Thursday, June 11, 2015

Blog Tour: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi | Review + Favorite Quotes + Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi | Review + Favorite Quotes + Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi | Review + Favorite Quotes + GiveawayThe Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi
Published by Harper Teen on June 16, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

A fun, romantic read, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti!

Before Matt, Ella had a plan. Get over a no-good ex-boyfriend. Graduate from high school without any more distractions. Move away from Orlando, Florida, where she’s lived her entire life.

But Matt—the cute, shy, bespectacled bass player who just moved to town—was never part of that plan.

And neither was attending a party that was crashed by the cops just minutes after they arrived. Or spending an entire night saying “yes” to every crazy, fun thing they could think of.

Then Matt abruptly left town, and he broke not only Ella’s heart but those of their best friends, too. So when he shows up a year later with a plan of his own—to relive the night that brought them together—Ella isn’t sure whether Matt’s worth a second chance. Or if re-creating the past can help them create a different future.

In alternating then and now chapters, debut author Lauren Gibaldi crafts a charming, romantic story of first loves, lifelong friendships, uncovered secrets, and, ultimately, finding out how to be brave.

picadillyblueThe Night We Said Yes is the perfect summer read.  I was in the mood for a fun contemporary novel and that’s exactly what I got.  Once you pick this one up, you will not be able to put it down!

The Night We Said Yes is told in alternating chapters.  Both are from Ella’s point of view but one is the night she met Matt and the other is present day, 6 months after he left her and broke her heart.  Now he’s back in town and he seems to want to pick up where they left off.  The similarities and differences between the two nights are what make this book so perfect.  Ella and Matt are so naive and open to anything when they meet.  A year later, things are very different but recreating the night they first met brings back old feelings.  It also helps them come to terms with who they have become and who they want to be going forward.  One night changes everything for them, both for good and bad.

Ella was adorable.  She was nerdy and fun and kinda shy and she just reminded me a lot of myself.  Her progression throughout the course of the book was intense.  Her personality remained the same but she quickly started to take control of her life and decide who and what she wanted in it.  Matt was adorable but he made some stupid choices.  I had a hard time liking him after finding out what he did to Ella and why but he grew on me.  As I learned more and more about his past, I found myself feeling bad for him and wanting Ella to forgive him.  He was definitely a flawed character but I liked how he tried to redeem himself.

The secondary characters are what really did it for me though. The friendship between Ella and Meg was so perfect.  They fought but they always came back to each other because that is what true friends do.  The relationship between Ella and Jake was great too.  Sure he was her friend as well as her best friend’s on-again, off-again boyfriend but he was also kinda like a big brother to Ella.  He looked out for her and he stood up for her, even when it was his own friend he had to stand up to.  Barker and Gaby were cute too but they didn’t have as big a role as Meg and Jake.  Also, while Meg and Jake’s relationship may have been a bit toxic, I was definitely rooting for them.

Overall, The Night We Said Yes is perfect for fans of contemporary novels.  It’s a quick read that left me with a smile on my face.  I can’t wait to see what’s next from Lauren Gibaldi.

What others are saying about The Night We Said Yes:

YA Midnight Reads’ review: “Overall I found myself distant and uncaring about the characters and relationships in the novel.”

Writing My Own Fairy Tale’s review: “I really enjoyed this book and I definitely recommend it to fans of YA contemporary romances.”

Book Nerd Addict’s review: “Her writing style is effortless and enjoyable and would recommend this book to anyone that loves friendships and summer reads.”

Favorite Quotes:

“I’ve spent my life on the road, trying to find home, when really, you were always home to me.”

“It was my favorite part of the night – when the evening’s events were still unknown and unpredictable. It was the sense of possibility that I loved, the idea that anything could happen next.”

Giveaway

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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Blog Tour: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella | Review + Interview + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella | Review + Interview + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella | Review + Interview + GiveawayFinding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Published by Delacorte Press on June 9, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery in a contemporary YA novel sure to inspire and entertain.

An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

picadillyblue Finding Audrey, Sophie Kinsella’s young adult debut, proves that not only can she write amazing novels for adults, her talent transfers wonderfully to young adult.  Bullying, mental illness, romance, and humor all take center stage in Finding Audrey and Sophie Kinsella balances it all perfectly.

Audrey suffered from Social Anxiety Disorder because of a bullying incident at her previous school.  She was terrified of everyone other than her family and therapist. She refused to leave the house and even the thought of leaving the house would send her on a downward spiral.  Her family was so supportive but they also knew that she needed to make some progress.  With the help of her family and one of her brother’s friends, Audrey finally started to see that maybe all people weren’t so bad.

First off, the way that Sophie Kinsella addresses bullying and mental illness may be off-putting for some people.  She does not make light of it in any way but she does intersperse humor throughout the novel to balance Audrey’s depression and social anxiety.  In no way does she try to distract from Audrey’s problems but at times it can come across that way.  For such a serious topic, Sophie Kinsella addresses it in a very unique way.

Audrey’s family is just plain bonkers and it totally worked for them.  Her mom is obsessed with the effects of video games on her brother’s mind.  Her brother, Frank, is just plain obsessed with video games.  And her dad just does what he can to get by.  The family relationship is very unconventional but it was perfect and it cracked me up.  It was nice to see a young adult novel where family, especially parents, played such a huge role.  As for Audrey and Frank’s relationship, I liked it a lot.  They were close in age but it wasn’t just that.  He was always there for her as a friend, a brother, and a protector.

Audrey’s relationship (if you can call it that) with Linus was so adorable.  They had quite an interesting beginning to their friendship and it only continued to get weirder with time.  Linus accepted Audrey even with her quirks caused by her Social Anxiety Disorder.  He was not only accepting of her, he truly wanted to help her.

Overall, Finding Audrey was a fantastic introduction into the YA world from Sophie Kinsella.  Her quirky sense of humor, fast-paced style of writing, and wonderful storytelling make for a book that I couldn’t put down!

What others are saying about Finding Audrey:

The Bibliomaniac’s review: “Highly recommended, if you’re looking for a heart-warming tale; a perfect blend of humour and hope.”

Escapades of a Bookworm’s review: “Finding Audrey is about finding yourself, accepting yourself for who you are, and progressing forward.”

Read. Breathe. Relax’s review: “Finding Audrey is deep and so very funny and ultimately relatable and lovable – highly recommended.”

A Q&A With Sophie Kinsella

Describe Finding Audrey in 140 characters or less!

This is the story of Audrey, her family, and a journey to recovery. It’s sad in places, funny, too, and romantic as only a teen story can be.

What made you decide to finally write a YA novel?

I didn’t set out to write a YA novel in fact. I just had the inspiration for the character of Audrey, her gaming-obsessed brother, and her crazy family. It was only when I started to plot the story that I realized it would be told through Audrey’s eyes, and become a YA book.

How was it different writing for a younger audience? Do you relate to Audrey in any way?

I definitely relate to Audrey, but like all my heroines, she is made up not just of bits of me but of people I know. Audrey’s observations of family life, particularly in the film scripts, remind me of my teenage years, but I’m a parent of teenagers myself now and that helped me a lot.

What about Finding Audrey do you think will appeal to your adult fans?

Audrey’s journey is touching, but it’s not just a story about her—it’s about her family and the chaotic, loving world she lives in, so I think it appeals to all generations. I hope that it provides reassurance to any young reader—or indeed parent—going through similar problems, and that they can take heart from Audrey and her story.

Giveaway

One US winner will receive a copy of Finding Audrey and a super cute coffee sleeve! (You’ll get it when  you read the book)

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Blog Tour: Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan | Review

Blog Tour: Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan | Review

Blog Tour: Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan | ReviewDaughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan
Published by Dutton on May 26, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

I’m the daughter of murdered parents.
I’m the friend of a dead girl.
I’m the lover of my enemy.
And I will have my revenge.

In the wake of the devastating destruction of the luxury yacht Persephone, just three souls remain to tell its story—and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace knows the terrifying truth, and she’ll stop at nothing to avenge the murders of everyone she held dear. Even if it means taking down the boy she loves and possibly losing herself in the process.

Sharp and incisive, Daughter of Deep Silence by bestselling author Carrie Ryan is a deliciously smart revenge thriller that examines perceptions of identity, love, and the lengths to which one girl is willing to go when she thinks she has nothing to lose.

picadillyblue
Daughter of Deep Silence is the first book I’ve read by Carrie Ryan but it will not be my last. If you’re looking for a suspenseful, mystery-filled novel, look no further.

I was a little thrown off by the beginning of the book. It takes place right after the attack on the cruise ship and Frances is hysterical. She’s also only 14 years old. For a while I thought that was how old she’d be for the whole book but it jumps to 4 years later after a couple chapters. I was also a little thrown off by the brevity of the relationships between Frances and Libby as well as Frances and Grey. From the synopsis I’d expected them to have been long time friends but it turns out they’d just met on the cruise. It didn’t really make a huge difference but it seemed a bit unrealistic that after such a short period of time Frances could take Libby’s place. Same with the romance. Not only were they just 14 years old but they had also just met each other. Yet they claimed they were in love. I was a little skeptical.

Daughter of Deep Silence clocks in at almost 400 pages but it takes no time at all to read. The chapters are short and the writing style is very simple and straightforward. The story is also extremely gripping, which helped the pace. There is quite a bit of mystery and I had no clue what was coming. The mystery behind the attack on the cruise ship was not at all what I expected.

The characters were not exactly easy to like. Frances (as Libby) was completely driven by vengeance. She had her sights set on the senator and his family and she would stop at nothing to take them down. It reminded me of the TV show Revenge and that is definitely not a complaint. Frances has emotions but they are buried very deep. She’s hard to connect with because of that but it’s not hard to understand where she is coming from. As for Grey, he was possibly a bit too perfect for my tasters. He was a total gentleman (which I loved) but only in private. I wanted to see him stand up to his father who was a complete asshole. I had no problem rooting for Frances to take him down. As for the romance between Frances and Grey, I could see why she had trouble not falling for him. They had great chemistry and their history together made things even harder for her. Grey was just such a sweetheart.

Overall, I was impressed with Daughter of Deep Silence in spite of its flaws. I look forward to reading more from Carrie Ryan, especially if she continues to write suspense novels as awesome as this one.

What others are saying about Daughter of Deep Silence: 

Midnight Bloom Reads’ review: “Delving into deeper psychological themes such as identity and grief, Carrie Ryan’sDaughter of Deep Silence is more than just an addictive revenge thriller.”

Carina’s Books’ review: “I would say that you should all read Daughter of Deep Silence.”

The Forest of Words and Pages’ review: “Daughter of Deep Silence is an addictive thriller you won’t regret picking up!”

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer | Review

Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer | ReviewProof Of Forever by Lexa Hillyer
Published by Harper Teen on June 2, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

BEFORE: It was the perfect summer of first kisses, skinny-dipping, and bonfires by the lake. Joy, Tali, Luce, and Zoe knew their final summer at Camp Okahatchee would come to an end, but they swore they’d stay friends.

AFTER: Now, two years later, their bond has faded along with those memories.

THEN: That is, until the fateful flash of a photo booth camera transports the four of them back in time, to the summer they were fifteen—the summer everything changed.

NOW: The girls must recreate the past in order to return to the present. As they live through their second-chance summer, the mystery behind their lost friendship unravels, and a dark secret threatens to tear the girls apart all over again.

ALWAYS: Summers end. But this one will change them forever.

picadillyblue Proof of Forever, Lexa Hillyer’s debut novel, seriously impressed me. It’s a beautifully written novel that perfectly captured the feeling of summer, lost friendships, and first love.

Proof of Forever is the story of four very different girls who happen to be former best friends.  Zoe is a quirky nerd who loves everything Dr. Who.  Tali is the pretty girl obsessed with money, popularity, and boys.  Luce is the golden girl with the perfect boyfriend, perfect family, and perfect life, or so it seems.  Then there is Joy, the one who disappeared from their lives two years ago but still manages to bring them all together for their camp reunion.  The mix of characters allows for readers to find at least one they can relate to, if not all of them.  Of course, each character also had their flaws that might annoy readers.  Tali was by far the worst.  I had issues with how shallow she was and how selfish.  Joy was a bit closed off, Luce was a bit high strung, and Zoe was a bit oblivious but otherwise I liked them.  And even Tali grew on me.

The story is extremely fun.  These four former friends are sent back in time to their last summer at Camp Okahatchee.  To get back to the present they have to recreate the summer but they quickly find out that it might be better for them as friends and individuals if they change some things about their past.  The story might be very basic contemporary but there is also a sense of urgency to everything they do which helps speed the story along.

The synopsis mentions a dark secret about the girls but it’s not all that dark or secret to the reader.  I was able to guess pretty early on exactly what was going on and what was probably going to happen.  Nothing regarding this secret ever even came into the story until the end of the book.  The ending was quite rushed and that was honestly my only issue with Proof of Forever.

A big plus about Proof of Forever were the types of relationships represented.  Tali was kind of typical, going for the popular guy but there was someone else in her life that challenged everything she knew.  Zoe is a bit clueless about relationships and sexuality but she learns a lot that one summer.  Luce has the perfect relationship but there is a chance it’s holding her back.  As for Joy, she meets someone new in the past that opens her up to love, something she never expected or hoped for.

Overall, Proof of Forever puts Lexa Hillyer on my radar.  I can’t wait to see what she does next.  It’ll have to be pretty dang awesome to top this one.

What others are saying about Proof of Forever:

The Hollow Cupboards’ review: “The story itself can be a little predictable at times, but I still loved taking this journey with the girls as they discover more about themselves and each other.”

Overflowing Bookshelves’ review: “This book has been called ‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants for the new generation’ and I can agree with that.”

Monday, May 25, 2015

Blog Tour: Nearly Found (Nearly Gone #2) by Elle Cosimano | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Nearly Found (Nearly Gone #2) by Elle Cosimano | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Nearly Found (Nearly Gone #2) by Elle Cosimano | Review + GiveawayNearly Found by Elle Cosimano
Series: Nearly Gone #2
Published by Penguin Teen on June 2, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

The sequel to the highly praised and intricately plotted Nearly Gone--a YA urban mystery that's perfect for fans of Bones, Numbers, and The Body Finder

When Nearly Boswell starts working as an intern at a crime lab, she's hoping it will give her an advantage when it comes to college applications. But on her first day, a girl from her trailer park turns up dead. Then the corpse of a missing person is discovered, buried on a golf course, with a message for Nearly etched into the bones. When Nearly finds out the corpse is the father of Eric, a classmate of hers, she starts to worry that the body is connected to her father's disappearance five years ago. Nearly, Reece, and Nearly's classmates--Vince, Jeremy, and Eric--start a dangerous investigation into their fathers' pasts that threatens Nearly's fragile romance with Reece, and puts all them in the killer's path.

picadillyblueNearly Found is a solid sequel to Nearly Gone.  While I didn’t love it as much as it’s predecessor, it captured my attention and kept me guessing until the very end.

Nearly Boswell is back and better than ever.  With her tormentor behind bars her life should be on it’s way back to normal.  However, that is not the case.  She, along with many people in her life, have started receiving messages in places that should not be accessible to people; locked cars, bedrooms, and other private places.  It’s up to Nearly, Reece, and her fellow classmates to figure out what is going on before bodies start piling up.

Nearly and Reece are back and their relationship is still very new.  Nearly is starting school, a new internship, and on top of all that she is once again involved in some crazy stuff.  She can’t ever seem to keep herself out of trouble.  As for Reece, he has a new assignment that keeps him from spending a lot of time with Nearly and puts their new relationship on the rocks.  To be completely honest, I was a little skeptical about him this time around.  He acted quite sketchy at times.  I wanted to love him like I did in the first book but he made it difficult.

This time around Nearly had a lot more allies, even if some of them were reluctant to team up with her.  Alex and Gena are back but they don’t have prominent roles.  I still loved them though, especially Alex.  Jeremy and Anh are also back and I had some serious issues with them.  They both blamed Nearly from what happened at the end of the first book and pretty much dropped her as a friend.  I hated that.  Vince was back and a bit less of a douchebag.  Lonny was my favorite though.  He has a unique relationship with Nearly.  They have more in common than either would like to admit.

My biggest problem with Nearly Found was how much crap Nearly got away with.  She was an intern with the forensics lab and she totally took advantage of the access that granted her.  She should have been caught and in serious trouble many times but she somehow got away with it.  It was very unrealistic.  Her internship was a pretty fascinating part of the story though.

The mystery was just as good as the first book.  I was completely unable to see the connections.  I had no clue how everything was going to tie together.  There were so many times when I just wanted to skip to the end to see who it was but I forced myself not to.  I devoured the book in one day though because I could not stop reading without figuring out who the killer was.  Good luck guessing this one.

As for Nearly, her development as a character and with her ability was fantastic.  She is more open to touching people and she is really trying to learn to deal with her ability without pushing people away.

Overall, Nearly Found was a wonderful conclusion to this duology.  I look forward to reading Elle Cosimano’s next book.  I highly recommend this duology to suspense fans.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Nearly Gone (Nearly Gone #1) by Elle Cosimano | Review

Nearly Gone (Nearly Gone #1) by Elle Cosimano | ReviewNearly Gone by Elle Cosimano
Series: Nearly Gone #1
Published by Penguin Teen on March 25, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 388
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

Bones meets Fringe in a big, dark, scary, brilliantly-plotted urban thriller that will leave you guessing until the very end.

Nearly Boswell knows how to keep secrets. Living in a DC trailer park, she knows better than to share anything that would make her a target with her classmates. Like her mother's job as an exotic dancer, her obsession with the personal ads, and especially the emotions she can taste when she brushes against someone's skin. But when a serial killer goes on a killing spree and starts attacking students, leaving cryptic ads in the newspaper that only Nearly can decipher, she confides in the one person she shouldn't trust: the new guy at school—a reformed bad boy working undercover for the police, doing surveillance. . . on her.

Nearly might be the one person who can put all the clues together, and if she doesn't figure it all out soon—she'll be next.

picadillyblueSuspense novels for teens are hard to find.  Good suspense novels for teens are extremely hard to find.  Nearly Gone fits into that second category.  Elle Cosimano’s debut novel blew me away.  I was up all night reading.  I dare you to put this one down once you start it.

Nearly (yes, that is her name) spends her Friday mornings searching the personal ads in the newspaper, not always sure what she’s looking for.  One day she discovers an ad with a sinister undertone and realizes that it is meant for her.  It sets her on a course of action that brings her in the path of a killer and changes her life forever.

Nearly is a character that is impossible not to like.  She’s smart and spunky and the girl has attitude.  She was a major nerd (way smarter than I could ever be!) and while she embraced that nerdiness it also made it hard for her to fit in with most people.  She was an outsider at school and her classmates were not nice about it at all.  She wasn’t afraid to stand up for herself though and she did have some friends to back her up.  Jeremy and Anh are Nearly’s two closest friends.  It’s pretty obvious from the start that Jeremy wants more with Nearly but even so, he’s still a good friend to her.  He’s got some issues having to do with his home life and I truly wanted to see him happy.  As for Anh, she was Nearly’s friend but also her biggest competition.  I never really knew what to think of their friendship.

Then there was Reece.  Where do I even begin?  Elle Cosimano found and exploited my weakness for tattooed, pierced bad boys with good hearts.  Reece and Nearly have undeniable chemistry and their banter made me love them together.  They had some serious rough patches but they worked well together.  Reece had the street smarts and Nearly had the book smarts.  Together they made an unstoppable team.  Also, angry makeout sessions are the best.

The mystery is what really hooked me.  I was stumped from the start.  There is so much going on that I could never tie it all  back to one person.  There were definitely some red herrings that kept me on my toes too.  Elle Cosimano also doesn’t pull any punches just because it’s a YA book.  It’s not gruesome or overly horrifying but it’s not toned down for a younger audience.

As for Nearly’s ability, it helped with her investigation into the killer but it didn’t play as prominent a role as I expected.  She can sense feelings by touching someones skin.  It helped her sense when someone was lying but it’s not like she had the ability to sense what someone was lying about.  It was definitely an interesting ability though and it kind of broke my heart that Nearly could feel all the bad things people thought of her.

Overall, Nearly Gone is what I am always looking for in a YA suspense novel.  It’s fast-paced with a mystery that never becomes obvious.  Elle Cosimano’s debut is perfect for suspense fans.

What others are saying about Nearly Gone:

Presenting Lenore’s review: “NEARLY GONE is the rare mystery that is both character and plot driven. Definitely worth a look, especially if you like puzzles.”

Shae Has Left The Room’s review: “A large part of my enjoyment of this book rests on the narrow shoulders of the fantastic Nearly Boswell.”

The YA Kitten’s review: “That’s not to say the novel is a terrible mystery–honestly, the mystery angle of the novel is one of the only angles it gets right–but it needed much more work to be a good, fully formed book.”

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Blog tour: Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt | Review + Favorite Quotes + Giveaway

Blog tour: Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt | Review + Favorite Quotes + Giveaway

Blog tour: Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt | Review + Favorite Quotes + GiveawayHold Me Like A Breath by Tiffany Schmidt
Series: Once Upon A Crime Family #1
Published by Bloomsbury on May 19, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Penelope Landlow has grown up with the knowledge that almost anything can be bought or sold—including body parts. She’s the daughter of one of the three crime families that control the black market for organ transplants.

Penelope’s surrounded by all the suffocating privilege and protection her family can provide, but they can't protect her from the autoimmune disorder that causes her to bruise so easily.

And in her family's line of work no one can be safe forever.

All Penelope has ever wanted is freedom and independence. But when she’s caught in the crossfire as rival families scramble for prominence, she learns that her wishes come with casualties, that betrayal hurts worse than bruises, that love is a risk worth taking . . . and maybe she’s not as fragile as everyone thinks.

picadillyblueHold Me Like a Breath is a completely fresh new story for the YA genre.  Tiffany Scmidt has crafted a wonderfully captivating story that will hook readers from start to finish.  And who wouldn’t love a princess and the pea retelling?

I’ve always been fascinated with stories relating to the mob so I had a feeling this would be a book for me.  I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of detail and involvement the mob aspect actually had to do with the story.  While Penny is part of a crime family, they aren’t bad people.  The purpose of the Landlow Family was to help people who the government couldn’t.  They definitely did it for the money but they also wanted to help.  It made it easy for me to sympathize with everything their family went through.

Penny was both one of my favorite and least favorite characters in the book.  She was incredibly naive which bothered me.  She lived a very sheltered life so I understand why she was like that but it seemed as if any lessons she’d had on surviving left her as soon as she was on her own.  She was an amazingly strong person, having to deal with everything on her own, including her illness.  However, she very quickly comes to trust a stranger when she is on the run for her life.  There were a few moments where I wanted to smack some sense into her.  Also, the illness aspect adds a whole other layer to Penny’s story.  Being on the run is bad enough but there was also the constant danger of Penny’s illness incapacitating or even killing her.

The rest of the characters were quite a mix.  Penny’s family and Family were very protective of her and so she didn’t know everything about them.  Carter was an adorable older brother and while he was very mysterious, his love for Penny was always clear. It was the same with her parents.  They handled her with kid gloves because they both loved her so much.  Their family was very sweet.  Then there was Garrett.  I am still torn about him and you’ll understand why when you read the book.  The whole bodyguard aspect definitely drew me to him but his sweetness also did.  As for Char, he also greatly appealed to me.  The romance between him and Penny was so fun.

The mystery could have been a bit more developed but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  I could see what was coming from the start but it still threw me for a loop.  I’m not sure where things will go with the sequel because things tied up pretty nicely at the end of this but I’m still eager for more.

Overall, Hold Me Like a Breath will greatly appeal to fans of contemporary thrillers and also Holly Black’s Curse Workers series.  I can’t recommend it enough.

What others are saying about Hold Me Like a Breath:

Novel Novice’s review: “Billed as the first in the Once Upon a Crime Family series, Hold Me Like a Breath still reads like a standalone novel — which is really the best of both worlds.”

Fantastic Book Reviews’ review: “Hold Me Like a Breath had plenty of grit to go around.”

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About the author:

Tiffany Schmidt is the author of Send Me a Sign, Bright Before Sunrise, and Hold Me Like a Breath. She’s found her happily ever after in Pennsylvania with her saintly husband, impish twin boys, and a pair of mischievous puggles.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook | Tumblr

 

Favorite Quotes

These two quotes kinda perfectly describe Penny and both of the boys she has relationships with. I also love the contrast of the two.

“There wouldn’t be a clean break. I could no more sever him completely than I could untangle my DNA and remove whatever combination of nucleotides spelled out my skin’s tendency toward purple”

“He beamed. Beamed. No one had ever smiled at me like that. Like just by walking out the door I’d made his life better. It punched holes in my caution, made me feel off-balance.”

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Whatever Life Throws At You by Julie Cross | Review

Whatever Life Throws At You by Julie Cross | ReviewWhatever Life Throws At You by Julie Cross
Published by Entangled TEEN on October 7, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 373
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

Life loves a good curveball…

Seventeen-year-old Annie Lucas's life is completely upended the moment her dad returns to the major leagues as the new pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals. Now she's living in Missouri (too cold), attending an all-girls school (no boys), and navigating the strange world of professional sports. But Annie has dreams of her own—most of which involve placing first at every track meet…and one starring the Royals' super-hot rookie pitcher.

But nineteen-year-old Jason Brody is completely, utterly, and totally off-limits. Besides, her dad would kill them both several times over. Not to mention Brody has something of a past, and his fan club is filled with C-cupped models, not smart-mouthed high school “brats” who can run the pants off every player on the team. Annie has enough on her plate without taking their friendship to the next level. The last thing she should be doing is falling in love.

But baseball isn't just a game. It's life. And sometimes, it can break your heart…

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Whatever Life Throws At You is the first new adult novel I’ve read by Julie Cross but it definitely will not be my last.  It’s a thoroughly enjoyable read with romance, betrayal, and baseball (meaning men in tight pants).  What more could a girl want?

Annie Lucas and Jason Brody may be seriously attracted to each other but they really don’t care much for each other.  Annie is the daughter of the Kansas City Royals’ pitching coach and Brody is the 19-year-old rookie pitcher for the team.  They have every reason to stay away from each other but things keep throwing them together.  Eventually their attraction may just overcome their dislike.

Annie is a determined, strong, kind, and funny girl.  She’s pretty much all her dad has and so they are very close.  They grow even closer when they move to a new state so her dad can take the job.  Brody has nobody and so he sees Annie’s dad as a father figure when he takes him under his wing.  This relationship between Brody and Annie’s dad throws them in each others paths very frequently and a friendship (maybe more) starts to grow.

I loved the development of the relationship between Annie and Brody.  They really didn’t think much of each other until they looked past the outer images they both portray to the world.  Brody is seen as a bad boy player but he still finds time to make it to Annie’s track meets.  Annie is seen as a bit of a snob but she’s the only one who really takes the time to encourage Brody.  Clearly there is more to both than meets the eye.  A wary friendship starts and eventually leads to more.

The family and friend relationships were also wonderful.  Annie, Jim, and her grandmother are all very close and very open with each other.  Annie’s mom, on the other hand, is a terrible person who I hated from the start.  I also hated Annie’s best friend, Lenny’s family.  They were so fake and I really loved that Lenny had Annie.  Same with Jim’s relationship to Brody.  He was not his kid but he still cared a lot for him.

The baseball aspect was not overpowering but still really fun.  Baseball is not a sport I care for but Julie Cross did a great job making it interesting.

Overall, Whatever Life Throws At You is a new favorite of mine.  I would certainly be interested in reading more about these characters.  Also, there is a great blending of new adult and young adult so it would be great as an introduction to the new adult genre.

What others are saying about Whatever Life Throws At You:

Geeky Mythology’s review: “A great part of the book is spent building family relationships and it’s told beautifully.”

NoseGraze’s review: “Whatever Life Throws at You was another book that I didn’t want to end.”

Book Rock Betty’s review: “Overall, a really solid contemporary romance!”

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Blog Tour: Rules of Seduction by Jenna Mullins | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Rules of Seduction by Jenna Mullins | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Rules of Seduction by Jenna Mullins | Review + GiveawayRules of Seduction by Jenna Mullins
Published by The Studio on April 21, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

The first rule of seduction is: don’t fall in love.

Fresh out of college, Dani Young heads for the LA sun to chase her dream of becoming a screenwriter-director. So when her former BFF turned actress Elise offers Dani the opportunity to work on the hit teen show Vamp Camp, Dani can’t refuse, even if it comes at a price: Elise wants Dani to seduce her boyfriend, Vamp Camp superstar Tate Lawrence. Turns out Elise has some major trust issues, and needs Dani to test Tate’s faith. The only rule: don’t fall in love with him.

Sure, Dani doesn’t mind occasionally glimpsing Tate’s megawatt smile…or accidentally-on-purpose brushing up against his perfect torso…but she’s no fool. There’s no way she’d ever fall for a shallow celebrity and no way one would fall for her, a lanky movie nerd.

But amidst vampire-crazed fans, a conniving fellow intern, and a devilishly handsome showrunner, Dani feels like all the rules she used to know have disappeared, except for one: Love doesn’t play by the rules.

Part The Devil Wears Prada, part How To Lose a Guy in Ten Days, this story of friendship and romance is sure to appeal to fans of Stephanie Perkins, Jennifer E. Smith, and Anna Todd.

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Rules of Seduction is an adorable new adult novel about the inner workings of Hollywood and what it takes to make it in the business.  With a fun cast of characters and an awkwardly cute romance, it’s a quick read for contemporary fans.

Dani is both the best thing about Rules of Seduction and the worst.  She’s an adorably awkward girl who is so easy to relate to but she is also extremely naive.  She’s on her own for the first time and she’s just moved to LA.  She wants to be some big time director of indie films but to get there she has to start at the bottom.  People tend to walk all over her and things I could see coming from a mile away came as a surprise to her.  I loved her personality though.  She was such a nerd and she was so clueless when it came to guys, especially Tate.  Speaking of, Tate was so much more than I expected.  He was not the typical Hollywood bad boy player.  He had a great heart and he was quite a nerd too, deep down.  He and Dani brought out the best in each other.

The secondary characters really helped tie things together too.  Dani’s roommate, Brit, was a totally unique person.  She had a mind of her own and she did what she wanted.  She was good to Dani through everything, even when she knew Dani was doing something totally dumb.  Elise, Tate’s girlfriend and Dani’s friend from back home, was not all that great but I feel like I just didn’t see enough of her to really come to like her.

The story was really fun.  I have never really been all that interested in famous people or the Hollywood industry but Jenna Mullins did a great job of making it fun and easy to understand.  The base of the story was definitely a romance but there was enough other stuff going on that it didn’t feel completely devoted to the romance.  The details surrounding Dani’s job and her dreams were really intricate and made for a very interesting look at Hollywood.

Overall, I was definitely impressed with Jenna Mullins’ debut novel.  I look forward to reading more from her and I wouldn’t complain if Tate and Dani made an appearance in future novels.

What others are saying about Rules of Seduction:

Book Flame’s review:  “Rules of Seduction was a cute and light-hearted read.”

Swoony Boys Podcast’s review: “The idea for this story was amazing, and we loved experiencing Dani’s snarky, fun attitude coming off the page.”

Sleeps on Tables’ review: “First thing’s first, when I say this is a fun read, I mean it wholeheartedly.”

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In fourth grade, Jenna put her classmates into a story about fire safety, and they laughed the entire time she read it aloud. Since then, she’s been writing with the sole purpose to entertain other people. Fire safety, however, fell to the wayside when she accidentally set her grandmother’s bathroom on fire when she was 12.

In 2010, she moved from Indiana to Los Angeles to intern at E!, and she is now a writer/editor/pop culture gatekeeper at E! Online. A Midwest girl who prefers Southern California weather, Jenna loves the Indianapolis Colts, saving Hyrule and training for her backup dream career: deciding what goes into the baskets on Food Network’s Chopped. She currently resides in LA with her nerdy, handsome boyfriend Kyle and their two fluffier-than-normal cats, Glenn and Zelda.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord | Review

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord | ReviewThe Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Published by Bloomsbury on March 31, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, & second chances.

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

picadillyblueI read and adored Emery Lord’s debut novel, Open Road Summer. It was the perfect blend of romance, friendship, and music. That being the case, I had high expectations for The Start of Me and You.  Perhaps my expectations were too high because I found myself only liking this one as compared to how much I loved Open Road Summer.

The Start of Me and You follows Paige Hancock on her journey to move past the death of her boyfriend.  Her journey includes a list of things she wants to do: date a guy, go swimming, join a club, etc.  Seems simple enough except she has her sights set on a specific boy and he tends to make her a bit tongue-tied.  Ryan Chase has been her crush for years and she starts of her school year expecting to date him and not settle for anything less than that.  Obviously things don’t go according to plan.  Ryan’s cousin, Max, moves back to town and he strikes up a friendship with Paige.  Unlike Ryan, Max is easy for Paige to be around and he doesn’t make her nervous at all.  Paige’s plan might be Ryan but Max seems to have plans of his own.

Paige was a bit annoying in her pursuit of Ryan.  She barely knew the guy and while the reason she initially developed a crush on him was sweet, the staying power of that crush just didn’t make sense.  She had little to nothing in common with Ryan.  Max, on the other hand, had a healthy friendship with Paige that was so sweet.  They had so much in common and the way they made fun of each other was so adorably cute.  They were able to be themselves with each other, no matter how dorky.  Max was totally the type of guy I could see myself crushing on.  He was not the typical love interest but he was well-rounded and adorably nerdy.

Max and Paige were not the best characters though.  Paige’s friends were the best.  She always had a solid support system no matter what she was going through.  They stood by her through all the tough times and in return she was there for them when they needed her.  No matter what happened they always knew they had each other. Sure they fought but what friends don’t?  They worked through their issues and they always saw past their little fights to what really mattered.

The story was cute and fast-paced enough that I didn’t find my attention wavering from the book even once.  While I didn’t get Paige’s superficial crush on Ryan, I still liked her and I wanted to see her cross everything off her list.  Even though I had I feeling I knew how things were going to end for Paige, I kept reading because I wanted to know how it would all play out.  It was everything I could have hoped for.

Overall, The Start of Me and You is a strong sophomore novel for Emery Lord.  Paige and her group of friends wormed their way into my heart and I’m sure they will do the same with many other readers.  I highly encourage any contemporary fans to check this one out.

What others are saying about The Start of Me and You:

The Book Addict’s Guide’s review: “THE START OF ME AND YOU was very sweet and lots of fun to read (QuizBowl! What an awesome idea and so great to incorporate) and it was another very solid contemporary from Emery Lord.”

Bookiemoji’s review: “This book is my soul animal.”

Lost In Literature’s review: “The Start of You and Me is the perfect contemporary story that I go all heart eyes for.”