McNamara  People Like Us - Dana Mele  American Panda - Gloria Chao  The Wedding Date - Jasmine Guillory  The Dangerous Art of Blending In - Angelo Surmelis  Let's Talk About Love - Claire Kann  The Wife Between Us - Greer Hendricks,Sarah Pekkanen  The Fandom - Anna Day 

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2018?

My Plain Jane - Brodi Ashton,Cynthia Hand,Jodi Meadows  A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses) - Sarah J. Maas 

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2018?

 I want to work on reading my physical books. They've really started piling up and need to get read. I'd also like to get back to writing reviews.

 

Source: www.perpetualpageturner.com/2017/12/8th-annual-end-of-year-survey-2017-edition.html
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text 2018-01-02 01:00
2017 End of the Year Book Survey, Pt. 1

This survey is courtesy of The Perpetual Page-Turner. It's a fun way to look back at all the books I've read over the past year and highlight the highs and lows I had. I'm bad at picking just one book, so don't be surprised to see multiple answers to some of the questions. I've split this into 2 parts. Part 1 will focus on the books I read in 2017. Part 2 will focus on books for 2018.

 

 

 

Number Of Books You Read: 370
Number of Re-Reads: 4

 

best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2017?

It's always hard picking a best book for the year because there are so many great books, but The Ruin of a Rake was the one that connected with me the most, so I'm going with it.

The Ruin of a Rake - Cat Sebastian 

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

I was excited about all three of these books and none of them worked out. New Romancer was easily the worst for me. Mask of Shadows and Queer, There, and Everywhere just ended up being disappointments.

New Romancer Vol. 1 - Peter Milligan Mask of Shadows - Linsey Miller  Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World - Sarah Prager,Zoe More O'Ferrall 

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

Surprising in a bad way was Anna and the Swallow Man. I went in thinking it was a middle grade book, so I was surprised when the child protagonist sells her body for supplies. Most surprising in a good way was Star Wars: Rebel Rising. I didn't really like the Rebel One movie, so I didn't have high hopes for a book focusing on one of the leads, but I ended up really enjoying it.

Anna and the Swallow Man - Gavriel Savit  Star Wars Rebel Rising - Beth Revis 

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

I don't typically push books. When I do, it's usually only to a handful of people. But I did hand people Moxie and tell them to read it at the very end of 2017, so I think that one wins.

Moxie: A Novel - Jennifer Mathieu 

 5. Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?

 The best series I started (and finished) was The Turner Series by Cat Sebastian which began with The Soldier's Scoundrel.

The Soldier's Scoundrel - Cat Sebastian 

The best sequels were Now I Rise for The Conqueror's Saga and Definitely Dead for The Southern Vampires Mysteries. Both series had been solid, but these books were the best so far.

 Now I Rise (The Conqueror's Trilogy) - Kiersten White  Definitely Dead - Charlaine Harris 

The best series ender was Crooked Kingdom for the Six of Crows duology. It wrapped everything up well and brought in my favorite character from its companion series.

 Crooked Kingdom: A Sequel to Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo 

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?

 I blasted through Cat Sebastian's Turner Series and am already looking forward to reading more from her.

The Soldier's Scoundrel - Cat Sebastian The Lawrence Browne Affair - Cat Sebastian The Ruin of a Rake - Cat Sebastian

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I don't typically read memoirs, but Roxane Gay's Hunger was amazing and moving.

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body - Roxane Gay 

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

I had the hardest time putting Big Little Lies down. Every time I had to stop to do something, my mind was on it until I could get back to it.

Big Little Lies - Liane Moriarty 

 9. Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

I can see myself rereading the Turner Series this year. I loved every book.

The Soldier's Scoundrel - Cat Sebastian The Lawrence Browne Affair - Cat Sebastian The Ruin of a Rake - Cat Sebastian

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?

Monstress Volume 2: The Blood - Marjorie M. Liu DC Comics: Bombshells (2015-2017) Vol. 5: The Death of Illusion - Marguerite Bennett,Elsa Charretier,Laura Braga,Mirka Andolfo An Enchantment of Ravens - Margaret Rogerson  Motor Crush Volume 1 - Babs Tarr,Brenden Fletcher,Cameron Stewart Honey So Sweet, Vol. 1 - Amu Meguro  Star-Crossed - Barbara Dee 

11. Most memorable character of 2017?

 Goldie Vance from the Goldie Vance books. She's clever, tough, kind, curious, and very awesome.

Goldie Vance Vol. 1 - Hope Larson,Brittney Williams  Goldie Vance Vol. 2 - Hope Larson,Brittney Williams  Goldie Vance Vol. 3 - Hope Larson,Jackie Ball,Brittney Williams,Noah Hayes,Sarah Stern  

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2017?

I didn't expect it from the name, but A Monster Calls was a beautiful story about loss.

A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness,Siobhan Dowd 

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?

Some books just come to you at the right time which is exactly what The Ruin of a Rake did. Shortly before I read this, I was diagnosed with several things, one of which is an incurable, life-long condition that is likely the cause of the regular migraines I've had for the past few years that were growing more severe and frequent and were regularly putting me out of commission. One of the main characters in this has malaria and spoke about his frustration and sense of helplessness every time his health took a turn for the worse. Everything he said just resonated with me and reflected how I'd been feeling. That helped me with coming to terms with my health and moving forward.

The Ruin of a Rake - Cat Sebastian

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read? 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower had been on my reading list for years. I finally got to it in 2017.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky 

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2017?

I'm usually not good at remembering quotes from books, but I did have 2 quotes that stuck with me from books this year. And they just feel appropriate for this year.

In my next life, I’m going to be an ass-kicking ninja warrior queen. And I will hunt shits like you down. Throw your ass in a dungeon and drop the key in my moat and my lady knights will be all, Huzzah! and I will sit on my throne like, Yes.

-Heather Demetrios, Bad Romance

 

Lena’s voice grew cold. “I don’t understand you. I don’t understand people like you, who always choose to blame the woman. If there’s two people doing something wrong and one of them’s a girl, it’s got to be her fault, right?”

“No, Lena, it’s not like that, it isn’t—“

“Yes, it is. It’s, like, when someone has an affair, why does the wife always hate the other woman? Why doesn’t she hate her husband? He’s the one who’s betrayed her, he’s the one who swore to love her and keep her and whatever forever and ever. Why isn’t he the one who gets shoved off a fucking cliff?”

-Paula Hawkins, Into the Water

 16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?

The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part One - Irene Koh,Various  - 80 pages

A Court of Wings and Ruin - Sarah J. Maas - 699 pages

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

New Romancer looked like a cute romantic comedy and had a scene where one character's eye gets stabbed through with a penis. Wasn't expecting that. Love is Love was advertised as a book to mourn the victims of the Pulse shooting by celebrating them and their community. It featured quite a few depictions of the victims' corpses lying in pools of their blood and also a short story celebrating Zeus and his many loves, completely glossing over the fact that he raped all the people depicted. Not what I expected with a cover like that.

New Romancer Vol. 1 - Peter Milligan  Love is Love - Phil Jimenez,Various 

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

The Soldier's Scoundrel - Cat Sebastian - Jack Turner and Oliver Rivington

The Lawrence Browne Affair - Cat Sebastian - Lawrence Browne and Georgie Turner

The Ruin of a Rake - Cat Sebastian - Lord Courtenay and Julian Medlock

A Court of Wings and Ruin - Sarah J. Maas - Feyre and Rhysand

Dating You / Hating You - Christina Lauren - Carter and Evie

My Love Story!!, Vol. 1 - Aruko,Kazune Kawahara - Takeo and Yamato

Goldie Vance Vol. 1 - Hope Larson,Brittney Williams - Goldie and Diane

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

 My Love Story!!, Vol. 1 - Aruko,Kazune Kawahara - Takeo and Suna

The Nowhere Girls - Amy Reed - Grace, Rosina, and Erin

Girls Made of Snow and Glass - Melissa Bashardoust - Lynet and Mina

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Moxie: A Novel - Jennifer Mathieu  My Love Story!!, Vol. 1 - Aruko,Kazune Kawahara 

21. Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

This book wasn't on my radar at all until my mom told me I would like it. As usual, she was right.

The Alice Network - Kate Quinn 

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?

Goldie Vance Vol. 1 - Hope Larson,Brittney Williams - Goldie Vance

Bad Romance - Heather Demetrios - Grace

Honey So Sweet, Vol. 1 - Amu Meguro - Taiga

23. Best 2017 debut you read?

This Mortal Coil - Emily Suvada  Dear Martin - Nic Stone  The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas  One of Us Is Lying - Karen M. McManus  When Dimple Met Rishi - Sandhya Menon 

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom are set in the same world while A Court of Wings and Ruin expands the world of its series even more.

 A Court of Wings and Ruin - Sarah J. Maas  Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo  Crooked Kingdom: A Sequel to Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Goldie Vance Vol. 1 - Hope Larson,Brittney Williams  Goldie Vance Vol. 2 - Hope Larson,Brittney Williams  Goldie Vance Vol. 3 - Hope Larson,Jackie Ball,Brittney Williams,Noah Hayes,Sarah Stern  Dating You / Hating You - Christina Lauren  I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons - Kevin Hart,Neil Strauss 

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2017?

The tears didn't really start for Your Lie in April until the end of the series. The tears for A Monster Calls came near the end of the book.

 Your Lie in April 1 - Naoshi Arakawa  A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness,Siobhan Dowd

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

The Goldie Vance series is adorable and fun.

Goldie Vance Vol. 1 - Hope Larson,Brittney Williams  Goldie Vance Vol. 2 - Hope Larson,Brittney Williams  Goldie Vance Vol. 3 - Hope Larson,Jackie Ball,Brittney Williams,Noah Hayes,Sarah Stern  

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

I will never be able to read this book again. It was hard to read about what the women went through there and how they were treated.

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town - Jon Krakauer 

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?

My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness - Kabi Nagata 

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Both books examine how rape cases were handled in 2 different college towns. I was so angry hearing how the women were treated by the officials at the schools and by the law enforcement of the cities.

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town - Jon Krakauer  Violated: Exposing Rape at Baylor University amid College Football's Sexual Assault Crisis - Paula Lavigne,Mark Schlabach 

Source: www.perpetualpageturner.com/2017/12/8th-annual-end-of-year-survey-2017-edition.html
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text 2017-12-30 14:45
New Year Book Tag


NEW YEAR BOOK TAG


I saw a tweet today from @KatherineSunde3 (bibliomaniacUK) talking about book challenges - how many books read in a year and I thought I'd share her tweet and talk about how my challenge had gone this year too as its a good tag to take part in over this weekend. 

This year has been a particularly rough year for me as I''ve somehow lost my reading mojo and subsequently managed to read less than 50 books. In previous years, I'd read upwards of 100 so although I do feel a bit disappointed in myself, I'm entering 2018 with a more positive frame of mind.

 






How many books are you planning to read in 2018?

 I'm going to set myself the same target for 2018 as I did in 2017 - 52. Although I didn't quite achieve it this year, I feel it is achievable next year. Hopefully I'll far surpass it as my Netgalley shelf alone is immense, not to mention my physical bookshelves!


Name five books you didn't get to read this year but want to make a priority in 2018?



Name a genre you want to read more of?


I'd really like to read more sci-fi, maybe not the really heavy stuff, but books with a more light - hearted feel I could definitely appreciate.


Three non book related goals for 2018?

To continue on my weight loss journey and to hopefully achieve my target weight by this time next year.

To remain positive whatever life throws my way.

To try to achieve one thing each day that I am proud of.

What's a book you've had forever that you still need to read?

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness


One word that you're hoping 2018 will be?

Positive

 

Tag a friend or two

 

Jules

Sam

 

 

 

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review 2017-12-10 00:00
New Year's at the Graff (Holiday at the Graff Book 3)
New Year's at the Graff (Holiday at the Graff Book 3) - Marin Thomas A string of coincidences lays the groundwork for a happily ever after. New Year's at the Graff is a story of small town living, family, and new beginnings. City slicker Lucas hits small town Marrietta with an agenda. Plans change when his heart becomes tied up in a feisty country girl and her equally adorable daughter. Ava is a woman on a mission to follow her dreams and help others in the process. When a handsome stranger and a New Year's kiss disrupt her life, will she have the strength to risk her heart and dreams for a big city man? My favorite reads are small town stories. What may seem complicated, can often be simple and the helping hands and family atmosphere speak to the sentimental aspect of my personality.
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