21 May 2017

Review: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published May 5th, 2015 by HarperCollins Publishers
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she'd been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend— two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it's not the real Bradley she's thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn't even know. But tracking him down doesn't mean they're done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend's graduation party — three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship. 

My thoughts…

This the second book by Kasie West that I read, I can honestly say that I probably will not read another book by her for a while. It’s nothing against the author or her writing, I just have a difficult time relating to her characters and their issues.

I didn’t care for Gia at the beginning of the book, she was self-centered and was too concerned about what others thought of her. She was also insecure and unsure of herself, she hides it by not letting anyone get close to her.

Hayden was beside me and reached out his hand. I took a step away. This hurt worse than any breakup I’d ever experienced before and we were never even together. We hadn’t even kissed. This is what it felt like to let someone in, I realized, and to really get to know them, to really let them know you. This is how it felt to genuinely like someone and to have him turn his back on you. I never wanted anyone to have this much power over my emotions again. It was safer to keep to myself, to keep things on the surface. Things ended better that way.

I did like Hayden the fill-in, he was just perfect. He is a nice guy with a fun personality and I also like his relationship with his sister and mom.

I didn’t understand why Jules was so head strong to turn Gia’s friends against her, that was a very important part of the plot that was never resolved. Gia was aware she was weaving herself into this horrible web of lies, but she never took initiative to tell the truth before her friends discovered her lies.

Overall, I did like it and like Gia towards the end, but I think a younger audience would enjoy it more.

Happy reading -J
20 May 2017

Stacking the Shelves #9

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality. It’s all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves; may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks

Last week I had to give my daughter a ride to work since her car was in the shop, every day that I drove her to work I noticed an arc thrift store in one of the shopping centers. I see plenty of videos and blog posts of book hauls that come from the thrift stores, along with the discounted prices. Finally, on Saturday evening I decided to stop in and shop the book section. I couldn’t believe the huge selection of books they had, and imagine my surprise when I went to pay… most of books I purchased where half off the already discounted price, except two.  Apparently, every Saturday is half off, I know where I’ll be later today!

These are the books I added to my shelves this week from the thrift store:

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – Another one of my favorite classic novels that I already own, but I can never have too many editions of my favorites, right? 

Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine's father. After Mr Earnshaw's death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine's brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries.

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks – Darn you Mr. Sparks, every time I read his books I cry like a baby, but he remains one my favorite authors.

Sometimes, we make choices we didn't choose to make. Travis Parker, for example, wasn't looking for a relationship; from his perspective, his life was pretty close to perfect. And new neighbor Gabby Holland wasn't exactly dating material. This attractive redhead had a longtime steady boyfriend and treated Travis like an unwanted guest. But the unexpected can reshape our lives, shredding every well-laid plan into wedding confetti... Another masterfully nuanced relationship novel from Nicholas Sparks.

The Women in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware – This was on my Amazon wish list, I’m always on the lookout for a mystery/thriller and I was pleasantly surprised to find it at the thrift shop.

In this tightly wound story, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank – I have wanted to read this book for years.

Anne Frank's the Diary of a Young Girl is among the most enduring documents of the twentieth century. Since its publication in 1947, it has been a beloved and deeply admired monument to the indestructible nature of the human spirit, read by millions of people and translated into more than fifty-five languages.

Innocence by Dean Koontz – So far, I’ve enjoyed most books by Dean Koontz, hopefully this one will not disappoint.

He lives in solitude beneath the city, an exile from society, which will destroy him if he is ever seen. She dwells in seclusion, a fugitive from enemies who will do her harm if she is ever found. But the bond between them runs deeper than the tragedies that have scarred their lives. Something more than chance—and nothing less than destiny—has brought them together in a world whose hour of reckoning is fast approaching.

Also from the thrift store:

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson – I have the first three books of the Millennium series on Kindle and enjoyed them immensely. I wanted to have them also in hardcover to go along with The Girl in the Spider’s Web (Millennium #4) which I have in hardcover. Now I just need to purchase book #1 and #2.

Lisbeth Salander - the heart of Larsson's two previous novels - lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She's fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she'll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. And, on her own, she will plot revenge - against the man who tried to kill her, and the corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life.

I have never read anything by Sarah Dessen and I know she is a favorite among many. I found two books by her and I couldn’t pass up them up.

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen - It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.

A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen - Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she's been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return.

That's how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn't seen in ten years, and Cora's husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future; it's a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give?

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – Another book that I have wanted to read for years, since my daughter read it when she was in high school.

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

The Beer Taster’s Log by James D. Robertson – I don’t drink beer, since my husband does I picked this up for him. Come to find out my husband has an app on his phone for this kind of thing, this book will be donated back to the thrift store.

A guide to international beers includes ratings, descriptions of flavor, color, and body; details about alcohol content; names, locations, and histories of breweries; and explanations of beer styles.

And the audiobook I borrowed from the library:

Wicked (A Wicked Saga #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout -  I am absolutely enjoying this audiobook, so much that I’m considering purchasing the physical books to add to my shelves. I just love the interaction between Tink and Ivy. The only thing I’m not enjoying is that Ren’s passages are being read by a female, trying to sound like a male.

Twenty-two year old Ivy Morgan isn’t your average college student. She, and others like her, know humans aren’t the only thing trolling the French Quarter for fun… and for food. Her duty to the Order is her life. After all, four years ago, she lost everything at the hands of the creatures she’d sworn to hunt, tearing her world and her heart apart.

Ren Owens is the last person Ivy expected to enter her rigidly controlled life. He’s six feet and three inches of temptation and swoon-inducing charm. With forest-green eyes and a smile that’s surely left a stream of broken hearts in its wake, he has an uncanny, almost unnatural ability to make her yearn for everything he has to offer. But letting him in is as dangerous as hunting the cold-blooded killers stalking the streets.

Last Saturday my husband and I spent the day adding annuals to the flowerbeds to fill in between the perennials, we also turned the sprinkler system back on. We normally do all our planting after Mother’s Day because chance of getting snow isn’t very high. Next year I will wait another week after Mother’s Day because the weather in Colorado is so crazy… ugh. We had freezing temperatures Wednesday evening, that brought rain, graupel and later snow. I’m hopeful all the flowers will bounce back. This morning I went out and purchased more annuals, a rose bush and another peony.

Sorry for the long post. I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone has added to their shelves this week, thanks for visiting and happy reading. -J
19 May 2017

Fur Baby Friday

Jake laying around watching his human mom rearranging her books again, something I’m sure all us enjoy doing. I recently purchased new bookcases and was moving books onto them. Jake wasn’t sure what was going on, he just wanted to be where all the action was.

Happy Friday -J 

17 May 2017

Review: The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent

The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent
(The Stars Never Rise Duology #1)
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published June 9th, 2015 by Delacorte Press
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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. 

My thoughts…

The Stars Never Rise was very interesting and certainly unique, it’s a fast-paced book. I had a difficult time putting it down and I truly enjoyed it.

The Unified Church now rules what was once the United States. After the war against the demons, many souls were wiped out of existence, and now it's a matter of saving the remaining souls against demonic possession. Exorcism was proven to be effective against the demons and with the Church having power, everyone must follow the Churches strict rules, sinners are punished, sometimes brutally.

"Degenerates were easy to identity. Fresh demonic possessions were much, much, more difficult to recognize, because when a demon possesses a human, it has access to its victim’s memories. Most demons are very good at impersonating their victims. They do it for years, until the soul of the victims has been completely devoured. If the demon can’t find a new host it becomes stuck in a soulless body, which begins to mutate and degrade, both physically and mentally. Eventually, the end stage possessions become degenerates."

Nina and her sister Melanie live in New Temperance with their mother. With her mother's health declining, Nina has been taking care of herself and her sister. Nina does everything the Church asks to not stand out because the Church might notice how her mother isn’t taking of Nina and Melanie. She does what needs to be done, from stealing food or bargaining for school uniforms. Nina may seem like a good girl, but inside she is strong and independent. Melanie and Nina are there for each other no matter what happens.

When Nina finds out that Melanie is pregnant, panic arises because pregnancy must be planned through the Church, an unlicensed pregnancy is forbidden. They also must have someone willing to provide their soul to the baby once it’s born. When their mother discovers the pregnancy, things don’t turn out so well. Nina kills a demon, who happens to be her mother. Their mother had plans to sell Melanie and use Nina as a new host.

Once Nina kills her demon mother, a boy appears, the same boy who saved her in the alleyway from a degenerate that morning. Finn, who has amazing green eyes. The Church is now after Nina to silence her, now that she can exorcist demons she will soon discover the truth that the Church has been hiding. To make matters worse, she also has degenerates after her.

This book focuses on Nina's transition into exorcism, along with Finns help. Finn introduces Nina to other exorcists, Maddock, Reese, Devi and Grayson. They are all good friends and are also hiding from the Church. There is somewhat of a romance between Nina and Finn, it’s different, weird and cute… unique. A romance that I haven’t read about before, Finn and Nina work around limitations.

I just ordered The Flame Never Dies in this duology. I’m so excited to see how the story ends.

Happy Reading - J
14 May 2017

Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Amy Rubinate (Narrator)
(Everneath #1)
Audiobook, 370 pages
Published January 24th, 2012
by Balzer + Bray
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her boyfriend—before she’s banished back to the underworld . . . this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance—and the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.

As Nikki’s time on the Surface draws to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s queen.

Everneath is a captivating story of love, loss, and immortality from debut author Brodi Ashton.

My thoughts…

Nikki was drawn to the Everneath (between Earth and Hell) by Cole an Everliving, and she has been sleeping alongside Cole in the Everneath for a hundred years. The Everlivings have found a way to be immortal, Nikki has become a Forfeit, she supplies Cole nourishment through her emotions, Nikki survives the feeding which rarely happens and now she is connected to Cole. Confusing… yes!

When Nikki was in the Everneath the only memories she retained were those of a brown-haired boy, her boyfriend Jack that she left behind. She wants to return to the surface to say goodbye to her family, friends and Jake before disappearing forever in the Tunnels, a sort of hell for Forfeits.

While she was sleeping, only six months had passed on Earth, and Nikki has exactly another six months before she returns to the Tunnels. Nikki came back mostly to make her goodbyes easier this time, but she didn't do anything towards that.

Since her disappearance with no contact, Nikki’s friends and family suspects that she was taking drugs. She returns to High School and mostly avoids being around her friends. Jack took her leaving extremely hard and never gave up looking for her. When they reunite she’s not sure how to handle her feeling or Jack, so she avoids him. Cole has also returned to Earth and he wants Nikki to go back with him to the Everneath to become the Queen.

It isn’t until she only has a couple weeks on Earth that Nikki chooses not to live without Jack and his never-ending love for her. Together Jack and Nikki try to find a way to keep her on Earth and not return to the Tunnels or the Everneath with Cole.

Everneath has plenty of mythology mixed in about Persephone and Eurydice, at times it was hard to follow along on audio, but I did enjoy it. I have yet to decide if I will continue with the series, if so, I will read it and not listen to it audio.

Happy Reading -J

Stacking the Shelves #8

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It’s all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves; may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks.

These are the books I added to my shelves this week:

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins – When I read The Girl on the Train I couldn’t put it down (the movie was dreadfully boring) and I was anticipating the release of this book.

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum – I’m finished this book and I truly enjoyed it.

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago—the closest place she has to something like home—she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli – I’ve been seeing this book everywhere and read good things about it. I’ve never read anything by Becky Albertalli so I’m looking forward to it.

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han – The first two books were enjoyable, of course I’ll read the third book.

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding. But change is looming on the horizon.

The Magdalen Girls by V.S. Alexander – I thought the cover was pretty and then after reading the synopsis it seemed like something I would be interested in.

Dublin, 1962. Within the gated grounds of the convent of The Sisters of the Holy Redemption lies one of the city's Magdalen Laundries. Once places of refuge, the laundries have evolved into grim workhouses. Some inmates are fallen women unwed mothers, prostitutes, or petty criminals. Most are ordinary girls whose only sin lies in being too pretty, too independent, or tempting the wrong man. Among them is sixteen-year-old Teagan Tiernan, sent by her family when her beauty provokes a lustful revelation from a young priest.

And what I added onto the Kindle this week:

It’s only pretend… And it’s only three months. I’m in the midst of scrawling “I QUIT!” onto his fancy cardstock letterhead when my boss corners me. He needs a favor, he says. And then he asks how well I can act … Hudson Rutherford needs a fiancĂ©e.

I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone has added to their shelves this week. Happy Mother's Day to all, wishing you a fabulous day, thank you for visiting and happy reading. -J

12 May 2017

Fur Baby Friday

Human mom is upstairs reading, we must join her and nap. It happens all the time, if I’m reading they nap. Any other time they follow me throughout the house, up and down the stairs.  Although they have figured out that when I’m doing laundry I’m just switching loads and will be back upstairs shortly, they don’t even bother to come downstairs. It must be old age and a little laziness mixed in.

Have a wonderful weekend. -J