Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Blog Tour + Giveaway: The Slope Rules by Melanie Hooyenga

I am excited to be a part of The Slope Rules blog tour hosted by YA Bound Book Tours. I love YA books that mix sports with romance, throw in a beautiful snowy background and what could go wrong? Also, be sure to check out the awesome giveaway listed below!
The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: February 24, 2017
Publisher: Left Handed Mitten Publications
Fifteen-year old Cally accepted her fate as one of the guys, so when she meets Blake, a hot snowboarder who sees her for more than her aerials on the slopes, she falls fast and hard. But their romance can only last as long as vacation.

Or so she thinks.

A twist of fate—well, her Dad opening another brewery in a new town—lands her in Blake’s school, but the charismatic boy she fell for wants nothing to do with her, and worse, the Snow Bunnies, the popular clique, claim her as their newest recruit.

Cally must learn to be true to herself—all while landing a spot on the ski team and figuring out who she is without her old friends. And when she finds out what Blake is hiding, she learns the rules on the slopes apply to more than just skiing.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Let me just start off by saying I have never skied or snowboarded a day in my life. Heck, I've only ever seen snow like two times, but there's just something magical about reading love stories that take place in the snow. I blame Lorelai Gilmore.

When 15 year old Cally vacations in Colorado, she meets super dreamy boarder, Blake. Used to being seen as just one of the guys, Cally is unprepared for the attention Blake showers on her. Even though they're only together a short while, Cally falls for him and is heartbroken when she has to go back home. Even more heartbroken when Blake suddenly stops talking to her. Then, to add to her misery, her father drops a bombshell - they're moving to Colorado where her father plans to open up another brewery. When Cally arrives at her new school, imagine her surprise when she sees Blake in her English class - especially when he told her he lived in California. 

This read like Mean Girls: Snow Bunnies.Cally is immediately surrounded by the rich and popular kids, although one girl seems to have ulterior motives for friendship. With Blake ignoring her still and her new "friends" laying down all of these rules to follow, Cally isn't sure about anything and quickly starts losing who she is as a person. 

What I liked was Cally's bravery and strength. She'd been through a lot in her life - losing her mother at an early age, moving across the country. etc. But, even though it takes her a little time, she stands up for who and what she believes in. She accepts that she'll never be a girly girl and she's okay with that. We need more young girls like her in YA.

What fell a little flat were just minor things - why Blake lied so much and then ignored her, the over-dramatic scenarios that popped up,  the mean girls (it literally made no sense why people followed them). But there were other side characters who made up for these and ultimately, I enjoyed the book.

I would normally say that this would be a perfect cuddle up by the fireplace type of book, but if you're like me and live in California where it's currently 80 degrees already, I would call this a lovely park day read. 

Thank you to YA Bound Book Tours for allowing me to be a part of this blog tour.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Castaways by Jessika Fleck

I am happy to be joining YA Reads in their blog tour for the debut novel from Jessika Fleck titled The Castaways. Be sure to also check out the giveaway below!

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: April 3, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen
320 Pages

The Castaway Carnival: fun, mysterious, dangerous.

Renowned for its infamous corn maze…and the kids who go missing in it.

When Olive runs into the maze, she wakes up on an isolated and undetectable island where a decades-long war between two factions of rival teens is in full swing.

Trapped, Olive must slowly attempt to win each of her new comrades’ hearts as Will—their mysterious, stoically quiet, and handsome leader—steals hers.

Olive is only sure about one thing: her troop consists of the good guys, and she’ll do whatever it takes to help them win the war and get back home.

 The Castaways is a fantasy of sorts. I mean, it involves a carnival that can magically transform you to an island. That sounds pretty cool, right? Well, what if this island was in the middle of a war and you just unwillingly chose sides?

When the Castaway Carnival rolls into town, Olive agrees to take her little brother with one rule - no going in the corn maze. Because, see, kids go missing in the maze and Olive is not about to take that chance. But when she's cornered by a group of mean girls from school who's life mission is to torment her, Olive unwillingly runs into the maze. And then finds herself on an island. She quickly discovers that island is inhabited by missing kids from all eras and that they never age. Also, there's a war. 

Fleck does a good job of bringing this mysterious island to life and it plays it's own part in the book as if it's a character in itself. It seems to give and take as it pleases - both protecting and endangering the kids as they try to find a way back home. 

Then there's the kids themselves. Duke and Will were the first on the island (well, in this group at least). They arrived as enemies and stayed that way which leads to the island war going on when Olive arrives. As the book progresses, we learn about each character and what brought them to the island. They realize that there's a theme: they were all running from something when they vanished. Olive believes that since they all were brought under similar circumstances that this must be some key to getting home, however, before she's able to fully test that theory the war blows up. 

To be honest, I wasn't a huge fan of Olive. Her constant lying from the moment she arrived on the island literally drove me nuts. Like, all of these people laid bare their stories and she just lied. This book, for me, was more about the background characters. Jude, Lewis, Bug, Tilly - they were all so much more interesting than Olive and kept me reading the book.

Overall, a good debut. Something a little new and I look forward to more from the author.

Thank you for YA Reads and Entangled Teen for allowing me to be a part of this Blog Tour. I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Book Review: Swinging at Love (Suttonville Sentinels #2) by Kendra C. Highley

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: March 13, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Crush
240 Pages

Outfielder Tristan Murrell has a problem. As the number two slugger for the Suttonville Sentinels, his team is counting on him to make their very first run at the state championship. But he has a secret—his swing has totally deserted him. As in, he can’t hit anything. He needs to fix the issue, and fast, but how?
Ballerina Alyssa Kaplan has a problem, too. The shiny new sports complex in town has left her family’s batting cage business on the verge of going under. Nailing her audition for a prestigious dance company is everything, but there’s no way she’s letting her some shiny big-box company destroy her family’s livelihood.
Tristan needs a miracle. So does Alyssa. And maybe, just maybe, Tristan’s secret weapon might be the girl of his dreams...
Disclaimer: This book contains hot, shirtless baseball players, kisses that bring a ballerina to her knees, and a lot of baseball smack-talk.

Oh man, I had a lot of issues with this one. 
Alyssa works for her father at his currently failing sports complex, Swing Away. Failing largely in part to the brand new sparkling chain competitor who just took up residence in town. On top of worrying about her father having to shut down, she's also freaking out about an important dance camp audition coming up. A camp that costs money - money she would gladly give to her father to help with the business.
Tristan has lost his mojo. Once one of the star hitters on the Suttonville Sentinels, something is now causing him to swing at air. Not wanting to let his teammates see him fail, he heads away from the shiny new batting cages where someone from the team might see him and finds himself at Swing Away. Here he meets Alyssa as she critiques his batting style while offering up tips to help - which, to Tristan's pleasure, work. 
This is a love story where two high school students meet and fall in love. Like immediately. Not even joking. This is a quote from their first non-date not long after his visit to Swing Away. But first, let me set the scene: Tristan asks to buy Alyssa Starbucks after work. She says yes then meets him at the baseball field where he's waiting with coffee and a blanket. They then proceed to sit under the stars while Tristan wows her with his knowledge of the stars. Alyssa asks him if he wants to wish on one. And here's the quote:
"You make a wish. Mine already came true."
You have literally had like two conversations together. Just no.
The insta-love was only one of the problems I had with this book. I've read Highley before but I don't remember them being this weighed down with unnecessary drama. It was literally one dramatic thing after another. On top of Tristan's batting fails, once him and Alyssa are all swoony for each other they hit a major roadblock. You see, Tristan's best friend has been crushing on Alyssa and Alyssa's best friend has been crushing on Tristan. Yeah, you read that right. But instead of being honest with their BEST FRIENDS, they lie. Well, obviously they get caught and cue drama! It was like a whole season of One Tree Hill in one 240 page book.

Sports, love triangles (or was it actually a square?), secrets, lies...  I just could not get into this one. The ending itself was cutesy, if not a little far fetched, but it just wasn't enough to save it for me.

I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Book Review: Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: March 7, 2016
Publisher: Little Brown Books
336 Pages

Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the States. Seven days to say good-bye to the electric city, her wild best friend, and the boy she’s harbored a semi-secret crush on for years. Seven perfect days…until Jamie Foster-Collins moves back to Japan and ruins everything.

Jamie and Sophia have a history of heartbreak, and the last thing Sophia wants is for him to steal her leaving thunder with his stupid arriving thunder. Yet as the week counts down, the relationships she thought were stable begin to explode around her. And Jamie is the one who helps her pick up the pieces. Sophia is forced to admit she may have misjudged Jamie, but can their seven short days of Tokyo adventures end in anything but good-bye?

Sophia has one week left in Tokyo. One week to cram in everything she loves about the city and also spend as much time with her friends as she can. When someone from her past decides to make his reentry the same week she is leaving, Sophia is left wondering if her leaving will be overshadowed by an old friends arrival and also, just what exactly does this mean for her?

Jamie and Sophia used to be friends. Really good friends. Until Jamie does something that hurts Sophia badly. He then leaves Tokyo for boarding school in the US and the two get no resolution. That is until Jamie comes back. The two of them find themselves drawn to each other and revealing what went wrong.

This story is just a huge book of misunderstandings. And also lack of communication. Set in a beautiful locale, I expected the author to use it more to help shape the story. Instead, she tells us what it is but doesn't show us. On top of that, we're thrown random Japanese words throughout the book almost in an offhand sort of way. Like the author forgot it was supposed to be set in a foreign country and went back and added those later.

As for the characters, they were ok. I disliked about half of them and the other half I just tolerated. I still could not tell you why some of them were friends. They were horrible to each other - lying, backstabbing, etc. I don't understand why Sophia was soooo in love with David - he was kind of an ass. But Sophia also was on the side of immature so maybe that was it... And then Jamie was like a lost puppy - adorable at times and then like something you need to nurture.

I wanted to like this book more than I did. That beautiful cover didn't help. I didn't hate it but I also didn't love it. It was just okay. Nothing really memorable unfortunately. 

I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Book Review + Giveaway: Every Little Thing (Hart's Boardwalk #2) by Samantha Young

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Berkley Books
352 Pages

Hartwell, Delaware—the perfect place to get away from it all, and find what you never knew you needed…

Bailey Hartwell has many reasons to feel content—her successful business, a close circle of friends, and her steady boyfriend…even if their romance feels staid after ten years without a serious commitment. The only challenge in her life comes in the form of sexy businessman Vaughn Tremaine. She thinks the ex-New Yorker acts superior and that he considers her a small-town nobody. But when Bailey’s blindsided by a betrayal, she’s shocked to discover Vaughn is actually a decent guy.

Vaughn admires Bailey’s free spirit, independence, and loyalty. As his passion for her has grown, his antagonism toward her has only worsened. Every little thing Bailey does seduces him. But when Vaughn’s painful emotional past makes him walk away in fear he will hurt her, it opens an old wound in Bailey, and she uncharacteristically retreats.

Once Vaughn begins to realize he’s made the biggest mistake of his life, he has no choice but to fight like he’s never fought before to convince Bailey that the love they’ve found together only comes around once in a lifetime.

I was a little worried that I wasn't going to fall in love with this series. I mean, I liked the first one but it wasn't anything that really stood out to me. But what it did do was get me interested in the follow-up. And let me tell you, the follow-up was worth it!

Bailey Hartwell is the Princess of the Boardwalk. Everyone knows her and everyone loves her. With her family owned inn doing well and her love life secured, Bailey is on top of the world. That is until she walks in on her boyfriend screwing someone else. Suddenly Bailey's world is turned upside down and she begins questioning everything in life and panicking about her future. She doesn't want to end up all alone and feels like she's running out of time.

Vaughn Tremaine left the big city craving the small town life, which is why he set up shop in Hartwell. At first, the town wasn't so sure about this outsider, but over time he's started to warm up to the locals. All except Bailey. And the last thing Vaughn expected was to fall for the one woman who despises him. But when Bailey encounters heartbreak, Vaughn steps up in a way no one, even Vaughn, expects.

What I loved about this book was the progression of Bailey and Vaughn's relationship. It wasn't something that they both just suddenly knew, it was something that had been simmering for a long time until something happened and it blew up. Their banter, their loyalty, and their support of each other just surrounded them and made them that much more stronger.

The town of Hartwell is just adorable. The side characters fill the pages and I want to know more about them and just more about this town. Young created a real community with real problems and feelings and you find yourself wanting these people to succeed in their goals.

Side note, do we know if there's a book 3? I really want Jack's story!


I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

ARC Review: Operation Prom Date (Tactics in Flirting #1) by Cindi Madsen

Displaying OPD4.jpg
The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: March 13, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen
223 Pages

Kate ships tons of fictional couples, but IRL her OTP is her and Mick, the hot quarterback she’s crushed on since, like, forever. With only one semester left of senior year, it’s now or never if she wants to land him in time for prom. Since she’s flirtationally challenged, she enlists Cooper Callihan, the guy who turned popular seemingly overnight but who used to be a good friend.
Cooper lives and breathes rowing, but his partner just broke his wrist. When he remembers Kate’s good with a set of oars, he strikes a deal: help him train, and he’ll make sure her crush notices her. Only he didn’t know how addicting spending time with her would be. Or how the more successful the Operation is, the more jealousy he experiences.
The mission has been set. The troops have their marching orders. But what if the target is the wrong guy all along?
Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains stargazing, accidental swimming, and poker swindling. This kissing practice will melt your ereader...and give you a new couple to ship.

In Kate's world of fandoms and OTP's, she clings hard to the fact that there's one person for everyone. In her mind, her true real life OTP is herself and Mick. The only problem is Kate is shy and introverted while Mick is one of the most popular boys in school. So, of course, she's basically had no contact with him. Enter Cooper, an old friend who has gained some popularity recently. Kate enlists Cooper to help her win Mick over in time to go to prom and for his efforts she'll help be his stand-in rowing partner while his real one recovers from injury. Hi-jinks ensue, feelings grow and fade, and Kate is left to question just who is her OTP.

This book was adorable. I related instantly to Kate. I mean, she ships Olicity so how could I not? I mean, look at them...

Ok, sorry, got side tracked. Anyway...I pretty much just got Kate's world. However, the one thing I couldn't get behind was her "OTP". I guess the saying 'love is blind' comes to play here because Kate was pretty much blind to anything about Mick that wasn't in her already perfectly constructed picture.
And then there was Cooper, who obviously was her true OTP because they were just too freaking adorable together. Cooper initially accepts Kate's crazy plan because rowing is his life and he doesn't want to lose practice time. But over the course of spending long hours together, he realizes that Kate is a breath of fresh air from his very scheduled life. She gives him strength when he needs it and even when they seem to be falling apart, she's still there supporting him.

I will say one thing that drove me nuts about Kate is when she's internally complaining about Cooper not liking her back because he isn't showing any signs so he obviously doesn't feel the same way. Girl, you asked him to help you land another guy! Why would he reveal his feelings to you when he thinks you're still in love with Mick?! Ugh, teenagers...

Overall, I adored this. This was my first book from Madsen but am definitely ready to read more. 

I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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