Sunday, March 31, 2013

Mailbox Monday

I received some great review books this week. I'm really excited to read these:

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

The Smart One by Jennifer Close

The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne

Flee, Fly, Flown by Janet Hepburn

The Best of Us by Sarah Pekkan

Lighthouse Bay by Kimberly Freeman

 

 

 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Kobo Arc Android Update (Review)



The Kobo Arc recently upgraded it's software to Jelly Bean. I'm really happy Kobo has kept their word and released the update. I'm usually skeptical of what Kobo promises. I'm really enjoying the update, I find the keyboard more responsive and I like the new notification center. One thing I don't like is that the time was moved to the upper corner, and no longer appears when you are reading in the Kobo app. I have to exit Kobo to look at the time. Also, the menu keys were off to the left, and are now centered. This took a few days to remember.

Previously I disabled the Discovery Bar because I hate Kobo's recommendations. The books that appear are ones I would never read, and don't understand why they would be selected for me. I'm not a romance reader... Also many of the books I own, and bought through Kobo appear. Once I updated the software, and disabled the Discovery option, apps suddenly wouldn't open. I tried to delete the shortcut to add a new one, but my screen went blank and started flashing over and over. Restarting it wouldn't work, I had to factory reset it. I didn't realize what the problem was until I did it a second time and the same thing happened. Eventually, I turned back on Discovery, and installed a launcher. I'm using the Apex Launcher Pro, and really liking it. I no longer have tapestries, but it doesn't really bother me. I have much more options now. Installing a launcher is very simple.

When I called Kobo about this flashing problem, they told me they know what it is and they would send me an email in 24 hours on how to fix it. I asked him why they couldn't just tell me how to fix it if it was known problem. He said that was their procedure. Not wanting to wait 24 hours, I factory restored it.

Before the update, original launcher, and Discovery was disabled. Even with it disabled, that black bar cannot be deleted.


This is the new launcher...not a good photo. I'll try to replace it later.I find it much cleaner and enjoyable to use.



Now, I'm waiting for the snapbacks to finally be available. It's been coming soon since the Kobo launched. I wonder if I will ever see them in stores.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Review: A Million Suns by Beth Revis





Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 400
Released: 2011
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4/5

**Book 2**

Synopsis:

A Million Suns picks up immediate after Across the Universe. It’s clear that the ship has been told lies over and over again. A lot has happened and the ship’s citizens are on the verge of rioting and chaos. People have decided to stop working, withhold food for those they don’t believe deserve it, and violence ensues. Elder has become Eldest, and he needs to figure out the best way to deal with his people. Elder wonders if taking them of phydus was a good choice. Every choice he makes has consequences. Meanwhile, Amy discovers that Orion has provided her with clues to secrets on the ship. The ship is in a state of decline physically, and the people are mentally suffering.

Review:

A Million Suns was every bit as action packed as Across the Universe. Readers dive back into Revis’ world and immediately become consumed with life on the ship. Amy was always in danger, and now more so. She’s the only different looking person on the ship, and as soon as her cryo chamber became unfrozen, life on the ship has changed. She’s now an even bigger target.

Elder decides that he doesn’t want anyone to refer to him as “eldest” but when he loses control of the ship, he struggles with figuring out how to be a leader. Elder and Amy are attracted to each other, but are very standoffish due to their current living conditions. Amy feels like Elder only has her as an option and she wants to believe that even with options, he would still choose her.

This year I planned to read more young adult, and this series has really helped me get back into the genre. The complicated world is complex and clearly laid out for readers. Revis does an amazing job with world building. I highly recommend this series.



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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mailbox Monday

Hi,

I thought I'd share my ebook review copies that I have on my tbr list.

 

Game by Barry Lyga

Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

Another Little Piece Kate Karyus Quinn

 

We Are Water by Wally Lamb

The Time of My Life by Celia Ahern

The Paradise Guest House by Ellen Sussman

The Originals by Cat Patrick

The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian

The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantyne

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

Nowhere but Home by Liza Palmer

 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Review: Parlor Games by Maryka Biaggio



Publisher: Doubleday
Released: 2013
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis:

May Dugas learned at a young age that she could easily get what she wanted from men. After her father passed away, she felt it was her duty to provide for her family. Her beauty could be used for her advantage, and help her dire situation. In Parlor Games, May Dugas provides readers with her side of the story during her extortion trial. May wanted more than her small town could provide, she had her heart set on living a large, high society life. After a brief stint as a prostitute, May moved on to bigger and better things, the many trinkets she received fueled her fire for the finer things in life. May had many obstacles in front of her, the life she wanted had many protocols and she didn’t fit the mold which singled her out. Along the way, men and friendships were sacrificed.  

Review:

Parlor Games begins with a bang, and keeps readers hanging on to the pages, wondering how May went about her everyday life and what she could have possibly done to find herself on trial. I really didn’t expect to root for May throughout the novel, but I did. This caused me to question May as a narrator, and how she could sweet-talk readers. Should I have been rooting for May? May was a determined and ruthless individual. She knew how to work her charm to get what she wanted; she wasn’t going to continue to live in poverty. The world was her oyster and she was going to find the hidden treasures. Many engagements later, May became a baroness. However, throughout the book the Pinkerton detective continues to find May and threaten to disclose her true identity.

Readers who are looking for a captivating read will want to pick this one up. The back a forth between the trail and May's accounts of her life, really adds to the story. May is not your usual character, and she will keep you glued to the pages. Based on a true story, Parlor Games delivers a fantastic setting. May Dugas is a charming criminal who will have you on her side and questioning how you could go along with her scheming ideas.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Review: Return to Me by Justina Chen



Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Released: 2013
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis:

Rebecca is ready to set out on her own; she’s preparing to attend Columbia University to study architecture. Her future is bright, and she has it all figured out. She intends to join the family business once she graduates; it’s practically set in stone. Everything is falling into place, until her mother announces that everyone is moving with her. Her A-typical mother has everything scheduled, and organized. Lists upon lists have been made. Their family home will be sold, her father will start a new job, and everyone will be together. Rebecca is shocked, and heartbroken. Not only is she leaving her boyfriend behind, she won’t have a home to come back and visit him. Her father tells her that some relationships are worth the fight, but Rebecca soon learns that her father had his own reasons for making that statement. Her life is hit with one storm after another.

Review:

Return to Me was by first read by Justina Chen. I enjoy the plot and thought it was an emotional read. Rebecca has a lot on her plate and her overbearing and protective mother isn’t helping the situation. It’s one thing to go to college, it’s another to sell the only home she’s ever known, everything is happening at the same time for Rebecca. Her father’s secret is revealed and her mother crumbles. Rebecca doesn’t know what to do, who to trust or how to make everything go back to normal.

Chen introduces her readers to flawed characters. There’s no clear cut good or bad person in this book. Everyone reacts for their own reason. Initially her mother seems too controlling but when she finds out her husband has been keeping big secrets, her walls begin to come down. Her trust self begins to emerge. Rebecca begins to question her life plans, and wonders if she’s looking to please herself or those around her. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mailbox Monday (Review Books)

I received some great review books this week. I'm really excited about all of them:

Heart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany

The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls

Swimming at Night by Lucy Clark

The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantyne

Children of Liberty by Paulina Simons

 

Happy reading!

 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Google Reader Retiring




Hi everyone,

I'm sure you've heard that Google Reader is retiring. We'll be forced to follow blogs through other services. I'm going to look into other options, I'm not sure what's the best one for me yet. I'm really disappointed with Google Reader. I feel like Google products are really unreliable lately. Feedburner seems to be the next to go. I'm questioning if staying with Blogger is a good choice. At this point, I just don't trust them. I'm not ready to move my blog, I just moved it from Iwebs when Apple retired that platform.

I do have Bloglovin, and I'm going to be using it in the meantime while I check out what others are using.

If you want to follow through Bloglovin:

Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Review: Firefly by Lisa Wingate



Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Released: 2013
Pages: 384
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

In a short period of time, Mallory finds herself married, a step-mother to a three year old boy, and giving up her dream job to move to Texas. She met Daniel while working, and they had an instant connection. Their relationship was just starting when Daniel was offered a great job in Texas, and he asked Mallory to marry him. Afraid to lose Daniel and regret never giving them a change, Mallory takes a leap of faith, and follows her heart. Her world completely changes, she loves Daniel and she adores Nick. It’s clear early on, that Mallory has a lot of learn about her new husband, and adjusting to life in Texas. Texas has its own secrets, and Daniel’s boss does not sit well with Mallory.

Mallory is both thrilled and scared to move with Daniel. As soon as they reach their ranch house, their relationship is put to the test. Their home has been neglected and infested with creepy crawlers of all kinds. Mallory is completely out of her element, and not afraid to speak up which causes a strain on the relationship. Daniel throws himself into his new job, leaving Mallory to deal with the home situation and Nick by herself. Temper tantrums and full-time parenting adds to the stress of Mallory’s day.

Review:

Firefly Island was a great read, the characters were great. I was able to relate to Mallory and understand her fears and frustrations. She undoubtedly loved Daniel, but needed to learn how to build their relationship. Mallory began to feel closed off from everyone, but took it upon herself to reach out to the community. Eventually Mallory began to feel that she was living the life God had planned for her.

Firefly Island is a Christian Fiction read, and it did become more preachy towards the end. If you don’t like that sort of thing, it might be a turn off but I didn’t feel like it was over done or hindered the book in any way. I thought the book was a fast, fun and enjoyable read. I didn’t realize but this is the third book in the series, it seems like each book can easily be read on its own. I will be adding the other books to my wish list. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Review: The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers



Publisher: Atria
Released: 2013
Pages: 336
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis:

One affair changed the lives of three women. Tia fell in love with a man that was already married. Their affair was wonderful until she told him she was pregnant. His reaction was not what she wanted, and never what she would have expected. Tia decided not to be a single parent and she gave her daughter up for adoption. Caroline, a dedicated pathologist never really saw herself as a mother and was quiet relieved to find out she couldn’t have children. When her husband brought up adoption, she agreed but worried that she wasn’t the motherly type. Juliette was shocked to find out that her husband had an affair. She chose to try and forget and move on, she pushed away her emotions and focused on her family. She thought she was over the affair, until she opens a letter that mentions her husband’s daughter.

Review:

The Comfort of Lies was an interesting read but it was very unsettling. It left me wondering if I really enjoyed the book or not. I didn’t like either of the women. Tia knew she would regret giving her daughter up, and I never got the feeling that she did it for her daughter, she did it for herself. She didn’t want to deal with the affair anymore. When Juliette finds out about the little girl she becomes obsessed. The little girl looks just like her husband, and her youngest son. She intercepted the letter from her husband and chose not to tell him for months while she looked into the situation by herself.. Her behaviors seemed very over the top for me. Caroline is a workaholic, and she drove me crazy. She seemed very distant from her daughter, and didn’t want to be bothered.

I decided that I did like the book, but not the characters. If you have trouble enjoying books with unlikable characters this one might be a tough read, as it was for me. The story is a complex, multi-narrator, character driven novel. I think this one is worth the read, it will keep you thinking. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman



Publisher: Speak
Released: 2009
Pages: 213
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

Seventeen year-old Mia was home from school due to a snow day, snow that barely covered the ground, but still warranted a school closer because the town wasn’t ready for snow. Her parents told the kids they were going out, and to jump in the car. One minute they were negotiating the music in the car and the next, they were in a horrific car accident. Mia was the only one who survived, and she’s barely hanging on. Stuck in a coma, but viewing life around her, Mia is trying to decide if it’s worth staying or should she just go with her family.

Review:

If I Stay was heartbreaking and beautiful. Mia’s story will remain with readers, and have readers questioning what should Mia do. This was my first Gayle Forman book, and I’m happy to know what all the fuss was about. She is amazing! If I Stay could easily be read in one sitting, I had such a hard time putting the book down to go to bed. Forman does an excellent job showing Mia’s present and past situation. Readers really get the sense that she had loving parents, a cute little brother and a boyfriend that was comfortable with the family. Mia is on the verge of Julliard and figuring out her life, she can’t imagine not having her family. The hospital is filled with her grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Mia knows they want her to pull through, she knows her mother would want her to get better, but her grandfather gives her the permission to make her choice.

If I Stay is a must read. It’s a great contemporary young adult read. I can’t wait to read Gayle Forman’s other books. It's really easy for readers to put themselves in Mia's shoes.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mailbox Monday

I received two review books this week. I've been trying to hold off from buying Ebooks. I've been using Netgalley and Edelweiss a lot more since I got my Kobo Arc. I have no problems reading PDFs, which is great.

Bloom by Kelle Hamptoom

Gossip by Beth Gutcheon

 

I'm currently reading:

The Last Summer by Judith Kinghorn

 

 

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Month in Review: February


February was another great reading month for me. I've been keeping up with my reading pace, and finding great books to read. I'm over winter at this point, and I can't wait for spring/summer. This month I read a mix of books, which is usual for me. I've been trying to read more YA books, and get out of the slump I was in. It's been working, and I'd like to explore more contemporary and historical fiction young adult books. 


15. The Secret of the Nightingale Palace by Dana Sachs
16. Scarlet by Melissa Meyer
17. The Ruining by Anna Collomore
18. A Million Suns by Beth Revis
19. Out of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys
20. The House Girl by Tara Conklin
21. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
22. Return to Me by Justina Chen
23. The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers
24. True by Hilary Duff
25. Firefly Island by Lisa Wingate


My favorite books read this month would be: Scarlet, Out of the Easy, If I Stay


Goodreads Challenge: 25 of 100 books read

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Review: Barely Breathing by Rebecca Donovan





Publisher: Amazon Digital Services ( To Be Released by Penguin UK)
Released: 2013
Pages: 421
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

**Warning: Book 2 in series**

**If you don’t want spoilers, skips the synopsis**

Synopsis:

Emma’s struggle, living in an abusive home comes to a breath taking conclusion in Reason to Breath. Readers were left wondering what happened to Emma. Emma is taken out of her home, and everyone knows her aunt tried to kill her. Her distant and alcoholic mother has agree to allow her to move in with her. Emma isn’t convinced that her mother is clean, but she has nowhere else to go. Emma’s life spirals out of control when her mother shows her true signs. Emma’s been leaning on her mother’s boyfriend for support. Her own boyfriend has been very supportive, but she can’t open up to him. Emma’s life is not normal, she’s the gossip of the school and she can’t wait to graduate and move away to university.

Review:

I really don’t want to give away too many spoilers, but I love this series! Reason to Breath was amazing, and Barely Breathing was just as suspenseful and captivating. I can’t wait to read book three. I don’t think these books have been released in the US/Canada but I was able to get the books on Amazon. I highly recommend them! If you like Gone Girl, and suspenseful thrillers, these books are for you. 

*Spoilers*

Emma is a very interesting, likable character. Her aunt was abusive and she didn't want her cousins to loose their mother, so she refused to tell anyone. When her aunt choke her to unconsciousness and beat her, she was rushed to the hospital and the story came out. Now she feels like everyone is watching her, and talking about her. When she asked her mother to move in, and her mother agreed, both of them nervous to live together. Her mother claimed she was clean, but Emma realized soon after that this was not the case. Emma tries to deal with the situation, knowing that she'll graduate soon enough and finally be on her own. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Review: Heart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany



Publisher: Washington Square Press
Released: 2013 (March)
Pages: 384
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

Grace McAllister is thirty six and lives a fulfilling life working for a non-profit organization that helps homeless mothers. When her boyfriend, Victor proposes she thinks her life is on the right path.  She never felt the desire to have children, but Victor has two children from a previous relationship. The children don’t visit, except for weekends and Grace has been adjusting. Victor’s ex-wife has been difficult and very emotional. Victor’s thirteen year-old daughter Ava has been very reluctant to accept Grace. Her younger brother has transitioned very well, which annoys Ava. Grace and Victor are nervous about telling the children about their engagement. Before they have a chance to break the news, Victor’s ex-wife Kelli mysteriously dies. The children are distraught, and Grace needs to figure out how to support Victor and decide if becoming a full-time mom is something that she wants.

Review:

Heart Like Mine is narrated by Grace and Ava, with flashbacks that give a glimpse into Kelli’s troubled past. Everyone is emotional, and trying to figure out where to go from here. Ava feels guilty, she knows her mother wasn’t feeling well when she left for school but she walked out the door and didn’t do anything. Victor also has guilt, Kelli was a huge part of his life. He knows the divorce was not a mistake, and he loves Grace but maybe he could have done something to help Kelli. He feels bad for his children and doesn’t know how to incorporate Grace as a co-parent.

Grace really struggles with the situation. She never wanted children, having step-children was difficult to comprehend at first, but she never thought it would be a full-time role. She wants to help Victor, but doesn’t know if she’s ready. At the same time, he doesn’t seem to want her to jump into the role. She feels like she’s losing him, and her world is nothing like she imagined. Ava wants nothing to do with Grace, which puts further strain on her situation.

Amy Hatvany is an incredible writer. I’ve loved each and every one of her novels. I don’t know if I could even pick a favorite one. She’s written about an alcoholic mother, a mentally ill father, and a sister with disabilities. Her books are emotionally compelling. You can’t help but feel like you’re in the characters shoes. I highly recommend her books, and keep an eye out for this one since it is released in March.

Review: February by Lisa Moore



Publisher: House of Anansi
Released: 2011
Pages: 321
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

In 1982 Helen O’Mara lost her husband, when the oil rig he was working on sank off the coast of New Foundland. All eighty-four men aboard were declared dead. Helen was left to care for her young children alone, pregnant with a baby who would never know his or her father. Helen struggles with money and loneliness. Helen is now fifty-eight, and still living with the after effects of her husband’s death. Her oldest son John has called her from the other side of the world and tells his mother that he’s going to be a father. The girl was a one night stand, and he doesn’t know much about her.

Review:

February shifts time and viewpoints to give the readers a full glimpse of the past and present issues. Helen is a likable character, she’s struggled through tough times, she’s raised her children and now she still wants to be there for them, during their difficult times. When she reminisces about the night her husband passes, reader’s hearts will break. Moore doesn’t spare readers the emotions. Helen has fought to deal with her grief and keep her life in control. Her son, John has stayed away from relationships and kept himself free to do as he pleases. When he discovers that he will be a father, he struggles to come to terms with his new life. He’s determined to help the mother has much as he can, but he doesn’t have her phone number, and he was not supportive when she first broke the news to him.

I really enjoyed February, and it has won the Canada Reads 2013 book battle. My only issue with the book was the lack of dialogue. The story is not told in a linear way, Moore gives readers snipes of life events. If you’re looking for a good Canadian book to read, this one is worth the time. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer



Publisher: MacMillan
Released: 2013
Pages: 464
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4/5

***Warning- Second book in the series***

Review of Cinder

Synopsis:

In Scarlet, the second book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder is trying to break out of prison. She understands that her chances of survival are slim; she’ll be the commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. Cinder has the ability to use her lunar ability to glamour those around her, but her skills are new and limited. She doesn’t want people to fear her, and she doesn’t want to be discovered as the lost Princess Selene. Her own aunt, tried to kill her once and she knows she will attempt it again, if given the chance.

Scarlet Benoit begins to play an important role in the Lunar chronicles. He grandmother is missing, and no one seems to believe her that foul play is involved. Her grandmother would never run off. Scarlet meets Wolf, a street fighter who offers Scarlet some information.

Review:

I really enjoyed the second book in the series, it took me awhile to understand how Scarlet would play into the novel. Her grandmother has been keeping a lot of secrets, which Scarlet and Cinder separately begin to unravel. Scarlet is action packed, and the new characters are really interesting. Scarlet loves her grandmother, and desperately wants to find her. She’s willing to risk her own life, and the only clues she has about her grandmother’s whereabouts come from her alcoholic father.

Meyer is great with world building, readers dive right back into her futuristic Cinderella retelling. The classic tales are the backbone to the story, but Meyer story is original and refreshing. The only reason why I didn’t give this book five stars is because it’s the middle of the series and I have a lot of questions. I believe two more books are scheduled for the series. If you enjoyed the first book, you’ll love this one as well. Highly recommending for young adult fans. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Mailbox Monday

I received some great review books this week.

Someday Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

Game by Barry Lyga

Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown

Truth or Dare by Jacqueline Green

Barely Breathing by Rebecca Donovan

The Originals by Cat Patrick

 

Happy reading!

 

 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Review: Kobo Mini






When I bought my Kobo Arc, it came with a free Kobo Mini. The Mini is an eink reader, with a smaller screen. The 5 “ screen seems small, but I was able to get comfortable with it, fairly quickly. If you’re familiar with the Kobo Touch, it is the same, just a bit smaller. The battery is great, it’s syncs very easy, and has the same user-friendly interface.

I do like the idea of interchangeable backs. I love accessories and I think this is a great customizable feature. I’m still waiting for the Kobo Arc, snapback’s to become available. Kobo has been selling a book-style case for the Mini, and I’m hoping they will launch a sleeve line. It’s so small, I think a sleeve would be great to out in your bag.

I think the Mini is a great option for someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money on an eink reader. It’s 79$ and comes on sale often. I can see myself using this one at the beach, as a backup reader. (I have a Kobo Glo, and Kobo Arc) It’s also great because it’s so small, and can fit in a smaller bag. If you have a tablet, but you plan to do some outdoor reading, I think this is the perfect companion. The Kobo Mini would be a great eink reader for someone who just wants a smaller devise, or someone who doesn't want to invest a lot of money in a new reader.

If you have any questions about this reader, or Kobo in general- feel free to reach out to me.