Wednesday, December 26, 2012

BEST OF 2012 GIVEAWAY



2012 was good to this little reader. 

My reading total for 2012 is 238 books. I might get a few more in before January comes, but that is still a heck of a lot of books I'd say. There was a long list of books that I didn't finish. I would start a  book and if it didn't hold my interest I would move on. That happened rarely last year, but this year I was trying to read all of the new releases and also discover some lesser known books to love. 

Because I was digging for gems I did discover a new beloved genre I call British Chick-Lit, which has a totally different feel than Chick-Lit in the states. I found my new very bestest favoritest author this year Miss Sarra Manning who I freaking love and adore. Manning's books and other Britsh books weren't books that my library had so I had to buy them all used from Amazon, and many came from across the pond. In the end, it was worth it to have them in my permanent library for sure. 

I started this blog in January and didn't even think I would ever get even 100 followers in a years time and I am so happy to have the followers that I do have. Much thanks goes to I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for hosting so many awesome blog hops that have brought readers my way. I kind of love hosting a giveaway. 

For this giveaway a winner gets to chose which book they would like from my top 10 favorites of 2012!




10. Johnny Be Good & Baby Be Mine by Paige Toon
I am listing these two books as one book because they go hand in hand together like BFFs! I have loved all of Toon's books that I read this year, but these were my personal favorites because I love a bad boy rock star. Toon has a way of sucking you in to a world of great detail and not boring you one bit.


9. The Queen of Kentucky by Alicia Whitaker
I read this all the way back on January 2 and I am still thinking about it fondly. So many books try to capture this feeling of coming of age and this book is super successful at making you feel 14 again. Ricky Jo (or Erica as she would like to be called now) is adorable and strong, while still being young and kinda stupid. I wanted to cheer for her every step of the way. Plus this book has one freaking sweety as the boy next door.


8. Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
This was probably the book I was  most excited to read in 2012, and it didn't disappoint. Crowley has the gift of turning ordinary words into something magical without feeling like the words are trying to hard to be poetic. In Graffiti Moon she again created characters that just like in my #2 read of 2011 book A Little Wanting Song,  I could read about them doing nothing for hours. 


7. I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
Sophie Kinsella's books are either strong hits or strong misses for me. And I've Got Your Number was a super strong hit for me. I was laughing out loud before I even finished the first chapter. My daughter kept asking me "What is so funny Mommy?" while I was enjoying this book. It is a typical romantic comedy without being typical. It reads like your favorite rom-com flick, and I dare say will soon be one.



6. The Savage Grace by Bree Despain
This book has gotten a lot of play on my blog because the author is one of my bestest pals, but her being my friend does not guarantee a spot on my top ten of the year for her book. This is one amazing end to a great series. Each book in The Dark Divine trilogy gets better and more clever, which is a rare thing with series books in my opinion. The way this book ends is just simply perfect, and it also doesn't hurt that my husband is a character in this last installment.



5. My Best Friend's Girl by Dorothy Koomson
I was sucked into this tale by page two. This is my favorite kind of novel. I felt totally consumed by the characters and their story while I read this, with characters that I feel like I could easily know in real life. There is talk of sex, but with nothing explicit which I always appreciate. The drama is the perfect amount. It isn't over the top but you find the story just enough out of the ordinary day-to-day life stuff to keep you reading more and more.




4. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
I'm surprised I even read this. I don't like fantasy type books, and I didn't like previous books by this author at all. But I was seriously surprised to find myself in love with this story. It was so beautifully written and I loved reading Tinkerbell's voice. The story is childlike, but dark. The best kind of tale with heartfelt quotes on love and loss.





3. You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning
Oh Sarra Manning how I love you. When I bought this I had read some of Manning's YA titles and I wanted to see how she writes for adults. This book follows the life of two dysfunctional adults that find functionality in each other. It has some saucy scenes that is for sure, but Manning doesn't write her love scenes in a typical romance style way, but more in a way that just tells it like it is. I can't wait to re-read this.

2. Nobody's Girl by Sarra Manning
I normally would avoid putting two books by the same author on a list, but this was my favorite YA by awesome Sarra Manning and therefore worth sharing. This one started out a little frustrating with our sweet main character being tortured by the mean girls at school, but as soon as they are out of the picture this book really takes off. Read this book and walk hand in hand through the streets of Paris with undoubtedly my favorite male love interest of all freaking time!


1. The Probability Of Miracles by Wendy Wunder
This magical book is spent in the realm of reality while tip-toeing into the fantasy. I seem to be immune to sad books, but this one had me laughing throughout and crying for ten minutes after I finished. It is so rare that I read anything that is different than any other book I have ever read, and this was just that. I want to live in the world where this book takes place.
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Sunday, December 23, 2012

THE BLOODY JACK BOOKS: L.A. MEYER



I'm on book four of this awesome little series. This first book came out 10 years ago and I really enjoyed it. I'd heard about this book for a long time, but kept putting off reading it since it isn't anything like I normally enjoy. But Jacky is one of the greatest characters I have ever had the joy of reading. She is so brassy and smart while also being silly and impulsively stupid. I keep thiking I am going to get sick of reading about her, but even reading book four I find myself still in love with her. 

I recommend you give the first book a try and see if you fall in love with her too.

BOOK BLURB (BOOK ONE):
Life as a ship's boy aboard HMS Dolphin is a dream come true for Jacky Faber. Gone are the days of scavenging for food and fighting for survival on the streets of eighteenth-century London. Instead, Jacky is becoming a skilled and respected sailor as the crew pursues pirates on the high seas.
There's only one problem: Jacky is a girl. And she will have to use every bit of her spirit, wit, and courage to keep the crew from discovering her secret. This could be the adventure of her life--if only she doesn't get caught. . . .

The books are so clean in words that a child could enjoy them, however the subjects that Jacky talks about and encounters are harsh. Attempted rape, drinking, prostitutes, blood and death.  

Read more about this first of the series HERE.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

THE EDGE OF NEVER: J.A. REDMERSKI


I've come to expect nothing great from all of these popular Kindle self published eBooks. But I gotta tell ya folks, this one is a winner in my book. First of all, I found it terribly hard to put down. It is actually quite long and detailed, but it is so well written that it feels all consuming instead of tedious. The main characters are alive and full while being terribly good at bantering with each other. They also have some pretty sexy moments together.

BOOK BLURB:
Twenty-year-old Camryn Bennett had always been one to think out-of-the-box, who knew she wanted something more in life than following the same repetitive patterns and growing old with the same repetitive life story. And she thought that her life was going in the right direction until everything fell apart.

Determined not to dwell on the negative and push forward, Camryn is set to move in with her best friend and plans to start a new job. But after an unexpected night at the hottest club in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, she makes the ultimate decision to leave the only life she’s ever known, far behind.

With a purse, a cell phone and a small bag with a few necessities, Camryn, with absolutely no direction or purpose boards a Greyhound bus alone and sets out to find herself. What she finds is a guy named Andrew Parrish, someone not so very different from her and who harbors his own dark secrets. But Camryn swore never to let down her walls again. And she vowed never to fall in love.

But with Andrew, Camryn finds herself doing a lot of things she never thought she’d do. He shows her what it’s really like to live out-of-the-box and to give in to her deepest, darkest desires. On their sporadic road-trip he becomes the center of her exciting and daring new life, pulling love and lust and emotion out of her in ways she never imagined possible. But will Andrew’s dark secret push them inseparably together, or tear them completely apart?

This reads a little bit like a YA book, because the characters actually act their age. They aren't adults in a high school. (Like in my much loved Vampire Diaries, a world where you look 40, but still play a HS junior...I'm talking to you Stefan/Paul Wesley!) Also, since it has all the elements of a traditional romance novel (some very sexy times), I was glad the characters were older.  But it isn't all about the sex in this one like it is in so many of the New Adult books out there ready for your Kindle. It is about sadness, joy, connection, friendship, and of course true love. Awe.

This book is overwhelmingly loved. Read more about it HERE.

Monday, December 10, 2012

V IS FOR VIRGIN: KELLY ORAM



Kelly Oram is a gem of a writer and her books are all very fun and enjoyable reads. This book has a strong sassy heroine and a good message without being preachy. Plus a hot rock star, and I love me some hot rock stars!

BOOK BLURB:
When Val Jensen gets dumped for her decision to stay a virgin until marriage, the nasty breakup goes viral on YouTube, making her the latest internet sensation.

After days of ridicule from her peers, Val starts a school-wide campaign to rally support for her cause. She meant to make a statement, but she never dreamed the entire nation would get caught up in the controversy.

As if becoming nationally recognized as “Virgin Val” isn’t enough, Val’s already hectic life starts to spin wildly out of control when bad boy Kyle Hamilton, lead singer for the hit rock band Tralse, decides to take her abstinence as a personal challenge.

How can a girl stay true to herself when this year’s Sexiest Man Alive is doing everything in his power to win her over?

Go to Amazon and buy this book HERE.
Read more about it HERE.

Monday, November 26, 2012

DREAMING OF SUMMER GIVEAWAY HOP: THE BLUE BISTRO



I'd say most of the books I read could be described as light "beach reads", so it was kind of tricky to pick a book to feature for this giveaway. The Blue Bistro is so summer! I am re-reading it now and I am currently sucked into a wonderful Nantucket setting surrounded by food I wish was real.

BOOK BLURB:
Adrienne Dealey has spent the past six years working for hotels in exotic resort towns. This summer she has decided to make Nantucket home. Left flat broke by her ex-boyfriend, she is desperate to earn some fast money. When the desirable Thatcher Smith, owner of Nantucket's hottest restaurant, is the only one to offer her a job, she wonders if she can get by with no restaurant experience. Thatcher gives Adrienne a crash course in the business...and they share an instant attraction.
But there is a mystery about their situation: What is it about Fiona, the Blue Bistro's chef, who captures Thatcher's attention again and again? And why does such a successful restaurant seem to be in its final season before closing its doors for good? Despite her uncertainty, Adrienne must decide whether she'll move on, as she always does--or finally open her heart.

I'm gonna give away one copy to one lucky winner! Enter for your chance to be that winner...


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Saturday, November 24, 2012

A LITTLE WANTING SONG: CATH CROWLEY



I could drown in this book. It is masterfully poetic without seeming like it is trying to hard. It celebrates the ties of  romance, friendship,  and family. If I made movies I would make a movie of this book. The characters are so alive and full. This is one of my favorite books of all time. I recommend, I recommend, I recommend!

BOOK BLURB:
A summer of friendship, romance, and songs in major chords. . .

CHARLIE DUSKIN loves music, and she knows she's good at it. But she only sings when she's alone, on the moonlit porch or in the back room at Old Gus's Secondhand Record and CD Store. Charlie's mom and grandmother have both died, and this summer she's visiting her grandpa in the country, surrounded by ghosts and grieving family, and serving burgers to the local kids at the milk bar. She's got her iPod, her guitar, and all her recording equipment, but she wants more: A friend. A dad who notices her. The chance to show Dave Robbie that she's not entirely unspectacular.

ROSE BUTLER lives next door to Charlie's grandfather and spends her days watching cars pass on the freeway and hanging out with her troublemaker boyfriend. She loves Luke but can't wait to leave their small country town. And she's figured out a way: she's won a scholarship to a science school in the city, and now she has to convince her parents to let her go. This is where Charlie comes in. Charlie, who lives in the city, and whom Rose has ignored for years. Charlie, who just might be Rose's ticket out.

Told in alternating voices and filled with music, friendship, and romance, Charlie and Rose's "little wanting song" is about the kind of longing that begins as a heavy ache but ultimately makes us feel hopeful and wonderfully alive
.  

Read more about this HERE.

Monday, November 19, 2012

THE LOST GIRL: SANGU MANDANNA



This is not the type of book I usually seek out, but I kept reading good reviews so I decided to give it a shot. Even so it sat on my shelf for a long time with the "science fiction" library sticker taunting me to hate it. However, this book kept me sucked in until the very last page.  It is a concept that has been explored many times in literature, but this felt fresh. Overall what kept me reading was the voice of the very human man made girl that I wanted to cheer for from the first page.

BOOK BLURB:
Eva’s life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination—an echo. Made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, she is expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her “other”, if she ever died. Eva studies what Amarra does, what she eats, what it’s like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray. So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready.

But fifteen years of studying never prepared her for this.

Now she must abandon everything she’s ever known—the guardians who raised her, the boy she’s forbidden to love—to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive.

What Eva finds is a grief-stricken family; parents unsure how to handle this echo they thought they wanted; and Ray, who knew every detail, every contour of Amarra. And when Eva is unexpectedly dealt a fatal blow that will change her existence forever, she is forced to choose: Stay and live out her years as a copy or leave and risk it all for the freedom to be an original. To be Eva.

From debut novelist Sangu Mandanna comes the dazzling story of a girl who was always told what she had to be—until she found the strength to decide for herself
.

Read more about this book HERE

Sunday, November 11, 2012

CLEARNING MY SHELF! FIVE WINNERS FOR THIS ONE! HOORAY & LA DEE DAH!

I have really been looking forward to this hop. I love the idea of some of my books finding good homes.

I am going to have FIVE winners. Each winner will receive one book. I'll ask for your top three picks to determine what to send you. I've basicically got two categories today:

YOUNG ADULT:

  • Confessions of a Serial Kisser - Wedelin Van Draanen - hardback, like new
  • Stealing Heaven - Elizabeth Scott - hardback, like new
  • Beauty Shop for Rent - Laura Bowers - hardback, like new
  • SLAM - Nick Hornby - hardback, like new
  • The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball - Risa Green - paperback, like new
  • The Breakup Bible - Melissa Kantor - paperback, like new
  • Split by a Kiss - Luisa Plaja - paperback, like new
  • Love on the Lifts - Rachel Hawthorne - paperback, like new
  • A Year in Europe (three novels) - Rachel Hawthorne - paperback,  very good

BRITISH CHIC-LIT:

  • Confessions of a Shopaholic - Sophie Kinsella - paperback, like new
  • Girl on the Run - Jane Costello - paperback, like new
  • The Dating Detox - Gemma Burgess - paperback, very good


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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: COLLEEN CLAYTON



What an amazing YA contemporary debut! One of the hardest storylines for me to enjoy is reading about a character that won't tell the people she loves something horrible happened to her. I understand that most girls that go through something like sexual assault often keep it to themselves, but I hate reading about it generally. That was not the case with this book. 

Right away you love Sid, she is just likeable and reading about how she handles such a traumatic experience is so interesting and believable I could hardly put my copy of the book down. The developments in Sid's character throughout the book were heartbreaking without weighing me down. There were these light moments tucked in to keep me enjoying the story. Although the boy in this book seems sometimes too good to be true, he is flawed and a great well rounded character as well. 

BOOK BLURB:
How can you talk about something you can’t remember?

Before the ski trip, sixteen-year-old Cassidy “Sid” Murphy was a cheerleader (at the bottom of the pyramid, but still...), a straight-A student, and a member of a solid trio of best friends. When she ends up on a ski lift next to handsome local college boy, Dax Windsor, she’s thrilled; but Dax takes everything from Sid—including a lock of her perfect red curls—and she can’t remember any of it.

Back home and unable to relate to her old friends, Sid drops her college prep classes and takes up residence in the A/V room with only Corey “The Living Stoner” Livingston for company. But as she gets to know Corey (slacker, baker, total dreamboat), Sid finds someone who truly makes her happy. Now, if she can just shake the nightmares and those few extra pounds, everything will be perfect... or so she thinks.

Witty and poignant, Colleen Clayton’s stunning debut is a story about moving on after the unthinkable happens.

I appreciated that his book doesn't talk down to it's teen audience at all. But it also doesn't find the need to be overly vulgar or scandalous. There is some swearing and a small amount of sexual content, but it is all thoughtfully placed in the book. 

Overall, I know I would never dare attempt to write a story like this for fear of the criticism that could follow if I did a poor job. But Colleen Clayton writes a masterful story of a girl caught up in something bigger than herself. Any girl who has been through what she has whether it be sexual assault, Sid's later food issues, or even just gross men objectifying her would find truth in this book. I look forward to more books by this author, and hope she keeps writing more and more. 

To read more about it go HERE.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER: SARAH DESSEN



I haven't posted in ages, and that is unfortunately that I haven't read a book I've liked enough to share in AGES! (Well, at least it seems that way to me :) )

So I am sharing an old favorite. Sarah Dessen is kind of the queen of the YA girl book. She was writing them long before they became as popular as they are now. She isn't my favorite author, but many of her books are very fun and great reads. The Truth About Forever was the first one I read and I loved it. I recently re-read it, and still liked it a lot. It has some amazingly funny secondary characters, and a strong heroine, who is easy to love.

BOOK BLURB:
a long, hot summer...

That's what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy's father.

But sometimes unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister's project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl's world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to wonder, Is it really better to be safe than sorry?


My other favorite Dessen reads are Along for the Ride and Keeping the Moon. 

You can read more about this book HERE.

Monday, October 15, 2012

MY BEST FRIEND'S GIRL: DOROTHY KOOMSON


I was sucked in to this story by page two. There were several factors in why I related to this story, but mostly I just felt the characters right away. I found this to be beautifully consuming. This is my favorite kind of chick-lit book. It isn't just shallow and silly, it isn't depressing while still being deep and real, it talks about sex without having detailed sex scenes. I find these kinds of books so rarely that I get very excited when I find one.

BOOK BLURB:
How far would you go for the best friend who broke your heart? This internationally bestselling novel tells an enchanting tale of life’s most unpredictable loves and heartaches, and the unforgettable bond between a single woman and an extraordinary five-year-old girl. From the moment they met in college, best friends Adele Brannon and Kamryn Matika thought nothing could come between them—until Adele did the unthinkable and slept with Kamryn’s fiancĂ©, Nate. Now, after years of silence, the two women are reuniting, and Adele has a stunning request for her old friend: she wants Kamryn to adopt her five-year-old daughter, Tegan.

Besides the difference in skin color—many will assume that headstrong, impulsive Kamryn is Tegan’s nanny—there’s the inconvenient truth that Kamryn is wholly unprepared to take care of anyone, especially someone who reminds her so much of Nate. With crises brewing at work and her love life in shambles, can Kamryn somehow become the mother a little girl needs her to be?
 

This was drama in the best way. Not over the top, but still enough out of ordinary life to make it very interesting as a reader. Plus, it is topped off with loveable and real characters. 

Read more about it HERE.

Monday, October 8, 2012

SERIAL HOTTIE: KELLY ORAM


I really enjoyed Oram's Being Jamie Baker and was excited to read her new book. Oram has a great voice and her stories move along in a delightful way. Serial Hottie gets extra points for being totally original, the premise is kind of strange, but it works. The heroine Ellie is sassy and adorable. However, I'm not sure what I thought about the "hottie" Seth, he is kind of a crazy, overprotective love interest. Yet, throughout the book, his nutso actions are not ignored by other characters, especially Ellie so Oram makes it work (in the context of the book). Although I have to say for my own sake that girls should NOT date boys like Seth, go out and find another less crazy boy to love and life will be much easier I promise you!

BOOK BLURB:
Hockey-obsessed tomboy Eleanor Westley has never been the object of a guy's affection before. So when the hottest boy she's ever seen moves in across the street and starts treating her like she's the center of his universe, naturally she's going to be a little skeptical. But everything starts to make sense when girls who look just like Ellie start dying all around the city. Obviously the new guy is the killer, and of course he only likes her because he wants to slice her into tiny pieces. Right? The more Ellie gets to know Seth the more she's convinced he's a psychopathic killer. Problem is, he's the sweetest psychopathic killer she's ever met. Not to mention he's brutally hot. No matter how hard she tries, she can't help but fall for him. Will Ellie find true love, or will her summer of firsts turn out to be a summer of lasts?

I also enjoyed the bonus material with a few snippets from Seth's POV, although it did not make him seem less nuts to me. 

Both Serial Hottie and Being Jamie Baker are available for your Kindle for a great price. You can check them both out HERE

Read more about Serial Hottie on goodreads HERE.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

EDENBROOKE: JULIANNE DONALDSON





There were so many reasons for me to NOT like this book. The heroine is smart and funny, but completely clueless to the obvious men in her life, the plot was pretty darn predictable, and the scandal storyline seemed almost like an afterthought. However, I still totally loved it. I don't know why, but I did. Edenbrooke is super cute and swoony, and is a completely 100% clean read. I also had a very hard time putting it down.

BOOK BLURB:
Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she’ll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry.

From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will she be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke.

Read more about it HERE.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

STUCK IN A GOOD BOOK GIVEAWAY: VIRTUOSITY




When I signed up for this hop, I thought it would be super easy to come up with a book to feature. But then I realized I don't like to put down any of my books. So I wanted to choose a read that kept me up late with excitement. I decided to pick Virtuosity by

Monday, September 17, 2012

TIGER LILY: JODI LYNN ANDERSON


This book completely transported me to a magical world, and I loved all of it. I don't even know what possessed me to pick this up. I don't really like fantasy books, and I didn't like Anderson's contemporary romance series Peaches at all. But I liked Tiger Lily right away. The poetic and full words swept me off to an island with a very loveable Tinkerbell as my guide.

BOOK BLURB:
Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn't grow up.


I don't generally keep track of quotes, but this book was so darn full of them that I had to make note of at least two:

" 'I'm not myself,' she offered, guilty. 
He smiled. 'You can never say that. You're just a piece of yourself right now that you don't like.' "

And then this one:

"To love someone was not what she had expected. It was like falling from somewhere high up and breaking in half, and only one person having the secret to the puzzle of putting her back together." 

At first this felt like a book that a mother could sit and read to her 8 - 10 year old daugter. But despite the fact that it is a clean read it is probably too dark for most children. The darkness was one of the reasons I loved it though.

Again, this book surprised me in so many ways because I just didn't think I could like it, but I freaking loved it. My cute daughter was fascinated when I told her I was reading a book about Tinkerbell and Peter Pan, and I promised my four year old that I would read it to her one day. Hopefully she will love it too.

 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

WHO'S AFRAID OF MR. WOLFE?: HAZEL OSMOND


I really enjoyed this. It was kind of predictable, but then the way it went about it's predictableness (I know that is not word) was a surprise. It is probably not a book you can get at your local library, but it is available on amazon for way cheap.

BOOK BLURB:
Ellie Somerset is a great advertising copywriter going nowhere fast - a boyfriend who is always at work, a tendency to dress like a short-sighted bag lady and a Creative Director who rejects her fresh ideas - they all conspire to keep her just treading water. Even her Great Aunt Edith, a demon at filthy scrabble, has a better social life than she does. All that changes when Jack Wolfe becomes her boss. Whilst everyone else at the agency thinks he's Heathcliff in jeans, Ellie just sees a stalking, scowling Alpha male with a nasty redundancy plan up his sleeve. As Jack makes it his mission to smarten up Ellie's attitude and her appearance, it's time for her to prove herself. But that means getting closer to this very sexy, very wicked man, and as she does Ellie discovers that this particular Heathcliff has an awful lot to hide.

A few steamy scenes and mild language. Overall a light and enjoyable read without being silly. 

Read more about it HERE.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

SPEECHLESS: HANNAH HARRINGTON


Last year, I really enjoyed Harrington's debut novel Saving June so I was looking forward to her new book Speechless. First off let me just tell you that the actual physical book is freaking beautiful. I'm not sure why the publisher decided to go with this cover, because it does not stand out online at all. However in person it is stunning and different. I'm glad I read the actual book and not just an ebook with this one. 

Harrington's writing is solid and she is definitely a talented story teller. Both this and Saving June didn't grab me like crazy, but I enjoyed reading them. I thought the story in Speechless was a great addition to current contemporary YA literature. This book explores some timely themes and shows that any moment can change you. 

I liked how Chelsea changes, but is still the same person. It reminded me of how I felt as I came of age in college. I was still me, but I changed and grew. I think most people can relate to a time in there life where they found themselves and Chelsea does that in Speechless.

BOOK BLURB:
Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there's strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she's done. If only she can forgive herself.

I don't think I am giving too much away by saying that Chelsea outs a fellow student, who then gets attacked and nearly killed by two neanderthals that Chelsea is "friends" with at school. No matter how you feel about the gay issue I don't think anyone can say they are ok with this kind of violence against a student who says he is gay. I liked how Harrington talks about what happened without making you feel like she has a political agenda.

I did have one huge problem with one part at the end that was just too sugary sweet, feel good and I hated it because it did NOT feel like it went went the rest of the book. ("There's someone here tonight who deserves this title way more than I do"? Ugh!)

Great book overall though and I look forward to the next one by this author. 

Read more about it HERE.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

BEAUTIFUL DISASTER: JAMIE McGUIRE


I have been curious about this book for awhile now, back when the cover looked like this:


AHHH! Scary I know! :) The new cover is much improved!

I would read other reviews about this book and I felt like I wanted to read it, but it sounded so scandalous. I just wasn't sure if it would be for me. Can I say quickly right here that there are NOT enough books about girls in college?! Ok, I got that out now for why this book was awesome.

Is it well written? No, not really. Is the romance healthy and sweet and acceptable? No. Does it suck you in like crazy and keep you reading until the wee hours of the night? YES! At least it did for me.

Beautiful Disaster was actually a huge surprise for me. It has some surprising layers and you learn that there is more to the characters than what you think at first. I admit I had pre-judged this book because of reviews I had read, and I was surprised at the depth of this book. But let it be known that the relationship in this book is kind of abusive and nuts. I'm not sure if the author is condoning this kind of dependent, overly passionate relationship or if she is merely telling a story. Either way, I couldn't get enough of Abby and Travis. Before I read this book, I was expecting a story about a sweet girl that meets a bad boy who is bad for her. But actually both characters are kind of edgy and maybe good for each other? I don't know. Can you tell I am conflicted?

BOOK BLURB:
The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate percentage of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance between her and the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University's Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

I may have expected a trashy read that I was going to enjoy as a guilty pleasure, but in the end I liked it a lot more than I expected. It has drinking, smoking, talk of drug use, and it is steamy so be warned.

Read more about it HERE

Thanks NetGalley for the read!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

DON'T YOU WISH: ROXANNE ST. CLAIRE



This is a book that seems first to fall into the typical silly cute book genre, and it actually started out that way for me. Bet then all of the sudden I was sucked in, and I kind of feel in love with "plain" Annie Nutter. The entire story is endearing and Annie is just so darn loveable. The story held my interest because I really wanted to find out if and how Annie was going to get out of the alternate reality where she found herself.

BOOK BLURB:
When plain and unpopular Annie Nutter gets zapped by one of her dad's whacked-out inventions, she lands in a parallel universe where her life becomes picture-perfect. Now she's Ayla Monroe, daughter of the same mother but a different father—and she's the gorgeous, rich queen bee of her high school. 

In this universe, Ayla lives in glitzy Miami instead of dreary Pittsburgh and has beaucoup bucks, courtesy of her billionaire—if usually absent—father. Her friends hit the clubs, party backstage at concerts, and take risks that are exhilarating . . . and illegal. Here she's got a date to lose her V-card with the hottest guy she's ever seen.

But on the inside, Ayla is still Annie.

So when she's offered the chance to leave the dream life and head home to Pittsburgh, will she take it?

The choice isn't as simple as you think.

I was really impressed with how the author took kind of a silly (and frankly not possible) premise and made it sweet, while also maintaining a hold in the real world by using smart scientific ideas to make the Annie's alternate reality possible.

Annie is an innocent character, but there are a few references to sex, drinking, and drugs. 

Read more about this book HERE

Thank you NetGalley for the read!

Monday, September 3, 2012

FOREVER MINE IS FREE TODAY


I always like to give my readers a heads up when a popular ebook is FREE. I haven't read this, but it is free right now on Amazon! Go HERE and get it.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

MY SISTER LIVES ON THE MANTELPIECE: ANNABEL PITCHER


This isn't the kind of book I would typically gravitate to or seek out, but it is a beautifully written story. Sitting here thinking about it, I can't believe how many issues this little book brings alight to the reader, and it is all executed flawlessly.

I've also never read a book entirely devoid of quotation marks. Dialogue is expressed in italics as our narrator (a very smart and funny Jamie), tells us who said what. It was an interesting choice for the author, and it works by adding substance to the strong voice of Jamie.

BOOK BLURB:
Ten-year-old Jamie hasn't cried since it happened. He knows he should have - Jasmine cried, Mum cried, Dad still cries. Roger didn't, but then he is just a cat and didn't know Rose that well, really.

Everyone kept saying it would get better with time, but that's just one of those lies that grown-ups tell in awkward situations. Five years on, it's worse than ever: Dad drinks, Mum's gone and Jamie's left with questions that he must answer for himself.

This is his story, an unflinchingly real yet heart-warming account of a young boy's struggle to make sense of the loss that tore his family apart.


This is a clean read with a little language here and there as heard by a young child. It is extremely sad and anger inducing (that MOM! ugh!), but it is light and hopeful as well.

You can read more about it HERE.

Friday, August 31, 2012

BORROW BOOKS FOR FREE!

I just found an awesome site that I wanted to share with you all. Book lending is a website where you can lend and borrow books Kindle ebooks.  I just started an account so I can't say whether or not I like the site, but it looks totally awesome. I've already lent someone a book, and I'm hoping to read some of the books on my to-read list. Overall, It is just a simple set up that links you to people who want to read certain books, and when you lend books you get more popular books more often. 

Maybe most of you already know about it, but I just found it today, and I am giddy about it. I think it is a great resource, and you should check it out!



Saturday, August 25, 2012

BOND GIRL: ERIN DUFFY



Ok, so I'm currently a little burned out on the silly YA books that I have picked up as of late so I found myself on a blog that reviews books about the older gals. I spotted a rave review of Bond Girl, so I picked it up at the library. This was an interesting read for me, because it doesn't seem to have any real plot development. It is more just random anecdotes that author Duffy might have experienced herself while working on Wall Street. Also, our heroine Alex is a spoiled rich girl who makes some obviously bad decisions about her dating life. But guess what? I loved the book anyway. Maybe it is the business major in me, but I found the setting of the finance world utterly fascinating. Especially the character portrayals of the men Alex works with day-to-day.

BOOK BLURB:
When other little girls were dreaming about becoming doctors or lawyers, Alex Garrett set her sights on conquering the high-powered world of Wall Street. And though she's prepared to fight her way into an elitist boys' club, or duck the occasional errant football, she quickly realizes she's in over her head when she's relegated to a kiddie-size folding chair with her new moniker—Girlie—inscribed in Wite-Out across the back.

No matter. She's determined to make it in bond sales at Cromwell Pierce, one of the Street's most esteemed brokerage firms. Keeping her eyes on the prize, the low Girlie on the totem pole will endure whatever comes her way—whether trekking to the Bronx for a $1,000 wheel of Parmesan cheese; discovering a secretary's secret Friday night slumber/dance party in the conference room; fielding a constant barrage of "friendly" practical jokes; learning the ropes from Chick, her unpredictable, slightly scary, loyalty-demanding boss; babysitting a colleague while he consumes the contents of a vending machine on a $28,000 bet; or eluding the advances of a corporate stalker who's also one of the firm's biggest clients.

Ignoring her friends' pleas to quit, Alex excels (while learning how to roll with the punches and laugh at herself) and soon advances from lowly analyst to slightly-less-lowly associate. Suddenly, she's addressed by her real name, and the impenetrable boys' club has transformed into forty older brothers and one possible boyfriend. Then the apocalypse hits, and Alex is forced to choose between sticking with Cromwell Pierce as it teeters on the brink of disaster or kicking off her Jimmy Choos and running for higher ground.

Fast-paced, funny, and thoroughly addictive, Bond Girl will leave you cheering for Alex: a feisty, ambitious woman with the spirit to stand up to the best (and worst) of the boys on the Street—and ultimately rise above them all.

Interestingly, as I read the reviews of those on Goodreads that did not like this book, I agree with their reasons for not liking it.  But I found myself completely mesmerized by the world Duffy created and I don't think I will ever look at Wall Street the same again. The book has some flaws, but it has some real strengths too.

Read more about it HERE.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

CARTER FINALLY GETS IT: BRENT CRAWFORD


Last year, after delightedly laughing to myself during my first read of Carter Finally Gets It, I wondered this: Who else is going to like this book? It is irreverant, crude, and kind of offensive, so anyone who I share this book with is going to think I'm nuts. But at the same time, it is all those things while also being hilarious, smart, sweet, and touching. In the end I had to admit it: I freaking fell in utter love with Carter. As I have shared this book with a few trusted friends, I have found that I am not the only one falling for his charms.

BOOK BLURB:
Meet Will Carter, but feel free to call him Carter. (Yes, he knows it's a lazy nickname, but he didn't have much say in the matter.)

Here are five things you should know about him:
1. He has a stuttering problem, particularly around boobs and bellybuttons.
2. He battles attention devicit disorder ever minute of every day...unless he gets distracted.
3. He's a virgin, mostly because he is not good at talking to girls (see number 1).
4. He's about to start high school.
5. He's totally not ready.

Join Carter for his freshman year, where he;ll search for sex, love, and acceptance anywhere he can find it. In the process he'll almost kill a trombone player, face off against his greatest nemesis, get caught up in a messy love triangle, suffer a lot of blood loss, narrowly escape death, run from the cops (not once but twice), meet his match in the form of a curvy drill teamer, and surprise the hell out of everyone, including himself.

Take a hilarious walk into the mind of the most real 14 year old male voice I have ever read. A boy who talks like he is a lot older than he is, but acts just his age. Carter is so darn endearing because he is so aware of what makes him uncool, which only makes him more popular in school and cool to the reader. 

I just re-read this because the third Carter book was just released. The two sequels are not as great as the first, but my friends who are true Carter fans still love them.

Read more about it HERE.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

ON THE ISLAND: TRACEY GARVIS GRAVES



I've heard so much about this book and I was really excited that it now has been published by Plume and my library acquired it right away. This survival story was almost impossible to put down. I kept allowing myself to read just one more chapter (they are short, and addicting), and before I knew it. I wasn't tired anymore and it was 2 AM.

BOOK BLURB:
When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day. T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn't bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family - and a stack of overdue assignments - instead of his friends.

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island.

Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

This isn't a perfect book, and I had some issues with it. I enjoyed the alternating male/female POV, but I thought they sounded pretty much like the same person. Also, I could picture the island so clearly that little story issues stood out to me. Like tell me how boxes of tampons survive a plane crash in the ocean? 

I'm surprised I felt so connected to the characters because the writing style is a little plain and straight forward. It sometimes just feels like a list of what is happening and not much of what the characters are feeling. Despite Graves’ style, I was involved completely with Anna and T.J. 

Some language, not much though. Sexual situations and frank talk about sex in general. This isn't an island romance novel with love scenes for the sake of just having them to entertain.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

YOUNG ADULT GIVEAWAY HOP: SIGNED COPY OF DIVERGENT



A couple weeks ago I got a paperback copy of Divergent signed to give away to one lucky reader. I am giving it away this week!

Veronica Roth gave the best advice about writing. She said you should do it because you enjoy it and have a love for writing, not because you want to get a book published. I am paraphrasing here (hence the absence of quotes), but I thought that she shared the most obvious yet most overlooked answer to the question: "What advice would you give aspiring authors?"


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Monday, August 6, 2012

DAIRY QUEEN: CATHERINE GILBERT MURDOCK


I just finished re-reading one of my favorite reads of last year. Dairy Queen is the kind of book that makes you want to cheer at the end. I put off reading this for the first time for a while because I hate football and reading about a farm girl who is good at football sounded, like totally lame to me. So why did I end up absolutely loving it? Well, it is because Murdock completely masters voice in this. D.J.'s character is so clear to you, and her rambling hilarious voice is just so easy to love.

Dairy Queen is the first of a trilogy and I wish I could say I love the second and third books as much, but I don't think they have the same spark. (Although, I have had plenty of friends disagree and love the entire series.) After reading them again I feel like both books could have been combined into one. They are still great reads overall, it is just hard to be as awesome as Dairy Queen.

And can I give a shout out to good old Brian? He might be the most honest and real teenager boy ever. He isn't perfect or smooth or all that nice sometimes. But he is exactly what I remember boys being like at his age.

BOOK BLURB:
When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Harsh words indeed, from Brian Nelson of all people. But, D.J. can't help admitting, maybe he's right. When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Stuff like why her best friend, Amber, isn't so friendly anymore. Or why her little brother, Curtis, never opens his mouth. Why her mom has two jobs and a big secret. Why her college-football-star brothers won't even call home. Why her dad would go ballistic if she tried out for the high school football team herself. And why Brian is so, so out of her league. When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Welcome to the summer that fifteen-year-old D.J. Schwenk of Red Bend, Wisconsin, learns to talk, and ends up having an awful lot of stuff to say.

Read more about this HERE.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

LAZY DAYS OF SUMMER GIVEAWAY HOP: SOMETHING BORROWED



Five years ago, one random day at the airport I was super pregnant and kind of out of it, and I wandered into the airport bookstore before my flight. I picked up Something Borrowed because I like weddings and it sounded kind of fun. One chapter into it I was in love. Now here is the important thing for me. I wasn't a reader. I never liked any books that I was assigned in High School. My mom loved to read, but we have very different tastes and I  never liked most of her suggestions. It was amazing to me to find out that there were books like Something Borrowed even out there. Here I was at 30 years old and I didn't even know that anyone wrote silly, cute, romantic books like this.

Reading Something Borrowed was the beginning of my obsession with books. I think we all have a certain book that ignited our love of reading and this one is mine.



These kinds of books are often associated with summer and enjoying a lazy read so I thought this book would be perfect for my giveaway hop. I will send a winner a paperback copy of the book that changed it all for me (reading wise anyway). Also I am asking you to share your special obsession kick book in the comments so I can add some more books to my TBR pile! Be sure to check out the other awesome giveaways and thanks to both blogs hosting this hop.


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Friday, July 20, 2012

FOREVER CHANGES: BRENDAN HALPIN




This is a really beautiful book. It wasn't until I finished reading it that I realized that Halpin did not take the typical route of the "sick girl dying" book. There is no magical boyfriend who bestows first love, or a series of bucket list moments. This is just a pretty story about a girl who is real, and tries to be a good friend and person while she deals with a disease that cripples her life. It is just lovely to read about her. On top of that this book has my favorite daddy-daughter relationship ever. Great read.

BOOK BLURB:
5:30 a.m., Brianna Pelletier gets ready for her daily pounding. As she lies on the couch, her dad beats her chest, then her back, coaxing the mucus out of her lungs. The pounding doesn’t take care of everything. Brianna’s held out for a long time, but a body with cystic fibrosis doesn’t last forever. It doesn’t matter that Brianna has a brilliant mathematical mind or that she’s a shoo-in for MIT. Or even that her two best friends are beautiful, popular, and loyal. In the grand scheme of things, none of that stuff matters at all. The standard life, lasting maybe seventy-five years, is no more than a speck in the sum total of the universe. At eighteen, and doubting she’ll make nineteen, Brianna is practically a nonentity. Of course she’s done the math. But in her senior year of high school, Brianna learns of another kind of math, in which an infinitely small, near-zero quantity can have profound effects on an entire system. If these tiny quantities didn’t exist, things wouldn’t make the same sense.


Funny, tear-jerking, and memorable, the author’s second novel for teens introduces readers to an extraordinary girl who learns that the meaning of forever can change, and that life – and death – is filled with infinite possibilities. 

Read more about it HERE.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

NOBODY'S GIRL: SARRA MANNING


I'm kind of in love with Sarra Manning these days. In fact, I feel like I might be having some kind of one-sided book affair with her. I picked up my first Manning book on a whim, and devouring her past books has been ever so wonderful.

Nobody's Girl might be my favorite yet. A lot happens in this book, and it is one of the best coming of age stories that I have read in a long time. It might have been a bit slow going for me at first because I do not like mean girls and Bea takes some time to get a backbone, but after the big girl blow up things take a turn for the wonderful. Being in Bea's head is a delight, she is such a loveable, strong, vulnerable, real girl. Also, the love interest, Toph is so freaking adorable. He just might be one of my favorite male characters ever. 

BOOK BLURB:
Bea thinks she's the most boring seventeen-year-old in the world. She's not pretty or popular or funny, unlike her mother who had Bea when she was 17. The only glamorous thing about Bea is the French father who left before she was born and lives in Paris. She yearns for la vie Parisienne every moment of her dull existence. So when Ruby Davies, the leader of her school's most elite clique picks Bea as her new best friend and asks her to go on holiday with them, she's wary but delighted. If nothing else it's two weeks away from her over-protective mother . But when the gang arrive in Spain, Bea is crushed to realise that Ruby and her posse have simply been using her. Bea wreaks vengeance on her so-called friends, and plans to decamp to Paris to find her father. But when she falls asleep on the train and wakes up in Bilbao, she meets a group of American students who are backpacking around Europe and bonds with them straight away, especially the gorgeous Toph, who helps heal Bea's hurting heart. And though Bea has a shock in store when they finally get to Paris, the 'City of Lovers ' really works it magic on Bea and Toph, who spend a week wandering the sun-dappled streets of Paris, talking, holding hands and falling in love. When it comes time to go home to confront her Mum about her mysterious father, the new version of Bea is determined that she 'll never go back to her old, boring way of life - she's no longer Nobody's Girl; she belongs to herself and to Toph...But with an ocean between them, will he wait for her?

Thank you Sarra Manning for writing again and again the most amazingly real and loveable characters! 

Read more about this one HERE.

Monday, July 16, 2012

PILGRIMS DON'T WEAR PINK: STEPHANIE KATE STROHM



 There are several cutesy books about girls working in reenactment camps, but this one stands above the rest. I was laughing out loud in the first few pages and kind of fell in love with Libby's sassy sweet voice. The plot is still kind of predictable, and the gay best friend was maybe a bit too clichĂ© for my tastes. However, it is sweet and fun and I really enjoyed myself while reading it. 

BOOK BLURB:
A story of crushes, corsets, and conspiracy

Libby Kelting had always felt herself born out of time. No wonder the historical romance-reading, Jane Austen-adaptation-watching, all-around history nerd jumped at the chance to intern at Camden Harbor, Maine’s Oldest Living History Museum. But at Camden Harbor Libby’s just plain out of place, no matter how cute she looks in a corset. Her cat-loving coworker wants her dead, the too-smart-for-his-own-good local reporter keeps pushing her buttons, her gorgeous sailor may be more shipwreck than dreamboat — plus Camden Harbor’s haunted. Over the course of one unforgettable summer, Libby learns that boys, like ghosts, aren’t always what they seem.

This would have been a completely innocent read if it wasn't for a very few scattered harsh swear words. I am not really sure why the author felt like they needed to be in there at all since the rest of the book is so sweet. 

I was excited to find this was going to be the beginning of a series, because I was excited to read more with these characters (rare for me these days).

Read more about it HERE.