Sunday, July 28, 2013

Series Review: Shadows (The Rephaim #1) and Haze (The Rephaim #2) by Paula Weston

Shadows (The Rephaim #1)
Paula Weston
July 2nd 2012
My rating: 4 stars
Haze (The Rephaim #2)
Paula Weston
May 22nd 2013
My rating: 4.5 stars
It has really been a very long time since the last time I started an angel book and I am really happy that when I finally decided to start one, a really fantastic and wonderfully written series was the one that landed on my lap. Rephaim was such an amazing series I definitely devoured in a very short time. I had a lot of fun reading this thrilling but beautiful world of half-angels Paula Weston created.

In Shadows, we were introduced to this intricate yet very interesting world of the Rephaim. The concept was intriguing especially with how Weston made of with the circumstances of Gabe's character. We learned as she learned, and it was a wonderful way for us to get a good grip of the story and the world but still continued to make us intrigued and curious throughout the book. This one had me sitting on the edge of my seat with all the thrilling and gripping action scenes, discoveries and revalations. The characters too were easily likable and interesting. While I think the first book is a lot more plot driven and is more focus on building a foundation, the main characters especially Gabe and Rafa certainly did left a very big and lasting impression on me. 

So on to the next book, Haze, which I think made me more obsessed with Gabe and Rafa. Haha.This sequel is a lot more focused now on the character development but still didn't lose on providing an exciting and intriguing plot line. I think what made me loved this more was because I finally found a much deeper connection with the characters which brought me more appreciation to them. Although I do think that there aren't that much action on this one than the first book, the focus on the characters, the growth and improvement, definitely made up for it. We were also finally introduced to this one character that was only being talked on the first book. And I was very to have finally met him and that he didn't end up to be on the bad side. 

Now, the ending did leave us on quite a predicament but for some reason it didn't quite bother me, I had my full trust on the characters and know that everything will be alright on the next book. Although I did feel a little disappointed since I wanted a lot more of alone time between Gabe and Rafa. Haha. :)

Overall, this series is absolutely now one of my favorite and best-read angel novels and I'd be definitely stalking this book and its author.  I highly recommend this. With all the angle books out there, I assure you this one is without a doubt a hit to your reading experience.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Review: Catching Liam (Good Girls Don't #1) by Sophie Bleu

Title: Catching Liam (Good Girls Don't #1)
Author: Sophie Bleu
Published: July 8th 2013
Publisher: Sophie Bleu
My rating: 4 stars
Twenty-one year-old Jillian Nichols only has one rule when it comes to boys: catch and release. Boy-catching isn't just a game for Jillian and her friends, it's a lifestyle. After all, boys might be good for a dance or a drink and certainly a little under-cover action of the scandalous variety, but expect much else and you're bound for heart ache.

So when her best friends and fellow boy catchers start dropping like flies junior year, Jillian is determined to keep boys in her bedroom and out of her heart. Until she meets Liam McAvoy, the kind of guy that sticks around to make waffles and who can't—or perhaps won't—take a hint.

Study abroad student Liam doesn't want to be another notch on Jillian's bedpost. Actually he has much more interesting ideas for Jillian and her bedposts, but his student visa's set expiration date means he can't promise her forever. That doesn't mean he's going to walk away from the challenge of discovering why Jillian is hell-bent at keeping people at a distance.

Before long, neither is sure who is catching who—or if they're playing for keeps. Jillian knows one thing though: falling in love will not only break the only rule of boy-catching, it could also break her heart.
From the influx of so many new-adult books the past months I'm really happy that I was able to find this little jewel and witnessed a really sweet and heartwarming contemporary story. Catching Liam was a fun and lighthearted read with enough emotional insight and depth that would definitely tug your heart strings and touch you. 

I was a little wary while reading this one especially after all my not so great experiences from this particular genre. But I'm glad to say that Sophie Blue manages to surprise me with how well she took things in this story. The characters were well developed, the plot was hilarious, romantic and touching, and the writing was surprisingly good. And I liked how this certain health condition was handled with knowledge and understanding. It isn't perfect but it has all what it takes for me to really like a contemporary novel. 

Jillian Nichols and Liam McAvoy were characters I really enjoyed reading about. They were easy characters to connect with and understand. Their relationship, although started in quite an unconventional way, grew naturally and genuinely. But with lots of swoon-worthy, giggle-inducing and steamy moments. 

Jillian's issues was something that saddened me and grab my heart and emotions especially with how hard she tried to hide it and how negatively it affected her thinking of self-worth. As the story progressed though, as her feelings with Liam developed and through his and her best friends' support she learned that she could face it together with them, with their help, with their love and care. 

And on to Liam, well I just have to say I second what JLA said about him in her review - definitely one of the swoon-worthiest male leads I'd ever read. Not just from his looks but from his overall characteristics - understanding, patient and very supportive. And did I mention he's a scot? Just imagine the accent. (Zachary Moore got himself some competition now on the kilt department. Haha.) 

The secondary characters too, I have to say, were well rounded especially Jess. Her friendship with Jillian was actually one of my favorite aspects in this book. It was very tender, heartwarming and amazing.

Quirky, sexy and fun but completely heartwarming. This book will definitely work out for those who enjoy contemporary reads without the worry of it being too stressing but with enough depth and insights that will still make you appreciate it in a deeper level. I recommend this. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Review: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Title: The Distance Between Us
Author: Kasie West
Published: July 2nd 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.
When was the last time I felt like this over a book? You know, the warm fuzzy feeling, all giggly and swoony and you felt like you were floating on the clouds from all the sweetness and cuteness of a story? That's exactly how I felt the entire time I was reading The Distance Between Us. I was practically high over all the adorable-ness of it and it's something I wouldn't really mind getting dose after dose. This book was just that fun and enjoyable.  

Caymen Meyers was a character I thought I would have a hard time liking. I thought her sarcasm would grate on my nerves and made her look like a judgmental, bitter and whinny girl. But turns out she just really has a dry humor which I eventually found funny and endearing. She has a strong and understanding personality. I loved how even with her mom's experience in love and with the rich people it didn't completely cloud her judgment on Xander and still let him in in her life. 

Xander on the other hand was a character that was really easy to like. I started a little cautious with his character thinking he would be some cocky, arrogant rich kid but nooo, he was the opposite! He was so nice, considerate and kind. I loved how he plans and thinks through their "career day" and makes sure that it was something Caymen would enjoy.

The development and the romantic build-up between the two was the best treat on this book. The process and the in-betweens from being friends to lovers were just so so adorable. I loved the morning hot chocolate, the sip-first-before-giving-it to Caymen, the questions, the "career days", Eddie's addictive muffins and all the other things they did as their feelings grew and develop. It was a little slow yet it made it a lot more genuine and sweet. 

The only complain I could probably give to this book was that I wish it was longer and the family thing had been elaborated more. Still, it was a very satisfying and pleasing read. Hopefully, there would be a sequel or a companion novel seeing as how the ending left enough room for it. Maybe we could start asking and emailing Kasie West for a next book? Haha.

This book will definitely be right up the alley of those who enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss, My Life Next Door, Amy and Roger's Epic Detour, From What I Remember and First Comes Love! This was such a fun, sweet and quirky read. I highly recommend this! :)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Review: Faking It (Losing It #2) by Cora Carmack

Title: Faking It (Losing It #2)
Author: Cora Carmack
Published: June 4th 2013
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
My rating: 4 stars
Mackenzie “Max” Miller has a problem. Her parents have arrived in town for a surprise visit, and if they see her dyed hair, tattoos, and piercings, they just might disown her. Even worse, they’re expecting to meet a nice, wholesome boyfriend, not a guy named Mace who has a neck tattoo and plays in a band. All her lies are about to come crashing down around her, but then she meets Cade.

Cade moved to Philadelphia to act and to leave his problems behind in Texas. So far though, he’s kept the problems and had very little opportunity to take the stage. When Max approaches him in a coffee shop with a crazy request to pretend to be her boyfriend, he agrees to play the part. But when Cade plays the role a little too well, they’re forced to keep the ruse going. And the more they fake the relationship, the more real it begins to feel.
Cora Carmack, the first time I've seen your name on your debut novel, Losing It, I know you'd be a favorite author. Then I read it and totally loved it which just made you an official favorite. Months later you came back with another book, Faking It, which I have to say I absolutely adored! And that's when I knew I you just made your way through my heart as one of the authors I'll always be looking forward to. Thank you for writing these books.

Okay, where will I start with this one? Can I just say that I absolutely enjoyed it? Like really enjoyed it - great fun, with all the giggly, swoony and giddy feeling? Because that's what I think is missing on most of new-adult novels that's coming up lately. The fun. I don't know if you get what I mean but I've encountered a lot of NAs lately that were just too heavy, intense, dramatic and emotional (not to say frustrating as hell) that I'd end up feeling worried and anxious almost the entire time I just couldn't completely enjoy it. You know the feeling that even you, the reader, is tiptoeing around the story and characters, I slight wrong move will make everything bad. Wouldn't it be nice if even with all the issues and baggage the characters were carrying you could still feel relaxed and just enjoy their story? 

Thankfully, Faking It was exactly what I was looking for. It was a story with characters carrying emotional baggage and has to deal with their own personal demons yet it was also a story full of humor, laughs, sweetness and giddy feelings. It was a story where the author was able to make me really trust the characters and believed that even though one of them is expected to fucked things up they'd be able to still fix it in no time. 

I'm getting a lot of role reversal lately and I have to say that I'm absolutely loving it. Max is our rocker girl, who dropped out of college to pursue her dream of being a musician. She's a bad-ass who smokes, wears tattoos and dark sexy clothes with a no-nonsense attitude. While Cade is our golden all-American guy. The perfect gentleman, who goes to graduate school, a student volunteer and helps old ladies cross the street. 

How this two met and how their relationship started and developed was really funny and cute but it was still laced with deepness and seriousness as the story went on and as I learned more about each of them. I admit that there are moments that frustrated me quite a bit (although I know some of it were necessary for them to learn) but like I said, Carmack made me trust and understand them, so I was still able to relaxed and just see how they work things out. In the end I was rewarded with a really sweet and touching ending, with not so much drama, but still with great depth and insightfulness. 

Although I wouldn't completely disagree with those who said that it was quite predictable and that plot had already been used before I hope you wouldn't close your judgement in this book based on that because this book definitely has a lot more to offer than that. And as I've said it was really a very fun read. (And sexy!) I highly recommend this.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Blog Tour: Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols (Review + Excerpt)

Title: Dirty Little Secret
Author: Jennifer Echols
Expected Publication: July 16th 2013
Publisher: MTV Books
My rating: 4 stars
Bailey wasn’t always a wild child and the black sheep of her family. She used to play fiddle and tour the music circuit with her sister, Julie, who sang and played guitar. That ended when country music execs swooped in and signed Julie to a solo deal. Never mind that Julie and Bailey were a duet, or that Bailey was their songwriter. The music scouts wanted only Julie, and their parents were content to sit by and let her fulfill her dreams while Bailey’s were hushed away.

Bailey has tried to numb the pain and disappointment over what could have been. And as Julie’s debut album is set to hit the charts, her parents get fed up with Bailey’s antics and ship her off to granddad’s house in Nashville. Playing fiddle in washed-up tribute groups at the mall, Bailey meets Sam, a handsome and oh-so-persuasive guitarist with his own band. He knows Bailey’s fiddle playing is just the thing his band needs to break into the industry. But this life has broken Bailey’s heart once before. She isn’t sure she’s ready to let Sam take her there again…
While I have read a number of Jennifer Echols' books before, they're usually either a hit or miss for me. So whenever I picked a book of hers there's always this little cautiousness that comes with it. Yet when I picked Dirty Little Secret, for some reason, I actually felt quite sure that I would enjoy it. Maybe because it was music-themed? Or because the main protag is a fiddle/violin player? (I have serious soft spot for violin players, i.e. Virtuosity)Or maybe because it was just really good? Oh well, whatever it was I'm just glad to say that Dirty Little Secret is definitely a hit for me! It certainly is one of my favorite Jennifer Echols' books.

Bailey Mayfield was a character I easily felt for even from the very start. The emotional baggage she was carrying was something I had easily understood. I could not entirely fault her for her past unwise actions because I can clearly see where it all came from. Instead, I blamed it all to her selfish, unfeeling parents! Bailey was a very likable character; she was a very good sister, daughter and musician. That's why I just couldn't fathom how her parents could easily disregard her like that. So I was really glad when she met Sam Handiman and his band. 

So onto Sam, this guy was someone you could so effortlessly fall into but just as easily you could get pissed off. YET, for some reason, it was hard not to remain too angry with him. This guy is very charming, talented, sweet and so so adorable (although he does carry some pretty intense emotional baggage too). But even with that I like how it was showed how flawed he is too. His strong drive and determination to reach his dream was admirable but sometimes it gets a little too much that he consciously/unconsciously ends up disregarding some other people's feelings. In the end though he learned that there are things or person that is much more important than what he think is.  

Although I don't know much about country music I actually still enjoyed exploring it through here. The dynamic between the band too was amazing. I love how they could easily work and produce a really wonderful music together. 

I'm not sure if this is the kind of book that would work for almost everybody. I admit there are moments that I get a little lost and disoriented in this one, especially with Sam, although I still always found my way back (to him) eventually. Lol! But there are a lot of good and great things that definitely make up for that. In the end, I still end up having a lot of fun reading this. I recommend this book.

Thank you MTV Books for providing a copy of this book.


“We’ll see about that,” I grumbled. With my circle skirt sweeping behind me, I spun in Ms. Lottie’s chair and stepped out of her hair-and-makeup alcove. I opened my fiddle case on an abandoned bookcase with a “Romance” sign on top. Better that than “Addiction” or “Family Planning,” which was where my parents thought I was parking my fiddle these days. I ran the bow across the strings, making minor adjustments with the tuning pegs. I didn’t need a tuning fork. I could tune my instrument by ear and I was always right. Other people didn’t believe me, though, and I often spent a whole set of songs gritting my teeth and playing A at a fourth of a step up or down from 440 hertz.

Determined not to let that happen this time, I marched across the bookstore with a smile on my face, which seemed a lot more natural while I was in costume. Mr. Cash and his son sat in chairs on opposite ends of the lounge area, playing their guitars. I would charm them into doing things the way I wanted. I watched them as I walked closer. Johnny Cash was a man about my dad’s age with his dark hair greased and combed into a pompadour. He wore a dark suit with a white shirt and a bolo tie, which worked fine for Mr. Cash but also wouldn’t have turned heads anywhere in Nashville. People around here were a little eccentric about bolo ties.

Ms. Lottie had coaxed his son’s hair into the same glossy pompadour, but his clothes could have passed for current, too, part of the Buddy Holly aesthetic so popular right now at Vanderbilt. He wore low-top black Chuck Taylors, black jeans folded up a few turns like greasers wore them in the 1950s, and a plaid shirt with the sleeves rolled up above the elbows. The material stretched tight across his chest and biceps. He was big enough to have played football.

As I approached, Mr. Cash never looked up. There was no reason for him to. The lounge area was always busy at this time of the afternoon with musicians milling back and forth between the couches and Ms. Lottie’s area. A 1950s fiddle player coming closer shouldn’t have been an unusual sight.

But his son looked up. I was watching them, listening to the cacophony as they played two different songs in two different keys. I saw the exact moment when Cash Jr. realized someone was making a beeline for him. His dark eyes widened at me, his stare so unabashed and his expression so intent, as if reading my face that I felt myself blushing in response.

And then he grinned at me. His eyes sparkled. The corners of his mouth lifted through a day’s worth of dark stubble, which didn’t quite jive with the pompadour. He definitely was only a few years older than me, and so handsome that I wished for the millionth time I’d never cut my blond hair off and dyed it black. Then I remembered I was wearing my red ponytail wig, which was even worse.

Now I knew what Ms. Lottie had meant when she said he was a heartbreaker. And he hadn’t spoken one word to me yet.


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