Adult Historical, Reviews, Special Review

Book Review: The Book of Crows by Sam Meekings

 

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the review, first I want to talk about the unique way I read this book. I read The Book of Crows on The Pigeonhole. They are a website where you buy a book and read it collectively with other people. You say isn’t that a book club and can’t we do that right now? What guarantees me someone won’t read ahead? Well… the thing about The Pigeonhole is that they release staves approximately each night, so everyone is at the same spot in the book as everyone else. This gives you the opportunity to read the book and discuss it in real time. I thought it was pretty neat and if it weren’t for this format, I most likely would have never read a book like The Book of Crows. 

Summary:

A young girl is kidnapped and taken through the desert to an isolated mountain brothel. Two thousand years later, after a suspicious landslide near Lanzhou, a low-level bureaucrat searches for a missing colleague. A thirteenth-century Franciscan monk, traversing the Silk Road, begins his extraordinary deathbed confession, while five hundred years earlier, a grieving Chinese poet is summoned to the Emperor’s palace.

In a series of delicately interlaced stories, Sam Meekings’ richly poetic and gripping second novel follows the journeys of characters whose lives, separated by millennia, are all in some way touched by the mysterious Book of Crows, a mythical book in which the entire history of the world – past, present and future – is written down.

Review:

Holy Crap. That ending. I didn’t see it coming at all. But… Alright, let’s rewind…

At the beginning of the story we learn about a woman who is now in a whorehouse, and a man on a journey to find his friend. It starts off slow, but picks up quickly and you start piecing the story together. As you continue to read, more characters are brought to light and you start seeing how each character is connected to The Book of Crows. Many want to find it, while others want to destroy it. There is great mystery surrounding the book that has been revered and searched for centuries.

Each character’s story you are introduced to throughout the book is in a different time era. I really enjoyed this because the reader is able to see how much intrigue and chaos the book has caused. It’s legacy has lived through many generations.

Overall, I really like the concept, how the story was set up, and how each key part of the story was revealed. I believe that reading it in staves how The Pigeonhole set it up made my reading experience better because you had to hold on and ponder on what you read, adding to the mystery of it all.

I feel like the average YA reader might not like The Book of Crows, but if you are a history lover and/or mystery in itself, you might enjoy it.

 

Rating:  4/5

Disclaimer: I’d like to thank The Pigeonhole for providing me with a copy of The Book of Crows. Receiving this book for free does not influence my opinion in any way.

Editor Letter

Announcement: 1 Month Hiatus – March

 

Hello all of my beautiful people. Veronica here.

You probably already know what I’m going to say just from the title. Liz and I will be going on a month long hiatus. As you’ve probably noticed, our posts have become less and less frequent and this is due to… life. I know this is not the excuse or reason you may have wanted, but we are currently both in one of the busiest times of our lives. While we are still committed to book blogging and continuing this 4 year tradition, we do need to take a month off in order to slowly get back into the swing of things.

This is for the sake of our sanity and feeling like we have a breathing moment.

We will be back in April with new content! I’m excited for this sort of sabbatical where I am not worried about the blog and can just rest and read leisurely. I believe that this will finally let me get out of the reading funk I’ve been in the past couple of months.

Thanks for being faithful readers and I am so excited for a future with all of you.

With Love and AppreciationVero Signature copy,

 

Anniversary

Top 4 Important Life Events of 2016 (Anniversary Week)

life-events

Veronica’s List:

1. I moved to South Korea. Yes, I moved to South Korea. I KNOW. It’s a big thing moving across the world isn’t it? But I freaking did it. And I am loving every minute of this adventure I am on. I was scared crap-less the first two weeks I was on my own in this country, but I’ve learned to assimilate and get used to Korean life. Some might say I’ve even gotten comfortable here. It really isn’t a bad place to live. I will go back to the states eventually, but right now I am enjoying my time here.

2. I reconnected with old friends. This is pretty significant because one of the friends I reconnected with was my BFF from middle school and high school. I won’t go into details, but I will say I am glad to have her in my life. It’s nice to have someone who knows you so well and still be able after all this time be the same way we used to be back in the old days.

3. I went to a BTS Concert/Fanmeet in Seoul. Back in 2009 when I first discovered Korean-pop I was OBSESSED with 2PM and SHINee. While I am still a fan of those groups, the love (or should I just say obsession) is not the same. Anyways, one of my goals while in South Korea was to go to a Korean pop concert. I had heard about BTS aka 방탄소년단 , but was not an avid follower. Before coming to South Korea I started to listen to Kpop again and re-discovered them. Needless to say, I am now a fan and seeing them live at the Gochok Stadium this past November was AMAZING. They are great entertainers and I hope to see them again in the future. (Just in case there are any BTS Army reading this, my bias is J-Hope. LOL)

4. I met Liz. I would have never known that from the blogging partnership we created at the end of 2015 I would gain a lifelong friend. I believe meeting her in Anaheim at the beginning of 2016 solidified our friendship and I am thankful to have such an amazing human being as my friend. She’s been there for me through difficult times and I am forever grateful for her wisdom and friendship.

Liz’s List:

1. My sister got married. I think I wrote about this waaaaayyy back in May/June. I am beyond excited that this has happened. And my life was incredibly crazy (it was a a DIY wedding), but oh so much fun because I spent so much time with my family planning everything out. Not to mention everything turned out perfectly. It’s these moments when you truly know the value of your friends and who’s willing to help.

2. I met the love of my life. So where have I been for the last six months? With my boyfriend. While we both like to read, Summer and Fall were quite busy with parties and trips. I did read a book or two, but sometimes life just butts in right when you need it.

3. I met Alexandra Bracken. Let me just say that she is the sweetest person ever. She was funny, kind, and answered every question asked of her.

4. I met Veronica. Funnily enough, when I joined the Talking Bookworm, I had never met Veronica. But that changed when I visited Cali the first week of January 2016. It was super exciting. We ate real Ramen (something I have never tried before- it’s delicious). I wish we had remembered to take a picture, but the memory is all I really need. As you all know, Veronica is a wonder person and I am so great-full to be able to add her to my group of friends.

Book Events, Giveaway, YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal

Blog Tour: Insidious by Victoria Evers Giveaway + Excerpt

 
Book
Info:
Title:
Insidious
Series:
The Marked Mage Chronicles, Book #1
Author:
Victoria Evers
Genre:
Paranormal
Romance
Release
Date:

January 6, 2017
 
All Kat Montgomery wanted was a fun night out on
the town. What she got was a death warrant. As it turns out, the quaint little
hamlet of Mystic Harbor, Maine houses more than sandy beaches and adorable
B&B’s. Beneath the New England charm rests a deadly world where shifters,
demons, vampires, and angelic hunters all vie for power.
A world where magic is the greatest weapon.
Magic that Kat now possesses.
After that one fateful night, she can feel the
changes beginning to take hold of her. Only problem, she doesn’t even know what
she’s turning into. With threats hiding in plain sight, deciphering the lines
between friend and foe is nearly impossible. As if things couldn’t get any
worse, Kat learns her only real ally rests in the one person she can’t stand:
Reese Blackburn, an insufferably handsome magician whom the town fears most.
Kat’s very soul is at stake, and destiny doesn’t
seem to be playing out in her favor. Can these two unlikely partners challenge
fate itself before it’s too late?
$0.99 Sale for Pre-order!
 
EXCERPT:
 
Curiosity got the better of me as I looked over
my shoulder, only to find the last human being I ever wanted to see heading
towards the back of the store. That familiar knot formed in my stomach, as it
always did anytime Reese Blackburn was near. I rocked back and forth on my
heels, trying my best to keep my patience in check as the old guy in front of
me continued buying virtually every lottery ticket available.
Come on, come on, come on. I needed to get out
of here. PRONTO.
Footsteps started making their way to the
counter from the back of the store, and I immediately deflated, knowing a
confrontation was now inevitable.
“Montgomery,” spoke a silvery voice directly
behind me.
I regrettably turned to face the ass-hat in
question, giving him my best artificial, Pan Am smile. “Blackburn.”
The guy always looked like he’d just waltzed off
the set of a Tim Burton movie, and tonight was no different. He was dressed in
his typically peculiar attire, sporting a gothic knee-length horseman’s jacket
laced in chains, a pair of black slacks, a silk tapestry vest, and dark brogue
boots adorned with skulls on the metallic buckles.
“Never thought I’d see you south of Providence
Street,” he remarked in the sarcastic fashion he always saved for me. “Get lost
on your way to the country club?”
“No, I was actually out looking for your heart.
Should’ve known better that it’s long gone,” I retorted. “And what about you?
Never thought I’d see you out in public on a full moon. Get lost on your way to
your cult meeting in the woods?”
“That’s later in the evening,” he chuckled,
flashing me that dimpled smile and perfect set of pearly whites. Such
infectious, boyish charm seemed misplaced, considering he was stab-worthy. It
really was a shame, because Reese wasn’t half bad looking.
And by ‘half’, I mean not entirely.
Sure, he had cheekbones that could cut glass,
not to mention bedroom eyes so amber they looked to be stowing flames inside
them, but still… Okay, okay. Even I had to admit, Blackburn was hardly an
eyesore.
Even with my heeled boots, I still stood a good
half foot shorter than him, but his lean frame thankfully made him less
imposing.
The old guy in front of me started ordering
cigarettes as well, causing my fisted fingernails to start biting into my
palms. Knowing how quickly our conversations always descended into verbal smack
downs, I grasped at anything I could think of to divert us back to small talk
until I could move to the register.
“Did you go to the game earlier?”
Reese shrugged. “I considered it, but then I
started thinking of other excruciating things I’d rather do, like have a root
canal, and I decided to pass.”
“You heading to the bonfire?” I tried again. He
merely cocked a brow, and I realized how ridiculous I sounded. “Oh, that’s
right. You don’t do anything fun. How could I forget?”
“If you call watching a bunch of drunken idiots
gyrate around and trash a field while you suffocate from smoke inhalation
‘fun,’ then yes—I don’t like fun.”
“It wouldn’t kill you to be normal, ya’ know.”
“Maybe, maybe not. Haven’t tried it.”
“So, Mr. High and Mighty, what superior plans do
you have this evening?”
“Test my alcohol limits, take off my clothes,
and harass innocent bystanders.” He thumped the side of his head. “Oh, wait a
minute. No, that’s your friends.”
“At least I have some.”
He stole a look outside and leered. “With friends like that, I consider myself
grateful that I don’t.”
“Bite me.”
“I probably shouldn’t. Wouldn’t want to get
rabies.”
“I beg to differ. Foaming at the mouth would
probably be an improvement for you. Anything to get you to stop talking.”
He smirked. “Touché, Princess.”
 
 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
 
VICTORIA EVERS is a debut paranormal fiction
writer who feels really awkward referring to herself in the third person….
When she’s not vacationing in Narnia, you’ll probably find her reading,
watching horror movies, spending time with her AMAZING family, or daydreaming
about the newest story in her head.

 

 
 
 

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Disclaimer: Giveaway for promotional purposes only. No compensation was received from author or third party.

Anniversary

Top 4 Books of 2016 (Anniversary Week)

top-books

Veronica’s Top 4 Books:

1. Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – The person I always go to for a murder/investigative story is Jennifer Lynn Barnes. She never disappoints and Killer Instinct was a great book. It has everything you want in an investigative novel and more.

2. I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios – I read this during the first half of 2016 before I came to South Korea and it has stayed with me. The happy feeling I associate with this book is everything and more. If you’re looking for a great contemporary, look no further. Read this book!

3. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch – Ahhhhh. This book is bittersweet. We follow two different story lines that are connected, but one of them breaks your heart, while the other can be sad at times, but the ending leaves you full of hope and satisfaction. 

4. When I Was Yours by Samantha Towle – Oh dear. This book is a heartbreaker alright, but it’s worth it. The pain you will feel really is worth it, and that ending was the best. Actually the entire reading journey was the best. I blame Liz for this one. 

Liz’s Top 4 Books:

1. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas – This book was one I didn’t see coming. I really enjoyed A Court of Thornes and Roses but my god, did this sequel wreck me. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks. 

2. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken –  This was the first book I read by her and I absolutely fell in love. it has everything I love- romance, time travel, different time periods, bad guys, mystery. Can’t wait for the sequel. 

3. Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman – This was my favorite historical romance of the year. It’s about Blackbeard before he was Blackbeard. She stole my heart. You flip between two perspective- Teach and Anne. It is a beautifully written story of love and heartbreak.

4. Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris CleaveThis was my first read for 2016. I was absolutely devastated by this book. It takes place right at the start of WWII for Britain and flips between four different preservative. You won’t ever see the ending coming.

 

 

 

Anniversary, Editor Letter

The Talking Bookworm’s 4th Anniversary

Writers Corner

As I sit here in my classroom I reminisce on the past 4 years that I’ve had this blog. So much has happened. We’ve had changes in staff and other normal things, but we are still here and that is what counts.

The Talking Bookworm has evolved over the years to what it is today. Each year we grow in numbers and I hope you may agree in the quality of content as well. We cover more sub-genres than before and there has been more content on the blog compared last year and that is all thanks to Liz Brooks my co-blogger. The biggest change for the blog this past year was her presence and I am forever grateful she is a part of it.

Now, coming into the 4th year, I hope you will continue to visit this blog and be a part of our community. Thank you all for your constant support and love.

Here is to another fantastic year *raises glass* CHEERS!

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Reviews, Special Review, ya contemporary, ya romance

ARC Book Review: The Bad Boy Bargain by Kendra C. Highley

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Goodreads Summary:

Baseball player Kyle Sawyer has many labels: bad boy, delinquent, ladies’ man, fearless outfielder… Only one of them is actually true. But then sweet ballet dancer Faith Gladwell asks him to help wreck her reputation, and everything goes sideways.

Faith knows a thing or two about love, and what she had with her cheating jerk of an ex wasn’t it. When he starts spreading rumors about her being an Ice Queen, Faith decides it’s time to let a little bad into her life.

Lucky for her, Kyle Sawyer—dark, dangerous, totally swoonworthy Kyle Sawyer—is landscaping her backyard over Spring Break. Shirtless. And if she can convince him to play along, “dating” Kyle will silence the rumors.

But Faith’s plan threatens to expose Sawyer’s biggest secret of all…and that’s a risk he’s not willing to take.

Review:

The Bad Boy Bargain exceeded my expectations. I was expecting for Kyle to be an actual bad boy, not a “fake” bad boy. To think he was the complete opposite of the persona he put off just so he could cruise through high school without having to be bullied or sought after for the wrong reasons is heart-breaking  and made him more adorable. Faith is a whole other story. She is Ms. goody two shoes who seems to be dating doochebags all the time. Especially this last one, Cameron, is a real piece of work. And the thing is that Cameron and Kyle have some unfinished business so when Cameron cheats on Faith and Faith breaks up with him, she decides to get revenge by going out with the notorious bad boy Kyle.

The Bay Boy Bargain is a story that deals with the pains of teenage life. It shows how one small action can change your school life. To us who are older it may seem silly that it’s so life or death per say in the teenager world, but we all know that in that point of our lives it feels like life or death.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Dsiclaimer:

I’d like to thank Entangled Publishing for providing me with an ARC. Receiving this ARC for free does not influence my opinion in any way.

Editor Letter

Editorial: The US Election

Hello Guys.

I feel like many book bloggers are taking hiatus’ because of the US presidential election results. I will not be taking one so please look forward to book reviews and other bookish posts.

My experience was a different one than most Americans as I am currently working abroad in a country that has good relations with the US. While it did not have the same impact as I am not currently living in America, I understand you all. Many of you know I am Mexican-American. That should tell you a lot about my opinion of Trump. But I am choosing to be optimistic. I choose to not be filled with fear and dread. The country my parents come from is a lot more messed up than the United States and even then I still love it.  You can either be a part of the change or whine and moan, and do nothing. I understand we all need to mourn and grieve. We need time to come to terms with what just happened. But I will tell you this. The United States is still a great country regardless of the people who live in it. We had a fair and square election which does not exist in many countries.

If you want to see change and a different America you need to act and be the change. Be optimistic. Inspire others to be the change. And the only way this will work is by loving those who disagree with us, our neighbors and our enemies. If we don’t do that, we are no better than them.

I hope you will continue to read this blog. This blog is neither Blue or Red, Republican or Democrat. This blog is here to talk about books and be a bridge that connects people across the world. In a way, we are an entertainment blog as well find books entertaining, which is why this is the last time I will mention anything political on here. I just needed to address such a big event on such a tense time in the history of America.

The world has its eyes on you America. Will the world be filled with hope or despair? What will you do? What will WE do?

With Hope,

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The Writers Column

My Life Abroad

Writers Corner

Well hello there. Long time no talk.

(I am writing this as I contemplate if I should turn on the floor heating or not. It is actually not that cold, but for a Southern Californian like me… it’s freezing. But I’m starting to appreciate the weather when it is not below freezing point. For Americans like myself that would be below 32 F and for the rest of the world including South Korea, I’m happy when it’s not below 0 C. )

I’ve been in South Korea for almost 3 months. I left California August 15th, and arrived in South Korea on August 16th. It feels as if I just got here, but also as if I’ve been here a while. I can’t point out why, but I think it is because I am finally getting used to life here and… I like it.

For those who may not know, I am currently a NET or Native English Teacher (some call me a GET/Guest English Teacher) in South Korea. I teach elementary and middle school students English as a Foreign Language. This is my first “official” teaching job and it is nothing how I thought it would be, but sometimes it is good to not have expectations when going into something. I really love my students. I think once I complete my one-year contract if I don’t renew, I will miss them a lot. They make my day brighter with their adorable faces. My middle school students are 7-9th graders and they are a handful, but teaching them is rewarding. I’m starting to create common ground with my students and it’s making them want to participate in class more. We all know when we are forced to learn a second or third language in school, no one really wants to. All students have that in common regardless of their cultural background or location.

Living by myself in another country is definitely making me grow as a person. I’m a person that is normally surrounded by friends or family and even though I am half an introvert, I needed to learn to be alone. I am definitely practicing that in South Korea. Especially because I got placed in the Gangwon-Do Province. It is the most rural province in South Korea with the lowest population number when compared to all the other provinces. I am the only foreigner in my town. I live in the same 14 stories apartment complex along with most of my students. Everywhere I go in town I hear “TEACHER TEACHER.” Students here are excited to see the foreign teacher. They also always tell me I’m beautiful so South Korea has definitely brought up my self-esteem. Haha.

Not having physical books has been tough here in South Korea. I brought my Nook HD+ with me because I knew I would have to read books on an e-reader, but sometimes you just want to hold a physical book. I did cave and bought two books from the book depository. So now at least I have two physical books. Sad thing is I will have to leave them here when I go back to USA.

I will be ending it here before this turns into a research paper length post instead of the essay I have just given you.

I will try to post more about my adventures here in South Korea in the coming weeks. But for now know I am doing well and thank you for being a loyal reader of the blog.

Warmly,

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Reviews, ya contemporary, ya romance

Book Review: Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally

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Goodreads Summary:

There are no mistakes in love.

Captain of the soccer team, president of the Debate Club, contender for valedictorian: Taylor’s always pushed herself to be perfect. After all, that’s what is expected of a senator’s daughter. But one impulsive decision-one lie to cover for her boyfriend-and Taylor’s kicked out of private school. Everything she’s worked so hard for is gone, and now she’s starting over at Hundred Oaks High.

Soccer has always been Taylor’s escape from the pressures of school and family, but it’s hard to fit in and play on a team that used to be her rival. The only person who seems to understand all that she’s going through is her older brother’s best friend, Ezra. Taylor’s had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. But it’s hard to trust after having been betrayed. Will Taylor repeat her past mistakes or can she score a fresh start?

Review:

I love reading an authors work as the years pass by because you see how their writing changes and how much better it gets overtime. It is pretty incredible really. At least I think so. From the very beginning I loved Miranda’s writing and that still has not changed. Especially if her writing keeps getting better which I didn’t think it could be possible. Alright enough gushing over her, let’s get to the real reason I am writing this review.

Defending Taylor is not your ordinary story. We get a glimpse into the life of a powerful family, yet it is not all the color of roses. The story also doesn’t follow your typical rich girl in a political world story. Taylor is just a girl who decides to cover for her boyfriend whom she loves and doesn’t want him to lose his scholarship to the private school they both attend. She thought she could cover for him because her father is a senator, but little did she know her father would not move a finger to help her. She ends up having to change schools and goes to Hundred Oaks now. There she learns to navigate the world and that any decision you make whether good or bad has the potential of being life altering.

I do want to point out that I loved how great and supportive Ezra is throughout the book. He is literally her other half. He is working through some issues and with encouragement and help from Taylor he is able to overcome his shame and get help.

Defending Taylor is about growing as a human being and being careful about the decisions you make. I know I may have made this book sound too deep maybe, but it is a great story with great characters. Like I said… Miranda’s writing is on point yet again.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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