Monday, June 25, 2018


Title: The Last To Let Go
Author: Amber Smith
Published: February 6th 2018 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: eARC courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review
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Thoughts: I'm easily becoming a fan of Amber Smith. She has this ability to write these captivating (yet uncomfortable) novels that draws you in until the very end. THE LAST TO LET GO is no exception. From the beautiful writing to the unforgettable characters, this novel is one where I might even say I had a hard time letting go of.

To be honest, I read this novel a while ago and have been procrastinating writing this review. How do I put into worlds a book that touched me deeply while also triggering emotions I wasn't sure I had? In the end, I sat down, thought it through, and let the words flow. Once they did, I started realizing how much THE LAST TO LET GO cut through my very core, and I'm so grateful I read it.

Brooke did not live an easy life. She grew up with an abusive father, and one day her mother just snaps, ultimately killing her father. What happened that day (much like Brooke's life) isn't exactly black and white. There's a huge gray area, and what's left in the wake is Brooke's life. Often times, the story is told through the mother's point of view. What happens when you're the child, and you're left with the broken pieces?

The story is beautifully written, there's no doubt about that. The only reason I'm not giving it five stars is, much like THE WAY I USED TO BE, I found many of the characters to be unlikable. There were so many times where I just wanted to jump into the book and scream at them. The thing is, this novel is courageous. It isn't afraid to tell the truth, even if that means hating the people themselves. Sadly though, I'm one of those people that simply gets TOO irritated if I don't love the characters all too much. I can't get over it, and it ends up effecting my relationship with the book.

Like I said, Amber Smith isn't afraid to get down, dirty, and real, and this novel is as real as it gets. I recommend this to those ready to explore novels outside of the happy-go-lucky realm.

Rating:

4 Stars


Friday, April 6, 2018

Blog Tour: As She Fades Review


Hey, everyone! Lena here, and today I'll be covering AS SHE FADES by Abbi Glines. I originally discovered Abbi through a fellow blogger who truly adores her writing. Book Bloggers are the best resources when it comes to books, especially ones you personally know and trust. Needless to say, she was not wrong about this amazing author. Want to know my thoughts on Abbi Glines' latest? Keep on reading!


Title: As She Fades
Author: Abbi Glines
Published: April 3rd 2018 by Feiwel Friends
Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository / IndieBound
*Review copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

"On the night of her high school graduation, Vale McKinley and her boyfriend Crawford are in a terrible car accident that leaves Crawford in a coma. They were supposed to spend the summer planning for college, for a bright future full of possibility. Together. Instead, Vale spends long days in the hospital, hoping Crawford will awaken.

Slate Allen, a college friend of Vale's brother, has been visiting his dying uncle at the same hospital. When he and Vale meet, she can't deny the flutter of an illicit attraction. She tries to ignore her feelings, but she's not immune to Slate's charm. Slowly, they form a cautious friendship.

Then, Crawford wakes up . . . with no memory of Vale or their relationship. Heartbroken, Vale opts to leave for college and move on with her life. Except now, she's in Slate's territory, and their story is about to take a very strange turn."

Review: Once again, Abbi Glines knocks it out of the park with another unputdownable (yes, I know this is not a real word) novel. AS SHE FADES is one of those books where you're completely drawn in from the first page to the very last. Their lives somehow become your life, and while you're itching to know how it ends, you simultaneous do not want it to. At last, it does have to end at some point, and the ending did not disappoint.

Vale and her boyfriend Crawford (aka the "it" couple) are on their way to celebrate their high school graduation when they get into a car accident leaving Crawford in a coma. Vale spends all of her time in the hospital waiting for Crawford to wake up. What's a girl to do when the love of your life is somewhere between life and death? It is here that she meets Slate, a fraternity brother of her real brother. Slate is in the hospital visiting his dying uncle, and he's everything Vale hates. He's cocky, a player, and just everything a dad warns his daughter about. It isn't until Vale decides to go move on with her life and go to college that she starts to think maybe she was wrong about him.

What I loved about this book is all of the tension. Vale and her family is fantastic and understanding, especially her brothers. They all think she's spending too much time at the hospital and not enough with her family (especially with the little ones), but Vale never waivers. She wants to be there when Crawford wakes up. I'm glad Vale met Slate in the hospital. It added an extra layer to the romantic tension that boiled between them.

There's a twist in the book that, if I'm being perfectly honest, I saw after reading the first chapter. I kind of had a hunch whenever I saw the book (If you really want to know how I figured it out, email me or tweet me. You'll think to yourself, "Duh! How did I not?"). This aspect didn't take away from the story though, and I loved seeing how everything unfolded.

The only reason this isn't a 5 Star grand slam for me is I do wish there was MORE romance in it. There's hints and loads of maybes, but it wasn't the all-out YES I've come to expect from Abbi. Also, thought Crawford plays a role in the story, I never really swooned over him. I never had a reason for wanting Vale to stay with him other than the whole she's-been-with-him-forever factor. Slate, though? He's the guy you love to hate then hate to love.

All in all, fans of Abbi Glines will not be disappointed. If you're looking for a fast, fun, make you randomly smile books, this is for you.



Rating:

4.5 Stars


Abbi Glines is a #1 New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Rosemary Beach, Sea Breeze, Vincent Boys, Field Party and Existence series. She never cooks unless baking during the Christmas holiday counts. She believes in ghosts and has a habit of asking people if their house is haunted before she goes in it. She drinks afternoon tea because she wants to be British but alas she was born in Alabama. When asked how many books she has written she has to stop and count on her fingers. When she’s not locked away writing, she is reading, shopping (major shoe and purse addiction), sneaking off to the movies alone, and listening to the drama in her teenagers lives while making mental notes on the good stuff to use later. Don’t judge.

You can connect with Abbi online in several different ways. She uses social media to procrastinate.


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

How to Say I Love You in 5 Languages


Title: How to Say I Love You in 5 Languages
Author: Kenard Pak
Published: February 14th 2018 by Wide Eyed Editions
*Copy sent courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository / IndieBound

"Learn to say, “I Love You” in French, Japanese, Mandarin, English and Spanish with this press and listen board book! Meet a child from each country who loves a different person, from George in England who loves his dog to Jia in China who loves her brother. Buttons on the side of the book allow children to listen to the phrase in each language. "

Review: This is one of those sweet children's books where the illustrations are lovely, there's a great meaning behind them, and it also teaches your children other cultures as well as languages. The book teaches you how to say I Love You in English, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin, and French. My daughter and I have flipped through this one several times. She's only 16 months old, but she loves that she can pick it up with ease (it's very lightweight), and turn the pages. I will say she struggles a bit with pressing the speaking buttons. They're a little harder than other "musical" button books we've tried. Also, the audio is a bit muffled and difficult to understand. It takes a bit, but you end up getting used to it.

All in all, I do recommend it mostly for the learning experience as well as the illustrations. They're simple but gorgeous.

Rating:

4 Stars





Monday, February 26, 2018

A Wrinkle In Time Blog Tour


Hey, all! Today I'll be sharing with you guys some of my favorite quotes from A WRINKLE IN TIME. For the past week, my little assistant (my Mrs. Whatsit if you will) and I have been reading a chapter a night (sometimes more, sometimes less- all depending on her attention span). This is one of my all time favorite novels, and it feels like a blast from the past. I love that we're able to have these moments together and showing her how books can take her to a whole other universe. Granted, sometimes we have to switch over to one of her Touchy-Feely books, but she mostly listens and takes it all in.

As you can see, she very much is a bibliophile in the making:


“Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You're given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. - Mrs. Whatsit”

“If you aren't unhappy sometimes you don't know how to be happy.”

“Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait point. French. Pascal. The heart has its reasons, whereof reason knows nothing.”

“Qui plussait, plus se tait. French, you know. The more a man knows, the less he talks.”

“It seemed to travel with her, to sweep her aloft in the power of song, so that she was moving in glory among the stars, and for a moment she, too, felt that the words Darkness and Light had no meaning, and only this melody was real.”

“A book, too, can be a star, “explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly,” a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.”



"It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

"Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract".

Meg's father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?"


If you haven't yet, be sure to snag a copy and check out A WRINKLE IN TIME. The movie comes out soon, so you'll want to be prepared for all of the epic adventures!

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository / IndieBound

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Blog Tour: This Heart of Mine Excerpt



Hey, all! I'm excited to share with you guys an excerpt from THIS HEART OF MINE. It's a fantastic read with an interesting set of characters and so much heart. I don't want to keep you guys waiting, so without further ado...


One month earlier
April 13th



“You lucky bitch!” I drop back down on my pink bedspread,
phone to ear, knowing Brandy is dancing on cloud nine and I’m
dancing with her. I glance at the door to make sure Mom isn’t
hovering and about to freak over my language. Again.
She isn’t there.

Lately, I can’t seem to control what comes out of my mouth.
Mom blames it on too much daytime who’s-the-baby-daddy
television. She could be right. But hey, a girl’s gotta have some
fun.

“Where he’s taking you?” I ask.

“Pablo’s Pizza.” Brandy’s tone lost the oh-God shriek quality.

“Why . . . why don’t you come with us?”

“On your date? Are you freaking nuts?”

“You go to the doctor’s office, you could—”

“No. That’s hell no!” I even hate going to the doctor’s office.
If people stare long enough they see the tube. But this isn’t even
about me. “I’d die before I get between you—”

“Don’t say that!” Brandy’s emotional reprimand rings too
loud. Too painful.

“It’s just a figure of speech,” I say, but in so many ways it’s
not. I’m dying. I’ve accepted that. The people in my life haven’t.
So, for them, I pretend. Or try to.

“But if you—”

“Stop. I’m not going.”

There’s a gulp of silence. That’s when I realize my “lucky
bitch” comment brought on the pity invite. Brandy’s worried
I’m jealous. And okay, maybe I am, a little. But my grandmother
used to say it was okay to see someone in a beautiful red dress
and think, I want a dress like hers. But it wasn’t okay to think,
I want a dress like hers and I want her to have a wart on her
nose.

I don’t wish Brandy warts. She’s had the hots for Brian for
years. She deserves Brian.

Do I deserve something besides the lousy card fate dealt to
me? Hell yeah. But what am I going to do? Cry? I tried that. I’ve
moved on.

Now I’ve got my bucket list. And my books.

The books are part of my bucket list. I want to read a hundred.
At least a hundred. I started counting after I got out of
the hospital the first time I survived an infection from my artificial
heart. I’m at book twenty-eight now. I won’t mention how
many of them were romance novels.

“Leah,” Brandy starts in again.

The chime of the doorbell has me glancing at the pink clock
on my bedside table.

It’s study time. Algebra. I hate it. But I kind of like hating
it. Because I hated it before I got sick. Hating the same things
as before makes me feel more like the old me.

“Gotta go. Ms. Strong is here.” I bounce my heels on the
bed. The beaks on my Donald Duck slippers bob up and down.
Lately, I’ve been into cartoon-character slippers. They make
my feet look happy. Mom’s bought me three pairs: Mickey,
Donald, and Dumbo.

“But—” Brandy tries again.

“No. But you’re gonna tell me everything. All the sexy
details. How good he kisses. How good he smells. How many
times you catch him staring at your boobs.”

Yep, I’m jealous all right. But I’m not a heartless bitch. Well,
maybe I am. Heartless, really heartless, but not so much a bitch.
I carry an artificial heart around in a backpack. It’s keeping me
alive.

“I always tell you everything,” Brandy says.

No, but you used to. I stare up at my whirling polka-dot ceiling
fan. Even Brandy’s walking on eggshells, scared she’ll say
something to remind me that I got a raw deal, something that
will make me feel sorry for myself. I’m done doing that. But I
hate hearing that crunch as people tiptoe around the truth.

“Leah.” Mom calls me.

“Gotta go.” I hang up, grab my heart, and get ready to face
algebra.

I really hate it, but it’s number one on my bucket list—my
last hurrah. Well, not algebra, but graduating high school. And
I don’t want a diploma handed to me. I want to earn it.
I spot Mom standing in the entrance of the dining room
turned study. She’s rubbing her palms over her hips. A nervous
habit, though I have no idea what’s got her jittery now. I survived
the last infection and the one before that. She hears
my footsteps, looks at me. Her brow puckers—another sign of
serious mama fret.

I stop. Why’s she so nervous? “What?”

“Ms. Strong couldn’t make it.” She’s rushes off faster than
her hurried words.

I hear someone shuffling in the dining room. I’m leery. Hesitant.
I move in. My Donald Duck slippers skid to a quick stop
when I see the dark-haired boy at the table.
“Shit.” I suck my lips into my mouth in hopes I didn’t say it
loud enough for him to hear.

He grins. He heard me. That smile is as good as the ones I
read about in romance novels. Smiles described as crooked,
mind-stopping, or coming with a melt-me-now quality. I swear
my artificial heart skips two beats.

He’s one of the Kenner twins, either Eric or Matt, the two
hottest boys in school. I used to be able to tell them apart, but
now I’m not sure of anything. If I combed my hair today. If I
brushed my teeth. If I have on a bra?

I close my mouth, run my tongue over my fuzzy-feeling
teeth, trying to quietly suck them clean.

Glancing down, away from his eyes, I rock back and forth
on my heels, my Donald Ducks’ bills rocking with me. Should
I run back to my room? But how pathetic will I look then? And
if I do, he’ll leave. Lifting my gaze, I realize I’m not sure I want
him to go. I kinda like looking at him.

“Hey,” he says.

“Hey,” I mimic and realize I’m hiding the backpack behind
my leg. I give my bright red tank top a tug down to cover the
tube that extends from the backpack and pokes into me under
my left ribcage. A hole that kinda looks like a second belly button.

Yup, I’m hiding the very thing that’s keeping me alive.
“Ms. Strong couldn’t make it,” he says as if reading my
mood and realizing he needs to justify his being here. “She
asked me to sub.”

“For how many extra credit points?” I wait for him to tell
me he did it just out of kindness. And, if true, it would mean
he did it out of pity. I’m not sure I’d enjoy looking at him
anymore. I’d rather be someone’s means to a better grade.
Brandy told me that everyone in school knows about my dead
heart.

“Fifteen. I got lazy and didn’t turn in some homework.
You’ll pump me up to a B.”

“You should have held out for twenty.”

He smiles again. “I don’t think it was negotiable.”

Moving in, I try to guess which twin he is. I try to figure
out how to ask, but everything I think of sounds lame. Let him
be Matt.

I had a thing for Matt since seventh grade. It might have
been wishful thinking, but in tenth grade I thought he liked me
too. Not that it ever went anywhere. He was football, I was book
club. He was popular, I was . . . not. Then I started dating Trent.
A guy in book club. A guy I let off the hook as soon as I found
out my heart was dying.

“Your books?” he asks.

I don’t understand the question, until I see he’s pointing to
my backpack.

Crap! I freak a little. I have several pat answers in my head
that I came up with when Mom, afraid I was turning into an
agoraphobe, insisted I get out of the house. But I can’t remember
them. The silence reeks of awkwardness.

So I go with the truth. “No. It’s my . . . heart.”

“Shit.” He spills my favorite word.

I laugh.

His eyes meet mine and he smiles again. Yup, it’s kinda
crooked. My mind’s not working. And I’m melting.
“Oh, you’re joking,” he says. “Right?”

I nod yes then shake my head no as if I don’t know the
answer.

His smile fades like a light on a dimmer switch. “Seriously?”
“Seriously.”

Add it on Goodreads


A new heart saved her life—but will it help her find out what really happened to its donor?

Seventeen-year-old Leah MacKenzie is heartless. An artificial heart in a backpack is keeping her alive. However, this route only offers her a few years. And with her rare blood type, a transplant isn’t likely. Living like you are dying isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But when a heart becomes available, she’s given a second chance at life. Except Leah discovers who the donor was — a boy from her school — and they’re saying he killed himself. Plagued with dreams since the transplant, she realizes she may hold the clues to what really happened.

Matt refuses to believe his twin killed himself. When Leah seeks him out, he learns they are both having similar dreams and he’s certain it means something. While unraveling the secrets of his brother’s final moments, Leah and Matt find each other, and a love they are terrified to lose. But life and even new hearts don’t come with guarantees. Who knew living, took more courage than dying?



About the Author

C.C. HUNTER is a pseudonym for award-winning romance author Christie Craig. She is lives in Tomball, Texas, where she’s at work on her next novel




Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Review: The Beauty That Remains


Title: The Beauty That Remains
Author: Ashley Woodfolk
Expected publication: March 6th 2018 by Delacorte Press
Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository / IndieBound

"Music brought Autumn, Shay, and Logan together. Death wants to tear them apart.

Autumn always knew exactly who she was—a talented artist and a loyal friend. Shay was defined by two things: her bond with her twin sister, Sasha, and her love of music. And Logan always turned to writing love songs when his love life was a little less than perfect.

But when tragedy strikes each of them, somehow music is no longer enough. Now Logan can’t stop watching vlogs of his dead ex-boyfriend. Shay is a music blogger struggling to keep it together. And Autumn sends messages that she knows can never be answered.

Each of them wonders: How different would my life be if this hadn’t happened? And now that it has . . . what’s next? "

Thoughts: What originally drew me to this novel was (if I'm being honest) the title. After reading the summary, I had high hopes that this was one of those beautifully written novels with so much depth that it took my breath away. Well, I must confess...

It most certainly did.

THE BEAUTY THAT REMAINS deals with many issues both children, teenagers, and adults alike face today. Diversity, depression, suicide, substance abuse, and the struggles of coping with loss - All of these are very real, and this is all the more reason to help others (especially our youth) understand that hey, it's okay to be different. It's okay to ask for help, and it's okay to feel the way you do.


Autumn has lost her best friend Tavia and doesn't know how to cope. She emails Tavia everyday even though deep down she knows Octavia will never receive them. Shay is part of a twosome, a twin who has recently loss the other half of her to leukemia. Being part of a set, she constantly sees her sister in herself and is lost between grief and differentiating herself from who her sister was. Logan, who once shined so bright, has lost his ex-boyfriend to suicide and now struggles with alcoholism as well as so much regret for the things he wished he said.

As you can see, each one has a very different story and journey, but they all come together to find the beauty that remained (see what I did there?). It's a gorgeous, heartbreaking, tale that helps remind us what's important in life and to always, always live. Life truly is far too short, especially when it's taken away early. Fans of Gayle Forman, Adam Silvera, Morgan Matson, and David Levithan will eat this one right up.


Rating:

5 Stars


Monday, January 8, 2018

Blog Tour: Between The Blade and the Heart Giveaway


"Valkyries have one great responsibility: to return immortals to the afterlife by slaying them. As a Valkyrie, Malin has always known that the balance of the world rests on her ability to carry out orders. But when Malin discovers that her mother spared the life of an immortal who was destined to die, her world is thrown into chaos.

Malin not only wrestles with the knowledge that her mother might not be who she thought—she’s also thrust into the path of a gorgeous blue eyed guy named Asher who needs her help slaying the rogue immortal who destroyed his family. The balance of the world is at stake. And, as Asher competes with Malin’s ex for her love and loyalty, so is her heart. "

Published: January 2nd 2018 by Wednesday Books
Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository / IndieBound


Giveaway: Thanks to the fabulous folks at St. Martin, I am giving away one copy to Between The Blade and The Heart. This giveaway is only open to US participants and ends 2/8/2018 at midnight CST. The winner will be contacted via email, and your information will be shared with the publisher.

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