Book Talk: Key Summary Words

A really pretty cover can be enough to catch my attention, or a clever/intriguing title with a good spine because let’s face it, walking through a bookstore a lot of the books are shelved with their spines out instead of their covers, and it’s usually enough to make me pick up the book to see what it’s about. The summary is usually where it either wins me over and I buy it, or I put it back on the shelf(which doesn’t happen often enough, damn nonexistent willpower).

There’s a few things that will definitely have me putting the book in my to-buy pile faster than others. An endorsement on the cover/back from an author I love, a comparison to a movie/TV show I love(especially The Breakfast Club), and certain words in the summary.

Misfits/outcasts: I love this trope, especially when it means they’re coming together to form their own makeshift group(a la Breakfast Club/Firefly/Andromeda). They never truly fit in until they find each other. Sold.

Siblings: I love reading about bonds between siblings, whether it’s protective, fighting all the time, or even the trope of one being good, one evil. There’s something about the dynamic that appeals to me, maybe from having my own sisters.

Lesser known mythology: not actually a key word but as much as I love mythology, it seems like we get the same creatures and the same retellings all the time. There’s so many interesting myths out there that if I see a mention of something a little different, I take notice.

Bad girl/good boy: There’s so many books featuring the good girl who falls for the bad boy(and I love the trope) but it’s nice to see the change every once in a while. Characters like Etienne and Augustus and Cricket have proven a good boy can still steal hearts.

These are my main ones. There’s a few other words that can get me to pay more attention but they can be hit or miss. The ones listed are my always-take-notice words.

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Booking Sunday Favourites: Side couple in a contemporary

This one was harder than I expected this week but now that I think about it, it does make sense. There’s not too many couples who have stood out in contemporary ya for me that aren’t the main couple. I finally decided on:

something real

Benny and Matt from Something Real.

This is a couple that supported the main one well but they also had their own personalities and own drama so it felt like they did have a real relationship instead of simply being around for the main couple. Plus they were all kinds of cute and adorable and just thinking about them makes me want to re-read this book.

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Book Review: On the Fence by Kasie West

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On the Fence

4 stars

Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Reynolds is a tomboy who can hold her own in any pick-up game. Raised by her single father and with four older brothers, she’s never really given much thought to make-up and high heels. Until she gets a job working at a clothing boutique after getting a speeding ticket in order to pay the fine. She tries to hide her work life from her family but the stress of that and the upheaval to her routine leads her outside, to the fence, where she begins having almost nightly talks with neighbor Braden. What starts innocently enough slowly starts turning into something more when Charlie realizes she just might care about Braden as more than a friend.

This was my first time reading a Kasie West book and I was not disappointed. It left me excited that I already own some of her other books so I can read them soon. This one seemed like it would be a good summer read but it turned into something more and I really enjoyed it.

Charlie was absolutely great. I loved her journey of discovering herself that she had throughout the book and I really appreciated that it never felt like the book was looking down on any of the girls who appeared. Charlie had her own perceptions but they were hers. To me, it felt like the book was saying it’s okay for girls to like sports, it’s okay to like make-up and dresses, it’s okay to like both. Charlie’s acceptance of that was important and well handled.

The family dynamics were also great. The boys were so protective of Charlie, their bond was so evident, and the teasing just made me smile. The romance was adorable and also believable. Their banter during their fence chats, their playfulness, just everything about them together made me smile. I did a lot of smiling while reading this book.

The writing flowed really well and made for an easy read that I didn’t want to put down. There was never a time I felt like the book was dragging, though it did end up being a little predictable. Still, that didn’t lessen my enjoyment and I look forward to reading more Kasie West soon.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Waiting on Wednesday

New WoW

This is a feature started on Breaking the Spine that puts the spotlight on upcoming books.

This week’s pick is:

kiss and tell

Mr Kiss and Tell

Release date: October 28

Goodreads: In the second book in the New York Times bestselling mystery series, Veronica Mars is back with a case that will expose the hidden workings of one of Neptune’s most murderous locations.
The Neptune Grand has always been the seaside town’s ritziest hotel, despite the shady dealings and high-profile scandals that seem to follow its elite guests. When a woman claims that she was brutally assaulted in one of its rooms and left for dead by a staff member, the owners know that they have a potential powder keg on their hands. They turn to Veronica to disprove—or prove—the woman’s story.
The case is a complicated mix of hard facts, mysterious occurrences, and uncooperative witnesses. The hotel refuses to turn over its reservation list and the victim won’t divulge who she was meeting that night. Add in the facts that the attack happened months ago, the victim’s memory is fuzzy, and there are holes in the hotel’s surveillance system, and Veronica has a convoluted mess on her hands. As she works to fill in the missing pieces, it becomes clear that someone is lying—but who? And why
?

Why I’m excited: I love Veronica Mars. That’s all.

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WWW Wednesday

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This was started by ShouldBeReading and every Wednesday posters answer three questions:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently: museum

Finished: dorothy must die   on the fence big rise anna Bloodlines big

Next: A book

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Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday there’s a different topic. This week Top Ten characters I’d want with me on a deserted island.

10/9: Peeta Mellark and Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games – Katniss because she can hunt and Peeta because with my luck, we’ll end up on the island from Lost and someone with camouflage skills would be nice.

8. Percy Jackson from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians – We’ll be surrounded by water, having the son of the God of the oceans seems like a good idea.

7/6: Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments – Magnus would probably have some useful spells and Alec’s shadow-hunting skills would probably be useful so Katniss doesn’t have to do all the hunting. Plus I couldn’t split them up.

5. Christian Ozera from the Vampire Academy – I suck at making fires. He has fire magic.

4. Rose Hathaway from the Vampire Academy – She’s badass and her and Christian snarking at each other all day would be entertaining. That would be my TV.

3. Captain Westfall from Throne of Glass – I have lots of strong personalities on this list so I’m hoping he could help keep them from killing each other.

2. Calaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass – To keep Captain Westfall on his toes. Plus she’s badass and will protect everyone from whatever’s out there hiding in the Lost island.

1. Katy Swartz from Lux – She reads and reviews books too so between the two of us, we’ve probably got a lot of books read that we can discuss and hopefully recall enough to retell to help keep everyone entertained.

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Book Talk: ‘Like’ vs ‘Helpful’ votes

I will freely admit, right up front, that there’s something nice and warm feeling when you check your e-mail and find that someone has liked a review you posted or when you check a site to see you have a lot of helpful votes on a review. But how much do they really matter in the end?

Personally, I don’t pay too much attention to how many likes a review has before I read it. I don’t normally read reviews before I read a book or write my own review of it because I like to go into a book knowing all thoughts are my own. I will read reviews after, curious to see if other people picked up on the same themes/clues I did or if they picked up on things I missed or saw things differently. Same thing with helpful votes on sites like Indigo and Amazon. Honestly, those ones especially I don’t pay too much attention to since it’s hard to say what people voting mean by helpful and if they’re being honest or simply saying not helpful because it’s a negative review of a book they loved or a good review of a book they hated.

I’m assuming the sites mean helpful in terms of deciding to buy the book but for people like me, who are reading the reviews after buying, that would mean any review is not helpful. If the reviewer’s opinion is near similar to mine and offers no new insight to the book, that could also be a not helpful vote. I would like to think it doesn’t happen all too often but I know there’s people who click not helpful or dislike simply because they can. You could write the most in depth review and still get voted not helpful because you criticized a book someone else loved. And it works the other way too. People can easily vote like or helpful simply because they can. Again, I would like to think it doesn’t happen enough to matter in the end, but the thought does cross my mind every time I see a well written review voted down.

So instead of looking at the votes, I look for things like how many comments does a review have because maybe someone got into an intense discussion over it. If it’s a site like Amazon or Indigo, reviews with a title that for one reason or another catches me eye(though I hate coming up with titles, very bad at it). Long reviews also make me want to read them because I get curious as to what about the book made the reviewer have so much to say.

Of course, all this is void if it’s a blog that I follow(except the not reading reviews until after the book) because if I’m already following the blog, I already care about what the blogger has to say.

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Book Review: Magnolia by Kristi Cook

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Magnolia

3.5 stars

The Caffertys and the Mardsens have always been close but their wish to have their families united by marriage has never been filled. At least until Ryder Marsden and Jemma Cafferty are born. Their mothers have been arranging their marriage since their births. The only problem: Ryder and Jemma can’t stand each other. They seem destined to crush their mothers’ dreams of finally uniting their families. Will one violent storm change all that?

This book ended up being a sweet, quick, entertaining summer read. I really enjoyed the setting and the history of the families and the area. It could be a little predictable and the characters made me want to shake them at times, but those were things that also kept me reading.

Jemma was a character who’s personality fit the tone of the book so well. She had all these expectations placed on her by her parents(marriage to Ryder, school, her future) and she had her own plans that didn’t fit with anything her parents wanted from her. She could be very self-aware when she was making decisions, even when she knew those decisions were a mistake, which was refreshing. And she could be very, very stubborn. There were times when I wanted to yell at her to talk to the people she was angry with because they weren’t mind readers, but at the same time, I could understand her hesitation at wanting to open up to them. Ryder was a great counter-part to Jemma. Golden boy athlete also with a ton of parental expectations placed on him. Kristi Cook did a good job making him likeable even when Jemma hated him, which could have been tricky since the reader is in Jemma’s POV.

Together, whether they were hating each other or had a tentative truce during family time or discovering their true feelings, there was definite chemistry.

I really enjoyed the twist that it was the teens who hated each other instead of the families. It added to the parental expectation that was already crushing Ryder and Jemma, and I thought it helped make their resentment of each other less petty. The emotions during the storm were high and done really well, keeping the tension through the whole storm. I also liked that there was more than just the hate-to-love romance plot going on. There was the two main characters finding themselves outside of their parents’ expectations and dreams for them.

It was a good summer read book that I started to read and, before I knew it, I was finished.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Booking Sunday Favourites: Main Couple in a Paranormal Series

So last week was favourite side couple in a paranormal series and Lissa and Christian from The Vampire Academy series was my pick and it was a very easy pick for me. Main couple proved to be a lot harder but I ended up choosing:

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Kaiden and Anna from the Sweet trilogy by Wendy Higgins.

The chemistry between these two was there immediately. He’s the son of the demon of Lust and she’s just found out she’s a part of his world and has this big destiny. Sure, the good girl with the bad girl might be overdone but these two made me overlook that fact and fall in love with them, both together and separately.

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Book Haul

Bought:

earthquakedefiantbreakfast served anytimeidols

Earthquake: Aprilynne Pike, sequel to Earthbound

The Defiant: Lisa M Stasse, conclusion to The Forsaken

Breakfast Serve Anytime: Sarah Combs

Idols – Margaret Stohl, sequel to Icons

ARCs:

black icebaneunravel

Black Ice – Becca Fitzpatrick

The Bane Chronicles – Cassandra Clare

Unravel – Imogen Howson, sequel to Linked

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