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review 2018-01-11 18:52
Breaking the Ice (Juniper Falls #2) by Julie Cross
Breaking the Ice (Juniper Falls) - Julie Cross

Julie Cross lights the lamp with BREAKING THE ICE, the second book from the Juniper Falls series.  Juniper Falls princess/cheer captain, Haley Stevenson, needs help with her Civics class.  She decides scholarly hockey player, Fletcher Scott, is the perfect person to help her pass the class.  However, Fletcher likes to stay out of the lime light, which will be impossible if he’s hanging out with Haley.  This contemporary sports romance is suitable for new adult audiences.  It takes place in northern Minnesota.

 

BREAKING THE ICE is a fun story.  Haley and Fletcher are opposites.  She is popular and outgoing.  Whereas, Fletcher likes to go unnoticed and keep to himself.  Haley bulldozes herself into Fletcher’s life.  I like Haley and Fletcher together.  They both misjudge each other.  I like that they eventually open up to one another. 

 

My heart went out to Fletcher.  His allergies are extreme.  I know people with less server conditions and sympathize with what he goes through.  Between his family and health issues, it is understandable why he wants to stay under the radar.  

 

BREAKING THE ICE was skillfully written and flowed well.  There were unexpected twists and pertinent issues.  BREAKING THE ICE is a wonderful addition the Juniper Falls series.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

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review 2018-01-03 21:02
Review: Breaking
Breaking - Danielle Rollins

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I initially requested this one because I liked the previous book I’d read by the same author. I had no idea it was actually a companion novel to Burning until I was half way through and looking up something else on Goodreads.

 

This was an interesting book, after reading the first two or three chapters slowly, I read the rest in a couple of hours one evening. I just couldn’t put it down. I wasn’t completely blown away with the book, I can’t even say I really liked all the characters that much. There was just something about the story and the way the plot unwound that made me want to keep reading and just had to know what was going on and how it all wound up together.

 

Trigger Warnings: Suicide.

 

The novel tells the story of teenager Charlotte, starting off when she’s a very young child, her mother who is some sort of doctor giving her genius tests (which Charlotte is not very good at) her mother has certain expectations of what sort of girl Charlotte should be.  You get the impression that Charlotte doesn’t really care about her mother’s expectations, even at a very young age. Skip ahead to a teenager in a posh prep school. Charlotte is in the principal’s office one of her best friends Devon, has recently committed suicide in a very short time since her other best friend Ariel also committed suicide. Both were bright, smart and popular.

 

Charlotte doesn’t seem to fit the bill with the other smart kids in the school. The kids in the school are all very smart to genius. She’s struggling in her classes and not making the grade. Her mom is a very prestigious (and very rich) alumni. She’s about to pull Charlotte from the school on the principal’s advice, failing grades and the sudden deaths of her two best friends very close together and Charlotte’s attitude seems to be very blasé about everything.

 

Whilst packing her stuff Charlotte finds a package left by one of her deceased friends containing a strange note and a tiny bottle saying “Drink me”. Charlotte realises there must be something more going on, she can’t stop thinking about the note. She realises she wants to find out what it means and will have to be at the school to do that. When almost overnight her physical appearance improves and her (really bitchy) mom notices too. She uses this and manages to convince her mom to let her stay at the school for the rest of the semester contingent on her grades rapidly improving.

 

 

 

 

Charlotte notices quickly that her grades are improving as well, she’s answering questions in class without studying, acing essays and vastly better at her fencing class than she’s ever been. And she’s not the only one who noticed. Her BFF Ariel’s former boyfriend Jack for one, when they start talking again over what happened it turns into more than talking and flirting. And a rival in Charlotte’s fencing class, Zoe, who is not happy at all when Charlotte kicks her ass in fencing.

(spoiler show)

 

The plot is fairly fast paced and there’s enough intrigue that kept me interested when Charlotte finds more notes and more clues left by Ariel and realises at one point that she found the notes and clues left for her in the wrong order. The mystery deepens, Charlotte’s relationship with Jack is getting more and more intense and she’s got the added irritation of fending off Zoe who seems determined to make things difficult for her.

 

The characters were kind of flat, I couldn’t really identify with Charlotte much, she was cold and aloof and had a sort of above it all vibe about her. There was an interesting morality grey area to the plot as it developed as well. It definitely takes a darker twist towards the end, and that’s where it ties in with the previous novel Burning. It can be read as a standalone, there’s very little that gives away anything to do with Burning’s actual plot but if you’ve read Burning there’s an “ahhh” moment when you realise the connection.

 

I also have issues with Charlotte and her two best friends, Ariel and Devon, the reader learns some pretty unsettling things about the two girls as Charlotte delves into the mystery as what caused them both to commit suicide within weeks of each other. These girls were supposed to have been the tight knit group that everyone wanted to be part of, yet there was a sense of underlying threat rather than close female friendship with Ariel as the ring leader and Devon following with Charlotte trailing behind. There was a sense of rivalry and tension that was supposed to be uncomfortable but more annoying than anything else.

 

There was an eye rolling side plot revolving around Ariel’s former boyfriend Jack who was close with Charlotte and Charlotte had always had a thing for but never did anything cause Ariel got there first even though it’s completely obvious Charlotte liked him. Jack is a typical nice guy, good looking with rich parents. His dad has an important job – senator or judge or something along those lines (can’t remember which) but Jack doesn’t seem interested in following those footsteps and like Charlotte doesn’t seem that interested in the classes at the prep school. He and Charlotte redevelop their friendship which of course develops into something more. She (of course) gets to see the side of him that no one else really gets to see.  Then Charlotte notices Jack starts rapidly improving in grades and stuff like she did. The romance angle was irritating.

 

It was a fairly quick read and definitely interesting, not something I would call a favourite but definitely worth a go if you like prep school mysteries and are intrigued by unlikeable characters.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2018-01-02 01:05
ARC Review: Seen by A.M. Arthur
Seen: An Omegaverse Story (Breaking Free Book 2) - A.M. Arthur

Reading this book wasn't easy, and writing up a review for it has obviously taken me quite some time, considering I read this in September of last year. I'm still not sure that I can adequately describe how I spent most of my time reading this book in a state of constant anger and helpless tears at what had been done to Kell, Braun's older brother, at the hands of his alphahole husband and his father-in-law. 

There are moments in this book when Kell experiences trauma beyond anyone's worst nightmares, and I wanted to reach into the book multiple times and kill the alphaholes myself. Any book that can create such a visceral reaction is well deserving of the 5 stars it receives.

I'm not going to give away too much in my review - this book should be experienced without too much information before going in - but I will say that I believe it worth your time, and your potential rage at the inequality between alphas and omegas in this male-only A/B/O universe, and the social repercussions that stem from said inequality. 

The author rather cleverly creates a comparison between the world she's built in this series, and our own reality, where the patriarchy still rules in many countries and women (omegas) are but afterthoughts or simply vessels to bear children, expected to be grateful for the scraps they're given, without any chance at real equality at any time in their lives. 

This isn't an easy series, nor is this an easy book to read - but read it, you should. It's not a standalone, so start with the first one.


** I received a free copy of this book from its author in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2017-11-21 01:58
A wonderful book about one of the best TV shows ever made.
Breaking Bad 101: The Complete Critical Companion - Alan Sepinwall

So, I'm pretty sure I don't need to explain what Breaking Bad is, do I? One of the greatest TV dramas of all time, Mr. Chips turns into Scarface, et cetera, et cetera. This book is a collection of brief essays about each episode, a critical companion, fan resource, and all around handy book.

 

Most of these chapters started out as episode recaps on Alan Sepinwall's blog generally posted a day or two after the original airing -- a couple were written just for this book because he didn't recap each episode in season 1 and a later episode deserved a better recap (for reasons Sepinwall explains) -- although the original version is included as well. He does take out some of he speculation and whatnot from the original posts to provide a nice, clean look at each episode. It's more than just an episode recap, he looks at the arcs, the acting, writing, cinematography; in just a few pages he gets to the heart of the episode and helps you see all things that Gilligan et. al. were doing. The real gems are the footnotes and sidebar pieces that dive in a little further to the nitty-gritty details -- why was this decision made, where'd actor X come from, and so on. Seriously, fantastic footnotes.

 

This is a quick and wonderful read if you do it start to finish -- or you can just thumb through, stopping at random points to read up on an episode. The book works both ways. I imagine the best way to read it is with a remote in one hand, a DVD/Blu-Ray disc in your player and the book in the other hand. Watch an episode, read the chapter -- skipping around in the episode to re-examine shots/sequences, etc. I haven't done that, but man, I'm tempted to.

 

A few other things worthy of note: Damon Lindelof wrote a very amusing foreword; Max Dalton provided 12 black and white illustrations that are just perfect; the dust-jacket design is great; but more than that, the actual cover is even better; and lastly, the whole book is so well-designed and pleasing to the eye, it's nice just to look at without reading. I don't mention those kind of things enough, and need to get better about it.

 

Now, I've been a fan of Sepinwall's recaps/writing since the days he posted about NYPD Blue on Usenet. I also read all these posts from Season 2 on within a few hours of their original posting (I didn't start watching until after the season 1 finale -- so I read all of those in a couple of days, still pretty fresh). So I was pretty predisposed to enjoy this book, but I'm pretty sure I would have anyway.

 

Sepinwall is a fan of Breaking Bad, most of the stories, most of the performances, etc. But he's a thoughtful fan, not a mindless one -- he is critical of some things, this isn't just someone being a fanboy. I heartily encourage fans of the show to pick this up -- or people who've been meaning to watch it, but haven't (this book would be a much better companion than your friends who will be patronizing about you finally getting around to watching it).

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2017/11/16/breaking-bad-101-by-alan-sepinwall
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text 2017-11-12 02:58
16 Tasks for the Festive Season--2
The Breaking Wave - Nevil Shute

Posting task 2-- Square 3

 

Book themes for Veteran’s Day/Armistice Day: Read a book involving veterans of any war, books about WWI or WWII (fiction or non-fiction). 

 

A WWII story of a WREN ordinance officer and two Australian brothers, one a pilot and the other a frogman, in the lead up to the Normandy Invasion. 

 

Oddly enough, this book also counts for the Penance Day read in Square 4: ...where someone is struggling with feelings of guilt or with their conscience (regardless over what).

 

 

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