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.

 

Website ** Twitter ** Facebook ** Author Goodreads ** Novel Goodreads

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Taking (The Taking #1) by Kimberly Derting | Review

The Taking (The Taking #1) by Kimberly Derting | ReviewThe Taking by Kimberly Derting
Series: The Taking #1
Published by Harper Teen on April 29, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

A flash of white light . . . and then . . . nothing. 

When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day. 

Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men. 

Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?

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The Taking is the first in a new science fiction series from Kimberly Derting and I was seriously impressed with it.  I was a little skeptical when I first started it since I’d heard some mixed things but I went in with an open mind and I could  not put it down!

The Taking starts off with a bang (and a white light, in this case) and it never slowed down.  Kyra wakes up what seems like one day later but turns out to be five years later.  Her life is completely different and the only person she can turn to is her now ex-boyfriend’s little brother (all grown up now), Tyler.  Together they team up to find out where Kyra was for those five years, why she hasn’t aged a day, and why there are people hunting her down.  It’s a crazy thrill ride of a story that will hook readers from start to finish.  And probably even after you finish.

Kyra is confused, scared, and pretty alone after everything she has been through.  Her parents are divorced and her mom seems to have moved on with her life.  Her dad became obsessed with what happened to Kyra and pretty much threw his life away.  Her boyfriend and best friend moved on without her and now her former boyfriend’s little brother is grown up and looking pretty good to Kyra.  Don’t get me wrong, I did find it a little odd that one day Tyler was 12 to Kyra and the next day he was 17 and she was all over him.  Especially seeing as her boyfriend and best friend betrayed her.  I didn’t expect her to move on to Tyler quite so quickly  but I really wouldn’t call it instalove since they did know each other for years.  Tyler is supremely adorable.  He’s such a sweetheart.  If I was Kyra, I would have a hard time resisting him too.  I really did think they had great chemistry and it truly didn’t bother me all that much that it was her ex-boyfriend’s little brother.  They were better together than her and Austin, by far.

The story is completely unique and I loved it.  I’m not normally a fan of science fiction but I loved Kimberly Derting’s take on it.  I don’t want to give anything away  but I will say that it’s nothing like I expected.  I didn’t really get much from the synopsis or the few reviews  I’d read and I’m really glad about that.  This is one of those books where the less you know going in, the better.

Overall, The Taking is a fabulous start to Kimberly Derting’s new series.  I’d forgotten how much I loved her writing and this just reminded me so I’m definitely going to go read some more of her books while I impatiently await for the next book in this series.

What others are saying about The Taking:

Beauty and the Bookshelf’s review: “And while this isn’t my favorite Kimberly Derting novel and I did have a few issues with it, The Taking is a fast-paced book with an addictive quality, because you just MUST KNOW what on earth is going on.”

A  Book Obsession’s review: “I enjoyed THE TAKING and it was a pretty quick read, but there were a few things that just felt a bit too underdeveloped for me, making it frustrating as I couldn’t quite get fully immersed into the story.”

Looking for the Panacea’s review: “Unfortunately, being action-packed meant that Derting spent hardly any time on character development.”

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Ten Tiny Breaths (Ten Tiny Breaths #1) by K.A. Tucker | Review

Ten Tiny Breaths (Ten Tiny Breaths #1) by K.A. Tucker | ReviewTen Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker
Series: Ten Tiny Breaths #1
Published by Atria on February 12, 2013
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 256
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

Kacey Cleary’s whole life imploded four years ago in a drunk-driving accident. Now she’s working hard to bury the pieces left behind—all but one. Her little sister, Livie. Kacey can swallow the constant disapproval from her born-again aunt Darla over her self-destructive lifestyle; she can stop herself from going kick-boxer crazy on Uncle Raymond when he loses the girls’ college funds at a blackjack table. She just needs to keep it together until Livie is no longer a minor, and then they can get the hell out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

But when Uncle Raymond slides into bed next to Livie one night, Kacey decides it’s time to run. Armed with two bus tickets and dreams of living near the coast, Kacey and Livie start their new lives in a Miami apartment complex, complete with a grumpy landlord, a pervert upstairs, and a neighbor with a stage name perfectly matched to her chosen “profession.” But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle all of them. What she can’t handle is Trent Emerson in apartment 1D.

Kacey doesn’t want to feel. She doesn’t. It’s safer that way. For everyone. But sexy Trent finds a way into her numb heart, reigniting her ability to love again. She starts to believe that maybe she can leave the past where it belongs and start over. Maybe she’s not beyond repair.

But Kacey isn’t the only one who’s broken. Seemingly perfect Trent has an unforgiveable past of his own; one that, when discovered, will shatter Kacey’s newly constructed life and send her back into suffocating darkness.

picadillyblueI’ve seen a lot of hype for the Ten Tiny Breaths series.  That usually turns me off from a book pretty quick but some friends kept recommending this one to me so I decided to give it a shot.  I am so glad I did.  Ten Tiny Breaths is one of my favorite new adult books!

Kacey and Livie are on the run from their pasts.  They are the only two people left in their family and they are determined to protect each other.  A drunk driver killed their parents as well as Kacey’s best friend and boyfriend.  The accident left Kacey with a lot of scars, both physical and mental.  She suffers from PTSD and she refuses to get help for it.  She thinks she can makes things better on her own and for a while that seems to be working.  Then she meets Trent and he brings out both the best in her and the worst.

Kacey and Livie have a wonderful relationship.  They are open with each other and it’s made clear how much they love each other.  However, sometimes that just isn’t enough.  Neither of them can fix what is wrong with the other.  Kacey tries her best to protect Livie from anything that could possibly hurt her but that tends to keep her from living her life.  Livie, on the other hand, doesn’t push Kacey hard enough and even though she knows that Kacey needs more help than she can give, she doesn’t make her seek it out.  When they move to Florida, Trent, Storm, and Storm’s daughter (whose name I can’t remember) enter their lives and completely change things for them.  Storm helps Kacey get a job that will actually help her save money so Livie can go to college.  Storm’s daughter is adorable and Livie babysits her a lot, giving her something to do with her time while Kacey works.  Then there is Trent.  He comes off as too good to be true at the beginning but he’s hiding some dark secrets that completely threw me for a loop.  I still loved him though.  He was sweet, sexy, confident, funny, and perfect for Kacey.

The story is really fast-paced.  There isn’t always a lot going on but it still manages never to be dull.  There is just enough mystery to keep readers hooked until the very end.

Overall, Ten Tiny Breaths is a wonderful new adult story that I highly recommend.  I can’t wait to continue on with this series.  I have high hopes for the following books.

What others are saying about Ten Tiny Breaths:

Respiring Thoughts’ review: “This is my new favorite book.”

Readers in Wonderland’s review: “Overall, I think this one is almost a guilty pleasureit’s a fun read if you don’t look too much into it.”

Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s review: “Fans of character driven contemporary romances will adore Ten Tiny Breaths.”

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas | Review

Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas | ReviewAsk Again Later by Liz Czukas
Published by Harper Teen on March 11, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

Despite what her name might suggest, Heart has zero interest in complicated romance. So when her brilliant plan to go to prom with a group of friends is disrupted by two surprise invites, Heart knows there's only one drama-free solution: flip a coin.

Heads: The jock. He might spend all night staring at his ex or throw up in the limo, but how bad can her brother's best friend really be?

Tails: The theater geek...with a secret. What could be better than a guy who shares all Heart's interests--even if he wants to share all his feelings?

Heart's simple coin flip has somehow given her the chance to live out both dates. But where her prom night ends up might be the most surprising thing of all...

picadillyblue Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas is not getting enough buzz, in my opinion. It’s a completely adorable book that contemporary readers will love.  Liz Czukas’ debut novel shows a lot of promise for her future books.

Heart might be one of the most awkward heroines I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about.  Honestly, no matter which date she chooses, she gets into some hilarious situations.  She’s a really kind-hearted person who gets stuck in a crappy situation.  Two guys ask her to prom and they both have really good reasons for asking her.  No matter what she does, someone is going to get hurt which is why Heart decides that a coin toss is the best way to decide.  Each chapter following the coin toss alternates between what might happen depending on who Heart chooses to go with.  It’s a lot like a fun, light hearted version of Pivot Point by Kasie West.

Heart’s friends are the kind of people I want to be friends with.  They are fun, carefree, truly nice people.  They don’t care about dates to prom, they don’t care about popularity, they don’t care about anything but hanging out with each other.  Their plan for prom is to go as a big group and just have fun together.  No matter what happens throughout the night they always come back to each other and they are always there for each other.  And sometimes true friendship means shoving you in a car trunk and forcing you to talk about your issues.  Read Ask Again Later and you’ll totally understand what I mean by that statement.

There is also some romance in Ask Again Later but not with who you might imagine.  Let’s just say, I saw it coming from the start but I wasn’t sure that it was ever going to actually happen.  It was completely innocent and adorable and I loved it.  Truly the perfect romance for this book.  Well for any book really.

Overall, Ask Again Later deserves much more praise than it’s been getting.  Everyone should go out and get a copy as soon as possible!

What others are saying about Ask Again Later:

Good Books and Good Wine’s review: “Y’all, if you are having a rough time in your life and need to blow off some steam, read Ask Again Later for a dose of the best medicine, laughter.”

Proud Book Nerd’s review: “Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas is a fun, quick read.”

Rex Robot Reviews’ review: “Overall, I thought this was fun, fluffy read and a cute premise for a prom story.”

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Blog Tour: Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan | Review

Blog Tour: Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan | Review

Blog Tour: Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan | ReviewLove and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan
Published by Penguin Teen on May 1, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Can anyone be truly herself--or truly in love--in a language that's not her own?

Sixteen-year-old Josie lives her life in translation. She speaks High School, College, Friends, Boyfriends, Break-ups, and even the language of Beautiful Girls. But none of these is her native tongue--the only people who speak that are her best friend Stu and her sister Kate. So when Kate gets engaged to an epically insufferable guy, how can Josie see it as anything but the mistake of a lifetime? Kate is determined to bend Josie to her will for the wedding; Josie is determined to break Kate and her fiancé up. As battles are waged over secrets and semantics, Josie is forced to examine her feelings for the boyfriend who says he loves her, the sister she loves but doesn't always like, and the best friend who hasn't said a word--at least not in a language Josie understands.

picadillyblueEver since I read Erin McCahan’s debut novel, I Now Pronounce You Someone Else, I’ve been waiting to see what she’d write next.  To say I had high hopes for Love and Other Foreign Words is an understatement.  Luckily, Love and Other Foreign Words was just as great as I hoped it would be.

Josie is one of the best characters I’ve had the pleasure of reading about.  She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s unafraid to be different.  She’s everything that I always wished I was and always looked for in friends.  She may be only be 15 but she’s so much more mature than that.  She’s completely unique and she’s one of those people that either doesn’t realize that or just doesn’t care.  She is happy with herself just the way she is and it was wonderful to read about such a confident young woman.  She also has an amazing sense of humor.  I can’t tell you how many times I cracked up while reading Love and Other Foreign Words.  I attempted to read this in a public place which might not have been the best idea since people looked at me like I was crazy since I was sitting by myself cracking up at my Kindle.  Good times!

Josie’s family is also pretty awesome.  They recognize Josie’s uniqueness and they love her for it and sometimes in spite of it.  She can sometimes set people off without meaning to.  Take Geoff, Kate’s fiance.  He and Josie clashed from the very first moment they met.  He was goofy, rather dull, and nothing like what she thought her sister deserved.  However, Josie got along with most everyone else.  Her parents clearly doted upon her and were so proud of her.  Her friends were accepting of her quirks and they were always there for her, especially Stu and Sophie.  Her sisters were pretty great too although they definitely butt heads a few times.  Kate especially had some problems with Josie.  I didn’t like how Kate and Josie handled their animosity towards each other but I know how it works with siblings and their relationship was pretty darn realistic.  I liked seeing both the good and the bad sides of such a close knit family.

The romance aspect was expected but a little rushed.  Sure there were some hints throughout most of the book but nothing happened until very close to the end.  It was cute and realistic for people in their situation and at their age but I would have liked a bit more development in that area.  That’s truly the only reason I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5.

Overall, Love and Other Foreign Words is a must read for all contemporary fans.  It’s such a fun read that you won’t be able to put down!

What others are saying about Love and Other Foreign Words:

Buried in Books’ review: “Josie is one of the most delightfully quirky, intelligent, and inquiring characters I have ever met.”

HelloGiggles’ review: “Josie Sheridan is great because she’s a true-blue lovable weirdo, the type of character I really enjoy seeing.”

Rampant Readers’ review: “In conclusion, Love and Other Foreign Words was not a bad novel by any means.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Something Real by Heather Demetrios | Review

Something Real by Heather Demetrios | ReviewSomething Real by Heather Demetrios
Published by Henry Holt on February 4, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

There’s nothing real about reality TV.

Seventeen-year-old Bonnie™ Baker has grown up on TV—she and her twelve siblings are the stars of one-time hit reality show Baker’s Dozen. Since the show’s cancellation and the scandal surrounding it, Bonnie™ has tried to live a normal life, under the radar and out of the spotlight. But it’s about to fall apart…because Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air. Bonnie™’s mom and the show’s producers won’t let her quit and soon the life she has so carefully built for herself, with real friends (and maybe even a real boyfriend), is in danger of being destroyed by the show. Bonnie™ needs to do something drastic if her life is ever going to be her own—even if it means being more exposed than ever before.

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Something Real by Heather Demetrios has garnered a lot of praise in the few short months that it’s been out.  I’m a huge contemporary fan but for some reason this one wasn’t on my radar until after publication.  It’s safe to say that every bit of praise this book has gotten has been well-deserved.  Heather Demetrios’ debut novel has definitely put her on my radar as an author to watch for.

Bonnie™ Baker is one of 13 kids and one of the key members of the reality show Baker’s Dozen.  The fact that she doesn’t want anything to do with the show or MetaReel, the company behind the show, means nothing to her parents.  4 years after the show is cancelled (following the split of Bonnie™’s parents) MetaReel decides it’s time for a reboot with the clever name of Baker’s Dozen: Fresh Batch.  Once again, Bonnie™ has no say in being on the show.  She is one of the main reasons people watch the show and MetaReel will do anything they have to to keep her on it.  What follows is a lot of televised drama and Bonnie™ coming to terms with who she is and who she wants to be.

First off, this book may come off as a fluffy contemporary read but that really isn’t all there is to it.  Bonnie™ has a lot more going on in her life than just being forced to be on a reality tv show with her crazy family.  She’s got high school, friends, boys, college, depression, anxiety, and all of it is broadcast to the world through 24/7 live streaming cameras throughout her house.  Her phone is bugged, she’s followed everywhere she goes by paparazzi and while the cameras aren’t allowed on school grounds, they are allowed in the car on the way to and from school.  Bonnie™ has nowhere to escape to and she’s got a lot to escape from.

Don’t get me wrong though, there are some very fluffy aspects of Something Real.  Patrick Sheldon, for instance.  I’ve heard a lot of people complain that he’s too perfect but in this case, I didn’t mind it.  I thought Bonnie™ deserved a little something perfect in her life and Patrick was it.  He was supremely quirky, super cute in a grungy way, smart, and so funny.  He got Bonnie™’s sense of humor and he completely understood where she was coming from with all the fame drama.  He was always there for her even when she tried her hardest to push him away.  He is my new literary love.

Bonnie‘s friends were also pretty perfect although they sometimes didn’t quite understand why she was so camera shy.  Tessa and Mer stood by Bonnie through everything and that was tough since she was kind of a bitch at times.  They got that she had been through a lot and just needed them by her side no matter what she wanted to do.  Benton™ was also always there for Bonnie™.  Her family may not have been the greatest but at least she got Benton™.  Benny cracked me up.  He definitely lightened the mood throughout the book.  Also, he and Matt had some of the most aww inducing moments.  They were adorable.  There was also Lexie™ who didn’t initially impress me but by the end I was pleased with her.  

The family aspect really grated on my nerves.  I was so mad at Bonnie™’s parents, both Andrew and Beth (her real parents) and Kirk (her stepdad).  None of them stood up for her rights.  They made her out to be the bad guy when it was very clearly all of them that were the bad guys.  I really wanted to reach in the book and slap some sense into all three of them.  For people who wanted a big family, they didn’t know how to act like a family at all.  

As for the ending, it was perfect for this situation.  I wasn’t happy necessarily but it was realistic and that made me happy.  While there were some things I really wanted to see happen, I’m almost glad they didn’t because I don’t think Bonnie™’s strength would have come across as well as it did.  

Overall, I’ll stop rambling now so you can go out and buy your own copy of Something Real.  Listen to all the amazing reviews and read this as soon as you can!

What others are saying about Something Real:

Alexa Loves Books’ review: “Something Real was absolutely riveting.”

The Book Rat’s review: “Something Real is a pitch-perfect coming of age story about finding yourself and your voice, and how much that struggle is compounded when all eyes are on you.”

The Bevy Bibliotheque’s review: “Thankfully a slew of positive reviews from bloggers I trust convinced me to buy it, for I now have a new favorite sitting on my shelf.”

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Treatment (The Program #2) by Suzanne Young | Review

The Treatment (The Program #2) by Suzanne Young | ReviewThe Treatment by Suzanne Young
Series: The Program #2
Published by Simon & Schuster on April 29, 2014
Genres: Dystopian
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
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5 Stars

Can Sloane and James survive the lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end? Find out in this sequel to The Program, which Publishers Weekly called “chilling and suspenseful.”

How do you stop an epidemic?

Sloane and James are on the run after barely surviving the suicide epidemic and The Program. But they’re not out of danger. Huge pieces of their memories are still missing, and although Sloane and James have found their way back to each other, The Program isn’t ready to let them go.

Escaping with a group of troubled rebels, Sloane and James will have to figure out who they can trust, and how to take down The Program. But for as far as they’ve come, there’s still a lot Sloane and James can’t remember. The key to unlocking their past lies with the Treatment—a pill that can bring back forgotten memories, but at a high cost. And there’s only one dose.

Ultimately when the stakes are at their highest, can Sloane and James survive the many lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end?

picadillyblueThe Treatment, the second and final book in The Program duology, ties things up nicely and left me feeling satisfied, if not exactly happy.  I mean that in the best possible way though.  The Treatment is a book that will leave you thinking about life, love, and how to live in the moment.  It’s pretty much perfect.

Sloane and James are on the run.  Realm has given them a way to escape and they have to take it.  The Program is coming for them (again) and if they get caught this time, they may not come back.  Stakes are extremely high for everyone involved and every last secret will be revealed.  Love, lies, and betrayal lead to a pulse-pounding ending that will have readers on the edge of their seats.

Sloane is a very strong girl.  Even with everything going on, she doesn’t lose her cool.  She knows what will happen if she and James are caught by the Program so she’ll do whatever it takes to keep them safe.  However, she can’t fix everything, especially her memories that are slowly slipping back in and tearing her mind apart.  She also can’t quite control her feelings for Realm.  This causes a lot of tension between her and James.  James is strong but he has weaknesses and Sloane is one of them.  They are so cute together but they are also bad for each other.  They bring out the best and the worst in each other.  James isn’t afraid to show his weaknesses though.  It’s what makes him such a great guy.  Realm, on the other hand, has some serious issues.  He believes he loves Sloane but it’s hard to tell if he’s even capable of love.  His secrets come out in The Treatment and boy does he have a lot.

The plot is a little slow moving at first but the writing was enough to keep me going until it picked back up.  Suzanne Young has a way with words that makes The Treatment just plain amazing.  And once the plot does pick up, it doesn’t slow down again until the very end.  There were so many things I never saw coming.  And while I did think the ending seemed a little abrupt, I still liked it.

Overall, The Treatment is the perfect ending to this duology.  Every last question is answered and readers will be really satisfied with James and Sloane’s ending.

What others are saying about The Treatment:

Once Upon A Twilight’s review: “Roller-coaster ride that will have you on edge and making you turn those pages.”

Reviews from a Bookworm’s review: “The rushed ending just made this all seem very anti-climactic and I was left unsatisfied.”

Mission Viejo Library Teen Voice’s review: “This book felt less dark than the first.”

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Crash Into You (Pushing the Limits #3) by Katie McGarry | Review

Crash Into You (Pushing the Limits #3) by Katie McGarry | ReviewCrash Into You by Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing the Limits #3
Published by Harlequin Teen on November 26, 2013
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 474
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
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5 Stars

The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life—that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.

picadillyblueCrash Into You, the third book in the Pushing the Limits series, is by far the best yet.  Isaiah and Rachel’s story is full of romance, action, and high stakes.  It’s completely unputdownable.

Isaiah takes center stage in Crash Into You and it’s about damn time.  Isaiah has played a role in both Pushing the Limits and Dare You To but this is the first time that readers really get to know him.  He’s much deeper than you would think and I loved that there was more to him than meets the eye.  Isaiah is a bad ass with a good heart.  I loved him from the start.  As for Rachel, I’m glad she didn’t let his looks foll her.   She may have looked like an angel but she definitely had a little bit of devil in her.  She was perfect for Isaiah.

The supporting characters were also fabulous and wonderfully well-developed while still having a hint of mystery (for future books, I’m hoping.)  Rachel’s family is completely crazy but they were always there for each other.  Beth/Ryan and Noah/Echo were also in Crash Into You and it was great to see how their relationships have developed.

The story is supremely fast-paced, especially for a contemporary story.  The stakes are very high for Rachel and Isaiah.  It’s not just their relationship on the line.  This time it’s their lives.  There is high stakes car racing, secret relationships, and so much more.  Katie McGarry knows how to hook readers and she’s definitely done that with Crash Into You.

Overall, Crash Into You is another favorite of mine from Katie McGarry.  Read this one as soon as you can!

What others are saying about Crash Into You:

Smexy Books’ review: “I adored Isaiah and Rachel as individuals and together.”

The Book Pushers’ review: “The author managed to weave so many aspects of the characters lives into the story that it balanced out incredibly well, and the ending was very similar to the previous books and that was high in energy.”

Stay Bookish’s review: “Two  broken souls and a love story of sorts – a Katie McGarry classic.”

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns #3) by Rae Carson | Review

The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns #3) by Rae Carson | ReviewThe Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
Series: Fire and Thorns #3
Published by Harper Teen on August 27, 2013
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 448
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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5 Stars

The epic conclusion to Rae Carson's Fire and Thorns trilogy. The seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen will travel into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny.

Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves in order to lure her to the gate of darkness. As she and her daring companions take one last quest into unknown enemy territory to save Hector, Elisa will face hardships she's never imagined. And she will discover secrets about herself and her world that could change the course of history. She must rise up as champion-a champion to those who have hated her most.

picadillyblueThe Bitter Kingdom, the final book in the Fire and Thorns trilogy, is perfect.  Fans of the series will not be disappointed at all.

The ending of The Crown of Embers was pretty much the worst cliffhanger ever.  Hector’s been taken by the Invierno assassin, Franco, and it’s up to Elisa, Belen, Mara, and Storm to get him back.  That’s only a minor part of the story though.  There is so much going on in The Bitter Kingdom that I’m astounded that Rae Carson fit it all in one book.

The characters have grown even stronger than before.  Elisa no longer requires rescuing.  In fact, she’s the one doing the rescuing now.  Belen has earned everyone’s trust again.  Storm is now willingly loyal to Elisa.  Mara has grown a backbone.  And Hector is willing to let Elisa save him every now and again.  They are equal in their relationship, at least in that aspect.

The story is non-stop action.  Like I said, there’s so much going on.  I’m not going to spoil anything but I’ll just say that the Inviernos aren’t the only ones that Elisa and her friends must challenge.

Overall, The Bitter Kingdom is such a perfect ending.  I was left feeling happy but super sad to say goodbye to all the characters.  This is definitely going to be a series worth re-reading.

What others are saying about The Bitter Kingdom:

Alexa Loves Books’ review: “If The Girl of Fire and Thorns lit my fangirl fire, and The Crown of Embers coaxed roaring flames out of it, then The Bitter Kingdom kept it steadily aflame.”

Book Lovers For Life’s review: “I can’t recommend this series enough.”

My Life is a Notebook’s review: “So many things about these books where so perfect.”

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge | Review

Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge | ReviewGilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge
Published by Harper Teen on April 1, 2014
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 111
Format: ebook
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
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5 Stars

A romantic and fantastical reimagining of the classic Cinderella tale,Gilded Ashes is a novella by Rosamund Hodge set in the same world as the author's debut novel, Cruel Beauty.

Orphan Maia doesn't see the point of love when it only brings pain: Her dying mother made a bargain with the evil, all-powerful ruler of their world that anyone who hurt her beloved daughter would be punished; her new stepmother went mad with grief when Maia's father died; and her stepsisters are desperate for their mother's approval, yet she always spurns them. And though her family has turned her into a despised servant, Maia must always pretend to be happy, or else they'll all be struck dead by the curse.

Anax, heir to the Duke of Sardis, doesn't believe in love either—not since he discovered that his childhood sweetheart was only using him for his noble title. What's the point of pretending to fall in love with a girl just so she'll pretend to fall in love with him back? But when his father invites all the suitable girls in the kingdom to a masked ball, Anax must finally give in and select a wife.

As fate would have it, the preparations for the masquerade bring him Maia, who was asked by her eldest stepsister to deliver letters to Anax. Despite a prickly first encounter, he is charmed and intrigued by this mysterious girl who doesn't believe in love. Anax can't help wishing to see her again—and when he does, he can't help falling in love with her. Against her will, Maia starts to fall in love with him too. But how can she be with him when every moment his life is in danger from her mother's deadly bargain?

picadillyblueGilded Ashes is a novella set in the same world as Cruel Beauty.  That was all it took to get me to give this book a shot.  While I normally don’t love novellas, that was not the case with this one.  If more novellas were like Gilded Ashes, I would be a lot more inclined to read them.

It was really easy to tell that Gilded Ashes was set in the same world as Cruel Beauty.  There is a cameo from the Gentle Lord but it’s more than that.  The setting has the same feel as Cruel Beauty.  It’s a gorgeous setting with more than a little bit of magic.  The magic in this universe isn’t all good though.  There is a lot of dark magic in Maia’s world and it’s the cause of pretty much all her problems in life.

Maia is not your typical Cinderella.  She’s strong and fierce and her fairy godmother is not one that I would want.  Her family isn’t like the typical Cinderella family either.  Her sisters can be cruel but they can also be kind.   And when they are cruel, it’s only because they are forced to be.  Maia and her stepsisters are all looking for the same thing; love.  They just have different ways of looking for it.  The relationship between Maia and her stepsisters was really great.  It starts off a little rough but all three of the girls really develop throughout the course of the novella.  All the characters are surprisingly well-developed for such a short story.

Maia and Anax’s relationship isn’t typical at all.  They become friends through a random stroke of fate and from there things start to become more between them.  While the relationship did come across as a bit rushed, I expected that.  You can’t go from complete strangers to two people in love in 111 pages without rushing some things.  However, I didn’t feel like it was a bad thing.  While I would have liked a bit more backstory from Anax, I still really liked him.  Not as much as Ignifex, that’s for sure, but a close second.

Overall, Gilded Ashes is a fabulous addition to the stories set in the Cruel Beauty universe.  I hope that Rosamund Hodge continues to write fairytale retellings because she is truly fabulous at giving them her own spin.

What others are saying about Gilded Ashes:

Paperback Wonderland’s review: “This novella was pretty much amazing, albeit too short.”