Monday, February 22, 2016

Mini Review: Bob's Burgers: Medium Rare by Loren Bouchard

Title: Bob's Burgers: Medium Rare
Series: Bob's Burger's
Author: Loren Bouchard
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: November 19th 2015
Source: Dynamite Entertainment

Book Description:

While Bob and Linda Belcher have their hands full running the family business, their kids Tina, Gene, and Louise have adventures that you won't believe! The producers, writers, and animators of the hit animated show Bob's Burgers proudly present all-original comic book stories, including hilarious installments of "Louise's Unsolved Mysteries & Curious Curiosities," "Tina's Erotic Friend Fiction," and "Gene's Rhymey Rhymes That Could One Day Be Songs." Whether it's Tina's daydreams of cloning back-up dancers or jungle misadventures, Louise's explorations of underground tunnels and time-stopping Wonder Wharf rides, Gene's lyrics that reimagine boring Aunt Gayle visits as epic journeys to fantasy worlds, the Belcher family hijinx are guaranteed to make you laugh!



This is an okay collection, but I'm a little disappointed. This book includes 5 issues.

Each character gets their own little segment per issue, which is kind of cool. Unfortunately, Bob and Linda's pieces were really small and kind of uninteresting. It's a shame because while Louise is my favorite character, part of what makes the show so hilarious is Bob and Linda's couple dynamic. I mean, it is called Bob's Burgers, not Bob's Kids' Burgers. I wish the focus was taken away from the kids a little bit and was more encompassing.

Tina's stories were hit and miss. Tina's awkward, obviously, that's part of what makes her hilarious. But it was a little too awkward. I got a few laughs, but overall I was left feeling "meh". Louise's were right in the middle. Hers were more action-themed and interesting, and because I like her more as a character, I was a little more forgiving. The best segments were surprisingly Gene's, which were written in rhyme and were absolutely fantastic.

The art was hit and miss as well. Some stories looked really nice, others looked disjointed and off.

Overall, it's worth a look through if you're a fan of the show, but I'd rather watch it. It loses some of the humor when you can't hear it in their voices and mannerisms.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Mini Review: A Touch of Christmas Magic by Scarlet Wilson

Title: A Touch of Christmas Magic
Series: Midwives On-Call at Christmas #1
Author: Scarlet Wilson
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: November 1st 2015
Source: Harlequin

Book Description:

A family to heal him?

After a rocky beginning, midwife Bonnie Reid is surprised when the head obstetrician Jacob Layton offers her and her little daughter, Freya, a place to stay. Bonnie's looking for a fresh start, but she didn't expect it to be with brooding—and totally gorgeous—Jacob…

Family life has never been an option for Jacob—especially after his recent cancer diagnosis. Yet the Christmas magic Bonnie and Freya bring into his home makes Jacob feel more alive than ever! It's supposed to be temporary, but can Jacob really let Bonnie go?



I'm a sucker for Harlequin publications in general, but my love for them intensifies during the holiday season, when they release all of their Christmas romances. A Touch of Christmas Magic was exactly what I wanted to read during the holidays.

I really liked the English setting. The book did well to sweep you up into the, well, magic.

This book is what you've come to expect from Harlequin at Christmas. It's a really sweet read. It's full of romance and love. There's an adorable little girl. You become attached to all of the characters, and you want them to resolve all their problems and just live happily ever after already. It's just the right amount of drama and the sweet, feel-good fluff of the Christmas season.

The book is pretty well written. The characters are a bit cliche at times, but they show some dimension which is good. The writing and plot are well-paced, so you don't get bored at any one section.

If you love medical romances, Christmas romances, or romances involving adorable families, then this book is just what the doctor ordered. (Ha). I'd definitely check out the next book in this series, based on my enjoyment of this book.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Mini Review: How to Draw Tattoo Style by Andy Fish & Veronica Hebard

Title: How to Draw Tattoo Style
Authors: Andy Fish & Veronica Hebard
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: March 18th 2015
Source: Dover Publications

Book Description:

A great tattoo starts with a great tattoo drawing. Whether you want to become the next big tattoo artist, want to perfect a design for yourself, or just like to create new and original tattoo art, How to Draw Tattoo Style is the book for you. Filled with fascinating historical background and designs that range from "old school" nautical motifs to tribal and Oriental styles, the book offers expert tips on creating professional tattoo flash of skulls, hearts, dragons, and other images. You'll be drawing terrific tattoos in no time!



This book wasn't what I wanted it to be.

When I see the words "how to draw" in a book title, I assume that it's beginner friendly. Because you know, it's going to teach you how to draw something. This is not that book. It's not very good for beginners; it assumes you already have preexisting artistic talent. Which I mean, I can draw more than stick figures, but I'm certainly no artist. This is a book that is good for those looking to shift their drawing style tattoos, or to those looking to hone their talents.

So, this book was not what I was anticipating.

It was interesting learning some historical facts and stories, but I have no use for this book further than that.

If you're already good at drawing, then I'm sure you'll find this book far more useful. If you're looking for something more beginner, this isn't it. I received a copy in exchange for my honest review. Thank you.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Review: Best Women's Erotica of the Year edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel!

Title: Best Women's Erotica of the Year
Serial: Volume One
Authors: Various
Editor: Rachel Kramer Bussel
Format: Paperback, 240 pages
Pub. Date: January 12th 2016
Source: Author

Book Description:

Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 delivers risky, romantic, heart-pounding thrills. Joyful, daring, and authentic, these steamy stories revel in erotic adventure, from the sparks between strangers to the knowing caresses of longtime lovers. These stories are not merely erotic but filled with strong characters and clever narratives showing how sexual experience is different for everyone. This anthology is a glorious celebration of the finest and friskiest female erotic fiction today.



I think that Rachel might have just outdone herself in selecting the stories for this anthology. This is one of the best Cleis Press anthologies that I've had the pleasure to read so far.

As the title and synopsis suggest, these stories are focused on female erotica. There are twenty-two short stories included in this collection, each of them talking about females and sex in some capacity. Honestly, I was blown away by the amount of diversity that spans across these stories. There are young women, middle aged ones, older ones still. There are Asian women and black women and lesbians and those who are in transition, those who are butch and those who are femme. There are dominant women and submissive women. It's a great sampling of different women, and it was a really, really refreshing change of pace. Well done!

These women are found in a variety of different genres, including historical fiction and even post-apocalyptic. I wasn't expecting that, but it was definitely welcome.

There's also a huge amount of variety when it comes to the sex and erotica bit. No matter where your interests lie on a scale from vanilla to kinky, there's a story here that you're sure to enjoy. There's bathroom play, there's BDSM, there's spanking, there's toys, there's voyeurs and exhibition. And then there are stories that are simply two people finding pleasure and passion in one another, no bells and whistles needed. It's a lovely sprinkling of different things.

As this is an anthology, of course there were stories that I enjoyed more than others. I preferred some authors' writing styles, some kinks are not my own, etc. Instead of going over all 22 stories and giving my opinions, I'm going to highlight my four favorites. I know my regular readers are thinking "but you always do three!" I know, I know. But this time I just could not narrow it down. That's how happy I am with BWE. These stories are in no particular order.

The first story I wish to spotlight is called "Demimonde" by Valerie Alexander. This is a historically set short story that features a tall, dark, and handsome man, a seance, and a widower. It had just the right amount of "action" and scene build up, and honestly Ms Alexander knows how to write a man. I'd like one of him please, to go. The next story is called "Ophelia the Second", which is about an understudy, a gorgeous Shakespearean actor, and a passionate night off the stage. I love Shakespeare, and Hamlet is one of my favorite plays, so I loved that incorporation into the story. The third story is called "Starstruck" by Lazuli Jones. I adored this one. This story includes an ebony-skinned actor who once played a hero, a grown up nerdy fan girl, and a convention. I relate to this girl on so many levels, and I have had so many fantasies of meeting my favorite actors/actresses at conventions. I wish this one would happen to me, for sure. The final one is called "Enter Me" by Tabitha Rayne. This one stood out to me, because the female is deaf. It added a really unique dynamic to the story, and I don't think it's anything I've ever read before. It was very well written.

If you're into girls loving men, or each other, and you're looking for a book to warm up those cold February nights, look no further than this collection. You can read it in one go, or take it slow and read each story separately. There's a huge amount of variety, and I wasn't disappointed.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review. Thanks, Rachel!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Book Blitz & Giveaway: A Faerie Wedding by Stephanie Keyes!

Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Title: Everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Format: eARC
Pub. Date: September 1st 2015
Source: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Book Description:

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.



This book has such an interestingly done concept. It led me to thinking; what would I do if I became smitten with a boy and I couldn't leave the house? Of course I have no such answers, but it jumpstarted a bunch of scenarios and questions. I was hooked on this book within a few pages, and I couldn't put it down until it was over.

First, let's talk about the characters. I loved them. I appreciated that they were diverse. It's worth noting that I knew the main character, Madeline, wasn't going to be Caucasian because she described Oliver as being white. I found that fascinating and it goes to show the lack of diversity in writing because, I can't remember the last time I read a character description that said they were white. I always assume. So, points to this book for making me think about this, and for including a mixed race female lead character. As for Madeline herself, I appreciated how smart she was, and that she was always making book references. That's a girl after my own heart. I am also devastatingly in love with Oliver. It's no mystery to me why Madeline was in insta-like. This annoys me a little bit in books, but in this case, I'll make an exception. He's from a broken home but has a charming smile and is spontaneous. One of him to go, please.

The main plot twist was pretty predictable, though. I caught it within a few pages, thanks to a favorite film of mine entitled "Repo: The Genetic Opera". Regardless, it was an interesting plot idea, and I feel that Yoon did it well. It had a mix of really good righting and a sense that she did her homework on Madeline's illness and the consequences of having it. I also really liked that the prose of the novel was interspersed with Madeline's little doodles and diary pages. It shook things up a bit and was a nice change of pace.

What I didn't like, was the ending. I'll talk about this vaguely as to avoid spoilers. The ending felt too rushed and too sudden, and I was left with no closure. It felt like a cop out wrap up of "oh all is forgiven close the curtains", and I don't think that's realistic. I was expecting a more dramatic resolution of drama and anger and consequences, but I wasn't given that, and it left me disappointed with no more pages. If I had just been given a little bit more of a conclusion, I think it would have been a perfect rating, but I just can't get over that feeling of disappointment.

That said, it's worth reading for most of the plot, and for the characters. I hope that you fall in love with Oliver just as much as Madeline and I did, and that you'll cheer on Madeline to overcome illness and take a chance on life. I recommend this for fans of young adult romance who don't mind a little instalove, fans of bookish and diverse characters, and fans of books that circle around medical illness.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Thank you.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Review: Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat by Jen Mann

Title: Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Yuletide Yahoos, Ho-Ho-Humblebraggers, and Other Seasonal Scourges
Author: Jen Mann
Format: eARC
Pub. Date: October 13th 2015
Source: Ballantine Books

Book Description:

For fans of Laurie Notaro and Jenny Lawson comes an uproarious and oddly endearing essay collection for anyone trying to survive the holidays in one piece.

When it comes to time-honored holiday traditions, Jen Mann pulls no punches

In this hilariously irreverent collection of essays, Jen Mann, nationally bestselling author of People I Want to Punch in the Throat, turns her mordant wit on the holidays. On Mann’s naughty list: mothers who go way overboard with their Elf on the Shelf, overzealous carolers who can’t take a hint, and people who write their Christmas cards in the third person (“Joyce is enjoying Bunko. Yeah, Joyce, we know you wrote this letter.”). And on her nice list . . . well, she’s working on that one. Here, no celebration is off-limits. The essays include:

• You Can Keep Your Cookies, I’m Just Here for the Booze
• Nice Halloween Costume. Was Skank Sold Out?
• Why You Won’t Be Invited to Our Chinese New Year Party

From hosting an ill-fated Chinese New Year party, to receiving horrible gifts from her husband on Mother’s Day, to reluctantly telling her son the truth about the Easter Bunny, Mann knows the challenge of navigating the holidays while keeping her sanity intact. And even if she can’t get out of attending another Christmas cookie exchange, at least she can try again next year.




I was super excited when I heard about this book. I read and loved the first book, People I Want to Punch in the Throat. I have a hard time around the holidays thanks to my family's own dysfunction, so I couldn't wait to read her snarky take on the holiday season. I was left with a bit of a blue Christmas though, as this collection of essays fell flat for me.

I think the issue is in part: there's just not enough. I don't mean that the book is too short. What I do mean is that there's not enough actual holiday content. It feels like the author had maybe a few funny stories but tried to stretch them out a bit in order to fill a full book's worth. The end result isn't flattering. It makes the essays seem a bit forced in their humor. The writing was a bit boring, and while I did get a few laughs out of it, it wasn't nearly as laugh-out-loud-worthy as its predecessor. I like that Mann isn't PC. She's blunt and to the point and snarky, and I have a very similar personality type. But it's not enough to just throw around swears and sass; that does not a good essay make. I was whelmed.

I also feel like this book wasn't edited in the best way. It was choppy and just, didn't flow right. I wasn't able to get lost in the book at all, because it was so fragmented. I understand that this is a collection of essays and not a novel, but even so there was something just off about it.

I'm not sorry I read this. Like I said, it made me smile and I got a few laughs out of it. I think it's a book that's more of a coffee table book you bring out for the holidays and then pack up for the rest of the year, or perhaps a good gift for that one aunt on Facebook who posts nothing but memes featuring minions and wine. I'd definitely recommend the book before this one more, though, so if you haven't read it, add it to your to-read list before considering this one.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Review: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Title: This Is Where It Ends
Author: Marieke Nijkamp
Format: eARC
Pub. Date: January 5th 2016
Source: Sourcebooks Fire

Book Description:

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

The auditorium doors won't open.

Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.



This book gave me a case of the feelings.

I finished this book awhile ago now, but I had to let it stew around in my brain for awhile before I could properly and professionally write out my thoughts about it. There are some things that this book does very well, and other things that it does rather poorly, and so in the end I ended up giving it a neutral three out of five stars.

This is a tough book to read, not in its grammar or lexicon, but because of the overall plot. School shootings are tough stuff, scary stuff. Stuff that we unfortunately see every day on the news, and that some of us have personally been affected by, in some form or another. In my case, fortunately, no one was injured despite shots being fired. But even that is something that has stayed with me. It's a rough call to reality that it could happen at any school, to anybody, and that's terrifying. And yet, in its terror, this book is mesmerizing. I read it in one go, because I couldn't put it down. Thankfully I was on a train for 8 hours, so I had time to spare.

It took awhile to get used to the format of this book. It's comprised of four distinct, separated points of view. I'm not overtly fond of switching POVs, especially when it's four of them. That said, I think Nijkamp handled it fairly well. After a while it became easy to switch gears and decipher whose chapter was whose. I was disappointed that in these four points of view, the shooter wasn't given a voice. That's the voice I most wanted to read about, and I was left a bit sad that I didn't get that opportunity.

I appreciated that in addition to the separate points of view, the author also had mixed media strewn throughout the book. There is prose, as is standard in a novel, but also snippets of text messages, tweets, and blog posts. It brings the story into this decade and makes it feel more realistic. I think teens will relate to it more because of this incorporation of technology.

I do think that this book pulls out every single card in its literary deck, though, and it seemed like it was just for the purpose of saying the book included them. Different races? Check. Gay characters? Yup. Deaths of students, deaths of parents, rape, abuse, mental illness? Yup, all present. That's not a bad thing. I'm all for diverse characters and plots. I also know that everyone has their own story. But when it feels like it's all just plopped into the book for the sake of being plopped, it turns me off a bit. It also left me a bit confused. Part of one of the subplots of this story is that the town is a rather small and judgmental one, which is why so many people have so many secrets. This makes it hard to come out of the closet as being LGBT, because it is not a welcoming place. I was confused then why the quarterback who is so esteemed was a black character? Again, nothing wrong with having a black character. YA needs more of them. But when it's being drummed into the plot how small-minded the town is, this part doesn't seem to fit well. Maybe I'm just reading too much into things. It wouldn't be the first time.

I also wasn't happy with the ending, for a few reasons. I'll refrain from spoilers. Plot wise, I feel that it was kind of a cop out. The end chapters felt super rushed and I knew where it was going, and I didn't want it to go there. And when it ended it just felt like you had been running at an okay pace, sped up, and then hit a wall. It was just over. I'm not a fan of that at all. I also feel like the writing was a bit insensitive. I've lost friends to suicides and murders, and I promise you, I would never describe the loss of a beautiful human life as being able to see "brain" everywhere. It's crude, it's crass, and it's ultimately juvenile. It turned me off for sure, especially when mixed with this anger-inducing ending.

Unrelated to the content of the book, I absolutely love the cover. I think it sums up the plot well, and really makes a rather stunning point. I honestly forgot the title of this book at one point, but I remembered "the one with the broken chalk". It's a cover to be remembered.

I'm not sorry I read this, and I'll likely even read it again in the future. Like I said, there's high points and low points. It sucks you in and makes you confront life in a way that can be hard to swallow. There's some issues in it, but I would still recommend giving it a read. If you are a young adult reader who likes intense, emotionally driven books then this book might be for you.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinions. Thank you.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Review: New Suicide Squad, Vol. 1: Pure Insanity by Sean Ryan & Jeremy Roberts

Title: New Suicide Squad, Vol. 1: Pure Insanity
Series: New Suicide Squad #1-8
Author: Sean Ryan, Jeremy Roberts
Format: Paperback, 192 pages
Pub. Date: July 21st 2015
Source: DC Comics

Book Description:

Setting the world’s most dangerous super-criminals against the most insidious threats to national security: that’s the idea behind the elite black-ops unit officially designated as Task Force X. It’s perfect…on paper.

But the real world rarely goes according to plan. Threats evolve. Teammates turn on each other. Blood and betrayals flow like rivers. And that’s why Task Force X is better known as the Suicide Squad.

Vic Sage aims to change the equation. Replacing Amanda Waller as the puppet-master of Suicide Squad’s motley crew, he’s introducing wild cards like Deathstroke and the Joker’s Daughter to whip the existing team-Deadshot, Harley Quinn, and Black Manta-into shape. But the world’s deadliest assassin and the Clown Princess of Crime have ideas of their own…and no explosive implants to keep them in line.

Can this new Suicide Squad survive-or will it implode before it even begins?

Collects issues #1-8



As I'm sure my regular readers and friends know, I'm a sucker for all things Harley Quinn related. When I got my copy of this collection, I was so excited. (No, seriously. I was on Skype with my girlfriend when it came in the mail and she'll attest that the weird pterodactyl-esque shriek that left my face was not human.) All in all, it was an alright collection.

Harley is a bad ass in this. There's nothing I love more than when good ole Harley is angry and out for blood. That's when I love her the best, and this collection has plenty of that going on. I adore the artwork and how she is portrayed in this series, and that alone is a surefire way to get me to keep reading the New Suicide Squad series.

I did think there was a bit too much going on over the course of this collection though. Pure Insanity is the name of this collection, and that is exactly what you can expect when you open this book: chaos. There are a million characters who come and go. For some of them, their appearance is made into a big deal/big part of the plot. Others seem to run on for a page, wave, and go, like a cameo where nothing really was happening. I really like how many characters were smooshed into such a short space, but I didn't feel that it necessarily always worked.

And then there's the Joker's Daughter. I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to not like her but damn it is so easy to hate on her. I'm not her biggest fan to say the least, and I wish there was more to her than running around talking about the skin on her face. Side note, that is a very, very strange sentence that I never thought I'd have to put in a book review, but there we go.

I'm not sorry I got it, and I'll keep it on my shelf. I'll likely keep myself invested with New Suicide Squad, but I won't be quite as giddy and excited for the next release.

I received a copy from DC Comics in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Mini Review: Harley Quinn, Vol. 3: Kiss Kiss Bang Stab by Amanda Conner

Title: Harley Quinn, Vol. 3: Kiss Kiss Bang Stab
Series: Harley Quinn II #3
Authors: Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Chad Hardin
Format: eArC
Pub. Date: December 15th 2015
Source: DC Comics

Book Description:

Harley was certain she could have it all: She could be the world's best landlord, protect Coney Island from the scum of the Earth, woo Mason Macabre, work her day job as a psychiatrist, volunteer at the puppy shelter...but that's a whole lot of spinning plates, and eventually they're bound to start breaking! What happens when a psychopath cracks up? Is it possible for Harley to go even more insane?!




Ah yes, another Harley Quinn graphic novel. It's no secret that Harley Quinn is my favorite character. So when I saw the new Harley Quinn collection was coming out, I had to scoop it up.

I wasn't left disappointed. I really like the artwork in this volume. It's weirdly bright and colorful; two words that one wouldn't normally associate with Gotham's residents. Nonetheless, I like the change, since I tend to find other Batman-related comic books way too dark and murky for my liking (I know, I know).

The writing itself was okay. I felt like Harley Quinn is kind of coming into her own a bit in this volume from where she was in the previous volumes, and I liked that about her. This collection contains two "normal length" comics and throws in three short "specials". I actually really liked the specials, and I'm glad they were included. They were a nice surprise added to the expected issues.

It was enough to make me excited to read the next installment to see where things go from here. If you're a Harley fan like me, I'd recommend checking it out. If you're a diehard fan of the darker artwork associated with Batman/Arkham/Gotham, then this might not be the series for you.

I received a copy from DC Comics in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Mini Review: Frozen Heart by Elizabeth Rudnick

Title: Frozen Heart
Author: Elizabeth Rudnick
Format: Hardcover, 304 pages
Pub. Date: October 13th 2015
Source: Disney Press

Book Description:

Told in alternating chapters from both Anna's and Hans' perspectives, A Frozen Heart takes a sophisticated look at events of Frozen, exploring the couple's backstories, motivations, and doomed relationship.



Oh dear. This definitely wasn't what I anticipated. I was so excited when I saw that this book was coming out. I adore Disney films, and though I don't think Frozen deserved quite all the hype that it got, I still enjoyed it well enough. I was eager to read Frozen Heart because I thought maybe it would explore the world of Anna and Elsa with a bit more depth and complexity... But that wasn't the case.

This book follows the movie almost to a tee. There is one character who gets a bit more insight and explanation, and that's Hans. That's it. That little bit of insight, for a character that I still don't like, isn't enough for me to recommend reading this story. If you've seen the movie, you have gotten the gist of it.

Not only was it almost a film script, but I didn't even find it particularly well written. It felt very much like a cash-grab for Disney, to pump out a book about Frozen to help feed the mania. And, well it worked since I read it. But it was choppy and a bit dull. That could also be because I was playing the movie in my head.

Now I understand that I'm not the main demographic for this book. If you have a younger child who is obsessed with all things Frozen and princesses, or who is easing into reading bigger books, then this might be the book for you. But if you're looking for something in addition the the film's plot, I think you'll be disappointed.

I received a copy from Disney Press in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Review: Splintered by AG Howard

Title: Splintered
Series: Splintered #1
Author: AG Howard
Format: ARC
Pub. Date: January 1st 2013
Source: Won

Book Description:

This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence.

Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.



Oh man, where do I even start with this book? I suppose the beginning is as good of a place as any. What first drew me to this book was, admittedly, the cover art. It's so gorgeous. And then I found out it was a reimagining of Alice in Wonderland and I was sold. Alice's adventures are one of my favorite stories.

But then after I got this book, I just didn't read it. For no reason. There was so much hype and stuff for it, and I wanted to read it so badly, but it just seemed like there was never the time.

So I made time, and I am kicking myself for having waited so long. This book is absolutely fantastic.

What I liked best about this book was the world building. Howard took familiar elements from the tales we know and love, such as tea parties, Cheshire cats, and an evil queen, but she completely twisted them and made them her own. I was surprised by how dark and kind of creepy the world building was, but I positively adored it. Dark and creepy is just my style. Once I started reading I couldn't stop, because I was so eager to see what new lands and scenes Howard would unveil in this new, strange world. It was both familiar and unfamiliar, and I kind of liked the mix of the known and the mysterious.

I also really liked the care that was taken to build up character descriptions. By the end of the book, I felt like I knew all them personally. That's not an experience I get often in books, and I'm always blown away when it does. My favorite character was Morpheus, who was equal parts dreamy (no pun intended), mischievous, and mysterious. More of him, please.

The only thing that I really didn't like about the book was the very obvious love triangle. I knew there was one going in, and I do think that in the realm of love triangles, this one was pretty well done. It just gets a bit old for me after awhile, the "who will she pick!?" business. I mean, I'm still giving this a high rating, so it didn't matter to me too much, but it's still worth mentioning.

I am very eager to read book two, Unhinged, which thankfully I already own. I have no idea why I waited so long to read this, but I'm glad I eventually did! If you enjoy Alice in Wonderland, fairy tale retellings, or dreamy men with accents or piercings, then this is a book I'd definitely recommend to you.

I won this book in a giant box of books giveaway. Thanks, Tt!