Friday, January 30, 2015

Review ~ The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams

TITLE: The Shadow Reader
AUTHOR: Sandy Williams
TYPE: Urban Fantasy
PAGES: 307
SERIES:  Yes Book 1

Been sitting on my TBR forever and thought I would give the series a shot

SUMMARY (from Goodreads):
There can only be one allegiance.
It’s her time to choose.

Some humans can see the fae. McKenzie Lewis can track them, reading the shadows they leave behind. But some shadows lead to danger. Others lead to lies.

A Houston college student trying to finish her degree, McKenzie has been working for the fae king for years, tracking vicious rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn’t her only secret. For just as long, she’s been in love with Kyol, the king’s sword-master—and relationships between humans and fae are forbidden.

But any hope for a normal life is shattered when she’s captured by Aren, the fierce and uncompromising rebel leader. He teaches her the forbidden fae language and tells her dark truths about the Court, all to persuade her to turn against the king. Time is running out, and as the fight starts to claim human lives, McKenzie has no choice but to decide once and for all whom to trust and where she ultimately stands in the face of a cataclysmic civil war.

Do you ever have those little nice surprises? Well this for certain was one of those I actually found myself reaching a point that I didn't want to put it down to go to bed. It was well written, the characters were 3D and I wanted to know more about this world, the Fae world and what this war was all about. There were some twists and turns and deaths I didn't appreciate. Yet I did appreciate them b/c it kept things real. The villain was average and roll your eyes at times when we found out the "real" villain. There is a love triangle in a sorts and yet it was handled in a rare way where even I the true HATER of all LOVE TRIANGLE enjoyed it. I hate love triangles they are the curse of death to me which then translates into I will never read this author again b/c of this triangle kind of thing. And yet this author managed to surprise me in a few areas the triangle being the main surprise. Let's just say even though it has been on my TBR since 2011 it is one I happy I decided to finally read and I will be buying the others in this series. 

The Characters every single one them was a character I could stand behind and understand (minus the villains. 
McKenzie she was a fighter and not a sap. She had moments where she was weak like not willing to die (I can relate) hoping for someone to save her yet not sitting back and doing nothing. She was willing to risk life and limb for her man Koyle and for the King. She was loyal to a fault and yet strong til the end. I really, really enjoyed watching her grow. 
Strangely I liked the Love Triangle (I know there is a first for everything turns out). It was a nicely done triangle and I appreciated it and the way it was resolved.
The deaths due to war. Believable and yet need and yet a knife in the heart when they occurred which proves to me that I connected in every way to these characters.  

The bad guys didn't have any depth. The twist on the bad guys didn't really turn out to be all that much of a twist.
It felt at times like there was too much and then suddenly we were done almost a rush but not much of one to worry about. 

FINAL GRADE: 4 out of 5 stars

Would you recommend this story? Yes I really enjoyed it


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Review ~ Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowlings

Title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Author: JK Rowlings
Copyright: 2000
Type: Young Adult
Hours: 11 hours 48 minutes
Book 3 in the series

Reason for Listening:
Absolutely love this series and thought it would be fun to hear it in audio version.

Summary from Goodreads:
For most children, summer vacation is something to look forward to. But not for our 13-year-old hero, who's forced to spend his summers with an aunt, uncle, and cousin who detest him. The third book in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series catapults into action when the young wizard "accidentally" causes the Dursleys' dreadful visitor Aunt Marge to inflate like a monstrous balloon and drift up to the ceiling. Fearing punishment from Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon (and from officials at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry who strictly forbid students to cast spells in the nonmagic world of Muggles), Harry lunges out into the darkness with his heavy trunk and his owl Hedwig.
As it turns out, Harry isn't punished at all for his errant wizardry. Instead he is mysteriously rescued from his Muggle neighborhood and whisked off in a triple-decker, violently purple bus to spend the remaining weeks of summer in a friendly inn called the Leaky Cauldron. What Harry has to face as he begins his third year at Hogwarts explains why the officials let him off easily. It seems that Sirius Black--an escaped convict from the prison of Azkaban--is on the loose. Not only that, but he's after Harry Potter. But why? And why do the Dementors, the guards hired to protect him, chill Harry's very heart when others are unaffected?
Jim Dale the man who narrates this novel does a fantastic job of not only remembering what each character sounds like but by keeping them all sorted and slightly different. I really enjoyed listening to this book. It brought back good memories for me and at the same time forced me to slow down and savor it. When I read it the first time I push through so fast that I hardly remembered the small details that were so greatly important later on.
I also enjoyed it because it half way brought back the movies to me and filled in the gaps that the movies left out...
Mr. Dale does a fantastic job with the pacing and keeping the story fresh. He never sounds tired or bored and I found his voice to be strangely hypnotic.
Great story (I am not going to review the actual story due to the fact SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE) however it was a fantastic 12 hours of sweet bliss to listen to. I found myself wanting to get back in the car to hear what would happen next.

My previous review of the books can be found here

Final Grade: 4 out of 5 stars

Would you Recommend this story: Yes it is an excellent series and the audio books do it complete justice.

Audio Book Challenge
Out Do Yourself Challenge

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Currently Listening To

Title: If You Ask Me (and of course you won't)
Author: Betty White
Copyright: 2011
Hours: 2.5 hours

Summary from Goodreads: 
It-girl Betty White delivers a hilarious, slyly profound take on love, life, celebrity, and everything in between. 

Drawing from a lifetime of lessons learned, seven-time Emmy winner Betty White's wit and wisdom take center stage as she tackles topics like friendship, romantic love, aging, television, fans, love for animals, and the brave new world of celebrity. If You Ask Me mixes her thoughtful observations with humorous stories from a seven- decade career in Hollywood. Longtime fans and new fans alike will relish Betty's candid take on everything from her rumored crush on Robert Redford (true) to her beauty regimen (I have no idea what color my hair is and I never intend to find out") to the Facebook campaign that helped persuade her to hostSaturday Night Live despite her having declined the hosting job three times already. 

Featuring all-new material, with a focus on the past fifteen years of her life,If You Ask Me is funny, sweet, and to the point-just like Betty White.

Audio Book Challenge
Out Do Yourself Challenge
New To Me Author

Monday, January 26, 2015

Blast from the Past ~ Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Review

Title: Honey I Shrunk the Kids
Date of release: 1989
Method of Watching: Netflix

The scientist father of a teenage girl and boy accidentally shrinks his and two other neighborhood teens to the size of insects. Now the teens must fight diminutive dangers as the father searches for them.

Rick Moranis: Wayne Szalinski (Spaceballs and Ghostbusters)
Marcia Strassman: Diane Szalinski
Amy O'Neill: Amy Szalinski (took a long break and then came back in 2008 and nothing since)
Robert Oliveri: Nick Szalinski (hasn't been in anything since 1994)

Matt Frewer: Russ Thompson (TAGERT from EUREKA)
Kirstine Sutherland: Mae Thompson (BUFFY's MOM)
Thomas Wilson Brown: Little Russ Thompson (seems like a lot of small parts in a lot of movies)
Jared Rushton: Ron Thompson (kid in Big) hasn't been in anything since 2000

These were the main characters...

 I can't believe how much I loved this film when I was little. Seriously I would watch it every time it came on. It was my Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter all wrapped up in one for me. And oh man did I have a crush on Russ LOL.
I have to say looking back on it this film was pretty modern for it's time. The special effects now are laughable but for 1989 they were pretty good. Also the computer is laughable (that was a side note). That being said the movie is still entertaining, still has a good over all story line and I have to say was enjoyable. I rolled my eyes very little and I admit that I even cried when Anty died (seriously was a heart jerking moment for me).
It was a flashback to my younger days and made me appreciate where I got my love of "science fiction" not to mention the dreams I had about this story. After all who didn't think it was cool. Although I did find that as an adult I did ask why would anyone want a shrink ray?!?!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Review ~ Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig

TITLE: Pretty Crooked
AUTHOR: Elisa Ludwig
TYPE:  young adult
PAGES: 358
yes the crooked series

I actually saw a review for the sequel on another blog and thought it sounded interesting. However, my OCD would not allow me to read it until I read this one.

SUMMARY (from Goodreads):
Willa’s secret plan seems all too simple: take from the rich kids at Valley Prep and give to the poor ones.

Yet Willa’s turn as Robin Hood at her ultra-exclusive high school is anything but. Bilking her “friends”-known to everyone as the Glitterati-without them suspecting a thing, is far from easy. Learning how to pick pockets and break into lockers is as difficult as she’d thought it’d be. Delivering care packages to the scholarship girls, who are ostracized just for being from the “wrong” side of town, is way more fun than she’d expected.

The complication Willa didn’t expect, though, is Aidan Murphy, Valley Prep’s most notorious (and gorgeous) ace-degenerate. His mere existence is distracting Willa from what matters most to her-evening the social playing field between the have and have-nots. There’s no time for crushes and flirting with boys, especially conceited and obnoxious trust-funders like Aidan.

But when the cops start investigating the string of burglaries at Valley Prep and the Glitterati begin to seek revenge, could he wind up being the person that Willa trusts most?

Thankfully I didn't have much thoughts or opinions going into this book and because of that I really enjoyed it. I was surprised by the depth and the issues it hit on. It tackles issues of socioeconomic classes and race. It also goes over misconceptions we have of the rich and the poor. It touched on grey areas after all stealing is stealing no matter what the reason is behind it. Surprisingly enough it also goes into consequences on all sides. This books did surprise me and I enjoyed it enough that I will for sure be checking out the next one. 

I have to admit I liked Willa. At first I was a little iffy I wasn't sure if she would grow on me or not. Thankfully she did.
I enjoyed seeing how it was a race issue as well as a social economic issue b/c I still think that exist no matter how much money you have. 
It had a nice twist at the end and I have to admit I didn't see that one coming which was refreshing. 
The book makes you just curious enough to want to read the next one in the series.  

 It felt a little name brand droppy which I get I mean you have a poor kid that is robbing from the rich to give to the other poor kids. That being said however, it can and did sort of date the book a little (yes 2012 isn't that old and yet it is). 
I had an issue with the instant like friendship the 3 popular girls had with Willa definitely not believable. 
Also how in the world did she think she was going to get away with it? 

FINAL GRADE: 4 out of 5 stars

Would you recommend this story? Yes actually I thought it was really cute. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Currently Reading

Title: Split Second book #2 of Pivot Point (a top favorite last year)
Author: Kasie West
Genre: young adult
Pages: 360

Summary on Goodreads:
Life can change in a split second.

Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too . . . but not without a price.

When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories . . . once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.

As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot . . . and a future that could change everything.

Out Do Yourself Challenge

Review of Book #1 can be found here

Friday, January 23, 2015

Currently Listening To

Title: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Author: JK Rowlings
Genre: YA Fantasy
Length: 26.5 hours

Goodreads Summary
Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected.

ChallengesAudio Book Challenge