31 Jul 2019

#Review: RECKLESS by Lex Martin

31 July 2 Comments

RECKLESS

Author: Lex Martin
Series: N/A
Source: Audible
Publisher: Audible Studios
Publication Date: February 20, 2018
Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:


Summary:
Reckless features Tori and Ethan and is a standalone companion to the USA Today bestseller Shameless.

Tori
For the record, I’m not going to hook up with my boss.

I'm a lot of things—a screwup, a basket case, a flunky. But when I take a nanny job to be near my pregnant sister, I swear to myself I’ll walk the straight and narrow, which means I cannot fall for my insanely hot boss.

I don't want to be tempted by that rugged rancher. By his chiseled muscles or southern charm or the way he snuggles his kids at bedtime. Ethan Carter won't get the key to my heart, no matter how much I want him. 

Ethan
Between us, she's the last thing I need as I finalize my hellish divorce. 

What sane man trying to rebuild his life wants a hot nanny with long, sexy hair, curves for miles, and a smart mouth? A perfectly kissable, pouty mouth that I shouldn't notice.

My focus is on my kids and my ranch, not the insufferable siren who sleeps in the room next to mine. It doesn't matter that she wins over my kids in a heartbeat or runs my life better than I do. Tori Duran is the one woman I can't have and shouldn't want, no matter how much I crave her. 
Purchase:
Amazon | Chapters | TBD
I am in the minority with this one because it was kind of meh for me. I thought the romance didn't quite work for what the author was going for and the set up was disappointing. Romance in general isn't my favourite genre (although I'm trying to read more of it this year) but I was hoping for a bit more from this one since so many people said it was amazing.

This book had a lot of tropes, which generally is fine! But I felt like it didn't do anything with them. It just made it feel pretty boring and as though I had already read this one. There was nothing extremely special about this one or anything that I can pinpoint about it - and I read it only a couple days ago. It didn't feel like I needed to pay attention or really care about it because it was just like every other book.

The characters were really shallow and didn't have too much development over the course of the novel. Both main characters swore off of relationships and romance, but then as soon as they saw each other, they were back into relationship mode. And I understand that there can be instalust and instalove, but it didn't feel genuine. It felt like the author wanted to get to the sex scenes (which were A++++) rather than build up a genuine romance.

I gave this two stars because of the sex scenes but there are so many other, better romance novels that you can read instead of this one. Definitely not the book for me and I don't recommend it.

Have you read this one? What was your favourite part?

29 Jul 2019

#Review: SCYTHE by Neal Shusterman

29 July 1 Comments

SCYTHE

Author: Neal Shusterman
Series: Arc of a Scythe #1
Source: Audible
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: November 22, 2016
Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:


Summary:
Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.
Purchase:
Amazon | Chapters | TBD
Mortals fantasied that love was eternal and its loss unimaginable. Now we know neither is true. Love remained mortal, while we became eternal.
This was good and really interesting - I thought the world was cool and I want to see where it evolves to - but I also was kinda bored during some of it. I thought the dual perspective didn't work until they were separated and that there could have been more in general that was discussed. But I am looking forward to seeing where the next book goes!

I didn't really know much about this going into it beyond the fact that Joey from Thoughts and Afterthoughts loved it. And he doesn't love anything. So when it was on sale during the Audible Canada Day sale, I picked it up. And I was genuinely surprised.

I liked that this makes you think about death, life, and everything in between. I like the idea of existence beyond living and the role that plays in how we interact with one another. I also liked the way that murder was discussed in this and how people were reaped. Also, math was a part of this and I didn't hate it????

I had some issues with it, especially around the training received by the characters and how this one ended. I thought that for the beginning of the series, there was just too much of a conclusion to this one. So I am excited to see where this goes, but I am a little disappointed in how it ended.

Overall, if you haven't heard of this, like dystopian novels, and want something new, this is the book for you. Watch for me to read the sequel, THUNDERHEAD!

Have you read this one? What was your favourite part?

27 Jul 2019

Stacking the Shelves (20): July 27, 2019

27 July 3 Comments
Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course ebooks!
I have been ahead and behind in life recently but I hope that things are still working for you folks. I have a lot going on in my work life but my personal life is going really well.

How has everyone's 2019 been going so far?

26 Jul 2019

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fridays: THE SOUTHERN REACH TRILOGY by Jeff VanderMeer

26 July 1 Comments

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fridays

introduces readers who are unfamiliar with the Adult SF/F genre to books, authors, and discussions all about the vast expanse of the world of Adult SF/F!

AREA X: THE SOUTHERN REACH TRILOGY

Author: Jeff VanderMeer
Series: Southern Reach #1-3
Source: Borrowed from my boyfriend
Publisher: FSG Originals
Publication Date: November 18, 2014


Summary:
Annihilation is the first volume in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, Authority is the second, and Acceptance is the third.

Area X—a remote and lush terrain—has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.

This is the twelfth expedition.

Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.

They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything.

After the disastrous twelfth expedition chronicled in Annihilation, the Southern Reach—the secret agency that monitors these expeditions—is in disarray. In Authority, John Rodriguez, aka “Control,” is the team’s newly appointed head. From a series of interrogations, a cache of hidden notes and hours of profoundly troubling video footage, the secrets of Area X begin to reveal themselves—and what they expose pushes Control to confront disturbing truths about both himself and the agency he’s promised to serve. And the consequences will spread much further than that.

It is winter in Area X in Acceptance. A new team embarks across the border on a mission to find a member of a previous expedition who may have been left behind. As they press deeper into the unknown—navigating new terrain and new challenges—the threat to the outside world becomes more daunting. The mysteries of Area X may have been solved, but their consequences and implications are no less profound—or terrifying.
Purchase:
Amazon | Chapters | TBD

Ratings

Annihilation: 3*
Authority: 2*
Acceptance: 2.5*
Overall: 2.5*


Annihilation

This one started pretty slow but once I switched to the audiobook, it flew by! I really enjoyed it and learning more (and less at the same time) about Area X. I can't wait to continue the Southern Reach trilogy and see if my questions ever get answered. I will say though that a lot of my issues with this one revolved around pacing and the fact that you can 100% tell this is a man writing a woman. But otherwise, really interesting!

I liked that the focus was solely on the mystery around Area X and what it was, did, etc. It was definitely too short and it didn't seem like VanderMeer was able to deliver on all the promises he made in the first bit because this was like half the length of the other two. But I enjoyed it and had a lot of questions that I wanted answered.



Authority

But then we got to book two, which was so much better written both because you could tell he found his groove in writing actual
characters and not "mysterious area as a character" and because it was a dude. And like, that's fine, sometimes that is just how it is for authors.

I feel like the first book makes more sense now because of this one, which is never really a good sign. It is much better written because the author has no idea how to write women and this was from the perspective of a man; however, I feel like this should have still had more depth and complexities to the characters than what we were given. It's almost as though the author couldn't decide between a plot driven or character driven novel and we got a bit of both, but not enough of either.

But it felt like a bunch of nothing up until the very end and that was such a whiplash ending that I wasn't really sure what happened. I actually had to go back in the audiobook a few times to make sure I was fully grasping what was happening. But I hoped that there was going to be more information about Area X and how it fit into the grand scheme of things and that... didn't really happen. There were some answers to things that I had questioned before, but a lot more questions too. Which is fine because trilogy. But the ending left me like "meh, I am going to finish this because I can not because I want to." I also thought that some of this book would have been better as the first book because it would have given some context to the rest of the story and given me something to hold onto while we were following the biologist through Area X but I am fine with the story choice overall.


Acceptance

Then book three happened. And like, it may have partly because I did the audiobook, but I had such a hard time connecting to the characters this time. I didn't care about any of them and it seemed like it was a rush to end the book rather than write a satisfying story. Also, I have a hard time with second person chapters because we knew who the character was since we had seen her before and had gotten more information, so it didn't make me feel included in the story but like I was the Director but dissociating, which is never what you really want out of second person writing. I also was meh about the ending overall but I usually am like that with these "mysterious land as the monster" books because you never really get what you want out of them.


Overall

I think I liked the concept of the books more than the actual books themselves, which is why I'm curious about the movie because I think that will provide a better medium for what the story is. But like I enjoyed it but didn't? It is a weird line I'm walking right now where I enjoyed reading and thought the production of them was really good, and like they were Technically Good and Well Written, but I didn't feel that same level of connection and eagerness to know more that I like to have when I finish a trilogy like that.


Jeff VanderMeer recently served as the 2016-2017 Trias Writer-in-Residence for Hobart-William Smith College. His latest novel is Borne, out from MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, which Colson Whitehead called “a thorough marvel.” He is also known for his critically acclaimed NYT-bestselling Southern Reach trilogy from FSG, which won the Shirley Jackson Award and Nebula Award. The trilogy also prompted the New Yorker to call the author “the weird Thoreau” and has been acquired by publishers in 35 other countries, with Paramount Pictures releasing a movie in 2018. VanderMeer’s nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, the Atlantic.com, Vulture, Esquire.com, and the Los Angeles Times. He has taught at the Yale Writers’ Conference, lectured at MIT, Brown, and the Library of Congress, and serves as the co-director of Shared Worlds, a unique teen writing camp. 

Connect with the Author:

What are some of your favourite Adult SFF books?

24 Jul 2019

#Discussion: The Last 10 Songs I "Liked" On Spotify

24 July 1 Comments

The Last 10 Songs I "Liked" On Spotify

I spend a lot of time at work switching between audiobooks and playlists on Spotify. I've recently become more and more interested in listening to my Discover Weekly and Release Radar, which has expanded my listening to new things. Below are The Last 10 Songs I "Liked" On Spotify and my favourite lyric from each!
01. Above Ground - Texas Drew Remix by CREME
Everything's going to work itself out

02. where do you go by flor
Will you show me what it is that makes you so extraordinarily beautiful?

03. Playing Back the Days by Boston the Girl

04. Let Me Down Slowly by Alec Benjamin feat. Alessia Cara
If you wanna go then I'll be so lonely/If you're leaving baby, let me down slowly

05. Flames by Lauren Cimorelli
I'm like quiet from small town/He's like honest with a big mouth/Watch him try to figure me out/I can't even think straight

06. january by Vardaan Arora
Don't wanna jinx it, but so far/You're exactly what I need

07. Out of My Hands by SHY Martin
You still fill it with noise when you're not around

08. Unholy by Miley Cyrus
I'm only trying to get some peace/So let me do me

09. Holding Hands by Quinn XCII feat. Elohim
Cause we don't talk about what we know/Holding on to our egos

10. A Thousand Ways by Phoebe Ryan
It's stupid to think someone will care for you always/Be there for you all the time/Cause one day, you'll blink/And that's when you learn it the hard way

What songs are on your playlists?

20 Jul 2019

Stacking the Shelves (19): July 20, 2019

20 July 2 Comments
Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course ebooks!
I am very proud of myself for getting a lot of blogging and reading done lately. I hope I can keep it up once things start to get hectic in the Fall again. I am really enjoying the whole audiobook scene and I feel like things are finally lining up for me. So here's to hoping it stays this way!

How has everyone's 2019 been going so far?

19 Jul 2019

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fridays: VOX by Christina Dalcher // #Review

19 July 1 Comments

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fridays

introduces readers who are unfamiliar with the Adult SF/F genre to books, authors, and discussions all about the vast expanse of the world of Adult SF/F!

VOX

Author: Christina Dalcher
Series: N/A
Source: Audible
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: August 21, 2018


Summary:
Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed to speak more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial—this can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning.

Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.

But this is not the end.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.
Purchase:
Amazon | Chapters | TBD
I think I would have liked this book more if it had been in the perspective of Sharon. Jean was The Worst™ and I did not care if she could live or die. I think one of my first thoughts was "if she can only speak 100 words a day, then why do I have to listen to this forever."

I am so over people who believe that because they didn't vote for a "bad candidate" that they are Absolved Of Their Sins™. That's bullshit. If you aren't expressing your democratic rights, then you are Not Absolved Of Sins™ when bad shit happens. You are part of the problem. And Jean and her brand of white feminism was definitely part of the problem.

But the premise? The how they got there? Completely enthralling. I loved the dystopian aspects of it but not so much the characters we had to follow. So this was a meh book for me.


Christina Dalcher earned her doctorate in theoretical linguistics from Georgetown University. She specializes in the phonetics of sound change in Italian and British dialects and has taught at universities in the United States, England, and the United Arab Emirates.

Her short stories and flash fiction appear in over one hundred journals worldwide. Recognitions include the Bath Flash Award’s Short List; nominations for The Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best Small Fictions; and multiple other awards. She teaches flash fiction as a member of the faculty at The Muse Writers Center in Norfolk, Virginia. Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary Agency represents Dalcher’s novels.

After spending several years abroad, most recently in Sri Lanka, Dalcher and her husband now split their time between the American South and Naples, Italy.

Her debut novel, VOX, will be published in August 2018 by Berkley (an imprint of Penguin Random House).

Connect with the Author:

What are some of your favourite Adult SFF books?