Monday, December 30, 2013

What we liked in 2013 [as far as books are concerned]

Now, 2013 wasn't all bad, amidst all the misses there have been some really great hits.  Such as the books listed below:
Double Vision: Code Name 711 by F.T. Bradley
The Rithmatist by BrandonSanderson
Ink by Amanda Sun
Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
Midnight Frost & Spartan Frost by Jennifer Estep
The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth Laban
This is what Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman
A Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris
Blurred by Tara Fuller
The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy
Pivot Point by Kasie West
Hiding out at the Pancake Palace by Nan Marino
The Collector by Victoria Scott
Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza
The Seven Swords by Nils Johnson-Shelton
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
I'm sure I missed a few, but you get the point.  So, what were your favorite books of 2013?

End of the Year Post 2013 Edition

Blogging made me realize some things…

     Well would you look at that, 2013 is all but over already.  It’s been a blast doing the blog this year, but I’ve come across a few things.  And for the most part, I’ve realized that I wouldn’t have figured these things out if I hadn’t started blogging.  I used to be one of those people who would buy anything, as long as the synopsis sounded good, and it had a nice cover.  Because I used to love reading, I really did.  But I can’t say I love it as much anymore. 

    As you can see things have been pretty slow around Our Thoughts Precisely as of late—*Cricket Chirping*—but it’s not without reason.  I really just haven’t found much that I actually wanted to read.  As far as 2013 has gone, it’s been a pretty dismal year on the book end for me.  I started getting so many bad books that it had gotten to the point where I didn’t even want to give any new authors a chance.  Many times I found myself questioning why I’m still blogging when all I felt like I was doing was wasting my time and sometimes my money.  

     Sometimes I’ve bought books thinking I’m getting one thing, and then when I actually get to the reading part, I find that the synopsis was misleading.  Book covers are book covers.  You can make it look as pretty as you want, but at the end of the day, it comes down to what’s inside of a book.  A book cover isn’t going to make me like a book, sorry.  Many times I’ve seen other bloggers/readers gush about a book, and I fully expect to love it too.  But that’s not the case.  And some of these books that I’m talking about never even made it to the review stage, and probably never will.

     Moving on, this year I found myself unwilling to promote certain books—I won’t name names.  And that was because of one thing.  It’s an issue with comfort, some things I’m just not comfortable reading, and never will be.  While things that bother me might not bother others, the blog is just an expression of our opinions, no one else’s.  But that being said we are not, in any way looking for books with the following content: child abuse, excessive drug/alcohol use, older men interested in underage girls/vice-versa, lack of consequences for actions, and woman being mistreated/ disrespected in ways that crossed—overshot it actually—the line of ok into straight vulgarity.  If the book has gone into that vulgar territory, then I’m not obligated to say a thing about it.  Because I won’t, and will not ever recommend something that I wouldn’t even show my own mother.  Oh, I forgot one on that list, too much sexual content, to the point where the plot suffers a great deal because of it.

     I want to read to be entertained, to be immersed in a world that I could get lost in.  I don’t want to feel frustrated at the end of a book because the shock value overshadowed the plot.  I would love to see more books with strong female leads who are independent, resilient, and don't need a boyfriend to justify their existence.  I just don’t want to feel like I want the hours I lost back. 

     Maybe 2014 will be better, or maybe it won’t.  No one can say for sure until the new batch of books start rolling in.  Needless to say, I’ve moved away from YA.  I’ve mostly been sticking with Middle Grade, or just General Fiction books.  I don’t know, maybe I just haven’t been finding the right books.  Was your year of books better than mine?  If you want, leave your answer in the comments.  Anyway, have a happy holiday’s everyone! 

*And hey, the Go-Go bar/brothel scenes do nothing for books, I’m just saying.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Review: Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger

Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School, #2)Title: Curtsies & Conspiracies (Click title for Synopsis)
Source/Format: Won, Hardback
Age Range: YA
Publisher/Publication Date: Novermber 5, 2013 Little Brown Books for Young Readers
My Thoughts:

Curtsies & Conspiracies (C&C) by Gail Carriger was an interesting read—one that I happened to enjoy considering the lack of enthusiasm I’ve had for reading lately.  I found the overall writing style and plot refreshing.  It was nice to see an alternative-history based book targeted at a YA audience.  I wasn't familiar with the characaters because I didn't read the first book prior to diving into C&C.  But, I didn’t have any trouble following along with Sophronia’s adventures.  As a main character, Sophronia was alright, and I liked seeing the relationships she developed with the people around her.  She had a habit of being a bit nosey, but she did it with good intentions.  There were a whole host of characters, but to avoid spoiling anything, I won’t go into them.  Now as for the school, well, it’s one I’d like to attend after all it is in a dirigible. Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing School was a creative take on the boarding school concept sometimes found in YA.  My only problem with C&C is that all the action, albeit brief as it was, happened at the very end of the book.  And at times, the pacing seemed to slow down.  But that didn’t hamper my overall enjoyment of the C&C.  To sum it up, I liked Curtsies & Conspiracies, and I’m even more curious now than ever to see how the whole series started. 
Check out the Trailer for the book below!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

MOVIE, BOOK, OR BOTH? The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Directed by Peter Jackson Review

So there's an occasional thing we like to do on Our Thoughts Precisely. We'll go see a movie and then read the book after to see if there are any differences, if it's more detailed and whatnot. All to see if we like the Movie, the Book, or Both. So it's only fitting that we call it: Movie, Book, or Both?  Now before I get to my thoughts on The Hobbit:  The Desolation of Smaug, take a look at the awesome trailer!

Title:The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Director: Peter Jackson
Screenwriter(s): Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens & Guillermo del Toro
Rating: PG-13
Official Site: Click Here
Release Date: December 13, 2013
My Thoughts:

Thanks to 760 AM KFMB,  I attended an Advanced Screening of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I usually like to indicate if I liked the movie, book, or both. I haven’t read the book, so for now let me just say that The Desolation of Smaug is one of my favorite movies of 2013.
Although, I enjoyed The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. It was fairly slow paced and some of the scenes were drawn-out, so I was unsure of what to expect from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Was it slow paced? Absolutely not. The Desolation of Smaug was action packed early on. The battle scenes were epic and  somewhat graphic with disturbing images as indicated in the movies ratings; yet, skillfully depicted.  I don’t usually like to watch movies in 3D, but this was the perfect effect for this movie. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I found myself jumping off the seat during a couple of the unpredictable action sequences. The movie kept me glued to the screen. I was so captivated by the movie that I lost track of time. And just right smack at the height of the action, there’s a turning point—and then the end that left me saying, “Noooooo, you just can’t end the movie like this. A big cliffhanger??? Really???” Oh well, other than leaving me on the edge wanting answers, The Desolation of Smaug is an awesome must see movie.

*On a side note: Although I give all of the crew kudos, I should have known Guillermo del Toro had a hand in the creation of this movie because I loved it just as much as Pacific Rim, in which he was a director/producer/screenwriter.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Release Day Launch & Excerpt: Bitter Sweet Love by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Jennifer L. Armentrout's amazing novella in her new The Dark Elements Series, BITTER SWEET LOVE, is out and we are excited to join in the release day launch for it. BITTER SWEET LOVE is the Prequel Novella for The Dark Elements Series and is full of Wardens, fantasy, and romance. The first novel in the series, WHITE HOT KISS, will be released February 25, 2014. Check out what we have for you today! There's also a fantastic excerpt for you to check out below!


Moving lightning fast, Dez shifted and I was suddenly underneath him. His arms were on either side of my head, caging me in. Our bodies didn’t touch, but I felt him to the tips of my toes anyway.
                The teasing grin disappeared when I dragged in a deep breath and my chest brushed his. Everything changed in an instant. The playful mood faded, replaced by primal heaviness. Our gazes collided and locked. Neither of us moved. His closeness sent a series of shivers skittering across my skin and made it hard to take slow, even breaths. My body tensed when his gaze dropped to my mouth.
                He tilted his head to the side. “I… I honestly have no idea what we were talking about.”
                “Good. Neither do I.”
                He shifted his weight onto one arm, bring him closer. “Have you enjoyed your trip so far?”
                “Yes.” I felt as if I couldn’t get enough air into my lungs.
                “Good.” He lowered his head. His breath was minty as it moved across my cheek and then my lips. “I’m glad.”
                I wasn’t really following the conversation and I wasn’t sure that he was fully aware of what was coming out of his mouth. I searched my hazy brain for something to say and wet my lips. I-
                The sound that came out of Dez’s chest rumbled through me. A stuttered heartbeat passed and then his lips were on mine. There was nothing slow about this kiss. It scorched my skin and caused my body to stretch tight like a bowstring. The kiss deepened, spinning my senses. I shuddered when his hand curved over my shoulder and drifted down to my waist, his long fingers spreading out under the hem of my shirt, grazing the bare skin of my stomach.
                I gasped, floored by the raw sensations pounding through my blood. My skin felt as if I was about to phase. Maybe I was.

                “Jasmine,” he whispered, the word falling against my lips, and then his body was pressing mine into the mattress, heavy, sweet and hard.

ABOUT BITTER SWEET LOVE (The Dark Elements #.5):

In a sizzling prequel novella to her new series The Dark Elements, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout draws readers into the extraordinary, irresistible world of Wardens and demons.

Dez wasn't just Jasmine's crush. A gargoyle Warden like Jas, he helped her come to terms with her destiny—fending off demons and maintaining the balance between good and evil. He was her everything…right until the moment he disappeared without a trace. It didn't help that Jas's father had just announced that she and Dez would one day be mated. Hard not to take that personally.

And now he's back, three years older, ten times hotter, ready to pick up exactly where they left off. But Jas isn't taking that risk again. Dez has seven days to meet all her conditions and earn back her trust. Seven days filled with terrifying danger and sweet temptation. Seven days to win her heart—or shatter it all over again…

Don't miss White Hot Kiss, book one in Jennifer L. Armentrout's The Dark Elements series from Harlequin TEEN!

About Jennifer L. Armentrout:
# 1 NEW YORK TIMES Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.




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