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Jessica (HDB)

I'm a bookworm of the highest caliber! If you see me, I'll probably be reading. There's nothing I love more than finding a good book, and then sharing it with the world!

Reading progress update: I've read 20%.

The Hazel Wood - Melissa Albert

So far, this book is much more than I thought it would be. Well, that's not entirely accurate. I actually picked this book up without reading the synopsis because LOOK AT THAT COVER. Yes, it was a case of cover love. No, I'm not sorry. It's actually genuinely good so far.


I'm on a Fantasy kick again. I can't shake it. I'm going to assume it's because it's what I need to read right now, and just roll with it. 

Finally, finally finished.

Ink, Iron, and Glass - Gwendolyn Clare, Mike Heath

This book was painful to make it all the way to the end of, but I've already DNF'd so many books this month and this one was a request I actually made. So I powered through. It took me a month, but I finished.


It feels like Clare had a general idea of what she wanted to write, even a set of rough character sketches, and then never hammered it into anything solid. There were a lot of fabulous ideas here, but they were all over the place. Worldbooks are a really cool concept. The ability to create an entire world, simply by scribing it into one of these, sounded like something I'd normally fall in love with. The problem was that the descriptions only skimmed the surface. I never saw deeper than the idea itself, and that was the case for most of what is in this story.


Add in the fact that the pace feels maddeningly slow for most of the book, and then picks up in a mad rush to the end, and you have a book that drove me nuts. I never felt invested. Every time I thought sometime was starting to peak my interest, the book would meander away on a tangent and my questions weren't answered. Argh.


So 2 stars to this one, because I only 1 star books I didn't finish. Sorry book. Your cover was so promising.


Boy's Life - Robert R. McCammon

I powered through this book, I tell you what. I kept waiting for small snippets of time to sneak in some listening, because I NEEDED to know what happens. Ugh. I need a physical copy of this book to hug. I loved every minute of it.


Someone should have told me not to listen to the end while I was getting ready for work this morning though. All the tears.

The Cruel Prince (Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air) - Holly Black

After months upon months of ignoring new releases, and trying to stay away from the hype, I finally gave in and picked up The Cruel Prince. Okay, more accurately, it actually popped up on my library loan list and I went "Oh, that's right! I put myself on the waitlist for this!", and then proceeded to devour it. I knew I wanted to read this from the moment that I saw Holly Black's name across the cover. If anyone knows Fae, it's Holly Black. I had high hopes for this one and, I'm glad to report, I wasn't disappointed in the least!

First off, true to form, Holly Black expertly drags the reader into the darkly glittering world of the Fae. A world where things are both beautiful and terrible. A world where humans definitely are at a disadvantage, and where they are so enchanted by it all that they don't even seem to care. What I've always liked about Black's fairy world is that it isn't always a kind a one. It's one where there is suffering, war, and hatred. It's one where beautiful beings have sharp edges and sharper knives. It's the kind of world that you love to read about, but would be terrified to visit. In other words, it's my kind of setting.

Even more impressive is the fact that every single character who graces these pages is perfectly rendered, and multi-faceted. I was stunned by how easily I fell into step with Jude. Her inability to conform, despite the fact that it would have been the easiest thing to do, made me fall in love with her character. Jude is strong as steel, and equally as intelligent. The stark contrast between her, as a protected human in a fairy world, and Vivi, as an unwilling fairy in a fairy world, was perfection. I ate up their sisterly bond, swooned over the descriptions of balls and battles, and couldn't stop myself from hating the same people that Jude found herself hating. I think what made me fall for Jude the hardest was that she was never afraid to admit that she was wrong. She was human to the core, and beautiful because of it.

Truthfully, even the plot the blew me away. It was perfectly paced, and set up in a way that I never saw the next move coming until right when Jude did. Black weaves a gorgeous web on court intrigue, filled with backstabbing and death. Even when I was absolutely sure that I knew where things were headed next, I was wrong. It was wonderful. I love a plot that keeps me on my toes. As for the ending, well, I knew going in that this was the first in a series. So I'll say that the ending is good for a first book, and satisfying enough. You'll see, after all, that I did give this a full five star rating.

If you're looking for viciously lovely Fae, more court intrigue than you can shake a stick at, and a book that will keep you reading well into the night, this is for you. 

Reading progress update: I've read 80%.

Boy's Life - Robert R. McCammon

Okay, this book is going on the shelf right next to IT. Right next to all the books that have so much magic wrapped up into them that it doesn't even feel like that the author is trying. I've sobbed, I've giggled, and I'm just so in love with every single thing about this story. What a life. What a story.


I was telling my friend last night, over dinner, that my favorite part about IT is the message that adults forget their childhoods all too easily. That life makes us new people, and those new people forget the magic that they experienced. This book has that same gorgeous message, and I'm taking it to heart.

Reading progress update: I've read 61%.

Boy's Life - Robert R. McCammon

Damn you book.


*all the tears*


Reading progress update: I've read 50%.

Boy's Life - Robert R. McCammon

This book just keeps getting better and better. It might be my current hormonal state, but I keep tearing up on how beautifully done this snapshot into the life of one young boy really is. E. recommended this, so I already knew that it was going to be good. I just didn't know how good it was really going to be. I'm SO impressed.

Reading progress update: I've read 65%.

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air) - Holly Black

So, surprisingly, I'm really digging this book. Well, I guess it's not all that surprising. If there's one thing that I know for a fact, it's that Holly Black can write about the fae. I've read a few of her other fairy related books, and have always been impressed with how easily she can pull her readers into their dark and beautiful world. My biggest issue is usually the plot! It never seems to be as good as the world building.


In this book, I'm actually really seeing what I've hoped for from Black for a long time. It's her same darkly glittering fairy world, but the plot here is superb as well. There's court intrigue, strong characters and, unless the ending lets me down, a good build up towards the end.


I desperately hope this book doesn't fail me, because I'm kind of in love right now.


Emergency Contact - Mary H. K. Choi

Hey loves!


I'm giving away a copy of this gorgeous book on my blog, courtesy of Simon Teen and Big Honcho Media. If you have a U.S. mailing address, and this looks like something you'd like to read, would you please go and enter? :D


Click here!

Sunburn by Laura Lippman

Sunburn: A Novel - Laura Lippman

What to say first about this book? Ah! Lippman came into my life, way back when I was a new blogger, when I ended up with the 11th book in her Tess Monaghan series for review. I remember being a little worried that I wouldn't be able to pick things up so late in the story line, but there was Lippman's exceptional writing picking me up and taking me on a journey anyway. I ended up loving that book, and I've been a fan of Lippman ever since! So imagine my excitement when I was asked to be on the tour for Sunburn. It's been long enough since I read one of her books that I was eager to see if her writing was what I remembered from before. Oh, it was. You'd best prepare for some gushing.

It's so impressive to me when a book can completely command your attention from the first few sentences, and Sunburnaccomplishes that easily. Polly's story, while you don't know who she is just yet, pulls you into its web. I found myself utterly invested in this woman, and unable to look away as everything she'd planned slowly fell into place. I know that I'm being vague, and you can understand that it's a purposeful vagueness. There are just too many things that I can't give away, without ruining your enjoyment of this spiderweb of a book. Just trust me when I say that Polly's story is extremely layered, and totally worth taking the time to uncover.

Plus, while the whole plot thread is just deliciously mysterious, it's really the characters themselves who steal the show. Polly is the perfect unreliable narrator. She's easy to love and hate in equal measures, depending on what is newly being revealed to the reader about her. She's shrouded in doubt, yet with enough humanness to make her likable. Adam, on the other hand, is this rock in shifting sands. He's strong, reliable, and yet slowly being eroded by our dear Polly. As the book reaches a climax, and Adam's real plight comes to light, I'm sure you'll find yourself just as stunned as I was. There's a lot to love about how well laid out this book really is.

So why the four star rating, rather than five? I can easily pin that on the fact that the ending, while completely plausible, didn't really suit my tastes. That doesn't mean that it won't be perfect for most readers. That doesn't mean it isn't an excellent ending overall. That's just me, being my nitpicky reader self, being completely transparent with you. I didn't love the ending of this. Still, it's a totally solid and enjoyable read. The twists and turns are wonderful, and I'm still impressed. Lippman hasn't lost her edge, and I hope she never does.

DNF @ 60%

Firebolt - Adrienne  Woods

I tried. I really, really tried.


I can't do this book anymore.


From the cookie cutter "Hot Girl", "Broody Guy", "Damsel in Distress" characters, to the broken world building that refuses to even try to make sense, it all just got to be too much. If I had to listen to Elena talk about drowning in "Mean Hot Guy" Blake's eyes one more time I was going to throw something at the wall.


I even skipped ahead an hour in the audio book to see if things got any better. They didn't. Elena was standing in front of a gate, conveniently the only "maiden" (yes, friends, the only virgin) who could enter them. *sigh*


Oh well, I tried. Time to move on to bigger and better things.

The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

The Final Six - Alexandra Monir

First off, credit where credit is due, I have to applaud Monir for the diversity in The Final Six. It's so refreshing to not only see both a female and a male main character in this story, but the fact that Naomi and Leo, while they share a destiny, are so different is wonderful. The differences in their views about the competition, their ethnic backgrounds, and their family lives all come together to create a beautiful story about growth through the pursuit of a common goal. I loved how ambitious both of them were because, as I stated above, it's great to see strong male and female characters side by side. We need more of that.


As for the plot, I can say that the science fiction aspects of this book were really accessible. I loved the addition of VR and AI! The Final Six easily walks that line between sharing the technology of the future and still being something that you can find yourself picturing. It helps, of course, that Monir has an uncanny ability to write beautifully descriptive scenes. The competition manages to pull the reader in quickly, and make you feel like you're part of the action. I even found myself rooting for the friendship to romance brewing between our two characters, despite the fact that I'm normally anti-romance. Could I have done without that? Probably, but the fact that I didn't dislike it was a nice surprise.


Why then, you ask, did I rate this at four stars rather than five? First there's the fact that, despite how different Naomi and Leo are in many aspects, our two main characters are pretty difficult to tell apart in their POVs. If there hadn't been headers on the chapters letting me know whose mind I was currently in, I would have been lost a lot more. My other issue was, and I know this is just the way that my particular brand of reading brain works, there were so many unexplained things that were just conveniently happening. I mentioned how perfect the descriptive writing was in relation to the competition technology. That's why I was a little baffled as to why there wasn't any explanations for how electricity works now, why Earth is being abandoned instead of fixed, and why the treatment only works on teenagers. Am I being nitpicky? Possibly. None of that took away from my overall enjoyment. Still, I have so many questions.


So, after a lot of thought, I settled on a solid four star rating. I haven't yet read a book similar to this, so I'm pretty happy with the journey I was taken on. The ending is a blatant cliffhanger, so rest assured that there's another book coming down the pipeline. Maybe that one will answer the rest of my questions? Only time will tell.


Just Excellent!

Sunburn: A Novel - Laura Lippman

I don't have a full review for this yet, because I just finished it on the train ride this morning, but it was an excellent read! The ending wasn't my favorite, thus the missing star, but overall I felt like Lippman did amazingly well at this standalone!


I recommend this.

Reading progress update: I've read 185 out of 304 pages.

Sunburn: A Novel - Laura Lippman

Oh look, I have something good to say about a book I'm reading!


I mean... it's Laura Lippman so I don't think anyone is surprised, but this book is GOOD.


Really good.


Read it on my lunch break and missed my mouth multiple times with my food good.


Mad that work isn't over and I haven't finished it yet good.


More rambling to come.

Reading progress update: I've read 30%.

Firebolt - Adrienne  Woods

It should be noted that I am this close *makes really small finger space* to DNFing this book. It's like this book took every YA cliche and wrapped them all up, just to make sure that this would sell as a YA book. 


Damsel in distress syndrome? Check.

Instalove? Check.

Multiple love interests? Check.

Catty female characters? Check.

Overbearing male personalities? Check.

Magical world with shapeshifters? Check, check, check.


A friend recommended this to me, and so I thought I'd give it a shot. But I'm bored. And annoyed. And pretty much done.


Does anyone have any book recommendations that feature dragons that are better? I do feel like I need some dragons in my life. 

Just... what?

Ink, Iron, and Glass - Gwendolyn Clare, Mike Heath

Has anyone else read this? I'm trying valiantly to finish it, since I requested it for review, but oh my goodness is this book confusing. It feels like it's trying to do a whole lot of things, all at the same time, and not succeeding at any of them. There is little to no world building. We're just dumped in this existence that is supposed to make sense, magic is thrown in, and I'm sitting here reeling.


I'm lost. So lost. Do I finish? Do I not finish? Will it get better? Lost, I say.