Saturday, May 30, 2015

Stacking the Shelves--May 30/Weekly Wrap-Up


This week has been sort of weird and crazy at the library so I've been kind of tapped out at the end of the day. Instead of reading books I've been spending way too much time online reading other stuff. One such thing is Full House Reviewed which was created by a guy who basically hated the show and decided to hate watch and review every episode over a few years. It's kind of funny. I also became newly obsessed with the webcomic "The Dreamland Chronicles" about a guy who travels to Dreamland to defend it against a dragon who is bent on ruling the whole thing. It's a pretty cool bit of computer generated comic pages and pure fantasy. I highly recommend it. Plus I've been keeping up with "Unshelved", "Ctrl+Alt+Del", and a few other webcomics so I've been pretty busy. Plus I'm rewatching Ninjaconor86's "Sims 3 Legacy Challenge" video series on Youtube which has 204 videos that run about 20 minutes each.

Review
-None-

Library


1. Memory Man (Amos Decker Bk 1) by David Baldacci









Purchased

1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline [3.99]

2. The Magicians (The Magicians Bk 1) by Lev Grossman [2.99]






Weekly Wrap-Up

Reviews

1. Back to You (Hurley Boys Bk 3) by Lauren Dane [3 Stars]
2. The Marriage Season (Brides of Bliss County Bk 3) by Linda Lael Miller [3 Stars]
3. Brokedown Cowboy (Copper Ridge Bk 2) by Maisey Yates [3 Stars]

Books Read

1. A Dangerous Thing (Adrien English Mysteries Bk 2) by Josh Lanyon
2. The Magicians (The Magicians Bk 1) by Lev Grossman
3. Large Print (Unshelved Bk 8) by Bill Barnes/Gene Ambaum
4. Too Much Information (Unshelved Bk 9) by Bill Barnes/Gene Ambaum
5. Bibliovores (Unshelved Bk 10) by Bill Barnes/Gene Ambaum

Currently Reading

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Review--Brokedown Cowboy (Copper Ridge Bk 2) by Maisey Yates

If practice makes perfect, Connor Garrett should be world champion of being alone. Since losing his wife he's concentrated exclusively on his family's ranch. Until his dear friend Felicity Foster needs a place to stay and Connor invites her to move in temporarily. That's what friends do—and Liss is his rock. What friends don't do? Suddenly start fantasizing about each other in their underwear. Or out of it…

Since high school, Liss has kept her raging crush in check. Another few weeks should be a breeze. But helping Connor rebuild his life only reinforces how much she longs to be a part of it. One explosive encounter, and she'll discover that getting what you always wanted can feel better than you ever dreamed…




I've missed Maisey Yates in the past year or so. She's been writing but this is the first one I've read by her in awhile. I was planning to read book one but things got in the way. This was another nice read during the evening while I was at a professional conference. Did I mention friends to lovers?

Felicity just needs a place to say. Well she needs that and wants her best friend to snap out of his grief. Connor lost his wife a few years back and has never been the same. He doesn't want to rebuild or move on at all and Felicity can only do so much. When she finally admits she needs a place to stay Connor offers his spare bedroom. Very quickly he realizes Felicity intends for him to start moving forward with his life. After one night together can the two remain friends or is there more out there for them?

I tend to favor friends to lovers stories but sometimes I feel they get bogged down. In this one I had no such issues. The friendship aspect was handled really well. I understood their friendship and could see how they got to be where they were. I could understand Felicity's 'guilt' over the fact she'd been in love with Connor forever and then his wife died. She wanted to make it clear she wasn't waiting around for the wife to die and had accepted that relationship as fact. It was nice in a way.

The romance part was a little tough to swallow for me. Basically when Felicity moved in, Connor started to look at her differently. All the sudden she wasn't the best friend but she was a sexy woman. I sort of hate when that happens. Someone can find someone attractive without wanting to hop into bed with them. It's like he was blind all those years. I hate that. Then he got all horny-pants. Then he got angsty.

I really struggled with continuing to read though Connor's insane guilt about his wife dying and his guilt over moving on. Everyone made it clear his wife would have wanted him to move on. Everyone made it clear no one expected him to drink himself to death because of his grief. Everyone was so supportive and he just could only function if he was miserable. It was annoying.

Of course there was the obligatory issue when their relationship came out slightly. Connor freaked out. Felicity put her foot down. Yada Yada Yada...happy ending. Frankly I was to the point of "GET TO IT ALREADY!"

So it was an okay story but I was sort of bummed this was the Maisey Yates I read when usually I love her work.

3 Stars
Published by HQN Books
May 26, 2015
368 Pages
Provided by--NetGalley

Related Books

.5. Shoulda Been a Cowboy
1. Part Time Cowboy
3. Bad News Cowboy [Release: 7/28/15]


Monday, May 25, 2015

Review--The Marriage Season (Brides of Bliss County Bk 3) by Linda Lael Miller

Since Hadleigh, Melody and Bex—the best of best friends—entered into a marriage pact, two of them have found (and married) the men of their hearts. But Bex doesn't think she'll be as fortunate as the others. Her own first love died years ago in a faraway war, and Bex has lost hope for a happy marriage of her own. She concentrates on her business, a successful chain of fitness clubs, instead. 

Then, when single father Tate Calder comes to Mustang Creek with his two sons in tow, who befriend Bex's eight-year-old nephew, she and the handsome, aloof newcomer are constantly thrown together. But is the marriage season over? Or can a man with doubts about love be the right husband for a woman who wants it all?



I tend to have very mixed feelings about Linda Lael Miller because I'm not a huge cowboy/rancher fan. I tend to get kind of annoyed with that premise so I feel bored. Sometimes the story just seems too long. It happens.

Bex is not really looking for marriage even though she is part of a pact with her two best friends. Now that her two best friends are married and expecting their babies, Bex is at loose ends. She's not ready to put her heart out there but there is that pesky spark with Tate Calder. Tate, a single-dad with two boys, isn't keen on getting involved with anyone but Bex just gets him going. When they start seeing each other things start moving really fast but can either of them keep up with their raging feelings.

I've had incredibly mixed feelings about this series. I hardly remember book one (always a bad sign) and book two gave me its own issues. I felt obligated to complete the trilogy so I sat down and forced myself to read it. It was...okay I guess. Really it was nothing to write home about.

Here's the deal. Bex didn't want to fall in love because 10 or so years earlier her first love died overseas in the military. The pain was too much so now she doesn't want to get involved again. Tate's ex was a terrible person apparently but died so he didn't actually have to divorce her. He's hesitant about getting involved.

Basically the book spends 300 pages going "Yes! No! Pain! No! Yes! Marriage? Maybe! Yes! No!" So I got pretty bored, pretty quickly. I loved the domesticity of the couple as they navigated insta-family as the two got involved and he already had kids. I'm cool with that.

There was a camping thing in this story which I hate. I hate that premise where two people with or without kids go in the woods and "grow closer" while dealing with fishing. I tend to find it unnecessary change of scenery and it detracts from the actual story. That's just my opinion.

Finally there was some stupid storyline about Bex's sister leaving her crappy husband and languishing on the couch before dumping her kid on Bex and running off for awhile. That was just an unnecessary plot and the kid only served to be a reason for Bex to see Tate all the time (so the kids could play). That could have been cut out and the book wouldn't have changed at all.

I really hate it when books add plot points to stretch the story when if you removed them it would change nothing. It always downgrades the book in my opinion. I actually subtracted a whole star since the book did that a lot. It always bums me out. If the story can survive with 100 less pages then let it.

3 Stars
Published by HQN Books
May 26, 2015
304 Pages
Provided by--NetGalley

Related Books

1. The Marriage Pact
2. The Marriage Charm [My Review]


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Review--Back to You (Hurley Boys Bk 3) by Lauren Dane

Former model Kelly Hurley has finally put the ashes of the past behind her. After a passionate but turbulent marriage to rock star Vaughan Hurley that ended in heartbreak and divorce, Kelly rebuilt her life in Portland, where she settled so their two young daughters could be close to their father. Just not so close Kelly couldn’t truly make her own way without interference from the man who shattered her heart. Now Kelly’s finally ready to move on, and she’s planning to marry another man. 

But not if Vaughan has anything to say about it. 

Vaughan knows he was a fool all those years ago. A young, selfish—and prideful—fool. Even as he buried himself in the fast, decadent rock star lifestyle, he could never drown out the memory of Kelly’s beauty and love. Or the sweet, searing heat whenever they touched. For years, he’s had to deal with the pain of seeing her only because of their daughters, but it was never enough. Now Vaughan must prove that he’s the only man Kelly needs, before he loses her for good. And there’s only one way to do it….


I'm a sucker for the repairing a broken marriage trope. This one was pretty close although it actually dealt with a divorced couple getting back together. I never read book two in the series (I promise I will someday) and book one was a little blah for a Lauren Dane book. I was excited to jump into book three and it gave me something to read in the evenings while at a professional conference. Yay sexytimes.

Years earlier Kelly and Vaughan had a whirlwind romance that got hot and heavy quick. Kelly was ready to settle down and put her modeling career on hold when she got pregnant and the two married. Problem was Vaughan didn't want white picket fences right then. So he did something stupid and made sure Kelly saw it. The two divorced and Vaughan realizes he wants her and their two kids to be a family. Problem is, Kelly is engaged to another man.

I'm all for reform and regrets. I'm all for the guy saying "Hey I screwed up but I'm a different person now and I want it all!" I'm all for groveling. What I am not cool with is the sort of ridiculousness Kelly initially puts them through. Okay so she was hurt and the divorce broke her heart. The thing is, she's a different person ten years later but she can't seem to grasp that Vaughan is different too. She keeps putting all these rules on him and testing him about being a father just for him to prove he's not an asshole anymore. Well fine but it went on way too long. Plus she had no problem getting laid while doing all this.

In general, I enjoyed the story. I enjoyed watching these two come together as almost different people and still finding happiness. The kids, while frankly unnecessary, served the purpose of bringing the parents together. The story spun out with issues of family. Vaughan's mother was a bitch to Kelly for years because she blamed her for the marriage dissolving. When Vaughan finally confessed it was his fault, I hoped for this big apology. Instead the mother kind of said "Well Kelly why didn't you just tell me instead of lying all these years?" Bitch.

In the end, this was an okay trilogy but I still hold the Brown Sibling series in such high esteem. I really hope her next series hits that same level. I miss that level of interest in myself.

3 Stars
Published by Harlequin HQN
May 26, 2015
336 Pages
Provided by--NetGalley

Related Books

1. The Best Kind of Trouble [My Short Review]
2. Broken Open


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Stacking the Shelves--May 23/Weekly Wrap-Up



Wow did this week feel long. I'm not in a book slump so much as I'm uninspired with my current options. I've been playing with not allowing review books except what I cannot get in print through the library. So...all three of the ones below. Basically I would stop requesting Harlequin, Forever, etc. titles. I can say I'll never stick to it but I just miss having time and freedom to really read what I want. I felt so guilty reading "Libriomancer" this week and I shouldn't. So we'll see what comes of it. How was your week?


Review


 1. Diamond Duplicity (Jewels of Desire Bk 1) by Erica Lucke Dean and Elise Delacroix

2. Make You Burn (Deacons of Bourbon Street Bk 1) by Megan Crane

3. The Marriage Contract (O'Malleys Bk 1) by Katee Robert


Library


1. A Dangerous Thing (Adrien English Mysteries Bk 2) by Josh Lanyon

2. A Spell For Chameleon (Xanth Bk 1) by Piers Anthony


 3. Bibliovores (Unshelved Bk 10) by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum

4. Libriomancer (Magic Ex Libris Bk 1) by Jim C. Hines

5. Reads Well With Others (Unshelved Bk 11) by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum

6. Too Much Information (Unshelved Bk 9) by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum






Purchased


1. The Hostile Operations Team Military Romance Boxed Set (Books 1-3) by Lynn Raye Harris [FREE]








Weekly Wrap-Up

Reviews

1. The Naughty Girls' Book Club by Sophie Hart [3.5 Stars]
2. Last One Home by Debbie Macomber [3 Stars]
3. Libriomancer (Magic Ex Libris Bk 1) by Jim C. Hines [4.5 Stars]

TV Recaps/Discussions

1. Harper's Island Episode 13 and Final Thoughts
2. The Flash-Time Travel and What It All Means

Books Read

1. Read Responsibly (Unshelved Bk 5) by Bill Barnes/Gene Ambaum
2. Frequently Asked Questions (Unshelved Bk 6) by Bill Barnes/Gene Ambaum
3. Reader's Advisory (Unshelved Bk 7) by Bill Barnes/Gene Ambaum
4. ASAPscience by Mitchell Moffit/Greg Brown
5. The Naughty Girls' Book Club by Sophie Hart
6. Libriomancer (Magic Ex Libris Bk 1) by Jim C. Hines

Currently Reading

Friday, May 22, 2015

Review--Libriomancer (Magic Ex Libris Bk 1) by Jim C. Hines

Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg. Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw forth objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that leaked from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape. To his horror he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users as well, and Gutenberg has been kidnapped. 

With the help of a motorcycle-riding dryad who packs a pair of oak cudgels, Isaac finds himself hunting the unknown dark power that has been manipulating humans and vampires alike. And his search will uncover dangerous secrets about Libriomancy, Gutenberg, and the history of magic. . . 


This book has been floating around my TBR list for awhile and I just couldn't seem to find the time to read it. Recently a colleague of mine started reading the series and I decided...why not? So I snapped up a digital copy and settled in.

Isaac is a Libriomancer. He can pull items out of books and use magic to help protect the world. He has limitations since he cannot pull out items larger than the books. The books are also limited in their magic depending on the popularity and number of times read by the populace. Regardless, Isaac has been in "exile" for two years and does not practice magic regularly. He merely catalogs books in a library while looking for dangerous objects in these books so other Libriomancers can lock them from being used. When Isaac is attacked by a group of vampires in a seemingly random attack, him and friend Lena head off to discover what is causing all this danger. Lena's lover has been taken by vampires and the Head Libriomancer, Johannes Gutenberg is missing. Isaac and Lena seem to be the only ones willing to find the culprit and deal with the fallout.

I really loved this book. I really can't say that enough. I had to force myself to NOT immediately request book two. I know if I do then I'll get burned out on the series and never go back. So I will wait for it to naturally pop back into my head at a later date.

Isaac was sort of the perfect unexpected hero. Sure I knew going in he was the hero but he's just so 'not a hero' that it makes for a great story. He wants to be a hero so bad but no matter what he does he seems to blow things up or screw up rescue attempts. He's incredibly talented and we get that from his inner monologue, interactions with the world, and his handling of danger but no matter what he does, things tend to go awry. At the same time the reader just understands how much he loves books. For a book lover, it's great to find a character who just loves books not just for their magic but for their story.

Lena was the most interesting character of the book. She's sort of a love interest and sort of a friend. She's also completely magical. Isaac knows there is magic involved and she manipulated wood and nature a bit. He gets that but he considers her human. That is until she reveals she's actually a Libriomanced object. She's a character from a book where her entire character is subservient to her lover. Her personality is shaped by her lover. She can be controlled by her lover. It's dangerous and she knows it. She tries constantly to explain it is who she is and no one can change her. She is limited by the story. So what is a nymph to do? She asks Isaac to be her lover so her captured lover cannot influence what happens to her (in case nefarious things are going down).

In a way Lena is the most self-aware character of the book. She completely understands and accepts the fact she has no personality of her own. She is completely reactionary to the person she is romantic with and that is a powerful thing. She knows it, accepts it, and lives with it. Surely she could be returned to her book but she's happy.

I do have to take a moment and mention Smudge, the fire spider. I love him and wish I could have my own little Smudge. He's also a Libriomanced object. He's a spider who catches fire and can alert his owner to danger. He is fiercely loyal, loves Spongebob, and hates Journey. Fascinating and just adorable.

The story itself revolved around a brewing war between the vampires and the Libriomancers. Quickly Isaac and Lena realize there is more going on than meets the eye. When both sets of beings reject Isaac and Lena's plans, the two set off to figure it out themselves. It was a great story that paced well throughout. I could not put the thing down.

Plus there was all the book love. Constantly Isaac was talking about books, pulling weapons and healing items from books, and adding to my TBR list like nobody's business. Seriously I added about 15 books to my list by the time I was done reading this one.

There was also a fascinating concept about books shaping existence. Vampires, werewolves, etc. were shaped by books and popularity. For example Twilight spawned sparkly vampires with certain powers while Dracula created others. It created an ever changing supernatural atmosphere with loads of ways to play with it. That just made things more interesting.

One final bit towards the end added something I am curious to see play out over the next books. Lena entered in a love triangle (in essence) between her female lover and Isaac. She was conflicted and her personality started shifting. She could now argue with her lover because her personality was being shaped by two individuals. That is absolutely fascinating. Her sense of self will constantly be warring and who she is could be shaped by proximity, depth of affections, etc. I am eager to see how it all plays out.

Seriously though if you love books, fantasy, libraries, etc. read this now! Don't wait.

4.5 Stars
Published by DAW
August 7, 2012
308 Pages
Provided by--the Library

Related Books

0.5 Goblin Tales [Intro of Smudge]
2. Codex Born
3. Unbound
4. Revisionary [2016 Release]


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Review--Last One Home by Debbie Macomber

Growing up, Cassie Carter and her sisters, Karen and Nichole, were incredibly close -- until one fateful event drove them apart. After high school, Cassie ran away from home to marry the wrong man, throwing away a college scholarship and breaking her parents’ hearts. To make matters worse, Cassie had always been their father’s favorite -- a sentiment that weighed heavily on her sisters and made Cassie’s actions even harder to bear. 

Now thirty-one, Cassie is back in Washington, living in Seattle with her daughter and hoping to leave her past behind. After ending a difficult marriage, Cassie is back on her own two feet, the pieces of her life slowly but surely coming together. Despite the strides Cassie’s made, she hasn’t been able to make peace with her sisters. Karen, the oldest, is a busy wife and mother, balancing her career with raising her two children. And Nichole, the youngest, is a stay-at-home mom whose husband indulges her every whim. Then one day, Cassie receives a letter from Karen, offering what Cassie thinks may be a chance to reconcile. And as Cassie opens herself up to new possibilities -- making amends with her sisters, finding love once more -- she realizes the power of compassion, and the promise of a fresh start.


I have a very hit/miss relationship with Debbie Macomber. I often find her books only cover one side of the story. She's a fade to black romance writer who barely ventures into kissing let alone sex. Sometimes there is a little too much religion. Sometimes there is too much focus on the female side and so little on the romance. This one was a better book within her backlist/frontlist so I wanted to talk about it.

Cassie grew up close to her sisters until the day she ran off with a man her family didn't approve of. Now years later she's trying to put that terrible decision behind her and get a house for her and her daughter. She starts volunteering at Habitat for Humanity on the road to getting her own house when she meets Steve, a house-builder with his own issues. The two begin a romance just as Cassie has the opportunity to reconnect with her sisters. Karen seems to be the most put together with a steady husband, good job, and a few kids. Of course not everything is perfect within her household. Nichole seems to have the perfect homelife with a husband who dotes on her, a new baby she adores, and the ability to do whatever she wants at anytime. When the three sisters come together they realize where they went wrong all those years ago and how to be there for each other now when life comes at them hard.

I really enjoyed the fact Cassie was the one in an easy patch. She'd been through the terrible stretches in her life. She'd gone through homelessness, abuse, and loss of family early and now things were on the upswing. She was getting a house, found a new romance, and tried to make amends with the family she left. Instead of her being the victim and a basketcase, she was really put together.

On the other hand the two sisters who had judged Cassie so much and had never bothered to see if she was in trouble were the ones dealing with issues. They were the ones struggling to see how their lives were starting to splinter around them.  It was refreshing to see the shoe on the other foot.

While I enjoyed the book I struggled through bits of it. The general premise really hinged on the three sisters and to be honest they were all kind of boring when they were together. Sure the reconciliation was nice but it was the most boring part of the book and I wished it had been more off-page. I much preferred the scenes surrounding the romances/marriages. I wanted more there. I wanted confrontations and dealing with the issues. Instead everything got thrown at us in the last 15 pages and there was no resolution. Bad idea Ms. Macomber.

I'd recommend this one for fans but if you need a Macomber to start with, I'd recommend Rose Harbor. Those books are my favorite of hers and I look forward to each one. Plus I'm a sucker for innkeeper stories.

3 Stars
Published by Ballantine Books
March 10, 2015
320 Pages
Provided by--Edelweiss