Monday, June 29, 2015

Book Review: Under the Lights

Title Under the Lights

Series Daylight Falls, book 2

Author Dahlia Adler

Release Date June 30, 2015

Josh Chester loves being a Hollywood bad boy, coasting on his good looks, his parties, his parents' wealth, and the occasional modeling gig. But his laid-back lifestyle is about to change. To help out his best friend, Liam, he joins his hit teen TV show, Daylight Falls...opposite Vanessa Park, the one actor immune to his charms. (Not that he's trying to charm her, of course.) Meanwhile, his drama-queen mother blackmails him into a new family reality TV show, with Josh in the starring role. Now that he's in the spotlight—on everyone's terms but his own—Josh has to decide whether a life as a superstar is the one he really wants.

Vanessa Park has always been certain about her path as an actor, despite her parents' disapproval. But with all her relationships currently in upheaval, she's painfully uncertain about everything else. When she meets her new career handler, Brianna, Van is relieved to have found someone she can rely on, now that her BFF, Ally, is at college across the country. But as feelings unexpectedly evolve beyond friendship, Van's life reaches a whole new level of confusing. And she'll have to choose between the one thing she's always loved...and the person she never imagined she could.

I liked Behind the Scenes, but Under the Lights was so much better!

This book is rather unique in the sense that we're getting two points of view, but Josh isn't Vanessa's love interest. It might seem strange when you think about it, but it's not. It actually works well. Josh and Vanessa's stories intertwine and make total sense together.

Josh and Vanessa are really awesome. It was cool seeing them in Behind the Scenes, but sooo much better when the story focuses on them. They are such interesting characters (more so than Ally, honestly). Josh was great! I love his attitude and his witty dialogue is full of so much win. And Vanessa is pretty amazing, too. I loved her F/F romance. It was incredibly swoon-worthy!

Overall, definitely a great book!


5 out of 5 stars

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

Monday, June 22, 2015

Book Review: The Truth and Other Lies

Title The Truth and Other Lies

Author Sascha Arango

Release Date June 23, 2015

On the surface, Henry Hayden seems like someone you could like, or even admire. A famous bestselling author who appears a modest everyman. A loving, devoted husband even though he could have any woman he desires. A generous friend and coworker. But Henry Hayden is a construction, a mask. His past is a secret, his methods more so. No one besides him and his wife know that she is the actual writer of the novels that made him famous.

For most of Henry’s life, it hasn’t been a problem. But when his hidden-in-plain-sight mistress becomes pregnant and his carefully constructed facade is about to crumble, he tries to find a permanent solution, only to make a terrible mistake.

Now not only are the police after Henry, but his past—which he has painstakingly kept hidden—threatens to catch up with him as well. Henry is an ingenious man and he works out an ingenious plan. He weaves lies, truths, and half-truths into a story that might help him survive. But bit by bit the noose still tightens.

Smart, sardonic, and compulsively readable, here is the story of a man whose cunning allows him to evade the consequences of his every action, even when he’s standing on the edge of the abyss.

The title The Truth and Other Lies and the blurb make this book sound incredibly interesting. For the most part, I would say the book lives up to the blurb. Mostly.

From the very beginning, my attention was captured. We're thrown right into the thick of things and move full steam ahead. Things stay steady throughout the book, though for the last 15% or so, I did feel my attention slip slightly. The ending just didn't pack the punch that I was expecting and that's why I only gave the book 4 stars instead of five.

The writing is enjoyable, although there are a few times where I had to re-read a passage to make sure I understand exactly what was happening. Sometimes there wasn't a clear transition from one part to the next and it confused me. I felt like this may have been done on purpose, though, to make the story a bit more challenging to figure out (I could be making that up, who knows?).

Without touching on the actual plot or characters, the book was worth the read. I would have preferred a different ending, though. The rest of the book deserved a better ending.


4 out of 5 stars

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

Friday, June 19, 2015

Blog Tour/Review: The Fairy Tale Formula

Title The Fairy Tale Formula

Author Elena Burnett (with David Fryberger)

Release Date March 16, 2015

Tour Host Sage's Blog Tours

The 10 most common fairy tale misconceptions women have about men dating & relating and the easy steps to getting it right!

Ever wished to get inside the mind of a man to find out the truth of how he feels about love and romance? Well now you can!

The Fairy Tale Formula is a manual on the art of love and communication. It will help you realize the adjustments needed in your dating and relationship life in order to get the success you deserve! International Relationship Specialist and Dating Author, Elena Burnett, will reveal the solutions to you in her clear even-handed approach.

This important book on dating and communication strategy will help you see love and romance through the eyes of men. You may very well identify with more than one situation presented in these fairy tale ideas women have about men as you learn the reasons why they are not working. Solutions will be provided to you in each of the cases discussed in the book. These proven effective tools and tips will allow you to do your part correctly and make him fall for YOU!

The REAL truth about men dating and relating every woman needs to know.

I don't read self-help books. I especially don't read self-help books dealing with relationships. So, why in the world did I agree to read and review The Fairy Tale Formula? To be completely honest, it's because the author. While I know absolutely nothing about her (and hadn't heard of her before being contacted by Sage to read her book), she claims to be a relationship and dating specialist as well as a spiritual counselor with a specialty in tarot cards, numerology, etc. Basically, I was skeptical of what Elena Burnett had to say, but was willing to listen anyway.

The Fairy Tale Formula is filled with advice as well as case studies from different people and the author's own experiences. While the case studies were interesting, I enjoyed the author's own experiences more. I liked that she shared how her advice applied in her life and she wasn't just pulling stuff out of thin air. As for the advice, I feel lukewarm towards it. There are things that I absolutely agree with (example: "Remember, a man who can’t love himself can’t love you either."), but there's plenty of stuff that I just can't get behind (example: "Being the pursuer of a man you want is disrespectful to said man if there is any intention of him remaining with his manhood intact.").

So after reading this book, I'm still extremely skeptical of self-help books. And really, I think that's a good position to have towards someone else giving advice. Especially if the person doesn't intimately know your situation. However, I do realize that there's a reason self-help books are so popular. Many times there is good advice contained within their pages. You just have to pick it out from the not-so-good advice. I think a person just needs to keep a clear head and not blindly follow whatever advice they read about.

3 out of 5 stars

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

About the Author
Elena was born in France and raised between Paris and Madrid. Elena is Multilingual and world traveled, speaks French, Spanish, English and Italian. She has been living in the United States for the past 14 years and received her Bachelor's Degree in Metaphysical Healing Art here as well.

Elena is an International Relationship and Dating Specialist with more than 20 years of experience helping men and women in their romantic life, having studied extensively with Dr. Pat Allen. Elena is also an Spiritual Counselor. Her interest in Alchemy and the Esoteric sciences spans her entire lifetime. Her specialty is tarot card, palmistry, face analysis and numerology, with an emphasis on relationships of all types and career readings.

Author Links

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Book Review: Love Spell

Title Love Spell

Author Mia Kerick

Release Date June 1, 2015

Strutting his stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snug orange tuxedo as this year’s Miss (ter) Harvest Moon feels so very right to Chance C├ęsar, and yet he knows it should feel so very wrong.

As far back as he can remember, Chance has been “caught between genders.” (It’s quite a touchy subject; so don’t ask him about it.) However, he does not question his sexual orientation. Chance has no doubt about his gayness—he is very much out of the closet at his rural New Hampshire high school, where the other students avoid the kid they refer to as “girl-boy.”

But at the local Harvest Moon Festival, when Chance, the Pumpkin Pageant Queen, meets Jasper Donahue, the Pumpkin Carving King, sparks fly. So Chance sets out, with the help of his BFF, Emily, to make “Jazz” Donahue his man.

An article in an online women’s magazine, Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love with You (with a bonus love spell thrown in for good measure), becomes the basis of their strategy to capture Jazz’s heart.

Quirky, comical, definitely flamboyant, and with an inner core of poignancy, Love Spell celebrates the diversity of a gender-fluid teen.

The world needs more diverse books and Love Spell is here to help! Love Spell addresses an issue that we don't see in books very often (in YA books especially). The main character, Chance, is gender queer or gender fluid (or one of the other several terms, he can't decide). Though not the biggest focus in the book, his confusion about his identity plays a huge role. While issues like these are being talked about more and more in society, it's still rather rare to see them in books and I commend Mia Kerick for writing a YA book that includes gender fluidity.
And finally I ask myself the only acceptance question that should really matter. Will I ever be able to accept that I don’t fit neatly into any gender box I’ve come across?
My biggest issue with the book is with the actual writing itself. While I understand that Chance was a self-proclaimed drama queen, it was just a bit too over the top for me. Everything bordered on unbelievable. It painted him as more of a stereotypical gay character than anything realistic. If everything was dialed back a notch or two (including the silly slang and hashtags), this book was have been a solid five star book.


4 out of 5 stars

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

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (#2)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because everyone loves a good list, don't they? We love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Not too long ago I kept THREE separate TBR lists. Crazy, right? One was my "official" list that I kept on Goodreads. This list is still around and I use it when picking my next book to read. It contains books that I have every single intention of reading. The second list was my unofficial long list. It's still around simply because it's all the books I haven't yet read on my Paperwhite. It's the majority of my Goodreads list and a bunch of freebies I picked up from Amazon (that I may or may not read, who knows?). And lastly, the third list was my immediate short list. It's no longer around, but it consisted of books that I wanted to read rather soon. However, it constantly changed and didn't make much sense to keep around. That being said, here's my short list for this summer, in no particular order (this most likely will change, ha!):

Click on a book's cover to go to its Goodreads page.
What are your top ten books to read this summer?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Book Review: The Dream Jumper's Pursuit

Title The Dream Jumper's Pursuit

Series Dream Jumper, book 3

Author Kim Hornsby

Release Date June 1, 2015

Jamey Dunn has lost his ability to enter dreams, and not only is he living his new wife's life in Maui, but she's now the primary dream jumper. When his tracking expertise is needed in a family emergency, both Jamey and Tina take to the road on a manhunt of dangerous proportions that only Jamey can orchestrate. A dream lures them to an exotic country where a horrifying premonition must be prevented.

Tina's devotion to motherhood is put to the ultimate test as she endeavors to protect her family in this strange land. But she can’t save Jamey from his past and they soon discover that turning over rocks has its price and carefully guarded secrets will surface eventually.

The Dream Jumper’s Pursuit is a journey of self-discovery for both Tina and Jamey, culminating in another incredible ending you won’t see coming.

Out of all three of the books in this series, this book feels like it has the most action in it, but that could simply be because it's freshest in my mind. Either way, a lot takes place in this book, but it doesn't feel like too much. Does that make sense? Like, everything that happens feels relevant to the story. It doesn't just feel like events are included just to add substance to the book.

Overall, this is a really good book. I feel like the series gets better with each and every book and that's definitely something Kim should be proud of. And whether or not this book is the last in the series, I've enjoyed it thoroughly. If it is the last (which I have no idea either way), it wouldn't be a bad ending at all. Things are tied up nicely and I really enjoyed the way things ended here (especially how Tina and Jamey use their dream jumping!). However, if there are more books to come, don't doubt that I will read them. I love these books and would gladly continue reading about Tina and Jamey's dream jumping journey.


5 out of 5 stars

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

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (#3)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly event hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in a physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course ebooks.

It's been a couple of weeks since my last Stacking the Shelves, so this is what I've added to my shelves since last time...

For Review - From Netgalley

- The Truth and Other Lies by Sascha Arango
- Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

For Review - From Author

- The Dream Jumper's Pursuit by Kim Hornsby
- The Fairy Tale Formula by Elena Burnet

Purchased - Amazon Kindle

- The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard
- Requiem for a Dream by Hubert Selby Jr.
- A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin
- Yours Truly, Taddy by Avery Aster
- Remembering Joy by Jenni Moen
- The Mason List by S. D. Hendrickson

Share your links to your Stacking the Shelves in the comments and I’ll be sure to visit!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (#1)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because everyone loves a good list, don't they? We love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

I love it when my favorite books are turned into movies. Yes, most of the time the movie doesn't live up to the book, but it's still pretty awesome. Like, out of all the books in the world, one of my favorites was chosen to be made into a movie. It's always super cool. And if the movie is really bad, I'll just pretend it doesn't exist. That's totally within my rights! So, this week I'm sharing the top ten books that I'd like to see made into a movie (or TV show). In absolutely no particular order, here they are:

  1. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

  2. Amour Amour by Krista & Becca Ritchie

  3. The Lunar Chronicles Series by Marissa Meyer

  4. The Gone Series by Michael Grant (as a TV series)

  5. Running Barefoot by Amy Harmon

  6. The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna

  7. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

  8. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

  9. Looking for Alaska by John Green

  10. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Which books would *you* like to see made into a movie or TV show?