Monday, December 15, 2014

GIVEAWAY CONTEST: Win a 2014 Holiday Book or December new release!


Hi all, happy holidays! Hope you're all getting in the spirit - we got our first Christmas tree ever in our new house. It's pretty sweet. =)

Anyway, you know the drill: I'm giving away one young adult, middle grade, or new adult book released this month. I'm also throwing in one Christmas book - and if you have another that was released in 2014 that is a YA, MG, or NA, you're welcome to ask for that because...holidays. =) In the interest of not making myself crazy, I'm only posting covers for the ones I'm super interested in reading, but feel free to comment with your own choices!


                            My review of No Place to Fall


                              Review to come this month!




Rules:

  • Giveaway open internationally provided you can receive shipments from The Book Depository.
  • You're welcome to choose a book I didn't mention here as long as it's a December 2014 YA, MG, or NA new release.
  • I will not be responsible for lost or damaged packages from The Book Depository or Amazon. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway




Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: All We Have Is Now by Lisa Schroeder

All We Have Is Now
Author: Lisa Schroeder 
Publisher: Scholastic
Expected publication date: July 28th 2015

What do you do with your last day on earth?

Just over twenty-four hours are left until an asteroid strikes North America, and for Emerson and everyone else who didn't leave, the world will end. But Emerson's world already ended when she ran away from home. Since then, she has lived on the streets, relying on her wits and on her friend Vince to help her find places to sleep and food to eat.

The city's quieter now that most people are gone, and no one seems to know what to do as the end approaches. But then Emerson and Vince meet Carl, who tells them he has been granting people's wishes -- and gives them his wallet full of money.

Suddenly, this last day seems full of possibility. Emerson and Vince can grant a lot of wishes in one last day -- maybe even their own.

I don't talk about it a lot, but I have a deep fear of extermination - of knowing that I or the people around me are going to die, and we won't have done all the things we hoped to have done or made it count in the right way. And when I say "we", I really mean "I". 

The little known movie Melancholia looks at a similar situation to the one in All We Have Is Now - that is, the extermination of the human race and whether anything we do matters or can be remembered. 

Yes, it's a Kirsten Dunst movie. If you have problems with depression, DO NOT WATCH IT. 

When I saw Melancholia in the theatre, I was depressed for days. Let's just say director Lars von Trier is not known for being a happy guy, and the possible hopelessness of existence weighed heavily on me. 

As soon as I read the synopsis for this book, something settled deep in my chest. It was a feeling that Emerson and Vince could show me the way. That Lisa Schroeder had written something that could counter that feeling of hopelessness. That maybe, even if we have limited time, that last day can matter. That our little moments of joy do count. 

I'm waiting for this book because I need it to give me a different perspective on the grand scheme of things. I want to believe that what we do matters, and I think this book can show me the way. 

Are you interested in reading ALL WE HAVE IS NOW? Do you think about extermination as much as I do? Do you believe that our small moments of happiness matter? What are you waiting for this week? Let me know in the comments!

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that book bloggers are eagerly anticipating.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

"Teardrops on My Guitar" Review: No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown

No Place to Fall
Author: Jaye Robin Brown (website | twitter)
Publisher: Harper Teen
Source/Format: ARC provided by Harper Collins Canada (thank you!)
Publication date: December 9th 2014 (today!)
My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars. 

Amber Vaughn is a good girl. She sings solos at church, babysits her nephew after school, and spends every Friday night hanging out at her best friend Devon’s house. It’s only when Amber goes exploring in the woods near her home, singing camp songs with the hikers she meets on the Appalachian Trail, that she feels free—and when the bigger world feels just a little bit more in reach.

When Amber learns about an audition at the North Carolina School of the Arts, she decides that her dream—to sing on bigger stages—could also be her ticket to a new life. Devon’s older (and unavailable) brother, Will, helps Amber prepare for her one chance to try out for the hypercompetitive arts school. But the more time Will and Amber spend together, the more complicated their relationship becomes . . . and Amber starts to wonder if she’s such a good girl, after all.

Then, in an afternoon, the bottom drops out of her family’s world—and Amber is faced with an impossible choice between her promise as an artist and the people she loves. Amber always thought she knew what a good girl would do. But between “right” and “wrong,” there’s a whole world of possibilities.


Review:

Check out my expectations of this book before reading!

Warning: this book has some sexual situations, drinking, drugs, and cursing. It's probably rated R - meaning that I would get it parent or teacher approved first if you're younger than 15. 

No Place to Fall is a book I really, really wanted to love. The concept appealed to me as a choir singer, and I love sweet romances. Unfortunately, it didn't quite live up to my expectations. Here's what worked and didn't work for me:

The Good: 


The characters felt like real high school kids in a real small-town. You get a major slice-of-life feeling with the kids - they go to school, they're in the library, with their parents, in the cafeteria, etc. You can really tell that Jaye Robin Brown is a teacher, because she really gets how teens act and interact - and how boredom in a small town can result in sex, drugs, and alcohol.

The chemistry between the Amber and Will really works. In fact, I would argue that the romance between them is the best part of the book - Will is a bit dangerous, but he's also sexy and completely believes in Amber - and their chemistry when they're singing or playing together is DELICIOUS.

The Southern charm and the way Amber learns to appreciate it. I definitely felt like I was in another world when I first started reading - Brown very quickly establishes the culture of the town and how much they all know about one another. The town kind of reminded me of Friday Night Lights a bit - where everyone knows everyone else, but everyone is also talking to and in everyone else's business. Amber hates it at first, but I think it's interesting how much she comes to appreciate it.

The Not-So-Good: 


The lack of plot because the cast of characters was way too large. This, to me, was the major issue with the book - it just didn't go anywhere. I felt like I was still at the beginning of the book when I was two-thirds of the way through. The narrative meandered between characters and subplots very quickly, and I never felt like I knew why a certain scene was in there. There was very little structure to hang onto, and as a result, I didn't feel any urgency or desire to see Amber reach her goals.

The not-very-believable amount of attraction between Amber and every other guy in the book. Holy COW, I know I'm supposed to believe that Amber is gorgeous and talented and all that. But every boy in this book wanted to hook up with her! It's just not believable to me that almost everyone in her circle of friends was interested in that way.

The descriptions of Amber singing. This is really nitpicky, but I just had to put it out there. For the most part, I liked Brown's writing, and she has some really good passages, but the way she described how Amber felt singing just felt cliche to me - Amber would "open [her] mouth and the notes fly up" or a "songbird" or "butterflies" would come leaping out of her chest. It just felt like too easy of a metaphor, and I wanted more from the author.

The Final Word: 


I wanted to love No Place to Fall so much more than I did. But unfortunately, about two-thirds of the book meandered aimlessly, with more subplot than plot. As a result, I didn't feel very strongly about too many of the characters, and I felt a very tenuous connection to the MC. That said, once the plot does get moving, it bounces along, and the romance is very satisfying. Overall, not a great book for me, but if you like slice-of-life books, this one might be for you.

NO PLACE TO FALL comes out today! Are you interested in reading it? Do you like books that are kind of episodic and feel like real life? Do you like musical books? Hit the comments and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The ISLAND series by Viv Daniels: Covers Revealed!

Covers created by Vania Stoyanova of VLC Productions

Hi guys, today I'm helping promote Viv Daniels' ISLAND series - this is a series of five full-length New Adult contemporary romances set on an island in the South Pacific...

Having read and adored Viv's first NA contemporary, One & Only and quite enjoyed her darker NA holiday story Hear Me, as well as her alter ego Diana Peterfreund's many novels, I'm very, very glad to be helping reveal these smoking hot covers. 

Here's the thing, though: as hot as these covers are, I have no doubt that what's between the sheets (ahem) will be even sexier. 

Read on for more about this series, coming out in January!


Island Escape (Island Series #0.5)  Releases on January 20th
Add it on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1vtPKj2

ADAM    Luxury yacht, tropical seas, babes in bikinis…dream job, right? Wrong. The passengers are rich jerks who treat the crew like garbage, when they aren’t pretending we’re their whores. The best day was when that cokehead heiress Kalina tried to fire me just for doing my job. I swore I’d never go back home to my parents and their crazy fundamentalist ranch in the desert, but nothing could be worse than this.
And then the pirates attack.
KALINA    Luxury yacht, tropical seas, billionaire boyfriend…dream trip, right? Wrong. After catching my man getting “extra services” from the maid, I know I’m the laughing stock of passengers and crew. Every time I lay eyes on that quiet, handsome deckhand Adam, I can feel him judging me. I want to die, and when the pirates show up, I think I’m going to.
But Adam… he saves me. Now we’re alone together on a lifeboat in the open ocean. Adam thinks we don’t have a chance, but thanks to him, we’ve made it this far.
And then, in the distance, I spot an island…



Island Born (Island Series #1) Releases on February 23rd
Add it on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/12bujsd

Once you come to the island, you’ll never be the same.
    Joshua Truman grew up on a private island in the South Pacific with only his philosophy books and the beauty of his surroundings for company. His billionaire parents raised him to be the perfect man, brilliant of mind and pure of spirit.
    You know what? Purity be damned.
    When tempting grad student Carrie Young arrives on his island with a group of researchers, Joshua makes his move. He wants her, and he’ll utilize every advantage of his gorgeous surroundings and exquisitely thorough education to seduce her.
    Carrie is shocked by the things this supposed innocent is making her feel. But she must resist him, for Carrie is the keeper of dangerous secrets, and her boss has plans more devious than anyone knows…
The first of the 4-book ISLAND series.


Island Affair (Island Series #2) Releases on March 23rd
Add it on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1ylftLy



Island Lost (Island Series #3) Releases on April 20th
Add it on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1CoWXan 



Island's End (Island Series #4) Releases on May 18th

Add it on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1xRIprN

About Viv Daniels



Viv Daniels writes love stories for the young and young at heart. Like many of her characters, she met her husband in college, and knows all the ins and outs of navigating that kind of relationship -- from how to date when you're both flat broke to how to fit two people in narrow dorm room bed.

Her favorite new adult authors include Tammara Weber and Sarina Bowen.

Viv can usually be found on her Facebook page or Twitter feed, chatting with readers about her favorite New Adult fiction, or sharing pictures of cute boys.

-----
Thanks to Mark My Words and Viv for letting me participate! Are you excited for the Island series? Do you read new adult? If so, what's your favourite genre? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #15: Books I'm Looking Forward To In 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish to highlight a top ten list related to book blogging, and to get to know fellow book bloggers.

Talking about my most anticipated books is like talking about my favourite people or trips I can't wait to take - there are always too many, and I just gush.

So here are my most anticipated reads from most to least "OMG-gotta-have-it" - let the gushing commence...now!


1. I Was Here by Gayle Forman (January 27, 2015; Viking Juvenile):  When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her.

GAYLE FORMAN. Also, the buzz for this is crazy. I'm SO excited to cry again. 

2. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord (March 31, Bloomsbury): It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for a year, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan.

I haven't even written a review of Open Road Summer because it floored me so much (I *will* get that review up this month! I will!), and I hear this one might even be better.

3. The Heir by Kiera Cass (May 15, Harper Teen): Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won Prince Maxon’s heart. Now the time has come for Princess Eadlyn to hold a Selection of her own.

More Selection? Like I even have to explain.

4. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (April 28, Razorbill): Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.

This book is getting crazy buzz, and I was sent a chapter sampler from Penguin Canada. An hour later, I was stunned - it was the same feeling that I had reading The Hunger Games the first time. NEED.


5. All Fall Down by Ally Carter (January 27, 2015, Scholastic): This exciting new series from NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter focuses on Grace, who can best be described as a daredevil, an Army brat, and a rebel. She is also the only granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful ambassador in the world, and Grace has spent every summer of her childhood running across the roofs of Embassy Row.

MORE ALLY CARTER.  That is all.

6. We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach (March 31, Simon & Schuster): Four high school seniors put their hopes, hearts, and humanity on the line as an asteroid hurtles toward Earth in this contemporary novel.

This debut has one of the best covers ever, and it sounds deep and dark and wonderful. 

7. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler (June 2, Simon Pulse): The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.

Little Mermaid retelling. Can't even.

8. Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond (May 1, Switch Press): Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all over—and seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight. As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won’t be that easy.

Love the sounds of this one - when I was a kid, I liked Superman, but I LOVED Lois Lane and thought she was a pretty great role model. Can't wait for teenage Lois in book form to take on bullies.

9. Omega City by Diana Peterfreund (April 28, Balzer + Bray): The first middle grade novel in an exciting new series from acclaimed author Diana Peterfreund, perfect for fans of The Goonies and The City of Ember.

You all know my love for Diana, right? I'm still on the fence about this middle-grade, but I love adventure and I trust Diana's excellent writing and imagination to make this a favourite.

10. The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand (February 10, Harper Teen): The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn't look at her like she might break down at any moment. Now she's just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that's all she'll ever be.

I adored how well Cynthia Hand wrote about loss in her Unearthly series, and I'm really glad that we now get a full book about it - she's definitely a writer who speaks to the heart. 

What books are you most anticipating for the winter and all of 2015? Are any of mine on your list? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, November 28, 2014

What's On My Shelf Lately? The TBR Tag!

Hey guys, I've been a terrible blogger the last few days, but I'm back with a fun little meme that's been going around the bookish circles: The TBR Tag! Thanks to Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner for nominating me!

I'm a bit late to this, but scroll down to find out way too much about me and my To-Be-Reads!

How do you keep track of your TBR pile? Is your TBR mostly print or ebook? 

I mostly use my Goodreads To-Read shelf, and I have shelves for books that are coming out each month. I have a Google calendar that I use as a guide to my reading and posting schedule - but honestly, I'm not so great at sticking to it. It's good because I know what I *should* be reading next...and then I basically throw it out the window and go with what I feel like reading at the moment. I've mostly managed to keep up with requested ARCs, but I don't really know how. 

My TBR is probably 40 per cent print and 60 per cent ebook just because it's so darn easy to get eARCs and inexpensive ebooks these days. I've also been audiobooking a lot more recently. 

How do you determine what to read next? 

Ha. Hahahaha. Like I said, half the time it's just what interests me at the moment. The other half, I'm trying to stick to my schedule so that I can get my ARC reviews up on time. When I started as a blogger, I was much less of a mood reader...now I think I've gotten the nerve to say no to certain things and recognize that if I'm not in the mood, it makes for crappier reviews.

A book that has been on your TBR the longest: 

Cheating at Solitaire by Ally Carter. That's been on my TBR since way before I was a blogger. And I really love Ally Carter, so...

A book you recently added to your TBR pile: 

Heat of the Moment by Lauren Barnholdt - it's about three girls who wrote themselves letters at the start of freshman year about one thing they want to accomplish before they graduate. They're at the end of their senior year and they get the letters back and it just sounds like such an awesome premise for self-discovery. Plus we get the "back-then" vs "right-now" thing that I love. 

The best part is that Heat of the Moment is the first in a three-book, three-month series, each following a different girl, and it comes out this summer. 

I'm super excited about this one, guys - I've heard such good things about Barnholdt's writing and it's a contemp series, which doesn't happen that often anymore.

A book on your TBR you never plan on reading: 

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson. I LOVE Maureen, her writing and her tweets, and I've read everything else by her...but this Jack the Ripper series just doesn't appeal to me at all. I'm really hoping to read more contemporary from her soon.

An unpublished book on your TBR you’re most excited about: 

See above, but really, we could go on forever, couldn't we? But the biggest one right now is I Was Here by Gayle Forman, which is coming out January 27, 2015. I think Gayle's cemented herself as my favourite author. I think about her books constantly.

A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read but you: 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I know, it's shameful. It's on my shelf right now, mocking me because it's thin and people love it, and the movie is supposed to be great...but nope, haven't gotten to it. 

A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you:

Bahahaha...any Sarah Dessen book after I tell them that I didn't really like The Truth About Forever? I have seriously gotten blank stares from people after I tell them I'm not a Dessen fan.

But lately, the book I've gotten recced the most is Throne of Glass. Must get on that.

How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

379 and I'd really like to clean it up a bit more. My goal is to keep it very, very organized so that I don't feel like there's anything there that I don't really really want to read. It's a pipe dream, I know...

Well, that was fun and totally made me think a bit more about what I've been reading! I definitely have to get back to some of those recs. What does your TBR shelf look like these days? I'm tagging Andi @ Andi's ABCs, Sarah @ What Sarah Read, Tiffany @ About to Read, and Melissa @ YA Bookshelf to find out - and if you feel like joining in, link back and I'll check out yours!

Monday, November 17, 2014

"Do You Hear What I Hear?" Mini-Review: Hear Me by Viv Daniels

Hear Me
Author: Viv Daniels (website | twitter)
Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance (18+)
Source/Format: ebook sent by author in exchange for an honest review (Thanks, Viv!)
Publication date: November 14, 2014 
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. 
Buy It: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | B&N Nook | Kobo | Google Books | iTunes

Listen… the bells have stopped ringing.

Once upon a time, Ivy belonged to Archer, body, heart, and soul. They spent long summer days exploring the forest, and long summer nights exploring each other. But that was before dark magic grew in the depths of the wilderness, and the people of Ivy’s town raised an enchanted barrier of bells to protect themselves from the threat, even though it meant cutting off the forest people—and the forest boy Ivy loved—forever.

And there’s a naked man lying in the snow.

Three years later, Ivy keeps her head down, working alone in her tea shop on the edge of town and trying to imagine a new future for herself, away from the forest and the wretched bells, and the memory of her single, perfect love. But in the icy heart of winter, a terrifying magic blooms—one that can reunite Ivy and Archer, or consume their very souls.

Warm up this winter with a sexy, paranormal New Adult romance from Viv Daniels. Contains magic spells, true love, and the hottest scene ever set in a greenhouse. Not meant for readers under 18.


Review:


Last week, I talked about how Viv Daniels aka Diana Peterfreund always manages to surprise me with her novels - there's always some sort of science or brainy/cool idea in them, and this paranormal new adult romance is no different.

Hear Me is the story of 20 year old Ivy Potter, who has been missing her childhood friend and lover Archer, for three years. Archer is of the forest nearby, and three years ago, the townspeople of Ivy's town decided that the forest folk were getting too ensconced in dark magic and erected a barrier of bells - the bells having a sound that deters forest people. Unfortunately, the barrier's effect is also painful to some of the townspeople who have forest blood in them - including Ivy, whose forest mother abandoned her and her townie father. Ivy's father helped create a special tea that helps townies like her alleviate the effects of the bells, and that has become her job - to help people in town get by using the tea. Unfortunately, Ivy is also desperately lonely as her father died a few years ago and she's still in love with Archer. The story begins as a rent is made in the barrier - and who should come out but Archer.

I've been reading a decent amount of romance lately, so the sexytimes in this book didn't surprise me (although they were steamy as heck) - nor did the fact that Viv brilliantly created a paranormal world with its own rules of magic in about two chapters (no vampires, werewolves, etc here!).

What surprised me was how dark and creepy this novella was despite being a romance. Maybe it was because I was reading at night, but whoa, did this book scare me. I'm not usually scared by paranormal stuff, but the way that things grow, twist, turn, and go bump in the night in this book had me freaked out. Add to that a very dark hero and you have something I just...did not expect.

Psychologically, Hear Me goes into some really dark places with Archer and Ivy...places I was occasionally kind of uncomfortable with. I've never been a fan of bad boys, and while Archer isn't one...some of his behaviour borders on scary. It's explained well, and it definitely works with the creepy and dark themes of oppression of magic and race in the book, but as someone who likes her feet firmly planted on the ground, I'm not sure it worked for me.

Still, I can't fault Viv with not following through. The descriptive writing had me scared, the characters were compelling, as were the more subtle themes of preserving nature in a world filled with technology.

If you're interested in reading a dark wintertime paranormal romance for the holidays, this one is for you. Pick it up everywhere ebooks are sold for under $3 (or if you're more into contemporary romances, check out Viv's new adult, One & Only).

Are you interested in reading Hear Me? Are you a paranormal fan? A romance fan? How do you feel about very dark psychological reads? Have you read Viv/Diana's other work? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Mosquitoland by David Arnold

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that book bloggers are eagerly anticipating.

Mosquitoland
Author: David Arnold 
Publisher: Viking Children's Books (Penguin Canada)
Expected publication: March 3rd 2015  

"I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange." 

After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the "wastelands" of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.
So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane. 

Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, "Mosquitoland" is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

This is one where the synopsis (especially that little excerpt!) and title just grabbed me. I mean, it's a debut, and when you call something a "modern American odyssey", it better be friggin great, right? I love road trip novels, and it sounds like this one is going to be a gorgeous, literary read that really makes you think. I'm looking forward to meeting Mim and bring taken on her journey with her. 

Also, I absolutely love the cover - I have a thing for illustrated covers, and this one is so tasteful. 

Are you interested in reading MOSQUITOLAND? Are you into road trip novels? How powerful did you find that excerpt? Isn't that cover slick? What are you waiting for this week? Hit the comments and let me know your thoughts!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"Running the Bases" Review: Whatever Life Throws At You by Julie Cross

Whatever Life Throws at You
Author: Julie Cross (website | twitter)
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: Mature YA/New Adult
Source/Format: eBook purchased on Amazon (only $2.99 right now!)
Publication date: October 7th 2014
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Buy It: Amazon.ca | Chapters/Indigo | Indiebound | iTunes | B&N | Amazon.com

Life loves a good curveball…

Seventeen-year-old Annie Lucas's life is completely upended the moment her dad returns to the major leagues as the new pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals. Now she's living in Missouri (too cold), attending an all-girls school (no boys), and navigating the strange world of professional sports. But Annie has dreams of her own—most of which involve placing first at every track meet…and one starring the Royals' super-hot rookie pitcher.

But nineteen-year-old Jason Brody is completely, utterly, and totally off-limits. Besides, her dad would kill them both several times over. Not to mention Brody has something of a past, and his fan club is filled with C-cupped models, not smart-mouthed high school “brats” who can run the pants off every player on the team. Annie has enough on her plate without taking their friendship to the next level. The last thing she should be doing is falling in love.

But baseball isn't just a game. It's life. And sometimes, it can break your heart…


Review:



Whatever Life Throws At You is a fast romance involving baseball and family. Annie is a seventeen year old runner with a Dad who could have been a baseball legend. Unfortunately her dad needed to have his leg amputated only one game into his major league career. When an old family friend and the Kansas City Royals team manager comes to coax Annie's dad to be his new pitching coach, they jump at the chance. And their chances are riding pretty hard on hotshot nineteen year old pitcher Jason Brody, who could make or break their move and Annie's dad's career.

There was something very addictive about this book - maybe it's the fact that I really like sports related fiction, or maybe it was just the way author Julie Cross balanced all of the people in Annie's life. From her Alzheimer's ridden grandmother, to the Royals PR manager, to Annie's new teammates and friends in Missouri, I felt like the movement between characters and parts of Annie's life were really authentic and believable, and it made the reading experience really smooth.

I also really liked the romance between Annie and Brody. There's a ton of angst and a lot of tears that sort of throw it into that new adult category, but for me, what saves it from being too much are the funny scenes. Annie and Brody's relationship was built on banter, friendship and communication. While they both have a lot of baggage that they unpack throughout the novel, the fun, funny and sexy still keep it light enough to be a fast read. These are characters who aren't afraid to talk about their sexual (and not sexual) quips and quirks, and that made the relationship feel so believable for me.

In fact, that's what this book does best - it explores communication and how it manipulates and changes our relationships. There's a ton of pressure on Annie, her dad, and Jason Brody to have the right image and brand in order to keep their jobs/lives, and there's a lot of discussion of the contrast between being "just a kid" and a "mature adult". This is especially apparent in Annie and Brody, who are only two years apart in age, but sometimes feel light-years apart because of the nature of their lives. I liked the unusual focus on how to bridge that gap, and how much Annie's - and the rest of the world's - perception of Jason Brody differed from the reality of his life. 

That said, as someone who works in PR, I did feel like some of the public image stuff, especially with the owner of the team, seemed like manufactured conflicts to keep the two of them apart and hammer home the difference between high school kids and people in the real world. There was one moment, when Annie and some of the players' kids get caught underage at a club, that became a PR crisis that felt way overblown, and not entirely authentic.

For the most part, though, the family issues and the scenes where Annie is running (she's a track star at her school), or where Brody is pitching are really believable and kept me on the edge of my seat. This is a romance that definitely feels earned.


The Final Word:


Whatever Life Throws At You isn't going to knock your Sox off (see what I did there?), but it was a good fluffy read for anyone who's ever fantasizes about dating an older guy in the spotlight. Very fun, very sexy, and great to get you out of a book hangover!

Are you interested in reading WHATEVER LIFE THROWS AT YOU? Do you like sports-related YA novels? Are you into new adult books or mature YA? What do you think about books that really look at communication between couples? Hit the comments and let me know your thoughts!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Holiday Romance Cover Reveal: Hear Me by Viv Daniels

What's that, you say? Tiff, you don't read paranormal? Tiff, isn't this a YA book blog?

To which I answer: VIV DANIELS.

Have you forgotten about this?


"...One & Only is one of the best books I read in 2013. I've read it three times, cover to cover, and read specific scenes and chapters over and over, since November. And yes, I realize I'm saying that about a romance novel, which I never read until...this book. "
(I've read it two more times since 2013).

So yeah, new Viv Daniels/Diana Peterfreund romance? I am SO in, even though it's out of my comfort zone (Viv/Diana has a habit of putting me there).

Check out the cover and synopsis, then put it on your TBR for Nov 17th!

Hear Me
Expected publication date: November 17, 2014


Listen… the bells have stopped ringing.

Once upon a time, Ivy belonged to Archer, body, heart, and soul. They spent long summer days exploring the forest, and long summer nights exploring each other. But that was before dark magic grew in the depths of the wilderness, and the people of Ivy’s town raised an enchanted barrier of bells to protect themselves from the threat, even though it meant cutting off the forest people—and the forest boy Ivy loved—forever.

And there’s a naked man lying in the snow.

Three years later, Ivy keeps her head down, working alone in her tea shop on the edge of town and trying to imagine a new future for herself, away from the forest and the wretched bells, and the memory of her single, perfect love. But in the icy heart of winter, a terrifying magic blooms—one that can reunite Ivy and Archer, or consume their very souls.

Warm up this winter with a sexy, paranormal New Adult romance from Viv Daniels. Contains magic spells, true love, and the hottest scene ever set in a greenhouse. Not meant for readers under 18.

I NEED that greenhouse scene. =)

Are you interested in reading Viv Daniels' next romance? Do you read romance, paranormal or otherwise? Are you into holiday romances and happily ever afters? Let me know in the comments!