Jolene O. (esmestohelit) - - Reviews

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The Accidental Werewolf (Accidentals, Bk 1)
The Accidental Werewolf (Accidentals, Bk 1)
Author: Dakota Cassidy
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 247
Review Date: 2/13/2011
Helpful Score: 2


This was a cute book. It wasn't good enough (for me) to want to finish the series, but it didn't make you drag yourself through it


Adaptation
Adaptation
Author: Malinda Lo
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.1/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 3/25/2014


**I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

2.75 Stars

I really had a hard time deciding how to rate this book. For me, the quality of the story was all over the place. I would give the first third of the book 5 stars, the middle third 1.5 stars, and the last third somewhere between 2 and 3 stars.

This book has a lot going for it you don't (or I don't) see in a lot of YA titles. You have parents who are actively involved in the lives of their children, multiple prominent POC characters, and varying sexual orientations. The characters were well fleshed out and likable.

The first 33% or so, is a fast paced, thrilling ride. As the book starts, our lead characters, Reese and David, are about to fly home from a Debate event. Too bad they weren't on an earlier flight. All over North America flocks of birds are causing plane crashes. No one knows what is causing the flocks to fly into the planes. Soon the government steps in, and all flights are grounded. Reese convinces their teacher, Mr. Chapman, it'd be best to rent a car and drive home. This works out well for a little while, but due to a car jacking gone bad, Mr. Chapman ends up dead and Reese and David are left on their own. Luckily, or unluckily, they still have their car. At this point highways have been shut down and panic is starting to set in. While trying to find another route home, Reese and David are in a horrible car crash. Neither will wake up for close to month. When they do, they'll find themselves at a top secret government facility. They'll also find out that they're very different then they used to be.

Exciting, right? I wish I could say that about the whole book.

The middle of the book fell flat. All the excitement from the first part was put on a back shelf. This part mainly has to do with Reese readjusting to life at home. Along the way she'll notice a few weird things. Her scars are healing dramatically each day, until they are no longer there at all. She can feel what others are feeling when she makes physical contact with them. She'll meet Amber and realize you never know yourself as well as you think you do. And.....that's pretty much it.

We get back to the excitement in the third act. I can't really say much without giving away the ending, but I will say I enjoyed what happened here. It wasn't as good as the beginning of the book, but it was still satisfying.

I'm happy to say this book does tie up all the loose ends. It can be read as a stand alone, if like me, you decide not to continue with the series. Even though this book and I didn't mesh well, I did enjoy Lo's writing. I will definitely read more by her.


The After House
The After House
Author: Michael Phillip Cash
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.6/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 11/21/2014


**Thank you Netgalley and Chelshire for providing this in exchange for an honest review**

I wasted too much time reading this to spend anymore time on it with a proper review.

What I liked about it: The description before reading it.

What I disliked: Everything. Everything about it is flat and boring.


Agatha Raisin and the Wellspring of Death (Agatha Raisin, Bk 7)
Agatha Raisin and the Wellspring of Death (Agatha Raisin, Bk 7)
Author: M. C. Beaton
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 91
Review Date: 3/18/2011


I love cozies, but usually after book 5 or 6 in a series I get bored with it (really how many villagers can be killed off before everyone leaves?). That is not the case with the Agatha Raisin books. I love the characters, the village, and I haven't been able to guess the killer in any of the books. Every time I think I've figured it out there's a new twist. This title was a nice addition to the series. The only thing I didn't care for is how Agatha keeps letting Roy into her life. He is no friend I'd want to have.


The Americans
The Americans
Author: Chitra Viraraghavan
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 3/14/2015


**Thank you HarperCollins/Fourth Estate India and Edelweiss for providing this in exchange for and honest review**

3.5 Stars

Okay, so I'm not really sure how to review this book. Normally I'd start off with a book description involving the plot, then move on with my opinions of the story, setting, and characters.

This book doesn't have a single storyline. Its has many mini stories. I just barley hesitate to call it an anthology. If it wasn't for the fact that each POV is continuous through out the book, I'd say that's actually what this is.

The Americans is told from 12 different POVs. This book was entirely character driven. Thankfully Viraraghavan's character development was phenomenal. Each voice was unique and distinctive. Each POV was told in 10-20 page sections. I'll admit there was a time or two where I couldn't place a character at first. However just a sentence or two into the section I'd be able to remember everything about them. Not all the characters were likable, but they were very realistic. I felt like I was reading about real human beings.

Some of the setting were great, but others not so much. For this particular title, that didn't really bother me. The surroundings that were important to the story were strong. The settings that didn't need to be more then the equivalent of background noise were exactly that.

The only thing that really took away any enjoyment for the book was the vague endings. Most of the POVs ended with a unfinished feel to them.

I would definitely read more books by this author

One thing I want to mention is the Table of Contents list only 11 of the 12 characters in the story. My version is a ARC, so this might be something they change during the editing process.


As Red as Blood (The Snow White Trilogy)
As Red as Blood (The Snow White Trilogy)
Author: Salla Simukka
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 1.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 2/8/2015


Lumikki is a loner. She has built walls around herself as a form of survival. She was ruthlessly bullying during elementary/middle school years and couldn't even find solace at home. To her, home was just as bad but for different reasons. She knew her parents loved her, but always felt they kept her at arms length. Now she is living alone while she attends a prestigious art school. Here she has finally been able to find a place where she is truly happy, the school's dark room. She is one of the few students who uses the room. So imagine her surprise when she finds thousands of blood covered euros hanging up in the dark room. Once she finds out where the money came from, she wants nothing more then to forget she ever saw it. Unfortunately, life has other plans for her.

I feel like something must have been lost in the translation of this novel. I notice most of the reviews written in Finnish and/or Swedish are pretty high, while a good number written in English are kina low. Lumikki was a strong, likable character. I just couldn't believe her back-story. She is a 17 year old who has super ninja skills and spy skills the would put the FBI to shame. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. There was never any mention of training in her past, and only one incident of her standing up to her former bullies. There is mention of Lumikki working out in the gym, but do not try and tell me she learned everything she knows at Planet Fitness.

The villains in this are out right laughable. You have a Finnish Mafia that can be taken down by small group of teenagers. All the side characters were pretty flat, with the exception of Elisa. She didn't have a fully fleshed out feel to her, but she at least strong presence and had something about her to make you care. Elisa is the one who brings out the best elements of Lumikki's personality. I had a hard time connecting with Lumikki until she became entangled with Elisa. When you get down to the bare bones mystery, I liked it. Average people get in over their heads with a crime syndicate, one mistake/misunderstanding is made, big chain of events is set off, innocents are dragged in, people die. Its a story-line that's been used thousands of times, but its one that works. Kind of like a Choose Your Own Adventure. I fully believe you could give it to a hundred authors, and they's turn it into a hundred completely different books. Its the author's personal pixie dust they add that makes them so different. Simukka had all the elements for a unique, edge of your seat mystery. Sadly, the execution fell flat.

I would be willing to try another book by Simukka if it was translated by someone else. Even though I didn't like this particular book, I liked everything Simukka brought to the table. You have two female characters who could have carried the slacking parts of the story if the characters had been just a little bit stronger. There is a touch of fairy tale to it. The fairy tale connection wasn't very strong, or needed for the most part, but I still liked it. And even if it is over used, I still enjoy the story layout used.


Asian Pickles: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Cured, and Fermented Preserves from Korea, Japan, India, Indonesia, and Beyond
Review Date: 3/8/2015


**Thank you Ten Speed Press and Netgalley for providing this in exchange for an honest review**

This is an excellent book for a pickling novice. I had never pickled anything in my life, and I'm happy to say, the two recipes I've made so far have turned out great. I chose to try the Cucumber Arame Pickles and "Wasabi" Pickled Carrots. Both have very few ingredients and very short sit times. I planned on my first few attempts at pickling to be fails. I wanted to use recipes that would be easy to make a couple times until I got it right. They both came out great the first time.

Solomon writing is wonderful. So many cookbooks have that text book feel to them. Solomon's personality made this a joy to read. Her instructions are easy to follow and many of the ingredients she used can be found at your local grocery store. This book covers recipes from China, India, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia. Each selection starts with a introduction to the region's pickle basics and explains when and how to serve the dish. The end of the book provides a helpful glossary and measurement conversion chart.

My only real complaint is the lack of pictures. I would have liked to see a picture of each finished recipe. On average you get a picture every 2 to 3 recipes.


Bet Me
Bet Me
Author: Jennifer Crusie
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 879
Review Date: 2/13/2011


I really liked this book. Normally I don't touch Chick Lit, but this one was LOL funny all the way through


Betrayal (Immortal, Bk 2)
Betrayal (Immortal, Bk 2)
Author: Gillian Shields
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 11/5/2011


This book was a huge disappointment compared to Immortal. I expected this book to pick up where Immortal left off, and it kind of did, but not the way I expected. For the first 2/3s of this book, I felt like I was trapped in a bad YA romance. I ended up skimming through at least 200 pages and had no problems still knowing what was happening. The last 1/3 of the book was great and the reason I gave this book more then one star. Since the third book in the series strays away from this story, I'll give it a try at some point.


Bitter Spirits (Roaring Twenties, Bk 1)
Bitter Spirits (Roaring Twenties, Bk 1)
Author: Jenn Bennett
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 29
Review Date: 3/20/2014


So I discovered Bennett's Arcadia Bell series late last year. I read the first 3 books and the novella all in 3 days. I gave them all 5 stars. Can you imagine the fangirling I was doing when I saw this was coming out? The roaring twenties! Ghost! *Rushes to pre-order it* I could barely keep my SQUEEE below glass shattering. I started reading it the second it downloaded to my kindle. And returned it for a refund an hour later. After the love a felt for the author's fist series, I never thought I'd want to scream BURN IT WITH FIRE with this series. Now I'm a little leery about trying any new series by this author :(


Blameless (Parasol Protectorate, Bk 3)
Blameless (Parasol Protectorate, Bk 3)
Author: Gail Carriger
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 155
Review Date: 3/28/2011


Ladybugs, Pesto, and Biffy. What more could you ask for?
This is my favorite book in the series so far. It answered a few questions I've had since book one and has me asking a few more. The action starts right in the first few pages and never stops. We get to see a side of Miss Ivy I never thought existed. One thing I really liked about this book was the lack of romance. The romance was great in the first two books, but was not needed in this one. So many authors feel the need to put it in their books when it's not needed. I think this was more of a transition book to get us ready for Timeless more then anything. And to the authors credit, I've never enjoyed a transition book more.


Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls, Bk 1)
Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls, Bk 1)
Author: C. C. Hunter
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 40
Review Date: 9/4/2012


I don't even know what to say about this book. It's like Lifetime and Syfy had a love child. It has an infuriating instalove triangle, there's not much much of a plot, and there wasn't much background for any of the characters. But I loved every minute of it. I can easily see this being a guilty pleasure reread. One thing I really liked is Kylie didn't instantly forget her normal teenage problems even when she found out she was different. So many YA novels completely drop any normal issues once powers show up. It was a nice change of pace.

If you can, I highly recommend reading Turned at Dark. It's a short that goes with this series telling how Della became I vampire.


A Breath of Frost (Lovegrove Legacy, Bk 1)
A Breath of Frost (Lovegrove Legacy, Bk 1)
Author: Alyxandra Harvey
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 5/27/2015


I really should put off reviewing this until after I reread it, but I'm going through and doing reviews now and this one is next up on my list. Maybe I'll do a better review later, but for now, this'll have to do.

I borrowed this from the library last year and loved it enough to buy my own copy. I do believe this was my second favorite YA read of last year (the second book in this series was my favorite). The world building, characters, and magic system were all spot on. The story held my attention right from the get go. I devoured this 400 odd page book in less then a day. All three of the girls had distinct personalities that complimented each other. While Emma was the "main character" in this book, she wasn't a "Chosen One" cliche. The thing I loved the most about this story was the bond between Emma, Gretchen, and Penelope. So many YA titles, no matter the genre, are always pitting girls against each other. Even if a group of females are fighting for the same team, they're still fighting each other. Each of these girls are willing to admit another girl might be stronger then her in one way or another.

The second book in the series, Whisper the Dead, was even better then this title. Gretchen is the main focus in Whisper and I really look forward to spending more time with Penelope when the third title comes out


The Buried Life
The Buried Life
Author: C. L. Patel
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 2/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/21/2014


**Thank you Angry Robot and Netgalley for providing this in exchange for an honest review**

DNF @ 37%

Its not very often I rate a DNF above 1 Star. While this book isn't bad, its not holding my interest. I've been picking it up and putting it down for a month or so now. The mystery itself is ok, but I ordered this for the steampunk/gaslight aspect of it. Sadly, its doesn't have a strong enough presence. The mystery just isn't strong enough on its own to keep my attention.


Button Holed (Button Box, Bk 1)
Button Holed (Button Box, Bk 1)
Author: Kylie Logan
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 62
Review Date: 11/30/2011
Helpful Score: 1


A fun and cute first in series. I did find myself skimming the parts with Kaz in them though. I found him a unlikable and unbelievable character. If it wasn't for his parts, this would be a 4 star book.


A Cast-Off Coven (Witchcraft, Bk 2)
A Cast-Off Coven (Witchcraft, Bk 2)
Author: Juliet Blackwell
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 150
Review Date: 3/16/2011
Helpful Score: 3


Another great book in the Witchcraft Mystery series. I liked this one even better then the first and hate that I have to wait for the third to be published. Oscar has to be my favorite Familiar ever. I highly recommend this series to any magical/mystery lover!


Changeless (Parasol Protectorate, Bk 2)
Changeless (Parasol Protectorate, Bk 2)
Author: Gail Carriger
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 208
Review Date: 3/25/2011


To be honest, I was disappointed for the first 100 pages of this book. It just seemed to drag on and I didn't like how snotty Alexia was. She was always a little overbearing in the first book, she had a quirky and witty charm to her that balanced out her snark. She seemed to have none of this charm at the beginning of this book. However, after page 112 the book became great. The story finally picked up and the characters got their charm back. In the end I liked this book better the Soulless.


China Rich Girlfriend (Crazy Rich Asians, Bk 2)
China Rich Girlfriend (Crazy Rich Asians, Bk 2)
Author: Kevin Kwan
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 8/2/2015
Helpful Score: 1


There really are too many storylines for me to write a coherent description. When I requested this, I didn't realize it was a second in a series. If you haven't read Crazy Rich Asians yet, go and read it before starting this. If you don't you'll be completely lost. I went back and read CRA, loved it, and was very happy to already have this on hand.

China Rich Girlfriend picks up the stories right where CRA ends and introduces a few new characters. Kwan's writing style and characters are enjoyable. These books do technically have main characters, but most of the POVs get equal time. Kwan was able to make each characters distinctive and unique. In a book with so many characters, that had to have been quite a challenge. Do you watch K or J Dramas? If so, you'll be used to the over the top corniness and drama that unfolds in this book. I think that's why I loved it so much. This isn't my normal genre, but it sounded just like a K-Drama in book form, and it did not disappoint.

A few of the POVs were left with a unfinished feel to them, and that is what keeps me from giving this four stars. If a third book or novella comes out to tie up the few loose ends, I will definitely come back and up my rating for this title.


**Thank you Doubleday Books and Netgalley for providing this in exchange for an honest review**


The City
The City
Author: Dean Koontz
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 17
Review Date: 6/11/2014
Helpful Score: 1


**Thank you Bantam and Netgalley for providing this in exchange for an honest review**

This was my first Koontz, and I have to admit, it was a bit of a let down. My sister is a huge fan of the author. She has been telling me for years how "creepy" his books are and how they "make her stay up all night" so she can finish reading them. When I saw this on Netgalley, I couldn't resist requesting it. I was looking forward to all the awesomeness my sister has been talking about for years.

This is a historical fiction title with a tiny bit of the supernatural weaved in here and there. I thought the premise was interesting, but the story moved a snails pace. I also didn't think much of the characters. I didn't dislike any of them, but Meh is how I felt about all but one of them. And, of course, the one major and one minor characters I did really like were the only ones to die. I'll still give Odd Thomas a try at some point, but I'll continue to choose Stephen King is I want a horrorish mystery type book.


City of Glass (Mortal Instruments, Bk 3)
City of Glass (Mortal Instruments, Bk 3)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 279
Review Date: 2/13/2011


This book really deserves 10 stars. I don't think I've come across a series this amazing since Harry Potter. Everything about this book was wonderful. It makes you want to live in their world. The story flows perfectly, always making you dying to know what's next. This is a tough book to set in a certain genre. I think it's a lot more evolved then a YA book, but just shy of a regular fantasy. I highly recommend anyone who is a fan of either to give it a try. It will not disappoint you!


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