Every book is a new journey to embark on. I mainly read romances, but I dabble in other genres too.
Last week Amazon introduced a new subscription service called Kindle Unlimited. For $9.99 a month, you can read as many ebooks as you want from their Kindle Unlimited library.
I was pretty excited when I learned of this. I have heard of other ebook subscription services like Oyster and Scribd, but they haven't strongly caught my attention. However since I own a Kindle, Amazon jumping in and doing their own thing is hard to ignore. It was tempting to sign up since my local library's Overdrive site isn't all that great. Most of the time they don't have what I'm looking for, and when they do, there's usually a waiting list so I can't read it right away. Bummer.
But after thinking it over, I won't be signing up for Kindle Unlimited or any ebook subscription... for now.
For one I have plenty of my own books to keep me occupied. I got a huge stack of paperbacks on my nightstand so I definitely should read those first! And I can read those while I wait for any holds I have on Overdrive. Right now I'm currently number 10 out of 26 patrons on the waiting list for The Giver! Hopefully I can read it in time for the movie.
I also like to use Open Library. Did you know you can check out ebooks from there? It's trickier for the Kindle since the files are in epub or pdf format so you gotta get an app to read those. But I use Open Library from time to time, and they have a lot to choose from! I think a lot of it is older stuff. Not super old but let's say you're not going to find new releases here.
Additionally, I don't mind paying for ebooks if it's something I desperately want to read, and there's no way no how in borrowing it. I don't buy too often anyways, and usually the stuff I want hasn't been that expensive.
I think it's best and cheaper for me to stick to what I'm doing now, but I will be keeping an eye on these services. It will be interesting to see how they evolve and if they improve.
Ooh I liked this one!
A medieval romance was a nice change of pace.
Reina was able to stand on her own. In the beginning of the book she helps defend her castle against invaders. She also doesn't become a doormat when she marries Ranulf. Even though he becomes Lord of the place, Reina is still a Lady and retains her power. She's feisty, but it isn't just for show.
Ranulf is a knight and has a pet cat. Awwww! I liked Ranulf a lot too. He's tough and strong but has a good heart. He's never really aggressive with Reina.
The way Reina and Ranulf's relationship progressed was great. Throughout the book they learn about each other and slowly fall in love. They actually try to talk to one another when they have problems. Their problems aren't solved right away, but you definitely see that their relationship is taking a step forward every time.
There were plenty of funny moments that made me smile.
The twists at the end were pretty good and tied up everything nicely.
Verdict: I recommend it!
Bambi - New - 14.99
Bambi's Children - New - 14.11
Guilty Pleasures - New - 17.95
From Barnes and Noble I got Bambi, Bambi's Children, and Guilty Pleasures. I had a vintage copy of Bambi's Children that I got from Goodwill, but I realized that it smelled and even though I tried cleaning it, it was still dusty and dirty so unfortunately I had to throw it away. I'm happy with the new editions though. They're veeery nice, and I like how they're both illustrated by the same person.
I have Guilty Pleasures as an ebook, but I really liked it so I bought the hardcover.
Dracula - New - 3.19
I've been looking around online for an edition of Dracula that catches my eye, and I found this edition illustrated Becky Cloonan. I like the art style and how the illustrations are all in color. I bought it from a seller called Pondview Associates on the Barnes and Noble marketplace. The book has a tiny dent on the spine, but overall it's in new condition as it was described. I'm pleased with it, and I got it a very good price.
Comfort Food - New - 17.38
Another Kitty Thomas book that I liked and wanted the hardcover for my collection. I bought it on Amazon since I was buying something for my brother from there, and I thought why not get something for me too. Plus I wanted to get free shipping.
Married by Morning - Like New - 1.99
I bought Married by Morning on Amazon from a seller called bookmongerltd. I'm a little wary buying something from them again since this book was described as Like New, and when I got it, it had some dirty scuff marks on the bottom of the front cover. Luckily I was able to wipe those off with a bit of work, and as you can see, it looks pretty good in the picture. It's way better than the copy I got from Thriftbooks which I will end up donating.
Seduce Me At Sunrise - Very Good - 3.73
Love in the Afternoon - Very Good - 5.47
Through Abebooks I ordered Seduce Me at Sunrise and Love in the Afternoon from Wonder Book, which is a bookstore in Maryland. I found the books to be in the condition described. The dustjackets just had some worn edges. Definitely a-ok with me.
A Wallflower Christmas - 2.99
I found a hardcover of A Wallflower Christmas at Goodwill. I already own the whole Wallflower series in paperback, but I love the series so much, I want to get the hardcovers.
Scandal in Spring wasn't the strong finish I was hoping for since it's the last full novel in the Wallflower series.
It was good. Don't get me wrong. Daisy and Matthew make a cute couple. I wasn't surprised she didn't end up with Cam since I already read his book, Mine Till Midnight (which I absolutely loved by the way) and knew what happened to him.
I thought Matthew was a good match for Daisy. I liked the set-up of Mr. Bowman giving Daisy the ultimatum that she should find a man to marry by the end of May or else he will make her marry Matthew. This way you get to learn more about the Bowman family dynamic, like about Mr. Bowman and how the way he runs his business affects his family.
It was adorable how Matthew likes to carry so much stuff in his pockets, things like a folding knife, fishing line, coins, a pen nib, a pair of spectacles and more.
She let a teasing note enter her voice. "Is there any emergency for which you are not prepared, Mr. Swift?" "Miss Bowman, if I had enough pockets I could save the world."
I thought it was funny how competitive Daisy and Matthew got when they played lawn bowls, a game which is kinda similar to bowling. (You play by trying to roll a ball and get it as close as you can to another ball called a jack.)
So many good things to say. Yet, Scandal in Spring just didn't feel quite perfect. I think maybe the problem was that I had trouble fully appreciating Daisy's character. She likes books and is whimsical and a little quirky, just simply adorable, but I feel like she doesn't stand out even in her own book. I like her sister Lilian more. Lilian tends to steal the show with her big personality and overshadow Daisy.
Speaking of Lilian, I like the way she looks out for her sister. She comes off as overprotective, but eventually she softens up her stance against Matthew.
Oh and there were some nice Lilian and Lord Westcliff moments too. I welcome it, because Westcliff is my faaaavorite. Sorry, Daisy.
Another problem I think is that compared to the other books Scandal in Spring isn't as intense. Daisy and Matthew's story is lighter and sweeter. That is not a bad thing, but it makes the book feel like it's missing some fire.
There's a novella after this called A Wallflower Christmas. Hopefully that will conclude the series in an even better way. I will write my thoughts on the series as whole when I review that book.
Scandal in Spring Verdict: I recommend it.
So it seems like there's a number of exciting movies coming up. I've been thinking it would be cool to read the book before the movie comes out. Here are the ones that I want to read and watch.
1. August 9th - Outlander
Ok this is actually tv series, but I'm a sucker for historical stuff, and I also have the first book (just started reading it) so I'm looking forward to this. I'm not sure if I will be able to watch it since it's on the Starz channel, and I don't have that, but I'll find a way. Hopefully the episodes will be online.
2. August 15th - The Giver
I never read this book before. I remember some of my friends reading it in elementary school. It never caught my interest so I never bothered, but now I want to see what all the fuss is about.
3. September 19th - The Maze Runner
My sister has read this series and liked it. I tried reading it before but couldn't get into it. I'll try again.
4. October 3rd - Gone Girl
I've heard a lot about this book. I want to read it and see what's it about.
5. November 21st - The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
I need to start over and read the series again. I read the first two books and wasn't crazy about them. They were interesting, but I didn't get the hype. I would like to give them a second shot. I've also seen the first movie, but not the second one.
So there you have it. I got a lot of reading to do, but I think it will be fun challenge.
What books to movie/tv series are you excited for? I found EarlyWord's list helpful to see what's coming soon.
My second Rosamunde Pilcher book. Wild Mountain Thyme was better than Snow In April but not by much.
The story was a little less boring. Victoria's old boyfriend, Oliver, unexpectedly shows up on her doorstep with a kid. Victoria still harbors some feelings for him so she agrees to go along with him and the kid on a trip to Scotland, which isn't a smart choice since Oliver is a selfish prick. Plus, he stole the kid. It's his child, but it was still kidnapping. That's why he wants to get away. Honestly, what does Victoria see in him?
Luckily before all this happened, Victoria meets this other guy, a nice, handsome, rich (basically perfect) man named John. John seems like he will be an important character so of course I hoped Victoria ended up with him. She does to no surprise, but it happens at the very end on the last pages when their relationship finally starts to kick off and get interesting.
Most of the story has Victoria with Oliver. And like I said before Oliver is a jerk, but out of the cast of characters, he was the most memorable out of the bunch. Everybody else was bland.
I found Victoria to be the same as the heroine from Snow in April. They're both helpless and passive. John is flat too. He's just the good guy that rescues Victoria. He takes charge after Oliver leaves and instantly solves all of Victoria's problems.
Wild Mountain Thyme is a cozy novel to past the time, but it's nothing special. It's also somewhat slow so some patience might be required to read it.
Lately, I've been on a book buying spree, because I want to replace my mass market paperback books with hardcover versions. A totally weird thing to do, but I've realized how nice hardcovers look.
Since of course I wanted to try to do this as cheaply as possible, I went with giving Thriftbooks a shot.
Thriftbooks always pops up on Amazon or Abebooks whenever I search for a book, and usually they have the cheapest prices. (Note Thriftbooks also operates under other names: Green Earth Books, Motor City Books, the Atlanta Book Company, Books Squared, Yankee Clipper Books, Blue Cloud Books, Silver Arch Books and Free State Books. It's kinda deceiving if you ask me. Pretty sure it's just the name of their warehouses.)
Their prices are great, but in the end, I think buying from Thirftbooks is a gamble.
Let's start with what I ordered. In total I ordered four books, all hardcovers.
Title - Condition it was listed in - Price I paid for
Wild at Heart - Very Good - $4.21
Married by Morning - Very Good - $3.79
Seduce Me at Sunrise - Like New - $4.22
Mine Til Midnight - Like New - $3.79
A big downside was the awful packaging the books were sent in. It's basically just a plastic bag. This is how each book came to me.
No protection or padding at all. This might be okay for paperbacks. I ordered a small mass market paperback from them once before a long ago, and it came ok, but for hardcovers it's so much riskier. I could see on some where it got rubbed and dented on the edges of the book jackets, especially on the top and bottom of the book spines. The worst was that Married by Morning got a small dent on the front of the book, and this one here on the edge.
The shipping was free, but I can't get past this. Minimal packaging is cool, because it's better for the environment and all, but I don't want to take a chance every time I order a book and worry whether the book will survive the mail.
They also put stickers on the spine of their books, and the stickers aren't easy to take off.
I was able to get the spine stickers off ok on all except one. Married by Morning got a little paper ripped off. :( Some of the books also had price stickers from thrift stores like Goodwill. It's kinda annoying to take these off too and also see that they were cheaper at these thrift stores.
You see me complaining about Married by Morning. I was a little disappointed in the condition it came in. It's supposed to be in very good condition, but it looks like its journey through the mail ruined it a bit. Because, you know, it came in a thin plastic bag.
But I was most disappointed by my order of Seduce Me by Sunrise. It was supposed to be Like New, but this was what I got.
I'm not sure if it was like this before they mailed it, but whatever, it's really scuffed up. The back is the same too, even has that same white line near the spine. The book itself is ok, but I was saddened by the jacket's condition.
Out of the four books, I would say I'm only truly satisfied with two. I'm wary to buy anything from Thriftbooks ever again. Bottom line is that the prices are good, but I am not confident in the condition of their books. No thumbs-up from me.
Update 6/28/14 1:27 PST:
I emailed customer service last night, complaining about those two books I wasn't happy about. In the morning I got responses. Each was the exact same word for word. (I used the email form on their website so I had to do two separate damage complaints, because the books were in different orders.)
What's important was that they said they will be giving me a full refund for each book. I will update again when I actually receive the refunds. In the meantime, I will be looking for replacements for Seduce Me at Sunrise and Married by Morning.
Thank you for your email. I am truly sorry that the item you received was not in the condition it should have been. I have checked our inventory and unfortunately, we do not have any additional copies of the item you ordered.
I have issued a full refund (item price plus shipping) for this particular item. There is no need to return the item we sent.
Again I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. If I can be of any further assistance to you please feel free to email me.
For answers to FAQ’s click here
Update 7/1/12 4:37 PST: Looks like Thriftbooks stuck to their word. I got my refunds. You can be sure that from here on out I won't be shopping there again.
After reading Pride and Prejudice for the second time, I actually like this book! The first time I read it a couple years ago, I didn't think much of it, didn't see what the big deal was, but now I consider it be one of my favorite classics.
What's funny is that this time around, about a hundred pages in, I was ready to give up, but at the last second I decided to switch to an ebook, and that made it so much better and easier. I guess the Barnes and Noble mass market copy I had made it really hard for me to get into the story for some reason. I got rid of it. The cover was ripped up anyway.
I plan on buying a nice hardcover sometime. Maybe this one, a recent reprint that has Hugh Thomson's illustrations.
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994)
Over the top. Especially strays from the book at the end. It was entertaining, but it's not something I would watch again. My favorite adaptation continues to be the 2004 TV mini series.
Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
The visual style of the movie didn't click with me. I thought it looked ugly. Gary Oldman was great as Dracula, but I didn't care for the inserted love story between Dracula and Mina.
Raise the Red Lantern
Got this on a whim at the library. I didn't know it was based on a book until I googled it . I was surprised how disturbing it turned out to be. The ending was not a happy one. An interesting movie though! I recommend it!
I finished this some time ago, but I completely forgot to write a review! I've been too busy lately. Bah.
But just because I forgot my review doesn't mean this was a forgettable book. Oh no, that would be quite wrong. I loved it! Devil in Winter was absolutely satisfying. However I wouldn't say it's my favorite of the Wallflower series as of yet. It Happened One Autumn still holds that honor. (Lilian and Lord Westcliff are too funny. I love their chemistry.)
I was mostly glad that Sebastian redeemed himself in this book since last time he tried(show spoiler)
It was pretty awesome to see him soften up and grow to care for Evie.
A definite thumbs up from me! I now see why it gets high remarks.
I'm almost done with Pride and Prejudice!
It's a good thing I did not give up on this book, because I actually really like it. Reading it as an ebook made it a lot easier, especially since I can look up the words I don't know using my Kindle's dictionary.
If I like it enough though, I might buy a nice hardcover copy for my shelf. I don't think I could ever bring myself to go 100% ebook.
This is the second adaption of Jane Eyre that I have watched. I still like the 2011 movie version the best but the tv series is really, really good too. It covers more of the storyline than the movie did.
The weakest link for me though was Toby Stephens who played Mr. Rochester. He was good, and in this version Jane and Mr. Rochester's relationship is better developed. I think it's easier to see why they fell in love, and I did like how they showed some intimate moments. But darn it, I kept thinking back to 2011 Mr. Rochester who was played by Michael Fassbender. Fassbender was so intense! Stephens's Rochester was a tad too nice and cuddly. He wasn't that grouchy like I thought Rochester was in the book.
Still a fabulous adaptation though! I really recommend it if you like the book.
I've been in a bit of reading slump lately. These are books I gave up on. It bothers me to do this, yet I don't want to be forcing myself to finish books that I'm not interested in. What would be the point if I'm not enjoying it? I want to spend my time better than that.
Cold Nights, Hot Bodies and Kiss Me If You Can I am definitely skipping. Chase the Dawn while having some unfavorable reviews on Goodreads, I'm thinking I'll still keep it and return to it later for a second chance. It takes place during the American Revolution and that's one of my favorite time periods. I didn't even get that far in Chase the Dawn anyway, not even close to a hundred pages.
I almost gave up on Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, but as I was writing this post, I changed my mind. I decided to keep going, but this time I download an ebook version of it, and it's making it a little easier to get through.
So right now in addition to reading Pride and Prejudice, I'm also reading Wild Mountain Thyme by Rosamunde Pilcher. Wild Mountain Thyme has been holding my attention really well. I also put Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas on my currently reading, because I plan on getting to that next. If finishing Wild Mountain Thyme and Pride and Prejudice doesn't pull me out of the slump, then Scandal in Spring definitely should. I've been enjoying the Wallflowers series very much.
Another Ellora's Cave freebie and alien romance. I wouldn't recommend this one either. It's pretty bad. It was icky that the men pleasured Douglass when she was unconscious and recovering from her injuries. It also didn't make sense to me that Douglass wasn't more urgent to get off the alien planet since she has a young son back on Earth. She was very distracted by the sexy alien men.
This was a freebie I got on Amazon. I read it since it's an alien romance. I wouldn't recommend it. It's a short book. It goes by really fast so the romance isn't that fully developed. I still found it amusing though.