Tuesday, April 30, 2013

[Book Reviews] Short Stories (April 2013)

I read a lot of short stories. While they might not be long enough to write a full book review, I’d still like to write review on them. So, I came up with this. 

Every month, I’ll write up a combined review of all the short stories I’ve read. Then, I’ll post it on the last day of the the month (or whatever my schedule let’s me do in the future). Here’s the first (April) one.  

Potionate Love by Patricia Mason Kindle Edition25 pages4 stars

The story was very cute. While I predicted very early on what the ending would look like, there were still some little things in between that I liked. 

For a short story, I was surprised at how much I found myself liking the characters. I also happened to really like the character names. 

The romance was cute. The writing felt like it was targeted for a younger audience maybe middle schoolers. But considering it’s a short story, I was okay with it.

The Oldest Man In The Universe by Tuan Ho Kindle Edition12 pages 4 stars

This is the type of story that if I had kids, I would read to them to get their hopes up. It was very cute in the inspiring type of way. 

The world the writer created has potential to be so much more. Which ironic enough, is a big them in the story. 

The author put a lot of details in this short story that leaves me wondering if he is going to write more set in this world.  

THEY by Vincent Hobbes Kindle Edition15 pages 2 stars

It had me at the beginning. I was fully alert ready to read more and more excitement. Sadly, at 15% in, it started to lose me. 

While I understood that with a short story, there isn’t much explanation compared to a 300 or even a 100 page book, but something was just off with the character. They had a lot to them that could have been explored, but instead the author decided to put his focus else where. 

The ending made me feel like I had wasted my time. Inconclusive. That’s all I’ll say.

Marrying Mona by Mimi Riser Kindle Edition23 pages 4 stars

The beginning really hooked me in. All I knew about the story was what the cover told me. So, right away I was finding myself surprised with the storyline and loving it. 

Towards the end it was becoming more than obvious that it was part of a bigger series, but I was fine just reading this free version.

Heart of the Selkie by Sam AsherKindle Edition34 pages5 stars

I now want to read more Selkie books because of this one. It made me want to dive into a world similar to this one. 

Honestly there wasn’t a single page of this short story that didn’t have my attention. Rather than how a bunch of nonsense fluff, it was all good fluff. 

Blogger's Note: Seeing as how small each review is,  I promise to have more detailed reviews next time. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

[Book Review] Waking Up Married by Mira Lyn Kelly

Summary (from Goodreads):
Her first thought: "Who are you?"
It's the morning after her cousin's bachelorette party in Vegas and Megan Scott wakes up with the mother of all hangovers. Even worse, she's in a stranger's penthouse having woken up with something else as well - a funny, arrogant, sexy...husband!
Up until now, finding even a boyfriend had seemed impossible - been there, got the broken heart, sworn off men for good. Then a few martinis with Carter...no, Connor Reed and she's gone from first meet to marriage in one night!
Megan wants a lawyer. But Connor's shocking bombshell?
"I don't want a divorce."

Kindle Edition
181 Pages

My sister (the Kindle e-book addict) recommended this one to me. She told me it was short and sweet. So, I thought I’d give it a try. I don’t regret reading the book. It was an ok read, but I did have some problems with it. 
Plot: I actually really loved the concept of the plot. Girl wants to have a baby, man is willing to give her that. Just reading the summary of what this book was about, I expected it to be totally different from what it really was. Parts of it I enjoyed, but a lot of it felt dragged out.
Characters: I think out of everything in the book, this is what annoyed me the most. The characters did not seem realistic in my opinion. Because of these characters, however I did find the book funny.  
Romance: The two way back and forth really is what kept me reading. Both of the main characters had stuff from their past that needed fixing and together they were able to fix them. 
Overall I did like the book. It just wasn’t what I was expecting. 
3 out of 5 stars for Waking Up Married by Mira Lyn Kelly

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

[Book Review] Frostbite by Richelle Mead

Summary (Amazon):
Rose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose…
It’s winter break at St. Vladimir’s, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy’s crawling with Guardians—including Rose’s hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if handto- hand combat with her mom wasn’t bad enough, Rose’s tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason’s got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa’s head while she’s making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy’s not taking any risks.... This year, St. Vlad’s annual holiday ski trip is mandatory.
But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price…

Having just read Vampire Academy, I was thrilled to dive into this second book. There were so many things about the first book that I wanted to know about. Actually, I’m making it a goal to finish all six books before the movie starts shooting (end of May). 

Plot: Unlike the first book, Vampire Academy the events of the book don’t spread out to be months, but just a couple of weeks. It made the book feel different. At some times it did feel like it dragged, but the feeling did not last long. 

To me, the book had a darker feeling to it. It felt like there was more at stake in Frostbite than in Vampire Academy.  

Characters: With that different darker feel to it, the characters were put in a different place. Each of the characters (at least the main ones) has grown since the first book. That’s very important for a book to have, in my opinion. Without character growth, the storyline, relationships and even the romance tends to become ruined.  

Relationships: I stated in my last review for Vampire Academy that I loved Rose and Lissa’s best friend/protector/sister relationship. Another relationship I like is Rose and Mason’s. To some that could be considered a romance, but the aspect of their relationship that I like is their friendship. Richelle Mead does a really good of entangling all these different types of relationships whether they be strong friendship, strong enemies, or strong romance.

Romance: I ship (can you ship a book romance, I don’t know) the main couple, which if you’ve read Vampire Academy, you know it’s Rose and Dimitri. However, I enjoyed that they each went their separate ways. It allowed them to explore themselves, but also miss each other.  

I’m still reading the series. I’ve had to slow down and take a breather because of classes, but I still have that excitement. My curiosity to read these books has not died down and I don’t think it will. 

5 stars for Frostbite by Richelle Mead.

Monday, April 1, 2013

[Book Review] Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Summary (on Goodreads): 
St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger...
Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever

A couple of months ago (or maybe a year by now) I met Richelle Mead at a book signing hosted by my favorite book store, Blue Willow Bookshop. The people there are super nice and take really good care of their customers. Even if it’s almost an hour drive from where I live, I go to as many of their book signings as I can. The event wasn’t at the shop due to her popularity, but instead at some other place with a bigger venue. While I was a bit upset that only three books would be able to be signed, I understand why once I saw the packed house. 

After the event, like many of my signed books, they went back on the shelf. Not for lack of interest in the series, but because of lack of time and other books I had lined up to read. 

Fast forward some time, I heard the books were being made into movies. I had in mind I would read the first book right before the movie came out. However, the second Zoey Deutch got cast as the lead, I knew I would end up reading the books way before hand. Now I just mind have to read all six of them before the movie comes out, but the first book was just that good.  

Plot: Other than there’s vampires and other sorts of human looking, but not quite humans creatures in the book, I didn’t know much about the series. I was curious as to why the name of the first movie was being changed into “Blood Sisters.” A couple of pages in, I knew why. Then as the pages went on, even more so, I understood why Blood Sisters was a great title for the movie. 

The storyline was very fast moving. I can’t recall a chapter (or even page) that I wasn’t into. Mead kept me (as I’m sure her other readers) interested.   

Characters: Rose differs from a lot of other female protagonist in books. While a lot of times the girl is portrayed as this innocent fragile girl at the beginning, Rose is this kick butt, say what she wants type of character. She’s goes head first without thinking. Sometimes that lands her in trouble, but I guess that’s some of the fun of the book. 

Relationships: I loved loved loved Rose and Lissa’s relationship. Their relationship wasn’t just friendship, but more like sisterhood. They looked out for each other at any cost. I felt like it was a very strong theme for the first book (and hopefully for the entire series), if not the strongest theme.  

Romance: I’ve already gushed about the rest of the book. Now I feel like I’m obsessing about it. (Ok, maybe a little) The romance really worked with the storyline. It wasn’t too much, but it wasn’t lacking. There was two main relationships (or maybe more depending on who you like) in the book. I won’t giveaway who and who, but it becomes pretty obvious after a while. Both of them I liked. 

Creative way of writing: There’s a reason why this series is so popular. Mead breaks several of the rules that I’ve seen in other YA novels. But in a good way. She didn’t follow that guideline that tends to make characters boring and story lines bland. While at the same time she wasn’t too outside the box where it made things unbelievable. 

If you are like me and already have the books at your reach, but have not picked them up, I beg you to reconsider. This is a series you do not want to miss out on. 

5 out of 5 stars for Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

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