ARC Book Review: Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct CoverBook: Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Expected Publication is November 4, 2014 by Disney-Hyperion|384 pages

Where I Got It: I got the ARC from, which hasn’t influenced my review in any way.  Promise!

Series: The Naturals #1

Genre: YA Slightly Paranormal Mystery/Thriller

You can find Killer Instinct on goodreads and Jennifer Lynn Barnes on Twitter, tumblr, and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

Seventeen-year-old Cassie Hobbes has a gift for profiling people. Her talent has landed her a spot in an elite FBI program for teens with innate crime-solving abilities, and into some harrowing situations. After barely escaping a confrontation with an unbalanced killer obsessed with her mother’s murder, Cassie hopes she and the rest of the team can stick to solving cold cases from a distance.

But when victims of a brutal new serial killer start turning up, the Naturals are pulled into an active case that strikes too close to home: the killer is a perfect copycat of Dean’s incarcerated father—a man he’d do anything to forget. Forced deeper into a murderer’s psyche than ever before, will the Naturals be able to outsmart the enigmatic killer’s brutal mind games before this copycat twists them into his web for good?

With her trademark wit, brilliant plotting, and twists that no one will see coming, Jennifer Lynn Barnes will keep readers on the edge of their seats (and looking over their shoulders) as they race through the pages of this thrilling novel.

What I Thought:

So, after listening to The Naturals earlier this year, I was looking forward to reading the next book, and I’m really glad I was able to read an advance copy of the book, because I really liked it!

I really liked seeing where the story picked up after the events of the last book, and I was quite surprised by all of the connections that somehow made the first book make sense in a way I didn’t realize was possible.  It’s actually a good thing, though, because there is so much more to this story than I realized.  This makes so much more curious about where the story is going, because Killer Instinct really threw me for a loop!

I liked that the kids continued to work together as a team, and I liked learning more about the kids, and the people they work with- namely Judd and Agent Briggs.

I am so curious about so many things that I don’t want to spoil, but there’s a lot of mystery that I wasn’t expecting, and I was definitely kept guessing throughout the entire book.  I actually think I like this story more than the one in The Naturals, partly because we get we’re past the introducing part of the series but mostly because so much more of this world is revealed to us.

It’s such a creepy book, and I’m actually looking forward to listening to the audio book, because I actually really liked the first book on audio, and I’m sure this one will just as good (if not better) as an audio book.  I like that each book has a different serial killer, because Barnes does a great job at exploring their motivations, but I also like the relationships between the kids and how they work together to solve the case.

There is a little bit of a love triangle, but the romance really takes a back seat to everything else going on.  Plus, Michael, Dean and Cassie all have their own issues that complicate things.  It’s such a small part of the book that I’ve found I don’t particularly care about the romance,  but with 5 kids in one house, it’s bound to happen.

It definitely seems like each book is going to focus on each kid, because The Naturals primarily focused on Cassie, while this one mostly focused on Dean.  And yet, the overall story story seems to be about Cassie and the death of her mother, so I’m wondering some things.  Like, is each book going to focus on a different kid?  And is each book going to bring us closer to learning what really happened?  I know we’ll have to wait and see, but I still want to know right now.

Let’s Rate It:

I’m definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series, because I have more questions than answers at this point. I really like where the story is going, and I love the relationships between the kids and adults they work with.  Killer Instinct gets 4 stars.

Mini Book Review: Hemlock

Hemlock CoverBook: Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

Published May 2012 by HarperCollins|276 pages

Where I Got It: Nook store

Series: Hemlock #1

Genre: YA Paranormal- Werewolves

You can find Hemlock on goodreads & Kathleen Peacock on Twitter, Facebook & her website

Goodreads Summary: 

Fans of Maggie Stiefvater and the hit television show True Blood will flock to this first book in the supernatural mystery series set in a town where werewolves live in plain sight.

Mackenzie Dobson’s life has been turned upside down since she vowed to hunt her best friend Amy’s killer: a white werewolf. Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country, and bloodlust is not easy to control. But it soon becomes clear that dangerous secrets are lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, Mac’s hometown—and she is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her in grave danger.

Kathleen Peacock’s thrilling debut novel provides readers with a mystery that Kimberly Derting, author of The Body Finder, calls “clever and frightening,” while Sophie Jordan, New York Times bestselling author ofFirelight, raves: “Forget every werewolf book you’ve ever read. This one breaks the mold.”

What I Thought:

It’s rare for me to read about werewolves on their own, and even more rare for me to actually finish one.  But I liked it more than I thought I would!

I really like that there’s a werewolf virus.  Granted, it kind of reminded me of the different variations of illness turning people into zombies or vampires, but I like that there’s a werewolf version of that out there.

I do wish it was explained a little more, because really, all we know is that it was revealed by the government quite a few years before the start of the book.  I’m really curious about the government’s knowledge of the virus and how it came to be.  And the trackers, definitely interesting.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’ll be revealed in at least of the books to come.

I will say that I was struck by how much I was reminded of the different rights movements- in particular, it seemed to be a combination of women’s rights, civil rights and GLBT rights.  I have no clue if that was intentional on Peacock’s part, or if that’s just what I was reminded of.  I’m sure people who are much more knowledgeable about those topics could draw better conclusions/parallels than I ever could, but it is something interesting to think about.

Let’s see.  Characters.  Nothing really stands out about them, except for Amy, who makes random appearances in Mac’s dreams.  She’s the only one who stands out, and I don’t know if it’s because I’m reviewing this book a week after finishing it, or if it really is because they aren’t super-memorable.  Honestly, though, I didn’t really care for Amy, but there’s definitely more to what’s going on then what we get in this book.

Let’s Rate It:

I did like Hemlock, but I have so many questions that I want answered.  For whatever reason, I didn’t completely fall in love with it, but I am intrigued enough to keep reading.  Hemlock gets 3 stars.

Mini Book Review: City Of Lost Souls

City Of Lost Souls CoverBook: City Of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

Published May 2012 by Margaret K. Elderberry Books|397 pages

Where I Got It: nook store

Series: The Mortal Instruments #5

Genre: YA Paranormal/Angels

You can find City Of Lost Souls on goodreads & & Cassandra Clare on TwitterFacebook and her website

Goodreads Summary: The New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments continues—and so do the thrills and danger for Jace, Clary, and Simon.

What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

What I Thought:

Of the Mortal Instruments books I’ve read, this one is my least favorite.  I liked it, and there were some interesting things that happen, but it’s the one that’s the least memorable to me.

I really want to know more about the Iron Sister, who are a sister group to the Silent Brothers.  I doubt we’ll learn more about them in the last book (and it’s possible that they’ll pop up in one of Clare’s other Shadowhunter series), which is a shame, because they really are one of the more interesting groups we come across.

I get why Clary, Alec and Isabelle want Jace back, and are trying to find a way to get him back while killing Sebastian while also NOT killing Jace.  But I felt like they were a bit too whiny, especially Clary.  Considering this is something I tend to not pay attention to, or am generally willing to overlook if I do notice it.  And while I normally LOVE Magnus (he is probably my favorite character in the entire series), he seemed less like himself than normal, and he definitely doesn’t have the humor or flamboyance I’ve come to expect from him.

There’s something about this one that didn’t pull me in the way the other ones did.  I kept reading, because there is something compelling about this series, but for whatever reason, I just wasn’t as enthused as I was with other books.  Even though stuff happens, it somehow feels like this one is filler until we can get to the next book.  I know that it’s setting up what will happen in the last book in the series, but the story may be starting to wear on me a little bit.  And it’s getting so hard to believe that this entire series has happened over the course of a few weeks.  With the number of things going on, it seems like it should be happening over a longer period of time.

Let’s Rate It:

I don’t really have much to say about City Of Lost Souls.  It’s a fun and enjoyable, but also the least memorable in the series. City Of Lost Souls gets 3 stars.

Book Review: Eleanor And Park

Eleanor & Park CoverBook: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Published February 2013 by St. Martin’s Press|262 pages

Where I Got It: Nook store

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

You can find Eleanor & Park on goodreads & Rainbow Rowell on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

Two misfits.

One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

What I Thought:

I finally got over my hesitation of reading Eleanor & Park.  I’ve been really hesitant to read it, because so many people love it, and I was terrified it wouldn’t live up to the super-high expectations I had for it.

Unfortunately, when I go in with high expectations, I am almost always disappointed, and this was (very sadly) the case with Eleanor & Park.  It really turned out to be okay, mostly because I don’t care enough to put in an effort to dislike the book.

I didn’t really find either character compelling, and I felt like they were pretty bland.  I don’t need to connect with characters or with what’s going on in their lives to like a book (but it is a preference) but I just didn’t connect to either of them, and as the book went on, I cared less and less about them.  Park was a bit too understanding and patient and perfect (for me) and Eleanor…I understand why she acted the way she did, but it was frustrating that it not only took her so long to actually do something about her family life but to leave her siblings at home.  Also: why do we not learn what happens with her siblings?

The romance did NOTHING for me.  I’m not one to talk about insta-love- I’m actually pretty neutral about it- but in this case? I felt like there was no chemistry between Eleanor and Park, and it did feel a bit insta-lovey to me.

The ending…it wasn’t as heart-breaking or as emotional as I was expecting, but maybe you need to care about the characters in order for that to happen.  What happened to Eleanor was horrible, and I will admit that it was the only time I even STARTED to feel something, but at that point, it was too late, you know?  And where was this for the rest of the book?

I was definitely expecting the nostalgia I felt in Fangirl, but I didn’t feel it at all.  I wasn’t brought to that time in my life at all, which was disappointing, because I wanted to feel the nostalgia and all the feelings, and it just wasn’t there.  I don’t know if it’s because the book was set in the 80’s- I was born in ’86, so I don’t remember/was too little to remember the decade, or if it’s for some other reason.  Regardless of when the book was set, I still feel like I should have felt the nostalgia, and I just…didn’t.  I don’t know if it’s because I never experienced that in high school (or, well, ever) but I still kind of feel like I should have been able to feel that regardless of whether it’s something I’ve experienced myself.

And the shifting POV kind of worked, but not really.  I just hated that, at times, narration would shift back and forth for one sentence.  It was dizzying at times, and it got really frustrating.

I really wish that Eleanor & Park worked for me, and while I normally get why people love a book that I don’t, this is one of the rare cases where I don’t get it.  I don’t know if I’m just missing something, or if it’s just not the book for me, or if it’s because I went in with high expectations and was bound to be disappointed, or a combination of many different things.

Let’s Rate It:

Eleanor & Park is a book that in theory, I should dislike, but I just don’t care enough to dislike the book.  It’s not that it’s a bad book, but it’s not my cup of tea.  Eleanor & Park gets 2 stars.

Mini Book Review: Angels’ Blood

Angels' Blood CoverBook: Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh

Published March 2009 by Penguin|328 pages

Where I Got It: Nook store

Series: Guild Hunters #1

Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance

You can find Angels’ Blood on goodreads & Nalini Singh on Twitter, Facebook and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux knows she is the best- but she does not know if even she is good enough for this job. Hired by the dangerously beautiful archangel Raphael, a being so lethal that no mortal wants his attention, Elena knows failure is not an option—even if the task is impossible.

Because this time, it’s not a wayward vamp she has to track. It’s an archangel gone bad.

The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other—and pull her to the razor’s edge of passion. Even if the hunt does not destroy her, succumbing to Raphael’s seductive touch just might. For when archangels play, mortals break.

What I Thought:

I’ve heard so many good things about this series, and I can’t believe I took so long to read it!

I also need to read adult romance more, because I always enjoy them every single time I read them…

Back to Angels’ Blood though.  I tend to stick to historical romance, but I veered away from that because I was in the mood for paranormal romance.  I like that Elena is a vampire-hunter who has to hunt down an archangel.  And there’s no war between heaven and hell and the angels we meet are a pretty diverse group of angels, which was pretty awesome.  And Archangels creating a certain number of vampires a year is really different than any other angel/vampire book I’ve read.

I love this story, and I can’t wait to keep reading the rest of the series, especially with how the book ended!  I don’t know why I didn’t see that coming.  Seriously, I should have seen that coming.  I wasn’t as enthused about the characters, but I still liked them, even though I wasn’t pulled into their story (particularly Elena and Raphael).  There’s definitely an interesting assortment of characters.

And the romance!  Raphael!  I heart him.  He’s definitely in my top ten favorite swoon-worthy characters.  I didn’t completely love their romance (the flirting and sexual tension was awesome, but…sexy times?  Not so much.  Fingers crossed that it’ll get better).  It wasn’t as romance-y as I thought it would be, and I don’t know if it’s because I’m more used to YA romance and historical romance, or if it’ll get more romance-y as the series goes on.

Let’s Rate It:

Angels’ Blood was fun to read, and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.  It’s definitely different than any other angel book I’ve read, but in a good way!  Angels’ Blood gets 4 stars.

Book Review: Life, A.D.: Life After Dez

Life AD Life After DezBook: Life A.D.: Life After Dez by Michelle E. Reed

Published December 2013 by Month9 Books|366 pages

Where I Got It: Kindle store

Series: Atman City #1

Genre: YA Paranormal

You can find Life, A.D.: Life After Dez on goodreads and Michelle E. Reed on twitter and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

In Life, A.D. you have two choices: join the program or face the consequences.

Seventeen-year-old Dez Donnelly crashes headlong into fate on the side of a rural highway, her life ending in a violent collision of steel and screaming brakes. The train that delivers her newly departed soul to the crossroads of the afterlife won’t be carrying her to the sweet hereafter until she accepts her abrupt end and learns to let go of the life she’ll never finish.

Her new reality is conduct manuals, propaganda, and unrelenting staff, all part of a system to ease her transition from life to death, while helping her earn her way out of limbo. Atman City, beautiful and enticing, is an ever-present temptation that is strictly off limits to underage souls. The promise of adventure proves too strong, and beneath the city’s sheen of ethereal majesty, Dez discovers a world teeming with danger.

Welcome to Life, A.D. where being dead doesn’t mean you’re safe, and the only thing harder than getting out of limbo is getting through it.

What I Thought:

I don’t read many books dealing with the afterlife, but this is definitely a more unusual and refreshing take on it.  I’m definitely looking forward to reading the next book!

At first, I wasn’t sure what was going on, because Dez is on a train that will take her to Atman City, the place where she’ll work through her life and transition to death after her unexpected death.  I didn’t realize at first that she was dead, but once things started to be explained, it was a lot less confusing.  I like that she’s with other kids who died unexpectedly, and that they have to work towards getting out of limbo.

What’s really intriguing about this afterlife is that there is more to Atman City than what we see, especially the city itself. Mostly because we don’t get to see much of it, and what we do see has a lot darker than what I ever expected.  I mean, there are definitely some unsavory people in Atman City, and I am very curious to see how that will factor into the rest of the series, because it feels like it’s important to the story.

Dez is definitely interesting and she’s pretty resistant to getting out of limbo, even though she clearly doesn’t want to be there. But I also understand why she’s so resistant, because she’s so young when she dies.  But I also feel like she does make some pretty good progress in accepting what’s happened, and that she’ll become even more accepting of it in the next book. But I still didn’t completely feel for her, even though I feel like I should because she’s been through a lot of horrible stuff. I think it’s because she’s so resistant to acceptance that it was a tad bit hard to completely care about her.

This world is definitely intricate and I like that so much is explained without feeling like a massive info-dump.  Everything was described so well, and I knew exactly what everything looked like and what this world was like.

Let’s Rate It:

Life, A.D. is definitely intriguing and intricate, and I like that it’s such a refreshing take on the afterlife!  I didn’t completely love Dez, but I’m hoping she grows on me in the rest of the series. Life, A.D. gets 3 stars.

Mini Book Review: Dead Jed: Adventures Of A Middle School Zombie

Dead Jed Adventures Of A Middle School ZombieBook: Dead Jed: Adventures Of A Middle School Zombie by Scott Craven

Published December 2013 by Month9 Books|226 pages

Where I Got It: Kindle store

Series: Dead Jed #1

Genre: Middle Grade

You can find Dead Jed: Adventures Of A Middle School Zombie on goodreads

Goodreads Summary: 

Dead Jed is Shaun of the Dead meets Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Jed’s not your typical junior high geek. He is, to use the politically-correct term, cardiovascularly-challenged. And while his parents have attempted to shield him from the implications of being ‘different’ for as long as they could (Jed was 8 and at a friend’s sister’s birthday party when he blew his lips off onto the cake in front of everyone, finally prompting the “Big Talk” from his parents and an emergency SuperGlue repair by his dad), 7th grade at Pine Hollow Middle School as a target of Robbie the supreme school bully and his pack of moronic toadies is rapidly becoming unbearable.

From being stuffed in a filled trash can as “dead meat” and into a trophy case as the bully’s “prize,” to literally having his hand pulled off in the boys’ room (Jed’s always losing body parts. Luckily, a good stapler and some duct tape and he’s back in the action) and a cigarette put in it and try to frame him for the recent reports of smoking in the school, Jed’s had enough and is ready to plan his revenge. Besides, it’s awesome what you can do when you’re already dead.

What I Thought:

I don’t read a lot of middle grade, but I liked this one!  I haven’t read the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid books, but from what I know about them, I think kids who like those books will really like Dead Jed.

I like Jed, and how hard he tried to fit in, even though he has a medical condition that basically means he’s a zombie.  I really like that it’s something that he has to deal with during the entire book, and that you see who Jed really is.  Being a zombie is only part of who Jed is, and he’s just a normal kid trying to get through 7th grade.  It made the book a lot more original and different, and it really highlighted how horrible it can be to be different in middle school.

Dead Jed is definitely clever and light-hearted and witty, and I couldn’t help but laugh a few times throughout the book.  It’s definitely a fun book that also has a lot of heart.  And Jed is definitely bullied and has to deal with people who aren’t tolerant of his condition, but I really liked how he dealt with it.

I liked the pop culture references, especially the zombie pop culture references.  You can’t go wrong with Michael Jackson’s Thriller, especially at a school dance!

Let’s Rate It:

Dead Jed is a fun book, and it’s definitely a great middle grade read- but I think a lot of people would enjoy this story, regardless of age.  Dead Jed gets 3 stars.

Book Review: Code Name Verity

Code Name Verity CoverBook: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Published May 2013  by Disney-Hyperion|339 pages

Where I Got It/Format: paperback from Barnes & Noble

Series: Code Name Verity #1

Genre: YA Historical Fiction- World War 2

You can find Code Name Verity on goodreads & Elizabeth Wein on Twitter and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy? 

A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called “a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel” in The New York Times, Code Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.

What I Thought:

I finally read Code Name Verity!  I’ve been putting it off for ages, because so many people have loved it, and I was scared that it wouldn’t live up to the hype.  I liked Code Name Verity, but for some reason, the story wasn’t what I was expecting.

To be honest, I found Verity’s story to be confusing, and the story didn’t make sense until Maddie took over the narration.  I really felt like I was missing something, and I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a total idiot or if I wasn’t paying attention, or if maybe it takes at least a couple reads for it to make sense.

Multiple narrators are very much hit-or-miss for me, and unfortunately, this was a huge miss for me. I wasn’t expecting the first half to be narrated by one person, and the second half to be narrated by another person. Part of it is that I’m very used to alternating chapters, but I also felt like Code Name Verity had two different stories that didn’t go well together.  By the end of the book, I just didn’t really care about either girl or what happened to them.  I felt disconnected from what was going on, and I didn’t really find either girl’s story to be compelling.

The way the story was told didn’t work for me- Maddie’s story is woven in through Verity’s part of the novel, alongside the information that her German captors want.  I think that is largely why Verity’s narration didn’t work for me, because the different styles didn’t work together.  Maddie’s half of the story was infinitely more interesting but at that point in the book, I was just wanted to be done with it.  I know their stories are connected, but the way the two stories were told made the book seem more confusing and jumbled than it needed to be.

I know the book is about their friendship, and what they’ll do to save each other, but I…their friendship…there’s something about it that felt a little bit forced and fake.  It just didn’t seem that believable to me, and I have no idea why.

Still, I like that the book focuses on two girls doing their part in the war effort, and that one is a spy, while the other is a pilot. I also like that Wein includes a bibliography at the end of the book, which is quite unusual for YA historical fiction (n my experience).

Let’s Rate It:

Maddie’s narration is what made Code Name Verity much more interesting.  Overall, I felt like Maddie and Verity’s stories would have worked better on their own, because their own stories didn’t come together for me.  Part of it is that I went in with too high expectations, and I’m feeling like the odd woman out for not connecting with it the way everyone else has. It’s still an interesting novel with World War 2 as a backdrop, and I like that it focuses on a different element of the War.  Code Name Verity gets 3 stars.

ARC Book Review: Goebbels: A Biography

Goebbels A Biography CoverBook: Goebbels: A Biography by Petere Longerich, translated by Alan Bance, Jeremy Noakes & Lesley Sharpe

Expected Publication is October 14, 2014 by Random House: Expected Number Of Pages: 920

Where I Got It:, which hasn’t influenced my review in any way.  Promise!

Series: None

Genre: Adult Nonfiction- History/World War 2/Nazi Germany/Holocaust

You can find Goebbels: A Biography on goodreads

Goodreads Summary: 

From renowned German Holocaust historian Peter Longerich comes the definitive one-volume biography of Adolf Hitler’s malevolent minister of propaganda.

In life, and in the grisly manner of his death, Joseph Goebbels was one of Adolf Hitler’s most loyal acolytes. By the end, no one in the Berlin bunker was closer to the Führer than his devoted Reich minister for public enlightenment and propaganda. But how did this clubfooted son of a factory worker rise from obscurity to become Hitler’s most trusted lieutenant and personally anointed successor?

In this ground-breaking biography, Peter Longerich sifts through the historical record—and thirty thousand pages of Goebbels’s own diary entries—to provide the answer to that question. Longerich, the first historian to make use of the Goebbels diaries in a biographical work, engages and challenges the self-serving portrait the propaganda chief left behind. Spanning thirty years, the diaries paint a chilling picture of a man driven by a narcissistic desire for recognition who found the personal affirmation he craved within the virulently racist National Socialist movement. Delving into the mind of his subject, Longerich reveals how Goebbels’s lifelong search for a charismatic father figure inexorably led him to Hitler, to whom he ascribed almost godlike powers.

This comprehensive biography documents Goebbels’s ascent through the ranks of the Nazi Party, where he became a member of the Führer’s inner circle and launched a brutal campaign of anti-Semitic propaganda. Though endowed with near-dictatorial control of the media—film, radio, press, and the fine arts—Longerich’s Goebbels is a man dogged by insecurities and beset by bureaucratic infighting. He feuds with his bitter rivals Hermann Göring and Alfred Rosenberg, unsuccessfully advocates for a more radical line of “total war,” and is thwarted in his attempt to pursue a separate peace with the Allies during the waning days of World War II. This book also reveals, as never before, Goebbels’s twisted personal life—his mawkish sentimentality, manipulative nature, and voracious sexual appetite.

A harrowing look at the life of one of history’s greatest monsters, Goebbels delivers fresh insight into how the Nazi message of hate was conceived, nurtured, and disseminated. This complete portrait of the man behind that message is sure to become a standard for historians and students of the Holocaust for decades to come.

What I Thought:

I’m definitely fascinated with World War 2, especially with Nazi Germany, so when I was intrigued by this biography of Goebbels when I saw it on netgalley.  I know the name and that he was charge of propaganda, but other than that, I didn’t know anything, so I definitely wanted to learn more about him.

This biography is definitely daunting and very, very detailed- it’s an astounding  900+ pages, and it was definitely a marathon of a book.  Nothing really jumped out at me as particularly interesting, other than Goebbels studied philosophy and that he was loyal to Hitler, to the point of murdering his children before taking his own life.  I feel like, at the end of the book, I knew as much about him as I did before I started the book.

It’s definitely dense (and on the dry side) and I had to fight the urge to skim the book (which I maybe did at certain points throughout the book).  I don’t know that it’s the best book for someone who doesn’t know much about Goebbels, and since it leans more to the scholarly end of things, it might be better suited for people who are really into World World 2 and Nazi Germany (especially those close to Hitler).

This biography really goes into depth about Goebbels and why he did the things he did, and what made him tick.  It’s also a really good look at some of what was going on during that time, because of his journals.  It’s also why it’s a slow read, because it’s very meticulous.

 Let’s Rate It:

This biography is definitely not a book for everyone, but still worth checking out for historians and students or for anyone studying the Holocaust or the Nazi’s (or World War 2).  Goebbels: A Biography gets 2 stars.

ARC Book Review: Stitching Snow

Stitching Snow CoverBook: Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis

Expected Publication is October 14, 2014 by Disney-Hyperion|Expected Number Of Pages: 338

Where I Got It:, which hasn’t influenced my review in any way.  Promise!

Series: None (as far as I can tell)

Genre: YA Re-telling/Fairy Tales/Science Fiction

You can find Stitching Snow on goodreads & R.C. Lewis on Twitter, Facebook & her website

Goodreads Summary: 

Princess Snow is missing.

Her home planet is filled with violence and corruption at the hands of King Matthias and his wife as they attempt to punish her captors. The king will stop at nothing to get his beloved daughter back—but that’s assuming she wants to return at all.

Essie has grown used to being cold. Temperatures on the planet Thanda are always sub-zero, and she fills her days with coding and repairs for the seven loyal drones that run the local mines.

When a mysterious young man named Dane crash-lands near her home, Essie agrees to help the pilot repair his ship. But soon she realizes that Dane’s arrival was far from accidental, and she’s pulled into the heart of a war she’s risked everything to avoid. With the galaxy’s future—and her own—in jeopardy, Essie must choose who to trust in a fiery fight for survival.

What I Thought:

So…I liked Stitching Snow, but not as much as I was expecting.  I felt like the story described in the summary is a different story than the story that unfolded.  And yet, there was much more to the story than I ever realized.

Stitching Snow very much reminded me of Cinder, so there may or may not be quite a few comparisons throughout my review.  Essie very much reminded me of Cinder, and Dimwit really reminded me of Iko, and Dane reminded me of Captain Thorne.  And her step-mom reminded me of Queen Lavana.

Basically, I’d describe the book as Cinder in space but with Snow White instead of Cinderella.

It’s not a horrible book- I did like it, and I like the idea of Essie fleeing to a different planet as a child, and surviving on a very different planet than the one she grew up on.  I like that she did what she needed to do to stop a huge war and take control of the crown.

It just wasn’t as compelling as I thought or hoped it would be.

Mostly, because this book seems to be a stand-alone and so the world-building and character development seemed minimal and glossed over.  We got bits and pieces of this world, but not to a level I would have liked. I think it’s because I went in expecting Stitching Snow to be a series- because, honestly, these kinds of stories usually are- so I was disappointed to see that the story was pretty much resolved by the end of the book.

I felt like nothing was really explained, and there were a few things about this world (Exiles and Transitioning, mostly) that were really confusing and made no sense whatsoever.  There are all of these different planets and the people that live on them have this history with each other, and yet, I could not tell you a single them about them.  And it’s the same with the characters, who didn’t really stand out to me.

It really is a shame, because I felt like some of the relationships could have had a lot more to them.  Like, Essie and her step-mom or Essie and her dad, and even her step-mom’s issues with her mom.

Everything felt really rushed to me, and I really do feel like Stitching Snow could have benefited from being a series, just to let everything develop over a slower pace.

Still, I like the overall story, and I’d definitely recommend to die-hard fairy tale fans and to people who haven’t read the Lunar Chronicles yet.  And if you have read the Lunar Chronicles, you may like it too, but maybe not as much.

What I Thought:

I liked Stitching Snow and the overall story, but I also wish that things didn’t feel as rushed, because I felt like the book had so much potential.  Stitching Snow gets 3 stars.