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Tina (HDB)

Book reviews, random musings and all things mischievous. 

Currently reading

Grace and the Fever
Zan Romanoff
Seeds of Eden
Richard A. Watson
Progress: 100 %
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things
Jenny Lawson
Billow
Emma Raveling

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

Seeds of Eden - Richard A. Watson

I FINALLY finished a book. This is my first post-baby read and I'm sad I didn't enjoy it more, but hey, at least I finished it.

 

PS Cliffhangers suck and I was left unsatisfied

A fitting conclusion

Beach Wedding: The Final Eversea Book (The Butler Cove Series 5) - Natasha Boyd

*Sigh* If you haven't read Eversea, you should go do that right now. Go ahead, I'll wait. 

 

Now that you've fallen in love with Jack and Keri Ann, as I did, you'll want to indulge in the rest of their story. Beach Wedding is a wonderful conclusion to their happily ever after and gives you an even deeper look into both characters. 

 

There were some very predictable moments, which was unfortunate for me as a reader, but overall this story takes us on the roller coaster of life with Jack and Keri Ann. Wedding planning can be stressful for the best of us, and even as a movie star there are always hurdles to battle. I really enjoy the way that their wedding comes together and the events surrounding it. 

 

As usual, Natasha Boyd brings us on a beautiful journey with her writing and character development. If you enjoy a lot of mushy love language, then this is definitely the book for you. I am willing to forgive the excessive mushiness because I think it's pretty normal to get sentimental around big life events. 

 

Be prepared with a box of tissues with this read though, it is not all sunshine and rainbows. It may be my excessive hormones these days but my eyes were definitely leaking at some points. I highly recommend this love story for anyone who enjoys an interesting happily ever after. 

 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

One month to go!

Hello friends! Happy Sunday :) 

 

As I was sipping my coffee this morning I realized it is officially 1 month until Batman (nickname) will be here. I'm simultaneously excited and nervous about this prospect. On one hand, I am SO ready to be done with pregnancy, and super happy to meet our little boy. On the other hand, I feel like we have a million things to do before he arrives and I know transitioning from a family of 3 to a family of 4 will have its challenges.

 

So wish me luck and if I disappear off here for a while, you know why ;) 

 

 

Review: Great build, disappointing ending

Chameleon - Zoe Kalo

What first drew me to this book was the cover, isn't it gorgeous? I read the synopsis and knew that I had to get my hands on this intriguing story. Seances, murder, mystery and a convent, what could possibly go wrong?

Let's start with the good. First off, Paloma was an interesting character. Her experience and apathy toward her new "home" made her a character I could easily relate to. Who would want their senior year of high school uprooted? And to a convent? I would have hated it too. There was definitely a mystery about her and her curiosity about her new friends was natural and moved at a great pace. Paloma herself had some demons to battle and I really enjoyed her amateur sleuthing techniques and observations.

I have to say, what bothered me about this book is how rushed everything seemed at the end. The story was building nicely, sometimes even a bit slowly, and then all of the sudden I am rereading sections to try to figure out what happened. I love a good mystery/suspense build and I was disappointed in how quickly this one switched gears.

If you enjoy drama and a who-done-it thriller then this is the book for you. Lots of intrigue and interesting twists await you, I just didn't particularly enjoy the rushed ending.

Personal Updates

Greetings book loving friends! It's been a long time since I've spent any time over here on Booklikes. A combination of laziness, busy-ness, and the site being awful for a while just made it difficult to post updates and reviews. The good news is, the site seems to be doing better and I've found a way to get some more reading/writing time in now that I can't sleep. Yay! 

 

I hope this reading kick lasts for a while. When I had my daughter almost 18 months ago I had no interest in reading AT ALL. It was like my brain was mush and I had no room for anything at all. It took a long time to get back into the swing of picking up a book instead of watching Netflix. Baby #2 is due to arrive in a few months so we shall see what 2017 brings on the reading front. I set a more reasonable reading goal for myself in hopes that it will keep me motivated to read instead of always feeling behind.

 

The start of this year has been quite anxiety inducing on a political front, but I hope to be around this site more as I think now, more than ever, we need books and community. I hope all of you have had a great start to your year, and if you haven't, I hope it gets better. 

 

Since it is Valentine's Day and all, here's a snapshot of my little adorable monster. She keeps me very busy but how could you resist that little face? Also, she LOVES her books. Our house is quickly becoming a kids library because she loves them so much. So here's to the next generation of book lovers <3 

 

 

 

 

XOXOXOXO

Tina

Review: Love, Hate, and Other Lies We Told

Love, Hate, and Other Lies We Told - Deirdre Riordan Hall

Everyone needs a best friend like Katya, someone who loves you enough to push you out of your comfort zone but is there to support you when things fall apart. While I enjoy Navy as a character, her relationship with Katya really made this a lovely story. While following a dare seems like a silly thing to do, I think it speaks a lot about their friendship that Navy was willing to go along with the dates to humor her best friend.

If you've ever had experience dating, you'll really enjoy the dates that Navy endures. While lots of people find "The One" eventually, it does take some work to weed out the other options. You'll get some good laughs as you live the dates with the Hottie in 7G, the Gym Stud and the others.

Don't worry my romance loving friends, this is no insta-love, Navy and Carrick have a long and sordid history. Navy has been holding onto to a lot of guilt from her past and until she can move past it, there is little hope for a real relationship. She's been pining over her fictitious book boyfriends to avoid any actual relationships.

I read a lot of romance novels and sometimes I get burnt out on the same tropes, but this story is one of complexity and I really enjoyed it. Grief can make people do crazy things, I know this from personal experience, so it was nice to be able to see that flaw in the pages of this story.

All in all I would say this book made me laugh and I would recommend it to romance readers.

Review: Love and Other Unknown Variables

Love and Other Unknown Variables - Shannon Alexander

It is a rare occasion that a book makes me laugh and cry at the same time. I really loved Charlotte's quick wit and charming sarcasm, combined with Charlie's social ineptitude it made for a winning combination.


The story is written from Charlie's point of view which gives it a really great perspective. As intelligent as he is, Charlie has a lot to learn about life, social skills and of course love. One of my favorite quotes from the book is “Please don't confuse love and logic Charlie. They aren't even remotely related. “ I really enjoyed reading about Charlie's fumbling journey into realizing not everything in life can be broken down into an equation.

In addition to enjoying the budding friendship of Charlotte and Charlie, their friends and family really make this a well rounded story. Charlie's two best friends and sister are easy to relate to and aren't afraid to tell him when he's being awful. This story would not have been as strong without them.

Charlotte's sister is the idealist we all want to be. She challenges a group of high school kids to "bring it" on the very first day of class and the pranks that ensue brought a delightful chuckle in this sometimes serious story. Most of all I enjoyed that she wasn't perfect and was able to be vulnerable without being weak. That seems to be a rare talent for female characters.

I would highly recommend you pick up this well written story, but be prepared for a few tears along the way. As with life, we can't always chose our own endings. 

Review: My Friends are All Strange

My Friends Are All Strange - Margaret Lesh Much like the main character, this book is quirky and interesting. I haven't read Normalish but I did enjoy this companion novel fully. Becca is struggling to keep up with the demands of senior year and coping with the loss of her father. Add in some anxiety and a wizard and you end up at Brookside. I didn't know quite what to expect upon reading the first few chapters, but I found myself turning page after page until it was complete. Becca's perspective on her time in an institution is both intriguing and endearing. Her empathy for the other patients and her resolve to move forward with her own life are both a vital part of her story. If you've ever struggled with any kind of mental illness, I would recommend this book. It tackles some hard to discuss topics while remaining lighthearted. Not everyone gets a happy ending, but that's a part of life.

Review: A Raven's Heart

A Raven's Heart - K. C. Bateman

Ah, romance. There is so much to be said for that fiery passion that unrequited love can bring to a friendship. The phrase "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" comes to mind as you start this delectable novel. The sexual tension built up in just the first few chapters will have you turning pages at an alarming rate.

 

What could possibly be more tempting than your best friends little sister? To Ravenwood, or Raven, nothing apparently. But duty calls and he must follow orders while trying to resist the woman who simultaneously enrages and entices him. 

 

Heloise, oh Heloise. I'm still relatively new to the historical romance genre and I must say, I hope that there are other heroines like Hell-cat. She's smart, witty and dripping with sarcasm. Even in the most dire of circumstances she holds her own with a sharp tongue and a grin. Her intelligence and abdication of traditional society make her a hero of mine. Her attraction to Raven doesn't reduce her to a bumbling nobody and that, most of all is my favorite part of the book. 

 

If you're in the mood for some steamy romance and hilarious wit, you will definitely enjoy A Raven's Heart. It does not disappoint. 

 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Review: Corporate America is crazy

B.S. Incorporated - Jennifer Rock, Michael Voss

Real talk, this book stressed me out. It took me a few extra days to read it because I just couldn't deal with the too real stresses of a job I basically lived through. For a moment I wanted to rate this book lower because of the stress, but I realized that the authors did a superb job bringing you into the story and characters and it's not really their fault that I worked for a similar company that went through a similar situation and ended up having to leave the company because of it. Call it corporate PTSD if you will, but I think the authors did a good job capturing the corporate world in this humorous book.

 

Will is my favorite type of character, sarcastic and pragmatic. He is navigating the system and chaos of things he basically has no control over, while simultaneously trying to keep his job. If you've ever worked in a corporate environment, or known someone who has, the banter and insight Will shares with his trusted friends/coworkers will make you laugh. Every office needs a Will.

 

Anna was a less likable character, but she grows on you as the story progresses. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to say I liked her character until the very end of the story, which can be a good thing. You're never quite sure where her loyalties lie and that brings about an interesting turn of events. I really enjoyed her "real" moments when she wasn't projecting Corporate Anna and actually acted like a normal human being.

 

All in all I would say this book is a funny read. If you've been through a corporate transition, there may be some stressful "too real" moments for you but hopefully the humorous take on everything will bring you through the story with a smile.

 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Reading progress update: I've read 42%.

B.S. Incorporated - Jennifer Rock, Michael Voss

Have you ever read a book that hits a little too close to home?

 

That's how I feel about this book right now. Having worked for the same type of company as the characters before, their stress is stressing me out because I've literally dealt with the same issue. 

 

I guess you can call that good storytelling, because I feel like I'm there. 

Review: Melody's Key by Dallas Coryell

Melody's Key - Dallas Coryell

Ah, the romance. *Sigh*. I have a lot of love for this book, despite some minor flaws it was a well thought out story with some great characters.

 

Music is good for the soul. I love that Tegan is a songwriter/singer that only writes for herself. The songs included in the book are poetic and I could actually hear the rhythm as I read them. She is a smart character with a lot of sass and a self-sacrificing devotion to her family. I adore that she wasn't blind to her family's struggles and the witty sarcasm about their various tenants throughout the summer kept the mood light and funny.

 

Mostly, I enjoyed that there was no insta-love between Tegan and her rockstar. They start off on very rocky footing and bumble around each other for a bit before realizing their attraction. Their snarky comments and embarrassing moments had me laughing throughout the book.

 

It is always hard for me to get into the endless-cash-flow type stories because sometimes it feels like such an easy fix to life's problems. This particular story I didn't mind it as much, which says a lot about the writing. It didn't feel like a "throw money at the problem" situation, but a genuine interest in the issue and solving it permanently. Having contacts and money certainly helps, but I can't fault our hero for taking an interest in the problem.

 

Final thoughts: If you're a fan of soulful connections and heartfelt families, you should definitely pick this up!

Review: HP Book #8

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - J.K. Rowling, John Kerr Tiffany, Jack Thorne

Where to begin? For those of you that have been reading my blog for a bit, you know that I'm a huge Harry Potter fan. I watch the movies every year at Christmas, I re-read the books every few years and consider myself an avid fan. Despite all that, I was nervous about this new release. The 7 Harry Potter books are, in my humble opinion, a perfect story. The ending was enough for me and I was worried I would be disappointed by opening up another story in that universe. I can say that I was fretting over nothing.

 

Cursed Child picks up 19 years in the future, Harry, Ginny, Hermione, Ron and Draco all play a part in the story and it was fun to see them interacting as adults. Of course the main characters are their children, Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy. I won't go into any spoilers, but I will say that their friendship is one to be inspired by. 

 

Reading the stage directions and dialogue really brought this story to life for me. While it was a short(er) read than a standard book, I think it really added a lot. If I ever got the chance to see this play in person, I'd be overwhelmed with joy.

 

There is a lot to learn from Albus and his relationship with Harry. The eloquence with which Harry bumbles his interactions with his son are endearing and cringe worthy. Frustrating as it is is for Harry as a parent, there is definitely a lot of love there. Unlike a lot of the original 7 books, Harry is not the good guy in this and I kind of love J.K Rowling for making him more flawed. 

 

Final verdict: If you enjoy the Harry Potter franchise/universe, I think you'd enjoy this play. Leave your expectations at the door and enjoy a heartfelt coming of age story. You won't regret it. 

Review: Not what I was expecting, but not bad

Deception Island - Brynn Kelly

Hrmphh. That is the only way to describe how I felt after reading Deception Island. It was a lot darker than I expected, with a lot of sad pieces all tied together. I don't know if I was ready for this kind of story when I picked it up but at the end I couldn't really say that I didn't enjoy it.

There is a lot going on in this story, but the main focus is on Rafe and his quest to save his son from the mercenaries who took him. What unfolds is an adventure filled story with lots of twists and turns. Murder, despair, backstabbing; it is all part of this crazy story about a man trying to save his only son.

As far as the romance between captor and detainee, there wasn't a lot of steam but there is definitely a lot of discussion about both Rafe and Holly overcoming their sordid pasts. I could have done without a lot of the self deprecating thoughts that the author included for both characters. I think it's pretty obvious by their past that neither character feels like they would be a good partner. The constant rehashing of their inadequate feelings took away from the story a bit for me.

I can, however, say that I did enjoy the action and the surprises along the way. Pirates, fake kidnappings, human trafficking, mercenaries and bloodshed were not what I was expecting, but it was all tied together in a pretty natural way. I have to give the author credit, there weren't any lingering questions at the end.

Final thoughts: If you're a fan of action, twists and a bit of romance thrown in, this will be a book that you'll greatly enjoy. Despite the expectations I may have had at the beginning, overall this was a good read.

Review: Floor 21 by Jason Luthor

FLOOR 21 - Jason Luthor

If you aren't a fan of open endings/cliffhangers then this is not the book for you. However, if you are willing to wait, I think this is going to be a great series. Floor 21 is full of unanswered questions and the author does a wonderful job of bringing you into Jackie's very inquisitive character.

 

The narration technique of using the characters "recordings", while interesting, didn't really meet my expectations. There were several instances where there was a conflict of storyline vs. actually being able to record. I think at some point my brain just skipped over the idea of the recording and I enjoyed it as a first person narrative. Jackie is the main narrator, but we do get insight into other happenings in the tower which add a lot of depth to Jackie's story.

 

Jackie is an interesting lead character. She questions everything around her and challenges the status quo. At the same time, she willingly obliges her bff with dance parties in her room. There is a lot of unknowns in her world and she's not afraid to see what else could be out there. I would say that this book is geared towards the young adult audience, if only that the main character is a bit young and her point of view can be a little grating (also whiny) at times. It's very representative of her age group and appropriate given the world she lives, but some chapters were harder to get through.

 

What is the Creep you ask? Terrifying is what it is. I became so engrossed in this book that I literally had a dream about the walls of my house being alive. I'd say that's pretty indicative of a good story. I've read a fair amount of dystopian and this is a fresh story with lots of opportunity to grow the characters and story line.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction into the Tower and look forward to jumping into the sequel soon!

 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

If you like Nancy Drew, you should check out Kitty Hawk

Kitty Hawk And The Curse Of The Yukon Gold (Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency, #1) - Iain Reading

As an avid Nancy Drew reader growing up, I couldn't help but snatch up a copy of this series and I was not disappointed. Kitty Hawk is a fun, adventuresome teenager with a specific set of skills (flying) and a curiosity that sometimes gets the best of her.

 

Kitty's character was interesting and heart felt. The inner dialogue that is included in the story was a little frustrating at first but by the end of the book it was a nice picture into her current mood. After all, who doesn't argue with themselves when they get into a tight spot?

 

What I enjoyed most about this story was the in depth details of the history of the Klondike Gold Rush and how Kitty was learning about the history of the area as she was going through her adventures. The landscape, the tools, the trials and tribulations of the people who came for the gold rush were so well written you felt like you were there for it. Education and adventure? A great combination in this story.

 

If you enjoy a good mystery/adventure then I recommend this series. There are twists and turns that keep the story moving and you won't want to put it down!