Thursday, February 26, 2015

Review: Skinny Me by Charlene Carr

Skinny Me
By: Charlene Carr
Release Date: September 5, 2014
Series: A New Start #1

Description:
Jennifer Carpenter dreams of being a different person – A person with confidence, a person with beauty, a person who weighs a heck of a lot less.
At twenty-seven, her world falls apart. She’s out of work, her mother has died, her estranged brother is in a coma and, despite good qualifications, each and every job interview ends in another rejection. Marked by the teasing, taunts, and fat jokes that defined her childhood, Jennifer blames her current lack of success on her ever-growing waist band.
In need of a change, Jennifer puts her dream of ‘skinny’ above all else. Obsessed with this mission, she devotes her life to becoming the ideal version of herself even if it means becoming alienated from the only people who love her. Determined to lose the weight she believes is ruining her life, Jennifer finds herself in danger of losing so much more.
Review:
This book was intense, but in all the good ways.  It made me feel things I haven’t felt in a long time or didn’t want to feel.  It was the kind of book that made you look twice at yourself and how you judge people, how you treat people and most importantly your self-worth.  Everyone is worth something and the sooner you believe you are worth it, the sooner you will be happy.  I don’t know if that made sense but it did to me, lol.

We meet Jennifer who is obese, as well as her mother.  They both depend on one another that is until her mother passes away in a way that makes Jennifer look twice at herself and the choices she is making in life.  Throw in a father who left her for another family and a brother who doesn’t want anything to do with her and you could just image the thoughts she is having.  One day she finally decides to change her life for the better, to make herself healthier is what she tells other people, but really she has a goal and it’s to be perfect.  With lots of work she finally reaches the goal or almost reaches that goal when the realization hits her.  She’s still not happy.

This is an eye opener for her and for readers as well.  It doesn’t matter what you look like, sure it’s great to be healthy but if you are not happy with yourself in general than you will never be happy with yourself.  She has unresolved issues with the way her mother died and the beliefs she held about her mom, but when she takes a step back new things come to life.  I love the line on her mother’s stone that reads “Blessed is this life.  Celebrate being alive”.  Those are the words that Jennifer needs to believe in.  Celebrate life to the fullest because it’s short and you might as well be happy with yourself before you can be happy with anyone else.

This book made me depressed and motivated and inspired all in one, a hard task to achieve.   Overall it was more inspirational than anything because it helped me to remember to celebrate life, otherwise what is this all for?


Definitely an amazing read and I’m looking forward to picking up the second book in this series and continuing on this families journey through life and discovering their happiness. 

Links


Disclaimer:
I received this book from NetGalley and Coastal Lines, so that I may give my honest opinion and a review. Whether it is good or not please do not let it discourage you from purchasing/reading the book yourself and forming your own opinion. What might be good for me may not be good for you and vice versa. With that said, Happy Reading Everyone!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Review: The Queen by Kiera Cass

The Queen
By: Kiera Cass
Release Date: December 2, 2014
Series: The Selection #0.4

Description:
Before America Singer's story began, another girl came to the palace to compete for the hand of a different prince….
Don't miss this digital original novella set in the captivating world of Kiera Cass's #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series. This prequel story takes place before the events of The Selection and is told from the point of view of Prince Maxon's mother, Amberly. Discover a whole new Selection with this inside look at how Maxon's parents met—and how an ordinary girl named Amberly became a beloved queen.
Review:
I love this world of the Selection and when I saw there were more novella's around I just had to pick it up.  This one is all about Maxon's mother, Amberly.  It was sweet, adorable and so very interesting to see her story of the time when she was in the selection.  Even back then when girls were fighting for the Prince's attention there was drama, not as bad as America's but even still it was a different time and it was fun to explore.

Seeing their relationship grow, and Prince Clarkson's little tests for Amberly were adorable, of course because she passed them.  It was cool to see how different the queen was back then, how much her confidence has bought her and how much they really do care for one another.

Overall it was a great novella, a great insight into Maxon's parents and how they got together and just sweetness all around.  It was very comforting seeing how much they cared for one another.  So happy she had Maxon too, because really then there wouldn't be an America to read about ha. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Review: Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

Never Never
By: Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher
Release Date: January 7, 2015
Series: Never Never #1

Description:
Best friends since they could walk. In love since the age of fourteen. 
Complete strangers since this morning. 
He'll do anything to remember. She'll do anything to forget. 

Review:
This is definitely one of those stories that makes you think.  What really happened, and what is going on?  Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher did a good job of introducing us to these characters who are essentially getting to know one another again.  It was a unique story that I haven’t seen around before or have read anything like it previously.

There is definitely such a thing as short term memory, can we say 51st dates, and hello my name is Tom! Ha. This reminded me of this movie but even more because both of the main characters completely lost their memory and have to relearn everything again.  You have to wonder what it is that happened to them to make them this way, but of course we will not learn that just yet, have to keep you guessing.  I know some may not have liked this book but I definitely did, and I enjoyed the characters because they may have been one way previously but in this new found memory loss they become better people, better siblings and better to one another. 

There are a lot of unanswered questions but I’m willing to wait and find out what happens next to them, especially after that ending, can we say cliffhanger.  Seriously, but that’s what keeps you coming back for me.  It’s like watching a really good show that keeps you intrigued and then when something major is going to happen bam here comes the commercial break.  We haven’t learned much about them as I’d like to know but we are getting there and the story is definitely progressing in the right direction.

Overall this was a unique book with a unique plot that I’m ready to explore.  I’ll throw out some speculations though, just like I do when I’m watching TV, but I swear the “Shrimp” has to know something about this and we definitely need to explore that aspect.  Were they in an accident and that’s why they are in this state?  Why was everything dirty from the previous night?  Something major is going down and I need to know what it is! Great job keeping me at the edge of my seat. 


I like the cover, but I don’t really get it as it seems it’s underwater, does that have something to do with it.  Ugh too many questions!  Of course also what is the never never mean, it almost sounds romantic the two of them.  They definitely belong together. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Review: Raveling You by Jessica Sorensen

Raveling You
By: Jessica Sorensen
Release Date: January 13, 2015
Series: Unraveling You #2

Description:
Ayden Gregory may want to keep running from his nightmares, but he no longer has a choice. His past is catching up with him. And fast. He relies on one person to keep him from crumbling. His best friend Lyric Scott.

Lyric feels helpless watching her best friend’s world turn upside down. But she does her best to remain positive and upbeat. She gets their band their first gig and even with everything going on, her relationship with Ayden starts to heat up.

But when danger enters Ayden’s life again, even Lyric might not be able to help him.
 

Review:
Oh Ms. Sorensen how you keep me on my toes wondering what is going to happen next! I love it, and hate it at the same time! You really have a knack for making me feel for your characters both the main ones and the secondary characters and that is something I enjoy about reading in general, the attachment and the involvement.

We are back with Ayden and Lyric, and they are definitely getting closer but still not fully there, but they are definitely committed to one another.  Their relationship is like that tortured bubbly friendship all rolled into one and ready to explode at any time, but maybe in a good way for the both of them.  We still have glimpses of the old crew, Micah, Lila, Ethan and Ella, which is so cute because they are older now with kids and it’s just an interesting thing to read because you don’t see that too often in books, this kind of continuation.  Regardless this is about Ayden and Lyric.

Lyric gives up on her fear of the stage and they definitely rock out.  Her and Aiden constantly working on song lyrics in their heads, which are so raw and true and I can absolutely hear them being sung in one way or another.  Their bandmates are good too, although I wouldn’t mind finding out a little more about them as well.  Not to mention the siblings, especially Fiona can we get a side book about her, intrigues the hell out of me, like is she psychic.  Any who I’m not going to ruin the book for anyone because I think you need to read it because you too will wonder what really happened to Ayden and his family.  There are some clearly shady people involved in his past, duh, he was kidnapped.  But now there is an interesting tidbit about his sister too, oh the mystery continues.


Oh these two, these friends, this family, what a web we weave of drama and issues but we are so close to finding out what happens and then, yup you’ve guessed it you will have to wait until the next book! Aghhh I need the next book like yesterday so I could just continue reading it. Overall this book was great and interesting, it really makes me want to scream because I just need to know.  Ok enough already, just read the series, it’s worth it.  As are all of Jessica Sorensen’s books. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Review: One of the Guys by Lisa Aldin

One of the Guys
By: Lisa Aldin
Release Date: February 10, 2015

Description:
Tomboy to the core, Toni Valentine understands guys. She'll take horror movies, monster hunts and burping contests over manicures. So Toni is horrified when she's sent to the Winston Academy for Girls, where she has to wear a skirt and learn to be a lady while the guys move on without her.

Then Toni meets Emma Elizabeth, a girl at school with boy troubles, and she volunteers one of her friends as a pretend date. Word spreads of Toni’s connections with boys, and she discovers that her new wealthy female classmates will pay big money for fake dates. Looking for a way to connect her old best friends with her new life at school, Toni and Emma start up Toni Valentine’s Rent-A-Gent Service. 

But the business meets a scandal when Toni falls for one of her friends--the same guy who happens to be the most sought-after date. With everything she's built on the line, Toni has to decide if she wants to save the business and her old life, or let go of being one of the guys for a chance at love.

Review:
I’ve always enjoyed exploring debut authors, and I’m so happy I was able to read this book because it was absolutely adorably charming and addicting.  The characters in this book were well planned out and very real, although I did want to slap the main character across the head, how can she be so clueless, sigh. 

We meet Toni and her three best friends, of course all boys, now this is definitely something that happens more often than not and should be told about because this was a great story and only great things happen between the closest of friends.  So Toni is dead set on keeping the four of them together, especially since it’s their senior year of high school and pretty soon they will all be going off in different directions, but one silly prank changes everything.  She’s sent to a private girl’s school.  She’s separated from the boys and she feels as if they begin to pull away from her.  Stuff happens eventually you will grow apart.

She comes up with this brilliant plan to try and merge her two lives together, the new and the old by making a new company – Rent A Gent.  This of course as you can imagine spells disaster in one form or another, but I will not tell you how as you have to read the book.  The trials and tribulations of these four characters are just very authentic and you can’t help but get involved in their lives.  You want them to succeed as friends but it takes a little push from all sides.  They are all very different but are close and that is what will bind the together always. 

I love the whole Loch and Toni relationship (his name is not really Loch but they have all great nicknames that I just can’t help but use them.  I so want a nickname too.) You can catch glimpses of moments between the two of them but she is just so determined not to be super girlie about it, but then she starts feeling something and can’t help but finally admit what she’s probably felt all along.  Love.  It’s beautiful to see Toni grow and discover her womanhood as she likes to call it.  You see her go from tomboy to a young lady, who has feelings for a boy.  It’s cute and endearing and I loved every minute of it.

The secondary characters are not to be wasted though because they were quite entertaining too, you have Ollie and Cowboy and let’s not forget Emma who helps Toni bring out the womanhood in her.  They all played a major part in this book as well, especially in keeping the business and friendships afloat.  They are all so different but so great together, a really amazing group of friends that I was so sad when the book ended because I really wanted to read more about them all. 


Overall I have to say this debut was a hit, it was a really great book that you have to pick up and read.  It’s all adorable and cute, not to mention a really amazing great quick read.  I really enjoyed it from beginning to end, and oh man did I want them to find the Lochness monster so bad in the lake, you know it’s probably out there laughing at everyone right now lol.  Love this book and can’t wait to see what this author has in store for her next book.  

Disclaimer:
I received this book from NetGalley and Spencer Hill Contemporary, so that I may give my honest opinion and a review. Whether it is good or not please do not let it discourage you from purchasing/reading the book yourself and forming your own opinion. What might be good for me may not be good for you and vice versa. With that said, Happy Reading Everyone!!!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Review: Perfect Couple by Jennifer Echols

Perfect Couple
By: Jennifer Echols
Release Date: January 13, 2015
Series: Superlatives #2

Description:
Perfect Couple is #2 in the Superlatives series about seniors at a Florida high school who are selected for their class's superlative categories in the yearbook, and how the labels change the way they view themselves and alter the course of their lives.

Can your heart be put to a popular vote?

As yearbook photographer, Harper is responsible for capturing those candid moments that make high school memorable. But her own life is anything but picture perfect. Her parents' bitter divorce has left her wondering what a loving relationship would look like. And ever since the senior class voted her and star quarterback Brody the “Perfect Couple That Never Was,” her friends have been on her case to ask Brody out.

Brody doesn’t lack in female admirers, but Harper can't see herself with him. He seems confused about why they were matched together, too. They’re total opposites—the last people in the world who would ever be compatible, let alone the “perfect couple.” Yet ever since the class paired the two of them, they've found themselves drawn together--first by curiosity, then by an undeniable bond.

The trouble is, though they're very attracted to each other and both of them admit this, they have a hard time getting along or even communicating clearly. If they’re the perfect couple, this shouldn't be so difficult! Soon it becomes clear their class was wrong, and they throw in the towel. But after they walk away, both of them feel so changed from making the effort that they can’t forget each other. What if that means this match made in hell is the perfect couple after all?

Review:
Oh how I adore Jennifer Echols and when she writes about adorable teenagers and their adorable lives.  There was not much seriousness in this book but it didn’t matter because really it was just a fun, easy, breezy happy go lucky make you smile kind of read. These are the kinds of books you just need to read sometimes to clear your mind and go to your happy place.

We are back in the world of the Superlatives, and this time we are talking about the Couple that Never was.  It’s an interesting superlative and really made the two people who were voted wonder about the other.  We are talking about the quarterback of the football team Brody and the super artistic and retro dressing Harper.  They couldn’t be more opposite but somehow they find a connection and run with it.  Or at least try to considering they are both dating other people, hello the category was called Couple that Never Was.  Let’s just say their significant others are so lacking and not meant for Brody and Harper, hence their connection.

It was a really cute love story about these two, and even though I wouldn’t have minded a little more drama the story line kept me reading from page to page.  The characters were interesting and it was great to see the characters from the first book bought back in here with a little preview of how well they are doing, and really this book leads up to the next one as well cause I can’t wait to read it.  I know who it’s about and I would love to know more about them.


Overall the book was definitely a quick read, the characters were great but there was not a lot of dimension to them, Brody seemed a little stiff but still likeable.  I just really wanted more as I didn’t get much of a connection to them but I still wanted to know what happened regardless.  It’s almost as if this was a B-movie and I’m ready to watch the A-movie.  The cover is super cute and adorable but not how I pictures the characters at all, but still again cute.  I heart Jennifer Echols and am hoping the next one is better than this one which felt like a stepping stone but even still I liked it.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Blog Tour: Love Bites / Sound Bits by Rachel K. Burke - Review/Giveaway


Love Bites
By: Rachel K. Burke
Release date: December 29, 2014

Description:
What do you do when you fall in love with your best friend’s boyfriend?

That is the question that twenty-six year-old Justine Sterling has been asking herself ever since the day she met David Whitman, her best friend Renee’s boyfriend. Justine is determined to ignore her growing feelings for the irresistibly charming David, until one night, when she finds herself in the bed of the one person she should stay away from.

When Justine and David’s affair ends in heartbreak, Justine is forced to repair the damaged friendship with her best friend. In doing so, she learns that right and wrong decisions aren’t always black and white, and sometimes you have to follow your heart to see where it leads.
 


Review:
What a very perfect title for this book because after reading it I can only imagine that is how the main character is feeling about love in general. The author explores a unique situation where you think it’s about one thing but in reality I think it was about something completely different. Definitely a book about exploration of thy own self. 
We meet Justine after college and a couple years of living in the real world, between trials and tribulations with her best friend and her ex you would think her life would be more depressing than it is. But Justine starts reading a self-help book that helps her work through all these issues she’s currently having and discovering, ones she didn’t even realized she had. 

Ok first yes this book is about a girl who takes the guy away from her best friend, is that the way it happened? Maybe in a black and white world, but we all live in the gray and sometimes things happen even if you don’t mean them to, they just do. Was it for the best, probably not because these types of actions have consequences? So in comes Justine trying to repair her friendship which meant more to her than her relationship with the guy who didn’t turn out to be the best person. I really disliked David, probably from the get go, he seemed too cocky and it just irritated me, but that’s a good thing because well he wasn’t a great guy. But the major thing was the repairing of a broken friendship.

I really enjoyed the way this book took you back to memories of things that, it’s good to see what happened then and what is happening now, comparing them is always good to see. I loved the main character because she shows us that even when you mess up, you deal with the consequences and try to move your life forward. Even if it doesn’t seem like it’s going to get better, if you think positively enough good things will happen. I’m a firm believer in that. 

Overall the book was a quick read, I enjoyed it from beginning to end and felt every word that I read. I think things worked out the way they should have worked out in the end and I’m glad for it. Really great read, something to keep you company and into someone else’s drama for a while. 



Sound Bites
By: Rachel K. Burke
Release Date: December 5, 2013

Description:
Renee Evans has a knack for trouble. After walking in on her best friend and boyfriend in bed together, twenty-five year-old Renee flees sunny Los Angeles and her dream job as a music journalist and returns to her hometown of Boston – only to meet Dylan Cavallari, the mysterious, aspiring musician who lives in her apartment building. Dylan’s piercing gaze and womanizing demeanor make him exactly the type of guy that Renee should steer clear of – which is most likely the reason she falls for him. But when Renee’s troublesome ex comes back and threatens to drive her and Dylan apart, Renee is forced to face her past and save her relationship with Dylan before it's too late.

Sound Bites dramatizes what happens when Renee finds herself caught between a painful past and an uncertain future. Happiness turns out to be within her grasp, but it all depends on whether she can trust herself enough to make the right decisions. Sound Bites is a novel about love, friendship, betrayal, forgiveness, and the power of music to help you find your way.


Review:
This book was absolutely adorable and insightful. I of course read the second book first so coming back to this it bought the whole story of the two best friends full circle.  This book had many great aspects that I love when reading books in this genre and I think Rachel K. Burke did a good job of putting this and Love Bites all together like two puzzle pieces.

We meet Renee who just moved back home after discovering her best friend and boyfriend in bed together.  Not only was her life a mess but she didn't know what to do with herself, she took a job that is nothing like her and just sat around moping and feeling bad for herself.  Until one night she hears something that touches her heart and that's when she reintroduces herself to her neighbor Dylan.  Their love for music is delightful and insightful.  Music is definitely one of those things that binds people together. 

Anyway the book was really good through and through and even though it was really short it showed you so many different aspects of relationships, from jealousy, resentment, distrust, happiness, stubbornness, commitment-phobic and the list goes on, but is not limited to the relationship between a man and a woman but a relationship between friends as well.  That's what I liked most about this book, not only did it talk about the relationship Dylan and Renee were having but also her relationship with her friends.  It really bought everything full circle for me.  I kind of liked that I read the two books out of order because it really worked well this way.  Like a prequel instead of a sequel. 

Anywho both books were great and you should definitely give them a shot. Anything with music in it, and drama I'm all for it. 

About the Author:
Rachel discovered she wanted to be a writer at the age of ten, when her love of R.L. Stine murder mystery novels inspired her to start writing her own.

In 2008, she began freelance writing for several magazines including Prevention, Jamsbio and Worcester Magazine.

Rachel graduated from Bridgewater University in 2011 with a B.A. in Communications and Media Studies. She currently resides in Santa Monica, CA.


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