Review for Big Girls Do It Better (Big Girls Do #1) by Jasinda Wilder

Big Girls Do It Better by Jasinda Wilder

TITLE: Big Girls Do It Better
SERIES: Big Girls Do It #1
AUTHOR: Jasinda Wilder
PUBLICATION DATE: September 2, 2012
PUBLISHER: Independent
PAGES: 29 pages
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 4 stars

Anna is a big girl. She’s a size 18 and is more than a little self-conscious about it. So when Chase shows up, she knows she doesn’t have a chance in hell, or does she? Chase seems more than a little interested and as the night progresses, she finds out just how much he wants her.

In an epic fit of pile denial, this book was my compromise. It’s short, so I can legitimately allow myself to go ahead and read it while still buried in eARCs because it won’t take more than an hour to finish, and it was just what I needed. Anna is spunky and fun, a strong independent woman who gets caught up in a sexy soon to be rock star. Though Anna and I have some differences, I definitely can relate to her feelings about her size and it was a relief to not be reading about a stick thin girl who never exercises, eats like a cow, and somehow magically stays tiny.

Chase was a leatherpants wearing rock star who is beyond understanding why Anna is uncomfortable about her size. Throughout the whole story, he shows her that he likes her just the way she is and wouldn’t change a thing about her. He’s also drop dead gorgeous with ab muscle to make many a man in Hollywood jealous.

The short story brings the two together and then leaves you with a cliffhanger as Chase gets a very important call and Anna has to decide what she really wants from her life. It’s well written with one hell of a steamy sex scene. I’m definitely excited to see where Anna & Chase end up!

Review for A Corner of White (The Colors of Madeleine #1) by Jaclyn Moriarty

A Corner Of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

TITLE: A Corner Of White
SERIES: The Colours OF Madeleine #1
AUTHOR: Jaclyn Moriarty
PUBLISHER: Arthur A Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc
PAGES: 384 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 3 stars

Madeleine and her mom ran away from their former life. Madeleine was always running away from the jetset life that she had with her parents and on the last attempt, her mother just came with her and they never looked back. Now, months later, she is starting to miss her dad and parts of her old life. Then she finds a note tucked into a crack in a parking meter that reads “Help me! I am being held against my will!” and thus begins her rather odd relationship with Elliot. Elliot lives in the Kingdom of Cello and spends all his time searching for his father, who disappeared over a year ago, on the same night his uncle was killed. When he finds the strange letter from the Girl In The World, he knows he should report the crack, but instead replies and is more than a little intrigued by this strange girl.

This really is the hardest type of book to review for me. It wasn’t amazing. It wasn’t terrible. It was just somewhere in the middle, which means it didn’t earn much passion from me and passion is a big part of where my reviews come from. Generally, I adored it or I hated it and very few things fall in the middle ground for me, like this did. I found it to be boring, especially for the first 200 pages, and confusing. Plus, I didn’t like the main girl…at all.

Madeleine just seemed selfish. She hangs out with Belle and Jack, but she really doesn’t like them that much and she wishes they weren’t so boring. Her mom displays obvious signs that something is wrong with her, but instead of insisting she see a doctor, Maddy here just writes it off. Another big annoyance with her is that she blatantly refuses to believe in even the possibility that Elliot’s world of Cello is real. I get that the whole idea is insane, but it’s stupid to just assume he’s telling a story even when he argues with you. Elliot, on the other hand, I liked….for the most part. He’s fierce determination to find his father was inspiring, but he does a few stupid things so I’m not entirely in love with him and he’s definitely not going to be added to my list of swoon worthy YA males. The rest of the characters in Cello are interesting, but wholly boring…except the Sheriff who is just stupid. Seriously, I can’t believe they never fired him and appointed Jimmy, his deputy as his replacement. The people in the “real world” are a little better. Jack and Belle at least both seem reasonably intelligent. I actually really liked Jack because he seemed so sweet. Madeleine’s mother, Holly, was a character that I’m on the fence about, but since we have already established that it’s clear she has some form of undiagnosed medical problem, I’ll let her slide.

One big issue I had with this was that in Cello, the biggest threat are attacks of colour.

I could have gotten past this, had the concept been fully explained. How do you get attacked by a color?!?!? Is it a type of animal over there? Does a mist of said color just float to you and do its damage? Is it like in that shitty movie The Mist where strange creatures live in a colored mist and they eat you if you get too close? I DON’T FUCKING UNDERSTAND! I kept reading for a while just to see if we would get any sort of explanation but we don’t. I also have issues with the fact that this novel is described as funny and it definitely wasn’t. I may have chuckled once or twice, but I definitely didn’t keel over with laughter. For me, a funny novel is something I just can’t stop giggling at.

On the whole, I think maybe I missed something in this novel. I felt like I wasn’t completely grasping what was happening in Cello. Hopefully someone else out there will love this novel, but it just wasn’t for me.

****Thank you to Arthur A Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Ever (Ever #1) by Jessa Russo

Ever by Jessa Russo

SERIES: Ever #1
AUTHOR: Jessa Russo
PUBLICATION DATE: September 1, 2013
PUBLISHER: Curiosity Quills Press Independent
PAGES: 295 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 5 stars

I can’t even decide on a proper star rating. My brain just refuses to believe I have finished this book. I loved it…it was amazing….and then it ended on possibly the worst cliffhanger EVER. ::dies:: Review to come.

Ever’s life stopped two years ago when her best friend Frankie died in a car accident. For reasons she’ll never understand that car crash took his life but left her alive. Though Frankie is dead, he never left. His ghost stayed around and though that makes everything more complicated, Ever couldn’t be more grateful to have him still in her life in any form she can get. Ever has a little secret. She has been in love with Frankie for her entire life. Ever realizes that Frankie is oblivious to this fact and that even if he wasn’t, the fact that he is dead would prevent any kind of romantic relationship. So when Toby moves in next door, Ever throws herself into a relationship with him to try to move on with her life. Little does she know that this move will change her life forever.

What to say? I fell completely in love with this story. Why? I’m not entirely sure. It contains many elements that I hate. It has one hell of a love triangle. I mean a real one, where the girl genuinely has feelings for both guys. Those things make me wanna scream in frustration. It has a horrible cliffhanger….really bad. That makes me want to toss Luna (my kindle) across the room. It’s like my best friend walking up to me and saying “Hey, I just found out a have cancer. But I can’t tell you anything more about it for at least a year. Wish me luck!”

Really? And this one was bad, really bad. I became so infested in this story, that I actually finished it in one day. Quite a feat for me because I am not a fast reader. In order for me to finish a book in one day, I literally have to go home and curl up in bed with the book and not move except for snack and bathroom breaks for more than 6 hours. But I did it. My husband came home from work right as I was finishing this and found me just sitting in our bed staring at Luna completely dumbfounded. I’m surprised I wasn’t drooling. It’s so good and addictive.

Ever was a slightly annoying leading lady. She jumped around a little too much for my liking. One minute she was all “I love Frankie, I can’t do anything about it so I’m going to sulk.” And then she was “Ooooo…hot new neighbor….must talk to him.” I get it, but it still irked me a bit. She improves some as the story goes on. Then there is Frankie, who I adore. Seriously, if her and Frankie don’t end up together, I’m going to be annoyed. I don’t care how it happens. You can do the whole kill Ever and they both live happily ever after in the afterlife like Jessica Verday did in the Hollow series or you can go all body-snatcher like Stacey Kade did in the Ghost and the Goth series, or you can just find a loophole somewhere in made up land. I love these two together. The only spoiler I will give is that Frankie does, at some point in this story, get his body back. And damn, the heat between him and Ever is enough to fog up my glasses (which I don’t wear while I’m reading because I only need them for distance…but you get the point.)”

As for the other corner in the love-triangle, I wasn’t a huge fan. Something about Toby felt off to be from the very beginning. His initial interest in Ever even though she claimed to have a boyfriend (and the fact that after they start dating, that fact is never mentioned again), the fact that he never talks about himself, and just his whole personality seemed a little strange. Add to that the fact that Frankie asks Ever repeatedly to stay away from him had me yelling at her to leave him alone. She doesn’t, of course. But somehow, by then end of this book, I ended up caring for him too. Make no mistake, I want Ever with Frankie, but I would also like to see Toby get a happy ending too.

Then there is Ever’s best friend Jessie, who I found refreshing. She was the one who pushed Ever to get over Frankie and try to live her life. She’s everything a BFF should be and she just catches the short end of the stick by the end of this book. I hope she gets her happily ever after as well.

****SPOILER****Now, for what I hated. Put as succinctly as possible, the ending. I was so irritated by the cliffhanger, that I just can’t put it in words. Frankie finally has a body! YAYAY! Him and Ever are together! Quadruple YAYAYAY! But, Ariadne is taking Ever’s soul in exchange in just one year’s time? WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!? ::curtains close:: That’s it? You stop THERE? But…what’s the point of Frankie being alive if Ever is dead? They are supposed to be together! You can’t just fucking rip them apart! I….they….you….::dies::****END SPOILER****

All in all, if you like paranormal romance, read this. Even if cliffhangers and love triangles annoy you, it’s totally worth it.

****Thank you to Curiosity Quills Press for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

Review for 34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues

34 Pieces Of You by Carmen Rodrigues

TITLE: 34 Pieces Of You
AUTHOR: Carmen Rodrigues
PUBLICATION DATE: September 4, 2012
PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse, a division of Simon & Schuster
PAGES: 325 pages
RATING: 4 stars

I have been avoiding this review because I’m not exactly sure what to say. I typically like to write a review immediately after I finish a novel because everything is still fresh in my mind, but I finished this book in July and I’ve still not written a review. It’s because this book is so far out of my normal range that I don’t know where to start. I typically have 2 basic things I need in a book, I need it to have some form of a love story and I need humor. Life is dull and depressing so I want something that will make me laugh and leave me smiling. This book is the opposite of that. There is not humor in it at all and though there is love, it’s not the kind I normally go for. I’m still not sure what made me want to read this besides the fact that it’s up on PulseIt. Maybe it’s how the cover model looks so alone and hauntingly sad.

Ellie was a troubled girl who just wanted to have fun. Fun, by her definition, included drinking, partying, drugs, sex, and many other most likely illegal activities. This leaves Ellie dead and her best friend, Sarah, in the hospital. This story follows Ellie’s brother, best friend, and best friends sister as they try to come to terms with her death. As you can see by that tiny summary, it’s very depressing. Sarah is in weekly therapy and still can’t manage to deal with Elle’s death. Jessie (Sarah’s sister) is just going through the motions, living and trying to hold it all together but really is dying on the inside. Jake, Ellie’s brother, is failing college because he can’t stop blaming himself for what happened. The big question on everyone’s mind is “was it intentional?” That question never gets outright answered, but it is implied over and over that Ellie’s death was suicide.

So, if this novel contains none of the things that I love, why does it get 4 stars? I think it’s because it touched me in ways I wasn’t expecting. I can completely relate to all the characters, from Ellie who was abused to Sarah and Jessie who don’t know how to cope with loss, and to Jake for blaming himself for something he thinks he could have prevented. They all go through real emotional struggles and the author does not pretend that these things can be fixed with a few brief psych visits and the support of your family. Yes, that does help, but it is not always enough. How do you cope with the fact that your best friend is dead? Your sister? Your lover? How are you supposed to go on living when nothing is right anymore? It was an emotional journey and I just can’t put into words how it has affected me. If you are looking for something that will really move you and make you think, this is it. A word of warning though, this does contain homosexuality. It doesn’t bother me, but i know it does bother some.

Review for Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1) by Jay Kristoff

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

TITLE: Storm Dancer
SERIES: The Lotus War #1
AUTHOR: Jay Kristoff
PUBLICATION DATE: September 18, 2012
PUBLISHER: Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St Martin’s Press
PAGES: 336 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 4 stars

This novel is incredibly hard for me to review without giving away spoilers, but I will do my best.

Set in steampunk Japan, Stormdancer follows Yukiko on her journey with her father to capture an Arashitora, an legendary eagle/tiger hybrid that is long believed to be extinct, for their insane Shogun. Why set out on this impossible journey? It’s either achieve the impossible or be put to death because the Shogun gets what he wants. Yukiko thinks this whole endeavor is nuts, but dutifully goes along with her father and is shocked when they actually find the creature. Then their world spins out into chaos as the sky-ship catches fire sending them all plummeting to their doom.

I was truly impressed with the writing style. Sometimes it felt like they went into a too much detail on inconsequential things, but it was so beautifully described that I almost didn’t care. This steampunk world fueled by black lotus was fascinating and reminded me just a little bit of Stardust by Neil Gaiman because it weaves fantasy elements into the story so well. Yukiko is an outstanding heroine who I fell instantly in love with. In YA, you get to read a ton of male characters written by a woman, but it’s rare to read through the perspective of a female character written by a man, so I was super excited about that. I must say, he did a great job with it. My favorite character, though, would have to be Buruu. The further into the story you get, the more his character develops and the more in love I feel with this thunder tiger.

This really was a thrill ride of with everything going wrong at the worst possible moment and I loved seeing how Yukiko worked her way out of all the hard situations. It gets 4 stars instead of 5 because of all the deaths. Yes, I know they are starting a war and that people will die, but I did not enjoy seeing half of my favorite characters get butchered. I was hoping for a happy ending, dammit. It was a hopeful ending, but I definitely wouldn’t call it happy. I greatly look forward to the next novel in this series and more of Yukiko & Buruu’s story.

****Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Entice (The Violet Eden Chapters #2) by Jessica Shirvington

Entice by Jessica Shirvington

TITLE: Entice
SERIES: The Violet Eden Chapters #2
AUTHOR: Jessica Shirvington
PUBLICATION DATE: September 4, 2012
PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks Fire, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc
PAGES: 438 pages
SOURCE: Borrowed
RATING: 3 stars

To rant or not to rant, that is the question.

Yeah, it’s not really a question, is it? I’ll go ahead and warn you now. If you are a huge fan of this series, on Team Lincoln, easily offended by bad language and derogatory comments (then why the hell do you read my reviews?), then this might upset you and you should probably skip it. If none of that bothers you (ie only my little sister will probably be reading this), then read on.

Okay, let’s try to summarize before I go all rageface on you. Violet Eden has finally completely embraced her Grigori side, though she still has major issues with it, she and the other Grigori are trying to find the scripture, which I think is a list of all of the possible Grigori, but I’m not sure. It never really says in this book. It did in book one, but I just don’t fucking remember clearly. Either way, this sends her and the others on a journey to find them before the exiles do, or rather before Phoenix’s group of exiles do. ::breathes:: nope, hold it in, don’t rage yet. Anyway, while all this is searching is going on, Lincoln is facing his own set of issues. The exile who is responsible for the death of his mother has resurfaced and he can think of nothing but revenge. When I say “nothing but revenge”, I mean nothing, he is even ignoring Violet which she is not too keen on.

This novel does just a few things right. It’s just as damn addictive as the first book. Once I got into the story, I couldn’t stop reading. Where they going to find the scripture in time? What the hell was up with Phoenix? Are Violet and Lincoln soul mates? Is that really enough to get them around the whole “Grigori partners are incompatible” bit? I just had to keep reading to find out. Other characters also shine through in this one. Steph, for one, seemed to have a much bigger role in this one. Can I just say that is something else I loved? The normal, human best friend doesn’t just get pushed to the side in favor of new people to “protect” them, but instead is told about all of it and brought along for the ride. A few new characters where introduced, one of which I loved. His name is Spence and he’s just a cocky, sarcastic, funny, over-exuberant guy…who is interested in Vi in friends only zone.

But, unfortunately, he brings me to my rant. The role Spence plays in this book is hauntingly similar to the one Phoenix played in book one (well except for the part where Spence is only a friend and Phoenix was clearly more). He hangs out with Vi, helping her through shit while Lincoln is off gallivanting around doing God knows what and keeping his many secrets from Violet. Once again, my rant will probably bring about many spoilers, so proceed only if you dare.****SPOILER**** WHAT THE FUCK IS UP WITH PHOENIX?!?!?!? Seriously, in book one, he had his issues but he was there for Violet in whatever capacity she needed him, friend, lover, protector, guide, whatever and now, he is just a dick. Let me rephrase that, the scant few times he shows up, he is a dick. The first time Violet comes across him in this book, he makes her make out Spence, right in front of Lincoln, and then proceeds to reopen the fatal wound she received in book one after Lincoln has stormed out. Yeah, you remember when he healed her in book one from the stab in the stomach? Apparently that wound is permanently bonded to him and he can reopen it whenever he so chooses. What the fuck, right? There are a few moments when his feelings show through to Violet, making her remember that he did once care. And this, in and of itself, is what pisses me off. Phoenix does love her. I know it and that makes it hard for me to believe his transformation. I read somewhere in an interview with the author that since he is a “dark” exile, that darkness is a part of himself that he can’t overcome, no matter how much he wants to.

Really lady? I don’t fucking buy it. The “bad” guys overcome their darksides all the time, mostly in fiction as opposed to real life, but this is a PARANORMAL romance, so I don’t think realism is what we are going for. Look at Patch in Hush Hush. I mean if he can do it, so can Phoenix. But that would take the will of the author and it seems clear that she is Team Lincoln. Which I don’t understand because even if I didn’t have that proclivity for bad guys (who become redeemed enough to deserve the heroine, of course), I still wouldn’t like Lincoln because he keeps lying and keeping things from Violet, not to mention running to Magda for help which is just beyond understanding. Plus, he keeps telling Violet over and over that they can’t be together and yet he gets angry if she tries to move on. Okay, so maybe her and Spence making out isn’t considered “moving on” since it was against both their wills, but the point is that if he loves her as much as he claims, he should want her to be happy, no? Pining over his useless ass definitely isn’t making her happy. For those of you who are Team Lincoln and have dealt with this rant this far, let me just say that they won’t get their happy ending here either. They find out they are soul mates which invalidates the grigori restrictions, but they see a one soul mate get killed in front of the other and refuse to accept that is what will happen to each other if one dies. They won’t take that risk ,which is bullshit because we all know in the next book (which they are going to be five of at the moment) they’ll be back to pushing the boundaries because they are so in wuv.


If you read that, you know how angry this book made me. If not, well let’s just say that unsatisfied is an understatement. With all that being said, do I plan on reading the rest of this series? At the particularly moment, yes I do because even though I really know that things aren’t going to go the way I want them to, I am still mildly curious to where it does go and I have that need to finish series. Besides, I want more glimpses of my awesome Phoenix (assuming is normal personality comes back). But I will not be recommending this series to anyone else until I finish it. This has made me too mad to want to condemn others to suffer it unless I know it’s worth it.

Review for The Enchanted Truth by Kym Petrie

The Enchanted Truth by Kym Petrie

TITLE: The Enchanted Truth
AUTHOR: Kym Petrie
PUBLICATION DATE: September 18, 2012
PUBLISHER: Greenleaf Book Group
PAGES: 40 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 4 stars

I don’t know exactly what I was expecting when I started this small gift book, maybe a few laughs and a cutesy story. I definitely got more than I bargained for. This short story follows a princess who’s life seems to revolve around finding a Prince Charming to call her own. When her fairy godmother shows up, she’s overjoyed that she’ll be able to wish her Prince into reality. However, Godmother had a few things to say and told her that it wasn’t going to happen, that she wasn’t ready for her Prince yet and she needed to really think about what qualities she wanted him to possess.

This tale definitely has a valid point. I cannot recall all the times my girlfriends and I have bemoaned our love life status, bitching and complaining that either we can’t find a guy or that the one we’ve found is less than mediocre. Princess’s story is something that I don’t find often that puts the power into the hands of the heroine and says “hey, it’s not going to just fall into your lap. You’ve gotta work on yourself and then worry about Mr Right.” It may have been short, but it was well worth the read. I recommend it to everyone who is looking for a little magic in their life.

****Thank you to Greenleaf Book Group for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Blackwood by Gwenda Bond

Blackwood by Gwenda Bond

TITLE: Blackwood
AUTHOR: Gwenda Bond
PUBLICATION DATE: September 4, 2012
PUBLISHER: Strange Chemistry, an imprint of Angry Robot Books
PAGES: 330 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 5 stars

I don’t know why I’ve waited so long to read this. I got it a few months back and it has just been sitting in my ereader waiting to be read. Then I saw that the release date was next week and figured I should go ahead a read it so my review could be out just a little early. I wish I hadn’t waited so long. This book was amazing. The story idea is completely unique and it doesn’t have one of those needy heroines who have to be saved. For the most part, she saves herself.

This story follows Miranda Blackwood through the strange events that happen in modern day Roanoke Island NC. She is the town freak and her dad is the town drunk. Then something strange happens, 114 people disappear which is the same number of people who vanished from the original settlement.

And things just get weirder from there, especially when Phillips Rawling shows up back in town. He is the town bad boy who really isn’t bad. He just did all those bad things to get sent away from the island because when he is there he hears the voices of the spirits in his head. As you can see, this already has the set up to be just plain weird. And weird it is.

I actually live in NC and since there aren’t many novels that take place here (well except for a handful of Nicholas Sparks books that I don’t count), I was excited to see something set near me. I also have always been fascinated by the Roanoke disappearance. Over a hundred people randomly vanishing with no trace? How can that not peak your interest? So it really drew me in from the very beginning.

I must say that this is what I am looking for every time I pick up a YA paranormal novel. It has one of the more original stories I’ve read in a while and the characters were wildly different than the typical YA heroes/heroines are today. Miranda is not whiny, she is just trying to make the best out of a bad situation. And then when things go south, she tries to save everyone, despite the fact that they have always been mean to her. Phillips is a bad guy with heart, if that makes any sense. The only reason he started acting out was to get away from this place and yet here he is, back in town when they need him, when she needs him. Their past is a little complicated but when he shows up at her door, she isn’t thrilled to see him and actually ends up accidentally shooting him with a magic gun…he isn’t injured. No insta-love to be found within these humble pages. In fact, even in the end, they don’t profess their love to each other which I found quite refreshing.

I also loved Miranda for her protectiveness towards her dog, Sidekick. I’ve read too many novels where characters “love” their pets but end up abandoning them when things get hard or complicated. During this whole novel, if Kicks isn’t with Miranda then she is constantly trying to get back to him. In fact, there is one point during the end of the novel that I thought I was going to have to give it bad reviews because I thought the dog had died. Is it dumb to downrate a book just because one of the characters dies? Probably, but I hate the trend of killing off characters and it would have angered me greatly. But we’re saved because he is fine.

This gist of this slightly rant-y, rave-y review is this book is awesome and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys paranormal YA (especially those looking for something outside the topics that have been drove into the ground like vampires, werewolves, and angels.)

****Thank you to Angry Robot for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****