The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

I’ve had The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey on my shelf for some time now. I purchased it when it first came out and even though I saw review after review declaring it’s awesomeness, I couldn’t pick it up. I was aliened out. I didn’t care to read another post-apocalyptic dystopian novel (I blame Veronica Roth and the heart-breaking ending of the Divergent series.). However, the movie for The 5th Wave recently released and I’m a read-the-book-before-seeing-the-movie kind of gal and it moved the book up on my reading list. And boy, was it worth it!

16101128After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

All the reviews on this book were right. It was intriguing, exhilarating, heart-breaking, funny, sarcastic and crazy. It was a million things synonymous for fantastic. I fell into the pages of this book head-over-heels only looking up every once and awhile to declare “This is so good!” (True story. I have witnesses.)  The multiple POVs added a layer of complexity to this novel that I really enjoyed. It makes you wonder who’s truly evil? Who’s the real enemy? What makes you human?

This novel is a story of individuals who overcome all odds to survive in a world hell-bent on destroying them, where simple things like family, friendship and even life-long crushes are thrown into the bin marked “important to humanity.”  The foreboding writing style left me breathless in anticipation as we follow Cassie and others on their journey.

The relationship between Evan and Cassie grew quickly but I thought it fit the situation perfectly. I know other reviewers have complained that it was insta-love but I felt Evan’s bizarre behavior added to the mystery of who he is, was and could be. Plus, in post-apocalyptic life or death situations I think it would be insanely easy to fall for the last boy on earth, especially with the added bonus that he’s extremely good looking. Their connection was intense with a depth that can only come from dire circumstances. Evan had me swooning with some of the things he said.

“I had it all wrong,” he says. “Before I found you,I thought the only way to hold on was to find something to live for. It isn’t. To hold on, you have to find something you’re willing to die for.”

I really enjoyed this novel and I can’t wait to see what they do with the movie. I’ll definitely be reading the sequel, The Infinite Sea, which is available now.

STARS: 5 out of 5

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Unbound by Peggy Martinez

Unbound by Peggy Martinez is the third book in the Sage Hannigan Time Warper series and it’s just as heart-wrenching as the first two books.

27038077Bombs have rocked Sage Hannigan’s world.

All manner of preternaturals have exposed themselves to the human population and taken over, causing innumerable deaths and mass destruction worldwide. Now Sage is furious. She’s angry that lives were lost, that the Time Warper she was trying to save died, that people all over the world are going hungry, and most of all, she is enraged that the lives of everyone she loves are in danger because of her.

When her eyes are finally opened to the truth of who is behind all the chaos, she finds herself in a race against time to stop her most powerful adversary yet before it’s too late.

Too late for her, her friends, and too late for the world.

I’m deep enough into this series to be in love with these characters and Time Warper Sage has a handful of attractive, supernatural hotties to choose from. I’m pretty much attached to all of them and I have no idea how Sage will choose who to end up with. I thought I was Team Soren but now I’m leaning more towards Team Aldwin. It’s a bit frustrating really. However, no one is as infuriating as Sage Hannigan. She makes poor decisions. I mean they’re BAD. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to throw my book across the room. She keeps pulling the if-you-love-me-you’ll-end-up-dying card and her potential mates are dropping like flies. In the first book, it was mysterious, dark Aldwin. In book two, I was swooning over vampire Soren. In this book, she abandons them all! At least that’s where this book starts off. I didn’t know how Peggy Martinez would pull it off but soon another man is in Sage’s life and I can’t help but fall in love with him too!

The best part about this novel was the rekindling with both Aldwin, where we find out more about his true nature, and Soren, where we see the consequences of his passion and anger. My favorite scene was Sage kicking ass in the land of Faerie, where some interesting, swoon-worthy stuff goes down. The consequences of Sage’s decisions grow each time she’s alone with anyone, and my heart breaks for the third wheel even as I’m cheering on the new pair.

My biggest issue with this book, and the whole series really, is there isn’t enough depth. I feel like this world is only just beginning and it’s book three. I expect to be fully immersed fairly quickly in a series. I want to know more about each character and their background, but the reader only gets to see quick glances and the story moves on. Regardless, this book is the best in the series by far. There was action and romance with a dash of mystery and intrigue.

The ending was heart-wrenching! I’ve come to just accept that Martinez’s endings will be a brutal blow to my heart. I have no idea what’s next for Sage but Martinez better work some necromancer magic. It can’t end like this! I’m eager to see what happens next. I wish Sage would make better decisions, but I’m just as much of a sucker for the men in her life that I’ll stick around to see what happens.

STARS: 4 out of 5

 

By The Light of the Moon by Jodi Vaughn

I’ve recently discovered the amazingness of BookBub, which is a free daily email with book deals in preferred genres. It’s safe to say that I’m racking up books even faster than before. (What can I say? I can’t turn down a good deal on books!) By the Light of the Moon by Jodi Vaughn is one of those deals and it was perfect for a paranormal romance fix.

23822620Hell on Wheels…
Werewolf Guardian, Damon Trahan lives by a Code: Protect the Pack with his life. Damon has experienced death and betrayal, now all he wants is the freedom of his Harley and the loyalty of the men he rides with, the only family he has left. Those are the things he knows and believes in. Love and the hurt that comes with it has no place in his world…Until he receives new orders: Rescue female werewolf, Ava Renfroe from a Pack of rogue wolves.
Hell on Heels…
Bartender Ava Renfroe is tired of Alpha males running her life. Being raised as the daughter of a Military General made her want independence more than air—and she has it! Until she’s kidnapped. Damon Trahan, her alpha male rescuer and bossy pain-in-the-ass, is exactly the kind of man she doesn’t want, but try telling that to her libido. His brooding good looks are panty-dropping hot. Too bad he’s bat-shit crazy and thinks he’s a werewolf. Worse, he claims she’s a werewolf too. But when Damon shifts in front of her, she begins to doubt everything she’s known to be true.
Hell to pay…
On the run from the rogues, Ava and Damon can’t ignore the red hot passion between them. But Damon knows it can’t last. Will he sacrifice everything he’s ever known to have the one thing he’s never meant to have? Or will the war between the Packs destroy them before love is given a chance?

I have an obsession with werewolves. There I said it. Now I’m one step closer to recovery. I quickly fell in love with Jodi Vaughn’s Arkansas wolves because they were rough around the edges but loyal to a fault. I loved the unique twist of a wolf queen and the way that affected the wolves.

This story has the typical hot, alpha male pursuing the firecracker of a woman he can’t have. It has witty banter, sizzling tension and characters with heart. I was rooting for Ava and Damon the entire time. The secondary characters were intriguing and I’m hoping to see more of them in the rest of the series.

My big issue with this book was the easy plot fixes at the end. The whole book revolves around how Damon and Ava can’t be together because of wolf law, but this book ties it up way too nicely and out of the blue. I’d have preferred a fight to the death or for “Alphahood.” It seemed too easy for me. Granted, I did want them to be together so I’m not complaining too loudly. Even the mystery of the missing girls was solved “off the page” so the reader didn’t get the satisfaction of reading it all going down.

Alas, I still enjoyed it as a typical — and satisfying — paranormal romance.

STARS: 4 out of 5

Four Year Blogoversary and Bookish Resolutions

Four years.

I have been blogging at Note To Selph Book Reviews for FOUR years now. (I feel like I should be at a political rally chanting “Four more  years! Four more years!”)

blogoversary

I started this blog as a New Year’s resolution, and I have to say this is the most successful New Year’s resolution I’ve ever made.  It’s a bit hard to wrap my head around so let’s review my bookish resolutions from last year instead.

1. Keep Goodreads up to date. 

YESSuccess. For the most part, I made sure to keep Goodreads up to date and record books I read. This year, I read 81 books, which did not cut it for my goal of 100 books. I blame Grad school.

2. Update my blog.

victoryAnother great success. I did a blog makeover early last year and I love the way my new site looks.

3. Apply for more ARCs.

Belle booksI did so-so on this goal. I didn’t really apply for ARCs per se, but I did become a Clean Teen Publishing Elite Reader so I get to read free books in exchange for an honest review, which I think is progress.

4. Review More.

booksI wrote pretty much the same amount of reviews this year. I may have even reviewed less because I was so busy with grad school and work.

5. Post discussion posts.

typingI did post a few discussion posts over the past year. My favorite post was DNF and Lonely Stars: Why Negative Reviews Can be Positive. I’m hoping to write a lot more now that I have free time.

2016My 2016 bookish resolutions are as follows:

  1. Make it to 100 followers. Not going to lie, when I see people who’ve been blogging for less than a year that have thousands of follows, I want to nestle into my dark little corner of the internet and not show my face. However, I’ve never really focused on my blog with more than a frenzied effort fueled by book-induced endorphins and a passion for reading. So I’m going to cut myself some slack and put a real effort in this year to grow my blog since I’m done with Grad school. This resolution isn’t so much about followers but about finding new blog friends and sharing a dialogue with others, which leads me to my next resolution.
  2. Connect with more bloggers. I know they are out there, hell I’m one of them. I plan on finding blogs based on books I have read and comment/engage with other bloggers.
  3. Utilize Social Media and other review platforms. I am TERRIBLE about remembering to tweet and post on Facebook/Goodreads/amazon etc. I can’t even remember to post on my blog half the time, but I can’t connect with people if I don’t put myself out there. I am just forgetful so I’m hoping to be more strategic with my blog next year.
  4. Post more discussion posts. Yep, round two. I love to write. It’s what I do for a living and for fun in one way or another. Not only will discussion posts help me express my ideas but help me hone my craft in a creative way with topics I’m passionate about.
  5. Start a book club. That’s right. Not only do I want to talk about books with other bookish people on the internet but in person too. If you live in the Huntsville area and are interested in joining let me know! I have friends that read but they like different genres than me, but it may help me branch out more. I’m always looking to discover new books and authors!

Finally, if you are reading this THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! It really means the world to me.

THANK YOU

The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

I’ve been giddy with excitement for The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward since she first announced she was releasing a new series. I am a diehard Ward fan, but this new series didn’t meet my expectations.

23355896The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family defined by wealth and privilege—and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal….

For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.

For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.

As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.

The Bourbon Kings is a wicked web of deceit following a rich family in Kentucky who owns a Bourbon company. The setup for this novel was a hefty thing because there were so many characters and perspectives to share. At one point, there was a new character introduced around page 300 and I was exhausted with trying to keep up. To be perfectly honest, this book was hard to get through. It was frustrating and I put the book down several times not wanting to pick it up again. However, this is Ward we’re talking about – one of my favorite authors! – I couldn’t give up so I finished it.

One big reason I didn’t like the book was the characters. They were so messed up. I’m all for damaged characters that can be redeemed, but the Bradford family was so effed up I don’t think there is room for redemption. The eldest brother is a physically-damaged drunk with a bad attitude, the sister is a stuck-up snob who only cares about money and the focus of this novel, main character Lane, is a scaredy-cat manwhore who’s afraid of confrontation. His love interest, Lizzie, is a strange farm-dwelling, heart-broken woman who was hard to relate to. The only sane people were the secondary characters. I particularly liked childhood friend and lawyer Samuel T. and Lane’s friend from New York, but that’s pretty much it. Everyone else was a drag.

This book felt like reading a series of unfortunate events but for adults. I’m all about suspenseful plots and obstacles to move the plot forward, but there was such an onslaught of evil and drama that there was never a moment for the reader to come up for air. The romance between Lane and Lizzie was weak. Their relationship didn’t sizzle like I’ve come to expect from Ward and that was a perfect opportunity for reprieve. The lack of emotional connection also caused me to not care about the characters. The plot also moved way too slow and spent too much time investing in boring characters like Lizzie.

Even though I wasn’t feeling it, I stuck it out until the end and it wasn’t satisfying. Most of the plot points came together, but I would have preferred a murder and cover up to the way the book ended. Surely these damaged characters are strong enough to murder the bastard that caused all this misery! I just wanted them to act as evil as their damaged souls were portrayed but they came off as weak.

I was mostly disappointed that there was no signature Ward anywhere in the novel. The Black Dagger Brotherhood series had plenty of damaged and effed up characters but they had honor and purpose. The Bourbon Kings characters had nothing to fight for or rely on, not family, not love, heck not even Bourbon could hold them together! I was hoping there would be a ruthless “King” of an empire of Bourbon, but the story came off like a bad soap opera with an evil that ends up winning.

The next book, The Angel’s Share, will be released in July 2016. Since there was so much setup in this first book, I do think there is potential for the sequel to be significantly better, but I don’t really care about the characters in the first place so I’m unsure if I’ll keep reading this series.

STARS: 2 out of 5