Friday, June 30, 2017

Book Review: Anatomy of a Scandal

Title Anatomy of a Scandal
Author Sarah Vaughan
Release Date December 5, 2017

An astonishingly incisive and suspenseful novel about a scandal amongst Britain’s privileged elite and the women caught up in its wake.

Sophie’s husband James is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart.

Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes.

Who is right about James? Sophie or Kate? And is either of them informed by anything more than instinct and personal experience? Despite her privileged upbringing, Sophie is well aware that her beautiful life is not inviolable. She has known it since she and James were first lovers, at Oxford, and she witnessed how easily pleasure could tip into tragedy.

Most people would prefer not to try to understand what passes between a man and a woman when they are alone: alone in bed, alone in an embrace, alone in an elevator… Or alone in the moonlit courtyard of an Oxford college, where a girl once stood before a boy, heart pounding with excitement, then fear. Sophie never understood why her tutorial partner Holly left Oxford so abruptly. What would she think, if she knew the truth?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34466492-anatomy-of-a-scandal
Review

Without a doubt, one of my favorite reads of 2017. I found myself recommending it to someone when I was only halfway through. I knew (and was right) that it would be a 5 star read.

Anatomy of a Scandal is an intense book that grips you from the very beginning and doesn't let go. There were a few particularly powerful moments when I had to close the book and just absorb what I read, but all that did was compel me to read more. This is a wonderfully and brilliantly written novel.

Anatomy of a Scandal reads like something straight of a newspaper. It's relevancy is astounding and perhaps even slightly scary. This is a gripping and realistic look at the line between consensual sex and rape. It's also a heartbreaking look at how these truths define our lives.

Absolutely recommended. I will certainly be looking forward to reading more from Sarah Vaughan in the future.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

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

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Book Review: Until It Fades

Title Until It Fades
Author K. A. Tucker
Release Date June 27, 2017

Twenty-four-year-old truck stop waitress and single mother Catherine Wright has simple goals: to give her five-year-old daughter a happy life and to never again be the talk of the town in Balsam, Pennsylvania: population two thousand outside of tourist season.

And then one foggy night, on a lonely road back from another failed attempt at a relationship, Catherine saves a man’s life. It isn’t until after the police have arrived that Catherine realizes exactly who it is she has saved: Brett Madden, hockey icon and media darling.

Catherine has already had her fifteen minutes of fame and the last thing she wants is to have her past dragged back into the spotlight, only this time on a national stage. So she hides her identity. It works.

For a time.

But when she finds the man she saved standing on her doorstep, desperate to thank her, all that changes. What begins as an immediate friendship quickly turns into something neither of them expected. Something that Catherine isn’t sure she can handle; something that Catherine is afraid to trust.

Because how long can an extraordinary man like Brett be interested in an ordinary woman like Catherine…before the spark fades?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32035791-until-it-fades
Review

I love anything by K. A. Tucker that I've ever read. I know that I'll always get a quality story with developed characters and stunning writing when I pick up her books. She's an insta-buy author for me.

Until It Fades is different from her other books, though. While we're still treated to all the good qualities of a classic book from K. A. Tucker, we get something new. Something just as fantastic as what we're used to. This book is a lighter and sweeter side of her.

Until It Fades is a slow-burning romance with absolutely no thought to rushing the main characters together. The slow pace made perfect sense for our heroine, though it drives you wild when you know the couple belong together. Trust me, this isn't a flaw in the story. The pacing did nothing but lend believability of the story.

I've never really read a sports romance before, but it didn't interfere with my enjoyment of the story at all. If anything, I think I'd be more willing to read others now that I've dipped my toes in the water and had a pleasant experience.

Whether you're already a K. A. Tucker fan or if you're new to her work, I think Until It Fades will be a winner for most everyone that enjoys a sweet and slow-burning romance.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

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

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday (#15)


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!

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far in 2017 

In no particular order, of course!

Clicking on a cover will take you to that book's Goodreads page!




What have been your favorite reads of 2017 so far? Leave a link to your Top Ten Tuesday down below and I'll be sure to stop by!

Book Blitz: Damaged Like Us

Damaged Like Us

by Krista & Becca Ritchie
Like Us #1
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Purchase: Amazon | iBooks
Don’t date your bodyguard.
It was the one rule he had to break.

Maximoff Hale is a force of nature. A ship unwilling to be steered. Headstrong, resilient, and wholly responsible — the twenty-two-year-old alpha billionaire can handle his unconventional life. By noon, lunch can turn into a mob of screaming fans. By two, his face is all over the internet.
Born into one of the most famous families in the country, his celebrity status began at birth.

He is certified American royalty.

When he’s assigned a new 24/7 bodyguard, he comes face-to-face with the worst case scenario: being attached to the tattooed, MMA-trained, Yale graduate who’s known for “going rogue” in the security team — and who fills 1/3 of Maximoff’s sexual fantasies.

Twenty-seven-year-old Farrow Keene has one job: protect Maximoff Hale. Flirting, dating, and hot sex falls far, far out of the boundary of his bodyguard duties and into “termination” territory. But when feelings surface, protecting the sexy-as-sin, stubborn celebrity becomes increasingly complicated.

Together, boundaries blur, and being exposed could mean catastrophic consequences for both.

About Krista & Becca Ritchie

Picture

Krista & Becca Ritchie are New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors and identical twins—one a science nerd, the other a comic book geek—but with their shared passion for writing, they combined their mental powers as kids and have never stopped telling stories. Now in their early twenties, they write about other twenty-somethings navigating through life, college, and romance. They love superheroes, flawed characters, and soul mate love.

They are the New Adult authors of the Addicted series and Calloway Sisters spin-off series, and you can find them on almost every social media, frolicking around like wannabe unicorns.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thursday Quotables (#4)

Thursday Quotables is the place to highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered during your reading each week. Whether it’s something funny, startling, gut-wrenching, or just really beautifully written, you’re invited to join in! This weekly feature is hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.


Until It Fades
K. A. Tucker
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32035791-until-it-fades
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what I was expecting when I got here, but it wasn’t you and I was nervous.”
You were nervous?” I can’t stop the weak giggle from escaping my lips.
His eyes roam my face. “It’s not every day that someone saves your life. And then I saw you and . . .” The softest sigh escapes his lips. “I haven’t actually said ‘Thank you’ yet.”
I train my eye on his Adam’s apple. He saw me and what? “There’s no need.”
“Of course there is. I’ve been lying in a hospital bed for the past week, thinking of what I’d say when I finally met you, and here I am now and even though I’m talking, I feel completely speechless.” He reaches up to toy with a wayward stand of my hair. I’ve all but forgotten my disheveled appearance at this point. “And in awe.”
You’re in awe?” I snort, and then my cheeks burn bright with embarrassment and I avert my gaze to the floor, because I just snorted in front of Brett Madden.
“I would be dead if it weren’t for you.”
What were your favorite lines this week? Share your Thursday Quotables in the comments below and I'll be sure to stop by!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Book Review: Offenbunker

Title Offenbunker: Cold War Spies Face Nuclear Menace
Author A. G. Russo
Release Date May 31, 2017

A top secret bunker deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains. A silo housing a ballistic missile.

Cold War super powers the United States and the Soviet Union are engaged in an intense "arms race" build up of nuclear weapons and face off for control as the fate of the free world hangs in the balance.

The CIA, U.S. military intelligence, spies, double agents, the KGB, Stasi secret police, and assassins engage in a dangerous contest of espionage as Russia wants to spread communism and take control of Europe, and the United States wants to stop them.

What is the personal cost to those who devote their lives to preventing nuclear war?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35286645-offenbunker
Review

Offenbunker is a story that takes place during The Cold War, between 1961 and 1962. While it's definitely far from my normal genres, I knew I'd be reading a quality book by an author whose work I thoroughly enjoy (see reviews for Our Wild and Precious Lives and Of Dust and Tides).

Like the other books I've read from this author, Offenbunker is a well written and enjoyable novel. Even though I wasn't sure if I'd be able to easily fall into a story of this sort, I slipped right in and easily became engrossed in what was happening.

Much like Our Wild and Precious Lives it feels as if the author lived these events specifically. The story feels so realistic, it's hard to remember at times that it's fiction. This kind of writing is what I love. It's so vivid that it's impossible not to see it all playing out in my head like a movie.

If you're interested in a fictional account of what happens in the personal lives of those who give their lives protecting the United States, Offenbunker is fantastic place to start. I'd also recommend it if you're looking to try something new. It's a great book.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

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

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Book Review: Bad Romance

Title Bad Romance
Author Heather Demetrios
Release Date June 13, 2017

Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.

Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it's too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she's unable to escape.

Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29102896-bad-romance
Review

Bad Romance is a raw and realistic look at an abusive relationship. Told from Grace's PoV, after the relationship has ended, the story is told with an honesty and clarity that only comes from hindsight. This is an incredibly important book as it provides an extraordinary look at how love can turn toxic and how unbelievably difficult it can be to escape even if you want to.


The ending to this was absolute perfection. I love love love that Grace leaned on her friends, Nat and Lys. The fact that she ended the story with them instead of in another relationship with Gideon (even though he was a great guy) was so incredibly important to me. I believe it's paramount for someone leaving an abusive relationship to surround themselves with support and heal before entering another relationship. The fact that the author took this route filled me with such joy and relief.

Bad Romance was an incredible book that I absolutely recommend, especially for teens and young adults. I hope it helps someone somewhere know their worth and that they deserve love and respect.

Trigger warnings: clear depictions of abuse, suicide. This could be a painful book for some people, so please use caution.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

* This book was received from Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *

Friday, June 9, 2017

Book Review: Follow Me Back

Title Follow Me Back
Series Follow Me Back, book 1
Author A. V. Geiger
Release Date June 6, 2017

Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…

Told through tweets, direct messages, and police transcripts.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32470611-follow-me-back
Review

Follow Me Back was an enjoyable YA mystery with a jaw dropping cliffhanger ending.

While I went into this thinking it was told only through tweets, direct messages, and police transcripts it's not. It's mixed format. It ended up working really well. Of course, I'm a fan of epistolary novels and may be a tiny bit biased.

The best part of Follow Me Back was definitely, without a doubt, the ending. It totally threw me for a loop. I had to read it a second time myself just to make sure I wasn't imagining things. If you hate cliffhangers, you'll want to avoid this one until the next book is out as it's a big one.

Though Follow Me Back was a good book, it isn't without its flaws.

Because of time jumps, we don't see the relationship between Tessa and Eric develop. This, in my opinion, really hurts the book. In the beginning, there seems to be a lack of action. Seeing the buildup of their relationship would have greatly improved the book for me.

Secondly, it takes a very long time to find out what happened with Tessa that lead to her agoraphobia. Like, an almost ridiculous amount of time. It was disappointing and kind of frustrating that we had to wait so long to know what happened with Tessa. I feel like if we found out earlier, it would have built a better connection for readers to her as a character.

Follow Me Back was a page turner! If you're looking for a mildly thrilling YA mystery, this is the book for you.

Rating

4 out of 5 stars

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

Monday, June 5, 2017

Spotlight/Giveaway: Follow Me Back

Title Follow Me Back
Author A. V. Geiger
Release Date June 6, 2017
Publisher Sourcebooks Fire
ISBN 9781492645238

Tessa Hart's world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it's like his speaking directly to her...

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn't help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast―like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric's plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world's best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn...

Told through tweets, direct messages, and police transcripts, this thriller for the online generation will keep you guessing right up to the shocking end.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32470611-follow-me-back

Buy Links

About the Author

A.V. Geiger is a popular online author and member of the elite Wattpad Stars program. Her original teen fiction has received millions of hits on Wattpad, the story-sharing website, and was ranked #1 in the Mystery/Thriller genre. Her writing career began with celebrity fanfiction, and her work draws extensively on her own experiences with fan culture and social media. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and twin boys.

Author Links

Website
Twitter
Instagram
Facebook

Giveaway


No purchase necessary to enter or win. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
Open to legal residents of USA and Canada who are 18 years or older. Winner has 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. 3 winner(s) will receive a finished copy of Follow Me Back (approximate retail value or "ARV": $12). By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to Sourcebooks. Sourcebooks does not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of this giveaway. (Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads) are in no way associated with this giveaway.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Book Review: The Party

Title The Party
Author Robyn Harding
Release Date June 6, 2017

In this stunning and provocative domestic drama about a sweet sixteen birthday party that goes horribly awry, a wealthy family in San Francisco finds their picture-perfect life unraveling, their darkest secrets revealed, and their friends turned to enemies.

One invitation. A lifetime of regrets.

Sweet sixteen. It’s an exciting coming of age, a milestone, and a rite of passage. Jeff and Kim Sanders plan on throwing a party for their daughter, Hannah—a sweet girl with good grades and nice friends. Rather than an extravagant, indulgent affair, they invite four girls over for pizza, cake, movies, and a sleepover. What could possibly go wrong?

But things do go wrong, horrifically so. After a tragic accident occurs, Jeff and Kim’s flawless life in a wealthy San Francisco suburb suddenly begins to come apart. In the ugly aftermath, friends become enemies, dark secrets are revealed in the Sanders’ marriage, and the truth about their perfect daughter, Hannah, is exposed.

Harkening to Herman Koch’s The Dinner, Christos Tsiolkas’s The Slap, and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, The Party takes us behind the fa├žade of the picture-perfect family, exposing the lies, betrayals, and moral lapses that neighbors don’t see—and the secrets that children and parents keep from themselves and each other.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32620309-the-party
Review

I've seen this recommended to fans of Big Little Lies a few times. I still haven't gotten around to reading it yet, but if it's anything like The Party, I think I'll enjoy it.

The Party sucked me in from the very beginning. It's a compulsively readable book and hard to put down. It was exactly what I needed to pull myself from the reading slump I was in.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book until the very end. I had questions throughout the novel regarding whether or not we were dealing with an unreliable narrator or if we were getting the whole story. The ending doesn't answer that and left me feeling a bit disappointed.


Which account of that night's events are real? I'd like to believe that Hannah is telling the truth when she texted Sarah the end of the book, but I don't believe she is. The fact that she seems to be doing it solely to become popular again (and take down Lauren) was a bit disappointing. I really would have liked it to be more of a case of unreliable narrator where Lauren did push Ronni and the ending was expanded to accommodate that.

Rating

4 out of 5 stars

* This book was received from Galley/Scout Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *