Friday, August 29, 2014

Series Review: Luxe by Anna Godberson


Now that I've finished reading the Luxe series, all I want to do is binge watch all the seasons of Gossip Girl.

Oh my gosh, I had so much fun reading this series this summer. I didn't read them consecutively, I started Luxe in the middle of July and just finished Splendor that night, so early details are little bit hazy. This is definitely one of those series that I'd say I am going to "miss". I really grew attached to all these characters and it didn't help that, super weird as it may be, I pictured many of these characters as Gossip Girl characters. (Have I mentioned before I am obsessed with that show?)

If you've never seen the show, please feel free to skip over this bit:
Henry = Chuck Bass
Penelope = Georgina Sparks
Elizabeth = Serena van der Woodsen
Teddy = Nate Archibald
Carolina = Ivy Dickens
Diana =  Blair Waldorf
Sorry, Will Kellar did not come across as a Dan Humphrey for me. This was my Will Kellar:
You're welcome!!

Anways, so yes, this is such a fun series. These are the kinds of books you read just for the hell of it, because you need to something light and you need something that will let you escape for awhile. So much drama, scandal, money, parties, beautiful dresses, and decadence. Characters you love and characters you love to hate. It was enjoyable to watch (some of)  these people evolve over the course of a year(?) in 1900 New York City. 

We start off near the last quarter of 1899 when most of these people are 18-ish and the girls' worlds mostly revolve around finding the most suitable husband available. We end in the last quarter of 1900 and no one really ended up where they thought they'd be in the beginning. Some had happy endings and other not so much.  Honestly, this is a soap opera in book form with a historical setting. 

So, I think the whole series got wrapped up pretty well... but back to the point about "missing" these characters, I'd love to read more about them! In fact, I read the last page with my heart kind of hurting. I think there still could be so many possibilities. But then again, after too many books it would probably get boring. It's all okay though, I have a copy of Godberson's Bright Young Things sitting on my shelf waiting for me. :)

If you're looking for some scandalous, lavish reading to end your summer, or even take you into fall, you should check out this series. (If you haven't already, I mean these are pretty old books, comparably.)  

Monday, August 25, 2014

Review: The Truth About Faking by Leigh T. Moore

The Truth About Faking by Leigh T. Moore
Series: The Truth #1
Published by Self-Published
Format: ebook
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Goodreads * B&N * TBD

Jason just wants a date with Harley. Harley just wants a date with Trent. Trent's still getting over Stephanie.
When Harley and Jason decide to fake date, they uncover a school of deceptions. Trent's got a secret, but so does Jason. And the more time Harley spends secretly kissing her fake boyfriend, the further she gets from her dreams with Trent.  
Worst of all, Harley's mom is getting cozy with her hot massage therapy student, and even Harley's Reverend Dad can't fake not being bothered by it. But when the masks finally come off, can everyone handle the real truth?
Awww, cute book!  I really wasn't sure what to expect going into this. I mean, I read Moore's Rouge and adored it, but that was more "new adult" historical fiction and this is a total, to-the-core, YA contemp. It turns out, though, that I picked this one up and pretty much didn't put it down until it was finished.

This is one of those books where everything is a communication mess between all the characters. And I do mean all of them. So if that's not your thing, I am warning you now to stay away, but I do enjoy tangled-up craziness so it had me hooked. Plus, I figured out the "twist" pretty earlier, which made some of the situations kind of funny for me.

Basically, we have our main girl, Harley. She's been obsessing over Trent for a long time. I'm talking she thinks he's her future husband in the way fifteen-year-old girls will do kind of obsessed. Then in crashes Jason, literally, crashes. Harley is so wrapped-up in Trent she can't see how super freakin' cute and awesome Jason is. Until their "fake dating" ends in a "fake break-up" that feels a bit too much like a real break-up.

While all of this is going on, Harley's mom, a massage therapist, is mentoring a male student, Rick, from the college. He just happens to be insanely good-looking and spends a little too much time over at their home. Oh, and did I mention that this is a super small town, Harley's dad is the town's preacher, and everyone is all up in everyone else's business. Gossip is the ladies fave pastime. So yeah, messes. Messes everywhere!

Honestly, my biggest problem with this book is how much time is devoted to the mom/Rick situation. I was that interested in it to begin with and I found myself skimming a lot of those scenes to get back to Harley/Jason which a much more enjoyable story line. And even that took a bit too long. I found myself wanting to yell at Harley a few times to hurry up and open her eyes and put the pieces together and forget about Trent!

Otherwise, this was a super cute read. Classic YA contemp all the way and a perfect "comfort read".

Rating: Three out of Five (3/5)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Review: Daring Miss Danvers by Vivienne Lorret

Daring Miss Danvers 
by Vivienne Lorret

It's all fun and games . . . until someone falls in love.Oliver Goswick, Viscount Rathburn, needs money—and soon. With time ticking away and his inheritance held hostage until he's properly wed, Rathburn's slim options point to a single solution: a faux engagement. In need of the perfect bride, he knows of only one candidate: his best friend's wallflower sister. The plan seems flawless, except for one problem . . . He can't help falling in love with her.
Poised, polished Emma Danvers knows nothing good can come of Rathburn's scheme. Spending the next two months engaged in a mock courtship is not what she'd imagined for her final season. Yet, charmed by his roguish ways and the inexplicable hammering he causes in her heart, she accepts his challenge.
For Emma, keeping the secret seemed easy when it was just a game . . . But as Rathburn begins to see past her reserved exterior to the passionate woman within, the risk of losing her heart becomes all too real.

Oh my, how I adore books that make me laugh out loud! And Daring Miss Danvers made me adore it many times over. Such witty writing I was treated to. This was my first book by Vivienne Lorret and I am suddenly very happy that I have the next in The Wallflower Wedding Series sitting on my Nook. Books like this are why I am falling more and more in love with historical romance.

This is a very fast-paced story. I read it in just a couple hours and it was a perfect mood-lifter. Sweet and enjoyable.

Our hero and heroine are perfect together. Emma and Oliver have known each other since childhood (Oliver happens to be Emma's brother's best friend). Everyone around then have always known they've had chemistry: everyone except them, that is.

Basically, Oliver needs his inheritance, which is in control of his very proper grandmother, to finish building a hospital to honor his deceased father. The grandmother is only willing to hand it over if her grandson shapes up to her high standards and proves to her that he deserves it. Now, the only woman she seems to approve up for Oliver is Emma... and you can probably guess where this is going...

I truly enjoyed all the characters including Emma's female friends and her parents. They were such an eclectic bunch and there banter is fun to read.

I will be saving the next book for a day that I need a smile and a pick-me-up.

- See more at: http://www.avonromance.com/post/review-daring-miss-danvers-by-vivienne-lorret_1408667170#sthash.WvzZFRJy.dpuf

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Back to School Book Blogger Challenge: Day 4


Day 4: If you are a parent, or have advice for parents... what do you do (or think would work) to foster the love of reading in your kids?

Well, first off, I am not a parent. I'm not going to pretend I know what I am talking about when it comes to children, because I don't. Parenthood isn't too far into my future though, I'd say about three or fours years and I know what I will try to do when that day comes. Because I really, really want my kids to love to read!

I know I am going to begin reading to them every night from the time they are in the womb until the day comes that they may ask me to stop.

I am going to surround them with books! Books will be in every room! And they will always see me reading a book myself. Maybe if they see my love for reading they will develop their own.

I will try and tailor to there interests.  If they have a certain hobby or love an activity I will try and find them books that feature those things.

I will try and come up with activities we can do after they read a book that is related to the book itself and try to make discussions about the books fun. 

xoxo

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Back To School Book Blogger Challenge: Day 3


Day 3: Share you most memorable school memory.

I have many! School was actually always a really great time for me. I wasn't really ever one to not like school. I liked seeing my friends, learning new things, participating in all the activities. High school is filled with "memorable memories" for me, but I think I will throw it way back to elementary school where my love for reading really began to bloom.

I was always the "advanced" reader: reading way above my grade level. I could also fly through books like nothing else. We had this reading program at my school where we could read the book, take test on it, get a certain number of points, and then trade our points for prizes. One year my best friend (and we are STILL best friends sixteen years later!) and I where in the top first and second places for points for our grade and we got to leave school and go to an Olive Garden lunch with our principal and teacher. We thought we were so cool!

Here are some of my favorite books I read throughout 1st- 5th grade that helped me get those points. These are also part of my most memorable memories.

-The Little House series
-The Nancy Drew books
-Sweet Valley series
-This one about a magic attic or something, but I can't remember the name
-All the "horse" books
-Hank the Cowdog series (loved this one!)
-Where the Red Fern Grows
-And so many more!

Clear Your Shelf Giveway Hop


The hop features books that need a new home!
I am giving away an ARC of Starting Now by Debbie Macomber. This book is part of her Blossom Street series and is a very good, sweet, read.


You must have a US shipping address and be 13 years of age or older to participate.
Good Luck and Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back to School Book Blogger Challenge: Day 2


Day 2: If you were/are an English Teacher, share with us your dream lesson plan as far as reading assignments.

When I was in HS we read Romeo and Juliet in 9th Grade, Julius Caeser in 10th Grade, and Hamlet in 12th. In my dream lesson plan, I would fit in A Midsummer Night's Dream somewhere. I had to read that one on my own, but I would have loved to have gotten the classroom experience with it.

I discovered Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights because of my AP English summer reading lists and have always been grateful. Those two would definitely stay. I am also grateful for getting the opportunity to read To Kill a Mockingbird in 9th grade.

We'd also still read The Great Gatsby because I really enjoyed that as well, but I would fit in some of Fitzgerald's short stories, too.

And if it was my dream lesson plan, I would personally switch out Catcher in the Rye for Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Oh, and Sarah Dessen would be an option of summer reading lists. Not for an AP class or anything, but just in general. Sarah Dessen is one of the reasons I fell in love with reading again in HS.

And one last pick: The Book Thief! This one wasn't out when I was in HS but I think it's something most kids today could enjoy.

I did this in a HS perspective because I could go on and on and on for days with books I would choose for late elementary or middle school!

xoxo




Monday, August 18, 2014

Back to School Book Blogger Challenge: Day 1

Day 1: It's time to stand up in front of the class and share with the rest of us a little about you!

I am 24-year-old book blogger (of course!). I live in the southern United States and my favorite place to read is by the pool. My favorite genre is historical fiction and romance. I have an "old soul" and I love all things from the past. Old music, old movies, and things people my age don't typically do (like crocheting). 

I just graduated college after changing majors many times. I began my first semester at 18 as a business major, changed to teaching, changed to English, and settled on nursing. I just graduated recently with a nursing degree, passed my state boards, and I am going to begin my first "real" job this week. This after working minimum-wage serving and customer service type things for ~6 years. 

I have my very own love story in the making. I am getting married next year (and I have something really cool planned at the beginning of 2015 to tie that in the the blog)! Even though he doesn't quite understand my love for reading or the fact that I need to by three books for every one that I read, he still politely listens to my book rants and gushes...and that's really all I need.

The kids in my town really did go back to school today and I am overjoyed that this is the first year that I didn't have to! It's fitting, however, for me to begin a new job this week. And hey... more money... more books!

xoxo

Etsy Finds: Bookish Things

I thought I would share today some book-themed items that I personally love. All from Etsy. Enjoy!


Book Wreath from roseflower48
So Many Books Pendant from PendantLab
Bookish Pillow from BonnieBruno
Hermione Bracelet from OffTheCuffQuotes
Book Lovers Kit from InstaGraphic
Bookmark set from MilesofLight
Personalize Quote Travel Mug from PictureInADream

xoxo






Sunday, August 17, 2014

Series Review: The Summer Series by Jenny Han


by Jenny Han

The Summer I Turned Pretty
It's Not Summer Without You
We'll Always Have Summer


Overall: 5 Stars

After hearing countless wonderful things about this series, I ended up finding them all on sale at a bookstore and not able to resist buying them all. Since it's summer and I had a few days free I decided to get started on the first one. Little did I know at the time I would be spending the next 48 hours reading all three. These books are like potato chips: You can't read just one and go onto a different book. They are perfect for reading back-to-back.

The thing that struck me most was how the author was able to change the voice of each book to correlate with our narrator's (Belly) age. In the first book we can just tell we are getting this from a 15-year-old perspective, but by the last it's clearly being told by a college kid. I though this was so great, but it definitely allowed be to enjoy the 2nd and 3rd books a lot more. The first book was good for me as long as I reminded myself it was a young teenager narrator.

I loved being on this journey with Belly, Conrad, and Jeremiah. It was so much fun to watch them grow-up and watch their lives change so much. The first book was just so light and fun, the second one had be almost constantly in tears, and third was an awesome wrap-up, though quite bittersweet. I had such a good two days reading Belly's journey from teenager to young adult and felt such nostalgia for my own days at the beach.

These are whimsical, light, fun, sweet, adorable books perfect for a summer day. I don't want to give to much away because spoilers and because it's so much fun to discover with our three summer kids. I am feeling just a bit sad now that there isn't anymore. These are the kinds of characters and the type of story you miss when it's over.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Book Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson


Title: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #1
Released: December 6, 2012
Source: Library
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5

Summary from Goodreads:
A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor's secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can't abide. Like having to marry someone she's never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.
The Kiss of Deception was such a pleasant surprise. I have been getting burned by the books that I had really been looking forward to lately. Not many have quite lived up to my excitement. I have to say, though, that this one definitely did. The only draw-back is that I want more and I want it NOW.

This was fantasy, which I have just began to really get into, with a bit of romance mixed in. This is what made the book really work for me. I read this by the pool, turning pages like crazy, forgetting where I was, and thus getting sun-burnt. But it was so worth it.

The characters are what really made this story. Lia, Pauline, Rafe, Kaden, Berti. I loved them all. I have read some reviews were a love-triangle has been a concern. In my opinion, I didn't find it much of a triangle. I truly think our main character, Lia, only has feelings for one of the guys. So maybe not quite a full-triangle. I was never sitting there wondering who she was going to pick. It was pretty obvious, to me at least.

Another thing I highly enjoyed is the rich, vivid, imagery. This world they are in is not hard to imagine at all. I was also highly intrigued by the world's history and all its little secrets. Like I said, I flipped the last page craving more!

So I am very picky with my five-stars. This book wasn't quite an all-time favorite, but it was an excellent, solid, read that I highly recommend. Enjoy!


Rating:
4 out of 5 Stars

Bout of Books 11

I am participating in Bout of Books 11!


Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
My Goals:
I want to read at least three books. If I haven't yet, I'd like to finish The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons. Then I'd like to start The Diviners, finish Daring Miss Danvers, and read Envy by Anna Godberson.

Monday
I read the last 47% of Envy by Anna Godberson
Began reading Daring Miss Danvers Vivienne Lorret

Tuesday
Read 80 or so pages of Daring Miss Danvers
(I had to work from 9-6...)

Wednesday
Finished Daring Miss Danvers
Started Of Metal and Wishes
Started The Truth About Faking

Thursday
Finished The Truth About Faking

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Book Review: One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

Title: One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
Series: Stand-Alone
Released: 7/1/2014
Source: Library
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: 5/5

Summary from Goodreads:
One single mom. One chaotic family. One quirky stranger. One irresistible love story from the New York Timesbestselling author of Me Before You

American audiences have fallen in love with Jojo Moyes. Ever since she debuted stateside, she has captivated readers and reviewers alike, and hit the New York Times bestseller list with the word-of-mouth sensation, Me Before You. Now, with One Plus One, she’s written another contemporary opposites-attract love story that reads like a modern-dayTwo for the Road.

Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight-in-shining-armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.

One Plus One is Jojo Moyes at her astounding best. You’ll laugh, you’ll weep, and when you flip the last page, you’ll want to start all over again.

I read The Last Letter From Your Lover earlier this year and highly enjoyed it. After reading One Plus One I am definitely a Jojo Moyes fan. An auto-buy author for sure. 

This was such a touching story and I literally felt every emotion while reading. Those are the best kinds of books, in my opinion. This is such an interesting cast of characters and I highly enjoy "family dynamics" stories. 

We get Jess, a struggling-to-make-ends-meet single mother of two. House-cleaner by day and bartender by night. Unrelentingly optimistic, she is just trying to do best by her two kids: a bullied "goth" boy, Nicky, (who isn't even really hers) and a super intelligent (especially in mathmatics) girl, Tanzie. Then in comes Ed, a wealthy software guy who comes into trouble of his own due to a scheme by another women. All of these characters are nothing if not quirky.

So through a series of events all four of this people find themselves shoved in a car together for three.days.straight. <-- That's right. Honestly, this was my favorite part of the book. I mean, come one, no better way to really to get know people then by being within a foot of them at all times for upwards of 72 hours.


Of course, other things happen, but that is where the fun in reading this book comes in. Just make sure you have a lot of time on your hands because you won't want to put this one down.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Book Review: A Death-Struck Year by Makiia Lucier

Title: A Death-Struck Year by Makiia Lucier
Series: Stand-Alone
Released: 3/4/2014
Source: Won
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3/5

Summary from Goodreads:
A deadly pandemic, a budding romance, and the heartache of loss make for a stunning coming-of-age teen debut about the struggle to survive during the 1918 flu.

For Cleo Berry, the people dying of the Spanish Influenza in cities like New York and Philadelphia may as well be in another country--that's how far away they feel from the safety of Portland, Oregon. And then cases start being reported in the Pacific Northwest. Schools, churches, and theaters shut down. The entire city is thrust into survival mode--and into a panic. Headstrong and foolish, seventeen-year-old Cleo is determined to ride out the pandemic in the comfort of her own home, rather than in her quarantined boarding school dorms. But when the Red Cross pleads for volunteers, she can't ignore the call. As Cleo struggles to navigate the world around her, she is surprised by how much she finds herself caring about near-strangers. Strangers like Edmund, a handsome medical student and war vet. Strangers who could be gone tomorrow. And as the bodies begin to pile up, Cleo can't help but wonder: when will her own luck run out?

Riveting and well-researched, A Death-Struck Year is based on the real-life pandemic considered the most devastating in recorded world history. Readers will be captured by the suspenseful storytelling and the lingering questions of: what would I do for a neighbor? At what risk to myself?
A good read for fans of historical fiction…

…And that is exactly what I am. As a nurse, I am fascinated by things like epidemics and how they affect society. I was also pleasantly surprised that our main character volunteers for the Red Cross and we got a little peak into the nursing and medical side of things. Those aspects are what made this book for me.
Let me just say though, the story does not give an excess of background information about the Spanish influenza and I found myself Google searching articles to answer my questions. (This is more from an “I-work-in-the-medical-field aspect and probably won’t affect most readers.)

I went into this story thinking there would be a lot more drama and chaos then what we actually got. It seemed to take the MC, Cleo, a little while to realize how terrible this situation actually was. And then we only get to see what she sees. Oh, and this was the one and only time that I didn’t like a romance. It really seemed pointless and took away from the story I was hoping to get. I wanted more disease related everything.

This was a very quick read. I sat down and read cover-to-cover in three hours. The prose was also well done. However, the story is in Cleo’s point-of-view and up until the point of her meeting Edmund I was thinking she was around fourteen (because of her “voice”.) It turns out she is seventeen (if I remember right?) and that took me back for a minute and I had to readjust the “Cleo” in my head.

I would recommend to fans of historical fiction or those interested in epidemics/diseases. I, personally, was hoping for something a little more intense and gripping. 

3 Stars

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