Tuesday, June 30, 2015

anew ANEW: Book One: Awakened by Josie Litton | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

“This idea you have that I’m a piece of p r o p e r t y is nothing short of repellant. You do not own me. No one can. Not ever.”

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.

Anew: Book One: Awakened provides us with a retelling of the much beloved children’s story Sleeping Beauty; set in the near future and pulled together in all its erotic glory. It promises intrigue, mystery and all kinds of tension tied together with vivid, unique writing by Josie Litton who put quite a lot of work into this vibrant and startling world of desire and discovery.

We open our story to find our leading lady, Amelia, awakening from her slumber and embracing her obvious freedom. Although she is able to function in her thoughts, her mind is filled with haziness when it comes down to her memories. These thoughts haunt her and beyond the knowledge of life and much of its meaning, her memories grow thinner when it comes down to her past.

Her past, we will soon learn, is… well… I can’t say without giving away the most massive piece of information in the plot. It’s frightening, actually. It’s unique and surely fits the plot. I have to admit I didn’t see it coming and was surprised in more ways than one. Amelia’s got questions and the answers may not come to her easily; in fact, they are very well devastating.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

ctr Converge (The Rental #1) by Rebecca Berto | Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)

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 review contains adult content. 18+] Converge is my first experience with a book penned by the phenomenal Rebecca Berto and I’m so glad it was. I simply cannot wait to dive into her impressive list of published work. I typically stray from erotic fiction at the risk of cliches swallowing me and the probability of boring, repetitive sexual encounters.

There’s only so much I can deal with when it comes to reading the same stories over and over again. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that Converge had some of the hottest, most intriguing and mind blowing sex scenes I’ve seen written in a very, very long time. I am blown away by the quality of it all.

Berto is THE author to read from in this genre, I’m discovering, and I simply could not get enough of this steamy and erotic love story she’s provided us. New Adult fiction as a genre has never looked so appealing to me and it’s all thanks to Rebecca Berto, ladies and gentlemen. I’m seriously applauding her right now.


inherit the stars Inherit the Stars by Tessa Elwood | Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)

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.

Upon reading the description to Inherit the Stars I couldn’t help but to be intrigued instantly; feeling that bubble of interest spring up immediately after spotting this little guy on Net Galley. Who can pass up the opportunity of scoring this little gem up as a freebie? I certainly couldn’t. I’d been anticipating diving into this the second I downloaded it, but had to pace myself due to my TBR pile having grown.

I’ve been longing for a good, short but not lacking, sci-fi book to read ever since my hangover from The Corridor and Inherit the Stars absolutely looked like it could be just the right fit. It’s difficult to mix genres in the way that Inherit promises, but based on the summary alone it sounded like Tessa Elwood would proceed doing so gracefully.

She does.

And yet while it was enjoyable, an interesting mix of royalty and science fiction tied together with teenage angst and the desire to save ones home; there felt like there was something I was missing from time to time that lowered my rating for it. This isn’t to say it wasn’t good or that I found it frustrating – I really, genuinely enjoyed the story and found myself invested in Asa’s story and cannot wait for any future installments, especially after the cliffhanger ending.


Friday, June 26, 2015

wo A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan | Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)

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.

A Window Opens is one of the best fiction releases I’ve had the pleasure of reading in all of 2015. It’s warm, it’s got humor and is overall a thoughtful debut by Elisabeth Egan, who’s writing is easy to fall into and in it delivers us a vivid picture with rich descriptions, alive characters and varying opinions filled with plenty of tension and room for growth.

There’s something inspirational and real about this story and its ordinary backdrop. It reminds us that struggling through work and home is complicated and that it’s also okay to ask for help every now and again.

Its opinionated characters, with their struggles that are real and deep, it has its heartbreaking moments and all the while remains a fast read perfect for a day off in the sun. Elisabeth does a fantastic job at incorporating plenty into her plots without becoming overbearing or drawn out, balancing out everything in a way that will delight readers thoroughly.


saint anything Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen | Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)

“For as long as I could remember, other people had either overshadowed me or left me out in the open, alone. But Mac, as Layla had said all those weeks ago, was always somewhere nearby. He left me enough space to stand alone, but stood at the ready for the moment that I didn’t want to. It was the perfect medium, I was learning. Like he was my saint, the one I’d been waiting for.”

Saint Anything marks the twelfth (I know!) book released by the wonderful Sarah Dessen, otherwise known (in my mind) as the Queen of Young Adult and shows us once more why she is so beloved in the literary world. I cannot get enough of her stories and the way the worlds flow in a raw, beautiful manner. Each story is completely different but completely beautiful and undeniably Sarah Dessen.

Saint Anything is an instant Dessen classic in all its fluffy, realistic to the bone and romantic glory. It’s wise, it’s heartfelt, it’s an important story with a voice that needed to be heard in our narrator Sydney who seems wise far beyond her teenage years.

Life isn’t a cakewalk for Sydney, per say, because her life is clouded with quite a few complications, brought out mostly in the form of her older brother Peyton who has his fair share of addictions and the struggles which come with it. After he makes his biggest, most massive mistake yet by hitting a young boy with his car (who thankfully doesn’t die but is, unfortunately, paralyzed) he is forced to, at last, pay for his behavior.


freed Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James | Rating: ★★☆☆☆(2.3)

"And now my past and my future are colliding in a way I never thought possible."

Fifty Shades Freed shows us the third and final installment to the much hyped about Fifty Shades of Grey series; bringing us to a close in the dramatic, dark and unrealistic relationship of Anastasia and Christian Grey. Fans of this series have longed for more smut, more romance and perhaps a variation of happily ever after for the two and will certainly get one but not without a lot of bumps along the way.

We were left in a a calm ending to the second book after the dramatic events of the previous installment, which was by far the series’ strongest addition. Where Fifty Shades of Grey lacked much in terms of entertainment and plot, Fifty Shades Darker made up for it. Freed shows us a middle ground between the first two books in term of intrigue and is neither boring nor thrilling for me.

We see a lot of plots tied up nicely and perhaps unrealistically as this whirlwind romance reaches its climax. Anastasia Steele has decided to marry her beloved Christian Grey, this much we already know, and the opening of Freed shows us a glimpse of the two on their honeymoon as well as sparks of their wedding. It felt very rushed and the time jumping in the narration at certain points of the start and finish felt awkward and difficult to stay focused on.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

ts4 The Heir by Kiera Cass | Rating: ★★★★☆

"I think you're mistaking comfort for joy."

The Selection trilogy is one of my favorite novel series in the young adult genre solely based upon how sweet and fluffy it is. There's something so easy about this series to escape into that it reminds me how fun reading is. It’s a simple read that doesn’t slack on entertainment. While it isn’t the best, most creative novel series in a life changing way; there’s [still] something utterly light, intriguing and action packed about this world that Kiera Cass has given us.

The Selection series is certainly reminiscent to the reality shows of our modern times, except with a futuristic and royal twist filled with a rich history of its own. It is no secret that the series has a massive following and with that comes a batch of those who dislike it for one reason or another.

Often compared to The Hunger Games and The Bachelor; the original series focused on the life of a young woman named America Singer as she struggles to fit into this world of romance and luxury; leaving behind a boy from home as she joins the competition to become the next queen of this fictional land. She never expected to fall in love, but she did -- and the decision of who she is, who she wants to be and who she cannot live without is ever so present throughout the series' original run.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

pjpk P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han | Rating: ★★★★★

“So much of love is chance. There's something scary and wonderful about that.”

It’s no surprise that I’ve been anticipating P.S. I Still Love You for the better part of this year. There’s something undeniably sweet and warm to the way Jenny Han tells the story of Lara Jean and her family, friends and romantic life. I’ve been in wait for the continuation of her character and it did not disappoint me in any way, shape or form.

Unless you count me being upset to say goodbye to Lara Jean and Peter; wanting so desperately for Jenny Han to bring out another installment. Although logic says this was a good ending, light hearted and satisfying for fans and truly an excellent end, part of me will always long for more because I’d become so attached to these characters so quickly. It was unexpected and that’s what makes it one of my favorite book duos of all time in the YA contemporary genre.

Lara Jean is a character that readers can connect to instantly because there are parts of her that are so leveled with who we all are. Yes, Lara Jean is just a joy to read about – the tone in which she thinks is so sweet and intriguing and overall a delight. Being able to see her grow, to see her life bloom more and more has been an exciting privilege for me. I absolutely adore her and can say that in all the contemporary young adult releases I’ve read recently, I do enjoy reading from Lara Jean’s point of view the most.
 "GOSSIP GIRL" COVER ART REDESIGNS


Smiley faceNow, I know what you're thinking: how bored was I to attempt to do this with no artistic ability whatsoever? It was mostly inspired by simplistic redesigns I've been seeing on Tumblr for quite some time and with all the storms we've been getting, I've found myself with some massive free time on my hands. And so I figured, eh, what the hell? If I can't go outside as often as I'd like to, why not give this a go?

Naturally, I started with the first three Gossip Girl books from Cecily von Ziegesar's bestselling series. Gossip Girl has gone on to be something of a pop culture phenomenon by hand of the bestselling books, the spin-off books it then spawned ("The It Girl" and "Gossip Girl: The Carlyles), the one-time immensely popular CW adaption (RIP!) and lastly the adaptions in other languages, most recently the fabulous Gossip Girl: Acapulco which was cancelled far too soon.

Gossip Girl will always have a special place in my life due to the fascination I've held with it since my preteen years and it felt only appropriate to use these as my first few tries. I mostly used photos from promo images, stills and behind the scenes looks at the series' original run on the CW.  One of the things that annoyed me about the repackaging designs the book series was handed during the second season of the adaption was that there wasn't barely any covers which actually fit with what would be happening in the novels.


Monday, June 22, 2015

hp1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling | Rating: ★★★★★

"It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends."

Let’s rewind to my childhood for a few moments. It’s a normal day except for one thing, instead of regular library time I’m at the Scholastic book fair, picking out various titles here and there that are expansions onto series I am familiar with (see: Captain Underpants, Junie B. Jones, Heartland and the Babysitters Club) when I turn and I see this little gem sitting on a display front and center.

Other kids my age are flocking around the display, pushing at each other to grab one of the many copies; giggling and eying the novel as though they want to devour it right then and there.

Making my way through the flock of children, I too reach the display. I skim through the novel momentarily (after all, I was only in grade three) and decide: huh. Wizards? WITCH CRAFT!! I’m totally in. I spare only a brief glance at my classmates still standing at the display, and then skip off (yes, literally skip) to my librarian so I can pay for what I’d found.

She was, of course, met with a certain level of eagerness that comes only to a child. It amused her, made her smile, to see my class eagerly grabbing up copies of a book in real and genuine interest.


prep Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld | Rating: ★★★★★

“There are people we treat wrong and later we're prepared to treat other people right. Perhaps this sounds mercenary, but I feel grateful for these trial relationships, and I would like to think it all evens out - surely, unknowingly, I have served as practice for other people.”

Okay. I’ll admit that I first read Prep at an age that was, perhaps, too young to be reading it. I understood some thing, other things didn’t quite click with my middle school aged mind. I didn’t fully appreciate parts of the narration, the story, until I was older and had experience life a bit more for myself.

I was too young.

(Except not really because, I was certainly the same age as our narrator Lee Fiora.)

What I mean to say, there were many things I didn’t necessarily understand at the time and didn’t realize the book was written for someone far older than me. Prep is the perfect case of how everyone’s life progresses at a different speed than our own and is a generous nod at fiction. All the same, I connected with it instantly and even still it is one of my favorite books ever.

At the time it was mostly a cover buy during the days I’d spend my lunch money on books and a coffee at Barnes and Noble; looking eagerly for the next book to take me away from the dull events of everyday life. There was something cute and simple about the cover art and name; causing me to flip it over and read the summary.


gg4 Because I'm Worth It (GG #4) by Cecily Von Ziegesar | Rating: ★★★★★

Because I’m Worth It takes things up a notch for our favorite Upper East Siders. Time has passed rather quickly and the more things change, the more they stay the same. Some are given second chances, some are cleaning up their acts and some are exploring whole new worlds to discover themselves no matter what it costs those they love. As usual, we can expect a luxurious setting with tons of backstabbing, sex and rich teen angst.

(And we see the age old statement: give a girl a new haircut and she can take on the world. Wait, that’s not a thing? Oh…)

With a budding romance in rehab just beginning, other relationships fall apart. There’s plenty of romantic plots as per usual in this installment, and while some of it seems excessive and silly it still serves as an trashy entertainment at its finest. There’s a reason these books, and the “adaption”, are so popular: they are scandalous and reminiscent of a train wreck you can’t help but to watch.

On the topic of romance, something unexpected happens to our favorite teen queen B: Blair meets someone who has such a classic handsome tone to him that he just may be the next leading man to her Audrey Hepburn; the only catch is massive seeing as he is a friend of her fathers and is the man who is giving her a second chance at her Yale interview.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

the kiss The Kiss by Lucy Courtenay | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

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.

Are you looking for the PERFECT gift for a young adult romantic just in time for summer? Or do you long for something fun, light and flirty to read in your own downtime?

Look no further: this cute little gem is filled with entertaining characters and just the right amount of sarcasm to keep one interested till its final pages. Dash in some lovely settings, a little mythology (talk mythology to me, baby!) and romcom moments. One thing I know for sure upon reading this little guy is that I really must go to Paris one day.

Who’s with me? After all, don’t a good majority of us want to experience something magical in our lives? In this case, the memory of a very special kiss is magic.

The Kiss by Lucy Courtenay is an adorable addition to any preteen/early teen girls library (although I wouldn’t set any age limit, actually) – it is fluffy, sweet beyond repair and quite funny, it has a quirky feel to its writing and I don’t even have to say this: it will certainly go over well with fans of contemporary romance looking for a fast, beachy read that leaves it readers giggling, hopeful and swooning over the thought of THE kiss.


fsog2 Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (2.5)

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit: I was not a fan of Fifty Shades of Grey and the entire romance that followed. But the problem with me is, even if I wasn’t a fan of a series I [almost] always convince myself to read through the entire set of books (in this case, the trilogy and an upcoming retelling of the first story from Christian’s POV) because I always long to know how it ends even if I’m not particularly attached to the characters. In the case of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, it was like watching something so horrible that I couldn’t look away.

I found myself picking up Fifty Shades Darker with very little expectations and read the novel here and there in the weeks that followed. It wasn’t something I wanted to read in one sitting, mainly because it didn’t intrigue me enough. I suppose me reading this installment and sticking with the series so far is more curiosity than desire. And while Fifty Shades Darker was by no means a good novel, it certainly was an improvement to the previous installment.

We saw the romance between Christian Grey and Anastasia fizzle out quicker than either had planned by the final pages of Fifty Shades of Grey. After Ana, our narrator, decides she deserves better than what her lover deserves and makes a quick exit; leaving a crushed Christian in the background after finally deciding she had enough of our dark love interests self proclaimed ‘kinky fuckery’ – just as quickly as this twisted love story formed, it seemed to fall to dust.


Friday, June 12, 2015

vm Vampires of Manhattan (The New Blue Bloods Coven #1) by Melissa de la Cruz | 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.

It’s been near a decade, now, since I’ve been reading Melissa de la Cruz and her books and it’s safe to say I’ve always been a massive fan. Back in high school, two of her book series were amongst my favorites on my shelf: The Au-Pairs and Blue Bloods. Almost all of her books have the same fast pace and snarky attitude to it that makes it a breeze to read and enjoy.

Until I saw Vampires of Manhattan on Net Galley I hadn’t the slightest idea that she had made a Blue Bloods spin off/sequel series targeted at adults instead of teens. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t heard considering I’ve been pretty present in the book community and this is one of my all time favorite supernatural series. Alas, I’ve clearly been living under a rock – it has been nearly a year since its release, after all!

I felt like a horrible fan however, I was PUMPED to get my hands on a copy of this little gem and more than ready to dive back into this world of vampires, luxury and the supernatural. I feel as though I should have perhaps had a refresher; reread the original series beforehand but it was surprisingly easy to jump back into this world.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Weekly Instagram Roundup

wriu Hey, party people! Okay... wait... pause: I won't say that again, I swear. Phew, that was painfully embarrassing even for me.

In honor of my Instagram account reaching 1k followers, after having taken a break and lost a massive amount of followers, I'm going to be doing some sort of giveaway to celebrate. A giveaway of what, exactly? Well... you shall have to wait to see in the coming weeks...

I've also decided to try something new with my blogging process: instead of simply posting reviews, I will be doing posts here and there for all my wonderful readers to get to know me. Part of this addition to my page will include 'weekly Instagram roundups' of my recent posts and I will eventually begin to include users which I am currently digging on. Which promises to be an all around blast, don't you think? It's such a lovely community out there, and here of course -- my fellow bookworms are all AMAZING, that I found it important for me to express how grateful I am that such a phenomenal community exists for readers.


Spotlight: gingerbooks_, halfbookprincess, wordrevel, thebloggersbookshop, readingwickedly, ziba.reads, arrabelreads + claraxlala.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

blonde ambition Blonde Ambition (The A-List #3) by Zoey Dean | Rating: ★★★★☆

Blonde Ambition is quite possibly one of my favorites installments in the beloved The A-List series. Zoey Dean’s is known for her sharp, fun and fast paced story telling and doesn’t disappoint in this third book of the series.

It shows immediate growth in a few of the characters, Anna for example, and shows great promise for the others. We see a romance bud in an unlikely place and friendships shrink and grow. And of course a signature dash of family and relationship dramas. Zoey Dean is the master of teen friendly drama that levels the field with style, intrigue, sex and the constant battle of general teenage affairs.

It’s Gossip Girl meets a stylish, more laid back California setting with a dash of good ole 90210 drama and a whole lot of sass.

Blonde Ambition is a mix of everything we’ve come to know and love from the series and then some. We see second chances, we see strong friendships and other moments that make you go OMG. Blonde Ambition is The A-List in its prime and it’s something you will read quickly, unable to put it down.

My recommendations to have on the side?

Sunshine, your favorite drink, a killer pair of shoes and shades. It’s a beach read, it’s perfect for the summer and perhaps always will be with its fashionable description, drama and various pop culture references that have long passed.


Smiley face Love The One You're With (GG: The Carlyles #4) created by Cecily von Ziegesar, written by Annabelle Vestry | Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)

In the smokin’ hot finale (I can’t believe I used that term, God I’m embarrassing myself) of Gossip Girl: The Carlyles the gang is picking up the pieces from the explosive storm of drama that had hit their lives in recent months and are fast on their way to a well earned vacation. Life on the Upper East Side has never been crazier and things have finally, mostly, cooled off for this batch of spoiled teenagers.

Just as the luxurious cast before them, the holidays (see: Thanksgiving!) are looking steamy for our kids. And I, for one, couldn’t wait to dive on in to this trash pile… ahem…

Friendships have been formed and mended, relationships have dissolved into thin air and romance is beginning to bud between a few perfect matches. And families will grow with Avery, Owen and Baby’s mothers newest – most serious – romance. But what happens when these triplets meet their soon-to-be stepsister, and just how well can they adjust to her mothers long term relationship?

Last we saw, Jack and Avery had hung up their feud and formed an unlikely friendship, but how long can these two ladies really stick together? Is their friendship real and more than just going out, partying and talking fashion? Or is their connection a genuine friendship that is beneficial for both? And what of Jack’s group of friends from Constance?