Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Summer in New York Anthology Review and excerpt

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Displaying cover.jpgTitle: Summer in New York
Authors: Janette Rallison, Heather B. Moore, Luisa Perkins, Sarah M. Eden, Annette Lyon, and Lisa Mangum
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Anthology
Series: None
Rating: Four and a half trees

Going into this anthology I had no idea who any of the authors were which meant that I had absolutely no idea what stories might become one of my favorites. I skipped around a bit depending on the mood I was in, and I have to say that overall I was extremely impressed by all the stories and I definitely am planning to check out some of the other books written by the authors.
This review is going to be broken down into individual sections for each short story. I will be giving each story an individual rating and then an overall rating for the collection as a whole.

Job Hazards by Janette Rallison
Rating: Five trees
The PremiseIn USA Today bestselling author Janette Rallison’s delightful novella, JOB HAZARDS, Lydia Robinson is posing as a prostitute. Undercover of course. Lydia’s job as a police officer hasn’t reeled in her prince charming yet. That is, until Harrison Aldridge, old high school flame, pulls up to the corner to rescue the fallen damsel. Lydia can’t exactly give Harrison the truth without blowing her cover, and it takes a series of mishaps and another whole set of misunderstandings before Lydia will even consider letting Harrison back into her life
If there is one story in this entire anthology that is a must read, it would have to be this one. This is the first story in the book and it immediately pulled me in. I love short stories and I know that a lot of people hate them but the fact that they are short, yet still manage to tell an entire story is the reason as to why I love them. With that said, after reading this short story I WANTED MORE! The story was so fun and I loved the main character. I hated coming to the end and realizing that the story was over! (Although I do think the story was told perfectly and any more might have ruined it for me! But still...) I think that this was probably the strongest story in the collection and definitely worth it!

A Taste of Sun by Heather
Rating: Three and a half Trees
The Premise: In Heather B. Moore’s enchanting novella, A TASTE OF SUN, Winona Grant embarks on a summer-long visit to NYC to house-sit for her great-aunt after a nasty break-up with her boyfriend Paul. But when her aunt commissions neighbor Steve Monti to tour Winona around, they strike a deal. Winona has too many deadlines to play tourist, and Steve is looking for a distraction from his looming gallery opening. So Steve goes on the tours by himself, and Winona reports back to her aunt as if she’d gone too. The longer this happens, the more Winona wants to change her mind. Seeing the city with Steve might be the perfect solution to forgetting about Paul.
While I did find this story to be adorable, I also thought it was extremely unrealistic and a bit too insta-lovey for my taste. I felt like the characters barely knew each other and then all of a sudden they were willing to anger Winona's aunt because they rapidly developed feelings for each other? I don't know... It just didn't mesh well with me. The other aspect I found completely unbelievable is a bit of a spoiler. It has to do with Steve's gallery though and I felt like that was all too convenient and perfect.... This one had a lot of potential and while still highly adorable, was a bit lacking for me.

Dulce de Leche by Luisa Perkins
Rating: Three Trees
The Premise: In Luisa Perkins’s sweet romance novella, DULCE DE LECHE, Marisol is desperate for another nanny job after being unfairly fired from her previous position. She has only two more semesters of college, but she’s too proud to ask her wealthy parents for financial help. When her potential new employer, a single father working long hours as an anesthesiologist, decides she’s too young and pretty to hire, she practically begs him for the job. Darius finally agrees, and as he watches her work miracles with his Asperger’s son, he realizes there is much more to Marisol than he first believed
This was definitely my least favorite short story from the collection. I had recently watched the Nanny Diaries and I felt like there were so many parallels between that movie and this story. While it was enjoyable I never really connected to the characters or understood their motivations. I did love the diversity in this short story though and I thought that it was a great aspect.


Take a Chance by Sarah M. Eden
Rating: Four Trees
The Premise: In TAKE A CHANCE, a captivating story by Sarah M. Eden, Miguel Santos has a stopover in New York. When the announcement of delayed flights comes over the PA system, Miguel is looking at spending several hours at the airport. Determined to get comfortable for the long wait, he’s surprised when he spies a familiar face amongst the stranded passengers: Jane Schoonenburg, the last person he expected to see. Three months have passed since he asked Jane to marry him—three months of misery. And now he knows that he must talk to her, if only to find out why she broke his heart
I thought this story was so incredibly adorable! This was one that I found to be realistic and just cute! I loved Miguel and the entire idea was great. I love how the author chose to have everything play out and there were several smaller parts in the story that made it even better than I thought possible. This is an author that is now definitely on my radar and I can't wait to read some of her other stuff!


Firsts and Lasts
Rating: Four Trees
The Premise: Annette Lyon’s entrancing novella, FIRSTS AND LASTS, begins with Dani’s last week in New York. She’s failed in her dreams to catch a break as an actress and is now ready to return home and dust herself off. As she visits the places on her final to-see list, she meets Mark, another New York City transplant with big dreams. Except Mark hasn’t given up on his. As they spend the day together, Dani realizes that even though she hasn’t hit the “big time” she might be living her dream after all. Only problem: she has a one-way ticket back home.
This is a story that I don't really have a lot to say about. I thought it was really good and a great addition to the collection. It's definitely one with the message to never give up and I really liked how the author pointed out that struggling is part of the journey. Overall really enjoyable!


& by Lisa Mangum
Rating: Five Trees
The Premise: In Lisa Mangum’s whimsically titled story: &, Lucy is riding a wave of success at having found a bestselling novel in the slush pile at an exclusive New York publishing house. If only her personal life was storybook perfect as well. Her relationship with Devon is on the rocks, and even though she's been put in charge of the house while her boss is gone on business, Lucy isn't sure she's up to the task. It will take a chance encounter with a handsome wordsmith to help Lucy claim the courage that has always been a part of her heart
Last, but certainly not least is &. (And yes & is the title.... It may have taken me a minute to figure that out..) I think the authors of the collection definitely picked great stories to begin and end the collection. This book was not only fun, but also a story that book lovers will love. The romance was sweet and I loved watching it play out. I also loved watching Lucy figure out who she was and have confidence in herself! A fabulous read!

IN CONCLUSION
Overall this was a fantastic anthology and has become one of my favorites! There were so many cute stories and it truly was the perfect summer read. I found out about so many new authors and I am so excited to to read more of their works! (I've already picked up more Janette Rallison! WOO-HOO!) I would definitely recommend this book to lovers of short stories and adorable romances!

OVERALL RATING


Purchase links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

EXCERPT
Job Hazards
Janette Rallison

Chapter One

Fighting crime wasn’t supposed to involve wearing a leopard-print miniskirt, a silky halter top, and stiletto heels. Not once while Lydia Robinson was in the police academy a year ago had she envisioned that the job would land her on a seedy New York street posing as a hooker. But as Lieutenant Miner had told her a week ago after he called her into his office, “You’re a natural.”

A natural hooker? “Is that supposed to be a compliment?” she asked.

He held up his hands to stop her protest and nodded at the glass window of his office. Outside, two other female officers were talking about a case. Officer Loomis was fifty-two and had more wrinkles than a pile of forgotten laundry. Officer Dustin was seven months pregnant. “I just meant,” Lieutenant Miner said, “that you’re the best one in the department for the sting.”

So now Lydia stood on a dimly lit corner next to a row of bars and strip clubs. She wore so much makeup that she looked like she was part of a Broadway play. Her usually long, brown hair had been curled, teased and poofed. It was magazine-girl, notice-me hair. Half-a-bottle-of-hairspray hair.




Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Rival Love by Natalie Decker


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Rival LoveTitle: Rival Love
Author: Natalie Decker
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Series: ? (I think so...)
Rating: Four Trees
THE PREMISE
Skylar Fletcher is a proud Harris Academy Bulldog! She has everything she’s ever wanted: a perfect boyfriend, great friends, and her dream college waiting for her in the fall. But nothing lasts forever. Skylar's world shatters when her mom decides it is time to move and drags Skylar, kicking and screaming, into Bobcat territory.

At Delmont High School, home of the Bobcats, Skylar has no friends and is often bullied. To make matters worse, her home life sucks thanks to all-star quarterback Caleb Morgan, nephew of her mom's live-in boyfriend.

At first Skylar and Caleb want nothing to do with one another. But they soon discover they're not that different after all--and each is harboring a secret attraction to the other. But can a Bulldog and a Bobcat ever really be more than friends? And are Skylar and Caleb willing to risk everything to find out? Rival Love is a debut young adult contemporary romance from Natalie Decker.


MY THOUGHTS
Rival Love is definitely one of those cute books that's a quick, fun read, perfect for when you need something on the fluffier side. 
The book starts out with our main character moving into her new home in the enemies territory.... *DUN, DUN, DUUUUNNNN*
As a teenager I can sympathize with Skylar and the fact that her mom is forcing her to move her SENIOR YEAR! I completely understand Skylar's point of view and why this would be such a traumatic experience for her. I'm pretty sure most people would have that problem. 
On the the hand, I completely didn't understand Skylar's mom. The fact that she moved in with her boyfriend and forced Skylar to switch schools and never understood why this was such a big deal bugged me. I didn't like how oblivious her mom was and it really brought the book down for me. 
The one other negative thing I have to say is the fact that the secondary characters are kind of unrealistic. Skylar loses all of her friends from her old school because they are so mad that she switched to the rival school, like huh?! That was waaaayyyy too extreme. I also thought the  bullying Skylar underwent was over the top. I've never known any school to be so competitive and mean especially when they could be gaining a huge asset to help out their own teams. 
I did really like Skylar's and Caleb's relationship. I love the whole enemies to friends trope and I love how it played out on this book. 
I also thought that the author did a fantastic job with the switching POV. I felt that the voices were recognizable and unique so I didn't feel confused when I was reading. 
I also loved the sports aspect and how Skylar was a swimmer. That was definitely fun to see how it played into the book. 
I did find the ending to be a bit rushed. All of a sudden all of this stuff is going down and it feels kind of like WHAT?! 
I will definitely be checking oh the next book because I am so curious as to what might happen next. 
I would recommend this book to people looking for something light and fun. It was definitely perfect for the mood I was in!
MY RATING:


Natalie Decker is the Author of Rival Love. She loves oceans, sunsets, sand between her toes, and carefree days. Her imagination is always going, which some find odd. But she believes in seeing the world in a different light at all times. Her first passion for writing started at age twelve when she had to write a poem for English class. However, seventh grade wasn’t her favorite time and books were her source of comfort. She took all college prep classes in High school, and attended the University of Akron. Although she studied Mathematics she never lost her passion for writing or her comfort in books. She’s a mean cook in the kitchen, loves her family and friends and her awesome dog infinity times infinity. If she’s not writing, reading, traveling, hanging out with her family and friends, then she’s off having an adventure. Because Natalie believes in a saying: Your life is your own journey, so make it amazing!

Author Links:
http://adayintothewriter.blogspot.it/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7487891.Natalie_Decker
http://www.twitter.com/NatalieDecker07
https://www.facebook.com/natalie.decker.716





$10 Amazon gift card + ebook of Rival Love (INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Emergent

Waiting by Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine!
This post highlights a book that I am dying to be released!!
THIS WEEK I'M WAITING ON:
Emergent
By Rachel Cohn





Emergent (Annex , #2)Zhara, the First. Elysia, her clone. On the surface, they are identical. But looks can be deceiving.

When Zhara plays, she plays to win. She thought she had escaped the horrors of Doctor Lusardi's cloning compound. But the nightmare is just beginning. Elysia has taken everything from Zhara-a softer, prettier version of herself and an inescapable reminder of all she's failed at in her life. Now the man Zhara loves has replaced her with Elysia. Zhara will get her clone out of the way, no matter the cost.

Elysia has finally learned the truth: she has a soul. Her First is alive. She knows it hurts Zhara to see her with Alexander, but she can't give him up. The genetically-perfected Aquine has chosen as her as his life mate, and their days together are limited.

Elysia can't remain in the Rave Caves off the shores of Denesme forever. Revolution is brewing on the island paradise. Hundreds of soulless clones remain imprisoned like Elysia once was, slaves to the whims of their owners-wealthy human inhabitants of the island. As a group of clones and humans, led by Alexander, plot an insurrection that will turn Denesme's world upside down, Elysia knows her place is fighting by his side. Terrible sacrifices must be made to defeat Denesme's twisted regime. But even the greatest losses cannot prepare Elysia for the ticking time bomb built into her own programming...

RELEASE DATE: September 2nd, 2014
Why I'm waiting:: Truthfully I wasn't a fan of the first book... but I'm curious to see what happens... SO I really want to check this one out!

What are you waiting on?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Stolen Dreams: Review

Title: Stolen Dreams
Author: Christine Amsden
Genre: NA, Fantasy, Romance
Series: Cassie Scot #4
Rating: Five Trees

THE PREMISE
Edward Scot and Victor Blackwood have despised one another for nearly a quarter of a century, but now their simmering hatred is about to erupt.

When Cassie Scot returns home from her sojourn in Pennsylvania, she finds that her family has taken a hostage. Desperate to end the fighting before someone dies, Cassie seeks help from local seer Abigail Hastings, Evan Blackwood’s grandmother. But Abigail has seen her own death, and when it comes at the hand of Cassie’s father, Victor Blackwood kills Edward Scot.

But things may not be precisely as they appear.

Evan persuades Cassie to help him learn the truth, teaming them up once again in their darkest hour. New revelations about Evan and his family make it difficult for Cassie to cling to a shield of anger, but can Evan and Cassie stop a feud that has taken on a life of its own? Conclusion to the Cassie Scot series.

MY THOUGHTS
Cassie Scot has become a series which I can safely say is a favorite of mine. Each time I pick up the newest book I think that it can't be nearly as good as the previous one, yet somehow Christine Amsden manages to amp it up with each new book. 
In this final installment in Cassie's life, the reader sees Cassie reach new heights as a character and make choices that reflect her character perfectly. 
I completely loved the romance in this book and I was so happy with how things played out in this book! 
In each book I'm amazed at Amsden's expertise at throwing in twists that I would never see coming. So many of the predictions that I made prior to reading this book were completely wrong and made me admire Amsden's skills as a writer even more. 
I have to admit that there were several sections where I feared up (partially because it's the last book) but also because of the way that Amsden wrote. At this point I felt as though I knew all of her characters and that their decisions personally effected me. 
I also really liked how not every character got their happy ending. There was a lot of death and tragedy that made the story realistic for the reader. 
Sitting here writing my review and rereading my notes for the book feels so sad. There is so much more I have to say about this book, yet half of it is extremely spoilery and I don't want to say anything to give away what happens. 
So I'm going to leave it on this note. This book (along with the rest of the Cassie Scot series) was a roller coaster. I laughed, I cried, and I grew closer to these characters than any other book I've read in the past few year. (Which is really saying a lot. I read A LOT of books) I am so glad that I was introduced to the world of Cassie Scot and have become a huge fan of anything that Christine Amsden writes. Cassie Scot is without a doubt in mind one of the best fantasy series I've ever read and I can't wait to read the stories that the author plans to publish about some of the other characters. I don't think I will ever be able to give this series enough praise. 

Buy Links


Print Release Date: October 15, 2014
Audiobook Release Date: TBA

Rafflecopter Giveaway ($100 Amazon Gift Card) Code
(For some reason I can't get this to pop up on my blog so here is the link!)

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c888753/


The Cassie Scot Series:
Cassie Scot is the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers, born between worlds but belonging to neither. At 21, all she wants is to find a place for herself, but earning a living as a private investigator in the shadow of her family’s reputation isn’t easy. When she is pulled into a paranormal investigation, and tempted by a powerful and handsome sorcerer, she will have to decide where she truly belongs.




Author Bio


Christine Amsden has been writing fantasy and science fiction for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and relationships, and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.

At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams.

In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work.

Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children.

Social Media Links:

Website
Blog
Twitter
Google+

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Trust Me, I'm Lying

Waiting by Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine!
This post highlights a book that I am dying to be released!!
THIS WEEK I'M WAITING ON:
Trust Me, I'm Lying
By Mary Elizabeth Summer




Trust Me, I'm LyingJulep Dupree is a con artist, a master of disguise, and a sophomore at a swanky Chicago private school. When she comes home one day to a ransacked apartment and her father gone, Julep's carefully laid plans for an expenses-paid golden ticket to Yale start to unravel.














RELEASE DATE: October 2014
Why I'm waiting: As of this moment this is all the summary there is! (I'm writing this in January) So there might be more out now, but I am DYING to read this one! It sounds fantastic!









Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I would give to people who have never read Steampunk

Top Ten Tuesdays is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

THIS WEEK'S TOPIC IS: Top Ten Books for readers new to Steampunk


Leviathan (Leviathan, #1)The Clockwork Scarab (Stoker & Holmes, #1)The Friday SocietyEtiquette & Espionage (Finishing School, #1)The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles, #1)The Unnaturalists (The Unnaturalists, #1)Corsets & Clockwork: 13 Steampunk RomancesSteampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange StoriesThe Falconer (The Falconer, #1)A Conspiracy of Alchemists (The Chronicle of Light and Shadow, #1)
1.) Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld~ Maybe my favorite book EVER! The Leviathan world is epic! It is one of the best steampunk books I've ever read! I adore this book so much. I think anyone who wants to start reading steampunk should start off with this book.
2.) The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason~ Going into this book I was apprehensive. It sounded like a fantastic book, yet I never thought it could be pulled off well. I absolutely adored this book and I can't wait for the next one to come out! A must read if you love steampunk or want to try it out!
3.) The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress~ Admittedly, I am only half way through at the time I am writing this post, but so far I LOVE it! The three main characters are fantastic and it is a great example of awesome steampunk! Definitely a great read! (So far!!)
4.) Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger~ This one is a bit more midle gradey, but it is definitely a fantastic steampunk novel. I really want to read Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series, too!
5.) The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross~ This is another fantastic book! I love the entire series! (Still need to read The Girl with the Windup Heart!) It has great steampunk aspects and the series only gets better!
6.) The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent~ Another fantastic steampunk novel that is super unique! Love the world for this one!
7.) Corsets and Clockwork by Many Authors~ Honestly some of the stories in this anthology weren't that great, others were fantastic! Definitely a great steampunk read!
8.) Steampunk! by Many Authors~ Another really fun steampunk anthology!
9.) The Falconer by Elizabeth May~ While this novel has a more minor presence of steampunk than the other books on this list, it was still a fantastic story! I absolutely loved the entire book!
10.) A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz~ This is actually a book I've yet to read, but it looks like it should be fantastic! Hopefully it will be another great example of steampunk!

Are there any steampunk books that you would recommend??