Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summer Giveaway Hop!

Huzzah! It's summer! And I'm so glad to be a part of this year's Summer Giveaway Hop! Enter in the rafflecopter below for a chance to win an ARC of Light by Michael Grant! US only! Have fun! And may the odds be ever in your favor!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (4)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews where bloggers get to show what they've snagged over the week.

[All links lead to Goodreads]

Song of Fire and Ice Box Set by George R. R. Martin (in the US)
Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin (in Ireland)
Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan (in Ireland)
The Fault in our Stars by John Green (in Ireland)
A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare (in England)
Shakespeare Quotations by William Shakespeare, compiled by Jane Armstrong (in England)

Did I spoil myself when I went on vacation?  Yes.  Absolutely.  Both Shakespeare books were purchased at Shakespeare's birthplace and it was the most awesome thing ever.  And the three books purchased in Ireland were at the store where all books were 3 for 2.  Obviously, I didn't let that opportunity go to waste.  And the box set was at Walmart for $25.  I wasn't going to pass that up, either.

What has everyone else spoiled themselves with this week?  Link me up!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols

Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols
Genre: NA Romance
Publication: July 16th, 2013
Publisher: MTV Books
Page Count: 288

From the author of the “real page-turner” (Seventeen) Such a Rush comes an unforgettable new drama that follows friends-turned-lovers as they navigate the passions, heartbreaks, and intrigue of country music fame.

Bailey wasn’t always a wild child and the black sheep of her family. She used to play fiddle and tour the music circuit with her sister, Julie, who sang and played guitar. That ended when country music execs swooped in and signed Julie to a solo deal. Never mind that Julie and Bailey were a duet, or that Bailey was their songwriter. The music scouts wanted only Julie, and their parents were content to sit by and let her fulfill her dreams while Bailey’s were hushed away.

Bailey has tried to numb the pain and disappointment over what could have been. And as Julie’s debut album is set to hit the charts, her parents get fed up with Bailey’s antics and ship her off to granddad’s house in Nashville. Playing fiddle in washed-up tribute groups at the mall, Bailey meets Sam, a handsome and oh-so-persuasive guitarist with his own band. He knows Bailey’s fiddle playing is just the thing his band needs to break into the industry. But this life has broken Bailey’s heart once before. She isn’t sure she’s ready to let Sam take her there again…

So every now and then, I like to have myself a nice indulgent read where I sit myself down with a romance.  If you've been following me long enough, you'd know that my patience for romance is not a skill of mine.  I'm usually one more inclined to read a book with action and adventure in it.  But then, I find these rare girl moments of mine where I actually want to read a romance.  And after reading Hopeless by Colleen Hoover, my interest in the NA genre has been significantly piqued.  Sadly, I wasn't that taken away with this one.

The first ever Jennifer Echols book I ever read was The Boys Next Door, and it was the perfect summer read I could have ever wished for.  There was romance, and the main character was spunky and stubborn.  Of course I'm practically willing to read anything by Jennifer after that.  And when I discovered Dirty Little Secret, I was really excited to read it.  For those of you who may not know, I am a huge music junkie (I sing and play instruments).  But here was where my major problems in the book fell into:

The Romance:

Could it have gotten any hot and colder?  I'm all for a passionate romance, but this one was just unbelievable!  They barely even know each other but they want to be in this serious relationship and then in the next moment they're ready to rip each others' heads off.  It was annoying and the hot and cold thing going on between the two of them was giving me a mental whiplash.  Sam was a complete jerk and if I were Baily, I would have dropped him like a hotcake.

However there were moments I did like where they both were on the same page when it came to music.  Their passion for it palpable when reading through the book and I could tell that their hearts and souls were invested in performing.  There were moments when he would help her improve her performing and Sam was always honest about music with her.  To some people, his critiquing might have seemed a bit harsh, but I thought that it was a nice thing that he did because it proved that he did care about Baily on some level and didn't want to coddle her and tell her she did amazing when she could improve in some areas.

The Characters:

I hate to say it, but they were all kinda flat!  Nobody stood out to me and I can barely remember everyone's names.  I'm usually good with this kind of things in books where I can remember names and such, but everyone was pretty unremarkable to me.  I wasn't fully invested in their issues and was a bit bored with them all.

Other than the romance and the characters, I actually enjoyed this book!  When they had a gig, I almost felt like I was there on stage with them performing.  I know it's dorky, but I was getting a rush by just reading about their performances.  Dirty Little Secret was real and it showed how life isn't fair, but that doesn't mean that you can just give up and let life carry on without you.  You've gotta push and keep your head up and try again when you fail. 

In all, Dirty Little Secret is a great quick read for the summer.  And if you especially know and love music, this book is a recommended read. 

3 Splashes

Friday, July 19, 2013

I'm Back!! {Plus a Giveaway!}

Yeah! You heard right! It's been a crazy few months for me and it's such a travesty that my blog had to suffer from it. There's been some bumps in the road, loads of stress, and then an amazing getaway to Europe.  All in all, it's been a whirlwind of an adventure for me and I'm glad that I now am back to my blog!

In honor of all of you followers, I'll be holding a giveaway (US only, sorry international folks)! This'll be a great start to my return!

As giveaways go, play fair and may the odds be ever in your favor!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Belladonna by Fiona Paul

Expected Publication: July 16th
Publisher: Penguin/Philomel
Barnes & Noble

The Synopsis:
In Renaissance Italy, love, lust, intrigue and secret societies converge to stunning results!
In the second in the stunning Secrets of the Eternal Rose series, Cassandra Caravello is trying to forget Falco, the wild artist who ran off with her heart, as she grows closer to her strong, steady fiancĂ©, Luca. But Luca seems to have his own secrets. When he’s arrested by soldiers in the middle of the night, Cass’s life is once again thrown into chaos. She must save Luca, and that means finding the Book of the Eternal Rose—the only evidence that will prove he’s innocent.

So begins her journey to Florence, a city haunted by whispers of vampirism, secret soirees and clandestine meetings of the Order of the Eternal Rose. And home to Falco, who is working for the Order’s eerily stunning leader, the Belladonna herself.

Can Cass trust her heart to lead her to the truth this time?
Nothing is as it seems in this seductive thriller, where the truth may be the deadliest poison of all.

I'm not going to explain to you guys how much I love historical fiction because I feel as if I've explained it enough in past reviews.  There's just something about the wonder and magic of historical fiction that enraptures me in its pages.  In Paul's writing, the incorporation of mystery and danger along with the historical accurateness of Venice and Florence, Italy is spellbinding.  It was fantastic!

Cass certainly has changed from the girl readers knew in Venom.  She's vulnerable without Falco, her personality is colder, her determination and hatred of the Order of the Eternal Rose has intensified.  She's matured.  There definitely isn't this reckless trait in her anymore.  However, that doesn't mean that this made her character less interesting.  Her character growth from the first to the second book was believable and interesting to read about.  Still, she bravely ventures all around Venice and Florence, but this Cass knows what to do and is better prepared for the horrors that lay beneath the bustling surfaces of the cities.

Sadly, I felt that now much went on in the book until the very end to keep readers excited and anxious for the next installment.  Don't get me wrong, I loved the book, but it's just that things were pretty evenly paced throughout the entire book until the very end, where it spiked.  There was plenty of mystery and such to keep me interested, but maybe a more definitive climax in the story would have made the story that much more enjoyable. 

So things get pretty interesting in this one when Luca gets thrown in jail and it seems that her only way of getting him free is to find the Book of Eternal Rose.  So I was wishing there was a bit more interaction Falco, but in the end, I suppose it was all right.  I'm curious to see what Paul plans to do next, but it's all part of the big idea with these trilogies.  And if you were wondering, I am Team Falco. 

Belladonna reveals that there is more to the Order than what Cass and Falco thought.  The book is filled with mystery and wonder.  Enticingly dangerous midnight parties, intense midnight chases, and secret midnight meetings ensue.  Lets just assume that the entire book takes place at midnight, alright?  But it was fantastic!  Just glorious, and it was great to read about Renaissance Italy.  The image painted by Paul of Italy was beautiful and enchanting.  Fans of mystery, historical fiction, and of the beautifully dangerous will enjoy Belladonna, but first ya gotta read Venom first, if you haven't already!
Four Splashes

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