Thursday, August 28, 2014

Book Review and Signed Paperback GIVEAWAY: Burning Through Gravity, by Addison Moore, ends 9/5

... I don't want to give my I love you away until he knows exactly who I am - what I've tried to get away with. I want to say it the right way. I've done so many things backwards. I've memorized every trail of misery this relationship could possibly have - and I've taken us down each of those thorny paths whether he knows it or not.

I'm so over the lies.

After all, his lie cost me a few sleepless nights.

My lie will cost him everything. 

I tend to shy away from book tour reviews for the most part nowadays, because I can't always commit to posting on a certain date. However, the title and description of this book intrigued me, and it ended up being a crazy and definitely interesting novel.

Official synopsis:
They soared so high so fast they never expected the fall.

Two beautiful souls.
Two seemingly innocent deceptions.

Once they meet, Stevie and Ford explode into one another in a ball of lust, hotter than a July moon. Ford is assertive, dominate and in control, that is until Stevie brings him to his knees. He thinks she’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever met both inside and out. Stevie thinks he’s sweet, and sort of goofy—of course it doesn’t hurt that he drips sex like honey.

Stevie is starting to fall hard for Ford.
And Ford is all in with Stevie.
She wonders if he could ever forgive her for what she’s about to do.
She wonders if she wants him to.

They say love conquers all.
But love never met two liars like Stevie and Ford.

His lie cost her a few sleepless nights.
Her lie will cost him everything.

Friday, August 22, 2014

TV show vs. Memoir: Orange is the New Black book review, by Piper Kerman

She led me out the door Larry had just exited from, turning right and walking along that vicious, towering fence. The fence had multiple layers; between each layer was a gate through which we had to be buzzed. She opened the gate, and I stepped in. I looked back over my shoulder at the free world. The next gate buzzed. I stepped through again, wire mesh and barbed metal soaring all around me. I felt fresh, rising panic. This was not what I had expected. This was not how minimum-security camps had been described; this didn't look at all like "Club Fed." This was scaring the crap out of me.

I recently became addicted to started watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix, and I was curious to see how different the memoir, which had inspired the show, is from the TV series. The verdict is that it's quite different, but you can tell from the book which characters have been adapted for the TV show and which relationships are solely fiction, which was definitely interesting. [the prison relationship between Piper and Alex Vause, for instance - whose name is Nora in the book - is completely fictional]

Taylor Schilling (Piper Chapman on OITNB) and
Piper Kerman, the real Piper
Official synopsis:
With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187–424—one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system. From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison—why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there.

For the OITNB uninitiated: Piper Kerman (Chapman, in the show) helped her then-girlfriend, Nora, smuggle drugs into the U.S. She only did this a handful of times, then wised up to what she was doing and fled back to San Francisco. Ten years later, the police showed up at her door and her past finally caught up with her; she's sentenced to 15 months in minimum-security prison, which turns into 13 months for good behavior.

Some of the main differences I noticed (see picture above) were interesting; the TV show basically just took the bare bones of the book and ran with it. "Alex Vause" in the show is called "Nora" in the book, but her real name is Catherine Cleary Wolters, and she's publishing a book in May 2015 called Out of Orange, which supposedly brings her side of the story to light. "Nora" and Piper never saw each other in prison because they were in different prisons, and they only see each other after Piper is transferred to Chicago to await a trial for one of her "accomplices," a man that Nora worked with but that Piper never met.

Some of the other major differences are:

  • Larry, Piper's fiancee, is caring and always there for her in the memoir; in the TV show, not so much. 
  • Piper and Pennsatucky - same name in the book and the show - are friends, or at least acquaintances; in the show, they are enemies for quite a while. 
  • Red, who rules the prison kitchen with an iron fist, is called "Pop" in the book
  • "Nora" in the memoir has a sister, whom Piper calls by the nickname "Hester," and Piper is reunited with both of them in the Chicago prison; in the TV show, Piper and Nora/Alex are in the same prison together, and Nora/Alex doesn't have a sister.
  • If Piper has a best friend, she's not mentioned in the book; in the TV show, she has a minor, yet important, recurring role. 

If you haven't seen the TV show, I'd recommend reading this book, but if you have seen the TV show, I actually would not. It's an interesting read, and overall I enjoyed it, but I have to say that I enjoy the TV show more, probably because there's so much more drama going on in it.

3.5 stars out of 5.

To purchase Orange is the New Black, click here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Announcement: Mommy Needs a Getaway giveaway, bloggers wanted

Alice at Adventure Into Domesticland brings you:

❤ ❤ ❤ Prize Packages ❤ ❤ ❤

There will be one winner everyday! Winners will be emailed the day they are picked. A running list will be posted on my site and be updated daily (or as often as I can). Each winner will be able to choose from the following packages:

Viva Las Vegas: 4 day and 3 night accommodations at a 3+ star hotel on the strip in Las Vegas, NV for 2 adults! (25 years or older) and a $500 dollar Funbook! (with cash, chips, meals, tokens & show tickets!)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Safe with Me, by Amy Hatvany, ends 8/22

She'd never actually threatened to leave him - she was too afraid of what he may do to her if she spoke those words - but Olivia was certain if she did leave, that James would attempt to prove her an unfit mother, that she didn't have the resources to properly care for her sick child. And since there was no way in hell Olivia would let him take sole custody of her daughter, she resigned herself to the fact that as long as Maddie was ill, they had to stay with James.

But now, there is a liver. Olivia believes that if she has managed to survive a life with James this long, she can hold out a little longer. Maddie will miraculously be healed, and Olivia can start working out the details of her new plan. And then - finally - she will muster up the courage to make her escape.

This is the first book by Amy Hatvany I've read, and now I want to read her other novels. She's been compared to Kristin Hannah, a comparison with which I agree, and Safe with Me was a harrowing first-hand look at domestic abuse, as well as a glimpse into a household where tension is always in the air, due to a sick teenager who needs a liver transplant.

Official synopsis:
Safe with Me, by Amy Hatvany, book review and giveaway
The screech of tires brought Hannah Scott’s world as she knew it to a devastating end. Even a year after she signed the papers to donate her daughter’s organs, Hannah is still reeling with grief when she unexpectedly stumbles into the life of the Bell family, whose child, Maddie, survived only because hers had died. Mesmerized by this fragile connection to her own daughter and afraid to reveal who she actually is, Hannah develops a surprising friendship with Maddie’s mother, Olivia.

The Bells, however, have problems of their own. Once on the verge of leaving her wealthy but abusive husband, Olivia now finds herself bound to him as never before in the wake of the successful transplant that saved their fifteen-year-old daughter’s life. Meanwhile Maddie, tired of the limits her poor health puts upon her and fearful of her father’s increasing rage, regularly escapes into the one place where she can be anyone she wants: the Internet. But when she is finally healthy enough to return to school, the real world proves to be just as complicated as the isolated bubble she had been so eager to escape.

A masterful narrative, shaped by nuanced characters whose fragile bonds are on a collision course with the truth,
Safe with Me is a triumph.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Book Review: Psychos, by Babe Walker

Review by: Gwendolyn Mulholland

Running away to Paris was more than just a method of escaping the sick joke my life in Los Angeles had become; it was my way of truly rehabbing myself. Cirque had been a way for me to take a breather and examine my life choices, get some perspective, and lose some weight, but at the end of the day, did I really have a "shopping problem"? Mp. Was I a "drug addict"? Never. Did l like doing drugs? Absolutely. Did I have "anger issues"? Who doesn't? It was time to embrace my true self: The Babe who stole an Hermes cuff from Neiman's before she could walk. The Babe who would always be a little bit in love with Lance Bass. The Babe who sued Genevieve when she was sixteen for buying the same color prom dress as her. The real Babe is a woman who needs to shop and sleep late and roll her eyes at people who won't let her smoke cigarettes inside.

Psychos is the follow up book to White Girl Problems, a New York Times bestseller. It follows Babe Walker, a bored and snarky LA-based socialite turned author and blogger fresh out of rehab. The one thing she has not picked up in rehab is a filter; she is still full of comments, and her "me" attitude is worse than it was before.

Official Synopsis:

Fresh from a four-month stint in rehab for her “alleged” shopping addiction, Babe Walker returns home to Bel Air ten pounds lighter (thanks to a stomach virus), having made amends (she told a counselor with bad skin she was smart) and confronted her past (after meeting her birth mother for the first time—a fashion model turned farmer lesbian). Although delighted to be home and determined to maintain her hard-won inner peace, Babe now faces a host of outside forces seemingly intent on derailing her path to positive change. Not only is she being trailed by an anonymous stalker, but she’s also reunited with the love of her life, a relationship that she cannot seem to stop self-sabotaging.

Babe’s newfound spirituality, coupled with her faith in the universe and its messages, leads her all over the world: shoulder dancing in Paris, tripping out in Amsterdam, and hooking up in the Mediterranean, only to land her back in New York City, forced to choose between a man who is perfect in every way (except for one small detail) and a man who could be The One if only he didn’t drive Babe to utter insanity.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Say What You Will, by Cammie McGovern, ends 8/15

He had no idea how wonderful he was. How his hands were so beautiful she could hardly look at them. How his truest smile was crooked and lifted higher on the left side than the right, which made her feel like he might understand her better, her hemiplegic face that was all crooked half smiles too.

But it couldn't be denied. He was also slightly crazy.

Maybe more than slightly.

Reading the book she found at the library convinced her of two things: (1) It was a pretty serious disorder, and (2) Matthew definitely had it.

This is not your typical YA novel, and it was also a fantastic read. Amy has CP (Cerebral Palsy), and all her life she's had adult helpers at school with her. For her senior year of high school, she decides to hire peer helpers - other students - and she asks Matthew, a boy she knows from school, to apply. Amy and Matthew strike up a friendship of sorts, but her mother doesn't approve: because Amy - who is very smart - is going places, and Matthew, who has OCD, is probably not.

Official synopsis:

John Green's The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park in this beautifully written, incredibly honest, and emotionally poignant novel. Cammie McGovern's insightful young adult debut is a heartfelt and heartbreaking story about how we can all feel lost until we find someone who loves us because of our faults, not in spite of them.

Born with cerebral palsy, Amy can't walk without a walker, talk without a voice box, or even fully control her facial expressions. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals, and crippling fear. Both in desperate need of someone to help them reach out to the world, Amy and Matthew are more alike than either ever realized.

When Amy decides to hire student aides to help her in her senior year at Coral Hills High School, these two teens are thrust into each other's lives. As they begin to spend time with each other, what started as a blossoming friendship eventually grows into something neither expected.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Quick Pick: Five Ways to Fall, by K.A. Tucker

  • Opening lines: Is it just me?
    Or does everyone have a moment of "crazy" in their life - when raw emotion runs over your common sense like an eighteen-wheeler, compelling you to do and say things that make others stare in shock and shake their heads at you, wondering why you're acting so foolishly, why you won't just let go, why you can't see the truth.
  • Reason I picked up the book: This is the last book in the Ten Tiny Breaths series (which is a bummer, because the books in the series are great!) and I've reviewed all of them so far.
  • And what's this book about?
  • Purple-haired, sharp-tongued Reese MacKay knows all about making the wrong choice; she’s made plenty of them in her twenty-odd-years. So when her impulsive, short-lived marriage ends in heartbreak, she decides it’s time for a change. She moves to Miami with the intention of hitting reset on her irresponsible life, and she does quite well…aside from an epically humiliating one-night stand in Cancun with a hot blond bouncer named Ben. Thank God she can get on a plane and leave that mistake behind her.

    Football scholarship and frat parties with hot chicks? Part of charmer Ben Morris’s plan. Blown knee that kills any hope of a professional football career? So not part of the plan. Luckily Ben has brains to go with his knockout looks and magnetism. After three long years of balancing law school with his job as a bouncer at Penny’s Palace, he’s ready to lead a more mature life—until his first day of work, when he finds himself in the office of that crazy, hot chick he met in Cancun. The one he hasn’t stopped thinking about.

    If Ben truly were a smart guy, he’d stay clear of Reese. She’s the boss’s stepdaughter and it’s been made very clear that office romances are grounds for dismissal. Plus, rumor has it she’s trouble. The only problem is, he likes trouble, especially when it’s so good-looking…
  • Favorite paragraph: 
"Have you ever had a girlfriend, Ben?" Has he ever held someone in his arms all night, laughing and sharing his deepest secrets? Has he ever let someone cry on his shoulder or held her tight when life dealt him a shitty hand? Trusted her with everything, wanted to be someone she could trust? Has he ever watched the clock, waiting until he could see her again?
  • Recommended for: Anyone who likes a good YA (Young Adult) novel or romance - however, definitely read the other Ten Tiny Breaths books first, because they do give some of Ben's back story.
  • Something to know: Ben is a minor character in the other Ten Tiny Breaths books - he worked as a bouncer at Penny's - but in this story, he's now a clerk at a law firm, putting his law degree to use.
  • What I would have changed: Jared, Reese's ex, is probably one of the more annoying book characters I have encountered lately, and although Reese explains during the book why she fell for him, I still can't believe she did, because he seemed like a major jerk. I guess I would have given him at least one redeeming quality, then!
  • Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
  • Where can I buy this book? Click here.

    *Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from NetGalley for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

    Ten Tiny Breaths series:

1. Ten Tiny Breaths (review, buy)
2. One Tiny Lie (review, buy)
3. Four Seconds to Lose (review, buy)
4. Five Ways to Fall (buy)

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