Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Heroine by Mindy McGinnis

๏ ๏ ๏  Highlights ๏ ๏ ๏ 


The Slippery Slope of Addiction
High School Athlete
Graphic Drug Use
Bring on the Tears


๏ ๏ ๏ Links ๏ ๏ ๏






With Audio Performed by Brittany Pressley



๏ ๏ ๏  My Thoughts ๏ ๏ ๏ 


This isn't my first book about heroin addiction.  I've read a couple others, this one is just as hard-hitting and unflinching as those others, possibly more so, because it involves a girl not yet out of high school.  An athlete, with everything going for her.  Her downward spiral starts with a car accident and a horrible injury where she is prescribed Oxy, and so from there, her wretched descent begins...

I believe the purpose of this book is to make people, not only kids but adults too, aware of how easy it is to become dependent on these types of drugs, and almost anyone is susceptible to them, and to also make them aware of the signs that someone could be using.  This is fiction but it's based on real-life issues so it can be very blunt, which can make it really difficult to read/listen to at times...but ultimately, I believe it's worth it.

๏ ๏ ๏  MY RATING ๏ ๏ ๏ 


5STARS - GRADE=A+



๏ Breakdown of Ratings ๏ 


Plot⇝ 5/5
Narration Performance⇝ 5/5
Characters⇝ 4.5/5
The Feels⇝ 5+/5
Pacing⇝ 4.7/5
Addictiveness⇝ 5/5
Theme or Tone⇝ 5/5
Flow (Writing Style)⇝ 5/5
Backdrop (World Building)⇝ 5/5
Originality⇝ 5/5
Ending⇝ 5/5 
๏ ๏ ๏
Book Cover⇝ I thought the title was a mistake but it turns out, it was intentional...the cover is actually perfect for the story.
Setting⇝ Ohio
Source⇝ Audiobook (Library)
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Monday, April 29, 2019

Lie To Me by J.T. Ellison


๏ ๏ ๏  Highlights ๏ ๏ ๏

 

Separate Narrators for each POV
Mystery
Psychological Thriller
Questionable Plot Twists

With Narration Performed by Matthew Waterson, Saskia Maarleveld, Sarah Naughton & Julia Whelan





๏ ๏ ๏  My Thoughts ๏ ๏ ๏ 


This book tried to have these compelling plot twists that just came off as somewhat ridiculous and hard to swallow, especially towards the last third of the book.  I was sort of feeling things until that point, and it just went downhill after that.  It felt, to me, that she was going for shock factor more than anything else.  The narration was very decently done, without that, I probably would have been super angry that I wasted my time on the story at all.

๏ ๏ ๏  MY RATING ๏ ๏ ๏ 


2.5STARS - GRADE=D+



๏ Breakdown of Ratings ๏ 


Plot⇝ 2.7/5
Narration Performance⇝ 4.5/5
Main Characters⇝ 2/5
Secondary Characters⇝ 2.7/5
The Feels⇝ 3.5/5
Pacing⇝ 4/5
Addictiveness⇝ 4/5
Theme or Tone⇝ 3/5
Flow (Writing Style)⇝ 3.5/5
Backdrop (World Building)⇝ 4/5
Ending⇝ 2/5 Cliffhanger⇝ Nah...
๏ ๏ ๏
Book Cover⇝ Boring
Setting⇝ Kentucky
Source⇝ Audiobook (Library)
๏ ๏ ๏


Saturday, April 27, 2019

Come Find Me by Megan Miranda

๏ ๏ ๏  Highlights ๏ ๏ ๏ 


Almost Like Stranger Things
Two Mysteries
Connections
Realistic Fiction
Splash of Romance
Splash of Science Fiction


๏ ๏ ๏ Links ๏ ๏ ๏




With Narration by Michael Crouch & Jorjeana Marie



๏ ๏ ๏  My Thoughts ๏ ๏ ๏ 


This starts out as, and hints at in the blurb/synopsis, that it's kind of like the show Stranger Things...and I think a lot of people thought it would be supernatural like that show.  This might be slightly spoilery...but I'm going to say it anyway.  This is not like Stranger Things.  Honestly, though, you find that out in the first third of the book, so not too spoilery.

Come Find Me is more of a YA Mystery mixed with Realistic Fiction. With a splash of romance, science fiction, and supernatural.  Although, it does drag in the middle a bit...on Audio, I found it hardly noticeable.   Both the narrators were quite exceptional.  Overall, I kinda liked it.

๏ ๏ ๏  MY RATING ๏ ๏ ๏ 


4.3STARS - GRADE=A-



๏ Breakdown of Ratings ๏ 

Plot⇝ 4.2/5
Narration Performance⇝ 5/5
Main Characters⇝ 4.3/5
Secondary Characters⇝ 4.2/5
The Feels⇝ 4.2/5
Pacing⇝ 4/5
Addictiveness⇝ 4.3/5
Theme or Tone⇝ 4.7/5
Flow (Writing Style)⇝ 4.3/5
Backdrop (World Building)⇝ 4.2/5
Originality⇝ 4.5/5
Ending⇝ 4.5/5 Cliffhanger⇝ Nope.
๏ ๏ ๏
Book Cover⇝ It's quite striking
Setting⇝ Virginia
Source⇝ Audiobook (Library)
๏ ๏ ๏


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill

Clash of the Kingdoms #1


๏ ๏ ๏  Highlights ๏ ๏ ๏ 

Magic
Fantasy
Cute, But Forgettable
Clean Romance

๏ ๏ ๏ Links ๏ ๏ ๏





With Audio Performed by Helen Johns



๏ ๏ ๏  My Thoughts ๏ ๏ ๏ 


The story did not live up to this gorgeous cover.  A winsome addition to YA Fantasy Trilogies already out there, that failed to fully capture my attention.  Maybe, cute and magical wasn't what I wanted to read right at the moment.  It's well written and the magic system was interesting, but the characters didn't really capture my attention.  This could have been due to the narration...I didn't really care for it, after all.  She was too mashed (like a mouth full of mashed potatoes) mouth for me to understand most of the time. 

๏ ๏ ๏  MY RATING ๏ ๏ ๏ 


3STARS - GRADE=C



๏ Breakdown of Ratings ๏ 

Plot⇝ 3.7/5
Narration Performance⇝ 2.5/5
Characters⇝ 2.3/5
The Feels⇝ 2.5/5
Pacing⇝ 2.7/5
Addictiveness⇝ 2.5/5
Theme or Tone⇝ 3/5
Flow (Writing Style)⇝ 3.8/5
Backdrop (World Building)⇝ 2.8/5
Originality⇝ 2.5/5
Ending⇝ 3.5/5 Cliffhanger⇝ Sort of...
๏ ๏ ๏
Book Cover⇝ Gorgeous...
Setting⇝ I honestly don't know...some kingdom somewhere...
Source⇝ Audiobook (Library)
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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

๏ ๏ ๏  Highlights ๏ ๏ ๏ 


Locked-Room (Elevator) Mystery
Twisted Twisty-ness
Back & Forth Narrative
Corporate Finance


๏ ๏ ๏ Links ๏ ๏ ๏







๏ ๏ ๏  My Thoughts ๏ ๏ ๏ 


Set in the world of Investment Banking, the high stakes, cutthroat, "I'll step on you before you can step on me", kind of atmosphere.  Coupled with the mystery of an escape room challenge...made for a very interesting backdrop.  The story is told in alternating POV's between Sara Hall and the 4 people who have found themselves stuck in an elevator...that's supposed to be an escape room.  The question is...who put them there and why???  This story is not without its could-that-really-happen moments, but despite that, it's an indulging kind of Mystery/Thriller that I found quite entertaining.

I did have one issue...and it was with my advanced reader copy, it was, quite possibly the worse arc I've ever read before.  There was a ton of 1's and 0's, some of which had - or + in front of them, throughout the entire thing.  So flipping distracting.  Has anyone else ever had this with a kindle version of an arc?  I've had issues in the past with weird chapter breaks, but this was crazy they even had the numbers in between letters of a particular word.

๏ ๏ ๏  MY RATING ๏ ๏ ๏ 


4.5STARS - GRADE=A-



๏ Breakdown of Ratings ๏ 

Plot⇝ 4.5/5
Main Characters⇝  5/5
Secondary Characters⇝  4.5/5
The Feels⇝  4.3/5
Pacing⇝  4.3/5
Addictiveness⇝  4.3/5
Theme or Tone⇝  4.5/5
Flow (Writing Style)⇝  4/5
Backdrop (World Building)⇝  5/5
Originality⇝  5/5
Ending⇝  4.5/5 Cliffhanger⇝ Nope.
๏ ๏ ๏
Book Cover⇝ A little too much gold for me...
Setting⇝ New York mostly...
Source⇝ I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
๏ ๏ ๏


Saturday, April 20, 2019

Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J Bick

๏ ๏ ๏  Highlights ๏ ๏ ๏ 


Taboo Romance
Older YA
Psychological


๏ ๏ ๏ Links ๏ ๏ ๏






With Audio Performed by Kathleen McInerney



๏ ๏ ๏  My Thoughts ๏ ๏ ๏ 


The cover and the narrator are the only recommendable aspects of this story...everything else is questionable...except maybe the ending.  I found the ending to be almost perfect, everything except for how they got there in the first place...

Overall, for me, the story has believability issues...so many aspects of the story just didn't sit well for me.   I'm surprised I gave it a chance at all...because teacher/student romance isn't really my thing...especially when dealing with high school age kids.  Just goes to show what an excellent cover can do for a story, at least for someone like me.

๏ ๏ ๏  MY RATING ๏ ๏ ๏ 


2.8STARS - GRADE=C-



๏ Breakdown of Ratings ๏ 


Plot⇝  2.5/5
Narration Performance⇝  4.5/5
Main Characters⇝  2.5/5
Secondary Characters  2/5
The Feels⇝  2.5/5
Pacing⇝  4/5
Addictiveness⇝  3.8/5
Theme or Tone⇝  2/5
Flow (Writing Style)⇝  3.5/5
Backdrop (World Building)⇝  4/5
Originality⇝  2/5
Ending⇝  4/5 Cliffhanger⇝ Nah...
๏ ๏ ๏
Book Cover⇝ Striking, love the color...
Setting⇝ Wisconsin near Lake Michigan
Source⇝ Own Audible Audiobook
๏ ๏ ๏


Monday, April 15, 2019

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

๏ ๏ ๏  Highlights ๏ ๏ ๏ 


Stand-Alone Full Length Story
Fantasy
Twisty Mystery
Romance
Character Growth
A Mix of Historical and Tech

๏ ๏ ๏ Links ๏ ๏ ๏




With Audio Performed by Amy Shiels & Elizabeth Knowelden




๏ ๏ ๏  My Thoughts ๏ ๏ ๏ 


A fantasy stand-alone...not something you see too often...is it?  This is one of the reasons I really liked this.  The other is how compelling listenable I found this, with a mix of dystopian, fantasy and a splash of futuristic-techy thrown in.  I do love those sort of mixes.  Four Dead Queens is not without its flaws, but for the most part, I found them easily discountable.  Maybe, the MC, Keralie is a bit unlikable...but she does grow as a person.  And, also the world-building felt a tad incomplete overall, but still, easily dismissable.  The mystery was well articulated, at least for me it was.  Overall, an enjoyable story and one I recommend.

One of the narrators is the voice of Keralie (Amy Shiels), and the other is the voice of everyone else, including each of the four queens and a couple of others (Elizabeth Knowelden).  They were both pretty good and of course, I liked that the book had two different narrators.  For the story, this worked perfectly.

๏ ๏ ๏  MY RATING ๏ ๏ ๏ 


4.3STARS - GRADE=A-



๏ Breakdown of Ratings ๏ 


Plot⇝ 4.3/5
Narration Performance⇝  5/5
Main Characters⇝  4.5/5
Secondary Characters⇝  5/5
The Feels⇝  4.3/5
Pacing⇝  5/5
Addictiveness⇝  5/5
Theme or Tone⇝  4.2/5
Flow (Writing Style)⇝  4.7/5
Backdrop (World Building)⇝  4.3/5
Originality⇝  4/5
Ending⇝  4.7/5 Cliffhanger⇝ Nope!
๏ ๏ ๏
Book Cover⇝ Absolutely love it!
Setting⇝ Quadara
Source⇝ Audiobook (Library)
๏ ๏ ๏



Saturday, April 13, 2019

See Me by Nicholas Sparks

๏ ๏ ๏  Highlights ๏ ๏ ๏ 


Contemporary
Romance
Mystery
Suspense
My First Nicholas Sparks Book


๏ ๏ ๏ Links ๏ ๏ ๏



With Audio Performed by Christopher Ryan Grant



๏ ๏ ๏  My Thoughts ๏ ๏ ๏

 

Yes, this is my first Nicholas Sparks novel...I have seen a few movies based on his books, though (The Last Song gutted me).  I knew when I went looking for a book by him that I wanted something that hadn't been turned into a Movie, yet.  I found See Me, and I was intrigued, probably had something to do with the mystery/suspense it had going on.

I would call this Contemporary Romance meets Romantic Suspense.  The ending was very intense and completely surprised me...because, you see, I thought it was going to play out a little differently.  I'm impressed that he surprised me.   The writing is superb, despite being slow and a little tedious at times.  The narrator was exceptional, he had a nice smooth voice that made listening to him easy to do.

๏ ๏ ๏  MY RATING ๏ ๏ ๏ 


4.2STARS - GRADE=B+



๏ Breakdown of Ratings ๏ 

Plot⇝ 4/5
Narration Performance⇝ 4/5
Main Characters⇝ 4.3/5
Secondary Characters⇝ 3.8/5
The Feels⇝ 4/5
Pacing⇝ 3.8/5
Addictiveness⇝ 4/5
Theme or Tone⇝ 4.3/5
Flow (Writing Style)⇝ 4.5/5
Backdrop (World Building)⇝ 5/5
Ending⇝ 4.5/5
๏ ๏ ๏
Book Cover⇝ Meh...it's okay
Setting⇝ North Carolina
Source⇝ Audiobook (Library)
๏ ๏ ๏


Thursday, April 11, 2019

In the Shadow of the Spindrift House by Mira Grant

๏ ๏ ๏  Highlights ๏ ๏ ๏ 


Novella
Teen Investigating
Nautical-Themed Paranormal
Creepy House
Poetic Writing


๏ ๏ ๏ Links ๏ ๏ ๏





๏ ๏ ๏  My Thoughts ๏ ๏ ๏ 


A weird (or maybe just weird to me) thing about this book...it doesn't seem to be coming out as an eBook...just a hardcover, on every site I looked at.  It also has an illustrator...does that mean it has illustrations??? That could be cool, especially if they are by the same person who created the cover...and speaking of the cover, wow, this one is fantabulous.

With its poetic, atmospheric writing and the creep-factor of the Spindrift House itself, I found myself drawn to this story.  While, considered to be a Novella, but still clocking in at 200 pages, it ultimately reads fairly quickly, almost too quickly...because the ending is rather abrupt.

Mira Grant also writes as Seanan McGuire and I've never read a Seanan McGuire book...but judging from the covers/synopsis of those books, this story felt more like one of those, rather than a Mira Grant book.  It has a decidedly paranormal feel to it, after all.

๏ ๏ ๏  MY RATING ๏ ๏ ๏ 


4STARS - GRADE=B+



๏ Breakdown of Ratings ๏ 


Plot⇝ 4/5
Main Characters⇝ 4/5
Inanimate Characters⇝ 4.3/5
The Feels⇝ 3.5/5
Pacing⇝ 4.2/5
Addictiveness⇝ 4/5
Theme or Tone⇝ 4.2/5
Flow (Writing Style)⇝ 4/5
Backdrop (World Building)⇝ 4.3/5
Originality⇝ 4/5
Ending⇝ 3.8/5
๏ ๏ ๏
Book Cover⇝ Amazing
Setting⇝ Coast of Maine
Source⇝ I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
๏ ๏ ๏



Sunday, April 7, 2019

Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff

Lifelike Trilogy #1


๏ ๏ ๏  Highlights ๏ ๏ ๏ 


Futuristic Techy
Dystopian
Bots Of All Types & Sizes 
Intense Action
Slight Romanov Retelling
Existentially Thought-Provoking


With Audio Performed by Erin Spencer



๏ ๏ ๏ Links ๏ ๏ ๏







๏ ๏ ๏  My Thoughts ๏ ๏ ๏ 


I previously read an ARC of this back last year, and since the second book comes out soon, and because I loved this, I wanted a refresher on what all went down.   My original review is posted below... 

I loved this!!! Thank you, to whoever decided I was worthy of an ARC of this. I seriously wondered if I would like something by Jay Kristoff without Amie Kaufman involved…but, I totally did.  I was thrown off by the dialogue, for the first few chapters, which I would say is somewhere between Dust Lands Series and the Illuminae Files.  The world in this is fantastic, fleshed out perfectly, with just the right amount of world building.  The pacing is intense.  The action is top-notch, non-stop and depicted in a way that's easily followed.  The characters are possibly my new favorites. The twists at the end were unexpected and I can't wait for book #2.  Oh, and I'm for sure doing a re-read/listen on Audio of this before that second book comes out. 

The audio was well done, Erin Spencer was perfect for the voice of Eve/Anna.  Despite her being perfect, I still think I preferred reading this over listening to this.  Just a smidgen, though.  I seriously don't know why I feel that way, normally I prefer Audio.

๏ ๏ ๏  MY RATING ๏ ๏ ๏ 


5STARS - GRADE=A+





๏ Breakdown of Ratings ๏ 

Plot⇝  5/5
Narration Performance⇝  5/5
Main Characters⇝  5/5
Secondary Characters⇝  5/5
The Feels⇝  5/5
Pacing⇝  5/5
Addictiveness⇝  5/5
Theme or Tone⇝ 5/5
Flow (Writing Style)⇝  5/5
Backdrop (World Building)⇝  5/5
Originality⇝  5/5
Ending⇝  5/5 Cliffhanger⇝ Um...yeah.
๏ ๏ ๏
Book Cover⇝ I have a sudden craving for Honeycomb
Setting⇝  A Futuristic USA
Source⇝ Audiobook (Library)
๏ ๏ ๏

Saturday, April 6, 2019

The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

๏ ๏ ๏  Highlights ๏ ๏ ๏ 


YA Contemporary
Rescue Dogs
Family Drama
Mystery

๏ ๏ ๏ Links ๏ ๏ ๏







๏ ๏ ๏  My Thoughts ๏ ๏ ๏ 


I love The Naturals Series and The Fixer Duology by JLB, I love how smart her writing is and how believable they were, despite having crime-solving teens.  I wanted to love this too...I mean, it's written by Jennifer and it has dogs...two things I love.  Sadly, though, I was ultimately disappointed.  I feel like she lost her mojo...and I really hope she hasn't.

The characters all felt off, kind of over-the-top unbelievable, none more so than the character of Jude...he was cringe-worthy annoying.  The family drama was all over the place and kind of difficult to follow.  The mystery of the missing girl was also a complete letdown, seriously, I just didn't buy it.  The blurb led me to believe that it had all the makings of a super-good story, but it just didn't deliver.  This is probably more of a two-star read for me, but my love for her stories wouldn't let me rate it that low...

๏ ๏ ๏  MY RATING ๏ ๏ ๏ 


2.5STARS - GRADE=D+



๏ Breakdown of Ratings ๏ 

Plot⇝  2.5/5
Characters⇝  2/5
The Feels⇝  2/5
Pacing⇝  3/5
Addictiveness⇝  2.5/5
Theme or Tone⇝  3/5
Flow (Writing Style)⇝  2.3/5
Backdrop (World Building)⇝  3/5
Originality⇝  4/5
Ending⇝  2.7/5 Cliffhanger⇝ ???
๏ ๏ ๏
Book Cover⇝ Could be better...
Setting⇝ Hunter's Point & Sierra Glades National Park
Source⇝ I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
๏ ๏ ๏


Monday, April 1, 2019

March Re-Cap

March has been a good reading/listening month for me, with only two books below four stars.  The Snakes and Ladders Challenge really helped with that.  I have to say, I wouldn't mind doing a pick-it-for-me poll again sometime.  I need an easier website then surveymonkey.com, though.  That one confused me, I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to post it on here.  If anyone knows of a better website for this sort of thing...please let me know?

My March Reading/Listening Re-Cap




(Audiobook) Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

Highlights Include: 
Historical Fiction Based in Truth
Germany Pre-WWII Times
Mystery
Family Secrets
Ravings of a Madman--Adolf Hitler
Splash of Romance

Finish Date:  03/01
☆4.3☆STARS - GRADE=A-







(Audiobook) Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Highlights Include:
Realistic Fiction
Hockey, Hockey & More Hockey
Small Town Ways
Rape
Rape Culture

Finish Date:  03/04
☆4.7☆STARS - GRADE=A






(Audiobook) The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Highlights Include:

Political Intrigue
Scandals & Terrorists
Twisty
Young Adult
Mystery-Suspense-Thriller
Book #1 Rating: ☆3.8☆

Finish Date:  03/08
☆4.5☆STARS - GRADE=A-





(Audiobook) If You Dare by A.R. Torre

Highlights Include:

Romantic Suspense
Did She or Didn't She
Crime Mystery
Toned Down Erotic-ness
Book #1 Rating: ☆4.5☆ Book #2 Rating: ☆4☆
Series Rating:  ☆4.3☆

Finish Date:  03/11
☆4.2☆STARS - GRADE=B+




(Audiobook) The Gone World by Tom Sweterlitsch

Highlights Include:

Mystery
Time-Travel
Apocalyptic Bleakness
Science Fiction
WTF Did I Just Listen To
Stand-Alone

Finish Date:  03/16
☆4.5☆STARS - GRADE=A-





(Netgalley eARC) Romanov by Nadine Brandes

Highlights Include:

Retelling
Russia
Based in Truth
Historical
Fantasy
Magic Spells

Finish Date:  03/17
☆2.7☆STARS - GRADE=C-





(Audiobook) The Exes' Revenge by Jo Jakeman

Highlights Include:

One hell-of-a Asshat
+3 Women and a Child
Revenge
Abuse
A Little Bit of Mystery

Finish Date:  03/20
☆2.3☆STARS - GRADE=D+






(Audiobook) Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia

Highlights Include:

Small-Town Mystery
Psychological Thriller
Forbidden Romance
Multiple POV's

Finish Date:  03/22
☆4☆STARS - GRADE=B+








Highlights Include:

Memoirs
10 Year Anniversary Edition
Addiction
Rock Star Life
Drugs, Sex, & Rock N' Roll

Finish Date:  03/24
☆4.5☆STARS - GRADE=A-






(Audiobook Novella) The Test by Sylvain Neuvel

Highlights Include:

Novella/Short Story
Thought-Provoking
A Possible Future

Finish Date:  03/25
☆4☆STARS - GRADE=B+







(Audiobook) The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger

Highlights Include:

Intricate Plot/Twisty Mystery
Engaging Characters
Revenge
Rape and the Aftermath
 & Empowerment

Finish Date:  03/29
☆4.7☆STARS - GRADE=A






(Audiobook) Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone

Highlights Include:

Girls Rule, and Boys Drool
Revenge
A Self-Diagnosed Sociopath
Absolutely Brilliant
Bad-Ass MC
Unputdownable

Finish Date:  03/31
☆5☆STARS - GRADE=A+







12 Books total, 11 Audiobooks (one of which is a novella) and 1 Netgalley eARC, for a total of 4,315 Pages (including Audios) read.

So many great covers to choose from...and it came down to The Red Hunter and Romanov and My Favorite Cover Winner for the month of March is:





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REVIEW: DEAD TO YOU