Book Review: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line

The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars #1)Image
Rob Thomas, Jennifer Graham
P.I. Mystery, Crime fiction
Published: March 25th, 2014
5/5

 

                Ten years after graduating highschool in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back and in the land of sun, sand, crime and corruption. She’s traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.
                Now it’s spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is no simple missing person’s case. The house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to veronica’s past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.

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                Not going to lie to any of you, but I was extremely excited that Veronica Mars was turning into a novel series in fact I’m still extremely excited about it.
                Veronica Mars was an important character to me when I was younger, she was fierce independent, strong and didn’t require saving from some guy every five minutes. She was very inspirational to me when I was younger. Not to mention I thought it was pretty cool that she got to do so many ‘interesting’ things and when I was older I hoped I would be like her in high school too, which for obvious reasons didn’t happen and for more obvious reasons I’m very thankful.
                The novel takes place shortly after where the movie wrapped up. What was really enjoyable to me about this was that though minor plot points were spoiled in the book the major plot points of the movie were not discussed in too much detail. I had read the book before I had seen the movie and was very pleased to find that it did not ruin the movie for me at all and neither the movie nor the book really ruin the original plot line of the TV show either which is pretty amazing when you think about it.
                I thought they did a great job of transferring Veronica Mars from the screen to the pages of a book. They managed to keep her sarcastic, biting humour alive and fresh, and her character matched perfectly which the other medias.
                The progression of the plot was done well, I didn’t find myself getting bored and the story didn’t drag needlessly on. It’s very short, and sweet and written in the typical Veronica Mars style of crime solving. I didn’t find the story predictable or annoying which is great and sometimes a little hard to do when you’re writing a story based on crime.
                There were a few things about the novel that I didn’t like however. I felt pretty sad that Veronica Mars was still stuck in Neptune California, I had always imagined her moving on and being involved in the FBI as a criminal profiler or some kind of government investigator because she seemed to have such an obvious knack for her. I also was pretty put off by the arrival of her mother into the story, I’m not her biggest fan and I continue to still not like her or want her in Veronica’s life because I truly believe she is one of the most selfish characters in this series.
                The cover of the book also kind of makes me sad, it’s really simple and really, painfully boring. I don’t mind the font but the picture and word placement makes no sense to me and comes across as awkward. Plus I really, really dislike that shade of yellow.
                Over all really happy to see this series continue on and I am very excited to read book two when it comes out.
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Book Review: The Humans

The HumansImage
Matt Haig
Science Fiction
Published: July 2nd, 2013
5/5

                The bestselling, award-winning author of The Radleys is back with what may be his best, funniest, and most devastating dark comedy yet. When an extraterrestrial visitor arrives on Earth, his frist impressions of the human species are less than positive. Taking the form of Professor Andrew Martin, a prominent mathematician at Cambridge University, the visitor is eager to complete the gruesome task assigned him and hurry back home to the utopian world of his own planet, where everyone enjoys immortality and infinite knowledge
                He is disgusted by the way humans look, what they eat, and their capacity for murder and war, and he is equally baffled by the concepts of love and family. But as time goes on, he starts to realize there may be more to this weird species than he had been led to believe. Disguised as martin, he drinks wine, reads poetry, and develops an ear for rock music and a taste for peanut butter. Slowly, unexpectedly, he forges bonds with Martin’s family and in picking up the pieces of the professor’s shattered personal life, he begins to see hope and beauty in the humans’ imperfections and to question the mission that brought him there.
                Praised by The New York Times as a ‘novelist of great seriousness and talent,’ Matt Haig delivers an unlikely story about human nature and the joy found in the messiness of life on earth. The Humans is a funny, compulsively readable tale that playfully and movingly explores the ultimate subject – ourselves.

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The Humans was a delightful surprise for me. I had not heard much discussion about the book in the community that I’m involved with online but I found the synopsis intriguing. An Alien takes over the body of a mathematics professor that has just solved the most important Mathematical question to humanity to date. He is expected to destroy all evidence and halt the advancement of humanity. However, along the way he begins to develop a sort of infatuation with humanity and strives to discover what exactly it means to be ‘human.’
               I thought that the character development of the unnamed Alien was fascinating and refreshing. I really enjoyed seeing him grow and to begin to question what he thought he knew. Despite the advancement of his society the primitive nature of human emotions stumped him and the social queues often left him quite confused.
                The humans is extremely funny and entertaining, the chapters are very short and that makes it really easy to read in short bursts. The story also gets quite dark at times, and I felt that helped counteract the unrealistic nature of some of the scenes.
                Overall this was an insightful, touching and completely original story. I’m extremely happy I took a chance with a book that I had not heard much about and I am greatly looking forward to reading more books written by Matt Haig.
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Book Review: Burial Rites

Burial RitesImage
Hannah Kent
Historical Fiction based on true events
Published: September 10th 2013
5/5

                Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.
                Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Toti, a priest Anges has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes’ death looms, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they’ve heard.
                Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

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                Burial Rites is based on the true life account of Agnes Magnusdottir the last person executed in Iceland on January 12th, 1830. She, and man named Friorik Sigurosson where charged for the murder of Nathan Ketilsson, and Petur Jonsson that took place on March 14th, 1828. They were executed by beheading.
                This was a fascinating and beautifully told story. Burial Rites is one of the best tales I’ve read in a few years. It is one of those novels that leave a mark on your soul; the story will linger with you long after you’ve finished reading it.
                The writing was beautiful; I found myself becoming immersed in the language and haunting thoughts of Anges as she awaited her fate. I found her relatable; my heart was broken for her most of the story. I wished the book would end differently; despite knowing that it was based on a factual event.
                Anges was a great lead character. I really enjoyed reading about her life from childhood up until she ended up on the farm. By the end of the book I felt like I knew her personally, but not in a way that I found myself overwhelmed by information in regards to the development of the plot.
                I also ended up liking the family at the farm by the end of the book. It was beautiful to see them all come together. The courage and strength the lent Anges in the end was unfathomable in it’s greatness. Despite the coldness and perhaps even hatred they all felt towards her in the beginning, it was so lovely to see some of them turn around and offer her pity, understanding and compassion in the end.
                Overall I thought the book was well written and developed and though we don’t know how the actual events took place it was interesting to read one possible side to the story. I greatly recommend this book to my blog readers, I don’t think you’d regret it!
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Book Review: Plain Truth

Plain TruthImage
Jodie Picoult
Fiction, Crime
Published: November 1st, 2004
4/5

                The small town of Paradise, Pennsylvania, is a jewel in Lancaster country – known for its picture-postcard landscapes and bucolic lifestyle, but that peace is shattered by the discovery of a dead infant in the barn of a Amish farmer.
                A police investigation quickly leads to two startling disclosures: The newborn’s mother is an unmarried Amish woman, eighteen-year-old Katie Fisher and the infant did not die of natural causes. Although Katie denies the medical proof that she gave birth to the child, circumstantial evidence leads to her arrest for the murder of her own baby.
                One hundred miles away, Philadelphia defense attorney Ellie Hathaway has achieved an enviable, high-profile career, but her latest court victory has set the sands shifting beneath her. Single at thirty-nine and unsatisfied in her relationship, Ellie doesn’t look back when she turns down her chance to make partner and takes off for an open ended stay at her great-aunts home in Paradise.
                Fate brings her to Katie Fisher, Suddenly, Ellie sees the chance to defend a client that truly needs her, not just one who can afford her. But taking on this case challenges Ellie in more ways than one. She finds herself not only in a clash of wills with a client who does not want to be defended but also in a clash of cultures with a people whose channels of justice are markedly different from her own.
                Immersing herself in Katie Fisher’s life – and in a world founded on faith, humility, duty, and honesty – Ellie begins to understand the pressures and sacrifices of those who live plain. As she peels away the layers of fact and fantasy, Ellie calls on an old friend for guidance. Now, just as this man from Ellie’s past renters her life, she must uncover the truth about a complex case, a tragic loss, the bonds of love – and her own deepest fears and desires.
                Moving seamlessly from psychological drama to courtroom suspense, Plain truth is a triumph of contemporary storytelling.
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                Plain Truth is a thought provoking and intriguing read. Vastly original the ending will surprise you and you’ll either enjoy the deceptive plot twist or you’ll hate it. Fast paced and filled with colorful characters, Plain truth will grab your attention until the very last page and the very last sentence. The amount that Jodi Picoult must have put into studying the Amish culture had to have been enormous because everything fit together so seamlessly and seemed extremely believable. However, as she isn’t Amish I can only imagine that it was not completely correct.
                I really enjoy how Jodi Picoult takes cliché’s and twits them, giving them a new spin. You can almost guarantee that what you think is happening isn’t the truth. I really, really, love that about her writing, and Plain Truth doesn’t fail to deliver on my favorite aspect of Jodi Picoult’s writing.
                You can’t help but feeling for poor Katie Fisher, and the very real, and very ‘English’ problem that’s she has found herself faced with. You spend most of the book wondering what the heck is going on with her. She seems dazed and confused most of the book, spending time talking to a dead sibling and wondering alone in the night time often. She has her heart smashed open and is betrayed brutally by the last person you’d expect.
                Often times I found Ellie a little annoying, I did not enjoy her side romance at all and found it was a needless addition to the plot. However, like with most movies, most books need to have a romantic sub-plot line. It gives us something to root for.
                Thought the storyline shifted easily between the court-room and the dramatic events taking place outside in the main progressive part of the story line. Blended great and didn’t feel like an abrupt change.
                Really looking forward to reading my way through all of her books, and discovering different ways to look at things.

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Book Review: Wedding Night

Wedding NightImage
Sophia Kinsella
Chick-lit, Romance
Publish Date: April 23rd, 2013
4/5

                Lottie just knows that her boyfriend is going to propose, but then his big question involves a trip abroad – not a trip down the aisle. Completely crushed, Lottie reconnects with an old flame, and they decide to take drastic action. No dates, no moving in together, they’ll just get married… right now. Her sister, Fliss, thinks Lottie is making a terrible mistake, and will do anything to stop her. Lottie, however, is determined to say “I do.” For better, or for worse.

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                Wedding Night is the first book by Sophia Kinsella that I’ve ever read completely through. I was delightfully surprised by the witty dialogue and her use of dual character chapters. I thought that both Lottie, and her sister Fliss had distinctive voices; which is something that is not always concrete in fiction. I believe that this type of writing style has grown on me greatly; I believe that ‘Wedding Night’ inspired me enough to believe that it is a possible plot progression point and that it adds value in terms of the story.
                I thought the heroines were both sweet and very honest in terms of their personalities. I definitely enjoyed Fliss’ character quite a bit more however, as I believe she was more grounded in reality and not desperate enough to eagerly reach other and grab whomever would help her attain the next chapter in her life. I thought that Lottie’s ideals of who she wanted to be were not relevant to how her life had turned out. I can however, identify with this quality as I believe when we’re all younger we have ideals that we’ve set in stone before there is any chance of knowing what the outcome might possibly be in reality.
                I really enjoyed Lorcan (despite thinking that this name is absolutely ridiculous) he had to grow on me however, much like Richard did, but in the end they were great supporting characters with believable personality traits and agreeable story lines. What I thought was mostly great about them was how completely and utterly human they were. I loved their flaws and they added so much in terms of the story, it made the romance and interactions more believable.
                I don’t read a lot of ‘chick-lit’ books anymore, and when I do I have some authors that I tend to stick too but ‘Wedding Night’ has allowed me to cautiously branch out and perhaps discover some more great writers and perhaps in the future I’ll even read a few more by Sophia Kinsella despite my initial reservations regarding her work.
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Book Review: Sea of Shadows

Sea of Shadows (Age of Legends #1)Image
Kelley Armstrong
YA Fantasy
Publish Date: April 8th 2014
*Received an Advanced Reader Copy in good reads giveaway
** This Opinion is 100% my own.

            In the Forest of the Dead, where the Empires worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

            Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

            Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sister’s journey to find each other sends them far from the only home that they have ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls’ cross a once empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court – one that will alter the balance of their world forever.

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            I’ve only recently started reading Kelley Armstrong’s work. I’ve already invested in her new series Cainsville and was really excited to try her young adult fiction. I definitely was not disappointed with Sea of Shadows!
            I really, really, really enjoyed the backstory and all the lore. The whole concept of the Keeper and Seeker, and even the Forest of the Dead really drew me into the story and hooked me. I’ve been getting into fantasy novels a lot in the past year or so, largely in thanks to my Husband and I am super pleased to be adding this series to my collection!
            It’s dark, edgy and has a strong sense of purpose. There is a point and reason as to why each scene in is in this novel and I find that extremely refreshing and uplifting that there were no needless fillers. The main characters each have their own voices and strongly defined personalities. There is personal growth for each character in Sea of Shadows which doesn’t always happen with series, so it was great to see that already taking off.
            The romance aspect is great and seems really natural. It never seems too forced or too rushed for me to find it awkward and unrealistic. I definitely have a favorite couple and a favorite character at this point in the story but will reserve on ‘fan-girling’ all over this book review.
            I’ve noticed that this book isn’t getting the best reviews currently and am hoping that will soon change as I think this series has a whole lot of potential and has a very fascinating story and cast of characters that I personally cannot wait to get to know even better. I love it when things are revealed over time and when you’re not bombarded with information and I think Kelley Armstrong’s writing style is really suited to my reading style and what I want from out of a novel.
            I am looking forward to the second part of this story and am deeply saddened by how long it is I’ll have to wait for it. Thank goodness Kelley Armstrong has many more books and series for me to try out while I wait!
           

Check out of Goodreads Page Here!

Book Review: Crown of Midnight

Crown of MidnightImage
Sarah J. Maas
Young Adult Fantasy
Published: August 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury
4/5

            After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king’s contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

               Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king’s bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she’s given a task that could jeopardize everything she’s come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon — forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.

              Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?
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            Crown of Midnight was a prime example of how fantastic a sequel can be. Where other sequels fall flat, Crown of Midnight takes this complex story to new heights.  It is possible that perhaps Crown of Midnight is even greater than Throne of Glass.
            Celaena develops and becomes considerably darker than she appeared in Throne of Glass and I was eternally thankful for that. With the life that she had lead up until this point it seemed strange to me that in the first book that she was so footloose and fancy free. She starts to develop and question things that she had already known, and we find out a whole lot of things regarding her past that I actually hadn’t seen coming. She falls in love, she is betrayed, she is lost at times and finds strength to continue on even when everything becomes bleak. She amazes me with her ability to forgive but not forget, to let go but to still hold others accountable to their actions.
           The romantic encounters are more realistic, and at times made my heart swell up with intense happiness and other times deflate with sadness, it’s clear to me whom I want Celaena to end up with if she does indeed choose either Dorian or Choal. She’s a complicated character and so are both of these men, and no matter who she chooses in the end, I’d be happy just knowing that she’s found love, peace, and acceptance with someone.
            Crown of Midnight switches point of view within the chapters and normally I don’t enjoy that very much but I felt it was important and needed and kept me captivated despite by previous grievances with novels that do this. Sarah J. Maas did an absolutely fantastic job integrating characters and giving everyone their own personalities and voices, no one person sounded too much like the other.
             The book ends on a bit of a cliff hanger as Celaena embarks on a completely new quest and her story continues to grow. I’m eagerly anticipating the third book in this installment and this is definitely turning into a series I wish was already completed and published because I’m biting my nails with need and want for the next part of the story.
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