Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Review: The Darlings in Love by Melissa Kantor

The Darlings in Love
Melissa Kantor
Series: The Darlings Are Forever #2
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: January 10, 2012
Kindle {p.320}
Source: Publisher/Net Galley
Genre: Young Adult
Characters: Jane, Natalya, Victoria
Challenge: 100+, YA Romance
Buy the Book: Amazon

The Darlings have just begun their second semester of ninth grade, and love is in the air. Victoria can hardly believe how perfect life is now that Jack is her boyfriend. Every moment they spend together seems to be better than the last. Meanwhile, Natalya is thrilled and a little nervous when her old crush, Colin, challenges her to a rematch of an unfinished chess game. Could he still like her too?

Jane can't help but feel a tad jealous of her two best friends’ exciting romantic prospects—even if she has sworn off love. Performing in a production of famous love scenes is just about the last thing she wants to do. But when Jane meets her acting partner—sweet, gorgeous Simon—she may just have to give love another chance.

Still, nothing about love is as simple as it seems. Victoria’s plan to surprise Jack with a romantic night out on Valentine’s Day goes disastrously wrong, and just when things start heating up between Natalya and Colin, Natalya discovers that Colin has been hiding something important from her. Even as Jane falls hard for Simon, she has to wonder: what if he’s too good to be true?

In the face of both joy and heartbreak, the Darlings know that they'll always have each other. Boys come and go, but the Darlings are still forever.

Each of the Darlings try to navigate relationships with the opposite sex in this novel. Each brings their own individual take on relationships. I liked all three girls, which was suprising because I thought at least one of them I would not be to my liking. But that was so not the case.

Jane had the misfortune of falling for the wrong guy not once but twice. Who can't relate to that, right? Natayla seemed to be finding love once again after letting it slip through her fingers before. Victoria, the only Darling with a boyfriend, seemed to be the only one giving in that relationship.

The guys in their life left a lot to be desired, but the girls had an unbreakable friendship. Kantor did a wonderful job of capturing that. This novel truly is about girls and their friendships. The message of these novel was clearly that guys may come and go in our lives, but Darlings are forever.
Book Obsessed

Waiting on Wednesday {60}: The Beginning of After

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. It is showcases upcoming releases of books that I'm looking forward to. It is somewhat similar to one of my previous posts, Anxiously Awaiting. {Button courtesy of Bewitched Bookworms}

The Beginning of After
Jennifer Castle
September 6, 2011

Anyone who’s had something truly crappy happen to them will tell you: It’s all about Before and After. What I’m talking about here is the ka-pow, shake-you-to-your-core-and-turn-your-bones-to-plastic kind of crappy.

Sixteen-year-old Laurel’s world changes instantly when her parents and brother are killed in a terrible car accident. Behind the wheel is the father of her bad-boy neighbor, David Kaufman, whose mother is also killed. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Laurel navigates a new reality in which she and her best friend grow apart, boys may or may not be approaching her out of pity, overpowering memories lurk everywhere, and Mr. Kaufman is comatose but still very much alive. Through it all there is David, who swoops in and out of Laurel’s life and to whom she finds herself attracted against her better judgment. She will forever be connected to him by their mutual loss—a connection that will change them both in unexpected ways.

Jennifer Castle’s debut novel is a heart-wrenching, surprisingly witty testament to how drastically life can change in the span of a single moment.
Book Obsessed

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Tabitha Suzuma
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date:  June 28, 2011
Trade Paperback {p.454}
Source: Public Library
Genre: Young Adult
Characters: Maya Whitely, Lochan Whitely
Challenge: 100+, YA Romance
Buy the Book: Amazon

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.

This was an interesting read. I enjoyed the overall story. The author manages to handle a taboo subject in a manor that is very well written. As a reader, even though you know incest is wrong, you still feel sorry for them.

I spent the majority of the story trying to figure out Lochan. Although all his siblings seemed as normal as possible given their situation, something about Lochan eluded me the entire time. He seemed to always have some sort of internal struggle and not just with his feelings for Maya.

The ending was very emotional and totally unexpected. I know what they were doing was wrong, but what they received for their troubles was way too harsh. I found myself feeling resentment toward their younger brother and mother for setting all this into motion.

I knew going into this read that there was not going to be a happy ending because their love could never be. I was so upset by the time I finished this book, I literally did not even want to look at it. That's how strongly I felt about the punishment these kids received.

Ms. Suzuma did a fantastic job of drawing me in.
Book Obsessed

Monday, August 29, 2011

Review: Eat Prey Love by Kerrelyn Sparks

Eat Prey Love
Kerrelyn Sparks
Series: Love at Stake #9
Publisher: Avon
Publish Date: October 1, 2010
Mass Market Paperback {p.373}
Source: Personal Library
Genre: Paranormal
Characters: Caitlyn Whelan, Carlos Panterra
Challenge: 100+, Paranormal
Buy the Book: Amazon

Wanted: Bride. Must love children. Mortals need not apply.

Carlos Panterra is looking for a mate, a woman who will love and care for the young orphans he's recently taken under his wing (or paw, as the case may be). When the shape shifter spies the beautiful Caitlyn, it's like sunshine amidst the darkness. At last, he's found the perfect woman, except...

Caitlyn Whelan is mortal. Worse, her father is the head of a CIA agency bent on hunting the undead. Still, Caitlyn knows that Carlos is the man for her, shape shifter or not. So she jumps at the chance when her sister offers her a job to work with him, determined to show Carlos their attraction is more than just animal magnetism. But danger lurks in the night, and their unleashed, untamed passion might just get them both killed...

Eat Prey Love was a funny and entertaining take on vampires and shape shifters. The blurb is what caught my eye about this book. A shape shifter searching for a wife to be the mother of his orphans that he's taken in.

Carlos and Caitlyn had an instant attraction that Carlos chose to fight because Caitlyn is human. But that didn't stop Caitlyn; she was determined to have Carlos. There didn't seem to be anything going on deeper than their attraction.

I enjoyed Caitlyn's interaction with the children, but I would have liked to have seen more of that. Afterall she would become their mother, but she only had limited interaction with them. Plus she really only interacted with two of the children he took in.

The book was a bit short on action but it was big on laughs. I'll have to go back and read all the books in the series leading up to this one.
Book Obsessed

Sunday, August 28, 2011

In My Mailbox {63}

In My Mailbox (IMM) is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren. Every week I'll post what books I've received either by mailbox/library/store.

I'll try to post an entry of IMM every Sunday that I receive books by mail of that week.

Books via Borders
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Storm's Heart by Thea Harrison
Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

Books via Paperback Swap
Tucker's Claim by Sarah McCarty

Other Borders Purchase
Kobo Wireless eReader

Book Obsessed

Friday, August 26, 2011

Review: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Perfect Chemistry
Simone Elkeles
Series: Perfect Chemistry #1
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: December 23, 2008
Audio Book {10hrs}
Source: Public Library
Genre: Young Adult
Characters: Brittany Ellis, Alex Fuentes
Challenge: 100+, YA Romance
Buy the Book: Amazon

When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more. In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

Brittany and Alex are two totally different people from two different worlds. But in their senior chemistry class they are partnered together. Alex makes it his mission to get under Brittany's skin. Brittany struggles to keep him off her mind and focus her attention on her boyfriend.

This book was so well written, and showed a very realistic view of life in a gang. I loved both Brittany and Alex. Alex is a part of a gang but wants better for not only himself but his family.

Getting to know Alex, you learn that being in a gang is not something he truly wanted, but something he felt he had to do to protect his family. Outwardly he appears to be this bad boy, but underneath it all he's a really good guy caught up in a bad situation. It goes to show that you can't always judge a person on their outward appearance.

His interaction with Brittany was great great! I loved every minute of his teasing and flustering her. You can see why Brittany fell for his bad boy ways.

The storyline flowed smoothly and kept me so very engaged from start to finish. Elkeles provided such vivid detail that made you feel as if you were living the story instead of reading it. This definitely won't be my last book by Elkeles.

Read by Roxanne Hernandez and Blas Kisic
Duration: 10 hours
Brilliance Audio

Narration: A+

The two narrators flowed together seamlessly! I always enjoy it when audiobooks have both male and female readers working together. Both narrators managed to capture both the youthfulness and maturity of the characters.
Book Obsessed

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Guest Post: Helen Smith, author of Alison Wonderland

Please join me in welcoming Helen Smith, author of Alison Wonderland, as she provides us with a guest post today.

She will be discussing with her readers why she loves book blogs. Check out Helen's blog at

Why I Love Book Blogs by Helen Smith

I have been blogging for more than four years now. I went along to the Writers’ Guild in London one evening to learn about how best to set up an author website and the chap who was giving the talk said, “Listen, you don’t want a website, you want a blog: a blog enables you to have a conversation with whoever is reading it, whereas a website is static.” I went home that night and made my first unmemorable post, and I have been hooked ever since.

I blog about whatever comes into my head – I might mention a theatre show I have seen, a book I have read or an exhibition I have visited. I might recount an anecdote that I hope will amuse visitors to the site, or I might link to an article I have read that interests me. Sometimes I post Q&As with other authors. Sometimes I host giveaways. I also like to recommend books I have read that I have enjoyed.

The one thing I never do on my blog is review books. It takes a particular skill to sum up a story and discuss its merits without spoiling the plot, while giving an indication of what kind of reader a book might appeal to. The best book blogs do this efficiently and entertainingly. They seek out bargains and bring news of new releases, they host giveaways and book hops, and post Q&As with authors. As we all know, this takes an awful lot of time. Apart from the pennies they earn through affiliate schemes when readers buy books through links on their blogs, and the money they inevitably save in buying books when review copies are sent to them by publicists, all this time-consuming work is done without recompense. Why? Because book bloggers love books.

When I’m looking for a new book to read I’ll use various sources to get recommendations – I’ll visit a bookstore or library; I’ll read newspaper reviews; I’ll talk to friends; or I’ll visit literary events and listen to authors reading excerpts from their work. The best book blogs combine elements of all of these – it’s like taking advice from a wise, well-read friend.

So that’s why I love book blogs. But there’s something else, too: I’m fortunate that my books have been featured, reviewed, discussed and recommended on dozens of book blogs over the years. It means the world to me to know that people have taken the trouble to read what I have written. Thank you!
Book Obsessed

I Didn't Know I Was Looking For Love ~ What's Your Song? {24}

I Didn't Know I Was Looking For Love by Everything But the Girl

I was alone thinking I was just fine,
I wasn't looking for anyone to be mine
I thought that love was just a fabrication,
A train that wouldn't stop at my station
Home, alone, that was my consignment,
Solitary, confinement
So when we met, I was getting around you,
I didn't know I was looking for love until I found you.

I didn't know I was looking for love until I found you
I didn't know I was looking for love until I found you
I didn't know I was looking for love
I didn't know I was looking for love

'Cuz there you stood, and I would,
Oh I wonder, could I say how I felt and not be misunderstood?
A thousand stars came into my system,
I never knew how much I have missed them.
Slap, on the lap, of my heart you landed,
I was coy, but you made me candid,
And now the planets circle around you,
I didn't know I was looking for love until I found you.

I didn't know I was looking for love until I found you
I didn't know I was looking for love until I found you
I didn't know I was looking for love
I didn't know I was looking for love

So we build from here with love the foundation
In the world of tears, one constelation
Now you're here and there's a full brass band
Playing in me like a wonderland
But if you left I would be two foot small
And every tear would be a waterfall
Soundless, boundless, I surround you
I didn't know I was looking for love until I found you.

I just didn't know.

I didn't know I was looking for love until I found you
I didn't know I was looking for love until I found you
I didn't know I was looking for love
I didn't know I was looking for love

(repeat to the end)

Book Obsessed

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Review: Baby, Drive South by Stephanie Bond

Baby, Drive South
Stephanie Bond
Series: Southern Roads #1
Publisher: Mira
Publication Date:  May 24, 2011
Mass Market Paperback {p.329}
Source: Personal Library
Genre: Contemporary
Characters: Nikki Salinger, Porter Armstrong
Challenge: 100+, Summer Romance
Buy the Book: Amazon

The hardheaded Armstrong brothers are determined to rebuild their tornado-ravaged hometown in the Georgia mountains. They've got the means, they've got the manpower…what they need are women! So they place an ad in a northern newspaper and wait for the ladies to answer their call...

Porter, the youngest Armstrong, is all for importing women. Still, he's so blown away by the sheer numbers, he falls off the water tower. Luckily there's a doctor among the newcomers—sweet and sexy Dr. Nikki Salinger.

And Porter has every intention of checking out her bedside manner...

The Armstrong brothers are trying to rebuild their childhood hometown of Sweetness, GA. In an effort to speed things along, they have place an ad in the newspaper to recruit single women to the town with the promise of a fresh start.

Among these women is Dr. Nikki Salinger, who is what some may call a plain Jane. Nikki is trying to heal from a broken heart and is not at all interested in getting involved.

I enjoyed the storyline and the witty dialogue. The town of Sweetness seemed like a place one truly would want to be involved in the rebuilding of.

Nikki was a bit reserved but truly a good person who had taken a few bumps in life for not being the most beautiful. Where it was the total opposite for Porter. At times I didn't like him because of his comments and behavior toward Nikki. Every strike she had against her with him, involved her appearance. Because she wasn't among the most beautiful of the women that moved into town, Porter seemed to dismiss her.

The whole town of Sweetness and the additional Armstrong brothers great entertainment. I truly am invested in seeing how the town of Sweetness progresses.
Book Obsessed
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