Monday, August 31, 2015

[Review] Falling for Max by Shannon Stacey

Falling for Max by Shannon Stacey
Series: Kowalski Family, #9
Publisher: Carina Press
Publishing Date: July 29, 2014
Format: paperback, purchased
288 Pages
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Goodreads rating: 3 stars


Max Crawford has reached the point in life where he's starting to think about settling down. Unfortunately, he's always been a little awkward when it comes to social interactions, and working from home doesn't help. He spends so much time alone, painting beautiful, historically accurate model trains that half of Whitford has begun to joke that he may be a serial killer. Not exactly prime husband material.

Tori Burns has found happiness in Maine, thanks in large part to her shifts at the Trailside Diner. She likes the work, and she loves the local gossip. When shy, geeky Max Crawford becomes a regular, she's intrigued. When she finds out he's in the market for a wife, she's fascinated…and determined to help.

Molding Max into every woman's dream turns out to be much easier than expected. But has Tori's plan worked a little too well? As she turns his comfortable life all sorts of upside down, she'll have to find a way to show just how she's fallen for him…the real him.

My Review

The first book I read by Shannon Stacey was Exclusively Yours, the first of the Kowalski series. I really liked her simple style of writing with intriguing and fun characters, so I knew I had to keep reading her work. I found this one at a local used book store and couldn't pass it up. While I certainly didn't read the series in order (considering this is only the second one I've read), I didn't feel like I was missing too much. I'd like to read the other characters' stories, but I'll get there eventually. 

I liked how simple this story was. There wasn't a huge fallout like in a lot of romance novels, but just enough of one to make your heart ache and then a happily ever after. Max is a quiet guy who likes to keep to himself, though he's very good looking and funny. Tori, on the other hand, is outgoing and loves interacting with people she meets at the diner. They're a great match for each other since Tori draws out the fun, witty side of Max, and Max draws out the serious, thoughtful side of Tori. It was really fun to read their story and I enjoyed it. A lot of times I love a big, dramatic fallout, but not having something huge in this story really fit the characters. It was a fun, fast-paced book and I look forward to reading more from her. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

[Review] Ten Tiny Breaths by KA Tucker

Ten Tiny Breaths by KA Tucker
Series: Ten Tiny Breaths, #1
Publisher: Atria Books
Publishing Date: Sept. 24, 2013
Format: paperback, library
288 Pages
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Goodreads rating: 5 stars


Kacey Cleary’s whole life imploded four years ago in a drunk-driving accident. Now she’s working hard to bury the pieces left behind—all but one. Her little sister, Livie. Kacey can swallow the constant disapproval from her born-again aunt Darla over her self-destructive lifestyle; she can stop herself from going kick-boxer crazy on Uncle Raymond when he loses the girls’ college funds at a blackjack table. She just needs to keep it together until Livie is no longer a minor, and then they can get the hell out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

But when Uncle Raymond slides into bed next to Livie one night, Kacey decides it’s time to run. Armed with two bus tickets and dreams of living near the coast, Kacey and Livie start their new lives in a Miami apartment complex, complete with a grumpy landlord, a pervert upstairs, and a neighbor with a stage name perfectly matched to her chosen “profession.” But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle all of them. What she can’t handle is Trent Emerson in apartment 1D.

Kacey doesn’t want to feel. She doesn’t. It’s safer that way. For everyone. But sexy Trent finds a way into her numb heart, reigniting her ability to love again. She starts to believe that maybe she can leave the past where it belongs and start over. Maybe she’s not beyond repair.

But Kacey isn’t the only one who’s broken. Seemingly perfect Trent has an unforgiveable past of his own; one that, when discovered, will shatter Kacey’s newly constructed life and send her back into suffocating darkness.

My Review

I'm so glad I finally read this book! I've been seeing reviews constantly since this book came out and I've been so anxious to read it, but never had the chance. I finally requested it from the library and read it in 2 days! I stayed up so late last night just to finish. My husband was sleeping and I was blubbering while finishing the last 50 pages or so. Seriously, this book made me go through so many emotions! 

Kacey and her younger sister just moved to Miami after sneaking out of their aunt and uncle's house in Michigan. While Livie needs to finish high school, Kacey tries to make enough money to keep them fed. She meets their apartment neighbor and they have an instant connection, but she tries so hard to deny it because of her past. But the more time they spend together, the more Kacey and Trent realize how much they have in common and how good they are for each other. 

I honestly figured out some of this book about half-way through, but that didn't keep me from being completely consumed in this book. I loved all of the characters; Kacey, Storm, Livie, Mia, Trent. They're all have complex pasts but work hard to put that behind them and work on the future. There were still quite a few things that surprised me throughout this book and kept me hooked. I really can't wait to read the rest of the books in the series. All of these characters deserve to find love (: 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Stacking the Shelves 8.22.15

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga @ Tynga's Reviews. Its all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, whether physical or virtual books. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course, ebooks! Tynga posts this meme on Saturdays, but you can post on any day that works best for you! Check out the guidelines by visiting Tynga's blog! 

Didn't buy any books this week, but grabbed a few from the library that I can't wait to read!

Started this one last night and I'm already hooked! Wish I could read all day and finish it, but unfortunately can't. 

I've been very interested in reading I Am Malala, but just haven't gotten around to getting it. And I've read the Bluest Eye before, but it was in high school and I don't remember it, nor do I think I appreciated it that much. I'm very interested in reading more books by diverse people. I read a lot of books by women and men, but I've noticed that I don't read as many books by people of color, other religions, etc., and I really want to. I feel as though it would broaden my reading horizons and make me become a more well-rounded reader and person. I really love learning about different religions and lifestyles, and what better way than through books? I try to read a variety of genres, written by a variety of people. But now I want to make a conscious effort to read more diverse books. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

[Review] The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publishing Date: Jan. 13, 2015
Format: purchased, hardcover
323 Pages
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Goodreads rating: 5 stars


Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

My Review

I couldn't wait to pick up this book! I had a gift card to Barnes and Noble, and I couldn't pass up buying this one! I had heard so many good things and my aunt read it and loved it, so I needed to start it immediately. I've heard it compared to Gone Girl, and since I really enjoyed that book, I thought this one would be a good read as well. 

One of the first things I noticed about this book is the unreliable narrators. A few of the main characters are so unreliable, but at the same time, I really enjoyed reading from their point of views. Rachel is one of those unreliable narrators, and while there were times I was absolutely annoyed by her, there were other times I felt so bad for her! Same with Maggie; a little unreliable, but really enjoyed seeing the story through her eyes. 

I loved that the story was told from three women's perspectives. It was so interesting to watch the story unfold from these three women. They were each able to bring something different to the story and filled in a lot of gaps that would be there if told from one perspective only. I really didn't like Anna in the beginning of this book, but the more I heard from her, the more I liked her. And then at the very end of the book? Oh, loved her! 

There's so much going on in this book. I was constantly trying to figure out what happened, who did what, and where the story was going. There was a time I thought I had it figured out, but then everything changed again. It wasn't until pretty close to the end that I figured it out. But even then, there were a few moments that I thought that something else was going to happen, but it didn't. I like that I wasn't able to figure out everything that had happened. This book just kept me hooked and I couldn't put it down. I truly had a fun time reading this book and I'm anxious to see what else Ms. Hawkins will write! 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

My First Dystopian Book

The first dystopian book I ever read was The Giver by Lois Lowry. I remember reading it in 7th grade for English class with Mrs. M. I completely fell in love with this world of books and knew that I needed to have more. At that age, I couldn't imagine living in a world where everything was the same  or equal - the weather never changed, jobs were chosen for people based on their skills, there was no color, and spouses and children were placed with families. It seemed so bizarre and I couldn't understand how a world would ever get that way. I began reading all sorts of dystopian books, like The Divergent series, The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, Uglies, etc. I couldn't wait to find more of these books. I still have tons of them on my TBR list. 

The more I read, the more I began to understand how a world could become like that. What intrigues me so much about them now is why the "creators" of these worlds thought it would be a better place for society. Sometimes I think certain aspects of these worlds would be pretty nice. But the more I read that story, or the more dystopian books I read, I always remember why it wouldn't be so great to live in these worlds. They're called dystopian for a reason. 

This is one of those genres that I'm always going to go back to. Even if I haven't read a dystopian in a while (which I haven't), I know that I'm always going to want to read them. I find (most) of these stories to be so compelling and interesting. I want to know how the author came to think of this world; was it a personal experience they thought could be changed, was it another book they've read, did it come out of nowhere? Regardless of the answer, I find it fascinating. 

What was the first dystopian book you've read that made you love this genre? 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Married to a Non-Reader

I was reading an article on Book Riot's website - my latest obsession - the other day that a contributor wrote about not dating non-readers and it really made me think. I'm married to a non-reader. Ok, he reads a little bit, like online articles, he's read the Harry Potter books (years ago) and read one book last year (a Halo book). But for the most part, he's not a reader. This article, which you can read here, was about the contributor not being able to date non-readers because reading is such a big part of her life. I completely get it. When I was younger and thought about the perfect guy that I would end up with, I always thought he would love books as much as I did. Clearly that's not how life turned out for me. 

The more I read this post, the more I realized that it's actually okay with me that I'm not married to a reader. Why? Because my husband and I don't have to be the same person. We don't have to like all of the same things to love each other. He absolutely loves video games and has many shelves full of them. Me? I don't like them and have only played a handful of times. But it's ok! He has his things and I have mine. 

I don't mind that he doesn't read because reading is not my entire life. Yes, there are days it consumes me and I don't do anything else but read or look at bookish things online. But there are other days that I don't pick up my books because I'm busy hanging out with him, crocheting, watching tv or movies. He and I play golf together, go workout at the gym, watch Friends and The Big Bang Theory, and just goof off. Ive realized that I have a lot of book friends in my life that I can talk to about books, like my book club friends, my mom, my aunt and uncle who have very similar tastes to mine, some of my co-workers, and the blogging community. It really doesn't bother me that he doesn't read. I don't think it makes him less intelligent or less worthy of my time. 

And what's really great about him - he understands my obsession! He constantly buys me books; he knows that rather than buying me flowers, he can buy me a book because I'm going to appreciate it more. He encourages me to go to garage sales to find cheap books, go to our local used book store. Although he isn't always interested in what I'm reading, he patiently listens to me if I want to talk about it. Honestly, one of my favorite things about this guy is how he listens to me talk about things that I find interesting. Last year I read Carly's Voice: Breaking Through Autism by Arthur and Carly Fleischmann (review here). It was a book that my sister-in-law recommended to me because her son has Autism and so does Carly Fleischmann. I really loved this book - which you can see if you read my review - and it really made me think about how my nephew, C, sees the world. It was so eye-opening and my husband and I talked about it for hours. He hadn't read the book, but listened to what I learned and we both were able to enjoy and learn from it. I could have talked about it forever, but it was the wee hours of the morning and we both needed to work the next day. Regardless, it was so great to be able to share this experience with him, even if he isn't much of a reader. 

I get that some people want to date and/or marry a reader; I thought for a long time that I did too. And I'm not saying that one person's opinion is wrong and that mine's right. But once I met my husband and realized how much we have in common besides reading and how much I love this guy, the fact that he isn't a reader didn't matter. I don't need him to like all the same things I do. I just want him to support and appreciate me for being me, and I'll do the same for him - video games and all. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Harry Potter Read-Along?

Last week I watched Magic Beyond Words: The JK Rowling Story on Netflix. My husband watched it at work one day and said it was pretty good, so I couldn't pass it up. I wasn't sure what to expect; I actually thought it was a documentary at first, but turned out not to be, which was ok! I thought the acting was pretty good and I really learned a lot about JK Rowling - even how to pronounce her last name, which sounds silly but apparently I've been saying it wrong for years! Haha

After that, I really wanted to reread all of the books. I feel like I know the first one pretty well, because I've read it so often, but I definitely haven't re-read the last few. And now I'd really like to! 

Is anyone interested in a read-along?

I'm thinking of reading one book a month or so. I still want to be able to read other books on my shelves, so I don't want to cram all 7 books into a short period of time. Plus I want to enjoy them all and not rush through. I thought it might be kind of fun to read along with someone else and be able to talk about it! Comment below if you're interested!

Now in Harry Potter spirit, here are some fun facts! 

JK Rowling never clarifies if Harry, Ron, and Hermoine ever return to finish their 7th year at Hogwarts. 

Rowling admits that Arthur Weasley was supposed to be killed in the 5th book, but instead exchanged him for someone else.

Lupin and Tonks were not originally going to be killed in the 7th book.

Dolores Umbridge’s mother was a muggle, her father a wizard, and her brother a squib.

Fred and George were born on April Fool’s Day.

Harry’s Birthday is July 31; so is Rowling’s.

Ron’s character originally swore a lot, but the publisher’s wouldn’t let Rowling use that language because it is inappropriate for young readers.

Only Alan Rickman, the actor who plays Snape, knew of his character’s fate before the Deathly Hallows was released because Rowling told him.

Contrary to popular belief, the ‘t’ at the end of Voldemort is silent. The name comes from the French words meaning “flight of death.”

Dementors represent depression and were based on Rowling’s struggle with the disease.