Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Where I've Been and Looking Towards the Future

Hey everyone!

Long time no post, right? It's crazy to think that I haven't had anything up since SEPTEMBER, but as it usually goes, life got in the way. I started college at the end of August, and you know how everyone says you don't have time to read anything BUT books required for class? Well, that ended up being completely true for me first semester of college. I was unfortunately knees deep in books for my intro to lit class as well as my honors course, and when I wasn't busy with those classes and my other ones, I was busy with a plethora of other things. 

However, that isn't to say that I didn't miss you all and the blogging world, because I certainly did. I think starting college and being so busy made me really realize that blogging still is something I want in my life, and that's why I decided that this semester I'm going to try my best to post something once a week (and if not that than at least every other week). It's not going to be the way it was (nor will it probably ever be). As of now, I'm not going to be participating in tours, or accepting 99.99% of books for review (most likely I'll be saying no to all future review requests for the time being...I already have so many I need to catch up on in my pile). This is something I need to do on my own time table, without making promises to anyone else. I let so many promises fall to the wayside with the start of the school year, and I don't want that happening again. 

Basically, I just want to read some books and get my thoughts out there about them. Plus, I want to get caught up in the literary world. I'm so beyond on what's new out there...are there any releases I need to check out ASAP? Let me know! I'm in desperate need of suggestions! :) 

So hopefully this is the first post in a series of new one *fingers crossed* 

Until next time,

Lauren

PS) Hope everyone had a marvelous holiday season, and happy new year! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Blog Tour: Thin Space by Jody Casella (Review & Giveaway!)

Today, I'm happy to be part of the blog tour for Thin Space by Jody Casella. To see past stops as well as future ones, click HERE. 

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:
Ever since the car accident that killed his twin brother, Marshall Windsor has been consumed with guilt and crippled by secrets of that fateful night. He has only one chance to make amends, to right his wrongs and set things right. He must find a Thin Space—a mythical point where the barrier between this world and the next is thin enough for a person to step through to the other side.

But, when a new girl moves into the house next door, the same house Marsh is sure holds a thin space, she may be the key—or the unraveling of all his secrets.

As they get closer to finding a thin space—and closer to each other—Marsh must decide once and for all how far he’s willing to go to right the wrongs of the living…and the dead.
Review:

Every once in a while you come upon a book that completely rocks your world, and Thin Space by Jody Casella was one of those books.

When I first heard about Thin Space, I knew I had to read it. I'm always looking to read more books featuring a male POV. Plus the concept of a "thin space" was fascinating. Then Jennifer Castle, one of my FAVORITE YA authors, burbled it, making everything a tad more exciting. Therefore, when Thin Space ended up in my hands a few weeks ago, I jumped right in.

There's a lot of amazing things going for Thin Space, and one of those is the concept. As mentioned before, I was completely taken aback by the concept of thin spaces. I had never heard of them before; however, I was curious to see how Jody would intertwine the idea into the book. Luckily, she did a great job.

Mixing together the main character Marsh's knowledge of them and the fact that he had just lost his twin brother brought so many raw emotions the book. Marsh's dire need to find a thin space jumped off the page and came to life from the start as did his sadness, loneliness, and anger over his brother's recent death. I felt so much for Marsh to say the least. I could understand his want to connect with his brother, to make everything better, just as I'm sure anyone who has ever lost anyone close to them will be able to. At the same time, I was rooting for Marsh to be able to move on and allow himself to be happy again, and thankfully, that started to happen with the addition of Maddie, the new girl in town. Sweet but just as broken as Marsh, Maddie was someone I adored from the start. I loved the scenes that featured her, especially when they involved her helping Marsh. However, what I loved most about their relationship was that it didn't focus on romance or insta-love. Instead, it focused on friendship really and people connecting in the worst of times. It was an awesome change from the typical YA book.

Jody's writing was also great. I loved the way in which she developed the plot as well as the big reveal towards the end. I was never sure of what was going to happen next, especially when it came to Marsh's big secret. When it was finally reveled, I was completely thrown for a loop. In some ways, it made perfect sense (there were so many clues and hints toward it) but in others, it completely flabbergasted me, making me love this book all the more. I also have to add that I loved how well she captured the feel of winter. As I write this review, it's nearing the end of July; however, no matter how warm it is outside, the descriptions in this threw a chill at me, making me feel like I was right there with Marsh and Maddie on their journey to find a thin space.

Heartbreaking yet hopeful and beautifully written, Thin Space has added a new favorite author to my list. I sincerely hope Jody Casella doesn't stop writing such emotion filled books anytime soon.

Grade: A+

Thin Space (Amazon, BN, Goodreads) is now out!

Source: ARC provided by publisher for review

Thanks to Leah at Beyond Worlds Publishing, I also have FIVE paperback copies of the book to giveaway! To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

Official Giveaway Rules:

~ Open to those 13 years or older with a US mailing address

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Review: Silent Echo: A Siren's Tale by Elisa Freilich

Summary/Cover Image from Goodreads:
Rendered mute at birth, Portia Griffin has been silent for 16 years. Music is her constant companion, along with Felix, her deaf best friend who couldn’t care less whether or not she can speak. If only he were as nonchalant about her newfound interest in the musically gifted Max Hunter.

But Portia’s silence is about to be broken with the abrupt discovery of her voice, unparalleled in its purity and the power it affords to control those around her. Able to persuade, seduce and destroy using only her voice, Portia embarks on a search for answers about who she really is, and what she is destined to become.

Inspired by Homer’s Odyssey, SILENT ECHO: A Siren's Tale is an epic story filled with fantasy, romance and original music.
Review: 

I always love when a story includes an author's unique spin on Greek mythology (prime example: Aimee Carter's The Goddess Test). Therefore, as soon as Silent Echo: A Siren's Tale landed on my radar, I added it to my "must read" list, and as luck would have it, it ended up being a fantastic read.

Silent Echo: A Siren's Tale begins the story of Portia, a young girl trying to find her voice. When born, Portia completely enchanted everyone with her beautiful wails. However, just as soon as they began, they ended. Ever since then, Portia's been mute, never uttering another word or sound. While some may be put off by the handicap, Portia has learned to live with it with the help of understanding friends and family. Everything changes, though, when Max Porter lands on the scene. Suddenly, Portia begins to fall hard, and more importantly, finds her voice once again. However, there's one tiny problem: her voice has the power to make anyone do anything, making her dangerously powerful. Now on a race to find out what she, Portia knows that one thing for sure: she's never letting anyone take her voice away from her once again, no matter the cost.

I'm always a little off put when a book features third person; however, with this book, it worked perfectly. I loved getting to see everything through Portia's eyes as well as a wide variety of other characters. Portia was probably my favorite out of the bunch. She was likable as well as brave. Plus I loved that she adored birds, as it was an interesting little tidbit. It was also fun to see her evolve as time went on, especially when it included her learning how to deal with the surprising facts about her origin and future. Anther favorite character of mine was Felix. He was such a great friend, and while I loved Portia and Max together, a part of me was always rooting for Felix to win Portia over in the end.

The plot in this was also a lot of fun. Plus, it involved so many great twists and turns! I enjoyed the way in which Elisa presented the Greek mythology, as not only did she spin into the character's story and text, but she also included some awesome flashbacks to the many gods's and goddesses's lives. It allowed for the story to develop nicely. Furthermore, I particularly liked seeing into the world of the sirens. It was crazy to see what they could do with their voices, good and evil. The little bit of romance was a lot of fun, and finally, a love triangle that I could actually tolerate! Max and Felix both have their good and bad points, and honestly, I was never sure who I wanted Portia to end up with, even at the end. Thankfully, there's two more books to help me make my decision.

Elisa's writing was decent. As mentioned before, I thought she did a great job with character and plot development. However, there was one thing that bugged me: I hated the constant references to all things iPhone related. It was just a little too over the top, and it felt like I was reading an ad for Apple in some scenes.

Spellbinding, romantic, and thrilling, Elisa Freilich's Silent Echo: A Siren's Tale was a thoroughly enjoyable debut. I simply can't wait to see what's next for Portia, Max, and the rest of the gang!

Grade: B+

Silent Echo: A Siren's Tale (Goodreads) is now out!

Source: eARC provided by publicist at Over the River Public Relations for review 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Review: Price of a Kiss by Linda Kage

Summary/Cover Image from Author's Website:
I don’t care what my cousin says; I am not the queen of impossible relationships. I mean, just because my last boyfriend tried to kill me and left a bit of a scar on my neck, then forced me to move across the country and legally change my name to Reese Randall to escape him, does not mean—

Oh, who am I kidding? For a freshman in college, I have to have the worst dating track record ever.

It’s no wonder love is the last thing on my mind when Mason Lowe enters my life. But the chemistry between us is like bam! Our connection defies logic. And he’s just so freaking hot. Being around him makes me feel more alive than I’ve ever felt before. I even like bickering with him. He could be my soul mate...except for one teeny tiny glitch.

He's a gigolo.
Review:

After reading last year's The Color of Grace, Linda Kage officially became one of my favorite contemporary authors. Therefore, as soon as I heard about Price of a Kiss, her newest book, I knew I had to read it. It had an interesting premise. Plus I was curious to see how well she would transition to New Adult. Luckily, Price of a Kiss was a spectacular read, one that has made me remember once again just how good a New Adult book can be.

Price of a Kiss begins the story of Reese, a girl who's had to run across the country and change her name to get away from a horrible ex-boyfriend. It wasn't just that he was mean and possessive, but he also tried to kill her, leaving her with the nastiest of all scars on her neck. Deciding it's best to stay away from boys in her new life, Reese throws herself into starting classes in her new town's local community college and hanging out with her cousin. However, everything changes the moment Mason Lowe walks into her life. There's just something that attracts Reese to him, no matter how much he and she try to stop it. Plus his much talked about secret job doesn't help anything. But what happens when these two are thrown together in a surprising way? Will they get past the self-built walls and be together? Only time and more pages can tell!

My ABSOLUTE favorite part of this book was hands down the characters! Reese was so naive and bubbly, but I still really liked her. I love how she didn't let anything get her down, not even the fact that her crazy ex-boyfriend was after her. She just kept living her life to the fullest, and learned from her past and mistakes in the process. Then there was Mason. Sexy, adorable, and kind of bookish, I LOVED Mason, even though he did have some shifty parts about him. I loved seeing him and Reese interact with each other, because not only did it lead to some steamy moments but it also led to some hilarious banter. The side characters in this one where also pretty great. I enjoyed seeing Mason's family as well as Reese's cousin.

The plot in this was equally good. As mentioned in the book's summary, Mason is in all ways a gigolo, so it lead for some pretty intense and suspenseful parts in the book, as he tried to figure out whether he should stay with it, or give it up. I probably should have been more disgusted by Mason's profession, but I couldn't help but feel sad for him for getting involved in it more than anything. Throughout the book, I was continually rooting for him to leave it all behind. The parts about Mason's sister and mom where also great. I loved seeing Reese get close to Mason's sister, because it led to some pretty cute moments and character development. Lastly, the romance between Mason and Reese was EPIC. It was a constant "will they or won't they?" and I love every single second of it. There was so much suspense to their relationship and build up, all of which led them to be a well developed pair to tell the truth.

Kage's writing was also great. She did a good job of capturing Reese's voice, and she did a great job of handling Mason's profession. She never once sugar coated anything, and I admired her for that. The only part of the book, though, I wasn't to wild about was the ending. It was adorable, but everything sort of fell together too perfectly.

Sexy, suspenseful, and funny, Price of a Kiss is a FANTASTIC addition to NA.

Grade: A+ 

Price of a Kiss (Amazon, BN, Goodreads) is now out!

Source: eARC provided by author for review 
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