Recent Posts

Monday, February 29, 2016

*Grabby Hands* Release - Review & Giveaway - Holding Court by K.C. Held

Title: Holding Court
Release date:  March 1st, 2016
Author: K.C. Held

About the book:

Sixteen-year-old Jules Verity knows exactly what's in store at her new job at castle-turned-dinner-theater Tudor Times. Some extra cash, wearing a fancy-pants dress, and plenty of time to secretly drool over the ever-so-tasty--and completely unavailable--Grayson Chandler. Except that it's not quite what she imagined.

For one, the costume Jules has to wear is awful. Then there's the dead body she finds that just kind of...well, disappears. Oh, and there's the small issue of Jules and her episodes of what her best friend calls "Psychic Tourette's Syndrome"--spontaneous and uncontrollable outbursts of seemingly absurd prophecies.

The only bright side? This whole dead body thing seems to have gotten Grayson's attention. Except that the more Jules investigates, the more she discovers that Grayson's interest might not be as courtly as she thought. In fact, it's starting to look suspicious...

About the author:

K.C. HELD was born and raised in California with stopovers in Honduras, Mexico, and France. Married to her high school sweetheart, and mom to two avid bookworms, she holds an MFA in costume design and is an accomplished seamstress with a background in opera, theater, film, and television. Although she once spent a summer working in a castle, there were no dead bodies involved.

My thoughts:

4.5 “I fell in love with the protagonist” STARS

ARC via NetGalley.

Thank you, Entangled!

First thing I'll say about this is I started and finished it in one day. A Friday. I could've gone out with my friends or gone with my husband to a nice restaurant... or even started partying since it's Carnaval this weekend, but nope. I chose to stay home and finish this book because I fell in love with Jules.

When that happens, don’t expect me to step away until there are no more words to read. Then, I end up feeling both happy and sad. I guess every bookworm knows the feeling.  And while I was thrilled to get to know Jules, I was sad to have to let her go.

You should come meet Jules -- a.k.a Juliet Verity a.k.a Buttercup a.k.a my new BFF. A super awesome sixteen-year-old who comes from a line of eccentric women with special “gifts.” Her grandmother, for example, can see people’s auras and find their perfect match. And while her grandmother and her mother have found ways to turn their gifts into something profitable for the family, Jules is still going through the “I’m a freak” phase.  It sure doesn’t help that her gift isn’t making being a teenager any easy. According to Jules’ very funny best friend, the poor girl suffers from "Psychic Tourette's Syndrome". What’s that? Out of nowhere, Jules will yell some absurd prophecy that makes no sense at the time, but later turns out to be helpful. Sounds pretty cool, except when you’re trying to keep people from thinking you’re batshit crazy.

But you know where being batshit crazy is cool and profitable? At the castle-turned-dinner-theater Tudor Times where everyone dresses up and pretends to be someone else. Jules is hired to play the part of Mad Maid of Kent (a psychic num), which means she’s practically getting paid to be herself.  Pretty good, huh? What makes it even better is that she’ll get to spend time with her longtime crush and now coworker, Grayson Chandler.

It’d be the perfect job if it weren’t for the dead body she found. The same body that disappeared minutes later, leaving everyone wondering if Jules really saw it or if this was just another part of her psychic gift. Only way to find out? Teaming up with Grayson and searching for the dead girl and her murderer. That’s when the adventure began.

While the whole Tudor vibe and the mystery about the missing body made the story unique and interesting, Jules was the most special element in this as far as I was concerned. You can call her a special snowflake, if you want… I honestly don’t care, because I connected with her from the start.

Jules was funny, like make-me-laugh-out-loud-a-lot funny. Her logic was spot on and her sense of humor was refreshing:

“That brings up an interesting point, Miss Verity. You’re the only one who’s seen Sarah Buckley dead.”
“Uh, no. I’m pretty sure whoever killed her and moved her body saw her, too.”

Like, dude, she was hilarious.

Jules stood firmly against slut shaming. Grayson was in a relationship with Bree, the most perfect girl in town, but every time Jules talked about her “rival”, she did it in a way that made you respect her even more:

Bree Blair is so perfect you can’t even hate her properly.

She (Bree) envelops me in a rose-scented hug. She doesn’t just look perfect, she smells good, too. I should hate her. But I can’t.

And don’t expect Jules to get involved with someone else’s boyfriend, because she’s not up for that kind of crap:

“Cami, I’m serious. I will never be Bree Blair, and I’m not going to be the kind of girl who goes after someone else’s boyfriend, either.”

I highlighted another part that proves the point above (“You’d better go call Bree” – can’t say more because of spoilers) while reading and added “YES, YES, YES!” as my notes. Honestly, I’m so tired of people treating cheating like it’s not a big deal, and I was so, so happy that Jules wasn’t of one them.

I guess what I’m saying is I fell hard for Jules, so I completely understand the big secret revealed at the end. It makes perfect sense to me. *shrugs*

The romance wasn’t as big as I normally like it, but with the search for the missing girl and the mystery involving the possible murder taking much of everyone’s time, it was understandable that they had to keep the romance as a subplot. Plus, this is being sold as YA mystery and not YA romance, so...

I’m sure there will be reviews complaining about historical inconsistencies (not saying there's a problem with the book, but there’s always someone complaining about that), but (again) I don’t care. I didn’t request this book because of the historical references and I’m not quoting anything from a fiction with history as a subplot when discussing important historical facts, so yeah… there’s that.

This book delivered what it promised and a little more: a fun, sweet YA contemporary story with great mystery, a good romance and a main character that made my list of characters I want to be friends with.

About the tour:

Come check the rest of the tour here.

*Tour Organized by:
Chapter by Chapter


Ends March 18th, 2016.

·         One (1) winner will receive Holding Court swag pack containing a magnetic prophecy kit, signed bookplate, coloring postcard with stacked coloring pencil, and a bookmark.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, February 27, 2016

*Grabby Hands* Release & Review - Until It's Right by Jamie Howard

Image  and blurb from Goodreads

Title: Until It's Right
Release date:  March 1st, 2016
Author: Jamie Howard
St. Martin's Press

About the book:

Haley Mitchell is tired of moping. With her broken heart repaired with a thick layer of duct tape, she’s ready to put her ex behind her and move on. After a chance encounter in a club, she’s convinced she’s met Mr. Perfect. But when he accidentally gives her the wrong number, the stranger on the other end of her texts becomes her confidant.

Kyle Lawson has always had more luck with computers than women. So when the new temp, Haley, arrives, he has the misfortune of falling for her, only to land firmly in the friend zone. But when he learns the mysterious woman he’s been texting is actually Haley, he keeps the entire thing a secret.

As things move straight from platonic to decidedly hot, Kyle must come clean about his secret texting identity and risk losing the woman he’s fallen in love with.


My thoughts:

4.5 “Sweetest, cutest, nicest boyfriend” STARS

ARC via NetGalley.

Thank you so, so much, St. Martin’s Press!

I loved this book so much that I ended up highlighting and adding more notes than I usually do. So I’ll start this review with my first and last note:

“OMG, he’s so adorable”

“OMG I’m so in love with this book!!!”

That pretty much sums up my experience. Kyle is adorable. This book is great. As simple as that. So, I don’t know what you’re doing right now, but you need to stop it and go read this.

Seriously, I absolutely loved it.

So, here we go… From my review of Jamie Howard’s debut UNTIL WE BREAK, you know her writing made me feel. Angry, mostly, but still. With her second, the feelings were just as intense, but much, much happier.

In a way, UNTIL IT’S RIGHT is the exact opposite of this author’s debut. It’s so sweet and cute that I felt like hugging it – and its characters most of the time.

Haley comes back as the main character and I’m glad I get to know her a little better. In UWB, Haley was the girl who got screwed over so many times she’s still recovering from all that shit that went down. She’s moved away from Luke & Cia, and is now sharing an apartment with a friend (not sure her friend was part of the first book. Can’t remember). She’s also starting a new temp job soon. But most of all, she’s looking for a new guy who’ll make her forget Luke.

I felt sorry for her while reading UWB. I truly did. So it made me happy to see her moving on and searching for true love. After everything Luke and Sloane put her through, I can’t think of anyone else who deserves it more. And things are looking good since she meets this super hot guy and they hit it off. Phone numbers are exchanged and all that. I was all “YAY, go girl”.

But then Kyle happens. It quickly turns into “YAY, go boy!” because Kyle is that awesome.

See… The phone number Haley got the night she met super hot guy? Not his. But the person texting her back is cool and has a great sense of humor. Did you guess it already? Probably did if you read the blurb. Kyle is the one getting Haley’s texts. And he makes it clear from the start that he isn’t super hot guy, which was the first sign I’d grow to love him. He could’ve easily pretended to be who she thought, but he didn’t. Because Kyle is that awesome.

You know what else? Kyle and Haley actually work together. He’s the IT guy at the new temp job she’s starting. They meet and start having lunch together almost every day, and it’s cute and adorable and my next comment was:

“They’re adorable”

Because my comments on Kindle are that helpful and repetitive. I don’t care.

Anyway… Pretty soon Kyle realizes the mysterious text girl is Haley, but how is he going to tell her that? Without reading the story first, you can roll your eyes and think: Just freaking tell her already. Easy, huh? By Jamie Howard is great at exploring her characters’ self-doubt and she was pretty brilliant inserting things here and there that gave Kyle (and the reader) pause. *claps*

The thing is… Kyle risks losing the girl he’s falling for by telling her the truth. And at this point I’m so in love with him and the idea of them as a couple that I don’t want him to tell her because it’ll break my heart. I know. It’s awful, but I’m selfish and in love so leave me alone.

You may ask me, why are you writing a thesis here? And why are you so in love with Kyle?

Dude! It’s so hard to find nice, nerdy and cute love interests in the book world that when I do I fall hard. And I’m head over heels in love with this character. He made my book boyfriend list – check my bookshelves. And you see the “we-should-be-friends” one there? That’s also for Kyle. I want to be his friend. Why isn’t he real?

I’ll be honest here and say, if you’re looking for super sexy male characters, Kyle isn’t your best bet. But if you’re looking for boyfriend material, you came to the right place. I can’t say much more because it’ll take away from the experience of reading and meeting him, but it’s worth it. Go meet Kyle, but remember, he’s mine. And since I was the first to post a review on Goodreads, I’m calling dibs.

Okay.. So this review turned into a love letter to Kyle, but that happens. It’s a statement to how much I enjoyed this book. And maybe you won’t fall for Kyle the way I did, but there are still so many things right with this book that it’ll keep you interested and wanting to read more. Haley is a pretty great protagonist, the romance is the cutest thing in the planet, the characters are flawed and complex, Kyle’s relationship (and bromance) with his brother is amazing, Haley’s friends and roommate are the kind of friends most girls hope to have, and the list goes on. Oh, the sex is hot, too. Can’t believe I forgot that one.

Another thing I loved about this was how there wasn’t a clear right or wrong answer to these characters’ problems. Should Kyle have told Haley the truth? Should Haley have chosen the path she did all those years ago when it comes to her family? Should she have slapped Sloane when she saw her? The answer to the last one is easy, but the rest? Not so much.

I guess what I’m saying is: Thank you, Jamie Howard for creating Kyle and for writing this book. And please make me the president of Kyle’s fan club. Please?

Friday, February 26, 2016

*Grabby Hands* Release & Review - Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

Image and blurb from Goodreads

Title: Into the Dim
Release date:  March 1st, 2016
Author: Janet B. Taylor
HMH Books for Young Readers

About the book:

When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing.      Addictive, romantic, and rich with historical detail,Into the Dim is an Outlander for teens

My thoughts:

4.5 “Bloody brilliant time travel” STARS

ARC via NetGalley.

Thank you, HMH Children’s Book Group!

Guys, I bloody loved this book – Yep, I’ll be writing/saying “bloody” until I’m over this book hangover. Yep, there is a book hangover, which means this book is as awesome as I just said it was. Now go ahead and get your copy so you can go through your own hangover. It’s worth it.

As you can see from the blurb, the story follows Hope’s journey from the fragile girl who’d just lost her parents to the brave heroine she becomes in the end. Before you start complaining, this isn’t a spoiler – it’s character arc. Every story should have it, and this one thankfully does.

When the book starts, Hope is living in the USA with her stepfather and they’re having a funeral with an empty casket because her mother’s body couldn’t be found. Even though Hope believes she’s still alive, her father was quick to move on and send her away to Scotland to spend time with her aunt (her mother’s sister). And here was when I knew I’d love this book…. Hear me out. Of course Hope doesn’t want to go (she’s never met this aunt and she just lost her mom), but dad-of-the-year tells her if she chooses not to go, she’ll have to stay with her “grandmother” (his mom); the woman who made sure Hope understood since she was little that she wasn’t part of the family because she didn’t share their blood. Nice, huh? Guess why she can’t stay with her dad? Because he’s going on a cruise with his new girlfriend. OMG. YES! THIS MAN…. I hated him right there and then. No excuse. No second thought. Just hated his guts.

Sure he was her stepfather, but the man acted as if he loved her and thought of her as his child. YEAH, RIGHT. What kind of father does that? Dude, you are a horrible human being. That’s all I’m saying.

So.. yeah… see? This is 5% in and I’m already having all these major feels! Over her stepfather, who’s… like… a minor character. Can you imagine how I felt reading the rest of the story?

Happy is a word to describe it well.

I was happy that Hope was the MC because I liked her a lot. Sure she was whiny sometimes, but she was also very smart (like "OMG, be my friend and teach me interesting things" kind of smart), she loved history (Eeeeee!) and she was brave even when in reality she was fearful of so many things (complicated, huh?).

I was happy that the damn love triangle was sooooo good. Look, if you suffer from love triangle phobia, don’t sweat. I don't think you’ll hate this one. Reason #1: this wasn’t really a love triangle. No spoiler, but it’s safe to say there’s a hint of it but the author chose to postpone it. Reason #2: Come on! She wrote two great LIs and I want Hope to choose them both. That’s how you write (or draw) a triangle, people. Well done. Collum wasn’t as well developed as Bran, but I found myself rooting for both. I desperately want to know more about Collum and I doubt I’ll ever get enough of Bran and his smart mouth.

I was happy that there was a lot of history involved and I got to learn a little bit more about some facts through the MC. It’s been a while since I’ve read something set so far back in the past, and I’d almost forgotten how much I enjoy these experiences.

I was happy that the time travel element was consistent and well-explained, which is rare among these types of books. The whole concept and ideas behind the time travelers, the stones and the rules made a whole lot of sense, so YAY!  

I am happy that I got to read this amazing book! It kept me turning pages, smiling and experiencing all kinds of feelings. This is a 2016 must-read, people! Don’t miss it.

One last reason why I’m happy? There’ll be more books in this series. Double Yay!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

*Grabby Hands* Release & Review - Beyond the Red by Ava Jae

Image and blurb from Goodreads

Title: Beyond the Red
Release date:  March 1st, 2016
Author: Ava Jae
Sky Pony Press

About the book:

Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.

Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. Yet that doesn’t stop him from defending his people, at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He’s given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.

When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.

My thoughts:

3.5 "Aliens and sexy half-bloods" STARS

ARC via Edelweiss

THANK YOU, Sky Pony Press!

Ava Jae's debut took us to a sandy new planet inhabited by humanoid aliens -- the Sepharon, and I have to say it was a fun ride.

Told from dual POV, this was the story of Eros and Kora, but while Kora was a Sepharon Queen, Eros was a nobody.

We're first introduced to Eros, a half-blood (a human female & alien male did the nasty and had a baby) who escaped death right after he was born (a destiny reserved to all half-bloods), and was raised by a nice human family. 

In Ava Jae's vivid world, humans are treated just like Hollywood taught us aliens would if they ever came to Earth: a threat that needs to be exterminated. That means humans are either slaves or walking around the desert setting camps and living off little to nothing -- until the aliens find them and kill them all. Not so nice when the the roles are reversed, huh?

As far as Eros is concerned, since he's half-blood, he's forced to live this life while enduring the hatred of the humans around him, who basically believe him to be a freak who doesn't deserve to live. I guess the aliens and human have that in common. 

Anyway, after the aliens kill Eros family, he's taken by the Queen, Kora to her castle to work as a slave. Shit hits the fan, he gets into trouble because everyone basically wants him dead, except Kora, so he's assigned to work as her private slave.

In reality, Kora decides to have Eros close to her because her twin brother wants the throne at all costs, and she believes he'll stop at nothing to take her place. She's right. Dude is totally nuts. So a trained soldier like Eros - he was trained by the human "army" - sounds like the right choice to protect her from her crazy brother.

This allows Eros and Kora to form a bond, and I'm all for that. Romance in sight? Count me in.

But... The moment Eros and Kora start working together I start having a problem with the story.

See.... Kora is the Queen and she knows her brother is dying to take the throne. What does she do to make sure that doesn't happen besides making Eros her personal assistant (a.k.a her personal slave, because he's still her slave)?


Does she become a more active leader? Not really. Eros describes her daily routine and what does she do? Sit around and read books. Dude?!? Why?!? Go do something queen-like. To be fair, she does visit town once (disguised as a commoner) and goes on about implementing changes because the place isn't doing so well (go figure), but we don't really get to see those changes. So I was a little disappointed.

Her brother is a snake and she knows that, but she doesn't act smart around him. She lets him in on a secret involving Eros when she clearly shouldn't. She doesn't take precautions to make sure he doesn't get more power than he already has. She sure doesn't see the signs that he's up to something when he's practically laughing in her face, and when people point out what he did, she still doubts them. Don't get me wrong. I have a brother and I love him, so it'd be devastating if he betrayed me. But she already knew her brother wanted to be king before she was even crowned queen, so it sounds absurdly naive of her not to be extra careful around him. 

So maybe my problem was Kora?

I did like Eros. He was a good, strong character. He was sexy. *fans self* And I wanted to love the romance -- the book is heavy on that front, but I didn't feel the chemistry outside of the kissing scenes. When they were going at it, it was hot. *fans self again* But I wanted to feel more when they were talking or just looking at each other, something they did often.

It didn't really help things when we were introduced to another likable character who was also interested in Kora -- a character that was nerdy, good-hearted and wanted to make the world a better place. So... Yeah... How can you be 100% team Kora-Eros after that?

Even though I have a few complaints, this was a fun read. After all, I finished it in one sitting. The writing is  good (though not sure why she chose to add words like "mo", "kinduv" and etc -- didn't make sense to me) and the world building was excellent (something that helped take the "sci-finess" to another level). A good debut that leaves the story wide open for a sequel.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

*Grabby Hands* Cover Reveal - Lovely Vicious Series (Books #1, #2 & #3) by Sara Wolf

Today, we're bringing you three BEAUTIFUL covers instead of just one. 
Come check them out:

Title: Love Me Never (Lovely Vicious #1)
Release date:  April 5th, 2016
Author: Sara Wolf

About the book: 

Previously published as Lovely Vicious, this fully revised and updated edition is full of romance, intrigue, and laugh-out-loud moments.

Seventeen-year-old Isis Blake hasn’t fallen in love in three years, nine weeks, and five days, and after what happened last time, she intends to keep it that way. Since then she’s lost eighty-five pounds, gotten four streaks of purple in her hair, and moved to Buttcrack-of-Nowhere, Ohio, to help her mom escape a bad relationship.

All the girls in her new school want one thing—Jack Hunter, the Ice Prince of East
Summit High. Hot as an Armani ad, smart enough to get into Yale, and colder than
the Arctic, Jack Hunter’s never gone out with anyone. Sure, people have seen him
downtown with beautiful women, but he’s never given high school girls the time of
day. Until Isis punches him in the face.

Jack’s met his match. Suddenly everything is a game.

The goal: Make the other beg for mercy.
The game board: East Summit High.
The reward: Something neither of them expected.

Title: Forget Me Always (Lovely Vicious #2)
Release date:  November 1st, 2016
Author: Sara Wolf

About the book: 

Previously published as Savage Delight, this fully revised and updated edition is full of hilarity, drama, and heartbreak. Stay tuned for reveals of the synopsis and exclusive excerpts!

Title: Remember Me Forever (Lovely Vicious #3)
Release date:  May 2nd, 2017
Author: Sara Wolf

About the book: 

Previously published as Brutal Previous, this fully revised and updated edition is full of emotion, healing, and love. Stay tuned for reveals of the synopsis and exclusive excerpts!

About the Author:

Sara Wolf is a twenty-something author who adores baking, screaming at her cats, and screaming at herself while she types hilarious things. When she was a kid, she was too busy eating dirt to write her first terrible book. Twenty years later, she picked up a keyboard and started mashing her fists on it and created the monster known as the Lovely Vicious series. She lives in San Diego with two cats, a crippling-yet-refreshing sense of self-doubt, and not enough fruit tarts ever. 

Are you counting the minutes, too?
*Cover Reveal Organized by:
Chapter by Chapter