Current Contests/Announcements

The story of the Orange Cake Click here to find out more.


Check out the NKOTB Book Tag Meme Here!

Having trouble leaving a comment? If you have trouble commenting then please click on the refresh button, this usually fixes the issue. I also use comment moderation for new commenters to the blog.

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Monday, September 5, 2016

Review: Game On by Michelle Smith

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Game On by Michelle SmithGame On by Michelle Smith
Series: Lewis Creek, Book 2
Also in this series: Play On
Published by Bloomsbury on 16 August 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Pages: 328
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Play On

Place(s) Traveled To: Lewis Creek, South Carolina // Sommerville, South Carolina // Beaufort, South Carolina

First Line(s): It’s probably a bad sign when the hangover hits you before you even leave the party.

GAME ON by Michelle Smith is a companion to her debut story PLAY ON (my review) and that is where we first meet Eric. Eric is an underclassman on the baseball team and in this book he moves up to be the starting pitcher. Bringing with it all the pressures that anyone from a small town can understand. Sports is life in many small towns (and even some big ones) and adults are way too involved and get way too emotionally invested. These pressures only compound the issues that Eric is already dealing with as a preachers kid, a newly out gay older brother and his past as a player and a screw up. Eric is trying to make a new start in order to live up to all of his expectations but he keeps making poor choices and getting into trouble. It also doesn’t help that he has a bit of a drinking problem and a temper which lands him into more trouble than he needs.

Enter Bri, the girl next door. Bri and Eric used to be friends and then they drifted apart.  Eric has always had a thing for Bri but has always thought that he was too much of a screw up and not good enough for her. So you can imagine all the angst that the boy goes through over the course of GAME ON as Bri and Eric begin to reconnect. For Bri is dealing with a douche of an ex along with some abandonment issues which could have lead her to being a troubled teen. However, Bri is smart and has a good head on her shoulders and she becomes the rock that Eric needs to really get his life back on track. Through Eric, Bri also learns to deal with some of her issues and learns that she isn’t alone in the world. That there are people who will fight for her and beside her depending on what the situation calls for.

Game On quote3

GAME ON is a quick read and had everything I like to see in a contemporary young adult book. There was angst but not a ton of it and there were lots of heart achy feels throughout Bri and Eric’s journey. I loved their chemistry and I loved how Smith dealt with their issues and brought them together. It was realistic and emotional and had me flipping the pages quickly to see how it would all end. GAME ON isn’t a perfect read and there were things that I didn’t like but those flaws were small compared to all the things that I liked about this book. I like a book that can keep me entertained and invested even while there are things I disagree with or that I would do differently. But the things that happened all felt real to the characters and that is what matters most.

I enjoyed returning to the town of Lewis Creek with GAME ON and I hope that this isn’t the last time that we see this world or these characters. I like this group of teens and think that there are plenty of stories that could be told much like Miranda Kenneally does with her Hundred Oaks series. If you are looking for a fun, realistic read to keep you company then look no further than GAME ON. This book is great for the beach, a plane ride, or for sitting under a blanket on a snowy winters day. This is a must read for YA Contemporary lovers. I don’t think that you’ll be disappointed.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Game On

Add Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein to Goodreads. (Review coming soon.)

Add The Distance from A to Z to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
Divider

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Review: Saving Maverick by Debra Elise

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Saving Maverick by Debra EliseSaving Maverick by Debra Elise
Series: Outlaws of Baseball,
Published by Bloomsbury on 04 Apr 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Love & Romance, New Adult, Sports & Athletics
Pages: 250
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Pineville, Idaho

First Line(s): Maverick Jansen woke to the sound of a jackhammer tearing down his hotel room door.

If you know me then you know a couple things, namely that I like New Adult and that while I may not be a big sportsing fan in real life I do adore a good sportsing book. With that in mind one would think that SAVING MAVERICK would be a book that is right up my alley. Especially when you toss in a bad boy in need of redemption and the girl hired to save his image. I had hopes for SAVING MAVERICK but sadly this book failed to live up to them. First, SAVING MAVERICK is billed as a New Adult read but for me it came across as a very adult story. If you go just based on age I think it might just squeak in, though to be honest I can’t remember how old these characters were. But they were all pretty settled and established in their careers and that to me just makes this story lean more towards Adult. For me, New Adult is more college and early career, with characters trying to figure out their place in the world.

Another thing that bugged me about SAVING MAVERICK was that it was filled with errors and random head jumping. Some of the errors I could chalk up to reading an ARC but there were just so many that they became hard to ignore. And the head jumping oh my stars it was just bad. One paragraph we’d be in Kelsey’s head in the next Maverick and then a few pages later a whole new POV just for fun. I don’t mind books with alternate POVs but I do like there to be a little structure to them. The constant changing of POV makes it really hard to keep up with the story and it just gives my brain whiplash as I struggle to keep up!  It also didn’t help to endear me to Kelsey and Maverick who are just two very blah, cliched characters that are pretty forgettable. Sorry folks, no heart achy moments here….or at least none that I can remember.

 

Normally I have a really good memory when it comes to books and plots but when I think back on SAVING MAVERICK I mostly get a blank page in my brain and so am very glad for my Goodreads notes because my kindle has totally failed me. (Why oh why is it deleting my highlights and notes?!? *cries*) But memorability aside, Kelsey and Maverick where your pretty standard fare when it comes to romance characters and their story may have been a good one if the plot wasn’t so muddled with those errors mentioned above and the crazy side plot. The subplot was just too much and was more of a distraction than anything else. It was also very predictable. This whole story was pretty predicable. Not to mention repetitive. So very very very very repetitive. And we all know just how much I “love” repetitive dialogue and storylines. *eye roll*

In the end SAVING MAVERICK wasn’t a bad book but it wasn’t good either. It falls somewhere in the middle and was just mediocre for me. SAVING MAVERICK is the start of a series and I’m not sure if I’ll read the other books when they come out. Or at the very least I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to read it.

irishdarkblue

IR - Saving Maverick

Add Act Like It by Lucy Parker to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Love Me Tenor by Annabeth Albert to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

three-stars
Divider

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
Divider

Monday, February 1, 2016

Audio Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Posted by Irish in 1 Star, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult3 Comments

Audio Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. MaasHeir of Fire by Sarah J Maas
Narrator: Elizabeth Evans
Series: Throne of Glass,
Also in this series: The Assassin's Blade, Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight
Published by Bloomsbury on 02 September 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 20 hrs and 18 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
one-star
Also by this author: The Assassin's Blade, Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, A Court of Thorns and Roses

Place(s) Traveled To: Mistward, Wendlyn // Rifthold, Adarlan // Ferian Gap, White Fang Mountains (World: Erilea)

First Line(s): Gods, it was boiling in this useless excuse for a kingdom.

Dear Reader,

A very important lesson for you to learn don’t drink beers with Andi from AndiABCs. Oh sure you’ll have fun discussing books and other things but if you’ve both had more than just a pint or two then you may just find yourself making a drunken book deal. Such is the case that got me to read HEIR OF FIRE by Sarah J Maas because, if you are a regular visitor then you know, I am not really a fan of the Throne of Glass series. Now, this isn’t the first drunken bargain that Andi and I have engaged in and it probably won’t be the last but it is definitely one that I regret.

This time around I decided to give the audiobook a try in the hopes of maybe liking the story better alas I found that it only highlighted the issues that I had with the story. HEIR OF FIRE is a long ass book and it is so damn repetitive it isn’t funny. There were times when the same info was given several times in a single chapter! It was too much and that coupled with the overly flowery prose had my eye twitching! Elizabeth Evans also made for a terrible narrator. She paused overly long in the oddest of places but when it came to scene/POV transitions she’d just barrel right in. It was enough to give a listener whiplash at times and made it hard to follow along. Though it doesn’t help that the whole story is a bit convoluted and could have done with better editing. Evans was also pretty bad with the male voices. They were pretty much indistinguishable from one another and I think that the audiobook would have been better with a male narrator for the male POVs.

For me, I really think this series would be better without Celaena. I swear that girl is way too stupid to live much of the time. She is constantly finding herself in near death situations and having to be rescued. But at the same token its really really hard to believe that she’s in mortal peril when there are still a dozen or so books (yes I am exaggerating) left in the series. Its also hard to believe that she’s capable of bad assery when she does something super dumb one moment and then in the next she’s pretty much killing everything in sight even though she was literally almost killed just be looking at the one bad guy.

The only character I really liked this time around was Rowan because he was the only one who called Celaena out on her bratty behaviour. He’d try to teach her the ways of the fae (badly but whatevs) and she’d just pout and say no. Though it didn’t help that you had pages upon pages of Rowan shouting at Celaena to change and Celaena shouting back no. But alas, even dear Rowan failed me in the end by falling under the nit-wits spell just like every other male character that breaths in her presence. I think even the gay fae fell for her though not romantically.

I just….I just don’t get the appeal of this series. For me its terribly written, horribly plotted, and the world building is barely held together with duct tape. I tired….I really did…I know people think that I didn’t but I did. I gave this series 4 books of my life and I just can’t do it anymore. I am done. So so done and no amount of beer induced bargaining shall get me to read any more books in this series. Especially since the page count on QUEEN OF SHADOWS blows this one away so I can only imagine just how angsty and repetitive that one is! To the fans of this series I’m sorry its just not for me please don’t hate me! I did try.

See my Goodreads reactions here.

irishdarkblue

 

People who liked this more than me:

Pretty much everyone. No really….just look at Goodreads.

heiroffire-1280x720

Image found via google, created by Icey Books

one-star
Divider

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Review: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult4 Comments

Review: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn BarnesThe Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Fixer,
Also in this series: The Long Game
Published by Bloomsbury on 07 July 2015
Genres: Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Mystery & Detective, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, 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
four-stars
Also by this author: The Naturals, The Long Game

Place(s) Traveled To: Unnamed, Montana // Washington DC // Boston, Massachusetts // Unnamed Virginia

Fist Line(s): As far as I could tell, my history teacher had three passions in life: quoting Shakespeare, identifying historical inaccuracies in cable TV shows, and berating Ryan Washburn.

If you’ve ever heard my stance on book epilogues then you know my stance on book comparisons, you know what I mean, when a book x is compared to book y or z because so rarely is the initial book anything like the ones its compared to. So when I heard that THE FIXER by Jennifer Lynn Barnes was compared to Scandal and Veronica Mars I was intrigued but wary. Veronica Mars is among my more favorite of television shows and while I am not as big a fan of Scandal as I once was I do still tune in every week. With both shows I loved the mystery and the drama and the snark of the characters and these are all things that you will find in THE FIXER. Rarely has a book comparison ever been more perfect because THE FIXER is a combination of those two things and more.

The story centers around Tess Kendrick who is uprooted from her home in Montana to live with her sister, Ivy, who is the Olivia Pope-like character in this book. And because of who Tess’s sister is she sort of gets forced into that role in her new school where things quickly spiral out of control. Along the way you meet a wonderful cast of side characters that really bring this whole story to life. THE FIXER is a fast paced story that I found absolutely addictive. It was smart and funny and kept me on the edge of my seat until I hit the last page. I loved how all of these characters interacted and my only real complaint is that there wasn’t enough romance in the story. Although there is plenty of potential and in some ways I do like how this one just has the beginnings of a relationship because its more real than insta-love.

The Fixer Quote

THE FIXER is filled with mystery, drama and suspense but at its core its a story about family and friendship. Tess and her sister were estranged for many years and there is much animosity and secrets that exist between them. There is tension and angst and anyone with a sibling can probably find something in their relationship to relate to. Not to mention the friendships because as I said the secondary characters in this book are really something special. THE FIXER is a book with meat behind it and when you read it the story feels real. Barnes creates such a vivid world that its so easy to picture the events in your mind as they unfold and this is a book that I would love to see as a TV Series.

THE FIXER is also really hard to talk about without giving anything away. Its a mystery and as such there are twists and turns along with various red herrings to try and fool the readers. There is no major cliff hanger to the book but there are enough open threads that will easily feed into its sequel, THE LONG GAME, which is due to be released in June 2016. Words can’t express just how excited I am for this book and with luck maybe more books to follow because I really enjoyed Tess’s story and I don’t think that I’ll be ready for it to come to an end. This is definitely a book that you don’t want to miss.

irishdarkblue

IR - The Fixer

 

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.)

four-stars
Divider

Monday, April 27, 2015

Review: Lion Heart by AC Gaughen

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult3 Comments

Review: Lion Heart by AC GaughenLion Heart by AC Gaughen
Series: Scarlet,
Also in this series: Scarlet, Lady Thief
Published by Bloomsbury on 19 May 2015
Genres: Abduction, Adaptation, Emotions & Feelings, Espionage, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Historical, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 348
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Scarlet, Lady Thief

Place(s) Traveled To: England – Bramber Castle, Sussex // London // Silchester // Winchester // Bristol // Bridgewater // Glastonbury // Oxford // Nottingham // Edwinstowe
(around 1192)

First Line(s): There was no light.

After finishing AC Gaughen’s Lady Thief (my review) I was so glad to have an ARC of Lion Heart to dive into as that ending was killer!!  The ending of Lady Thief wasn’t as bad as the ending of The Orphan Queen (my review) but it was not fun and I hated where all of my favorite characters ended up. Things are never good when there are lives in peril after all! So with barely a pause between the two books I grabbed Lion Heart and learned the fate of Scarlet and the gang. While I believe that Lady Thief has the biggest emotional turmoil of the series Lion Heart does not disappoint and in true Gaughen fashion the entire book is a roller coaster ride. My only consolation as I read this book was knowing that it couldn’t end on another cliff hanger as it was the last in a series. So there is an ending but as we’ve learned with Gaughen she isn’t your typical happily ever after sort of writer.

There is drama and tension in spades in this book but there is also a lot of laughter. Oh how I enjoyed all the scenes with Allen a Dale and loved the new character of David. The bromance between these two characters was epic and totally one of my favorite parts in the whole story. Oh, I loved the Scarlet and Rob bits too…because hello Robin Hood!! But there was just something fresh and fun about Allen and David. I also loved who Scarlet let herself be in this book. Of all the characters Scarlet has gone through the most changes both emotionally and physically. She’s proven her strength time and again and yet she’s still constantly being thought as a little bit less because she’s a girl. But Scarlet being Scarlet she always quashes those around her who think that she isn’t just as capable as them by proving just how much better she is. As kick ass heroine’s go, Katniss has nothing on Scarlet.

Lion Heart Quote

 

Then there is the plot. Oh my stars this story will gut you, heal you, and then gut you all over again. Just when you think these characters are safe Gaughen tosses in another obstacle just because. And along the way she always adds in all these little heart achy moments that almost make you forget how she’s shredding your soul a bit. Lion Heart is a book that will make you laugh and cry and really earn your way to an ending that I think will satisfy readers. Life is messy and not everything ends happily and Gaughen does a great job of highlighting all of that over the course of the Scarlet series. I think that fans of the series will like how this book ends and that they’ll also be sad to close that final chapter.

Like all good stories I hated for this one to end. I love this world and these characters and I am going to miss them all something fierce now that Scarlet is over. This will be a series that I revisit when I have the time and I know with each re-read I’ll fall in love with it even more. Gaughen is such a talented writer and I love how she wove together real history into the beloved Robin Hood story. I love how strong and real all of her characters were and I can not wait to see what she comes up with next. This is not a series that you want to miss, though it is probably one you’ll want to have all the books waiting around you before you start reading. Because in case I didn’t mention it the ending of Lady Thief is a killer.

 

 

irishdarkblue

 IR - Lion Heart

Add The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
Divider

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult4 Comments

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. MaasA Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses,
Published by Bloomsbury on 05 May 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Diseases, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Love & Romance, Royalty, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 416
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Assassin's Blade, Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire

Place(s) Traveled To: Prythian – Unnamed Village // Spring Court // Under the Mountain

First Line(s): The forest had become a labyrinth of snow and ice.

Its not a huge secret that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Throne of Glass (my review) but I gave it the old college try and read 3 of the books before calling it quits. And just because I didn’t like one series doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll give up on an author entirely so when I heard that Sarah J. Maas’s newest series was going to be based off of a fairy tale I was intrigued. I do love a good fairy retelling after all. At first I was a little disappointed that A Court of Thorns and Roses was using Beauty and the Beast as its primary base as that is one of the most over done fairy tales in print and on screen. But A Court of Thorns and Roses wasn’t just a Beauty and the Beast retelling it also contained elements of East of the Sun, West of the Moon and Cinderella.

 A Court of Thorns and Roses started off a bit slow for me and I really disliked Feyre’s sisters. To me its not all that realistic for the youngest sibling to take care of the older ones but its a common enough trope and does help add to the Cinderella aspect of the story. I did start to enjoy this one once Feyre moved into the faere world and I enjoyed getting to know Tamlin and Lucian. Lucian is one of my favorite characters in this whole story and I really hope that we get more of him as the series moves forward. I also believed in the friendship and growing chemistry between Feyre and Tamlin and this one totally made my heart ache at times.

A Court of Thorns and Roses Quote

While I did mostly like A Court of Thorns and Roses Feyre did annoy me a lot of the times and I also don’t like the use of the pointless breakup. Seriously, the whole second half of the story could have been avoided if Feyre and Tamlin just talked to each other and were honest. But that would be too easy and you wouldn’t have ‘drama’ so while I wish that things had occurred in a different way I do know that they could have been worse. Overall, I liked the second half of the book but did find that things got a bit repetative at times and am not a fan at the potential brewing of a love triangle to this story. I hate love triangles with a fiery passion and if that happens I will not be a happy reader.

As endings go, this one is relatively mild. I have a pretty good idea on where the next two books in this series will go (assuming that its a trilogy) though only time will tell on if my thoughts are correct or not. I am interested to seeing where things will go but I’m not dying for it as I am with some series that I’ve read. I like the concept of A Court of Thorns and Roses and like most of the characters. If you are like me and you didn’t enjoy Throne of Glass then you might want to consider trying out this book. It has a different tone to it and Feyre, while annoying at times, is a lot stronger and more likable (at least for me) than Celaena.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Court of Thorns and Roses

Add Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt to Goodreads.

Add Cruel Beauty by Rosamond Hodge to Goodreads.

four-stars
Divider

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.

.

irishdarkblue

.

.

.

The Start of Me and You Quote

five-stars
Divider

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Audio Review: Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Audio Review: Not in the Script by Amy FinneganNot in the Script by Amy Finnegan
Narrator: Vanessa Johansson
Series: If Only,
Published by Bloomsbury on 07 October 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Movie Stars, Parents, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Length: 10 hours 36 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Places Traveled To: Fayetteville, Arkansas // Tucson, Arizona // Los Angeles, California // Phoenix, Arizona

First Line(s): “Celebrity Seeker claims that I’m dating Troy again,” I say as I skim the pages of the gossip magazine.

Not in the Script is the debut novel of Amy Finnegan and the third installment in Bloomsbury’s If Only Series. This story focuses on a group of young actors who are pulled together to film a tv show in Arizona and is told from the perspective of Emma and Jake, two of the stars. Normally I really love alternating perspectives in a book because I love to know what the other person is thinking but in this instance I didn’t love it as much as I normally would. This was because there was only one narrator used for the entire book and while Vanessa Johansson was a good narrator I really really really wish that a male narrator was employed for Jake’s POV chapters. Listening to the audio it was sometimes hard to tell which POV perspective that I was in and Johansson didn’t have a ton of distinction with her voices. There was enough to tell who was who once I got used to her style but things would have just been better all around if there was a male narrator in the mix especially since there was such a clear distinction between the two different POVs.

Other than my issue with the narration I did really enjoy this story. I enjoyed the budding romance between Jake and Emma and even liked her interactions with her two other co-stars, Brent and Kimmi. Though I could have done without the initial love triangle aspect because since one of the guys didn’t get a POV chapter you pretty much know who Emma is going to end up with. Another character that features promenantly is Emma’s BFF Rachel and like so many BFFs in young adult books Rachel isn’t much of a friend to Emma. Rachel is bitter and jealous and all sorts of passive aggressive all because Emma became a star and she hasn’t when its something that she wants more than anything. This is a sour friendship and I don’t see why Emma puts up with Rachel’s antics other than the fact that Emma is super nice and Rachel is a link to who she was before she became a big star. If there was a character that I wanted to smack in this book than it was Rachel even Emma’s terrible mother would get a pass over my very strong dislike towards Rachel. *hulk smash*

Not in the Script Quote

My dislike of Rachel aside, I did really like Emma’s character there were all sorts of ways that this girl could have become snobby, shallow and elitist because she entered Hollywood at such a young age. Instead she was genuinely nice and down to earth and cared about those around her. She not only worked a full time job since she was in elementary school but she also finished high school and worked in college classes where she could. She could have coasted on her salary but Emma is the sort of girl who always wants more and knows that she might not want to be a Hollywood A-lister forever. Which is why she and Jake make such a good match

Overall, Not in the Script, was a really cute read and one that has me on the hunt for read-a-likes. If I’d read the print version over the audio than I probably would have read it in just a day or two. Its a great book for when you need something light and not too serious and is just one of those feel good reads.

irishdarkblue

IR - Not in the Script
four-stars
Divider

Friday, September 19, 2014

Review: My Best Friend, Maybe by Caela Carter

Posted by Irish in 2 Stars, Review, Young Adult3 Comments

Review: My Best Friend, Maybe by Caela CarterMy Best Friend, Maybe by Caela Carter
Published by Bloomsbury on 03 June 2014
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Girls & Women, GLBT, Love & Romance, People & Places, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
two-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Bridgewater, New Jersey // Athens, Greece // Santorini, Greece // Crete, Greece

First Line(s): “So, you wanna go?” That’s how she asks me.

 

 My Best Friend, Maybe by Caela Carter is a book that I really wanted to like. I liked the idea of the premise and loved that the bulk of the book was going to be set in Greece. This was also a book that came to me as highly recommend and so I had high hopes for it when I first opened its pages. However, the book that I read was nothing like my expectations and it really strained credibility in how events transpired. It starts off with Colette’s former best friend, Sadie, asking her to join the family on their upcoming trip to Greece. This happens a couple weeks before the trip is supposed to take place and is crazy, out of the blue as Colette and Sadie haven’t spoken to each other in three years. Also, Colette has a trip booked to Cosa Rica (or somewhere, I forget the exact place) to do some missionary work with her boyfriend. The fact that Colette says yes without considering her other trip or what her parents might say just made me go, WTF? And that wasn’t the first time that phrase came out of my mouth during my read of the story.

As a character Colette often comes across as very young and naive. She’s also a very passive character and tends to do what everyone arounds her tells her to do. Sadie says go to Greece and she does. Her boyfriend says he’ll break up with her if she goes so she says she’ll won’t. And then randomly her dad just drops her off at the airport and tells her to go to Greece. Then while there Colette is placed in some awkward situations as Sadie’s family all know the big secret and she is drawn into Sadie’s schemes. And the secret? The whole reason why Sadie just stopped talking to Colette is one that is super sigh inducing and eye roll worth. I swear communication is the source of so much angst within books and this thing is something could have been avoided if the two had just talked to each other. Maybe they still would have stopped being friends, especially with Colette passive ways, but maybe they wouldn’t have.

There was also some romance aspect to My Best Friend, Maybe but it just seemed like an after thought and I never really believed in the various couples that formed over the course of the novel. These romantic moments also had me rolling my eyes as the characters all failed to communicate and let misunderstandings get in the way. Again. Overall, My Best Friend, Maybe was a head ache inducing book because I often stopped reading it in order to bang my head against it or throw it across the room in disgust. Even the promise of a Grecian setting fell flat as it wasn’t much discussed and Colette seemed to spend a lot of time in her room moping. This wasn’t a book for me and I am not sure if I’ll read another Caela Carter book. My Best Friend, Maybe wasn’t a book for me but I do know several people who enjoyed it so maybe you will as well.

irishdarkblue

 

 

 

 

People Who Liked This Book Better Than I Did:

Itching for Books – “Overall, it was a good story and I don’t want to say more about it and risk spoiling it. But it is great writing and interesting themes that will have you thinking. Good job, Caela. I look forward to reading more of your work.”

Book.Blog.Bake – “My Best Friend, Maybe is full of tough decisions and themes. Colette and Sadie both find themselves having to confront their own prejudice and preconceived notions again & again.”

Rather Be Reading – “Despite the heaviness of the conflicts and secrets in My Best Friend, Maybe, I gobbled this one up. Read it in under 24 hours. I had to see how Greece would change Colette, get her thinking on her own without constant pressure from her parents. I had to know if Colette and Sadie’s friendship had anything left after all these years and after this trip. Plus, there’s a sweet romance that felt just right.”

 

two-stars
Divider