A Mostly YA Book Review Blog

“Waiting On” Wednesday: The Fine Art of Pretending

 waiting on wednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted over at Breaking the Spine that highlights upcoming releases that we can’t wait for!

The book that I can’t wait for this week is. . . .

The Fine Art of Pretending

The Fine Art of Pretending

By: Rachel Harris

Publication date: September, 2014

Goodreads/Amazon

According to the guys at Fairfield Academy, there are two types of girls: the kind you hook up with, and the kind you’re friends with. Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Reed is the second type. And she hates it. With just one year left to change her rank, she devises a plan to become the first type by homecoming, and she sets her sights on the perfect date—Justin Carter, Fairfield Academy’s biggest hottie and most notorious player.

With 57 days until the dance, Aly launches Operation Sex Appeal and sheds her tomboy image. The only thing left is for Justin actually to notice her. Enter best friend Brandon Taylor, the school’s second biggest hottie, and now Aly’s pretend boyfriend. With his help, elevating from “funny friend” to “tempting vixen” is only a matter of time.

But when everything goes according to plan, the inevitable “break up” leaves their friendship in shambles, and Aly and Brandon with feelings they can’t explain. And the fake couple discovers pretending can sometimes cost you the one thing you never expected to want.

I am super excited for this one! I love the idea of trying to find yourself and change how you’re viewed by the world. It’s a theme that pretty much everyone can relate to. And I love Rachel Harris’ books, so absolutely can’t wait until it comes out!

Advertisements

Series Review: Eversea and Forever, Jack by Natasha Boyd

EVERSEA_4

Eversea
Natasha Boyd
Publisher: self-published
Date Published: June 4th, 2013
Pages: 358
Source: Purchased

Goodreads – Amazon

*Both of these books are romance novels and contain adult situations. Please note that these are not YA books. Thanks!*

An orphaned, small-town, southern girl, held hostage by responsibility and self-doubt.

A Hollywood A-list mega-star, on the run from his latest scandal and with everything to lose.

A chance encounter that leads to an unlikely arrangement and epic love affair that will change them both forever.

When his co-star and real-life girlfriend is caught cheating on him with her new director, A-list hottie, Jack Eversea, finds himself in sleepy Butler Cove, South Carolina. Jack hopes the sultry southern heat in this tiny coastal Lowcountry town will hide him not only from the tabloids and his cheating girlfriend, but his increasingly vapid life and the people who run it. He doesn’t count on meeting Keri Ann Butler.

Keri Ann has relied on herself so long, dealing with her family’s death and the responsibilities of keeping up her family’s historic mansion, that boys and certainly the meager offering of eligible boys in Butler Cove, have never figured into her equation. But fate has other plans. Suddenly face to face with the man who played the movie role of her favorite fictional character, Jack has Keri Ann yearning for everything she has previously avoided … and Jack must decide whether this funny, sassy girl is worth changing his life for, before his mistakes catch up to him.

FOREVER, JACK_COVER_R3

Forever, Jack
Natasha Boyd
Publisher: NPRB
Date Published: November 25th, 2013
Pages: 372

Purchased

GoodreadsAmazon

Keri Ann Butler’s life changed on the night she met movie star, Jack Eversea. She thought she knew a Jack that was very different to the man adored by fans the world over. In the wake of his betrayal and abandonment, Keri Ann has had to pick up and move forward with the life she was supposed to live and has put off far too long.

Suddenly Jack is back, and his explanations for why he left seem more and more plausible, and his declarations more seductive. But being Jack’s latest tabloid accessory isn’t on Keri Ann’s career agenda, no matter how much she is attracted to him. And how can she can ever trust him again?

Jack knows he let the only ‘real’ thing that ever happened to him slip through his fingers. And his hands have been tied to try and stop it. Until now.

Jack is now fighting to save his relationship with Keri Ann, even as his crazy life threatens to tear them apart. Again. The question is, can he convince her she can have it all? And have him? Forever?

4 Stars!

My Review

Normally, I try and steer away from most self-published books. It’s not that I don’t think there are some great authors out there going a non-traditional route, it’s just that I’ve been burned one too many times by really bad writing/editing. And I don’t have that much time to read anyway, so I just started staying away from books that were self-published. I started hearing a lot of buzz about this last year though and I was in the mood for a summer-time romance, just a light read that I could breeze through. So I grabbed Eversea for my kindle and I was pleasantly surprised by it.

Keri Ann (ugh the name – not one of my favorites) lives in a small town on the coast in South Carolina. She’s been working hard to keep their house, waiting tables at a diner down the street while her brother is in school to be a doctor. Since their parents died, it’s just been the two of them trying to make it work. You can tell the author knows this area of the country really well. There’s a lot of good imagery and I felt this was one of the strong points of these books.

The author immediately introduces us to Jack, a movie star who’s trying to escape his fame and his ex-girlfriend by hiding out in the little sea-side town. Now i’ll be honest. I’m a sucker for movie star books. Or books that deal with the side-effects of fame or fortune. So part of that was definitely an appeal for me for this book. Part of what was so intriguing about the characters was that Keri Ann knew Jack as a movie star, and has a pre-determined idea of what he’s like based on what the media has been saying about him for years. She also loved the movies that he was in, had read the books, etc. that they were based on (you get a strong Twilight implied reference from this). It was interesting to see them try to have a relationship, when Keri Ann feels so out of her league because she thinks Jack is a player who’s going to love and leave her.

The romance in this book is definitely hot. It builds up fairly quickly, and the books center around the relationship between Jack and Keri Ann. Jack is very much a swoon-worthy leading man. He’s gorgeous, thoughtful, and knows how to work with his hands, fixing up Keri Ann’s house to stay out of the public’s eye and spend time with her. Keri Ann becomes his unofficial assistant, running errands so that he can stay hidden.

Jack has a pretty horrible past, and the two of them make a lot of mistakes when it comes to communicating and trusting one another. The first book ends on somewhat of a cliffhanger, which I normally hate, but in this case it didn’t bother me since the next book was already out and I just read them back to back. If that’s a deal breaker for you though, be warned the first book will  leave you hanging.

These books have some really good secondary characters, including Keri Ann’s best friend Jazz and her brother. They’re well-developed and do help the story out a lot. Part of what I really liked about the books was that Keri Ann saw the importance of being her own person. Faced with dating a really famous movie star, she was concerned about her wants and needs not being overshadowed by him. I thought that was refreshing, since I feel like a lot of the times, the girl in these kind of books gets swept away to be coddled and provided for without batting an eyelash.

The books weren’t perfect. Sometimes the writing came across as a little stilted, and I felt like some of the plot in the second book dragged along a little bit, but the characters really shone through and I didn’t want to put them down. Definitely pick them up if you’re looking for some hot romance and a fun, summer time read!

 

 

About the Author

Natasha Boyd

Natasha Boyd is a writer with a background in marketing and public relations. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and lives in the coastal Carolina Lowcountry, complete with Spanish moss, alligators and mosquitoes the size of tiny birds. She has a husband, two sons and a cat named Tuna. Eversea is her first full-length novel.

The Weekly Roundup #2

This week on the blog. . .

My review of Poison by Bridget Zinn – 4 stars!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Covers I’d Frame as Pieces of Art

Waiting on Wednesday: Talon by Julie Kagawa

Stacking the Shelves #1

Ugh, only one review this week. Hoping to do 2-3 reviews a week, so fingers crossed this week is better!

This week in real life. . .

First off, Happy Mothers Day everyone! I have three little kids, so Mothers Day is always fun seeing all the things they make me at school. I got woken up bright and early to see them and we had a fun morning. I got my Mothers Day/Birthday (my birthday is the 17th) present early: a new Kindle! My old one died a while back and when I read e-books, i’ve been reading them on my phone. So my husband got me a new Paperwhite, which I love. It’s so nice to be able to read on a bigger screen again. Now to find a pretty case. . .

I also wanted to offer condolences to whoever might be hurting on this Mothers Day. I lost my mom over 11 years ago, and every Mothers Day is bittersweet. It never gets any easier, but I’m lucky to have a lot of good memories of her.

 

  Mommy

I’m on the left, my brother is in the middle.                                 

 

One of my other hobbies is crocheting and knitting. Right now I’m working on a baby blanket that I kind of made up the pattern for. I’m super slow, so these take me a while, fitting in a little bit in the evenings usually. Hopefully it’s done in a month or so.

 

Crochet

Granny squares FTW! 

A few years ago I bought a nice camera, so sometimes I like to fool around with that as well. Spring is one of my favorite times to photograph, since everything is new. My brother got me a really pretty poppy plant the last time he was here, and I love up close photography so I’ve been trying to get a good one. I like the one below I think. How was your week? Do you guys have any cool hobbies? If I had the time (and the money), I’d like to try out everything!

 

 IMG_3501

 

 

 

 

 

Stacking the Shelves #1

Stackingtheshelves

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted over at Tynga’s Reviews, that gives us a place to nerd out about all the new books we’ve gotten recently! I don’t plan on making this a weekly feature, but I do expect to do it once in a while when I get a bunch of books i’m excited to read. Anyway, without further ado, here are some books i’ve acquired lately that I can’t wait to read! (Links will take you to Goodreads)

From the Library

 

IMG_3757

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Seige and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

I feel like I’m really behind on reading some very well loved series, and this is one of them. Excited to start it!

How Not to Find a Boyfriend by Allyson Valentine

I grabbed this one on the way out as my four year old was having a tantrum so I literally have no idea what it’s about. Guess we’ll see! 

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

I just finished Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and I am beyond blown away. It was so so good, and I absolutely can’t wait to read this. Again, I know i’m way late on this series, but I’m so glad I picked it up! This one’s getting started tonight.

Purchased

I had some Kindle impulse buys this week . . .

Pushing the Limits  The 5th Wave  Last Second Chance

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about her books lately, and grabbed this one to try it out.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Another one I’ve been meaning to read forever but haven’t gotten around to!

Last Second Chance by Caisey Quinn

Was looking for a light, easy, fun summertime read and I’m hoping this one will fit the bill!

Won in a giveaway!

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler

I was lucky enough to win a signed ARC of this through The Flyleaf Review, and I’m super excited. I’ve loved Dahlia Adler’s witty writing style through her writing on her website, and the synopsis looks great! Also, it is my very first ARC as a book blogger so I’m going to hug it and squeeze it forever. Also read it and review it of course!! Thanks again to the Flyleaf Review for the giveaway.

“Waiting On” Wednesday: Talon

waiting on wednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted over at Breaking the Spine that highlights upcoming releases that we can’t wait for!

The book that I can’t wait for this week is. . . .

Talon

From Goodreads

By: Julie Kagawa

Publication date: October 28th, 2014

Goodreads/Amazon

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they’re positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon’s newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

DRAGONS!!! So waayyyy back in the day, dragons are what got me started reading. Like really reading; can’t put it down, wandering around the house tripping over things reading. Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series was my first love and I still go back and re-read them occasionally. I’ve been a fan of Julie Kagawa’s for a while as well, I’ve read and really liked her Iron Fey series. If you follow her on twitter, you’ll probably know that she makes these awesome dragon figurines as well. Yes, she is ridiculously multi-talented. So when she announced that she was writing a book about dragons, I was so excited. And after reading the synopsis and seeing the gorgeous cover (don’t you want to touch it?) I just can’t wait until it comes out!

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Covers I’d Frame as Pieces of Art

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish, with a new top ten topic every week. For this week, the topic was. . .

Top Ten Covers I’d Frame as Pieces of Art

1. Vicious by V.E. Schwab

         Vicious

Viewing this on the computer does not do it justice. The art is just beautiful, with real depth and detail.

2. Pegasus by Robin McKinley

Pegasus

3. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

            Blue Lily, Lily Blue

The cover for this was just released and it looks beautiful. Can’t wait to see it in print.

4. Happenstance by Jamie McGuire

Happenstance

5. The Selection by Kiera Cass

            The Selection

6. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus

 7. Black City by Elizabeth Richards

Black City

8. Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

Awaken

9. Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

Paper Valentine

 

 10. Shine by Lauren Myracle

            Shine

 

There are so many beautiful covers being released all the time, it was really hard to choose. What is your favorite?

Review: Poison by Bridget Zinn

Poison

Poison
Bridget Zinn
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Date Published: March 12, 2013
Pages: 288
Source: Library

Goodreads – Amazon

Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart . . . misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.

4 Stars!

My Review

I loved this book! A lot of my favorite books have really strong female characters, and Kyra fits the bill. She’s only sixteen, but she’s a Master of Potions, and knows how to fight better than most men. After an unsuccessful assassination attempt on the princess, she’s been on the run until she can find the princess again for a second try. Along the way, she manages to acquire a piglet named Rosie who’s supposed to help track the princess, and a companion named Fred who, along with being very handsome, also knows how to cook and make Kyra laugh. It’s tough to review this one without spoilers so I’ll give you a list of what I loved below.

What I Loved

1. Kyra: She’s a badass. She’s only sixteen, but knows hand to hand combat, how to precisely measure potions to make someone tell the truth without killing them, and has utter loyalty to her kingdom and her friends.

2. Rosie: Rosie is a tiny piglet that helps Kyra track the princess. She’s adorable, carries a little basket around her neck and is best friends with a giant dog. What’s not to love?

piglet

3. The world: Potions in the kingdom of Mohr can heal, change your appearance, put someone to sleep, turn them into wood or kill someone. There are witches and magical creatures, gypsies and magical jewelery. It all felt really effortless and I never questioned why something worked or the rules because I was completely immersed in it.

4. The plot: I had to give a somewhat abbreviated review because I wanted to avoid spoilers. The plot keeps you guessing till the end and there are little twists and turns throughout. I loved not know what the full story was until the end.

5. The humor: The characters are like reading about a good friend. They joke around, have witty comebacks and you generally enjoy getting to know them. The light-hearted dialogue is central to the book.

If you’re looking for a fun, light-hearted fantasy read, I can’t recommend this enough. It’s entertaining and will keep you guessing until the end.

 

 

About the Author

Bridget Zinn

Bridget grew up in Wisconsin. She went to the county fair where she met the love of her life, Barrett Dowell. They got married right before she went in for exploratory surgery which revealed she had colon cancer. They christened that summer the “summer of love” and the two celebrated with several more weddings. Bridget continued to read and write until the day she died. Her last tweet was “Sunshine and a brand new book. Perfect.”
Bridget wanted to make people laugh and hoped readers would enjoy spending time with the characters she created. As a librarian/writer she loved books with strong young women with aspirations. She also felt teens needed more humorous reads. She really wanted to write a book with pockets of warmth and happiness and hoped that her readers’ copies would show the watermarks of many bath time reads.