Friday, February 13, 2015

Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler | Review

Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler | ReviewLast Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler
Series: Radleigh University #1
on December 9, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 414
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Lizzie Brandt was valedictorian of her high school class, but at Radleigh University, all she's acing are partying and hooking up with the wrong guys. But all that changes when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, making her guardian to her two younger brothers. To keep them out of foster care, she'll have to fix up her image, her life, and her GPA—fast. Too bad the only person on campus she can go to for help is her humorless, pedantic Byzantine History TA, Connor Lawson, who isn't exactly Lizzie's biggest fan.

But Connor surprises her. Not only is he a great tutor, but he’s also a pretty great babysitter. And chauffeur. And listener. And he understands exactly what it’s like to be on your own before you're ready. Before long, Lizzie realizes having a responsible-adult type around has its perks... and that she'd like to do some rather irresponsible (but considerably adult) things with him as well. Good thing he's not the kind of guy who'd ever reciprocate.

Until he does.

Until they turn into far more than teacher and student.

Until the relationship that helped put their lives back together threatens everything they both have left.

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Last Will and Testament has been on my TBR for a while.  Y’all know me, I’m a sucker for new adult novels.  This one was no exception.  I was hooked from the start.  In fact, I was so hooked I actually missed my train because I was paying no attention to anything but the book.

One thing that always gets me hooked is humor and Last Will and Testament was definitely not lacking in that department.  While it starts off on a more somber note, it definitely contains humor to balance the sadness.  Lizzie’s sense of humor is perfect.  She is snarky and witty and so easy to like.  There were times when I just wanted to applaud her for her ability to stay so humorous even after everything.  The banter between her and Connor was also perfect.  Connor did seem like a bit of a stick in the mud at first but once he opened up a bit more to Lizzie I started to like him.  Who could possibly go wrong with a sexy history nerd?

Lizzie and Connor definitely had their problems though.  They had a lot of back and forth going on for a while.  This was mainly on Connor’s part but Lizzie definitely helped it along.  One day Connor would be all over Lizzie and the next day he’d tell her they could never have a relationship.  The next day he’d be all over her again.  I understand where he was coming from but it was a little annoying.  Like I said, Lizzie didn’t help matters though because she was always showing up at his office or texting him.  I could see why he might be confused.

The romance was beyond steamy.  I had just gotten to a really good part when I missed my train and once you read the book you’ll understand why I might have been a little distracted.  Connor and Lizzie have some serious chemistry between them.  They  might not always like each other but they can’t deny that.  They also built up a pretty great friendship after everything they went through.  There was some serious drama with the two of them but they made it work.

The custody situation was an interesting aspect of the story.  I wasn’t all that impressed with how Lizzie handled taking care of her brothers but she was young and not equipped for a situation like that.  Tyler was 13 and Max was 7 and they both had issues that they needed adults to help with.  I was a bit disappointed with how much Lizzie left them alone.  I get that she had a lot going on in her life and Tyler was capable of babysitting but she left him in charge quite often, even when she was home with them.  I wanted to see her mature to a point where she was really there for both of her brothers and I don’t think she ever reached that point.

Overall, Last Will and Testament kept me hooked from beginning to end and definitely left me wanting more.  I’m eager to continue this new adult series.  I would highly recommend this one.

What others are saying about Last Will and Testament:

Emilie’s Book World’s review: “The latest in the string of awesome New Adult I’ve read is Dahlia Adler’s Last Will and Testament.”

A Reader of Fictions’ review: “Finally, since I forgot to mention it above, Dahlia’s NA some fabulous sassy humor, so if you’re into crude jokes and her Twitter feed, you’ll get some chuckles.”

SleepsOnTables’ review: “It goes so much deeper than the typical NAs we’ve seen before and I can’t wait for Radleigh University #2!”

Monday, December 29, 2014

Blog Tour: Love & Other Theories by Alexis Bass | Review + Interview + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Love & Other Theories by Alexis Bass | Review + Interview + GiveawayLove & Other Theories by Alexis Bass
Published by Harper Teen on December 31, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
3 Stars

Love and Other Theories is a fast-paced twist on the coming-of-age novel . . . and the romantic comedy.

Aubrey and her best friends made a pact to play by the guys' rules when it comes to dating. They're hoping the rules will keep them from experiencing high school heartbreak--they don't realize that these rules could just as easily keep them from opening their hearts and minds. And when new boy Nathan Diggs moves to town, Aubrey starts to think that some rules are meant to be broken.

With equal parts bite and romance, topped off with an irresistibly engaging voice, Alexis Bass's debut novel is one you won't want to miss.

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Love & Other Theories is not your typical fluffy contemporary romance.  In fact, there is nothing typical about Love & Other Theories.  While it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping it would be, I did find myself hooked from the start and smiling when I finished it.

Aubrey and her best friends are the mean girls of the school.  They hook up with all the hottest guys, they shun girls that go against them, and they tend to get up to no good behind each others backs.  They are not girls that are easy to like and that was by far my biggest issue with Love & Other Theories.  Aubrey was a smart girl but she was really stupid when it came to her friends and boys.  As for her friends, they weren’t all the worst but Shelby was a bitch.  I didn’t understand why everyone was so under her spell.  She was so full of herself and what she did to Aubrey was so hurtful.  I was also not so impressed with Nathan.  At first I was completely in love with him, especially with Aubrey.  They were so cute together.  Then I met Trip.  Trip was a guy who got what he wanted and expected that to always be true.  However, he was also a really sweet guy who clearly cared a lot for Aubrey and would do anything for her.  By the end of the book, my heart was his and I couldn’t remember who Nathan was.  Oops.

There was a lot of terrible communication between Aubrey, her friends, and all the boys in their lives.  So much stuff could have been cleared up if they had just talked about things.  Aubrey was pretty afraid to speak out but she wasn’t the only one.  There were so many secrets surrounding all of her friendships and other relationships, including with her family.  When Aubrey finally started speaking her mind I wanted to jump for joy.  However, it took a lot of heartache for her to reach that point and I felt terrible for all of it, especially since it could have so easily been avoided.

The story itself was not all that action packed but it was entertaining.  I love books that are set right around college time.  There was a lot of focusing on getting into college, what life was going to be like in college, and learning to say goodbye to friends from high school.  While Aubrey and her friends had a weird relationship, they really did see each other as life long friends.  Leaving them behind was a hard thing for Aubrey to even contemplate.  Also, while the whole partying thing was a little overdone, it made things interesting.  Aubrey and her friends had this crazy high school experience that was similar to that of my high school.  Not necessarily me (I was a nerd) but I totally understood it because my friends partied it up like them.  The drugs and alcohol might get to some people but I found it pretty realistic.

Overall, Love & Other Theories definitely won’t be topping my favorites list but I’m glad I gave it a chance.  I found myself flipping pages as fast as I could and by the end of the book I was really attached to the characters.  That’s the mark of a good book, to me.

What others are saying about Love & Other Theories:

Once Upon a Twilight’s review: “You will go from absolutely loving it to worrying about where it’s going to take you next; to making you completely fall in love with it.”

Fic Fare’s review: “With that said, I do think the story told here was interesting and if you are looking for a book that isn’t a soft, fluffy romance, you might enjoy this one.”

The Quirky Reader’s review:  “I think fans of Katie Cotugno will immensely appreciate this gem, but if you’re  just into contemporary YA in general, then you are required to check this one out.”

Interview

Describe Love & Other Theories in 140 characters or less.

A system developed by four best friends designed to avoid heartbreak falls apart the last few months of the high school.

Do you have a favorite character from Love & Other Theories? If so, why? (I know this is like asking a mom to pick a favorite child but I had to do it!)

It is hard! Of course, I love them all—even when I don’t like them, I love them. I…um…I guess the main character, Aubrey, because I wrote a whole book around her last few months in high school. 🙂

I created a minor character just to make my cousin laugh when she read the book; so in that regard, Leila Court is another favorite.

Did you consciously decide to write for a YA audience?  If so, what made you decide to write YA?

I decided to write YA because I love that time in life, when nothing is permanent, there’s so much possibility, so much changes so quickly, and there are no notes to pull from because you’re experiencing everything for the first time.

Do you have any must haves while you are writing?

I actually don’t have must-haves for writing (though having coffee on hand is great!). I’ve trained myself to write anywhere, with anything (or nothing). I make a huge dent in my word count goals typing on my phone while waiting in line (usually for coffee, haha).

Do you have any big plans for your release day?

My release day is New Year’s Eve and I’ll be back in my hometown for the holidays, so I’ll be celebrating both the book’s release and the New Year with some of my oldest friends.

What is next for you?  More YA books?

Yup, more YA books! My next standalone contemporary YA novel, WHAT’S BROKEN BETWEEN US (HarperTeen) will be out next year.

Short answer:

Bad Boys or Good Boys?

Good Boys

Happily ever after or happily never after? 

Happily never after

Series or standalone?

Standalone

Love triangles or soulmates? 

Neither

Write at night or write during the day? 

At night

Write in silence or write with music?

With music

Print, audio or eBooks?

All of the above

Giveaways

Win a book written by one of the awesome authors who blurbed Love & Other Theories.

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Don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Party Girl by Rachel Hollis | Review

Party Girl by Rachel Hollis | ReviewParty Girl by Rachel Hollis
Series: The Girls #1
Published by Lake Union Publishing on February 11, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 360
Format: ebook
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Landon Brinkley is making her dreams come true. After years of poring over glossy photos of celebrity parties in People and US Weekly, she’s landed her Holy Grail: an internship with the fabulous Selah Smith, event planner to the Hollywood elite.

Moving from small town Texas to Los Angeles, Landon finds herself in a world in which spending a million dollars on an event – even for kids’ birthdays – is de rigueur. The thrill of working on A-list parties and celeb weddings is enough to get her through the 75-hour workweeks, the nightmare of a multi-day film festival, and abuse at the hands of a mercurial boss. LA is full of opportunity for fame, fortune and even love. But confronted with the seamy realities of the business, she is forced to make a choice: do whatever it takes to get ahead, or stay true to herself.

A roman a clef in the vein of The Devil Wears Prada, PARTY GIRL draws on the author’s real life experience for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the celebrity-obsessed world of event planning. From the party habits of America’s favorite underage singer to the worst Bridezilla of all (the kind that graces the cover of your favorite magazine), PARTY GIRL reveals the ugly side of Hollywood’s prettiest parties.

picadillyblueWhile planning out my winter break TBR, someone on Twitter suggested I read Party Girl.  I was hoping to get some books from my TBR read but after checking out some reviews and the synopsis, I decided Party Girl might just be the perfect read to start off my break.  It certainly had some flaws but it was a thoroughly enjoyable read and I’m so glad I gave it a shot.

Landon is a bit of a country mouse.  She’s from Texas (like me) and shew as raised as a true southern girl with all the manners and charms you would expect.  To be completely honest, I thought the southern charm was a little overdone at points but not throughout the whole book.  Otherwise, I loved how Landon’s upbringing played a role in everything she did.  She was a little naive when she arrived in LA and landed her internship but she looked at life in a very positive way.  I don’t  know if I could have dealt with all the crap she had to put up with.  Her family and their role in her life actually ended up helping her through tough times and helped her bond with some of the people she came in contact with.  She used every aspect of her life to help her get ahead in her job.

The characters were by far my favorite part of Party Girl.  Landon was charming and sweet and I loved her even with her overly positive attitude and naivete.  She was open to new things and new people.  She didn’t let first impressions affect whether or not she got to know someone.  Her roommate, Max, was kind of like a porcupine.  She definitely had some defenses up outwardly but underneath it all she was really great.  She was funny and smart and very driven.  She had some secrets that she kept from Landon but she had a good heart and good motives.  Miko, Landon’s friend and coworker, was definitely the funniest character.  She had such an amazing personality.  She took charge but she always had fun.  She was a great asset to Landon, both outside of work and at work.  There was also the possibility of a love triangle but it luckily never amounted to anything.  Taylor was a sweetheart but he seemed like he could be a bit of a player.  I also just always saw him as nothing more than a friend to Landon.  Brody, on the other hand, brought out the flutters.  He was so cute.  Sure there were times when I thought he was a pompous asshole but he eventually grew on me.  He had a soft side to him that Landon brought out and she had an awkward side to her that he brought out.  Points to Rachel Hollis for having a totally awkward character that I couldn’t help but relate to.

The party planning aspect played a huge role in the book and Rachel Hollis definitely knew what she was writing about.  The details were intense but not overdone.  I loved getting a look into the lives of party planners and all the stuff they have to deal with when planning a party that only lasts a few hours.  Every aspect of the book was centered on party planning and it was a totally unique story.  If it didn’t seem like such a demanding job, I’d totally look into being a party planner!

Overall, Party Girl is the perfect read if you’re looking for something fun and flirty.  The romance was just right, the characters provided laughs, and the story itself had me hooked.  I look forward to reading more in this series.

What others are saying about Party Girl:

The Bookish Babe’s review: “Landon was such a winsome character, and I couldn’t help but to be drawn in by her infectious enthusiasm for the journey ahead.”

This Chick Reads’ review: “Even if the story reminded me a lot of “Devil Wears Prada”, it is a great and enjoyable read with so many lovely characters.”

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Blog Tour: Little White Lies by Katie Dale | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Little White Lies by Katie Dale | Review + GiveawayLittle White Lies by Katie Dale
Published by Delacorte Press on December 9, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Fans of Pretty Little Liars will be ensnared in this tale of deceit. Christian is hiding terrible secrets from his girlfriend, Lou. But Lou has told lies as well. What if their accidental meeting wasn’t an accident?

The first time Lou meets mysterious Christian, she knows he is The One. But Christian is hiding a terrible secret. Why does he clam up every time Lou asks about his past? Why doesn’t he have any family photos, and why does he dye his blond hair black? When Christian’s house goes up in flames, his tires are slashed, and he flees for his life, Lou insists on going with him. But as Christian’s secret is unveiled in front of the whole world, it seems everything he’s ever told Lou is a lie. Can what the media are saying about him really be true? Should Lou trust him? Or is she in grave danger?

But Christian isn’t the only one keeping secrets. For what if their accidental meeting was no accident at all?

picadillyblueLittle White Lies incorporated everything awesome about suspense novels and everything action packed about young adult novels and combined them to make one awesome story.  Suspense is hard for young adult but Katie Dale managed to craft a wonderful story that kept me guessing until the very end.

If you follow me on Twitter or Goodreads, you might have seen some status updates about the main character.  She annoyed me for a good portion of the book.  Her actions made no sense to me and I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t just give up.  She practically stalked this guy Christian and every time he turned her down for a date she would not take the hint.  It actually got to be a bit stalkerish (that’s totally a word.)  I was quite upset with how she was acting and I just wanted to slap some sense into her.  My feelings towards Lou changed about halfway through the book though.  Christian wasn’t the only one with secrets and once Lou’s started to come out, her behavior started to make a little more sense.  I can’t say too much without giving things away but just trust me that her behavior won’t annoy you so much once you get to a certain point.  In fact, you’ll probably start to like her a lot, just like I did.

The cast of characters in Little White Lies were a strong mix of personalities.  Lou was a little shy, quiet, smart, but with a great sense of humor.  She was a bit awkward which only made me love her more.  Her best friend, Vix, was her exact opposite.  She was outgoing, a little crazy, and pretty much the perfect balance for Lou.  Kenny was funny but there was just something about him that I didn’t love.  He always seemed a bit sketchy.  As for Christian, he was a hard person to get a read on.  He was very mysterious and sometimes a little rude.  I could understand why Lou was a bit attracted to him but I didn’t get her obsession.  He seemed like any other guy just with a few more secrets than most.

The mystery is truly what kept me reading.  It was hinted at early on in the story but I really had no clue how things would play out.  I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out how everything was going to tie together.  Katie Dale did a great job with that aspect of the story.  Even if I could figure out one thing I’d be completely clueless about something else.

Overall, Little White Lies really is perfect for fans of suspense.  I look forward to reading more from Katie Dale.

What others are saying about Little White Lies:

Books and Whimsy’s review: “I also liked that Little White Lies manages to ask some important questions about family, friendship, and who we are on the surface.”

Book Passion For Life’s review: “I know many people will enjoy it – so go read it and see for yourselves – but for me, it was a little underwhelming.”

In Libris Veritas’ review: “It has a well written plot, great characters, and puts some attention on the flaws of the justice system.”

Giveaway

Two US residents will win copies of Little White Lies

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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Scoring Wilder by R.S. Grey | Review

Scoring Wilder by R.S. Grey | ReviewScoring Wilder by R.S. Grey
on June 15, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 402
Format: ebook
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

What started out as a joke— seduce Coach Wilder—soon became a goal she had to score.

With Olympic tryouts on the horizon, the last thing nineteen-year-old Kinsley Bryant needs to add to her plate is Liam Wilder. He's a professional soccer player, America's favorite bad-boy, and has all the qualities of a skilled panty-dropper.

• A face that makes girls weep – check.
• Abs that can shred Parmesan cheese (the expensive kind) – check.
• Enough confidence to shift the earth’s gravitational pull – double check.

Not to mention Liam is strictly off limits . Forbidden. Her coaches have made that perfectly clear. (i.e. “Score with Coach Wilder anywhere other than the field and you’ll be cut from the team faster than you can count his tattoos.”) But that just makes him all the more enticing…Besides, Kinsley's already counted the visible ones, and she is not one to leave a project unfinished.

Kinsley tries to play the game her way as they navigate through forbidden territory, but Liam is determined to teach her a whole new definition for the term “team bonding.”

picadillyblueI’m quite obsessed with new adult novels lately.  I don’t know what it is about them but they grab my interest much more than other books.  Scoring Wilder was no exception.  I was hooked from the first page and I read the 400+ page book in one day!

Liam Wilder and Kinsley Bryant are immediately attracted to each other.  However, they can’t act on that attraction.  Liam is one of Kinsley’s new soccer coaches.  She isn’t willing to endanger her Olympic dreams just for one sexy soccer player.  Especially when everything she’s heard about him says he’s a player in more ways than one.  Fate keeps throwing them together though and the attraction proves to be more than either one can resist.

Kinsley is a kick-ass character.  She’s strong and feisty and knows exactly what she wants in life.  She’s a top soccer player with dreams of playing for the Olympic soccer team.  Those dreams are within her reach when she meets Wilder.  He’s a pretty awesome character himself.  He’s funny, protective, kind, and sexy.  He’s a professional soccer player with a bad boy rep.  That rep is what leads him as a coach for Kinsley’s team.  He’s a bit frustrating at times with his moodswings but I couldn’t find other flaws with him.

The fame aspect really got me.  I love reading romances involving one or both famous people and R.S. Grey did a good job with that aspect in Scoring Wilder.  Wilder is older, rich, and very much a hot bachelor.  Kinsley even had some fame but she was definitely more of a nobody than Wilder.  I liked how that affected their relationship.

I greatly appreciated the fact that the story wasn’t super overdramatic.  Kinsley and Wilder approach most things very maturely.  If they have problems they don’t run from them.  I was expecting some dramatic breakup for some stupid reason and it never happened.  Instead, Wilder and Kinsley always tried to work past their issues.

One other thing I loved were the family and friend relationships.  Both Wilder and Kinsley have awesome families that they are very close with.  Kinsley and Wilder also cared about their friends a lot and took time away from each other to stay close with their friends.

Overall, Scoring Wilder is a great novel.  Even if you’re not a new adult fan, I suggest checking this one out.  It’s a very fun read.

What others are saying about Scoring Wilder:

Itching for Books’ review: “This is my first experience with R.S. and I must say that I’m impressed, motivated enough to want to read her other works.”

Fandomly Bookish’s review: “All in all, SCORING WILDER is a great, fun and light read that you totally don’t want to miss.”

Monday, November 3, 2014

Blog Tour: Beautiful Girl by Lida James | Review

Blog Tour: Beautiful Girl by Lida James | ReviewBeautiful Girl by Lida James
Published by The Studio on October 28, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

I’ve always wanted to be beautiful, but the irony is that you can’t force it—real beauty is when you don’t have to try, it’s just there. You wake up to it, like freshly fallen snow outside your window, and it’s yours to bask in. Real beauty is for people like my roommate, Kate, who float through life.

I don’t float—I run.

Sophomore year at Dutchess College has just begun, and Nicole is still haunted by memories of her first love, Zach. As the changing leaves fall on the stately Hudson Valley campus, she takes solace in running—pushing herself to go harder, faster, to be the best. With the wind blowing through her hair, she can almost convince herself that she is beautiful, that she will find love again.

So when Nico runs, quite literally, into the maddeningly elusive Justin, she’s convinced she’s found the guy to make her forget her ex—despite the warnings of her friends and her straight-edged running partner, Luke.

But when Nico is attacked in the woods after a wild night of partying, everything changes. Suddenly, Nico begins receiving anonymous threats, and she no longer knows where to turn for help—or whether even her close friends can be trusted.

All she wants is to be one of the beautiful girls—the ones who never have to chase perfection. But in order to uncover the truth, she’ll have to face a past she had hoped to leave behind forever. She thought she could outrun the darkness, but darkness has a way of catching up...and only one boy can save her.

picadillyblueBeautiful Girl is the first book I’ve read from Paper Lantern Lit’s publishing imprint and it’s definitely set my expectations pretty high for their future books.  Lida James’ debut novel has pretty much everything readers could want: suspense, romance, mystery, and betrayal.  I was hooked from the moment I picked it up.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about Nicole when I first started the book. She’s not an easy girl to like and it was hard for me to figure out if she might be a little bit crazy.  She definitely seemed like she might be a bit of an unreliable narrator.  She was paranoid and a little obsessive when it came to certain people in her life.  She was also very confused about guys.  She was a little bit of a tease and that was probably my biggest issue with her.  She had 3 or 4 guys interested in her  and it seemed like she just played them all.  I had no clue which one of the guys she was truly interested in although I knew which one I thought she should be interested in.  Henry was the only guy that seemed to be really good for Nicole.  He was sweet and charming and a little shy.  He was good for her and didn’t bring out the bad side of her like Justin or Zach did.

As for the mystery, I saw part of it from the start but there were many things that managed to surprise me throughout the course of the book.  Things kept happening and I’d expect one person to be doing them only to find out later that it was someone else.  I think Nicole’s paranoia really added to the mystery.  There were times when I was sure she was right about whoever was attacking her and other times I was sure she was just losing her mind.  It kept things interesting, that’s for sure.

The friendships in the book really did very little for me.  Nicole’s roommates were supposed to be her friends but I saw Monica more as a frenemy than anything and Kate was barely there for most of the book.  I just didn’t understand any of the draws for the friendships and I thought they were actually quite mean to each other.  They definitely had more of a relationship that involved a lot of backstabbing and jealousy.

Overall, Beautiful Girl is a thoroughly interesting read that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  It definitely fits into the new adult category since it deals a lot with sex, drugs, alcohol, and other explicit content but it’s not done for the shock factor alone.  I’d highly recommend this one for fans of suspense.

What others are saying about Beautiful Girl:

Reading Lark’s review:  “I think in the end Lida James has created a story that will remind you of the beauty of hope and new beginnings.”

Fiktshun’s review: “BEAUTIFUL GIRL is a dark and intriguing story with gorgeous writing, an array of disturbing, maddening, sympathetic, likable and detestable characters facing a number of tough issues, and a chilling and suspenseful mystery.”

LidaJames

About the author:

Lida James grew up in Brooklyn, New York and graduated cum laude from Vassar College with a BFA in English (and a lot of film credits, too). After working as a cameraperson on feature films in NYC she relocated to Los Angeles in search of mountains and waves. Once there, she wrote and sold screenplays (and snowboarded and windsurfed). She continues to enjoy living in Los Angeles with her husband and their two children—all shredders like herself—and two rescue dogs. Beautiful Girl is her first novel. Follow her on Twitter to learn more and for updates! photo © Amy Malloy

 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Blog Tour: Burying Water by K.A. Tucker | Review + Excerpt + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Burying Water by K.A. Tucker | Review + Excerpt + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Burying Water by K.A. Tucker | Review + Excerpt + GiveawayBurying Water by K.A. Tucker
Series: Burying Water #1
Published by Atria on October 7, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Left for dead in the fields of rural Oregon, a young woman defies all odds and survives—but she awakens with no idea who she is, or what happened to her. Refusing to answer to “Jane Doe” for another day, the woman renames herself “Water” for the tiny, hidden marking on her body—the only clue to her past. Taken in by old Ginny Fitzgerald, a crotchety but kind lady living on a nearby horse farm, Water slowly begins building a new life. But as she attempts to piece together the fleeting slivers of her memory, more questions emerge: Who is the next-door neighbor, quietly toiling under the hood of his Barracuda? Why won’t Ginny let him step foot on her property? And why does Water feel she recognizes him?

Twenty-four-year-old Jesse Welles doesn’t know how long it will be before Water gets her memory back. For her sake, Jesse hopes the answer is never. He knows that she’ll stay so much safer—and happier—that way. And that’s why, as hard as it is, he needs to keep his distance. Because getting too close could flood her with realities better left buried.

The trouble is, water always seems to find its way to the surface.

picadillyblueK.A. Tucker’s newest novel is full of mystery, suspense, drama, romance, and betrayal.  Readers will have an impossible time putting this one down once they get started.  It has some similarities to the style of her previous series, Ten Tiny Breaths, but it really does stand out.

Alex (Water) has no memory of her life.  She doesn’t even know her own name.  And don’t worry, it’s not a spoiler for readers to know who she really is.  You find that out within the first chapter or two.  However, readers don’t find out what happened to Alex or why for quite some time.  The story is told in chapters that alternate between the past and present as well as between the points-of-view of Alex and Jesse.  It’s the perfect way to tell this story although sometimes I felt like I would have learned more if Alex had been telling parts of the story rather than Jesse.  You definitely only get one perspective of every situation which makes things very interesting but also very one-sided.

Alex (Water) is not hard to like and sympathize with, even once you find out some of the things she’s done in the past.  Let me go ahead and say this: I don’t condone cheating but I had no issues with it in this book.  You’ll see why pretty quickly.  Alex is lost and confused for so long.  She knows absolutely nothing about her life and it’s hard to even imagine what that is like.  No one is looking for her and without the Welles family, she’d have no one and no place to go.  However, some good people do come into her life and they help her through her problems.  One of them is crotchety old lady Ginny Fitzgerald.  Ginny’s story broke my heart but I loved her.  She was grouchy and mean but she’s one of those people you just can’t help but come to like.  Another person that helped Alex was Jesse.  Jesse was a good guy, through and through.  He always had Alex’s best interests at heart, no matter what he did.  It also didn’t hurt that he was described as being extremely sexy and a gear head.  Nothing wrong with that!

The story is fast-paced and heart-pounding.  Even though you know what’s going to happen, it’s hard to read the events leading up to it without getting terrified for Alex and Jesse.  There are some high stakes in their relationship and those high stakes only made their relationship that much more interesting to me.  While the story does seem a bit unbelievable at times, it really comes together perfectly at the end and left me with a smile on my face.

Overall, Burying Water is another fabulous new adult novel from K.A. Tucker.  It’s by far one of the best new adult books I’ve read and I look forward to reading the next book in this series.

P.S. I’m not a fan of the name Water.  I just could not get used to it.  It seemed a bit hippy like to me.

What others are saying about Burying Water:

Itching For Books’ review: “Burying Water has an intriguing plot, great writing, and interesting characters (even the side ones offered something significant), but I feel like there was something missing for me.”

Love Between The Sheets’ review: “Between the storyline and the characters, Ms. Tucker painted a vivid picture that resulted in an intimate, intense, and intriguing tale of what one might do if given the chance to do it all over again, and ultimately what might be lost along the way.”

Four Brits and a Book’s review: “Page after page, chapter after chapter, I was lapping up the words.”

Excerpt

Burying Water – by K.A. Tucker

Jane Doe

Now

 

Kind fingers probe something unseen on my scalp and then, with the sound of the door clicking shut, the doctor asks, “How about we start with the basic questions. Can you please give me your name?”

I open my mouth to answer. It’s such a simple question. Everyone has a name. I have a name. And yet . . . “I don’t . . . I don’t know,” I stammer. How do I not know what my name is? I’m sure it’s the same name I’ve had all my life.

My life.

What do I remember about my life? Shouldn’t something about it be registering?

A wave of panic surges through me and the EKG’s telltale beep increases its cadence. Why can’t I seem to recall a single scrap of my life?

Not a face, not a name, not a childhood pet.

Nothing.

Dr. Alwood stops what she’s doing to meet my gaze. “You’ve had a significant head injury. Just try to relax.” Her words come slow and steady. “I’ll tell you what I know. Maybe that will jog your memory. Okay? Just take a few breaths first.” She’s quick to add, “Not too deep.”

I do as instructed, watching my chest lift and fall beneath my blue-and-white checkered gown, cringing with a sharp twinge of pain on my right side with each inhale. Finally, that incessant beeping begins to slow.

I turn my attention back to her. Waiting.

“You were found in the parking lot of an abandoned building nine days ago,” Dr. Alwood begins.

I’ve been here for nine days?

“You were brought into the emergency room by ambulance with extensive, life-threatening trauma to your body. Your injuries were consistent with a physical assault. You had several fractures—to your ribs, your left leg, your right arm, your skull. Your right lung collapsed. You required surgery for a hematoma, a ruptured spleen, and lacerations to . . .” Her calm voice drifts off into obscurity as she recites a laundry list of brutality that can’t possibly have my name at the top of it. “It will take some time to recover from all of these injuries. Do you feel any tightness in your chest now, when you inhale?”

I swallow the rising lump in my throat, not sure how to answer. I’m certainly having difficulty breathing, but I think it has more to do with panic than anything else.

“No,” I finally offer. “I think I’m okay.”

“Good.” She gingerly peels back pieces of gauze from my face—some over the bridge of my nose and another piece running along the right side of my face, from my temple all the way down to my chin. By the slight nod of approval, I’m guessing she’s happy with whatever is beneath. “And how is the air flow through your nose? Any stuffiness?”

I test my nostrils out. “A little.”

She stops her inspection to scribble something on the chart that’s sitting on the side table. “You were very fortunate that Dr. Gonzalez was in Bend on a ski trip. He’s one of the leading plastic surgeons in the country and a very good friend of mine. When I saw you come in, I called him right away. He offered us his skill, pro bono.”

A part of me knows that I should be concerned that I needed a plastic surgeon for my face, and yet I’m more concerned with the fact that I can’t even imagine what that face looks like.

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About the author:

Born in small-town Ontario, K.A. Tucker published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader, and currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.

 

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Blog Tour: As Long As You Love Me (2B Trilogy #2) by Ann Aguirre | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: As Long As You Love Me (2B Trilogy #2) by Ann Aguirre | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: As Long As You Love Me (2B Trilogy #2) by Ann Aguirre | Review + GiveawayAs Long As You Love Me by Ann Aguirre
Series: 2B Trilogy #2
Published by Harlequin HQN on September 30, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Most people dream about getting out of Sharon, Nebraska, but after three years away, Lauren Barrett is coming home. There are the justifications she gives to everyone else—missing her family, losing her college scholarship. And then there’s the reason Lauren can’t admit to anyone: Rob Conrad, her best friend’s older brother.

Football prowess and jaw-dropping good looks made Rob a star in high school. Out in the real world, his job and his relationships are going nowhere. He can’t pinpoint exactly what’s missing until Lauren comes back to town, bringing old feelings and new dreams with her. But he’s the guy that women love and leave—not the one who makes them think of forever.

Though she’s terrified of opening up, Lauren’s ready to take that chance. Because the only thing more important than figuring out where you truly belong is finding the person you were meant to be with.

picadillyblueAs Long As You Love Me, the second book in the 2B trilogy, cemented my love for Ann Aguirre’s new adult books.  I enjoyed I Want It That Way but it seems like nothing compared to my love for As Long As You Love Me.

Rob and Lauren stole my heart from the very first page.  I really connected with both of the characters.  Rob is a very attractive but not so smart guy.  He’s always been looked at as the dumb jock, not just by outsiders but by his whole family.    His confidence is nonexistent and he sees himself going nowhere in life.  Lauren is really one of the only people who sees potential in him.  She is just as messed up as he is though, just in different ways.  She has severe social anxiety and it has practically crippled her.  She has moved back home from college and Rob is one of the only people in town for her to hang out with.  What starts as a sweet friendship quickly develops into something more and the two of them bring out the best in each other.  However, things are never smooth sailing so they face many trials, making you wonder if these two are destined for a happy ending or better off on their own.

Rob and Lauren’s flaws are what connected me to them because I could so easily relate to them.  Ann Aguirre created characters that readers will easily be able to understand and sympathize with.  It doesn’t hurt that Rob is also a dream guy.  Lauren’s not too bad herself! She’s got a fabulous sense of humor and the banter between the two of them really just made me smile.  I really liked that their relationship was far from perfect but they worked through their issues together.  They didn’t keep anything from each other.  If Rob did something that bothered Lauren, she let him know, and vice versa.  They were very open about things and it was really refreshing.  For once I didn’t want to reach into the book and knock some sense into the characters.

The story is far from action-packed but it’s still completely unputdownable.  Rob and Lauren are enough to hook readers.  I just wanted to know if they’d get their happy ending and if so, how everything would work out.  It didn’t hurt that there were cameos from the characters of I Want It That Way.  There was also just enough drama to keep things interesting.  Things were far from perfect in Sharon, Nebraska and the honesty of the small town setting really added to how much I loved As Long As You Love Me.

Overall, As Long As You Love Me is a wonderful new adult novel that I think fans of the genre will adore.  It’s a sweet contemporary story that will leave you with a smile on your face!

What others are saying about As Long As You Love Me:

Fic Fare’s review: “Overall, this series is a wonderful addition to the new adult genre – not as heavy as some of the books you’ll find in this genre, but I really like that we’re getting some that aren’t all angst, angst, angst.”

Nomi’s Paranormal Palace’s review: “Although I liked the first book, As Long As You Love Me is definitely my favourite in the series so far.”

Closet Geeks and Slow Mo’s review: “So I got to admit, when I finished. I did sigh happily.”

Ann Aguirre

 About the author:

Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick | Review

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick | ReviewForgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
Published by Little Brown on August 13, 2013
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 273
Format: ARC
Source: ALA, Publisher
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3 Stars

Leonard Peacock is turning 18.
And he wants to say goodbye.

Not to his former best friend, whose torments have driven him to consider committing something tragic and horrific.

Nor to his mum who's moved out and left him to fend form himself. But to his four friends.
A Humphrey-Bogart-obsessed neighbour.
A teenage violin virtuoso.
A pastor's daughter.
A teacher.

Most of the time, Leonard believes he's weird and sad but these friends have made him think that maybe he's not.

He wants to thank them, and bid them farewell.

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Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is a really hard book for me to review.  It’s one of those books that you think you should like because the subject matter is tough and it’s honest and well done but I found myself disliking a lot of things about it.

I’ve Had Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock on my shelf for over a year now and the only thing that made me finally pick it up was my YA Lit class.  It was one of the optional books and I figured I’d give it a try since I already had a copy.  I’m definitely glad I read it but it’s not a book I’d ever take the time to read again, if you know what I mean.

Leonard Peacock is turning 18 and as a gift to himself he decides he will kill his former best friend and then end his own miserable life.  But before all that can happen, he has 4 gifts to deliver to the only people he really considers friends.  It’s definitely a plot that will grab readers’ attention but it’s not a very realistic one.  Why would no one think it odd that Leonard is giving out these random, extravagant gifts?  It’s out of Leonard’s nature and while everyone does question this, no one takes the time to dig deeper or figure out that it’s Leonard’s birthday.  I found this part highly unlikely.  There’s even a scene where someone asks if Leonard is going to kill himself but does nothing really to prevent Leonard from leaving.  I truly feel that in this day and age, if someone is suspected of having suicidal thoughts or tendencies, someone will do something to try and help.  That was not the case in Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock.

Leonard is very much alone.  His dad ran out, his mom lives in another city (leaving him a whole house to himself), and his “friends” don’t actually care much for him.  Walt was the only person Leonard really seemed to have a relationship with and that relationship was totally strange.  The other three friends Leonard has gifts for are almost more like close acquaintances.  Also, I don’t really blame them for not liking Leonard all that much.  He was a really rude kid.  He even calls himself an asshole multiple times throughout the book and I couldn’t have agreed with him more.  There was one point where he was so mean he almost made someone cry.  Hard to have sympathy for someone like that.  (Not that I was rooting for him to kill himself, or anything.)

The story is fast-paced but also a little hard to get into.  Most of the story is told regularly but there are footnotes interspersed throughout, as well.  The footnotes were really distracting to me.  It was almost like Leonard’s thoughts didn’t quite fit in with the pace of the story so he threw them in as footnotes so readers wouldn’t miss out on them completely.  It’s something I’ve never seen done before in books like this and I had trouble getting used to it.

I think the best thing about Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is how honest it is.  It portrays a very real teenage boy who thinks he has the biggest problems in the world.  Sure, he has some pretty big issues but he never manages to look outside himself and see that there are bigger problems than his.  He may not be an easy guy to like but how many high school guys are wonderful people?  For that matter, how many high school girls?  Matthew Quick shows the darker side of the teenage mind and it was spot on.  However, he still managed to leave readers hopeful.  I didn’t think that was going to be possible but I love how he did it.

Overall, Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is not going to be a book for everybody but I think it has many merits that will make it appeal to some readers.  Fair warning though, it’s not for younger readers.  There is a lot of profanity and many tough subjects are brought up throughout the course of the book.

What others are saying about Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock:

Cuddlebuggery’s review: “All in all, I’m really glad I decided to check Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock out.”

Once Upon a Bookcase’s review: “I implore you to read this novel, let Leonard tell you his story.”

Steph Su Reads’ review: “FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK is arguably one of the most explosive and important books of this year, but if you knew nothing about Matthew Quick, most famously the author ofSilver Linings Playbook, you probably wouldn’t expect it.”

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Adrenaline Crush by Laurie Boyle Crompton | Review + Giveaway

Adrenaline Crush by Laurie Boyle Crompton | Review + GiveawayAdrenaline Crush by Laurie Boyle Crompton
Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux on September 23, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 192
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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4 Stars

When a daredevil teen pushes herself too far, she must choose between two boys: the one who wants to keep her safe, and the one who dares her to return to her old self.

Seventeen-year-old Dyna comes from a family of risk takers and is an avid thrill-seeker herself, until the day she splinters her ankle in a terrible fall. Her whole life goes from mountain biking and rock climbing to sitting at home and attending group sessions at the bizarre alternative healing center that her hippie mother found. The boy who witnessed Dyna’s accident believes her injury is a wakeup call and he encourages her mild new lifestyle, but a young Afghanistan War veteran she meets at the healing center pushes her to start taking chances again. Forced to face the consequences of her daredevil impulses, Dyna finds herself in danger of risking the one thing she’s always treated with caution—her heart.

picadillyblueBefore reading Adrenaline Crush, I hadn’t heard much about it but what I had heard wasn’t the greatest.  I went in with low expectations and the book definitely surpassed them.  I found myself really enjoying Adrenaline Crush and I powered through this book!

Dyna isn’t an easy character to like for a while.  She’s fearless, at first, and totally willing to go after whatever she wants.  However, after her accident, she’s scared of all the things she used to love and she thinks safe is the best way to go.  Her new boyfriend, Jay, totally embodies her new philosophy of taking things safe.  He’s sweet and kind and pretty corny.  He had no flaws and that in itself was totally a flaw for me.  As for being fearless, Dyna doesn’t see her ever being that way again.  That changes when she joins the Ulyssess center for physical therapy and meets Pierce.  Pierce and the rest of the group force Dyna to realize that maybe being safe isn’t the best way to live the rest of her life.  Pierce definitely had some flaws and I loved that about him.  He was strong but could be volatile.  He brought out the best and the worst in Dyna.

Dyna’s family was one of my favorite things about Adrenaline Crush.  Her parents are originally introduced as two people who don’t pay much attention to their kids but I did not see them that way at all.  When Dyna was in her accident, they would not leave her alone.  They were super overprotective but they were awesome.  Her dad’s protective attitude towards Jay was so funny.  As for Dyna’s older brother, Harley, he cracked me up.  He was a total stoner, going nowhere, but I thought he was adorable.  They had a very strong family and I loved seeing that.

The story is super fast-paced.  The book itself is only around 190 pages and it flies by.  I seriously sat down, started this one, and couldn’t put it down until I was done.  I wanted to know what Dyna would choose and how the other Ulysses center patients would overcome their issues.

Overall, Adrenaline Crush is a really cute story with a little bit of a deeper story.  I will definitely be checking out more from this author.

What others are saying about Adrenaline Crush:

Lili’s Reflections’ review: “If you enjoy characters with haunted pasts, a love triangle done right, incredibly strong heroines, and a family dynamic that is absolutely to die for, I highly recommend this book.”

Rather Be Reading’s review: “All in all, the book kept me interested and was definitely enjoyable, even if it won’t be a forever favorite.”

Books Are Vital’s review: “Adrenaline Crush definitely lives up to its name.”

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