Sunday, December 28, 2014

Book Review: The Law of Moses

Title The Law of Moses

Author Amy Harmon

Release Date November 27, 2014

If I tell you right up front, right in the beginning that I lost him, it will be easier for you to bear. You will know it’s coming, and it will hurt. But you’ll be able to prepare.

Someone found him in a laundry basket at the Quick Wash, wrapped in a towel, a few hours old and close to death. They called him Baby Moses when they shared his story on the ten o’clock news – the little baby left in a basket at a dingy Laundromat, born to a crack addict and expected to have all sorts of problems. I imagined the crack baby, Moses, having a giant crack that ran down his body, like he’d been broken at birth. I knew that wasn’t what the term meant, but the image stuck in my mind. Maybe the fact that he was broken drew me to him from the start.

It all happened before I was born, and by the time I met Moses and my mom told me all about him, the story was old news and nobody wanted anything to do with him. People love babies, even sick babies. Even crack babies. But babies grow up to be kids, and kids grow up to be teenagers. Nobody wants a messed up teenager.

And Moses was messed up. Moses was a law unto himself. But he was also strange and exotic and beautiful. To be with him would change my life in ways I could never have imagined. Maybe I should have stayed away. Maybe I should have listened. My mother warned me. Even Moses warned me. But I didn’t stay away.

And so begins a story of pain and promise, of heartache and healing, of life and death. A story of before and after, of new beginnings and never-endings. But most of all...a love story.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23252517-the-law-of-moses
Review

I preordered The Law of Moses a few days before it was published. Without any reviews and without noticing it was by Amy Harmon (this is the second book of hers that I've read and enjoyed). I simply found the blurb intriguing and decided to take a risk. However, a couple of days after the book was published I read a review that mentioned it was a paranormal book. Wait, huh? That's not what I signed up for. However, I didn't really know *how* the book was a paranormal story (I wanted some surprise when I read the book), so I decided to go ahead and read it. And I'm so glad I did.

Yes, The Law of Moses can easily be classified as paranormal. It can also be classified as romance. You might even be able to throw mystery in there, too, if you wanted. Genres are important to some people (and there's nothing wrong with that), but they don't matter very much to me. A good book can be a good book no matter what genre it falls into. The reason I bring any of this up is because I don't want people to miss out on an amazing story just because it might not fall into their normal genre. In my eyes, it's so much more a romance than it is a paranormal story (even though the paranormal aspect plays a tremendous part in the book).

Overall, I loved this book. It's a beautiful standalone (I'm loving those more and more) about love and loss, but also about healing and finding happiness. The Law of Moses will be a huge hit for those that enjoy romance, especially second chance romances.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Friday, December 26, 2014

Unfinished Book: Vanessa and Her Sister

Title Vanessa and Her Sister

Author Priya Parmar

Release Date December 30, 2014

London, 1905: The city is alight with change, and the Stephen siblings are at the forefront. Vanessa, Virginia, Thoby, and Adrian are leaving behind their childhood home and taking a house in the leafy heart of avant-garde Bloomsbury. There they bring together a glittering circle of bright, outrageous artistic friends who will grow into legend and come to be known as the Bloomsbury Group. And at the center of this charmed circle are the devoted, gifted sisters: Vanessa, the painter, and Virginia, the writer.

Each member of the group will go on to earn fame and success, but so far Vanessa Bell has never sold a painting. Virginia Woolf’s book review has just been turned down by The Times. Lytton Strachey has not published anything. E. M. Forster has finished his first novel but does not like the title. Leonard Woolf is still a civil servant in Ceylon, and John Maynard Keynes is looking for a job. Together, this sparkling coterie of artists and intellectuals throw away convention and embrace the wild freedom of being young, single bohemians in London.

But the landscape shifts when Vanessa unexpectedly falls in love and her sister feels dangerously abandoned. Eerily possessive, charismatic, manipulative, and brilliant, Virginia has always lived in the shelter of Vanessa’s constant attention and encouragement. Without it, she careens toward self-destruction and madness. As tragedy and betrayal threaten to destroy the family, Vanessa must decide if it is finally time to protect her own happiness above all else.

The work of exciting young newcomer Priya Parmar, Vanessa and Her Sister exquisitely captures the champagne-heady days of prewar London and the extraordinary lives of sisters Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22238372-vanessa-and-her-sister
Review

DNF at 21%

I vaguely know of the characters this book is based on, but after reading the blurb, I was very interested in reading Vanessa and Her Sister. However, once I started reading, I had a hard time paying attention. The pacing felt too slow and disjointed and I believe that's because it's told in journal entries and letters. While I love stories told like this, I do realize that it doesn't work well for everything. I tried my best to continue on reading until the story picked up, but it didn't happen soon enough to keep me interested.

I believe, though, that I may potentially come back to this book at a later date and time and try again. I normally don't do that for books that I mark DNF, but I believe there's potential here and I may just not have the patience to find it right now.

Rating

No rating since I didn't finish the book.

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

Friday, December 19, 2014

Book Review: Chasing the Tide

Title Chasing the Tide

Series Reclaiming the Sand, 2

Author A. Meredith Walters

Release Date December 14, 2014

The powerful continuation of the story that began in Reclaiming the Sand- a tale of love and forgiveness and learning to move on from a past that has come to define you.

Bully and Victim

Friend and Lover

Past and Future

Ellie McCallum and Flynn Hendrick’s story was as painful as it was devastating. But they were able to find within each other an unlikely yet beautiful love. Despite the obstacles that tried to keep them apart.

And together they rose out of the ashes of their tragic history.

Now years after their life changing reunion Ellie is back in Wellston, having just graduated from college and ready to start her future with the man who taught her how to love. However, returning to a town that held so much bitterness and anger was the last place she wanted to start over.

But for Flynn, who is now an art professor at the community college and firmly rooted in the place that gave them their beginning, she’d do just about anything.

Yet it’s difficult building a life when you’ve only just learned how to live.
And love, no matter how strong, doesn’t always conquer all.

Ellie and Flynn must learn how far they are willing to go to stay together. Or whether the ghosts of the past will consume them both.

Because finding a happily ever after is harder than it seems. Particularly when you’re fighting against the one thing that could destroy you.

Yourself.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21914535-chasing-the-tide
Review

I love Reclaiming the Sand. It was a fantastic book and so I was excited that we'd get more of Ellie and Flynn's story.

Though this book wasn't as amazing as the first one in my opinion, it certainly didn't detract from the overall story. Instead, it provides us with more closure than the first book gave us.

And while I did greatly enjoy this book, I would have LOVED more of Flynn's point of view. We see Ellie's struggles clearly, but Flynn's are more glossed over. I, especially, would have liked more Flynn towards the ending of the book. There were some paramount moments at the end and I would have really enjoyed some of Flynn's internal dialogue during those times.

All in all, Chasing the Tide was a good book. I did enjoy the glimpses into Ellie and Flynn's past and seeing how they were working together as a couple living together. I could have used more Flynn, though!

Rating

4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Book Review: Amour Amour

Title Amour Amour

Author Krista & Becca Ritchie

Release Date December 11, 2014

Love is a circus.

"Every day,” he says lowly, “I hold a person’s life in my hands. The circus is based one-hundred percent off trust. I give it all to someone, and they give it all to me.”

The best aerial technique won’t land 21-year-old Thora James her dream role in Amour—a sexy new acrobatic show on the Vegas strip. Thora knows she’s out of her element the second she meets Amour’s leading performer. Confident, charming and devilishly captivating, 26-year-old Nikolai Kotova lives up to his nickname as the “God of Russia.”

When Thora unknowingly walks into the crosshairs of Nikolai’s after-show, her audition process begins way too soon. Unprofessional. That’s what Nik calls their “non-existent” relationship. It’s not like Thora can avoid him. For one, they may be partners in the future--acrobatic partners, that is. But getting closer to Nik means diving deeper into sin city and into his dizzying world.

Thora wants to perform with him, but when someone like Nikolai attracts the spotlight wherever he goes—Thora fears that she’s destined to be just background to his spellbinding show.

This sexy and exhilarating New Adult Romance can best be described as Cirque du Soleil meets the steamy, athletic romance of Center Stage.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22888864-amour-amour
Review

Every now and again, you'll encounter an author (or two authors as the case may be) that just blows you away. Every single book they write is astounding and you fall in love with everything of theirs that you read. You find yourself anticipating their next book before you know anything about it. Doesn't matter what the book is about, you've got to get your hands on it ASAP. Every time you finish their most recent book, you're counting down the days until the next one is released. You might even be a little obsessive. Obviously, Krista and Becca have staked their claim on my list of Favorite Authors. And for a very good reason.

Amour Amour is a fantastic book! There's so many things I could talk about that make this book great, but I don't want to give away any spoilers. However, here are some great, non spoiler parts that I enjoyed...

The characters. Krista and Becca always craft such wonderful characters. They always feel like real people to me. They have flaws and make mistakes, but they are still people we love. Thora's got amazing determination. Nikolai is super sexy (not just looks, either! Who doesn't like a family man?), but still very realistic. Nikolai's family is awesome, too. I love Timo and Katya, especially. All of the secondary characters provide depth to the story, none of them fade away or seem like they're just taking up space.

The scenario. I've never been to Vegas, but I certainly want to go even more now! Oh, and the circus? It's always interested me a little bit, but after reading Amour Amour, I can see myself watching videos on YouTube for hours on end. Krista and Becca make these things come alive in their books. I really enjoy a book that makes me more interested in things in the real world.

It's clear that Krista and Becca's success isn't limited to their amazing Addicted series. They've absolutely hit the nail on the head with this book. Of course, everyone likes more story, but I'm perfectly okay with this being a standalone book (though I would never turn down a sequel... or three). And, as always, I look forward to reading their next book (no matter what it happens to be!).

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Book Review: Livvy

Title Livvy

Series Choisie, book 4

Author Lori L. Otto

Release Date December 9, 2014

In her first year of college at Yale, challenging courses and new friends provide a much-needed distraction for Livvy Holland. Beyond the tears–for the most part– she won’t allow the lingering anger she harbors toward her ex-boyfriend to consume her.

Even after taking steps to conceal her identity, Livvy is still very recognizable and popular among her new classmates. She takes advantage of her situation and accepts dates with multiple guys, trying to piece together an image of ‘her type of guy’ that differs from all the good qualities Jon Scott once possessed.

An unexpected letter arrives on Livvy’s 18th birthday, shifting her focus and forcing her to reevaluate all the relationships in her life. She now knows the identity of her biological father, and struggles to make sense of the news alone. Fortunately, she won’t have to.

Just as Livvy’s life begins to normalize, one of her professors provides her with the creative opportunity of a lifetime. Trusting in the bonds she’s made with everyone she loves, she believes she can have everything she wants and makes the decision that allows her to be true to herself.

She was chosen for a reason. Chosen to be a gifted artist that–with a few strokes of a paintbrush–could touch people emotionally; profoundly. Chosen by her parents so they had a place to share their boundless love and devotion. Chosen by her friend so he could return the encouragement, inspiration and affection she’d shown him for so many years.

Livvy Holland will never again take her position in life for granted. She wears the name with humility and respect. She is Choisie.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21420135-livvy
Review

This review may contain unmarked spoilers for previous books in the series.

Livvy was the perfect conclusion to the Choisie series. From first love to heartbreak and breakup to everlasting love and happiness, it's been the ride of a lifetime for Livvy and Jon.

As evident in my other reviews, I haven't always been fans of Livvy or Jon. And I certainly wasn't a fan of Livvy *and* Jon together. It wasn't so much that I just didn't want them to work out and live happily ever after. It was always that I didn't think they were good for one another. In many ways, I felt like instead of Jon helping Livvy to grow and mature, he was overbearing and smothering her. And I believe that Livvy relied too heavily on Jon and wasn't the independent girl her parents raised her to be. So instead of lifting each other up, they were keeping each other down. I never thought any of it was intentional, but it was merely a product of young teenage love. However, the big turning point in all of it, was the summer they spent away from one another in Dear Jon. While one of his reasons for staying away from Livvy was to hurt her (and it did), I also believe Jon was acutely aware of the situation in a way that Livvy wasn't yet. I believe he was able to see the ways he was preventing her from maturing and growing as well as the ways she relied on him that might not have been very healthy. The summer provided, in my opinion, what they truly needed in order for their relationship to grow and flourish as adults. Livvy gained her independence and learned that while she had this relationship and love for Jon, she didn't need it to survive. Jon gained an understanding that space and separation were essential for a healthy and happy relationship.

In Livvy, we see these realizations come light. We see, fully, how Livvy and Jon have grown separately as well as together. In this book, I truly believe that we're seeing the happy and healthy relationship that these two really deserve and have been working towards throughout the entire series. And while I may not have always been a fan of Livvy and Jon, at the end of this series, I can absolutely say I love them and wish them nothing but the best! It's been wonderful to see them grow and mature. (And good lord, I sound so old right now!) Oh, and I don't want to forget, I absolutely love that the last chapter was told from a different point of view than the rest of the book (no spoilers!). It was the cherry on top of a perfect book.

The Choisie series is the spin-off of the Emi Lost and Found series. Starting with the young adult book Contessa, it moves to mature young adult with Olivia and Dear Jon, and ends with new adult Livvy. While you can start with this series, I find (as do others and is recommended) that it's best to start with the Emi Lost and Found series. You'll get the full enjoyment out of the Choisie series that way and, besides, Emi Lost and Found is a fantastic series all on its own.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Book Review: Our Totally, Ridiculous, Made-up Christmas Relationship

Title Our Totally, Ridiculous, Made-up Christmas Relationship

Author Brittainy C. Cherry

Release Date December 13, 2013

All families have secrets, and Jules Stone’s is no exception. Deciding not to follow in her family's Oscar-winning footsteps, Jules chooses to take a more behind-the-scenes career in one of the Top 10 Talent Agencies in Chicago. After being dumped five hours before spending Christmas with her dysfunctional family, she needs a plan to avoid their judgmental eyes.

Enter: Kayden Reece.

Kayden is the black sheep of his family, being the one actor drowning in a world of doctors and lawyers. Never really getting a jumpstart at his acting career or landing a big time role, he can feel his dad’s disappointment soaking into his spirit.

When Kayden gets a chance to meet and sign with a big name agent at Walter and Jacks Talent Agency, he’s ready to prove everyone wrong. Jules stumbles into the building in shambles, ugly crying, and begging to pay an actor a big sum of money to be her made-up boyfriend for five days, Kayden jumps at the opportunity—finally able to say he landed a role.

When secrets start to unravel, Kayden and Jules must learn that all families have their baggage, sometimes co-stars fall in lust, and it’s important to always have invisible mistletoe hanging around.

This holiday season join the two fake lovebirds as they partake in the role of a lifetime.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18715542-our-totally-ridiculous-made-up-christmas-relationship
Review

After reading Pretty Little Killers (a true crime novel), I needed something light and refreshing. Having previously read Loving Mr. Daniels by Brittainy C. Cherry, I decided this would be the perfect thing to read.

This novella is absolutely adorable. It's romantic and funny. It's sweet and lighthearted with a few touches of seriousness. It was exactly the thing I needed!

What surprised me the most was that unlike some novellas (most?), the author fleshed out an entire story with characters that I came to care about and enjoy in such a short period of time. This is understandably hard to do in a novella, but I think it was masterfully executed here. Another thing that surprised me was that I didn't feel unsatisfied at the end of the book. While a longer story could have been nice, I feel like it was perfect as is.

Overall, this was a great read! I was very impressed and recommend this novella to everyone that wants a fun and lighthearted read.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Book Review: Lies We Tell Ourselves

Title Lies We Tell Ourselves

Author Robin Talley

Release Date September 30, 2014

In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever.

Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily.

Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town's most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept "separate but equal."

Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another.

Boldly realistic and emotionally compelling, Lies We Tell Ourselves is a brave and stunning novel about finding truth amid the lies, and finding your voice even when others are determined to silence it.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20579291-lies-we-tell-ourselves
Review

Three Sentence Review

Lies We Tell Ourselves is an extremely well written, powerful historical fiction novel. It perfectly illustrates how far we've come in the fight for equality since 1959 (even though we still have a long way to go). And though the ending was a bit predictable, it far exceeded any expectations I had prior to reading it (from reviews alone).

This book will certainly be one of my most recommended reads of 2014.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Book Review: Lessons from a Dead Girl

Title Lessons from a Dead Girl

Author Jo Knowles

Release Date October 9, 2007

An unflinching story of a troubled friendship — and one girl’s struggle to come to terms with secrets and shame and find her own power to heal.

Leah Greene is dead. For Laine, knowing what really happened and the awful feeling that she is, in some way, responsible set her on a journey of painful self-discovery. Yes, she wished for this. She hated Leah that much. Hated her for all the times in the closet, when Leah made her do those things. They were just practicing, Leah said. But why did Leah choose her? Was she special, or just easy to control? And why didn’t Laine make it stop sooner? In the aftermath of the tragedy, Laine is left to explore the devastating lessons Leah taught her, find some meaning in them, and decide whether she can forgive Leah and, ultimately, herself.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/451220.Lessons_from_a_Dead_Girl
Review

Lessons from a Dead Girl could have been an amazing story. Instead, the book missed the mark and it felt like wasted potential to me.

Unlike many other books that deal with sexual abuse, this book is unique in the sense that the sexual abuse takes place between two peers. It also explores (very briefly, in my opinion) how sexual abuse can be so confusing. How can something be abusive and wrong, but still physically feel good? There's also the point that an abused person possibly (but certainly not always) continues the cycle and abuses someone else.

So, what didn't I enjoy about this rather unique story? It all felt very surface to me. Of course, I'm not sure how much truth depth could have been explored in such a short book (~215 pages), but we're left with not really knowing anything about our characters other than how sexual abuse has completely thrown their life off a normal course. And, honestly, I felt like Leah's death was only used to end the story rather abruptly (and poorly) instead of providing some sort of resolution for both girls.

Rating

2 out of 5 stars

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Book Review: Me, Him, Them, and It

Title Me, Him, Them, and It

Author Caela Carter

Release Date February 26, 2013

ME is Evelyn Jones, 16, a valedictorian hopeful who's been playing bad girl to piss off THEM, her cold, distant parents. HIM is Todd, Evelyn's secret un-boyfriend, who she thought she was just using for sex - until she accidentally fell in love with him. But before Evelyn gets a chance to tell Todd how she feels, something much more important comes up. IT. IT is a fetus. Evelyn is pregnant - and when Todd turns his back on her, Evelyn has no idea who to turn to. Can a cheating father, a stiff, cold mother, a pissed-off BFF, and a (thankfully!) loving aunt with adopted girls of her own help Evelyn make the heart-wrenching decisions that follow?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12439950-me-him-them-it
Review

Books about heavy issues/real problems are some of my favorite books. I love seeing how different authors write their characters and scenarios in these every day situations that real people face. These books are like real life (only they're not)... and I find people and their reactions absolutely fascinating (even if they're not real people). That being said, Me, Him, Them, and It was only okay.



In the end, I just wasn't as impressed with this book as I had hoped to be.

Rating

3 out of 5 stars

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Book Review: Every Ugly Word

Title Every Ugly Word

Author Aimee L. Salter

Release Date July 29, 2014

When seventeen-year-old Ashley Watson walks through the halls of her high school bullies taunt and shove her. She can’t go a day without fighting with her mother. And no matter how hard she tries, she can’t make her best friend, Matt, fall in love with her. But Ashley also has something no one else does: a literal glimpse into the future. When Ashley looks into the mirror, she can see her twenty-three-year-old self.

Her older self has been through it all already—she endured the bullying, survived the heartbreak, and heard every ugly word her classmates threw at her. But her older self is also keeping a dark secret: Something terrible is about to happen to Ashley. Something that will change her life forever. Something even her older self is powerless to stop.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22818100-every-ugly-word
Review

I was a bit hesitant to request Every Ugly Word from Netgalley originally. I thought a paranormal story about bullying sounded strange. Even now, it sounds weird to me. However, my interest in how the author could possibly pull off an interesting story combining those two aspects won out and I requested the book.

Note: The following review may have unmarked spoilers. Please read with caution.

I became engrossed in Ashley's story early on and found the book hard to put down. Ashley also appears to be an unreliable narrator, right to the very end. To be completely honest, I'm still not 100% sure I know what really happened, but (surprisingly) it works for this book. (Is there another dimension with Older Ashley? Has the bullying drove Ashley crazy and this is how she copes? What's real?!] And the overall message of rising above bullying was done well and in a realistic fashion.

Every Ugly Word was certainly better than I anticipated and I recommend it. Don't let the paranormal part of the story throw you off like it almost did to me.

Rating

4 out of 5 stars

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

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Book Review: Flawed

Title Flawed

Author Kate Avelynn

Release Date November 20, 2012

Sarah O’Brien is alive because of the pact she and her brother made twelve years ago — James will protect her from their violent father if she promises to never leave him. For years, she’s watched James destroy his life to save hers. If all he asks for in return is her affection, she’ll give it freely.

Until, with a tiny kiss and a broken mind, he asks for more than she can give.

Sam Donavon has been James’ best friend — and the boy Sarah’s had a crush on — for as long as she can remember. As their forbidden relationship deepens, Sarah knows she’s in trouble. Quiet, serious Sam has decided he’s going to save her. Neither of them realizes James is far more unstable than her father ever was, or that he’s not about to let Sarah forget her half of the pact...
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13503247-flawed
Review

I should have stopped with this type of story after Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma. It's unfair to believe that another book could come close to, or top, that one. Perhaps if I hadn't read Forbidden previously, I might have enjoyed Flawed more than I did.

I think the biggest problem that I had with this book is my total disconnect to the characters. I find it really hard to enjoy a book unless I can relate to the characters or become emotionally invested in them. I wasn't able to do either in this case. I've never experienced any of the situations that Sarah did. And, I am sad to say, I never became invested in any of the characters or what was happening in their lives. Nothing in the story, not even the abuse, gripped me.

I wasn't even phased by the ending of the story. Which, by the way, I was hoping would redeem the story for me since I was pretty bored throughout the majority of the book. I even went so far as to read the alternate ending in hopes that I could rate the book higher. No go.

Though this book wasn't for me (and I don't see myself recommending it to anyone specifically), Flawed has many good reviews. Read some of them, too, and then decide if this book belongs on your to-read shelf.

Rating

2 out of 5 stars

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Book Review: The Sea of Tranquility

Title The Sea of Tranquility

Author Katja Millay

Release Date November 13, 2012

I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.

Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16151178-the-sea-of-tranquility
Review

Three sentence review

I loved that there was buildup to Nastya and Josh's friendship and, ultimately, love. The Sea of Tranquility is full of tragedy, healing, emotion, and so many beautiful words. This is such an incredible book and if you're looking for a realistic romance that isn't all rainbows and sunshine, look no further.

Rating

4.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Book Review: Gone Girl

Title Gone Girl

Author Gillian Flynn

Release Date June 5, 2012

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8442457-gone-girl
Review

Gone Girl blew up in 2012 after its release. As it was, I was skeptical to read it. A book's popularity is very polarizing for me. I either must get my hands on it immediately or have absolutely no desire to read it. In the beginning, it was the latter for me. Gone Girl just didn't appeal to me. Then, as has happened to me numerous times before, I saw the movie trailer. The idea of a movie has a way of intriguing me and making me pick up books I otherwise wouldn't have even bothered with (especially if said movie has an interesting trailer). And so, I finally decided to read Gone Girl.

This book was so much better than I thought it would be. Yes, it was the Goodreads Choice Winner of 2012 (Mystery & Thriller), but I read so many negative reviews. I can't count how many times I saw people complain about the ending. So, even though it is an award winning book, I went into it not expecting to be wowed since so many other people were disappointed. Nope! I loved it. It's twisty and full of turns. It's dark and absolutely crazy. It was everything that I love in a mystery/thriller.

And I, for one, liked the ending.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Blog Tour/Giveaway: Eight Days a Week


A "manny" should always mind his own business. And he definitely shouldn’t fall in love with his boss.




Release Date: November 6 , 2014


Genre: Romance / Contemporary

ISBN e-book: 978-1-61213-329-4

Available from: Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and TWCS PH

~~Summary~~

Eight-Days-a-Week-3D-Bookstack-2
Gwen Stone has secrets she’s not ready to reveal. After a recent promotion at work, she needs a caretaker for her children. She’s frenzied and in a lurch and pretty much ready to hire the first person who comes along. So she does.

Andrew Lyons needs to get out of his sister’s apartment, and a Craigslist posting may be the answer to his prayers. But what he thought was an ad for a room rental turns into a job offer he can’t refuse. Accepting the nanny position could change his life, if only he had a clue how to be a grownup.

A working mother, a shirtless “manny” who looks good in a towel, two children who need more than a babysitter, and hours of kids’ TV can only spell disaster for everyone involved. Because a manny should always mind his own business. And he definitely shouldn’t fall in love with his boss.


~~Review~~

Eight Days a Week is a fluffy, but enjoyable, sweet read.

There's so much to like about this book. First, I really loved that this story was told from Andrew's POV. Sometimes, I don't think I satisfy my desire for a male perspective enough, so I was glad that I was able to do so with this one. Speaking of Andrew, I felt like he was a genuine guy and it was good to see him growing up some throughout the story. And while I enjoyed his and Gwen's relationship, it was the children that stole the show for me. The children were so adorable and I loved them with Andrew.

There's some sexy times and even a few times where I giggled out loud. There's love and growth. This was a good book and if you're looking for a book that's a light and easy read, definitely check out Eight Days a Week.

~~Rating~~

4 out of 5 stars

AuthPhot

~~About the Author~~


Amber is a full-time mom and a full-time wife who is employed full time and writes when she can. She believes in Happily Ever Afters that occur every day—despite the obstacles real life serves up on a regular basis. Or perhaps they’re sweeter simply because of them. She always has two rubber bands on her wrist, a song in her head, and too much creamer in her coffee cup that reads ‘Cocoa,’ because she’s a rebel.If she’s not at her desk, with her boys, or behind the computer, she’s supporting live music with her arms raised above her head and her eyes closed, waiting for the drop.



~~Connect with the Author~~



Additional Praise for Eight Days a Week

"Laugh-out-loud story about a guy who goes to look at a room to rent and discovers it comes with a job - that of live-in nanny to two damaged kids. So Andrew Lyons accidentally becomes the "manny". Written in his POV, this book chronicles his hilarious escapades as he looks after and grows to love Bree and Brady, and his employer, Gwen. His pranks and spot-on observations about kids' TV shows had me giggling, but there were a few serious moments worthy of a sniffle as well. The star of the show may be Don, though - you'll just have to read this book to find out about him! Highly recommended."

- Andrea (Goodreads Review)

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

Monday, November 3, 2014

Book Review: Addicted After All

Title Addicted After All

Series Addicted, book 3

Author Krista & Becca Ritchie

Release Date October 31, 2014

Two addicts. One epic love story.

Prepare for the worst.

That’s what Lily and Lo try to do when Jonathan Hale schedules an “important” meeting. The problem: after being swept into the public eye and battling their addictions, they’re not sure what the worst is anymore.

In a sea of many changes—including Ryke & Daisy living with them—Lily realizes that the best part of her fluctuating hormones might just be the worst.

Her sex drive is out of control.

Loren knows that she’s insatiable, but he’s not giving up on her. She’s too much a part of him. And as he carries more and more responsibility, some of the people that he loves doubt his resolve.

In the conclusion to their love story, Lily & Lo stand side-by-side to fight, one last time, for their happily ever after.

**AUTHORS' NOTE**
Due to the 2-year gap between Addicted for Now (Addicted #2) and Addicted After All (Addicted #3), you must read Thrive (Addicted #2.5) or the Calloway Sisters spin-off series before reading Addicted After All.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18308270-addicted-after-all
Review

Though it's listed as the third book, Addicted After All is actually the seventh book in the Addicted series. I recommend reading all of the books. They are so worth it! The full reading order (and my reviews) for the entire series is as follows:


Part of me wants to do something different like a one word review (PERFECTION). Part of me just wants to direct you to the other reviews I've written for this series (how many times can you say something is amazing without being considered a broken record?). Part of me wants to fawn of this book and series a thousand times over (but once again with the broken record dilemma).

When it comes down to it, I absolutely love the Addicted series. I truly believe that Krista and Becca have a gift. They've created these characters that I've grown to love and enjoy reading about. In between books, I'm (im)patiently waiting for the next one. While I'm reading one, I never want it to end. Though there are only two more books in this series, I look forward to reading more from Krista and Becca (the upcoming Amour Amour and the new series, Like Us).

Fans of New Adult (especially) and romance books should absolutely read this series. It's fantastic and continuously gets better. Don't hesitate! Though it's an ongoing series, there aren't any cliffhangers, so there's no excuses!

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Book Review: White Bird in a Blizzard

Title White Bird in a Blizzard

Author Laura Kasischke

Release Date January 13, 1999

When Katrina Connors' mother walks out on her family, Kat is surprised but not shocked; the whole year she has been "becoming sixteen" - falling in love with the boy next door, shedding her babyfat, discovering sex - her mother has been slowly withdrawing. As Kat and her impassive father pick up the pieces of their daily lives, she finds herself curiously unaffected by her mother's absence. But in dreams that become too real to ignore, she's haunted by her mother's cries for help. Finally, she must act on her instinct that something violent and evil has occurred - a realization that brings Kat to a chilling discovery.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/205014.White_Bird_in_a_Blizzard
Review

I decided to give this book a read whenever I saw the movie trailer. It appeared to be something that I would be interested in, but I always try to read the book first if given the opportunity.

At around 13% or so, I thought about marking the book DNF and just going to watch the movie. By this point in the book, I was already tired of the too long descriptions about things that didn't make a bit of difference to the story. There's a line between well written and overly descriptive and boring. White Bird in a Blizzard crossed that line. However, not one to give up so easily, I decided to stick with the book a little longer to see if something would grab my attention. Unfortunately, that never happened. While I did finish the book, there was never a point where the story took off and truly became interesting.

The story was not only boring, but was disjointed and all over the place. I felt like too much attention was paid to things that were inconsequential and not enough attention was paid to things that would have brought this book to the next level. And although this was a coming of age story about a teenage girl after her mother's disappearance, I didn't really care about Kat. I was much more interested in Eve and her disappearance. Perhaps that's where my main disappointment in the book comes from. It focused much more heavily on something that I didn't care about.

On a side note, very shortly after I finished this book, I watched the movie. I enjoyed it slightly more than I enjoyed the book. I attribute this to the ending of the movie which is slightly different than the ending of the book. So, while I'm not inclined to recommend the movie or the book, if I had to make a choice between the two, I'd say go for the movie in this case.

Rating

2 out of 5 stars

Friday, October 24, 2014

Book Review: You Are My Only

Title You Are My Only

Author Beth Kephart

Release Date October 25, 2011

Emmy Rane is married at nineteen, a mother by twenty. Trapped in a life with a husband she no longer loves, Baby is her only joy. Then one sunny day in September, Emmy takes a few fateful steps away from her baby and returns to find her missing. All that is left behind is a yellow sock.

Fourteen years later, Sophie, a homeschooled, reclusive teenage girl is forced to move frequently and abruptly from place to place, perpetually running from what her mother calls the "No Good." One afternoon, Sophie breaks the rules, ventures out, and meets Joey and his two aunts. It is this loving family that gives Sophie the courage to look into her past. What she discovers changes her world forever. . . .

The riveting stories of Emmy and Sophie—alternating narratives of loss, imprisonment, and freedom regained—escalate with breathless suspense toward an unforgettable climax.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10421534-you-are-my-only
Review

When I read the blurb for the book, I just knew that this would be a book that I would enjoy. Instead, this book is nothing like the blurb would lead you to believe. I was incredibly disappointed.

While we're lead to believe that this is the story of Sophie's life after finding out that she was kidnapped, that's not the case. That's left for the last few pages. So, what's the majority of the book about? A whole lot of nothing actually.

The alternating stories do absolutely nothing to save this book. Sophie's parts are boring. Emmy's parts are confusing (and boring). The whole book just left something to be desired and the only reason I kept reading was in hopes that things would get better. Nope, things just end. No resolution, no confrontation, nothing.

After looking forward to reading this book while it sat on my to-read shelf for two years, You Are My Only takes home the most disappointing read of the year.

Rating

1 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Review: Dare Truth or Promise

Title Dare Truth or Promise

Author Paula Boock

Release Date October 25, 1999

Willa and Louie could not be more different. Louie wants to be a lawyer and is an outstanding student. Willa lives in a pub and just wants to get through the year so she can graduate and become a chef. But they are completely attracted to one another when they first meet at a fast-food restaurant. Soon they fall in love fast and furiously, and everything the girls are sure of - their plans, their faith, their families, their identities - is called into question...
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/357625.Dare_Truth_or_Promise
Review

Dare Truth or Promise bordered on boring. There just wasn't enough to make this book stand out for me. In fact, it fell prey to some of the typical romance stories that are in abundance.

One, the two main characters meet and practically fall in love with one another right off the bat. I, for one, enjoy a romance that blossoms from friendship. Instalove just doesn't cut it for me. Two, Willa and Louie don't have a whole lot of personality. In fact, none of the characters in the story have a whole lot of depth. I'm not asking for an ocean, but more than a puddle would have been nice. Three, there's a lack of any real communication throughout the book. Whether you look at Willa and Louie or even Louie and her family, everything is just glossed over. Communication would have solved, like, 99% of everything that happened in the book. Four, this follows the very typical pattern we see in lots of books with homosexual characters... two same sex people fall in love, person A's family finds out and disapproves, the relationship falls apart, something intense happens, and the relationship is suddenly on the mend and welcomed by everyone. Yawn.

The only thing really different about this book is the main characters are two females rather than a female and a male. And, let's be honest, that's not very different anymore.

Rating

2 out of 5 stars

Monday, October 13, 2014

Book Review: Crossing

Title Crossing

Series Open Door Love Story, book 1

Author Stacey Wallace Benefiel

Release Date May 8, 2013

Due to heavy subject matter, Crossing is recommended for readers 17+.

He stole her lipstick…and her heart.

Twenty-year-old Dani Walker can’t believe her luck when she’s paired up with the gorgeous Liam Garrett as her Acting I scene partner – or when he ends up in her bed. Being a Plain Jane with a mouth on her hasn’t exactly served Dani well in the guy department. In fact, she’s had nothing but one night stands. Still, she lets go of her insecurities and falls for Liam, despite feeling like he’s holding something back.

When Dani finally discovers Liam’s secret, she must learn the true meaning of accepting the ones we love for who they are, or risk losing the best thing that’s ever happened to her.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17568564-crossing
Review

Though this is the first book in the Open Door Love Story series, it can be read as a standalone.

Crossing touches on a topic that is certainly different that what we normally see in love stories. For originality, it deserves 5 stars. However, I only gave it 4 stars because the story is presented, in the end, in a neat little bow. Everything about the story happens way too easily. I truly believe that this story can (and possibly does) happen as it does for Dani and Liam, but I'm not sure it's always as easy. I think I would have preferred some more tension and conflict between Dani and Liam, even if they did get their happily ever after. I guess I would have felt it was more deserved if they struggled for it a bit more. Personal preferences aside, I did enjoy this story and I loved the original storyline.

If you're looking for a different kind of love story (and have an open mind), then Crossing certainly should be on your to-read list.

Rating

4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Blog Tour: Our Orbit


Title Our Orbit

Author Anesa Miller

Release Date June 25, 2014

Tour Host Sage's Blog Tours

In Anesa Miller’s new book, Our Orbit, nine-year-old Miriam Winslow has never worn new clothes, was not permitted to cut her hair, and believes that children must repent their sins with major displays of remorse, or harm will come to their loved ones. Barely half a year after her mother’s death, Miriam is thrust into a different world when her father, a militant tax protester, is jailed on weapons charges.

Miriam finds herself in foster care, her teenage siblings sent to other homes.

College-educated Rick and Deanne Fletcher quickly come to love their “new little girl.” Then they encounter the rest of Miriam’s family: Uncle Dan believes he was abducted by aliens. Sister Rachel, just out of juvenile detention, harbors many painful secrets. Brother Josh is outraged that the Fletchers disrespect Christian teachings. When his plan to remove Miriam from their home fails, Josh reacts with growing hostility to outside interference in their way of life.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22699303-our-orbit
Review

Our Orbit was an enjoyable read and I'm glad that I was given the opportunity to read it.

This book was very well written. I liked the pacing of the story immensely. Nothing felt rushed or glossed over, but it also never dragged on or became boring. The flow of the story was reminiscent of everyday life. Even if there wasn't a whole lot of action, the story steadily progressed. Aside from the story, the characters in the book were wonderful. I loved that Miller was able to skillfully show the diversity of characters from different socioeconomic classes from the same area. I was very impressed.

Our Orbit dives into many heavy topics such as religion, poverty, abortion, and family relations. Miller navigates these topics in a way that never comes off preachy or unrealistic. Everything feels so lifelike in this story and that's what I enjoyed the most.

Rating

4 out of 5 stars

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

About Anesa Miller

A native of Wichita, Kansas, and longtime Ohio resident, Anesa Miller is a writer with training in Russian language and literature. Her work has been published in The Kenyon Review, The California Quarterly, the Southern Humanities Review, and others. Her debut novel, Our Orbit, is a story of cultural conflict set in Appalachia in the 1990s.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Book Review: Puddle Jumping

Title Puddle Jumping

Author Amber L. Johnson

Release Date June 24, 2014

When it comes to love there’s no such thing as conventional.

Everyone thinks Colton Neely is special.

Lilly Evans just thinks he’s fascinating.

Once friends when they were younger, their bond is cut short due to her accident prone nature and they go their separate ways. Years later, they meet again and Lilly learns that there is something special about the boy she once knew, but she has no idea what it all means. And she’s not sure if she’s ready to find out.

When he walks through the corridor of her school the first day of her senior year, she knows that it’s time to get to know the real Colton Neely. The more she learns, the deeper she falls.

Their friendship grows into love, even as Colton does not express it in words. But one decision threatens to break down the world that Lilly has tried so hard to integrate into and she must figure out if the relationship can survive if they are apart.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21825607-puddle-jumping
Review

This was such an incredibly sweet book. It filled my heart with so much love and joy to see Colton and Lilly's relationship grow and change.

I was surprised at how much story was packed into so few pages. In general, I prefer longer books. I always become so invested in characters and stories that I love that it's always mildly disappointing when a book ends. However, Puddle Jumping was an exception. Though it's relatively short (~125 pages), it doesn't skimp on anything. These are real characters in a real, developed story. It was a pleasant surprise, especially since the more I read the more worried I was that I was going to be left with a half ending. No worries there. We're treated to a full ending with no unanswered questions.

If you're looking for a sweet, beautiful love story then I recommend this one. It was such a great story (even though I did tear up a couple of times).

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Friday, September 26, 2014

Book Review: Fangirl

Title Fangirl

Author Rainbow Rowell

Release Date September 10, 2013

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16068905-fangirl
Review

So, I read a book last year that center on fan fiction (4 to 16 characters) that I thought relied too heavily on the fanfic aspect and, in turn, didn't care for very much. I was worried about that here, but since I've absolutely loved everything else I've read by Rainbow Rowell, I bit the bullet and decided to read Fangirl. It didn't take long for me to realize that I had absolutely no reason to worry. Fanfic or not, I was going to love Fangirl.

There are so many things to love about this book. The characters are full of awesome and they all fit so well together. Cath is relatable. She's nerdy, introverted, socially awkward, and exactly the type of person I could see myself being if I had went away to college. Wren is the more extroverted, carefree twin sister. Reagan is the reluctant, but funny roommate. Levi is the perfect book boyfriend. All of the characters make up the perfect cast for this fantastic book. The writing is nothing less than anything else you'd read by Rainbow Rowell. It's the perfect length. The story continuously moves forward without unnecessary drama. It's a sweet and fun read, but also realistic and with a hint of real life sadness. It's the perfect combination of everything you'd like in a coming-of-age story.

About the fanfic since I mentioned it made me nervous to read this story... don't let it stop you from reading this awesome book. While fanfic plays a rather significant role in Cath's life (and in the story), it doesn't seem off putting. It works here. The stories resemble Harry Potter, but have their own differences. And, as a bonus, instead of turning me off to fan fiction, it made me more interested in seeing what's out there.

As always, I definitely recommend this wonderful book by Rainbow. And I look forward to reading more by her in the future.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars