Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Karma by Nadine Nightingale

Karma by Nadine Nightingale
Published May 4, 2016
Summary on Goodreads
Review:
For some reason, I got the sense that this book is supposed to be the second book or something because there is so much backstory that is presented in this book that isn’t really clearly addressed.  It could have easily been an entire novel so I felt like there was quite a bit of catching up on my end.

That being said, I did enjoy this book.  I love paranormal, urban fantasies and this one was exactly that.  It had magic, it had witches and it had hot guys.  Pretty everything was checked off in my checklist.  I also enjoyed the romantic tension between Amanda and Alex.  There was so much romantic tension that this book could have easily become an erotica.  In a way, I was glad that it didn’t because sometimes erotica can take away the actual story and this one definitely had one.

I was actually a little surprised as to how deep this book went in terms of its plot because that was not how the synopsis presented itself.  In fact, the synopsis didn’t really give much information other than they hate each other (to some degree).  So I was pleasantly surprised to find myself entirely engrossed in the story and realizing that not only was it a paranormal urban fantasy but it was also a mystery/thriller. It definitely gave the book a lot more depth and layers that really helped boost the readers’ engagement level.  I often found myself at the edge of my seat anticipating what was to come next.  

While I thoroughly enjoyed the plot itself, I didn’t really like the character dynamic as much.  It was really cliché and overdone.  And it was clearly obvious from the beginning that there was so much romantic/sexual tension between the two despite what they were both saying to each other.  Nothing new was shown here and their interaction got boring pretty fast.  However, at the end of the day, I don’t think this is a book where character development is exactly important as opposed to the plot.

Overall, I did enjoy the book mainly because I found myself engaged and full of anticipation.  As stated, the characters were lacking but it didn’t really bring down the overall book that much.  I would still recommend it to those who enjoy paranormal urban fantasies.  There is also a second book but since I can’t find it in my library, I probably won’t end up checking it out.
Rating:

Monday, November 20, 2017

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John
Published November 11, 2010
Summary on Goodreads
Review:
I’m not sure why but somehow I was a little iffy on picking up this book.  I had this on my TBR for a few years now and somehow I felt some trepidation when I started reading it.  Clearly this feeling was unwarranted because I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I ended up really liking the characters especially Piper.  Even the secondary characters – the ones in the band – were all well written and well-liked by me.  The storyline was also entertaining and engaging and I found myself really rooting for the band and everyone at the end.

What made this book so much more interesting was the fact that Piper is deaf and yet somehow she finds herself as the manager for a rock band.  And even though she had to overcome this obstacle herself, she learned so much about herself and the people around her.  She grew up a lot in terms of character development, maturity and simply learning how to utilize her own talents and gifts to the best of her ability.  Towards the end I started to really admire her tenacity and her ability to hone her skills.  I honestly enjoyed reading about her and seeing her grow into her own skin.

As for the secondary characters, I especially enjoyed reading about Ed, Piper’s chess buddy and good friend.  I thought their interactions were adorable and even though Piper was a bit dense in this particular department, it was maddeningly obvious to me.  For the band members, I liked how each of the members grew throughout the book except for one and how they all learned to trust one another.  Even though there is clearly one character I’m not particular fond of, I do admit that he or she played a vital role in allowing the other characters to grow and rely on each other. 

I also enjoyed the plot because I liked how the band changed from the beginning to the end and how they all really went from an amateur band to a band that actually knew what they were doing.  The obstacles all played major roles in developing the storyline.  And honestly, without Piper and her ingenious methods in furthering the group, that band would have died a long time ago.  She was really the glue that held everyone together.   

Overall I enjoyed the book.  I wouldn’t rate this a 5* since everything was good but not great nor amazing.  However, I would still recommend it to those who think that the idea of having a deaf manager of a rock band is nonsense so that they can change their mind after reading this book.  And to those who find that idea intriguing.
Rating:

Friday, November 17, 2017

Land Locked by Jessica Gunn

Land Locked by Jessica Gunn
Published September 12, 2016
Summary on Goodreads
Review:
So I read the first book a while ago and had received this e-ARC a while ago as well.  I thought the first book was decently written and was entertained.  However, I seriously struggled with the second book.  I’m not sure if I simply wasn’t as invested in the characters or the plot but something felt off because I honestly dragged my feet in reading this.  It honestly took me a few weeks to finally finish it and for someone who can usually finish a book in a few days at most, that is saying a lot.

I also read the novella that is set prior to the second novel which wasn’t too bad and it definitely set the book up because it took place between the first and second book.  And again, I thought the novella was fine – I got reacquainted with the characters and the story again.  Yet, as stated, something just felt off with the second book that I simply couldn’t get into it.

I did find the relationship with Trevor and Chelsea a bit draggy in the second book.  I already understand why there’s tension due to the incident in the first book but with Trevor’s puppy eyes to Chelsea and Chelsea just wanting to have some space, their interaction got boring very fast.  However, in a way, I am still rooting for them to be together just because I did enjoy reading about their relationship in the first book.  So when a third person came along, even though I did enjoy that character, I was a little shocked because I thought that they could still work things out.  Well, maybe not all hope is lost for the two of them.

The plot was also incredibly slow.  I thought things moved at a much slower pace.  Even though there were a lot of action and progress in the storyline, the pacing of each scene was drawn out to the point that I wanted to put the book down at every other chapter.   I also felt that there were a few questions that were left unanswered – perhaps the author will answer them in the third book.

Overall, this series is fine but this second book was just such a drag that I doubt I will pick up the rest of the books.  I believe that there are four books to this series so maybe it will get better.  I still think that the overall premise was enticing especially with the whole Lemurians and Atlanteans and the whole long-lost colonies.  Unfortunately the execution was just not the greatest for the second book. 
Rating:

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Video Review: The Diplomat's Daughter by Karin Tanabe

The Diplomat's Daughter by Karin Tanabe
Published July 11, 2017
Summary on Goodreads

Review:
Check out our new Video Book Review that I did on our new YouTube channel, Shut Up & Read.  You will see that we have already published a few videos that are all book related from book reviews to compare & contrast and more!

SUBSCRIBE HERE: https://goo.gl/7oAl9f


Monday, November 13, 2017

Pink by Lili Wilkinson

Pink by Lili Wilkinson
Published February 8, 2011
Summary on Goodreads
Review:
I actually really liked this book.  I thought it was a refreshing read and I enjoyed reading about the characters and the obstacles that Ava was facing.

I would categorize this book as a coming-of-age novel because Ava was really learning about who she was and what kind of person she was.  There was definitely a lot of identity issues that she was having difficulty figuring out and the book really followed her path in learning who she really was.

Ava isn’t your typical character, at least, not in my world.  She’s an emo gothic lesbian girl and is surrounded by really liberal parents.  However, she’s really not that into being emo/gothic.  In fact, apparently she adores the color pink and would occasionally find the opposite sex to be appealing.  But because her parents actually encourage her to go out and be different (in her case: emo, gothic and lesbian), she was kind of intimidated to really be herself.  Or at least her deep inner self.  So this book struck out to me because it felt like the world was in reverse.  Usually YA novels have incredibly traditional or strict parents and the kid wants to break out and have more freedom.  Whereas in this case, Ava already had tons of freedom and choices but she wanted to be more “normal”.  Anyways I thought this struck me as irony at its finest.

Other than Ava, I did enjoy the secondary characters a lot.  I really liked the interactions between the stage crew members and even though they were all a little quirky in their own ways, they accepted each other and were clearly very loyal to each other.  That’s the type of friendship that is rare these days.  Even the “popular” girls were decent to read about as well.  In a way they were your stereotypical private school popular girls – gorgeous, rich, smart, etc.  However, they were also incredibly nice (except to the stage crew) which I found refreshing in a way.  They weren’t at all mean or rude.  Even for the stage crew members, they weren’t necessarily mean to them – they just avoided them and didn’t really want to associate with them.  So for all of the characters, I did enjoy reading about them.

If there was one thing I could criticize for this book was the fact that everything ended in a fairytale-like manner.  There weren’t any obstacle at the end and it was unrealistic how things all worked out in such a seamless fashion.  I was expecting more resistance or more issues to crop up but it was all figured out in an instant that it actually kind of put me off a bit. 

Anyways other than that issue, I did enjoy this book thoroughly.  I thought the pacing was great, the characters were clearly fun to read about and the plot was intriguing.  I would recommend this book to those who enjoy reading about figuring one’s identity or a coming of age novel.
Rating:

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