Saturday, April 21, 2018

Review: Bright Minds Empty Souls by Jennae Cecelia

Bright Minds Empty Souls by Jennae Cecelia | Rating: ★★★★★

"It is a blessing and a curse
to remember everything."

For those of you who have been following me for a while, you may have noticed that I have a massive appreciation for poets who bring us into their lives by simple prose. It never matters how little or much they pen; there's just a spark of life within their words and it's kind of fearless to let countless readers into your most intimate thoughts.

Jennae Cecelia has a voice that shines through in her works and Bright Minds Empty Souls is proof of that. The quality of her writing is minimal in a way that swiftly gets down to the point. Expressing yourself is what poetry is all about, and Jennae Cecelia brings her thoughts to page beautifully. Further, her work feels a lot like she is talking directly to her audience. This makes it easy to connect with.

What I loved most about Bright Minds Empty Souls is that it ties up pieces of her life throughout a period of time. Each poem was written separately and the collection was put together in the end to create the finished product. There's a significance to the collection that I can't explain unless you read it, then, chances are, you would feel it too. When you consider the fact that it took Jennae 6 years to complete this collection, it makes sense--it's crafted out of love.

Review: The Billionaire's Ex-Wife (Jameson Brothers, #1) by Leslie North

The Billionaire's Ex-Wife by Leslie North | Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2.5)

 As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

This just wasn't my cup of tea and felt all-too-familiar for me to get truly invested in things. Leslie North crafts a delicious tone as per usual but The Billionaire's Ex-Wife just wasn't for me and my preference in the moment. I'm not typically big on the second-chance-romances these days (then again, I seem to not be 100% keen on romance in general for whatever reason) so this should come as no shock to anyone that my feelings were lackluster at best.

Leslie North proves to be a strong writer with a knack for creating characters and backstories to connection and I am unable to stress that enough. I think that part of my feelings towards the book come from two mundane things that lead to massive flaws: the length of the book felt too short and the plot felt too common. This is important for me to point out. While the story wasn't awful in the least, it did mark down my rating quite a bit.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Review: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green | Rating: ★★★★★

"True terror isn't being scared; it's not having a choice in the matter."

Years ago, a very good friend of mine (hello, Cynthia!) introduced me to John Green's work by having me read Looking For Alaska. At the time, I was just leaving high school and, for me, this was the perfect time to experience his words for the first time. A lot of bloggers and authors seem to like to criticize John (for some reasons that make sense, for others that... don't) but I remember thinking, as I made my way through the books he'd had under his belt at the time, that the way he wrote teenagers felt real to me.

The fast paced conversation. The wit. The tries at being (or sounding) like adults and succeeding for a moment, only to revert back to sounding infantile. For me, there was something easy to relate to as a teenager when it came down to his dialogue. It was like listening to my friends talk. Or an expression that I longed to write but never could. 

One of the most common bits of criticism we see about his writing is that the teenagers he writes have the knack of sounding "too adult" or pretentious. Turtles All the Way Down has garnered some of that same complaint, but I think--I'm not sorry to say this--that people forget that teenagers are at that point between childhood and adulthood. For some of them, this means immaturity and conflict; for others it means something else different.

Review: Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity by Jennifer Weiss-Wolf

Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity by Jennifer Weiss-Wolf | ★★★☆☆

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via Edelweiss by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

I wanted to like this book. As a woman, as a feminist. I really did. And in many ways, I did. At least, I appreciate the general message behind it. This review has been on the back-burner for me because despite having finished the book itself months ago, I couldn't quite understand what I wanted to say during my review. Periods Gone Public is a bit of a mixed bag for me and for a while, I couldn't put my finger on what I wanted to say.

Recently, I stumbled upon a review of the book by some-one else and it really spoke what I couldn't about the list of negatives that came with Jennifer Weiss-Wolf's prose and where the novel failed for me, personally. The first thing I should say before directing you to this specific review and continuing on with my own thoughts about Periods Gone Public is that I didn't necessarily hate the book. Truly, I didn't, and I want to acknowledge the premise and story behind it as something that is highly relevant and necessary when it comes to feminine care and health. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

DNF Review: Wild Hearts (Wild Hearts, #1) by Vivian Wood

Wild Hearts by Vivian Wood | Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

Oh, Wild Hearts. I did have high hopes for you, really I did. Vivian Wood is quite a writer, but the entire premise of Wild Hearts felt familiar and lackluster to me and I just couldn't finish it. There was just a lack of connection for me, personally, as I was reading Wild Hearts. I didn't feel much towards the characters beyond frustration.

And I have to admit that I may just biased when it comes to my personal preferences. Maybe I've reached my quota of Wild Hearts-esque romances where the male lead is a totally dull prick of a human being; typically, the women of the story can save the romantic elements of the genre but in the case of Wild Hearts I felt underwhelmed and put-off by both of the leads.

By the time I reached the halfway portion of the novel, I felt two major things (1) Everything was at a standstill and nothing new. There was just something that lacked that quality of heart and soul that I need to continue. (2) Vivian Wood's overall image of who these characters were, and what their felt for one another, was just not my cup of tea.

Review: The Billionaires: The Stepbrothers (Lover's Triangle, #3) by Calista Fox

The Billionaires: The Stepbrothers by Calista Fox | Rating: ★★★☆☆

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

As a new reader of this particular author, I wasn't certain of what to expect from Calista Fox's third (standalone) installment of Lover's Triangle, The Billionaires: The Stepbrothers. I've been on a bit of a romantic kick since the end of 2017, thus making it my mission to explore the many (steamy) options out there. Calista Fox has created quite a name for herself out there in the genre and this was the perfect introduction to her as a new reader.

Although there were many elements of the story that I found less-than appealing to my personal preference, I will say one thing as clearly as possible: The Billionaires: The Stepbrothers was quite the sexy, entertaining romp that I needed to kick myself from a reading slump. It was not your typical erotic romance, instead, it toyed with many genres in between the steamy sexual tension and swoon worthy romance. Primarily, there was a bit of mystery involved in the story of Scarlet, Michael and Sam. And it proves how different matters of the heart can be when developed properly.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Review: Fallen (Fallen, #1) by Lauren Kate

Fallen by Lauren Kate | Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2.5)

“We meet. We always meet, somehow we're always thrown together, no matter where I go, no matter how I try to distance myself from you. It never matters. You always find me.”

I'm going to start off my review with this: I truly did not hate this book. Despite my lower rating, I didn't. It's just that, in theory, Fallen could have been an epic hit for me. There's something so dark and intriguing about the past lives portion of this (I'm a sucker for the idea of souls finding each other again and again); the fallen angels, the general mythology. Yet, something about Fallen just didn't completely click for me.

I'd been holding onto this book since I was a senior in high school (way back when it was first published) and maybe if I had read it then, my review would've been different. As I said, I enjoyed the general premise of Fallen quite a bit--I loved the idea of past lives, I appreciated some of the characters and the setting. There was a level of danger to it that felt charged and kept the plot moving a bit.

There is enough intrigue to make me pick up the sequel in hopes that Lauren Kate captured that hit of energy and tapped into it further. Because, at the end of the day, from where I'm standing, a majority of Fallen felt like missed potential and half thoughts. Sprinkle in underdeveloped, under utilized cast of characters, lackluster romance, overused tropes, problematic themes and not quite enough world building and you've got a ton of wasted potential.

Review: Alphas Like Us (Like Us, #3) by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Alphas Like Us by Krista and Becca Ritchie | Rating: ★★★★★

Is there anything better than a new book by Krista and Becca Ritchie? Okay, okay.  You got me. Logically speaking, there are a lot of things that would tie pretty close to being as good but not quite on its level. I'm so profoundly attached to the world that the Ritchie Sisters have created for us--from its beginnings in Addicted all the way to Like Us, I'm so attached to these characters. Alphas Like Us reminds me why... not that I needed the reminder to begin with.

First of all, it's impossible for me to not love every last (main) character in this series. I've tried. I can't. Both Krista and Becca Ritchie have such a deep understanding of what makes a person, well, a person. And this is the best way to describe the characterizations of the cast of Alphas Like Us. We aren't cheated out of flaws. There's no such thing as perfection. You'll swoon. You'll cry. You'll groan in frustration. You'll see signs of life and there's not much else to say beyond what I've said in the past--Krista and Becca Ritchie write their characters in true-to-life living colour; they may as well be your very best friend. Sometimes, you half expect them to slide from the pages and pop around for a chat.

Or maybe that's just me. I do have an attachment to these characters. It's kind of impossible not to.

Review: DROPKICKromance by Cyrus Parker

DROPKICKromance by Cyrus Parker | Rating: ★★★★★

how can it be
that the moon is surrounded
by all of the stars
in the nighttime sky
and yet
it still looks so isolated
from the rest of the universe
around it?

There's just something about witnessing book bloggers that I've followed (and admired from affair) for years being able to follow their dreams that gives me the warm and fuzzies. I cannot think of a better group of people to see thrive and accomplish the very best. While I don't know Cyrus Parker or Amanda Lovelace on a personal level, there's something so very satisfying about seeing them become such a prominent part of the poetry community. #OTP

DROPKICKromance is, hands down, one of the best releases in poetry this year. And to put it bluntly one of the best modern poetry debuts, well, ever. Parker weaves together a tale of love and loss, of destruction and the rebuilding of one's self. DROPKICKromance is a story of coming of age; of life and its changes, of the toxic and the journey that follows. Cyrus Parker holds back no punches when it comes to his exploration of self, the heartache of the past and the hope of the future. You see the pain of one relationship as it tries to engulf him; the aftermath, the recovery and the path that leads Parker to where--readers sense--he was meant to be all along.

Review: The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur | Rating: ★★★★★

the right one does not
stand in your way
they make space for you
to step forward

Rupi Kaur is, perhaps, the biggest voice in modern poetry and the hype is not without reason. In Milk and Honey we witnessed a voice as it came to be; brutally honest, heart-wrenching and gorgeous. Kaur has the prose that moves readers and keeps them connected to her for the long haul. The Sun and Her Flowers continues to open up to readers in a way that makes Kaur's voice so prone to appreciation. Poetry is one of the single-most emotionally charged expressions in art and Rupi Kaur is a pro at tying us up with her prose.

What's so striking about The Sun and Her Flowers is, it feels like something so personal. Kaur is known for this tone--her writing is true to life, a search of what thoughts run through her mind and what her heart and soul are made of. The sign of a good poet is the way your eyes meet their words. It feels like you are being talked to. Something deeply moving and personal. Something not unlike your dearest friend confiding in you for the first time.

Review: The Witch Doesn't Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace

The Witch Doesn't Burn in this One by Amanda Lovelace | Rating: ★★★★★

“Let it guide you into a grand love affair with yourself. Until the love becomes so second nature you need it no more.” 

The first thing you should know about me is that I love poetry. The second thing you should know about me is that there's nothing I respect more than people expressing themselves in the most intimate way possible--through their art. As someone who has been following Amanda Lovelace for years through her Tumblr account, admiring her from afar, I can honestly say it's a privilege watching her words (and well-earned fanbase) grow. Amanda Lovelace has rightfully secured her place amongst the most talented, prominent voices in modern poetry. End comment.

What made her standout amongst her counterparts is simple: she speaks, readers listen. Because poetry is such an intimate expression of who we all are, there are many ways to reach a person through something as simple as prose. Lovelace proved her place in The Princess Saves Herself in this One, and only solidified the fact that she is here to stay upon the release of her phenomenal followup, The Witch Doesn't Burn in this One. Perhaps you've heard me say the phrase in my previous reviews of both the original, self-published edition, and the revised edition of her first collection, but Amanda Lovelace provokes thought with her simple-to-the-point tone.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Review: Whims of Fate by Nissa Leder

Whims of Fate by Nissa Leder | Rating: ★★★★★

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

It's no secret that Nissa Leder's Whims of Fae series has fast become one of my favourite series. I was positively smitten upon the first novels initial release. With two stellar releases under her belt, Leder has shown no signs of slowing down when it comes to her delectable story of one girls change from ordinary to extraordinary. Whims of Fate proves to be just as beautifully written (and suspenseful) as the previous two installments to the series--and, as per tradition, leaves readers breathless and longing for the fourth book.

NISSA! Girl, what are you doing to me? Did Whims of Fate just solidify my position as your #1 b*tch? (As if this was in question to begin with.) Absolutely. As with the previous two chapters in leading lady Scarlett's life, it was jam packed with heart, charm, scorching romantic entanglements, fast paced plotlines and more. Whims of Fate proves that sequels can be beyond even our greatest hopes. Leder shows no signs of slowing down when it comes to her spin on Fae and coming-of-age stories.

Whims of Fate picks up quite quickly on where its predecessor left off and gives us plenty to think about.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Book Blitz, Excerpt + Giveaway: Losing Adam by Adrienne Clarke

Massive HAPPY RELEASE DAY wishes and vibes to Adrienne Clarke for her sure-to-be-stunning NA romance Losing Adam, one of my most anticipated NA novels of 2018! Follow the cut to find out why it's so-very-intriguing to me and to also try your hand at a fabulous giveaway in celebration!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Blog Tour + Excerpt: Escort by Skye Warren



Ready or not, Skye Warren fans--she's back with her latest romantic standalone and it promises to be a heated, seductive tale for the ages. Escort has all the makings of a delectable romance--and who wants to miss out on that? Fortunately for readers, I have all the dirty details--follow the cut for your first look at Escort!