Friday, September 22, 2017

Just Take My Heart by Mary Higgins Clark

About This Book:
Series/Trilogy/Stand-Alone, etc:  Stand Alone
Release Date: April 7, 2009
Setting: New Jersey
Page Count:  322
Edition: Paperback
Genre(s): Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Crime, Fiction, Adult
Date(s) Read: 9/20/17-9/22/17
 Book:  4/5   Audio: 4.5/5    Narrator: Jan Maxwell

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed the narrator, Jan Maxwell. She did well with it and made it easy to continue on and finish the book.
I enjoyed the book. It had it's flaws but still good. There isn't really a whole lot to say that wouldn't possibly give away some of the plot and how things may turn out throughout the book. Some characters went against their instincts when it came to the prosecuting of the character that was being charged with the murder of Natalie. I guess I kind of understand that to a degree (not a spoiler, much of it is said in the first few chapters, even who they suspected and who is on trial is within the first few chapters and throughout most of the book). Some things, weren't too much of a surprise because of the "hints" thrown out throughout the book. Even the ending wasn't too much of a shock either, a bit of a surprise with some things that took place but not a shocker. But, if it is an entertaining, quick/easy read you want, this will do it. It is worth at least picking up and trying, especially if you like books that focus a lot on the court case with a few other things going on throughout the book as well.  I do plan on going to look for other Clark books and hopefully I have at least as much enjoyment with those as I did this one, if not more so. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

About This Book:
Series/Trilogy/Stand-Alone, etc:  Stand Alone
Release Date: October 16, 1847
Setting: Thornfield; England 
Page Count: 467 
Edition: Paperback
Genre(s): Literature, Gothic, Historical/Classic (19th Century)
Date(s) Read: 9/14/17-9/20/17
 Book:  3.5/5   Audio: 5/5   Narrator: Elizabeth Klett

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed Elizabeth's narration and her accent. She is the reason I got through the book. It's like she truly became Jane in my opinion. Like Jane was right there actually talking to me (weird, I know). 

It took me a few chapters to get into the book. A few times during those few chapters, I questioned whether I wanted to continue or not but I continued to push through it and found myself being glad I did. It still had the boring moments. There were sad moments in the book and moments I found myself rooting for her. I was glad to see a lot of growth for her throughout the book and her coming into herself as a young woman. The love and patience she showed for Adele, the little girl she was governess over, was one of the best parts for me in the book. Maybe a lot of that had to do with her upbringing and not getting enough love, then the support she received when she went to the boarding school later on had a lot to do with that as well. 

As the book went on, the more I began to hear the poetry that is Jane Eyre (as stated above, I did listen to it on audio mostly). A beautiful story of, as Ms Bronte put it, a not so "handsome" young woman. Where her supposed unattractive physical appearance, she had the intelligence and personality of the loveliest woman on earth. 

The main men in Jane's life were extremely worthy of a good hard slap or two for being controlling butt holes (If that were a reason to assault someone of course). Yet, although Jane would give into their controlling behaviors, many times, she'd still be brutally honest and eventually let them  know where she stands on things. For her youth, she did have a level of strength I admired. 

As for the book itself, I believe Ms. Bronte was a bit too long winded way too often. She gave more detail than needed sometimes. The book could've been about 100-150 pages shorter. If she talked as much in person as she did in this book, I am pretty sure she probably got shushed quite a few times throughout her [short] life (No, I do not mean that disrespectfully for those who tend to take things way too personally and get upset easily). But, with all the over description, she was an amazing writer and I can see why this book was and is so popular. 

   (Googled Image. Barnes & Noble Edition Cover)
                                              (This is the edition I own)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Lock & Key by Sarah Dessen

About the book:
Series/Trilogy/Stand-Alone, etc: Stand Alone
Release Date: April 22, 2008
Page Count: 422
Edition: Paperback
Genre(s): YA, Romance, Contemporary, Fiction/Realistic Fiction
Date(s) Read: 9/15/17-9/17/17
Rating: Book: 4/5     Audio: 4/5    Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Website: Sarah Dessen                                 

My Thoughts:

I liked her. A maturity to her voice that I enjoyed instead of the childlike/childish voice that's typical with YA narrators. I'm not so much complaining about younger narrators as I am just saying that I found her voice refreshing. 

The first and for a long time, the only Sarah Dessen book I read was The Truth About Forever and I loved it. For whatever reason though, I couldn't get into the others I had tried, yet, I refused to give up. I somewhat went looking for others recently, knowing I'd be getting audible for at least a couple of months. That's when I found this one and Along For The Ride (I haven't read this one as of this post).

Well, with the audio, I got through this book and happily so! 

Now, it's not a favorite but I did enjoy it. I enjoyed watching the growth of Ruby, Nate and the others in this book. There was no insta-love. Not even the insta-like. Both had that slow build up which was great. Even the gradual grow into friendships. It's not so much that I have an issue with insta-love, because I know that many times, insta-love, is just strong infatuation that can eventually really grow into love or, it can go into another direction (Whichever that direction may be for those people). 

Ruby, for as frustrating as she could be, she wasn't annoying with it. It was an understandable frustration. You knew the why of what she was doing and why she thought the way she did. She usually learned from her mistakes pretty quickly. Which was good. So many of us don't always learn that quickly but then you have some who do, fortunately, and Ruby happened to have been written to be one of those that learned quickly. She appeared to have a lot of street smarts with that I'm still human and will screw up types of mistakes along with it. I loved Jamie and Cora. I loved Jamie's personality and how sweet he was. He was able to get real with Ruby at least once in the book but still able to let her know that he was proud of her when he saw that she was making positive changes in her life. I loved Cora's realness with her feelings and imperfections. You could tell she just got it when it came to Ruby because, well, she knew what it was to be raised by their mother and all that entailed. The loyalty you began to see come about with family and friendships, I loved about Ruby. 

There is a lot more I'm sure I could say about this book if I just took the time to sit and think on it more but that would probably end up in a lot of spoilers that I do my best not to give, even the small ones (Which I know I have given some small ones lately in other posts about books). I will say that if you haven't read this book, please do so. Don't go into it expecting a blockbuster hit when it comes to books but just go into it hoping that you enjoy it at least little bit

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare (possible spoilers)

About This Book:
Series/Trilogy/Stand-Alone, etc:  Bind Up (Short Stories/Novellas)
Release Date: November 15, 2016
Setting: Shadowhunter Academy; Idris
Page Count: 672
Edition: Hardcover
Genre(s): Fiction, YA, Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Date(s) Read:  9/6/17-9/14/17
 Book (as a whole): 4/5    Audio (All Narrators as a whole):   4.5/5 

Multiple Authors:                                                      Narrator(s)
Cassandra Clare                                                              Devon Bostick
Sarah Rees Brennan                                                       Jack Falahee 
Maureen Johnson                                                           Luke Pasqualino  
Robin Wasserman                                                          Nico Mirallegro 
                                                                                            Chris Wood
                                                                                            Ki Hong Li

Individual Stories Rating:
The Lost Herondale: 3 stars
The Whitechapel Fiend:  3 Stars
Nothing but Shadows: 3 Stars
The Evil We Love: 3.5/5
Pale Kings and Princes: 4/5 
Bitter of Tongue: 3.5.5
The Fiery Trial: 4.5/5
Born to Endless Night: 4.5/5
Angels Twice Descending: 5/5


My Thoughts:
(May contain some spoilers. If you haven't read any of the other books, especially the last three (3) of The Mortal Instruments or this bind up, you may want to wait too read this)

I did enjoy all of the narrators. As always, they make it so much easier for me to get through Clare's books. It's not that I don't like her books but sometimes they just seem overly drawn out and sometimes, a bit boring, but, there is just something there that keeps me wanting to read even if I feel like sometimes I don't want to go on. Anytime I question going on, I end up going on because I want to see what happens and find other characters to love. I really enjoyed Ki Hong Li's reading of Pale Kings and Princes. But again, I did enjoy them all, Ki just made the Pale Kings and Princes more enjoyable. 

I took my time reading/listening to this because I didn't want to overdose and not finish it. As I have stated on her other books, although I like them, sometimes, I tend to get a bit bored with some parts of her books and/or they tend to drag. Which I think is why I am glad these are short stories/novellas. They didn't take as long to get through. I also knew not to push it past my limit if I needed a break in the middle of a story and wanted to read something else for a while, which I typically did at night. I would listen to these during the day mostly while I was on the computer. So, naturally, it took me a little bit longer to finish this than it did the other books I read while reading this one as well. 

Simon is my favorite of the whole The Mortal Instruments series. When I read The Infernal Devices books, I found myself missing Simon. This bind up gave me my dose of Simon that I needed. And of course, the love was there as it always will be I'm sure. 

As much as I learned to love Izzy, sometimes, she seems to act like a spoiled little child who, if she doesn't get her way, she will throw the biggest temper tantrum. People are always having to apologize to her for things they shouldn't have to apologize for.  She also got on my nerves how she kept responding to Simon's memory and not remembering her and their relationship before. I guess I understand some of her frustration but damn, come on, stop seeing the old Simon, get to know him after his 'demon memory loss'! Ugh. Those two are the one main issues I have with her character. Other than that, I do like the strength of Izzy and how loyal she is once she loves and cares about you. 

After this bind up sitting on my shelf for probably at least a year, I am glad that I was finally able to get to them. Glad to know more about my favorite character in the whole T.M.I. series. And definitely glad that, even through all of his struggles, he is doing well. Each story got a bit better as they went on, which, I am very glad for. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

On The Fence by Kasie West

About This Book:
Series/Trilogy/Stand-Alone, etc:  Stand Alone
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Setting: California
Page Count: 296
Edition: Paperback 
Genre(s): Fiction, YA, Contemporary Romance
Date(s) Read:  9/12/17-9/13/17
 Book 4/5         Audio:   4/5         Narrator(s): Shannon McManus


My Thoughts
(Disclaimer:The slightest of spoilers. If you haven't read it, then read this review at your own risk if you like going into stories knowing very little. Although I give little detail, I still give enough that the rare few may see as spoilers, even if they are very limited. I know I am one of those types of people so that's why I try to be careful about what I say but sometimes, I can't completely avoid saying some things, even if it doesn't go into great detail, when I want to talk about something)

There really isn't a lot to say about the narrator other than I liked her and she was very easy to listen to.

This book started off with me thinking Charlie was a bit of an insensitive little.....ahem....yeah, I will be nice. As the story went on though, she began to redeem herself. I loved the relationship she had with her brothers and dad. She was the 'typical' teenager that makes you want to shake them until their brain rattles and they get some sense (but of course, we know we can't shake our lovable teenagers! lol). I was able to listen to this in almost one sitting. I kept having to pause it to talk to my sons & do whatever else I needed to do throughout the rest of the night. So, evidently, with it's flaws and all, I really did enjoy the story and the growth Charlie had through the book.

There were some parts of course that kind of worked my nerves because people tend to misunderstand depression and the effects it has on the person suffering from it (teenagers and adults alike). Yet, at the same time, I understood why she felt the way she did about some things that happened. Do I feel her reaction was a bit extreme? Yes and No. Yes because when she found out some things, she got extremely upset but yet, remembering some things that took place in my life and how upset I got (the death of my grandmother during my first pregnancy and how angry I was for so long afterward. Too long of a story to tell here), I understood why she was upset. In her case and situation, I just think that she needs to talk to someone about what she is feeling and allow herself to talk it out and figure out why she feels the way she feels and eventually work her way through how she feels. Yes, I realize this is a fictional story but there are people I'm sure out there who may be having the same feelings when it comes to similar situations. 

When it came to the over protectiveness of her brothers, she tended to overdo it not really thinking that most brothers are very protective of their sisters. Yet again, I understand that sometimes, teenagers tend to overdo it when it comes to the emotional things but if the parent can guide that teenager in the right direction when it comes to responding to things, they won't grow into overly emotional adults (which I tend to still deal with myself). 

I know I tend to get a bit off topic sometimes and/or tend to take things a bit to the left over fictional stories so, I will hush now and just repeat that I did enjoy the story and wish I could have come across this young lady in real life and let her know what it is to deal with people that have depression and anxiety. Also, what it is to deal with their actions/reactions to things. Help her to understand that she can't put blame on herself or think the way she did because of someone else's reactions/actions because of folks emotional/mental issues. So, this is another book that got me thinking and wanting to hug people that need it. This from someone who doesn't like to be touched! :-)

It was also good to hear the names of people from The Distance Between Us. The first name(s) I recognized right off top but the second, it took me a while until the band from the other book showed up (mostly because I wasn't looking at the book at this point, I was mostly listening), so I didn't see the spelling of the name or I may have recognized it right off especially after the first characters made a quick appearance early in the book. 

Okay, I've gotten long winded again. I will hush now. 😄

Monday, September 11, 2017

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

About the book:
Series/Trilogy/Stand-Alone, etc:  Stand Alone
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Setting: Lincoln & Omaha, Nebraska 
Page Count: 481
Edition: Hardcover
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, Fiction, YA
Date(s) Read:  9/6/17-9/11/17
Rating:     Book: 3/5   Audio: 4/5  (Narrators
Rebecca Lowman and Maxwell Caulfield)

My Thoughts
(If you haven't read this book, there are some things I talk about that some may consider as spoiler'ish. I still don't go into great detail about them, except for maybe one part and even then, I'm not sure how spoilery that may be, so go into it knowing that ahead of time)

I think if it wasn't for this audio book, I may not have gotten through Fangirl. If I had gotten through it, I may not have given it a 3 rating. Not so much that it's a bad book but just more boring and a pain to read to me. It just seemed to be a bit too drawn out but I will get to that when I talk about the book. I did enjoy both of the narrators. There is nothing negative I could say about either one of them. They are the reason I got through the book! I think if I hadn't listened to the audio, I may have skipped the Simon parts altogether as the story went on, but, again, I guess that is something that could be talked about when I talk about the book. 

As I stated above, if it weren't for the audio book, I am not sure if I would have finished this and if I had, it may have gotten a much lower rating from me. I won't repeat the whole thing from above because, well, I already said it. 

I loved the characters but there was just something about the book that just didn't suck me in like I would have liked. Of course, I did enjoy enough to finish it. Even if I do have the audio book, if I am not liking it, there will be nothing to keep me from DNF'ing the book.  I can't put my hand on what it was that I didn't like about it. It wasn't really even the issues of Cather because I really understood much of her issues as someone who has dealt with and still deals with low self esteem (and anxiety) for one reason or another. So, anything that may have bothered me about that, I guess I can look in and maybe see something of myself in her. 

It's not even that Rainbow Rowell is a bad author because she isn't. I just think that I just couldn't connect with the story for whatever reason. There were some things to me that were a bit unrealistic when it came to the relationship between Cather and Levi (i.e.-her sitting on his lap and nothing being said about him reacting to that. Um, any man, that has someone they are attracted to them, sitting on their lap, kissing on them, um, yeah, there will be a reaction. But, maybe she glossed over that for a reason the first time or two, I don't know. No, I'm not one who needs detail, but at least give it some reality of the man being a man! IJS).

I even understood some of the relationships that took place in this book. As a mom, there are just some things I really didn't get when it came to the mother but I guess there are mothers out there like the mom in this book. I'm really trying not to go into a whole lot of detail for those who like to read others thoughts of books before reading the book itself so I won't speak on much of anything else about the family and what takes place. 

I tried to read this book before and just couldn't get into it but when I found the audio book for free, I said I would look for the book and thankfully, I found it last week when I went to the used bookstore across the street from my apartments. I am glad that I finally read it and got my curiosity about the book out the way. This isn't my first Rowell book, I did read Eleanor and Park and I loved it! I wasn't expecting to really like it at all but had hoped I would at least be able to get it finished. I also read Attachments and I loved that one too (listened to it on audio while semi following along in the book but I listened more than I followed along, as I do with any audio + physical book combo that I do. I usually have to have both to get through the audio. Otherwise, I think most times, I lose interest in the audio (not sure why) and/or may need to look at the book for whatever the reason may be).

But, with us getting the edges of this big woman, Irma (I'm in Charlotte, NC), I will shut up now so I can publish this so I don't possibly lose anything just in case the power goes out (yes, I saved throughout typing this out). I also want to read while I have light from lamps (again, just in case). 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Book, Line & Sinker (Library Lover's Mystery #3) by Jenn McKinlay

About the book:
✥Series/Trilogy/Stand-Alone, etc: Series #3
Release Date: December 4, 2012
✥Setting: Briar Creek, Connecticut
✥Page Count: 292
✥Edition: Mass Market Paperback
✥Genre(s): Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Romance
✥Date(s) Read: 9/3/17-9/6/17

✥Rating:     Book: 2.75/5  Audio: 3/5

My Thoughts:

I'm not quite sure what I think about the narrator. I didn't completely dislike her and she did well reading but for some reason, her voice kept throwing me off, not sure why I felt that way. At least a couple times, when I thought she was reading in a man's voice, it turned out to be for a woman. It had me confused a few times. I can say she was good enough to keep me listening in order to finish a book I may not have otherwise.

With each book, it became a bit more of a struggle to get through. I think the only reason I got through this one, especially as quickly as I did, was the audio book. The other books took a few weeks to a month for me to finish and I'd end up in a slump of some kind (during and/or after reading the book). It was at the point that, before I even finished this one, I gave the next two books that came behind it away to my local used book store that I go to regularly. I just knew that I wouldn't be going on to them. This one ended on a cliffhanger of sorts so that makes it a bit harder because I do want to know what happens, even though I have some idea of what may happen. If I decide to go on, I guess I can always just order the fourth book and try to find the audio book as well but I really don't see that happening anytime soon. I still have the first two books as well because I forgot to grab them before I left home but they are in my "give these away" bag, ready to go.

Now, don't get me wrong, I do love the characters but there was just something about the book that just was not catching me. I don't know what it was but I just kept finding them boring. Many times, they wouldn't get good until the last few chapters or so when they started to heat up finding out who the killer was.

I have read her Cupcake Bakery Mystery series and I love that series (I am caught up on all of those. Book #10 due out in 2018). That's what made me buy the first five books of this series, because I had hoped I'd love these just as much. I read the first one, wasn't wild about it but hoped I'd like the next one but I didn't. When I got to this one and didn't enjoy it, I knew it was time to give up. That is something I had to learn with another couple of series I bought: Just don't struggle with books you don't like because there are too many out there that you just might. Occasionally, I will 'struggle' through individual books but generally, I will not struggle through an entire series. I used to not struggle through even individual books but sometimes, I just want to know what happens and how it got there. That was the case with this one and the previous books.

I have two of her Hat Shop Mystery books on my shelf right now. I accidentally bought book five, Assault and Beret, while I was at the book store I normally go to not sure which one it was until I got home. When I thought I was ready/close to being ready to read the first book, Cloche & Dagger, I ordered it. Hopefully I will like it at least enough to get through the series. I know now, with her books, not to go into them expecting them to be as loved as the Cupcake Bakery Mystery Series.

(All covers are take from Goodreads unless otherwise stated. I won't put this disclaimer every time I do reviews. So, if this is not there, assume the picture is from goodreads and/or I forgot to state it)

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