Saturday, August 30, 2014

August Recap / September TBR

August was a very productive month for me reading-wise. Though I've already reviewed some of the books I've read, some still need to be reviewed. To talk about all the reading I did in August (and some of the reading I plan to do in September), I thought I would make another video since I haven't done one in a while.

Let me know in the comments if you've read any of these. If you haven't let me know which you think I should read first. Enjoy!

Books Mentioned:
- A Blind Spot for Boys by Justina Chen (Review)
- Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (Review)
- What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
- Forget Me by K.A. Harrington (Review)
- Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini
- I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre (Review)
- As Long As You Love Me by Ann Aguirre
- Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
- The Death of Us by Alice Kuipers
- Rumble by Ellen Hopkins
- Where She Went by Gayle Forman
- The Art of Getting Stared At by Laura Langston
- Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes
- Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang
- Sway by Kat Spears
- I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
- Wildlife by Fiona Wood
- Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Blog Tour - I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre + Giveaway

Title: I Want It That Way (2B Trilogy #1)
Author: Ann Aguirre
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo / B&N
Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she’s determined to make them come true—for her parents’ sake as well as her own. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, she barely has time to think, let alone date. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B…

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can’t risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, a social life is out of the question. The last thing he wants is for four noisy students to move into the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia’s and Ty’s paths cross, and soon they can’t stay away from each other. 

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can’t know what you truly need until you stand to lose it. 

“A tender, sweet, and sexy story about how life—and falling in love—can never be planned.”
—Jennifer L. Armentrout, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You

I’m always on the lookout for new New Adult stories. Sometimes they don’t always catch my attention, especially if it sounds like a different version of a story I’ve already read. But I’ll be honest and say that with Ann Aguirre’s I Want It That Way what convinced to read this book was that the title also happened to be the title of a Backstreet Boys song. And I’m happy to say that this story didn’t let me down.

Nadia has always been focused on achieving her goals. She’s the first person in her family to go to college and she’s determined to to be her best. Her academic scholarship, and her parents’ hopes and dreams, depend on it. She’s always been good about staying focused on what matters, but when she meets the guy who lives in the apartment below her, Nadia finds her attention wandering down the stairs. Ty knows better that to think about the girl who lives in the apartment above him. He has more than enough on his plate between work, night school and being a single dad to a four-year old. But she can’t help but think about what it would be like to get to know Nadia better, to spend time with her, to be a normal twenty-four-year-old guy for once. No matter how much they try to resist it, Nadia and Ty can’t seem to stay away from each other. They both know better, but they can’t help it.

First and foremost, I would like to absolve myself of any responsibility if a certain late 90s song gets stuck in your head because of this review, I am not sorry. Moving on. As a 90s child, I am all about the Backstreet Boys and I am not ashamed to admit it. So when I came across a book that shares a title with one of my favourite Backstreet Boys song ever, I was powerless—I had to read this book. I didn’t even need to really now what I Want It That Way was about, just the title was enough to get me reading. And read I did. In all honesty, I devoured this book. I just couldn’t seem to turn the pages fast enough (though in this case it was the page turn button on my Kindle). This story was engrossing. Like is often the case with a lot of the New Adult books I’ve read, the story isn’t anything exceptional but it’s just written in a way that keeps me reading. Every time I would find myself thinking “Okay, just one more page/chapter/whatever,” I would keep reading way beyond when I told myself I would stop. I just couldn’t help it. And, I mean, it doesn’t hurt that the romance was pretty hot. I was reading this on my commute to work, and there were definitely moments when I was hoping no one was reading over my shoulder because that could have been awkward. And obviously, a large part of what made me love the romance in I Want It That Way, so much was Nadia and Ty.

I connected with Nadia right away when I started reading. Her attitude toward school and her focus on her goals was something I could definitely relate to. Beyond that initial connection, I found myself liking Nadia more and more the further into the story I got. I loved seeing the different sides of her personality come out, depending on who she was with. The scenes with her interacting with children t the day care center where she works were adorable and warmed my heart. Nadia’s loyalty to her friends was also something I admired, and seeing her interact with her roommates always led to fun moments. And her chemistry with Ty leapt off the page. Granted things seemed to happen a little fast between them, I couldn’t help but enjoy those rare moments where Ty and Nadia just got to be themselves around each other. So it goest without saying that much like I really liked Nadia, I really liked Ty. It was refreshing to read about a guy in his early twenties who also happened to be a single father who was making it work. Reading the book, I had a lot of respect for Ty and all the sacrifices he made for the good of Sam. And speaking of Sam, he just stole the show. Anytime he made an appearance, I would find myself wishing the story was all about him (granted t that point this would no longer be NA). He was such an adorable little guy and I can totally understand why he charmed everyone he met. 

I really enjoyed Ann Aguirre’s I Want It That Way (and not just because of the title). It was a great New Adult story with characters likeable characters, some of which even wormed their way into my heart. If you’re looking for your next New Adult read, I would strongly recommend this one.


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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

Title: Silver Shadows (Bloodlines #5)
Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: July 29, 2014
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive. 

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity an the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to phone in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle process daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him…

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off. 

If you’ve been following this blog since the beginning then you know that I’m a HUGE Richelle Mead fangirl, and an EVEN BIGGER Bloodlines series fangirl. I had been waiting what felt like FOREVER for Silver Shadows. Once I got my hands on my copy of the book, I absolutely devoured it.

Sydney has always been told to follow the rules. And for an Alchemist, following the rules means no fraternizing with vampires. But now, she has risked everything to do what she thinks is right, even if it meant alienating herself from the people who have always taken care of her. Now stuck and surrounded by Alchemists who are determined to change her, Sydney does everything she can in order to hold on to who she is and the people she loves. If she keeps holding on, Sydney knows that Adrian will find a way to get to her. He has to. If he doesn’t Sydney may not be able to come back from it all.

HOLY CRAP this book guys. When I got home to find that my pre-ordered copy had arrived, the only thing I considered doing what drop everything and start reading. And that’s what I did. How could I not? After everything that happened in The Fiery Heart, it felt like I had been waiting forever for Silver Shadows. But knowing what was going to be happening in this book, I was also afraid of what it would do to my emotions. And I definitely felt a lot of emotions while reading. This book brought on ALL THE FEELS, in the way that very few books can. There were parts of this book that were downright difficult to read. What the Alchemists put Sydney through is beyond awful. And seeing everyone else torture themselves over what had happened to Sydney was just as painful. But as weird as it might be to say, that pain was worth it for what came in the last third or so of the book. If I thought the first two thirds of the book had given me a lot of feelings, it was NOTHING compared to ALL THE FEELS I got in that last part. It’s hard for me to say much of anything about that part of the book though, without ruining it for everyone who hasn’t read it. So just go read it, and then come talk to me about it. If you’re anything like me, you will NEED to get your feelings out. 

Silver Shadows is the fifth book in the Bloodlines series, and at this point I feel like I keep saying the same thing about Sydney, Adrian and their friends in each of these reviews. So I apologize in advance if I’m starting to sound like a broken record where these characters are concerned. It’s no secret that I love Sydney and Adrian, and I love that with every book you get to see a different side of them. In Silver Shadows, I got to see Sydney’s strength. Before this book, I knew she was strong, but didn’t know the extent of that strength. With Adrian, I hated seeing him fall back in his old ways, but at the same time I loved his determination when he got his act together. I’ve said it before, but there’s so much more to him than people give him credit for, and the lengths he will go to for the people he cares about, it just warms my heart. And just because it needs mentioning for the billionth time, Adrian and Sydney belong together, no matter what people think. I would be happy reading books about those two until the end of times. And that’s only a SLIGHT exaggeration. 

If you think that I ADORED Silver Shadows, then you absolutely guessed right. At this point, Richelle Mead can write anything, and I mean ANYTHING, that features Sydney and Adrian together and I would read it. It goes without saying that I’m now DYING to read The Ruby Circle. And if you haven’t already read Richelle Mead’s books, you are missing out in a big way.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Better When He's Bad by Jay Crownover

Title: Better When He's Bad (Welcome to the Point #1)
Author: Jay Crownover
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Welcome to the Point.

There’s a difference between a bad boy and a boy who’s bad…meet Shane Baxter.

Sexy, dark, and dangerous, Bax isn’t just from the wrong side of the tracks, he is the wrong side of the tracks. A criminal, a thug, and a brawler, he’s the master of bad choices, until one such choice landed him in prison for five years. Now Bax is out and looking for answers, and he doesn’t care what he was to do or who he has to hurt to get them. But there’s a new player in the game, and she’s much too innocent, much too soft…and standing directly in his way. 

Dovie Pryce knows all about living a hard life and the tough choices that come with it. She’s always tried to be good, tried to help others, and tried not to let the darkness pull her down. But the streets are fighting back, things have gone from bad to worse, and the only person who can help her is the scariest, sexiest, most complicated ex-con The Point had ever produced.

Bax terrifies her, but it doesn’t take Dovie long to realize that some boys are just better when they’re bad.

Over the last year, I’ve been loving New Adult, but until recently I had stayed away from Jay Crownover’s books. Why? Beats me. But now that I’ve read Better When He’s Bad, I can say that I won’t keep making that mistake. With just that one book, I am now a Jay Crownover fan.

Everyone in The Point knows that Bax is the kind of guy you stay away from. Bax has always made bad choices, not thinking of the consequences. Now that he’s back after having spent five years in prison for one of those choices, Bax wants to know what exactly happened on the night that his life changed. But finding answers always seems to lead Bax back to Dovie, the girl he should stay away from, no matter what. Dovie hasn’t had an easy life, but she is determined to find a way out of The Point. But before she can do that, she needs to work with Bax. Every one of Dovie’s instincts is screaming at her to stay away from Bax, but she can’t help it. No matter what she does she is drawn to this truly bad boy.

Despite everyone talking about them, it wasn’t until I received a copy of Better When He’s Bad that I (finally) read one of Jay Crownover’s books. As soon as I started reading this one, I knew what everyone had been talking about. Let me just say, this book was addicting as hell. No matter what I did, I couldn’t put it down. This is the kind of story I would have read in one sitting had work and life not gotten in the way. It’s not that the story was particularly mind-blowing or that the writing was beyond exceptional. It was just engrossing. There were so many layers to the mystery within the story, and until the very end, I wasn’t sure which way it was going to go. And the romance was HOT. As much as with many of the other New Adult titles I’ve read I can say with confidence that they would appeal and would be appropriate for older teens to read, Better When He’s Bad is definitely closer to the “adult” end of the New Adult spectrum. This story is explicit in more ways than one and there is very little that is held back. Because of that though, the story feels very real. The fact that everything about this book is dark and gritty just adds to the darkness of the story itself and reinforces that Bax, the main character, isn’t your typical bad boy, he’s bad in every possible way.

When I first started reading Better When He’s Bad, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about Bax. I love my dark angsty boys as much as the next girl, but I wasn’t sure how I would feel about a character who was truly bad. And I have to stay, that Bax completely won me over. The more I read, the more I wanted to root for him, the more I wanted for him to finally find a way out the life he was seemingly stuck in. But I also realized that Bax wasn’t quite as bad as he came across. His intentions came from a good place, he just kind of sucked when it came to executions. And there was no one that brought out Bax’s good side more than Dovie did. And Dovie worried me. Don’t get me wrong, I more than liked her. But she also had this tendency to put herself in particularly dangerous situations and it worried me. And much like I kept rooting for Bax, I kept rooting for Dovie no matter what happened. These two were fantastic together and they brought each other out of their comfort zones, for better or worse. And based on all that, it goes without saying that I obviously loved Bax and Dovie together. Basically, I’m very happy they found each other. On a different note, I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book to some of the characters I only briefly met in this one.

I loved reading Jay Crownover’s Better When He’s Bad. This book took me completely by surprise—I didn’t expect to love quite as much as I did. You can be sure that I am now making a point of reading any and all Jay Crownover books I can get my hands on.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Forget Me by K.A. Harrington

Title: Forget Me
Author: K.A. Harrington
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: August 7, 2014
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
An edge-of-your seat psychological thriller with a romantic twist

On the three-month anniversary of her boyfriend Flynn’s death, Morgan uploads her only photo of him to FriendShare to get some closure—but she’s shocked when the facial recognition software suggests she tag him as “Evan Murphy.” She’s never heard of Evan, but a quick search tells her that he lives in a nearby town and looks exactly like Flynn. Only this boy is very much alive.

Digging through layers of secrets and lies, Morgan is left questioning everything she thought she knew about her boyfriend, her town, and even her parents’ involvement in this massive web of lies.

As some of you may know, other than contemporary stories, mysteries and thrillers might just be my favourite types of stories. Because of that, I was excited about K.A. Harrington’s Forget Me, it sounded like it would be right up my alley. And though the story didn’t end up be quite what I thought it was going to be, I still highly enjoyed it. 

Three months after her boyfriend Flynn’s sudden death, Morgan is still trying to deal with her grief. In an attempt to help her, her best friend suggests she upload a picture of Flynn to FriendShare for closure. But when she does, the site suggest that Morgan someone in the picture, but it isn’t Flynn. It’s Evan Murphy, a boy who looks just like Flynn and lives a in a nearby town. Could it be possible that Flynn isn’t really dead, that he survived the accident that supposedly killed him? Morgan finds herself getting drawn in the mystery, but will she be able to do so without risking her own life in the process.

I love mysteries. At least half of what I watch on TV involves mysteries being solved in some way or another. So books with mysteries are totally up my alley. When I first heard about K.A. Harrington’s Forget Me it had me completely intrigued. The premise felt like something that could actually happen, considering how easy it is to find people online. And when I started reading, the way this all played out actually felt realistic. Granted I was somewhat surprised as to how quickly the story jumped into the mystery. I mean, by the third or fourth chapter, most of what is said in the synopsis had happened. I was a little worried about what that meant for the rest of the book, but I shouldn’t have been worried. The mystery aspect of the story kept me reading and I admit that I didn’t figure it out until it was pretty much all laid out in front of me. My one complaint about the story was that it wasn’t always clear how much time was passing and it sometimes resulted in me feeling like things were maybe happening faster than they actually were. But that was something that could easily be overlooked and didn’t stop me from enjoying the rest of the story.

I’m unsure how I feel about Morgan. I really enjoyed reading the story from her perspective since she was in the middle of it all. The mystery was not only tied to her directly but seemed to involve everyone in her life. I loved that I was discovering everything at the same time as she was and I honestly didn’t put it together until she did. Outside of Morgan, the other characters in this story intrigued me. I was never sure who I should trust and who was out to get Morgan. Reece and Evan in particular were two characters that I kept changing my mind about, never really knowing what they were up to or if they could be trusted. On the subject of Evan, there’s a lot that I could say. This could just be tied in to the fact that I wasn’t always sure how much time was passing, but it felt like Evan came into Morgan’s life was really fast, especially since he seemed to become a pretty integral part of her life pretty quickly. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Evan and I liked that the story was built in part around him and how he fit into the mystery, but he just seemed to pop out of nowhere. Which I guess was the point of the story and maybe I’m just nitpicking at this point. 

Overall, I really enjoyed reading K.A. Harrington’s Forget Me. The mystery aspect of the story kept me turning the pages, trying to figure out exactly what was going on in this small town. If you are looking for a good thriller-type read, then this is the book for you.

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