Wednesday, June 14, 2017

101 Things That Piss Me Off






Title: 101 Things That Piss Me Off
Author: Rachel Ballinger
3.5/5 stars

Why this book?: Let me just say, this normally isn’t the type of book I choose to read. I normally choose to curl up with a 500-page novel so that I can get lost in pages and pages of romance, adventure, and blah blah blah. The reason why I chose to read this book is simple. I have been spending the last 5 weeks in summer school reading, taking tests and reading some more. I wanted to take a break from it all but I didn’t want to commit to a 500-page story because frankly I don’t think my brain could handle it right now. That is when I saw that one of my favorite YouTubers came out with a book and I decided to try it out because it is exactly what I was looking for at the time. It is short, and I didn’t feel like I was committing to a long book.

Likes/Dislikes: I really enjoyed this book. It took me a little over an hour to read and it helped distract me from other things that I have going on right now. Now, if you haven’t taken the time to watch some of Rachel Ballinger’s YouTube videos then I suggest you do so before reading this book. Part of the reason why this book was so enjoyable is because I literally could hear Rachel’s voice as I was reading her book. It was almost like she was lying next to me in bed (is that weird?). This book is written in the form of what I would almost call journal entries or maybe even list form. Each entry is anywhere from 1/2 a page to 2 pages long. They are short, sweet, and (this next thing I mean as a compliment I swear) don’t require a lot of inept thinking. Like I mentioned earlier I didn’t want to commit to a long, complex story. I wanted something I could sit down with and just enjoy, and this book did exactly that.

Recommendation: I would recommend this book to anyone who has obviously seen some of her YouTube videos and who just needs a quick read. This book is funny and relatable in many ways. 

Dark Wine at Midnight






 Title: Dark Wine At Midnight
Author: Jenna Barwin
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Romance
3.5/5 Stars

Dark Wine At Midnight is first in the series of a brand new series that is written by Jenna Barwin. The second book is set to release in the winter of 2017/2018.

A no-spoilers quick summary: This book is set in the fictional small California community called Sierra Escondida. The community is inhabited and ran by vampires who are trying their best to blend into the mortal world around them. Their town structure/peace is disturbed however by the arrival of Dr. Cerissa Patel, a scientist with her own agenda. Dr. Patel soon gains the interest of Sierra Escondida founder Henry Bautista, who throughout the story becomes more entangled in Cerissa’s mission.

Favorite character: Normally I reserve my opinion of ‘best character’ for our hero or leading lady in the story, but this was not the case in this book. My favorite character in this book was by far Sierra Escondida’s police chief Tig Anderson. I found myself rooting for this character the entire book. I felt like 95% of the characters in this book had their own agenda, but Tig’s only agenda in this book was protecting the vampires and mortals of Sierra Escondida. Every choice she made and every thought she had was made with good intent. Tig was first introduced as a tough as nails cop, but as the story progressed (not to give too much away) I came to realize that she had so many layers going on and I found myself wanting to read more and more about her.
Overall likes/dislikes: Overall I really like this book. Something I really liked about it is that as readers we didn’t know everything 100% up front. I feel like with a lot of books, we as the reader know almost everything there is to know about our main character (Cerissa Patel in this case). Typically, the first 3 or 4 chapters go through everything that we need to know about our main character so that the reader is all caught up by the time the story starts to unfold. Dark Wine at Midnight didn’t offer its readers explanations at the beginning of the story and I loved that. Jenna Barwin kept me guessing until the last chapter, where I once again discovered something major about one of the main characters. Because of the choice to not divulge information all at once, I wasn’t able to determine how the story was going to end. Now it’s no surprise that I read a lot. I have gotten pretty good at predicting how a book is going to end. Now I don’t like to admit this, but Ms. Barwin managed to keep me in the dark for 95% of the book. Even when I finally fit together some pieces, I wasn’t able to solve the whole puzzle.

Something that I didn’t necessary dislike but made me stop and have to reread some parts of the book was the vampire politics. Ms. Barwin did a great job of creating this world and the people in it. In this world vampires are driven and live by their rules that committees and founders created so that they could all live peacefully. Vampire politics and laws drove a lot of what was going on within the story and sometimes I found myself getting a little confused so I would have to go back and reread certain parts of the books. Like I said it’s not necessarily a dislike, but more of a pre-disclosure to make sure you pay attention and don’t try to rush through those parts of the book.

I gave this book 3.5 stars. I took away some points only because for me personally the first book in a series usually underscores compared to the rest of the series. I enjoy reading books when I have personal interest in the characters, and this is why I like to read series.  It doesn’t matter what series you read, the first book is when you as the reader are still trying to develop some kind of connection with the character. Normally this connection doesn’t really develop until the middle of the first book, and that was the case with this series. Cerissa and Henry gave off a lot of potential right from the start, but it wasn’t until I was around half way done with the book that I felt myself become invested in their story and caring about what happened to them. I will say this though, now that I have that connection with these characters I can not wait to see what happens to them in book 2.


Recommendation: I would highly recommend this book for those who are fans of the True Blood series. This series held the same elements of romance, supernatural beings, and politics.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Title: Turbo Twenty-Three
Author: Janet Evanovich

Turbo Twenty-Three is part of the Stephanie Plum bounty hunter series. I have been a fan of this series for the past 5 years, but the series is much older than that.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the series let me give you a brief overview of what these books are about.  Stephanie Plum is a former underwear salesman who is desperately in need of a job. Her cousin Vinney is in need of a bounty hunter to help bring in people who have skipped bail. Stephanie, who is in no way qualified, takes the job. Each book follows her through her hilarious antics to bring in these criminals with her sidekick Lula (a former prostitute), her on-again and off-again boyfriend Joe Morelli, and Ranger (her mentor and occasional employer/bodyguard/love interest).

I have read a lot of different reviews over this series over the years, and the biggest complaint I have heard is that it seems like each book is just a copy of the previous one. Each book in the series has the same characters, similar plot lines, same jokes, etc. For me personally, this is one of the reasons why I like this series so much. I consider books in this series to be ‘easy reads’.  Sometimes I want to read books that I am familiar with. I know the characters. I know that there will be a happy ending. I know that Stephanie is going to be going back and forth between her love for Morelli and her lust for Ranger. I know that I am going to end up laughing out loud at some of Lula’s antics.

I find it comforting. It’s like coming home to old family and friends.

Overall I give this book 4/5 stars.  I always enjoy reading Stephanie Plum books because I find the characters so relatable. Stephanie doesn’t try to act all big and bad just because she is a bounty hunter. She admits to her faults and struggles with things that I feel like most females struggle with on a day to day basis. How is she going to pay her bills? Dealing with her mother and (hilarious) grandmother. Making sure she does her laundry and goes grocery shopping between catching the bad guys.

In this book Stephanie finds herself at the scene of the crime when a frozen man falls out of a dairy truck covered in chocolate and peanuts. Ranger has Stephanie go undercover at the ice-cream factory to see if she can get any clues about who would have wanted to hurt the frozen man. While working this job Stephanie has to deal with her grandma who is newly dating and Lula who is trying to make her own reality show “Naked and Afraid in Trenton”.

I really liked this book because we got to see a lot of Ranger in it; who is one of my favorite characters. The only downside is that we didn’t get to see a lot of Morelli. As always, Lula is her delightful self and is able to bring the comedy to normally very serious situations. The interactions between her and Randy Briggs while trying to film “Naked and Afraid” are hilarious and had me laughing out loud while reading at 2 o’clock in the morning.


I would recommend this book for anyone who normally likes to read mysteries/crime novels who isn’t afraid of a good laugh. This book has a little bit of everything for everyone. There is romance, comedy, crime, and mystery.