Sunday, March 30, 2014

Book Review: Hothouse Flower

Title Hothouse Flower

Series Calloway Sisters, book 2

Author Krista & Becca Ritchie

Release Date March 28, 2014

Ryke Meadows, meet Daisy Calloway ... she’s all grown up.

Twenty-five-year-old Ryke Meadows knows he’s hard to love. With a billion-dollar inheritance, a track-star resume, and an alpha-male personality—he redefines the term likable asshole. But he’s not living to make friends. Or enemies. He just wants to free climb three of the toughest mountains in Yosemite without drama or interruption.

And then he receives a distressed call from a girl in Paris—a girl that he has never been allowed to have.

Daisy Calloway is eighteen. Finally. With her newfound independence, she can say goodbye to her overbearing mother and continue her modeling career. Next stop, Paris. Fashion Week begins with a bang, and Daisy uncovers the ugly reality of the industry. She wants to prove to her family that she can live on her own, but when everything spirals out of control, she turns to Ryke to keep her secrets.

As Daisy struggles to make sense of this new world and her freedom, she pushes the limits and fearlessly rides the edge. Ryke knows there’s deep hurt beneath every impulsive action. He must keep up with Daisy, and if he lets her go, her favorite motto—“live as if you’ll die today”—may just come true.

This is the second stand-alone in a spin-off series. You technically can read this book all on its own. Don't do it. You'll have no idea what's going on and won't be able to fully appreciate the story like it deserves. Follow this reading order:

Everyone, take note! *This* is how New Adult should be done. Krista and Becca Ritchie are amazing at what they do. This book, the entire series that they've written, is perfection. Truly, there's so many good things I can say, but I feel like I'd be repeating my past reviews.

Sticking solely to this book, it far and away exceeded my expectations. I was expecting something awesome, but what I got was so much better. The build up to Daisy and Ryke's relationship (this book and the previous) has been insane. I've been rooting for them as a couple for a long time now. I'm so glad with the way things played out. Of course, we're treated to Lily, Lo, Rose, and Connor in this book, too. In fact, things that happen in this book set up for some very interesting things in the books to come. I can't wait for more from Krista and Becca.


5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Unfinished Book: Torn

Title Torn

Series Torn, 1

Author K. A. Robinson

Release Date May 7, 2013

Chloe hasn't had the best life. With a mother who is gone more often than not, she has had to raise herself. After graduating high school, she leaves to start a new life away at West Virginia University with her best friends Amber and Logan, determined to leave her demons in the past.

On her first day, she meets a stranger who takes her breath away at first sight. Until she met Drake, no one had ever sparked her interest. Now this tattooed and pierced bad boy is all she can think about, no matter how hard she fights it.

Falling for Drake was never part of her plans, but when it happens, things seem to do anything but fall into place.

Dealing with a tragic past, Drake has never cared about anyone else but himself and his band. But when Chloe takes the empty seat next to him in class, things start to change. Instantly drawn to her, he begins to wonder if one girl can take a cold hearted womanizer and change every part of him?

Long hidden feelings are revealed and friendships tested to the brink.

My unofficial resolution this year was to not waste my time on a book that I'm not enjoying. This is tough for me because I always feel guilty about starting a book and not finishing it. It never matters how bad I think the book is (I'm looking at you Fifty Shades trilogy). Well, I'm putting my foot down. I refuse to be miserable and dread reading.

Torn is nothing more than your typical formulaic New Adult book. What's that formula? Girl (swears she's average in the looks department, but is really stunning,  clumsy, absolutely clueless to the numerous guys that are in love with her, had a hard/miserable/sad upbringing) + Guy BFF (totally in love with Girl, hot, overprotective) + Bad Boy (super hot, man whore, head over heels in love with Girl immediately, ready to renounce his dirty ways for her and her alone) = NA Bestseller.

While there will be many people that love Torn (rating of 3.97 on Goodreads and 4.1 on Amazon), I can't recommend this one to anyone. It's boring, overdone, and cliche. This book and the countless others are why reading NA books is such a gamble. Yeah, occasionally you get something awesome (Unteachable), but mostly you get the same crap over and over again.


No rating since I didn't finish the book.

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

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Book Review: The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Title The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Author Emily M. Danforth

Release Date February 7, 2012

When Cameron Post's parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they'll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.

But that relief doesn't last, and Cam is soon forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone (as her grandmother might say), and Cam becomes an expert at both.

Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful, pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. She and Cam forge an unexpected and intense friendship--one that seems to leave room for something more to emerge. But just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, ultrareligious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to "fix" her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self--even if she's not exactly sure who that is.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a stunning and unforgettable literary debut about discovering who you are and finding the courage to live life according to your own rules.

I'll admit that I really had no idea what I'd be getting into whenever I started The Miseducation of Cameron Post. I had only read the first paragraph of the blurb before deciding to read the book. Even if I had read the entire blurb, I don't think it would have prepared me for this book.

While there are so many good things about this book, it was the writing that ultimately won me over. This has to be the best written YA book I've read in such a long time. Considering the length of the book (over 450 pages), I was kind of surprised. A book of that length, YA or not, it could fall into the murky waters of unneeded story. Not here, not at all. Every page felt needed and important. The writing was beautiful, crisp and clean. The story was genuine and interesting.

All the good aside, why am I giving this book a 4.5 rating? The ending, the last chapter. The ending left me utterly disappointed. After having such a well written story, the ending felt rushed and thrown together. It was almost like the author didn't know how to properly end the book and went with this instead.

The disappointing ending aside, it was still a wonderful book and I certainly recommend it.


4.5 out of 5 stars

Friday, March 14, 2014

Book Review: Attachments

Title Attachments

Author Rainbow Rowell

Release Date April 14, 2011

"Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . "

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say...?

There's something about Rainbow Rowell's writing that really does it for me. Granted, this is only the second book by her that I've read, but that's not the point. I love her writing... and her storytelling, her characters, and everything else.

Everything about this book worked for me. Everything. The third-person narrative worked perfectly. It focuses on Lincoln and we learn about Beth and Jennifer solely through their emails. You would think you'd be presented with underdeveloped characters since you're only seeing them through their emails, but you're not. We're still treated to full, developed (and very interesting) characters. The writing was awesome and was exactly as I expected it to be. It was entertaining, fun, sweet, humorous, and dashed with a little bit of nerdiness. Props to Rainbow Rowell for having such a wonderful, well-rounded book.

I definitely recommend checking out Attachments or anything else by Rainbow Rowell. I don't think you'll be disappointed.


5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Book Review: Such a Pretty Girl

Title Such a Pretty Girl

Author Laura Wiess

Release Date January 2, 2007

They promised Meredith nine years of safety, but only gave her three.

Her father was supposed to be locked up until Meredith turned eighteen. She thought she had time to grow up, get out, and start a new life. But Meredith is only fifteen, and today her father is coming home from prison.

Today her time has run out.

Here's another book where the blurb promises more than the book delivers.

This time instead of glossing over the important issues, we're presented with a story line that borders on unbelievable.
I'm not saying that something like this couldn't have happened, but goodness. There's too much here that just doesn't make sense and there's even more than what I listed.

Combine the unbelievability with the shortness of the novel and we're left with disappointment. Such a Pretty Girl is another one of those books that I just can't recommend.


2 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Book Review: Jumping Off Swings

Title Jumping Off Swings

Author Jo Knowles

Release Date August 11, 2009

One pregnancy. Four friends. It all adds up to a profound time of change in this poignant, sensitively written YA novel.

Ellie remembers how the boys kissed her. Touched her. How they
begged for more. And when she gave it to them, she felt loved. For a
while anyway. So when Josh, an eager virgin with a troubled home life, leads her from a party to the backseat of his van, Ellie follows. But their "one-time thing" is far from perfect: Ellie gets pregnant. Josh reacts with shame and heartbreak, while their confidantes, Caleb and Corinne, deal with their own complex swirl of emotions. No matter what Ellie chooses, all four teenagers will be forced to grow up a little faster as a result. Told alternately from each character’s point of view, this deeply insightful novel explores the aftershocks of the biggest decision of one fragile girl’s life — and the realities of leaving innocence behind.

The blurb for Jumping Off Swings oversells the book, in my opinion. I expected so much more than what I got. To say it was disappointing is a bit of an understatement.

There were multiple things I didn't like about this book. The characters weren't interesting. We never really get to know our characters or why they behave the way they do. I didn't connect or feel anything towards any of them. The fact that the book is so short combined with four (yes, FOUR) different points of view probably aid in the lack of character development. I feel like four POVs in such a short book spreads everything too thin, especially for the topics touched on in the books. Speaking of topics in the book, everything felt very glossed over. There were no deep, real moments. I was definitely let down.

Overall, a short read that wasn't really worth the time. I don't think I can recommend Jumping Off Swings to anyone.


2 out of 5 stars

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Book Review/Giveaway: Love Like the Movies

Title Love Like the Movies

Author Victoria Van Tiem

Release Date February 24, 2014

In this irresistible romantic romp, movie fanatic Kensington Shaw is thrown into love—Hollywood-style—when her gorgeous ex presents a series of big screen challenges to win back her heart.

What girl wouldn’t want to experience the Pretty Woman shopping scene? It’s number two on the list. Or, try the lift from Dirty Dancing? It’s number five. One list, ten romantic movie moments, and a handful of shenanigans later, Kenzi has to wonder . . . should she marry the man her family loves, or risk everything for a love like the movies?

I always feel like romantic comedies are such a toss up. I'm either going to fall madly in love with it or I'm going to hate it. There's not any grey area for me. So, every time I watch one, I'm flipping a coin and hoping it comes up positive. I almost felt that way about Love Like the Movies, but I didn't. I had a really good feeling about this book (maybe because I can relate to Kensington's desire to be in love in a movie). It didn't disappoint!

Love Like the Movies is sweet, funny (I actually laughed out loud!), loveable, and absolutely relatable. And the whole idea behind the book (the ten movies) is fresh and fun. I love new ideas, especially when done well. It was a quick read, but nothing felt rushed or glossed over. Overall, it was definitely fun to read and full of plenty of "aww" moments.

If you're looking for a sweet romance, you can stop now. Check out Love Like the Movies. I don't think you'll be disappointed.


4 out of 5 stars

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So, readers, what's your favorite rom-com?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Book Review: Naomi Grim

Title Naomi Grim

Series The Silver Scythe Chronicles, book 1

Author Tiffany Nicole Smith

Release Date September 30, 2013

The assignment:

Collect lifestones from humans after they die.

Rebellious, sixteen-year-old Naomi craves a normal life, but unfortunately, she’s a Grim by birth. That’s right, she sees dead people and hoards their living essence in a stone. Not a fun occupation.

In order to be good at her job, she must live among human teenagers for weeks at a time. But Naomi soon becomes attached to the kids she’s been assigned to watch over. And knowing that these teens are gonna die under less than ideal circumstances, she has the opportunity to prevent their deaths from occurring. Only one big problem—interfering with death is the worst crime a Grim can commit. If she intervenes, she’ll put herself and her family in danger.

Naomi must make the hardest choice of her career, go against the sacred covenant or watch her new friends walk blindly to their deaths.

Only one thing is for certain—Naomi has a grim knack for finding trouble and she’s about to break all the rules...

I really enjoyed Naomi Grim.

The story is original and interesting. Things moved quickly, but didn't feel rushed. I enjoyed the writing well enough. I liked the characters and the strange world of Nowhere. Overall, this was a pretty great read. However, it wasn't long enough. Well, I don't know that's so much a flaw with the book as it is a good thing. I want more! I want to know what happens to Naomi and all of Nowhere. I can hardly wait to find out.

One thing I noticed on Goodreads is this was originally available in parts. I don't care for/understand why stories that are released that way (why not just wait until the entire book is done?). However, you can buy the entire Naomi Grim book in one part (and I recommend that you do). I will definitely continue the series, but I'll be waiting until the next book is released as one whole book.


4 out of 5 stars

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

Monday, March 3, 2014

Book Review: Cress

Title Cress

Series The Lunar Chronicles, book 3

Author Marissa Meyer

Release Date February 4, 2014

Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

Up until this book, I've greatly enjoyed the series. The writing has been wonderful, the characters well crafted, and the storyline different and intriguing. Cinder (especially) and Scarlet were a true delight to read. While Cress wasn't a bad book by any standards, it didn't live up to my expectations. And I know exactly why.

Cress felt like a transition book to me. A transition book is a book that gets us from one major part of the story to the next. Not a whole lot happens during a transition book, but there's information contained in them that we need to further the story. Commonly, we'll see them as a second book in a trilogy. These books can show up during a series as well. And, of course, sometimes these books are nowhere to be seen. Transition books can be just as well written as the other books in the series, but generally leave the reader wanting more than what they're getting (especially after being treated to such awesomeness in previous books). [Note: The term "transition book" and the "definition" provided were completely made up by me. Don't take what I say too seriously. I'm only trying to express my feelings towards a book.]

All of that being said, Cress was okay. Just okay. The story moved along, but not a whole lot happened. Yes, there's some action at the end of the book, but that doesn't make up for the rest of it. We're introduced to Cress. I like her more than Scarlet, but still less than Cinder. After having such a strong character in Cinder, I feel let down with Scarlet and Cress. I didn't enjoy this book as much as the previous two, but that hasn't dashed my hopes for the series at all. In fact, I believe we'll be treated to a fantastic ending in the upcoming book Winter. 


3 out of 5 stars