8 Followers
9 Following
TouchBookMadness

A Touch of Book Madness

Welcome! I'm glad you found us. A Touch of Book Madness is a nutty book blog where anything can happen, but mostly book reviews and bookish related discussions. We are all Mad about books here, and we know you must be too, otherwise you wouldn't have come here. So please, make yourself comfy and share a cup of tea with us.

Currently reading

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentlemen Bastard, #1)
Scott Lynch, Michael Page
Progress: 253/1323 minutes

Max by C.J. Duggan

Max (Book # 2.5 The Summer Series) - CJ Duggan

This is what I’m talking about! I loved that Max, unlike the other novellas in the series, truly captures the camaraderie between the Onslow boys and their girls, which in my opinion is the essence and heart of the whole series. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the other novellas too (actually I think of all the Onslow boys Ringer is my man!) but they were focused in the couple being formed rather than the group dynamics that is characteristic for the books in the series.

 

This wasn’t the case with Max. Even if we didn’t see much of the boys, as we do in the books, I loved to finally be back at the Hotel and see a little more of their banter and playfulness. I really loved that Amy took Mel under her wing and that they became fast friends. I think I like Amy even more now. If she were real, I’d love to have her on my side.

 

I really enjoyed seeing how Max has slowly entered the picture where the Onslow Boys are concerned and I’m dying to see them all together in the final book. Forever Summer can’t get here soon enough!

 

I loved how you can make the connection between what happens in this book with the other novellas in the series. In Stan you see Max arriving to town, and in Ringer you learn more about Max, his family and we even get to see Bluey and Mel again!

 

I liked Mel. I truly felt for her. Her dad’s punishment was surely harsh, and I can’t imagine how captive she must’ve felt, so it was awesome to see her finally catch a break in Onslow.

 

This book has some funny scenes in it and it made me laugh out loud. As all the books in the Summer Series, it was addictive. I was actually planning to read this novella in 2 days, but I simply couldn’t. I had to read until it was done which resulted in very few hours to sleep and a very long day after.

 

Overall, this was an excellent addition to the series. Pure C.J. quality and I would definitely recommend it to every fan of this series. You can’t miss this one! My only complaint is that I wanted more!

Source: http://touchofbookmadness.blogspot.com/2015/02/max-by-cj-duggan.html

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

I think I need to warn you that I’m crazy about this book, so there probably will be an overuse of the word love! I’ll try to be as coherent as possible, but I don’t know how else to express my feelings about this book.

 

Let’s just start by saying this is pure awesomeness! This book is like no other I’ve ever read before. It’s so original! The premise is pretty cool, but it could’ve still gone wrong in the execution. Thankfully, it didn’t. Ernest Cline is simply brilliant!

 

If you don’t know already this book is basically about the greatest video game that has ever existed. It’s a virtual reality simulation where everything is possible. Things just happen to get more exciting when its creator dies and starts a huge contest that will award the winner everything he owned! I’m talking about millions people! Who wouldn’t want a part of that?! Although I think I would lack the determination to follow through with the contest

.

Anyway, even if this book is about video games, and 80’s pop culture (which I wasn’t a part of) I could still relate to it in every aspect. You do NOT have to be a gamer to love this book. The sole idea of a virtual reality simulation, and all you can do with it, is amazing in itself. But it was also fun to meet all these eccentric nerdy characters! Seriously, each of them had unique traits you would love, and even if they acted in ways I didn’t approve sometimes I could always understand where it came from, so I could absolutely relate to their situations.

 

The thrill of the game caught up with me from chapter one. Seriously! Halfway through the first chapter I wanted to scream in excitement. It’s impossible not to root for these characters to win the contest, and the way the story is narrated you almost feel you’re there with them playing the game. It was also fun to learn so much about 80’s pop culture. Not only video games, which was very interesting because there were so many things I didn’t know about them, but also movies and music. Being a cinema fan, I could recognise some of the movie titles, but that’s it. So, even if I knew nothing about everything they were talking about, because I feel I should warn you this book evolves around 80’s pop culture knowledge, I was able to enjoy every bit of it since it was thoroughly explained. Every reference has a purpose, so you can’t get lost in all the data. It’s pretty cool how the author manages to mix all this information and wove into the story.

 

The only downside of this book is that at some points I felt like the chapters that were devoted to explain all of the information Parzival had to learn in order to play this game were too long. It took something away from the excitement. Nevertheless, this book has plenty of excitement in it, so maybe it was a good thing to have some cool down chapters. I was so into the story that I just had to finish the book and stayed up way past my bedtime to finish it. I just needed to know!

 

I loved how the characters interacted with each other, how nerdy they all were, I enjoyed James Halliday’s eccentricity, and I even loved how hateful Sorrento was. He’s one of those characters you love to hate.

 

I think have extended enough, but I would like to say that you should definitely give this book a chance. Your inner geek will absolutely be able to relate to this beautiful story. You don’t even have to be a sci fi fan.

 

NARRATION

 

Will Wheaton did a pretty good job with this book. I easily forgot I was listening to him and began picturing the characters. His pacing was great! His tone and voice inflections were perfect for the book. He did some excellent male voices, but he fell short with his female voices. Art3mis’ voice was decent, but his old lady voice really sucks. Thankfully the old lady I’m referring to (Parzival’s neighbour) doesn’t make much of an appearance so it wasn’t much of a problem. I also loved how he did Daito and Shoto. I think he nailed that Japanese accent.

 

Overall, I think he did an outstanding performance and that the book is worth listening to. I can’t compare it to the reading experience, but I have a feeling that listening to it, can maybe increase the excitement of this story.

Source: http://touchofbookmadness.blogspot.com/2015/02/ready-player-one-by-ernest-cline.html
The Graveyard Book CD: Full Cast Production - Robert Madge, Tim Dann, Neil Gaiman, Neil Gaiman, Andrew    Scott, Reece Shearsmith, Sean Baker, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Clare Corbett, Emilia Fox, Derek Jacobi, Miriam Margolyes

To be completely honest, if it weren’t for the amazing cast and music I would’ve lost interest in this book at first. It has a really slow start and each chapter felt like a separate story in Bod’s life at the graveyard, not all of which I found of interest. Nevertheless, about halfway through the book, things start to pick up and my interest was caught. As it turned out, everything leading to Bod’s age 14 was a set up to what was to come, and trust me when I say stick with this book, it’s worth it.

 

The ending was amazing. It’s bittersweet and left me with my heart full. I think I even shed a tear or two. It is a beautiful growing up tale about finding love (any kind of love) in the most unexpected places and of letting go in order to move forward.

 

I thought the paranormal elements fit perfectly with the story, with the exception maybe of the true nature of Silas and Miss Lupescu. I think ghosts and some magic where perfectly good with the story but some of the others creatures didn’t strike me as realistic as the majority. I loved however, the subtlety in which Mr Gaiman revealed these characters true colours.

 

Overall, this story is worth your time, although I would definitely recommend the audiobook over the written book. I think maybe it does a better work in holding your interest at the beginning of the story.

 

THE NARRATION


Holy Cow! The narration was awesome! I had never listened to a full cast audio before and know I will most definitely be on the search for another of this marvellous piece of work. I loved everything about it. The different characters, the music at the beginning and end of each chapter and some sound effect like when the sleer spoke. It certainly gave me the creeps. My favourites though were the narrator and Silas. I loved their voices! They were perfect! Brilliantly capturing the essence of the story and mood of the characters. The narrator’s voice was whimsical and held my attention all the way, while Silas’ voice was sort of dark and serious, perfect for his character. If you are still not convinced about this, just try out the sample.

 

 

Source: http://touchofbookmadness.blogspot.com/2015/02/the-graveyard-book-by-neil-gaiman.html

Defenseless by Elisa Dane

Defenseless (Diamond Girls Book 3) - Elisa Dane

Let me tell you about the great finale for an awesome series. Defenseless was the icing of cake when it comes to the Diamond Girls series. Once again we meet this awesome group of friends, which I love. They are so close and loyal to each other. They are positive, healthy, stay out of trouble and don’t do gossip. Which when it comes to grouping girls is incredible difficult, so I have a lot of respect for these girls.

 

Sadly, their strengths are yet to be tested, when drama strikes their life. Now they need to overcome their grief together if they want to make to the Cheerleader’s World Championship, especially Claire who is fighting hard to keep it together.

 

That’s were Ryker Vaughn strikes in. It’s a bit of a cliché how all the Diamond Girls seem to have a knack for nice boys who are posing as bad, but I love that although these boys are troubled and dealing with lots of stuff they are indeed good people. I’m a huge sucker for nice boys and all of these guys (Bodie, Reid and Ryker) treat these girls with nothing but their utmost respect. Which really sets and example with what you should be looking (in my opinion), a guy who treats you nicely.

 

I loved that each book has their own message, and even if the whole series is tainted by a lot of drama, these girls shine in a way that makes your heart fluffy in the end. This time around it was about texting and driving and its dangers. I also loved that it was also focused on sports. Not also cheerleading competitively but fighting as well. Ryker was a fighter and got into an accident, and I loved how, even if these girls train hard, there was an important issue about caring for your well being more than winning.

 

Even if at times I wanted to grab Claire and shake her out of her guilt and foolishness for believing she wasn’t allowed to be happy, I felt it was very realistic. I can’t understand all the guilt that well, but I do understand why she felt she should be ashamed to be happy or falling in love due to the situation. I have a feeling I would’ve done something similar if I’d been in her shoes. I love that Claire always speak what’s on her mind and generally she’d be really cool to hang with, so it was a bit sad to see her so down, but it also allowed me to see a new side of her we hadn’t been able to see before.

 

On the previous book, Unbreakable, I was a bit bothered by how the author kept going on and on about how Nev was so happy know after all the grief she had to endure, referencing what happened in book 1. Well I was extremely thankfully this did not happen here. There are small references here and there about the previous books, which is always nice, but not excessive, so that problem was cleared.

 

Overall, the Diamond Girls series is an amazing trilogy, with well-rounded characters and great message for teens, especially a great example of friendship and healthy relationships. I am only sorry we never got to learn Erin’s story with Andrew. I feel like she was the only girl missing a story.

Source: http://touchofbookmadness.blogspot.com/2015/02/defenseless-by-elisa-dane.html

Unbreakable by Elisa Dane

Unbreakable - Elisa Dane

I was glad to finally go back to this series and meet with the Diamond Girls again. The more I read about them, the more I feel they are definitely a cool group of girls I’d love to surround myself with in real life. Plus, I would’ve loved to be cheerleader in High School, if only that option were available while I was growing up. Nevertheless, there are more than enough reasons to think these girls are cool aside from their awesome athletic skills, especially Livvie.

 

They are all incredibly loyal and nice. Livvie is trustworthy and what I love, they don’t engage in gossip, nor do they talk back in situations I would most certainly have trouble keeping my mouth quiet. That alone earns my respect for them. Livvie is thrown into a pretty messy situation at some point, gossip related, and she never once thinks about talking back. She deals with the situation with the upmost dignity and discretion. I must admit I tip my hat to her and her friends who were always extremely supportive.

 

I also loved that Livvie had her own YouTube beauty channel which in itself is pretty awesome. I know I don’t have so much beauty tips I could share, I need to see that channel! (The author did however set up a beauty blog you can check out).

 

In this instalment the author decided to deal with a more serious issue, in my opinion, than drinking and driving (which was addressed in book #1, Ex-Factor). Livvie had to deal with an abusive man situation, which is much more complicated since it mainly involves the behaviour of other people. It teaches a good lesson on the responsibility we have to choose the people we want to surround ourselves right, and tell them apart spotting the signs. It also sets a good example on how to deal with it if that ever were to happen to you.

 

The romance was good and in a similar style than the previous book. You can certainly notice a pattern there, but I did enjoy very much to see Livvie and Reid grew closer. Thea uthor really wants to make a point on not judging people on their appearance nor their reputation. Everyone has a back story that determines who they are. It is a deep message we should cherish and pay attention to in a daily basis.

 

The one major point that really bugged me though, was that the author put way too much emphasis in the fact that Nev had really gone a long way from the last book and how happy she now was. Don’t get me wrong, I love a small reminder of what happened in previous books in a series, and I’m truly happy and proud of Nev. But I felt it was mentioned more than what is necessary. By the end I wanted to scream I get it!

 

Finally I loved how this book put a great focus into family. The relationship Livvie has with Nev, her cousin and her mum was endearing and I really enjoyed the see the family dynamics they shared.

 

Overall, this series is going places I really enjoy and I’m glad I have the next book lying around to go straight to it.

Source: http://touchofbookmadness.blogspot.com/2015/02/unbreakable-by-elisa-dane.html

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Landline - Rainbow Rowell, Rebecca Lowman

It has taken me longer than usual to sit down to write this review, because I don’t seem to know how to put in words what I feel about this book. I would have to say that Rainbow Rowell does not cease to impress me. I have loved both her adult novels so far because they are very real. She has the kind of magic that can turn simple everyday things into a wonderful story highlighting the beauty that life is. You don’t have to go and live an adventure (although I love those too) to experience true joy and I feel like she captures this marvellously.

 

This time around the main focus is marriage. I’m not a marriage lady, as you may know, but I do have meaningful relationships in my life, as assume all of you have, and all the lessons Georgie learns throughout the book are applicable to those as well.

 

I have always felt that love is decision you make every day to stick by a person’s side. Of course it all starts with a fuzzy feeling, let’s say, in your heart, but true love is a decision. Georgie seems to learn this the hard way thanks to a magic telephone that allows her to realize all the mistakes she’d made in her relationship with her husband, which was mainly that she took him for granted. Her priority was work, and she was very good at it, but her decision was always work and never her husband.

 

It was really a fun journey she goes through and I was a bit nervous along the way to see if she was able to make things right. I loved Neil. He is the perfect lovable husband any working woman would want. I have always been a sucker for good guys, and he is the ultimate good guy ever. He was very real too. With flaws and everything, but he clearly had his priorities in order which I very much appreciated. I did not care much for Georgie’s mum, because she kept telling her daughter his husband left her, which he hadn’t. I didn’t feel she was very supportive.

 

The same could be said about Seth. He was clearly a great writing partner. He was funny and charming, but he didn’t want to let go of Georgie and he seemed to not know where his place was. They had some mixed priorities in y opinion.

 

Overall, it was an excellent story that moved me. I loved the combinations of characters, and how the story was switching back and forward between their past and present. It really worked great. I also loved the touch of magic that was added through the phone. I’ve read some reviews that said they didn’t care much for it, but I thought it added something extra that was pretty cool.

 

NARRATION

 

The first time I heard Rebecca Lowman narrated a book I didn’t like her that much, so I was a bit worried my apprehensions with her narration would show again. Thankfully, I was pleased to discover I really enjoyed her narration this time around. I don’t know if she was a more suitable narrator for an adult book or if her pacing just sped up and got better. Bottom line, I liked her narration very much. She did some excellent male voices; the only problem was that I felt all her male characters were the same. Such problem didn’t exist with female characters.

Source: http://touchofbookmadness.blogspot.com/2015/01/landline-by-rainbow-rowell.html

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean At The End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman

I don’t have much to say regarding this book, so I decided to write a mini review instead. I really liked this book. It was my first Neil Gaiman book, and I have to admit I quite enjoyed his writing and storytelling abilities. The characters were interesting and pretty well rounded. It was an interesting narrative perspective because the story was told by an adult who was remembering a childhood experience, and I feel like Mr. Gaiman captured brilliantly what it felt like to be a child.

 

The MC was a sweet child, so innocent yet so smart, and it was a delight to witness his scary experience. I also loved the Hempstock women who were very intriguing and selfless, especially Lettie. I feel like they were the most important element of the story. We never really know what they are, but it doesn’t really bother me, because we know what they do and that they are kind.

 

The book had an eerie vibe overall, and even if I thought Ursula Monkton was creepy as hell, the book is not scary per se. It is a lovely story, but sadly I cannot say it gripped me. I wasn’t hooked or desperate to keep on reading it, hence the 4 stars review. Nevertheless I feel like this story will somehow grow on me with time, and maybe I would like to revisit it some other time in the future.

Source: http://touchofbookmadness.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-ocean-at-end-of-lane-by-neil-gaiman.html

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Rose Under Fire - Elizabeth Wein

I waited a while before writing this review in hopes I’ll have a better idea of how to express my feelings. As it turns out, I don’t. I was expecting a heart wrenching beautiful and historically accurate story, based on what I experienced with Code Name Verity, but I was still blown away by it. They were as good, I’m even tempted to admit I enjoyed this one better, but it is still so fresh in my heart I feel a bit biased saying that, but they were still so different from each other. They are definitely two different stories, with a common theme and some shared characters.

 

I was ecstatic to see Maddie and Jamie (I’m sorry if I didn’t get the spelling of their names right, but I listened to the audiobook, so I didn’t get the chance to read it) again and to see they were well and happy. It was just a glimpse because they are not the centre of this story, but I was glad to get it. I wasn’t surprised, though, to learn a bit about them and how they were coping with Julie’s decease, yet I was not expecting to run into Engel again, and trust me, you’ll find her in the most unexpected place. When it finally dawned on me it was her, I was agape! It was awesome that Rose’s path crossed with her’s in such a way. Masterful, even.

 

Speaking of masterful, this story totally sneaked up on me. I thought it would go straight to the action, like Code Name Verity where we learn straight ahead that Julie had been imprisoned. Not this time around. I didn’t read the synopsis beforehand so I didn’t know what would happen, and I really didn’t know what to expect, but this story was slowly showing its deep layers. Plus, it was great to see how Rose had changed after experiencing the hardships the war brought on her.

 

I loved the fact that Rose was a poet, and I loved every one of the poems she wrote at camp. I also didn’t miss the subtlety of her last name being Justice. I loved that instead of putting the focus in one friendship, we got the focus on a wonderful group of people. But most of all, even if the author was careful in portraying the horrors that went on in a Concentration Camp, I loved that the main centre of attention was solidarity, love and the strength of human race. I hate what happened during WWII, but it wasn’t only a show of our worst features as humanity, if you look careful enough you’ll also be able to see it was also a demonstration of our best features and strengths.

 

I also enjoyed very much that the story wasn’t set in a Jewish Concentration Camp, which, as it turned out, were a bit different from the prisoner’s camp as the one Rose was in (I won’t even dare try to spell that). I liked that because they did exist, but we barely know about them, at least me. So many different types of people ended up there and their experiences were somewhat different. They deserved the spotlight.

 

It turned out I had lots to say about this book, but I would love to end it with a mention to Elodie. I loved that character and I got so little of her. I would love to have her side of the story. She was indeed remarkable, and if I ever end up marrying a French guy and have a daughter, I shall name her Elodie.

 

To sum up, this author is brilliant and the narrator was marvellous! They brought together a story to life. A beautiful heart warming, heart wrenching story of hope, solidarity, love and bravery in the most unexpected places. This book will live with me forever. It accurately captures the horror and the small rays of beauty within German Concentration Camps.

 

Narration

 

I don’t want to make this review longer, so I’ll just add a short note on Sasha Pick’s narrator. She is unbelievably amazing! She has an excellent pacing, she’s a wonderful singer, I loved listening to her read poetry, and how she made all the voices with their respective accents. She was so good at it too. Brilliant choice. I’ll be looking out for more of her audiobooks.

Source: http://touchofbookmadness.blogspot.com/2015/01/rose-under-fire.html

Rough Around the Edges Meets Refined by Rachael Anderson

Rough Around the Edges Meets Refined (Meet Your Match, book 2) - Rachael Anderson

I really adore this series and I can’t wait for the last book to arrive. I love Sam, so I really want to see her meet her match.

 

This book takes place around three years after where we left the first book, but I loved to see what was going on with the [fictional] lives of characters that had grown on me. They all felt so familiar. It was like coming home. That’s what I love about this kind of series where the main focus is on a new couple, but we still get to see the characters we cared for in the previous books. This could perfectly be read as a standalone really, but I would still recommend reading the previous book first to get a bit more background on the characters.

 

 

This time around we got Noah’s story and I really really enjoyed getting to know him. I loved that Noah was so easy going. He’s my perfect kind of guy, modest, funny, and puts family as his first priority. I really liked that he was willing to sacrifice so much for them, even his career.

 

I also found it was easy to relate to Cassie. I can perfectly understand where her mistrust was coming from. Past relationships do determine how we will experience the new ones, so everything made perfect sense. I’m really sorry she had to endure some tough things with her previous husband, but I liked that she was not willing to let that sort of thing happen to her again. She was pretty resilient in that regard, and a strong woman we could all learn from.

 

Becky was the same old good friend and neighbour to everyone, and I loved that Justin, her husband, had a bigger role this time, because I seriously don’t remember seeing him on the previous book. It’s funny that Kevin keeps pushing everyone to start their own business, he is definitely an entrepreneur, or is trying to get the people around him do just that. The only thing that felt a bit unresolved was that we never got to know if Emma did in fact open her own business after book 1. There was no mention about that, so my guess is she did and it was successful, but I would really like to know.

 

Overall, this book is another Rachael Anderson success, and if you are a contemporary fan, or love warm and fluffy reads that will lift your spirits, then you should not miss this one.

Source: http://touchofbookmadness.blogspot.com/2015/01/rough-around-edges-meets-refined.html

Prejudice Meets Pride by Rachael Anderson

Prejudice Meets Pride (Meet Your Match, book 1) (Volume 1) - Stephen Hawking

I enjoyed this book more than I was expecting. It turned out it was the perfect book to read by the pool, which I totally did because it’s summer here. I was so hooked I was up finishing it way past my bedtime, and I was eager to pick the second book in the series.

 

This is just the kind of book that will warm your heart, and I absolutely was in the mood for this. It was a sweet, funny story about being able to discover the sugar in your lemonade. Even when things seem sour, they have some sweet, so keep your eyes open.

 

I loved that this book highlighted family values in its maximum potential, and that it also gave a great message on lending out a hand when someone needs it, especially to those around you. Becky, I have come to believe is the ultimate neighbour and we can all learn so much from her sunny disposition.

 

It was a really nice touch that Emma was a painter. I could almost see her paintings come to life, they were so vivid in my mind, and boy do I wish I could hire her to do my bedroom.

 

I would like to emphasize that even if the title suggests this could be a Pride and Prejudice retelling, it is only similar to Jane Austen’s novel in that Kevin is prejudiced and Emma is proud. Everything else about them is rather original, especially the circumstances in which they meet.

 

My favourite thing was that Emma saw everything like it was a painting and I loved her way of interpreting art. Everyone has a story, we just have to dig a little deeper. I also adored the Mary Poppins reference; it was spot on and hilarious!

 

Overall, this is an excellent story about overcoming hardships, solidarity, and being true to oneself, which is really an advice we should all take.

 

This is my second Rachael Anderson novel and so far, I’m loving her work.

Source: http://touchofbookmadness.blogspot.com/2015/01/prejudice-meets-pride-by-rachael-anderson.html

Eden Forest by Aoife Marie Sheridan

Eden Forest - Aoife Marie Sheridan

Since this was a rather short novel, I’m going to keep this review short. This was an action packed, fast paced novel that grabbed me from page one and didn’t leave me, actually until I managed to finish the second book in the series. I honestly read this book in one day. I just keep turning pages until I was done, and I was left wanting more.

 

I like the premise and the setting of this new world the author is proposing. I love the idea that God created a parallel world, although I wished I could be in that world (except for the marrying thing). I like how their magic system is based on the elements, and I’m really looking forward to seeing Sarajane’s full potential. I also liked that even if this novel was a bit short, the author didn’t rush anything. So we can see the characters develop at a real pace.

 

I would’ve appreciated some more motherly action on Marta’s side. I felt she was left aside and on the account of rekindling with her long lost love, she isn’t behaving like a great mother. She has been rather neglectful. I also don’t understand Morrick’s fatherly behaviour. He seems over protective and rather authoritarian over Sarajane, which I understand, but why doesn’t he act the same with his other children?

 

Finally, the relationship that seems to be flourishing between Sarajane and I'm not spoiling seemed rushed, I’m trying to rationalize that with the fact that this species only falls in love once, so I guess that kind of insta love/attraction could happen, though I would’ve rather seen it slowly surface.

Source: http://touchofbookmadness.blogspot.com/2015/01/eden-forest-by-aoife-marie-sheridan.html

A Good Marriage by Mr. King

A Good Marriage - Stephen King

This was a short novel, so I decided it was best if I did a mini review.

 

Mr. King doesn’t cease to amaze. I wonder what it feels like to be in his head. Anyhow, I went into this book not knowing what to expect, and it was better that way. I loved how Mr. King truly captures the complexities of the human mind. I mean, I felt like I was following Darcy’s train of thought right as it was happening. It is easy to relate to her struggle, and Mr. King nails it perfectly.

 

To provide some context, Darcy was pretty happy with her marriage until one day she discovers something really nasty. I’m talking about horrific proportions here and her world just goes spinning down a rabbit hole. I loved that the story was progressive. First we have a denying Darcy that doesn’t want to know her husband’s secret, which in retrospect would’ve been much better; we really don’t need to know everything about our spouses. But at last, it was inevitable to look. I don’t think that I would’ve struggled so much, I’m too curious.

 

You can tell she was a very smart woman, and I think she played all her cards well. I don’t know if I would’ve done the same, but I certainly respect her decision.

 

You could feel she was broken and I simply loved how Mr King managed to pull this story off.

 

In short, it was thrilling and compelling, and I just had to keep listening to know how things would unravel. It did not disappoint. It is a classic horror that could happen in any household, and what is scarier is the question Mr King poses about how well you know the person you’ve been living with.

 

Jessica Hecht's narration was impeccable. She set the perfect tone for the story and her pacing was great. She added a particular element that I think you could've missed when just reading, which added so much to Darcy's character. It was mainly the struggle in her voice. You could feel she was a broken woman trying to put herself together. She is desperate, yet determined, all thanks to an excellent performance. Let's just say, she brought Darcy alive in a way the imagination would've been short.

Source: http://touchofbookmadness.blogspot.com/2015/01/a-good-marriage-by-stephen-king.html

City of Secrets by Aoife Marie Sheridan

City of Secrets (Saskia) (Volume 2) - Aoife Marie Sheridan

This series! God! I’m very thankful I had the second book waiting for me after I read the first one, so I could jump straight back into the story. Which by the way, picks up just were we left it, so that was really great! But I don’t have the third book waiting for me and that’s killing me!

 

I really like Aoife's plotting! Seriously it's one thing after the other. You would think you were finally getting some peace, and something would knock you unexpectedly off your feet. I love not being able to predict what’s going to happen in a book, even though I can’t help to try. So I’m always happy when I don’t know where things are going. So pay attention, this series just keeps getting better and better, so I can’t wait to see how the epic conclusion will come to be. It will be epic, I know that.

 

I especially love that Sarajane feels so human. She is supposed to be the heroine, but is so flawed. She is trying her best, yet she makes mistakes. She feels disappointment, heartbreak, but she keeps on going. I was really glad to see her fend for herself this time. I expected big things from her and I'm glad she is living up to the expectations, but hasn't grown from ineptitude to master in a day. It's been a rocky road, and she is still learning. All those qualities make her appear as believable. I also liked to see more from other characters. They are all showing their true colours. This is an emotional ride guys, so you better be prepared. I love that the author didn’t hold back in this aspect.

 

The only complaint I have is that I don't know why the formatting of the book I received was really bad. It could really benefit from some serious editting. I don't know if this applies to purchased editions though. But if you don't mind, then you'll really enjoy it.

 

Overall, this was a wonderful sequel to an amazing series. I would definitely recommend it to any fantasy lovers out there.

 

*Disclosure, I got received a copy of this book for free for review purposes, though my opinion was not at all biased by this fact. It is my own.

Source: http://www.touchofbookmadness.blogspot.com/2014/11/city-of-secrets-by-aoife-marie-sheridan.html

Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram

Cinder & Ella - Kelly Oram

I own most of Kelly Oram’s books but haven’t read any of them, I’ve heard great things about her authoring skills, so I really wanted to give her books a try. This is her newest novel and I’ve seen only praise about it, so I figured this was a great book to start with.

 

Well, it was an excellent decision. At first it was hard for me to get into this story because I honestly think the author didn't get the Chilean culture right, which as a Chilean was a huge turn off and the main reason I didn't give this book a full five Mad Hats rating. But it was impossible not to fall in love with these characters and their heartbreaking story.

 

I was not expecting that. I don’t know when it happened but suddenly I was hooked. I couldn’t put it down! I had to literally force myself to stop reading so I could get some sleep, and was even a bit late for work the other day. If I didn’t have to work, I would’ve definitely finished this book in one sitting.

 

It is so emotional and sweet. I feel so much stuff for Ella. I really really like her. She is sooo cool. What happened to her is awful and all the hardships she’s had to endure were indeed tough, but she was so strong and with the help of her support system, I have confidence she will be ok, She feels so real too. I love that she is a blogger! And a witty, sarcastic one! I think the author truly captured the essence of a book blogger and most importantly of a book worm. The same goes for Cinder. He was charming and funny, although a little over the top with his passion. 

 

I honestly thought this was going to be a corny clichéd story, but I couldn’t have been more wrong, and I’m truly glad I was. Even if you can predict where this is going, it is a re-telling after all, I was still surprised, and anxious, and nervous and touched by so many things that happened. This book has so many emotions people! I even liked this story better than the original. Much more exciting, heartbreaking and sweet at the same time.

 

I don’t want to extend too much, so I’ll just say that I love Kelly Oram’s character building skills. You have so many diverse characters in this book, and they have so many shades of grey. It is hard to stereotype any of these characters, because even if you don’t approve of them, you can understand them and feel a bit of empathy. Even for the mean characters, who were so hateful! I love when authors nail their villains. I also think it was very clever and funny that she included one of her previous titles as a book to movie adaptation in the book.

 

Overall, it is an awesome book with the perfect fairy tale ending. I hadn’t been caught up in a book so hard in a long time.

Source: http://touchofbookmadness.blogspot.com/2014/12/cinder-and-ella-by-kelly-oram.html

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein

This is an audiobook review.

 

I’d heard this book was amazing, so I was very excited to listen to it, but I was definitely not prepared to love it so much. I think I was a bit sceptic of all the hype, but let me tell you it is well deserved.

 

These characters are so rich. They are lovely girls and an even better team. I loved learning about them and getting to know them. This story is a rather crude portray of World War II, and even if it isn’t too descriptive we know some of the characters endure terrible torture and have to face adverse circumstances. They are scared and in great danger the whole time, but it was refreshing to see how brave these girls are. Brave in a very real way and not in the fantasy type of heroine I also love. I’m not sure how old they are, but I guessed they were around 18-20 years old? So they were mature enough to make the decisions they did, but still young enough to allow us to feel the injustice of war.

 

The most beautiful thing about this story though, is that it focuses on these two friends Maddie and Julie/Queenie. It is one of the greatest love stories I’ve read about, but not in the romantic kind of love, but rather in the friendship transcends every barrier kind of love. They knew each other so well, and they were so smart. They each had their unique personality and it was fun to see how they combined so well.

 

As far as the storytelling goes, I most appreciated that everything connects. This story was so carefully woven. Every single detail of the story is relevant, and once we get both sides of it, I mean Maddie and Julie’s version of what is happening to them, it all comes together nicely, and let me tell you, it takes up a different shape than the one we were expecting. I love stories that can surprise me!

 

The historical part was excellently done as well. In the audiobook version, the author does a little debriefing of what is historically accurate and what not, but it is extraordinary the amount of research and detail she put into her work. I must say that everything felt plausible and I wasn’t bothered by any historical inaccuracy because you have to be too much of an expert on the subject to know. So as far as I’m concerned, this story was very well researched and fit together perfectly, plot wise and historical wise.

 

The narration was fabulous! This is one of the cases where the audiobook definitely enhances the reading experience by adding something extra. Both of the narrators are very talented, and I liked that we had two, one for each point of view, because it really helped to differentiate the girls from each other and they felt as unique as they were.

 

I loved to listen to the different accents; it was so pleasant to the ears. I’m by no means an expert but the Scottish accent was really well done, and even the French words were pronounced flawlessly. I tend to struggle when listening to a British person speak, because I’m not used to the accent, but had no trouble with these narrators, so I really enjoyed their sweet narrations with no trouble at all. Every voice was distinctive and the story really came to life.

 

In sum, I’m in love with this story. I can’t wait to listen to the companion novel, and anything else this author has or will write. She has incredible talent as a storyteller and a power to move the reader’s heart.

Source: http://touchofbookmadness.blogspot.com/2014/11/code-name-verity.html

Stan by C.J. Duggan

Stan - C.J. Duggan

I have to admit that even if this novella was good, it wasn’t as good as the rest of the series. I think maybe it was lacking a bit of the witty sarcasm I’m so used to and love. There was some, and there were moments that made me smile, but not as much as in the other books.

 

It was, nevertheless, an entertaining read, and I will read this book again when I’m re-reading the series. It was fun and sweet as it has become characteristic of the Summer Series. I really wanted to get to know Stan better and how things came to be with Bel, and I definitely got that.

 

I really appreciated that the author took this opportunity to tie some things up and sort of introduce us to what is going to happen next in the series, so it really feels like the story is complete. I also got some closure with the Stan and Ellie thing that seemed to have ended so abruptly before. I think maybe I would have appreciated this book a bit more if I had read it just after book 1, like it’s meant to be, still you can enjoy it if you read it whenever in the series.

 

Stan is the nicest Onslow boy, even if they are all nice and gentlemanly, because he has such a big sense of duty I could value. I really liked him, but I missed the playfulness we saw of him in The Boys of Summer (book #1). My main problem though, is that I couldn’t connect as much with Bel. I liked her in That One Summer (book #3), because she was different than the other girls and rather cool, but this time around she felt bitter and childish. Maybe it’s because she’s older in the next book, but I just couldn’t find all the bickering between the pair endearing, as I did with Sean and Amy.

 

Overall, this was a good addition to the series and it really allows us to get the whole picture; and even if I didn’t enjoy it as much, it still provides a fun read filled with the Onslow traits we have come to love so much.

Source: http://touchofbookmadness.blogspot.com/2014/11/stan-by-cj-duggan.html