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Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Reading Wrap Up

I haven't been reading a lot of books this year. In fact, I think I cheated a bit by reading a few of my niece's books to complete my reading target. Ha! But anyway, I've read a total of 71 books with 8 of them are children's books. I've been a bit busy this year. There's also the reading block I faced after finishing books that I didn't really enjoy, 

Now that 2015 is coming to a close, I thought that it would be nice to do a bit of a wrap up on my reading, featuring my top three favorite books, and the weirdest book I've read this year.

Here's my top three favorite books in 2015:



1. The Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
I have this book for a while and decided to read it during a vacation. I wish I read it sooner.

2. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
A great love story. I need to reread this again.

3. Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder
I love the Study series and was glad to see Yelena, Valek and the others to return in the new series.

And the weirdest book I've read this year is 


Everything You and I Could Have Been If We Weren't You and I by Albert Espinosa
Not so bad. But, the stories were a bit too weird. It could be a romance book, it could be a sci-fi book. Definitely not what I expected.

In 2016, I don't think I'm going to target higher than I did this year. But, I'm planning to finish a few series that I've started from the past years, like Delirium and Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Maybe I need to buy less book, and finish what I have first, although I think that's going to be really hard to do.  I need to write more. I'm not going to let this book blog die yet.

Also... I'm taking this chance to apologize to any author/representative who emailed me, but, never gotten any reply. I might have read the email, and thought about replying the email later, but then, totally forgot that I should be replying to your emails. I humbly apologize.

So tell me about your reading in 2015, and what you're planning to read in 2016!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Review: Heart Conditions by Phoebe Fox

Heart Conditions (The Breakup Doctor #3)
by Phoebe Fox

Genre: Romance, Chick Lit, Humor
Publication: February 9th, 2016 by Henery Press
Format: ebook
Source: ARC, NetGalley
Connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Breakup Doctor Brook Ogden has spent the last year sifting through the fallout from the disastrous decision that led to her unconscious uncoupling with boyfriend Ben Garrett. Despite advising her clients you can’t be friends with an ex, she and Ben have somehow begun to stitch together a friendship—one Brook hopes is slowly turning into more. That is, until Ben introduces his new girlfriend, Perfect Pamela, a paragon of womanly virtues who is everything Brook is not.

While Brook navigates her newly volatile emotional life, an unwelcome surprise shows up on her doorstep: the ex-fiancĂ© who broke her heart two years ago—one month before their wedding. Between her ex’s desire to rekindle their attachment, her best friend Sasha’s unexpected crisis, and her own unsquelchable feelings for Ben, Brook finds herself questioning the personal progress she’s made in the last two years—and threatened with the highest-stakes Breakup Doctor failures she’s ever faced.

Breakup Doctor, Brook Ogden is back with another story after her disastrous relationship in the previous book. Brook and Ben are no longer together after what happened between them, but that didn't stop them from being friends. Only that, Brook was hoping for something more, until Ben introduced her to his new girlfriend, Pamela, who seems so perfect. Brook received another surprise when her ex-fiance, the one who broke her heart years ago, just one month before their wedding, showed up in her life. 

Wow! I have to say that I like the series a bit more. The Breakup Doctor series is getting better and better after each book. The story is growing up on me, and so did Brook. I really enjoyed watching the character development in the book. Brook is certainly more matured. I'm really happy that Brook's ex made an appearance in this book. It's nice to see how they resolved whatever it was between them. And I'm glad that this time, I didn't have much urge to strangle Brook for whatever she always do to her relationship. I love the bits of romance in the book, both with the main and supporting characters. They were really nice and sweet. And I love how the story ended in this book.

Heart Condition is definitely a fun and entertaining read. I definitely enjoyed this thoroughly. If you have read the previous two books from the series, you wouldn't want to miss this one.

I received a copy of this book from the author/NetGalley to provide an honest review.

Monday, December 14, 2015

On Tour: The New Mrs. D by Heather Hill - Q&A, Excerpt + Giveaway

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Heather Hill is now on tour with CLP Blog Tours with her book, The New Mrs. D. Please visit her page for more blog stops.

The New Mrs. D
by Heather Hill 

Genre: Women's Fiction, Chick Lit
Publication: October 1st 2014 
Four days into their honeymoon in Greece, Bernice and David Dando have yet to consummate their marriage and after having accepted his almost non-existent desire for sex throughout the relationship, Bernice finally discovers the reason; he is addicted to porn. Learning that the love of her life chooses the cheap thrill of fantasy over her is devastating but then, 'every man does it; it’s just looking, right?’ If she leaves the relationship because of virtual adultery, will she be labelled as pathological, overreacting, or even worse, frigid?

When funny, feisty, forty-something Bernice plans the adventure trip of a lifetime, she doesn’t expect to be spending it alone. But as it turns out, unintentionally contributing to a Greek fish explosion, nude karaoke and hilarious misadventures with volcanoes are exactly what she needs to stop fretting about errant husbands and really start living. But when Mr D tries to win her back, Bernice has a decision to make: is this a holiday from her humdrum life, or the start of a whole new adventure?
Q&A with Heather Hill

1. Please introduce yourself and your book.
I am a comedy writer and author from Scotland in the UK and my book, ‘The New Mrs D’ is about a funny, feisty, forty-something, Bernice, who plans the honeymoon adventure trip of a lifetime, only to find herself spending it alone. But as it turns out, unintentionally contributing to a Greek fish explosion, nude karaoke and hilarious misadventures with volcanoes are exactly what she needs to stop fretting about errant husbands and really start living. But when Mr D tries to win her back, Bernice has a decision to make: is this a holiday from her humdrum life, or the start of a whole new adventure?

2. How did you come up with the idea of the book? What is your inspiration?
The book was conceived on the plane home from my own trip to a lesser known Greek island. I literally bought a notebook at the airport and spent the entire flight home scribbling down notes. I was inspired by the beauty of the islands, the wonderful people and some fabulous adventures of my own, although none so outrageous or ending in catastrophe as my protagonist, Bernice, I hasten to add.

3. What did you like most about writing this book?
How much I chuckled to myself whilst dreaming up some of the scenes. Often when I am writing, my characters seem to have a will all of their own and I can start a chapter with an idea, say, that she will go paragliding on a beach for example, and type away not really knowing what is going to happen to her before I start. The story sort of evolves; as though I am watching, rather than creating her. It is pretty surreal but wonderful and means I had a pretty good chuckle at her myself at the time because each episode had a surprise ending for me!

4. What's the best thing that happened to you since becoming an author?
I have only ever met one reader in person so far, who wasn’t somebody I knew and that was a lovely experience for me as a new author. It was at a party of a mutual friend and she had read it because my friend had recommended it to her. Not only did she tell me she absolutely loved the book but she chatted with me all night, asking me lots of questions about it and the next one. But the best part of all was when she told me how reading it had changed her as a person and her outlook on life. That is the greatest compliment of all.

5. Grade your book. How many stars out of a perfect score of 5 stars? Please give the reason too.
That is a tough question! But I would have to say four, because as a new writer - and as in life - I do recognise there is room for improvement and want to always strive for it. It is important to bring my best work to the reader, who has been generous enough to buy my book. Therefore, I will never say five. That would suggest I had nothing to learn or work on, and I never want to feel like that.

6. What are you working on right now?
My second novel is called, ‘I Hate That You Bloody Left Me,’ and is the story of three widows who meet in an online forum and decide to attend a world famous psychic medium’s very last show together, hoping for a message from their late husband’s. When none of them get a message, they then embark on a road trip to the Western Isles of Scotland to find the psychic and beg him for one, last reading… and end up accidentally kidnapping him.

7. Please say something to your readers.
Never underestimate the importance of your review to authors, particularly those lesser known and indie authors. Your review really does make a difference, with Amazon giving more visibility to those books with a certain number of them. Remember, they don’t need to be elaborate or long-winded. Even as a writer, I often write a simple one line review and just apply those all-important stars!  And share, share, SHARE those posts by fabulous book bloggers, who do so much to support struggling authors too. Share the book love! And to those that bought ‘The New Mrs D’ thank you so much for being a part of keeping my writing dream alive.
Excerpt:

Would a stolen pencil really warrant such an elaborate daylight operation? Of course not, stupid woman. Maybe I was being mugged. Was it the stash of Euros in my purse I’d flashed while paying for the moped? Oh no, wait – they surely weren’t after my faux diamond emblazoned Primark flip-flops?

In a panic, I kicked one off into the path of an elderly couple as they strolled out from a hotel car park. The shoe shot straight into the old man’s portly, bare stomach with a sickening slap.

‘They have the diamonds!’ I called, mercilessly pointing them out to the gangsters before whizzing onwards to make my getaway. But it was all for nothing; the roar of bikes continued behind me. I slowed to turn a corner into another side street and heard a shout.

‘Stop! Mrs Dando! You stop NOW!’

What on earth could they want? I reached down with one hand, trying to take the other flip-flop off to throw back as a ransom, but dropping it instead. As I cursed myself and looked up, an ancient Greek woman on a scooter was zipping round a bend straight at me, only swerving at the last second to avoid a collision.

‘What the…’

‘WAAAAHHHH!!!’ We screamed the last part in unison; ‘Waaaahhhh’, it transpired, being the international synonym for ‘OH SHIIIIIT!’ In an instant, her front wheel bounced off the kerb, sending both the old lady, and the basket of lemons balanced on her handlebars, flying, Frank Spencer style through the air towards a couple of teenage boys. Christ, I’m in a Carry On film.

‘Save the lemons!’ I called back, rattling onwards with no time to look behind again or wonder why my first manic thoughts were for Frank Spencer and the fruit – not the little old lady. Speeding away from the increasing chaos behind, I rounded a honking car pulling out from a driveway and yelled at its startled occupants, ‘CALL THE POLICE!’

Despite the throttle being fully open it seemed the tiny moped engine had no more to give and the roar from the biker gang got closer. Turning round once more, I could see the two bikes were still in hot pursuit, and for the first time I noticed the boy had a very fat man riding pillion. So there were four of them! And the fourth had mad lady-killer written all over him. Heart pounding with fear, I grabbed the nearest thing to a weapon from the moped basket and began hurling ammunition overhead at the assailants. However, taking my eyes off the road to lob miniature chocolate croissants was a last, fatal mistake.

Crunch!

The moped bumped straight up a kerb, sending my stomach boinging up to my lungs and my knicker tops rolling back down below my belly again, as the bike came to a near halt. This was it, the end. I waited for my life to flash in front of me… but a massive, spiny bush got there first. Without testing the moped’s brakes and fuelled by an extraordinary burst of adrenaline, I dived off, sending it ploughing, un-helmed, into the bush. This was where, in a moment of TV cop-esque brilliance, I rolled over-and-over onto a grass bank before springing back to my feet.

‘Whoa!’ For a split second, Mrs David Dando was Lara Croft; crime-fighting, tomb raiding stunt rider. That was until My Big Fat Greek Assassin got off his bike and made towards me and I remembered who I actually was. Bawling Binnie – with her knickers rolling down again.

‘Don’t kill me! Don’t kill me! I’m unarmed!’ I yelled, trying – and failing – to get my helmet off before throwing up my hands in surrender to the waiting gang.

‘Other side, Mrs Dando! Other side!’ yelled Zorba the Crook, taking a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe bits of chocolate and pastry from his fat sweaty face. Spying his accomplices coming up behind, I turned around and flung myself face down in the dirt with my hands behind my still helmeted head.

‘Okay, okay,’ I whimpered, ‘just, please don’t hurt me.’

There are moments that should flash through your mind when you think death is imminent; the faces of loved ones, lifelong friends, long-forgotten happy moments, childhood memories. This was my crucial moment – and I was going to die wondering if Greece had body bags big enough for me in this colossal monstrosity of a biking helmet.

The Fat Assassin flopped down beside me and prodded my shoulder. ‘Oh God,’ I thought. ‘He’s really mad! Goodbye cruel world!’


Dear Facebook, today I was so hot. Oops, bloody mobile phone typos! I was s-h-o-t.


‘Mrs Dando...’

As I lay there with my eyes screwed shut waiting to feel a gun in my ribs, (please God let it be a gun in his pocket) hearing him huffing like a muddy, wet contestant on Total Wipeout, his voice took on a calmer, more sinister tone.

‘I not kill you. You kill yourself.’

I froze. Oh my God, he was going to make me shoot me.

I heard him take another deep breath and cough. ‘Mrs Dando,’ he said finally. ‘You drive with the moped on the other side!’

‘I didn’t mean… I wasn’t... oh!’ Ah. Right… I rolled back over to face him, but again, met with nothing but blackness. Bloody helmet! So, I wasn’t going to be bumped off for stealing the island’s only pencil. Or for assault with a supersized bag of mini croissants.

Twisting the monstrous headgear off and easing myself upright, I was met by four nonplussed faces caked in, well… cake.

‘Oh,’ I said, smoothing my hair in an attempt to recuperate some composure. ‘Well, er… why didn’t you just say so?’


Author Bio

Heather Hill is a Scotland based comedy writer, author and mum of five (not the band). She is one of a rare kind; the rare kind being one of only 0.5% of women who are colourblind. She has been known to leave the house with blue eyebrows on at least one occasion. Her debut novel, 'The New Mrs D' is being pitched for film by a British TV comedy producer and Snipper Films.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Review: How to Lose a Bachelor by Anna Banks

How to Lose a Bachelor
by Anna Banks

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Chick Lit, Humor
Publication: November 9th, 2015 by Entangled Publishing, LLC (Bliss)
Format: ebook
Source: ARC, NetGalley
Connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
When Rochelle Ransom auditioned for the dating show Luring Love, she had big plans for winning the prize money to help her favorite charity–and if she won the hot bachelor's heart, even better. But at the last minute she finds out the hot bachelor is her ex-boyfriend, Grant Drake. Desperate to keep her distance from him, she'll do anything–and everything–to get voted off.

Years ago, Rochelle broke Grant’s heart, and he's out for revenge. There's no way he'll vote her off.

After all, vengeance is a dish best served red-hot...and on live television.

When her hilarious antics to get kicked off the show escalate, Grant’s reminded why he fell in love with her the first time. Now he isn't sure which might be more fun... Seeing how far Rochelle is willing to go to get away or how far he will to keep her forever

Rochelle auditioned for a dating show called 'Luring Love' to win the money prize for charity. But when she found out that the bachelor was no other than her ex-boyfriend, Grant Drake, she wanted off the show. But the producer made a deal--if she stays on the show, she'll get the money no matter what. Even if Grant votes her off during the first episode. Of course, Rochelle saw this opportunity to get her payback to Grant.

I used to watch a few shows of The Bachelor (and other reality shows of that sort) during my younger days, so when I saw the blurbs, I know that I wanted to read this.. How to Lose a Bachelor is a light, fun, romantic read. I enjoyed it from the beginning. There were lots of laugh-out-loud moments as Rochelle attempts to make Grant vote her off the show was hilarious. And Grant's attempt to win Rochelle back, even if it started off as his way of revenge, was sweet. Most of all, I enjoyed the producer's tactics and game to try and make Rochelle stay, and Grant for not trying to vote Rochelle off the show, even if it was for the ratings. Rochelle and Grant's attempt to get payback to each other however, went off when they reconnected and realized what went wrong with their previous relationship. 

This was such an enjoyable read. I love the story line and the little drama, and was glad that there were no angst. There are humorous moment as well as sweet and heartwarming ones. I love how the story was written, and the sweet endings. I definitely enjoyed reading How to Lose a Bachelor. I would recommend this to fans of romantic-comedy.

I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher/NetGalley in exchange for my review.

Friday, December 4, 2015

On Tour: Straight from the Heart by Breigh Forstner - Q&A


Breigh Forstner is now on tour with her book, Straight From The Heart. Visit author's page for more information/tour stop.


BLOG TOUR
STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART
By BREIGH FORSTNER

‘MUSIC WAS IN HIS BLOOD, AND SHE WAS IN HIS HEART…..’

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON NOW!
Cale Pelton didn’t want to fall in love. Fresh off a breakup, he was scrambling to find a new lead guitarist for his band, Everlasting, before they went on tour. He wanted to enjoy being single, singing his heart out nightly to fans.

Never did he expect to meet Bryn Schaefler, the sassy rich girl that would change his life.

Bryn left her parents’ house with only her suitcase and guitar, leaving her old life behind her. She nails the band audition and becomes Everlasting’s new lead guitarist. Bryn didn’t want to find Cale attractive, let alone develop a crush on a bandmate. But when trouble starts to find the band, Bryn starts to believe her family will do whatever it takes to get her home.

Will Cale and Bryn listen to their heads and stay strictly professional? Or will they follow their hearts and admit their feelings towards eachother?

Q&A with Breigh Forstner

1. What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something? 
Part of what influenced me to start writing was when I had gotten my Kindle. I loved the books I was reading and I’ve always liked to write, but seeing these authors self publish their books gave me the inspiration to pen my first book. 

2. What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured? 
A usual writing day starts when I put my kids to bed. I get nice and cozy in my bed, set my laptop onto my lap, and put on my dedicated music playlist to get me in the mood. 

3. Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it?:
I do get writers block and it’s so hard to get over it! What’s helped me is just taking a few weeks break to just relax and get away from the story before going back to it. 

4. Are you a plotter or pantser when it comes to writing a story?:
I tend to be a plotter more so. But whether I follow the plot I wrote or not is another story. I try to stick with it, but other times I drift off of it. 

5. Are you traditionally or self-published?:
I am self-published. But my first book “Straight from the Heart” has been picked up by the publishing company Booktrope so now I am traditionally published

6. What was the publishing process like for you? Any advice to aspiring authors?:
It’s a bit longer to get your work out to the public but well worth it. I think so far it has been a great process and the people I have worked with have been fantastic! My advice to aspiring authors is to never stop writing and marketing yourself!

7. What has been your highlight since becoming a published author?:
Going to signings and people recognizing my books and who I am!

8. Can you share a little of your most recent book with us, including genre and targeted audience?
Sure! My most recent book was “Don’t Break My Heart,” which was published in February. It’s the third book in my Straight from the Heart Series, and tells the story of Lucy and Paul (Pauly,) who are band mates. There is a cameo from Cale and Bryn (who are the MC’s in book one and two.) The targeted audience is from 18-40 years old, which seems quite broad, but I’ve taken into account co-workers, etc, who were older and have read my book. 

9. What tip would you give to new authors when trying to build a fan-base / get followers and market their books? (What to do and what not to do.):
My tip would be to join book clubs on Facebook, and to contact blogs to see if they will advertise your author page for a day, or to do an author takeover. Takeovers can be a great way to gain new followers. 

10. How long on average does it take you to write a book?:
It depends on the book. My first book took about 5 months or so to write, my second only 3 months, and my third one about 4 months. 

11. Tell us about the book cover/s, how the designing came about, whether you had much input etc. 
I had a lot of input! I got them off of a website and I had found the designer and loved the covers she had done, so my first three books were done by her. I didn’t ask her to change much about them.

12.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time?:
I like to read, watch movies with my daughters, and spend time with them whenever I’m out of work. 

13.  Grade your book. How many stars out of perfect score of 5 stars? Please give the reason too.
I would give it a 4 out of 5 stars. Only because when it was originally self-published, there was a lot of grammatical errors and that was the reason the book had quite a few negative reviews. With it being republished, I feel it will reach a larger audience, and will have less errors.




AUTHOR BIO

Breigh Forstner currently resides in Southeast Michigan with her two daughter. While she works full-time during the week, at night she spends time with her girls dancing and coming up with her next book idea. Her goal is to make it onto a best sellers list at some point in her career, and writes any chance she can get. She is a music lover and is a sucker for going to concerts, rock bands, and tattooed bad boys.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Review: Gears of Brass Anthology by Jordan Elizabeth Mierek and More

Gears of Brass Anthology
by Jordan Elizabeth Mierek, Eliza Tilton, Heather Talty, Susan Kaye Quinn and More

Genre: Anthologies, Fantasy, Romance, Steampunk
Publication: November 9th, 2014 by Curiosity Quills Press
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: ARC, NetGalley, Own
A world like ours, but filled with gears of brass, where the beating heart is fueled by steam and the simplest creation is a complex clockwork device.

Within this tome, you’ll find steampunk fairy tale re-tellings, as well as original stories that will send your gears turning.

Welcome to the steampunk realm, with eleven authors guiding your path. Within the pages, you’ll come across clockwork inventions and steampunk-ified fairy tale retellings. Eleven authors will guide you through worlds filled with airships, top hats, and corsets.

I received a copy of Gears of Brass through NetGalley, but only for the first chapter, A Clockwork Dollhouse by Jordan Elizabeth. I enjoyed the first story, and bought a copy to read other stories. 

Gears of Brass was a collection of fifteen stories. Each story in this anthology is unique in a different characters, plots and writing style. There are some really good stories that I really enjoyed and some that was quite okay, and some that wasn't so great. There are stories that made me wanting to read more. The Key Girl by Grant Eagar for example made me wish that there are continuation to the story. 

I've experienced a lot in this book. There is a bit of romance, mythologies, murder, mystery and so much more! My favorite stories from Gears of Brass would be A Clockwork Dollhouse by Jordan Elizabeth, A Princess Zephris by Heather Talty, My Golden Anabel by Natalia Darcy and Time Spun Souls by S.A.Larsen.  

If you're looking for a light and short read with the element of Steampunk and fantasy, this is the book for you. And if you never read any Steampunk read, and would like to give the genre a try, I would definitely recommend Gears of Brass.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Review: Lost in Geeklandia by E.J. Russell

Lost in Geeklandia
by E.J. Russell

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Women Fiction
Publication: Sept 28th, 2015 by Entangled: Select Contemporary
Format: ebook
Source: ARC, NetGalley
Connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
She has 30 days to turn her enemy into her boyfriend...

Introverted computer engineer Charlie Forrester has coded an algorithm for love, a nearly flawless matchmaking program. But then she's challenged to prove its accuracy - on herself. With her dream job on the line, Charlie has thirty days to forge a romantic relationship with her "perfect" match...her ex-friend and now-nemesis, Daniel Shawn. Since her dating experience is expressed in binary, she'll need more than flirting lessons and a wardrobe overhaul to pull it off.

After falling victim to the same online matchmaking con he was investigating, reporter Daniel Shawn's professional reputation went up in flames. Now he suspects someone has rebooted the scam, and he's determined to expose the fraud and rebuild his career. Unfortunately, his efforts to get back in the game get sidetracked by Charlie and her adorable geekitude, even though she seems to know a little too much about digital dating for Daniel's comfort.

And when fake romance crosses into real chemistry, Charlie's formula for love might just be the perfect formula for disaster...

I wanted to read this when I read the title and blurbs. I guess, when you're a bit of a geek or nerd, you'll be drawn to read this book too.

Charlie Forrester has created a matchmaking program to help her friend with their romantic life. But then, she was challenged to prove on the accuracy of her program, with her dream job on the line, to have a romantic relationship with Daniel Shawn, her childhood friend, who just came back to town. Daniel Shawn's career was ruined after he was conned by the online matchmaking site he was investigating. He suspected someone was starting another matchmaking scam, and was determined to expose this new scam. 

Lost in Geeklandia by E.J. Russell was such a cute read. The writing was easy to get into, and the pace was just nice. Once I've started reading, it was hard to put it down. I loved the characters in the book. Charlie and Daniel were cute together. I especially enjoyed how Daniel got to know the new Charlie. And the supporting characters, mainly Gideon and Toshiko made the story much more entertaining. There were some references on Doctor Who and lots of Star Trek. But since I'm not a Star Trek fan, I didn't enjoy the references as much. 

Lost in Geeklandia is a light, fun read with just the right amount of romance and humor. The story reminded me to a few rom-com movies I've seen. But still, I enjoyed reading this book. I would recommend this book to fans of romantic-comedy or to anyone who was looking for a light and fun read.

I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher/NetGalley in exchange for my review.



Thursday, October 29, 2015

On Tour: This One's For You by Brandy Jellum - Review + Excerpt

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Brandy Jellum is now on tour with CLP Blog Tours with her book, This One's For You. Please visit her page for more blog stops.

This One's For You
by Brandy Jellum

Genre: Drama, New Adult, Romance
Publication: Published July 24th, 2015 by Booktrope
Format: ebook
Source: ARC, CLP Blog Tours
Connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
All alone in a new state, Brennan Daniels has only the memories of her best friend, Reagan, to keep her company as she starts college.

Reagan is the reason for everything Brennan does—before she died, she made Brennan promise to stay good until she found a man worth keeping. No boys, no dating, and definitely no falling in love—those were the rules for college, and Brennan carved them into the brick walls guarding her heart…

But there’s a fire burning behind those walls, and when Brennan meets Owen Scott, the (mysterious) new guy across the hall, she can’t deny the pull between them. He is everything she should never want. Everyone warns her to stay away—even Owen himself—but the heart wants what the heart wants, even if it knows that it’s going to get hurt—even if it means throwing old promises to new flames…

I was intrigued with the blurbs when I saw This One's For You by Brandy Jellum, and decided to read it. I love the sound of Owen, the mysterious guy across the hall. Brennan was dealing with the loss of her best friend, Reagan. They made a promise for college—no boys, no dating and no falling in love. And Brennan intended to keep her promise until she met Owen Scott across the hall. 

I love how the story started. It was exciting to see how Brennan started college and how she was going to survive it with new friends, class and everything. The characters were fun. Owen was such a playboy. But he can be nice and quirky. I immediately fell in love with Brennan and her relationship with her brothers and her new roommate, Amelia. 

Brandy Jellum writing was easy to get into and it flows nicely. I enjoyed reading her style, but not so much with so many dramas between Brennan and Owen of the story. I wished Brennan talk a lot more about Reagan, since they are best friend. And I definitely wanted to see more of Brennan, Amelia and their friendship. Overall, This One's For You by Brandy Jellum is definitely an enjoyable read, if not for a few issues. But, I think, fans of the new adult's book would surely enjoy this.

I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher/CLP Blog Tour in exchange for my review.

Excerpt

My body started to shake as the first tears streamed down my cheeks. I slid down to the floor, pulling my knees to my chest, and rocked back and forth. As more tears fell, my sobs became louder. Everything I had been holding in until that moment burst free from the dam I had carefully built.

Every emotion: anger, sadness, guilt, desperation, fear, anxiety, remorse, and rage overcame me in that single second. Everything I was afraid to let myself feel, I was feeling all at once. My body shook violently as the tears continued to stream down my face, and my throat was hoarse from crying.

It happened—I finally broke.

For the first time in almost a year, I let myself feel something—really feel something. The tears I had shed in the past were nothing compared to the ones I was crying now. The pain was unbearable. I wanted it to all go away. I wanted to rewind the clock just a little bit. I’d rather deal with my brothers acting like fools than to feel this.

This was the moment everyone close to me was waiting for, the moment when I finally let everything sink in. They were waiting for me to break. I was surprised it wasn’t sooner.

My sobs echoed the breaking of my heart. Speaking for the things I couldn’t say—the one thing I wanted to shout loud enough for everyone to hear; it wasn’t fair! Why was the most beautiful person I’d ever known stripped from this earth before it was her time?

Seeing Ronnie, hearing his plan, brought everything to the surface. Why couldn’t he stay away? Everyone was constantly pushing me, and this time they pushed me too far. I went right over the cliff, and there was no end in sight.

I barely heard the soft knock against the bathroom door over the sound of my own sobs. I held my breath, waiting to see if it was just my imagination, when there was another rap against the wooden door.

I heard a loud sigh and a soft thump against the sturdy wood. My chest heaved as I kept as quiet as I could, my face soaked with tears. I wiped at them furiously, trying to get them to stop. The more I fought against it, the faster they seemed to fall.

My mouth was dry. I licked my lips, tasting the saltiness of my broken heart.

“Brennan . . .” Owen said.

“I’ll be out in a moment.”

I bit my bottom lip. I had to get myself together. I needed to get up off the floor, put a smile on my face, and go on like nothing happened. There was a reason why it had taken so long for me to break—I kept pretending I was fine. It wasn’t healthy, but staying on the cold bathroom floor bawling wasn’t either.

I had to go back to the way I was prior to this. I had to grin it and bear it. Like nothing in the world could get me down. It was the only way I was going to survive.

Author Bio

Brandy’s passion for writing began long before she actually sat down to write. As a child, she has had an obsession with reading, everything from the classic stories by Jane Austen to YA Fiction by Richelle Mead. Finally, in 2012, she decided to create her own stories for people to fall in love with. Brandy bounces back and forth writing both Romance and Young Adult Fiction (which is mainly just for fun). At the beginning of 2014, Brandy signed a contract with publishing company Booktrope. She is very excited about the next chapter of her life and cannot wait to share her books and passion with readers. When she isn’t writing, she can be found chasing after her husband, her four children and her black lab, Diesel. Or curled up on her favorite corner of the couch with her newest book.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Review: Breakaway by Kat Spears

Breakaway
by Kat Spears

Genre: Contemporary, Friendship, Romance, Young Adult
Publication: September 15th, 2015 by St. Martin's Griffin
Format: ebook,
Source: ARC, NetGalley
Connect: TwitterGoodreads
When Jason Marshall's younger sister passes away, he knows he can count on his three best friends and soccer teammates--Mario, Jordie, and Chick--to be there for him. With a grief-crippled mother and a father who's not in the picture, he needs them more than ever. But when Mario starts hanging out with a rough group of friends and Jordie finally lands the girl of his dreams, Jason is left to fend for himself while maintaining a strained relationship with troubled and quiet Chick. Then Jason meets Raine, a girl he thinks is out of his league but who sees him for everything he wants to be, and he finds himself pulled between building a healthy and stable relationship with a girl he might be falling in love with, grieving for his sister, and trying to hold onto the friendships he has always relied on.

A witty and emotionally moving tale of friendship, first love, and loss, Breakaway is Kat Spears at her finest.

I think I've been reading a few books with the main character dealing with loss, recently. In Breakaway, Jason was grieving over his younger sister. It wasn't easy with his grieving, mother and a father who wasn't really in the picture. Thankfully, Jason had his friends with him, Mario, Jordie and Chick. But their friendship soon went astray when Mario started to hang out with his new friends, and Jordie got himself a girlfriend. Then, Jason met Raine, a girl who was out of his league on a double date with Jordie. I think, the story reminds me to How to Be Brave by E. Katherine Kottaras.

If I have to judge the book by its cover, I wouldn't expect to read about dealing with loss, depression or drug addiction. But those are a few issues in Breakaway.

Kat Spears did a great job with writing Breakaway in Jason's point of view. The stories started out nicely, and I do enjoy reading about Jason and his friends. It was sad to see how they started to go apart, especially when Jason was dealing with his loss. The romance between Jason and Raine was alright. There are a few dramas, and sweet moments. I guess the Breakaway by Kat Spears was an alright read if it wasn't for the ending. I'm a bit dissatisfied with how the story ended. It didn't really resolve a lot issues in the book. It was so sudden and lazy.

I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher/Netgalley in exchange for my review.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Review: Diner Knock Out by Terri L. Austin

Diner Knock Out (Rose Strickland Mystery #4)
by Terri L. Austin

Genre: Cozy Mystery, Crime, Thriller, Mystery, Romance
Publication: October 20th, 2015 by Henery Press
Format: ebook, 245 pages
Source: ARC, NetGalley
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Rose Strickland's life is complicated. Besides her waitressing gig, she works part-time for Andre Thomas, a PI with no faith in Rose's ability to investigate, her love life with Sullivan has stalled, and her BFF, Roxy, has found a new bestie, leaving Rose out in the cold.

Determined to prove herself, Rose takes a case on the sly. As she searches for a missing MMA fighter, Rose discovers an illegal fight club, a group of ruthless businessmen, dead bodies, and a trail of drugs.

Hunting down clues that lead too close to home, Rose finds herself in the fight of her life. Can she beat the killer to the punch before she gets knocked out for good?

Rose Strickland Mystery is definitely one of my favorite cozy mystery series. I'm glad to find that there's a new Rose Strickland's book. And this time, she was working part-time for Andre Thomas, a PI, who was having doubts at Rose's investigation skills. When her boss was out, and a new client walked in with a new job, Rose accepted the case, even though she won't be making money out of it. Unfortunately, this job led her to her boyfriend, Sullivan's, business. Sullivan and his associates weren't  happy with Rose poking at their business.

I was hoping to see a lot more of Roxy's BFF, Roxy and Ax, but was happy with the some new characters too. My favorite in this book was Andre. He sounded tough with Rose, but he cared for her. He made the story much more interesting. Although Rose's relationship with Sullivan didn't go quite well, what with their trusting issues, I absolutely love watching how their relationship grew. I can't wait to see more of them soon! 

Diner Knock Out definitely did not disappoint. There are moments that made me laughed and moments that excited me. The new mystery was interesting up to the end. The story may be a bit slow paced at the beginning, but once the story picked up the pace, I just couldn't put the book down. There were a few surprises and twist that I didn't expect to see. If you loved the previous book from the 'Rose Strickland Mystery', or any cozy mystery, you wouldn't want to miss this one. 

I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher/Netgalley in exchange for my review.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Review: Christmas Confessions & Cocktails by Vicki Lesage

Christmas Confessions & Cocktails: A Humorous Holiday Memoir with Sassy Drink Recipes
by Vicki Lesage

Genre: Chick Lit, Memoir, Humor, Family, Christmas
Publication: July 25th, 2015 by Party Girl Press
Format: ebook
Source: ARC
Connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
American-turned-Parisian Vicki tells it like it is, from her crazy Christmases growing up in the Midwest to her even crazier holidays in her new home in France. Bizarre gifts, stomach-turning food, and holiday travel disasters are just some of the tales you'll chuckle at in this installment of the Paris Confessions series.

This Christmas-themed memoir features 25 funny and heartwarming essays, all with a tenuous tie to Christmas, and pairs each with a delicious drink recipe. So grab your martini shaker and get ready for tasty cocktails and hearty laughs this holiday season!

A humorous collection of holiday-inspired stories with Christmas drink recipes If you're looking for a great read this holiday season, don't miss Christmas Confessions & Cocktails! The 25 stories in this holiday collection take you on an adventure full of Christmas spirit (and spirits, with the Christmas cocktail recipes). And it makes the perfect Christmas gift!

I feel that Christmas is fast approaching. Probably because I've been watching some Christmassy movies recently, and reading Christmas Confessions & Cocktails helps with the mood. I've read Vicki Lesage's previous books, and fell in love with the author's style and voice. They're witty, light and highly entertaining. Christmas Confession & Cocktails is no different. I'm still in love the author's voice and writing.

In this entertaining Christmas memoir, the author has collected 25 short stories of her Christmas memories from her childhood up to her married life. There are a few stories in this book which had been included in the previous books, but I'm okay with it. It was nice to reread them again. It was fun to read the parts about a few differences in celebrating the holidays in France and America. Or perhaps it was differences of family traditions?

There are some humorous, crazy, heartwarming and saddening moments. And, in the end, what really matters in this holiday is being with your family, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the author's big family through this book. It reminds me a bit of my family when everyone was still around.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wanted to get into the holiday spirits, especially since Christmas is just months away. And even if you're not celebrating Christmas, Christmas Confessions & Cocktails by Vicki Lesage is still a light and fun book to read. Plus, the author has been generous to share a few cocktail recipes that you might want to try.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my review.


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