Friday, April 24, 2015

Book Review: LAMENT by Maggie Stiefvater



LAMENT (Books of Faerie, #1)
by Maggie Stiefvater

Release date: October 8, 2008
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Flux
Pages: 325


Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan is a painfully shy but prodigiously gifted musician. She's about to find out she's also a cloverhand—one who can see faeries. Deirdre finds herself infatuated with a mysterious boy who enters her ordinary suburban life, seemingly out of thin air. Trouble is, the enigmatic and gorgeous Luke turns out to be a gallowglass—a soulless faerie assassin. An equally hunky—and equally dangerous—dark faerie soldier named Aodhan is also stalking Deirdre. Sworn enemies, Luke and Aodhan each have a deadly assignment from the Faerie Queen. Namely, kill Deirdre before her music captures the attention of the Fae and threatens the Queen's sovereignty. Caught in the crossfire with Deirdre is James, her wisecracking but loyal best friend. Deirdre had been wishing her life weren't so dull, but getting trapped in the middle of a centuries-old faerie war isn't exactly what she had in mind . . .

Lament is a dark faerie fantasy that features authentic Celtic faerie lore, plus cover art and interior illustrations by acclaimed faerie artist Julia Jeffrey.




Fictitious Delicious Rating: 4



As much of a lover of all things Stiefvater that I am, one might wonder why the hell it took me so long to get my act together and read this book.  The answer is easy, really. It's about faeries and you may already know that I'm not a fan of the fae. But it's Maggie freaking Steveotter and you don't just shelf a Steveotter and not read it. So I read it.

The first thing that struck me was the writing. It has classic Stiefvater elements that brings the story alive in such a vivid way.  It was also a bit choppy. In a whimsical way. Which makes sense given the subject matter. The style felt different from her later work and it was very cool to see where she started versus where she is now. 

The first half of this story felt very Twilight-ish to me. This is so cliche'--I know! I think it was the whole clearly unhuman, beautiful boy being enamored by a girl who views herself as Plain Jane, though she's so much deeper than Bella Swan. By about a billion percent. It lost that Twilight-ish feel during the last half, though, because the climax of the story doesn't take place in a ballet studio. Or involve biting. Oh, no. It's much more gruesome than that. 

Luke, this story's gallowglass, has a sad backstory and I learned to appreciate him even though he kinda creeped me out. Deirdre on the other hand, captivated me from the first time I met her. She's my kind of heroine-smart, tough and a little naive. At least when it came to James. It's pretty dang obvious that her BFF is gaga over her, but she just doesn't see it. And James! Oh, my James. I loved him.  Can't wait to see where his story goes in BALLAD.

Highly recommend this one for fans of Maggie.  Just know you're in for a bit of cheesiness. 




Thursday, April 23, 2015

Book Blast: ONE NIGHT by A.J. Pine





THE BOOK


ONE NIGHT (Only You #1)
by A.J. Pine

Release Date: April 25, 2015
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: InterMix
Pages: 248


When she lost it all, Jess decided to cope by living a lie.

But you can’t keep on pretending forever…

Twenty-one-year-old Jess used to have everything—a loyal best friend, a boyfriend she loved, and a future that was right on track. But in a single night, her whole world changed.

Now, Jess lives for the impersonal connection of drunken hook-ups and to-go coffee cups in the morning. All she needs is one night to pretend everything is fine…until she meets Adam.

Thanks to a sports injury, gorgeous, charming basketball star Adam Carson is stuck in physical therapy at the hospital where Jess interns—giving her the perfect opportunity to see his sweet, considerate nature and making her realize that maybe she does want something more.

But while Adam might be the best thing that’s happened to Jess in a long time, letting him past her carefully constructed walls means letting him know what happened...and why he'd never want her for more than one night.






THE EXCERPT

“Well, Ms. Elliott, I believe I’m ready to sleep with you.”
     My gaze searches the length of his body. Where his jeans once hugged his hips just right—and yes, I noticed—he now wears his green basketball shorts.
     “Do you always travel prepared to spend the night out?”
     “No . . .”
     He rounds the bed slowly and sits on the side opposite me.
     “I’m not that kind of guy. I’m more the superstitious type.”
     My heart hammers at his nearness. He may be across the bed, but he’s here, in my room, asking nothing of me other than a bed to sleep in.
     “Enlighten me,” I say.
     “I wear the shorts, under my jeans, the night before a game,” he starts. “And if it’s an away game, the night before travel too.”
     “Because winning has nothing to do with skill and strategy, only whether or not you’re wearing the shorts?”
     He chucks a pillow at me. Then I reach over to my nightstand where the product of my kitchen visit lies, tossing it across the bed to him. He picks it up and eyes the package of frozen peas.
     “For your knee,” I say, and there’s a small silence as he positions the bag over the visible swelling.
     “Thank you.” He says nothing more to give away what we both know, that Jake’s cheap shot did more than draw blood. Adam absorbed the shock of the blow with his whole body.
     I turn off my lamp and slide down until my head rests on my pillow. He slides down too, so he’s on his back, the bag of peas molded over his knee, his head turned to face me.
     “You’re miles away,” I say. But that’s not true. He’s closer than I’ve let anyone get since sophomore year.
     He reaches his arm across the space between us, his hand finding mine where it lies on my pillow. He doesn’t grab it but instead snakes his pinky around mine.
     I stifle a sharp breath, shocked not so much at the gesture itself but at the jolt of the touch of his skin.
     “I’m right here,” he says. “Just being a gentleman. Friends or not, I don’t have much control over what can happen…” His eyes dip to his shorts, and I giggle. “… if I get too close to a gorgeous girl in bed.”
     Heat floods my neck, my cheeks, and I cross my fingers the room is dark enough that he doesn’t notice. The thought of Adam’s body pressed against mine—of him being aroused by me—threatens my last shred of resolve. Because I want him in so many ways, this gentleman who keeps his distance. But I want even more not to lose him as my friend.
     “You need to stop saying stuff like that.”
     “Like what?”
     I chuck the pillow back at him.
     “I’m just asking for some clarification,” he says. “I mean, I say a lot of things.”
     I purse my lips and glare.
     “Fine. Okay. I won’t call you gorgeous anymore. I don’t need to. You already know I think it.”
     How does he do that? Unabashedly say things threatening to unravel me. With the few others who have shared this bed with me, all I ever wanted was to get to the sleeping part so I could close my eyes and forget, fool myself into a night free from dreams pretending the arms around me belonged to Bryan. When the dreams stayed hidden, sleep was the one thing that could transport me back to where I used to be.
     But tonight I fight the fatigue. I don’t want the evening to end, don’t want to pretend I’m with anyone else. Still, my eyes grow heavy, blink, blink, blinking me off to sleep. With each flutter of my lids, I watch my pinky, still laced with his. Our hands are the last thing I see before I lose the battle and sleep takes me.
     In the early morning, I don’t have to search for a warm body that finds more comfort in the art of spooning a pillow. Because Adam is still here, his finger still tangled with mine. But we failed at maintaining the bed-border relationship.
     His arm no longer has to reach to find me. It’s bent at the elbow, pulled tight to his chest and along with it, my hand. And his head, tilted slightly in my direction, rests dreamily on my pillow. I watch him, this beautiful boy with an equally beautiful, forgiving, nonjudgmental heart. And for a minute, I imagine giving my heart to him and his accepting it without question. I imagine a future with him in it, but only for a moment, before I let his soft exhales lull me back to sleep. Reality can wait a few more hours.





BUY ONE NIGHT

 




THE AUTHOR

AJ Pine writes stories to break readers’ hearts, but don’t worry—she’ll mend them with a happily ever after. As an English teacher and a librarian, AJ has always surrounded herself with books. All her favorites have one big commonality–romance. Naturally, her books have the same. When she’s not writing, she’s of course reading. Then there’s online shopping (everything from groceries to shoes) and, of course, a tiny bit of TV where she nourishes her undying love of vampires, from Eric Northman to the Salvatore brothers. And in the midst of all of this, you’ll also find her hanging with her family in the Chicago burbs.



Find AJ: Twitter | Facebook | Website | Goodreads



Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Book Review: THE SECRETS WE KEEP by Trisha Leaver



THE SECRETS WE KEEP
by Trisha Leaver

Release date: April 28, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Pages: 304



A girl takes over her twin sister's identity in this emotionally charged page-turner about the complicated bond between sisters.

Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins. Ella has spent her high school years living in popular Maddy's shadows, but she has never been envious of Maddy. In fact, she's chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy's world.

When—after a heated argument—Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves her sister dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy. Feeling responsible for Maddy's death and everyone's grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy. Soon, Ella realizes that Maddy's life was full of secrets. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options—confess her deception or live her sister's life.







Fictitious Delicious Rating: 3.5

I wish I had something profound to share with you today about THE SECRETS WE KEEP. Sure, it was a good book. Heck, I sat down to read it on a Saturday afternoon and only got up to switch over laundry. It kept my attention and was well written, but in the end I feel like it's one of those stories that got shoved to the background amidst all the really powerful reads I've come across lately. 

This book will work for you if you can suspend your disbelief. I'm sure it's possible, but I had a really, really, REALLY hard time believing that Ella and Maddy's parents couldn't tell the two of them apart. Yes, they were wearing each others clothes at the time of the accident. Yes, the distinguishing mark on the eyebrow was covered by stitches.  The deception was certainly possible. I just never accepted it's possibility and that distracted from the story.

This book has a same premise to another book I've read but that other book kept the switch-a-roo piece a secret until the end when the big reveal happened and you learned that the twin you thought died was the twin you were actually talking to. (I'm not mentioning the title for the obvious spoiler I just threw out there. Email me if you want to know what book I'm talking about and I'll ruin the ending for you. :)  What's interesting to me is that that book totally worked for me. Hmmmm. I think I spent too much time over thinking this one.

You know whose story I want to read? Josh and Alex's. These were the two most interesting characters to me. Josh is Ella's BFF and is the only one who figures out that Ella was the real twin that survived the accident.  Alex is Maddy's very protective boyfriend. What's the story behind Josh's willingness to sacrifice his happiness and Alex's "If there is a problem, yo, I'll solve it" complex.  Tell me THAT story, please.





Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Book Review: RETALIATION by Yasmin Shiraz



RETALIATION (Retaliation #1)
by Yasmin Shiraz

Release date: February 15, 2007
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Rolling Hills Press
Pages: 264


Violence runs rampant on the streets of Washington, DC, and on one seemingly quiet day, the Odom family finds its world destroyed when seventeen-year-old Tashera is brutally attacked by a group of high school girls.

Retaliation exposes the corrupting existence of violence in our communities and the retaliatory measures families go through to protect themselves and their children.







Fictitious Delicious Rating: 4



You may already know about the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement on Twitter. If you don't, you need to go look at that hashtag RIGHT NOW and see how much you've been missing out on. It will change your perspective.  It did mine. I realized that I DO read about people who look and live like me. But there's a whole lot of people who don't even have a chance to read about people who look and live like them and that's just not right. I've made it a personal goal to read a more diverse range of books to gain a better understanding of the diversities that are underrepresented in literature. So far it's been an eye opening experience.

Yasmin reached out to me earlier this year and asked if I'd be interested in reading and reviewing RETALIATION. Tashera's story is the EXACT kind of story that I needed to bring diversity into my reading, so I jumped at the chance. Tashera is a young African American girl that lives a life surrounded by violence in Washington D.C. She is brutally attacked by three girls as the story opens up and literally fights for her life during her recovery. Her attack is the precipice for the real story here: the need to retaliate for wrongs committed against those you love.

Unless you live in a world of violence, you cannot comprehend what it is like to live through such events. RETALIATION gives us a look at how Tashera's attack affects not just her, but her family, her friends, her school administration, the police and the family of her attackers, and her attackers themselves.  The decisions that each of these people make are at times confusing, infuriating, heartbreaking and always, ALWAYS authentic.  No one made a more lasting impression on me than Tashera's mother, Sheila. Weeks after finishing this story,  I still find myself thinking about her. 

Sheila made me FEEL this story in a way that guarantees that this story will stick with me for a long, long time. As a mother, I connected with her and her anger. What I had a hard time understanding, though, was her way of dealing with it. And here's where the magic of reading diverse books in: I came to appreciate where she was coming from. I don't live the life Sheila lives so how could I possibly know how I would react in her situation? I don't and because of that, Shiraz has given me a great gift. I can connect with a character that is not like me. 

Whether it's RETALIATION or another book, please, please, PLEASE consider picking up a book that is about characters that are different from you. Your life will be better because of it, I promise. 




Friday, April 17, 2015

Cover Reveal: DELAYED PENALTY by Sophia Henry

My friend Sophia Henry has had a pretty incredible year.  For lots of reasons!  Today we're celebrating just one of those--her debut New Adult romance novel has a cover! And as you'll see in just a second, it's SMOLDERING (those eyes!!).  Help me in congratulating Sophia and consider adding DELAYED PENALTY to your Goodreads shelves today!


THE BOOK




DELAYED PENALTY (A Pilots Hockey Novel) by Sophia Henry
Genre: New Adult Romance
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Random House/Flirt


She closed her heart long ago. He just wants to open her mind. For fans of Toni Aleo and Sawyer Bennett, the debut of Sophia Henry’s red-hot Detroit Pilots series introduces a hockey team full of complicated men who fight for love.

Auden Berezin is used to losing people: her father, her mother, her first love. Now, just when she believes those childhood wounds are finally healing, she loses something else: the soccer scholarship that was her ticket to college. Scrambling to earn tuition money, she’s relieved to find a gig translating for a Russian minor-league hockey player. Until she realizes that he’s the same dangerously sexy jerk who propositioned her at the bar the night before.

Equal parts muscle and scar tissue, Aleksandr Varenkov knows about trauma. Maybe that’s what draws him to Auden. He also lost his family too young, and he channeled the pain into his passions: first hockey, then vodka and women. But all that seems to just melt away the instant he kisses Auden and feels a jolt of desire as sudden and surprising as a hard checkon the ice.

After everything she’s been through, Auden can’t bring herself to trust any man, let alone a hot-headed puck jockey with a bad reputation. Aleksandr just hopes she’ll give him a chance—long enough to prove he’s finally met the one who makes him want to change.









THE AUTHOR


Sophia Henry, a proud Detroit native, fell in love with reading, writing, and hockey all before she became a teenager. She did not, however, fall in love with snow. So after graduating with an English degree from Central Michigan University, she moved to North Carolina, where she spends her time writing books featuring hockey-playing heroes, chasing her two high-energy sons, watching her beloved Detroit Red Wings, and rocking out at concerts with her husband.




 Find Sophia: Website | Twitter | Facebook Instagram




THE GIVEAWAY

Sophia has generously put together a giveaway for her big cover reveal!  One winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a Pilots Hockey/Sophia Henry Prize Pack.




Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Blog Tour: THE REMEDY by Suzanne Young


Welcome to our stop on the THE REMEDY blog tour! I am figuratively bouncing off the walls with excitement!  My love for this series is immense and today Suzanne stopped by to share with us three songs that are VERY TELLING to Quinlan's story.  So sit back, listen to some cool jams, click on the links to buy THE REMEDY and then enter the exciting giveaway!

Oh, and be sure to check out all the coolness going down on this tour:


          4/13/2015- Once Upon a TwilightInterview
          4/14/2015- Books and SwoonsReview
          4/15/2015- Fictitious DeliciousGuest Post
          4/16/2015- My Reading RoomReview
          4/17/2015- FiktshunInterview 

          4/20/2015- Me, My Shelf and IReview
          4/21/2015- Bad Bird ReadsGuest Post
          4/22/2015- Novel NoviceReview
          4/23/2015- Adventures of a Book JunkieInterview
          4/24/2015-Magical Urban Fantasy Reads-Review



THE BOOK



THE REMEDY
by Suzanne Young

Release date: April 21, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 416

In a world before The Program…

Quinlan McKee is a closer. Since the age of seven, Quinn has held the responsibility of providing closure to grieving families with a special skill—she can “become” anyone.

Recommended by grief counselors, Quinn is hired by families to take on the short-term role of a deceased loved one between the ages of fifteen and twenty. She’s not an exact copy, of course, but she wears their clothes and changes her hair, studies them through pictures and videos, and soon, Quinn can act like them, smell like them, and be them for all intents and purposes. But to do her job successfully, she can’t get attached.

Now seventeen, Quinn is deft at recreating herself, sometimes confusing her own past with those of the people she’s portrayed. When she’s given her longest assignment, playing the role of Catalina Barnes, Quinn begins to bond with the deceased girl’s boyfriend. But that’s only the beginning of the complications, especially when Quinn finds out the truth about Catalina’s death. And the epidemic it could start.




THE GUEST POST

Share with us a song that best represents Quinn, a song that sounds like Deacon and a song that could have been inspired by their story. (aka please help me get Uptown Funk out of my head!)

I listened to “Afraid” by The Neighbourhood while writing because of this line: 

          When I wake up I'm afraid,
          somebody else might take my place.

It made me think of how Quinn feels every day, and the constant threat of losing herself in her assignments.


*****

For Deacon, I couldn’t help but think about “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones, especially when he sees Quinn with Isaac:

          You can't always get what you want
          But if you try sometimes you just might find
          You get what you need

I imagine there’s always a bit of desperate longing about Deacon, a vulnerability that he only lets Quinn see. In real life, he probably listens to a lot of Radiohead.

*****

For Quinn and Deacon as a couple… I think it might have to be “My Immortal” by Evanescence:
          These wounds won't seem to heal
          This pain is just too real
          There's just too much that time cannot erase

Needless to say, Quinlan and Deacon have some serious baggage. But no matter what… Well, I don’t want to give too much away.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Suzanne Young is the New York Times bestselling author of The Program series. Originally from Utica, New York, Suzanne moved to Arizona to pursue her dream of not freezing to death. She is a novelist and an English teacher, but not always in that order.

Suzanne is the author of THE PROGRAM, THE TREATMENT, THE REMEDY, and HOTEL RUBY. She was also on an episode of House Hunters where she talked about her love of grass and trees (while living in the desert).



Visit Suzanne: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest Goodreads | Instagram







BUY THE REMEDY


 




THE GIVEAWAY

Two winners on this giveaway! One will receive a signed set of The Program, The Treatment and The Remedy. The other will receive a signed ARC of Hotel Ruby.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Book Review: AIMEE AND THE HEARTTHROB by Ophelia London



AIMEE AND THE HEARTTHROB (Backstage Pass #1)
by Ophelia London

Release date: April 14, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Entangled Teen Crush
Pages: 223

He never noticed her before, but now she’s all he can see…

Miles Carlisle is every teen girl’s fantasy. His rugged good looks and exotic British accent have helped catapult his boy band, Seconds to Juliet, to super-stardom. But after two disastrous and very public breakups, Miles isn’t interested in dating just any girl; he wants The One. And the only girl he’s interested in is not only his best friend’s little sister―and off-limits―but won’t even give him the time of day…

As a kid, Aimee Bingham had a huge thing for Miles…until he made fun of her for always tagging along. Now that she’s outgrown both him and her pigtails. the prospect of spending two weeks on tour with the childhood crush who broke her heart isn’t exactly enticing. Except now Miles seems interested. Very interested. And no matter how hard Aimee tries to resist him, her crush is definitely making a comeback.

But everyone knows that falling for a heartthrob is a backstage pass to heartbreak…


 




Fictitious Delicious Rating: 4


This was the sweetest book I've read in a long time! GUYS. This is like your teenage self's dream come true. Though you'd have to replace boy band member Miles Carlisle with Axl Rose in my dream, lol. (Thank goodness not all dreams come true!)  Seriously. You HAVE to pick this book up this week.  You're going to love it.

Aimee Bingham is adorable. Maybe even TOO adorable. The only reason this book didn't get the highly coveted five cotton candy rating (*rolls eyes at adult aged self*) is because of the language she uses. It really, really bothered me. I'm not talking about eff bombs and sh!t storms. Oh, no. It's the opposite. She says things like "nut-burgers" and that rubbed me the wrong way. I get that Aimee is the proverbial good girl, but I'm not sure it was necessary for her to say something my third grader would say to prove that point to the readers, you know?  It was distracting.

Everything else, though? Solid gold perfection. You'll fall in love with Miles and Aimee from the first awkward moment they're reunited as teenagers through the trials of falling in love with your best friend's little sister. The romance side of things is very mild, so don't get this confused with Olivia Cunning's Backstage Pass series. They're on complete opposite sides of the spectrum, lol  While there is reference to drinking and drug use, I'd personally be fine sharing this story with younger teens.

This series is continuing on with each band member getting their Happily Ever After and I cannot wait to devour each and every one.  I'm a fan!









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