31 March 2014

The Epic, Extravagant, (Evil), and Elastic Examination Day 25

A character who you can relate to the most

Oh, come on, really? I don't know...
I relate to Sarah Dessen's characters pretty well. I can't tell you which one I relate to the most or anything but each of them seems to have a piece of me in them. It's probably because they are for the most part ordinary girls. I love reading about them.
~ Kelsey

After the marks I've been getting back, I'm inclined to compare myself to Haymitch Abernathy. But, I won't just say that. SO my second answer is Anna from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.

27 March 2014

Review: The Redhead Plays Her Hand (Redhead #3)

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Alice Clayton
Format: eBook
Pages: 320
Rating: 7 out of 10 (I guess...)

**Spoiler Alert: this is the third in the series. Check out The Unidentified Redhead first**

Summary (Goodreads has a good hand): Grace has landed the lead in a new TV series—but when the director asks her to lose fifteen pounds, she goes public with her weight struggles and suddenly develops a huge fan club who support her right to have curves. But between that and the public’s continuing fascination with her “are they or aren’t they” relationship with Jack, Grace begins to wonder if anyone’s really interested in her because of her upcoming TV series, or if it’s all speculation about the size of her ass and her bedroom partner.

Meanwhile, Jack is voted the Sexiest Man Alive and becomes a little too enamored with the party-hard lifestyle. Grace vows to give him the space he needs to find himself, but then he begins to spiral down from lovable Brit to Hollywood brat. People are talking, but are Jack and Grace? Her career is on the rise, and his continues into the stratosphere, but will she be able to catch him if he falls? Will they ever be able to just be a couple who can hold hands when they walk down the street?

What I Think: This novel was a great wrap to this series. I especially love the ending and I'm not saying that sarcastic "because it ended" joke. I really did like how it ended. I guess that the reader comes to expect that they will get what they want but for most of this series, I wasn't sure. I mean I wasn't sure what I wanted. This novel makes you really hate what Hollywood does to people you love...I mean characters...fictional characters...I want a Jack. Have I mentioned that?

I've never read a series that focuses on famous characters so there were all kinds of interesting dynamics that I wasn't expecting. What Grace's producers try to get her to do made me feel sick as did what was going on with Jack (I must insert that I was smart enough to figure out the cause of Jack's problems from the moment they were introduced. Yay me!).

Basically: I really enjoyed this entire series. They are all out now so try to read them together for a better experience. It's cute and not too long. The last book is a bit more of an emotional ride so be prepared!

25 March 2014

Review: The Redhead Revealed (Redhead #2)

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Alice Clayton
Format: eBook
Pages: 228
Rating: 6 out of 10

**Possible Spoiler Alert. Read The Unidentified Redhead first**

Summary: As their careers catch fire, Grace and Jack -- everyone’s favorite foul-mouthed, funny, and feisty couple -- find themselves on opposite coasts. Grace has landed in New York City, where she loves being onstage again, particularly because she’s playing a fabulous character in a musical written by her old college flame, Michael. Their rekindled friendship makes exploring the city that much more fun. 

Wait, it’s just friendship, right?

Meanwhile, in L.A., Jack can scarcely keep up with the swirling throngs of women who track him everywhere he goes, the endless press appearances, and the ridiculous rules his manager, Holly, keeps concocting for him -- all part of the buildup to the release of Time, his steamy new film.

Thank goodness for phone sex.

But even when their schedules allow them to connect, Grace and Jack must keep their relationship off the radar and away from paparazzi cameras. Sure, the sex is sensational, but can this duo survive swirling rumors, the demands of their chosen professions, Grace’s raging internal battles, and a whopping nine-year age difference? 

Tick-tock, the clock is ticking. Isn’t it?

Alice Clayton brings the second installment of a tale told with her magical mix of humor and heat, so cuddle up under the sheets and flip on the Golden Girls. Grace and Jack are at it again.

My Quick Thoughts: This novel seemed like a little bit of filler. As I said in the review for The Unidentified Redhead (here), these novels could have been squished into two if not one much longer novel. I just feel like there was a lot more building action in this novel than action. Looking back, there was action, I guess. It just wasn't at all what I had expected. That being said, if you liked the first one and really wanted to know what happened, like I did, then you have to read this one before moving on to the third. It wasn't a horrible waste of time or anything it just didn't knock my socks off. Also, phone sex is awkward to read, I don't care what anybody else says about it. There was a lot of continued focus on problems that already existed in this relationship so I recommend that, if you can, you just read all the books back to back. That would make it easier to follow the thought process and story line. Do enjoy!!    

24 March 2014

Persistence of Vision

Persistence of VisionReviewer: Kristen 
Author: Liesel K. Hill
Pages: 386
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 10 out of 10

Summary (thanks Goodreads): In a world where collective hives are enslaving the population and individuals have been hunted to the verge of extinction, Maggie Harper, and independent 21st Century woman, must find the strength to preserve the freedom of the future, but without the aid of her memories.

After experiencing a traumatic time loss, Maggie is plagued by a barrage of images she can't explain. When she's attacked by a creep with a spider's web tattoo, she is saved by Marcus, a man she's never met, but somehow remembers. He tells her that both he and her creepy attacker are from a future in which individuals are being murdered by collectives, and Marcus is part of the rebellion. The collectives have acquired time travel and they plan to enslave the human race throughout all of history. The flashes Maggie has been seeing are echoes of lost memories, and the information buried deep within them is instrumental in defeating the collective hives.

In order to preserve the individuality of mankind, Maggie must try to re-discover stolen memories, re-kindle friendships she has no recollection of, and wade through her feelings for the mysterious Marcus, all while dodging the tattooed assassins the collectives keep sending her way.

If Maggie can't fill the holes in her memory and find the answers to stop the collectives, the world both in her time and in all ages past and future will be doomed to enslavement in the grey, mediocre collectives. As the danger swirls around her and the collectives close in, Maggie realizes she must make a choice: stand out or fade away...

---------------------- This book was sent to me by the author in exchange for a fair review. ---------------------- 

My Thoughts: Oh. My. God. Seriously though. I think it suffices to say that this is one of my new favourites. I loved Maggie. I loved Marcus... okay, I really loved Marcus. But more than that, I loved the premise of the novel. More often than not, when you're reading a story that deals with time travel it's easy to get confused. However, the writing ensures that you'd be hard pressed to get lost. Though written in third person, the story follows Maggie. She's a twenty something year old girl who luckily (or is she so lucky) to have the brain chemistry that the BCO is looking for. And thus begins this epic tale. So, the BCO travel back into the past because Maggie is essential for the prophecy. And so, Maggie quickly becomes part of the team. For a while. A year, to be exact. However, after a failed mission and some memory loss (I know, right?!) the BCO returns Maggie to her home"time". After being back, the BCO needs her again, and this is where the story really begins. Persistence of Vision throws a lot of information at you, but you never feel like you're drowning in it. It all seems crucial and essential to the story. There were points in the book where I laughed, where I wanted to scream, and where I wanted to hit my head against the wall a few times for not connecting dots sooner. This novel literally has everything that I look for in a book. Originality, romance, a fight for something better. This book completely captivated me, and it was all I could think about for days. Even after I finished the book, I would talk about it and try to figure out what happens next. Suffice to say, I'm eagerly awaiting the next one. 

On a kind of side note, this book would make an amazing movie. 

Final thoughts: I honestly believe that this could be the next big thing. You need to get your hands on this asap. You won't regret it for a second!

On a second kind of side note, thanks to Liesel K. Hill for sending me this book! 


Reviewer: Kelsey
Rating: 8 out of 10

Basically: I really like novels that make you question the world around you. So much could really be happening in the world that we don't know about. I love that. I don't know everything, obviously. I'm totally open to novels that question the world. This novel did. It also makes you think about the future and where we as a people are headed. I don't like where we are heading if this novel becomes reality.

I enjoyed the premise of this novel. I also loved the characters. I felt sooooooo bad for Maggie. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to be missing time or to have to learn all of this while everyone is acting weird around her. That said, I think Marcus has it so much worse. She can't remember him at all and that's totally unfair. 

Final Thoughts: I agree with Kristen. This book could be huge. You won't regret taking the time to read this novel!
Kristen is currently hoarding the second one so I'll have to steal it from her so I can find out what happens.

17 March 2014

The Epic, Extravagant, (Evil), and Elastic Examination Day 23

A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t

I really want to read Sherlock Holmes. I have the first volume and a few years ago I read about a chapter but I never got back into it. I'm hoping I will this year but it's big so we'll see.
~ Kelsey

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken.. But, by the time that this is posted I'll probably have read it because it's sitting on my shelf just  begging to be read. 
- Kristen 

14 March 2014

Review: The Unidentified Redhead (Readhead #1)

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Alice Clayton
Format: eBook
Pages: 276
Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary (from the identified Goodreads): When Grace Sheridan returns to Los Angeles to become a working actress, it’s a second shot at a life-long dream. With some help from her best-friend agent, will that dream become a reality—or at thirty-three, has Grace missed her chance at the big time? And when an unexpected sizzling romance with Jack Hamilton, the entertainment industry's newest “it” boy, threatens to shine an uncomfortable spotlight on her life, how will that affect her career…and his?

Funny, borderline neurotic Grace is perfect in her imperfections, and the sexual chemistry between her and charming yet blissfully unaware Jack is off the charts. With laugh-out-loud dialogue and a super-steamy romance that will get your heart racing, sneaking around in L.A. and dodging the paparazzi has never been so fun.

Unidentified Thoughts: My first thought that I need to share: I want a Jack.

This novel really gets right to the point. Right away we are thrown into Grace's life and the moments just before she meets Jack. Does this mean that she really didn't have a life before him? Not at all, we just skip the back story for the time being. It really shows up as important later but I'm glad the author worked it that way. Most of the time, I forget whatever back story we were given before it becomes important. That didn't happen in this novel. On the other hand, when the back story becomes important, it's a very big surprise. Suddenly, Grace is upset or angry and the reader needs to play a little bit of catch up. It wasn't annoying. This is just an observation after the fact.

I am in love with the sassy characters. Let's just ignore the fact that when Grace gets drunk (lightweight), she kind of turns into a hoe. We can also ignore the fact that Jack encourages said behavior during the course of the series. They are just the right amount of crazy for most of the novel. They even talk about how crazy they are but I don't think that Grace is actually as crazy as they talk about. What makes her crazy? Is it just that shes unique? I didn't really understand that. I thought for a while that it was just a joke pet name but I'm not sure that's what was meant [Please discuss]. They are the perfect balance of sarcastic and sassy. They even balance each other out maturity wise. 

And, yes, the romance parts were very...steamy. I really do not enjoy discussing this so we will just leave it at: there is a lot of sex. Yes, romance novel, sure but there is almost no plot. Can't we have our cake and eat it too? 

The writing is pretty good but the dialogue is better. The dialogue makes it worth the read. The author had this habit of repeating herself. The main character would internally ask something or say something then a character would say it out loud. This was annoying. I don't need to read the same line twice, once is sufficient. I got the point the first time. 

They really had a lot of names for each other. You need to pay a little bit of attention to be able to understand why they call each other so many things. It wasn't overly hard to follow and I thought that it was kind of cute. I was waiting for her to call him George during sex or something stupid like that. What's the point of giving him an easy to remember name (Jack) if you are going to give him another five nicknames?

Identified Thoughts: After reading the entire series, my only real issue with the series is that if some of the sex had been cut, the three books could have been shoved into one slightly longer novel. This knowledge sucks. They were fast reads though and it's just sassy and sarcastic enough to hold your interest. I would consider a reread. If you like romance novels than this is a good series for you, for sure.

11 March 2014

Review: The Wedding

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Format: eBook
Pages: 276
Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary (I'd marry Goodreads): After thirty years of marriage, Wilson Lewis, son-in-law of Allie and Noah Calhoun (of The Notebook), is forced to admit that the romance has gone out of his marriage. Desperate to win back his wife, Jane's, heart, he must figure out how to make her fall in love with him... again. Despite the shining example of Allie and Noah's marriage, Wilson is himself a man unable to easily express his emotions. A successful estate attorney, he has provided well for his family, but now, with his daughter's upcoming wedding, he is forced to face the fact that he and Jane have grown apart and he wonders if she even loves him anymore. Wilson is sure of one thing--his love for his wife has only deepened and intensified over the years. Now, with the memories of his in-laws' magnificent fifty-year love affair as his guide, Wilson struggles to find his way back into the heart of the woman he adores.

My Thoughts: This book gave me all kinds of happy feels. Well, the happy feels came after the angry "What are you doing, stupid?" feels. I really felt bad for the relationship that Wilson and Jane had. It definitely made me think. Mostly, it made me certain that I never want to have this problem with any future significant others. I don't want this struggle in my life ever.

When the book began I really had no idea where this book would be going. To be honest, I didn't read the blurb. I knew it was Nicholas Sparks and that was enough for me but that also meant that I didn't have the slightest clue what this novel was about. I was really starting blind. In this case, it wasn't a good thing to avoid the blurb. The beginning was rather slow. I stuck with it hoping it would get better. It really did once I figured out what was happening. I had to wade through a lot of back story first. It didn't help that not only did I not see the entire Notebook movie, I also had never read it. 

Once Wilson got into planning, I was right there with him. I started coming up with ideas. I really was frustrated that he was having such as hard time. I was impressed by the changed he did make in his life though. He made a lot of them. He really put everything he had into this. Many of the ideas I came up with to try and help him (yes, I know he's a fictional character) weren't used but I was super excited to see that some were. It's good to know that I can get into the head of an amazing writer. What was a surprise though is how everything fell together. The big surprises, for me at least, remained big surprises until revealed even if I did consider them as possibilities.

I loved the relationship that Noah and Wilson shared. They were so cute. Actually, all the characters and their relationships to one another were unique and interesting and entertaining. 

This book...I just really liked it alright? It was true to solid Nicholas Sparks form. I'm glad I took the risk of just getting it without asking any questions. Like I said, stick with it through the slow beginning because it gets better.

Footnote: I bought another Nicholas Sparks novel while on vacation. I now have two waiting for me and I'm very excited to read them.

Basically: This was a quick little piece of love. Reading this book made me very happy. I love Nicholas Sparks. If you love him too and you haven't read this novel then you should. It would be nice (though not important) to know The Notebook. 

Did you know?
The Wedding is a follow-up to The Notebook?
The Wedding was inspired by a few unnamed couples that Nicholas knows well?
The novel is set in the North Carolina town in which Nicholas now lives?

10 March 2014

The Epic, Extravagant, (Evil), and Elastic Examination Day 22

Favorite book you own

(Not favourite over all book) I would have to say that it is this super fancily bound copy of the Grimm Fairytales I bought in Florida last year. It's gorgeous. I love it. It may be the most beautiful book I've ever seen. I'm hoping to get the Hans Christian Anderson one this year!
~ Kelsey

Probably my copy of The Fault in our Stars because John Green signed it and that's super cool.
OR maybe I'll change my answer to any of the books that I have signed because signed books are super cool I want all of them.
- Kristen

8 March 2014

Review: My Parents are Sex Maniacs: A High School Horror Story

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Robyn Harding
Format: Paperback
Pages: 224
Rating: 6ish out of 10

Summary (I'm a Goodreads maniac): Louise Harrison's folks are destroying any chance she has of enjoying 11th grade...
Sixteen-year-old Louise Harrison is insecure about a lot of things: her hair, her fashion sense and her "big-boned" build. At least her social status is secure because her BFF (best friend forever), Sienna Marshall, is a certified member of the mega-watt crowd.
But all hell breaks loose when Louise's brother walks in on their father, Len, and her friend Sienna's mother, Sunny, in a flagrantly compromising position. Soon after, Len and Sunny move in together.
When Sunny decides to return home to her family, everyone lays blame for the entire fiasco on one guy, and Louise calls him dad. Louise instantly loses her BFF and is ostracized by the "it" girls at school. Just when it appears things couldn't get worse, Louise's mom announces she's pregnant-and the baby's father is Louise's math teacher
Wry and melodramatic, smart and spirited, Louise is a typical girl who just wants to fit in. This fun and upbeat novel will captivate readers as they enter Louise's wildly topsy-turvy world.
What I Think: First off, I might need to stop reading books about people younger than myself because I really don't care about 11th grades. I also imagine all the characters as being older than they are. I start making 15 year olds 20 and it really throws everything off when I do that. It's also fairly tiresome.
The novel was just alright. It was cheap so I guess that makes it worth the money and, I have to admit, it was good for a few laughs. I felt so bad for her brother when he walked in on...well...let's just say that kid is going to need therapy.  You know what though? It wasn't funny enough for a reread. 
The blurb is right, it is very melodramatic. I mean, the main character is very melodramatic. I wanted to punch her at times. It's proof that I'm getting old. 
Anyway, the writing was good enough. I mean, it was a pretty good plot and it was, as I mentioned, entertaining. I don't know. I just didn't really stand out. Also, my format was weird and the book was a stupid size and shape which already made me judge it a little bit. I almost want to say that it could have been longer. It's not that I really want it to be longer because I can't get enough. It's that it didn't really seem to build to an ending. It also covered a lot of time for how short it is. I'm starting to get used to novels that are 400 pages of just a weekend so 200 for a year or two seems a bit cramped. 
So: If it's only a $1 for you like it was for me than it's probably okay that you pick it up and consider reading it. $1 is a good price for an hour of entertainment and a few laughs. I'm not sure how much more it would be worth though. I will give it one thing though. This was a very unique concept and I doubt I'll find anything else like it. 

4 March 2014

Review: Be with Me (Wait for You #2)

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: J. Lynn (Jennifer L. Armentrout)
Format: eBook
Pages: 387
Rating: 9 out of 10

Summary (I think I owe Goodreads my soul): Teresa Hamilton is having a rough year—she’s in love with her big brother’s best friend, but he hasn’t spoken to her since they shared a truly amazing, mind-blowing, change-your-life kiss. She got out of a terrible relationship. And now an injury is threatening to end her dance career for good. It’s time for Plan B – college. And maybe a chance to convince Jase that what they have together is real.

Jase Winstead has a huge secret that he’s not telling anyone. Especially not his best friend’s incredibly beautiful sister. Even though he and Teresa shared the hottest kiss of his life, he knows that his responsibilities must take priority. He certainly doesn’t have time for a relationship. But it doesn’t help that all he can think about kissing the one girl who could ruin everything for him.

As they’re thrown together more and more, Jase and Tess can’t keep denying their feelings for each other. But a familiar danger looms and tragedy strikes. As the campus recovers, the star-crossed couple must decide what they’re willing to risk to be together, and what they’re willing to lose if they’re not…

Thoughts: See now, my real problem is that I don't take notes while I am reading something. I know that I had many things to say. I'm sure I would have complained about some random part of this book but right now all I can think about it that I really loved this novel. All I can think about is the fact that Jase is sassmaster and that he is hilarious. All I can think about it that the banter in this novel is wonderful. Right now, all I can think about are the plot twists that I should have seen coming but didn't because this novel was wonderfully written and I want to read it all over again.

Then again, Jase...really dude? Please, just make up your mind. I don't know how many times I've told you all that I hate when characters go back and forth. Either they should be together or they shouldn't be. I understand that there needs to be something to move the plot but I feel like in most cases, it could have been something else. If the author still wanted to make his apprehension a nice large plot piece, it could have been used in a different way. Maybe they wouldn't have been thrown together so quickly then. It would have been pretty great if Tess would have just decided she was tired of his shi...nanigans. She said she was but continued to let it happen. That just plain makes me sad. 

I feel like more could have been done with her being from an abusive relationship. It was important, yes, but it was almost secondary. It was only used as an experience through which she could relate to other characters when it really should have had more influence on how she acted, I feel. 

Final Thoughts: I really loved this novel and would totally reread it. I kept laughing at the quick wit and I'm sure Kristen was judging me but I know that she enjoyed it too. I think that if you've liked any of Jennifer Armentrout's novels, you'll like this one too. You should definitely give buying it some thought either way.

3 March 2014

The Epic, Extravagant, (Evil), and Elastic Examination Day 21

Favorite book from your childhood

Ummmm...actually liked in my youth, not like looking back, my favourite childhood book would have to be this big, pink, Disney princess fairytale book I had. It was so heavy but I loved it.
~ Kelsey

Probably anything written by Judy Blume. Are you there God? It's me Margaret stands out in my head. I also remember really enjoying Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech when I was in grade 6! 
- Kristen 
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