Thursday, March 31, 2016

What I Read in March

I can't believe it is already the end of March, but with that comes the list of what I read in this month. At the beginning of the month I went through a reading slump, it was only when Spring Break started that I started to read a lot. Here are the books I read this month:

1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

It was hard for me to get into this one at first, but after the first 120 pages it started to get really good. I loved revisiting this world and finding out more about what happened to Harry's parents. 3/5 Stars because it was a slow start.

2. A Daring Sacrifice by Jody Hedlund 

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. I liked it, but it wasn't as good as An Uncertain Choice. It was pretty predictable. I will have a longer review up soon. 3.5/5 Stars.

3. The Black Stallion by Walter Farley

This was a lovely, nostalgic read and I flew through it. I can't believe I never read this when I was a child. 4/5 Stars.

4. Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley

This was an interesting read, although it took me a while to get into it. The author does a good job of describing not just the world of the Brontes but also their created worlds and it made me want to read more about them. 4/5 Stars.

5. None Like Him by Jen Wilkin

The title of this book alone intrigued me. I flew through it and loved it! It is about several attributes of God and how they only pertain to Him. Jen Wilkin is a great writer and it was saturated in Scripture and it was super convicting. I will have a longer review up soon. 5/5 Stars

6. Playing the Part by Jen Turano
I expected this book to be a fluffy romance, but I was wrong. This book was so interesting as it had romance and mystery. There were so many different plot twists that I was not expecting to happen at all, especially at the end! I will have a longer review up soon! 4/5 Stars.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :) 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Book Review: A Daring Sacrifice (An Uncertain Choice #2)

Today's review is on A Daring Sacrifice by Jody Hedlund
Even though this is a sequel to An Uncertain Choice, it can be read as a stand-alone novel because it is about a different set of characters - the only connection to the first book is that the male lead, Collin Goodrich was one of the knights that tried to win Lady Rosemarie's hand.

This takes place some time after An Uncertain Choice, but I don't know how long after it. It follows Juliana Wessex, who used to be a noblewoman, but after her father was killed by her wicked uncle she has been on the run and steals from the rich to give to the poor, so in a way she is a Robin Hood-esque character. However, one day she robs Sir Collin Goodrich and, after another event, he challenges her to live one week live in his manor as Lady Eleanor Delacroix in exchange for some gold. The first 60% of this book deals with this challenge and then there are some other things that happen that I cannot write about because they are spoilers.

I liked Juliana, the author did a good job of showing her battling with living a week as a noblewoman, as well as trying to justify being a thief. Over the course of the novel, she starts to realize that not all noblemen are ruthless like her uncle and that stealing from the rich is not necessarily a good thing. She has compassion for the peasants that have been oppressed by her uncle and she wants to help them, no matter what.

Collin was an interesting character, I didn't really like him. There were times that he sounded more like a woman than a man. I also hated how he seemed to compare his trying to win Juliana's love to how he tried to win Lady Rosemarie's love in An Uncertain Choice...I just didn't like how he kept comparing the two. However, near the end of the book he kind of redeems himself.

One of the minor characters that annoyed me so much was Irene, Collin's sister. I did not like her at all, she is just an awful character at first, however near the end she is kind of redeemed - although, it is never stated what happens to her at the end.

Plot-wise the novel was just okay. It wasn't as good as An Uncertain Choice. There were a few plot twists but they were pretty obvious, and the reader finds out who the villain is in the first few pages so there is no surprises. I could see that the author tried to have plot-twists, but the kind of fell flat because it was obvious what was going to happen. I didn't like that there was an insta-love that happened between Juliana and Collin, I just don't like that kind of thing.

The Epilogue was used as a build-up to the next novel, which I hope is coming out next year, but honestly it wasn't as good as the build-up to this novel at the end of An Uncertain Choice. However, it was enough to peak my interest to find out what exactly is happening to Sir Bennett and his family.

I am giving this book 3.5/5 Stars because it was good but not great and there were several things that bugged me while I was reading it. However, Jody Hedlund does a good job of transporting the reader into the medieval era. I am looking forward to book 3 in this series.

Thanks to NetGalley and Zonderkidz for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

If you would like to read my review of An Uncertain Choice click here.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :)

Friday, March 18, 2016

Book Review: Moby Dick

Today's review is on Moby Dick by Herman Melville 

I have a long to-be-read list, and on that list are a lot of classics, some of which I will never get to in my life time. I believed Moby Dick by Herman Melville would be one of those books. It wasn't that I didn't want to read it, it is just that I have so many books I want to read and so little time to read them. Fast forward to my first class of Age of Romanticism in Fall 2015 and my professor decided to add Moby Dick to the required reading, I was really excited that I would finally have a reason to read this novel.

If you have read Moby Dick before you know that it is not an easy feat. Yes, it is a narrative about the hunting of a whale called Moby Dick, but in between sections of the narrative, Melville goes completely crazy describing anything and everything relating to whales and the ship. By the end of this novel I knew more about whales than I ever cared to know. But even with these passages of insanity, and what would probably seem kind of boring is an amazing work of art that drags the reader into the sublime.

Through Melville's attention to these details one actually feels like they are aboard the Pequod trying to hunt the cured white whale. Not only that but psychologically the reader experiences what life aboard a ship would have been like when there major lulls on the sea.

This is a must read for everyone, especially book lovers. It might seem boring at first but it is seriously the most insane books I have ever read in that it is both boring and fascinating at the same time.

I am giving this book 5/5 Stars because it is a work of art and it does not get nearly the appreciation it deserves.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :) 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Book Review: Illuminae

Today's review is on Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

When I first heard about Illuminae it became an instant anticipated release for me. I finally got a chance to read it over my Christmas break and I loved it! It finished it in 3 days and it is 600 pages long!

The book itself is beautiful, it is set out in a creative way of letters, Instant Message chats, surveillance footage, etc. And there is some awesome artwork throughout the pages, it is really cool novel and definitely not the kind of book you can read on a Kindle!

The plot was brilliant! If you are a fan of Star Wars, Dr. Who and even 2001: A Space Odyssey you will probably enjoy this book. The book takes place 500+ years in the future and it tells the story of a boy and girl whose planet is destroyed and they find themselves aboard two spaceships with the other survivors. However, this is only the beginning of the story so much happens in this book that I can't talk about because it would be a major spoiler, but it just kept getting better and better as I read it. There were so many thrilling twists and turns that kept popping up, a major one being at the end of the book (!). This book is a roller-coaster ride and I can't wait for the release of the sequel, Gemina, later this year, I need to know what happens next!

I enjoyed getting to know the two main characters, Ezra and Kady and how their stories intertwined, I even just loved how the authors showed how they were affected by the destruction of their planet.

However, there were a few things that I didn't like about Illuminae that I know other readers might have a problem with too and that was the presence of cuss words, even though they were censored out, and some sexual innuendos that made me feel uncomfortable. If it were not for these two things I would be giving this book 5/5 Stars.

 I am giving it a 3.95/ 5 Stars because I know it isn't the kind of book I can recommend to everyone. But if the above two issues don't bother you and you love Sci-Fi I highly recommend this book.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :)

Saturday, March 5, 2016

March 2016 TBR

Usually I post my monthly TBR list on the first of the month, but this week has been busy and I have been going through a reading slump. I think maybe I am just burnt out a little bit, I am hoping that I will get out of this slump soon. Here are the books I plan on reading this month :

1. The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester

I have to read this book for my History of the English Language class. It sounds very interesting, it is about the compiling of the Oxford English Dictionary and one man that submitted several thousand entries. I think I have to finish this by the end of the month, so I will definitely finish this one.

2. A Daring Sacrifice by Jody Hedlund
This is the sequel to An Uncertain Choice. After the cliffhanger of an ending I've been looking forward to this book. It is also supposed to have some Robin Hood elements to it. I also received this as an ARC from NetGalley and Zondervan Kidz.

3. Splintered by A.G. Howard
I've been hearing a lot about this book, and the fact that it is an Alice in Wonderland retelling. I have already started reading this book and I am enjoying it.

4. Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley
This was on last month's list and I am determined to try and read it over Spring Break. I am excited to read this book, especially since it is about the Brontes..

5. The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas
I am about half way through this collection of novellas, I had to take a break because I needed to read something more lighthearted.

6. You Were Here by Cori McCarthy
This book sounds interesting, but it sounds like it will also be sad. This is an ARC from NetGalley and Source books.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L.C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :) 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Book Review: Lions in the Garden

Today's review is on Lions in the Garden by Chelsea Luna

I received an  ARC of this book from NetGalley and Kensington and Lyrical publishers.

I have mixed feelings about this novel. In some ways I enjoyed it because it was set in Prague in 1610 which is during the time of the Reformation. It is not a Christian fiction book but it had some interesting insights as to what was going on during this time among both the Protestants and Catholics. It is also kind of a coming of age story for the protagonist.

The protagonist of the novel, Ludmilla or Mila for short, was interesting, especially as she struggles to understand the politics within the Holy Roman Empire, as well as struggling with whether the Protestants are truly as bad as she has grown up to believe. In the beginning of the novel she meets Marc who is a Protestant and she begins to realize that maybe the Protestants aren't as bad as her father had led her to believe, and she also sees why the see the need to revolt against the Holy Roman Empire.

One thing I had to  keep in mind while reading this book is that when the characters refer to themselves as Protestants, they are not necessarily Christians, rather they call themselves that because they are revolting against the Holy Roman Empire and the Catholic Church's tyranny. This is not to say that all Protestants during this time weren't true Protestants, meaning that they truly believed that the doctrine the Catholic church was teaching was wrong. However, based on this novel there were many who were just rebelling against the institution that had long oppressed them.

I can't go into too much detail because then it will give away spoilers but the plot was okay. I didn't like the fact that author seemed to use some modern sayings that would not have been around during this time period, it just annoyed me. I also didn't like one scene in particular when started to get a little bit steamy, it wasn't anything to explicit, it just wasn't something I was expecting in a YA novel and I don't like scenes like that.

I did enjoy the last 50 pages of the book because there seemed to be more action and I found it really gripping and I could not put it down, however the first 175 pages seemed to drag on. In some ways it was predictable, and in other ways there were things that took me by surprise, especially when the real antagonists are revealed.

I may or may not read the second book in this series, I am still trying to decide because I am kind of curious to find out what happens next, but at the same time I am worried that there will be more steamy scenes.

I am giving this book 2.5-3/ 5 Stars because there were certain things that I did really enjoy about the novel but there were also things I didn't like and I don't know if I could necessarily recommend this book to anyone I know.

Thanks again to NetGalley and Kensington for providing me with an ARC of this book for an honest review.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :)