Sunday, August 28, 2016

"738 Days" by Stacey Kade

Genre: New Adult
Publication: June 7, 2016 by Forge Books
Format: Kindle
Cover Rating: 4/5 Stars

From Goodreads: At fifteen, Amanda Grace was abducted on her way home from school. 738 days later, she escaped. Her 20/20 interview is what everyone remembers—Amanda describing the room where she was kept, the torn poster of TV heartthrob Chase Henry on the wall. It reminded her of home and gave her the strength to keep fighting.

Now, years later, Amanda is struggling to live normally. Her friends have gone on to college, while she battles PTSD. She’s not getting any better, and she fears that if something doesn’t change soon she never will.

Six years ago, Chase Henry defied astronomical odds, won a coveted role on a new TV show, and was elevated to super-stardom. With it, came drugs, alcohol, arrests, and crazy spending sprees. Now he's sober and a Hollywood pariah, washed up at twenty-four.

To revamp his image, Chase’s publicist comes up with a plan: surprise Amanda Grace with the chance to meet her hero, followed by a visit to the set of Chase’s new movie. The meeting is a disaster, but out of mutual desperation, Amanda and Chase strike a deal. What starts as a simple arrangement, though, rapidly becomes more complicated when they realize they need each other in more ways than one. But when the past resurfaces in a new threat, will they stand together or fall apart?

My Thoughts: SO. FREAKING. GOOD!

I am really, really, particular about my New Adult books. There's so many of them out there and after a while they tend to all run together. I also have a certain balance that I like: a good bit of angst (but not so much that it becomes ridiculous), an oh-so-sexy leading guy that makes real mistakes, and a main character that I can relate to. Oh, and really hot, steamy scenes (no shame here). And Stacey Kade delivered all of that and more in 738 Days.

Let me back up for just a minute though and say that I absolutely adore this author. I follow her (in a non-stalker way) on Facebook and her post are always on point. In fact, I kind of wanted to be her best-friend at one point when she started a re-reading of Flowers in the Attic a couple of years ago when Lifetime was doing the remake. Not to mention, she once fangirled over Andrew McCarthy and I just knew right then that she was going to be an author I wanted to keep track of. Also, she responds back to her fans which is always a huge star in my book.

Anyway, 738 Days was a book I could not put down. I had just spent a week straight reading amazing novels and I was having the book hang-over of a lifetime when I picked it up. I had previously read her Ghost and the Goth YA series and loved it, so I figured this would be something that wouldn't disappoint me. Well, it definitely did NOT disappoint, but now I'm still suffering from THE WORST BOOK HANG OVER ever! In case you don't know what that is, it basically means I just read this amazing novel and the next book I read could not possibly live up to it. This novel had me flipping pages until 4:00 am, and let me tell you, I have a toddler who is up and at 'em at 6:00 every morning so I'm greedy with my sleep. Do I have regrets? Psh, please. I am running on pure love for Chase Henry and Amanda Grace.

Bottom Line: I am going to be recommending this book left and right. I'm also going to download more Stacey Kade books ASAP while also praying that she writes more NA books... and maybe a sequel? Please? 

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Letter #3: You Don't Owe Anyone Anything.

Hello Brave Girl,

Two letters in one month. Obviously, mom has a lot she needs to say. I write these to you as a "Just In Case". Just in case something happens to me. Just in case I forget to tell you as I get older. Just in case you don't want to listen to me as a teenager, but don't mind reading things from me. Etc.

Today, I want you to know, without any kind of explanation from you whatsoever, that you don't owe anyone anything. Not me. Not your dad. Not your grandparents. Not your future friends or future significant others.

"No" is a powerful, and sometimes hard, word to say. "No, I don't want to do that." Or "No, I can't do that for you." Or even "No, you can't be in my life." All of those things are hard to say, and one day will probably need to be said at one point in your life. The part I want you to focus on, is not feeling guilty for saying it.

I'm telling you this, because I don't think anyone ever told me this growing up. Usually, I never had a hard time telling a stranger no. That was easy. What was harder was telling people I loved no. People that would take advantage of that knowledge about me. That they could push me into doing something they wanted or needed. Those people were toxic, to me at least.

It sucks when that happens. It sucks when you have someone you love and would do anything for, use you. And a lot of time, it was in unexpected ways. Sometimes people just wanted to be saved from themselves. But That. Is. Not. Your. Job.

You were not brought into this world to fix anyone. There's a fine line between helping someone who needs it and wants it, and helping someone who doesn't want to get better. You have to know the difference and you have to know when to walk away and cut that person from your life. It's something I failed at constantly because I felt like it was my responsibility to take care of everyone- regardless of how much they used me.

It wasn't, and its not going to be yours either. I want you to know, right now, you owe me nothing. Everything your dad and I do for you is because it brings us joy. You bring us more joy than I ever imagined possible. The only thing you can do for us is to live your life the way YOU want to live it. To make the choices that will make you happy in life. To travel. To go to college. To create art or to to be a successful business woman. Or both. And to learn to say no to those who would take your happiness away.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

"Wicked" by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Series: Wicked Saga
Genre: New Adult/ Paranormal Romance
Publication: December 8, 2014
Format: Kindle
Cover Rating: 5/5 Stars

From Goodreads: Things are about to get Wicked in New Orleans.

Twenty-two year old Ivy Morgan isn’t your average college student. She, and others like her, know humans aren’t the only thing trolling the French Quarter for fun… and for food. Her duty to the Order is her life. After all, four years ago, she lost everything at the hands of the creatures she’d sworn to hunt, tearing her world and her heart apart.

Ren Owens is the last person Ivy expected to enter her rigidly controlled life. He’s six feet and three inches of temptation and swoon-inducing charm. With forest-green eyes and a smile that’s surely left a stream of broken hearts in its wake, he has an uncanny, almost unnatural ability to make her yearn for everything he has to offer. But letting him in is as dangerous as hunting the cold-blooded killers stalking the streets. Losing the boy she loved once before had nearly destroyed her, but the sparking tension that grows between them becomes impossible for Ivy to deny. Deep down, she wants… she needs more than what her duty demands of her, what her past has shaped for her.

But as Ivy grows closer to Ren, she realizes she’s not the only one carrying secrets that could shatter the frail bond between them. There’s something he’s not telling her, and one thing is for certain. She’s no longer sure what is more dangerous to her—the ancient beings threatening to take over the town or the man demanding to lay claim to her heart and her soul.

My Thoughts: Can I just be honest here and say I am in love with JLA's paranormal romance writing? Seriously, all of her PNR books are just out of this world amazing and addicting. Luckily for me, Wicked had that same magic that she spins and I couldn't put it down. You would think after publishing... well, a TON of PNR books they would start to melt together and get repetitive, but that's just not the case. Each one of her novels/ series stands all on it's own with a splash of amazing sauce thrown in.

What I really loved about Wicked though was that it was New Adult. I don't get to do as much research on upcoming books since becoming a mom. I just don't have the time. So I could be wrong here, but it seems to me like there's a large gap of good, quality, paranormal romance missing from the New Adult genre. So when I got my hands on this baby, I was beyond excited. Just the right amount of world building, romance, and action thrown in!

Needless to say, as soon as I finished this book I immediately went to Amazon to purchase the second in the series.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Letter #2.

My sweet, brave River,

Yesterday I cried over a book. Which, as you'll come to learn is not unusual for your dear old mom, but this particular time was different.

Nine years ago, I went to a book store with my friends and stayed until Midnight playing games, dressing in costumes, and talking to complete strangers excitedly about an imaginary world. I'm talking, of course, about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows release party. I was 19 years old and I was about to close a huge part of my life that went back to simpler, happier times. For me (like many others) Harry Potter was my childhood.

I've never been great at being social. Even as a kid I preferred to lock myself into a room or lay outside with a huge book to be transported into another world. Don't get me wrong, I had friends and I played, but probably not as often as others did my age. When I was younger I would sometimes wonder if something was weird about me because of this. Harry Potter got me through it.

One day your crazy Mawmaw took me to the Hueytown Public Library where she insisted that I should read this book about a boy who was a wizard. She said other people had told her about it and said it was wonderful. Not trusting your mawmaw very much I decided to pick up a second book just in case. That night, I gave it a go though and I stayed up well past midnight on our La-Z-Boy turning the pages of that book. I was engrossed in this world of magic and creatures. With each passing year I would wait anxiously for the next book. I would get older, my interest would change, but nothing made me happier than when I got my hands on the new Harry Potter book.

At 19 I thought that time in my life had finally ended. I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried. It felt like I was shutting the door on my childhood and that's never an easy thing to do... especially when you've just left high school and have no idea what you're going to be doing with your adult life. You see, at that point I had never loved anything as much as I loved those books. Nothing had ever come close to making me feel that magical or transported me back so quickly to a simpler time in my life when I had no worries.

Yesterday, I got to feel that again when I came home to find the screenplay Harry Potter and the Cursed Child sitting on my kitchen table. I ripped open the box it was delivered in and squealed with delight as I held the book up, with tears in my eyes, for your Mawmaw to see (she had been babysitting you while I went to work). It didn't matter that I was 28, just got home from work, and wearing sweaty scrubs. It didn't matter that I have a ton of responsibilities on my shoulders now or that I probably looked like the biggest dork on the planet. None of that matter to me because I was happy.

This is what I want you to take with you. Life is too short to hide your excitement over something. If something makes you happy, show it. Scream it out to the world and dance crazily. Enjoy your life. Don't worry about what people think. There will always be people out there that are sadly bitter and want to try and take that happiness away from you  by mocking you. Ignore them. Pray for them. But never let them steal it from you. Never let your life get so bogged down by daily living that you can't be happy with something you once loved.

I love you my amazing happy girl. Nothing in life makes me happier than you, including the above mentioned books. If I embarrass you later on down the road with my love for you, then you know this is why. When I can't stop from hugging you outside of school and kissing your cheek you know this is why. When I shoutand clap crazily for all of your achievements you know this will be why.

Because you make me the happiest.