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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Review: I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Review: I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul AcamporaI Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora
Published by Roaring Brook Press on 20 May 2014
Genres: Adolescence, Books & Libraries, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Emotions & Feelings, Espionage, Friendship, Middle Grade, Social Issues
Pages: 176
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: West Grover, Connecticut (and surrounding towns)

First Line(s): My mother’s wheelchair doesn’t fit through the bathroom door, and I don’t know what to do about it.

I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora is the story of three friends who want to honor their teacher by creating buzz for his favorite book, To Kill a Mockingbird. Which is part of their summer reading but not all of their classmates are as excited for it. So these friends create a campaign that makes it seem like copies of To Kill a Mockingbird are being stolen and it quickly goes viral. And more importantly, the less copies that are available the more that people want to read this book. I Kill the Mockingbird is a quick read, engrossing, humorous, and a love letter to the written word. Its a powerful story of friendship and a great example of the what can be done when a group of people set their mind to something.

While I didn’t always agree with the things that Lucy and her friends did I must admit that I loved their initiative. I loved their drive and got sucked into their campaign. Its also an example of how powerful social media can be as what started off as a small and local thing quickly spread across the nation. The whole campaign quickly takes on a life of its own and Lucy and her friends must try to figure out a way to end things before it all gets impossibly out of control. This can lead to some great discussions with middle grade readers about proper and responsible use of the internet told in a way that’s easy to see and understand in Acampora’s book.

I Kill the Mockingbird is also a great coming-of-age story as the three friends learn so much about themselves and the power they have to invoke change in the world. I Kill the Mockingbird is a cute and quirky read and one that people of all ages can find something to love. Its a book that will make you remember the love you feel for To Kill a Mockingbird or make you want to pick up the book if you’ve never read it before. Its a book for book lovers and while it does seem a little forced at times I enjoyed my read of it. I liked Acampora’s quirky writing style and realistic characters and I look forward to reading more books by this author.

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Mockingbird

three-stars
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Friday, July 18, 2014

Review: Breathe, Annie, Breath by Miranda Kenneally

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Breathe, Annie, Breath by Miranda KenneallyBreathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks,
Also in this series: Jesse's Girl, Defending Taylor
Published by Sourcebooks on 15 July 2014
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Girls & Women, Health & Daily Living, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 306
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Jesse's Girl, Defending Taylor

Place(s) Traveled To: Thousand Oaks, Tennessee

First Line(s): As a kid, I had the worst mile time ever.

Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally is the first book of hers that I’ve read and I almost didn’t read this one as I didn’t realize that it was part of her Thousand Oak series. But after consulting with Twitter I was told that you didn’t need to read the others in order to read and understand this one so I decided to give it a shot. Breathe, Annie, Breathe was a quick read but I did find it hard to get into at first as I just couldn’t connect with with the main character. She was just all over the place with her emotions and seemed to transfer them onto others as well. I get that she was dealing with grief but she seemed to take it to the extreme. I know that everyone experiences grief differently but it just seemed over the top and took me out of the story. And if the grief was real then I really wish that she was in counseling for it as she wasn’t coping very well and as a result made some poor life choices.

I also didn’t really connect with Jeremiah either because he was such an ass in the beginning. He and Annie randomly hook up at the very beginning of the book and then he ignores her and doesn’t treat her very well. She then mopes about until he has a change of heart and then she is on the way to repeating her behavior with her dead boyfriend. In that, she wants to wrap her entire life up, in, and around his to the exclusion of all others. So for the first half of this book I really just wanted to smack these two characters up the head sideways. But then, they both seem to have this epiphany and the whole tone of the book changed for me. All of a sudden I began to like both Annie and Jere more and became invested in their story.

I experienced those heart achy moments that I so love experiencing in books and it just made me happy. So for me, the ending is what made this book and I was glad that I had stuck with it. As I said it was a quick read and there were moments of it that I liked. I liked how Annie grew over the course of the book because I don’t think I would have been able to finish it if she hadn’t. I admired her drive to want to do something for her deceased boyfriend even though I didn’t really agree with her reasons for it. I also liked how over time it because less what he would have wanted and more about what she wanted to do for herself. And while I didn’t always like Jere I do think that he and Annie compliment each other.

I enjoyed Kenneally’s writing and the world that she has built so I will probably read the previous books in the series. I think it will be interesting to see how they all connect with one another. Breathe, Annie, Breathe will never be a favorite book of mine but in the end I don’t think that my time was wasted in visiting Thousand Oaks.

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three-stars
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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Review: Far From You by Tess Sharpe

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

Review: Far From You by Tess SharpeFar From You by Tess Sharpe
Published by Disney-Hyperion on 08 April 2014
Genres: Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Girls & Women, GLBT, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Harper’s Bluff, California

First Line(s): It doesn’t start here.

 

When I first heard about Far From You by Tess Sharpe I wasn’t sure if it was a book that I would like. I wasn’t sure I wanted to read a story about addicition and recovery so I didn’t think much of until. That is until one night in NYC where I was getting tipsy with Andi from AndiABC’s that she talked it up so much and was such and book bully for it that I decided to give it a go. (Also, how nerdy are we to be talking about books in a bar?!? But that’s just how we roll.) So I made a library request for it right there and then and fates had it waiting for me not long after I got home. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from Far From You by from the opening lines until the end this book had me hooked.

I loved Sophie’s voice and how Sharpe crafted her story with bits of the past woven into the present day narrative. I loved following the clues of how Sophie ended up where she did and wondered what really happened to Mia that night. While I did figure out the mystery fairly early on, the knowing didn’t detract from my enjoyment on how this book was written. I found myself whizzing through the pages and loving how Sophie changed and grew as a character despite all the gossip about her. I liked how she stood up for herself and stood her ground even though no one believed her story. I liked how she fought to uncover the truth about her friend and most of all I liked how this one barely had a romantic story line to it.

All to often in books these days the story is bogged down because the main character gets distracted by a boy. She almost forgets herself to angst over her love and everything else takes a back seat. In Far From You, Sophie could lose herself into a romance but she doesn’t. She admits she has feelings but she doesn’t act on them in memory of her friend. Her focus is on Mia and even though Mia is dead Far From You is very much a friendship story. We get to know Mia thorugh flashbacks and your heart aches that her life was ended before it ever really began.

Its hard to belive that Far From You is a debut novel and I am so glad that Andi pushed me to read it. I loved Sharpe’s writing and am looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next. I would love to see more stories set in this town but I also love how this was a standalone novel. Its a great story and one that I don’t think that you’ll regret reading. Its not perfect but its well told and I love it because its slightly flawed. If you’ve been hesitating about Far From You then stop because you don’t know what you are missing.

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four-stars
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Blog Tour Review: Until We Fly by Courtney Cole

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

Blog Tour Review: Until We Fly by Courtney Cole

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Blog Tour Review: Until We Fly by Courtney ColeUntil We Fly by Courtney Cole
Series: Beautifully Broken,
Also in this series: If You Leave, Until We Burn, Before We Fall
Published by Lakehouse Press on 07 July 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, New Adult, Social Issues
Pages: 227
Format: eARC
Source: Inkslinger PR
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: If You Leave, Until We Burn

Place(s) Traveled To: Angel Bay, Illinois

First Line(s): I’m dreaming of bullets and blood. Like always.

Until We Fly by Courtney Cole is the latest book in her Beautifully Broken series and involves Brand, BFF to Gabe and Jacey’s punching bag, and Nora who has always admired him from afar. When Brand is called back to his hometown after his father’s death the two become reacquainted when he rescues Nora from a terrible accident during which he’s hurt. She then defies her controlling father in order to look after him during his recovery. Now I’ve read some horribly parents in books but Nora’s really take the cake, not so much her mother who just lets her husband walk all over her, but her father. Her father is a vile human being and creepily controlling of every move his children make. That Nora is strong enough to defy his dictates in taking care of Brand is nothing short of a miracle. Though I do admire that she does she does break very easily where he is concerned. Especially when uber-creepy William is also involved. Man just thinking of him makes me physically shiver!

In some ways, Until We Fly is Cole’s darkest novel to date and while the two main characters aren’t as damaged as previous books Cole enters a whole new territory of WTF-ery in this book. When certain things were revealed I may have gasped and done a double take at where Cole took the story and was then a little disappointed when she pulled back from it. When Cole did was a complete sucker punch to the gut and then she then neatened it up and made it a little less than what it was and placed a bow on top of it. Yes, it was still traumatic for the character based on what was thought to be true at the time but for me I almost wish that Cole had left things as initially written because its something that some people have to deal with as horrific as it is to think about.

Other than that moment though I did mostly enjoy Until We Fly there are standard romance story tropes that are tossed in with no new spin to it so they felt a little stale. But overall, I thought that Brand and Nora had some real chemistry and I liked them together. I think that Nora benefited from Brand’s strength and Brand benefited from her love. Brand had a horrible childhood and where he could have let it affect him more than he did and acted more like a Pax or a Dominic (ie been a total asshole) he didn’t. Brand was a good man and Nora was a good woman and together they made each other better. They both had issues from the past to deal with but they did’t let their past control their present.

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UNTIL WE FLY Synopsis:

Ex-Army Ranger, Brand Killien, has always been good. A good friend, a good soldier, a good everything. The problem is, good hasn’t gotten him anything but a crushed heart. So after licking his wounds, he decides to move on.  And moving on doesn’t include being good anymore.Bad sounds so much better. Jaded and detached, Brand is determined to never open himself up to anyone again.  It’s not worth the pain.  Instead, he becomes closed, hardened, aloof.But then he’s called back home for a family emergency… a family that he is estranged from.  A family that he put out of his mind a long time ago for very good reasons…reasons that involve secrets and pain.  Reasons he tried hard to forget. But home is where the heart is, and it just might be where Brand finds his again. Why?  Because home is where Nora Greene is. A fiery, red-headed spitfire, Nora is a thing from his past.  A beautiful, feisty thing.  When Brand left, she was away at boarding school. But she’s back now. And she wants Brand, scars and all.

UNTIL WE FLY on Goodreads

And don’t miss the other Beautifully Broken, now available:
IF YOU STAY
IF YOU LEAVE
BEFORE WE FALL

Praise for the Beautifully Broken Series:

“I loved If You Stay. Like, really really loved it. The kind of love that kept me reading until 2:40 am and left me crying, smiling, devastated, and elated. The best kind of book love.” – Andrea, The Bookish Babe

“Beautiful, raw, gritty, emotional and breath-taking are just a few of the words I can find to describe this book…reading this book was one of the best experiences I have had.” –Amanda, Globug and Hootie Need a Book

“In If You Leave, we continue the wild ride Courtney Cole started us on in If You Stay. This raw story of heartbreak and hope solidifies Cole’s standing as a rising star in hot contemporary romance.” — New York Times Bestselling author of Down to You, M. Leighton

“Another raw, gritty masterpiece with a sexy-as-hell Army Ranger to swoon over.” — K.A. Tucker, author of Ten Tiny Breaths

UWFly14

ABOUT COURTNEY COLE:

Courtney Cole is a novelist who would eat mythology for breakfast if she could. She has a degree in Business, but has since discovered that corporate America is not nearly as fun to live in as fictional worlds. She loves chocolate and roller coasters and hates waiting and rude people.

Courtney lives in quiet suburbia, close to Lake Michigan, with her real-life Prince Charming, her ornery kids (there is a small chance that they get their orneriness from their mother) and a small domestic zoo.

Links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter SignUpPinterest

 

Blog Tour Schedule:

July 8

Live Read and Breathe-Review Only
Smut Book Club-Playlist and Review
Love Between the Sheets-Review Only
Tome Tender-Review Only
Wolfel’s World of Books-Review Only

July 9

The Geekery Book Review-Facebook Chat
Ramblings From This Chick-Review Only
Reviews from Tammy & Kim-Review Only
Krista’s Dust Jacket-Review Only
The Book Hookup-Review Only
Novel Seduction-Review Only
Anna’s Book Blog-Review Only

July 10

Three Chicks and Their Books-Excerpt and Review
Lovin Los Libros-Review Only
Carver’s Book Cravings-Review Only
Reading in Black & White-Author Interview & Review
2 Bookaholics-Review Only
A Life Bound by Books-Review Only

July 11

Readers Live A 1000 Lives-Review Only
Red Hot + Blue-Excerpt & Review
Book Addict Mumma-Book Trailer And Review
Prisoners of Print-Review Only
Red Cheeks Reads-Review Only
BookAngel Booktopia-Review Only

July 12

Little Read Riding Hood-Review Only
Made For You Book Reviews-Review Only
Book Club Sisters-Guest Post
Aria Kane-Excerpt
Jodie’s W.I.N.E. List-Review Only
Imagine A World-Review Only

July 13

Stuck in YA Books-Review Only
Book Bitches Blog-Excerpt & Review
A Nook for Books-Review Only
Bibliobelles-Review Only
Zili in the Sky-Excerpt
Southern Belle Book Blog-Review Only

July 14

Madison Says-Author Interview & Review
Steamy Guys After Dark-Review Only
Ever After Romance-Review Only
Literati Book Reviews-Excerpt & Review
Books over Boys-Guest Post
Mustreadbooksordie-Review Only

July 15

Starbucks N Books Obsession-Review Only
Nose Stuck in a Book-Guest Post & Review
Always YA at Heart-Character Interview (Nora) and Review
I Read Indie-Review Only
Dirty Girl Romance-Review Only
Book Freak-Review Only

July 16

Ticket to Anywhere-Review Only
Stuck in Books-Character Interview (Brand) & Review
Read That-Review Only
Tyhada Reads-Review Only
Schmexy Girl Book Blog-Excerpt and Review
Summer’s Book Blog-Review Only

July 17

The Unofficial Book Fan Club-Dreamcast & Review
I Love Lady Porn-Review Only
Bestsellers & Beststellars-Guest Post and Review
Holly’s Red Hot Reviews-Review Only
Books, Booze and Beyond-Review Only
City of Books-Review Only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

three-stars
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Monday, July 14, 2014

Review: Before We Fall by Courtney Cole

Posted by Irish in 2 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: Before We Fall by Courtney ColeBefore We Fall by Courntey Cole
Series: Beautifully Broken,
Also in this series: If You Leave, Until We Burn, Until We Fly
Published by Forever on 03 December 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Erotica, Love & Romance, Movie Stars, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
two-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Chicago, Illinois // Los Angeles, California

First Line(s): The slap can be heard all the way down the beach.

After reading the novella, Until We Burn, I wasn’t sure that I would like Before We Fall by Courtney Cole as I really didn’t like the “hero” Dominic Kincade. But I am a sucker for reading a series in order and since I wanted to read Until We Fly I had to get through this one first. Before We Fall opens up with a completely pointless prologue and then continues into one of the most eye-rolly stories I’ve read in awhile. First their is the personality change in Jacey who is now insisting that Brand is, and always has been, like a brother to her which contradicts some of her behavior in If You Leave. If anything Brand was the one with sibling-like thoughts but here he’s a love sick puppy that Jacey uses for validation. Then there is Dominic who is even more of a douche in this book than he was in Until We Burn although at least this one is more cohesive in its writing.

Dominic was an ass but he made no secret of it. Jacey on the other hand would act like a girl proud of her sexuality but then blush like a virgin at the littlest hint of a sexual comment or if anyone looked at her. She’d change in her room, with the door open, and then get mad and self-rightous when Dominic watched. If you don’t want someone to watch you change….CLOSE THE DAMN DOOR! Jacey finacial struggles also seemed a bit off since her brother and seemingly everyone else around her was well off but then if she didn’t struggle with money should wouldn’t need Brand to rescue her at every turn. Oh how I wanted to slap her silly with how she knowingly used that man’s feelings for her to get what she wanted. She was manipulative and selfish and just a whole different character from how see seemed to ne in If You Leave.

The plot was also a bit ridiculous and the cryptic mytery of Dominic’s past almost made my eyes roll out of their sockets. The fact that he was so traumatised by it at 18 that he turned crazy sexual deviant? Um….really?!? I’m not buying it. Not to mention that this story was filled with the same coversations, over and over and over again. I’m pretty sure the story could have been half the length that it was if those repetitive moments. If this one wasn’t on my ereader you can be sure that it would have been sent across the room on more than one occassion. And yet, I did keep reading it. I am not sure why I was able to read this disaster of a book until the end but once I got to that epilogue I really wish I hadn’t. Because really?!?! Are you freaking killing me with putting in this paranormal-eske bullshit into a contemporary series where none existed before?!? I…just…can’t.

For me, Until We Fall, was a train wreck of a book and one that I wish I had skipped. The Beautifully Broken series is written in such a way that they can be read independantly of each other and I really regret wasting my time on this one. If you like your sanity, and your book tastes are similar to mine then you might want to avoid this one.

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People who liked this book better than me

Vilma’s Book Blog: “The story culminates in an emotionally charged series of events as truths are revealed and life-changing choices must be made. I really felt the emotions the story evoked, and especially for Dominic, I really wanted him to find his path to healing.”

Schmexy Girl Book Blog: “Honestly, this book is such an emotional read. There are tears, lots of them. And aching hearts, and tightness in the chest. You feel all of that. These characters are so well written. You instantly feel their connection, their bond, their emotions, their pain, their suffering. And just when you thought the tears are done and they couldn’t get more damaged, there are more tears.”

Prisoner’s of Print: “The powerful emotions that run off each page had my heart and head all twisted up and kept me completely invested in Jacey and Dominic’s story. I couldn’t put this book down.”

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two-stars
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Friday, July 11, 2014

Review: Her Dark Places by Kelly Killarney

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, New Adult, Review1 Comment

Review: Her Dark Places by Kelly KillarneyHer Dark Places by Kelly Killarney
Series: The Sutton Files,
Published by Self-Published on 03 June 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, New Adult, Social Issues, Survival Stories, Thrillers
Pages: 175
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Unnamed, New Hampshire

First Line(s): I always knew it was Saturday morning when the elevator smelled like puke, piss, and sex.

Her Dark Places by Kelly Killarney is a new adult thriller set on a college campus. Its a books of secrets and snarky moments and one that I enjoyed. It focuses on Jasmine “Jazz” and how she attended Sutton University with a purpose and getting an education there is only a small part of that. Because Jazz is smart and she could have gone to any other school, in fact, her plan was to attend college with her boyrfriend Graham. But things happened and plans changed and now Jazz is looking for answers. She doesn’t want to make friends but she finds it impossible to keep her roommate Audrey at arms length. Especially when Audrey acquires a stalker so Jazz makes it her mission to figure out who is tormenting Audrey.

Along the way Jazz meets two very opposite guys, Brennan and Sean. Brennan is the all-American good boy that every girl says she wants all while falling for the Seans of the world. Sean is an aloof, loner that has bad boy written all over him. He is also the Veronica Mars of Sutton University in that he’s an amatuer private investigator and for reasons known only to himself he decides to help Jazz and Audrey. So there is the love tirangle, or rather the love square since Jazz is attacted to both Sean and Brennan but she also has a boyfriend. But rest assured, dear readers, while there is attraction there is no cheating involved. Things go as they so often do when teens leave high school for college, they change and grow appart and find it hard to maintain a long distance love. Its not impossible to stay together but its rare when it does. So SPOILER Jazz and Graham eventually break up and she is free to focus on the two very different boys in her life. And even though Her Dark Places is the start of a series she does make a definate choice at the end.

Yay for choices!!

I really hate when a girl waffles between two guys for the length of a series especially when its usually pretty obvious who she is going to end up with. So while this one does have a bit of a love triangle it does have an ending.

Overall I did enjoy Her Dark Places but I felt that the ending was a little rushed and that it glossed over some things that shouldn’t have been. I do feel that the series shows promise as I enjoyed the main characters and do plan on checking out the next book once it becomes available. I liked how the main mystery was resolved in this book that but that there are threads still open for another one, mainly that secret that Jazz has, which you do find out during the course of reading Her Dark Places. In a way Her Dark Places is a bit like season 1 of Veronica Mars where you have the mystery of the week and then the overall mystery of who killed Lily Kane. Jazz is no Veronica but I liked her and I liked her friends and I hope to see more of them all as the series continues. 

If you are looking for a New Adult book that is a bit different from your angsty, broken character storites that currently flood the market then I suggest giving Her Dark Places a try. The writing and pacing of the story are solid and while I did figure out the mystery I think there is enough there to keep those who aren’t avid mystery readers guessing.

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three-half-stars
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