Monday, August 18, 2014

Kindle Giveaway at I Am A Reader!!!

Hey everyone!

Have you all heard the news? There is an awesome giveaway taking place over at I Am A Reader! This isn't just some ordinary giveaway that we are talking about's for a Kindle Fire!!!

Are e-readers not your thing? Don't despair! You have the option to choose a $229 Amazon gift card!
Is Amazon not your favorite website? Don't fret! You also have the option to choose a $229 PayPal gift card!

However, that's not the best part of this giveaway. The best part's an international giveaway! Folks from all over the world are welcome to stop on by and enter!

Have I caught your attention? Then click on the link below and check it out!

May the odds be ever in your favor!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Review: Tallas by Cathrina Constantine

* I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. *

In the not-so-distant future, the world has been ravaged by war, famine, and disease. The world now consists of vast amounts of wilderness that is filled to the brim with fierce, terrifying beasts. In the midst of the darkened wilds, a bright light exists in the form of Tallas, the last remnant of human civilization. People in Tallas are happy, healthy, and have a bright future filled with prosperity and hope. At least, that's what they want you to think. Doogan, Keeyla, and Fabal, members of an influential family in Tallas, face an unbearable choice: stay in Tallas and allow Fabal's fate to hang in jeopardy or escape into the uncertain wilderness.

Tallas is by and far a wonderful dystopian novel. It is filled with action and adventure. Unexpected plot twists and betrayals fill each and every page. Additionally, Ms. Constantine's world-building is spot-on. Through her descriptions, I was able to create a mental picture of not only the scenery but the characters as well. I also enjoyed how well she was able to create an atmosphere. Whenever the characters were despairing, I was despairing; when the characters were jumping for joy, I was celebrating with them as well.

However, I do have one minor gripe with this book. Throughout each chapter, the POV changed hands multiple times. Although this wasn't so problematic during smaller chapters, it became so during longer chapters. It became difficult to keep track of which storyline I was reading about, especially whenever I had to step away from the book for a moment or two.

Overall, Tallas is an enjoyable book suitable for anyone who loves dystopian novels or a good adventure story.

4/5 Stars

Review: Gift by Andrea Buchanan

* I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review from NetGalley. *

Daisy is a typical high school sophomore...with a secret. She struggles to fit in amongst her peers and has more high school transfers than she cares to count. She thinks that life can't get any weirder. However, once she crosses paths with Vivi, the school loner, things will never be the same.

I really enjoyed this book. Ghost stories are kind of a hit or miss deal with me. Either they are well done or they lack a sensible plot. Gift, however, is a hit with me. The plot is strong; the characters have a lot of growth and change; and the paranormal element is handled beautifully. While ghost stories have a tendency to be slightly cheesy, Ms. Buchanan crafted a tale that was both believable and at times truly frightening.

I highly recommend this book to those who love paranormal books.

5/5 Stars

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Review: The Life of Corgnelius and Stumphrey

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the GoodReads First Reads program. *

Corgnelius is just your average, ordinary Corgi...who is the star of a hit Internet blog and is featured on several social media pages as well. His life is typical of many dogs- trips to the dog park, playing with toys, swimming, and receiving his owner's undivided attention. However, his world turned upside down when his little brother Stumphrey came into the picture. No longer was Corgnelius "top dog" in the house; instead, he had to share the spotlight. Over time, there were many power struggles between the two. In the end, they came to love one another and bonded with each other.

Going into this book, I had no idea about their Internet fame. With that being said, I can definitely tell why these dogs are a hit online. They are extremely photogenic. Their personalities seem to jump out at you from their photos. In addition, their owner (Susie Brooks) has a gift with words and connects the reader with the dogs marvelously.

I highly recommend this book for not only fans of the blog, but dog lovers and children as well.

5/5 Stars

Monday, August 11, 2014

Digital Me Review

* I received this book in exchange for a honest review. *

Megan and Sara are high school students with two totally different mindsets. Megan is the rational technophobe and Sara is a smart but reckless social networking fanatic. Although their viewpoints differ drastically, they manage to keep their friendship alive and thriving...until Digital Me, a fictional version of Facebook, allows users under the age of 18 to join its ranks. With that small change in policy, the girls' friendship takes a drastic turn that neither of them expected.

This book was an okay read for me. It wasn't necessarily bad, but it wasn't the greatest book that I've read either. Besides some basic grammatical issues, it suffered from a few issues. The main issue that I had trouble with was that it lacked an identity. In some parts of the book, it seemed as though it would be perfect for a middle grade audience but in others the plot would be way too mature for middle graders to understand. A secondary issue that I had was with "plot holes". There were several plot lines that were not wrapped up by the end of the novel. Additionally, the plot had a tendency to change very rapidly without warning. One minute, the plot would be revolving around Sara and in the next paragraph the plot would focus on Megan with little to no transition. Although an older reader would not have an issue with following the plot, younger readers would struggle to follow along,

With that being said, I give the author huge credit for tackling an important message. Given the prevalence of social media in our daily lives, it's necessary to examine the consequences of too much social networking. This novel could provide valuable discussion material for a parent to use when talking about social media with their children.

Overall, I recommend this book to younger audiences who have good reading comprehension skills and to parents looking for helpful tools to use to discuss the dangers of social networking. 

3/5 Stars

Crossing the Ice Review

* I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. *

Let me preface this review by saying that I'm not a huge fan of sports novels. I've never been the athletic type so it's hard for me to relate to the characters, which makes it hard for me to enjoy reading that genre of books. On the other side of the coin, I am a *huge* fan of figure skating. When I was younger, my mom and I watched figure skating specials on TV every year and enjoyed rooting for our favorite skaters. As I went into this book, I wasn't sure what to expect and whether or not I would like it.

I loved it. For a New Adult book, Crossing the Ice was very classy. Unlike quite a few books in the genre, it brought the heat between the two characters without crossing into a sauna-like atmosphere. Although I do enjoy books with that sort of atmosphere, it's nice to have a break from it every once in a while. Since the romance remains relatively PG-13 throughout, this book would be a strong recommendation for teens looking to branch out into New Adult literature who may not be ready for strong sexual content. With that being said, the romance remains mature enough to retain the interest of older readers as well.

Another aspect that I deeply enjoyed about Crossing the Ice was that this book wasn't just meant for sports fans. Although figure skating remains a pre-dominant force within this novel, it isn't the "be-all, end-all" theme. It covers a wide variety of topics, ranging from personal identity to sacrifice to the definition of a family. Additionally, Ms. Cormeaux takes the time to explain what popular figure skating terms mean and how they apply to both informal situations and formal ones. This step is crucial to readers who do not necessarily have a background knowledge of the sport.

Overall, I highly recommend this novel and will definitely be re-reading it in the future!

5/5 Stars

Fifty Shades Freed Review

This book...what can I say? I must admit that it took me longer to read this book than the other two in the series. It wasn't because this book was horrible- it's far from that- but because I wasn't ready for this series to end yet. As this novel grew closer to its closing remarks, I found myself truly identifying with the characters and felt them becoming almost like dear friends.

Although this novel wasn't the most well written piece of literature in the world, the point becomes moot when one takes into consideration the fact that Ms. James gave us one of the most important gifts that an author can give- character growth. As the series progressed from one book to the next, I will admit that I found myself frustrated at Christian and Ana's antics. Their refusal to change at times aggravated me, especially when certain arguments or situations could have been avoided by doing so. Over time, though, I realized that Ms. James was making a point about the delicacy of human relationships. Personality change, in reality, just doesn't happen instantaneously- and we shouldn't expect characters in works of literature to change at the drop of a hat either. As readers, we often have a tendency to become psychologists, believing that if characters behaved in an x way, then y wouldn't happen. However, it is important to realize that time, not force, fixes what ails a character and it's necessary for them to grow at their own pace.

Prior to reading this, I never would I have thought that a piece of erotic literature would have changed how I thought about the very core of human personalities and relationships. To Ms. James, I say this- well done and thank you. 

Wheels Up Review

I received this book from the GoodReads First Reads program in exchange for an honest review. 

Normally, I'm not a big fan of non-fiction novels. As a whole, I love history and anything to do with it. However, it is hard to find books that are written in such a way that make history fun to read about. With that being said, Wheels Up is not one of those novels.

Taylor's renditions of his epic career, from The Citadel to his retirement from Delta Airlines, are just as moving as they are fascinating. He presents many life lessons in a way that are easy to understand and thought provoking. Additionally, his insight on topics ranging from the Vietnam War to the rise of the airline industry is phenomenal.

Most notably, Taylor was able to convey his adventures in a way that made sense. Although flying an airplane is known to be beyond difficult, his explanations of serious aviation topics made it seem as simple as baking a cake. As a result, this makes for an easier and much more enjoyable reading experience.

Overall. I truly loved this book and highly recommend this book to anyone.

Fifty Shades Darker Review

*takes a deep breath*

Okay, I will admit it. With the first book being as good as it was, I was not expecting this book to be that good. Given the fact that this book is in the middle of a trilogy, I was fully prepared for it to suffer from "middle book syndrome".

With that being said...this book is amazing . Ms. James went above and beyond my expectations with this novel. Unlike most trilogies, this middle book provided an immense amount of character development and story progression. It was phenomenal to see Christian and Ana go through so much development. During intense plot points, I was almost in tears because I was in absolute awe at how human these characters had become.

Additionally, Ms. James did an incredible job with dealing with difficult concepts in this book, such as suicide, stalking, and severe childhood trauma. While some authors have a tendency to mention these topics but just sweep them up under a proverbial rug or try to "neatly" sort them out, she dealt with them head-on but in a sincere matter.

Overall, I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars and will definitely re-read it in the future!

The Silent Wife Review

After spending some time pondering about this book, I would have to say that I am in the middle of the road when it comes to my feelings about it. There were some things that I absolutely adored about it and others where I was tempted to throw the book out of my window out of sheer frustration.

* The "psycho-babble"- As a psychology major, I loved getting to see what I am studying put into practice, albeit in fictional form. It gave me a different perspective on how to view difficult concepts and theories. It also shows that the author didn't just come up with this book out of thin air; she took her time with this piece and thoroughly researched it.

* The location- I've visited the Chicagoland area many times in my life and have read several novels where the authors didn't do the location justice. Kudos to the author for properly describing the grit and glamour of Chicago wonderfully.

* The "psycho-babble"- Although I am a psychology major and could understand most of the concepts fairly well, there were times when I was thoroughly and utterly lost in what the author was saying. A reader without a strong background or training in psychology would struggle to understand what the author was talking about.

* The characters- I knew, going into this book, that the characters were going to be difficult to read about and were going to lack a moral conscious. However, these characters were beyond despicable. I truly couldn't stand these characters. A little dislike is alright, but the author made these characters unlikable to the point where I had difficulty maintaining the desire to finish this book.

Overall, this book was a decent thriller, but it's not one that I would pick up again.

3/5 Stars

Fifty Shades of Grey Review

Despite what a lot of people have said about this book (to include a large portion of my family), I really enjoyed this book. Christian is one of my favorite male characters of all time. He is a tormented soul, unlike most cookie cutter "perfect" love interests featured in other novels. Anastasia is another favorite character of mine as well. Instead of just accepting what she had to deal with and "going with the flow" so to speak, she struggled with herself and her relationship with Christian. In these struggles, we find quite a bit of character development between both main leads, which is an important aspect for me.
I am truly looking forward to reading Fifty Shades Darker!

5/5 Stars

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet Review

This book is one of the few books that truly broke my heart. The sadness and tremendous tragedy that was present throughout this time period was portrayed quite well throughout. The author did an excellent job portraying the strengths (the Quakers assisting the Japanese-Americans during their time of trouble) and weaknesses (the extreme racism towards those who were of "enemy descent") of American society at the time.

With that being said, this book had its flaws. The author was at times heavy-handed with emotional drama. Due to this, it made certain plot points unbelievable and resembled that of a soap opera. I will not get into spoilers, but I will say that the V-J Day chapter is a prime example of this tendency.

Beyond the issues with soap operatic elements, this book was a fantastic read and I highly recommend it to everyone, especially those with an interest in World War 2 history.

4/5 Stars