Yearly Archives:: 2018

Stolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher | Book Review

January 18, 2018 Book Review, Young Adult 7 ★★★★★

Stolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher | Book ReviewStolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher
Published by Chicken House on May 4, 2009
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought it!
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
It happened like this. I was stolen from an airport. Taken from everything I knew, everything I was used to. Taken to sand and heat, dirt and danger. And he expected me to love him.

This is my story.

A letter from nowhere.

Sixteen-year-old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back?

The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don't exist--almost.

I’ve always had a weird fascination with kidnapping stories. I enjoy reading the stories of the survivors because I find them to be hopeful and inspiring. I sometimes get bogged down in my own life and forget to be thankful for what I do have. These stories remind me that I’m safe and I’m loved. And if these victims can survive and bring good from their experience (I’m thinking of people like Elizabeth Smart), then I can survive my own life too. Stolen really made me think, and I think that that’s what I loved most about it.

Stolen is a very unique take on the typical kidnapping/crime novel. The entire book is written as a letter from Gemma to her captor after her rescue, and I loved that about it. She actually talks to him, telling him her entire story as if he wasn’t there. We get to read her thoughts and her interpretations and her feelings about everything that happened while they were together in the Australian Outback. We know exactly how everything impacted her, and we get to see the evolution of her going from fight mode to complacency mode to sympathetic mode. We get to watch her as she goes from hating him with everything she had to almost loving him. I’ll admit, it even happened to me. I had to get real with myself and say, “Jana… he kidnapped her. He isolated her. He took away her freedom. Why are you hoping a romance blooms? That’s nuts!” And it is nuts! What Ty did to her was wrong, awful, traumatizing, despicable. I was frustrated with myself for falling into the same kind of trance Gemma did. It was all very real and emotional and so beautifully written. This book was real enough and sneaky enough to make me develop a little Stockholm Syndrome with her. If I didn’t believe that words had power before, I do now.

I don’t want to say much more, as this is a book you truly need to read and take in on your own in order to really understand it. I think it’s important to note, however, that Ty did nothing of a sexual nature to Gemma. There’s no rape, no sexual abuse, not even any touching. I know this happens more often than not in real life stories like Stolen, and that many captives are not a fraction as lucky as Gemma is. This would have been way too upsetting for me to read, though, so I am grateful that this was not a part of Gemma’s story.

All in all, this is a powerful, beautiful, emotionally confusing and enthralling read. I can see why it is recognized as a Printz honor book. It’s unique and really makes you think. I’d recommend it to pretty much anyone.

Top Ten Bookish Goals for 2018

January 15, 2018 Top Ten Tuesday 64

Welcome to the brand new home of Top Ten Tuesday!

We said a very bittersweet goodbye on The Broke and the Bookish last week. Make sure you stop by, because we all had some sappy things to say and left links for where you can find us.

I’m really excited, but also kind of terrified, to take on hosting such a beloved meme all by myself. I loved writing at The Broke and the Bookish, and am a little sad today because I’ll really miss working with those ladies! Life has taken us all in different directions, though, so the time finally came that we had to split up. I wish them all the happiest lives ever and hope we stay in touch. :)

This week’s topic is centered around our bookish resolutions/goals for 2018. I really love making goals, and I always get to excited when I stick to them. Let’s hope I can with these!

1. Read more classics.
I read two classics in 2017 by Arthur Conan Doyle (A Study In Scarlet and The Sign of the Four) and felt so unbelievably accomplished. lol. I want to feel that way even more! I’m hoping to read Pride and Prejudice and maybe Gone With the Wind? I’m not sure yet. Do you have any recommendations?

2. Read more books this year than I did last year.
I fell into a book slump and ended up reading way less than usual. I’d like to read more than 45 books this year, which should not be too hard. How many books are you hoping to read this year?

3. Write my book review for a book before starting the next one.
I used to do this, so I don’t even know what happened. lol. Maybe I lost my mojo? I’ve got a big list of reviews I still need to write, and I am so overwhelmed. I also don’t remember all the little details of why I loved or didn’t love some of these books. Making myself write a review before I can move on to another book will really improve my blogging, I think. Do you do this?

4. Embrace the concept of DNF.
I need to get even better at DNFing (did not finish) a book. I think this is why I fell into my slump last year. I didn’t DNF because I wanted to reach my goal or because I wanted to say I’d read something. Looking back over the books I read last year, I didn’t like many of them.

5. Read the books I’ve bought.
I buy and am gifted a lot of books, but I always push them to the side to read the books I’m sent for review. But I don’t OWE anyone anything. I need to feel like it’s ok to read the non-review books that I’ve bought because obviously those ones meant enough to me to pay for.

6. Weed my bookshelves again.
I’ve done this a few times over the last two years, and it’s liberating. I don’t have all the space in the world, and I’m feeling my tastes changing. I need to be ok with donating books I no longer think I’m going to read. I’m weighed down by so many books I’m not sure I’m interested in! Reading the books I’ve bought will help me with this.

7. Ignore the hype.
If I want to read a book, I should read it even if it’s not hyped up or if I know people who hated it. If I don’t want to read a book or want to DNF a book, I should not talk myself out of those decisions because everyone loves that book! Down with peer pressure!

8. Figure out my taste in books again.
As I mentioned above, I’m feeling my interests and my likes/dislikes changing as far as books go. Maybe it’s because I turned 30 last year and am really settling into adulthood, but I feel like I’m moving away from certain kinds of books. I’m no longer wanting to read books about people half my age. I find myself looking for more mature characters with careers and serious relationships, more world building, more details, more intensity, etc. I’m less interested in the books I used to really want to read, which is not to say that I don’t like those kinds of books anymore… I’m just getting pickier about them. I need to embrace this shift and figure out what kind of books I love now.

9. Read more during the day.
I pretty much only have time to read late at night now. This isn’t good for me, plus it’s harder to retain what you read when you’re so bleary-eyed while reading. I’m staying up so late and then I’m tired the next day. I also can’t read my scary books. lol. I need to carve out some me time at some point in the day where I can relax and enjoy some reading time.

10. Browse the backlist.
It’s not all about new or recent releases. I want to read the books nobody is talking about anymore and be different from everyone else. Ever noticed how you see the same handful of books being reviewed on each blog? I want to be different and breathe new life into the books that were released 5-10 years ago.

What are you hoping to accomplish in your bookish life this year?

Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham | Mini Book Review

January 15, 2018 Adult Fiction, Book Review 3 ★★★★

Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham | Mini Book ReviewMr. Kiss and Tell by Jennifer Graham, Rob Thomas
Series: Veronica Mars #2
Also in this series: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line
Published by Vintage Books on January 20, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
Pages: 336
Format: eBook
Source: Bought from Amazon
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
The Neptune Grand has always been the seaside town’s ritziest hotel, despite the shady dealings and high-profile scandals that seem to follow its elite guests. When a woman claims that she was brutally assaulted in one of its rooms and left for dead by a staff member, the owners know that they have a potential powder keg on their hands. They turn to Veronica to disprove—or prove—the woman's story.

The case is a complicated mix of hard facts, mysterious occurrences, and uncooperative witnesses. The hotel refuses to turn over its reservation list and the victim won’t divulge who she was meeting that night. Add in the facts that the attack happened months ago, the victim’s memory is fuzzy, and there are holes in the hotel’s surveillance system, and Veronica has a convoluted mess on her hands. As she works to fill in the missing pieces, it becomes clear that someone is lying—but who? And why?

In my raving review of The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line I explained how much I love Veronica Mars. And I’m going to pretty much ditto everything I said there in this review (so maybe go read that review as well?). Mr. Kiss and Tell is another great Veronica Mars mystery novel, although I did not love the mystery as much as I did the first one (although it’s very close to Veronica’s heart because of her own past). But that’s ok because Veronica and Logan!!! He wasn’t really around in the first book, save for some Skype calls (he’s in the military), but he’s here now and he brought all of wit and banter with him! This is what we marshmallows have been waiting for.

I don’t have much else to say because I don’t want to take away from anyone’s reading experience. I TOTALLY recommend this book and the first to fans of Veronica Mars.

The Debut Dish: Joanna Ruth Meyer, Rachel Lynn Solomon, Lianne Oelke, & Ben Guterson (+ Giveaway)

January 14, 2018 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 6

The Debut Dish, a bi-monthly 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 issue of The Debut Dish features Joanna Ruth Meyer (Beneath the Haunting Sea), Rachel Lynn Solomon (You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone), Lianne Oelke (Nice Try, Jane Sinner), and Ben Guterson (Winterhouse).

Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Ruth Meyer
January 9, 2018 from Page Street
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Sixteen-year-old Talia was born to a life of certainty and luxury, destined to become Empress of half the world. But when an ambitious rival seizes power, she and her mother are banished to a nowhere province on the far edge of the Northern Sea.

It is here, in the drafty halls of the Ruen-Dahr, that Talia discovers family secrets, a melancholy boy with a troubling vision of her future, and a relic that holds the power of an ancient Star. On these shores, the eerie melody of the sea is stronger than ever, revealing long-forgotten tales of the Goddess Rahn. The more dark truths that Talia unravels about the gods’ history—and her own—the more the waves call to her, and it may be her destiny to answer.

Describe your book in five words or less.
The Silmarillion meets Jane Austen!

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is actually the epilogue, but I can’t tell you about that because SPOILERS. One of my other favorite scenes is when Talia arrives at the Ruen-Dahr, the dreary, mysterious mansion she’s banished to, and meets Wen. He’s shocked to see her, and things go badly!

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
The initial interest from my publisher came in June 2016—I was checking my email at a stoplight (as you do), and found a note from my agent with Page’s inquiry as to wether SEA was still available. There were other moments leading up to the actual offer, but that’s what started it all!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Oreo cookies. Double stuff, or don’t bother. :D

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Currently I do a lot of writing *not* at my desk—right now, for example, I have my laptop on the floor. To the left is my 5.5 month old son, to the right my cat! Does that count? ;)

You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon
January 2, 2018 from Simon Pulse
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Eighteen-year-old twins Adina and Tovah have little in common besides their ambitious nature. Viola prodigy Adina yearns to become a soloist—and to convince her music teacher he wants her the way she wants him. Overachiever Tovah awaits her acceptance to Johns Hopkins, the first step on her path toward med school and a career as a surgeon.

But one thing could wreck their carefully planned futures: a genetic test for Huntington’s, a rare degenerative disease that slowly steals control of the body and mind. It’s turned their Israeli mother into a near stranger and fractured the sisters’ own bond in ways they’ll never admit. While Tovah finds comfort in their Jewish religion, Adina rebels against its rules.

When the results come in, one twin tests negative for Huntington’s. The other tests positive.

These opposite outcomes push them farther apart as they wrestle with guilt, betrayal, and the unexpected thrill of first love. How can they repair their relationship, and is it even worth saving?

From debut author Rachel Lynn Solomon comes a luminous, heartbreaking tale of life, death, and the fragile bond between sisters.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Twin sisters with opposite fates.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Hmm…most of them are spoilers! I’ll go with this one: there’s a scene about 1/4 into the book where the twin protagonists are on a weekend trip to Canada with their parents. They haven’t been speaking much (for many reasons), and they’re both tiptoeing around each other. In the hotel room, one of them turns on the TV, which is playing a cheesy movie they used to like when they were younger. They start making fun of it, tentatively at first because they’re not sure how the other will react, and slowly slip back into something resembling friendship. It’s a fleeting moment — they’ll have to go through many more obstacles and dig much deeper before they can resolve all their issues — but a very sweet one, I think.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I work from home, and I was on a conference call when my agent called me. I saw her area code, freaked out, and let the phone go to voicemail. When I listened, she said to call her back asap, and after I learned we had an offer and danced a little with my dog, I had to hop on another conference call. I remember IMing one of my coworkers about what happened, and she told me to get off the conference call right away and go celebrate, which I did!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Lately I’ve been obsessed with these one-minute chocolate mug cakes from the baking aisle of the grocery store — you add milk, zap them in the microwave, and voila, a perfect little cake.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A landline.

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Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke
January 9, 2018 by Clarion Books
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

The only thing 17-year-old Jane Sinner hates more than failure is pity. After a personal crisis and her subsequent expulsion from high school, she’s going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out.

Jane tackles her housing problem by signing up for House of Orange, a student-run reality show that is basically Big Brother, but for Elbow River Students. Living away from home, the chance to win a car (used, but whatever), and a campus full of people who don’t know what she did in high school… what more could she want? Okay, maybe a family that understands why she’d rather turn to Freud than Jesus to make sense of her life, but she’ll settle for fifteen minutes in the proverbial spotlight.

As House of Orange grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive. She’ll use her growing fan base, and whatever Intro to Psychology can teach her, to prove to the world—or at least viewers of substandard TV—that she has what it takes to win.

Describe your book in five words or less.
College, reality TV, angst, snark.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
There’s this one challenge in the reality show HOUSE OF ORANGE where Jane and her competitors have to live inside a van. Last person left wins. Jane spends days- DAYS- inside that van, with pretty much the worst character I’ve ever written. It’s disgusting and uncomfortable and kind of hilarious.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at work when my agent called to say I had an offer. I was kind of in shock. I pretty much pretended nothing happened as no one I worked with knew I wrote a book! I definitely had celebratory beers with my boyfriend that night, though.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Caramel popcorn. Or salt and vinegar chips!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
An engraved, gold plated fidget spinner that my sister gave to me for being in her bridal party.

Winterhouse by Ben Guterson
January 2, 2018 from Henry Holt & Co. Books for Young Readers
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

An enchanting urban fantasy middle-grade debut―the first book in a trilogy―set in a magical hotel full of secrets.

Orphan Elizabeth Somers’s malevolent aunt and uncle ship her off to the ominous Winterhouse Hotel, owned by the peculiar Norbridge Falls. Upon arrival, Elizabeth quickly discovers that Winterhouse has many charms―most notably its massive library. It’s not long before she locates a magical book of puzzles that will unlock a mystery involving Norbridge and his sinister family. But the deeper she delves into the hotel’s secrets, the more Elizabeth starts to realize that she is somehow connected to Winterhouse. As fate would have it, Elizabeth is the only person who can break the hotel’s curse and solve the mystery. But will it be at the cost of losing the people she has come to care for, and even Winterhouse itself?

Mystery, adventure, and beautiful writing combine in this exciting debut richly set in a hotel full of secrets.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Heroine discovers a magical book.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I enjoy a scene early in the novel when my main character, Elizabeth Somers, explores the vast library inside the lavish Winterhouse Hotel, which is where she is staying over the Christmas holiday. I love the winter season, I love enormous lodges and mansions, and I love libraries, of course; so it was fun to write about a character who is drawn, mysteriously, to a strange book seemingly forgotten on a shelf in a quiet room.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at work. I quit about three months later.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Every so often, a hamburger from Dick’s Drive-In in Seattle really hits the spot. If that doesn’t officially qualify as junk food, I’ll go with an Almond Joy candy bar–I really love those.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Very little that might qualify as “odd” on my desk right now–unless postage stamps are odd. I do have “Puzzle No. 3444,” a cryptic crossword torn from the last page of a magazine to which I subscribe. I love cryptic crosswords and have a folder of them I’ve been filling for years.

The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham | Book Review

January 12, 2018 About Me, Book Review 10 ★★★★★

The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham | Book ReviewThe Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Jennifer Graham, Rob Thomas
Series: Veronica Mars #1
Also in this series: Mr. Kiss and Tell
Published by Vintage Books on March 25, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
Pages: 324
Format: eBook
Source: Bought from Amazon
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She's traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.

Now it's spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is not a simple missing person's case. The house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica's past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.

I absolutely love Veronica Mars. I discovered the TV show a few years ago when my friend, Jess, sent me the complete DVD set as a gift after finding out I’d never seen it. And a huge fan was born! Even though I knew the TV series would end, I was still soooo sad when it did. Then I discovered that the writers of the show also wrote two books and I was elated. I was not disappointed. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. This book is definitely a gift to Veronica Mars fans. I’m sure you’d enjoy reading it if you’ve never seen the show, but I can’t imagine why you’d want to. This book takes place years after the series and the movie, so it really goes without saying that you’ll be happier and love it more if you watch all of those first.

2. The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line reads like an episode of the show, and I LOVED that about it. Veronica’s inner monologues are still golden. Her snark is perfection. I was all smiles.

3. Veronica is back in Neptune, and so are all of our favorite characters (Mac) and not-so favorite characters (Sheriff Lamb).

4. The mystery is actually really amazing. I was invested not just because I love the characters and the world, but because I was legitimately curious about how the mystery of the missing girl would be solved. It was exciting and filled with twists and turns.

5. The writing was awesome. There’s a lot of books out there that serve as sequels of or extensions to TV shows or movies, and I can’t imagine that any of them were as well done or pleasant to read. Nothing was missing for me. I wasn’t wishing I was watching it instead of reading it. I just loved it, and that seems crazy to me!

Overall, if you loved the show you will love this book and then re-watch the TV series as soon as you’ve finished it. I loved being back in Neptune with the gang, tagging along on one of their cases again.

The Broke and the Bookish: The End of An Era

January 11, 2018 Personal 8

So, many of you know that I’ve been writing at The Broke and the Bookish since it was born 8 years ago. Writing there actually inspired me to open up this blog about 7 years ago because I wanted to post more than I was able to over there. Book blogging has seriously changed my life. I’ve made so many new friends, I’ve found my love of reading again, I’ve found so many books I love, I’ve discovered new genres I never would have read before, I’ve gained a new sense of confidence, I’ve found a creative outlet where I can express myself, and I even went to grad school! I’ve been offered opportunities and had experiences that I never would have pictured for myself. I’ve worked with so many wonderful authors and publishers, gone to bookish events, blurbed a book, been mentioned in acknowledgments sections, and even been a content adviser for one of my favorite authors (we talked on the phone, guys!!)! Joining the bookish community all those years ago was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Today at The Broke and the Bookish we officially announced that we are closing the blog. It was a very bittersweet decision for all of us, but we’ve all gone in so many different directions that the time had come. We embarked on this adventure as college students with absolutely no blogging know-how, and we had no idea what the blog would turn into and how it would change all of us. We developed some very special friendships there, and I’m sad to turn the page on that chapter of our lives. I love my broke and bookish ladies: Jamie, Kimberly, Daisy, Lori, Bridget, Julia, and Lauren, and I wish them all the best. I know that we will all be friends for a very long time.

Don’t worry! Top Ten Tuesday is moving to my blog, and I will be hosting it here at That Artsy Reader Girl moving forward. Check the Top Ten Tuesday tab on the top menu bar for more information. I’m really excited to carry on this blogging tradition.

Make sure to head over to the blog and read our goodbye post! We all got a little sentimental and left links for where to find us.

Top Ten Books I Meant to Read In 2017 But Didn’t Get To

January 8, 2018 Top Ten Tuesday 73


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

I suppose today’s post is kind of like a 2018 TBR? We’re talking about the books we had planned to read in 2017 but just didn’t get to for some reason. Sadly, my list is REALLY long because I fell into a major slump. I’m hoping 2018 is better to me, though! I’m excited about all the possibilities. I’m sharing with you 10 of the books I’m hoping to make a priority this year.


1. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
I loooove this series, but when ACoWaR came out I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to read it. I tried to read it, but set it aside to finish later and never did. I really want to soon, though!

2. Greenglass House by Kate Milford
This sounds like the sweetest middle grade novel, perfect for winter time. I picked it up at ALA a few years ago and just never got to it. Now that the sequel has come out, I really want to read it!

3. The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
I’ve heard great things and have been wanting to read this for quite some time now. It sounds like so much fun, and perfect for me right now.


4. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
I love these authors, love historical fiction, love the premise, and it has raving reviews. I MUST get to this one quickly.

5. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
This just sounds too cute to go unread.

6. Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton
Rebel of the Sands was one of my favorite books last year, so I have no idea why I haven’t read this book yet.


7. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
I’ve been so intimidated by this book, and I don’t know why! It looks beautiful, it sounds beautiful, and it has gotten amazing reviews from the masses and from many people I trust. I need to just take the time and read it.

8. Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray
I loved A Thousand Pieces of You, but when this book came out I wasn’t in the mood and then I kept putting it off because it had been so long since the first book that I couldn’t remember what happened! And I don’t want to re-read… but I might have to. I really want to read this one and the third one!

9. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I’ve NEVER read this book, but I really want to. I love the BBC series and I love Mr. Darcy so I really want to read P&P finally!


10. Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan
I love Sarah’s books, I loved Miracle On 5th Avenue (book #3 in this series), so I’m excited to read the rest of it!

Which books should I push to the very top of my list?
Which ones would you not recommend?
What books are you hoping to get to this year?

Public Relations by Katie Heaney & Arianna Rebolini | Book Review

January 5, 2018 Book Review, New Adult 13 ★½

Public Relations by Katie Heaney & Arianna Rebolini  | Book ReviewPublic Relations by Arianna Rebolini, Katie Heaney
Published by Grand Central Publishing on May 9, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: Bought from Amazon
Amazon Add to Goodreads
1.5 Stars
Young PR star Rose Reed is thrown into the big leagues when her boss leaves town the day of the firm's meeting with Archie Fox, a young, hot, internationally famous British singer-songwriter. The meeting is going badly until Rose suggests a staged romance with up-and-coming, young indie star Raya. He'll do it, but only if Rose becomes his publicist.

As the faux-mance begins to rehabilitate Archie's faltering career, Rose finds his herself having unexpected, inconvenient and definitely unprofessional feelings for the crooner. But do late night texts and impromptu burrito binges mean he feels the same? In the end, Rose will have to decide whether to let her fantasy crush go, or to risk her reputation to be with the charming, handsome, scoundrel-y but sweet pop star she's grown to love.

Ever since I read and loved The Hating Game, I’ve been seeking out for workplace romances similar to it. While it was fun, I think my expectations were a little too high. As always, my main points are bolded.

1. I immediately liked Rose for her ability to stand up for herself (and not keep quiet as she was instructed) and voice her opinions during the client meeting that would inevitably change her life. Her inner monologue was very entertaining.

2. I liked Archie as well, but felt like he was very shallowly developed. He seemed like the typical celebrity cardboard cut-out character, with no real personality or unique traits. I’ve seen multiple reviewers compare him to Harry Styles of One Direction, so… it would appear that not much thought was put into his character specifically. It was all very surface level. We just never got to know him.

3. While the all the PR talk was interesting for a while, it got very old very fast. I seriously just didn’t care.

4. By the 50% mark on my kindle, I seriously felt like nothing had happened yet. Things moved very slowly. It was seriously as boring as the book’s title.

5. I wanted more romance. More swoons. Things burned so slowly that it was hardly noticeable. This book really is more chick lit than romance.

6. I really dislike stories with main characters who are celebrities. I hoped this one would be different, but I just don’t like the spoiled, lime-light seeking, entitled characters that we come across so often in stories like those.

7. I tend to really love the fauxmance trope, but I guess it comes as no surprise that a fauxmance between celebrities was not at all appealing to me. Seeing all the inner workings of how those kinds of relationships are orchestrated by publicists sitting in an office somewhere and then manipulating social media to convince the world of something was both boring and maddening. It bothered me that Rose spent her free time stalking Archie and his fans on social media, and it bothered me that her job was to lie and make hundreds of thousands of people believe it. I just don’t like the dishonesty.

8. I didn’t even realize until I was finished with the book that it was written by two authors. I commend them both for writing so seamlessly and consistently.

9. What the crap is with the cover?

All in all, this was very “meh” for me. I can totally see the appeal, but Public Relations was just not for me. I would, however, recommend it to people who enjoy reading celebrity gossip and tabloids.

Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle | Book Review

January 3, 2018 Adult Fiction, Book Review 5 ★★★★

Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle | Book ReviewHold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle
Series: Search and Rescue #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on April 5, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Suspense
Pages: 365
Format: eBook
Source: Bought from Amazon
Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder...

As the captain of Field County's ice rescue dive team, Callum Cook is driven to perfection. But when he meets new diver Louise "Lou" Sparks, all that hard-won order is obliterated in an instant. Lou is a hurricane. A walking disaster. And with her, he's never felt more alive...even if keeping her safe may just kill him.

Lou's new to the Rockies, intent on escaping her controlling ex, and she's determined to make it on her own matter how tempting Callum may be. But when a routine training exercise unearths a body, Lou and Callum find themselves thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse with a killer who will stop at nothing to silence Lou-and prove that not even her new Search and Rescue family can keep her safe forever.

I am a huge fan of romantic suspense, and I’ve been on the hunt for amazing ones all year. When I asked for recommendations on Twitter, Quinn suggested I give Katie Ruggle a try. I flew to Amazon and read the synopsis for Hold Your Breath and immediately became very excited. Each book in the Search and Rescue series focuses on a different branch of the search and rescue team in Field County, Colorado. Hold Your Breath features the dive team, and I think setting a story about a dive team during the cold Rocky Mountain winter was the best choice ever. I also just love wintry settings for romantic suspense because they seem so much more exciting to me. Less daylight, colder temps, quieter nighttimes. And search and rescue? YES. I went in with high hopes and wasn’t disappointed one bit. As always, my main points are bolded.

1. Lou and Callum were very fun to read about. She’s spunky and hilarious, with a bright personality and he’s quiet and surly. He’s also very loyal and intuitive and caring. Such a sweet guy, and I fell in love with him a little as I read this book. The mixture of the two of them was pretty funny. I picture her bouncing off the walls and him sitting there glaring for being disturbed. But the chemistry and heat between these two is amazing. Such a fun couple!

2. The banter between Lou and Callum is wonderful and will make you giggle. He’s just so grumpy and she’s so sunshiney!

3. Hold Your Breath is quite a page-turner. So much action and excitement! Lou becomes the target of someone, and Callum moves in to her remote cabin to protect her. We get to jump inside the head of her stalker, and oh my creepy. I’m already scared of having my curtains open after dark, but even more so now.

4. The book is written in dual perspectives, which I enjoy if done right. And it was done right! I liked hearing from both Lou and Callum and getting their takes on the situation.

5. So swoony! So romantic! 

6. Not only does each book in the series center on different rescue units in the county, but there’s a mystery that appears to flow from book to book. Lou discovers a body in this one, but the mystery continues in the next book and so-on. I think it’s a fun way to set up a series, but I’m slightly worried I will forget important elements as I read other books in between.

For fear of giving too much away, I’m going to quit here. I’m super excited to read book two, Fan the Flames, about Ian the firefighter. I got to meet him in this book, and I like him a lot. I like everyone, actually, and am excited to read all their stories. Definitely pick this one up if you like romantic suspense. It was refreshing to find a suspenseful, romantic storyline that isn’t erotica and doesn’t include paranormal aspects like so many do. Highly recommended!

The 2017 Year In Review Book Tag

January 2, 2018 Book Tag 4

This book tag was created by A Booktube Book. The image was created by Lindsey Reads.

I love doing book tags, and this one seemed like a fun way to wrap up 2017! The creator of the tag has encouraged us to match up books with current events. What a fun way to remember the year. :) I did my best and didn’t use the same book for every single author, so… that was hard because there were many books that fit each prompt.

1. First Ever Female Doctor Who:

Favorite Female Protagonist


Veronica Mars in The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas. I loved her in the show, so there was never a question as to whether or not I would love her in the books!


2. GCC Cuts Toes with Qatar:

An Author You Cut Ties With

April Henry. Technically I cut ties with her sometime last year when I finished and really disliked another book of hers. However, I had decided that SO MANY TIMES and for some reason I kept getting sucked back in! This year I had the opportunity to review another one of her books and this time I refrained. That’s how I know I’ve officially given up.


3. La La Land Oscar Mix-Up:

A Book That surprised You


Hunted by Meagan Spooner. I was really surprised by how much this book stuck with me after I finished reading it. It’s a very beautiful book, and I loved it. But I read it almost a year ago and still remember how it made me feel. That’s surprising to me.


4. Hurricanes and Earthquakes:

A Book That Rocked Your World


Till Death by Jennifer Armentrout. It was amaaaaaazing in every sense of the word, and I wish I could read it again for the first time.


5. Louvre Abu Dhabi:

Favorite Book Cover Art


Caraval by Stephanie Garber. I love this beautiful cover, and I love this beautiful book!


6. Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi Sells for $450M:

A Take-My-Money Book


I absolutely HAD TO HAVE the pretty UK Harry Potter hardcovers. They’re amazing!


7. Total Eclipse:

A Sequel That Overshadows the First Book


Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco. I wanted to pick this book for favorite female protagonist as well because Audrey Rose is amazing, but I’m doing my best to just pick one book per prompt! I LOVED HPD so much more than I loved Stalking Jack the Ripper. The series just keeps getting better and better!


8. Muslim Ban:

Favorite Diverse Book


The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill is beautiful!


9. Italy Doesn’t Qualify for World Cup:

Most Disappointing Book


The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye broke my heart. I loved The Crown’s Game so much and was super excited for this sequel, but it was absolutely not what I wanted.


10. Prince Harry Engaged:

Favorite Ship


Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman in The Hating Game by Sally Thorne give me life.


11. Star Wars: The Last Jedi:

Most Anticipated Book


Escaping from Houdini (Stalking Jack the Ripper #3) by Kerri Maniscalco!! I can’t wait!!! (This is not the official cover, just the image Kerri used when she announced the title.)


Did you do this book tag? If so, link me up!
Which books would you pick for these prompts?
Do you agree or disagree with my choices?