Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Review and Release Tuesday: 18 Hours to Us by Krista Noorman

Standalone to date

Goodreads Blurb:
"When Natalie Rhodes left her house early that fateful morning to catch the bus to her senior class trip, she never expected to end up in a car with Colton Daynes--the guy she's had a crush on since first grade, the guy who has no idea who she is. But when Colton's irresponsible driving causes them both to miss the bus, the unlikely pair set off on a road trip from Michigan to Virginia Beach to catch up with their classmates.

From the little village of Middleville, the popular football star and the quiet gymnast will navigate back roads and highways, travel from lake towns to waterfalls to mountaintops and beyond, all the while fielding texts from Colton's friends and mean girl, Lexi, who also happens to be Colton's girlfriend and Natalie's former best friend.

Hours spent together on the road will lead them to places they've never been, discovering hidden talents, revealing secrets and fears. And they just might realize they have more in common than they know."

99 cents until Black Friday!

I received an advance copy of 18 Hours to Us from the author.  All opinions expressed are my own.

This is just such a cutesy and quick read!  While the romance had a few sticking points for me, I just can't get over how cute it is!

1.  The plot.  If you've ever read Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins, this plotline reminded me a lot of that book.  The two main characters end up going on a road trip together after they miss the school bus that is driving them to a beach a couple of states away.  One thing this book doesn't have going for it is unpredictability.  Just from reading the blurb, you can tell exactly where it's going and how it'll get there.  That's kind of why I love contemporary romance novels, though.  You don't worry about what will happen, you just enjoy the character interactions and the bond that's forming between them.  To that end, I read this book in one night because of how absorbed I was in their relationship.  It's quite lovely and the author doesn't try to shove in an action plotline or anything of the sort.  The purpose is clear and sweet.  Now that I think about it, this book is basically cotton candy.

2.  The romance.  If you couldn't tell, the romance is the plot and while that is adorable and sweet, it also places any problems with the romance front and center.  While it isn't exactly instalove, I found myself repeatedly asking why Natalie was so swoony around Colton when she starts out so antagonistic towards him.  The first couple hours of the road trip are a little sickly with her swooning every time he does something human.  That being said, I did like getting to know their relationship more as they themselves were discovering it and watching them stop and do cute things together during the trip is adorable!  Honestly, this is basically a fairytale.

3.  The characters.  In general, the characters are lovely.  We really get to know Colton and Natalie (obviously) and we learn about their pasts as they discover it from each other which I found to be a great way of conveying the necessary knowledge without an info dump at the beginning.  I do wish there was more of their friends, though, because they're painted as rather two dimensional.  The book is focused on the two MC's, but I could have used more.

4.  The setting.  Because the premise is a road trip, the settings describing each place are basically mandatory and overall, they're very important.  The settings here fit that purpose and I enjoyed following along with Colton and Natalie's journey through the middle eastern part of the US.  The author uses several landmarks to mark each point of the journey and I think that was a very smart decision.

The Final Verdict:
Fluffy, sweet, and exceptionally cute.

Note: There are a few religious undertones although it isn't super prominent (Christian).

Friday, November 17, 2017

50/50 Friday (59): Books You Were Late/Early to the Party in Reading

50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @The Butterfly Reads and I and focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc).  Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!
Today's Topic: Books You Were Late/Early to the Party in Reading


Harry Potter #1

Goodreads Blurb:
"Harry Potter's life is miserable. His parents are dead and he's stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he's a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry's first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it's his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come."

I was so so so late in reading this series!  I started reading it 7 years after the last book was published.  Granted, I was young when they first started to be published but I jumped on this train really late.  Everyone kept making HP references and I felt like I needed to read this series to find out what all the fuss was about and that may have been one of the best decisions I've ever made.


Defiance #1

Goodreads Blurb:
"Defiance by C. J. Redwine is rich postapocalyptic YA fantasy perfect for fans of Graceling and Tamora Pierce.

While the other girls in the walled city-state of Baalboden learn to sew and dance, Rachel Adams learns to track and hunt. While they bend like reeds to the will of their male Protectors, she uses hers for sparring practice.

When Rachel's father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the city's brutal Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector: her father's apprentice, Logan—the boy she declared her love to and who turned her down two years before. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can't be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making."

This one was a little more difficult for me.  I don't tend to read books right when they come out because of two reasons: a) I'm always super busy so even if I do buy a book (or just get it through some other means) right away, I probably won't have time to read it for at least a month (that's what's been happening with the books Sarah J. Maas is releasing) or b) I just wait for my local library to get a copy because I don't have an endless stack of money that I can buy books with.  It's a very sad situation.  Still though, I think I came upon this one entirely by accident (right when I was starting out with reviewing) and I read it right away at the beginning and loved it!  There wasn't a super big fan base though so I was hard pressed to find someone who had read it and liked it those first few weeks.  I should really do a reread of this though and see if I still feel the same way about it!

Which books were you late or early to the party in reading?  Have you read either of these?  Make a post and link up down below!

Next Week's Topic: Book That Left You Hungry For More/Satisfied

Friday, November 10, 2017

50/50 Friday (58): Favorite/Least Favorite Movie Tie-In Cover

50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @The Butterfly Reads and I and focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc).  Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!

Today's Topic: Favorite/Least Favorite Movie Tie-In Cover


The Giver #1

""I have great honor," The Giver said. "So will you. But you will find that is not the same as power."

Life in the community where Jonas lives is idyllic. Designated birthmothers produce newchildren, who are assigned to appropriate family units: one male, one female, to each. Citizens are assigned their partners and their jobs. No one thinks to ask questions. Everyone obeys. The community is a world without conflict, inequality, divorce, unemployment injustice...or choice.

Everyone is the same.

Except Jonas.

At the Ceremony of Twelve, the community's twelve-year-olds eagerly accept their predetermined Life Assignments. But Jonas is chosen for something special. He begins instruction in his life's work with a mysterious old man known only as The Giver. Gradually Jonas learns that power lies in feelings. But when his own power is put to the test—when he must try to save someone he loves—he may not be ready. Is it too soon? Or too late?"

This is seriously one of the best onion books I've ever read and I love how the cover shows that!  I adored both the movie and the book.  The whole story is about recognizing that with beauty comes pain and the pain is worth what you gain.  Jonas is shown the difference between the two worlds by The Giver and that's perfectly showcased on this cover.  The movie has beautiful imagery that's been pulled from the book and it's gorgeous!  I've thought about buying this edition of the book even though I already have an older copy with the original copy just because I love the cover so much.

Least Favorite:
I actually have two for this section but they fall under sort of the same category for covers in general that I just can't stand anymore.

Standalone to date

"It is 1939, Nazi Germany.
The country is holding its breath.
Death has never been busier,
and will become busier still.

By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up an object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, and it is her first act of book thievery.

So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down.

Award-winning Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time."

This is one of the best books I've ever read as well but they fell into the trap of having a person in front of some dramatic scene on the cover.  Not that I don't like people on the cover, it's just that it's so boring and it doesn't really tell you anything about the underlying themes which doesn't do this story justice because it's such a lovely onion book as well (the themes of death and life are definitely my favorites).  I realize that they generally have to do some sort of person-cover for movie posters but when it comes to the book cover, maybe pick something a little more representative!

The Host #1 (although who knows when the next book is coming out... it's basically a standalone)

"The phenomenal #1 bestseller is now a major motion picture: "Startling and addictive. . . . An epic story of love, family, and loyalty." -USA Today

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away.

Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy that takes over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. But Wanderer, the invading "soul" who occupies Melanie's body, finds its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

As Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she's never met. Soon Wanderer and Melanie-reluctant allies-set off to search for the man they both love.

Featuring one of the most unusual love triangles in literature, THE HOST is a riveting and unforgettable novel about the persistence of love and the essence of what it means to be human."

I did generally like both the book and the movie for this story but again, the cover is just so boring!  The only thing that mildly tells you when the story is about is the glowing O which just doesn't help at all.  Again, this cover was cheapened and did nothing to allude to the deeper themes (other than this crazy love triangle that isn't really a love triangle).  I definitely think this book is so much better than Meyer's Twilight series and that wasn't shown in the cover.

What are some of your favorite and least favorite movie tie-in covers?  Have you read any of these books or watched the movies?  What did you think?  Make a post and link up down below!

Next Week's Topic: Books You Were Early/Late to the Party in Reading

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Review Tuesday: Something in the Water by Ben Starling

Series: Something (no particular order)

Goodreads Blurb:
"The sealed box Teal finds in the street contains more than just a mystery...What if to be with the man of your dreams…you had to give up your life? On the verge of losing her job, side-lined journalist Teal Douglas is forced to travel to the South Pacific to profile a powerful businessman. But with her almost-but-not-quite fiancĂ© Bear discouraging her every step of the way, she may not be able to save her career or her relationship.

When corporate criminals invade paradise, Teal teams up with former boxer turned marine biologist Perry Stanley to investigate. As she discovers the true intentions behind their new fishing operations, she must either accept the plum promotion that will save her career or—with Perry—defend the island with more than her life.

This full length novel in the soul-stirring series by Ben Starling continues the journey begun in Something in the Air, a short story now available on Amazon."

Sunday, November 5, 2017

October Wrap-Up

I am catching up!! (can you hear the conviction?)  I haven't done a wrap-up since April and I made a resolution at the beginning of the year that I would try to get a wrap-up posted for every month.  Obviously that isn't really happening because of my summer of terror but I'm going to finish out the year strong!

Friday, November 3, 2017

50/50 Friday (57): Best/Worst Book Read in October

50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @The Butterfly Reader and I and focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc).  Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!

Today's Topic: Best/Worst Book Read in October

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Review Sunday: Changing Tides by Sarah Darlington

Kill Devil Hills #2

Goodreads Blurb:
For years Ellie Turner's had a crush on the ruggedly handsome, beast of a man, television actor, Nate West. This isn't your average 'fan-girl crush' either, it's borderline obsessive, and totally inconvenient since, other than this one exception, Ellie's always been strictly into girls. But it doesn't matter...because Nate doesn't exist in real life. In real life Ellie has her own issues to worry about, including the death of her brother, the recent suicide attempt of her sister, and then there's always her annoying roommate Rhett to contend with.

Nate West isn't looking to start a new relationship. He's still heartbroken over the last girl who ripped out his insides, still learning how to manage his new-found fame, and, frankly, not even sure what time-zone he's in. His life is so full of stress, the last thing he wants is more of it.

So when Nate and Ellie meet on an airplane, nothing life changing should have come from it. But "sometimes in life--very rarely, I might add--you meet someone and you know instantly they're going to mean something special to you."

Recommended for 18+. F/M scenes only. Changing Tides can be read as a standalone, but is recommended to be read second in Sarah Darlington's KILL DEVIL HILLS Series."

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