Friday, April 26, 2019

Review: Never Never Part 3 by Colleen Hoover

Never Never is a three part novella series that is a continuation of the same story throughout.  In the first book, we discovered that Charlie and Silas keep losing their memories at exactly the same time every 48 hours.  They start reading their old journals and letters to each other and begin taking meticulous notes to use as a reference point every time the clock resets. In this final installment, we discover who is responsible for their memory loss and what is needed to stop the cycle. 

While this was a very challenging situation for them, it allowed them to see their lives and personalities from a different perspective.  They had allowed a number of external factors to influence not only their friendship and relationship with each other, but ultimately their personalities. They turned into people they weren't exactly proud of.  There is nothing they can do to change the past, but they have complete control of the present and their futures.  

Overall, I thought this story had an excellent message.  How it was presented was a bit far fetched and unrealistic, but it was still an entertaining read. It wasn't my favorite Colleen Hoover book... READ SLAMMED if you haven't already....but I have yet to come across one of her books I haven't enjoyed.

I am using this book as part to my Year Of Epic Reads Challenge.  March 22nd's challenge was to complete a series.  I have also completed the Lunar Chronicles series this year and I'm working on a few others.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Review: The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

I just stumbled across the Year of Epic Reads Challenge that began at the beginning of the year.  There is a quarterly, monthly, or weekly challenge depending upon your reading ambitions.  I started mid April, so I have no realistic chance of completing all of the challenges, but I am going to try to complete as many as I can.

Week 5's challenge was to read a book by two authors.  The point of this exercise for me is to decrease my TBR list vs. increasing it by searching out books that qualify, so it was Christmas in April.

The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily really is a sequel to Dash & Lily's Book of Dares, which I absolutely loved.  You really should read that book prior to this one to fully appreciate this story.  

Christmas is rolling around again and Dash and Lily's one year anniversary is quickly approaching.  Even though this is usually Lily's favorite time of year, it has been a very hard year for her.  Her beloved grandfather has had health problems that are putting a physical and emotional strain on the entire family.  With all of the added responsibility of caring for her grandfather, Lily just can't find her Christmas spirit.  

Dash has never really been good friends with Lily's older brother Langston, but they join forces to help Lily overcome her Christmas blues.  There is another set of fun filled scavenger hunts reminiscent of the original Dash & Lily story, but the overall tone of this installment is much different.  They have settled into their relationship and are adjusting to numerous changes life is throwing their way.  They have a large and supportive group of family and friends that were instrumental in helping them along the way, but Dash's father certainly wasn't one of them. 

This wasn't the light and fluffy Christmas story I was expecting, but I really enjoyed it.  There was a great mix of characters and a number of hilarious situations that offset some of the more serious tones.  I am glad Rachel and David continued Dash & Lily's story and was pleased with how things turned out in the end.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Review: King and Maxwell by David Baldacci

Goodreads Overview:

It seems at first like a simple, tragic story. Tyler Wingo, a teenage boy, learns the awful news that his father, a soldier, was killed in action in Afghanistan. Then the extraordinary happens: Tyler receives a communication from his father . . . after his supposed death.

Tyler hires Sean and Michelle to solve the mystery surrounding his father. But their investigation quickly leads to deeper, more troubling questions. Could Tyler's father really still be alive? What was his true mission? Could Tyler be the next target?

Sean and Michelle soon realize that they've stumbled on to something bigger and more treacherous than anyone could have imagined. And as their hunt for the truth leads them relentlessly to the highest levels of power and to uncovering the most clandestine of secrets, Sean and Michelle are determined to help and protect Tyler--though they may pay for it with their lives.


Sean and Michelle are planning a relaxing vacation away from the office when they come across a teenage boy running in the rain carrying a gun.  He seems frightened, so Michelle insists Sean follows him.  Michelle chases him down, but he is reluctant to share his story with them.  They discover the Army was at his house and had notified him and his step-mother that his father had been killed in the line of duty.  Tyler was distraught and simply couldn't believe this was the truth.  Michelle gave him their card in case he needed anything, but they figured that was pretty much the end of things until Tyler contacted them shortly thereafter.  He received a message from his father after he was supposedly dead.  Now the Army is backtracking and has all sorts of excuses as to why they can't return the body.

As Sean and Michelle dig deeper into this case their lives are increasingly more endangered. The Army and Pentagon have shut down all communications involving Sam Wingo and are clearly involved somehow.  When the President becomes the next target via leaks in the press, he reaches out to Sean and Michelle and offers his support in their investigation.  They are making far more progress than the FBI, Homeland Security or any other government agency and may be his last chance at saving his political reputation and preventing an impeachment.  Little did he know, his relationship with King and Maxwell would ultimately save his life.

This was another action packed adventure involving a slew of characters from all aspects of the government.  I love all of the secret service elements and sincerely hope Baldacci is planning on releasing additional books in this series.  It certainly seems like he left things open for the possibility of another book and even had a lead in for a new employee in their firm.  If you enjoy mysteries and thrillers, this is a great series that I would definitely recommend.

I'm participating in the Year of Epic Reads Challenge. This book qualified for the read a "Book with a Heist" challenge.

Week 9 - Feb 25 King and Maxwell.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Goodreads Overview:

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mark her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won't approve of her feelings for her childhood friend--the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn't as weak as Levana believes her to be and she's been undermining her stepmother's wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that's been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters? 


This was a very long book...827 pages, but it didn't feel anywhere near as long as it actually was. With each installment in this series a new major character was introduced and an additional story line was woven into the original tale.  Cinder and her crew must now defeat Levana once and for all to save Earth and Luna.  As if that isn't enough, time is running out for Emperor Kai. If they don't act quickly, he will have to marry Levana and make her Empress of the Commonwealth as part of their peace negotiations.

Each of the books was based upon a different fairy tale.  You probably guessed from the apple on the cover that Winter's tale is based upon Sleeping Beauty.  Winter is a Lunar princess (Queen Levana's step-daughter) who has refused to use her gift for so long she has "lunar sickness", which makes her see and hear things that aren't really there.  People think she is crazy, but she is very compassionate and loved by everyone, unlike her step-mother.  Prince Charming, AKA her guard Jacin, was actually an instrumental character in Cress.  He has secretly been aiding Cinder and her team in the hopes of being able to help Winter overcome her lunar sickness.

There were some epic battles throughout the book and very few were left unscathed. I was happy with how everything turned out for all of the characters, but it felt like each of their fates were wrapped up far too quickly.  I'm not sure if Meyer is planning a companion novel or a short story to expand upon their futures, but it would be nice to know how things worked out for everyone beyond the conclusion of Winter.  I guess fairy tales often do end with a simple, "And they all lived happily ever after", but that felt a bit abrupt after 4 lengthy novels.  

Overall, this was a very entertaining and clever series that I would definitely recommend.  It never ceased to amaze me how Meyer was able to incorporate so many elements from each of the classic fairy tales into a modern day story that should appeal to readers of all ages. 

I'm participating in the Year of Epic Reads Challenge.  This book qualified for the "Fairy Tale Retellings Challenge."

Week 7 - Feb 11 - Winter by Marissa Meyer

Monday, April 15, 2019

Review: Never Never Part 2 by Colleen Hoover

This is actually a continuation of the same story that began in Never Never Part 1.  In the previous book we learned that Silas and Charlie have been losing their memories every 48 hours. They have no idea why this is happening or how to stop the cycle.  They have been gathering information about themselves and keeping meticulous notes to use as a starting point each time the clock resets. 

At the end of Part 1, Charlie leaves in a taxi and Silas heads home on his own. We pick up pretty much where we left off and discover Charlie never returned home.  When Silas wakes up, the first note that he sees is that Charlie left in a taxi and he needs to find her.  She doesn't have any notes with her and will not have a clue who or where she is. 

The story alternates between the two, so we can follow both of their struggles.  Silas gathers quite a bit of additional information and may be getting closer to the source of their problem.  Charlie on the other hand, was basically left struggling to survive the better part of this installment.  The two ultimately reunite, but are nearing the end of their 48 hours again.  Silas finally tells his brother what has been happening, so they will have some additional support in the final part of this story.  

These are very fast and highly entertaining stories with a great mix of characters. I don't think Silas or Charlie were the nicest people in their previous lives, but they have come a long way while dealing with their struggles.  They have been best friends since a very young age and were the perfect couple until their fathers' business problems tore them apart. The families now hate each other and the two were continuing a Romeo and Juliet type of forbidden romance until the pressure ultimately became too much. They were spiraling out of control until the day they both lost their memories.  By working together and getting to the bottom of their personal and family issues, they may finally be able to achieve their happily ever after.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Review: The Reckoning of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin

Goodreads Overview: 

Noah Shaw confesses all in this second novel of a chilling new companion series to Michelle Hodkin’s New York Timesbestselling Mara Dyer trilogy!

Noah Shaw doesn’t think he needs his father’s inheritance.
He does.

Noah believes there’s something off about the suicides in his visions.
There is.

Noah is convinced that he still knows the real Mara Dyer.
He does not. 

Everyone thought the nightmare had ended with Mara Dyer’s memoirs, but it was only the beginning. As old skeletons are laid bare, alliances will be tested, hearts will be broken, and no one will be left unscarred.


As I have said before, you really need to read the Mara Dyer series before beginning the Shaw Confessions series.  Readers would be at a complete loss without the knowledge gained in the Mara Dyer books.

In this installment, Noah and his friend Goose are being led on a quest by Mara's grandmother across England.  Mara is not in this book, with the exception of a very brief appearance at the very end, which is a lead in to the next book.

We aren't sure what the grandmother's motives are exactly or who's side everyone is really on, but the ultimate goal is apparently to save Mara.  How Noah is supposed to do that is not exactly clear. Noah has to dig deep into his family history to find the clues he needs.  There are some flashbacks to some of Noah's ancestor's memories, which Noah seems to witness as if they were his own memories.  This is explained because the apparent memories are passed down from generation to generation along with the gift. 

This book was a bit different for me.  Noah Shaw is one of my all time favorite characters, but he is not the same person he was in the Mara Dyer series or the first book in the Shaw Confessions. Without his gift, he can feel the effects of his vices and seemed to be drunk the better part of this novel. Gone was the confident, witty, and charming boy I loved. We can see the struggles he is going through to save the girl he loves, but it is clearly at his own detriment.  Hopefully the old Noah will return in the next book in this series or I'm not sure it will be worth reading.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Review: One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

Goodreads Overview:

The battle for the crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, the elemental sister once thought to be the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must confront the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.


One Dark Throne is the second book in the Three Dark Crowns series.  We have a Hunger Games type of situation in which the triplets must fight to the death throughout their Ascension Year. The last person standing will take the throne. With the exception of Katharine, the other two would be happy sailing off into the sunset and forgetting about their destiny, but that certainly is not in the cards.  The Priestesses, Council, and even the Island itself will not allow that to happen.

Katharine is the one sister I think everyone is supposed to hate, but I really felt sorry for her in the first book.  We  begin to realize why Mirabella was such a dominant queen and the other two were essentially without any gift at all. As they start to come into their own, the tides shift and it is anyone's contest.  Every time I thought someone had finally been eliminated, there was a major twist that I never saw coming.  I really am torn between them and hope they can find another solution to their predicament. 

The reason I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars is because of the pace. It felt like it was dragging along until the last 25% or so. Hopefully the story will progress a bit more quickly in the next installment, Two Dark Reigns.