Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Review: My True Love Gave to Me Anthology

My True Love Gave to Me
Goodreads / Amazon
Published October 14, 2014
Review Copy Via NetGalley


If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins.

Let’s begin this review with a wish. Here, I’ll start. In the words on Ana├»s Nin: “Let him be kind.” Leave your wish in the comments.

Okay, I love every single one of these (well like, there are one or two I’m not totally head over heels for. Also if someone, anyone, could explain to me why having twelve EPIC authors being in the same freaking book was a sound idea regarding my mental sanity, that’d be awesome. Thanks. *rolls eyes and grins like a complete and utter maniac* I have a confession: I don’t usually read Christmas or ‘tis the season or happy holiday sort of books. At all. Not even around this time of year. And I’ve already read two. This one is by far my favorite. It was a lovely combination of contemporary and mystic magical jazz and cute kisses and short stories that I’d loooove to be longer. Especially the very last one of this novel. Laini Taylor’s contribution. Which was freaking perfect. It was the perfect end to the anthology.  

Rowell’s New Year’s Eve story was lovely, not one of my favorites, but absolutely stunning. I love how her writing always manages to drag me into her world. Kelly Link’s fox story was some kind of strange and wonderful. I was confused then enchanted. Also, still a little confused. Matt De La Pena; this wasn’t one of the one’s I’d re-read. I felt no connections. Not much actually occurred. A bit of a disappointment to me. Han’s elf but not an elf story left me feeling dreary. This was another story that I didn’t really like all that much. But it was different.  When does Perkins not deliver? I loved it. Love, love, love it. Love it to pieces. I love David Levithan, but this one not as much as I usually do. I’m really happy that a LGBT story made it into the novel. Also, I adore this quote:

“I am here, and he is here, and everything I need to know is that I will hold him and he will hold me until I am warm again, until I know I belong (47%).”

Holly Black- how many ways are there to tell her I love her writing SO FREAKING MUCH?! This one is no exception. Forman delivered a good ol’ feel-good story for the holiday. I loved how it had the whole ‘I’m here in a new place I need to find my people vibe’ to it! McEntire did a cute job with an adorable story, even if it wasn’t for me.  White did a lovely job with this sweet, homey story. I really liked this one as well. I would reveal the name, but where’s the fun in that? *winks* Ally Carter’s story just didn’t appeal to me. It was too neatly wrapped. FINALLY we have me favorite (which I was not expecting to be my favorite) by Laini Taylor. I’ll just show you some quotes:

“I will free you, and I will lift you. I will learn a thousand ways to make you laugh. Your smiles will be the honey in my mead, your enchantment my delight.”
 “She was the goddess of. . .herself. And he could not look away from her.”

I could write an entire review on just that one story. Ohsweetbabyjesus I love it, love it, love it. I mean “I will free you?” I love him. Where can I get me one? Why aren’t real guys saying things like this? Okay *breathes* It was perfect. 

How was y'all's holiday? I've had a lovely Christmas filled with presents and hot choco and family. Also, homework. Oh, joy. I hope y'all got everything on that lovely list of yours!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Review: Mistletoe on Main Street by Olivia Miles

Mistletoe on Main Street by Olivia Miles
The greatest gift begins with a kiss. . .
Published: September 30, 2014
Review Copy via Publisher (Forever)


Sleigh bells, snow, and second chances . . .

Briar Creek's quaint shop windows, cozy homes nestled in snow, and neighborly residents are what Christmas dreams are made of--for everyone except Grace Madison. She left her hometown years ago to pursue a writing career. But when her father's death leaves his bookstore empty, Grace must return to face why she fled Vermont in the first place: Luke Hastings, who still heats her up like a shot of smoky whiskey on a cold winter's night.

Grace is back, and Luke is worried. How much has she changed as a bestselling author in the big city? What memories will she stir up? And was the choice he made five years ago the biggest mistake of his life?

Now, with their past, present, and future rocking around the Christmas tree, it's time for Grace and Luke to face the music . . . and the mistletoe.

There is no decking of the halls in this Christmas time book- or at least not in the first hundred leaps. Know what there is a lot of? Drama. Angst. Idiots. Cute moments. Stupid moments. Drama. Tension. Heartbreak. Drama. *looks over list* And drama. Since I don’t really know how to review this book (and it’s been about a month.5 since I’ve read it (thanks school)) I’ll be doing this review little differently. I’ll be breaking down the whatchamacallits into sections.  First let me offer you a suggestion in your choice of Christmas music to go with how I feel about the romance in this book: This Christmas- Set It Off (it’s on the Punk goes Christmas album, if case you feel confuzzled)

SO, let’s talk romance, my lovelies: I hate the romance. *giggles hysterically* I HAAAAATE IT (that was said in a sing-song voice to convey the psychotic tendencies this romance brings out of me) It was too angsty. Everyone had issues, most which I didn’t really understand, nor feel I could empathize, or even sympathize, with. I never had the urge to lock them in a room. Okay, that last one was a lie, but come one. Communication, y’all. Communication. I swear. I’ll say it one more time in case you didn’t hear it, I’ll even type this in a Dr. Phil voice- Communication.

Let’s chat plot: The plot . . . a mother who doesn’t feel Christmas, lovers who are resisting each other (haha, bet you think I’m talking out our main characters) and two idiots who don’t know how to let go of the past. I really liked all the different stories interwoven into the novel. It was cute. And sweet. And made me want to see how everything would end up.

That small town feel, y’all :  . . . it gets me every time! Pastry shops and book stores and adorable plays and a holiday with mistletoe and jingle bells and hot chocolate 24/7. I think yes yes yes. Where’s my plane ticket?

So, basically: I liked everything and everybody except the two main characters. Therefore, I give this book a nice and round rating of 3 stars. Tee hee hee.

Happy holidays, my lovelies!

a merry little Christmas, or holiday
Just have food and presents and hot chocolate

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Review: Scratch by Rhonda Helms

Scratch by Rhonda Helms
Look below the surface . . .
Published: September 30, 2014
Review copy via Netgalley + Publisher


The most painful scars are the ones you never see.

In her DJ booth at a Cleveland dance club, Casey feels a sense of connection that's the closest she ever gets to normal. On her college campus, she's reserved, practical-all too aware of the disaster that can result when you trust the wrong person. But inexplicably, Daniel refuses to pay attention to the walls she's put up. Like Casey, he's a senior. In every other way, he's her opposite.

Sexy, open, effortlessly charming, Daniel is willing to take chances and show his feelings. For some reason Casey can't fathom, he's intent on drawing her out of her bubble and back into a world that's messy and unpredictable. He doesn't know about the deep scars that pucker her stomach - or the deeper secret behind them. Since the violent night when everything changed, Casey has never let anyone get close enough to hurt her again. Now, she might be tempted to try.

Girl DJ with enough emotional issues to create a barrier between her and everybody else. (minus the oh so very lovely grandparents) She creates this wall through the entire novel and even refuses to relinquish any of it, even if it means a life time of loneliness and despair. Throughout the book “Scratch,” one sees fantastic character development, even if none of the characters are very complex.  Or very likeable. And that is what this book is severely lacking in: complexity.

“Scratch” was very one step forward, three steps back. ALSO- main DJ chick- she needs to grow and move on. That may seem insensitive, but really, it’s for her own good. Letting music consume you until you don’t recognize the difference between who’s trying to help you and who’s trying to deceive you isn't really the best decision. And there are a lot of people trying to help her (even in the really, really, REALLY went about it the wrong way. (Seriously, man, did you honestly think that one through?) But, I really just wish she could see. Like really see.

The plot. Oh, the plot. It was very, how do you say, simple? Yup. It was simple. I mean, it was 100% inner turmoil and healing and romance, but also zero action. No bang-pow-pow. I like some bang-pow-pow. No street fights or butts being handed back.

In the end, this was a lovely 3.5 stars of a book. One with a gorgeous cover, a story worth reading, and doesn't require much thought process.

So how have y'all been? Since I've been gone? Empty? Half-empty? Completely empty? Also, if you know that movie quote you're the best person ever

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Here's a Cover I'm in Love With

Jalen, lover of B-grade sci-fi movies, meets the far-too-handsome P in a cafe while deciding whether or not to skip uni again. When P invites them along to a double feature of Robot Monster and Cat Women of the Moon, Jalen can hardly believe that hot boys like bad sci-fi, too. But as their relationship progresses, Jalen realizes P leaves them wondering if they're on the same page about what dating means, and if that's what they're doing.

_  _  _


Monday, December 8, 2014

A Holiday Book to Believe In

So I was approved for this book on Netgalley and the cover is SO CHRISTMAS-Y and BEAUTIFUL! I can't wait to get started on it . . . on school whyyyy must you drown me in work??

Family-oriented Juliet is a Christmas-dinner cook extraordinaire and is trying to keep it together in the wake of her marriage breakdown two Christmases ago, but the cracks are beginning to show.

Her bright and vivacious sister Gemma was always the favorite daughter. Gemma has no qualms about escaping the festive madness and the pressures of her glamorous job by jetting off somewhere warm and leaving Christmas in Juliet's capable hands.

When Gemma shirks responsibility one too many times and announces she's off to the Caribbean (again!), Juliet finally snaps. Gemma offers her sister the perfect solutionto swap Christmases. She'll stay home and cook the turkey (how hard can it be?) and Juliet can fly off into the sun and have a restorative break.

In the midst of all the chaos, there's Will, Juliet's dishy neighbor who's far too nice to float Gemma's boat and may secretly harbor feelings for her sister; and Marco, the suave Italian in the villa next door who has his own ideas about the best way to help Juliet unwind.

Will the sisters abandon caution and make this a Christmas swap to remember?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Last Day of Sale!

Every year, the girls of Phi Delta Chii, Fiona Arlett’s dream sorority, hold a competition. 

The prize? 

James Reid, king size bar of eye candy and famous actor turned haughty undergrad. 

The rules? 

No girl but the winner can touch him. 

The problem? 

Fiona miiight have unknowingly banged his brains out last week. 

Losing the competition may mean wearing a chicken suit to the sexiest Halloween costume contest, but she’d rather have feathers up her butt than let the truth out. 

Unfortunately, she and James have lots in common and more chemistry than the science wing. Soon they’re sneaking around behind the backs of UCSD’s hottest and most vengeful girls. 

If they find out? 

Fiona’s screwed. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Holiday Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope y'all are having a lovely and festive holiday season! Good luck with the giveaway.

As for why the posts are less frequent, school has been kicking me in the butt. All study and no reading. The life of a student is a hard one indeed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Review: I See London by Chanel Cleeton

I See London by Chanel Cleeton
Review Copy Via Netgalley

Maggie Carpenter is ready for a change— and to leave her ordinary life in South Carolina behind. But when she accepts a scholarship to the International School in London, a university attended by the privileged offspring of diplomats and world leaders, Maggie might get more than she bargained for.

When Maggie meets Hugh, a twentysomething British guy, she finds herself living the life she always wanted. Suddenly she’s riding around the city in a Ferrari, wearing borrowed designer clothes and going to the hottest clubs. The only problem? Another guy, the one she can’t seem to keep her hands off of.

Half French, half Lebanese, and ridiculously wealthy, Samir Khouri has made it clear he doesn’t do relationships. He’s the opposite of everything Maggie thought she wanted…and he’s everything she can’t resist. Torn between her dream guy and the boy haunting her dreams, Maggie has to fight for her own happy ending. In a city like London, you never know where you stand, and everything can change in the blink of an eye.

Ooooh man, you’ve got to love Europe. Wonderful accents, yummy food, hot guys. Ice Queens who aren’t so icey and both a player and a man you maybe sort of lied to about pretty much everything vying for your attention. Or sex. Or friendship. MWHAHAHA. ALL THE THINGS HAPPENING. *regains composure* That description makes this book sound really complicated (its not). 

Reality: we have a girl of 19 years who’s only real family is her grandmother. I mean she has an absentee father and a no where to be found mother, but they don’t really count. After her rejection from Harvard, she has to find another way to get out of the hole she has been crammed in to. International School in London (LONDON!) offers her just that. There she meets the not so icey ice queen and Arab-French boy. She also meets Hugh (I don’t care for him) and there our course of events. 

One kiss changes everything and London changes her. 

This book as fine. Yes, just fine. I didn’t really like – no, that’s wrong- I liked everything fine (except for that whole lying mess) but nothing really left my wheeling. It was just that- fine. 

"You deserve more. You deserve everything." -ARC

Thursday, November 20, 2014

#Interview : Naomi Bellina + a #Giveaway

Hey everyone! Wow! This school semester has been insanely busy. So there's the cause for my 2 posts a weeks as opposed to what had been five to six. Anyways, welcome to the newest interview! Let's all give a big round of applause to Naomi Bellina!

Naomi lives in sunny Florida with the love of her life and a magical calico cat. She writes for various fiction and non-fiction markets but is drawn to romance because her characters insist on canoodling and falling in love. So she lets them. Her interests include dancing, motorcycle riding, drumming and creating healthy meals. She takes the opportunity to play whenever possible. Her motto:  Never pass up the opportunity to have an adventure!   

1. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
That answer changes depending on the seasons but right now I'd like to be somewhere cold with great fall colors, a fireplace and a hot tub. Maybe Colorado or Montana. It's still warm in Florida and it's hard to get in the holiday mood when we're all sweating. I've always wanted to visit Austria and Switzerland, during their winter season.

2. How did you get the idea for your newest book?
A lot of Don't Say No comes from my own experience working in a spa. I was also a mystery shopper so I decided to combine the two jobs. My mystery shopping wasn't nearly as fun as Amber's assignment, though.

3. If you were stuck on a deserted island, would you rather have with you a book, a banjo, a pineapple or a cinnamon scented candle with you? How would you use it?
A banjo. Once I read the book it would be done but it would take me a long time to learn to play the banjo. I'd give mini concerts for the wildlife critters.

4. What character that you’ve brought to life is most relatable to you?
I can really relate to Amber in this book, even though I'm older. I remember those years, trying to figure out what the heck I wanted to do with my life. Amber has a pretty good plan, more so than I did. She's just having trouble getting it together and picked the wrong, butthead boyfriend. I did that once or twice too!

5. How has music impacted your writing and who’s your favorite artist/ song? 
Another thing that changes all the time. I really like classic rock but I recently heard a great idea to keep me motivated when writing. Find a movie that resonates with my book and listen to the soundtrack. I've been jamming to a few songs from Guardians of the Galaxy and dancing to songs from Rio 2.

6. Do you have a favorite quote? I’m personally a fan of pretty words—especially poems. 
I have a whole file of quotes! Nice to hear someone else likes them. Here's one of my favs, to get us in the mood for the holidays:  We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  ~Thornton Wilder

7. What’s a book you’d totally recommend and possibly swear on your life is the greatest book ever written?
The dictionary. Ha! Can you tell I have a hard time picking favorites? I've read way too many to chose just one. Seriously, I love looking through a dictionary and finding all kinds of strange words. A Thesaurus is a great to browse through also and I use both a lot when writing.

8. What’s a favorite food that come from your part of the world (or is more commonly known there)? For example, I’d say chicken fried steak because, well, Texas.
I recently ate star fruit, picked right from a tree. They have an odd flavor, hard to describe. When you cut them, the sections are really shaped like a star. Oh, and you haven't lived until you've eaten a juicy, sweet orange fresh from a local grove or slurped down a glass of really fresh OJ.  Now I'm hungry.

9. Do you have a snacking while reading food that you’d care to share?
No, I never share my snacking food. Oh, you mean share what KIND of food.  :-)  I love pan-cooked popcorn. It's kind of a pain to make and stinks up the house but it tastes soooo good with melted butter and salt drizzled all over. Now I'm really hungry.

10. Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you so much for having me here today. I love sharing with readers and am always happy to answer questions. I hope everyone has a joyous holiday season. Remember to read lots of books!

Make sure y'all check out her newest book!

The cute blurb: 

Happy accidents or how not to scream when crap happens

Have you ever had your life on track and were cruising along real nice when suddenly, wham! Something comes and bitch-slaps you upside the head and everything changes. Most of us have had this happen, at least once or twice. Sometimes the end result is great, sometimes not so much but staying flexible and adjusting to changes makes life a whole lot easier. It's really awesome when we can look back at one of those slaps and say, "Oh wow, that actually worked out pretty well." Yep, sometimes Fate has better plans than we do. To quote Joseph Campbell, "We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us." 

In Don't Say No, Amber is all set to go to college, and then open her own business with her boyfriend Randy. He gets them both kicked out of school and her plans fizzle out like a dud firecracker. Amber quickly comes up with Plan B. One of the reasons I love the character of Amber so much is because she doesn't let a major setback get her down. Even when Plan B gets shot down she keeps going, adapting to some major changes and making them work out for the best.

How about you? Ever have something happen that seemed liked the worst but turned out good in the end? Thanks so much for reading.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Review: Feel the Heat by Kate Meader

Feel the Heat by Kate Meader
Review Copy Via Publisher

Photographer Lili DeLuca spends all her time working at her family's Italian restaurant, instead of following her dream of getting an MFA. When famous British chef Jack Kilroy unexpectedly challenges her father to a cook-off, Lili decides she's tired of playing it safe and vows to seduce the tempting Brit. But once a video of her and Jack kissing goes viral and her luscious (if voluptuous) butt starts trending on Twitter, Lili fears she's cooked up a recipe for disaster . . .

Jack Kilroy's celebrity has left him feeling used and used up. While Lili's oh-so-sexy moans when she tastes his delicious creations turn him on, he's even more aroused by how this beautiful, funny woman is unimpressed by his fame. He knows they could be amazing together, if she could only see past his rabid, bitch-fork-wielding fan base. Now as he's about to start a new prime time TV cooking show, can Jack convince Lili to realize her own ambitions-and turn up the heat in his kitchen?

Between her family’s business, self-doubt and her photography, Lili think she doesn’t have time for a man- especially not the too hot to handle British television chef. Who she may or may now have pulled a Tangled on.

So, everyone meet Lili. Hardworking, selfless and surrounded n self-hate that began with school yard bullying, she’s an awesome heroine, even if her . . . what should I call it . . . flimsiness? Annoyed me at times. Her self- doubt showed in everything, so I can understand why sir chef was doubting what Lili’s true emotions were.

Who is this sir chef who Lili’s sister manages, as well as basically shoves at her? Everyone meet Jack Kilroy. Tall, dark (well, not really) and handsome, he’s the eternal optimist. And it makes me feel stabby. For some parts of the book, I couldn’t tell if he loved Lili or the way Lili loved (perhaps adored) his cooking. Also, where can I get some goat cheese and caramel gelato?

Jack has his debut of “Jack of all Trades” in Lili’s family run restaurant. Between Lili, idiot cousins as well as family issues, he has really got his hands full. Entranced by the youngest daughter, he’s rekindling his passion for food again though Lili and her passion for eating. One which I can totally understand. I mean, food, man. Food is life.

I feel like this entire book was Katy Perry’s “Hot and Cold” just because of Lili. Besides her love for all things edible, I found myself not actually being able to relate to her.

Onto the plot. It was sweet; small town girl stuck in her ways meets big city chef who’s always moving and doing. They really do compliment each other. Even if butting heads did seem to be a particular specialty of theirs.

In the end, more than anything the food aspect of this book, especially seeing how different characters reacted to it, was what kept me reading, rather than the story itself. This novel was fun and sweet and made me want to eat gelato and buy photography. Or become and photographer.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

ARC Review: A Cowboy's Christmas Promise by Maggie McGinnis

A Cowboy's Christmas Promise by Maggie McGinnis
Published November 18 of 2014 by LoveSwept
Goodreads /
Review Copy via Netgalley + Publisher


In a captivating novel spiced with holiday magic—perfect for fans of Rachel Gibson, Susan Mallery, and Molly O’Keefe—a rugged Montana man mends a Northeast girl’s jaded heart.
Boston veterinarian Hayley Scampini tends the city’s pampered pets but dreams of the rural life of a country vet. She’s single and determined to stay that way, convinced that love isn’t permanent enough to trust. Then a vacation to the Whisper Creek dude ranch introduces her to Daniel McKee, a sexy single dad who runs the kind of veterinary practice she aspires to—and rattles her conviction to keep men at a distance.
Managing a thriving practice, coping with the loss of his wife, and fighting a custody battle with his in-laws over his twin daughters, Daniel couldn’t be more overwhelmed. Hayley is a godsend, accompanying him in the field and winning over his girls. It doesn’t take Daniel long to realize he’s falling for this woman, hard and fast. So before Hayley returns to Boston, he extracts a promise: that she will return to Whisper Creek for Christmas. It’s the perfect time and place to show Hayley that the promise of a beautiful life together is something she can believe in.

Hayley and Daniel are two of a kind, both in their rather tragic back stories and (and trust me, I know how cheesy this sounds) but their spirits. Plus, they’re both veterinarians. Which it really awesome and cool and I’m in total awe if their mad skills. But I’d also totally want Daniel’s job as opposed to Hayley’s: horses to small overbred dogs who are allergic to themselves.

When Hayley goes to visit Montana for her best friend’s wedding, she goes with the intention of a fling (like always) and leaves Montana with a promise. A promise to come back and see her soul mate (even though she refuses to acknowledge it) and his two adorable little daughters. Daniel’s wife dies from cancer a few years back and ever since his mother-in-law has been trying her hardest to get them closer to her, even going so far as to trying to legally gain custody over the girls.

While the wedding planning is going about, Hayley and Daniel are falling for each other; a new experience for both of them. Hayley practically becomes part of the family. Through all this there’s the possibility that things won’t be forever or that something will go horribly wrong.

This was an easy read. It was entertaining and sweet and overall, really fun. I love the characters and the place and the back stories for both of the main characters. The minor characters we’re AWESOME! I loved everybody by the time I was 25% through the book. The only complaint I have is that I was easily distracted throughout the book.

Y’all need to read this book!


Friday, November 14, 2014

Book Look: The Avery Shaw Experiment by Kelly Oram

The Avery Shaw Experiment

When Avery Shaw’s heart is shattered by her life-long best friend, she chooses to deal with it the only way she knows how—scientifically.

The state science fair is coming up and Avery decides to use her broken heart as the topic of her experiment. She’s going to find the cure. By forcing herself to experience the seven stages of grief through a series of social tests, she believes she will be able to get over Aiden Kennedy and make herself ready to love again. But she can’t do this experiment alone, and her partner (ex partner!) is the one who broke her heart.

Avery finds the solution to her troubles in the form of Aiden’s older brother Grayson. The gorgeous womanizer is about to be kicked off the school basketball team for failing physics. He’s in need of a good tutor and some serious extra credit. But when Avery recruits the lovable Grayson to be her “objective outside observer,” she gets a whole lot more than she bargained for, because Grayson has a theory of his own: Avery doesn’t need to grieve. She needs to live. And if there’s one thing Grayson Kennedy is good at, it’s living life to the fullest.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

ARC Review: Starry Night by Isabel Gillis

Starry Night by Isabel Gillis
Published September 2, 2014
Review copy via Netgalley + publisher


Sometimes one night can change everything. On this particular night, Wren and her three best friends are attending a black-tie party at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to celebrate the opening of a major exhibit curated by her father. An enormous wind blasts through the city, making everyone feel that something unexpected and perhaps wonderful will happen. And for Wren, that something wonderful is Nolan. With his root-beer-brown Michelangelo eyes, Nolan changes the way Wren’s heart beats. In Isabel Gillies's Starry Night, suddenly everything is different. Nothing makes sense except for this boy. What happens to your life when everything changes, even your heart? How much do you give up? How much do you keep?

This book was a DNF at 5% for me. I didn't like the character's voice at all.