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mandikaye

Mandi Kaye @ Never Too Fond of Books

Louisa May Alcott may as well have been writing about me when she wrote "She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain!" But I am a staunch believer that there is no such thing.

Vicious

Vicious - Victoria Schwab

V.E. Schwab (otherwise known as Victoria Schwab) is an evil genius.

 

When I saw the cover of Vicious, I knew I had to read it. I didn’t even know what it was about yet. The beautiful colors and comic-esque style of the rendered art combined with the one word title just called to me.

 

When I found out it was about villains – I was completely sold.

 

Then I went to see her do a reading of the book and discovered that I was grossly oversimplifying the subject matter. It’s not just about villains. It’s about ethics and morality and the choices that we make. It gets deep y’all.

 

Eli calls himself a hero, therefore Victor must necessarily be the anti-hero (i.e. the villain) because his purpose is to stop Eli.

 

See how that works? It’s fascinating. What do words mean when you take their meaning away? At the reading, Victoria said this was an idea she wanted to explore while she was writing the book but I didn’t fully understand it until I read the book.

 

She writes sociopaths frighteningly well.

 

And in the end, I think she accomplished exactly what she set out to do. She wrote a book about people with super powers, rather than superheroes. She created a completely new universe out there with rules that defy physics (as most super powers do) and made me believe that it was all entirely possible.

 

If you’re a fan of Marvel, of DC, of Dark Horse, or any of the comic book universes out there then this is absolutely a book you should read. If comics aren’t your thing, but you’re interested in reading a story about best friends who become mortal enemies then this one will fit the bill. Because the point of this story isn’t the super powers – no, the point of this story is what Eli and Victor do with their powers. It’s how they live and the choices that they make.

 

And it’s vicious.

Source: http://www.mandikayereads.com/vicious-v-e-schwab-review

Freak of Nature

Freak of Nature - Julia Crane

A few months ago, I reviewed Mila 2.0.

 

In that review, I lamented:

 

"Mila’s character is just so… unrealistic. The dichotomy of her very essence just didn’t work for me. Part android and part human?"

 

Freak of Nature by Julia Crane is about Kaitlyn – a girl who donates her body to science when she dies and wakes up one day to find that she is now part robot.

 

But this time? This time it worked for me.

 

It wasn’t perfect. We were dropped into the middle of the story, so some character development and relationships felt rushed (Kaitlyn and Lucas’ relationship felt like insta-love but it wasn’t because they had history before the book began).

 

The climax of the book ended up being a let down to me. It was too easy! Harrington was built up to be an almost-villain and then suddenly he’s this almost-father figure to Kaitlyn? Something didn’t sit right with me about that (if you read it – and you SHOULD) you’ll understand what I mean.

 

Overall, I enjoyed it. I’m curious to see where the series will go as the book works quite well as a standalone novel.

Source: http://www.mandikayereads.com/freak-nature-julia-crane-ifics-1-review

By the Numbers: An Analysis of the Reviews Deleted in the Goodreads Policy Change.

Reblogged from Great Imaginations:

Ceridwen analyzes data from 12 of the 21 reviewers who had content deleted in the Goodreads policy change.

[REBLOG] How to get a profile – with a pretty link in your menu and everything.

Reblogged from Lisa (Fic Talk):

This is what you'll get:

 

 

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read more »

Character Interview: Sadie Matthau from The Survivors Series by Amanda Havard

I recently had the amazing fortune to interview and chat with Sadie Matthau.

 

If you’re not familiar with Sadie, she’s the main character of The Survivors Series written by Amanda Havard. When I read the books (there are three out so far), I found myself so drawn to her that for the first time I wanted to do an interview with a character. I wanted to know more about her, to understand how she thinks, and why she made the choices that she did.

 

I approached Amanda on Twitter to find out if the interview would be possible, and it was! I sent my questions over for Sadie to answer, and Sadie surprised me by suggesting a chat instead – so that we could interact and have a dialogue. All that chatty goodness is posted below for your reading pleasure. Sadie was delightful to speak to and much more approachable than I expected – though I was SO NERVOUS to talk to her. I hope that you guys enjoy reading it – and learning more about Sadie – as much as I enjoyed talking to her!

 

Please, click through to read the chat/interview!

Source: http://www.mandikayereads.com/character-interview-sadie-matthau-survivors-series-amanda-havard

The Bookstore

The Bookstore - Deborah Meyler

This book was not at all what I was expecting. I was expecting some sort of chick lit or romance novel. Instead, I got a kind of heavy literary fiction novel that broke my heart.

 

And I loved every page of it.

 

I don't often read real fiction. Yes, I understand that was an oxymoron - but typically I read fiction of the paranormal variety. Supernatural or mystical books that have no basis in reality.

 

The Bookstore was real. Esme's story was harsh and breathtaking and beautiful.

 

Her boyfriend Mitchell was the douche-baggiest of assholes (don't worry, though, I promise).

 

And The Owl? I wish it really existed! I would live there forever.This story really had no beginning and no end. It was a snapshot of a period of time in Esme's life.

 

And it was... beautiful.

Source: http://www.mandikayereads.com/bookstore-deborah-meyler
SPOILER ALERT!

When the World Was Flat (and We Were In Love)

When the World Was Flat (and we were in love) - Ingrid Jonach

I really really dislike how this book ended.

 

And I mean really. And that means this review is going to have spoilers. When I rant, I spoil. Sorry!

 

This book had so much potential. The story, while not wholly unique, was refreshing when it seems that every other book out there is about vampires (while I don't dislike vampire stories, I do like other things thrown into the mix!).

 

But the execution? The execution was very poor.The love story portion of the book is similar to that of The Immortals series by Alyson Noel. It spans centuries and multiple lives. The Lillie that we know and love is not the first Lillie that Tom has fallen in love with.

 

It's also similar to Twilight (but then, what isn't these days?) in that Tom tries so very hard to stay away from Lillie. But they keep being drawn together. Even when he's rude to her. He's forced to save her life (not from an a van skidding on ice, but from a train that hits the car she's a passenger in when her friend decides to play chicken). Okay - so maybe he doesn't save her life so much as pummel the "friend" for putting her in danger.

 

And the entire book - after he shares the secret and they end up together - he spends it dedicated to not giving in to the call of the secret - to not taking life (I know that doesn't make sense - but I am trying not to be too spoilery here. Some people will think that this was a brilliant book).

 

But in the end? He makes the easy decision for love.

 

And they all lived happily ever after.

 

EXCEPT THEY SHOULDN'T.

 

I wanted to throw the book - except I was reading on my iPad, so I couldn't.

 

I was so angry at the way he chose the easy out after preaching against it the entire book. And for what? So he could have love?

 

I'm not even convinced he got love!

 

Think about it this way - who did Rose Tyler end up with? Did she end up the Doctor? She ended up with a Doctor yes - but not her Doctor. And the choice that Tom made at the end of the book ensured that Lillie ended up with a Tom - but not her Tom.

 

But that's not even the worst part! The worst part is that Tom didn't even have a guarantee that his choice would end up the way it did. It could have ended up as murder instead of suicide (because, let's be honest - that's what it was). And after spending the book swearing he wouldn't murder - to give in the way that he did, as quickly as he did, it just didn't make sense and it was too easy and was just a quick way to get to HEA.

 

And I didn't like it one bit.

Source: http://www.mandikayereads.com/world-flat-love-ingrid-jonach

Waking Up Married

Waking Up Married - Mira Lyn Kelly

I keep flip-flopping about how I feel about this book.

 

It’s almost the perfect fairy-tale romance. Except when it’s not.

 

And it’s that section when it’s not that keeps driving me crazy!

 

I just want to reach into the pages and slap Connor silly.

 

But when it is – oh it really is. Connor is the perfect man. He doesn’t get mad or annoyed at trivial things. He takes his vows and commitments very seriously. Family is important to him. And while I don’t think money should factor into a relationship, he just happens to be successful enough that his wife can choose whether or not to work or stay home with the children - and he’s perfectly happy to let her make her own choice. He compromises. He’s reasonable and rational.

 

The only things he’s not – is in love.

 

He wants all of the trappings of a committed marriage without the distractions of emotional love. And that’s the arrangement that Megan and Connor have made with one another.

 

Except… it kind of looks like the perfect romantic relationship from the outside looking in.

 

And sure enough… those pesky emotions start to rear up and cause trouble.

 

But I’m going to forgive him for the parts where he drove me crazy and did bad things. Because when you look at the big picture, you do get an almost perfect fairy tale romance.

 

And after all, isn’t that what we want when we read a good bad romance novel?

Source: http://www.mandikayereads.com/waking-married-mira-lyn-kelly
Twigs - Alison Ashley Formento If you like soap operas, you will love this book.Holy hell.Honestly, I should have been prepared for what I was getting into based on the publisher's blurb - but it was almost as bad (or good, if you like that kind of thing) as a tele-novella.Like whoa.THE DRAMA. OH MY GOD THE DRAMA.I'm 99% sure it is statistically impossible for one person to endure the level of sheer drama that Madeline "Twigs" Henry went through over the course of this book. If it wasn't so sad it would have been laughable!To recap... You will love this book if:-you ride the drama llama to work each day-someone has ever thrown hair dye at you-you too are stuck with an unfortunate nickname you're desperate to be rid of-you are vertically challenged and want to read about the lives of others just like yourselfOtherwise... you might want to skip this one.

Curse of the Broomstaff

Curse of the Broomstaff - Tyler Whitesides

My attention is starting to wane with this series.

 

That’s disappointing because I was really looking forward to finding a really good Middle Grade series.

 

In this installment, Spencer has been reunited with his dad – but something is off. Spencer is frustrated and his attitude frequently shows. Daisy is more and more nonsensical. Rather than growing up, she seems to be regressing.

 

These kids are in elementary school – it’s not quite time for the angsty teen years!

 

We got to take a trip to an enchanted landfill and finally meet the 13 Aurans. They were not what I expected. I don’t like most of them.

 

The Rebel Janitors are really no closer to stopping the BEM than they were before this book. I just can’t really see what the point of this book was – it didn’t do a lot to further the story. Unless it was just needed to introduce a lot of characters. But that’s kind of a waste of a whole book, if you ask me.

Source: http://www.mandikayereads.com/curse-of-the-broomstaff-by-tyler-whitesides-janitors-3-review

Just One Day

Just One Day - Gayle Forman

I went to the library this past Friday to pick up two very specific graphic novels. But when I saw Just One Day on the shelf, I knew I had to read it. There’s been a lot of hype surrounding the book, and I thought it was high time I found out why.

 

And now I completely understand.

 

Note: This will be one of my more spoilery reviews, though I don’t give away anything from the main part of the story. I am re-telling a portion of the beginning only.

 

Allyson Healey has always set out on the path that was laid in front of her. And when that path was chosen at a young age, it can be very hard to distinguish who set the course of the path. Are these Allyson’s hopes, dreams, and goals? Or are they her parents? Allyson has never questioned these things before – until a single day in Paris changes her life.

 

After she graduates high school, her parents send her on a tour of Europe with her best friend. Everything is planned and chaperoned, but Allyson never strays from the itinerary to join her friend Melanie and the others in the evenings while they party where the legal drinking age is only 18. Allyson is too reliable for that.

 

Then she meets Willem.Willem is an actor in a traveling troupe called Guerrilla Will – a group that performs Shakespeare on the streets (without permits) so that anyone and everyone can see them. And something about Willem – his voice or his eyes – causes Allyson to make her first adventurous decision on the trip. She and Melanie ditch the pre-planned showing of Hamlet with the group and watch Willem’s troupe perform Twelfth Night. It is unlike anything Allyson has seen before. She knows she caught his attention – he tossed a prop coin to her during the show – but afterwards, he disappeared.

 

Allyson and Melanie are scheduled to leave for London the next morning to spend their last few days in Europe with Mel’s family. But Allyson finds Willem on the train.

 

And Lulu is born (Willem thinks Allyson looks like Louise Brooks, so rather than ask her for her name, he calls her Lulu, short for Louise).

 

Willem discovers that Lulu didn’t get a chance to go to Paris on her trip, and he offers to take her for a single day. Something about being given a different persona causes Allyson to jump at the chance, something she would ordinarily never do. She begs Melanie to cover for her for the day and she goes with Willem.

 

For Just One Day.

 

I won’t tell you what happened that day. Or the year that followed it. But I will tell you that a single day altered the trajectory of Allyson’s life. It made her find herself – her true self.

 

It’s an emotional journey many of us find ourselves on. Which path do we take? Is this course mine or am I just trying to please someone else?It’s not easy. But it is definitely worth it.

 

Allyson’s journey was heartbreaking and beautiful and honestly, I didn’t want it to end. I could see myself in her.

 

"But still, that whole day, being with Willem, being Lulu, it made me realize that all my life I’ve been living in a small, square room, with no windows and no doors. And I was fine. I was happy, even. I thought. Then someone came along and showed me there was a door in the room. One that I’d never even seen before. Then he opened it for me. Held my hand as I walked through it. And for one perfect day, I was on the other side. I was somewhere else. Someone else."

 

That’s a revelation that everyone should have at some point. And then they need to find a way to keep that door open.

 

Just One Day by Gayle Forman has skyrocketed to the top of my favorites list. I can’t wait to read the sequel, Just One Year.

Source: http://www.mandikayereads.com/just-one-day-by-gayle-forman
Jennifer's Journal #1: Snatched by the Greys - Alexandrinha Abbott Read for #boutofbooks #GLA

The Lies We Tell

The Lies We Tell - Elizabeth Dunk

At it's core, The Lies We Tell is your run of the mill New Adult romance.

 

It starts with some drama [Todd hates Sia because he believes she caused his father's death].

 

There is inevitable chemistry [Todd flirts with Sia before he realizes who she is].

 

The initial drama is resolved, thereby creating even more drama [the chemistry is too much to stand and Todd finally realizes it wasn't Sia's fault. Sexy times ensue].

 

And there are of course the sub-plots of Sia's abusive father and the mystery surrounding the real cause of death of Todd's father [I did mention drama].

 

But a full star was added to the rating because of the way Sia and Todd's sexual relationship was handled. Sia was no meek and demure virgin. She knew what she wanted and she wasn't afraid to tell her partner.

 

"Some things you should know about me," she said, running her hand up and down Todd's erection. His eyes widened, his nostrils flared, the muscles of his thighs under hers contracted. "I love to give and receive head. A little bit of bondage and smacking goes a long way and I get really turned on by sex with a possibility of someone walking in on it."

 

And no - this wasn't erotica or BDSM themed. This was an NA novel about a normal couple with a normal sex life. It was so refreshing to read about a couple that's frisky and a bit kinky and feels no shame in enjoying their sexuality within the context of a healthy relationship. I don’t know why that doesn’t happen more often.

 

Because of that, I will definitely be on the look out for the next book by Elizabeth Dunk.

Source: http://www.mandikayereads.com/the-lies-we-tell-by-elizabeth-dunk-review

Tampa

Tampa - Alissa Nutting Rating/Review still to come. I must think on this one.

Bachelor's Special

Bachelor's Special (Entangled Indulgence) - Christine Warner

This was, overall, a fun romance to read.

 

Jill and Chet meet and have an instant connection. Sparks fly and kissing among total strangers occurs.

 

It costs Jill her job.

 

A year later, they meet again on a “blind date” – except Jill knows who he is going into it. Chet figures out who she is pretty quickly.

 

The same chemistry as before hits them and… through circumstances, Jill agrees to live with Chet for 8 weeks as his live in chef and personal caterer.

 

I found myself drawing parallels between this book and Runaway Groom by Sally Clements. Both are essentially stories where the main characters end up living together instantly and cultivating a relationship with one another.

 

But this one had some very  funny one-liners.

 

It was frustrating, though, to watch them tip-toe around one another. They had great sex and then – whoops! Can’t talk to each other! Oh, Jill wants a baby? One day in the future? Nope! Can’t talk anymore! These two lived together but it was like pulling teeth to get them to talk. Or do anything really, except kiss. I just wanted to shake them!

 

In the end, it was a fun, entertaining, light romantic read. And it gets bonus points because it will make you laugh.

Source: http://www.mandikayereads.com/bachelors-special-by-christine-warner-review-clp-blog-tour-stop
The Twins - Saskia Sarginson Reviewed at http://www.mandikayereads.com/the-twins-by-saskia-sarginson-review/ (8/19/13)I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting from this book, but I do know that what I got wasn't it.This is a book that must be read from start to finish to get the whole story. It's not told in a linear fashion, but in a series of flashbacks from the POV of both Viola and Isolte. It was jarring, at first, to experience the change in perspective. The book opens from Isolte's POV, told in 3rd person. It switches to Viola's, told in 1st person. And the switch in POV is the only distinguishing factor in who is talking. I had to reread a few passages the first time it happened!And though they are twins, Isolte doesn't know the whole story from when they were children. Most of that story - but not all - is told to us by Viola. And Isolte hides part of the unfolding story from Viola now that they are adults. It's understandable. Viola is sick and Isolte only wants to protect her. But it seems the only person who knows the whole story is the reader.What a heady place.The only problem (in the way that's not really a problem at all) is that it's told to us in bits and pieces and back and forth that it must be pieced together like a puzzle without a picture. Once the puzzle was solved, it became a beautiful story of loss, grief, and tragedy. A picture was painted that shared the consequences of tragedy and how lives that should be shared can diverge as a result.I found myself thinking of Audrey Niffenegger's Her Fearful Symmetry while reading it. It had the same kind of flow (not to mention similar setting - and the obvious twins).This is definitely not my normal fare - but I definitely enjoyed it.