Mad Love

mad-love Mad Love by Nick Spalding

Publication Date: December 6, 2016
Read Date: February 2, 2017

Amazon, Goodreads

I wasn’t sure what kind of book I wanted to read, and something funny isn’t usually what I have available or think of even reaching for. This book has forever changed my mindset on that. Comedy is definitely a genre I’ll be checking out from right now, and if Nick Spalding is on that list, it’s even better.

Mad Love is about this dating website, Sociality, being so sure of its algorithms that they decide to choose the best matched couple and have them meet on their wedding day, paid for by Sociality. The honeymoon will aso be paid for, as well as being provided a nice apartment and $30,000 to play with. They have a lot of faith in their algorithms that this couple will prove to the world just how awesome their dating website is. Adam and Jessica are the couple and they both want this marriage for different reasons. It’s laugh after laugh of them trying to navigate getting to know each other with a camera always in their faces as well as when the camera is gone.

This book is so much fun! I read it on one sitting because I was laughing way too hard to just put it down and go to sleep. Who can think about sleep when you’re wondering what shenanigans this couple is going to get into next. There’s this priest at the wedding…and I don’t even want to give away what’s up with him because it’s too much fun to read and find out. There’s also this baking competition scene that had me dying. I had to read those pages to everyone I talked to the next day because I couldn’t stop laughing every time I thought about it.

This is, in essence, a romantic comedy that’s low on the romance. It’s more of a comedy with some romance sprinkled in. It’s perfect. I keep telling my boyfriend that it’s the exact kind of book that would be perfect for him to read- he’s dubious, but it’s because I’m in the process of turning him into a reader.

Check this book out! It’s such a fun read; I can’t wait to pick up Spaldings’ other books.

Thank you very much to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the copy of this book.

five-stars

Broken Spirits

broken-spirits Broken Spirits by S.A. Hunter

Publication Date: July 31, 2013
Read Date: December 15, 2016

Series: Scary Mary
Book #3

Amazon, Goodreads

This book was even better than the last two and I gave those 5-stars as well. This one brought Kyle, Cy’s older brother, into the picture more, you might remember him as the one who tried to kill Mary when he was possessed in the first book. This time, though, he’s worked really hard at making it up to Mary and being there for her even when she has no idea why he would want to be. He’s popular, he’s cool, he’s cute; why her?

Well now she’s his date to homecoming and needs a dress. There’s nothing quite like a possessed dress to jump you into this ghost story.

“Oh, yeah? Prove it!” Rachel said.
“You secretly like Justin Bieber.”
“Fiend!” Rachel shouted and shook her bells at her.

Dating is very foreign territory for Mary and she treads this terrain with wonderful humor and realistic aspects of what it’s like to start dating for the first time. Like when she asks Kyle out on a movie date because it’s the 21st century and a girl can do that, except she accidentally invites Rachel too and now it’s kind of awkward.

Any nudges or touches from Rach were completely unnoteworthy. On the Kyle side, the merest ruffle of air made her tense up and over analyze it. What did that nudge mean? Was he uncomfortable? Did he want the armrest all to himself?

Girl, same. I’ve definitely had my fair share of movie dates with those thoughts. Onto the story, this one revolves around possession. The Shadowman she thought she defeated is back. It won’t leave her alone. Why can’t she catch a break? It’ll take help from her new friends and a frenemy to get to the bottom of this one.

five-stars

Stalking Shadows

stalking-shadows Stalking Shadows by S.A. Hunter

Publication Date: October 27, 2011
Read Date: December 15, 2016

Series: Scary Mary
Book #2

Amazon, Goodreads

My favorite clairaudient, Mary. Well, she’s the only one I’ve ever read about but I have no doubt that she would still be my favorite. Mary has the perfect amount of sarcasm, wit, sass, however you want to put it, she’s badass and awesome. She’s just trying to survive high school while simultaneously having to listen to some ghosts.

Right off the bat we get my favorite part about this series: Mary’s humor.

“No, we’re dreaming.”
“No, you mean me. I’m dreaming, and you’re the monster in my nightmare.”

In this book, Vicky is in the hospital, in a coma, from a car accident after a date with Cy (gasp!). She’s able to reach out to Mary through her dreams to try to get help because there’s something in the hospital feeding the life source off of unsuspecting patients. She’s scared for her life, and as much as she hates to admit it, she needs Mary, even if they’re basically enemies.

“What made you decide to volunteer at the hospital?”
“Well, I heard Vicky was there in a coma, and I figure this will give me access to her room so I can Sharpie a mustache on her without getting caught.”

Yes, Mary. You get your revenge for the nickname of Scary Mary and every other hell Vicky has put you through.

Rachel is still the greatest best friend who always knows exactly the right words to make you feel better. Especially when the guy you really like starts dating the girl you thought both of you agreed on that you don’t like.

“If they were a couple, Vicky would’ve had T-shirts made. It was probably their first date, and she tricked him into going. He probably thought he was taking her grandpa to the airport or something, and she gave him directions to the movie theater instead, and since she already had pre-purchased tickets, why not go see the movie because both of Vicky’s grandfathers are dead.”

There is also more of Chowder, too, who is like the best ghost dog one could ever ask for!

“Chowder, get in your body. Get in your body now!”

Even if he is being unruly. Gran is also back with a force, helping Mary out even when Mary thinks she doesn’t need the help. There’s this wonderful scene in the hospital with Gran and I’d quote it, but it’s too long and it’d give away how much fun you would have reading it.

This is another awesome 5-star book with a great cast of characters to leave you laughing and crying and begging for more.

five-stars

A Court of Mist and Fury

a-court-of-mist-and-fury A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Read Date: December 31, 2016

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Book #2

Amazon, Goodreads

The sequel to A Court of Thorns and Roses was definitely not what I had expected. To be honest, I was really despising this book and seriously considered not finishing it. That would have been a huge mistake. A lot of people you will have noticed stopped reading it because of how Tamlin seemed to have changed and how all of a sudden, Feyre’s with Rhysand. I felt the same way. I was pissed. We go through the entire first book where she literally DIED because of her love for Tamlin, only for her to go to Rhysand?!!

But Maas knew what she was doing. She had planned it all during the first book. It was never going to be Tamlin. I’ve accepted that, and now that I’ve finished the book, I couldn’t see it any other way. It was honestly genius. Rhysand is everything. If I ever get the chance to reread this, I will do so with way more excitement than before. Maas explained everything sooo well. She makes you see that there was really only ever Rhysand. And you know what? That’s OK too, because he has loads more of a personality than Tamlin ever did. Can you believe how often Tamlin would bow to others?! Such a turn off. In this book, Rhysand actually has tattoos on his knees and explains that he would never bow before anyone but his own crown. Now that’s a high lord.

The world building was even more spectacular in this, which played well amongst the plot line regarding the differences between Tamlin and Rhysand. Feyre getting to understand her powers was spectacular. There’s this really epic battle scene where she just kicks ass. I’m not even going to share one bit about it because everyone deserves to read that battle scene without an inkling of knowledge of what she does.

The ending is killer. I can’t wait for May to read the next one because this world is just phenomenal. The growth in the characters, new and old, is just so much fun to watch. I said “if” earlier, but when I’m able to read this book again, it’ll be 100% better knowing that everything happens for a reason and it’s genius.

five-stars

A Court of Thorns and Roses

a-court-of-thorns-and-roses A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Read Date: December 23, 2016

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Book #1

Amazon, Goodreads

This book kind of feels like a mashup between Beauty and the BeastThe Hunger Games, and Twilight. And you know what? That’s OK. I really enjoyed it. This is one where the main character, Feyre, is the youngest of her family, but the mightiest. She has had to learn to hunt in order to ensure her and her family’s survival. No easy task for a nineteen-year-old who used to come from money. But she made it happen. But now there’s this world that she has ever only heard horror stories about on the other side of the wall. The Fae live there, and they’re awful. Or are they? Her beast in this story, Tamlin, started out a little rough around the edges, but that’s how all beasts start out. And because we know it’s a take on Beauty and the Beast, I was like “Feyre! Just enjoy his presence!”

There’s this curse going on where everyone in the Spring court has masquerade masks stuck on their face and that’s hilarious. This has been optioned for a movie and I can’t wait to see how that’s done. I loved seeing Feyre’s growth throughout the story. She has only ever imagined what it would be like to not have to take care of her family, but then, as Tamlin starts to grow on her, she starts being able to paint, one of her absolute passions. But then in order to break the curse, she can’t be that person she had wanted to be, to not have a care in the world and just paint, she needed to be a hunter again and take care of her family.

This isn’t really a spoiler, but she has to accomplish three tasks to break the curse or solve a riddle and the whole thing will be over. Not even halfway through the riddle did I know what the answer was. I guess that means I’m well read. Or just literate. Or clever. So because I knew the answer, getting through reading the tasks was killer for me. However, if Feyre was clever and/or literate, we would have never known what the tasks were and it would have been a cop out.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and actually read it in just a day. This book is also a prime example of building a world without information dumping. It all felt effortless. By the way, did you know this is classified as New Adult? Basically the fantastical aspects of Young Adult, but for adults. This book has brought me to my new favorite genre. Thank you, Sarah Maas.

five-stars

Cinder

Cinder.jpg Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Read Date: January 11, 2017

Series: The Lunar Chronicles
Book #1

Amazon, Goodreads

Forgive me for bringing up Heartless again, but after reading that, I felt the need to devour everything Marissa Meyer has ever written. It was my personal goal to finish this book in one sitting, and that I did. I don’t regret one single minute. I loved this whole concept, fairy tale story meets The Terminator meets Star Wars. Inititally, when I first heard about the series, it didn’t sound too great to me. Sci-fi isn’t the easiest genre to get into, but this was perfect.

Cinder is a cyborg. What’s crazy is the struggle to fit in with a society that looks down on them while being perfectly fine with using the technology for their own benefit. Cyborgs just happen to have that technology inside of them as well as in the products they use. I would think that being a cyborg would make you cooler than your peers. Don’t feel like bringing a purse? I’ll just throw my lip gloss in my calf for when I need a touch up. Where did I leave that screwdriver? Oh, that’s OK, I have a spare in my palm. On top of all that usefulness, her user interface connected to her brain can show her news feeds, comms (text messages), and it can tell when someone is lying. She doesn’t even need to wear the Samsung VR for that. Yet this whole package of awesomeness is considered inferior. These people need a reality check. These robot parts have either saved humans’ lives or are making their lives easier (no more amputees), it doesn’t make them less human (just more robot/awesome).

“I think I have some oil in my calf if you’d like me to fix that wheel.” So thoughtful.

Cinder’s wit was right on point with the sense of humor I adore.

“I don’t actually remember anything from before the surgery.”
…”The cybernetic operation?”
“No, the sex change.”

“Speaking of eye surgery, do you realize you’re missing tear ducts?”
“What? Really? And I thought I was just emotionally withdrawn.”

Prince Kai was definitely adorable to me. I was excited whenever he showed up because I adored how assertive he is. Like when trying to get Cinder to go to the ball with him:

“Maybe you would change your mind? Because I am, you know.”
“The prince.”
“Not bragging,” he said quickly. “Just a fact.”

Swoon.

A complaint I had read prior to reading this was the lack of world building in a place that sounds absolutely fantastic. I can see that point of view. Marissa Meyer has actually grown in her writing skills because the world building in Heartless, her most recent novel, is superb (here I am, bringing up that novel again). Regardless, this book is clearly a series, it looks like the world will continue to be built amongst the books, which is nice because I am not a fan of information dumping. I can only handle so much before I need to go back and reread whatever the heck I just read.

This is an awesome spin on a fairy tale with a heroine who is very self-sufficient and is growing to become bad ass. There’s nothing like a heroine who decides to save the man, instead of being the damsel in distress. You go, girl.

five-stars

Six of Crows

six-of-crows Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Publication Date: September 29, 2015
Read Date: January 10, 2017

Amazon, Goodreads

First off, I do want to say that it was tough for me to get over the Heartless hangover and I thought that a book that actually got 5-star reviews from ALL of my favorite reviewers would be the perfect way to move on.

I was wrong. I’m actually still not over Heartless, but I don’t think that that was a reason for my thoughts about this book.

I do want to acknowledge that I am VERY MUCH in the minority on how I felt about this. Everyone raved and said it’s one of their favorite books. It was almost like an Ocean’s Eleven with this incredible heist but with a team of six. There’s magic, there’s wit, there’s a heist. Sounds absolutely perfect. Except I found that I could have put the book down at any time and not ever cared if I picked it back up or not. It just never really grabbed my attention.

I understand that there was a trilogy that had come out previous to this book that would have helped me understand the whole “Grisha-verse” but not having read that, this was very confusing in the beginning. There is a lot of terminology that I didn’t understand, nor was it ever explained. I wish there was a glossary in the back so that way when I forget whatever made up word I had come across, I wouldn’t be completely in the dark. That’s what is tough when creating a different language, making it to where it won’t be too confusing. But the purpose is defeated when you use that language on a character who doesn’t understand that particular language and then it isn’t explained. So now that character is in the dark as well as the reader. It just gets confusing.

The strongest aspect of this book is definitely the dialogue.

There was rage on his face when he turned back to Kaz. “Always one step ahead, aren’t you?”
“Geels, when it comes to you, I’d say I have a running start.”

Nina crossed her arms. “I’m mad at you too.”
“Me? Why?”
“I don’t know yet. I just am.”

“You came back for me.”
“I protect my investments.”

Investments. “I’m glad I’m bleeding all over your shirt.”

My favorite:

“If Pekka Rollins kills us all, I’m going to get Wylan’s ghost to teach my ghost how to play the flute just so that I can annoy the hell out of your ghost.”
Brekker’s lips quirked. “I’ll just hire Matthias’ ghost to kick your ghost’s ass.”

“My ghost won’t associate with your ghost,” Matthias said primly.

I did enjoy the characterization to a point. Nina was definitely my favorite, I love how assertive she is, especially when it comes to Matthias. One thing that threw me off was when Jesper all of a sudden thought that Wylan was cute late into the book. We had had previous chapters from Jesper’s perspective discussing Wylan, but never did he mention he thought he was cute. It should have been talked about it earlier. Teasing is something friends do to each other. That doesn’t always mean that the person “like” likes another person. So when it was brought up that Jesper liked Wylan, I was like…where the hell did this come from?

I also found it hard to believe that these characters are kids (teens) pulling off running a gang and breaking into two prisons. If they were older, I think I would have found it easier to believe. But being the mastermind of a gang and masterfully plotting every step at such a young age was a little ridiculous. I understand how in a place where they grew up, they would have to grow up fast. Look at Carl, from The Walking Dead. We’ve watched his character grow up on screen over the years. He’s had to grow up fast, and I think he’s grown into a bit of a badass. But do I think he would be capable of being a mastermind like the teens in this book? No. If they were a little older, maybe, but the suspension of disbelief was tough for me here.

I’m also not a fan of flashback scenes in the middle of the action. Which ended up happening a lot during the main action. It completely strips away the adrenaline from the scene.

Ultimately, this book just wasn’t for me. I’ve tried thinking back on it to see if maybe I was being too hard, but I just didn’t care for it. The cover is gorgeous though, and the dip-dyed pages in black is stunning. I’d honestly pick up the sequel because it’s only getting the one other book and that one is gorgeous too. Those pages are red!

two-and-a-half-stars