*REVIEW* Rules for 50/50 Chances

Released today: Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern...

Synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Rose Levenson has a decision to make: Does she want to know how she’s going to die? Because when Rose turns eighteen, she can take the test that will tell her if she carries the genetic mutation for Huntington’s disease, the degenerative condition that is slowly killing her mother. With a fifty-fifty shot at inheriting her family’s genetic curse, Rose is skeptical about pursuing anything that presumes she’ll live to be a healthy adult—including going to ballet school and the possibility of falling in love. But when she meets a boy from a similarly flawed genetic pool, and gets an audition for a dance scholarship in California, Rose begins to question her carefully-laid rules.

I really wanted to love Rules for 50/50 Chances and there were times where I thought it was possible but unfortunately, it just ended up being okay for me. There are some great things about it but the ending left me feeling flat as a reader even if I thought the ending was positive for the main character. 

Rules for 50/50 Chances introduces us to Rose, a teenage girl watching her mom deteriorate from Huntington's Disease. In addition to watching her mom die a slow and debilitating death, the real kicker for Rose is that she has a 50/50 chance of inheriting this disease from her mother. Geneticists do not allow anyone to take the test for Huntington's until they are at least 18 years old, though it's recommended to wait much longer than that since symptoms often do not occur until the person is well into their thirties. Rose doesn't think she can live with the uncertainty hanging over her head and decides she has to know her Huntington's status before making her future life choices. Enter Caleb, a cute and sweet boy who has her challenging all her beliefs about avoiding love and falling for someone since love and life are so unpredictable. Loss is the only thing that Rose really believes in...

Readers are taken on Rose's journey as she waits to learn the truth about her future. Along the way, Rose is forced to consider the rules she has set for herself, and the truth about where she really wants her life to lead her next. 

As I stated above, I really wanted to love this one but I think the ending kind of killed it for me. 


SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!! (DON'T READ IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK!)
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Rose deciding at the VERY end to not find out her test results killed me. While I cannot imagine how I would feel or act placed in that circumstance, as a reader who has been following along her story, it's anticlimatic to realize that I will NEVER know if Rose will develop Huntington's or not. As a reader, that SUCKS. It may very well have been the best choice for Rose but for me? Bah, humbug!
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END OF SPOILER!!!!!!
I really cannot imagine how I would feel if I were in Rose's shoes... to live with that kind of uncertainty hanging over you has to alter how you react and live in the world. And to watch your mom go through that? Heartbreaking! This book definitely has the potential to create the feels. Rose is a wee bit annoying at times but again, it's hard to imagine being in her place. All in all, it's worth a read. Some people have loved it... I'm more in-like. And that's okay.


                             

*REVIEW* For the Record

Released today: For the Record by Charlotte Huang...

Synopsis:
Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like . . . until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. But one phone call changed everything 
 
Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen hearthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level—not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated.
 
Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band—and their fans—love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year, dying a slow death. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule... Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t?


For the Record is one of those books that completely ensnares you... once I started reading it, I was powerless to put it down! Pesky sleep interrupted me briefly but I seriously inhaled this book in a day. And I have a toddler at home! Thank the fates I read this during summer break while off of work or I would have been having to sneak reading this one under my desk!

For the Record introduces us to Chelsea, a teenage girl fresh off a reality singing competition. Chelsea gets the opportunity of a lifetime to replace the lead singer in an established band. Chelsea knows that this tour has to be perfect... her future and career are riding on it. The only problem is that not all of her new bandmates are happy with her addition to the crew. This becomes more of an issue when Chelsea captures the eye of one of the biggest teen actors of the moment and their tour becomes a bit of a circus... and there's also the issue of the sparks Chelsea thinks she feels with one of the guys in the band... sparks expressly forbidden. Travel around the country with the likeable Melbourne in this fantastic and addictive tale by Charlotte Huang.

I love this book!!!! Like I said above, I couldn't put it down for the life of me. I was really, really sad to see it end and that's the trademark of a fantastic book. I'd really love to see Huang write a sequel.



*REVIEW* The Lies About Truth

Released today: The Lies About Truth by Courtney Stevens...

Synopsis:
Sadie Kingston, is a girl living in the aftermath. A year after surviving a car accident that killed her friend Trent and left her body and face scarred, she can’t move forward. The only person who seems to understand her is Trent’s brother, Max.

As Sadie begins to fall for Max, she's unsure if she is truly healed enough to be with him — even if Max is able to look at her scars and not shy away. But when the truth about the accident and subsequent events comes to light, Sadie has to decide if she can embrace the future or if she'll always be trapped in the past.


I wasn't over the moon excited to read this one but boy, am I glad that I did! The Lies About Truth is a wonderful story about grief, forgiveness, moving on, learning to live with emotional and physical scars, and healing. It's human nature and left me feeling hopeful.

The Lies About Truth introduces us to Sadie, a girl who survived a horrendous car accident that took her friend's life. Sadie is horribly scarred and struggles to accept her new physical reality... helping her with this is her newfound relationship with Max, the brother of the friend she lost. 

Sadie struggles not only with the physical recovery but with the emotional one as well. Losing Trent has started a domino effect that damages the friendships she has always been able to count on. Will Sadie be able to forgive those closest to her and herself for everything that has led to them being where they are now? Can you ever really turn back the clock and regain who you once were? Find out in this uplifting and heart tugging tale by Courtney Stevens.

I really did enjoy this one. Sadie is damaged but relatable... she's not one of those damaged souls that you end up annoyed with, thinking "okay, you really need to move on now." Sadie takes you on her journey with her and you really feel her emotions and pain and that makes it so easy to root for her. This is a really great story about forgiveness, friendship and loss. Highly recommend.


                

*REVIEW* The Unquiet

Released yesterday: The Unquiet by Mikaela Everett...

Synopsis:
For most of her life, Lirael has been training to kill—and replace—a duplicate version of herself on a parallel Earth. She is the perfect sleeper-soldier. But she’s beginning to suspect she is not a good person. 

The two Earths are identical in almost every way. Two copies of every city, every building, even every person. But the people from the second Earth know something their duplicates do not—two versions of the same thing cannot exist. They—and their whole planet—are slowly disappearing. Lira has been trained mercilessly since childhood to learn everything she can about her duplicate, to be a ruthless sleeper-assassin who kills that other Lirael and steps seamlessly into her life.


Wow, The Unquiet is a disturbing and interesting ride, that's for sure! I've never read anything similar to this and was really blown away by how CREEPY it all is. Can you imagine never knowing for sure if the people around you are who they claim to be? Any minute, a loved one can be stripped away from you and replaced by an alternate. CREEPY!!!! I really enjoyed this debut novel by Mikaela Everett. Girl knows how to spin a thought-provoking and chilling tale!

THE UNQUIET introduces us to Lirael, a "cottage girl" and sleeper training to take over the life and identity of her alternate on the other Earth. Lirael has been trained in a variety of cold and cruel methods that leave her feeling empty inside. When the time comes to infiltrate her new life, Lirael finds that it's not as easy as she thought it would be to not only fool everyone else, but to fool herself as well. Because shockingly, Lirael is beginning to feel things she never thought possible...

Shocking events, friendships, betrayals and more await readers as they delve into the creepy world that Mikaela Everett created. A heartbreaking twist will break the hearts of those reading this tale and this book will stay with readers long after they've read the final page. A wonderful and addicting debut from a promising new talent.

I highly recommend this book to others. You'll end up feeling weirded out in the best way possible and Lira is the type of character anyone can get on board with. Scoop this one up as soon as you can. Enjoy!



           


*REVIEW* What We Saw

Released today: What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler...

Synopsis:

Kate Weston can piece together most of the bash at John Doone’s house: shots with Stacey Stallard, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early—the feeling that maybe he’s becoming more than just the guy she’s known since they were kids.

But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills’s shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn’t have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate’s classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can’t be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same question: Where was Ben when a terrible crime was committed?

This story—inspired by real events—from debut novelist Aaron Hartzler takes an unflinching look at silence as a form of complicity. It’s a book about the high stakes of speaking up, and the razor thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time.


I really didn't expect to like this one as much as I did because the subject matter is just so uncomfortable but I think that a really good book forces you out of your comfort zone at times, forces you to think about unspeakable acts and how you would feel and react if placed in a similar situation. What We Saw will definitely make you stop and think about right and wrong, falling in line or standing up for what you believe, and the sad prejudices that remain about women in the country and whether or not their actions, their clothes, their behavior opens them up for sexual assault. Don't read this one if you're not prepared to think about serious social implications.


What We Saw follows along Kate, a soccer star at her high school who left a party because she was wasted. Luckily, her long-time childhood friend and crush was there and took her home before she could do anything that she regretted. Unfortunately for a fellow classmate, this was not the case for everyone. Stacey... the girl who claims that several star basketball players sexually assaulted and raped her at the party when she was too drunk to give her consent sets off a war in their small town, a town ruled by the fans of their state championship-bound basketball team. People are told to keep quiet and their small town becomes a media circus over night. Kate cannot shake the feeling that the truth needs to come out... but will knowing what happened give her peace or drive her away from everyone, and everything, she's ever known? A gripping and compelling tale based on real events that will stay with you long after you turn the final page.

This book is definitely one that should be placed on your TBR list immediately. I was appalled by the actions of some of the people in this book and the sad thing is, you hear about these kinds of things on the news all the time. It really makes you stop and think... what is rape? What is true consent? And is a girl or woman or anyone for that matter ever "asking for it" based on their appearance or behavior? How can "no means no" be the standard when some people are not in the mental state to form words? Wonderful topic that truly deserves to be addressed. I applaud Aaron Hartzler for a look into this, a look that young adults are likely to take because this book is engaging and necessary. My only, and I mean only, dislike about this book is Kate's inability to forgive what she views as a major betrayal. I personally see things a little less black and white and would have liked to see her and this other individual be able to move past the "betrayal" and form a stronger relationship afterwards. But that's just me... all in all, this book deserves space on your TBR shelf. You won't be disappointed!


                 

*REVIEW* Mirrored

Released today: Mirrored by Alex Flinn...

Synopsis:
A modern, multi-generational tale of Kendra, the witch from "Snow White," who trains Violet, an ugly, lonely, and heartbroken girl in the 1980s who transforms herself into "the fairest one of all" but still cannot win Greg's heart, and Celine, Greg's daughter with Violet's high school rival, Jennifer.

I've only read one other Alex Flinn book and I liked it and her ability to modernize an old school fairytale. I was really excited about Mirrored because who doesn't love the story of Snow White? I think she did a good job creating a cute, easy to read retelling of a classic. Were some parts a little over-the-top? Yes. Is this book world changing, one that will stay with you forever? Nope. It's still an enjoyable, solid and fun read.

Mirrored introduces us to Violet, an extremely homely girl constantly bullied and picked on by her classmates. Her only friend is Greg and Violet harbors quite the crush on him, a crush that continues even after Greg dumps their friendship to become part of the in crowd. Enter Kendra, a witch who takes Violet under her wing and suddenly Violet has the power to change everything... she becomes the most beautiful woman in the world. Until Celine is born many years later...

Celine is Greg's daughter and after her mother tragically loses her life, Violet becomes her stepmother and she's quite the evil one. A tragedy unhinges Violet's grasp on sanity, forcing Celine into hiding with unlikely allies. Will Violet get the ultimate revenge or will true love save Celine? All is revealed in this modern retelling of the classic Snow White.

As I said above, this book is far from perfect. The teen idol thing was absurd but this book isn't trying to take itself seriously so neither should you. It's cute, quick to read, and worth the time. Enjoy!


                                

*REVIEW* Truest

Released today: Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers...

Synopsis:
Silas Hart has seriously shaken up Westlin Beck's small-town life. Brand new to town, Silas is different than the guys in Green Lake. He's curious, poetic, philosophical, maddening-- and really, really cute. But Silas has a sister-- and she has a secret. And West has a boyfriend. And life in Green Lake is about to change forever.

Truest is one of those books that will stay with you long after you turn the final page. I read it in a day because I couldn't drag myself away from the story. It's romantic, sad, moving, hopeful, and haunting all in one. What a wonderful debut from a very promising new author!

Truest  introduces us to Westlin Beck, local pastor's daughter and small-town girl, and Silas Hart, a mature, introspective, and philosophical boy so different from other teenage boys that West knows. They begin a partnership one summer that turns into a friendship and possibly so much more... West begins to experience things she had only dreamed of before. The gray cloud on West and Silas's horizon is Silas's twin sister, Laurel. Laurel has a secret... one that threatens to tear not only herself, but her family apart. Right when things seem to be right as rain, a shocking event will send ripples through their small community. Will West and Silas's connection be able to survive the worst, or are some things just too much to overcome? All is revealed in this stunning and highly addictive debut from Jackie Lea Sommers.

*sighhhhhh* I really, really enjoyed this book. One, it was nice to read about teenagers with individual, intelligent, and unique thoughts going on upstairs. I work in a high school and sometimes got to say, some maturity in teenagers is a welcome change! Since I also have a background in psychology, I was fascinated with Laurel and her "secret". I don't want to spoiler anyone, but it's definitely an interesting thing she's got going on. 

All in all, this book is a SOLID read that will keep you hooked from beginning to end. Even though I finished it several days ago, it's still with me and THAT is the mark of a truly great book.


              

*REVIEW* The Creeping

Released todayThe Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy...

Synopsis:

Twelve years ago Stella and Jeanie vanished while picking strawberries. Stella returned minutes later, with no memory of what happened. Jeanie was never seen or heard from again.

Now Stella is seventeen, and she's over it. She's the lucky one who survived, and sure, the case is still cloaked in mystery—and it's her small town's ugly legacy—but Stella is focused on the coming summer. She's got a great best friend, a hookup with an irresistibly crooked smile, and two months of beach days stretching out before her.

Then along comes a corpse, a little girl who washes up in an ancient cemetery after a mudslide, and who has red hair just like Jeanie did. Suddenly memories of that haunting day begin to return, and when Stella discovers that other red-headed girls have gone missing as well, she begins to suspect that something sinister is at work.

And before the summer ends, Stella will learn the hard way that if you hunt for monsters, you will find them.


The Creeping is an appropriate title for this book because it definitely creeped me out. It really wasn't what I expected it to be either, the synopsis is sufficiently vague and the story keeps you guessing for quite awhile. Even though it's really long, it will keep you engaged until the end.

The Creeping introduces us to Stella, a teenage girl with a mysterious past... Stella was the one that came back from the woods that day when she was six while her friend Jeanie was never seen again. Stella can't remember a thing about that day and when awful things start happening in their town again, she knows that it's time once and for all for her to figure out what happened so long ago. Betrayal, friendship, new love, and shocking and gruesome discoveries await in this creepy tale by Alexandra Sirowy.

I liked this one but abducted children makes me extremely squeamish now that I'm a parent. That being said, I thought it was a good mystery/thriller and it kept me flipping pages. Definitely worth a read.


                             

*SERIES HIGHLIGHT* Trylle by Amanda Hocking



Synopsis:
When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn't until eleven years later that Wendy finds out her mother might've been telling the truth. With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed - and it's one she's not sure if she wants to be a part of.


Synopsis:
When Wendy Everly first discovers the truth about herself—that she’s a changeling switched at birth—she knows her life will never be the same. Now she’s about to learn that there’s more to the story...

She shares a closer connection to her Vittra rivals than she ever imagined—and they’ll stop at nothing to lure her to their side. With the threat of war looming, her only hope of saving the Trylle is to master her magical powers—and marry an equally powerful royal. But that means walking away from Finn, her handsome bodyguard who’s strictly off limits... and Loki, a Vittra prince with whom she shares a growing attraction.

Torn between her heart and her people, between love and duty, Wendy must decide her fate. If she makes the wrong choice, she could lose everything, and everybody, she’s ever wanted... in both worlds.



Synopsis:
Wendy Everly is facing an impossible choice. The only way to save the Trylle from their deadliest enemy is by sacrificing herself.  If she doesn't surrender to the Vittra, her people will be thrust into a brutal war against an unbeatable foe.  But how can Wendy leave all her friends behind... even if it’s the only way to save them?

The stakes have never been higher, because her kingdom isn't the only thing she stands to lose. After falling for both Finn and Loki, she’s about to make the ultimate choice... who to love forever. One guy has finally proven to be the love of her life—and now all their lives might be coming to an end. 

Everything has been leading to this moment.  The future of her entire world rests in her hands—if she’s ready to fight for it.


I REALLY enjoyed this series... it's one of those that gets better and better as it goes with the third and final book in the trilogy being the best one yet. I was hesitant to read them because trolls? But seriously... do NOT let that keep you from checking these out because they are GOOD. Different supernatural creatures but all the makings of a wonderful supernatural story are present: great characters you want to root for, yummy boys, family ties, action and danger around every corner... this series kept me engaged from start to finish. If you haven't checked it out yet, I highly recommend that you do. Enjoy!

*REVIEW* The Stars Never Rise

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Nina Kane should be worrying about her immortal soul, but she's too busy trying to actually survive. Her town's population has been decimated by soul-consuming demons, and souls are in short supply. Watching over her younger sister, Mellie, and scraping together food and money are all that matters. The two of them are a family. They gave up on their deadbeat mom a long time ago.

When Nina discovers that Mellie is keeping a secret that threatens their very existence, she'll do anything to protect her. Because in New Temperance, sins are prosecuted as crimes by the brutal Church and its army of black-robed exorcists. And Mellie's sin has put her in serious trouble.

To keep them both alive, Nina will need to trust Finn, a fugitive with deep green eyes who has already saved her life once and who might just be an exorcist. But what kind of exorcist wears a hoodie?

Wanted by the Church and hunted by dark forces, Nina knows she can't survive on her own. She needs Finn and his group of rogue friends just as much as they need her.


Another stellar book from the amazing Rachel Vincent. I'm telling you, I think she can do no wrong. Everything I've read by her has ensnared me immediately. Definitely a fave author of mine! The Stars Never Rise is the first book of a new series and it was really, really good. Interesting, unique, and full of intriguing characters, drama, action, and creepies. What more could you ask for?

The Stars Never Rise introduces us to Nina, a teenage girl fighting to keep her and her sister clothed and fed in a futuristic world where demons once roamed the land. The Church and their team of exorcists have battled the demons back from the civilized cities and the people now live in these cities, protected by the church and the tall city walls designed to keep the remaining demons out. Not all demons were eradicated in the war and the ones that remain outside the walls are deformed, depraved monsters on the hunt for souls to eat.

Nina's world is completely changed when she learns several shocking truths about her family... truths that endanger her, her sister, and change their relationship with their mother forever. Enter Finn, a delicious specimen of a boy with some shocking abilities who just happens to aid Nina when she needs someone most. Nina is thrust into a world she never knew existed, just as she learns that the world she always thought she knew is nothing as it appears to be. Will Nina be able to save the ones she loves from the horrible truths she uncovers or are things hopeless? All is revealed in this stunning first installment by Rachel Vincent. 

I REALLY enjoyed this one. The characters are so likeable, even the ones who aren't at first. And while readers definitely learn a great deal and get some answers, the ending leaves us with some things unexplained and I, for one, cannot wait to delve into the next installment to see where things go next. All hail, Rachel Vincent! LOVE her books.



           

My Time as a SAHM

So an enormous benefit of working as an educator is summer break. This summer happens to be a particularly long one... 11 GLORIOUS weeks. It's no secret to those nearest and dearest to me that my biggest wish is that we could afford for me to be a SAHM. I take comfort in the fact that my job at least affords me some serious time off to be at home with my little angel. 10-11 weeks in the summer, all the normal holidays, 1.5-2 weeks at Christmas, and a week for spring break equals a LOT of vacation time at home, much more vacation than a typical 9-5 working mama is likely to get. I know in that regard that I am very, very lucky. So how goes my summer as a SAHM? Pretty amazing and surprising.

I was home with my daughter last summer too but she was much younger, 6-7 months, and it's pretty much a blur at this point. This summer, my little darling is 18 months and a full-fledged toddler. Walking, climbing, running, exerting her independence every chance she gets, saying her favorite word "NO!" and yelling it quite a bit as well. To say that she's more challenging this summer would be a HUGE understatement. I have a new appreciation for full-time SAHMs because it can definitely be mentally draining because if you're like me and you have a bad sleeper, you are on almost all the time. My daughter will only sleep in her crib for maybe 1.5 hours before I have to move her into my bed and since our bed is high off the ground, I end up going to bed with her for safety. That means that out of every single day, I'm only getting after showering and all that, maybe an hour to spend with my husband just being me. Of course, the time with my husband is even LESS during the school year because there's all the preparing for the next workday stuff like packing bags and lunches and all that jazz but I feel like I get a little bit more of a "kid break" during the year.

I think it definitely surprised me to see how draining it can feel to always be "on". I love my daughter more than life itself but I definitely cherish that hour of time before she wakes up, way more than I cherish it during the school year. I also find being home can get a tad bit lonely... sure, I get to wear yoga pants every day and can watch TV when I want, but you can definitely miss interaction with people who are over 3 feet tall.

All that being said, I would stay home in an INSTANT because it's so much easier being a SAHM for me than it is being a working mom. We struggle so much during the school year because everyone is stressed, time is so compressed, weekends end up being all about errands and chores, and the working mom guilt can be absolutely crushing. While it's nice to be out of the house and have some other types of interaction, it really can't compare with getting to spend every day watching your child grow up and experience the world. The toddler age is so fun because they are constantly learning and changing... it's truly incredible.

It's only been 4 weeks but my favorite things right now about being home:

  • Getting to be there for every moment is priceless
  • Morning trips to the park! Afternoon time it is PACKED
  • Napping in the afternoon with my girl, she is the best snuggler
  • No work clothes! Bra? If I feel like it! Yoga pants? Check!
  • More time to get housework done... my house is pure sketch during the school year
  • Grocery trips/errands while others are at work... SO much better than weekend shopping!
  • SO much easier to cook at home when I can prep in the afternoon
  • No commute! Goodbye, traffic!
  • SO MUCH LESS STRESS
  • Lots of playtime with my girl, love our summer bond
There are so many more but you get the point. While it's not all roses, I still much prefer our summer way of life. One downside is that finding time to blog is so difficult! I have soooo many reviews to post, it's insane. Cause another perk? Yup. This mama has actually had time to read. I hope all of you are having as wonderful a summer as I am. Here's hoping the next 6.5 weeks go sloooooowly. Cheers!

*REVIEW* The Heir by Kiera Cass

Synopsis:

Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon—and they lived happily ever after. Eadlyn has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she'd put off marriage for as long as possible.

But a princess's life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can't escape her very own Selection—no matter how fervently she protests.

Eadlyn doesn't expect her story to end in romance. But as the competition begins, one entry may just capture Eadlyn's heart, showing her all the possibilities that lie in front of her . . . and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn't as impossible as she's always thought.


I SO wanted to love this book... I went into it with super high expectations because I truly adore The Selection Series. Unfortunately, this book didn't quite meet my expectations and left me feeling rather conflicted. On one hand, I flew through this book as quickly as I did the others and that usually is a good sign... but the real kicker for me is Eadlyn. 


What can I say about Eadlyn? I find her absolutely insufferable. She's snotty, selfish, arrogant, cruel at times, and frankly oblivious over things that seem so obvious to the reader. For about the first two-thirds of the book, I wanted to throat punch her every other time she opened her mouth. And if you think just dealing with her spoken words is annoying, HA! Her inner thoughts and dialogue make her just as repulsive. 


That being said... there were a few times towards the end where I might have seen the smallest glimmer of hope for her redemption. I'm truly hoping that Kiera Cass WANTED it to play out that way for readers... building up just the right amount of hate tempered with the tiniest little bit of hope that will keep us hooked and reading the next installment of this story. 


All in all, if you're a fan, I'd still recommend this book. Just keep in mind that you might feel some anger and annoyance as you're reading it. I have high hopes that Kiera Cass will redeem not only Eadlyn but the story as a whole with the sequel. Because right now? This book just seems to be an attempt to cash in on a popular series, not necessarily make the series bigger and better. 



                                 

Kindle Deal Alert: The Beginning of Everything



I was lucky enough to read a copy of this book when it was an ARC titled Severed Heads, Broken Hearts and although they have changed the name, this book is SERIOUSLY worth a read... and at $1.99? You have nothing to lose!!!

My review so you believe me when I say this book is awesomesauce! 

Gobble this deal up while you can. Enjoy! *XOXO*


*REVIEW* The Secrets We Keep


Synopsis:

A girl takes over her twin sister's identity in this emotionally charged page-turner about the complicated bond between sisters.


Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins. Ella has spent her high school years living in popular Maddy's shadows, but she has never been envious of Maddy. In fact, she's chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy's world.

When—after a heated argument—Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves her sister dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy. Feeling responsible for Maddy's death and everyone's grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy. Soon, Ella realizes that Maddy's life was full of secrets. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options—confess her deception or live her sister's life.


The Secrets We Keep was definitely an interesting read... Can you imagine trying to live your dead twin's life? Craziness! This book is full of promise and is definitely a solid read. Unfortunately, I couldn't completely get there emotionally so my rating is a little lower than most peoples.

The Secrets We Keep introduces us to Ella and Maddy, twin teenage girls who have drifted apart in the past couple of years. When the unthinkable happens and the girls are in a horrific car accident, Ella wakes up with no recollection of who she is. When she realizes the truth, she decides to keep letting her family, friends and everyone else believe that it was Maddy who survived. Ella soon realizes that living someone else's life is not as easy as she thought it would be, especially when secrets begin to unravel. Will Ella continue to live the lie or will the truth will out? All is revealed in this emotional tale by Trisha Leaver.

This book was really good but I smelled the truth about Maddy coming a mile away and at times, it was hard to be emotional about her loss. That being said, I did manage to tear up at the end so it did snag me emotionally eventually, just not as early as I'd hoped. This is still a SOLID read though, one I highly recommend.



                         

Mother's Day


There is no greater joy than being a mother... it's something that you really cannot wrap your mind around until a little baby is placed in your arms. The overwhelming and all-consuming love I feel for my daughter shocked me in the intensity because I just don't think you ever really "get it" until you're living it. I am even more grateful and in awe of my mother now because being a mom makes you realize how much your own mother loves YOU. It's humbling and I tear up just thinking about some of things that I put her through. Hug and love on your mamas this weekend. Whether you believe it or not, you carry a piece of your mama's heart with you each and every moment. I'll leave you with one of my favorite poems about parenthood:

The Last Time

From the moment you hold your baby in your arms,
you will never be the same.
You might long for the person you were before,
when you had freedom and time,
and nothing in particular to worry about.

You will know tiredness like you never knew it before,
and days will run into days that are exactly the same,
full of feedings and burping,
nappy changes and crying,
whining and fighting,
naps or a lack of naps...
it might seem like a never-ending cycle.

But do not forget...
there is a last time for everything.
There will come a time when you will feed
your baby for the very last time.
They will fall asleep on you after a long day,
and it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.

One day you will carry them on your hip then set them down,
and never pick them up that way again. 
You will scrub their hair in the bath one night,
and from that day on they will want to bathe alone.
They will hold your hand to cross the road,
then never reach for it again.

They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles,
and it will be the last time you ever wake to this.
One afternoon you will sing "the wheels on the bus" and do all the actions,
then never sing that song again.

They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate,
the next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone.
You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your last dirty face.
They will run to you with arms raised for the very last time.

The thing is, you won't even know it's the last time
until there are no more times,
and even then, 
it will take you awhile to realize.

So while you are living in these times,
remember there are only so many of them,
and when they are gone,
you will yearn for just one more day of them.
For one last time.

Waiting on Wednesday (49)

Synopsis:

Sadie Kingston, is a girl living in the aftermath. A year after surviving a car accident that killed her friend Trent and left her body and face scarred, she can’t move forward. The only person who seems to understand her is Trent’s brother, Max.

As Sadie begins to fall for Max, she's unsure if she is truly healed enough to be with him — even if Max is able to look at her scars and not shy away. But when the truth about the accident and subsequent events comes to light, Sadie has to decide if she can embrace the future or if she'll always be trapped in the past.


Expected publication date: November 3, 2015 by HarperTeen


This book sounds GOOD! I cannot imagine the coping that is required of someone who survives something like that. And the part about the "truth about the accident"? Color me intrigued! Can't wait to get my hands on this baby!


*REVIEW* Invaded by Melissa Landers


Synopsis:

The romantic sequel to Alienated takes long-distance relationships to a new level as Cara and Aelyx long for each other from opposite ends of the universe...until a threat to both their worlds reunites them. 

Cara always knew life on planet L’eihr would be an adjustment. With Aelyx, her L’eihr boyfriend, back on Earth, working to mend the broken alliance between their two planets, Cara is left to fend for herself at a new school, surrounded by hostile alien clones. Even the weird dorm pet hates her.

Things look up when Cara is appointed as human representative to a panel preparing for a human colony on L’eihr. A society melding their two cultures is a place where Cara and Aelyx could one day make a life together. But with L’eihr leaders balking at granting even the most basic freedoms, Cara begins to wonder if she could ever be happy on this planet, even with Aelyx by her side.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Aelyx, finds himself thrown into a full-scale PR campaign to improve human-L’eihr relations. Humans don’t know that their very survival depends on this alliance: only Aelyx’s people have the technology to fix the deadly contamination in the global water supply that human governments are hiding. Yet despite their upper hand, the leaders of his world suddenly seem desperate to get humans on their side, and hardly bat an eye at extremists’ multiple attempts on Aelyx’s life.

The Way clearly needs humans’ help . . . but with what? And what will they ask for in return?


It had been quite awhile since I read the first book, Alienated, so I was nervous that getting back into things would be difficult for me. Boy, was that fear unfounded!!! Melissa Landers just has a way about her writing that completely ensnares you. Slipping back into this world felt as comfortable as putting on my favorite pair of worn-in jeans.


Invaded picks up where the first book left off, with Cara traveling to L'eihr while Aelyx remains behind on Earth. Cara has a difficult time adjusting on her new planet and it's clear that many L'eihrs are not happy about her being there. Cara is framed for some crimes that pack some extremely hefty penalties and she begins to struggle with knowing who to trust. Meanwhile, on Earth, Aelyx is plagued with assassination attempts on his life, attempts that his government is very quick to overlook...


Cara and Aelyx begin to realize that everything is not as it seems and that The Way is hiding some pretty massive secrets. Will they be able to figure things out in time or will the life they planned together be destroyed before it even begins? Strap yourself in for some intense interplanetary love and strife with our favorite humans and L'eihrs.


SQUEEEEE! Returning to this world was awesomesauce, these books are SO good! Some of my favorite things:


*The planet L'eihr. Landers does a wonderful job describing this new and interesting planet to readers. Sidenote: I want a house pet, but preferably one who doesn't want to pee on my pillow.


*Cara and Aelyx... the love. Oh, the love. I just adore this fictional couple, keeping things strong even as they are literally worlds apart. 


*Syrine's character development. From most-hated to quite-liked, I'm impressed by her transformation. 


Of course there's a ton more that I loved about this book but you'll just have to read it for yourself to see. You will NOT be sorry!



       

Labor Horror Stories

So one of my best friends was due yesterday to give birth to her first child and it's safe to say that things are not progressing for her... at all. That baby boy of hers appears nice and comfy and her body is showing no signs of going into labor. It got me thinking about labor and delivery and the time leading up to it... it also got me remembering an ugly little truth. Women LOVE to share their horrible and terrifying labor stories with you when you're expecting. The result?

Pregnant women, especially first-timers, are already stressed out and freaked out enough as it is. I promise you that it does not help at ALL when someone tells you about their 36 hours of labor, tearing from "here to there", or scary emergency C-section stories when you're about to do something terrifying that you've never done before. Yes, labor and delivery is a natural and beautiful thing... it's also scary as hell until you've experienced it yourself. Really doesn't help when everyone you seem to come into contact with has horror stories or knows someone who had "just, like, the worst labor EVER. Reconstructive surgery and everything!"

I, personally, had a wonderful labor story that sometime I will share on here because I think there are far too few of them floating around. And I know that I got very, very lucky and that if I have a second child, it could be a completely different story. I really think though that the stress and worry leading up to it was way worse than the experience itself.

I really don't think that the intent of these horror story pushers is to frighten someone though... I honestly think they're trying to share their wisdom and prepare someone for something they probably did not feel prepared for themselves. I think that's the fundamental truth of all labor though, you really have no idea how it's going to go until you're doing it. You can have the most detailed and thought-out birthing plan in the world but things happen and you have to be willing to adapt to whatever comes. The end result is going to be the same no matter how you end up there: you'll be the new mother to an adorable and amazing little creature.

Should women stop sharing their labor stories? Of course not. I would recommend caution though against going all out in the TMI category unless the mom-to-be requests the nitty gritty. And if that mom-to-be doesn't ask, you could just choose not to tell. You have no idea the stories that she's been inundated with so far, perhaps she just doesn't need to hear about another thing that could go wrong. Instead be supportive and let her do the asking if she wants. And sometimes? A little sugar-coating can be just what someone needs.

*REVIEW* Playlist for the Dead


Synopsis:
A teenage boy tries to understand his best friend's suicide by listening to the playlist of songs he left behind in this smart, voice-driven debut novel.

Here's what Sam knows: There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, his best friend, Hayden, was dead. And all he left Sam was a playlist of songs, and a suicide note: For Sam—listen and you'll understand.

As he listens to song after song, Sam tries to face up to what happened the night Hayden killed himself. But it's only by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he will finally be able to piece together his best friend’s story. And maybe have a chance to change his own.


I had high expectations about Playlist for the Dead. I work as a school counselor in a high school and am always drawn to books about topics that are relevant to my job. I was expecting to be as moved as I was by Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher but unfortunately, that just did not happen in this case.

Playlist for the Dead introduces us to Sam, a teenage boy who wakes to find his best friend, Hayden, dead. Hayden has committed suicide and leaves a playlist of songs for Sam, a playlist that is supposed to explain why Hayden chose the path that he did. Readers watch Sam try to unravel the events that led to Hayden's death. Sam learns shocking things about Hayden, secrets that were kept and gets glimpses into events that he only knew part of. Will Sam learn the truth and be able to stop blaming himself? Will he learn more about the blame and innocence of others? All is revealed in this sad tale of the loss of a young life by Michelle Falkoff.

Again, I had high expectations for this and really wish I connected more emotionally with the story. There's a lot of potential in this and a definite lesson to be learned, but I think there are better stories out there about teenage suicide.
                                                   

 
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