Monday, July 6, 2015

Review: Swerve by Vicki Pettersson

Blurb from Goodreads:
It’s high summer in the Mojave Desert, and Kristine Rush and her fiancĂ©, Daniel, are en route from Las Vegas to Lake Arrowhead, California, for the July Fourth holiday weekend. But when Daniel is abducted from a desolate rest stop, Kristine is forced to choose: return home unharmed, but never to see her fiancĂ© again, or plunge forward into the searing desert to find him…where a killer lies in wait. 
My Review:
Despite being from a fairly unpopulated state, it's amazing how often places in it are used as settings in books I read.  And yet, usually something in the description of a place I know so well is off, sometimes ruining an entire book for me.  I try to move past the inaccuracy and often fail.  That being said, the vast majority of Swerve weaves through and over places I know well, intimately even, and every description I read immediately took me back to those places -- the feel, the smell, the very nature of the place.  But, even if you didn't know these places, if you had never been to a single one, you will feel them, and be transported to every moment Kristine is in that place, reading this book.  

The descriptions, the pushing story, the thrill of not knowing what will happen next and being terrified to find out -- I was amazing by all of this when reading this book.  There were portions that I could. not. put. down.  This is the first book I've read by Vicki Pettersson but it will not be the last!  I highly recommend this book to fans of thrillers and recent favorites like The Girl on A Train, Marrow, and Gone Girl -- there is that same (better, here, in my opinion) twisted anticipation and, without spoiling anything, Kristine is a great narrator in this book -- a true fighter.

Swerve comes out tomorrow, July 7, 2015, you can purchase HERE, and I highly, HIGHLY recommend it! 
It's July 3, so the sun is a heat lamp with no off switch, the blacktop road a cast-iron griddle, and any living thing caught between the two is just meat set to singe on high.  I tried to tell Daniel this.  I know this swath of high desert as well as I know his profile.  The Mojave's cracked surface is as familiar to me as the dark mole tucked to the side of his right eyebrow-- his only imperfection, and one I love.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown

 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that you are eagerly anticipating.

Today, I am waiting on:  
Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown!

From Goodreads:
Samantha Donaldson’s family has always done its duty for the British Crown. In the midst of World War I, seventeen-year-old Sam follows in their footsteps, serving her country from the homefront as a Girl Guide and messenger for the intelligence organization MI5. After her father disappears on a diplomatic mission, she continues their studies of languages, high-level mathematics, and complex puzzles and codes, hoping to make him proud.

When Sam is asked to join the famed women’s spy group La Dame Blanche she’s torn—this could be the adventure she’s dreamed of, but how can she abandon her mother, who has already lost a husband to the war? But when her handlers reveal shocking news, Sam realizes there’s no way she can refuse the exciting and dangerous opportunity.

Her acceptance leads her straight into the heart of enemy territory on a mission to extract the most valuable British spy embedded in Germany, known to the members of LDB only as Velvet. Deep undercover within the court of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Samantha must navigate the labyrinthine palace and its many glamorous—and secretive—residents to complete her assignment. To make matters worse she finds herself forming a forbidden attraction to the enemy-a dangerously handsome German guard. In a place where personal politics are treacherously entangled in wartime policy, can Samantha discover the truth and find Velvet before it’s too late…for them both?

From author Teri Brown comes the thrilling story of one girl’s journey into a deadly world of spycraft and betrayal—with unforgettable consequences.
I LOVE THIS COVER!  Something about it is so chic -- but then I read the GR summary and I knew I had to read about this teenage spy!  Velvet Undercover is scheduled for release on October 20, 2015 and you can pre-order here!!

What books are you waiting on this Wednesday??

Monday, June 29, 2015

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the fab ladies at The Broke and the Bookish!

What are the best books you've read so far this year?  
I have to give a shout-out to Rachel @ Waves of Fiction for recommending The Others series by Anne Bishop to me on my Rec' Me Something Good post last week.  I've only read the first book so far (above) but I am hooked!!

Review: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

Blurb from Goodreads:
Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.
My Review:
It really is my own fault for reading The Geography of You and Me when I really didn't like the only other book I've read by this author, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.  I've seen so many reviews raving about books by this author that I figured not liking one of her books was a total fluke and, so, I read this one.  And I feel like the two of these books are nearly identical?!  Both books are based upon longing, pining, and unrealistic expectations after the two characters spend less than 24 hours together.  

One thing I will state is that the writing is good in this book.  That wasn't my problem with the book.  My problem is that I felt NOTHING while reading this book -- I didn't care about the narrators -- they seemed whiny, immature and just totally out of touch with reality.  And, I was bored.  Really, really bored.  I base my reviews on the feeling I have when I finish a book and whether I keep thinking about the book when I finish.  When I finished this book?  I felt nothing but relief.  I am sure there are tons of readers out there that will disagree with me and for whom this book will be a favorite. I'm just not one of those.
If you were to draw a map of the two of them, of where they started out and where they would both end up, the lines would be shooting away from each other like magnets spun around on their poles.  And it occurred to Owen that there was something deeply flawed about this, that there should be circles or angles or turns, anything that might make it possible for the two lines to meet again.  Instead, they were both headed in the exact opposite directions.  The map was as good as a door swinging shut.  And the geography of the thing -- the geography of them -- was completely and hopelessly wrong.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Drowning Is Inevitable by Shalanda Stanley

 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that you are eagerly anticipating.

Today, I am waiting on:  
Drowning Is Inevitable by Shalanda Stanley!

From Goodreads:
"A literary knockout with the loudest of beating hearts." 
John Corey Whaley, Printz Award winner of Where Things Come Back

Olivia has spent her whole life struggling to escape her dead mother’s shadow. But when her father can’t even look at her because Olivia reminds him of her mother, and her grandmother mistakenly calls her “Lillian,”  shaking a reputation she didn’t ask for is next to impossible. Olivia is used to leaning on her best friend, Jamie; her handsome but hot-tempered boyfriend, Max; and their wild-child friend, Maggie, for the reality check that her small Louisiana town can’t provide. But when a terrible fight between Jamie and his father turns deadly, all Olivia can think to do is grab her friends and run. 

In a flash, Olivia, Jamie, Max, and Maggie become fugitives on the back roads of Louisiana. They’re headed to New Orleans, where they hope to find a solution to an unfixable problem. But with their faces displayed on all the news stations, their journey becomes a harrowing game of hide-and-seek from the police—and so-called allies, who just might be the real enemy.

Shalanda Stanley’s breathtaking debut novel explores the deep ties between legacy, loyalty, and love, even as it asks the question: How far would you go to save a friend?
I typically don't go for heart-wrenching, super emotional books but something about the potential thriller aspect of this one coupled with the New Orleans road-trip and I am sold!  Drowning is Inevitable is scheduled for release on September 8, 2015 and you can pre-order here!!

What books are you waiting on this Wednesday?? Also, pretty, pretty please check out my Rec' Me Something Good post from yesterday and recommend something to me!

Rec' Me Something Good! (1)

So last week one of my absolute favorite bloggers, Nereyda at Mostly YA Obsessed, posted her first Rec Me Something Good, in which she asked for recommendations for fun (i.e. no drama) NA reads.  The idea is simple but perfect -- you describe the type of book you're in the mood to read (based on genre, author, etc.) as well as books you've previously read and enjoyed (or not enjoyed) in that genre, etc. and let your readers recommend something they think you will like based on the category!  I have been in the mood for something specific so I am (with permission) stealing this idea from Nereyda so you can recommend something good to me today!

What I’m looking for:

I am in the mood to start a series in which the characters do not get together in the span of one book -- so, a true series not the new "series" that everyone seems to be writing that are truly just a string of books about every character under the sun from the first book (I'm looking at you Abbi Glines).  I'm thinking of my all time favorites -- The Love Me With Lies series by Tarryn Fisher and the Georgina Kincaid series by Richelle Mead.  It can be YA, NA or adult and any genre (truly) as long as it's a good story where HEA doesn't come easily (or maybe at all) and definitely not in the span of one book.  I've read (and semi enjoyed) the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning and the first four books in the Outlander series so it could definitely be in those veins although neither of those series were favorites of mine.  The Just One Day series by Gayle Forman and the Brenna Blixen series by Liz Reinhardt are also great examples of  YA/NA series that fits this description.

What I’m avoiding:

I prefer not to read love triangles unless they are really well executed and with purpose (think the opposite of The Dark Elements series by JLA) not just to string the series along in an artificial way.

Any Recs?

Help Me Out, I'm desperate!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: That Chesapeake Summer (Chesapeake Diaries #9) by Mariah Stewart

Blurb from Goodreads:
Jamie Valentine is the wildly successful author of self-help books advocating transparency in every relationship. But when her widowed mother passes away unexpectedly, Jamie discovers her own life has been based on a lie. Angry and deeply betrayed, she sets out to find the truth—which may be in a small town on the Chesapeake Bay. Cutting her most recent book tour short, Jamie books a room at the Inn at Sinclair’s Point, just outside St. Dennis.

The death of Daniel Sinclair’s father forced him to take over the family inn, and his wife’s death left him a single parent of two children, so there’s little room for anything else in his life. His lovely new guest is intriguing, though, and he’s curious about the secret she’s clearly hiding. But in the end, Jamie and Dan could discover the greatest truth of all: that the search for one thing just might lead to the find of a lifetime—if you keep your heart open. 
My Review:
I don't have any real complaints about this book -- it was just as it described,  a summer read set in St. Dennis, a fictional town in Maryland set on the Chesapeake Bay.  I liked Jamie (although she was a big emotional at times) and I really liked Dan -- they were good together, if not especially explosive.  This was a quick read but it was not very memorable -- I liked the setting and I want to visit the Inn (if only it were real) but I don't think this one is a book I will re-read or to which I will feel any lasting attachment.  One further note -- this is not a true series in that you don't have to read previous books to read this one.  I personally hadn't read any books prior in this series before reading this one and I was fine -- although this book did make me want to read the previous books about some of the characters in this one! 

I would recommend this to anyone that likes light beach reads; while I prefer Elin Hilderbrand and Nancy Thayer (love Nantucket), this book is in that same vein albeit set in Maryland.  That Chesapeake Summer comes out tomorrow, June 23, 2015, and you can purchase HERE!  
"Maybe this is going to sound strange to you, but when I saw you walk into the lobby that first day, I knew you were going to be someone special to me.  That you were going to matter to me.  I'm not saying love at first sight -- which I never believe in -- but it was like a light went on inside me.  I tried to pretend otherwise, but I knew.  I didn't want it to be true, but I knew."  
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