Nov 30, 2015

Book Blitz: More Than Once by Elizabeth Briggs


More Than Once
Elizabeth Briggs
(Chasing the Dream #4)
Publication date: December 1st 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult

Special release week price of $0.99! Get this stand-alone holiday romance now before it goes up to full price!
She’s trying to be good. He loves it when she’s bad.
Andrew West is done being the nice guy. After a marriage proposal gone wrong, he’s started over in a new city and he’s never risking his heart again.
Becca Collins is done being the bad girl. After quitting the band she played bass for, she’s going to prove to her family that she’s really changed.
When Becca’s dumped by her boyfriend and fired from her job on Christmas Eve, all seems lost, until she runs into a former one night stand–Andrew. To impress her parents, Becca convinces him to pretend to be her perfect boyfriend for their holiday dinner.
After Andrew shows Becca he’s all bad boy in the bedroom, neither wants to pretend anymore. But when Becca’s invited to rejoin her band for a show and Andrew’s forced to face his ex, they both wonder if they’re ready to take a leap again–or if they’re doomed to fail in life and love a second time.
The Chasing The Dream series:

#0.5 More Than Exes: get it FREE by signing up for Elizabeth’s newsletter!

#1 More Than Music

#2 More Than Comics

#3 More Than Fashion

#4 More Than Once

#5 More Than Distance (coming in 2016!)

Get the Chasing The Dream box set!

MtO2
EXCERPT:
She had to be cold, wearing only a black leather jacket over her clothes, but she didn’t show it. I shrugged out of my coat and stepped close, draping it over her shoulders, even though I’d be freezing in a few minutes in only my suit. Her eyes fluttered open, and she gave me a faint smile. “Thanks.”
I nodded, my throat tightening at the sight of that smile. She wore the sexy, bright red lipstick I remembered from before, and I had the strongest urge to kiss it right off her. God, this girl was dangerous. I’d spent the last few months completely dead inside, yet somehow she’d jolted me back to life in a matter of minutes. Problem was, I wasn’t sure I was ready to be resurrected yet.
She pulled the jacket tighter around herself and took a deep breath. “What about you? Any big plans for Christmas?”
“No plans.” I looked away so she couldn’t see what it cost me to admit that. “I just started at this job a few months ago and I’m trying to make a good impression, so I didn’t want to ask for any vacation time to visit my parents back in Michigan.”
“That’s rough. What about friends here? A nice guy like you must have made some by now.”
“Nope…it’s just me this year.” Friends? Ha. I shrugged it off, rubbing my hands together for warmth. “It’s all right. I have a lot of work to do, and the office will be nice and quiet. I’ll even get paid time-and-a-half if I come in on Christmas Day.” The excuse sounded pathetic even to my ears.
“No shit?” She let out a short, harsh laugh. “That is the saddest thing I’ve ever heard. You can’t be alone at Christmas!”
“It’s not that big a deal, really…”
She suddenly straightened up, her eyes widening. “I have the perfect idea.”
“You do?”
“It’s the best solution to both our problems. You come with me to my family’s holiday


dinner tonight and pretend to be my boyfriend. You’re definitely the kind of guy who will impress my parents, and that way you won’t have to spend Christmas Eve alone.”

“Pretend to be your boyfriend?” A wave of panic swept over me at the thought. I wasn’t ready to be anyone’s boyfriend—fake or otherwise. “I’m not sure that’s such a great idea. Couldn’t you just tell your parents what happened?”
“Ugh, of course you would say that. Fine, forget it. It was a stupid idea anyway.” She pushed off the car and unlocked the door with her key.
“Hang on,” I said, taking her arm and turning her back to face me. If she got in that car, I’d probably never see her again, and I couldn’t let her go just yet. Not until I fixed things between us somehow. “What kind of food are we talking here?”
A slight grin touched her lips. “My mom always makes enough food to feed the entire neighborhood. Turkey and ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams with marshmallows, green bean casserole, five kinds of pies… I could keep going, but you probably get the idea.”
“Hmm, that is very tempting. But are you sure they’d be okay with me showing up unexpectedly?”
“They expect me to bring the perfect boyfriend I’ve been telling them about for weeks. You’ll fit the bill.” She tilted her head and considered. “That reminds me, you’ll have to go by the name Brett, too.”
“Brett?” She was kidding, right? One look at her face told me she wasn’t. I had zero desire to pretend to be some other guy on Christmas Eve, but after getting her fired, how could I possibly say no? I owed her this favor at the very least. “Anything else I should know?”
“Nah, I never told them that much. Just that I was dating a nice, handsome guy.”
I arched an eyebrow. “Hmm, not sure I fit that description.”
“You know you do, pretty boy.” She met my gaze head-on. “Look, after tonight you don’t have to see me again. Once the holidays are over, I’ll tell them we broke up, and we can pretend it never happened. So are you in or out?”
The smart thing to do was to say goodnight and high-tail it back to my car. I wasn’t ready to get involved with any girl, let alone one who turned my insides out with a single look or the slightest touch. But there was something about her that I couldn’t walk away from, not this time.
“All right, I’ll pretend to be your boyfriend tonight…but only if you agree to go on a real date with me later.”



Author Bio:
Elizabeth Briggs is a full-time geek who writes books for teens and adults. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in Sociology, currently mentors teens in writing, and volunteers with a dog rescue group. She's the author of the Chasing The Dream romance series and the upcoming young adult novel Future Shock. Elizabeth lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a pack of fluffy dogs.


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Nov 28, 2015

Cover Tells All Week #2 - Our Friend Brianna!


Welcome to our second official post of Cover Tells All! This is a weekly meme that we created that we feel everyone is going to absolutely love. Here's how it works:We sit down with some of our friends and family and show them a few book covers that they've never seen before. The people we ask are not big readers and do not have any access to the internet or anything other than their own imaginations. Looking only at the cover of the book, they have to tell us (in the most detail possible) what they think that the plot is about. This is super fun because some people actually guess super correctly, and some answers are so wacky that they're just hard to believe. So on every Saturday we will be putting up a new #CoverTellsAll post with an interview with a whole new person!

*Note: The answers posted here are word-for-word what our friends and family guessed!

Today we have our good friend Brianna here for our second-ever #CoverTellsAll post!


Book #1: 

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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Brianna's Summary:

I think the story is probably something along the lines of like probably the girls either get into a fight and stop talking or one dies or moves away or something, so the story is how they live without each other.

Actual Summary:

It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back? Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough. Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a stranger? Um... Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane's list. Who knows what she’ll find? Go skinny-dipping Wait...what?

Our Judgement:

Brianna was actually super close with this one! She basically got the entire summary right, which was very impressive. Sloane did move away and it was about how Emily had to live without her - so she got it entirely correct!

Book #2:

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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Brianna's Summary:

Oh, this is a hard one. I'm thinking maybe something about a battle or fight or murder around down and that girl is hiding in a closet with shingles where you can see right through it just like every basic girl in a horror movie...

Actual Summary:

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all. Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Our Judgement:

Brianna was semi-right with this one. As you can tell from the title, there is a murder (or a series of them, actually) that takes place each dawn. The part she was a little off on was the hiding part, because the cover isn't meant to be taken literally. But still a very good guess!

Book #3:

Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

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Brianna's Summary:

Okay, well this girl is making a difficult decision and she needs one more piece to the puzzle to help her make her decision - like if she stays where she's in a coma and has to decide if she's going to stay in the otherworld or not.

Actual Summary:

On a cool autumn night, Annaliese Rose Gordon stumbled out of the woods and into a high school party. She was screaming. Drenched in blood. Then she vanished. A year later, Annaliese is found wandering down a road hundreds of miles away. She doesn't know who she is. She doesn't know how she got there. She only knows one thing: She is not the real Annaliese Rose Gordon. Now Annaliese is haunted by strange visions and broken memories. Memories of a reckless, desperate wish . . . a bloody razor . . . and the faces of other girls who disappeared. Piece by piece, Annaliese's fractured memories come together to reveal a violent, endless cycle that she will never escape—unless she can unlock the twisted secrets of her past.

Our Judgement:

There are definitely some otherworldly elements to this book. Brianna's answer was super creative even if it wasn't correct!

Book #4:

The Revolution of Ivy by Amy Engel

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Brianna's Summary:

I think it's about a girl who fights evil forces. I don't even know honestly, there's not much to go on here. 

Actual Summary:

Ivy Westfall is beyond the fence and she is alone. Abandoned by her family and separated from Bishop Lattimer, Ivy must find a way to survive on her own in a land filled with countless dangers, both human and natural. She has traded a more civilized type of cruelty--forced marriages and murder plots--for the bare-knuckled brutality required to survive outside Westfall's borders. But there is hope beyond the fence, as well. And when Bishop reappears in Ivy's life, she must decide if returning to Westfall to take a final stand for what she believes is right is worth losing everything she's fought for.

Our Judgement:

Even though Brianna didn't have much to go off of, she was actually kind of right!

Book #5:

Zodiac by Romina Russell

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Brianna's Summary:

Okay, so the crab zodiac sign is Cancer so it's about someone who gets cancer, maybe. Or no - that kind of looks like space so maybe they get abducted by aliens.

Actual Summary:

Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories. When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts. Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians. But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?

Our Judgement:

At least Brianna was able to recognize that Cancer (the sign, not the disease) is an important part of this book! She definitely earns some creativity points as well, LOL! :-)

Overall, Brianna did a pretty good job at being our second test subject for this. She got more correct than Rob did last week, which was pretty impressive and basically proves that girls rule. ;-) We were very impressed! We're also super exciting to be doing this every week, so comment down below with who you think we should ask next! Our sisters? Parents? Teachers? What do you guys want to see? Let us know, and thank you so much for taking the time to check out our second Cover Tells All post! What did you think of it?

Nov 27, 2015

2 Bookish Online Shops That Are Perfect For Bookish People! (The Holiday Edition + Giveaway)


Happy Holidays! I don't know about you, but to me the Holiday season is officially here the moment you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner. But my favorite part about the holidays is all the shopping. Today found 2 bookish related shops to do some of your holiday shopping at! 



Evie is the face behind Bookish Lifesyle a blog about books, lifestyle, beauty, fashion and more! Her Society6 shop is filled with everything a book lover will love. Bookish shirts, blankets, phone cases, tote bags, mugs and more! Each beautiful design is available on a variety of objects. Evie also takes requests, and is always looking for ideas for new designs!

Connect with Evie: Twitter // Blog // Society6 Shop

Want to see more? Check out Evie's shop here!

 Evie wants to help spread the holiday cheer by giving away a Mug of the winners choice! 



Lauren opened up Bookworm Boutique before her blog Bookworm Boutique a year later. I first stumbled across Lauren's shop on Instagram and then on Socitey6. For objects with Lauren's designs that aren't on Society6 are found on Redbubble (drawstring bags, travel mugs, studio pouches and more!) and her popular "I'd rather be a book dragon than a bookworm" shirts on Teespring.

Connect with Lauren: Twitter // Instagram // Blog // Society6 Shop // Redbubble // Teespring


Check out Lauren's Teespring shop here!


Want to see more? Check out Lauren's Society6 Shop here!


Aren't these shops fantastic!? I am literally obsessed with them! Have you heard of these shops before? Do you have anything on your wishlist from them? 


Nov 24, 2015

It's time to #TackleYourTBR!

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The last month of the year is almost upon us, and it's time to #TackleYourTBR! We teamed up with Ana from Ana Loves to bring you guys an awesome and engaging challenge that will make finishing out the year with a bang super fun! 

#TackleYourTBR is a month long challenge dedicated to readers and bloggers. The goal is to complete any challenges or goals you set up at the beginning of the year before 2015 ends. Just some examples of this include your towering ARC/TBR stacks or your Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenges! If you've participated in ARC August before, think of this challenge like that - but instead of challenging yourself to finish your ARCs, you're just challenging yourself to finish any challenges you signed up for throughout the year that still need to be completed! 

At the beginning of every year, thousands of bloggers and readers sign up for a wide variety of challenges (Goodreads, NetGalley/EW challenge, etc.), involving both reading and blogging. With the year coming to the close many of you may be scrambling to finish these challenges and we’re here to cheer you along!

By participating, all you have to do is complete your challenges and share your successes and struggles on twitter & instagram with #TackleYourTBR and, if you’re a blogger, post weekly on your blog. We'll be doing the same so everyone will be having lots of fun!

For those of you who want an extra challenge, on December 1st we will post challenges and topics of the weeks for every week of December for you to somehow to incorporate in your reading or blogging for that week! The challenge spans the entire month of December and we will all be cheering one another along to finish our reading and blogging goals (along with Ana!), so it's going to be loads of fun. 

If you’d like to join, leave a link to your blog or sign-up post and be sure to follow the hosts for weekly updates! It's going to be a fun month of accomplishing our goals, people!

happy excited woman nice yay
















Nov 22, 2015

Confessions of a YA Book Blogger


Forgive me blogosphere for I have sinned... 

(I felt like this GIF fit)  

1. I debate daily if I should take a nap or read. Everyday I have the same argument with myself. Spoiler alert: I always end up sleeping. 

2. I request too many digital ARCs and overwhelm myself. Why? Because I can.  I need to learn to limited myself, but I always end up requesting too many and overwhelming myself. Eventually I'll learn. 

3. I DNF a lot of books. Why read something your aren't enjoying? I read for pleasure. Not to be tormented. 

4. I can't read fast because of my ADHD. Its been a more recent thing, but I use to be able to read 5 books a week (sometimes more) and now it takes me a week to read a book or two. 

5. I constantly come up with discussions posts but I am too lazy to actually type them. The struggle is real. 

6. When ever I buy something I think about how many books I could have bought instead. It was especially bad when I bought my car. I could have bought 222 Hard cover books or 400 paper backs! 

7. Sometimes, I hate writing reviews. Sometimes I am just not in the mood to review something. (I do though!)  I would rather watch Netflix or start another book. 

8. I am forgetful. If Jessica doesn't remind me to do something blog related I will put it off and forget about it. 

9. I relate better with NA characters then YA characters. (Most times)  I don't read much NA anymore, but I use to be able to relate with those characters more then ones in YA. 

10. I've canceled plans to stay home and read. *Shrugs* *Coughs* *Shrugs again*

11. I feel like my reviews aren't good. Despite not feeling up to writing reviews I always try and put 110% in, but I feel like they aren't good enough. 

Now its your turn! Are you guilty of some of these things? Leave a confession in the comments below! 


Nov 21, 2015

Cover Tells All Week #1 - Jessica's Boyfriend!


Welcome to our first official post of Cover Tells All! This is a weekly meme that we created that we feel everyone is going to absolutely love. Here's how it works: We sit down with some of our friends and family and show them a few book covers that they've never seen before. The people we ask are not big readers and do not have any access to the internet or anything other than their own imaginations. Looking only at the cover of the book, they have to tell us (in the most detail possible) what they think that the plot is about. This is super fun because some people actually guess super correctly, and some answers are so wacky that they're just hard to believe. So on every Saturday we will be putting up a new #CoverTellsAll post with an interview with a whole new person!

*Note: The answers posted here are word-for-word what our friends and family guessed!

Today we have Jessica's boyfriend, Rob, here to kick off our first-ever #CoverTellsAll post!

Book #1: 

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

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Rob's Guess:

A Madness So Discreet is about a woman who lives a normal life with her family but is being torn apart by small things from her past. Despite their enormous control over her, she can't express any of her struggles. Eventually she is overcome by what she faces and no one ever finds out exactly why...

Actual Summary:

Grace Mae knows madness. She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum. When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

Our Judgement: Rob was actually pretty close when it came to the madness part, and about keeping her horrors locked away. Pretty good for his first attempt!

Book #2:

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

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Rob's Guess:

This book is about a girl who got into an accident that changed her whole life. She has memory loss and lives as if it never happened. She stumbles upon the spot the accident took place totally coincidentally. She faintly remembers this place and her journey to find out who she really is is an extremely pivotal time period in her life as she finds her true self. It seems extremely basic to me...

Actual Summary: 

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

Our Judgement: Little did Rob know, the book is anything but extremely basic. But we definitely admire his creativity!

Book #3:

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

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Rob's Guess:

Okay, so this is the struggle of a girl getting what she wants. She has a mentality [that] "if you're not for me, you're against me." She often tries to portray herself as a nice, pure, harmless girl but deep inside she's really a plotting witch. She stops at nothing and will take down anyone who stands in her way. Eventually she reaches her goal, but not without a few scars of the horrible acts she's committed to get there.

Actual Summary:

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.  The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind. Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever? 

Our Judgement: Rob actually got really close with this one, in a weird way. He accurately described the force that Mare is fighting, but not Mare herself. It's still very impressive!

Book #4:

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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Rob's Guess:

This one is about a woman. She is single. There is one thing in her life that makes her stand out and the reason behind this one unique thing developed is a substantial part of her life.

Actual Summary:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Our Judgement: ...He was very off on this one. LOL. And this is the one that we thought would be the most obvious!

Book #5:

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

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Rob's Guess:

Okay, so she's a dancer that's trying to get her dream job. She puts everything on the line and eventually succeeds. Once there, she realizes that it isn't as she once hoped and the glamour she's in ruins her. LOL - this is a rough one.

Actual Summary:

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring. Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life. Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for. 

Our Judgement: This wasn't correct, but it wasn't bad, either. We could definitely see where Rob may have seen the dancer aspect - and he nailed the glamour part.

Overall, Rob did a pretty good job at being our first test subject for this. He got a few pretty right, a few others completely wrong, and certain ones where he hit the mark with some aspects and not the others. We were very impressed! We're also super exciting to be doing this every week, so comment down below with who you think we should ask next! Our sisters? Parents? Teachers? What do you guys want to see? Let us know, and thank you so much for taking the time to check out our first Cover Tells All post! What did you think of it?

Nov 20, 2015

Review: Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez


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Title: Kiss Kill Vanish
Author: Jessica Martinez
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Hardcover, 432 Pages
Published October 2014
Add it on Goodreads!
Summary: Valentina Cruz no longer exists. One moment, she was wrapped in Emilio’s arms, melting into his kiss. The next, she was witnessing the unthinkable: a murder in cold blood, ordered by her father and carried out by her boyfriend. When Emilio pulled the trigger, Valentina disappeared. She made a split-second decision to shed her identity and flee her life of privilege, leaving the glittering parties and sultry nightlife of Miami far behind. She doesn’t know how to explain to herself what she saw. All she knows now is that nothing she believed about her family, her heart, or Emilio’s love, was real. She can change her name and deny her past, but Valentina can’t run from the truth. The lines between right and wrong, and trust and betrayal, will be blurred beyond recognition as she untangles the deceptions of the two men she once loved and races to find her own truth.
I bought a copy of this book off of BookOutlet because I was looking for something interesting to read and this summary automatically drew me in. Funny story - when the book arrived, it was bound backwards and also upside down, which I found really funny. Just some pictures for you: 

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So that gave me a good laugh. Let me also just say that I tweeted this problem to BookOutlet and they were super quick with their response and giving me store credit to solve the problem! I even ended up using the credit to get another book (currently on its way) free of charge, which is cool. :-)

Okay. So back to this book. I've always been really fascinated with any type of story involving any mafia or cartel. I'm not even sure why. So when I found out that this was what Kiss Kill Vanish was about, I was itching to get my hands on it. The best part was that Valentina had no idea what her father really did for a living to make so much money - she figured that he was just so wealthy from his love of buying and selling art. Little did she know, she was behind on a lot of stuff.

So the book starts off after Valentina witnesses something really, really terrible go down. (I won't spoil it for you guys and tell you because although you find out kind of in the beginning, the real explanations start to unravel as the book goes on.) So, long story short, horrified by what she has seen her father and her boyfriend do, she flees Miami - flees the entire country - and heads to Montreal for an escape so she can gather her thoughts. Repulsed by everything that she'd learned about her life, she refuses to use any money of her fathers or take anything of any real importance with her. So Valentina Cruz, former rich heiress, is living in a closet with a clock and a cot and a mandolin. She eventually finds work and struggles to come to terms with what happened while also trying to figure out what she could do to stop her father once and for all. 

There were both parts of this book that I really enjoyed and parts that I didn't so much. I'm going to start with what I did like this time. I really liked Valentina's character. She had a good moral compass and made the decision to change things as soon as she found out what wrong things were really going on. Even when she was in Montreal, a freezing place that she'd never been to with absolutely no money, she didn't give up. She worked hard, earned money, found shelter and took care of herself to the absolute best of her ability. She even managed to find a few jobs while she was there. This was important because it demonstrates exactly what we weren't expected from a millionaire's daughter - when she fled, she didn't take much money with her. And when she was left with nothing, instead of wishing for that money back, she made her own. It was pretty inspiring, at least from a girl's perspective. Valentina was faced with some pretty difficult hardships that most (if not all) of us never had to endure, nor will we ever. And she did what she could and was smart about it and eventually got back to where she wanted to be, all the way in the end. (But I won't tell you how - read the book yourself!)

There were also a few things about this book that I wasn't so keen about, however. (There are some spoilers in this paragraph so skip to the nexct one if you haven't read this book yet!) For one, the whole thing with Marcel and Valentina. Yeah, I know that they had an adorable relationship towards the end, even if it was a little strange, but I didn't like it from the start. It was just so typical - Valentina gets sympathetic towards one boy, and then he dies, and then she falls for his brother. I don't know if Martinez expected that to be some sort of big plot twist, but it wasn't. It was expected so I didn't really think any of that stuff wowed me. Also, I didn't like when you found out about who Emilio really was. This isn't the first book that I've read where one of the people the main character begins to trust turns out to be some sort of law enforcement agent or undercover intel collector. For someone who doesn't read a lot, these plot twists may shock them like the author intended them to. But for someone who does read a lot, which I obviously do, the plot twists just seemed...overplayed. Like they happened, and instead of being shocked and awed, I felt disappointment, like Wow, that's it? That's what this whole thing has been building up to? 

All in all, Kiss Kill Vanish was an interesting read that I enjoyed. Like I mentioned earlier, I've always been really fascinated by the whole cartel and mafia thing, so this book captured my interest from start to finish. There were parts that I really enjoyed and some aspects that I didn't, but overall I would recommend this book to anybody looking for a suspenseful, mysterious thriller. I would definitely also read more of Jessica Martinez's work in the future!

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Nov 19, 2015

Review: Crewel (Crewel World, #1) by Gennifer Albin

Title: Crewel (Crewel World, Book #1)
Author: Gennifer Albin
Publisher: Square Fish
Rating: 4/5 Stars
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Summary: Incapable. Awkward. Artless. That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: She wants to fail. Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen to work the looms is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to manipulate the very fabric of reality. But if controlling what people eat, where they live, and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested. Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and used her hidden talent for a moment. Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her dad’s jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape. Because tonight, they’ll come for her.

Amber recommended this book to me awhile ago, and it's been sitting on my TBR for awhile. Recently I bought a copy from Book Outlet (for a steal, of course!) and I was super excited to start this book even if I wasn't quite sure what to expect.

There's a little bit of world building that takes place at first, and you have to pay attention for the entire duration of the book to make sure that you didn't lose any important points. I had to go back and reread a passage several times because my mind had wandered and I had gotten myself confused. Crewel is definitely a book that is chock-full of world building and fantasy - just what you'd expect from a storyline where girls are hired to weave the very fabric of the world. So my advice is to pay attention so you don't get lost - and as long as you do, you're guaranteed to really enjoy this book.

The story follows Adelice, a sixteen year old girl whose parents want anything other for her than to be chosen to be a Spinster to help weave the fabric of Arras. Everyone's taught to believe that the life of a Spinster is something glamourous - dresses, parties, big rooms and towers and all of the exquisite food that you can eat - but Adelice's parents seem to know that something about the guaranteed life of luxury is sinister. So they train her from her early childhood to fail her Spinster test so the Guild can never take her away.

But of course, Adelice has a natural affinity for weaving, and no matter how hard she tries, things start to go wrong on her Spinster test. And those few mistakes end up sealing her fate.

This book really captured my interest. I loved seeing such an interesting, new world that I'd never read about before - Arras. I won't spoil the book for anybody, but as you read the book you learn some more, pretty interesting facts about Arras as a whole that shock you and are hard to wrap your mind around. Gennifer Albin definitely isn't lacking in the creativity department, because she created such an awesome, unique world in Crewel that I can't even wait to get my hands on the second book (which Amber has and I will be borrowing ASAP!!). 

You're also introduced to a lot of interesting characters in this book. Adelice herself is your typical sassy, don't-follow-the-rules type of heroine. You meet Jost, the ridiculously adorable (and off-limits) head valet of the Coventry that soon becomes one of Adelice's only friends and allies. You also meet Erik, the well-groomed and proper assistant to Adelice's sworn enemy in the Coventry, who seems to have a soft side of her as well. (Love triangle brewing, anyone?) You meet a lot more characters than these three, though, so I encourage you to pick up the book and meet them all!

And like I said, I won't spoil the book for anybody considering reading it (and you definitely should!), but the ending of this book leaves you on a total cliffhanger. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book in this series so I can follow Adelice's adventure!

All in all, Crewel was a fast-paced, mysterious, imaginative story that I lost myself in right away. Gennifer Albin is an excellent writer with a great talent for drawing readers into a story - I'm proof of that! If you're looking for a new, creative fantasy/sci-fi (ish) read, Crewel is definitely the book for you. It's time for me to head to my local library to get a copy of the second book in this trilogy!


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