Friday, January 13, 2017

Top Five Reading Goals of 2017



Should I have posted this like two weeks ago, like on New Year's Eve? Yup. While I promised myself that I was going to make this blog stellar in 2017, I also have this three foot tall tiny two year old carbon copy of me running around my house (aka my daughter) and hey, life happens. But I got goals y'all! Here are the top five things I'd like to do with reading this year! What are yours? Comment below!

1) Read 52 books in 2017. That's a book a week! 

2) Read at least 3 Non-Fiction or Biography titles.

3) Read at least 4 Science Fiction/Fantasy titles (this is part of me really pushing myself out of my YA Romance, New Adult, & Historical Fiction comfort zone).

4) Listen to at least 1 audio book. Again, this is a comfort zone thing. I'm old school guys. I love the feel of a book, you know? 

5) Read at least 1 book that isn't Young Adult or New Adult. I am a young adult librarian, and I also curate our new adult collection (note: if you beg your director to add a special collection, be prepared to take it over!) and I stay on top of things in those genres, but I know there are some great adult and children's novels that I'm missing!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Compulsion (Heirs of Watson Island 1)

Author: Martina Boone
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 433
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Southern Gothic

Summary

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lived with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt's South Carolina plantation instead--a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions. 

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn't what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead. --Goodreads

The Rundown

I made a promise to myself that in 2017 I was going to start branching out more in the books I read and review, especially in YA. If there is a YA romance that's getting a lot of buzz or an underdog that needs a shout out, you know I'll read it! Science fiction and fantasy definitely get pushed lower on my TBR list, but the times they are a changin. Or at least I'm trying! While this one may be a small step outside of my reading usual comfort zone, I do love a good ghost story. Who doesn't?

I absolutely loved the idea that formed this story. Three families who have lived in the same plantation homes on the same island for generations dating back to the 1600s. When one family was cursed and the other two given magical gifts, a feud older than the Hatfields and McCoys began. Years of love, lies, murder, theft, and secrets spread through each family, each generation, sealing the bond between the Beauforts and Watsons, while making the Colesworths hate both families even more. Add in the secluded setting of a South Carolina coastal island, and you've got the perfect build up to all things magical, mysterious, and romantic.

Based on that alone, this book would have been a 4 to a 5 for me, but I really struggled with the characters. Barrie felt very immature to me, but I had a little forgiveness there given how she'd grown up with such a strict, reclusive mother. Eight came across as condescending in several of the conversations he had with Barrie. A lot of their flirting made me cringe. A good chunk of their dialogue was Eight telling Barrie that she was cute when she was clueless (gross) and Barrie "playfully hitting" Eight. I don't care if it's the boy or the girl doing it, hitting is abuse, not flirting. Probably the best dialogue and scenes came from Barrie's cousin, Cassie Colesworth, who was not quite a bad guy, but definitely not good either. 

The romance between Barrie and Eight felt like a background add in instead of a featured part of the story because it came out of nowhere. It was like two middle schoolers with the awkward teasing and randomly kissing, not an eighteen and seventeen year old. There was no build up!

The book itself started strong, but I had to really, and I mean really, power through in the middle. It felt like everything happened in the last one hundred pages. To be fair, it had less to do with the story and more with the characters. I am so over what I call the "Bella Swan complex" in YA heroines. You know, the "oh I'm not sure if I'm pretty even though the cutest boy in school likes me and life would be so much easier if only I weren't so clumsy." Stop it. Don't be afraid to write a kickass heroine. At least in the final show down, Barrie was her own (finally!) her own hero. 

I'm not sure if I'll continue on with this series. What do you do when the whole premise of a story is so so cool, but the characters make it lose its fizzle? Sigh. We'll see. It could be just me.

Rating: 3 Stars. If you liked Beautiful Creatures and don't mind a bit a longer read, you'll probably really enjoy this. If you like paranormal stories with murder and romance and a touch of historical fiction, pick up The Diviners by Libba Bray. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Assignment (Lessons in Control 1)

Author: Jade A. Waters
Release Date: December 12, 2016
Publisher: Carina Press
Pages: 241
Genre: Adult Fiction, Erotica, Romance

*I received this book as a NetGalley ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own. Thanks NetGalley!*

Summary

What would you do if someone offered to fulfill your wildest fantasies?

Seductive.

Charming.
Dominant. 

Dean Sova is everything Maya Clery craves. From the first touch, their connection is intense. After leaving her troubled past behind, Maya thought she was happy--she is happy--but meeting Dean forces her to acknowledge dark needs she longs to explore yet has never had the courage to face.

Her perfect match, Dean encourages Maya to set loose the submissive urges inside her in a series of assignments intended to open her mind and test the limits of pleasure...but Maya isn't sure she can fully let go of her inhibitions.

What would you do if someone offered to fulfill your wildest fantasies?

The answer seems obvious. You take the offer and hope the price isn't too high. --Goodreads

The Rundown

Hmmm...this felt like what happens when two people with extreme issues have sex. It didn't make me uncomfortable exactly, but pretty much everything about Dean and Maya's relationship felt off from the very beginning.

They meet through mutual friends at a cookout and are instantly attracted to each to each other. Okay. I'll bite. That happens a lot. They could have gone off on their sexy time adventures and figuring themselves and each other out for the rest of the book and it would have been alright. 

Alas, that's not what happened. It all felt less sexy and more awkward/borderline uncomfortable when Dean starts cranking out these sexual assignments for Maya right off the bat. Like before they've even kissed. I get that this is a BDSM novel, but so much with this story felt off to me. I never understood why Maya's best friend was always trying to steer Maya away from Dean when aside from being pretty kinky, he was a pretty sweet and romantic guy. Then there's this mysterious mentor of Dean's, Niko, that it felt like he was mentioned enough that there should have been more to, but I guess not? 

I think this would have been a better story if the author had developed more into Maya's recovery from an abusive boyfriend and how that played into her sexuality in a more healthy manor. Even their romance and declaration of love for each other at the end came out of nowhere with not much explanation for why they fell. Other than a few steamy scenes, this book is just a lot of loose ends that never got tied up. Pun intended.

Rating: 2 stars. Meh. Skip it. 





Roar (Stormheart 1)

Author: Cora Carmack Release Date: June 13, 2017 Publisher: Tor Teen Pages: 352 Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy *I received this bo...