Wednesday, December 10, 2014

BEST OF 2014 GIVEAWAY HOP


I didn't read as much this year, and I also found myself revisiting many of my past favorite books when I felt like I needed to visit an old friend. So as I sat down to pick my favorite reads I realized I didn't have as many as I thought. In years past, I have come up with a top ten best of the year, but I think this year I am going to share a top five, with some honorable mentions. Because folks that is all I've got for you this year, but I think we've still got some winners on our hands.

1. LOVE AND OTHER FOREIGN WORDS: ERIN McCAHAN

Erin McCahan wrote one of my all time favorite books in 2010, and I was so excited for her second book. It exceeded my expectations and I absolutely adored it.

2. ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER: STEPHANIE PERKINS

Another eagerly awaited release that knocked my socks off. I loved being back in Paris for Isla's love story.

3. THE SHADOW PRINCE: BREE DESPAIN

Bree is one of my dearest, oldest friends and I can admit that I probably would never have read this book if that wasn't the case, because...well...it wouldn't seem like my thing. And yet, it is so good that it makes it my thing.

4. THE VOW: JESSICA MARTINEZ

My favorite boy/girl friendship that I have ever read.

5.TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE

One of my favorite moments this year was meeting Jenny Han and having her sign my books. I have never had a author entertain me so much by read their work out loud. I can't wait for book #2 in this series!

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
This year I also read and LOVED all of  


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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

2014 DEBUT AUTHOR GIVEAWAY HOP




I think it is so important to support stand out debut authors because the publishing world is not as easy and wonderful as you might dream and hope for. Plus the pressure of writing book two? Yikes, this is why I don't write books and just read them, no thanks for me. :)

These are my two stand-out debut author books for the year and I really hope to read more from these authors. I'm going to let the winner of this giveaway chose which book interests them the most and I will send it to you. How does that sound? I also hope you check these both out for yourselves and see what you think!




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;

Sunday, November 30, 2014

IT'S NOT ME IT'S YOU: MHAIRI MCFARLANE


How delightful are the characters in Mhairi McFarlane's books? I can't even tell you. Three books now and I have been delighted by all of her characters. Her writing style in this book is the same as in her previous two. She writes a TON of little asides that go way over my head. However, her characters shine and make me want to read and read and read and then cry when there is no more to read. 

BOOK BLURB:
Delia Moss isn’t quite sure where she went wrong.

When she proposed and discovered her boyfriend was sleeping with someone else – she thought it was her fault.

When she realised life would never be the same again – she thought it was her fault.

And when he wanted her back life nothing had changed – Delia started to wonder if perhaps she was not to blame…

From Newcastle to London and back again, with dodgy jobs, eccentric bosses and annoyingly handsome journalists thrown in, Delia must find out where her old self went – and if she can ever get her back.

You can read more about it HERE. Thank you Edelweiss for the review copy.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN: JANDY NELSON


When you love a book like I loved Jandy Nelson's The Sky is Everywhere, you can get a nervous fluttery feeling in your tummy when you finally have your hands on her second book a whole 4 and a half years later after you feel in love with her writing.

In I'll Give you the Sun, she clearly proves that she is lives in kind of an author land of beautiful writing that is not easily visited by anyone else who writes books. This book is so beautifully written, and that you cannot argue with. It is well thought out and smart. You can see in the first few pages why it took Nelson years to write another book. But did I love it? Maybe.

I had a few issues with it, the main one being I wish she had made the characters at least one or even two years older. Sometimes it just felt too mature to believe the characters were as young as they were supposed to be. Then, even though it was pretty much done perfectly, I didn't like the past/present time switch. I rarely do like any type of voice change or time change because I just like to keep reading the story I'm reading. In this, each time I had to switch to the brother or sister I was annoyed. Lastly,  I thought maybe the writing was too pretty and perfect. I know, hard to imagine having a problem with something being too pretty or perfect, but there were so many beautifully writen lines and descriptions I sometimes couldn't digest them because it was like I said...just TOO much.

So if I had to pick, I would still go with preferring The Sky is Everywhere. But I can't imagine anyone not feeling something wonderful by reading this. And I wish and hope and pray that I don't have to wait another 5 years for her next book, but if I do I know it will be worth the wait.

BOOK BLURB:
Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.


Read more about it HERE.

Monday, November 3, 2014

LOVE AND OTHER UNKNOWN VARIABLES: SHANNON LEE ALEXANDER


Read this book if you have ever wondered what it would be like to be loved, adored, worshiped, and have your spirited lifted by a geeky boy. Our hero in this male POV novel is so stinking loveable and likeable and funny and charming that absolutely nothing could have happened in this book and I would have still enjoyed it. One of my favorite heads to be in as a reader ever.

BOOK BLURB:
Charlie Hanson has a clear vision of his future. A senior at Brighton School of Mathematics and Science, he knows he’ll graduate, go to MIT, and inevitably discover solutions to the universe’s greatest unanswered questions. He’s that smart. But Charlie’s future blurs the moment he reaches out to touch the tattoo on a beautiful girl’s neck.

The future has never seemed very kind to Charlotte Finch, so she’s counting on the present. She’s not impressed by the strange boy at the donut shop—until she learns he’s a student at Brighton where her sister has just taken a job as the English teacher. With her encouragement, Charlie orchestrates the most effective prank campaign in Brighton history. But, in doing so, he puts his own future in jeopardy.

By the time he learns she's ill—and that the pranks were a way to distract Ms. Finch from Charlotte’s illness—Charlotte’s gravitational pull is too great to overcome. Soon he must choose between the familiar formulas he’s always relied on or the girl he’s falling for (at far more than 32 feet per second squared).


You can read more about it HERE.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

ONE PLUS ONE: JOJO MOYES


This is the kind of book that I just see a lot of people liking. It just has these fun, loveable, flawed characters that are just interesting to read about. It isn't a "dumb" book, but it isn't isn't a hard read either. It is just that kind of novel that sucks you in and entertains you and makes you believe in happy endings despite the crap of life.

BOOK BLURB:
Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight-in-shining-armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.

Tiny bit of swearing, a little romance. Overall, not overly adult in nature.  

You can read more about it HERE.

Monday, October 6, 2014

JUST LIKE THE MOVIES: KELLY FIORE


This isn't a life-altering, earth shattering kind of book. But it is sweet, clean, and pretty adorable. It is just fun, and I like just fun books...do you?

BOOK BLURB:
Pretty and popular track star Marijke Monti is confident about almost everything – she’s got great friends, a great family, and she’s on her way to the State Track Championship. In fact, the only thing Marijke isn’t confident about is her relationship with Tommy Lawson.

Lily Spencer has spent her entire high school career preparing for the future – she’s participated in every extracurricular activity and volunteer committee she could. But, at home, she watches her mother go on date after date with dud-dudes, still searching for “the one.” Lily realizes that she’s about to graduate and still hasn’t even had a boyfriend.

While they live on each other’s periphery at school, Lily and Marijke never seemed to have much in common; but, after a coincidental meeting at the movie theater, Lily gets an idea – why can’t life be like a movie? Why can’t they set up their perfect romantic situations, just in time for their senior prom, using movie techniques?

Once the girls come up with the perfect plans, they commit themselves to being secret cohorts and, just like in the movies, drama ensues.


Read more about it HERE.

Friday, September 19, 2014

ANATOMY OF A MISFIT: ANDREA PORTES


I've been going back and forth debating on if I should put this on my blog. In the end I can't deny that I really enjoyed this and honestly once I got into it I was wishing it was much longer. At first, I was NOT digging it. The style was a little run-on-sentency (yeah, I know that is not a "real" thing), and our main girl was NOT likable. But something that I couldn't put my finger on kept me reading. Pretty soon I was just into the book. I thought it was different and interesting. And suddenly our unlikeable heroine was pretty darn likable to me.

Now, at a point close to the end I was wondering how this was all going to go down. I'm of course not going to spoil anything but I will say this: The very ending is one of the most satisfying endings I have ever read.

My one issue with this book is that Portes says at the end that she wrote a book for herself at that age. And, I'm not sure it is really appropriate for a 15 or 16 year old. The content aside (which is pretty harsh), it just had a feel of book about teens written for adults. It might be the nostalgia factor since it took place when Trapper Keepers were in, or it was just that it had a more mature writing feel; one that I am not sure a teenager would get. The things our MC says are kind of above her years in sass and cultural references, and I am sorry but I just couldn't believe she was only 15. However, she is a character that is trying to act older, and sometimes the vulnerability of her age shines through, and that is when I liked her the most. 

There is a ton of swearing with a ton of casual Lord's name in vain swearing. Lots of talk teens drinking, and sleeping around, but nothing in detail.

BOOK BLURB:
Outside, Anika Dragomir is all lip gloss and blond hair—the third most popular girl in school. Inside, she’s a freak: a mix of dark thoughts, diabolical plots, and, if local chatter is to be believed, vampire DNA (after all, her father is Romanian). But she keeps it under wraps to maintain her social position. One step out of line and Becky Vilhauer, first most popular girl in school, will make her life hell. So when former loner Logan McDonough shows up one September hotter, smarter, and more mysterious than ever, Anika knows she can’t get involved. It would be insane to throw away her social safety for a nerd. So what if that nerd is now a black-leather-jacket-wearing dreamboat, and his loner status is clearly the result of his troubled home life? Who cares if the right girl could help him with all that, maybe even save him from it? Who needs him when Jared Kline, the bad boy every girl dreams of, is asking her on dates? Who?

Anatomy of a Misfit is Mean Girls meets The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Anika’s hilariously deadpan delivery will appeal to readers for its honesty and depth. The so-sad-it’s-funny high school setting will pull readers in, but when the story’s dark foreboding gradually takes over, the devastating penultimate tragedy hits like a punch to the gut. Readers will ride the highs and lows alongside funny, flawed Anika — from laughter to tears, and everything in between.

You can read more about it HERE.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER


So we all waited for a long time for this one and I am happy to say that in my opinion it was worth the wait. I loved this from the very first page and I LOVED returning to beautiful Paris for another year of higher education.

I loved Isla, I loved Josh, I just enjoyed this. It isn't as perfect as Anna and the French Kiss, but it was great in it's own way. It is a more mature book than both Anna and Lola content wise just to give readers a heads up. 

BOOK BLURB:
From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and √Čtienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and ne
w.

Read more about it HERE

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU: MHAIRI MCFARLANE




Yesterday I was talking with my friend Suzy about this book and I looked on Goodreads to see what I had written about it and I realized I had forgotten to review it! Do you ever do that? I'm sure I do it more than I realize, I read too much.

With this particular book, I think I forgot because I planned on sharing how much I enjoyed it on the blog, and I kept putting it off and I forgot. Well enough about my scatter brain self and now on to why I liked this book.

McFarlane's writing style is pretty specific to her. She likes to make lots of jokes that honestly distract me quite a bit. But I like her stories and honest characters so much I don't mind being a tiny big distracted. If you are a British chick-lit fan (and if you actually read my blog you should try a few if you haven't read any before), then I would read Mhairi's first book You Had Me At Hello and then if you love it then you will probably love this too.

BOOK BLURB:
The new novel from the bestselling author of You Had Me At Hello. What if the last person you wanted to see was the person you needed? After the runaway success of You Had Me At Hello, Mhairi McFarlane is back with a new cast of characters in her second book, Here's Looking At You. In essence it's an ugly duckling tale. Our heroine Aureliana returns to school after fifteen years for a reunion. School doesn't hold happy memories for her, as being a roly poly Italian (known as the Italian Galleon), and always armed with a Tupperware full of pungent Mediterranean food, she was bullied incessantly throughout her years there. Now in her 30s, Aureliana wants to put the past behind her once and for all and face up to the bullies who made her life hell. But she is much-changed from the girl she once was - all curves and because I'm worth it hair - and no one recognises her when she arrives. Losing her bottle, she backs out on her plan for revenge and slinks off, hoping never to be reminded of her years at school again. But fate gets in the way, and after the reunion her path keeps crossing with James - major hunk and Aureliana's major crush back at school. But alas, as a cronie to the bullies, Aureliana to this day believes that his beautiful exterior hides an ugly interior. As they continue to cross paths a love/hate relationship ensues until eventually something shifts, and they both start to discover what the person underneath is really like...Full of Mhairi's trademark laugh out loud humour, Here's Looking At You is a novel about facing your demons and being happy with who you really are.

You can read more about this book HERE.

Monday, July 28, 2014

WILDFLOWER: ALECIA WHITAKER


I loved Alecia's first book The Queen of Kentucky. It was adorable and sweet and one of the few younger coming of age stories that I actually liked. I wanted it to be a series because I could have read about the main character for much longer than one book. 

Because of this I was really looking forward to Wildflower, and I am very excited to realize (now that I am done reading it) that it will actually be a series. The only problem I had with this book was I thought the pacing was a bit off, but then when I realized that there was going to be more books with these characters I was ok with it, and I am excited to read them too. 

These are great, clean, sweet books.

BOOK BLURB:
The best songs come from broken hearts.

Sixteen-year-old Bird Barrett has grown up on the road, singing backup in her family's bluegrass band, and playing everywhere from Nashville, Tennesee to Nowhere, Oklahoma. One fateful night, Bird fills in for her dad by singing lead, and a scout in the audience offers her a spotlight all her own.

Soon Bird is caught up in a whirlwind of songwriting meetings, recording sessions, and music video shoots. Her first single hits the top twenty, and suddenly fans and paparazzi are around every corner. She's even caught the eye of her longtime crush, fellow roving musician Adam Dean. With Bird's star on the rise, though, tradition and ambition collide. Can Bird break out while staying true to her roots?

In a world of glamour and gold records, a young country music star finds her voice
.
  
You can read more about it HERE.

Monday, July 14, 2014

THE BEST THING I NEVER HAD: ERIN LAWLESS


I love British Chick-Lit. Why is it better to me than what we have in the US? I don't know maybe I just have a secret dream of living in London. Anyway, this one is a bit confusing at first. There aren't too many characters in this book, but in my opinion way too many are introduced right away and it took me a while to get them straight. In fact I almost started a cheat sheet so I could remember who was who. Also, the writing style might throw some people off. It just skips from one moment to the next and can take a bit to get into the flow. But I dug it pretty fast and just loved it. 

Definitely a go to book if you loved Mhairi McFarlane’s You Had Me at Hello. Plus here is some good news. It is only 99 cents on Amazon! How awesome is that?!

BOOK BLURB:

Miles and Nicky are getting married. Unfortunately, their wedding party is a tangle of ex-housemates, ex-friends and ex-lovers. So this wedding isn’t just a wedding, it’s a reunion. Can anything be salvaged from the past? And what really happened between them all, back at university?

Read more about it here. Thanks NetGalley for the read.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

PIVOT POINT: KASIE WEST



I don't think I would have ever read these if I hadn't loved Kasie West's contemporary book The Distance Between Us and loved it. That would have been a shame because these are really smart and totally great. 

When I finished the last page of the second book I closed my copy and said out loud: "Wow that was clever." Which I didn't think once while I was reading because I was too entertained to notice how clever and well thought out this whole story was. So on top of a great premise, the writing is fun, clever and guess what? It is completely clean for you moms that have little (or not so little) readers in your home. 

Normally I HATE alternate reality stories. In fact I just read one (or attempted to read it) and I couldn't keep the different stories straight and I hated reading a story that kept getting interrupted by the other reality. In Pivot Point, the interruption of the stories in this is a minor offense because both story lines were equally good and different enough to keep me from going crazy trying to keep them straight. 

BOOK BLURB: (For book one only because the blurb for book two contains spoilers for book one!)

Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

Be sure to check out Kasie's other books too. I haven't read On The Fence just yet, but I adored The Distance Between Us.  

Find out more about Kasie and her books HERE.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

LOVE AND OTHER FOREIGN WORDS: ERIN McCAHAN


This is the book I have been looking foward to for years, and I am not exaggerating YEARS. Erin's first book is featured along with my smiling kissy face in my goodreads photo, that is how much I loved her first book. I so want other people to find her work and love it too. I was equal parts excited and nervous to finally get this book in my hands...what if it just wasn't as good as her debut? I am happy to announce it was better.

So smart, so delightful, so special. I loved it. It featured my favorite kind of character which is a loveable and flawed person that thinks so differently from the rest of the boring world. It took me a bit to get the flow of the way she talks, but soon I couldn't get enough.

Also, I don't think I will ever think of the specific way I talk (or my language) the same after reading this book. I felt like I leaned a different life language just by reading it.

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

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


Just like with her previous book it is a clean and sweet read along with being smart and funny. Please check it out! You can read more about it HERE.

Friday, May 30, 2014

TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE: JENNY HAN


I keep putting off sharing that I read and loved this book, and I need to before it gets too late. I honestly wouldn't have read this until the second book came out (I just hate waiting for the conclusion to Jenny Han books), but I read this because Jenny came to Utah and I got to meet her and try not to act like a crazy adult who loves her (which I am). It was one of my favorite readings, usually when an author reads out loud from their books I have a hard time staying focused. But Jenny was hilarious and her voice added so much to the character in this book that I already really loved.

The book wasn't what I expected and I just adored it.

BOOK BLURB:
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

Guess what?! I have a signed copy I will be giving away in the future, so look out for that darlings!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

OPEN ROAD SUMMER: EMERY LORD

This was a bit of a slow start for me, but once it got going I was completely hooked. Great full of life characters, fun swoony romance, true best friends...a great read. It also has some really beautiful lines that take you by surprise sometimes because the writing isn't overly flowery or trying to hard. I don't know, kind of the best kind of summer read.

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

A tiny bit of swearing, plenty of kissing but nothing more, our MC has a bad past, but her story is handled in a non-watered down yet sweet way. You can read more about it HERE.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the read.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Thursday, April 10, 2014

UNFIXABLE: TESSA BAILEY

So I've been over the whole New Adult genre for awhile now, I'm not sure what made me want to read this one, but I did...and surprise surprise...it was actually pretty good. 

It is pretty sexy (as the cover suggests), but it has some heart to it. I just really loved reading about our two lovebirds and their tension filled drama. It did take me a minute to get into this because it seemed a bit silly for my tastes at first, but I just went with it and it was a perfect mindless read. A new adult book that fits the purpose of the genre to a tee.

I haven't read any of Tessa Bailey's other books, but there are some old characters you get to see again if you like to catch up with your old flames.

BOOK BLURB:
Willa Peet isn’t interested in love. She’s been there, done that, and has the shattered heart to prove it. Ready to shake the breakup,she heads to Dublin, Ireland. But there’s a problem. A dark-haired, blue-eyed problem with a bad attitude that rivals her own. And he’s not doling out friendly Irish welcomes.

Shane Claymore just wants to race. The death of his father forced him off the Formula One circuit, but he’s only staying in Dublin long enough to sell the Claymore Inn and get things in order for his mother and younger sister. He never expected the sarcastic American girl staying at the inn to make him question everything.

But even as Willa and Shane’s fiery natures draw them together, their pasts threaten to rip them apart. Can Shane give up racing to be with the woman he loves, or will Willa’s quest to resurrect the tough-talking, no-shit-taking girl she used to be destroy any hope of a future together?

You can read more about it HERE. Thanks NetGalley for the read.

Monday, March 31, 2014

FOOL FOR BOOKS HOP: SIGNED COPY OF ROOMIES

For this hop, I am giving away a signed copy of Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando's book Roomies. It is signed by both authors.

I just realized I never reviewed this, so here is my review for those of you who might care to know what I think...;)

I was lucky enough to go to a book signing and hear both author's talk about the process of creating Roomies. It was really fascinating because after reading the book I almost didn't believe them when they shared how they wrote this book. Which was pretty much writing chapters to each other back and forth without planning on where the story was going. The fact that they pulled this off so seamlessly is just proof of their mutual talent.

I loved Roomies, it totally took me back to that out of high school-going to college-this is my last summer feeling. Not only was the whole mood spot on, but so was the dynamic between the soon-to-be roommates. The way they reacted to each other in both their lives and in emails was so honest and took me by surprise. Sara Zarr can really do no wrong in my eyes, and Tara Altebrando's chapters were equally delightful. A great collaboration.

BOOK BLURB:
It's time to meet your new roomie.

When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl's summer -- and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.

As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives . . . and each other. Even though they've never met.

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr and acclaimed author Tara Altebrando join forces for a novel about growing up, leaving home, and getting that one fateful e-mail that assigns your college roommate.





a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

YOU HAD ME AT HELLO: MHAIRI MCFARLANE

First off, I love British Chic-Lit. It is like my favorite thing. I think it should be its own special genre. I am always disappointed at how hard it is to get some of the best Girlie British books in the hands of American gals like me. Fortunately, some books do well enough in the UK, that we finally get to read them easily here. This is one of those books. 

Now, it didn't flow as easily as I usually like. Part of it had to do with all the sassy sideline comments, which were funny. However, they were also quite British and a lot of them went over my head. In fact, sometimes when I would actually get one of the Briticisms in this book (because I do read a lot of British stuff) I would be reminded about how many of them in this book I WASN'T getting. Kind of like reading an old book with a lot of words you don't understand so you just skim over and keep plowing ahead.

Overall though this was adorable. Just my thing. And it goes back and forth in time and I didn't find it annoying like I usually do. The past/present actually worked in the book's favor and moved the plot along nicely. This story consumed me, keeping me from real life, until the last page. 

BOOK BLURB:
Rachel and Ben. Ben and Rachel. It was them against the world. Until it all fell apart.

It’s been a decade since they last spoke, but when Rachel bumps into Ben one rainy day, the years melt away.

From the moment they met they’d been a gang of two; partners in crime and the best of friends. But life has moved on. Ben is married. Rachel is definitely not. In fact, the men in her life make her want to take holy orders…

Yet in that split second, Rachel feels the old friendship return. And along with it, the broken heart she’s never been able to mend.

If you love David Nicholls and Lisa Jewell then this is the book for you. Hilarious, heartbreaking and everything in between, you’ll be hooked from their first ‘hello’
.

A splattering of swearing, and talk of sex, but nothing overly descriptive. You can read more about it HERE.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

THE SHADOW PRINCE: BREE DESPAIN

Full disclosure, Bree is one of my best friends in the world. She is one of the nicest and coolest girls around in case you are wondering. She has done her homework and this is one well written book. I never wanted to leave the world or the characters she created in this book. I always get so excited when secondary characters shine as much as the main characters. There are so many well rounded great secondary characters in this book that add so much to the whole feel of the story.

The book is in dual perspective and it is done WELL. I can't say that happens all the time when this style is used. But it has purpose here and adds depth to the story. Bree's style is this: she loves big epic stories with a bit of humor. I adored Haden and loved getting a laugh while he tried to figure out what in the world we humans mean by the things we say.

The Shadow Prince lays down the ground work for a very exciting trilogy unlike anything else I have read before. Bree wanted to write this as a stand alone, but "her people" convinced her that the story could not be contained in just one book. So if you are thinking: "Ugh, another trilogy? I can't take it!" Then just know that there is a method to the madness, and sometimes it takes a few books to get good and involved with characters that are easy to love.

BOOK BLURB:
Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has been sent to the mortal world to entice a girl into returning with him to the land of the dead. Posing as a student at Olympus Hills High—a haven for children of the rich and famous—Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race.

Daphne Raines has dreams much bigger than her tiny southern Utah town, so when her rock star dad suddenly reappears, offering her full tuition to Olympus Hills High’s prestigious music program, she sees an opportunity to catch the break she needs to make it as a singer. But upon moving into her estranged father’s mansion in California, and attending her glamorous new school, Daphne soon realizes she isn’t the only student in Olympus who doesn’t quite belong.

Haden and Daphne—destined for each other—know nothing of the true stakes their fated courtship entails. As war between the gods brews, the teenagers’ lives collide. But Daphne won’t be wooed easily and when it seems their prophesied link could happen, Haden realizes something he never intended—he’s fallen in love. Now to save themselves, Haden and Daphne must rewrite their destinies. But as their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds.

This book is totally clean. I read so much crap these days and this book really felt like a little beacon of light in this little world. There are just so many things Bree does well in this book, and I am so relieved she is such a talented writer. How awkward would that be if I didn't like her books? :)

Here are some pics I took from Bree's book release party at The King's English bookstore in Salt Lake City, Utah. That last one is of my cute daughter who can't wait to learn to read enough to read Bree's books.





Friday, March 14, 2014

MISFIT: JON SKOVRON

This book is never in a million years the kind of book I would pick up on my own. However, I had read another Jon Skovron book and really enjoyed his writing style so I put this on my to-read list. It is hard to say how I really felt about this book because a book this size would have normally taken me not too long to read. But because of a lot of family time (weddings, births, guests, oh my) this took me weeks.

Every time I sat down to read it I was transported into the world the author created and I liked that world very much. It did feel like most of the book was exposition and then the big finish just came too quickly. But AGAIN, I don't have the best feel for the flow of this book because my usual reading pace was way off. Also, I loved some of the secondary characters but I thought the best friend and love interest were a bit flat. But the story and writing were quite above average.

So is this a book you should try? If you like strong girls, interesting back stories, believable fantastical creatures based in old myths you should read this. Even if you don't you might still like it...like me.

BOOK BLURB:
Jael Thompson has never really fit in. She’s changed schools too many times to count. The only family she’s ever known is her father, a bitter ex-priest who never lets her date and insists she attend the strictest Catholic school in Seattle. And her mother—well, she was a five thousand year old demon. That doesn’t exactly help.

But on her sixteenth birthday, her father gives her a present that brings about some unexpected changes. Some of the changes, like strange and wonderful powers and the cute skater boy with a knack for science, are awesome. But others, like the homicidal demon seeking revenge on her family? Not so much.

Steeped in mythology, this is an epic tale of a heroine who balances old world with new, science with magic, and the terrifying depths of the underworld with the ordinary halls of high school.


You can read more about it HERE

Friday, February 7, 2014

ROMANCE IS IN THE AIR HOP: SIGNED COPY OF ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS

What better YA romance book could I give away then Anna and the French Kiss? Awe, I just love this book. Oh and did I mention? It is a SIGNED COPY! And not signed by me or some random friend of mine it is signed by Stephanie herself.





a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to I Am A Reader Not A Writer and Rachael Anderson for hosting this blog hop. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

THE ROSIE PROJECT: GRAEME SIMSION

I'm usually wary of popular books that a lot of people have read and books that I have to wait in line a long time before my name is at the top of the library list. However, The Rosie Project was worth the wait. I always love the voice of characters with Aspergers, I enjoy their observations about the silliness of our society's "norm". Our hero, Don was a delightful voice. Reading about his projects was just plain fun.

BOOK BLURB:
An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don's Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.

If you haven't yet heard of this book, I hope it is on your radar now. You can read more about it HERE.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

THE VOW: JESSICA MARTINEZ

You know that the best books have to have some type of conflict and The Vow delivers the best kind of realistic conflict that kept me on my toes from beginning to end. The struggle and characters evolve and grow until you have only 10 pages left and you want to scream: "What is going to happen! I only have 10 pages left!" I guess that is a good thing because I enjoyed this book so much it could have gone on much longer. 

I loved Jessica's first book, didn't love her second. But this one was a real wow for me. Definitely the best boy/girl friendship I have ever read. And perhaps one of the best friendships I have ever read period.

BOOK BLURB:
No one has ever believed that Mo and Annie are just friends. How can a guy and a girl really be best friends?

Then the summer before senior year, Mo’s father loses his job, and by extension his work visa. Instantly, life for Annie and Mo crumbles. Although Mo has lived in America for most of his life, he’ll be forced to move to Jordan. The prospect of leaving his home is devastating, and returning to a world where he no longer belongs terrifies him.

Desperate to save him, Annie proposes they tell a colossal lie—that they are in love. Mo agrees because marrying Annie is the only way he can stay. Annie just wants to keep her best friend, but what happens when it becomes a choice between saving Mo and her own chance at real love?

The Vow is a extremely clean read while still dealing with a few mature themes. It doesn't talk down to it's audience but it doesn't shock them either. A great balance. 

This kind of book is exactly the reason I started this blog. Not enough people hear about certain great reads and I want to get the word out! Read more about it HERE.

Friday, January 24, 2014

THE SCAR BOYS: LEN VLAHOS


Well written with a very strong voice, The Scar Boys is one of those books that isn't that easy to categorize as YA or adult. There should be a book genre called Adult Nostalgia. Because I can see adults enjoying this as much or more than an average teen since this takes place during the rise of Punk music.

Over the last while I have decided that I don't care for memoir books, but this felt like a really amazing memoir. It isn't full of manufactured emotions even though it could have felt that way with how dramatic this story is sometimes. It just felt real and honest and so observant of basic human behavior. This might be the most enjoyable time I have had being in the mind of a character that really hates himself, but doesn't really want to.

BOOK BLURB:
A severely burned teenager. A guitar. Punk rock. The chords of a rock 'n' roll road trip in a coming-of-age novel that is a must-read story about finding your place in the world...even if you carry scars inside and out.

In attempting to describe himself in his college application essay--help us to become acquainted with you beyond your courses, grades, and test scores--Harbinger (Harry) Jones goes way beyond the 250-word limit and gives a full account of his life.

The first defining moment: the day the neighborhood goons tied him to a tree during a lightning storm when he was 8 years old, and the tree was struck and caught fire. Harry was badly burned and has had to live with the physical and emotional scars, reactions from strangers, bullying, and loneliness that instantly became his everyday reality.

The second defining moment: the day in 8th grade when the handsome, charismatic Johnny rescued him from the bullies and then made the startling suggestion that they start a band together. Harry discovered that playing music transported him out of his nightmare of a world, and he finally had something that compelled people to look beyond his physical appearance. Harry's description of his life in his essay is both humorous and heart-wrenching. He had a steeper road to climb than the average kid, but he ends up learning something about personal power, friendship, first love, and how to fit in the world. While he's looking back at the moments that have shaped his life, most of this story takes place while Harry is in high school and the summer after he graduates.

Thanks to NetGalley for this read.



Friday, January 3, 2014

IT FELT LIKE A KISS: SARRA MANNING


So one of my best Christmas presents was from my mom. She snagged me an ARC of our favorite author's new book. Normally I would wait and be patient to read this closer to the release date, but I don't even know the US release date...so who cares right? Instant book gratification never hurt anyone that much.

It Felt Like A Kiss was great. It was a bit slow starting, but I was still enjoying it. The last half was almost impossible to put down. Also, I love love loved having cameos from my two favorite Manning characters Vaughn and Grace as well. 

BOOK BLURB:
Ellie manages a swank Mayfair gallery, but it’s her life that’s a real work of art. Great job, really good hair, loyal friends, loving family. It’s only her succession of lame duck boyfriends that ruin the picture.

Oh, and the world-famous rock-star father she’s never met, who won’t even acknowledge her existence.

Then Ellie’s perfect life is smashed to pieces when her secret is sold to the highest bidder and her name, face (and pictures of her bottom) are splashed across the tabloids. Suddenly everyone thinks she’s a gold-digging, sex-crazy, famewhore.

Enter David Gold. Charming and handsome David Gold. On paper he’s even more perfect than Ellie, if only he wasn’t her father’s ruthlessly ambitious lawyer whose job is to manage the crisis – and her. He certainly doesn’t think that Ellie’s the innocent party and she doesn’t trust him at all. So why is it that every time they’re alone together, damage limitation is the last thing on their minds?

So what are you going to do since this book isn't even out yet in the UK, which means who knows when you'll be able to get it in the US? I have a brilliant solution for you: Go to Amazon and either borrow Unsticky for free if you are an Amazon Prime member, or freaking buy it for $2.99. I'm sure you have bought worse books for that price.

After that you will be all caught up on Grace and Vaughn. If you can't wait for more Manning You Don't Have To Say You Love Me is also crazy cheap and available to borrow. These are two of my favorite books of all time people!

Sarra writes some sexy scenes in her books, but they are not glamorized romance novel type scenes. There is always a fair amount of character driven swearing as well. 

She is my favorite author of chick-lit and YA. End of. (That is my favorite British saying ;) )