Sunday, May 31, 2015

Review: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

Title: The Silkworm
Author: Robert Galbraith
Series: Cormoran Strike #2
Publication: June 19th 2014 by Sphere

Genre: Adult ~ Mystery ~ Crime
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo
Rating: 5/5

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realises. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were published it would ruin lives - so there are a lot of people who might want to silence him.

And when Quine is found brutally murdered in bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any he has encountered before...

A compulsively readable crime novel with twists at every turn, The Silkworm is the second in the highly acclaimed series featuring Cormoran Strike and his determined young assistant Robin Ellacott.

Just like The Cuckoo's Calling I completely enjoyed The Silkworm. This time I went into it with high expectations and I'm glad to say they were all met perfectly. Mystery and detective books are one genre I almost never read but these books are seriously good.

The Silkworm is very different from the first book. A novelist, Owen Quine goes missing and his wife hires Cormoran Strike to find him, who apparently wrote a book that puts a lot of people in a bad light. The case changes to a murder investigation when Quine turns up dead in a gruesome way. 

One thing I love about this book is how the mystery surrounding Quine's death and his book. I also like how Cormoran slowly but surely fits all the pieces together and solves the case in the end. I, for one, couldn't guess who the killer was until he actually revealed it. It was driving me nuts.

As for the characters, I absolutely love Cormoran Strike. He's a brilliant detective and one of my favorite characters ever. I also love Robin. I like how genuinely nice she is and how Coromoran really needs her for the job they're doing. I like their dynamic together. 

The writing in this book (as well as The Cuckoo's Calling) was excellent. It has a good pace and I could never get tired of reading it. And I must admit, as much as I love the Harry Potters books, I actually like this series better. (don't kill me, Potterheads!). I can't wait for the third book to come out!

 About the Author:

Pen name used by J K Rowling, the British novelist best known as the author of the Harry Potter fantasy series and The Casual Vacancy.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Stacking The Shelves: May 30, 2015

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted @ Tynga's Reviews.

by Colleen Hoover
My copy finally arrived and can't wait to read it! :)

The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon
Got it for only .99!

For Review:
The Siren's Touch by Amber Belldene
Received for review by Amber. I'm going to read it next!

Leave me links to your hauls so I can stop by, please! :)

Friday, May 29, 2015

Review: Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

Title: Nowhere But Here
Author: Katie McGarry
Series: Thunder Road #1
Publication: May 26th 2015 by MIRA Ink

Genre: Young Adult ~ Contemporary Romance
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo
Rating: 3/5

Review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible.

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

Nowhere But Here was my very first Katie McGarry book. The writing was excellent but I liked the main characters not as much as I wanted to. I did love that it was about bikers so I really enjoyed that part of the book. 

I liked reading about Emily and Oz, I enjoyed their dual points of view but I couldn't really connect with Emily, to be honest. She was a bit boring to read about. Oz was an okay character for me (probably because he was a biker). However I did like the theme of these two teenagers, from two very different worlds falling in love. I didn't particularly like Emily but I liked seeing the change in her when she got closer to her biological family.

I wasn't really impressed with the "big" secret everyone was hiding from Emily. It wasn't really that big of a secret in my opionion. I also was more interested in the secondary characters, especially Razor. He was far more intruiging than Emily and Oz put together. I really want to know his story.

All in all, Nowhere But Here was a good book but I wasn't amazed by it or anything. I love stories that involve bikers so that was a possitive point in this book but I think in the future I'll stick to adult biker stories instead of young adult.

       About the Author:

Katie was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

She is the author of the full length novels Pushing the Limits, Dare You To, Crash Into You, and Take Me On and the novella, Crossing the Line.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Title: Uprooted
Author: Naomi Novik
Publication: May 21st 2015 by Macmillan

Genre: Young Adult ~ Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depostory | Kobo
Rating: 5/5

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, ambitious wizard, known only as the Dragon, to keep the wood's powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman must be handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as being lost to the wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows - everyone knows - that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia - all the things Agnieszka isn't - and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But no one can predict how or why the Dragon chooses a girl. And when he comes, it is not Kasia he will take with him.

From the author of the Temeraire series comes this hugely imaginative, engrossing and vivid fantasy novel, inspired by folk and fairy tales. It is perfect reading for fans of Robin Hobb and Trudi Canavan.

I haven't been this captivated by a fantasy book in a while. Uprooted was, in my opinion, a mix of Beauty and The Beast, Polish folklore and Howl's Moving Castle. I love all those things so it makes sense that I was hooked from the first chapter.

The start of this book reminded me a little book of Rosamund Hodge's amazing book, Cruel Beauty, with the Dragon choosing a girl every ten years to serve him. After a little while, though, the book goes into a whole different direction. It has more magic, battles and let's not forget about the Wood (*shudders*).

The story is about Agnieszka, a rather clumsy and unimportant girl, who against all odds gets chosen as the Dragon's next girl. Everyone, including Agnieszka, thought he would pick her friend Kasia, who's so much more elegant and brave (according to Agnieszka). I must admit it took a little while for her to grow on me as the main character but as the story continued and she started growing into the witch she's supposed to be I started to really like her. 

The Dragon (a.k.a. Arkan) was a little harder to get a grip on. He was very insulting towards Agnieszka and had a very closed up personality but I couldn't help love him in the end. I'm a sucker for these type of male characters (especially wizards!). I really liked their relationship. At first I was a little worried about how the romance would go, but I shouldn't have worried because the romance was more of a background thing. The story revolves more about the magic and defeating the Wood-queen. I liked it like this.

The Wood in this book is not just a normal forest. It's much more creepier than that. It's more of a living thing, taking more and more of the kingdom every day. Anyone going into the Wood never comes out the same or even whole. Some things taking place inside really creeped me out but I do love ominous things like this and the way the author wrote when it came to the Wood, it was like it was a character on its own. The world and character building in this book was magnificent, obviously. The characters were all unique in their own way, with their own flaws and failings. 

Overall, Uprooted by Naomi Novik was a exquisitely magical, creepy, and even quite thought-provoking book that was also written very beautifully. I was so captivated by the characters and world that the author created. I really can't recommend this book enough. Go read it now!

      About the Author:

       Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Naomi Novik was born in New York in 1973, a first-generation American, and raised on Polish fairy tales, Baba Yaga, and Tolkien. She studied English Literature at Brown University and did graduate work in Computer Science at Columbia University before leaving to participate in the design and development of the computer game Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday: Tome by A. Star

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Tome by A. Star
Knights of the Joust #1
Summer 2015

I knew Tome was going to ruin my life the second I laid eyes on him.

It wasn’t the sexy tattoos or his deep black eyes that warned me of danger. It was his secret. The one he never spoke of. The one he never meant for me to find out about. But then we fell in love and I got tangled up in his world of fast cars and underground street racing. And that’s when it happened.

He ruined me.


I knew I was going to destroy Jules’ the moment she walked into my life. I didn’t know when, I didn’t know how. But I knew it was inevitable.

I wanted to love her and so I did. But then my secret caught up with me and exploded in my face. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way and I never could have imagined how bad it would be.

I destroyed her. I destroyed us. I destroyed our love.

And now I have nothing.

I've pretty much loved every book by this author so I'm really looking forward to Tome. It has an amaaaazing cover and the synopsis has me really intrigued for the book. Can't wait!

What's your WOW pick of the week?
Leave me a link to your post so I can stop by!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Review: Luxor: Book of Past Lives by Julie Bettendorf

Title: Luxor: Book of Past Lives
Author: Julie Bettendorf
Publication: April 23rd 2015 by Outskirts Press

Genre: Historical Fiction
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Rating: 3/5

Set against the rich tapestry of ancient Egypt, Luxor: Book of Past Lives is the story of Nebamun and Iramen, two brothers who are embalmers in Egypt during the era of the boy king, Tutankhamun. It is their duty to prepare the many bodies of the dead who land on their embalming table for a journey into the afterlife. Paralleling this ancient tale is the story of two different brothers, Abdul and Karim, who make their living by robbing the ancient tombs of Egypt in the late 1800's, when the theft and sale of artifacts was at its peak. Woven throughout the novel are the mysterious intersections of the brothers' lives, though separated by thousands of years. Luxor: Book of Past Lives is a masterful blend of fiction and historical detail, each chapter offering a window into the past, with details gleaned from countless historical accounts. It is a riveting tale of violence and greed, riches and poverty, and good and evil in the time of the pharaohs and beyond.

Luxor: Book of Past Lives sits somewhere in between for me. Good enough story but not amazing. I liked it but it dragged a little too much for me to fully love it. 

The thing I liked the most in this book is how it follows the brothers Nebamun and Iramen, who are embalmers in 1324 B.C. and it also follows two different brothers, Abdul and Karim, who are graverobbers in 1874 A.D. I've always loved stories with parallels like this. People who know me know that I'm crazy about anything involving ancient Egypt but weirdly enough I liked the chapters in 1874 the most for some reason.

Another thing I liked was how this book wasn't about ancien Egypt's royalty like most stories involving this age are about. Sure, Tutankhamun was mentioned but he wasn't the focus of the story. It was more about common people than anything else. 

The writing was pretty enjoyable, even though I sometimes thought it all dragged a little. The details were vivid and fascinating to me, especially the embalming process because I never really read a lot about that. At least not in fictional stories. 

All in All, Luxor: Book of Past Lives wasn't bad but also not my favorite book ever. It had a lot of possitive elements that I like in a book like this. I loved the vivid details about ancient Egypt and the chapters set in the 1800's were interesting too. If you're a big history fan, especially if you love ancient Egypt as much as I do, then I'd recommend it.

       About the Author:
Julie Bettendorf is a world traveler with a background in history and a degree in archaeology. Through her series of children's travel books, she shares the wonderful world of travel with children and her parents, as Anthony Ant teaches kids about other cultures, customs, and traditions. She has currently published the second book in the Anthony Ant series, and is in the process of publishing her first work of adult historical fiction, entitled "Luxor: Book of Past Lives." When Julie is not traveling with her daughter Erin, and son Max, she lives in Portland, Oregon.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Co-Review: Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

After buddy reading many books, Christina of Booksane and I decided to do something different and do a co-review. 
This is based on Novel Ink's co-discussion posts.

Title: Ugly Love
Author: Colleen Hoover
August 5th 2014 by Atria Books
Genre: New Adult ~ Contemporary Romance
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo
Rating: 5/5

#1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with a new heart-wrenching love story.

When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she doesn't think it's love at first sight. They wouldn't even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn't want love, she doesn't have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.
Don't expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can't handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.

Was there anything that stood out with the storyline to you?

Christina: Probably the fact that we got two stories in one. We had Tate’s POV which took place in the present and then there were Miles’ POV, but his took place six years earlier, which of course does not bode well.  I really loved that it was done like that, it was different, in the best way. 

Stephanie:  Definitely! The thing that stood out the most to me was how there was a “normal’ POV for Tate but there was also a POV for Miles, but this one took place six years ago. You just know something bad is going to happen because of that. It was like two storylines in one. It was so unique! But that was probably my favorite thing in the book. 

What are your thoughts on Miles and Tate and also Miles and Rachel in the book?

Christina: It was actually weird kind of cheering for Miles to get both girls almost, but yeah kind of did. Even when things with him and Rachel could not end well I was still somehow hoping for the best, even though him being like he is in Tate’s POV in the present, then it really could not go well for them. I loved him and Tate, just from the moment they met, so hilarious. It was also sort of different to know more about Miles and the way he acted than Tate did. For her it is them having sex and her hoping maybe he will open up meanwhile we discover more and more about his past and I really feared that he would never come around. 

 Well, I loved Miles and Tate, obviously… but I also liked reading about Rachel and Miles. I liked Miles and Tate’s relationship because it started as just sex and you just know it wouldn’t stay just sex. And like I said before the Miles chapters were really unique. And the thing was I kind of shipped both Miles and Tate and Rachel and Miles. I don’t know if this makes any sense to anyone but still. Of course I knew this could never happen since Rachel and Miles were in the past.

How would you describe Ugly Love in one or two words?

Christina:  Beautifully emotional 

Stephanie: Heavy emotional. 

What's your favorite quote of the book?

Christina:  He shakes his head. “I didn’t fall in love with you, Tate I flew.” 

Love this, it is so sweet!  

Stephanie: “I didn’t fall in love with you… I flew.”

What did you think of the writing in the book?

Christina: So beautiful! One of my favorite things were actually the little thoughts both characters had. Miles had more of that, I could pretty much feel I was in a teenage mind, it was amazing and even more obvious when we actually get a POV from him that is in the present, totally different, loved that detail.  

 The writing was simply perfection to me. There were quite a few gorgeous quotes and passages in this book and the Miles chapters (yes those again…) were written a little differently but it was so beautiful!  

What are your overall thoughts?

Christina:  Loved it! I was so eager to read it when I got it and then it was over so fast! Too fast! Truly amazing and so emotional.  

Stephanie:  I loved loved loved this book! Ugly Love was my first (full) Colleen Hoover book and I’m definitely not disappointed. I tried to be critical about the book because there’s a lot of hype around it, but honestly, it’s so worth the hype. It’s definitely one of my favorite books of the year. I also like how the cover is linked to the story, with the water and all. And I’m very excited for the movie with Nick Bateman. He’ll do great, I’m sure! 

       About the Author

Colleen Hoover's love for writing began in 1985 when she was five years old. Her first story was titled "Mystery Bob" and was a huge hit with her mother, who was really good at faking interest. Colleen continued to write short stories for friends and family until December of 2011, when she decided to write a long story she titled, "Slammed." She self-published SLAMMED to Amazon in January, 2012 and it hit the NYT's bestsellers list in May, 2012. She has since signed with Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, and now has six NYT's bestsellers. Colleen prefers to be called a writer, as the term "author" still terrifies her and makes this feel like a job with expectations. She doesn't work well under pressure and hopes writing will always remain fun and exciting. Colleen's newest novel, UGLY LOVE, releases August 5th, 2014. She is currently working on a new novel, CONFESS, which she is writing as fast as she can before she wakes up from this crazy dream.