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.

Monday, September 26, 2016

#BookLook || A Walk in the Sun by Michelle Zink

a walk in the sun

a walk in the sun by nobentspines featuring leather man bags

My Two Cents

So, obviously anyone who says they don't need that watch in their lives is lying to you. As for me? I need that watch and those shoes and thAT PURSE SOMEONE HOLD ME.

It's so wonderful and blue and scalloped. 

I like it a whole bunch. 

About the Book

In this Bridges of Madison County for teens, Michelle Zink weaves a magnetic tale about summer love that stays with you long after the seasons change.

Rose Darrow never wanted to spend her life working on her family’s farm. But when her family is rocked by an unexpected tragedy she has no choice but to put her plans for the future—and dreams of escaping her small town—on hold. 

Bodhi Lowell left home as a kid and hasn’t looked back. Years of working farm jobs has given him the one thing he wants most: freedom to travel without answering to anyone. He’s already looking past his job at Darrow Farm and plans on leaving in September—until he meets Rose. 

Neither Rose nor Bodhi can deny the sparks flying between them, but with the end of summer looming, they must decide if it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all....

Saturday, September 24, 2016

People doing Bad Things with Good Intentions || A Rant to Top all Rants

Some things are inexcusable. Even if they happen to be shroud in good intentions—or at least halfway decent ones. Unfortunately, some of my major push buttons happened to show up in books that I happen to love. And I disappointed myself when I didn’t consider them more until one of my favorite bloggers mentioned it. I’m a human, and I’m learning from my mistakes. So, I’m considering it now.

So, my lovely little readers, let’s talk about bad things done with good intentions.

First we’ll start with Rhys. My darling high lord of the night court. For those of y’all that haven’t read A COURT OF MIST AND FURY (henceforth being referred to as ACOMAF) yet, please run in the other direction if you don’t feel like reading spoilers.

Let’s talk about the scene towards the end of A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES. Feyre is underground, and in so, so much pain. Rhys helps her to forget, giving her something to drink to take all of the horrible memories away so that she does not have to bear the weight of them on her shoulders.

Putting something in her drink to make her forget. Does this not sound like something that is frequently linked to rape? Sexual assault? Date rape drug, anyone? Rohypnol, GHB, Ketamine are all drugs that are commonly slipped into drinks by the rapist/ sexual assailant to assist them with the sexual assault. They don’t really have any color or taste. There’s not a specific smell. Some are liquid and some can be ground into powders.

I’m sure Rhys had every good intention, while sexual assailants rarely (actually I’m going to just go ahead and say never ever) have good intentions. The fact of the matter is that Feyre, to my remembrance, did not consent to the memory wipe. No matter his intention, his hope to help, or his need to protect her by whatever means necessary, he still did something that I can’t quite forgive, even if she does not recognize it as an assault. 

For what he did, I can't defend him. 

This is seen too often in our own world—things slipped into alcohol, soda, open drinks—and then the person waking up in pain, without a memory, or simply fuzzy stills of the night before. It should not be taken lightly. 

He did not have consent, so what he did was wrong. I love him, but I am so disappointed in him. And I think that most of us can recognize that there's a line. He crossed it. And he doesn't seem to be having any consequences for it. Which is SUPER annoying/frustrating/anger-inducing. 

I’m going to talk now about another book which I do really like, but had to put down because I was just so, so, so freaking angry by what the main guy did. For those of you who do not know, I just recently reviewed the book THE BEAR WHO LOVED ME. In it there’s a bear-shifter who’s tasked with revealing the whole being a bear thing to a human whose shifter nephew has gone missing and doesn’t know that there are shifters. Kind of a big reveal.

And it’s safe to say that he totally, irrevocably screwed it up. Big time.

Hint: drugging her is involved.

In order for her Not To Scream (because, that would just be complicated, yeah?) when he tells her about being a bear, and her nephew being one too (probably) he injects her with something to put her to sleep. After that he takes her back to his house and waits for her to wake up.

No that’s not super shady, extremely invasive, or infuriating at all. That would not make me question my safety. Nope.

That was all typed in the upmost sarcastic on tones.

Like, holy hell. WTF, man?

I can’t express my anger. Not in words. Maybe with some artfully placed knees to the groin. And running over with a car. I’m not a violent person (promise) but something fierce flashed in me when she faded to black.

I really hope that I don’t have to go into the reasons why this is so freaking not okay. Why this should not freaking be romanticized at the end of the novel. In fact, while I’m here thinking about it, I want to lower the rating. But I won’t. Because once there’s a rating on a book, that rating stays there.

But, good freaking lord have mercy, that is not okay.

Now that I’ve had a good rant, I want to hear your opinions. I love seeing social issues in books, but I like seeing them addresses appropriately. I don’t think these books did that. What are some books that you felt the same way? Some that you think did an awesome job? Have you read these?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

#ARC Review || Cloudwish by Fiona Wood || When You Wish Upon a Star

Cloudwish by Fiona Wood
ARC via Publisher
Published: October 18, 2016
Goodreads || Amazon

For Vân Uoc, fantasies fall into two categories: nourishing or pointless. Daydreaming about attending her own art opening? Nourishing. Daydreaming about Billy Gardiner, star of the rowing team who doesn't even know she's alive? Pointless.

So Vân Uoc tries to stick to her reality--keeping a low profile as a scholarship student at her prestigious Melbourne private school, managing her mother's PTSD from a traumatic emigration from Vietnam, and admiring Billy from afar. Until she makes a wish that inexplicably--possibly magically--comes true. Billy actually notices her. In fact, he seems to genuinely like her. But as they try to fit each other into their very different lives, Vân Uoc can't help but wonder why Billy has suddenly fallen for her. Is it the magic of first love, or is it magic from a well-timed wish that will eventually, inevitably, come to an end?

CLOUDWISH arrived on my door step without be ever having heard of it before. And I read it because it was the one being published earliest out of the three novels that I received. It wasn’t because I though it sounded the best, or I liked the cover the best, or because this was the one that I though would top both of the other books. However, after having finished it, I’m not incredibly certain that the other two books that I received are going to be able to live up to the cuteness, and the importance, of the story that is CLOUDWISH.

Van Uoc is practical beyond belief, but when one simple wish made in English class turns into something she never believed possible, she’s forced to confront the possibility of magic. As well as think about the possibility of Billy, the boy of her dreams, liking her without magic. Juggling the IB program, with I am a graduate of, her floating friendships, her parents’ expectations and her mother’s PTSD is difficult enough. Trekking through real life and fantasy?

Well, darlings, that’s another monster in itself. And this girl spends her days trying to navigate it all.

Gonna be real honest here and just come out and say it: pretty sure one of the reasons I like this book so much is because of the fact that I wasn’t expecting to like it all that much. AND, Y’ALL. THAT ASSUMPTION HAD NO PARTICULAR REASONING, AND OBVS, IT DIDN’T ACTUALLY CORRELATE WITH MY VERY REAL EMOTIONAL STATE.

I mean I literally opened and read the first chapter and fell in love with Van Uoc. She’s so easy to relate to (practical and wary, yet a TOTAL romantic) and her interaction with other characters made her so likeable. She questions the world around her because that’s what she has learned, and she’s navigating through a world her immigrant parents can’t understand, but is the only one she’s ever known.

We have her, her fabulous posse of fiends, and then we also have Billy. Now I’m going to mince my words here and say that Billy, while, yes, apparently attractive, has super sketchy picks for friends and is, more often than not, kind of a nasty human being. Van Uoc is also very practical (my girl) in this measure because she’s all like ugh stupid emotions, I know logically that I shouldn’t like you because I mean pranks, and uppity uppity, and friend choice, and ignorance, and general disregard to other people’s emotions. But she’s also like he was super sweet that one time and What Would Jane Do.

I definitely never saw him through whatever candy-rimmed glasses she wore, but I can see that he has the potential to be a decent human. Maybe. Y’all are going to have to decide that for yourself, I suppose, when you read this book.

Is it or is it not magic? Will she follow her dreams or fulfill her parent’s hopes for a doctor daughter? Will she ever summon Jane Eyre into her vocal chords and speak up for herself? WILL SHE EVER KNOW IF THE WISH CAUSED THE BOY TO START ACTING FUNNY?

And, most importantly, will she ever know her family’s history? And will her mom be okay?

All of these questions, dear reader, are for you to read about in CLOUDWISH.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

#ARC Review || Playing it Cool by Amy Andrews || Rough, Tough Coco Puff

Playing it Cool by Amy Andrews 
Published September 12, 2016
eARC via Publisher + NetGalley
Amazon || Goodreads || Aesthetic 

Harper Nugent might have a little extra junk in her trunk, but her stepbrother calling her out on it is the last straw… When rugby hottie, Dexter Blake, witnesses the insult, he surprises Harper by asking her out. In front of her dumbass brother. Score! Of course, she knows it’s not for reals, but Dex won’t take no for an answer.

Dexter Blake’s life revolves around rugby with one hard and fast rule: no women. Sure, his left hand is getting a workout, but he's focused on his career for now. Then he overhears an asshat reporter belittle the curvy chick he'd been secretly ogling. What's a guy to do but ask her out? It’s just a little revenge against a poser, and then he'll get his head back in the game.

But the date is better than either expected. So is the next one. And the next. And the heat between them…sizzles their clothes right off.

Suddenly, this fake relationship is feeling all too real…

Please excuse me for a brief moment while I just SQUEAL all the SQUEALS for the ending. It’s a must. Pinky swear.

Okay, babes. When Harper’s asshat of a step-brother is his usual self in front of the holy trinity of hotness rugby player, Dex, things suddenly begin to spice up a bit in Harper’s life. Dex asks her out. Asshat brother sputters and acts aghast. Harper is dubious of the player’s intentions, and the rest is a give and take and fall face first into emotions you don’t really want (Dex) and also emotions that you kind of need (Harper).

Let me just talk about Harper for a bit. Because this chick is awesome, and resilient, and so full of love (side note: did anyone see that one Criminal Minds episode where the killer was trying to recreate his mother’s murder/suicide and played “I’ve got a great big bottle (bundle) of love? No? Just me?) and y’all I just think that she’s the bee’s knees. Harper is a super strong, take-no-shit character. She does not need a significant other’s love to make her whole; she’s whole all by her own damn self. That being said, affection is nice. So is having someone to wake up to in the morning, and ask you how your day was, and is genuinely interested in hearing all about the things that make you who you are.

For Harper, that’s art.

Like any good book, plot twists are a must. I think that PLAYING IT COOL did a really nice job of making the twist seem like something that the characters would, like, legit do. And not something that was done because we need to keep the book going.

Please, do not do that. If the book wants to end, let it.

The mad bliss, downfall and confusion and stupidity, the Come to Jesus Moment; all of it completely worked. By doing all of this, the author also set the reader up for the next book (need, yes, please, give me) while not deviation from Harper and Dex’s story.

Can I get a woop woop?

I’m going to pretend you did the woop woop. For my own personal ego.

Overall, following their lust/love/undying devotion to each other was SO MUCH fun. I like the characters, the plot, and the cover is, well, you can see it. I don’t know what it is about rugby. Maybe it the fact that nobody’s got any brain cells when the games over, or maybe it’s the pack mentality—whoops, those are the things that worry be about sports. Let me rephrase: I don’t know what it is about Dex (probably his weird reactions, and his abs. I mean, let’s be honest.) but that man is swoony. Swoony squared. He and Harper work. This book works.

And basically you must read it.