Monday, July 16, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? | 7/16/18

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It's a great post to organise yourself.  It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile!  So welcome in everyone.  This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey.  Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.  And here we are!

I just felt the need to post something random, and what better way to do so than with a meme!

My reading slump sort of, kind of, feels like it's letting up a bit.  I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that I'll be back into the groove of reading and blogging, as it's something that I've always enjoyed.  Reading is one of my many loves, and blogging is a close second.  Food is true love.

Exhibit A:

And now onto my week!

What I Read Last Week

I know it technically doesn't count, but I'm counting what I finished reading on Sunday as well since this is a Monday post and I finished more books on Sunday than I have in a while.  Or at least it feels like it.

What I'm Currently Reading

I'm actually listening to the audio book version of Borrower of the Night narrated by Barbara Rosenblat.  But I really don't like the official book cover for this audio book, shown on Audible (see link); so I'm just going to keep with the paperback book cover.

What I'm Planning to Read Next

I'm slightly undecided on which books I want to read next, so more than likely the above ones are the runners up.

Other Plans On the Blog

For the first time in months I've actually got plans for Ani's Book Abyss!  24in48 Readathon is coming up at the end of this week, for the weekend of July 21-22, and I plan on being a bit more active... well, as active as I've ever been in a readathon.  I don't typically participate in any of the mini-games, nor do I really chat on social media, but I DO spend time reading, and blogging about my progress as much as I can.

Hopefully this coming weekend will prove quite fruitful and will be the beginning of the end of my reading/blogging slump.

Meanwhile, I will be posting one or two more reviews this week as soon as I get them finalized--which shouldn't take long as both are pretty short reviews for both the Eclipse Bay series, and the almost bite-sized Primary Suspect.  In fact, aside from one last read through and edit, they're pretty much ready to be posted!

Happy reading everyone!  Look forward to some readathon updates starting Saturday, July 21, at midnight, on the dot!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Thoughts: In the Afterlight

In the Afterlight

by Alexandra Bracken
Book 3 (final) of The Darkest Minds

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  4.0 Stars

Ruby can't look back.  Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government's attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup.  With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers.  Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds.

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained.  But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the "rehabilitation camps" housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would--and did--sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her.  She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government.  But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.

Admittedly, the conclusion of The Darkest Minds trilogy was pretty exciting.

While The Darkest Minds was never the best series or dystopian to hit the YA trends, it had the fortune of including elements that hit the right marks for me, personally. While there wasn't much ado about the concept or the story, or even the probability of a dystopian world unfurling in the manner of which the world in The Darkest Minds had done so, I still managed to love it.

Despite the fact that these weren't the best characters in the world, they somehow grow on you and you find yourself falling for each and every one of them before the end of the books come around. We were introduced to Ruby, Liam, Chubs, and Zu in the first book--a ragtag group of young, innocent teens with the misfortune of being forced into tragic circumstances as they run for their lives and dream about ways to right the wrongs committed in their world so they can have a better future, and try to survive day by day. The second book reintroduced the characters you fell in love with along with few others.  But by now, a more realistic sense of "Action must be taken" has overcome most of our characters, and the dream for a better future is no longer just dream but an ambition.  In the new fights, new friendships form and old friendships are reforged.

I personally loved watching the friendships wind and knit so tightly together that you'd have to use force to pry them apart. It was heartwarming despite the bleakness of the situation these kids are thrown into in the fictional world of The Darkest Minds.

The ending approaches with pretty much the same action-packed, constantly-in-motion activity that had transpired from Never Fade, spilling the continuation over in the the last book of this series.  But this time, it seems like our kids have more of a direction... and yet, at the same time, very little action seems to occur, and we find ourselves struggling with the constant angst, the constant fear and danger, the constant idle planning and planning and more strategic planning before the ending finally rolls out some action.

Ruby continues to struggle with her powers and the "monster" she believes them to be; in doing so, she continues to hold her friends at arms length, fearful of hurting anyone she loves, but at the same time, she yearns for their warmth and is loathe to part with them.

Liam's struggle was a little less emphasized, and I'm a bit disappointed that he doesn't get very much book-time in In the Afterlight.  With his brother, Cole, and Ruby trying to take charge as the more powerful Psi kids (and the more dangerous ones) who have had training because of the Children's League, Liam is kind of left in the dust to find some way of feeling useful.

Other conflicts arise as well, and somehow also end up being a bit much to process.

And yet, I still found it all quite enjoyable.  I think it had to do with all the character interaction and all the conflicting, emotional ties being unknotted, and all the secrets and the personal dilemmas finally finding peace with one another.  To watch this group of kids get together, fight and make up and continue to remain together, willing to stick by each others' sides despite all the differing views and conflict of interests and secrets... it was pretty nice.

To date, my favorite relationship in the world of The Darkest Minds is still between Chubs and Ruby.  I don't know what it is about this pair that brings the FEELS surfacing when they interact.  Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the romantic coupling of Ruby and Liam; but the friendship and the understanding between Chubs and Ruby just seems to outshine the rest of the relationships around them, whether best-friendship, sibling-love, or even the romantic pairings that occur.

Chubs is the intelligent, level-headed big brother who just gets it, and despite having been hostile to Ruby in the beginning of the series, I love how he's grown to just accepting whatever she does, and just knows her well enough to remain by her side even when others suspect her actions.  Of course, he's also great enough to call out her fallacies with hopes that she'll think long and hard about her decisions before making them.

Not to say that the others (Vida and Zu) don't do the same, but there's something powerful about having Chubs on your side that just feels right.  He's like the voice of reason, a protective guardian... and I love him for that.

And now that I've made a whole lot of nonsense sound like more nonsense, I'll just end off this review.

In the Afterlight, as well as the full Darkest Minds series probably doesn't rank high on many people's list of good YA dystopian.  Goodness knows I've read better stories with better concepts.  But it's written well with some thoughtful quips and discussions and ideals here and there.  And most importantly, it's got a heartwarming feel to it presented through the characters and their love for one another through the struggle of a collapsing world around them.  The characters aren't the best, but on paper they can be quite complex if given the chance.

Most importantly, I personally grew to love them all and I DID find enjoyment in this book.

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

Review: Never Fade

Never Fade

by Alexandra Bracken
Book 2 of The Darkest Minds

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  3.5 Stars

Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life.  Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies.  Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader,” but she knows what she really is: a monster.

When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind.  Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it.  But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her.

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League.  Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves.  But what if winning the war means losing herself?

This book went by in a flash.  Honestly, there was so much forward movement and progression that I didn't even consider stopping to think about the book at all.  At least not until that little break in the middle when I had to make myself go to sleep.

This was very much the same exact experience I had when I read the first book, The Darkest Minds.  I enjoyed the same things from both of these books: character interaction, character bonding, makeshift family coming together to save the world, fast-paced action, exciting adrenaline rush, and an adventure-like story-line.  Except, since I had gotten to know the characters from the first book already, there may have been a bit more of an emotional impact.

I may have had a few moments of "the feels" when Ruby and Chubs had their reunion.  I may have smirked a bit when Vida turned out to be "part of the team" rather than just "that jealous girl who wants to be the leader."  And when Jude, for the nth time, is the one to welcome Ruby "home" with a smile and a tackling embrace, I might have had some "feels" there too.

Just like the first book, Never Fade is very much a character driven story.  Honestly, without Ruby and her Scooby gang, I don't know if I would be so in like with this book with the same enthusiasm.  Sure, we get a deeper look into the heart of this dystopian conspiracy now that Ruby has joined the Childrens' League--more politics and whatnot going to work here.  Frankly, those parts were kind of boring for me; informative, but lackluster at the same time.

What I enjoyed actually came in the moment that Ruby broke out of the League's HQ, dragging Jude with her, to head across the country in order to find Liam.  And then along the way, she is joined by Vida and reunites with Chubs.  A whole new rag tag gang is formed with these four--SO MUCH LOVE FOR THAT!  It was at that point that the story actually started getting exciting for me.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I enjoyed bits and pieces of seeing Ruby's life in the League as well.  It just wasn't as much fun.

The character bonding in this book is winning (just as much as it was from the first book).  The hopeless romantic in me is still rooting for Liam and Ruby to be together; their romance was set up pretty subtly and well, and even though it took a bit of a back seat in this book, it still managed to hang around with quite the intense punch.  I'll admit that there are always choices and decisions made by characters that don't sit well with me and there are also reactions to those choices by characters that also don't sit well with me.  And Liam and Ruby's relationship teeters on those lines that had me feeling a bit uncomfortable for the both of them.  Nonetheless, I do still love them and hope that there will be a good conclusion for them when the last book rolls around.

But while I'm a hopeless romantic and am rooting for Liam and Ruby to have a heartwarming ending, I'm also a bigger fan of the Ruby and Chubs friendship now that it's more developed and they've gone through so much to still maintain their friendship.  I love that they care about each other and have this weird understanding of each other's thoughts; but at the same time, they're pretty harshly honest with one another as well.  I can't get enough of these two, just watching them do what they do as friends who have been through suspicion and hate and love and... well, they're like all the family that they lost during the "apocalyptic" parts of the story line.  Even when these two are fighting with each other, it's still kind of heartwarming... cause then they hug and make-up and everything feels right in the world again.

And THEN there's also the love/hate bickering between Vida and Ruby; the love/hate bickering between Vida and Chubs; the adorable sunshine that is Jude (whom I kept picturing as a twelve-year old boy even though it's made clear that he's fifteen and has hit his growth spurt); and that strange new connection that Ruby now has with Liam's brother Cole.

I'm just saying, there are some really nice character dynamics going on here and I DO really like what's going on.

My only complaint came in the form of the ending, unfortunately.  (And hopefully I don't give too much away since I'm not one who likes including spoilers in reviews.)

Let's just say that it was a bit... disjointed.  On top of that... well, I understand the "BANG!" impact that the the author was probably going for in the end, but I'm not sure I liked it all too much.  It felt too abrupt and kind of forces a bridging onto the next (and maybe last) book of this series.  The first book ended with less of a bang with a more "finalized" feel to that part of the series.  You knew that there was more to the story, but you didn't feel like you were missing something--if that makes any sense.

It's not that I completely dislike cliffhangers... it's just that, sometimes I want to take and dangle an author by the toes over a cliff above shark-infested waters for making me hang at the edge of my own cliff for a whole entire year because the ending of the book was so abrupt and obviously prepared to dive into the next book with heart-wrenching, adrenaline-boosting "I need to read the next book right now" intensity.

But no, I don't completely dislike cliffhangers, really...

Nonetheless, we've got a little more than a year until the next book is released, and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what's coming up.  I especially look forward to seeing more of our characters together, now that old friends have reunited and new friendships have formed.

I wouldn't call Never Fade a perfect book nor a terrible book for it's standards.  The series itself is quite enjoyable.  But I DID like The Darkest Minds a bit more, and to be honest, again, if not for the character interactions, this series would probably just be like every other YA trendy dystopian out there garnering attention right now.

I'm not complaining since I'm thoroughly into it.

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

Review: The Darkest Minds

The Darkest Minds

by Alexandra Braken
Book 1 of The Darkest Minds

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  4.0 Stars

Side note (7/15/18):  I read this book back in 2013 almost a year after it first came out, but have just gotten around to transferring the review to this blog, as it was originally posted on another platform (see link at end of post).  This review, as well as the rest of the reviews for the trilogy have been sitting, ready to be published in my draft section for months now, and I decided it was time to get them published.  Of course, the fact that a movie is being adapted now is purely coincidental.

Happy reading!
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed.  Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police.  Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.”  She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.  When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life.  She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River.  She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp.  Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby.  But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close.  Not after what happened to her parents.  When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader.  But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government.  Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.

I love a story with great characters and character interactions.

The Darkest Minds had a very awesome makeshift little family of four as we follow Ruby through her short adventure with Liam, Chubs, and Zu, and frankly, there is nothing I love more in any kind of novel.  And to be totally honest, it really had been the characters who made this book the wonderful experience it had been for me.  Ruby was a good heroine to follow, although her character description was rather standard as the kick-butt, strong, heart-of-gold, female main character who leads her friends into the heart of our dystopian controversy.  The rest of the characters were pretty quirky in their ways as well (especially Chubs), and to be frank, if not for the character relationships, this probably would have been just another YA dystopia trilogy that you end up liking while you're reading it, but that you would forget about after it's over.

Liam, especially, was a personal favorite for reasons that I may not understand at the moment.  He's gentlemanly and caring and unsure of himself, and has so many flaws as a leader... but for some reason, that makes me want to cuddle him and make him feel better.  The bonds between each of the four were pretty awesome: Liam and Ruby were sweet, Zu and Liam were adorable... etc., etc....  But I especially loved Ruby and Chubs together as friends, though they started off as a pair of perfect strangers who didn't really care about each other and Chubs was annoyed by Ruby's inclusion in their group.  I loved how each of them bonded in their own ways; and I loved the sweet friendship to romance development that took place between Ruby and Liam (not just because it wasn't instalove, I promise).

Outside of my love for the characters, this book had all the typical, fast-paced and suspenseful dealings as all the trendy dystopians now-a-days; so while the ideas unique to this book were intriguing (kids either died or turned into super humans with strange powers and the world broke into pieces after that), and some of the interesting twists were... well, rather interesting, the concept was still a predictable one.  I hate to say that "it's just another trendy YA dystopia," but to be honest, it kind of is.

I must say, I DID enjoy the plot devices from the "concentration camp" type scenarios at the beginning, to the adventure that Ruby joined to find a place where they could belong safely.

In spite of all that though, I still found this story to be highly addictive and easy to fall right into; I found myself reciting my standard "One more chapter, then I'll sleep" mantra.  And to top it off, I am undoubtedly looking forward to the next book in this series and will be pining in agony as I toss Never Fade into my ever-growing pile of "OMG!  I physically need this book, like, RIGHT NOW!"

Something about The Darkest Minds just happened to grab me.  I don't know what it is, but I'm not arguing with it.

This review was originally posted at Ani's Book Abyss / BookLikes in October 2013.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Thoughts: The Prey

The Prey

by Allison Brennan
Book 1 of Predatory trilogy

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  2.5 Stars

First, she imagined it.  Then a killer made it real.

Rowan Smith is living in a borrowed Malibu beach house while her bestselling novel is made into a Hollywood movie.  A former FBI agent with a haunted past, Rowan thinks she has outrun her demons.  But fiction and reality collide when a dismembered body is found in Colorado: the real-life victim had the same name, occupation, and looks as a character in Rowan’s novel.  By the time the FBI, the LAPD, and her own private bodyguard gather around her, another person is killed–again, the murder ripped from the pages of Rowan’s book.

In the company of a former Delta Force officer with secrets of his own, Rowan faces an excruciating dilemma: the only way to chase down the tormenting killer is by revisiting the darkness of her past–and by praying for some way out again.

After the prey is chosen, the hunt is on and the kill is certain.

Before I dive into my rant, I DO want to point out that things got better after the halfway point of the book.  Just in case anyone is wondering about the average rating.

The first half of this book actually merited a 1.5 Star to 2.0 Star rating.  The dialogue was awkward and unrealistic, and there was too much of an emphasis on the romance and our characters' dramatic woes.  It really derails a reader from the main, crime thriller conflict presented from the first chapter.  It also didn't help that I found the characters, except maybe John Flynn and Quinn Peterson, extremely irritating.

Things continued to be quite rocky even as we hit the midpoint of the book, although with the serial killings in the background, there was always a niggling need, as a reader, to continue on.  That didn't mean that I enjoyed much of that first half of the book, and I found that our characters had a lot of trouble prioritizing their duties and responsibilities.

Rowan was so adamant about keeping her secrets, or not being protected, or doing her own investigations, that it was making me roll my eyes pretty badly.  She's an ex-federal agent, and I have a hard time understanding why she wouldn't give up pertinent information that may or may not be connected to an ongoing investigation.  What she did could really be construed as obstruction of justice, truth be told.  People were dying, and more people would continue to die.  And predictably, the worse ended up happening because she wasn't forthcoming with her knowledge, no matter how tragic events had been for her.

Understanding only goes so far when lives are at stake, and you have a chance to do something about it.

Meanwhile, her own fatalistic approach to the entire situation really could have put a lot of people's lives in jeopardy.  A bodyguard was hired to help protect her, and as much as she detested that, Michael Flynn and his siblings were there and required her cooperation in order to do their job.  But her constantly stubborn attitude was so vexing because putting herself in the line of fire also meant putting others in the line of fire.  I'm not sure why she couldn't understand that, especially since she used to be a federal agent, who probably had to deal with difficult victims and witnesses as well.

It probably also didn't help that Rowan spent a lot of time being kind of whiny, unprofessional, and stupidly reckless.  Also, I lost respect for her the first time she decided to just point a gun at her hired bodyguard.  Then lost respect for her even more when she whipped her gun out again and and pointed it at one of the characters' heads just because he pissed her off.

Talk about anger management issues.  Rowan may be an ex-FBI agent, but she's still touted as justice-seeking and all good and all that.  What the hell is she doing pulling her gun on random, innocent people just because she got pissed off?  Truthfully, ex-fed or not, she should know better and have better respect for the power she wields with her weapon.

You don't just point guns at peoples heads just because you get pissed off!  Over-dramatic much?

Meanwhile, our first bodyguard, Michael Flynn, spends more of his time mooning and male posturing than actually doing his job as a bodyguard.  It kind of made an impact, because the contrast between Michael and his brother, John, felt so deliberately placed that you could just feel the author trying really, really hard to maneuver John into the main male love interest role, while including a pathetic excuse for a love triangle into the mix.  This polygonal romance was truly unnecessary in light of everything else that was going on.

I also found Tess Flynn very immature and bratty, even if her concerns were well-founded.  She acted like a childish brat rather than a professional.  The security business is not for her.

The overall crime thriller was rather predictable as well, and I'm not sure if it's because the formula is familiar, or if the build up to each new "surprise" twist was just so poorly lain.  It wasn't hard to figure out what would happen as the book progressed, as well as who the serial killer's identity was.

But as I stated at the beginning of the post, as the book progressed, I started finding the book more tolerable.  The writing felt less juvenile, the dialogue less awkward, and the characters less irritating.  I still don't like Rowan, but she stopped making stupid decisions (for a millisecond or two, maybe), and the men stopped being lead around by their male ego anatomy.

I AM quite interested to know what happened between Quinn Peterson and Miranda Moore, though, purely on a romance back story way, which means I will more than likely pick up the next book in the Predator trilogy.

I feel like Allison Brennan just isn't for me, though, as I didn't really get into the first book I picked up by her, Love Me To Death, the first in the Lucy Kincaid series.  But when I read her joint collaboration with Laura Griffin, Crash & Burn, the first book of the Moreno & Hart series, I found I liked her part of the book more than Griffin's--and I'm and avid follower of Laura Griffin crime thrillers.  So I decided to hop in and try Allison Brennan again.

Unfortunately, either because The Prey was her debut novel, or because I just can't get into Brennan's writing style, I'm not sure.  I found the beginning of this book just as detached and impersonal, and deliberately over-dramatic, as I had found Love Me To Death to be.  Of course, I also found the book improved as the story progressed... just like Love Me To Death.

So... Well...  I don't know what to make of it right now, but I may pick up the next book in this trilogy just to give Brennan another whirl.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Read-a-thon: 24 in 48! July 2018 | Ani's Plans!

So here is the basic gist of this read-a-thon as copied from the 24 in 48 Readathon site:

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 never participate hardcore in these readathons, but I believe I have always participated since I first stumbled across 24in48.  For one, I think the thon always managed to land on a weekend I didn't have to work, which certainly makes it easier to stay up all night and all day reading.

Anyway, this July 2018, the thon will be the weekend of July 21st and 22nd.  I'd say that I'm super pumped, as I usually am, but really, I'm not so sure.  I've always hit quite below my readathon goals, and since I'm still in semi-reading-slump status, I don't know what I can accomplish.  But maybe, just maybe, I can find a means to get some books read that I'd been meaning to read... or maybe I'll just pick up whatever floats my boat.

More than likely, I'll just end up with a pile of Jayne Ann Krentz, since I'm still kind of in my phase and going.  So my list of possible reading choices, will probably look a little like this:

I don't really have a goal for that weekend in mind yet, although, obviously, one of these thons, I'd like to manage to incorporate 24 hours of reading over the weekend.  This has not happened yet.  More than likely, I'll end up finding something else to do and manage to read all of one book.


Happy reading everyone!

Monday, July 2, 2018

2018 Reading Assignment Challenge -- Second Quarterly Report Card

hosted by
Michelle and Berls @ Because Reading

I picked up a reading slump at the beginning of the year that kept finding hills and dips along the way.  With only one book to read each month, I thought that I'd at least be able to make it with a perfect score this quarter, but alas, that did not happen.  I finished reading one book in May, but it was not the book I had assigned for myself as part of this Reading Assignment Challenge.

June reading got better, but really only because I'm just randomly picking up books.  It's making me wonder how my rest of the year will be affected.  At least things look like they're picking up, and I managed to finish reading the last two Reading Assignment books on my list.

Second Quarter:
My Grade:  I Made a B.

Second Quarterly Report Card link up (link coming soon)

A Summary

As stated above, my reading slump took a pretty big hit, and while I managed to finish all the books I had assigned for the Spring Semester, I almost didn't, really.  Fortunately, June picked up, because May was seriously a disappointing month for me, all around.

The books were quick, easy reads, so that was a plus.  All-in-all, the quarter could have been better.

A Forecast

So I'm sticking with my Reading Level from the first semester, which means I'll be choosing another six books for the last half of the year.  I haven't entirely decided what order I will be reading each book, but here they are, and here is a link to my official choices:

2018 Reading Assignment | Fall Semester Book List!

1.  New Year's Resolution: Romance! anthology -- Leslie Kelly, Tanya Michaels, Christie Ridgeway
2.  The Prey by Allison Brennan
3.  The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley
4.  Ghost Horse by Patricia Rosemoor
5.  The Littlest Cowboy by Maggie Shayne
6.  The Intrigues of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Monthly Reading Wrap Up -- June 2018

It's pretty amazing what one beloved author, and an extremely unplanned, laid back reading mood can do for a reading slump.  I really DO hate to jinx myself, but I think I'm feeling the stirrings of interest return in my reading life once again.  This reading slump may be lifting at some point, hopefully in the near future.

As it is, the month of June was an immensely better time for my reading life than the previous two months had been.

And while I read more than just good ol' Jayne Ann Krentz... well, it's hard for me not to give credit where credit is deserved.  Because, despite the fact that she DOES tend to follow the same formulas and patterns, sometimes that's really all you need.

June Reads

Books Dropped/Put On Hold

None this month!  Yay!

Currently Reading

June Reading Stats

Total works read:  13
  • 12 print/e-book novels
  • 1 audio book

Average rating:  3.46 Stars
  • Highest Rated:  5 books // 4.0 Stars
    • (1) Smoke in Mirrors by Jayne Ann Krentz
    • (2) Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz
    • (3) River Road by Jayne Ann Krentz
    • (4) Falling Awake by Jayne Ann Krentz
    • (5) Lost & Found by Jayne Ann Krentz
  • Lowest Rated:  The Third Twin by Dani Sinclair // 2.5 Stars

Series I started reading:
  • Bevelstoke by Julia Quinn
  • Sutter, Cutler & Salinas by Jayne Ann Krentz
Series I completed:
  • Heartskeep by Dani Sinclair
  • Animal Magnetism by Jill Shalvis
Series I have made progress on:
  • None

Favorite reads:  As stated, I really spent most of the month of June reading Jayne Ann Krentz books.  And as I had figured, you can't really go wrong with a beloved author who can easily pull you into the world of her books, even if all the worlds are pretty similar to one another.  Even though a couple of books I read by her were pretty average (as are a lot of others I've read previous to this month), I was still very much kept entertained and happy!

A kudos goes to Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt--as much as I had quibbles with a lot of the old romance cliches, this book was strangely addictive and kept me engrossed until the very end.

Disappointing reads:  I was fairly disappointed that I didn't like Julia Quinn's Miranda Cheever more, since the premise had a lot of promise.  It was just unfortunate that a lot of things in the book really irritated me enough for me to have not enjoyed it.  Meanwhile, after reading the first two Heartskeep books and really liking them, I was only a bit disappointed that the last book in the trilogy wasn't as enjoyable.

Reviews & Notable Posts

Reviews Written


  • Did not Meme this month!

Other Posts

Coming Up In July

Tentative TBR

Other Stuff

With my renewed interest in reading and blogging--as well as a lot of already drafted review posts--I'm very much hoping that there will be more activity in the coming months.  Of course, we've been here before, and each time I think I'm going to jump back into blogging... well, things start tapering off.

There will be a lot of activity going on in real life, for one, so I'm holding off on any promises of rekindled activity here at the Book Abyss.  At this point, I'm just going to go one day at a time and see where it takes me.  Maybe not having too many plans will be better for my state of mind--reading-wise and blogging-wise--in the long run.

Until then, I DO intend to have a couple reviews up and posted in the next couple weeks when I finish reading both the Eclipse Bay trilogy, and the Predator trilogy.  I'm still on a Jayne Ann Krentz "read all the books!" phase, so there will more than likely be another packaged review with her name on it.

Meanwhile, I'm still working my way through transferring all my old reviews to this blog.  I know it's been three years since the launching of Ani's Book Abyss, but sometimes I can't force myself to make quick progress, if only because I'd hate to over-tax myself and then put the blog on hiatus.

2018 Wrap-Ups 

Past Monthly Reading Wrap Ups (2016 / 2017)
See Also: 2015 Reading Wrap-Up posts (scroll to bottom of page)

(updated as year progresses by month)
January | February | March | April | May | June
July | August | September | October | November | December