Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer | Book Review

First Published: 2006
Young Adult, Dystopia
Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.
Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all--hope--in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.

Good god, I loved this book so much! 

Honestly, I didn't really expect to. Me and dystopians have a rocky relationship - I just don't really like the genre and the depressing situations and stories it tells. That doesn't stop me from trying out really hyped dystopias, but more often then not I'm underwhelmed by them.

Life as We Knew It wasn't one of those dystopias. First, despite it being super popular on GR, I hadn't really heard anything about it prior to the book being on sale on amazon. But the cover looked familiar, and I read the synopsis and something just clicked, so I decided to just get it.

Best. Decision. Ever. 

Most dystopias start after the end, in a world ravaged and ruined, and introduce us to the new rules and reality of that world, but Life As We Knew It shakes that old and tried formula by starting not after the end, but before it even comes.

We get a glimpse of normal, every day life. Life we could very easily be a part of, because it's our world, until something big happens to shake everything down. Something moon-sized big, and everything goes bat-shit crazy.

But what's even better about this novel is that there is no quest to save the world, no chosen one, or rebellion, or people trying to uncover what's really going on or anything of that sort. Instead, we have one family... struggling to survive. To keep each other alive as life as they knew it cease to exist.

And it was beautiful.

Miranda's narration was both thought provoking and inherently human, chronicling the end through the eyes of a teenage girl. And she's just that; a teenage girl. She reacts as a teenage girl, even though she's forced to think past it and make tough decisions. And I thought it was absolutely brilliant.

Her mother, Laura, and her two brothers, Matt and Jon, complete this four people unit, and they were all fantastic because they were flawed. Sometimes, they let things get to them. They fought. They worried. Sometimes, they were unfair.

And it made it all that more perfect.

This book is slow - no way around that, especially since the agonizing wait and the uncertainty is such a big part of the story - but in no point did I get bored. I was riveted, and so connected to the characters and their stories that I teared up, especially in the good times, because I could literally feel how precious they were to these people.

Word of warning, though; this book will make you want to stock on food, water and batteries and really savor every pint if ice-cream and chocolate you get to eat. It will make you irrationally paranoid when you hear of earthquakes or tsunamis. And it will make you thankful you're not living in that version of our world... yet.  
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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Listen to Me by Kristen Proby | Book Review

Fusion #1
First Published: 2016
Adult, Contemporary
Seduction is quickly becoming the hottest new restaurant in Portland, and Addison Wade is proud to claim 1/5 of the credit. She’s determined to make it a success and can’t think of a better way to bring in new customers than live music. But when former rock star Jake Keller swaggers through the doors to apply for the weekend gig, she knows she’s in trouble. Addie instantly recognizes him—his posters were plastered all over her bedroom walls in high school—he’s all bad boy...exactly her type and exactly what she doesn’t need.
Jake Keller walked away from the limelight five years ago and yearns to return to what’s always driven him: the music. If he gets to work for a smart-mouthed, funny-as-hell bombshell, all the better. But talking Addie into giving him the job is far easier than persuading her that he wants more than a romp in her bed. Just when she begins to drop her walls, Jake’s past finally catches up with him.
Will Addie be torn apart once again or will Jake be able to convince her to drown out her doubts and listen to her heart?
This book was a surprise hit for me. I got it on a whim because it was on sale and I liked the cover, and figured it would be a nice romance to immerse myself with (I love the theme of everyday person falling in love with someone who lives in the limelight) 

But I didn't really think I would like it as much as I did. Maybe it's wrong of me to be like this, but I always approach books I don't know much about with a grain of salt, and I knew absolutely nothing about Listen to Me.

Listen to Me's first win is by having a crew of women who are smart, sassy, funny and successful. There is something so damn bad-ass about women who know what they want and make it happen, and Addie is just one of those people.

Listen to Me's second win is having a rock star that is not a douchebag. You'd think those would be plentiful in the romantic genre, but they so often fall into piggish, jerky assholes that for some unfathomable reason get the freakin' girl, and I can't understand or stand it. Not Jake Keller, though. He has a healthy sense of self esteem, of course, but he was such a sweetheart! More rock stars should take his lead in literature... and possibly in RL.

Listen to Me's third win (yes, this book has many good things about it) is the banter and the relationship these two develop. I love banter. It's my bread and butter, and theirs was golden and so fun to watch, and they made a cute couple that stood on equal terms.

But Listen to Me's biggest win is the friendships it depicts. Whether it was Addie's friends, Jake's or an intermix of the both, all the relationships were strong, healthy and supportive. This is such a fantastic example of how friendships should be, and it was emphasized through the top notch dialogues between them and the love and care that shined through every word. Truly heartwarming!

The one thing I didn't like? It was a freaking kiss on the cheek. For god's sake, get over yourself!
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Monday, October 31, 2016

Life Is Strange: A Choice Game With No Choice (Spoilers)

I know I don't normally make gaming posts, and that's because I'm not a big gamer. But sometimes, I like to immerse myself in a good game... or at least, watch someone else play it on Youtube. This is how I got to Life Is Strange - a choice game where your decisions effect the outcome of the story, butterfly effect style. Or do they?

Choice games are still a fairly undeveloped area of gaming, because despite the premise of having choice... most of them end up leading to the same place, with just slight branching changes based on dialogues you picked and choices you made. So you might determine how many people will survive the game (i.e Until Dawn), but it won't change the development of the narrative and its progression.
So this brings us back to Life is Strange, a game in which you play as Max - a girl who is obsessed with photography and attends a prestigious photography program in her home town after moving away years ago.

Max is your normal shy, geeky girl (who's also quite judgmental and prone to just staring at people really close to their faces as she inter monologues about them) who feels out of her element and has a hard time making friends.

One day, after witnessing a murder, she discovers she can control time (because plot) and here the game really starts, as you manipulate time to save people, make yourself look better in front of others, and possibly uncover something sinister going on in town, alongside with your childhood best friend Chloe.
The game is fairly interesting and has it's gut wrenching moments, and the story is quite good. At any given time you have a bunch of decisions you can make, and while they don't really affect the general narrative, they do affect your reception by other people, more than anything. However, there are some BIG decisions that can affect characters in the story. Or at least, the game wants to make you think so.

The entire game is based on you choosing what to do... but at the end of the day, none of it matters.

Your actions throughout the game - the multiple rewinds to change the outcome of certain decisions and the way you keep saving your best friend from death - lead to the town being wrecked by a huge tornado, as you've offset the balance of the world. Bringing us to the final decision Max is faced with... go back to the very first decision you made and let your best friend die, or say screw-it and let the whole town die.

Either option you pick, you're negating every other choice you've made in the game.

In one option you literally undo every decision as you go back to the start point, and in another you kill every person you've saved, befriended, or made enemies with throughout the game, making everything mute
You comforted Vicotia after she got paint splash all over her? Woopse, she's dead now so that don't matter! Maybe you should've taken that humiliating photo of her after all. You've prevented Kate from committing suicide? Joke's on her, she's dead anyways! You saved Alyssa from TP attacks, soccer balls to the head and falling into a burning building? You really shouldn't have wasted the energy. And Warren. Dear, sweet Warren... dead by the side of the road somewhere.

The final choice in the game leaves you with absolutely no choice but to erase everything you've spent an entire game to build.

This is a "choice" game where the player doesn't really have any choice at all. He can either choose to submit to "fate" and let it have its way, or measure the life of one girl to be worth that of an entire town and iron things out that way. That is the only choice the player can really make in this ten hours long game that pretends to be based on making choices.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Fire and Brimstone by R.L. Mathewson | Book Review

First Published: 2016
Adult, Contemporary Romance
What happens when a Bradford with questionable OCD, a tempter and a reputation for making his employees cry falls for the woman that refuses to accept the fact that he’s fired her and was terrifyingly more of a Bradford than he was?
Well, we can’t share that here, because it would be seriously inappropriate, but we’re sure that you can see where this is leading…
To the altar or a stint in the slammer, either one is possible when it comes to the Neighbor from Hell Series.
Author’s Note: This book along with the rest of the series is intended to make you smile, let you relax and forget the drama and stress that plagues our lives even if its just for a little while. This is a drama free book. My goal is to put a smile on your face and I hope this book does that.
After the last couple of NFH books, I was a bit worried about starting this one. They were fun and everything... but they really weren't all that great. But I really needed a fun book, and no one writes fun like Mathewson, so in I went.

And guess what? Fire and Brimstone is a complete return to form for Mathewson and the delightful NFH world, making this my favorite story in the series (alongside Zoe and Trevor's book).

First of all, Lucifer and Rebecca had palatable chemistry together that blossomed into an adorable relationship (or rather, was already kind of adorable even when it was purely antagonistic) and of course - many laugh out loud moments. This couple, and the gang around them, just put a smile on my face.

Their story was fairly angst-free, but by no means boring or even remotely close to that. They were entertaining as heck, and they definitely made each other better... although we kind of figured that out from the get go haha

The only issue I had with this book and prevented me from capital L loving it was Rebecca's backstory, because it simply made no sense.

SPOILER I can totally see her being misdiagnosed and considered a hypochondriac in her childhood when Coeliac wasn't all that known, but do you really expect me to believe that in our modern times with all those doctors that she saw, none of them did the needed checks to find this disease until Aiden? Who happens to be Lucifer's brother?

Very convenient, Mathewson. Too convenient. Especially considering the book itself acknowledges how gluten free products have gone a long way and how a lot of restaurants and shops have them? Coeliac is not an obscure condition! 

And, excuse me, you dumb parents, did you really just say Coeliac doesn't exist???? Are you fucking kidding me? END SPOILER

Now that that rant is over, I'll end this review by saying I really recommend this series. It is SO much fun, and we all need fun in our lives :)
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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

TWENTY Awesome New DEALS! | Kindle

Hey guys!

Check out these awesome new deals; I one clicked quite a few of these :)

As always, if you're looking for more deals, we have our master list of OVER 150 AMAZING DEALS. I didn't even notice we have so many deals, this is why it merits capital letters haha.
Our list is pretty varsity in genres (and genre and literary genre) and popularity - there are some extremely well known entries next to more low-key bargains.

Enjoy <3

Christmas From Hell by R.L. Mathewson | Book Review

Christmas From Hell by R.L. Mathewson
First Published: 2015
Adult, Contemporary Romance
Duncan Bradford is used to putting other people first even the annoying little jinx that lives next door, but when the unexpected happens and he starts to see her in a whole new light, he decides that it's time that he acts more like a Bradford and takes what he wants.

By the end of The Game Plan, I was actually really interested in Duncan Bradford, the Bradford to drop anything and uproot himself to take care of his injured brother. This was so sweet and unexpected, especially since The Game Plan doesn't feature Duncan all that often, that I was immediately ready for his book.

Luckily, it was out.

Annnnnnnnnnnd... it was utterly forgettable.
I remember... I remember not being impressed. I remember.... I remember not liking Duncan all that much (oh, man! Really?? I was so looking forward to this!). I remember... she was accident prone? And he was mostly over her shit? Oh, and she baked! I remember that! And... Er... Er....

DID I REALLY READ THIS JUST TWO MONTHS AGO?? What is going on? Where did everything go? I just wrote three reviews about the rest of the series, even books I read after this one, and I can't recall almost anything from this one? Jesus. Maybe I just imagined I read this? Goodreads says I did, and so does Kindle, but maybe there're all wrong.

There is no way this book, about a character I was so looking forward, ended up being so mediocre my brain disposed of the information when I closed it. No way.

.... Right?

Technically, this is not really a review, but no one can convince me a book being this forgettable doesn't say a lot about the book in question, and its quality. No one. I honestly debated about the rating for this one a lot because apparently I gave this one four stars initially (or so Goodreads said), but then I looked at it after reading the eighth novel and I was certain I had meant to give it three, and now it feels like even three might be half a star too much. idk.
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Monday, October 24, 2016

Double Dare by R.L. Mathewson | Book Review

Double Dare by R.L. Mathewson
First Published: 2015
Adult, Contemporary Romance
Marybeth still couldn’t believe that she’d survived this long with a friend like Darrin, but somehow she’d managed to beat the odds and not give in to temptation and smother him with a pillow while he slept.
Of course some days were more difficult than others…
For twenty years he’s been biding his time, waiting for the right moment to make his move and now that it was here…
He couldn’t seem to stop screwing up.
Oh no. This was my least favorite NFH book thus far.

One of the main things I love about the NFH series is how much damn fun it is. Every book is hilarious, with physical comedy, witty back-and- forths, and most importantly... almost no angst. All books need to have their "dramatic moments", but they tend to end quickly and efficiently in this series. Just like I love them to.

But no, not in this one.

This is the only  NFH novel where the main duo is already a closeted couple at the beginning of the novel... and herein lies it's problem, I think. Normally, Mathewson does such a fantastic job illustrating to us how two people move from contemplating to murder one another to passionately in love in a way that is absolutely delightful.

But in Double Dare, we have two people who are already in love... but aren't together properly. Because... reasons *ceue in drama. An endless stream of drama.*
While Mathewson had a plausible reason for why this couple is not together, she just didn't pull it off all that well. Instead of understanding the characters' plight, I was mostly annoyed with Merybeth's bullshit and wishing she'd cut it off by at least a half.

Maybe if Darrin and Merybeth stopped changing their minds every five seconds, maybe if they'd decide to be together and just be together, maybe if every moment of happiness wasn't followed by we can't be together...

Maybe then this novel would've been as enjoyable as the rest of the installments in the series. But it wasn't, so.... 
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