Review: Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
Eileen Stevens (Narrator)
(Dumplin' #1)
Published September 15th, 2015 by Balzer + Bray
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

For fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell comes this powerful novel with the most fearless heroine—self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson—from Julie Murphy, the acclaimed author of Side Effects May Vary. With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

Dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom, Willowdean has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American-beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . .  until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back. 

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So, she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

My thoughts…

“Perfection is nothing more than a phantom shadow we’re all chasing”― Julie Murphy, Dumplin'

Dumplin’ is the story of Willowdean Dickson, Dumplin’ as her mother calls her, an overweight girl from a small town that hosts the oldest beauty pageant in Texas, Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant. Will’s mother is a former beauty queen and every year helps run the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant. Will is still grieving the death of her aunt, who passed away due to complications of herself being overweight.

Will works at Harpy’s, a local fast food place. It’s there that she meets Bo, good-looking private school jock Bo. Of course, Will is attracted to Bo but hides her feelings, because what could Bo ever see in her. Later she is surprised when she finds out he likes her too. They begin spending time together after work, they keep their rendezvous between themselves. Will finds herself in self-doubt and insecurity, when Bo never tells her that he will be transferring to her school after summer break. Will quits her job and wants nothing to do with Bo any longer, she thinks other students will whisper about their relationship.

“I want to be with you,” he says. “But I can’t if you won’t let me.”“Why?” I drop my bag in the driveway. “Why do you want to be with this?” I wave my arm up and down the length of my body. Immediately, I hate myself for this. The only person making this about my body is me.“Because I like you. I think I might feel a lot more than that for you, Willowdean. How is that so hard to believe?”
― Julie Murphy, Dumplin'

Will doesn’t share anything about Bo with her best friend Ellen. Ellen and Will eventually have a falling out because, Ellen has found a new friend that Will doesn’t really care for.

While cleaning out her aunt’s room, Will comes across an old Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant entry form that her aunt never submitted. Will decides to honor her aunt by signing up for the pageant. Will wants to try something that her aunt had always denied herself because of her own insecurities about her weight.

“I've wasted a lot of time in my life. I've thought too much about what people will say or what they're going to think. And sometimes it's over silly things like going to the grocery store or going to the post office. But there have been times when I really stopped myself from doing something special. All because I was scared someone might look at me and decide I wasn't good enough. But you don't have to bother with that nonsense. I wasted all that time so you don't have to.”― Julie Murphy, Dumplin'

Once the word gets out that Will is entering the pageant, that gives “several other unlikely candidates” girls from her high school the encouragement to submit an entry as well.

I really enjoyed this book, it was a very positive story about of acceptance, body image, identity, and learning to love yourself. Why not 5 stars… the ending. It just ended. I did read that Julie Murphy will write a companion novel which follows supporting characters from the first book, months after the pageant, expected publication: 2018. Hopefully we’ll get more of Dumplin’ and Bo.

Happy Reading -J

“All the best things in my life have started with a Dolly Parton song.”― Julie Murphy, Dumplin'

Stacking the Shelves #19

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and co-hosted by 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. All book title links will take you to Goodreads, just in case you want add it to your shelf or read the reviews.

This is what I added to my Kindle this week:

Lawrence Sutherland, Royal Navy Captain and the Viscount of Glenrith, has just struck a devil’s bargain. To save his family from financial ruin, he needs the help of his closest childhood friend, Violette. They must work together so he can gain the hand of her wealthy but spoiled heiress cousin and make a mutually beneficial marriage—a sound business arrangement for them both. In return for her help, Lawrence offers Violette the one thing she covets most—freedom. With his help, she can leave England and her cruel family behind.

But there is a vital flaw in this near-perfect plan. Violette PĂ©let de Castelmarou is secretly in love with Lawrence and has hidden it for years. Yet now she finds herself feeding him lines and coaching him through sticky social situations in order to win over her cousin. But when emotions get involved, hearts become inextricably entangled.

When the time comes, will Lawrence be able to say goodbye to Violette or will he compromise her virtue and make her his forever?

If he cannot have her for his wife, then he’ll make her his mistress…

Elle Kennedy and Jen Frederick

These Royals will ruin you…

From wharf fights and school brawls to crumbling lives inside glittery mansions, one guy tries to save himself.

Reed Royal has it all—looks, status, money. The girls at his elite prep school line up to date him, the guys want to be him, but Reed never gave a damn about anyone but his family until Ella Harper walked into his life.

What started off as burning resentment and the need to make his father’s new ward suffer turned into something else entirely—keep Ella close. Keep Ella safe. But when one foolish mistake drives her out of Reed’s arms and brings chaos to the Royal household, Reed’s entire world begins to fall apart around him.

Ella doesn’t want him anymore. She says they’ll only destroy each other.

She might be right.

Secrets. Betrayal. Enemies. It’s like nothing Reed has ever dealt with before, and if he’s going to win back his princess, he’ll need to prove himself Royally worthy.

Elle Kennedy and Jen Frederick

These Royals will ruin you…

From mortal enemies to unexpected allies, two teenagers try to protect everything that matters most.

Ella Harper has met every challenge that life has thrown her way. She’s tough, resilient, and willing to do whatever it takes to defend the people she loves, but the challenge of a long-lost father and a boyfriend whose life is on the line might be too much for even Ella to overcome.

Reed Royal has a quick temper and even faster fists. But his tendency to meet every obstacle with violence has finally caught up with him. If he wants to save himself and the girl he loves, he’ll need to rise above his tortured past and tarnished reputation.

No one believes Ella can survive the Royals. Everyone is sure Reed will destroy them all.

They may be right.

With everything and everyone conspiring to keep them apart, Ella and Reed must find a way to beat the law, save their families, and unravel all the secrets in their Twisted Palace.

What I borrowed from the library this week (audiobooks, eBooks and physical books):

(Loved, Loved, Loved this, review coming soon).

From #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt comes the addictive contemporary tale of a teen rock star in need of an image makeover and the teen girl hired to be his fake girlfriend.

Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley's team decides it's time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he's settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of "normal." Under ordinary circumstances she'd never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn't have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley's team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley's a shallow, self-centered jerk? It's not like they're going to fall for each other in real life…right?

Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.

Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.

Finding himself the man of the family, London dancing master Alec Valcourt moves his mother and sister to remote Devonshire, hoping to start over. But he is stunned to learn the village matriarch has prohibited all dancing, for reasons buried deep in her past.

Alec finds an unlikely ally in the matriarch's daughter. Though he's initially wary of Julia Midwinter's reckless flirtation, he comes to realize her bold exterior disguises a vulnerable soul--and hidden sorrows of her own.

Julia is quickly attracted to the handsome dancing master--a man her mother would never approve of--but she cannot imagine why Mr. Valcourt would leave London, or why he evades questions about his past. With Alec's help, can Julia uncover old secrets and restore life to her somber village. . .and to her mother's tattered heart?

Filled with mystery and romance, The Dancing Master brings to life the intriguing profession of those who taught essential social graces for ladies and gentlemen hoping to make a "good match" in Regency England.

As one of the big names at his family’s gym, Legends, MMA star Rory Kavanagh is used to being in the spotlight—until a gruesome leg injury knocks him out of the cage. Rory is left feeling sidelined in more ways than one, battling the inner demons that come with losing the one shot at his dreams. Then Clare walks into his life and gives him a new dream: winning her heart. There aren’t many new faces in Woodlawn these days, but this tough, beautiful stranger makes Rory want to get his life back into fighting shape.

Clare Ivers doesn’t think she’ll be able to tell anyone what really brought her to the close-knit Bronx neighborhood where she just started bartending. But her life’s on pause and her past is catching up fast, try as she might to move on—with new friends, steady work, and a chiseled alpha male trying to get her attention. Even though Rory’s more than a little intense, she can’t deny that her heart beats faster when he looks at her with those soulful silver eyes. Clare thought she was done with love, but Rory might just be man enough to show her she thought wrong.

I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone has added to their shelves this week and if you’ve read any of the books I have listed, please let me know what you thought of them. 

Have a wonderful week and thank you for visiting. -J

Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
(The Lunar Chronicles #2)
Hardcover, 1st, 454 pages
Published February 5th, 2013 by Feiwel & Friends
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

My thoughts…

Once again, what took me so long to read this series? Scarlet is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and I must say I enjoyed Scarlet every bit as much as I enjoyed Cinder, the book and the characters.

Scarlet picks up directly after Cinder left off. Before she can be transported to Lunar along with the evil Queen Levana, Cinder is breaking out of her temporary prison cell. With the help of her new and improved cyborg parts that Dr. Erland has delivered to Cinder she is able to escape. During her escape, she happens to stumble her way into the cell of Carswell Thorne, Captain Thorne, they both escape and become fugitives.

“Kai neared his desk again, seeing that the fugitive's profile had been transferred to the screen. His frown deepened. Perhaps not dangerous, but young and inarguably good-looking. His prison photo showed him flippantly winking at the camera. Kai hated him immediately.”
― Marissa Meyer, Scarlet

Throne and Cinder are fabulous together, they form a wonderful entertaining friendship, I think Thorne is becoming one of my favorite characters.

“A relieved grin filled up Thorne’s face. “We’re having another moment, aren’t we?” “If by a moment, you mean me not wanting to strangle you for the first time since we met, then I guess we are.”
― Marissa Meyer, Scarlet
“When she had gone, Thorne let out a low whistle. “I know, I know. She seems a little”—crossing his eyes, he swirled both fingers around his ears—“but it’s really part of her charm, once you get to know her.”
― Marissa Meyer, Scarlet

We are introduced to new characters in Scarlet: Scarlet who is searching for her missing grandmother and Wolf who is traveling to Paris along with her, but Wolf has ulterior motives to befriend Scarlet. Along the way all their paths cross as Cinder is also searching for Scarlet’s grandmother. In this book, we get to find out more about Cinder’s past and how she survived in hiding with the help of Scarlet’s grandmother. 
“I know you must want nothing to do with me. I don’t blame you.” Wolf scrunched up his shoulders, and met her with an expression full of regret. “But you’re the only one, Scarlet. You’ll always be the only one.”
― Marissa Meyer, Scarlet
“Wolf, are you asking me to be … your alpha female?”
― Marissa Meyer, Scarlet

They all join forces to try to stop Queen Levana from following through with her evil plans to take over the Commonwealth by using Emperor Kai. 

We can’t forget about Cinder’s friend, Iko. Cinder saved Iko’s chip when Cinder’s stepmother disassembled Iko because of her friendship with Cinder. Cinder replaced Throne’s ship control chip with Iko’s chip until Cinder could find an android body for Iko.

“He gaped at the controls. "Why is my ship talking back to me?”
― Marissa Meyer, Scarlet

“Cinder," Iko said after a few silent minutes of explorations. "I'm enormous.”
― Marissa Meyer, Scarlet

Marissa Meyer did an excellent job of introducing the new characters and having both fairy-tales entwine within each other, love it. Time to move onto the third book, Cress.

Happy Reading -J 

Stacking the Shelves #18

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and co-hosted by 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.

After my big spend on physical books last week, I’ve kept my purchases this week to eBooks and library loans. I’m not going to add a synopsis for each book, but all book title links will take you to Goodreads.

This is what I added to my Kindle this week:

Forbidden (Arotas Trilogy #1) by Amy Miles:  I’m always on the lookout for a vampire romance, hopefully this one doesn’t disappoint.

Roseline Enescue didn't ask to become an immortal, to have all of the guests at her wedding slaughtered, or be forced into marriage with a man whose lust for blood would one day ignite the vampire legend.

Fractured Love: A Standalone Off-Limits Romance (Off-Limits Romance #3) by Ella James: I can’t go wrong with Ella James. 

I was sixteen when he came to our house. Landon Jones, a boy with nothing, from nowhere. He had cinnamon hair and grey eyes—light blue, just like mine. When we went out as a family with my foster brother, people asked if Landon was my twin. He wasn’t. That year, we found out how much he wasn’t. When my parents caught us, they threw Landon out like trash.

Now I’m twenty-seven, a soon-to-be surgeon, like my mom and dad. I know residency is going to kick my ass, but I had no idea that it would rip my heart out, too. Not until I see him—Dr. Jones.

Beautiful Mistake by Vi Keeland: This book had me sold at “Well, hello Professor West, I'm your new teaching assistant.”

Ebooks that I borrowed from the library:

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens: A book club read for the month of August, I’m really looking forward to it.

College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe's life is ever the same.

Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran--and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home, after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder.

Summer Unscripted by Jen Klein: I enjoyed Shuffle, Repeat (my review) immensely, hopefully I will like this one as well.

A summer romance about missed connections and how not to miss out on the love of your life.

Audiobooks that I borrowed from the library:

The Heiress of Winterwood (Whispers on the Moors #1) by Sarah E. Ladd: I’m currently listening to and enjoying, Historical Christian Romance.

Darbury, England, 1814

Amelia Barrett, heiress to an ancestral estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s infant baby. She'll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing to the child’s father, Graham, a sea captain she’s never met.

Tragedy strikes when the child vanishes with little more than a sketchy ransom note hinting to her whereabouts. Fear for the child’s safety drives Amelia and Graham to test the boundaries of their love for this infant.

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica: A chance encounter sparks an unrelenting web of lies in this stunning psychological thriller.

I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone has added to their shelves this week and if you’ve read any of the books I have listed, please let me know what you thought of them. Have a wonderful week and thank you for visiting. -J

Review: Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione

Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione
Cassandra Campbell (Narrator)
(Demonica #1)
Published February 1st, 2011 by Grand Central Publishing
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

In a place where ecstasy can cost you your life . . .

She's a demon-slayer who hungers for sensual pleasure-but fears it will always be denied her. Until Tayla Mancuso lands in a hospital run by demons in disguise, and the head doctor, Eidolon, makes her body burn with unslakable desire. But to prove her ultimate loyalty to her peers, she must betray the surgeon who saved her life.

Two lovers will dare to risk all.

Eidolon cannot resist this fiery, dangerous woman who fills him with both rage and passion. Not only is she his avowed enemy, but she could very well be the hunter who has been preying upon his people. Torn between his need for the truth and his quest to find his perfect mate before a horrific transformation claims him forever, Eidolon will dare the unthinkable-and let Tayla possess him, body and soul . . .

My thoughts…

Tayla is a demon-slayer, having witnessed her own mother’s murder at the hands of a demon. Tayla has made it her mission to get rid of as many demons as possible. But as luck would have it, she is injured in a demon fight and ends up in a hospital, a demon hospital.

“So,uh, where am I, exactly ? And what do you plan on doing with me ?""You're at Underworld General Hospital. As you can probably guess, we specialize in nonhuman medical care. Our location is secret, so don't ask.""UGH ? Your hospital is called 'ugh' ? Oh, that's precious.”
― Larissa Ione, Pleasure Unbound

Eidolon is the head doctor of Underground General Hospital, a demon himself. He is fair in his treatment of demons, vampires, werewolves and any other number of species, including Tayla the demon-slayer brought into the hospital barely alive. Eidolon finds himself drawn to her, just as he’s about to go through a transformation that will make him a dangerous Seminus demon, a sex demon that requires sex often to survive.

“I'll bet you could make a woman throw out all her toys”― Larissa Ione, Pleasure Unbound

The story was different, different from other paranormal demon books that I’ve read in the past. I didn’t practically care for Tayla, she was quick to judge and annoying throughout the book. I also had problem with Eidolon climbing into the hospital bed with Tayla and having sex with her while she was having a sex hallucination (brought on by Eidolon’s brother), it felt like he took advantage of her because she wasn’t very lucid about what was really going on.

“She'd had sex with a demon. Tayla swallowed bile and tried to keep her stomach from heaving. She needed to shower. And douche.”
― Larissa Ione, Pleasure Unbound

“Hellboy?”“What?”“Touch me. Make me forget all this.”He was on her in an instant, took her down to the floor before she could blink.”
― Larissa Ione, Pleasure Unbound

It was an okay book, there was a lot going on and the story was never boring, at times it was funny. This is one series that I probably will continue with, but not until I finish Larissa Ione vampire series.

Happy Reading -J

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Will Patton (Narrator)
(The Raven Cycle #1)
Audiobook, Unabridged,
Published September 18th, 2012 by Scholastic Audio
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them--until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can't entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn't believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore. 

My thoughts… 

This book just wasn’t for me. I listened to it on audiobook and I was ready to give it up at Chapter 12, it was so boring. The first third of the book was introducing the characters and pretty much their daily routine, not much of a plot. It wasn't until Blue meet up with the Raven Boys did the plot start and the story really began.

In the synopsis, your lead to believe that there will be a romance between Blue and Gansey, that is not the case. The story basically revolves around Gansey’s obsession with finding the ley line to wake up a Welsh king, to grant the one who wakes him a wish.

“The way Gansey saw it was this: if you had a special knack for finding things, it meant you owed the world to look.”
― Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven Boys

At the moment, I'm not rushing out to read more of this series, but I won't say that I'll never return to it, I just have other books I rather read instead.

Happy Reading -J

Review: Bound by Night by Larissa Ione

Bound by Night by Larissa Ione
Amy Landon (Narrator)
(MoonBound Clan Vampires #1)
Published March 31st, 2014 by Tantor Audio
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Nicole Martin was only eight years old when the vampire slaves rose up in rebellion and killed her family. Now she devotes her life to finding a vaccine against vampirism, hoping to wipe out her memories-along with every bloodsucker on the planet. But there's one thing she cannot destroy: her searing, undeniable attraction for the one man she should hate and fear the most. A member of the renegade vampire MoonBound Clan, Riker is haunted by demons of his own. When he recognizes Nicole and remembers how her family enslaved his loved ones, his heart burns for vengeance. But when he kidnaps Nicole and holds her in a secret lair, his mortal enemy becomes his sole obsession, his greatest temptation, and, perhaps, his only salvation-a hot-blooded lover who could heal him with her touch . . . or bury him forever. 

My thoughts…

This was my first Larissa Ione book. Bound by Night is a vampire paranormal romance, but it was so much different from the usual vampire romances.

In this book humans have figured out the knowledge to enslave vampires to use as servants and study them at the Daedalus Corporation. There are also renegade vampires that will do everything they can to stop the torturous research that the Daedalus Corp is submitting on the captive vampires.

Nicole is the Daedalus heiress and recently appointed CEO of the corporation. She has dedicated her life to researching vampire physiology and is an expert in the field, using what she has discovered to cure human diseases. While living in London her half-brother, Chuck, has been running Daedalus in her place until the Board of Directors felt it was time for her to take over.

When Nicole was a child her household vampires rebelled against their human masters and killed her family in a massacre attack. Nicole was left severely injured and still suffers from the after-effects of that terrible night. After watching another vampire, Riker, brutally kill (so she thinks) her cherished vampire nanny, Terese, who she loved dearly, and by witnessing the attack on her family she has become frightened of vampires and lost love she had for them.

Riker belongs to the MoonBound Clan of vampires. He is ruthless and angry and blames Nicole and her family for the death of his pregnant mate, Terese. When Nicole's brother captures a female vampire, who is very important to the clan, Nicole is kidnapped by the MoonBound Clan, Riker and Myne.

“Funny how Boris wasn’t the monster who came alive in her scariest night terrors. No, the title of Nightmare King belonged to the male looming like a death sentence in front of her, a gorgeous sandy-haired vampire in worn, bloodstained jeans and a loaded weapons harness beneath a long leather coat. A male named Riker who, twenty years ago, had killed Terese. His own mate.”
― Larissa Ione, Bound by Night

Nicole is to be held for trade for the female vampire. Chuck doesn’t want to make the trade, he wants Nicole out of the way so he can be in control of Daedalus once again because Nicole wasn’t aware that Chuck was secretly experimenting on vampires and keeping the research and lab hidden from her.

As Riker and Nicole are forced to spend time together they get to know each other, and begin sharing things about themselves. Eventually they develop an attraction to each other and the chemistry it hot. Riker has a difficult time with his feelings towards Nicole, he is not only betraying the vampire race, but also the memory of Terese.

“Nothing to finish? You wondered why sex with a vampire was such a big deal. I’m going to show you.” He moved toward her, slowly, like a cat sneaking up on a bird. “Stamina.” He stepped closer. “Multiple orgasms.” Closer, and her mouth went dry. “Flexibility.” Closer. Her skin flushed hot. “Strength.” Closer. Her stomach did a flip-flop. “The ability to sense heat so we know what parts of the body are the most sensitive at the right time.” Closer. A throbbing ache started low in her pelvis. “The ability to hear the slightest change in the tempo of your pulse so we know exactly how every stroke, kiss, and lick affects you.” Oh. Dear. Lord.”
― Larissa Ione, Bound by Night

I did enjoy Bound by Night, but, I'm rating it with 4 stars because I was so frustrated with Riker, he knew Nicole was the one for him, but he kept blaming Nicole for something that wasn't her fault. Riker did and said some very hurtful and hateful words to Nicole and I think she gave into his forgiveness way to easily. I’m looking forward to reading the second book in the series, Chained by Night.

Happy Reading -J

Stacking the Shelves #17

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and co-hosted by 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. 

This week I celebrated my birthday and I treated myself to some of the books that I’ve had on my Amazon Wishlist. My husband thought it was great that I was buying my own gifts, although he did spoil me with a new laptop. I’m not going to add a synopsis for each book, but all book title links will take you to Goodreads.

Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3) by Tahereh Mafi

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Wired (Buchanan-Renard #13) by Julie Garwood

And what I added to my Kindle:

Before I Ever Met You by Karina Halle 

It's You (It's You #1) by Katy Regnery

I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone has added to their shelves this week and if you’ve read any of the books I have listed, please let me know what you thought of them. Have a wonderful weekend and thank you for visiting. -J

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
(The Lunar Chronicles #1)
Hardcover, First Edition, 390 pages
Published January 3rd, 2012 by Feiwel and Friends
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder's brain interference has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it "a matter of national security," but Cinder suspects it's more serious than he's letting on.

Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder's intentions are derailed when her younger stepsister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that's been devastating Earth for a decade. Blaming Cinder for her daughter's illness, Cinder's stepmother volunteers her body for plague research, an "honor" that no one has survived.

But it doesn't take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig. Something others would kill for. 


Why did it take me so long to read this book?! Probably because it is sci-fi/dystopian story, two of my least favorite genres. I’m pleasantly surprised that I really enjoyed Cinder (the book and character).

“Even in the Future the Story Begins with Once Upon a Time.”
― Marissa Meyer, Cinder

Cinder takes place in the future, post-World War 4 in New Beijing and Cinder is a mechanic and a cyborg. Prince Kai seeks Cinder's assistance in fixing his android, and that is where it all begins, eventually leading up to a Happily Ever After… you must continue with the series to get there.

“Kai cleared his throat. Stood straighter. "I assume you are going to the ball?""I-I don't know. I mean, no. No, I'm sorry, I'm not going to the ball."Kai drew back, confused. "Oh well... but... maybe you would change your mind? Because I am, you know.""The prince.""Not bragging," he said quickly. "Just a fact.”
― Marissa Meyer, Cinder

Cinder lives with her stepmother, and two stepsisters, the only one who appreciates and cares for Cinder is her stepsister, Peony. A plague known as Letumosis is spreading throughout Beijing, those infected are sent to quarantines, Peony gets infected with the incurable disease and Cinder is saddened. Although, Cinder’s stepmother blames Cinder for Peony’s illness, she volunteers Cinder for plague research. Once at the research facility and testing begins, Cinder discovers new things about herself that she wasn’t aware of.

The Emperor is also infected with Letumois and later dies. Prince Kai is left with ruling the country and dealing with the one person who may have a cure for the Plague, the evil Lunar Queen, Levana.

“The queen's eyes smouldered. "I know my own kind when I see them, and right now there is one in these city walls." She pointed a finger toward the balcony."I want her found and brought to me.""Right," said Kai,"that'll be no problem in a city of two and a half million people. Let me just go dig out my special Lunar detector, and I'll get right on that.”
― Marissa Meyer, Cinder

Finally, a fairytale retelling that I absolutely enjoyed reading. Marissa Meyer has created an incredibly entertaining version of the future, a futuristic world that is very interesting and believable. I especially liked that Cinder was portrayed with having more human qualities, her cyborg parts had some awesome features also.

Happy Reading -J

Review: Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen
Hardcover, 358 pages
Published June 6th, 2017 by Viking Books for Young Readers
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that's why she's cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm's length. But Ambrose isn't about to be discouraged, now that he's met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

My thoughts…

Being the daughter of a popular wedding planner, Louna has practically seen every type of wedding but she still has a cynical attitude towards true love and doesn’t believe it lasts forever. After having her first love ended tragically she has guarded her heart and doesn’t want to experience that hurt feeling ever again.

The novel jumps back and forth between the past and present, where in the past Louna is falling in love for the first time with Ethan and the present where Louna trying to make the decision if she can open herself up once again to that kind of love, or at least try.

When Louna’s mother hires Ambrose to work alongside Louna, she is not very happy working with the serial dater who is a total flirt. She makes the decision to keep her distance and does not encourage any kind of relationship. Ambrose, a typical playboy who juggles numerous girls at a time, has other plans, he wants to break down Louna’s walls.

Overall, I didn’t care for this story, it took me over a week to read it, which was very surprising. I just couldn’t get the connection between Louna and Ambrose. She was very judgmental and she wasn’t very nice to him throughout the book, I wasn’t sure why he even liked her. Also, I would have liked to read less about wedding planning, Louna’s everyday activities, her dating other men and more about a romance between the two characters actually being together as a couple.

I’m a bit disappointed, but, this is the second book I’ve read by Sarah Dessen, I’m not ready to give up on her just yet since I did enjoy Just Listen (my review of Just Listen).

Happy Reading -J