Friday, May 30, 2014

Book Review: The Reflections of Queen Snow White

Book Review: The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David C. MeredithThe Reflections of Queen Snow White by David C. Meredith

eBook received from the author in exchange for an honest review

What happens when "happily ever after" has come and gone?

On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven's wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven's fiancĂ©, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White's own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:  The king is dead. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Until the TV show Once Upon A Time, the Disney movie was my only exposure to Snow White's story and, to be honest, I was not a fan. I'm not sure if it was her voice or how she was drawn, but Disney's Snow White really annoyed me for some reason. But I love the TV version of Snow, and was intrigued by this books premise of what happens once your Happily Ever After is over.

Poor Snow White is still grieving Prince Charming's death over a year later. Even though her daughter's impending marriage should be a happy time, she is deeply depressed and can't seem to begin healing. Looking for a quiet spot in the bustling castle, she finds herself in her evil stepmother's old apartment and stumbles upon the Magic Mirror.

Half convinced the mirror is an evil demon, it insists that it is just a mirror and only shows a person's reflection. It's not the mirror's fault if the person isn't happy with what they see, but is Snow White brave enough to examine her reflected life closely? The mirror then takes her on a journey of reflection, reminding her of all she's survived.

This story shows a much darker version of Snow White's life than the Disney fairy tale. Her stepmother wasn't just cruel, but incredibly abusive. That Snow survived the mental, emotional, and physical abuse is amazing! And the mirror has even more to show her, as Life With Stepmonster isn't Snow's only memory to reflect upon.

I'm a little torn about my reaction to this story. On the one hand, I really like the idea of a magic mirror helping you reflect upon your life by reliving memories, both good and bad. But on the other hand, I'm still not a fan of Snow White and this version didn't help change my mind. She seemed a little too self-pitying for my tastes and my impression was that she relied on men to save her instead of saving herself. That's a major pet peeve of mine! I also didn't like how she treated the mirror afterwards.

All in all, I did enjoy the story. I thought it was an original premise and I liked the tweaks the author made to the fairy tale. Snow White still isn't my type of fairy tale princess, but this story is worth reading for all the unique touches.

Would love to hear from anyone else who's read this one! Am I taking Snow's weepiness the wrong way? And am I the only one bugged by the mirror's ultimate fate? I know it's just a mirror, but it's a magic mirror and deserved better! Plus, I want one....

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Book Review: One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern

Book Review:  One Hundred Names by Cecelia AhernOne Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern

ARC received from William Morrow Paperbacks in exchange for an honest review

Journalist Kitty Logan's career is being destroyed by scandal - and now she faces losing the woman who guided and taught her everything she knew. At her terminally ill friend's bedside, Kitty asks - what is the one story she always wanted to write? The answer lies in a file buried in Constance's office: a list of one hundred names. There is no synopsis, nothing to explain what the story is or who these people are. The list is simply a mystery. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Having read and enjoyed Ahern's books in the past, I was more than a little disappointed by this one. While the mystery of the 100 names is intriguing, I'm sad to say that Kitty is not.

The scandal that's destroying Kitty's career is a situation that no professional journalist should ever allow to happen. Aren't they supposed to research, fact-check, and verify all of their information? And what about her editors and producers and all the other support staff? The scandal didn't ring true for me and got in the way of my enjoyment of the story.

I also found Kitty hard to sympathize with, especially when she feels more sorry for herself than the others involved. She just struck me as incredibly self-centered, and ultimately unlikable. But the 100 names mystery? That kept my interest.

Kitty gets lucky and finds a clue to the names in Constance's cluttered home. Tracking down some of the names, we get to know them and their stories, but not why Constance had them on a list.

Working against a tight deadline, Kitty thinks she's finally figured out the mystery of the list and presents it to her boss. The ending was tied up a little too nice and neat for my tastes, but did have a certain charm.

Not one of my favorites by Ahern, but the mystery and the secondary characters made this a nice read. Ahern is a clever, talented writer and I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Armchair BEA 2014: Day One Introductions

Armchair BEA 2014
Armchair BEA is for those book bloggers unable to attend the Book Expo America (BEA) in New York City, but still want to participate in some way. It's a way for us to "meet" other book bloggers and publishers in order to discuss books and book blogging. Since I can't make it to BEA this year, this is the next best thing!

Today is the first day, so time to introduce ourselves! The organizers have provided some fun questions to make this a little easier:


*Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? Where in the world are you blogging from?

My name is Terri and I'm currently living in South Carolina. I've been blogging for five years now, which is a little surprising because it doesn't feel like it's been that long. I sort of stumbled into the book blogging community, but now that I've finally found my tribe, I never want to leave!

***

*What genre do you read the most? I love to read because....

My favorite genre is urban fantasy, but I also like YA and general fiction. Why I love to read is a hard question, because it seems like I've been a reader forever and it's just part of me now. Reading calms me down, is relaxing, is a nice escape from everyday life, is enjoyable, is a way to learn about new things, and is such a big part of me that I'm not sure what I'd do if I couldn't read anymore.

***

*What does your favorite/ideal reading space look like? 

Several big comfy chairs scattered around a warm room, each with their own lamp on a small reading table next to them. Maybe a couch or two in case someone wants to lie down, and definitely a fireplace for curling up with a book and a cuppa tea. Wall to wall bookcases, floor to ceiling, surround the room. Throw in a small kitchenette and bathroom and I'd never have to leave!

***

*Share your favorite book or reading related quote.

“So many books, so little time.” ~Frank Zappa

***

Are you taking part in Armchair BEA this year? Looking forward to meeting you!



Write On Review-a-Thon wrap up

Write On Review-a-Thon
The Write On review-a-thon is a monthly event created and hosted by Brianna at The Book Vixen. It’s 2 days dedicated to getting reviews done, whether you have one review to write or 30+. This edition of the review-a-thon was Friday, May 23rd and Saturday, May 24th. Let's see how I did:

Pending Reviews:

  • Reflections of Queen Snow White
  • One Hundred Names
  • Tales of the Hidden World
  • The Doll
  • Divided

Not bad (for me)! So glad that Brianna does monthly review-a-thons, as it helps keep me on track!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

My Book Haul (54)

The Art of Neil Gaiman by Hayley Campbell, and Frozen by Erin Bowman
In need of a new way to showcase titles, I decided that My Book Haul seems like a good fit. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:

Couldn't believe my eyes when I received a review offer for this one! Neil Gaiman? Yes please! (full disclosure: I have a major crush on this man and think he's a freakin' genius!)

The Art of Neil Gaiman by Hayley Campbell
The Art of Neil Gaiman by Hayley Campbell

Utterly comprehensive, lavishly illustrated, The Art of Neil Gaiman is the fully authorized account of the life and work of one of the world's great storytellers. (Goodreads)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Book Review: Then and Always

Book Review:  Then and Always by Dani Atkins - Alexia's Books and SuchThen and Always by Dani Atkins

eARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Rachel Wiltshire has everything she’s ever wanted: a close group of friends, a handsome boyfriend, and acceptance to the journalism program at her top-choice college. But one fateful evening, tragedy tears her world apart. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Rachel's life has not gone as expected and she's been wallowing in grief ever since a tragic accident five years ago. In town for her best friend's wedding, Rachel wakes up in the hospital to find that her life is now everything she ever dreamed! Engaged to her high school sweetheart, living in a gorgeous apartment and working her dream job, Rachel isn't sure what is and isn't real.

This story reminded me of several other amnesia stories I've read over the years, but it had its own little twist at the end. As someone who usually doesn't figure out endings in advance, I saw this one coming about halfway through the story. That didn't effect my enjoyment in any way, but did take away the surprise.

Have to admit that I had a hard time with Rachel. While I understood the foundation of her grief, I couldn't understand why she seemed to use it as an excuse to be miserable. I know that everyone grieves differently, but I got the impression that she had no interest in moving on and just wanted to wallow. Doesn't everyone have to eventually pick up the pieces and get on with their life? Five years seems a little excessive to me.

And once Rachel woke up to her perfect life, why did she find it so hard to believe? Did she miss her miserable existence so much? Although she's right to be suspicious, I was surprised that anyone else believed her.

While a little on the predictable side, I think this would make a good beach read as it's quick & easy and doesn't demand too much thought. Would love to hear what anyone else thinks of this one! Am I the only one annoyed by Rachel, or did she strike anyone else as a Debby Downer?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Write On Review-a-Thon #4

Write On Review-a-Thon
The Write On review-a-thon is a monthly event created and hosted by Brianna at The Book Vixen. It’s 2 days dedicated to getting reviews done, whether you have one review to write or 30+. This edition of the review-a-thon takes place all day Friday, May 23rd and Saturday, May 24th. It's a great way to get those reviews done!

Review-a-Thon Details:


  • Reviews can be of the written variety or in video format.
  • This event is not limited to book reviews. If you write/vlog reviews for movies, super cool gadgets, or anything else, you are welcome to participate.
  • To participate, create a post on your blog with a list of reviews you need to complete. Don’t forget to grab the official blurb and event button. If you don’t have a blog, you can announce your intent to participate via social media (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.) with a link back to the sign up post so others can join in as well.
  • The sign up linky will be open until 11:59 pm PST on May 23rd.
  • On May 23rd, get working on those reviews!
  • There will be a wrap-up post linky on The Book Vixen on May 25th.

Pending Reviews:

  • Reflections of Queen Snow White
  • One Hundred Names
  • Tales of the Hidden World
  • The Doll
  • Divided

So glad that Brianna does monthly review-a-thons, as it really helps keep me on track!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

My Book Haul (53)

Stay With Me by Alison Gaylin, Think Like a Freak by Levitt & Dubner, and The Given by Vicki Pettersson
In need of a new way to showcase titles, I decided that My Book Haul seems like a good fit. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:


Stay With Me by Alison Gaylin
Stay With Me by Alison Gaylin

Brenna Spector is held prisoner by the past. She has perfect memory, which allows her to recall in vivid and remarkable detail every moment of every day of her adult life. If only she could remember more from her child-hood . . . for she's still trying to unravel the mystery of her sister Clea's disappearance twenty-eight years ago when Clea was seventeen. But now her obsession with finding out what happened to Clea is taking a toll on her own teenage daughter, Maya, who's been very secretive lately. And when Maya goes missing, Brenna fears her worst nightmare has come true. (Goodreads)


Monday, May 12, 2014

Book Review: I Am the Weapon

Book Review:  I Am The Weapon by Allen ZadoffI Am The Weapon by Allen Zadoff

eARC provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Boy Nobody is the perennial new kid in school, the one few notice and nobody thinks much about. He shows up in a new high school in a new town under a new name, makes a few friends, and doesn't stay long. Just long enough for someone in his new friend's family to die-of "natural causes." Mission accomplished, Boy Nobody disappears, moving on to the next target. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Originally titled Boy Nobody, the synopsis reminded me of another book I've read about teen assassins, but any similarities disappeared after a few pages.

If you think about it, children make the perfect assassins as no one suspects them. Boy is no exception, as he befriends other children in order to get close to his "target", completes the job, then moves on to his next assignment, never looking back.

But Boy is growing up, and complications arise when the daughter of his next target effects him in a way he's never experienced before. Could he actually be falling for her? Makes things a little complicated when he's an assassin and his job will destroy her world.

Found Boy an interesting character, and liked that we were able to get inside his head and explore his past memories as well as his current doubts about his job. Would have liked to have learned more about The Program, which trained him and runs his assignments. I thought that the Mother character was a little chilling and I hope their relationship is explored further in future books.

Really enjoyed Boy's voice, and this is one of those books that I didn't want to put down! Fast-paced action, interesting characters, and a good plot made me a very happy reader. Think that the author is very talented, and I'm looking forward to the sequel!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

My Book Haul (52)

Divided by Elsie Chapman, Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong, and Shattered by Kevin Hearne
In need of a new way to showcase titles, I decided that My Book Haul seems like a good fit. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:

Read and enjoyed the first book in this series, so happy to accept the NetGalley invitation to read book #2!

Divided by Elsie Chapman
Divided by Elsie Chapman

The hunter becomes the hunted. . . .
West Grayer is done killing. She defeated her Alternate, a twin raised by another family, and proved she’s worthy of a future. She’s ready to move on with her life. The Board has other plans.

***


Kelley Armstrong can do no wrong IMO, so was thrilled to receive an ARC of her new series!

Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong
Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong, #1 New York Times bestselling author, takes an exciting new direction with this big, breathtaking blend of fantasy, romance, horror, and pulse-pounding action, perfect for fans of Graceling and Game of Thrones.

***

I have a major crush on Oberon from The Iron Druid series, and Atticus isn't bad either! Very happy to receive the ARC for his next book, as Kevin is another one of my go-to authors!

Shattered by Kevin Hearne
Shattered by Kevin Hearne

For nearly two thousand years, there was only one Druid left walking the Earth - Atticus O’Sullivan, the Iron Druid, whose sharp wit and sharp sword kept him alive while pursued by a pantheon of hostile deities. Now he’s got company.



What did you receive this week?


Friday, May 2, 2014

April Wrap Up

library-6

April was a good month for me, as I feel like I'm finally getting a handle on things. I think part of it is these monthly wrap up posts, which help keep me on track!

Books read

In order to meet my Goodreads goal of 100 books, I need to read 8.33 books per month. According to Goodreads, I've read 9 books this month:

  1. Unforgotten by Jessica Brody
  2. Undiscovered by Jessica Brody
  3. First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
  4. The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
  5. Forever Song by Julie Kagawa
  6. Poison Promise by Jennifer Estep
  7. Expiration Day by William Campbell Powell
  8. How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly in Love by Ken Baker
  9. Then and Always by Dani Atkins

Blog Goals

I've been working on my NetGalley score and am getting closer to the 80% recommended rating! Still spreading myself a little thin with social media (see my Social Media Is Sucking Me Dry post), but haven't made up my mind which platforms I want to focus on yet.

Commenting

Had a few days where I didn't manage to visit any blogs, but stuck close to my goal of commenting on at least 5 blogs per day. Not bad, but could be better. Spending more time on Google+ and have joined a few communities, but not a lot of activity on there.

Overall

In an effort to cut down on the unending stream of emails, I unsubscribed from several email lists. That helped a little, but I discovered that if I don't work on it every day, my email box gets out of control quickly. Thinking about culling my blogroll as well, but not sure which blogs to unfollow.

Checked my About Me page as it's been awhile since I wrote it. Added a little something, but pleased overall with the format. Does anyone still read these pages? I know I don't.

How was your April? Are you on target for your reading goals? Any helpful hints on organizing your time, because I'm still working on my reading/reviewing/blog hopping balance?


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Empower: Fight Like A Girl Cover Reveal

Empower: Fight Like A Girl
Empower: Fight Like A Girl
Women of TV have united against lupus! Presenting Empower: Fight Like A Girl, a special collection of short stories by top women writers from some of your favorite shows, including: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Family Guy, Person of Interest, Grimm, Battlestar Galactica, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Law & Order: SVU, Star Trek: Voyager, Eureka, Twisted, The 100, Malcolm in the Middle, Millennium, Being Human, The Shield, Castle, Chuck, Gilmore Girls, and Game of Thrones. In this anthology, you'll discover supernatural thrillers, crime mysteries, horror, comedies, and more.

Authors contributing stories to this volume include:

All proceeds will be donated to the non-profit Lupus Foundation of America to help solve the cruel mystery of lupus.