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Flutters and Flails

I"m a girl who likes to read and tell - so I do :)  Make sure you check out my blog - and if you want to follow it, that would be awesome!  http://fluttersandflails.blogspot.com/

Louder Than Love - Jessica Topper

I'm going to go ahead and get this little tidbit out of the way.  I'm going to put it all out there.  I am embracing my past.

**deep breaths**

Confession time...I may or may not have had a slight crush on the blue Wiggle back in the day.



Do.  Not.  Judge.

Ok, now that that's out of the way, I can get back to talking about this story and what I liked so much about it  :)

I've read a lot of romance and while I'm almost always entertained and enjoy the stories, I don't always connect with the characters.  I totally connected with Kat.  I get her.  Her reclusive tendencies make total sense to me.  She has been hurt by something completely out of control and she is determined to protect both herself and her daughter.  Makes complete sense.

BUT...I also have a thing for musicians.  They make me swoon and giggle and blush like I'm 13 so I get the draw she feels for Adrian.  And as a writer of children's music, he is obviously safe.

What she doesn't know about Adrian at first, however is that children haven't always been his audience of choice.  He also has ghosts in his past and events that have altered his path in life.

And I think that is what appeals to me so much about this book.  That even with everything that has happened to Kat and to Adrian, the pull between them is so intense that they are forced to take risks.  They can't ignore the chemistry and pretend that they are content with their lives.  They start to live again.

There was a maturity to this book that pulled me in and made me feel.  I didn't have the "awwwww" moments and the "gah, I remember those days".  It was more a book of **fist pumps** and "unfs" and "I want to trace your scars".  It was intensely mature...does that make any sense at all?

I often say that the reason I read so much YA is that as a wife and mother and someone closer to 40 than she cares to admit, I don't want to read about my problems.  But every once in a while, I find a book that reminds me that being a grown up isn't all that bad.

And if there happens to be a guitar thrown in the mix somewhere, all the better.

This review can also be found on my blog, Flutters and Flails

 

 

 

 

An Incurable Insanity - Simi K. Rao

I had originally scheduled my review of An Incurable Insanity to post in a couple of weeks due to the backlog of pending posts I have looming over my head -- but I can't seem to stop thinking about it.  

I'm not sure what to say about it.  And don't automatically assume that it is a bad thing, because in this case, it isn't.  I started it on Saturday, finished it on Sunday and here I am on Wednesday still trying to tie everything up in a pretty little bow and put it away on my "read" shelf.  But it won't go quietly.  

I have been married for 15 years and let me tell you -- it isn't easy.  And I adore my husband.  We got married after dating long distance (well, if you can say 80 miles apart is long distance) for 3 years and living together for 1.5 years, so I feel pretty confident in saying that I knew him pretty well on the day we said "I do."  So I can't even imagine marrying somebody that I didn't know. 

The premise of this book fascinated me. To be in Ruhi's shoes.  To be in Shaan's shoes.  I mean, talk about taking a leap of faith.  Yikes!

I love a good friends to more story - I've mentioned that before - but this was the exact opposite.  A "more to friends", maybe?  

Then throw in the fact that one of the involved parties has absolutely no intention of following through.  That can't be easy. 

And it isn't.  

(side note - this review is not going at all in the direction that I thought it would)

The characters - I found myself really really liking them, though there were quite a few times where I wanted to grab them by the shoulders and shake some sense into them.  Ruhi, in particular.  She came across as a petulant, spoiled brat...but then I took a few steps back and thought about all the "steps" that she missed.  This marriage was her first, her only, relationship.  Marriage, people.  No dating, no flirting, no messy break-ups.  Marriage.  She was completely naive.  And maybe that allowed me to forgive her behavior just a little bit.  Maybe...though she still generated her fair share of "eyerolls".

That being said, there was no shortage of emotion in this book.  There was a little bit of everything.  For every passage that made me want to smack somebody, there was one where I wanted to nod my head and say "see, you're doing it right".  The swoony moments were swoony, and there was just enough humor to lighten moments at the exact right time.  Thank you, Sunshine and that crazy bird of hers.  

Now, I do feel like I need to talk about the writing.  It was beautiful and fluid and flowy -- but it was also a bit...much.  Not all the time, but there were times when I felt like a moment/scene/chapter/dialogue could have been cut in half and had the same impact.  And yet, I don't know what I'd cut.

See what this book has done to me?  

And stepping back and looking at my ramblings, maybe that is the sign of a good story.  One that does grab a hold of the reader and lingers long after the final page is turned.  It makes it a bit easier to overlook.

Coda - Emma Trevayne

So, I remember when Ms. Trevayne first announced that Coda was going to be published.  I was so completely excited for her as I am when any of my "book friends" make that announcement.  That's what we're all here for right?  New stories filled with amazing words?

But now I'm going to let you in on a teeny tiny little secret -- I get very nervous reading books by people that I know, be it online or in real life.  I mean think about it -- it can be a little scary when you know the author and the author knows you're reading their book and omg, what if I just don't like it?  Then things are awkward even though they shouldn't be and maybe probably it is just me that feels like that...but there it is.  I was scared to read this book.

Even though I love all things dystopian.  

And even knowing there was a musical element to the story when music plays such an important role in my own life.

So yeah, I'm kinda kicking myself for having had this book since it's release date and just now getting around to reading it.  

This book sang to me.  And I don't mean that in a punny way or in a cutsey way trying to tie it back to the title.  But yeah, the musical element sold me from page one.  Music is such a personal thing to me.  The emotions that can be evoked by the perfect combination of sound and lyrics...indescribable.  Think about it -- we have playlists for working out, for kitchen dancing, for evoking a good cry on those days where crying is the only thing that will make you feel better -- and the audacity of a government to decide how and what music should make you feel?  Repulsive.  And terrifying.  

Cue my connection with Anthem.  I get him.  I can't even imagine being so dependent on something that you want to love and hate all at the same time.  Or having to live in fear of the day when people you love are given their first hit of what should be something so intensely personal.  And in the same breath, I think of the fact that the twins have lived their whole life without experiencing music and it makes me so sad.  Not that the music that the Corp provides is real music.

But what if there WAS real music out there.

What if Anthem could make it happen?  

I can do this.  The others are up there, waiting for me, bathed in lights that are the only thing making this place familiar.  Soon the kaleidoscope will be whirling to my rhythms, painting a crowd moving to my songs.

Mage stands behind his newly enhanced drum kit, Phoenix is at my old xylophone, Scope is surrounded by an array of things only the creative would call instruments.  Glass catches beams of blue, green, and purple and sends strange rainbows across the unconvinced expressions.  

My guitar leans against a speaker.  It has a voice of its own, and it's calling me.  Play me.  

I felt so much of this book.  There was everything within the pages.  Anger, elation, sadness, frustration, a little bit of romance and an "I know I did NOT just read that" moment that had me hunting down the author on twitter and letting her know that I was not amused.  Unfortunately, she zipped her lips and refused to tell me anything. **coughs** MEAN  **coughs**  (Though I did eventually forgive her.)

So, yeah.  When I started writing this post, I was worried that it was going to be a tough one to write.  Not because I didn't like the book, but because there was so much that I DID like about it -- and you know me and my No Spoiler policy.  Maybe it rambles a bit and maybe I only make sense to myself, but if you only take one thing away from this review, let it be that you need to read this book.  


Golden - Jessi Kirby

So if you haven't heard, I've been in a bit of a book rut.  It has been ugly and lasted over a month.  I mean, WHY IS LIFE SO CRUEL???   I won't go into the whys or what I speculate are the contributing factors of why it happened, but join me in the epic happy dance that it is over.  Seriously.  Join me. 

Golden has been on my to-read list for a while now and I have had it reserved at my local library since the 2nd week in August.  However...it makes it kind of difficult to read a book when the person that checks it out before you decides to not return it.  Ever. 

Still, things have a way of working out and once I got tired of waiting, I decided to go ahead and buy the book.  Best. Decision. Ever. 

This book blew my mind.

As a person who has lived her life a bit on the shy side, every now and then I find myself on a serious binge of the "what ifs".  And trust me, I'm old enough to have plenty of them.  Now don't get me wrong, I absolutely love where I am in my life, but sometimes I think maybe I should have been a bit more adventurous.  A bit more risky.  A bit more confident.

"I've got this tiny pang of regret when I think of how much I have probably missed out on in the last few years because I was too scared to take a risk, or too shy to speak up, or too worried to be bold.  It is my one wild and precious life, after all."

I mean, was Jessi Kirby in my head or what???

Parker Frost is a seventeen-year-old high school senior with her whole life in front of her.  She has done everything she was supposed to do in life -- good girl with good grades and acceptance at a good college.  But as graduation nears, questions arise.  What if things were different.  What if her choices were different.  Were her choices even choices?  Or were they a reflection of something else?

Enter her friends Kat and Trevor.

Trevor.   Talk about serious heart-flutters <3

And Kat.  We all need a friend like her.  Even at my age (which we won't discuss). 

And a road trip. 

And a 10 year old journal.

I don't want to write a book report.  What I do want to do is convince you to read this book.  I loved the way the story, the romantical parts, the a-ha moments evolve.  I didn't feel like anything about ths book was forced and every page had me nodding in agreement or smiling with the swoons or taking my little pink post-it-note flags and marking places I want to go back and reread because they made that much of an impression.  And looking at it right now, the number of flags is pretty impressive.

And well, then there is the time when Trevor said "I'd take my time with you."  I mean...


Oh yeah, and there is a bit of a mystery.  But I'm going to let you find out about that part on your own when you read it.  Because you need to read it.  Trust me.

 

You can also find this review on my blog, Flutters and Flails

The Madman's Daughter -

So I've been sitting on this review for a few weeks for a couple of reasons.  First, I've been in probably the worst book slump I've had in years and two, I don't read many books with a horror element, so I'm not really sure how to even talk about it.

Except that I found myself really enjoying it, so I feel like I NEED to talk about it.

Coming back to the fact that I don't read many "scary" books, I don't know much about the foundation of this book The Island of Doctor Moreau, but I didn't really find that to be an issue when reading this book.  Back story was included in a way that didn't feel like I was reading a recap and there was enough of it where I was able to read without feeling like I was on the outside of an inside joke.  So on that note, well done Ms. Shepherd.

This story is dark.  Period.  There are twists and turns and some really really scary elements that both fascinated me a little bit and freaked me out at the same time.  The whole "playing God" thing and how it can get out of hand...yeah, I'm not going to get into the real life parallels or anything but I definitely found myself thinking about them long after I finished reading.  I love it when books do that -- when I can be completely sucked in by the plot, imagery and descriptions while reading, but then have the themes and tropes linger into my own introspection and thoughts when I don't even have the book in my hands.

There is a love triangle in this book, but honestly, it didn't really take over the story for me -- but what I did notice is that I really didn't have a "favorite".  I liked Montgomery.  I liked Edward.  I liked that Juliet was conflicted, but not a doormat.  This story was not overrun with swoony moments, and while I'll be the first to admit that I am a sucker for good "swoonage", they would have been out of place with the tone and darkness of this book.  Is "dark swoonage" a thing?  Because maybe it could be called that?  Whatever it was, it worked.

I read this book right before my book rut started...and I think it was a good thing.  It had a little bit of everything.  Historical elements, the creepy factor, some romance, the fantasy...and the WHAT JUST HAPPENED HERE ending that makes me really excited for the next book.

I definitely recommend it to anybody who is having an "I can't decide what I want to read moment."

 

You can also find this review in its entirety on my blog, Flutters and Flails

Source: http://fluttersandflails.blogspot.com/2013/09/review-madmans-daughter-by-megan.html

Atone: A Fairytale

Reblogged from Flutters and Flails:
Atone: A Fairytale - Jessica Grey

Atone is a retelling of my favorite fairytale, Beauty and the Beast, and is the second in Ms. Grey's Fairytale Series. Since we all know the basic premise of that story, I don't feel the need to restate the obvious, but don't assume that you know everything there is to know about this version.

Because Ms. Grey adds Fae. (How much of a goof does that make me that I'm a little excited that that rhymed?)

Without giving too much away, the story's heroine, Becca, is thrown into a situation that requires her to assist with Nicholas with a situation that is a bit...hairy. Now knowing what I know from the first book, I wasn't exactly sure how this was going to work. Let's just say that I realllly didn't like Nicholas at all. Not even a little bit. But once I had a chance to think about it and once I let myself get drawn in by the story, it totally worked for me. I mean, who better to be the Beast than a bad guy, right?
One thing I do feel the need to include -- While this could technically be read as a standalone as the story comes full circle, I do recommend that you read the first book in the series for back story and more on the ins/outs of Becca and Nicholas's tumultuous history.
As the story progresses, Ms. Grey takes something traditional and so very well known and makes it her own. I loved the magical fae element and how it was both the root of the problem and a big part of the solution. Good/Evil, Beauty/Beast, Terra/Fera...you get the picture. But I also liked the non-fae elements. While the relationship evolution did seem a bit sudden, I found myself enjoying the scenes between Becca and Nicholas. The snark, the chemistry, and the many of "awwwwww" moments made this a solid retelling and one I gladly recommend for somebody looking for a quick and easy read.

You can see this review in its entirety on my blog, Flutters and Flails

Atone: A Fairytale

Atone: A Fairytale - Jessica Grey Review to come.

Awake: A Fairytale

Awake: A Fairytale - Jessica Grey This one took me a bit to get into -- I don't know if it was the book or just a reading slump. But I finished it today and look forward to reading the next in the series :)

The Ballad (The Bridge, #1)

The Ballad (The Bridge, #1) - Ashley Pullo This one totally took me by surprise. I need to gather my thoughts. Loved it. Review to come.

Capture & Surrender (Market Garden 5)

Capture & Surrender - L.A. Witt, Aleksandr Voinov I really enjoyed reading a solid M/M story -- it was a nice change of pace from the books I've been reading lately.Unfortunately I live in a state where same sex relationships are discriminated against -- and while I won't get on my political soapbox here because I could be there ALL DAY -- I just wish that some of these people that think these relationships are dirty could just see past the sex. Because it isn't about sex. It is about love.And that's what I really enjoyed about this book. The draw, the chemistry, the connection between Frank and Stefan was most definitely there and most definitely unffy...but when Stefan takes off his mask and becomes Brandon, gah - it multiplies a kazillion-fold with the added emotional pull. And THAT is what pushed this book from 3.5 to 4 stars for me. The writing was straight-forward without any unnecessary frills or fluffy words. And sometimes that is exactly what I'm looking for in a read. I've said it before and I'll say it again -- I am a fan of less is more. Frank is, well...frank :) and the way the story read fit his personality completely. I never jump into the middle of a series, but couldn't resist requesting this book from Netgalley. While I didn't feel like I was missing anything from having not read any of the earlier books, I do look forward to going back and reading them. Soon.

Unteachable

Unteachable - Leah Raeder Oh My Gawd THIS BOOK!!!!! Review to come.

The Madman's Daughter

The Madman's Daughter - Woah!

Rule (Marked Men, #1)

Rule (Marked Men, #1) - Jay Crownover This would have been closer to 4 stars had it not been for the countless editing and spelling errors. You know they're excessive if I had a problem overlooking them. Had it not been for insomnia that kept me up, I probably would have flounced.

Not a Drop to Drink

Not a Drop to Drink - This one really surprised me. Review to come - I have some catching up to do.
All of You - Christina  Lee You know what, I really enjoyed reading this book. In a world filled with stories of good girls and bad boys, it was nice to see this dynamic. Not that Avery is a "bad" girl, but she is definitely not like so many of the heroines we meet these days. Having recognized the shortcomings and failings of her mother, she has taken control of her life and refuses to let a relationship define her. Men and love are trouble with a capital T and she's better off without the distraction. Until she meets Bennett. Bennett. Gah, I need a minute to compose myself because just thinking about him makes me get all kinds of starry-eyed. Like Avery, he also had a childhood that was far from textbook, but instead of emotional walls, he chooses abstinence. Knowing what it was like living with a single mother, he refuses to be that man. Once Avery realizes that Bennett won't fit into her lifestyle, she tries her hardest to forget about him. Easier said than done once he moves into an apartment in the same building. I love it when fate decides to intervene.The dynamic between Avery and Bennett is one of my favorites in the New Adult genre. With the proverbial lines drawn in the sand, they try to just be friends...and we all know how that ends up. The chemistry between them is palpable, but beyond that, they genuinely care about each other. Because they GET each other.But with that connection comes a bit of vulnerability, and I'd be wrong if I didn't say that the two of them are ridiculously stubborn at times. Thankfully there are strong secondary characters that do their best to knock some sense into Bennett and Avery and allow them to see what they could be missing. Not gonna lie, I absolutely adored Mrs. Jackson and the role she played in this story. What a gem. It is hardly a secret that I love swoony boys with ink and that I've been known to fist-pump when I find a story that has a heroine that refuses to be a Bella Swan doormat. This book has both. Add to the mix a storyline that didn't seem contrived or ridiculous and All of You is a book that did not disappoint.

Covet

Covet - Tracey Garvis Graves ALL THE STARS I CAN GIVE. If you follow me on Goodreads and twitter, you would have seen that I finished this book last week and gave it "ALL THE STARS I CAN GIVE". I wasn't kidding.I've been sitting on this review for a week now because I was convinced that anything I could possibly put in this space would only lead to massive embarrassment because of my inability to convert my thoughts about this book into words. I mean, how in the world am I supposed to do it justice?It is no secret that I loved the two other works I've read by this author - On the Island and the follow up novella, Uncharted, so Covet has been on my radar since I first heard that it was in the works. Then came the magical day when I saw it on Netgalley and when I got the email saying I was approved...let me just put it this way:Covet is Claire's story. And Chris's story. And Daniel's. It is the story of how appearances aren't always what they seem. We pick up after Claire and Chris have been married for several years, have two children, and after Chris has recently been hired after being unemployed for a year."We're the Cantons. Sun-kissed, all-American, picture-perfect. By all appearances, we're the ideal suburban family. As long as you don't look too closely."On the outside, things look great. But with Chris's new job that requires traveling five days a week, not to mention the stress of being unemployed for a year and all the stresses that come along with that, life in the Canton household is far from perfect.Claire does everything she can to keep the hopes and emotions of her family buoyed - but that comes at a cost. With her husband gone so often, she gets the leftovers - the scraps - of what little is left of his time after the ridiculous demands of his boss and after he spends time with his his kids. "As he should" she says. But after all that - simply put - Claire is lonely.Enter Daniel. Now, this story is not what you think. It is not a story of adultery or betrayal. It is a story of loneliness and devotion and vulnerability and faith. It is a story of friendship and love and connections between people. It is a story of clinging to whatever you have to to cope and survive.Covet is written from three different points of view - Claire, Chris and Daniel. We get glimpses into their past, into their present, and not only into their lives, but the lives of their friends and neighbors. Glimpses that go beyond the outer layers until you see just how vulnerable these characters are, no matter how things appear from a distance. I was pulling for Claire and Chris. I loved the friendship between Claire and Daniel - is it even possible for a man and a woman to be just friends?And when tough decisions had to be made, I felt the heartbreak. But beyond that heartbreak, I also found hope. And faith. And my heart was completely full of FEELS! This book blew me away. From the very first page until the very last word, I couldn't put it down and Tracey Garvis Graves secured her spot at the very top of my "I'll read anything and everything they ever write" list. I didn't eat. I stayed up way too late. I even went ahead and pre-ordered it because just having it on my Kindle isn't enough. I need to hold it and love it and read it over and over and over again.Simply put, books like this one are why I read. This review can also be found on my blog, Flutters and Flails