Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday - Fireworks by Katie Cotugno




Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine,  that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating or books that are in our TBR pile.  This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is



Summary (by Goodreads)


From Katie Cotugno, bestselling author of 99 Days, comes Fireworks—about a girl who is competing with her best friend to become the new pop star of the moment—and all the drama and romance that comes with it—set in Orlando during the late-'90s boy-and-girl-band craze.


It was always meant to be Olivia. She was the talented one, the one who had been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, was the level-headed one, always on the sidelines, cheering her best friend along. 


But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing. 


It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through. 

(I meant to list this MONTHS ago but didn't hit publish apparently...Fireworks is out now and I am adding it to my TBR list because Katie is a great contemporary writer and I have really enjoyed her last couple titles.)

I loved How to Love by Katie Cotugno.  She always seems to know how to tug at heartstrings and capture the essence of "growing up". Plus, I love how her titles are not series and I can be happy with the one book without having to wait another year for the next installment.  Yay!  If you are looking for the perfect author for summer titles, Katie is your girl!

- Christinabean

Monday, June 19, 2017

Stacking the Shelves




Stacking the Shelves allows us to share the books we have added to our collections - physical, virtual, borrowed, bought or received


Summary by Goodreads

Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey . . 

I received a copy of this title from NetGalley and thought it might be kind of fun.  We don't often hear stories of the bastard children being heroines/heroes maybe with the exception of Game of Thrones. They are barely considered family. More like the family secret.  Andrew Shvarts is a new author to me as well so I thought I'd give it a read!

- Christinabean

Friday, June 16, 2017

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White


Published: Sept 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 278
Copy Provided by: Bought
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

Review:

This was a shorter title than I expected and very refreshing from the series that I have been reading lately.  As a stand-alone, I quite enjoyed it.  Jessamin is a strong woman who attracts a very unusual suitor. She is very focused on her studies yet is drawn into a curious situation in a magical society she did not even know existed.

It felt a little bit like Downton Abbey meets Harry Potter to me.  Weird combo, eh? 

In true Kiersten fashion, she brings a bit of humor to Jessamin's rather focused life.  I love the correspondence letters between Jessamine and her mother as she tries to let her mother know that all things are well while she fends for herself.  I especially appreciate the interpretative parts that Jessamine DOESN'T write, but commentates in her head.

Kiersten White is one of my favourite authors.  I fell in love with her Paranormalcy series. In fact, Evie is one of my favourite characters in a book series (Jace and Clary have a category all on their own).  She always brings her own humor to her books (which I LOVE).  A little bit of snark and a whole lot of sarcasm to make you laugh out loud.  Another thing that I admire about this writer is her ability to diversify her topics and stories.  She also has series and stand alone titles.  Give Illusions of Fate a try if you are looking for a standalone.  If you are looking for a longer series, start with Paranormalcy.  You might fall in love with her books as well!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn


Published: January 2016
Publisher: St Martin's Griffin
Pages: 320
Copy Provided by: Netgalley
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.
 

Review:
I think a lot of people experiment with sex when they're younger, before they really know themselves. Mercedes was no different and she legitimately (in an odd sort of way) believes she is helping these virgins prepare for their first time with their girlfriends by giving them experience and guidance.   As the story progressed, it was almost uncomfortable to see this trainwreck happen in slow motion.  I felt myself saying "- NOOOOOOO...." in a very exaggerated frame by frame sequence.

I really liked Charlie in the beginning but he quickly turned into a complete douchebag. TOTAL douchebag.  I would have liked to learn more and more about Angela though.  Mercedes and Angela's relationship is discussed but I didn't feel like they connected as well as her and Faye.  



This was a first read for me to read a title by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn.  But I think I would read more. She had a very easy-going writing style and I think she captured the characters well.  I felt that as a reader, I could identify with them and their situations.  I especially liked Faye.  She was everything Mercedes needed and more. She seemed very REAL and sure of herself.  She applied her own experience in life to show Mercedes that no one is perfect and we just need to accept one another for who we are and the mistakes we make.  She seemed to be the kind of friend that everyone is looking for.  If you have the chance, I highly recommend this book!

- Christinabean

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday - One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus






Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine,  that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating or books that are in our TBR pile.  This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is



Summary (by Goodreads)

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little LiarsOne of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.
Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High's notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn't an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he'd planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who's still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them."
 

I was lucky enough to get an ARC from NetGalley for this title and have already reviewed it!  Check out my review here.

- Christinabean




Monday, June 12, 2017

Stacking the Shelves


Stacking the Shelves allows us to share the books we have added to our collections - physical, virtual, borrowed, bought or received


I was lucky enough to work on my Cainsville collection by Kelley Armstrong this weekend.  Every few years I go to an author signing with Kelley. She is awesome! Looking forward to catching up on this series!
- Christinabean

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Revenge by Hannah Jayne


Published: July 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 304
Copy Provided by: NetGalley
Summary: Goodreads



Summary:

Tony just wanted a little revenge when he posted his ex’s location online. He never meant to lead a predator to her doorstep… 

After Hope breaks up with Tony and embarrasses him at school, he's devastated. In a moment of revenge, Tony makes the location on her phone public. But a week later, when Hope calls Tony and begs him to stop the prank, he hears a shriek and a car door slamming. Then the call is dropped.

When Hope isn't back at school the next day, Tony realizes that he may have put Hope's life in danger. Can he trace Hope's movements and save her before it's too late?

Review:

Tony, the wallflower/nerd dates a popular girl Hope but he soon realizes that even though he cares for her, he cares less about the drama and the mean-spirited streak she has so he breaks it off.  Being the popular girl that she is, she twists things around so appear as if she has dumped him and now wants to ruin him for embarrassing her.   See where this is going? Enter extreme bullying plan.  She humiliates him every chance she gets at school so in retaliation, he posts all of her personal information all over the internet.  After a cry for help to him, she goes missing.  Talk about guilt huh? 

I picked The Revenge up off NetGalley. It sounded like a fun read and it was.  I wanted an entertaining book and this certainly was.  I felt incredibly bad for Tony.  Here was a girl that he really liked when she wasn't trying to get attention and things just went from bad to worse.  Why do break-ups need to be this messy?  I'm so glad that I did not have drama to the extreme like this during my teen years...or social media bullying.  

There is some language in the book but it is not too bad.  The end was kind of abrupt which was the only thing I was disappointed in. I wanted things to go a few pages further so I was surprised when there was nothing left to read. Overall, I enjoyed the novel and to me, this was a new author so I will take a peek at other goodies she has written!

I would recommend this read for a quick thriller/suspense novel.  It was exactly what I was looking for. No sequels and nothing complicated with deep thinking and analytical characters but very entertaining with enough suspense to keep me guessing.

(It might actually make a good novel study about relationships, bullying and revenge of course.)

So the morale of the story - if your relationship doesn't work out just "Let it Go".  :)
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