Monday, February 24, 2014

Review: Cocktail Hour by: Tara McTiernan

Goodreads Summary: 

What if your friend - someone admired, envied, and fervently sought after by everyone who knew her - was really a dangerous sociopath?

Spring in glamorous uber-rich Fairfield County, Connecticut is a time of beginnings: a new diet for the approaching summer spent out on the yacht, fresh-faced interns being offered up at the office as the seasonal sacrifice to the gods of money, and corporate takeovers galore. Five women in their thirties have a brand-new friendship, too, one that's fed and watered regularly at local hotspots over cocktails. With all of their personal struggles - Lucie's new catering business is foundering due to vicious gossip, Kate's marriage is troubled due to an inability to conceive, Chelsea's series of misses in the romance department have led to frantic desperation, and Sharon's career problems are spinning out of control - the women look forward to a break and a drink and a chance to let their guards down with their friends. And letting their guards down is the last thing they should do in the kind of company they unknowingly keep with the fifth member of their cocktail-clique: Bianca Rossi, a woman who will stop at nothing to have it all.

My Review:

ReadingNook Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

At the time that Tara McTiernan asked me to read and review her newest story, I was working in Fairfield County. CT, so this book was fun and interesting to me. I knew many of the spots that she wrote about and many of the characters featured in her book, I could easily corrolate with someone that I knew in my real life, so that made the book that much more enjoyable for me.

I've always been a huge fan of chick-lit, and every once in a while I crave the girly, fashion-fueled, drama fests that are chick-lit novels, and I think when I read this one I wasn't in that mindset, which ultimately lead me to take a really long time to get through this book. It wasn't that it was bad AT ALL, but this book is so much more then a typical Chick-lit story, It was deeper then that, and had some real substance to it.

Although it took me a lot longer then it normally does to get through a book, I still really enjoyed this book in the end, it was fun and light-hearted at times, but serious and heart-felt in others, and if you are a fan of womens fiction or chick-lit I think you would really enjoy this story.

* I did receieve this book from the Author for free to read and review. The thoughts and opinions in this review are my own.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Audiobook Review: Revenge Wears Prada by: Lauren Weisberger

Goodreads Summary:

The sequel you’ve been waiting for: the follow-up to the sensational #1 bestseller The Devil Wears Prada.Eight years have passed since Andrea “Andy” Sachs quit the job “a million girls would die for” working for Miranda Priestly at Runway Magazine—a dream that turned out to be a nightmare. Now Andy’s on the top of the world: she’s writing and reporting to her heart’s content; running The Plunge, her wildly successful high fashion bridal magazine with Miranda’s other ex-assistant, Emily; and most importantly, getting married to the scion of a storied media family and the love of her life.

But the night before her wedding, Andy can’t sleep. As happy as she is—as happy as she should be—she’s still haunted by the specter of her former boss. Maybe it’s survivor syndrome? Or maybe it’s justifiable, self-inflicted, paranoia. From the start, Andy and Emily have felt entitled to use their rolodex of contacts—Miranda’s contacts—from Runway as they make their way in the magazine world. As The Plunge succeeds, Andy and Emily realize they’ll soon come face to face with their former tormenter at industry functions, award ceremonies, and even weddings. Still, Andy can hardly anticipate the horrifying reality that’s approaching—a reversal so profound that she will be squarely in Miranda’s crosshairs once more.

Karma’s a bitch. And Andy’s efforts to build a bright new life have led her directly to the one she fled—and into the path of the Devil herself.

Reading Nook Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

** SPOILER ALERT ** The Devil Wears Prada is one of my favorite books/movies of all times. So obviously when I heard that Lauren Weisberger was making a sequel I was beyond estatic. I did like the premise of this story, but I didn't like Andy in this book at all, which made me not love it as much as I wanted too. I felt she was all over the place and whiney, and don't even get me started on Emily, I couldn't stand her caddy, bossiness either, they both drove me nuts.

I did like the story but hated the decisions that Andy made, which made it very hard for me to root for her. My biggest problem with her was her marrying Max, I couldn't fathom why she had so many resolutions and second thoughts, but still went through with it, so obviously I couldn't really feel compassion towards her in regards to her divorce.

I did love Miranda though and she was just as cold and heartless as she was in the first book, but I wish there was more of her in the story, and honestly with the title of this book, I thought that Andy would seek revenge towards Miranda, and take her down and give her a taste of her own medicine, but Miranda won in the end, so this book was definitely not what I had thought it would be.

I was happy to revisit these characters, but the story did fall a bit flat for me, and I expected a lot more, seeing this book was second to a book that many readers know and love. If you liked The Devil Wears Prada, I would still give this book a chance, just maybe not have high expectations that it's going to be like the first book.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Cover Reveal: Forever Fredless by: Suzy Turner

Summary TeaserKate Robinson has spent the past two decades yearning to find her soul mate, the boy she found and then lost during a family holiday. Shortly after her twenty-eighth birthday, however, she inherits a fortune from an old family friend and becomes something of an overnight celebrity. Can her new-found fame lead her to him after all this time?

Forever Fredless will be avaliable in online bookstores Oct. 2013

For more details about Suzy and her books, visit: 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Review: When You Were Here by: Daisy Whitney

Goodreads Summary: 

Filled with humor, raw emotion, a strong voice, and a brilliant dog named Sandy Koufax, When You Were Here explores the two most powerful forces known to man-death and love. Daisy Whitney brings her characters to life with a deft touch and resonating authenticity.

Danny's mother lost her five-year battle with cancer three weeks before his graduation-the one day that she was hanging on to see.

Now Danny is left alone, with only his memories, his dog, and his heart-breaking ex-girlfriend for company. He doesn't know how to figure out what to do with her estate, what to say for his Valedictorian speech, let alone how to live or be happy anymore.

When he gets a letter from his mom's property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of his mother he never knew. So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother's memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew. There, among the cherry blossoms, temples, and crowds, and with the help of an almost-but-definitely-not Harajuku girl, he begins to see how it may not have been ancient magic or mystical treatment that kept his mother going. Perhaps, the secret of how to live lies in how she died.

My Review:

 ReadingNook Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I was lucky enough to win a signed copy of When you Were Here by: Daisy Whitney and I was so happy to read something by her. I'm going to be honest and say that the whole way through the book I was thinking it was going to probably be a three star read, not because the story was bad at all by any means but because I was waiting for something to really hit home for me, and HOLY GOD the last 80 pages freaking broke my heart, that was exactly what I needed to bring it right up to a 5-star rating, and to become one of my favorite reads of the summer.

Losing a parent is always a sad and emotional subject esp. when the character losing the parent is a teenager, but I loved how real this book felt, and I loved the air of mystery it had with Danny trying to figure out his mom's other life she led in Tokoyo. I didn't know if I was going to love the setting of the story either, but I found that I loved Whitney's writing and the setting could have been anywhere and I think the story still would have packed the same punch.

I'm thankful that Daisy Whitney also sent me a signed copy of The Mockingbirds, which was just an extra gift from her (because she's awesome, not because I actually won it.) But I can't wait to read more from her!! I loved her writing, and loved how I felt one way through the whole book, and within the last 80 pages totally changed my perspective on the whole story, I don't know about ya'll, but that dosen't happen very often for me. If the Mockingbird is anything like book as far as writing style goes, i'm sure I will love it.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (32): Not a Drop to Drink by: Mindy McGinnis

Goodreads Summary: 

Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water. 

Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn't leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.

But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….

With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, debut author Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a barren world not so different than our own.

Expected Publication Date: Sept. 24th, 2013 by: Katherine Teagan Books

Why I Can't Wait for This Book: First of all, COVER FREAKIN LOVE!!! I love how the left side of the book is sephia tones, while the right side is a greenish yellow, and the book of teal with the title!! I love it!! Secondly, This book sounds amazing!!! The concept of no water, and what people have to do to survive fasinates me!! 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Review: Nothing More, Nothing Less By: Ashley Dukart

Goodreads Summary: 

When Brandon finds that his mother committed suicide, he blames himself for her decision. His guilt drives his young life into a downward spiral of drugs, drug dealing, and violent repercussions when his "business partners" don't get what they want. Haunted by the past memories he often relives. His Brothers, who don't always seem to understand him and what he's going through, desperately try to help, but as life becomes further entangled, will Brandon find the escape he so desperately needs before it's too late?

My Review: 

ReadingNook Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I'm going to be completely honest and say that about 80 pages into this book, I was feeling very "meh" about it. I didn't have any emotional investment into any of the characters, and I was struggling to get through it. That being said as soon as Kristine's character came into the book, I started to feel more investment into the story. She made me care for her as well as care for the main character of Brandon, because of her and how he was towards her, it made me find a newfound respect for Brandon.

Drug addiction happens to the best of people, and the worst of people, but ultimately addiction can bring the best of people to the lowest of the low places, and this book certaintly shows that!! This book broke my heart many times over. I'm sure everyone has someone they know that has struggled with drugs or addiction of some sort, and because of that I feel like many people would be able to relate to the pain and suffering that addiction causes to not only the people doing drugs but also for everyone around them.

This book has SOOO many emotional hard hits for a 200 page book. With saying that at first I felt like it felt a bit forced, but by the end it showed me that thats ultimately what addiction does, it takes EVERYTHING for someone, and only until Brandon hit rock bottom did he see that he needed to break free from his addiction. The characters that made this book for me were definitely Kristine and Cole. Cole was Brandon's older brother and his unwavering love and support for Brandon was what made me connect with his character, and I think through them I grew to like Brandon's character more as well. They showed his potentional for who he was underneath the addiction.

If your a fan of addiction books, then this is definitely one you need to check out, this was hands down one of the most emotional addiction books i've read, nothing was sugar-coated, and it showed the pain and suffering of not only the addict but the people around them as well. This was Ashley Dukarts debut novel, and that being said I think this was very strong, and I almost wish It didn't end when it did.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Blog Tour Review and Interview: Imperfect Spiral by: Debbie Levy

Goodreads Summary: 

Danielle Snyder's summer job as a babysitter takes a tragic turn when Humphrey, the five-year-old boy she's watching, runs in front of oncoming traffic to chase down his football. Immediately Danielle is caught up in the machinery of tragedy: police investigations, neighborhood squabbling, and, when the driver of the car that struck Humphrey turns out to be an undocumented alien, outsiders use the accident to further a politically charged immigration debate. Wanting only to mourn Humphrey, the sweet kid she had a surprisingly strong friendship with, Danielle tries to avoid the world around her. Through a new relationship with Justin, a boy she meets at the park, she begins to work through her grief, but as details of the accident emerge, much is not as it seems. It's time for Danielle to face reality, but when the truth brings so much pain, can she find a way to do right by Humphrey's memory and forgive herself for his death?

My Review: 

ReadingNook Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Danielle Samuelson's life gets ripped out from under her when Humphrey the five year old boy she babysits, dies in a tragic accident, that happens on her watch. The scrunity that arises from the accident makes Danielle grow up quickly, as she not only has to deal with the guilt, but also the loss as well. Everyone that reads my blog and my reviews knows that tough issue books always grab my attention, for whatever reason they always suck me in and I tend to devour them despite the storylines being emotional and sometimes draining. 

Danielle was relatible in a way that I think lacks for me in many issue books, many times the main character dealing with the issue has a "woe is me" attitude, and either isn't upset enough, or is on the opposite end of the spectrum to where the emotions feel forced. Debbie Levy did an excellent job depicting the feelings of loss. grief, and guilt, in a real and honest way. 

To makes this story have even more depth, the topic of illegal immigration is also a main theme in this book, which apart from Lie by Caroline Bock, I don't think i've read another book in the YA world that dealt with that issue. I felt like that brought something fresh and unique to the story, which I greatly appreciate as a voracious reader. 

If your a fan of contemporary YA, or books that deal with tougher issues, that I definitely recommend you check out this book. Debbie Levy's writing is real, honest, and heart-felt. 

*Note:I recieved this book for free from the publisher for review, in no way did that influence my thoughts on the book. My thoughts regarding this book are my own and not influenced by anything other then the story itself.

Interview with Debbie Levy: 

-What was your inspiration behind this book, did the idea just come to you, or is based on personal events?

There were multiple inspirations.  And the idea just came to me.  And it is based on personal events.  

The inspirations:  When I look back at my little writing notebook from 2008-9, it’s clear I was thinking about outsider-ness.  About otherness.  I wasn’t thinking about this in the abstract, but rather in the context of a character who presented herself, who turned out to be Imperfect Spiral’s Danielle Snyder.  I was interested in a character, a teenager, who just feels like she’s lagging behind, not special, undirected, and awkward.  You know.  Like lots of us have felt.  (Or maybe I should just speak for myself!)  And then I thought, what if something happened to her that compounded her otherness, but also contained the seeds of change?  That’s where the terrible and terribly sad accident comes in.  While Danielle is babysitting Humphrey Danker, he is fatally struck by a car.  As a result, she becomes, in some ways, even more of an outsider, even more different, and not in a good way.  But she is also eventually moved by what happened to Humphrey take control of her life and to effect change in it. 

Since I can’t really discern why these ideas—what I’m calling the inspirations—occurred to me, however, the answer to your question is also that the idea for the book just came to me out of the blue. . . .

And since I have certainly in my life—and definitely as a teenager—shared Danielle’s uncomfortable self-appraisal, the answer to your question is also that the book is based on personal events.  Okay, maybe not so much specific personal events (although some are in there!), but personal familiarity with some of the traits I’ve given my protagonist.  And my interest in “otherness”—which led me to want to weave in the illegal immigration thread that runs through the story—probably has roots in the fact that I’m the daughter of a refugee.  

Humphrey is a really unique character name, is there a particular method you use to name characters? Or do you just go with the creative flow?

Go with the flow.  Humphrey’s name was always Humphrey.  Always Humphrey P. Danker.  I have no idea why, but it fits him.  

As for other names, Danielle’s was Danielle very early on, but I played with other names—Ruth, Aimee, Cherie, Taniqua—when I was thinking about her character in different ways.  But as soon as she became who she became, her first name was clear to me.  

Then there’s her friend Marissa.  Ah, Marissa.  Marissa went through multiple first names, mostly because my editor didn’t favor the name I gave Marissa initially, maybe because. . . it happened to be, by pure coincidence, my editor’s name, too?  I wasn’t wedded to that first name—it wasn’t an important creative choice—so I tried out other names and settled on Marissa.  Which turned out to be just right, as names usually are.  (Except, I was recently reminded while watching one of my favorite Bette Davis movies, the character of her love interest in Now, Voyager.  He’s played by Paul Henreid, and his name is “Jerry.”  Jerry is a perfectly fine name.  My brother-in-law is named Jerry.  But Paul Henreid is no Jerry.)

If you weren't writing, what would you be doing? 

Professionally:  I’d love to be a children’s book editor.

Playing:  I’d like to be a fishing guide.  I’m not claiming to be qualified to do this.

What is your favorite genre to read, and what are some of your favorite books or books that inspired you yourself to start writing?

I prefer realistic fiction.  It can be contemporary or historical.  On the other hand, I *love* The Wind in the Willows, which we really can’t call realistic fiction, can we?   Oh, Ratty!  Oh, Mole!  Oh, I am inconsistent in my likes!

I also like nonfiction that reads like a story, but without playing fast and loose with facts.

Okay, some favorite books:  My favorite book of this century is Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout.  You can read about my ardent fandom in this blog post.  My favorite book of the previous century is probably Crossing To Safety, by Wallace Stegner.  These are both novels I re-read periodically.  They quicken my pulse—not because they are action-packed, but because they are packed with intelligence, insight, and writing that makes me stop in my tracks.

My favorite YA book is To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.