Brazen

Posted on Thursday, August 21st 2014 in Review

BrazenTitle: Brazen
Author: Katherine Longshore
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Pages: 528
Format: eARC
Source: For Review
Description: "Mary Howard has always lived in the shadow of her powerful family. But when she’s married off to Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, she rockets into the Tudor court’s inner circle. Mary and “Fitz” join a tight clique of rebels who test the boundaries of court’s strict rules with their games, dares, and flirtations. The more Mary gets to know Fitz, the harder she falls for him, but is forbidden from seeing him alone. The rules of court were made to be pushed…but pushing them too far means certain death. Is true love worth dying for? "

Goodrerads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

***

Brazen was great. After the Manor of Secrets fail, I was hopeful that I would enjoy other books by Katherine Longshore because there was something about Manor of Secrets that told me her other books had the potential to be really good. I am soooo happy to say that Brazen proves that theory to be true.

Let’s start with the characters because that was my least favorite part of Manor of Secrets. When I started Brazen, I was on edge. I paid special attention to the characters to see if they did anything incredibly outlandish that would just seem wrong for the time period. There were maybe one or two instances where I’m not so sure that the characters were truly behaving in accordance with the time period, but that was it. For the most part they behaved in a manner befitting the time period and I cannot even express how happy this makes me because otherwise I wouldn’t have really enjoyed the book.

Aside from their actions, I also really liked them as people — especially Mary and Fitz. They were so cute together and all of their interactions just felt really genuine and sweet. If you’re a fan of those innocent, first-love types of romances, you’ll love this one! I also really liked Mary’s brother and I just felt so bad for him at times, even though he was a supporting character.

I love that Katherine Longshore took two of the more obscure figures in Tudor history to write about. I learned a lot more about the Tudor court and the historical figures of the time through her writing. I was so curious as to what would happen, I had to restrain myself from looking it up on Gooogle!

Brazen is a wonderful addition to YA historical fiction and I am so looking forward to reading some of her other novels. So glad I decided to give this one a chance, and I hope you do too!

4 Stars

Waiting on Wednesday

Posted on Wednesday, August 20th 2014 in Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

For more books I’m looking forward to, check out the Upcoming page.

 

Girl Online by Zoe Sugg (November 2014 – Keywords Press)

GIRL ONLINE is the stunning debut romance novel by YouTube phenomenon Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella.


I had no idea GirlOnline would take off the way it has – I can’t believe I now have 5432 followers, thanks so much! – and the thought of opening up to you all about this is terrifying, but here goes…

Penny has a secret.

Under the alias GirlOnline, she blogs about school dramas, boys, her mad, whirlwind family – and the panic attacks she’s suffered from lately. When things go from bad to worse, her family whisks her away to New York, where she meets the gorgeous, guitar-strumming Noah. Suddenly Penny is falling in love – and capturing every moment of it on her blog.

But Noah has a secret too. One that threatens to ruin Penny’s cover – and her closest friendship – forever.” Goodreads.

 

Love and Other Known Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander (October 2014 – EntangledTeen)

Charlie Hanson has a clear vision of his future. A senior at Brighton School of Mathematics and Science, he knows he’ll graduate, go to MIT, and inevitably discover solutions to the universe’s greatest unanswered questions. He’s that smart. But Charlie’s future blurs the moment he reaches out to touch the tattoo on a beautiful girl’s neck. 

The future has never seemed very kind to Charlotte Finch, so she’s counting on the present. She’s not impressed by the strange boy at the donut shop—until she learns he’s a student at Brighton where her sister has just taken a job as the English teacher. With her encouragement, Charlie orchestrates the most effective prank campaign in Brighton history. But, in doing so, he puts his own future in jeopardy. 

By the time he learns she’s ill—and that the pranks were a way to distract Ms. Finch from Charlotte’s illness—Charlotte’s gravitational pull is too great to overcome. Soon he must choose between the familiar formulas he’s always relied on or the girl he’s falling for (at far more than 32 feet per second squared).Goodreads.

 

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay (December 2014 – Delacorte Press)

Game of Thrones meets the Grimm’s fairy tales in this twisted, fast-paced romantic fantasy-adventure about Sleeping Beauty’s daughter, a warrior princess who must fight to reclaim her throne.

Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora’s throne ten years ago.

Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it’s too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love?Goodreads.

 

 

 

Boomerang

Posted on Tuesday, August 19th 2014 in Review

BoomerangTitle: Boomerang
Author: Noelle August
Series: Boomerang #1
Publisher: William Morrow
Date: July 8, 2014
Pages: 325
Format: Paperback
Source: For Review
Description: "The first book in a sensational New Adult trilogy from Noelle August

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 collegiate 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 hookup 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 dating. And second, they’re now competitors for only one job at the end of 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? "

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

***

Boomerang is a light, enjoyable read. It’s just perfect for the beach with the easy writing style and short chapters. It’s not going to leave a lasting impression, but I did get through it pretty quickly and really enjoyed the story.

Our characters, Mia and Ethan, aren’t really anything special on their own. Together they’re great. Lots of chemistry, the right amount of resistance, and they actually work well together too. They kind of have to work well together if we’re going to believe in them as a couple given how the story is set up, but that is neither here nor there :) .

Watching Mia and Ethan attempt to ignore their feelings for each other since work place romances are forbidden was great because they kind of failed spectacularly on that front! And for me, the plot really is about their attraction to each other. Sure, there are plenty of other elements in the background: Mia’s grandmother, Ethan’s future prospects, competing for the internship. But that’s all it felt like – background.

And that is really the key thing that keeps me from loving this book. I prefer when the plot and romance are a bit more balanced when it comes to my contemporary reads, but in this case, it worked out. Not mind-blowingly awesome, but definitely a page turner.

If you’re looking for a good beach read that doesn’t really require a lot of attention, Boomerang is a fantastic pick! A little cheesy at times (especially with the Boomerang CEO at the end), but worth the read.

4 Stars

Four Review

Posted on Sunday, August 17th 2014 in Review

Four ReviewTitle: Four
Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #0.1 - 0.4
Publisher: HarperTeen
Date: July 8, 2014
Pages: 208
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review
Description: "Two years before Beatrice Prior made her choice, the sixteen-year-old son of Abnegation’s faction leader did the same. Tobias’s transfer to Dauntless is a chance to begin again. Here, he will not be called the name his parents gave him. Here, he will not let fear turn him into a cowering child.

Newly christened “Four,” he discovers during initiation that he will succeed in Dauntless. Initiation is only the beginning, though; Four must claim his place in the Dauntless hierarchy. His decisions will affect future initiates as well as uncover secrets that could threaten his own future—and the future of the entire faction system.

Two years later, Four is poised to take action, but the course is still unclear. The first new initiate who jumps into the net might change all that. With her, the way to righting their world might become clear. With her, it might become possible to be Tobias once again.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth comes a companion volume to the worldwide bestselling divergent series, told from the per-spective of the immensely popular character Tobias. The four pieces included here—The Transfer, The Initiate, The Son, and The Traitor—plus three additional exclusive scenes, give readers an electrifying glimpse into the history and heart of Tobias, and set the stage for the epic saga of the Divergent trilogy. "

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

***

I am slightly in love with Four—due, in no small part, to Theo James. Four just makes me smile whether it’s on screen or through the pages of the book, so when I found out that we were getting a whole book told from his perspective, I was thrilled.The story itself is great. It’s kind of a must for Divergent fans. No there is nothing really that you’re missing from the Divergent series in terms of content if you skip it, but you would be missing so much of Four’s character development if you did. And that would really be a shame.

After finishing the book, my perspective on Four has changed a little bit. There were certain choices he made in both Insurgent and Allegiant that I really didn’t agree with, but I always thought he didn’t start making those decisions until Insurgent. Now I know that was incorrect.

I always thought of Divergent Four as the guy with all the answers. The guy who would always make the right decisions and know when to act. He never was though. Just because we didn’t get to see his insecurities and judgment lapses in Divergent doesn’t mean they weren’t there. It puts a slight damper on his overall character for me, but that’s ok. He’s a bit more human this way.

Aside from our deep delve into the life and character of Tobias Eaton, it was also great to get to know some of the supporting characters better—particularly Eric. I certainly don’t like him anymore than I ever did, but I did enjoy seeing his rise to Dauntless leadership and how Four kicked his ass in training.

If you’re missing the Divergent world, Four is a no-brainer. Even if you’re not missing it though, it really does add more depth to the Divergent series and characters, and for that reason alone it’s a must read.

 

4 Stars

Fairytale Fashions: Once Upon a Time Jacket

Posted on Friday, August 15th 2014 in Fairytale Fashions

You probably know by now that I am obsessed with Once Upon a Time. It’s my favorite show ever—yup, I’m putting it above Gossip Girl, Gilmore Girls, Friends, and even Xena and Hercules. If you knew me as a child, then you know that’s a pretty freaking big deal.

Yesterday when I was shopping at Forever 21, I came across this very pretty red leather jacket (and can someone let me know how returns always turn into more shopping…):

forever 21 red leather jacket

 

Of course my first thought was Emma Swan! Check out her signature red leather jacket below. There are a few differences of course. The cut of the Forever 21 jacket is much edgier, more moto, and a bit more badass. I think Emma would look great in a moto jacket though, since she ends up fighting quite a bit.

Cast-Promotional-Photo-Jennifer-Morrison-as-Emma-Swan-once-upon-a-time-25200048-446-595

 

I’ve actually been contemplating doing a Once Upon a Time discussion because I don’t know anyone personally who is quite as into the show as I am. If that’s something you’d like to see let me know! I ended up passing on this jacket because red jackets aren’t really my style, but let me know if you’ll be picking this one up. I was tempted to do it just for the Once Upon a Time premiere, but decided dressing up to watch TV in my living room would be silly. :)

August New Release Giveaway Hop

Posted on Thursday, August 14th 2014 in Giveaway

 
 

It’s time for another giveaway! Huge Thanks to Giselle from Bo-ok Nerd for hosting the August New Release Giveaway Hop. The winner gets their choice of one of the following books:

CONTEST RULES:

  • Open Internationally (as long as The Book Depository ships to you)
  • If an item is no longer available via The Book Depository, another title from the list must be chosen.
  • Must be 13+ to enter
  • Everyone may enter, even if you are not a follower
  • Winner will be notified via email
  • A new winner will be chosen if a response is not received within 48 hours
  • Contest ends August 31, 2014

a Rafflecopter giveaway

There a lot of great blogs participating in this month’s hop, so definitely check them out and see what they’re giving away:


Waiting on Wednesday

Posted on Wednesday, August 13th 2014 in Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

For more books I’m looking forward to, check out the Upcoming page.

 

Tear You Apart by Sarah Cross (January 2015 – EgmontUSA)

“An edgy fairy tale retelling of “Snow White” set in the world of  Kill Me Softly for fans of Once Upon a Time and Grimm.

Faced with a possible loophole to her “Snow White” curse, Viv goes underground, literally, to find the prince who’s fated to rescue her. But is life safe in the Underworld worth the price of sacrficing the love that might kill her?

POP CULTURE CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF TWISTING FAIRY TALES: ABC’s Once Upon a Time and NBC’s Grimm continue to pull in high ratings. And with the anticipated Angelina Jolie Maleficent (2014), the film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods (2014), and Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella (2015), Hollywood is infected with fairy tale fever.

CAMEOS FROM FAVORITE CHARACTERS: Viv, who first appeared in Kill Me Softly trailed by her brooding boy-toy Henley, takes center stage in this new Beau Rivage tale. Other familiar characters including Blue and Jewel are back to help her defy her destiny.

TEENS LOVE THIS FAIRY TALE WORLD: Kill Me Soflty was a 2013 YALSA Teens’ Top 10. Readers have been clamoring for a sequel.

A FRESH TAKE ON THE FAMILIAR: Drawing on “Snow White,” “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” and “Rumpelstiltskin,” Tear You Apartis very conscious of the way these stories have pervaded pop culture, twisting known tropes into an exciting new story that can stand on its own. ” Goodreads.

 

Loop by Karen Akins (October 2014 – St. Martin’s Griffin)

“At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.” Goodreads.

 

Winterspell by Claire Legrand (September 2014 – Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.

New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor’s ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother’s murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted–by beings distinctly not human. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they’re to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets–and a need she can’t define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won’t leave Cane unscathed–if she leaves at all.

Inspired by The NutcrackerWinterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear. Goodreads.

Kill Me Softly

Posted on Tuesday, August 12th 2014 in Review

Kill Me SoftlyTitle: Kill Me Softly
Author: Sarah Cross
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Date: April 10, 2012
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: For Review
Description: "Mirabelle's past is shrouded in secrecy, from her parents' tragic deaths to her guardians' half-truths about why she can't return to her birthplace, Beau Rivage. Desperate to see the town, Mira runs away a week before her sixteenth birthday—and discovers a world she never could have imagined.

In Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems—the strangely pale girl with a morbid interest in apples, the obnoxious playboy who's a beast to everyone he meets, and the chivalrous guy who has a thing for damsels in distress. Here, fairy tales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again.

But fairy tales aren't pretty things, and they don't always end in happily ever after. Mira has a role to play, a fairy tale destiny to embrace or resist. As she struggles to take control of her fate, Mira is drawn into the lives of two brothers with fairy tale curses of their own . . . brothers who share a dark secret. And she'll find that love, just like fairy tales, can have sharp edges and hidden thorns. "

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

***

The second I heard about Kill Me Softly , I knew it was for me. Real life people cursed to parallel classic fairytales? Bring it on. It’s very Once Upon a Time sounding, and since that’s one of my favorite shows, a book that has a similar concept was right up my alley. Verdict: really liked it.

It wasn’t as mind-blowingly awesome as I expected it to be, but I still adored it. The characters were great, and our main character Mirabelle is so fierce and strong-willed. Once she finds out she’s cursed (and that the people around her are not, in fact, certifiable), she has a very hard time accepting her fate. She doesn’t want to passively love someone because she’s supposed to. She wants to love someone because she chooses too.

That said she is also stubborn and a little too trusting for her own good. If an entire town is telling you to avoid someone, you probably should. It always bothers me when people ignore advice they get from multiple people. If I am hearing the same thing from several people I implicitly trust and respect, chances are I’m going to listen. The probability of 20 really smart people with good judgment all being incorrect are slim. Not impossible, granted, but slim.

The plot was also really engaging. Cross includes some of the more obscure fairytales in this novel, so we have to guess right along with Mirabelle. So fun! I was never able to figure out Blue’s curse, and even after he told us, I failed to appreciate what that curse really meant. So I was just as curious as Mirabelle to get answers to some of these questions.

Kill Me Softly is a fantastic read for fairytale lovers. I appreciated the independence Cross inserts into our typical damsels and loved the pieces she injected into these retellings. Truly well done and I cannot wait to read the sequel (Tear You Apartexpected January 2015)!

4 Stars

Books and Beauty

Posted on Sunday, August 10th 2014 in Books and Beauty

The Infernal Devices Box Set by Cassandra Clare: Amazon

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover: Goodreads

A Mad Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller: Goodreads

Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead: Goodreads

The Jewel by Amy Ewing: Goodreads

The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas: Goodreads

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White: Goodreads

Sharing You by Molle McAdams: Goodreads

Alliance by Shannon Stoker: Goodreads

Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn: Goodreads

A New Darkness by Joseph Delaney: Goodreads

Elf Lotion Wipes: Elf

Lorac Pro 2: Ulta

Cargo Suited to a Tea: Nordstrom

Fairytale Fashions: Ulta Bath

Posted on Friday, August 8th 2014 in Fairytale Fashions

I popped into Ulta last week and stumbled across something awesome: their fairytale inspired bath collection. I was a bit skeptical at first, but as soon as I opened up the ginger cookie scented sugar scrub I knew it was coming home with me.


Ulta Fairy Tale BathUlta Once Upon a Time Ginger CookieUlta Clock Struck Midnight Pumpkin Latte

 

I ended up with the Once Upon a Time Ginger Cookie scrub and the Clock Struck Midnight Pumpkin Latte scrub. They both smell good enough to eat and it makes me so excited for fall! There is also a Fairest of Them All Apple Cobbler scent, but that one wasn’t very appealing to me. Aside from the scrubs, each scent comes as a bath gel, so if scrubs aren’t your thing fear not!

Even though it’s always sad to say goodbye to summer, I am really looking forward to fall. The slightly crisp air, sweaters, and of course boots! It’s actually my favorite season in no small part because of fall fashion (and food! – pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potatoes). Are you ready to say goodbye to summer?