Something Real by Heather Demetrios – Review


Something Real
 | Available for Purchase: Amazon « Barnes & Noble « Book Depository
Author: Heather Demetrios
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
Release Date: February 4, 2014
Pages: 406, Hardback Edition
Received Copy: Personal library

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

There’s nothing real about reality TV.

Seventeen-year-old Bonnie™ Baker has grown up on TV—she and her twelve siblings are the stars of one-time hit reality show Baker’s Dozen. Since the show’s cancellation and the scandal surrounding it, Bonnie™ has tried to live a normal life, under the radar and out of the spotlight. But it’s about to fall apart…because Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air. Bonnie™’s mom and the show’s producers won’t let her quit and soon the life she has so carefully built for herself, with real friends (and maybe even a real boyfriend), is in danger of being destroyed by the show. Bonnie™ needs to do something drastic if her life is ever going to be her own—even if it means being more exposed than ever before.

Yep! I haven’t featured this (A Book Club Pick) in a while, but I really enjoyed this book so much I wanted to make sure I gave it a review! What’s peculiar about this novel is that I’m pretty anti-“reality” tv, but Something Real held my interest right from the very beginning. I got on Chloe/Bonnie™’s level right away as soon as I started her story. And to preface, like I do with like 90% of the books I read, most of the time I just know either a brief overview or I see others recommendations. I barely read any back of/jacket covers, not entirely sure, but I haven’t experienced many “DNF” books so I’m somewhat successful at this. So again, I knew it had something to do with tv or movies, that’s about it. But the struggle Bonnie™ has to find herself just when she’s starting to come into her own was emotional to read. I don’t remember being that vulnerable, and DUH I was never on tv, but I feel like I’m where Bonnie™ is now at my 28 years of age. I’m sorta lost in adulthood so I could definitely see Bonnie™’s fragile viewpoints of feeling so much pressure.


Best Friends…
The relationship between Benny and Bonnie™ was probably my favorite! (don’t worry I was all swoony for Patrick, we’ll get there) I only have one brother-in-law and we’re not very affectionate but we do have each other’s backs. And I have one sister who’s five years older than me so I don’t have someone who’s super close in age and can understand most of my feelings, but Benny could. I loved how serious yet carefree he could be. He’s a strong character and has confidence which I seriously lack in my real life, so a great treat to read! But their bond is special and it was nice to see them stick together.

Swoon 101…
Oh hai Patrick. Yes you were delightful to read. Patrick literally did pretty much everything a girl hopes for to find in a relationship when she’s moody and growing up. He was also my perfect mix of understand, non-judgy, smart, funny, romantic…okay you get the point. HE GIVES YOU THE SWOONS! Although I will admit, I was waiting much of the book for the other shoe to drop! I was waiting to find out about his stalker issues or games he played to screw Bonnie™ over but that ended up being avoidable.

Behind-the-scenes…
I liked that this was about a normal, yet diverse and loving family. Today there’s all the fake, too tanned & too plastic look to the “glamorous” people who get roped into reality tv. Then you have the people who are…I don’t know, they’re–they’ve got social issues: mega religious, mega trashy, just out of touch with some sanity. I’m doing a terrible job of explaining it, but I did see a lot of Bonnie™’s mom as Kris Jenner, someone who preys on their children’s success. Kris Jenner (in my opinion, as an example) doesn’t do it as much now but she paved the way after sex tapes and celebrity were established. Bonnie™’s mother got me so heated in the fact that she never put her children first. The major reason for many of the pivotal points in the story.

Expanding plot…
These examples aren’t really things I didn’t like, but I would’ve liked to have seen a little more to her and Lexie rebuilding their relationship as sisters. I would’ve liked to know about what MetaReal (i.e. E! network/TLC) put Bonnie™ and Benton™ legally. Lastly, I really wanted to know more of what happened with her mom. That character infuriated me and I know all-too-well what a volatile relationship with a mother can be and that was an easy connection to make while reading. And in the end I would’ve liked to hear a little more in maybe an epilogue where things went.

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I’ve heard TONS about Heather’s I’ll Meet Your There which isn’t down too far on my TBR list so hopefully I can get that soon and read. Seriously I can’t tell you how many people are all over this. Heather released this book LAST year right around this time, sooooo I might have to wait a little longer to get my hands on IMYT to read and review 😉

Until next time, The Kid xx

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski Review

The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy #2)
Available for purchase at Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Pages: 401, paperback
Received copy: ARC befriended to me, dearly and truly appreciative via Andi’s ABCs

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Lady Kestrel’s engagement to Valoria’s crown prince calls for great celebration: balls and performances, fireworks and revelry. But to Kestrel it means a cage of her own making. Embedded in the imperial court as a spy, she lives and breathes deceit and cannot confide in the one person she really longs to trust …

While Arin fights to keep his country’s freedom from the hands of his enemy, he suspects that Kestrel knows more than she shows. As Kestrel comes closer to uncovering a shocking secret, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth.

Lies will come undone, and Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them in this second book in the breathtaking Winner’strilogy.

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Okay, where to begin? For starters I was lucky enough to literally pick this book up right after I finished Winner’s Curse. Everything flowed and I was on high alert, whereas sometimes you read a book that’s a part of a series and then have trouble remembering what’s been going on. Although to be fair, I don’t feel like picking this up I would’ve forgotten the plot too much—and it comes out in March 2015 so if you’ve picked Curse up now you should be good till then!

Overall this book is the meat of where the story is going. Think of this as a meal, the first book is deciding what you’d like to have for dinner and have gone and bought all the supplies to make the meal; now book two is the actual cooking of the meal…watching things heat up, simmer, boil, all the juices flowing to create this delicious dinner you can’t wait to sink your teeth into. And now this has made me hungry so, maybe I should not go on with the food analogy, haha!

[SLIGHT SPOILERS FOR SOME WHO HAVE NOT READ THE FIRST BOOK, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED]

no but seriously…if you haven’t read Winner’s Curse don’t go…

beyond…

this…

point…

okayyyyy…

So at the end of Winner’s Curse, we have Kestral using that brilliance and strategy that she’s come into growing up being a general’s daughter and knowledge of the rules of war, the empire and devising up a plan. Kestral decides that in order to save others, becoming the princess and future daughter in law of the emperor is the price she has to pay to do what is right, even if she cannot be with Arin or live as a warrior. In doing so she can spare the land she’s known so dearly and grant them the freedom they deserve (Kestral realizes this while being captured, what’s she’s known as hers was never granted to Valorians to begin with). Now Kestral has to live with her fate and go about planning and protecting her decision. New players are added to the game, a Bite & Sting challenge if you will—which can aid or destroy what the empire has built itself into.

Things I Liked:

the Web Woven…
– Dang, Marie, you have had me all twisted up with this picture painted for Valorians, Herran, and Dacrans! There is so much going on but all completely decipherable to the reader. The audience is just as torn as Kestral is on the decisions to make, who to save or betray, and what’s left of the honor she has. Strings are woven throughout the novel and just as the end is near, the strings have mysteriously turned into a bow, all for the reader to want and shred the bow! LOL!

the Tension…
– Besides the unease of living within the emperor’s space, the tension between Arin and Kestral is palpable! They have a forbidden heat and while not doing much more than stolen encounters hidden, the reader can feel that heat through the pages, my god! Besides their prohibited feelings for each other, they each have a burden to their people to carry on their shoulder which makes for lies and disguise which can make things messy. Kestral does some daydreaming on a patch of grass that is probably one of my favorite scenes….or wait maybe another one in the beginning…UGH! So hard—don’t make me choose!

the Characteristics…
– All of the characters in the novel are pretty true to their word and I love that! Honest characters who bring honest traits, whether they’re good or bad. One’s loyalty and courage is present throughout the plot, as well as revenge and spitefulness of another’s. I like that these characters are unwavering in their passion despite how right or wrong they may be. No matter how incredibly frustrating this can be to read, haha, but I digress 😉

Things I Didn’t Like:

– *crickets chirping*…
Again, I know I write this often but when a good book like this comes along, rarely do I catch flaws. Not saying there aren’t any, that’s up to the reader to decide if they can spot anything. For myself, the only compliant I have is, where is the third book because I need more! LOL!

 

See ya next time…Linz aka The Kid xx

The King – Tiffany Reisz, the author you want to know in erotica

In light of this week where a certain “erotic” story is officially going from page to theaters near you, I decided to share the love of my favorite erotic author and my thoughts on her latest novel.

In all honesty, I can’t support the-film-that-shall-not-be-named-from-the-book-that-shall-not-be-named for NUMEROUS reasons and politics that I don’t want to bother listing but know they’re there and that’s that. But because of this getting unnecessary press, I wanted to remind readers out there that there IS well-written and delightful erotica available! And if you enjoy erotica YOU MUST READ TIFFANY REISZ’S BOOKS! I hadn’t been blogging when her first part of the Original Sinners series started but I was able to read an ARC of The Saint, her first novel in the second part of the Original Sinners series called The White Years, and posted it all here.

The King (The White Years  #2 – Original Sinners series) Available for Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Author: Tiffany Reisz
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Release Date: November 25, 2014
Pages: 443, Kindle Edition
Received Copy: Personal library, was approved by Harlequin via NetGalley but approval was on actual release day

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

Cunning. Sex. Pure nerve. Only this unholy threesome can raise him to his rightful place as a ruler of Manhattan’s kink kingdom.

Bouncing from bed to bed on the Upper East Side, Kingsley Edge is brilliant, beautiful and utterly debauched. No carnal act or chemical compound can relieve his self-destructive heartache—only Søren, the one person he loves without limit or regret. A man he can never have, but in whose hands Kingsley is reborn to attain even greater heights of sin.

Kingsley’s plan to open the ultimate BDSM club—a dungeon playground for New York’s A-list—becomes his obsession. His expertise in domination can’t subdue the one man who wants to stop him. The enigmatic Reverend Fuller won’t rest until King’s dream is destroyed, and so the battle lines are set; it’s one man’s sacred mission against another’s…

Tiffany writes in this way that gives you a mix of everything. You can get all of these different angles and perspectives through each novel. The Saint starts off with present time of Nora, ex-Mistress/dominatrix-turned erotic author, going off to be with thoughts of her recently passed mother as well as spending time with Kingsley’s, owner of NYC’s most prestigious underground BDSM club,  adult son Nico. While spending time in Europe Nora describes on how she first met Søren, the demi-god himself…(actually not a demi-god but a priest who’s into S&M, yeah I know it SOUNDS insane and probably sacrilege, but don’t worry it works, I SWEAR!) and how they fell in love.

In book 2, The King, we get a glimpse into what was happening to Kingsley while Søren was shaping teenage Nora into the woman she was made to be. We also find out the deep and dark path Kingsley goes on to find his new beginning and the early stages of the Eighth Circle the BDSM club that’s now famously known in their world. I have a hard time describing this because, the more I read the universe which Tiffany has created, I fall in love with Kingsley’s character more and more. I find him raw and passionate, I understand his loss and suffering, I sympathize with his yearning and envy his confidence. He’s everything I need from a character, and he’s foreign AND is very non-judgmental on what’s considered sexy.

So in relation to The King, I find I can give this book more depth than others because of my feelings for King. And again, if you’ve read the series, kudos and keep reading, if you haven’t you might want to look away because it’s semi-spoilery but…… I happen to LOVE, LOVEEEEEE the relationship between King and Søren, more so than Søren with Nora. I know, it sounds crazy, but I can see that their love is different. It’s got a dark past and I have no problem telling and fangirling to Tiffany on Twitter about it because I need to express my Kingsley love! UGH! Anyway, Tiffany continues to deliver and keeps the story going and does not disappoint with the sex and drama. You hate characters, then you love them, you want to smack them (not always in the kinky way) and then you want to pet them (yes in the kinky way). TIFFANY JUST MAKES YOU FEEL THINGS AND BY GOD, IF THEY HAPPEN TO BE SHOWING OFF A KINKIER SIDE TO YOUR LIFE SO BE IT!
 

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Rawness and demons…
So I have a slight confession, I’ve been going through a really rough time mentally and where Kingsley has spiraled to, I’ve definitely touched on that and I could relate completely. I’m not as dramatic as him, and I’m most DEFINITELY not there sexually, haha, because if I was well…anyway, I got it. I loved it. Because it made me feel even the tiniest bit happy knowing that a fictional character could get there…which means Tiffany either knows of the struggle personally or knows from others but she got it. And I got it too.

The Break…
I kind of enjoyed a break from Nora to be honest. She showed up a little less in The Angel (Reisz’s second novel in the Red Years for the Original Sinners series) but she’s barely a blip in this book and I’m okay with the other characters getting a little more love. Not to say that I don’t love Nora, because I do, but again I’m all for the Kingsley/ Søren bickering, lovefest, and sometimes Søren can get clouded by Ms. Nora. But this also makes me VERY VERY excited to see more of Kingsley’s side of a Nora introduction when she was younger. It’s gonna be good.

The Phrase…
And FINALLY–we can see how that infamous line got started, “Have you ever had sex in the back of a Rolls Royce?” Oh Kingsley, you cheeky man, you!

History…
Once again, I love that we start off the story in the present yet we dive right back into what happened, the creation of the club. Even more so, we travel even further back during the high school years at St. Ignatius where Søren and Kingsley were the naughtiest of school boys.

Again, I don’t have much to say, one thing that I was curious about (didn’t love or hate it) the present time’s storyline. I’m still slightly confused and I literally keep thinking a major character has died and I’m not ready for that punch to my gut just yet. But I’m probably wrong. And I KNOW for sure that things are going to start coming together soon and we can see where it’s going. But for right now, Nora hanging out with Nico, Kingsley visiting Grace and Zachary in England….the Kid is confused. But again, I have faith all will unfold in due time.
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Most definitely check Tiffany’s novels and novellas. I swear you will NOT be disappointed, you might even find yourself a new fan of all things kinky 😉 Also, the first two novels, The Saint and The King are Kindle deals on Amazon for a limited time! Make sure you grab your ebook copy today!

See ya ’round, the Kid xx

ALAMW – aka meet all the bloggers and get all the books!

alachic copy

Yay! Very fun post to write up 🙂 And first bookish post of 2015! WOO HOO! I was so thankful last year the discussion of ALA MidWinter came up and I was able to buddy up with co-bloggers Nicole and Ashley from The Quiet Concert to make the trip to Chicago in January 2015! I had a blast at the one in Philadelphia in 2014 by me and had never been to Chicago before so it was a no-brainer I should jump at the chance to get an exhibits pass.

The trip started up as I met up with Nicole to fly [mostly ;)] side-by-side from Philly to Chicago. Sadly the airport spent practically an hour to de-freeze planes which gave me ample time to make small talk with the guy next to me, I had the window seat–my favorite!
chitown copy  

  While polite to make small talk if necessary you don’t need to talk the entire plane ride, whoops, like I did. Frequent traveler, I’m sure I annoyed the people behind me and I felt bad but it did make the trip go by fast, & he was a Chicago native!

Finally Nicole and I were able to depart the plane where we ended up sharing the train all the way from O’Hare into the windy city! A million stops but much cheaper, well for some of us at least 😀


When you are buying a ticket for the CTA, even if you commute to other big cities like Philly/NYC, read the kiosk because you could end up with five tickets instead of just one ticket like moi did LOL!

Up and out of the underground we made it into the city, the real actual part of the city we needed to be to find our hotel. The Wyndham Grand on the Chicago Waterfront was super nice and very accommodating. We stayed high up on the 33rd floor which was really pretty. Ashley was waiting so patiently for our arrival, that after a quick drop off of our stuff to the room we were off to get the yummiest and famously known in Chicago: Deep Dish Pizza. Getting a glimpse of the city at night, walking over the river, as well as bizarrely enough smelling chocolate which was delicious simultaneously the worst thing to smell when you have a sweet tooth and are starving. Deciding on eating at the famous Lou Malnati’s, we ordered ahead, a large pepperoni devouring it in no time. Well worth the wait 🙂 A bonus for the night was posting my pizza pic to Instagram and then this happened:

So hilarious to know fellow friends and bloggers were sitting downstairs from where the girls and I were eating at that very moment. We found them and chatted a little bit, excited for tomorrow’s events in attending the conference: ALL THE BOOKS!


When posting to social media, tag it up so you can run into friends! Or possibly creepers, but more likely friends 😉

Walking back to our hotel we got another glance at the city, hoping to mark our route to the shuttle for bringing us to the convention center where ALAMW was being held. The subway cars that fly by through the city are just the coolest. Sadly I didn’t get a picture of it, but I was able to have everyone stop so we could all do a photoshoot of a very iconic place (don’t mind that the performers seem like they’re circa 1990, as @jaimearkin pointed out haha!)

SINGING ALL OF THE SHOWTUNES

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Stop to see all of the famous things you can, they’re always the most fun! And make your friends snap shots too!

After setting my alarm for 7PM instead of 7AM needless to say our morning was slightly rushed (whoops, and I was seriously annoyed at myself for doing that), we found some Einstein Bagels, grabbed our teas & coffees and set out for the city rolling our small suitcase ready to be filled with books!

they win because of mustaches, obviously

they win because of mustaches, obviously

FINALLY we arrived: MADE IT! And what a sight it was! I’m sad I didn’t take more pics but I was so very excited getting bookish totes, speaking with reps from all the publishers: Little Brown, Harper, Penguin, Random House, Disney Hyperion, Harlequin, etc. It was great to speak with contacts, not only to establish a report but find out what to look out for in 2015! Everyone was super awesome and what a delight to make up for the WORST AND ABSOLUTE DISASTER BOOKCON WAS! Also, best part was meeting up with fellow bloggers (finally, damn the distance and virtuality, we can now see each other in person!) 🙂 I met so many new faces and faces I’ve been talking to for a while now. BEST PART!! Talking books, real life, and all geeky things really can make a girl happy ❤

 

The power of social media is always fun (see pizza IG above) and showing some author love and my tweets show up on a big screen using the #alamw15 hashtag, last column on the right, second tweet woohoo!)

Next up was getting in some sight-seeing, LOTS of picture taking, and one of the BEST, BEST dinners I’ve ever had!! And lastly the fun bar meet-up with all the YA bloggers in town 🙂 Sadly I was very foolish and was gabbing away and not taking pictures with all my new friends. Please enjoy the photos while your party continues to scroll



when the weather is forecasted as bad, most definitely make sure you prepare for the worst

After we got back to the hotel before sight-seeing, we re-booked our flights to leave earlier because the snow was supposed to be bad. And for once, the weather was as advertised because after Nicole and I had changed our flights, we were already bumped up an hour and forty-five mins later than scheduled. Sadly our time was cut short but we did walk away with enough books that we were 4-7 lbs. away from going over the weight limit for our luggage 😉

IMG_0539

After boarding and waiting we were up in the clouds and back on our way to the east coast, ready for some football fun on Super Bowl Sunday. While we had one of the shortest trips ever, I want to get back to Chicago real soon! So much more I’d love to explore, the city seemed so fun and also better weather would help a lot. Snow and bitter cold kinda blows to make a seriously enjoyable weekend. BookCon was a disaster, I don’t think I can afford BEA plus it sounds very intense and I like the mellowness of ALA. I’m so very excited for Boston in 2016! (YES I’M ALREADY COUNTING DOWN UNTIL NEXT ALAMW!)

Until next time! Linz xx aka The Kid