Monday, April 28, 2014

Audio Review: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Book: Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful #1)
By: Jamie McGuire
Published: May 26, 2011
Published by: Self Published (later picked up by Atria Books)


Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from 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 wants—and needs—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 Thoughts: Okay, I'm going to start off by saying I abolutely love this book, and despite the not perfect rating, It was an amazing book that I will absolutely read again.

We follow Abby Abernathy, and start off in the basement, at a fight as she's splattered with blood all across her pink cardigan. The culprit, Travis Maddox, her college's walking sex god. We would later learn that this is the moment he falls in love with her, only it takes him forever to realize, and even longer for her to return it.

Abby has a dark past that forces her to stay away from trouble, only Travis doesnt let her stay away, and soon she doesnt want too. The only problem is these two seem to be both bad for each other, and good for each other. In the condensed words of one of the characters, when they're good, it's all sunshine and roses, but when it's bad, they take out everything around them.

This love story is at once absolutely adorably cute, and absolutely devastating. I'd definitely rate it New Adult, as there's quite a bit of sex and other college type situations though the sex isnt explained the same way as erotica or Adult fiction. I also must add that though it starts off absolutely believable, it ends kind of cute and cheesy and somewhat unbelievable. Still, I loved it, and if you're okay with that, then you should be okay with this story. There's also quite a bit of cursing in this one, which I'm okay with since I have the kind of family that curses too much already, but if you're sensitive to those words, then you should steer clear. I loved this one, and I give it 4.5 stars. It was pretty darn great to read this wonderful....(wait for it)...beautiful disaster.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Review: Life Lived Twice by Sherrie Wouters

Book: Life Lived Twice
By: Sherrie Wouters
Published: June 6, 2014
Published By: Bermingham Books

Description: Some promises are made to last forever...

What if you fell in love with a stranger...but that stranger had come from your past, a past you never knew existed until the moment your eyes met?

When Tess Winters locks eyes with a stranger at an airport bookstore, it ignites a feeling of passion somewhere deep inside her that she can't explain.

Although the encounter is innocent and brief, the intensity of it lingers, leaving her overwhelmed by a yearning for the mystery man now consuming her every thought.

Struggling to break the powerful hold he has over her heart, Tess starts to experience strange but familiar dreams...dreams from the turn of the twentieth century of the charming Mr Addison Taylor.

As her dreams start to materialize into reality, and past and present begin to blur, Tess is forced to put the pieces of a forgotten time together, and soon discovers that love isn't the only thing that can find you after an eternity.

Captivating, mysterious, and romantic, Life Lived Twice will leave you wondering whether love is so powerful it could last more than a lifetime.

My Thoughts: Life Lived twice is the story of Logan Bailey and Tess, two people who run into each other at an airport and find that they know each other from somewhere. The crazy thing is, they know each other as Lylah Elwood and Addison Taylor, and they know each other from what Tess believes are dreams, but what are actually memories of a past life.

This story is a good one about reincarnation, the importance of forgiveness, and the importance of love. It also ensures that you live life to the fullest. It tells the story of Tess and Logan Bailey in a way both like every other book about reincarnated love, and much different than every other story.

I began thinking I knew exactly how it would end, and though most of it followed my predetermined ideas, it changed toward the end and ended in a way I would never have expected.

As characters, I didn't much connect with Tess or Logan. Tess slept all hours of the day for no reason it seemed, and is ridiculously awkward, and has strange bodily reactions when she's around anyone. She gets guilt for no reasonThey're all sudden and intense, and often unrealistic. Logan isn't nearly as bad, though I was unable to really get to know him.

There is also a strange love triangle/foursome. That being said, this one is quite interesting from anything I had read before. Some of the conversations are a bit too formal sometimes, and a little stiff, but if you can get past that, this is a great book.

I give it 2.5 stars.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Blog Tour Stop: In Love with Him or The Idea of Him? - An Excerpt

When I was contacted by this author's publicist asking that I participate in their blog tour, I couldnt help but agree. I mean, this story is right up my alley. I'm always talking to my friends about being sure they dont settle in a relationship, and making sure what they get is love and not just love of what they can get out of being with someone. This book is about just that. It's about being sure you're in love with who you're with, and not just the idea of who you're with. 

Here's the description (as found on goodreads):

Mary Crawford is a once aspiring screenwriter turned successful public relations executive, mother of two young children, and wife of a hotshot magazine editor whose power base spans the worlds of finance, fashion, culture, entertainment, and society. At 34, she finds herself at a crossroads: between the office and her home, her life has become an endless rotation of people pleasing-whether pulling rabbits out of hats for her mogul boss, entertaining advertisers and phony A-listers for her husband's magazine, or making elaborate costumes for children's school plays. At least, that is, until she meets a head turning, traffic stopping beauty at the bar of the famed Four Seasons Grill Room-where many of the novel's players regularly convene-and shortly thereafter finds the same woman and her husband in an apparently compromising position in her own apartment.

And so begins the story of two very different women bound by similar missions-to uncover the crimes and betrayals of various men in their lives and finally put their own interests front and center. For Mary this ultimately means leaving a husband who is ideal in theory but not in practice, and deciding to risk security for self-fulfillment and a new life on her own. Like so many women, Mary fell for the man she married when she was in her twenties only to realize years later that it wasn't him she fell for as much as it was the idea of him-the idea of a savior who would protect and provide and ferry her from her past into the future. But the guy who seemed so right at the time turned out to be nothing more than a fantasy.

Seems to be an excellent book right. It's definitely one I'm willing to pick up and check out. 

As an additional encouragement, I have an excerpt for you:

While he was coming to quick terms with the idea that he’d finally found an attractive woman who cared about his world of nonstop news and gossip, right away, I knew that I too certainly liked the idea of this Wade Crawford man before me. He fit a need. His enthusiasm for life and work would soften my losses: my father in a plane to the ravages of an untimely blizzard and James to a burning obsession to save every child on the other side of the world.
New York glimmered around us that night, the way it can when spontaneity falls perfectly into place. After dinner, Wade escorted me to two downtown parties filled with cigarette smoke and writers. Someday I hoped to be like his writer friends who wrote long magazine stories and books that they’d mined from their souls. It was clear from every angle that Wade’s non-stop joie-de-vivre was more than contagious. He was sheer fun, and full of the possibility of escape, of renewal even.
He dropped me at my stoop at dawn, kissing me tenderly on the lips and disappearing into the early morning glow. As I watched him bounce down the street, all I could think was that he had Daddy’s electricity and confidence. And that suited me just fine.

This book is really worth a try! Check out the authors site for more info.

Holly Peterson is the author of the New York Times and international best seller, The Manny. She was a Contributing Editor for Newsweek and editor-at-large for Tina Brown’s Talk magazine. She was also an Emmy Award–winning producer for ABC News for more than a decade, where she cov­ered global politics. Her writing has been published in the New York Times, Newsweek, Talk, the Daily Beast, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and other publications.
Twitter: @HollyPetersonNY

What do you think? Will you be picking up this one?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Audio Review: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Book: The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2)
By: Maggie Stiefvater
Published: September 17, 2013
Published By: Scholastic Press

Description: Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same.

Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life.

Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...

My Thoughts:  This wasnt my favorite of the series, mainly because it was told from the POV of my least favorite character, Roland. Still, I enjoyed it.

The gang comes back, and this time, everyone is desperate to find out all about Cabeswater. Though they barely find out anything, we do find out all about Ronan, and eventually, we even grow to like him, a bit.

Ronan knows how to take things out of dreams, a feat that is both interesting, and a bit confusing at the beginning. Soon, we learn just how bad this is and how it affects him, and his family. I must admit, it's a bit of a middle story as I'm not sure it progresses anything really. The first story is more progressive. That being said, it's still great. I give it 3.5 stars.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Audio Review: Tilt by Ellen Hopkins

Book: Tilt (Unabridged)
By: Ellen Hopkins
Narrator: Kirby Heyborne, Madeleine Maby, Rebekkehj Ross
Length: 8 hrs 42 minutes
Published: September 11, 2014
Published By: Simon and Schuster Audio
Description: Love—good and bad—forces three teens’ worlds to tilt in a riveting novel from New York Times bestselling author Ellen Hopkins.Three teens, three stories—all interconnected through their parents’ family relationships. As the adults pull away, caught up in their own dilemmas, the lives of the teens begin to tilt….

Mikayla, almost eighteen, is over-the-top in love with Dylan, who loves her back jealously. But what happens to that love when Mikayla gets pregnant the summer before their senior year—and decides to keep the baby?

Shane turns sixteen that same summer and falls hard in love with his first boyfriend, Alex, who happens to be HIV positive. Shane has lived for four years with his little sister’s impending death. Can he accept Alex’s love, knowing that his life, too, will be shortened?

Harley is fourteen—a good girl searching for new experiences, especially love from an older boy. She never expects to hurdle toward self-destructive extremes in order to define who she is and who she wants to be.

Love, in all its forms, has crucial consequences in this standalone novel.

My Thougths: Tilt is a book about love and the ways it can ruin you, or make you better. It's not one of those books that has an ending you can see from the beginning. No, this one is one where you have to read every single page, and wait to see where it will take you.

We follow three teens (with POV's of a few others interspersed throughout) who are connected through their parents. Mikayla, Shane, and Harley. I won't give too many  details since the description tells you enough, but just know that this isn't a story of roses and dandelions. These characters get down and dirty (in every sense of the word).

The narration of this story, though good, was a bit confusing with all the different characters. I often had trouble remembering what character I was inside of, but the book offered refreshers to make the transitions easier for us, and most of the transitions followed a logical path.

As most of Ellen Hopkins' books are written in poem, and the same is true for Tilt, I think it would have been better to read this one instead of listen to it. Often, the alignment of the poems add a certain something to the story that we as listeners missed out. Still, the narrators did pretty well translating it verbally.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I would recommend this one for younger readers, not necessarily older YA lovers. As a 25 year old, I noticed most of the themes were a bit young for me and I got a little frustrated with the naiveté of the characters. Some I wanted to punch in the face outright for their stupid decisions and thought processes, but I believe it was mostly because I no longer think as a young teen would. I give it 3.5 stars.