Monday, June 22, 2015

REVIEW: If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin

If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin
Publication Date: April 1, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Book Purchased by Reviewer
Buy it at: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

I wasn't with Finn that August night. But I should've been. It was raining, of course. And he and Sylvie were arguing as he drove down the slick road. No one ever says what they were arguing about. Other people think it's not important. They do not know there is another story. The story that lurks between the facts. What they do not know-the cause of the argument-is crucial.

So let me tell you.

I can't handle my emotions right now! One moment please...


This book has left me reeling from the moment I put it down. I just can't understand how the author could do this to me. To all of us! Let me take a moment to explain.
 
From the minute you read the synopsis you know that a terrible thing has happened in this story. At the moment it's not so terrible though because you don't know the characters. There are no emotional ties between you and them. But as soon as you start to read the book and get to know the characters you instantly fall in love with them. This is what makes this book so difficult to read. The entire time you're reading it and falling in love with the characters, you know that something is going to happen to one of them and you're secretly praying that it doesn't. Maybe the author was joking you think, just trying to get your attention. But NOPE! That is not the case at all. Laura Nowlin is officially the master of heartbreak. She tricked me and made me fall in love with someone that she knew I couldn't keep. I hate her for this! But I have to admit that it makes the story unique.

Autumn and Finny are best friends. Their mothers are best friends. They are also neighbors. Throughout the years they begin to drift apart and are in relationships with different people but somehow end up back together again. We see their relationship from the beginning of high school to the end and get to see the transformation throughout.

As a character I actually really like Autumn. She's kind of a weirdo and everyone knows it but she totally owns it. I admire that she was never embarrassed to just be herself. Of course when it comes to Finny, I think she was completely blind to the affections he had for her. It couldn't have been more obvious if neon signs were flashing in her face! I think she tried really hard to pretend she didn't notice sometimes.

Finny, of course, completely stole my heart. He wasn't some alpha male ego type. He was kind and considerate and had no problem blushing when Autumn pretty much did anything. I really liked that about him. I feel like the story should have been opposite. He should have been the MC. I would have loved to hear his thoughts. Especially when Autumn was around. Once they finally "connected" it was pretty much the happiest moment of the book. Shadowed only by the tragic accident that shortly followed.

Leading me to my biggest peeve of the book. My only peeve actually. That ending! I feel like the author ruined the entire book with the last chapter. Finny deserved better. So did Autumn. That was nowhere near the ending I'd imagined. I can't deny though that even though i'm furious with how it ended my heart still aches for it. Knowing how everything went down and how unfair and hopeless it felt. Without that ending this would have been a five star review. The ending dramatically dropped it. Would I recommend it? I'm not sure...Maybe.

Friday, June 19, 2015

FAVORITE FRIDAY (#18)~ Don't Die, My Love by Lurlene McDaniel



Have a favorite book? Series? One that you've just read or are currently reading? Favorite Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Books and Swoons where they spotlight some of their favorite reads. Everyone is welcome to join. Just enter your information on their linky or leave them a comment.

This week's Favorite Read is:

Release Date: July 1, 1995
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes and Noble



Synopsis:

Julie Ellis and Luke Muldenhower have always been school sweethearts. Now both are in high school and deeply in love. Luke, a talented football player, is almost certain to receive an athletic scholarship to a top college. And no matter what her parents say, wherever Luke goes, Julie intends to follow. When Luke can’t shake what he thinks is a virus, Julie persuades him to see a doctor. Luke’s test results are alarming, but Julie believes their love is stronger than anything. Can love survive, now and forever?

Why it's one of my Favorite Reads:

Okay so here's my book version of Flashback Friday. Before there was Nicholas Sparks there was Lurlene McDaniel, the original heartbreak master. I started reading Lurlene's books in junior high school and instantly fell in love with them. There's just something about a book making you want to cry all the time that makes me love it. I consider that the signs of a great writer. Of all of the Lurlene McDaniel books i've read this one is definitely my favorite. Like all of her books, it involves love and heartbreak and sickness. Perfect combination of happiness and sorrow.

What's YOUR Favorite Book? Stop by Books and Swoons to share yours :)



Thursday, June 18, 2015

REVIEW: Boomerang (Boomerang #1) by Noelle August

Boomerang (Boomerang #1) by Noelle August
Publication Date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Book Purchased by Reviewer
Buy it at: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Welcome to Boomerang.com, the dating site for the millennial gen with its no-fuss, no-commitments matchups, and where work is steamier than any random hook-up.

Mia Galliano is an aspiring filmmaker. Ethan Vance has just played his last game as a colligiate soccer star. They're sharp, hungry for success, and they share a secret.

Last night, Ethan and Mia met at a bar, and, well...one thing led to another, which led to them waking up the next morning-together. Things turned awkward in a hurry when they found themselves sharing a post hook-up taxi...to the same place: Boomerang headquarters.

What began as a powerful connection between them is treated to a cold shower courtesy of two major complications. First, Boomerang has a strict policy against co-worker datings. And second, they're now competitors for only one job at the end of the summer. 

As their internships come to an end, will they manage to keep their eyes on the future and their hands off each other, or will the pull of attraction put them right back where they started?

I'm not normally one for New Adult, but I have to admit that I really loved this book. I tend to stick close to the Young Adult genre, but after reading the Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi I decided long ago that I would read anything she writes. So naturally I stalked her at the book launch in Tampa, Florida and got my copy signed the day it released. [Pats self on back!]

We meet Mia and Ethan after a special one night stand. After waking up and realizing that they are both late for a new job in the same area. They decide to share a cab to save time and money. When the cab arrives they realize that they are starting their first day at the same job. How awkward right? The opening scene was definitely a great intro to the story and gave us a feel for Mia and Ethan as characters.

Overall Mia and Ethan were both really fun and likeable. I loved how easy their banter was and how sarcastic they both were with each other. It made them both really fun to read. I especially loved the chemistry between them which was obvious from the first page to the last page. The little bouts of jealousy they both had over the others dates with potential Boomerang clients was especially fun to read. They really were just perfect together and so cute to watch the relationship bloom.

Lorin and Veronica both did great jobs with the character building for each chapter. I definitely love these two working together and can't wait to read the rest of the series with them.




Monday, June 15, 2015

GIVEAWAY: Advanced Screening Tickets to See ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL by Jesse Andrews



Hi Swooners!!!

Today we have an amazing giveaway thanks to Fox Searchlight Pictures for advanced screening tickets to see the movie adaption of ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL by Jesse Andrews.

If you're in the Miami, Florida area please feel free to enter the sweepstakes for your chance to win advanced screening tickets on June 22, 2015 at AMC Aventura.

And just in case you haven't heard. This movie is the winner of the U.S. Grand Jury Prize and the U.S. Audience Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

To enter the sweepstakes please click the movie poster or visit HERE

For more information about the movie visit MeAndEarlMovie.com  and tweet using the hashtag #MeAndEarl


Movie Trailer:






REVIEW: United We Spy (Gallagher Girls #6) by Ally Carter

United We Spy (Gallagher Girls #6) by Ally Carter
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Book Purchased By Reviewer
Buy it at: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Cammie Morgan has lost her father and her memory, but in the heart-pounding conclusion to the bestselling Gallagher Girls series, she finds her greatest mission yet. Cammie and her friends finally know why the terrorist organization called the Circle of Cavan has been hunting her. Now the spy girls and Zach must track down the Circle’s elite members to stop them before they implement a master plan that will change Cammie-and her country-forever.

Let me start by saying that I'm so sad that this series is finished. It feels like an old fiend that i'm being forced to say goodbye to. For as long as I can remember, I was a Gallagher Girl. Now, I feel like their graduation was also my graduation and now it's time to grow up and say goodbye. I feel unready and unwilling to face this cruel world alone, but I know that the skills i've learned over the years will guide me. Cammie, Bex, Macey, and even Liz will guide me. I've learned so much from them over the years, I just hope that I can make my life as exceptional as they have made theirs.

I feel like their is so much I want to tell you about this final installment of the Gallagher Girls series, but I know that I really can't say much without giving it all away. If only the synopsis gave just a little bit more details. Oh well. Looks like all you get to read from is how it all made me feeeeeeel.

Of course, I can still state the obvious. Like the fact that Zachary Goode is still the swooniest boy ever! And I will pretty much base all of my future boyfriends off of his character. After all, it only takes one word from him to make me swoon every time. Read: Spy (as he points to himself) swoooooooonnnnnnn!!!!

I think that the author, without knowing it at the time, gave us a gift with this series. She gave us a world that is real enough to actually be true! She gave us the hope that their lives could be OUR lives! She gave us a realistic girl with a (possibly) realistic life and a realistic problem that we can all (semi) relate to. Ally Carter probably didn't know it at the time, but she gave us a dream. A dream that could reshape our entire lives just by letting us believe and KNOW that we could be just as good as the Gallagher Girls because deep inside we're ALL Gallagher Girls! Thanks for the great ride, Ally!


Friday, June 12, 2015

FAVORITE FRIDAY (#17)~ Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road #1) by Katie McGarry



Have a favorite book? Series? One that you've just read or are currently reading? Favorite Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Books and Swoons where they spotlight some of their favorite reads. Everyone is welcome to join. Just enter your information on their linky or leave them a comment.

This week's Favorite Read is:

Release Date: May 26, 2015
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes and Noble



Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father--the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent--but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're...family. And while Emily--the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member--is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

Why it's one of my Favorite Reads:

I love how easy this book was to read. The author did such a great job with the flow of the story and the character progression. Plus it introduced me to a world that I knew nothing about and have pretty much become obsessed with since reading this book: Motorcycle Clubs. I read somewhere that this book is like a combination of West Side Story and Sons of Anarchy. So imagine this:

description

PLUS THIS


And just know that this is 100% ACCURATE!!! 

What's YOUR Favorite Book? Stop by Books and Swoons to share yours :)



Monday, June 8, 2015

REVIEW: Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3) by Laini Taylor

Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3) by Laini Taylor 
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Book Purchased by Reviewer
Guest Reviewer: Doris aka La Chiquita
Buy it at: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

Common enemy, common cause.

When Jael’s brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.

And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.

But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz…something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

What power can bruise the sky?

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.


At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dram of? And does anything else matter?

             What a journey it has been and now being faced with the final book I wonder how I would want it to end? Do the star struck lovers find their new beginning in one day? Do all the big bad meanies get their just due? Do the missed come back with a final message of hope and insides on how to get the world back into balance? I don’t know. I feel like something was missing though. So much was introduced in the last book that I am slightly hung over still trying to figure out what I read.

               One story line that was introduced in the beginning of the series was that of “The Fallen”. This is a group of angels that were literally stripped of their wings and thrown down to earth because of something horrible that was done. The plot was sprinkled in and out of the other two books and was made a point to seem important though we didn’t get closure with it until Dreams of Gods and Monsters. We learn about Razgut and how he came about to be the slimy leech he is and we are introduced to Eliza or should I say Elazael who is a direct descendant of a fallen with a secret of her own.
               The next story line to follow is that of the angels invading earth and the havoc it caused. I gotta admit they way Laini described the event is pretty much how I would imagine it going down. The never ending war of reason over religion. It doesn’t matter that these celestial beings came out of NOWHERE but that they were wearing the right thing and had harps and LANDED in the Vatican. I mean if that isn’t a Catholics wet dream I don’t know what is (PG13 ideas only nasties!!)

               Then we have the illusive cousins of the far isles. The only thing we knew about them before was that Akiva got his seductive eyes from his mother who hailed from the islands and (my favorite bit) gave Jael the scar that marks him as the evil he is. Now we get to see the civilization for what it is and the power they poses. They are not to be messed with and they know it.

               Finally we get to our characters and by the time I got to their chapters I didn’t want it to end. I really wanted a closure that was just Karou and Akiva. Not to say the other bits were not well written and did in the end fall together but I really just wanted Karou and Akiva, hold the world ending thank you! As if their trying to bring peace isn’t enough now they have to deal with prophecies, back stabbing, more war, more secrets and no CHOCOLATE. For peets sake let them have CAKE! Haven’t they earned it by now?

               I felt like the reason for layering everything was to really bring home the idea that little choices are pieces to the bigger puzzle. In the end the happiness no matter how bad you want it you sometimes really have to wait. Waiting doesn’t mean that you will never get it. It just means that it will come when you can appreciate it most. Don’t get me wrong many were the times I wanted to skip over all the extra stuff and skim to just the Karou and Akiva bits, but I didn’t reader. I stayed the course and felt the feels. As I suggest you do. I can’t say the ending is satisfactory or I have a better means in mind for my beloved. Each will feel their own way about it. I guess I just wanted as grand of an ending as the war and evil and twist were. But then again what is peace but the silence after the storm?      

Monday, June 1, 2015

SALE PROMO: Where Sea Meets Sky by Karina Halle








Joshua Miles has spent
his early twenties spinning his wheels. Working dead-end jobs and living at
home has left him exhausted and uninspired, with little energy to pursue his
passion for graphic art. Until he meets Gemma Henare, a vivacious out-of-towner
from New Zealand. What begins as a one-night stand soon becomes a turning point
for Josh. He can’t get Gemma out of his head, even after she has left for home,
and finds himself throwing caution to the wind for the first time in his life.



It’s not long before Josh is headed to New Zealand with only a backpack, some
cash, and Gemma’s name to go on. But when he finally tracks her down, he finds
his adventure is only just beginning. Equally infatuated, Gemma leads him on a
whirlwind tour across the beautiful country, opening Josh up to life, lust,
love, and all the messy heartache in between. Because, when love drags you
somewhere, it might never let go—even when you know you have to say goodbye.


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“Where Sea Meets Sky combines one-night-stand with coming-of-age to glorious success, one that makes this not just a read, but an experience…Halle’s writing also stands out, poetic and vivid, then starkly honest.”

--Heroes and Heartbreakers



Karina Halle takes us on another epic adventure… a journey of self-discovery and love, of taking chances and redefining futures…I absolutely loved Halle’s ability to whisk us away and make it seem as if we were in a faraway place…It felt like an adventure.

--Vilma’s Book Blog



“A luminous love story fraught with serious angst and impossible odds against the backdrop of a stunningly beautiful location… Where Sea Meets Sky is Karina Halle's most flawless writing to date.”

--Angie and Jessica’s Dreamy Reads 



“Karina Halle, where have you been all my life?...[the] descriptive writing made the entire book so vivid!...if you’re looking for an insanely sexy book to pick up, grab Where Sea Meets Sky!”

--Once Upon a Twilight



“Emotionally beautiful, inspiring and unforgettable, Karina Halle has yet again touched my heart with her poignant writing and her beautiful stories, and I can’t wait to read Amber’s story coming soon this summer!”

--Shh Mom’s Reading









EXCERPT

There’s nothing but me and Gemma. It feels like we’re the only people left in the world. And it scares me, because she’s all I have to hold onto. I can’t be sure she won’t let go.

There’s no official camping at the lighthouse, so Gemma takes the bus off-roading, much like we did yesterday, and we come to a stop in a small valley in the middle of a field of cows. They all swivel their heads to stare at us with dark, inquisitive eyes. There’s a small house up on the hill but we can barely see it. Horses graze on the hill’s terraced grooves.

Beyond the hills, there’s nothing but ocean. I breathe in deep, feeling strangely nervous and shaky. I don’t think it’s just about being on the edge of nothing, though.

I think it’s that I’m on the edge of something.

We go to bed early, our alarms set for the early morning hour, pre-dawn. Even though the ocean looks to be about a ten-minute walk, I pack a bag with my camera, my phone, my sketchbook and the pastels.

I can’t get enough of her. Our love-making is slow and lazy but necessary. Being inside her feels like being home, it feels like being in love, it feels like everything sweet and beautiful and nice in the world. Every time I come in her I hope I’m making a home for myself, a place where I belong.

The alarm on my phone goes off way too early. In my sleepy stupor I nearly turn it off but Gemma is patting my arm, then punching my arm, telling me to get up. The world around us vibrates with the sound of mooing cows and I wonder how the hell I slept through them.

Even though the days are hot, the mornings by the ocean are cold, and I can barely get on my jeans and hoodie in time. Armed with the pack and flashlights, we jump out of the van. The air snaps at us as if we’re wind-blown flags.

Hundreds of cattle spread out in all directions, bound by the green hills to the south and the lighthouse to the north. I look east, to where the hills part and the sky is a paler shade of dawn. It seems to be growing lighter by the second, and our chances of catching the sunrise are dwindling.

We take off toward the light, cautiously creeping under barbed wire fences and avoiding the epic cow pies dotting the land. The cows, for the most part, seem to be ignoring us, but their piles of shit are like hidden landmines in the dim light. A meandering, narrow stream cuts across us and we have to head up into the terraced hills where wary horses eye us. I get the feeling that we’ve chosen the most difficult route to see the sunrise, and from our vantage point I can’t even see the lighthouse anymore.

Just as the sky seems to grow frighteningly light, we reach the crest of the hill and I nearly collapse, out of breath from the quick, steep hike. A lone filly bolts at the sight of us.

Below us lies an empty beach, laid out like a sheet of velvet. Aside from the occasional hoof print and driftwood, it looks totally undisturbed, like it has been waiting for us all this time. The South Pacific is spread out at the horizon’s feet, a royal blue tinged with saffron edges. The sun is not up yet. We still have time.

We run down the hill and I nearly eat shit, several times, my shoes slipping on the dew-slicked grass, until sand sinks beneath my feet. I grab Gemma’s hand and we run over to the water’s edge just as the sun peeks its glowing crown over the wavering line.

I look at her and smile. We made it. We’re standing on the easternmost point in the easternmost habitable country. We might even be the first people on this whole fucking earth to see this fiery sunrise. Only thousands of miles of rolling water lies between us and the southwest coast of Chile.

And yesterday.



Don’t miss Karina’s next book, RACING THE SUN, on sale July 28th!











With her USA Today Bestselling The Artists Trilogy published by Grand Central Publishing, numerous foreign publication deals, and self-publishing success with her Experiment in Terror series, Vancouver-born Karina Halle is a true example of the term "Hybrid Author." Though her books showcase her love of all things dark, sexy and edgy, she's a closet romantic at heart and strives to give her characters a HEA...whenever possible.Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently lives on an island on the coast of British Columbia where she’s preparing for the zombie apocalypse with her fiancĂ© and rescue pup.


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