Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Release Day: Devil and the Deep (Ceruleans #4) by Megan Tayte (GIVEAWAY!)

 
Happy Release Day to Megan Tayte--who releases her fourth book in the Ceruleans series, Devil and the Deep! I absolutely LOVE this author and this series--I can't say enough good things! I am so excited for the fourth book and look forward to posting my review in the near future! In the meantime, here's some info about the new release:

26634340STORM CLOUDS ARE GATHERING, AND THEY WILL RAIN BLOOD. 
Scarlett is living her happy-ever-after, back in the real world. Only the ‘happy’ part is proving problematic.
For starters, there’s the isolation. Being a Cerulean among humans is fraught with risk, so her time with people can only be fleeting. Which means being with Luke but not being with Luke.
Then there’s her Cerulean light, her power over life and death. Less awesome talent, as it turns out, and more overwhelming responsibility. And it comes with rules – rules that are increasingly difficult to obey.
But what’s really pushing Scarlett to the precipice is something much bigger than herself, than her life in the cove. A force to be reckoned with:
Blood.
When long-buried truths are exposed, will Scarlett keep her head above water – or will she drown in the blood-dimmed tide that is unleashed?

Purchase on Amazon
 
Excerpt:
 
It began with screaming. Shrill, ear-piercing, horrified screaming.
A girl shrieked, ‘Blood! Look, look – it’s everywhere!’ and pressed her hand to her mouth.
A man shouted, ‘Good grief!’ and another, ‘Great Scott!’
An old lady swooned gracefully and would have tipped over the balustrade of the riverboat had a lanky lad not caught her.
The cause of the excitement – a woman lying slumped on the long table on deck, cheek on her bread plate, headdress in the butter dish – twitched a little.
‘She’s alive!’ cried a lad beside her delightedly. ‘She moved!’
‘Did not,’ argued another.
‘Did too!’
‘Gentlemen,’ interjected a short, portly man with a twirly black moustache, ‘if you will forgive my intrusion, it must be noted that this woman has a bullet hole in her head and is logically, therefore, quite definitely deceased.’
Another old dear folded to the deck with a prolonged ‘Ohhhhhh’ and her husband grabbed a feathered fan and began wafting cool evening air in her face while calling, ‘Smelling salts – does anyone have any?’
I tried to keep a straight face. Really I did. I bit my bottom lip until I tasted my cherry-red lipstick. I pinched my leg through the cream satin of my gown. I dug my long cigarette holder into the sensitive flesh of my arm.
But it was no good.
The ‘What ho, chaps’ posh accents.
The buxom woman sagging in the arms of an elephant hunter wearing Converse All Stars.
The production of smelling salts in a bottle whose label read Pepto-Bismol.
The corners of the little round man’s moustache coming looser with his every word.
The fast-pooling puddle of pinkish blood on the bread plate, buffeted by the steady in-and-out breaths of the corpse.
Take it from a girl who’s really died – death on the River Dart, Devon, is hilarious.
‘Dear me, Ms Robson here appears to be quite overcome with shock,’ said the guy at my side suddenly, and he slipped an arm around me and turned me away. ‘Come, madam. Let us get some air.’
I smiled at him. Then grinned. Then choked back a guffaw. Thankfully, by the time full-scale hilarity hit me I’d been led to the rear of the boat, away from the rest of our party, and could bury my face in the bloke’s chest and shake mutely with laughter.
The gallant gentleman rubbed my back soothingly as I let it all out and said loudly, for the benefit of any onlookers, ‘There there, pignsey, there there.’
‘Pigsney?’ It was the final straw. My high-heeled sandals gave way and I melted into a puddle of mirth on the deck.
‘I’ll have you know, Scarlett Blake,’ hissed Luke, my boyfriend a.k.a. gallant gent, hoiking up his too-tight corduroy trousers so he could squat down beside me, ‘I Googled “old-fashioned terms of endearment” and pigsney’s a classic.’
I wiped tears from my eyes, dislodging a false eyelash in the process, and tried to catch my hiccupping breath as Luke went on.
‘Means pig’s eye. No idea why that’s appealing, but apparently in the seventeenth century, calling a lady pigsney was the very height of courting.’
Through his fake specs Luke’s blue eyes fixed me with a stare so earnest I almost managed to stop laughing.
‘But this is a Death on the Nile-Stroke-Dart murder mystery night, Luke,’ I managed to get out. ‘Set in the nineteen thirties, not the seventeen thirties.’
‘Ah,’ he said, ‘but my character tonight, Mr Fijawaddle, is a historical fiction writer, isn’t he? So as well as dressing like a brainy recluse – and I’m warning you now, I won’t hear another slur against this tweed jacket – he’d know all kinds of obscure terms. Like ginglyform and jargogle and nudiustertian and bromopnea and farctate and quagswag and philosophunculist.’
His showing off sobered me just enough to control the giggles. ‘You made those words up,’ I accused, poking a crimson talon into his mustard-yellow shirtfront.
He blinked at me innocently. ‘Did not. I told you before we left the house, I did my homework.’
I narrowed my eyes. ‘All right then, Mr Fijawaddle, what does that last word you said mean?’
‘Philosophunculist?’
‘Yes, that.’
‘Er…’ Luke gave me a sheepish grin.
‘Spill it,’ I said menacingly. As menacingly as a girl dressed up as a vintage Hollywood starlet with cute little pin curls and rouge aplenty can be, that is.
‘Philosophunculist,’ recited Luke. ‘Noun. A person who pretends to know more than they do in order to impress others.’
I threw my head back and laughed. ‘Busted!’
Luke slipped an arm around me and pulled me close. Really close.
‘Bet you like it when I use long words,’ he said huskily, eyes fixed on my too-red lips.
‘Bet you like it when I wear a clingy nightgown as a dress,’ I replied, eyes fixed on his too-kissable lips.
‘Brazen hussy,’ he growled at me.
‘Randy boffin,’ I murmured back.
Then neither of us said another word for quite some time.

 About Megan Tayte:

Once upon a time a little girl told her grandmother that when she grew up she wanted to be a writer. Or a lollipop lady. Or a fairy princess fireman. ‘Write, Megan,’ her grandmother advised. So that’s what she did.

Thirty-odd years later, Megan is a professional writer and published author by day, and an indie novelist by night. Her fiction – young adult romance with soul – recently earned her the SPR’s Independent Woman Author of the Year award.

Megan grew up in the Royal County, a hop, skip and a (very long) jump from Windsor Castle, but these days she makes her home in Robin Hood's county, Nottinghamshire. She lives with her husband, a proud Scot who occasionally kicks back in a kilt; her son, a budding artist with the soul of a palaeontologist; and her baby daughter, a keen pan-and-spoon drummer who sings in her sleep. When she's not writing, you'll find her walking someplace green, reading by the fire, or creating carnage in the kitchen as she pursues her impossible dream: of baking something edible.

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Review: The Admissions

25241503Title: The Admissions
Author:Meg Mitchell Moore
320 pages, published August 2015
Genre: Women's Fiction

Note: I received this book from NetGalley to facilitate my review. I received no other compensation, and all opinions are my own.

From Goodreads:

The Hawthorne family has it all. Great jobs, a beautiful house in one of the most affluent areas of northern California, and three charming kids with perfectly straight teeth. And then comes their eldest daughter's senior year of high school . . .
     Firstborn Angela Hawthorne is a straight-A student and star athlete, with extracurricular activities coming out of her ears and a college application that's not going to write itself. She's set her sights on Harvard, her father's alma mater, and like a dog with a chew toy, Angela won't let up until she's basking in crimson-colored glory. Except her class rank as valedictorian is under attack, she's suddenly losing her edge at cross-country, and she can't help but daydream about the cute baseball player in English class. Of course Angela knows the time put into her schoolgirl crush would be better spent coming up with a subject for her term paper—which, along with her college essay and community service hours has a rapidly approaching deadline.
     Angela's mother, Nora, is similarly stretched to the limit, juggling parent-teacher meetings, carpool, and a real-estate career where she caters to the mega rich and super-picky buyers and sellers of the Bay Area. The youngest daughter, Maya, still can't read at the age of eight; the middle-child, Cecily, is no longer the happy-go-lucky kid she once was; and the dad, Gabe, seems oblivious to the mounting pressures at home because a devastating secret of his own might be exposed. A few ill-advised moves put the Hawthorne family on a heedless collision course that's equal parts achingly real and delightfully screwball.
     Sharp and topical, The Admissions shows that if you pull at a loose thread, even the sturdiest of lives start to unravel at the seams of high achievement.


My Review:

I don't mention it a lot on this blog, but my day job is in Admissions at a small public university, so this book was right up my alley! Certainly not Harvard level but I still found this book very entertaining and a realistic picture of the pressure put on high achieving students today. After reading this book I thought an appropriate subtitle for this book should be "Why Helicopter Parenting Is Damaging our Youth" or something similar.  Though not all college bound students are high achieving like Angela, this level of pressure happens everywhere. I see it literally every day, and I don't work for a highly selective school. I was impressed with the author's ability to capture that in this book, even if it was a bit quirky and intense at times. She really showed how that kind of pressure that parents put on their children can affect the entire family, and even the parents themselves.

Halfway through this book, I was all ready to give 3 stars. I felt it was dragging. I felt it was cliché. But the more I read, the more I liked it. The title began to make sense. It's not just about Angela's college admissions process, it was about secrets and lies. Admitting the truth. Facing up to your mistakes. Admitting you're not perfect. It was well written, honest, emotional, and real.  There was humor and sadness and everything in between.  I definitely recommend this book, and believe you can relate to it even if you're not involved in the college admissions process like I am!

One negative: the cover. It just didn't work for me! Yes I am a cover snob!

Overall rating for "The Admissions": 4 stars

Happy Reading!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Bookish and Not So Bookish Thoughts for September 24

 
This is a weekly meme hosted by Bookishly Boisterous.

1.  I recently finished reading two great books that I got from NetGalley--The Admissions and Rescue Me, Maybe. I loved both for different reasons. Reviews for these two will be on the blog next week!

2. It's FALL! Fall is my FAVORITE! Chilly mornings, warm afternoons, boots, leaves changing colors, and FOOTBALL IS BACK.

3. Speaking of football, I am 0-2 in BOTH my fantasy football leagues. I am NOT happy about this. Hoping this week goes better.

4. Last weekend I went to Seattle to visit my sis Breanne!  It was a perfect girls weekend. We went to a new bookstore (Queen Anne Book Company) went to a UW Huskies football game (she is an alum and season ticket holder), ate yummy thai food, drank wine (and coffee, of course!) and had a fantastic time! I love Seattle! I rode the train there and back (about a 4 hour ride) and had a lovely time reading all the way there and back (reading books mentioned in item #1).



5. This face. Your day has to be better just by looking at this sweet puppy face!

 

Happy Thursday!



Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Top Ten Books on my Fall TBR


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish. This week's topic is Top Ten Books on my Fall TBR! Some are new releases, some are not. Here they are, in no particular order:

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What books are on your Fall TBR? Happy Reading!
 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Review: Who Do You Love

25205422Title: Who Do You Love
Author: Jennifer Weiner
400 pages, published August 2015
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: Library

From Goodreads:



Rachel Blum and Andy Landis are eight years old when they meet late one night in an ER waiting room. Born with a congenital heart defect, Rachel is a veteran of hospitals, and she's intrigued by the boy who shows up all alone with a broken arm. He tells her his name. She tells him a story. After Andy's taken back to the emergency room and Rachel's sent back to her bed, they think they'll never see each other again.

Rachel, the beloved, popular, and protected daughter of two doting parents, grows up wanting for nothing in a fancy Florida suburb. Andy grows up poor in Philadelphia with a single mom and a rare talent that will let him become one of the best runners of his generation.

Over the course of three decades, through high school and college, marriages and divorces, from the pinnacles of victory and the heartbreak of defeat, Andy and Rachel will find each other again and again, until they are finally given a chance to decide whether love can surmount difference and distance and if they've been running toward each other all along.
My Review:

There was a lot of hype about this book, and I was so excited to get it from the library!  I'm happy to report that I loved this book. It was so much more than a classic "chick lit"--this one had much more emotional depth to it.  I loved how the book followed Rachel and Andy throughout their lives, including their childhood. I loved watching them "grow up" and went through all the stages I'm sure a parent goes through--including "WHAT were you thinking??" in some of the phases of life, along with rooting for their success.

I have read several of Weiner's books, but this one is most definitely my favorite. I've never really gotten excited about her books before this one--the characters are what really made this one a winner for me. Rachel and Andy were so real and easy to relate to--so many of their relationship struggles sounded familiar. This book warmed my heart and made me feel happy. It was beautifully written, flowed well, and kept me interested. The every other chapter aspect (Rachel chapter 1, Andy chapter 2, Rachel chapter 3 and so on) of the book really kept me hooked. I also liked that all the chapters stayed in chronological order by year--I've read several books that jump forward and back in time, and it drives me crazy figuring out where in the chronology I am. Not with this book!

I definitely recommend this book--heartfelt, real, and a fantastic story.

Overall rating for "Who Do You Love": 4 stars

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday Freebie! Top Ten Books I've Read in 2015


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish. This week's topic is....FREEBIE! So I picked Top Ten Books I've Read So Far in 2015! Here they are, in no particular order:

 
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Happy Reading!!

 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Review: Everything Everything

Title: Everything Everything
18692431Author: Nicola Yoon
320 pages, published September 1, 2015
Genre: YA Contemporary

Note: I received this book from NetGalley to facilitate my review. I received no other compensation, and all opinions are my own.

From Goodreads:

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

My Review:

I've read quite a few reviews on this book, as it has a lot of hype--and I promised myself I wouldn't have the cheesy yet obvious opening line for my review. BUT....I just can't resist. What did I love about this book? EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING.  I cannot express how much I loved this book. I don't think I've felt this much love for a book since Eleanor and Park!

The writing style and format of the book is unique and entertaining. I loved the chapters that were simply instant message conversations between Madeline and Olly.  I loved the "Madeline's Dictionary" chapters. I loved the "Life is Short" book reviews. I loved the drawings. I loved all of it!

Yoon perfectly captures the emotion of first love in this book, along with the devastation of Madeline's disease.I loved both her and Olly as characters, but especially Madeline.  This book is emotional, real, heartfelt, beautiful, and amazing!

Read this book NOW. It is brilliant. 

Overall rating for "Everything Everything" : 5 stars

Happy Reading!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Release Day Blitz: Beautifully Damaged by Gina Sevani

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Beautifully Damaged by Gina Sevani

beautifully damaged cover

Genre: Contemporary Romance Publication Date: September 10, 2015
 
  Purchase Links: Amazon  Smashwords
 
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BLURB Beautiful and Dangerous Damon Black isn’t what Ariel Montgomery expects, not at all. Living with the all-consuming darkness of her tragic past, she’s always kept everyone and everything at a distance. And love? Impossible! Not if she wanted her past to stay in the past or her dark secrets to remain secrets. The future was never even a real possibility, but between Damon’s lyrical voice and devastating good looks, she’s finding it hard to stay away. Their white hot chemistry has her re-thinking everything. For the first time since she’s lost her family, Ariel dreams of a life she knows she’ll never deserve. He’s determined to win her heart, body, and soul. But can she trust him? Trust his promise to save her from herself? Or will his attention be the final catalyst that breaks her forever?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

W...W...W...Wednesday

https://samannelizabeth.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/img_1384-0.jpg


W… W… W… Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words, is a weekly meme showcasing what you just finished reading, what you are currently reading, and what you plan to start reading next.

What did you just finish reading?
 
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 What are you currently reading?
 
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What do you plan on reading next?
 
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What are you reading this week? Happy Wednesday!
 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Beat the Heat Readathon Wrap Up

BeatHeatRAT3
Whew! Those two weeks went fast! I really enjoyed the Readathon but am sad to say I didn't read as much as I'd hoped. As I mentioned in previous posts, my black lab had to have a tooth pulled  a couple weeks ago and it took its time healing, so I couldn't take him to doggie daycare during the work day. This meant he had to be at home so I had to go home on my lunch breaks (my main reading time) and check on him.  I absolutely love my pup so I was more than happy to have him as my lunch date, but it did interfere with my reading on this challenge. BUT...the challenge is supposed to be FUN, so I'm not stressing about my lack of meeting my goal! Especially since my pup is all healed up good as new now (minus one tooth!). As you can see in the picture he is happy and full of energy!



My goal was to finish four books, but I finished three. However, I'm still really happy with this progress considering Who Do You Love was nearly 400 pages! Here are the stats:

Readathon Summary:

Total # pages read: 981

All books completed: 3 : Rainy Day Sisters, Luckiest Girl Alive, Who Do You Love

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I look forward to future readathons! Happy Reading!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Beat the Heat Readathon: Goals and Updates


This week and next week is the Beat the Heat Readathon! More information can be found here if you're still interested in joining in the fun!

Goals:
Most of all, my goal is to have fun! Since the readathon is two weeks, my goal is to finish four books (two a week). I finished four books in a week last week for Bout of Books, but I had a few extra days of lots of reading time that I don't expect to have in the next two weeks, so four is my goal!
Updates:
Week 1:
Monday 8/24
Currently reading: Rainy Day Sisters
Pages read today: 60
Books completed today: 0
Tuesday 8/25
Currently reading: Rainy Day Sisters
Pages read today: 99
Books completed today: 0
Wednesday 8/26
Currently reading: Rainy Day Sisters
Pages read today: 121
Books completed today: Rainy Day Sisters
Thursday 8/27
Currently reading: Luckiest Girl Alive
Pages read today: 70
Books completed today: 0
Friday 8/28
Currently reading: Luckiest Girl Alive
Pages read today: 46
Books completed today: 0
Saturday 8/29
Currently reading: Luckiest Girl Alive
Pages read today: 0
Books completed today: 0
Sunday 8/30
Currently reading: Luckiest Girl Alive
Pages read today: 75
Books completed today: 0

Week 1 Summary:

Total # pages read this week: 471

Books I completed this week: 1 (Rainy Day Sisters

Week 2:
Monday 8/31
Currently reading: Luckiest Girl Alive
Pages read today: 34
Books completed today: 0
Tuesday 9/1
Currently reading: Luckiest Girl Alive
Pages read today: 113
Books completed today: Luckiest Girl Alive
Wednesday 9/2
Currently reading: Who Do You Love
Pages read today: 0
Books completed today: 0
Thursday 9/3
Currently reading: Who Do You Love
Pages read today: 80
Books completed today:0
Friday 9/4
Currently reading:Who Do You Love
Pages read today: 0
Books completed today:0
Saturday 9/5
Currently reading:Who Do You Love
Pages read today: 25
Books completed today:0
Sunday 9/6
Currently reading: Who Do You Love
Pages read today: 258
Books completed today:Who Do You Love

Week 2 Summary:

Total # pages read this week: 510
Books I completed this week: Luckiest Girl Alive, Who Do You Love

Readathon Summary:
Total # pages read: 981

All books completed: #: Rainy Day Sisters, Luckiest Girl Alive, Who Do You Love

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Review: Rainy Day Sisters

Title: Rainy Day Sisters
23398707Author: Kate Hewitt
368 pages, published August 4, 2015
Genre: Women's Fiction

Note: I received this book from NetGalley to facilitate my review. I received no other compensation, and all opinions are my own.

From Goodreads:

When Lucy Bagshaw’s life in Boston falls apart, thanks to a scathing editorial written by her famous artist mother, she accepts her half sister Juliet’s invitation to stay with her in a charming seaside village in northern England. Lucy is expecting quaint cottages and cream teas, but instead finds that her sister is an aloof host, the weather is wet, windy, and cold, and her new boss, Alex Kincaid, is a disapproving widower who only hired her as a favor to Juliet.

Despite the invitation she offered, Juliet is startled by the way Lucy catapults into her orderly life. As Juliet faces her own struggles with both her distant mother and her desire for a child, her sister’s irrepressible optimism begins to take hold. With the help of quirky villagers, these hesitant rainy day sisters begin to forge a new understanding…and find in each other the love of family that makes all the difference.


My Review:

What a charming book! Naturally, the cover drew me to this book, but once I started reading it I couldn't stop. I loved both sisters--such great characters. I loved how both sisters were in relatively similar situations in their life but expressing it in different ways. I rooted for both sisters throughout the book, and loved the ending. A secondary character I really fell in love with was Bella--I loved her connection with Lucy.

The setting was so lovely! I read this book in August and it's been 90 degrees out--this book made me wish desperately for rain, blankets, coffee and my couch. I wanted to be IN Hartley-by-the-Sea, in Juliet's cute little B&B, while reading this book.

If you're looking for a book that makes you feel good, this is the perfect one. I loved everything about the book, and hope for future Hartley-by-the-Sea novels!

Overall rating for "Rainy Day Sisters" : 4.5 stars

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Teaser Tuesday: Luckiest Girl Alive

 
Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
 Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


22609317Today's Teaser comes from Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll! Enjoying this crazy book so far! Here's the teaser, from page 196:

"It felt so much farther than that. Like another dimension, like a life of someone else who I felt sorry for now. She had been so naïve and unprepared for what was to come, it hadn't just been sad. It had been dangerous."