Saturday, October 15, 2016

#ARC Review || The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia || R+J with Car Racing

The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia
ARC via Andye @ Reading Teen
Published: October 4, 2016
Goodreads || Amazon

I’ve become an expert at avoiding things that could hurt me—which means I will figure out how to stay away from Marco Leone.

Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

Some books leave me ridiculously happy in an almost stir-crazy kind of way. The Lovely Reckless is one of those books. This kind of joy is the best, most addicting kind. The notion of addicting joy is incredibly true when your (okay, I) had a mood plummet of sorts just before I started the book. As a matter of fact, that’s why I picked up the book. Why I so often pick up books. It’s like a hug from the universe and instant friends and compatriots who sort of just really get you and your struggles.

Not that I share the struggles of Marco or Frankie, or pretty much any one else in the book for that matter, but the whole being human, and being unseen, and picking yourself up by the bootstraps—that’s something everyone can relate to.

The Lovely Reckless is a modern and oh-so-sexy Romeo and Juliet with car chases, tragic back stories, and a cast of lovers that will have you grinning into your book pages. I give it the Jackie stamp of approval.

So let’s talk characters since I’ve basically given you a pretty vague outline of the plot (mwahahaha).

First off, we’ll talk friendship. I’m going to be blunt here: Frankie was a pretty horrible friend after her boyfriend was brutally murdered in front of her. This, as you might imagine, left the girl traumatized. Understandably, all she wanted to do was not think about it. Whenever she saw her best friend, Lexie, all she could think about was her dead boyfriend. Lexie stuck with her through this as she tried to re-align herself with the world. She’s a good friend. I like her (most of the time). There’s also Cruz, who I may actually be in love with. She’s an amazing racer girl who’s struggling with life a bit (GIVE HER A STORY!) and I like her. She helps Frankie find herself a bit in her new school.

We’ve also got the hella hot street racer Marco. With the two of them, it’s kind of insta-you’re-super-intriguing and then yup-it’s-love in a hot second. I didn’t have a problem with this for some odd reason. It probably has something to do with plot twists and bad people and the whole R+J aspect which I am hard-core digging. Love.

At this point you’re probably thinking that I had no issues with this book what-so-ever, and to be straight with you, I don’t. That being said, I do with I got to read a bit more street racing. It seemed that is supposed to be a huge part of Marco’s life, and Cruz’s for that matter, and I just wish I got to see that side of them more. There were maybe two or three scenes with all that jazz, but it wasn’t super fleshed out. There are a few books out in the world that do an AWESOME job with street racing depictions. Tweet me if you want to hear them!

I also wish that I got to see the rough-and-tough part of Marco along with the sugary sweet, total swoon-worthy man that I’m head over heels for. People seemed to fear him a bit, and I’m just over here with my head propped on my hand drooling as he does all sort of things to make my knees go wobbly. WHY DO YOU FEAR HIM, PEASANTS?

Anyways, I love it. There were things I would add, but nothing that I would change. Overall, I recommend this book from the bottom of my heart. You want swoons? This book will give them in spades? You want to see a tragedy worthy of Shakespeare with all the heartache and sorrow of a girl in the modern world? This book has it. It broke my heart and built it up again. Give me more. I want mooooooooore.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

This Queen Need a Book..or Maybe Her Successor Does

I adore history. I'm not super sure if you are very well aware of the matter. Have you heard of Mackenzi Lee? No? Well go check out her Friday fun days and you'll get obsessed too. She's a badass woman who talks about badass women.

I adore the sum of it. So freaking much.

I'm also just beginning this whole college thing. Already changing my major! Wheeeeee! This Parts of History shingdig is me trying to figure myself out while trying to make sense of the past. Not that that is at all possible. But it suuuuure is fun.

For my first one of this series I'll be talking about the last Queen of Hawaii.

I'll just begin with you can check out all this information on these websites: PBS, HISTORY.

As you just read, Lili'nokalani was the final queen of the kingdom of Hawaii. After having the throne passed down to her by her brother when she was in for 40s, she worked to restore Hawaii to it's old ways. Those old ways being a monarchy instead of run by rich sugar plantation owners. As you may have been able to guess, these rich plantation owners were none too happy about her personal mission and went to the USA government to try to fight for their survival.

They wanted annexation, but Lili stood her ground. She, as demonstrated by Hawaii being a part of the USA today, was unable to win her battle. This was made particularly difficult where her niece (who she made her only heir since she and her American-born ship captain husband never had any children of their own) died of poor health at the young as heck age of 24 in 1899.

Whoops, forgot to mention that this queen lived from 1838 until her death in 1917.

This fun fact is important because women in positions of power is something virtually unheard of for the era.

(another fun fact, way wAY back, the Huns had no issue with female authority. In fact, women were warriors along side men. Read more about female warriors in history here.)


That's about all I've got on this human. There will be more fun historical happenings in future posts. Stay tuned!

What are some of your favorite lesser-known people in history?

Saturday, October 8, 2016

#ARC Review || Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco || Guts and Blood and Romance

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
ARC via Andye @ Reading Teen
Published September 20, 2016
Amazon || Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

“I was determined to be both pretty and fierce, as Mother had said I could be. Just because I was interested in a man’s job didn’t mean I had to give up being girly. Who defined those roles anyhow?” 

I adore gore. I like my Halloween (all of October, bring on the ghouls and vampires and werewolves) reads to be feisty and bloody and filled with feminist power. Stalking Jack the Ripper was a slam dunk for all of these criteria. When were adding a darling Victorian backdrop, a cold case, and an equally snarky and swoony main guy? I am so here for all of it.

When our darling Audrey Rose loses her mother, she begins to develop a fascination with the dead. With her Uncle as a mentor, her father desperately trying to shield her, and her brother trying to keep her happy, she’s struggling to find her balance between the work she loved (dissection) and the life she’s being shoved into living. When she runs in to her Uncle’s super dashing and super angsty apprentice, Thomas, he makes it known that he’s along for the ride that is her own personal quest to solve the case of Jack the Ripper.

In this she puts together the puzzle pieces, pulls apart bodies, and is betrayed just as often as she trusts.


I’m so sorry. I just had to. This book deserves squealing and skipping and swooning. Talk about a good book. People lurking in the dark, ladies up to their elbows in guts and blood, and a twist in the classic real life mystery: Jack the Ripper. This is one of my favorite murders to read about. It’s so gruesome—showing some of the darkest parts of the human psyche. It’s so interesting—I mean, how could a person rip open another human’s body so brutally and steal their organs? What possesses someone to do that? Are they in their right mind? Can someone be in their right mind if they are able to commit such a horrific act of violence?

These are the thoughts that Audrey Rose is bound to have during her investigation. 

The characters, mainly Audrey Rose and Thomas (but I do so adore her fierce cousin too, a true lion wearing sheep skin), are incredibly well fleshed out. I felt like I knew them both. Their fears and hopes and confusion were mine. This, I believe, is one of the most important things in a book. You’ve got to be able to root for something. Why else are you reading the book? 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

#BookLook || We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

we are okay

we are okay by nobentspines featuring wide brim hats

My Two Cents

Not only in this book cover my actual favorite EVER, it goes mighty fine with those boots.

Which are now on my gotta have list.

What's your fav part of this look? 

About This Book

From the award-winning author of Hold Still comes an achingly beautiful novel about grief and the enduring power of friendship. 

Marin hasn't spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left California with only her cell phone, wallet, and a plane ticket. No one knows the truth of those final weeks of summer, when everything changed. Not even her best friend Mabel, whom Marin has completely shut out. But even from thousands of miles away, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she's tried to outrun. Now that winter break is upon her, and the campus has emptied, Mabel is coming to visit. Marin will be forced to face everything that's been left unsaid for months and finally confront the loneliness that made a home in her heart years ago. 

Gorgeously written and achingly honest, Nina LaCour's We Are Okay is a tale of friendship, love, and transformation in wake of tragedy.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

#ARC Review || Only You by Denise Grover Swank

Only You by Denise Grover Swank
Published October 25, 2016
Amazon || Goodreads
ARC via Publisher + NetGalley

Never say never . . .

Romance isn't an option for Holly Greenwood. With her wedding planner career on the line she needs to stay focused, and that means pleasing her demanding boss, not getting distracted by her mind-alteringly hot neighbor . . . 

Ex-Marine Kevin Vandemeer craves normalcy. Instead, he has a broken-down old house in need of a match and some gasoline, a meddling family, and the uncanny ability to attract the world's craziest women. At least that last one he can fix: he and his buddies have made a pact to swear off women, and this includes his sweetly sexy new neighbor. 

After one hot night that looks a whole lot like a disaster in the light of day, Kevin and Holly are about to learn that true love doesn't play by the rules . . . 

Way back in May, I made the decision to read this ARC instead of the ARC I was currently reading that was being published at an earlier date. In short, I regret nothing. ONLY YOU was incredibly sweet, believable, and I can relate to the main character. That last plus is something I’ve had a bit of trouble doing lately. Whether this be because I’m getting pickier, or the stress of new beginnings is finally sinking in, I’m not really sure. What I do know is that this book hit the spot. I was laughing, cringing, and cheering on Holly and Kevin. 

Thank y’all for acting your age. (this is where I’m offering all the stars) I’m not super sure what it is with 25-30 year olds acting like high-school students but it makes me annoyed. Annoyed to the point of no return. I would love to say I’m super forgiving on this aspect of personalities, but that would be a lie. Holly and Kevin were presented with obstacles in their relationship (this should read Kevin’s mother, who happened to be Holly’s boss and ticket into being a big-time wedding planner) and they dealt with them beautifully. The will-they won’t-they was the driving tension through the book and I LOVE IT. The writing of it in all caps should properly display my enthusiasm. 

I liked them a whole bunch. They were genuinely good humans. I haven’t grown wearing of the less-savory characters (no, that never going to happen) at all, but I really liked getting to know nice people as opposed to idiots who can’t seem to get their head screwed on straight. Or make the right choice until the end of the book…ever. ONLY YOU is a good change of pace from that. 

Now that I’ve ranted about the characters for a bit, let’s chat about the plot. This book basically follows the two characters struggling with their want to be together, their jobs (more-so his than hers), and his mom. That sounds weird; his mom prevented them from being together. But she did! Holly is working weddings this entire book, and we’re just following her around for the ride. She’s a fantastic planner, and is trying to make a name for herself so that she can start her own business. Holly is struggling to balance her personal and her professional life. I really liked seeing how to handled everything (the man, the crazy brides). 

Overall, I really liked this book. The characters were fantastic, which is why I like the book so much. They were funny, relatable, and easy understand. They made decisions that made sense and really were just nice folks. ONLY YOU was an easy read. It’s a nice break from the heavier stuff. 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

#ARC Review || Venators by Devri Walls || YES

Venators by Devri Walls
ARC via author for an honest review
Amazon || Goodreads
Published October 1, 2016

Six years ago, Grey Malteer was attacked by creatures he thought couldn’t possibly exist. They repeated a word, calling him a name he’d never heard before…Venator. Since then, his life has been a hellhole of secrecy—hiding old pain alongside strange new abilities.

Rune Jenkins has an itch, as she calls it, but it’s more than that. It's an anger that builds up like the inside of a boiler whenever she’s around anything remotely supernatural. The pressure is growing steadily worse and she can’t understand why. All she knows is—her control is slipping.

By order of an unknown council Grey and Rune are pulled through a portal in the St. Louis arch, landing them in an alternate dimension where creatures of myth and legend exist. A realm that calls them, Venators.

Made up of centuries old fae, vampires, werewolves, elves and succubi the council’s corrupt nature becomes obvious as they seek to wield the newly returned Venators as weapons. Wedged in an impossible position, Grey and Rune must decide their fate—do they go against the council’s wishes and help the innocents of this unforgiving land, or face the possibility of execution by the council.

First of all: yaaaassssss.

This—THIS—is what I have been waiting for. Wing of Nestor, looking out. Because the queen of high fantasy is back and better than ever before. The first book in the series follows Grey and Rune as they are taken to a different world and subjected to the will of the ruling group of supernatural powers: succubus, fae, wizards, vampires, and incubus. As they find their place in this world, they have to battle internal fears as well as a powerful magical queen-like figure. (SHE HAS A DRAGON). VENATORS is the best mix of fantastical worlds, romance, and discovering how much of a force to be reckoned with you can be.

Rune is amazing. I’ll just begin my actual review portion of the rant with that. She’s so real and scared and fierce as all get out. After being dragged into another dimension in hopes of saving her brother from supernatural forces, she herself is forced to re-evaluate her priorities. I adore how she reacts when she’s confronted with things that she’s not used to, and, frankly, shouldn’t be possible. Her relationship with the other characters is built up in a way that is believable.

It’s sort of like this: you’ve got to do what you have to do (in this case, save her brother from the forces of evil) and it’s okay to be freaking out (vampire biting is a no-no, and screaming is a natural reaction when something is way weird) along the way. I love the take-it-as-it-comes savior folks, but I also want the ones who I can relate to. I mean, let’s be honest, not everyone is going to be totally okay with dragons and blue not-humans being a real life thing.

This honest (sort of) human being, her (once again, sort of) friend from her normal life, and the (sort of) allies they meet along the way. This, my darlings, is what I call an adventure. This is why I love Devri Walls. I like the world-building, and the characters who are magical, and the guys who are swoony. So much YES.

And VENATORS had that.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

#ARC Review || Stolen Away by Jennie Marts || Cute but Predictable

Stolen Away (3, Hearts of Montana) by Jennie Marts
aARC via Publisher + NetGalley for an honest review
Amazon || Goodreads
Published September 26, 2016

Elusive charmer Cash Walker is a tough-as-nails cowboy, except when it comes to the shy woman who shows up with a pretty smile, a wounded spirit, and a goat riding shotgun in her passenger seat. 

Recently divorced from an abusive husband, Emma Frank has come home to Broken Falls, Montana. Lost, alone, and unable to escape the bullying tactics of her ex-brothers-in-law, she finds solace and friendship at the Tucked Away farm and with the handsome cowboy who believes in her and who helps her find her own courage. 

There’s a darkness in Cash’s past that’s kept him from ever letting anyone get too close, but he can’t seem to stay away from Emma, who seems to be the one to finally break through his tough exterior and steal this cowboy’s heart. 

After escaping an abusive relationship, Emma Frank ventures back down to the town she grew up. There she runs into the man she had a crush on through high school, Cash Walker. All grown up, Cash has a few issues of his own weighing down on him. Emma can’t seem to shake off the tendrils of the past. STOLEN AWAY is about how these two people survive and thrive and grow. This is all the while the reader get’s some intrigue and suspense, begging the question: how do you get away from someone who is wherever you look, and, when you do get free, how do you begin again?

The Characters

I THINK WE NEED TO GIVE BEST CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT TO THE KITTENS BECAUSE THEY’RE JUST SO DANG CUTE AND FUZZY. But in all seriousness, this book did good letting me get to know the characters, who they are, and what makes them who they are. Emma’s been through some super horrible times, and so has Cash. Both varying degrees of similar abuse patterns. This makes it so that they have a human that understands where they’re coming from when they say they feel unlovable and broken. They’re not alone.

Besides them, there are also all the snazzy chicks and dudes from about town who help to keep Emma safe from her ass of an ex husband.

The Plot

The heartbreak! The drama! The learning to love again! The letting yourself be loved again! The twists and turns!

I may not completely adore this book, but it definitely kept me entertained. The premise was easy to follow, not overtly complicated (which, in my honest opinion, is both a good and a bad thing), and did not lack in romance.

I didn’t highlight the quote (I know, I’m cursing myself too) but in the beginning, Emma said something about re-building/discovering herself before getting into anything. Although I wish she had stuck with that idea a little bit more though the book (but, let’s be real—how many can resist a sweet+hot cowboy?) I think she did re-find herself, and heal. It may have not been the way that I was hoping, but it was how I was expecting.

Which isn’t a bad thing. But, the plot followed that. And, really, I liked it. She’s a heroine we can all root for. Her and her kitten pal.

So, In the End

While I do genuinely like the characters, the book wasn’t one-hundred percent for me. There were ups and downs. I wasn’t completely feeling it, and it was SUPER predictable. Not a bad thing—just not really what I was in the mood for.