June 30, 2013

Book Review: Bedding the Wrong Brother by Virna de Paul

The Deal: Melina Parker grew up being best friends with twins Max and Rhys Dalton, she was one of the few people able to tell them apart, mostly because she felt an easy friendship toward Max and had a huge crush on Rhys.

As the years passed and the boys followed in their parents' footsteps and became famous and successful magicians, Melina became an entomologist and they remained relatively close. Though, ever since her 16th birthday - when Rhys stood her up - she has been a lot closer to Max, yet she has never been able to fully get over her crush on Rhys.

After a few bad relationships, Melina has decided she needs to learn how to please a man in bed - since her last boyfriend told her something to the effect that she was bad at it - before she gets into another relationship, and who better to teach her than her best friend Max? Who is experienced and fun and whom she trusts completely.

Max isn't quite sure he's on board with this plan, mostly because he knows Melina is in love with Rhys and that is mutual, but that they both are too blind to see it (and because of something he did in the past).  So he decides to pull a good-ole switcharoo, trying to get both Melina and Max what they really want. 

My Thoughts: Bedding the Wrong Brother was a surprisingly fun read. It was campy to be sure and it required a large suspension of belief for a while, but what the heck, it was a lot of fun to go along with it.

I'm not sure I loved Mel and Rhys as characters - they kind of tended to make the same mistake over and over - but I liked them, and that was enough. I liked the whole magician stuff, that was an interesting profession, and Ms De Paul actually spent some time going over what it meant to work as a magician (how they had to practice the tricks and design them, and that it wasn't easy to make it, and all that).

I liked Max too, I wished we had spent a little more time in his head, though I think he might get a book of his own at some point.

Anyway, I do recommend Bedding the Wrong Brother if you're in the mood for something quick and fun. 

Ps- thanks to the publisher and Net Galley for the review copy
PSS - I think this book was previously published as This Magic Moment. 

June 26, 2013

2013 NetGalley Knockout

So, I've decided to participate in the NetGalley Knockout hosted @Goldilox And the Three Weres, which is an event aimed to getting on top of those review books that just keep on accumulating.

Here are the details, per Goldilox's post:

Here's all the details you need to know:
  • Netgalley Knockout will run from July 1 - September 30
  • You are not limited to ebooks from Netgalley! You can include any ebook you have received for review from Netgalley, Edelweiss, or from a publisher or author directly. It just must be an ebook and it must be a review book.
  • You can only count books that you read from July 1 to September 30. Nothing read before the challenge starts or after it ends will count toward the challenge!
  • You do not have to only include books released during the months July, August, or September - but you can include these, of course! Any electronic review book counts, whether it has already been released or is still yet to be released!
  • Again, even if the book has already been released, if you're reading a review ebook copy of it then it counts toward the challenge!
***And if you find this post after July 1st - no worries! You can join the challenge through the linky all the way up to September 1st if you'd like!***


There will be a giveaway for any blogs who link up their wrap up post at the end of the challenge in September! Every blog on that linky will be entered and one winner will be randomly chosen to receive an ebook of their choice under $15.00 from the ebook seller of their choice!

Just link up your post about joining the Netgalley Knockout challenge on the linky list below! Your post can be as simple as "Here's a new challenge I'm joining, here's the link to find out more information". 

And feel free to grab the button above and add it to your blog's sidebar. That would be *awesome* of you!

Share in the comments below or in your sign up post how many of your egalley books you plan to knockout during this challenge!

June 25, 2013

Book Review: Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols

At First Sight: After a lifetime putting on a show with her younger sister Julie, Bailey is told that her music stardom dreams are over when a big record company offers Julie a solo recording deal. From then on, Bailey is forbidden from playing music and spends her senior year rebelling, until she's given an ultimatum - her parents won't pay for her dream college if she doesn't straighten up - and she's sent to live with her grandfather in Nashville for the summer.

Once there, it's kind of hard to escape music, and much as her parents and Julie's record label don't want Bailey playing, her grandfather helps her land an under-the-radar playing gig at the mall: playing background with different impersonators.

There she meets Sam, who is in his father's Johnny Cash act and who decides that Bailey's fiddle playing is just the thing  his high-school band needs to make it big.

But Bailey isn't sure she can or wants to play in a bad again, BUT she IS sure that her parents won't aprove.

Second Glance: Where do I start? Well, I'll start to say that it's not a bad book by any stretch of the imagination but, after hearing so much about Jennifer Echols and how awesome she is, this fell a little short and kind of flat.

It might be totally my fault, but the book didn't really come alive for me. Part of it was that, much as I agree that Bailey's Mom was awful and that Bailey got dealt a suck-y hand, I didn't care about her and I didn't connect with her, and I thought she was a bit whiny.

Yes, she has a raw deal but she also needs to get over herself - that's what I kept thinking for more than half the book. And her acting out (when we finally get to what's what she did) didn't give her any points with me.

Then there is the setting. I don't know country music, it's not a thing in my country so I half the time I didn't know what Bailey was talking about in that regard, and my only real reference on Nashville is watching Hellcats re-runs when there is nothing else on TV, so yeah, I was a little lost and all the details and minutia that Bailey supplied went over my head, really.

I liked some aspects of the book, I ended up liking Bailey's sister Julie somewhat and her grandfather and the people in the band Bailey joins - Sam, Charlotte and Ace were nice - but that's not really the stuff that makes me pick up a book again.

I do like the play on the title though, it applies in many levels.

Bottom Line: Maybe it was a case of too high expectations, maybe it was a cultural divide, I don't know, but Dirty Little Secret wasn't really for me. I think that other readers, more patient readers might like it but for me it was solid but not memorable. 

June 23, 2013

Book Review: The Girl Who Wouldn't Brush Her Hair

The Deal: A young girl one day decides that she's not going to brush her long, beautiful hair, that's simply her way. Soon tangles start to form and a few mice find out, and decide that her hair is the perfect home from them.

Soon, the girl has a full array of mice living in her hair, and though she might not have mind at first, she does care by the end.

My Thoughts: The Girl Who Wouldn't Brush Her Hair was ADORABLE. It's a kids books for very young children but it was still pretty charming and the drawings were really really cute.

As a young girl, I was the type who never brushed her hair either, I always had it all long, lose and tangled so I felt connected to our young protagonist and the book was just whimsical enough for a little kid.

Nice book to read with the little kids in your life, and adorable for a pressent.

The Girl Who Wouldn't Brush Her Hair comes out September 10th, 2013
starstarstar 1/2

June 22, 2013

Book Review: The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler

Hello my peeps!! I'm doing another free form review this time!!! And on this occasion I'm going to tackle The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler

The Bookstore follows the life graduate student Esme Garland, who moved to New York to get her masters studying the artwork of a very obscure painter. In New York, she's pretty happy, she has fallen in love with the city, she likes her apartment and her neighbors; she even has a handsome and rich slightly older boyfriend Mitchell. 

Everything seems to be going perfect... until the day she realizes she's pregnant, and then gets dumped by Mitchell, before she can even really tell him. 

Esme then turns to her refuge and favorite place in the city: a shabby, second hand bookstore called The Owl, where she lands a part-time job to help her make end's meet. 

Okay, so I started this book with a lot of hope, I liked the idea of a book set in and around a bookstore and The Owl sounded like a delightful indie bookstore at that. But I had a lot of trouble getting into it - and I'm not sure I ever did - because Esme's voice is so full of apathy and she makes it sound like one thing is just as good as the next, and like, things just happen to her. 

This made it very hard for me to like her or like her voice, and I got this weird feeling of dread each time I was reading it, like something was dragging me down. It had that sort of mood, even at the beginning when Esme was saying how much she liked living in New York, I never really felt like she was happy. 

Individually, I liked plenty of characters, mostly the people who worked at the Owl, but the book and story just never came alive for me. 

Maybe someone who likes slower paces and is more inclined toward woman's fiction would enjoy it more. If you're looking for something light and fluffy, this aint't it.

The Bookstore comes out August, 2013

starstarstar (but not really for me)
Thanks to the Publisher and Edelweiss for the review copy. 

June 19, 2013

Speed Date: My LIfe Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

These actually seem to resemble
 Jase and Sam. Huzzah! Huzzah!!!

The Plot: Sam Reed has lived next to the ever growing Garrett clan for the last 10 years, watching them from afar and wondering what would it be like to be part of a family like theirs: full of chaos, people and love. 

Sam's own family is a self-contained unit of three: her always in control State Senator mother, her often absentee older sister Riley and herself. From the moment they moved next door, Sam's mom Grace took a dislike at the Garretts, but Sam was always fascinated by them. 

Until the summer when Jase Garrett (third kid and second oldest son) climbs jumps the fence between their houses and pulls her into his world. There, Sam is accepted almost instantly and feels part of something, taking refuge with them as her mom loses herself in a re-election battle and and a new boyfriend (who's a douche but no one but Sam seems to care). 

And there is Jase, of course, who makes her feel happy and special and loved. 

Until something happens that might change the lives of the Reeds and Garretts alike. 

First Date: Oh, Sam. Your mom kind of sucks. Talk about demanding!! Jesus!! And your best friend and sister seem a bit flaky. But Jase! Oh, Jase, how does he make our hearts skip a beat!!! I want a Jase of my own. George is ADORBS too. 

Second Date: Jase's littlest brother George is the bomb, totes a scene stealer. I'm growing to love the Garretts more and more with each page. Also growing to love Tim, such a broken guy but makes a better friend than his sister (when he's sober), and he has a puppy crush on Hot Alice, Jase's oldest sister. 

Third Date: Sam, that was a rough deal with your mom, but you held it together pretty well, made a few mistakes a long the way but at least you didn't whine. That's major props right there! 

Relationship Status: And they lived Happily Ever After. 

My LIfe Next Door is a rare hyped-about-book that's actually worth most of the hype. It was fun to read, I fell in love with all the Garretts. And I genuinely liked Samantha and Jase, they are so good together that I find myself not only crushing on Jase a  bit, but also hoping these two crazy kids last forever. 

starstarstarstarstarPersonal Favorite

What's a Book Speed Date, you ask? It's a quickie review--about 150 words or so--of any genre book (variety is the spice of life, after all).

If you want to join in or just read other speed date reviews, check out The Book Swarm

June 13, 2013

Cover Love: United We Spy by Ally Carter

Apparently, I totally missed out on this but... there is a cover for the final Gallagher Girls book (and a title) UNITED WE SPY.

I actually saw the UK cover first, and then went to look the US one.

I think I like the UK one more, actually.

Anyway, summary, such as it is now:
Cammie Morgan has lost her father and her memory, but in the heart-pounding conclusion to the best-selling Gallagher Girls series, she finds her greatest mission yet. Cammie and her friends finally know why the terrorist organization called the Circle of Cavan has been hunting her. Now the spy girls and Zach must track down the Circle’s elite members to stop them before they implement a master plan that will change Cammie—and her country—forever

June 12, 2013

Book Review: Jane Austen Goes to Hollywood by Abby McDonald

The Deal: Hallie and Grace Weston are going through a rough time: their father has died and left everything to his new wife (the woman he left their mom for) and baby; and their artist mother is more distracted than ever. 

Soon, their step mother Portia kicks them out and the gils are forced to move to L.A. with relatives, where ever the Drama Queen Hallie seems to thrive in her own way while younger sister Grace is trying to keep it all together.

My Thoughts: Jane Austen Goes to Hollywood is basically and upside-down modernized version of Sense and Sensibility, and for the most part I rather liked it. The twists and updates were pretty smart  and ballsy and I think the spirit of the story was kept.

I liked the characters even though I thought Hallie was a bit over the top and annoying, and Portia was so mean and I got so mad at Hallie and Graces dad and, and their mom too, for their neglect.

Aside from that, it was okay. I really disliked the title (sounds like a lazy title to me, somehow) but the writing was fun. Didn't like it as much as I did Abby McDonald's previous book Getting Over Garrett Delaney but it was a fun way to pass time anyhow, and I've certainly read worse Jane Austen Retellings. 

June 10, 2013

Book Review: It Had To Be You by Jill Shalvis

At First Sight: Ali Winters is having a pretty rotten week. Her seemingly perfect boyfriend turns out to be a cheater, he didn't renew the lease on their shared house which left her homeless and everyone in town thinks she's a thief because Teddy lost 50 grand and it's blaming her. And her former landlor Luke Hanover showing up is not helping matters. Or is it?

Luke is returning to Lucky Harbor for the first time in almost ten years, to stay at the house he inherited from his Grandma. A police detective, he needs a break from his last case (which ended in disaster) so he just wants to hole up in the old house and lay low.

He didn't expect to find Ali standing in his kitchen, yelling on the phone and wearing nothing but her undies. Luke can tell she's going to complicate his life, but he still lets her stay the night, and when Teddy's accusations surface, he sides with Ali almost right away, and lets himself be dragged into trying to find out who really did it and clear her name.

Second Glance: I do so enjoy going back to Luck Harbor every once in a while. And one of the things I love best is how, through the scope of the series there are this mini-trilogies that you can just pick up and enjoy without having to go back and read from the beginning.

It Had to Be You is the beginning of one of such trilogies, and it does a lovely job of it. It doesn't waste time introducing you to the town just to the new set of characters, starting with Ali and Luke. They were nice and likable.

Ali was very independent, loved doing artistic things and was close to her family even while she tried to live a different life from theirs. Luke had a few more hangs ups with what happened to his family years before, he's the type that often blames himself for everything and always tries to help.

It was good to see them together, I did believe them as a couple. And I loved the other characters introduced, like Luke's best friend Jack and Pastry chef Leah (they are set up to be the couple of the next book, Always On My Mind).

Bottom Line: For me, going back to Lucky Harbor is like chatting up with an old friend and It Had to Be You turned out to be a very nice conversation. It's a sweet story without it being overly complicated and, even though I could tell who had stolen the money from the start, I still enjoyed it a lot. 
Review Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

June 5, 2013

Speed Date: Forget Me Not by Nina Blake

The Plot: After nearly 10 years together, Stefan and Claire were over, they had even been separated for 6 months already... when Stefan woke up on a park bench not knowing his name, what city he was in or who he was.

Claire swears she has moved on, and it's not like she owes Stefan anything - he left her, not the other way around - but she can't turn her back on him when she learns what has happened to him, so she takes him in and tries to help him get re-adjusted to life.

And she's surprised to find that this new, amnesic Stefan resembles the guy she fell in love with years before a lot more than he resembles the starched up one that left her; as they try to make their way around his memory loss and the painful memories she just can't forget. 

First Date: Oh, I love me some amnesia plot!! I know these are totes unrealistic but I LOVE a good Amnesia book. A bit sparse on the details of what happened but otherwise taking off to a good speed. 

Second Date: Some mysteries are hinted at, I think I'm pretty sure that I know what it is but this is entertaining me so much. I like seeing the two sides of Stefan. His parents suck though. I do love Claire's family, but it's kind of weird she doesn't seem to have any friends. 

Third Date: *happy sigh* Oh, that was sweet. I liked the ending, though it was still a bit sparse on the details. 

Relationship Status: Just Friends, but that's a good thing.
I'm not exactly sur if Forget Me Not is the kind of book that rocks your world, but it totally made me relax. I liked Claire and Stefan well enough, and I loved the whole amnesia thing and how they had to work around their issues. That was fun.

It took me about 2 or 3 hours to read the whole book, and by the end I was feeling happy and relaxed. That's the kind of book this is.


What's a Book Speed Date, you ask? It's a quickie review--about 150 words or so--of any genre book (variety is the spice of life, after all).

If you want to join in or just read other speed date reviews, check out The Book Swarm

Ps -Review copy provided by the Publisher via Net Galley