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Friday, February 19, 2016

Weekly Reading Update 2/12-2/18/16!

Still in the first month of the Teen Reading Challenge, so you’ll have to continue to suffer through some manga updates. Actually, the challenge runs through April, so best prepare yourself now, sorry! Not everything I read was for the teen challenge - there are some awesome other books mixed in.

First up is Asa, by Jay Crownover. The final book of the Marked Men series, and it was an excellent ending indeed. I may have gotten a little emotional a time or two, especially at the end. Author Crownover said that the Marked Men may show up in her new series, The Saints of Denver, here and there, and I’m hopeful that’s true. I definitely can’t wait to start The Saints of Denver - beginning with Leveled, the prequel novella.

Next is The Earl and the Fairy, volumes 1 and 2, by Mizue Tani. Not my first historical manga, but it still felt different, if that made sense. I was surprised such a big plotline was wrapped up in two volumes, but at the end of volume 2, you see that it’s definitely not over. I already requested the next volumes, so I’m excited to see where it goes!

After that, I read Captive Hearts, volumes 1 & 2, by Matsuri Hino. I initial decided to try out this series because the description was ridiculous and adorable sounding. But it wasn’t until I actually got the manga in my hands that I realized that is only one of the three stories included in this volume, so that story is very short, and the others even shorter. The second volume just contains the main story, so that was an improvement… but I don’t think I’ll read any more in this series.

The next book was one I reviewed for Romance Reviews Today, so alas, I’m not allowed to cross-post them. Never Tear Us Apart by Monica Murphy was absolutely awesome. I loved it. And now I have to wait for an eternity (or like.. three months?) for the next one. It reminds me a lot of Asking For It and Begging For It by Lilah Pace, but with a lot less rough sex. A lot less sex in general, actually. But definitely check it out if you like your romance on the dark, edgier side.

Next up, Sweet As Sin by J.T. Geissinger - man, did I both love and hate this. I’m fickle, when it comes to fiction - sometimes I can be really strict about how characters act and react to things, and other times I’m more lenient than I would be in real life. I think if Nico treated me the way he sometimes treated Kat, I’d punch him in the nose, leave and never look back. But in fiction, I enjoyed it because it brought more drama to an already drama-heavy book, and sometimes I just like characters to suffer and have to jump through extraordinary hoops to get their happy ending.

Next I read two graphic novel memoirs, “Are You My Mother?” by Alison Bechdel, and “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” by Roz Chast. The Bechdel book was good, but while she emphasized that it was a book about her mother, it focused more on Bechdel’s interest in psychoanalysis than anything else. The second book, by Chast, was a memoir about her taking care of her parents in their final years. This one really hit home, since I recently went through a similar situation. Both were incredibly well written, but I will admit to liking Chast’s book more.

I actually read more than this (as in.. the entire run of Hot Gimmick - 12 volumes! And 5 volumes of Sensual Phrase..) but I figured this was more than enough for this week!


Happy Reading!
~!~ Amanda, Novel Addiction ~!~

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Review: UNDER MY SKIN by J. Kenner

Release Date: September 1st, 2015

Type: Trilogy, Book three, Last Book, Series, Contemporary Romance, Alpha Rich Boy

About the Book: Jackson Steele is my light in this world. Charismatic, bold, and always in control, he knows what he wants and how to get it—and absolutely nothing stands in his way. His hold on me is magnetic, his claim on me complete, his kiss my ultimate escape.

We both harbor dark secrets that could tear our lives apart. Though we’ve tried to bury our pasts, there are certain people who won’t let us forget. But the closer danger comes, the brighter the fire between us burns—our ecstasy consuming and soothing us both.

There’s no telling what lies ahead, but I know that Jackson never gives in without a fight. I’d do anything he wants to keep him safe, give him anything he needs. And now that we’re in deep, nothing can make me run. [Description from the back cover]

My Review: This is the final book in the Stark International trilogy, and author J. Kenner is not skimping on the drama. Every plot twist is another punch in the couple's chance at happily ever after, and be warned - the drama and rampant emotions can make the reader a little exhausted right along with Jackson and Sylvia.

One thing I really liked about this series is that it is consistent. That may seem like a ridiculous thing to say, but think about it - if you have a series and each book has a different feel, it doesn't feel cohesive as a whole. But J. Kenner knows how to write a trilogy (it seems to be her thing, after all) - so she knows what she's doing. Jackson and Sylvia grow throughout the series, but they still remain themselves, no matter what life throws at them - and I greatly appreciate that.

And now on to what I thought was a little difficult about this book - there were several loose ends that have been trailing throughout the series. And while the author does wrap everything up nicely, it just feels like there was so much packed into this last book. Maybe that's why I felt so exhausted while reading it - all the drama, all the ending of it... it was just so much in one moderately-sized book. I'm not saying the book should be longer - just that maybe one less bit of drama would have served it better as a whole.

All of that said, I really did enjoy this book, and the trilogy as a whole. I never read the original Stark Trilogy, and I do hope to one day. And the teaser for her next series in the back of "Under My Skin" shows a lot of promise as well.

Cover Lovin': Fits perfectly with the rest of the series, so it gets a thumbs up for sure.

Recommendation: Interested readers definitely need to pick up books one and two before attempting this one.

Final Rating: FOUR out of FIVE stars (4/5). Great ending to a series, but it almost seemed like there was too much jam packed into the last book.

My review of book one: Say My Name
My review of book two: On My Knees

Be sure to get your copy of the Stark International Trilogy at Amazon.com!

Happy Reading!
~!~ Amanda, Novel Addiction ~!~

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Review: The Wicked + The Divine volume 3: Commercial Suicide by Kieron Gillen

Release Date: February 9th, 2016

Type: Graphic novel, Comic books, Image comics, Series, Mythology, Gods and Goddesses everywhere

About the Book: After the detonation of FANDEMONIUM the gods-as-pop-stars of THE WICKED + THE DIVINE try living in the long dark shadow. Team WicDiv are joined by a stellar cast of guest artists to put the spotlight of each of the gods. The multiple Eisner-award nominated series continues in the only way it knows how: darker, weirder, faster. Don't worry. It's going to be okay. [Description from Netgalley.com]

My Review: This series is so addicting, and there's just so many layers to it. I just wish I was able to re-read the previous two volumes before reading this one, so that I can be on top of all the subtleties. I guess I will have to buy them all to refresh myself each time the new one releases.

The plot thickens in this volume, and the gods and goddesses are turning on each other. You can definitely see this volume pushing that story forward, and just who is on the right and wrong side. Or, what we think is the right and wrong side. What I love about this series is that it's so hard to trust anyone because most of them have their own endgame.

It's hard to mention specifics in my review because anything could give away the plots of previous volumes, as well as this one. But trust me, if you like your graphic novels weird and deep, you'll love this series!

Cover Lovin': Fits the rest of the series, so thumbs up there.

Recommendation: You most definitely need to start at the beginning. And it helps to read up the previous volumes to refresh your memory before tackling the new one.

Final Rating: FOUR out of FIVE stars (4/5). Great, deep, magic, weird.. and definitely confusing.

Be sure to get your copy of The Wicked + The Divine today! You won't want to miss this, for sure.

Happy Reading!
~!~ Amanda, Novel Addiction ~!~

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this in exchange for a fair and honest review.