Friday, January 20, 2017

7th Blogoversary and International Giveaway

Wow....7 years. I have no clue how it's already 7 years, but somehow I've been blogging for 7 years.  Obviously I love to talk about books, otherwise I wouldn't still be here. But more importantly, I am so very thankful for all of you guys. I'm thankful for all the comments, the recommendations, and for all the friendships I've made. Also, I'm thankful for the relationships I've made with various publicists, publishers, and authors.  I started this endeavor as a plan for my professional development at work and it has truly blossomed into so much more!

For fun, here's been my Top Ten Most Popular Posts: 
1.  Book Review: Divergent  by Veronica Roth
2.  Book Review: Burn for Burn by Jenny Han Siobhan Vivian
3.  2012 Picks for Beach Reads and My Summer Reading List 
4.  Book Review: We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han
5.  Book Review: The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
6.  2011 Picks for Beach Reads and My Summer Reading List
7.  Book Review: Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
8.  Book Review: The Heiresses by Sara Shepard
9.  Book Review: Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly
10.  Off to Rome!

I am not surprised that most of my most popular posts either deal with beach reads, Sarah Dessen, or Jenny Han.  That pretty much sums me up.

Now onto the giveaway! To thank all my readers, I'm hosting an international giveaway for $20 to spend at the Book Depository. Please make sure the Book Depository ships to your location. Please refer to my giveaway rules.  The deadline is January 31st. Lastly, thank you to each and every one of you!  You guys make this gig worthwhile.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Book Review: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Pages: 384
Genre: Adult Fiction/Romance
Pub. Date: August 9, 2016
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Library
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.  Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game."

Lucy Hutton works at a publishing company and instead of the company going under, it mergers with another company, which means she starts working with Joshua Templeman, who shares an office with her.  This would normally be fine except for the fact that Joshua is extremely good-looking, but is also an ass.  They don't get along. At all.  They interact daily, but not professionally at all; in fact, HR had to get involved a few times.  To complicate matters further, a position opens up that their bosses think both Joshua and Lucy would be good for.  There is no way that Lucy is going to lose this job to Joshua, so the "games" begin.  As things progress, (and some alone time in the elevator) proves that maybe her hatred for Joshua is actually something more and isn't hate at all. There's a fine line between love and hate, right?  Sally Thorne's debut, The Hating Game, is such a fun novel. It's romantic, it's witty, it's charming....everything you could want in a romance novel.

Lucy is an interesting character in The Hating Game. She is a people-pleaser and is genuinely nice, often too nice, which is the polar opposite of Joshua.  Joshua is cunning, cold at times, and calculating.  But there is more to him than just that if you look a little closer.  Most people in the office are afraid of Joshua whereas, people go to Lucy with their problems and sometimes take advantage of her willingness to extend deadlines. The fact Joshua and Lucy are foils of each other is what makes this opposites attract story so compelling.  Their chemistry is on fire and their dialogue is so, so great and witty.

At times I did sort of tire of their "games." I was thinking to myself...can they just be adults? But that doesn't make for an interesting story now does it? As their hatred of each other blossoms into something more, The Hating Game became even more compelling, especially as we learn more about Josh and what makes him tick.

Even though I knew where the story was going, I still loved the ride.  That's the best part about The Hating Game. We all know the final destination, but it's the getting there that is so much fun. So, if you are looking for a deliciously fun opposites attract story that will make the afternoon pass quickly, definitely give this book a try.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Hello, Sunshine

This is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine.  "Waiting on Wednesday" spotlights upcoming releases that I'm eagerly anticipating.

Hello, Sunshine by Leila Howland
Pub. Date: July 17, 2017

Goodreads says, "Becca Harrington is a reject. After being rebuffed by every college on her list, she needs a fresh start, so she packs up everything and moves to LA, giving herself one year to land an acting gig or kill herself trying.   Unfortunately, not everything turns out as planned, and after a few grueling months, LA is looking like the worst idea ever. As hard as she tries, Becca can’t land an agent, she's running out of cash, and her mom is hounding her to apply to more schools. In an act of desperation, Becca and her friend Marisol start posting short videos online—with the help of their adorable filmmaker neighbor, Raj—and the videos catch the attention of a TV producer. Could this be it? Her big break? Or will she have to move back home with nothing but some bad head shots and a monstrous credit-card bill?  Becca may not get the Hollywood ending she was hoping for, but perhaps she’ll learn there’s more than one way to achieve her dream.  Readers will love every page of this funny, romantic, aspirational, and ultimately triumphant novel about a girl who just wants to make it on her own."

After reading Nantucket Blue, Nantucket Red, and The Forget-Me-Not Summer,  I fell in love with Howland's summertime stories. This is high up on my summer TBR list. What do you guys think?  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Hidden Gems

Today I'll be sharing some "hidden gems" or books that I think have flown under the radar. I definitely wish more people talked about these fantastic reads. 


1.  Fire and Thorns series by Rae Carson - I definitely thought more people would be into this series. If you are a fan of Sarah J. Maas' Throne of Glass series, you'll definitely like this high fantasy and its strong heroine.

2.  Royal Circle series by Katherine Longshore - Fans of historical fiction, will love these YA books that bring the Tudors to life.

3.  Violet Eden series by Jessica Shirvington - Fans of paranormal romances and Mead's The Vampire Academy will enjoy this series. It's one of my favorites for sure! I love the angel mythology.

4.  All the Summer Girls by Meg Donohue - I love this one, not only because it takes place in Avalon, NJ (one of my favorite Jersey shore destinations), but also because it covers friendships, tough choices we have to make in life, and that one special summer destination.


5.   Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan - If you like quirky main characters and John Green-ish novels, you'll love this book about family, love, and planning a wedding. It's a smart read and it had me laughing out loud, which is a fantastic combination.

6.  The Girl in the Castle by Santa Montefiore - This was one of my favorite historical novels of 2016.  I wish more people would talk about this series set in early 1900s Ireland.

7.  Blythewood by Carol Goodman - I absolutely loved this historical fantasy involving magic, secrets, and a private boarding school.

8.  Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready - It's been years since I read this gem, but the story still stays with me. It's a poignant paranormal romance involving ghosts - absolutely loved it!

9.  The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff - I fell in love with this historical romance last summer. It is one of my favorite "historical beach reads."

10.  Broken Hearts and Revenge series by Katie Finn - Finn (a.k.a Morgan Matson), so you know I'm going to love this series as I am a huge fan of Matson.  This series is one of my favorite summertime guilty pleasures.

So, what are some of your hidden gems that you've read these past few years? Let me know in the comments below. This meme is hosted by  The Broke and The Bookish.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Book Review: The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams

Pages: 384
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date:  January 17, 2017
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: A Hundred Summers,
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "When she discovers her husband cheating, Ella Hawthorne impulsively moves out of their SoHo loft and into a small apartment in an old Greenwich Village building. Her surprisingly attractive new neighbor, Hector, warns her to stay out of the basement at night. Tenants have reported strange noises after midnight—laughter, clinking glasses, jazz piano—even though the space has been empty for decades. Back in the Roaring Twenties, the place hid a speakeasy.  n 1924, Geneva "Gin" Kelly, a smart-mouthed flapper from the hills of western Maryland, is a regular at this Village hideaway known as the Christopher Club. Caught up in a raid, Gin becomes entangled with Prohibition enforcement agent Oliver Anson, who persuades her to help him catch her stepfather Duke Kelly, one of Appalachia’s most notorious bootleggers.  Headstrong and independent, Gin is no weak-kneed fool. So how can she be falling in love with the taciturn, straight-arrow Revenue agent when she’s got Princeton boy Billy Marshall, the dashing son of society doyenne Theresa Marshall, begging to make an honest woman of her? While anything goes in the Roaring Twenties, Gin’s adventures will shake proper Manhattan society to its foundations, exposing secrets that shock even this free-spirited redhead—secrets that will echo from Park Avenue to the hollers of her Southern hometown.  As Ella discovers more about the basement speakeasy, she becomes inspired by the spirit of her exuberant predecessor, and decides to live with abandon in the wicked city too."

The year is 1998 and Ella Hawthorne moves out of her beautiful NYC apartment that she shares with her successful husband as she has found him cheating on her with a prostitute.  Obviously, Ella is pretty much disgusted by Patrick's behavior, despite his insistence that it only happened once and it won't happen again; nonetheless, Ella moves into a smaller apartment in Greenwich Village with the hopes to start over.  There Ella meets Hector, whom she instantly feels a connection with, and all seems to be going well until she hears strange noises coming from the basement at night. In fact, it sounds like a jazz club, but that can't be as the space has been empty for quite sometime.  Ella comes to find out that it once was a speakeasy in the 20s.  Cut to Geneva or "Ginger" Kelly, a young flapper trying to make it on her own in the big city in the 1920s.  Ginger works as a typist, among other things, and spends her nights at the Christopher Club and with her privileged boyfriend, Billy.  It's time of the Prohibition though and she should be watching her back. When she least expects it, the Christopher Club gets raided and she finds herself talking to a Prohibition officer, Oliver.  He wants her to help him catch a notorious bootlegger, who is none other than her horrendous stepfather.  The last thing she wants to do is get involved in her stepfather's affairs, especially when she might be marrying her wealthy boyfriend. She wants to put her past behind her, but receives a phone call that her mother is dying and has asked for Ginger to return home. In turn, Ginger comes face to face with her up-to-no-good stepfather.  Slowly, Ella and Gin's stories intertwine in The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams and it makes for an interesting tale.

Beatriz Williams has a knack for creating memorable characters, like Gin.  Gin is feisty, outgoing, adventurous, confident, and ultimately, a character that I love and root for. Learning more about her family life in Maryland and what it took for her to get to the city as a single woman made me appreciate her determination and gumption even more than before.  I don't blame her for wanting to leave Maryland and her stepfather, who is a nightmare,  behind for good.

Ella's story, on the other hand, I felt wasn't as compelling or original as Ginger's in The Wicked City. Until I was able to fully understand how both woman's stories were going to work together, I found myself gravitating more towards Ginger's story and even once their connection was revealed, I am not sure it was fleshed out as well as I had hoped.

The setting of Prohibition NYC was also a memorable one in The Wicked City; in fact, NYC felt like a character in itself.  Williams did a superb job of bringing the city to life.  The speakeasy, the dark alleys, the Prohibition officers, the corrupt officials, the bootleggers, the flappers, the was all great!

I also allusions to characters from Williams' other novels and some of the characters even show up in The Wicked City.  I especially like the Schuyler sisters, so having them reappear or mentioned in conversation is so much fun.

The one aspect of The Wicked City that bothered me a bit was some of the melodrama towards the second half of the novel. I had hard time suspending my disbelief and it felt like there were just too many coincidences.

Other than that, I really enjoyed the romp through a time period that not only is so compelling, but also seemed to be deliciously dangerous.  The Wicked City had a Dick Tracy meets Jay Gatsby vibe, which was downright fun.   I recommend this book to fans of the Jazz Age time period as well Beatriz Williams.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday Post (16)

If You Love John Green 
Waiting on Wednesday: The Seven Husband of Evelyn Hugo
Book Review: The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon

I'll be sharing my thoughts on Beatriz Williams' The Wicked City, which is a fun historical tale set in Prohibition Era NYC.  It wasn't my favorite of Williams' novels, but it was still pretty entertaining.  I also read a highly recommended novel, The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. The romance genre really isn't my thing, but I LOVED this book. Keep your eye out for my review this week.  I wish I read it while on vacation! It's the perfect beach read. 


The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby - Thanks to Harper Teen and Edelweiss
Finders Keepers by Michael M.B. Galvin - Thanks to Disney Hyperion

The winner of Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken goes to....

Ken O.

Congrats! I hope you enjoy the book. 

Have you read any of these books or are they on your TBR list? Let me know your thoughts! Thanks for visiting! This meme is hosted by Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Friday, January 13, 2017

If You Love John Green

It's been awhile since John Green has published a novel and he is one of my favorite authors, so sometimes I am on the hunt for a writer that has a similar voice and writing style. 

Obviously, these are huge shoes to fill, but I have come across some writers/novels that share a few similarities. All of these books possess quirky characters, witty dialogue, smart discussions, and and very John Green-esqe coming-of-age moments. Here are a few of my favorites:

1.  If I Stay by Gayle Forman 
2.  Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell 

3.  The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord  (or any of her other novels)
4.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

5.  This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills (and First & Then, too!)
6.  Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan 

Others: Jay Asher, A.S. King, David Levithan - I have heard many people recommend these authors as well!

What do you guys think? Any other authors or novels out there that are in the same vein as John Green? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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