Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: No Ordinary Life, by Suzanne Redfearn {ends 3/1}

"A Spwrinkles cupcake?" Molly asks between sobs.

Sprinkles cupcakes are the Rolls-Royce of confectionary delights and cost accordingly, outrageously priced little cakes that I could bake at home for pennies.

"Yes, a Sprinkles cupcake. Any flavor you want."

She nods sleepily.

SOLD!

Her makeup streaked with her tears, she stands, and when I lift her into my arms, I feel our audience suppress their desire to applaud. She slumps against me, worn out, completely unhappy and done but resolved to having no choice but to continue on. And as I carry her to the car, I wonder what I'll negotiate with when cupcakes aren't enough, and then wonder, as Molly gets older, how she'll feel about it, whether she'll resent the idea of having traded her childhood for a few ounces of sugar, an iPhone, a car, or a pony.

This novel is only the author's second book, but it was really good. Faye Martin and her three kids live day-to-day, and are currently living with her mother in her condo; when Molly gets "discovered" after a YouTube video of her dancing goes viral, their money problems are temporarily solved, but Faye soon finds out that Hollywood isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Official synopsis:
Suzanne Redfearn delivers another gripping page-turner in her latest novel, a story about a young mother's fight to protect her children from the dangerous world of Hollywood. 


Faye Martin never expected her husband to abandon her and her three children . . . or that she'd have to struggle every day to make ends meet. So when her four-year-old daughter is discovered through a YouTube video and offered a starring role on a television series, it seems like her prayers have been answered. But when the reality of their new life settles in, Faye realizes that fame and fortune don't come without a price. And in a world where everyone is an actor and every move is scrutinized by millions, it's impossible to know who to trust, and Faye finds herself utterly alone in her struggle to save her family. Emotionally riveting and insightful, NO ORDINARY LIFE is an unforgettable novel about the preciousness of childhood and the difficult choices a mother needs to make in order to protect this fragile time in her children's lives.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Rabbit Who Wants to Go to Harvard {ends 2/29}

[Mommy] said that Ronald should take all the thoughts that were lingering in his head about sleep, fun, and other kid stuff and put them in a box by the bed.

Ronald said, "Even my very favorite Peter Rabbit book?"

Mommy Rabbit said, "Yes, especially Peter Rabbit. Peter Rabbit is a thief. He would not get into Harvard."

Mommy Rabbit took a gulp of her "coffee" and continued: Tomorrow when you wake up, I will have crushed all these childish desires and you will forget about them. Mommy Rabbit said this with certainty in her voice and vodka on her breath. 

This book looks like a children's picture book, but is definitely not - it's more of a parody books, appropriate for adults or teenagers, I would say. I could actually see this being a fun book for someone who is currently trying to get into college(s).

Official synopsis:
The Rabbit Who Wants to Go to Harvard book
This hilarious parody for fans of Go the F**k to Sleep and Goodnight iPad spoofs the bestselling sleep-aid picture book The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep. If you loved (or hated) that book, then The Rabbit Who Wants to Go to Harvard is for you! It satirizes helicopter parents and gives parents of small children a window into what's ahead--college admissions! You can never start too early. An irresistible gift for parents who have a sense of humor.

Do you struggle with getting your child to bend to your will? Join parents all over the world who have embraced this groundbreaking book as their new nightly routine.

In this parody of
The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep, Ronald and Mommy Rabbit get help from Adderall Aardvark, Kollege Koach Kitty, and Admission Officer Owl, who know just how to stop all that incessant sleeping and get into Harvard, now. This lovingly panic-inducing and innovative story helps children at any age to set aside sleep and other quaint relics of youth for a much worthier goal: the Ivy League.

Make your dreams your child's dreams today!

“Yeah, that hypnotize-your-kid-to-sleep book was a success for a certain kind of slacker parent. But any truly successful parent knows that there’s no time to rest: the prep school toddler down the street has already invented a new computer language! This book is guaranteed to get your kids on the right track. Now.”--Harvard Dad, class of 2031

“Super creepy!”--Mom in Seattle

“Makes controlling your kid child’s play—or, you know, the opposite!”--Harvard Mom, class of 2032

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Holding Out for a Hero, by Victoria Van Tiem {ends 2/27}

Right now, I need a hero. Seriously: where's my white knight upon a fiery steed? He doesn't need to be strong, fast, or fresh from the fight, he just needs to be larger than life and capable of saving mine. It's a mess. But there's no way I could've predicted the position I find myself in right now.

No one could.

Libby London is the owner of Pretty in Pink, an '80s vintage-themed store in New York City. She recently found out that her sublease has been canceled, and she has 30 days to vacate the premises. On top of that, her friends keep trying to fix her up with "eligible bachelors," and all of the dates go horribly awry; Libby is starting to think that she may be single forever.

Official synopsis:
Their love survived the 80s. She wished she hadn't.
A funny, bitter-sweet romantic dramedy set to an 80's soundtrack, proving first love never truly dies...

Libby London fell in love in with the 80s, came of age in the 90s, and now, in the 21st Century, she's completely falling apart... Her New York City fashion sensibility is more 'vintage tragedy' than 'retro babe' and might just be what's holding her back in all matters of life and love...

At least that's what her well-meaning friends think. They've staged a #80sIntervention in an effort to bring Libby bang up-to-date. But how do you move forward when the one you love holds you in the past? Between her dreaded birthday party, friend's madcap ambush, and being forced to relocate her Pretty In Pink thrift shop, Libby's nearing the end of the rope... If her therapist isn't quick, it could be a literal one.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: North of Here, by Laurel Saville {ends 2/23}

Miranda did not want to leave. There was so much comfort to be had here. She turned to Dix and smiled. He nodded. The deal had been struck, accepted, wordlessly. He left her alone in the cottage, closing the door quietly behind him. Miranda listened to his few footfalls on the porch. Then, they were lost in the grass beyond. A raven gurgled and was answered. Ducks quacked at each other as they flew somewhere overhead. She sat in an upholstered chair in the corner of the room and levered off her shoes. Silence settled. She closed her eyes. This was a place she could heal. She felt that. And at the same moment, she was overwhelmed with the realization of just how much healing there was for her to do.

This is Laurel Saville's second book, but my first time encountering her work, and it was very good. Parts of it reminded me of Martha Marcy May Marlene a bit, and I also liked the way the book was structured, chapter-wise.

Official synopsis:
The sounds of unexpected tragedies—a roll of thunder, the crash of metal on metal—leave Miranda in shock amid the ruins of her broken family.

As she searches for new meaning in her life, Miranda finds quiet refuge with her family’s handyman, Dix, in his cabin in the dark forests of the Adirondack Mountains. Dix is kind, dependable, and good with an ax—the right man to help the sheltered Miranda heal—but ultimately, her sadness creates a void even Dix can’t fill.

When a man from her distant past turns up, the handsome idealist now known as Darius, he offers Miranda a chance to do meaningful work at The Source, a secluded property filled with his nature worshipers. Miranda feels this charismatic guru is the key to remaking her life, but her grief and desire for love also create an opportunity for his deception. And in her desperate quest to find herself after losing almost everything, Miranda and Dix could pay a higher price than they ever imagined.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Wicked Sexy Liar, by Christina Lauren {ends 2/17}

"You're a lot of fun, Logan."

"Easy, tiger."

Luke laughs, sending little bursts of warm air across my skin. "I meant more in a general sense but, yeah. That too, obviously," he says, gently squeezing my hip before he steps back and across the door. Goose bumps make their way across my body and I try to hide a shiver.

Luke Sutter is going to be trouble.

This novel is the fourth book in Christina Lauren's Wild Seasons series (see below for a full list of the books in the series) and it focuses on someone outside of the core Mia/Harlow/Lola group: London, Lola's roommate, who is a graphic designer by day and bartender by night.

(and no, I didn't misspell her name in the paragraph above ... read on to see why ...)

Official synopsis:
When three college besties meet three hot guys in Vegas, anything can—and does—happen. Book Four in the New York Times Wild Seasons series that began with Sweet Filthy Boy (the Romantic Times book of the year that Sylvia Day called “a sexy, sweet treasure of a story”), Dirty Rowdy Thing, and Dark Wild Night.

For two people ambivalent about dating and love, they sure get naked around each other an awful lot...

London Hughes is very content to surf daily, tend bar, hang out with her group of friends, and slowly orient herself in the years after college. Everything’s going great and according to the non-plan.

But when a wave knocks her for a loop one morning, then Luke Sutter’s flirtatious smile knocks her for another that evening, she veers slightly off course ... and into his path. Sure, he’s a total player, but the Why not—it’s only one night is a persistent voice in her ear.

For his part, Luke’s been on hookup autopilot for so long that he rarely ever pauses to consider what he’s doing. But after an amazing time with London, he realizes that he hasn’t been moving on from a devastating heartbreak so much as he’s been drifting to wherever—and whomever—the current takes him. With London he wants more.

Every relationship involves two people ... plus their pasts. And as much as she enjoys her fling with Luke, when London learns about his past—more specifically, who’s in it - everything becomes the brand of complicated she strives to avoid. It’s up to Luke then to change some things in order to try and ensure he’s not something she’ll outright avoid as well.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Quick Pick: Flawed (Flawed #1), by Cecelia Ahern

  • Opening lines: I am a girl of definitions, of logic, of black and white.

    Remember this.
  • Reason I picked up the book: I saw it on NetGalley and it sounded great. I LOVE dystopian books like The Hunger Games and the Divergent series, and this book did not disappoint. 
  • And what's this book about?
  • The Scarlet Letter meets Divergent in this thoughtful and thrilling novel by bestselling author Cecelia Ahern. Celestine North lives a perfect life. She's a model daughter and sister, she's well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she's dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan. But then Celestine encounters a situation where she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule. And now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED. In her breathtaking young adult debut, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society where obedience is paramount and rebellion is punished. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her-everything.
  • Favorite paragraph:
  • "I'm not like you and Juniper, Granddad," I say sadly, feeling defeated. "This isn't who I am. I follow rules, I like logic, I solve problems. I don't speak out of turn on things I know nothing about. I don't want to stand out. I want to fit in. I don't want to be the poster girl for anything." "Oh, but you already are, Celestine. The tide is changing, and whether you wear the branding of the Flawed or you walk out of here a free woman, you'll never be the same girl you were. They'll be watching you, all of them, and who would you prefer they watch? You or the girl you're pretending to be?"
  • Recommended for: Anyone who likes dystopian books or books that challenge society.
  • Something to know: The author is actually the author of P.S. I Love You (which was made into a movie starring Hilary Swank) and this her first foray into YA books.
  • What I would have changed: Absolutely nothing! This book was fantastic. I almost wish it was a standalone book though, because now I have to wait until 2017 for the next book in the series (trilogy, if I had to guess), called Perfect.
  • Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
  • Where can I find this book? Click here to pre-order (it will be out on April 5, 2016), and read the first 5 chapters here for free, via Kindle.
*Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from NetGalley for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: He Will Be My Ruin, by K.A. Tucker


I'm a big K.A. Tucker fan, so I was excited to find out that she was doing a book tour for her newest book, He Will Be My Ruin, which is a standalone novel - most of the other books of hers that I have read have been part of a series.

Book excerpt:
“I need some advice, Grady, and I have no one else to ask.”

“Shoot.”

“If you needed answers and the only person to give those to you was a person you didn’t know, had never met, and who might not like the questions you have to ask, what would you do?”

He twists his lips in thought. “I’d create a situation to meet this person, and make it hard for them to refuse me.”

Simple in theory…”But how?”

He exhales heavily, his warm breath grazing my cheek telling me that he’s facing me. “Find common ground. A location, a purpose, an acquaintance. Force the meet and then work your questions around the real ones that you want to ask. You can get a lot of information out of a person just by treading too close to what they don’t want to talk about. The look in their eye, their facial expressions, the way they react to the mention of a name, or a place.”

Grady seems more intelligent than what I’d expect of a pot-smoking building super. “You sound like you’ve been in my situation before.”

“Once or twice. Maybe.” I hear the smile in his voice.

Find common ground. Force the meet. The only common ground I have with this guy is now six feet underground in a San Diego cemetery.

Unless…

There is something that we’re both very familiar with.

I pull out my phone and scroll through my emails to find the one with her phone number. I know this is beyond inappropriate, but once I get something in my head, there’s no dislodging it. Plus, I’m high.

“Hello?”

“Hey Dani. It’s Maggie Sparkes.”

“Hi…Is everything okay?” She definitely sounds shocked to hear from me.

Grady watches me quietly. “I’m sorry to be calling so late. You know how you offered help with anything I needed? Well, I need a favor.”

About the book:
The USA TODAY bestselling author of the Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series makes her suspense debut with this sexy, heartpounding story of a young woman determined to find justice after her best friend’s death, a story pulsing with the “intense, hot, emotional” (Colleen Hoover) writing that exhilarates her legions of fans.

A woman who almost had it all . . .

On the surface, Celine Gonzalez had everything a twenty-eight-year-old woman could want: a one-bedroom apartment on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a job that (mostly) paid the bills, and an acceptance letter to the prestigious Hollingsworth Institute of Art, where she would finally live out her dream of becoming an antiques appraiser for a major auction house. All she had worked so hard to achieve was finally within her reach. So why would she kill herself?

A man who was supposed to be her salvation . . .

Maggie Sparkes arrives in New York City to pack up what’s left of her best friend’s belongings after a suicide that has left everyone stunned. The police have deemed the evidence conclusive: Celine got into bed, downed a lethal cocktail of pills and vodka, and never woke up. But when Maggie discovers a scandalous photograph in a lock box hidden in Celine’s apartment, she begins asking questions. Questions about the man Celine fell in love with. The man she never told anyone about, not even Maggie. The man Celine believed would change her life.

Until he became her ruin.

On the hunt for evidence that will force the police to reopen the case, Maggie uncovers more than she bargained for about Celine’s private life—and inadvertently puts herself on the radar of a killer. A killer who will stop at nothing to keep his crimes undiscovered.

Monday, February 1, 2016

GIVEAWAY: Robin Hood necklace {ends 2/8}


The novel Hood's Heart, by Dana Michelle Burnett, is coming to stores on 2/9, and to celebrate, the author has graciously donated a Robin Hood necklace for one of my lucky readers to win!

About the novel:
Mia Kershaw has always struggled with the drudgery of adult life, but even she was surprised when she walks away from her relationship and life in New York to hop on the first available flight to London. All she knew was that her life was not turning out anything like she planned, and only her best friend could help her fix the mess she had made of everything.

But days spent in historical England take a toll. She is having dreams of a life she never had, a life that took place centuries ago and all of it seems more real than the life she left behind.

Jaxon Davies has lived in London his entire life. He thought he was content just tending bar at the local pub until a stranger from America catches his eye and reveals his connection to a famous English legend.

Now, as the past as present collide, they must decide if the truly believe in fate and a love that spans two lifetimes. Are they ready for the secrets of Hood’s heart?


{Best part: it's FREE to read if you have Kindle Unlimited, or only 99 cents to pre-order if you do not - great deal!}

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Elizabeth has read 2 books toward her goal of 70 books.
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