Sunday, July 31, 2016

Brief Thoughts: The River Knows

The River Knows

by Amanda Quick

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  4.0 Stars

The first kiss occurred in a dimly lit hallway on the upper floor of Elwin Hastings's grand house.  Louisa never saw it coming...

Of course, Anthony Stalbridge couldn't possibly have had romantic intentions.  The kiss was an act of desperation, meant to distract the armed guard who was about to catch the pair in a place they most definitely did not belong.  After all, in her dull maroon gown and gold-rimmed spectacles, Louisa Bryce was no man's idea of an alluring female.  Clearly, the only thing a catch like Anthony Stalbridge had in common with a wallflower like Louisa was a passionate interest in the private affairs of Mr. Hastings--a prominent member of Society whom they both suspect of hiding terrible secrets.  Now, thrown into each other's arms by their ruse, Anthony and Louisa are united in their efforts to find the truth.

Each has a personal reason for the quest.  Months earlier, Anthony's fiance threw herself into the Thames--or at least, that is the version whispered in London's social circles.  Anthony believes someone else may have had a hand in her death--and a murderous one at that.  Louisa, whose own identity is shrouded in layers of mystery, is convinced that Hastings has a connection to a notorious brothel.  When Anthony successfully cracks Hastings's hidden safe and discovers highly incriminating evidence, it appears that both their instincts were correct.

But Hastings is hiding far more than jewels and ledger books.  Bringing him to justice will be more perilous than Louisa and Anthony anticipate--and their partnership will be more heated than either expects.  For the two share a thrilling attraction to danger, and it is not only Anthony's curiosity that Louisa arouses.

To date, this is probably the Amanda Quick book with the most riveting mystery I've read--in my personal opinion, of course.  I know a lot of other people might disagree.  But I enjoyed every moment of this book and was actually quite in love with how the entire story unfolded.  And I am always ever in love with how quickly books by this author jump right into the action, the excitement, and the intrigue.

When played right, the secret reveals in certain books work really well.  And this was one of the instances I liked in particular.

The only unfortunate thing is that, like all the other Amanda Quick books I've read, The River Knows is not really all that memorable.  I barely remember some of the little details, though I know there were certain scenes that made me laugh or feel happy about.

I barely remember character names within a couple days of finishing the book (had to look them up) even though I know I liked the characters.  Louisa was the standard Amanda Quick independent, feisty, resourceful heroine with a heart of gold.  Anthony was the standard romance novel broody alpha male with motives... although if I were to be honest, he really wasn't as broody as I'm making him sound.  In fact, I actually kind of liked his approach to the developing romantic relationship he had with Louisa.  And I actually kind of liked the way some things happened for this couple, in contrast to how most romance novels develop the love story.

So I DID really enjoy reading this book and when I was finished, I gave it a high rating because of how much I enjoyed it, and how much I liked the way the story progressed, and how much I liked the characters and their interactions, and how much I liked the romance despite Amanda Quick's formulaic signatures which I have come to expect and will resignedly, but willingly wave on.

Here's to another non-Arcane Society Amanda Quick book that I thoroughly enjoyed.  May there be more before I get tired of the same stories; although I am also a fan of "tried and true" for those times where I just need an enjoyable book of which employs said tried and true formulas, written well, with readily likable characters to keep me entertained.

I now decree Amanda Quick as one of my go to, absurdly addictive author for when I just need something to read to make me happy!


2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
COYER Summer Vacation 2016 -- Bingo Board Two | Square O7 -- Romance

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Quick Thoughts: The Hanover Square Affair

The Hanover Square Affair

by Ashley Gardner
Book 1 of Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  3.0 Stars

London, 1816
Cavalry captain Gabriel Lacey returns to Regency London from the Napoleonic wars, burned out, fighting melancholia, his career ended. His interest is perked when he learns of a missing girl, possibly kidnapped by a prominent member of Parliament. Lacey's search for the girl leads to the discovery of murder, corruption, and dealings with a leader of the underworld. He faces his own disorientation transitioning from a soldier's life to the civilian world at the same time, redefining his role with his former commanding officer and making new friends--from the top of society to the street girls of Covent Garden.

I sat down at my desk and started surfing other's book blogs before I remembered that I hadn't quite written this book's review yet.  As much as I hate to say this, The Hanover Square Affair was not the most memorable book.  In fact, my reading experience was quite an uphill-downhill, and then up again and down again kind of experience.  Even while reading the book, I started getting sidetracked and forgetting what was going on.  And then after finishing the book, I even forgot to brainstorm this review.

So, to be short and brief on this one--for real this time, since my "short and brief" reviews always end in rambling sessions--The Hanover Square Affair was enjoyable during the reading of it.  There was excitement and I DID find myself sort of caught up in Captain Gabriel Lacey's curious investigation.  The mystery was quite serviceable.  But a lot of other moments seemed to run in side tangent, or drag on and become almost boring--these scenes I tended to forget about after a while and had to work to recall events that were brought up at later times in the book.

More than anything, I had no rapport with the characters; and when I feel detached from the characters, I tend to stop caring about what happens to them.  Maybe the good Captain Lacey was the only character I really did find myself caring about, but I also found his passionate behavior a little extreme and hot-headed.  I'm not saying that's a bad thing--he's a uniquely created main character and I like that he comes off different than other main male heroes I often see in many other books.  To be honest, I really don't have much to complain about Captain Lacey at all, and if I were to pick up the next book in this series, it would be because of him.

As it is, I really DID enjoy following Captain Lacey's narration a lot.

But I still stand that I found the rest of the characters in the book to be like mere background noise.  Even Grenville, who's eccentric and intriguing personality would merit some interest on my behalf didn't quite sit well with me.  I liked him just fine.  I also kind of liked that he's fairly honest to Captain Lacey about his motives.  I just maybe think that, since you don't get to see much in his perspective (since this book is written in first person from Lacey's POV), that you don't really get to know Grenville as more than just a bored, wealthy benefactor to Captain Lacey without much else going for him aside from his biographical eccentricities.

I would love to see more from Grenville's point of view, to be honest.

The rest of the characters had their own characterizations.  But those characterizations felt flat and boring.


2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Reading Assignment Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge
Mount TBR Challenge

COYER Summer Vacation 2016 -- Bingo Board One | Square E9 -- Mystery

Friday, July 29, 2016

Quick Thoughts: Dark Light

Dark Light

by Jayne Castle
Book 5 of Harmony

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  3.5 Stars

Reporter Sierra McIntyre's stories on Crystal City's ghost hunters--and their mysterious guild--have earned her tabloid a bit of respect.  And they've allowed her to clothe her dust-bunny companion, Elvis, in rock-and-roll style.  It helps that she has mega-rez intuition to fall back on...

Especially when she interviews Ghost Hunter Guild boss John Fontana about the disappearances of retired, homeless hunters.  She doesn't want to trust the physically and psychically powerful man, but her senses--and Elvis--give her the green light.  To uncover the conspiracy within his own organization, Fontana proposes... marriage.  And though it's purely a business arrangement, there's nothing pure about the attraction that sizzles between them...

There were many things I really liked about this book despite the common formula that Jayne Castle uses on a regular basis.  I like the new paranormal talents that continue to be introduced with each book.  I like that the world of Harmony isn't static, and that things are continuously being discovered from alien history, to human history, to new and unknown abilities.  I like that the characters are always likable and easy to follow.  I like that the romances are steamy and sexy and fun.  I like the wit and humor.

And in Dark Light, I also very much liked our main couple, Sierra and Fontana.  Of course, as per usual, Fontana is the typical broody, alpha with some back story issues.  Sierra was a bit hard to like in those first few paragraphs if only because reporters tend to be some of my least favorite character types--but she turns out to be lots of fun, laid back and righteous, and witty in her own way.

I liked the other characters introduced, even though we'll probably never see them again.

And I loved Elvis, the diva dust bunny, companion to Sierra, who loves his little Elvis cap and sunglasses, and loves to play new games.  To be totally honest, as much as I like the main human characters in these books, they are always overshadowed by the dust bunnies.  I don't think there's anything I don't love about dust bunnies and it makes me so happy to see them incorporated so naturally into the story.

Finally, I like how Jayne Castle is starting to officially incorporate the Arcane Society into the Harmony books.  As soon as it was mentioned that Sierra's ability was of a psychic nature that she uses without the aid of tuned amber--the stone that helps the Harmony characters use their psi abilities--I had a feeling we were talking about the same types of psychic abilities from the other aforementioned series.  And then it was confirmed, so I'm happy about that.

So it looks like we'll have more to look forward to in these books as the world becomes more extensive.


2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
COYER Summer Vacation 2016 -- Bingo Board Two | Square Y8 -- Futuristic

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Brief Thoughts: The Third Circle

The Third Circle

by Amanda Quick
Book 4 of Arcane Society

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  3.0 Stars

Leona Hewitt has secretly made her way into Lord Delbridge’s private museum to retrieve a relic stolen from her family.  But someone else is in the dimly lit gallery on the same errand: a tall, black cloaked man whose very voice is enough to cause her to fall into a trance.

Thaddeus Ware, a mesmerist with psychic gifts, is accustomed to fearful reactions from others—women, in particular.  After all, a man who can control the minds of others could rob a lady of her virtue—completely unbeknownst to her.  But Leona shows no trace of hysteria in his presence.  A gifted crystal worker, she exerts a rather hypnotic power over the hypnotist himself.  And she is determined to keep the coveted crystal they manage to recover by giving him the slip at a run-down London inn.

Thaddeus, on assignment for the Arcane Society, knows the menace Leona is courting by absconding with the crystal.  A source of remarkable energy, it holds the potential for great destruction.  Lord Delbridge has already killed to acquire the crystal, his key to membership in the elite, shadowy group known as the Third Circle.  And, with the help of a ruthless hunter of preternatural skill—dubbed the Midnight Monster by the press—Delbridge intends to find Leona.  With the stolen crystal in their possession, the danger is only beginning.

Aside from one of Amanda Quick's most recent books, I've been enjoying everything I've read of hers that are non-Arcane Society books.  For some reason, the Arcane Society historicals have been a bit draggy in comparison to her other historical mystery/romantic suspense/historical romance books.  And I'm not sure what it is, but while I DO enjoy reading them for the characters and for this tried-and-true formula that I've found myself liking, it's still a little disappointing that her hero and heroine go through the same romantic hoops and events.

On the other hand, I actually kind of enjoy the contemporary side of this Arcane Society series a lot more.

And then on another hand, I DO like how the books interweave between contemporary and historical.

Anyway, these books are still likable and enjoyable and addictive.  I've just run out of things to say about them if something new doesn't come about.  Because, as I'd already stated, it's the same formula with different characters.  And honestly, there isn't even really anything different about each set of characters:  Thaddeus is the typical alpha, broody hero.  Leona is the feisty, intelligent, ahead-of-her-time heroine.

I DID come to love Aunt Victoria though; she was interesting to have around.

What I DIDN'T like was how this book was less of a mystery than a straight forward suspense with romance and sex and some investigating that didn't really amount to much, to be honest.  Next to 'Til Death Do Us Part, this is probably my least favorite of Amanda Quick's work thus far.


2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
COYER Summer Vacation 2016 -- Bingo Board Two | Square E14 -- Historical

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Brief Thoughts: Sizzle and Burn

Sizzle and Burn

by Jayne Ann Krentz
Book 3 of Arcane Society

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  3.5 Stars

When Raine Tallentyre made the mistake of revealing her paranormal abilities, her most recent romantic relationship came to a hasty end.  Her Aunt Vella, a gifted but troubled soul, had told her years ago to keep her talents a secret.  And now that poor Aunt Vella—her last blood relative—has died, Raine has resigned herself to a lonely life.

But when she journeys to Shelbyville, Washington, to clear out Aunt Vella’s house, Raine’s highly developed sensitivity leads her to a horrifying discovery: a young woman bound and terrified in a basement storage locker.  The victim has survived, but the culprit is still on the loose.  Without warning, a new man enters Raine’s life—investigator Zack Jones. Surprisingly, Zack isn’t repelled by her powers: in fact, he has them himself.  While Raine hears voices, Zack sees visions and within hours of their meeting, Raine experiences an intense, thrilling intimacy—mental, emotional, and physical—she never dared to expect.

There’s one complication, however: Zack Jones is working for the Arcane Society.  This secret organization, dedicated to the study of paranormal phenomena, shattered Raine’s family with an act of betrayal long ago, and she’s not about to trust them now.  But as a killer makes her his target, and a cabal of psychic criminals known as Nightshade operates in the shadows surrounding them, Raine and Zack must rely not only on their powerful abilities but on each other...

Sizzle and Burn is another highly enjoyable, readily intriguing romantic suspense by Jayne Ann Krentz.  And I say this every time I read one of her books, but they are indeed extremely addictive and easy to read.

I found myself liking a lot of things about this book.  Raine and Zack were great characters, both with their own unique traits, and a wonderfully compatible relationship.  I winced a little bit at the "meant to be" vibes, but I set those aside after the two of them started working together and proving that they would have been compatible with each other, paranormal senses or not.  I love that Raine has a signature "screw you" smile--it makes for a great strong heroine in a sea of testosterone in this book.  Zack is the typical alpha male, but I'm not going to hold that against him since he was a great guy.

The mystery was actually pretty enjoyable... until I realized how many tangents were surfacing towards the end to lend a resolution to the initial murder that jump starts this entire book's main conflict.  There turned out to be entirely too many things going on towards the end that just seemed like a jumbled mess.  At some point I found myself wondering whether or not our mysteries even got solved and I have a nagging feeling there were loose ends somewhere.

Nonetheless, Sizzle and Burn is still an incredibly fun and enjoyable read, so I'm willing to just go with it and move on.  I was entertained.  I was hooked.  I am going to continue reading books in this series and books by this author.

And that is all that matters.


2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
COYER Summer Vacation 2016 -- Bingo Board Two | Square C16 -- PNR

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Make Me Do Things!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original and weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

~~ Top Ten Things Books Have Made Me ~~

~~ Want To Do Or Learn About ~~

~~ After Reading Them ~~

This week for Top Ten Tuesday, the topic is a difficult one, but not impossible.  I've often made little comments here and there about the things I become curious about after reading certain books.  So I guess now is the time to list them and maybe, on a subconscious level, remind myself that it isn't so hard to do some research with the Almighty Interwebz so ready with information at hand these days.

1.  Learn History.  Reading certain books have made me interested in the history of certain places.  I've never really been that interested in historical fiction, but the occasional book DOES intrigue me.  Back in my youth, watching Chinese wuxia series adaptations of Louis Cha's books made me interested in Chinese history.

A couple years ago, reading Robin LaFever's Grave Mercy made me interested in the history of Brittany as well as the workings of dukedoms.  Most recently, reading some historical mystery books have piqued my interest in Scotland Yard or even how life was back in the 1800s of Europe.

2.  Become a Criminologist or a Profiler... or something in that line of work.  I was always interested in the Forensic Sciences ever since the days of The X-Files.  I even have a degree.  But my recent obsession with crime thrillers also came with the interest in all the different types of forensic crime scene workers and forensic scientists:
  • Laura Griffin's Tracers series has gotten me interested in professions such as DNA Analyst, Forensic Photography, Ballistics, Forensic Cyber Crime Investigation, and so on.
  • Kylie Brant's Mindhunters series has gotten me interested in Criminal Profiling, Language and Handwriting Analysis, and so on.

3.  Follow current events and learn about the realities of what's going on in the world.  I'm an ignorant person and rarely follow news unless it pops up as something on a app as a headline.  I DO sometimes skim my Facebook newsreel which is loaded with local news station stuff to see what's going on locally.  But by and far, I've always been ignorant of the world.

But reading certain books DOES bring to light prominent problems in our world and in our societies that are bigger problems than anyone would have ever believed, such as Human Trafficking and Black Market Baby Markets.  Human Trafficking is a huge problem that many people seem highly ignorant of--the kidnapping or forcing of people into a position of slavery to be sold for someone else's profit gain.  The Baby Markets are also a sad issue I recently learned about--stealing or taking another's baby in order to "adopt" them out to families who have "special requests".

4.  Learn New Recipes.  One of my goals this year is to learn several new recipes.  I've always wanted to do that in some sense, but I recently read some books that involve cooking and baking and decided that maybe I should learn how to make new meals or bake new goods aside from my usual boring fare.

5.  Read about the Arctic Icecap and it's possible Scientific values.  I recently finished reading Dean Koont's Icebound.  It got me interested in reading up on some of the stuff he mentioned in the book about the Arctic having the purest water in the world.

6.  Read and learn more about different supernatural/paranormal legends, cultures, and stories.  Every country and every culture have their own mythologies.  As is also know, every culture also have legendary paranormal stories as well.  Every time I read another book that is based in the paranormal or supernatural, or uses legends as their springboards, or even creates stories from well-known mythological creatures, or even uses infamous paranormal creatures as the topic, I become interested in reading up on different takes on these subjects.

For instance, if I watch a paranormal series with an episode featuring a Wendigo, I go and look up the creature to find out what it is... and then some.  When I read a book about different kinds of psychic talents, I go look up different culture takes on psychics.  When I read a book about tarot card readers or fortune tellers, I wonder where the profession started and how it's evolved over the years.

7.  Learn more about dust bunnies.  I recently started reading Jayne Ann Krentz.  It appears that aside from her long-running series and her other two infamous pseudonyms, she is also quite popular for a fictionally created little critter called a "dust bunny".  Her Harmony series features the very first appearance of a dust bunny--a predatory alien creature that looks like a gray, fluffy piece of lint with six legs and two sets of eyes--in the very first book of the Harmony series.  They are said to be natural predators and by the time you see their teeth, it's already too late.

I did a Google search of dust bunnies.  Apparently these little sidekick critters have become so immensely popular among the Harmony and JAK fans that it's expected that there will always be a dust bunny present in every single Harmony installment.  I'm not surprised as I love these critters as well.  Unfortunately, there's very little data on them on the internet world right now.

8.  Travel to Everywhere.  I'm a lazy person who likes being home most days.  But sometimes, as I read about characters going to various parts of the world, I find myself yearning for a little more adventure.
  • When the main couple in Julie James' Suddenly One Summer spent an afternoon at Chicago's annual food fest, I find myself wanting to visit just to experience the foodgasm that is sure to come.
  • When the scenic mountainous landscape of Scarlet Springs, Colorado are presented to us in Pamela Clare's Barely Breathing, I find myself wanting to drive to the mountain state just to bask in the wonder and beauty of the Rockies.
  • And even when I read about a group of teens running for their life in the vast desert of the Kalahari in Jessica Khoury's Kalahari, I find myself wondering what it would be like to go on a safari--a real one, not the Disney Animal Kingdom one.

I have wanted to visit many, many places:
  • Alaska because of Addison Fox's Baby It's Cold Outside
  • New York because of books like the Nikki Heat series or the Heather Wells series; 
  • Japan because of various manga I've read in the past; 
  • Old southern plantations and homes in the southern parts of the States because of books like the Doucet series by Tami Hoag, the Graveyard Queen series by Amanda Stevens, or other books set in southern states described with gorgeous settings;
  • Peaceful little seaside bed and breakfast locales such as the one featured in Jill Shalvis' Lucky Harbor series;
  • Old European castles and mansions, thanks to the various historicals I've been reading lately, or some more Gothic reads from the past.


I'm sure there's a whole host of other things books have made me want to do or learn about the the past as well as recently.  But for now, this is really all I can think of.

Monday, July 25, 2016

24 in 48 Readathon: Wrap Up

Well I never really made it to 24 hours worth of reading.  But I DID accomplish enough reading to make me satisfied.  Maybe in the future I'll be able to do a bit more, but readathons are for fun and fun was had, and that's what's important.

Books Read

Still Reading


I started the readathon halfway through Icebound, and then went on to read and finish Sizzle and Burn.  Overall, it took me about ten hours to complete.  Then for another added on four hours, I read up to page 155 of The Third Circle.  All-in-all, not bad progress for a "24 hour" readathon, wherein I really only spent about 15 hours reading!

Until the next thon, then!


For previous updates and other readathons I've participated in, see my readathon archive.

Thoughts: Icebound


by Dean Koontz

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  2.5 Stars

I haven't read a Dean Koontz book in a very long time, but he used to be one of my auto-go-to authors when I was still in high school.  Back then, my reading appetite was considerably different, but one thing never changed over the years:  I love me a good thriller.

As is written in the 'Afterword' of this book, Koontz states that this book is far different than his typical genre of writing.  And I'd have to agree--for a few moments in the middle of the book, I had found myself thinking that it read and felt different, like it was written by someone else.

Quite a feat, I suppose, since I've always associated Dean Koontz with a specific writing style.  But don't get me wrong, the writing style and pacing was quite Koontz--at least what I remember of what I've read in the past, but some of the events and the flow of the narration felt a bit awkward and forced; not at all like the smooth and increasingly exciting progression I used to associate with Dean Koontz books I've read before.

I'm in the minority here with my opinions, apparently, but there was just something about the book I couldn't quite get into.  Sure, the story was intriguing, and things DID get exciting at some point; but overall, I wasn't entirely certain I cared much for this book, nor the long drawn out, supposedly suspenseful climax at the end.

I just felt like things could have been handled better.

The Story:
A team of "U.N. Scientists" are stationed in the Arctic to undergo research of the ice fields they will call home for months.  The basic idea is to see if it is possible to float a piece of ice in an effort to supply fresh water to civilization.  But even as the team are setting up their explosives to break off a piece of the polar icecap, a tsunami rumbles underneath the slab of ice the team is stationed on, breaking off the land mass, and essentially rendering our main characters on a floating ice island in the dead middle of an Arctic winter.

To make matters worse, the sixty explosives meant to break off the ice mass from the polar icecap are now ticking down to detonation with eight lives sitting right on top of them.  The winter winds make it hard for any rescue from outside transport, and our heroes realize that they could all be dead before the night is over--if the explosives don't kill them, then over time, the harsh winter weather will most certainly claim them.

As if the situation weren't bad enough, our lead scientist, Dr. Harry Carpenter is made aware that there is a potential killer among their small group.

My Thoughts:
The book dragged a lot in the beginning, but there was no shortage of action.  It just somehow managed to feel drawn out in spite of the forward progression, probably because of all the random side tangents thrown in to build character biographies and whatnot.  It's not that I didn't appreciate them--they seemed necessary, after all.  But at some point, the transitions just seemed a little awkward, aside from the one flashback memory of when Harry met Rita--that side tangent was quite enjoyable.

I suspect, however, that I had trouble getting into the book because the entire story hinged on one really big conflict, but the urgency of the matter didn't really feel urgent.  And then I couldn't seem to make myself really care about any of the characters aside form Harry and Rita Carpenter.  The rest of the group felt like stage props.

Then you start throwing in another conflict after another and I started feeling the beginning stages of frustration rather than excitement.  It was almost as if Koontz felt like more needed to happen aside from our scientists waiting for impending doom, and so let's add some more action to keep things interesting.

Except that I didn't need more.  Because sometimes less is more.  And in this case, it was definitely the case.  By the end of the book, there just felt like there was too much catastrophe hinging on that midnight countdown.  But instead of feeling anxious or fearful for our group, it got exhausting waiting for the end of that countdown.

On top of that, I had been fully expecting some kind of horror, as is typical of most Dean Koontz books.  But there was no horror to be had.  Just your typical natural disaster type of suspense with a killer thrown into the mix.

Anyway, there were moments where the book was enjoyable, but I'm still a little jarred by the fact that this book is so different than what I'm used to with Dean Koontz.  Maybe I was just expecting too much.


2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Reading Assignment Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge
Mount TBR Challenge
COYER Summer Vacation 2016 -- Bingo Board Three | Square C16 -- Suspense

Sunday, July 24, 2016

24 in 48 Readathon: Hour Forty-One... and a half

Few more hours until the end...

Beginning at 12:01am on Saturday morning and running through 11:59pm on Sunday night, readers read for 24 hours out of that 48 hour period.  You can split that up however you’d like: 20 hours on Saturday, 4 hours on Sunday; 12 hours each day; six 4 hour sessions with 4 hour breaks in between; whatever you’d like.

This post was supposed to go up at noon while I was sleeping, but I forgot to pre-publish it.  As it is, I'm anal and need to have my posts scheduled for specific updates--every twelve hours, they were supposed to be.  The first update went out an hour late and it still kind of bugs me, but I couldn't very well call it "Hour Twelve" when it was already past that time.

And now this...  But moving along now because the point is moot.

Anyway, got some good reading done.  I haven't quite made it to 24 hours worth of reading yet, and to be honest, I don't think I will.  But the important thing is that I've been reading and have finished two books.

At this point, I've read approximately 629 pages of book total, over the course of 11.5 hours.

Books Read

Sizzle and Burn by Jayne Ann Krentz | 359 pages

I spent the rest of the early morning finishing this book, which took approximately four hours, just as I'd expected.  Left off at 168 pages read prior to midnight and finished the last 191 pages.

There might have been food involved during this reading session.  Maybe a couple bathroom breaks.  At least I didn't pass out reading this book.

Currently Reading

The Third Circle by Amanda Quick | 342 pages

After finishing Sizzle and Burn, I piddled around for a bit, listened to some music, and then finally laid down to sleep.  Of course, laying down to sleep requires bringing a book with me, or it feels unnatural.

I read 56 pages of The Third Circle, which I attribute to approximately one hour of reading, though I'm not certain.  It might have only been about thirty-five to forty minutes.  But I'm going to round up and add to my reading hours.

Gonna see how much more I can get read before I go to work tonight; I'm certain I won't be finishing this book before midnight.

24 in 48 Readathon: Hour Twenty-Four

Into the next day...

Beginning at 12:01am on Saturday morning and running through 11:59pm on Sunday night, readers read for 24 hours out of that 48 hour period.  You can split that up however you’d like: 20 hours on Saturday, 4 hours on Sunday; 12 hours each day; six 4 hour sessions with 4 hour breaks in between; whatever you’d like.

I've been reading on and off all evening, with dinner and some family time in-between.  All-in-all, it's been a pretty productive night.  I didn't finish a second book, but I'm a little under halfway through it.  If I keep going the rest of the night (my prime reading time), I might even be able to start reading that third book.  And since I'm stubbornly addicted to finishing books that interest me before going to sleep, I'll probably do as such before crashing in the morning.

I have to be back at work tomorrow night, so sleeping in the morning will be a necessity... I suppose.

As of these first 24 hours, I have read a total of 382 pages of book over a course of 6.5 hours of reading time.  This includes the finished read of Icebound by Dean Koontz (see Hour Thirteen Update).

Currently Reading

Sizzle and Burn by Jayne Ann Krentz | 359 pages

I started reading Sizzle and Burn at some point after waking up and running some errands this afternoon.  Jayne Ann Krentz has always been an easy, entertaining read, so I'm not surprised that I'm already a good chunk of the way through the book.  I am a little surprised I'm not further along, though I have been slacking a little.

I spent approximately three and a half scattered hours reading up to 168 pages of this book.  I estimate another three hours or so to finish it.

As a night owl, I'll be pressing on since I missed the opportunity to read more through much of the day.  And also, as I stated above, I'll be sleeping through the morning if I'm to be of any use to my coworkers tomorrow night.

Good night and sweet dreams to everyone else heading to bed! Hope everyone had fun and got in all the reading you were hoping to get in!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

24 in 48 Readathon: Hour Thirteen... ish

And it continues...

Beginning at 12:01am on Saturday morning and running through 11:59pm on Sunday night, readers read for 24 hours out of that 48 hour period.  You can split that up however you’d like: 20 hours on Saturday, 4 hours on Sunday; 12 hours each day; six 4 hour sessions with 4 hour breaks in between; whatever you’d like.

It is a little past 1 P.M. here now.  So far I feel like I've been productive if only because I've at least finished one book and will be working my way towards the end of a second.  I told myself I'd take a nap and continue with my next book, but I ended up passing out for longer than anticipated.

Anyway, looks like my total so far is 214 pages of book read over the course of 3 hours.  The rest of those hours included sleeping and other piddly activities such as writing this post.  Not bad, eh?

Books Read

Icebound by Dean Koontz | 405 pages

I last left off at 191 pages pre-thon and finished the rest of the book in approximately three hours.  Yes, I was keeping track.  During the duration of the first part of the thon day, I slept for four hours, and piddled around for a few snatches of bathroom and food, here and there before finishing the book.

A review will be forthcoming sometime in the following week.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Read-a-thon: 24 in 48 Starts Now

At least for me it starts right now.

Beginning at 12:01am on Saturday morning and running through 11:59pm on Sunday night, readers read for 24 hours out of that 48 hour period.  You can split that up however you’d like: 20 hours on Saturday, 4 hours on Sunday; 12 hours each day; six 4 hour sessions with 4 hour breaks in between; whatever you’d like.

Unfortunately, with busy workdays, I've been quite tired and sleep has been my friend.  I didn't finish the books I'd intended to read up to this point, but I will try to jump into the books I'd intended to read this weekend with one exception.  I'm going to try to keep track of my hours, but the numbers really won't be all that accurate.

For some, their readathon hours have started counting down; and I will be starting my readathon hours as well.  And as per usual, I don't typically participate in any of the readathon activities, so reading and maybe a few updates is all there will be.

I hope I can read 24 hours or more, because that will get me at least three books read... if my reading speed holds, that is.

That said, currently I am still reading Dean Koontz's Icebound, though I hope to have it finished before morning rolls around--if I don't fall asleep first.  Following, I'd like to continue into Jayne Ann Krentz's Arcane Society and Harmony series, though I suspect I will probably only be able to finish two of the three books.

What's everyone else reading this weekend?


Side note:  Starting today, I will be tracking all of my readathon activities (announcement posts, update posts, wrap up posts, etc) at a specific page here:  Readathon Archive.  Anyone interested may go to the link to check out previous readathons I have participated in including all update posts, etc.

Thank you, and happy reading to all!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Series Review: For Hire

For Hire series
by Christine Bell
Book #1: Wife for Hire | Goodreads | Rating:  4.0 Stars
Book #2: Guardian for Hire | Goodreads | Rating:  3.5 Stars

Average Rating:  3.75 Stars

I'm going to be totally honest here:  The two of these For Hire books were so small and bite-sized that they were done and over before I knew.  But I enjoyed the heck out of them!

I definitely went into both books in this series expecting a standard fluff piece with the standard romance, the standard story line, and the standard characters.  And they pretty much delivered in that sense.  But at the same time, they were so much more!  I don't know if it has to do with the characters, the writing style, or that subtle bit of humor.

Or maybe it happened to be that, despite the standard story, standard romance, and standard characters, our two leading ladies were also a bit different than the standard depiction of the standard romance novel heroine.  And maybe that was what made all the differences.

He needs a wife for three weeks…

Owen Phipps is out for revenge. His mission? To expose the man who stole his sister’s money and dignity. All he needs is a “wife” who can play along. Too bad his last best hope is an actress who tries to mace him with perfume when he offers her the role of a lifetime.

Lindy Knight is a real sap. She loves too hard, feels too deep, and often finds herself saying yes when she should be saying “Let me think about it.” She can’t believe her good fortune when Owen offers her more than enough money to hold off foreclosure until she can find a job. Three weeks at a resort, money she desperately needs, and she gets to help bring a criminal to justice? Score.

It seems easy enough until the first time a couples bonding game turns intimate, and they realize how dangerous their mutual attraction could be. Can they keep their hands to themselves long enough to find the evidence Owen needs? Or are the close quarters more temptation than they can handle?

Wife For Hire has one of my more favorite romance novel tropes: The Pretend Marriage.  Two perfect strangers coming together and pretending to be involved for some sort of purpose.  In this case, I guess the purpose wasn't a bad one, involving investigating a scam.  Of course, it had been a little disconcerting, the circumstances of how Lindy and Own had met--Owen places an ambiguous ad in the paper requesting an "attractive female" with acting experience for a pretty high sum of salary.  Honestly, why Lindy even contacted him even after side-eyeing the ad was a bit face-palmingly strange; if this book had been a crime thriller, she'd be one of the victims already dead since page five.

But being that this is more of a romantic comedy type of contemporary, Owen isn't a good looking serial killer; he's just a good looking love interest.  Of course, I DO appreciate the fact that Lindy DOES second guess her own decisions in, first contacting Owen about the position in the first place, and secondly, letting him into her home for the interview.

Anyway, moving past that, the rest was pretty quick and straight forward.  Lindy was turning out more and more like the general Mary Sue of most romance novels, but at least she remained grounded.  Then as the book progressed, I finally pinpointed the reason why Lindy's Mary Sue character traits didn't really bother me all that much.

Lindy is definitely a Mary Sue--being able to do everything really well, and being well-liked, and generally just being almost perfect.  But one thing that sets her apart from a lot of other heroines with these same characteristics, that ultimately cemented my love for her was quite simple.

She's got an awesomely bad case of embarrassing and quirky verbal diarrhea.  When she gets nervous, she comes up with the most outrageous things to say.  And it's pretty awesome!  In fact, the further I read through this short book, the more I found Lindy's personality to be less Mary Sue and more eccentric.

And it was pretty awesome.

Psychologist Sarabeth Lucking’s life is turned upside down when the upscale couples’ retreat she works for winds up embroiled in the biggest scandal of the year. With her reputation in tatters, she can’t imagine things getting worse, until her former co-workers are murdered, one by one. A bad-ass, ex-Army Ranger might be able to keep her safe, but something tells her she’s getting more than she bargained for...

Gavin McClintock grew up on the streets of Edinburgh, and protecting prissy Dr. Stick-Up-Her-Rear isn’t high on his list of things to do. Still, a promise is a promise, and he’ll need a clear head if he’s going to keep her off the growing list of victims. He didn’t count on the fire in her, or how distracted he’d be by her. As the flames grow hotter, he starts to wonder if she’s the one who needs protecting.

Will Sarabeth and Gavin outrun a killer and give into the passion burning between them?

Guardian For Hire was more my kind of book, with the bodyguard trope and all.  But despite being more of a romantic suspense than the first, it was surprisingly mellow on the suspense and much more fascinating as a romance.  In fact, little to none suspense actually happens except at the beginning and the very end of the book.

I'm not complaining, really, because the rest of the book was just as entertaining anyway.

And much like Lindy, Sarabeth was tons of fun.  Definitely NOT a Mary Sue to begin with, it's kind of amusing to watch as all her little embarrassing quirks surface over time despite the prim and proper, independent woman vibe she tries to put out.  In fact, there were several scenes in which I really DID feel a blushing case of second-hand embarrassment for her.

She becomes overly paranoid, and has moments where her imagination gets the better of her.  Her mind wanders on the strangest logic pathways, and it just kind of reminds me how anyone's mind would wander given enough reason.

The scene that stands out the biggest in my mind is when she's all dressed in security company uniform, trying on the "disguise" that Gavin has given her while she's in hiding.  She's just standing there, looking at herself in the mirror, acting all badass with finger guns and her "pyew pyew"-ing at herself in the mirror.  We've all done that at some point in our lives, I'm sure.  And we've all been caught playing pretend as well with a cringe of embarrassment.

It was a lot of fun following the interactions between Sarabeth and Gavin.

This particular book DID try to get a little deeper and heavy than the previous, but it was handled pretty well, even if it was kind of cast off in favor of the romance.  In fact, a lot of the story lines seemed to fizzle away, which I suspect is due to the shortness of the book itself.  And Gavin DID start off as kind of a jerk, but as the story progressed, I kind of forgot about the fact that he was being quite insensitive to a woman who had just witnessed her car exploding.

I also forgave him for lopping off Sarabeth's hair like it was just overgrown weed.  I get that it was crucial to change her appearance and all, but a girl's hair is always sacrosanct and a bad haircut can go all ways into screwing with her self-esteem for a long time.  But Sarabeth got up and moved on, and that was a good start.

Overall Thoughts
As I'd already stated, there was something pretty standard and clichéd about both books, but at the same time, the characters might have made me enjoy things much more.  Also there was a lot of humor along for the ride.

Story-wise, neither of the two For Hire books are really much to write home about.  Pretty typical stuff and the romances did lean towards the sap as the ending rolled around.  But the couples were cute and sweet with each other, and their interactions were lots of fun.

It seemed this was a duo of books that is perfect to wind down with after a long few days of busy workload.  Fun, sexy, cute, and comical.

There are a plethora of other characters in both books that I'm quite interested in.  So I'm hoping that Christine Bell decides to continue this series.  There are just too many potentially fun character who definitely need their time at center stage.


2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Reading Assignment Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge
Mount TBR Challenge

COYER Summer Vacation 2016
-- Wife For Hire -- Bingo Board One | Square C21 -- Contemp
-- Guardian For Hire -- Bingo Board One | Square Y13 -- Rom Com

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books Set Outside the U.S. of A.

Top Ten Tuesday is an original and weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

~~ Ten Books Set Outside of the U.S.A. ~~

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is another pretty self-explanatory one:  Books set outside of our great American nation.  I'm guessing this is a book list to promote diversity, which I am all for; though books set outside of the U.S. may not necessarily be diverse, really...  For instance, I read a lot of Military Romance--a lot are set within the U.S., but a lot are set outside of the U.S., but there is not doubting that they really aren't as diverse as most readers would like them to be.

But what do I care?  I'm Asian.  The term diverse feels kind of relative to me.

Anyway, I do have a list of some of my own personal favorites for books set outside of the U.S..  Diverse or not, you decide!  But that's not the topic of this Top Ten Tuesday, so the point is moot.


Some of the books above, I'm not entirely sure where they are set, but I know it's not the U.S., such as Vessel--I'm sure it's something tribal somewhere in the Eastern hemisphere, but I'm not entirely sure; and even Shadows on the Moon has an ambiguous Asian setting, though I think it's more than likely China, though with hints of Japanese inserted into the story.

Six of Crows and The Immortal Heights are high fantasy, but they clearly take place in a Russian-based setting, and England, respectively.  Grave Mercy takes place in Brittany; Butterfly Swords in China; The Forbidden Wish is based off of Aladdin, erego Arabian (correct me if I'm wrong); and The Silkworm and The Paid Companion are both set in England.

There were a few other books I wanted to add to this list as well, but I found that the list would go one forever:  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a personal favorite, set in Germany; Kalahari by Jessica Khoury is a recent book I read and liked, set in the Kalahari Desert of Africa; and there are a lot of military romances I read that also take place outside of the U.S.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Thoughts: The Last Star

The Last Star

by Rick Yancey
Book 3 (final) of The 5th Wave

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  3.5 Stars

The enemy is Other.  The enemy is us.

They’re down here, they’re up there, they’re nowhere.  They want the Earth, they want us to have it.  They came to wipe us out, they came to save us.

But beneath these riddles lies one truth: Cassie has been betrayed.  So has Ringer.  Zombie.  Nugget.  And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet.  Betrayed first by the Others, and now by ourselves.

In these last days, Earth’s remaining survivors will need to decide what’s more important: saving themselves…or saving what makes us human.

I'm going to be totally honest and admit that I went into this book expecting... well, I don't know what I was expecting from it other than a struggle of a read.  When I first read The 5th Wave, I was completely drawn into it and loved the entire book through.  I loved Cassie and her snark!  I really did.  I was looking forward to the rest of the trilogy.  Then came The Infinite Sea, and I don't know whether it was just my reading mood or the book, but things just didn't work out--mainly, I felt like the book was just more repetition of the same things from the first book, but in a more dragged out, boring narration.

No offense to Ringer or any Ringer lovers out there, but her POV was difficult to follow--she was just so boring.  When we got around to Cassie, or even Zombie, I was a bit more placated.  So I had kind of been dreading the concluding book of The 5th Wave, worried that it wouldn't live up to the hype of the first book.  I wanted to finish this trilogy, but I wasn't as excited going into The Last Star as I probably should have been.

The Last Star, however, came back around with an enjoyable, well-rounded, even if open-ended, resolution.  Sure, a lot of the book DID drag out, and I felt like there were some side tangents that seemed unnecessary.  Also, a lot of the time, there were events that were either WTF moments... or just didn't make any sense to me at all.

Cassie's snarky POV was very welcome, except I feel like maybe she went a bit overboard with some of it and got annoying at some points.  Still, I once again welcomed her narration more than the rest of the characters.

And speaking of POVs...

--Side Tangent Rant Warning--

I've mentioned before that I'm not exactly the most thrilled with first person POV.  A lot of times it works, but I like being able to see what other characters are thinking or doing as well.  When you get a first person POV, the story and it's world are subjective to the one character who is telling it.  It's a popular POV used in young adult books, I've noticed; and I suppose it serves the purpose of letting the reader feel like the main character is more easily related to.  So I can usually read first person without problems even if it's not my preferred POV.

But then you get books like The 5th Wave where, you not only get a first person POV, you get alternating first person POVs... and then you get random third person, as well as third person present tense, and then some.  A lot of others might be fine with this, but I personally find the flip-flopping POVs a little confusing and frustrating, especially when Cassie's and Zombie's voices aren't that much different from each other.  Ringer's voice was much more unique and I never had a problem knowing it was her first person, but I got confused a few times and had to flip back a few pages or make a guess based on context if I had to put the book down for one reason or another in the middle of a chapter.  The third person POVs were even more out of place and made me wonder why we didn't just write the entire book in third person to begin with.

Anyway, aside from the whole POV thing and the other little quibbles I mentioned, I found The Last Star actually quite enjoyable and easy to read.  The ending had a sudden hit of FEELS I hadn't been anticipating, and despite the strangeness and the chaotic cluster of the entire adventure and journey surrounding these kids, I really DID feel like the ending was quite well-rounded.

Just don't get me started on the romances in the book--it might not be a good outcome.


2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge
COYER Summer Vacation 2016 -- Bingo Board Two | Square O12 -- Post Apocolyptic

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Brief Thoughts: The Infinite Sea

The Infinite Sea

by Rick Yancey
Book 2 of The 5th Wave

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  2.5 Stars

How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

It seems that my self-hype for this book died quite drastically not long after The Infinite Sea had been published. While I had been anticipating the follow-up to The 5th Wave, I now wonder what it was about the book that had appeared so awesome to me in the first place. The more I think about it, the less memorable The 5th Wave seems to me.

Reading The Infinite Sea felt quite monotonous to me without even that same "in the moment" excitement I'm sure I had felt reading The 5th Wave. I've gotta say, I found the progression of The Infinite Sea tedious and boring. The characters are still great and the humor and wit is there. But to be totally honest, aside from a few new discoveries here and there, nothing really seems to happen at all. There's a war going on between surviving humans and the Others. Our main ragtag group of soldier kids are trying to survive. There is a lot of waiting going on. There is a lot of flashing back and forth.

Ringer gets to be front and center of this story...

But nothing really happens that I cared about.

I still found Cassie sarcastically awesome. But otherwise, that's pretty much it.

Conclusion: Well-written and enjoyable, but not the epic follow-up I had been anticipating.

This review was originally posted at Ani's Book Abyss / BookLikes in December 2014.

Review: The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave

by Rick Yancey
Book 1 of The 5th Wave

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  4.0 Stars

Side note:  I didn't have much else thought up to refine this review more, but at the end of the original review post, I've added some notes I jotted down while reading The 5th Wave that I wanted to share.
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Original review written on 5/9/13, a brief post:

I'm leaning more towards 4.5 stars, but that's only because I haven't quite had time to entirely process the ending yet -- I'm not sure how I feel about the ending.  And I have a few quibbles about certain parts of the book that may have made my mind wander a little bit.

Nonetheless, this book was certainly an intense, fast-paced, magnificent read that had me grasping for the next chapter and then the next and the next continuously.  I couldn't put it down and there was not a moment of boredom to be had.

If no one's been following my updates (listed in the latter of this post), I will repeat how much I loved the characters.  Cassie is so much kickass and badass female main character rolled in with all of her character flaws and sardonic survivalist 'tude that I had tons of fun following her POV.  Ben has a similar voice to Cassie's, but after the initial introduction of his character, I found I was able to pick him out better.  As for Evan... well, he's totally charming and hot and so much awesome, just like Cassie.

(Present day note in 2016:  Evan is totally creepy and weird.  I don't know what I was thinking three years ago...)

There were quite a few predictable points that I'm not sure whether or not were meant for the reader to pick up on right away,

But what made them great despite their predictability would be the fact that the suspense building up to the big reveal balanced out just fine.

I'm usually pretty bad about writing reviews in general; and I'm worse off at writing about books that I "OMG, I can't put this book down cause I love it so much" worship.  The Hunger Games was a book I couldn't think of anything to write about (also, I'd read that book before I stumbled upon Goodreads), and The Archived (by Victoria Schwab) from the beginning of the year was another book I couldn't think of how to express my love for.

So I may or may not come back to this later on and add more thoughts, but for right now, these are my random brief opinions.

More Review added on 5/17/13:

I like how everything unfolds as Cassie recounts both her present survival dilemma while including some brief flashbacks into the past.  Without a massive informational dump, she recounts incidents associated with previous Waves as they apply to her current situation, and then she moves on. I love how sardonic and dark her personality is -- that she’s not a hundred percent anger and melancholy; that she still has a sense of twisted humor to go with her ass-kicking, gun-toting survivalist task.  At the same time, she still exhibits the ideals of a normal teenage girl (carrying the essentials of toiletries along on her trek because, even if she is to die on this journey, she would still rather be squeaky clean); but she also knows what essentials she cannot go without as well as some “just in case” essentials (like the matches for in case she needs to set something on fire or blow something up).

I also like that she’s not immune to being paranoid about the people around her.  She’s got major character flaws that make her more or less human in the face of extinction.  She hates that everyone had gone on a big stink about the alien invasion with all their own theories.  She tries to play it cool as if she doesn’t care, but in reality it’s freaking her out.  And then, when everything goes to hell on her, she moves on because she knows she has to move on.  She hesitates to kill when faced with a possible enemy, but when the time comes down to it, she automatically lets her survival instincts kick in by pulling the trigger.  Her main plight is to survive long enough to find her brother, Sammy... which essentially just boils down to, “find Sammy and take him back” without any concrete plans of the entire process.  This is what makes me love her so much, if only because she knows what she needs to do even if she doesn’t know exactly what she actually needs to do.  Make sense?  Probably not.

And here's a second set of jotted notes:

There’s always that moment in the book when something happens unexpectedly... and in an “Oh my God, I did NOT expect that” sort of way.  Even if it was just something small and might have even been insignificant to anyone else.  And at that point, somehow, you know that if you weren’t already hooked by that book, then you are now; or, if you were already hooked, you’re even more so than before.

When the second part “Wonderland” started, I spent the entire time trying to figure out who this new POV was.  I mean, I figured out pretty quickly that this person was not Cassie anymore and that we were maybe being introduced to a new player in this apocalyptic world; but no names were given, only the 1st person account like this was some sort of private journal.  I was prepared to find out who this new person was, granted, a part of me didn’t really care because his narration and Cassie’s narration only had a slight amount of difference in tone and voice.  His narration was slightly more cynical and apathetic while Cassie’s was more realistic and “let’s kick some ass.”  They both have the same sense of dry sarcasm with an undertone of dark melancholy (seeing as how the world is being decimated even as they both narrate their parts and billions have died).

This brought me to think:  I guess there’s a difference in the way you see the future’s outcome when the human race is near extinction.  He had lost his entire family and almost died from the plague so he had nothing left to live for; in turn, everything became a pessimistic soup of self-woe.  Cassie, on the other hand, still had a brother to search for, and so despite her knowledge that she might not make it alive, she was intent on keeping her promise to find her brother; given that situation, she had a reason to keep her going.

This review was originally posted at Goodreads in May 2013.

Some Random Status Updates @ Goodreads

(These random status updates were posted from May 7 to May 8, 2013.)

On 5/7/2013 @ 10%:
Apocalyptic world, paranoia, billions dead, and a sardonic teenage heroine toting an M-16 with amped up survival skills? The start of this story can only get better.

On 5/8/2013 @ 31%:
End of Part 2: Wonderland.... And, well, I totally did not expect this to happen, but I'm all for it. The changing POV threw me off a little bit, but it doesn't bother me as much as I usually am. It's just... O.o

On 5/8/2013 @ 35%:
"I DO like the Bear as only companion in the world of a teenage survivalist thing.

On 5/8/2013 @ 80%:
Oh my god, I hate every moment that I have to put this book down for real life priorities.  But at the same time, it's not too much suffering.  We're getting into the climax now and frankly, I love that Cassie's been such a badass so far, in her own little way.  And Evan Walker?  Hot!

(Present day note in 2016:  Again, I don't know where my thoughts went and why.  Because part of this update is still true, but part of it is no longer true.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Can You Read a Series in a Month? Challenge

I think I've done a similar series challenge in the past, but it was a full-year challenge and you could choose as many series as you wanted to read.  And it also required at least 5 books published and unread to count.

Michelle and Berls are hosting this challenge as a month-long challenge starting August 1 this year--that's about two weeks from now.  Since I have an extremely long list of series that I either want to read or have already started reading, I figured this would be a nice way to get through some of them.

Of course, even as I want to try finishing some series I've already started, it looks like I've simply decided to pick brand new series.  One of the books chosen is part of my 2016 Reading Assignment Challenge, though...

The rules are pretty simple:  Reading or finish one series in the month of August.  It can be a series you've already started, but there must be at least 3 published books that you have not yet read.  So if you want to read a trilogy and you haven't started, it'll count.  If you want to read a four book series and you've already read the first book, it'll count, too.

For more information and more answers to questions about the rules, go to the sign up post above.

Related Link:  Can You Read a Series in a Month? Kick Off Post @ Because Reading
See Also:  Can You Read a Series in a Month? Wrap Up post

My Series Pick

Brown and de Luca series by Maggie Shayne

Completed Reviews:  (updated on 8/12/2016)
1.  Sleep with the Lights On -- Read 08/02/2016
2.  Wake to Darkness -- Read 08/07/2016
3.  Innocent Prey -- Read 08/09/2016
4.  Deadly Obsession -- Read 08/10/2016
novella:  Dream of Danger -- Read 08/03/2016

*Click on series title for GR series page.

My Backup Series

Circle of Evil trilogy by Kylie Brant


I'm very much looking forward to reading the Brown and de Luca series because the concept reminds me of the movie The Eye, but with some differences, of course.  I really liked the movie--I only watched the 2002 HK version that I have linked and not the 2008 Jessica Alba version--so I've been very curious about this book when I first read the summary.  However, just in case I end up not liking the series, I've chosen a backup.  I've read good things about Maggie Shayne, but one can never be too careful.

I've also been looking forward to reading something else by Kylie Brant, so maybe if I can finish my main series pick, I can jump into my backup series as well.