May 2015: Month in Review

May 2015: Month in ReviewThe Chaos Crystal by Jennifer Fallon
Narrator: John Telfer
Length: 16 hrs, 17 mins
Series: Tide Lords #4
Published by Audible on March 31, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
two-stars

The final instalment of this fabulous bestselling series.

The Tide Lords have gathered in Jelidia to find out the secret of how to kill an immortal...Cayal in particular. Before they can do this, however, they must find the Chaos Crystal that brought them into this world.

They initially head to Glaeba, where Akady has been captured by Jaxyn. She escapes and flees to Caelum, where she runs into Warlock and his family and learns that Elyssa, Warlock's cruel immortal mistress, may know something about the location of the Crystal.

With every immortal on Amyrantha searching for this artefact, the stakes are very high...

What I’ve Been Up To:

Blogging:

BEA 2015, baby! Finally, on my fourth consecutive year at BEA, I remembered to pack the books I most could not stand to lose in my carry-on and checked luggage, so all of those big fat babies are with me. I’ve instagrammed my whole haul, if you’re curious what I got. Thanks to Andye (Reading Teen), I ended up getting everything that I really wanted; she snagged the one I missed for me, and I am so grateful. BEA was great, partly because I generally left a little over halfway through the day. My feet still hurt so bad, but the people, the parties, and the books were great.

Shenanigans:

I went to Oklahoma for business again. Weeeee. I did not get to see my college friend that time. Boooo.

While I was in NYC, I got to hang out a bunch with Gillian (Writer of Wrongs), Gaby (Bookish Broads), Shae (Shae Has Left the Room), and Lindsay Ribar (author of The Art of Wishing and The Fourth Wish). I played Settlers of Catan for the first time ever. I also got to see the nerdtastic Broadway play Something Rotten thanks to the generosity of Gillian’s mom. This trip also included my first ever taste of a macaron, which did not taste like what I expected thankfully because I didn’t think they would be delicious; Dahlia will still be friends with me, yay!

Music:

This month’s obsessions were Joywave (thanks to Susan Dennard tweeting about them) and Young Rising Sons (thanks to Meg’s recommendation).

Movies & TV:

My obsession with America’s Next Top Model has faded ever so slightly enough that I can now alternate with other stuff, but I’m through cycle 15 now, which is one of the best cycles! Also, I got to watch cycles 14 and 15 live with Gillian, and that was awesome.

gif alasia antm

My friends and I went to see Pitch Perfect 2, despite some rather lackluster feedback. It’s definitely not as good as the first, but, if you liked that one, I think you’ll still laugh your way through Pitch Perfect 2. The character arcs are almost non-existent, poor Jesse has basically nothing to do, and the legacy annoyed the shit out of me, but I still had a lot of fun watching it. The riff off is the best thing ever.

I picked up Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt again, and, you guys were right, it does get better. I am very much on the Dong ship, and I am so distraught about what they did to that. This show hooked me around episode six I think, which is way more than for most, but whatever I can sit with the cool nerds now.

gif kimmy schmidt

Due to peer pressure from Meg (Cuddlebuggery) and Gillian, I’ve been working my way through Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I’m not emotionally invested in this one yet, but it’s consistently funny and I get to look at Andy Samberg, so I’m down.

After a few months long kdrama break, the obsession is back. I started Monstar, which I for some reason didn’t think would be good, but it’s so good so far. The heroine is tiny and cute, but has a great glare and doesn’t fall into the heroine tropes. I’ll report back on the rest of it in next month’s wrap up.

Reviews Posted:

Since I took a week-long break for BEA, I didn’t post as many reviews as usual. Plus, I’m not officially reviewing a lot of them, though you can see what else I read down below.

5 star:

The Devil You Know – Trish Doller
Every Move (Every #3) – Ellie Marney

4.5 star:

The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight #1) – Melissa Gray

4 star:

Making Pretty – Corey Ann Haydu
Crimson Bound – Rosamund Hodge
The Cost of All Things – Maggie Lehrman
Devoted – Jennifer Mathieu
Play On (Lewis Creek #1) – Michelle Smith

3.5 star:

Vanished (Vanished #1) – E. E. Cooper
Nearly Gone (Nearly Gone #1) – Elle Cosimano
The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire #1) – Clay & Susan Griffith

3 star:

Girl Underwater – Claire Kells

2.5 star:

Lion Heart (Scarlet #3) – A.C. Gaughen
The Rift Walker (Vampire Empire #2) – Clay & Susan Griffith

1 star:

The Kingmakers (Vampire Empire #3) – Clay & Susan Griffith

DNFs:

For explanations of why I DNFed, you’re going to need to stalk my Goodreads. I’ve decided not to post in depth reasons on my blog anymore, because I generally DNF after not that many pages. In every case, you can assume that I felt disconnected from the characters and disinclined to continue. They might be good, but it looked like they wouldn’t be Christina books. Click on the book cover to be taken to the book’s Goodreads page.

Love Fortunes and Other Disasters - Kimberly Karalius
Three Day Summer - Sarvenaz Tash
The WitchHunter - Virginia Boecker

Mini Reviews:

May 2015: Month in ReviewThe Chaos Crystal by Jennifer Fallon
Narrator: John Telfer
Length: 16 hrs, 17 mins
Series: Tide Lords #4
Published by Audible on March 31, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
two-stars

The final instalment of this fabulous bestselling series.

The Tide Lords have gathered in Jelidia to find out the secret of how to kill an immortal...Cayal in particular. Before they can do this, however, they must find the Chaos Crystal that brought them into this world.

They initially head to Glaeba, where Akady has been captured by Jaxyn. She escapes and flees to Caelum, where she runs into Warlock and his family and learns that Elyssa, Warlock's cruel immortal mistress, may know something about the location of the Crystal.

With every immortal on Amyrantha searching for this artefact, the stakes are very high...

Man, I pushed through this whole series, and I was pretty entertained through all of the books up to this one, but The Chaos Crystal dragged. Sure, most of the characters are immortal and so old that I guess they can’t evolve anymore really, but the lack of character development really got to me. Plus, the ending was fucking frustrating. I pushed through the series to the end partially because I was curious where the romance was going. However, I don’t like the addition of Declan as a love interest for Arkady, and I hate the open-ended, unexplained lack of resolution: View Spoiler » I will give the book credit for a cool world building twist, or I would if it weren’t for the spoiler. In the end, I recommend John Telfer as a narrator, but I don’t think I’d encourage you guys to check out this series.

May 2015: Month in ReviewThe End of the Affair by Graham Greene
Narrator: Colin Firth
Length: 6 hrs, 28 mins
Published by Audible on May 7, 2012
Genres: Classics, Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-stars

Graham Greene’s evocative analysis of the love of self, the love of another, and the love of God is an English classic that has been translated for the stage, the screen, and even the opera house. Academy Award-winning actor Colin Firth ("The King’s Speech", "A Single Man") turns in an authentic and stirring performance for this distinguished audio release.

The End of the Affair, set in London during and just after World War II, is the story of a flourishing love affair between Maurice Bendrix and Sarah Miles. After a violent episode at Maurice’s apartment, Sarah suddenly and without explanation breaks off the affair. This very intimate story about what actually constitutes love is enhanced by Mr. Firth’s narration, who said “this book struck me very, very particularly at the time when I read it and I thought my familiarity with it would give the journey a personal slant.”

The End of the Affair is part of Audible’s A-List Collection, featuring the world’s most celebrated actors narrating distinguished works of literature that each star helped select.

Woo, it’s not an official review, so I don’t have to figure out precisely what my rating is. It’s 3.5 on my spreadsheet, so I guess that, but I’m hard-pressed to know quite how to feel about The End of the Affair.

This book started out like what I was expecting and then took a total turn into something completely different. Despite the fact that the book hinges on infidelity, I did find both parts really interesting. Of course, Colin Firth’s narration didn’t hurt matters. I think this is one I would need to reread to get a handle on tbh.

May 2015: Month in ReviewLetters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole
Narrator: Elle Newlands, Katy Townsend, Lincoln Hoppe
Length: 8 hrs, 14 mins
Published by Random House Audio on July 9, 2013
Genres: Historical, Romance
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads

A sweeping story told in letters, spanning two continents and two world wars, Jessica Brockmole’s atmospheric debut novel captures the indelible ways that people fall in love, and celebrates the power of the written word to stir the heart.

March 1912: Twenty-four-year-old Elspeth Dunn, a published poet, has never seen the world beyond her home on Scotland’s remote Isle of Skye. So she is astonished when her first fan letter arrives, from a college student, David Graham, in far-away America. As the two strike up a correspondence—sharing their favorite books, wildest hopes, and deepest secrets—their exchanges blossom into friendship, and eventually into love. But as World War I engulfs Europe and David volunteers as an ambulance driver on the Western front, Elspeth can only wait for him on Skye, hoping he’ll survive.

June 1940: At the start of World War II, Elspeth’s daughter, Margaret, has fallen for a pilot in the Royal Air Force. Her mother warns her against seeking love in wartime, an admonition Margaret doesn’t understand. Then, after a bomb rocks Elspeth’s house, and letters that were hidden in a wall come raining down, Elspeth disappears. Only a single letter remains as a clue to Elspeth’s whereabouts. As Margaret sets out to discover where her mother has gone, she must also face the truth of what happened to her family long ago.

Sparkling with charm and full of captivating period detail, Letters from Skye is a testament to the power of love to overcome great adversity, and marks Jessica Brockmole as a stunning new literary voice.

Though I loved Letters from Skye and debated doing an actual review for it, I decided against it. A lot of what I want to talk about, I would need to embed in spoiler tags. I’m sure it’s spoiled by the blurb, but I liked the way things evolved when I went in knowing nothing, so I’m not going to reveal things to others.

Letters from Skye follows two timelines, WWI and WWII. In the WWI time period, a fan, Davy, writes his favorite poet, a Scottish authoress, Elspeth Dunn. The two strike up a correspondence. In WWII, Elspeth’s daughter is trying to discover the secrets of her mother’s past.

The narration of Letters from Skye is perfection, with a narrator for each of the five first person perspectives, all very well cast. It very much enhanced my emotional attachment to the story. Once again, I found myself for some reason not much minding View Spoiler »

May 2015: Month in ReviewFrom the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot
Series: From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess #1
Published by Feiwel & Friends on May 19, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Humor
Pages: 192
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
two-stars

Olivia Grace Clarisse Harrison has always known she was different. Brought up by her aunt's family in New Jersey, book-and-music-loving Olivia feels out of place in their life of high fashion and fancy cars. But she never could have imagined how out of place she really was until Mia Thermopolis, Princess of Genovia, pops into her school and announces that Olivia is her long-lost sister. Olivia is a princess. A dream come true, right? But princesses have problems too.

In FROM THE NOTEBOOKS OF A MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCESS a new middle grade series, readers will see Genovia, this time through the illustrated diaries of a spunky new heroine, 12 year old Olivia Grace, who happens to be the long lost half-sister of Princess Mia Thermopolis.

From the time I was in middle school, I’ve been a huge Meg Cabot fan. Unfortunately, From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess didn’t really work for me. Here’s the problem: I go to Meg Cabot books for the humor, the romance, and the kissing. Olivia’s ten, so there’s no romance and no kissing. Also, the voice is YOUNG, which makes sense, but her humor didn’t make me laugh.

From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess will be a nice Meg Cabot starter for young readers, but I won’t be continuing with the series. It’s nice, but not for me.

May 2015: Month in ReviewThe Knockoff by Lucy Sykes, Jo Piazza
Narrator: Katherine Kellgren
Length: 12 hrs, 10 mins
Published by Random House Audio on May 19, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Humor
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-stars

An outrageously stylish, wickedly funny debut of fashion in the digital age, this is the story of Imogen Tate, editor in chief of Glossy magazine, who finds her twenty-something former assistant, Eve Morton, plotting to reduce Glossy, famous for their lavish 367-page September issue, into an app—with herself at the helm, of course.

When Imogen returns to work after a summer leave, the Glossy offices are barely recognizable. Eve, fresh out of Harvard Business School, has fired "the gray hairs," put the managing editor in a supply closet, disconnected the landlines, and hired a bevy of manicured assistants who text and tweet their way through meetings. Imogen may have Alexander Wang and Diane von Furstenburg on speed dial, but she can't tell Facebook from Foursquare and once got her iPhone stuck in Japanese for a week. The new women ofGlossy are an entirely different species: they order their cars on Uber, their dinners on Seamless, and their men on Fetch. Under Eve's reign, Glossy is rapidly becoming a digital sweatshop—hackathons rage all night, girls who sleep get fired, and "fun" means mandatory, company-wide coordinated dances to Beyoncé songs. Wildly out of her depth, Imogen must channel her inner geek and engage Eve in a battle royal to save both the magazine and her career. Featuring a cast of thinly veiled fashion characters, icons of tech, and an army of editorial assistants wearing Google Glass, this sparkling debut is a fabulous romp for our Internet-addicted age.

The Knockoff was a fun audiobook for sure, as audiobooks by Katherine Kellgren reliably are. The Knockoff is very much reminiscent of The Devil Wears Prada, only where the titular devil is now in danger of losing her job because she’s struggling to stay relevant in an era when technology is more at the forefront.

Despite the fact that I have more in common with the twenty-something trying to replace her, I very much rooted for Imogen throughout the novel. It’s funny and fashiony, and I think if you like The Devil Wears Prada, and for the record I’ve only seen the movie, you’ll like The Knockoff.

 

3 responses to “May 2015: Month in Review”

  1. SETTLERS OF CATAN. That game pretty much is my childhood. I’m so jealoussssss wish I could have been there to DECIMATE ALL OF YOU. (jk.) (Not jk, I’m really good at that game.)

    BROOKLYN NINE-NINE. Hi I’m joining the peer pressure parade. Just wait for the season 2 finale. JUST WAIT. EEEEEEEEEE.
    Debby (Snuggly Oranges) recently posted…Monthly Wrap-Up: May 2015My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      I was playing with Gaby, Shae, and Gillian. Only Gaby had ever played before, and, predictably, she decimated us. I definitely did not understand the strategy at all and made some really bad calls. I’d bought it for my parents though, so I’ll have to get them into it and try again.

      Peer pressure parade sounds like an alliterative band name.

      Also, I’m working on it. I just got to the ep where Gina and Peralta are friends, so I’m nearing the end of season 1.

  2. fakesteph says:

    I’m so glad you had a blast at BEA! I was bummed I couldn’t make it this year.
    fakesteph recently posted…Review:Cracked Up To Be by Courtney SummersMy Profile

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