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Thoughts from a bookaholic

I don't just love to read, I HAVE to read - I am on a never-ending quest to find books that I connect with on some level. Finding a book with the "sticking power" to be remembered long after its been read is something I so rarely find, that it has become an obsession.

Simple Perfection (Perfection, #2)

Simple Perfection (Perfection, #2) - Abbi Glines I read everything that Abbi Glines writes because even if I'm not crazy about the story or the characters, I can always count on being entertained. I was glad to see Woods get his own story and I have to say that I liked the Woods & Della series much better than the Fallen (Blaire/Rush) series. Woods and Della seemed to have more depth and more maturity - Blaire and Rush drove me nuts with her constant whining/insecurity and his constant screwing up...I was glad to see their story come to an end. I had the opposite reaction to Woods and Della - I really liked their growth and their connection to each other. Della wasn't perfect - she had her own whiny annoying moments, but they were minimal and her insecurities were justified because of her past. In the end they seemed to have a solid, healthy, loving relationship - they could depend on each other and they knew when to let the other have space/freedom to figure things out on their own. I hope Grant's story continues with the deeper character development and offers a strong, secure female lead.
Unwind - Neal Shusterman The writing in this book was excellent and I'm a little sad that I was so late in reading it - had I read it closer to the actual publication date, I think I would have been blown away by it...by reading it now, the originality/uniqueness of the body part harvesting concept is lost because I've read novels with similar themes that were published after Unwind. I will say the scene involving a play-by-play view as one character experiences the unwinding procedure is one of the most disturbing things I've ever read. It's not something I'll easily (if ever) forget - it was brilliant but it was tragic and terrifying. In this moment, this book shines above the others because it doesn't allow the reader to avoid the awfulness of the subject matter. This book shoves every bit of it right in your face and lets you choke on it. Most writers will break away when the stress level gets to a certain point for the reader - some even push the reader just beyond that threshold where things start getting really uncomfortable - but this novel offers no sort of filter and instead, makes the reader fend for themselves.
Affliction - Laurell K. Hamilton I have followed this series from the beginning - through the good, the bad, and the sometimes bizarre - so reading this latest book was a given. Maybe it's just me, but it seemed like this one had some of that feel we got from Anita's earlier books where the crime fighting had a stronger focus. I'm not sure if I really liked the redirect...yeah, I think the sex scenes needed a reduction, but this one seemed to lack the strong emotion that the latter works have had. One of the reasons I've stuck with this series is because some of the books have had some of the best emotional moments I've ever read - and I value writers who are able to create that kind of reaction through their writing.

Affliction seemed more like a "filler" book that's setting the stage for then next book in the series. I didn't get lost in this one like I have the others - it just didn't have the same epic feel where so much happens during the book that you can't believe where you've landed at the end because it's so far from where you started at the beginning (if that makes sense). This is one of my favorite things about Laurell Hamilton's writing - the only other writer that I think does a better job of creating and epic wild ride with every book is Karen Marie Moning in the Fever series. But I just didn't get that from Affliction - so while I was pleased to revisit familiar characters, I was disappointed with the lack of depth, development and pace. Hope the next one doesn't take a year to come out.
Born to Fight (Born, #2) - Tara Brown Awesome sequel that doesn't disappoint - still has some of the strongest female heroines I've ever read and I can't get enough!
Reborn (Born, #3) - Tara Brown This is how you wrap up a series! I hope others take note because Ms. Brown has done it right - from start to finish - this series is outstanding. I hope she writes more series with heroines who are as strong as they were in this series - Emma, Anna, Meg, and even Star have set the bar for female leads and I will forever measure others to them...
Born - Tara Brown I was pleasantly surprised by this book and by the series as a whole. I've read tons of books with females as the main character(s) and aside from a very small number of exceptions, I generally feel let down by most of them on some level. This is one of those exceptions where the female leads are true badasses to the core. They are flawed and have issues, but their resolve to kick ass and take names never wavers. Their mistakes are real, not flighty air-headed drama queen mistakes, they don't let people run over them and they aren't afraid to make decisions or take action. The females in this series are the kind of strong female leads that I crave to read about but seldom do. I sincerely hope Ms. Brown continues this legacy of awesome female heroines in future works - I know I'll be first in line if she does!!

Ender's Game (Ender's Saga, #1)

Ender's Game (Ender's Saga, #1) - Orson Scott Card This book kept popping up as a recommendation and for whatever reason I kept overlooking it - I honestly think because of the cover art portraying a child. I assumed it was a "young" YA novel that I wouldn't really be interested in, but boy was I WRONG! I sort of happened upon some of the reviews and after reading so many positive ones I decided to give it a try and I have now added Ender's Game to my very short list of all-time favorites. This book is so beautifully written and delivers one of those rare stories that have such a powerful impact that they stay with you forever. I can't imagine anyone not falling in love with this book.
Sweet Peril - Wendy Higgins pretty good follow-up to the original, but I do think it fell into the trap of being a series "filler" novel rather than its own stand out piece. We at least saw some movement with the kaiden situation, though the whole "maintaining her virtue for the sword" seems kind of stupid in light of all the other bad stuff she's partaking in...but I guess since it's ya the whole virginity issue has to be a big deal. Which normally I get, but it seems awfully forced in this series considering that just about all of the main characters were literally born, trained, and actively "work" at corrupting souls through participation in all sorts of sinful activity...is loosing your virginity really as bad as snorting an 8-ball of coke?
Darkness Unbound - Keri Arthur this was unbelievably boring...stopped reading after about 2/3....
The Assassin and the Princess - Sarah J. Maas This was entertaining and it holds your attention, but it doesn't have much depth and isn't something that you'll really remember or get much out of in the end. something to read when you have nothing better to read or are looking for something easy and light.
Clockwork Princess - Cassandra Clare Beautiful, heartbreaking and touching....I loved it even though I bawled through the end (of all the books I've read in my life - so many that I couldn't even begin to count - there have only been a handful that have actually brought me to tears). This book offers a rare opportunity to experience an author who manages to capture in written form, human emotion that is honest, raw, and unrelenting that holds real power and beauty.

It did seem to get bogged down in middle and I found myself "skimming" over a few areas, but it picks up quickly and pulls you back in. The epilogue was absolutely amazing - I was so pleased with the conclusion of the series...hats off to miss Clare and thank you for sharing your literary genius with us!!
Succubus Dreams - Richelle Mead Up until this point, I've more or less thought of this series as a good "fluff" series - one that's entertaining and fun to read, but doesn't require much of an emotional investment. After reading this 3rd installment, I have now changed my mind. I've always found Georgina likeable, but I've had trouble empathizing with her because of her job duties (I'd compare it to a porn star trying to have a "normal" relationship)- but this book finally gives the reader a deeper look at Georgina's character and we start to understand her choices and how those choices affect her. You feel her heartbreak, you feel her self-hatred, and you feel her lonliness - and it's done in that unique way that sticks with the reader and makes her character memorable. There aren't many writers that are able deliver powerful emotions that come across just as real in written form as they would live...
Ever After - Kim Harrison I really like the Hollows series and I liked this latest installment - it had plenty of action/drama, etc. to keep it interesting, but this would definitely fall into the "not one of my favorite Hollows books" category. It had a lot of stuff going on, but I felt like the characters didn't really go anywhere.

Sure, the series loses a significant character and we learn more about some of the other character's history, etc. - but there wasn't much development or growth. By the end of this book, I didn't really feel like anything particularly important happened with the characters/relationships that keep me coming back to this series. I'm just as confused and irritated with the Rachel/Trent relationship as I ever was AND I don't feel like I gained any further insight into where the Rachel/Al situation is headed - and what's the deal with the whole Ivy/Cormell/soul-saving situation?? The only character that really seemed to grow was Newt...

I hope the next book actually focuses on making some progress with the main characters - let's move things along with Rachel, Trent, Al, Ivy, and Jenks - and can we PLEASE be done with Nick already??

Just for Now (Sea Breeze, #4)

Just for Now (Sea Breeze, #4) - Abbi Glines Loved this book and totally fell in love with Preston and Amanda. My only complaint is that it seemed like some of the plot/character development got cut short, skimmed over or forgotten. The book was engaging and touching, but there were a ton of scenes with huge potential to move this book from being a pretty good read to a really powerful read - the kind you never forget.

It'd be awesome if Glines continued this story in a second book that tapped into all that potential. For whatever reason, this one didn't come with the nicely wrapped up ending of her previous works - this is the only one that's left me wanting more and still thinking about the characters after finishing the book...I want to know if Preston and Amanda are able to overcome Amanda's mother, I want to know if Preston ever comes to terms with his own mother and upbringing, I want to know if Preston's siblings are able to cope with their new life and old life, I want to know if Marcus finds out about Preston's old job and what kind of impact it has on their lives, I want to know if Amanda is really able to deal with Preston and all of his baggage once the infatuation phase wears off...so many questions still hanging around...

Opal - Jennifer L. Armentrout Wow! Talk about cliff-hanger endings! I loved Opal - it had all the great stuff that made me fall in love with the series to begin with and not only did I not want it to end - I most definitely didn't want it to end when it did! It will definitely make the long wait for the next book seem like an eon, but I guess that's a good way to show that the writing/story were excellent.

I have to admit that I wasn't all that crazy about Onyx and I lost some interest in the series because of it. I have shared an equal love of Armentrout's Covenant Series and I was disappointed in the latest release, Deity, in that series as well, so I thought maybe the writing was starting to take a nose dive. I almost didn't bother with Opal, but I'm so glad I did because it renewed my faith in the series and in the author - I'll definitely be picking up Origin and Apollyon when they come out!
Iced - Karen Marie Moning I am a die-hard FEVER fan, so I was really excited about this spin-off/extension of the series and while I liked it, I don't think it quite lived up to the standards of the other Fever novels. It seemed to be mostly setting the stage for things to come, so there wasn't a whole lot that happened in this volume that you could really your teeth into. All the other Fever books have been a wild ride of almost non-stop action, plot-twists, and character development...Iced managed to leave you wanting more, but it didn't manage to give you enough to really know what you want more of...it didn't dive too deep into any one character or story line, so it was hard to feel any sort of strong connection to the story or the characters (save the ones we already have that connection with through the previous Fever books - like Christian MacKeltar - who deserved more time than he got in Iced...) But at the end of the day, I have faith that this is just a blip in the Fever line and that better things are on the way. So I gave it a 4 star rating based on my love of the series...otherwise I'd probably just give it a 3 or 3.5...