Monday, July 21, 2014

Blog Tour: London Falling (International School #2) by Chanel Cleeton | Review + Giveaway!

Blog Tour: London Falling (International School #2) by Chanel Cleeton | Review + Giveaway!

Blog Tour: London Falling (International School #2) by Chanel Cleeton | Review + Giveaway!London Falling by Chanel Cleeton
Series: International School #2
Published by Harlequin on July 7, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

We weren't a relationship, we were a ticking time bomb...

Maggie Carpenter walked away from the hottest encounter of her life when she left the seductive glitz of England for summer break in her South Carolina hometown. Now that she's returned to the International School in London--and sexy, privileged Samir Khouri is once again close enough to touch--she can't help but remember the attraction, the drama...the heartbreak.

She can't help but want him even more.

Samir can't afford to fall for someone so far removed from his world, not when his time in London is running out. It's his senior year--his last chance at freedom before he returns home to Lebanon. There, he'll be expected to follow in his father's footsteps--not follow his heart to Maggie. But when a scorching secret hookup becomes a temptation neither can resist, they'll both have to fight to survive the consequences...and find a future together.

picadillyblueChanel Cleeton seriously surprised me with the first book in the International School series, I See London, but that was nothing compared to London Falling.  London Falling was everything I could have wanted in a sequel and it left me with the biggest smile on my face.

The cast of characters from the first book is back and better than ever.  Maggie has grown more confident in herself but she still has her small town charm.  She’s still a bit clueless when it comes to some things (which I loved) but she’s changed a lot from the scared girl at the beginning of I See London.  Samir has also changed a ton.  He’s no longer the cocky manwhore from book one.  He’s still cocky as ever but he’s set his sights on one girl and one girl only.  Watching him put forth a real effort to get Maggie was great.  He’s definitely a guy who has always had things handed to him so it was good to see him work for something.  He and Maggie really were perfect for each other.  Their differences were enough to keep things interesting between the two of them but they had enough in common that they never ran out of things to banter about.  Their banter was seriously adorable.  As for the rest of the characters, I think Fleur was my favorite.  Fleur was cocky and kind of cold in the first book.  She is nothing like that in London Falling.  Readers really get a glimpse of the vulnerable side of Fleur this time around and it left me hoping that she will get her own book soon.

The story was nothing spectacular or pulse pounding but it was enough to keep my attention.  The different settings throughout the course of the book really helped move things along.  If you’re a fan of travel in your books, the International School series is definitely perfect for you.  I’d also definitely recommend this one if you are a fan of steamy romances!  Samir and Maggie have some amazing chemistry that makes from some definitely sexytimes.

Overall, I really have no complaints about London Falling.  I can’t recommend this duology enough for new adult fans.  I look forward to reading more from Chanel Cleeton especially if it centers around any of the characters from these books.

What others are saying about London Falling:

Becky on Books and Quilts’ review: “Chanel did a nice job of getting them to a satisfying conclusion, with plenty of realistic drsma along the way.”

A Bookish Affair’s review: “This was definitely a fun read!”

Rampant Readers’ review: “A well-written novel about breaking free for the ones you love, this novel will captivate you from page one.”

Also, as part of the blog tour, the lovely people at Inkslinger PR as well as Chanel Cleeton have set up an awesome giveaway.  Enter for your chance to win: London Falling coffee mug, Tea, (4) signed London Falling bookmarks, (4) signed I See London bookmarks, (4) pens, a London case, and a $25 Amazon GC.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

#scandal by Sarah Ockler | Review

#scandal by Sarah Ockler | Review#scandal by Sarah Ockler
Published by Simon & Schuster on June 17, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.

When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.

By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation.

Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.

There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love...

Sarah Ockler very quickly rose to the top of my list of favorite authors. She has cemented a place on that list with #scandal. #scandal has everything readers could want in a contemporary novel; romance, secrecy, betrayal, and more.

The base of the story isn’t anything new. Lucy and Ellie are best friends. Ellie is dating Cole. Lucy is in love with Cole. Lucy and Cole hook up one night. That’s where all similarities to other stories end though. Lucy goes to prom with Cole, in Ellie’s place. Lucy and Cole hook up later that night. Someone takes pictures of Lucy and Cole and posts them on Lucy’s Facebook page. They also post a lot of other scandalous photos though. Of course, Lucy then becomes the most hated person at school, especially by Ellie. Now it’s up to Lucy to find out who really took and posted the pictures. With the help of some unlikely new friends she just might figure it all out.

Lucy is remarkably easy to relate to. She’s fun, friendly, smart, and kind. She doesn’t always do smart things but she knows when she’s made a mistake and she does everything in her power to fix those mistakes. She’s doesn’t sit around moping, she takes charge. Her old friends aren’t there to help her but she makes some new ones who prove to be not just great investigators but wonderful friends. Sure they make some mistakes along the way too but just like Lucy, they do everything the can to right their wrongs. Then there is Cole. He’s a really sweet guy who was perfect for Lucy but he wasn’t present for a lot of the book. He seemed to take a backseat for most of the drama and that part bothered me. I wanted him to take more responsibility and be there for Lucy through it all. He didn’t ditch her but I felt like he could have been present a little more. There was also a wonderful sense of family in #scandal. Sarah Ockler always manages to incorporate family and this time around it was about the relationship between the sisters. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about them at first but “Jayla” and Lucy were great together. They just needed time to work through things.

The mystery was not something I was able to solve until the very end. Part of that was because there was more than one mystery. The first mystery was about who was behind the Miss Demeanor website. I really never saw that one coming. The second mystery was regarding who took the photos and posted them on Lucy’s Facebook page. That mystery was a little more predictable but still left my guessing for a while. I was definitely captivated with both mysteries.

Overall, #scandal may be the best yet from Sarah Ockler. I was hooked from the start and I never once felt compelled to put it down. All contemporary fans should definitely pick this one up!

What others are saying about #scandal:

Nick’s Book Blog’s review: “As hard as I tried to enjoy this book, I simply couldn’t.”

Spun With Words’ review: “It has just the right amount of character development, good plot, and strong conflict.”

Monday, June 16, 2014

Vivian Divine Is Dead by Lauren Sabel | Review

Vivian Divine Is Dead by Lauren Sabel | ReviewVivian Divine Is Dead by Lauren Sabel
Published by Harper Teen on June 3, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

When a death threat arrives with teen celebrity Vivian Divine's fan mail, Vivian has no choice but to go on the run to Mexico. She soon discovers, though, that her Oscar-nominated performance killing villains on-screen did nothing to prepare her for escaping a madman in real life. Some people say he's a hero, others tremble in his presence, but one thing is clear: he won't stop until Vivian is in his grasp. Why didn't she pay more attention during those judo lessons for her role in Zombie Killer?

Vivian finds an ally in the mysterious and charming Nick. He is everything Hollywood boys are not-genuine, kind, and determined to see Vivian for who she really is. But even he seems like he can't be trusted-what could he be hiding?

Beat up, hungry, and more confused than ever about who she's running from, Vivian is living in a real-life blockbuster horror flick. But there's no option to yell "cut" like there is on set....

picadillyblueVivian Divine is Dead is a unique addition to the young adult contemporary suspense genre. Lauren Sabel crafted a very twisted mystery that left me guessing until the very end. It’s not often that I’m unable to figure things out but that was definitely the case with this one.

Vivian Divine is a spoiled rotten movie star. She was really hard to like at first. Her mom was murdered and her dad pretty much gave up on life after that but that didn’t give her the right to be the bitch that she was. She expected people to wait on her and she couldn’t fend for herself to save her life. She talked down to people and she thought very highly of herself. She was like that for most of the book and I thought that might be the one thing that would make me hate Vivian Divine is Dead but that actually wasn’t the case. She did develop as a character and I was already hooked on the story so I never once thought about giving up on this one.

Nicholas, Marcos, Scars, Isabel, and pretty much all the rest of the secondary characters were a little flat. Nicholas was this handsome stranger who Vivian met on the bus to Mexico. Since he spoke English, Vivian decided to rely on him to help keep her safe. He honestly didn’t have much going on other than being handsome. There was a little back-story to him but not enough to really get me interested in knowing more about him. He wasn’t well-developed and while I liked him well enough, I wasn’t invested in his relationship with Vivian. Marcos and Scars were worse than Nicholas. I had no interest in them and found them to be more of an annoyance than anything else. Scars had no personality and was really just known for being a big bad ass with scars. He was not really all that creepy if you ask me. Marcos was a little better developed but still lacking. As for Isabel, she was the only one I really cared for. She had more back-story than any of them and was the most developed of them all.

The story was the truly interesting part of the book. Vivian Divine goes on the run after receiving a death threat. Seems like a simple plot but there was a lot more going on than I ever expected. Not once was I able to guess who was behind the death threat or why. There was also a mystery surrounding Vivian’s mom and what exactly happened to her. I had no clue how Lauren Sabel was going to tie everything together in the end but she managed it wonderfully. Admittedly, the story was a little all over the place at times but it was still entertaining.

Overall, Vivian Divine is Dead is a great debut from Lauren Sabel and I will plan to check out more from her in the future. Hopefully that includes a sequel to Vivian Divine is Dead since I could use a little more from these characters!

What others are saying about Vivian Divine is Dead:

Book.Blog.Bake’s review: “In the end, I think, what happened in Vivian Divine is Dead is a lack of development both of the plot and the characters.”

The Social Potato’s review: “Vivian Divine is Dead is so bad that it’s almost comical.”

Turning Pages’ review: “Vivian Divine is Dead is unlike any book that I’ve read this year.”

Friday, June 13, 2014

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (To All The Boys #1) by Jenny Han | Review

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (To All The Boys #1) by Jenny Han | ReviewTo All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
Series: To All The Boys I've Loved Before #1
Published by Simon & Schuster on April 15, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them... all at once?

Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren't love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she's written. One for every boy she's ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

picadillyblueTo All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is Jenny Han’s newest addition to the young adult contemporary market and it definitely lives up to it’s potential.  I’ve been eagerly awaiting her newest contemporary novel since I finished her Summer series.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that I loved this one just as much as the Summer series.

Lara Jean is a lot like Belly from the Summer trilogy.  She’s young, she doesn’t really know what she wants, and she’s a bit immature.  Just like Belly though, she grows throughout the course of the book.  Lara Jean has a close relationship with her family, she’s smart, she’s funny, and she’s willing to take chances.  However, not many people know these things about her since she doesn’t really have that many friends.  All that starts to change when a couple boys in her class get love letters from her that were never supposed to be sent.  The love letters start a crazy spiral that turn Lara Jean’s life upside down.  The letters were never supposed to be sent and Lara Jean never could have expected how the boys would react.

Lara Jean may have been the main character but she wasn’t my favorite character in the book.  That title definitely went to her little sister, Kitty.  Kitty was outgoing and fun and she was never afraid to say what was on her mind.  Sometimes I felt like Lara Jean should be taking lessons from Kitty on how to speak her mind.  Peter, surprisingly, was another favorite for me.  He is nothing like I expected when he was first introduced in the book.  Yes he’s cocky and a little full of himself but he’s also a really sweet guy who is willing to put others’ needs before his own.  Dr. Covey, Lara Jean’s dad, was also pretty fun.  He didn’t have a huge role in the book but you could tell that he was a big part of the girls’ lives.  I hope there is more of him in the next book because he was a great dad.  The rest of the characters were kind of lackluster.  I didn’t get the appeal of Lara Jean’s older sister, Margot.  There were times when I actually wanted to slap her because she was being so rude.  It seemed like she wanted everything to revolve around her and she didn’t like it when that wasn’t the case.  Josh, Margot’s ex-boyfriend, was also pretty boring.  I get that he was a good guy who was always there for the Song sisters, not just Margot, but that’s about all he had going for him.   Totally not swoonworthy like Peter.

The story is what makes To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before so much fun to read.  Lara Jean’s love letters are sent out and her whole life changes, mostly for the better.  Before, she really didn’t have much of a life.  She had never been in a relationship, she didn’t have many friends, and she really didn’t do much outside of school.  When the letters are sent out, one boy in particular decides that he needs to make himself a part of Lara Jean’s life even if it’s not in a way that anyone expects.  The story is fun and full of life and it’s definitely a unique concept.  I’m eager to see what direction Jenny Han will take for the sequel.

Overall, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is a fabulous new contemporary novel from Jenny Han.  Fans of her Summer series will not be disappointed.

What others are saying about To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before:

YA Love’s review: “While I wanted to know Lara Jean a little better, I did love the cast of characters in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.”

Dark Readers’ review: “I can now say I am a Jenny Han fan and will anxiously await the sequel.”

richincolor’s review: “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a fun, fast read that strikes a nice balance between the romantic plotline and the family dynamics/drama.”

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord | Review

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord | ReviewOpen Road Summer by Emery Lord
Published by Bloomsbury on April 15, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 342
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
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5 Stars

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.

picadillyblueOpen Road Summer is a book after my own heart.  Emery Lord’s debut novel is everything a contemporary lover could want in a book.  It’s a novel of friendship, fame, family, and love and it hits the right notes on every one of those subjects.  And did I mention Matt Finch?  No?  Well don’t worry, I will.

The best aspect of Open Road Summer is, by far, the friendship between Reagan and Lilah.  They couldn’t be more different but they balance each other out.  Reagan is the girl who makes bad decisions regarding everything in her life, especially boys.  Lilah is the teen country star who couldn’t be more perfect.  It doesn’t seem like they could work together but they do.  Lilah’s family embraces Reagan almost as a second daughter.  That only serves to cement the bond that Lilah and Reagan share.  And no matter what happens in either of their lives, they always have time for each other.  Sure they fight but they always find their way back to each other.  They are true friends.

The fame aspect was so much fun.  Reagan is tagging along with Lilah on her cross country tour for the summer.  There are stops in tons of cities, there are trips out to events in disguise, there are nasty paparazzi, and so much more.  There aren’t many YA books dealing with famous people but Emery Lord did a great job making this story believable.

The family part wasn’t overdone but definitely played a role in both Lilah and Reagan’s stories.   Lilah has a close knit family and she wants to keep them out of the spotlight.  She also doesn’t want her little brothers to see her in the wrong light.  She’s a good girl but the paparazzi will do whatever it takes to make her look bad and she doesn’t want them to see her like that.  It was cute how loyal she was to her family and how obvious her love for them was.  Then there was Reagan and her family situation.  Reagan’s dad was an alcoholic for a lot of her life and when he cleaned up his act, he got remarried to someone Reagan really couldn’t care less about.  Ever since Reagan’s dad gave up alcohol, they have only drifted further apart.  Reagan’s bad life choices also don’t help that relationship but it turns out that her summer away may actually bring them closer together.

The romance was beyond cute.  I told you I would mention Matt Finch and here it is: he may be the perfect male specimen.  Holy crap is he the cutest.  He’s sweet, he’s funny, he’s cocky, he’s smart, he’s talented, and I could go on and on about his many wonderful characteristics.  He is not your typical famous male singer.  He’s got a really sweet, vulnerable side that he really doesn’t show often but Reagan brings it out of him.  They both bring out really different sides of each other.  Their banter is beyond adorable.  They have immediate chemistry and from the start I couldn’t help rooting for them.  I really wanted to see things work out between them.  Reagan and Matt Finch are two characters that you can’t help but want to see together.

There is also some romance between Lilah and her ex-boyfriend, Jimmy.  Things are really complicated with them because Lilah is famous and all Jimmy wants is to grow up and run his own farm.  He’s never wanted anything more than that and Lilah.  They love each other so much but they decided they had to let each other go so they could follow their own dreams.  Their story was sweet and heartbreaking at the same time and I truly loved the outcome at the end of their story.  It was perfect.

Overall, Emery Lord’s debut novel was, in my opinion, perfect.  Contemporary fans will adore this story and I can’t give it a higher recommendation.

What others are saying about Open Road Summer:

We Still Read’s review: “This book, feet up, windows down, country music in the back ground? Perfection.”

Book.Blog.Bake’s review: “Open Road Summer has everything going for it: a swoon-worthy romantic interest, a super strong friendship(the kind that unfortunately uncommon in YA), and a delightful road-trip vibe.”

That Artsy Reader Girl’s review: “Basically, if you’re looking for a sweet summer romance with a little meat to it then this is your book!”

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tease (Ivy Chronicles #2) by Sophie Jordan | Review

Tease (Ivy Chronicles #2) by Sophie Jordan | ReviewTease by Sophie Jordan
Series: The Ivy Chronicles #2
Published by William Morrow Genres: Contemporary
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
3 Stars

What happens when a girl who always calls the shots meets a guy who's too wild for even her?

A born flirt and good-time party girl, Emerson has never had a problem finding a willing guy. She's always chosen her hookups carefully, and she's never broken her three cardinal rules:

Never let them see the real you.
Never fall in love.
Always leave them begging for more.

Then Shaw comes along. A hottie from the wrong side of the tracks, he's immune to her flirtatious banter and come-hither smile. After rescuing her from a disastrous night at a biker bar, he doesn't even try to take her to bed—he calls her a tease and sends her home instead. Unable to resist a challenge, or forget the sexy, dark-eyed, bad-boy biker, she vows to bring him to his knees.

But instead of making Shaw beg, Emerson finds herself craving him. For the first time in her life, she's throwing out her rule book. Suddenly, she's the one panting for a guy she can't control—a guy who won't settle for anything less than the real Emerson and who forces her to do things she's never imagined, including facing a past she thought she'd buried.

A guy who just might leave her wanting more. . . .

picadillyblue

Foreplay, the first book in Sophie Jordan’s new adult series, was fabulous.  I adored it and by the end of the book I was dying for more from the series.  I requested Tease as soon as possible and dropped everything to read it once I was approved.  While I enjoyed it, it didn’t compare to Foreplay.

Tease features one character that readers will remember from Foreplay, Pepper’s kind of slutty friend Emerson.  Emerson has been burned by guys before and so she doesn’t let them get close now.  She is more than happy to sleep with someone but she won’t get attached.  Of course that changes when she meets Shaw.  Shaw is unlike any guy she’s met before and she is immediately attracted to him even though she knows that she should not let him get close to her.  Shaw is a bad boy through and through.  He works as a mechanic and he rides motorcycles and dreams of having his own motorcycle shop where he can build custom bikes.  He’s not the type of guy that Emerson is normally attracted to but they keep running into each other and sparks fly.

The story is totally cliche.  I think that was my biggest issue with Tease.  Emerson had a rather horrific incident in her past with someone she should have been able to trust and she stopped trusting everyone after that.  Of course that changes when some bad boy mystery guy enters her life and she can’t get him off of her mind.  I’m not saying that readers won’t enjoy this story, I’m just saying that readers should expect something that’s been done in books many times before (especially in new adult.)

Emerson and Shaw had some serious chemistry and I applaud Sophie Jordan for always making her characters relationships so intense both physically and emotionally.  I was definitely rooting for Emerson and Shaw’s relationship to work out.  They were good together but they also had some very big flaws to work past.  Sometimes it felt like their relationship was a little doomed but I enjoyed seeing how things were going to play out.

Overall, Tease was a mediocre followup to Foreplay.  I just couldn’t love the characters as much as I did with Pepper and Reece (who I was happy to see in Tease for a few cameos.)  If you enjoyed the first book, definitely check this one out though.

What others are saying about Tease:

Shortie Says’ review:Overall another new adult stunner from Sophie Jordan.”

The Aeropapers’ review: “Let me start this with this statement: I really, really liked Tease by Sophie Jordan. “

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill | Review

Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill | ReviewBeing Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill
Published by Random House on January 7, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure-skater from Washington, D.C., who choked during junior nationals and isn’t sure she’s ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she’d give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life.

Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player from Philly who’s been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she’s playing the worst she’s ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over.

When the two Sloanes meet by chance in Montreal and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she’s the lucky one: no strangers to judge or laugh at Sloane Emily, no scouts expecting Sloane Devon to be a hero. But it didn’t occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It’s not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you’re someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.

picadillyblueLauren Morrill got my attention with her debut novel, Meant To Be, but she captured my heart with her sophomore novel, Being Sloane Jacobs.  Being Sloane Jacobs is one of the best contemporary reads I’ve read in quite some time and I was seriously impressed with every aspect of it.

Being Sloane Jacobs starts off slow but that’s not a bad thing.  A story as complex as this one takes some build up and let me tell you, it’s worth it in the end.  Readers are introduced to Sloane Emily Jacobs and Sloane Devon Jacobs, two very different girls who just happen to share a name.  Sloane Emily is a figure skater who is beyond stressed out and wants nothing to do with figure skating.  She knows secrets about her family that could tear them apart and it’s killing her not to share them.  She’s alone in what she knows and she needs a break from it all.  Sloane Devon is a ice hockey player with a serious temper.  She’s got her own family issues that she’d love to escape from but not in the form of mandatory hockey camp.  When the two Sloanes happen to run into each other the night before camp, they concoct a brilliant (and also slightly crazy) plan to switch places for the summer.

It may seem like it’d be confusing reading about two different characters with the same name but that’s not the case at all.  Sloane Emily and Sloane Devon are very clearly two different people.  They have unique personalities and even if the chapter heading didn’t tell you which POV you were reading, I feel like readers could still figure it out based on just their personalities.  They are both well-developed characters that are easy to like, but for different reasons.  Sloane Emily comes across as a little spoiled at first but she’s quick to grow out of that.  Sloane Devon comes across as rather rude at first but she also learns a lot throughout the course of the book.  They both learn to rely on people, including each other.  It’s not easy for either of them but they slowly build relationships not just with each other but with the people at their respective camps.

Both boys are seriously adorable and so easy to fall for.  The romance isn’t deep in either case but it’s just right for the story.  Both Sloane Devon and Sloane Emily aren’t looking for romantic entanglements but when they meet the right guys, things just happen.  It was the perfect balance for the more serious aspects of the story.

The sports aspect was done amazingly well.  I know almost nothing about ice hockey and even less about figure skating but that didn’t feel like a problem when reading Being Sloane Jacobs.  Lauren Morrill incorporates enough about each sport so that readers can get by but she doesn’t bog things down with too much information.  Just like Miranda Kenneally does with her books, Lauren Morrill manages to perfectly balance sports and her subject matter.

Overall, Being Sloane Jacobs is a must read for contemporary fans.  I’d even recommend checking this one out before her debut, Meant To Be, although I suggest you get to that one eventually!

What others are saying about Being Sloane Jacobs:

Writer of Wrongs’ review: “If you like cute contemporary, you can’t miss Being Sloane Jacobs.”

Books and Whimsy’s review: “Truly, Being Sloane Jacobs was a really enjoyable story.”

Book Lovers For Life’s review: “Being Sloane Jacobs might not have killed me on the cuteness level as much as Meant to Be did, but this book was different and refreshing and so fun to read.”

Friday, May 23, 2014

Royally Lost by Angie Stanton | Review

Royally Lost by Angie Stanton | ReviewRoyally Lost by Angie Stanton
Published by Harper Teen on May 6, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
2 Stars

Dragged on a family trip to Europe’s ancient cities, Becca wants nothing more than to go home. Trapped with her emotionally distant father, over-eager stepmother, and a brother who only wants to hook up with European hotties, Becca is miserable. That is until she meets Nikolai, a guy as mysterious as he is handsome. And she unknowingly finds herself with a runaway prince.

Nikolai has everything a guy could ask for-he's crown prince, heir to the throne, and girls adore him. But the one thing he doesn't have...is freedom. Staging a coup, he flees his kingdom and goes undercover on his own European tour.

When Nikolai and Becca meet, it’s their differences that draw them together. Sparks fly as they share a whirlwind of adventures, all the while dodging his royal guard. But Becca's family vacation ends in a matter of days. Will Nikolai and Becca be forced to say goodbye forever, will his destiny catch up to him, or will they change history forever?

picadillyblueI’ll admit, the cover totally got me with this one.  It looked like the perfect summer read and I figured it’d be a cute, fun, quick read.  Sadly it was only one of those three things: quick.

Where do I even begin with this one?  I guess Becca is a good place to start since she was one of the biggest problems I had with Royally Lost.  She was a spoiled rotten whiny little brat.  And that’s putting it nicely.  Her dad and stepmom, Vicky, took her on an all expenses paid trip to Europe and all she could do was complain about how boring the trip was and how much she hated history.  She found some way to mention how boring history was at every stop on their tour.  She said something about living in the moment at one point and sure, I get that but that doesn’t mean you should completely ignore history.  It was so annoying.  Then there was how she treated her dad and stepmom.  She made a point to always make sure people knew Vicky was just her stepmom.  I completely understand that Vicky was not a replacement for her real mom but the way she treated her was just horrible.  Vicky was nothing but nice and helpful and Becca was an utter bitch to her.  She also mentioned how her dad never had time for her or her brother, Dylan, but throughout the whole book they were the two running away from family time.  Seems a little hypocritical to me.

Let’s move on to the romance between Becca and Nikolai.  This is the third book I’ve read by Angie Stanton and they all have one thing in common: horribly cheesy romances.  Becca and Nikolai couldn’t have been more different but of course they were immediately attracted to each other and very quickly realized that they were in love.  Umm, what?  You have known each other how long?  Seriously, they spent maybe a total of 3 days with each other but by the end of those 3 days, they were in love and couldn’t stand to be parted.  They were willing to do whatever it took to be together yet Nikolai didn’t even know Becca’s last name!  Seriously, they get separated and he has no idea how to get in touch with her because all he knows is that she’s from Chicago and her name is Becca.  Yet they are in love.  Sure, I’ll believe that.

There was also the fact that the ending was way too perfect.  Nikolai is the crown prince of a small country and Becca is a girl about to start her first year of college.  I couldn’t really see how things would ever work out for them but of course the story wouldn’t be a good romance if it was realistic.  Things tied up way too easily and I didn’t find it realistic at all.  It was also super cheesy.  I was not impressed, at all.

Overall, Royally Lost is one I’d recommend skipping.  There are tons of other cute summer romances that you should check out before you waste time on this one.

What others are saying about Royally Lost:

Into the Hall of Books’ review: “Royally Lost is a fun, quick read – another light romance from Angie Stanton for my shelf.”

Stay Bookish’s review: “Royally Lost, which I then decided had lots of feel-good-book potential, was sadly a huge disappointment.”

Catching Books’ review: “Definitely was a cute contemporary romance and yes-it was cheesy but sometimes we all need to read an unrealistic romance!”

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Biggest Flirts (Superlatives #1) by Jennifer Echols | Review

Biggest Flirts (Superlatives #1) by Jennifer Echols | ReviewBiggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols
Series: Superlatives #1
Published by Simon & Schuster on May 20, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

Tia just wants to have fun. She’s worked hard to earn her reputation as the life of the party, and she’s ready for a carefree senior year of hanging out with friends and hooking up with cute boys. And her first order of business? New guy Will. She can’t get enough of his Midwestern accent and laidback swagger.

As the sparks start to fly, Will wants to get serious. Tia’s seen how caring too much has left her sisters heartbroken, and she isn’t interested in commitment. But pushing Will away drives him into the arms of another girl. Tia tells herself it’s no big deal…until the yearbook elections are announced. Getting voted Biggest Flirts with Will is, well, awkward. They may just be friends, but their chemistry is beginning to jeopardize Will’s new relationship—and causing Tia to reconsider her true feelings. What started as a lighthearted fling is about to get very complicated…

picadillyblueIn case you guys didn’t know, I love Jennifer Echols.  Her contemporary books are some of my all time favorites, right up there with Sarah Dessen’s, Susane Colasanti’s, and Miranda Kenneally’s.  I’m really pleased to say that Biggest Flirts is just as amazing as the rest of her works.  So cute!

Tia and Will are adorable!  Tia is a huge flirt who doesn’t want a relationship, or so she says.  She’s seen what relationships have done to her sisters and she wants to avoid that.  Will makes that hard for her to do.  He makes it clear from the start that he wants a relationship.  Tia and Will are both stubborn and the game is on to see which one is going to get their way.

Tia is hard-headed, sarcastic, smart, and funny.  She avoids commitment of any kind, as well as responsibility.  She’s a little immature but she learns.  Will is her opposite in a lot of ways.  They share the hard-headedness and sarcasm but that’s it.  Will loves commitment and responsibilities, going out of his way to get both.  Their opposites are perfect together.  They bring out the best in each other.  Oh and don’t even get me started on the banter between the two.  It’s so perfect.

The plot is a little predictable since it is just a romantic comedy.  However, the story and the characters are adorable.  I never once lost interest in Tia and Will’s story.  In fact, I actually read Biggest Flirts in one sitting.  I was hooked from the start.

Overall, Biggest Flirts is a new favorite contemporary of mine.  This series holds a lot of promise and I can’t wait to read book two.

What others are saying about Biggest Flirts:

Mary Had A Little Book Blog’s review: “I am fascinated by this series.”

Mostly YA Book Obsessed’s review: “I loved getting to know Tia’s friends and I’m excited to read their stories.”

Coffee, Books, and Me’s review: “I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.”

Monday, May 19, 2014

Blog Tour: All Lined Up by Cora Carmack | Review + Guest Post + Giveaway

Blog Tour: All Lined Up by Cora Carmack | Review + Guest Post + Giveaway

Blog Tour: All Lined Up by Cora Carmack | Review + Guest Post + GiveawayAll Lined Up by Cora Carmack
Series: Rusk University #1
Published by William Morrow on May 13, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.

Dallas Cole loathes football. That's what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.

But life doesn't always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.

Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It's obliterated.

Dallas doesn't know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn't know that Dallas is his new coach's daughter.

And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.

picadillyblueAll Lined Up, the first book in the Rusk University series, is nothing short of spectacular.  Cora Carmack has a sure hit on her hands with this one.  It’s the perfect blend of football, forbidden romance, and family bonding.

All Lined Up is the story of Dallas Cole, daughter to college football coach at Rusk University, and dancer extraordinaire.  She’s tired of living in the shadow of her father’s legacy and all she wanted from college was to get away from it all.  However, plans changed when her dad accepted the coaching job at Rusk, the same place Dallas is starting her freshman year.  Dallas is determined to leave the football life behind her but that’s easier said than done when she starts falling for backup QB, Carter McClain.

All Lined Up has Cora Carmack’s usual sense of humor and while Dallas isn’t nearly as awkward as some of the characters in the Losing It trilogy, she does have some of the same qualities as those main characters which definitely helps her be easy to relate to.  She does seem a little cold at first but it’s easy to see that she has been hurt in the past and does not have the best luck with guys.  With the help of her best friend, Stella (Dallas’ total opposite), Dallas starts to open up and be a bit more optimistic about life in college and all it has to offer.  Stella is quite the funny character and I liked how she helped balance out Dallas.  Then there was Carter.  Carter was a great guy but he did sometimes seem a little too perfect, at least at first.  Don’t let that turn you off though.  He does have his flaws, it just takes a little time for readers to see them.  That doesn’t mean he’s not a wonderful guy though.  I loved him.

The football aspect was fabulously done.  I have come to really love any young adult/new adult sports related books and All Lined Up is at the top of my list of recommendations for books in that category.  Cora Carmack does not overdo it with the sports or the lingo or anything like that.  I know some things about football but not enough to play the game.  Cora Carmack throws in just enough knowledge so that readers know what’s going on but not enough to be overbearing.  It’s the perfect balance.

The romance is just as steamy as I’ve come to expect from Cora Carmack.  I was greatly impressed with how realistic the relationship was and how mature both Dallas and Carter were about everything.  They do have an immediate attraction but luckily it’s nothing that would be considered insta-love.  Dallas and Carter spend a lot of time together getting to know each other and what they want from each other before they take things to the next level.  It was refreshingly well done.

Overall, All Lined Up is the perfect read for new adult fans as well as fans of Cora Carmack.  It’s a wonderful start to the Rusk University series and I can’t wait for the next story.

GUEST POST

Hey y’all! I don’t know about you guys but I am having a BLAST on this blog tour! Last week, Carson McClain stopped by Chick Lit News & Reviews to share with us his favorite things about growing up in Texas. This week, I thought it would be interesting to see what Dallas Cole’s top ten list looks like! Unfortunately, she doesn’t have quite as much state pride as her boyfriend, so she decided to take her list in a different direction.

The Top 10 Worst Things About Growing Up In Texas

by Dallas Cole

10. Unpredictable weather

Some people think this is a good thing – don’t like the weather? Wait a few hours, and it’ll change! But I have a real issue with waking up to a beautiful, clear blue sky only to be dodging hailstones on the way to school and walking to class in a deluge, then trying to fall asleep to the dulcet tones of the tornado warning siren.

9.Crickets in the fall

Every fall, crickets show up in a plague of Biblical proportions. It’s so bad I keep expecting first born sons to start dying at a moment’s notice.
8. Pollen and allergy season

Spring in Texas means everything is covered in a fine layer of yellow dust and you are never NOT sneezing. Someone just hook me up to an IV of Claritin and leave me in bed with a Costco-sized case of Kleenex, and I’ll see you guys never.

7. Mosquitoes

Ah, to be able to take a nice, peaceful walk through your neighborhood in the evening without the fear of contracting West Nile Virus.

6. The vast cultural wasteland

Okay, now that I’m a little older, I know that there is actually art and culture to be found in the Lone Star State. But growing up in a small town in Texas, I was convinced that my home was where art came to die. I wished so badly to live in a big city like New York or Chicago, where I could see musicals and go to museums and attend a dance studio with more than one teacher.  Plus, some of our “artistic outlets” are rather suspect. Which leads me to…
5. Line dancing.
Nothing grinds my gears like seeing a bunch of people swagger back and forth in straight lines and call it dancing. I really do try to have an open mind when it comes to different styles of dance but LINE DANCING IS NOT DANCING. When I was in fifth grade, a girl in my class invited me to her birthday party. “Lots of fun and music,” the invitation said. “Come prepared to dance!” I was really excited! I took my dance shoes, ready to dance my heart out. So you can imagine my disappointment when I walked into the party to find a bunch of 10-year-olds doing the “Boot Scootin’ Boogie.” Needless to say, I did not stay friends with the birthday girl.

4. Poor grammar

Please read the following phrases:

“I seen it.”

“She done run off.”

“We used to could do that.”

“They was fixin’ to.”

Now please join me in clawing out our own eyes. Speaking of poor grammar…

3. Rednecks.

Have you seen ever seen that TLC show about Honey Boo Boo and her family? What about Duck Dynasty? American Hoggers? They have to use freaking subtitles on those shows just so you regular people can understand their accents! Have you ever thought to yourself, “SURELY that’s all scripted, or at the very least exaggerated. No people are actually like that in real life.” Oh, yes. Some people are. And they have lived next door to me since I was three.

2. It’s so damn hot.

SERIOUSLY THOUGH. Texas only has two seasons: summer and Christmas, and Christmas is only slightly less sweltering than summer. From April to November, you might as well resign yourself to taking three showers a day because you’ll be a sweaty, sticky mess before you even set foot outside. Getting in the car after it’s been in the parking lot all day? You can expect third degree burns from the seatbelt, the steering wheel, the cracked faux leather seats, and literally EVERYTHING else.  And if you think YOU sunburn easily….let me tell you a little story about being a fair-skinned redhead and working at an outdoor summer camp. #lobster
1. Football.

I just…

 

 

 

 

UGH. Okay, you guys. Carson has been reading over my shoulder this whole time and is nagging me to mention at least ONE good thing about growing up in Texas. “You’ve lived here your whole life,” he says, “and your life has not been terrible! There has to be something  nice you can say about our good ole’ Lone Star State!”

*sigh* I guess.

One thing I DO love about Texas is the people. Texans, as much as I have made fun of them, are literally some of the nicest, most genuine people in the world. For a state so big, it really feels more like a small town – everywhere you go, you meet kind and generous people who treat you like family. We don’t all ride horses to school, but your neighbor give you a lift in their pickup without a second thought. Good old country boys are actually pretty good, and sometimes you meet one who makes you feel beautiful and special and understood in ways you’ve never felt before. And then suddenly you’re spending your summer nights in the bed of a pickup truck, staring at a sky full of stars and not caring that mosquitoes are buzzing around your head because he’s holding your hand and everything is finally just…right.

GET THAT SMUG LOOK OFF YOUR FACE, CARSON.

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Cora Carmack bio pic
Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She’s done a multitude of things in her life– boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.

 

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