Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

17926775I chose this book on a whim after reading several other third installments in trilogies I’ve been reading. Without checking the publish date, I tore into the book, turning pages like it would disappear if I set it down.

Needless to say, it was a fabulous read. It flew by in a blur of magic, trolls (which are a magical creature I haven’t seen in the pages of a book outside of Harry Potter or LOTR), and loooove.

When I read the summary, I was a little bit weirded out by the concept of a troll-human love story. Again, remember those HP/LOTR trolls? I was not down with that. But Jensen’s trolls are hotties (minus the inbred mutant ones). These trolls are also super smart and don’t follow girls into bathrooms with clubs.

I was also a little nervous to read yet another kidnapped-girl-falls-in-love-with-captor type of story. They’re very overdone, and the whole Stockholm Syndrome thing gets a little weird. This was very, very different. Cecile, our protagonist, is kidnapped and taken to the underground troll kingdom in hopes that she will help fulfill the prophecy by marrying the troll prince.

It’s dark. It’s dangerous. It’s complex. The world is cleverly built, and the characters are complex. I’m not sure what the time period is—at first, I thought it was set in France because of the names of the mortals in the beginning, but nothing was ever outright said. I know some people have an issue with not knowing where the story is taking place (fictitious world or based on our world) or the time period (medieval ages, etc), but that didn’t bother me in the slightest.

I absolutely loved this book, and was devastated when I went to find the second…it won’t publish until Spring 2015. I am very excited for the next installment—5/5 on Goodreads!

Lauren11

Throne of Glass Series 1-3 by Sarah J. Maas

7896527I thought this was supposed to be a trilogy, but I was pleasantly surprised when I was left with a giant cliffhanger at the end of book three. Just kidding. I panicked, and jumped on Goodreads as soon as I could to see if there was a fourth book in the works. There is. And a fifth and sixth!

I read the first two books—Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight—at the beginning of spring. The first book was difficult to get into, but once I did, I was hooked. I’m a sucker for fictitious worlds and strong heroines.

In the first two books, Celaena is a total badass. In fact, it was a little irritating how tough and unbreakable she was. She felt very one dimensional. Assassin, rough history, kills a lot of people, don’t cross her. But in book three, Maas does a fabulous job at giving Celaena a completely different side, which explains why she’s been so rough in the previous books.

The series feels a little bit like a younger, easier-to-read version of Game of Thrones. Which I’m completely down with.

The world is constructed beautifully, and most of the characters are complex. I find myself rooting for nearly every character, even when their needs/wants contradict other characters.

I’m guessing the fourth book won’t come out for another year, as Maas is working on releasing two adult fantasy novels in Spring 2015. This makes me want to cry a little bit.

I rated all three books 5/5 on Goodreads. I’m a little bit obsessed.

Lauren11

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

17802724When I read The Husband’s Secret, I was on a vacation of sorts in Oregon with my in-laws and husband, and really just needed something to help me get away from everything that was going on. I was sort of desperate, and not much was drawing me in, but this – this one drew me in. It’s slow to start out, the painting of the picture takes a little while to come into focus, but when it finally did focus, I was completely devoted to finding out what the secret was.

Summary from Goodreads: Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . .  Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.

Once I was invested in the story, I couldn’t put it down. The people drew me in, the author has this uncanny way of making the characters seem like they’re your best friends. I needed to know what was going to happen to Cecilia and Tess and I wanted to know right away (hence finishing it in one night). The secret itself, I honestly did not see coming. It was pure shock for me and I gasped out loud when I realized what it was. Liane Moriarty does an amazing job of tying all of the loose ends together and I definitely recommend this if you can get through the slow beginning. I rated it 4/5 on Goodreads.

Kiesha

The Healer Series by Maria V. Snyder

10445208Let me preface this by saying: I am a huge Maria V. Snyder fan. I’ve read the Study series and the Glass series, so naturally, I was very excited to see that she had written another series. In true bibliophile fashion, I read each book in under 24 hours. Never start a book on a Monday, folks. Sleep < a good book.

The plot centers around Avry, a healer who is forced into hiding after the healers have been wiped out in the Fifteen Realms following a plague. She is found by Kerrick, a forest mage, who is on a mission to revive Prince Ryne, who has been placed in stasis following the plague.

In an effort to stop the megalomaniac King Tohon, Avry goes through a series of adventures and trials, including invading an enemy army, stopping the walking dead, and honing her abilities.

The plot is fantastic. It’s a little predictable, but not in a distracting, disappointing way. There were plenty of plot twists that I didn’t see coming to make up for the predictable bits.

All three books were page turners, and I lost a lot of sleep while reading them. That being said, the series wasn’t my favorite. The Study series is my absolute favorite (and I’m not even ashamed to say I’ve read it three times!)

The characters fell a little flat in this series. Avry’s character was built up by book three, but I couldn’t stand her in the first book. The true love element is a little nauseating, too.

I still loved them, and I will continue to read every book Snyder releases. I rated it a 4/5 on Goodreads.

Lauren11

The One & Only by Emily Giffin

18465657I was eager to begin reading The One & Only—partly because I love Emily Giffin and partly because I had just finished All Fall Down and was in the mood for a fun summer read.

I didn’t read what the book was about before downloading it to my Nook and diving in. I’m glad I didn’t—had I, I may not have read it at all. The entire story is built on the world of football, a world that doesn’t interest me in the slightest (unless you count the snack layout during the Superbowl).

Though the football element is more about the culture of football (read: you don’t need to know anything about football to understand the book), it was a little distracting and off-putting. Not to mention the slightly incestuous relationship that develops.

The book is about 33-year-old Shea, who has minimal career/life aspirations other than to live, eat, and breathe football. The focus is on her hometown college football team, Walker University. She works for the athletic department, dates Walker football alumni, and refuses to move out of town for fear of moving on from Walker.

I do applaud Giffin for her character and story building, however. I felt that the characters were multi-dimensional and the world of Walker was constructed well. Giffin is one of my favorite “fun” authors, but the plot was not for me.

I finished the book in a weekend. It was a page turner, but not because I was dying to know what was going to happen (it was very predictable), but because I was eager to start my next book.

I rated this book 3/5 on Goodreads. I recommended it to my mother, who is obsessed with football (and because in a strange way, Walker football reminds me of Boise State football—and Coach Carr reminded me of our own Coach Pete). I don’t see myself recommending The One & Only to anyone else.

Lauren11

Two Review: All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner

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To be perfectly honest, I didn’t have high hopes for this novel. My last experience with Jennifer Weiner left me feeling let down and empty, so I have avoided the rest of her works for about a year now. When I saw that she had a new novel coming out, I was intrigued. Around the time that All Fall Down came out, I had just finished a very intense thriller/crime novel and was ready for something much lighter.

This book had me hooked within just a few pages and it’s safe to say it’s become my favorite of Weiner’s. I didn’t even finish the first chapter before I was texting L.C. telling her she needed to read it.

Alison Weiss is a stay at home mom with a booming blog business. She has the perfect husband, but a rocky marriage. She devotes all of her non-working time to taking care of her daughter, who is at the very least, a handful. To the outside world, she has the perfect life. What she’s hiding is how she manages to do all of these things and not lose her mind – prescription painkillers.

This book hit home mostly because my father was an addict. His poison of choice was heroin, which is known as the next step up from prescription pills because it’s cheaper but provides the same high. My entire life I’ve known that I am more susceptible to addiction than others, and have always stayed away from drugs because of that (among other factors). All Fall Down was like a glimpse into a life that could be mine if I inherited my dad’s addiction and let it get the best of me.

While I didn’t exactly get what I bargained for thinking that it would be a lighthearted, breezy chick lit, I did find a book that hit home and made me think about my own life pretty deeply. I rated it 5/5 on Goodreads and have been recommending it to anyone and everyone.

Kiesha


 

My first Jennifer Weiner experience was Good in Bed. After that, I was hooked. I blew through several more before venturing off into fantasy-land and forgetting all about chick lit.

This brought me back. We decided to do a double review because we both enjoy Weiner, and I’m so glad K.T. talked me into it.

I finished this book in a few days and stayed up waaaay too late to read more. Allison Weiss lives (seemingly) the perfect life. She’s got it all: hot husband, adorable (though demanding) child, beautiful house in the suburbs, huge blogging career. But that life is out of the Weiss’ price range, and Allison is also trying to handle a sick father, crazy busy job and taking care of a child. In an effort to balance everything, she becomes addicted to prescription pain pills.

I work in crime prevention, and prescription pill abuse is a national issue. Idaho has one of the highest addiction rates in the country, and the rates are raising every day. This book hit close to home, and I found myself enveloped in Allison’s world…and her addiction.

I had so much tension and concern for Allison while reading this book. On some strange level, I could understand her need to pop pills. I could understand how addicted she became. However, I could also see how it could tear her life apart—losing her child, her marriage, her life she’d worked so hard to build.

This book was a surprise from Jennifer Weiner, as I’m accustomed to her quick wit, humor, and easy reads. This book delved into tougher topics like addiction, marriage conflict and deteriorating parents, which was a nice change. Weiner’s writing is masterful, and I thoroughly enjoyed this read. I rated it 5/5 on Goodreads, and would highly recommend.

Lauren11