Monday, December 15, 2014

Best Laid Plans

Well, I did manage to finish "Alisa Hook" Friday.  I really had to as it was overdue and I needed to get it back to the library the following morning.  I had a book on hold and couldn't check it out with one overdue.  My library is awesome and does not impose fines until after 28 days late and I came nowhere near that.  So Saturday night, I sat down to read, finally glad that Hook was finally out of my life and what did I pick up off my recent TBR post - ABSOLUTLEY NOTHING!  Totally started an impulse read but I finished it the same night so I guess I didn't mess up my reading plans too much.  Anyways, here are a couple of reviews:

TITLE: Alias Hook
AUTHOR: Lisa Jensen
PUBLISHER: Thomas Dunne Books
RELEASE DATE :July 8, 2014 (OUT NOW)

FROM GOODREADS: "Every child knows how the story ends. The wicked pirate captain is flung overboard, caught in the jaws of the monster crocodile who drags him down to a watery grave. But it was not yet my time to die. It's my fate to be trapped here forever, in a nightmare of childhood fancy, with that infernal, eternal boy."

Meet Captain James Benjamin Hook, a witty, educated Restoration-era privateer cursed to play villain to a pack of malicious little boys in a pointless war that never ends. But everything changes when Stella Parrish, a forbidden grown woman, dreams her way to the Neverland in defiance of Pan’s rules. From the glamour of the Fairy Revels, to the secret ceremonies of the First Tribes, to the mysterious underwater temple beneath the Mermaid Lagoon, the magical forces of the Neverland open up for Stella as they never have for Hook. And in the pirate captain himself, she begins to see someone far more complex than the storybook villain.

With Stella’s knowledge of folk and fairy tales, she might be Hook’s last chance for redemption and release if they can break his curse before Pan and his warrior boys hunt her down and drag Hook back to their neverending game. Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen is a beautifully and romantically written adult fairy tale.

This book took much longer for me to read than anticipated. Although, looking back, I should have known. I never have much luck with fairies. Now I know neither Captain Hook nor Peter Pan are fairies, but there are enough of them running around in this book that it should have been a sign.

I have never enjoyed the story of Peter much so I can say I have never watched it or read it. The only thing I know of Peter Pan comes from "Once Upon a Time" and going along with my fairy curse, that's about when I stopped watching it and I realize now I can blame him for having 25 episodes on my DVR waiting to be watched.

Ok, the book. I have a love/hate relationship with the book. Parts of it I really enjoyed, and parts I almost had to skim in order to complete. I enjoyed learning more about Captain Hook. It was nice to see him come full circle in the book and earn some kind of redemption. Jensen did a great job of making Hook seem humane and misunderstood, and perhaps he was. The ending was great and overall, I am glad that I read it. However, I am also glad I borrowed it from my library because I was sick of looking at that beautiful cover by the time I was finished. If you like action/adventure or anything related to Peter Pan, this book might be for you.


TITLE: Anya's Ghost
AUTHOR: Vera Brosgol
PUBLISHER: First Second
RELEASE DATE: June 7, 2011 (OUT NOW)

FROM GOODREADS: Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn't kidding about the "Forever" part.
Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century.
Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya's normal life might actually be worse. She's embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she's pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs.
Or so she thinks. Spooky, sardonic, and secretly sincere, Anya's Ghost is a wonderfully entertaining debut from author/artist Vera Brosgol.

I absolutely loved this book. First of all, the artwork. This graphic novel is done entirely in shades of black, and this beautiful grayish-purple. The colors so suit the mood of the book that I don't think it could have been done any better at all. Anya is so much like an average teenager. She is only one of two kids of Russian descent stuck in a private prep school and as you can imagine, she is miserable. She falls down a hole one day and meets up with a ghost. She initially sees this ghost as her new best friend, but alas, an evil twist awaits.

I love the characters in this book. Anya is a brat in some ways, and treats poor Dima horribly at first, but then, weren't we all brats in high school at one point or another? Siobhan is a great friend. She tells things like they are and is not afraid to tell Anya the truth, when others want to sugarcoat things.

This book is a tad more scary and creepy than expected, but I love scary and creepy. I read it in one evening, only taking a break to watch a movie with the family and then going right back into it and staying up until midnight to complete it. Brosgol has high school down pat and I could easily remember the horrors of gym class right along with Anya. Read!

And on a side note, is it me or does the ghost on the cover, hidden in Anya's hair, remind anyone else of the girl from the Frosty the Snowman cartoon?


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Being held hostage by Captain Hook

I have too many books which I want to finish before everyone starts shouting "HAPPY NEW YEAR" but currently I am being held hostage by Captain Hook, or to be specific -

I am having a love/hate relationship with this book, but it does look like it will not go into the hall of fame as a DNR.  Hopefully it will be finished tonight so I can move on.  Below is my TBR stack. Some need returned to the library soon, and some are holiday reads.

In addition to these,  there are several which are not shown.  I have My True Love Gave To Me, somewhere in the house but couldn't locate it for this shot, Paw Enforcement which is on my kindle, and The Rogue Knight.  Even with vacation I doubt they will get done as I have spent 2 weeks trying to gather some kind of sympathy for Captain Hook.  Hopefully I will have a review up this week.

PS - Booker T said to tell everyone hi - he is busy working on his Christmas list.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

House Broken

TITLE: House Broken
AUTHOR: Sonja Yoerg
RELEASE DATE: January 6, 2015

FROM GOODREADS: In this compelling and poignant debut novel, a woman skilled at caring for animals must learn to mend the broken relationships in her family.…

For veterinarian Geneva Novak, animals can be easier to understand than people. They’re also easier to forgive. But when her mother, Helen, is injured in a vodka-fueled accident, it’s up to Geneva to give her the care she needs.

Since her teens, Geneva has kept her self-destructive mother at arm’s length. Now, with two slippery teenagers of her own at home, the last thing she wants is to add Helen to the mix. But Geneva’s husband convinces her that letting Helen live with them could be her golden chance to repair their relationship.

Geneva isn’t expecting her mother to change anytime soon, but she may finally get answers to the questions she’s been asking for so long. As the truth about her family unfolds, however, Geneva may find secrets too painful to bear and too terrible to forgive.

I received this book from Penguin First to Read and I thank them for the opportunity to read an advanced copy. This book wasn't really what I expected. I think I felt it would be a light-hearted contemporary and have some cute dogs in it - I mean, look at that cover. Of course, I can blame myself because I apparently didn't pay close attention to the synopsis. That being said, I am glad I didn't and truly enjoyed this novel.

This book is family dysfunction at its best. But not comical family dysfunction, dark and severely messed up dysfunction. Geneva clearly had a crazy childhood and it is a wonder she grew up and is as successful as she is. But Geneva got off lucky, because some of her family had it rougher than her.

I enjoyed getting to know the characters. None of them are extremely likable, and it takes some time to get used to Geneva's alcoholic mother, Helen. The book is told from duel perspectives which works extremely well for the story being told. There ARE some animals in it because after all, Geneva is a vet. The author did a great job of introducing a few dogs which end up mirroring characters in the book. It is a subtle symbolism, but it is there.

I am glad I picked up this book and I recommend it to anyone who is in the mood for a well written novel about families and all their goodness and badness. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

I want to thank Jenn...and Cherie Priest.

Jenn over at Jenn's Bookshelves hosted the Thankfully Reading event over Thanksgiving and also provided a give-away for the participants and I can't believe I won.  She asked for the book we were most Thankful this year and since I loved Maplecroft, I chose it.  I was randomly picked and   now a beautiful hand-made book necklace from Melody's etsy shop.

I will post a picture as soon as it arrives and thanks again Jenn!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Breakfast Club anyone?

Just wanted to post a quick review of one book I finished during Thankfully Reading.  This was an ARC which comes out next week and I think people should grab it up for the holidays!

TITLE:  Top Ten Clues You're Clueless
AUTHOR: Liz Czukas
PUBLISHER: Harper Teen
RELEASE DATE: December 9, 2014

FROM GOODREADS: Top Five Things That Are Ruining Chloe’s Day

5) Working the 6:30 a.m. shift at GoodFoods Market

4) Crashing a cart into a customer’s car right in front of her snarky coworker Sammi

3) Trying to rock the “drowned rat” look after being caught in a snowstorm

2) Making zero progress with her crush, Tyson (see #3)

1) Being accused—along with her fellow teenage employees—of stealing upwards of $10,000

Chloe would rather be anywhere than locked in work jail (aka the break room) with five of her coworkers . . . even if one of them is Tyson. But if they can band together to clear their names, what looks like a total disaster might just make Chloe’s list of Top Ten Best Moments.

MY THOUGHTS: Top 3 reasons I enjoyed this book:

1. A lot of diversity among the characters - different ages, different nationalities, different backgrounds and home life.
2. The lists! They were great - snarky, applicable to the chapters and interesting to read.
3. The Breakfast club feel. Come on, I was a child of the 80's and loved the brat pack.

This book and its characters were so likable. It takes place in a grocery store on Christmas Eve and I do believe I picked the perfect time of year to read it. The plot is fast paced and while it was somewhat predictable, there were just some elements the reader never sees coming. The one element is didn't necessarily like is Chloe's medical issue - diabetes. I feel so many YA novels are throwing in illness now as it is the "in" thing to do. However, in this book, the illness is not overdone and is not the main plot of the storyline, more like a side note.

I am pleased I received an advanced copy of this book and really think the author hit this one out of the park.

Top Reasons You Should Read This:
1. Because it is perfect for the holiday season.
2. Because you just might love it as much as I did.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Thankfully Reading Wrap up

Just a quick post wrapping up my reading holiday.  I want to thank Jenn for hosting this event as it was much less stressful than trying to shop.  I managed to read two books - and ARC of House Broken by Sonja Yoerg and an ARC of Top Ten Clues You're Clueless by Liz Czukas.  I am about 100 pages in Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen (and I have to admit I am struggling) and I read the first chapter of Paw Enforcement by Diane Kelly.  Hope to do a better November wrap up and some reviews later this week.