Another FANTASTIC installment for the Iron Fey Series

By: Julie Kagawa
Genre: Awesomeness (Although some people might call this YA fantasy)
Rating: PG-13 for some kick-ass kali
Spoilers: I’m gonna try not to
Coffee Beans: 5
Cover: Pretty good. Not particularly enjoying the half naked Ethan, since nowhere in the book does he show up that way (I’ve chosen a different cover to post for this review)
Instalove Factor: zilch
My Personal Recommendation: Please sir, can I have some more?
Opening Line: My name is Ethan Chase. And I doubt I’ll live to see my eighteenth birthday.
Favorite Line: So many
Disclaimer: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for this honest review

Publisher’s Summary

Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs–including his reputation–begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world–the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

 

My Review

Awesomeness, awesomeness, followed by some brilliance and more awesomeness.
The end.
For realz, though. Julie became one of my favorite authors after reading The Immortal Rules. I own the Iron Fey series now, but haven’t read them yet, and when this book came up for grabs from NetGalley, I jumped all over it (and probably mauled a couple people in the process).
Oh, keep in mind that this review is based on only the Lost Prince and not the Iron Fey series (as I haven’t read those yet). So any spoilers as to the first series are completely unintentional.
This book picks up 15 years after Megan has left to become the Iron Queen in Nevernever. Ethan has been trying for that long to forget the Fey even exist and live a normal life. Sucks to be him, because that ain’t happening. The fey know he can see them so the follow and torment him where ever he goes and as a result he’s switching schools constantly and just started another one, midterm.
Enter school newspaper editor and resident cutie, Sally, and resident Halfbreed, Todd. Of course Ethan tries to keep himself away from those two, but it’s a losing battle. The Fey know he’s there and start to harass him. Maintaining as low of a profile as he can, he discovers that outcast fey and halfbreeds are disappearing from the real world, and no one knows why.
When mysterious and deadly Fey come after him and Sally, Ethan has no choice but to escape with her to the Nevernever. And so begins his journey.
This story really is kickass. Like I said, having not read Megan’s story, I really had no idea about the world or Ethan’s history. But that didn’t matter. This book was a standalone story and everything was explained to me outright or in context ad was easy to pick up on.
As always, Julie’s plots are detailed and sound, her world real, and I’m particularly in love with her dialogue and the fact that all her MCs know how to fight (which comes in handy in her books, obvs.). It always feels like I’m there with the characters and I want to hurry up and get to the end to know what happens, but then am always so sad when it’s over.
For sure pick up a copy and read it for yourself. If you’re a fan of awesome writing, good plots, engaging characters, and the Iron Fey/Julie Kagawa, this one will be another book added to your Favorites list.

Sultry with a Twist

Sultry with a Twist (Sultry Springs, #1)Sultry with a Twist by Macy Beckett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: Sultry with a Twist (Sultry Springs)
Author: Macy Beckett
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (October 2, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1402270364
ISBN-13: 978-1402270369
Pages: 320

May June July Augustine (June) is ready to live her dream. She has saved for eight years to purchase her own specialty bar and she just handed over the check to her business partner, Esteban. There is just one thing standing in her way, she found out there is a bench warrant out for her and she needs to go back to Sultry County, Texas to clear it up.

Growing up, June lived with her grandma Pru after her parents died in a car accident, her best friend Luke Gallagher moved in with Pru when he was twelve and his mother left him. June and Luke were inseparable while growing up and although Luke always felt they were best buds, June fell in love when they were teens. Right before graduation June and Luke spent a night together by the pond, Luke immediately felt horrible and was afraid they damaged their friendship, then to top it off the sheriff found them and took them back home to Pru. Pru was upset and there was a huge fight which prompted both Luke and June to leave the day after graduation. June never returned, always afraid of what Pru would say and thinking Luke never wanted to see her again while Luke returned five years ago. He spent some time in the army and after a brief marriage he came home and started a construction business.

When June goes before the Judge in Sultry County to take care of the warrant, he tells her that he will dismiss the charges if she does community service for one month. Much to her dismay the Judge releases her to her Pru and they start to mend their relationship. June has the choice to help at the church or a non-profit home project company, turns out that Luke founded the non-profit Helping Hands and his friend Trey runs it.

At first June selects the non-profit work however after several mishaps Luke asks her to work at the church. June is a walking disaster and several things happen that end up pushing Luke and June closer together. Yet Luke is not sure he is worthy of accepting anything from June, Pru knowingly tells June that she needs to teach him how to love.

I loved this book; a second chance romance that was wonderful. It was funny with laugh out loud moments; Luke and Trey have a hysterical relationship as best friends. I also cried in several places as Luke pushes June away several times unable to believe he is worthy since the harm his mother caused when she left was damaging. The chemistry between Luke and June was wonderful and believable and I loved their connection. They grew up as best friends and you could sense the way they felt about each other. The dialog was great between all characters; I just loved Pru and Trey. This was Macy’s debut book and it was a very enjoyable story.

View all my reviews

Loving Lady Marcia –

Loving Lady Marcia (House of Brady, #1)Loving Lady Marcia by Kieran Kramer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Loving Lady Marcia
Author: Kieran Kramer
Publisher: St Martin’s Press (August 28, 2012)
ISBN-10: 125000988X
ISBN-13: 978-1250009883
Pages: 368

Lady Marcia Sherwood is the daughter of a Marquess and at fifteen she is in love with Mr. Finn Lattimore. Along with Finn’s brother Duncan (Lord Chadwick) the three embark on a journey to Dublin to meet up with Marcia’s parents. After arriving they spent two weeks in Dublin and on the night of her sixteenth birthday, Finn and Marcia share an evening together and she goes to sleep believing she is in love.

The very next day Finn is shipped off to American and when Marcia receives a letter from Finn she believes that Lord Chadwick sent him on purpose to keep them apart. She is devastated and vows to never fall in love again. Five years later Marcia is the headmistress of an all girls school and although loves her job she still has feelings for Finn.

While in London shopping for some new items for the school she meets Lord Chadwick again and still believing the worst of him gives him the cold shoulder. As she is visiting her parent’s home, she gets the news that Lady Ennis the benefactor of the school is firing her and Marcia is now without a job. Her parents are ecstatic as now they can plan for a Season and find her a husband.

Duncan has been cleaning up problems that Finn has caused all his life, including raising his son that Duncan has grown to love. Duncan has always been attracted to Marcia and was just starting to court her when Finn comes back and Duncan finds out just what else he will have to fix that Finn damaged years ago. Duncan must convince Marcia of the type of man Finn is as well as letting her know how he feels for her.

This was a fun book and the fact that it uses all the characters from the television show The Brady Bunch is even better. You can see the characteristics of all the family members we grew up with including the housekeeper Alice. Marcia and Duncan were delightful and the chemistry was convincing. There are laugh out loud moments as well as tender ones dealing with Duncan’s adopted son. There are several tense moments when Finn again causes trouble and they wonder if he will forever be a pain in their lives. Very enjoyable read and I can’t wait for Greg’s story.

View all my reviews

Offside – Hockey and romance

Offside (The Barker Triplets, #1)Offside by Juliana Stone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Offside
Author: Juliana Stone
Publisher: Juliana Stone
ASIN: B009JWLKEU
Pages: 207 e-book

Billie-Jo Barker has come home after an injury cut short her hockey career in Sweden, all she ever wanted to do was play hockey so she is not sure what she wants to do with her life. Unfortunately she comes home to an angry sister, a father that is slowly losing his battle with Alzheimer’s and Logan a man she has loved all her life who still thinks of her as a kid.

While getting her skates sharpened, Billie-Jo hears about a Friday night hockey league and decides this might help with her feelings about her career. However sighing up for the team does not go over well with the town, it seems most on the team do not want a girl to play no matter how many medals she has to prove how good she is. Logan is the only one that thinks it will be fun to have an ex-pro on the team and champions her cause. Not only is she stirring up trouble in this small town, she also has to deal with her sister Bobbi-Jo who has been angry for years, feeling like she was left behind when her two sisters took off for greener pastures and she has had to deal with their father.

Logan and Billie-Jo are also dealing with issues, he has a past with the other triplet, Betty-Jo and spent a steamy night with her back in high school and as Billie-Jo and Logan get closer he is not sure how to say anything to her. And Billie-Jo is not sure how to tell Logan she has loved him forever. They become close as they battle the town’s bullies who are making Billie-Jo’s life a nightmare trying to get her to quit the team.

Offside is a wonderfully fun story that turns a town upside down when some want to challenge the status quo. I loved the characters, Logan and Billie-Jo had great chemistry and I truly enjoyed the secondary characters. The other two sisters both have stories coming up and there is bound to be more angst and romance as the sparks fly between them and they try to repair their damaged relationship while finding their own true loves.

View all my reviews

Boomerang Bride, a romance filled with humor and sadness that grabs you from the first page

Boomerang BrideBoomerang Bride by Fiona Lowe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: Boomerang Bride
Author: Fiona Lowe
Publisher: Carina Press (digital) (August 8, 2011)
Publisher: Carina Press (paperback) (December 18, 2012)
ASIN: BOO5CRQ4KG
ISBN-10: 037300205X
ISBN-13: 978-0373002054
Pages: 258 digital 352 paperback

Marc Olsen is back in Hobin, Wisconsin for his annual Thanksgiving visit with his sisters and mother. He left Hobin as soon as he did not need to be responsible for his siblings. His father died early and his mother needed help with his sisters therefore Marc grew up well before his time. He is a successful architect in New York and helps his family with money if needed. As he arrives on Main Street, he notices a young woman dressed in a wedding gown staring at an empty building holding a cake, something you may see in New York, but definitely not here in Hobin.

Matilda Geoffrey has traveled half way around the world to surprise her fiancé. Thinking it would be funny to show up in her wedding gown, she drives to his address where she finds an empty storefront and not much else. As she ponders what to do, a man walks up to help her find her way to the church not realizing the wedding is a month away. As they consider the possibilities of the missing groom, Matilda convinces Marc and the townspeople that she has it all figured out and drives away. In reality, she has lost everything and does not have enough money to make it home, so she needs a plan.

Marc drives to his sister’s house and immediately realizes that something is very wrong, the house is a mess and nothing looks ready for a Thanksgiving party that Lori usually throws each year. She confesses that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer and is scheduled for surgery in the morning. Marc is the only person besides her son, Kyle she has told and she makes Marc swear not to tell anyone, and then she asks him the one thing he does not want to do, help her after surgery until she is well enough to take care of herself.

Marc and Matilda meet again after she spends the night in her car, realizing they could both benefit from helping each other they make a business arrangement. Matilda needs to make some money to get back to Australia and Marc needs help with is sister and her son.

I loved this story, a stranded bride from Australia, a man who does not want commitment even from his family get together to solve several needs in their small community. Matilda finds she loves the feel of belonging, something she has never had and feels the close knit community welcome her with open arms. Marc wants to leave town as soon as possible, however still feels the responsibly and guilt of trying to help his family. The chemistry between Marc and Matilda is wonderful and their relationship believable as they struggle to find what each wants out of life, at first very different yet in reality they both want the same thing, love to include family and friends. There are several laugh out loud moments as Matilda’s Australian humor comes out as well as several tears shed at the touching moments that come when family and friends cope with many issues. The secondary characters are just as fun and the romance between Lori and the small town cop, Brian just added to the main story.

View all my reviews

Drain You blog hop & giveaway is here! RIGHT HERE! RIGHT NOW!



This is so exciting! I have the AMAZING opportunity to be a part of the Drain You blog tour!! Yay! And guess what comes with that? All sorts of wicked cool things. 🙂 Like my review (obvs), the book trailer, prizes (at the bottom), and finding all sorts of other cool blogs participating.  I mean, with a summary like this: 

 
“Summer. The 90s. The rich, sun-bleached neighborhoods of the Los Angeles canyons. Enter Quinlan Lacey, a cool, bored, sarcastic, sexy 17-year old with a dull part-time video store job and a mild case of teen ennui. That is, until she meets the alluring, River Phoenix-esque James, and realizes the hills are alive with the undead. Inspired more by the early, dry L.A. short stories of Bret Easton Ellis than the current crop of serialized vampire fiction, the supernatural grunge romance, Drain You, narrates the headaches and heartbreaks Quinn undergoes in her quest to stay sane and cool and in love and alive.”

How can you say no, right? So, let’s get started, shall we?

My Review:

Rating: Strong PG-13. Open door sex scenes, but no really details given

Coffee Beans: 4/5

Favorite Lines: So I loved Libby, but in a vintage way. Like a childhood blanket, or my dad’s mac and cheese. A deep love, but not one you tap into on a daily basis. (Ebook, pg 25)

Okay, no big deal, I’d just call Stiles…at his underground lair, where he most likely had Libby chained to a radiator and she was loving it. Stella gave me the number, which contained not even one six, let alone the three in a row I’d expected. (Ebook, pg 76)

…I drew on so much eyeliner I looked like a sobbing drunk raccoon on a tequila bender… (Ebook pg 134)

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased review.

I admit, when I read the first chapter, I wasn’t that impressed. The voice was a little off and the writing didn’t grab me. But I kept reading and figured out that this was pretty much awesomeness. It instantly reminded me of The Lost Boys, but now. It also reminded me of the 90’s (which I loved) and made me want to move back to SoCal and remember the good times I had while growing up.

There were multiple things that impressed me with this book:
  • The dialogue. Snappy, witty, snarky, and funny, Bloom’s dialogue is just downright good. I was there, it was real, and it carried the story much more than just narrative alone
  • The MC’s voice. Quinn has a dark sense of humor and is so quick with everything, and her attitude of “whatever” is the icing on the cake. There were so many funny lines that were added that perfect certain something, which made the entire reading experience that much better
  • The MC. Quinn, for me, is very real. She cares deeply about those who mean something to her. She doesn’t know what she wants when it comes to boys. She’s shallow and selfish at times, but she has drive. And I didn’t find that off-putting at any point. Mainly because she gets called on it (several times) and she knows it’s the truth. But we’ve all been there. Admit it.
  • The relationships. There are several different, unique relationships Quinn is a part of, and they all come to life so realistically. Her absentee parents but their very functional relationship. Her coworker and complicated relationship-er, Morgan. Her casual best friend, Libby. The snobby girl from school, Naomi. James, the hot brother Quinn never knew existed. The equally hot other brother and instant best friend when crush disappears, Whit. And the evil twins, Stiles and Sanders. They all work brilliantly.
  • The package. I’m assuming this is going to be a series. Depending on how well this one goes. I thought it was a tight, well-written story encapsulated into one book. The ending was finite but there are definitely LOTS of questions that still need answering.

There was one thing that didn’t sit well with me, though.

  • Instalove. I’m not a fan of this. It’s unbelievable and really jars me out of a story. Yeah, we get Quinn thinks James is hot and she’s majorly crushing on him and they have to get together for the sake of plot progression. But getting as close and invested as they did—and in only a week—is a little hard for me to swallow. (update: after reading it for a second time in prep for this tour, I want to amend this statement. The second time around, I got a better sense of who Quinn was and the intensity of her life. And while there still was Instalove present, it wasn’t nearly as obvious as before. That is all. Thank you.)
  • The MC sleeps. A lot. Which isn’t bad, I guess. But she’s always tired and sleeping. *Shrugs shoulders* Just thought I’d mention that.

If you’re a fan of the 90’s (and if you aren’t, you should be), if you liked The Lost Boys (and if you didn’t, shame on you. Watch it again and change your mind), and if you enjoy dark humor, pick up the book. You’ll probably be pretty entertained.
Pick it up and decide for yourself. 🙂
And yes, this is another vampire book. I love them so much

And Publisher’s Weekly (<–link) loved it, too!:  “Bloom debuts with a languid, stylish novel that reads like a love letter to cult vampire flicks like The Lost Boys, the work of Francesca Lia Block, and Southern California in the 1990s.” Want to buy this book and devour it like I did? Check it. BN Amazon

Because book trailers are all sorts of awesome:

Plus, Bloom’s really kinda some sort of AWESOME:

“Bloom’s first short story “Love And Other Catastrophes: A Mix Tape” was featured in Story Quarterly and selected by Dave Eggers for inclusion in The Best American Nonrequired Reading: 2003 (Houghton-Mifflin), which he curates annually. Bloom is the founder of underground dance label 100% Silk (profiled here in LA WeeklyAND the producer/lead singer of the band LA Vampires (written up in The Guardian as well as Pitchfork and Fader). Her next book will be published through HarperTeen.


M. Beth lives on the east side of L.A. where she indulges in raw fooding, magazine subscribing, thrift shopping, Sunday matinee’ing, and ladies book clubbing.” 

And now, what we all really want. FREE STUFF!

Okay, wanna know what you could win? Here it is!

  • 5 copies of Drain You signed by Bloom
  • $50 credit at Wasteland (Quinn’s favorite store. And it IS pretty awesome if I do say so myself)
  • Pages from Quinn’s notebook (pics below)
  • 10 Drain You bookmarks handmade by no other than Quinn herself (probably while she was hanging out at the video store with Morgan)
  • 10 90’s mixtapes curated and created by Quinn (Guys. For real. This is my favorite prize above all. Do you know how COMPLETELY AWESOME the music was in the 90s???? It was, like, epicly awesome!)

Now, for the winning part. Simply fill out the raffle copter below. That’s all. Easy-peasy life is breezy. (I had to do a link rather than a widget because I’m still trying to figure WordPress out and I’m not html savvy…yet…Hopfully I can get someone WAY smarter than I am to help me out very soon…)

That’s all I have for you today, but seriously, pick up the book and read it. I loved it and think you will, too. Also, make sure to enter and win all the prizes you can. And check out all the other blogs this hop will be making an appearance on. Peace my friends!



The next stop on the tour (copied from Mundie Moms blog):

October 18th
October 19th
October 20th
October 21st
October 22nd
October 23rd
October 24th
October 25th
October 26th
October 27th
October 28th
October 29th
October 30th
October 31st
–Me

This book failed for me in what it was trying to do

Andy Squared

By: Jennifer Lavoie

Genre: YA (Coming of Age, LGBT)

Rating: Strong PG-13 for closed door sex scene

Spoilers: Heck to the yes. I have to in order to show you why this book failed for me

Coffee Beans: 1 (for the cover)

Cover: Awesome Sauce (if it were a book set on the coast)

Instalove Factor: Not present

My Personal Recommendation: Skip, please

Opening Line: “The neon yellow ball rolled to a stop in front of Andrew.”

Favorite Line: “Andrew left to make the call, standing outside of the living room but close enough for help should his father, say, climb through the phone to kill him.” (Pg 142 of ereader)

Disclaimer: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for this honest review

 

Publisher’s Summary

Seventeen-year-old twins, Andrew and Andrea Morris, have always been close. They share everything—from their friends to a room—and they both enjoy star positions on their high school’s soccer teams. All’s right with the twins…or is it?

When new student Ryder Coltrane moves from Texas to their small New York town, he spins Andrew’s world upside down. All of Andrew’s past relationship troubles begin to make sense and his true feelings start to click into place after Ryder comes out to him. His friendship with Ryder turns secretively romantic, but secrets, they soon find out, are hard to keep. Once rumors start to fly, so-called friends turn on them, and the boys’ relationship turns into a bomb about to explode. But Andrew never expected it would be his own twin, Andrea, holding a lighter to ignite it.

 

My Review

I’m giving you all fair warning now: I did not like this book (although there are many others out there who’ve given it 4/5 star reviews who would vehemently disagree with me). In order to show you why I feel this way, there will be spoilers in this review. Which, to me, doesn’t matter as I won’t be recommending it to anybody.

So, if you really liked this book and you don’t want to get upset by what I have to say, or if you’re a sensitive person and don’t want your feelers hurt, I wouldn’t blame you for turning away, but if you’re sticking it out, good for you.

Oh, where do I begin?

How about my first impressions? Those were positive. I read the description and coupled with the cover, I thought this was going to be a pretty cool book. Here’s why:

  • The cover’s sweet (although it looks like it belongs more on a book about a beach than upstate, small-town New York)
  • There are twins involved. I’m a twin. I write books about twins. I. Love. Twins. As well as the whole family dynamic and how different it can be
  • The premise sounded really promising and had the potential to grab a very specific audience
  • I thought this could really be a splash in the book-reading world and could maybe be one of those “Well, Andy had the strength to do it, so maybe I can too” kind of experiences for any kid struggling with a situation similar to the MC’s
  • It was a short read; on my Nook, only 180 pages

Okay, now down to the nitty-gritty of where my problems were:

The family factor: I thought the dynamic was unrealistic and it really kind of got under my skin. Mom and Dad are there but not, but when they are there, they’re kind of portrayed as being the perfect parents. Andrea is forceful, belligerent, controlling, and overall a horrible human being. Andrew always mention that he and his twin are BEST FRIENDS but I don’t understand why based on the information I was given in the book. IMO, she’s someone that needed to be ditched at the curb.

The meh factor: This is the most unacceptable of the short comings, especially when dealing with this kind of topic. It’s an important issue. A real issue that carries a heavy impact and to not give it everything it deserves—in the plot, the “lesson” at the end, the writing—is inexcusable. The writing was just meh. The plot was okay, the lessonwasn’t anything powerful, and nothing grabbed me the way I felt it should. Bottom line. The only character I really felt anything for was Andrea and that’s because hate is a strong emotion.

The execution factor: I have noted in my Nook, over and over again: telling. I was told the story, not shown. I wasn’t there. There was far too much narrative that propelled it along. Not enough dialogue (both internal and external) to give me the connection I needed to be invested in Andy’s story. It felt overworked while at the same time, not doing very much. The writing feels “simple”, like it was written for middle-grade readers instead of the high school readers the 17yo characters would attract. Also, I felt like the author was summarizing the scene for us before hand and then telling it to us again through the characters and at times it felt like I was reading a screenplay.

The horse factor: This one’s small, but it’s mine, dang it. I’m a big horse person. Have been since I was about seven. I know a thing or two. Not sure if the author does or not, but when love interest (See, I can’t even remember his name. Oh! Ryder), when Ryder puts Andy in an English saddle THE FIRST TIME HE’S EVER BEEN ON A HORSE, I almost threw my Nook across the room. If you want to know the specifics as to why, let me know and I’ll tell you. But let’s just suffice to say I’ve never seen a first time rider get acquainted with a horse in an English saddle.

(Somewhat connected, I’m a little disappointed that the gay love interest is a cowboy. Is that all anyone can think of because of Brokeback Mountain?)

The coming out factor: Here’s my confession: this is the first book I’ve ever read that had gay characters that weren’t the token “stereotypical” gay guys. So, that being said, I know next to nothing about this genre or what I should expect or what the standard is. So, my following comments may be rendered null and void in light of that confession. For the most part, being gay isn’t taboo anymore, but because my brain isn’t wanting to function fully right now, I’m going to use that word because that’s the closest thing I can think of to get my point across.

These kinds of books frustrate me deeply. It almost seems like quality writing is forsaken because the topic that’s being written about is taboo or “shocking” and therefore it’s okay. It’s not. I think with controversial books, quality is in even higher demand; otherwise it’s just another reason to write it off.

The lack of proper punishment factor: There may be a few of you who don’t agree on this next part, and that’s totally a-okay with me. But I’m gonna say it and say it loud. (If you don’t want spoilers, I suggest you stop reading now).

ANDREA IS A SELFISH IMMATURE (FILL IN THE BLANK) WHO NEEDS TO BE SMACKED UPSIDE THE HEAD BY HER BROTHER AND EVERY OTHER DECENT HUMAN BEING ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET.

Here’s why. New Year’s Eve rolls around and everyone goes to a party in the park. Andrew and Ryder sneak off and share a kiss. Andrea sees them and freaks out. I don’t have a problem with that. I’d probably freak out seeing that, too. She demands to be taken home, refuses to sit next to Ryder in the truck (the three of them rode together). Andrew does the right thing and tells her to suck it up and takes Ryder home. All of that is okay.

When Andrea and Andrew get home, Andrea’s pissed and tells their parents everything. Proceeds to badger and verbally abuse her brother, in front of her parents. The mom starts crying, the dad is in shock, Andrea keeps beating the dead horse and Andrew runs away to Ryder’s house to get away from everything.

His parents end up handling everything pretty well , but Andrea refuses to talk to her brother about it, only sparing enough words to notify him that she’s not keeping his dirty little secret and says that everyone has the right to know about him and Ryder and she’s going to tell them.

Witch that rhymes with a B.

I don’t know of any sibling who loves the other that would cause that kind of hurt and spew that kind of hatred. I just don’t. The author did one thing right here: she invoked such a strong emotion from me, I wished Andrea were a real person so I could practice my right hook and upper cuts on her face. (ßWow, see! This is bringing it all the emotion back!)

So, until Andrew’s room can finish getting remodeled (he had been bunking with Andrea), he’s staying at Ryder’s. The first day of school comes and both boys are teased, bullied, and whispered about by classmates and friends. Andrew’s pushed around a bit, but other than that, the first day isn’t as bad as they thought it would be.

The second day, though, takes the cake. Apparently, Andrea had gone up to Andrew’s old best friend (I want to call him Peter, but I don’t think that’s right) and tells him her brother’s secret, that he’s gay and sleeping with Ryder, and to give her brother a hard time and teach him a lesson.

W.T.F.

Seriously? You’re calling a hit on your brother because you don’t like who he is and you feel that he lied to you and betrayed to you because he didn’t tell you the minute he maybe kinda thought he could be gay?????

So, it’s lunch. Peter comes over to the table where Ryder and Andy are sitting. Andrea watches with a grin from another table. And Peter and some other goon start to pick a fight. It’s going down Ugly Ass Shite Road and who steps in? Andrea? Hell no. It’s some other girl, a friend that knows what’s happening is wrong. It’s only after that that Andrea freaks out and says, “Stop it! I only told you to give him a bad time and teach him a lesson!” (And yes, I wrote that in a whiny, annoying voice)

Okay, at this point, any logical and normal human being would be pissed at Andrea tell her to “Get the &%@$ off, you told him to do this. You’re my sister and you told him to hurt me.” Then I’d push past her, tell her she’s as bad as they are and proceed to give her the tongue lashing of a century that she’s due.

But I like to hold grudges. And I still think she deserves it.

And what really makes me mad is that Andrew doesn’t hold his sister accountable for her actions AT ALL. No, I’m sorry. She doesn’t get a free ride because she’s your sister. That fact alone makes her betrayal all the worse. She doesn’t get to say “sorry” and then the two of you get to skip through the snow holding hands singing “tra-la-la-la-la” through fluffy white flakes.

Fail.

Okay, rant over. But I hope I got my point across. Anyway, my standard farewell applies here as well as to all other books: pick it up and read it for yourself. You may feel differently than I did.

But I’m not going to recommend this book to anyone. Ever.

Definitely NOT another Harry Potter

This awesome review was written by my good friend, and reading buddy, Tiff. 🙂 

 

The Casual Vacancy
By: J.K. Rowling
My Rating- 1.5 stars
Spoilers- A few vague ones

Publisher Summary-

When Barry Fairbrother dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…. Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town’s council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations? Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.

My review-

I had high hopes for this book. I love books set in a small town atmosphere. The plot seemed interesting enough and let’s face it, I loved Harry Potter so this was a must read for me because I wanted to see what type of book JKR was going to write post HP. I see so many individuals writing reviews comparing Casual Vacancy to the Harry Potter series, that’s annoying. The author made it clear this is no way associated to HP series. So, the book is destined to fail for you if readers are expecting wizards and magic. It’s a book for adults.

It’s a slow starter. There are a lot of characters. I lost count but I think the book shifts perspective between 16 people. At about 40% I’d say it started to really capture my interest. The story isn’t that exciting, it’s more of a big soap opera. Stop now if you don’t want spoilers.

Here’s why I didn’t like the book. The book portrays the worst in people. Out of all the characters I only could muster liking two or three of them, barely. And the character I had such high hopes for to redeem herself and better her life ends up dying in a tragic, horrible way. In this story there was just the worst in people brought out and it seemed that there was no humanity. We have to believe there’s good in some people right?!

There’s sex, drugs, profanity, murder, rape, pedophilia, and bullying. None of which offend me but it’s a bit much to cram in a small town! The characters are at each other’s throats and the whole town is a bunch of extremist gossips & bullies. The main issue stemmed from the majority of the town council wanting to cut off funding and close a rehab clinic that’s directly linked to several of the characters. The lack of sympathy for others was appalling. There are a few good people and outcomes as a result of the big climax, I’ll give it that.

I can take depressing books, in fact some of the best books are downtrodden because they expose us to things outside our comfort zone and different cultures. But this one was too much. I felt there were too many tragedies crammed into the vast amount of characters in the small town.

So in short it was the lack of humanity, sympathy, goodness in people and the tragic death of a character I’d hope would redeem herself that ruined the book for me.

But, read it for yourself, perhaps you’ll disagree with me. The reviews out there are very much mixed.

An Outlaw Christmas

Image

Linda Lael Miller
Harlequin, 2012

Publisher Summary: Celebrate the holidays with a brand-new McKettrick tale by beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller.

With his wild heart, Sawyer McKettrick isn’t ready to settle down on the Triple M family ranch in Arizona. So he heads to Blue River, Texas, to seek a job as marshal. But in a blinding snowstorm he’s injured—and collapses into the arms of a prim and proper lady in calico.

The shirtless, bandaged stranger recuperating in teacher Piper St. James’s room behind the schoolhouse says he’s a McKettrick, but he looks like an outlaw. As they wait out the storm, the handsome loner has Piper remembering long-ago dreams of marriage and motherhood. But for how long is Sawyer willing to call Blue River home?

As the gray skies clear, Piper’s one holiday wish just might bring two lonely hearts together forever.

My Take:  Since I’m a hard-core Linda Lael Miller fan, I have wondered what would happen if I didn’t like one of her books – but An Outlaw Christmas is another winner. A story set in the 1800’s, where a schoolteacher rescues a wounded man, thereby ruining her reputation, but providentially he turns out to be a cousin of her closest friend’s husband, and someone with whom she falls in love so the ruined reputation is a moot point.

The book is a tag-along to the modern-day McKettrick stories – McKettrick’s Heart, McKettrick’s Luck, and McKettrick’s Pride. So it’s interesting and enjoyable to read about their antecedents. I must be from the south the way I like to connect dots on the family tree.

Ms. Miller simply tells a good story. The sweetness of the characters is not saccharine, but genuine. Piper St. James’ fear of losing her job is one indication Ms. Miller understands the times she writes about. We can snort at the ignorance of the townspeople, but the truth is, it could have been catastrophic. The only drawback was the book was too short, but we can always look forward to her next one.

My Rating:  5 out of 5

An interview with the BRILLIANT Marissa Meyer

Book Addicts – So you’re my first author interview so this is good—you’re nice and friendly

Marissa Meyer – *Laughs*

BA – Great smile so I’m not that nervous

MM – I’m going to give really tough answers, like one word answers

BA – So I did my homework and did a lot of research on other interviews you’ve done so I’m trying to to ask a lot of repeat questions so they may be “unique”.

MM – Okay, because repeat questions, I can roll those off

BA – I know! You probably have canned responses—here you go, copy, paste.

MMWhere did I get the idea? Oh, boy

BA – One interesting thing I read about you is that you is that you murder house plants

MM – Oh, gosh

BA – So do I!

MM – Is that really on the internet?

BA – Yes, it is.

MMLaughs

BA – I saw that, and I was like, a kindred spirit. I cannot keep a house plant alive

MM – It’s terrible, it’s like I always read the tags and they say, Hey, they’re really easy to take care of, and I’m like, No. Like Lucky Bamboo, supposedly you can’t kill it. Oh, watch me.

BA – Your book is, in my opinion, a huge success. Did you ever think that it was going to get this big? And really quickly, too.

MMReally quickly. Um…yes and no. There would be times, because obviously I’m in love with the book, and I’m in love with the series, so there would be day’s I’d be like, Yes! I have something really great going on here, and if I could just get a chance then it could get huge. And then there were days when I’d be writing and I’d be, This is terrible! And No one’s going to like this, and I’m crazy. So it would go back and forth. Everyone always dreams about being, you know, a success and being able to quite their day job and be a fulltime writer, and the idea that it could happen – especially so quickly – no, I didn’t expect it.

BA – Still pinching yourself?

MM – A little bit

BA – So was it any reflection—your querying process – was that any reflection of the success you’re having now?

MM – Yeah, my querying process went really fast. I queried about a dozen or so agents and had offers from three

BA – That’s awesome

MM – That took about two months and then I ended up signing with the first agent that I queried, so, she was my dream agent. I was so excited that she wanted me. And then she and I worked on the submission package for about two weeks and she went out with it on a Friday, and we had our first offer on Monday.

BA – Wow! So you queried with a pretty polished manuscript—like they want.

MM – Yeah, it was very polished, and I also, at that point, had a draft written of book two and three and then book four outlined. And we were able to go to them with the first fifty pages of book two and then really detailed synopses of what was going to happen in the rest of the series.

BA – It’s awesome timing, because right now fairy tales are so big—TV, books, Movies—talk about perfect timing. And the thing I really like about your book, is that you can tell that it is Cinderella, but it’s so…more creative and broad—

MM – Thank you!

BA – You’re welcome. It’s very awesome. And your characters are amazing. There’s not one character that is just a surface character or one-dimensional—to me, anyway, they all seem so 3D. They’re real people. Even Pearl, even though she doesn’t have that big of a role, when she is in there, she really is larger than life. And they’re all like that.

MM – Thank you.

BA – You’re welcome. So, do you do that intentionally, or is that subconscious that you do that? Is it important for you to have big characters like that?

MM – It’s very important. And I find that some characters come very easily. Cinder hasn’t changed that much from the first draft, I always had a really clear idea of who she was. But then other characters, I’ll be writing the first draft, and maybe not really focusing on this, it’s not really a essential part of the plot and I just kind of stick them in there, and later in revisions I have to stop and think, Who is this person really? What do they want out of life? What is their motivation in this chapter? And really make sure that’s coming through.

BA – It does come through really, really well. I’m excited to see the other books knowing that they’re going to be that much and more. So book two, Scarlet, does it pick up where this one left off? I know if focuses on a different character, but is it in a difference province? Is it a different story? Do we still learn more about Cinder?

MM – It will continue Cinder’s story. Scarlet takes on two kind of parallel plots. So on one side, you will be seeing Cinder as she tries to escape the Queen and tries to learn more about her past, and then you’ll also meet Scarlet, and she lives in France on a little farm that’s owned by her grandmother. And at the start of the book, her grandmother has disappeared, and nobody knows what’s happened to her. And so she is trying to find out what’s happened to her grandmother and the only person who has any information is a street fighter who goes by Wolf. So, that’s kind of my Little Red Riding Hood story.

BAVery cool. So the cover of Scarlet has the red cape and the cover of Cinder has the red shoe, so is red—cheesy question—is red a theme color for all the covers then?

MM – I assume so, that was kind of my design team at MacMillan does all that, but I think that’s the plan. Which I love. I can’t wait to see them all when they’re all done.

BA – It’s great because they’re all subdued and then there’s this pop. So do you have much say in the cover designs?

MM – Not really. The usually send me kind of an early draft, for me to look at, and I loved all of the covers so I haven’t had much criticism.

BA – I’ve been trying to see if there’s any buzz about a movie for this and haven’t been able to find anything. Do you know anything, or can you say anything?

MM – I can say that we’re in negotiations.

BA – *Gasp* That’s exciting! And I’m glad, because this will make a great movie, in my opinion.

MM – Thank you!

BA – It’s one of those things where your characters are so detailed and your setting is just amazing, that you can see everything playing out.

MM – I would love to see this made into a movie. I have all my fingers crossed and the studio that we’re talking to seems very enthusiastic about it and it seems like they really do want to go forward and make it. A lot of times when a book gets optioned for film rights, that doesn’t really mean very much. Maybe 1% of those will go on to be made into movies. So I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much, but like I said, they seem really enthusiastic about it.

BA – Is there any timeframe of when you’ll know one way or the other?

MM – Hopefully we’ll be able to make the announcement that the rights have sold soon-ish. But, if it were to go forward, probably not for another year or two before we could say, “Yes! It’s being made into a movie.”

BA – But that’s exciting that it has interest out there. Congratulations. Things are going really well, so that’s awesome. After the Lunar Chronicles—there’s going to be four—do you have other ideas for other books you want to get out there?

MM – Yeah, we actually just recently pitched two new ideas to the publisher. And they liked them both.

BA – Awesome, so we’ll be getting a lot more great books from you. That’s exciting.

MM – They’re both YA but not Sci-fi. One of them is kind of a fantasy, and the other—I don’t know what to call it—urban fantasy maybe, or horror.

BA – Interesting. So what do you love most about writing for YA?

MM – The fans! The readers are just so great and, I haven’t written for adult, but I’ve talked to adult writers, and you can tell there’s a difference between the interactions that you have. Teenagers just get so excited—

BA – So passionate about everything.

MM – So passionate. And if they love a book, they just want to tell everyone they know, they want to force it onto people, “You have to read this!” and I feel that you kind of get a camaraderie with the readers.

BA – Almost like an instant family, friendship.

MM – Yeah!

BA – What does your writing process look like? Are you a pantser or an outliner?

MM – I’m an outliner. In a big way. I usually, if I get an idea, I’ll spend a few months just kind of letting it sit in my head and think about what the big story idea will be, what the characters might be like; and then once I have an idea of what the story will look like, I’ll start penciling out scene ideas—almost like a puzzle. What should come first? And how do I get them from Point A to Point B. And at the end, hopefully I have an outline. Something that looks like a story and makes sense.

BA – So then, do you work better in a quiet environment, a chaotic environment?

MM – You know, either. I write a lot at home, I have a home office. But then, I love going to cafes and restaurants for the change of scenery. I used to have an hour and a half commute each way, and I would take the bus, and I had no problem writing on the bus.

BA – Pretty adaptable. So, editing, then: on paper or on screen?

MM – Screen. I have a problem wasting paper printing out this 400 page manuscript is not good for the environment. But obviously, then, we’ll get a paper copy of the manuscript for copyedits from the publisher and so that was nice to see it on paper. You inevitably catch things on paper that you’d never catch on a computer screen.

BA – So, fun questions. I saw that you have three cats. What are their names?

MM – Alexandria Josephine. We call her Cali. Blackland Rockwell the Third; Blackie. And Stormous-Enormous.

BA – I like that one.

MM – What are your cat’s names?

BA – We have Kitty—it’s not creative at all, but that was his name when we got him. We call him Handsome. Then we have Katie—or Princess, and then we have one that kind of adopted us, he’s a stray, and we named him Merlin because I was on a BBC Merlin kick at the time he came around.

MM – Nice. So his is the most creative.

BA – It’s funny because you always start out with the really boring names – Blackie is black, Cali’s a calico, Stormy’s grey—and then the complex names kind of grow out of those.

BA – Out of their personalities. Cat’s are great. So, on Facebook, I saw your photos of ComiCon. Was that a good time for you? Was that your first time there?

MM – It was my first time. It was fun, but it was rather overwhelming. There’s so much to see and so much to do, and I feel like you kind of need the initial trip to ComiCon to get your bearings. And now, when I go back. I’ll be able to plan.

BA – Did you have a favorite panel while you were there?

MM – Joss Whedon. And I missed his big Firefly panel because I had a big panel the same time as the Firefly panel

BA – That would have been awesome.

MM – But we did later get to go see Joss Whedon speaking.

BA – Two more quick questions for you. The best YA book that you’ve recently read, besides your own.

MMMonstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama. I just finished it last week, and it’s a mermaid book. But it was so a-typical. It was almost like a murder mystery thriller. Very dark, beautifully written.

BA – I’ll have to try that, because I’ve tried reading some mermaid books, thinking, “Oooh! Yay!” and then they’ve fallen short. So that will be exciting.

MM – Yeah, this one excelled.

BA – If you could co-write a book with any author, alive or dead, who would it be and what would it be titled?

MM – I can start and say that I think I would be a horrible co-author. I’m like super controlling and kind of neurotic about stuff sometimes. So I think it’d have to be someone I didn’t care if I stayed friends with or not. Let’s just go with J.K. Rowling, because she’s amazing in every way. And it would be great just to be able to work with her. And obviously we’d make like, eight billion dollars.

BA – Of course! And what would the title be?

MM – *laughs* I don’t know.

BA – Okay, last question. What’s your favorite song on the radio right now?

MM – The Shins, Simple Song. I’m addicted to it.

BA – Thank you so very much, this was fun, and I appreciate it.

MM – Thank you! I appreciate it, too.

BA – It’s amazing, because I finished reading the book for a second time just moments before I walked in, and it’s amazing all the clues I’m picking up this time around. You’re a very talented writer and it’s a privilege to get to meet you and read your book.

MM – Thank you!

This was one of the best interviews that I’ve gotten to do. Marissa is such a fun person with a great personality and a bubbly laugh and smile. Not only is she a talented writer, but friendly and outgoing, too. Here’s a link to her website and the Goodreads page of her book.