Friday, December 19, 2014

Book Review- The Start of Me and You

I finished reading The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord last Sunday for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for a year, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

I really enjoyed this book.  I felt so bad for Paige. I'm not quite sure of the right words, but I found it so real that she was grieving and yet she knew that she didn't know him that well but that part of the hard part of moving on was that everyone pitied her.  If that makes any sense.

I liked that she knew who she was and stuck to it.  And yes, the ending is totally predictable but that didn't stop me from enjoying the journey of getting there.

The whole cast of characters was pretty great, actually.  I loved all of her friends.  Such a great group of girls.  Normal girls.  Not the popular ones, not the outcast type.  Just your typical great group of tight-knit gal pals.  And Max and Ryan were great guys.  Since we knew early on that Paige had crushed on Ryan for a while, I thought maybe we would find out that he was a jerk or something.  But I was happy to see that we didn't.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Paige's journey in dealing with her grief and growing into the person that she would become.

I gave this book a rating of 4/5.

The Start of Me and You will be released on March 31, 2015.

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Monday, December 8, 2014

In My Mailbox- December 8, 2014

In My Mailbox: Here's what I got in my mailbox last week

Autumn in the City of Angels- Kirby Howell--for review from publisher

The Start of You and Me- Emery Lord--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Sunday Salon- December 7, 2014

The Sunday Salon

Only 2 more weeks until Christmas break! I can't wait!

I finished and reviewed the following book in the last week:
Stillwater Rising by Steena Holmes 

I am currently reading The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord and if I don't get another tour book, I don't know what I'm picking!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Blog Tour- Stillwater Rising

I just finished reading Stillwater Rising by Steena Holmes for a Booksparks University Fall Reading Challenge.

About the book:

After losing her son in an elementary school shooting that devastates the tight-knit community of Stillwater Bay, Jennifer Crowne finds herself unable to settle back into her role of perfect stay-at-home mom and committee organizer. Meanwhile, her best friend, Mayor Charlotte Stone, struggles to keep the town together, and Charlotte’s husband, the school principal, may not be the hero everyone thinks him to be.

As they try to heal from this irrevocable trauma, Jenn and Charlotte find themselves at a crossroads—within the town and within their friendship. For Jenn, broken and grieving, there is no going back, and she demands that the school be closed so that she can bury the past. Yet Charlotte is equally desperate to hold the town together, fighting the school closure and helping the shooter’s mother regain her place in the community. Jenn and Charlotte’s relationship is put to the ultimate test as each weighs her own interests against the bonds of their friendship.

School shootings are terrifying.  Even more so because I'm a teacher.  So this one struck me deeply.  But it's not just a story about loss.  It's also about grieving, hope and friendship.

I can't even begin to image when Jenn had gone through.  And honestly, I'm surprised that more of the parents of the kids who were killed didn't feel the same way.  I certainly didn't blame her or fault her for her feelings.  And I found myself disliking her husband Robert because I didn't feel like he did care about what happened.  

I also felt so bad for Julia, the mother of the teenage who murdered the kids.  I could feel her pain.  And I can't even begin to imagine what SHE felt knowing that her own son had done the unthinkable.

As for the other characters, they were hit or miss for me.  We know Jordan, the school principal had a secret.  I thought I knew what it was but I was wrong (and I should have seen it!)  The mayor of the town and the reporter were okay but I felt like some of their actions and thoughts were misplaced.

This definitely wasn't an easy book to read but it does show how a community can band together in a time of tragedy to survive.

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the BookSparks University Fall Reading Challenge

Buy the book:
·         Amazon Kindle
·         Amazon Paperback

About the author:

With a passion for storytelling, Steena Holmes took her dream of being a full-time writer and made it a reality, writing her first novel while working as a receptionist. She won the National Indie Excellence Book Award in 2012 for her bestselling novel Finding Emma. Steena currently lives in Calgary, Alberta, with her husband, three daughters, and two dogs. She likes to celebrate completing each new novel with chocolate.

Connect with the author:
·         Facebook
·         Twitter
·         Website
·         Goodreads

Monday, December 1, 2014

In My Mailbox- December 1, 2014

In My Mailbox: Here's what I got in my mailbox

Yup, forgot to do this for the whole month

Invaded (Alienated #2)- Melissa Landers--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

Stillwater Rising- Steena Holmes--review for a BookSparks tour

What Waits in the Woods- Kieran Scott--from publisher for review

The Reason (Ghost Huntress # 3)- Marley Gibson--PaperbackSwap

Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless- Liz Czukas--review for an Around the World ARC Tour 

Stray- Elissa Sussman--received from a friend

The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #3)- Michelle Hodkin--PaperbackSwap

The Iron Knight (The Iron Fey #4)- Julie Kagawa--Bookmooch

Immortal Hearts (Vampire Kisses #9)- Ellen Schreiber--PaperbackSwap

Shadowspell (Faeriewalker #2)- Jenna Black--PaperbackSwap

The Return (Titan #1)- Jennifer L. Armentrout--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

The Secrets We Keep- Trisha Leaver--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

The Sunday Salon- November 30, 2014

The Sunday Salon

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I know I did---going to see my grandparents in Virginia, running in 2 races, and eating lots of yummy food!

I finished and reviewed the following books in the last week:
The Wonder (Queen of Hearts #2) by Colleen Oakes

The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver

I am currently reading Stillwater Rising by Steena Holmes and up next, if I don't get a tour book, is a toss-up.  Maybe Endlessly by Kiersten White.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Book Review- The Secrets We Keep

I started AND finished The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

A girl takes over her twin sister's identity in this emotionally charged page-turner about the complicated bond between sisters.

Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins. Ella has spent her high school years living in popular Maddy's shadows, but she has never been envious of Maddy. In fact, she's chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy's world.

When—after a heated argument—Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves her sister dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy. Feeling responsible for Maddy's death and everyone's grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy. Soon, Ella realizes that Maddy's life was full of secrets. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options—confess her deception or live her sister's life.

I know I've said it before, but I've always been fascinated by twins (and even married one) so I knew I had to read this story.  And it didn't let me down.

I was instantly hooked reading this story and finished it in about 2 hours--all without getting off the couch.  I was so drawn in to Ella's world.  I could FEEL her pain.  And I could understand why she decided to be Maddy but I can't even imagine how hard that must have been.

There was a little twist in the story, with Maddy's secret but it wasn't the main point of the book.  It was more about the pain of losing your other half and coming to understand just who she really was.

As for the boys, I really liked them both.  I didn't want to like Alex since it seemed like Maddy's choice of friends was questionable but he fully and completely loved Maddy.  And then Josh.  How oblivious were both he and Ella not to see that there was something there from the beginning?!?!

And while the story does wrap up quite nicely, I would eagerly read a story about what happens next!

One of my favs of the year!

I gave this book a rating of 4.5/5.

The Secrets We Keep will be released on April 28, 2014.

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Book Review- The Wonder

During my Thanksgiving trip, I finished The Wonder (Queen of Hearts #2) by Colleen Oakes for a Booksparks University Fall Reading Challenge!

About the book:

Volume Two of the Bestselling and Award-Winning Queen of Hearts Saga Awards for Volume One, The Crown: *YA Winner, 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards* *YA Fiction Finalist, 2014 International Book Awards*

An Exiled Princess. An Ancient Tribe. A Dangerous Stranger. Dinah, the former Princess of Wonderland Palace, has been chased into the wilds of Wonderland after the murder of her brother and the ruin of her coronation. Now, as her half-sister Vittiore sits on the throne beside her father, the brutal King of Hearts, Dinah finds herself alone in the forbidding Twisted Wood with only Morte, a homicidal beast, for company. Hunted by the King and his army of Cards, Dinah struggles to evade those who long for her head, including Cheshire, the King's clever advisor, who is slowly tightening his grasp around her.

The former Princess finds herself at the center of a web of conspiracy reaching far beyond the Palace and deep into the mysterious Yurkei mountain tribes. But Dinah knows something that her allies and enemies do not: that the most dangerous conflict of all has already begun as she battles the rage inside of her, and love slips further from her grasp. But be warned...not every fairy tale has a happy ending. This is the story of a princess who became a villain.

Once again, I loved reading this take on Alice in Wonderland and seeing how the characters in this story relate to the original (both novel and Disney movie).  We see a lot of the same characters, but we also get a quick glimpse into who the caterpillar was.

There were some twists in this book.  One I didn't see coming at all.  The one towards the end, I did.

I liked Dinah more in this sequel than I did in the original book.  I thought that she was stronger and not so naive. 

 The end of the book definitely had me turning the pages.  I didn't realize I was at the end of the story until I turned the page and I wanted more!  I'm looking forward to reading the final book of the trilogy!

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the BookSparks University Fall Reading Challenge.

Praise for the book:

Named one of the Most Cinematic Indie Books ----Kirkus Reviews
"Queen of Hearts will keep you dreaming of Wonderland long after you read the last page. I want more of these characters, more of this fantastical world!" --Lorie Langdon, author of the Doon series

Buy the book:

About the author:

Colleen Oakes is the author of the Elly in Bloom Series and the YA fantasy The Queen of Hearts Saga, both published via Sparkpress. She lives in North Denver with her husband and son. When not writing, Colleen enjoys swimming, traveling, and immersing herself in nerdy pop culture. She is currently at work on the third Elly novel and another YA fantasy series titled Wendy Darling.

Connect with the author:
·         Facebook
·         Twitter
·         Website
·         Goodreads

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Sunday Salon- November 23, 2014

The Sunday Salon

Yay!  So glad it's Thanksgiving break!  I need a week off. Although it won't really be a week off.  We are driving up to Virginia (12 hours) on Tuesday and back on Friday so not really time off.  I also have two races this week!  Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and eats lots on Thursday!

I finished and reviewed the following books in the last 2 weeks:
 The Return (Titan #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout 

I am currently reading The Wonder (Queen of Hearts #2) by Colleen Oakes and up next is The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Book Review- The Return

I finished reading The Return (Titan #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout for an Around the World ARC Tour tonight.

From Goodreads:

The Fates are cackling their bony asses off…

It’s been a year since Seth made the deal with the gods that pledged his life to them. And so far, the jobs they’ve given him have been violent and bloody–which is kind of all right with him. But now Apollo has something else in mind for Seth. He’s got to play protector while keeping his hands and fingers off, and for someone who really has a problem with restraint, this new assignment might be the most challenging yet.

Josie has no idea what this crazy hot guy’s deal might be, but it’s a good bet that his arrival means the new life she started after leaving home is about to be thrown into an Olympian-sized blender turned up to puree. Either Josie is going insane or a nightmare straight out of ancient myth is gunning for her.

But it might be the unlikely attraction simmering between her and the golden-eyed, secret-keeping Seth that may prove to be the most dangerous thing of all.

Because history has once again been flipped to repeat.

Book 1 in the new adult paranormal TITAN series, spin-off to the best selling COVENANT series.

So I have to admit that I was pretty confused at the beginning.  I knew it was a spin-off of an adult series but I never read that series.  And it seemed to refer to the past a lot.  Yes, it did get explained throughout the book but I always felt behind. (Apparently everyone was wanting a book from Seth's point of view)

That being said, I enjoyed it.  I enjoyed Josie and how real she was.  She was kick ass and feisty yet still girly and innocent.  I'm not quite sure how I feel about Seth.  Part of me likes the whole bad-boy-with-a-softer-side thing he's got going on.  But the other part of me finds him a little creepy.  His relationship with Josie is definitely hot though!

I didn't like this book as much as I liked the Dark Element books I've read but I'm definitely interested to see what is going to happen next.

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

The Return will be released on February 16, 2015.

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.