Thursday, January 30, 2014

Review: Kiss the Sky by Krista and Becca Ritchie

Title: Kiss the Sky
Author: Krista and Becca Ritchie
Published: January 22nd 2014
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble 
*An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review*

Virgin. Sex addict. Daredevil. Alcoholic. Smartass … Jackass. Her five friends are about to be filmed. Reality TV, be prepared.

Rose Calloway thought she had everything under control. At twenty-three, she’s a Princeton graduate, an Academic Bowl champion, a fashion designer and the daughter of a Fortune 500 mogul. But with a sex addict as a sister and roommate, nothing comes easy.

After accepting help from a producer, Rose agrees to have her life filmed for a reality television show. The Hollywood exec is her last chance to revive her struggling fashion line, and boundaries begin to blur as she’s forced to make nice with a man who always has his way.

Twenty-four-year-old Connor Cobalt is a guy who bulldozes weak men. He’s confident, smart-as-hell and lives with his equally ambitious girlfriend, Rose Calloway. Connor has to find a way to protect Rose without ruining the show. Or else the producer will get what Connor has always wanted—Rose’s virginity.

This New Adult Standalone Romance can be described as Friends meets The Real World. Expect fist fights, drugs, sex of varying degrees, crude humor and competitive alpha males. Definitely for mature readers audiences only.
It's been over a week since I read it and I can't get it out of my head. This review is so hard for me to write. Not because I didn’t love this book, no, I absolutely did! I just don’t know what to say. My thoughts are speeding on a highway a million miles an hour and I don’t know which ones to catch and which to let go of. They all feel immensely important and want to be told, but I can’t write a full-length novel, so bare with me while I try to work out my feelings and thoughts with you.

“You go through life, seeing people one way. And in one fucking moment, what you thought was commonplace becomes something else, something…different.” He shrugs. “That’s all. I see you guys a little differently. Not bad, not good. Just fucking different.” (Yeah, Ryke has a foul mouth lol.)

The first thing I discovered while reading Kiss the Sky is that it’s so much better to read it along with a friend. Thanks, Nick, for talking to me and fangirling and analyzing. It was truly a blast to share this with you :) The second thing I discovered is that different doesn’t always mean bad. You see, I had this vision or idea in my head of how Rose and Connor were supposed to be. How they’d touch, react, talk, share, be intimate with each other… I had all of it figured out. Some of it, in Krista and Becca’s mind, was similar to mine while other things were completely different from what I expected. I loved Ryke’s quote (read above) about difference and I couldn’t agree more.

Oh, how I love this cast of characters! They’re most certainly one my favorite group of friends in any book I have ever read. They have some huge problems, but still manage to banter, smile and on top of that encourage each other on. They are fiercely protective, loyal and caring. It takes great writing and skill to pull off a plot where the main characters are developed to full lengths and the side characters aren’t forgotten either. It’s a big book, but Daisy and Ryke got an even bigger introduction than in Ricochet and Addicted for Now. In addition, we see the cute, sexy and funny sides with a touch of desperation to Lo and Lily’s relationship through someone else's eyes. The characters are perfectly developed by Krista and Becca—the two wizards of great chemistry and tension.

As for the plot, there were some scenes that had me a bit disturbed. Heh. They just weren’t what I expected, but even through my discomfort (on top of that, it’s all very explicit, which, as I later came to realize, I didn’t mind), I understand all the why’s and how’s and you know what? I approve. Not every couple is meant to be the same and Connor never treats Rose with nothing but utmost respect that is driven by desire, admiration and love. I adored seeing Connor open up and finding himself with the ability to love. It was a great discovery and the way this book ended? I’m only going to ask you this: can you spell p-e-r-f-e-c-t-i-o-n?  Because it was. Perfect, that is.

You know what else was perfect? Lo and Connor's bromance! I could watch them banter every minute of every day. Also, you know how Tahereh Mafi has this famous chapter in Unravel Me? Kiss the Sky has two of them: chapter 10 (Connor doing something incredibly sexy and for some reason every time I hear this song by Drake, the scene just pops into my head as if to torture me. In a VERY good way, haha. *fans self*) and chapter 41 (which had me choking on laughter.) YOU NEED TO READ THESE TWO SCENES (and the rest of the book) ASAP!!!!! 

Because it wouldn't be a review for this book and these two authors if it wasn't for a gif, and because I'm pretty much that awkward with winks. Yeah...

I did my best not to make it all about Connor. You all know by now how much I adore him. You’d all be pretty much bored out of your mind if I wrote this review only about his amazing qualities (which he’d entirely approve of), but to save you from this, I’m going to let you discover him all by yourselves. We can fangirl later. Together :) I hope that you do end up giving this book (which can be read as a stand-alone!), the rest of the Addicted world and its characters a try. This is something you do NOT want to miss and you’ll be kicking yourself later for not having tried them any sooner. I’m saving you from all that emotional turmoil and trouble and ordering asking you to GO READ THESE BOOKS!!!! :D

**PS. On the rating: Why not 5.0? Due to my original discomfort... (read above.)
**PPS. The Nook e-book price is completely ridiculous and in a good way!

Overall rating: 4.8 out of 5.0
Stars: ★★★★
Thank you to Krista and Becca who kindly provided me with an ARC which has not in any way affected my thoughts on the book.

Meet the authors

Goodreads (K) | Goodreads (B) | Twitter (K) Twitter (B) | Website Facebook

Monday, January 27, 2014

Review: Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

Title: Stealing Parker (Hundred Oaks #2)
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Published: October 1st 2012
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan's Hundred Oaks High.
Parker Shelton pretty much has the perfect life. She’s on her way to becoming valedictorian at Hundred Oaks High, she’s made the all-star softball team, and she has plenty of friends. Then her mother’s scandal rocks their small town and suddenly no one will talk to her.
Now Parker wants a new life.
So she quits softball. Drops twenty pounds. And she figures why kiss one guy when she can kiss three? Or four. Why limit herself to high school boys when the majorly cute new baseball coach seems especially flirty?
But how far is too far before she loses herself completely?

Discovering Miranda Kenneally last year as one of the biggest contemporary YA sensations was really awesome. I adore her smooth, effortless writing and sweet, real and honest characters. They're easy to relate to and make rooting for them fun. Whereas I absolutely loved Catching Jordan, Stealing Parker unfortunately didn't live up to my hopes. Let me tell you all about it.

“Sometimes you gotta do what’s right for you and forget about everybody else. All that matters is what you want. What you need.”

First of all, I had heard that these books held religion in them, but it wasn't such a huge part in Jordan's book. Stealing Parker was more religion-oriented and while I don't judge anyone who is even slightly religious, no, it did make me feel a little uncomfortable I guess. I actually wasn't a big fan of Parker, but she did grow on me with the last couple of chapters. I guess I didn't fully understand her that much, hence me not connecting with her.

The three guys in Parker's life

  1. At the beginning of the novel, I was impressed with Drew. He came out of the closet. (Sort of.) He was a great friend. Then, all of the sudden, I was really disappointed in Drew when he turned his back on Parker thanks to that thing with Will. She was right, he didn’t listen to her nor let her explain. He came back though, didn’t he? I guess I can forgive him.
  2. I loved Will. He was such a refreshing character and I like how even though the guys in Miranda’s books are pretty much as popular as they come, they aren’t jerks nor are they dark, mysterious etc. They’re still ordinary, flawed guys, but they’re also friendly, caring and fun. That makes Sam Henry and Will so awesome and great to root for. 
  3. On another note, I didn’t like this Brian guy at all. He was such a d-bag. He was so selfish and I still don’t know if he truly cared about Parker or just wanted to have a good time. The way he said Park to her, made me furrow my brows and widen my eyes. Dude, it wasn’t cute, but rather annoying actually.

My favorite part of the book: Parker and her mom

Even though romance rules as a king on a high throne in this plot, the biggest issue is still Parker and her mom because if it wasn’t for what happened, Parker probably wouldn’t be hooking up with all of these people. She’s so upset with her mom and the fallback that happened after she left and it was heartbreaking to watch. When they finally reconnected, it was the most emotional part of my reading experience regarding this book. I really liked the ending. Also, I agreed with Parker’s mom when she said that some people are better of friends than lovers. That’s a grain of life wisdom, cupcakes!

All in all, I was let down by this piece. I didn’t really connect with Parker nor was I fan of the plot. I guess I had these huge expectations after finishing Catching Jordan and loving every minute of it, but you know.. I’m not giving up on Miranda. Her writing is strong and the ending chapters are always my favorite--the ones where the story comes together. There are 4 more books for me to explore and I will devour them all piece by piece. Some of them sooner than later :)

Overall rating: 2.5 out of 5 
Stars: ★★★

Meet the author

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Friday, January 24, 2014

Excerpt and Giveaway: Kiss the Sky by Krista and Becca Ritchie

You guys. YOU GUYS. If you know me at all, you know that Connor Cobalt *fans self* is basically my hero. He is smart, charming, very educated (hello there, triple major!), wicked, extremely handsome, has a great sense of humor, is loyal, adorable and protects his loved ones. What's not to love?! So this thing happened today (well, actually yesterday ;)). His book was released. How excited am I? SO VERY EXCITED YOU HAVE NO IDEA. Lily, Lo, Ryke and Daisy will all be featured in it, but the main focus is on Rose and Connor. I had a chance to read the arc already, but haven't written a review yet. Why? Well, I honestly don't know what to say, because there are so many thoughts speeding through my mind. I will try to get around writing it this weekend and hopefully give you a piece of my mind next week. (And if you're going to ask, YES I DID ENJOY IT :)) Anyhow, you're here for the excerpt, right? I'm happy to share this with you and be sure to give your luck a try in the giveaway. You do not want to be left out on getting a chance to win this prize! Good luck, lovelies! x

Title: Kiss the Sky
Authors: Krista & Becca Ritchie
Genre: New Adult Standalone Romance
Published: January 24, 2014
Hosted by: Love Between the Sheets Promotions
Add it: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Virgin. Sex addict. Daredevil. Alcoholic. Smartass … Jackass. Her five friends are about to be filmed. Reality TV, be prepared.
Rose Calloway thought she had everything under control. At twenty-three, she’s a Princeton graduate, an Academic Bowl champion, a fashion designer and the daughter of a Fortune 500 mogul. But with a sex addict as a sister and roommate, nothing comes easy.
After accepting help from a producer, Rose agrees to have her life filmed for a reality television show. The Hollywood exec is her last chance to revive her struggling fashion line, and boundaries begin to blur as she’s forced to make nice with a man who always has his way.
Twenty-four-year-old Connor Cobalt is a guy who bulldozes weak men. He’s confident, smart-as-hell and lives with his equally ambitious girlfriend, Rose Calloway. Connor has to find a way to protect Rose without ruining the show. Or else the producer will get what Connor has always wanted—Rose’s virginity.
**This New Adult Standalone Romance can be described as Friends meets The Real World. Expect fist fights, drugs, sex of varying degrees, crude humor and competitive alpha males. Definitely for mature readersaudiences only.

The excerpt

OH YOU GUYS. THIS SCENE *hyperventilates* THIS. SCENE. 
Oh, and don't ask who Scott is or what he's doing there in the shower room with these two. He just.. isn't worth the time to explain. *shudders* Safe to say we don't get along.

Meet the authors

Krista Ritchie has a clone...or someone who looks exactly like her. If she's not writing books with her twin sister, she's pouring over entertainment news and ingesting copious amounts of pop culture. She likes tennis, that thing called the TV, and beating Becca (her clone) on Sega Genesis. She created YA Book Exchange to combat her book buying addiction and started Nawanda Files, a YA Book Blog that features books into movies news, to share her love for all things bookish. Oh, and she does something called science. Whatever that is.
Krista & Becca Ritchie write New Adult books that make you cringe, gasp, and go ooh-la-la. (If you do that sort of thing.) They are currently working on the spin-offs and final books in the Addicted series.

Goodreads (K) | Goodreads (B) | Twitter (K) Twitter (B) | Website Facebook Tumblr Pinterest


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Winter Wishes Read-a-thon Goals

Hey you! I'm going to invite you all to take part of this weekend's Winter Wishes Read-a-thon. I took part of the Summer-Lovin one last year and it was so fun! Since it's so darn cold outside (I'm not complaining though--rain and clouds for a month were tiring me so much and now we finally have snow and sunshine since a few weeks ago--it's actually more like a bliss to sit in front of a fireplace and write this message to you.) and I have nothing else to do anyway, I'm going to read, read and read. At least that's the plan :)

I signed up to Winter Wishes Read-a-thon via Read-a-thon Central and it's hosted by Tamara from Shelf Addiction and Stephanie from Love. Life. Read. You can sign up by clicking here. If you read anything yesterday, you can write that down as your achievement because the event takes place throughout 3 days starting from Jan 24th to Jan 26th. There will be giveaways, twitter chats etc, but the event is mostly for you to get some reading done and perhaps gain some new friends :) I'll be updating the books I've read on Goodreads as well as on the sidebar (with the page count) of my blog.

What did I choose to read?

I'm planning on marathoning Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi in preparation for Into the Still Blue. The books I'm going to read are:

Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1) (re-read)
Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2)
Brooke (Under the Never Sky #2.5)

Why haven't I included Roar and Liv? It's simple, actually. I just read it last week (and loved it). It's pretty pointless to read it yet again. That's why. Though it's Roar, so maybe I'll re-read my marked passages and quotes :)

Readers' Choice

Since I want to include all of you, this is where you come in. You get to choose which one I'm going to read if I have any time left after finishing the first two books and Brooke's novella from UtNS series. I'll take two books that received the most votes and when I'm done with the winner, I'll hopefully start the following one. So, when I have more time on my hands, I'm going to read one (or two) of these:

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
French Kiss by Sarra Manning
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent

That is one ambitious pile of books here because I'm not the quickest reader in the world and I'm working until 3 pm so that's already half a day lost. I'm not worrying though, if I won't make it to reading anything other than UtNS series, I'm going to read the book with the most votes next week. Just leave your recommendation(s) from this list in the comments (or tweet me if you prefer) and I'll sum up the votes and pick the one with the highest score :)

Let me know if you signed up for this event and have a great weekend, lovelies! x

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Review: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Title: The Distance Between Us
Author: Kasie West
Published: July 2nd 2013
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.
So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.
She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

There’s nothing better than a book that proves you wrong. You see, I knew that people adored this book so so so much and I was very hesitant to try it. When it came out, I started reading it, but the first chapter felt so cliché that I put it down and didn’t even try to push through it. Sometime later, during a cold November day, I thought I really ought to give it one more go. Best. Decision. Ever.

“Sometimes it's the little things that bring that special someone back to us in some small way.”

How many times have you seen a movie or read a book about the poor girl and the rich boy and their star-crossed love story? A million? Probably. I was so sure that I had all of this figured out beforehand, but boy was I wrong! First of all, the characters? Yipiiyay. Caymen (trying really hard here not to make a Caveman joke) was full of sarcasm and dry humor. This girl was the perfect lead to such a seemingly cheesy story. Also, Xander was a really great male lead since he wasn’t the prince charming, but a very sweet guy nonetheless. Their career days were my favorite and I wish that someone would have helped me out with all the decisions prior college. There’re so many options nowadays and it’s hard to make the right one at such a young age.

Also, you know the plot formula that goes like this—girl meets boy; they fight their feelings, fall in love, get together; families try to tear them apart, especially the rich person’s parents; they break up over some jealousy issue or an obvious lie; everything gets sorted out and they live happily ever after. Sounds familiar? Ha. I was waiting for the break up, for Xander’s family to start sabotaging the relationship... Nada. Nothing like this happened. It was so refreshing and truly felt like a breath of fresh air. I loved how it didn’t make me cry, but rather kept a huge smile on my face. I basically looked something like this throughout the entire novel:

See? I was this happy with The Distance Between Us and I truly loved every single moment of it. I don’t think it’s the strongest novel I have ever read and I wasn’t perhaps that emotionally invested in Caymen’s story, but it was so cute and warm—the perfect kind to make a cold day all kinds of fuzzy and happy. Since you’ve all probably read this one already, there’s nothing left to say than you were right and I was wrong. Now I just need to get myself to read Pivot Point asap :)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Meet the author

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Review: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Title: Blood Red Road (Dust Lands #1)
Author: Moira Young
Published: June 7th 2011
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Saba lives in Silverlake, a wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms where her family scavenge from landfills left by the long-gone Wrecker civilization. After four cloaked horsemen kidnap her beloved twin brother Lugh, she teams up with daredevil Jack and the Free Hawks, a girl gang of Revolutionaries.

Saba learns that she is a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Saba and her new friends stage a showdown that change the course of her civilization.

My, my! I remember reading Jenny’s interview with Moira Young on her blog Supernatural Snark prior Rebel Heart’s release and these two got me intrigued. I admit, I had never heard of this series until that point. You probably all know about my US paperback format quirk and since the US paperback was a pre-order back then, and therefore cheaper than usual, I got it. It was totally on impulse. I had no idea what I was setting myself up for. When I pulled a paper slip out of my unread physical copies list with Blood Red Road on it, I was fairly frightened to be honest with you. Turns out I had no reason to be! It was an absolute joy to read this thrilling, thrilling debut. 

“There can be beauty anywhere. Even here. An if it ain't there, you can make it yerself.”

When I cracked the book open and read the first three pages where Saba thinks to herself what went wrong, I was immediately hooked. However, the writing is something I imagine a lot of the readers struggle with. I have never read a book with such a huge dialect throughout the whole book. I guess The Maze Runner by James Dashner is somewhat comparable but not exactly. TMR also has quotation marks whereas Bloor Red Road had none. It took a lot of time for me to adjust, but once I did, I flew through the pages since the book itself is very fast paced and incredibly intriguing.

What happened to Saba and her little sister Emmi during the trip to Hopetown and during their time there was somewhat a blessing in disguise—this horrible thing brought them closer together. Saba was a good sister to Lugh, but she blamed Emmi for the death of their mother and basically hated her guts. She only took care of her because Lugh asked and she’d do anything for her beloved brother. When they were forced to work together in these awful situations, they grew closer and started to care about each other without Lugh having to be in the middle to patch things up. It was beautiful to watch.

I can’t NOT mention Jack in this review, can I? I loved his fun, strong, yet rational personality. He was able to calm Saba down in some very intense situations and I absolutely adored their chemistry and I can’t wait to see what happens in Rebel Heart. Also, the Louis XIV complex the King had was so hilarious and I couldn’t top smirking. There’s one thing I don’t understand though. Demalo. He remains a mystery to me and what in the world was that almost at the end of the book? “Until next time.” Say whaaaaat??? I need some answers!!!

In conclusion, I’d say that this book was one great ride of awesomeness that made me root for its characters on their journeys. I am everglad to have read that interview by Jenny. The short blurb on the cover says it’s better than The Hunger Games and while I can’t entirely agree, I found this novel to be amazing and I will definitely follow the series through to the very end since I can’t imagine it being any other way. You know a book is good when you can’t stop cuddling it and that’s exactly what happened to me.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Meet the author

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Stir Me Up by Sabrina Elkins

I have been waiting forever to post this review and today I'm excited to share my thoughts with you thanks to this great blog tour hosted by YA Bound Book Tours. You can follow the rest of the tour here. At the end of the post is a giveaway and I wish you all good luck!

Title: Stir Me Up
Author: Sabrina Elkins
Published: October 1st 2013
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo iTunes
*A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review*

Cami Broussard has her future all figured out. She'll finish her senior year of high school, then go to work full-time as an apprentice chef in her father's French restaurant, alongside her boyfriend, Luke. But then twenty-year-old ex-Marine Julian Wyatt comes to live with Cami's family while recovering from serious injuries. And suddenly Cami finds herself questioning everything she thought she wanted.
Julian's all attitude, challenges and intense green-brown eyes. But beneath that abrasive exterior is a man who just might be as lost as Cami's starting to feel. And Cami can't stop thinking about him. Talking to him. Wanting to kiss him. He's got her seriously stirred up. Her senior year has just gotten a lot more complicated….

I first heared about Stir Me Up on Nick’s blog. I admit, I was put off by this: look who’s on the cover yet again! It’s Sztella and Pepe. I am not a fan of these two anymore because they’re just.. everywhere. Something about Nick’s review made me want to read this though and what with a cute New Adult novel, romance and cooking – this couldn’t have been any better for me to get hooked.

“I rest my head against him when our mouths break apart, and breathe him in. I love the smell of him, that mysterious, perfect, warm, delicious taste that is him.”

I really liked Cami as a character. She wasn’t overly snarky, impatient, bitchy nor was she a humble, shy average girl who doesn’t stand up to anyone. She was rather a mix of all of these (with the exception of being bitchy, which she was not), but it was her love for cooking and passion for something else than just boys that won me over. Also, this book captured the perfect kind of friendship where best friends encourage the other to follow one’s hearts and support one another. Tracy, Cami’s best friend, wasn’t this man-eater kind of a girl who is described by every cliché imaginable. Yes, she liked her boys, but she was cute as a button when it came to her personality.

Julian. Le sigh. What can I say about this injured war vet who possesses so much wisdom in his young mind? I’m not sure I can do him justice so I’ll just leave it at this: I LOVED HIM. His determination is one of the sexiest things about him. Also, I liked how the portrayal of the relationship was quite a natural one and when the parents find out about this relationship, they aren’t exactly very welcoming. Especially Cami’s dad and even though I may have not approved his reaction, I liked that it was real and definitely showed that he cared more than he led on in the previous happenings of Cami’s life.

There were two issues for me and hopefully this explains why this book doesn’t get full four stars from me. First of all, I found the writing to be lacking in some departments. Let me give you an example:

[Cami and Julian are talking in bed]
“…. . He’ll have to see there’s a purpose in it somewhere.”
“Move this,” he says. He shifts me around so he can rest his head on my stomach.
“I should have thought of this months ago. …”

What exactly does Cami have to move? O.o There were multiple scenes where I didn’t get what happened in the middle of a dialogue, because it wasn’t shown to us. I’m not a very visual reader, but I do appreciate the effort to create a setting. Secondly, I found the ending to drag a little. I was ready for it to end about 4 chapters before it did. It was a nice ending though, just the way I like it. Very natural, realistic and hopefully pleases all romance fans.

All in all, I very much loved this piece. I hope that the previous paragraph explained why I can’t give it 4 stars, which it definitely deserves, but I did have a few issues.. so. Yeah. I think it’s perfect for people who love New Adult, cute romance and great characters and want to break out of the NA trend that’s becoming a little cliché with very little originality. Do I recommend? Yes, most definitely.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
*Thank you to HarlequinTeen and YA Bound Book Tours for providing a review copy.*

Meet the author

I am a former journalist who worked for the Los Angeles Daily Newsand other newspapers in the greater Los Angeles area. Prior to this I worked in advertising, writing ad copy for corporate travel accounts and major motion pictures. My first job out of college was as an administrative assistant to an executive chef and a food & beverage director at a Four Seasons hotel. I also spent some time working as a prep cook for Spago in Beverly Hills.
I received my Master's degree in Journalism from the University of Southern California. While in graduate school, I had the privilege of studying fiction writing under renowned author Hubert Selby, Jr., and comedy writing under famed comedian Shelley Berman. I am a past participant of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers Summer Writing Workshop.
Raised in the woods of Vermont, I now live in the greater Los Angeles area with my husband and three children. STIR ME UP is my first novel.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Book Haul #29

Allrightyyyy. I have lots and lots and lots of books to show you guys since I haven't done one in ages. Consistency isn't my strongest attribute as you can see. I've broken it into multiple parts otherwise you'll be just scrolling it through. If you've read any of them, let me know what you thought :) Or if you wish to read them etc. I can't wait to see what you have received and will visit you all back soon. Have a great weekend, lovelies!

Physical copies

Incarnate (Newsoul #1) by Jodi Meadows
Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver

Massive thanks to one of my blogging besties Christina [Christina Reads YA] for this awesome late-birthday-slash-Christmas gift :')


 Defy (Defy #1) by Sara B. Larson (arc)
Masquerade (Games #3) by Nyrae Dawn (arc)
Song of Fireflies by J.A. Redmerski (arc)

Erased (Altered #2) by Jennifer Rush

Also, if you wish to participate in any of the giveaways (on the sidebar), there are three very good ones (and one will be added next week) up on the blog right now and the one I'm hosting--a paperback copy of The Edge of Never (or The Edge of Always) by J.A. Redmerski--can be found here.

Thank you to Netgalley, Scholastic, Forever and Grand Central Publishing and, of course, the biggest thanks goes to Christina B.

What did you get this week? Leave your links below and I'll check out your goodies :)

In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by The Mod Podge Bookshelf and Stacking the Shelves is a weekly event hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Friday, January 10, 2014

On Organizing My Reading Material

Since I've seen a lot of spreadsheets and stuff like that lately around blogosphere (like Debby's [Snuggly Oranges]), I thought I'd make one of my own as well and it's actually been really helpful. I have some books that I read last year (like Stealing Parker, Throne of Glass etc.) that I'd love to share my thoughts on, but it's getting harder and harder to rate all of the books I have read. I usually compare books on the scale of how much I enjoyed it, but it's even more subjective than it should be, especially depending on what I have read right before/after and very dependent on my mood. How exactly should I solve this problem?

I decided to do this:
  1. I'm writing down every book I have read (in Excel, but you can do it anywhere you please--in Word, Google document etc.), starting with the year 2014 (with the addition of the books I have yet to review on the blog in a separate spreadsheet)
  2. I write down everything I need to know about them, for instance, title, author, publisher, number of pages and such
  3. Then, since I find myself swooning quite a lot while reading, I decided to go borrow something from Lauren [Love is Not a Triangle] and put the love triangle scale there along with the name of my book boyfriend. Why? Well, by the end of the year I want to see how many books I read that included a love triangle, because, seriously, I hate them with passion. At the end of the year I can see whether or not a love triangle made a difference in how much I enjoyed the book and how many books I actually read that included one.
  4. Last, but not least, I wanted to realllllllly solve the rating problem I have. What I like on Nick's [Nick's Book Blog] blog is that she has this system where she rates things in a separate category and the average is what gives the overall rating. That's what I'm doing. Turns out, some ratings like the one I'm going to give for Stir Me Up will remain the same, but some like Throne of Glass will either go up or down. 
All of this put together looks something like this

Of course, it would look different for everyone depending on what they feel like is important to them, but this is what mine looks like for now. This should also help me carry out the end of the year survey since the one I did about last year--yeah, not gonna lie, it was tough. The system I'm trying to develop sounds extremely easy and right now I'm super excited about it. I'm sure it'll be tough to follow this all year through, but I'm going to work hard and try to get more organized when it comes to my reading. I have some questions for you though..

Do you have any way except for Goodreads to keep your reading organized? If so, what do you do? Would you want to be more organized?

Also, would you guys be interested in more posts like this where I talk about myself and how I read, blog, organize stuff etc? I love to read other people's discussion and otherwise helpful posts, but I never seem to get around writing some of my own.

Anyhow, I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and I'll do my best to get a book haul post up this weekend, because I have lots of goodies to show you :) *hugs*

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Review: Icons by Margaret Stohl

Title: Icons (Icons #1)
Author: Margaret Stohl
Published: May 7th 2013
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Your heart beats only with their permission.
Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting.
Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside -- safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid.
She's different. She survived. Why?
When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador's privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn't a coincidence. It's a conspiracy.
Within the Icon's reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions -- which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses -- may actually be their greatest strengths.
I want to rant so bad, but I’m trying to contain myself. Ok, here we go. I’m glad that Stohl is trying to branch away from the Stohl-Garcia duo and the idea of this book is breathtakingly awesome, however, sometimes things just don’t always work out the way we want them to and this was exactly the case here. I didn’t fancy this book and I probably will not continue with the sequel. Let me tell you why.

“I am powerful because of who and what I am. Not because of who I am not.”

The book starts out great. We have Dolores and her best friend Ro and I really enjoyed their dynamic. They complement each other quite well and find solace in each other. They are each other’s rocks. As the novel progresses, they begin to grow apart though. Ro is doing everything in his power to keep them safe from the government that is trying to capture them, but Dol’s poor choices and putting trust in strangers rather than her best friend still manage to get them locked up on an island with two other teens. I really liked the idea of the story, but unfortunately, for me, it didn't live up to the awesome premise. What I’m trying to say is that the execution wasn’t as good as I hoped it’d be. The world building was pretty good, though very complicated (and I still don't understand some of it), but the characters honestly ruined it for me.

I don’t know how much it would have affected me if I had read a physical book or an e-copy, but I listened to an audiobook and I was honestly confused about the parts which were for the ambassador eyes only. Alsu, quite often, I felt extremely creeped out by them. You know, the parts from the book? Speaking of the book, you have no idea how annoyed Dol made me with her actions by giving the book away. You are told to not let the book out of your sight and you give it up to a stranger without reading it first? *eyeroll* Also, her voice and inner monologue were so similar to Ethan White’s which didn’t help her case either.

Again, we have a love triangle. Can a book not be without a love triangle? You can tell right off the bat that Ro has feelings for Dol and all she has eyes for is Lucas. Who, by the way, is a nasty little brat. He went rogue on every decision the other three Icon Children made and acted like a darn fool all the way through. His decisions made me roll my eyes and I’ll say that he and Dol deserve each other. I’m shipping Ro and Tima since he deserves someone who isn’t Dol. Tima became my favorite character, quite unexpectedly at that. I blame the dog. I’m a dog person and she saved one. What can I say? I’m impressed.

I didn’t hate this book, but I liked only tiny bits of it and it wasn’t enough for me to want to pick up the sequel. For the sake of everyone, I hope it gets better and perhaps, if people who gave Icons less than three stars decide to give the sequel a go and convince me that it’s worth continuing? Perhaps I’ll reconsider, but for now, I’m done with this series. I hope you guys had better luck with it though. PS. It doesn’t take anything away from the book nor does it affect my opinion on the plot and the characters, but I liked the original pink cover way better.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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Monday, January 6, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Rome by Jay Crownover

Today I'm happy to kick off the new year with a review for a kick-a New Adult blog tour. I can't wait to see what everyone thinks of this book and I'm happy to share my thoughts as well as a giveaway. I hope you enjoy and if you want to follow the rest of the tour, you can do so here.

Title: Rome (Marked Men #3)
Author: Jay Crownover
Published: January 7th 2014
Publisher: William Morrow and imprint of HarperCollins Publishing
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Barnes & Noble
iTunes | IndieBound | The Book Depository
*An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review*

Sometimes the wrong choice can be just right...
Fun and fearless, Cora Lewis knows how to keep her tattooed "bad boy" friends at the Marked in line. But beneath all that flash and sass is a broken heart. Cora won't let herself get burned again. She's waiting to fall in love with the perfect man—a baggage-free, drama-free guy ready for commitment. Then she meets Rome Archer.
Rome Archer is as far from perfect as a man can be. He's stubborn, rigid, and bossy. And he's returned from his final tour of duty more than a little broken. Rome's used to filling many roles: big brother, doting son, supersoldier—but none of those fit anymore. Now he's just a man trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life while keeping the dark demons of war and loss at bay. He would have been glad to suffer through it alone, until Cora comes sweeping into his life and becomes a blinding flash of color in a sea of gray.Perfect may not be in the cards, but perfectly imperfect could just last forever...

I remember reading Jay’s debut Rule when it first came out as a self-published book. While the content was good, the editing was the worst I have ever seen. I tried to look past it though and since I knew that Jay is a great contemporary author, I was more than certain that with a well-established team behind her, she could bring it big time. I was right!

"Love isn't perfect. It's hard work and sometimes it's more effort to be in love than it is to just run away. If you keep looking for perfect, the real thing is going to pass right by you." (taken from an ARC and could be changed in the actual book)

You don’t always have to be marked with tattoos and ink to be marked you know. Rome had marks on his body—scars from the war—as well as a scarred mind from all the horrible things he had to endure during his time in the army. Since I had already met him in the first installment, I knew something of his behavior. In addition to seeing him through Rule and Shaw’s eyes, we got the exclusive in being inside his head and I could see the sweet, honorable, thoughtful and caring guy in him that everyone was going on and on about.

Cora was such a fun character. I didn’t really remember her from Rule, probably since I read the first book such a long time ago, but she’s a fire cracker with a good, humble heart. She is a feisty one at that. While I was surprised and honestly a bit repelled by the fact that she poured beer on Rome when he was having a down moment, she redeemed herself quite nicely. I wouldn’t mind having a friend like her.

I liked how even though it started off as somewhat like a story based on the NYT bestseller formula, it didn’t suffer from it—especially as it got towards the end of it. I was waiting for the huge break up and for the characters to be stubborn and not talk for a few weeks/months etc., but it wasn’t like that. Yeah, they had their issues to work out, but it was all good and more like a small obstacle on their way towards happiness.

I love how we got to know Nash more and I’m so excited for his story. I had a feeling about his story, but we get conformation in the epilogue and it couldn’t have been a more perfect set up, especially with the cute nurse ;) Also, music is very important to Jay as a writer, as I have come to understand. Since I'm a big fan of everything music, I can't complain on the playlists for every book. Since she loves her music, I'll share mine. I think Hero of War by Rise Against describes Rome (and the people around him) perfectly. 

This series is not to be missed! Intense, fun, emotional and sexy—this is every woman’s fantasy right here. I hope you guys give these books a try and enjoy them as much as I have. They’re perfect for a cold day to warm you up next to the fireplace or for a rainy day to cheer you guys up. I’m everexcited for Nash's story and I’m sure it’ll be just as good as the previous books have been. Read on, lovelies!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Meet the author

I’m supposed to share interesting details about myself so that my readers get to know me so here we go in no particular order: I’m an natural redhead even though I haven’t seen my real hair color in years, I’m a big fan of tattoos and have a half sleeve on either arm and various other pieces all over the place, I’ve been in the bar industry since I was in college and it has always offered interesting insight into how men and women interact with each other, I have 3 dogs that are all crazy, I live in Colorado and love the snow, I love music and in all reality wish I could be a rock star not a writer or a bartender but I have zero talent so there is that. I love to write, love to read and all I’m interested in is a good story with interesting characters that make the reader feel something.

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Thank you to Literati Author Services, Inc., William Morrow Books and Jay Crownover for a review copy.