Friday, August 31, 2012

Labor Day Read-A-Thon


I am going to be participating in the Labor Day Read-A-Thon! You can sign up here.

My goal is to read 2 books, but I have a lot planned so that may not happen!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Seaweed + Giveaway


Seaweed by Elle Strauss

Book Blurb:
Dori Seward can’t wait to get out of Eastcove, a sleepy fishing village on the border of New Brunswick and Maine. She bides her time by hanging out with friends, attending swim club, and holding her biggest competition, Colby–who wants more than just friendship, at arm’s length.

Then Tor Riley comes to town and he has everything Dori dreams of in a boyfriend–looks, athleticism and mystery.

But Tor also has a tantalizing secret and Dori is determined to find out what it is. The truth is crazier than her wildest imaginations and more dangerous, too. Dori has new enemies, and they will do anything to get to her.

Her life, her dreams and her love for Tor are all weighing in the balance. Will Dori risk it all in order to have it all?

My review:
This is my first mermaid book to read, and I loved it! It is a great light read that kept me interested the whole time. I usually think of fantasy books as being dark, but that was not the case with this book!

I loved the characters, Tor especially. He sounds so cute! I bet he is a very attractive merman. He was so sweet to Dori, and you could tell he had true feelings for her. He was such a genuine person. Dori was a little more dramatic and could get annoying at times. She brought life to the book though. I loved Nana as well. You know something is going on with her but you aren't sure what until later in the book.

The storyline is also very creative. I had so many questions throughout the book, and Elle did a good job by answering them all for her readers. I loved it and can't wait to read other books by this author!

5 stars

I received this book for free in return for an honest review.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Millie Fierce


Millie Fierce by Jane Manning

Goodreads summary:
Millie is quiet. Millie is sweet. Millie is mild. But the kids at school don't listen to her. And she never gets a piece of birthday cake with a flower on it. And some girls from her class walk right on top of her chalk drawing and smudge it. And they don't even say they're sorry!

So that's when Millie decides she wants to be fierce! She frizzes out her hair, sharpens her nails and runs around like a wild thing. But she soon realizes that being fierce isn't the best way to get noticed either, especially when it makes you turn mean. So Millie decides to be nice--but to keep a little of that fierce backbone hidden inside her. In case she ever needs it again.

With bright art and an adorable character, it's easy to empathize with Millie. Because everyone has a bad day, once in a while.

My review:
This is a great book about behavior for kids. It shows that even though people may notice you when you do mean/bad things, it doesn't mean they like you. Keep being nice to people and they will eventually notice. It's a great story that all kids should hear. The artwork in the book is great as well. It really caught my attention, and it portrays exactly what you are reading.

5 stars

I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Speechless


Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Goodreads summary:
Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there's strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she's done. If only she can forgive herself.

My review:
What a powerful and moving book! This book is about a girl standing up for gay kids, which I think is a touchy subject. This book was written so well though, and I was so captivated by the story.

Chelsea and her vow of silence was very interesting to me. I would never be able to stay that silent for that long. This book was hard to read at times simply because it was so sad. Chelsea was so caught up in her own world, that when she finally realized life was not all about her, she really changed. It was cool to watch her realize that as she became friends with Sam and Asha.

Chelsea and Sam's relationship was so sweet. He liked her even when she was the weird girl who would not talk. They went through so much together. I loved watching their relationship grow. So, so sweet.

This is a very moving, emotional book that I would definitely recommend. It does have lots of language though, so maybe for older teens.

5 stars

I received this book for free in return for an honest review.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

In My Mailbox (15)

In my mailbox hosted by The Story Siren is a great way to show people the books you received this week.

Lucid by Adrienne Stoltz, Ron Bass

The Innocents by Lili Peloquin

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo


Saturday, August 25, 2012

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century + Giveaway


My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris
Release date: September 11, 2012
Publisher; Entangled Publishing
Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Book Blurb:
On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

My review:
I absolutely loved this book! I am usually not a fan of time travel books simply because I don't like sci-fi type of books. However, this is one time travel book that I could not put down. This is because it is written as more of a cute story for teens today.

I really liked that this book took place during the Renaissance in Italy. I think that was an awesome time period, and it was cool to see how Rachel really incorporated it into the book. It made me want to go back in time!! Especially to get to see Lorenzo. Oh Lorenzo. You made me jealous of Cat. I loved their interactions with each other and how they may have been normal for the 21st century, but not the 16th century.

Watching Cat figure out the proper way to do things was hilarious to me. I did not think about how many things would be so completely different. Things that we take for granted like toothpaste. So funny!

My favorite part of the book was probably after Cat came back to the 21st century. I absolutely loved the way Rachel tied in the two stories! And the ending!! I cannot wait for the second book now!!

5 stars

I received this book for free in return for an honest review.

Author spotlight:
As a teen, Rache threw raging parties that shook her parents’ walls and created embarrassing fodder for future YA novels.
As an adult, she read and wrote obsessively, rehash said embarrassing fodder, and dreamt up characters who become her imaginary friends.
When she's not typing furiously or flipping pages in an enthralling romance, you can find Rachel homeschooling her two beautiful princesses, hanging out with her amazing husband, or taking a hot bubble bath…next to a pile of chocolate.
MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY is her first novel. She did have her own fantabulous Sweet Sixteen in high school. Sadly, it wasn’t televised.

Official links: www.rachelharriswrites.com |twitter.com/RachelHarrisYA

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Close Enough to Touch


Close Enough to Touch by Victoria Dahl

Goodreads summary:
For makeup artist Grace Barrett, Hollywood isn't the land of golden opportunity. It's the land of difficult divas, cheating boyfriends and unemployment. So when her great-aunt offers her a free place to stay in Jackson Hole, Grace thinks she'll spend a little time in the sticks to figure out her life, and then move somewhere exciting to live out her dreams. But it turns out that there are a few more thrills in this small town than Grace was expecting….Cole Rawlins is a rugged Wyoming cowboy born and bred. Yet he can't help but be drawn to the fascinating big-city girl who moves in across from him. He wants to get close enough to Grace to see past her tough facade, but if he does, she might see the real Cole. The one with a Hollywood history gone bad. As they discover a sizzling attraction, it becomes harder for him to keep his demons at bay—and those fires from long ago may burn them both.

They'll need more than scorching-hot passion to make this opposites-attract affair work. But if they can learn to trust one another enough to reveal their secrets, they just might have a chance at forever.

My review:
This is an adult romance book that takes place in Jackson Hole. I really liked this book, and the characters in it. There were parts that were frustrating to me, but overall it was a good book. It seemed to be too long and like it would never end, but it was a cute story.

Grace puts on such a touch exterior that it is hard for her to let anyone in. That's what the majority of the book was about. I enjoyed seeing how Cole broke through that and really got to her. Grace and Cole had such a chemistry together. They couldn't keep their hands off each other. At times, I almost got frustrated with it. There relationship was strictly physical. When they opened up to each other though, you saw that they really cared about each other.

Jenny and Eve made me laugh. They were so sweet and such good friends to Grace. They knew exactly what to say or do when Grace needed it. They barely knew her, but they trusted her.

4 stars

I received this book for free in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Train Station Bride + Giveaway


Train Station Bride by Holly Bush

Goodreads summary:
1887 Debutante, Julia Crawford endures a lifetime of subtle ridicule as the plump, silly daughter of a premiere Boston family. Julia strikes out on her own to gain independence, traveling to the Midwest to marry an aging shopkeeper and care for his mother. Julia finds her new home rough and uncivilized after the sophistication of a big city, while closely held secrets threaten to ruin Julia’s one chance at love.

Jake Shelling was sixteen and grew up quick when his parents died from influenza on the North Dakota prairie. Left with a half-cleared farm and two young sisters, he spent little time on his own needs . . till now. At thirty-five, he figured it was high time to have some sons and a mail order bride would suit him just fine. No expectations of love, just a helpmate from sturdy stock, ready for farm life.

Will fate and chance play a trick on Julia and Jake?

My review:
This is my second book to read by Holly Bush, and I have really enjoyed her books. They are set around the 1800s and are great love stories. Train Station Bride was funny, touching, heartbreaking, and heartening.

This book has an awesome love story in it. It was awesome to see how their love for each other helped them forgive each other. There are some plot twists that I was not expecting. That kept me very interested, and I really enjoyed it.

5 stars

I received this book for free in return for an honest review.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Woodrow for President


Woodrow for President by Peter W. Barnes and Cheryl Shaw Barnes

Goodreads summary:
Election year is upon us and what better way to teach children about campaigning, voting, and the election process than through Cheryl and Peter Barnes’ critically-acclaimed book Woodrow for President!

Featuring Woodrow G. Washingtail, a civic-minded mouse with presidential ambitions, Woodrow for President follows Woodrow as he runs for president of the United Mice of America.

Taking children on a journey from Woodrow’s schoolmouse days full of hard work and community service to his time as governor of Moussouri to his bid for president of the United Mice of America, Woodrow for President introduces children to campaigning, elections, volunteering, and more through this fun—and educational—story of one mouse’s dream to become the nation’s "Big Cheese.”

Featuring a contract for voting between parents and kids as well as fun activities such as "find the secret service agent” in every illustration, Woodrow for President is perfect for any child in K-4 who might one day aspire to be the "Commander in Cheese.”

My review:
This is a really cute, educational book. I think this is a great way to teach kids about the political process. The book is all rhyming, so it is cute and keeps your attention. In the back, this book has resources for parents and teachers. These are great tools to use to talk to kids about this after reading the book. This is a great book as well as a great educational tool, and I will definitely be putting this one in my classroom.

5 stars

I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Bout of Books 5.0 Wrap Up


I participated in the Bout of Books 5.0 Read-a-thon. You can see my goal and update post here.

I read three out of the four books I planned to read, plus an extra. So, I met my goal in a round a bout way. I started Cascade and could not get into it, so I skipped it. After I read the other three books, I added My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century. All in all, I think I did pretty good.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

In My Mailbox (14)

In my mailbox hosted by The Story Siren is a great way to show people the books you received this week.

For Review:
My Kind of Christmas by Robyn Carr

Real Mermaids Don't Hold Their Breath (Real Mermaids #2) by Helene Boudreau

The Dead Girls Detective Agency by Suzy Cox












Bought:
Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings (Real Mermaids #1) by Helene Boudreau

Sweet Treats & Secret Crushes by Lisa Greenwald

Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Breaking the Rules


Breaking the Rules by Cat Lavoie

Goodreads summary:
When twenty-seven year old Roxy Rule’s best friend and roommate accepts a glamorous new job overseas, she expects their relationship to continue as it’s always been—carefree and easy—until they share a heart-stopping kiss moments before his departure. Overcome with mixed emotions, she fights the urge to over analyze the situation and resumes back to her normal life in New York City, working for an intolerable boss at a dead end job, creeping further and further away from her own dreams of becoming a professional chef.

While things become more complicated between her and Ollie, Roxy is sure that nothing can come between two lifelong best friends—not even mild jealousy over a thriving career or a silly little kiss that meant nothing. In fact, it was such a meaningless and forgettable kiss that she convinces herself that it’s not even worth mentioning to her fiancĂ©, although it is all she can think about.

Roxy’s already topsy-turvy life only gets more complicated when her sisters Steffi and Izzie suddenly become her roommates. Steffi is six months into a pregnancy she refuses to discuss and Izzie is in the throes of a premature midlife crisis. Roxy tries to take control of her career, her love life and her sisters – but can she really handle it all? And can the Rule family keep it together – or break under the pressure?

My review:
This was such a great book! It is a very fun, light chick lit book that I really enjoyed. I loved the best friends relationship between Roxy and Ollie. They were so sweet and I thought they were perfect for each other. Ethan and Rachel were both very annoying to me, but they were essential to the story.

I thought the writing of this book was great. Everything flowed so well and really made me want to keep reading. There is a perfect twist in the plot right when you start to maybe lose interest too. That twist pulled me right back in and kept my attention until the very end.

5 stars

I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Over You


Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Goodreads summary:
After the grand explosion of her relationship, seventeen-year-old Max Scott developed what every girl in the history of the world has been waiting for: a way to get over being dumped. Now Max is the go-to guru for heartbroken high-school girls all over NYC. But when her ex unexpectedly shows up in her neighborhood, Max’s carefully controlled world starts to unravel. With her clients’ hearts hanging in the balance, Max will have to do the seemingly impossible: get over him once and for all.

Brilliant at bringing humor to the trials and tribulations of the lovestruck, #1 New York Times bestselling authors Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus have crafted a tale that will resonate with any girl who has ever been in love or had her heart broken. It brims with smart observations, features a pitch-perfect teen voice, and will attract fans of Jenny Han, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Barnholdt. Readers are sure to fall head-over-heels for this sharp spin on breaking up, making up, and getting even.

My review:
This is a really cute book about heartbreaks and how to overcome them. I really enjoyed this story, and thought it was a creative idea for a book. I really enjoyed seeing Max do her job. She know exactly how guys act (for the most part), and it cool that she is so good at her job. She does make some mistakes though, and tries her best to fix them. It just shows that not everyone is the same, and we all do things differently.

My main problem with this book was that we didn't get to see enough of Ben. I really liked him and was disappointed that his story with Max didn't take up more of the book. I was also frustrated with how quickly he forgives Max. It was like the authors were ready to wrap up the books, so they made it end really fast.

This is a light read that I would recommend reading. It does how language and some sexual content in it, so it may not be for younger teens.

4 stars

I received this book for free in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back to School Read-A-Thon


I signed up for the Back to School read-a-thon not realizing it overlaps with the Bout of Books read-a-thon. Looks like I'll just have to read even more this week! ;)
This read-a-thon is hosted by Katie's Book Blog and is from August 16-20.

My goals for this read-a-thon will be similar to Bout of Books, but I'm adding a book or two :)

Train Station Bride by Holly Bush (finish)

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris

Close Enough to Touch by Victoria Dahl












Hopefully I'll get more read, but this is my starting point. I'll update here throughout the read-a-thon.

Thursday:
Number of books read today: 1
Books read today: Train Station Bride by Holly Bush
Total number of books read: 1

Friday:
Number of books read today: 0
Books read today: -
Total number of books read: 1

Saturday:
Number of books read today: 50%
Books read today: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris
Total number of books read: 1.5

Sunday:
Number of books read today: 50%
Books read today: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris
Total number of books read: 2

Monday:
Number of books read today: 30%
Books read today: Close Enough to Touch by Victoria Dahl
Total number of books read: 2.3

So I didn't do as good as I wanted, but at least I made some progress.

Food Family Style


Food Family Style: Simple and Tasty Recipes for Everyday Life by Leigh Vickery

This is a great cookbook. Everything in it sounds so good. I can't wait to make it all! A lot of the recipes are fast, or easy to double too. Perfect for people on the go! I made the brownies and they were so good! My family has been eating them all week. They're even better if you heat them back up and eat it with ice cream! :)

I would definitely recommend this cookbook. Go check it out for yourself!


Here are pictures of the brownies, sorry for the poor quality of the pictures.



I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Rancher's Secret Wife


The Rancher's Secret Wife by Brenda Minton

Goodreads summary:
After knowing the woman for all of three hours, soldier Reese Cooper married waitress Cheyenne Jones. She was pregnant and scared, alone in Las Vegas—and he was about to ship out on a dangerous tour of duty. But months later, Reese comes home to Dawson, Oklahoma, no longer the strong cowboy who vowed to help Cheyenne. Shrapnel and a guarded heart changed everything. But with a wife and baby counting on him, Reese is about to learn what real courage is all about.

My review:
This was a cute book about faith and love. Reese went through some hard things, but managed to fight through. Cheyenne did as well, just different things. I enjoyed this story, and I liked the somewhat Christian aspect of it. It was a little annoying how they wouldn't admit that they loved each other, but other than that I enjoyed it.

4 stars

I received this book for free in return for an honest review.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

In My Mailbox (13)

In my mailbox hosted by The Story Siren is a great way to show people the books you received this week.

For Review:
Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Zane (The McKades of Texas #1) by Kimberly Lewis












Won:
Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School by Kimberly Dana

Bout of Books Goals

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 13th and runs through Sunday, August 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 5.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. -From the Bout of Books 5.0 team

This week, I really need to get a lot read! I will be updating on this post throughout the week. I am hoping to start with these:

Breaking the Rules by Cat Lavoie

Cascade by Maryanne O'Hara

Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Train Station Bride by Holly Bush













I am hoping to get more read than this, but I will also be moving back to college this week so it will be a busy week. We'll see how it goes!

Monday:
Number of books read: 1
Books read: Breaking the Rules by Cat Lavoie

Tuesday:
Number of books read: 67% according to my kindle
Books read: Part of Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Total number of books read: 1 + 67%

Wednesday:
Number of books read: 33% + 50%
Books read: Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Part of Train Station Bride by Holly Bush
Total number of books read: 2.5

Thursday:
Number of books read: 50%
Books read: Train Station Bride by Holly Bush (finished)
Total number of books read: 3

Friday:
Number of books read: 0
Books read: -
Total number of books read: 3

Saturday:
Number of books read: 50%
Books read: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris
Total number of books read: 3.5

Sunday:
Number of books read: 50%
Books read: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris
Total number of books read: 4

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Guest Post: Tami Anthony + Giveaway


Tami Anthony is the author of The Bachelorette Project, which is on tour this week! Here is a guest post from her about her writing process!! Don't forget to enter the giveaway to win a copy of this book!

Tami Anthony’s Writing Process:

Being a writer is perhaps one of the most challenging occupations in the world … well, at least I believe so. It takes a lot of discipline and creativity to concoct something so unique that it will literally grab the attention of its audience. With writing, whether it be a novel, a short story, or even a theatre play, there’s always a process. Granted, each writer has their own process on how to create the work of art that writing is, but I will say that my own personal process is pretty old-fashioned to say the least.

First things first, I develop an idea. My ideas can gravitate from life experiences and then given a fictional twist for entertainment purposes. Once I have an idea that I believe that I can relate to and genuinely portray to the audience , I just go with it and see what else I can add to it.

The second portion of my process is to find names for the characters that I am writing about. I find this to be one of the most difficult tasks in the process. Believe me, it sounds easy but it’s not for the reason that the name can sometimes reflect the personality of the character that you are writing about. I try using unique names, but nothing that is too extreme. For this, I use a baby name book or the good ol’ internet. If the name doesn’t fit the character, then it plagues my mind until I find a better name that suits them.

Next is writing an outline of the story. I ask myself what the reason is for writing the piece and what message I want to convey to the audience. After I figure out the message, I write an outline … on a yellow legal pad … chapter by chapter and incident by incident. This is why I consider myself a bit old fashioned. Everything is so technical nowadays and some people just go straight to their computers and type everything up including their outlines. I like to physically write it down and hang it on my office wall. Call it crazy or time consuming (and it is!), but I just find comfort in having things handwritten. It makes the process more real for me.

Last, but certainly not least, I begin to write the story. I don’t know why it is, but I like to switch from handwriting in a notebook to typing on the computer. I like both ways! I handwrote the first drafts of both my first play and my first novel from start to finish. It took a little bit longer, but pen and paper are like peanut butter and jelly to me. They’re meant to be together! Plus, I don’t want to restrict myself to a computer screen. It gets boring to me and it hurts my eyes LOL!

After all of this is done, I let my writing sit and I let the story marinate in my mind for a bit (sometimes days, sometimes weeks, sometimes MONTHS!). Then, of course, I go back to it and make improvements … and this is where the editing process comes in which is an entirely different blog post of its own.

One thing that I have learned is that the writing process does take time. You can’t expect greatness overnight. That is why with my process, I like to take my time. I don’t rush things because I want to put out the best possible work that I can. The process of writing can be grueling at times, but it is all worth it in the end.

Excerpt:

“Why am I always getting dumped by men?” I ask Karen. “It’s because I know nothing about them.”
“OK …” Karen replies, unsure to where I’m going with all of this.
“So, my visit to the hospital really got me thinking,” I say, “and then I remember you using the word ‘experiment’ so then I thought … ‘EXPERIMENT!’” I exclaim. “It’s a genius idea! I can conduct this experiment on what men really want out of women and how I, the quintessential single woman, could give it to them and possibly find my true love!” I clutch my chest, smile, and spin around. “Isn’t that the most perfect idea that you ever heard? I would be like a scientist, a scientist of love.”
Karen rolls her eyes at my idea. “And how, O Great One, will you conduct this experiment?”
“I got it all planned out.” I pull my completed poster board from underneath my bed and I hold it up for Karen to see. She, once again, looks confused.
“What the hell is that?” she asks, sighing.
“It’s my experiment,” I say excitedly. “I’m going scientific on their asses. It’s called ‘The BACHELORETTE Project.’ How I will conduct the experiment is shown here.” I point to the different sections of the board. “I will go on a series of dates using different tactics in different environments to find out what works for women and what doesn’t.”
“I’m listening,” Karen says as she leans forward.
“In the process, I will study the men that I date, categorize them and see what their likes and dislikes are thereby unlocking the many secrets of the male species.”
“Oh, I can tell you the secrets of men,” Karen says, smirking. “It’s sex, food, video games, and sports. If a man has those four things, then he’s a happy man.” I guess that makes sense. You know, the ‘four things philosophy,’ but I’m just certain that there has to be more. It can’t be that easy or I wouldn’t be single … right?
“Well, I’m still conducting my experiment,” I say confidently. “Maybe there are more than just four secrets. Maybe there are seven secrets.” As I nod my head, I convince myself that there has to be more. Not everything is just sex, food, video games, and sports.
”All right,” Karen starts, “so when does your little experiment start?”
“As soon as possible,” I tell her. “Now all I need is a trusty assistant …”


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Friday, August 10, 2012

Beautiful Disaster


Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Goodreads summary:
The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate percentage of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance between her and the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University's Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

My review:
I requested this book for netgalley without reading the summary. I had just seen that a lot of people really loved this book, so I thought I should read it. Well, this normally is not the type of book I would enjoy. There was violence, sex scenes, cussing, all of which I do not appreciate in a book. However, this book was so good that it made all of that worth it. I probably would not let a young teen read this book, but it's great for older people I think.

The love Travis had for Abby was almost mind-blowing. They went through so much and their fights were like all out wars. There love surpassed it all though. They would not give up on each other. Travis changed his lifestyle completely just for Abby. That was sweet to see. It was kind of annoying how they loved each other one second, and hated each other the next. However, I think it was perfect for the story. They were both such passionate people that they fought or loved with that same passion.

This book had me completely absorbed after the first chapter. I would definitely recommend it.

5 stars

I received this book for free in return for an honest review.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Castle in the Attic


The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop

Goodreads summary:
One of the classic fantastical adventures of all time!

William has just received the best present of his life—an old, real-looking stone and wooden model of a castle, with a drawbridge, a moat, and a fingerhigh knight to guard the gates. It’s the mysterious castle his housekeeper has told him about, and even though William is sad she’s leaving, now the castle is his! William can’t wait to play with the castle—he’s certain there’s something magical about it. And sure enough, when he picks up the tiny silver knight, it comes alive in his hand! Sir Simon tells William a mighty story of wild sorcery, wizards, and magic. And suddenly William is off on a fantastic quest to another land and another time—where a fiery dragon and an evil wizard are waiting to do battle. . . .

My review:
I absolutely love this book for children. One of my teachers read this book to my class in elementary school, and I loved it then. I could not remember much about the story, so I recently decided to pick it up again. It did not disappoint. This is a great action story about the strength we all have inside of us. There were a lot of great lessons hidden in this book. This is definitely one I will read to my class once I'm a teacher!

5 stars

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mr. Right and Other Mongrels + Giveaway


Mr. Right and Other Mongrels by Monique McDonell

This is a clean romance that sounds so good!
Book blurb:
Blissfully happy in her own universe Allegra (Ally) Johnson is the sweet best friend everyone wants to have. Quietly and independently wealthy she runs a charming second-hand bookshop in beachside Manly. Heck, sometimes she even goes downstairs from her flat to run the shop in her Chinese silk pyjamas. It sounds like bliss. But is it enough?

When dog-phobic Allegra is rescued from an exuberant canine by the chivalrous Teddy Green, Australia’s hottest TV celebrity and garden make-over guru, her life begins to change. Dramatically!

Unaware of Teddy’s fame Allegra finds herself falling for him, despite her best attempts to resist his charm. Supported by her eccentric family and her fabulous gay friend Justin, Allegra embarks on an on-again off-again romance with Teddy, complicated by his jealous ex-girlfriend, fashionista Louisa and her own narcissistic hippy mother Moonbeam.

Will Ally be able to overcome her insecurities and find happiness with this possible Mr Right or will Teddy’s celebrity lifestyle prove to be too much? Mr Right and Other Mongrels is a light-hearted story about how one chance encounter can change your life.

Excerpt:
My mother however was going nowhere. Worse than that she kept leering at Teddy, which simply made me uncomfortable.

I really didn’t know what was going on with Teddy and me but I surely didn’t want anything going on between Teddy and Moonbeam.

“Teddy, do you want to help me get some dinner together?”

“No Allegra, he can stay and keep me company.” She was good.

“How about we both help Ally out.” What a guy.

So we piled into my small kitchen with her standing a bit too close to Teddy for my liking.

“So what are we having?”

“Potato gnocchi with tomato sauce and a salad.”

“Cool, what can I do?’

I had already cooked the potatoes so I put Teddy to work mashing them. And I pulled down a jar of sauce I had made from organic tomatoes earlier in the summer and put it on to simmer.

Teddy looked at me quizzically “You jar your own sauce?”

“Uhmm yes”. I was always kind of embarrassed by my love of cooking. It makes me seem like a possessed potential housewife or something. I mean I know you don’t go to a club and discuss organic cooking; it doesn’t get the men flocking. Ultimately though I just like to cook and eat well.

“Well, Allegra, that being the case I may have to marry you.” He winked just so I’d know he wasn’t serious. “I’ll grow the veggies and you can make the sauce.”

I noticed Moonbeams dark eyes got a tad darker and flashed a bit wilder.

“I don’t know that there is room for a veggie patch in my flat or your designer terrace either for that matter,” I laughed.

“Well, we’ll just have to move to the country.”

“Sorry can’t leave the shop.”

“I’m heartbroken,” he feigned distress as he mashed. “I offer to give up my lucrative TV career and to grow veggies and marry you and you won’t leave the bookshop!”

About the Author:
I am an Australian author who writes contemporary women's fiction including chick lit and romance. I live on Sydney's Northern Beaches with my husband and daughter, and despite my dog phobia, with a dog called Skip.

I have written all my life especially as a child when I loved to write short stories and poetry. At University I studied Creative Writing as part of my Communication degree. Afterwards I was busy working in public relations. I didn't write for pleasure for quite a few years although I wrote many media releases, brochures and newsletters. (And I still do in my day-job!)

When I began to write again I noticed a trend - writing dark unhappy stories made me unhappy. So I made a decision to write a novel with a happy ending and I have been writing happy stories ever since. I began a year-long writing course at the NSW Writers Centre and (thank goodness) its members morphed into a writing group known as The Writer's Dozen. We published a highly successful anthology, Better than Chocolate, in 2008.

In 2008 I was also selected for the QWC/Hachette Livre Manuscript Development Course for my novel Mr Right and Other Mongrels. In 2009 I received a Highly Commended in the Romance Writers of Australia's Valerie Parv Awards for my novel Hearts Afire.

These are the first two books I will be e-publishing in 2012 along with a third novel, A Fair Exchange. I'm not really like the characters in my books at all although I do share something in common with each of them - Allegra (Mr Right and Other Mongrels) has a dog phobia like me, Cassie (Hearts Afire) falls in love on a tropical island and I met my husband that way and Amelia (A Fair Exchange) was an exchange student who is now all grown up.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Scent of Rain


The Scent of Rain by Kristin Billerbeck

Goodreads summary:
When deprived of her most prized sense, Daphne discovers a life she never expected, right under her nose.

Daphne Sweeten has left Paris - and a career she loves - in order to marry a man she loves even more. But when he stands her up on their wedding day, Daphne's left reeling. Trained as a professional "nose" or perfume creator, Daphne soon realizes that her sense of smell has somehow disappeared too.

In the days following she moves to Dayton, Ohio, to take on a job creating fragrances for household products. Without her sense of smell, she must rely on her chemistry skills, and hope her handsome new boss, Jesse Lightner, doesn't notice before she can figure out how to get it back.

Despite her desire to return to Paris, she can't deny the way Jesse makes her feel. But when Daphne approaches former contacts, she learns her missing ex-fiance has somehow snagged her old job.

As Daphne and Jesse work on a signature scent for their new line, she feels God at work in her life as never before. And the promise of what is possible is as fresh as the scent of rain.

My review:
I am usually a fan of Kristin Billerbeck's books, but this one was kind of disappointing. It wasn't bad by any means, but it did not feel like there was any substance to the book. The majority of the book was just rehashing the same things over and over, so the book went very slowly for me.

I really enjoyed Jesse and how he was struggling with admitting his feelings for Daphne. There was a romantic tension there that I liked reading. I also enjoyed the Christian elements of the book. There weren't a lot, but they were good.

I just thought there might have been too much emphasis on the smelling. It seemed really unrealistic too how she ended up getting her sense of smell back. Maybe that is actually possible, but to me it was really cheesy and fake.

3 stars

I received this book for free from booksneeze in return for an honest review.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Treachery of Beautiful Things + Giveaway


The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long

Summary:
A darkly compelling mix of romance, fairy tale, and suspense from a new voice in teen fiction.

The trees swallowed her brother whole, and Jenny was there to see it. Now seventeen, she revisits the woods where Tom was taken, resolving to say good-bye at last. Instead, she's lured into the trees, where she finds strange and dangerous creatures who seem to consider her the threat. Among them is Jack, mercurial and magnetic, with secrets of his own. Determined to find her brother, with or without Jack's help, Jenny struggles to navigate a faerie world where stunning beauty masks some of the most treacherous evils, and she's faced with a choice between salvation or sacrifice--and not just her own.

Release date: August 16, 2012

My review:
This book was not what I was expecting, but it was still very interesting. Parts of the book were violent or creepy, and I did not enjoy that. For the most part though, this was a very enchanting book. The world they were in was magical (even if it was dangerous) and I can imagine how gorgeous it was.

I plot was great, and always kept me on my toes. I would think I had it figured out, and then something else would happen that through me off. I really enjoyed that about this book. There was not as much about her brother as I thought there would be though. He was brought up multiple times throughout the book, but he was only actually in the story for the last part of the book. I wished he could have played a slightly bigger role, instead of just always knowing he is there. The love between Jenny and Jack was definitely my favorite part of the story. Together, they overcame so much. It really was magical.

4 stars

I received this book for free in return for an honest review. 

About the Author:
A lifelong fan of fantasy, romance, and ancient mysteries, Ruth Frances Long studied English Literature, History of Religions, and Celtic Civilization in college and now works in a specialized library of rare and unusual books. She lives in County Wicklow, Ireland. The Treachery of Beautiful Things is her first novel for teens.
Visit Ruth at www.rflong.com | @RFLong

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