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Tina (HDB)

Book reviews, random musings and all things mischievous. 

Currently reading

American Gods: A Novel
Neil Gaiman
Progress: 350/750 pages
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things
Jenny Lawson
Billow
Emma Raveling

Reading progress update: I've read 350 out of 750 pages.

American Gods: A Novel - Neil Gaiman

Not going to lie, it's hard to read this one in small doses. I wish I had several hours to just sit and read but I don't. I keep having to backtrack and remind myself what's going on with the characters, but at least I'm making some progress. At this rate I should be finished by Christmas. ohy. 

Reading progress update: I've read 250 out of 750 pages.

American Gods: A Novel - Neil Gaiman

There are definitely some.....unexpected....encounters so far. Everything still feels separated so I'm hoping the characters start to feel more connected soon.

Book Review: Grace and the Fever

Grace and the Fever - Zan Romanoff

Where to start? I knew this would be a great read as soon as I started it. Grace is a pretty typical teenager who happens to be obsessed with a boy band. As someone who once had N'Sync and Backstreet Boys posters all over my wall, I immediately related to her interests. Unlike her friends, Grace never outgrew her love of Fever Dream and it caused her to grow apart from them.

 

This coming of age story really covered a lot of relationship issues that young adults deal with and I really enjoyed getting to know Grace through all of them. While the main focus was on Grace's interactions with Jes and the band, reading about her navigation through her friendships was equally important. This book tackles some basic parenting/friendship issues but also goes through the online identity stress and of course, celebrity privacy issues. It sounds like a lot, but the story was well rounded and a very fun read.

 

There is so much going on with Grace as she meets her idols and subsequently gets pulled into their world, it was refreshing to feel the nervousness and trepidation she experienced. The author does a wonderful job of pulling you into the moment and running away with it. I didn't want to put the book down.

 

The celebrity lifestyle comes with a lack of privacy and a lot of its own subculture. Jes' character was realistic and full of surprises. His acknowledgement of his lack of "regular" experiences hit me right in the heart. Adolescence is such an important part of growing up and a rock start lifestyle definitely isn't a normal youth experience. I imagine most young stars would relate to those feelings.

 

I would highly recommend this book to YA readers, especially those who really enjoy a story about coming into your own skin and learning from some hard life lessons.

 

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, I was not monetarily compensated and my opinions are my own*

SPOILER ALERT!

Book Review: Seeds of Eden

Seeds of Eden - Richard A. Watson

Full disclosure, I totally missed the "part 1 of a series" in the title of this so I was not expecting a cliffhanger ending. So be warned, you may have to wait a bit to get some resolution from these characters. That being said, I would also recommend this as a YA book as opposed to New Adult audiences. I will explain why in a moment.

 

Let's start with the things I really enjoyed about this novel. Based on the description I was expecting some intrigue and revelations and it did not disappoint. This fresh take on reincarnation and some prominent religious figures gave the story depth and kept me turning the pages. If you are looking for a bit of historical fiction with your paranormal romance, this is definitely the book for you.

 

A few things that I enjoyed less: the high school drama/immaturity of the main character. Now hear me out, I love a good YA story, this was not advertised as such so when Evey and Helen fight over Conrad it felt out of place and a bit annoying. I did like that Evey questioned everything that was being thrown at her and didn't take anything at face value. She asked a lot of questions and didn't go into full blown hero mode ignoring all other factors, which made her much easier to relate to. She grieved the losses and wasn't ready to move on, and asked for help when she needed it.

 

Conrad's character felt a bit creepy at times and I wasn't really rooting for him by the end of the book. Despite his history with Evey and the Concilium, the way his romantic interests came to light was a bit awkward. I cannot pinpoint exactly what bothered me about it, maybe the fact that he remembers their history and Evey doesn't, but it left me feeling uneasy.

 

As I stated earlier, I think this book would be better categorized as YA instead of New Adult, given the maturity level of several main characters, but I would still recommend it. The ideas and storytelling are new and interesting and I'm still mildly curious what will happen in the next book.

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!