August 31, 2015

The Best Day of Someone Else's Life by Kerry Reichs

The Best Day of Someone Else's Life

The Best Day of Someone Else's Life by Kerry Reichs
Series: N/A
Source: Bought
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: May 6, 2008
Despite being cursed with a boy's name, Kevin "Vi" Connelly is seriously female and a committed romantic. The affliction hit at the tender age of six when she was handed a basket of flower petals and ensnared by the "marry-tale." The thrill, the attention, the big white dress—it's the Best Day of Your Life, and it's seriously addictive. But at twenty-seven, with a closetful of pricey bridesmaid dresses she'll never wear again, a trunkful of embarrassing memories, and an empty bank account from paying for it all, the illusion of matrimony as the Answer to Everything begins to fray. As her friends' choices don't provide answers, and her family confuses her more, Vi faces off against her eminently untrustworthy boyfriend and the veracity of the BDOYL.

Eleven weddings in eighteen months would send any sane woman either over the edge or scurrying for the altar. But as reality separates from illusion, Vi learns that letting go of someone else's story to write your own may be harder than buying the myth, but just might help her make the right choices for herself.

I'll start right off by saying that while The Best Day of Someone Else's Life was quite enjoyable, I would not go so far as to say that it was anything truly special. Because really, it wasn't. It was, however, a fun and cynical read that I did enjoy. It starts off with a story to make you understand it all - the dramas of the first wedding that Vi ever attended, that of her aunt. It really sets her off to be the cynical character that we see throughout this book.

And she's not the only cynical one to be seen - it seems that every one of the characters throughout BDOSEL has their own set of quirks and all appear to have suffered throughout their love lives to make them somewhat cynical. All of the women (and select me *wink wink*) are very sarcastic and tend to waiver towards man hating, but I found them to be a funny, lovable group.

But lemme get started on Vi's family, a ragtag, quirky bunch of raucous, overbearing, alcoholic Irish family. I found their family traditions to be a bit strange, but I enjoyed the idea of it all. They drank all day and made Christmas traditions of buying their own gifts and having a big party to wrap them together. It was quite endearing, in my mind.

Now for the true story - the weddings. While the idea seemed fun at first, it quickly became a repetitive story line that would be enough to make any one become a cynical old broad. So I really can't blame Vi at all for her aversion to weddings - heck, I might not even be interested in one after reading all about that hoopla. Not to mention the heartbreak that Vi endures throughout the book. I have no idea how I would handle that, but I imagine it wouldn't be good. You'll have to read it to figure out what I mean.

I find that Vi and I are alike in several ways, though. We tend to stack all of our hopes against one possible outcome, and it doesn't always work in our favor. There were other similarities between us, but that was the most notable one.

The representation of love that is found in this book was one that I quite liked - I believe that relationships are about work, rather than there just being a particular "one" that you're meant to fall in love with. I believe that there are multiple ones - it just depends on how much you put into the relationship. Because I have seen many "the one" relationships crumble and it's hard for me to believe that there's really only "one" person in the world for you.

But back to the book - I'm gonna tell you a little bit about my favorite character, Ben the tile salesman. I found it awesome that Vi and Ben formed an unlikely friendship through Vi's wedding attendance - and kept it up throughout the entire book. I even felt at some point as though Vi and Ben might become love interests. Because for a while, it seemed as though Ben was Vi's only friend. And it would have been sweet, but in the end it's not what happened.

What happened is through Vi's many mishaps and weddings, she met Niall Devlin, which made for an interesting love story. Vi's commitment issues caused relationship issues, and things got rocky for a while, but in the end everything worked out okay. I enjoyed the ending of this novel, everything tied up nicely and it left me with a full feeling. All in all, I'd say that it was a fair decent book.

August 28, 2015

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
Series: Hamilton High #1
Source: Bought kindle
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Publication Date: April 5th 2012
Age Genre: YA/NA crossover
Beauty really does lie in the eye of the beholder...
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is smart, cynical, loyal - and well aware that she's not the hot one in her group of friends. But when high-school jock and all round moron Wesley Rush tells her she's a DUFF - a Designated, Ugly Fat Friend - Bianca does not the see funny side. She may not be a beauty but she'd never stoop so low as to go anywhere near the likes of Wesley ... Or would she? Bianca is about to find out that attraction defies looks and that sometimes your sworn enemies can become your best friends ... With a wry and tell-it-like-it-is voice, The Duff is a witty and poignant story of a teenager struggling with the rules of high school attraction, along with the breaking down of her relationships with family and friends. It is a novel about what it means to be sexy, in a world where we feel we have to be perfect!
I am so glad I gave this book a shot! It's been on my "maybe" list ever since I heard of it, my hesitation steaming from a rumored jerk of a love interest and the whole enemies with benefits plot-line. But, the movie with Stephan Amell came out and it just looked so entertaining that I had to give the book a chance.

And honestly, it's just been so much fun

Let's start by saying that the book explores a lot of deep themes. First of all, it explores slut shaming. It explores the idea of beauty. It explores facades. It explores friendships and family. And all the underlying messages are so positive it's heartening.

And it's pretty much all done through our main character, Bianca. A sassy, sarcastic, kind of judgmental girl whom I honestly loved. She's our DUFF - Designated ugly fat friend. Or is she? She's definitely a fun character to explore, and while I didn't agree with all she did (especially toward the end with Toby...) I always loved her. 

Her love interest and the coined douche above is Wesley. Now, I'm going to apologize in advance for the upcoming section- because I absolutely adored Wesley to pieces. I'm sorry, but anyone who finds this guy to be a jerk is wrong. He acted like a douche, sure. But he was not actually a douche.

In fact, out of all the characters in the book, he never once disrespected or shamed anyone. Especially not slut shaming. Even the making of the DUFF is something he doesn't do to be insulting, and later on really regrets.

He treats all the girl with him (Bianca especially) so well it was weird. He makes them feel beautiful and never once tries to make them feel dirty, unlike many of his counterparts in other books. And you can see this by how many times he asks Bianca "are you okay?". All jokes aside, it's always the first question on his mind. He always worries over her, even after the sex is over. He's careful to ask her if it helped and trying to figure out what makes her come to him in the first place so he could help.

And underneath all his "come get a piece of this" attitude, he's just a lonely person looking for human contact, too afraid to be abandoned to create any lasting relationships. His entire "jerkness" is just a persona. A facade. Is he still going to be a cocky, sure of himself bastard without it? Probably. But he's a very likable, considerate bastard lol

And together? I really liked them. I loved how she made Wesley think and break out of his pattern. I loved that he got her to think better of herself at the end, that he showed her she doesn't have to do it all on her own. And I wanted them together so bad it hurt!

Then there is the concept of friendships - I loved the friendships in this book. I loved seeing beautiful, popular girls who do not abuse and use anyone. Who don't act all cocky and superior and are the main antagonists of the story. Who valued friendship above all else and were always there for one another--even when one of them was shutting down on them and hurt them by doing so.

Then there is the concept of family. The book deals with alcoholism, with separation, with the effects it has on the children. This is the moving force behind all of Bianca's decisions, more or less, and it was so interesting. It kept me at the edge of my seat, wondering when the bad was going to hit full force.

And finally, I love the idea of the DUFF. Is it awful, that there is an "ugly fat friend"? sure. But in the title itself, Keplinger teases the real meaning of the DUFF. We are all the DUFF. It's a designated title, much like a designated driver. One evening it's going to be you, the next it's going to be your friend. One night you're going to look the best out of the group and another one you're... not. And it's okay, and it's real, and we all feel like the DUFF next to some of our friends and they do next to theirs. #TRUTH
   Nitzan

August 21, 2015

DNF: Chosen for Power by Kathleen Brooks

Chosen for Power by Kathleen Brooks
Series: Woman of Power #1
Source: Free kindle copy
Publisher: Laurens Publishing
Publication Date: April 21st 2014
Age Genre: Adult
Somebody is out to destroy Elle Simpson and everything she’s worked hard to build. As the CEO of a corporate conglomerate, Elle is used to fighting off challengers. However, this new threat comes at a time when she finally lets her guard down to meet Prince Charming. And it’s unlike anything she’s been up against before.

Drake Charles’s work on mobile technology has made him a wealthy, powerful man.
But he quickly sheds the fame and publicity for a more private life, which earns him the label as a man of mystery. Drake adds to that mystery every year when he hosts a masquerade ball for charity. It’s also his best chance to find the one thing he really wants . . . true love.

Having met behind masks of anonymity, Elle and Drake enjoy a whirlwind night of romance that leaves them both wanting more. But Elle must question everything and everyone as she battles to save her life and career. Can Elle trust Drake to help get her life back or will she lose everything?
A le sigh. Another DNF review, mere week apart. I don't seem to be having too much luck with books this month. At least I got this one for free...

And yes, I'm rating this one. Just so you know, I rate about 50% of the books I don't finish. The ones I don't rate are those I acknowledge are good, for other people. Those I do rate are those I just couldn't stand. I'll you to figure out which one is this.

The premise for Chosen for Power sounds good enough - a female CEO fighting for her company, finding love along the way. It even started good - the book is readable. Fact is, I reached 27% even though the sheer ridiculousness of this book started at about 10%. So, it was good enough to make me give it another try... until I really, really couldn't.

Because this book is INSTA LOVE. All capital letters insta-love, which is doubly ridiculous considering both of them are hot-shot young billionaires who've been burned countless times before. They know each other five hours, give or take, before both of them are confessing love.

Yes, that's right - love. And they don't even know each other's names. All they know is that his boy part and her girl part fit nicely together... That's ridiculous enough, but the fact that after being separated he finds her, and she jumps into his arms happily... I don't know about you, but I'll be slightly wary if a guy I met yesterday managed to find where I live and meets my family. Which is, indecently, where I learn who he is. And I only learn that because my mother knows him.

Am I the only one seeing how stupid this entire scenario is? This is where I called quits.

Not to mention the actual fighting for my company plot has still not shown itself.

And this book tries very hard to say "these are not your normal CEOs! They're not ruthless, heartless human beings! They volunteer! they have tragic pasts! people are always trying to use them! they're just looking for someone to be themselves with! and I don't mind that, it's just that it tries too hard.

I mean, they should be a bit ruthless and tenacious to hold on to their companies at such a young age. Why is that wrong? Why must you show them in such a positive, sickeningly bright light? Maybe we'll see that farther into the story, but the way the book was being handled made me think not so much (just because a magazine says they're ruthless does not mean the book shows it...)

Nitzan

August 14, 2015

DNF: The Alchemyst by Michael Scott

The Alchemyst by Michael Scott
Series: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, #1
Source: bought paperback
Publisher: Corgi
Publication Date: August 5th 2010
Age Genre: MG-YA
The truth: Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on September 28, 1330. Nearly seven hundred years later, he is acknowledged as the greatest Alchemyst of his day. It is said that he discovered the secret of eternal life.
The records show that he died in 1418.
But his tomb is empty.
The legend: Nicholas Flamel lives. But only because he has been making the elixir of life for centuries. The secret of eternal life is hidden within the book he protects — the Book of Abraham the Mage. It's the most powerful book that has ever existed. In the wrong hands, it will destroy the world.
That's exactly what Dr. John Dee plans to do when he steals it. Humankind won't know what's happening until it's too late. And if the prophecy is right, Sophie and Josh Newman are the only ones with the power to save the world as we know it.
Sometimes legends are true.
And Sophie and Josh Newman are about to find themselves in the middle of the greatest legend of all time.
DNF

A part of me really wants to viciously rate this book one star, despite knowing how unfair that would be considering I only got to page 77 before calling it quits. And in all honesty, I know that would also be irrational because it's not like I can truly say this book is horrible.

It's just that I... I... I'm completely baffled. Why is this so popular? so loved? Why have most of my friends marked this three or higher? WHAT AM I MISSING, dammit?

I went into this expecting an awesome Riordan-ish adventure featuring the infinitely awesome Nicholas Flamel. What I got instead was just... one big mess

Let's start with the names - what's up with this book's tendency to call its character by their full names, all the time? Well, you're right. Not all the time. Occasionally it would use only the first name and you'd relax for a minute thinking it had finally stopped, but then it's back again to Josh Newman that, and Nicholas Flamel this, or Sophie Newman there...

We will not forget their last name that easily, Scott. Even if we did, they don't really matter that much. So you can relax and just call them by their first name. Especially considering that's a literature tactic to bring readers closer to the characters, while last names tend to do the opposite...

Speaking of all the above characters - I really couldn't discern any personality in them. I get it that maybe that would develop farther into the book, but I would like to point out that both Harry Potter and Percy Jackson were very clear, distinct characters by... well, by the end of the first chapter really. They kept developing throughout their stories, no doubt, but you already recognized them. That... was not the case here.

And the repetition! OMG, how much repetition can you have in seventy seven page!? I've heard they're twins more times than I can count. I heard that Nicholas is THE Alchemyst. I've seen scenes repeat from different povs without any additional info... enough is enough already.

And then there was the "action". The quotation marks are to indicate how I did not find it exciting. At all. Like, I was drifting away while there were fighting with Golems and rats and making floorboards into trees. That was the moment I decided to give up on this, really. If it couldn't peek my interest with that, there's really no hope for this book and I.

And, honestly, I have so many books to read that I've long gave up on forcing myself through mediocre, passable books that fail to grab me.

Especially ones where the writing fails to impress me on every possible level: 
"The rats meanwhile raced toward the open door at the end of the corridor. Most of them survived the scything blades..." 
anyone else finds this paragraph completely awkward and clumsy, or is it just me?... (that is the whole paragraph by the way. Including the three dots).

Maybe this is my fault, maybe I should've read this a few years ago. God knows I was less picky back then...

   Nitzan

August 10, 2015

Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner

Good in Bed (Cannie Shapiro, #1)
Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner
Series: Cannie Shapiro, #1
Source: Bought
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication Date: April 2, 2002
For twenty-eight years, things have been tripping along nicely for Cannie Shapiro. Sure, her mother has come charging out of the closet, and her father has long since dropped out of her world. But she loves her friends, her rat terrier, Nifkin, and her job as pop culture reporter for The Philadelphia Examiner. She's even made a tenuous peace with her plus-size body.

But the day she opens up a national women's magazine and sees the words "Loving a Larger Woman" above her ex-boyfriend's byline, Cannie is plunged into misery...and the most amazing year of her life. From Philadelphia to Hollywood and back home again, she charts a new course for herself: mourning her losses, facing her past, and figuring out who she is and who she can become.
I'm going to start off by saying that I've been in a chick lit mood lately - and Good in Bed didn't satisfy my needs. It just made me want to read more and more, because it was exactly the sweet, fluffy bit of literature that I was looking for. Cannie was the perfect heroine for me - I immediately identified with her. She's a larger girl, just going through life like the rest of us, and that made her very easy to like.

She was very sassy and sarcastic, which I just adored. But she didn't have that prickly outer shell that some main characters tend to have - she was still very sweet in my opinion. To be honest, I'd recommend this book to fans of Bridget Jones' Diary, because that's what it reminded me of. Cannie and Bridget have very similar personalities, and they live similarly. I loved Cannie's fight to lose weight, and her regular girl thoughts of lost love, paired with the horror of the magazine article, it was quite a wild (if sort of tame and fluffy) ride.

Good in Bed was written in a very humorous style, with several over-dramatizations and a lot of humorous hijinks - and some not so humorous as well. It has every level of drama, from not-that-bad to crazy-bad and it always kept me on my toes. At any point something could happen, and I didn't want to miss any of it.

Speaking of something happening - I just hoped and prayed for a love connection between Cannie and the doctor. There just had to be something there, you know? They seemed to have fabulous chemistry and I found him to be very kind and wise - the perfect traits for a women like Cannie. He was solid, something that I really felt that she needed.

But let me be clear here - a man did not save Cannie Shapiro.

Cannie Shapiro saved herself. I loved the feel-good empowerment of the ending. There was so much "love yourself" vibes coming from the end article that it could have only been a great ending. It may have been fluffy, and a little bit mushy, but I enjoyed Good in Bed immensely.
  

August 7, 2015

Science Geek Appreciation Week: The Libby Garrett Intervention Sneak Peek!!

Well, here we are folks. The final day of Science Geek Appreciation Week. And what a week it's been! We've read all about The Avery Shaw Experiment, revealed the cover and got a few teasers from The Libby Garrett Intervention releasing this October, we've gotten up close and personal with Science Squad author Kelly Oram, and we've invaded Avery's and Grayson's privacy by reading their journals. We've partied on Facebook with games, teasers, bonus material, and giveaways. (The party's still going on, so stop by the FACEBOOK EVENT and enter the giveaways before they're over.) 

Hopefully you've all bought your copy of Avery at its Science Geek Appreciation price of just $0.99. I promise, it's worth the dollar! Amazon * iBooks * B&N * KoboAnd, of course, (fingers crossed) you've preordered your copy of Libby at the early bird sale price of $2.99. It seems there's only one thing left to do, and that would be get a nice good look at The Libby Garrett Intervention in this first-ever sneak peek!

Libby Garrett is addicted to Owen Jackson's hot lovin'. But the sexy, popular college basketball player doesn't appreciate all of Libby's awesomeness. He refuses to be exclusive or even admit to people that they're dating. The relationship is ruining Libby and she's the only one who can't see it. When Libby's behavior spirals completely out of control, her best friend Avery Shaw and the rest of the Science Squad stage an intervention hoping to cure Libby of her harmful Owen addiction. They put her through her very own Twelve Step program—Owen's Anonymous—and recruit the help of a sexy, broody, hard as nails coffee man to be her official sponsor....Adam Koepp has watched Libby Garrett for years. How could he not notice the sassy girl with the purple skateboard and helmet plastered with cat stickers? But in all the years he's crushed on her, Libby has failed to take notice of him. Why would she when he was just a nobody high school drop out who served her apple cider several times a week? Especially when she was hooking up with a guy like Owen Jackson—a guy with a college scholarship and more abs than Kyle Hamilton.Adam finally gets the chance to meet Libby when his co-worker Avery Shaw recruits him to take Libby on the journey of a lifetime. With his ability to play Bad Cop and his experience with the Twelve Step program he's the perfect candidate to be Libby's sponsor. But will he be able to keep his personal feelings out of the matter and really help her the way she needs? And will Libby hate him when he forces her to take an honest look at herself?
SNEAK PEEK
(This excerpt hasn't been through it's final round of edits and is subject to change in the final draft.)
“I love Avery, and I’m happy for her—she certainly deserves Grayson—but now her perception of reality is totally skewed. She thinks everyone has a fairy-tale ending coming to them. She doesn’t understand that most of us won’t be so lucky. Especially not someone like me.”
Adam kept his gaze on the window and let out a breath. “Someone like you?”
“Yeah, someone like me. Fat girls don’t exactly get a lot of love.”
He pulled his eyes away from the view to glare at me for that one. I wasn’t sure what his problem was. It’s not like my weight was a secret.
“Maybe I’m not three hundred pounds, but I’m definitely pushing it when I use the word chubby. In high school, that equates to being the fat girl, and, before you ask, I can’t just lose the weight. I have hypothyroidism. I was diagnosed when I was eleven because I became borderline diabetic. I’ve been on a strict diet and exercise program ever since so that I don’t develop more serious health problems. I’m actually in decent shape cardiovascularly speaking; I just can’t get rid of all the weight. This is as good as I will ever get.”
Adam pulled his eyes away from the window and shifted his entire body so that he was facing me. “You don’t think you’ll ever find someone that loves you because you’ll never be thin?”
I scoffed. “This is real life, not Hairspray. There is no Link Larkin out there waiting for me. Don’t even try to tell me that there is. You know there’s not. It’s a miracle Owen even gives me the time of day.”
After pulling the beanie off his head to rake his hand through his hair, Adam slumped in his seat and crossed his arms over his chest, glaring out the windshield. I didn’t understand the mood swing. He’d seemed pretty chill when I first picked him up. Now he was back to being that stick-up-the-butt grump I first met. “What about Owen?” he asked suddenly. “He doesn’t seem to mind your weight.”
“Ha!” I clenched my hands so tightly on the steering wheel that my knuckles turned white. I’d been telling myself that same thing for a year, but that didn’t make it true. “Of course he does. That’s the biggest problem we have. He acts the way he does with me because he’s embarrassed of my looks. I always knew that, but I told myself it didn’t matter, because even if he was ashamed of his feelings for me, at least he had them.”
Adam was appalled by my logic. “Are you serious? The guy is ashamed of you, and you don’t think that matters?”
A surge of anger pulsed through me, but I managed to keep hold of my temper. “Of course it matters. Do you think I like that he won’t introduce me to any of his friends? I don’t. I hate it. He won’t even admit to Grayson that we’re dating. Do you know how that makes me feel?”
“Then why do you put up with it?”
“Because it’s better than nothing. Which is what I have without Owen. No one has ever wanted me before. At all. In any way. Owen can be a jerk, but I know at least part of him cares about me. It’s not like he hooks up with me because I’m his only option. The guy is gorgeous, popular, and athletic. He can be with anyone he wants, but he still chooses to be with me. He likes being with me. He’s not a total douche. He does appreciate my awesomeness. When we’re together and it’s just us, he can be so sweet. He makes me feel beautiful—desirable, special, wanted. I don’t get to feel like that any other time in my life, so I take the bad with the good.”
I couldn’t believe I was having such an intimate conversation with this odd stranger, but it was surprisingly nice to be completely honest for once. “I can’t say no to Owen because I know that if I say yes, I’ll get to feel those things. The bad stuff will disappear and I’ll feel amazing, at least for a little while. And I’m afraid that if I don’t come when he calls, he’ll find someone else. I’m sure he sees other girls at college. Yes, I hate that, but what other choice do I have? If I push him away, then I’m back to having nobody. Without Owen, I’m back to being a lonely, fat nerd. I don’t want to be alone for the rest of my life.”
The conversation died there.
I’d never been so honest with anyone before, not even Avery. I wasn’t sure how Adam got me to crack open like that, but I felt so exposed. I’d spent years building up the thickest skin a human being could possibly have, and somehow, in less than an hour, Adam broke right through all of my defenses. That scared me. Who was this guy? How did he get to me so easily?
Adam sat in silence on the other side of the car. I knew he was thinking about everything I’d just said. Knew he was putting it together with all the times we’d met so far, and forming a new opinion of me. I didn’t want to know what that might be.
I drove us through the winding mountains, paying more attention to my crappy thoughts and feelings than the road. We were lucky I didn’t send us plummeting over the side of the canyon to our deaths.
“Believe it or not, I understand how you feel,” Adam said, breaking the long silence with his soft voice. “I know exactly what it’s like to be so desperate for someone’s affection that you’d let them destroy you just to win their approval.”
My chest tightened at his admission. It made me crazy with curiosity. Who had he loved so much that he could sound as full of despair as he did now? There was truth in his words, and whatever truth it was, it had been devastating to him. Was there more to Avery asking him for help than just his ability to play Bad Cop? He said we had something in common, but I couldn’t understand how a guy like him could ever be an outcast the way I am.
“If you don’t let him go,” Adam said, pulling my attention back to the conversation, “he will destroy you eventually.”
I had no doubt he was speaking from experience, but I didn’t ask, and he didn’t elaborate. He left me alone after that, and we spent the rest of the drive in silence. It wasn’t until we reached the ski resort and climbed out of the Escalade that he finally said, “You have to want it, Libby. Admitting that the relationship is unhealthy is a good start, but it isn’t enough. If you don’t genuinely want to give him up, then we’re wasting each other’s time.”
I wasn’t sure I’d ever fully want to give Owen up, but I didn’t want to let him keep using me, either. “What exactly are we doing with each other, anyway?” I asked as I led Adam through the parking lot toward the mountain. “How do you plan to help me?”
“Every twelve-step program is a journey. It’s actually a very spiritual experience for the person taking the steps. It requires a leap of faith. My job as your sponsor—so to say—is to take that leap with you and sort of guide you through the process. You’ll have to do all the work. I can’t take the steps for you, but I can show you the way. I’m here to hold your hand or give you a nudge when you need it, point you in the right direction if you can’t see clearly, and pick you up if you fall.”
We reached the base of the mountain and immediately hit a wall of people. The mountain was packed because it was the last weekend of the season, and it looked like the competition had also drawn quite a crowd as well.
I grabbed Adam’s hand tightly so that we wouldn’t get separated, and headed toward the halfpipe. Adam startled at my touch, but didn’t pull away. He looked down at our hands and then did that infuriatingly sexy thing where he raises one of his eyebrows at me, as if demanding an answer.
Man, he could be so hot when he wanted. If I weren’t in such a hurry, I’d have stayed locked in that challenging stare with him until the snow melted. Unfortunately, there was no time to explore the tension that sometimes ignited between us. I rolled my eyes at him, pretending I wasn’t the least bit excited to be touching him, and started tugging him through the spectators. “Gotta move your honeybuns, Coffee Man. We’re late.”
“You know,” he said lightly as he followed me through the crowd, “when I mentioned hand holding before, I was speaking metaphorically.”
“Well, that’s just too bad, because right now I need it in the literal sense. I don’t have time to lose you. It looks like they’ve already started, and I’ll be the worst daughter ever if I miss my dad’s first run.”
Adam chuckled. Then, a few seconds later he relaxed his grip, shifting his hand in mine so that our fingers laced together. There was something intimate in the casual way he clung to me as we walked. It was as if he weren’t hanging on for the purpose of staying together, but rather holding my hand simply for the pleasure of it. The way a boyfriend would. The way Owen had never done. The way no one had ever done.

It took everything in me not to stumble to a stop and gape at him. I glanced back as subtly as I could manage. He met my eyes, smiling as if he didn’t have a care in the world. As though holding my hand was something he did every day, something so natural he didn’t even have to think about it.


SQUEE. Gah, I want this book. 

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Kelly wrote her first novel at age fifteen--a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She's obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and her cat, Mr. Darcy.  Connect with Kelly                
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Nitzan

August 6, 2015

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray (SPOILERS)

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
Series: Firebird #1
Source: Bought hardback
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: November 4th, 2014
Age Group: Young Adult
Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.
Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.
Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.
A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.
I've long been meaning to read a Claudia Gray novel. She's been one of those authors on my To-Read list forever

And after reading this book... I don't feel like I got the real Claudia Gray experience because, while three stars is not a bad rating, I feel like had my reading experience been any different, I would've rated it much higher - and only then could I really claim I read a CG novel. 

I bet you're wondering what I'm talking about. Well... I knew all the important plot twists... because of the synopsis. 

SPOILER The synopsis (which, by the way, is not the synopsis on my actual copy. My synopsis is much better done) hints very strongly and when I say hints strongly, I mean it told me that Paul is going to be innocent. So right of the bat, I knew everything the book tried to convince us at first was a lie. 

Though, I'm not sure if I would've bought Paul's guilt even without the synopsis because the whole idea he killed Marguerite's dad was shaky at best; it's been a single day since he's been killed and yet she is absolutely certain he did it, and tries to convince us it's so indisputable that she is going to kill him for it. 

And yet... we learn the police only said they suspected him; they haven't even fished her dad's body from the river, let alone determined anyone's guilt, so I was floored at her certainty. If Gray at least told us the evidence against him instead of getting away with 'suspicious behavior', maybe it would've been slightly more plausible.   

But the main spoiler steamed from one major character missing from the synopsis all together - Theo. The fact he was excluded from the synopsis told me everything I really needed to know; that he was the actual traitor. The moment I figured that out (i.e, page five, when we met him), I was able to see all the hints and double meaning in his words and actions. It wasn't even fun; it was just so easy. SPOILER

I don't know if it was due to these "insights" or what, but I felt like every major twist was easy to figure out afterwards - even the reason Marguerite's time-traveling experience is different than your average Joe *snort*.

Now as for the characters themselves - I liked them all. I liked Marguerite, I liked Paul and I liked Theo. I even liked the love triangle because it wasn't a love triangle. It felt more like Marguerite was trying to convince herself to fall for Theo because she was out to kill Paul and therefore should not have feelings for him...

Speaking of Paul - while I liked him, I think someone ought to tell him the Dumbledore way is not the right way. I hope you understand what I'm saying here.

Despite this, the love story between Paul and Marguerite was one of the things I liked most in this book - especially when we reached the tsar world. Honestly, I would love to read an entire novel set in that universe because the relationship between lieutenant Markov and Marguerite was absolutely captivating and beautiful, and reminded me strongly of the relationship Buttercup and Westley had in the beginning of Princess Bride.

Also... I would love a closure for this story-line. Just saying... 

One of the thing that really bothered me throughout this book was the logic behind the dimension-travel. The whole multiverse idea is really cool, ain't gonna lie, but why would you want to travel between the worlds if not for nefarious reasons such as stealing another life if yours sucks, stealing technology, etc?

What did Marguerite's parents wish to achieve?

In short (because this has gone on long enough), I feel like I will read the next book, but it's not at the top of my list.

Nitzan

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August 4, 2015

Science Geek Appreciation Week: The Libby Garrett Intervention Cover Reveal and Teasers


Welcome to Day 2 of Science Geek Appreciation Week with Author Kelly Oram! If you missed yesterday's post about The Avery Shaw Experiment, you can check it out HERE. And don't forget to stop by the Facebook party for all kinds of extra bonus material, games and giveaways. There's a new giveaway every day. CLICK HERE TO PARTY! Now... On to the cover reveal for The Libby Garrett Intervention! The Spanish Fork High Science Squad is back in this hilarious and heartwarming companion novel to The Avery Shaw Experiment.

You have no idea how excited I am for this book! Kelly Oram is one of my favorite authors, and the Avery Shaw Experiment one of my absolute favorite stories of hers. I have been dying to know what became of Libby ever since I finished that book, and soon I can!

Okay, okay, you want to see the cover and read the teasers. Gotcha.

Drum rolls please! 

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Libby Garrett is addicted to Owen Jackson's hot lovin'. But the sexy, popular college basketball player doesn't appreciate all of Libby's awesomeness. He refuses to be exclusive or even admit to people that they're dating. The relationship is ruining Libby and she's the only one who can't see it. When Libby's behavior spirals completely out of control, her best friend Avery Shaw and the rest of the Science Squad stage an intervention hoping to cure Libby of her harmful Owen addiction. They put her through her very own Twelve Step program—Owen's Anonymous—and recruit the help of a sexy, broody, hard-as-nails coffee man to be her official sponsor....
Adam Koepp has watched Libby Garrett for years. How could he not notice the sassy girl with the purple skateboard and helmet plastered with cat stickers? But in all the years he's crushed on her, Libby has failed to take notice of him. Why would she when he was just a nobody high school drop out who served her apple cider several times a week? Especially when she was hooking up with a guy like Owen Jackson—a guy with a college scholarship and more abs than Kyle Hamilton.Adam finally gets the chance to meet Libby when his co-worker Avery Shaw recruits him to take Libby on the journey of a lifetime. With his ability to play Bad Cop and his experience with the Twelve Step program he's the perfect candidate to be Libby's sponsor. But will he be able to keep his personal feelings out of the matter and really help her the way she needs? And will Libby hate him when he forces her to take an honest look at herself?
Teasers
Libby
Avery sighed. “This isn’t an attack, Libby, it’s an intervention.”
My head snapped Avery’s direction.  “Homegirl says what?”
Avery smiled again, but this time it was full of determination. “You have a problem, Libby. We’ve all come here tonight because we love you and we’re worried about you.”
“Okay, someone definitely cooked up something special in the chem lab or something. You’ve all officially gone mental. I’m not on drugs.”
Avery shook her head. “But your relationship with Owen is just as destructive.”
I’d heard enough. “An intervention?” They were comparing me to a drug addict and saying Owen was my crack? “I came here to apologize to all of you and this is what I get?” I jumped to my feet. “This is such equus ferus feces!”
I bolted for the door and got about three steps before Adam intercepted me, blocking the way like a lean, tattoo-covered wall of attitude. He stood in a typical bouncer’s stance with his feet shoulder width apart and his arms folded across his chest. Though he wasn’t particularly tall or bulky, he was still intimidating. I glared up at him. “And you’re a gluteus maximus!”
Adam’s face pulled into a frown and he looked to the group to translate. Aiden grinned. “That’s Libby speak for ‘This is horse shit’ and ‘You’re an ass’.”
Adam brought his gaze back to me, and I kept up my glare, refusing to take it back. I waited for him to flip out on me, but was shocked when his lips twitched as if he was fighting a smile. I had to be wrong, though, because there was no way this jerk had a sense of humor. “Get out of my way.”
He face hardened again. “You sit that luscious little gluteus maximus of yours back down on that couch right now,” he said, “or I’ll put it there myself.”
It really does not happen often, but I was rendered completely speechless. I was also unable to move, save the way my eyes tripled in size as I gawked at him. He gave me a dry look and added, “Capisce, Cider Chick?
Adam
When I looked at Libby, she shrugged as though she was as helpless in this situation as I was. “Help me, Coffee-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.”
It was so Libby.
“Okay.” I prayed I wasn’t making a huge mistake.
Kate and Avery both squealed and pounced on me, giving me hugs. I was still wary, but their energy was contagious and I cracked a smile.
“Thank you, Adam,” Avery said. “You really, really are the best. Is there any chance you could get started tomorrow? Libby managed to say no to Owen tonight, but if we don’t help keep her distracted tomorrow, she’s going to end up in his very expensive hotel suite tomorrow night.”
And just like that, all my reservations about this disappeared. I was all in, and failure was not an option. Libby was never going to end up in that jerk’s bed ever again if I could help it. “Tomorrow’s as good a day as any. I’m off work at two.”
Libby was already at the door trying to escape, but she stopped before turning the knob. “Actually, I need you ready to go at seven thirty in the morning. Avery already cleared it with your boss. He was more than happy to take your shift. He said he’s been trying to get you to take a vacation day for months.”
My head reared back. “You cleared my schedule tomorrow?”
Libby looked me right in the eyes and grinned wickedly. The smile did something to my insides. “You’re mine tomorrow, Coffee Man,” she purred jokingly.
I stopped breathing. Hers. Yes. Yes I was. Heaven help me, but I was hers. This was so bad. If I wasn’t careful Libby Garrett was going to break me. I had to take control of this situation fast. I don’t know what kind of look I had on my face when I stalked across the room toward her, but her eyes widened and she backed up until she bumped into the door. “You’ve got that all wrong,” I said, placing my hand on the door beside her head, trapping her in front of me.
I’d meant to intimidate her a little, but when she sucked in a breath and shivered, I lost control again. I leaned in a little too close and my next words accidentally came out in a possessive growl. “Starting tomorrow, Cider Chick, you are mine.”
Oh MY. I NEED THIS BOOK. Right Now. Unfortunately,.. 

Coming October 24th! 
Available for preorder now at: 
Amazon * iBooks * Kobo 
Special preorder price of $2.99. 
(Two dollars off the normal listing price of $4.99)

This follow-up companion novel to The Avery Shaw Experiment can be read as a stand alone. (But where's the fun in that?)  The Avery Shaw Experiment is only $0.99 right now. So why wait until October to meet Libby when you can fall in love with her right now for only a dollar?
 Download The avery Shaw Experiment at Amazon * iBooks * B&N * Kobo

For more bonus material, teasers, games, and chances to win things like signed books and swag stop by the Facebook event, happening now through Friday.
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Kelly wrote her first novel at age fifteen--a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She's obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and her cat, Mr. Darcy.  Connect with Kelly                
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Nitzan