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Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver: Frodo’s Review

TotallyRandomTuesday

Summary From GoodreadsVanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it’s too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

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There are books that you fall in love with because of the world, the author’s creativity, or the relationships that are forged both inside of the story and between you and the characters within. Then there are books that you connect with because they feel like yours, stories that seem like the author’s intended audience was you and you alone. The latter was my experience with Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver, and it made me both love the book, and reflect a lot on my life. With that said, I clearly have a bias here, but if you don’t mind then read on.

First, I should expand on my connection with the story of Vanishing Girls. This is the first blog post since October 2014, and there is good reason for that. On January 11th of this year I attempted suicide, and my mode of choice was to crash my vehicle into a tree at high speed. I hadn’t felt like blogging again until reading this book, and while Nick and Dara weren’t involved in the car accident because of a suicide attempt, the results were similar.

Scars, both emotional and physical. Major life changes in behavior, friendships, and overall lifestyle. Overwhelming guilt.

Now that you have an idea of why I connected with the story and characters so much (if you want more on my life just hit me up via Twitter and such) let’s get into the review.

Lauren Oliver’s writing is as wonderful as ever. I became a fan of hers after reading Liesl & Po, an adorable MG read, and Vanishing Girls is even better. The story flows extremely well, despite the confusion of the characters within, and transitioning between the POV of the sisters is seamless. Everything concerning the sisters, the accident, their warped family and relationships was fascinating, with just enough edge to keep it from becoming too sappy. However, I will admit that while I understand why the hunt for Madeline Snow was included (spoilers!) it did feel forced, and her character never really adds much to the book.

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The characters are what makes or breaks this book in my opinion. You have to feel for Dara and her physical injuries, struggles to return to her usual self, and her black sheep role in her discombobulated family. There needs to be sympathy for Nick’s guilt and emotional struggles over the crash, her frayed relationship with Dara when they were so close before, and her drive to find out the truth to fill the gaps in her memory and the resulting world around her.

Vanishing Girls utilizes the sisters so well, equally showing off the issues and negativity between them after the accident (the usual way sisters are represented in YA), and the positively cute development of their close friendship prior to it (something rare in YA). There should be more books that have sisters who actually like each other in YA, that are also main characters, at least in my opinion. It’s a relationship that doesn’t seem to be tapped enough.

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There is also the trio of friends/relationships dynamic with Nick, Dara, and their best friend Parker. All three were really good friends growing up until Dara and Parker became a bit more. That played a major role in Nick and Parker’s relationship, as well as Dara and Nick’s due to Nick feeling like a third wheel. It’s awkward, and the book doesn’t try to hide that, instead exploring each pairing (as well as the atmosphere when all three are together) with plenty of love and care.

In addition, Vanishing Girls explores all kinds of issues, something I really applaud Oliver for, and a big reason why I think the book is worth the read for any teen or young adult. Divorce, step parents and siblings, PTSD, depression, guilt, DID, drinking, drugs, and a plethora of other issues are explored and in just the right amount of detail. Best of all, Oliver manages to do all of that without saying anything that might trigger problems for those suffering from or dealing with those same issues. There is an art in doing that, and I really appreciated that she pulled it off.

Finally, the setting does a lot of the work in the fun department, making lighter situations to balance the deeper parts of the book. Nick is forced into a job at the local amusement park FanLand. It’s old, the employees are bizarre as one would expect, and best of all Parker is there for all the nostalgic feels. FanLand is a diversion from all the shitty things happening to Nick, and it’s one that she and the reader need every so often, plus metaphors, so many metaphors. I loved how Oliver brought it to life.

a metaphor

Overall Vanishing Girls was an excellent read, even if it was pretty dark at times, and while my bias is real, I don’t think it is clouding my judgement. I loved this book so much that it made me blog again. I HAD to share my thoughts on it, and a book that powerful is worth reading. Yes, I’m late to the party (the book came out in March), but hopefully I’m only fashionably so. It’s been fun. Thanks as always for reading.

Four Smiling Frodos w Background


Loop by Karen Akins: Frodo’s Review

TotallyRandomTuesday

 

Summary From GoodreadsLoop

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.

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I received an eBook copy of Loop from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have a fascination for everything involving time travel, whether it is in the form of a book such as with the MG/YA Pendragon series, in a tv show like Forever or Doctor Who, or a movie like Back to the Future. It doesn’t seem to matter what medium it is in, if it involves time travel even at a small level I’m going to at least be interested and willing to give it a try; that’s where Loop by Karen Akins comes in. I heard about Loop from the publisher who was looking for people to do reviews for its blog tour, and while I did not participate in that, I did request it because I was curious to see if this would be a good example of time travel, and a way of quenching my thirst for it.

Time Travel Back to the Future

The result? A bit of a mixed bag. I found the beginning of the book to be a struggle to get through, adjusting to Akins using fake curse words in place of regular ones (something I know bugs some people and in this case was a mild irritant to myself), and getting accustomed to the jargon used to describe the process of time travel itself, and everything that goes on with it.

Fake Swear Words Battlestar Gallactica

Unfortunately, even when I had immersed myself in the world, it never felt like something I could wrap my brain around, especially concerning the bits and pieces of explanations we get for how the world functions in the 23rd century. This isn’t due to lack of experience with various reasoning given in other examples of future worlds, but that Akins doesn’t do a very good job at describing it in a clear way.

Part of the issue here, and something that is the case across the board with this book (technical babble aside), is that it seems like the reader is intentionally led in circles in order to give the story a kind of mystery. In reality, all that occurred was that I was increasingly frustrated at the contradictions that started to arise, the dense main character that took forever to realize what was right in front of her face (where the reader could put the pieces together chapters before), and being left to wonder if (from a technical aspect) this world even made sense at all.

Going Around in Circles

Every time a technical bit was brought up it was almost immediately discarded and a vague response given instead. My head hurts just trying to put those last few paragraphs together to try and explain what wasn’t explained in the book, but suffice it to say that there are problems in the world building in Loop.

Then there are the characters. Bree (the MC) is dense as I mentioned before, but is also inconsistent. At times she seems lost and unsure, as well as just plain slow, and often can’t figure out what is happening around her, even when it’s pretty clear. Other times Bree plays a Sherlock-esque figure, picking up clues and hatching schemes (even if they aren’t always brilliant ones), all the while complaining about the same issues repeatedly. She had a pretty rough past, but despite that I was never able to pity her after the first couple of chapters because she is so abrasive and whiny.

Finn, the love interest, grasps things often before Bree does despite being from the 21st century, but otherwise is just an overprotective lug, and one that happens to be quite attractive seemingly just for gushing at random intervals from Bree. The supporting cast outside of them are even more cliche, from the standard BFF Mimi who is only there to be overly devoted to Bree, to one of the “villains” that is confused and used, and that eventually goes a tad nuts but still garners pity for whatever reason. Just…no.

nope

The part of Loop that pulls you in, however, is the past-to-future experiences, at least if you love time travel like I do. Unfortunately, while some of those aspects are pulled off well, such as with various cultural references in the 21st and 23rd centuries, much of the future elements are not well done at all. The world Bree lives in is barely discussed, the book focuses way too much on a couple modes of transportation instead of the time travel part, and the cliched joke of instant meals was used a couple times and wasn’t really funny. There is always a lot to work with in time travel books because you have such a wide range of times and locations to choose from, but that wasn’t showcased in Loop at all. The world in the 23rd century was simply bland.

Bland World

The writing and conversations that took place were decent, but it wasn’t enough to grab me, especially with the previously mentioned issues involved. A few solid jokes were made, and the sheer awkwardness of various situations were enjoyable, but there wasn’t enough chemistry between the main characters to enjoy those scenes fully. Having the inevitable future of the timeline Bree and Finn were on, something that was told almost immediately in the story, made it so there were hardly any surprises or suspense.

Overall, while the idea of time travel was present, and some of the issues with it (even if many are obvious) were addressed, I couldn’t enjoy Loop like I had hoped to. It isn’t a bad book, it just doesn’t excel in any category. Time travel wasn’t exciting in Loop, it was just a way of circumventing plot issues, something it didn’t do all that well anyway. The ending of the book only serves to try and confuse the reader even more, and too many issues remain unresolved, even for a book in a series. Thanks as always for reading.

Two Smiling Frodos w Background


Frodo’s Frisky Friday: The Photographer’s Muse

Frodo's Frisky Friday

The Photographer’s Muse by Dominic Rod

Summary From GoodreadsThe Photographer's Muse

Nick lives a solitary existence in NYC. Invisible. Alone. Until a photographer walks up to him in the park one day and asks to take his picture.

Esteban lives in a world of art, sex, and domination. Nick is introduced to this world and he falls in love with it…and Esteban.

This is an 8,500 word short story. It contains graphic scenes of gay sex, rough sex, masochism and BDSM. It is intended for mature readers only.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

 The Photographer’s Muse is a M/M BDSM erotica story, so if that’s not for you I understand, maybe skip this one. However, if any of that sounds like your cup of tea, and if you want well written and deliciously descriptive sex scenes, then I’d recommend giving this a try.

The Photographer’s Muse is another solid entry from one of my favorite erotica sources, Luna Erotica, and it came with the writing level that I expect from them. The pacing is a bit quick, and the MC Nick does a serious 180 in terms of how he sees himself, but that doesn’t stop it from being an exciting journey of sexual discovery, as well of that of the self. I imagine that for some people The Photographer’s Muse would accurately depict how they came to find out whatever sexual preference they really had, or at least their first sexual experience in the new-found territory; slow realization, then incredible desire all at once.

The BDSM in The Photographer’s Muse is a bit tame compared to much of that sub-genre, almost done in a gentle way while still maintaining the control of it, but it is enjoyable. Also, if you have ever felt so average as to be invisible, something I can understand completely, then this might be the fantasy for you. Thanks as always for reading, and happy Friday!

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Mini Review Monday: The Dream Thieves

MiniReviewMonday

The Dream Thieves

Summary From GoodreadsThe Dream Thieves

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same.

Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life.

Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews on Mini Review Monday! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

I’ve been waiting to read The Dream Thieves until Blue Lily, Lily Blue came out, but I managed to get a copy on Netgalley that I’ll be reviewing later, so I decided to dive in a little early. If you really enjoyed The Raven Boys then I’m sure you love or will love The Dream Thieves because the tempo, majority of the characters, and the feel of the book are very similar to the first one. However, if you had issues with the previous book in the series you might enjoy this one anyway, it’s more polished, the characters even more fleshed out (especially Ronan), and the magical bits that started in The Raven Boys take an even greater focus in The Dream Thieves.

Ronan is a fascinating character. He’s broken, constantly putting himself down and questioning himself (though mostly in his head), but he’s also a badass, and he pulls off that semi-facade masterfully. His powers of retrieving items from dreams are shown in detail in The Dream Thieves, and by the end they are flat-out amazing.

While Ronan is somewhat of the focus in book two (kind of like Adam was in book one), that didn’t detract from the rest of the cast of characters, a group that has become one of my favorites. Blue is still quirky and hilarious, Noah is an oddball of a ghost, Adam is conflicted and broody (but crazy levels of determined), and Gansey is well…Gansey. The dialogue and banter in this series makes for some of the most entertaining reading I’ve had recently, and I haven’t ever come across a series quite like this before, it’s fantastic.

The plot takes a ton of interesting twists and turns, there are a few new characters that are introduced or that get fleshed out a bit more outside of the main group, and the ending will blow your mind. I felt like The Dream Thieves was everything I wanted The Raven Boys to be, like a fully realized version, and I can only hope that Blue Lily, Lily Blue will continue the upward trend. Thanks as always for reading. ^.^

Five Smiling Frodos w Background


Sacrifice by Brigid Kemmerer: Frodo’s Review

Sacrifice (Elemental #5)

Summary From GoodreadsSacrifice

Michael Merrick understands pressure. He’s the only parent his three brothers have had for years. His power to control Earth could kill someone if he miscalculates. Now an Elemental Guide has it in for his family, and he’s all that stands in the way.

His girlfriend, Hannah, understands pressure too. She’s got a child of her own, and a job as a firefighter that could put her life in danger at any moment.

But there are people who have had enough of Michael’s defiance, his family’s ‘bad luck’. Before he knows it, Michael’s enemies have turned into the Merricks’ enemies, and they’re armed for war.

They’re not interested in surrender. But Michael isn’t the white flag type anyway. Everything is set for the final showdown.

Four elements, one family. Will they hold together, or be torn apart?

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I received a copy of Sacrifice from NetGalley, and I’m sure glad I did because I was really running out of patience to get my hands on the latest book in the Elemental Series. I was starting to have withdrawal symptoms! >.>

Let Me Love You

So, we are finally getting the book I know a lot of the fans in the series have been anxiously waiting for, Michael Merrick’s! The stoic leader, the steady rock (and the earth elemental puns begin!) of the family, Michael is the closest to a parental figure we see consistently in the series, a role he was forced to take when his parents died. The thing I wanted to know is, how has he been able to handle that role when he really was a kid himself at the beginning, and what on earth (you like puns right?) is going on in his head?

The simple answer is he’s as freaked out as you might expect, especially since his family is in constant danger, only getting worse as time goes on. Michael needs a shoulder to cry on, or at least someone to confide in to take some of the burden off of his shoulders, as much, if not more than any of his brothers. The problem is, he knows better than to involve any more people because it would put them in danger, including his sort-of girlfriend, Hannah. If you’ve read the series you already know how kind, caring, and simply good Michael is, I don’t need to tell you that, but Sacrifice does give a little more insight into his fears, and that was interesting to see.

Hannah is the other MC of the book, as it shifts between her and Michael’s perspectives, and this was the first glimpse we got into her life in any detail. What I took away from Sacrifice in regards to Hannah is how much she cares for her son, how she has handled having a child when she was 17 until now, and how her relationships with her family and the people around her have affected the way she sees the world. She’s tough, she’s a fighter, but she’s also not the most trusting, usually jumping to a negative conclusion about people who are trying to help her. I can’t say I really connected with Hannah too much (unless you are a teen mom, or were, it would be hard to), but her perspective is well worth looking at.

Life is Pain

The biggest change for me from the previous books to Sacrifice, as you might have guessed by the previous paragraphs, is how dark this book is. The two main characters are both dealing with pretty bad situations, the supporting cast (especially the brothers) aren’t faring much better and are in freak-out mode for much of the book, and then there is the new Guide threat coming after the other Elementals. It’s not a light and fluffy read whatsoever, but it is compelling, especially when the elemental battles are concerned.

Sacrifice is not light on the fantastic displays of elemental power, despite all of the drama going on that would be enough to make the book interesting, and since it is Michael’s book we finally get some earth-shattering (you thought I was done with the puns?) displays. While you are in store for an earthquake or two, there is also plenty of fire, some air, and even a good bit of water as well. We are finally seeing how well the elemental brothers can operate when they are connected and not constantly fighting each other. It’s freaking awesome. ^.^

I've Got The Power

The tone of the book being so somber did drop my enjoyment level a tiny notch, along with Michael’s constant worrying over his brothers (though I understood it), but overall I definitely enjoyed the book. The ending quarter of the book or so is a whirlwind of activity and the final bit leaves potential for more books in the future, though I know this is supposed to be the end of the series. If Kemmerer isn’t planning on doing a novella or something to add to the end of Sacrifice then I’ll say it is more open-ended then I would like, even though the paths of the characters are mostly understood. I would love to get more of the Merrick’s and the large family they’ve created in the future, but it’s been a wild ride either way. Thanks as always for reading, and get your copy on the 30th of the month!

Four Smiling Frodos w Background


Waiting on Wednesday #31

Waiting On Wednesday hosted by Breaking The Spine

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by the fantastic people over at Breaking The Spine that highlights upcoming releases that we are excited about.

For this week my pre-publication selection that I can’t wait for is:

Love and Other Theories by Alexis Bass

Set For Release On: December 31st, 2014

Summary From GoodreadsLove and Other Theories

If you want more, you have to give less.

That’s the secret to dating in high school. By giving as little as they expect to get in return, seventeen-year-old Aubrey Housing and her three best friends have made it to the second semester of their senior year heartbreak-free. And it’s all thanks to a few simple rules: don’t commit, don’t be needy, and don’t give away your heart.

So when smoking-hot Nathan Diggs transfers to Lincoln High, it shouldn’t be a big deal. At least that’s what Aubrey tells herself. But Nathan’s new-boy charm, his kindness, and his disarming honesty throw Aubrey off her game and put her in danger of breaking the most important rule of all: Don’t fall in love.

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I heard about Love and Other Theories from the amazing Nikki at Fiction Freak, and because I completely trust her judgement, I know it’ll be good because she really enjoyed it. I also enjoy YA contemporary quite a bit, so this will be a nice easy read, and probably a pretty light and fluffy one too. I was warned about the feels though, so I will be keeping that in mind.

The cover is also pretty solid, I can imagine it would look nice on one of my shelves, and it certainly is eye-catching. Had you heard of Love and Other Theories or of the author, Alexis Bass? If you had, are you planning on getting it too? What book are you “Waiting On”? Let me know in the comments and/or leave a link to your own WoW post! Thanks for checking out my Waiting On Wednesday! ^.^


Mini Review Monday: As Long As You Love Me

MiniReviewMonday

As Long As You Love Me by Ann Aguirre

Summary From GoodreadsAs Long As You Love Me

Most people dream about getting out of Sharon, Nebraska, but after three years away, Lauren Barrett is coming home. She has her reasons; missing her family, losing her college scholarship. But then there’s the reason Lauren can’t admit to anyone: Rob Conrad, her best friend’s older brother.

Football prowess and jaw-dropping good looks made Rob a star in high school. Out in the real world, his job and his relationships are going nowhere. He’s the guy who women love and leave, not the one who makes them think of forever; until Lauren comes back to town, bringing old feelings and new dreams with her.

Because the only thing more important than figuring out where you truly belong is finding the person you were meant to be with.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews on Mini Review Monday! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

I received a copy of As Long As You Love Me on NetGalley along with book one, I Want It That Way which I reviewed earlier if you’d like some context. I enjoyed book one of the series quite a bit, so I couldn’t help myself and read book two already, even though it doesn’t come out until the 30th of this month. ALAYLM was a solid NA read with some good humor and plenty of sexy fun time, just like IWITW, but this time more serious issues were tackled, something that was greatly appreciated as it gave needed depth to the book.

Lauren, the MC and best friend from IWITW, takes center stage in ALAYLM as she adjusts to life back at home, a new job and online university, and an old flame. She’s not quite as funny as I found Nadia to be, but she is probably more realistic than Nadia, having some serious issues to work through that people can identify with. She has major anxiety issues, dealing with a lot of people (especially new ones) is not her strong suit, and she’s just starting to return to her usual self, unlike the fake version she forced out that was seen in book one. All of that is made more complicated when Rob comes back into her life, and she has to deal with past feelings (and new ones) coming to light.

Then there is the love interest, Rob, who is having a rough go of it in life from work (construction that he barely scrapes by on) to his relationships (a bad one with Avery). Having Lauren come back completely alters his life, from new potential financial avenues, to a potential relationship that might actually be good for him. However, Rob has his own issues, from incredibly strong self-doubt (stemming from how his parents treat him) to his troubles with opening up to people and believing them when they seem to genuinely care. He doesn’t have as much personality as you might expect from a secondary main character, but (especially those from small towns) he is extremely easy to identify with.

The rest of the cast brings up plenty of issues of their own. There are long distance relationships (and pregnancy to go with it), sexual abuse, and physical disabilities that are all brought up by various people throughout the book, and there is a wide variety of ways that all of them are dealt with which I found pretty interesting. The tone of the book is certainly more somber than IWITW, though there are still plenty of truly happy and exciting moments, but it is something to keep in mind. This isn’t your purely light and fluffy contemporary read.

Though ALAYLM was more serious, something I appreciated in some ways, I did enjoy the majority of what I read. However, there were a few negatives I should mention. The beginning of the book was a bit of a struggle as a lot of the dialogue felt repetitious and the first quarter of the book or so felt pretty rushed, not enough to be jarring, but certainly noticeable. Also, while I know that there is a lot of history between them, it felt like Aguirre might have used that as an excuse to move things forward pretty quickly in the beginning, and that was unfortunate. The story ended up getting to more of a normal pace, but if you liked book one, and book two intrigues you, I would say not to give up if you notice those same issues at the start.

Wow, this got a little longer than I planned for a Mini Review Monday post, but I guess that’s because ALAYLM covers so much ground, especially on different serious topics. Would I recommend it? It’s a good read, but there were some issues with it, and some of the sexual acts as well (the first one in particular) that didn’t sit well, but overall yes, it’s worth your time. If you want a New Adult read that isn’t all about getting your freak on and going crazy over a guy/girl, then this is for you. Thanks as always for reading.

Three Smiling Frodos w Background


Official Blog Tour Review of Exo by Steven Gould + Giveaway!

EXO_Banner

 

Click the banner to follow the tour!

I really enjoyed Exo, getting to dive back into science fiction was a blast! A big thank you to Jean Book Nerd Tours, Steven Gould, and Tor for giving me an ARC to enjoy, and for letting me be a part of this fabulous blog tour! My stop on the tour is a review and spotlight of the book, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post for your chance to win a copy of Exo for yourself! ^.^

EXO

Synopsis 

Cent can teleport. So can her parents, but they are the only people in the world who can. This is not as great as you might think it would be — sure, you can go shopping in Japan and then have tea in London, but it’s hard to keep a secret like that. And there are people, dangerous people, who work for governments and have guns, who want to make you do just this one thing for them. And when you’re a teenage girl things get even more complicated. High school. Boys. Global climate change, refugees, and genocide. Orbital mechanics.

But Cent isn’t easily daunted, and neither are Davy and Millie, her parents. She’s going to make some changes in the world.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

STEVEN GOULD is the author of Jumper, Wildside, Helm, Blind Waves, Reflex, and Jumper: Griffin’s Story, as well as many short stories. He is the recipient of the Hal Clement Young Adult Award for Science Fiction and has been nominated for both the Hugo and the Nebula Awards. Gould lives in New Mexico with his wife, writer Laura J. Mixon, and their two daughters.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | GOODREADS | FACEBOOK

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My Review

Exo is the book you give to a true science fiction fan just to see their eyes light up. Much of the science fiction that is out there today, at least from what I have encountered, has dramatically decreased the amount of actual science involved, and this is especially true in young adult. It has almost reached the point where sci-fi has turned into fantasy, scary I know. However, Exo is a throwback to a previous era of science fiction writing, glorifying the science that is involved instead of hiding it.

Have you ever wanted to be an astronaut? It’s a common dream for many young children, although with the deterioration of the space program a bit less so in recent times, but if you want to know just about everything involved in that process then Exo is for you. It doesn’t use the typical launch missions, spacecraft, or the like because of Cent’s powers, but there is more than enough realistic space jargon to excite your inner geek.

What makes Exo so great, though, is that it doesn’t overdo the technical aspects, or focus on just that side of the book. There is something in it for everyone! If you like some teen angst you’ll get a decent helping here, or if you prefer some daring rescues or dangerous escapes you can have your cake and eat it too! Also, if you are looking for some more of those cool teleportation displays from the previous books that’s included and even amplified to new levels!

I’ve come to really enjoy the series, especially with Cent (the main character) leading the way. She’s incredibly smart, quick witted, but not full of herself in the slightest, something that must be incredibly difficult when you can teleport all over the world with ease. Cent is also relatable, from her relationship issues (both with friends and her love life) to her squabbles with her parents for more freedom. She’s caring, but refuses to bend to anyone’s will (and I mean anyone!), and has plenty of badass in her when she needs it. Overall, Cent is just a fabulous MC, and a solid role model for YA readers, or any aged readers for that matter. She’ll inspire you.

There aren’t any real criticisms I have when it comes to Exo. The supporting cast is great and you still get the POV of her parents at times, so don’t worry if you miss the voices from the earlier Jumper books. Travelling to new areas in the world isn’t as much of a focus, mostly because SPACE!, but Gould managed to make it so I didn’t miss it, and that’s pretty difficult to do. I’d recommend Exo to any science fiction fan, regardless of age, but for teens and college-age this would be perfect. Thanks as always for reading, and good luck with the giveaway below!

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Enter the Giveaway!

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Red Blooded by Amanda Carlson: Frodo’s Review

TotallyRandomTuesday

Red Blooded (Jessica McClain #4)

Summary From AmazonRed Blooded

Jessica is going to Hell.

After settling a fragile truce between the vampires, werewolves and witches, the last thing Jessica wants to do is face the demons head on. But when the Prince of Hell kidnapped her brother, he set into motion a chain of events that even Jessica doesn’t have the power to stop.

Now, Jessica must go into battle again. But Hell is a whole new beast — new rules, more dangerous demons, and an entirely foreign realm. And when Jessica is dropped into the Underworld too soon, without protection or the help of her friends, she must figure out just how powerful she can be… or she will never make it out alive.

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When I got the invitation to read Red Blooded on NetGalley I jumped on the opportunity. Full Blooded, book one in the series, was the first ARC I ever received, back when I first started blogging, and I’ve been hooked ever since. So to say I was excited to see what Red Blooded had in store would be an understatement. Also, the book came out today (Sep. 9) so if you want to go get a copy you can!

Red Blooded delivered in just about every way, giving me the diverse paranormal group I’ve come to expect, and the wide array of talents and powers displayed, all in a brand new world to explore. One of my favorite things about the Jessica McClain series is that Carlson takes the standard paranormal creatures (werewolves, vampires, witches, etc.) and alters how we think about them by combining some, and giving others new traits and personalities that you might not expect. Red Blooded has all of the paranormal beings you could possibly want, and introduces plenty of new ones as Jessica makes her way through the Underworld/Hell.

Carlson’s version of the Underworld/Hell (I have to use both because she does interchangeably, tad annoying I know) is an intriguing one. She makes it feel at times more alive than you might imagine, with vivid descriptions of ever-changing colors and textures of structures and tunnels, and the vast differences of the world at night and during the day. Alternatively, it is a very structured and clean place, with seemingly identical demons roaming around in vast numbers, and at times it seems regimented and even a bit cold. The combination makes for a really interesting experience on all sensory levels.

The character list remains pretty expansive, as I was alluding to earlier, and the new additions in the book are well worth the read by themselves. I can’t get into too much detail without spoilers, but one of the new creatures Jessica meets when she arrives in Hell has a very interesting personality, and instantly had me gravitating toward them. The supporting cast is really strong as well, from the BF Rourke to the bizarre (and adorable) young oracle Maggie, the quick-witted Ray and the incredibly stubborn Vampire Queen, and all sorts of other compelling characters make it one wild ride.

My complaints for Red Blooded are ones I’ve made consistently throughout the series, so I’ll keep them short. Jessica often seems incredibly dense, the last to pick up on what’s going on, and yet it doesn’t seem like she is intentionally being portrayed as a moron, so that’s frustrating. That leads me to my other issue, which is the repetitious conversations, weird pauses for info dumps, and the amount of info dumps throughout the book that feel awkward because it is so forced, all of which seems to stem from how slow Jessica is, and it is annoying to deal with.

Overall I definitely enjoyed Red Blooded, as I have with the rest of the series. While I do have complaints, they are for things I’ve come to accept come with the better parts of the books in the series, but those issues have kept the last few books from being five stars. I would recommend the series to anyone who enjoys a wide variety of paranormal creatures in different (and usually pretty awesome) worlds. I’m looking forward to book five to see what craziness happens next! Thanks as always for reading.

Four Smiling Frodos w Background


Mini Review Monday: The Iron Trial

MiniReviewMonday

The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

Summary From GoodreadsThe Iron Trial

From NEW YORK TIMES bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes a riveting new series that defies what you think you know about the world of magic.

From two bestselling superstars, a dazzling and magical middle-grade collaboration centering on the students of the Magisterium, an academy for those with a propensity toward magic. In this first book, a new student comes to the Magisterium against his will — is it because he is destined to be a powerful magician, or is the truth more twisted than that?

It’s a journey that will thrill you, surprise you, and make you wonder about the clear-cut distinction usually made between good and evil.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews on Mini Review Monday! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

I received a copy of The Iron Trial via NetGalley, which I was thrilled about because I love Holly Black’s work, had never had the pleasure of reading Cassandra Clare’s, and needed some more MG in my life. The Iron Trial was a highly enjoyable fantasy MG read, filled with magic of all kinds, not just of the elements on which it is focused. There is also the magic of the bonds you make, the wonder of a new world, and the thrill of facing your biggest fears and conquering them.

With the book being by Black and Clare, it is no surprise that the writing style was fantastic, and that I easily read The Iron Trial in one sitting. The pacing is excellent, the world has been fleshed out really nicely, and the Magisterium is a fascinating place to explore. Plus, how can anyone resist elemental powers and all of the cool ways you can use them? I know I couldn’t!

The cast of characters is one of the biggest highlight of the book. Black and Clare really took their time in developing each one, not giving away too much about any one character early on, including the MC. Call (short for Callum) is not your typical main character, being more moody and reserved than a standard hero, and the way his mind works is something quite fresh and interesting, though difficult to describe. Without giving too much away, he does open up after a while, which isn’t too surprising given that the supporting cast is stellar. I can’t wait to see how they develop going forward!

Comparisons to Harry Potter have been made, and while I can see how that might be, I would argue that The Iron Trial is darker in its undertones, and with significantly better (and more interesting) twists. Also, the Magisterium is nothing like Hogwarts, of that I can assure you! If I had to give any criticism to the book it would be that (even for 12yr olds) the characters are a tad slow on the uptake for certain things, and seem a little to clueless at times, but that’s a small issue. If you are looking for a MG fantasy story in the vein of Harry Potter, but with a unique personality and tone, then I’d recommend giving this one a try. Thanks as always for reading.

Five Smiling Frodos w Background


Waiting on Wednesday #30

Waiting On Wednesday hosted by Breaking The Spine

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by the fantastic people over at Breaking The Spine that highlights upcoming releases that we are excited about.

For this week my pre-publication selection that I can’t wait for is:

Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff

Set For Release On: January 27th, 2015

Summary From GoodreadsPlaylist for the Dead

A teenage boy tries to understand his best friend’s suicide by listening to the playlist of songs he left behind in this smart, voice-driven debut novel.

Here’s what Sam knows: There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, his best friend, Hayden, was dead. And all he left Sam was a playlist of songs, and a suicide note: For Sam—listen and you’ll understand.

As he listens to song after song, Sam tries to face up to what happened the night Hayden killed himself. But it’s only by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he will finally be able to piece together his best friend’s story. And maybe have a chance to change his own.

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My first thought when I came across this book was that the cover made me excited to read it, simply because I love listening to music, and it seemed like the book might cover musical discussions, like how a specific song/artist might make a person feel. So that was certainly enough to get me to use it as a WoW post on its own.

Then I read the summary and immediately was reminded of one of my favorite books, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Both books have the MC listen to something (tapes or a playlist), both go over the difficult topic of suicide, and each book makes the MC take a second look at their surroundings and the people they thought they knew. I’m certainly intrigued to see how they compare and contrast.

Have you heard of Playlist for the Dead, or the Michelle Falkoff? If you have, are you planning on getting it too? What book are you “Waiting On”? Let me know in the comments and/or leave a link to your own WoW post! Thanks for checking out my Waiting On Wednesday! ^.^


Top Ten Book Characters That Would Be Sitting At My Lunch Table

TotallyRandomTuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week on Top Ten Tuesday I’ll be talking about a bunch of my favorite characters in books to make up my ultimate lunch table! I’ll say a bit about each one and why I love them so much. Let’s get into it!

Croak 1. Ginny Weasley (Harry Potter) – This was the easiest one for me because you always want your bookish crush at the table, even though this is from back when the books were still coming out for me. I love her personality in the later books and she can cast a quick bat bogey hex on anyone causing trouble.

 2. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter) – I’m sticking with the Harry Potter theme because Hermione is a must for all bookish conversations. She might take it a bit to the extreme though.

 3. Lex (Croak) – Lex has a fantastic sense of humor and would keep the sarcasm meter high at the table. She also wouldn’t be afraid to tell it like it is which could lead to some pretty interesting conversations.

 4. Globcow (Attic Clowns) – Globcow might freak people out a bit at first, but he’s such a funny little guy that I can’t help but want to include him. Keep an eye on your feet!

 5. Nero (The Infects) – Nero is a bit of an oddball, but he’s another hilarious person to add to the group (I’m big on keeping the mood happy, have you noticed?) and he is my go-to if a zombie apocalypse goes down.

Lady thief 6. Anna (Anna) – Every lunch table needs a ghost, and Anna is my favorite ghost in literary history. She’s a bit hard to get to know, but a sweetheart once you do. She could use a few more friends too.

 7. Colin Singleton (An Abundance of Katherines) – It’s always good to have a genius at the table, and Colin definitely fits the bill. He has a pretty good sharp sense of humor going for him too, but really I just need him to help the rest of us with our homework. Sorry Colin.

 8. Scarlet (Scarlet) – I need someone with a bit of an edge to them, enter Scarlet. She’s a badass, and even with her soft center (at least when it comes to Robin) I think she’d keep us safe in a fight, food or otherwise.

 9 & 10. Pippin and Merry (Lord of the Rings) – Nope, I didn’t pick Frodo or Sam! However, I had to go with characters from my favorite book series, and since this is more of a college-age group (in the perfect world in my head anyway) we need some people that can bring the party, and the fun liquids. Pippin and Merry know how to have a great time, and they do like their pints!

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There are so many other amazing bookish people that I would love to have at my table, but these ten would definitely form my core group. Were any of these characters ones you chose or would want at your table? Who did you pick? Let me know! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^


Mini Rant Monday: Glitch

 

Mini Rant Monday

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu

Summary From GoodreadsGlitch

In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network.

When Zoe starts to malfunction (or “glitch”), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers.

As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Both boys introduce Zoe to feelings that are entirely new. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they’re caught and deactivated, or worse.

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It’s time for a rant, befitting of a Monday such as this. Enjoy!

Glitch is a bit of a mess. It has parts that I really enjoyed, especially when the action was able to sweep me away a time or two, but there were glaring issues with it as well. Let’s start with the main character, Zoe.

Zoe is supposed to be emotionless, essentially a robot right down to the chip, but she glitches and is able to discover emotions and colors and such, albeit rather slowly in terms of comprehension. The problem is there isn’t a time in the book where she actually is emotionless, even when she supposedly reconnects to the Link network. I understand that she has been learning to keep a tiny bit of her subconscious active while being under the Link presence, but at no point does she act fully robotic without constantly saying how hard she is concentrating on keeping that blank facade going. It’s really frustrating.

Basically she's this guy.

Basically she’s this guy.

Also, Zoe is a tad slow on the uptake when it comes to… well everything really. She follows the lead of anyone who she perceives to have a clue about what’s going on, acting more like a puppy than a human. She doesn’t understand what’s going on most of the time, can’t seem to grasp when people are feeling emotions that might lead to harm for her or those she cares about, and half the time she starts having crying fits and hyperventilating when she is stressed. I’ve mentioned in other reviews about characters just being shells that go in the direction the author needs them to at any given time, but this is probably the worst case I’ve seen.

Then there are the relationships. You’ve got your pick! Behind door number one is insta-love, our old favorite! Behind door number two is the aggressive arse that nearly turns into a rapist at multiple points in the story, aren’t you excited?! While Zoe seems to understand her feelings (as much as can be expected with her) pretty quickly about who she likes and who she loves, it doesn’t stop her from going between the two boys like a ping pong ball, randomly going in one direction or the other based on who convinces her more at the time.

I Hate Instalove

Oh, right, the world, you probably want to know how this dystopian world is realized correct? It’s a cliche. Surprise, surprise, there was some sort of world war and to fix it some scientists and power-hungry leaders got together and programmed a chip so that everyone would behave. Oh, except they stripped the bits that make them human. As usual there are people that broke through somehow, developed a resistance, and now they are trying to make a difference. The resistance on the outside (in this case the surface) and the dystopian rat maze underground in a grid-like gray labyrinth.

As bad as all of that may sound, I actually enjoyed some of what happened with the story. Even though Anastasiu wasn’t able to convey from her MC what it would be like under the Link, she was able to show what discovering each new emotion would feel like, or how powerful the little things around us would be to someone who had never experienced taste, color, or the expansiveness of the sky. There is a better appreciation you can gain from a piece like this about the beauty of our world, especially compared to the one in Glitch.

that's nice i guess

On a less deep level, Glitch does a really nice job at displaying powers, and the variety of ways that they can be brought out. To me at least, those powers were just extensions of various feelings, and Anastasiu seemed to be using them to show an even greater depth of the feelings and emotions we can have for one another, the strongest (as corny as it is) being love. Although, hatred makes a pretty close second in this one, but the point remains.

Still, as cool as telekinesis is, I never felt like Zoe was the badass that she was supposed to be. Without there being a real connection formed for me to care about her, I guess the rest just felt too unreal, too forced. It could have been anyone using those cool powers, Zoe doing it was simply the way it happened in this case, but it didn’t feel like they belonged to her.

The rest of the characters, while somewhat interesting in their own ways, felt way too creepy for me to get behind and enjoy. Sorry future boy, but being obsessed about someone before you meet them and then being all over them when you do is not endearing, it’s just eerie.  Don’t even get me started on Max. *shivers*

Threw Up

So no, I won’t be recommending this book, nor will I continue the series. It might get better now that the facade of being a “drone” is gone there won’t be any reason for Zoe to pretend, but it doesn’t matter. I just can’t get over the variety of issues presented with Glitch. The characters were a minus for me, the “love” interests even more so, and the world wasn’t original. Blah. Thanks as always for reading.

One Smiling Frodo w Background


Frodo’s Frisky Friday: Bathhouse Nights

Frodo's Frisky Friday

Bathhouse Nights by Cameron D. James

Summary From Goodreads??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

In the bathhouse, anything is possible, especially at night when all the studs come out to play.

For cheerleader Daniel, his dream-come-true is a football jock named Justin, but no one in the bathhouse measures up, no matter how hard he tries to play pretend.

Justin is straight, of course. Aren’t they all? There’s no reason for Daniel to expect he’ll score with him…until the night he spots him in the hot tub.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

Bathhouse Nights is something a bit different than my usual “naughty” read. I tend to gravitate toward novellas or short stories that at least have a decent amount of compelling story involved, and while I understand that is somewhat niche, it is also what separates them from being flat out written porn. James walks that fine line, but includes just enough decent plot to make it work.

There are a few issues brought up in Bathhouse Nights that are briefly examined and discussed, such as that of fixation, domination, bullying, and especially that of someone who thought they were straight having to come to grips with their reality. The transition isn’t the same for anyone, and while I can’t go into too much detail without spoiling the ending (given it’s a short story), I will say that this was a different perspective then what I’ve come across in the past.

I enjoyed that feeling of uniqueness, at least in terms of literary story if not in real life. As for the sexier moments, there were plenty of those, so if that’s what you’re into… well I’m sure you’ll enjoy yourself fully. It’s all M/M, which is still somewhat rare, and the sex scenes are written out quite nicely, though they are often pretty short.

If I had to make any complaints about Bathhouse Nights it would be that its transition from Then to Now points of view were a bit to frequent, and a tad rough. This might have been better had it been a glimpse of the present, then a bulk amount of the past, before a full scene back in present time, but oh well. It’s a good piece, and I think most M/M enthusiasts will find something in it for them, as there is a decent variety of sex styles. Thanks as always for reading. ^.^

Three Smiling Frodos w Background


Waiting on Wednesday #29

Waiting On Wednesday hosted by Breaking The Spine

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by the fantastic people over at Breaking The Spine that highlights upcoming releases that we are excited about.

For this week my pre-publication selection that I can’t wait for is:

The Shape of My Heart by Ann Aguirre

Set For Release On: November 25th, 2014

Summary From GoodreadsThe Shape of My Heart

Some people wait decades to meet their soul mate. Courtney Kaufman suspects she met hers in high school only to lose him at seventeen. Since then, Courtney’s social life has been a series of meaningless encounters, though she’s made a few close friends along the way. Especially her roommate Max Cooper, who oozes damaged bad-boy vibes from every pore.

Max knows about feeling lost and trying to move beyond the pain he’s been on his own since he was sixteen. Now it’s time to find out if he can ever go home again, and Courtney’s the only one he trusts to go with him. But the trip to Providence could change everything because the more time he spends with Courtney, the harder it is to reconcile what he wants and what he thinks he deserves.

It started out so simple. One misfit helping another. Now Max will do anything to show Courtney that for every heart that’s ever been broken, there’s another that can make it complete.

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The Shape of My Heart is the third book in the 2B Trilogy by one of my favorite authors, Ann Aguirre. I just finished reading and reviewing the first book in the series that just came out, I Want It That Way, which I enjoyed quite a bit, and that’s got me excited for the rest of the series. I’ve got book two on Netgalley that I’ll be trying to get to soon, but then it’s that waiting period for the third, and final book in the series. I’m sure it will be worth the wait.

Have you heard of this series, or the author? If you have, did you get the first book already, and did you like it? What book are you “Waiting On”? Let me know in the comments and/or leave a link to your own WoW post! Thanks for checking out my Waiting On Wednesday! ^.^


Mini Review Monday: I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre

MiniReviewMonday

I Want It That Way (2B Trilogy #1)

Summary From GoodreadsI Want It That Way

Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she’s determined to make them come true—for her parents’ sake as well as her own. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, she barely has time to think, let alone date. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B….

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can’t risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, a social life is out of the question. The last thing he wants is for four noisy students to move into the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia’s and Ty’s paths cross, and soon they can’t stay away from each other.

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can’t know what you truly need until you stand to lose it.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews on Mini Review Monday! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

I received a copy of I Want It That Way from Netgalley, which I was really excited to get into since it is by one of my favorite authors, Ann Aguirre. This also gave me a reason to try some New Adult, something I’ve read hardly any of, and see what I thought of it. After reading it, my first thought is that I should give this new-ish age range/type of books a shot. My second was that I’m really happy that I was able to enjoy Aguirre’s work outside of my favorite series by her, the dystopian Razorland trilogy.

That being said, I will warn potential readers that there is some insta-love involved, something I’ve been open to saying I’m not a fan of. However, it’s not quite as fast as what I’ve encountered in the past, and Aguirre made it feel as real and understandable as something like that could be. Sometimes there is that instant attraction, and once you get to know the person a bit more, and understand who they are outside of just a great set of abs or pretty face, you just connect on a deep level faster than average.

Outside of the quick love connection, the romance is very touching, sometimes steamy (in a fantastic way), and it is tested in all the right (highly believable) scenarios. The MC Nadia has a great voice, is incredibly caring and sweet, but determined when it matters. Ty is a great guy, but reserved for reasons that are incredibly obvious, and not the standard bad-boy type that plagues this type of book, something I was really thankful for.

The banter in the book is great, humor is interspersed with the serious areas to keep the reader engaged, and the supporting cast is very strong, and completely fleshed out. Some of the scenes are a bit corny or predictable, but not in a bad way, just what you’d expect from college life. I’m looking forward to reading book two soon!

If you are looking for a NA contemporary read, especially if (like me) you are a college student yourself, then this is a solid book for you to try. It comes out tomorrow, so take a look if you’re interested! Thanks as always for reading. ^.^

Four Smiling Frodos w Background


Frodo’s Frisky Friday: Daybreak

Frodo's Frisky Friday

Daybreak by Leigh Wilder

Summary From GoodreadsDaybreak

Both Jamie-boy and Damian have suffered since their break-up, but they are thrown together when a vampire is brutally murdered. Damian is too depressed to care and ready to let the cops deal with it–Jamie-boy is willing to do some investigating on his own.

Then there’s Lucas, a vamp tramp with a Daybreaker’s tattoo on his neck. Whose side is he on? How many people is he willing to hurt to get what he wants?

This is M/M romantica containing explicit sex, rough sex, BDSM, blood play, and violence.

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Daybreak is book 5 in the Deadly Liaisons series, one that I’ve enjoyed quite a bit, and this entry didn’t disappoint. Where the first four books focused on the points of view of Jamie-boy and Damian, Daybreak also takes a look at things from the POV of newcomer Lucas. It gives a refreshing new voice and perspective to the series, seeing things from outside of Damian’s immediate influence, and giving us a closer look at the Daybreakers aka the anti-vampire group.

However, the MCs are still in control of some of the action, and for much of the story in a bit of a role reversal. Damian shows that even an older vampire can be pretty childish when hurt, drinking and sulking around his room, and seeing Jamie-boy briefly at a crime scene doesn’t help.

Then there is the normally shy and subservient Jamie-boy acting tough, going to investigate in hostile territory where he could get himself killed, and messing around with Lucas who he barely knows. He keeps himself busy and involved to show Damian that he can be of help without him, and to keep his mind off their uncertain relationship.

This is erotica, so of course there are a few naughty scenes. I won’t spoil them too much for you, because that’s one of the most fun parts, but I will say there are a few new pairings for you to enjoy. Jaime-boy stars in a couple of them, one being a tad embarrassing, but both quite enjoyable. The one completely new pairing is a little violent for my taste, but I imagine those looking for the BDSM and such will like it. As with the rest of the book, though, all of it is really well written.

With the additional POV there weren’t a whole lot of surprises until the very end, but it still worked out pretty well. There was plenty of action, a solid amount of drama, and great character development. The ending leaves a lot of arcs up in the air, and that is the way I like it in this case. I can’t wait to find out what’s coming next! For anyone looking for some well written M/M I’d certainly recommend this series. As always, thanks for reading. ^.^

Four Smiling Frodos w Background


Waiting on Wednesday #28

Waiting On Wednesday hosted by Breaking The Spine

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by the fantastic people over at Breaking The Spine that highlights upcoming releases that we are excited about.

For this week my pre-publication selection that I can’t wait for is:

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Set For Release On: March 26th, 2015

Summary From GoodreadsRed Queen

Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own—an ability she didn’t know she had. Except . . . her blood is Red.

To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard—the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince—and Mare against her own heart.

From debut author Victoria Aveyard comes a lush, vivid fantasy series where loyalty and desire can tear you apart and the only certainty is betrayal.

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While I’m sure many of you have heard of Red Queen already, especially since it was released as an ARC on Edelweiss, but I had to pick it for WoW. That cover is pretty great, though initially it looked kind of like jelly or syrup dripping instead of blood, but the crown is awesome for sure. Then I saw that Nikki at Fiction Freak, who is awesome by the way, gave it five stars and was freaking out quite a bit about it.

I’ll definitely be picking this up when it comes out in March, if only it weren’t so far away! The premise sounds really cool, I can’t wait to see what abilities are showcased by Mare and the rest of the characters, and I certainly could use another great fantasy read.

Had you heard of this one before, and if not does it sound like something you’d enjoy? What book are you “Waiting On”? Let me know in the comments and/or leave a link to your own WoW post! Thanks for checking out my Waiting On Wednesday! ^.^


Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling Me That I MUST Read

TotallyRandomTuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week on Top Ten Tuesday I’ll be talking about all of the books that it seems like I’m constantly being told to read! I’ll let you know whether I plan to or if I don’t think I’ll give in to the hype. Let’s get into it!

Everneath by Brodi Ashton 1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – Oh my yes, this has been one of those books that everyone seems to love and endorse. I actually own The Book Thief already, but I just haven’t felt compelled to read it yet. It’ll happen eventually I swear. o_o

 2. Everneath by Brodi Ashton – This is really covering the whole Everneath series, but it’s another where the recommendations are pretty constant. It’s also another book I own, along with Everbound, so I’ll read it, I just haven’t got to it just yet.

 3. Defiance by C.J. Redwine – I wouldn’t say that the recs for Defiance (the trilogy more than book 1) are as frequent, but the ones who have done so REALLY liked it. Deliverance is the one I’ve heard most about lately since it comes out this month, but seeing as I don’t own book one, I doubt I’ll ever try the series out. Oh well.

 4. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi – Don’t kill me! I own book one, I’ll try to read it soon-ish, because the love for this book and the series is crazypants. *succumbs to the pressure*

ToG 5. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – Everyone loves this and I don’t own it right now and aaaaah. This is a series I genuinely want to get into, but it will have to wait for now. *continues pining for it*

 6. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon – Most of the recommendation pressure for this one comes from Nikki of Fiction Freak, but she’s not the only one. Unfortunately for her I don’t plan on picking this one up, the premise just doesn’t grab me. =/

 7. The Program by Suzanne Young – Another Nikki rec, but another one I don’t think I’ll read. I probably should as it sounds pretty interesting, but by the time I have funds for it I’ll have forgotten. Alas.

 8. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff – I owned this and the sequel, but now I don’t and I didn’t read it… and I’m an idiot. Five star ratings from most of my trusted book reviewers have me berating myself constantly, but I’ll fix this soon I hope. >.>

 9. Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins – I’ve seen Sweet Evil on Book Outlet, on bargains on Amazon, and in my Twitter feed, but I just can’t get excited about it. I’ve even had this in my cart a few times, but my final thought before buying is always “eh, nevermind” and I don’t know why. Just not for me I guess.

10. Everything by Jennifer L. Armentrout – No, that isn’t a book title, but I hear about Armentrout on a daily basis. The Lux series is the one I see the most buzz about, but regardless of what it is I’ve never gravitated toward her work. Maybe that will change someday, but I doubt it.

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There are so many great books out there, and I do love hearing recommendations for new ones, but I sadly can’t own/read them all. Were any of these books ones you have been recommended, and if so did you read them already, or did you pass? What are your ten most rec’d books? Let me know! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^


Bout of Books Readathon #11

bout of books 11

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Huzzah, another readathon is upon us! I am a big fan of Bout of Books, and this time it falls in a perfect spot, just a bit before college starts back up in the first week of September. It’s been a little while since I tried to do a readathon, and I do say try because it hasn’t gone well in recent times. However, this go around I’ve got specific books I want to get to and plenty of time to do so! Without further ado, my potential list of books that I’ll try to read most of! (The goal if I have one is 10+ books at least)

Prodigy by Marie Lu

Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin

Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Evolutionary History by Edmund Russell

The Epic of Gilgamesh

Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

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Currently Reading:

Books Finished: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, The Epic of Gilgamesh, Evolutionary History by Edmund Russell, The Book of Contemplation by Usama Ibn Munqidh, Europa and the Bull, I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre, The Double by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Pages Read: 1,196

Snacks: Bananas and Water


Sunday Post #24

Sunday Post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by the amazing Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It is a chance to share news, recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

I love participating in Sunday Post because I can provide a recap of books I read, talk about what is coming up next week, and discuss any books I received in the past week!

This week I didn’t really go after too many books, but I did get a couple eBooks and NetGalleys that I’ll share. ^.^

                               Book Haul The Wicked Ever After

The Wicked Ever After by Kelly Apple

Depression, Love, & Swimming Pools by Leigh Wilder

I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre (via NetGalley)

As Long As You Love Me by Ann Aguirre (via NetGalley)

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Last Week on the Blog

Monday – Mini Review Monday: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga The Glass Arrow

Tuesday – Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’m Not Sure I Want To Read

Wednesday – Waiting on Wednesday: The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons

Thursday – Killing My Kindle: Alexander Death by J.L. Bryan

Friday – Frodo’s Frisky Friday: He Needs Discipline by Dominic Rod

Saturday – Book of the Week: Horde by Ann Aguirre

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Another successful blogging week, and a great reading week is in the books! (Book blog puns are fun! ^.^) I finally read Horde, a book I had been saving for quite a while, and it was every bit as good as I could have hoped for. Alexander Death was a nice return to a series I’ve enjoyed and He Needs Discipline definitely satiated my naughty read for the week. Overall I was pretty happy with getting the books in that I did because the week was a little hectic.

For those who stopped by last week, you know I was dealing with some real life issues involving getting into the University, but it’s all good because I got the last appeal approved! Huzzah! I’ll be starting classes in just a couple weeks which is a bit crazy, but I’ve already got my books and I’ve been trying to study a bit to get ahead. Yay, education?! >.>

As far as blogging goes it went well as you can see since I had another week of daily posts, yay! I don’t know if that will continue when classes start and assuming I’ll have a work study job, but I’ll keep you posted. (More puns!) Thanks for stopping by, I hope you had a great bookish week, and thanks for reading. Enjoy your Sunday!


Book of the Week: Horde

BookOfTheWeek

Every Saturday I will talk about my favorite book that I read during the week, whether it be a review or a spotlight, or maybe having the author over to talk about it. Who doesn’t want more happy bookish goodness? ^.^

This week I’m gushing about: Horde by Ann Aguirre

Summary from GoodreadsHorde

The horde is coming.

Salvation is surrounded, monsters at the gates, and this time, they’re not going away. When Deuce, Fade, Stalker and Tegan set out, the odds are against them. But the odds have been stacked against Deuce from the moment she was born. She might not be a Huntress anymore, but she doesn’t run. With her knives in hand and her companions at her side, she will not falter, whether fighting for her life or Fade’s love.

Ahead, the battle of a lifetime awaits. Freaks are everywhere, attacking settlements, setting up scouts, perimeters, and patrols. There hasn’t been a war like this in centuries, and humans have forgotten how to stand and fight. Unless Deuce can lead them.

This time, however, more than the fate of a single enclave or outpost hangs in the balance. This time, Deuce carries the banner for the survival of all humanity.

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Book of the Week is often one of the toughest posts that I write each week, which makes little sense seeing as how I should be able to go on and on about it, but when there is so little (if anything) to criticize all I can do is gush. With Horde it is no different. So prepare yourself for all of the positive feelings!

Horde, just like Rogue last week, is an excellent ending to a fantastic trilogy. It was the perfect blend of heartbreak and elation, thrilling action and tender romance. Horde is the type of book you stay up until 4 AM reading, and when you finish it you have to sit for another hour just to digest it all. There are so few books that have writing as powerful as Horde does, and considering the type of main character Deuce is, that is all the more impressive.

Let’s start with the action because that’s what Horde is filled with. Sure, some down time happens now and again, but for the most part these people are moving it across the world at a pretty fast clip. There are major battles that were written in amazing detail thanks to all of the research Aguirre did into similar wars. Add to that some cross country style running, skirmishes in the forests with traps and cunning tactics, and so many types of weapons displays it will make your head spin, and that makes for one wild and fun ride.

headspin

Oh my goodness the characters are incredible. O_O I fell in love with all of them and Horde had me going from incredibly sad, to super excited, and then to freaked the heck out because Aguirre puts them through hell and then some. Deuce is such a different MC from anything I’ve experienced. She’s so socially awkward and hyper-focused on the battle ahead that she misses and doesn’t experience a lot of what normally is the central topics in a story, and it makes for a very interesting perspective. Deuce is fiercely loyal once she counts you as a friend/family member, one badass fighter, and the transformation she goes through from Enclave to Horde is fascinating to experience.

There are so many other great characters, from Tegan the healer, to Stalker the bad boy turned softie, to Fade the love interest. The list never really ends with this series, which is what makes the battles so freaking tough to endure. Every loss is a big blow, all of them have lasting impacts.

I Love Them All

Since I brought up the love interest I should probably touch on the romance in Horde, and the series in general. While all of this crazy action is going on and everyone is simply trying to survive, Aguirre manages to display a wide range of romance types and developing emotions. Of course Fade and Deuce (the MCs) are going to be a big one, and their romance is fantastic, but there are so many other sweet pairings! Stone and Thimble and their easy-going relationship (beginning of the series), Momma Oaks and Edmund as the ideal parental unit (Outpost & Horde), and even a hard to read type like Spence and Tully (Horde). The diversity and beautiful nature of them all is outstanding.

All of these wonderful things are contained in an equally impressive world that Aguirre created in the series. There was the tunnels and underground civilization of Enclave, which was dark and grungy but so alive at the same time. Then came the outside world in Outpost where Aguirre was able to take a character like Deuce and show how amazing all of the little things we see every day can be to one who hasn’t experienced it before. Finally, Horde showed readers beautiful forests, a huge variety of town structures and types from garrisons to standard villages, and the wonders of an island paradise.

It's so beautiful

 

Every bit of Horde and the Razorland series was epic. Horde might not be the ending I wanted in terms of some character arcs (because I’m selfish and love them all), but it was the right one. To try and fight for paradise you have to make sacrifices and incur losses along the way, and Horde proves that. If you haven’t read this series and want one of the best dystopian ones out there, then this is for you. Heck, if you just want great stories then the Razorland trilogy is for you as well. Thanks as always for reading.

Five Smiling Frodos w Background


Frodo’s Frisky Friday: He Needs Discipline

Frodo's Frisky Friday

He Needs Discipline by Dominic Rod

Summary From GoodreadsHe Needs Discipline

Their relationship never felt normal. Jake and Dorian never quite bonded the way they were supposed to.

It made things a lot easier when little twenty-two year old Jake came to older Dorian for help with his out of control lifestyle, and Dorian’s solution was…taboo at best.Jake needs discipline. Dorian is more than happy to dish it out.

M/M erotica. 18+ Contains BDSM, and taboo situations.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

He Needs Discipline is another great find that I discovered over at Luna Erotica. Luna has become one of my go to sites when I am looking for something of the naughty variety, but also want something really well written, and it has yet to fail me.

Containing somewhat incestuous as well as fully BDSM scenes, He Needs Discipline is certainly not going to be for just anyone. However, if you aren’t bothered by that, and certainly if that is your thing, then I highly recommend giving it a read. There is even a sequel already released that you can get here, just in case your desire isn’t completely… satiated.

There is plenty of M/F, and even F/F pairings in the world of erotica writing, but M/M is a bit harder to find. While this is short, as are most of the works from Luna, it will put you in just the right mood, and you don’t have to worry about it sounding like a fifth grader wrote it, something that happens far too often with this type of work.

The banter between the brothers is well done, the sex scenes and what might be considered foreplay is certainly exciting, and the stimulating aftermath isn’t shabby either. I’d definitely recommend giving it a shot, and if you like it check out what else LE has to offer. Thanks for reading and enjoy. 😉

Five Smiling Frodos w Background


Killing My Kindle: Alexander Death by J.L. Bryan

KillingMyKindle

For 2014 I am tackling my Kindle app in an effort to make a dent in the large library of often forgotten eBooks. Every week I will talk about an eBook I read, be it good or bad, so that I can stay motivated and share some of it with you.

This week I took a stab at: Alexander Death by J.L. Bryan

Released On: September 23rd, 2011

Summary From GoodreadsAlexander Death

While Seth searches for Jenny, Dr. Heather Reynard of the CDC unravels Seth and Jenny’s secrets.

Alexander opens Jenny’s mind to her deep past, and to the full horrific extent of her powers.

Torn between her feelings for Alexander and Seth, and between her past lives and her present, Jenny must prepare to face her enemies, as well as the darkness within her…

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Alexander Death is book three of The Paranormals series. The series is focused on a group of six entities that have a variety of powers, all of which have been residing in humans since the beginning of mankind, and that reincarnate after every death, though it varies as to how much of their past they remember each time.

In the last book Alexander was introduced, showcasing his power of controlling the dead. He swept away the impressionable Jenny, and in this book devises a way for her to remember their shared past. Jenny abandons Seth after catching him in an act of betrayal, and in this story she tries to figure out who she was, is, and wants to be.

I’ve enjoyed The Paranormals series for the most part thus far, and that remains true with Alexander Death. The range of emotions that Bryan can elicit from his characters is very impressive, and a big part of why the books work so well. I can always get a feel for what the various characters are thinking (he changes point of view a lot) even when they aren’t saying so outright. Often it is what they don’t say or do that is the most telling.

My Emotions

The displays of powers is also pretty cool, although they do achieve some pretty mundane things to go along with the miraculous, though I suppose that leads to more believability. While the characters are great, and the powers are always intriguing, it is the peeks back into history that I enjoy the most.

There are stories of different battles, major events, and great leaders, all of which are woven to be seen in a way where some of these entities could have been controlling things behind the scenes, or even right in front. The discussions of architecture, grand kingdoms, and the wide variety of ways that people can rule is fascinating.

There remains the issue, something I mentioned when I reviewed Tommy Nightmare, book two in the series, that Jenny tends to flip flop as to where her loyalties lie. This is one of my biggest pet peeves in any book, when a character has a set path and then they do a 180, so when it happened again I was pretty frustrated. Without any spoilers, let’s just say Jenny doesn’t really know what the heck she wants most of the time, usually following someone else’s lead, and this is the case in Alexander Death. It didn’t kill my enjoyment of the book, but it kept it from being as good as it could have been.

Oh Hell No

There is quite a bit of action in Alexander Death, from gun fights, to zombie attacks, and even involving some naughty scenes. The book has a bit of something for everyone. The romances are just as varied with power plays, love in its seemingly truest form, and pure lust. It doesn’t get too incredibly graphic, which makes sense since it is YA, but there are a few romps to be had.

Overall I thought Alexander Death was a pretty good book. If there had been just a bit more development spent on the transition that Jenny had towards the end that would have made it excellent, but alas it is not to be. I do recommend the series, beginning with Jenny Pox, and I look forward to reading Jenny Plague-Bringer (the fourth and final book) in the future. Thanks as always for reading.

Four Smiling Frodos w Background