ARC August – update week 4

So in the midst of the worst week ever, I was actually able to finish a book! Woohoo! It’s pretty crazy because I’ve basically spent all summer not reading much so it’s nice to know this is starting to pay off–signing up for the reading challenge and whatnot👍

I liked this one, You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan–two gay high school classmates find themselves at a gay bar for Pride Week in San Francisco and develop a friendship overnight. I could’ve used more closure for Mark’s storyline rather than just “hey I’ll figure things out” but I enjoyed Kate and Mark’s guide to self-discovery in becoming who they’re meant to be and shedding what they wish could be. Sometimes friendships just click and I liked what these two characters established within the short time the audience gets to spend with them.

I’ve already started on my next read, And I Darken by Kiersten White…it’s my book club pick for August and I’m seriously cutting it close. I’m also trying to decide what to read for September since I’ve had a decent month reading for August! I’m not sure if the challenge somehow helped or not, but I’ll be writing down some titles that I’ve been looking forward to reading as well as finishing a few I’ve started ☺️ [yes Mindy and Game of Thrones, I’m looking at you both–we should so be done by now haha!]

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There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake – Review

There Will Be Lies | Available for Purchase via Amazon.com • Barnes & Noble • Book Depository
Author: Nick Lake
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Pages: 464, hardback cover
Received Copy: Advanced Readers Copy (ARC) Received via NetGalley for personal, unbiased review

Synopsis via Goodreads:

In four hours, Shelby Jane Cooper will be struck by a car.

Shortly after, she and her mother will leave the hospital and set out on a winding journey toward the Grand Canyon.

All Shelby knows is that they’re running from dangers only her mother understands. And the further they travel, the more Shelby questions everything about her past—and her current reality. Forced to take advantage of the kindness of unsuspecting travelers, Shelby grapples with what’s real, what isn’t, and who she can trust . . . if anybody.

Award-winning author Nick Lake proves his skills as a master storyteller in this heart-pounding new novel. This emotionally charged thrill ride leads to a shocking ending that will have readers flipping back to the beginning.
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Things I Did Like:

Diversity…
I really loved that Shelby was deaf. A character with an impairment is something I don’t see enough of when picking up a book these days. You are reminded, while reading through Shelby’s eyes, just how amazingly lucky one is to have the sense of hearing and to be able to communicate so easily. You can scream, you can sing, you can learn other languages, you can whisper, you can do a lot listening to the sound of your voice and others voices. A reminder of how valuable our sense are if we have them all.

Incorporation…
I also was very intrigued to read how the story of The Dreaming worlds ran into Native American culture. I’m a history fan so it’s always very cool to learn about other cultures and where their stories come from. We all have legends and parables that we know by heart and to read about the Coyote and nature’s part was a delight.

Unexpected…
When I requested this I briefly read the description but, really skimmed it, but remember seeing the buzz online so I made sure I tried to get my hands on the novel. I started reading and didn’t really know where this story was going. By the time I finished on Goodreads I started reading some of the brief snippets of posts from my phone I can understand why a few didn’t finish. I’m glad I stuck it out because I found myself wanting to read until the end to see where things went for Shelby.

Things I Didn’t Like:

Confusion…
When the book starts off I had an inkling that either Shelby or her mother was deaf. The mention of closed captions being on the television was the most obvious. Having personally grown up with a grandmother who had a hearing problem, when she reached her 70’s the TV always had closed captioning on which as a teen drove me crazy because all I’d do was read instead of watch the show. I digress, but the clarification of who is actually deaf doesn’t come until like 40% through the book. That can be seriously confusing for the audience to read and follow along with.

Layout…
Another issue I had was when Shelby’s character enters The Dreaming, I feel like the font should have been italicized. Not too sure if this will happen in the actual book, again I received an ebook copy which sometimes has formatting issues, but I really wanted to see some sort of shift to show we’re no longer in The Dreaming and vice versa. I know there are several parts later on when Shelby goes in and out quickly but to start off, showing this distinction, from a reader’s perspective, this could have helped.

 

Thanks again, Bloomsbury, for giving me the chance to review. Overall I say, power through and it’s worth checking out 🙂

until next time …Linz xx The Kid

Virgin by Radhika Sanghani

Virgin
Author: Radhika Sanghani
Publisher: Berkley Trade, Penguin Group Berkley, NAL / Signet Romance, DA
Release Date: August 5, 2014
Pages: 304 pages, Kindle version
Received Copy: Electronic NetGalley Advanced Copy
Available for Purchase via Amazon

Let’s face it, living in 2014 comes with a whole set of rules than years or decades before it. That being said, Radhika Sanghani wrote an honest novel of how virginity shouldn’t be such a big deal anymore. The story focuses on Ellie Kolstakis who’s 21, finishing up her college years in England where she feels like she’s the last in the crowd of teens/twenty-somethings to have sex…for the first time. Ellie does seem a little selfish and immature but who isn’t, really, at 21 and goes on a journey to get herself deflowered. Ideally she is looking for someone she’s compatible with but fearing to strike out time and again, she almost wants to settle for any guy–not the best idea but she can’t get out of that mindset.

Synopsis: (via Goodreads)

Okay, I admit it…I didn’t do it.

Yet.

This is normal, right?  I mean, just because everyone I know has talked like they’ve already done it doesn’t mean that they’re telling the truth…right?

It’s not like I’m asking for that much. I don’t need the perfect guy. I don’t need candlelight or roses. Honestly, I don’t even need a real bed.

The guys I know complain that girls are always looking for Mr. Right—do I have to wear a sign that says I’m only looking for Mr. Right Now?

Sooooo…anyone out there want sex? Anyone? Hello? Just for fun?

I am not going to die a virgin. One way or another I am going to make this happen.

Hey, what have I got to lose? Besides the obvious.

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Overall I enjoyed this. I definitely found parts humorous and I liked how real the writing was. At first I think a reader is a little bit shocked at the technical terms for body parts & sexual things but following along it wears off and it seems like a story that could happen in real life. I applaud the author for writing like that because girls go through a spectrum of so many emotions and happenings that it can get very overwhelming when you think about it losing your virginity, doing anything sexually, and feeling the need to fit in.

One thing I would have loved to have seen more of was the reaction to the vlog. It would’ve been nice to see how their posts coming across to readers. If the readers were benefiting from their advice/stories of woe and experience that they were willing to share in the online community. Also, I know this was an ARC but I hope the vlog posts were italicized because even though a title for the post was shown it would be nice to see the distinction and not confuse future readers.

On a personal note I definitely could relate to Ellie’s character. We’re a culture that’s getting sexualized more and more “dress sexy, explore sexy, make guys want to find you sexy” and it sells which puts a terrible notion inside impressionable female heads. The part of also feeling excepted and like you’re not missing out–I’ve been known to struggle over that as well. The cookie cutter look of being skinny, having a fit body, a certain hair color, a certain eye color…what’s the most desirable is continuously stacked against those who are just trying to be themselves while needing to feel accepted.

If you’re looking for something with a little sex and humor, I’d definitely try to check this out.

 

Linz aka The Kid xx

The Saint ARC Review

The post I’ve been waiting to….well, post….

via Goodreads

The Saint (The Original Sinners: White Years #1)
Author: Tiffany Reisz
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Pages: 420 pages, paperback
Received Copy: Electronic NetGalley Advanced Copy
Available for Purchase via Amazon

(Warning, this book is highly adult. It’s erotica and if that isn’t really your cup of tea, I’d suggest skipping reading up on this review. If you DO enjoy it or find it intriguing, please by all means continue to read on)

 

I was so SO lucky enough to be given access to to one of my favorite series, The Original Sinners by the lovely and brilliant Tiffany Reisz. I cannot express how much Harlequin rules in my book for giving me access through NetGalley–especially since I haven’t been blogging for long or have much luck scoring the awesome ARCs I usually look forward to getting my hands on!!!

 

ANYWAY….a little briefing:

For those of you who have no idea who Tiffany Reisz is or what The Original Sinners novels are, you MUST go and check them out before you read this review or novel! The Original Sinners is a fantastic story told through a series of erotic novels and novellas about the underworld of doms and submissives with a twist, but oh so good of a twist. Nora Sutherlin was a catholic school girl who then grew up and turned submissive, turned dominatrix, turned erotica novelist. PHEW haha, is this making you intrigued or uncomfortable? 😉

The Original Sinner series consists of four novels, starting with The Siren, where Nora completes and promotes her novels to later touching on the backstory of her life and the relationships she’s grown to fiercely love and respect. The cast of characters include, king of the BDSM underworld himself, Kingsley, Søren, bff to Kingsley as well as Nora’s everything: mind, body, and soul are owned by him….oh yeah and he’s a Catholic priest. I know, it’s a pretty crazy storyline, LOTS of sexual encounters to make you need to cross your legs or take a cold shower but I promise it’s SOOOO worth it!!

The newest series is a continuation of The Original Sinners called The White Years. The Original Sinners storyline takes place most in present time, with added reflection in days of past, but The White Years go back to the start. Søren as a freshly pressed priest at a small parish in Connecticut home to the sassiest and badass teen you’ll ever meet: Eleanor Schreiber. Eleanor is a free thinker, has a sassy mouth, bluntly speaks her mind, and does not mind being a sinner, not one bit. In The Saint you find out her moves and decisions made for the path she chose in life that you read in the stories before. You have insight to all of this and never mind a younger Søren: yes. please. It’s actually the ORIGINAL story of how the Original Sinners got their name, haha, or at least Nora. You travel from mid high school until mid college ending where her old life will cease to exist and she moves on into a world she never could have expected to exist.

Synopsis via Goodreads:

In the beginning, there was him. 

Gutsy, green-eyed Eleanor never met a rule she didn’t want to break. She’s sick of her mother’s zealotry and the confines of Catholic school, and declares she’ll never go to church again. But her first glimpse of beautiful, magnetic Father Søren Stearns and his lust-worthy Italian motorcycle is an epiphany. Suddenly, daily Mass seems like a reward, and her punishment is the ache she feels when they’re apart. He is intelligent and insightful and he seems to know her intimately at her very core. Eleanor is consumed—and even she knows that can’t be right.

But when one desperate mistake nearly costs Eleanor everything, it is Søren who steps in to save her. She vows to repay him with complete obedience…and a whole world opens before her as he reveals to her his deepest secrets. 

Danger can be managed—pain, welcomed. Everything is about to begin.

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Things I Liked:

the Characters…
I was so happy to read teen Nora/Eleanor. She has such a mouth on her but that’s to be expected because of reading the first series. She goes through much more than I expected. When you’ve read The Original Sinners series, much of her story has been told but a good portion has been left out. It was very interesting to get this new perspective. I also really appreciated the flow of Tiffany’s characters. Never did I once think the story lost it’s purpose or the characters lose their voices. Everything flowed beautifully.

Tipsy Søren…
I mean honestly, I’m not going to say anymore on this, but this scene was BY FAR my favoritest (yes, it’s a word) of the book!!! This scene also involves might involve the official meeting of Kingsley. With this, you already see the dynamics there for the three of them to be the ultimate trifecta. UNF!!

the Storyline…
Once again Nora keeps up with the present timeline but also finds a way to explain her days of past. The flow is refreshing and I never was confused. It is a heavy recalling of her youthful days but there are some lovely, intimate times in the present for Nora Sutherlin.

the Continuation…
After flying through the ARC I had to make sure I emailed Tiffany my thoughts. I wanted to gush about this book but didn’t have a bunch of people I could tell so I went straight to discuss it with the source herself. I cannot express how excited and thrilled I am that Nora/Søren/Kingsley’s storyline continues!! I find these days erotica is hard to find: GOOD erotica. Not something cheap. Not something written for a paycheck. These characters have been given life and I’ve read it through all of Tiffany’s work. I thank her for that…so much!

the Lovin’…
Oh dear god. The passion is back! You feel it all and then some. The heat between Søren and Nora is there from Day 1. You understand it. It’s already been ingrained into your brain that these two have quite the history but The Saint certainly explains the beginning of it all and you’re the lucky reader to gets to happily enjoy the ride.
Things I Didn’t Like:

Present Time…
I will need to go back to re-reading the end of The Mistress to remember a certain character’s involvement, but said character is back and I’m not sure where this will all fit in. It’s not really something I *disliked* about the story but more light could’ve been shed on how connect they are with Nora. But I know Tiffany’s stories and I began to realize that throughout the The White Years series, this subject/character will be explained entirely. We’ll see the big picture eventually but this is only a little sliver of the storyline.

 

Other than that I don’t have much else to gush about other than if you’re a fan of BDSM, any fantastically, well-written erotica you will have to own this!! If you haven’t read the first series, The Original Sinners, I highly recommend starting it!! The novellas Tiffany has available are also great purchases to get as well as free treats on her website! YES. FREE!!!

If you’re just starting the series, I’d suggest you start with a novella called The Gift. I originally knew it as Seven Day Loan but this short story is a nice insight into Nora’s world. It’s a perfect mix of introduction and sexiness that you’re looking for. It’s a good glimpse that will leave you seriously wanting more! Then dive into The Siren, first of The Original Sinners series!!

Later sinners….

Linz aka The Kid xx

The Here and Now Review

Hi guys,

Long time no see and I am mostly, definitely at fault for that.

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You see, I had a book hangover, a bad one. I finished Open Road Summer (which if you haven’t already purchased yet you need it on your shelf, GO!) and I just…couldn’t get focused to read. I tried three books before I said to myself, “Book club is soon, I cannot slack!” So here it goes:

The Here and Now
Author: Ann Brashares
Publisher: Random House Kids – Delacorte Press
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Pages: 288, Hardcover
Received Copy: ARC at ALAMW

I was able to receive an ARC of The Here and Now at ALA Mid-winter and since all of book club went and picked it up as well we came to the decision to make this our monthly choice!

Now I haven’t read or seen the Sisterhood of Traveling Pants, I know–shame on me, so I hadn’t read any of Ann’s famed novels. I also can honestly say I went into this book not knowing anything. I didn’t know it featured time travel or anything with the future, just that it most likely had a semi-love plot going on, haha! I usually see my feed on Twitter/Instagram/Goodreads on what’s up and coming to look out for and I just mark it down.

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.
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The book was pretty intriguing and I saw some mixed reviews on Goodreads from fellow readers but I didn’t want to let that sway my opinion–I can be terrible for falling for that.

Things I liked…

the Plot:
I thought it was pretty interesting, especially since I didn’t know much about the book. I went into reading this with a fresh attitude which was great! I found the book suspenseful at times and I always forget that that’s a genre I should read more of. It’s an easy way for me to read faster because I just NEED TO KNOW!

the Questions posed:
Upon reading the book I did a bunch of thinking. I probably got too involved in getting hooked into the plot–not that this is a terrible thing–but I started thinking on a huge spectrum of everything in life. A range of things crossed my mind: what will the future be like? Will the things predicted in the book be a possibility? Is time travel possible? Will things like money and paper have a lesser value in time when we’re clearly living in a digital age? What’s in store for technology? …which then lead into REALLY deep questions… What’s going to happen to my future? What happens when I die? If I found out the day I die, would I want to know? How long will I live for? What does my future hold and how can I make the most of my time here?

See? I went WAY. TOO. DEEP! But the important thing is, as much as those questions completely freak me out, it wasn’t possible to think about this until I made time to read–the questions weren’t on the forefront on my mind, I mean. I kind of loved and hated this idea haha!

the Characters:
Never once did I doubt any of the characters motives or actions. They were pretty genuine and interesting to follow. Ethan is by far my absolute favorite! He’s smart–so, so smart, and the nicest. He cares for Prenna and has this ability to be everything for her and more and I really loved that. And even the despicable characters were always so despisable.

the POV:
One of my favorites! If you know me by now, or have been reading enough of the reviews, you’ll know I’m not always keen on alternating points of view. Singular first person or third are usually what I’m fond of the most. The book starts off in Ethan’s POV and the rest is in Prenna’s. It’s actually crucial to know from his view and helps you have some insight the main character doesn’t have. Nice twist. I would like to see more authors do this.

the Book Length:
Just around perfect. It might’ve been cool to see an epilogue…I think a sequel is risky but a few years into how things had changed would be interesting.

the Cover:
It’s just so pretty and really captivating–an eye-catcher for sure! While reading I tended to glance back at the cover and some mysteries are revealed while reading. So just a pointer, if you’re reading it, take a look at the cover and figure out what you notice. That’s always something fun to help while reading.

Things I Didn’t Like….

That I decided to put off reading this book for so long!  😉

 

I would definitely recommend this book–it’s a good buy or kindle deal for sure! It’s got mystery, suspense, love, a bit of sci-fi, drama all wrapped up into one! You won’t be disappointed.

If you’ve read it I’d love to hear your thoughts….haven’t seen a ton of buzz for this one, so comment if you’ve read it.

Until next time…

Linz xx

Side Effects May Vary: Review

In early February I wanted to participate in a ARC tour that I saw via my Twitter feed, for the blog On the Same Page (former LitLushes). I was looking forward to joining and started right up as soon as the book arrived in my mailbox. I had seen it’s title pop up on my social media but wasn’t actually sure what the plot was about.

Side Effects May Vary
Author: Julie Murphy
Publisher: HarperCollins/ Balzer + Bray
Release Date: March 18, 2014
Pages: 336, Paperback
Received Copy: ARC tour at On the Same Page/Literary Lushes blog courtesy

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most?

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Side Effects May Vary features Alice, and her guy best friend’s, Harvey, lives that weave through past and present scenes as well as his/her points of view throughout the novel. Alice is a sophomore who gets the shock of her life when she gets told that she has cancer and the outlook for her future seems short. She’s in the prime of her teenage life: Prom, learning to drive, love, friendships, college decisions to look forward to–which now have all come to a halt because of her ailing health. Alice relies on Harvey, her best friend to lean on, and help her carry out some revenge on a not so nice ex-boyfriend and the school’s popular, bad girl as well as Alice’s nemesis. In the process Harvey and Alice have their friendship lines blurred and strengthened all throughout the book.

Overall this was a tough book to rate because I wasn’t much of a fan, but here goes…

Things I liked:

the Cover…
It’s colorful and very appealing to the eye. While looks may be deceiving, I knew looking forward to a heartfelt book that I wanted to invest my time in reading.

the Book Length…
I don’t think the book needed to be any longer than it should’ve been. Definitely just the right amount of pages–maybe a little more to the ending to thicken it out.

Things I didn’t like:

the Characters
Honestly, I don’t believe any of the cast of characters had any redeeming qualities about them. It’s difficult to immerse yourself in a story when you don’t enjoy either protagonists–they kind of drove me crazy. I could probably break down each one but I won’t. I also couldn’t identify myself with any of the characters, not on any real level. Yes I may have the desire to act out like Alice, be desperate like Harvey but in the end, their behavior just didn’t flow very well, I just wasn’t much of a believer.

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the Ending
With everything that had happened to both Alice and her behavior and Harvey in his naivety, I had hoped the ending could save this and maybe for some readers it did get better, but for me, I stillwas not into it.

 

While I participated in the ARC tour, I still wanted to give my opinion. Truthfully I do not want to be a blog catered to just reviewing everything that I loved reading–I feel it’s important to focus on the good and not-so-good. Unfortunately, I haven’t had to write many not-so-good reviews–this is really my first. But the important thing is I want to give an honest opinion. I say if you were looking forward to reading the book you still should! I’d most likely borrow it from a friend or get it from the library in case you’re still skeptical and don’t end up liking it. Hopefully this wasn’t too harsh–there are tons of books that I fall head over heels reading and some just don’t appreciate them like I do, which is okay…I may be side-eyed and judging you, LOL, but I get it. You do have opinions too. I’d love for you to have the same respect for mine as I do for yours.

If you read it, let me know what you thought about it….did you like it? Agree or disagree? Thanks in advance!
Linz xx