My Bookshelf: Deep Fried and Pickled

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Title: Deep Fried and Pickled

Series: The Rachael O’Brien Chronicles, Book #1

Author: Paisley Ray

Genre: Historical Fiction & Romance

Amazon Summary:
“It’s ’86, the era of Pop Rocks, Jelly shoes, and big hair bands. Rachael O’Brien’s freshman plan seems simple: Attend a southern college away from her hometown of Canton, Ohio, earn a degree, party, and meet cute guys—hopefully acing the latter two.

But being threatened by a jealous She-Devil, avoiding the advances of a thirty-something redneck, and discovering an art fraud scheme mess with her “to do” list. On top of her troubles at school, Rachael finds herself forging a new relationship with her emotionally shaken father after Mom abandons the family to pursue a psychic calling.

Bad decision-making, law-bending behavior, and surprise romances make freshman year challenging in Paisley Ray’s DEEP FRIED AND PICKLED quick-witted, south-of-the-Mason-Dixon romp.”

Cheers:

  • I really loved the characters, Macy especially.
  • It captured the feeling of going to college really well. I felt like I want to go back to college and live in the dorms (and considering I just graduated, the fresh horror of the dorms should have been enough to stop that feeling).
  • I liked that there was so much going on, what with her mom leaving and so much drama at school plus the art stuff.

Jeers:

  • I think that there should have been a little more focus on the crazy stalker thing at the end. I just personally thought it was amazing twist, but then it was over almost as soon as it started.
  • Personally, I wasn’t as invested in the art thief story line, but that’s just because I don’t really care about art. If I found out some big scandal like that had happened in my hometown I’d just shrug, so that’s kinda what I did in the story, but I did like the action and drama that went along with it.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! The author (who was really friendly, by the way) offered this book in exchange for an honest review and said that a lot of older women liked the story (as in, the women who had been young during the time this book is set in) but being 21 I think that this book is really good for anyone who is college-aged. Basically, if you’re worried about starting college, nothing is going to be as bad as Rachel’s first year.

Shelled and Shucked, book three in the series, is free right now on Amazon through the 27th, so snag it now while it’s hot!

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Fried-Pickled-Rachael-OBrien-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00AABHU70

Author’s blog: http://www.heypaisleyray.com/

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My Bookshelf: Lola and the Boy Next Door

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Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Genre: Young Adult/Romance

Amazon Summary:
“Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the negihborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.”

Jeers:

  • There was very little sympathy for Lola’s birth parents. People fall on hard times, it happens, and not everyone addicted to drugs is a terrible person.
  • I hated how long things dragged on with Max (the hot rocker boyfriend).
  • I think school is a much bigger deal in young people’s lives but she took away from that in order to force St. Clair and Anna in at the movie theater rather than just having standalone books.
  • The gift Cricket gives her at the end is like beyond what anyone could accomplish and is setting impossibly high standards (okay so I’m a little jealous but whatever).

Cheers:

  • I thought that the story was wonderfully 3D and I liked all the characters.
  • I loved Cricket, though I have no idea why he was actually into Lola.
  • It was a very sweet story and I enjoyed reading it.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes. I’d say read Anna and the French Kiss first, since the setting of Paris is way cooler than San Francisco (in my opinion) but all three books can be read in whatever order and you won’t be that confused. It’s really sweet and really captures the confusion of youth.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Lola-Next-Door-Stephanie-Perkins/dp/0142422010/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

My Bookshelf: Along for the Ride

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Title: Along for the Ride

Author: Sarah Dessen

Genre: Young Adult/Romance

Amazon Summary:
“Nights have always been Auden’s time, her chance to escape everything that’s going on around her.

Then she meets Eli, a fellow insomniac, and he becomes her nocturnal tour guide.

Now, with an endless supply of summer nights between them, almost anything can happen. . . .”

Jeers:

  • If you’ve read a lot of Sarah Dessen’s books this is going to be exactly the same.
  • Auden’s dad was a huge asshole from start to finish and that wasn’t really taken care of or addressed properly.

Cheers:

  • It’s a nice light-hearted read.
  • The characters are unique and the detail in the story really brings things to life.
  • I’ve read this a bunch of times and I’m still not sick of it. I think Sarah Dessen does a really good job of writing books young girls can identify with.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes, if you like stories about teenage girls finding themselves. If you like one Sarah Dessen book you’ll probably like them all, but if you read too many you start to see how similar they all are. As long as you’re not looking for high-brow literature, you’ll be fine reading Along for the Ride.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Along-Ride-Sarah-Dessen/dp/0142415561

My Bookshelf: The Enterprise of Death

Title: The Enterprise of Death

Author: Jesse Bullington

Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Amazon Summery:
“As the witch-pyres of the Spanish Inquisition blanket Renaissance Europe in a moral haze, a young African slave finds herself the unwilling apprentice of an ancient necromancer. Unfortunately, quitting his company proves even more hazardous than remaining his pupil when she is afflicted with a terrible curse. Yet salvation may lie in a mysterious tome her tutor has hidden somewhere on the war-torn continent.

She sets out on a seemingly impossible journey to find the book, never suspecting her fate is tied to three strangers: the artist Niklaus Manuel Deutsch, the alchemist Dr. Paracelsus, and a gun-slinging Dutch mercenary. As Manuel paints her macabre story on canvas, plank, and church wall, the young apprentice becomes increasingly aware that death might be the least of her concerns.”

Jeers:

  • The start was a bit slow and like all historical fiction I had trouble with all the names.

Cheers:

  • Everything about this book was brilliant.
  • The characters were wonderful.
  • The plot didn’t drag on even though it was a long book.
  • The magic was very well done.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes, to everyone! Disclaimer though, there are some weird bits people might have a problem with, like dead lesbian sex and murder and all that. However, I still loved it. It’s now one of my favorite books and I can’t wait to read the rest of the author’s novels.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Enterprise-Death-Jesse-Bullington/dp/0316087343

My Bookshelf: Evil Genius

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Title: Evil Genius

Author: Catherine Jinks

Genre: Young Adult/Science Fiction

Amazon Summary:
“Cadel Piggott has a genius IQ and a fascination with systems of all kinds. At seven, he was illegally hacking into computers. Now he’s fourteen and studying for his World Domination degree, taking classes like embezzlement, forgery, and infiltration at the institute founded by criminal mastermind Dr. Phineas Darkkon. Although Cadel may be advanced beyond his years, at heart he’s a lonely kid. When he falls for the mysterious and brilliant Kay-Lee, he begins to question the moral implications of his studies. But is it too late to stop Dr. Darkkon from carrying out his evil plot?”

Jeers:

  • I didn’t really have any problems with it, but it may have dragged on too long for some people.
  • There were people who could explode and that really wasn’t expanded on enough because that seemed pretty cool.

Cheers:

  • I thought they did a very good job of writing an hero who was actually a villain (or the other way around, I dunno).
  • I really liked how diverse the people at the institute were.
  • It gave off a spy/superhero kind of vibe.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes. If you like longer books. Obviously it is aimed at kids but it was serious enough that I could enjoy it fully as an adult. (Lots of people die. Like a lot.)

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Evil-Genius-Catherine-Jinks/dp/0152061851

My Bookshelf: The Wolf’s Captive

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Title: The Wolf’s Captive

Author: Chloe Cox

Genre: Erotica/Romance/Fantasy

Amazon Summary:
“It’s the raunchy, decadent holiday of Bacchanal, and Lucia Lyselle is just hoping to make it through intact. But then her father is arrested, and Lucia is held captive by Lord Cesare Lupin, heir to the ducal seat and her secret protector. She’ll have to submit to Lord Cesare’s sexual domination for the duration of the Bacchanal if she hopes to win her father’s freedom. But she doesn’t expect to fall in love – and she doesn’t expect that she’ll have to choose between her family and Lord Cesare…

Lord Cesare Lupin has come back from war afflicted with an ancient curse. If he can’t find his mate, he’ll turn into a mad, blood-thirsty beast, and the city that is his responsibility will suffer. Just his luck that his mate turns out to be the daughter of a man accused of treason…”

Jeers (possible spoilers):

  • Yes, yes, we get it. Lupin means wolf. Rowling named Professor Lupin that because he was a werewolf and now all other authors need to stop doing the same thing.
  • I didn’t like how they were just suddenly in love with each other.
  • The entire treason plot was SO overly complicated and then it boiled down to basically nothing.
  • I think the story lacked a bit. It just wasn’t all it set out to be. It could have been better.
  • This is marketed as “BDSM” but it was pretty tame. I think doing stuff in public was the most risqué they got.

Cheers:

  • I guess I did enjoy the absurdity of it. (The whole thing takes place during a week of orgies, basically).
  • It kept me reading. I was fully interested in the story until the end.
  • I did think that the characters were fairly well-rounded.

Would I recommend it?:
If you like sex-centered stories that also manage to carry a descent plot, yes. If you want to read a book with a plot that just happens to have sex in it, no. The characters didn’t have any real romance together other than the magical pull of whatever it was, but overall I still enjoyed the read and would read another book set in the same world if the author produced one.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Wolfs-Captive-Erotic-Romance-Bacchanal-ebook/dp/B009518Q6A

My Bookshelf: Love, Remember Me

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Title: Love, Remember Me

Author: Bertrice Small

Genre: Erotica/ Historical Romance

Amazon Summary:
“Lovely Nyssa Wyndham, as fair and proud as her mother Blaze, is lady-in-waiting to Henry VIII’s fourth wife.

Scandalizing all of England, Henry has his marriage annulled, for the queen cannot meet the bawdy desires of the insatiable king. Henry seeks a spirited, lusty new wife—and eyes the beautiful Nyssa. But in a land rife with conspiracy and rebellion, there are those in secret power determined to thwart Henry’s intentions. A drugged Nyssa awakens in the arms of the notorious rake Varian de Winter. With her virtue destroyed, the outraged king orders them to wed.

Handsome—and soon smitten—Varian de Winter dares to conquer his spitfire bride. But the intrigues and dark side of the court intrude upon their brief happiness as Nyssa is trapped in a devious plot and witness to the deadly wrath of Henry Tudor. Suddenly, jealousy and revenge grow bloodthirsty, and all that Nyssa holds dear is in dire jeopardy.”

Jeers:

  • Alright, so the summary is a bit misleading. It says “Varian dares to conquer his spitfire bride” but he does absolutely no conquering. He wins her over with little things and any good husband would do to make his wife happy, so the plot isn’t really how I’d imagined it.
  • It focused way more on the nonsense of the court than the actual romance between Nyssa and Varian. It sort of glosses over that. One second she hates him, the next she is giggling and blushing at him, and then you skip a few months and they’re remodeling their old house and getting along quite well, then skip ahead a few more months and “oh, I guess I love him.”
  • You know how in some romance books when the main characters get together you can’t help but smile and cheer them on? Nothing in this book evoked my emotions like that.
  • At times, the descriptions were a bit much, but I think the genre is known for that. No, I didn’t need to read two pages of “we went to Hamfordshire, then Lampshadeshire, then Hobbitland, and then onwards to York!” but I got through it alright.

Cheers:

  • It was very well written.
  • If you like historical romances, this is probably the book for you. Very historical. Lots of names, lots of guessing who the hell they were actually talking about.
  • It was interesting, if not in the way I suspected. It was a little more scheming Game of Thrones-esq plotting (with less murder) and a little less flat-out romance.
  • Varian is clever but I honestly couldn’t tell you if I actually liked him or if I just really liked his name.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes, but only if you are fully aware that this isn’t just a romance. Had I wanted something to read on the beach that would make me smile and daydream about handsome knights, this would not be the book to read. However, it was still enjoyable, and despite feeling misled I’ll be checking out more of Small’s books (mostly because I already bought them for $0.01 off of Amazon).

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Love-Remember-Me-Bertrice-Small-ebook/dp/B0086741FE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428273889&sr=8-1&keywords=love+remember+me

Additional note of less importance:
So I bought some of Small’s books because she died, actually. A blogger I follow recommended her books when posting about her death, so I thought I’d check them out. The blogger mentioned that Small wrote risqué sex scenes years ago of the same caliber of 50 Shades of Grey (that is now being applauded for being the first mainstream BDSM book when it clearly wasn’t). I do admit to buying the books and being interested in whatever historical fiction kink Small would come up with, but this book was very vanilla. They call a penis “manroot” and spanking is mentioned only once but only as a joke. So we’ll see if her next book lives up to this reputation.

My Bookshelf: Tales of The Madman Underground

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Title: Tales of The Madman Underground

Author: John Barnes

Genre: Young Adult/Historical Fiction

Amazon Summary:

“September 1973: The beginning of Karl Shoemaker’s senior year in stifling Lightsburg, Ohio. For years, Karl’s been part of “the Madman Underground”- kids forced to attend group therapy during school. Karl has decided that he is going to get out of the Madman Underground for good. He is going to act-and be-Normal. But Normal, of course, is relative. Karl has two after-school jobs, one dead father, one seriously unhinged drunk mother . . . and a huge attitude. Welcome to a gritty, uncensored rollercoaster ride, narrated by the singular Karl Shoemaker.”

Jeers (possible spoilers):

  • I did not want Darla and Karl to end up together. I don’t know if that’s even what happened, but Darla is fucked up and I didn’t like her.
  • There were a lot of people and I sometimes got confused on who some of the less central characters were.

Cheers:

  • Literally everything else.
  • The writing was good. The characterization was good. The plot was good.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes. I loved this book so much that I let a friend borrow it. She then kept it in her trunk for 4 months and it ruined it. It was a signed copy. I didn’t read it since then because it’s in shit condition, but I finally did and I’m glad I did because I forgot how much I loved it. (But if anyone wants to know why I have trust issues and won’t let people borrow my books, this is why.)

Amazon link:

 http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Madman-Underground-John-Barnes/dp/0142417025

My Bookshelf: Godless

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Title: Godless

Author: Pete Hautman

Genre: Young Adult

Amazon Summary:

“Fed up with his parents’ boring old religion, agnostic-going-on-atheist Jason Bock invents a new god — the town’s water tower. He recruits an unlikely group of worshippers: his snail-farming best friend, Shin, cute-as-a-button (whatever that means) Magda Price, and the violent and unpredictable Henry Stagg. As their religion grows, it takes on a life of its own. While Jason struggles to keep the faith pure, Shin obsesses over writing their bible, and the explosive Henry schemes to make the new faith even more exciting — and dangerous.
When the Chutengodians hold their first ceremony high atop the dome of the water tower, things quickly go from merely dangerous to terrifying and deadly. Jason soon realizes that inventing a religion is a lot easier than controlling it, but control it he must, before his creation destroys both his friends and himself.”

Jeers:

  • Basically nothing, other than I didn’t like how shitty things went for Jason.

Cheers:

  • I really love this book. I loved it when I first read it and it’s just as good rereading it. I connect with it deeply.
  • It’s written well. You really feel like you’re there, even if it’s set in the summer time and you’re reading in your house than ran out of propane and is not currently being heated.
  • Jason is a great character. Well-rounded and realistic.
  • Just every part of it is fantastic. I’m sure that theists as a whole are probably less amused with it, but as an atheist, it was easy to relate to and funny.

Would I recommend it?:
YES! Not really much more to say. I love this book and want everyone else to love it.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0030VVOHO/ref=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_0

My Bookshelf: How to Kill Yourself in a Small Town

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Title: How to Kill Yourself in a Small Town

Author: eden Hudson

Series: Redneck Apocalypse Book 1

Genre: Fantasy/New Adult

Amazon Summary:
The holy champion chosen to save the world is enslaved to a sadistic fallen angel and losing the battle for his sanity.

The guy chosen to save the holy champion is his binge-drinking redneck brother.

So, basically, the world is screwed.

Meet the Whitney boys:
Colt—a mentally unstable holy soldier with a rapidly deteriorating hold on reality. His last plan to rid the world of evil either failed horribly or went off without a hitch. With the constant torture and brainwashing, it’s getting hard to be sure of anything but the sick attachment he’s developing to his beautiful tormentor.

Tough—a smart-mouthed honky-tonk hero trying to drown his problems in music, women, and good times. He hasn’t spoken to Colt in five years—not since their disagreement over a nymphomaniac vampire turned into a drunken slugfest—but they’re still brothers. Tough knows he can’t leave Colt fighting for his life and his sanity alone. The question is whether Tough can fight off his personal demons long enough to save Colt from the literal ones. ”

Cheers:

  • This is such a weird novel.
  • Tough might be my favorite character ever. I don’t know why, but I loved everything about him. Even when he made bad choices or fucked up, I still loved him, and that he couldn’t talk made everything better, I think.
  • The names were weird without everything being a big deal.
  • The whole fallen angels and vampires and sirens thing was done pretty casually. The author didn’t go to great lengths to info dump the whole situation in the first chapter, but instead revealed it all at a natural pace.
  • The plot and information is really deeply woven. There’s a lot going on.
  • I HATE religious themed things or anything that has anything to do with religion. I had to put down a book about fallen angels and stuff that had good reviews for that reason, because it was so heavy on the god stuff. This book somehow doesn’t come off that way to me. God was more of a plot device than someone shoving religion at you, which is how it should read when writing non-religious fiction.

Jeers:

  • It’s a cliff-hanger. *pouts* Not that I won’t be happy to buy it. I’d have bought the paperback version of this one if it was available (and if I had any money).
  • Like I said, the author doesn’t rush to explain everything. I think this might throw off a lot of readers, but in the end, the book was still fabulous.

Would I recommend it?:
If any of you happen to follow me on Facebook, you’ll see that I already did! The story is 18+ and it may offend some of you, but I suggest that everyone try it out. I don’t know if this is a permanent thing, but right now it’s free on Amazon!

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Kill-Yourself-Small-Redneck-Apocalypse-ebook/dp/B00IJJBHDI

Author’s blog:

http://whitetrashcappuccino.blogspot.com/