January 2017 Book Reviews

A goal this year is to only read about 12 books.  One book per month or around there.  I’ve really reduced it because I want to focus more on writing than reading.  I know I’ll probably end up reading more than 12 books but if I do, that’s okay.  I don’t want to stress out over trying to hit my numbers.  So far, I’ve read two books this month.  It wasn’t expected but once I learned Veronica Roth’s book, “Carve the Mark,” was out, I had to buy and read it.  Below are the reviews for the books I’ve read this month.

Behind Closed Doors
Author: B.A. Paris
Genre: Fiction, Psychological Thriller

behindcloseddoors_350This story is about a couple whom everyone thinks has the perfect relationship but deep down there are secrets.

Although the pacing is fast, the story starts out a bit slow.  There is a tenseness in the beginning especially when one of the supporting characters, Esther, questions their “perfect” marriage.

The characters were well developed and stayed true to themselves. The back stories to the main characters really helped in shaping them. The setting was clear and done well. The story line was interesting and kept me in suspense and intrigue, which was what kept me reading.

What bothered me most about the story was the protagonist and the main antagonist. Grace didn’t seem very smart or wise and Jack wasn’t as evil as he could be. I felt that Grace could have easily gotten away from Jack and even reported him but she let it go on for too long, doubting herself all the time, and not trusting her own intuition. She was so strong and determined at taking care of her little sister, I didn’t get why she suddenly gave in to Jack and put her sister on the sideline. As for Jack, I wanted him to be even more evil than he was but he seemed to also give in. There was no explanation why he gave in to Grace so much since his back story made him to be this person who enjoyed torture/pain, etc. If it was because he was afraid he’d get caught, then that fear should have somehow made it into the story or the back story.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. The suspense stretched out further than I had anticipated which almost led me to stop reading because it got to the point where I almost just didn’t care what happened (because as mentioned, Grace wasn’t very smart) but Esther got me hooked. She was the person who made the story interesting. I was annoyed by her at first but I was also curious as to why she was always prying. I was surprised by her at the end, and have to admit, I cried. She was amazing.

Carve the Mark
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Fiction, Sci-fi, Fantasy, Young Adult

carvethemark_350This story is about…I’m not even sure exactly what it’s about, to be honest, but I’ll do my best to describe it.  I believe it’s about two families who are enemies, where the evil family gains rulership and tortures the other family in hopes to continue ruling.

The story was interesting and the powers the characters had were unique. I liked the idea that it took place in outer space and other planets.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t as good as I had expected. It was pretty fast paced. Too many characters were introduced so I couldn’t feel for the main characters. Some characters were introduced and then only had small, almost irrelevant, parts. I tried to visualized the world they lived in and found it difficult because I felt as though there were pieces of Dune by Frank Herbert and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Every time I came across the word “Benesit, ” (the name/title of one of the families) I kept wanting to say “Bene Gesserit” from Dune.

As for the relationship between the two main characters, I felt very little for them. As mentioned, because it was so fast paced and so much information was being thrown in, I really couldn’t relate to the relationship or to their situation.

What was very obvious was the pain the protagonist felt and how she learned to deal with it. I think if the focus was solely on this as the story, how she was chosen to have this type of power that would cause herself pain, and how she learned to control or manage it, would have been a great story on its own.

I really wanted to like this story. I love sci-fi and fantasy combined and I love Veronica Roth’s style. The scenes merge seamlessly and the transition from first to third person was well done.  I’m just a bit bummed that there was so much thrown into it and it felt rushed.

My NaNoWriMo Status

I can’t believe I’ve written my novel every day since the first of this month.  It feels great.  My fingertips hurt from typing but just seeing how I’m getting so close to 50K words is exhilarating.  Honestly, I wouldn’t be writing this much and my story wouldn’t be flourishing right in front of me if I wasn’t held accountable like this.

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A couple favorite music I listen to while writing:

“At the Edge of the Cliff” by DreamScape

“Aitherios” by Axl Rosenberg [This one is my favorite because I love the transition starting from 1:45.] – I listen to it on repeat on soundcloud, here: https://soundcloud.com/axl-rosenberg-composer/aith-rios

*I’m not affiliated with these musicians nor am I promoting for them.  I really just love them ’cause they inspire me.

 

I’m In Love

This is a fine beauty.  I’ve heard that it’s hard to start using it.  I’d have to agree.  I had ideas for it while it was in transit, but now that it’s in my hands, I don’t know if I can do anything other than stare at it.

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Completed 100 Books in 2014

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This was beautiful to see.  I think I’m going to celebrate and rest this brain for a couple of days.  I’m kidding myself about that.  There’s no rest.  I’ve got 8 books waiting to be read yet.  I am glad to be done with this challenge though.  Now I can continue to read for pure enjoyment.  At the beginning of the challenge, I tried to tell myself that I was reading for enjoyment but as the year got closer to the end and I was behind (by about 16 books!), I felt the stress.  Took a break in July and August and that did it.  I quickly caught up though.

Not every book was chosen by me.  Some were recommendations and a couple were books the authors asked me to review.  Most books were researched by me via Goodreads.com, Amazon, and my local libraries.  Most the books were read on a Kindle my husband got me about three years ago.  Reading so many books makes it hard to remember what really happened in each book, especially that most the books are of the genre, Fantasy and Science Fiction, but there were a few that I truly fell in love with:

1. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon.  This is a post apocalyptic paranormal sci-fi that has what might be a romance blooming.  I loved it so much I actually started to re-read it a couple of months back.  I wanted to finish it again before getting the next book in the trilogy (or series).  I thought the next book was going to be released a couple of months back but it’s actually going to be released in January so I’ve stopped reading (I’m halfway) and will pick up again once it gets closer to the new release.

2. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.  This is one great sci-fi.  It’s set mostly in outer space.  I’m pretty sure all sci-fi fans have either read it or watched the movie.  They are both fabulous.

3. The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley.  The writing is beautiful and poetic.  It’s a paranormal historical romance that touched my heart.

Here’s the full list in photos.  If you want to read the author’s synopsis and see my reviews of the books, go here: Pretty Peony’s 100 Books Read in 2014.

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Nominated for Liebster Award

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I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Annabelle from The Parisian Ballad.  Thank you, Annabelle!  This is my first ever award so I’m nervous.  I believe there are rules and from my research, the rules don’t all align, so I guess it really doesn’t matter what the rules are as long as it’s close enough (?).  I’ve been blogging for a very long time but have changed my themes/topics/focuses throughout the years.  I actually have close to 300 followers (I know, not many but I’m happy to have some followers).  I think in general the goal is to pay it forward in support of other bloggers.  The rules are:

* Thank the person who gave you the Liebster Award nomination and link their blog to your post.

* Answer the questions they asked you.

* Nominate 11 bloggers for the award.  The bloggers must have 200 followers….or around there.
* Create 11 questions to ask your nominees.

* Let your nominees know you nominated them once you’ve posted about your Liebster Award.

* Add the Liebster Award badge to your blog!

Here are my answers to Annabelle’s questions:

1. Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging when I was in college…that was about 16 years ago and it just never stopped.  I started because I wanted to share my thoughts with like minded people.

2. What is your favorite fall trend?

Light sweaters and jeans.  I love brownish and orange-ish colors around this time too.

3. What is your dream job?

I’m living my dream job: stay-at-home-mom to 2 growing kids and part-time graphic designer and photographer hobbyist (sometimes I get paid to take photos).

4. What’s your guilty pleasure?

Brownies.  Homemade soft and chewy brownies if possible.

5. If you could be anyone for one day, who would it be?

God.  Just because I want to see what the whole universe looks like from his/her angle.

6. Who is your style icon?

I don’t have a style icon, but I do love looking at fashion magazines and wish I could dress like the models.

7. Who is your favorite fashion designer and why?

I don’t have a favorite fashion designer but I kinda like Anne Taylor’s fashion.  If I worked outside the home, I’d definitely dress in her clothing line.

8. If you had to pick one thing in your closet, what would it be?

A black dress I bought at Kohl’s.

9. What song makes you get up and dance anytime you hear it?

Right now, it’s “All About That Bass”

10. How would you describe your style?

Jeans and t-shirt most the time.  I like pretty flowery blouses sometimes.

11. One thing you couldn’t live without?

Books.

Here are the people I nominate: Whitefoot Blog, Art by Toast, She Wolf In The Kitchen, Bella Bargains Blog, Omonivous , Ram’s Photo Blog, Moontoe Gallery, A Young Foodie, Dance With Your Soul, Pristine Prowess, and Misteeq Minds

My questions to you:

1. When did you start blogging?

2. When was your last vacation?

3. What camera(s) do you own?

4. What’s your favorite food?

5. Who inspires you?

6. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

7. What is your favorite season?

8. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

9. What kind of music do you listen to?

10. If you could have one super power, what would it be?

11. What does love mean to you?