Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss


Hunted by Meagan Spooner | Book Review

March 15, 2017 Book Review, Young Adult 4 ★★★★★

Hunted by Meagan Spooner | Book ReviewHunted by Meagan Spooner
Published by HarperTEEN on March 14, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
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5 Stars
Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

*happy sigh* Boy, did I love this book. I love Beauty and the Beast. Always have, always will. I’m pretty picky with B&B story lines because I kind of have a favorite (*cough* A Court of Thorns and Roses *cough*), but Hunted by Meagan Spooner has definitely taken a spot next to ACOTAR on my list of favorite retellings! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. This story is super unique, while still remaining true to the elements I’ve come to love from Beauty and the Beast. It felt very much like a fairy tale, but one that Meagan has made her own. She added some twists that kept me guessing!

2. I was immediately captivated by Beast and his voice. At the end of every chapter there’s a piece of his mind—what he’s thinking and feeling. He’s not just a man trapped in a beast’s body. He’s both. He refers to himself as “we” and is struggling every day to not be lost in this primal, violent creature that is trying to take over. Sometimes he’s more of one than the other. Here’s a quote from one of his sections that I just loved, and it perfectly illustrates his beautiful voice and his split personality.

“She moves like beauty, she whispers to us of wind and forest—and she tells us stories, such stories that we wake in the night, dreaming dreams of a life long past. She reminds us of what we used to be.

She reminds us of what we could be.”

Beauty’s presence in his life helps him push the beast away, but it is a constant battle that I loved witnessing. I wish I had gotten to learn more about his past. I love what I did learn, though, and I particularly love how his past was used throughout the book.

3. Things started out very slowly, but it was so worth the wait. This was partly due to the fact that Meagan’s writing is gorgeous and partly because the climax and resolution were so beautifully perfect for the characters. I got to a point where I read slower to try and savor the story. I literally didn’t want it to end.

4. I loved Meagan’s usage of Russian folklore to shape the story. Reading about “The Tale of Ivan Tsarevich, the Firebird, and the Gray Wolf” was wonderful and I’d never heard of that story before. I want to go look for it now and read it.

5. Beauty’s character is great. She’s still bookish, but also a fierce hunter. Beast captured her because he needed a strong hunter to capture the thing that would put an end to his curse. I loved this twist, and I loved the feisty, fearless heroine we got as a result.

6. Hunted is very light on the romance, but I love slow burning love stories so I was fine with this. Do I wish there had been a little more of the sweeping love story in the Disney movie? Kiiiind of (I never say no to romance), but I think the ending of Hunted is so much sweeter because of how Meagan chose to treat the romantic element. There are subtle hints of intrigue throughout the story, and I loved that. It also felt realistic and less Stockholm Syndromey than it might have otherwise (I’m not saying the Disney movie feels Stockholmy, just that there was potential for it here depending on how the author chose to write it).

7. Seriously, the writing is gorgeous.

8. The ending. *swoon*

All in all, I have found a new favorite in Hunted. I went and pre-ordered it as soon as I was finished because I need a copy to sit on my shelves that I can pet whenever I want. I really hope Meagan Spooner chooses to write more fairy tale retellings because


One Snowy Night by Jill Shalvis | Book Review

December 17, 2016 Adult Fiction, Book Review 0 ★★★

One Snowy Night by Jill Shalvis | Book ReviewOne Snowy Night by Jill Shalvis
Series: Heartbreaker Bay #2.5
Published by Avon Impulse on November 8, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Holiday, Romance
Pages: 160
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
It’s Christmas Eve and Rory Andrews is desperate to get home to the family she hasn’t seen in years. Problem is, her only ride to Lake Tahoe comes in the form of the annoyingly handsome Max Stranton, and his big, goofy, lovable dog Carl.

Hours stuck in a truck with the dead sexy Max sounds like a fate worse than death (not), but Rory’s out of options. She’s had a crush on Max since high school and she knows he’s attracted to her, too. But they have history… and Max is the only one who knows why it went south.

They’ve done a good job of ignoring their chemistry so far, but a long road trip in a massive blizzard might be just what they need to face their past… and one steamy, snowy night is all it takes to bring Max and Rory together at last.

I love those romances where the love interests knew each other as kids (and usually hated each other) and then are brought back together by the craziness of life. I also love it when blizzards act as matchmakers and force people to develop deep bonds. And I love animals that seem to thrive when people fall in love around them. This is One Snowy Night in a nutshell, and I really enjoyed it! I was expecting it to be longer, though. The book file told me I had about 40% of the book left and BAM, it ended and gave us previews of other books by Jill (so no, this novella was not 160 pages and if I had bought it I would have felt seriously cheated). I was looking forward to more details and romance… I did feel like things were resolved super quickly, but I had so much fun with the romance and the festiveness and the small story that I did get. I liked Rory and Max individually and together, and I liked their heavier back stories and those resolutions (although Max’s grudge against Rory was silly and unfounded, so he did bug me some…). Was the romance a little fast-moving to feel realistic? Yes. But I tend to be lenient with Christmas romances so it’s ok.

This novella was my first taste of the Heartbreaker Bay series and my second Jill Shalvis book, the first of which was also a Christmas novella. I’ve decided that I like Jill and her characters, but I think I need to read her full length novels. I think they are probably stronger and more developed.


Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh | Debut Author Book Review (+ Giveaway)

June 17, 2016 Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult 3 ★★★½

Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh | Debut Author Book Review (+ Giveaway)

Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh | Debut Author Book Review (+ Giveaway)Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
Series: Ivory and Bone #1
Published by HarperTEEN on June 7, 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
AmazonBarnes & NobleIndieBound iBooks The Book Depository Add to Goodreads
3.5 Stars
A prehistoric fantasy—with allusions to Pride and Prejudice.

Hunting, gathering, and keeping his family safe—that’s the life seventeen-year-old Kol knows. Then bold, enigmatic Mya arrives from the south with her family, and Kol is captivated. He wants her to like and trust him, but any hopes of impressing her are ruined when he makes a careless—and nearly grave—mistake. However, there’s something more to Mya’s cool disdain…a history wrought with loss that comes to light when another clan arrives. With them is Lo, an enemy from Mya’s past who Mya swears has ulterior motives.

As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that Mya or Lo—Kol doesn’t know which—had been planning all along.

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for Julie Eshbaugh’s debut novel, Ivory and Bone, hosted by The Irish Banana Review! I’m so happy to be reviewing Julie’s unique pre-historic fantasy novel today! This is the first novel I’ve read set in the old, olden days (mammoths, people!) and I really enjoyed it. As always my main points are bolded. :)

1. This book is narrated by a boy, Kol. Already, this is a unique and refreshing change for me from the usual female narrator. Even more unique, though, is that the story is written in second person. Kol is essentially telling the story to the reader as if they were his love interest, Mya. It was super hard for me to get used to this, but once I did I found it to be very well done and fun to read… especially when I discovered why it was written this way.

2. You can tell that Julie did a lot of research on the prehistoric era for this novel, and she really brought the time period to life for me. Kol has a close encounter (or two) with some saber-toothed tigers and mammoths. We also get to read about stretching animal skins to make blankets and clothes, tribal lore, and hunting/gathering to survive. The setting and time period really was my favorite part of the book.

3. I liked Kol a lot. He’s such a good, sweet person, with a strong sense of loyalty and a good set of morals. I enjoyed his voice and his thoughts, and am so happy Julie chose to have him narrate the story.

4. I hated Mya from the very beginning, but I gradually started to like her as I learned more about her and her story. I’m still not her biggest fan, but the potential is there for me to like her more in the future.

5. The romantic aspect of the story is very minimal for the most part. The real focus was on the setting and the world of the story, which I really liked. There’s no insta-love and no love triangle. Again, yay unique and refreshing! The romance that was there was very slow burning and filled with tension, just the way I like it.

6. There are a LOT of characters in this story, and I had a little trouble keeping everyone straight. As such, I didn’t really connect with anyone but Kol. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing, though, since I really got to know Kol. I loved seeing everything through his eyes.

7. I think it’s worth mentioning that there’s a lot going on in this story, but really only during the second half. The first half of the book set the scene, and then things really picked up for me. Definitely hang in there if you’re feeling iffy because I really enjoyed where things ended up going. Old secrets and mysteries surface and there’s some action and suspense that had me flipping the pages as fast as I could.

8. Julie’s writing is very lovely, although some descriptions and stories were a little bit long for me at times. Even so, her writing is very flowing and she does a wonderful job of painting a picture in your mind.

Bottom line, this is a very strong, unique, refreshing read that had me truly captivated. I loved Kol’s storytelling, and I really loved the prehistoric setting. I’m excited to see where things go next!


About Julie:

Julie Eshbaugh is the author of the upcoming Ivory and Bone (HarperCollins, 2016). She used to have trouble staying in one spot, having lived in places as varied as Utah, France, and New York City. Julie eventually returned home to the Philadelphia area, where she now lives with her husband, son, cat and dog. Her favorite moments are when the unexpected happens and she cheers loudest when the pitcher gets a hit.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


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Tour Schedule:

6/6: Quite the Novel Idea – Q&A
6/7: Alexa Loves Books – Review
6/8: The Forest of Words & Pages – Guest Post
6/9: Swoony Boys Podcast – Review
6/10: Avid Reader – Fashion Inspirations
6/13: The Irish Banana Review – Review
6/14: Such A Novel Idea – Guest Post
6/15: No BS Book Reviews – Review
6/16: The Book Cellar – Top 10
6/17: That Artsy Reader Girl – Review

 


The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye | Debut Author Book Review

June 13, 2016 Book Review, Young Adult 4 ★★★★★

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye | Debut Author Book ReviewThe Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
Series: The Crown's Game #1
Published by Balzer + Bray on May 17, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Historical Fiction, Romance
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
AmazonBarnes & Noble Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love... or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear... the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

I pretty much knew I was going to love this book when I read the synopsis and discovered that it takes place in Russia during the time of the Ottoman Empire. Combine that with two enchanters, magic, an ancient game, opulent St. Petersburg, and a forbidden love story and I was sold. I’m happy to say that The Crown’s Game was everything I had hoped for and so much more! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Skye does a wonderful job of blending history with fantasy in a way that had me convinced that this magic and the game is real, and that these enchanters really existed all those years ago. The people and the culture and the setting… it’s all very Russian. The magic just makes it all sparkle.

2. The idea of the actual Crown’s Game is brilliant, and the world-building that goes along with it is so well done. When two enchanters are born in one generation, they must battle each other in a set of magical tasks to see which one is fit to become the Tasr’s on and only enchanter. The other one dies. In this story we have Vika, a mysterious girl from a small town, and Nikolai, the best friend to the son of the Tsar (Pasha). Pasha’s birthday is coming up, so the Tsar instructs these two enchanters to engage in a magical battle to make Pasha’s birthday something special. The battle begins, and the beauty and opulence that encompasses St. Petersburg as a result of this magic is amazing. I won’t give too much away, but I absolutely must mention the intricate system of fountains and color-changing lights that fill the city’s canal system. That entire scene was beautiful, and is still my favorite in the entire book.

3. The characters are great, but I was so swept up in the magic that I never ended up caring about any of them. I know this will change in book #2, though. I know, it’s so weird that I’m allowing this. I’ve always had this rule that I must connect with at least one character in order to even finish a book. So why did I continue even though that didn’t happen this time? And why did I give it a 5-star rating? Guys, it’s like I was hypnotized. I was so captivated, so intrigued, so mesmerized, that I didn’t even notice I wasn’t connecting until I sat down to write my review.

4. I owe my feelings about this book to Evelyn’s writing. She has such a way with words, and wrote such beautiful scenes. There’s one scene that takes place on a little island that one of the enchanters created for one of their tasks. The other enchanter followed along behind and created magical benches that, when you sit on them, transport you to an exotic location where you get to hear and smell and see everything. It was a beautiful, scene, and so wonderfully written and described. I just loved it.

5. The romance is pretty non-existent in this book. There are hints of it and some somewhat unrequited love (?) going on, but it just wasn’t developed into much of anything. Again, that might change in book #2. I was ok with this because everything is so mysterious in this book that you never really know for sure what’s going to happen anyway.

6. The book moves really slowly, but that was fine with me. I did have some trouble getting into it in the beginning, but then I was hooked and I got swept away. If you find that it’s not grabbing you like you hoped, just hang in there and keep going. Let it get its hooks into you.

7. The ending pretty much slaughtered my feels. Like, what do I even do while I wait for the second book?

Overall, this was a very beautiful, magical, mysterious, and captivating tale. I loved the setting and the magic, but I loved the way in which it was written and pieced together the most. I can’t wait to see what happens next, especially after that ending!


When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare | Book Review

February 16, 2016 Adult Fiction, Book Review 2 ★★★★

When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare | Book ReviewWhen a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare
Series: Castles Ever After #3
Also in this series: Romancing the Duke, Say Yes to the Marquess
Published by Avon on August 25, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shyly pretty and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.

A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter … and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.

Until years later, when this kilted Highland lover of her imaginings shows up in the flesh. The real Captain Logan MacKenzie arrives on her doorstep—handsome as anything, but not entirely honorable. He’s wounded, jaded, in possession of her letters… and ready to make good on every promise Maddie never expected to keep.

Tessa Dare’s Castles Ever After series made me remember why I love historical romance. I loved the first one, Romancing the Duke, and Say Yes to the Marquess is one of my favorite historical romances to date. I really enjoyed When a Scot Ties the Knot (hello, Mr. Highlander), but it was not my favorite of the series. As always, my main points are bolded.

1. I really only have one complaint, but it’s kind of a big one. I didn’t feel like there was a ton of chemistry between Maddie and Logan. There was heat, yes, but I didn’t really buy the romance like I did in the previous two books. This felt more lusty to me. I suppose I started feeling it at the end, but the romance wasn’t sweeping and swoony like I have become accustomed to as of late.

2. I loved Maddie. I thought she was hilarious, plus she’s bookish, artsy, and painfully shy. I get her. While I don’t have panic attacks when I’m surrounded by a few people, I know what it’s like to be a wallflower. And I know what it’s like to view life through an artist’s eye. I love that she wrote letters to an imaginary captain to avoid jumping into the dating pool. That’s something I could totally see myself doing. All in all, I’m a fan of hers.

3. Logan… He started as as being the epitome of my least favorite highlander. He’s big and cocky and doesn’t really do romance. He storms in to Maddie’s isolated castle and blackmails her, telling her that if she does not marry him and give him her castle and the land surrounding it, he is going to take her fake romance to the media and have her publicly ridiculed. I don’t do blackmail. I don’t do men who come in to the scene and bully or take advantage of women. But… I really started to like him more when he softened up and started thinking with his heart and his emotions over his selfish need to provide for the soldiers who fought under him. Maddie does a great job of tugging at his heartstrings and making him feel things, and I slowly became a fan of Captain Mackenzie’s as well.

4. The story is super unique, which I really enjoyed. A romance that blooms out of the mindless musings of a teenage girl to an imaginary man is pretty awesome. I LOVE this idea. It would have been better if there had been a stronger feeling of romance, but… I digress.

5. I’ve come to expect awesome witty banter between Tessa Dare’s characters, and I got it. I do love sizzling, flirtatious, witty banter.

6. This book is funny! Just read this:

What have I done? Most lasses like it when a man kills the bugs. Along with reaching high places and giving sexual pleasure, it’s one of the few universally popular qualities we have to offer.

(Maddie is an artist and draws bugs for a client who is putting together a collection of… bug drawings. Logan gets chewed out after smashing an already dead bug pancake. These are his thoughts after said chewing out occurs.)

There are many more funny passages like this!

7. The cast of supporting characters is wonderful! I really liked Logan’s burly band of misfit soldiers, particularly one who reminds me of Dory from Finding Nemo. He has no short-term memory, and so his friends keep having to tell him where he is. He’s very endearing because he loves Maddie every single time he meets her… which is multiple times per day.

8. The bookishness. I can hardly handle the bookishness! I LOVED IT! Here’s my favorite quote:

He was lying on the bed, a loose shirt hanging open at the neck to reveal a wedge of his chest. His brow was lightly furrowed in concentration, and those spectacles were perched on the strong bridge of his nose. One muscled arm was flexed and propped behind his head. And in the other hand, he held . . . Devil take him. Heaven help her. A book. Not just any book, but a thick one bound in dark green leather. And he was reading the thing.

Haha! I can’t! This is probably the best passage I’ve ever read in a book ever. I laughed out loud. Props to Ms. Dare for making books sexy. Spectacles! Come ON!

All in all, I really enjoyed When a Scot Ties the Knot. Was it my favorite? No. But only because Tessa Dare can only outdo herself so many times. This book was so much fun and the story was so unique and the characters were so likable (even if it took me longer with some of them) that I could not help but smile as I flew through the pages.


Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare | Book Review

June 22, 2015 Adult Fiction, Book Review 7 ★★★★★

Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare | Book ReviewSay Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare
Series: Castles Ever After #2
Also in this series: Romancing the Duke, When a Scot Ties the Knot
Published by Avon on December 30, 2014
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
Your presence is requested at romantic Twill Castle for the wedding of Miss Clio Whitmore and... and...?

After eight years of waiting for Piers Brandon, the wandering Marquess of Granville, to set a wedding date, Clio Whitmore has had enough. She's inherited a castle, scraped together some pride, and made plans to break her engagement.

Not if Rafe Brandon can help it. A ruthless prizefighter and notorious rake, Rafe is determined that Clio will marry his brother—even if he has to plan the dratted wedding himself.

So how does a hardened fighter cure a reluctant bride's cold feet?

● He starts with flowers. A wedding can't have too many flowers. Or harps. Or cakes.

● He lets her know she'll make a beautiful, desirable bride—and tries not to picture her as his.

● He doesn't kiss her.

● If he kisses her, he definitely doesn't kiss her again.

● When all else fails, he puts her in a stunning gown. And vows not to be nearby when the gown comes off.

● And no matter what—he doesn't fall in disastrous, hopeless love with the one woman he can never call his own.

So I’m feeling like a review is not even possible because I loved everything about this book and have no complaints. I’m not kidding. Just go buy it and be done! This book was perfection to the highest degree, and I wish I had another one just like it to read right now. I think Tessa Dare is my favorite historical romance author! I love that I’m getting well-read enough in the genre to have favorite authors! Say Yes to the Marquess was even better than the first in the series, Romancing the Duke (You do not have to read that one to read this book. All of the books in the series stand alone.), and I really enjoyed that one too (read my review).

This book is funny. I love all the banter and the pent up tension that brings humor with it. But it’s dry humor that does not hit you over the head with its cheesiness. Rafe and Clio say some of the funniest things to each other, and their inner thoughts are pretty hilarious too. These two kind of grew up together, so they have a really strong foundation to build their feelings on. It felt so real. She’s engaged to his brother but doesn’t want to be anymore, and he is trying to be honorable and marry her off to his sucky brother anyway. But that’s so not working. Their flirtations, some of which involving a cake scene that had me swooning, were so sweet. I just loved everything about these two! She’s this prim, proper, sweet thing and he’s a hardened prizefighter with all kinds of worldly experience under his belt. It’s a very Lady and the Tramp story, and I loved it.

I’m going to stop here before I gush about everything. Basically, you should read this book if you’re in the mood for a fun historical romance. It’s funny and sizzling and sweet and soooooo romantic. Say Yes to the Marquess is a favorite of mine that I know I will want to revisit time and time again. When A Scot Ties the Knot is on the tippy top of my wish list! I can’t wait!

 


Rebound by Noelle August | Book Review + Giveaway

February 26, 2015 Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, New Adult 2 ★★★★½

Rebound by Noelle August | Book Review + GiveawayRebound by Noelle August
Series: Boomerang #2
Also in this series: Boomerang
Published by William Morrow on February 10, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
AmazonBarnes & NobleIndieBound Add to Goodreads
4.5 Stars
Hooking up is only the beginning of the fun in this sexy and irresistible second installment of the thrilling New Adult series, Boomerang.

Adam Blackwood has it all. At twenty-two, he’s fabulously wealthy, Ryan Gosling-hot and at the top of the heap in the business world. His life is perfect, until a scandal from his past resurfaces and knocks the tech wunderkind down, throwing his company, Boomerang, a hook-up site for millennials, into chaos.

Three years ago, Adam married his high school love—and then lost her in a tragic accident. Now, the heartbreak and guilt he’s tried to bury with work and women begins to take over his life.

Alison Quick, the twenty-one-year-old daughter of a business tycoon—and the very ex-girlfriend of Boomerang’s former intern, Ethan—has a problem of her own. She’s got one chance to prove to her father that she deserves a place in his empire by grabbing control of Boomerang and taking Adam down.

But as Alison moves in on him, armed with a cadre of lawyers and accountants, she discovers there’s much more to Adam and Boomerang than meets the eye. Will earning her father’s approval come at the price of losing her first real love? It appears so, unless Adam can forgive her for wrecking his life and trying to steal his livelihood. But Alison hopes that old adage is right. Maybe love can conquer all.

I love Boomerang so much (see my review), and so I was very excited when I was approached to be a part of the blog tour for Rebound, the second book in the series. I’m pretty leery of new adult books because they tend to be all angsty, dramatic, and full of bad decisions and one-night stands. I absolutely love this series, though, so if you’re like me and avoid new adult as often as possible, give this series a shot! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I know everyone knows this already, but Noelle August is a pen name for an author duo including VERONICA ROSSI. I love her! And I am seriously so happy that she was the one who made me decide to read these books and give new adult a chance.

2. Rebound is FUN. It’s all about being sexy and exciting without the focus falling on sex and lust. There’s a pretty adorable scuba diving scene that had me swooning. Rebound is steam, tension, humor, and serious issues. These people are real and flawed, which is what I want in my characters!

3. Adam. Blackwood. BOY does he have a story. He’s the creator of Boomerang, and I loved learning more about him and his secrets. He’s got a hard exterior, not letting anyone in since his ex died. He has his friends, and that’s that. Alison makes him want to change and let someone new in, but it’s hard. However, it’s fun for us! I love watching him trust Alison more and more, connecting with her in ways he’s scared to with anyone else. MAN is he swoony. And sexy. LOVE Adam.

4. Alison is given a chance to redeem herself in this book, as many people are unhappy with her for what she did to Ethan. And she does! I really liked Alison. She’s tender (she saves and rehabilitates horses!), caring, and trying to fit in to her jerky father’s huge shoes. She has her flaws and insecurities as well. She’s made mistakes and she owns them.

5. I loved seeing the rest of the gang at Boomerang again! Mia makes an unfortunate return to us, but I still adore her. I was even happy to see Cookie again, and I’m not her biggest fan. It was like catching up with old friends.

6. The story is told in alternating viewpoints, going back and forth between Alison and Adam. I love it when an author (or in this case, authors) does this, but is has to be done right or things feel redundant. This was done RIGHT, and added so much to the dynamism of the story.

All in all, I loved Rebound. I’m not sure I loved it as much as I did Boomerang because, as we all know, our first loves hit us the hardest. But I loved returning to Boomerang and these characters, I loved seeing Adam and Alison figure things out, and I can’t wait for the next book, Bounce, which is all about Adam’s hilarious younger brother.

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Gone Pecan 2/26/2015
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Making it Happen 2/26/2015
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Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little | Book Review

November 17, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 0 ★★★

Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little | Book ReviewForbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little
Series: Forbidden #1
Published by HarperCollins on November 4, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Romance
Pages: 397
Format: eBook
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.

Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.

With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.

Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.

As soon as I saw “Mesopotamian desert” I was sold. I have never read a book that takes place there, and I was super excited about it! Tribes and a shadowy boy and a forbidden romance were just icing on the cake! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Things started out a little slow for me, and I actually almost quit about a quarter of the way through. I’m really glad I hung in there, though, because I actually enjoyed this book more than I thought I would.

2. Forbidden love stories are pretty common in YA literature, considering the fact that young people usually have a lot pulling them away from romance altogether. It’s easy to read the same story over and over again, but the additions of tribal life, arranged marriages, and cultural divides made this one unique and interesting to read about.

3. Griffiths Little did a great job of writing about the desert. Deserts are not the most gloriously beautiful landscapes. There’s sand and dunes and the occasional camel. The author much to work with, but she brought life to the desert and painted a lovely picture in my mind.

4. The world is very intriguing and exciting to read about. I liked reading about the tribal customs, rituals, and culture. They have legends and a kind of religious connection with life. At the same time, the world is brutal and dark and dangerous. People murder to get ahead, they take freedoms away from others to show dominance, and they belittle the less fortunate. I would hate living in this time and in this place.

5. Jayden’s life is pretty much the worst! She’s being forced to marry a man she does not love, the man she does love is in danger of losing his life for loving her, she is never safe, nobody believes a lowly woman, and she holds her family’s lives in her hands. I felt horrible for her!

6. Kadesh, the shadowy boy, is mysterious and very interesting. We do not learn much about him, but I’m assuming we will as the series progresses. He seems very honorable and protective, though, not to mention respectful of women. His views of life are more modern than the men of Jayden’s tribe, so he was a breath of fresh air. I’m eager to see what happens between these two.

7. Horeb, Jayden’s betrothed, is your typical historical villain. He has no regard for what Jayden wants or how she feels, and he has a handle on her that is dangerous and hard to escape. Plus, women are pretty much useless to him. He’s evil, evil, evil. I don’t like him at all, and feel like he does not really stand out from other evil characters.

8. My main complaint is that this book was LONG. It started out slow for me, and it dragged in other places. I feel like it took a long time for things to happen, and if things weren’t happening then we were following the tribe’s migration through the desert. I would have really liked more action or fewer pages.

All in all, this book was ok for me. I’m intrigued enough to read book 2, but I’m not dying for it. I’d like to see how things turn out for Jayden and Kadesh, and I’m interested in reading more about this world. I hope book 2 contains more substance, though, and holds my attention more.


Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White | Book Review

October 6, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 4 ★★★

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White | Book ReviewIllusions of Fate by Kiersten White
Published by HarperTEEN on September 9, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Historical Fiction, Romance
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
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3 Stars
Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

I had not heard much about Illusions of Fate, but I thought it sounded like something right up my alley. I’ve been on a bit of a fantasy kick lately, and that cover is amazing. Then I heard from Jamie that Stephanie Perkins highly recommends it, and I pushed it right to the top! I loved the idea of magic being a huge story element, so I was excited to begin. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I love this place called Albion. It seems to be kind of a conglomeration of the Regency era in England and historic New York City. There were times I felt like I was sitting in Central Park, and there were times when I felt like I was sitting in an Austen-esque sitting room with lavish couches and tea on the table.

2. The nobility are the ones who hold magical powers! I felt like part of this exclusive club that I was let in on this secret, along with Jessamin. Different people hold and develop different powers, so no two nobles are the same. I liked that.

3. Jessamin is a very exotic-looking girl from the island of Melei, who comes to Albion to study at a prestigious school. Think Oxford. People from her island are not well-liked, so she is a bit of an outsider. She sure does catch the eye of Finn, aka Lord Ackerly. Something extremely romantic and rare happens between the two of him, and he is immediately captivated by her. His arch nemesis, Lord Downpike, has finally found Finn’s weakness. It’s Jessamin. She’s very spunky and not the kind of girl who sits back and lets people protect her, much to Finn’s chagrin.

4. Finn is super swoony. He’s 19, but not. And he’s so proper and romantic. And chivalrous. With these proper mannerisms and personality traits, though, he was not incredibly open with his feelings, which was a bit disappointing. He reminded me a tiny bit of Mr. Darcy. But just a tiny bit. He’s broody and opinionated and stubborn. But not as romantic.

5. I simply adored Jessamin’s friend, Eleanor. I could not get enough of her! She’s hysterical, and so much fun. I would love it if she would get her own book.

6. I think my favorite part of the story is the beginning. Everything is super mysterious and intriguing. Books are hawks as well. Who is Lord Ackerly? What is Lord Downpike hiding? Why does Finn’s house have so many doors that lead to random places? And the feeling of the book was just a bit eery and unsettling.

7. As the book moved forward, mysteries were solved very quickly, and information was kind of dumped on us. I began to get a little bored also, when things quit happening. The beginning was exciting, and there were all these ominous feelings going on. But then the excitement stopped for a while and I felt like I kept reading the same scenes over and over again.

6. I think the book was too short for the story it had to tell. I would have loved a more developed Albion, more depth to the characters (Finn has lived a LOT), and less of an easy and predictable ending. I think this might be one of the very few situations where I actually wanted a sequel. It was all just too formulaic, which was disappointing because the idea was super unique and could have been played with a lot more.

All in all, Illusions of Fate was a fun read. While it could not hold a candle to some of my favorite fantasies, it does have some unique elements that made it a worthwhile read. If you’re looking for a standalone fantasy, with a little mystery and romance I would have no problems recommending Illusions of Fate. While it lacks strong world building, there is a character named Sir Bird that I’m sure you’ll be fond of.


Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas | Book Review

August 11, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 3 ★★★★

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas | Book ReviewDangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
Published by Simon Pulse on May 6, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
Paradise in Aruba quickly gets gruesome in this "ripped-from-the-headlines thriller (Kirkus Reviews)" with a twist that defies the imagination.

It's Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives.

But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations. As Anna sets out to find her friend's killer, she discovers harsh revelations about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.

Awaiting the judge's decree, it becomes clear to Anna that everyone around her thinks she is not only guilty, but also dangerous. And when the whole story comes out, reality is more shocking than anyone could ever imagine...

Ok, so I could not hold off on reading Dangerous Girls any longer after continually reading how insane it made my friends! Dangerous Girls came with a lot of dangerous hype, and I hoped so much that it would live up to the masterpiece I had assumed it would be in my own mind. it DID. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I think it goes without saying that my mind was completely shredded. I was flipping pages and staying up until all hours of the night, holding my eyelids open to try and figure out what was going on! My first thoughts upon finishing were (according to my Goodreads status after finishing the book at o’dark thirty):

What the HECK? What planet did this book come from? If I weren’t such a lady, I’d be swearing right now. What just happened?

2. Some people say Dangerous Girls is predictable, by I had NO IDEA who did it. None. I thought I had an idea, though, but my thoughts kept jumping around to everyone. And my lack of coherent thinking had nothing to do with the author’s writing style or her choices in the details she revealed. We were given so many clues, but I could not put them together until the book was over and I went, “WHAT THAT MAKES SENSE WHY DIDN’T I KNOW!!!??”. It was just so twisted and crazy! And the ending just iofhaergstgdrjtkgnsrgiaefiajefraorejfaerg.

3. I was so fascinated by Anna and Elise’s super weird relationship. These girls were TOXIC when mixed together. Were they friends? Enemies? Lovers? All three? None of the above? They brought out the worst in each other, and their intense obsession with being best friends forEVER was just creepy. These girls are not your typical best friends, allowing drugs, alcohol, parties, and shifty men to dull their senses and fuel their obsessions. So many lines were crossed that I honestly had no idea whether I should be ok with it or not.

4. I found myself not really liking anyone in the book, which I find very rare in books I actually liked. It’s hard to read books where you don’t like anyone. I felt extremely bad for Anna, and I wanted her to get out of prison SO BAD. But I didn’t like her. I’m not really sure why. And her “friends” became enemies very quickly after Anna was arrested, so I didn’t like any of them. I think I was so engrossed in the whodunit and the little details that the characters slipped through the cracks. I had absolutely no problems with this, though. I was actually happy it worked out this way.

5. EVERYONE is shady. The prosecutor, Anna, the boyfriend Tate, every friend, the men Elise meets before her death, the judge. Reporters kept digging up all kinds of information about everyone, which gave me more layers to think through. Everyone seemed to be hiding something. I just loved that I kept questioning everyone and everything.

6. The reader is witness to Anna’s interrogations, preliminary hearings, prison time, trial, TV interviews, etc. We also get to jump into her head and feel her thoughts and see her memories of happier times. She feels so much anger and frustration, betrayal, grief, and fear. She has flashbacks of her healthy relationships with Elise and Tate. We get to know Anna so well, even though people reveal details that make you question whether or not you know her at all. I loved being with her throughout the entire process.

7. The ending. WHAT. THE. CRAP. I still have so many questions and so many thoughts. Abigail Haas is brilliant.

Basically, you need to get yourself a copy of one of the best mysteries I’ve ever read. It has every creepy element you could think of, plus everything else you didn’t realize you wanted. I can’t get over how I just didn’t see it. I’m thinking a re-read is in my future because I’ve just got to see what I missed! And I can’t wait to read more from Abigail Haas. She has a crazy imagination/mind, and I want LOTS more from her.