Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Blog Tour: Heartbreak Cure by Amanda Ashby





The Heartbreak Cure


Author:  Amanda Ashby
Publisher: Entangled: Crush
Pages: Kindle Edition, 144 pages
Genre: YA
Release Date: December 4th 2017



Summary:

How to get over a heartbreak:

Step one: Eat your body weight in brownies.

Step two: Throw yourself into your dreams of becoming a famous writer.

Step three: Beg your (hottie) ex-neighbor to act as your fake boyfriend.

Step four: Skip step three unless you’re ready for some serious fallout.

After being dumped and humiliated over the summer, Cat Turner does what any sane girl would do. She asks bad boy Alex Locke to be her fake boyfriend and show the world (and her editor at the school newspaper) that she's fine. Problem is, the more time she spends with Alex, the more she risks getting her heart broken. For real this time.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a swoony bad boy who will melt your heart, brownies, and witty banter. One, two, or all three might prove addictive...






About the Author:

Amanda Ashby was born in Australia but now lives in New Zealand where she writes romance, young adult and middle grade books. She also works in a library, owns far too many vintage tablecloths and likes to delight her family by constantly rearranging the furniture. She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two children. Her debut book was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award, and her first young adult book was listed by the New York Public Library╩╝s Stuff for the Teen Age.  Because she’s mysterious she also writes middle grade books under the name, Catherine Holt and hopes that all this writing won’t interfere with her Netflix schedule.






Review:

The Heartbreak Cure started off with what looked your classic bestie to pretend lovers to the real thing storyline. Your classic cute and fluffy it seemed.
I was quite content with that. If you would have asked me around halfway in, what I thought, I would have told you very swoony cute & fluffy, very predictable and really enjoyable.
And then it took a turn. So suddenly this is more than a cute & fluffy. And I still love it.
But while The Heartbreak Cure did somehow manage to breach the cliff from cute & fluffy and thoughtful & heartbreaking, it seems like it can't decide what it is. Funny that I should fault that, but somehow, it felt unfulfilled.
Well, not the storyline mind you, it's cute, at times predictable and yet very enjoyable.
But the actual novel, the feel of it. I mean I liked the fluff for the first 70something percent and I liked the fluff ending as well. I really enjoyed the more serious parts. I loved how Alex and Cat, both come to the conclusion that not all is what it seems. I like that they are both somewhat mopey teens with a strong backbone. But somehow the fluff ending didn't make me feel all swoony because my heart was just dragged through the trenches and the issues Ashby highlighted weren't so simple to let go of. It was too sweet in the end, too fluffy. Somehow I feel there could have been more here. I was given a hint of more and then it was just brushed away.

The writing style is my least favorite part of the novel. It's okay, but at times it felt a bit wooden. Some phrases are just a bit too much of the usual usual. I am being very critical here, as always when it comes to writing style. While the style might not have been my favorite, it didn't detract from how much I liked the book.. clearly.

The character building, on the other hand, was my favorite. I adore Alex. Cat in all her sometimes drama queen teen glory is super sweet. I could relate to her and identify with her. The two MC's feel real, their fears and worries realistic. I could relate and I feel like I know them, more importantly, I felt with them. Their chemistry is tangible. Very cute couple indeed.
The support cast was interesting as well. Some of the characters were are first glance a bit of the usual typecast, but as we get to know them they do get more unique. I like that Ashby took a set of given ideas and characters and made them her own.

Very enjoyable, at times surprising and very sweet cute & fluffy with a pinch of depth thrown in for good measure. A must-read for lovers of the genre.


Rating: 





Excerpt:


“Please don’t tell my mom that one. She doesn’t need any more bad puns to put on her cards,” Cat said as Alex’s cell phone buzzed. He read the text message before looking up.
“You could tell her yourself—or not tell her, as the case might be. She wants you to call her.”
“What?” Cat said in surprise before dragging out her own phone and staring at the dead screen. She’d obviously played one too many games on it during math. “How did she even get your number?”
He shrugged. “I guess Joe gave it to her.”
“Oh.” It seemed Cat wasn’t the only forgetting Alex wasn’t her real boyfriend.
The darkening afternoon sky was a spectrum of blues as he held up his cell. “You can use mine.”
“Thanks.” She took the handset. The screen was cracked, and there was a fine coat of grease on the keys. She grinned at his screen saver, which was of Snoopy dressed up as the Red Baron. “Frozen and now Snoopy? I always knew you had a marshmallow heart.”
“Yeah. I’m a total softie,” his voice was light, but his knuckles whitened. Cat winced. Franklin had tarred and feathered him with the same brush they’d used for his parents. The worst thing was he seemed to believe it, too. Frustration gnawed at her chest.
How I am the only one who can see how amazing he really is?
Her mom answered on the second ring and explained she’d been held up in a sales meeting and it was going to run for another two hours, which meant she couldn’t pick Cat from school.
“It’s fine. I’ll hitch a ride with Nikki,” Cat said, promising to charge up her cell phone, eat some vegetables with her dinner, and on no account throw a house party.
“You’ll never guess what just happened.” Nikki came running outside, her eyes glowing and her cheeks bright.
“Mackenzie fell into a vat of glitter?” Cat suggested. “Or glue?” Alex added.
“Wrong. Parker just asked me if I wanted to grab a burger with him. Well, he said you guys could come, but I told him you were busy. Right. Right?” Nikki narrowed her gaze so there could be no misunderstandings.
“Right,” she agreed with a smile before recalling her transport predicament. “Go, have fun, and don’t tell him about the time you beat your brothers up. It will only scare him.”
“Duh.” Nikki grinned and went racing over to Parker, who was nervously chewing his lip.
“I can give you a lift,” Alex said once they were alone.
“Are you sure? I feel like every day I impose on you more,” she said, achingly aware of how close they were standing.
“What kind of fake boyfriend would leave his girl stranded?” He shrugged.
His girl.
His. Girl.

She tested out the words like a new flavor. Her body trembled in response and she nodded. “Okay, great.”




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Monday, December 4, 2017

Review: Once Upon a Christmas Eve by Elizabeth Hoyt


Once Upon a Christmas Eve


Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Publisher: Forever Yours
Series: Maiden Lane #12.6
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: December 5th 2017



Summary:

Adam Rutledge, Viscount d'Arque, really rather loathes Christmas. The banal cheerfulness. The asinine party games. And, worst of all, the obligatory trip to the countryside. His grandmother, however, loves the holiday—and Adam loves his grandmother, so he'll brave the fiercest snowstorm to please her. But when their carriage wheel snaps, they're forced to seek shelter at the home of the most maddening, infuriating, and utterly beguiling woman he's ever met.

Sarah St. John really rather loathes rakes. The self-satisfied smirks. The sly predatory gazes. Oh, and the constant witty banter rife with double meaning. But in the spirit of the season, she'll welcome this admittedly handsome viscount into her home. But as the snowstorm rages, the Yule log crackles, and the tension rises, Sarah and Adam find themselves locked in a fiery, passionate kiss. If love is the true meaning of Christmas, it's the one gift this mismatched pair can't wait to unwrap




Review:

A nice little novella that fits well into the series. It does also work as a standalone, though I personally probably enjoyed this more because I read the series.
It's the perfect cute and fluffy to get some historical holiday cheer with some smut. It's rather short, too short for my taste. Which while we at it is my biggest issue with this.
I liked this a lot. But then it was over.
Way too fast.
Literally just got into the characters, queue smut scene and boom! HEA.
I was left wanting more. Lots more.
What we got, however, is a lovely little novella featuring Adam Rutledge, Viscount d'Arque, who made an appearance in the series before this, getting his HEA.
I am not complaining about what's there rather what is not there.
While there is some interesting character building, which is a feat considering how short this is, the plot feels rushed, especially at the end.
The moment when Adam has his epiphany (which could have been a bit stalkerish creepy as well btw) was a bit... well... too sudden.
So loved the storyline, but it was too rushed. Enjoyed the characters, but was left wanting more.
Cute little novella, which leaves me hoping that Hoyt is going to write another novel for the series.


Rating: 



Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Review: The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody


The Chaos of Standing Still


Author: Jessica Brody
Publisher: by Simon Pulse
Pages: Hardcover, 320 pages
Genre: YA
Release Date: November 28th 2017



Summary:

Over the course of one chaotic night stranded at the Denver airport, Ryn confronts her shattered past thanks to the charm of romance, the uniqueness of strangers, and the magic of ordinary places in this stunning novel from the author of Boys of Summer.

Ryn has one unread text message on her phone. And it’s been there for almost a year.

She hasn’t tried to read it. She can’t. She won’t. Because that one message is the last thing her best friend ever said to her before she died.

But as Ryn finds herself trapped in the Denver International Airport on New Year’s Eve thanks to a never-ending blizzard on the one-year anniversary of her best friend’s death, fate literally runs into her.

And his name is Xander.

When the two accidentally swap phones, Ryn and Xander are thrust into the chaos of an unforgettable all-night adventure, filled with charming and mysterious strangers, a secret New Year’s Eve bash, and a possible Illuminati conspiracy hidden within the Denver airport. But as the bizarre night continues, all Ryn can think about is that one unread text message. It follows her wherever she goes, because Ryn can’t get her brialliantly wild and free-spirited best friend out of her head.

Ryn can’t move on.

But tonight, for the first time ever, she’s trying. And maybe that’s a start.

As moving as it is funny, The Chaos of Standing Still is a heartwarming story about the earth-shattering challenges life throws at us—and the unexpected strangers who help us along the way




Review:

The Chaos of Standing Still is definitely interesting and worth giving a go.

I like Brody's writing style. I like the fact, that she does tackle some interesting subjects. The Chaos of Standing Still she explores survivors guilt.
There is much more going on, however. It is a fun little adventure set on an airport, during a snow blizzard. I have never been to Denver, but I have spent plenty of hours on airports and Brody gets the moods and the feeling just right. Her snarky, witty and fun outlook on the world resonates with me.

I really like the idea of this. A lot. I love all the little side themes, the adventures and little weird anecdotes (like passenger lotto) In the beginning I liked the back flashes as well, but as the book progressed they felt disruptive. There were simply too many of them for me.

The character building is done well. I feel like I got to know Ryn, Xander and Lottie fairly well. Really liked Xander. He is sweet and fun. My favorite in the bunch. Lottie, let me just say this, is a right out b*tch. I couldn't understand why Ryn was friends with her? Their relationship sounded toxic to me. Lottie is beyond self-involved and manipulative. I just didn't get their connection. However, I have seen friendships like that and know that they are possible. So while I don't approve, it doesn't negate the way Ryn feels.
Ryn had me divided. Because at first, I adored her. She is all negative snark and obsessions, so can relate. But then I found her more and more annoying. She was throwing this huge continuous tantrum refusing to even listen to someone else's story. I didn't like how she dealt with Xander, when he talked about his issues with his parents, for example. I mean, I get she doesn't feel understood by her parents, that she feels lost and that she doesn't really want to deal with the past, hence resents her therapist first and foremost. But her passive aggressive behavior has no bounds and I at least wanted some kind of sympathy towards Xander.

So while I love the context and the storyline, I didn't like some of the styles the story was told in. And though I do think the character building, I was not a fan of most of the characters. Both of these things diminished my liking- ergo the rating of the book. While I think the idea is fabulous, the execution is only good. So 3 I-wish-it-was-more Stars from me.

Rating: 



Monday, November 27, 2017

ARC Review: It's Hard Out Here for a Duke by Maya Rodale



It's Hard Out Here for a Duke


Author: Maya Rodale
Publisher: Avon
Series: Keeping Up with the Cavendishes #4
Pages: Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: November 28th 2017



Summary:

In the fourth novel of Maya Rodale’s tantalizing series, a newly minted duke spends one night with his perfect woman...but can he win her for a lifetime

Some Mistakes…

When American-born James Cavendish arrives in London tomorrow, he’ll become the Duke of Durham. Some might be ecstatic at the opportunity. Not James. He’s a simple man, fond of simple pleasures. And right now, nothing could be more pleasurable than spending his last night of freedom with a beautiful stranger.

Are Far Too Good…

One wild night, Meredith Green, companion to the dowager Duchess of Durham, said yes to a man she thought she’d never see again. Suddenly, they’re living under the same roof, where Meredith is expected to teach James how to be a duke—while trying not to surrender to temptation a second time.

To Be Forgotten

For a duke and a commoner, marriage would be pure scandal. Yet nothing has ever felt as right as having Meredith in his arms…and in his bed. Soon he must choose—between a duty he never desired, and a woman he longs for, body and soul…



Review:

Sooooo, I kinda wish I liked this better. Because this is well written.
I liked Rodale's writing style, a lot. It's Hard out here for a Duke has her hallmark wit, some cute banter and yet, it lacked something.
The plot was a bit slow for me. The romance had too much hot and cold going on as well.
I considered to DNF several times. But then I kept hoping that it will get better.
And it did, a little.

The thing is I was totally underwhelmed by the MCs. I found James okay, mostly. He was a bit whiny in the beginning. Meredith was exasperating, pushing him away, then reeling him back in... But the thing is I didn't get their chemistry. I mean I liked James growing feelings, except I kinda didn't get why or when he got them. It made not much sense to me because I didn't feel their chemistry at all.
And there lies my problem with this book. It misses the spark, at least for me.

However, I also have to say, that this could easily be chalked down to an its-me-not-the-book case and lovers of the author and the genre should give this a try.

Rating: 


Thursday, November 23, 2017

ARC Review: The Map To You by Lindy Zart


The Map to You

Author: Lindy Zart
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Pages: Kindle Edition, 198 pages
Genre: NA
Release Date: November 28th 2017



Summary:

They both had secrets that could drive people apart—or bring them together forever . . .

Keeping his inner demons at bay means Blake Malone has more than enough trouble on his plate. He doesn’t need any extra complications. But that’s exactly what he gets when, on his way to North Dakota, he leaves his truck unattended—and returns to find a beautiful woman sleeping in the front seat.

Opal Allen seems to have a knack for attracting trouble. Which is why she isn’t about to tell her new road trip companion the real reason she needs to hightail it out of town. But Blake has a way of seeing right through her, which is both terrifying and exhilarating. Now her biggest problem is figuring out how to resist their undeniable attraction. Because once this road trip is over, she plans on never seeing Blake again.

But the best adventures don’t go according to plan.



Review:
OMG! This was so amazing! Heart breaking, shattering really but so so beautiful!

Zart slowly sneaked her way into my heart, then bit by bit dismantled it until it was a shattered mess on the floor. Then she went about to put it back together again, she added a little joy, quirk and a whole lot of hope to it. My heart sores.

I think this is one of the most touching books I read in 2017. Even if at first glance it just looks like a quirky, off-beat romance, somehow it was much more, for me at least.

Blake , who we met in Roomies, is a perfectly flawed male lead. He seems like a tough, difficult guy at first, but quickly we get to discover he is really generous. I could totally relate to Blake and loved his POV. Not because I had any kind of issues that he faced growing up, but because I got his bond with his grandfather and I can relate to the feeling down. Also let's face it I am "mrs. sunshine" lol. Grumpy and scary to approach at first, but a big old marshmallow if you dare to overlook it. I got his fears and his struggles, felt his worries and hopes. One of the best male leads I had the pleasure to read in a long long time
Opal is quirky and off beat. Again extremely well written. It took me a bit longer to relate to her. Partly because she was so mysterious about stuff, partly because she is rather opposite to me. A beautifully strong female lead, with passion and talent I could only dream of. I was awed by her braveness and heartbroken over her lostness. (is that even a word?) Her tendencies to spin stories was kinda off putting - as a character trait- but I found it beyond entertaining.
The support cast is brilliant. Vibrant characters that set off the lead. It was really fun to see Graham and Kennedy from Blakes POV. And let me tell you, they so different from how I remember them. I love how Zart made them look fluffy and slightly wacko in Blake's eyes. I love even more how he ends up admitting, that they are quirky but not completly insane. With that one gets to see the Graham and Kennedy I grew to love in Roomies.
Now let me assure you, while this is a spin-off from Roomies, you don't have to read it. This works perfectly as a stand-alone. If you however read Roomies; this isn't another take of it. It is much darker and has little to do with Roomies- other than, the writing style and humor.

This is written beautifully. So many interesting moments of insight. So many moments that made me laugh, plenty of moments that seared themselves into my heart. All wrapped up in Zart's fun to the point writing style. I am definitely a fan of Zart's prose. So poignant yet easy going. I can't wait for her next book!

About 3/4 of the plot is set only over a few days. So this is kinda super fast. But funny enough it's not totally insta. I got the connection between Opal and Blake, it made sense. Perfectly so. Though I wish Zart would have explored their chemistry a little more.
I absolutely love the end. L.O.V.E it. It's kinda open-ended, but not. It is at a point of beginning, the end of a chapter. Just.. sigh. Love it.
The banter between Blake and Opal is another favorite about the book.

All of this is fun. But the thing I loved most? The underlying message.
The characters are flawed. They are even pretty broken. They have a terrible past. But they make peace with it. Even more they work towards who they want to be. They hope.
And that's what growing up is for me. Letting go of the past, letting go of what everyone expects from you and decided what or who you want to be. Moving towards that step by step, driven by hope and helped by loved ones.
It is the most exciting view of life if you ask me. The most hopeful. To be who you want to be, for yourself. Taking that leap and that responsibility that's adulting, if you ask me, not paying your bills.
It gives one an unlimited amount of possibilities and the acceptance of who you are. Facing yourself, will make you face, what you were in your past. Examining your demons- whatever they are and most importantly gives us the power to letting go of them. It has been one of the most crucial discovery in my adulthood and Zart putting it into novel form, touched my heart.



Rating: 



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