Monday, August 31, 2015

Review: She's Not There by P.J. Parrish

Blurb from Goodreads:
They say it’s better to battle the devil you know. But what if you don’t recognize him before it’s too late?

She knows her name is Amelia, but after waking up in a hospital battered and bruised with just the clothes on her back, it’s all she knows. Unable to piece together her shattered memory, she’s haunted by a vision: menacing faces and voices implying her nightmare is far from over.

Relying only on her wits and her will to live, Amelia becomes a fugitive from a mysterious man, and a life she can’t even remember. But the past she’s fleeing has no intention of letting her go. 
My Review:
She's Not There was an intriguing mystery/crime thriller although the end of the book left me a bit disappointed.  The first half of the book was seriously good and I read it so fast but as the mystery was revealed, my interest waned.  I am finding this a lot lately with thrillers and I wonder if it's me or if there are just many books being released in this genre after the popularity of Gone Girl and The Girl On The Train that these books are being released without proper editing.  Just a theory I have but I wish the strength of the first half of this book had carried on!

I would recommend this to anyone that likes thriller mysteries along the lines of Gone Girl. I also got a serious Sleeping With The Enemy vibe!  She's Not There is scheduled to be released September 8, 2015, and you can purchase HERE!  
The smell was pungent-- mothballs, dust, dime-store perfume and a faint trace of body odor-- and it was so familiar that Amelia was certain she had surely been inside a thrift store before.  But she couldn't remember, and she was  woman who Chanel dresses, wasn't she?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Instructions for the End of the World by Jamie Kain

 "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:  
Instructions for the End of the World  by Jamie Kain

From Goodreads:
From the author of The Good Sister comes a gripping novel about two sisters who learn that there are things in life—love, loss, and self-discovery—that you simply can't prepare for.

He prepared their family for every natural disaster known to man—except for the one that struck. 

When Nicole Reed’s father forces her family to move to a remote area of the Sierra Foothills, one without any modern conveniences, it's too much too handle for her mother, who abandons them in the middle of the night. Heading out to track her down, Nicole’s father leaves her in charge of taking care of the house and her younger sister, Izzy. For a while, Nicole is doing just fine running things on her own. But then the food begins to run out, the pipes crack, and forest fires start slowly inching their way closer every day. Wolf, a handsome boy from the neighboring community, offers to help her when she needs it most, but when she starts to develop feelings for him, feelings she knows she will never be allowed to act on once her father returns, she must make a decision. With her family falling apart, will she choose to continue preparing for tomorrow’s disasters, or will she take a chance and really start living for today?

Instructions for the End of the World is a gripping, young adult novel that explores family, friendship, and love in the midst of the most difficult and dangerous circumstances. 
I've recently been watching the Walking Dead and this makes me think of what I would do in a similar sort of end of the world situation.  Instructions for the End of the World is scheduled for release on December 8, 2015, and you can pre-order here!!

What books are you waiting on this Wednesday??

Monday, August 24, 2015

Review: Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes by Jules Moulin

Blurb from Goodreads:
When a buttoned-up professor and her unbuttoned daughter fall for the same irresistible man, a delightful, subversive comedy begins. . .

Life isn’t easy for single mother Ally Hughes. Teaching at Brown, her class load is huge and her boss is a menace. At home, she contends with a critical mother, a falling-down house, and a daughter who never misses a beat. Between taking care of the people she loves, teaching full time, and making ends meet, Ally doesn't have time for a man. She doesn’t date. She’s not into flings. But then she meets Jake, an eager student, young in years but old in soul, who challenges his favorite professor to open up her life, and her heart, to love. It doesn't work. In fact, his urging backfires.

Ten years later, Ally's still single. Jake reappears and surprises her in a brand-new role: He's dating Ally's now-grown daughter. In this hilarious, heartrending tale, Ally is finally forced to concede (not only to herself) that an independent, "liberated" woman can still make room in her life for love.
My Review:
Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes did not work for me.  First, the characters were so very one-dimensional and unlikeable.  Second, and this may be part of the e-arc formatting, but the book casually drifted between the past and present without paragraph or chapter breaks.  It was as if the author was just submitting her stream of consciousness outline for final review.  This needed some major editing.  **SPOILER ALERT** I also did not understand how a logical woman could fall for her student in two days and agree to marry him ten years later when he was absurdly famous and they hadn't spent more than 48 hours together, let alone ever done anything in public.  This wasn't romantic to me -- it was delusional.

I can't say that I would recommend this to anyone but others may like it.  Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes comes out tomorrow, August 25, 2015, and you can purchase HERE.
After her first three sexless years, Ally decided that not having sex brought about it sown brand of thrill.  Maybe not widely known or exalted.  In America.  Or anywhere else in the world, for that matter.  But celibacy, chosen or not, was underrated, she decided.  It was.  She was sure.  She was sure that monks knew some kind of joy, a spiritual pleasure, sensual even, that sex-having having people did not understand.  

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Ways to Disappear by Idra Novey

 "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:  
Ways to Disappear by Idra Novey

From Goodreads:
A debut novel about the disappearance of a famous Brazilian novelist and the young translator who turns her life upside down to follow her author's trail. 

Deep in gambling debt, the celebrated Brazilian writer Beatriz Yagoda is last seen holding a suitcase and a cigar and climbing into an almond tree. She abruptly vanishes.

In snowy Pittsburgh, her American translator Emma hears the news and, against the wishes of her boyfriend and Beatriz's two grown children, flies immediately to Brazil. There, in the sticky, sugary heat of Rio, Emma and her author's children conspire to solve the mystery of Yagoda's curious disappearance and staunch the colorful demands of her various outstanding affairs: the rapacious loan shark with a zeal for severing body parts, and the washed-up and disillusioned editor who launched Yagoda's career years earlier.

Idra Novey's exhilarating debut is an international romp: a madcap blend of mystery, romance, noir, and humor. 
Something about this reminds me of my all time favorite, Donna Tartt.  I'm not usually one who discovers debuts but I am excited to read this one!  Ways to Disappear is scheduled for release on February 9, 2016, and you can pre-order here!!

What books are you waiting on this Wednesday??

Monday, August 17, 2015

Review: Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino

Blurb from Goodreads:
From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a love story about a Craigslist “missed connection” post that gives two people a second chance at love fifteen years after they were separated in New York City.

To the Green-eyed Lovebird:

We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.

You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.

We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckley), photography (I couldn’t stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Washington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.

Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding…

I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.

After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?
My Review:
I loved this book!!  To be honest, the first two movements (you'll get why they're called that when you read the book) were amazing (five star) but the big reveal disappointed me a bit.  It's one of those things that can DNF a book for me so it is a testament to the rest of the book that I am still rating this 4 stars!  And I still LOVE LOVE LOVE Grace and Matt!  Seriously, my new OTP.  When they first fell for each other -- it just made my heart burst.  I loved them in college together, so very much.  

I definitely recommend this for anyone that likes second-chance romance -- this is better than most!  I know I will re-read this one with relish.  I also was reminded of one of my favorite bookS of all time, How To Kill a Rock Star by Tiffanie DeBartolo, while reading this book (especially the first two "movements") so you know I couldn't given this book a higher comparison!

Before We Were Strangers comes out tomorrow, August 18, 2015, and you can purchase HERE!
You can't re-create the first time you promise to love someone or the first time you feel loved by another.  You cannot relive the sensation of fear, admiration, self-consciousness, passion, and desire all mixed into one because it never happens twice.  You chase it like the first high for the rest of our life.  It doesn't mean you can't love another or move on; it jus means that one spontaneous moment, the split second you took the leap, when your heart was racing and our mind was muddled with What ifs? -- that moment -- will never happen the same way again.  It will never feel as intense as the first time.  At least, that's the way I remember it.  That's why my mother always said we memorialize our past.  Everything seems better in a memory.  

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Review: No Place to Hide by Susan Lewis

Blurb from Goodreads:
Susan Lewis, the internationally bestselling author of more than thirty novels, delivers her first novel set in the United States! Perfect for readers of Diane Chamberlain, Lewis is a master at evoking the emotional intensity of complex domestic dramas.

Fleeing England from a broken marriage, Justine returns to her grandmother’s hometown on picturesque Lake Maxinkuckee, Indiana. There she hopes for a fresh start, and a chance to heal her broken heart in the pristine lakeside surroundings. But an ocean may not be enough to protect Justine from the devastating secrets that drove her away, and the memories that continue to haunt her new life...  
My Review:
No Place To Hide is a book driven by the Justine (the MC) fleeing  to the U.S. from a deep, dark secret in England.  There were a lot of flashbacks to Justine's former, ideal life interspersed with the tatters of her current life post-secret.  These flashbacks and the first bit of the book were well written and intriguing.  However, once it was finally revealed what this deep, dark secret is, the book was a bit anti-climatic.  I think the secret was built up so much that there was no way it could have been as bad as the it was supposed to be.  Granted, it was not something pleasant and it was shocking, but from the MC's actions, I was expecting something vastly different. It just made no sense to me that she would have taken the actions she took as a result of this secret.  There was also another backstory within her family that had no place in this book as well as a scene at the end when the MC is in a fever dream for a week that was totally confusing and should not have made the final cut.  These small details detracted from the better parts of the book and left me ultimately unsatisfied.

That being said, I would recommend this to anyone that likes mysteries along the lines of Jodi Picoult or Diane Chamberlain.  This book has those same twists and turns but without the exact execution of those authors.  No Place To Hide was just released a few weeks ago, and you can purchase HERE!  
So this was what it was like beyond the corn-silk veil. 
Others called it a curtain, but she preferred veil.  This allowed for a more dreamlike connection between the blue skies and still waters of this hauntingly beautiful town, and the world out there, filled with cornfields, highways, cities, oceans-- the world, the family, she'd left behind. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Marked in Flesh (The Others #4) by Anne Bishop

 "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:  

From Goodreads:
Fourth in the “flawless” (The Reading CafĂ©) New York Times bestselling series from the author of Vision in Silver.

For centuries, the Others and humans have lived side by side in uneasy peace. But when humankind oversteps its bounds, the Others will have to decide how much humanity they’re willing to tolerate—both within themselves and within their community...

Since the Others allied themselves with the cassandra sangue, the fragile yet powerful human blood prophets who were being exploited by their own kind, the delicate dynamic between humans and Others changed. Some, like Simon Wolfgard, wolf shifter and leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn, see the new, closer companionship as beneficial—both personally and practically.

But not everyone is convinced. A group of radical humans is seeking to usurp land through a series of violent attacks on the Others. What they don’t realize is that there are older and more dangerous forces than shifters and vampires protecting the land that belongs to the Others—and those forces are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect what is theirs… 
I am so happy I discovered this series with your help!  I can't wait for the next installment.  Marked in Flesh is scheduled for release on March 8, 2016, and you can pre-order here!!

What books are you waiting on this Wednesday??

Monday, August 10, 2015

Review: A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery

Blurb from Goodreads:
When high school senior Kelsey's identical twin sister, Michelle, dies in a car crash, Kelsey is left without her other half. The only person who doesn't know about the tragedy is Michelle's boyfriend, Peter, recently deployed to Afghanistan. But when Kelsey finally connects with Peter online, she can't bear to tell him the truth. Active duty has taken its toll, and Peter, thinking that Kelsey is Michelle, says that seeing her is the one thing keeping him alive. Caught up in the moment, Kelsey has no choice: She lets Peter believe that she is her sister.

As Kelsey keeps up the act, she crosses the line from pretend to real. Soon, Kelsey can't deny that she's falling, hard, for the one boy she shouldn't want.
My Review:
A Million Miles Away was a very quick YA read with the usual sad event happening in the beginning and spurring the rest of the book.  The writing was fine but I had a hard time liking Kelsey -- the MC and the twin that lives.  I can't imagine the grief one would experience form losing their twin, even if they weren't close, but I also can't imagine anyone, even in the pangs of grief, doing what Kelsey did.  There is a line between temporary insanity and pure deceit and I feel like Kelsey crossed it.  I just feel like there was so much left unexplained about how the characters interacted with each other (especially the family) as well as Kelsey -- she tried to justify her actions but they felt a bit flat.

I would recommend this to most YA contemporary fans -- something about this reminded me of Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg (although I much preferred that book to this one) but not because of similarities in the plot.  I think it's because of the midwestern setting of both books and the passage of time in each.  A Million Miles Away was just released last month, and you can purchase HERE!  
No matter what would happen between them, they were the only two people there who knew each other in that particular way, so far from home.  She couldn't imagine keeping a secret from him.  This should be her chance to make everything right.  This was her chance.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Review: The Paper Swan by Leylah Attar

I'm so excited to be on the blog tour and reviewing The Paper Swan by Leylah Attar.  I loved this book and I am a HUGE fan of this author!  ENTER TO WIN A SIGNED BOOK AND AMAZON GIFTCARD BELOW!!!!!!

Blurb from Leylah:
They say it takes 21 days to form a habit.
They lie.
For 21 days she held on.
But on Day 22, she would have given anything for the sweet slumber of death.
Because on Day 22, she realizes that her only way out means certain death for one of the two men she loves.

A haunting tale of passion, loss, and redemption, The Paper Swan is a darkly intense yet heartwarming love story, textured with grit, intrigue, and suspense. Please note: This is NOT a love triangle.

A full-length, standalone novel, intended for mature audiences due to violence, sex and language. Subject matter may be disturbing for some readers.
My Review:
It's hard to even know where to being in reviewing this book but the blurb is perfect in that it doesn't really tell you anything and I had no idea what to expect when I started reading! But I also don't want to give anything away.  The author is accurate in that this is not a love triangle (YES!) but also that this is not what you think!  What is great is the story and the voice -- I loved the MC and her internal dialogue.  I also loved the flashbacks in the book to the past -- it felt like I was there.  Leylah Attar is so skilled with her descriptions and she really knows how to show and not tell.  Her writing in this book (and in the others I've read by her) is so, so beautiful.  I devoured this book SO quickly and I highly recommend it for a satisfying, fast-paced and gorgeous read!  I will say that the first half of the book was SO good that the ending left me feeling a bit let down but only because there was so much action at the beginning.  

I HIGHLY recommend this book to fans of Tarryn Fisher (my favorite!), The Consequences Series by Aleatha Romig, or The Artists Trilogy by Karina Halle.  I think that same level of darkness and WTFness exists in all these books with moments of tenderness.  I was a huge fan of this author's debut and I am now even more excited to read what she writes next!
It was a kiss that had sneaked in through an open window, a kiss that lay folded in a paper giraffe, in the silences between 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, in the pits of the mini mangoes and here, now, at least, it was set free.  And the rightness of it, the feeling of longing and belonging, made me want to hold on to it forever.  I wanted Damian to keep kissing me, keep kissing, keep kissing, until every other kiss had been erased, until this was the only kiss.

Leylah Attar's THE PAPER SWAN Release Week Giveaway

About Leylah Attar
Leylah Attar writes stories about love - shaken, stirred and served with a twist. When she's not writing, she can be found pursuing her other passions: photography, food, family and travel. Sometimes she disappears into the black hole of the internet, but can usually be enticed out with chocolate.

Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Blurred Lines by Lauren Layne

 "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:  
Blurred Lines by Lauren Layne!

From Goodreads:
In a novel that's perfect for fans of Abbi Glines and Jessica Sorensen, USA Today bestselling author Lauren Layne delivers a sexy take on the timeless question: Can a guy and a girl really be “just friends”?

When Parker Blanton meets Ben Olsen during her freshman year of college, the connection is immediate—and platonic. Six years later, they're still best friends, sharing an apartment in Portland's trendy Northwest District as they happily settle into adult life. But when Parker's boyfriend dumps her out of the blue, she starts to wonder about Ben's no-strings-attached approach to dating. The trouble is, even with Ben as her wingman, Parker can't seem to get the hang of casual sex—until she tries it with him.

The arrangement works perfectly . . . at first. The sex is mind-blowing, and their friendship remains as solid as ever, without any of the usual messy romantic entanglements. But when Parker's ex decides he wants her back, Ben is shocked by a fierce stab of possessiveness. And when Ben starts seeing a girl from work, Parker finds herself plagued by unfamiliar jealousy. With their friendship on the rocks for the first time, Parker and Ben face an alarming truth: Maybe they can't go back. And maybe, deep down, they never want to. 
After reading Nereyda's review, I can't wait for this one!  Blurred Lines is scheduled for release on August 25, 2015, and you can pre-order here!!

What books are you waiting on this Wednesday??

Imagination Designs