Truth or Beard – Penny Reid

Truth or Beard by Penny Reid
Published : July 21, 2015

Beards, brothers, and bikers! Oh my! 

Identical twins Beau and Duane Winston might share the same devastatingly handsome face, but where Beau is outgoing and sociable, Duane is broody and reserved. This is why Jessica James, recent college graduate and perpetual level-headed good girl, has been in naïve and unhealthy infatuation with Beau Winston for most of her life. 

His friendly smiles make her tongue-tied and weak-kneed, and she’s never been able to move beyond her childhood crush. Whereas Duane and Jessica have always been adversaries. She can’t stand him, and she’s pretty sure he can’t stand the sight of her…

But after a case of mistaken identity, Jessica finds herself in a massive confusion kerfuffle. Jessica James has spent her whole life paralyzed by the fantasy of Beau and her assumptions of Duane’s disdain; therefore she’s unprepared for the reality that is Duane’s insatiable interest, as well as his hot hands and hot mouth and hotter looks. Not helping Jessica’s muddled mind and good girl sensibilities, Duane seems to have gotten himself in trouble with the local biker gang, the Iron Order.

Certainly, Beau’s magic spell is broken. Yet when Jessica finds herself drawn to the man who was always her adversary, now more dangerous than ever, how much of her level-head heart is she willing to risk?


For some reason I’ve really been wanting to read romance/chick-lit type of books. Which is SO weird for me. I’m not sure why, but I was DYING to read a book like this so it really hit the spot and kept me really satisfied as I read it.

So, I’m not saying I didn’t like this book but it was a bit predictable and/or just cheesy at times. And the writing wasn’t anything amazing, but I have to say there was something about the story and something about Jess and Duane that kept me going. I wish that there were more books about Duane and Jess but it seems like the rest of the books just follow through with the rest of the Winston brothers. I think maybe I’ll just keep reading them but MORE DUANE AND JESS PLEASE.

3/5 Stars

Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes
Published : February 23rd 2016

Joe Goldberg is no stranger to hiding bodies. In the past ten years, this thirty-something has buried four of them, collateral damage in his quest for love. Now he’s heading west to Los Angeles, the city of second chances, determined to put his past behind him.

In Hollywood, Joe blends in effortlessly with the other young upstarts. He eats guac, works in a bookstore, and flirts with a journalist neighbor. But while others seem fixated on their own reflections, Joe can’t stop looking over his shoulder. The problem with hidden bodies is that they don’t always stay that way. They re-emerge, like dark thoughts, multiplying and threatening to destroy what Joe wants most: true love. And when he finds it in a darkened room in Soho House, he’s more desperate than ever to keep his secrets buried. He doesn’t want to hurt his new girlfriend—he wants to be with her forever. But if she ever finds out what he’s done, he may not have a choice…


Oh, you mean you didn’t know I like torturing myself by reading the sequel to a book that literally almost had me screaming and pooping my pants like 75% of the time?

WELL FOLKS, THERE’S A SEQUEL AND I READ IT. Yep. I did it.

I have to admit, I didn’t like this as much as I did You, but I always go into sequels expecting them to not be as good as the debut book. Hidden Bodies kind of let me down in the sense that I didn’t feel as urked as I did when I read You (WHICH IS REALLY WEIRD TO WRITE I KNOW, BUT IT’S TRUE). I didn’t really see the point to this book. And I guess there wasn’t as much suspense in Hidden Bodies as there was in You. I also felt a little weird about the fact that a lot of the women in this book actually LIKED Joe, like in You he actually had to insert himself into their lives and even then, it took them some time to warm up to him.

All in all with a few bumps in the road. Hidden Bodies makes for an okay sequel. Is it completely necessary? Not really, but still an entertaining read.

3/5 Stars

Review: In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

27834600In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Published April 19th 2016

What should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn in Ruth Ware’s suspenseful, compulsive, and darkly twisted psychological thriller.

Sometimes the only thing to fear…is yourself.

When reclusive writer Leonora is invited to the English countryside for a weekend away, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. But as the first night falls, revelations unfold among friends old and new, an unnerving memory shatters Leonora’s reserve, and a haunting realization creeps in: the party is not alone in the woods. 

untitled1

In a Dark, Dark Wood was pretty good. Not my favorite from Ruth Ware but I did like it much more than The Woman in Cabin 10.
I thought this was the most creepy of Ruth’s books and it definitely did keep me entertained. I didn’t think the concept was the most original but it’s a classic creepy set up and you can’t really go wrong with it.
Something I’ve struggled with when it comes to Ruth’s books is connecting to the characters and really loving them. I just couldn’t seem to get into any of the characters in this book. I felt very neutral towards them and I wasn’t very emotionally invested.
I really liked the writing in In a Dark, Dark Wood and I thought the writing actually kept this book alive for me.
I did find the first 3/4 of this book to be better than the last 1/4. I can’t really put my finger on what changed for me in the last 1/4 but it wasn’t quite there for me.
Overall, I enjoyed In a Dark, Dark Wood and would recommend it if you’re looking for a quick, entertaining thriller. It’s not the best book I’ve read but I think it’s worth checking out.

232666472326664723266647

22465605

Review: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

28187230The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Published June 30th 2016

In this tightly wound story, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

With surprising twists and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another intense read.

untitled1

This is my third book from Ruth Ware and to be totally honest, it’s my least favorite. I was actually expecting this to be the best Ruth’s books because I’ve such hype around it, especially in bookstores.
The synopsis (like all of Ruth’s books) sounds amazing and I expected The Woman in Cabin 10 to be an insane psychological thriller that I would read in one sitting. And even though I did read it fairly quickly, it wasn’t as captivating as I hoped it would be.
I loved the concept but I really didn’t like the characters. With the characters always being drunk or constantly drinking, it was annoying and that alone made me want to quit reading the book.
Some of the things through out this book didn’t really make sense to me and I think it could have been edited better.
The pace was a slow burn, which I’m okay with, but when the plot kicked into gear, I really started to enjoy the book so much more.
Overall, The Woman in Cabin 10 was hit and miss with me. For everything I liked, there was two things I didn’t like. I think this book had a lot of potential but it missed the mark with me.

2326664723266647halfstar-e1424616015397

22465605

Review: Why I Loathe Sterling Lane by Ingrid Paulson

31450976Why I Loathe Sterling Lane by Ingrid Paulson

Published June 6th 2017

Per her 537 rules, Harper Campbell keeps her life tidy—academically and socially. But the moment Sterling Lane transfers into her tiny boarding school, her twin brother gets swept up in Sterling’s pranks and schemes and nearly gets expelled. Harper knows it’s Sterling’s fault, and to protect her brother, she vows to take him down. As she exposes his endless school violations, he keeps striking back, framing her for his own infractions. Worst of all, he’s charmed the administration into thinking he’s harmless, and only Harper sees him for the troublemaker he absolutely is.

As she breaks rule after precious rule in her battle of wits against Sterling and tension between them hits a boiling point, she’s horrified to discover that perhaps the two of them aren’t so different. And maybe she doesn’t entirely hate him after all. Teaming up with Sterling to save her brother might be the only way to keep from breaking the most important rule—protecting Cole.

untitled1

I received an unsolicited copy of this book from the publisher

There was so much of this book that I liked but I disliked the main character, Harper, so much and that really hindered me from falling in love with Why I Loathe Sterling Lane.
This was a fun, light, quick read and I read it within a few days. I liked the plot, the writing style, and I actually loved Sterling. He’s a stereotypical pretty boy that makes it his mission in life to annoy the one girl in school who doesn’t like him but he was so funny. I loved him from the moment he was introduced. To be honest, there wasn’t really anything different or original about him but I’m a sucker for witty dialogue and sarcasm so I thought he was a pretty great character.
Harper on the other hand, was not a great character, in my opinion. She’s the stereotypical (yeah, this book is like 90% stereotypes) straight laced girl that only has time for school and no fun but Harper was that times 10. She was so stuck up and had a stick so far up her butt, she was not fun to read about. I couldn’t relate to her at all and I can’t count how many times I rolled my eyes at her.
Granted, she did get better as the book went on but she was really terrible at the beginning of the book.
I did love the plot a lot. The prank war was a great touch and I really enjoyed that aspect of the book.
The writing style was also really good. I didn’t think it was overly detailed and had a great paced to it.
Overall, despite this book having a ton of tropes and Harper being one of my least favorite characters ever, I enjoyed this book. It was a fun, fluffy read and I’m definitely going to keep my eyes open for any other contemporary books from this author.

232666472326664723266647

22465605

 

 

 

ARC Review: Beanstalker and Other Hilarious Scarytales by Kiersten White

28822458Beanstalker and Other Hilarious Scarytales by Kiersten White

Expected publication: July 25th 2017 by Scholastic

Once upon a time, a girl skipped into the forest and became a zombie.

Wait, no, that’s not how this story is supposed to go. Let’s try again.

Once upon a time, a boy did a horrible job as a sheep-sitter and burned his tongue on stolen pie.

No, children in these stories are always good and virtuous. From the top.

Once upon a time, a king and queen tried to find a princess for their son to marry, and he wound up fleeing from a group of very hairy vampires.

Hmmm…

What about, once upon a time, a bunch of fairy tales got twisted around to be completely hilarious, a tiny bit icky, and delightfully spooky scarytales… in other words, exactly what fairy tales were meant to be. Grab some flaming torches, maybe don’t accept that bowl of pease porridge, and get ready for a wickedly fun ride with acclaimed author Kiersten White and fairy tales like you’ve never heard them before.

untitled1

I was sent an ARC copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

This was such a fun read. I really loved the creativity and writing style. The concept was a lot of fun and I think young readers will really enjoy it. The Princess and the…Pea? was probably my favorite of all the stories and I even laughed out loud while reading it.
I don’t know if this really appeals to an older audience but I think middle school and elementary readers would really enjoy this book.

232666472326664723266647halfstar-e1424616015397

22465605

Review: The Edge of Juniper by Lora Richardson

30330916The Edge of Juniper by Lora Richardson

Published June 12th 2016

“You’re off-limits, so why can’t I stop thinking about you?”

Fay Whitaker, sixteen years old and yearning for adventure, is excited to spend the summer with her fearless cousin Celia in small-town Juniper, Indiana.

But Fay soon discovers that her summer home is not what she expected. She is alarmed by her uncle’s temper, and learns of the grudge he holds against the Dearing family. Celia handles the tension at home by escaping with her boyfriend, leaving Fay with time on her hands—time that leads her straight to Malcolm Dearing, off-limits because of his last name. Fay is captivated by Malcolm’s warmth and intensity. She finds that trying to stay away from him only makes her think of him more.

Fay and Celia are launched on a journey, and each must attempt to navigate the thrilling and unpredictable world of love. Everything Fay thinks she knows about love is put to the test, as relationships unfold and reveal themselves in ways she never before dreamed.

untitled1

I seen The Edge of Juniper as a suggested book when I was browsing New Adult books on Amazon. I assumed that this book was NA because all the other books in the suggested page were so I bought a copy. It’s actually Young Adult, which is fine, but the second I realized that this book wasn’t the genre I was wanting, I was disappointed. That’s 100% my fault for assuming but it still hindered my overall reading experience with The Edge of Juniper.
The main character is pretty young, 15 years old if I remember correctly, so I had a hard time relating to her. She was a nice character, I liked her, but she was also a little plain. She was an average YA character and she was kind of boring. There was a few things she did and said that was cringy and weird but it wasn’t often so it wasn’t that big a deal.
The whole book was actually pretty plain and normal. There was nothing really memorable. I liked the characters, pace, and setting. The writing was good for the most part and I loved the family dynamics.
But overall, The Edge of Juniper was a basic YA read. I liked it but I don’t think I”ll remember much about it in a few months. If you’re looking for a fun, quick read, this book might be for you. But if you’re wanting a book that will blow you away, you’ll probably want to skip The Edge of Juniper.

232666472326664723266647

22465605

Review: That Summer by Sarah Dessen

104379That Summer by Sarah Dessen

Published January 1st 1996

 

For fifteen-year-old Haven, life is changing too quickly. She’s nearly six feet tall, her father is getting remarried, and her sister—the always perfect Ashley—is planning a wedding of her own. Haven wishes things could just go back to the way they were. Then an old boyfriend of Ashley’s reenters the picture, and through him, Haven sees the past for what it really was, and comes to grips with the future.

 

 

untitled1

A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve only read two of Sarah Dessen’s other books so I can’t really rank That Summer but it wasn’t my favorite of the her books I’ve read.
I did really like That Summer though. It was a little slow at first but it’s such a quick, fun read.
I liked the main character, Haven, and I felt really bad for her. She had a lot of difficult things going on in her life that she had to overcome. I couldn’t really find Haven relatable at this point in my life because she’s like 6 years younger than I am but if I had read this book when I was 15-17, I probably would have liked it a lot more.
Overall, I did enjoy That Summer but it wasn’t my favorite Dessen book. It didn’t have a lot of romance and I appreciated how it was more about Haven than her finding a boy. It did have an old school YA vibe, which was kind of fun.
232666472326664723266647
22465605
Enter the #ReadADessen sweepstakes!

Post a photo of your favorite Sarah Dessen novel and tell us why you love it on social with #ReadADessen! You’ll be entered for the chance to win a set of all of her books, plus her new book, Once and For All, which comes out this June!

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz

alex and Eliza

unnamed

Alex and Eliza: A Love Story by Melissa de la Cruz

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Witches of East End and The Descendants comes the love story of young Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler.

1777. Albany, New York.

As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball.

Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.

In the pages of Alex and Eliza, #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz brings to life the romance of young Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler.

Expected publication: April 11th 2017

untitled1

Review

I might be a little biased because I love the Hamilton musical so much but I really enjoyed Alex and Eliza. Musical aside, I thought this was such a fun historical fiction and you don’t have to be a fan of the Hamilton musical to enjoy this book.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with Alex and Eliza but this book was actually way better than I thought it would be. I haven’t been a big fan of the Melissa de la Cruz books I’ve read in the past but this was the best book I’ve read from her by far.
I wasn’t totally sold on the love story aspect of the story. It was fine but I was actually way more interested in pretty much everything else that was going on. I know it’s supposed to be focused on the love story aspect but I think it could have been more engaging.
There was a few places that I found a bit slow and boring but I think that goes back to the fact I wasn’t sold on the love story.
I did love the overall concept and the characters. I really loved seeing different side of the characters compared to the musical. This book is different from the musical and is just inspired by it so if you go into this book thinking they’re one in the same, like I did, you might be disappointed.

Overall, I really enjoyed Alex and Eliza. I think it could have better written but considering I’m usually not a fan of the author’s writing style, it was 10x better than I expected. This is one of the better historical fiction books that I’ve read and I think it’s worth reading.

232666472326664723266647

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of Alex & Eliza: A Love Story by Melissa de la Cruz (ARV: $17.99 each).
 
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on March 27, 2017 and 12:00 AM on April 24, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about April 26, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

unnamed (1).jpg

Pre-order Alex & Eliza to get a custom Alex & Eliza enamel pin and a bookplate signed by Melissa de la Cruz!

amazon-button

barnes-and-noble-button

logo

About Melissa de la Cruz

mel

Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and Publishers Weekly internationally bestselling author of many critically acclaimed novels. Her Blue Bloods series has sold over three million copies, and the Witches of East End series became an hour-long television drama on the Lifetime network.

22465605

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Nemesis by Brendan Reichs

nemesis.jpg

Nemesis by Brendan Reichs

30142139

He killed me. He killed me not. He killed me.

It’s been happening since Min was eight. Every two years, on her birthday, a strange man finds her and murders her in cold blood. But hours later, she wakes up in a clearing just outside her tiny Idaho hometown—alone, unhurt, and with all evidence of the horrifying crime erased.

Across the valley, Noah just wants to be like everyone else. But he’s not. Nightmares of murder and death plague him, though he does his best to hide the signs. But when the world around him begins to spiral toward panic and destruction, Noah discovers that people have been lying to him his whole life. Everything changes in an eye blink.

For the planet has a bigger problem. The Anvil, an enormous asteroid threatening all life on Earth, leaves little room for two troubled teens. Yet on her sixteenth birthday, as she cowers in her bedroom, hoping not to die for the fifth time, Min has had enough. She vows to discover what is happening in Fire Lake and uncovers a lifetime of lies: a vast conspiracy involving the sixty-four students of her sophomore class, one that may be even more sinister than the murders.

untitled1

Review

Nemesis was a fun read. I read it fairly quickly and I enjoyed it for the most part. It wasn’t what I expected, which I liked but Nemesis gave me some major The 5th Wave vibes. Not in a bad way but I think it could have been more original in some ways.
Nemesis was exciting and pretty unpredictable, which I really liked. I also really enjoyed the writing style.
I wasn’t really able to become emotionally invested in the characters but I liked them anyway.
Overall, Nemesis was a pretty good read. I liked it and I really loved how unpredictable it was. There was a lot of action and the cliffhanger will probably get me to pick up the next book. I wasn’t able to really fall in love with the characters but that wasn’t a major deal breaker.

232666472326664723266647

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of Nemesis by Brendan Reichs (ARV: $17.99 each).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on March 20, 2017 and 12:00 AM on April 3, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about April 5, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

About Brendan Reichs

unnamed.jpgBrendan Reichs was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. He graduated from Wake Forest University in 2000 and The George Washington University School of Law in 2006. After three long years working as a litigation attorney, he abandoned the trade to co-write the Virals series. He lives in Charlotte with his wife, Emily, daughter, Alice, and son, Henry. He plans to keep writing novels until they drag him from his desk.

22465605