Villain Squad Tag

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Thank you to Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts for tagging me for the Villain Squad Tag. Now, I get to come up with my villian dream team. 🙂 I’ve seen this tag where both books and T.V./Film have been used. I’m just going to use books this time.


Think of your own villain identity and power!

I’m horrible at thinking up this stuff. I asked my 7-year-old daughter and she said,

“Ice powers.”

Because who wouldn’t want to be like Frozen’s Elsa, right? She was kind of a villain for a bit since she froze everything and all. I know, it’s kind of lame. Sorry!


The Leader – Pick a villain to lead the squad.

Queen Cersei from A Game of Thrones. She’s cold and calculating, which would be perfect for leading my squad.


The Killer Smile – Pick a villain who is just extremely attractive.

Jamie Lanister from A Game of Thrones. I don’t know if I actually find him attractive, but he’s written like he’s supposed to be.


The Loose Cannon – Pick a villain that marches to the beat of their own drum.

Amy from Gone Girl. She could easily be any of these villain categories but she definitely does things her own way.


The Unhinged One – Pick a villain that isn’t playing with a full deck.

Clary’s brother, Sebastian, from The Mortal Instruments series. That dude is definitely missing something upstairs.


The Redeemer – Pick a villain that’s on the path to redemption / would play both sides.

Motorcycle gang member / kidnapper Grizz from Nine Minutes. He’s so bad but he has a good side, too.


The Evil One – Pick a villain that’s just bad to the bone.

President Snow from The Hunger Games was horrible. Even the description of his looks made me shudder.


The Once-Was-Good – Pick a villain that didn’t originally start out as a villain. 

Hannibal Lecter from Hannibal? Not that I want to be anywhere near him. I just couldn’t come up with any idea for this one.


I tag:

Arec @ Rainy Thursdays

Bea @ When Curiousity Killed the Cat

Brin @ Brin’s Book Blog

Carrie @ reading is my superpower

Dimple @ enthrallingdimple

Erika & Miedjel @ partnersinbooks

Jane @ greenish bookshelf

Jenna @ Reading with Jenna

Jess @ Princessica of Books

Jordyn @ J. Bookish

Kelly @ Here’s to Happy Endings

Kristy @ Kristy Reads

Michalah @ Cape Town Dreamer

Michelle @ Mishi-Reads

Paige @ Page by Paige

Skylee @ The Night Girl

Stefanie @ yourdaughtersbookshelf

Sue @ Sue’s Reading Corner

Syc @ The Lit(erature) Mermaid

Tasha @ Head In The Clouds, Heart In The Books

And anyone else that wants to play along.

Outspoken

Outspoken by Lora Richardson

Publication Date: Agust 18, 2015

Publisher: CreateSpace

Synopsis:

One thing Penny has never been in life is outspoken. She’s always gone with the flow and done what everyone wanted her to do. Others’ opinions have always mattered more than her own. But that’s going to change.

Penny’s going to spend her summer before (maybe) going to college at the beach in South Carolina. She’s going to leave her seven siblings and Montana hometown behind. She’s using checking up on her elderly grandfather as her excuse, but in reality Penny wants to break away from the person she was before. For once in her life, she’s going to be the person she wants to be. Penny’s going to be outspoken.

Just as Penny’s starting to gain her independence, she meets Archer. Everyone tells her to avoid him, but Penny feels drawn to him. While Penny’s trying to be her own person, she can’t help but worry about Archer’s opinion. Will her worrying about what Archer thinks be the end to her new life? Will she continue to be outspoken or will she revert to the girl who simply goes with the flow?


My rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Outspoken is a coming of age tale. It’s set in that time in life when a young adult is trying to find themselves and their voice. Penny’s no longer a child, but she’s not sure how to be an adult and stand up for herself yet.

Outspoken is one of those books that is harder for me to review. While I loved the story and writing, I disliked the main character Penny. She rubbed me the wrong way. I know she was trying to be truthful, but her delivery was lacking finesse. Everything that came out of her mouth was so negative. I know she was striving to speak her mind, but if she was a new friend of mine, our friendship wouldn’t last long. She never seemed like she even wanted to hang out with her new friends, Gwen and Marissa. She needed to learn giving in to spend time with her friends didn’t always equate to giving up a piece of herself. But that’s part of what this story was about, so I feel bad complaining! Penny was just trying to find her voice.

Despite my dislike for Penny, I did enjoy the storyline. I liked how she set out on her own to discover herself. What she was going through was very relatable. And Penny did have her redeeming moments. I could see a glimpse of the sweet person she was when she went above and beyond to help the people she met through her job at the grocery store. I also loved the way she wanted to take care of her grandfather, Cal. My favorite Penny was the person she was when she was with Archer. She seemed to find a happy medium when she was with him. She wasn’t quite as negative but she also didn’t lose herself in him. I wanted to read more of this Penny.

What I enjoyed most about Outspoken was the cast of supporting characters. I loved them all! Gwen and Marissa were a ton of fun. Archer was the silent, brooding “bad boy” with a lot of depth. All of Penny’s grocery delivery customers were interesting and added a ton of dimension to the story. Penny’s family seemed really fun, too. I would have liked to read more about them and their relationships with each other. I have a feeling they would have been a hilarious bunch.

So while I didn’t always enjoy Penny, I did always enjoy the story. I thought it was a great YA coming of age story about a girl on the path to adulthood trying to find herself. I think this book would be highly beneficial for young adults going through that time in their lives to read.

**I received an electronic copy of Outspoken from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Heartbreakers

The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak

Publication Date: August 4, 2015

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Synopsis:

Stella isn’t into mainstream music. She couldn’t care less about a silly boy band called the Heartbreakers. But Stella’s sister Cara loves them. Since Cara’s sick and can’t go to their concert, Stella is determined to get the Heartbreakers’ autographs for her.

On her way to the autograph signing in Chicago, Stella stops at Starbucks for an early morning coffee. The only other person in the coffee shop is a cute guy. Stella is shocked when she shows up at the autograph signing and the cute coffee shop guy is none other than the Heartbreakers’ lead singer.

Stella’s shock doesn’t end there, though. Cute coffee guy / lead singer Oliver gives her his number and asks her to call. Stella can’t believe her is actually interested in her.

As Stella and Oliver start to fall for each other, things become complicated. Cara’s illness becomes worse and Stella feels guilty for not being around more when her sister might be dying. Meanwhile, Oliver and the band are dealing with breakup rumors. Will the pressure of it all ruin the first bit of happiness Stella’s felt in a long time?


My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


A while ago, I read and reviewed My Life with the Walter Boys. I was really impressed with the story. I loved how Ali Novak took a character that had just gone through something heartbreaking and instead of letting her wallow in it, added warmth and humor to help her heal.

When I picked up The Heartbreakers, I was hoping to get the same type of story. I had recently finished a couple of books that, while they were brilliant, left me feeling down. It wasn’t exactly a book hangover, it was just that I needed something that was going to pep me up. Luckily, The Heartbreakers was exactly what I needed. I loved it! It was an upbeat, funny and fast-paced read.

Stella may have been dealing with her sister’s illness, but Cara’s cancer didn’t steal the show. Her positive attitude toward life and her illness helped Stella live her life to the fullest. And that meant following her heart when a certain boy band member pops up.

I have to admit The Heartbreakers were my favorite part of the story. Each one of those guys made me smile. Ali Novak sure knows how to write hilarious teenage boys. I’m so excited that this book has The Heartbreaker Chronicles #1 after it because I would love to read a book about any of these guys!

If you’re looking for a YA to make you smile, you’ve found it!

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The Nightingale

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Publication Date: February 3, 2015

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Synopsis:

It’s 1939 and war is raging in Europe. France has been preparing for war, trying to keep Hitler’s army out of its boarders. In the village of Carriveau, the Mauriac sisters are driven apart by their views on the war.

Vianne, the elder of the two, does not believe war will come to France. Even has her husband is sent off to war, Vianne chooses to believe life will go on as it has been. But when the Nazis invade her village, Vianne can no longer deny it. War has come to France. She must do everything in her power to keep herself and her daughter alive.

Vianne’s younger sister, Isabelle, does not agree with Vianne’s stance. Eighteen-year-old Isabelle would rather meet the war head on than mearly try to survive. She joins the Resistance and spends her time trying to save others.

As the war rages on, Vianne and Isabelle will make choices that tear them apart and pull them back together.


My rating: 5 out 5 stars


To be honest, I avoided reading The Nightingale. I wanted to read it, but I didn’t want to read it. I love Kristin Hannah’s books, but I heard it was a little slow and a lot sad. I checked it out twice from the library. The first time, I had to return the hardback before I had a chance to read it. Really, I just wasn’t in the mood. The second time, I checked out an electronic copy. I only read 18  pages before it magically returned itself. Then, my friend let me borrow her copy. It sat on my counter for two weeks before I picked it up. I’m really sad I waited so long to read it. It was really, really good.

I feel like no matter what I write about The Nightingale, it won’t adequately reflect my feelings about this book. It was heart breaking. It was beautiful. It was captivating. I couldn’t put it down.

I can tell The Nightingale is going to be a book that sticks with me long after I have finished reading it. Kristin Hannah did a wonderful job weaving the French history of World War II into her story. The Nightingale may have been fiction, but I could easily imagine it being real. It’s a devastating thought because the history of World War II is so devastating. It happened and a lot of people died. There’s no avoiding the truth of it all.

The Nightingale is a book I would recommend to readers who enjoyed Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. I would also recommend it to those reader who like historical fiction or just a really amazing book.

ARC Review: Shatterproof

shatterproof cover Shatterproof by K.K. Weil

Publication Date: October 28, 2015

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc

Synopsis:

Sculptor Griffin Stone may look just like his father, but that’s where the similarities will end — if he has anything to say about it.

Griffin’s watched his mother live with his father’s physical abuse for years. He knows what the statistics say. He’s more likely to become an abuser since his father’s one. So, Griffin’s going to avoid a relationship at all costs. He’s not willing to put a woman he loves at risk.

That’s why when Griffin meets aspiring photographer, Frankie Moore, he knows he should walk away. There’s something about Frankie that draws him to her, something he’s afraid may wake the beast inside him.

Aspiring photographer Frankie Moore knows she’s more impulsive than she should be. She makes decisions without weighing the consequences. Things don’t always turn out the way she hopes, but she can always see the positive in situations and people.

Frankie sees the positive in Griffin Stone from the moment she meets him. She just needs to help Griffin to see it, too.


My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


I love when books grab my attention from the very first sentence or paragraph. It’s amazing when just those few words have me wondering what will happen before I get to the words “The End.” Shatterproof was one of the rare books that did just that.

Shatterproof started out strong and never once faltered. From the beginning, I loved Griffin but feared for him. Would he become an abuser? Would he be able to handle a relationship with Frankie? Could he come to terms with his childhood? What would be the straw that broke the camel’s back? He seemed to be moments from combustion at all times.

And then there was Frankie. She may have judged herself to be a flake, but I only saw a sweet young woman who wanted to see the best in everything and everyone. She certainly only the saw the best in Griffin. I kept wondering what she was really getting herself into. I hoped it was a good thing, but I was scared for her, too! I didn’t know what K.K. Weil had in store for readers. Was she giving us a happily ever after or a cautionary tale?

It was all so intense!!! I was on edge the entire time wondering how things were going to end for Griffin and Frankie. They were both so broken in their own ways. I wanted them to become whole together.

I’m not going to tell you how it all plays out because I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone. I’m just going to say that I think K.K. Weil did an amazing job portraying a young man trying to break the cycle of abuse. The story felt raw and real. I would highly suggest Shatterproof to readers looking for an intense NA contemporary romance with real life issues.

**I was provided an ARC of Shatterproof by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Before the Blog #14: The Weight of Blood

Before the Blog is a weekly blog meme hosted by Karis Jacobstein over @ YA Litwit. It’s an opportunity to showcase books a blogger read and loved prior to starting their blog .  I love this idea because there are so many amazing books I haven’t reviewed on A Novel Glimpse because I read them a long time ago. The only rules to this meme are to answer the following questions about the book chosen to review:

  • Why did you choose this book? 
  • When did you read this book? 
  • Who would you recommend this book to? 

The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

Publication Date: March 11, 2014

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Goodreads Synopsis: 

The Dane family’s roots tangle deep in the Ozark Mountain town of Henbane, but that doesn’t keep sixteen-year-old Lucy Dane from being treated like an outsider. Folks still whisper about her mother, a bewitching young stranger who inspired local myths when she vanished years ago. When one of Lucy’s few friends, slow-minded Cheri, is found murdered, Lucy feels haunted by the two lost girls-the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn’t protect. Everything changes when Lucy stumbles across Cheri’s necklace in an abandoned trailer and finds herself drawn into a search for answers. What Lucy discovers makes it impossible to ignore the suspicion cast on her own kin. More alarming, she suspects Cheri’s death could be linked to her mother’s disappearance, and the connection between the two puts Lucy at risk of losing everything. In a place where the bonds of blood weigh heavy, Lucy must decide where her allegiances lie.


My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Why did you choose this book? 

The Weight of Blood had me on edge the entire time I read it. It was suspenseful and had me worried with Lucy’s every move to find the truth. I loved how the story wove past and present and different character points of view. I especially enjoyed Lila’s point of view.

When did you read this book? 

May of 2014

Who would you recommend this book to?

Readers who like a good thriller and books by Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins would enjoy The Weight of Blood.

All I Want

All I Want (Animal Magnetism #7) by Jill Shalvis

Publication Date: October 6, 2015

Publisher: Berkley 

Synopsis:

Pilot Zoe Stone is ready for a real relationship. No more quick hook-ups or crappy men. She’s going to find the perfect guy and settle down in her favorite Idaho town of Sunshine.

When her brother Wyatt’s best friend Parker comes to stay with her for a week, Zoe’s plans to find a nice, stable guy are thrown out the window. There’s a mutual attraction and chemistry between them that can’t be denied. But Zoe and Parker both know their relationship can’t last. Zoe’s tied to Sunshine and Parker’s tied to his job as a U.S. Fsh and Wildlife special agent.


My rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Okay, I’m going to complain about this beautiful cover. It’s beautiful and I love it but there is no beach in the book. It takes place in Idaho. That kind of drives me a little nuts.

As for the actual story, it started off really great. It had Jill Shalvis’ trademark humor from the start. Zoe and Parker’s chemistry was hot. The way they were trying not to fall for each other was cute. My favorite part of their non-relationship was their banter. It made me smile so much.

Then, the story kind of lost me for a bit. Parker’s job took over. His job didn’t interest me as much as his relationship with Zoe did. I know those parts were necessary for the build up, but they took a little something away from the book for me. I wanted a humorous romance. I got that, but I felt like I also got a little romantic suspense. I guess I just wanted more Zoe – Parker banter.

I did like the ending, though. It revolved around Parker’s side story, but it included Zoe and I think that made the difference.

Overall, I truly did enjoy All I Want. It was a good addition to a fun series. I’m looking forward to seeing which character is going to get their own story next!

If you’re looking for a great contemporary romance series, I would highly suggest the Animal Magnetism series. The books can be read in order or as a standalone.

Other books in this series:

     

WWW Wednesday: October 14, 2015

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading but is now hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

So here we go…


Currently reading:

  

I have started all three of these books. I’m supposed to be reading The Boyfriend Thief by Shana Norris for a Goodreads group read, but I haven’t gotten very far into it yet. I also started Making Faces by Amy Harmon. I really, really want to read both of those books but I think I need to be in a different mental place to do it. Weird, I know, but I’ve read a lot of sad stuff lately and I need something that is happy from the start. So, I started reading The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak. I adored her novel My Life with the Walter Boys, so I’m hoping this book will get me out of my funk.


Recently finished:

   

Last week, I read Jill Shalvis’ All I Want (Animal Magnetism #7). The Animal Magnetism series is my favorite series by Ms. Shalvis. They are fun contemporary romance reads. My review for it is posting today and can be found here.

I also finished reading The Isle of the Lost by Melissa De La Cruz with my seven-year-old daughter. We both thought it was fun to read. I interviewed her after reading it so you get not only my perspective but her as well. You can find the review here.

And I finally read Kristin Hannah’s The NightingaleIt was so good! I’ll be reviewing it later this week.


Reading Next:

One of my upcoming reads will be Outspoken by Lora Richardson. I’m really looking forward to getting to read this one!


What are you currently reading? What’s next on your list?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Author Duos You’d LOVE To See Write A Book Together

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is Top Ten Author Duos You’d LOVE To See Write A Book Together.


 

1.  Jessica Park and Ginger Scott

I’m just imaging all the incredible characters and feels this combination of authors would bring!


 

2. Marie Force and J.D. Robb

Both of these authors have successful romantic suspense series. I would love to see Sam Holland meet Eve Dallas. I think they’d be perfect solving a case together.


 

3. Kristan Higgins and Jill Shalvis


Both of these ladies’ contemporary romance books make me laugh. I can only imagine what the characters would be up to if these two writers collaborated.

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4. Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

I know, I know. They’ve already written Him together, but I can’t help it. I want to read another book with them as co-authors!


 

5. Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

Yep. I’m doing it again. I know they have written the Never Never series together, but I don’t care. I want more books from these two authors! They’re a match made in heaven.


 

6. Bella Andre and Kate Perry

These lovely ladies have written great contemporary romances filled with siblings. I would love to see the two of them pair up for a series set in San Francisco.


 

7. Beth Flynn and Gillian Flynn

They have the same last name. Isn’t that cute? But that’s not the reason I would team them up. They both create surprising twists and turns in their books. These two ladies would shock the heck out of everyone if they wrote together.


 

8. Ali Novak and Kasie West

I can only imagine how sweet a YA contemporary romance written by Ali Novak and Kasie West would be.


 

9. Veronica Roth and Suzanne Collins

Who better to write the ultimate dystopian novel than these two? I wonder what world and choices they would come up with?


 

10. Lauren Oliver and E. Lockhart

I would love to see E. Lockhart and Lauren Oliver write a book with multiple unreliable narrators together.


What authors would you pair together? Any the same? Any other combinations?

The Isle of the Lost: Review & Interview with the Kiddo

The Isle of the Lost by Melissa De La Cruz

Publication Date: May 5, 2015

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:

Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were banished from the kingdom of Auradon and made to live in virtual imprisonment on the Isle of the Lost. The island is surrounded by a magical force field that keeps the villains and their descendants safely locked up and away from the mainland. Life on the island is dark and dreary. It is a dirty, decrepit place that’s been left to rot and forgotten by the world.

But hidden in the mysterious Forbidden Fortress is a dragon’s eye: the key to true darkness and the villains’ only hope of escape. Only the cleverest, evilest, nastiest little villain can find it…who will it be?

Maleficent, Mistress of the Dark: As the self-proclaimed ruler of the isle, Maleficent has no tolerance for anything less than pure evil. She has little time for her subjects, who have still not mastered life without magic. Her only concern is getting off the Isle of the Lost.

Mal: At sixteen, Maleficent’s daughter is the most talented student at Dragon Hall, best known for her evil schemes. And when she hears about the dragon’s eye, Mal thinks this could be her chance to prove herself as the cruelest of them all.

Evie: Having been castle-schooled for years, Evil Queen’s daughter, Evie, doesn’t know the ins and outs of Dragon Hall. But she’s a quick study, especially after she falls for one too many of Mal’s little tricks.

Jay: As the son of Jafar, Jay is a boy of many talents: stealing and lying to name a few. Jay and Mal have been frenemies forever and he’s not about to miss out on the hunt for the dragon’s eye.

Carlos: Cruella de Vil’s son may not be bravest, but he’s certainly clever. Carlos’s inventions may be the missing piece in locating the dragon’s eye and ending the banishment for good.

Mal soon learns from her mother that the dragon’s eye is cursed and whoever retrieves it will be knocked into a deep sleep for a thousand years. But Mal has a plan to capture it. She’ll just need a little help from her “friends.” In their quest for the dragon’s eye, these kids begin to realize that just because you come from an evil family tree, being good ain’t so bad.

Note: This review is going to be a little different from my other reviews. Since I read The Isle of the Lost with my 7-year-old daughter, I’m going to give you a quick review and then I’m going to interview my daughter about the book.


My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


I decided to read The Isle of the Lost to my daughter after watching Disney’s Descendants movie. My daughter loved it, so I thought it would be a good way to get her interested in chapter books without pictures. I struggle getting her to read them because she wants all of her book to have pictures (in color, if possible). This was the perfect way to branch out.

The Isle of the Lost was a fun read. Since my daughter and I were already familiar with the characters, we could try to guess what was going to happen next or who was responsible for something. Each chapter wasn’t too long or too short. It was perfect for reading out loud for 10 to 15 minutes prior to bed. The story was entertaining and we were both excited to see how Mal, Evie, Carlos and Jay became friends. There were new settings to see on the island and we even got a peak at what was going on with Prince Ben in Auradon.

If you or your child loved Disney’s Descendants movieThe Isle of the Lost is sure to be a big hit.


What My Daughter Thought of The Isle of the Lost

Me: If you could give The Isle of the Lost between 1 to 5 stars, 1 being worst and 5 being best, how many would you give it?

Kiddo: 5 stars

Me: What was your favorite part of the book?

Kiddo: Them going to the castle.

Me: Who was your favorite character?

Kiddo: Mal. I like her purple hair and purple clothes.

Me: What didn’t you like about the book?

Kiddo: Nothing. I wish it had pictures.

Me: Would you tell your friends to read it?

Kiddo: Yes!


Here is the trailer for Disney’s Descendants, in case you haven’t seen it yet.