Wednesday, 31 December 2014

My True Love Gave to Me (edited) by Stephanie Perkins

My True Love Gave to Me
St. Martin's Griffin
[October 14, 2014]
egalley via Netgalley/publisher

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. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or Kwanzaa, there’s something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons to stay indoors and fall in love.

Authors:









Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The DNF Round Up (1)

I'm getting a little bit better at DNFing books, so I figure it's time I talk about them. I figure, a book not being for ME doesn't mean it's not good for YOU, so why not bring it to your attention anyway? 

My deal with DNF is that if something better comes up I'd rather read, I end up putting a book aside and then I just never get back to it and I'd have to reread just to remember, so why bother? But recently I'm getting better at just realizing a book isn't for me and setting it aside intentionally. So, this'll be a mix of both.


Summer of Yesterday
Gaby Triana
Simon Pulse
[July 8, 2014]
ARC from ALAMW


Back to the Future meets Fast Times at Ridgemont High when Haley’s summer vacation takes a turn for the retro in this totally rad romantic fantasy.

Summer officially sucks. Thanks to a stupid seizure she had a few months earlier, Haley’s stuck going on vacation with her dad and his new family to Disney’s Fort Wilderness instead of enjoying the last session of summer camp back home with her friends. Fort Wilderness holds lots of childhood memories for her father, but surely nothing for Haley. But then a new seizure triggers something she’s never before experienced—time travel—and she ends up in River Country, the campground’s long-abandoned water park, during its heyday.

The year? 1982.

And there—with its amusing fashion, “oldies” music, and primitive technology—she runs into familiar faces: teenage Dad and Mom before they’d even met. Somehow, Haley must find her way back to the twenty-first century before her present-day parents anguish over her disappearance, a difficult feat now that she’s met Jason, one of the park’s summer residents and employees, who takes the strangely dressed stowaway under his wing.

Seizures aside, Haley’s used to controlling her life, and she has no idea how to deal with this dilemma. How can she be falling for a boy whose future she can’t share?

I'm ALWAYS here for time travel and romance and the complications of that. But it didn't take me long to realize this book wasn't for me. The voice felt kind of young and the writing was nothing spectacular. She'd barely actually started time traveling when I decided I'd rather try something else.

American Blonde
Jennifer Niven
Plume
[July 30, 2014]
egalley from FirstToRead 


A fearless and spirited pilot conquers Hollywood. Now can she survive movie stardom?
 
In 1945, Velva Jean Hart is a bona fide war heroine. After a newsreel films her triumphant return to America, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer promises to make her a star. They give her a new life story and a brand new name. As “Kit Rogers,” she navigates the movie sets, recording sessions, parties, staged romances, and occasional backstabbing that accompany her newfound fame. She also navigates real-life romance, finding herself caught between a charismatic young writer and a sexy and enigmatic musician from her past. But when one of her best friends dies mysteriously and the most powerful studio in the world launches a cover-up, Velva Jean goes in search of the truth— risking her own life, as well as her heart, in the process.
 
Set during Hollywood’s Golden Age and peopled with a cast of unforgettable characters, American Blonde will mesmerize readers of The Chaperone as well as fans of the Velva Jean series.

I really enjoyed the writing and the cast in the book. I haven't read any of the other books in the series, but I didn't feel like I was missing anything. However, 100 pages in, it felt like nothing was really happening. Most of the action seemed to be happening to everyone but Velva Jean. She didn't really have any conflict of her own. She also didn't really have a personality. I loved the idea of this war hero taking over Hollywood but she just...took all the insults she got during training and worked and did what she was told. I'm sure it picks up at some point, but I'm not interested enough to keep going and with the pace I was reading it, wouldn't have finished it before the expiration date anyway.

Ghost House
Alexandra Adornetto
HarlequinTeen
[August 26, 2014]
ARC from BEA
After the loss of her mother, Chloe Kennedy starts seeing the ghosts that haunted her as a young girl again. Spending time at her grandmother's country estate in the south of England is her chance to get away from her grief and the spirits that haunt her. Until she meets a mysterious stranger…

Alexander Reade is 157 years dead, with secrets darker than the lake surrounding Grange Hall and a lifelike presence that draws Chloe more strongly than any ghost before. But the bond between them awakens the vengeful spirit of Alexander's past love, Isobel. And she will stop at nothing to destroy anyone who threatens to take him from her.

To stop Isobel, Chloe must push her developing abilities to their most dangerous limits, even if it means losing Alex forever… and giving the hungry dead a chance to claim her for their own.

I really don't remember much about this book, but I was bored. I wasn't super interested in it until BEA when someone said the hero was a lot like Mr. Darcy - of course I'm in if you invoke Darcy. Sadly, I don't think I even ever met him. The writing was just okay and the story itself was really dull. I had zero interest in continuing. After the author's temper tantrums, I felt even more okay with the decision not to.

I think I'm going to leave it at 3 for this round up. The only other ones I DNF were technically school books, a library non-fiction book, and one that doesn't come out until February, so I'm saving it for the next one. Do you DNF books? Any in particular I should be looking out for?

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Weekly Wrap Up (22)

On the Blog




Julie

Book Haul



Yes Please by Amy Poehler (finished copy purchased from B&N with gift card)
The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons (finished copy purchased from B&N with gift card)
If Wishes Were Earls by Elizabeth Boyle (finished copy purchased from B&N with gift card)
How to Beguile a Duke by Ally Broadfield (ebook bought from Amazon on sale)

Kissing Ted Callahan by Amy Spalding (ARC via publisher)
Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein (egalley via Netgalley) 
I Loved a Rogue by Katherine Ashe (egalley via Edelweiss)
Dear Malala, We Stand With You by Rosemary McCarney (finished copy via publisher)
This Star Won't Go Out by Esther Earl (finished copy via publisher)

A few birthday presents to myself, and some excellent finds from publishers made for a pretty great two weeks!

Books Read


Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Stray by Elissa Sussman

If you looked at our top picks, you know I LOVED Yes Please. An excellent, thought provoking read. I also really enjoyed Stray, but not quite as much, and I look forward to checking out the sequel.

I started a bunch of books in the past two weeks but nothing was working. Which is when I realized I'd been having a hard time finishing books for awhile so clearly it was time to read some romance novels. I'm working on two right now and I'll probably be done with at least one by tonight.
 
Upcoming Reads


??????

Ahh, the freedom of holiday breaks

Odds and Ends 

This was a weird week filled with a lot of sleep and Gilmore Girls. But tomorrow I finally, FINALLY, officially finish my semester and maybe things will start to be normal again.

--Julie

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Our Top 14 Books of 2014

Lanna:
I'll just be choosing from the books I read in 2014, instead of just choosing from the ones released in 2014 because a lot of my favourites were older ones that I didn't get round to reading until this year (there'll also be a variety because there's everything from contemporary to fantasy, and quite a few adult books instead of being all YA).

But enough of my rambling and onto the list... In no particular order, my favourites books that I read this year:

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell - This isn't my favourite Rainbow Rowell book, but it surprised me how much I enjoyed reading it. It was well written and it made me laugh and smile and just...it was a really good book.

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean - Julie told me to read this series ages ago and I can't believe it took me so long to get round to it, it's really good.

Red Leaves by Paullina Simons - There's a lot of mixed reviews for this one, but I loved it. It made me want to read more crime/murder type books (it's very different from her Bronze Horseman series, which I also love, so don't go into it expecting them to be similar).

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout- Whywhywhy did I take so long to read this book? I loved it. It's one of those books that... well, it's cheesy and it's not perfect, but it creates the same kind of feelings I had when I first read Twilight and it just hooked me.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton - This book...kjnjfbdfbv. It's unique and beautifully written and wonderfully weird and I loved it and it's on my favourites shelf now.

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares - I really like this series, and it took me ages to realise Ann had written another book set when they're older and it took even longer to get around to reading it...but I'm glad I did. It's heartbreaking but not always in a bad way and I loved it.

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas - Took me a while to warm up to this book, but when I did, I really really loved it. I love this series in general, so if you've not read it yet then I really recommend it.

Hostage Three by Nick Lake - This combines two things that interest me, pirates and hostage situations/Stockholm Syndrome but I didn't think I'd love it as much as I did. I didn't know much about Somali pirates until I read this, it's one of those books that can influence the way you think about things.

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski - This book... It was just great really. I don't have much to say beyond that. I have the sequel on my Kindle waiting to be read.

My Lover, His Brother, & Me by Janey Woodall - I think I got this because it was on offer for Kindle, and I didn't expect it to be great but it made me laugh and smile and had great characters. I liked it so much I bought a physical copy (even though it's self published--so more expensive--and has a bad cover) and bought another book by the author.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart - My feelings for this one have dimmed since reading it but it was really well written, I loved it at the time and still think highly of it now.

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira - This is another where my feelings dimmed over time, but I still really recommend it. You can definitely pick up on the Perks of Being a Wallflower parallels so if you're a fan of that you might like this too (although it doesn't have quite the same impact as Perks did).

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - This one can drag a bit while reading, but I really enjoyed it and understand the hype. It also has one of the most interesting female characters I've read this year.

As Red As Blood by Salla Simukka - Loved the setting of this book (I think it's set in Finland) and the writing, it was different from the other books I read this year.

And I think that's it. Have you read any from my list? What were your favourites of 2014?

Later.

Julie:                                                                                                                                                         
I'm going to set some parameters too. This is only books read in 2014, but only including books that are available to buy now because I've read...quite a few 2015 books already. As per usual though, I will still do a shout out to the 2015 books I've read (they won't qualify next year so)...but probably in a different post because, like I said, there's been a lot. And then full reviews closer to release.

Sublime by Christina Lauren - This book was so different and so beautifully written. I love Christina Lauren books, but this was incredibly different from what they've put out so far and they took it places you don't always see in YA that I loved.

Infinite by Jodi Meadows - Jodi knows how to end a series. From book one, you could see how talented Jodi was, but each book just got better and this one was mindblowing. A phenomenal series with an incredible ending. 

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith - I've loved Jennifer's contemporaries since the first one and these also get better with each book. And this one was like a love letter to NYC. NYC was a character more than a setting and I love when books can bring me in like that and make me feel a setting. It was so authentic and lovely.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins - Oh, this book. I know it's not the most popular opinion, but this was my favorite of Stephanie's books so far. I connected with Isla and her insecurities so much. Isla isn't just the girl I was in high school, but I'd definitely be handling a relationship that worked out the way hers did the same way now.

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley - This is a life changing kind of book. I tend to avoid American historical fiction because I feel like so much is hammered in our heads in school, but this is also a time period that kind of gets brushed over. This really brings segregation in the South to life and it adds this incredible romance and I absolutely adored the ending. So masterfully written and wonderfully painted, everyone should read this book.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler - This might be my top read of the year. I usually can't pick just one book that's better than the rest, but this was one of the most eye-opening, important books I've ever read. I almost didn't get it too! But this is the kind of book I want to give to every person, but especially every woman, I know. Especially since so many of the women I know are creative types. It's honest and funny and feels like Amy Poehler is just having a chat with you and telling stories (and I'm told her audiobook is almost-literally that). 

Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore - Jaclyn Dolamore is one of the most inventive writers in YA. She's an autobuy for me, but at ALAMW, the publicists were pitching it at Pushing

Daisies in the 1920s and come on, how awesome does that sound? And it doesn't disappoint. Jaclyn builds phenomenal worlds and characters and the greatest relationships. I'm somewhat desperate for book 2.

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord - Emery Lord 1.) writes exactly the kind of books I want to read and 2.) is the best person for me to turn to when I'm in low swing. I've found her books in my dark times twice this year and both times, they were like this light. I connected and felt inspired and felt human. Nothing lifts me up like an Emery Lord book. She's so talented and she writes these stories that I swear are the books my soul can only dream of and she makes real. Her characters are complex and her relationships even more so and everything is swoony and wonderful but so much deeper than they seem on the surface. I could not be more in love.


Love by the Morning Star by Laura L. Sullivan - This might not be the greatest book ever written, but I love it because it's so different. The writing is quirky and the premise is a little bizarre and magical. I consider it a Midsummer Night's Dream-esque book set in WWII. There's conspiracies and plots and the war is actually an important factor and the romances are adorable. It's tragically overlooked and just so cute and quirky.

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman - On the other end of the WWII spectrum is Anne Blankman. Set during Hitler's rise, Anne creates this amazing canvas where you almost find yourself liking Hitler. He seems like a decent guy. Gretchen's journey to reality is like a reeducation in how terrible he actually was. And the romance? SO swoony. Daniel is one of the most amazing guys I've ever found in a YA.

Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren - I did say I loved Christina Lauren. I love both books in the new series, but I think I love this one a little more just because the premise and the
setting. They write the sexiest romances and I adore them to pieces, but this one may take the cake as far as adult books go this year.


Deliverance by C.J. Redwine - Another epic trilogy conclusion from someone I knew wouldn't disappoint. I don't really finish series often for a reason, so when I do, you now the books are good. Epic and twisty and romantic and full of suspense, Deliverance was thrilling and exciting and wonderful.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart - Travesty of travesties, this was my first E. Lockhart and I had no interest in it, but a friend had an extra ARC. This book messed with my head and I
wanted to reread it immediately after finishing. Even my roommate gave her hearty approval. This book was so twisty and epic and I loved every second of it.


Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean - I feel like I waited forever for this book. The way the last book ended made you know this one was going to be epic and the twists started from page one. The intrigue and the steamy scenes and the lovely romance and blackmail. Sarah MacLean is another one of my auto-buy authors and she deserves the title and more. I loved every second of this book and I highly recommend starting with her if you're ready to dive into historical romances.

So, there's the list! Overall, I read a lot of 5-star worthy books, but not a lot of books I truly fell in love with. Great, but not life changing. Looking back, it was overall somewhat disappointing. But, I have a lot of faith in 2015 based on what I've read so far!

--Julie

Friday, 19 December 2014

Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean

Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord
by Sarah MacLean

Summary: Since being named on of London’s “Lords to Land” by a popular ladies’ magazine, Nicholas St. John has been relentlessly pursued by every matrimony-minded female in the ton. So when an opportunity to escape fashionable society presents itself, he eagerly jumps—only to land in the path of the most determined, damnably delicious woman he’s ever met!

The daughter of a titled wastrel, Lady Isabel Townsend has too many secrets and too little money. Though used to taking care of herself quite handily, her father’s recent passing has left Isabel at sea and in need of outside help to protect her young brother’s birthright. The sinfully handsome, eminently eligible Lord Nicholas could be the very salvation she seeks.

But the lady must be wary and not do anything reckless…like falling madly, passionately in love.
I'm annoyed with myself that it took me so long to give historical romance a chance, because I've been missing out on books like this one. Julie told me this series was great and I definitely concur. Of all the historical romance I've read so far, this series is definitely one of the best (this is the second book, but it's more companion novel than direct sequel).

I didn't love this one quite as much as I did the first book, but I still loved it quite a bit. The characters were great--especially Isabel, she was stubborn (to a fault sometimes) and strong and a total lioness when it came to protecting the people and things she cared about. And the cast of side characters were great too.

The romance made me smile and it made me laugh and I shipped Isabel and Nick so hard (the only issue I had with it was that it made me cringe at times when he would call her "beauty" or things like that because while some girls may find that romantic and swoon-worthy, I just don't handle that level of cheesy well at all).

If you like historical romance and haven't read this series, I really recommend it. And if you haven't read historical romance because, like me, you thought it wasn't your thing, I still really recommend it (perhaps these will prove you wrong).

And that's all I have to say really. Sarah MacLean is quickly becoming one of my favourite historical romance writers. I'd rate the book 4.5 stars out of 5 (and now I kind of want to go on a historical romance binge...damn).

Later.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Blog Tour: Inspire by Cora Carmack Excerpt and Giveaway

Today, we're very excited to be hosting Cora Carmack as she returns to self-publishing with paranormal NA! 

Before we get to the excerpt, what exactly is this book about?

Kalliope lives with one purpose.

To inspire.

As an immortal muse, she doesn’t have any other choice. It’s part of how she was made. Musicians, artists, actors—they use her to advance their art, and she uses them to survive. She moves from one artist to the next, never staying long enough to get attached. But all she wants is a different life— a normal one. She’s spent thousands of years living lie after lie, and now she’s ready for something real.

Sweet, sexy, and steady, Wilder Bell feels more real than anything else in her long existence. And most importantly… he’s not an artist. He doesn’t want her for her ability. But she can’t turn off the way she influences people, not even to save a man she might love. Because in small doses, she can help make something beautiful, but her ability has just as much capacity to destroy as it does to create. The longer she stays, the more obsessed Wilder will become. It’s happened before, and it never turns out well for the mortal.

Her presence may inspire genius.

But it breeds madness, too.

Crazy pants awesome, right? So what kind of awesome can you find within the pages?


Gwen calls out a yes, then Lennox is leaving, and Kalli is turning to go back to the dressing room. Before I really think it through, I'm standing.
"Hey."
Her fingers tighten around the curtain, but she doesn't retreat inside. She tosses her head a little, just enough to get her thick curls to swing over her shoulder, and then she looks at me over her shoulder.


"Hey." Her voice is quiet, and I'm incredibly aware that my little sister is just a curtain away. All I want to do is push Kalli into that dressing room and press her against the wall and show her just what she missed when she snuck out of my apartment.

But I can't.
"I didn't realize this place has clothes for adults."
"It doesn't." Her body is still turned away from me, like she's going to bolt any second. "Lennox is studying fashion design. She's part of a showcase coming up in a couple months, and I'm her ..." She pauses, as if searching for the word. "I'm her friend. I just play mannequin for her on occasion."
"Mannequin?" Lennox calls out from where she's flipping through hangers on a nearby rack. "I heard that! Mannequins are plastic. Mannequins are scary life-size fake people with curiously absent genitalia. Mannequins might one day come to life and kill us all."
The smile Kalli sends in her friend's direction is small, but striking. It's one of those moments where a picture is worth a thousand words. Ten thousand. I don't even know that it's something that could really be captured with anything other than the eye.
And there I go again. What is it about this girl that turns me into such a fool? Or maybe it’s not her at all. Maybe I’ve lost some confidence over the last year. When you used to spend your nights in bar after bar with just about any girl you wanted, and you suddenly shift to spending your nights babysitting … it wrecks your head a little.
But still … it feels like more than that with her.  
I've never had to think about what to say to a girl. I like to think I'm fairly charming, and I've always been good at stringing words together. With Kalli ... I'm scared that if I don't reign myself in, I'll frighten her off as I wax poetic about her eyebrows or whatever part of her has caught my attention at the time.
"You are not my mannequin," Lennox says. "You're my muse. Seriously. I was totally stuck on this collection until you came along."
Kalli's eyes flick to mine, and there's something in them. Unease, maybe?
"I'm going to change," she says. And I don't know if she's saying it to me or Lennox or both of us.
Her curtain closes, and I strain my ears to listen for her movements. I think I hear the glide of fabric over her skin before it thumps against the floor. I rest my elbows on my knees and shove my fingers into my hair because now I'm thinking about her body, how it had looked against my sheets. All that smooth, unblemished skin. Perfect. It doesn't seem possible, but her body was the closest damn thing I'd ever seen to it.
*swoons* That Cora. She has a way with words.

AND, you can enter to win a gift card (which you can use to buy Inspire!)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! 

--Julie

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

Prisoner of Night and Fog
by Anne Blankman

Summary: In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her "uncle" Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf's, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler. And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can't stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can't help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she's been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she's always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?
So... This book was pretty disappointing. It was one of the books I'd been most looking forward to reading this year, and everyone seems to be raving about it in their reviews (or in the ones I've seen at least) so my expectations were high. Unfortunately, it didn't even come close to meeting those expectations.

The biggest problem, probably, was that the first 65-ish% of the book was about as interesting to me as watching paint dry. It shouldn't have been that way, given the subject matter, I should have been unable to put it down but instead I was struggling through it and it took me weeks to get through that part (and the drive to keep reading was purely because I wanted to be done with it and kept waiting to see the amazingness everyone else was talking about).

It got a bit better after that point but it didn't really hook me until the last 50-70 pages but not quite enough to sway my opinion of the book overall too much.

The romance was...well, it was okay. I didn't like the beginning of their relationship, it was dull and seemed kind of rushed but nearer the end, I did like them together. It just wasn't one of those swoony, epic, I-ship-it-so-hard kind of relationships that I love so much in books. That may have been because the characters in general only created a lukewarm reaction from me--I liked them, but I didn't really care too much about what happened to them, they were just there.

I feel like I need to comment on the Hitler stuff. It was - interesting? And quite well executed. I just didn't like it. I've loved books before where real people from history make an appearance (e.g. Nevermore by Kelly Creagh), so I know I could love it... I just didn't in this case.

I don't know if it was because of who the people were (Hitler, Geli, Eva Braun, other famous Nazi's, etc.) or because instead of the characters just making an appearance, it made the main character have a really close relationship to them (I cringed so much every time she called him "Uncle Dolf"), but something about it just didn't sit right with me and I can't pin point why. But, other people love it, so it really is just my own issue and not the book.

Basically, I was bored through a lot of the book and didn't start enjoying it until it was too late. In the end, I guess I liked it, but I'm not sure I liked it enough to want to read the sequel (right now, I'm thinking no but maybe I'll change my mind later). I'd rate it 3 stars out of 5 (but for most people, Julie included, it seems to be a 5 star read).

Later.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up (21)

 On the Blog



Julie

Book Haul



Hear Me by Viv Daniels (egalley via Netgalley)
Inspire by Cora Carmack (egalley via publicist)
Monkey and Duck Quack Up by Jennifer Hamburg (ARC via publicist)
Down for the Count by Christine Bell (freebie on Kindle)
Seduction and Surrender by Cali McKay (freebie on Kindle)
The Star Thief by Jamie Grey (freebie on Kindle)
My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins (UK edition via work)


So this week, I picked up some New Adult I'm psyched for, a random picture book, and a couple freebies. Two of them were actually from last week, but it was late-ish so I didn't get around to adding them. My True Love Gave to Me is one I already had but 9 of the authors did an event at the bookstore I'm working at and some UK copies showed up and since that edition is GORGEOUS, I totally took advantage of the extras.

I also got a few books for Christmas presents but you know...they're presents. 


Books Read

 

Monkey and Duck Quack Up by Jennifer Hamburg
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge


I read Monkey and Duck since it was a picture book and it was pretty cute. But Crimson Bound? Man CRIMSON BOUND. There will be much gushing soon.
 
Upcoming Reads


...I'm working on a few books but...it's finals time. This is my last full week of classes. I'm not counting on finishing anything.

Odds and Ends 

As mentioned, I'm working at a bookstore! I started at McNally Jackson yesterday. I'm seasonal help, pretty much doing gift wrapping and anything else they might need, but it's still fun to actually work in a bookstore.

How did everybody else's week go?

--Julie

Lanna:

Book haul

I actually ordered most of these back in December, they just took a while to get here.
 

For review




The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski (from Netgalley) - Loved the first book, hopefully this is just as good.

Bought

The Twilight Saga Official Illustrated Guide by Stephenie Meyer - I have mixed feelings about the Twilight series (the books, I have more issues with the movies), but I did really enjoy the first three books. Someone on youtube was talking Twilight nostalgia and mentioned the guide, and it made me kind of want to read it.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski - Been meaning to read this forever, finally getting round to it.

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes - I have yet to read a book of hers I didn't enjoy.

The Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout - Finally! I loved the first book then had issues finding the rest of the series here (and I ordered the books but the seller screwed up and had to cancel the order so I had to find them somewhere else, gah!).

Cycles by Lois D. Brown (free Kindle book) - No clue what this one is about really, downloaded it on a whim.

Later.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Rules of Protection by Alison Bliss

Rules of Protection
by Alison Bliss


Summary: It’s rule breaker Emily Foster's birthday, and like everyone at The Jungle Room, she just wants to get some action. Unfortunately, she stumbles on the wrong kind, witnessing a mob hit. To protect her, she's entered into the Witness Protection Program with by-the-book Special Agent Jake Ward as her chaperone.

When the location of their safe house is compromised, Jake stashes Emily deep in the Texas backwoods. The city-girl might be safe from the Mafia, but she has to contend with a psychotic rooster, a narcoleptic dog, crazy cowboys, and the danger of losing her heart to the one man she can’t have.

Jake's as hot as he is infuriating, and she can't help but push all his buttons to loosen him up. Their mutual, sizzling sexual attraction poses a dilemma: Jake's determined to keep her safe and out of the wrong hands; she's determined to get into the right ones—his.
As you may have noticed from the blog, most of the books I read are YA books. But every so often I like to read trashy adult romances (please know that, to me, trashy is a term of endearment when applied to books--you know the ones, not much literary merit but really fun to read)--they snap me out of reading funks. They're the perfect break between books that are boring or emotionally draining.

Basically, I'm in one of those moods right now. I usually just go for cheap/free Kindle versions when I'm looking for this sort of book (I think this was a free one when I got it), so they can be very hit or miss when it comes to the quality--I've read some really good ones and some laughably terrible ones, but this was just what I needed it to be, definitely one of the good ones.

It was fast paced and fun, it made me smile and it made me laugh (proper laugh-out-loud laughter at times).

The side characters were awesome, I loved them and they really breathed life into the story (I hate when books are ruined by flat side characters). Emily, the main character, could be very annoying at times and she incredibly immature but in the end, in spite of all of that, I actually kind of liked her.

And the romance--it's one of my favourite guilty pleasure types, where there's all these sparks and chemistry and the two characters would probably hate each other if it wasn't so obvious they loved each other instead. Neither of them were perfect, both of them could be total asshats, but for some reason I couldn't help but ship them so hard.

The book had its flaws, there were little bits that annoyed me and probably should've annoyed me more than they did but I enjoyed reading it too much to care really. It wasn't perfect but it didn't matter, is what I'm trying to say.

I'd rate the book 4 stars out of 5, going purely on how fun it was to read. If you're in the mood for something fun and this sounds like your kind of thing, check it out.

Later.


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2015

I've been such a crap blogger throughout November (I think I only read and reviewed one book?), but it was mostly a crappy month for me in general. Hopefully, this month will be better, starting with being a better blogger.

So, I'm gonna kick that off with a Top Ten Tuesday post, because I like this weeks topic (and for once, remembered in time to write a post).

Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward To In 2015
(in no particular order)

1. Oblivion by Kelly Creagh - It feels like we've been waiting for this book for ages (actually, I think the release date was pushed back a bit, so we kind of have). I lovelovelove the first book, the second wasn't as good (felt more like it was just there to bridge the first book and this one), but I need to know how this story ends.

2. The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski - Loved the first book. It surprised me how much I loved it. Let's hope the second one lives up to the expectations set by the first.

3. The fourth book in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas - Glkjfhvlkdjflkjb. That is all.

4. What She Left by T.R. Richmond - Ever since I read Red Leaves by Paullina Simons, it made me want to read more crime type books. This one sounds like it could be a good one.


5. Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier - I've wanted to read this book for ages, I was beginning to lose hope in it ever being translated from German to English, but it's finally happening (German title = Silber). I loved the author's Ruby Red trilogy, it was really cute and fun so hopefully this will be just as good.


6. Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell - Cinderella retelling, and from the sounds of it, it'll be a really original take on it (it pretty much sold me with the "she finds her prince but decides she doesn't want a fairytale ending after all" thing).


7. Shaming the Devil by Melina Marchetta - This one might not be released in 2015. I would read anything Melina Marchetta writes, she's in my top three favourite authors of all time, so I can't wait for something new from her. All I know about the book is here.

8. Captive by A.J. Grainger - Kind of cheating putting this one on the list. I've already read it and really enjoyed it (e-galley). I want to get a physical copy of it though, and mostly I just want to see if other people enjoy it as much as I did.

9. Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham - Veronica Mars-ish? Muslim American female main character? I want it.

10. An Ember Like Ashes by Sabaa Tahir - This is one of those ones where I read the summary, really wanted to read, then time passed and I completely forgot what it's even about...but the "Must read!" feeling has lingered.

So...those are books I'm looking forward to in 2015. What about you? Any 2015 releases you're desperate to read?

Later.

Julie:                                                                                                                                                           

First, I'm going to second Mechanica, Scarlett Undercover, and Throne of Glass #4.

Then, I'm going to say this is WAY harder than I thought it'd be!

Standalones

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed - I've been so excited about this one since I first heard about it. I love the chance to see another new culture and arranged marriage has always been one of those things that intrigues me in fiction, so I'm so pumped for this one's release!

Agent's Code by Alessandra Thomas - Alessandra is probably my favorite New Adult author of all time and I feel like I've been waiting forever for this book. I'm SO psyched to finally get another book from her this year. The plot sounds amazing and I know the romance will not disappoint.

Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius - What about a contemporary retelling of Queen Anne and Henry VIII set in high school doesn't sound like something I'd be all over? I'm way too intrigued by Henry VIII and his wives to ever say no to a YA including him, especially Anne. She's one of the most intriguing wives, in my opinion, and there are a lot of ways to interpret her, so I'm excited to see how Dawn imagines her. 

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera - Adam's a friend of mine, so how could I NOT be incredibly excited about his debut novel? It sounds amazing and I adore the cover. But seriously, I love the concept and I think we all need to be psyched about this one. 

Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson - Alternate historical fiction? Spying? Governesses? Romances with rebels? How could I NOT be all in for this one? Nah, I'm all over it guys. No worries.

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler - I'm sorry, it's a LITTLE MERMAID RETELLING. You know how hard those are to find in YA? REALLY FREAKING HARD GUYS. I'm ready. I'm ready. I AM SO READY. Waiting until June isn't going to go well. At all.

Series

Look, the idea of doing just 10 books was cute but...nah.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab - While I didn't love Vicious, it just wasn't as much my kind of book. But this? This is 100% my kind of book. And since I loved The Archived and really enjoyed The Near Witch, I know I love Victoria's writing. So yeah, I'm here for this one.

Glittering Shadows by Jaclyn Dolamore - If you haven't realized by now that Jaclyn Dolamore is an auto-buy author for me, I'm not sure what I can do for you. I adored Dark Metropolis and I'm really excited to see what she does with book 2. There's so much more room for expansion from the first book and obviously more room for kissing, which there's just never enough of.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh - It's a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights! It's such an amazing story, how could we not all want to read a YA retelling? And I just know this is going to have some of those morally gray characters I'm always looking for in YA and rarely finding. Plus? That cover is going to be GORGEOUS on the finished copies. Tell me you can't picture it.

The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes  - I've never read a Jennifer Lynn Barnes book (cue the gasps), but when you use Scandal AND Veronica Mars in the blurb? I'm in. No other questions need to be asked. Because you just invoked Veronica Mars and Olivia Pope and those are ladies I'm not questioning.

A Court of Rose and Thorns by Sarah J. Maas - I may actually be more excited for this one than I am for Throne of Glass #4. I mean, it's calling in Beauty and the Beast! And Sarah tends to call it a New Adult novel, which I clearly adore, and I know Sarah can pull it off. Her YA books get pretty damn sexy so can you imagine what she'd do here? It won't have quite the free reign since it is still a children's publisher but. I have faith.

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson - Kiss of Deception was probably my favorite official vacation read this summer and Mary managed to genuinely throw me with one of her twists. And that was just book one! I can only imagine the intrigue and mind games she'll play in book two and I'll be eagerly waiting for the moment I can get my hands on it.

Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler - I love Dahlia and I loved Behind the Scenes and I'll probably love her New Adult book that comes out really soon. I've heard enough details about this one to be really, really excited and ugh is it June yet?

Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt - I adore Tiffany and this book sounds delicious disturbing. I mean, black market organ trade? It's morbid and fascinating. I grew up watching Forensic Files and Scooby Doo and with a dad who adored horror movies and Halloween. I've been slowly starting to reembrace that side of me after shunning it for a few years in high school and this TOTALLY fits the bill. Plus, Tiffany can write a romance. I trust her. I'm honestly ready to sacrifice a limb for this one.

A Lot of Christina Lauren Books - I'm not totally sure Christina and Lauren are human anymore, but cyborg or not, I'm going to read whatever they put out. Literally. Anything. And all of what they have for next year is continuations of their previous series, so I'm obviously going to be alllllll over them. With no shame whatsoever. So little shame, I might write begging emails to them/their publicists/anyone I know who gets these books early. And by "might" I mean "probably will."

So, 15...ish. That's almost like 10! 

I've also already read a number of 2015 titles, but I'll talk about them (and maybe give some away) later. And I have even more scattered around my homes and my Kindle that I'm psyched to talk about with the new year!

How about you, what are you guys excited about?

--Julie

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