Thursday, April 30, 2015

ARC Review: The Artisans by Julie Reece

ARC via Month9Books
Goodreads / Buy It
Published May 19, 2015

They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.

To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.

Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad's drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.

But Raven's stepdad's drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she's ever known out of jail, or worse.

Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries' clothing line, signing over her creative rights.

Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can't imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.

But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?

Dios mío. This book is one of the most amazing books I think I’ve ever read. The Artisans has everything I’ve ever wanted in a book, plus has me liking things I’m usually not too fond of (like ghosts and ghouls) a whole flipping lot. A modern twist on Beauty and the Beast with a dash of a few other fairy tales for good measure, this tale is one of a curse, a steampunk dress-maker in a modern world and a boy entwined in the middle of it all (whether it be by his own design or not).

When Raven’s stepfather messes with the wrong family, he’s finally in over his head. Gideon Maddox calls for him to come pay his debt, but he’s unable to go and Raven goes in his place. She strikes up a deal with the bad boy who has a troubled past and magic that goes on for days. Terribly handsome, terrible lonely and terribly hopeless, Raven is just what Gideon needs to battle the demons of his past and the ones that reside in the halls of his mansion. Raven stays at the mansion with Gideon and his two in house servants and makes clothes for Gideon’s clothing line. Nightmares keep her awake and soon she really can’t rest until she’s figured out everything. Everything about the house and everything about the boy who isn’t as bad as everyone believes.

"You are everything I never knew I wanted" (ARC).

Okay, so that was a really bad over view of the novel. Nothing can really describe how amazing this book is. I mean its romance and mystery and self-discovery and heartbreak and meaning and finding meaning and friendship and family. That doesn’t really describe it any better though, does it? Let’s just go with its amazing. So, so amazing.

The characters are fantastic: Raven, Gideon, Ben, Maggie, Dane, Cole, Edgar. I love them all. Cole is the ghost who made me like ghosts. Something I’d never thought would happen, by the way. But he’s just so completely sweet. Maggie and Dane are the best friends that anyone could have. They sort of made me ask the question how far are you willing to go for the ones you love? As a matter of fact, this whole story made me ask that question. Well, that and where can I get a Cole or Gideon or Dane? Costco? Ikea?

The mystery with the whole curse really had me going for a bit, but the way it was composed was breathtaking and wonderful. I sat down and I read it all. That’s how good this was. Now, this isn’t a debut novel. That kind of surprised me. It felt fresh. But, since it isn’t a debut that means I can totally binge of the other books this author has written.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is this: go read or pre-order or order it right now.

Oh, one last thing. That nursery rhyme. Be still my heart. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Oh-So-Quoteable {Stephanie Perkins}

Anna, no one blames you. Who in the world (or cyberspace or the universe) wouldn't be a whole freaking LOT distracted by the English French American boy masterpiece? I mean I sure was. 


*Hops around the hotel room where this post is being written in a slightly spazzy manner*

Well, lovelies. Were you distracted by this masterpiece? Or any other of the works of art written by out queen: Stephanie Perkins? 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Hideous by Devon McCormack

Goodreads / Amazon
Review Copy via NetGalley
Published June 19, 2014 , Harmony Ink Press

Eight years ago, Luke Retter witnessed the brutal murder of his mother and sister at the hands of his demon-possessed father. He survived but lost a hand and an eye. The demon also burned its emblem into his skin, marking him as a cursed. Those who bear this mark are at risk of becoming possessed themselves, so they are monitored and enslaved by the state-run UCIS. Working as a slave is hard, but Luke prefers it to the possibility of being controlled by a demon. 

One night, Luke wakes to find his worst nightmare coming true. His father's demon has returned. In a panic, he runs to the only person who might be able to help: Zack, a cursed who ran away from the state and created an underground community to protect other fugitive curseds. Zack helps him suppress the demon. But the city's become a time bomb, and Luke's demon itches to escape. 

With the UCIS closing in on Zack's underground operation and Luke's demon crafting its own, nefarious plot, Luke realizes that he must take a stand.

Oh lordy. Insta love, ass holes and the only character I really liked was the deeply sadistic demon who took potato peelers to fingers. *giggles hysterically* As I said before, oh lordy. This is going to be a 2 minuet review because I am really not sure how to review.

Okay, so the issues I had with this book were the characters (like any one them) were unable to develop and really didn’t show any growth through the novel at all. It was as if they were stuck. At least the demon had a semi-likeable personality. Really, I just found him deeply amusing. I may have outright laughed at a few of the things Mr. Scary Demon Dude said. Luke on the other hand, was very super fond of feeling sorry for himself and also very quick so fall in love. Like bro, how about you wait a bit before thinking about forever. Forever is a long time. Zack. I don’t really have much to say about him other than I don’t have much to say about him. I feel this gif properly displays how he views himself and life in general. 

I feel like this book had a bunch of potential, but unfortunate it felt rushed and I didn’t really like any of the characters other than the demon. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

ARC Review: Black Iris by Leah Raeder

Goodreads / Amazon

The next dark and sexy romantic suspense novel from the USA Today best selling author of Unteachable.

It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn't worth sticking around for.

If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.

She's not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.

But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it's time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.

Which was the plan all along.

Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.

She's going to show them all.

Head spinning, hear racing and really confused. Also a bit stabby. And a bit . . . how do I put this . . . entranced? Black Iris left me all of this, but also really happy. And a bit mad. Do you see where I’m going with being confused? Because I sure as hell don’t. I read this and a week after my head was still spinning. Let me just get this out of the way before I go on a rant though: Leah Raeder is insanely brilliant her writing is freaking gorgeous. Her ability to dive into the mind of those who are classified as clinically insane are fan-freaking-tastic. My problem? (And let me just say, it really isn’t an actual problem. Or complaint even) I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. And I don’t want to. That left me super confused. YOU KNOW WHAT? THIS ENTIRE BOOK LEFT ME QUESTIONING LIFE? Is that a good thing? *throws hands into air* I DON’T EVEN KNOW ANYMORE. I REALLY DON’T

Sorry. I had to let a bit of that out. This book stresses me out a bit BECAUSE I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT MY THOUGHTS ARE. *takes a calming deep breath* Fingers to the keyboard. I’ve never read a summary for a book that fit the book it was describing as absolutely perfectly as this one did. “Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true. She’s going to show them all.” And show them all she does. She really does. Laney is ruthless. She’s a liar. She’s been lied to. She broke herself. She’s been broken. She’s a cheater. And a lover. She’s a fighter. She’s a revenger seeker, blood boiler and fire starter. Sweet lord, does she start fires. And she watches them all burn.

I bloomed into the dark thing she made me. I am a creature with a vast capacity for patience, and for violence. For watching. For waiting.(ARC)

This book touches on sexuality, mental disorders, and identity. This book touches on those concepts in a way I am not used to and, in all honesty, kind of terrified me. It terrified me because the emotions and thoughts and words were completely raw, even if not all of them were real. This book surprised me. Left me speechless. I wanted to put it down but I couldn’t stop reading it. What has a book ever done that? Holy crap this book scared me. Not like ‘boo I’m the monster under your bed’ but more like ‘surprise I’m the monster inside of your head.’ The scariest stuff is the stuff that is real. And holy crap this book is real.

I can’t really tell you anything about it without giving major stuff away. So I’ll just say this: if you want a book that is completely not like the rest, this one is totally for you.

Monday, April 20, 2015

ARC Review: Fringe Benefits by Sandy James

ARC via NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing
Published April 21, 2015
Goodreads / Amazon

When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. High school teacher Danielle Bradshaw deserves a happily ever after, and the Ladies Who Lunch are determined to deliver Mr. Right.


As the new head of the English department, Dani doesn’t have much time for anything but lesson planning and literature. Romance—or even sex? Forget about it. But then the principal introduces her to last-minute hire Nate Ryan. Finding time to mentor a new teacher won’t be easy, especially when his incredible body and equally disarming charisma are enough to make her heart skip a beat . . .

Nate may be fresh out of school, but he’s confident in his teaching skills—and in his feelings for Dani. But while she’s everything he’s ever wanted, he knows his place on her staff—and his age—may be problematic for his sexy boss. How can he convince her to ignore the gossip mill currently in full swing in the teacher’s lounge and surrender to what’s meant to be?

Happy sigh. Maybe some skipping. Spontaneous humming. Doing a jig. Bouts of confetti thrown from rooftops.

All of these are acceptable reactions while reading Fringe Benefits. You can also throw lamps if that floats your boat. I know I wanted to. Especially around his ex- turned step sister.  Go ahead and read that again. Now imagine the family meetings. Of course, I guess I can’t really say much since I adored Lisa Desrochers’s A Little Too Far. (honestly, y’all, let go of all your previous thoughts and just freaking read it)

Maybe I wasn’t paying attention (like at all) when the number in the series wasn’t the first or the second or the third. It was the fourth. And it was so wonderful. You don’t really need to read the others before you read this one, mostly because all of the books are advertised as having happily ever afters so you know it going to end, well, happily.  Everything inbetween the covers is what makes this lovely book so worth reading. So many things happen in the middle. Such as forbidden-ish love, heartbreak, falling and the possibility of soulmates. So what is wonderful about “Fringe Benefits”?

Mostly everything. The characters- the main guy and girl, the family of each of the two and the Ladies Who Lunch with their wonderful husbands. I wanted to be friends with all of them. Well all of them besides Nate’s ex turned stepsister. She was just as sweet as a Georgia peach. That was sarcasm. The dynamic of all of them though, they were all needed to make this book what it was. This book is falling in love slowly and it’s the turmoil before the fall and after and during the fall.

This books is so worth reading. The writing is beyond fantastic. The characters are relatable. At this point, they’re like family. So y’all best read this if you’re in the mood for some chick-lit. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

ARC Review: Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson

Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson

With his college graduation gown expertly pitched into the trash, Justin Akron is ready for the road trip he planned with his best friend Landry— and ready for one last summer of escape from his mother’s controlling grip. Climbing into the Winnebago his father left him, they set out across America in search of the sites his father had captured through the lens of his Nikon.

As an aspiring photographer, Justin can think of no better way to honor his father’s memory than to scatter his ashes at the sites he held sacred. And there’s no one Justin would rather share the experience with more than Landry.

But Justin knows he can’t escape forever. Eventually he’ll have to return home and join his mother’s Senate campaign. Nor can he escape the truth of who he is, and the fact that he’s in love with his out-and-proud travel companion.

Admitting what he wants could hurt his mother’s conservative political career. But with every click of his shutter and every sprinkle of ash, Justin can’t resist Landry’s pull. And when the truth comes into focus, neither is prepared for the secrets the other is hiding.

You know that feeling you get when you finish a book that is just written so well written that even the choices the character makes that you don’t agree with still get to you? Like really get to you? Well lovelies, this book totally did that for me. I found myself on the verge of angry tears and frustrated pointing of fingers more than a few times- especially with my bro Justin. But Landry had quite a few of those moments as well. Don’t you worry your pretty little head. The character development through this book is freaking fantastic. So y’all. This novel is about self-recognition. Yes, the recognizing of one’s self.

Justin already knows who his is, but due to outside factors *cough*mother from hell*cough* and self-confidence issues, he doesn’t dare acknowledge it, especially in public. Did I mention his mom is running for a conservative public office position? Oh, yes, there is that. Oh, and the It (in case you couldn’t tell from the rather explicit statement in the summary) is Justin being gay. It is also being head over sneaker for his also gay best friend who is totally out and totally doesn’t know that he’s gay. Oh, yes. *evil cackles* It’s all rather amusing.

This is a story about a road trip. But y’all, it so much more than a simple road trip. It’s everything. Absolutely everything. Fear. Hope. Love. Fate. The emotions and turmoil. I just sort of adore the coming to terms with who you are story and this one was executed with such skill that I was seriously blown away. My heart broke.

Trust the Focus is told in a duel POV. One of the POVs is in a blog post. (UHM. YES, POR FAVOR!) Coming to terms with who you really are, coming out about who you are, acceptance, love, a killer way of telling the story, throw in a little heartbreak and angst and you get this book. So would I recommend it? Yup. Yup, yup, yup. I recommend it. With all my heart.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Book Look: Heart Breaths by K. K. Hendin

Heart Breaths by K. K. Hendin {Book Look}

After a tragedy nearly ripped 21 year old Madeline Darlington-Gray’s life in half, she's spent the past three years trying to put the pieces back together. But pieces never just fit back together, and when she's betrayed by those she trusts, everything crumbles. Shoving everything she owns into the trunk of her car, Maddie drives south, trying to run from her past.
Eno, North Carolina seems like the perfect place to hide. Working at a local café is light years from Maddie's Manhattan existence and for the first time in a while, she's finding her family. There's Grandma, the café owner; Samantha, the hairstylist next door with plans to make Maddie's life unsuck and Noie, the three year old girl who's stolen Maddie's heart.
And then there’s Gabriel Mendez, Noie’s single dad. He’s intrigued Maddie since the first time she met him, and while he has his own secrets, he wants more from her than just friendship. But the past never stays past, and all too soon, Maddie realizes she can't hide from hers. If she can't put the pieces of her shattered life together this time, she'll have no hope for a future.
A future she desperately wants.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Review: Until You Find Me by Amber Hart

Until You Find Me by Amber Hart
Copy via Netgalley + Publisher

Amber Hart pushes contemporary romance to its wildest limits in this heart-pounding novel, the story of a girl who travels to Africa to protect the legacy of one man . . . and stays for the love of another.

Raven Moore, a twenty-year-old college student from Michigan, feels out of place in the beautiful, treacherous jungles of Cameroon, staying in the habitat where her father gave his life to help protect endangered gorillas. He left home years ago; now Raven refuses to return home until she unravels the truth about his last days.

Raven certainly doesn’t count on crossing paths with a handsome young hunter—especially one as charismatic and intense as Jospin Tondjii. Instantly, she’s hooked. But Jospin is hiding a dark truth: He is the heir to a powerful poaching empire, part of a ruthless black market that is responsible for the dwindling gorilla population.

Their fathers may have been enemies, but Raven and Jospin forge a bond that goes beyond blood, a relationship that is tested as Raven draws closer to the source of her father’s death. Can she and Jospin bear the weight of the secrets of the wild—and the secrets of their pasts? Or will the rain forest destroy them both?

You know when a book- a story - just seem right? Like, there's a message beyond the plot line; something bigger is in the works. You're having a social issue (or should I consider it political) shoved in your face. You're being forced to think about it. I think about these kinds of issues, animal rights, all the freaking time. It's so refreshing to have a book like this. Its really refreshing to have the semi-reluctant poachers side, as well as the girl who has a grudge against the animals being poached. And it’s lovely to see them both grow.

 You have the issue presented without all the guts and gore plus you get some romance. (have I mentioned how much I love romance and the recognition of social/political issues?) You still have the issue, it's still right in your face, but it's not so ugly you have to turn away from it in order not to cry. This book makes me both hope and hate humanity. Hope for it because we saw someone come to care, saw someone come to change, saw people who want to help. Hate because humanity sucks because humans have egos and pride and do shitty things to make a name and have wealth. Hate and hope. They sort of seem to go hand in hand. 

This books is that kind of story. I love the characters and the different world that what I am used to. The world where selling the dead exotic animals are common, where leaving a rhino for days, waiting to die, after cutting up its face while it can feel but not move is not unheard of. If you can’t tell, I despise these people to the depths of my soul. The poachers in this novel hunted gorillas. You got to see that they only see the animals as a means to money. And that made me furious, although it’s probably good that I was able to recognize that. "That" being that they really did have no moral compass when it comes to animal- and human, really- lives. 

  I love the people and the places and the animals and the love and the hope and the trust and the falling. Oh, how I love the falling. It was being reformed and healing and it made me want the next book to gobble up. Yes, it was that good. 

Also the character building was fantastic. Fan-freaking-tastic. I got to know everyone and have some and love some and like some. And, as expected by me, I totally loved the gorillas best. I wish I could have seen them more, though I understand why I didn’t. With the main girl’s opinion on them and all. EEEKS  BUT I JUST WANT TO SAVE THEM ALL. 

Basically just read this. 

Want to help with all this stupid stuff? Look at this and this.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

ARC Review: Nobody's Goddess by Amy McNulty

Goodreads / Month9Books
Published April 21, 2015
ARC via Month9Books

In a village of masked men, magic compels each man to love only one woman and to follow the commands of his “goddess” without question. A woman may reject the only man who will love her if she pleases, but she will be alone forever. And a man must stay masked until his goddess returns his love—and if she can’t or won’t, he remains masked forever.

Seventeen-year-old Noll isn't in the mood to celebrate. Her childhood friends have paired off and her closest companion, Jurij, found his goddess in Noll’s own sister. Desperate to find a way to break this ancient spell, Noll instead discovers why no man has ever chosen her. 

Thus begins a dangerous game between the choice of woman versus the magic of man. And the stakes are no less than freedom and happiness, life and death—and neither is willing to lose.

I’m sorry. I really am. But, y’all, I just really, seriously don’t like the main character. At all. But, y’all that’s only one of the things about this book that don’t really float my boat. Oh yes. Did y’all know that I’ve never read a time travel book that I have liked? Never. Never ever ever. I didn’t know this was time travel. *le sigh* The writing and composition was really on point- don’t get me wrong. But the book as a whole just really wasn’t my cup of hot chocolate.

Okay. So in this futuristic society, women rule the men. If a man takes of his mask before his goddess returns his love he’s turned to dust. Poof. All gone. No one asks questions and they give thanks to the first goddess for mercy and kindness without a thought as to why. Except for Noll. In the beginning of the novel I was like thank the heavens above that someone in this town want to know ‘why’ but as the tale progressed I grew annoyed by her antics. In all honesty, I found her to be selfish. I wanted to shake her a say girl, you can ask questions without destroying people. Because that whole ruining things and messing things up and NOT USING THE BRAINS THE GOOD LORD GAVE HER were are particular talents of hers that made me want to stab her. Only a little though.

The love interest was- I thought-  was fairly obvious, but for spoiler reasons I’m just going to leave him out of the review. Not because I didn’t like him. I mean I liked him more than I liked Noll.

What did I like about this novel? I bet you think I’m going to say nothing. Well, you’d be wrong. I liked the whole ‘history repeats itself’ concept that was a pretty major theme in this novel. Yup, so there you have it.

So, no I can’t recommend this book. I think if you like time travel you’ll like it more than I did for sure. But I just found Noll to be rather unlikable. 

Do any of y'all fancy time travel novels?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

{Book Tour} Collision by Evie Harper

Collision Tour Banner
Title: Collision (Portland Street Kings #1)
Author: Evie Harper
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 24, 2015
When I was fourteen years old, I killed for the first time. That day I learned cruelty wasn’t only within the walls we had just escaped. It hasn’t been easy growing up in the middle of a war. A struggle to find shelter. Fighting to protect our bodies against the corruption of the streets. Nobody cared about the street kids who had to beg and steal to eat. We are the Portland Street Kings – A family forged through loyalty not blood. To get through this life of broken dreams alive, we’ve become hard, uncaring and merciless. We do what must be done to keep our family safe, we will harm those who stand against us. We have it all, feared and respected by those on the streets. Then she collided into my world, and with her came demons from my past, back to haunt us all.
Buy The Book
collision cover
“What if I already have, brotha? What if she’s already dead?” Rex’s grin is devilish, one I know all too well. He got to her. I push off him, hard, causing Rex to slump to the ground roughly. My chest explodes and my whole world falls apart. I look around me at the people staring, at the dust in the air, at the cars in the distance. Piper. I grab for my chest at the exact moment I know my heart plummets to my stomach, as if I thought I could catch it first. My mind is screaming at me to get to Piper to try to save her, but my panic is holding me back. Laughing at me, taunting me, reminding me that I actually thought I could let her go when really I can’t even bear the thought of living in a world where she doesn’t exist. In a blur, I hear Pace yelling that the home phone isn’t connecting. I look to see Rex on the ground, laughing, almost cackling. In a split second, the harsh world comes back into focus and I see everything for what it is: a world where I never win, where I’ll always be the underdog. I look to Rex and growl, "I told you why I did it! Why your father had to die. He was a rapist, and he deserved to die. Now you've gone after my girl? I can't let you walk away from this." I look down to him with what I'm sure are black eyes, murder running through my veins. I feel it pumping through my blood like worms sucking me dry. "If you’ve gone after her, if she’s hurt, you better run," I growl. "You better run fucking fast, because I'm coming for you. I'm coming for you and your whole fucking crew. By the end of the day, I'm gonna to be washing your blood from my body and laughing. Laughing because your daddy still controls you even after his death. You won't take off your fucking rose-colored glasses and see him for what he was, a fucking sadistic asshole!" I end on a roar.

About The Author
Evie is an Australian author whose passion for reading lead her into writing. Evie spends her days writing angsty, heartbreaking love stories and creating happily ever afters. When Evie isn't writing you can find her reading or spending time with her husband and two children. Evie released her debut novel You Loved Me At My Darkest in August 2014 and it was quickly followed by Book #2 You Loved Me At My Weakest which released in November 2014. Book #3 You Loved Me At My Ugliest will be releasing mid-2015.
Book #1 in the series is called COLLISION and will be releasing 24th March 2014.
love p

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Book Look: Dating Down by Stefanie Lyons

Dating Down -Book Look-

Find this book on Goodreads / Read my review

When a good girl falls for a bad boy

She thought she loved him. She thought she could change him. She thought if she just believed in him enough, his cheating and his drugs and his lying would stop, and she'd be his and he'd be hers and they'd love each other forever.

But for Samantha Henderson, X-the boy she will not name-is trouble. He's older, edgier, bohemian . . . and when he starts paying attention to Sam, she can't resist him. Samantha's family and friends try to warn her, but still she stays with him, risking her future and everything that really matters.

As moody and vivid as it is captivating, Dating Down is told in scenes and bursts of poetry that create a story filled with hurt, healing, and hope.