Reviews, Special Review, ya contemporary, ya romance

ARC Book Review: The Bad Boy Bargain by Kendra C. Highley

30415027

Goodreads Summary:

Baseball player Kyle Sawyer has many labels: bad boy, delinquent, ladies’ man, fearless outfielder… Only one of them is actually true. But then sweet ballet dancer Faith Gladwell asks him to help wreck her reputation, and everything goes sideways.

Faith knows a thing or two about love, and what she had with her cheating jerk of an ex wasn’t it. When he starts spreading rumors about her being an Ice Queen, Faith decides it’s time to let a little bad into her life.

Lucky for her, Kyle Sawyer—dark, dangerous, totally swoonworthy Kyle Sawyer—is landscaping her backyard over Spring Break. Shirtless. And if she can convince him to play along, “dating” Kyle will silence the rumors.

But Faith’s plan threatens to expose Sawyer’s biggest secret of all…and that’s a risk he’s not willing to take.

Review:

The Bad Boy Bargain exceeded my expectations. I was expecting for Kyle to be an actual bad boy, not a “fake” bad boy. To think he was the complete opposite of the persona he put off just so he could cruise through high school without having to be bullied or sought after for the wrong reasons is heart-breaking  and made him more adorable. Faith is a whole other story. She is Ms. goody two shoes who seems to be dating doochebags all the time. Especially this last one, Cameron, is a real piece of work. And the thing is that Cameron and Kyle have some unfinished business so when Cameron cheats on Faith and Faith breaks up with him, she decides to get revenge by going out with the notorious bad boy Kyle.

The Bay Boy Bargain is a story that deals with the pains of teenage life. It shows how one small action can change your school life. To us who are older it may seem silly that it’s so life or death per say in the teenager world, but we all know that in that point of our lives it feels like life or death.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Vero Signature copy

Dsiclaimer:

I’d like to thank Entangled Publishing for providing me with an ARC. Receiving this ARC for free does not influence my opinion in any way.

Reviews

ARC Review: Invincible Summer by Alice Adams

Invincible Summer

GoodReads Summary:

Four friends. Twenty years. One unexpected journey.

Eva, Benedict, Sylvie and Lucien graduate in 1998, into a world on the brink of the new millennium. Hopelessly in love with playboy Lucien and keen to shrug off the socialist politics of her childhood, Eva breaks away to work at a big bank. Benedict, a budding scientist who’s pined for Eva for years, stays on to do a physics PhD, and siblings Sylvie and Lucien pursue more freewheeling existences–she as an aspiring artist and he as a club promoter and professional partier. But as their dizzying twenties become their thirties, the once close-knit friends, now scattered and struggling to navigate thwarted dreams, lost jobs and broken hearts, find themselves drawn together once again in stunning and unexpected ways. Breathtaking in scope, this is sure to be the book of the summer.

My Review:

Invincible Summer takes place over a 20 year period. Each chapter is a glimpse into Eva, Benedict, Lucien, and Sylvie’s every day lives. When I first read the synopsis for Invincible  Summer it sounded in curious. I have been friends wit people I went to college with, going on 11 years now (whoa!) so a story about their lives felt like the right thing to read. It can be difficult to keep in touch with people, life drives you in different directions. Their growth over the novel mostly felt like small hills, but by the end it is clear that they have grown up, that the events that take place in their lives affected their life trajectory.

I had a difficult time  connecting with the characters. I’m not sure if it was because of the location- London- or the language usage- not American slag- or the fact that this really took place during a time period when I was really only a child. As a twentysomething myself, I understand lost dreams, heartbreak (maybe not so much haha), change, world image, and ultimately happiness. These things change over the course of one’s life and can change one’s life as well. So while I did have a difficult time connecting with the character’s, the themes behind them I could understand. These things change over the course of one’s life and can change one’s life as well.

I will say that these character’s felt very selfish, self-centered, and it was difficult to watch them make choices… maybe that is the point. Not every decision is the right decision. Taking the easy way out can result in unintended consequences. Sometimes you have to fight for what you believe in, to fight for what you want. And what you want you can’t always have or aren’t meant to have.

It’s funny, when I started writing this (and it took several days to gather my thoughts) I had intended to give this novel a 2 out 5 stars. But while writing this review, I finally understood the purpose to the book. So while I may not have connected to the characters directly, their stories are engaging, the themes are responsive, the final product is meant to understand- not move mountains.

Rating: 4 out 5

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for the opportunity to read and review this ARC. Receiving this ARC for free does not sway my review.

Blog Signature

 

Interviews

Author Interview: Bev Stout

I recently read and reviewed Secrets of the Realm by Bev Stout. (You can check out my review here.) It was a great Young Adult Historical read, and here is my interview with the author where she talks about her book and characters (without any spoilers of course!) 🙂
Bev Stout
Bev Stout

What inspired you to write Secrets of the Realm?

Secrets of the Realm was a project I started for my family. It is a gift to them, something I hope they will pass on to each new generation.

Secrets of the Realm is set in 18th Century England. Have you ever had the opportunity to visit England (UK)?

No, but I did a lot of research to keep the story true to the era and location.

What type of research did you have to do in order to write Secrets of the Realm and its sequel, Return of the Realm?

After writing the rough draft of Secrets of the Realm, I then filled in the blanks. I researched all aspects of sailing and eighteenth century England that would be relevant to the story. To get the feel of actually being on a sailing ship, I explored the decks of a nineteenth century sailing ship moored in San Diego. The seasickness episode was gleaned from personal experiences of myself and a family member who will remain anonymous. It was not as dramatic as the scene in Secrets of the Realm.

Are there any plans for a book 3 in the Secrets of the Realm series?

There might very well be a third installment. It’s too early to say for sure.

When can we expect Return of the Realm to be published?

I’m shooting for the spring of 2014.

How did you choose Annie’s male name, Andres de la Cruz?

Andres de la Cruz was my great great grandfather. My husband thought I should not have an 18th century English girl’s mother be of Spanish descent. After I researched the fishing village I had chosen for Annie’s birthplace, I discovered its relationship with the Spanish Armada. I then knew my decision on Annie’s heritage, and using my great great grandfather’s name, would work.

Doc is such a sweet man once you get to know him, is he loosely based on someone you know in real life?

Doc is every tortured soul I have met, and will meet in my lifetime. He is that person who is unapproachable. But if you let yourself get to know him, you will be glad you did.

What made you decide that Chris would be lame?

Being lame, made Christopher the perfect character to be Annie’s best friend. They both managed to overcome the cruel hands that fate had dealt them.

As a fan of Captain Hawke, can we know why he seems to hire the “rejects” or those traditionally not hired to be sailors?

Not all of Captain Hawke’s crew members are rejects. Those who are, though, were hired because the captain sees potential in everyone. Captain Hawke knows first hand what it is like to be judged by society.

Which character in Secrets of the Realm would you most likely be friends with in real life?

That is a hard question. I love so many of my characters, even Symington! And as much as I admire Annie, she would be difficult to have as a friend. I’m a rule follower. She isn’t. Then, there’s Christopher. Let’s face it. How can you not love that boy? He has a big heart, and he finds joy in just being alive. It would be fun to be friends with Barrette, too. If I were able to keep myself from being distracted by his muscles, he would make me laugh a lot. Being friends with Captain Hawke would be an exciting experience. He has led such a colorful life for a man as young as he is. Oh, I have to pick just one. Okay, it would have to be Christopher.

In 140 characters, how would you summarize Secrets of the Realm?

Teenage girl faces adversity with unwavering spirit. In her quest to find her place in the world, she touches the lives of those she meets along the way. Don’t know if that is 140 characters or not, but it will have to do.

Can you give us any information without spoiling us on the Return of the Realm?

You can expect new adventures for Annie, but different than the ones she had encountered in the first book. New characters will be introduced in Return of the Realm. But as the title suggests, former characters will return, as well.

9781484832288_p0_v4_s260x420
You can buy Secrets of the Realm at:
Amazon: Kindle or Paperback or Audiobook
Special Review, YA Paranormal

ARC/Special Review: Severed Stone (Souls of the Stone #0.5) by Kelly Walker

Severed-Stone-cover-187x300

I want to thank Net Galley and Kelly Walker for giving me an ARC of the Severed Stone. I greatly appreciate your generosity. I was given this ARC in mind that I would give a honest review of the book. 

Goodreads Summary:

Their story should have been a fairytale, but someone is playing a dangerous game that can only end in heartbreak.

When Ciorstan awakes alone in a field, far from home and more than a little confused, it won’t be the strangest thing to happen that day. Ignoring both her intuition and a mysterious but handsome stranger’s warning, she allows a dashing prince to take her home to his palace. Agreeing to marry the prince was her second mistake. Her next one will rip an entire kingdom apart. Sometimes, true love can be a tragedy with devastating consequences.

SEVERED STONE is a prequel novella, 155 pages in length and can be read at any point during the Souls of the Stones series. (But because it is designed to answer questions posed in Cornerstone and Second Stone, it may be more gratifying after reading those titles first.)

Review:

I want to start of by saying that I have not read Cornerstone or Second Stone. I decided it would be safe to read this novella since it is a prequel, and can be read at any point while reading the series. I do feel as if I was missing something as I was reading it though. I believe I was expecting more on the lines of The Infernal Devices since that is also a prequel, but I do have to keep in mind that TID is a trilogy. 

The writing in the Severed Stone was good, but I wasn’t blown away. I felt like everything happened really quickly. The first third of the book I was enjoying, but then once Fidwen got involved, it was all just chaos. It was one thing after another and I was left with so many things in my head at once. I like where the story went but, I just feel like it could have been executed a little bit better. I am being very nit-picky at the moment just FYI. The chaos I felt within the novella could have been solved by adding a few more pages about the brothers and the queen and less about her in the gowns and the rainbow of girls that were to help Ciorstan out with her transition into the royal life.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t a great one either. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. Some parts were cute and Cirostan’s creepy mother added to the haunting feel of the novella, which I loved. I think this book would have worked better as a novel than a novella.

Rating: 3.5/5

Reviews, ya contemporary

Book Review: Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

Stealing Parker (Hundred Oaks #2) by Miranda Kenneally
Stealing Parker (Hundred Oaks #2) by Miranda Kenneally

(Author Edit 12/22/2014: I just wanted to add that I know I wrote a negative review about Stealing Parker and I vowed not to ever read any more of Keneally’s books, but I will say that I gave her a second chance and I absolutely love them! Please read her books! I will say that this one is still not my favorite for obvious reasons, but please don’t let my review sway you from reading any of her other books!)

Goodreads Summary:

Parker Shelton pretty much has the perfect life. She’s on her way to becoming valedictorian at Hundred Oaks High, she’s made the all-star softball team, and she has plenty of friends. Then her mother’s scandal rocks their small town and suddenly no one will talk to her.

Now Parker wants a new life.

So she quits softball. Drops twenty pounds. And she figures why kiss one guy when she can kiss three? Or four. Why limit herself to high school boys when the majorly cute new baseball coach seems especially flirty?

But how far is too far before she loses herself completely?

What I Like:

Miranda Kenneally did it again. I did not see that end coming at all. I guessed something would happen but not how it ended up happening. Yes, I am being very vague because I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone. I love that Kenneally writes stories that can seem cliche and adds her own twists that make it new and refreshing. The theme of sports within her books is something I like a lot. I think that hasn’t been done in YA, or at least not recently. I adored that Will and Parker were characters that were relatable. They both have crappy family issues going on. Both are not experts at dealing with difficult life circumstances but together along with some good friends, they figure it out. Somewhat, but that’s how life is. The ending isn’t perfect but it is believable. I love the open-endedness at the end of the book.

What I Dislike:

Here comes the bad stuff. I am sad to report that I will stop reading books written by Miranda Kenneally. Why? Because I don’t like an author trashing my believes. I dislike that she is making Christians look really bad. Yes, there are hypocrites within the church. Yes, there are some people in the church that are judgmental. What irritated me was the fact that the character, Parker, made the assumption that all Christians were the same. You may say, “but Veronica, Parker goes to another church and they don’t treat her like crap?” Well, Parker’s reasoning in the book is that they don’t judge her because they don’t know what happened. If they knew, she would become a social pariah again. It seems to be that the Christian characters being portrayed in the book are what I would call “Cultural Christians,” and not the real deal. The Christian characters in the book also disregard the bible and it is all about your personal relationship with God. Actually, it is supposed to be about both.

Another thing I disliked was Parker’s dad and his inability to stand up for himself. He seemed to read the bible so much in the book. I guess he forgot to read the book of Joshua where God calls us to be brave and not to worry because he will always be with us. It seemed to be that Parker’s dad was not being brave at all but was hiding behind the church as an excuse not do to anything in regards to all of the family issues. Okay, my rant is over.

Overall:

Overall, the story line was good, but I hated the incorrect portrayal of Christians. My reviews are a combination of the writing and my personal opinion on them. That’s how I calculate the rating.

Rating: 3/5

(The only reason it got a 3 was because the story line was great. If I only took into account what I disliked, It would be a 2.)

Rating System:

1/5: I hated it.

2/5: It had some redeeming qualities but overall, not a good book.

3/5: I liked it (A fun read).

4/5: I really like it, but something was missing.

5/5: I love it! It’s as close to perfection as it can get!

 

Reviews, ya contemporary

Short Book Review: Catching Jordan (Hundred Oaks #1) by Miranda Keneally

Score_CVR.indd

Goodreads Summary:

“Whoever said football and girls don’t mix hasn’t read Catching Jordan. I couldn’t put it down ” — Simone Elkeles, New York Times bestselling author of the Perfect Chemistry series

ONE OF THE BOYS

What girl doesn’t want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn’t just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that’s just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university.

But everything she’s ever worked for is threatened when Ty Green moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he’s also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan’s feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart’s on the line?

Review:

I was a bit skeptical about this book because I thought to myself I can not in any way relate to Jordan, I’m not a football player but after reading the first chapter at Barnes & Nobles, I went against my previous stance and bought the book. This book was perfect. Some people say it was cliche but I have a different opinion. To me it was the opposite of cliche. The love triangle was very different in the sense of I didn’t expect it to turn out like it did. I loved this book and the fact that Jordan stood up for herself and when she saw that something was wrong for her, she changed her behavior and did what was best for her. In YA we see a lot of female characters be at the mercy of the guy and I loved that Jordan was not that girl.

Rating: 5/5

Rating System:

1/5: I hated it.

2/5: It had some redeeming qualities but overall, not a good book.

3/5: I liked it (A fun read).

4/5: I really like it, but something was missing.

5/5: I love it! It’s as close to perfection as it can get!

Historical Fiction, Reviews

Book Review: Imperium by Robert Harris

243607

In his “most accomplished work to date” (Los Angeles Times), master of historical fiction Robert Harris lures readers back in time to the compelling life of Roman Senator Marcus Cicero. The re-creation of a vanished biography written by his household slave and right-hand man, Tiro, Imperium follows Cicero’s extraordinary struggle to attain supreme power in Rome.

Goodreads Summary:

On a cold November morning, Tiro opens the door to find a terrified, bedraggled stranger begging for help. Once a Sicilian aristocrat, the man was robbed by the corrupt Roman governor, Verres, who is now trying to convict him under false pretenses and sentence him to a violent death. The man claims that only the great senator Marcus Cicero, one of Rome’s most ambitious lawyers and spellbinding orators, can bring him justice in a crooked society manipulated by the villainous governor. But for Cicero, it is a chance to prove himself worthy of absolute power. What follows is one of the most gripping courtroom dramas in history, and the beginning of a quest for political glory by a man who fought his way to the top using only his voice — defeating the most daunting figures in Roman history.

What I liked:

This book was a masterpiece. Robert Harris made history fascinating. I, a person whose worst subject in school was history, has fallen in love with historical fiction. This book made me cheer for Cicero from his meager beginnings to the moment he became a consul, a freaking consul. Cicero reached Imperium. The characters were really well built and executed throughout the book. It was a bit like reading a memoir. I think this book would be amazing as a movie. The world needs to see this on screen.

What I “disliked”:

This book is so brilliant that I cannot say one bad thing about it. I may be biased because it gives rhetoric and communication high importance, and I am about to obtain a BA in Communication Studies at the end of May. I guess the only thing I “disliked” was the difficulty I had with the names. Apart from Cicero and Tiro, the names are pretty abnormal for this time and age.

Rating: 5/5

Rating System:

1/5: I hated it

2/5: It had some redeeming qualities but overall, not a good book

3/5: I liked it (A fun read)

4/5: I really like it, but something was missing

5/5: I love it! It’s as close to perfection as it can get!