Saturday, May 20, 2017

COYER Summer Reading List Sign-Up

It is almost time for the Summer COYER challenge.  As usual we have three amazing hostesses: Michelle @ Because Reading is Better than Real Life, Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! and Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun.  The official sing-up post is over at the COYER web-site.

I have participated in the COYER challenges since the summer of 2015 and always look forward to it.  I am REALLY excited about this challenge because the rules are almost non-existent.  ANY book on your TBR list will count as long as it was acquired legally.  
The challenge will run from Midnight on June 17th and ends September 8th.  The review link will close on September 9th.

I am going to join the Summer Reading List Challenge and selected the following 30 books to read this summer.  
  1. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
  2. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
  3. United We Spy by Ally Carter - Completed
  4. Onyx by Jennifer Armentrout
  5. Crossed by Ally Condie
  6. Don't Kiss the Messenger by Katie Ray Kacvinsky
  7. High Five by Janet Evanovich 
  8. Cruel and Unusual by Patricia Cornwell - Completed
  9. Mrs. de Winter by Susan Hill
  10. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher - Completed
  11. The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee - Currently Reading
  12. The 6th Target  by James Patterson - Completed
  13. Elegy by Tara Hudson - Completed
  14. Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols
  15. The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
  16. Bitter Pill by Stacey Kade - Completed
  17. Ensnared by A.G. Howard - Completed
  18. Between the Lines by Tammara Webber
  19. The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
  20. Once and for All by Sarah Dessen
  21. Invaded by Melissa Landers
  22. The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines
  23. Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
  24. Never Never by Colleen Hoover
  25. See How They Run by Ally Carter
  26. Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella
  27. Until the Beginning by Amy Plum - Completed
  28. Heartless by Marissa Meyer
  29. One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank - Currently Reading
  30. Bad Blood by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Additional 5 books added after completing 5 books:
  1. When Zachary Beaver Came to Town - Completed

This was a bit of a challenge in and of itself because I'm never quite sure what I'm going to read next.  The hostesses; however, were kind enough to create a loophole.  For every five books completed you can add an additional five books to your list.  This will allow you to add an ARC that arrived unexpectedly or that amazing find in the little free library that you simply can't wait until fall to read.  

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Review: The Death Cure by James Dashner

The Death Cure (Maze Runner, #3)

The Death Cure is the third book in the Maze Runner series.  In this installment WICKED continues its research to find a cure for the Flare virus, which is threatening to eliminate the human race.  They have been studying the brain patterns of the immune population, but their tactics are becoming more and more desperate.  Thomas and his friends escape from WICKED and join the resistance, but they soon discover their end goals aren't in sync.  They ultimately decide to work with them because they feel their is safety in numbers with the hopes of converting them to their line of thinking.

Overall, I thought The Maze Runner had a great premise with the "gladers" trying to escape from the maze.  It was very original and I enjoyed the characters with their unique language and quirks.  I gave the first book 4 stars and jumped right into The Scorch trials.  I was a bit disappointed with book two and gave it 3 stars.  In keeping with this trend, The Death Cure fell even shorter from the mark and I ultimately decided to give it 2 stars.

 It felt like the author was grasping at straws to continue the series and wasn't really sure how he wanted it to conclude.  Should everything be doom and gloom to keep with the majority of the series or should there be a happily ever after?  I think he tried to give readers a combination of the two, but it came across as awkward.  I also didn't feel like there was a lot of new content to keep the story going.  We kept rehashing the same things and fighting the same people with very little progression to the story.

I realize my opinion is not part of the majority.  This was a very popular series that received a lot of hype in YA circles and was even converted into a movie series.  I wouldn't discourage someone from reading it if it is on their TBR list, but I certainly wouldn't recommend it to others.  

Friday, May 12, 2017

Review: Unhinged by A.G. Howard

Unhinged (Splintered, #2)

Unhinged is the second book in the Splintered series, which is based upon Alice in Wonderland.  Alyssa is the descendent of Alice and is half human / half netherling.  She must decide if she will embrace her magic and help save Wonderland or if she will remain in the mortal world with her human boyfriend Jeb. 

When Wonderland starts to invade the human realm it is no longer an option.   Alyssa must fight to defeat Red or she will lose everyone she loves.  She also discovers that her feelings for Morpheus aren't as black and white as she thought.  Morpheus is her childhood friend from Wonderland, who has been teaching and preparing her for this moment her entire life.  She always thought his intentions were self-centered, but the more she learns about their past the more she realizes he has always protected her and had her best interest in mind.

Personally, I am on team Morpheus.  Alyssa can't live in the human world without being perceived as crazy or "unhinged".  If she were to choose to live in Wonderland she would be Queen and all would be right in that world once again.  Besides, I love Morpheus's cocky attitude and who doesn't love a British accent?

This was an excellent sequel to Splintered and I can't wait to see how this series will conclude.  Ms. Howard left most of the characters hanging in the balance at the end of this installment, which will certainly encourage readers to jump right into the final book in this series.  I gave Unhinged 4 stars and will definitely include Ensnared on my Summer TBR list.

I had the chance to meet A.G. Howard at BEA in 2014 and picked up an autographed copy of Unhinged.  I absolutely love the cover of this book and will keep the signed copy even though I have now completed it.  I typically tear out the autographed page from free books I receive at conferences to add to my collection and place the books in my local little free library.  I feel it is better to share the books with other readers than to hoard them on my shelves collecting dust, but I don't think I am going to be able to part with this one.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Review: Lust for Life by Jeri Smith-Ready

Lust for Life (WVMP Radio, #4)

Lust for Life is the fourth book in the WVMP Radio series, which is about a group of vampires working as DJ's at a local radio station.  I gave the first three books in this series 5 stars and eagerly picked up an autographed copy of this "recently released" final book in the series.

Well...The release date was November 2012 and I purchased my copy at the 2013 RT Convention in Chicago.  I can't believe it took me 4 years to finally read this book, but I'm certainly glad that I did.  All of my favorite characters were back for another action packed adventure.

Shane and Ciara are busy planning their wedding and their best friends/co-workers are expecting their first child.  Just when you think everyone is going to receive my version of a happily ever after, one of Shane's ex-donors calls to tell him that Jim (another vampire DJ who is being held at a Control facility after attacking Ciara in the previous book) changed her into a vampire shortly before his incident with Ciara..  Shane and the other WVMP staff take her under their wings, but that is just the beginning of their problems.  Jim escapes from the Control facility and the story takes off from there.  

I have read a lot of fiction over the years and can easily comprehend the rules of vampires.  They can't go out into the sunlight, they live forever, they have compulsions, etc.  Overall, I loved all of the characters and their stories throughout this series; however, I could not grasp the unusual turn of events that took place the last several chapters of this book.  Taking liberties with "the rules" is one thing, but this was unbelievable in my opinion.  You can rationalize why things happened all you want, but the ending of this book was a bit too unrealistic for me.  It really felt like Jeri jumped through hoops to provide the characters with her version of a perfect ending.  

Perhaps my expectations were a little high, but I ended up giving this book 3.5 stars.  It is still a very entertaining read, but I just can't get past the fact that it took the word fiction to a whole new level.