Saturday, October 20, 2018

I Hunt Killers ( Jasper Dent #1) by Barry Lyga

Image result for I hunt KillersAge Range: YA
Pages: 359
Publisher: Little Brown  Books
Publication Date: 03 April 2012
Genre: YA/ Thriller/ Murder Mystery

Rating: 5 Stars

What if the world's worst serial killer...was your dad?

Jasper "Jazz" Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.

But he's also the son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could—from the criminal's point of view.

And now bodies are piling up in Lobo's Nod.

In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret—could he be more like his father than anyone knows?

My Thoughts:

First of all, the synopsis for the book does not do this story justice.  I was not too impressed by the synopsis and was half expecting this story to be predictable and juvenile. To be frank I was expecting a half-baked murder story that had an easily predictable plot. Boy, was I surprised to find that this book was anything but.  This story was gruesome, full of suspense, and artfully written. Barry Lyga created an amazingly horrific story, that I couldn't stop reading.

Jasper, Jazz, Dent was such an intriguing character.  As far as YA characters go, he was by far one of the most complex and believable characters that I have read.  Jazz is struggling psychologically throughout the book. The reader gets to see first-hand Jazz's struggles with whether or not he is a sociopath and will end up a murderer like his father.  The author did such a great job of showing just how damaging a persons childhood can be. Over and over again the reader sees how Jazz's upbringing has shaped his responses to the people and things around him.  His perspective is often unsettling and gruesome, and I found his perspective to be a unique and compelling way of telling the story.

Then there was the supporting characters and comic relief.  While I really liked Jazz as a character, my favorite character was definitely Howie.  Howie was such a funny and lovable character, his quips and one-liners were the perfect comedic break in an otherwise gruesome and gory story.  Not to mention how good of a friend he was.  I don't know about you, but I would not break into a morgue for my friends.  Howie created the perfect balance of gruesome and wit to the story.  In my opinion, Howie made this story.

One of the most interesting parts of the plot is that the book contains chapters from the killers perspective.  These chapters were some of my favorite because it really upped the creepiness of factor and gave the reader some insight in of the killers thinking.  I found it fun to try and guess the killer based on the observations Jazz made and the chapters from the killer's perspective.  That being said I was completely wrong, and the book had a plot twist I did not see coming.  Without giving too much away let's just say that this book will keep you on your toes.

My Thoughts on the Audio:

If you have the choice I recommend reading this as an audiobook.  The narrator really did an amazing job of bringing the story to life.  His tone and inflections really set the ambiance of the story, and the voices he did were really spot on.  The voice he did for the serial killer was far better than I could have ever expected.  I don't know how to describe it other than the voice was menacing and creepy; if I were to imagine the voice of a serial killer it would have been that voice.  I can't recommend the audiobook highly enough, it is totally worth the time it takes to listen.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created byThat Artsy Reader Girl

This weeks topic is libraries/bookstores that I have always wanted to visit.  This one is pretty easy as anywhere I go I always look for new bookstores and libraries to visit.

1) The Human Library - I find this one to be so interesting because instead of renting book you get to talk with people, hear their stories learn about their experiences.  The History and Sociology buff in me just finds this to be a fascinating concept.  I would love to be able to talk to people about historical events they witnessed and the experiences they have faced.

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2) Livraria Lello in Portugal - this is a bookstore that I have always wanted to visit simply due to its opulence.  It is so beautiful who would not want to visit?

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3) The Last Bookstore -  I remember a friend of mine sending me a vide of this bookstore, and I was enthralled with the unique architecture of this bookstore. If I am ever in Los Angeles I will HAVE to see this store.

Image result for Libreria acqua alta4) Liberia Aqua Alta in Venice Italy - The idea of this bookstore is just so different. It is quirky and semi-chaotic.  I have never seen a bookstore that uses a bathtub to hold books.  The uniqueness is what draws me to it.

Image result for Darby Public Library5) Darby Free Library in Pennsylvania - This library is considered the oldest library in America, and the history buff in me is dying to visit it. 

Image result for powells book store oregon6) Powell's Bookstore in Oregon - This bookstore is HUGE, a friend told me about it, and I have been wanting to visit it ever since.  The notion of having over an acre of books to wait through is more than exhilarating.

Image result for A novel idea bookstore7) A Novel Idea Bookstore in Lincoln - I love the look of this book sore. It has such a cute "Historic Downtown" feel to it.  This is probably one of the only stores on the list, that I might actually visit in the near future.  I live about an hour away, so it is a definite possibility that I visit this store soon.

Image result for trinity college library8) Trinity College Library in Dublin Ireland - I mean just look at this library do I need to say anything more? It is gorgeous!

Image result for william faulkner books store9) Faulkner House Books in New Orleans - I am a big fan of William Faulkner.  I think it is really cool that part of his home was turned into a Bookstore.  I would love to visit and enjoy the literature and history.

Image result for chapters indigo store10) Chapters Indigo - This one may seem silly to some people, but as I live smack-dab in the middle of the United States there are no Chapters Indigo near me.  I have always been curious what the store is like.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons

Image result for the glass arrowAge Range: Young Adult (Description on Barns and Noble states 13 to 18, however, I would recommend this for more for16+)
Page: 352
Publishers: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication Date: 10 February 2015
Genre: Dystopian/YA

Rating: 4.5 Stars

The Handmaid’s Tale meets Blood Red Road in Glass Arrow, the story of Aya, who lives with a small group of women on the run from the men who hunt them, men who want to auction off breeding rights to the highest bidder.

In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights, 15-year old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls, she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya’s luck runs out and she’s caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning.

My Thoughts:

I was really cautious going into this book. I knew from the synopsis that it had the potential to be a book I really enjoyed.  I wanted to try and go in with as little expectations as possible and base my opinion of the book on what I thought, not what others around me thought of it.  That is easier said than done, however, as this book as many reviews, and not all of them are good.  I am really glad that I ignored the negative reviews and went in with a level head and no expectations.

The best part of this novel was hands down the world building.  Kristen Simmons managed to be thorough without it being overdone.  From the beginning of the novel, it was clear what the rules and customs of the world were.  There was never any confusion in understanding the world as I commonly have with dystopian and fantasy novels.  I also enjoyed some of the vagueness she left to some of the worldbuilding.  The reader is able to discern some of the technologies that might be what we have today, but they are described through Aya's perception and therefore does not give us an exact description.  They could be similar to what we have now or vastly different.  I found that this made the book more timeless as if this could be happening in our near future or possibly in a distant future.

I really enjoyed the characterization in this novel.  Aya was spunky and free-spirited.  She was not afraid to face danger if it meant helping those she loved.  She was a complete badass, and yet she was flawed.  She was bullheaded and impulsive.  She was real, she wasn't perfect, she made rash decisions and it did not always end up in her favor, but she did all she could, but she never stopped fighting to get herself and her family out of danger. It was not just Aya that I enjoyed.  I really enjoyed all the characters.  Kiran was a great love interest, who went out of his way to help Aya when it meant risking his own life and status in his community, Daphne, was one of my favorite supporting characters.  I couldn't stand her in the beginning but she had such a great character arc, I couldn't help but ending up liking her character.  I can't say much more as it would spoil part of the book on future readers, but her character ends up being one of my favorites.

One thing I really enjoyed this book was that I felt that it was more realistic than most other YA dystopian's.  Aya is not special or chosen.  She is a normal girl trying to live her life in a world that wants to confine her.  She isn't going out of her way to collapse a corrupt regime or to make the world a better place for all, she is trying to survive and remain free. For me I found this to be a much more realistic take on dystopian novels and I enjoyed it immensely.

While this is a young adult novel, I would not recommend it to the younger demographic of young adult readers. This book does contain themes of sexual and physical violence that I do not think may be appropriate for younger readers. But for those who are able to handle tough content such as what is in the novel, I think it would be a great read.  I really loved it, and would recommend it highly.

Friday, October 5, 2018

The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski

Image result for the wood by chelsea bobulskiAge Range: YA
Pages: 320
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: 1 August 2017
Genre: YA/Fantasy/ Supernatural/Time Travel

Rating: 3 Stars 

When Winter’s dad goes missing during his nightly patrol of the wood, it falls to her to patrol the time portals and protect the travelers who slip through them. Winter can't help but think there's more to her dad's disappearance than she's being told.

She soon finds a young man traveling in the wood named Henry who knows more than he should. He believes if they can work together to find his missing parents, they could discover the truth about Winter’s dad. 

The wood is poisoned, changing into something sinister—torturing travelers lost in it. Winter must put her trust in Henry in order to find the truth and those they’ve lost.

My Thoughts:

I bought this by impulse.  Seeing as this book was primarily a cover-buy, I did not have many expectations for this book.  I was just hoping for an engrossing read fantasy read that would help me with my reading slump.  Unfortunately, while it wasn't a bad book I was not as engrossing as I hoped it would be. 

Winter was actually a pretty good protagonist as far as YA protagonists go.  She was a character that was going through a lot.  She lost her dad, she was forced to carry a big responsibility at a very young age, and had to try and balance this responsibility with school and friendship. Despite all of this, I didn't find Winter to be melodramatic or whiny.  She seemed to have an overall a decent sense of responsibility and a decent amount of common sense.  She was by no means one of my favorite protagonists I have ever read, but I didn't find her annoying or blatantly unrealistic.  She reacted in ways that I would expect a teenaged reader would.

The real gem of this story was Henry.  He was by far my favorite character and really he was my favorite aspect of this whole book.  He was a total sweetheart and had such a great sense of humor.  I loved reading his dialog, as he had such formal way of speaking, and his lack of knowledge of the modern world was rather charming and made for a fun read.  More than anything he was so sweet and loyal to Winter. 10 out of 10, Henry was a great love interest.

The reason that this book only received three stars from me was due to the plot.  The plot was just overall lackluster for me.  I liked it, but I didn't love it.  I found the plot to be a little slow moving, and overall very predictable.  The story just didn't hook me like I hoped it would.  I went through much of the story enjoying it but waiting for something in the book to blow me away.  And by the end of the book, I was left, not hating it, but not loving it.

This book was an odd one for me because I would give the characters five stars, but the plot was a bit of a let down for me.  That is why I settled on three stars.  I figure it was a decent book overall, and I know that for the right reader, this book would be amazing, it simply, for me and my reading tastes, wasn't enough to wow me.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's topic is Author's that I would love to meet. I am going to change this prompt up a little bit, I am going to list authors that either I would like to meet, or wish I could meet, this includes authors that passed away and may have not been lived during my time.

Image result for s.e. hinton1) S.E. Hinton - If I had to pick one author to meet, it would be S.E. Hinton.  Her book, the Outsiders, was one of the first books that sparked my love for reading.  My mother gifted me a copy when I was young, and the rest was history.  I would love to be able to speak with her about her inspiration for her stories.

Image result for neal shusterman2) Neal Schusterman - Unwind by Neal Schusterman was my introduction into Young Adult Dystopian Literature.  I read it when I was in Highschool and loved it. His stories are dark and edgy and have a heavy meaning behind them, for this I would love to be able to speak with him about his works and the symbolism behind them.

Image result for louisa may alcott picture3) Louisa May Alcott - I have always found her to be inspiring.  She was a feminist and an abolitionist and served as a nurse during the Civil War until she became ill.  She also wrote my favorite book of all time, Little Women.  I always wanted to be like Jo when I was younger, and Jo was loosely based off of Louisa May Alcott.

Image result for rick riordan4) Rick Riordan - I LOVE his writing. He has a way of flawlessly weaving ancient myths into modern fiction, and I cannot get enough.  I would love to be able to meet him an discuss mythology.

Image result for laura ingalls wilder5) Laura Ingalls Wilder - I grew up listening to these stories.  My mother often read them to me.  When I was younger, I didn't quite comprehend that she was telling the story of her life, but I always felt very connected to the characters and the story.  I would love to have gotten to talk to her and learn more about her life. 

Image result for stephanie garber6) Stephanie Garber - I recently read her book Caraval, and I was blown away! I think she is such a talented author, I would love to meet her and tell her how much I enjoyed her book, and how talented I think she is.

Image result for L.J Smith7) L.J Smith - I loved her books as a teen.  I never thought it was fair that she got fired from her own series. The series sucked when the Ghost Writer took over.  I would love to talk to her and see what she is doing currently.

Image result for jane austen8) Jane Austin - She is by far one of the most talented authors I have read. I was not the biggest fan of her novels when I was young, but I think I had to grow up to realize just how complex and beautiful her novels were.  Today, I have read a good portion of her works and love many of them.   She has such great themes and symbolism in her novels.  I would have to have been able to talk to her.

Friday, September 28, 2018

The Revolution of Ivy by Amy Engel

Image result for the revolution of ivy book coverAge Range: Ya
Pages: 400
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Publication Date: 03 November 2015
Genre: Ya/Dystopian

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Ivy Westfall is beyond the fence and she is alone. Abandoned by her family and separated from Bishop Lattimer, Ivy must find a way to survive on her own in a land filled with countless dangers, both human and natural. She has traded a more civilized type of cruelty--forced marriages and murder plots--for the bare-knuckled brutality required to survive outside Westfall's borders.

But there is hope beyond the fence, as well. And when Bishop reappears in Ivy's life, she must decide if returning to Westfall to take a final stand for what she believes is right is worth losing everything she's fought for.

My Thoughts:

I was beyond excited to read the second half of this duology.  But I was also so nervous as to what would happen after the events of the first book.  I had no idea what events would transpire now that Ivy was beyond the fence; would she learn to adapt and trust others would she become hard and ruthless? I was almost scared to find out.  I think more than anything I was worried that this book wouldn't live up to my expectations, and boy the expectations were high.

I am glad to say that I truly did love reading the second half of the duology, though the first is still my favorite.😄  It was amazing to read Ivy's character arc and seeing just how much she overcame since the events of the first book. Her character is almost unrecognizable from the girl who was married off and was used as a pawn at the beginning of the Book of Ivy.  I  thoroughly enjoyed watching Ivy learn to love and to trust, to watch her build a family.

This book brought in some of my favorite characters: Ash and Caleb.  They were the family that Ivy should have always had.  They were kind and gentle and yet firm with Ivy when she needed it.  They gave her the love and the loyalty that she should have gotten from her family all along.  Ash was such a fun character to read, she was everything Ivy's sister should have been and wasn't. Her character was so willing to help Ivy and to protect those around her, and I loved her for that. Then there was Caleb, at first I thought he was going to be a love interest and that there was going to be a love triangle when Bishop showed up.  Thank goodness I was wrong, and Caleb remained a big brother figure to Ivy.  I really enjoyed Caleb as a character because he often came off as reserved and stoic, and yet it was easy for the reader to tell he was loyal to his family, which included Ivy.

Then there was the romance.  I don't think I have ever wanted to see two fictional people together more in my life.  Ivy and Bishop just deserve to be together and to be happy, if I got nothing else from this book I wanted that. Bishop is by far the best love interest I have read yet.  But I will admit the romance was pretty rocky for me.  Things were tense with Bishop and Ivy for a good portion of the book, which is to be expected.  However, it almost felt like it was dragging at times, there were points where I grew frustrated and annoyed with Ivy.  She was the one who "betrayed" Bishop and yet she spends most of the book being short and cross with him after he finds her.  It irritated me to no end, there were honestly times that I wanted to shake some sense into Ivy.  Thank goodness, their romance prevailed, and I was a happy reader by the end.

Overall, I really loved this duology and would recommend it to anyone.  Amy Engel crafted a wonderful story, that was gripping for me as a reader.  It truly has everything action, betrayal, survival, romance, and family.  I highly recommend the books they are worth the read.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by That Artsy Reader Girl

This weeks prompt is books by my favorite author that I have not yet read.  This is quite a good one for me, as I have a huge TBR list, and many of the books on said list are from my favorite authors.  The list isn't in any particular order.

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1) Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare - Honestly, I have quite a few of the Shadow Hunter novels that I need to read, but this is the one that jumps out at me the most as I have not even started this series as of yet.

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2) Rumble Fish By S.E. Hinton - S.E Hinton was one of my favorite author's and I have read most of her works, but the one I have not gotten around to reading is Rumble fish.

Image result for Legendary by stephanie garber
3) Legendary by Stephanie Garber - While I do not know If I would call Stephanie Garber one of my favorite authors, I did absolutely love  her book Caraval.  Legendary is very high on my TBR.

Image result for the lost hero by rick riordan
4) The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan - I loved the Percy Jackson series, and I was a big fan of the first book in the Kane Chronicles, but I have not gotten to many of his other series.  The Heroes of Olympus is one of the ones I really want to get to soon.

Image result for The Sword of summer
5) The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan - This is another book of Rick Riordan's that I have yet to read, but really want to.  I love the way that Riordan weaves mythology into his stories, and I am a  particularly curious to see his take on Norse Mythology.

Image result for Little Men bookImage result for Jo Boys
6 and 7) Little Men  and Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott- Little Women was one of my absolute favorite books growing up, and has remained a favorite of mine, and yet I have never read the rest of the series.

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8) An Urchan of Means by April White- April White wrote one of my favorite series ever, the Immortal Descendants, I am currently finishing up the series, and I hope to get to the companion series soon.

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9) The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engal - I just recently finished the Book of Ivy series, and I loved it. I really want to read the Roanoke Girls.

Image result for persuasion by jane austen
10) Persuasion by Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility are two of my favorite classics. I keep telling myself that I should read more of her works, but I never get around to it. I am hoping to get to Persuasion within the next year or so.