Isabelle Joshua

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Review: Forever Checking

Forever Checking Forever Checking by Jennifer Jamelli
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One Two Three and she did it; I love this series! I love this final book. The music was exceptional again. The character growth and development of the relationship with Callie and Aiden was satisfying. I am so glad to have found this series and experience even through Callie a small bit of what life is like for someone with OCD. It was eye opening, frustrating, and interesting at the same time. I was with her through the heartbreak and success she experienced. It was a great conclusion and I reread the whole series and this book, because I just loved catching all the little things I may have missed the first time in their relationship. Great story and great writing!

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Review: Checked Again

Checked Again Checked Again by Jennifer Jamelli
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Again, she did it again. I love this book. I love Callie, and although Dr. Aiden Blake doesn't show up for a while, I still loved it. Jennifer Jamelli does a fabulous job of building anticipation and tension and passion between her characters. And if I forget to say in the first book, it is funny. She is so funny at times, and I enjoyed this book as it leads me through Callie's journey. Now don't expect that her journey in the 2nd book is going to get better as far as OCD or much of anything. She's in the trenches for sure, but she does have success and rekindling of some love interest that we all want even if the Dr/Patient thing is a no-no in real life, who cares it's fiction.

The dialog, writing, characters are very relatable and authentic. Enjoyed this book immediately after finishing the first and then rushed to buy the 3rd book and find out what else would be happening with Callie. For those that hated the ending to the last book, will like this one much more.

Oh and I forgot to mention how much I loved the music and I found some songs that I never knew and now love and some that I already loved. My only irritation was that Callie would freeze up and not say a thing for a long time, so there were many pages where she didn't talk but he only spoke, and we just heard her internal dialog. I understand the reasons, but I wanted her to be able to voice her thoughts to him more.

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Review: Checked

Checked Checked by Jennifer Jamelli
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I got this book for free back in October, and I'm trying to make my way through the books I've downloaded for free and give new authors a chance to surprise me. Boy, did Jennifer Jamelli surprise me.

The main character has OCD. Not just "oh, I'm OCD about my kitchen gadgets." Serious, clinic OCD. So to be in her head and go on the journey of her daily routines and interactions was fascinating to me and I was never bored no matter how many times she had to count one two three onetwothree to open an email or text that I wanted to know about. She was endearing, and I love Callie.

Then there is Dr. Aiden Blake, I loved the writing and his character and his slow slipping past the proper boundaries of a doctor/patient relationship (which I know is bad in real life, but this is fiction!!), and I loved every text, email, everything about him and their relationship.

Jennifer Jamelli had me hooked, and I stayed up hours to read this unexpectedly great book. I don't normally pay for books but check them out from the library unless I love it and I have to read it right away. Well, Jennifer got my money immediately. I read this Checked series back to back. And then went back and read the interactions with Aiden and Callie.

The side characters and story line was great, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Catch my next review of the 2nd book Checked Again. I will tell you that the ending is NOT a cliffhanger but things are definitely not resolved and you are left wanting to read the 2nd book immediately. Which I did!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Review: All I Want is You

All I Want is You All I Want is You by E.L. Todd
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the book and read it through the night. I held my interest to find out what would happen between Cayson and Skye. Skye irritated me at times with her previous boyfriend that was a jerk. Then when Cayson couldn't understand why Skye was acting the way she was at the end, it seemed he could have guessed at the reason.

The reason I gave it three stars and not more was due to the over-emphasis on the main character's parent's sex life and their marriage. The author used large sections of dialog and internal thought to devote to giving advice about marriage and relationships. The parental model for marriage and love was drilled in over and over, and then the inappropriate TMI comments by the parent were not funny but rather obnoxious. I got the impression that the characters no matter how wealthy and famous they were couldn't escape their trashy ways.

The friendship and sibling relationships were weird and the threats to tell on one another to the parents, which always caused fear because of the controlling and overbearing nature of the fathers, was weird and took away from the story. The characters didn't seem realistic at times, and the dialog seemed to pull from a self-help book.

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Review: Desperate Measures

Desperate Measures Desperate Measures by Elle Casey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a good book. I liked the characters, and I understand their instant bond because they didn't have anyone else and it was a great connection between them. I liked the romance between Ammie and Joe and the others, but it was expected. What I didn't like is the last chapter or two fast forwarded all of the romance between the love interests to very committed and serious. This was unrealistic and rushed. Even between Joe and Ammie, they've been on maybe two dates, and they're in love and whatever, I won't spoil it. I just think that it was as if the author needed to wrap the book up in a chapter. So it was tied in a nice bow by the end. Which was startling considering what happened between Ammie and her soon to be ex-husband at the end. This wasn't mentioned again or anything. It left a bad taste in my mouth at the end, because I thought the book started out strong and had some cute and funny moments but it wasn't seen through to it's natural conclusion. I didn't realize I've read one of Ms. Casey's books before and I don't remember loving that book either, so not sure if I'll try her again.

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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story *No Spoilers*

If you are unfamiliar, you might want to stop reading.  Because you must not exist. Or as Marshall explains to Ted:

So for the rest of us that didn't live the Star Wars, but have watched all of the Star Wars movies, I wanted to talk about Rogue One. I watched it tonight. And as I'm writing this, I am listening to the Imperial March to stay in the mood.

When I first saw the teaser trailer for Rogue One, I flipped out and loved it.  Had chills and everything.  Jyn Erso!!! A rebel I can get behind. I loved the line "This is a rebellion, isn't it?  I rebel."

For those that don't know yet, Rogue One takes place between Episode 3 "Revenge of the Sith"(or Movie #3 from 2005) and Episode 4 "A New Hope."  Now if I have to explain that the Return of the Jedi is not #3 even though it was the 3rd movie from the 1980s then, again, you probably are lost and have to go watch all of the movies because I don't know how you manage life without seeing these movies. I'm kidding, well a little. 

Now, I won't give away any spoilers, but I highly suggest watching Episode 4 before watching Rogue One, yes I know that is backward, but there are little things and characters that you will recognize easily if you've recently watched A New Hope.  But if you are like me, I didn't watch Episode 4 and had to rely on my unreliable memory.  I did catch a lot because I've seen A New Hope about a gazillion times, but I want to watch A New Hope and go back and watch Rogue One. So that is why I'm suggesting it for you.

I have some friends say that Rogue One was better than The Force Awakens.  I don't agree. The Force Awakens was unbelievable in its awesomeness.  Rogue One was very good, and I think what was cool is seeing all the stuff that ties into A New Hope.

Now, my children are all out of school as of today, so that means that one our family traditions will begin soon, which is to watch all of the Star Wars movies in order.  My youngest at age 4 was telling an older little girl in line at Walmart about Star Wars today, who has never seen it, I wondered if she really existed.

So as crazy as it sounds, we spend Christmas break entertained by the Alliance and Imperial forces battling it out. So maybe next year, we'll have all 8 movies to watch.  My husband said they have Star Wars Episode 8 and 9 planned as well as two more Star Wars Stories like Rogue One. It's looks like our Star Wars library will continue to grow.

I've always loved Star Wars, but I am so glad to have more female characters that aren't the traditional princess (Leia and Padme), who my daughters can grow up to love for their untraditional role and strength. Don't get me wrong, Princess Leia and Padme kicked ass when they wanted to and were very strong women, but I like to show my daughters there are female characters that don't always look so put together and beautiful but are equally as awesome.

Anyways, it's a great movie and there are definitely some favorite scenes, which would be spoilers so I will only say:

I love it when Darth ***** came in and used the ***** and kicked some ***.

May the Force Be With You!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Review: Royal

Royal Royal by Winter Renshaw
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a good book. The characters were interesting and complex. It held my interest, and I finished it in hours. The sex was hot. I thought that Remi was a strong character and she didn't do much to annoy me. My only real reason I didn't love it, was the sleazy Pandora and Royale was somewhat trashy. I totally get that he had a great heart and was a sweet guy. I just never felt a connection to Remi when she was getting turned on by the metallic and greasy smell. I felt like maybe he didn't shower after he got off of work, which YUCK! So it is so much more about my preference for the love interest. I got why he had that job and respected him for his hard work, but that is pretty sleazy what he evidently did with Pandora. So it isn't that he worked at an auto repair, but that it seemed that he didn't shower and clean up when he got off. I don't like dirt. LOL.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Caged Beauty Series UPDATE

Since The Swallow was my first book ever to write and then self-publish, I am experiencing some ADHD and growing pains with the subsequent books.  I say ADHD because I write when I am inspired, which thankfully happens to be often, but sometimes it isn't about the book that everyone that read The Swallow is waiting for. Don't worry, I have my mother, who is among you, prodding me on.  

This image represent how I feel
about writing these next books,
it is a hard climb, and I love the view
 so I get distracted by all the beauty.
But I wanted to do something different to capitalize on my ADHD* (see below for my explanation) brain, by writing not only The Bluebird but also a book from Alex's POV, which was supposed to be a novella but has turned into a novel, and maybe a novella from Evan's POV.  To get a sneak peak at what the covers may look like, follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

So I currently have three books in various stages of the Caged Beauty Series.  So YAY! to all of you who will look forward to more books, but that also means BOO! it may take me a little longer to put The Bluebird out.  

*no offense to anyone that actually has ADHD, I am hijacking that word to mean that I can't stay on one task and get distracted by other stories in my head--although maybe me being a little offense will get some comments below. One can only dream. 

I am still shooting for late Spring/early Summer for The Bluebird, but I may put out Alex's book first, it depends.  This actually is the curse and beauty of self-publishing; I don't have grand wizards of publishing telling me when to do each of the books and setting a deadline, so I have the freedom to do what I feel is best for the stories, but I could be totally wrong because again I don't have any grand wizards of publishing telling me what to do.

Alex's book, creatively named Alex, will be set during the same time as the first part of The Bluebird.  You'll pick up from him almost exactly where The Swallow left him, unless through editing this changes, and takes him through about mid-way into The Bluebird. I've been grappling with just adding his POV to The Bluebird by alternating between Alex's POV and Kathryn's POV and extending the series into three, but I don't want the series to be a trilogy.  It is two books with a few additional books that add to the story.  Again, the publishing wizards aren't here to tell me it's a bad idea.

And Evan's book, titled Evan because the creativity genius struck again, will either be published with the Prequel or kept separate.  I'm not sure yet, but it is a prequel of sorts because it takes place during Kathryn's initial training and years before The Swallow when their relationship was in turmoil, but they had to work together. Spoiler alert:  Sparks fly! 

But I am contemplating a little happily ever after for Evan, why you ask, because well, I still love his character, but I'm not sure if that will happen within The Bluebird or within the Evan book. 

And while I'm spilling secrets, I might as well tell you there's a smoking hot man (besides Alex and Evan) in The Bluebird that needs to have his story told and to find someone to love. So I'm not naming any names, but I have plans for him to cross over into another book that I started writing in October.

Oh, yeah, sorry, I'm not only writing The Bluebird, Alex, and Evan (so diligently) but I've also started three other works in progress (hence the ADHD reference).  More details will come about those later (check out Upcoming Books on, but I am doing my best to focus on Caged Beauty Series, promise!

So there's my convoluted update about the Caged Beauty Series.  I do intend on self-publishing the rest of the series, so please run and tell all your friends about The Swallow. Because after this series, I'm trying my luck in the Big World of Publishing, so anything else from me may be a while in the making, until I can get some love from an agent and publisher.

Enjoy your Winter and Christmas (or whatever Holiday you do or don't celebrate) and most importantly keep reading!

Isabelle Joshua

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Review: Ms. Communications

Ms. Communications Ms. Communications by Myra Kendrix
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have never read Ms. Kendrix before, and I can't wait to read more of her books. It was the perfect mix of funny, and adorable characters and the romance that ensues. I really liked the main character and the love interest. I thought that the story maintained my attention so that I finished it in a just a few hours and didn't want to put it down. At first, the company's vision and purpose for green energy and consumption was I thought goofy and hoped it wouldn't be the main focus of the book and it wasn't. I have read some okay books lately by new authors, and this was such a breath of fresh air. The subplot kept the story interesting without being distracting; the character grew, and there was a satisfying ending. The only drawback was not having more of those lunches between the main character and the love interest, to see their relationship become romantic unfolding more on the page. I did love the epilogue from Jake's POV and would have loved more of it! So if you are looking for a fun, easy and thoroughly delightful romantic chic-lit, then please pick this one up!

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Review: Fight Club

Fight Club Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The movie Fight Club is one of my favorites. I do not like all the blood and stuff, and it was painful to watch at times but the story, the characters, the plot twist was mind blowing! So when I found out that this awesome movie was originally a book, I had to read it. I finished it very quickly and loved reading the beautiful and complex lines that I loved from the movie! Even though I knew what to expect it was still a thrilling ride and the book has so much more delicious subplots that were so awesome! If you love this movie, then I highly encourage you to read this thought provoking, gripping and gritty novel that shook up our thinking in the late nineties and is still so relevant today!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Review: Diary of an Engaged Wedding Planner

Diary of an Engaged Wedding Planner Diary of an Engaged Wedding Planner by Violet Howe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this couple, and the craziness of wedding planning kept the story interesting and moving. The relationship that Tyler has with her mother was frustrating at times, but I felt like Patty was authentic and it didn't get old; Tyler stood up for herself, but it didn't matter because her mother railroaded her, the mother's manipulation and victimization of Tyler was very effective. This was a very sweet and funny ending to a great story! Enjoyed it so much!

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Review: Diary of a Wedding Planner in Love

Diary of a Wedding Planner in Love Diary of a Wedding Planner in Love by Violet Howe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was heartbreaking and swoon-worthy. I felt the pain and confusion she experienced; I thought the difficulty and communication issues that Cabe and Tyler experienced were brilliant and authentic. I laughed a lot and got upset at the difficulties their relationship went through. It was a satisfying ending, but I can't wait to read the next book.

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Review: Diary of a Single Wedding Planner

Diary of a Single Wedding Planner Diary of a Single Wedding Planner by Violet Howe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was fun, and I loved the characters. It was frustrating at times because she was destructive but the relationship with Cabe was adorable. I liked the stories of the brides and weddings; it isn't a fast book, but it is enjoyable throughout, and I definitely laughed. Parts of it are hilarious, and many parts are just too cute. The supporting characters were believable and interesting. While Tyler is a little wishy-washy, it isn't unexplainable, and she makes progress in her character. I can't wait to find out what happens next.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Review: Thirty-Two Going on Spinster

Thirty-Two Going on Spinster Thirty-Two Going on Spinster by Becky Monson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is such a fun book! The characters are fun and interesting. Julia is stuck in her life, and she's hilariously awkward and shy. There's a lip waxing scene and the embarrassment that ensues after it had me laughing so loud and long afterward. This book is easy to read and the characters are adorable!

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Review: I Was a Bitch: A Romance Mystery Book

I Was a Bitch: A Romance Mystery Book I Was a Bitch: A Romance Mystery Book by Emily Ruben
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book is so not Hot, unlike Finn

This book should have been a DNF but I am stubborn, and it doesn't take long for me to read so I finished it. The characters were immature and cliche-ish. The flashbacks were awkward and too much. Maybe there are HS girls that act like this, but it seems so completely unbelievable. And when is joking cockiness sexy? Nothing appealed to me in this book. The thousands of times she kept saying Finn was so sexy, Hot whatever were too much (every page). This book needed an editor, and I am sure all the references to Finn's hotness would have cut 100 pages or so. Oh and the stupid nicknames "Lace-bear." Fortunately, it was free, but I feel like I actually lost brain cells from reading this trash. I felt like I was reading about a relationship that has gone past the stage of annoyingly sweet that you want to vomit and kill yourself when you find yourself in their presence again. But since she managed to peak my interest to find out what happened the night of the party and it was a surprise, that got her the two stars. Otherwise, avoid like the plague if you value your sanity.

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Review: The Honeymoon Prize

The Honeymoon Prize The Honeymoon Prize by Melissa McClone
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cute fun story

It was a quick and easy read. Kept my mind distracted from any other things. Finished it in a day. Why did I rate it a 3, because I didn't feel anything. I felt like the story was being told to me, I wasn't wrapped up in it. While I generally like the characters, there wasn't much there. The story line was so-so and not too compelling. But I didn't hate it; it was okay and a distraction.

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Review: Replica

Replica Replica by Lauren Oliver
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I listened to this book, and Lyra's story was first. I was very interested in the plot line, the clones, her story-telling about the new world for her, the relationship with 72. I wasn't ready for it to be over, but there were times that my mind drifted and I wasn't paying attention, this is rare if I love the book. Then I listened to Gemma's story and didn't like her very much. I understand why Lyra thought she was a monster; she'd been told that and treated as such for years by the Haven employees. But Gemma and April and the internal dialog about clones being monsters irritated me and the juvenile drama between them. Do teenagers really act so dumb and immature, maybe, but I didn't like it. It rubbed me the wrong way and the book started to fall flat for me. Especially when I realized that Gemma's story wasn't going to finish the book for me, but this is most likely a trilogy. I'm not sure if I want to spend more energy on this story, I would for Lyra's part with 72, but not crazy about Gemma and her instant love. So it was okay and an interesting story. I've read Lauren Oliver in the past and loved some of her books (like Delirium) and others I just liked and some I couldn't get past the first chapter. But many others like it, and it is definitely YA Fantasy!

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Review: Before I Fall

Before I Fall SO I am revamping this review because I found it was a book I'd read over the summer and rated it but failed to write an actual review of it. So I put something down real quick the other day from my memory.  THEN, I read that the book was turned into a movie which comes out in March 2017.  I watched the trailer and you can too below. And all the feels and emotions came back.  And the new cover is awesome!!

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story is like a mix between the great movie Groundhog's Day and some good teenage flick that I've never seen (Mean Girls, maybe??).  Anyway, the interactions with her friends are so genuine and authentic for the age.  The choices she makes, the time she takes to change herself, her situation and best of all figure out why the hell she's reliving the same day over and over again.  It is brilliantly crafted, and the storyline unfolds leaving you with wanting more and more. The ending is stellar and sad, but you've known that from the beginning or did you...

I don't want to spoil it for you if you end up reading it or just watching the movie.  I know I will.

Very good story, engaging and a very compelling story. But so sad as well.

Lauren Oliver really writes books that make you think about your relationships. Great story.

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Review: A Family of Her Own

A Family of Her Own A Family of Her Own by Brenda Novak
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I've read other Brenda Novak novels and I really like them. But this series has disappointed me. The dialog and characters seem stiff and lifeless. I didn't connect with the characters or the story. I finished it, and it was good enough, so that I did, in fact, finish it, but it was very forgettable, even now, I struggle to remember the plot and I just finished it yesterday. I don't recommend this book, but I loved Brenda Novak's Whiskey Creek Series. I guess the Dundee Series isn't for me. This is the second book in the series I've read and I don't care to read anymore.

Oh and on a side note, Katie's parents were despicable. I kept thinking to myself that I will never treat my children like this and wanted to rush out to talk to my husband about how they treated their children. Christianity is shown in a bad light, which I'm not totally against, but these religious idiots were the worse offenders of small-town gossip.

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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Re-reading books

I recall re-reading my favorite books when I was young.  I got "Gone With The Wind" for my fifteenth birthday and read it over the course of two days, that thousand page sweeping romantic drama stole my heart even more than the movie. The movie is still one of my all-time favorites, but the book is delicious. The story and the emotions it simmered inside of me brought happiness into my life when at times I was unhappy. When I didn't have time for a 1000-page engrossing page turner but wanted to recreate those feelings, I would re-read the last 50 pages or so, and the story would flood in.

So escaping into the book became a regular occurrence during my teen years. On Saturdays, we had to clean the house top to bottom. My room was usually a mess, so I would have a legitimate reason to be in there for hours, but I became really good at shoving my open book under my pillow and racing to look like I was cleaning when my mom came down the hall. Then I would do a little more cleaning and get right back to my book. I wasn't the stereotypical bookworm shown in movie or books, despite my deep love and affection for stories, I was very social.  Years later as an enlightened adult, I realize I'm split between an introvert and an extrovert. In school, I was social and had a group of friends that I spent lots of time with, but then the weekend came, and I loved spending all weekend at home without my friends. I got to recharge. It worried my older motherly sister that I wanted to spend Friday nights in front of the tv watching a movie or reading a book, but I just knew I needed to be by myself.

Now, with five children in my house and an extrovert husband, I need to escape. So sometimes when I don't want to search for a new book to read, I will go back to my favorites. This week I needed an escape from the election aftermath, so I re-read Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi, a YA dystopian romance. This is actually the third time to read it since I discovered it in June.  Want to know what I'm reading and what I want to read, then check out my Goodreads account.

Do you have books that you like to re-read?  I realize that many times it's because of the love interest is yummy, the dialog, the hilarity or other things bring me back to these books. Sometimes, like in Outlander, I know the story so well, and I don't care for all the descriptions and other stuff that make it an enormous book I will skip to the sections that just have the dialog or parts with Jaime and Claire.

Books (off the top of my head) that I've read more than twice:

1. Gone With The Wind
2. Pride and Prejudice
3. Emma
4. Shopaholic Series
5. Jane Eyre
6. Villette
7. Outlander
8. Almost all Susan Elizabeth Phillip's books
9. Some of Jill Shalvis' books
10. All of Sophie Kinsella's books (author of Shopaholic and more)
11. Divergent Series
12. Big Girl Panties
13. The Selection Series
14. Shatter Me Series
15. The Swallow (of course but mostly due to editing, though I do love this story)
16. Fifty Shades of Grey Series

Happy reading!


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Review: The Glittering Court

The Glittering Court The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I listened to the audiobook, and I'm so glad I did because of the accents. It is an adventurous story, and I loved the heroine. So bold and daring. The love story was slow and appealing, and the descriptions made the fantasy/historical world come alive. The dialog was quick and witty. The characters were complex, and I didn't anticipate the ending at all. I was completely swept away in the story. I went straight away to start listening to the second book and was disappointed that I'll have to wait until May 2017. The book crosses two continents with adventure, intrigue, and passion throughout. The story concluded very nicely, and the next two book will be about different characters already introduced. Beautiful and captivating story.

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Sunday, November 6, 2016

Review: Marry Me for Money

Marry Me for Money Marry Me for Money by Mia Kayla
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I slowly fell in love with Beth and Kent

I got this book free, and I wasn't expecting much, but then Kent and Beth started spending time together, and I couldn't get enough of it. She writes the heat between the character so well and talk about a slow burn. The book is written well, and I cried so much at the end. I loved it and can't wait to read the next book! And despite things working out, it felt natural and although not unexpected; it was a great ending!

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Saturday, November 5, 2016

Review: The Offering by Jessika Fleck

This book was written by a friend of mine, Jessika Fleck. She has it on Swoon Reads, and if she gets enough hearts (rating system), then it will be reviewed for publishing.

I read it in the last two days and wanted to share it with all of you.  Please check it out for free and rate it:  The Offering

My Review:

Love the characters. The inner conflict about her love for Nico and the struggle with her place in their society and the forbidden nature of the friendship. Then the introduction of Dorian and The Night. The Offering and depiction of the brutality and merciless nature of the society were thrilling and heartwrenching. I can't wait to read book two. I loved it, and I want to know what happens next. I didn't want it to end!!!

For readers that love Fantasy, this is a great YA Fantasy book, for those that aren't big fantasy fans (like me) it is such a great story and gripped me from the beginning. Similar Stories: It isn't exactly like Shatter Me series, but it definitely had moments when it reminded me of it. Exceptional!

The description from Swoon Reads:
In Veda's world, they worship the Sun and kill the weak. Her life is a daily struggle of survival, but the one saving grace is her forbidden friendship with Nico. The laws are clear: Nico's blood is gold, hers is mud. The two don't mix.
But when Nico enlists in the crusade against her kind, his betrayal forces her to act. She joins a group determined to fight the unjust persecution of her people, and Veda soon learns, in a place where blood is dirty or clean, her blood is neither: a detail that changes everything.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Case in point.
Now I admit that I am not always diligent about editing and reading over my posts on here or FB before submitting them.  Usually, it is after I hit submit that I read it.  But this happens to me all the time on my phone when I text or submit posts or reviews, the DAMN auto-correct.

I just caught one that I wrote:  all tied up  =  amputated when auto-corrected

And I have a decent sized phone screen, but if I am typing a long message, which I tend to do, it is a b*tch to scroll up and reread it.  Only when it is posted will it show up in one box that fills the screen. I know auto-correct can lead to funny texts as demonstrated by the many memes dedicated to it, but I hate it. I like the auto-suggest feature so if I am starting to type "fri"  the option Friday friend  fries pop up, and I can quickly choose.  But if I have typed my damn word out already why in the hell is the auto-correct changing it.

I've looked through my phone settings, and there isn't a way to change it.  Well, no way I can tell that it can be changed. So I must remind myself to double check everything I type and send so I don't mess up.  Yeah right, like that's gonna happen.  So please forgive if you've ever come across a weird word that is so out of place in one of my posts, I blame auto-correct. But please feel free to comment with the offending word if you like.

Is there a technology that you hate?

No matter how much I hate auto-correct there is one I hate even more: Group Text

Monday, October 24, 2016

Review: SEAL It With A Kiss

SEAL It With A Kiss SEAL It With A Kiss by Rogenna Brewer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Engaging story

I really liked the story and personalities of the characters. The only problem I have with it is the ending. Talk about tied up with a pretty bow, and done in about two paragraphs. I like a happy ending, but this one was so unbelievable because any real emotions or real grief are pushed aside for the happily ever after. Otherwise, I think it was a great book, and I'd like to read more from her.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Review: Every Little Kiss

Every Little Kiss Every Little Kiss by Susan Hatler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fast cute read

It was a very typical romance novel where everything worked out in the last ten pages. There was growth in the character but these type of books are just too feel good and not my favorite. Most people will like this and it is a good book. So if you like romantic sappy love stories then this is your book. Otherwise if you don't then steer clear. They fall in love too quickly and too sappy.

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Monday, October 17, 2016

Review: Clarity

Clarity Clarity by Loretta Lost
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Rushed and superficial story,
The many references to the immaturity of the characters could not account for the juvenile writing style. It kept my interests, and I think if I were a teenager I would have loved it. But I couldn't get over my impression that the characters were young teenagers play acting like young adults. It is a short read but the story continues, and I don't care to know the end. I got the book on a free promotion, so it was an okay read considering. The good thing about her writing is her vocabulary and word usage; that was great. Otherwise, the dialog was weak as were the characters.

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Review: After You

After You After You by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Growth and love

I thought this was a very beautiful ending. Louisa had so much growing and grief to go through. It was very nice to see all the characters find some level of happiness and closure. Very nicely done.

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Review: Me Before You

Me Before You Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am still in mourning...
I was still crying hours later when I thought about the book. So incredible. The question from the description: "What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?" just makes me tear up again thinking about it. I really liked Louisa's character but felt sorry for her because she had a real shitty dad. That was one part I just couldn't understand why the dad was such an "arse" and demeaning to her. This story broke my heart in so many pieces and Will's character was great. Highly recommend.

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Review: The Nightingale

The Nightingale The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was such an engaging and sweeping story. It told of the day to day struggles that the southern French citizens endured during the occupation of France by the Nazis. And it told of the resistance and how just a few individuals can make an impact on others by their sacrifices. It was so heartbreaking at the time (towards the end) and kept a steady pace throughout. I listened to the audio, so I am not sure about the chapter and transitions. I would just find myself realizing that oh we are back with Vivian or oh this is about Isabelle. I thought the story was very good.

I only have a few issues with the writing. First, I felt like the dialog was very stilted. The narrative portions are great and descriptive as well as moving, but then almost all the dialog felt off to me. Possible the author tried to use speech in the South of France (I think that's where they were most of the time, at least the small village) during the 1940s, but I didn't feel like it was authentic and natural. I've been a huge 1940 era movie fan, and while the dialog is different because I'm more accustom to American English, the main dialog felt forced. The other thing that didn't work was the frequent repetition of how dangerous Isabelle's work is or what she's facing if this was supposed to build suspense, it didn't. I also didn't understand how/why Vivian would go with the various people when they were being taken away by the Nazis and leave Sophie home with Ari (Daniel), but then I realized Sophie was older than I expected her to be. But more importantly Vivian was just stupid and naive at times, I know that is so much a part of her character, but sometimes it just was too much. I mean she goes with the butcher's wife I think when they are trying to take her away, and Vivian could have easily gotten swept up in it and carried off. So Vivian's character bothered me the most, I don't have a lot of sympathy for those that are blind and naive to what is around them. She was like a fricking ostrich with her head in the sand. And Vivian's character didn't seem to match the modern day older lady, the feistiness and attitude didn't fit with who the author showed Vivian's character as even with the growth towards the end of the war.

I most identified with Isabelle's character most, her impetuous nature, brazen anger, and independence. She was a sad character that never knew love until after so much hurt. I also think it is so interesting to see the contrast of personality in the sisters. It was a beautiful and moving story that I would recommend. The historical nature of the book was incredible as well.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Review: Night Owl (Night Owl Series Book 1)

Night Owl Night Owl by M. Pierce
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I began reading this book for the simple fact that it was mentioned as having dealt with alternating voices for each chapter well and I began reading it for research purposes. Also, I don't usually prefer erotic novels. I like romance and I enjoy the hot scenes, but when the erotic novels use BDSM or other types of sex play, it isn't usually my cup of tea.

This book started out fast with the erotic scenes. I was disappointed that it lacked a substantial plot or character development, the sex is rough and male dominated. Hannah's decisions and position in the relationship is weaker, and it isn't explained why except for his good looks, and she can't talk when he's near. So many times, Matt is an asshole, and she doesn't allow him to apologize (if he thought he should even) or expect him too. I didn't understand the need for a writing partner because it didn't go anywhere except for being the catalyst that brought them together. There were many things in the story that reminded me of Fifty Shades, but this is definitely written better although you could say not as original. The alternating voices was effective and seamless.

Despite all this, I read it very quickly, and I was pulled into the story, and the plot and character development came later. After a few chapters, I wondered if I would continue with the series, but towards the end, I did want to know what happened to Matt and Hannah.

So this is not one I would recommend to anyone unless you did like an erotic novel that was similar to Fifty Shades of Grey. I don't tend to read erotic novels and this series besides Fifty Shades is probably only the second or third erotic book I've read. Cara McKenna comes to mind as the other author I've read that writes erotica.

In the end, I did like the characters and the story, but I most likely wouldn't read it again.

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Review: After Dark (Night Owl Series Book 3)

After Dark After Dark by M. Pierce
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was very much engrossed in the story and characters by the 3rd book. This book is finally the one where Matt and Hannah have to deal with many of their relationship issues. But they don't do it well. They both lie and hide from each other, and after a year together, their communication is weak. This book also highlights how unhealthy their relationship is. The psychiatrist eventually says that Hannah is good for Matt and all his issues (very Fifty Shades), but I find that false. I can't imagine a medical doctor not trying to work more on the negative co-dependent and enmeshed relationship they have. There is a point where he questions Matt's possessiveness, dominance, and preference for degradation of Hannah. The doctor's questions became a growth moment for Matt, and I liked his character more for it. It dealt with some very heavy issues including death and isolation (but the other did as well), and while it was written well, the resolution to these issues was not so clear.

Hannah resorted to childish behavior when she was angry (so does Matt) and doesn't talk about her feelings well, more often she does the same things back to him to show why she was mad, but then screws that up by also saying it turned her on. They are both f*cked up and immature.

Again, the similarities in plot to Fifty Shades is substantial, but M. Pierce is a better writer than E.L. James. Although Hannah was reduced to nonverbal shyness at the awesomeness and sexy body of Matt, it wasn't irritating like the many Anna (from Fifty) idiosyncrasies.

So if you like Erotic novels, then you might want to check this series out.

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Review: Last Light (Night Owl Series Book 2)

Last Light Last Light by M. Pierce
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book exposed Matt as extremely manipulative and insecure. The storyline was interesting and although Night Owl ended weird only because of the epilogue which set this book up, this book was good. I read each book quickly and immediately after ending the last, so they run together as far as what happened in each.

I disliked Matt some in this book because of the deception, even more than in the first book. Hannah's character grew but only because she was forced out on her own. This relationship is about as healthy as eating donuts every day. Their relationship is extremely enmeshed and codependent, that I don't see it working as well in reality.

So while I had issues with it, I still was engaged and interested in continuing to read and finish it quickly. Again, this is an erotic novel and in the genre of Fifty Shades.

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Saturday, October 8, 2016

Review: Beat

Beat Beat by Vi Keeland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought this was one of the best I've read of Vi Keeland, but I've only read four or five of her titles. I read it all through the night and it was very steamy! The story was engaging and I liked the characters a lot. She also built up the long foreplay between the two main characters that it was electrifying when they got together.

There were times that the sentence structure was clunky but overall it was an enjoyable book.

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Saturday, October 1, 2016

"The Swallow" Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (09/16)

The Swallow
Isabelle Joshua
CreateSpace (2016)
ISBN 9781530520275
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (09/16)

“The Swallow” is the first book in the Caged Beauty Series, and the debut novel by author Isabelle Joshua.

Special Agent Kathryn Bryant was tricked and coerced into working for the NSA by her ex-boyfriend, Evan, who is now her boss. Espionage isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and after one too many missions extracting sensitive data from disgusting lowlifes, Kathryn vows to make an escape, and begins careful deliberation of her secret exit to her new life. One more mission, that’s what she keeps telling herself, but her latest target, Alex, is unlike any she has ever known. After spending a week with Alex, Kathryn realizes that he is the perfect person to help her escape, but how can she convince him, and will she sacrifice the mission in the process?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Thoroughly. A bit of espionage, a bit of intrigue, a bit of romance – what’s not to like? The writing is straightforward, deliberate, and often brash, pulling the reader deeply into the story, either through a glimpse into Kathryn’s innermost thoughts or through the witty dialogue between the characters.

Ranking closely second to the writing style, are the delightful characters created by Ms. Joshua. Kathryn is a strong female lead, confident and sexy, down to earth and playful, but also mean, and sometimes nasty, especially in the second half of the book. Alex is every woman’s dream guy – thoughtful, caring, gorgeous, sensitive, strong, manly, and forgiving, almost to a fault - I could go on, but you get the idea. I felt like a fly on the wall watching their relationship develop, and the sex scenes – the perfect mix of romance and steam - sultry, inviting, and hot, without being sappy, insulting, or slutty. The supporting characters are genuine and create a nice balance, aiding the protagonists through a steadily moving plot.

I don’t usually do this, as I believe in the old adage of not judging a book by its cover and all, but I have to add that in addition to a fantastic story, the book cover is quite exquisite – simple, yet beautiful, clean and enticing.

“The Swallow” by Isabelle Joshua is a creative, intriguing story, and sets a solid foundation for a spectacular series, a bit different from anything currently on the market. That said, I was disappointed to learn that there is only one more book in the series, scheduled for production in 2017. Overall, I highly recommend this book and look forward to the upcoming conclusion, “The Bluebird.” One can always hope Joshua’s fans can change her mind by urging her to continue this incredible series!

To purchase "The Swallow" click here.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Review: The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I only give it 3 stars because while I liked the book, I didn't love it. But I would recommend others to read it for themselves. The story and the idea of it are very original (husband and wife isolated on a lighthouse island desperate for children, rescue a baby without known parents and take her for their own. The resulting deception and tragedy that the child's mother is alive and grief struck with the loss of her baby and husband cause the make-shift family to fall apart.)

The storytelling dragged at times and maybe because I listened to the audiobooks, but I wasn't clear who some characters were at times. I was getting them confused. It was very sad at the end, and it ended as well as a story about such a difficult situation could end. I'm not sure why the connection and love that was apparent between Tom and Isabelle wasn't as moving as I think it should be.

CORRECTION: I thought this book was written by a man and assumed that maybe that is why I didn't connect with the emotions and writing, but M.L. Stedman is a woman, so there goes that theory about the disconnect. But I still stand by my assessment that there is a disconnect of emotions that may be because it was written from 3rd person, so there was a detachment throughout the book that mirrors Tom's personality.

I would recommend other to read the book because I think it does show interesting dilemmas concerning bitterness, hatred, forgiveness, deceit, love and redemption. So many of the characters went through these and suffered loss. It also is a portrayal of a small community and how it affects everyone in it. The townspeople and their complicity in the crime but yet denial of it.

A good book, I can't say that I would read it again but it was very thought-provoking, and I want to see the movie. I have a feeling I will like the movie much more than the book.

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Review: The Ladies' Room

The Ladies' Room The Ladies' Room by Carolyn Brown
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Read this book because it was chosen for my book club. Wasn't my choice and I wasn't a big fan. It was an okay read. But the writing style seemed unnaturally rushed and the inner dialog was flat as one other commenter said. The dialog seemed forced and unnatural at times as well. This is the opposite of other stories where the protagonist is left with nothing and has to make it on her own. Tudy is given everything and is forced to make it own her own. I didn't think there was much development of Billy's character and Drew continues to be an ass. It was a fast read and kept my interest enough for me to finish it but I felt like she just ended it too quickly as well.

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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Character and Scene Descriptions

As a writer, I struggle over descriptions and describing the scene and what my characters look like. I spend countless hours researching outfits (if it is important to the scene) or homes and the layout.  For every book I've written, I have a Pinterest page where I save images, and I save homes that I scour the internet for to use as the homes of my characters. I have to picture it all in my head and then translate it down onto the page.  But I also know that my stories are anemic when it comes to descriptions compared to other authors.  When I write a scene, I usually plow through with the dialog or what is happening and then go back on the second draft and add more description unless it was originally pivotal to the scene.  But as I reader, my focus is entirely different.

I realized this during a discussion with the book club I'm a part of.  We were discussing the differences between the character described in some of our favorite books and the actor's portrayal or appearance in the movie version.  I typically separate the book from the movie version because the author usually has minimal control over what happens in the movie.  But the women were going on and on about the differences between who played the characters and how different his look was to the one in the book. I was baffled, I said I rarely remember what the characters look like unless it is a very prominent characteristic or mentioned frequently. They suggested that it could be that I read the books so fast it is hard to remember the details.  Maybe but I think the details aren't as important to me.  I like the action as a reader, and I want the story to move. And so often the story drags when it suddenly starts describing a character's outfit in the middle of the action.  Especially if it doesn't add anything, I don't effing care that he is wearing epaulets unless they have some special power that saves the world, because otherwise the character need to get on with it, her friends are waiting for her to save the world!

Maybe it is just me, but I don't care what the curtain or the end table looked like or if it was some antique 2nd century whatever, does it matter to the story? No, then tell me it's an antique end table and move on!

Crazy Reviews

I write reviews for books, but I can never come up with more than just a few sentence even if I absolutely loved the book.  I probably can come up with a more thorough review when I actually do not like the book.

Then I joined a book club (excited to talk to fellow book lovers), and I expressed my amazement at other reviewers dissertations on books. I hate when reviewers rewrite the blurb that the publisher or author wrote because that is easily found usually further up the page on Amazon.  But then the reviewer spends the next eight lengthy paragraphs intimately dissecting the book. How??

I mean where does all that come from.  I thought maybe I lack this skill because I speed read.  I can usually read a 300-400 page in a day, so the elaborate descriptions that the author painstakingly created are breezed by to get to the meat. Anyway, I've gotten off topic.

What I am amazed at is the level of detail in the reviews.

I googled "how to write great book reviews" and here is a smattering of the advice and links.

Of course, WikiHow weighs in, and it feels more like an academic exercise.
Step 1: "Read the book and take notes. If possible, read the book multiple times, as repeat reads tend to lead a reader (or reviewer) to view aspects of the story, the setting and the character(s) in a new or different way."  OMG, hello, I am not taking notes while I am reading this book, talk about getting out of the story.
Step 2: Think about the book's genre and/or field of study.  
Really, it's YA Fiction, or Romance, or Historical Romance, or Suspense, etc. Again, this doesn't really help me.
Step 3: Determine the major themes of the book. 
This step might have some merit, but I don't read a book for the theme. The characters, yes, but usually not the themes.
Step 4: Consider the author's writing style. Yes, I probably do this some and more depending on the book.  Like Shatter Me, I loved the author's writing style or the protagonist's voice which was lyrical, what many describe as purple prose, but I think it worked.
Step 5: Think about how well the author develops the major areas or points in the book.
Eh, maybe.  I probably talk more about how the character develops within the book or progresses, but I don't think I cover this.

Anyway, I didn't read this whole WikiHow because I realize it has three parts with a total of about 15-20 steps.  Shit.  Sorry, I'm not spending any more time on that site, but I have the link if any of you are interested.

The next one is probably closer to what currently do but mine are freeform, and I hate as I mentioned earlier the Step 1 on the list below.  Usually, because a better description of the book is on Amazon or other book sites and I don't want to waste my time with a book summary.

BookTrust - Writer:  Luisa Plaja
1) Start with a couple of sentences describing what the book is about
2) Discuss what you particularly liked about the book
3) Mention anything you disliked about the book
4) Round up your review

So if these other bloggers or reviewers follow a mix of this or some other guide for the book (some provided for book clubs), I wonder why.

Do you as a reader find long reviews helpful?  What steps do you think are vital?  I write the review within a day or so of finishing the book and most of the time within the hour when it is fresh in my mind.  What am I missing? Or are you happy with the reviews?  I can't say that I will change much but I might.  I'm not too old to learn new tricks!  Thanks!


Review: Winter

Winter Winter by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There were times in this book that were sooo frustrating. In the middle of the action, unlike in other books, she would spend so much time on descriptions or explain the characters emotions. The scene with Winter and Scarlet going to get the wolf soldiers was infuriating, Winter's craziness was not enough of an excuse for her indecision. But Scarlet rocked! I really love Cress, but she was beyond frustrating as she was paralysed with fear and then when running into Ki the author spend a paragraph on the description of his clothes. I understand that it is a technique to slow down the scene but really it is an intense action scene doesn't need to be slowed down. The characters got even better and had more depth of character. And I didn't understand why Cinder didn't use her glamour which looks like Channery to convince them all that she is Princess Selene. Over and over it says how furious and angry she is, but yet it comes to nothing. It was so nervewracking, and I was on the edge of my seat, but then I would get so frustrated because of the delay in action. But I did really like this book, and the conclusion was satisfying. I don't have the same issues that other reviewers have about Cinder's choice about Lunar. It was a really good finale to the series, and I enjoyed it tremendously.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Review: Cress

Cress Cress by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This might be my favorite book of all of the Lunar chronicles. I love Cress and I love Thorne. I laughed so much at spots in this book and Thorne was one of the most relatable characters of the series.

The additional characters and the complex subplots made this book extremely interesting and enjoyable.

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Review: Scarlet

Scarlet Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book even more than the first book. The storyline became very interesting and the characters were compelling. I listened to this on audio and my only complaint was Scarlet's character and all her vehemence and yelling. Maybe because of the french accent as well made her shrieking seems especially harsh, but she was constantly yelling about getting her Grandmere back. I really liked Wolf's character and love Thorne. He might be my favorite character by far in the series.

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Review: Cinder

Cinder Cinder by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a good book. It isn't great, but it was entertaining and I was very interested to find out what happens after this book is over. I like the characters.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Review: Panic

Panic Panic by Lauren Oliver
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Interesting premise and while many think it is unbelievable, they must not be around a lot of teenagers because they are dumb and engage in risky behavior for much less than this book proposes. Also, the setting of the town and the idea of escape and that these teens will do anything to escape is a very strong compelling force. What I disliked most about this book was Heather's best friend, I've forgotten her name, but she was a spoiled, whiny, manipulative bitch. God, she was getting hurt or complaining all the time. It kept my interest and although some of the storylines and conflicts were predictable and incongruent at times, I did like the story. The other thing that I didn't like was the ending, all wrapped up in a little bow. I don't know what the reason is to do that is; I want a satisfying ending, but it was sudden and too much. There was unresolved conflict that just went away, and everything was fine. I really liked Bishop's character the best.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Review: Shatter Me

Shatter Me Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Her writing is like poetry! And it is beautiful and vast. I forget in YA that the characters are only 17 or so and the speech patterns and communication style is so different from what I prefer that I at first felt like the dialog was stiff and unnatural, but after reflection I realize it is true to the age group. I loved this book and I devoured it in a day and continued with the series. Beautiful cover and beautiful prose. I am not going to lie and say that there aren't plenty of "I'm dead and no one else knows it but me" because male characters touched her, kissed her or spoke to her in a beautiful manner, but it doesn't matter, it was still good.

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Review: Shatter Me Series

I was caught by the beautiful designs on the book, which is not uncommon. I am definitely a judger of books by their cover. So I had this book on my list of to-read for quite a while and since I am taking a break from the enormous Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series and wanted a quick good read, I finally started Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi and I was not disappointed.

For the last couple of months, besides re-reading some old favorite books and the Outlander series I have been unimpressed with the string of books I had been reading. Until Shatter Me.

I continue to be astounded with Mafi's ability to come up with so many metaphors.  It makes me feel like my writing is unimaginative, but I know it is a completely different genre. This is YA and mine is contemporary romance.

Only in YA you can get away from spending a whole chapter making out (kissing and groping) and the readers love it (including me).  I suggest you go out and read the whole 5 book series, like I did (maybe not in the span of 4 days, but that's what I like to do).

One of my favorite lines:  “I'm oxygen and he's dying to breathe.” 
― Tahereh MafiShatter Me

This ranks as one of my favorite YA dystopian series along with Divergent and The Selection.

And the covers are magnificient!

Goodreads - Shatter Me Series