Wednesday, October 11, 2017

"Ten Thousand Skies Above You" by Claudia Gray (Audible Review)

Series: Firebird #2
Genre: YA Fantasy/ Romance
Publication: 2015 Harper Teen
Format: Audible
Narrated: Tavia Gilbert
Cover Rating: 5/5 Stars

From Goodreads: Ever since she used the Firebird, her parents' invention, to cross into alternate dimensions, Marguerite has caught the attention of enemies who will do anything to force her into helping them dominate the multiverse—even hurting the people she loves. She resists until her boyfriend, Paul, is attacked and his consciousness scattered across multiple dimensions. 

Marguerite has no choice but to search for each splinter of Paul’s soul. The hunt sends her racing through a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each world brings Marguerite one step closer to rescuing Paul. But with each trial she faces, she begins to question the destiny she thought they shared. 

My Thoughts: WHY has it taken me two years to read this?! Oh... yeah, right, I had a baby in 2015. I missed out on a ton of good books that year. But still! Just to do a simple recap, I reread (listened) to the first book in this series (you can find my original review here) last week and finished this book today and I was not disappointed!

First off, let me just say that Tavia Gilbert is the BEST narrator. Ever. You can argue with me, but you'd be wrong. If you listen to audiobooks like I do, you know that a narrator can either make or a break a book that you listen to. Well, Tavia Gilbert does such a phenomenal job in this series I completely forget that I'm listening to only one person (or that I'm actually listening to anyone at all- most of the time I'm too completely absorbed in the story). Basically, she deserves an Oscar.

Moving on... sometimes I'm afraid to read the second book in a series because I'm usually terrified that there is no way it will be as good as the first one. We all know it happens sometimes. But I'm happy to tell you that Ten Thousand Skies Above You held it's on and was just as amazing (if not more so) than the first novel! I don't know how Claudia Gray does it, but she has created this amazing world that should be too complicated for someone to understand (we're talking a gazillion dimensions here), but at no point was I ever confused as to what was going on or felt lost. She covers everything so smoothly it just keeps you turning the pages (or in my case never hitting stop on my phone).

The world(s) building is amazing, the characters unforgettable... literally everything I want and more in a book this series has and that's why it's made its way to my favorites shelf.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"My Life as a White Trash Zombie" by Diana Rowland

Series: White Trash Zombie #1
Genre: Cozy Paranormal Mystery
Publication: July 2011
Format: Audiobook
Narrated: Allison McLemore
Cover Rating: 5/5 Stars

From Goodreads: Angel Crawford is a loser.

Living with her alcoholic deadbeat dad in the swamps of southern Louisiana, she's a high school dropout with a pill habit and a criminal record who's been fired from more crap jobs than she can count. Now on probation for a felony, it seems that Angel will never pull herself out of the downward spiral her life has taken.

That is, until the day she wakes up in the ER after overdosing on painkillers. Angel remembers being in an horrible car crash, but she doesn't have a mark on her. To add to the weirdness, she receives an anonymous letter telling her there's a job waiting for her at the parish morgue—and that it's an offer she doesn't dare refuse.

Before she knows it she's dealing with a huge crush on a certain hunky deputy and a brand new addiction: an overpowering craving for brains. Plus, her morgue is filling up with the victims of a serial killer who decapitates his prey—just when she's hungriest!

Angel's going to have to grow up fast if she wants to keep this job and stay in one piece. Because if she doesn't, she's dead meat.

Literally.

My Thoughts: White Trash Zombie has been sitting on my Goodreads shelf since 2011 and I could kick myself for not reading (or in this case, listening) to it sooner! I don't know much about this author, but I can tell you right now that she knows how to build a sincere character. I freaking loved Angel! I get so sick of the same old heroine formulas, and it was so refreshing to read about a foul mouthed, kick ass chick like Angel. Of course, you don't go in thinking that. Angel has given up on bettering her life when we first meet her and it isn't until she's turned into a zombie that things start looking up for her. But once she starts trying, you find yourself wanting her to win.

As for the narrator, Allison McLemore, I don't think anyone could have pulled off Angel's voice better. As an Alabama girl, I get offended when I hear the ridiculous southern accents some people try to come up with. But McLemore pulls of Angels voice perfectly and sucks you right into the story. In fact, my ears binged and I listened to it all in one day. The only issue I really had was that the side characters like Marcus, Ed, etc seemed to have a very slow, monotone voice. I could still distinguish who was saying what (which is super important if you're listening to a book), but they didn't have the same life as Angel's voice did. Regardless, I'm super impressed with the narrating.

Bottom Line: I loved this very original and hilarious cozy paranormal mystery and McLemore's voice! Highly recommend. In fact, once I finished it I immediately started on the second one and I have a feeling I'll just go through the series by the end of this week if my wallet will allow me.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Friday, July 21, 2017

"After We Collided" by Anna Todd- Did Not Finish Review

Series: After #2
Genre: New Adult
Publication: November 2015
Format: Kindle
Cover Rating: 4/5 Stars

From Goodreads: Tessa has everything to lose. Hardin has nothing to lose…except her. AFTER WE COLLIDED…Life will never be the same.

After a tumultuous beginning to their relationship, Tessa and Hardin were on the path to making things work. Tessa knew Hardin could be cruel, but when a bombshell revelation is dropped about the origins of their relationship—and Hardin’s mysterious past—Tessa is beside herself.

Hardin will always be…Hardin. But is he really the deep, thoughtful guy Tessa fell madly in love with despite his angry exterior—or has he been a stranger all along? She wishes she could walk away. It’s just not that easy. Not with the memory of passionate nights spent in his arms. His electric touch. His hungry kisses.

Still, Tessa’s not sure she can endure one more broken promise. She put so much on hold for Hardin—school, friends, her mom, a relationship with a guy who really loved her, and now possibly even a promising new career. She needs to move forward with her life.

Hardin knows he made a mistake, possibly the biggest one of his life. He’s not going down without a fight. But can he change?Will he change…for love?

My Thoughts: Fair warning, I did not finish this book. I couldn't even chalk this up to a Guilty Pleasure anymore because it just became too much for me. Spoiler Alert: They make up. They have sex. Repeat. Basically through 688 pages that happens. I got 50% through with this and finally just said I couldn't take it anymore. The first book held some potential, and I think that's why I continued on with the series. The ending of After just dropped a huge bomb that made up for a lot of what the book lacked, so I got sucked into that. But this book... I just couldn't put myself through the torture of Tessa again. She really is one of the most ridiculous characters I have ever come across. Not to mention the back and forth of her and Hardin's relationship was so annoying for me. I think this is one of those series that you either really love it or you really hate it because it has SO many great reviews. I guess it just wasn't my taste.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

"After" by Anna Todd

Series: After #1
Genre: Romance/ New Adult
Publication: October 2014
Format: Kindle
Cover Rating: 4/5 Stars

From Goodreads: There was the time before Tessa met Hardin, and then there’s everything AFTER... Life will never be the same. #Hessa

Tessa is a good girl with a sweet, reliable boyfriend back home. She’s got direction, ambition, and a mother who’s intent on keeping her that way.

But she’s barely moved into her freshman dorm when she runs into Hardin. With his tousled brown hair, cocky British accent, tattoos and lip ring, Hardin is cute and different from what she's used to.

But he's also rude—to the point of cruelty, even. For all his attitude, Tessa should hate Hardin. And she does—until she finds herself alone with him in his room. Something about his dark mood grabs her, and when they kiss it ignites within her a passion she’s never known before.

He'll call her beautiful, then insist he isn't the one for her and disappear again and again. Despite the reckless way he treats her, Tessa is compelled to dig deeper and find the real Hardin beneath all his lies. He pushes her away again and again, yet every time she pushes back, he only pulls her in deeper.

Tessa already has the perfect boyfriend. So why is she trying so hard to overcome her own hurt pride and Hardin's prejudice about nice girls like her?

Unless...could this be love?

My Thoughts: I don't know anyway to write this review other than just by being brutally honest, so just try and stay with me as I sort through the complete mind warp that is After. I'll start off by saying I LOVE angsty romance. If you think the amount of angst is just right, I'm the person sitting at the table that's like "No, keep it coming. Just a little more angst please." Example: I absolutely am in love with Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens. It's one of my favorite books ever. Anyway, the point is this book should have been like the holy grail for me. Unfortunately it wasn't.

I started out this book and I knew almost immediately that I was going to have some real issues with it. The main character, Tessa, is over the top, ridiculously naive and "innocent" (seriously, I hated that word in this book). The love interest, Hardin, is a complete asshole. Sorry for the language but there's no other word for it. He is. There are really no redeeming qualities other than he's the guy you tell your best friend to get the hell away from him because he's toxic. The plot is dragged out over a period of almost 600 pages of nothing but them fighting and making up and fighting and making up, over and over again. Oh, and the supporting characters? Basically their just names that move the plot along. No real substance to them at all.

And yet... I read the whole book. There were many, many times that I asked myself "Why are you doing this to yourself? Put this crap down and go read something else." I didn't. I kept reading it and then when I was on that last stupid page I was furious because I knew I was going to turn myself right around and buy the second book.

I know. I'm just as confused as you are. The only thing I can figure out is that After is like that greasy pizza you have on Monday nights when you're too tired to cook dinner. It's quick, mindless, yet satisfying in all it's greasy cheesy glory.

Bottom Line: Despite the fact that I originally wanted to give this book 1 star, I can't. I read it. I finished it and I immediately went and bought the second novel in the series. It doesn't make sense to me either, but ultimately I can't say I hated the book. ....I guess I feel about it the same way the main characters feel about each other. They love to hate each other.

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Giveaway & Blog Relaunch!!

Hi guys! Welcome to the new blog!
When I started this blog back in 2011 I was so excited to finally discover a place I could go to talk about books and meet others who fangirled just as hard as I did over them. Throughout the years my taste would change and I would alter the blog in one way or another, but ultimately at it's core it's always been a book review blog (sometimes with bits and pieces of my parenting journey added into it).
However for the past two years the blog has taken a back seat to me finding my footing as a new mom. While I still reviewed, it was nowhere near as much as I had in the past. Well, I'm here to say that I am finally getting back to my own hobbies and making time for reviewing has once again become a top priority for me.

So to celebrate I decided to throw a giveaway for a $10 Amazon gift card! Of course, I hope you spend it on buying a new book for yourself, but it's not a requirement. Enjoy and don't forget to share!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Monday, July 3, 2017

"The Idea of You" by Robinne Lee

Genre: Romance/ Fiction
Publication: June 2017
Format: Kindle
Cover Rating: 5/5 Stars

From Goodreads: Solène Marchand, the thirty-nine-year-old owner of an art gallery in Los Angeles, is reluctant to take her daughter, Isabelle, to meet her favorite boy band. But since her divorce, she’s more eager than ever to be close to Isabelle. The last thing Solène expects is to make a connection with one of the members of the world-famous August Moon. But Hayes Campbell is clever, winning, confident, and posh, and the attraction is immediate. That he is all of twenty years old further complicates things.
What begins as a series of clandestine trysts quickly evolves into a passionate and genuine relationship. It is a journey that spans continents as Solène and Hayes navigate each other’s worlds: from stadium tours to international art fairs to secluded hideaways in Paris and Miami. For Solène, it is a reclaiming of self, as well as a rediscovery of happiness and love. When Solène and Hayes’ romance becomes a viral sensation, and both she and her daughter become the target of rabid fans and an insatiable media, Solène must face how her romantic life has impacted the lives of those she cares about most.

My Thoughts: I should probably wait to write this review until I have had time to formulate my thoughts, but I can't. I just finished the last page and I am desperate to talk about it. The Idea of You was captivating and so beautifully written. There are so many times when I will pick up a book and from the first page I just know it's going to be just "okay"... nothing that will stay with me over the years. This was not one of those books. These characters broke my heart and they will stay with me. The older I get the harder it becomes for me to find characters that I can relate to in my life, and I'm only 29. I know it's out there, but I just don't find a lot of literature for this phase that I'm in. I'm not going to say that I can completely relate to Solene, because I'm a decade younger than she is, but the aspect of getting washed out by just being someone's mother... I think that's something that every woman feels at some point. The fact that she is cautious and guarded with her heart... I just felt like I understood her. I also completely loved the fact that she had her whole life going on in addition to falling in love with this 20 year old guy. She didn't just start living her life once he entered it. Solene has a life worth living. She loves what she does and she is passionate about it. You have no idea how refreshing that was for me. So many times I will read a romance book and it's poor girl has no life or no money until she meets a man. That wasn't so for Solene.

As for Hayes, well I'm completely and utterly in love with him. I'm not going to lie, I have a huge secretive guilty pleasure crush on Harry Styles and every time I pictured Hayes I was basically picture him. Maybe the author was channeling him? Or maybe not. Regardless, Hayes stands on his own as a character. He isn't perfect. He has flaws and he's charismatic and basically everything you would expect someone in his line of work to be. The point is, he felt real. They all did.

I bought this an e-book, but I can tell you now I'm already going to be purchasing the paperback version to add to my bookshelf. It instantly became one of my favorites and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good story, especially a good real love story.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books Read in 2017.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke And The Bookish.

Best Books I've Read in 2017:

1. Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare.

2. The Struggle by Jennifer L. Armentrout

3.  Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

4. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

5. What Alice Forgot by Laine Moriarty

6. Halfway To The Grave by Jeaniene Frost

7. Long Way Home by Katie McGarry

8. The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer

9. Heartless by Marissa Meyer

10. Till Death by Jennifer L. Armentrout





Friday, June 23, 2017

"My Best Friend's Ex" by Me

Genre: New Adult
Publication: June 1, 2017
Format: Kindle
Cover Rating: 4/5 Stars (Come one, look at dude)

From Goodreads: When I found an eviction notice taped on my apartment door, I had two options: find a comfortable cardboard box to call home, or move in with Tucker Jameson. 

Seeing that cardboard makes me feel itchy, I chose the latter. Which shouldn't be that big of a deal since Tucker is one of my good friends. And because he's still pining after his ex-girlfriend and I'm trying to finish my nursing degree, there is nothing to worry about in the romance department, making my last semester an easy one to conquer. 

Boy, was I wrong. 

Rules are set, dinners are made, conversations are had, and a shirtless, swoony roommate walks around in nothing but a pair of black briefs, ruining me for every other man. 

Before I know it, I turn into a panting, lust-filled woman begging for Tucker to kiss me, touch me, and show me exactly what is hiding under those briefs. 

But with great orgasms, comes great consequences. 

Tucker might be my friend and roommate but he’s also my best friend's ex-boyfriend, making him completely off-limits. At least that's what my brain is telling me, my heart is speaking an entirely different language.


My Thoughts: When I picked up My Best Friend's Ex I kind of knew exactly what I was getting into: a guilty pleasure, good drama, and a hot guy with some sexy scenes. What I was not expecting was the laugh out loud moments this book provides. Seriously, I can't remember the last time I was snorting in real laughter while reading a good romance book. Meghan Quinn seems like she would be so much fun to hang out with.

I'm going to be honest though and say I am super torn on how to review/ rate this book. While I liked the plot and the good humor, there were a few issues I had with it. For instance, I hated Tucker. Like, really didn't like this guy. Every other sentence dude is dropping the F- Bomb- and I'm not prissy about swearing. I swear like a sailor and really have had issues trying not to do so around my 2 year old. But this guy seemed like he needed to truly expand his vocabulary. I felt like a part of that may have just been the author trying to make him seem tough or whatever, but it just didn't work for me. But I still could have liked Tucker with that. No, my real problem is he was an asshole. *MAYBE SPOILER-ISH?* Basically Tucker strings Emma along and tells her to wait and see if he can get over his ex, but the whole time he's teasing her and trying to get her to lust after him. Like what? No, bro. So not cool. 

In the end though, and despite wanting to throat punch Tucker in the face for being an F* Boy, I have to say that I did enjoy the book overall. I read it in one sitting and the humor was just too good to rate it anything less than three stars. I'll also probably be trying out more Meghan Quinn books as well, as long as there's no more Tuckers.

My Rating: 3/ 5 Stars

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

"Till Death" by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publication: February 2017
Format: Kindle
Cover Rating: 4/5 Stars

From Goodreads: It’s been ten years since Sasha Keaton left her West Virginia hometown . . . since she escaped the twisted serial killer known as the Groom. Returning to help run her family inn means being whole again, except for one missing piece. The piece that falls into place when Sasha’s threatened—and FBI agent Cole Landis vows to protect her the way he couldn’t a decade ago.

First one woman disappears; then another, and all the while, disturbing calling cards are left for the sole survivor of the Groom’s reign of terror. Cole’s never forgiven himself for not being there when Sasha was taken, but he intends to make up for it now . . . because under the quirky sexiness Cole first fell for is a steely strength that only makes him love Sasha more.

But someone is watching. Waiting. And Sasha’s first mistake could be her last. 


My Thoughts: Lately I've been on this huge romantic suspense/ horror kick. So when I discovered that I had not in fact already read JLA's new thriller Till Death I immediately grabbed it up and devoured it in two days (which is pretty great for me right now since most of my day is spent trying to catch up with my two year old). Like every other JLA book out there, this book was a page turner and never had a boring moment. As I've said in my previous post, I pretty much think JLA is Queen. That's not me fangirling, that's just the truth. The woman spins out book after book and they all are original and at the very least above 3 stars for me. So, bottom line: I love JLA and all her books are fantastic and unique and have something for everyone in them.

That being said, while I did really enjoy Till Death it wasn't my favorite book of hers. Not that it didn't absolutely rock, but I kind of figured out who the killer was REALLY early on which was disappointing for me. Maybe I'm just getting good at mysteries though because I've been reading so many. Regardless, I would still recommend this book to anyone who loves a good thriller.

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Hello 2017!

Is it seriously already a whole new year? How did that happen?! Is it just me, or is time going by faster than ever?

Anyway, here's some of the resolutions I completed in 2016:

1. Moved into a new (better) house!
This was number one on my list for last year, and not too far into January 2016 we found a perfect little home to rent for our family. Best part? It's literally five houses away from my grandmother (who is also River's main babysitter).

2.  Discovered the cause of my anxiety attacks.
Turns out it wasn't just postpartum anxiety that was causing me to have severe panic attacks on a daily basis (although that definitely helped). It was my horrible eating habits (and the fact that I can stress like the best) that caused me to have high blood pressure.

3. Got Rid of Toxic People/ Things and Learned How To Tell People No
Anyone who really knows me knows that I don't put up with people who's main goal in life is to cause drama. I also don't let people take advantage of me repeatedly or use me or my family. On the opposite side of that, I also have a really hard time telling people I love "no". Well, as River has gotten older, I've become wiser and discovered the ability to tell people no and mean it. It's been pretty liberating. Because of that though I've lost some people along the way, but that's okay. Those are not the kind of people I want in my life or in my daughters.

4. Completed my Reading Goal.
I challenged myself to read at least 30 books this year (much lower than my usual 100 pre-River). I ended up passing that goal and reading 47 books this year! Just a few of my favorites...





Anyway, new year means new reading challenges and resolutions! So here they are:

Reading Challenges:
1. Read Carrie Fisher's Postcards from the Edge then watch the movie.

2. Read 35 Books

3. Host a Read-A-Thon on the Blog.

4. Clean out my books.

Personal Goals/ Resolutions:
1. Get healthy enough to come off of blood pressure medicine.

2. Buy a new (to us) car.

3. Save money for a vacation, and then go on one.

4. Let go of the Mom Guilt when I leave River with a babysitter.

5. Start going to church again.

6. Make date night a priority once a month.

7. Write. Just write.

8. Enjoy things by myself.

9. Let River stay the night from home.

10. Let go of the small things.

11. Check something off my bucket list

12. Keep it simple.

13. Find an active hobby that I love.

14. Declutter the attic.

15. Less social media.
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