Friday, January 31, 2014

Book Review: Song of the Fireflies

Title Song of the Fireflies

Author J. A. Redmerski

Release Date February 4, 2014

Since they were kids, Elias Kline and Brayelle Bates have been inseparable. When Bray moves to South Carolina, separating the two for the first time, they both at last realize that their innocent childhood friendship has developed into something much more. So when Bray finally returns to Georgia—and to Elias—things between them couldn’t be more perfect…until one fateful night changes everything.

Desperate not to go to prison for a terrible accident, Elias and Bray decide to run. As they try to make the most of their freedom, the two find themselves relying on a rebellious group of people who tempt the duo into a wild and daring new life. But they can’t run from their troubles forever.

As the consequences of their past catch up to them, the couple must finally face reality. Even if they can make it through the unimaginable, Elias knows the truth about Bray’s painful history, and in the end he may not be able to save Bray from herself…
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18189342-song-of-the-fireflies
Review

I read an excerpt of this book in The Edge of Always. Immediately, I pre-ordered the book. Then, I saw a tweet from the author about it being available on Netgalley. After not hearing anything after a few days, I was pretty sure that I wouldn't receive the book early. Then, on Christmas Eve, APPROVED! Woohoo! Anyway...

The story is told from both the perspectives of Elias and Bray. I felt more connected with Elias than I did Bray. I found this somewhat odd as I believe I have more in common with Bray than I do Elias. Either way, this didn't really influence how I felt about the book, but I was a bit surprised. Overall, the two perspectives didn't do much for me here. While it didn't hurt the book, I think it might have been stronger if it had only been told from Elias' point of view.

Wow, oh wow. This story was so much more than what I thought it was going to be. Yeah, it's a love story, but it's so much more than that. It was darker and more intense than what you'd expect from a romance. On top of it being such a good book, it definitely gets extra points for being a stand-alone novel.

While I've only read two other books by J. A. Redmerski, this one is definitely my favorite so far.

Rating

4 out of 5 stars

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

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Book Review: Kiss the Sky

Title Kiss the Sky

Author Krista & Becca Ritchie

Series Calloway Sisters, book 1

Release Date January 24, 2014

Virgin. Sex addict. Daredevil. Alcoholic. Smartass … Jackass. Her five friends are about to be filmed. Reality TV, be prepared.

Rose Calloway thought she had everything under control. At twenty-three, she’s a Princeton graduate, an Academic Bowl champion, a fashion designer and the daughter of a Fortune 500 mogul. But with a sex addict as a sister and roommate, nothing comes easy.

After accepting help from a producer, Rose agrees to have her life filmed for a reality television show. The Hollywood exec is her last chance to revive her struggling fashion line, and boundaries begin to blur as she’s forced to make nice with a man who always has his way.

Twenty-four-year-old Connor Cobalt is a guy who bulldozes weak men. He’s confident, smart-as-hell and lives with his equally ambitious girlfriend, Rose Calloway. Connor has to find a way to protect Rose without ruining the show. Or else the producer will get what Connor has always wanted—Rose’s virginity.

This New Adult Standalone Romance can be described as Friends meets The Real World. Expect fist fights, drugs, sex of varying degrees, crude humor and competitive alpha males. Definitely for mature readers audiences only.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18308262-kiss-the-sky
Review

This is a standalone spinoff of the Addicted series. While it is possible to read this book without reading the others, I highly recommend you don't. Read the other books first! They are amazing and you'll (likely) enjoy this book even more. With all that out of the way, on to the review!

WOW! This book was awesome. Krista and Becca Ritchie are, by far, my favorite New Adult authors. Their books just keep getting better. I need more. Now, please.

I've been anticipating this book since I read about it on Goodreads. I'm digging what the authors are doing here. Which is this... The first three books (Addicted To You, Ricochet, Addicted For Now) are the first story arc for Lily and Lo; then we're given two standalone spinoff novels (Kiss the Sky & Hothouse Flower); and finally we'll get the last of Lily and Lo's story (Thrive & Addicted After All). I, once again, highly recommend reading the books in order!

I loved everything about this book and hated absolutely nothing. That's so incredibly rare for me to say. In fact, I've been so surprised about how much I love this series. While I enjoy reading New Adult stuff (it's easily my favorite genre currently), I find it hard to find anything of real quality. This isn't a problem whatsoever here. The writing is fantastic. The characters are very well done (Every single one of them. Not a flat, boring character to be seen anywhere). The story is intriguing and I just keep wanting more.

It's undeniable that I highly recommend this series. I cannot wait for the next book, Hothouse Flower, and anything else the authors throw at me!

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Friday, January 24, 2014

Book Review: All She Ever Wanted

Title All She Ever Wanted

Author Rosalind Noonan

Release Date December 24, 2012

For years, Chelsea Maynard has longed to be a mother. She’s imagined caring for a new baby in the lovely house she shares with her husband, Leo, fondly planning every detail. But after a difficult birth, those dreams of blissful bonding evaporate. Chelsea battles sleep deprivation and feelings of isolation. Little Annabelle cries constantly, and Chelsea has dark visions fueled by exhaustion and self-doubt. Her sister, Emma, insists she gets help for post-partum depression, but Chelsea’s doctor dismisses her worries as self-indulgent.Doubting her ability to parent—even doubting he.r own sanity—Chelsea is close to collapse. Then an unthinkable crisis hits. And suddenly, Chelsea is compelled to face both the fragility and resilience of life, and the extraordinary depths of love.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15806996-all-she-ever-wantedhttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15806996-all-she-ever-wanted
Review

My heart broke for Chelsea. While I haven't been pregnant yet, one of my fears is PPD (especially since, like Chelsea, I long to be a mother one day). Though I've never read another book dealing with postpartum depression, I believe the author did a good job at showing the effects of PPD and how others react to it.

Overall, the book was satisfying. The most well developed character is, by far, Chelsea. The other characters were done well enough, but not to the same extent. The writing wasn't anything special, but it wasn't bad either. I enjoyed the "false leads" to who Annabelle's kidnapper might be. It was nice for the story to not lay it all out on the table immediately and then drag it out for half a book. In the end, I was happy with my decision to read the book. I would even say that it was more enjoyable than I thought it would be.

Rating

4 out of 5 stars

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Book Review: Independent Study

Title Independent Study

Series The Testing, book 2

Author Joelle Charbonneau

Release Date January 7, 2014

In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas—and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17165932-independent-study
Review

Sometimes, the second book in a trilogy isn't as good as the first (or the third). Unfortunately, it feels like this might be the case for Independent Study. It was a bit disappointing to read it and it not live up to my expectations. I'm hoping that the third book will finish stronger and leave me satisfied about the trilogy.

For the majority of the book, I felt like there wasn't enough happening. There were too many second book lulls. Yes, it was a quick read, but it wasn't because I was so invested in the story and I just had to know what happened next. It was more like the book was just simple and easy to read. It wasn't special, but it wasn't completely disappointing.

The story does pick up some around the 80% mark and sets us up for the final book in the trilogy. So, while the second book wasn't as exciting as the first, I'm still pretty excited to read the third book when I get the opportunity. And as far as recommending, I still say it's worth checking out the trilogy, but be warned that the second book isn't as good as the first.

Rating

3 out of 5 stars

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Book Review: The Program

Title The Program

Series The Program, book 1

Author Suzanne Young

Release Date April 30, 2013

In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11366397-the-program
Review

I first found out about this book when browsing other book review blogs. As soon as I read the description, I knew I had to read it. Of course, with my luck, the person reviewed an ARC and I had to wait. Well, with all the waiting, I ended up waiting far too long before reading this. I wish I had read it sooner. It was so incredibly good.

There's so much I enjoyed about The Program. The writing was absolutely wonderful. It's some of the best YA writing I've read in a while. The characters were perfectly done. Every single character was unique and well-developed. The plot was interesting and fully kept my interest.

When I originally put this book on my to-read list, I believed it was a standalone. It isn't, though. There is one more book, but it's not currently out. Until I get my hands on it, I'll be eagerly waiting. I can hardly wait for it to come out. Until then, I definitely recommend this to everyone!

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Book Review: Infinite Possibilities

Title Infinite Possibilities

Series The Secret Life of Amy Bensen, book 2

Author Lisa Renee Jones

Release Date November 11, 2013

Secrets and lies. They are everywhere: haunting her, tormenting her. In the midst of it all, he’d been her escape, her passion. The only person she’d trusted in six years. And then he’d made her doubt that trust, cutting her deeply. But as she’d once told him, she was damaged, not broken. She is ready to fight and not just for survival. She is fighting for the truth and she won’t stop until she has it, not even for… him.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18166194-infinite-possibilities
Review

Whenever I reviewed the first book, I said that I may or may not pick up the second book to find out more about Amy's life. Who was I kidding? I knew already that I was going to pick it up. Too many questions without answers will lead you to do drastic things... like read the sequel to a book you didn't really enjoy.

So, let me start off by saying that I was lead to believe that this book was the conclusion to Amy Bensen. That is the only reason I bothered to pick this book up. About halfway through the book, I learned that this is not the case. There’s, at least, one other book in the series. Seriously? If I would have known that, I wouldn’t have even bothered starting this disappointment. I would have just waited and read someone’s review to figure out what’s going on. Unfortunately, I learned too late.

I trudged through this book… all the way to the cliffhanger ending. And boy, was it painful. I thought the first book was less than good, but this one nearly made me give up. I found myself skipping entire paragraphs and skimming more than I’ve done in a very long time. I was absolutely annoyed with Amy and disgusted by Liam. I tried to find something redeeming about the book, but I can’t do it.

There’s a third book coming out (unable to find an expected release date), but I won’t be adding it to my to-read shelf. Yes, the next book is being told from another person’s POV (don’t want to spoil it for anyone), but I just can’t subject myself to anything else dealing with this series. All that being said, I say steer clear of this series. It’s definitely not worth the pain.

Rating

1 out of 5 stars

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Book Review: Tampa

Title Tampa

Author Alissa Nutting

Release Date July 2, 2013

Celeste Price is an eighth-grade English teacher in suburban Tampa. She is attractive. She drives a red Corvette. Her husband, Ford, is rich, square-jawed and devoted to her. But Celeste has a secret. She has a singular sexual obsession - fourteen-year-old boys. It is a craving she pursues with sociopathic meticulousness and forethought.

Within weeks of her first term at a new school, Celeste has lured the charmingly modest Jack Patrick into her web - car rides after dark, rendezvous at Jack's house while his single father works the late shift, and body-slamming encounters in Celeste's empty classroom between periods. It is bliss.

Celeste must constantly confront the forces threatening their affair - the perpetual risk of exposure, Jack's father's own attraction to her, and the ticking clock as Jack leaves innocent boyhood behind. But the insatiable Celeste is remorseless. She deceives everyone, is close to no one and cares little for anything but her pleasure.

With crackling, stampeding, rampantly sexualized prose, Tampa is a grand, satirical, serio-comic examination of desire and a scorching literary debut.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17846944-tampa
Review

Goodness. This is definitely a book that everyone's going to have an opinion about. Never mind whether or not they've actually read the book, they've got something to say!

Alright, so this book was a little difficult to read. Well, not so much difficult as uncomfortable. Yes, that's it. I was uncomfortable, but who wouldn't be? (That's totally a redundant question, by the way.) I knew the book was pushing boundaries and going for that shock value (let's be honest, right?). I didn't quite expect something as graphic as what I got, but I should have known better. I felt torn between whether or not the vulgarity of the book was necessary (it's generally harder to imagine a woman in such a position) or just purely shock. In the end, I sided with necessary. I think Celeste needed to be painted as she was to really convey that she was as much of a sexual predator/monster as a man could be. That being said, there's a very fine line between necessary and shock value here.

It was well written. It was disturbing, especially in the "I probably shouldn't like this. Maybe I should. I don't know! There's way too much grey area here... but I do like it!" kind of way. And just to clarify, this is a good book. I don't condone Celeste's behavior, whether male or female, so it makes it somewhat strange to enjoy about something I am so against. Weird, I tell you! By the end of the book, I was slightly disappointed. I'm not sure exactly how I wanted it to end, but it certainly wasn't like it did. I suppose, though, that the ending was, unfortunately, pretty realistic.

While the review was hard for me to write... because really, I don't know how to express how I feel after reading something like this, it was an easy book to rate. I enjoyed reading it and would certainly recommend it. That recommendation, though, would come with a warning that it is pretty vulgar and cringe-inducing.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Book Review: Perfect Lie

Title Perfect Lie

Author Teresa Mummert

Release Date December 17, 2013

Sometimes love burns so hot in your veins that it consumes all rational thought.

That’s why Brock and I never had a chance. I had to start my life over. College was my chance to become someone new. I changed everything about myself to fit in, but one person saw through my facade.

The attraction between Abel and I was undeniable, but I still hadn’t healed from the painful secret I carried around with me. Abel struggled to get me to face my past in order to move forward. In doing so, he revealed a secret of his own; one that changed everything I thought I knew.

A secret that would bring Brock back into my life and force me to face the truth of what really happened the day I lost him.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17230351-perfect-lie
Review

Holy unbelievable plot twist, Batman! And by unbelievable, I mean, what in the world did I just read?!

For the majority of the book, I was on board with the story. I had a pretty clear picture of what was going on and it was completely believable. Then, somewhere between understanding and confusion lies the rest of the book. In order for my questions to be cleared up, I had to read a post on Teresa Mummert's Facebook forum. While it doesn't change my opinion on the book, it does help me to understand what I read.

There are, in fact, plenty of clues (very subtle) peppered in the book just like Teresa stated in that previously mentioned post. However, I don't believe the average person will pay attention to those clues and figure out the big plot twist. I know I didn't.

Overall, I have mixed feelings about this book. I generally enjoyed the story and I guess I even liked the big plot twist. However, in order for me to fully understand what happened, I had to read something outside of the book. This kind of cheapens it for me.

Rating

3 out of 5 stars

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