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Posts Categorized: 5 Stars

Monday, July 25, 2016

Review: Hamilton the Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Hamilton the Revolution by Lin-Manuel MirandaHamilton: The Revolution by Jeremy McCarter, Lin-Manuel Miranda
Narrator: Mariska Hargitay
Published by Grand Central Publishing on 12 April 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Non-Fiction
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars

Dear Reader

It may come as a shock for you to learn that I am a fan of the musical Hamilton. If it doesn’t….then you know me well and if you like Hamilton too then we can be besties! Anywho, when I heard about the Hamiltome I knew that I had to have it and when I was given an opportunity to review to audio I had to take that too. Because there really can’t be too much Hamilton in ones life. My only regret was that I didn’t have access to either prior to seeing the musical because reading this behind the scenes tale really ups the emotional punch of an already emotional story. I loved this behind the scenes look at the creation of this epic musical and getting a sneak peak at some of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s thoughts when it came to particular lyrics.

HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION is definitely a book that you’ll want to have if you are a fan of the musical. Its beautifully bound and the pictures just really add to the story vignettes that comprise each chapter. These stories and histories of the musicals creation are enhanced even further as they are often followed by the musicals libretto. This is where the audio suffers and you loose something when all you do is listen. I loved Mariska Hargitay’s narration but all she did was read the chapter text and all of Miranda’s notes are lumped together on a single disc. Without the context of the books layout I think it really hampers ones enjoyment of the audio. So I found myself listening to the audio in the car and then coming home to look at the sections and pictures that the audio skips over.

Overall, though I really enjoyed HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION and if you are a fan of the musical then you will enjoy it as well. This is a great book to give those who haven’t (or can’t) see the musical to get an up close and personal look at some of the staging and costumes. I loved reliving the show by looking at all these visuals and I loved the songs all the more when I knew more about Miranda’s thought process in how they were developed. I’m not gonna lie HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION totally had me tearing up at times and at the end of the book I breathed such a sigh of contentment. Reading this book was such an amazing journey and I’m so very glad that Miranda and company took the time to put it together to release into the world. I love the musical even more now and can’t wait until such times as I can see it again.

irishdarkblue

Click here to read my review of Hamilton by Ron Chernow.

Click here to check out the Hamilton Book Tag.

five-stars
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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Review: The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn BarnesThe Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Fixer, Book 2
Also in this series: The Fixer
Published by Bloomsbury on 07 Jun 2016
Genres: Abduction, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Mystery & Detective, Politics & Intrigue, Social Issues, Thrillers, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: The Fixer, The Naturals

Place(s) Traveled To: Washington, DC

First Line(s): “Tess, has anyone ever told you that you’re an absolute vision when you’re plotting something?” Asher Rhodes shot a lazy grin in my direction.

I don’t know about you dear reader but I was crazy excited to be able to get my hands on THE LONG GAME after finishing the wild ride that was THE FIXER!! There was an ending with THE FIXER but there were also just enough threads to leave this reader lusting for more and THE LONG GAME did not disappoint! THE LONG GAME picks up almost immediately after the events in THE FIXER end only the mysteries are bigger and the stakes higher and poor Tess may just be a tad bit over her head. Tess is still reeling from revelations that happened in THE FIXER and dealing the the consequences of that story so she really doesn’t need anything else going on. But trouble as a way of finding Tess and she just can’t let sleeping dogs lie. After all, who can be a normal teenager when your related to the biggest fixer in DC and go to one of the most elite schools in America?

I was totally sucked into this story right from page one and really hated to put it down for such mundane things as sleep or food. I just needed to see where Jennifer Lynn Barnes would take the story even as she broke my heart a time or two in the process. As I said above the stakes are higher in THE LONG GAME, lives are at stake and there is betrayal around every corner. The twists are twister and Barnes does an amazing job at keeping the reader guessing while not being so obtuse that the big reveal comes out of left field. THE LONG GAME is a crazy intense ride and its so hard to talk about without giving anything away.

One thing I really liked in THE LONG GAME is how Tess really comes into her own despite all the upheavals in her life. She is strong and smart and can take care of so much on her own but she always knows when things are above her and to ask for help. She may run head long into danger at times but she always makes sure that help is on the way. I also like how this series is not romance focused. Yes, there is a romance in the book but it sits more on the sidelines as THE LONG GAME is a straight up thriller. Its a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat while occasionally making you laugh and a few breaks in tension for a kiss or two.

I also really really really hope that this isn’t the end for this series because I would love to see more from Tess and the gang. Especially with some of the reveals that happened in THE LONG GAME. There are still threads that could be followed to bigger and crazier things. Although, I am not entirely sure that my heart could take more of the intensity that Barnes brings to this story. For me, THE LONG GAME was a total edge of my seat read and I count it as one of my top books of the year. You are really missing out on good crafty story telling if you haven’t picked up this series yet. There really aren’t words to describe how good it is just know that you won’t be disappointed if you pick up these books. If you are, then we can’t be friends. (kidding….maybe…gives you haters the stink eye)

intense

 

irishdarkblue IR - The Fixer

 

Add The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes to Goodreads. (click here for my review.)

Add Clarity by Kim Harrington to Goodreads. (click here for my review.)

Add Also Known As by Robin Benway to Goodreads. (click here for my review.)

five-stars
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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Review: The Epidemic by Suzanne Young

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: The Epidemic by Suzanne YoungThe Epidemic by Suzanne Young
Series: The Program,
Also in this series: The Program, The Treatment, The Remedy
Published by Simon Pulse on 29 April 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Death & Dying, Diseases, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Health & Daily Living, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Romance, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: The Program, The Treatment, The Remedy

Place(s) Traveled To: Portland, Oregon / Roseburg, Oregon / Eugene, Oregon / Myrtle Creek , Oregon/ Grants Pass, Oregon / Weed, California

First Line(s): My entire life is a lie.

When I finished THE REMEDY by Suzanne Young I wanted to immediately jump into its sequel, THE EPIDEMIC because whoa Nelly that was one crazy way to end a book!! Thankfully, this was just a duology so I knew that Young couldn’t toy with my emotions TOO much but it was still a wild and crazy ride from the start of THE EPIDEMIC all the way until the end. I firmly believe that Suzanne Young is an evil mastermind as its pure genius how she connects all her books in this series together. I admit, there were times where I gasped allowed at a reveal and was taken by surprise by some of the twists and turns in the story. In the end, about the only real coherent thing I could say for THE EPIDEMIC is that it was mind blowingly good.

Blew My Mind

I still didn’t like, or trust, Deacon for much of the book but I did eventually come around to that ship. But who I shipped most was Quinn and all the things that she went through throughout THE EPIDEMIC. She had such an amazing story ARC that I am so very very sad to see it all come to an end. Although its good for Quinn because after what she went through I don’t think she’d survive any more of what Young could cook up for her. (Have I mentioned that Young is an evil author? Because if not she is.)

lots of feelings

THE EPIDEMIC is a book that kept me on the very edge of my seat from start to finish and one that I couldn’t put down once I started. I pretty much read THE EPIDEMIC in a single sitting and barely paused to eat or do anything because I was so invested in what would happen next. THE EPIDEMIC was so creepily delicious and by the end I was an emotional wreck of a reader who just wanted to cry in a corner and then maybe re-read THE PROGRAM because I think that book will be even more creepily good now that I know what I know about you know what.

the more you know

 

I have so much that I want to say about THE EPIDEMIC but its hard to do so without spoiling anything in the series. This is definitely one of those books where its best to go in fairly blind because then everything just feels a little bit more raw and the discoveries are that much more exciting. I also have real trouble finding words to fully express my feelings and thoughts about THE EPIDEMIC but I can show you what I was thinking as I read it via my Goodreads updates:

epidemic reactions

This world that Young has created in her Program series is nothing short of fantastic and all too scarily real. As you read this series you can see how these progression of events could happen and that just makes it all the more terrifying. Young is also a super talented writer and just has this way with words and language that really set a scene and pulls out real and raw emotions from a reader. I always become so invested in her stories and when each one ends I am left pining for the next one. If you haven’t experienced the crazy emotional roller coaster ride that is then what are you waiting for? Its totally worth it…and I’ll be waiting for you over on twitter with hugs and cookies if you need them.

shock - still processing

irishdarkblue

IR - The Remedy

 

Add The Remedy by Suzanne Young to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Altered by Jennifer Rush to Goodreads (Click here for my review.)

Add The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

five-stars
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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Audio Review: The Remedy by Suzanne Young

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Audio Review: The Remedy by Suzanne YoungThe Remedy by Suzanne Young
Narrator: Rebekkah Ross
Series: The Program,
Also in this series: The Program, The Treatment, The Epidemic
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on 21 April 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Death & Dying, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 9 hrs and 45 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: The Program, The Treatment, The Epidemic

Place(s) Traveled To: Corvallis, Oregon // Eugene, Oregon // Portland, Oregon // Lake Oswego, Oregon

First Line(s): It’s time to say good-bye.

When it came to Suzanne Young’s book THE PROGRAM (my review) I fell hard and I was sad when the series was over as I just loved this world that she created. When I heard that Young was writing a prequel duology I was both excited and scared and sad. I was excited because I wanted more of this world and I was scared because I wasn’t sure if THE REMEDY would live up to its predecessor and I was sad because our old friends wouldn’t be in this one. I should not have worried though as Young totally knocked things out of the park with this creepy origin story to how The Program came to be. THE REMEDY is told from the POV of Quinlan McKey who is a Closer. That is she is a girl that pretends to be girls who died in order to help grieving families move on.

Quin’s life is never fully her own due to the work that she does and its something that her father has had her do for the past 11 years. Which is far far longer than the recommended time to be a closer. In THE REMEDY she’s sent out on a long term assignment not long after coming off a job and as a result she begins to lose herself a little. Quin has never lived a normal life but in this role she gets to experiment with what may have been if her life was different and she likes it. Quin also begins to uncover some shocking facts and learns that all may not be what it seems with the company that she works for and with the world in general. There seems to be an epidemic starting and if she isn’t careful she might get sucked in.

The Remedy Quote

I didn’t think that I would like a character more than Sloane from THE PROGRAM but Quin totally wins the reader over with her actions. She’s smart and vulnerable and as a reader you just want her to find peace and happiness. You want to shake her father for making her do this work and you want to slap Deacon for some of the things that he does. I was totally invested in THE REMEDY and found myself coming up with reasons to drive around town just to listen to more of this story. Its twisty and turny and there are just some things you can’t see coming until after they’ve happened. Rebekkah Ross is a fantastic narrator and her voice just totally sucks you into this story and won’t let you go. Ross *is* Quin and you can’t ask for any more than that when it comes to a books narrator.

THE REMEDY was a total emotional roller-coaster ride for me and just when I thought I had things all figured out Young would toss in some new fact or detail to totally surprise me. THE REMEDY left me in awe an amazement and I just don’t understand when everyone isn’t totally buzzing about this story. Its realistic and stunningly written and I love trying to find all the connections between THE REMEDY and THE PROGRAM. Its a book that can be read independently of the other series but I think it just becomes all the richer for reading in the order that it was written in. THE REMEDY is one of the best books that I’ve read so far this year and I can not wait to see where Young goes with this series next.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - The Remedy

Add Altered by Jennifer Rush to Goodreads (Click here for my review.)

Add The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

five-stars
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Monday, May 30, 2016

Audio Review: You by Caroline Kepnes

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Adult, Audiobook, Review0 Comments

Audio Review: You by Caroline KepnesYou by Caroline Kepnes
Narrator: Santino Fontana
Series: You,
Also in this series: Hidden Bodies (You, #2)
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on 30 Sept 2014
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Suspense, Thrillers
Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Hidden Bodies (You, #2)

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Bridgeport, Connecticut // Little Compton, Rhode Island // Fall River, Massachusetts

First Line(s): You walk into the bookstore and you keep your hand on the door to make sure it doesn’t slam.

 

My first thought upon finishing YOU by Caroline Kepnes was “what the heck did I just read?” but more than that I was lost in just how good it was. YOU is supremely well written and takes a character, in this case Joe Goldberg, who is a terrible terrible person and makes you LIKE him. Not just that but you kind of sympathize with him and understand why he is doing what he is doing. Which is a total mind fuck since Joe is a deranged stalker who kills people and so shouldn’t be a sympathetic character. From the moment that I started YOU on audio I was enthralled. Santino Fontana *is* Joe Goldberg and he totally brings this character and this world to life. I can’t imagine experiencing this book in any other format than the audio because Fontana is just such a great narrator. He gave me chills and he made me like Joe. Again, Joe is not a character to like so its slightly disturbing and part of what makes YOU such a good book.

I know that YOU isn’t a book that is for everyone and I think that a reader will either love it or hate it. I don’t think that there is any shades of grey with this one. Because Joe is crazy. There is no way around it but the people that he meets aren’t the best either. Not that any of them deserve their fate but when you see them through Joe’s eyes and hear his thoughts you can believe his rationale as it works for him. Even as you sit on the edge of your seat begging the other person to make a different choice since you know what Joe has planned if they make the wrong one. Before I read YOU I really didn’t think it would be a book that I would like but after…well…after I found it hard to leave Kepne’s world behind because she is just so talented and her words so powerful that I wanted the story to last.

You Quote

If you like thrillers and audiobooks that I strongly recommend that you experience YOU in that format. I think that the spoken word is just so powerful at times and with Fontana as the narrator it almost feels like you are sitting across form Joe listening to him tell his story. Which is terrifying since, as I’ve said, he’s a crazy stalker who kills people and not the sort of person that you ever want to cross paths with. Joe is a total sociopath and I just bow down to Kepnes in her characterization of this character. Joe is just so real that you really think he’s in the room with you as this book progresses whispering in your ear and sending chills down your spine. The images that Kepnes’s words evoke are so vivid that if I closed my eyes I could picture each and every one.

YOU was a fantastic listening experience and one that I wish I could experience again for the first time. This is seriously one of my favorite reads of the year and I like it more the more I think back on it. YOU is the sort of book that stays with you long after you read it and is a really hard experience to describe to others. I could not stop listening to this book and think its unlike any other story out there. Its totally riveting and I really can’t wait to see what Kepnes comes up with next. If you haven’t experienced this book yet then you need to move it up your TBR pile. I don’t think that you’ll be disappointed!!

irishdarkblue

IR - You

Add Stolen by Lucy Christopher to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

As of this posting, there is only one book that I can think of that makes a good read-a-like for YOU. If I think of something later then I will update this post. Or if you know of I good read-a-like then let me know in the comments and I’ll credit you and link back to your review!

five-stars
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Friday, March 4, 2016

Review: The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: The Mirror King by Jodi MeadowsThe Mirror King by Jodi Meadows
Series: The Orphan Queen, Book 2
Also in this series: The Orphan Queen, The Hidden Prince, The Glowing Knight
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on 05 April 2016
Genres: Assassins, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 544
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: The Orphan Queen, The Hidden Prince, The Glowing Knight

Place(s) Traveled to: Skyvale, Indigo Kingdom // Aecor City, Aecor

First Line(s): The Prince’s blood was on my hands.

If you’ve read THE ORPHAN QUEEN (my review) then you know what complete and utter shit that ending was. Like seriously! I’ve read terrible endings by evil authors but THIS one…my stars…Jodi Meadows didn’t pull out any stops and if I was anything like Wilhemina then I’d have been hunting her down demanding answers, and maybe a little vengeance. But I am not Wil, so instead all I could do was sit and weep as a part of my soul had been crushed by how that story ended. No really, here is an actual photo of me after I finished reading THE ORPHAN QUEEN:

a river of tears

Therefore, you should not be in the least surprised to know that the moment I was able to get my hands on a copy of THE MIRROR KING that I did so.

Push through a crowd

For me, THE MIRROR KING was a drop everything and read title because I *HAD* to know what happened next! And fortunately Meadows doesn’t putter around and she picks up the story almost immediately after THE ORPHAN QUEEN ends. Oh how I had missed all of these characters and this world. The banter between all the characters is so amazingly good that I found myself laughing in between bouts of tears as Meadows tried her damnedest to stop on my heart some more. This author, folks, she is evil incarnate. I know that comes with the territory of her being an author but really did she need to do THAT?!?!  Is it really too hard to give a HEA at say page 1? Is that too unrealistic?

Not how it works

Mirror King Quote

So, feelings aside I really enjoyed THE MIRROR KING and I am oh so very very glad this this was a duology and not a trilogy as I couldn’t have recovered from 2 books with cliff hangers. Especially with that one in THE ORPHAN QUEEN! THE MIRROR KING is filled with lots of twists and turns and gasp out loud moments along with ones that will break your heart. Seriously, this book is an emotional roller coaster but its ending is totally worth the journey in getting there. Because while the ending of ORPHAN QUEEN made me weep and toss my book across the room the ending of THE MIRROR KING made me happy sigh and clutch my eReader to my chest.

book hug

But what utterly and completely kills me with THE MIRROR KING is THAT LETTER!!! If you’ve read PERSUASION by Jane Austen (my review) then you know the sort of feels that I mean. While the letter here is more of a list it is oh so perfect of a list and oh so perfect for this story. It “pierced my soul leaving me in half-agony and half hope” much as Captain Wentworth told Anne in those final moments. There may have been an eternity* to wait between THE ORPHAN QUEEN and THE MIRROR KING but oh how it was worth it because Meadows really delivered a wonderful story that was so perfect for this world and her characters.

Though its a bittersweet ending because this story is over and there are no more words. Its really really hard to say goodbye to a beloved story and characters. That Meadows can get me so attached in just two books is truely a remarkable thing and I can not recommend this series enough. Its fantasy at its best and if you know me then you know just how hard I am on fantasy, especially YA fantasy. So well done Jodi Meadows, well done. You’re still evil but I still love you. Thanks for writing a kick ass book! *muah*

two thumbs up

*This may be a slight exaggeration.

irishdarkblue

IR - Orphan Queen

 

Add The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetter to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

five-stars
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Friday, October 16, 2015

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay KristoffIlluminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files,
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on 20 October 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Death & Dying, Diseases, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Espionage, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Suspense, Young Adult
Pages: 608
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Kerenzie IV and Deep Space via the Alexander and Hypatia  (Year: 2575)

First Line(s): “So here’s the file that almost killed me, Director.”

When I first picked up ILLUMINAE by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff I wasn’t sure what to expect but I do adore a good sci-fi and I was intrigued by the mixed media concept. So I crossed my fingers that I wouldn’t be disappointed by another poorly done sci-fi story and I dove in expecting to read this one slowly over the course of the month.

Fingers Crossed

Well the joke was on me because it wasn’t long before I found myself unable to put this book down. I was totally immersed in ILLUMINAE and this series of gives pretty much sums up how I felt once I was fully invested in the story:

can't stop reading

why are you doing this

ten in the rain

not ok

Star-Trek crying

lots of feelings

a river of tears

Seriously. I was a puddle of emotion and even now I find it really hard to put all my thoughts into words. This book just took me by surprise and even now long after I’ve finished it I am still locked in its grip. There is action and mystery and horror and romance and suspense and just so much more. The books formatting makes for a quick read and while there are times when mixed media can feel cold and impersonal in a book it really works well with this story. Despite the entire story being told in “found documents” (emails, video transcripts, IMs, etc) you really get to know all of these characters. Oh how I felt for Kady and Ezra and OH MY STARS how terrified I became of Aidan!

Illuminae Quote

scared

ILLUMINAE is a book that took me totally by surprise and literally made me gasp aloud. I can’t tell you the last time that happened with a book. It also brought me to tears and made my heart ache so very much. It was filled with everything that I love in a story and was also so much more. The story…the characters…the setting…it was just all so right and even though this book is 600 pages in length I devoured this book in just 2 days. And let me tell you the ending…oh that ending…it was the worst part. Cliffhanger.

no

Which I hate because I have the patience of gnat but at the same time it was just so fitting for the story. ILLUMINAE is filled with lots of delightful twists and turns and I can not wait to see where things will go in the next book. This is one of those books that you really need to read to understand just how amazing it was and if you trust my reviews at all then trust when I tell you that you need to read this book. It was just that good.

fainting

irishdarkblue

IR - Illuminae

Add Across the Universe by Beth Revis to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Rowan by Anne McCaffrey to Goodreads.

 

Illuminae Collage

 

Ten-Rose-badwolf-tenth-rose-21263420-500-278
five-stars
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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Sarah Reviews: Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Adult, Guest Post, Review8 Comments

Sarah Reviews: Wallbanger by Alice ClaytonWallbanger by Alice Clayton
Series: Cocktail,
Published by Gallery on 13 August 2013
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Erotica, Friends to Lovers, Love & Romance
Pages: 365
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: San Francisco, CA

First Line(s): “Oh, God.”
Thump.
“Oh, God.”
Thump Thump.
What the…
“Oh God, that’s so good!”
I scrambled up out of sleep, confused as I looked around the strange room. Boxes on the floor. Pictures propped against the wall.

Hello Internet!!

Please welcome my first ever guest reviewer here on Ticket to Anywhere!! When my friend Sarah sent me a message saying that she just HAD to review a book she’d read I happily gave her some space on my blog to do so. Sarah can be found on Twitter at Palmys05 and on Goodreads (click here) if you want to talk about WALLBANGER or other books that she’s read!

Irish

A huge Thank you to Gail for handing over the reins for a hot second! She’s a great book recommender AND more importantly, a friend! After I read “Wallbanger” by Alice Clayton, I just knew I had to write a review for her.

 

Caroline is a career focused interior designer who just scored an awesome apartment in San Francisco. Her last boyfriend wanted her to stay at home and be a housewife. With a bad ONS to boot, she has sworn off men. Unfortunately, her new neighbor is keeping her awake with his “wallbanging.”

Simon’s not one to stay put for long. As a travel photographer, he’s constantly globetrotting, and doesn’t have the time for a serious girlfriend. Friends with benefits is more his style…with the THREE different women that make up his “harem.”

Wallbanger was a perfect mix of humor and romance. It was a slow build. (just how I like it) Simon and Caroline didn’t really like each other when they met. Frustrated from lack of sleep, Caroline pounded on Simon’s door mid-romp. Their annoyance turned to like, like turned to friendship, and friendship turned to love.

Simon had a lot of layers. As the story progressed, we learned there was a lot more to him than being a jetsetter with a harem. Caroline too, had her insecurities and needs. They both were fiercely independent and admittedly happy being single. After spending time together, they realized how much happier and more fulfilling their lives could be as a unit. Their romance was amped by the amount of humor and light moments in the book. Between the texts, scary movie viewing, and car trips, I was constantly chuckling.

Wallbanger Quote

Also, props to Clayton for Clive. I am NOT an animal person, but Caroline’s beloved kitty added the perfect amount of comic relief. It was great when he peed on Simon’s sweater in an effort to protect his mommy. SO cute.

I really enjoyed the side romances of Mimi/Ryan and Sophia/Neil. I loved their friendship with Simon/Caroline and how everyone plotted to get the others together. It was very cute. The other pairings weren’t overpowering and added to the dynamic of Simon and Caroline’s budding romance.

Can’t forget to mention the baking AND Caroline’s Ina Garten obsession. Who doesn’t love her?? I thought it was really sweet how Caroline would always bake goodies for Simon. You could tell it reminded him of his mom. They always say the way to a man’s heart this through his stomach.

 

 

Sarah

SR - Wallbanger

 

Add Rusty Nailed to Goodreads – I devoured Simon & Caroline’s sequel right after finishing Wallbanger!

Add Lead by Kylie Scott to Goodreads. (Click here to read Irish’s Review.) – Another amazing friends to lovers read….aka the best book Gail has had me read

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky AlbertalliSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Published by Balzer + Bray on 07 April 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Fantasy, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Shady Creek, Georgia // Atlanta, Georgia

First Line(s): It’s a weirdly subtle conversation. I almost didn’t notice I was being blackmailed.

Writing a review for a book that I adored are sometimes the hardest reviews that I have to write. Its so easy to pick out the things you didn’t like about a story but when you love it so much that you simply want to crawl into its pages and live there forever? Not as easy to find the words. At least, words strung together in such a way that makes sense to those not living inside of my head. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli is one of those books where I feel all the feels and I may have already read it more than once even though I just finished it the other day. Its such a Mary Poppins story that is ‘nearly perfect in every way’ and I just hated for it to end. Like for reals. My new mission in my bookish life is to pester Becky Albertalli over and over until she writes a companion story so that I can get more from this world and these characters.

My love of Simon knows no bounds. I loved his voice and his POV and just everything about him. He’s real and down to earth and he’ll make your heart swoon. I love his relationships with those around him, his best friends and his family and best of all there is no pointless drama in this book!!! Oh the pointless drama is such a pet peeve of mine and its so refreshing to find a book that doesn’t have that. Yes, there is conflict and issues but they aren’t over the top and they can’t easily be solved by two people talking to each other. Because Simon and Blue talk all the time. At least, they do via email and they are so open and honest with each other. Oh how I loved those email exchanges and my only regret is that there weren’t more of them.

Another thing I loved about Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda was the inclusion of parents within the story. Through Simon we learn about the various family units of his friends but who I loved most were Simon’s parents. They were much like mine in that they had jobs and they were involved in my life. I loved how they made a ‘big deal’ out of everything because so often those small moments can be overlooked. I liked how when Simon messed up he faced consequences and when he was in a play at school they treated it as if he had the lead roll and not just a supporting part. They made me smile with every appearance on the page and I was just so happy to see a happy family unit. Too often in YA reads the parents are either dead, absent, or there but so self-absorbed that they might as well not be there at all.

Simon Vs Quote

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda also made my heart ache. I understood Blue’s reluctance to break through the wall of anonymity that the email exchanges gave him and Simon. To leave that safety and bring things to the real world. Especially in a smallish sized town where there aren’t many openly gay people its hard. Especially since the reality of a person can be so different than their on-liner persona. But with every email exchange I kept hoping that in that one, that moment, Blue would be all for a meeting with Simon. It was for this moment that I kept flipping hurriedly through the pages as I was desperate to know who Blue was and where this story would go. And let me tell you, the ending of Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, oh my stars, that ending was perfect. So very perfect. This whole book was perfection. Seriously. Which is not something that I think I’ve ever said about a book before. Ever.

Oh I am sure that there are flaws within its pages but Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda just hit all the right notes with me. It made me feel and when I hit that final page I sighed a happy sigh and hugged the book for all of the loveliness within its pages. It truly saddens me that I can never read this one again for the first time but I do know that it will be re-read often and I will fall more in love with its story and its characters each and every time. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a book that you need to have on your radar. Its a book that I think everyone should read. If you only read one book this year than this is the book that it should be. This is something else that I don’t say that often but I just feel so strongly about this book that I want to use all the cliches and all the words and all the everything I can in order to get YOU (yes YOU!!) to read this book. If I could buy everyone a copy of Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda I would but I can’t. Its unputdownable and your life will be just a little bit better for having read it.

 

irishdarkblue

P.S.A.: When you do pick up Simon vs the Homo Sapiens be sure to have a package of Oreos handy because this book will make you crave them.

IR - Simon Vs

Add Something Real by Heather Demetrios to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

 

Simon Vs Collage
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Monday, March 16, 2015

Review: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Review: The Start of Me and You by Emery LordThe Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Published by Bloomsbury on 31 March 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Open Road Summer

Place(s) Traveled to: Oakhurst, Indiana // Anderson, Indiana

First Line(s): Of all the places to have something memorable happen to you, Oakhurst, Indiana, had to be one of the worst.

I first became aware of the amazingness of Emery Lord’s writing last year when I read her debut novel, Open Road Summerand the moment that I turned the last page I was desperate for more words by her. So you may have heard my squeals of delight when an early copy of The Start of Me and You showed up on my doorstep. This was a book that I received in August of 2014 and even though its release was so far away I knew that I wouldn’t be able to wait to read it. I knew that I would love it and had known of that fear that I normally do when reading the sophomore book of an author whose debut I loved. When I sat down to read The Start of Me and You I didn’t come up for air until I’d hit the last page and let me tell you, dear reader, I think that I loved this one more than Open Road Summer. Emery Lord is an absolute master at the written word she writes some of the most amazing friendship stories that I’ve ever read. All too often in YA contemporary stories the main characters BFF isn’t a real friend and at the slightest bit of trouble she’s turned on the MC and it is just so very frustrating to me as a reader.

But Lord’s friendships aren’t like that. They are the friendships that stand the test of time and are the ones the often echo friendships that the reader has in real life. Paige’s BFF Tessa is always there for her when she needs her. Tessa is there to give words of advice, a shoulder to cry on, and a good swift kick in the pants when one is needed. Prior to the start of The Start of Me and You Paige was in a relationship with her first real boyfriend and due to an unspeakable tragedy he died not long after. Paige was then left to deal with the loss of someone she liked but barely knew and Tessa was there to help guide her through all of her mixed emotions. Tessa was also there when a year later when Paige decided to make a list to help her reform her image from The Girl Whose Boyfriend Died to a new and happier Paige. One step in her plan is to date her long time crush Ryan and along the way she meets and becomes friends with Max. Sweet, wonderful, nerdy Max. Oh how I love Max. And Ryan. And Paige. And Tessa. And Kayleigh. And Morgan. And just everyone in this book!

The Start of Me and You is filled with so many wonderful feels. This story makes my heart ache in that good way that I love and its one that I’ve re-read several times already. Its a book that I pre-ordered and can’t recommend highly enough. Its a book that shows us that sometimes the thing you think you want may not be the thing that you really need. Its about looking at what is right in front of you as you think about your future goals. Its a story about love and friendship and its so very hard to put all that I want to say into words that are coherent. I loved Paige’s friends and all that they brought into each other’s lives. Its also a great story about loving parents who are maybe a bit too over protective at times but who will do anything they can to ease the troubles of their children.

With The Start of Me and You, Emery Lord has sealed her fate as an author that I will always auto-buy the moment that her next book is available for purchase. She has such a gift with bringing these very real characters to life and as I read her stories I am transported into the worlds she creates. She writes characters that you want to be friends with and boys that you want to fall in love with. She can break your heart into a dozen pieces but then just a quickly find a way to put it back together again. This is a book that I can’t recommend strongly enough and 5 stars aren’t enough to show how much love I have for this story. Each page is filled with magic and wonder and I am so sad that I’ll never be able to read it again for the first time. My only complaint is that the story had to end and I would gladly have read another 300 pages of Paige and her friends. I long for more of this story and hope that Lord will write one involving Tessa, Paige’s best friend. For I would love to see the world through her eyes and through her heart. As I can’t put into words what I want to say about this story all you really need to know is this. If you haven’t read an Emery Lord book yet then you need to drop everything and do so now. You will thank me for it later.

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irishdarkblue

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The Start of Me and You Quote

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