Thursday, December 24, 2015

MERRY CHRISTMAS


(merry christmas)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Undaunted Hope by Jody Hedlund


Tessa Taylor arrives in 1870s Upper Peninsula, Michigan, planning to serve as a new teacher to the town. Much to her dismay, however, she immediately learns that there was a mistake, that the town had requested a male teacher. Percival Updegraff, superintendent and chief mine clerk, says she can stay through winter since they won't be able to locate a new teacher before then, and Tessa can't help but say she is in his debt. Little does she know that Percival will indeed keep track of all that she owes him. 
Determined to become indispensable, Tessa throws herself into teaching, and soon the children of the widowed lighthouse keeper have decided she's the right match for their grieving father. Their uncle and assistant light keeper, Alex Bjorklund, has his own feelings for Tessa. As the two brothers begin competing for her hand, Tessa increasingly feels that someone is tracking her every move, and she may not be able to escape the trap that has been laid for her.

Okay, so. This book.
Was. Beautiful.
I'm just going to dive in to the review because it's awkward otherwise. :)
One thing that I just LOVE about Jody Hedlund's books (at least the ones I've read), is that there is always a solid villain and storyline outside of the romance. They are definitely romance novels, but they still teach valuable lessons and we get to see a bit of the whole villain/hero showdown that everyone loves.
I think this book is my favorite in the whole series. I loved the other books, definitely. But this one… I found so much to relate to in Tessa, our main character. She's sassy (which I like to think I am), sarcastic (which I also like to think I am), but very romantic minded. But she still has a smart head on her shoulders. She doesn't think with her body. Overall, I really enjoyed Tessa as a character, both as a strong lead and a relatable woman.
And then there's Alex. He is Tessa's love interest and is very complicated but very well-written and easy to loved.
BUT I didn't love everything about this book. As with every book, it had it's flaws. One flaw, I found in the form of Alex's brother. Where every other character was three dimensional, he stayed on the page and though he had a big part in the story, I wasn't able to find myself to like him. Perhaps this was on purpose? If we had liked him, it would be because Tessa would have spent more time with him, which would have resulted in a love triangle. Mesa not like love triangle.
Anyway, I rate this book five stars. Very well written, with a strong female lead, good romance, and a driving story with a solid villain.

FOR THE PARENTS -
SPOILERS BELOW

Okay, so Tessa's the sister of the female lead from Hearts Made Whole and in that book she pretends to have slept with her sister's fiancee. So that is mentioned, and also that the villain is sleeping around, and making moves on Tessa. Nothing explicit shown. Mild kissing.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Girl From The Train by Irma Joubert


Six-year-old Gretl Schmidt is on a train bound for Aushwitz. Jakób Kowalski is planting a bomb on the tracks.
As World War II draws to a close, Jakób fights with the Polish resistance against the crushing forces of Germany and Russia. They intend to destroy a German troop transport, but Gretl’s unscheduled train reaches the bomb first.
Gretl is the only survivor. Though spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned German Jew finds herself lost in a country hostile to her people. When Jakób discovers her, guilt and fatherly compassion prompt him to take her in. For three years, the young man and little girl form a bond over the secrets they must hide from his Catholic family.
But she can’t stay with him forever. Jakób sends Gretl to South Africa, where German war orphans are promised bright futures with adoptive Protestant families—so long as Gretl’s Jewish roots, Catholic education, and connections to communist Poland are never discovered.
Separated by continents, politics, religion, language, and years, Jakób and Gretl will likely never see each other again. But the events they have both survived and their belief that the human spirit can triumph over the ravages of war have formed a bond of love that no circumstances can overcome.

I loved this story. But I did have some major problems with the last third of it, but I will get to that. Warning: the end of this review will contain a SPOILERS section where I voice my problems with this book and the reason I rated three stars.
This book follows a girl named Gretl. It opens when her mother dies. I loved how this story was told, and the characters therein. Gretl Schmidt leaped off of the page into into my life. I did expect this book to be very intense, and while it was intense in the beginning and in the end, I felt the middle did drag a bit. But understandably, the drag was a necessary view into the life Gretl was beginning to have and important to the evolution of her character. I really liked the way this story took place. It followed Gretl from age six to age twenty but yet isn't a huge book. This book is told mostly from Gretl's POV, though it does switch at times from her POV to Jakob's.
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SPOILER SECTION
One of my main problems with this book is the romance. Near the very end, Gretl realizes she is in love with Jakob, who is 13+ years older than her. I enjoy the occasional love story with an older man and a younger woman but it just didn't seem to work with Gretl and Jakob. It seemed a bit weird to have a romance between a girl and the older man she'd known basically her whole life. I guess I had a bit of a problem getting past how Gretl was six and then she grew up very quickly and suddenly she's in love with Jakob. I didn't agree with this part of the story. I would have preferred for Gretl and Jakob to just be the best of friends and have her meet a lovely young man someday.

Three out of five stars. Overall a good read, but the ending wasn't right for me.

FOR THE PARENTS

There is mild kissing in this book, mild violence, and I don't think there's any cussing. 

*I received an ARC copy of this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Struggles of a Book Blogger!

Hello all! Today I come to you with a post about the dark side to blogging about books and receiving free books from publishers.
Some people imagine this all to be a piece of pie. BUT NO. THIS IS NOT SO EASY. So I'll break it down to a list of six. Six things that made book blogging a shade darker than publicly noticed.
YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO
After being loosed upon a site like Netgalley or Edelweiss for a lengthy amount of time, you work your way through every available ARC of literally every genre your little heart adores. And then “gasp”! You have read all of them. You have read all of HarperTeen's Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter release, all of Baker Publishing Group's as well. And suddenly… You have nothing to read—and nothing to look forward to. You have to return to reading the books sitting on your shelf. None of those shiny, new ARCs. No! All you have are the dull books every mundane reader reads. And that incurs a special sort of reading slump. Oh joy.
YOU DON'T GET TO READ HOLIDAY-THEMED BOOKS DURING THE HOLIDAYS THEY ARE SET IN
All the Christmas books hit Edelweiss and Netgalley in October and November. So you get one. You read it. But that holiday FEEL doesn't kick in! Why? Because you aren't in the holidays. Go sob in the corner, dear book blogger.
YOU ARE PLEDGED TO POST YOUR HONEST OPINION
I'm scared to say I don't like Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas in public. But what if I'm reading someone's highly anticipated read of 2016? WHAT IF I HATE IT? The worst part is that I must write down every dislike for this book in a little review and SEND IT TO THE PUBLISHER WHERE THE AUTHOR WILL SEE IT AND HATE ME FOREVER. There are so many worries when you write a bad review as well. WHAT IF IT MAKES YOUR FAVORITE PUBLISHER HATE YOU AND NEVER GIVE YOU BOOKS AGAIN???? Well, then you will survive in body but die in heart and brain and spirit. That's how it usually goes.
AND THEN THERE'S THAT AWFUL MOMENT… STRUGGLE FOUR.
You all know that moment. THE MOMENT WHERE YOU FORGET SOMETHING. Or you get something wrong. Say the character's name is Willek but you call him Willet. Or Juliet and you call her Julie. AND THEN YOU SEND THAT AWFUL MISTAKE OFF TO THE PUBLISHERS. There is no getting that back people. Not after you click send. There's also when you forget all of the character's names but you can remember the exact plot. #pain
UM… YOU HAVE TO BLOG
Sure you have ideas. You have twelve blog post thoughts. BUT YOU HAVE TO WRITE THAT ALL DOWN. And even worse. YOU HAVE TO POST IT. Um, give me cake or give me death? There's occasionally a time or two when I think I'd rather DIE than have to blog. BUT THEN I HAVE TO. Because you would all basically die without me to lift you up and throw up words into a blog post.
OOPS. YOU HAVE A REVIEWING SLUMP
So you haven't reviewed anything in a large amount of ages. AND THEN YOU GET AN ARC. You rip through that ARC. AND THEN YOU HAVE TO REVIEW IT. And you have a reviewing slump. No words to puke all over your blog. UM OOPS. You basically are murdered by guilt for not reviewing. Sorry.

So this has been Struggles of a Book Blogger. Oh joy.

DISCUSSION -

What struggles do YOU encounter in book blogging? Or just blogging in general? What do you do to fix them? Also, let me know if you'd like to see a post about HOW TO BOOK BLOG or a post about how I fix the struggles listed in this post! See y'all later.

Monday, December 14, 2015

I'm Leaving You All

So I'm going to disappear until, like Janurary? I should have a post or seven scheduled, but other than that I SHALL BE LEAVING YOU.
Please keep the crying to a minimum. Thank you!
I MAY BLOG. But only if I have time which I totally won't.

REASON FOR LEAVING: My brother is coming for a visit and we are trekking into the bush and also Christmas is happening. Oh joy.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

Okay people. Christmas is coming. My Christmas tree is up. And I have about... 12 days before Christmas? I have no gifts for these family people I live with. But whatever. We're here to talk about YOU. That's right. This is a little late because you have all probably already put together your wish list and sent it off to family members, but if you're unluckily related to someone like me, then you have time to add a few more things in. So that's why I'm here. I'M HERE WITH BOOKS TO SHOVE INTO YOUR FACES AND MAKE YOU READ.
Yes, that's right. I'm recommending books today. Officially. So even if I'm a bit late, YOU CAN PUT ALL OF THESE IN THERE FOR YOUR BIRTHDAYS OR WHATEVER. Because I'm awesome and you'll totally listen to these recommendations.
So here's how this is going to go. I'm going to have the general genres here. CONTEMPORARY, HISTORICAL FICTION, SCI-FI, FANTASY, INSPIRATIONAL FICTION, AND DYSTOPIAN. For each genre I will choose TWO BOOKS and recommend them to all of you lovely people. Then you will run for your wish list and add those books before you keel over and fall into a food coma until Valentine's Day. Okay? Let's do this,

CONTEMPORARY

On the Fence by Kasie West

I'm sure all of you smart little cantaloupes expected this. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO RECOMMEND CONTEMPORARIES WITHOUT RECOMMENDING THIS ONE??????
Please enlighten me.


To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

So go read this book. IT IS AMAZING. THEN RETURN AND WE CAN CHAT.





























HISTORICAL FICTION

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

GO AND PUT THIS ON YOUR LIST. AT THE TOP. AND READ IT. THEN COME AND CRY WITH ME.





























Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Um so this book basically broke my heart and I recommend it to you so you can get your heart broken too.





























SCI-FI
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
OH
MY
GOODNESS.
/THIS BOOK/. I LOVE IT.

















These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

So this book is amazing. Go read it.




























FANTASY

Harry Potter by JK Rowling

This book has recieved so much love and hate from the world. But it is amazing and what are you still doing here? Go get it.




























The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

I really do not need to explain this one. GO GET IT.






























INSPIRATIONAL FICTION

Invisible by Ginny L. Yttrup
Oh this book. I love it so much. Definitely a favorite!
































The Shade of Mery by Susan Meissner

Um I cried and loved this.
































DYSTOPIAN

The Selection by Kiera Cass

This was one of the first dystopian books I read and it introduced me to this genre.





























Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Um yes. THIS BOOK. GO GET IT.
































That is all! I hope you enjoyed this post. Check my blog soon for more posts!

DISCUSSION -
Okay, now I'm curious! What IS on your wish list?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten New-To-Me Favorite Authors I Read For The First Time In 2015



Hello, all of you dear lovelies. Welcome to this week's Top Ten Tuesday! This meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and they are basically awesome. The list for today is "Top Ten New-To-Me Favorite Authors I Read For The First Time In 2015" So without further adieu, here is my list!
(DISCLAIMER: These are most definitely not in order, only ordered by when my brain spat them into this post. And some of these might not be on my official top ten authors list, these are just favorites from this year.)

1. Shannon Hale
Ms. Hale has written a lot of books, but I've read her book Princess Academy. And don't think private school when you hear that title. It's a fantasy book that's sort of like the Selection with more friendship, less romance, and less drama. But VERY good! I've also read her book Goose Girl.







2. JK Rowling
Okay, okay. YOU ALL KNOW WHO SHE IS.
Hint: She wrote a long series about magic and wonderful things.
SHE'S JK ROWLING THE AUTHOR OF HARRY POTTER!!! And I love Harry Potter supersupersuper much.






3. Elizabeth Wein
So this wonderful person wrote CODE NAME VERITY which SHATTERED MY HEART AND STOMPED ON THE PIECES. And also ROSE UNDER FIRE which also KILLED ME. Her books are amazing.







4. Agatha Christie
Oooh, yes. Give me a rainy day, a cup of tea, and an Agatha Christie book and I'll be happy. I read like fifteen of her books after my Kindle died on me. She is the queen of all things MYSTERY. Especially murder.








5. Mindy McGinnis
So her books. THEY ARE WONDERFUL. Especially A Madness So Discreet. SCOOT. GO READ IT.









6. Suzanne Collins
She wrote the Hunger Games series. (Duh.) These books are my one exception to the "don't watch the movie before reading the book!" rule. They are probably the only book-to-movie adaptation I watched before reading the books. But after seeing the amazingness that was the movies, I ran to the Internet, grabbed the books off Amazon, and read them forthwith. AND THEY ARE GOOD.





7. RobIN BENWAY
She wrote the amazingness that is Also Known As, Going Rogue, and Emmy and Oliver. UM YES TO ALL OF THOSE BOOKS. Warning, there is some language but you barely notice it BECAUSE ROBIN BENWAY IS THE QUEEN OF STORYTELLING.
(and I couldn't get through her name with capitalizing at least half of it)





8. Jenny HAN
Because WHAT is the CONTEMPORARY GENRE WITHOUT TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE AND P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU????? Seriously. Those books are absolutely perfect. And to spice things up, THEY ARE SQUEAKY CLEAN!







9. Brandon-freaking-SANDERSON
OHMYWORD. His books are the pinnacle of  amazing storyworld, writing and characters. Seriously. GO READ THE WAY OF KINGS THEN COME BACK AND FREAK OUT WITH ME.






10. Sarah J. Maas
disclaimer: she is on her only because of throne of glass and crown of midnight because those are the ones of hers I love.






So there you have it! My top ten favorite new-to-me author from 2015.

DISCUSSION
what are your top ten favorite new-to-you authors from this year! comment below with a list or the link to YOUR top ten tuesdays post!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Important Announcement

I'm sure that some of you are wondering why I did not participate in this last week's Top Ten Tuesday and also why I haven't posted since a scheduled review on Tuesday. Honestly, there's one reason for the lack of posts. I've been sick since Tuesday with some sort of flu or maybe malaria or maybe typhoid. But I'm getting better now and obviously feeling up to posting. And I have two reasons for not posting last Tuesday for Top Ten Tuesday. The number one reason was that I was lazy. The number two reason was that I was supposed to post about the top ten debuts I'm looking forward to in 2016. Problem is, most of the books I am looking forward to aren't debuts. And all of the debuts I would probably look forward to, I've already read. It's a bit of the downside of being a book-blogger.
Now, I'm sure you're all wondering what my "important announcement" is. Some of you probably think it's that I'm changing my blog title. I still don't know if I will change the title. The poll is still open, but if you'd rather, you could just comment "yes" or "no" to demonstrate your opinion on the matter. But anyway. On with my announcement. I have participated in the "Stacking the Shelves" meme for a weekly haul of books I've received, bought, or borrowed, but that isn't quite working. Since I live in Africa for the time being, I do not have access to a lot of books to buy, nor is there a way for me to earn money. So I'm not going to do a weekly haul. Instead, I'm going to make a list, through-out the month, of the books I get and then, once a month, haul them. This will work much better to suit my needs. I might create a meme for this so others can join me, but I'm not sure. I'm often unpredictable time-wise and sometimes am without Internet for long amounts of time, so I'm not sure how it would work out. BUT I will keep the idea under consideration. I will also be trying to do a weekly wrap-up, reporting the books I've read each week. I thought about also making this one monthly, but decided against it, because I read a lot, and that would take up a lot of time I don't have.
I will also be trying to do a monthly TBR. For those of you who don't know, TBR means "to be read" When I say I'm going to do a monthly TBR, I'm saying that each month I'm going to say "these are the books I want to read this month" and then I'll try to read them in that month.

DISCUSSION -
What do you think of these new changes? Good? Bad? Also, please pitch in your thoughts on whether or not I should change my blog title to "Ryebrynn's Random Reads". Thank you!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Ahem. I have an announcement.

This is all very important. Please pay close attention. I have hugehuge news.
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MY FAVORITE BLOG OF ALL TIME HAS TURNED ONE(sort of?). Let me take a moment here to explain exactly why it is my favorite blog of all time. And because Cait loves lists, I shall do this with a list.


  • Cait is our future ruler. We are her minions. 
  • Cait has an amazing sense of humor.
  • Cait is amazingly talented.
  • Cait is one of the best writers in this world.
  • Cait is an amazing, precious person who has a lot of pineapple fans.
  • Cait is very similar to me and reading her blog has given me a huge TBR because a lot of time my opinions on certain books are a lot like hers (Her review of Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas is my exact thoughts on the matter.
These are some of MANY MANY MANY reasons I love Paper Fury(and, of course, Cait!) That blog has blessed me sososo much. And, by the way, Cait is also giving away things! So run over there and check it out.

http://paperfury.com/1-year-of-being-paper-fury/

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Darkness Reigns by Jill Williamson


Part 1 of Jill Williamson's Epic Fantasy Series The Kinsman Chronicles 
The god of the soil is furious. Volcanic eruptions, sinkholes, earthquakes--everything points to his unhappiness. At least this is what the people of Armania in the Five Realms believe.

Amidst the unsettling state of the world around them, the princes of Armania live their lives focused more on who will claim the throne after their sickly father, King Echad, dies. That is until Prince Wilek's concubine turns up dead--beside her, a bloodied message that seems to have come from the mother realms.
Darkness Reigns is collected together with parts 2 and 3 in King's Folly.

I really enjoyed this book. My absolute favorite thing about it was the writing. Jill is just such a talented writer! You can tell by reading her books. She has that sort of writing that makes you warm and fuzzy and feel at home. My next favorite thing was her worldbuilding! This world she writes is such a complex and wonderful world, full of complex and wonderful characters. Which, of course, brings us to my next favorite thing. I loved Jill's characters. In the mere one-fifty pages of this book, I grew so attached to every one of her characters. And the best part? This book has a ton of POVs. But I didn't get confused. This was probably the first book I've read with tons of POVs that DIDN'T confuse me. And as a reader, that was a HUGE thing for me. All of the characters were well-developed and easy to get attached to. (and I get the feeling that one of them will break my heart)
Also, my ship! I won't tell you who I ship, as they get affectionate late in the book, but OH MY GOODNESS. It is perfection. I lovedlovedloved the romance in this book! I'm going to use the end of Jill's From Darkness Won as an example here. At the end of that, I know we all felt the romance. It was very heavy on the story. But in this book? NONE of that heaviness! The romance was perfectly crafted and the two characters absolutely suited for each other.

FOR THE PARENTS -
I'm fairly certain this book is for older teens and adults, so there is a bit more content. One of the POV characters has a concubine, as do almost all of the male characters in this story. Jill did it quite well, though, showing the reality of the world but also not going into a ton of detail about it. They are some mild innuendos and someone tries to “claim” a POV character as his mistress. Over all, though, I think the content made the world feel more real, not like other stories where it's put in as a filler or a ploy to keep someone reading. No cussing, mild violence.

P.S. This book is FREE in ebook form!