Month: December 2015

2015 December Wrap Up

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Total Books = 4
Average Rating = 4

Yet another uuuuberrrrr slow month for reading.  Between the holidays and work and other lifey things there just wasn’t as much time as I normally have to devote to this wonderful world *le sigh* (yes, I repeated last month – what about it?)  Also, I forgot I never posted a review for Dear Mr. You so be on the look out for that!

With that being said, here’s my sad, little finished reads for the month of December:

1.)  Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz – 3.5/5
2.)  Dear Mr. You by Mary Louise Parker – 4/5
3.)  This Raging Light by Estelle Laure – 5/5
4.)  The Tales of Beedle the Bard – 3/5

Hope you guys have a safe and wonderful New Year!  Here’s to a year full of books!

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Merry Christmas!!

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Merry Christmas my fellow booklovers!

Between work and the holiday madness, I hope to be back into the normal grind soon!  It’s been almost impossible to read lately :'[ WAHHHH!

Anywho, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and get many, many bewks 8]

Happy Reading and Merry Christmas xo

The Isle of the Lost by Melissa De La Cruz

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Book Description:

Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were banished from the kingdom of Auradon and made to live in virtual imprisonment on the Isle of the Lost. The island is surrounded by a magical force field that keeps the villains and their descendants safely locked up and away from the mainland. Life on the island is dark and dreary. It is a dirty, decrepit place that’s been left to rot and forgotten by the world.

But hidden in the mysterious Forbidden Fortress is a dragon’s eye: the key to true darkness and the villains’ only hope of escape. Only the cleverest, evilest, nastiest little villain can find it…who will it be?

Maleficent, Mistress of the Dark: As the self-proclaimed ruler of the isle, Maleficent has no tolerance for anything less than pure evil. She has little time for her subjects, who have still not mastered life without magic. Her only concern is getting off the Isle of the Lost.

Mal: At sixteen, Maleficent’s daughter is the most talented student at Dragon Hall, best known for her evil schemes. And when she hears about the dragon’s eye, Mal thinks this could be her chance to prove herself as the cruelest of them all.

Evie: Having been castle-schooled for years, Evil Queen’s daughter, Evie, doesn’t know the ins and outs of Dragon Hall. But she’s a quick study, especially after she falls for one too many of Mal’s little tricks.

Jay: As the son of Jafar, Jay is a boy of many talents: stealing and lying to name a few. Jay and Mal have been frenemies forever and he’s not about to miss out on the hunt for the dragon’s eye.

Carlos: Cruella de Vil’s son may not be bravest, but he’s certainly clever. Carlos’s inventions may be the missing piece in locating the dragon’s eye and ending the banishment for good.

Mal soon learns from her mother that the dragon’s eye is cursed and whoever retrieves it will be knocked into a deep sleep for a thousand years. But Mal has a plan to capture it. She’ll just need a little help from her “friends.” In their quest for the dragon’s eye, these kids begin to realize that just because you come from an evil family tree, being good ain’t so bad.

My Rating:  5/5

Hands down.  If you’re a Once Upon A Time TV Series/Disney nut/magical geek like myself, then definitely grab this book (as if you already needed convincing after you’ve SEEN THAT BEAUTIFUL BOOK JACKET – what the heck is that?!).  I had originally intended on grabbing another book that day, but the cover of this book drew me in and once I read that jacket and found out it was about some of Disney’s best evil villain’s children – what?! SUPER DUPER SOLD!  Definitely a younger read, but it’s fun.

I absolutely love the idea of this book!  Not only are there the 4 main characters mentioned above, but there’s random “guest” appearances throughout the story and every time they introduced another, I would just “EEEEEE!!” with excitement!  This was definitely a fun blast-to-the-past read for me.

**Fun Fact:  I found SO many errors from spelling to grammar to extra words.. doesn’t take away from the book but it’ll make you giggle.  See if you can spot them!

Happy Reading! xo

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

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Book Description:

Can the best thing happen at the worst time?
Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love—messy, inconvenient love—is what she’s about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend’s brother. With blazing longing that builds to a fever pitch, Estelle Laure’s soulful debut will keep readers hooked and hoping until the very last page.

My Rating: 5/5

**I would like to start off by saying that I received This Raging Light by Estelle Laure for free via HMH Books in exchange for a review.  Although I am super grateful and excited for any opportunity at receiving a book for free, I am also very strict with being honest.  That being said, giveaways/work materials do not impact my reviews.**

I received this ARC from work and boy am I glad I decided to snag this one!  This Raging Light is emotional, raw and so inspiring!  I could not put it down!  If I weren’t getting slammed at work, I would have finished it the first day I picked it up.  Still, it only took me a few days and what a great few days it was.

When I first picked up this book, I really was expecting a dark, depressing ride through a story of 2 girls abandoned by their parents.  After I finished the first chapter, I was put in my place and found that this book was going to have it’s fun moments as well.  Even with the unfortunate circumstances that these girls have dabbled in to so far, I’ve still managed to giggle and relate.  At this point, I was only going in to the book with little curiosity.  After the first chapter ended, I needed to find my way to the end of the story.

I think Estelle Laure does a fantastic job with mapping out the relationships between Lucille and Eden – Lucille and Digby – Lucille and Wren… she made them real.  A real best friend shuts down for unknown reasons at inconvenient times.  A real crush who’s involved in another relationship will give out mixed signals, will be confusing as all hell, will not be what you need them to be WHEN you need them to be.  A real sister-to-sister fighting for survival will do all that they can for each other but will also come with peeves and hardships.  I don’t want to read about the super awesome bff who’s always happy and is always there for you even when there’s a gun to her head or the crush that drops everything the very second the girl hes crushed on finally shows interest.  Save that for the fairy tales.

I will be watching this author for more books in the future (so please write more :] )

If you want a real book full of struggles, break downs, conflicting emotions, good day one minute – bad day the next, if you want a book that focuses on REAL relationships whether is be with family or friends or love interests, get your hands on this book when it comes out on December 22, 2015!

Happy Reading! xo

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling

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Book Description:

The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a Wizarding classic, first came to Muggle readers’ attention in the book known as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Now, thanks to Hermione Granger’s new translation from the ancient runes, we present this stunning edition with an introduction, notes, and illustrations by J. K. Rowling, and extensive commentary by Albus Dumbledore. Never before have Muggles been privy to these richly imaginative tales: “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot,” “The Fountain of Fair Fortune,” “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart,” “Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump,” and of course, “The Tale of the Three Brothers.” But not only are they the equal of fairy tales we now know and love, reading them gives new insight into the world of Harry Potter.

My Rating:  5/5

If you’re a Harry Potter fan and have not read this yet, what are you waiting for?  This book is such a cute play on fairy tales having involved the wizarding world, I believe both fans of Harry Potter and fans of fantasy/magic alike can enjoy this!

My favorite tale in particular would probably have to be “Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump” because it was cleverly done and I was so happy for her at the end of the tale!

Being able to get an educational POV from Dumbledore is like a dream come true!  It made me feel like I was getting a glimpse of what it would be like to sit in on a lecture at Hogwarts, how cool is that?  And when you throw the queen J.K. Rowling in the mix giving her opinions as well, you might as well convince me pigs fly too because I’m getting lost and I’m believing!

Not only was this book wonderful to read, it was beautiful to look at with adorable illustrations inside and out.  Grab this book for the Harry Potter fan in your life or even the fantasy/magic loving friend that could enjoy a good fairy tale or two :]

Happy Reading!  xo

Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz

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Book Description:

At twenty-two, Bibi Blair’s doctors tell her that she’s dying. Two days later, she’s impossibly cured. Fierce, funny, dauntless, she becomes obsessed with the idea that she was spared because she is meant to save someone else. Someone named Ashley Bell. This proves to be a dangerous idea. Searching for Ashley Bell, ricocheting through a southern California landscape that proves strange and malevolent in the extreme, Bibi is plunged into a world of crime and conspiracy, following a trail of mysteries that become more sinister and tangled with every twisting turn.

My Rating:  3.5/5

**I would like to start off by saying that I received Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz for free via Random House Publishing in exchange for a review.  Although I am super grateful and excited for any opportunity at receiving a book for free, I am also very strict with being honest.  That being said, giveaways do not impact my reviews.**

I would like to start this review by pointing out that this is my first Dean Koontz book – ever.  Being a first time reader of his, I was not left disappointed.  This book was fun to read and I love the use of vocabulary.  I was given plenty of new words without it taking away from the story.  I can’t stand when author’s try to get to fancy with their words.  This book starts off with the first 100 or so pages basically reiterating the jacket description.  This is what makes this book so interesting because from there on in, you’re taken for a ride of dark turns and crazy loop-de-loops!

That being said, I’m kind of happy that I can’t quote this book being the copy I have is an ARC, otherwise half of what I’ve read would be quoted already!  There were lots of clever/relatable moments that I think many people will agree with.

This book has short chapters – THANK YOU!!  Sometimes when I read, I get interrupted – a lot.  Sometimes I can’t read as much as I was planning.  This makes for an easy put down and an even easier picker backer upper (? this makes sense in my brain lol) this allows me to always know where I leave off and remember what happened.  I really can’t stand when I’m forced to stop in the middle of the chapter because the chapter is 40+ pages long.  I usually have trouble finding where exactly I left off so I end up rereading several sentences and then once I find my place, it takes me a minute to remember why I’m reading what I’m reading as opposed to starting from the beginning of a new chapter and having it start anew or recap for me.

Not only did I love the chapter break downs, this book was written from multiple POVs jumping from adult Bibi to young Bibi to her husband Paxton…. which was done so well.  It’s by no means confusing.  It’s clear who you’re reading, whose perspective and you remember what happened the last time you read as them.  Very well done as this can get confusing real fast and make for an unenjoyable read.

And not that this is relevant to the story but I enjoy the size of the book.  It felt good holding it and added to my experience overall.

This book comes out tomorrow, 12/8/2015 and I HIGHLY suggest you grab it!  Even if you’ve never read Dean Koontz like myself, get it.  I will definitely be looking in to more of his work after this.

Happy Reading! xo

**FUN FACT:  This picture was purposefully taken next to a Navy Ship (my husband’s in the Navy) – Bibi’s husband Pax is a Navy SEAL so it was only appropriate 🙂

Waking The Dead by L. Sydney Fisher

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Book Description:

In the Spring of 1867, Henry Lynch was tormented by something so evil it killed him. Now over one hundred years later, Natalie Bradford finds herself battling the very same demon that haunted Henry Lynch on the property that she now calls home. Terror awaits as Natalie discovers the property’s tragic past. The 150-year old cabin holds the truth behind the hauntings, and as Natalie uncovers the past she exposes a terrifying family secret that has been guarded for over a century. Natalie struggles against forces greater than herself until she summons the help of Clara Adams, a natural healer and medium who performs a cleansing ritual to clear the land. Natalie has become a conduit for paranormal activity. During a final showdown with the demon, the truth behind the hauntings is revealed. Inspired by true events, Waking the Dead is the second part in the series, The Haunting of Natalie Bradford. Remember, denial can be deadly. What is haunting you?

My Rating:  1/5 (heck, it’s my blog – 0/5)

Before I get to my review, I would like to start off by saying that I received this book for free as a giveaway winner via Goodreads.com (sponsored by the author/publisher/other individual or entity) and by no means does this impact my review.  Although I am super grateful and excited for any opportunity at receiving a book for free, I am also very strict with being honest.  And with that, I thank you!

When I received this book, I was surprised to find out that it was the 2nd book in a series.  Usually I won’t enter giveaways if they don’t include the 1st book nor if I have no intentions of reading it.  I think I see where I got confused, because the book description doesn’t make it sound like a series, so I took a leap of faith and assumed I could read this book without having to read the first one (because although I was interested in reading this, I am not drawn in enough to want to read a book prior to this one unless I have to).  The beginning of the book was a little confusing.  It jumped around a bit from one person’s encounter to another.  When it introduced Anna and Timmy, it didn’t specify their age group.  I think by the 3rd (?) chapter in, they finally mentioned Anna being 9 yrs old and being younger than Timmy (never found out how old Timmy actually was).  I was definitely confused at who was older so for a wee bit, I pictured Anna as being the older one. Either way, WHY DOES TIMMY HAVE A MACHETE?!  I don’t care how tall the grass is, if I had kids, they would not be carrying around machetes!  Also, I feel like this book jumped WAY too fast into random sounds and shadows in the night.  I get they just left Lindenwood but any self respecting ghost/entity story still has a build up moving into a new home.  Assuming Lindenwood was from the first book, why are they all still skeptical about “ghosts” and what not if they have already encountered this sort of thing in the first house?  I’m so confused…… and this was only 30 pages in.  I really don’t like when the story is being told from the children’s POV, that 90% of the time, when they are referencing their mother, they use her name Natalie.  They don’t call their mother Natalie, so it does get confusing.  Also, there’s a lack of time definition.  There’s mention of it being night and day so one can assume a couple days have passed but then a few pages later, it mentioned something about a few weeks time span.  But when did that happen?  I’m not sure how to describe it but one second I’m reading about a few days and then I felt like it time traveled to the future (without my knowledge) and now they’re talking about the weeks past to when they first moved in to this house.  What what?!  Where did the time go??  And why did Natalie freak out when Timmy mentioned playing with the Ouija board?  The “spirit(s)” were there prior to him playing, so why did she act like it was his fault?  This lady doesn’t sound like a very good mother.

I feel like there was no passion or even a thought put in to this book.  I feel like this was written for the sake of saying, “Hey look, I wrote a book!”  There was no story telling.  I was left confused.  It’s a puzzle with missing pieces.  I need more pieces!!  The beginning was confusing (actually the whole book was because of the poor writing), the ending was so dull; boring.  I read this as quickly as possible just to be done with it.  Thank goodness it was only 152 pages (154 since they counted a “Don’t Miss This” page and a picture of the author), which also makes me question why on Goodreads it’s listed as 254.  Either it’s a typo or book 1 was only 100 pages.

All in all, I won’t be picking this book up again or picking up any other part in the series… or anything from this author.  Ever.

**SIDE NOTE:  This was one of the first reviews I ever put up on Goodreads and was immediately attacked by the author.  The problem was resolved, GR had my back and it did end.  I was completely appalled by the lack of professionalism from this “author.”  Not every person is going to read your work and like it.  Harsh or not, I will always be honest and feel that no one should ever have that right taken away from them.  If you can’t take criticism on BOTH good and bad ends, then I suggest not going in to a profession where you put yourself out there for just that.  This happened several months ago so I won’t drag this out, I would just like it to be aware.  I would not recommend this book to ANYONE at this point cause god forbid you dislike any of her work and say you do, you might get called “rude” and a “liar” among some other things.  This book is going to the garbage or I’m turning it in to a craft, but I’m not even sure it’s worthy of that.

Have any of you reviewers been victim of an attack based on a negative review?  I’d love to hear about it!

Happy Reading!  xo