Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Release Day Review: The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris

Title: The Fine Art Of Pretending
Author: Rachel Harris
Series: Book One in the Series of the Same Name
Published By: Spencer Hill (September 30, 2014)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Contemporary
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!

Book Desription:
According to the guys at Fairfield Academy, there are two types of girls: the kind you hook up with, and the kind you're friends with. Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Reed is the second type. And she hates it. With just one year left to change her rank, she devises a plan to become the first type by homecoming, and she sets her sights on the perfect date—Justin Carter, Fairfield Academy’s biggest hottie and most notorious player.

With 57 days until the dance, Aly launches Operation Sex Appeal and sheds her tomboy image. The only thing left is for Justin actually to notice her. Enter best friend Brandon Taylor, the school’s second biggest hottie, and now Aly’s pretend boyfriend. With his help, elevating from “funny friend” to “tempting vixen” is only a matter of time.

But when everything goes according to plan, the inevitable “break up” leaves their friendship in shambles, and Aly and Brandon with feelings they can’t explain. And the fake couple discovers pretending can sometimes cost you the one thing you never expected to want.

I knew from the moment I opened the first page and read it that Aly and I were going to be great friends. I love when a first chapter, a first page, can capture me right away and I feel that instant connection with a character. It is so rare when it happens, which makes it all the better and memorable when it does.

I wasn't wrong about that first page either. As Aly's tale unfolded I grew to love her and Brandon more and more. There is just something that is so hard for me to resist when it comes to a sweet slow burning friends to lovers story. In fact, I CAN'T resist them and seldom even try.

Throw in Harris' ability to draw a person in with her incredible writing abilities and you have a story that I completely was wrapped up in and didn't want to end.

This was such a heartwarming adorable read. This book will be one of my favorites of the year simply because it made me smile and even get teary eyed while reading it and lately, it has taken a lot for me to do that, especially in this genre.  For me to be able to walk away with this one a happier, more relaxed person, with a warm fuzzy feeling inside should be enough for anyone to pick this up too.

Simply put, this was stinkin' adorable and I loved every minute of it and can't wait for the next book to be out. 

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Monday, September 29, 2014

Review: Whisper the Dead by Alyxandra Harvey

Title: Whisper the Dead
Author: Alyxandra Harvey
Series: Book Two in the Lovegrove Legacy
Published By: Bloomsbury Children's (October 7, 2014)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Historical Paranormal
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!

Book Description:
Cousins Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope are all dealing with what it means to be a Lovegrove. For Gretchen, it means she often feels like her head is going to explode. As a Whisperer, Gretchen constantly hears the whispers of other witches' spells. And while this does help her to know when one of her own spells is going wrong, the incessant buzzing and pain the whispers cause makes it difficult to use her gift.

But when something evil begins to menace Mayfair, Gretchen must find a way to master her power. Along with her cousins, a madcap named Moira, and the icy yet irresistible Tobias Lawless, Gretchen faces deadly threats and unimaginable loss in the hopes of preventing the terrible Greymalkin Sisters from rising again. 

The second book in The Lovegrove Legacy trilogy, Whisper the Dead will leave readers spellbound.

“One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, and four for a boy, five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret never to be told.”

I adore this series and it just keeps getting better and better as it goes. While this is the second book, it by no means suffered from the dreaded second book syndrome, in fact it was quite the opposite for me.

It was even more daring, exciting and action filled and I loved every single minute of it.

While told in multiple point of views, and done quite well I might add, each book is definitely centered around one girl in particular and this time that girl was the feisty Gretchen and I couldn't have been more thrilled. 

I loved her after the first book. There is something to be said about a fierce woman who speaks her mind and goes after what she wants, especially in a time when woman were suppose to be anything but mild and meek.

Oh goodness I loved everything about this story. To the darkness that is the Seven Sisters and Greymalkin House to the lies and betrayal and yes, even death of those the girls loved to the heart fluttering romance and almost non stop action and wonder, it didn't take long until I was wrapped right back up into the vivid wonderful world that Harvey created and I didn't want to escape it. 

I love Godric, Tobias, Emma, Gretchen, Cedric, Cormac, Theo, Pip, Moira, One-Eyed Joe, Penelope...really this is full of characters, that just after two books, really have become my friends and people I care about. 

So many twists I didn't see, so much deceit but also the wonderful bond between the cousins and new acquaintances that makes this story really special and really stand out among others like it, it all why I can't seem to get enough of it. 

It has just the right blend of rich historic detail of the times, with the alluring paranormal, a touch of danger and mystery, with a swoon worthy romance,  that just make it irresistible. 

I devoured this up and when I came to the ending I felt lost and I wanted more. I needed to know how it all ended and sadly, I will have to wait until the next book is out to see how it all comes together. To see how gets their happily ever after and how it all ends.

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Review: Burying Water by K.A. Tucker

Title: Burying Water
Author: K.A. Tucker
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Atria (October 7, 2014)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: NA Contemporary
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
Left for dead in the fields of rural Oregon, a young woman defies all odds and survives—but she awakens with no idea who she is, or what happened to her. Refusing to answer to “Jane Doe” for another day, the woman renames herself “Water” for the tiny, hidden marking on her body—the only clue to her past. Taken in by old Ginny Fitzgerald, a crotchety but kind lady living on a nearby horse farm, Water slowly begins building a new life. But as she attempts to piece together the fleeting slivers of her memory, more questions emerge: Who is the next-door neighbor, quietly toiling under the hood of his Barracuda? Why won’t Ginny let him step foot on her property? And why does Water feel she recognizes him?

Twenty-four-year-old Jesse Welles doesn’t know how long it will be before Water gets her memory back. For her sake, Jesse hopes the answer is never. He knows that she’ll stay so much safer—and happier—that way. And that’s why, as hard as it is, he needs to keep his distance. Because getting too close could flood her with realities better left buried.

The trouble is, water always seems to find its way to the surface.

This is only my second Tucker book but I can say with complete confidence that it is also my favorite.

I didn't have any expectations whatsoever going into this one other than getting a little escape from the outside world, which I did get but I also got a wonderful story that was every bit as mysterious as it was revealing.

A story that wasn't all rainbows and sunshine but rather gritty and realistic in its complicated simplicity. 

One that left me turning the pages and pondering the back and forth narration between Jesse, Water and the then and now.

This kind of back and forth doesn't always work and even less so seamlessly but I have to hand it to Tucker, she pulled it off pretty well. It has just the right amount of predictable and it did the unpredictable. It didn't take me long to be completely wrapped up in the story and invested in the characters outcome. 

I truly enjoyed this and it gave me just what I needed to let me get away for a few hours and really enjoy the budding  forbidden romance as well as the horrifying mystery of what really happened to Water.

This was very well done and made me a fan of Tucker's. 

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Mini Review: A Princess by Christmas by Jennifer Faye

Title: A Princess by Christmas
Author: Jennifer Faye
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Harlequin (October 7, 2014)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Author (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Rating: 3 Stars

Book Description:
A royal kiss under the mistletoe.Prince Alexandro Castanovo arrives in snowy New York intent on protecting his royal family from scandal. And when Reese Harding, down-to-earth and heart-stoppingly beautiful, finds room for him at her inn, it seems like the perfect twist of fate.

Not long ago Reese's world came crumbling down, shaking her foundations. But this enigmatic stranger intrigues her! She's learned to be wary of secrets, but when she discovers Alex's true identity, might there be enough magic in the air to make this regular American girl a princess by Christmas.

I can always count on Faye to deliver a sweet, heart warming romance. She has a knack for creating wonderful down to earth characters that you immediately can't help but fall in love with, her latest novella, falls right into that same category.

I couldn't help but love every single minute of this read as it warmed my heart and put me in the mood for the magic of the holidays.

If you are looking for a light fun holiday romance this is the story for you. 

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Friday, September 26, 2014

Review: Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

Title: Black Ice
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Simon & Schuster (October 7, 2014)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Mystery
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!

Book Description:
Sometimes danger is hard to see... until it’s too late. 

Britt Pfeiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn't prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants—but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage. 

In exchange for her life, Britt agrees to guide the men off the mountain. As they set off, Britt knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there... and in uncovering this, she may become the killer’s next target. 

But nothing is as it seems in the mountains, and everyone is keeping secrets, including Mason, one of her kidnappers. His kindness is confusing Britt. Is he an enemy? Or an ally? 

particularly impressive or remarkable.

That word is what I think of when I think of how I felt all throughout this story. It was epic, plain and simple. 

Not like her YA paranormal series at all so if you are hesitating on reading this one because you didn't love her other books, don't be. This was full of intrigue, mystery and ended up being quite the thrill ride of never knowing who you could trust or what was going to happen next. I absolutely loved it.

I don’t' want to go into too much detail but I was constantly on edge with this read never knowing up from down or right from wrong. It was a thrill ride that I cherished every minute of and just couldn't get enough of.

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Review: Lailah by Nikki Kelly

Title: Lailah
Author: Nikki Kelly
Series: Book One in the Styclar Saga
Published By: Feiwel and Friends (October 7, 2014)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Book Description:
The girl knows she’s different. She doesn’t age. She has no family. She has visions of a past life, but no clear clues as to what she is, or where she comes from. But there is a face in her dreams – a light that breaks through the darkness. She knows his name is Gabriel.

On her way home from work, the girl encounters an injured stranger whose name is Jonah. Soon, she will understand that Jonah belongs to a generation of Vampires that serve even darker forces. Jonah and the few like him, are fighting with help from an unlikely ally – a rogue Angel, named Gabriel.

In the crossfire between good and evil, love and hate, and life and death, the girl learns her name: Lailah. But when the lines between black and white begin to blur, where in the spectrum will she find her place? And with whom?

Gabriel and Jonah both want to protect her. But Lailah will have to fight her own battle to find out who she truly is.

Even though I absolutely adore a good vampire book, it seems good ones have been in shortage. Before you know it, most original ideas have been done and done again and yet again and before you know it, you are left with the same story just different characters and let's face it, after awhile it gets old and boring and it just loses it's appeal. 

Which just might be why I loved this as much as I did. A mix of supernatural creatures, ideas, and theories with a whole new twist and plot line. Something dare I say unique and fresh?Yes, I do dare say so.

This wasn't perfect and gasp it has a love triangle but it was one that worked because....well, it just did because it fit the whole good versus evil theme of the story. I don't want to give too much away so that is all I am going to say about that. 

It has a few well done overly used tropes and a love triangle that kept me from giving this four stars, but overall, it was original and so very much fun. I was sucked right into the storyline and while some things were easy to see from the start, others weren't. In fact, just when I thought I had things figured out, I found I was completely wrong and had to start all over again, guessing at what was really going on. What was really happening and who Lailah really was and what it meant to the rest of them.

Outstanding characters. Some I truly liked and others I really didn't but all again, very fitting to the story. I am so very excited to see where book two will take us and what more is in store for Lailah, Gabriel, Jonah and all the others. 

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Cover Reveal: DeadGirl by B.C. Johnson

Curiosity Quills is excited to reveal the cover for urban-fantasy, paranormal-romance DeadGirl, by B.C. Johnson, which is scheduled for release November 6, 2014. The fantastic cover was designed by Andy Garcia.  

Deadgirl, by BC Johnson - cover

About DeadGirl: 
Dead is such a strong word …   Lucy Day, 15 years old, is murdered on her very first date. Not one to take that kind of thing lying down, she awakens a day later with a seemingly human body and more than a little confusion. Lucy tries to return to her normal life, but the afterlife keeps getting in the way. Zack, her crush-maybe-boyfriend, isn’t exactly excited that she ditched him on their first date.   Oh, and Abraham, Lucy’s personal Grim Reaper, begins hunting her, dead-set on righting the error that dropped her back into the spongy flesh of a living girl. Lucy must put her mangled life back together, escape re-death, and learn to control her burgeoning powers while staying one step ahead of Abraham.   But when she learns the devastating price of coming back from the dead, Lucy is forced to make the hardest decision of her re-life — can she really sacrifice her loved ones to stay out of the grave? Add DeadGirl to your Goodreads 'to-be-read' list.   --

B. C. Johnson - bio pic 

About by B.C. Johnson: Born in Southern California, B.C. Johnson has been writing since he realized it was one of the few socially acceptable ways to tell people a bunch of stuff you just made up off the top of your head. He attended Savanna High School in Anaheim, and an undisclosed amount of college before deciding that weird odd jobs were a far greater career path.   This lead him to such exciting professions as: aluminum recovery machinist, lighting designer, construction demo, sound mixer, receptionist, theater stage hand, wedding security, high school custodian, museum events manager, webmaster, IT guy, copywriter, and one memorable night as the bouncer at a nightclub. He is trying very hard to add “vampire hunter” and “spaceship captain” to that list.   He currently lives in Garden Grove with his supernal wife Gina, his half-corgi, half-muppet dog Luna, and his new half-grayhound, half-living-tornado-of-destruction Kaylee. He also spends time with his two brothers, his parents, and his close friends, whose primary pursuit are usually healthy debates about movie minutiea. When he’s not working or writing, he’s been to known to pursue all conceivable geeky avenues of interest including but not limited to video games, the sort of TV shows/movies Benedict Cumberbatch might star in, graphic novels, podcasts, funny gifs, the whole thing.   He’s also been known to apply his special brand of hyperbole and mania to pop-culture humor essays for various websites that can be found on his homepage, bc- johnson.com. B.C. also has a high school noir short story called “The Lancer” available on Kindle.   Deadgirl is his first novel. Find by B.C. Johnson Online: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads