Saturday, November 21, 2015

Book Review- Starry Night

I finished reading Starry Nights by Daisy Whitney on Thursday.

From Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Julien is a romantic—he loves spending his free time at the museum poring over the great works of the Impressionists. But one night, a peach falls out of a Cezanne, Degas ballerinas dance across the floor, and Julien is not hallucinating.

The art is reacting to a curse that trapped a beautiful girl, Clio, in a painting forever. Julien has a chance to free Clio and he can't help but fall in love with her. But love is a curse in its own right. And soon paintings begin to bleed and disappear. Together Julien and Clio must save the world's greatest art . . . at the expense of the greatest love they've ever known.

Like a master painter herself, Daisy Whitney brings inordinate talent and ingenuity to this romantic, suspenseful, and sophisticated new novel. A beautifully decorated package makes it a must-own in print.

If you're into Art then this mystery is probably right up your alley.  Unfortunately, I don't like art so this one had a hard time keeping my attention.  I will say that reading this book right now after all the events in Paris felt a little weird.

The art coming alive was unique and I think I would have enjoyed it more if I actually liked the paintings that were mentioned.  And the romance was weird.  Too sudden and all consuming.  I mean, for half of the time, she was stuck in a painting.  It just didn't work for me.

Overall, it was just okay.  It wasn't horrible but it wasn't one I'll remember.

I gave this book a rating of 3/5.

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

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Book Review- In Real Life

I finished reading In Real Life by Jessica Love on Friday for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, regularly shower each other with presents, and know everything there is to know about one another.

There's just one problem: Hannah and Nick have never actually met.

Hannah has spent her entire life doing what she's supposed to, but when her senior year spring break plans get ruined by a rule-breaker, she decides to break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friend feelings for him.

Hannah's romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and meets Nick's girlfriend, whom he failed to mention. And it turns out his relationship status isn't the only thing he's been lying to her about. Hannah knows the real Nick can't be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has one night in Sin City to figure out what her feelings for Nick really are, all while discovering how life can change when you break the rules every now and then.

Contemporary novels are hit and miss with me.  Sometimes they seem to juvenile.  But when a friend told me I had to read it, I said okay.  And I was glad I did!

In so many ways, I could identify with Hannah.  I was the straight-A student who had her life planned and followed all the rules.  And I would love have to loved to have seen my younger self do something spontaneous like Hannah did.

I felt so conflicted about Nick.  I liked him but for a while I didn't like him--I didn't get the whole lying about the girlfriend thing.  He seemed to really love Hannah but then he also seemed completely into his girlfriend.  And the go-by-the-rules part of me squirmed at some parts of the story since it veered too much into the cheating world for me.  But.  But--it ended how it should have, even if it all wrapped up a little too  nicely.

Not that I didn't enjoy it, because I did.  There was lots of drama to fall into and antics in Las Vegas.  And several mentions of Disney things (yes!!)  So if you're looking for a contemporary YA novel to dig in to, this could be right up your alley.

I gave this book a rating of 4/5.

In Real Life will be released on March 1, 2016.

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

Book Review- The Heir

I finished reading The Heir (The Selection #4) by Kiera Cass last week.

From Goodreads:

Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon—and they lived happily ever after. Eadlyn has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she'd put off marriage for as long as possible.

But a princess's life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can't escape her very own Selection—no matter how fervently she protests.

Eadlyn doesn't expect her story to end in romance. But as the competition begins, one entry may just capture Eadlyn's heart, showing her all the possibilities that lie in front of her . . . and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn't as impossible as she's always thought.

Yup--once again this show reminds me of one of my favorite reality TV shows, except this time it's the Bachelorette since it's told from the lady's point of view.  So of course I dug in.  And loved every bit of it!

I was a little thrown off that Prince Maxon's child was a teenager at first.  But I absolutely loved Eadlyn.  She was spunky and independent and knew her faults.  But she also wasn't afraid to admit when she was wrong.  I loved the family dynamics between her and her parents along with her twin brother and two younger brothers.

And it was fun to read about how a bunch of guys trying to win her heart would act.  I fell in love with several of them.  And I definitely have my 2 favorites.  I'm going with Kile, who she grew up with, and Erik, the translator.

My one complaint--we don't find out who she chooses!  I have to wait until the next book to find out! And I don't want to!  This was one of my favorite books of the year!

I gave this book a rating of 4.5/5.  

*FTC Disclosure: I traded this book with a friend.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Book Review- The Favorite

I also finished reading The Favorite (The Selection #2.6) by Kiera Cass last week.

From Goodreads:

While America Singer's heart was torn between Aspen and Prince Maxon, her friend Marlee knew exactly what she wanted—and paid the price.

Revisit the captivating world of Kiera Cass's #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series in this digital original novella. Told from Marlee's point of view, this all-new 64-page story returns to the fateful Halloween when Marlee and Carter were discovered, and reveals how that night—and Prince Maxon—changed their lives forever.

This was a short story that veered away from the main characters of the Selection and focused on another couple that paired up. 

This story made me love Maxon even more than I did after I read what he did for Marlee and Carter.  This novella was super short but it was nice to get a little peek into the lives of some secondary characters.

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

*FTC Disclosure: I bought this book.

Book Review- The Queen

I read The Queen (The Selection Stories #0.4) by Kiera Cass last week.

From Goodreads:

Before America Singer's story began, another girl came to the palace to compete for the hand of a
different prince….
Don't miss this digital original novella set in the captivating world of Kiera Cass's #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series. This prequel story takes place before the events of The Selection and is told from the point of view of Prince Maxon's mother, Amberly. Discover a whole new Selection with this inside look at how Maxon's parents met—and how an ordinary girl named Amberly became a beloved queen.

I series just adore this series.  I loved reading more about Amberly's side of her Selection.  My only complaint--I want to read more.  I totally think that this could be a whole spinoff series.  I'd gobble it up!

I didn't remember reading about Amberly being so sickly so this was interesting to read.  And I didn't realize Prince Maxon's dad was so sweet either.  Yup, just love it!

I gave this book a rating of 4/5.

*FTC Disclosure: I bought this book..

Friday, October 30, 2015

Book Review- Hotel Ruby

I just finished reading Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

Stay Tonight. Stay Forever.

When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, she’s grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother’s death, Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are on their way to live with their grandmother, dumped on the doorstep of a DNA-matched stranger because their father is drowning in his grief.

Audrey and her family only plan to stay the night, but life in the Ruby can be intoxicating, extending their stay as it provides endless distractions—including handsome guest Elias Lange, who sends Audrey’s pulse racing. However, the hotel proves to be as strange as it is beautiful. Nightly fancy affairs in the ballroom are invitation only, and Audrey seems to be the one guest who doesn't have an invite. Instead, she joins the hotel staff on the rooftop, catching whispers about the hotel’s dark past.

The more Audrey learns about the new people she's met, the more her curiosity grows. She’s torn in different directions—the pull of her past with its overwhelming loss, the promise of a future that holds little joy, and an in-between life in a place that is so much more than it seems…

Welcome to the Ruby.

This one was a super fast read.  At the beginning, I remember thinking that things didn't really line up right and something was off, but I don't remember what.  And then I got sucked in.

So I spent the whole time I was reading the book trying to figure out just what was going on in Hotel Ruby.  I knew it had to be something suspicious.  But I didn't even come close to figuring it out.  And I should have!

It was both a horror story (man, two in a row--good thing it's Halloween weekend) and a tender, sad one combined.  I really liked Audrey.  I felt so bad for her and her loss. And I loved her big brother Daniel.  He was everything an older brother is supposed to be.  And then there was Elias.  I loved his old-school gentlemanness (so not a word) and the way he treated those he cared about.  

The only thing I didn't really like, or get, what the ending with Kenneth.  I won't say more than that but how it happened confused me.  Overall though, this was a great book if you're looking for something a little creepy but with a little heart too.

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

Hotel Ruby will be released on November 3, 2015.

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

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Book Review- Shallow Graves

I finished reading Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace last week for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

For fans of Holly Black and Nova Ren Suma, a gripping, hauntingly atmospheric novel about murder, revenge, and a world where monsters—human and otherwise—lurk at the fringes.

When seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin wakes up in a shallow grave one year after her death, she doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past. In life, Breezy was always drawn to the elegance of the universe and the mystery of the stars. Now she must set out to find answers and discover what is to become of her in the gritty, dangerous world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she finds is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.

Tense, complex, and wholly engaging, Shallow Graves is a stunning first novel from Kali Wallace.

This one was a little weird for me.  I never really got into it.  None of the characters really did it for me.  I mean, there was nothing that I disliked about any of them.  There was just none that I really connected with.

The book was really creepy.  It reminded me of when I was little and used to love reading Goosebumps or R.L. Stein.  But weirder.  The whole part with the Mother was odd and the cult-like sensibility of it was just kinda out there.

It was a perfect read for the Halloween season.

I gave this book a rating of 3/5.

Shallow Graves will be released on January 26, 2016.

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

Monday, October 19, 2015

Book Review- House Trained

I finished reading House Trained by Jackie Bouchard last week for a Booksparks Blog Tour.

From Goodreads:

Alex Halstad, a childless-by-choice interior designer and dog mom, is a true perfectionist. But her orderly life turns chaotic when the teenage daughter her husband, Barry, never knew he had shows up on their doorstep...with a baby girl of her own in tow. While Alex’s dog enthusiastically welcomes the new arrivals, Alex struggles with the loss of her steady routine. She desperately needs peace and quiet to get her business back on track before Barry finds out she’s spent most of their savings. Meanwhile, the arrival of the girls stirs up old insecurities, and Alex can’t help but worry that Barry’s ex will make an entrance too. With her tidy life a distant memory, will Alex be able to learn from her dog the true meaning of love and acceptance?

From bestselling author Jackie Bouchard comes a humorous and heartwarming look at how life creates opportunities to love in surprising ways.

I love books about dogs!  And babies!  So of course I was excited to read this!  (the story didn't really revolve around the dog but she was mentioned often).

I liked Alex.  She was a dog-mom and confident in her choice not to have children.  I found myself relating to her in so many ways in her life (although I do want children--just don't have them yet).  I loved the way she embraced her (newly-discovered) step-daughter and her baby.

And I loved Wren.  I feel like most teenage moms are portrayed as rebellious or pitiful but Wren was a great mom and I felt like even though the baby was an accident, she was secure and well-loved.

There was lots of drama in the book--money issues, ex-issues, relationship issues, teenage motherhood, Even a little tragedy at the end.  I'm not sure I would classify it as chick-lit-while it was funny at some points, it's a little heavier than that.  But it was easy to fall into and I look forward to reading more by Jackie Bouchard.

I gave this book a rating of 4/5.

House Trained will be released on October 20, 2015.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Book Review- The Legacy of Us

I finished reading The Legacy of Us by Kristin Contino on Monday night as part of a Booksparks Blog Tour.

From Goodreads:

Taking readers from 1905 Italy to present-day Philadelphia, The Legacy of Us uncovers how the lives of three generations of women are changed by love, loss and one little necklace...

Liz Moretti thought she knew almost everything about her grandmother, Ella, from her love of "The Golden Girls" to the perfect pound cake recipe. But when Ella passes away and Liz finds a cameo locket with a marriage proposal engraved inside (from a man who was not her grandfather), she realizes that sometimes a person's secrets are discovered only after they're gone.

On top of losing Ella, Liz's career as a jewelry designer is stagnant and her love life lacks sparkle, too. When she reconnects with the one who got away, Liz thinks maybe things are finally starting to look up. But after a few drinks and a trip down a flight of stairs, Liz wakes up to realize the cameo is gone. Her ex offers to look for it, but so does Justin, the intriguing new guy in her apartment building.

While dealing with her feelings for two very different men and generally trying to reinvent her mess of a life, Liz finds answers and solace in Ella's diary. The story of the cameo, and the relationship between her grandmother and great-grandmother, an outspoken socialite from Italy, inspires Liz to grow up and accept responsibility for her missteps. Eventually she must choose between the life she thought she wanted and the promise of something better.

I enjoyed reading this story told over three generations.  Each woman had their own issues to deal with, including relationships and family.  I thought maybe the switching of the characters would get confusing, but I didn't find it to be a problem.

I easily identified with Liz, especially about how her past relationship wouldn't stay in the past.  And finding someone better for her.  And I loved reading about her great-grandmother and the love and loss she went through.  

This was a light story that had a little bit of everything in it--love, family, loss, and a tiny bit of mystery.  

I gave this book a rating of 4/5.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Book Review- Walk on Earth a Stranger

I finished Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson last week for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety?

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research.

I don't really do historical books.  They tend to bore me.  So I almost passed this one up.  Luckily the owner of the blog tours I participated in told me I needed to read it, and I'm so glad she did!

Reading this book was like reading about the real life Oregon Trail game (which I loved when I was in elementary school!).  Seriously--illness, and hunger, and oxen, and covered wagons!  Life back then was so hard and reading about the trials of going across the country for the gold rush really interested me.  

I know that Leah had a secret power of being able to sense gold but I don't feel like it was a huge part of the story.  I mean, it was a huge part in the reason she was going across country in the first place, but I don't feel like her power was a major force in the book.

I really enjoyed all of the characters.  I loved how strong Leah was yet she still had a bit of girly-ness to her.  And all of the side characters on her journey kept me interested as well.

I'm glad to see that this is going to be a trilogy.  I'll definitely be picking up the next one.  Now excuse me while I go play Oregon Trail.

I gave this book a rating of 4.5/5.

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