Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road, #1) by Katie McGarry

Narrated by 
Marguerite Gavin & Sean Pratt
Synopsis (via Goodreads): 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. 
“There’s a reason why people shouldn’t talk at four in the morning. Exhaustion eliminates the ability to lie. It demolishes the ability to tiptoe around the truth. Emotions are too exposed and real. Heightened to the point of explosion.”
This is a beautiful story about family, and the lengths people will go to in order to keep them safe. Emily is unaware of her mother's past, as well as her own, and soon finds herself needing to uncover the truth no matter the consequences. She not only puts herself at risk, but endangers Oz and the new family she has started to care about.

Katie McGarry has always been able to write compelling stories with amazing characters, and Nowhere but Here was everything I wanted it to be. I fell in love with the people in this book, even though their way of life was unfamiliar to me, and likely not something I will ever experience for myself. It was different, and I'm glad I was able to see the world through that perspective. I love that books allow you to view a part of the world that you might not ever see for yourself.

Lying never works. It doesn't work in life, and it doesn't work in books. Lies create problems and make existing issues worse. If Emily's family had been honest with her from the beginning, there would have been a lot less danger and heartache.

I really enjoyed alternating perspectives between Emily and Oz. They are two completely different people, but they were able to see past their differences and find what really matters.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Lick (Stage Dive, #1) by Kylie Scott

Narrated by Andi Arndt
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Waking up in Vegas was never meant to be like this.

Evelyn Thomas's plans for celebrating her twenty-first birthday in Las Vegas were big. Huge. But she sure never meant to wake up on the bathroom floor with a hangover to rival the black plague, a very attractive h
alf-naked tattooed man in her room, and a diamond on her finger large enough to scare King Kong. Now if she could just remember how it all happened.

One thing is certain, being married to one of the hottest rock stars on the planet is sure to be a wild ride. 

“I was going to kill him. Slowly. Strangle him with the overpriced thong. A fitting death for a rock star.”  
Lick is another audiobook I stumbled across on Overdrive (it's synced to your library with your library card). Overdrive is free, which is awesome, and they offer ebooks and audiobooks. I know a lot of people use Audible, but Overdrive lets me pull from most of my local libraries with one library card.

I was looking for a quick romance with steamy sex scenes, and that's exactly what I got. ๐Ÿคค There was also a deeper story there that I wasn't expecting, and it made everything else more meaningful. It was also completely believable. I could honestly see myself reacting similarly to their situation. There wasn't an ista-love, or anything like that, it was just two people that fell in love twice.

One of my favorite quotes from David is, “It’s not fair that I remember and you don’t, Evelyn.” He knew exactly what he was doing when he spontaneously married Evelyn. David, a rock star with girls begging to be with him, chose to marry her. It kills him to remember the reasons why, and what they did together, only to find out that she can't even recall who he is. I would have been furious if that had happened to me.

Ev is understandably shocked when she starts putting the pieces together, and I love how careful and kind she was. She desperately wanted her memories from that night to come flooding back to her, but I thought it was sweet the way she would remember just a fraction of a story only to have him elaborate and give her more details. Those moments were special to him, they meant something.

It didn't take me long to get through this book, so if you have an afternoon to spare, read this. Seriously. I giggled and laughed, swooned a little, and cheered them on from the sidelines. I borrowed the audiobook from my library, but now I own physical copies of the entire series.

I think the next book, Play, is from Mal's perspective. I loved his character in this book, even though his appearances were brief, and I'm excited to read about him on a more personal level.

"Close the door down there and lock it," David yelled. "Don't you come up here under any circumstances. Not till I tell you it's okay. Understood?"
There was a pause then Mal yelled back. "What if there's a fire?"

Thursday, November 23, 2017

My Weekly Pull [3]

I completely forgot to do this last week (and possibly the one before that). My work schedule was weird, and J has been on call, so life has been a little hectic. I'll post the comics we got last week in addition to the ones we got this week.

Last Week:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ghostbusters II #3
The Mighty Thor #701
Spider-Men II #4
The Punisher #218
Hawkeye #12
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #76
Guardians of the Galaxy #147
Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #297
The Incredible Hulk #710
The Amazing Spider-Man #791

This Week:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ghostbusters II #4
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe #16
Spider-Man Deadpool #24
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #25
The Invincible Iron Man #594
Black Panther #167

Let me know what comics you've been reading! Is there anything I should try? 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court, #1) by Richelle Mead

Narrated by Kristen Sieh
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands… 
“Do you think my being someone else's wife will change anything? Don't you know that I'd lie with you in the groves, under the light of the moon? That I'd defy the laws of gods and men for you?”  
I love the Vampire Academy series, but I haven't read anything else by Richelle Mead until now. I just couldn't pass this up when it became available as an audiobook at my library. The cover is stunning! It also goes well with the story, which is a bonus. I hate when a cover has absolutely nothing to do with a book.

There are various settings for this book, which I enjoyed, but that also means there is a lot of background being given. That made this book feel like a longer read (or in my case a longer listen, hah), which I was completely okay with. I never felt like I was being bogged down with information, or that the pace of the story was lagging. Despite this, there are certain aspects of the story that remain shrouded in mystery. It was a little frustrating at first, but I later learned that it was because Tamsin and Mira would get their own books, which would explain their stories as they happened alongside Adelaide's. There are quite a few things that I need to know, but I guess that was Mead's intention. I'll have to read the other two books to learn their secrets.

I was thinking this book would be a little more fantastical, but it wasn't. It was very practical while also being incredibly engaging. I don't know why I felt compelled to listen to it nonstop, but I did. There's just something about it that hooked me from the beginning. The characters weren't annoying or unbelievable. I felt like I was listening to something that actually happened. They tried to do what was best for themselves, and in the end *highlight to view spoiler» it ended up being each other.  Cedric did love her enough to let her go. He tried to find a husband for her that she wouldn't hate being married to, and she was willing to commit forgery to help him. I'm really happy that things worked out for them in the end. It wasn't perfect, and the journey was messy, but things could have been a lot worse.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Stacking the Shelves [1]

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. This meme is for sharing all the books you’ve added to your shelves throughout the week.

I discovered something amazing this week! One of my local libraries has a somewhat secret basement filled with extra books. When they have too many of one book, or they need to make room, they store the extras and sell them for 25¢ to 50¢.

These are just the books I bought for myself. I got a lot for my kiddos, too! Total amount spent: $29.

Stack 1
When You Were Here by
Witchlanders by
Virtuosity by
Sea Change by
Hidden (Firelight #3) by

Stack 2

Stack 3

Stack 4
Stay by

I have read a few of these, but I didn't have copies for my shelves. Others I have been wanting to read for years and never had the time. I just couldn't pass up this opportunity! My husband and I had to carry the girls so we could roll the books in the stroller. I'm sure we looked ridiculous, but books make us happy. 

I loved Bitter Spirits, so you can imagine my excitement over seeing The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett. There were also a few 2017 books like, The Dazzling Heights by

Monday, November 13, 2017

A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1) by Claudia Gray

Narrated by Tavia Gilbert
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Marguerite Caine's physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite's father is murdered, and the killer—her parent's handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul— escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul's guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father's death is far more sinister than she expected. 

“I meant it when I said I didn’t believe in love at first sight. It takes time to really, truly fall for someone. Yet I believe in a moment. A moment when you glimpse the truth within someone, and they glimpse the truth within you. In that moment, you don’t belong to yourself any longer, not completely. Part of you belongs to him; part of him belongs to you. After that, you can’t take it back, no matter how much you want to, no matter how hard you try.”
First, I want to start by saying I didn't know Claudia Gray was a pseudonym. I happened to see that little fact on her Goodreads profile. Am I the only one that didn't know this??

Now, to the book! Well, audiobook. I've learned that during this stage of my life, audiobooks work best for me. There are no paper pages for little fingers to grab. My husband lost a beloved book this way (and why I keep all of mine on the higher shelves). The twins will be one this month, and they are in EVERYTHING.

I was intrigued by the synopsis for this book, so I downloaded the audiobook from my library. It was the first I had heard of it, so I didn't really know what to think when it started. Gray throws us into the story from the first page. Marguerite is in a body that is both hers and not hers, and doing things that make absolutely no sense. It was great! I loved getting knee-deep into the story before getting more background. My interest was piqued, and I was hooked. I needed to know more!

I did hate how easy it was for Marguerite to blindly want to destroy someone with very little evidence, and only half of the facts. I get that she was emotional and hurt, but if you're going after someone with the intention of killing them (or stranding them in another dimension), you had better be a million percent sure you are correct. There's no room for doubt when someone's life hangs in the balance. You also shouldn't try to kill someone else, but what do I know. 

I was slightly annoyed by the love triangle, but I've never really been a fan. I don't like it when the main character's heart is torn in two different directions. Someone always, always gets hurt.

Everything considered, this was a captivating and unique story. The science aspects weren't confusing, but still complex enough to explain travel to other dimensions. I never felt lost, or that concepts were over my head. Marguerite also never jumped somewhere boring. Her blended background allowed for numerous possibilities, and we get to experience a few of them.

A Thousand Pieces of You makes you think about decisions, and whether each one potentially changes the outcome of your future. Is everything fated, or do the small choices we make have a bigger impact than we know?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

Narrated by
Cassandra Campbell & Kirby Heyborne
Synopsis (via Goodreads): When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs. So she convinces her best friend, Harvey, to help her with a crazy bucket list that's as much about revenge as it is about hope.

But just when Alice's scores are settled, she goes into remission, and now she must face the consequences of all she's said and done. 
“Then he left, and with him he took the sun, the moon, the stars, and anything inside of me that might have been good.”
I keep picking up books with awful characters! (Don't misunderstand...great book, frustrating characters.) Alice is a bitch. There is no other way to say it, and to call her anything less would be an insult to her character. She knows she's a bitch, and yet she continues on a path of self-destruction. Then she compounds the problem by dragging decent, loyal, genuinely good people down with her. I understand that Alice got cancer as a teenager, but that doesn't give her a free pass to treat people the way she did. She thought she would die and not have to deal with any of the aftermath, but she was wrong.

I don't know why Alice found out she was going to die and then immediately thought REVENGE. I'm not in her situation, nor have I have ever been, but I would like to think I would be the type of person to make amends and find resolutions. I doubt I would have the energy to seek out perceived enemies and destroy them. We're also in drastically different stages in life, so I'm sure my final moments would be spent with my children. Alice had a lot to deal with, and she was so young and afraid. She just didn't want to admit to being afraid. She allowed her feelings to swallow her up from the inside, and would never say what needed to be said. She was selfish, cruel, and unrelenting in her pursuit of payback. There are actual enemies, sure, but what teenager (or adult for that matter) doesn't have an enemy or two. I wish she had focused more of her time on the people around her, and expressed her feelings instead of burying them. It all bubbled out at the same time, which never ends well.

Harvey. Sweet, innocent, blind Harvey. I don't know where his self-respect went, but I wish he had found it a lot sooner than he did. His love of Alice was almost like an obsession. He just knew from a very young age that he loved her and would always love her. How is that healthy? Harvey knew more about Alice than he knew about himself. You have to determine who you are by yourself before you can be you with someone else. Especially when that someone is as toxic and all-consuming as Alice. *highlight to view spoiler» He does try with another girl, but we all know it's never going to work out. At least the two of them are honest about it.

Alice made me crazy. I lost so much oxygen just from sighing heavily throughout the book. If I had kept rolling my eyes, they would have been permanently affixed to the tops of my eyelids. Harvey needed to put himself first, but was always too concerned with Alice.

Then it starts to get interesting. They are two broken, helpless people that grow and find themselves as the story progresses. They don't remain obnoxious, unlikeable characters forever. They change and evolve. It was beautiful to watch, even when it hurt. Alice's pain wasn't just from her cancer. It was from betrayal, and a loss of trust. Harvey never wavered in his affections, but he did stop taking shit from Alice. *highlight to view spoiler» (I honestly don't know how he still managed to blindly trust her in the end, but he did.)

Side Effects May Vary was a tragically hopeful story, and I'm happy with how it concluded.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Hawkeye: Kate Bishop (#1-11) by Kelly Thompson

Hawkeye: Kate Bishop (#1-11) by Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero (Illustrator), Julian Tedesco (Illustrator)
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Remember Hawkeye? No not that Hawkeye, our favorite Hawkeye, the chick who puts the hawk in Hawkeye, the butt-kicking hero who had to save the other Hawkeye's butt all the time. Yup, you know her, it's the dazzling Kate Bishop making her solo comics debut! Kate is heading west and returning to Los Angeles, with her bow and arrow and P.I. badge in tow. There are crimes to solve and she's the best archer to handle ‘em! The City of Angels has a new guardian angel. The talented duo of Kelly Thompson (A-Force, Jem) and Leonardo Romero (Squadron Supreme, Doctor Strange) bring you a Kate Bishop like you've never seen her before, in a brand-new ongoing series that really hits the mark!


While I wasn't a huge fan of the cover art in the beginning, it has started to grow on me. It's also not reflective of the inside art, which I do enjoy. They're both uniquely interesting, and I feel they capture the essence of the story each issue.

I also like that there isn't just one foe for Kate Bishop to battle, but many. There are a lot of side stories, and they all seem to (somewhat) tie into this unforeseen evil lurking in the shadows. She makes a few friends in the beginning, and I love how diverse and devoted they are to her. They accept her as she is, crazy sass and all. They're also there for her whether she wants them to be or not.

Kate is dealing with inner demons as well as physical ones. Her father plays a key role in who she is today, but probably not in the way you would expect. Her mother is still a mystery waiting to be solved, and she mentions a sister I haven't seen yet. Clint Barton is like a brother/mentor, but he has been absent from her story as well. Jessica Jones made an appearance for a few issues, which resulted in a lot of black boxes obscuring her words.

I love Kate's voice and quirky comments. She accepts who she is, and she really seems to love the life she has made for herself. She doesn't doubt her abilities, and knows just how good she is. She also never turns away someone that needs help, even when she obviously has issues that she needs to work out for herself. The needs of others always come before her own.

If you're looking for a comic with a hilarious, strong female lead--look no further! Kate Bishop is the Hawkeye you need in your life. The real Hawkeye, or so she would tell you.

Friday, November 3, 2017

One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf

Synopsis (via Goodreads): In the midst of a sudden spring snowstorm, an unknown man armed with a gun walks into an elementary school classroom. Outside the school, the town of Broken Branch watches and waits.

Officer Meg Barrett holds the responsibility for the town's children in her hands. Will Thwaite, reluctantly entrusted with the care of his two grandchildren by the daughter who left home years earlier, stands by helplessly and wonders if he has failed his child again. Trapped in her classroom, Evelyn Oliver watches for an opportunity to rescue the children in her care. And thirteen-year-old Augie Baker, already struggling with the aftermath of a terrible accident that has brought her to Broken Branch, will risk her own safety to protect her little brother.

As tension mounts with each passing minute, the hidden fears and grudges of the small town are revealed as the people of Broken Branch race to uncover the identity of the stranger who holds their children hostage. 

"Will," Marlys said sharply. "If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging."
“That's the wonderful thing about the human heart, there's room enough for all kinds of love.”
Negative: so many grammatical errors. I feel like these take away from the flow of a story. I'll be caught up in a book, but then a misspelled word or an incorrect pronoun will stop my thoughts. I have to pause and read through it all again to see what word was meant to be there, or how a sentence was intended to be written.

One of the first books I read when I started reviewing (many, many years ago) was Heather Gudenkauf's The Weight of Silence. It was an emotional, gut-twisting book that I haven't been able to bring myself to read again. It was a great book on a horrible topic, almost like One Breath Away. Now that I am a mother, I view things like this a little differently. Instead of imagining any child being held hostage in a school, I picture my child and it freaks me out. What would I do in that situation? I hope I never have to find out. 

This story is told through multiple perspectives. Five, I think. If you don't like cliffhangers, you might not like the way this story is told. Every chapter seems to end right in the middle of something important, so you're left wondering what just happened as you read about events through someone else's eyes. Then that person leaves you with more questions than answers, and you move on to the next. Every time it circles back around, the story picks up and progresses a little more. 

I was so very tempted to skip to the end and find out who was behind everything. It tells you how good the story is, because I desperately wanted to know how it ended and the anticipation was brutal. I love when I'm unable to figure a story out, and One Breath Away didn't disappoint. I never skipped ahead, and I'm glad I didn't. It was a beautiful, unexpected story.