Monday, December 22, 2014

RSVP Early To...The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things


You guys! You know how I feel about my angsty contemporary reads. Not only am I super picky about them and which ones I read but ESPECIALLY about which ones I push and flail about. The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre is one of those books. I started this book after working a 12 hour shift and thought to myself, 'this sounds good, I'll at least start this before I go to bed'...and then I stayed up until 3 am to read the whole thing because I COULD NOT put it down because I NEEDED to know what happens next! It was that intense! 

I was emotionally invested in the characters almost immediately. The writing is effortless and easy and felt like I was transported to this town. The story is one that will suck you and have your heart in its grip very early on. Sage and Shane and their journey and story is beautiful. They are two people who find acceptance, strength, and love in one another at a time that neither of them expected.

So...here are a few key words as to WHY you need to RSVP Early To...THE QUEEN OF BRIGHT AND SHINY THINGS by Ann Aguirre.

People who are down but not out and definitely not broken.
Growing up and learning self-acceptance.
Learning to accept love.
Protecting the environment.
Moving past your mistakes.
The butterflies in stomach feelings of first love.
Standing up for those you care about.
Messing up people who do you wrong. (Sorry had to add this)
Finding friendships in unlikely places.
Family being who you chose to define in your own way.
The bliss of agony and angst.
The feels...ALL THE FEELS.



Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Pages: 328
Publication Date: 2015
Source: ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Rebel and The Captain

"One thing...This is real."
--Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner, This Shattered World


Genre: YA Science Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 390
Publication Date: December 23rd, 2014
Source: eARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Previous Books in Series: These Broken Stars
Goodreads Description

The second installment in the epic Starbound trilogy introduces a new pair of star-crossed lovers on two sides of a bloody war.

Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet's rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn's blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.

I don't even think I could start to tell you how excited I was getting This Shattered World for review because These Broken Stars was one of my FAVORITE reads of last year and I could not wait to see how this companion novel not only progressed the story but *crosses fingers* connects our beloved Tarver and Lilac. (Sidenote: SWOONING just thinking about all the epic that was These Broken Stars but I digress) So, the story of Jubliee and Flynn is on Avon, a planet made of swamp and muck that makes most soldiers go rage crazy from a disease called Fury making the turnover of these soldiers quick. Jubliee is a Captain and has been on Avon for over a year which is unheard of but the Fury doesn't affect her. She's minding her own business in a bar when hey, hey, hey, she's kidnapped by a native of Avon--Flynn. From there, we move on to sacrifices and escapes, duty versus love, and doing what is right not doing what is easy. Le sigh.

The Story

Like I briefly mentioned about, the story is steeped in subterfuge and alliances nobody in this world would believe. Flynn is a native of Avon and just wants better for his people in the most peaceful way possible. All Jubilee knows is military procedure and following and giving orders. Together, these two shouldn't make any sense. But they both have things in their past that connect them in more ways than either of them could have known. I love stories that have characters questions what they've been led to believe. In this case, it's Jubilee with her mission on Avon and what is really going on with this planet. She questions what really is best and how the native people are being treated. Flynn goes against all odds and believes in her desire to understand and change. The dynamics of this plot and the politics of it all is rich in detail and intrigue. Nothing is at is seems on Avon and I felt like I was back with Tarver and Lilac trying to figure out what in the hell was going on in this bayou of deception. I can't give too much away on plot but know that things are amiss, things get crazy, and things are spectacularly sic-fi. I loved it all and I could not put it down.

The Romance

The relationship between Jubilee and Flynn is tenuous to say the least. They are most definitely star-crossed, le sigh, and most definitely on opposite sides of this war and battle for supremacy on Avon. So, understandably, their relationship is one built on understanding and trust in the most epic sense. They have no other choice than to believe they are crazy for trusting the other in a place that would kill them quicker than they could blink. I find this so incredibly beautiful how two different yet similar people, on opposite sides of this battle, could find a way to not only stop and listen to one another but start to understand and love one another. There are moments towards the end when my heart just felt like it was going to burst. Jubilee has tragedy in her past that we don't know exactly what happened. Flynn has his share of loss as well. What I loved was that Flynn was the first to bend. He felt more emotional of the two and more in tuned with his feelings of what was right and his judgement of character. Jubliee took a little longer to get there having dealt with her tragedy in the form of drills and proving she can be the best. If their roles were reversed I'm not sure the story would have turned out so romantically. Flynn was there to help Jubilee along the way in the feels department having deprived herself of them for so long. This broke my heart but I completely understand where she was coming from and it worked perfectly for her character and the story. Flynn's belief in her was a turning point in the story and I loved seeing how it progressed from there.

The Beginnings

Now I can't talk a lot about this but I will say this story does connect to These Broken Stars and...that's all I'll say...and that I squee'd out loud at one point...and then died of more feels...

The Finale

This story is badass and beautiful and oh so romantic. The setup for the final book has my head in the intergalactic clouds with wondering WHAT is going to happen, HOW it will all end, and WHO will be star-crossed in the final book. I cannot say enough with how excited I am to see where the story ends (sad!!!) and how all the pieces of the puzzle will fit together. IS IT NEXT YEAR YET?!?!?

The Pacing

While I was definitely invested in the story and wanted to keep reading to find out what happens, I felt like the beginning was a little slow and not as easy to get into as the previous book. I understand why everything needed to happen as it did but I found myself struggling a little in the beginning to become fully invested. Once we got all the major players and a sense of the plot and conflict, it flew by but up until that point I found myself wanting to get the story going.

Reserved Seating
If you love star-crossed love, fighting for what is right, shutting down an intergalactic oppressor, and ALL fans of the Starbound series...then this book is for you.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Forbidden Love Round 2...Re-Read Review Example


Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 355 pages
Publication Date: March 4th, 2014
Source: ARC provided via publisher in exchange for an honest review
Goodreads   
Previous Posts: RSVP Early To... & The Winner's Curse Review
Goodreads Description

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.
Hey guys! So here is the example of how to format a re-read for a post. Of course, all you see above is how I format my regular reviews so for me that won't be changing. I did take out the quote at the top only because I want it to look a little different from the normal and already existing review. SO! Without further ado, my re-read post about The Winner's Curse...


WHEN I First Read
December 26, 2013...yes, that's one date, I read it in one sitting. Merry Belated Christmas to me.


WHAT I Remember
Epic storytelling. Forbidden Romance. Hair braiding. Angst. Chest pain. Betrayal with good reason. Hair braiding. Slavery. Dark. Hair braiding. And being utterly captivated and enthralled by this story.


WHY I Wanted to Re-Read
Well first, I got an ARC of The Winner's Crime and I used that as my excuse but really? Not only did I want to remind myself of the details but I had SUCH an amazing experience reading this book I wanted to re-live it. I remember being blown away by the story and the writing and I wanted to go back into the world of Arin and Kestrel...le sigh...


HOW I Felt After Re-Reading
I loved it even more! I thought it would be a less visceral read the second time around because I KNEW what would happen but no. My chest still hurt. My heart was exploding with feels and I still found myself re-reading (see what I did there?) several passages over and over again. I also felt like I appreciated the simplistic complexity of the writing more. Marie Rutkoski's writing is intricate and deeply layered in a way that while the words might be few, the meaning is plentiful. I LOVED this. I found it brilliant and poetic and found meaning in things I missed the first time around. 

WOULD You Re-Read Again?
YES! Yes yes yes yes hair braiding yes. Before each book that comes out and maybe just for fun in the interim. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

It's Official...The Re-Read Challenge 2015




Ok y'all. So as Hannah and I hinted at about a month ago, we are going to hosting a Re-Read Challenge for 2015. Now I know what you're thinking. Yeah, yeah ANOTHER challenge. I don't want some complicated challenge rules to follow. I don't have time to re-read because I don't want to get behind on reviews and posts. I haven't re-read a book since starting blogging. Well, rest assured because we have an answer for every excuse you may have!

 I don't want some complicated challenge rules to follow.

We definitely don't enjoy those challenges either so we want to make it as easy as possible for not only you but for ourselves as well! Here's how you join! Link up at the bottom of this post with a link to your intro post stating WHY you want to join and WHAT books you're looking forward to re-reading. Post anytime from now through January. Then on the 1st of each month, or around there we know you get busy too, create a post that lists the books you re-read in the past month. Link up to our posts...and that's it! You've earned your Re-Read bragging rights for the month!

 I don't have time to re-read because I don't want to get behind on reviews and posts.

Don't want to take time away from review books and get behind on having posts for your blog? We don't either! This is optional of course but if you want something to post about a favorite book you decided to re-read or because you read it prior to blogging, we came up with a little template for you to use as a post after you re-read. After you re-read, highlight said book by answering these questions...

WHEN I First Read
WHAT I Remember
WHY I Wanted to Re-Read 
HOW I Felt After Re-Reading

Boom! You're done! Post it. Link back to us. Tweet with hashtag #ReRead2015 and you have a post for not only your blog but for the challenge as well! Each post you link counts as an entry to our giveaways.

I haven't re-read a book since starting blogging.

Now's the time to start! Take the time to relive the magic of your favorite books. Let yourself re-inhabit your favorite stories and world and remember what it was like the first time around. You never forget your first...but your second and third can be just as great. 

Tomorrow I'll be posting an example of a re-read post because I have re-read several books this year and they were all just as amazing the second time around...if not better. I'm also SUPER excited to share which book I plan on re-reading next year!...And books I'm actively holding off re-reading until next year so they can count for the Challenge! I'll use the format detailed above, so you can see how easy it is to re-read AND have new content for your blog. In January, I'll share my kickoff post with the books I'm hoping to re-read. The graphic in the sidebar will link back to this post, so you can sign up any time!


The Re-Read Challenge Details

1. This challenge will run from January 1, 2015 - December 31, 2015. The sign-up linky will remain open until the end of January, but you can join at any time but adding your intro post to any monthly re-read recap linky.
2. Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it's a re-read.
3. We will have two giveaways - one at the six-month point and one at the end of the year. Giveaway details posted closer to the halfway point!
4. You don't have to follow our blogs to participate or be entered in the giveaways.

How You Sign Up
1. Write a post about joining The 2015 Re-Read Challenge on your blog. In the post, include the banner, a link back to our sign-up page, the number of books you'd like to re-read and list some books you're hoping to re-read for the challenge.
2. Add the direct link to your sign-up post in the linky below.
3. Optional: Put the challenge button in your sidebar (grab link available at the bottom of the post).
4. DONE. It's as easy as that to get started.


How You Participate
1. Re-read some books!
2. In the first week of each month, we will post a re-read recap on Belle of the Literati and So Obsessed With that includes a linky that will be open all month. Write a post detailing what you re-read the last month, and add the direct link to our linky to be entered in our giveaways.
3. If you write any re-read reviews (it's totally optional!), add those to the monthly linky for additional entries (one per post) in our giveways.
4. If you miss a monthly post, just link up your reviews and/or recap in the linky during the next month.


If You Want the Sidebar Image
The 2015 Re-Read Challenge

So, who is ready to re-read?!
Check out Hannah's post to sign up!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Making of a King: The King Blog Tour


"I'm the only bitch in this family."
--Tiffany Reisz, The King


Genre: Adult Erotica
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Pages: 443
Publication Date: November 25th, 2014
Source: ARC provided by publisher for Blog Tour in exchange for an honest review
Previous Books in Series: The Siren & The Angel & The PrinceThe MistressThe Saint
Goodreads Description

Cunning. Sex. Pure nerve. Only this potent threesome can raise him

to his rightful place as ruler of Manhattan's kink kingdom.


Bouncing from bed to bed on the Upper East Side—handsomely paid in both bills and blackmail fodder—Kingsley Edge is brilliant, beautiful and utterly debauched. No carnal act or chemical compound can relieve his self-destructive apathy—only Søren, the one person he loves without limit or regret. A man he can never have, but in whose hands Kingsley is reborn to attain even greater heights of sin. He plans to open the ultimate BDSM club­: a dungeon playground for New York's A-list that'll change the scene forever.

You know those books whose characters you love so incredibly much that when you read another book about them it feels like coming home? That's how my experience with The King was. You may know how I fell head over heels in love with this series earlier this year so my excitement for a book all about Kingsley was palpable. I thought I loved Kingsley before but after this book I am on another level. My heart...you guys MY HEART was not only bleeding but hemorrhaging for Kingsley. His character is so delicious that I just wanted to jump inside this book and hug the shit out of him. Then maybe slap him across  the face for fun. Anyways. His emotions run so deep and he starts off so wounded that you can't help but want to snug him and make him feel better. On the flip side to that, seeing how Kingsley became the man he is today is fascinating. I loved getting the stories behind all the infamous traits that make Kingsley Kingsley. The name of the club.  Founding the club. THE RIDING BOOTS!!!! Love love loved it all.

While Kingsley without a doubt steals the show, we cannot forget to mention the ultimate bromance that IS Kingsley and Soren. To feel once again how deeply Kingsley feels for Soren shot pangs through my heart multiple times. Their relationship is so steeped in love and understanding that it makes your ache with longing. And while I LOVED this component to the story, the small glimpses we get of Eleanor made me grinning like an idiot. Seeing her through Kingsley eyes was like dessert coming early. Just fucking delicious and awesome. To know what comes in the future for all of them (pun intended) was the best form of foresight.

While I've said before that I loved Kingsley, Soren was always the one to steal the show for me. Not so much in this book, however. I came to realize that while I love Soren, I started to sway more towards Kingsley. Getting to really know him when he was just starting his kingdom made him be the man I would want chasing after me. He is ex-military, fiercely smart, passionate, and more than a little broken. I found that I could relate a lot to Kingsley in that while he is a guarded, he loves so fiercely. But on the flip side of that, when he is wronged he lashes out and completely shuts down emotionally. While it is not the best reaction to situations, I loved this about him. He feels so deeply that he can't help but feel so hurt and betrayed by those he chooses to let in his inner circle. It means he is passionate about those he cares about and I can't help but love him all the more for it.

The story of Kingsley's past that Tiffany Reisz weaves is one of betrayal, self-acceptance, love,  sexual escapades, and the overwhelming message to let your freak flag, or rather kink flag fly. The stories of other characters and what they've gone through for just being who they are broke my heart in so many ways. I can't even imagine what it would be like to be treated the way some of these people were treated. I wanted to pull a Kingsley and start assassinating these ignorant fucks. The  overall journey this story takes about finding a place for their people to belong was my favorite part. I love the discussion of loving who you are and being perfect the way God made you. There is something serious lack of understanding and compassion in this world in regards to people who are different. I love that this book and this series is about loving who you are no matter your kink.

This was an amazing and hilarious addition to this already amazing series and I love Kingsley even more than I thought possible. If you haven't read these books yet and you love the kink, you need to fix this immediately...or you may be punished.

VIP
Without a doubt, this book continues to the steady climb that is all the amazing of this series. Each book builds on the last until your heart just stays in your throat because you are so deeply attached to each characters. If you love erotica, amazing characterizations, or all around fantastic writing, these books are for you.



About the Author:


Tiffany Reisz lives with her fiancé (a reformed book reviewer) and two cats (one good, one evil). She graduated with a B.A. in English from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky and is making both her parents and her professors proud by writing BDSM erotica under her real name. She has five piercings, one tattoo, and has been arrested twice.

When not under arrest, Tiffany enjoys Latin Dance, Latin Men, and Latin Verbs. She dropped out of a conservative southern seminary in order to pursue her dream of becoming a smut peddler. Johnny Depp’s aunt was her fourth grade teacher. Her first full-length novel THE SIREN was inspired by a desire to tie up actor Jason Isaacs (on paper). She hopes someday life will imitate art (in bed).

If she couldn’t write, she would die.


Find Tiffany On...

Twitter: @TiffanyReisz https://twitter.com/tiffanyreisz

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/littleredridingcrop

Website: http://www.tiffanyreisz.com/


And don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Adios, America!

Hi guys! So here's my obligatory post to give you an FYI that the blog will be pretty quiet for the next month. I know, I know, don't cry, but there somehow someway you will find a way to go on without my reviews and posts and overall flails...I'm kidding, you probably won't even know the difference while I'm gone. I leave for another adventure today and this time I'll be spending a month in South America! I've never been before and I am oh so excited to hike the Inca trail, explore the Amazon jungle, see the Paris of the West (Buenos Aires) and get wild in Rio.  


I'm meeting my travel soulmate and one of my best friends, Rachel, in Peru where the Inca Trail, Machu Piccu, and the Amazon Jungle awaits us. I'm making it my personal mission to find Tarzan so be ready for an engagement party when I get back ;) Rachel and I met a few years ago in Europe and have been trying to meet up at least once a year to run around a foreign country and make questionable decisions. I am so excited to see her because this is our second trip in a year!!

And don't be TOO sad about missing me because I've already scheduled two posts and tweets about the Re-Read Challenge Hannah and I are doing so yay!! And of course, I will never be sad to open up my email to find random comments from all you lovelies if you feel the desire to leave me some love :) And you KNOW I'll be Instagram'ing the shit out of every wi-fi opportunity I get. 



So there's that! I hope all my American loves have a fantastic Thanksgiving and you all have a great time at the Mockingjay premiere! It is my ONE regret about the timing of this trip but I swear, that will be number one thing I do when I get back. Peace out, y'all. See ya soon!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Too Hot To Handle

"But life is all about facing your fears, right?
Isn't that what you said?"
--Lisa Desrochers, A Little Too Hot


Genre: NA Contemporary
Publisher: William Morrow Impulse
Pages: 416
Publication Date: January 12st, 2014
Source: Bought
Previous Books in Series: A Little Too Far & A Little Too Much
Goodreads Description

If you play with fire…

Tossed out of college and cut off by her parents, Samantha West is in pretty dire straits. So when her rocker best friend hooks her up with a job dancing at a gentlemen’s club, who is she to turn it down? Plus, there are rules to dancing at Benny’s: No touching, keep your clothes on at all times, and never get closer than three feet. Unfortunately for Sam, her first private client makes her want to break every single one of them.

Harrison Yates is scorching hot, but he’s got a past that involves being left at the altar not too long ago. Sam is determined to make him forget about his ex, but when she makes her move, it flings her life into a spiral of chaos she never saw coming.

Because Harrison Yates isn’t who he seems to be. And his secret will probably get her killed.

I've read A Little Too Far and A Little Too Much previously and loved them. I love Lisa Desrocher's writing and her character development. She takes complicated love stories and makes them beautiful. With that said, after reading her previous books I didn't know how I would feel about this one. Sam was the girl Trent was seeing in A Little Too Far...also Lexie's best friend. I remember being really annoyed with her that she was with Trent. Not her fault, she didn't know anything and poor girl ended up with a severely broken heart in the end, but I still wasn't sure if I would connect with her...

Sam

And I am so glad I did. I have no idea why I waited so long to read this book because it is fantastic. Sam is a fuck-up. Her words, not mine. She got kicked out of school, she got kicked out of her parent's house, she has no job, no place to live, no direction in life whatsoever. This poor girl is a puppy whose been kicked one too many times while she's down. Her best friend Jonathon knows the owner of a Gentleman's Club where women dance, keep their clothes on, and make money. She takes the job and on her first night she locks eyes with Harrison who then buys a half hour private dance from her. They end up talking the entire time and he keeps coming back to watch her dance and buy time with her to talk...and then maybe a little bit more. Sam starts to really like him and wants things to move outside the club...and from there you'll have to read the book. Sam's tenacity is what I loved most about her. She's down but she's not out. She does what she has to do in order to keep her head up and move on. Her feelings are hurt, she's been hurt by the people who should unconditionally love her, and she's just trying to make it. I loved her character. She is so much more than what meets the eye and she truly loves the people in her life that do support her. She is a good friend to Jonathon and Izzy and really cares about her friends.

Harrison

Holy. Hot. Damn. I don't think a pale pink button down shirt has ever looked so hot in my head. This guy is swoon-worthy and just TOO HOT, pun intended. His vulnerability, his protectiveness of Sam, all of it had me wanting more, more, more of Harrison. When we get to dig deeper and know more about him, I loved that, too. There are reasons he has to be distant with Sam and the internal struggle he goes through constantly is extremely sexy. He needs put up boundaries but when he says to hell with it, watch out. He cooks, he takes care of himself, he's just a freaking catch and I think he is my favorite of all of Lisa's men...yeah, I said it. It's true. I love Trent and Alessandro...mmm Alessandro...but Harrison really stole the show for me.

The Plot

Not gonna lie, the description doesn't give you a lot to go on...and then you start reading... and it all makes sense why. There is no way I can tell you the plot twist or what happens the last 70% of the book because it is such a shocker and I had no idea the plot was going to go this way and I LOVED it. It was so unbelievable but in a good way. Like, wait what? Is this really happening? This is the direction we're going? Well okay the, let's do this. I wish I could tell you more but just know I really like how the story developed and the conflict that was presented.


The Reveal

Ok, this isn't really a Beast critique of the book but I also reserve this space for plot points that make me angry feel. When the big reveal happens that the plot summary alludes to, I was so mad!!!! Mad in a way that my feelings were completely on point with Sam's. My heart hurt. I wanted to cry for her. I just could understand so completely what she was feeling and the disappointment that was wracking her. Oooh, my poor heart, I just wanted to scream at the world for her. Obviously, this is very vague and not revealing but I can't tell you the big plot twist! What fun would that be?


Reserved Seating
If you're looking for a more fun New Adult book that also has good character development this book is a good one for you.