Sunday, December 29, 2013

Book Review: A Beautiful Wedding

Title A Beautiful Wedding

Series Beautiful, book 2.5

Author Jaime McGuire

Release Date December 10, 2013

You know that Abby Abernathy unexpectedly became Mrs. Maddox. But what do you really know?

Why did Abby pop the question?
What secrets were shared before the ceremony?
Where did they spend their wedding night?
Who else knew about it . . . and didn’t tell?

Everything about Abby and Travis’s elopement was top-secret . . . until now. Fans of Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster will get all of their questions answered in this whirlwind tale of the wedding day (and night!)—and as with all good stories, this one will definitely have been worth the wait.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18528454-a-beautiful-wedding
Review

You know, sometimes there's come a point in the life of a series where you want to sit the author down and say to them, "Listen, it's been swell. It's getting old, though. Just stop. Just stop it and let the series die a peaceful death." (I'm looking at you Pretty Little Liars.) Unfortunately, that time has come much sooner for the Beautiful series by Jamie McGuire.

Beautiful Disaster was a fine book. It certainly could have been (and *should* have been) a stand-alone book. We didn't need the same story from Travis. Be honest, there wasn't enough of a change between Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster. Yeah, I get it... It was the same story so most everything should be the same. Okay, but no. It was the *exact* same story with *very little* changed, repacked, and sold as a separate book. There was no difference between Abby's point-of-view (BD) and Travis' point-of-view (WD) and the last time I checked, they were two separate people no matter how in love they actually are.

All that nonsense aside, we couldn't possibly let Abby and Travis rest in the land of ended series, could we? Nope! Now we've got A Beautiful Wedding which practically changes the story that we were led to believe... within the first few pages! Super Fans of the series certainly won't like this. I'll be honest, I didn't too much care for it, either. Though I'm not invested in the series whatsoever it still ruined the story that I previously read.

I didn't care for this book at all. I didn't really care for Walking Disaster, either, though. I guess I have a horrible tendency to read books that I know I'm not going to enjoy. This should certainly be a lesson for me, but I doubt it will be.

Rating

2 out of 5 stars

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Book Review: Love Show

Title Love Show

Author Audrey Bell

Release Date January 5, 2014

Hadley Arrington is the career-driven editor-in-chief of her university’s prestigious newspaper. Jack Diamond is a laidback student whose good looks have made things even easier than they need to be. She’s the girl who came out of nowhere and kissed him in the rain. He’s the boy who made her do something crazy.

When the stakes seem too high, they have to decide if they’ll let their love show or if they’ll walk away for good.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20644478-love-show
Review

The thing that I liked most about this book is actually a spoiler, so fair warning that this review has spoilers!



Overall, this was an enjoyable book. I think the characters (even Ben) felt like real people. The story flowed well and didn't feel rushed or forced. However, the book could have done with a little more editing, though I'm not sure I read a finalized copy since I was reading an ARC.

Rating

4 out of 5 stars

* This book was received from the author in exchange for an honest review. *

Friday, December 20, 2013

Book Review: Bold

Title Bold

Author Julia Swift & Andrew Landis

Release Date July 4, 2013

Sasha, a shy, 15-year-old girl who hides from the world, almost dies in a car crash and vows that if she survives, she will be bold and live life to the fullest. Her newfound courage is tested when she meets Will, who just moved to her Air Force desert town after his journalist father’s disappearance. Will is fascinated by Sasha’s brush with and secret knowledge of death.

Sasha and Will push each other to take chances and break out of their sheltered suburban world. But will they discover there is a difference between being bold and being stupid before they put themselves, or someone else, in danger?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18220396-bold
Review

Bold was such a good, sweet read. I actually enjoyed the story much more than I thought I would whenever I was first contacted about the book. I always enjoy when a book pleasantly surprises me.

Dual perspectives is something that I'm enjoying more and more lately. I love the fuller picture we get when we're treated with a perspective of each of the main characters. Bold didn't disappoint in this aspect at all. Whether or not it's because the novel is written by two people or not, I don't know, but I truly felt like I was seeing the story from the point of view of two well developed characters.

The romance between Sasha and Will didn't feel forced, faked, or rushed. It's always so much better to see a romance develop naturally rather than one that's forced by the author(s).

Overall, I was very pleased with Bold. I'm glad I decided to give it a chance. If you're looking for a clean, sweet young adult romance you should give this one a try.

Rating

4 out of 5 stars

* This book was received from the authors in exchange for an honest review. *

Unfinished Book: Pretenders

Title Pretenders

Series Pretenders, book 1

Author Lisi Harrison

Release Date October 1, 2013

It takes place at a high school in New Jersey. Summer is over. Sophomore year begins tomorrow. Outfits are being planned. Lunch buddies are being secured. Texts are flying. All seems normal when…ping! Everyone in the sophomore class gets an email.

SUBJECT: The Phoenix Five: License To Spill.

Attached is a mega document.

A letter from a mysterious student starts the book. It explains that at the end of each year the school yearbook- The Phoenix- names the five most outstanding freshman. She (or he) always suspected that last years’ five (3 girls, 2 boys) were phonies. She (or he) always thought they tried too hard to be popular. But she (or he) never had the proof. Until now. She (or he) stole the secret diaries they were asked to keep by their English teacher. She (or he) has compiled them into a book.

This is that book.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13618700-pretenders
Review

Years ago, I read some of Lisi Harrison's Clique series. The series didn't do too much to hold my interest, so I only read a couple of the books. However, none of that had any influence on my decision to read Pretenders as I didn't even know that they were written by the same author. Perhaps if I had known this, I wouldn't have bothered grabbing the book from Netgalley.

Frankly, the book didn't grab me soon enough for me to read more of it. From other reviews that I've read (why didn't I read them before requesting this book?!), there's a giant cliffhanger at the end of the book and considering the book didn't draw me in quickly enough, I figured that I didn't want to waste the time to trudge through a mediocre book to only be left in the dark about the rest of the story. Sorry, but my reading schedule is pretty full right now.

I won't make the mistake of requesting a book, read now or otherwise, on Netgalley without first doing more research. Normally, I don't make this mistake, but the book sounded more interesting than it really was. Lesson definitely learned.

* This book was received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Book Review: Addicted for Now

Title Addicted for Now

Series Addicted, book 2

Author Krista & Becca Ritchie

Release Date November 30, 2013

He's addicted to booze. She's addicted to sex...staying sober is only half the battle.

No. More. Sex.

Those are the three words Lily Calloway fears the most. But Loren Hale is determined to be with Lily without enabling her dangerous compulsions. With their new living situation—sleeping in the same bed, for real, together—Lily has new battles. Like not jumping Lo’s bones every night. Not being consumed by sex and his body.

Loren plans to stay sober, to right all of his wrongs. So when someone threatens to expose Lily’s secret to her family and the public, he promises that he’ll do anything to protect her. But with old enemies surfacing, Lo has more at stake than his sobriety.

They will torment Lily until Lo breaks.

And his worst fear isn’t relapsing. He hears the end. He sees it. The one thing that could change everything. Just three words.

No. More. Us.

New Adult Romance recommended for readers 18+ for mature content.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17969317-addicted-for-now
Review

The second book (or really third) in the series is rather different than the first two. The first two books are told solely from the perspective of Lily. However, this book is told from the perspectives of Lily *and* Loren. I had become used to seeing things through Lily's eyes, so I was somewhat skeptical that I would enjoy the dual perspectives. However, it was such a treat. I loved getting inside Lo's head. Since he's such a huge part of the story, both on his own and in Lily's life, it was great to have this alternative view of things.

Another thing that I loved about this book was the other characters. While they were certainly present in the other books, they are a bigger presence in this one for sure. Ryke, Connor, Rose, and Daisy are all wonderful. I love that they have bonded together with Lily and Lo to create this group of friends that's become vital to the story. I have genuinely enjoyed the interactions within the group.

Overall, this is a solid book. The writing is great. The story is interesting and has kept my focus completely (no boring spots or lulls). Not only am I excited for the story of Lily and Lo to continue, but I'm also excited to read the spinoffs (Rose & Connor in Kiss the Sky and Daisy & Ryke in Hothouse Flower). Unfortunately, I'm completely caught up with the books that are currently released and I have to wait around for the next book along with everyone else. Such sadness!

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Monday, December 16, 2013

Book Review: Ricochet

Title Ricochet

Series Addicted, book 1.5

Author Krista & Becca Ritchie

Release Date August 1, 2013

As a sex addict, Lily Calloway must do the impossible. Stay celibate for 90 days.

Cravings and fantasies become her new routine, but while Loren Hale recovers from his alcohol addiction, Lily wonders if he’ll realize what a monster she really is. After all, her sexual compulsions begin to rule her life the longer she stays faithful to him.

Progress. That’s what Lily’s striving for. But by trying to become closer to her family—people who aren’t aware of her addiction—she creates larger obstacles. When she spends time with her youngest sister, she learns more about her than she ever imagined and senses an unsettling connection between Daisy and Ryke Meadows.

With Lily and Lo’s dysfunctional relationship teetering and unbalanced, they will need to find a way to reconnect from miles apart. But the inability to “touch” proves to be one of the hardest tests on their road to recovery. Some love brushes the surface. Some love is deeper than skin.

Lily and Lo have three months to discover just how deep their love really goes.

Includes the first chapter to the sequel Addicted for Now.

Companion to the Sequel: A full-length New Adult Romance that continues where Addicted to You left off. As a companion novel, it bridges the gap between the first and second book. It is highly recommended to be read before Addicted for Now.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17969313-ricochet
Review

You know what? The silliest things bother me. I understand novellas in between full-length novels in a series. Bridging a gap in the story can be vital in keeping a series going. However, considering this is a full-length novel, I'm confused as to why this is a half-number book as opposed to a full-number book. Maybe it's because it's not "required" reading for the series? Which sounds crazy considering it covers an important three month time period with Lo in rehab and Lily working through her addiction. Ah, whatever. Like I said, it's always the silliest things that bother me.

While this might not be "required" reading for the series, I certainly recommend reading it. While this book focuses mostly on Lily (not enough Lo!!!), we're also given flashbacks into Lily and Lo's past. I love learning more about the characters in the books I'm reading. It always makes for a more enjoyable experience.

Yes, I'm aware that this isn't much of a review. But I did want to bring attention to the fact that the half-numbered full-length book bothered me even though it's silly. Also, the first chapter of the next book, Addicted for Now, is included in this book. After reading it, I'm dying to start the book! What in the world am I going to do whenever I'm caught up and have to wait for the next book like everyone else?! Be sad, that's what I'll do.

Rating

4 out of 5 stars

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Book Review: Addicted to You

Title Addicted to You

Series Addicted, book 1

Author Krista & Becca Ritchie

Release Date August 22, 2013

She’s addicted to sex. He’s addicted to booze…the only way out is rock bottom.

No one would suspect shy Lily Calloway’s biggest secret. While everyone is dancing at college bars, Lily stays in the bathroom. To get laid. Her compulsion leads her to one-night stands, steamy hookups and events she shamefully regrets. The only person who knows her secret happens to have one of his own.

Loren Hale’s best friend is his bottle of bourbon. Lily comes at a close second. For three years, they’ve pretended to be in a real relationship, hiding their addictions from their families. They’ve mastered the art of concealing flasks and random guys that filter in and out of their apartment.

But as they sink beneath the weight of their addictions, they cling harder to their destructive relationship and wonder if a life together, for real, is better than a lie. Strangers and family begin to infiltrate their guarded lives, and with new challenges, they realize they may not just be addicted to alcohol and sex.

Their real vice may be each other.

New Adult Romance recommended for readers 18+ for mature content.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18369048-addicted-to-you
Review

I'll admit it... the first reason I wanted to read this book was because it was about a female addicted to sex. There's tons of books about guys that crave and need sex. I can't think of a single one, other than this one, that puts a female in that situation. Immediately, I was intrigued to see how it was portrayed by the authors.

Speaking of authors, I wasn't completely sure how I was going to enjoy a book written by two people. Generally, it's easy to pull off if the book is told from dual perspectives (different authors provide different voices), but this book is only told from Lily's perspective. So, how'd they do? Wonderful! There wasn't any noticeable change in voice in Lily (maybe it's because they're twins, haha... totally kidding, I know twins are absolutely two separate people).

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I was drawn into the story immediately. I loved the characters, especially Loren. The book, being the first in the series, ends very abruptly. I'm excited to see how the series progresses.

Currently, there are two other books in this series. I'll be starting the next one, Ricochet, immediately.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

* This book was received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Book Review: Four Seconds to Lose

Title Four Seconds to Lose

Series Ten Tiny Breaths, book 3

Author K. A. Tucker

Release Date November 4, 2013

When a gorgeous young dancer walks through his door, a strip club owner must decide whether to follow his rules or his heart in the third novel by the author of One Tiny Lie and Ten Tiny Breaths.

Owning a strip club isn’t the fantasy most guys expect it to be. With long hours, a staff with enough issues to keep a psych ward in business, and the police regularly on his case, twenty-nine-year-old Cain is starting to second guess his unspoken mission to save the women he employs. And then blond, brown-eyed Charlie Rourke walks through his door, and things get really complicated. Cain abides by a strict “no sleeping with the staff” rule. But being around Charlie challenges Cain’s self-control…and it’s been a long time since any woman has done that.

Twenty-two-year-old Charlie Rourke needs a lot of money, really fast, in order to vanish before it’s too late. Taking her clothes off for men makes her stomach curl but Charlie tells herself that at least she’s putting her acting and dancing skills to good use. And though her fellow dancers seem eager to nab their sexy, sophisticated, and genuinely caring boss, she’s not interested. After all, Charlie Rourke doesn’t really exist—and the girl pretending to be her can't get distracted by romance.

Unfortunately, Charlie soon discovers that developing feelings for Cain is inevitable, and that those feelings may not be unrequited—but losing him when he finds out what she’s involved with will be more painful than any other sentence awaiting her.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17571140-four-seconds-to-lose
Review

Unlike the first and second book, this book is told from the perspective of two characters, Cain and Charlie. I did enjoy seeing the story from both perspectives and I think the author did a very good job here.

Once I found out that this book was about Cain, I was very excited. I was intrigued by him in the first book and was delighted to find out more about him. However, I had a slightly harder time being drawn into this story. While I originally thought it had to do with the dual perspectives, I now doubt that. Considering I really enjoyed seeing the story from both Cain and Charlie's point of view, I'm not really sure why I wasn't as into the story as I thought I would be. Even though the story had a harder time drawing me in than the first two books, I still enjoyed it.

The next book, Five Ways to Fall, is Ben's story. Without a doubt, I look forward to reading it.

Rating

4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Book Review: One Tiny Lie

Title One Tiny Lie

Series Ten Tiny Breaths, book 2

Author K. A. Tucker

Release Date June 11, 2013

Livie has always been the stable one of the two Cleary sisters, handling her parents' tragic death and Kacey's self-destructive phase with strength and maturity. But underneath that exterior is a little girl hanging onto the last words her father ever spoke to her. “Make me proud,” he had said. She promised she would...and she’s done her best over the past seven years with every choice, with every word, with every action.

Livie walks into Princeton with a solid plan, and she’s dead set on delivering on it: Rock her classes, set herself up for medical school, and meet a good, respectable guy that she’s going to someday marry. What isn’t part of her plan are Jell-O shots, a lovable, party animal roommate she can’t say ‘no’ to, and Ashton, the gorgeous captain of the men’s rowing team. Definitely him. He’s an arrogant ass who makes Livie’s usually non-existent temper flare and everything she doesn’t want in a guy. Worse, he’s best friends and roommates with Connor, who happens to fits Livie’s criteria perfectly. So why does she keep thinking about Ashton?

As Livie finds herself facing mediocre grades, career aspirations she no longer thinks she can handle, and feelings for Ashton that she shouldn’t have, she’s forced to let go of her last promise to her father and, with it, the only identity that she knows.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17302495-one-tiny-lie
Review

I devoured Livie's story much faster than I did Kacey's. Okay, it wasn't that much faster. I finished One Tiny Lie in two days where Ten Tiny Breaths took me three. Still... it certainly seemed a lot faster to me. That being said, it's absolutely safe to say that if you enjoyed Ten Tiny Breaths, you'll enjoy this one. In fact, I'll even say that I enjoyed this one slightly more than the first.

This story picks up a few years after the first and is centered around Kacey's younger sister, Livie. While we do see glimpses of Kacey/Trent, they certainly don't steal the show from Livie. Normally, I don't know how I feel about another book (or show or movie, etc.) starting from a different perspective than that of the first book. However, I love it here! The Kacey/Trent story wrapped up in the first book, but everyone else was left wide open to have their story told. And K. A. Tucker is taking advantage of it and performing flawlessly!

The next book in the series centers around Cain and I absolutely can't wait to read his story. I would say that it's official... K. A. Tucker is certainly on my list of favorite authors.

Rating

5 out 5 stars

* This book was received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *

Blog Tour: Rewired

Progress Banner


Title Rewired

Series Progress, book 3

Author Amy Queau

Release Date November 12, 2013

Tour Host Keepin' It Real Book Blog

“Because if it weren’t for Jesse, I would have never been the girl you fell in love with.” -Charlie

Impasse: def. noun. 1. a situation in which no progress seems possible. 2. a difficult or puzzling situation from which there is no easy escape.

Charlie is about to find out how far into Jesse’s tormented past she needs to travel when she hops into his car, leaving the man she loves alone and searching for answers.
But Samuel’s a fighter. He’s not about to give up without an explanation. And he’s soon to discover events in Charlie’s past that offer reasons to her recent behavior. But will it be enough for him to want her back?
Unable to forgive herself for what she’s done to Samuel - and her crumbling future without him - Charlie’s solution is simple: Help Jesse open his mind and his heart, allowing him to trust someone for the first time in his life.

Rewired is the third and final book in The Progress Series.

Warning: This book contains sensitive material (including sexually explicit content, acts of graphic violence, language, and triggers) and may not be appropriate for all readers.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18080800-rewired
Review

Oh my gosh! This book... no, this entire trilogy broke my heart into a million pieces. We finally reach the end of this roller coaster we've been on with Charlie and Jesse and, my goodness, what a roller coaster it's been.

Amy Queau's writing is breathtaking. Her characters have relatable and depth that you don't find elsewhere. Her story flows beautifully. The emotion she makes us feel is real and passionate. I don't think I could possibly say enough to explain to you how much I've enjoyed her writing.

The ending of Rewired absolutely broke my heart. I cried! Oh goodness, I cried. While it wasn't the ending I would have picked, I understood it and I liked it.

If you haven't started Amy Queau's Progress series, do it now! It's amazing!

* This book was received from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much! *

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

About Amy Queau
Amy QueauI am a mother and wife, first and foremost. I decided to hit the computer and write Progress because I had a very personal story to tell. I do hope you enjoy it.

I live in the suburbs of Minneapolis, MN with my husband, two children; Junior and Evie, and my dog, Saba Lou.

I enjoy writing, drawing, crosswords, games, reading and of course, spending time with my beautiful family.

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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Book Review: Ten Tiny Breaths

Title Ten Tiny Breaths

Series Ten Tiny Breaths, book 1

Author K. A. Tucker

Release Date December 11, 2012

Kacey Cleary’s whole life imploded four years ago in a drunk-driving accident. Now she’s working hard to bury the pieces left behind—all but one. Her little sister, Livie. Kacey can swallow the constant disapproval from her born-again aunt Darla over her self-destructive lifestyle; she can stop herself from going kick-boxer crazy on Uncle Raymond when he loses the girls’ college funds at a blackjack table. She just needs to keep it together until Livie is no longer a minor, and then they can get the hell out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

But when Uncle Raymond slides into bed next to Livie one night, Kacey decides it’s time to run. Armed with two bus tickets and dreams of living near the coast, Kacey and Livie start their new lives in a Miami apartment complex, complete with a grumpy landlord, a pervert upstairs, and a neighbor with a stage name perfectly matched to her chosen “profession.” But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle all of them. What she can’t handle is Trent Emerson in apartment 1D.

Kacey doesn’t want to feel. She doesn’t. It’s safer that way. For everyone. But sexy Trent finds a way into her numb heart, reigniting her ability to love again. She starts to believe that maybe she can leave the past where it belongs and start over. Maybe she’s not beyond repair.

But Kacey isn’t the only one who’s broken. Seemingly perfect Trent has an unforgivable past of his own; one that, when discovered, will shatter Kacey’s newly constructed life and send her back into suffocating darkness.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15990969-ten-tiny-breaths
Review

Ten Tiny Breaths has been on my to-read shelf for a few months. It would probably still be sitting there if it weren't for the fact that I was approved to read the second book on Netgalley. Sometimes the universe gives us the push we need to get where we're going... or to read what we should be reading. Or something like that.

Overall, this book is pretty great. The writing is enjoyable. The pacing is absolutely perfect (you're thrown right into the middle of things and you learn the back story along the way). I absolutely adored the characters, especially Storm. The actual story itself was wonderful. I loved the overall message of forgiveness, not for the other person, but for yourself.

Even in all that greatness, though, there is the one thing... I had the "big secret" figured out early on. Even though that was the case, it had the opposite of a normal effect on me. Instead of becoming slightly bored with the book, it intrigued me to read more and find out if I was right and what would happen if I was. The more I read, the more I needed to find out. It was truly a good read.

I am thrilled to start the next book that centers around Livie.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Book Review: No Alligators in Sight

Title No Alligators in Sight

Author Kirsten B. Feldman

Release Date September 3, 2013

In this coming of age novel, Lettie and Bert squeak by in a tiny town on Cape Cod, one parent an alcoholic and the other absent. After a string of bad decisions on Lettie’s part, their father ships them to their barely remembered mother for the summer, where they will learn hard lessons about themselves, their family, and their future by way of the Florida swamp. Throughout Lettie keeps her biting humor flowing, her razor-sharp pen at the ready, and her eye on her quest for a “normal” life.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18687644-no-alligators-in-sight
Review

I am almost always hesitant to agree to read a book that's independently published. I believe most book reviewers are. Sometimes, you'll find a true gem. Other times, more often than not, you find mediocre writing and a story that wasn't worth your time. Luckily, No Alligators in Sight was one of those gems.

There's two things I really enjoyed about the book. First, the characters are wonderfully developed. They come to life and feel like real people you could meet anywhere. While there was a few times that I had trouble remembering Lettie/Annie was only thirteen (I believe), it's easily understandable. She's had a difficult life since her mother left. Looking out for not only herself, but her brother, certainly will age a child well beyond their years. Secondly, the story itself is just well-written. It flowed easily and I was hooked from the very beginning.

I may have to remind myself that it's okay to take a chance on an independently published book. I'm so glad that I did for this one. It was worth the read and I do recommend it.

Rating

4 out of 5 stars

* This book was received from the author in exchanged for an honest review. *

Monday, November 25, 2013

Book Review: The Promise of Stardust

Title The Promise of Stardust

Author Priscille Sibley

Release Date February 5, 2013

Matt Beaulieu was two years old the first time he held Elle McClure in his arms, seventeen when he first kissed her under a sky filled with shooting stars, and thirty-three when he convinced her to marry him. Now in their late 30s, the deeply devoted couple has everything-except the baby they've always wanted.

When an accident leaves Elle brain dead, Matt is devastated. Though he cannot bear the thought of life without her, he knows Elle was afraid of only one thing-a slow death. And so, Matt resolves to take her off life support.

But Matt changes his mind when they discover Elle's pregnant. While there are no certainties, the baby might survive if Elle remains on life support. Matt's mother, Linney, disagrees with his decision. She loves Elle, too, and insists that Elle would never want to be kept alive on machines. Linney is prepared to fight her son in court-armed with Elle's living will.

Divided by the love they share, Matt and Linney will be pitted against each other, fighting for what they believe is right, and what they think Elle would have wanted resulting in a controversial legal battle that will ultimately go beyond one family . . . and one single life.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15818343-the-promise-of-stardust
Review

It's no secret that I like to read. On the flip side of that, it's no secret that my husband hates reading (absolute insanity if you ask me). Still, he's always nice enough to ask me what I'm reading and what the book is about before drifting off to sleep after complaining that the light on my Nook is too bright (impossible, of course). When I mentioned that I was reading The Promise of Stardust and explained it to him, he had two thoughts on the book. One, "that title makes no sense! It has nothing to do with stars." And two, "Duh, of course you'd keep your wife alive to save the baby." While the first statement sounds exactly like him, I was actually surprised by the first. I had no idea my husband felt that way. After explaining the circumstances to him (she's only a few weeks into pregnancy, she'd need to be kept on life support for months, she explicitly stated she didn't want to ever be on life support, etc.), he was still firm in his decision. I was both surprised and pleased that a book (especially one dealing with this topic) could open up a discussion with my husband. That, however, is only one of the many reasons I enjoyed this book.

Like my husband, without even knowing any of the details, I had made up my mind that if I was ever in that situation I would want to be on life support to do everything possible to save the baby. And perhaps it's silly. Yes, I have such a strong desire to have a child, but if I'm brain dead... well, be honest, what difference would that make to me? Here I am, a completely pro-choice woman and I'd be willing to "suffer" through months for a child that I wouldn't be able to raise myself. Crazy, right? Maybe, but who really knows?

Anyway, how about the book itself? Immediately, it gives you something that you want to discuss (obviously). It's one of those issues that people are going to be divided by and, somehow, that makes the book so much more interesting. The writing is beautiful and wonderful. The story is both lovely and heartbreaking at the exact same time. While it might not be one of those books you can pick up at any ol' time (I hope this makes sense... sometimes you need to read a certain type/genre of book and this one might be a little too "life heavy" for particular times) and enjoy, it is absolutely worth reading when the time is right for you.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Book Review: A Different Blue

Title A Different Blue

Author Amy Harmon

Release Date March 29, 2013

Blue Echohawk doesn't know who she is. She doesn't know her real name or when she was born. Abandoned at two and raised by a drifter, she didn't attend school until she was ten years old. At nineteen, when most kids her age are attending college or moving on with life, she is just a senior in high school. With no mother, no father, no faith, and no future, Blue Echohawk is a difficult student, to say the least. Tough, hard and overtly sexy, she is the complete opposite of the young British teacher who decides he is up for the challenge, and takes the troublemaker under his wing.

This is the story of a nobody who becomes somebody. It is the story of an unlikely friendship, where hope fosters healing and redemption becomes love. But falling in love can be hard when you don't know who you are. Falling in love with someone who knows exactly who they are and exactly why they can't love you back might be impossible.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17443673-a-different-blue
Review

In the beginning, I had a hard time staying focused on the story. My mind wanted to wander around and think about anything but this book. I was tempted to let it, but I didn't. I stuck with it and I'm glad I did. Generally, I prefer not to have to tell myself to focus on reading a book, but meh. Sometimes it just takes a while to get engrossed in the story.

The biggest plus that A Different Blue has going for it was that I wasn't able to predict the story. Okay, well, that's not *entirely* true. I could predict some of it, but there were major points in the story that I didn't see coming. That is certainly the most redeeming quality in this book. And certainly, a breath of fresh (and much needed) air.

While the story started out kind of boring (that focus thing I already mentioned), it did pick up and I did ultimately enjoy it.

Rating

4 out of 5 stars

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Book Review: Eleanor & Park

Title Eleanor & Park

Author Rainbow Rowell

Release Date February 26, 2013

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15745753-eleanor-park

Review

Holy heartbreak. This book was... amazing.

I absolutely loved this book. I loved it so much more than I thought I would. I honestly don't remember the last time I loved a book like this. It's been a long while.

Eleanor & Park is adorable! It was an absolutely adorable, heartbreaking, beautiful, sweet story. And oh, that ending! The ending was perfect and hopeful. It couldn't have ended any better. It brought tears to my eyes and made me so happy for Eleanor and Park.

Do yourself a favor and pick up this book. It's lovely and bittersweet.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Friday, November 8, 2013

Book Review: The Edge of Always

Title The Edge of Always

Series The Edge of Never, book 2

Author J.A. Redmerski

Release Date November 5, 2013

Camryn Bennett has never been happier. Five months after meeting on a Greyhound bus, she and her soul mate Andrew Parrish are engaged—and a wedding isn’t the only special event in their future. Nervous but excited, Camryn can’t wait to begin the rest of her life with Andrew – a man she knows in her heart will love her always. They have so much to look forward to—until tragedy blindsides them.

Andrew doesn’t understand how this could happen to them. He’s trying to move on, and thought Camryn was doing the same. But when Andrew discovers Camryn is secretly harboring a mountain of pain and attempting to numb it in damaging ways, there is nothing he won’t do to bring her back to life. Determined to prove that their love can survive anything, Andrew decides to take Camryn on a new journey filled with hope and passion. If only he can convince her to come along for the ride…
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17374029-the-edge-of-always
Review

I'm sure I could have sat down and read this book in one sitting. Trust me, I wanted to. I'm pretty sure my husband wouldn't have been too happy about me staying up all night to finish a book, though. I did the responsible thing, of course, and finished it in two days instead. Anyway, the book is one of those that you just don't want to put down. You just want to keep reading and devour the lovely story.

Overall, I loved continuing on Camryn and Andrew's journey with them. It was beautiful. It was heartbreaking. It was a wonderfully told story. I admit that there are a few times where "many months later" was used in which I wish it wasn't. Gah, I really wanted more of *that* particular part of the story. Maybe not the entire "many months" but some of it would have satisfied me. Oh well. In general, I can't complain. I enjoyed the story. I loved the overall message that, no matter what happens, you should always stay true to yourself and what you want out of life.

Included at the end of the book was an excerpt of a spin-off book, Song of the Fireflies. Of course as soon as I read the excerpt I per-ordered the book. I can't wait for it!

Rating

4 out of 5 stars

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Book Review: 4 to 16 Characters

Title 4 to 16 Characters

Author Kelly Hourihan

Release Date November 13, 2013

Fifteen-year-old Jane Shilling’s best friends don’t know her real name. In fact, they don’t know anything about her at all. Jane’s life has collapsed in the last few years; following the death of her mother, her father turned to drinking, and Jane is reeling from the double blow. To escape, Jane devises a number of online personas, each with a distinct personality, life history, and set of friends. But things become trickier when she finds herself drawing close to some of her online friends, and winds up struggling with the question of how to maintain a real friendship while masquerading as a fake person. With the help of Gary, a socially awkward classmate and competitive Skeeball player who is Jane’s only offline friend, and Nora, her therapist, Jane begins to sift through her issues. The only catch is that that involves taking a long, hard look at what her life’s like when the computer is shut off, and that’s a reality she’s been fighting for years.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18273649-4-to-16-characters
Review

I have very mixed feelings about 4 to 16 Characters. I guess, for simplicities' sake, I will break it down.

The Good: The blurb made the book sound awesome. And relatable. As someone that spent an obscene amount of time on the internet (and still does, let's be honest), I was interested in reading about Jane. The format of the book was pretty awesome. We get Jane's point of view through the internet (blog posts, emails, etc.).

The Not-So-Good: Holy fanfic! Jane's story seems to center around fan-fiction for a fandom that doesn't exist. I'll be honest, whenever it came to the fanfic, I skipped it (and I didn't feel bad about it at all). I might have been more inclined to read it if it was based on an actual fandom, but as it was I had no idea what was going on with it and I didn't care. At all. I'm not sure I would have picked up this book if I had known it centered around fan-fiction. It's not something I'm into (I admit I don't really understand the appeal) and reading an entire book about it seems rather boring.

Overall, the book was okay. It's much too niche for me to recommend to anyone, though. Kind of a letdown.

Rating

2 out of 5 stars

* This book was received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Book Review: Gorgeous

Title Gorgeous

Author Paul Rudnick

Release Date April 30, 2013

Inner beauty wants out.

When eighteen-year-old Becky Randle’s mother dies, she’s summoned from her Missouri trailer park to meet Tom Kelly, the world’s top designer. He makes her an impossible offer: He’ll create three dresses to transform Becky from a nothing special girl into the most beautiful woman who ever lived.

Becky thinks Tom is a lunatic, or that he’s producing a hidden camera show called World’s Most Gullible Poor People. But she accepts, and she’s remade as Rebecca. When Becky looks in the mirror, she sees herself – an awkward mess of split ends and cankles. But when anyone else looks at Becky, they see pure five-alarm hotness.

Soon Rebecca is on the cover of Vogue, the new Hollywood darling, and dating celebrities. Then Becky meets Prince Gregory, heir to the British throne, and everything starts to crumble. Because Rebecca aside, Becky loves him. But to love her back, Gregory would have to look past the blinding Rebecca to see the real girl inside. And Becky knows there’s not enough magic in the world.

A screamingly defiant, hugely naughty, and impossibly fun free fall past the cat walks, the red carpets, and even the halls of Buckingham Palace, Gorgeous does the impossible: It makes you see yourself clearly for the first time.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16043633-gorgeous
Review

I came across Gorgeous in some magazine. It was the recommended book to read for the month. I threw it on my to-read list and figured I'd get around to it eventually. I'm not really sure why I expected something spectacular, but I did. Whether or not the book actually delivered, I'm not sure. It's one of those books that I can't decide if I like it or not. I just don't know!

One of the things that really throws me off about the book is HOW? How does all this happen? What kind of crazy forces are at work here? Is it god, magic, some sort of mystical voodoo? And while I didn't mind suspending disbelief for the majority of the book, when the big reveal about Tom happens (you'll know it when you read it) I lost it. My ability to suspend disbelief went out the window. I felt like at that exact point the book went from fantastical to just plain weird. Not knowing what exactly is going on and the whole Tom thing might have been what killed the book for me. Or not. I still don't really know.

Overall, I don't know. I don't get it. I think I liked it, but I'm not really sure. This book just confuses me all the way around.

I guess I give this book a very confused 3 stars.

Rating

3 out of 5 stars

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Book Review: Water

Title Water

Series Elements of Power, book 2

Author Heather James

Release Date October 19, 2013

Water pooled around my feet, rising at an alarming rate. I stared - panicked - at the palms of my hands, willing the water gushing out of them to stop as miraculously as it had begun.

I only sneezed!

Jasmine is struggling to control her new powers, causing floods and fires with an accidental flick of her wrist. In a desperate attempt to master at least one aspect of them, she travels to the Brizan Realm, where she comes closer to discovering the truth about her parents than ever before. But not everyone wants their secrets revealed.
Alone, powerless and, for the first time in her life, afraid, Roxy has only one thought occupying her mind: escaping Cinaer's clutches before it's too late. Her flight will take her across the ocean, but not in the direction she is expecting. Before she can try and get back to Brae, she needs to rescue herself.
Despite being on opposite sides of the world, the girls soon find themselves closer than ever.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18005818-water
Review

In Water, we learn more about the Sephan and Brizan realms. We've got a pretty clear picture of all the realms now (Sephan, Brizan, Helian, and Arcan). I'm so glad we were treated to more of James's world building. I love that every realm so distinctly represents its people. Her descriptions make these places so real to me that I wish I could visit them and meet these people. Love it.

In Fire's review, I commented that I was excited to learn about Jasmine's abilities. I'm so glad I didn't have to wait long. Water provides a clearer picture of Jasmine, her abilities, and how she came to be. While I still like Roxy, Water made it so easy to fall in love with Jasmine.

While I didn't feel like there was a lot going on in Water, it was still a very strong book. We learned more about Jasmine, the Sephan realm, and the Brizan realm. The book ends in a cliffhanger that feels like it's going to bring about a lot of action in the storyline.

I look forward to continuing the series and being treated to more of Heather James's wonderful writing.

Rating

4 out of 5 stars

* A copy of this book was received from the author in exchange for an honest review. *

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Book Review: White Trash Damaged

Title White Trash Damaged

Series White Trash Trilogy, book 2

Author Teresa Mummert

Release Date October 8, 2013

Rocker Tucker White saved down-and-out waitress Cass Daniels from everyone in her life who was hurting her—except herself. In the much-anticipated follow-up to White Trash Beautiful, Teresa Mummert’s New York Times and USA Today bestseller, Tucker and Cass are finally together, but does that mean they get their happy ending?

Living on a tour bus with your boyfriend’s rock band is nothing like living in a trailer with your drug-addicted mother—except for the drama. After all the pain and grief that marked the beginning of Cass and Tucker’s relationship, they’re finally building a life together—just the two of them, his three bandmates, some groupies, and thousands of screaming fans. And not everyone is as happy about the couple’s reunion as they are.

The last thing Cass wants to do is create friction within the band—especially when Damaged is on the brink of achieving the success Tucker has worked so hard for. She’s thrilled to finally be with a man who loves and protects her as much as he does. But how can she carve out a place for herself in this new rock star world . . . without being swallowed by the shadow of Tucker’s fame?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17571785-white-trash-damaged
Review

After reading and enjoying the first book, White Trash Damaged was a letdown. I felt like so much of the book was rushed and unresolved. The arguments between Cass and Tucker, Cass's jealousy over the other girls in Tucker's life... none of it seemed to come to a real resolution. Brushing those important issues off doesn't promote a healthy relationship at all and it felt a bad taste in my mouth.

As for the characters, oh goodness. Instead of liking Cass this time around, I was annoyed with her. All the jealousy and insecurities don't reflect how she was in the first book. In the first book, she felt strong, determined, and more independent. In this book, she felt weak and whiny. Tucker didn't seem much like I remembered him, either. In the first book, he would have done anything for Cass. This time around, he didn't seem to stand his ground as firmly as before (e.g. Donna). I did like seeing more of Eric, though! I feel like he's growing as a character and a person. I wanted more of him definitely.

In general, I wasn't fond of White Trash Damaged. Of course, I'll read the third book and I certainly hope it can redeem the trilogy for me.

Rating

3 out of 5 stars

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Book Review: Mrs. Poe

Title Mrs. Poe

Author Lynn Cullen

Release Date October 1, 2013

A vivid and compelling novel about a woman who becomes entangled in an affair with Edgar Allan Poe—at the same time she becomes the unwilling confidante of his much-younger wife.

It is 1845, and Frances Osgood is desperately trying to make a living as a writer in New York; not an easy task for a woman—especially one with two children and a philandering portrait painter as her husband. As Frances tries to sell her work, she finds that editors are only interested in writing similar to that of the new renegade literary sensation Edgar Allan Poe, whose poem, “The Raven” has struck a public nerve.

She meets the handsome and mysterious Poe at a literary party, and the two have an immediate connection. Poe wants Frances to meet with his wife since she claims to be an admirer of her poems, and Frances is curious to see the woman whom Edgar married.

As Frances spends more and more time with the intriguing couple, her intense attraction for Edgar brings her into dangerous territory. And Mrs. Poe, who acts like an innocent child, is actually more manipulative and threatening than she appears. As Frances and Edgar’s passionate affair escalates, Frances must decide whether she can walk away before it’s too late...

Set amidst the fascinating world of New York’s literati, this smart and sexy novel offers a unique view into the life of one of history’s most unforgettable literary figures.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16130398-mrs-poe
Review

When I saw this on Netgalley, my interest was immediately piqued. I've had a fascination with Edgar Allan Poe since I read "The Tell-Tale Heart" in middle school. Even though I've shied away from historical fiction in the past, I knew I had to get my hands on this book.

While I've read some of his works and a biography on him, I won't pretend I'm an expert on Edgar Allan Poe. And other than hearing her name before, I have very little knowledge at all of Frances Osgood. Luckily, whether or not you have any knowledge of the two main characters makes little to no difference at all when reading this book.

Lynn Cullen fills in the gaps about what we know of Osgood and Poe and their relationship. She creates, what I feel is, a believable story about Osgood and Poe's love affair. She weaves in some darkness with Mrs. Poe (with both her sickness and her obvious knowledge of her husband's affair). In all, we're presented with a rather unique story.

It was clear to me that Cullen had certainly done her research before she wrote this book. It certainly made me wonder about what actually happened between Osgood and Poe.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

*This book was received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Book Review: Maddy's Star

Title Maddy's Star

Series Wishing Star, book 1

Author Kate Rosebrook

Release Date August 30, 2013

Three women. Three stars. Three wishes.

When three friends make wishes on their piece of the metal Wishing Star, they start to see their dreams come true. But they don’t know about the supernatural power behind the star, or the deadline to return each piece before their lives are overcome with danger.

Maddy returns to Serenity Falls ten years after throwing her piece of the metal Wishing Star over the Falls, trying to get her life back together. When her past returns to haunt her, she and her friends worry there was more to their wishes than they thought. Maddy sees her fiancĂ© even though he’s dead. Nightmares of her abusive father become reality. And soon she discovers she has to recover her piece of the star to make the danger stop.

Riley falls for Maddy soon after she returns, but can’t seem to get her to open up to him. All he knows for sure is something is happening to her—a supernatural chain of events she can’t seem to stop. Once he learns about the Wishing Star, he’ll do whatever it takes to help the woman he’s falling in love with, and save her from the threat facing her and her friends.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18401896-maddy-s-star?ac=1
Review

To be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about the story in this book. While Maddy's Star is well written, something seemed to be lacking. I think my biggest problem with the book is how through much of it (over half of the book), I wasn't sure why things were going on (what happened to Kara that caused her to despise Serenity Falls so much?) and so much of the book leaves us in the dark about the wishing star (it's obvious that something negative is happening because of the star, but why/what is left a mystery for too long). Instead of intriguing me to read more, it frustrated me.

I'm not sure I enjoyed the friendship between the girls very much. I didn't get a best friend vibe from them. It felt like they were friends, but it didn't feel like a genuine best friendship to me. To be honest, though, I haven't had a super close friendship with a group of girls in a long while, so I might just not remember what it's supposed to be like. As far as the girls individually, I enjoyed all of them except for Kara. Something about her didn't sit right with me.

Overall, the book was okay. The story was good enough to keep my attention and it was a nice and easy read.

Rating

3 out of 5 stars

* I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. *

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Book Review: Scarlet

Title Scarlet

Series The Lunar Chronicles, book 2

Author Marissa Meyer

Release Date February 5, 2013

The fates of Cinder and Scarlet collide as a Lunar threat spreads across the Earth...

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13206760-scarlet
Review

Scarlet is such a good book. It was much better than someone might expect from a second book.

The writing in Scarlet is strong. We're presented with two different stories that intertwine beautifully. Each story is presented from the point of view of their respective main character (Cinder and Scarlet). The perspective switch was done flawlessly and transitions were always done at the perfect time.

We're introduced to some new characters in Scarlet (Scarlet, Carswell Thorne, and Wolf). While they were all wonderfully done, I have a particular fondness for "Captain" Thorne. While he isn't really a main character, he was one that I enjoyed the most (besides my beloved Iko). He seemed to be around to lighten the mood and keep things from getting too overwhelming. Wolf was also well done. We were introduced to him in the short story "The Queen's Army," so we have a little bit of back story on him there. Lastly, there's Scarlet. Unfortunately, I didn't care for Scarlet and her story as much as I feel like I should have. I don't think it would have bothered me at all if Scarlet wasn't a part of the story and that was kind of disappointing.

One thing I really enjoy with The Lunar Chronicle series is that while there is some romance, it isn't the focus of the story. I like that Meyer includes a little bit of violence with her romance. It seems much more realistic than trying to believe that everything can be rainbows and sunshine in a character's life while the rest of the world is falling apart.

While I can't say that I enjoyed Scarlet more than Cinder (like I've seen in many reviews), it was a really story and enjoyable book. I can't wait to see where this series goes with Cress (February 4, 2014) and Winter (2015).

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Monday, September 2, 2013

Book Review: Cinder

Title Cinder

Series The Lunar Chronicles, book 1

Author Marissa Meyer

Release Date January 3, 2012

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11235712-cinder
Review

I'm a fan of re-telling fairy tales (see My Name is Rapunzel). Even though that's the case, I was hesitant to pick up Cinder. Cinderella isn't my favorite fairy tale as it is (and no, I can't tell you what my favorite is because I'm not even sure I have one), so it makes sense that a futuristic Cinderella didn't exactly beg for me to read it. It seems, though, that sometimes we're destined to read a book whether or not we plan on it. After the first time I saw Cinder, suddenly it was everywhere. I felt like I had no choice but to give in and read it.

Meyer's writing is engrossing and absolutely wonderful. There's no doubt in my mind (now) that all the attention Cinder has received for a good reason.

One thing I'm always weary about whenever reading a re-telling is whether or not the story will be original enough to even warrant a re-telling. I feel like an author needs to strike a balance between sticking to the original story and making it their own. Meyer does this beautifully. There's enough plot twists in this book to keep it interesting without over-complicating it. While I did figure out a fairly important one early on it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book, but rather added on to it.

Cinder is such a great book. I loved the writing, the characters, and the futuristic world that Meyer created. I would definitely recommend this book. And I, personally, cannot wait to continue this series.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars