Betsy Reads Books

I like to read and I'm a librarian. Are the two related? I just don't know.

The Rise of Nine (Lorien Legacies Series #3) (B&N Exclusive Edition)

The Rise of Nine (Lorien Legacies Series #3) (B&N Exclusive Edition) - I am always really sad when I finish books in this series. I just want to keep reading.

The Midwife's Confession

The Midwife's Confession - Diane Chamberlain This is going to be a hard book to talk about without giving too much away. Tara, Emerson, and Noelle have been friends since college. When Noelle commits suicide, Tara and Emerson begin to find things out about Noelle that make them wonder if they ever really knew her.I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. It is one I read for a book club (I wouldn't have picked it up on my own). I have to say, I was really sucked into the story. The narrator changes between several of the characters and flips between past and present day. Little bits of information are revealed about Noelle and every chapter kind of ends in a mini-cliffhanger. I wasn't very satisfied with the end of the book. The story builds and builds and builds (I really flew through the last 100 pages) and then after a big reveal it basically just ends. I have never read Jodi Piccoult (not my kind of stories) but towards the end I felt the book was going a little Piccoult. It came away from that pretty fast, but that may be because it ended quite abruptly.Overall it was a good story and kept me interested. I have a feeling I may have been more affected by the story if I was a mother.

Amelia Anne Is Dead and Gone

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone - Kat Rosenfield Where to start? This review will probably contain some spoilers. Read at your own risk.Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone follows two stories - one of Amelia leading up to her final moments, and one of Rebecca, a high school graduate looking forward to college and her ticket out of her tiny town. Their stories are entwined throughout the story in unusual ways at first and then in more concrete ways at the end.At the very beginning of the story Amelia is found dead on the side of the road. This seems to shake Rebecca and derail her from all her previous goals. She seems to think of herself and Amelia as being the same person. I kind of found this a little strange. There was something that didn't add up between Amelia being found and Rebecca suddenly becoming obsessed with her murder. Rebecca was in a bit of a funny place when the murder happened (her boyfriend had dumped her and then changed his mind), but something about the whole connection felt off.I was completely sucked into the book about 2/3 of the way through and just couldn't put it down. It was very disturbing. I felt awful for Craig - a known asshole in the community but not a murderer. To have to read about what some of the men in town did to him was probably the worst part of the book for me. It was really gruesome and I was sure I was going to have nightmares (luckily, I didn't). The whole story wrapped up kind of the way I expected but it was still kind of a surprise. On the back of the hardcover copy I had, there is a quote from Ellen Hopkins saying the novel is "Lush, compelling, and mysterious." I would agree with this assessment. The writing was like liquid velvet. It really did feel rich and luxurious. I wasn't too compelled until we were reaching the climax, but I still think Ellen Hopkins hit the nail on the head. I would recommend this book to older YA and adults.

The False Prince (Ascendance Trilogy Series #1)

The False Prince (Ascendance Trilogy Series #1) - This book is making my Top 10 for the year. Probably the Top 5. Great! Fantastic! I want to read it again right away. I want to go buy it. Loved it!

Fifty Shades Freed

Fifty Shades Freed  - E.L. James Reader beware. I am going to assume that if you are reading this, you've read the first two books. This was definitely my least favorite of the series. Perhaps I should say it was the least entertaining. Ana and Christian are married and most of the book is dedicated to stopping this threat against Christian's family and Ana. I guess it could have added some suspense to the story, but really, the threat only ever seemed imagined. Even when their apartment was broken into and Christian's sister was kidnapped, it all just seemed silly.This book also was one that would not end. I have to admit, I dragged the first one out a bit. It may not have been well written, but it was entertaining. This one just wouldn't end. There was an extremely long and creepy epilogue (I'm sorry, I don't want to read about S & M when it involves a pregnant lady and makes reference to her swollen belly getting whipped. Not my thing.) But then after the epilogue (or the p.p.s as I've come to refer to it), we get inside Christian's head and get to experience his first Christmas with the Grey's. This lasts for what seems like a long time as well. Then we come to the p.p.p.s. and it's the interview for the school paper between Ana and Christian from book one, but this time it's from Christian's point of view. I did like the very last part of the book from Christian's point of view (I'm still sorry we haven't seen a completed published version of Midnight Sun from Stephenie Meyer), but it felt super long. I almost wish E.L. James had just done a fourth book instead that was just Christian's perspective from book one. Alas, I can finally put this series to rest. I can see why people are enjoying it, but really, the characters are terrible. I didn't like any of them. I don't understand Ana at all and I think the reasons she is with Christian are all wrong. With Twilight you could at least say "well, they're teenagers, what do you expect?" but these are supposed to be adults. I don't know.I read the series to see what all the hype was about and it wasn't the worst decision I've ever made. I suggest reading this if you like erotica or just like a good laugh.

Monstrous Beauty

Monstrous Beauty - Despite my love for Disney's The Little Mermaid, I'm not sure how deep I'll get into the whole YA fiction mermaid trend. I just don't really like the inter species relationships between humans and mermaids (and really, to me, nothing is less attractive to think about than a merman). That being said, this is not what you'd expect from a story about mermaids. A lot of the story was actually about history and genealogy. It was really quite interesting. Hester grew up in a town by the sea and works at a historical colonial village. She has made a vow to never love or have children because all the women in her family have died a few days after giving birth. Hester is determined to avoid leaving a child motherless. But then Hester meets Ezra and everything changes. He is different from other guys. He's interested in her family's curse and wants to help. But as Hester digs into her family history and the town's dark history of a set of mysterious murders, she finds herself in danger. She becomes determined to lie, steal, and do whatever it takes to get the answers she's looking for.I would recommend this to those who like romance, paranormal, and historical stories.

172 Hours on the Moon

172 Hours on the Moon - Johan Harstad, Tara F. Chace It is the not to distant future and NASA wants to send astronauts back to the moon on a super secret mission. The reason they tell the world they are going to the moon is not the actual reason. And to receive more money and support for their efforts, NASA is opening up a lottery to teenagers. Three of them will be selected to travel to the moon with the astronauts and spend 172 hours there aboard a space station that no one knew existed. However, NASA is keeping some pretty big secrets - mainly, what has kept them from the moon visiting the moon again since the 1970s.I was hooked immediately. I loved the writing and I was interested in the characters and what was happening from page one. The teenagers/main characters are from Norway (yay!), Japan, and France. I thought Harstad did an excellent job writing the dialog/thoughts for each teen. Obviously, being from other countries English isn't their native language. I think for each individual teen, Harstad wrote their English the way they would speak it based on their native language. It was excellent. It made the characters seem more real.I couldn't wait to finish this story to have all the big secrets of the moon revealed, but I feel like it was a bit of a let down. I don't know what I was expecting. It seems as though a lot of things were left hanging. Maybe they weren't important to the end of the story, but I was still curious. Specifically, the one teenager's brother writes her a letter because he'll miss her when she's on the moon. She doesn't read the letter, but then forgets to take it on the mission. We never find out what the letter said (I don't think I could possibly have skimmed over it). I felt it was going to be important to the story because it was talked about a lot. But then...nothing. In the end, it was a good story and it really held my interest. I just wasn't enthusiastic about the end. I recommend this to those who like outer space and suspense.

Fifty Shades Darker

Fifty Shades Darker - E.L. James I will sum up the majority of this book for you:Christian: Ana, don't leave me. Please don't leave me. I don't understand why you love me.Ana: Why do you love me? It doesn't make sense. Please don't leave me. I would die without you.{intimate scene}Repeat 230 timesThat being said. We did learn more about Christian's past in this book which was sort of interesting. Some of the Twilight parallels get pretty distracting, though (and the repetitiveness). I am also really struggling to see why Ana likes Christian. He is very controlling and it is really unappealing. I mean, Edward was at least a teenager (I don't care if he was technically supposed to be 117 or whatever). Christian is just a bit creepy. I would be able to put up with someone telling me what to where and when/how much to eat for about 8 minutes. Finished two books, why not the third?

Explorer: The Mystery Boxes

Explorer: The Mystery Boxes - Kazu Kibuishi This is a collection of short stories in graphic form. These stories were each very cool and different. There was a little twist to each one at the end that made you go "huh." Definitely worth the read. The illustrations were also amazing in each story. I highly recommend picking this one up if you like graphic novels and curiosities.

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2)

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2) - If you haven't read A Discovery of Witches you may not want to read this review. It will probably have some spoilers.That being said, we pick up where we left off. Matthew and Diana have traveled back to the 16th Century We continue to follow them as Diana tries to assimilate into society (which is harder than she expected, considering she is a historian) and Matthew tries to wear his many hats simultaneously but without interference. Diana and Matthew have to keep moving from place to place in order to get Diana the help she needs with her magic, to stay safe from the witch hunts of the 16th century, and to keep up their quest to find Ashmole 782. There is a lot in this book. It is dense. I started reading an electronic version and I kind of wish I'd only read the hardcover because there was a name index. There are about 1000000 characters and they all have multiple names. It was really hard to stay on top of everything. The story is very well written and very well researched. I just found it to be a little too dense for my flighty summer mind. This is the kind of book you want to curl up and hunker down with on a snow stormy night. I liked reading about the culture and society of 16th century England (even if some of it was imagined). And we find a lot of interesting things out about Diana that really shape her and give us a better understanding of her character. All good stuff. I am looking forward to the third book.

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)

Fifty Shades of Grey - E.L. James Let's get one thing straight. This book was NOT well written. There were at least 5 things the author kept saying over and over and over and over again that were really annoying and stupid (inner goddess anyone?) Sometimes I would read a sentence and the next sentence would just be a paraphrased version of the sentence before it. Awful.That being said, I got sucked in. I didn't want to, but I did. Christian Grey is about the least romantic person on the planet. I don't really know why Ana wants to be with him, other than he's rich and hot. Doesn't make sense to me. But just like I was inexplicably drawn into the story, she is drawn to him.I could definitely see the inspiration from Twilight. It's all really very silly. But as I said, I was hooked and really kept reading to see if Christian was going to come around and want a real relationship or if he was going to stay a complete weirdo jerk and not let Ana touch him. Of course, there are 3 books, so I'm not really sure why I thought that whole issue would be resolved by the end of book one. Oh well. I'll keep reading if I must.

Room: A Novel

Room: A Novel - 5 year old Jack and his mom live in a room. As far as Jack is concerned, everything they need is there. And when they want something, they just have to put it on a list and give it to Old Nick and hope he brings it. But things aren't going so well anymore. The heat turns off and Old Nick doesn't bring them any new food. Finally, Jack's mom tells him the truth. Even though he's never left Room, there is a whole world outside. Old Nick kidnapped his mom 7 years earlier and now they have to try to escape.Room is not a book I would have picked up on my own. It's not really my thing. However, that is why I joined a book club - to read outside my comfort zone. I liked and hated Room at the same time. Jack was the narrator and I really didn't like him. I kept reminding myself he wasn't a 5 year old that has had a traditional upbringing, but it just drove me insane the way he talked. He could repeat complex things from the news, but he couldn't formulate sentences very well at all. It was really annoying. Really. Annoying. It took me a while to get into the story, but I'm glad I stuck with it. It was definitely interesting. A lot to think about. I can see why it is used in book discussion groups a lot.

The Last Echo (Body Finder Series #3)

The Last Echo - Kimberly Derting I liked The Last Echo, but it definitely wasn't the best book in the series. The book follows the same plot as The Body Finder and Desires of the Dead. Violet finds dead people, almost gets killed by the killer, every thing works out in the end. They are all more or less the same. I thought this was the final book in a trilogy, however, it was definitely left so that more books may follow.I recommend this for those who have read the other two books in the series and for those who like paranormal/thriller/romance.

The Serpent's Shadow (Kane Chronicles)

The Serpent's Shadow - Rick Riordan I hate to say it was hard to get through this book, but it was. The Kane Chronicles has definitely not been my favorite series by Rick Riordan. I don't really understand it either. I love mythology and I love Egypt, however, I just could not really get into this series so reading each book took forever. I wanted to stick with it, though because I do love everything else Rick Riordan writes. Also, this was the final book in the series so, being a completest, I wanted to finish it.I will say, the second half of the book went much faster than the first half. The whole thing was well written, I guess it just hasn't been my cup of tea. I am slightly concerned that there was a pretty big plot left hanging and it sounds like there will be more books in this series. I'm ready to be done and get moving on with the next ones in the Heroes of Olympus series.Still, solid writing, good story. Read this if you like mythology, Egypt, Rick Riodan, adventure, and magic (see look at all those awesome things?! How do I not love this?)

Insurgent (Divergent Series #2)

Insurgent (Divergent Series #2) - Insurgent picks up where Divergent left off (although, to be honest, I had completely forgotten what happened at the end of that book.) There is inter and intra faction rivalry going on with Tris and Tobias (Four) in the middle of it. We learn more about the characters - Tobias and his family in particular - and the factions but we have to put up with Tris being completely annoying and a really, really slow moving story.I found the whole book seemed to drag. Action scenes seemed to move very fast and without a lot of explanation other than "this needs to happen for everything to work out, so it's just going to happen." I thought a little more time could have been spent making those scenes seem a little less convenient and a little less time could have been spent on Tris being a brat with nothing else happening.While I only thought this book was all right, I want to finish out the series, so I plan to read the third book to see what happens. I just hope it's a couple hundred pages shorter than this one. This one easily could have been a couple hundred pages shorter without the story suffering. If you're into the series already, I'd recommend reading this because I feel like the third book will be worth struggling through this one.


Blackwood - Gwenda Bond Miranda Blackwood has spent every day of her life on Roanoke Island. She's always been a bit of an outcast, but has found her own little niche in the world helping out the local theater company when they put on the annual summer production about the lost colonists of Roanoke Island. Things change for Miranda when 114 members of the community vanish in the night. Could whatever happen to the colonists be happening again? Miranda has to find out what is going on. She feels connected to the mystery in a way she doesn't really understand. And she is surprised when she finds help in the last place she expected.First, I have to say, this whole story is based on the mysterious disappearance of the Roanoke colonists. I am sold. The story grabbed me almost right from the beginning. I was kind of on the fence (I didn't know a whole lot about the plot) about where the story might go, but I was pretty gripped once people started disappearing. I liked Miranda a lot. She was the kind of girl who took what life handed her and didn't waste too much time feeling sorry for herself if the hand she was dealt was a bad one. She rolled with the punches. However, as the story moved along her character evolved and we were able to see that a lot of what she showed people was just a facade. I thought her character development was well done. Sometimes I wanted to shake her by the shoulders, but that happens a lot when I'm reading (see my upcoming review of Insurgent by Veronica Roth.)I also liked Phillips. I almost wrote him off based on his name alone. Then, author Gwenda Bond, threw in a little jab about his name that made me chuckle so I got over it. He turned out to be a pretty decent guy. I thought his connection to Miranda seemed a little odd considering he hadn't been on the island (or spoken to her) in a few years, but I was willing to ignore that for the sake of the story. All in all I really liked this and recommend it to history buffs, paranormal fans, and anyone who likes a pinch of romance added to the mix.