Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Book Blitz: A French Prince in Versailles!

Series: The French Girl #3
Release date: June 30th 2014

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Determined to escape her failed pop career and focus on her classical training, Maude Laurent moves back to France and enrolls at the prestigious National Academy of Arts. 
Between balls, charity events, concerts, and navigating in the French elite, Maude has to prove she’s cut out to become a professional opera singer in a world where pop music is regarded with disdain. 
Though she fights it, her past catches up with her when she meets an English teacher who forces her to see a world beyond the safety of the Academy and takes her down an unusual musical journey where the risk is great and the reward uncertain. And when a chain of events bring her and Matt back in the same town, Maude will learn that music can bring people closer or tear them apart forever.

Born in France, raised partly in the United States and in France, Anna Adams grew up loving stories in French and English. 
Anna currently lives in Paris where she studies at la Sorbonne as a Law Student. 
She's the author of the French Girl series for which she is writing the the third installment. 
When she isn't writing, Anna likes to travel in Europe and dreams of going to Asia and Africa.


“I’ve decided to move back to France.”
When she spoke the fatal words, silence filled the room, and Maude enjoyed the savory sense
of satisfaction to its fullest. Her glass was half raised and half full with clear, icy, mineral
water, transparent and brilliant as the truth.
The glass slipped from her fingers, and as easily as crystal explodes in a million pieces, the
shocked silence shattered and the reporters craved for every detail of the decision, details
Maude refused to give.
She grabbed a tissue and rubbed her dark pencil skirt furiously. She’d worn that precise skirt
because she associated it with seriousness. Solemnity was required of her in the midst of a
scandal. Her natural dark hair tied into a tight bun, very little makeup on her smooth chocolate
skin. Just enough foundation to hide that she’d barely slept a wink the night before.
She’d weighed the pros and the cons. But it all came down to one thing: her love for music.
Her passion for classical music had helped her years ago when she lived in a basement in the
north of France. In those days, she’d dreamed of becoming a concert pianist or an opera
Dreams, like nature, change over time. When she’d been discovered by James Baldwin almost
two years ago and whisked off to New York, she’d fallen in love with pop music and her
ambitions grew as did her love for music.
She wanted to show the world that classical and pop could make a wonderful combination.
This ambition had given birth to her first self-titled album. Success, praise, fame. All had
ensued with impeccable timing.

How had her dreams turned into frightful nightmares? She’d lied, unwillingly to be sure, but
the consequences had been disastrous. She’d lost her way.
She thought about this as her uncle led her out of the crowded room, the sound of her heels
muffled by the wool carpeting. His grip tightened around her elbow. Security guards
surrounded her every side, but as they rushed outside to the dark sedan waiting for her, a
crowd had gathered. Maude’s tenacious bodyguards contained a vocal, vociferating mob with
difficulty. They held cardboard signs instead of pitchforks, yet their intentions weren’t so
different from that of angry villagers in medieval times. The focus of public outrage may
differ through time, but its force rarely alters.
“Aren’t you ashamed of yourself? Faking a relationship just to sell more albums?”
She might’ve argued she wasn’t the first to do so and probably wouldn’t be the last. Did it
matter? She’d been caught, no one else had, and that remained the only difference.
The origin of the leak remained a mystery although she had a pretty strong hunch it was
Lindsey Linton, the blonde beauty who saw in Maude an unprecedented rival.
“Duck!” yelled James. Too late, much too late.
A ripe tomato landed in her dark mane and oozed down her neck, leaving a reddish trail of
slime. Maude continued to advance to the car, swallowing repeatedly to push down her
disgust. Her heart stopped when she noticed a girl, not much older than twelve, clutching her
music album. Tears were streaming down her face as she squeezed the album against her
chest, biting her lip with an unsettling fierceness.
Incomprehension, disappointment, accusation. Her eyes were the accumulation of all the
feelings Maude’s scandal had unleashed. The little girl’s expressive distress tormented Maude
more than any of the cardboards or edibles thrown at her. She faltered at the car’s door, one

foot inside, one foot out, prompting a bodyguard to push her head inside, entangling her hair
with the tomato further. His grip hurt, and she caught one last glimpse of the girl before he
slammed the door in her face. A rotten banana hit the window.
It was high time to go, and Maude was keener than ever to escape public fury.
While the pop world no longer wanted her, the classical world greeted her with open arms.
After her performance in Aida a couple of days ago, in which she’d played the devious
Egyptian princess intent on thwarting the purest love of all time, her talent had been
recognized by the National Academy of Arts, the most prestigious French music school based
in the Parisian area.
They wanted her.
No paparazzi, no scandal, just music. Going back to her classical roots. So what if her dream
of bringing classical to the pop world was to be ignored henceforth?
The pop world didn’t want her. And as much as it hurt, as much as the crashing sales hurt and
the dreadful names she was being called pained her (“a conniving little Frenchie”), she
needed to step away from it all. To go back to a peaceful existence in France where no one
had really heard of Maude Laurent anyway. Forget launching her international career.
She would live in blissful anonymity.
That was Maude’s plan. And she honestly hoped everything would go smoothly.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Dream Student by by J.J. DiBenedetto

Dream Student

By J.J. DiBenedetto

Blurb: What would you do if you could see other people’s dreams? If you could watch their hidden fantasies and uncover their deepest, darkest secrets…without them ever knowing?

Sara Barnes is about to find out. She thought that all she had to worry about was final exams, Christmas shopping and deciding whether she likes the cute freshman in the next dorm who’s got a crush on her.

But when she starts seeing dreams that aren’t hers, she learns more than she ever wanted to know about her friends, her classmates…and a strange, terrifying man whose dreams could get Sara killed.

“Dream Student” is the thrilling first installment of the Dreams series.

Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Mystery 

Publication Date: March 18, 2013

Pages: 287

Series: Dreams (book 1)

My Rating: 2.5 stars

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Being a relative newbie to the new adult genre, I had honestly no idea what to expect from Dream Student. The verdict? It wasn't bad, but it wasn't fabulous. It still had a couple Young Adult genre cliches; I had been kind of hoping that I'd escape those, but nope. The plot was not too shabby. This book had enough to keep my interest going, but it never hooked me completely.

The thing that I really liked about this book was the mystery/paranormal aspect. When done right, these genres are super interesting. I didn't see the big 'reveal' of who did it coming. All together, it made for a really enthralling story.

The MC, Sara, at times could annoy me. She describes herself as plain; she thinks her best friend is prettier than she is; she falls head over heels with a guy that she just saw at some club; in short, a lot of the things I don't like about Young Adult protagonists I found in Sara. Bummer. She got better as the story progressed, which was good. Still, she never got a true personality; she was just kind of a tool for the story. That's why I could never really connect with her.

I didn't like the whole insta-love. It seemed like a bit of a copout. I mean, it was extremely quick, and that's coming from someone who has read some absolutley deplorable insta-lovey romances. There wasn't a getting to know the person stage,which I always love, and personally think makes a story much more realistic; Brian and Sara's relationship goes from 'random strangers' to 'soulmates' in basically one night. (as anyone who has watched Frozen knows, falling in love in one night doesn't work.)

Lastly, the book seemed to focus a lot on Sara's relationship with Brian, and it sometimes would stray away from the main storyline. Another pet peeve of mine from the YA genre. I think I could have liked the romance a bit more if the focus wasn't on it so much.

Are there good parts to this book? Yes. Are there bad parts to this book? Yes. I think whether people like this or not is going to be based on what they value in a story. If characters are the most important aspect of a story for them, maybe it's not a book I would recommend. If plotlines are, then maybe it would be. It really depends.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ebooks Vs. Physical Copies

Bear with me as I am trying to start doing discussion posts on this blog, even though in my opinion I am absolutely terrible at them. The only way you can get better is to practice, right? So practice I shall.

For my first discussion post, I'm going to discuss a debate that has been going on amongst book nerds for a little while now; the e-reader vs the physical book.

I personally used to like physical books much more than e-books. But recently, as I have been starting to get review copies, I have been reading on my tablet a lot more, and I have to say--there are perks to a kindle, or a nook, or whatever other e-readers are out there.

The Case for E-readers:
1. More space. My blog is called "My Full Bookshelf Reviews" for a reason; my bookshelf is stacked to the MAX. When I started reading e-books, it was a lot easier on my poor little bookshelf, and on me.

2. You can't lose e-books. I'm so disorganized. There have been times where I cannot find my book anywhere, no matter where I look. But my kindle app has fixed this; first off, if you organize by author or book title, you'll know exactly where the book will be (provided you know the title/author, of course) and even if you just have it sorted by 'recent' you can do a search for the book and it'll pop up! Problem solved.

3. Cheap(er). Some e-books are still more expensive than I personally think they should be, but they are still a lot less expensive than your regular paperback/hardback. Especially when the book first comes out; usually it's around $12 dollars or so for the ebook and $20 dollars or so for the physical copy. And when an ebook is on sale, the deal gets SO much better. I've seen bestsellers for $2.99 before.

4. More selection than a book store. Indie books, classics that are less well-known....you can't really get a lot of these at your local bookstore. You can with e-book sites. And they're usually inexpensive/free, too, which is a little perk.

5. The library selection. As many of you probably know, many states have e-book libraries. As far as I know, they're all powered by Overdrive. Mine has an actually pretty good selection; probably better than my regular library. The wait can be longer than at the regular library (because it's the library for a whole state as opposed to one town) but not always. Sometimes, you can download right away; no need to run all the way to the library, and as soon as you're done with one book you can return without having to wait until you've finished the rest of your library books. Plus, most of these books are not lendable on Amazon itself, so you're getting a much bigger selection than if you went on a regular lending site like Lendle or Booklending.com.

6. Snacks. Ever tried reading a book while eating, say, cheetos? Not pleasant. Not only is it excruciatingly difficult to keep the book open and put food in your mouth at the same time, you end up getting food remnants all over the page; it's both infuriating and gross.


The case for Physical books:

1. The smell This may seem like a pretty silly thing to put as the first reason books are 'better', but c'mon, guys. Who doesn't love the smell of a freshly printed book? (And I personally love the smell of old books just as much, but I think I might be in the minority on that one.)

2. The look. Overstacked as it might be, I love how my bookshelf looks. The pretty books, all sitting there, inviting me to come and read them. I probably love looking at all the covers and spines of my books as much as I love reading them.

3. They won't die on you. My pet peeve of e-readers is you have to charge them; and if you don't, it will pick the absolute WORST time to die on you. Like, the main character is about to get hit by a train or stabbed or something equally awful, and then the screen goes dark and you are left wondering how the heck he/she will get out of that one. I know from experience that this SUCKS.

4. The feel Holding a book in my hand just feels more 'right' than holding a reading device. Maybe this is simply a personal thing, I don't know.

5. I like bookstores more than Amazon. Going into a bookstore will always be more fun and exciting for me than logging on to Amazon. Or B&N Online, or Ibooks, or Kobo. Whatever you use, it will never compare, in my opinion, to an actual bookstore.

6. Amazon lending is a joke. Okay, that's harsh, but I still dislike it. Most big-house publishers don't even allow it, and even if they do, there's a limit of lending once. This kind of gets solved by the library, but some books aren't available at my library, or even on Overdrive for recommending to my library. You can lend and borrow physical books as much as you like.

So, there is my first 'real' discussion post. (I know six versus six was a weird number; it was supposed to be five versus five but I just had to get in my note about snacking.) So, what are you? A e-reader person or a physical book person? Tell me in the comments below!

(ARC) Get Happy by Mary Amato

Get Happy

 by Mary Amato

Blurb: In this poignant, realistic, contemporary YA by a state master list star, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Gayle Forman, a young songwriter builds a substitute family with her friends in place of the broken family she grew up with.

A hip high school girl who loves music, writes songs, and is desperate for a ukelele, learns to her shock that her father did not abandon her years ago and has been trying to keep in touch. She begins to investigate him, only to discover that he has a new life with a new family, including the perfect stepdaughter, a girl who Minerva despises.

Genres: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Romance 

Publication Date: October 28, 2014

Pages: 256

Series: N/A

My Rating: 5 Huge Sparkly Stars!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wow. Can I just say, this book should be called, "Get Readers Happy, Make Readers Cry, Then Get Them Insanely Happy Again"? Because that's what this book did to me. I'm being dead serious.

Seriously, I loved everything about this book. Characters, the plot, the humor...I reread it just yesterday, so I could give it the proper review that it so deserves, and it was just as good.

The characters are really the absolute best thing about this book. I just love them so much! Minerva, aka Min, is funny and sarcastic. She is a musician; I don't even like instruments that much but I loved how Mary Amato portrayed Min's yearning to get a uke. I want to play a ukelele after reading this, honestly, and that says a lot because I am absolutely horrible at playing instruments. Min is not always a 'likeable' character; she does some rather mean things in the book. But she is always a realistic character. I could understand her jealousy for Cassie; (I absolutely hated that girl, she was so perfect I couldn't stand it) I felt her anger for her absentee-dad. Minerva is, in short, the kind of character I wish more books had.

Fin! I usually don't care too much for the 'sidekicks' in books. But oh, how I loved Fin. He was absolutely amazing. I wish he was a real person so that I could be friends with him. He may have been my favorite character; I liked them all, but Fin made me crack up and smile so much.

Hayes, the love interest, is...well, he's not just a stereotypical love interest, and I loved that. The author actually takes time to develop him as a person and doesn't just make him a human Ken doll. Once again, this book has inspired me; I want to make a list of things that I have to do before my birthday.

The story is so good; all aspects of it. Yes, there have been books about kids dealing with absent parents before; but this one is by far the best that I personally have read. Minerva's emotions practically jumped off the page at me. Though I personally haven't dealt with this, the book made me feel like I had.

Min's jobs at Get Happy were so good too. They were really well written; my personal favorite scene was Lindsay's birthday party. I was so happy that I started tearing up the first time I read it.

But the greatest part of this book comes near the end. It was a part that made me tear up with anger and sadness. It played with my emotions so much. The second greatest part of the book? The very last scene. The last fifty-ish pages of this book were six star territory, I swear.

I like that not everything got resolved with a neat little bow. It felt more true to life that way.

This book is definitely one of my favorites. Realistic Fiction isn't even one of my favorite genres, but yet this book was one of the best things I've read all year. So yeah, I'd recommend it.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

(Blog Tour) Blurb + Giveaway: Finding Layla

Finding Layla

By Melissa Turner Lee

Publication date: May 2014

Publisher: AltWit Press

Purchase: Amazon


Blurb: What if the woman you envied most is the person you are destined to become?

In 1994, high school senior David Foster was the lackey and soundboard geek for his best friend's grunge band. During spring break, the band lands a dream gig playing at a motel in Myrtle Beach, SC. David expected all the girls to ogle the guys on stage, but when a beautiful blond "Bond Girl" approaches him and calls him by name, he's shocked to find out she knows more about him than a stranger should.

She even knows about his notebooks and his visions of time travel.

What she thought was a quick time-travel-sightseeing trip takes a surprising turn when she meets the young adult version of the man she'd heard stories about as a child. His fairy-tale romance with the woman he'd loved, Layla, inspired her to accept nothing less than a love just as strong...but hopefully not as tragic. When she won't tell the younger version of him her name, he calls her Layla--and the world as she knows it changes forever.

Melissa Turner Lee holds a BA in Communications with a concentration in Journalism from the University of South Carolina. She has studied fiction writing since 2008, attending various writing conferences and workshops, along with guidance from professional writing coaches. She resides in Spartanburg, SC with her husband and 3 sons.
Blog: http://melissaturnerlee.blogspot.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/melissaturnerlee
Twitter: @MelissaTLee1975

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Anybody Shining by Frances O'Roark McDowell


Anybody Shining

Frances O'Roark Dowell

Blurb: Can one mistake destroy the chance of a lifetime? A girl discovers there are many ways of being true in this magnificent ode to handwritten letters and the shining power of friendship from the author of Dovey Coe, set in the Appalachian mountains of 1920s North Carolina.

One true friend. Someone shining. That's all twelve-year-old Arie Mae wants. But shining true friends are hard to come by deep in the mountains of western North Carolina, so she sets her sights on a cousin unseen, someone who lives all the way away in the big city of Baltimore, Maryland. Three unanswered letters later, Arie Mae learns that a group of kids from Baltimore are coming to spend a summer on the mountain.

Arie Mae loves her smudge of a town; she knows there's nothing finer than Pa's fiddling and Mama's apple cake, but she also knows Big City folk might feel differently. How else to explain the song catcher ladies who have descended upon the village in search of "traditional tunes" and their intention to help "save" the townspeople? But when the group from Baltimore arrives, it seems there just might be a gem among them, one shining boy who doesn't seem to notice Arie Mae wears the same dress every day and prefers to go barefoot. So what if he has a bit of a limp and a rumored heart problem; he also is keen about everything Arie Mae is keen about, and has all the makings of a true friend.

And so what if the boy's mother warns him not to exert himself? He and Arie Mae have adventures to go on! In between writing letters to her cousin, Arie Mae leads her one shining friend on ghost hunts and bear chases. But it turns out those warnings were for a reason.

Genres: Juvenile, Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction

Publication Date: August 26, 2014

Pages: 240

Series: N/A

My Rating: 4 stars

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Reading this book took me back to when I was a little girl reading all the classics that I could get my hands on. There is something about Arie Mae that reminded me of the heroines in those stories--in fact, the whole book felt a bit like that.

Arie Mae is a protagonist you can't help but like. She's quite loveable, adventurous, and somewhat headstrong. I loved reading her letters to Caroline. There were parts of her personality that reminded me a bit of Anne Shirley of Green Gables, (something that probably added to that opinion is that Arie Mae uses the term 'own true friend', which is a bit like Anne's 'kindred spirits.') which made me like her even more.

The book takes place on the Appalachian mountains in the 1920s. I loved how authentic it felt; it was almost as if I had been transported to that time and place. Something that I really appreciated was the fact that the historical aspect wasn't obnoxiously 'obvious'; the author didn't constantly have to 'remind' the reader that, 'HEY THIS IS HISTORICAL FICTION!!!' (If you can't tell, I don't like that very much.)

I know I mentioned the letters before, but I would like to go a bit more in depth about them. They are really fun to read. Arie Mae's voice is so strong in them, and they really were the cherry on top of the cake for this book. The book isn't told completely in letters, but they start and end the chapters. I loved starting new chapters of this book just so I could read a new letter from Arie Mae. They were great.

So, if you like historical fiction, and I would dare to say that even if you don't, I recommend giving this book a try. It's a really, really good story.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Book Blitz: Just Sing

Release Date: 06/05/14

Summary from Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Lily O’Brien has one goal in life—to sing. Her dream is to get into a topnotch college vocal program, but the summer before her junior year, her high school cuts their awarding-winning vocal ensemble. She might as well kiss her dreams goodbye.

When the snobby new neighbors move into their mansion up the hill, Lily is positive summer can’t get any worse, and she’s determined to hate and ignore them—until she meets Aiden.
He’s broken and beautiful, and they become reluctant friends. Through her newfound friendship, she finds the strength to step outside the comfort of her plan and follow her dream.

But when Lily’s family is about to lose their home, she puts her wishes aside and finds the answer to save their generations-old ranch in the last place she expected.

Available from:
Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Kobo

About the Author
I’m René Gilley, a young adult and new adult author. I’m a mom, wife, and breast cancer survivor. A portion of every book royalty I receive will go to support breast cancer patients, awareness, and research for a cure.

JUST SING, my debut young adult book, will be available in ebook and paperback, June 5, 2014. Published by The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House TWCS.

Author Links:

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Book Blitz Organized by:

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The One by Kiera Cass

The One

By Kiera Cass

Blurb: The highly anticipated conclusion to Kiera Cass's #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series, The One will captivate readers who love dystopian YA fiction and fairy tales. The One is the perfect finale for fans who have followed America's whirlwind romance since it began--and a swoon-worthy read for teens who have devoured Veronica Roth's Divergent, Ally Condie's Matched, or Lauren Oliver's Delirium.
The Selection changed America Singer's life in ways she never could have imagined. Since she entered the competition to become the next princess of Illéa, America has struggled with her feelings for her first love, Aspen--and her growing attraction to Prince Maxon. Now she's made her choice . . . and she's prepared to fight for the future she wants.
Find out who America will choose in The One, the enchanting, beautifully romantic third book in the Selection series!
The highly anticipated conclusion to Kiera Cass's #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series, The One will captivate readers who love dystopian YA fiction and fairy tales. The One is the perfect finale for fans who have followed America's whirlwind romance since it began--and a swoon-worthy read for teens who have devoured Veronica Roth's Divergent, Ally Condie's Matched, or Lauren Oliver's Delirium.
The Selection changed America Singer's life in ways she never could have imagined. Since she entered the competition to become the next princess of Illéa, America has struggled with her feelings for her first love, Aspen--and her growing attraction to Prince Maxon. Now she's made her choice . . . and she's prepared to fight for the future she wants.
Find out who America will choose in The One, the enchanting, beautifully romantic third book in the Selection series!

Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Dystopian, Chick Lit

Publication Date: May 6, 2014

Pages: 323

Series: The Selection (book 3)

  Like all good series, The Selection must come to an end. It was a pretty awesome end, though, and for that I am relieved; with all the sad and cry-worthy endings we have gotten from Dystopian trilogies (Divergent, HG, etc.) I was really starting to fear that something terrible would happen. It didn't. I felt the ending was exactly what fans wanted.

I am a bit saddened, though, that I could not give this the five stars I so wanted to give the last book in one of my favorite series. None of these books ever earned a complete five stars from me, all because they had little issues that irked me, and The One was no different; but, I'll get to those later. Right now I am simply going to talk about what I loved.

MAXON. MAXON > ASPEN, okay guys? Okay. The tender, awesome, lovely Maxon moments were enough to make any fangirl squeal with happiness. (I'm not quite a fangirl of Maxon. So I didn't squeal OUT LOUD. But in my head...squealing.) Sure, Maxon isn't perfect. Like, I don't care you are on a Dystopian-royal-Bachelor-type competition, STOP FLIRTING WITH KRISS. I don't care if you 'have to'. Ugh. And just tell America you love her! Because otherwise half the drama in this book would be gone. But honestly, there were a lot of Maxon moments that totally made up for that.

I loved that America stood up to King Clarkson. That's what keeps me not getting totally mad at her; she knows how to awesomely tick the king off. Say what you will about America, but that aspect about her character is something that I really like.

The ending. While there were a few things I absolutely hated about the ending, overall, it was just adorable. Nothing overly horrible happened. No main characters died. (Thank the heavens for that.) Kiera Cass gave the fans what they wanted, and since I am one of the fans, I can say that I loved it.

Now...here be plot inconsistencies and just overall annoyances...

Here's the deal; Team Aspen fans are probably not going to be happy with this book from the get-go. (If there still is such a thing as a Team Aspen fan at this point) America just does not treat Aspen very nicely; she's using him simply as a fallback for Maxon. That, my dear America, is just a CRAPPY thing to do. If you're going to love Maxon, love him and don't have a 'fallback.' Yeesh. Of course, this all works out in the end. You'll see.

Also, and these are where the spoilers kick in, (spoilers, highlight to see) why do the northern rebels back America over Kriss? Kriss is one of their own. Even with all of America's feistiness, I personally think that Kriss would logically be the one they would have backed, no matter what explanation was given in the book.

Plus, Celeste and Anne's death was SO freaking glossed over. These were America's friends; and yet there is barely any grief, and basically no tears. Shouldn't they at least have a moment of silence? Same goes for the king and queen...or at least for the queen. There was a bit more shock for them at least.

Overall, I liked it. The little things that I didn't like are so small that they are basically just a testament to how in love with this series I am. Don't pay them too much mind. If you liked the first two books I am sure that you'll be a fan of this one as well.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Blog Tour Review: Don't Fall

Don't Fall

by Rachel Schieffelbein

Release Date: 2014
Swoon Romance

Blurb: In which a teenage girl endures the over-protective love of her adoptive mother until she falls for a boy who has her wanting to spread her wings, pitched as a contemporary retelling of RAPUNZEL

Seventeen-year-old Anya leads a very secluded life in a house on the edge of town with her adopted mother. She doesn't go to school, but instead has a private tutor. Her over-protective mom keeps her so sheltered that she doesn't even have a best friend.

But Anya doesn't seem to mind. She has her books, her photography, and her daydreams, and would do anything to please her mom. Until one day at the library, the only place she's allowed to go, she takes a picture of a beautiful boy.

Before long she's lying to her mom, and sneaking out late at night to meet Zander. But Zander wants more than a secret romance. If Anya wants to be with the boy of her dreams, she will have to risk her relationship with the only other person she's ever cared about.


Buy Links:

My Rating: 3 stars

Don't Fall is a retelling of Rapunzel, albeit a rather loose one.  In fact, if I was only to pick up this book without looking at the synopis, I don't know if I would pick up on the fact that it is a Rapunzel retelling. However, it was still a nice book.

Anya and Zander's relationship is pretty sweet. I think I would like a boyfriend that constantly takes me out for cupcakes made in a cute bakery. (Really, who wouldn't?)  The only thing is, their relationship starts off a bit 'insta-lovey', which is something that really bugs me in teen books. A lot. Despite how sweet the romance was, I could never quite overcome that fact.

A big reason that I liked Don't Fall is the inclusion of Anya's relationship with her mother into the story. This is one of the details that does read a bit like Rapunzel, except Anya's mother isn't evil, just super overprotective. While Anya and Zander's relationship is sweet, this one takes the cake for being the more engrossing of the two; not knocking on Zander and Anya, but I loved reading about the interactions between Anya and her mother. Plus, once you find out the reason that Anya's mom is so overprotective, the story gets even better.

I also liked that the author made Anya interested in photography. I love photography; I suck at it, but I love looking at it. That was a little treat for me.

I do wish we could have learned more about (spoiler, highlight to see)  Anya's sister, and maybe it would be a bit unrealistic but I would love if they figured out what had happened to her!I can't be the only one who wanted that; I thought like this was one of the most intriguing parts of the book!

If you are reading this because you want a retold fairy tale, you may find yourself a bit disappointed, but if you are reading this because you love contemporary, I daresay that you will enjoy Don't Fall.

About the Author
Rachel grew up in a tiny town in Minnesota. She still lives there, with her husband and their four kids. She coaches high school speech and theater, rides Arabian horses, reads as much as she can, and writes stories.

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Bleak Devotion by Gemma Drazin

Bleak Devotion

By Gemma Drazin

Blurb: Jessica doesn't know how long it's been, only that it seems like forever since she's allowed her feelings to show. Ever since they attacked her city. Monsters which appear human but are void of any expression, and seem bent on destroying all signs of sentiment in others. Their lethal blades shred anyone who shows even the slightest emotion.

After her only remaining friend is killed, Jessica flees the city hoping to find a place where emotions aren't fatal. A place to grieve those she lost and live out her meager existence. When she discovers the world of the emotionless creatures isn't what she believes, the love it leads her to may also be the path to her own death.

Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Romance

Publication Date: March 31, 2014
Pages: 220

Series: N/A

My Rating:  4 stars

A free copy of this book was received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I want to start off this book with my favorite quote from this book. Now, usually, people's favorite quotes are either funny, or something really powerful and/or romantic. This book had a lot of those things, but the one quote that stood out the most to me is a description. That may sound odd, but I think that my fellow readers will understand once they've read the quote:

Maple shelves brimming with books lined the room. Several wide chairs and a rocking chair scattered the inner area with an assortment of end tables accompanying them. Blankets were scattered among the chairs, adding to the cozy feel.

This is about one of the characters' private library. A wonderful, beautiful private library. Even in an alien-invaded, dystopian world, the author managed to put in a library that I would really want to visit. I love it!

Anyway, to the actual review.

I absolutely DEVOURED this book. It's thrilling, romantic, and completely amazing. I hope there's a sequel because I want more of these characters!

There is not a dull moment in this book. Bleak Devotion starts with a very suspenseful beginning and it only goes uphill from there. The plot has a lot of thrilling scenes, but there are also romantic ones. A romance has to be really good for me to like it rather than simply tolerate it, so that means that the romantic scenes in Bleak Devotions are really good.

The world that Gemma Drazin crafted is...well, it would suck to live on Earth if this is what it was like, but I loved to read about it. The aliens start off like zombies meets Wolverine, which is cool, but slowly throughout the book more and more is revealed about them, and they get even better.

I absolutely LOVED Blade and Jessica. Blade was my favorite character, though. I loved how the author portrayed him and his constant struggle to keep from turning in order (spoiler, hightlight to see) to have a relationship with Jessica.  I also really like how Jessica was portrayed; from complete loathing of Blade, to a growing friendship, (spoiler, highlight to see,) and finally to one of the greatest romances I have read about this year!

Even though Monique came in later, she was another favorite character of mine. One of the reasons I would love to see a sequel for this book so badly is because I would like to get to know her (Spoiler, highlight to see) and her cute little baby  better!

My least favorite character was Zach. When I came to the paragraph where Jessica was contemplating a relationship with him, I wrote down "NO NO NO NO" on my kindle notes. He started off as a pretty nice guy, I suppose, I was just rooting for *ahem* someone else over him.

There are some tiny grammar errors in this book, but they are so miniscule I didn't even bother highlighting them. Most people probably wouldn't notice them; I only caught one or two, and if I am being honest, I barely even remember what they were because I was so caught up in the story. Even if you are a stickler for grammar, you probably won't be very upset.

Bleak Devotion, to put it simply, was addictive. I am wishing so hard that we will get some more stories about these characters right now; it's a book I highly recommend!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Middle School: Ultimate Showdown by James Patterson


Middle School:  Ultimate Showdown

By James Patterson

Blurb: Readers get a chance to participate in James Patterson's wildly successful Middle School series in this interactive book featuring more than 80 hilarious anecdotes from dueling siblings Rafe and Georgia Khatchadorian--plus dozens of fun-filled activities!

The Khatchadorian kids are an opinionated duo, and as readers of the Middle School stories know, they don't exactly see eye to eye. But when wild-card Rafe and mostly-straight-laced Georgia go at it, the only thing more fun than their ranting is getting to join in! Their back-and-forth banter on a range of topics--from bullying to cafeteria food to school dress codes--introduces more than 40 writing and drawing prompts and other games, along with room for readers to share their own points of view. (Includes over 200 illustrations.)

Genres: Juvenile, Humor, Realistic Fiction 

Publication Date: March 31, 2014

Pages: 256

Series: Middle School (book 6)

My Rating: 3.5 stars

A free copy was received from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.

When I got a message from James Patterson about reviewing this book, I was ecstatic. James Patterson is one of my favorite authors and this book looked really good. When I began to read Middle School: Ultimate Showdown, I was not disappointed. This is a funny and relevant book PLUS it has some really awesome activities. Plus, you don't have to read previous books in this series in order to understand what's going on, which is especially good for me because I haven't read the first five books in the Middle School series. (Yet, anyways!)

Seriously, it's funny. Yes, the humor is suited for middle schoolers (if that isn't obvious from the title) but there were still things that made me giggle. Rafe and Georgia's sibling banter is hilarious AND accurate.

This book also contains important anti-bullying messages. Not just the 'traditional' school bullying, but cyber bullying as well, which I thought made the message doubly awesome, because I haven't seen a ton of books cover that aspect of bullying.

There are word searches, mazes, mad libs, and much, much, more to add to this fun book. Some of the activities were better than others, but I will say that I found myself doing a lot of them, even though they weren't designed for my age group.

The one thing I didn't like was the number of fart jokes. I get that middle school boys will probably NOT share that opinion, but the girls who read this might. I thought the number of them in this book was a bit much. There were also some burp jokes too, but not to the extent that there were fart jokes.

All in all, this is a book that actually works for both girls and guys. It was funny and a quick read yet still contained some great message. Middle School: Ultimate Showdown will be a great read for ages 8-12. (And even if you're older than that you can still enjoy it!)