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Sunday, January 3, 2016

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.~Goodreads

I had heard so many good things about this book that I just couldn't wait to read it. Unfortunately for me, I had listened to all the hype and was expecting some miraculous. That would change my life forever. Meh. Not so much. I realize I am in the minority since I didn't fall in love with this book. But, we started this blog with the intentions of always being honest and I intend to do just that.  To be totally honest, I couldn't even finish the book. This is saying something as I am one of those people who will slog through a book no matter how terrible it is, in the hopes that it will improve.  I didn't care about the characters, it was all just too whiny and "poor, poor Jude" the whole time. I get that Jude had a terrible past but maybe if there was more attention to the other characters, I would have liked it more. It just depressed me and left me with no interest in continuing reading. I can't give it any stars as I didn't finish but I will say 2/5 for the half I did manage to read.

As I said, this is my own opinion and the vast majority of people who read it, loved it. Read some of the other reviews on Goodreads and if you read it (or have already read it), drop me a note here in the comments and let me know what you thought of it. I'm fine with dissenting opinions, just please no hate mail.lol~Laurie

Saturday, January 2, 2016

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The 5th Wave series by Rick Yancey

I'm doing something a little different in this post. I just recently read the first two books in The 5th Wave series by Rick Yancey.  I thought rather than make two separate posts, I would just combine the two. Let me know what you think of this or would you rather I keep the books in a separate post next time I do a series review.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother--or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.~Goodreads

Let me start by saying, I had a hard time getting into this book. It started out kind of slow. Give it a chance. Once you get past the first chapter or so (basically once they leave civilazation), the story really picks up.  

Okay, so on to the review. Aliens have landed on Earth. At first everyone is still pretty optimistic. Maybe the aliens are good aliens like in Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind. Yeah, not so much. Rather than me rewrite it, let me quote the blurb here again, "After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one."  The 1st wave- all energy sources no longer work. The 2nd wave- A massive tsunami that wipes out all the coastal cities/towns in the world. The 3rd wave- A plague that wipes out most of the people left. Made worse because it's spread by birds. The 4th Wave- A group of aliens called "Silencers". The Silencers job is to kill anyone who is human. You can't tell them apart from a normal human, that's where the "Trust No One" comes from.  I'm not going to tell you what the 5th wave is. You're really going to have to read it to find out about that wave. If I told you it, it would be giving away too much.

The main characters are a girl named Cassie, her crush Ben, her little brother Sammy, and a gorgeous guy she meets named Evan. Most of the book is spent looking for her brother once he is taken from her (are they good guys or the Others that took him?!?!). Just as she's about to give up, she meets Evan who gives her hope for the future (but how has he survived so long by himself? Is he a good guy? Can she trust him?). There is so much action in this book, it really keeps you attention. And the question of who is good and can be trusted is always there making you second guess everything you thought you knew about the characters. 

This book was AWESOME. I didn't put it down for about 3 days. It was one of those books you think about when everyday life is getting in the way of your reading it. I honestly couldn't wait to pick it back up and even had dreams about it. I give this book 4.5/5 stars (the half is because of the first chapter or so).~ Laurie

How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

Wow. I thought there was a lot of action in the first book in this series. Man, was I ever wrong. This book starts off running and rarely slows down. 

We've got more characters in this book. Well, most were introduced towards the end of the first book but they really develop more and we learn their back stories in this book. Great, we learn more about the characters, therefore we grow to care about them (Which always sucks in distopian books. It's never a good sign when you start to love one of the characters). Thankfully, Cassie and Sam are back together but things are not the same between them. So much has happened to each of them, they're not the same people. Ben is with them also. Does she act on her crush on Ben or does she follow her heart and wait for Evan? Can she trust either of them? 

This book is mostly the group of survivors against the Others. With only a few guns and their wits to fight the Others. How can the survivors continue to survive? Did Evan survive the fight at the end of The 5th Wave?  I loved this book and give it 5/5 stars.~Laurie

I totally reccommend both of the current books in this series. There is another book in the series, The Last Star, it has a  release date of May 24, 2016.  I cannot wait for it!

The Haunting of Blackwood House by Darcy Coates

Could you survive a week in a haunted house? 
Mara is the daughter of spiritualists. Her childhood was filled with sĂ©ances, scam mediums and talk of ghostly presences. 
When Mara finally left her family’s home, she vowed she would never allow superstition or false religion into her life again. Now she’s ready to start over with her fiancĂ©, Neil, in a world based on rationality and facts. 

But her past isn’t ready to let her go just yet. 

Mara and Neil purchase Blackwood House, a derelict property outside of town. They’re warned about strange occurrences in the crumbling building. Doors open by themselves, voices whisper in the night, children’s handprints appear on the windows, and cold spots appear in the basement where the house’s original owner was murdered. But Blackwood was dirt-cheap and came with a large plot of overgrown land. Mara loves her new home, and disregards the warnings. Because ghosts aren’t real… 

…are they?~ Goodreads

Okay, y'all all know I love ghosty/haunted house books. I really, really wanted to love this one. Don't get me wrong, I didn't NOT like this book, I just think it could have been better.  The book started out pretty good.  Mara grew up in a Spiritualist household and has totally cut herself off from her family. I had a hard time with this. What exactly was so terrible about being Spiritualists that she refuses to talk to her parents?  Just because you don't like or agree with someones beliefs you cut them out completely? SMH...  Oh, and back when Mara was younger, she was told that she was a Medium and could see/hear spirits.  So anyway...on to the present day. Mara has to move out of her apartment so she is on the lookout for a new place to live. The realtor tells her she has a house in her price range but she really doesn't think she would want it (Red Flag #1 Mara! ).  They go to look at the house and even before she goes in, Mara knows this is THE HOUSE (When does that ever mean a good thing in a scary book!?).  Turns out...a serial killer killed like, a ton of people (okay maybe 8 or 9? But still!!) in the house.  Does this keep her from wanting the house? Nope (becuase people are usually idiots in these kinds of books. Seriously? Would you buy a house that a serial killer actually killed people in? Reminds me of the dumbasses who bought Fox Hollow Farm.).  So to skip over some things that happen, turns out, the house is haunted. The rest of the book deals with Mara and the hauntings,  Does she leave? Does she stay and try to contact the spirits since she was once told she was a medium? Who are the ghosts anyway? 

I'm not going to tell you any more about it since it would spoil the book for anyone who wants to read it. If you can suspend your belief enough, it's a quick, kind of enjoyable read. I give it 3/5 stars. ~ Laurie