Highland Fire

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Highland Fire (Guardians of the Stone #2) by Tanya Anne Crosby

Pages: 328

Rating: 2.5 stars

Scotland, 1125, the Legend Begins … For two centuries, Aidan dun Scoti’s kinsmen have guarded Scotland’s greatest secret, the real Stone of Destiny. Now King David seeks an alliance with the mountain Scot. But only one woman will tempt him–the accursed beauty whose father once betrayed his clan … Tempted by Revenge Cursed by Aidan’s people for the sins of her father, Lileas MacLaren is the one woman Aidan believes he is immune to … she is also the one woman who may bring the fierce chieftain to his knees. Rich with history and lore, HIGHLAND FIRE brings back favorite characters from The Highland Brides and introduces you to new ones.

 

First Impressions: I’m guessing that I’ll give this 3 stars. I’m about 80 pages into it and so far it’s the same story line as just about every other Highland Romance book. Proper young lady is forced to marry the scary savage Scot.

In all honesty, I kind of assumed it would be “just another Highlander book” but sometimes you need a light read in between more intense books.

 

Review: This is a good “Poolside Read”. It was fun and quick and I enjoyed reading it. The writing was well done and while the story line was as expected, I wasn’t looking for something new & unique.

The entire way through the story I thought I would give it 3-3.5 stars as it was a fun read. It’s rating dropped to 2.5 stars for 2 reasons.

1) I seriously read this book thinking it was the 2nd book in a series. Tanya Anne Crosby must have written an earlier series about Aidan’s sister because her story was referenced throughout this book but it was never really recapped enough to make me feel like I knew what happened.

2) The ENTIRE story is about Lileas trying to figure out how to save her son while not harming Aidan. Every chapter is building up to the climax of seeing how she will make everything right but then it never happens. You seriously go from her struggling to figure out what to do, to everything being resolved, and then a recap tells you how she accomplished it. It was a huge letdown and completely removed the reader from feeling a part of the story.

 

Conclusion: If you’re looking for something quick and easy to read, this isn’t a bad choice but I would read some of the other dozens of Highlander books first. It’s cute but the ending spoils it and you never feel that buildup of love that you come to expect from these types of books.

 

lissy

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Outlander

outlander blog

Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon

Pages: 850

Rating: 5 Stars

There has been a ton of hype about this series since Starz made a series out of it, so I don’t think I need to say too much about it.

I love this series, and especially this first book. I have read it several times and I’m just about as obsessed with the TV series as I am the book. The first few chapters aren’t anything special. It’s all just the setup of Claire & Frank trying to reignite their marriage after WWII. It’s sweet but that’s it. Once she finds herself in 18th century Scotland, I couldn’t put the book down. Gabaldon did an amazing job of not only making you feel like you are in Scotland but that you are a modern day person stuck in the 1700s. Clarie does some very foolish things, throughout the book, but they are all things that one of us might do if we found ourselves in her place.

I had a hard time reading the parts regarding Jamie in Wentworth prison. They were graphic and turned my stomach a bit but they were a historically accurate of what life was like in those times and they played an integral part in the story.

I absolutely recommend this book but due to the amount of sex and violence it is definitely for adults.

 

Help!!! What do I do with all of these books?

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I have a problem. I collect books. It doesn’t matter that I have a TBR pile with over 200 books in it, if I see a book that interests me, I will get it. Luckily for my husband, most of my books are digital but I think that also feeds my problem; well, that and Bookbub.  I don’t have a large book budget so whenever I see a free book that sounds interesting, I grab it. Then it seems to get lost in my virtual pile until I stumble across it years later.

So this is my current dilemma. I need a new book but I can’t justify buying another one yet so I need to read one I already have. It’s just such a daunting task, trying to sort through everything I have to find that book that’s going to really catch my interest.

I’m curious, what methods do you use to organize your TBR pile? Do you read them in order of when you acquired them or do you have another system. Do you periodically purge your TBRs or do you keep them all because Heaven forbid you accidentally get rid of something that would become one of your favorites?

lissy

Top 5 Bad A** Females

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Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm. If you haven’t visited her site yet, you definitely need to check it out. Her Top 5 lists are always fun to read and her book reviews are great.

I absolutely love getting into a book with strong female character. I hate when women are portrayed as weak and helpless. That being said, I do love when a big strong male character can step in and help as long as I know that the female character could have still accomplished her goals without him

So, this brings me to my list of my top 5 bad a** female characters.

1) Aelin Ashryver Galathynius. If you’ve read the series, you don’t need any explanation. She’s tough and smart and everything she does (well most of it) is for her people.

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2) Sara Grey. This is another one where if you’ve read the series, you’ll probably agree. Sara learns that her world is a lot scarier than she had imagined but she doesn’t hide. Of course she gets scared but she does what needs to be done and she doesn’t let an overprotective Mohiri Warrior boss her around.

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3) Claire Fraser. Claire is a different type of bad a** female but I think she still makes the cut. If I found myself in the 1700s I would have an absolute breakdown and then I would have been burned as a witch because I’m pretty sure I would tell anyone and everyone that I was from the future and ask them to help me get back. Although Claire is confused and definitely in an unfamiliar world, she adapts and learns how to survive, all while not giving in to the notions that women were 2nd class citizens.

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4) Daenerys Targaryen. I couldn’t not include Dani on my list. She’s first introduced as a meek young girl who is sold by her brother to the warlord Kahl Drogo. Instead of remaining a meek and subservient wife, she builds herself into a powerful queen and the Mother of Dragons. I love that she hasn’t lost sight of her goals but she wants to find a way to take back her kingdom without becoming a tyrant; or worse, like her father.

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5) Penryn. Imagine waking up and the world is ending; angels have come to destroy the world. Penryn is willing to do whatever it takes to fight these angels and get her little sister back. This book is full of nightmares but Penryn doesn’t give up.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my list of Top 5 Bad A** females. Who do you think should be on this list?

lissy

Uprooted

uprooted blog

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Pages: 435

Rating: 3.5 Stars

First Impressions: I’m 100 pages into Uprooted and I honestly have no idea if I like this book or not. There are some parts that drive me crazy. For one, Agnieszka starts out as very timid and willing to live her life as a simple woodcutter’s daughter. She remains timid until her village needs help and then all of a sudden she’s brave and using magic that she had barely any knowledge of; there wasn’t any character growth at all. Afterwards, she’s instantly wanting to learn all the magic that so recently she was terrified of (which I’m not sure why she was afraid of it) but the author glosses over all of her learning.

Second, I HATE Dragon. At first I thought this would be the typical “grumpy guy has his heart softened by the maiden and learns to love” type story. But at this point, he has no redeeming qualities. If Agnieszka falls for him, she will be in an abusive relationship. He forces her to leave her family and live with him for 10 years but from the minute she’s there he belittles her and is disgusted by her. He hates that she’s there but makes her stay anyway.

Despite those things, this book has captured my attention and I am currently enjoying reading it. I really hope that by the end, it’s not a disappointment.

Review: First the good. I really enjoyed this story. It was unique and fun to read. The world building was great and really drew me in. I loved the idea of the Wood and how that part of the story resolved. I would have loved to have had more of the story about the Wood-Queen and Linaya but I enjoyed how the Wood was explained.

Now the bad. I took away half a star for 3 reasons.

1) This book needs to be re-edited. There were a few places where there was a wrong word used but it was obvious what the correct word was supposed to be. More often, though, whole sentences were written so poorly that it was hard to understand what the author was wanting to say. A couple times I just gave up trying to understand and just moved on.

2) There were several plot holes that drove me crazy. Agnieszka is always a mess; dirty and hair a disaster. She’s often embarrassed by it but she never thinks to use the first (and easiest) spell The Dragon taught her which changes you into a new dress, cleans you up, and does your hair. She also jumps back and forth between being a magical newbie with no idea how to do magic and being able to create her own spells to do anything she wants. The author hardly gives us a taste of her learning and leaves the reader to assume that at some point between hating The Dragon and The Dragon ignoring her, she does a lot of studying and becomes a great witch but forgets everything once she panics a little.

3) There was absolutely no need to put in any kind of romantic relationship. It felt like Novik just added it so she could call Uprooted a YA Fantasy ROMANCE. The Dragon & Agnieszka’s relationship is emotionally abusive. He forces her to join him and then treats her horribly. This scene for example:

He was irritated with me every time I came into his library, even on the few days that I managed to keep myself in good order: as though I were coming to annoy and interrupt him, instead of him tormenting and using me. And when he had finished working his magic through me and left me crumpled on the floor, he would scowl down at me and call me useless.” 

There are never any scenes where they build a relationship and there’s absolutely no chemistry. He’s always a jerk to her and she’s always annoyed by him but becomes attached to him anyway. Then she decides to climb in bed with him and even that doesn’t really make you feel like they have any feelings towards each other. You could honestly strike out that scene and the ones of her feeling attached to him and it wouldn’t change the story in any way at all.

Even though there were some things that really annoyed me, I truly enjoyed the story and would recommend it to others.

Top 5 Books than need to be made into Movies

top 5 tuesday - template

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm. If you haven’t visited her site yet, you definitely need to check it out. Her Top 5 lists are always fun to read and her book reviews are great.

I love when one of my favorite books is turned into a movie but ONLY if it is done well. Harry Potter is a great example of that. Although, the movies aren’t nearly as magical as the series, they did a great job fitting each book into a 2-3hr show. Outlander is another movie series that while not exactly the same as the books, did a great job of telling the same story and keeping true to the most important parts. Divergent, completely failed as a movie, in my mind. I loved the series beforehand but since the movies came out and were so disappointing, I just haven’t been able to look at the books the same way.

So, this weeks list of the Top 5 Books I would like to see made into a movie comes with the disclaimer that I ONLY want to see them as a movie IF they are done extremely well.

1) Because I’m still obsessed with it, I would LOVE to see Throne of Glass as a movie. I can totally see it as a new Peter Jackson series with Doranelle set similar to Rivendell; and the war with Erawan definitely has a Lord of the Rings feel to it.

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2) Although I don’t think it would be a timeless movie, I would enjoy seeing the first 3 books in the Relentless series as movies. It’s a YA Paranormal romance but is so much more than Twilight. As long as they don’t cast Kristen Stewart or make their vampires sparkle.

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3) The Clan of the Cave Bear is a very interesting and unique book that I think would do very well as a movie. It wouldn’t have a ton of dialog and would need great actors to tell the story through actions and emotions. I can easily see it done as an independent film; maybe at The Sundance Film Festival.

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4) The Study series by Maria V. Snyder would be a fun trilogy to watch. It would also do well as an HBO original series. Plus, if they did well, it could be continued with The Glass series and The Healer series.

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5) House of Night is 12 books long so I can’t really see it being made into movies but a TV series would be awesome. There’s enough going on that they could make one season a year and never lose steam. Hey, HBO, here’s something for you to do once Game of Thrones ends.

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Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks House of Night would make a great series. Check out this fan made poster by loveisthelaw on deviantART. It’s absolutely gorgeous and Nina Dobrev would be perfect as Zoey Redbird.

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lissy

Top 5 Reasons I Love Reading

Top 5 Tuesday - Template

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm. If you haven’t visited her site yet, you definitely need to check it out. Her Top 5 lists are always fun to read and her book reviews are great.

This weeks Top 5 topic is “Top 5 reasons I love reading.” This is a little harder for me to answer because I’ve never really broken up why I love reading; I just do.

 

1) I guess if I’m being honest with myself, the number one reason I love reading is Harry Potter. As a child and a teen I didn’t like reading at all. Reading was something you were required to do for school and usually you had to read the book that your teacher chose and that was approved by the school district. While I can appreciate those books now, I never got into them as a child and I NEVER chose to read for fun.

In college I had a class called “Children’s Literature”. We were required to read 5 books in 10 genres so that we had a list of books we wanted for our own classrooms. While perusing titles, I came across an article about a fairly new book called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (does this date me?). The article was about how a large group of parents, back East, were boycotting it and trying to get it removed from schools because it was devil worshiping. That totally made me curious and I picked up a copy later that same day.

Twenty-something years later and I have read the series more times than I can count and every Halloween I have an awesome Harry Potter display in my front yard.

The best part, though, is that I learned that there were amazing books out there. Books that I loved and that I wanted to spend my free time reading.

 

2) The 2nd reason I Love reading is that I love being able to travel to different worlds through the books I read. I am definitely a fantasy fan so visiting worlds full of fae or wandering down dark streets full of vampires is my idea of the perfect recipe for a relaxing evening at home.

 

3) I can read almost anywhere. Whether it’s a cozy night at home or a doctors waiting room, I can happily enjoy my books. I love to read in the mornings while riding my bike trainer and have been known to put in extra time because I want to see what happens next and once I’m off my bike I can no longer justify reading when I have a million other things to get done. And while it’s not recommended that you read while driving, an audio book is a great way to fill in the time while sitting in rush-hour traffic.

 

4) There are so many stories being told. Have you noticed that the movie industry has run out of ideas? It seems like every single movie is a book adaptation and even the good ones aren’t nearly as good as the book. You never hear of authors running out of ideas and creating “song adaptations”. There are just so many stories out there waiting to be read and no matter how much time I spend reading, I will never be able to read them all.

 

5) It’s a treasure hunt. You know when you find that perfect book and once it’s over, all you want is to find another book that will give you that same feeling of obsessiveness? I love that. It’s like going on a treasure hunt. You have to follow the clues (a.k.a. recommendations) of others, read countless blurbs & countless reviews, until you find that book that just might be your next obsession. Then you read it and maybe you were right and maybe you were wrong but when it’s over, you go right back on the hunt.

 

These are the reasons that I love reading so much. Let me know what your top 5 reasons are.

 

lissy

 

Top 5 books I NEED to read in 2019

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I’m joining Bionic Book Worm for her Top 5 Tuesday memes. This week the topic is “Top 5 books I need to read in 2019”. You should definitely head over to her page and check out her Top 5 list, as well.

There are so many new and old books that I still need to read. Sometimes it feels a bit overwhelming when I think of all the books that I want to read right away.

Let’s see if I can narrow down my list into something more manageable; starting with my Top 5 books that I need to read in 2019.

 

5) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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I have been wanting to read Six of Crows ever since I finished The Grisha Verse series. I can’t wait to dive into this and my hope is that I’ll move straight into Crooked Kingdom.

 

 

4) Stung by Bethany Wiggins

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Stung was recommended to my by YA author, KB Benson. It’s called a “reimagining of Sleeping Beauty”. Not sure how Sleeping Beauty fits into a post-apocalyptic world but I’m looking forward to finding out.

 

 

3) Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

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I love everything by Cassandra Clare and I’m surprised that I didn’t get to this sooner. Can’t wait to dive into this world of Vampires, Faeries, & Shadowhunters.

 

 

2) Falling Kingdom by Morgan Rhodes

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First, can I say “Gorgeous Cover.” I am definitely one that judges a book by it’s cover. If the cover doesn’t catch my eye then I had better have heard A LOT of great things about the book or I won’t ever pick it up. Second, the story sounds like it’s down the same path as the Throne of Glass series and I’m currently just coming off of that high so I’m excited to read something similar.

 

1) Uprooted by Naomi Novik

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Uprooted is a very different type of Fantasy than I’ve read lately. The cover makes me wonder if this has a little bit of “Beauty & the Beast” in it. Whether it does or not, I’m really looking forward to getting into it.

 

 

 

lissy

Kingdom of Ash

Kingdom of Ash

Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass #7) by Sarah J. Maas

Pages: 992

Rating: 5 Stars

Often times I start a book and I think that it is going to be an okay book, or maybe it has a strong beginning and I think it’s going to be an amazing book but by the end I find that my opinion has completely changed. I want to include these initial thoughts by including a “First Impressions” section in my reviews. After I’ve read the first few chapters, I will take a minute to write up what my initial thoughts are and how I think this book is going to turn out. Then, once I’m finished with the book, I’ll add my full review

 

First Impressions: I finished reading “Tower of Dawn” in June and immediately pre-ordered Kingdom of Ash. It’s only been 6 months since I was in that world but there are so many characters and Tower of Dawn ended with everyone splitting up and going different directions,  that I feel like I need a reference or recap section that I can use to remind myself what’s going on.

It’s all good, though, the further I get into this book, the more I’m remembering and the more I’m being sucked right back into the story that I’ve loved so much.

Knowing how much I have enjoyed the past 6 books in the Throne of Glass series, I expect that I will also fall in love with Kingdom of Ash. I can’t wait to really dig into this book but at almost 1000 pages, it’s going to take me a little bit.

 

Final Thoughts: 

I’m not even really sure where to begin. I’m not hugely into war stories. I don’t mind the action of war but reading strategy isn’t really my thing. So there were parts of the story, during the first half (Aedion’s story mainly), that I had a harder time really getting in to. The sections about Rowan & Aelin grabbed me and when the book would switch back to the other characters I wanted to just skip ahead to find out what happened to Aelin.

Eventually, though, all the stories hooked me and I had a hard time putting the book down.

I love how all of the stories merged back together but not at the same time or in the ways that I expected.
The ending was another part that I really enjoyed. I hate in books, when the characters complete the main plot, the book ends, leaving the reader to wonder what happens next? How do the characters move on with their lives? I also hate when stories go on too long and you keep thinking you’re at the end but then you turn the page and there’s another chapter and another chapter and another chapter….

Sarah J Maas did a good job of wrapping up each character. You morn those that were lost, along with the other characters, and you learn how each one moves on with their life but it doesn’t just go on and on.

I definitely give this one 5 stars and I would say it’s fine for teens. There are several references to couples sleeping together but they don’t go into details.

One suggestion I would make is to read “The Assassin’s Blade” prior to Kingdom of Ash. It tells the stories of several characters that make an appearance in Kingdom of Ash. You would be fine to read Kingdom of Ash without reading The Assassin’s Blade but it was nice to know their history and why they are willing to do what they do.

If you’ve read this book, I’d love to hear what you think of it. Let me know in the comments!

 

 

lissy

 

 

 

***SPOILER***

 

Ok, I hate spoilers and I really try to never include them, but this time I have to include  one.

Throughout the whole Throne of Glass series, Celaena/Aelin is the typical hero. Everything she does works out in the end. From the first moment you know that she is tough and amazing and once you learn she’s the Fire-Bringer, you know how the story will end. “Some how she will end up fighting Erawan and with her powers will ultimately beat him, even though it will be hard”. 

I thought it was wonderful that in the end, she wasn’t the one to destroy Erawan. That she was humbled by her loss of magic but still did everything possible to protect Terrasen made her that much more of an amazing person but it also allowed others to become heroes as well. 

Willa of the Wood

Willa of the woods

Willa of the Wood (Willa #1) by Robert Beatty

Pages: 384

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Willa is a young night-spirit, and even though she is not totally human, I got really attached with her and I felt like I could connect with her in a new way than most books I’ve read. Willa was raised to fear and steal from the day folk but you can still see her humanity. She is definitely different from the rest of her kind, and that is what I love about her. The way that Robert Beatty has written this wonderful book keeps you on the edge of your seat and constantly longing to read more. At first I didn’t read it much, but once I got into it, almost the only thing I did was read this book! I absolutely loved this book and I’m excited for a book 2!

  • Tessa