Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Listen To Your Heart {And Giveaway}

"I'm convinced that people come across others in life 
whose souls are completely compatible with their own."
--Colleen Hoover, Maybe Someday

Genre: NA Contemporary
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 384
Publication Date: March 18th, 2014
Source: Bought
Previous Books by Author: Hopeless & Losing Hope
Goodreads Description

At twenty-two years old, Sydney is enjoying a great life: She's in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her best friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers that Hunter is cheating on her--and she's forced to decide what her next move should be.

Soon, Sydney finds herself captivated by her mysterious and attractive neighbor, Ridge. She can't take her eyes off him or stop listening to the passionate way he plays his guitar every evening out on his balcony. And there's something about Sydney that Ridge can't ignore, either. They soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one.

A passionate tale of friendship, betrayal, and romance, Maybe Someday will immerse readers in Sydney's tumultuous world from the very first page.
The Writing Colleen Hoover. Oh my, heart, where do I begin. I'm not going to lie to you. I was hesitant and also eagerly anticipating reading this. I haven't read the Slammed series yet (I'm going to right after this review don't you worry) because I LOVE Hopeless so freakin' much, it is hard to wrap my head around loving anything as hard and as much as that series. Oh, why do I doubt you Colleen Hoover. You destroy my heart and manipulate my emotions in the best way possible. The way Colleen writes is some kind of incredible. The voices of her characters are so distinct. So honest. So real. I completely felt immersed in Sydney and Ridge's world and had that moment of confusion looking up after reading. Where am I?...You feel so completely with these characters that my heart was just aching with them.

Sydney It is not a spoiler to say the first page of the book opens with her legit punching her ex-BFF and cheating boyfriend in the face. Right hook for the win. I was in bookish friendship love with this girl immediately. Sydney is reactionary but when she talks through some very COMPLICATED situations, she is so understanding and rational. While I think to the extent of how understanding she is at times is a little far-fetched for a 22 year old, I deeply appreciated how mature she was. Sydney loves so deeply and so truly that her main concern will always be for that person she loves well-being. Rarely does she think of herself in the matter. And isn't that what true love is all about? Putting another person's needs and feelings before your own? *sigh*

The Characters Colleen, again, fails to give me a character in one of her books that isn't fleshed out and that I haven't loved. Even her secondary characters have their own complexities. Even characters you WANT to dislike have you rooting for them. These characters are not perfect, nobody is, but what I love is the maturity she gives them as well as ALL the emotions. This is one of her many strengths as a writer and it makes her books that much better for wanting to know more about every person that graces her pages.

The Connection How Colleen writes her romances and lost stories is one of a kind. She builds up the tension and you're falling in love with the characters as they fall in love with each other. She does this SO WELL. I loved inner dialogue of what they were thinking. It felt very honest and real. The emotions were raw. The turmoil was real. Nothing yet everything went right. I loved the juxtaposition and warring emotions about what was right and what was...right.

The Betrayal I need to confess something that isn't really a confession. I HATE reading about infidelity in books. After a few recent book in particular has me not wanting to read anything having to do with cheating of any kind. Never would I be able to read and empathize with a character who cheats. Colleen, again, has opened up my eyes a little bit. OBVIOUSLY nobody agrees with cheating, however I have come to be not so judgmental in my bookish picks. There is most definitely a gray area involved with matters of the heart. Far be it from me to judge others for their choices and this book helped me to not feel so black and white about a very complicated subject. I feel like the way Colleen writes this story is one of compassion, understanding, and so well done that it has even me re-thinking how I viewed things. I loved that she explored a situation of changing feelings, differing opinions on the direction one's life should go, the fact that we change as people over time, our needs for what we need in partners changes.  Obviously I am NOT an advocate for cheating AT ALL, but I have come to realize that people's emotions are not something to be pigeon-holed in any way, shape, or form. I believe I was doing this previously and I don't even want to be judgmental on any topic because reading in general has changed my views on so many different subjects and I'm just adding this to the list.

The...There is a part of the story that comes to light and deals with something I know a lot about. But I cannot talk about it because it is a MAJOR SPOILER so I will not. Just know there was a certain issue that I think could have gone down very differently and still have the intended effect.

Yes I'm about to binge read the Slammed series because Colleen Hoover can do no wrong in my book right now. If you love complex characters, complicated emotional situations, and characters you can fall in love with, this is a book for you.

Does this sound like the book for you? 
Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below to win an ARC of Maybe Someday!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Lit in Lyrics--The Beyond Series

So when I read a really good book it is only natural that when I'm working out or listening to my iPod, certain songs will totally stick out and practically scream a certain book to me. I've had this recently with the Beyond series by Kit Rocha. I LOVE these books and after hearing Wild, Wild Love by Pitbull, which totally fits Beyond Jealousy, I was inspired to do a playlist for the whole series. THIS WAS SO MUCH FUN! I'll try and do more in the future but for now, here are my songs for each book, the men of the O'Kanes and, of course, the infamous ladies.

Beyond Shame

Overprotected (Darkchild Remix) by Britney Spears (YouTube)
Pretty much Noelle, to a 'T.'

I need time, love, joy
I need space, love

Say hello to the girl that I am
You're gonna have to see through my perspective
I need to make mistakes to just learn who I am
and I don't wanna be so damn protected

Beyond Control

Still Into You by Paramore (YouTube)
The first time I heard this I immediately thought of Dallas and Lex. I LOVE this jam and I think it describes them pretty well.

It's not a walk in the park to love each other
But when our fingers interlock
Can't deny, can't deny you're worth it
Cuz after all this time, 
I'm still into you

I should be over all the butterflies
I'm into you (I'm into you)
And baby, even on our worst night
I'm into you (I'm into you)
Let 'em wonder how we got this far
Cuz I don't have to really wonder at all
Yeah, after all this time
I'm still into you.

Beyond Pain

Arms by Christina Perri (YouTube)
Aw, I think this song is so perfect because neither Six nor Bren ever expected to fall in love and they found it after wading through their broken pasts.

I never thought that you would be the one to hold my heart
But you came around and you knocked me off the ground from the start

You put your arms around me

And I believe that it's easier for you to let me go

You put your arms around me and I'm home

How many times will you let me change my mind and turn around?

I can't decide if I'll let you save my life or if I'll drown

I hope that you see right through my walls

I hope that you catch me 'cause I'm already falling

I'll never let a love get so close

You put your arms around me and I'm home

Beyond Jealousy 

Wild, Wild Love by Pitbull (YouTube)-
They lyrics pretty much speak for themselves.

Oh this wild, wild love of ours
It can't be tamed
Oh, for better or worse
A blessing or a curse
Long live this wild, wild love of ours

I'm obsessed with that wild for love for sure
Even though its a Catch-22
It's a gift and a curse for sure
But baby you know that you love it too

You need it,
You want it
All over your body.
This loving I'm giving
Is worth more than money.
I know that you want this wild, wild love.

Beyond Jealousy cont.
Talk Dirty by Jason DeRulo
La La by Ashlee Simpson 
Tonight by Pitbull 
Slave 4 U by Britney Spears 

The O’Kane Women
Run The World by Beyonce 
I Kissed a Girl by Katy Perry 
Turn Me On by Nicki Minaj and David Guetta 

The O’Kane Men
Grenade by Bruno Mars 
Gorilla by Bruno Mars 
Let The Bodies Hit the Floor by Drowning Pool 

The O’Kanes Party Playlist
Naughty Girl by Beyonce 
Hold it Against Me by Britney Spears 
Dirrty by Christina Aguilera 
Take Me On The Floor by The Veronicas 
I Wanna Go by Britney Spears

Monday, April 14, 2014

Forget What You See, What Do You Feel?

"I clumsily pat his shoulder and settle on grasping the fabric of his shirt.
What do other women do when they're held?
Swoon a bit?"
--Elizabeth May, The Falconer

Genre: YA Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Pages: 336
Publication Date: May 6th, 2014
Source: e-galley provided by publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Description

Heiress. Debutant. Murderer. A new generation of heroines has arrived.

Edinburgh, Scotland, 1844

Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, was destined for a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s social events – right up until a faery killed her mother.

Now it’s the 1844 winter season and Aileana slaughters faeries in secret, in between the endless round of parties, tea and balls. Armed with modified percussion pistols and explosives, she sheds her aristocratic facade every night to go hunting. She’s determined to track down the faery who murdered her mother, and to destroy any who prey on humans in the city’s many dark alleyways.

But the balance between high society and her private war is a delicate one, and as the fae infiltrate the ballroom and Aileana’s father returns home, she has decisions to make. How much is she willing to lose – and just how far will Aileana go for revenge?
The Story I LOVE historical fiction something fierce and this book is no exception. I love the Scottish feel and how Elizabeth May incorporated technological advancement into their world. Aileana is a genius in this realm and I loved her knowledge in this aspect of the story. I also LOVE the take on the fae. There are a lot of faery stories out there and while it is not totally my thing, this version has them as the evil ones. They are to be hunted and killed because of their manipulation and the evil that resides in them. They kill humans for sport and Aileana is trained to hunt them. They continue to be cruel and conniving, as is all faery lore, but with the exception of a few, these faeries are not to revered in any way.

The Heroine I think Aileana is the bomb diggy. I love myself a strong female character and she fits the mold. She fights against the constraints of society in 1844. I love historical fiction. LOVE! But I can't help but laugh at how ridiculous most of the customs were. The etiquette of how ladies should act. What is proper vs what isn't. I love that she wants a life that she has freedom and choice and the right to make her own decisions. My heart just broke for the injustice and I felt suffocated just reading it.

Kiaran Ooooh but you know there is an exception to every rule! Kiaran is our resident faery that is central to the storyline. I can't say too much because I don't want to give away any plot points but I love his character. Cold, distant, brutal, unfeeling, dark hair that falls in his face...rawr. Just read it. K, thanks.
The Background I'm a greedy reader. I wanted more. LOTS more! The tension build up to the end was incredible but I felt like the end was so abrupt! I literally had to text Erin at Fiction Fare and ask her if my review copy was complete because I was all, wait, what...where's the rest?! And OF COURSE, I just want ALL the info about the history of the fae, what really happened to them, A BIOGRAPHY OF KIARAN'S LIFE! I need so much more! When is 2015?
Yes I think this is a super fun, fast-paced and action-filled read. The heroine is fantastic. The swoons are tension filled and oh so worth the wait. And the ending will have you wanting book 2 immediately.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Flashback Friday--The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn

Flashback Friday hosted by Fiction Fare and Swoony Boys Podcast

In case you don't already know, Flashback Friday hosted by the lovely ladies above is to showcase books you've read or books you want to read that have been published at least 2 years ago.

This week I am highlighting a book I just recently read--The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell. I LOVE Anne Boleyn. Many of you know this. This book is about her daughter Elizabeth being gifted her mother's diary while she is Queen. This book is really, really good! I got a little bored in the middle whenever we switched back to Elizabeth's story because, duh, I wanted ALL the Anne Boleyn!

The diary was, obviously, my favorite part. Anne's inner thoughts are so insightful and surprising! I KNOW this book isn't fact, but Robin Maxwell's take on it was amazing! I loved reading Anne's commentary about her feelings for Henry and ultimately the betrayal. I loved the narrative from the woman who was with her at the end and how gracious she stayed even in the face of death. Her inner strength, sharp tongue, and ability to call the King out was freakin' awesome. This bitch did not back down and I LOVED it. I loved her growth from a second daughter who was deemed useless except for marrying ruling over all. Especially those who wronged her previously. Love love love this.

If you love Anne Boleyn or the Tudor era, you will love this book. 

Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Publisher: Touchstone
Pages: 281
Publication Date: May 28th, 1998

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Book Pushin'...Tatiana and Alexander

By now you have all read and seen my flails over The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons--or you should have because it is legitimately one of the single greatest books I have ever read. Top Three for sure--so now I'm back to GENTLY REMIND you that if you haven't read it you should...if only so you can also read and enjoy the epic amazing that is Tatiana and Alexander.

This book...THIS BOOK. This book is just as amazing as The Bronze Horseman in a whole different realm of their story. No spoilers here but I can tell you this, the continuation of this story is everything you want and more after finishing The Bronze Horseman. 

Ok. Quick and dirty!...

Tatiana and Alexander is....

...Do we see a theme here? 
Have I convinced you yet?...

...No?...Alright then. How about this...

There is...
Concentration Camps
Never Giving Up
Finding Something You've Lost Forever
...And there is Orbeli...Remember Orbeli...

Now for the fun stuff. These next two sections of this long-ass post will be included in future Book Pushin's. I did a playlist for The Bronze Horseman but have since crated a little play on words and mini-feature for future Book Pushin' posts as well as any book that inspires me to compile a...

My playlist for Tatiana and Alexander is as heart-breaking and beautiful as The Bronze Horseman was. You can't go wrong with this epic, epic love story.

Addicted to Love by Florence + The Machines (YouTube)--Totally perfect for the all-consuming love they have for one another...*sigh*...

The lights are on, but you're not home
Your mind is not your own
Your heart sweats, your body shakes
Another kiss is all it takes

You can't sleep, you can't eat
There's no doubt, you're in deep
Your throat is tight, you can't breathe
Another kiss is all you need

I Choose You by Sara Bareilles (YouTube)--Time and time again, they prove that no matter what they will always choose the other. For better or worse.

Tell the world that we finally got it all right
I choose you

I will become yours and you will become mine
I choose you
I choose you

There was a time when I would have believed them
If they told me you could not come true
Just love's illusion
But then you found me and everything changed
And I believe in something again

My whole heart

Will be yours forever

This is a beautiful start
To a lifelong love letter

Haunted (Acoustic) by Taylor Swift (YouTube)--With the events of The Bronze Horseman, I think this sums it up pretty well.

You and I walk a fragile line
I have known it all this time
Oh, I'm holding my breath

Won't lose you again

Come on, come on, don't leave me like this

I thought I had you figured out

Something's gone terribly wrong
You're all I wanted
Come on, come on, don't leave me like this
I thought I had you figured out
Can't breathe whenever you're gone
Can't turn back now, I'm haunted

Addicted by Kelly Clarkson (YouTube)--Some addictions aren't bad for your health... :)

It's like I'm lost
It's like I'm giving up slowly

It's like you're a ghost that's haunting me

Leave me alone
And I know these voices in my head
Are mine alone
And I know I'll never change my ways
If I don't give you up now

It's like I can't breathe

It's like I can't see anything

Nothing but you
I'm addicted to you
It's like I can't think
Without you interrupting me
In my thoughts
In my dreams
You've taken over me
It's like I'm not me

I'm hooked on you

I need a fix

I can't take it
Just one more hit
I promise I can deal with it
I'll handle it, quit it
Just one more time
Then that's it
Just a little bit more to get me through this

I found these when I did The Bronze Horseman but didn't know how to incorporate it. It's difficult with historical fiction trying to envision clothes they would wear today but I did the best I could. I also included a special graphic that I would screen print on a t-shirt for Alexander :)

Ok, without further ado. Here is the first glimpse and edition of...

We all know the INFAMOUS white dress with roses so here is what I think Tatiana would wear if she shopped today. 

Here we have several different dresses depending on the occastion. The first? Casual sundress for walking down the street and getting ice cream perhaps. The second? A little edgier version. Nightclub maybe? The third? This one puts the 'couture' in Character Couture. I saw this dress and loved it. The mermaid silhouette is just perfection to me. I still can't believe I found this when searching. Perfect.

Oh and Alexander? Well he would so totally obviously wear this graphic screen printed on a t-shirt, all day, every day.

So? Have you read The Bronze Horseman?
Have you bought it? 
You need you can experience the joy that is
Tatiana and Alexander
Check out my Flashback Friday highlighting the book here

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

True Life: I'm a World Renowned Writer

"SAGA, story. AMOR, love in Italian. MOR, mort, death in French.
A story of love and death.
Those words, too, fascinate him."
--Tatiana deRosnay, The Other Story

Genre: Adult Contemporary
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 320
Publication Date: April 15th, 2014
Source: ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Description

Vacationing at a luxurious Tuscan island resort, Nicolas Duhamel is hopeful that the ghosts of his past have finally been put to rest… Now a bestselling author, when he was twenty-four years old, he stumbled upon a troubling secret about his family – a secret that was carefully concealed. In shock, Nicholas embarked on a journey to uncover the truth that took him from the Basque coast to St. Petersburg – but the answers wouldn’t come easily.

In the process of digging into his past, something else happened. Nicolas began writing a novel that was met with phenomenal success, skyrocketing him to literary fame whether he was ready for it or not – and convincing him that he had put his family’s history firmly behind him. But now, years later, Nicolas must reexamine everything he thought he knew, as he learns that, however deeply buried, the secrets of the past always find a way out.

Page-turning, layered and beautifully written, Tatiana de Rosnay's THE OTHER STORY is a reflection on identity, the process of being a writer and the repercussions of generations-old decisions as they echo into the present and shape the future.
The Writing Tatiana de Rosnay is a talented writer and it is shown with this book. The descriptions are impeccable, the setting is palpable, the characters (even ones on the very farthest horizon of the story) are fleshed out and given a purpose. I LOVED how she wrote this story. The main character is extremely unlikable. He is an infamous writer of a novel that was turned into an Oscar-winning film and his ego is unlike any other. This guy is vain and not only does he think the song is about him? He'll probably tell you he wrote the song. Even with that said, you start to empathize with him because he KNOWS he's being a miserable prick. There is a part of him that longs to go back to the simplicity...but the better part of him loves the fame and attention. The story really just unfolds in front you.

The Setting The Gallo Nero is the location of our story and all you want while reading is to fall into exorbitant amounts of money to be able to afford to go to this place. It sounds GORGEOUS and is described beautifully. I totally had to Google to see if it was a real's not. As far as I can tell. If it's real let me know, I wanna go.

The Characterization Like I touched on before, the descriptions of the characters is fantastic. The narration describes the surrounding guests in a way that gives them each a personality. Even when they are only mentioned a few times, the way they are written gives them a distinct voice even without speaking. I just felt a very bubble-like experience while reading. Like I, myself, was a guest there and was just watching the story go on.

The Ending I think the ending was really, really unique. I don't know if how I interpreted it was how it was supposed to be, but I really liked how it ended. And it brought a sense of hope and lightness to a story that was pretty self-involved and hopeless.
The Pacing I felt the pacing was a little slow. Some parts of the book went by super quickly and I was totally involved with the story. And then some parts dragged. I got a little bored and wanted the story to pick back up again. Also, with the pacing. I feel like the description paints a false picture of the overall point of the story. I expected to read a story within a story about Nicolas discovering a secret about his father. And I felt like there was a lot of slow and inconsistent build-up about his father and then the actual details were rushed in at the very end. This was really a story about a famous writer and what happens after the initial fame dies down and another novel is expected. I think the description doesn't fit the story and it does the actual a disservice because I was expecting a different book the whole time. 
Most Likely If you like adult fiction with fantastic writing this is definitely the book for you. It involves complex characterization and a beautiful setting.  If you are looking to delve into the adult world, this book's pace might not agree with you if you're not used to adult books and the amazing slow burn that is adult fiction.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Freaks Come Out at Night

This week's Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is all about the most unique books we have read. I loved this topic because my interpretation of it allows me to highlight my favorite books that most people would hear the summary and not touch with a 10 foot pole. These are the most unique because the content they cover will not be everybody's cup of tea. There are not 10 but what we lack in quantity we make up for in quality. I wouldn't even recommend these books to normal people unless you've proven you have a malleable and open mind to the unsavory. There were also a few books that stuck out in my mind with this topic in regards to the unique writing style.

Most Likely to Blow Your Mind

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson--You will all hear me flail about this book until it comes out and after. I can't give away what is so unique about this just have to read it. Do it. Pre-order.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher--I love this book for so many different reasons but I could not get enough of how the narration of the story is told through tapes that Hannah made prior to her suicide blaming the people that brought her to that dark place. Not only is that the most twisted sense of victory to stick it to the people that made her do it but even though we never read about her being alive, we still get to experience her story through her eyes.

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan--This book surprised me in so many ways. Again, I cannot reveal why it was so unique you just have to read it. Sorry not sorry. (Review)

Not for the Faint of Heart 

Captive in the Dark and Seduced in the Dark by CJ Roberts--I have said in my reviews that most people will not "get" these books and in all honesty, I can't even recommend these to normal people. You will hate the content or you will be enthralled and entranced by it...clearly, I was the latter. These books are brutal in the most base sense of the word yet they bring lightness and hope in a way you can never imagine. I love these books and I plan on re-reading them soon. They seriously rock my socks off and I sat there 90% of the time reading shaking my head and saying to myself, 'this is so fucked up, why am I loving this book so much?' They are amazing and I just love love love them. Captive in the Dark Review & Seduced in the Dark Review

Flowers in the Attic by VC Andrews--These books have been around for awhile but they totally started my twisted obsession with books of dark content and fucked-up situations. 

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver--OMG this book!! This book haunted me for the better part of a month after reading it. No joke. It will stay with you and visit your nightmares. I made a friend of mine read it--she loved it but also found it majorly twisted--and then I took my entire family to see the film when it debuted at our Film Festival downtown and they say there staring at me slack-jawed like, what in f'ing hell did you just make us watch. It's twisted and dark and just uncomprehending level of horrific. So you should totally read it.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn--I have the most unpopular opinion of this book in that I root for the "bad guy." Who is the bad guy? Is it even a guy? That's a secret I'll never tell. If you haven't read this, you need to. It's an amazing thriller that will have you guessing until the very end. And I root for the evil genius. Sorry not sorry.

Beyond Shame series by Kit Rocha--Dirty, sexy, carnal, and every level of awesome that you can think of. These books are honest and raw and take sexuality to a level that even the most creative minds will have tilting their heads at. These are the sexiest of sexy books and I am way beyond any shame I feel of loving every single second of reading these. (Beyond Shame Review & Beyond Control Review & Beyond Pain Review & Beyond Jealousy Review )

What are the most unique books YOU'VE read?!