Saturday, April 29, 2017

{Blog Tour} How To Make a Wish - Ashley Herring Blake (Review & Giveaway)



How to Make a Wish

by Ashley Herring Blake
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 2nd 2017
Genre: Young Adult, GLBT, Contemporary
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Synopsis:

All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn't have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top mu-sic school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.

Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight ad-ventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace's moth-er spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.




This book follows Grace during the summer in which she is trying to cope with her mother who is constantly changing her boyfriends and making them move all over the town.  Grace comes home from piano camp and finds her mother moved them in with her new boyfriend who happens to be the father of one of Grace's exboyfriends, that didn't end well.

Grace is an interesting character in the book.  I find her at times to be a little to much in her own head and she needs to talk to others about her issues.  I feel like she really needs to see a therapist because she has real issues that need to be dealt with.  Grace was handling a lot of issues on her own and being a real adult way before her time.   Grace needed to have someone solid to lean on and she does have friends, but we get to see how deep these friendships go in this book.  The author does a great job keeping Grace as a teenager mindset throughout the book. 

Eva is going through so much grief in her life, but trying hard to make the best of it.  Eva is looking for the solution to getting passed her grief as well as finding a way to keep going forward.  I loved how Eva's grief was dealt with in this book.  It really shows that everyone can go through grief differently.  I feel like the relationships between Eva and Grace's mother was an interesting one that developed in the book.  I could see how the two where able to relate over grief of losing a loved one.  It also shows that there is no time limit on grief. 

Things I loved about this book is that a difficult topic is dealt with really well.  The author made one of the major topics no big deal, Grace explained herself very well and people just accepted it.  I feel like if others in society can just accept things at face value the world would be a different place.  I loved that adversity wasn't brought up a lot during this book and it was more everything is accepted, which is how it should be.

The author takes a lot of harder topics and does a great job with them.  I felt very connected to the story as well as the relationships the author created with the characters.  The author keeps the story moving along at a great pace and pulls you in enough to keep wanting more. 

I would suggest reading this book at the beach over the summer.  It was a great book to get sucked into reading a longer period of time.  The book flowed very naturally and was an easy read.  The story stayed very steady and kept me wanting to keep reading. 

I received a copy of this book from The Fantastic Flying Book Club for the purpose of providing an honest review this does not effect my opinion of this book. 

My Rating: 4/5




Ashley Herring Blake is a reader, writer, and mom to two boisterous boys. She holds a Master’s degree in teaching and loves coffee, arranging her books by color, and watching Buffy over and over again on Netflix with her friends. She's the author of the young adult novels SUFFER LOVE and HOW TO MAKE A WISH.












Giveaway

  • 1 finished copy of HOW TO MAKE A WISH by Ashley Herring Blake
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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Son of War - Raye Wagner (Review)

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Son of War by Raye Wagner
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Publication date: April 27th 2017
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Format: ebook/ 78 pages
How I got it: The author for exchange for an honest review
Buy it: Amazon 
My rating: 4/5 


Demigods were meant to be the heroes of Olympus. . . 

Xan was trained by his father Ares to be ruthless and lethal. As a kynigόs, he spends his time hunting monsters that prey on naïve mortals and foolish demigods. When the arrogant sons of Apollo tag along on a routine assignment, an easy kill turns deadly.

Forced to recuperate at a conservatory, Xan is surrounded by the abuse and selfishness of the resident demigods. All he wants is to escape.

Xan may be the son of the god of war, but his fighting skills are no match for the destiny the Fates have woven for him. 

Son of War is a blend of teen fantasy and Greek mythology set in the modern world. Perfect for readers who love the adventure of Percy Jackson with a dash of romance. This story is a companion to The Sphinx series, but can be enjoyed independent of it.


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Review

This book is a companion story for the Sphinx series.  The book follow Xan the son of Ares as we get a look at what happened in the past and how he came to be at the conservatory.

First, you would need to read the Sphinx series in its entirety to be able to follow along with this book.  The characters that are in this book are in other books and it is about building Xan further up as a character.   Xan who is the son of Ares is a hunter of monsters.  While out on a hunt something goes wrong and a demigod is killed and Xan gets hurt.  When Xan recovers, he finds out he was betrayed by the sons of Apollo and he is being brought up on charges for the death of one of the sons of Apollo.

I love Xan in this series he is such a strong character.  He was a little more mysterious in the beginning of the Sphinx series, but now I feel like I totally understand where he is coming from as a character.  In this book, we get a look at some events in Xan’s life that has shaped who he is today.  The author does a great job giving us background information on Xan as well as showing us how he got to where he is today in the series.  We also get to see why Xan is sometimes distrusting and moody.  We also get bits and pieces of why he feels betrayed by friends for their decisions, which adds to learning more about Xan of the present day.

The author does a great job with the descriptions and setting of this book again.  I love the conservatory and I feel like I know exactly how it looks in my mind when the characters are there.  The author creates very vivid images with her writing.

The story is very easy to follow along and flows so naturally.  This is a short novella and was difficult for me to put down.  I found myself reading this in one sitting.   The book has a lot of action with the reader gaining background information in between the different events.  I love that this book sets up parts of the series that I might not have noticed before and adds in important parts of the timeline.


I would suggest this as a weekend read after you have read the other books in the Sphinx series.  You will most likely fall more for Xan in this book!! I can’t wait for the next book in this series!  

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About the Author
Raye Wagner grew up in Seattle, the second of eight children, and learned to escape chaos through the pages of fiction. As a youth, she read the likes of David Eddings, Leon Uris, and Jane Austen. Inspired by a fictional character, Raye pursued a career in nursing, thinking to help the world one patient at a time.
One summer afternoon, when her then young children were playing in the pool, a plot dropped into her head, and she started writing. 
She enjoys baking, puzzles, Tae Kwon Do, and the sound of waves lapping at the sand. She lives with her husband and three children in Middle Tennessee.

Origin of the Sphinx, a novella detailing the story leading up to the creation of the mythological creature, is her first publication. It is the beginning of the Sphinx series. 

Curse of the Sphinx, the first book in the series, is completed, and set to be released in August 2015.

Author Links:

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

{Blog Tour} Tell Me How This Ends - Victoria De La O (Review & Excerpt)

RITA Nominated TELL ME HOW THIS ENDS Sale Alert!
In TELL ME HOW THIS ENDS Ryan is in love, Jude is in denial, and Lizzie wants both brothers, but by the time the truth comes out everyone is in too deep. No one wants to get hurt, but love and desire have a way of testing even the strongest bonds. Fans of Tamarra Webber and Erin McCarthy will adore this emotional and heartfelt RITA nominated family drama.
Snag it while you can for just $1.99!

Dear Readers,

Years ago a restless, troubled man sprang to life in my head, and he wouldn't leave me alone. He had a younger brother that he loved more than anything in the world, so I sat down and tried to write their story. And it wasn't very good. But these brothers--Jude and Ryan--never left me. A decade later, I realized that, like Frankenstein's monster, they were waiting for me to create their loves. And a few months later, Tell Me How This Ends was born. 
The book is the first in the Tell Me trilogy, which is heartfelt, fun, and sometimes emotional. It was my pleasure to follow Jude, Ryan, and their friends through three books. I'm not going to lie; there were tears when I wrote the final scene.
I am so honored that Tell Me How This Ends has been nominated for a RITA award, but I'm even more humbled by the readers who have taken the time to tell me they love the book. I hope you love it, too.

Synopsis:

2017 RITA® Finalist

Brothers Jude and Ryan McAllister are inseparable. When Jude stepped in to raise Ryan after the death of their mother, it became the two of them against the world. But the scars it left were bone-deep. Then Lizzie Price comes along.

Lizzie hopes Ryan's kindness can help heal her wounds from a toxic relationship. But when she meets Jude, their powerful attraction makes him difficult to resist. The problem is, Lizzie doesn't realize Jude and Ryan are brothers, and they don't know they're falling for the same girl.

By the time the truth comes out, everyone is in too deep. Ryan is in love, Jude is in denial, and Lizzie wants both brothers. All of them agree that no one deserves to get hurt. But love and desire have a way of testing even the strongest bonds.

Download at:
Overdrive → http://bit.ly/2oNMiVi

The Tell Me Series
Tell Me How This Ends
Tell Me Not to Go
Tell Me That You're Mine (coming summer 2017)

Review

This book follows three main characters.  Lizze who is college student studying nursing who then meets Ryan a classmate.  Lizze thinks Ryan is cute and asks him to tutor her so she can get to know him better.  Lizze one night goes out with some friends and meets Jude who keeps her on her toes and challenges her.  Lizze doesn’t know for a small portion of the book that Jude and Ryan are brothers.  Jude practically raised Ryan so they are very close.

Things I loved was the way the author used the multiple POV’a throughout the book.  I find love triangles to be a little difficult of a topic, but the author does a great job switching in between the character’s thoughts to show us a lot more of what is going on.  I never felt like the love triangle was overpowering the book and I never wanted to yell just pick one, it was handled extremely well.  There were other issues going on with the characters that the author took her time to go through.  Also, the author goes back a few minutes when she changes POV so that we get to see the same situation from another POV.  I loved the author’s style of writing and her ability to keep the story moving along.

Lizze is a very interesting character in the book.  We know that something happened in her life to make her move from Utah to CA, but we don’t get the full story until we are a good portion into the book.  I sort of thought it was something worse then what happened, but still it was something awful that she went through.  We can tell that Lizze is very guarded and that she is going to give 100% of her attention into a situation.  I feel that Lizze has a large amount of personal growth during the book and she also comes into the book as more confident than her past.

I go back and forth with Jude and Ryan I wanted to like one more than the other, but in the end, they are both different and bring completely different things to the table.   They each have a lot of rewarding qualities as well as things they need to work on.  I think that Jude is a little hard around the edges, but he has a lot of weight on his shoulders and doesn’t know the right amount of balance.  Ryan seems a little to sheltered from what Jude is holding so he appears to be more carefree.    The author did a great job creating two distinct male leads that don’t overshadow one another.

My biggest downfall with this book is more towards the end and without giving any details away I feel like in a relationship you need to have closure.  I felt like the change in relationships wasn’t discussed enough for me.  I guess I wanted a big blow out and that isn’t what I got.  I felt like there were a lot more emotions going on and I don’t feel they were fully expressed at the end.

I would suggest this as a weekend read or beach read.  The book is easy to follow along with and I got totally lost in the book, which gave me trouble putting it down.  I just wanted to know how it was all going to play out and what was going to happen.  I would want to read this when you have more free time to read. 

I received a copy of this book from Barclay Publicity for the purpose of providing and honest review.  This does not affect my opinion of this book. 

My Rating: 4/5

Excerpt from TELL ME HOW THIS ENDS
Copyright © 2016 
Victoria De La O


I can’t sleep, so I head to the kitchen. I don’t bother to turn on the lights, because the dark doesn’t scare me. Most of the terrifying things in life happen in the daylight.
Ryan must be up, too, because I see light coming from the kitchen. Sometimes we meet like this in the middle of the night and eat a snack. I make the PB&J, and he pours the milk.
There is someone standing at the faucet but it’s not Ryan, and my brain takes an extra couple seconds to compute what I’m seeing. Elizabeth is there, her back turned to me, her face in profile. Her hair is messy and long, and she’s wearing a shirt that comes to midthigh. She turns around and sees me. Her mouth and eyes go wide, but she doesn’t scream, like a silent movie actress.
“What are you doing here?” she asks, which doesn’t make sense to me at first. Then I see she’s wearing Ryan’s Panic! at the Disco T-shirt. My brain has apparently been dormant for the past two minutes, because suddenly, it chugs to life. My synapses fire, and I make connections, and I know that this is the girl my brother has just fucked, and even worse, has fallen for.
I can’t help it: I start to laugh. I laugh so hard that my eyes water, and I slide against the cabinets to the floor. She walks around the counter and stands in front of me. I stare at her legs, which are long and smooth. She crouches down, pulling her—Ryan’s—T-shirt down so I don’t see anything essential on the way.
“Stop it,” she says, looking at me like I’m crazy.
“Guess it’s going well with college boy,” I say, taking in her bedhead. “You definitely picked the better brother.”
“Oh, my God,” She covers her mouth, and I feel like a bully, but I can’t care.

Praise for TELL ME HOW THIS ENDS:

"...readers will be so invested in these protagonists that they'll keep flipping through the pages to see how everything turns out."Library Journal

“If you have not discovered Victoria De La O, stop what you are reading and go read Tell Me How This Ends! If you are an Abbi Glines fan, you will love Victoria De La O’s writing.”—My Girlfriend’s Couch Blog

“Tell Me How This Ends is one of my favorite books ever—I was totally engrossed in the love triangle between brothers Ryan and Jude and sweet Lizzie.”—Siobhan Davis, Amazon Bestselling Author

About Victoria De La O:
Victoria De La O is the award-winning and RITA®-nominated author of the Tell Me romance trilogy, including Tell Me How This Ends. A native of California’s Silicon Valley, she spends time hanging out with her family, arguing about films, and partaking in chicanery.

She also enjoys writing about women’s issues, practicing Wonder Woman spins, and talking to readers, so hit her up on Facebook or Twitter.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Dream Reading Nook

What would your dream reading nook look like? 

I have seen tons of ideas on Pintrest and couldn't help but want to redesign my reading space.   I am very lucky we have an extra room that we use a little bit for storage, but it is pretty open still so I can buy some new furniture!  
I got my inspiration for my redesign below from Arhaus.

My main piece for my reading nook has to be a comfortable chair.  We have very large windows in my extra room so tons of natural light is coming in.  It is easy to just want to sit in the room all day so the chair must be comfortable.  I have recently been in more of the chaise style chair so you can be laying down while reading! 
Image result for SPINNAKER OUTDOOR 56" SLIPCOVERED CHAISE IN SAIL SAILOR

My second key piece to my reading nook is lighting.  The room has a lot of natural light coming in from the windows, but sometimes I read into the late afternoon and it gets a little darker.  I love floor lamps! I have fans in every room and sometime feel they are to bright or just not personal.  So I also have floor lamps in every room.  I found this lamp online and love it! I just love the unique base and also it gives light at the top and bottom.
Eiffel Tower 18" Iron Floor Lamp in Distressed Bronze

My third key piece is the throw for the chaise! I am constantly cold and looking for blankets to snuggle up in while reading.  I have tons of blankets on each of our couches currently! I saw this one and it just looks like the most comfortable blanket in the world:
Image result for Rollover Image to Zoom Luxe Ivory Faux Fur Throw Luxe Ivory Faux Fur Throw Luxe Ivory Faux Fur Throw Luxe Ivory Faux Fur Throw LUXE IVORY FAUX FUR THROW

My room would not be complete without a very large shaggy rug to step on once you finish your day of marathon reading! 
Image result for MARCIANO GREY 8' X 10' SHAG RUG


Now book storage.  I need a lot of this since as most people do I have tons of books.  I keep piles in my bedroom, I have a few bookcases, I always have a book with me.

I just saw this bookcase online and love it!! (I think it is probably just the ladder drawing me in, but I want it!)  I also really like that it has pull out drawers sometimes I enjoy leaving my next reads out, while leaving my shelves organized. 
Athens Library in Cigar Brown

I also need to have a stand that I can easily access when laying down reading.  Sometimes I am not sure exactly what I am in the mood to read so I always like to have a spare book or a few lined up to read.  I have two of these already at home and highly recommend them since they are so portable table!!! 
Palmer Serving End Table In Natural Oak

Although it might be a hard decision since I sort of love this idea of a holder for the books.  We have cats and they LOVE to knock things off the table.
Image result for ZAINE 21" POLISHED BRASS OTTOMAN WITH HICKORY WOOD TOP

Now onto the hardest part of this redesign convincing my husband we should redo this room!! 

Monday, April 24, 2017

This Is Where It Ends - Marieke Nijkamp (Review)

24529123This Is Where It Ends by 
Genres: Young Adult Fiction
Publication date: January 5th 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Format: hardcover,
How I got it: My public Library
Buy it: Amazon Barnes & Noble
My rating: 4/5 


10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won't open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

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My thoughts:

I had read a lot of reviews about this book before I read it.  I struggle with books that deal with very tough topics that aren’t handled well.  I wanted a lot from this book since I read so many powerful thoughts on it.

This book met all my expectations.   The author took a very hard topic of a school shooting and handled it very well.  We get to consider four major characters POV and how they got into the school that day as well as how they know the shooter.  Each of the characters has their own perspective of how they got to the situation they are in on this day and how to survive what is going on.

For some reason this book didn’t come across as very emotional to me I was never overwhelmed and felt like I needed to sit in a corner and cry (which is kind of how I thought this was going to go).  I felt like the author was hitting us more with past thoughts and giving us a play by play without getting drowned with too many emotions going on.  The characters involved where giving us their thoughts, but they were digging into the past to figure out how we got to where they are now.   The author does a great job almost creating a story within a story.  We get a solid look at the past, which lead everyone to where they are today.  I also think the author didn’t go into too much vivid details, which I personally liked about this book.  It wasn’t so much about what was going on exactly, but more about each character.

The author also took some other difficult topics of loss of a loved one and added this into this book without missing a beat.  We also get a look at one character helping a person who is losing their memory, which to me is one of the hardest things to experience. The backgrounds that the author gave each student was so diverse and added to the reading of this book.  I just wanted everyone to make it out safely and while reading I didn’t know if that was going to happen or how the story was going to unfold.

I guess my one complaint would have been I would have loved more in the ending.   Going back to a point I made before the book wasn’t overly emotional in my mind, so many the ending was the best way to tie it up without everyone losing it.   I do wish I got more of what happened to each character in the after I could even see a whole book being about the after effects of this shooting.


I would suggest this as a weekend read.  I needed a lot of time to process this book.  It was a fast read and kept my attention the entire time.   The author does a great job keeping the story flowing so that the time in the book and the time you are reading sort of flies by. 

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About the Author



Marieke Nijkamp a storyteller, dreamer, globe-trotter, and diversity advocate. She holds degrees in philosophy, history, and medieval studies. 

Her debut YA novel THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS will be out from Sourcebooks Fire in 2016.

Author Links:
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Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Fill-In Boyfriend - Kasie West (Review)

18660447The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Romance, Contemporary 
Publication date:  May 5th 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: paperback, 343 pages
How I got it: My public library
Buy it: Amazon Barnes & Noble
My rating: 4/5 
 

When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she'd been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it's not the real Bradley she's thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn't even know. But tracking him down doesn't mean they're done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend's graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.
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My thoughts:
To continue with my love of Kasie West books I moved onto The Fill-In Boyfriend.  This book follows Gia as she is dumped in the parking lot before her prom.   Hayden who just dropped off his sister for prom happens to still be there sitting in his car and becomes fill-in Bradley for the prom.   Several issues arise from this one fake date, but my favorite is maybe one fake date wasn’t enough for Gia.

Things I loved in the book was the character development that the author did.  Gia went from being one person to an entirely different person by the end of the book.  Gia took a close look at her life, friendships, family, and relationships and evaluated what was important to her.  Gia could see that she might not be as happy as she was acting and she needed to evaluate decisions she was making, but she was also a little afraid to rock the boat.  I loved how the author exposed these deep issues that Gia was having and could walk her thru making things better.   Gia also didn’t realize that her family lead her down the path of putting on a happy face.  I enjoyed how Gia wanted to work on fixing her family as well during the book.

Hayden is such a great male lead in this book.  We first meet him as the fill-in Bradley and he takes that role in stride and performs to the best of his abilities.   Hayden has his own ex-girlfriend that he is trying to get back with in the beginning of the book, but she had done him wrong by dating his best friend.   Hayden also brings his family to the table in this book and they are great to read about.  I love how his family is so close and can talk about anything with each other.  I love the family dynamic that the author created with Hayden.

I love that the author included the mean girl idea.  Gia was realizing how she was hurting other people with her group of friends, but she didn’t see it at first it was like an onion slowly peeling back the layers.  I like that she gave examples of flash backs as well so that we can see where Gia felt like she went wrong.

The author did a great job creating the romance between Gia and Hayden.  It was so back and forth between the two of them and they just weren’t saying how they truly felt.  I feel like the back and forth worked for these two.  We got to see the characters put it on the line and mature into different people.

My one issue was at some points in the book Gia just became too much.  I wanted to shake her and be like get it together.  I felt like she just needed to learn how to speak up for herself with her friends.  She was so afraid of letting anyone down she wasn’t being herself.  It was a little challenging for me to read parts about Gia when she was making the same mistakes, but I also find it refreshing when I am so invested in a character I want them to make the right decisions.


I would suggest this as a nighttime read.  It was a perfect book to read before bed.  The story was very nicely paced that there were natural stopping points and you could put the book down, but not lose your place. 

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About the Author



I write YA. I eat Junior Mints. Sometimes I go crazy and do both at the same time. My novels are: PIVOT POINT and its sequel SPLIT SECOND. And my contemporary novels: THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, ON THE FENCE, THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND, PS I LIKE YOU, and BY YOUR SIDE. My agent is the talented and funny Michelle Wolfson.


Author Links:
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A Kiss At Christmastide - Christina McKnight (Review)

A Kiss At Christmastide  by Christina McKnight Serie s:  Connected by a Kiss #1 Genres:  Historical, Romance Publication date:   November ...