Monday, February 27, 2012

Review: Breathe

Breathe by Abbi Glines

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s the first day of Summer break for Sadie White. And just as she suspected her Mom, Jessica, has sucked her into working for her. Jessica is 7 months pregnant and uses that as an excuse not to work, but Sadie, being the actual adult in the equation, knows they need the money to keep a roof over their head…so off she goes.

Sadie arrives at the house where her Mom is working. Reluctantly Sadie is given the opportunity to prove herself…and she does, taking over for her Mom. What Sadie doesn’t know is that the house is the summer getaway of Jax Stone, 19 year old, Rock Star.

Sadie doesn’t have time for the like of Jax Stone…she’s too busy trying to raise her Mom and keep a roof over their head. Sadie’s lack of interest is what draws Jax to her. He needs to know what makes her tick. But anything that happens between them will be limited to the Summer while he is on vacation and before he has to rejoin his world tour.

OK…after reading 2 Abbi Glines books, I needed a third to get me through work on Saturday and I couldn’t put this one down either. What can I say, I am a sucker for Abbi Glines!

Loved Sadie! She is so down to earth. Her life has been hard and she is a little resentful, but does a good job of hiding it. She is not likely to accept help from anyone. I think she is afraid of relying on anyone because all her life she’s only had herself to rely on. And Sadie could have, so easily, abandoned her Mom but didn’t. I wanted to slap Jessica, but remembered it was a work of fiction and calmed myself down.

Jax was a great guy. And a total work of Fiction…Somehow I just can’t imagine a 19 year old rock star being that easy going and romantic. All the best romance writers are women…have you noticed that? Guys, for the most part, just don’t get it. And Glines, can write romance. This particular romance didn’t progress past the kiss, but man did it massage the brain…lots of sweet nothings which all women fantasize about their significant other saying to them. Yep, I’m sure I will be reading this one many more times in the future!

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Review: Existence

Existence by Abbi Glines

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pagan Moore can see dead people. They can’t/don’t talk to her, but she can see them. One day, there appears to be a spirit outside of school. But he can talk. Which shocks her! The fact that she can see him, shocks him!
This talking ghost seems to be stalking Pagan Moore. Then one day he enrolls in her High School…and turns out to be the lead singer for the rock group “Cold Soul”…his name is Dank Walker (yes, really.). Dank seems to save Pagan from an almost fatal car wreck…which causes other weird things to happen, including other talking ghosts stalking her. Dank can’t or won’t answer Pagan’s questions and her growing feelings for him and starting to affect her relationship with her quarterback boyfriend. Pagan quests for answers and is surprised by what she finds out.

I’ve given Abbi Glines some flak for her choice in names. She did explain that Dank’s whole name is “Dankmar” which means “Famous for his Spirit”. OK, I can see that, but I still think she should have explained that in the book…and maybe not paired it with “Walker” as a last name because the images it conjures for me are of a mostly decomposed zombie walking through a Georgia swamp. LOL, but I’ve totally digressed!

When I read the synopsis for this story I thought it was going to be an homage to the movie “Death Takes a Holiday” or the newer version, “Meet Joe Black”…but as usual I was wrong. Wasn’t even close.

Death is not taking a holiday, he just becomes fascinated by Pagan. Pagan is a good girl…nice, sweet, is brave enough to share her honest thoughts and feelings about something and is quick to apologize and rectify is she is wrong. She is sensitive to others, and roots for the underdog. Glines gives her characters a good balance of characteristics. They are good with a rebellious streak, or “bad” but totally redeemable. And I’m a sucker for a happy ending…although this ending had quite the cliffhanger! Can’t wait for the next installment, “Predestined”! It’s gonna be GOOD!

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Review: The Vincent Boys

The Vincent Boys
The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sawyer and Beau are cousins. Ashton is the girl they grew up with and got into trouble with. The three of them have been best friends since Ashton moved to town in Kindergarten.

Now it’s the Summer before their Senior Year and Sawyer is away with his family, leaving Ashton by herself. Coming home from a party Ashton stumbles on Beau and they start talking. Ashton and Beau stopped talking and hanging out when Ashton became Beau’s girlfriend. Neither is really sure why. But they’ve decided to be friends once again, like they were when they were kids. But their friendship progresses a little further than either have planned on.

This was my first Abbi Glines book and it won’t be my last. Glines has a writing style that sucks you in and doesn’t let go. She doesn’t spend time and space of unneccesary details and descriptions. Her stories have fewer pages than most of the YA books on the shelf, but they seem to have so much more going on.

Ashton is a sweet girl who tries to live up to the pedestal that Sawyer has put her on. Sawyer is such a good influence on her life. Beau, though, is considered the bad seed…but when Ashton is with him, she is able to be herself, warts and all. But she feels awful about the feelings she is developing for Beau and wouldn’t hurt Sawyer for anything. She is truly in a no-win situation.

Beau, for all the talk of him being the bad seed, really isn’t. Sawyer is the closest thing he has to family and wouldn’t hurt him for the world…but at what point do you stop living for someone else and live for yourself. All three characters have a lot of lessons to learn in this story and they handle it well.

I love an author that can totally transport me into the story to the point where I forget I am reading a story. Another author that does this to me is S. L. Naeole. Loved it, and can’t wait for the next installment, “Vincent Brothers”!

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Review: The Edumacation of Jay Baker

The Edumacation of Jay Baker
The Edumacation of Jay Baker by Jay Clark

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jay Baker is a 15 year old boy…His best friend is a cheerleader named Cameo Appearance Parnell. His girlfriend is a tennis phenom. He’s snarky, sarcastic, and whips out pop culture references faster than a speeding bullet. Jay’s life is about to implode as his parent’s marriage starts to fall apart, he’s forced to battle his mortal enemy, and one teacher decides to force him to get real and quit hiding behind his wise cracks.

I have to say I was laughing out loud within the first page of this “coming of age” story. Jay is witty and a wise ass which was fun and funny. However by the end of the book, all the pop culture references were becoming a bit tedious. But that would be my only real complaint about the story.

Jay is experiencing the life a lot of teens, today, are experiencing. Bullies, the breaking up of their home, and coming to terms with the fact that parents are mistake making humans. Jay is able to find strength in one of his teachers, Ms. Lambert. She is able to see through all the BS and get Jay to quit hiding behind his snarky façade and deal. So many people can relate to this story…as it is timeless. I had the same issues to deal with 20+years ago, and kids will still be dealing with these issues 20 years in the future.

This was a fast paced read that both boys and girls can enjoy. Jay is a good guy/hero that is able to laugh at himself, that readers can and will laugh with as well. You can’t help but like the guy and root for him whole heartedly!

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Review: Why We Broke Up

Why We Broke Up
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I was really looking forward to “Why We Broke Up”. I loved the “look” of the book, I just wish the story lived up to the edgy “look”. It didn’t even live up to Daniel Handler’s alter ego, Lemony Snicket. Maybe if Lemony had written the book it would have been better?

This is a long letter that “Min”erva writes to Ed about why they broke up…this letter is accompanying the various things Min saved from their time together and it’s all in a box that will be dropped on Ed’s doorstep.

The premise to the story is intriguing…I don’t know many girls who didn’t keep souvenir’s of their relationships. But most girls would trash the souvenirs, not write an incredibly long and boring letter to the guy about why she saved those items. The writing was weighty…it feels like your slogging through waste high snow trying to get somewhere… anywhere. Min’s story jumps around with the different items. We learn she is obsessed with really old and obscure movies. We never really learn much about Ed other than he plays basketball and thinks Min is “different” (don’t say “arty”).

I did finish the book, only because I wanted to know why they broke up, which was just as I predicted. I could have, and probably should have, walked away from it at numerous periods. The first time was on their first date when Min becomes convinced the old lady walking in front of them is the star of the movie they just watched. So she and Ed follow the lady and come up with the idea to have a birthday party for her. Min and Ed have no idea if, in fact, this lady is the actress in question. That’s how the whole story goes…huge, grand plans that essentially go nowhere.

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Cover Reveal: The Vincent Brothers

Our First Ever Cover Reveal on Novel Goddess and we couldn't be more excited that it is none other than The Vincent Brothers by the talented Abbi Glines! As you know I have read and reviewed all of Abbi's books here on Novel Goddess and have high praise for them. Watch for The Vincent Brothers to release on July 5, 2012!

Without further delay, here is the smashing cover!

The Summary:

He may have given her up without a fight, but Sawyer Vincent is far from over losing the girl he's loved all of his life. Instead of giving up his best friend and the girl he thought he'd spend forever with, he gave Ashton and his brother Beau his blessing. However, adjusting to seeing Ashton wrapped in Beau's arms isn't easy. Complicating everything even more, Ashton's cousin Lana is in town for the summer. Sweet, kind, soft-spoken Lana, who gets under his skin. Just being near her makes him forget all about Ashton and his broken heart. Lana is everything he wanted Ashton to be except she isn't Ashton. She lacks the backbone to stand up for herself and confidence that Ashton wears like a crown.

Lana McDaniel has lived her life in her cousins shadow. While Lana struggled with her grades no matter how hard she tried, her mother praised Ashton's intelligence. She hadn't been blessed with Ashton's blond hair and flawless skin, but that didn't keep her mother from lamenting her naturally red hair and freckles. But none of that would have mattered is Ashton hadn't always had Sawyer Vincent wrapped around her finger--the only boy Lana wanted. Once Ashton let Sawyer go, Lana had been so sure that he'd move on. Determined to make Sawyer finally see her, she'd talked her mother into letting her spend the summer with Ashton. But Sawyer is still in love with Ashton, and Lana isn't going to be any one's rebound girl. No matter how yummy Sawyer Vincent's kisses taste.

Find out all the current information on Abbi Glines and her novels at

Our final reveal is the complete playlist for the The Vincent Brothers! Now you have the music that is the perfect companion while reading the book!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Review: Because of Low

Because of Low by Abbi Glines

published February 7, 2012

My Review:

Once again I cannot give enough praise for an Abbi Glines novel. Yes, I am a big, HUGE fan of her books! When Because of Low released a few days early, I was downloading and reading it within minutes of discovering my good fortune. I read the book from cover-to-cover in one sitting. Yes, my family suffered but it was for a good cause! ;)

We are first introduced to Marcus Hardy in Abbi's first novel Breathe. He is friends with Sadie, but quickly falls for her. Unfortunately, Sadie falls in love with Jax Stone and there is no competing with that hot rocker when he is determined! Marcus moves on and is doing well in college when his family is dealt a blow that threatens their comfortable family unit. Marcus moves home to be closer to his mom and sister...basically to be the strong one they can lean on. It is the move into Cage's apartment that literally opens the door to true love for Marcus. On his second day in the apartment he opens the door to find Low (Willow) Foster on the door step looking up at him with her beautiful green eyes and flaming red hair. It is an instant spark for Marcus.

Marcus and Low grow in their relationship, but it is all the outside factors that begins to take their toll and break them down. Can they survive it all? Believe me there are a lot of people and issues trying to keep them apart.

This novel has all the elements of a great contemporary read. The build up to the relationship, the hotness of the relationship, the set back, the devastating blow that no one sees coming, and finally the growth and strength to make a change. That is what kept me turning pages one after the other until I was at the end and happy, yet sad it was over. That is what we get when we read an Abbi Glines novel!

Four point five flaming red stars with green eyes! :) 4.5 STARS!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Review: Jessica Rules the Dark Side

Jessica Rules the Dark Side
Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jessica and Luc are married and Jessica is getting used to life as a princess! Some duties are tougher than others. Like carrying out the death sentence after a trial. But Mindy is able to come for a visit which should help with the transition…except for the fact that one of the Elders and also one of Luc’s Uncles is murdered with a possession of Luc’s. So guess who is suspect #1. Yep, Luc ends up in Solitary while Jessica, Mindy and Luc’s BFF Raniero try to discover what really happened and why.

This was a complete departure from the first book…more mystery than romance. I didn’t like it as well as the first book because I was able to call who did it very early on even if I didn’t know all the whys until later. The whole Luc in Solitary where he can’t get the sustenance he needed was unnecessary. I would think the author could have found some more reasonable plot device to light a fire under Jessica’s butt and pull her out of her pity party. There just wasn’t enough to drive the story, which was a disappointment after Dating on the Dark Side.

Regardless, it was fun to see Luc and Jess together in a less adversarial situation, their romance was yummy, or maybe it was Luc who was yummy. They are a good balance against each other. The addition of Mindy was a hoot cuz girl calls it like she sees it and she was instrumental in seeing things Jess just couldn’t. And while there was some romance between Mindy and Raniero, there just wasn’t enough. Which is how the whole book really felt…just not enough. Not enough romance, tension, suspense, etc. Here’s hope that if Fantaskey continues with Jessica that she can kick it up a notch.

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Review: Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side
Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK, when you read the blurb for “Jessica’s Rules for Dating on the Dark Side”, it sounds like it’s will be the novel equivalent to “bubblegum pop”…you know, light, funny, easy. Boy, this book couldn’t have been further from bubblegum anything!

Jessica is going through life believing her anthropologist parents basically stumbled on her birth mother and was basically handed off to them to raise. But the reality is that her parents were Vampire Royalty and there is a lot more to the story than Jessica thought.

When Lucius shows up to claim Jessica as his betrothed, then her parents are forced to tell Jessica the real story of her adoption. To say that Jessica is reluctant to believe the story would be an understatement. Jessica also wants nothing to do with Luc who is sticking around to try and win Jessica over.

This was a little clichéd to begin with but got so much better as the story progressed. I loved how Luc was able to relay his side of what was going on via letters home to his Uncles. They were very funny but also very poignant. Also, Luc’s transformation from arrogant royal prig to an average American teen was quite interesting…and not totally welcomed. At least when he was “royal” he was polite and didn’t fall into the realm of self-pity…but if he didn’t do that then he wouldn’t have been able to become the guy Jessica needed.

I loved Jessica’s parents and how they were able to welcome Luc into their home and make him feel at home as well as experience what a loving, warm, and welcoming family is like. Something he never got to experience being raised by his Uncles.

Even though all this was being dumped on Jessica, and trust me, she felt really “put upon”…it was Luc that got my sympathy. In the beginning he didn’t think that Jessica could rise to the challenge of helping him rule the Vampires because of her common upbringing. But he regretted those thoughts when Jessica stood up to him in the end…and quite an end that was!

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Review: Temptation: A Novel

Temptation: A Novel
Temptation: A Novel by Travis Thrasher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review to Come...If I gotta wait, so do you! LOL

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Review: Gravestone: A Novel

Gravestone: A Novel
Gravestone: A Novel by Travis Thrasher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Gravestone” pretty much continues right where “Solitary” left off.

Chris is enraged…enraged over what happened to Jocelyn. Enraged because he can’t trust anyone. Enraged because he still can’t get any answers to what the deal is with Solitary! Out of nowhere, a young man appears claiming to be his cousin Jared, offering help. And then there is Iris, the proprietor of the Crag’s Inn, where Chris finds part time work. Lastly, there is Kelsey, the girl from Art class who reminds him that life goes on. With all Chris has gone through, who can he trust?

These new characters provide Chris with some more food for thought in terms of the mysteries of Solitary. Especially Iris. Her Inn is out of Solitary’s influence and serves as a ray of hope for Chris, and Iris is a guiding light. But it all seems to come down to Chris vs. Pastor Marsh. Marsh is front and center, making Chris’ life a living hell.

This story continues to twist and turn, I don’t even bother to try and figure out what is going to happen because I can’t get a read on who Chris can trust either, I just fasten my seatbelt and hang on. I think the only person I trusted, out right, was Iris. Well, and Kelsey…she certainly didn’t have an agenda other than the fact that she really likes Chris.

We get little hints as to what might be going on in this installment. This is clearly a “good vs. evil”, but we don’t know what form the evil is going to take…and it’s become pretty clear that the forces are fighting for possession of Chris. But why? The story hints as it having something to do with his lineage…but that’s just assumption on my part and I’m not going to take anything for granted until Mr. Thrasher puts it in writing.

I’m still loving this series…there are elements of spirituality without being preachy or self-righteous. There is a ton of suspense that really reminds me of “Salem’s Lot”. And some really great characters! I’m loving Chris, although, at times I want to smack him upside the head and yell, “snap out of it!”. But he’s a typical teen boy…selective and self-serving hearing and memory! I love Poe, Iris, Kelsey, and, of course, Newt! I already have the third book and can’t wait to see what all is revealed! And I’ve discovered there is a prequel that tells the story of Pastor Marsh…that is now on my “to-read” list after I finish book #3.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Review: Solitary

Solitary by Travis Thrasher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Chris Buckley’s parents have divorced and he’s chosen to return, with his Mom, to her birthplace of Solitary, NC. On his first day of school, he’s greeted by three girls. One of them, Jocelyn, is the most beautiful thing he has ever seen. Not long thereafter, Chris starts getting messages and warnings to stay away from her. And, he makes the mistake of sticking up for a bullied kid, which makes him the target of said bully, Gus, who happens to be the only child of the richest man in town. Chris and his Mom live in his Uncles house. His Uncle has mysteriously disappeared just like other people who have supposedly asked questions. Chris is really off to a horrid start in his new life and his Mom is choosing to live at the bottom of a wine bottle. So what is the deal with Solitary, NC?

Here is the deal, we never find out! This book was full of suspense. There is some evil hovering over this town and NO ONE will speak of it. Everyone knows there is always someone watching and listening. Heck, when Chris finally gets internet and sets up a brand new email account, there are anonymous messages waiting for him. Talk about “Big Brother” watching!

The pace of the book is fast, and the drive to find out what the deal is really keeps you reading. My frustration is that whenever Chris encounters someone who might be willing to share some of the answers he is seeking, the answers are too vague so he is still stumbling around, and subsequently so are we, trying to find answers.

Chris is in an awkward place. His parents are recently divorced because his Dad chose to leave his law practice and become “born again”, which is fine, but he was leaving the family to be a missionary. So Chris doesn’t have a great relationship with God, feeling like God has taken away his family and he’s had to move to this awful town, and fall in love with this girl every one is trying to warn him away from. He’s confused, 16, hormonal, being pulled to numerous directions and I could feel his frustration. Then add to that the fact that he really doesn’t know who he can trust. He might be able to trust his Mom if she could just put down the bottle long enough.

Thrasher definitely has a Stephen King or Dean Koontz vibe to his writing.. This seems as though it’s going to be a good old fashioned “Good vs. Evil” battle and Thrasher isn’t afraid to kill off important characters which makes for some interesting possibilities. I also loved all the musical references because the author and I grew up in the same era listening to the same bands. Off to read book #2 and already have book #3 from netgalley so I am anxious to see how it all pans out.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Review: Graffiti Moon

Graffiti Moon
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lucy is in love! Only problem, she’s in love with a graffiti artist know as “Shadow”. Lucy would give anything to find Shadow…she’s convinced that she truly knows him through his art. Lucy is an artist too, only she works with glass.

One night, Lucy and her friends meet up with Leo, Ed, and Dylan. They claim to know Shadow and promise to take Lucy to where he will be later in the evening. Only problem…Lucy knows Ed, he took her out on her one and only date, which ended with her breaking his nose!

While looking for Shadow, Ed and Lucy spend a lot of time discussing Shadow’s art and the work of other artists…they soon discover they have more in common than their first date ever uncovered.

This tale is told in shifting perspectives…at times when Ed is done with his side of the story, Lucy’s picks up and rehashes what we just read from Ed. I thought that reiteration was redundant since we didn’t learn anything earth shattering from the new perspective. That would be my only complaint with this book!

Lucy and Ed both see the beauty in the world around them. Ed is compelled to paint and Lucy to blow glass. One of the things I did enjoy was when the characters referenced an artist or piece of work. I always have to go see it online so I can see what it is they talking about. In this work, a couple of my favorite artists were discussed which always adds to the appeal! My only wish was that I could have seen Shadow’s work! It sounded so fascinating and while Crowley does a beautiful job of describing the work, I know my mind’s eye isn’t as good at rendering it. I would have really loved to see Lucy’s bottles too!

It’s amazing how much can happen to two people in one night. There was some fantastic and snarky dialog between Ed and Lucy as they worked through their first date and Ed’s subsequent nose breaking. I love good snark and Cath Crowley had it in spades! This was a fun and funny read! I would really like to read more from Crowley in the future!

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Review: Ripper

Ripper by Amy Carol Reeves

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review to come!

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Review: The Marked

The Marked
The Marked by Inara Scott

My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Review to come!

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Review: Dearly, Departed

Dearly, Departed
Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It is 2195 in New Victoria. New Victoria is a post-apocalyptic nation that has modeled itself on the manners and fashions of the “original” Victorian era.

Nora Dearly is just through her year of mourning her father’s passing. She lives with her aunt, whom she isn’t terribly fond of, goes to school with her best friend, and scholarship student, Pamela Roe. And has an obsession with watching war documentaries.

One day, a stranger approaches her and tells her she is in danger. Unbeknownst to Nora, she’s been targeted for kidnapping. But the good guys get her first. So who are the good guys? They are a military group that has been infected by the Lazarus virus and who hold Nora’s father in the highest esteem and will do anything to protect her.

This was a fantastically fun roller coaster ride!

I absolutely LOVED the juxtaposition of the New Victorian era based on the original Victorian era. How the writer eschewed the more “modern” options for just about everything in favor of a slightly modernized version of the antique. Futuristic Steam-Punk! It was great!

I have to say I was cringing at the possibility of “Zombie-Love”…wasn’t sure if I could deal with it and all it implied…thankfully, the author handled that with gentility and grace! I loved when Bram knocked on Chas’s door and found Tom in bed with her and Bram explained that love between zombies equated to snuggling and basically being there for each other. Bram and Nora were rather chaste which really helped keep my skeeve level down. And having been skeeved out by many a zombie book, this one was refreshing in comparison! Having said that though, Bram was definitely swoon-worthy!

I loved all the characters! I had such high hopes for Pamma and Alister, but she put him right where he belonged! The banter between the characters was so witty and laugh-out-loud funny! Lots of action scenes here which I think would translate to the “big screen” beautifully. Overall, I can’t praise this book enough! And I can’t wait to see what Lia Habel does in the next installment. I hope she can maintain bar she has set for herself!

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Review: Fallen in Love (Fallen 3.5)

Fallen in Love (Fallen 3.5) by Lauren Kate

Published on 24 January 2012

Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers

201 pages

What makes your heart race a little faster? Just in time for Valentine's Day, it's FALLEN IN LOVE, four wholly original new stories collected in a new novel set in the Middle Ages by Lauren Kate. FALLEN IN LOVE gives fans the much-talked about but never-revealed stories of FALLEN characters as they intertwine with the epic love story of Luce and Daniel. The stories include: Love Where You Least Expect It: The Valentine of Shelby and Miles , Love Lessons: The Valentine of Roland; Burning Love: The Valentine of Arriane; and Endless Love: The Valentine of Daniel and Lucinda. (goodreads)

My Review:

If you have read the first three Fallen novels, then you should probably take the little bit of time needed to read this novel....novella? Seriously, it is more a novella than a novel because those 201 pages include a LARGE excerpt of the next book in the Fallen series, Rapture.

I liked that this novel was broken into four little stories that are all linked together. SPOILER IF YOU HAVE NOT READ BOOK 3: We pick-up from the journeys of everyone through the announcers as they try to find Luce and Daniel. Shelby and Miles are dumped out of an announcer in Middle Age England close to Valentine's Day. That sets in motion events to find Luce and Daniel in this time and location and let them have one magical Valentine's Day together. As we know, their history together is a never ending cycle of love, loss and heartbreak.

We get a glimpse of Roland's one and only true love, see a kindling of love between....not going to tell you! :) If you have been anxiously awaiting book 4 in this series, you get a hefty amount to read at the end of Fallen in Love. I think if you have invested time in this series, then this is a must read for you even though it really is just a side story, it does give a bit more character insight for Roland, Arriane and Tess. 3STARS!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Review: Beautiful Disaster

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Published 26 May 2011

Jamie McGuire, LLC

454 pages

The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate percentage of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance between her and the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend America, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the charming college co-ed. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his charms, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’ apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match. (goodreads)

My Review:

I guess I like dark, edgy, sexy, fighting, drunken, hot messes because that pretty much sums up Beautiful Disaster! I kid you not if you are not a fan of derelict behavior in YA literature than this is not the book for you, so don't read it and inflict your harsh criticism on this book after being warned! :) I felt this book to be more appropriate for the older young adult like ages 16 and up. The story takes place at a kids drink, get drunk and do stupid things. This story does not change that fact for the sake of making mommies around the world happy. Abby Abernathy is trying to escape her past and find a new start at Eastern with her friend America; unfortunately, America and her boyfriend Shepley bring her to a pay-fight held in secret in the basement of one of the building on campus. That one little simple decision will forever change Abby's life. At the fight she meets Travis Maddox, fighter, womanizer and ultimate motorcycle riding, quick tempered hard ass bad boy. Travis sees Abby has an instant connection and knows he has to be with her from then on. after much chasing and running, they get together but their relationship is volatile, has a lack of communication and is always ping-ponging from hot, happy, love to hot, hate, separation. So after that you would think I hated this book, right? NO! It was like a car accident I couldn't look away from! The bad boy, dense girl, intense relations, noncommittal hijinx just made me turn page after page until it was 2:30 in the morning and I realized I just read the last 60% of the book and LOVE IT! I loved it because it was just so wrong on so many levels that is was almost refreshing! I was spent from all the emotional turmoil that Travis and Abby inflict on themselves and each other. So to sum up Beautiful Disaster I would say it was an edgy, hot mess or maybe just awesomesauce! 4STARS!!

Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Published 2 January 2012 by Poppy

236 pages

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18C. Hadley's in 18A.

Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it. (goodreads)

My Review:

What an enjoyable book to read. I literally sat down one evening and read it from start to finish. You immediately want to know what will happen to the main protagonist. Will she be happy again?

TSPoLaFS (to shorten the title) is about Hadley. She is struggling. She cannot come to terms with her father leaving her and her mother for another life in another country, let alone him finding a new wife. She struggles with what her idea of family is and how to cope with all that is happening around her. She feels left on the outside looking into a life she is not too sure she likes at all. She is drawn into the wedding day plans of her fathers second marriage, begrudgingly. When she misses her flight by like four minutes, the fates give her Oliver! Yes, Oliver with the cute face, witty conversation and lets not forget the English accent! He is heading home for an occasion as well but doesn't really share much about that. Oliver helps Hadley feel at ease and talk through some of her anxiety about her father and his fast approaching new life. Once disembarking the plane, she and Oliver lose track of each other and Hadley must embark on her journey alone.

In this young adult contemporary I was actually quite pleased with the changes in Hadley. She is a bit selfish in the beginning, only concerned with how the changes are affecting her and without her consent. With a little help and from her reaching within, she can grow past that and realize that life moves on with or without you. By the end of TSPoLaFS, Hadley has taken the steps needed to heal and forgive and maybe even snag a really great guy in the process. You will just have to read the book to see if she and Oliver find each other again in vast England. ;) 4STARS!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Review: Drowning Instinct

Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J. Bick

Published on 1 February 2012

Lerner Publishing Group

352 pages

There are stories where the girl gets her prince, and they live happily ever after. (This is not one of those stories.)

Jenna Lord's first sixteen years were not exactly a fairytale. Her father is a controlling psycho and her mother is a drunk. She used to count on her older brother—until he shipped off to Afghanistan. And then, of course, there was the time she almost died in a fire.

There are stories where the monster gets the girl, and we all shed tears for his innocent victim. (This is not one of those stories either.)

Mitch Anderson is many things: A dedicated teacher and coach. A caring husband. A man with a certain...magnetism.

And there are stories where it's hard to be sure who's a prince and who's a monster, who is a victim and who should live happily ever after. (These are the most interesting stories of all.)

Drowning Instinct is a novel of pain, deception, desperation, and love against the odds—and the rules. (goodreads)

My Review:

Where to begin with this book! I devoured it is one sitting it was just that mesmerizing.

Jenna is a broken girl. She has been institutionalized for cutting. Her father is a controlling, temper-tantrum throwing god-complex kinda guy. Her mother is an alcoholic. Her brother has left the family against their parents wishes, to be a Marine. Jenna is alone and now she is in a new house, community and school. She is already feeling stressed and vulnerable (and ready to cut again) before she walks through her new school early on the first day of the year to see a demigod standing in the Chemistry classroom by the name of Mitch Anderson.

From the moment we are introduced to Mitch Anderson, hot Chemistry teacher, it is udder confusion. I like him, he seems caring, and invested in making all the kids in his classes feel valued and talented. At the same time the red flag for creepy stalker guy pops up in my mind. There are so many things that don't sit right with me as I read about him, but as Jenna tells her story, we care just carried along with her enamored view of Mitch and almost see justification in the relationship they form. It left me feeling conflicted! Believe me, this is not the first time I will have conflicted thoughts while reading this book.

Jenna becomes infatuated with Mitch. Mitch is Jenna's salvation. Can something like this be okay? Who is the bad guy/girl in this story? Is there a bad guy/girl in this story? It is truly an emotional roller coaster that had me in its grips through out the whole book.

I loved how this gripping story is retold by Jenna after a tragic event. We literally go back to the beginning and get snippets of their story unfolding before us. More tragedy is revealed from both Jenna and Mitch's lives. The ending is a shocker and left me feeling raw. A very profound book from beginning to end. It was wonderfully written and tackles a hard topic rarely written about in YA. Emotionally gripping and real. READ THIS BOOK! 4.5 STARS!

Review: Erebos

Erebos by Ursula Poznanski

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Imagine getting sucked into a computer game…no, not literally! But becoming so absorbed by the game that you lose sleep, skip school, bail on your friends. That’s what happens to Nick. Nick starts playing Erebos, this game where you battle creatures and try to stay alive. But there are some rules involved with Erebos…you must play alone, you can’t speak about the game, you can not reveal your gameself outside of the game and you can’t reveal your real identity inside the game. If you die, you are out of the game, forever.

Interestingly, the game seems “alive”. The game characters ask pointed questions of you, not generic ones. The game also asks you to do tasks in real life…like take someone out on a date or follow and photograph someone. After a while, Nick starts to feel uncomfortable with some of the tasks he is asked to perform, and he is booted out of the game. That’s when things start to get really interesting!

Erebos is a really well thought out, highly imaginative story with a whole ton of twists and turns. I thought I knew who and what was behind everything, but didn’t. It was incredibly hard to put down.

When the story started out, we followed Nick into the game. The whole first half of the book is Nick playing the game. As someone who does enjoy video games, I didn’t have a problem with this. The pacing was good…about the time I started to get bored with reading about the game, Nick gets kicked out. This is when the story really picks up.

People start getting hurt for speaking out against the game. Nick is almost a statistic himself! This is when the pieces of the puzzle start coming together and you get just an inkling of what might be coming up next.

People say that people hide behind online personas…that humans say things and do things online that they would never do in real life…this story was a melding of both elements. It’s a story I am still thinking about and reflecting upon long after reading it. I would be really interested in reading more by Ursula Poznanski!

View all my reviews

January Round-Up

I can't believe January is done already!  I was looking at my status bar on GoodReads and was very surprised to learn that I read 22 books in January! Really?  Didn't seem like it...But when I look at the list, I did read each one in the last few weeks.  So much for reading less and writing more?!?!  Here is the lowdown on what I read: