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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Review: Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper by J.L. Bryan



Published August 27th, 2014


Ellie Jordan’s job is to catch and remove unwanted ghosts. Part detective, part paranormal exterminator, Ellie operates out of Savannah, Georgia, one of the oldest and most haunted cities in North America.

When a family contacts her to deal with a disturbing presence in the old mansion they’ve recently purchased, Ellie first believes it to be a typical, by-the-book specter, a residual haunting by a restless spirit. Instead, she finds herself confronting an evil older and more powerful than she’d ever expected, rooted in the house’s long and sordid history of luxury, sin, and murder. The dangerous entity seems particularly interested in her clients’ ten-year-old daughter.

Soon her own life is in danger, and Ellie must find a way to exorcise the darkness of the house before it can kill her, her clients, or their frightened young child.


This was a completely random read. I had never heard of this series and honestly don't know if I ever would have, but someone has posted about the most recent book on Instagram and it caught my eye. I looked up book one and decided it sounded like something I might enjoy, so I gave it a go.

This was an incredibly fast read. You meet Ellie and pretty quickly get whisked into her world of ghost trapping. This revolves around one particular haunting and the mysteries behind it. I don't know if each book in this series focuses on just one case, but it definitely worked for this story. We don't get too in depth into Ellie's life, since most of the story revolves around the case at hand, but what we do get to know about her I liked. I was interested in knowing what she knows about the supernatural and I really enjoyed watching the dynamic between her and the new people she suddenly finds on her team. 

The ghost story in this was super creepy and definitely held my attention. I actually read this book in one evening. It moved along at such a fast pace it wasn't hard to sail right through, and I was so darn curious about what was really happening their clients house that I had to keep turning pages. The mystery behind the haunting was actually pretty complex and I feel like it definitely paid off by the end. I've never personally seen a ghost, but I have had a couple of eerie encounters where I have heard voices talking to me when no one was there, so I have at least a little faith in some of this stuff being real. I don't know if there are really ghost hunters out there who do things at the scale in which Ellie and her crew do, but I think it would be really interesting to spend time with the gadgets that they use in the book. Of course, I was totally creeped out just reading about it, so maybe coming face to face wouldn't be such a great plan. 

I'm definitely curious to know more about Ellie and Stacey, and I look forward to going on more ghost hunting adventures with them. This book felt like watching an episode of Supernatural, but creepier because it was all from my own imagination. I'll be interesting to see what types of hauntings come up next and I'll definitely be keeping my lights on while reading!


*Book cover and description provided by Goodreads

Friday, April 29, 2016

Review: Deep (A Stage Dive Novel) by Kylie Scott



Deep by Kylie Scott
(Book #4 in the Stage Dive Series)
Published by St. Martin's Griffin


Positive. With two little lines on a pregnancy test, everything in Lizzy Rollins' ordinary life is about to change forever. And all because of one big mistake in Vegas with Ben Nicholson, the irresistibly sexy bass player for Stage Dive. So what if Ben's the only man she's ever met who can make her feel completely safe, cherished, and out of control with desire at the same time? Lizzy knows the gorgeous rock star isn't looking for anything more permanent than a good time, no matter how much she wishes differently.

Ben knows Lizzy is off limits. Completely and utterly. She's his best friend's little sister now, and no matter how hot the chemistry is between them, no matter how sweet and sexy she is, he's not going to go there. But when Ben is forced to keep the one girl he's always had a weakness for out of trouble in Sin City, he quickly learns that what happens in Vegas, doesn't always stay there. Now he and Lizzie are connected in the deepest way possible... but will it lead to a connection of the heart?

I LOVE series like this one. I am a huge fan of the companion novel, because I always want to know what is going on with characters that I love, but it's also nice to see other people in the world get their own stories. This is actually the fourth book in the Stage Dive series, but it can definitely be read as a standalone. You will get some spoilers from previous books, because all of the characters make appearances, but this is a complete story on it's own. I have actually only read books 2-4 in this series, because I didn't realize I was starting with a second in the series when I picked up Lick (it has one of my favorite tropes, so I didn't bother to look it up before I started it), but I've loved every one of the books I have a read and have big plans to get my hands on book one sometime soon!

I actually think this one might be my favorite of the ones I've read so far. While the surprise baby trope isn't necessarily my favorite, I didn't mind it here, because Lizzy and Ben were the two characters that stood out to me most in the other books. I was so desperately hoping that they would get their own story and I am so glad they did. Lizzy is fiercely independent and can be absolutely tough as nails, but she's still got a vulnerable side and a huge soft spot for a sexy, bearded bassist. Try as she might, and even she knows it's in her best interest, she can't seem to keep from gravitating back to Ben time and again. Ben is a mess. I don't think that poor guy truly understand real feelings and what to do with them and while he has a hard time staying away from Lizzy, he also has a hard time staying with her, too. 

This book is full of sass, sweetness, jealous rock star outbursts, all seeing security guards, over protective family members, and seriously, sexy fun times. If you are a fan of romance and you can appreciate an awesome, tight-knit cast of characters, I definitely recommend checking out any of the Stage Dive novels. 



*Book cover photo and description from Goodreads

Monday, April 25, 2016

Review: The Leaving by Tara Altebrando


The Leaving by Tara Altebrando
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: June 7th, 2016

- Review copy provided by Bloomsbury for honest feedback -

Six were taken. Eleven years later, five come back--with no idea of where they've been.

Eleven years ago, six kindergarteners went missing without a trace. After all that time, the people left behind moved on, or tried to.

Until today. Today five of those kids return. They're sixteen, and they are . . . fine. Scarlett comes home and finds a mom she barely recognizes, and doesn't really recognize the person she's supposed to be, either. But she thinks she remembers Lucas. Lucas remembers Scarlett, too, except they're entirely unable to recall where they've been or what happened to them. Neither of them remember the sixth victim, Max. He doesn't come back. Everyone wants answers. Most of all Max's sister Avery, who needs to find her brother--dead or alive--and isn't buying this whole memory-loss story.


So much of this book was so good. We get three POV's in this story. Scarlett and Lucas were both victims of The Leaving and while they can't remember any of the things that have happened to them in the eleven years since they have been gone, they both have a strong sense that they have more of a past together than just being at the same place all that time. Of course, they have a hard time trusting themselves and each other, because with each snippet of something they think they remember from the time they were gone, things get more confusing and suspicious. I always enjoy a story with an unreliable narrator, but this one takes it just a little bit further, because not only are we not sure we can actually trust anything they are saying, these characters can't even trust their own thoughts and instincts.

Our third POV is Avery, the younger sister of one of the victims of The Leaving. Avery's brother, Max, didn't come back with the others and of course no one remembers him. Avery refuses to believe that Max isn't still out there somewhere and she also doesn't believe the other returned kids when they say they don't remember anything. You see, Lucas and Max were best friends before they were taken, and Avery doesn't understand how you can just forget a person. Desperate to figure out what happened to her brother, she inserts herself into the investigation.

No one really knows what's going on, but little by little they start unraveling the truth. And so many times I found myself unwilling to put this one down, even though I had to get back to work or go to sleep, because I was just as desperate as these kids to figure out what was really going on and to learn the truth about why this all happened. I had no proper predictions about who was involved or what really happened, so it was nice to find out at the same time the characters did. The truth about what went down was interesting enough and if it had been fleshed out a little more, I might have been more satisfied when I turned the last page, but by the time I got to the end I just felt like I needed more. There was such great build throughout the whole story and I guess the ending just felt a little to flat when all was said and done.

Overall I really did enjoy this one. Despite my need for more at the end, this was such an interesting mystery all along the way. There were definitely things that happened that I did not expect and connections between characters that I didn't necessarily see coming. It has solid writing and such a cool premise. It's definitely worth giving a look once this one hits the bookstores.



*book cover image came from goodreads.com

Monday, April 18, 2016

Bookish Goals for 2016

I know I am incredibly late to this party, but I have been absent for quite a while and only recently had a sudden desire to start doing some blogging again. After all this time, I've found myself missing it lately and miracle of miracles, I still remembered my blog password! SO I figured, what better way to kick this whole shindig off again, than with some of my personal bookish goals for 2016. I'm not going to let a little thing, like it already being half-way through April, stop me!

I've got three things I really want to work on reading wise this year and with determination and a little luck, I think I might just be able to improve my reading game!


#1: Unfinished Series



I have countless completed series on my bookshelves. Some of them I've never read a single book in the series, but most of them I read the first book and really loved it, but wanted to wait until all books in the series were available so I didn't have to wait in between. The problem here is, I accumulated said books in these series, but for whatever reason never picked them up and started (or finished) any of them. It would be absolutely crazy to say I want to finish every completed series I own, I'm not even going to pick specific series that I want to finish this year (the above picture is just to show an example of some of the pretties), but I definitely want to get at least 2 or 3 of these series under my belt by the end of 2016.


#2: Out of my Norm



It's not that I only read one or two types of books, though I do love NA romance in all it's tropey, cliche, sexy, and fun glory, and can literally spend months reading one after another of these bad boys, but I try to mix it up a little. Lately, I've really gotten into fantasy and urban fantasy, and literary fiction has also won several spots on my bookshelves, but there are a couple of genres that I almost never read and I'd like to give them a shot this year. Number one being non-fiction. I want to be the type of person who reads about real things that happened, but I've just never gotten into it. Horror, thrillers, and mysteries are some other groups that I've only dabbled in a little. I'm a big wuss, so creepy/scary books kind of make me nervous, but I'd like to grow up and be a big girl this year. I've actually already read a couple of thriller/mystery novels this year, those genres are seriously growing on me. Another big thing I want to get into this year are graphic novels. I love browsing through them at the bookstore, but I've always been so hesitant to actually pick any up. I don't really have much of a collection of them yet, but I've got enough to dip my toes in and see if I like the pretty, illustrated waters.


#3: Reading Focus

This one might just be impossible, because I have always been a person who starts a book and then starts another one or two books simultaneously. It's good for my fickle and ever changing reading moods, but it's also annoying and I feel like I never actually get anything read. This is a personal pet peeve about myself and my motivation to stop doing this gets stronger every day. I currently have something like four books that I am reading and it is completely ridiculous. 


There you have it. My main bookish goals for the rest of 2016. I'm feeling very optimistic! What are some of the goals you guys have made for 2016 and how have you been doing with them? I'm right here cheering you on!

Here's to the rest of 2016! 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid


***
At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her. As the two alternate realities run their course, Maybe in Another Life raises questions about fate and true love: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps, most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?

Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him.

***


I've always been fascinated with parallel universes and the lives we might have had if we turned right instead of left. Hannah's journey through both possible worlds was such a fun, cool read.

At first I wasn't sure about the alternating chapters. I thought switching back and forth between worlds from chapter to chapter might get confusing, but it really didn't take long to settle in and get the swing of what was going on. Honestly, I think having the chapters alternate the way they did made me devour the story even faster, because I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next in each one.

At first it seems like we are going to see two very different lives for Hannah, and while there are significant differences in the things that happen to her, I think this story has a pretty good commentary on fate and the different directions our lives were meant to go. No matter which timeline you are reading, you can't help but root for Hannah. I don't know if I can say that I have a favorite of the two. They were both satisfying stories and they both had great endings for Hannah.

This was a really good book with great messages about friendship, family, love and finding who you are truly meant to be. It's definitely one of the most unique books I've ever had the pleasure of reading and I'm so glad I decided to pick this one up.



Goodreads

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Fault In Our Stars: A Movie Going Experience

Disclaimer: While the movie was fantastic, this is not a review of The Fault in Our Stars, it is a re-accounting of the movie going experience. Proceed with caution, because there may be some spoilerish content. Also, my interpretation of this experience makes me feel really old.


As so many others, I went to see The Fault in Our Stars with my best friend on Friday. As a general rule, I don't usually attend movies on their opening night, but there was no way I was waiting to see this one. We bought our tickets online, went and had some lunch, then made our way to the movie theater. I honestly do not think I have ever seen so many teenage girls in one place. It was loud, it was giggly, they were tall (when the hell did teenage girls get so darn tall?), and I just kept thinking to myself "please let them all be seeing Maleficent". They were not. The theater was only about half full when we got in, so we were able to find suitable seats quite easily, and since we were early we got to observe teenagers in the wild. Let me set the scene for you  a little bit. Apart from Shanon and I, there ended up being only 5 other people in the theater who were over the age of 16 (I say 16 because I assume most of them drove themselves, what with the lack of adults in attendance). There was a middle aged woman handing out movie theater candy boxes with packs of tissues tied to them, to a large group of girls, I assumed she was probably one of their mothers. Of course, I never asked, so she could have just been some lady handing out candy to kids. Then there was a couple that sat a few seats down from me who looked to be in their early 20's, the lady didn't give them any candy or tissues. About five minutes before the lights went down, an elderly couple walked into the theater, I don't think they were expecting so many youngsters, either, but they braved the masses of tall, giggling girls and found some seats. Did I mention the fact that every single teen girl in this theater seemed to know every other teen girl? Well, it was the random shouting of names from across the theater, and the spastic waving that tipped me off. (Sidebar: when did so many young girls start wearing belly shirts?)

So the lights go down and we are treated to somewhere around an hours worth of previews. Some were must sees (If I Stay), others I found to look utterly ridiculous, but they definitely excited the masses (Ouija). Then the movie started, as did the squealing. Things were going okay, I was enjoying the film mostly uninterrupted, and I was starting to feel like it was all going to be okay. Okay. (See what I did there?) Anyway, I had been lulled into my false sense of security and then Hazel bumps into Gus. The theater errupts into teen girl screams. Gus stares at Hazel, squeals abound. Gus continues to stare at Hazel, more squealing. And so on and so forth. From this point forward, every time there was a favorite line from the book, we were treated to screams and squeals. Were teenage girls always this melodramatic? I honestly cannot remember.

Cut to Amsterdam. Gus's hotel room. Sex. The reaction to this scene might have been the most shocking to me, because I was under the apparently mistaken impression that teen girls in general, lead way more inappropriate social lives than I do. But the giggling that ensued when Hazel and Gus began undressing each other, just proved to me that the girls in that theater were probably not ready to have sex if they couldn't watch it without giggling like little girls. Of course, one of them refrained from giggling and instead shouted out "Side boob!". Maturity, folks.

After the sex, and the giggling, we get to the part of the story that we all were dreading. Nobody wants Gus to have this conversation with Hazel, but it's inevitable and we must endure. Some of us more quietly than others. Now, for me, while reading the book this is the part where the sad really started and it didn't let go until after I turned the last page. Turns out, that holds pretty true for the film, as well. Though, for my fellow moviegoers, it was much more devastating. Cue the shuddering sobs, the anguished wails, and the constant sniffling. As we got closer and closer to the end, it was as if these girls were all in competition with one another. The louder they sobbed and wailed, the more it meant they loved the characters on screen. There was a girl, in the row just in front of me, who was sobbing and rocking back and forth in her seat. With the orchestra of tears happening all around me, I was having a hard time not laughing my ass off. Don't get me wrong, I was also having feelings, they were silently streaming down my face. I can't imagine seeing this film and not having an emotional reaction, but I can also keep it in check. Maybe teenage hormones were to blame for all of the crazy happening around us. Maybe science is the reason. Either way, I was doing a pretty good job of having my feelings while not laughing at others forms of expression, but then something happened that started a chain of events that just could not be stopped.

Remember the girl who was rocking back and forth in her seat? Well, during a scene in which our characters are trying to enjoy the time they have left together, she latches on to her friends arm and shouts "I'm not ready. I'm not ready!". Immediately following this, the 20-something female to my right starts chuckling, which then makes it impossible for me to hold it in any longer, and I let out the loudest snort before collapsing into a pile of laughing my ass off. So I'm sitting there, simultaneously laughing and crying, which causes the girl to my right to start laughing harder. At this point, because it's not actually a funny part in the film, I think we have offended the mass of teenagers, but there was just no stopping us. I get myself in check, the girl to my right gets herself in check, and I finish watching the film with my feelings streaming down my cheeks, but also with a huge grin, because our laughing did not deter the crying competition all around us. In fact, I think we may have encouraged them. Either way, the movie ended as the book did. And we all left the theater with our hearts a little heavier and our eyes a little redder.

So that, my friends, is why The Fault in Our Stars may have been the most entertaining movie going experience I have ever had. And it only had some to do with the awesome movie I was seeing. I wonder, have any of you had similar experiences this weekend while seeing the film? I'd love to hear about them :0)


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