Trial of Tears by Chris Semal

This isn’t the type of book I’m usually drawn to, but I’m so glad I got the opportunity to read it. The writing is excellent and I never felt like there was a dull moment. Something I especially enjoyed was the banter Semal wrote. I love when a book’s dialogue comes across as completely believable and not forced at all. It’s wonderful to read and I found myself laughing along as I read.

The story is written from a few different perspectives and they appear to not have much in common at the beginning, but slowly throughout the novel the character’s lives begin to weave together until the very end. I loved spending time thinking about how these characters were related and tried to figure it all out, but in the end, I wasn’t that close on most of my theories.

I really wish there was more on Alice. I found her character fascinating and would really like to know more of her back story. In order to have such a unique person, she had to have been through some really interesting stuff. I also wish there had been a bit more concerning the music industry instead of some of the more graphic mob scenes.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and found it incredibly hard to put down. It’s not a book for everyone, but for those people that enjoy something in the style of Tarintino, it’s a perfect read.

I was given the opportunity to read this through JKS Communications. Please click below for more info on this book.

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

This book. What can I say about this book?

The writing itself was not horrible. McGuire can write well when it comes to the basics of putting words together to form a sentence. However, that doesn’t do much when every other component of the story fails.

Abby, while trying to be a strong female character, isn’t. She goes back to the same guy over and over even after he has displayed horrible, despicable behavior. And America, her supposed best friend, mostly just stands by and lets this happen. She even encourages it at times. In my eyes, that’s not a friend. A friend would have told her to run as far away as she could, as fast as she could.

And Travis. I don’t understand why this extreme, nearly psychotic behavior is viewed as sexy and desirable. He was a control freak with anger issues that clearly got the better of him constantly. It’s not healthy and it was definitely not sexy.

As for the story, it was filled with so much cheese, I could barely stand it. A book can only have so many twists and turns before it just stares to become dull and almost predictable in how unpredictable McGuire tried to make it. It seems like she threw anything she could think of at these characters just to give them problems. It wasn’t enjoyable and I rolled my eyes more times than I can remember while reading.

I will not be telling any of my friends to read this book. I’ll be telling people to avoid it whenever I’m asked for my opinion.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

I wanted to love this book, I really did. Using flowers to convey feelings is something I knew a little bit about, but not as much as I’d like. I was hoping this book would provide a bit more of an insight into that language, but was left a little bit disappointed by the end.

Victoria as a character was a bit difficult to connect with and I spent the first part of the book really annoyed with her as a person and I really couldn’t find it in me to feel even a little bit of sympathy for her. The next part made me feel some sympathy, but I was still annoyed with her. The third part of the book left me resenting her a little bit, even though it was the most sympathy I had for her during the entire book. The final part of the book left me with hope for her and her life as she finally started to see a tiny glimmer of what everyone else saw within her during the rest of the novel.

Usually, I have to feel a strong connection with a character to enjoy a book. However, with this book, I think the disconnect between Victoria and myself was what made me keep reading. I wasn’t feeling what she was and I kept thinking to myself, “I would never do that,” but I needed to see if she could find it in herself to turn her life around against the odds and make something of herself.

The reason I wasn’t completely in love with the book is some of Victoria’s actions just felt too extreme and I couldn’t see any way to make them justified make her completely redeemable. Maybe that was the point of the book, but even with the ending, I just couldn’t feel towards Victoria what I needed to feel.

This was an interesting book, and I’m glad I read it, but there was just something missing that I wish was there.

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Usually, I find myself let down by the second book in trilogies. I feel like they’re just to be the set up for the final novel and not really provide much in the way of plot development. Hallowed managed to avoid this trap and was another fantastically written novel that made me fall in love all over.

The characters grew as people throughout the entire novel and we learned so much more about Clare, Jeffery, Clare’s mother and Christian. I wish there had been more Tucker Avery because I still swoon hard whenever I think about him in Unearthly. However, I understood that Unearthly was Clare and Tucker’s book and Hallowed was more about Clare and Christian. I can’t wait to see what the third book will be.

Now, about the love triangle. I’m not usually a fan of this plot device. Typically it’s thrown in there to provide a conflict for the main character. And in Hallowed, this is still true. But it goes so much deeper than that. It not only represents a choice between two people, it represents the choice between following the fate laid out before her and making her own destiny. She will have to decide between the angel and human sides of her and that’s what this love triangle is about. Not which hot guy she will pick, but what she chooses for her own person. And I love that Hand did this.

Aside from the characters and plot, the writing itself is gorgeous. You can connect with Clara and it brings a special touch to the novel that I’m starting to crave. That connection between me and the characters is something I absolutely love when I read. Feeling all those emotions makes reading more than just reading a book, but turns it into an adventure and an experience. Hand is amazing at putting words together that just pull me in and drag me along, but in the best way possible.

I can’t believe I will have to wait a year to find out how this amazing series will end. I’ll be anxiously waiting to see how Hand will conclude this wonderful series.

How to Kill a Rock Star by Tiffanie DeBartolo

It is hard for me to put words together to decide how much I loved this book. It drove me absolutely insane and in turn, I think I drove my friends a little crazy as well. I wished so many times I had this book as a physical copy instead of on my Kindle because I wanted to throw it across the room, cover my ears and just block the rest of the world out because I was feeling too much.

I had a feeling when I started this book that it was going to be different. In fact, I even told my friends that I was afraid to love this book too much because writing this beautiful can’t be happy all the time. I thought this book was going to rip my heart out and stomp on it. And it did. And yet I finished this book happier than I thought possible.

I think the thing that made this book so emotional for me was the characters. They are real people. They have their flaws and their love isn’t perfect rainbows and butterflies and the writing felt so raw that I felt every single thing in this book. I soared when Eliza did and I felt my heart being slowly crushed as well.

And the writing. Oh my god, the writing. If I am ever able to put words together a tenth as well as DeBartolo did in this book, I will thank my lucky stars. There were so many lines in this book that spoke true and real. It was powerful and I think the writing itself was a character within the book.

I don’t think I will ever stop singing DeBartolo’s praises and I will tell every single person I know to read this book. It’s a romance, but it’s real, and yet I could escape through it. This was an amazing book and I’m so glad it found its way to me to read.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

This book was not what I expected. So many reliable people told me this book was amazing and that I would love it and I wouldn’t be able to put it down. It was decent, not amazing. I don’t love it; in fact, I barely like it. And it was very easy for me to put down.

I’ll start with what I did like. When there was plot progression, it was fantastic. The last 70 or so pages of the novel were the ones I couldn’t stop reading. Roth wrote the action very well and in a way that made it easy to picture without being oversimplified. However, the majority of the book is initiation training and trials, which slowed the novel down incredibly, in my opinion.

I didn’t feel connected with Tris and more to the point, half the novel, I kind of wanted to slap her. There’s written a strong female character, and then there’s taking it overboard. Tris takes it overboard quite a bit. In her attempt to distance Tris from the Abnegation, she goes so far as to seemingly lose a moral center. Being brave and facing your fears (aka Dauntless) doesn’t mean losing your ability to feel for other people. I have a major problem with Tris throughout the novel when it comes to this.

The relationship between Tris and Four feels…uncomfortable. I don’t buy it. There’s never a real connection and it’s hard for me to feel like there’s a real chance at a relationship there when they haven’t really spent much time together that wasn’t being used to train for the trials.

Unfortunately, because I’m curious and have a hard time telling myself no (even when I know better), I will probably be reading the next book just to see what happens. I’m really hoping it will surprise me and be better than the first.

Seriously…I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres

I adore Ellen and I never miss an episode of her talk show. I love her talk on life and how she never really takes herself seriously. This book read like a collection of monologues from her show’s openings and while I was expecting a little bit more about her life in the past 8 years, I wasn’t disappointed.

She offers little pieces of advice she has learned along the way. It’s the little things that make her who she is and what everyone could benefit from, like just being happy with you. It’s a light read that made me feel good and happy and lighthearted all at the same time. I kept turning page after page because it was so sweet.

The one thing that brought the rating down was I felt this was a book written to be an audio-book and some of the chapters didn’t come across well when simply reading them. Unfortunately, I’m not a person that can make it through an audio-book. I need to read it myself. That’s where this book fell a little flat for me.

Overall, if you love Ellen’s brand of humor and are looking for a light read (or listen), this is a good book to pick up. It will make you smile the entire way through and while it doesn’t delve into Ellen’s personal life much, it still is a wonderful read.

Wanderlove by Belle Malory

I was looking for something a little different than my normal reads when I decided to pick this book up. I’m feeling a little mixed on it. I feel like parts were well-written and engaging, and other parts left me wanting more.

Part 2 of the book was my favorite section. I loved the way it was written and the story within it and I was left wishing there was more to that part of the story. I couldn’t put the book down during that section and was sad to see it end. I could have read an entire novel written around that part of the book.

My main problem with the rest of the book is I didn’t feel the emotion. I knew what emotion I was supposed to feel, but I just didn’t. There was a disconnect between what I was reading and what I was feeling. I also felt confused by some of the actions the characters took and the “I love you but I’m going to push you away anyway” plot being used in so many books these days could have been done up better. I didn’t fall in love with Gabe like Lola did. I knew I was supposed to, but I didn’t.

There were also some editing problems, but I was able to look past those for the most part.

Overall, this was a good book, but I feel like it could have been amazing. The idea is a unique one, but parts of the execution failed to come across. If you’re looking for something a little bit different, even if it won’t blow your socks off, this would be a good book to read for the price.

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

I was very cautious going into this book. The reviews for it were great, but sometimes those don’t tell the whole truth about a novel. Especially when it comes to Young Adult novels.

I’m incredibly happy I was proven wrong. Unearthly is a fantastic book that takes the basic elements of a Young Adult book and instead of becoming a cheesy book that makes me roll my eyes every other paragraph; it becomes a wonderful, realistic story about knowing yourself and teen love.

Clara is a wonderfully written teen character. She’s mature, but still acts like a 16, 17 year old girl. She’s not whiny or weak, but instead she’s confused by everything happening in her life supernatural and normal. Her mother, unlike most YA parents, doesn’t disappear for most of the novel. There are parts where he mother isn’t there, but you never get the “disappearing parent syndrome” that seems to be so common these days.

The relationships are not the “just add water!” types so many books have these days. It’s not an instant love. There’s instant attraction, but that always happens in life. However, the relationships build over time and through talking and being around the other person. They are healthy and true and don’t feel forced, at all. It’s easy to understand why these people love each other.

The issue of God was handled flawlessly, in my opinion. When you write a story that centers on angels, you know God will come into play. Hand manages to handle this in a way that does not preach to those who don’t believe, but does not offend those who do. I applaud her for being able to write about something so important to so many people with as much grace as she did.

Tucker. I am in love with Tucker. He is such a wonderful boy and he is perfect in how much he cares for Clara. I swoon harder each time I think about him and can’t wait to read more about the relationship between him and Clara.

The one thing that bothered me a little bit about this book and what kept it from being 5 stars was how the purpose was played. I liked the idea of angels having one task to complete in their life, however I didn’t enjoy how it seemed most characters thought that in order to fulfill her purpose, Clara had to fall for Christian. I felt like that forced a relationship between the two when it could have grown instead.

I am incredibly pleased I decided to give this book a chance. It blew past my expectations and I can’t wait to read the next book.

Destined by Jessie Harrell

The story of Eros and Psyche is one of my favorites in Greek mythology. There are so many points where they could have turned away from each other and it would have made sense, and yet their love prevails and they spend eternity together. As a bit of a hopeless romantic, I love that.

Harrell’s take on the story, while refreshing, wasn’t what I was expecting. When the story was only Eros and Psyche, I loved it. It flowed and told their story beautifully. However, when other characters came into the mix, it became awkward and it was harder for me to like.

The dialogue is written in 21st century terms, and that really took me out of the story. Reading one of the characters say “crap” was almost like a slap to the face. I was immediately thrown out of the story and had to focus to get back into the flow. Eros and Psyche also had a strange, almost teenager-like attitude towards their respective parents through the book. While it was slightly more understandable for Psyche, I still felt like it made no sense and took me out of the novel.

Overall, this was a decent book. The story of Psyche and Eros is told in an interesting way, even though I felt like it could have been so much better.