Top Ten Books I’ve Read in 2014 so Far

ImageBurial Rites – Hannah Kent
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.
ImageThe Humans – Matt Haig
The Humans is a funny, compulsively readable novel about alien abduction, mathematics and that most interesting subject of all: ourselves.

ImageThrone of Glass – Sarah j. Maas
In the dark filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen year-old-girl is serving a life sentence. However, young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament.

ImageGrave Mercy – Robin LaFevers
Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the Gods of old. Here she learns that the God of Death himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts – and a violent destiny.

ImageLost Lake – Sarah Addison Allen
Suley, Georgia, is home to Lost Lake Cottages and not much else. Which is why it’s the perfect place for newly-widowed Kate and her eccentric eight-year-old daughter Devin to heal.
ImageSea of Shadows – Kelley Armstrong
In the forest of the Dead, where the empires worse criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

ImageThe Program – Suzanne Young
Sloane knows better than to cry infront of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in the program, the only proven course of treatment.
ImageScarlet – Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles #2)
Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison – even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealths most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Beniot’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother of the grave danger she has lived in her whole life.
ImageCress – Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles #3)
In the third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Throne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who has only ever had her netscreens as company.

ImageWhat Happened to Goodbye – Sarah Dessen
Since her parents’ bitter divorce, Mclean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move – four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mothers new family, Mclean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva, but now for the first time, Mclean discovers the desire to stay in the same place and just be herself.

Book Review: Gone Girl

Gone GirlImage
Gillian Flynn
Contemporary Mystery
Published: 2012
Publisher: Crown
4/5

            On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, Nick and Amy Dunne celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary. The presents are being wrapped and the reservations have been made when suddenly Nick’s clever and beautiful wife suddenly disappears from their rented mansion on the Mississippi River.
            Husband-of-the-year Nick hasn’t done himself any favors whilst daydreaming about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary have revealed that the alpha-girl perfectionist could have been put anyone dangerously on the edge.
            Under mounting pressure from the police and the media – as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents – the town golden boy parades and endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is definitely oddly evasive, and he’s bitter – but is he really a killer?
            As the cops closing in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister Margo at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is if Nick didn’t do it then where is his beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?
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            This book has more curves than a roller coaster, you think you know what is going on and then bam! You’ve found a whole new story line. Definitely one of the best books I’ve read in this genre for a very long time. 
            Gone girl was a great read, easy to follow and exceedingly clever. The characters are very twisted however and I can honestly say I didn’t like a single one of them. They were all bitter, stuck on themselves and every single one of them needed to take a good long look at themselves in a mirror and revaluate what it means to be a human. That being said, the characters were twisted enough to suck you in and the story was crazy enough to keep you hooked ‘til the very last page.
            I had never read anything by Gillian Flynn before and I was quite nervous about all the hype surrounding her novels. Often times things that have been really hyped fall flat for me so it was a great pleasure to discover that she did not fail in delivering a great story for me. I’m looking forward to reading more of her work in the future and have high hopes that all her stories will be as great as this one.
            A must read for people who enjoy mysteries, surprises and stories with lots of twisty turns.
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Book Review: Inferno

InfernoImage
Dan Brown
Mystery Adventure
Published: 2013
Publisher: DoubleDay
4/5

                Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon awakens in a hospital in the middle of the night. Disoriented and suffering from a head wound, he recalls nothing of the last thirty-six hours, including how he got there… or the origin of the macabre object that his doctors discover hidden in his belongings.
                Langdon’s world soon erupts into chaos, and he finds himself on the run in Florence with a stoic young woman, Sienna Brooks, whose clever maneuvering saves his life. Langdon quickly realizes that he is in possession of a series of disturbing codes created by a brilliant scientist – a genius whose obsession with the end of the world is matched only by his passion for one of the most influential masterpieces ever written – Dante Alighieri’s dark epic poem The Inferno.
                Racing through such timeless locations as the Palazzo Vecchio, the Boboli Gardens and the Duomo, Langdon and Brooks discover a network of hidden passageways and ancient secrets, as well as a terrifying new scientific paradigm that will be used either to vastly improve the quality of life on earth… or to devastate it.
                In his most compelling and thought-provoking novel to date, Dan Brown has raised the bar yet again. Inferno is a sumptuously entertaining read – a novel that will captivate readers with the beauty of classical Italian art, history, and literature… while also posing provocative questions about the role of cutting-edge science into our future.

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                Dan Brown gets a lot of negative comments in regards to his overall story plots. They are the same in the sense that James Bond movies are the same. There is a basic formula that he uses to write his stories and in all honesty the formula works wonders for him. Inferno is a great example how a basic outline can be buffed up, and turned into something tantalizing, entertaining and easy to get involved with as you read. The twists and plot turns contained in Inferno were without a doubt fantastic, engaging, and in general written very well. If you can only look the basic plot dynamics you will indeed find yourself engrossed in an original story.
                Inferno is a great improvement over Dan Brown’s novel ‘The Lost Symbol’ which was released in 2009. Though I did enjoy ‘The Lost Symbol’ I would actually now consider changing the rating in regards to comparing the two novels. There was more suspense; action and mystery within the pages of ‘Inferno’ than there were in ‘The Lost Symbol’.  This book was a real winner for me, I’ve enjoyed Dan Browns work since I’ve read ‘Angels & Demons’ (The first book in the Robert Langdon series) and was very pleased that he seems to be back on track with his latest edition to the series.
                The scientific possibilities that were regarded within this book was really eye opening and made me do a lot of research on my own. Despite the drastic measures that were taken by Characters part of me really started questioning near the end if they were wrong. The issue portrayed is a real crisis that we as a race are currently facing, and there needs to be some kind of solution. I’m not advocating what the Characters do in regards to this issue or even the end results but I do agree that our world is floundering and we are in dire need of change. Obviously I won’t get too far into this as this is a book blog and you personally do not likely want to know what my person views are on current events.
                Definitely recommending this novel however, it is very eye opening, interesting and well written. Dan Brown writes likeable, identifiable and relatable characters and in all honestly that is sometimes what can make or break a novel.
                Check it out; it’s worth the read even if you’re a little unsure about it. If you don’t enjoy it at least it will inspire you to read ‘Dante’s Inferno’ in the future.

Book Haul: August (Kinda)

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                Hey everyone! I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted a book haul but I’m here and I’m back in full action so I thought I’d update you on a few books that I’ve added to my personal library recently.
                Which books have you hauled this month? I’m always interested in hearing about new books and of course interested in what you’re reading!

Flesh and bone: Book 3 – Jonathan Maberry
Soul Screamers: Volume 3 – Rachel Vincent
Between the Lines – Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer
Omens – Kelly Armstrong
Shades of Earth: Book 3 – Beth Revis
The Third Twin – Ken Follett
Fall of Giants: Book 1 – Ken Follett
The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova
Inferno: Book 4 – Dan Brown

Book Review: Shades of Earth (Across the universe: Book 3)

Shades of Earth (Across the Universe #3)Image
Beth Revis
YA Science Fiction
Published: 2013
Publisher: RazorBill
5/5
*Please note, as this is the third novel and the trilogy is complete there will be spoilers, most definitely in regards to the first two books in the series. Please do not continue to read if spoilers will bother you

                Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They’re ready to start life afresh – to build a home – on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to expirance.
                But this new Earth isn’t the paradise that Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed’s former passengers aren’t alone on this planet. If they’re going to stay, they’re going to have to fight.
                Amy and Elder must race to uncover who – or what – is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed – friends, family, life on Earth – will have been for nothing.

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                With the end of Shades of Earth who come to the end of the Across the universe trilogy. Beth Revis created a science fiction trilogy that was unlike any that I have ever had the privilege of reading before.  Now that the Across the universe trilogy is completed I feel kind of oddly sad about it, it’s like losing a friend, I was fairly certain I was going to be sad when the series finished, which is why I put off reading Shades of Earth for so long.
                There’s a few things I’d love to address in regards to this beautiful book. First of all I actually really enjoy the cover work for Shades of Earth, the moss and the plants growing over a spaceship (which is what I assume it is) was very intriguing to me, I believe it suited the book perfectly. For those who did not enjoy the cover change what kind of cover would you have preferred for Shades of Earth since it does take place on Centauri-Earth and not in space? I did not like the review quote stamped on the cover but obviously I don’t have any say in that.
                I thought the plot for the Across the Universe trilogy was fantastic from beginning to end. I really enjoyed learning more about Elder’s leadership skills when faced with the unknown on a planet that’s completely strange to him. His first view of the sky was pretty special, and I must say that I would agree that no matter what technology you have, or simulations or holograms, it is not possible to properly showcase something so naturally beautiful.
                I enjoyed all the new characters introduced in Shades of Earth, even the more villainous one. There were some obvious issues between the Earth-Born and the Ship-Born passengers, and it was interesting to see how that played out. The introduction of the ‘alien’ life forms was slightly predictable but I still enjoyed it quite a bit.
                Beth Revis did a fantastic job with the world building for this novel. I felt like I was there, I could see the sun’s the wind, the purple flowers, the birds she did a great job. It wasn’t overly descriptive either, which is my favorite form of world building because it allows you to take her building blocks and then add some of your own to the pile so that the world you’ve created is uniquely your own.  Beth Revis has impressed me quite a bit and has opened me up to the genre of Science Fiction which I will forever be thankful for.  I am looking forward to whatever book or series she comes up with next.

                Have you read the series? What did you think about it? Tell me in the comment section below! I’d love to hear from you

                Be back soon with another review ❤

Book Review: The Historian

The HistorianImage
Elizabeth Kostova
Horror, Vampire
Published: June 2005
Publisher: Little Brown & Company
2.5/3

 

            Late one night while exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters addressed ominously to ‘My dear and unfortunate successor’. Her discovery plunges her into a world she never dreamed of – a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an evil hidden in the depths of history.
            The Letters provide links to one of the darkest powers that humanity has ever known – and to a centuries-long quest to find the source of that darkness and wipe it out. It is a quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the legend of Dracula. Generations of historians have risked their reputations, their sanity, and even their lives to learn the truth about Vlad and Dracula. Now one young woman must decide whether to take up this quest herself – to follow her father in a hunt that nearly brought him to ruin years ago, when he was a vibrant young scholar and her mother was still alive.

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                The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova is told from the perspective of many characters spread across the span of about a lifetime. I thought personally, that there would be more suspense action and intrigue then there really was. Throughout the 650ish pages of the hardcover addition, the search you partake with these characters are basically sought out through cryptic letters and old dusty books, in old dusty libraries. For me, there was little action, and little pleasure taken with the story line that bounced around so much.
                I was hoping for something more terrifying, perhaps edgy, something that would make me nervous to go to sleep at night and not put me to sleep at night, which it did. That being said, I did quite enjoy some aspects of the story line and how the story progressed, however I did not enjoy it enough to even bring this novel up to the full rating of 3/5.
                I was very disappointed in Dracula’s character, in fact, more disappointed in his character than I think perhaps I have ever been before. Dracula in the Historian is based on Vlad the Impaler, who was a three-time ‘Voivode of Wallachia’, ruling mainly from 1456 to 1462, the period of the incipient Ottoman conquest of the Balkans. As his name suggests, he was dark, twisted and did some really messed up things, so how he ended up like this particular Dracula was hard to absorb nor understand as it seemed quite unlikely that he would behave the way that he did in ‘The Historian’.
                Overall, despite a few moments of suspense and interest, I found that I was forcing myself to finish this book. I can see why some would enjoy this, however for me it was a monster of a headache but I’m glad that I’ve finally finished, and I can say with gusto that I have. I will not be likely to pick this up any time soon, but perhaps years from now I will find myself yearning for it. Part of me must have liked it because I did indeed finish it.
                What about you guys, have any of you finished this novel? Did you like it or did you hate it? Let me know I’m very curious!
               
                Be back with another review soon ❤

Book Review: Fear Collector

Fear CollectorImage
Gregg Olsen
Crime Mystery
Published: 2013
Publisher: Robinson Publishing
4/5

                Ted Bundy: America’s most notorious serial killer. For two women, he is the ultimate obsession. One is a cop whose sister may have been one of Bundy’s victims. The other is a deranged groupie who corresponded with Bundy in prison–and raised her son to finish what Bundy started; to charm and seduce innocent girls, to kidnap and brutalize more women than any serial killer in history. And to lure one obsessed cop into a trap as sick and demented as Bundy himself. . .

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                It’s been a long time since I’ve read a crime mystery that’s gotten under my skin the way that ‘Fear Collector’ by Gregg Olsen did. I picked this novel up on a whim, looking for something gritty, dark and edgy.
                The characters involved in this story are very believable (Ted Bundy being a real person) and the story line they are wrapped up in is easy to get into. With so many plot twists and turns, there are times even when you know someone isn’t the serial killer part of you believes they might be.
                I would not suggest reading this at night as I did; it was definitely hard to sleep after I had finished it despite the bad guy having been caught. There were just so many other bad characters that it leaves you with a heavy, unsettled feeling. The truth in knowing that every time one evil person is caught there are two more to take their place.
                There is a heavy emphasis on the obsession that takes place in regards to serial killers, the bizarre groupies they develop over time, those who hate them too much to let their own pain of losing someone or being a victim themselves go.  It’s very realistic in regards to the mental illness of obsession and the dangers obsession can bring.
                The book was well written, engaging and definitely a page turner. It’s one of the first books in a while that I’ve actually been able to finish and enjoy immensely in regards to the twisty plot and engaging dialogue.
                The only issue I really had with the book was that I felt like there were a lot of unanswered questions, a lot of turns that weren’t explored in more detail and finished up and as I thought the book was actually rather short they could have used another hundred pages or so to finish up more of the story line and make it more concrete.
                I’m looking forward to reading more by this author and am currently reading ‘Victim Six’ by Greg Olsen.  Have any of you read anything by Greg Olsen, or do any of you enjoy crime mysteries? If you do I’ve love some recommendations of authors and or novels that you’ve enjoyed.
                Looking forward to posting more in the future, I only have one more trip planned this summer so hopefully after the beginning of September I’ll be blogging more regularly again.