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.

Posts Tagged: Authors: S – U

Monday, October 3, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Say It Louder by Heidi Joy Trethway

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Blog Tour, Contest, Review0 Comments

Blog Tour Review: Say It Louder by Heidi Joy Trethway

Blog Tour Review: Say It Louder by Heidi Joy TrethwaySay it Louder by Heidi Joy Tretheway
Series: Tattoo Thief,
Also in this series: Tattoo Thief, Tyler & Stella, Revenge Bound
Published by Self-Published on September 28, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians, Performing Arts, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 246
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Tattoo Thief, Tyler & Stella, Revenge Bound

 

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

First Line(s): I’m shaking as I leave Tyler’s loft.

One band. Five love stories. Too many secrets.

We’ve been waiting a long time to find out how the band Tattoo Thief will deal with drummer Dave’s toxic ex—and the secrets she’s been collecting on everyone. It was worth the wait.

You don’t have to be a fan of the series to love a book that starts fast with a huge wow moment and then unpacks the band’s secrets. In fact, you don’t have to read the earlier books because each book is a different love story about a different member of the band.

 About Say it Louder:

I had a choice—dump my toxic girlfriend, or break up my band.

It should have been easy. But she’s been collecting dirt on all of us for years.

Just when I think I’ve hit rock bottom, a pink-haired street artist rocks my world. They call Willa “the Parking Lot Picasso.” I call her my refuge, my center, my last reason to hope.

When Willa’s life on the streets collides with a sudden spotlight on her art, I’ll stop at nothing to protect her. But when the spotlight turns on my secret shame, she might be my only salvation.

Review

SAY IT LOUDER is the long awaited sequel in Heidi Joy Tretheway’s Tattoo Thief series and it picks up almost immediately after REVENGE BOUND ends. We see Dave at a crossroads with the members of his band and the after effects of choices he makes from that meeting. Though its a decision that’s a long time in coming since readers are well aware of the toxicity that is Dave’s girlfried, Kristina. We also know that Kristina won’t go quietly though I did expect there to be more tension and drama from her. The scenes with Kristina just fell flat for me as did much of this book. Perhaps, because I’d been waiting for it for so long that my expectations were higher than they may have been and as a result SAY IT LOUDER just never really lived up.

As an installment in the series, I liked where SAY IT LOUDER went but just never really felt the heat between Willa and Dave. Willa was intensely dislikable at first and Dave seemed a little wishy-washy. Willa does change over the course of the book but it seemed pretty sudden and I never really bought her change in behaviour. I didn’t really feel the heat between Willa and Dave but as a couple they did work. They definitely worked better than Dave and Kristina ever did. For me, SAY IT LOUDER just didn’t seem to hit the right now. It was well written but it just seemed to lack the heart of the other books and while I liked it I just didn’t love it as much as I’d wanted.

A portion of SAY IT LOUDER was also spent introducing a new character, Ryan, and placing her into the path of the main characters. As with the introduction of Willa in REVENGE BOUND, this was all part of a set up and we learn that there is to be another book in the series, SKIP A BEAT. Which I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. On one hand, I like the idea of another rock star musician book but on the other I was ready for this series to be over. Ryan also wasn’t really developed enough in this book to give a sense on who she is and if her story is worth reading. Although, deep down I know that I will because I do enjoy Tretheway’s writing.

irishdarkblue

 

Grab your copy today:

Amazon ebook | iBooks | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Paperback

 

sil-teaser-2

 

Get the first book in the Tattoo Thief series free (on iBooks, Amazon, Nook or Kobo), or dive in to Say it Louder by downloading a free extended sample for Kindle or all other devices. Check out this excerpt, and then enter the Rafflecopter giveaway to win a signed paperback and special swag.

Tattoo Thief (#1) – https://heidijoytretheway.com/0px%20!important;%22%20/%3E

Tyler & Stella (#2) – https://goo.gl/WrLTff

Revenge Bound (#3) – https://goo.gl/Uq5VTR

Skip a Beat (#5) – releases Jan. 31, 2017

All buy links are at www.heidijoytretheway.com/books

 

About Heidi Joy Tretheway:

heidi-joy-tretheway-author-photo

Heidi Joy Tretheway is a sucker for campfires, craft cocktails, and steamy romance in books and real life. She sings along with musicals (badly), craves French carbs, and buys plane tickets the way some women buy shoes.

Her first career as a journalist took Heidi behind the scenes with politicians, rock stars, and chefs, all of whom inspire her stories. Heidi Joy is currently working on her tenth book from her home in southwestern Washington.

 

Connect with Heidi:

Contest

Enter Heidi’s Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Tour Stops

September 30th                             

Socially Awkward Book Nerd     Review

Barbara’s Book Reveiws                              Excerpt

October 1st                      

Books,Dreams,Life          Excerpt

The Silver Dagger Scriptorium                   Excerpt

Vera is Reading                Excerpt

October 2nd                    

Sassy Girl Books                             Review

A Dream Within A Dream            Excerpt

Quesarasera Book Blog                Review

October 3rd                     

Southern Belle Book Blog            Excerpt

Ticket to Anywhere                       Review

Reading Tigress                Review

October 4th                     

My Favorite Things         Review

SnoopyDoo’s Book Reviews        Excerpt

October 5th                     

Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess           Review

Reese’s Reviews               Excerpt

Bound By Books Book Review    Review

October 6th                     

Romance Book Nerd      Excerpt

EskieMama Reads           Excerpt

October 7th                     

Collector of book boyfriends      Playlist

iScream Books Review

Captain Reads A Lot       Excerpt

Inked in Chapters            Review

October 8th                     

CReeeBookWorld            Review

Renee Entress’s Blog      Review

Author Groupies              Review

October 9th                     

A Brit and a Yank             Review

Reading Between the Wines Book Club Guest Post

bookshelf dreaming       Review

Ashley Book Blog            Review

October 10th                   

The Smut-Brarians          Review

Books to Breathe             Review

Books Need TLC                              Review

October 11th                   

Adventures in Writing    Playlist

Live read and breathe    Review

Novel Addiction                              Review

October 12th                   

Alpha Book Club              Review

Red Cheeks Reads           Excerpt

Wild and Dirty Book Blog             Review

October 13th                   

G & T’s Indie Café            Excerpt

Short and Sassy Book Blurbs       Review

Ramblings From This Chick         Review

The Phantom Paragrapher          Review

Nay’s Pink Bookshelf      Excerpt

 

three-stars
Divider

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

Monday, August 1, 2016

Review: Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Summer of Sloane by Erin L. SchneiderSummer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider
Published by Disney-Hyperion on 03 May 2016
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Pages: 291
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Seattle Washington // Honolulu, Hawaii

First Line(s): The condom must’ve broke. Her words, not mine.

SUMMER OF SLOANE by Erin L. Schneider was one of those books I was really looking forward too because I knew several people who had read it and loved it. This wasn’t an over-hyped book and the synopsis made it seem like it was such a me book that I was eager to give it ago. The start of SUMMER OF SLOANE was fabulous and everything I was hoping that it would be and more. That is until around the 75% mark where this book made a complete 180 and left me wondering WTF I just read. There was so much potential for SUMMER OF SLOANE and there was already a lot of drama in the book without the story going where it went. Those last final bits just pushed it too far over the edge into the ridiculous and had me wanting to toss the book across the room.

Sloane is a likeable enough character who is dealing with a lot. Like seriously, her best friend and boyfriend not only hook up behind her back but they also end up pregnant. Sloane does what any self respecting girl does, she yells at her friend and punches her boyfriend in the nose. Sadly she doesn’t know how to through a punch and ends up breaking her hand in the process. She then plans to spend the summer with her mother and twin brother in Hawaii trying to get over the past and figure out who she is without the two people who meant the most of her. Two people who refuse to give her the space she asks for and who badger her constantly to forgive them and take them back because losing her friendship is too much for them to bear. That’s right folks, the faux-BFF and Ex-boyfriend never really apologize or take responsibility for the shitty things that they do and only care about how Sloane’s ignoring them makes them feel. Oh how I wanted to slap them both a hundred times over!!!

Summer of Sloane Quote

But Sloane is doing ok without them. She has her brother, she has her summer friends in Hawaii and she also meets Finn who may just help her forget her terrible ex. These are the parts of SUMMER OF SLOANE that I loved and connected with. They are the parts that had me rapidly turning the pages as Sloane discovered who she was without being part of the trio that she was back in Seattle. Finn was a great character and I loved how he and Sloane where together. Then SUMMER OF SLOANE took a dive off the crazy train and went from being a great book to me wondering what the heck I just read. There are misunderstandings which happen often enough in books but its how these characters react to them that had me reeling. Rather than talking they make these grand assumptions and then think that cheating is the answer. Because it worked so well when it happened between Sloane’s ex and her faux-bff. *insert eye rolling here*

I get that these characters are teenagers and maybe their actions make sense to that demographic but its not something I was able to get behind. Mainly because I’ve been cheated on in the past and its not something that can ever accept as being a way to solve a problem. SUMMER OF SLOANE is a book that I wish I could stop at a certain point. That part where I was still emotionally invested and loving every word. The ending of SUMMER OF SLOANE was just a mess that almost ruined the entire book for me. I became annoyed at all the characters and the payoff just wasn’t worth much of what came before. I did think that SUMMER OF SLOANE was well written I just wish it hadn’t introduced all that WTF-ery into the story. While SUMMER OF SLOANE isn’t a book that works for me on every level I do see the appeal of it and know of many a person that I can recommend it to as I know they’ll enjoy it more than me.

irishdarkblue

IR - Summer of Sloane

 

Click here to add From What I Remember by  Stacy Kramer and Val Thomas to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Click here to add My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatick to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

 

three-stars
Divider

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Audio Review: Love, Lucas by Chantele Sedgwick

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Audio Review: Love, Lucas by Chantele SedgwickLove, Lucas by Chantele Sedgwick
Narrator: Allison McLemore
Published by Audible Studios on 17 July 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Length: 6 hrs and 47 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Unnamed, Utah // Huntington Beach, California

First Line(s): Everyone tells me funerals help with the grieving process, but I think those people are full of crap.

LOVE, LUCAS by Chantele Sedgwick is a book that I picked up on a whim one day while browsing Barnes and Noble where it then promptly sat on my shelf for a bit. Then one day later on I was browsing Audible looking for a new book to listen to and noticed that they had LOVE, LUCAS so I decided to use one of my credits to download a copy. From a listening point of view I really enjoyed this one. This was the first time that I think I’ve listened to Allison McLemore and I thought that she did a good job bringing Oakley and the rest of these characters to life. From a wishlist standpoint I do wish that there was a male narrator to read the letters written for Oakley by her brother Lucas but overall I really liked how this one play out. I also found myself listening to LOVE LUCAS whenever I could and managed to get through it in just a few days time.

The plot of LOVE LUCAS though is where things kind of go sideways for me. LOVE LUCAS is one of those books that reminds me a lot of an ABC Family (sorry Freeform) or Lifetime movie. Which doesn’t make it bad but it doesn’t make it great either and yet there is something addictive about it. Oakley annoyed me as she was just filled with so much angst. I get that she was grieving so I can give her a little bit of leeway but it just got to be a bit much for me over the course of the story. However, I don’t think that this will bother others as much. I also think that if I’d read my print version of this book that her angst wouldn’t have seemed as great. There is just something about listening to a book that really highlights the words in a story. As a reader, your forced to slow down and to really pay attention as to what is being said. So little things can something become bigger than what they really are.

Love Lucas Quote

I enjoyed the plot of LOVE LUCAS and liked how Oakley worked through her grief. Although the timing seemed off on some things. I also found LOVE, LUCAS to be repetitive, always giving same info several times but treating as if it was first time we’d heard it. I get some repetition in a book but this just seemed excessive. But again this could just be more noticeable (re: annoying) to me because I listened to the story instead of reading it. Like I said above though, I really did like this audiobook and would recommend it in that format but if your book pet peeves are similar to mine then maybe try it in print as these things might be more muted.

LOVE, LUCAS is a quick read. I got lost in the story when I was listening to it and I do plan on reading more from Sedgwick. This is a book that reminded me in a lot of ways of TWENTY BOY SUMMER and I think that while it has sad undertones is a book that makes for a good summer time read. LOVE, LUCAS is a book that isn’t really about grief but rather how does one move on from losing someone you love so much. Its a bittersweet journey but its ones that I am glad that I took with Oakley.

irishdarkblue

IR - Love Lucas

Add Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Hold Still by Nina LaCour to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
Divider

Monday, April 18, 2016

Review: Dirty by Kylie Scott

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Dirty by Kylie ScottDirty by Kylie Scott
Series: Dive Bar,
Published by St Martin's Griffin on 19 April 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Lick, Play, Lead, Deep

Place(s) Traveled To: Coeur d”Alene, Idaho

First Line(s): Fuck. I stared at my cell phone, mouth slack in horror.

DIRTY by Kylie Scott is the first book in her new series which is a spin off of her Stage Dive series which I devoured last year and has one of my favorite meet cutes in a book. The chemistry between Vaughan and Lydia is immediate and I just loved reading their story. We first met Vaughan in the Stage Dive series as a member of another band and things are changing for him in DIRTY. His future is up in the air and the last thing he needs is for a woman in a wedding dress to break into his childhood home. But sometimes, just sometimes, the expected things in life end up being just the things you need. Vaughan and Lydia are both at a crossroads at the start of this book unsure where their path will go and by the end the reader is just a puddle of mush because it was just that good of a journey.

While DIRTY is a spin off of another series there isn’t that much cross over between the two and so it can be read independently. This also means that there is a whole new cast of characters that we get to know. They range from the douchbaggery to ones that you know you are going to love and hope that they get their own books. The secondary characters in DIRTY really add a lot of humor and depth to the story and I loved meeting them all and seeing how they fit in Lydia and Vaughan’s story. Not to mention the most excellent dialogue between Lydia and Vaughan…oh how I loved their banter and I often found myself laughing as I read this book.

Dirty Quote

I found it really hard to put DIRTY down once I picked it up and simply flew through the story. I loved every moment of it and found it realistic and fun and it gave me all the heartachy feels that I love. I do think that for all its build up that the ending was a bit rushed. I wish that DIRTY had been just a little longer to give the ending a bit more cohesiveness. Though I do appreciate how there was no pointless breakup in this story. Yes the characters have a conflict and separation (because really when don’t they in a romance book?) but its realistic and heartbreaking and also necessary to get that HEA conclusion that we readers long for.

If you are a fan of Kylie Scott then you are going to love DIRTY and if you’ve never read her before then this is a great book to start with. I’m eagerly awaiting the next book in the series, TWIST, and can’t wait to see who will be featured in that story. I hated leaving this world so its wonderful to know that I’ll be able to get back to it again soon as the series continues. I also still want to set fire to one of the characters (ok maybe two) cars but I trust that my girl Lydia will enact her revenge on them by finding a happiness that they can’t even begin to imagine. Lydia is fierce and I think she’ll be as loved by readers as she is by Vaughan and you won’t want to miss meeting them both.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Dirty

Add Built by Jay Crownover to Goodreads. (Click here for my review & an excerpt.)

Add Listen to Me by Kristen Proby to Goodreads.

four-stars
Divider

Monday, April 4, 2016

Review: Revived by Samantha Towle

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Revived by Samantha TowleRevived by Samantha Towle
Series: Revved, Book 2
Also in this series: Revved
Published by Self-Published on 12 July 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, People & Places, People of Color, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Sports & Athletics
Pages: 312
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Revved

Place(s) Traveled To: Manchester, England // Sao Paulo, Brazil // London, England // Banbury, England // Northampton, England // Budapest, Hungary // Stavelot, Belgium // Monza, Italy // Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

First Line: Two pink lines.

REVIVED by Samantha Towle is the companion book to REVVED (my review) and stars a character that we briefly meet in that book, playboy racer Leandro Silva. Leandro is a rival of Carrick in REVVED but after an incident that happens at the end of that book the two end up becoming really close friends which means several cameos. Leandro’s lady love is a woman named India who is a therapist, a single mum of a teenager and a brother whom I adored. I’m usually not a fan of kids in books but I did like India’s son and how he interacted with all the characters, especially Leandro. Leandro meets India because she is his therapist (*scandalous*) as he deals with some residual PTSD. There is an instant attraction between them but they keep things professional as any sort of relationship is verboten.

I liked how in REVIVED, India and Leandro built up a solid friendship during their therapy sessions and how once they both realized that their feelings were too strong to ignore they broke off the professional portion of it. Giving the formulaic breakup in a romance a whole new twist. They also didn’t become an item right away and spent several months apart as India was afraid that he liked her because she helped heal him and he was respecting her wishes. (Oh sweet, adorable Leandro how I loved you!) Leandro is by far a favorite character of mine even if I didn’t find REVIVED as addicting to read as REVVED. And I think that was because of India and some of the things that happened because of her job. For while a relationship between them is not allowed when they are therapist/patient if that relationship is severed and enough time has passed then they can embark on a romantic path without risk of India losing her licence. At least, here in the US, as I did ask a therapist friend of mine.

Revived Quote

Even though there were things in REVIVED that bugged me, overall, I did like this story. I loved Leandro’s and India’s relationship and thought they had some pretty solid chemistry. I loved how Leandro reacted with pretty much everyone and I just adored this bad boy that was a bit meh on in REVVED. I liked who he became around India and I liked who she became around him. I enjoyed how he interacted with her son and acted as a father figure for in addition to his Uncle Kit. REVIVED was a fast read and I was sad when it was over. I liked this world that Towle created and have missed it since I finished this story.

If you like sexy, redeemable bad boys and the smart sassy women who love them then I think that you’ll like REVIVED. This book can be read separately form REVVED but I think knowing REVVED and Carrick only adds to this book. While REVIVED isn’t a perfect book its makes for a great beach/escapist read. I enjoyed this world and the characters and hope that Towle will write other books with some of the secondary characters. I’d love to see Kit get a happily ever after along with some of the others. Definitely worth picking up.

irishdarkblue

IR - Revived

 

Add Flat Out Sexy by Erin McCarthy to Goodreads.

Add Play by Play by Jaci Burton to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
Divider

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Review: Play On by Michelle Smith

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Review: Play On by Michelle SmithPlay On by Michelle Smith
Series: Lewis Creek,
Also in this series: Game On
Published by Spencer Hill on 21 April 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Sports & Athletics, Young Adult
Pages: 258
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Game On

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

First Line(s): Forget Friday night lights – in Lewis Creek, South Carolina, its baseball or bust three nights a week.

When I first heard of PLAY ON by Michelle Smith I knew that it was a book that I had to read. I am a sucker for a good contemporary romance and the early buzz on this one was high which worried me a bit as well because we all know how hyped up books and I get along. But unlike some of the mega blockbusters out there this was a quiet and steady buzz that really peaked my interest. Then once I picked up PLAY ON I found that I couldn’t put it down. At under 300 pages this was a quick read and a fun way to spend a couple of hours. I liked the world that Smith created and I loved the depth of all of her characters. I also have to admit that I wasn’t prepared for this book to be told in entirely Austin’s POV. I’m used to alternating POVs or a contemporary romance to be told only through the girls eyes so it was kind of refreshing to only see Austin’s side of things.

And oh what a sweetie Austin was! A true southern gentleman through and through who loved his momma and who just dripped southern charm. It was easy to picture someone with a strong southern accent reading this book and I really wish there as an audio version available to do just that. Austin was adorable but not without his flaws. He was sweet and stubborn and like with many other characters I’ve read about there were times when I just wanted to shake him. I loved how he was with Marissa and how they were together as they first became friends and then something a little more than that. I also like how PLAY ON wasn’t just a straight boy meets girl contemporary and how there were deeper issues at play.

Play On Quote

For a small book, PLAY ON contained so much within its pages. Smith crafted an amazing world with an eclectic cast of characters. PLAY ON is  story about baseball and school and depression and friendship. Its about first loves and making mistakes and then learning how to overcome obstacles. Its a book that made me laugh at times but one that also hit me right in the feels. Its a realistic story and I just got lost within its pages. I fell for all of these characters and I’m so happy that we’ll be returning to this world in GAME ON (goodreads) because I hated to let them all go. The summary of this one really doesn’t do it justice for all that there is in this book. Each page reveled something new and that ending…oh it was a good one.

PLAY ON is the sort of book that I’d love to see as a TV Show and its a book that will totally appeal to all those who love and miss Friday Night Lights. This book wasn’t perfect but it hit all the right notes with me at the time that I read it and I’m able to ignore all of its flaws. It gave me those heart achy feelings that I love and stayed with me long after I closed the final page. This is a book that I strongly recommend so if its not on your shelf or ereader yet then you should fix that using the handy dandy links provided above. Then come back here and tell me how much you loved it and how you are longing for Eric’s story too, because really, who doesn’t love a book with a bad boy?

irishdarkblue

IR - Play On

Add First & Then by Emma Mills to Goodreads. (Review coming soon.)

Add On the Fence by Kasie West to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
Divider

Monday, August 10, 2015

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review1 Comment

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. SchwabA Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Series: A Darker Shade of Magic,
Published by Tor Books on 24 February 2015
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Death & Dying, Dystopian, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Friendship, Historical, Mystery & Detective, Parallel World, Politics & Intrigue, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Witches & Wizards
Pages: 400
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To:
Red London: Arnes
Grey London // Windsor // Eton: England
White London: Makt

First Line(s): Kell wore a very peculiar coat.

Not long ago my Twitter was all a buzz with VE Schwab’s A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC and even now, months after its release, there is still a lot of chatter about it. Since I love a good fantasy I decided to give this one a shot and was immediately intrigued by the blend of magic and parallel worlds. On its surface, A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC, seems like the perfect book for me but I found it incredibly easy to put down and difficult to pick back up again. When I was reading it I was absorbed but it was fleeting and when I had time to think about it something about the story just fell flat for me.

While I get that this world is new(ish) and so there is a lot of set up to be done I found it to be very repetitive with its content. There was no reason for all to be resaid over and over and over it again. It got old and frustrating and I would find myself skipping some paragraphs just to get things moving along in the hopes that new facts would appear. Only not much happened for most of this book. Again I know that there is a lot of set up to be had to set the rules of these worlds that Kell finds himself traveling through but it was slow and boring and suffered from too many POVs. That’s right, there was that dreaded headjumping that I really can’t stand in a book. I don’t mind when perspective shifts in a book but I do take exception when its for a paragraph or two and into random heads on a one off basis just to make it easier to move the story along. This just frustrates me to know end and I know it made me roll my eyes and sigh with every new instance.

Darker Shade of Magic Quote

There was also a mystery element to A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC that I found to be really predictable and while I don’t always dislike a story for its predictableness it does make things more interesting when things aren’t so in your face obvious. Especially when the characters seem to actively turn a blind eye to things that are crystal clear to the reader. The characters themselves were all a bit two-dimenstional. There was noting super special about any of them and I often found myself wondering why I should care about what they were doing or the trouble they were getting themselves in. Not to mention the forced love interest between Kell and Lila and what could be a potential love triangle forming for the next book. #blergh

Despite all of this though I really didn’t dislike A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC but I didn’t love it either. I’m in no rush to see what happens next and am on the fence on if I’ll read that book or not. For me, this story is forgettable and there is nothing that really sets it apart from other stories. Though I do think that with a little fine tuning it could be a story with a most excellent premise. I think that maybe this read was just another instance where I let myself get pulled into the hype and as such had higher expectations for it than I should have. As such, I found A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC to be more of a mediocre read and didn’t quite live up to my expectations.

irishdarkblue

 

 

IR - Darker Shade of Magic

 

Add A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris to Goodreads.

three-stars
Divider

Monday, June 29, 2015

Audio Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Posted by Irish in 4.5 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Audio Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire SáenzAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Narrator: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on 09 April 2013
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Family, Friendship, GLBT, People of Color, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 7 hours and 29 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads

Place(s) Traveled To: El Paso, Texas // Mesilla, New Mexico // Tuscon, Arizona (1987-1988)

First Line(s): One summer night I fell asleep, hoping the world would be different when I woke.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. All I knew was that when I was looking for readalike recommendations for Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda (my review) this was a title that was mentioned often. As I was in need of a new audio and the BPL had a digital copy to borrow I took it as a sign and requested. I then quickly feel head over heals for Aristotle Mendoza and Dante Quintana. Ari is a loner and so he doesn’t know what to make of Dante when he approaches him and offers to teach him to swim. Ari tries to push Dante away but its not long before the two share an unbreakable bond. The narrator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, made for a perfect Aristotle and I think that he captured Ari’s voice perfectly. Miranda got all of Ari’s angst and inner turmoil as he tried to figure out his place in the universe.

Aristotle and Dante is a great coming of age story as the two friends grow up in the late 80s in that odd in-between state of no long boys but not really adults either. There is lots of confusion and struggle as they try to become their own person even as their parents don’t always want to let them go. Aristotle and Dante is a lyrical read and Miranda’s narration just really brings the words of the story to life. And the words that make up this story! Oh my stars, Sáenz writes such a beautiful story that I just wanted to quote ALL THE THINGS because almost every line had some meaning or resonated with me in some way. That beautiful prose along with Miranda’s excellent narration helped give me all the feels with this book and even now, just thinking of the story, it makes my heart ache in that way that I love.

Aristotle and Dante Quote

At its core, Aristotle and Dante, is a book about friendship as well as a book about identity. Its easy to forget the struggles of being a not-quite-adult but Sáenz does an amazing job of capturing that time in a person’s life. I loved Ari and hearing his inner thoughts but where this book shines is in the richness of the language and the secondary characters. Ari’s parents, Dante, and all the others really flesh out this story and bring it to life. When listening, you are immersed in Ari’s world and you become part of the story. I didn’t feel as though I was an observer I felt like I was right there in this world and I hated when it ended.

Aristotle and Dante isn’t a perfect read and there were times when I felt it was a bit disjointed but overall this was a story that I fell in love with. Its a book that I wished was longer so I could spend more time with this amazing cast of characters. Its also a book that I rushed out and bought a physical copy of and immediately re-read all of my favorite bits almost before the last word of the audio was spoken. This was a book that may not appeal to all but for me, I was in the right time and place for it and it was everything I didn’t know that I wanted in a book. This book. Oh this book. I really don’t know what else to say but if you trust my opinion, even the tiniest bit, then you need this book in your life.

irishdarkblue

IR - Aristotle and Dante

 

Add Anything Could Happen by Will Walton to Goodreads. (Review coming soon) – Similar themes of searching for ones identity.

Add Simon vs, the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.) – Similar themes of friendship, character voice, and feels.

 

A book and a song

Every so often I stumble across a song that just makes me think of a book. This song often makes for a good soundtrack to the story in some way. For Aristotle and Dante that song is I Lived by One Republic.

Divider

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Mini Review: Please Remain Calm by Courtney Summers

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Mini Review: Please Remain Calm by Courtney SummersPlease Remain Calm by Courtney Summers
Series: This is Not a Test, Book 2
Published by St Martin's Press on 20 January 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Ghosts & the Undead, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Short Story / Novella, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 96
Format: eBook
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Some Girls Are, All the Rage, Violent Ends

Place(s) Traveled To: Cortege, unknown // Fairfield

First Line(s): The little girl limps to our car.

Please Remain Calm is a followup novella to Courtney Summer’s 2012 zombie novel, This is Not a Test (my review.) It picks up immediately where This is Not a Test leaves us and gives us all a hint on what happens to Sloane and Rhys. Unlike This is Not a TestPlease Remain Calm is told from the point of view of Rhys and I think I liked the story a bit better as a result. I liked being in Rhys’s head and seeing things through his eyes. He’s a little more hopeful than Sloane and even though the world around them is falling apart he still holds out hope for humanity and for life.

The journey that Sloane and Rhys take in this novella isn’t an easy one. Life outside the school is rough and fraught with dangers similar to those that you see if you watch The Walking Dead. And like with the tv show its more other people that you have to worry about than the brainless zombies that infest the world. There is danger around ever corner and Courtney Summers excels at keeping the reader on the edge of ones seat. Nowhere is safe and the uninfected are far and few between and there is no telling who you can trust.

For a short novella, Please Remain Calm, feels longer and while I wished that there were more pages I was satisfied with how things played out. Even if I didn’t always agree with the choices that Summers made. But that’s what I like about a Courtney Summers book. You never know what she is going to do and she does often take the unexpected path. She could give everyone a happily ever after and tie everything up in a neat little bow but that isn’t real life and that isn’t what I expect from a book by Summers. I like that her books are raw and emotional. I like how they always make you feel something. If you liked This is Not a Test then you will have to read this book. Its not enough, its never enough, but its something more than what we had before.

 

irishdarkblue

Please Remain Calm Quote

three-stars
Divider