…you should be pretty darn sure the answer will be yes. For ten years, Connor O'Rourke has been waiting for Jessica Dunn to take their on-again, off-again relationship public, and he thinks the time has come. His restaurant is thriving, she's got her dream job at Blue Heron Vineyard—it's the perfect time to get married.
When he pops the question, however, her answer is a fond but firm no. If it ain't broke, why fix it? Jess has her hands full with her younger brother, who's now living with her full-time, and a great career after years of waitressing. What she and Connor have is perfect: friends with an excellent benefits package. Besides, with her difficult past (and reputation), she's positive married life isn't for her.
But this time, Connor says it's all or nothing. If she doesn't want to marry him, he'll find someone who does. Easier said than done, given that he's never loved anyone but her. And maybe Jessica isn't quite as sure as she thinks…
And thus, one of my favorite Contemporary Romance series comes to an end. *queue the tears*
Connor and Jessica have always been a bit of a mystery, and in Anything For You we find out why! They’ve kept their on-and-off relationship a secret from everyone for YEARS. Jessica had a really rough childhood. She’s grown up having to take care of herself and her brother. She’s super guarded and headstrong (ok, maybe stubborn is the better word), and she also doesn’t believe her and Connor could ever have a real future, due mostly to the fact that her brother HATES him. There’s a whole childhood flashback story that explains the sad circumstances as to why this is the case that totally made me cry. I’m a sucker, ok! There was a dog involved.
Connor is overly positive that if Jessica just let him try, her brother could get past it. He goes above and beyond in this book, but sometimes behind her back and yes, it backfires at a certain point. It felt like Connor was always trying and Jess was always shutting him down, so of course they frustrated me at times. But it all works out in the end! Connor stops trying so hard and Jess learns to let go of the tightly held reigns of her life and they are able to work things out… in the very end. :)
I’m sad to see this series come to a close but it was a great ending. I look forward to seeing what new characters Kristan Higgins will make me fall in love with next.
About Kristan Higgins
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins writes down-to-earth romantic comedies…real life, true love and lots of laughs.
Kristan fell in love with romance at the age of 13, when she stole her grandmother’s copy of Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Much of her adolescence was spent mentally rewriting the end of Gone With the Wind. After a career in public relations and advertising, she started writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. She is the author of seven romantic comedies and absolutely loves her job. Mom of two great kids, wife of a heroic firefighter and owner of a very cute mutt, Kristan lives in Connecticut.
I first heard this song late last year and didn’t think much of it at first listen, but the more I heard it the more I reeeeeally liked it. So if at first you’re not convinced, give it a few more listens. Trust me!
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.
The auditorium doors won't open.
Someone starts shooting.
Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.
This is not an easy book to read, but it is also a very moving and powerful story. This is Where it Ends is a story about a school shooting, it takes place in the span of 54 minutes and it is nerve wracking. The students and teachers are trapped inside with the shooter and the reader gets to go on this terrifying journey with them. There are four different POV and while some people may not like this I think it added to the story. It allows the reader to see different sides of what’s going on during the shooting. Some of the characters are stuck inside with the shooter and others are on the outside worried for their friends and family. It lets you in on both sides of the story, the people who are experiencing the shooting first hand, and those on the outside scared for their friends and loved ones.
The writing in this book is really beautiful and heartbreaking. There were times when I just couldn’t put it down because I had to know what happened next and if the characters were safe. I really cared for the characters and felt their fear and pain while I was reading. This story just seemed very real to me, there are moment of bravery and utter terror from the characters and it easy to understand their actions and reasoning. All the the POV characters are connected to the shooter in some way and their reactions and interpretations to why he does this adds so much to the story. This isn’t a random person doing this horrible thing, it’s somebody they know, someone they dated, even someone one of them is related to. Going through the emotions with these characters is intense.
The only thing I didn’t like about the book were the tweets and blog posts shown in between chapters from the students and others about the shooting. I just didn’t think they were necessary. I understand that they were there to show the good that social media can do and how it can help to connect people, but the book would have been just fine without them.
This is Where it Ends may not be for everyone. It is violent and the different POV may not work for some readers, but I think everyone should give it a chance. It’s an important topic and a really gripping story.
About Marieke Nijkamp
Marieke Nijkamp was born and raised in the Netherlands. A lifelong student of stories, language, and ideas, she is more or less proficient in about a dozen languages and holds degrees in philosophy, history, and medieval studies. She is a storyteller, dreamer, globe-trotter, geek. Her debut young adult novel This Is Where It Ends, a contemporary story that follows four teens over the course of the fifty-four minutes of a school shooting, is published by Sourcebooks Fire.
Since this week is a TTT freebie, I decided to make a list of all the series I’ve yet to finish (or move beyond the 1st book!) Here is my list:
Forever Odd by Dean Koontz: This is the 2nd book in the Odd Thomas series. I loved the first one and plan on reading the entire season, I just haven’t gotten there yet.
Pretties by Scott Westerfeld: The 2nd book in the Uglies series. I didn’t dislike the first Uglies book but it was recommended to me by a die hard fan and it didn’t live up to all her hype. I will finish the series but I am not in a huge hurry to do so.
Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard: The third and final book in the Something Strange and Deadly series. This is going to sound stupid but I can’t let this one end. I liked it a lot, and I just don’t want to know how it ends. Maybe I will finish it, maybe I won’t but Eleanor and Daniel will live forever in my heart going on great adventures.
The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige: Number 2 in the in Dorothy Must Die series. I’m actually angry at myself for not getting to this one. I really liked Dorothy Must Die, I thought it was a cool twist on a classic.
Die Again by Tess Gerritsen: This is another series I am obsessed with, Tess Gerritsen is one of my favorite authors. Normally when a new Rizzoli and Isles book comes out I strategically plan to spend the day alone with my book. I must catch up!
It looks like I need to just choose a month and try and knock out all these books, there are so many that I started and just never moved to the next book…maybe I should make this my New Years resolution!
In a perfect world, sixteen-year-old Phoebe Martins’ life would be a book. Preferably a YA novel with magic and a hot paranormal love interest. Unfortunately, her life probably wouldn’t even qualify for a quiet contemporary. But when Phoebe finds out that Dev, the hottest guy in the clarinet section, might actually have a crush on her, she turns to her favorite books for advice. Phoebe overhauls her personality to become as awesome as her favorite heroines and win Dev’s heart. But if her plan fails, can she go back to her happy world of fictional boys after falling for the real thing?
I really enjoyed reading Bookishly Ever After, it was sooooo cute! Relatable, swoony, diverse, and the perfect book to start off 2016. Phoebe reminded me so much of my high school self, as I’m sure many other bookworms can relate. I didn’t read YA in high school (2000-2004, I’m ancient) but I did read a lot of Harry Potter and spy thrillers; I was quiet, somewhere in the middle of the social hierarchy, had a great group of friends (def crushed on one of them), and had a fantasy crush on a super hot guy one year older than me who didn’t know I existed. So yes, I relate :P
One cool thing about this book is that we got to read parts of Phoebe’s favorite books! She was using all the romance tropes and tips in her fantasy and paranormal books for dating advice, and honestly I wanted to read those books too! I really appreciated that the author didn’t name drop current titles, which would make the book feel dated. Instead, she created original titles and excerpts with very familiar characters and storylines, so you definitely got the point. And Phoebe is a YA nut, I love it! I’ve had the feelings she experiences while reading and talking about books, and the scene waiting for her favorite author’s book signing was pitch perfect. I loved the way Bookishly Ever After embraced bookworm culture.
I also loved that Phoebe was’t just a bookworm though; she knits, she practices archery, she goes to dances, and she has close relationships with her friends and family. I loved her group of friends! They tended to be cliches on the outside but so much more once you got to know them. Grace is a popular blonde cheerleader with a girlfriend, Em is the dramatic but loyal theater geek, Alec is a quiet Jewish guy (and the character I feel like we got to know the least), and Dev is the Indian love interest with a flair for musical theater and good natured teasing. It’s a well-rounded group! The background characters aren’t as notable; there are mean girls, vapid jocks, and run of the mill parents. Also you guys: the romance and flirting and omg-I-think-my-friend-has-a-crush-on-me-do-I-like-him-back was SO GREAT! Phoebe was awkward but not in a cringeworthy way and Dev was adorable. I loved their relationship when Phoebe actually let her guard down once in awhile and acted like herself.
There *is* quite a bit of miscommunication which made me want to shake Phoebe because OH MY GOD GIRL, but you know how these books go. And the journey was flirty and cute as heck. We even get a really fun camp counselor sequence in the second half! It reminded me of working with 5th graders and talking Twilight and Harry Potter with them. Connecting with favorite books is great no matter the age of the reader.
Unfortunately, the formatting of the eArc almost made it unreadable- words were out of order and missing, it was irritating. However, I’m glad I kept reading and I’m happy that I preordered a finished copy. I also didn’t love the (totally believable) miscommunication and Phoebe was frustrating at times (sadly reminding me of myself as a teen haha), but I really loved the friendships, the romance, and the diversity of the characters themselves and their hobbies. Bookishly Ever After is a super cute fluffy contemporary that I definitely recommend for fans of The Art of Lainey, Meant to Be, and Anna and the French Kiss. It’s the first in a series of what I’m hoping are companion books. I’d love to get to know more about Alec and I’m sure Em will get her own book too!
About Isabel Bandeira
Isabel Bandeira grew up surrounded by trees and lakes in Southern New Jersey, right on the edge of the Pine Barrens. Her summers were always spent in Portugal, where the cathedrals, castles, and ancient tombs only fed her fairy tale obsession. Between all those influences and her serious glitter addiction, it wasn’t a surprise when she started writing stories of her own.
In her free time between writing and her day job as a Mechanical Engineer who designs and develops medical devices, she reads, dances, figure skates, and knits.
Isabel lives in New Jersey with her little black cat, too many books, and a closetful of vintage hats. She is represented by Carrie Howland of Donadio and Olson, Inc. BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER is her debut novel.
I really stacked the shelves in 2015, so my goal for 2016 is to buy more ebooks and reserve the physical book purchases for those I KNOW I’ll read within the month. So far, I’m staying on track! I know we’re less than a month into the year, but I’m really proud of myself! Lol
I’ll be reading one book a month from the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin and this week I finally purchased the physical copy of A Game of Thrones! This series is gonna look beautiful on my shelves!
My amazing co-logger Jess got me a copy of When We Collided by Emory Lord on her trip to ALAMW earlier this month!! Thank you, Jess!
Lastly, I received A Thousand Nights from Jackie as part of the Traveling Books Club and I’m already half way through!
I’ve added a few books to my shelves in the last few weeks most of them are middle grade. Since my daughter is participating in Battle of the Books for school we’ve been reading and quizzing each other non-stop! Here are the books I’ve picked up.
The only non-middle grade title I’ve picked up is Truthwitch. I was completely surprised when my Uppercase Box showed up with a signed hardcover! SQUEE!
I’m not going to lie, the cover of Crenshaw really grabbed me, I had to know why there was a giant cat on the cover.
Everyone in Moorvale believes the legend: The brave knight Tristan and the famed wizard Vithric, in an epic battle decades ago, had defeated the evil Nethergrim and his minions. To this day, songs are sung and festivals held in the heroes' honor. Yet now something dark has crept over the village. First animals disappear, their only remains a pile of bones licked clean. Then something worse: children disappear. The whispers begin quietly yet soon turn into a shout: The Nethergrim has returned!
Edmund’s brother is one of the missing, and Edmund knows he must do something to save his life. But what? Though a student of magic, he struggles to cast even the simplest spell. Still, he and his friends swallow their fear and set out to battle an ancient evil whose powers none of them can imagine. They will need to come together--and work apart--in ways that will test every ounce of resolve.
I’ve been holding onto this mini review since I read the book in April 2014 and with the sequel coming out in May, it seems like the perfect time to share! I was so very impressed by The Nethergrim. It was darker and grimmer than I expected, but had that thread of hope in it that reminded me of both the first Harry Potter and the Seven Realms series. I was drawn in from the start and thought it was such an enthralling adventure. I loved Edmund and Katherine and Tom, though I felt desperately sorry for him. They were believable albeit very brave 14 year olds. I loved the legends and the magic system. And I just loved the writing, it was crisp and melancholy, menacing and exciting. I also thought the story wrapped up nicely for a first book while leaving plenty of adventure to be had. Highly recommended for fantasy fans, it’s the kind of book I would have loved in middle school that can still be enjoyed and appreciated by adults. To wrap up, I thought a little quest music was in order (primarily from 0:01-0:55)!
The Freshman is one of those songs from the 90s that you never forget. The lyrics point to a sad story of abortion and suicide. And according to the song’s wiki page it’s partly true, which I never knew.
So for funsies, tell me what school grade or how old you were when this song came out: March 26, 1996. I was in 8th grade!
Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.
That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.
Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.
Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.
Fangirl was one of my favorite books a couple years ago and I enjoyed all the Simon Snow parts, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read Carry On. I’m glad I chose to because I read this behemoth in a DAY and it was so much fun! From the first chapter, I was hooked. I loved the Harry Potterness that felt like a wink wink rather than something derivative. It felt clever and like a magical system and fantasy world fully realized on its own, with parallels and allusions for Potter fans to find. I also liked the allusions to past events and adventures in Simon’s world. Plus Simon’s preoccupation with food was adorable and very funny.
At first the spells annoyed me but then I decided I liked them- instead of made up words like Alohamora, they are rooted in the power of real life words and phrases, like Up up and away– it’s more about the intention behind the words. And I liked the Humdrum business! The mystery was intriguing and I liked the different viewpoints which helped piece it all together.
I loved (most) of the characters and I REALLY loved Simon, Baz, and Penelope. All amazing for different reasons…. sort of Harry/Draco/Hermione in this case! Simon and Penny had the best friendship, she might have been my favorite. As far as romance, I could have done with more (on page) kissing but I always want more kissing and oh my god the first kiss was worth the wait! The tension throughout the book between Simon and Baz was unreal! Hate to love is the best and they had such chemistry. I loved watching their relationship shift.
My main gripe is that I wish a few of the revelations had come to light in the end. I feel like we as an audience knew enough but I wanted the characters to uncover the truth too. Particularly related to the Lucy chapters. But otherwise this was super fun and makes me want to read Fangirl again as well. If you like hate-to-love romance, a cheeky magical system, character friendships, and easy to understand but well-done world building, read Carry On. It’s worth it.
Firstly, my TBTB Secret Santa this year was the wonderful Estelle of Rather Be Reading and she spoiled me with all the ebooks she got me throughout December then finishing with a great box of goodies, which included Girl Before a Mirror. Thank you, Estelle!
I had some gift cards saved up and decided it was time to go on a book buying binge! (I’ve been working on my impulsive book buying.) I now have the complete Demon Love Spell manga series! I was missing the last 4 to complete the set. I also got the first book in the My Monster Secret manga series that just became available in the US this month. Lastly, I had to pick up Passenger and Truthwitch because I’ve been hearing such good things about them. So excited!
This is my first year to actually sign up for reading challenges! I signed up for two. Yay for firsts!
This year Jess (our blog president and founder) of Gone With The Wordsand Danielle of Love at First Page are hosting this challenge, so of course I had to partake. I typically read some contemporary romances every year, it’s not my most read genre but I do enjoy them a great deal! I also found I own lots of great ones that I haven’t gotten around to reading. I am excited!
I am challenging myself to read at least 20 fantasy books this year. I have chosen the below books to read for this challenge. I am almost certain this list will grow, but I think this is a good start! Hashtag#flightsoffantasy
This will be my first year participating in reading challenges and I think I’ve really picked some winners! I will be doing a total of 4 challenges and I’m excited to have each one of them really push me in 2016.
This year I’m participating in two challenges. I’ve never participated in any challenges before so this is all new to me and I’m just going to jump right in. I wanted to try to read more of a variety of books, and I love a good challenge so this will keep me on my toes. :)
The first challenge is the Six Squared Reading Challenge hosted by Amber at BookstackAmber. There are six categories in this challenge and you have to read six books in each category for a total of 36 books. I’m really excited about this one because this will help me get to all those debuts I’m looking forward to and those I missed from last year.
My second challenge is the Contemporary Romance 2016 Reading Challenge hosted by our own Jess! I love this challenge! Last year I started to realize that I read a lot of contemporary romances and I didn’t even realize it. This seems like a good way to keep track. I’m going for a Home Run (16-20 books), I think I can do this and maybe even more! I’m taking this challenge month by month too because I know I change my mind too often to plan out the whole year. Hashtag: #ContRom2016
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir: I was really excited about this and I’ve heard great things about it, but just didn’t get the chance to pick it up last year. A lot of other books came out and I just got distracted and forgot to read this one. It’s still one my TBR and I plan to red it some time soon.
The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski: I loved The Winner’s Curse; I read it in one sitting and was dying for the sequel. The thing is, when I really love a book like I did this one I also get very nervous about the sequels. I don’t want the story to be ruined or I get scared to see where things are headed. That’s why I think I kept pushing this back and just ended up not picking it up at all. I will get to it soon though, probably after the final book comes out so I can just read them all together.
Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray: This is another one of those books that makes me nervous. I loved The Diviners so much and I don’t want this to disappoint. Plus, this book is pretty long and I just didn’t have the time to really sit down and read it like I wanted to.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas: I have no excuse for this one. I love Sarah J. Maas, but I’m so behind on her books. I still haven’t read Heir of Fire and I think I was trying to get caught up on that series before I jump into another one. However, I got a signed copy from my #TBTB Santa, so I will be reading this soon.
The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor's ball.
Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year's only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin's brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael's every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?
I’ve said it before, I don’t really read historical fiction. But after reading this book I’m questioning that decision! I’m sure not every historical fiction title has skinshifters but I’m really starting to warm up to the idea of reading more historical fiction, maybe!
With that being said, I’m not a big fan of reading sad and depressing books in which thousands of people die for no reason, I just get really angry. In this particular book though, the main character Yael, was brought to a Nazi death camp with her family. She was chosen for an expirement and was pumped full of mysterious drugs that allowed her to change her eye color, skin color and hair color, basically be anyone she wants to be. Now this puts a new twist to the story because Yael can change into anyone she needs to be to complete her mission (kill Hitler). The story bounces back and forth between the past and the present, which sometimes is bothersome and confusing but I found it to be more mysterious and surprising. I really enjoyed Wolf by Wolf, I thought it had an interesting twist and I didn’t get bored! Of course I got curious about the motorcycles they used for the race so I had to look them up! Here they are.
I am glad this book came across my radar, (through November Uppercase Box). I’m not sure this is a title I would have picked up on my own but I am really glad I read it!
2015 was a GREAT year in music for me. I found so much new music to love and reconnected with old favorites too. I went to million concerts–exaggerating, of course. :)
Here’s all the concerts I went to:
Feb: Motion City Soundtrack
Mar: John Legend
Mar: Fall Out Boy
July: Third Eye Blind/Dashboard Confessional/Augustana
July: The Avett Brothers
Sept: Kelly Clarkson/Pentatonix/Eric Hutcherson
Sept: Ed Sheeran/Christina Perri
Sept: Passion Pit/Atlas Genius
Nov: Motion City Soundtrack
Dec: CHVRCHES/Robert Delong
Whoooooa! Right?! I feel very lucky.
Because of all the concerts I went to, all of TOP spotify lists had some of the above bands in them. Check it out!
Ok, so today I don’t have a specific song for you guys, but instead I’m sharing my whole Thursday Tracks Spotify Playlist, where you can listen to all the songs I’ve posted thus far. Let me know if any of them made your favorites!
Mina is top of her class, girlfriend to the most ambitious guy in school, able to reason and study her way through anything. But when she suddenly finds herself pregnant—despite having never had sex—her orderly world collapses. Almost nobody believes Mina’s claims of virginity. Her father assumes that her boyfriend is responsible; her boyfriend believes she must have cheated on him. As news of Mina’s story spreads, there are those who brand her a liar. There are those who brand her a heretic. And there are those who believe that miracles are possible—and that Mina’s unborn child could be the greatest miracle of all.
When I read the premise of Immaculate I just had to get my hands on the book. An immaculate conception in present day? I was curious to see how this would go. Seventeen year old Mina is a virgin and she’s pregnant. Of course, everyone thinks she’s lying. Her friends and family turn on her, her boyfriend breaks up with her, and her perfect life starts to fall to pieces. I really loved the topic of this book because it made me think. If someone you knew told you this story would you believe them?
Mina is a good girl, she follows the rules, gets good grades, and never does anything reckless. One day an old woman comes into the restaurant where Mina works as a waitress and starts to tell her about her future and the baby she will have. Mina writes the old lady off as crazy and goes on with her life. A few weeks later Mina finds out she’s pregnant and maybe that old lady wasn’t so crazy after all.
Going into this book I thought it would be religious or preachy but it wasn’t at all. Mina is not religious and the book focuses more on having faith in things and believing in miracles. Mina goes through many ups and downs , she has to have faith that all this is happening for a reason and that it all means something.
I felt awful for Mina while I was reading. She goes through so much and so many people she trusts turn on her, even members of her family. The people at school make fun of her, her ex thinks she betrayed him, and even some of her best friends turn their backs on her. It’s hard to read sometimes because people are so awful to Mina. People she doesn’t even know feel the need to have input on her and the baby’s life. On the other hand, I can understand why people are so doubtful and unbelieving. If someone told me the same story I’m not sure I’d believe them. That disbelief and curiosity go to some extremes in this book. People are determined to find out if Mina’s lying and it’s really crazy how perfect strangers get so invested and involved in what’s going on with Mina and the baby.
My biggest problem with this book is the ending. I just wanted more. I felt like there was a lot more we needed to know and so many answers we never got. It was a really emotional book and the ending just felt very flat and vague. Other than that, I really enjoyed the book and the characters. Mina was a great protagonist and I was rooting for her the whole time. I really liked this book and the message it sends. It wasn’t too preachy or religious, it focuses more on family, bullying, friendships, and how to stand up for your beliefs.