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Posts tagged “Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge

Mini Review Monday: The Poison Eaters by Holly Black

MiniReviewMonday

The Poison Eaters

Summary From Goodreads

Pick your poison: Vampires, devils, werewolves, faeries, or . . . ? Find them all here in Holly Black’s amazing first collection.

In her debut collection, New York Times best-selling author Holly Black returns to the world of Tithe in two darkly exquisite new tales. Then Black takes readers on a tour of a faerie market and introduces a girl poisonous to the touch and another who challenges the devil to a competitive eating match. Some of these stories have been published in anthologies such as 21 Proms, The Faery Reel, and The Restless Dead, and many have been reprinted in many “Best of” anthologies.

The Poison Eaters is Holly Black’s much-anticipated first collection, and her ability to stare into the void—and to find humanity and humor there—will speak to young adult and adult readers alike.

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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 have enjoyed Holly Black’s work in the past, most notably Doll Bones which I read last year and loved, so I was pretty excited to see what creepy things were in store in this collection. The Poison Eaters left me feeling one of the worst emotions that I could have toward a book, I was apathetic.

Some of the stories were pretty enjoyable, with a bit of a creepy/dark feel to them, and Black’s signature writing style which I do enjoy. However, too many of them felt like the skeletons of stories, a bit of bare bones that needed more flesh to them, more depth. Others were dragged on to long, to the point where any shock factor was either forgotten if it was in the beginning, or seemingly devoid of point if it was at the end.

As harsh as that last bit sounds, the stories were fine, they just weren’t up to the standard I was accustomed to with her writing. I wanted more of the haunting elements and less of the tedious filler that I found. I enjoyed enough of the stories (around 40-50%) to give it a positive rating, but I can’t recommend it. Hopefully the next book by her that I read will be at the level of Doll Bones. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #77/365; Mount TBR Challenge #56/200; 2014 TBR Pile #56/50

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Frodo’s Frisky Friday: Gabriel’s Mate

Frodo's Frisky Friday

Gabriel’s Mate

Summary From Goodreads

After Maya is turned into a vampire against her will, vampire and Scanguards bodyguard Gabriel is charged with protecting her and finding her attacker.

Gabriel has never guarded a body as perfect as Maya’s. But while the sexual tension between them rises and the rogue vampire closes in on them, Gabriel can’t allow himself to give into the desire he feels for Maya. He fears to fully show himself to her despite the intimacies they share – afraid she will react like all other women when she discovers the horror he hides.

Will she run from him when she discovers his secret, calling him a monster, a freak, a creature not worthy of her love?

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

As is the case with the first two books in the series, Gabriel’s Mate is filled with danger, vampires, murder mystery, and a bunch of steamy sex scenes that are sure to get you in the right mood. The Scanguards Vampires series is easily my favorite full-length erotica books, and one of the few that I own in print (thanks to a giveaway ages ago). The series combines plot that you will actually care to read with some of the better naughty scenes that I have come across, both passionate and sometimes risque making for a lovely combo. There is also enough witty banter to keep you engaged and laughing along the way, enough to tone down the more serious parts.

Gabriel’s Mate is the most touching book as well as being potentially the most frustrating. Gabriel is dealing with multiple physical deformities that prevent him from being able to drop his guard and pursue love, not to even mention the lack of sex. However, while his plight is something to sympathize with, the other MC, Maya, buys into it WAY to easily. She barely bats an eye when she discovers his deformities, readily accepts whatever he story he tells her (being true doesn’t matter, trust me), and is all over him almost immediately. She’s way too trusting to be believable.

While the murder mystery and the sex in this one is just as great as the books that preceded it, and though I will probably continue the series sometime in the future, this one lacked some cohesiveness and Maya’s lack of hesitation pretty much anywhere in the story bothered me quite a bit. It wasn’t my favorite, but it was alright. The steamy bits will be enough for most readers I’m sure. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #75/365; Mount TBR Challenge #54/200; 2014 TBR Pile #54/50

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Mini Review Monday: Mind Games by Kiersten White

MiniReviewMonday

Storm

Summary From GoodreadsMind Games by Kiersten White

Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future.

Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways…or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.

In a stunning departure from her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy, Kiersten White delivers a slick, edgy, heartstoppingly intense psychological thriller about two sisters determined to protect each other—no matter the cost.

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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 wanted to like this book so much. Cool mind powers in a ninja/forced boarding school/asylum-like setting, a quirky MC and her blind sister who has a story just as interesting, all wrapped up in deceit and mystery. How could this possibly go wrong?

It is pretty simple. Take the story and all of its potential, jumble it up by bouncing back and forth between different times in the past and the present while also changing POV every so often, none of which has any regularity to it. Then make the MC try to act tough and pull off that persona when in reality she just whines and complains constantly. Follow it up with all of the potentially cool action scenes being messed up by mixing real-time action with a weird inner monologue that ruins any possible fluidity. Finally, make the romantic whatever-the-heck-that-was forced and awkward and the rest of the cast be bland and have no backstory to speak of.

That right there is what will result in a DNF for me. I made it through about 150 pages which is over halfway before giving up, refusing to read 100 more. Maybe my brain just wasn’t ready for all of the “mind games” that were going on, but it never felt cohesive or smooth and just no. Not for me. Plenty of people did enjoy this one, so I’m not going to say DO NOT READ or anything so drastic, but I certainly won’t recommend it. Blah. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #71/365; Mount TBR Challenge #51/200; 2014 TBR Pile #51/50; New Author Challenge #29/50

DNF


Frodo’s Frisky Friday: The Wicked Merman by Kelly Apple

Frodo's Frisky Friday

The Wicked Merman

Summary From Goodreads

When her friend drags her off to the lake for some much needed R&R, Ari thought she’d be getting away from supernaturals for a few days. Sunning and swimming sound divine and it might help her shake off the funk of being parted from her beloved Guardian.

But when a girl who loves monsters ends up at a lake housing a merman, she’s going to end up doing a lot more than swimming.

Ari can’t resist trying to find the answer to the age-old question: How do mermen have sex?

This wicked merman is more than happy to give her some hands-on experience.

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

I have come to the conclusion that the Monstrous Tales series is going to be exactly what most erotica enthusiasts are looking for, at least if they enjoy the fantasy variety. It is a solid dose of “monster” and human coupling, an underlying story of isolated creatures that are pretty lonely, and a small bit of “regular life” drama thrown in. If that is what you are after then you will be more than satisfied as this is some of the best writing I’ve come across in terms of the sex scenes. Kelly Apple is innovative, she answers questions that come across perverse minds like ours such as “how do mermen have sex?” while giving a bit of a reality check when it comes to the day-to-day lives of these creatures, it isn’t all fantastical in fantasy land.

If you follow the blog, and this feature in particular, then you know that I’ve featured three of the four tales in this series making it somewhat of a staple akin to Leigh Wilder and the writers at Luna Erotica. The difference between this series and some of Wilder’s similar work is the MC in Monstrous Tales, Ari, is someone I can barely tolerate, where even the frustrating ones in Wilder’s stories have some redeeming qualities. The sex scenes, monsters, and story around her is excellent, but she is whiny, self-centered, and quite frankly bitchy when she’s not screwing something. Even then she isn’t satisfied and wants her Guardian, which is fine to a point, but it is stressed too much for me.

I’m going to keep reading this series and trying to tune out the MC’s whiny tendencies and frustrating lack of compassion toward anyone but the Guardian. The rest of what is going on is definitely worth it, but if you are looking for a character you can get behind (pardon the pun) this is not it. I still recommend the series, but just keep it in mind. Thanks as always for reading and have a great (and maybe a bit naughty) weekend! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #72/365; 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge #25/75; Seriously Series Reading Challenge #24/75

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Killing My Kindle: Beneath the Sand by Scott Zavoda

KillingMyKindle

Killing My Kindle

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: Beneath the Sand by Scott Zavoda

Released On: June 10th, 2013

Summary From GoodreadsBeneath the Sand

Have you ever worried that something is hiding beneath the sand? What if something brushed your foot one night on the beach?
Would you run? Could you?

Now that surfing, dating, and every aspect of a California retirement are off limits, he paints and pretends the beach isn’t so close. Things might have been okay, too, if he hadn’t found the new pile of sand in his house or thought so hard about the accidents.

He tries to do what they trained him back in his Vietnam days – focus ahead but never behind, but it’s hard to ignore what tickles and scrapes your feet, what whispers to you in the dead of night.

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

Beneath the Sand is a freebie I stumbled upon a while ago and I rarely get to read about military characters, be it active or formerly enlisted, and so I figured I would give this novella a shot. I wish I had passed. Beneath the Sand, unfortunately, does nothing to intrigue the reader or use any sort of twist or turn anywhere in the story. Essentially it took the obvious summary and just elongated it to ~45 pages of zero surprises and little else.

The MC is a war vet who is stereotypically (though not surprisingly or inaccurately) cynical and slightly off in the head, bemoaning this or that, and in general being unhappy with something even during the better times. There was nothing that drew me to care about him or the characters around him and so, when he experienced the loss that was clearly coming, I didn’t care. The mysterious sand is a simple concept and Zavoda wasn’t able to make it come alive for me.

The story was pretty simple, the relationships fine but not special in any way, and it was a sad and dull tale indeed. This was a rare time where I was glad the story was short. Oh well, they can’t all be winners. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #70/365; 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge #24/75

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Mini Review Monday: Storm by Brigid Kemmerer

MiniReviewMonday

Storm

Summary From Goodreads

Earth, Fire, Air, Water – they have more power than you dream.

Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her, Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys—all the ones she doesn’t want. Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water—just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. They’re powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death.

And now that she knows the truth, so is Becca.

Secrets are hard to keep when your life’s at stake. When Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Becca thinks she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris, and Becca wonders who’s hiding the most dangerous truth of all.

The storm is coming . . .

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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!

Storm was everything I had hoped it would be and more! All sorts of cool elemental powers were on display, but they weren’t overpowering or superpowery (that’s totally a word now) which was great. It made the characters, even as awesome as they were, seem mostly normal, even openly mocking stuff like the X-Men when the MC, Becca, would expect too much of their abilities.

The biggest surprise for me with this book was that, with such a large cast, I really enjoyed all of them. Becca was funny and sweet, Chris was adorable (something I’m sure he’d love to hear), and the rest of the brothers each had a unique voice, which makes sense given the rest of the series, but something that you can’t really take for granted.

Storm was so good that I didn’t even mind the love triangle, and THAT is saying something! It was fast paced, the romance was so sweet no matter what the pairings were, and the cool displays of elemental awesome were as fabulous as you could hope for. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series and to see the world from the point of view of the other brothers, I know it is going to be a crazy ride. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #63/365; Mount TBR Challenge #45/200; 2014 TBR Pile #45/50; New Author Challenge #27/50; Seriously Series Reading Challenge #20/75

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January & February Wrap-up

January & February Wrap-up

Somehow it is already March! The first two months of the year went pretty quick, and while I’m not as ahead in my challenges as I’d like to be I’m at least on pace which is good. While I know a few people regularly check my widgets on the sidebar to keep up with my progress, I still figure a recap of how this year has gone so far wouldn’t be remiss. I’m going to go over challenges, my favorite books, my least favorites/biggest disappointments, and what I’m looking forward to in the coming months. Here we go! ^.^

Challenges

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge – The overall reading challenge I use to keep track of my progress, out of the 365 books I have for my goal this year (a book a day challenge in case you haven’t heard about it) I’ve read 62. I do count novellas in this, so it is a little padded, with 15 of them being of shorter length. I’m on pace, managing to stay a few books ahead, but I had hoped to have a bigger cushion at this point. Oh well, not a bad start!

 Mount TBR/2014 TBR Pile Challenges – The goals are different for these two (200 for Mount TBR, only 50 for 2014 TBR Pile) but I’m counting TBR books for both and am currently at 44 which is a ways ahead of even Mount TBR’s needed pace. I’ve done a pretty good job of trying to read TBR books for the majority of my reads, but since it is early in the year it has been easier since there just haven’t been that many books released in 2014 yet. As the year progresses this might be more difficult, but I’m thrilled with this progress! TBR book of note – Pivot Point by Kasie West

 New Author Challenge – This is one of my two new challenges this year and I’m having a blast with it! The biggest possible goal amount on this one is 50, and right now I’m at 26 which I’m pretty ecstatic about. I imagine this one will slow down if/when I work more on my next goal, but for now I’ve been experiencing plenty new authors and for the most part loving it! New Author book of note – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

 Seriously Series Reading Challenge – I do want to start, continue, and finish more series this year and I set a goal of 75 books total (rather than a series amount) and am currently at 19. This does mean I’m ahead of where I need to be, but most of these came in January, so in March I’m going to try to read and complete at least 3-4 series to get back into it. SSR book of note – Three by Kristen Simmons

 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge – This is my other new challenge this year and what sparked the idea for my weekly Killing My Kindle feature that is on Thursdays. I set a reasonable goal of 75 eBooks and am currently at 22 which is a solid start, just a bit ahead of my progress on SSR. I’m using eBooks for two features that run almost every week so I have no doubt that I’ll surpass 75 here, though I’m not sure by how much. Ebook of note – Fosgate’s Game by David C. Cassidy

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Favorite Books

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen – This was such a great read and the sequel, Lady Thief, was excellent as well. Love this Robin Hood retelling! ScarletUS.indd

The Unbound by Victoria Schwab – An excellent sequel to The Archived. The world is amazing, I love Schwab’s writing style, and the characters are excellent. Can’t wait for book three!

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch – I knew the serious material in this one, but I didn’t expect to get as emotionally invested as I have. This book is amazing, touching, and so sweet. All the feels!

Most Disappointing Books

Vitro by Jessica Khoury – My only DNF so far this year and with the potential it had this sucked even more than usual. Ugh. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge – A beautiful cover, a Beauty and the Beast retelling, and an awesome world, what could go wrong? Everything else apparently. The MC was whiny, the love triangle sucked, the book was jumbled and all over the place, and I skimmed the last 75 pages or so and found the ending to be exactly what I figured it would be. *groan*

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut – I didn’t know you could make time travel, aliens, war, and a quirky MC boring. It didn’t seem possible, but Slaughterhouse-Five proved me wrong. What a drag to make it through this one, oh well.

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What’s Next?

More Series! – I plan to read at least a few series as I mentioned before including: Elemental by Brigid Kemmerer, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, Secrets of the Eternal Rose by Fiona Paul, The Heroes of Olympus, and Kane Chronicles.

Readathons! – Ides of March: Mar. 13-17th hosted by Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer, UKYA Day: April 19th a 24hr readathon hosted by Lucy at Project UKYA, and Dewey’s Readathon: April 26th hosted by Dewey!

Read All The Books! – Seriously, I just want to read as much as I possibly can, get ahead on my overall reading challenge, and somehow keep blogging every day. Let’s do this!