Tuesday, August 25, 2015

To Kindle or Not?

I know these types of videos have been done a thousand times over but as a respectable book blog I had to make one. To Kindle or Not, that is the question. 
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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Get To Know Freshly Picked Books

I hope you all had as much fun watching the video as I did recording it. For some reason I wanted to add an animation the beginning. LOL. I know it's really cheesy, but I wanted to try my hand at the Adobe suite. I will be uploading at least once a week.
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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Coming soon

So I've been really busy these last few months and haven't had time to post, BUT I have been reading. Here's what you can look forward to seeing me review within the next few weeks. This list is a bit different than my others because I've decided to review some of the erotica book club I'm in. 

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Monday, June 1, 2015


I'm so excited to announce Freshly Picked Books first GIVEAWAY!  This has been in the making for many months, but I finally decided to celebrate summer with a beach kit giveaway. Follow the directions below and cross your fingers!
Above is the Beach Kit. The odds of it including more than what's here (tote bag, Prince of Thieves novel, and The Town DVD) is really great. I've been eyeing some cute sunglasses and beach towels!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Monday, May 18, 2015

Review: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

[Yelena] "Does the entire castle's staff get paid?"
[Valek] "Yes." 
"Including the food taster?"
"Why not?" I hand't even thought about receiving wages until Valek mentioned it.
"The food taster is paid in advance. How much is you life worth?"
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder was a surprisingly delightful read. Here's the Goodreads synopsis: 
Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison...

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren't so clear... 
I think this is one of the best books I've read in a very long time. I mentioned earlier that I was surprised to have enjoyed it so much because the first 150 pages really dragged along. I actually think it took me 3 or so weeks to finish those initial pages! I credit this slow intro to the fact that the book is over 400 pages. I haven't read many books that should be that long and even though I like this book (and the series) it could be about 100 pages shorter. What really spurred me along were the character descriptions (even though Snyder doesn't keep the image of Valek in our minds well). Snyder wrote very rich, authentic feeling characters and the dialogue was superb. 

Yelena is definitely an admirable female protagonist. It's not often that I run into a female lead character that doesn't grind my gears. She starts the book off timid and scared but has an amazing arc where she's actually skilled with a weapon and can win a fight from pure talent and ferociousness instead of dumb luck (yes, this is shade to Stephanie Plum). And related to this notion I love that she never really needs Valek to save her. She always has a plan whether it's a good one or not. 

This book is full of excellent twists and turns, and I highly recommend you read it!

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Review: Still Alice by Lisa Genova

“And while a bald head and a looped ribbon were seen as badges of courage and hope, her reluctant vocabulary and vanishing memories advertised mental instability and impending insanity. Those with cancer could expect to be supported by their community. Alice expected to be an outcast.” 

Still Alice by Lisa Genova was a tough read for several different reasons. But here's the synopsis from Goodreads: 

Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At fifty years old, she’s a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown children. When she becomes increasingly disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life--and her relationship with her family and the world--forever.

To say I "enjoyed" this book would not be an accurate assessment of my feelings. I definitely found this book to be valuable in the way literary fiction is. I learned a lot about Alzheimers disease that I may not have ordinarily learned like the sheer desperation the disease causes and the embarrassment the ailed feel. I honestly couldn't imagine being in a constant state of panic because everything around you has lost all meaning and context. So clearly my issue wasn't with the plot. My problems with the book lied more so with the writing and the themes. 

The decision to write the book in 3rd person was a mistake. If we would've solely taken this journey through Alice's eyes we would have felt more in tune with the story. I also wanted Genova to pay more attention to the intimate moments in Alice's life instead having most of the description be about the scenery. I would recommend this book to the literary fiction lover in your life. I normally don't read Lit-Fic but this was the second book chosen in my book club, and I'm glad I stepped out of my comfort zone. 
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Review: Nocte by Courtney Cole

"Don't ask, because I can't tell you right now. Everyone has secrets, Calla, even me. But can you wait until we have a fair shot, despite the secrets?"
Nocte by Courtney Cole was a very interesting read and not necessarily in a good way. But before I get into that here's the synopsis from Goodreads: 
My name is Calla Price. I'm eighteen years old, and I'm one half of a whole. My other half—my twin brother, my Finn—is crazy. I love him. More than life, more than anything. And even though I'm terrified he'll suck me down with him, no one can save him but me. I'm doing all I can to stay afloat in a sea of insanity, but I'm drowning more and more each day. So I reach out for a lifeline. Dare DuBray. He's my savior and my anti-Christ. His arms are where I feel safe, where I'm afraid, where I belong, where I'm lost. He will heal me, break me, love me and hate me. He has the power to destroy me. Maybe that's ok. Because I can't seem to save Finn and love Dare without everyone getting hurt. Why? Because of a secret. A secret I'm so busy trying to figure out, that I never see it coming. You won't either.

OK so before I say everything that was wrong with this book I'll start with why I chose to read it. So this was the first book my book club read, and I'm really sorry I chose it, but I'll explain more about that later. I was really drawn to the cover, and the price. The eBook was on sale for $1.99 with regular price being $3.99. As intrigued as I was with the price, I was apprehensive as well mainly because it was so cheap so I figured the author was either an undiscovered talent or below mediocre. More often than not the latter is always the case. 

What Was Wrong
The most irritating thing about this novel, besides the writing, was that it was all basically just a dream. It wasn't really a dream but pretty dang similar.
Calla is basically in a walking coma. She was so distraught about finding out that her mother and twin brother, Finn, died in a car collision that she tricked her mind into believing he was still alive. I'm sure there's a more intelligent word to describe her mental situation, PTSD maybe? 

Honestly, I could probably have gotten over the PTSD parts if the writing would have been better. Cole wanted to write a mystery, which was fine, I love mysteries, but she forgot that when you're writing a mystery you have to leave your reader bread crumbs, so they won't be overwhelmed and totally confused when the mystery is solved. When I got to the last 90% or so I was completely off guard. We went from thinking Finn was alive and missing to finding out he's actually dead and Calla's been pretending this whole time. There was no lead up to even make us guess that he was dead. I'm pretty good at guessing the ending of novels, and I had no clue at all. It was a very "M. Night Shyamalan" kind of twist. Also the dialogue was extremely poorly written. None of it sounded natural: 
My father's head drops and he stares at his hands, at the mug in his hands. (That isn't a typo.) "I'm sorry, Calla. I'm sorry that you think I've checked out. I haven't. I love you, and I love Finn."

I really hated Dare DuBray's character. Why do guys have to have British accents to be hot? I know in the next novel they go to England or something like that, I won't be reading the second book, so I guess that makes sense, but he was really annoyingly evasive and it didn't make me want to keep reading to find out I just wanted to throw the book out the window (but I was reading on my Kindle).
After reading 200+ pages of this on-the-nose dialogue and her God awful character descriptions, I'd had it and wanted my $1.99 back.
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Monday, April 27, 2015

My Cup Runneth Over

My review to-do list is out of control. I've read several books these past few months that I plan on reviewing very soon. I PROMISE. Keep an eye out for reviews for:

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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Blog Tour: The Benighted

This tour is over a month away–April 30th–(nearly two months) but I'm really excited to read this book. The cover isn't giving away anything, but the definition of benighted certainly implies the author has some creativity. 
1. In a state of pitiful or contemptible intellectual or moral ignorance, typically owing to a lack of opportunity. 
2. Overtaken by darkness.
The King was dead. His body was found slain in his room, only months after his son had been brutally murdered. Skylar Mandolyn, his daughter, has now become the last heir to the throne. But instead of becoming Queen, she was imprisoned for helping in the escape of Sir Harlin Brien, her knight who was framed for the King’s murder. 

Confined to darkness, Skylar's captors have given her no choice but to yield to a new kind of enemy: a domain that has advanced in both technology and warfare. It's only when she refuses that the prison uses other means of persuasion. Though unmerciful, the whip lashings and isolation can't suppress her memories. She's forced to face again both her brother's death and her father's emotional decline, though even the darkness can't hide the deceptive hands that have tormented them all. Advisor turned adversary, Cross Lutherus has brought the ancient bloodline to its knees, and Skylar is the only Mandolyn left to feel his wrath. 
With two kingdoms on the brink of war, and the end of her life drawing near, Skylar's only hope is in the person who haunts her the most – Harlin, the knight who was sworn to protect her. His presence surrounds her when the darkness screams louder than the prisoners, when Death smiles a faceless grin in between the cracks of the stone. And it's his strength she embraces just as the tremors start to rise from the deep, crawling up through the prison's walls to terrorize the benighted realm and all its souls. 
The mystery was never how Harlin escaped. It is how he will return.
Usually the downfall of ARC novels, for me, is the writing quality. I have high standards for language and style, so I hope this novel won't disappoint me too bad. 
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Monday, March 2, 2015

Review: Succubus Dreams

“What hope is there?" I asked. "If even angels fall, what hope is there for the rest of us?” 
Succubus Blues (Georgina Kincaid #3) by Richelle Mead might be the best installment in this series (granted I haven't finished all the books but right now I'm 40% done with book number four). 
First, Georgina Kincaid, a shape-shifting succubus who gets her energy from seducing men, can't have sex with her gorgeous bestselling author boyfriend Seth Mortensen--in case she inadvertently kills him. Second, Georgina's under demonic orders to mentor the new (and surprisingly inept) succubus on the block. Third, someone's manipulating her dreams, draining her energy and supplying eerie visions of her future. Georgina seeks answers from Dante, a dream interpreter with ties to the underworld, but his flirtatious charm only leaves her more confused--especially as the situation with Seth reaches a crisis point. Georgina needs to rein in her out-of-control love life and go toe-to-toe with an enemy capable of wreaking serious havoc among mankind. Otherwise, Georgina, and the entire mortal world, may never sleep easy again...
First I would just like to say that THIS is the only book (in the Georgina Kincaid series) to make me feel any emotion besides mild enjoyment. SPOILER ALERT (Sorry this occurring so early in the review but when you read the book you'll understand why)

I was so pissed when Maddie slept with Seth. I was all like:


Like I seriously couldn't handle it LOL. I had to put down my Kindle and walk away. And then when the angel, Yasmine--who was in love with a nephilim Vincent, killed Joel--a really snotty angel, I almost fell off the couch. 
I was really torn up over Yasmine falling from grace. It's actually pretty embarrassing to feel so emotional about -literally- fictional characters but hey, what can I say I was really into it LOL.

The story line about Nyx was kind of interesting but not as good as the subplots. I'm really interested to see if Nyx's vision of Georgina with a baby and a husband is true. Oh, and I'm really not upset over Georgina getting with Dante. 
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