Bitsy Words: Dating Sarah Cooper by Siera Maley

15th Jul 2016 Morgan @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bitsy Words, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge, Reviews, Reviews by Morgan

Bitsy Words: Dating Sarah Cooper by Siera Maley

Bitsy Words: Dating Sarah Cooper by Siera MaleyDating Sarah Cooper by Siera Maley
Published by Author
Pub Date: July 30th 2014
Pages: 242
Format: eBook | Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, LGBT, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

Katie Hammontree and Sarah Cooper have been best friends since the 2nd grade. Katie's welcoming, tight-knit family is a convenient substitute for Sarah when her distant parents aren't around, and Sarah's abrasive, goal-oriented personality gels well with Katie's more laid-back approach to life.
But when a misunderstanding leads to the two of them being mistaken for a couple and Sarah uses the situation to her advantage, Katie finds herself on a roller coaster ride of ambiguous sexuality and confusing feelings. How far will Sarah go to keep up the charade, and why does kissing her make Katie feel more alive than kissing her ex-boyfriend Austin ever did? And how will their new circle of gay friends react when the truth comes out?

This is the kind of fluff I’m always looking for! I read Dating Sarah Cooper in about 4 hours and I really loved it. First of all, Katie and Sarah are extremely likeable despite the very unlikeable fake dating scenario they find themselves in at the start of the book. I loved their voices (especially Sarah) and I really liked the other characters as well. Not all of them were super fleshed out but there’s a good bit of “more than meets the eye” going on.

 

I also adored Katie’s parents and how close and supportive they were of her. One of my favorite scenes is when they reassure her they’ve always “known” about Katie because Katie isn’t even sure what she knows about herself! It was very sweet, but also kind of hilarious and a good turning point. Their quarterly family date night was such a fun idea too!

Not being LGBT myself (but knowing this book comes highly recommended from people who are), I thought Dating Sarah Cooper did a really wonderful job of exploring sexuality, prejudice, and how that all gets confused and fits into high school life. I loved watching Katie’s journey especially, the way she explained and sorted through her feelings, and gosh, this book was just CUTE ok!?! And had some very swoony kissing and really nice friendships. I totally loved it.

 

 

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Bitsy Words: From This Day Forward by Lauren Layne

8th Jul 2016 Rubi @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bitsy Words, Blog Tours, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge, Reviews, Reviews by Rubi

Bitsy Words: From This Day Forward by Lauren Layne

Bitsy Words: From This Day Forward by Lauren LayneFrom This Day Forward by Lauren Layne
Series: The Wedding Belles #0.5
Published by Pocket Star
Pub Date: June 6th 2016
Pages: 103
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

Up-and-coming wedding photographer Leah McHale's career is on the rise - thanks in no small part to the Wedding Belles, the elite New York wedding planning agency that always throws top-tier business Leah's way. So when one of the Belles asks Leah to fill in at the former First Daughter's wedding, Leah is overjoyed to say yes - until she finds out who she'll be working with.

Jason Rhodes is the one man who was able to capture Leah's heart and, once he had it, promptly stepped all over it and left her broken. Now he's working side-by-side with her at the biggest wedding of the season and Leah is determined to give him the cold shoulder. Despite his persistence, she is not going to fall for his charming, impish ways again. Not even if he still has that killer, irresistible smile...

I went into this novella thinking it was written as way of introducing us to The Wedding Belles series as a whole. I expected it to tease us a bit and was really looking forward to meeting the characters. What I got was a mini standalone – and I loved it!

This was my first Lauren Layne book and I’ve already added her other series to my TBR. Her writing style captures you in a way that makes you feel connected to her characters. I got to know them so much more in this short story than I have past characters with 300+ pages. These 100 pages really packed a punch!

From This Day Forward is the story of Leah and Jason who are both successful wedding photographers in their early 30s. After having dated for a couple of months, their relationship came to an abrupt end and they haven’t seen or spoken to each other in a year. Leah is offered the opportunity of working the former First Daughter’s wedding, but she isn’t thrilled about having to work it with Jason. I loved how strong and assertive of a female lead Leah played and I couldn’t get enough of how much Jason loved to rattle her. He had an amazing ability to unnerve both her and me! Lol There’s crazy chemistry between the pair and, as the reader, you will find yourself rooting hard for these two!

“Nothing had burned hotter than him and Leah together. And nothing had been quite so cold as the year that followed, when Leah had iced him out of her life entirely.” 

This was a great way to kick off The Wedding Belles series and I can’t wait to read the next book, To Have and to Hold!

 

About Lauren Layne

Lauren Layne used to work in e-commerce. She wore cute shoes and big-girl clothes like an adult.

Then she was like, nope, changed into her pajamas and started writing romance novels.

She believes in sarcasm, weekday happy hours, and happily ever after.

Rubi @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Bitsy Words: The Devil You Know by Trish Doller + Giveaway!

30th Jun 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bitsy Words, Giveaways, Reviews, Reviews by Jess, Tunes for Books

Bitsy Words: The Devil You Know by Trish Doller + Giveaway!

Bitsy Words: The Devil You Know by Trish Doller + Giveaway!The Devil You Know by Trish Doller
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pub Date: June 28th 2016
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback | Genres: New Adult, Romance, Suspense, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4.5 Stars

From critically-acclaimed author Trish Doller comes a powerful new psychological page-turner perfect for fans of Lauren Oliver and Sara Zarr.

Eighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. They invite her and friend to join them on a road trip, and it's just the risk she's been craving--the opportunity to escape. But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions.

A road trip turns terrifying in this contemporary story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

The Devil You Know was just released in paperback and since I’ve read AND listened to the audiobook and have yet to post a review for it, I thought now would be a great time to do so, PLUS offer my friends a chance to win a copy!

Trish Doller delivers the perfect Summer suspense beach read in The Devil You Know. Not only is it a page-turner, it’s also SEXY AS HELL. Trish gives us TWO hot guys in this book, but only one of them is a good guy… the other one could turn out to be a straight up killer. DUN DUN DUUUUUN.

I love Trish’s writing. It’s always so lush and atmospheric. I could literally picture the outdoors in this one, as well as feel that humid heat. Grant it, the humidity is not a stretch for me to imagine considering I live in it here in Texas, but she made it to where you’ll feel it anywhere you live.

Audiobook lovers!

I re-read this through audio and OMG, IT WAS FANTASTIC! The audiobook only builds on the suspense in the story. The performance by Susannah Jones was spot on. I highly recommend you listen to this book.

Trish also has some really great visuals and music to go along with The Devil You Know
 

 

Giveaway

The Devil You Know by Trish Doller – Paperback Giveaway!

 

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Bitsy Words: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

24th Jun 2016 Morgan @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bitsy Words, Reviews, Reviews by Morgan

Bitsy Words: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

Bitsy Words: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon ThomasA Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas
Series: A Wicked Thing #1
Published by HarperTeen
Pub Date: February 24th 2015
Pages: 337
Format: Hardcover | Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3.5 Stars

Rhiannon Thomas's dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of Sleeping Beauty and what happens after happily ever after.

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept. 

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world … and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before.

I enjoyed A Wicked Thing a lot! It was the perfect fairy tale feel that I’m always looking for and I loved the twist, thinking about what would happen to Sleeping Beauty when she woke up. It was well done and felt believable. I really liked the setting at the castle, and the snippets of history, as well as watching Aurora come to terms with her predicament. I loved Aurora as a character but I didn’t feel very connected to anyone else. Rodric is sweet but bland, the king is cliche, and I’m verrrry interested in Finnegan but he was almost too smooth. Banter is always a plus, though. I also wish more happened but it did get exciting in the second half. I can’t wait to read the sequel! Overall, I loved the detailed setting, Aurora’s love of books, and the language; I just wanted more connection to the characters (aside from Aurora, who I thought was fleshed out nicely). If you enjoy fairy tale retellings, it’s worth a shot!

 

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Bitsy Words: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

10th Jun 2016 Morgan @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bitsy Words, Reviews, Reviews by Morgan

Bitsy Words: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Bitsy Words: The Song of Achilles by Madeline MillerThe Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Published by Ecco
Pub Date: August 28th 2012
Pages: 378
Format: Paperback | Source: Purchased
Genres: Adult Fiction, Historical, LGBT
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their difference, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper - despite the displeasure of Achilles' mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess.

But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear. 

The Song of Achilles is an absolutely striking novel. The writing is exquisite and lovely; it’s sparse but uses the most wonderful descriptions and turns of phrase. I’ve read and watched my fair share of Troy adaptations but this is the best. It felt fresh and original, accessible, and brought to life these magnificent doomed characters. Ohhhh how you feel for them. The relationship between Patroclus and Achilles is everything you could wish for in a tragic romance. Whether you know the story or not (I did), you can see the twists of fate that bring them closer and closer to impending doom and ugh, it’s horrible not being able to do anything about it!!!

(source)

Madeline Miller humanizes Achilles and makes him a compelling hero worth following, while she raises Patroclus to new heights. There are traces of the gods but it doesn’t feel hokey or intrusive, any more than it is supposed to. Odysseus, Thetis, and Briseis also shine as characters. I felt transported back in time to this incredible story. The emotions are overwhelming and burrowed into my soul. The language is evocative and the action is fierce, the romance tender. Historical fiction fans must read this; I’m so glad I did. I hope we don’t have to wait much longer for Miller’s next novel!

Tumblr is a treasure trove of mood boards, fan art, and on-point fan reactions to The Song of Achilles. Here are a few links to check out:
The Song of Achilles aesthetics
Achilles/Patroclus moodboard
Modern Patrochilles AU aesthetics
The Song of Captain America
Spoilers for Disney fans

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Bitsy Words: Fly With Me by Chanel Cleeton

3rd Jun 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bitsy Words, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Bitsy Words: Fly With Me by Chanel Cleeton

Bitsy Words: Fly With Me by Chanel CleetonFly With Me by Chanel Cleeton
Series: Wild Aces #1
Published by Berkley
Pub Date: May 3rd 2016
Pages: 320
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Noah Miller—call sign Burn—loves nothing more than flying hard and fast. When he meets a gorgeous and sassy woman while partying in Las Vegas, he immediately locks on to her.

Jordan Callahan owns a thriving clothing boutique, but her love life is far less successful. Her luck changes when six feet, two inches of sexy swagger asks her to dance and turns her world upside down.

One scorching weekend becomes an undeniable chemistry that they can’t leave in Vegas. But the long distance relationship and their different lives threaten to ground their romance. And when the dangers of Noah’s job become all too real, Jordan learns being with a fighter pilot means risking it all for a shot at love…

There’s something really sexy about Air Force pilots. Maybe it’s the aviators, I don’t know! But as soon as I saw Chanel Cleeton was writing this, I knew it would be SPOT ON. How do I know this? Read her bio. ;) SHE KNOWS WHAT SHE’S TALKING ABOUT.

I’m always a fan of Chanel’s books and they seem to get more polished the more she writes. This one was really well done. I loved the sexiness, the emotional moments, the drama was never over the top… it was just everything I love about a good romance novel.

Jordan and Noah’s eye meet across the dance floor of a Vegas club and it was lust at first sight. There’s something to be said about a strong physical connection. These two had it and it worked for them. I loved how committed they became to each other even though they were a long distance apart. Both Jordan and Noah found something in each other that they’d been missing and their love story just unfolded, albeit non-traditionally, but certainly in beautiful way.

We got to meet a lot of Noah’s squad in Fly With Me, and talk about #suadgoals. I feel like there’s some even more emotional stories on the way from this group and I’m really looking forward to them.

Start your summer romance reading fun with this sexy book!

 

About Chanel Cleeton

Originally a Florida girl, at seventeen Chanel moved to London to attend an international university. In the four years that followed, she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, learned how to dance, travelled through Europe, and made lifelong friendships. Chanel fell in love with London and planned to stay there forever. But fate intervened on a Caribbean cruise, when an American fighter pilot with smooth dance moves, swept her off her feet.

Now, a happily ever after later, Chanel is living her next adventure in South Korea. An avid reader and hopeless romantic, she is happiest curled up with a book. She has a weakness for handbags, puppy cuddles, and her fighter pilot husband. Chanel writes New Adult contemporary romances and Young Adult thrillers. Her New Adult debut, I SEE LONDON, will be released by Harlequin (HQN) on February 3, 2014, followed by a sequel, LONDON FALLING, later in the year.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Bitsy Words: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

22nd Apr 2016 Morgan @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bitsy Words, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge, Reviews, Reviews by Morgan

Bitsy Words: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

Bitsy Words: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn BennettThe Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Pub Date: November 3rd 2015
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover | Source: Library
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she’s spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Da Vinci’s footsteps, she’s ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital’s Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.

Jack is charming, wildly attractive, and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who Jack really is—and tries to uncover what he’s hiding that leaves him so wounded. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in her family’s closet tear them apart? 

I finished The Anatomical Shape of a Heart at 1am in one sitting. OH MY GOD. It was barely on my radar until I read Christina’s review recently. She and I see eye to eye on many bookish topics but I still did not expect to love this so much! I loved the vibrant San Francisco setting and the multitude of interesting characters. The book had a lot of depth and heart along with humor and a liberal dose of shippy goodness. Oh my lorddddd the flirting damn near killed me and that was before any kissing! Bex and Jack are wonderful together for many different reasons, which is why it’s so satisfying. They complement each other and their relationship spun some tropes on their head, which I always like to see. The book was engrossing, and a fast read that covered a host of important topics including honesty, parent/child relationships, the value of art, and various forms of mental health.

 


 

I will be 100% honest with you, it didn’t hurt that I could picture Jack as Zayn Malik perfectlyyyyyy in his pompadour fluffy hair days and leather jackets and dark eyes. Sigh. And I think Lucy Hale or Willa Holland could be a good Bex. If you like books with banter, family matters, art, science, a smattering of spirituality, detailed cityscapes, and a LOT OF PERFECT SHIPPING FLIRTY PERFECTNESS, please read The Anatomical Shape of a Heart!

 

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Bitsy Words: Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach

18th Apr 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bitsy Words, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Bitsy Words: Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach

Bitsy Words: Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy WallachThanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach
Narrator: Francisco Pryor Garat
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio
Pub Date: February 23rd 2016
Length: 6 hrs and 24 mins
Format: Audiobook | Source: Publisher
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3 Stars

Tommy Wallach, the New York Times bestselling author of the “stunning debut” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) We All Looked Up, delivers a brilliant new novel about a young man who overcomes a crippling loss and finds the courage to live after meeting an enigmatic girl.

“Was this story written about me?”
I shrugged.
“Yes or no?”
I shrugged again, finally earning a little scowl, which somehow made the girl even more pretty.
“It’s very rude not to answer simple questions,” she said.
I gestured for my journal, but she still wouldn’t give it to me. So I took out my pen and wrote on my palm.
I can’t, I wrote. Then, in tiny letters below it: Now don’t you feel like a jerk?

Parker Santé hasn’t spoken a word in five years. While his classmates plan for bright futures, he skips school to hang out in hotels, killing time by watching the guests. But when he meets a silver-haired girl named Zelda Toth, a girl who claims to be quite a bit older than she looks, he’ll discover there just might be a few things left worth living for.

From the celebrated author of We All Looked Up comes a unique story of first and last loves.

At the beginning of Thanks for the Trouble I thought we were going to have ourselves a manic-pixie-dream-girl situation on our hands, and while I’m not one to mind them as much as others, I do find them tiresome sometimes. What I ended up getting was more of a mix between a John Green novel, Tuck Everlasting, and Age of Adaline, which was not a bad thing at all.

I liked the story and thought the character of Parker was done very well. Parker has selective mutism and is pretty withdrawn and Zelda definitely helps him come closer to overcoming that. I was not expecting Zelda’s character to turn out to be more than an eccentric teenage girl, but I think that aspect added a nice surprise. I think the reason I didn’t love the book though was that I didn’t feel an emotional connection to these characters. There’s a thing that happens at the end that should have left me sad, but instead I didn’t feel anything. I loved the wonderfully written prose and that Parker is latino because we don’t see that a lot. There’s also a lot of mini-adventures that happen throughout the story that I thought were really fun.

Audiobook Notes

What really made this book for me was the narration by Francisco Pryor Garat. His accent really brought Parker to life. He had perfect timing and read at the perfect speed. (I usually have to speed up most narrators because they read too slowly.) I hope he decides to narrate more books!

 

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Bitsy Words: Call Me, Maybe by Ellie Cahill

15th Apr 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bitsy Words, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Bitsy Words: Call Me, Maybe by Ellie Cahill

Bitsy Words: Call Me, Maybe by Ellie CahillCall Me, Maybe by Ellie Cahill
Published by Loveswept
Pub Date: February 9th 2016
Pages: 217
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3.5 Stars

Clementine Daly knows she’s the black sheep. Her wealthy, powerful family has watched her very closely since she almost got caught in an embarrassing scandal a few years ago. So when Clementine’s sent on a mission to live up to the Daly name, politely declining isn’t an option. Of course, the last thing she does before boarding the plane is to grab a stranger’s phone by mistake—leaving the hunky journalist with her phone. Soon his sexy voice is on the line, but he doesn’t know her real name, or her famous pedigree—which is just the way Clementine likes it.

Despite all the hassles, Justin Mueller is intrigued to realize that the beautiful brown-eyed girl he met at the airport is suddenly at his fingertips. They agree to exchange phones when they’re both back in town, but after a week of flirty texts and wonderfully intimate conversations, Justin doesn’t want to let her go. The only problem? It turns out that Clemetine has been lying to him about, well, everything. Except for the one thing two people can’t fake, the only thing that matters: The heat between them is for real.

5 Things I Loved About Call Me, Maybe

  1. Love at First Text: Ok, not really but sort of! Clementine and Justin get to know each other on the phone for a whole week (thanks to their accidental phone swap) and toward the end of that week things start heating up! But it was really fun to see their chemistry developing by just talking with each other since physical attraction always plays a big role.
  2. Book Blogger In Da House: Clementine has this online persona where she’s a book blogger! It was so fun reading about all the random book blogging tidbits we all do. She loves books and at times I wondered how it could be so hard for her to choose what to do with her life when books are her passion.
  3. Justin Mueller: It’s been awhile since I’ve read a guy so dorky but sexy at the same time. This guy checks so many of the book boyfriend boxes, it was ridiculous. I loved him. Even with his flaws.
  4. It Was Funny: There were times where this book made me really laugh! It did make me get teary-eyed at one point too, but that’s mostly because I’m a weenie.
  5. Quick Read: If you’re looking for a fun, romantic, quick read, this is your book!

 

About Ellie Cahill

Ellie Cahill is a freelance writer and also writes books for young adults under the name Liz Czukas. She lives outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her husband, son, and the world’s loudest cat.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Bitsy Words: The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine

7th Apr 2016 Morgan @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bitsy Words, Reviews, Reviews by Morgan

Bitsy Words: The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine

Bitsy Words: The Impostor Queen by Sarah FineThe Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine
Series: The Impostor Queen #1
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pub Date: January 5th 2016
Pages: 432
Format: Hardcover | Source: Library
Genres: Fantasy, LGBT, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4.5 Stars

Sixteen-year-old Elli was only a child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic in service of her people. The only life Elli has known has been in the temple, surrounded by luxury, tutored by magic-wielding priests, preparing for the day when the queen perishes—and the ice and fire find a new home in Elli, who is prophesied to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between her love for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must choose the right side before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.

I thought The Impostor Queen was such a fantastic fantasy, it’s everything I always look for! The world-building details are doled out in just the right way.  I loved learning about the Valtia, the Kupari, and life in the temple. And I loved Elli from the start. She goes on a huge journey, physically and emotionally, throughout the book and I thought she was wonderful—strong, inquisitive, compassionate, and ready to learn. It’s also worth noting that she is bisexual, which is all too rare in YA and YA fantasy especially. I really loved how naturally it was presented as part of her character, and I loved Mim and Oskar both as love interests and as individuals.

 

Even the smallest secondary character had defining traits and a part to play. I loved Freya, Raimo, Sig, so many of the cave dwellers, and I absolutely hated the priests. There are quite a few surprises in the latter half and I really enjoyed seeing how the story unfolded. There is a lot of action and politics mixed in with the magic and romance. I also loved the magic system and how it was used in the book. It took an unoriginal idea (ice magic and fire magic, dual opposites), and made it feel fresh and original in how it manifested itself. There were some heartbreaking moments and scenes that were hard to read but overall I would recommend this without question to fantasy fans.

 

About Sarah Fine

Sarah Fine is a clinical psychologist and the author of the Servants of Fate and Guards of the Shadowlands series. She was born on the West Coast, raised in the Midwest, and is now firmly entrenched on the East Coast.

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Bitsy Words: You Were Here by Cori McCarthy

17th Mar 2016 Tamara @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bitsy Words, Reviews, Reviews by Tamara

Bitsy Words: You Were Here by Cori McCarthy

Bitsy Words: You Were Here by Cori McCarthyYou Were Here by Cori McCarthy
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Pub Date: March 1st 2016
Pages: 400
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
2.5 Stars

Grief turned Jaycee into a daredevil, but can she dare to deal with her past?

On the anniversary of her daredevil brother's death, Jaycee attempts to break into Jake's favorite hideout—the petrifying ruins of an insane asylum. Joined by four classmates, each with their own brand of dysfunction, Jaycee discovers a map detailing her brother's exploration and the unfinished dares he left behind.

As a tribute to Jake, Jaycee vows to complete the dares, no matter how terrifying or dangerous. What she doesn't bargain on is her eccentric band of friends who challenge her to do the unthinkable: reveal the parts of herself that she buried with her brother.

Jaycee’s brother Jake loved to do crazy stunts, he’d take any dare, and he lived for the adrenaline rush. One day, that love of the thrill cost Jake his life when one of his dangerous stunts kills him. Five years later, his sister Jaycee is still recovering from the lost and the trauma. Now, she wants to be just like Jake and tries to recreate moments in his life to feel closer to him.

The book follows several characters. Jaycee’s ex-friend Natalie, Natalie’s boyfriend Zach, their friend Bishop, and Jake’s childhood friend Mikivikious. Honestly, I didn’t connect with any of the characters. I didn’t find any of them particularly likable. That being said, I did like how each character had their own struggles to overcome throughout the story. They all had their own personal demons that they had to deal with. Mik was by far my favorite. He was quiet and supportive, all he wants is to help Jaycee. Plus, I really loved the illustrations that we’re given for his POV. One major downside was that with all the different POVs it was hard to give the characters the depth and focus they needed to make them a little more well rounded.

The pace of this book was a little slow, it was more character driven than plot driven, which was difficult for me because the characters were pretty bland. Overall, It is a good story about grief, finding yourself, and figuring out who you want to be.

 

 

Tamara @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Bitsy Words: Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson

4th Mar 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bitsy Words, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Bitsy Words: Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson

Bitsy Words: Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne JohnsonBe Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson
Narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Published by HarperAudio, William Morrow
Pub Date: February 2nd 2016
Pages: 304
Length: 8 hrs and 37 mins
Format: Audiobook | Source: Publisher
Genres: Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3.5 Stars

A sparkling talent makes her fiction debut with this infectious novel that combines the charming pluck of Eloise, the poignant psychological quirks of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and the page-turning spirit of Where’d You Go, Bernadette.

Reclusive literary legend M. M. “Mimi” Banning has been holed up in her Bel Air mansion for years. But after falling prey to a Bernie Madoff-style ponzi scheme, she’s flat broke. Now Mimi must write a new book for the first time in decades, and to ensure the timely delivery of her manuscript, her New York publisher sends an assistant to monitor her progress. The prickly Mimi reluctantly complies—with a few stipulations: No Ivy-Leaguers or English majors. Must drive, cook, tidy. Computer whiz. Good with kids. Quiet, discreet, sane.

When Alice Whitley arrives at the Banning mansion, she’s put to work right away—as a full-time companion to Frank, the writer’s eccentric nine-year-old, a boy with the wit of Noel Coward, the wardrobe of a 1930s movie star, and very little in common with his fellow fourth-graders.

As she slowly gets to know Frank, Alice becomes consumed with finding out who Frank’s father is, how his gorgeous “piano teacher and itinerant male role model” Xander fits into the Banning family equation—and whether Mimi will ever finish that book.

Full of heart and countless “only-in-Hollywood” moments, Be Frank with Me is a captivating and unconventional story of an unusual mother and son, and the intrepid young woman who finds herself irresistibly pulled into their unforgettable world.

It’s not often I read character driven adult fiction but I’ve been lucky to have really enjoyed the ones I’ve read. Be Frank With Me was one of those.

Julia Claiborne Johnson gives us such a unique cast of characters in Alice, Mimi, Xander, and of course, Frank. There were times when I didn’t really understand how Alice didn’t run away from the odd job she’d been assigned as babysitter essentially. But then more we get to know Frank, and the more we learn to deal with his and Mimi’s eccentricities, the more we grow to love him.

The book really kept me guessing on a few things throughout the story, from who Frank’s father was, to what Xander’s story and role were, to what in the world did Mimi type all day long! All the answers revealed at the end gave me such relief.

I loved just how humorous and at time outrages this story is. Tavia Gilbert, the narrator of this audiobook, delivered such an entertaining depiction of these characters. I especially loved her Frank delivery. There were lines of his dialogue that didn’t seem to leave room for her to take a breath in between words, and she delivered them spot on.

If you’re looking for an audiobook to keep you entertained definitely look into Be Frank With Me. You won’t be disappointed.

Check out this interview with Julia Claiborne Johnson (the author), and voice actress Tavia Gilbert (the audiobook narrator)!

 

 

About Julia Claiborne Johnson

Julia Claiborne Johnson

Julia Claiborne Johnson worked at Mademoiselle and Glamour magazines before marrying and moving to Los Angeles, where she lives with her comedy-writer husband and their two children.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Bitsy Words: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

26th Feb 2016 Morgan @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bitsy Words, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge, Reviews, Reviews by Morgan

Bitsy Words: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

Bitsy Words: The Art of Lainey by Paula StokesThe Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes
Series: The Art of Lainey #1
Published by HarperTeen
Pub Date: May 20th 2014
Pages: 376
Format: Paperback | Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be? 

One of my favorite contemporaries from the past couple years is The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes (I’ve read it twice!), so in honor of Valentine’s Day this month, here are a few reasons why:

  • It is very swoony and full of banter, and fake dating, and hate-to-love. Basically all of my favorite romantic tropes.
  • I loved Lainey’s character arc, watching her transform from who she thought she should be to who she actually is. It was very well done.
  • I loved the secondary characters, including Lainey’s spacey family, her friend Bianca, and Micah’s sister.
  • MICAH. I. LOVED. MICAH. He was something else. He’s sarcastic but secretly sweet, he’s mysterious, he’s a baker (!!). And the sizzling chemistry he has with Lainey is undeniable.
  • Time to board the ship!!! I marked a bazillion of my favorite Micah/Lainey moments, including my always favorite soccer scene.
  • There is a minor character that reminds me of Chris Evans, always a plus.

Micah would most definitely not approve, but Does He Know by One Direction totally makes me think of this one particular scene between Micah and Lainey at a music show. It reminds me of Lainey coming out of her shell and how she lets Micah see that side of her, a side that she kept hidden from her ex Jason. So now whenever I hear it, I can’t help thinking of Lainey and Micah :)

Do you agree? Have you read The Art of Lainey? Let me know!

 

 

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Bitsy Words: The Shadows by J.R. Ward

19th Feb 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bitsy Words, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Bitsy Words: The Shadows by J.R. Ward

Bitsy Words: The Shadows by J.R. WardThe Shadows by J.R. Ward
Narrator: Jim Frangione
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #13
Published by NAL
Pub Date: March 31st 2015
Pages: 592
Length: 22 hrs and 8 mins
Format: Audiobook | Source: Library
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

Two brothers bound by more than blood fight to change a brutal destiny in the heart-wrenching new novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by #1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward.

Trez “Latimer” doesn’t really exist. And not just because the identity was created so that a Shadow could function in the underbelly of the human world. Sold by his parents to the Queen of the S’Hsibe as a child, Trez escaped the Territory and has been a pimp and an enforcer in Caldwell, NY for years- all the while on the run from a destiny of sexual servitude. He’s never had anyone he could totally rely on... except for his brother, iAm.

iAm’s sole goal has always been to keep his brother from self-destructing- and he knows he’s failed. It’s not until the Chosen Serena enters Trez’s life that the male begins to turn things around... but by then it’s too late. The pledge to mate the Queen’s daughter comes due and there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no negotiating.

Trapped between his heart and a fate he never volunteered for, Trez must decide whether to endanger himself and others- or forever leave behind the female he’s in love with. But then an unimaginable tragedy strikes and changes everything. Staring out over an emotional abyss, Trez must find a reason to go on or risk losing himself and his soul forever. And iAm, in the name of brotherly love, is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice...

So I finally made time and caught up with my favorite vampires via audiobook. The book is massive, so I thought this would be a faster way since I can listen while working. Best. Decision. Ever! I just flew through this one! And I think it’s because I know these characters and this world so well, that I can speed up the narration and not miss a beat. Other audiobooks I have to listen more closely to miss anything and take me a while to get through because the narration is set to normal speed. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s ok. lol Just go with it!

I’ll be the first to admit that Trez and iAm have never really interested me all that much. I mean, sure, for most of the series they were just these twins who were Rev’s muscle. After this book, I’m a fan of the twins! I loved that J.R. Ward was able to give these two guys their own story in one book, although I’m not sure that both of their stories are completely resolved with a neat little bow. I wonder if we’ll see more on that later.

While the Bastards and Assail are part of this overall journey, they’re not as heavily featured toward the end of the book. I did love seeing so much of Rhage though! And it has me wondering what the heck is going on there. Something is definitely up, so bring on The Beast!

Audiobook Notes

Jim Frangione has become the voice of The Brotherhood for me. I’ve listened to all the books on audio (when I reread them) and I can’t imagine anyone else doing this series reading ever.

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Bitsy Words: The Truth by Jeffry W. Johnston

12th Feb 2016 Ashley @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bitsy Words, Reviews, Reviews by Ashley

Bitsy Words: The Truth by Jeffry W. Johnston

Bitsy Words: The Truth by Jeffry W. JohnstonThe Truth by Jeffry W. Johnston
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Pub Date: February 2nd 2016
Pages: 240
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3 Stars

When Chris wakes up tied to a chair in a dark basement, he knows that he's trapped—and why. He shot and killed Derek's little brother. He had his reasons, but no matter how far Derek goes to uncover the truth about that night, Chris's story won't change. It can't. There is far too much at stake…

Derek is desperate to prove his brother didn't deserve to die. And if kidnapping his brother's killer is the only way to the truth, than he'll go to extremes. But Chris's truth is far more dangerous than Derek could have imagined, and knowing could cost both their lives…

(Originally posted by Ashley on Must Love Books)

When the story starts, Chris finds himself duct taped to a chair in a strange room with Derek, a high school drop out just out of juvie. Chris only knows who Derek is because he killed Derek’s brother in a robbery gone bad. Now Derek wants answers only Chris can give him, if he doesn’t tell the truth, Derek will cut off his fingers with a pair garden shears. After hours of interrogation, Derek finally concludes Chris is leaving something out and he escalates the situation to the next level, putting someone Chris loves in danger.

I liked the format of this book, I found it easy to follow and interesting enough to keep my attention. Told from Chris’s point of view both as the story is happening and as he walks Derek through the events of the past that led up to his brothers death. A fast paced quick read that could totally be an episode of Criminal Minds!

 

Ashley @ Gone with the Words

View Post