Monthly Archives:: April 2017

My Not So Perfect Life Review

April 30, 2017 Reviews 0 ★★★★

My Not So Perfect Life ReviewMy Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
Published by The Dial Press on February 7th 2017
Pages: 448
Source: Library
Also by this author: Finding Audrey
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Part love story, part workplace dramedy, part witty critique of the false judgments we make in a social-media-obsessed world, this is New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella’s most timely and sharply observed novel yet.
Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie’s life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle—from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she’s trying to negotiate. The final, demeaning straw comes when Demeter makes Katie dye her roots in the office. No wonder Katie takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts, especially as she’s desperate to make her dad proud.
Then, just as she’s finding her feet—not to mention a possible new romance—the worst happens. Demeter fires Katie. Shattered but determined to stay positive, Katie retreats to her family’s farm in Somerset to help them set up a vacation business. London has never seemed so far away—until Demeter unexpectedly turns up as a guest. Secrets are spilled and relationships rejiggered, and as the stakes for Katie’s future get higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life.
Sophie Kinsella is celebrated for her vibrant, relatable characters and her great storytelling gifts. Now she returns with all of the wit, warmth, and wisdom that are the hallmarks of her bestsellers to spin this fresh, modern story about presenting the perfect life when the reality is far from the image.

This book was quite fabulous to say the least! I’ve only read two Sophie Kinsella book in the past, one was a YA book and the other was an adult one. The premise of My Not So Perfect Life immediately sucked me in, and I could barely put it down once I began reading it. I felt like the humor, the characters, the romance, the plot, and everything else about this book was incredibly fascinating and fun. My only complaint was that it did feel a bit too long, but it didn’t totally drag to me. Anyway, this was such an interesting and fairly light read and I’m glad that I picked it up!

Katie was seriously my girl. I know I tend to say this about the protagonist if I enjoyed them, but I actually mean it here! Yes, she was frustrating at times, and I wanted to slap her insecurities about where she came from right out of her. But she was very very easy to relate to for me. She doesn’t have a glamorous life, and that fills her with serious envy for people like her boss who seem to have it all. I like how Kinsella made Katie’s life so imperfect. She’s got a long and inconvenient commute to work every day, weird flatmates, and a difficult job where she receives no credit for the work that she does. She doesn’t have her life together, and at the same time, she knows that she wants more out of her life than what she currently has. I loved that she knew exactly what she wanted out of life, the only unknown thing was how she was going to get there.

I feel like the romance plays a pretty limited role in the plot as a whole, but it was still rather cute when it did happen. I’m not going to say much about it since I wasn’t 100% sure who the love interest was going to be for a good portion of the book so I don’t want to reveal too much. I’ll just leave it at that it’s sweet and I loved the build up that went down between them. Next to nothing sexy is really elaborated in the book, but there’s still tons of sexual tension that Kinsella wrote pretty perfectly in my opinion. It wasn’t my favorite romance since there wasn’t all THAT much focus on it, but I’m happy that it existed at all honestly.

So most of the focus of this book is on Katie’s work life. Her boss Demeter has the perfect life, aside from her entire staff hating her guts. Katie longs to have a life as perfect and downright glamorous as what Demeter has. Once Demeter fires Katie, she winds back out in the country with her father and the closest thing she has to a mother. Living out on the country is everything that she’s been trying so desperately to run away from, but now she finds herself right back where she started. Once Demeter and her family stay there, Katie thinks that this is the perfect opportunity for her to get revenge on her. The scenes that follow this are downright hilarious and awkward. Demeter is easily one of my favorite characters, after Katie of course. She just has so much personal growth that I feel like Kinsella developed extremely well.

My Not So Perfect Life was such a compelling read. I honestly can’t believe that I haven’t read more from her in the past. She has exactly what I typically look for in books: strong heroines, compelling plots, and a side of romance for good measure. I know that there PLENTY of readers out there who have known about this author for ages now, and I think they’ll be super pleased with her latest work. Her newer readers like me will also be drawn into these worlds and characters that she creates with such a natural ease. Yes, it was probably longer than it needed to be, but that didn’t bother me too much. You should definitely pick this one up!

four-stars

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Things That Make Me Instantly NOT Want to Read a Book

April 25, 2017 Features 4

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This is a place where you can share all of your lists with other list lovers out there. There’s a new theme every week to center your list around. This week, the theme is all about certain things that make you instantly NOT want to read a book. So it’s basically the complete opposite of last week’s topic, which I think is awesome. This was a difficult topic for me, because there a lot of things that bug me, but I have found some books in that genre or trope that I DID like. Anyway, this was still an interesting topic with a lot of possibilities to talk about. I hope you guys enjoy my list and I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

1. Angels

Angels don’t really appeal to me in books. This is mostly because in a lot of them, there are love triangles. Like in Hush, Hush or some other ones. For whatever reason, they simply don’t appeal to me in the slightest.

2. Love triangles

This a pretty obvious one since most of my TTT posts have worked this in somehow. There have been very few books that I liked that included a love triangle. Sometimes I feel like the authors just throw it in there for literally no reason and it makes zero sense to me why it was needed. For more often than not, we know from the very beginning who the main character is going to end up with, so why try to mess that up?

3. Slut shaming heroines

Sadly there are a lot of YA books out there with a super special heroine who is ridiculously pure. She can’t stand any of the girls around her because they are such “sluts” and the love interest keeps pointing how much better she is than these girls that he’s had sex with. Okay, that was pretty specific. That’s exactly what happened in Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines and it was the WORST. I also hate it when the girl gets jealous and says that these girls are so desperate to get his attention when she’s doing the exact same thing. Slut shaming is unfortunately very real in YA and most definitely in NA. It makes me cringe each time I see it.

4. Aggressive alpha males

I’ll never be a fan of alpha males. I definitely prefer the sweet and sensitive guy over the dominant alpha male any day. Seeing a love interest be aggressive and overly jealous of any male that gets within twenty feet of the heroine is not cool to me.

5. Problematic books

Look, I know people have their own opinions about this, but for me if I hear that a book is problematic, I’m not going to read it. Once I read the discussion posts and reviews from people that I trust, I decide not to read it. In my opinion, as a white person, it’s important to listen and learn from what POC say about controversial books. I did enjoy the first two books in the Divergent series, but I’m not touching her series due to the problematic issues that it’s brought up.

6. No food

Okay, this is a weird one, but it bothers me when there’s no mention of food at all in books. Like do the characters not eat at all? Where is the mention of food at all?

7. Certain genres

I’m pretty picky about certain genres. I hardly pick up any paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, or historical books unless I hear ridiculously positive things about them. Even then I can be rather selective about what I choose to read. Sometimes I might like the first book in the series, but then I struggle with the second book.

8. Totally bleak subject matter

I do enjoy reading about serious issues in YA since I believe that they are incredibly important and relevant for teenagers. However, some books are just simply too bogged down in all the darkness that it can be hard for me to read it.

9. Death of sibling

This is just a personal thing for me that I’m not super picky about, but it definitely bothers me. I have a brother, so I hate reading books where the brother dies just because I can’t imagine something like that happening to him. I guess you could say the same thing about parental deaths, but for whatever reason, this one hits even closer to home for me.

10. Really low Goodreads rating or from a friend

If a book is just getting all around awful reviews on Goodreads, I might really consider what people are saying about it before I pick it up for myself. If a blogger that I trust says that a book is bad, I might not read it based on what they disliked about it. Sometimes, I’ve really enjoyed a book that my friends enjoyed since it’s ultimately a personal preference, but I do take into consideration what exactly they are saying about it.

So there’s my list for the week. I hope you enjoyed reading it! This was a lot of fun to come up with all of the things about a book that makes me steer clear of it entirely. I look forward  to seeing what everyone else chose for the topic. I hope you guys have a great rest of the week!

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Seven Days of You Review

April 24, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★

Seven Days of You ReviewSeven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse
on March 7th 2017
Pages: 336
Source: Library
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
two-stars
Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the States. Seven days to say good-bye to the electric city, her wild best friend, and the boy she’s harbored a semi-secret crush on for years. Seven perfect days…until Jamie Foster-Collins moves back to Japan and ruins everything.
Jamie and Sophia have a history of heartbreak, and the last thing Sophia wants is for him to steal her leaving thunder with his stupid arriving thunder. Yet as the week counts down, the relationships she thought were stable begin to explode around her. And Jamie is the one who helps her pick up the pieces. Sophia is forced to admit she may have misjudged Jamie, but can their seven short days of Tokyo adventures end in anything but good-bye?

What is up with me not liking any of these contemporary books here lately? I’m not really sure what my deal is. But I had issues with Seven Days of You. It makes me so sad because I desperately wanted to like this one. I’ve ultimately realized that I’m never fully going to get behind romances that happen in a short amount of time. With this book, they HAD met before, but I still didn’t totally believe in the couple or either of the characters. It had a lot of potential because there aren’t enough books that are set in Tokyo, but it still fell short for me in the end. It was highly predictable, and not enough was done with the setting to truly make it unique. This is yet another recent release that simply wasn’t for me for a number of reasons.

I had a hard time relating to Sophia as a whole. Maybe I’m getting too old for this. But honestly, I’ve only been out of high school for three years now. Sophia didn’t sound like ANY high schooler that I’ve ever encountered. Yes, I did appreciate some of her pop culture references to My So Called Life and other shows that I loved, but that’s pretty much it for being able to understand this character. She was incredibly whiny and selfish throughout the book. And for the life of me, I couldn’t understand her crush on David. In my opinion, it would have worked out a lot better for the book if he was her platonic male friend. Instead he was this complete asshole with literally zero redeeming qualities. On the plus side, his girlfriend was a sweetheart, though I thought it was horrible how Sophia treated her. Putting it simply, she wasn’t a good person. I try to watch myself on judging characters based on likability, but on this case it was extremely difficult not to.

So the love interest here is a guy named Jamie. Jamie was an alright love interest as a whole. I thought that he was a decent enough guy. However, he was seriously way too decent to have to put up with the way Sophia treated him. I don’t blame him for getting mad/jealous of her crush on David back when they were still friends. He’s a nice guy, but that’s truthfully all that I remember about him. So what I’m basically saying is that he’s a combination of your typical YA love interest and nothing about him truly stands out. I know that might sound harsh, but I can be picky about my book boyfriends and Jamie just wasn’t a memorable one for me.

I’m not even going to waste more time talking about the romance when it should already be rather clear that I had issues with it. Instead, I want to talk about her friend Mika. As mentioned, David was a jerk and her best friend Mika wasn’t much better. She was also extremely selfish and I felt like her storyline was entirely predictable. She reminded me exactly of Rayanne Graff from My So Called Life. I felt like her storyline could have fleshed out a little better because it didn’t feel completely developed to me. I was excited that it was set in Tokyo but I felt like the setting and the culture could have been a much bigger storyline than it was. I get that a teenager probably isn’t going to care that much about her surroundings, but it still would have been nice to get more details about it anyway. It also bothered me that she had no Japanese friends and hardly interacted with anyone from Japan at all.

Seven Days of You ultimately didn’t work for me at all. I hate that these recent contemporaries haven’t been working for me lately, but I just guess that’s how it turns out sometimes. On the positive side, it was a very quick read for me. I managed to read it in just a few hours. I was also pretty hooked into it once I started reading, which definitely says something. It wasn’t an awful book, but it didn’t stay with me either. It’s a forgettable book for the most part. I’ve seen comparisons to Anna and the French Kiss, but this book doesn’t even come close to that one in my opinion. Who knows, maybe this one is just the book you’re looking for!

two-stars

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Mixed Up Review Blitz

April 20, 2017 Blog Tours, Reviews 1

 

MIXEDUP-availnow2

 

 

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00022]Hiring my brother’s best friend was not on my to-do list.

Neither was he.

 

Expanding my dirty cocktail bar into food was supposed to be easy, except finding a chef in my little town of Whiskey Key is anything but.

Until Parker Hamilton comes home—bringing his Michelin starred chef’s hat with him.

He has no work. I need someone like him in my new kitchen.

There’s just one problem: I hate his cocky, filthy-mouthed, sexy-as-hell guts.

Even if I might want him. Just a little…

 

 

Working for my best friend’s sister? Not on my to-do list.

She’s another story.

 

Whiskey Key was supposed to be a relaxing vacation, except I haven’t reached the heights I have by lying in a hammock drinking cocktails. So when Raven Archer is desperate for a chef, I offer up my skills.

I’m bored. She needs what I can give her.

Except there’s a problem: I’ve always hated her.

Her and her big, blue eyes, sassy mouth, and killer curves.

If only I didn’t want her.

 

 

AMAZON US | AMAZON UK | AMAZON AU | AMAZON CA | B&N | iBooks

Review:

Mixed Up was a truly unique take on two of my favorite tropes: brother’s best friend and hate to love. Most books that I’ve read that involve a character fall in love with her older brother’s best friend have her pining after him for years. In this case, they’ve hated each other their whole lives, which was definitely something different. This was a funny and compelling read. Emma Hart never fails to provide laugh out loud stories that are pretty light on angst, and also have the perfect amount of steam. Raven and Parker are both solid and believable characters. It wasn’t a perfect novel by any means and I did have some issues with it, but it was entertaining and enjoyable for the most part. I recommend it if you want something that you can quickly devour in just a few hours. It also features food and drinks, so what more could you possibly ask for?

Raven was seriously awesome. I haven’t read a ton of books about a mixologist. I thought the “dirty” (pun intended since her business is also called this) names she came up with for her drinks were extremely witty and hilarious. My favorite part about her was easily her personality though. She’s fierce, like most Emma Hart characters are. She’s not afraid to speak her mind and stand up for what she believes is right. She is super witty and I liked that about her as well. However, I felt like she was even sassier than most of her previous characters. All in all, she was a cool character who I enjoyed reading.

On the other hand, we have Parker, who was a solid character as well. To be completely honest, he doesn’t stand out all that much to me. I would have liked to see even more growth from his character. It feels like we don’t know that much about his personality besides the fact that he banters like crazy with Raven and is best friends with her brother. I thought it was weird that most of the book revolves around his friendship with her brother, but we don’t see much actual interaction between them. I did like that he was a cook because we don’t have enough of heroes who are in romance novels.

As mentioned already, the romance is unique and I enjoyed that. I’m always a sucker for a brother’s best friend romance and this was a whole new twist. Though I did have some issues with the hate to love thing. I wanted more of an explanation to why they hated each other. I feel like there wasn’t enough development and getting to know each other, which I would have liked to see. All that aside, I still liked the romance. I thought they made a good team in Dirty and outside of the business. It was steamy at times, and the sex scenes were pretty well written.

I’m definitely glad that I read Emma Hart’s latest novel. She’s always hilarious and writes such unique and memorable characters. They always feel very realistic, and that’s another reason why I find myself continually picking up her books. I hope that Cami and Ryan get a book (either as a couple or separately) because I don’t want these stories to end! This was just what I needed since I was looking for a book that had limited angst and was just lighthearted in general. Thanks again for coming through for another solid book, Emma Hart!

three-half-stars

MIXEDUP-sq9 MUp1

Excerpt:

I knew I was making a mistake. After what Raven said last night at dinner, I had the strongest urge to find out what her cocktail menu was. With names like Dirty Screw and The Slutwhisperer, what other gems did she have hidden on there?
Shit, what gems were hidden inside her apparently filthy mind?
I had no place to be thinking that. She was Ryan’s sister and the bane of my goddamn existence. I didn’t give a shit what was inside her head or how she came up with a filthy cocktail menu.
I was going to believe that she’d spent stupid amounts of time on the Internet coming up with those kinds of names. Seeing her in that damn short dress yesterday had already affected me enough—not to mention the fact that she’d changed since I last saw her.
I didn’t know people could change so much in only three years, but Raven Archer had. She was no longer post-grad, trying to seriously figure out what she wanted to do with her life, uncertain and serving burgers to people to make money.
She was grown-up, in more ways than just her age. She was even hotter-headed that she was back then. She seemed stronger and more stubborn, and her tongue was so sharp I probably have scars from how quickly she cut me with her words.
She was taller and fucking curvier, too.
Her lips were fuller. Her eyes were brighter. And the general air that hung about her, that hint of sass and sexiness, the very same thing that made me insult her whenever I opened my mouth almost made me want her, too.
And that was exactly why I couldn’t sit and think about what went on in her mind—filthy or otherwise.
No matter what she looked like or how fucking hot she was, she was my best friend’s sister. Nobody was more off-limits than she was. That wasn’t a new development. It had always been that way.
Thank fucking god I was only here for the summer, and only because my mother had guilted me into it.
As soon as the summer was over, I’d go for my next challenge.
I could get through a few weeks of being in the same town or two as Raven—because after today, avoidance was at the top of my life.
Otherwise, I’d go fucking insane.
Dirty was right on the seafront, only meters away from a small, sandy bay. It’d only taken me a few minutes to walk here from where I’d parked downtown, and despite the music coming from inside the bar, I could still hear the gentle crashing of the waves as they crawled up the sand. The water was right out, and I stared out at the water as I headed up the hill to the bar.
Fairy lights twinkled along the underside of the roof that jutted out over the sidewalk. It was like a goddamn princess castle from the outside, but the beachy vibe was evident. Different sized and colored shells covered the pillars that held up the balcony that jutted out over the front doors.
I pushed open the door. Cold air blasted into me, and so did the heavy bass beat of the music that blared out from the speakers just above my head. There were more fairy lights inside, but they were strung all beneath the bar, across the beams on the ceiling, and over the back wall where the spirits were on the wall. There wasn’t much else in the way of lighting, but what there was was effective enough in holding the entire space into a balance between bright and dusky.
The inside of Raven’s bar was like being outside at the moment the sun set.
I cast my gaze over the rest of the bar. The solid, wood tables and stools that lines the walls and filled the space to my left all had tiny vases of fresh flowers in. Even those were surrounded by fairy lights.
Fucking hell, did she let a class of little girls in here to decorate?
No matter what I felt about the fairy lights, it looked good. Damn good.
I stepped up to the bar and leaned forward on it. Raven was at the other end of the bar, wearing jeans and a tight tank top that tucked beneath the waistband. Strappy, silver heels on her feet glinted off the under-bar lighting, and it was all too easy for me to drop my eyes there then slowly drag my gaze up the length of her entire body.
Light bounced off the chrome cocktail shaker in her hand as she shook it. She popped off the top with one slick of her thumb, and without spilling a drop, poured the pink-red liquid into two martini-style glasses. With her other hand, she reached back to the register and jabbed at it.
Seconds later, she was handing them back their change. It all happened in a flash.
How did such she go from lost to…this…so quick?
“Raven!” A dark-haired woman sitting a few stools away from me with her friend yelled. “There’s a hot guy staring at you!”
I laughed loudly as Raven jerked around. Her gaze landed on me with what felt like a snap, and I swore she mouthed, “Motherfucker,” before she stalked to this end of the bar.
Her hands slapped on the bar in front of me. “What are you doing here?”
“I told you I was coming to check out your menu.”
“He was checking out more than the menu,” the woman’s friend giggled.
Raven held her finger up to them, and with her other hand, slapped a smooth, laminated menu in front of me. “Did you drive?”
“No, I walked all the way from Key West.” I picked up the menu. “Of course I drove.”
“Pick one,” she said, moving away. “I’m not serving you anymore than that. Make it a good choice. What can I get for you?” she asked someone else, cutting me off before I could say a word.
I raised my eyebrows.
“She runs a tight ship,” the first woman said. “Three days ago, there was a guy in here spiking drinks. She caught him and bashed him in the balls with her cocktail shaker so he couldn’t run from the security guard.”
Could my eyebrows go up any higher? “That doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. I’ve seen her do worse.”
The second woman’s eyes narrowed. “You have? You know her?”
The first woman rolled her eyes. “Of course he does, Cam. When have you seen her react to a customer like that? He obviously pissed her off in a past life or something.”
“I should be so lucky.” I smirked. “More like all in this life.”
“Her brother’s friend, right?” She tilted her head to the side. “Yeah, she mentioned she hated you.”
She’d talked about me?
“She didn’t say you were hot, though,” the second woman said.
“Camille!”
Ahhh.
The best friends.
“What?” Camille said. “I’m just saying.”
“No more Slutwhisperers for you,” the other woman—the one I presumed to be Lani—said, reaching for her glass.
Camille leaned over and slurped the last of the drink through the straw.
That explained the name of the cocktail.
“What are you doing?” Raven asked, stopping in front of them. “Cam? Your glass is empty. Let me refill that for you.” She winked to the other girl as she turned around.
What was she doing?
She put her back to her friends and grabbed the tequila bottle. She tipped it over a cocktail shaker without actually pouring anything into it. My lips quirked up as she put together what was some pink juice or something and blended it with raspberries.
She poured the mixture into a glass with some vigor in front of Camille.
She’d made her a placebo.
“Made your choice?” Raven turned to me, holding onto the shaker.
“No.” I spun the menu to face her. “What do you think I should have?”
Completely straight-faced, she said, “The Blue Balls.”

 

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emma-hart

By day, New York Times and USA Today bestselling New Adult author Emma Hart dons a cape and calls herself Super Mum to two beautiful little monsters. By night, she drops the cape, pours a glass of whatever she fancies—usually wine—and writes books.

Emma is working on Top Secret projects she will share with her followers and fans at every available opportunity. Naturally, all Top Secret projects involve a dashingly hot guy who likes to forget to wear a shirt, a sprinkling (or several) of hold-onto-your-panties hot scenes, and a whole lotta love.

She likes to be busy—unless busy involves doing the dishes, but that seems to be when all the ideas come to life.

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ARC Review: The Hot Shot

April 19, 2017 Reviews 0 ★★★★

ARC Review: The Hot ShotThe Hot Shot (Game On, #4) by Kristen Callihan
on April 18th 2017
Pages: 223
Source: InkSlinger PR
Also by this author: The Hook Up (Game On, #1), The Friend Zone (Game On, #2), The Game Plan (Game On, #3), Idol (VIP, #1), Managed (VIP, #2)
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

I received this book for free from InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First we were friends. Then we were roommates. Now I want more…What can I say about Chess Copper? The woman is capable of bringing me to my knees. I know this about five minutes after getting naked for her.No one is more surprised than me. The prickly photographer my team hired to shoot our annual charity calendar isn’t my usual type. She’s defense to my offense, a challenge at every turn. But when I’m with her, all the regrets and darkness goes away. She makes life fun.
I want to know Chess, be close to her. Which is a bad idea.
Chess is looking for a relationship. I’ve never given a woman more than one night. But when fate leaves Chess without a home, I step up and offer her mine. We’re roommates now. Friends without benefits. But it’s getting harder to keep our hands off each other. And the longer we live together the more I realize she’s becoming my everything.
Trick is… Now that I’ve made her believe I’m a bad bet, how do I convince her to give this player a true shot at forever?

Wow, this was really awesome! Then again, I’ve come to expect nothing less than absolutely amazing from Kristen Callihan. She’s just one of those authors for me that never fails to write beautiful romances that sweep me off my feet. She also writes some of the most memorable characters that I’ve ever came across. Finn and Chess were both such lovable characters, and I loved the relationship that they slowly but surely built as the book progressed. I highly recommend this one if you’re looking for a sports romance or just a fast paced romance in general. If you’ve never read anything from this author before, what are you waiting for? I promise that you’ll probably adore her works if you’re a fan of fun and realistic romances that have some steam thrown in there for good measure. I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

Chess was a wonderful heroine. She has such a strong personality that you can’t help but adore. She’s a unique woman who isn’t afraid to be herself. Honestly, I can’t think of all that much about her that I didn’t absolutely love. She’s just a naturally likable person from the very first page. I loved how she wasn’t afraid to say what she thought, and she didn’t let anyone walk all over her. Chess shared some similarities with some of Callihan’s past heroines, but at the same time she was so different from them in all the right ways. She’s her own person, and she’ll stick with you long after you finish reading this.

Finn was such a sweetheart. I wasn’t sure if I’d like him at first, but there was any need for me to doubt. I quickly fell in love with Finn. He wasn’t a douchebag by any means, instead he was an extremely loving and caring guy all around. I’m always going to have a thing for football players, so the QB of an NFL football team definitely didn’t disappoint. He was a true leader, who was also an amazing teammate and I loved seeing some of the same guys that we saw from the last couple of books. I don’t know if I liked him more than Drew, Grey, or Dex, but he was still an excellent guy who I loved getting to know more.

The romance between Finn and Chess is easily my favorite part of the book. I love that they have this instant banter from the first time that they meet, though they didn’t seem to like each other much at the time. Anyway, they slowly become close friends which obviously develops into more. This is certainly a book that has a slow burn to it, and I thought that was a fitting choice from Callihan. Once they finally had sex, it was totally electric. They most certainly have some serious chemistry, that’s for sure.

This fourth book in the Game On series is just as lovely as I was hoping it would be. While I’d still say that the last one is probably my favorite, this one is still just as amazing and memorable as I hoped it would be. Callihan is an author who never ever disappoints. I’m so happy that she introduced us to Finn and Chess, they were both such unique characters. This was a fast paced read that I managed to finish in just a few sittings. I’m happy that I read this one and I hope that you give it a shot as well!

four-stars

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Things That Make Me Instantly Want to Read a Book

April 18, 2017 Features 10

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This is a place where you can share all of your lists with other list lovers out there. There’s a new theme every week to center your list around. This week, the theme is all about certain things that make you instantly want to read a book. Like you see in a review or a book synopsis that this book is about a certain thing or set at a certain place, and you pick up the book right away based on that alone. This was an interesting topic with a lot of possibilities to talk about. I hope you guys enjoy my list and I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

1. No love triangle

Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether or not it has one based on the synopsis alone, but typically other reviews help me discover if it has one or not. A lack of a love triangle is definitely an automatic plus for me right off the bat.

2. Female friendship

I love all types of friendship, but I’m instantly drawn towards books that have positive female friendships. There’s a lot of books out there that have girls fighting or hating other girls, so it’s always so nice to see ones that have wonderful relationships that aren’t like that.

3. Summer/beach

I always think a book is great if it takes place on a beach during the summer. To me, it just screams that it’s probably going to be a light and cute book. Sometimes the books turn out to be a lot deeper, but I still enjoy the majority of them. I’m mostly thinking of Sarah Dessen books with this one, but I like others as well!

4. Brother’s best friend

I’ve found that this trope pretty much always work for me. I’ve found it more in NA or adult romances, but there are a few decent YA books that touch on it as well, I just can’t think of any at the moment. This just always works out extremely well for me.

5. Coming of age/contemporary

This is very very broad and not all of these books typically work for me, but I’m more likely to read a book if it’s about growing up or just contemporary in general. I think these books are much easier to relate to on a personal level. Some of my all time favorite books fit in this category. I feel like I’m always going to be reading these types of books.

6. Friends to lovers

I’m a fan of platonic friendships for sure, but I’m also a major sucker for friends to lovers. I think there’s something special about a couple having a history together before they ultimately get together. It seems as if all the decent relationships out there are initially built on friendship, which is probably why I love these books so much. The books aren’t always perfect and there are a few that I haven’t been able to finish, but they are still mostly fun and interesting.

7. Sports

I love sports, specifically baseball, basketball, and football, but I love reading about any of them. I think it’s always great when the heroine does some sport, but I’m also a sucker for a love interest who plays a sport as well. As long as it includes somebody doing a sport, I’ll probably pick it up. Miranda Kenneally books are the first ones that come to mind with this one.

8. Music

Though I recently read a book about a band that didn’t work for me, a lot of these do. I’ll always enjoy books that have teens in a band or all over the world touring or something along those lines. I feel like the ones that I’ve enjoy recently have been more NA or Adult though, like Idol and Managed by Kristen Callihan.

9. Hate to love

I thought that The Hating Game was absolutely awesome. Another one that I really enjoyed was Act Like It by Lucy Parker. Sometimes these don’t always work, but when it’s done right, I find that I truly enjoy it. It does seem like it works better for me with NA and Adult romance instead of YA for whatever reason.

10. College

I can be picky with these at times, but there are a lot of these that I like since this is where I am in life right now. Of course I love YA, but books that take place at colleges are fitting to me right now. Though some of them rightfully get criticized for awful behavior like slut shaming or general douchebag behavior from the love interests, there’s also plenty of decent stories out there.

So there’s my list. I hope you enjoyed discovering what some of my favorite things are when I’m deciding what books to read next. This was a fun list to make and I enjoyed doing it. I can’t wait to see what everyone else came up with since it’s a pretty broad category. I hope you guys have a great rest of the week.

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Ghost Review

April 15, 2017 Reviews 1 ★★★★

Ghost ReviewGhost (Track, #1) by Jason Reynolds
on August 30th, 2016
Pages: 192
Source: Library
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Running. That's all that Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has ever known. But never for a track team. Nope, his game has always been ball. But when Ghost impulsively challenges an elite sprinter to a race -- and wins -- the Olympic medalist track coach sees he has something: crazy natural talent. Thing is, Ghost has something else: a lot of anger, and a past that he is trying to outrun. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed and meld with the team, or will his past finally catch up to him?

I haven’t read a middle grade book in what feels like forever. Jason Reynolds is an author that I’ve been dying to read for quite awhile now, so I figured I would give this book a try. It was just as awesome and good as I was expecting it to be! Reynolds is an author that I will certainly be reading more from in the future. He’s done an excellent job at creating a flawed but extremely likable main character. I smiled and cried so much while reading this book. I recommend this one if you’re looking for something short but very meaningful and heartwarming.

Ghost or Castle is a character who I loved from the start. He’s such a hilarious kid and I wanted to give him a huge hug throughout the entire novel. From the first page, you could tell how spirited and funny he was, but then you discover that there’s also a lot more to him than just that. He’s been through quite a lot in his reasonably short life, and his story will absolutely break your heart. We figure this out pretty early on so I feel like it’s not too big of a spoiler. Ghost began running because of the time he and his mom had to run from his drunk dad, who was shooting at them. In addition to all of this sadness, Ghost is such a beautifully well developed character. Some of the things that he said were just so random and fitting. I can easily see a seventh grader actually saying all of this crazy and unpredictable stuff that he says. Look, I don’t know what else to say besides the fact that he is a real and honest kid who will simultaneously break and heal your heart at the same exact time.

I never know exactly how to review middle grade books. This one was even shorter than some of the other ones that I’ve read. But it still managed to have many memorable characters and plots. I loved that track was a focus here. I’ve never read another MG book (or YA) that included the sport. It was also so appropriate and real how Ghost struggled with whether or not this was a sport at all since it wasn’t nearly as popular as basketball. He makes a fair point that you don’t know all that many famous track runners out there, besides maybe Usain Bolt. Anyway, I felt like the execution of the plot was masterfully executed. I hope to read more books in the future that focus on characters who run track. Please point me towards some if you know any YA or MG that do focus on this.

I’m happy that I read this one. It was unique and extremely well written. I loved that Ghost made such great friends on the track team and that they got along so well. There wasn’t any petty drama between them, they had just pure friendship and support for one another. And this is something that I’ve always appreciated and admired about Middle Grade books. So I see where this is planned to be apart of a series, so I look forward to seeing who or what the second book will be about! I’m hoping it will focus on one of his teammates and close friends.

four-stars

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Pop Culture Recommendations

April 13, 2017 Features 4

I haven’t been reading all that much because I’ve been distracted by so many other pop culture related things here recently. I wanted to share with you guys the podcasts and TV shows that I’ve been obsessed with. I highly recommend all of these, and want to talk in more detail about them.

Podcasts:
S-Town

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So this is a podcast that is already receiving tremendous hype and it hasn’t really been out that long yet. I’m not going to lie, I have conflicted feelings about it, but I can’t deny the fact that it’s seriously addicting. I started listening to it and then wasn’t able to stop. Seven hours later and I was finished. It wasn’t the best podcast I’ve ever listened to. Since it’s labeled as being a true crime podcast, I was expecting something completely different. It was obviously pretty good since I spent the majority of my day listening to it. You definitely get wrapped up into these people and their lives. You just need to go into it knowing that it isn’t anything like Serial.

This American Life

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This podcast has been around for forever. I started listening to it probably about two or three years ago. I used to just casually listen to episodes every now and then. I’ve started loving it more and more as I listen to it on a regular basis. With every episode, I feel like I’m learning so much about humans and unique stories. A lot of these stories should be adapted into a movie or a book. I highly recommend listening to this if you just love stories.

TV Shows:
13 Reasons Why

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This is a show that basically everyone has been talking about for the last couple of weeks now. I really enjoyed reading the book back in middle school, so I was happy that someone finally adapted it. It was ridiculous hard to watch at times, but it was pretty good as a whole. Not going to lie, I think the kid who played Clay wasn’t a very good actor. But Katherine, who played Hannah, is absolutely amazing. Anyway, this is one of those extremely emotional heavy shows that you need to mentally prepare yourself for. I wasn’t able to binge it just because I could only take so many episodes of it at once before I needed to switch to something happier. I recommend it especially if you were a fan of the book or just want to see what all the current hype is about!

Riverdale

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This is a fabulous show! It took me a little while to start watching it, but I’m happy that I did and that I’m all caught up now. I’ve always been a fan of teen dramas and this one doesn’t disappoint. It has pretty much everything that I want in a show: friendship, relationships, diversity, and it also just so happens to have a mystery on top of all that other stuff. I recommend it if you’re looking for a show that’s kind of like Gossip Girl or One Tree Hill, but with an added murder mystery twist.

The Missing

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I’d never heard of this show before. I just randomly came across it last week. Xfinity has this thing for a whole week every year where you can watch premium shows on demand for free. This is on Starz, so I figured I’d better take advantage of it while I can. Wow, this show was INTENSE. Clearly I’m not a huge fan of uplifting shows. It revolves around a little boy who went missing eight years ago. His dad has dedicated his entire life to finding him and has just now found a big clue that might be enough to open the case back up. With help from a retired detective, he gets closer to finding out the truth about his son. This is a great show and I recommend that more people watch it, but it’s definitely depressing as hell.

Big Little Lies

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I finished this book then immediately began watching the show. I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t totally blown away by the book. It was okay, but not my favorite by any means. I found the twist to be pretty disappointing. Anyway, the show is actually rather awesome. I thought the casting couldn’t have been more perfect. Nicole Kidman absolutely blows me away with her performance of Celeste. All eight episodes of the show are beautifully well done. I also loved the music so much. I don’t think that there should be a second season of the show, but I still really enjoyed watching it.

Life in Pieces

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Now that I’ve gotten all of these depressing shows out of the way, here’s the only one on my list that is a full blown comedy. This show is so freaking funny. They recently put the entire first season on Netflix and it’s been fun catching up on a lot of the episodes that I missed. I didn’t think I’d like it when it first aired, so then I started watching sporadic reruns once the first season was over. I love how unique the format is. Each episode has four different stories that follow various family members throughout. It’s a clever show that never fails to put me in a good mood.

There’s some other shows that I’ve been randomly watching since I finished all of these other shows, but I think these recommendations are enough for now. I’m always up for TV show or podcast recommendations if you have any!

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ARC Review: Fireworks

April 11, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★

ARC Review: FireworksFireworks by Katie Cotugno
Published by HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray on April 18th 2017
Pages: 336
Source: Edelweiss
Also by this author: 99 Days
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
two-stars

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

From Katie Cotugno, bestselling author of 99 Days, comes Fireworks—about a girl who is competing with her best friend to become the new pop star of the moment—and all the drama and romance that comes with it—set in Orlando during the late-'90s boy-and-girl-band craze.
It was always meant to be Olivia. She was the talented one, the one who had been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, was the level-headed one, always on the sidelines, cheering her best friend along.
But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.
It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.
Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, New York Times bestselling author Katie Cotugno’s Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness.

This was yet another book that I really wanted to like. I’ve heard a lot of positive things about this author, but I feel like I’m missing something. I strongly disliked 99 Days and I couldn’t even make it through How to Love. Sadly, none of her books have been for me. I thought this one would definitely be my cup of tea since it takes place in the 90’s and also involves boy and girl bands. I’m sure many contemporary fans will like this one, but not me. Fireworks had a lot of potential that it sadly didn’t live up to. The writer is good, but the plot and characters didn’t work at all. I doubt I’ll be reading any other books from this author in the future.

If you’re a fan of realistic contemporary stories, you’ll probably have some issues right off the bat with this one. The story revolves around Dana going to this audition to support her best friend Olivia. Somehow though, Dana gets roped into auditioning. She’s NEVER had any type of vocal lessons or any musical theater experience in her life, yet we’re supposed to believe that the man in charge picks her over all the more experienced girls? Nope, I don’t buy that this would happen to her just because she’s pretty.

It also takes place in the 90’s, which I originally thought was awesome. Truthfully, I found myself forgetting the time period most of the time. It didn’t seem like it took place back then besides a few TLC and Spice Girl references. The love interest of the story happens to be in a boy band, yet there’s no references to any other boy bands that were around in that time period. Maybe she was just trying to be creative, but I felt like that would have made the book just a little better. I hope that more people write stories that take place in the 90’s in the future, but only if they actually make it seem like it’s that decade.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance. I liked how sex positive it was all around. I just didn’t think Alex was a great character. He didn’t have much development, his whole purpose was basically to continually tell Dana how wonderful and perfect she is. Aside from that, we truly don’t know much else about him besides the fact that he comes from a decent family and has money. Did anyone else think it was creepy as hell how he would just randomly pop up literally everywhere that Dana would go by herself? For example, she goes down to the pool in the middle of the night, and he just randomly pops out of nowhere. It was a little weird in my opinion.

I think it’s misleading that people consider this to be a friendship novel. Going into this, I was expecting a really positive and strong female friendship but that’s not what I got. Without saying too much, the friendship is not what I was expecting it to be. Olivia is an unlikable character. I did sympathize with the fact that she had an eating disorder. Maybe it’s because one of my best friends struggles with an eating disorder, but I felt like it wasn’t treated with respect. It felt more like a plot device than something that was truly explored and developed. It bothered me that not only Dana but especially the adults didn’t take her eating disorder more seriously. This is an issue that so many teens deal with, and I felt like it could have been more carefully written as a whole.

Even though this book just released, it already seems as if I’m in the minority with my opinion. I don’t think that this author is bad by any means, but it seems like her style and plots just don’t match up with the books that I enjoy reading. If you’re able to get past all of the cliches and unrealistic things, you might like this book. Don’t get me wrong, this book wasn’t absolutely terrible. I didn’t have to force myself to read it, I was pretty sucked into it. I just wasn’t able to get past all of the other key elements of the story.

two-stars

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Save the Date Review

April 6, 2017 Reviews 0 ★★★½

Save the Date ReviewSave the Date by Annabeth Albert, Wendy Qualls
on March 28th 2017
Pages: 153
Source: Purchased
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Randall Young has one duty as his sister’s “man of honor”: to ensure she has the best wedding ever. That includes an epic bachelorette pub crawl, leading him to Portland’s most popular gay bar… and into Hunter Mitchell’s well-muscled arms. A one-night stand with a sexy soldier is the perfect way to ditch that pesky V-card and get himself in the mood for a weekend of flowers, cake, and nuptials.
Hunter wants to blow off some steam before he stands up as his best friend’s best man. He's already married to his military career, not looking to settle down. He certainly doesn’t intend for the one guy he met (and, okay, got off with) in Oregon to be his counterpart in the wedding party. Or a virgin. Definitely wasn’t intending that. Luckily, they have the rest of the weekend for Hunter to show Randall what he's been missing.
The more they’re thrown together by the wedding, the more Randall and Hunter grow together outside the bedroom… which is dangerous because there’s a lot more than 2500 miles standing between them and a happily-ever-after. If they want a future beyond their wedding weekend hookup, both must find the courage to take a chance on love.
Length: approx. 38,000 words

Save the Date was a short and sweet M/M romance novella. I quickly purchased it once I realized that it was free. I’ve never read either one of these authors before, but I’ll certainly be checking out more from them in the future. It was a pretty light read, and just what I needed right now in between all of my heavy reads here lately. I’m happy that I was able to get lost in the plot and characters for at least a little while. Randall and Hunter were both charming and funny characters, and I thought they were incredible as a couple. I’d recommend it if you’re looking for something steamy that you can read in just a couple of hours.

Randall was the guy who was nerdy and an introvert. He’s also a virgin, and wanted to lose it while at a gay bar for his sister’s bachelorette party. I thought that he such a sweet and adorable guy. He’s obviously extremely smart as well. I thought that he was a fun character. I’m always a sucker for a well written nerd and that’s definitely what Randall is. Sometimes I didn’t always agree with his choices, like when he got into an argument with Hunter towards the end of the story. However, he was still a decent character at the end of it all. Novellas are always tricky since you don’t have enough space for a lot of character development, and I think Randall could have really used some of it.

Hunter is a military man who is the best man at his best friend’s wedding. I thought his character was also charming, but in a different way. He couldn’t be more different from Randall. He’s a smooth talker, and not at all awkward in the way that Randall is. I liked how secure in his own skin that he was. He’s a good character as well and I really enjoyed reading about him. I also thought it was nice how great of a friend he was towards his best friend, who is marrying Randall’s sister. Like Randall, I feel like Hunter could have used some more character development than what he had. Unfortunately, I understand that there simply wasn’t enough room for all of that but I think it would have made me connect with the characters a little bit better than what I did.

As mentioned, Randall and Hunter made a strong couple. Yes, it started on a complete physical attraction. They both met in the bar strictly looking for a one night stand. I’m not always a fan of those kinds of romance since there isn’t a ton of emotion involved until much later in the story. Fortunately, it didn’t bother me all that much here. I think the connection between them felt genuine from the start. I liked seeing them (especially Hunter) struggle with the fact that it all felt like much more than just a one time hookup right from the start. So they definitely take quite awhile to actually become a couple. I wasn’t a huge fan of the fight that went down. I felt like Randall was too harsh towards Hunter about his past. The relationship was VERY steamy, which was pretty great. You have to prepare yourself for all the serious steam that goes down here.

This was a steamy and fascinating novella. It wasn’t my favorite, but I still enjoyed reading it. I think that it would have worked well as a full length novel and it would have also allowed readers to connect even more with the characters. Randall and Hunter were lovely characters that shared such a beautiful romance, and I wanted to read even more and more of them. It felt like it was missing something, but I’m not totally sure what exactly it was. I’m still glad that I was able to read this one. Besides some of the drama towards the end, this was a lighthearted and fun novella.

three-half-stars

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