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Monday, November 30, 2015

Review: Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom



Blurb from Goodreads:
The Rules: 

Don't deceive me. Ever. Especially using my blindness. Especially in public.

Don't help me unless I ask. Otherwise you're just getting in my way or bothering me.

Don't be weird. Seriously, other than having my eyes closed all the time, I'm just like you only smarter. 

Parker Grant doesn't need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That's why she created the Rules: Don't treat her any differently just because she's blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.

When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there's only one way to react-shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that's right, her eyes don't work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn't cried since her dad's death three months ago. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened--both with Scott, and her dad--the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.

My Review:
The first thing I have to say about this book is that it is very well written -- it did a really good job of helping to understand and imagining being blind.  So many things that you would never think about were explained incredibly well.  Unfortunately, however, for me there was just too much tragedy and the MC was a bit hard to like.  I can understand Parker's anger after all of the loss that she experienced (which I still think seemed a bit over the top) but I still had a hard time connecting with her.  This could be me projecting but something always seems a bit off to me when reading a male author writing a female MC.  The one thing was amazing in this book were the friendships -- Parker is so lucky to have the friendships she has and it was almost unbelievable how amazing her friends were.  I also liked the ending -- nothing too grandiose.

I would recommend this to fans of contemporary YA.  I was reminded a bit of The Summer of Chasing Mermaids (tough as nails female MC) while reading this one, although not as lyrical. Not If I See You First comes out tomorrow, December 1, 2015, and you can purchase HERE!  
"See you tomorrow," Scott says.  "Unless you see me first."   
The room is quiet enough now that I hear him walk away and out the door.   
See you tomorrow . . . . unless you see me first.   
That's what Scott used to say to me instead of goodbye, for years.  For four whole years.  A part of me remembers the warmth I used to feel when he said it, a warmth like no other.   
My heart pounds in my chest and in my ears.   

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Two Summers by Aimee Friedman

 "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:  
Two Summers by Aimee Friedman



From Goodreads:
ONE SUMMER in the French countryside, among sun-kissed fields of lavender . . . 

ANOTHER SUMMER in upstate New York, along familiar roads that lead to surprises . . . 

When Summer Everett makes a split-second decision, her summer divides into two parallel worlds. In one, she travels to France, where she’s dreamed of going: a land of chocolate croissants, handsome boys, and art museums. In the other, she remains home, in her ordinary suburb, where she expects her ordinary life to continue — but nothing is as it seems.

In both summers, she will fall in love and discover new sides of herself. What may break her, though, is a terrible family secret, one she can't hide from anywhere. In the end, it may just be the truth she needs the most.

From New York Times bestselling author Aimee Friedman comes an irresistible, inventive novel that takes readers around the world and back again, and asks us what matters more: the journey or the destination.
This sounds so good!  Two Summers is scheduled for release on April 26, 2016, and I can't wait!

What books are you waiting on this Wednesday??  Also, please enter my giveaway for three books by Autumn Doughton and Erica Cope HERE!


Mini Reviews: Hot Toy by Jennifer Crusie and Saving Grace by Kristen Proby



Blurb from Goodreads:
Mayhem ensues under the mistletoe as a determined shopper grabs the very last hot toy action figure off the shelf, only to find herself plunged into the middle of a real-life spy game and in the arms of a sexy secret agent...
My Review:
 
I love Jennifer Crusie but this story felt so dated (and it is from 2006).  Maybe if I had first read it back then, I would have liked it more but reading it today just seemed kind of sad.  While I do typically enjoy Crusie's references to pop culture in her book and her female friendships (in this story, it's sisters), the surprise spy game just seemed odd.  This was a cute idea about the lengths we go to make our children's Christmas over the top but  the spy aspect seemed poorly planned a bit confusing in its reveal.
She threaded her way through the crowd, heading for the back of the store.  Above her, Madonna cooed "Santa Baby," the ancient store speakers making the carol to sex and greed sound a little tinny.  Whatever had happened to "The Little Drummer Boy"?  That had been annoying, too, but in a traditional way, like fruitcake.  She'd be happy to hear a "rum-pa-pum-pum" again, anything that didn't make Christmas sound like it was about getting stuff.

Saving Grace (Love Under the Big Sky #2.5) by Kristen Proby


Blurb from Goodreads:
Sparks fly like snowflakes when a klutzy but gorgeous novice crosses skis with a hot resort owner in this tempting tie-in to New York Times bestselling author Kristen Proby’s popular Love Under the Big Sky series!

Grace Douglas is on a practice run for her friend Cara Donovan’s bachelorette party ski weekend in Aspen. The problem is, despite living in rugged and picturesque Cunningham Falls, Montana, Grace is the clumsiest person ever born. To prepare for the trip, she is taking lessons at a local ski resort. She just prays that they have an ambulance on standby.

Sexy hotelier Jacob Baxter is ready to play ski instructor, but he quickly discovers that the best place on the mountain for Grace is in the lodge with a hot toddy. Her sense of humor and easy laugh quickly pull him in, and soon he’s determined to help her get off the bunny slope for a fun vacation with her friends. He just didn’t expect their steamy chemistry to trigger an avalanche of desire straight to his heart.
My Review:
  
Oh man, this was really, really bad.  I was rolling my eyes the entire time, and I think at some point I posted a GR status that said something to the effect of "Good thing this is short since it is pretty terrible."  The best thing I can say about this one is that it was short.  While I really liked the first book in this series, I didn't finish the second book and didn't really like the third book.  That being said, this story of insta-love of some of the background characters was definitely not necessary.  The Montana setting has such potential but this one was just so cliche (billionaire ski resort owner hides his true identity to just randomly give ski lessons to a woman he sees in the lodge . . . hi-jinx and insta-love ensue including ridiculous extravagance and an epilogue with a proposal).
"What are your plans for the rest of the evening?" he asks.  
"Yoga pants and a Lifetime movie," I reply.  
"Can I talk you into doing those things in my suite?"

Monday, November 23, 2015

Review: Copygirl by Anna Mitchael and Michelle Sassa



Blurb from Goodreads:
Mad Men meets The Devil Wears Prada in this lively debut about a young woman working at the hippest ad agency in New York...

So. You want to work in advertising. The glitz, the glamour, the cocktail-fueled brainstorming sessions and Xbox breaks. Sounds like a dream job, right?

Wrong. The reality can be a nightmare. There are five simple rules for succeeding in the ad world—and I think I’ve already broken every single one…

1) Never let them see you cry. Even if your best friend breaks your heart. And posts it all over social media.

2) Be one of the boys. And, if you were born with the wrong equipment, flaunt what you've got to distract them while you get ahead.

3) Come up with the perfect pitch in an instant—or have your resumé ready to go at all times.

4) Trust no one. Seriously. If you don't watch your back, they'll steal your ideas, your pride, even your stapler.

5) Most importantly, don’t ever, under any circumstances, be a CopyGirl.

Trust me. I know… 
My Review:
 
Copygirl definitely was not one of my favorites.  Maybe it's the current world situation but this book screamed #FirstWorldProblems.  No one in the book was likeable and then it took a weird twist and focused on the MC, Kay, making wax dolls that she then filmed for a blog that became a hit sensation.  Maybe it's me but I was so bored/skipped the parts where she described all of the minute details and actions by the wax dolls (e.g.: then I raised her arm up) in her videos.  They were supposed to be uproariously funny but they just . . . weren't. I think there was also a problem with e-ARC formatting that totally distracted me because the formatting lacked paragraph and section breaks resulting in one scene would melt into the next and I had to pause and re-read/try to decipher what was happening many, many time. 

I can't say that I would recommend this to anyone but others may like it.  Books such as The Devil Wears Prada, The Nanny Diaries or Four Blondes are, for me, better books about being young and trying to break through the rich life in NYC.  There are definitely some Mad Men-esque scenes but they feel outdated even though they are supposed to be current.  Copygirl came out last month.
Kell starts cracking up.  I can't see her but I know how she looks when she laughs.  Your best friend's laugh is like your favorite pair of shoes that you could slide into with your eyes closed-- there's nothing more comfortable in the whole world.  I'm lucky my best friend laughs a lot.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Review and Giveaway: The Bright Effect by Autumn Doughton and Erica Cope

The Bright Effect by Autumn Doughton and Erica Cope



From Goodreads:
“Maybe promises are supposed to hurt a little.”

Amelia Bright has lots of plans for the future, and none of them involve falling for a guy like Sebastian Holbrook. With a questionable reputation and an attitude to match, he’s exactly the kind of guy Amelia promised herself she’d avoid. But after an encounter that leaves her charged and breathless, she can’t stop wondering about him and the secrets he keeps hidden behind that tough exterior. 

Sebastian knows first-hand that every single choice has a consequence and how a fragile promise can shape a life. Now that his mother is gone and he’s raising his little brother on his own, he’s all but given up on a future for himself. Struggling to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads, Sebastian doesn’t have time for games or girls. So why can’t he shake thoughts of beautiful, smart Amelia Bright from his mind? 
My Review:
 


Autumn Doughton and Erica Cope do it again!  I'm not sure how they write such good YA but it's refreshing during these days when NA has taken a bit of a dive.  And, for the first time in a long time, I can easily say that I loved Sebastian even more than Amelia -- he was so good! I have found male MCs in dual POV YA and NA contemporary novels lacking this past year but not so in this book! I also have to say that another first in a long time came as I read this one -- I LOVED LOVED LOVED the ending.  It has been a long time since I read an ending that wasn't too neat or too HEA.  This one was so real, so good -- pretty much haven't felt that way since I read Thief.  I would definitely recommend this one to fans of YA contemporary, along with everything else Autumn Doughton has written!

I loved this book, and I have loved all of Autumn Doughton's books!  I also loved the dual POV in this book and the addition of Erica Cope, just like Steering the Stars!  The Bright Effect came out this week, and I cannot recommend these authors enough—that's why I'm giving away three books below!
"I guess this whole night isn't what you thought it would be when you put a suit on and came to pick me up, is it?"   
He smiles as if to himself.  "Nope.  It's better."   
I purse my lips.  "Better?  Which part did you like the most—when you had to wrestle my sister's boyfriend to the ground or when I made you leave Homecoming early?  Or—ooh, I know—it was when I kept you from your best friend's concert, wasn't it?"   
"Amelia, I'm sitting here with the best view in all of Green Cove and I promise you that Seth will have other shows," he says.  "And you have got to already know that I never cared about the dance."   
"I thought you wanted to eat cookies," I joke even though his expression is serious.   
He looks at me.  Just looks and I could swear that there is something in that look.  Something bigger than what I'm grasping.   
"I never gave a lick about cookies," he says quietly, his chiseled features stern in the shadowed moonlight.  "I only wanted a claim on that time.  With you."
ENTER TO WIN!!!!!!


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Score (Off-Campus #3) by Elle Kennedy

 "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:  
The Score (Off-Campus #3) by Elle Kennedy



From Goodreads:
Allie Hayes is in crisis mode. With graduation looming, she still doesn’t have the first clue about what she's going to do after college. To make matters worse, she’s nursing a broken heart thanks to the end of her longtime relationship. Wild rebound sex is definitely not the solution to her problems, but gorgeous hockey star Dean Di-Laurentis is impossible to resist. Just once, though, because even if her future is uncertain, it sure as heck won’t include the king of one-night stands. 

It’ll take more than flashy moves to win her over

Dean always gets what he wants. Girls, grades, girls, recognition, girls…he’s a ladies man, all right, and he’s yet to meet a woman who’s immune to his charms. Until Allie. For one night, the feisty blonde rocked his entire world—and now she wants to be friends? Nope. It’s not over until he says it’s over. Dean is in full-on pursuit, but when life-rocking changes strike, he starts to wonder if maybe it’s time to stop focusing on scoring…and shoot for love. 
The Deal is still one of my favorite reads of this year and I have become a serious Elle Kennedy fan since I read it!  This series is such a good NA series! The Score is scheduled for release on January 11, 2016!!

What books are you waiting on this Wednesday??


Monday, November 16, 2015

Top Ten Quotes I Loved From Books I Read In The Past Year Or So


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



1.  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.
2.  "You're right, Jottie, but what good is it? Rightness is nothing. You can't live on it. You might as well eat ashes." I glanced at Father, his bloodshot eyes and the stain on his pants. I loved him so. Once more, I tried to explain. "This is all we can do; it's all we're allowed. We can't go back. The only thing time leaves for us to decide" -- I picked up Father's hand and held it tight-- "is whether or not we're going to hate each other."
3.  I wanted to be her north star. I wanted to be her map. I wanted to drink coffee with her in the cafes in the morning and do things, as you do, as she did, instead of just philosophizing about them and deconstructing their endless Russian-doll layers of meaning. I was alone before I met her. I wanted to disappear with her, and fold her into my life. I wanted to be her compass. I wanted to be her last speaker, her interpreter, her language. I wanted to be her translator, Zed, but none of the languages we knew were the same.


4.  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 just 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. 
5.  Nothing is better than the discovery of another living, breathing human, who fights the same as you do, loves the same as you do, and understands you with such clarity that it feels erotic.
6.  "If you are honest with yourself," I said to the potato salad, "is the feeling of love really any better than the satisfaction you get from a good meal?"


7.  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.
8.  Your voice isn't noise. It's a song I want to hear over and over.
9.  She'd read more than was healthy, hundreds of books every year. Some of them she read twice, or even three times, before returning them. Some of them she would check out again after letting them sink in a while. She'd thought at the time that books were at their best when you'd read them two or three times.
  



10.  No more Internet. No more social media, no more scrolling through litanies of dreams and nervous hopes and photographs of lunches, cries for help and expressions of contentment and relationship-status updates with heart icons whole or broken, plans to meet up later, pleas, complaints, desires, pictures of babies dressed as bears or peppers for Halloween. No more reading and commenting on the lives of others, and in so doing, feeling slightly less alone in the room. No more avatars.

Review: Candidate: A Love Story by Tracy Ewens



Blurb from Goodreads:
If only life were as simple as choosing between Toaster Strudel and Fruit Loops.

Katherine Galloway is two years divorced and still living out of boxes. Between her brothers (cops that work with her ex) and her mother’s constant reminders that her clock is ticking, Kate is trying to hold it all together. But the truth is, she’s eating Toaster Strudel for dinner, and living and breathing her PR career. When it comes to public relations, there’s nothing she can’t handle . . . or at least that’s what she thinks. 

Grady Malendar, the only son of United States Senator Patrick Malendar, has a reputation as a playboy who likes to have a little too much fun. The senator is running for re-election and needs Grady’s help with the youth vote. But what they want is a new and improved, headline-free Grady, so they hire a PR firm. Grady is willing to participate in the dog and pony show to help his father win, but there are some things about Grady’s life he wants to keep hidden. Especially from his snoopy new PR “babysitter,” Kate Galloway.

Somewhere between campaign stops and fundraisers, Kate and Grady discover that neither of them are what they appear to be on the surface. Tensions between them grow until there is no denying they are falling in love behind the scenes of a façade they both need to keep in place. Will scandal, old wounds, and secrets tear them apart, or will Kate and Grady realize, despite appearances, they are both candidates for love?

My Review:
I really, really love political romances but I am a bit picky when it comes to them.  Recently I read Flirting With Scandal and Special Interests, both of which I didn't love.  That being said, Candidate was good! I really, really liked Grady and I loved Grady and Kate together -- this was no insta-love and there was a lot of push-pull without silly drama.  An absence of both is seriously harder than hard to find these days in contemporary romance.  Although the persona of Grady in the beginning of the book -- some sort of womanizing, irresponsible son of a Senator -- felt a bit disingenuous when we learn just how great a guy Grady is, it provided ample reason for Kate to do her job and watch Grady close allowing time for them to get to know each other and for that slow, slow build (which I love!)  The only complaint I have with this one is the end -- it's not that it was unfinished but I felt like there were some loose threads that were dismissed a bit too casually.  That being said, Grady is definitely a solid book boyfriend and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this one.


I would recommend this to fans of political and contemporary romance.  While Mary Whitney is still my favorite (and Off the Record by KA Linde is also awesome!!), I am definitely going to read more books by Tracy Ewens.   Candidate came out earlier this year, and you can purchase HERE!  There are two other books in this "series" but they can each be read alone:  Premiere is the first book, Candidate is the second book, and Taste is the third.

She was supposed to be keeping him together, making him look good, and here she was a total wreck.  At that moment, Kate didn't have the energy to care.  He touched her head, pushed the hair off her face, and she looked up into eyes that held nothing but kindness and sympathy.  The kindness was a surprise, and she hated the sympathy.  She was fine.  Damn it, Kate.  Be fine.   
"I'm fine."   
"Yeah, you are.  Sure you are."   
She put the lid on the water and swiveled back into the car.  Grady closed the door and went back to the driver's seat.   
"You know what you need?"   
"I am truly afraid to ask." 
"Will you just let me take care . . . Can I be in charge for a few hours?"   
"I don't think--"   
"Trust me, there will be ice cream involved."  He smiled very gently.  He was being so careful.   
"Probably not a good idea to eat after I've just--"   
"That was anguish throw up, not food related, so the food rule doesn't apply."  She almost smiled.   
"Excuse me? Did you just say anguish throw up?"   
"I did.  Falls under the reasons we throw up that have nothing to do with alcohol or bad eggs.  Like when I found out Peter's dad killed himself, or the day I cam home early from school and found my father with some woman and they were both on the same side of the desk-- anguish throw up.  So much the body can't handle it, so it yells, 'Everyone out!'"   
Kate stared at him.  There she was, sitting on the side of the road, feeling about as low as she had been in a while, and she could not take her eyes off of him. It had nothing to do with his looks.  He was sharing himself, a piece of his own pain.  It was so honest, and for a moment she forgot everything.  The moments of light he was capable of, when the charm and bullshit slipped away, were brilliant.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Bright Effect by Autumn Doughton and Erica Cope

 "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:  
The Bright Effect by Autumn Doughton and Erica Cope



From Goodreads:
“Maybe promises are supposed to hurt a little.”

Amelia Bright has lots of plans for the future, and none of them involve falling for a guy like Sebastian Holbrook. With a questionable reputation and an attitude to match, he’s exactly the kind of guy Amelia promised herself she’d avoid. But after an encounter that leaves her charged and breathless, she can’t stop wondering about him and the secrets he keeps hidden behind that tough exterior. 

Sebastian knows first-hand that every single choice has a consequence and how a fragile promise can shape a life. Now that his mother is gone and he’s raising his little brother on his own, he’s all but given up on a future for himself. Struggling to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads, Sebastian doesn’t have time for games or girls. So why can’t he shake thoughts of beautiful, smart Amelia Bright from his mind? 

Equally devastating and heartfelt, Amelia and Sebastian’s story of a rare and unexpected connection is one that will stay with you long after the last page is read. Full of wit and tenderness, The Bright Effect is an unforgettable journey of expectations, regrets and discovering just how far love can carry us in the face of heartbreak.
I think that Autumn Doughton is one of the most underrated self-published authors out there and she is one of my favorite authors for both NA and YA (see here and here).  Earlier this year, I read Steering the Stars, which she also co-authored with Erica Cope and it is one of my favorite books from 2015.  So you know I am so excited for their next collaboration!  The Bright Effect is scheduled for release on November 17, 2015, and I can't wait!

What books are you waiting on this Wednesday??


 
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