Blog Makeover!

Hello Beautiful Internet People!

Things are looking different here at Note To Selph Book Reviews. Today was makeover day! And everyone loves a good makeover. (Am I right, Princess?)

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I gave my blog a face lift with a new theme and new logo (Thanks to my friend Maria. You rock!). It was a long time coming, and since it’s getting close to my 3 and 1/2 year blogoversary, it seemed like a good time. Let’s just say I’m feeling very accomplished today!

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If you are reading this, you are amazing! Thanks for listening to me rave (and rant) about books. I truly appreciate everyone who reads/follows my blog.

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In all seriousness, it means the world to me. 🙂

Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines

This is going to be an uncharacteristically blunt and exasperated review.

16070903 To want what you’re not supposed to have…

She is only nineteen.

She is his new stepfather’s daughter.

She is still naïve and innocent due to spending the last three years taking care of her sick mother.

But for twenty-four year old Rush Finlay, she is the only thing that has ever been off limits. His famous father’s guilt money, his mother’s desperation to win his love, and his charm are the three reasons he has never been told no.

Blaire Wynn left her small farmhouse in Alabama, after her mother passed away, to move in with her father and his new wife in their sprawling beach house along the Florida gulf coast. She isn’t prepared for the lifestyle change and she knows she’ll never fit into this world. Then there is her sexy stepbrother who her father leaves her with for the summer while he runs off to Paris with his wife. Rush is as spoiled as he is gorgeous. He is also getting under her skin. She knows he is anything but good for her and that he’ll never be faithful to anyone. He is jaded and has secrets Blaire knows she may never uncover but even knowing all of that…

Blaire just may have fallen too far.

First, I have to tell you about the secret to the universe I discovered. I’ve been trying to get myself to run everyday (I used to race Cross Country/Track so you’d think it would be easy for me but it isn’t.). So I decided to try audiobooks for the first time and it’s like magic. The first day, I ran three miles before I even THOUGHT to turn around and go home. That’s how enthralled I was in listening to the book. Just try it! I’ll never go back!

My first audiobook choice was Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines. Now, I’m wondering if listening instead of reading affected my feelings toward the book, but it was mainly the content that was cause for concern so I blame the book mostly, but listening to a female narrator whisper sweet nothings as the male character was bizarre.

Fallen Too Far went too far. I will say I was on the edge of my seat (running shoes?) while I was reading. I wanted to see what happened between Rush and Blaire. Initially, it was the douchebag rich guy dissing the pretty but poor girl. I’m not a huge fan of this trope, but I enjoy the romance genre so you kind of have to deal with it. Anyway, the book started out okay, it got really interesting and then it just got ridiculous. I was blown away at the audacity of this book. The unrealistic representation of a good, healthy relationship and the irresponsibility of the characters had me wtf-ing.chris-rock-huh-face

My biggest issue with this book was the sex scenes, or more likely the i-can’t-believe-people-think-this-is-okay-and-OMG-young-impressionable-girls-may-be-reading-this!! The first time Rush and Blaire get it on, they are in the “heat of the moment” and forget to use protection. When he asks if she’s on birth control, she says no and instead of hauling her ass to the local pharmacy for some Plan B, he just says “oh, we can’t do that again.” (Attention Young Impressionable Girls, you should not do this. You will get preggers!)The second time it happens, they don’t have protection and decide to “just pull out.” At this point in my reading (run), I want to punch somebody. (Again, Attention Young Impressionable Girls, YOU WILL GET PREGGERS!!!!) I just don’t understand why you would put this in the book unless the whole point of the story was the main female character gets pregnant. This irresponsible sexual behavior makes me want to burn this book. Some people won’t know that this is fiction and think this is okay because “Rush and Blaire did it.”

Who knows, the second book may be about Blaire’s first pregnancy. Fallen Too Far ends on a strange, bizarre, unsatisfying cliffhanger and I won’t be reading book two to find out. Blaire was so misguided, constantly putting herself down and doing all the wrong things for all the wrong reasons. Rush was a douchebag manwhore who had sex with multiple women while pursuing Blaire (not sexy!) and he had crazy mood swings. Overall, the plot had a crazy, unrealistic plot twist and when it was revealed, everyone is more concerned about a dead person’s reputation then the fact that Rush and Blaire (who’ve been sleeping together) are related!!!!!Jenna-Marbles-I-Can't-Even

I can’t even with this book. I really wanted to like this series and this author but I just can’t stand behind such a messed up storyline with fucked up characters and unnecessary idiotic behavior.

STARS: 1 out of 5

Releases and Recommendations: Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan

It’s Tuesday!

The wonderful day that books are released to the world. Today, I’m anticipating the release of Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan, which will be released on Tuesday, May 26, 2015…or TODAY!

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I’m the daughter of murdered parents.
I’m the friend of a dead girl.
I’m the lover of my enemy.
And I will have my revenge.

In the wake of the devastating destruction of the luxury yacht Persephone, just three souls remain to tell its story—and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace knows the terrifying truth, and she’ll stop at nothing to avenge the murders of everyone she held dear. Even if it means taking down the boy she loves and possibly losing herself in the process.

Sharp and incisive, Daughter of Deep Silence by bestselling author Carrie Ryan is a deliciously smart revenge thriller that examines perceptions of identity, love, and the lengths to which one girl is willing to go when she thinks she has nothing to lose.

 

Carrie Ryan has a special place in my heart. Never has an author made me cry so hard over the death of a character in her book The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I’m very excited to see what this new series has to offer. Knowing that Ryan can create dark and beautiful worlds with deeply conflicted characters, I think this one is going to be good.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard was one of my most anticipated reads for 2015. The cover is amazing; the blurb rocked my socks off and I was so, so ready to have my mind blown. Strangely, this book turned into an explosion of a different sort, leaving me intrigued yet confused.

17878931 The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

I want to start with what I didn’t like. It took me many, many pages of this…this thing that was like a subtle itch that was noticeable but unable to be scratched. What was it? I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then I decided it had to be the main character. Her personality was almost dull, lacking the ups and downs of emotions. I didn’t feel her anger, her pain, her fear. I watched her on the pages as an indifferent spectator, and I like to be in the driver seat, being assaulted with obstacles speeding across the plot’s course. I felt so detached. The relationships that Mare has with the two princes (and the friend from home) were strangely clinical but I think I attributed it to the general feel of Mare’s world, where everything is carefully calculated. Unfortunately, I couldn’t feel her emotions and therefore, I didn’t believe the “love” between her and certain male characters.

This detachment may have been a factor in the betrayal that I did. Not. See. Coming. After reading other reviews and looking back, it’s almost obvious but at the time of reading, I was smacked across the face with the stinging hand of treachery. After reviving myself from my shock, I was back in the game because before this my interest was waning. I wasn’t feeling it.

The last few chapters saved this book for me. The battle at the end and the descriptive and tense fight scenes made up for the monotonous everyday observations of the first two-thirds of the book. The truth being finally revealed (after not expecting there to be a ‘truth’) sent my mind on a whirlwind of analysis, examining character’s motives and fully understanding past actions.

Red Queen has a rich dystopian world, but lacks believable characters. It has awesome magical powers and pushes boundaries, but it leaves the reader without any feels. I didn’t swoon or sigh, but I did feel the heart-wrenching terror of the final betrayal. Because of this, Red Queen wasn’t the book I thought it would be, but I’m willing to give this series another chance to see where it goes.

STARS: 3.5 out of 5

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

I LOVE this series. Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews is book 7 of the Kate Daniels series and it’s the best book yet!

12119529No matter how much the paranormal politics of Atlanta change, one thing always remains the same: if there’s trouble, Kate Daniels will be in the middle of it…

As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers. Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe—especially those closest to Kate.

As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer. And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear…

I forget how much I love Urban Fantasy as a genre until I pick up a series I’ve been reading for awhile. Ilona Andrews, the husband and wife writing team, are amazing. Magic Breaks has to be the best book yet and that’s saying a lot because sometimes series that last for awhile simply deteriorate as they go on. Not so with Kate Daniels!

The action was spot on with this installment. Kate and Curran just want to enjoy each other but the obstacles of Atlanta won’t let them rest. This novel in particular had a life or death feel. So much so that the author note at the beginning of the novel letting readers know this is NOT the end of Kate’s story had me worried from page one. It really hits the fan for Kate and Curran when the long anticipated reunion between Kate and her father, Roland, FINALLY happens. (Side note: Kate is a complete badass!) Before that happens, there is a nasty collision with Hugh and the consequences are deadly. My heart was breaking during a lot of the scenes with Hugh and I wanted revenge so bad!

The internal turmoil of Kate as she’s separated from Curran during most of the action is what really brought this book to another level. She had to fight through the pain of potential loss and live through the agony of uncertainty. Kate is such a strong heroine but with a real and vulnerable heart. I really enjoyed the unwavering love between Curran and Kate that was missing in the last book. We all know they belong together so trying to pretend that they wouldn’t be in the last book was silly.

There is a lot of betrayal in this book, but also loyalty. The interplay between the various alphas and Kate’s friends/enemies was awesome to watch unfold. The plot in this book was simply perfection. I was on the edge of my seat, fighting for Kate just as she fought for the people she loved.

If you’ve never read Ilona Andrews, I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys Urban Fantasy. The Kate Daniels series is truly one of the best out there.

STARS: 5 out of 5

Releases and Recommendations: Every Last Breath by Jennifer Armentrout

It’s Tuesday! The wonderful day that books are released to the world!

Today, I’m anticipating the release of Every Last Breath by Jennifer Armentrout, which will be released on Tuesday, July 28, 2015.

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Some loves will last ’til your dying breath

Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust.

Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin—the deadliest of demons—has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city—and her race—from destruction.

Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side—and then fight like hell…

First, I’m not a fan of the cover redesign. I liked the old design better. However, that doesn’t change how excited I am to see how Layla’s story ends. Jennifer Armentrout did something really awesome with this series and let her readers decide who Layla should end up with. I was super torn, but I voted for Roth. I’ll have to wait and see if that’s who she ends up with.

That Time I Met Sarah J. Maas

So last weekend I got to meet one of my favorite authors — Sarah J. Maas.

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She’s the author of the Throne of Glass Series (Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, and Heir of Fire with Queen of Shadows coming September 1! ) and her newest book A Court of Thorns and Roses, which is the reason she was at Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN for a book signing. When I found out she would be doing a book signing somewhere within driving distance, I was ecstatic! I forced my husband to come and I got there super early to make sure I got a good spot. This tiny independent bookstore was packed!!  I was nervous about the book signing because I completely embarrass myself when I meet authors. To me, authors are like bonafide rock stars or uber famous celebrities. I can’t contain the hyperventilating, giggling and inability to form coherent sentences. Anyway, all I can say is Sarah J. Maas is as badass as her heroines and she’s a really cool chick.

The discussion time was great and here’s a few things I learned that I thought it would be cool to share:

  • Her favorite fantasy trope: At the moment it’s strong female friendships. She wants to see “more girls supporting girls in Fantasy.”
  • Her advice to aspiring writers: The small details carry the most weight.
  • Her writing “process”: She says she doesn’t have a process, but described it as vomiting onto the page. (This girl was hilarious and now I can stop beating myself up at my lack of “process” in my own writing.)
  • Books she recommends: (All of these are now on my to-read list.) Darkest Minds and Passenger by Alexandra Bracken and Truthwitch by Susan Dennard.

Sarah is really, really nice in person, which made waiting in line to get my book signed totally worth it. She even has her readers sign her copy of Throne of Glass, which was pretty awesome. Also, I didn’t embarrass myself (that I know of) when I finally got to get my booked signed. She’s also insanely gorgeous, super funny and I totally want to be her.

Book signing with Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas and Me!

I’ll admit that I’ve already devoured A Court of Thorns and Roses. It’s one of my top ten books of 2015 for sure. Review to come but most definitely put it on your to-read list!