Monthly Archives:: July 2015

Top Ten Books with Bookish Characters

July 27, 2015 Top Ten Tuesday 5

TTT

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at the other blog I write for, The Broke and the Bookish.

I think this topic is one of the coolest ones we’ve done! I love books about bookish people, but I learned very quickly that I have read VERY few. Heck, I know about very few! It took me forever to come up with this list, and I started researching for more books to read that fall into this category, and I couldn’t find many at all! So, here are my favorite books (and pretty much the only books I’ve read) about bookish people.

 
BookishCharacters
Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
Dash and Lily met through the Strand bookstore in NYC, when Lily left a red notebook there for an unsuspecting soulmate to find. They wrote back and forth, daring each other to do various things and kind of fall for one another. Both are very bookish, but Dash’s dream in life is to own a 22-volume Oxford English Dictionary! You can’t get much more bookish than that.

Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling
I’m pretty sure everyone will mention Hermione Granger, but I just had to!

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Hazel’s last wish is to meet the author of her favorite book. She flies to Amsterdam with Gus to meet him, and learns a lot about her life and herself in the process.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
She steals books. From the Nazis. My hat’s off to this girl. She’s got guts. A true book lover.

Nocturne by Syrie James
Michael Tyler is a secluded vampire who refuses to give in to his urges for human blood. She he lives in seclusion, writing books under a pen name to conceal his identity. He’s pretty popular and super swoony.

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare
Izzy is the star of her father’s successful series of stories for children. She has spent her life trying to break free of the fictional version of herself in those stories, but it’s hard when your dad’s devout followers have pretty much memorialized you!

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
Finn has an awesome collection of books. Plus, a book actually flies around and acts as his guardian angel in this book!

Taken With You by Shannon Stacey
Hailey is a librarian in a cute little library!

Austenland by Shannon Hale
Jane LOVES Jane Austen, so much that she has unrealistic views on love. It’s not until she goes to an Austen-themed resort and gets her own Mr. Darcy that she realizes maybe she’s had her nose stuck in Pride and Prejudice for too long.

My Ridiculous, Romantic Obsession by Becca Wilhite
Sarah loves romance novels and wants a romance novel kind of romance for herself. This book is ADORABLE, and pretty much nobody knows about it!

Show me your bookish characters! Tell me about those you love to read about! I am dying for more books about bookish people in my life. Leave your link and I’ll stop by with my TBR list ready to be added to.


Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout | Book Review

July 27, 2015 Book Review, Young Adult 9

Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout | Book ReviewHello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout
Published by St Martin's Press on June 9, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
Amazon Add to Goodreads
0 Stars
A teen escapes to a boarding school abroad and falls for a Korean pop star in this fun and fresh romantic novel in the vein of Anna and the French Kiss.

Grace Wilde is running—from the multi-million dollar mansion her record producer father bought, the famous older brother who’s topped the country music charts five years in a row, and the mother who blames her for her brother’s breakdown. Grace escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, hoping for a fresh start.

She wants nothing to do with music, but when her roommate Sophie’s twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame. She can't stand Jason, whose celebrity status is only outmatched by his oversized ego, but they form a tenuous alliance for the sake of her friendship with Sophie. As the months go by and Grace adjusts to her new life in Korea, even she can't deny the sparks flying between her and the KPOP idol.

Soon, Grace realizes that her feelings for Jason threaten her promise to herself that she'll leave behind the music industry that destroyed her family. But can Grace ignore her attraction to Jason and her undeniable pull of the music she was born to write? Sweet, fun, and romantic, this young adult novel explores what it means to experience first love and discover who you really are in the process.

I think most people will agree with me when I say that I was looking forward to a diverse book, taking place in a country we don’t see much in YA lit, and on a subject (KPop) that I’m not at all familiar with. I was excited to learn about and experience a new culture, new scenery, new music scene, and new people. The author had an amazing opportunity to shine a positive light on the Korean culture, but instead made a mockery of them, not to mention Americans and our knowledge of cultures other than our own. I was very, very disappointed in this book and almost didn’t even finish it. As always, my main points are bolded.

1. I hope not all Americans act like Grace did when she ended up in South Korea, because she was ignorant, judgmental, pretentious, patronizing, and obnoxious. I was embarrassed and offended. She ran away from her problems at home to a place I’m not sure she had even heard of before, with all these pre-conceived notions and transparent stereotypes. She has this superiority complex that never goes away throughout the entire story. She seems to think it’s impossible that Koreans can think or act without the influence of Americans. “Oh, they have music here? Oh, they have their own fashion sense? Oh, they have their own food?” Does the girl not know that Earth is not some huge America? She’s insensitive, she’s not accepting, and her comments (spoken and thought) are downright rude. I can’t believe she made friends or fell in love because I would want nothing to do with someone like her if they came to visit my country.

2. The author did nothing to make me feel like I was in South Korea, except for throwing in a bunch of Grace’s horrible comments about how the people look and what they eat. This could have taken place anywhere. KPop was pretty much non-existent. I feel like the author just wanted to label her book “diverse” because that’s the thing to do right now, but did absolutely no research to back herself up. 

3. I did not find the romance to be cute or sweet because I hated Grace so much. And the fact that Jason could fall for someone who is so rude and judgmental about his culture and his home made me respect him less. Is she just really pretty or something? I don’t see the appeal.

4. For that matter, I didn’t like anyone in this book. When I was a teen I chose good friends based on common interests and a mutual respect. Grace spent the whole story on her high horse, making fun of the place she chose to live (on a complete whim, no less). Why does anyone like her? So I kind of lost respect for them as well.

Basically, Grace ruined the story for me. I have not hated a character this much in a long time. As such, I’m going to quit reviewing this now because all I’m going to do is continue to justify my complaints with my hatred towards Grace. I’m so disappointed in this book, and would not recommend it to anyone. Hence, my 0-star review.


The Debut Dish: Valerie Tejeda Vlog Tour (+ Giveaway)

July 22, 2015 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 5

The Debut Dish, a Debut Author Challenge feature, is where you go for the scoop on some pretty awesome debut authors and their new books! Hopefully these interviews will inspire you to add many, many more books to your to-read list. Because, really, who doesn’t need more books in their lives?

This is a special Debut Dish post, which falls outside of the normal Sunday issue schedule so that I can be a part of Valerie’s vlog tour! Valerie is here on the blog today to answer all the normal Debut Dish questions about her new book, but in video form.


Hollywood Witch Hunter by Valerie Tejeda
July 20, 2015 from Bloomsbury Spark
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

From the moment she first learned the truth about witches…she knew she was born to fight them.

Now, at sixteen, Iris is the lone girl on the Witch Hunters Special Ops Team.

But when Iris meets a boy named Arlo, he might just be the key to preventing an evil uprising in Southern California.

Together they’re ready to protect the human race at all costs. Because that’s what witch hunters do.

Welcome to Hollywood.

 

Oh, and here’s a bit of exciting news for you! From now until the end of the blog tour, Hollywood Witch Hunter is on sale for $2.99 to celebrate its release! Click this link to be taken to Val’s webpage, which lists all e-retailers.

Follow the rest of the vlog tour to learn more about Hollywood Witch Hunter and Valerie Tejeda!

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Wish You Were Italian Bonus Scene by Kristin Rae | If Only Books Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

July 20, 2015 Blog Tour, Giveaway 3

Wish You Were Italian Bonus Scene by Kristin Rae | If Only Books Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

I am so excited to be a part of the If Only blog tour, and I’m even MORE excited that I get to feature a special bonus scene for one of my favorite books ever: Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae. I read this book last year and loved it SO MUCH. Check out my review if you’re interested! It’s one of the cutest books ever. :) Read a little about the book, and then enjoy the exclusive bonus scene by Kristin Rae, before entering the giveaway for a complete set of the If Only books (they are all wonderful!)! This story is enjoyable and swoony on its own, so don’t fret if you haven’t read Wish You Were Italian. You’ve got no excuses, so just read it!


wish you were italian Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae
Series: If Only… #2
Published by: Bloomsbury Children’s on May 6, 2014
Genres: Romance, Contemporary Romance, Contemporary
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The summer before senior year of high school. It’s supposed to be one of the biggest summers of her life, but Pippa is headed to an art program she has no interest in. The one saving grace is it’s in Italy. And when the opportunity strikes, she decides to ditch the program and travel Italy accomplishing her own list of goals. Things like swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, eating a whole pizza in one sitting…and falling in love with an Italian boy!

As she explores the famous cities of Rome and Pompeii, Pippa finds herself falling for two boys: a local guy she knows is nothing but trouble and a cute American archaeology student who keeps disappearing and reappearing at the strangest moments. Will Pippa find her true love before her parents find out the truth about her summer program?

Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound


wish you were italian bonus story

A Lesson in Floating
By Kristin Rae

A bonus scene to Kristin Rae’s novel, Wish You Were Italian—part of the IF ONLY romance line of books about wanting what you can’t have!

 

My toes test the edge of the water, and a wave pushes over my feet. Well, not a wave exactly. The sea sort of pulses, and with each beat, it slides little white bubbles onto the coarse sand.

“Oooo, that’s cold,” I say, taking a step back.

Darren keeps his pace steady until he’s in about mid-thigh, then dunks down so the water covers his shoulders. “It feels great once you’re in, Pipperoni. Go fast.”

I shake out my arms to psych myself up, and my thin braided bracelet shifts to rest above the wide part of my hand. Probably not the smartest to wear my favorite souvenir for a dip in the Mediterranean, but it was tricky to work the clasp with one hand, so I don’t waste time trying to get it off.

Hugging my tummy and hunching over in what’s probably an unattractive way, I march toward Darren, focusing on his smile rather than the shock of the water as it greets the more sensitive parts of my skin. I copy him, bending my legs and letting myself sink slowly until only my head is above the surface in the warm, delicious sunshine. The water really does feel amazing.

“Are you always right about everything?” I ask, stopping myself before I lose my mind and splash water at him. What am I, twelve?

His brown eyes, partially shaded by the mound of curls on top of his head, widen like he’s suddenly self-conscious. “I’m not sure I like the way that sounds.”

“No, I don’t mean it like you’re a know-it-all,” I quickly amend. “I just mean that you know a lot.”

“And that’s different how?” His laugh comes from deep down, hands swirling the top of the water as he keeps himself in one spot. “This is like you backpedaling about my hair all over again.”

I shake my head at his misinterpretation. “I’m never going to live that down, am I?”

“Am I going to forget you asked if I permed my hair? Never.”

A groan escapes my mouth. “Okay. Well, what I meant by you knowing a lot is that you’re smart.”

He raises an eyebrow, but I don’t give him time to jump to any false conclusions.

“You may be one of the smartest people I know,” I say, keeping eye contact so he knows I’m not trying to be funny. “I love that you love to learn, you know? It’s motivating. All of it. How passionate you are about working on those archaeological sites. About travel. About meeting new people,” I add, shifting my focus to the shimmer of the sea all around us—blue and green, clear and bright, even from here, just like Chiara said.

Darren clears his throat. “Well, some people are worth meeting more than others.”

My body shudders as goosebumps crawl up my legs and down my arms, because he’s right. I feel like meeting him has already changed the course of my life. A few words from his mouth and I’m in an Italian fishing village I’ve never heard of, building my future one photograph at a time. Even if I never see him again after today—please, all that is holy, don’t let that be the case—I couldn’t forget him. Darren’s been more worth meeting than anyone ever. Apart from my best friend, Morgan, obviously.

I’m so lost in my thoughts, when I turn, I see he’s drifted about ten feet past me. Only his face, toes, and part of his chest and stomach break the surface. Giving wide berth to a pair of handsy honeymooners, I swim over to him. It’s a little deeper here, so I stand, carefully balancing on the rocks below. Darren’s eyes are closed when I raise a hand near his face and flick my fingers to spray water.

He flinches but smiles, keeping his eyes shut. “It’s amazing how calm it is out here. You should try this.”

“Mmm, I actually fail at floating,” I confess.

When he doesn’t react right away, I realize his ears are underwater. He rights himself, and I watch as water weighs down his curls so they’re nearly touching his shoulder.

“Did you say something?”

I could take this opportunity to pretend to be much cooler than I am, but I’m finding more and more that I don’t want to be anyone but myself when I’m around him.

“I can’t float,” I repeat.

“Whaaa?” he asks through a laugh. “How is that possible? Isn’t it the first thing you learn?”

“I know. There’s even a pool in my backyard.” Taking out my ponytail holder and readjusting my hair so it’s looped high on my head, I lower myself farther into the water, then slowly lift up my legs and lean back. “See, I just . . . can’t stay up.”

“Pippa, stop stop stop,” he says. “I can already tell you’re just going to sink like a rock.” More laughing.

“What am I doing wrong?” I ask, fiddling with my bracelet that’s found a new home halfway up my forearm.

He bites his bottom lip. “Uh. How can I put this?”

I give up my attempt completely and rest my hands on my hips. His smile spreads, slow and hesitant, until I can just glimpse his partially twisted tooth up top.

“Well, okay,” he begins, “two things. One, you’ll never float if you’re trying to keep your hair dry. And two . . . you have to lift your butt more.”

Laughter pops from my mouth. “I’m telling you, it won’t matter. I don’t float.”

Just then, he hooks onto my arm and gently tugs me out of the way of a kid swimming fast with her head down, breathing through a snorkel, cruising forward with legs together and flippers on her feet.

“Gotta watch out for those mermaids,” Darren says.

I smile, and we both watch as she leaves us in her wake, and I realize Darren’s hand is still on my arm. Did he just forget to let go? Is he doing it on purpose? Should I wait for him to move?

“Want me to teach you?” he finally asks, letting go at the same time.

“To swim like a mermaid? I mastered that when I was eight.”

Grinning wide as if he’s imagining eight-year-old mermaid Pippa, he says, “To float.”

I almost don’t agree because I’d rather just talk and stare at him to memorize the exact placement of his dimples, but something about those very dimples convinces me to say yes. So he scoops me right up in his arms under the knees and across my back.

“Whoa, so this is really happening,” I say before I can stop it.

I’ve already had to hitch a ride on his back like a monkey when I hurt my ankle, but something about this kind of touching is different. There’s so much skin. I mean, we’re wearing bathing suits. I’m being held against his bare chest. We’re wet. We’re in Italy. Things happen on foreign soil. Or in the water. . . .

The look on my face must give away my thoughts, because he stands me upright again.

“Maybe you should watch me first,” he says, then turns so his head is nearly bumping into me when he lies back, arms out, floating in two seconds like it’s nothing. “You need to put your arms out to take up more of the surface, relax enough so your ears go underwater, and it helps to lift your chin a bit.”

“Know-it-all,” I tease, even though I know he can’t hear.

But he laughs. “Heard that.”

I study the length of his body, taking mental notes, strictly for floating research purposes, of course. Arms out, chin up, abs . . . tight.

Stop.

“See? Easy,” he says. “And you can put your hands under me and lead me around anywhere.”

There’s zero reason for me to do this, and no reason for him to even suggest it. Surely he isn’t just trying to get me to touch him. Or maybe that’s exactly what he’s doing. I let out a sigh I know he can’t hear. Because right now I can think of zero reasons why I wouldn’t want to.

I tentatively place a hand just under his neck, afraid to straight up palm him any farther down. So what if I did rub sunscreen on his back earlier? That was necessary. This feels . . . different.

“Just don’t push me into that giant rock over there,” he says loudly, eyes closed with a smile on his face.

My eyes dart to the pointed boulder growing out of the beach and into the water, quite a distance from us. “You’re safe.”

Spinning him in a slow circle around me, making sure not to slam him into any swimmers or our mermaid friend, I catch myself staring at his lips where a few drops of water glisten in the sun. Such nice lips. . . .

Something brushes against my shin and I let out a surprised yelp, pulling my knees up and instinctively reaching for a firmer grasp on Darren.

“What happened?” he asks, bolting upright, then sucking air through his teeth and reaching for the back of his head. And I realize I can’t lower my arm.

“Oh, no! My bracelet . . . ” I say. The clasp is caught in Darren’s hair. “Let me undo it.” Darren angles his head toward me as I reach for the clasp. But now it’s tangled up with hair, so it’s not budging.

“Any progress?” he asks with forced laughter.

“Gimme a second!” I say to make it sound like there’s hope. But there’s not. “Uh, I may have to rip it out.”

“What?” He grabs at his hair but gets my wrist instead. “Is it really that bad?”

My breath catches when he strokes the base of my hand with his thumb. It’s so slight, he probably doesn’t even realize he’s doing it.

I let out a cough-laugh. “Have you heard of the term ‘rat’s nest’?”
With my hand up at his head, we wade back onto the shore and locate our beach mats. I instruct him to lie face down on his towel so I can get a better picture of what I’m dealing with. I nudge the sliding clasp but pull in even more hair.

“Oh no,” I say, dropping my voice low, not bothering to pretend this is fixable anymore. “I think I made it worse.”

He lets out a comical whimper, and I think he says, “I guess you’re stuck with me now.”

I laugh, but it’s heavy with embarrassment. “We need scissors.”

Darren helps me step into my shorts and we both slip into our flip-flops. Despite my insistence that no one brings scissors to the beach, he can’t keep himself from asking a few people. After the fourth no and even more strange looks, we walk the main street with my arm awkwardly slung over his shoulder. It doesn’t escape my notice that we probably look like a couple. I wonder if he’s thinking the same thing.

With purpose in his steps, Darren leads me past a few storefronts until we reach the door of a tiny geletaria. Of course, gelato. What else would come to our rescue?

Getting a few frowns as we sneak past the line, Darren fires off a few sentences in Italian to the mustached man behind the counter, and he passes a pair of green-handled scissors to Darren. He moves us to the side of the display freezer to make room for the swarm of customers, and I don’t even have time to drool over the bins mounded tall with all colors of gelato.

Making a fist over the blades of the scissors, he looks me in the eye. “I know you have this love-hate thing happening with my hair—”

“What are you talking about?” I ask in a voice so high-pitched I almost don’t recognize myself. “I don’t—”

“—but please, Pipperoni, let today be mostly love. Your mission is to cut as few hairs as possible. Minimum destruction.”

Offering my pinky so he knows I’m taking this as seriously as possible, I say, “Mostly love. Minimum destruction.”

He hooks his pinky with mine, and the promise is locked. I take the scissors and begin surgery, thankful I don’t have to attempt this with my left hand. One slice, and my arm is free at my side until Darren reaches for it to investigate the damage. An unfortunate amount of hair remains caught in the clasp, so my bracelet is now wearing a scarf.

“I’m practically bald!” he cries. “You’re already making my hair fall out. What am I going to do with you?”

Laughter rings out from all around us. I had no idea we’d drawn an audience. The mustached man says something in Italian too fast for me to understand, then produces a cone with a heaping scoop of bright green gelato.

“He said it’s his treat.” Darren takes it from him, returning the scissors at the same time.

“Grazie,” we both say.

I grab two of the tiny plastic spatula-like spoons from a cup on the counter, and my mouth waters before the gelato even reaches my taste buds. This time, I don’t care if it’s pistachio or mint. It’s going to be delicious either way. Because I’m in Italy, swimming in the Mediterranean Sea and eating gelato with a cute boy. Who just smiled at me.

My heart is floating.

And it’s the kind of floating I already know how to do.

Oh my gosh! Wasn’t that so cute? It makes me want to go read Wish You Were Italian all over again!


Kristin Rae was born and raised in Texas though her accent would suggest otherwise. She’s addicted to books, music, movies, crafty things, and chocolate. A former figure skating coach, LEGO merchandiser, and photographer, she’s now happy to create stories while pretending to ignore the carton of gelato in the freezer. Kristin lives in Houston with her husband and their two boxers.

Twitter | Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram

 

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Blog Tour Schedule

July 20 – Wish You Were Italian / That Artsy Reader Girl
July 22 – Jessica Burkhart Interview / Lost in Literature
July 24 – Just Like the Movies / Mostly YA Lit
July 27 – Not in the Script / The Reading Nook Reviews
July 29 – Mandy Hubbard Interview / Love at First Page
July 31 – Red Girl Blue Boy / The Daily Dahlia


The Debut Dish: Kris Dinnison (+ Giveaway) and Amanda Panitch

July 19, 2015 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 2

The Debut Dish, a Debut Author Challenge feature, is where you go for the scoop on some pretty awesome debut authors and their new books! Hopefully these interviews will inspire you to add many, many more books to your to-read list. Because, really, who doesn’t need more books in their lives?


You and Me and Him by Kris Dinnison
July 7, 2015 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

“Do not ignore a call from me when you know I am feeling neurotic about a boy. That is Best Friend 101.” —Nash

Maggie and Nash are outsiders. She’s overweight. He’s out of the closet. The best of friends, they have seen each other through thick and thin, but when Tom moves to town at the start of the school year, they have something unexpected in common: feelings for the same guy. This warm, witty novel—with a clear, true voice and a clever soundtrack of musical references—sings a song of love and forgiveness.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Girl risks soulmate over guy.

Why should readers pick up your book?
You and Me and Him takes the classic love triangle and turns it on its ear. Maggie and Nash are best friends: She’s overweight and he’s gay. When they both crush on the new guy, it’s more than complicated. I think readers will root for Maggie, and for Nash, and will identify with them and the ways they screw up and hurt each other.

One of the things I tried to do in the book is create characters who are pigeonholed by one thing (physical appearance, sexuality, race, etc.) and have them learn and demonstrate that they’re more than that one characteristic. That’s a part of them, but not necessarily the most important part.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
It is a lifelong dream come true to have a book coming out. But I have to say the best part so far is hearing from readers who have enjoyed the book. To hear that something you wrote feels real, and true and has an impact on readers is a wonderful feeling!

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Milk duds. They’re delicious. They take forever to chew. And they’re quiet so I don’t disturb other movie-watchers.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Probably a toss-up between the Edgar Allan Poe air freshener and the Jane Austen action figure.

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Damage Done by Amanda Panitch
July 21, 2015 from Random House Books for Young Readers
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

22 minutes separate Julia Vann’s before and after.

Before: Julia had a twin brother, a boyfriend, and a best friend.

After: She has a new identity, a new hometown, and memories of those twenty-two minutes that refuse to come into focus. At least, that’s what she tells the police.

Now that she’s Lucy Black, her fresh start has attracted the attention of one of the hottest guys in school. And someone much more dangerous. She thought her brother’s crimes were behind her. But now she’s being forced to confront the dark secrets she thought were safely left behind. How far will Julia go to keep her slate clean?

One thing is clear: The damage done can never be erased. It’s only just beginning. . . .

In this deliciously twisted contemporary thriller, family can be a real killer. For fans of We Were Liars and readers who love unique multiple perspectives that leave clues like breadcrumbs until they reach the stunning conclusion.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Liar can’t escape her past.

Why should readers pick up your book?
You should pick up DAMAGE DONE if you like books that are twisty and twisted… and if you’re not afraid of having nightmares after you’re done.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
The feeling that everything is so new, and that anything can happen! No expectations from readers or prior sales numbers to worry about.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Whatever fits in my purse that I can sneak in. Fortunately, I have a giant purse.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A single silver high heel.


The Last Ten Books I Added to My Shelf

July 13, 2015 Top Ten Tuesday 14

TTT

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at the other blog I write for, The Broke and the Bookish.

This week the topic is the last 10 books that came into my possession, whether it be as gifts, from the library, received for review, or purchased. I’m really excited about these books, so here we go!

 

Last10I Married the Duke by Katharine Ashe (bought because Alyssa said I must read it!)
Alive by Scott Sigler (for review from Netgalley)
The Prince and I by Karen Hawkins (for review from Netgalley)
Hunter by Mercedes Lackey (for review from Netgalley)
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (for review from Macmillan)
Everything but the Truth by Mandy Hubbard (for review from Bloomsbury)
Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith (for review from Macmillan)
If You Dare by Jessica Lemmon (for review from Netgalley)
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (from my OTSP Secret Sister)
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas on audio (from my friend)

What books have you acquired recently?
Have you read any of mine? Love them? Hate them?

 


The Debut Dish: Claire Kennedy a.k.a. Amanda K. Morgan (+ Giveaway)

July 12, 2015 Author Interview, Debut Dish, Giveaway 7

The Debut Dish, a Debut Author Challenge feature, is where you go for the scoop on some pretty awesome debut authors and their new books! Hopefully these interviews will inspire you to add many, many more books to your to-read list. Because, really, who doesn’t need more books in their lives?


After Hours by Claire Kennedy/Amanda K. Morgan
June 16, 2015 from Simon Pulse
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Isa, Xavi, Peter, and Finn know that a job at the high-end Waterside Cafe isn’t just about waiting tables. It’s about the gossip, the hook-ups, the after-hours parties and, most of all, it’s about Tips.

Tips–the high-stakes game based on dares. Whoever completes the most dares wins the collected money. A sum that could change a wasted summer into a Summer to Remember.

Isa is the new girl with an embarrassing secret, and as long as she stays on top of her game, she sees no reason why anyone could ever find out.

Xavi will do anything for the money…absolutely anything.

Peter, Xavi’s stepbrother, has been in love with her for years, and he thinks the game is the perfect time to confess his feelings.

Finn is in the game just for the thrill. He has enough tips coming in to keep him happy…even if those tips come with some conditions.

From seduction to stealing to threats, the dares are a complete free-for-all, and only the best can win.

The sophisticated Waterside Cafe is anything but classy behind the scenes…and things are about to get dirty.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Daring, fun, edgy, different, crazy!

Why should readers pick up your book?
I would like to say because it’s different than what is on the market right now. It’s a little bit of a throwback to the Gossip Girl era (minus all the super rich kids) but it’s daring. I really tried to give my characters permission to make mistakes.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
I would say the sense of community from the other debuts. It’s really wonderful and refreshing.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Ooooh, that’s rough. I don’t eat candy (I know, I’m weird) but I’d have to go with anything chocolate. I do have fond memories of Sour Patch Kids, though.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A little snowman that I never bothered to take down after Christmas. He’s adorable, so he still hangs out with me even though it’s not exactly appropriate in July. Other than that, wayyyyyy too many hair products. (My tresses have their own mind.)

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Girl Underwater by Claire Kells | Book Review

July 10, 2015 Book Review, New Adult 0 ★★★★

Girl Underwater by Claire Kells | Book ReviewGirl Underwater by Claire Kells
Published by Dutton Adult on March 31, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Survival
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover
Source: From the Publisher
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
An adventurous debut novel that cross cuts between a competitive college swimmer’s harrowing days in the Rocky Mountains after a major airline disaster and her recovery supported by the two men who love her—only one of whom knows what really happened in the wilderness.

Nineteen-year-old Avery Delacorte loves the water. Growing up in Brookline, Massachusetts, she took swim lessons at her community pool and captained the local team; in high school, she raced across bays and sprawling North American lakes. Now a sophomore on her university’s nationally ranked team, she struggles under the weight of new expectations but life is otherwise pretty good. Perfect, really.

That all changes when Avery’s red-eye home for Thanksgiving makes a ditch landing in a mountain lake in the Colorado Rockies. She is one of only five survivors, which includes three little boys and Colin Shea, who happens to be her teammate. Colin is also the only person in Avery’s college life who challenged her to swim her own events, to be her own person—something she refused to do. Instead she’s avoided him since the first day of freshman year. But now, faced with sub-zero temperatures, minimal supplies, and the dangers of a forbidding nowhere, Avery and Colin must rely on each other in ways they never could’ve imagined.

In the wilderness, the concept of survival is clear-cut. Simple. In the real world, it’s anything but.

I love survival books and plane crash books (wow… does that sound insensitive!? Haha!). I love the excitement and survival instincts they bring out in our characters. Girl Underwater had been on my radar for quite some time, so I jumped on it as soon as I could. While it was not what I expected, I ended up really enjoying it anyway! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I know this has nothing to do with the story or the author, but Tracey Garvis-Graves, my favorite author ever, blurbed this book. She wrote the ultimate survival love story of our time (On the Island), so if she thinks that Girl Underwater is, “a powerful love story embedded in an action-packed tale of survival” then I’m going to be all over it. Her endorsement is a huge selling point for me.

2. I felt a little disconnected from the story. The plane crash and the beginning really hooked me, and then the story alternates back and forth between the snowy dangers of the Rocky Mountains and the realities that occurred after Avery’s rescue. I was disappointed in the fact that we knew right from chapter two that Avery makes it home. It kind of took away feelings of suspense or discomfort, and I was not on the edge of my seat as often as I could have been. I also hated being ripped out of the mountains to read about her life after her rescue. I wanted most of the book to take place on that mountain, with maybe some of the aftermath in the ending chapters or an epilogue. That’s what I mean when I say the book was not expecting. But once I got passed the fact that my expectations were inaccurate, I was able to enjoy the book for what it was.

3. I was expecting a survival story, but what I ended up getting was what happens in the aftermath of surviving. It’s a story about surviving life after you survive a disaster. We read a lot about Avery’s attempts to deal with her PTSD and her efforts to pick up where she left off the moment her plane went down. It was a very powerful, yet sometimes depressing, portrayal of someone who has gone through the unthinkable. You do not get this in books (or news stories) often, so I did appreciate the added details that are usually left behind the scenes.

4. I really loved the characters. Avery is strong in the mountains, and she is strong after she returns home. She was strong in two different ways, though. On the mountain she was strong for Colin and the three little boys she was stranded with. She did everything in her power for them, even if it meant risking her life. When she was back at home, she finally had to focus on herself. She had to be strong for herself, and that is oftentimes the hardest thing to do. I loved Colin so much. He’s the typical gentleman, who was concerned. He was also so swoony to me the way he treated those little boys. And the boys were very sweet and lovable.

5. There were so many feelings and emotions. It was quite a roller coaster, but I ended up really loving and appreciating that about the book. Girl Underwater acted as more than entertainment. I learned a lot about what goes through the mind of a PTSD victim, and I got to see what I think was a very accurate portrayal of what it’s like to be recognized in public for something you’d like to forget ever happened to you. I really felt for Avery. Moving on is hard when the media and your friends keep pulling you back to such a painful event.

6. I loved watching Avery learn to cope. And I loved watching her come to terms with her life and embrace the good parts of it, even if they make her remember the bad times. She never gave up on herself.

7. The romance was not the focus of the book by any means, but it was an underlying factor. I couldn’t help but hope for the best, and I was very happy with how things turned out for everyone involved. It was real, not ideal. And it was beautiful.

Overall, this book reminded me of how much I love reviewing books. I went into this wanting one thing, and the author gave me something I needed instead. I really loved reading about Avery’s and Colin’s stories, and I loved watching their lives change shapes as a result of what happened to them. I think this book would appeal to anyone. It definitely has young adult/new adult/adult crossover appeal, and it has a little but of everything for everyone. Highly recommended.


Top Ten Extremely Popular Books I’ve Never Read

July 6, 2015 Top Ten Tuesday 22

TTT

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at the other blog I write for, The Broke and the Bookish.

Usually Top Ten Tuesday is all about the books we’ve read or want to read, but today we’re talking about books everyone loves that we haven’t read yet, for one reason or another. Some of these books I’m just not interested in, so maybe you can talk me into them? Some of the others are books I’ve been DYING to read and just haven’t had time for yet!

10PopBooks

 

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I love the BBC miniseries with Colin Firth, and I’ve got a really pretty edition of the book that I want to read so badly! And I’ve tried, but I’m just not usually in the mood for the antiquated language. But I feel like I should read this one!

2. The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
I’m on a historical romance kick right now, and this Bridgertons series by JQ is extremely popular. Everyone I know keeps telling me to read it. And I even own it! I just haven’t had time for it yet.

3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
I read the first book and thought it was so much fun. But I have not continued on with the series yet! And I really want to!!!

4. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
This trilogy is hugely popular, and it sounds so good! Daisy gave me the first book for my birthday and I got the second one at ALA a couple years ago, signed by the author. I have no excuses here. I just need to get on it, and soon!

5. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I know how popular Rainbow is, but I’ve just never gotten it. I DNF’d Eleanor & Park, and now I’m feeling like I won’t like anything se writes because everyone who loves Fangirl also loves E&P. So I’m totally torn and kind of uninterested.

6. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Sorry, but I hate crying. I just can’t. I remember when Just One Day came out, and I was SURE it was a tear-jerker because I though that was all Gayle wrote. I LOVED JOD, and I wish I could get myself to read this one but I’m pretty sure I can’t.

7. Anything Sarah Dessen
I have not read one book by Sarah Dessen. Not one. I feel like I can’t even be a true YA reviewer without having read her books, but I haven’t. And I’m kind of ok with it. I think I own The Truth About Forever, but I’m just not feeling motivated to jump on the Dessen bandwagon. Which books of hers are your favorite? Or is she just not that big a deal?

8. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
In my defense, I’m currently reading this one. I’ve been reading it for months. It’s heavy and sad, but the writing is beautiful and I’m going to read it because it’s good for me. Plus, I met the author and he gave me a free book personalized to me. So I have no excuses here. Just fear of my heart being shattered.

9. Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
I just don’t want to… And I hear it’s awesome, but it does not sound like a Jana book. I hear the main girl complains to no end, she sounds very whiny, she’s judgmental, she’s disrespectful, etc. People say it’s funny, but others say it’s really boring. And I’m pretty sure I’d hate Jessica. So it’s pretty much not gonna happen.

10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Meh. It just sounds like a lot of drama and depression and I don’t really care to give it a shot.

So there you have it. Feel free to talk me out of my decision to not read some of these, and feel free to shove the ones you love into my hands! You have the power to change my mind of force me to do things, so hit me with your best shot!


The Perils of Pleasure by Julie Anne Long | Book Review

July 6, 2015 Adult Fiction, Book Review 2 ★★★

The Perils of Pleasure by Julie Anne Long | Book ReviewThe Perils of Pleasure by Julie Anne Long
Series: Pennyroyal Green #1
Also in this series: What I Did for a Duke
Published by Avon on January 29, 2008
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
Pages: 375
Format: eBook
Source: Christmas Present
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
His life is in her hands...

She's willing to be fearless for a price...but what if the cost is her heart?

A rescued rogue...

Scandal has rocked the city of London. Colin Eversea, a handsome, reckless unapologetic rogue is sentenced to hang for murder and, inconveniently for him, the only witness to the crime disappears. Then again, throughout history, the Everseas have always managed to cheat fate in style: Colin is snatched from the gallows by a beautiful, clever mercenary.

A captivating captor...

Cool-headed, daring Madeleine Greenway is immune to Colin's vaunted charm. Her mission is not to rescue Colin but to kidnap him, and to be paid handsomely for it. But when it becomes clear that whoever wants Colin alive wants Madeline dead, the two become uneasy allies in a deadly race for truth. Together, they'll face great danger—and a passion neither can resist.

I found The Perils of Pleasure to be a very fun and enjoyable read, although I read What I Did for a Duke (book #5) first and still love that one more. Colin, our not-so-fugutive on the run, and Madeline, Colin’s rescuer, spend most of the book on the run from the law, following clues and leads to discover the identity of the true murderer. The story really started off with a bang, and reminded me of the scene in Pirates of the Caribbean where Will saves Captain Jack Sparrow from the gallows. Colin is ready to be hung, when BAM. A diversion. A rescue. And I love that the rescuer was a woman. Yay girl power! The tables were turned, and the man is the one in distress here. I’m a huge fan of unique plot lines, and this one is definitely not your typical historical romance. Colin is sarcastic and likes to make light of things, whereas Madeline is cynical, private, and stand-offish. These two go so well together, and I loved how he Colin was able to soften her up a bit and she got him to think about more serious things.

Colin and Madeline have this great tension and chemistry, and the slow burn was almost painful at times because I just wanted to smash their faces together and get it over with! Their banter is pretty funny at times, especially when they are walking long hours or sneaking one another around in a coffin. The writing was very well done as well. The only complaint I had was that the story dragged at times, and I was not always completely motivated to read it. The “mystery” was a little convoluted and I had a hard time keeping track or who was where and for what reason. I did not find that aspect of the story, which was basically the bulk of the story, to be very exciting. I also would have loved more emphasis on their love story. I’ve become quite a fan of Julie Anne Long, though, and am excited to read more of this series!