Sunday, September 21, 2014

Banned Book Week - Fun Facts & Giveaways


For more information on Banned Book Week and banned books in general, see this site:
http://www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek

Cheesy is as Cheesy Does
(A ridiculous playwright by Kristin Aragon)

<Librarian (only doing her job)>STOP! You can't read that!

<Miffi>I can't read what? Thirty Steps from Red?

<Librarian>That's right ma'am. Our public library voted to ban that book. It shouldn't even be in the database anymore.

<Miffi>I'm Twenty. Four. Years old. This is a public library, right?

<Librarian>Yes ma'am.

<Miffi>And someone else made the decision to tell me what I was allowed to read?

<Librarian>Well, it's not that simple. What if a child had checked out that book?

<Miffi>We've carded people for tobacco, alcohol, lottery tickets, why not a book? Please don't give me a speech on all the reasons this book has been removed from this library. I'm sure I already know them equally as well as you, but when tax payers fund a building such as a library, the government cannot censor what we read. Parents can censor their children's reading and should be aware of it, but you ma'am, can't tell me I can check out Dante's Inferno but not some smexy love story because I just broke up with my boyfriend.

<Librarian>*Small smile on her face* No, I can't. Which is why I'm loaning you the copy I keep in my purse.

They walk to Librarian's desk where she pulls out her purse and several copies of the wanted book sit quietly awaiting someone to devour them. Librarian reaches in and pulls a brand new copy out. Handing it to the young lady in front of her, Librarian says, "I've left the single book in our system because I think censorship is wrong. I pass the books out for free hoping women like you will stand up to the Powers That Be and make a change. Good, Bad, or Indifferent... it is up to a grown individual or a guardian to censor what they read. Not me."

Obviously, I'm not a playwright and I'm sure you're all sighing in relief right now. I'm also not very clever when trying to disguise things...you know what I mean. But the story is obvious.

Every year at this time, the book community comes together to post its stance on Book Banning. Technically, in the United States, there is truly not much Book Banning, but there is a big, ginormous amount of Book Challenging. There are places where such things get sticky, such as in school libraries. The important thing for you to take away from this event is as an adult, you always have the right to read what you want. I've heard examples of certain libraries banning the book I mentioned above, but having to reshelve it because they were having to order it from other libraries so much. THIS. IS. YOUR. RIGHT. Simple & True.

School libraries are different. How many of you want Fifty Shades of Grey stocked in any of your high school libraries? Not me. I don't want a lot of the books I read shelved in the libraries, but then again, I'm a forty year old adult. If it were only that simple. Then there's the line of when is it too young to read Are You There God: It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume? At what point do we shelve the Twilight Saga? Or are the Hunger Games too violent for school libraries to carry? Those are questions that have to be talked about between families, they should be made between school boards and parenting committees.

My oldest always read exactly what I did from the time she turned thirteen. I'll be honest, she read several of Ellen Hopkins's books which are always on the banned/challenged lists that I didn't read because I don't care for verse. We bonded over the books we read. I knew she wasn't taking any crazy immoral lessons from the books. BECAUSE we talked. Besides, she never really wanted to be a vampire anyway.

My youngest prefers tragic, life-altering books. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, she's read twice and seen the movie twice. I've read and seen it once. John Green can spin a story of heartache and destruction and make people laugh at the same time. How does that even work? I don't read many of these books, my heart's too fragile. But as long as she's reading in her age range and TALKING to me about the books, then I'm okay. She's had a few questions along the boy/girl line (she's nearly 14), so we talk those out. I often find when she comes to me with questions, the talks none of us really want to have becomes much easier because both sides are ready to listen.

I always like to give the past years most banned/challenged books. I usually look for the most banned/challenged current books. All the classics have been banned for something. (On a side note, children grow up and they go to college where parents have no say over the books their professors assign...what a trip!)

2014 Most Banned/Challenged Popular Titles

The Perks of Being a Wildflower by Stephen Chbosky
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
The Middle School Survival Guide by Arlene Erlbach
Looking for Alaska by John Greene (My Favorite Author)
Elanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (Um... Seriously?)
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Amazing Book)
Betrayed (House of Nights Series) by Kristin and P.C. Cast

Again, I only named a few I thought you might recognize. Yes, there are many, many more and sometimes when you read the reasons they are challenged, all you can do is laugh. So, my friends, I encourage you to research. Use this link: http://www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek

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Monday, August 11, 2014

{Book Review} Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Title: Ugly Love
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Genre: New Adult/Adult
*NOT FOR READERS UNDER THE AGE OF 17*


Blurb:

When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.



*Tissue box warning*

Call me crazy, but this book left me breathless. Colleen is a brilliant wordsmith, winding and wrapping her characters' emotions into a lyrical rollercoaster. The highs brought a soft smile to my face, while the lows brought an onslaught of tears. She. Never. Fails.

Miles, the complicated male protagonist, ensnared me from the moment I met him, passed out drunk in front of his best friend's apartment door. Only later did we find out he rarely ever drank, which I appreciated since he was an airplane pilot after all. While I felt it took a little longer than necessary to reach the reason for Miles' behavior, I knew the author would bring the heartbreak on in a storm of raging emotions.

I'm going to speak from the heart here, hopefully without giving any spoilers. I've experienced the pain Miles did. It's an emotional nightmare in which no one should ever have to experience. Never being able to match words with my feelings, as I read Colleen's descriptions of his despair, I realized she captured the sentimentality with such perfection, my words will never be needed. I'll forever pull quotes from Ugly Love. 

Tate, the female protagonist, I noted is getting some hate. I respected her and the decisions she made. Were all of them the most brilliant? No, but she signed on the dotted line and managed to get what she wanted in the end. Tate's not some innocent child jumping into a world unbeknownst to her, and deep down, I figured she had a plan from the very beginning. Wouldn't you? She's a nurse, working on her master's degree while working weekends. He's a pilot gone for days at a time. The time for romance and relationships was lacking.

I wonder, how many people in this day and age have experienced such a situation. Two professionals who work long, hard hours—one ripped and disheartened—need to release some stress, so they sign on for a no strings attached relationship. One wants a little more than the other, but is willing to take what they can get. Made for an excellent story.

All of Hoover's books have a spellbinding, lyrical quality to them. Ugly Love more so than the rest. It took me a bit of time to adjust to the style of writing, particularly Miles' POV. To say I fell in love with those parts of the book would be an overstatement, as I felt they led to more telling than showing, but the words still rang out to me and sucked me right into the whirlpool of hot and spicy sex and tragedy.

Overall, my love for this book is endless. I would warn any readers looking to delve into the awesomeness that is Colleen Hoover, Ugly Love might not should be the first book of hers to read. While it is a pile of awesome covered with genuine genius, the lyrical writing may take a bit to get into. I recommend Slammed in the beginning, then work your way up to this novel.

Side Note: Colleen's ability to weave feelings into her descriptions is my favorite thing about her writing.

A few of my favorite lines:

And her eyes. There's no way her eyes aren't seeing a prettier, more peaceful world than all the other eyes. —Miles, location 283
He tightens his grip on my neck... and then he kills me.
Or he kisses me. I can't tell which, since I'm pretty sure they would feel the same. His lips against mine feel like everything. Like living and dying and being reborn, all at the some time. —Tate, location 971

And my all time favorite:

"I didn't fall in love with you... I flew."

Monday, July 7, 2014

{#Giveaway} Just Couldn't Put It Down #Giveaway Hop


I think the title of this hop describes it all, and I have too many to name, but I did run across a series that I HAD to read all 4 books that had been released back to back. They are a series, but each book, except the first two, are about a different couple.

The Reed Brother Series is about 5 brothers who have had to exist on their own for too long. They've done nothing but take care of one another since they found themselves without parents. The first two books are about Logan, the third book is about Peter, the fourth about Matthew, and the fifth about Paul. I assume the sixth book with be about Sam, but there's no blurb out yet. All are sexy and swoon-worthy, all a bit damaged, some greater than others.

I'm going to give away all 5 novels that are out as of now. There are 3 novellas, but I'll let you decide whether you want to read those or not. (Right now the first novel is free on Amazon right now, and should it still be free when this hop is over, I'll throw in the novellas or a giftcard for $3.99 in place of the first book.)

1. Tall, Tatted, and Tempting
2. Smart, Sexy, and Secretive
3. Calmly, Carefully, Completely
4. Maybe Matt's Miracle
5. Proving Paul's Promise



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Sunday, June 22, 2014

New Things to Come!

Hey guys so I'm back for the holidays! I haven't done much on the blog this year but it's because I have been so busy with my Honours year at university. It's been really hectic. I have been reading though but I just didn't have any time to think up reviews because honestly? When I didn't have to do anything for uni I took great enjoyment in being very very lazy, but I miss the blog so I'm making an effort.

So I spoke to Kristin about making a few changes on my end with the reviews and she agreed which made me very happy. I'm not just going to review books anymore, but everything. Books, music/music videos, movies, TV shows and anime. I am a serious anime freak and I would like to get new people watching it and share my freakouts with more anime freaks like me. Kristin unfortunately doesn't like anime because the woman doesn't like ANY type of animation, which I have to say shocked my system for about a week, but she has legitimate reasons at least so I got over it! Most people have  misconceptions when it comes to anime and I'm here to set everyone straight. I'm also kind of an anime snob so if you do find yourself liking this medium and you go in search and you come across an anime I haven't talked about or that I didn't like, don't be put off, I only like a certain type of anime and you might like something completely different. I don't judge! Same goes with music, I like a great deal of different types of music but I don't care much for House, Country, RnB and Rap. All the other types I love, but if you want me to listen to a song or see a music video don't hesitate to suggest it to me. I'll listen to every song once!

I wanted to start off with a top 50 must watch, must read and must listen. Since this is originally a book blog, I will start with that. It should be up by tomorrow,  maybe after. I've read a lot of books so it might take some thinking, hehe. If you guys have suggestions,  I'm open to putting them into the list!


Saturday, June 21, 2014

{Book Review} Better When He's Bad by Jay Crownover

Author: Jay Crownover
Title: Better When He's Bad
Series: Welcome to the Point #1
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: June 17, 2014


Blurb:

Welcome to the Point

There’s a difference between a bad boy and a boy who’s bad . . . meet Shane Baxter.

Sexy, dark, and dangerous, Bax isn’t just from the wrong side of the tracks, he is the wrong side of the tracks. A criminal, a thug, and a brawler, he’s the master of bad choices, until one such choice landed him in prison for five years. Now Bax is out and looking for answers, and he doesn’t care what he has to do or who he has to hurt to get them. But there’s a new player in the game, and she’s much too innocent, much too soft…and standing directly in his way.

Dovie Pryce knows all about living a hard life and the tough choices that come with it. She’s always tried to be good, tried to help others, and tried not to let the darkness pull her down. But the streets are fighting back, things have gone from bad to worse, and the only person who can help her is the scariest, sexiest, most complicated ex-con The Point has ever produced.

Bax terrifies her, but it doesn’t take Dovie long to realize that some boys are just better when they’re bad.


***Mature readers only! Violence and sexual material.

There is something inherently sexy about a bad boy, be it the songs he rocks, the bike he straddles, or the horse he rides. Yet, what if the "bad" in the boy could not be tamed? What if it were more than his womanizing, egomaniac ways? What if he was criminally bad and had no remorse for his crimes, in fact, he never planned on going straight? Would he still be as insanely hot?

I can only testify to my opinion, and that would be... yes, because in the pages of a book, the worst of the worst can bring women to their knees. Also, loyalty is a trait to be admired in a world where selfishness seems to be put above selflessness. But that's not a rant for this blog... a reminder, maybe, but not a rant.

If you've read Rule, Jet, Rome, and/or Nash, also by Jay Crownover, you know these guys to be a bunch a misfits banded tighter than blood through tough lives and the love of ink. They're all out for a good time, including booze, women, and old fashioned boys games. They are fun. Fun to look at, fun to be around, and certainly they must be fun to sleep with... well, the women who tame them certainly think so, at least. Best I can say, they are fun to read about.

Better When He's Bad is not a fun book, nor is it about a man sowing his wild oats. It's gritty and raw, even cringe-worthy at times—but in the best of ways. I would say Jay Crownover stepped her writing up to phenomenal heights with Bax and his story. (I'm twitching to read Race's story next.) When I read the first paragraph, I had to wonder if the same woman who is still writing the Marked Men series could possibly be the same woman writing the Welcome to the Point series. And no, I don't mean that literally... of course she's the one writing both series, I just believe this shows the range she has as an author, as well as the growth of her writing along the way.

What I loved: Bax and the people who surrounded him are mysteries in of themselves. The twists and turns, and the completely unexpected. I loved the way I sat on the edge of my seat wondering how Bax was going to get himself and Dovie out of an unfathomable mess. I loved Bax for having at least one person he would protect besides himself. Jay's ability to draw out the suspense where Bax is concerned speaks to my earlier argument about her ability as a writer.

My thoughts about the notorious Bax, in particular, are: While criminals are not my ideal choice in a companion, Bax made it appear possible. Or should I say, Jay made it appear possible. The trouble Bax jumped into wasn't nickle and dime crap. He walks out of 5 years in prison to find himself involved in something bigger and much scarier than before, primarily because he's found a female worth taking care of.

My thoughts about Dovie: She is Race's sister, and Race is Bax's best friend, but the three of them couldn't be more different. Honestly, I'm not completely sure how I feel about Dovie. To be so good, she certainly stepped up and handled Bax like a natural. The one thing I couldn't piece together in my head, was when exactly they fell in love with each other. One second he's her protector, the next he's unwilling to let her go. I'm not certain I ever completely bought their relationship, but at some point I forgot about how they became what they were and just went with the story.

What I could have lived without: There is one scene I could have lived without ever reading, and no, I'm not going to discuss it, I'm not going to tell you which scene it is, I'm just going to leave it on the wayside and pretend like it never crossed my eyes. So why bring it up at all? Because it is particularly violent and put an image in my head I can't erase. I'm a grown woman, and if it bothered me, I want people to be warned that there is graphic material associated with the book. Was it enough for me to not reread the book? No, I'll probably just skip over it. Would this book have gotten 5 stars without it? No. The lack of me buying the entire romance played into that. Was the scene pivotal? I honestly have to say yes. Perhaps there could have been a better way, though I can't think of a more shocking and captivating one.

Bravo, Jay Crownover! I'm going to admit to being more of a Marked Men girl myself, and I'm looking forward  to Rowdy in October, I believe. But don't you worry, with just the small snippet of Race's story, I'm excited for Better When He's Bold.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

{Book Review} Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

Title: Wallbanger
Series: Cocktail #1
Author: Alice Clayton
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Publication Date: November 27, 2012


Blurb:

The first night after Caroline moves into her fantastic new San Francisco apartment, she realizes she's gaining an intimate knowledge of her new neighbor's nocturnal adventures. Thanks to paper-thin walls and the guy's athletic prowess, she can hear not just his bed banging against the wall but the ecstatic response of what seems (as loud night after loud night goes by) like an endless parade of women. And since Caroline is currently on a self-imposed dating hiatus, and her neighbor is clearly lethally attractive to women, she finds her fantasies keep her awake even longer than the noise. So when the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts Simon Parker, her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. The tension between them is as thick as the walls are thin, and the results just as mixed. Suddenly, Caroline is finding she may have discovered a whole new definition of neighborly...

In a delicious mix of silly and steamy, Alice Clayton dishes out a hot and hilarious tale of exasperation at first sight...


Oh, the countless times I've read reviews, had book group girls tell me "You must read Wallbangers!" or watched it pop up on Goodreads or Facebook is infinite. Infinite in that I lost count long ago, but when this beauty went on sale, I downloaded it and began a slow, leisurely devouring of this romantic comedy infused with wit, fun cocky arrogance, and eventually some steaming hot sex.

Since I read at night, I spent a lot of it attempting to suppress my laughter so not to wake up the man who sleeps to the left of me. I'm going to say this... I read a lot of really crappy books looking for this one. When I found it, I felt like I might have lost my will to read, but while Caroline set off on a venture to reclaim her "O" again, that O, I took to finding my will to read again also.

Caroline sublet her bosses apartment from her. The rent control made the place perfect for living, but there always has to be one bad thing thrown in, right? The walls, well, they are extra thin and Caroline awakes to a picture falling on her head one night, then to multiple other issues as the week progresses. The following week, Caroline finally confronts him, which leads to nicknames for both, and the wild ride of unconventional run-ins, evil matchmaking friends, and drunken vacations. All leading to some of the best laughter I've had in a very long time.

The awe of this book: Alice Clayton knows how to tell a story and how to steep her characters in humor without losing the story. I smiled my way through this book, front to back. Her characters are not stereotypical. Caroline is as comfortable in the kitchen as she is zip-lining the canopy of a rain forest, or hiking with the guys.

The negative of this book: It's too long to read in one sitting, at least if you want to sleep or are not Dr. Reed, from Criminal Minds, speed reader.

I also might mention that Rusty Nailed (Cocktails #2) is set to release on June 24, 2014. This will be the conclusion of Alice & Simon's story, though there will be more books in the Cocktails series, the next will have a little of Alice in it, from what I'm reading, but not dependent upon her. Also, Wallbanger ends so there's no cliffhanger. Plus... Wallbanger is on sale for $2.99 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. (As of 6/17/14 at 8:28 pm CDT) This book never goes on sale and usually cost around $7.99. So buy, and enjoy.

Monday, May 12, 2014

{ARC Book Review & $100 Giveaway} Goddess Born by Kari Edgren

Title: Goddess Born
Author: Kari Edgren
Publisher: Carina Press (An ebook first imprint of Harlequin)
Publication Date: May 19, 2014


Blurb:

Pennsylvania, 1730

Selah Kilbrid keeps a dangerous secret: she has the power to heal.

A direct descendent of the Celtic goddess Brigid, it's Selah's sacred duty to help those in need. But as the last of the Goddess Born living in the New World, she learned from an early age to keep her supernatural abilities hidden. The Quaker community of Hopewell has always been welcoming, but there's no doubt they would see her hanged if her gift was revealed.

When a prominent minister threatens to try her with witchcraft unless she becomes his wife, Selah has only one hope--that her betrothed, a distant cousin from Ireland, arrives as planned. Marrying Samuel would keep her secret safe, preserve her sacred bloodline, and protect her from being charged as a witch.

But when news of Samuel's death reaches the Colonies, Selah is truly on her own. Terrified, she faces an impossible choice--forfeit her powers and marry the loathsome Nathan? Or find an imposter to pose as her husband and preserve her birthright?



*Though this book is NA, it is clean and can be read by any age reader.

This review makes me happy! I'd stopped taking review requests, but when the opportunity came giving me the opportunity to review Goddess Born, I jumped on it. As one of the only NA fantasy books I've read, I'm enthralled. Plus, there is the concept of Brigid, a Celtic goddess, and we all know how much I enjoy this type of mythology. And how long has it been since I've given any book 5 Stars... um, a long freaking time.

Selah's story takes place in 1730, when any woman who appeared a bit odd was considered a witch. Selah happens to be different, in many ways. Her refusal to marry one man sets off a chain of events, risking not only her reputation, but her life as well. Once her father dies, there's little to protect Selah from the rumors she is a witch, especially when her husband-to-be dies at sea. Luckily, this young woman is quick on her feet and stumbles upon a plan that may save her life.

Ms. Edgren serves a delicious helping of fantasy intermingled with a helping of endearing romance. The characters leap off the pages, becoming three dimensional people you'll either love or despise. Selah is a caring girl who is devoted to her community. Her gift in healing has earned her many loyal friends who will stand by her no matter what adversity she faces.

Nathan is a nasty, jealous man who's been fed lies enabling him the ability to blackmail Miss Kilbrid. His interest in the beautiful young lady becomes dangerous when she doesn't return his affections. The list of people who could be passing Nathan Selah's secrets appears to be small, yet becomes greater with every flip of the page.

And then there's Henry, who I loved with all my heart. He plays his part well, protecting a young woman he's known for only a few days. I don't want to discuss him too much because he's the heart of this story, even when you're not certain whether you like him or not. His character provides plenty of warm, fuzzy feelings as well as a bit of drama from time to time.

The twists and turns in Goddess Born are delightful. I never knew who to suspect and was adequately shocked when the true culprit is revealed. Ms. Edgren blended all the intricacies of suspense with those of fantasy and romance. The writing is flawless and creative, evolving into a perfect novel.

Author Kari Edgren has been kind enough to provide us with an amazing giveaway. $100 in the form of a giftcard to Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or $100 added to your PayPal account. 


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Saturday, May 10, 2014

{Book Review} Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins

Title: Sweet Peril
Series: The Sweet Trilogy #2
Author: Wendy Higgins
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 30, 2013
Genre: Young Adult

Blurb:

Anna Whitt, the daughter of a guardian angel and a demon, promised herself she’d never do the work of her father—polluting souls. She’d been naive to make such a vow. She’d been naive about a lot of things.

Haunted by demon whisperers, Anna does whatever she can to survive, even if it means embracing her dark side and earning an unwanted reputation as her school’s party girl. Her life has never looked more bleak. And all the while there’s Kaidan Rowe, son of the Duke of Lust, plaguing her heart and mind.

When an unexpected lost message from the angels surfaces, Anna finds herself traveling the globe with Kopano, son of Wrath, in an attempt to gain support of fellow Nephilim and give them hope for the first time. It soon becomes clear that whatever freedoms Anna and the rest of the Neph are hoping to win will not be gained without a fight. Until then, Anna and Kaidan must put aside the issues between them, overcome the steamiest of temptations yet, and face the ultimate question: is loving someone worth risking their life?



I spent two days reading Sweet Peril & Sweet Reckoning, and they were both brilliant. I'd heard rumors Sweet Peril had been difficult for Ms. Higgins to write, and she stated as much in her acknowledgements, but Sweet Kaidan Rowe, did she get this book right. Heck, she pulled together quite a trilogy and I look forward to reading much more from this beautiful author.

Not having read Sweet Evil in quite sometime, I wished I had set aside time to reread it before hopping right into the second and third books. I found I'd forgotten some things, though Wendy set us up with a very nice reference for the Aura colors at the front of the book, and a "Duke Names and Job Descriptions Index" following the book, including their children. And lets be honest, there are 12 Dukes and many more Nephilim, it takes a bit of time to remember all their nefarious ways. 

Anna and Kaidan are currently living on opposite coasts from each other due to the problems they faced in the debut novel. Anna's having a difficult time "working" as she's not comfortable with risking other lives, because as the Daughter of Duke Beliel, she is supposed to lead people astray via substance abuse. While most 18 year old girls live to party, Anna doesn't just get to be the guest, she has to push alcohol and drugs on the party-goers who happen to be her friends. On nights when she's been using her demonic ways, she turns to her angelic side and makes sure everyone has a safe ride home so no one gets hurt. Honestly, she'd rather just not work, but...

After the New Year's Summit, the Dukes decided to have several of the Nephilim followed by whisperer demons who reported back to them if something looked wonky. Anna was top priority for the Dukes, especially Duke Pharzuph, Kaidan Rowe's hostile father. He's hell bent on getting rid of the goody two shoes Anna forever, too bad Kaidan and Anna love each other and are not willing to just give up.

I enjoyed Sweet Peril for several reason. I always enjoy a well thought out struggle between good versus bad. I think we all struggle with this on a daily basis. Perhaps not to the extent Anna and her Neph friends do, but I often feel the weight of any decision I make, good or bad. And teenagers, as a parent, I feel blessed when my children even recognize the differences, though they've been pounded into their brain since birth. 

Next, the journey in book 2 kept me hopping. Sister Ruth's spirit brought Anna a prophecy, and now Anna must find a way to help "fix" the situation. In an attempt to fulfill the prophecy Anna's father sends her to fetch other Nephilim who would make good allies. I should probably mention, Duke Beliel is one of the good Demons. An oxymoron, I know. Anna and Kope fly to Syria to fetch Zania, a Nephilim who is the daughter of Duke Sonnellion, Demon of Hatred. Her job is to promote civil unrest, but she dislikes her job so she'll make a good ally down the road. They travel to Australia for another, then Anna finally gets to start seeing the old gang. Ginger, Marna, Blake, and Kaidan. *SWOON*

I think Ms. Higgins put together a fine novel, dwelling on good vs. bad, misunderstood love, and personal moral integrity. The steamy appearances of Kaidan Rowe (Chapter 2, guy - that's all I can say) mixed with the action and adventure of pulling a group of misfits together to accomplish a goal unlike any other made for one heck of a ride. As I neared the end of Sweet Peril, I grabbed my youngest and pulled her to the bookstore with me so I could get Sweet Reckoning. I knew I would want to start on it right away, and I read it in one sitting. Crazy, I know. I'll have that review for you tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

{Waiting on Wednesday} Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Title: Silver Shadows
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #5

Blurb:

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.


Honestly, I've yet to read The Fiery Heart, and from what I've heard, I'll be waiting until this baby is in my hands, and possibly the last book also, but I'm still more than ready to see this release. What's your WoW of the week?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

{Book Review} Phenomenal X by Michelle A. Valentine

Title: Phenomenal X
Series: Hard Knocks
Author: Michelle A. Valentine
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: Aprill 22, 2014


Blurb:

Good Girl. Notorious Bad-Boy. One Phenomenal Love.

From the mean streets of Detroit rises the newest superstar of professional wrestling, Xavier Cold, better known as Phenomenal X. His muscular physique makes men cower before him and women lose their minds with desire.

Anna Cortez is fresh out of college and naive to the harsh realities of the real world. Tired of living under the thumb of her conservative family, she defies them when she accepts a job as the assistant to wrestling’s most notorious bad-boy. Phenomenal X has an animalistic nature that even good girl Anna finds hard to resist.

One night forced to share a bed in a sold-out hotel, lines blur between them and they quickly learn that one lustful night changes everything and neither one of them will ever be the same.



*Due to the sexual nature of this book, it is not recommended for readers under the age of 17.

I promise myself, one day I will learn. I will. The hype circulating about this book may have been my own worst enemy here. You can tell me if you think I'm wrong when I'm done.

Young, innocent - but not virgin innocent - girl boards airplane and is seated a couple of rows behind first class. In walks a dashingly handsome, yet rough around the edges type of guy who she notices. He's a professional wrestler, I'm certain everyone noticed, but he winks and makes his way to his first class seat with his manager. There's an awkward meeting on the plane, plane lands, more awkwardness ensues, but he manages to sneak his number into her back pocket in the form of an autograph. And we're up and running.

Chances are I would have enjoyed this book much more given three things:

1. I needed a clue about what Phenomenal X looked like, well, there was that one piece of black hair that flopped in his eyes. I honestly don't recall there being much of a description outside of eyes and said hair, but I suppose that's all you really need. I do like my guys to be more than a pretty face. A whole package of hot bod I can do, but this novel left me hanging - oh, the pun we haven't gotten to yet.

2. If we had not repeated the same exact settings, as well as dialogue, throughout the entire book. The plane was a one time thing, though they did fly again, I just don't think we had to read about that flight twice. Xavier "X" Cold picks up Anna at a bar after she calls him, they hop on his motorcycle and head to a little 24/7 diner he enjoys, then takes her home. The next day she starts working with her cousin at what I'm assuming is a dive or maybe a bar & grill, I'm honestly not sure. X shows up, sits in one of her booths, then takes her back to the diner on his bike. Eventually, she gets fired not of her own wrongdoing, SHE drives to the diner and waa-laa, X shows up, offers her a job as his personal assistant, you know, since they are only friends and all. Seriously... they hadn't had a steamy encounter yet.

AND 3. What I should do is just end this review here, with you knowing there's one more thing that really, seriously bothered me with this book, because the cliffhanger is horrid. You think, "Thank all that is good, we're finally getting somewhere!" Then... BAM! It's over. All she wrote. See ya around. Not one single tiny thread of a rope got tied up. In fact, it's possible that I'm left knowing less than I did before I read the darn thing.

So, why 3 stars you ask? Okay, you didn't, but I'll answer anyway. The lack of grammar and spelling errors and because I loved Michelle's Black Falcon series are the only two reasons I'm not knocking it lower. And, hey guys, I understand this happens. Every single one of my very favorite authors have had at least one book that let me down, tremendously. Abbi Glines and Fall Too Far, Jennifer L. Armentrout and Cursed, also to her list I'll say this, while I LOVED Sentinel with all my heart and thought it ended perfectly, the editing was crap. I'm hoping Hard Knocks #2 will be much better, because I'm positive like that!

Friday, May 2, 2014

{Book Review} Nash by Jay Crownover

Title: Nash
Series: Marked Men #4
Author: Jay Crownover
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: April 29, 2014


Blurb:

Will their past determine their future?

Saint Ford has worked hard to achieve her childhood dream of becoming of nurse. Focused on her work and devoted to her patients, there’s no room for love. She doesn’t need a guy making waves in her calm, serene life—especially when he’s the unforgettable hottie who nearly destroyed her in high school. Dark, brooding Nash Donovan might not remember her or the terrible pain he caused. But he turned her world upside down... and now he’s trying to do it again.

Saint has no idea that Nash isn’t the cocky player he once was. Uncovering a devastating family secret has rocked his world, and now he’s struggling to figure out his future. He can’t be distracted by the pretty nurse he seems to meet everywhere. Still, he can’t ignore the sparks that fly between them —or how she seems so desperate to get away from him. But the funny, sweet, and drop-dead gorgeous Saint is far too amazing to give up on—especially since she’s the only thing in his life that seems to make sense.

When Nash discovers the truth about their past, he realizes he may have lost her heart before he could even fight for it. Now, Saint has to decide: is Nash worth risking herself for all over again?



*This is a New Adult book and due to the underlying themes and sexual content, it is not advised for readers under the age of 18.

The Marked Men Series is saturated with hot, broken, seriously INKED men, and man, do they need a good woman to balance their chaos. Rule was the first book in this series, and while the writing seemed a bit amateur, he remains my favorite Marked Man to date, so I'm thankful we still get to see bits and pieces of him in each book. Jet, the second book, had me squirming. Jay's writing flowed and she captured Jet's tortured soul so perfectly. Um... also he's a rock god, so I obviously fell in love with him. Rome, the third installment, told the story of Rule's older brother. His journey revolved around things the others didn't. I enjoyed the change of pace with this book. BUT, I was not so patiently waiting on Nash, because his cameo appearances in the other books kept me laughing and smiling. Toward the end of Rome, Nash's story begins to unfold and it is quite a doozy.

While The Marked Men Series protagonists are the guys, each of their love interests are equally, if not sometimes more jacked up than they are. So you're taken on a wild ride where two emotionally unstable people are winding their ways into each others lives, but trust and security never come easy.

I will admit I was a tad bit let down by this book. I expected so much more from Nash. He always seemed to be the life of the party, yet the levelheaded bro of the bunch. Don't get me wrong, I most definitely hurt for him, I even shed a few tears. I suppose with him being pretty mellow and the peacemaker, his actions made sense. The way he handled Saint amazed me though, especially when he figured out he might not be her problem—perhaps she stood in her own way.

I've read a few reviews of this book and a lot of people had issues with Saint. I did not. She was extremely insecure from things that happened to her as a teenager, both at school and at home. A shy girl who may have been a bit on the plump side, but exceptionally smart. People whispered about her in the hallways and there's an incident where she believed Nash said something very hateful and harsh about her after they had established a semi-friendship. So when she sees him several years later, she can't let go of the words she heard and trust him. This is where I totally get it, because in high school, someone started an awful rumor about me, and to this day, I will not return to a class reunion, nor do I accept these people's friend requests on Facebook, and people, that's been 20 years ago. Is it a bit childish... maybe. But I can't face all these people who joined in on a rumor that was not only unfounded, but completely untrue.

If Nash had been Saint's only problem, I might not be so lenient on her; however, her mother was out of her mind insane. Seriously. For years she'd tried to turn Saint into her older, popular sister, Faith. She picked at Saint's weight, her hair, her clothes, everything. Her mom popped too many pills and drank too much wine trying to get past the hurt of Saint's father leaving her for a younger woman. Once Saint came back to Denver, she took it upon herself to try to take care of her mom, but it always ended badly. So again, When you grow up with parents who want you to change and be someone you're not, how are you supposed to gain any self-esteem? Plus, as far as relationships went, her father set an example Saint couldn't let go of.

For these reasons, I forgive Saint for her trust issues. I know there's a time you have to let all these go, and Saint did, when she was able.

I wanted Nash's story to be my favorite, but I feel there were some writing issues that kept it from exploding off the pages the way the others did. That said, this is a terrific book, with high emotional content that keeps you wondering what could possibly happen next. I'm looking forward to Rowdy's story, which releases October 21st. It sounds like it's going to be something else. Jay has another book coming out, it's not part of the Marked Men series, but Jay has become one of my automatic buy authors, so I'll be picking up Better When He's Bad on June 17th. I need to check, I may have possibly pre-ordered it.

Marked Men Reading order:

Rule
Jet
Rome - My review
Nash
Rowdy - October 21st

(Don't ask why I haven't reviewed the others, perhaps I'll get to it in time.)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Birthdays & Music

It's my birthday, and I can talk about what I want to... so we're talking music!

When this post goes live, it will officially be my birthday. I've spent some time over the past few days thinking about the music that best describes my life at this moment.

When I was younger, I remember the music I liked changing daily, depending on whether my heart was pitter-pattering in love or shattered. Outside of driving past an ex-boyfriend's house, blaring "There's Gonna Be a Heartache Tonight," my tastes in music tended to be pretty shallow. As I have grown older, I've found more meaning, more motivation, more inspiration in what I listen to. I've found a handful of songs that have stuck with me over the years, that mean something special to me, or describe certain parts of my life. Songs that aren't just guilty pleasures... of course, I have plenty of those too.

In honor of my birthday, I'm going to tell you a bit about myself. In music!


This is one song that continues to remind me to keep going, no matter what.
"Sometimes goodbye IS a Second Chance"
I think this one is pretty self  explanatory. 
We all have our demons, right?
Anyone who knows me, knows exactly why this song is on this list and we will leave it at that.

And if this isn't the exact truth about love, I don't know what is. Seriously.

Last, but not least, my usual state of mental health.

Now, this is to in no way reflect my overall musical taste. Typically, I'm a pretty eclectic listener. Some of my guilty listening or just all around get my jam on songs include:

"Some Nights" & "We Are Young" by FUN.
Almost anything Bruno Mars or 30 Seconds to Mars
Forever the Sickest Kids
LINKIN PARK
All Time Low
"Unpredictable" by Jamie Foxx
Post Kim-hating Eminem - Love him, Hate him, I don't really care.
Green Day 
Grace Potter
Barnaby Saints
And OH - The Black Keys

And finally is my deep fondness for classic rock. It can always take me back to a time when things were better, and make me smile or remember some stupid stunt I did.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

{Book Review} Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

Oh, what to do, what to do. I have three book reviews and a movie review I need to get done. I'm not sure what I want to do first. I suppose I'll do a book review and maybe do the movie review this evening.

Title: Fire & Flood
Series: Fire & Flood #1
Author: Victoria Scott
Publication Date: February 25, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press



Blurb:

A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother's life—and her own.

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can't determine what's wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She's lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she's helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It's an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother's illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there's no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can't trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?


Well, there's no other way than to just tell it like it is. Honestly, I was a little leery of this novel because I did not enjoy the Dante Walker series. I know, shoot me now, but I just couldn't connect to any of the characters. But HELLO Fire & Flood! I'm not sure what sub-genre this young adult book falls into, because it's really not dystopian, but that's the closest way to describe it, I think.

I'm not going to give any big spoilers, so describing exactly why this race takes place will be impossible, because there's much more to it than a race for a cure. One hundred and seventy-two contestants begin the race, which will take them through four ecosystems, and the person who wins the entire race wins a cure for someone in their family who is chronically ill. For Tella, it's her brother.

I admired Tella. She walks into her room and finds a tiny, electronic ear piece laying on her bed. When she pops it in her ear, instructions flood her brain and she thinks her brother is trying to pull a prank, so she confronts him and her parents, who go a tad bit insane when they see the device. Her dad tries to burn it, but Tella manages to save it, and finishes listening to the instructions, which she follows to save her brother.

Jenny, a friend of mine at Book Sojourner (this link goes to her Fire & Flood review, check it out), said she didn't really like Tella at first, and that maybe it was because she was so different from the character. I have known Jenny for a couple of years now, and I laughed as I was reading the book, because Tella reminded me so much of Jenny. Either would go above and beyond for their family, regardless of the consequences. Anyone who doesn't follow Jenny at Book Sojourner should go follow her now. She has so many great posts.

Anyway, Tella makes it to the starting line with everything she's allowed, and nothing she brought. Victoria inserted so many interesting and unique concepts into the story, it kept me guessing what would happen next. I loved the Pandoras. Foxes, lions, rams, and so many other critters that had the powers of superheroes. Some could burrow in the sand and shoot spurs out into various parts of intruders bodies, others could breathe fire though they weren't dragons, and another could imitate all others. The single thing the pandoras had in common, is they existed to protect their competitor. Tella realized this from the beginning and showed her companion compassion and friendship. She won other pandoras loyalties by showing them the same kindness.

As the competitors make their way across a rain forest, then a desert, the obstacles and challenges became greater and riskier. Friends and enemies are picked off with increasing speed and ease. However, after each ecosystem, the winner scores anything from money to secure their loved ones the best medical care, to a small dose of the "cure" to extend the life of their family member a few years longer. They are also given the option of going home or continuing on for the ultimate reward. Dropping out of the Brimstone Bleed becomes a forethought in many people's minds, but their loyalty to their family keeps them going.

One of Tella's cohorts, and possibly a potential boyfriend, knows more about the Brimstone Bleed than the others. Guy is willing to share bits of the truth with Tella, and perhaps there is so much more to the story than a race for a cure. I am excited to read Salt and Stone. Why so long, Victoria? Why?

I recommend Fire & Flood to those who enjoy dystopian type books. This is a YA book but does contain some violence. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

{Interview & Blog Sponsored Giveaway} GLAMOUR by Andrea Janes

Title: GLAMOUR
Author: Andrea Janes
Publication Date: March 18, 2014
Publisher: World Weaver Press

Blurb:

Townie. That’s what eighteen-year-old Christina Sundy is. All year round she lives in a one-stoplight town
on Cape Cod and when summer comes she spends her days scooping ice cream for rich tourists, who she
hates. So when one of them takes a job in the ice cream shop alongside her, she’s pissed. Why does a
blonde and perky Harvard-bound rich girl like Reese Manning want to scoop ice cream anyway?

Something else weird is happening to Christina: tiny blue sparks seem to be shooting off her fingers. It
isn’t long before she realizes the truth about herself — she’s actually a powerful hereditary witch. But her
newfound powers are too intense for her to handle and, in a moment of rage, she accidentally zaps Reese
into another dimension.

So that no one will notice that the rich girl has disappeared, Christina casts a disguising spell, or
“glamour,” and lives Reese’s life while she tries to find a retrieval spell. But as the retrieval spell proves
harder than anticipated, and as she goes about living Reese’s life without anyone on the outside noticing the switch, Christina realizes that there’s nothing to stop her from making the glamour permanent…

except, of course, her fellow witches, a 16th century demon, and, just maybe, her own conscience.

Glamour will be available in trade paperback & ebook via Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com
Kobo.com, and other online retailers. (Links will take you directly to Glamour by Andrea Janes.)


Keep reading for the giveaway!

Interview with Andrea Janes

Better Read Than Dead: Please introduce yourself and tell us two or three quirky things about you.

Andrea: I’m a write by day, and lead ghost tours by night! I run my own company called Boroughs of the Dead. People sometimes just email me their own ghost stories and photos out of the blue, and sometimes they’re incredibly scary.

I once wrote a book of short horror stories set in and around New York City, which you can find here.

I live in a hundred-year-old co-op apartment building in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. It was built by Finnish immigrants and is one of the first co-operative apartments built in the United States.
     B: A very interesting life you live. I would be too chicken to join one of your ghost tours myself, but I do think it's a super unique way to make a living.

B: GLAMOUR has a unique premise. Tell us a little about how you came up with the concept and why you chose the setting you did. (I’ve always loved anything based in the Cape Cod area.)

A: GLAMOUR is really a tale of friendship, and it was appropriately enough inspired in a large part inspired by some of the friendships I’ve been lucky enough to have in my life. I started working on this story in 2004, based on a casual suggestion from a friend (“You should write a script about a girl who works in an ice cream shop and she’s an ambidextrous scooper”) that I thought was amusing.

As for the Cape Cod setting, I don’t really have much a claim to New England, other than I love the landscape and beaches, and am fascinated by the history of whaling ships! I love all things nautical so naturally my idea of a really fun day is the Museum of America and the Sea at Mystic Seaport.
     B: I love how your story came about. It makes me smile. Tales of friendship are always such fun, and sometimes traumatizing. I completely I agree with your assessment of New England. Great choice of setting.

B: We’d love to have a little bit of insight into your main characters. Just a fact or two about each one that will help us understand them as we read.

A: You HAVE to take the “Which Witch Are You” quiz right now! This will give you so much insight into the characters, and tell you which one you most identify with!
     B: Hmmm... I got Christina, she sounds sort of scary. Hehe.

B: Describe (or feel free to insert a picture) of your writing area. Do you have a certain routine or require any specifics (caffeine) to write?

A: My writing area is clean and sparse because it doubles as my office. I don’t believe you need to have an exciting or “inspiring” setup in order to write. It’s great if you do, but a writer can write anywhere, in any setting. Nor do I have a routine. This isn’t some kind of sacred ritual. You get up, you grit your teeth, you write.
      B: I think I've had about a 50/50 answer on this one. Some people who may be a little more OCD need everything to be set in a certain way, and their coveted cup of coffee at their sides every day when they sit down to write, facing out their east window. Others are more like you. I love hearing people's unique perspective.

B: Now, the question every blogger has to ask any author they interview. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors or what was the best advice you ever received?

A: I generally don’t give advice. The process is different for everyone. I guess the best advice I’ve ever heard is “read a lot.” And write a lot. What else is there?
      B: I find most writers find it helps to both read and write a lot. The advice I get most often in these interviews is to never give up. I think that is equally important. I completely agree that you can't tell one person how to write, because we're all different people with varying backgrounds and preferred ways to do things. These differences make us human.



Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Andrea Janes writes horror, dark comedy, thrillers, and historical slapstick. She is the author of Boroughs of the Dead: New York City Ghost 
Stories. She is also a licensed NYC tour guide, and offers a variety of ghostly tours around the city. Her many obsessions include New York City history, 
old photographs, Mabel Normand, all things nautical, and beer. She maintains a personal blog over at Spinster Aunt, where she discusses these obsessions in more detail than is probably healthy.

World Weaver Press is a publisher of fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction, dedicated to producing quality works. As a small press, World Weaver seeks to publish books that engage the mind and ensnare the story-loving soul. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

{Top Ten Tuesday} My Top Ten TBR Books for Spring 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!






Top Ten Books On My Spring 2014 TBR List 
(Only 10? Oh no!)

These are arranged in no particular order, except for number 1, which I will start tonight.


Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
Panic by Lauren Oliver


Sinners at the Altar by Olivia Cunning


City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare


The Quick by Lauren Owen
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge


Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins
The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa



What books are you looking forward to reading this spring? Be sure to let me know if you're a new follower so I can follow back!

Monday, March 10, 2014

{Top Ten Tuesday} My Top Ten New Adult Books

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

I'm trying a new Tuesday Meme this week. I've seen the Top Ten Tuesday lists floating around on the bloggosphere and I always enjoy reading them, so why not join in on the fun. This week's Top Ten Topic is:

Top Ten All Time Favorite Books in the New Adult Genre
(These are in no particular order)


Wait for You by J. Lynn
Be With Me by J. Lynn
Easy by Tammara Webber


Slammed by Colleen Hoover (Actually anything by Colleen Hoover)


Ruin by Rachel Van Dyken
Lucky Number Four by Amanda Jason


 Charade by Nyrae Dawn
Facade by Nyrae Down


 Rule (Not Pictured) by Jay Crownover
Jet by Jay Crownover
Rome by Jay Crownover


 I've only now realized just how far behind I am in reviews. I only listed a couple by each author. J. Lynn, Colleen Hoover, Rachel Van Dyken, Nyrae Dawn, and Jay Crownover have won a fan for life!!!

I'm certain I missed a few since it's hard to choose just a few books, but these will do for today! Happy Top Ten Tuesday everyone! Let me know what your faves are, of any genre in my comments. If you happen to be a new follower, let me know so I can follow you back!

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