Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten 2014 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn’t Get To

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s topic is: Top Ten 2014 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn’t Get To

1. Cruel Beauty.

I bought it during one of the BookOutlet.com sales and it’s sitting on my shelf. I’ll get to it soon.

2. Snow Like Ashes

I still don’t own this. SOON.

3. The Murder Complex

I have it on my kindle.

4. Sea of Shadows

Another Book Outlet purchase.

5. The Winner’s Curse 

haha. Book Outlet purchase! I think I have a problem with that site.

6. Rebel Belle

Christmas present! So my fiance is allowed to yell at me if I don’t read it soon.

7. Kiss of Deception

Don’t own this yet BUT I just saw it where? Oh on Book Outlet. HAHAHA

8. Princess of Thorns 

I’m determined to read this now.

9. Talon

I almost bought this so many times since it came out. I just…haven’t. Eventually.

10. City of Heavenly Fire

I have loved all the other books in this series but for some reason, I’m in no rush to read this. I think the combination of the terrible movie adaptation, the 2 year gap between this book and the last one, and being bombarded by all things Shadowhunters, I just kind of lost interest. It just saw it on Book Outlet (omg that SITE IS BREAKING ME) so I’ll get to it soon.

 

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Review: Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler

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19520993Behind the Scenes

Official Stuff –

Author – Dahlia Adler

Pages – 328

Publisher – Spencer Hill Press

Series – Daylight Falls

Summary –

High school senior Ally Duncan’s best friend may be the Vanessa Park – star of TV’s hottest new teen drama – but Ally’s not interested in following in her BFF’s Hollywood footsteps. In fact, the only thing Ally’s ever really wanted is to go to Columbia and study abroad in Paris. But when her father’s mounting medical bills threaten to stop her dream in its tracks, Ally nabs a position as Van’s on-set assistant to get the cash she needs.

Spending the extra time with Van turns out to be fun, and getting to know her sexy co-star Liam is an added bonus. But when the actors’ publicist arranges for Van and Liam to “date” for the tabloids just after he and Ally share their first kiss, Ally will have to decide exactly what role she’s capable of playing in their world of make believe. If she can’t play by Hollywood’s rules, she may lose her best friend, her dream future, and her first shot at love.

My Rating – 3 3/4 of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from the ARCycling Blog.

Ally and Van have been best friends since forever. They have always supported each other no matter what. Ally has been there for Van as she was rejected for being “too ethnic” at auditions (Van is Asian) and Van was there for Ally when Ally’s dad was diagnosed with cancer. The best part of their friendship is, Ally hates the Hollywood life and is the farthest thing from jealous and Van is never jealous of Ally’s normal high school life.

Van gets a lead part on what promises to be TV’s new hit teen drama, Daylight Falls (think Gossip Girl/One Tree Hill type show). She’s already semi-famous and now she’s going to be even more famous, and Ally couldn’t be happier for her. The thing is, Ally’s happiness is crushed when she overhears her parents talking about how they will have to use her college fund to pay for her dad’s medical bills. Her dream of Columbia and Paris are in danger.

Van gets the bright idea of hiring Ally as her personal assistant/tutor, which pays a ridiculous amount (would a studio allow a high school student to be a personal assistant?! That seems slightly unbelievable) and would allow Ally to pay for most of her tuition by the time school starts.

On set, she meets the gorgeous Liam Holloway, famous pretty boy. She thinks he’s going to be a typical Hollywood d-bag but he’s everything but. He’s sweet, smart, and hates the Hwood life like Ally does. They fall for each other quickly (not too quick, no instalove here!) and hook up.

BUT, the day after the hook up, Van’s evil agent Jade (you don’t meet her but she sounds evil from everything you hear) decides that Liam and Van should “date” to generate buzz for the show to better the chances of it getting picked up. Ally agrees because she would never do anything to hurt her friend’s career.

I’m sure you can imagine how well that goes. They can’t go out in public together, rumors cause paps to camp out on her front yard, and dates get postponed or cut short. Ally is forced to watch her boyfriend and her best friend kiss for the cameras. It really does a number on her, especially since she’s just barely keeping things together because of her dad.

I read this book pretty fast, it really did suck me in. It was just like watching one of the CW shows, which come on, everyone loves to watch (even if you don’t want to admit it). The characters were imperfect and selfish, yet loveable at times. I liked all of them, for the most part.

I felt for Ally, I really did. Her dad could be dying, her college dreams could be fading away, and she’s kind of watching her boyfriend cheat on her. But her completely jaded attitude kind of annoys me. She’s constantly comparing herself to Hollywood starlets, she thinks she’s ugly (though Liam constantly tells her how beautiful she is) but she’s been there since day one of Van’s career. She should know that everything is photoshop and makeup and plastic surgery.

She’s also terrible with communication which is one of my biggest book pet peeves; miscommunication. If only she told people how she felt, 90% of the problems in this book could have been easily resolved.

Liam is kind of awesome and a definite contender for a book boyfriend. He’s kind of quiet and a tad sensitive, kind of the exact opposite of what you would think a hot, famous dude would be. He’s had kind of a rough life and I feel like Ally is a little too hard on him at times. He tries, of course he makes mistakes too, he’s only human.

Another thing I liked about this book was it touches on the fact that Hollywood is really, really whitewashed and gives crappy, stereotypical roles to POCs. It’s actually kind of a big deal in the book that Van is Asian but was chosen for a part that was originally written for a white blonde.

I liked the cheese and the fast-paced writing but the miscommunication and Ally’s constant need to be reassured that she’s beautiful annoys me a bit. Oh and she makes a decision about college that I feel is for partly the wrong reason but whatever.

I want to stick with this series, I enjoyed it enough and the second book will have some LBGTQ characters, which doesn’t happen enough.

I recommend if you are looking for a quick cheese fest book.

Behind the Scenes (Daylight Falls, #1)

Review: The Grown Ups by Robin Antalek

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21936828The Grown Ups: A Novel

Official Stuff –

Author – Robin Antalek

Pages – 304

Publisher – William Morrow Paperbacks

Expected Release Date – January 27th, 2015

Summary –

The summer he’s fifteen, Sam enjoys, for a few secret months, the unexpected attention of Suzie Epstein. For reasons Sam doesn’t entirely understand, he and Suzie keep their budding relationship hidden from their close knit group of friends. But as the summer ends, Sam’s world unexpectedly shatters twice: Suzie’s parents are moving to a new city to save their marriage, and his own mother has suddenly left the house, leaving Sam’s father alone to raise two sons.

Watching as her parents’ marital troubles escalate, Suzie takes on the responsibility of raising her two younger brothers and plans an early escape to college and independence. Though she thinks of Sam, she deeply misses her closest friend Bella, but makes no attempt to reconnect, embarrassed by the destructive wake of her parents as they left the only place Suzie called home. Years later, a chance meeting with Sam’s older brother will reunite her with both Sam and Bella – and force her to confront her past and her friends.

After losing Suzie, Bella finds her first real love in Sam. But Sam’s inability to commit to her or even his own future eventually drives them apart. In contrast, Bella’s old friend Suzie—and Sam’s older brother, Michael—seem to have worked it all out, leaving Bella to wonder where she went wrong.

Spanning over a decade, told in alternating voices, The Grown Ups explores the indelible bonds between friends and family and the challenges that threaten to divide them.

My Rating – 3 1/2 of 5 stars

I received this book from LibraryThing on behalf of William Morrow Paperbacks in exchange for an honest review.

The Grown Ups follows three friends and their lives for over a decade. It’s a coming of age story, how they manage their relationships with family, friends, and each other.

Sam and Suzie had a history the summer her parents decide to break up. She uses him but when she leaves, he still thinks about her and she feels nothing but guilt. When her parents move to try and start over, Suzie leaves behind a trail of pictures (literally, she throws them out the car window as her dad drives off) her father had taken of all the neighborhood mothers. Sam’s mom included. Suzie decides to not stay in contact with the friends she grew up with, embarrassed by how she left and her parent’s constant and very public fights that the entire neighborhood witnessed.

When Suzie’s family starts their new life, it goes back to how it used to be, surprisingly fast. Her dad is never around, her mom is drinking, and Suzie takes on the responsibility of taking care of her brothers. She wants nothing more than to escape and start her own life. She graduates early from high school and eventually meets Michael, Sam’s older brother. When their relationship starts she’s suddenly thrown back into the lives of her old friends.

Bella, whose mom is slowly dying from some mysterious disease, misses her best friend and takes comfort in Sam. Their relationship is off and on and lasts until college, when her mother passes away. Then Sam’s fear of commitment takes hold and he disappears. She eventually moves on with Ted, an extremely pretentious and obnoxious writer who treats Bella like crap and prides himself on being able to live in a cabin with not running water or electricity (omg I hated Ted).

When Suzie and her family leaves, Sam’s mother also decides to leave, abandoning her sons and her husband. He drifts through life, caring for Bella but never really getting over Suzie. He fails out of college, abandons Bella in her time of need and floats from one job to another, frequently landing back at home with his dad. He tries to make peace with his mother but he can’t quite let go if his anger.

I have to admit, I was so depressed after reading this book. It was too, idk, real (if that makes sense. It probably doesn’t). Good things and bad things happen to these three friends but the bad were the kind of things that leave a lasting imprint in you. Parents getting sick, dying, having accidents. Relationships falling apart, struggles to make things work, trying to have a baby and failing time and time again.

There are the good things too, like getting married, discovering what you have a passion for, and coming to terms with your past.

The time jumps and the frequent POV changes were a little extreme. Also, (and I have no idea why I feel this way but…) the beginning of the book was set in the 90’s but it has a 1960’s feel to it which takes me out of the timeline. I am roughly the same age as the characters in the book and it just didn’t feel right, the describing of some things.

There were some things left unanswered and even though I sympathized with a lot of what she went through Suzie annoyed the crap out of me.

It was a pretty decent coming of age book, I suggest if you love those types of stories.

The Grown Ups: A Novel

Review: Haze by Paula Weston

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20300221Haze

Official Stuff –

Author – Paula Weston

Pages – 419

Publisher – Text Publishing

Series – The Rephaim Series

Summary –

“But what if we can’t find Jude?”
He leans closer. His breath is warm on my ear. “We will.”
“How can you be so sure?” I want to believe him so badly, but this is Rafa. The guy who’s all action and no plan. His smile is tired, knowing. An echo of a shared past I don’t remember.
“Because I’m not smart enough to give up, and you don’t know how to.”

Gaby Winters’ nightmares have stopped but she still can’t remember her old life. Still can’t quite believe she is one of the Rephaim—the wingless half-angels who can shift from place to place, country to country, in the blink of an eye. That she was once the Rephaim’s best fighter. That demons exist. That Rafa has stayed.

But most of all, she can’t quite believe that her twin brother, Jude, might be alive.

And Gaby can’t explain the hesitancy that sidetracks the search for him, infuriates Rafa, and sends them, again, into the darkest danger.

My Rating – 3 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from LibraryThing on behalf of Text Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

This book is the second in the Rephaim series and this review will contain spoilers about the previous book.

Well, I don’t know exactly what to say about this book. I wasn’t that into it. Book apathy strikes again. I guess it is just normal second book curse, it’s full of weird filler and the actual plot doesn’t happen until the last 25%.

Haze starts about a week after Shadows ends. Rafa believes Jude is still alive and he wants to take a trip to Melbourne to try and find him. Gaby is desperate to find her brother but she holds off the trip like a bajillion times because she’s also scared. What if they find Jude and he doesn’t remember her or what if he hates her?

So there is lots of random stuff that happens to during this book before it actually gets to the point. Some bar brawls, meeting of the Outcasts that Jude and Rafa used to be part of, a random job the Outcasts do that has nothing to do with anything, a strange group of women that can trap Rephaim, demons.

And of course a lot of sexual tension between Rafa and Gabe.

The fighting was pretty awesome but felt unnecessary at points. Some new characters were introduced, including Mya, Rafa’s…ex? She’s pretty pissed that Gaby (actually she hates her) because she thinks everything that happened with Gaby and Jude disappearing is all Gaby’s fault. She’s a bit obnoxious and so, so eager to just be nasty and kick ass.

There is a ton of animosity between the Outcasts and the Rephaim and it shows, but there is still way too much that is unknown in their history and I would love some more answers. Especially the history between Rafa and Gaby. I need more!

It wasn’t a terrible book, I still enjoy the series, this book just is a standard middle series filler book.

Haze (The Rephaim, #2)

Life of a Blogger: Scars

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This is a meme that I just discovered from Novel Heartbeat.

From Novel Heartbeat- It’s a weekly feature. Each week I will choose a subject and talk about that subject in my life. The topics will be non-bookish so that you can get to know me on a more personal level! I definitely encourage you guys to participate, too. I want this to be meme style with a linky for you to add your posts to. I want to know more about you guys as well!

This week’s topic is scars.

My Scars –

Oh wow, I have TONS. I am covered head to toe in scars. I can’t even remember what half of them are from. Most are from childhood from bike accidents or just being a rambunctious kid. Here are the ones I definitely remember –

1. C-section scar. Self-explanatory? I’ve had three I them. NO MORE.

2. I have a chicken pox scar on my nose.

3. My eyelid/temple – I have a scar on my eyelid and my temple. A friend’s dog attacked me in high school. He ripped open my eyelid and I had to have it glued back together. Fun, right? Best part of this story? He was a wiener dog. A vicious, psychotic wiener dog that attacked me because I moved too fast the the floor. I love animals but god I hated that dog!

4. Also when I was a kid, my I was walking my aunt’s huskie and not paying attention and the dog went after another dog and he dragged me along a gravel driveway and I have scars on my back, STILL. I don’t know WHY anyone let me walk that dog considering he probably weighed more than me at that point but whatever.

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