Dangled Carat Review

15 Apr

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Hilary had gotten used to dating the commitment-phobic Marc, thirteen years her senior. They had a great relationship—why rush into things? She saw no need to pressure him for marriage, believing that when the time was right, he would propose. But after they had been together for four years, their friends decided to take matters into their own hands, pushing Marc to propose and making Hilary realize how much she really did want to marry the man that she loved. Unfortunately, Marc still wasn’t ready—and their friends’ meddling in the form of a faux engagement party led to a disastrous New Year’s Eve that brought their relationship to an inevitable turning point. In this relatable, lighthearted, and playful memoir, Hilary reminisces about her life before Marc—from the insecure and awkward teenage years she spent in a back brace and dealing with the loss of her father, to her early relationships and, finally, to the day she met Marc and realized that she really wanted to see him again. Through their first date—even though Hilary was technically seeing someone else at the time—and the ease of their early time together until Marc first decided that they were moving too quickly, up until that fateful New Year’s Eve, Hilary shares the details of their relationship and how Marc’s inability to commit led her to find an inner strength and confidence she didn’t know she possessed. For anyone who has ever dated a commitment-phobe, who has found their patience wearing thin with the one they love, or who has sat around wondering if he is ever going to pop the question while trying to remain the very picture of patience and grace, Hilary’s humorous and honest story will hit home.

Memoirs are a tricky thing to write, but an even trickier thing to review. Which is why, typically, I don’t review them. But Hilary Grossman sold the pitch to me, and kindly provided a copy for me to review. She has also been very patient as I tried to catch up to all the other crazy things in my own life while reading her book and trying to come up with a fair review. Because this was tricky to review, and I wrote 3 different versions before choosing this one. Hopefully. I might go in for another attempt. But here goes!

Because it is a memoir, I feel like I shouldn’t get into too much detail about the plot itself. But I will go into detail about other things:

Firstly, the summary is very misleading, I feel. The book is about Hilary trying to get Marc to get over his commitment phobia, but it’s also about a lot of other things. It’s about her life growing up as an awkward kid, just 11 years old, and having to wear a back brace because she has scoliosis. Until she’s 14. This is probably one of the worst thing a kid can go through, especially at such a young age, when other kids can be mean and everything small seems like a huge deal. It’s about losing a parent to a stroke, and all the pain and grief that comes with that. It’s about growing up with resilience, and realizing that the awkward years are behind you, and you’ve made something of yourself. It’s about finding love, but also learning to love yourself. Because, in the end, if you don’t love yourself, how do you expect others to love you?

I have to admit, even though I really got into this book, initially I was panicking a little bit. I don’t like memoirs, and when I read the first chapter I was cringing immensely. Just the whole situation with Marc and pretending that they’ve become engaged, telling his parents that they’re engaged when they’re really not, all because it’s a joke and funny at the time. And she could tell that he didn’t think it was funny, but he went with it anyway  and she continued pretending, until all the lies became too ridiculous and the truth just spilled out. Just knowing that it was real – I felt so bad for her, and for him. I was more mad at her for going through with the ruse at first, even though it wasn’t her fault. And then I was sad for her, because it was all so awkward and she wanted it so much to be true but it wasn’t. A few stolen moments of pretend just made things worse for both of them.

But as the rest of the book progressed, I really did fall in love with the memoir. It was really sad and funny and lighthearted, and even though there were a few cringe-worthy moments, the book aligned sort of perfectly. And I really came to believe that her and Marc were meant to be together, especially with how they met. I mean, what a coincidence! That was probably one of the best meetings I’d ever read about. If it wasn’t a memoir, I’d say that it was a bit unrealistic.

One of the down-sides for me was that it was a bit of a mature voice. I couldn’t connect with too many things in the beginning until I really got into it. I’m not an adult, I won’t even pretend to be. I still think of myself as a kid (or, I guess, an adult on training wheels, if you really want to be specific about it). So reading about a person who wanted to settle down and was dating someone much older than herself was a bit like spying through the peep-hole, if you know what I mean. I felt a little out of place. It wasn’t until she went back to her past that I really began connecting with it a little more.

One of the things I thought was done very well was that it wasn’t a story just about her. It was about her family and friends and the life she has built. There was a lot of laughter and love, a lot of sharing of grief and sadness, a lot of overcoming obstacles for both her and Marc. And she didn’t paint Marc into a bad light, either. She told the story as truthfully as possible. And even though he was reluctant about tying the knot with her, you really got to see that there were a lot of reasons for that. He was really supportive of her throughout her life, building and shaping her to be proud of herself, teaching her to love herself. And at the end of the day, that is why we enter into relationships to begin with, isn’t it? To grow as people? Hopefully in a positive way? He was a great role model and friend and lover to her, and still is. It’s really all quite magical.

I found myself really relating to Marc. I’m not an extreme commitment-phobe like he is, but I do have my moments and tendencies. I have never really committed to anyone, and I guess maybe it’s because I’m still growing up and stuff. But I’ve never been too interested in relationships and dating like the rest of my friends, and the thought of getting into a relationship gives me all sorts of terrible anxiety (I have to actually SPEND TIME with someone? And tell them about MYSELF? And… like… actually commit to them?). Maybe it has to do with the fact that for a lot of my childhood I moved around quite a bit before settling down. I don’t know. But I’m a lot different from my younger sister, who hasn’t ever had problems with commitment.

I also feel like because this story was told without much bias, I was able to kind of… pick a side…? I don’t really know how to express it. I connected with Marc more than I did to Hilary in the relationship situation. I could see where he came from and why he was so reluctant to commit. What if this happened? What if that happens? What if- etc. But eventually even I was rooting Hilary on. It was clear to everyone but him that they were perfect for each other and nothing could possibly happen to tear them apart and it was magical and wonderful and JUST FREAKING MARRY HER ALREADY! Gosh do you need any more of a hint? Seriously! She’s freaking beautiful and awesome and she loves you and she’s waited HOW LONG for you?! Get on with it, man! Marry her!

Anyway. This memoir really stirred up a lot of emotions in me, and I found myself actually enjoying it. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, you know it’s one of those books you’ve got to read!

3.9 stars!

Don’t Look Back Release Day Launch!

14 Apr

We are extremely excited that Jennifer L. Armentrout’s DON’T LOOK BACK releases today!! DON’T LOOK BACK is a young adult suspense being published by Disney Hyperion!

don't look back

 

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

EXCERPT:

I didn’t recognize the name on the street sign. Nothing about the rural road looked familiar or

friendly. Tall, imposing trees and overgrown weeds choked the front of the dilapidated home.

Windows were boarded up. There was a gaping hole where the front door had been. I shivered,

wanting to be far away from here…wherever here was.

Walking felt harder than it should be, and I stumbled off the chilly asphalt, wincing as

sharp gravel dug into my feet.

My bare feet?

I stopped and looked down. Chipped pink nail polish peeked through the dirt…and blood.

Mud caked the legs of my pants, leaving the hems stiff. It made sense, seeing as how I wasn’t

wearing any shoes, but the blood…I didn’t understand why there was blood staining the knees of

my jeans.

My vision clouded and dulled, as if a gray film had been dropped over my eyes. As I

stared at the weathered asphalt under my feet, large and smooth rocks replaced the tiny stones.

Something dark and oily seeped over the rocks, slipping through the cracks.

Sucking in a sharp gasp, I blinked and the image was gone.

Hands trembling, I raised them. They were also covered with dirt and scratches. My nails

were broken, bloodied. A silver ring wrapped, encased in soil, around my thumb. Air froze in my

chest as my gaze crawled over my arms. The sleeves of my sweater were torn, revealing pale

flesh covered in bruises and gashes. My legs started to shake as I swayed forward. I tried to

remember how this had happened, but my head was empty—a black void where nothing existed.

A car drove by, coasting to a stop a few feet in front of me. Somewhere in the trenches of

my subconscious, I recognized the flashing red and blue lights as a source of safety. Elegantly

scrawled along the black-and-gray side of the cruiser were the words ADAMS COUNTY SHERIFF’S

DEPARTMENT.

Adams County? A flash of familiarity came and went.

The driver’s door opened, and a deputy stepped out. He said something into the radio on

his shoulder before he looked at me.

“Miss?” He started around the cruiser, taking tentative steps. He looked young for a

deputy. Barely out of high school and able to carry a gun seemed wrong somehow. Was I in high

school? I didn’t know. “We’ve received some calls into dispatch concerning you,” he said

gently. “Are you okay?”

I tried to respond, but only a hoarse squeak came out. Clearing my throat, I winced as the

motion scratched and pulled. “I…I don’t know.”

“Okay.” The deputy held up his hands as he approached me, as if I were a skittish deer

about to bolt. “My name is Deputy Rhode. I’m here to help you. Do you know what you’re doing

out here?”

“No.” Knots formed in my belly. I didn’t even know where here was.

His smile strained. “What’s your name?”

My name? Everyone knew their name, but as I stared at the deputy, I couldn’t answer his

question. The knots started twisting more. “I don’t…I don’t know what my name is.”

He blinked, and the smile was completely gone. “You don’t remember anything?”

I tried again, concentrating on the empty space between my ears. That was how it felt.

And I knew that wasn’t good. My eyes started to tear up.

“Miss, it’s okay. We’ll get you taken care of.” He reached out, lightly taking hold of my

arm. “We’ll get this sorted.”

Deputy Rhode led me around the back of his cruiser. I didn’t want to sit behind the

Plexiglas, because I knew that wasn’t good. Only bad people sat behind the glass in police

cruisers. I wanted to object, but before I could say anything, he settled me into the seat and

wrapped a coarse blanket around my shoulders.

Before he locked me in the bad part of the car, he knelt and smiled reassuringly.

“Everything’s going to be okay.”

But I knew he was lying, trying to make me feel better. It didn’t work. How could

everything be okay when I didn’t know my own name?

 

ABOUT DON’T LOOK BACK:

Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all—popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it’s one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took “mean girl” to a whole new level, and it’s clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She’s getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she’s falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her—even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn’t just buried deep inside of Sam’s memory—someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

“This engrossing thriller packs a heady atmospheric punch with plenty of theatrical scares,” Kirkus Reviews

“Armentrout has written another winner. From the first page to the last, she builds both terror and confusion to the point where readers will be hooked and on the edge of their seat. This standalone contains all of Armentrout’s usual trademarks– a strong and determined heroine, witty comments and hot guys–but she adds in an extra layer by ratcheting up the suspense to the highest degree and follows it up with an ending no one will see coming.” RT BOOK REVIEWS 4 1/2 Stars TOP PICK

 

Don't Look Back RDL Banner

 

Author PhotoAbout Jennifer L. Armentrout:

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV.

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

 

Links:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Jennifer L. Armentrout Goodreads

DON’T LOOK BACK Goodreads

Don’t Look Back Teaser + Giveaway!

1 Apr

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Chewing on my lip, I read the entire menu three times. Coffee—my choice of coffee— should be simple, but it wasn’t. I felt…lost.

 

“Hey,” Carson said from behind me, his breath warm on my cheek, causing me to jump. “You doing okay?”

 

Feeling my cheeks burn, I nodded.

 

A man behind me sighed, muttering. I heard the words stupid and rich tossed about. My mortification level soared to new heights.

 

Carson pulled me out of line, shooting the guy a dark look of warning. “What’s your deal?” he asked.

 

I glanced down at where his hand wrapped around mine. How could such a simple touch feel sweet as sin? Probably not the best thing to be thinking about given I couldn’t place an order for coffee.

 

“Sam,” he said, impatient.

 

Lifting my gaze, I was horrified to feel tears building. “I don’t know what to order.” My voice cracked. “I don’t know…what I like.”

 

Understanding softened his jaw, and he nodded. “You usually drink a latte—vanilla.” He paused, dropping his hand. “I’ve seen you drink them. Stay here and I’ll order.”

 

I waited off to the side while he placed the order. People were staring at me. I felt like a child, unable to complete the simplest task. I wanted to crawl into a hole somewhere. There was no doubt in my mind that Carson thought I was an idiot.

 

When he returned with my drink, he popped the lid on the cup. “Careful. It’s hot.”

 

“Thank you.” I wrapped my hands around it, welcoming the warmth slipping through the java sleeve.

 

GIVEAWAY

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/52304173/

Burn For Me Cover Reveal!

1 Apr

 

#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire…

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

——————————————————————————————————–

 

It is such a gorgeous, distinctive cover, melding together unique paranormal aspect of the world and the sizzle of the relationship between Mad Rogan and Nevada. It’s rare when the cover captures a scene from the book exactly the way the author had imagined it. You learn to resign yourself to it. Covers aren’t meant to be a literal representation of the narrative, but BURN FOR ME is. It actually shows a pivotal scene, especially when combined with the aerial view splashback. If you read the book, you’ll know exactly what I mean. When I got the cover file, I sent it to a friend. She emailed back in minutes. The email said, “Who did you sacrifice to Cover Gods to get this?”

—Ilona Andrews on her reaction to the cover for BURN FOR ME

BURN FOR ME is a slight departure from Ilona Andrews’ other bestselling urban fantasy series. There’s still the trademark snappy dialogue/narrative and action-packed scenes, but there’s a stronger romance thread here that we wanted to get across right away with this cover. Our hero Rogan is not just hot and sexy, but he’s powerful. Like kill-you-with-a-stare powerful. And Nevada is just as strong, only she doesn’t realize her full potential yet. So I wanted to show off our couple, have that intimacy between them and not lose any kickass-ness (I know, not a real word, sorry). The background with the exploding buildings around them…the idea was Ilona’s and the execution is just exquisite.

—Erika Tsang, Ilona’s Editor extraordinaire

BURN FOR ME by Ilona Andrews

On-sale 10/28/2014 | ISBN: 9780062289230

 

Pre-Order Links:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/burn-for-me-ilona-andrews/1118611576?ean=9780062289230

http://www.amazon.com/Burn-Me-Hidden-Legacy-Novel-ebook/dp/B00I7V11WU

Be With Me Review

27 Mar

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Teresa Hamilton is having a rough year—she’s in love with her big brother’s best friend, but he hasn’t spoken to her since they shared a truly amazing, mind-blowing, change-your-life kiss. She got out of a terrible relationship. And now an injury is threatening to end her dance career for good. It’s time for Plan B – college. And maybe a chance to convince Jase that what they have together is real.

Jase Winstead has a huge secret that he’s not telling anyone. Especially not his best friend’s incredibly beautiful sister. Even though he and Teresa shared the hottest kiss of his life, he knows that his responsibilities must take priority. He certainly doesn’t have time for a relationship. But it doesn’t help that all he can think about kissing the one girl who could ruin everything for him.

As they’re thrown together more and more, Jase and Tess can’t keep denying their feelings for each other. But a familiar danger looms and tragedy strikes. As the campus recovers, the star-crossed couple must decide what they’re willing to risk to be together, and what they’re willing to lose if they’re not…

I read the book because I wanted some more Cam and Avery.

Come on! Don’t tell me I’m the only one! Those two are just so… AMAZING! At least I’m able to admit it… even though I do feel slightly guilty for it. Just slightly. :D It’s okay, though, because J. Lynn knows exactly why we read these books. She included a few very cute Cam and Avery moments in here that just melted my heart and one of them just about gave me a heart attack – in a good way. You will never ever ever guess what it was!

But that’s not why we’ve all gathered here today. Nope, we are here to discuss Be With Me, which is Jase and Tess. If I recall correctly, I think Jennifer L. Armentrout actually said that Jase superseded Cam’s spot as her favorite book boyfriend she has ever written about. I was so excited! I couldn’t fathom that there was someone out there that could be HOTTER than Cam. I mean – what?! Impossible right? RIGHT?

Right.

I’m sorry, J. Lynn, I’m calling this one. Jase was hot and absolutely mouth watering and all that stuff, but he doesn’t have a turtle, and he doesn’t bake cookies. Plus, Cam is a bigger alpha male than Jase is, which totally wins brownie points from me.

That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy this book! Nope! I absolutely devoured it!

There is just so much that happens in this book, it’s really hard to tell you why I loved it plot-wise. We really see a growth in Tess’ character, as well as Jase’s. There are a lot of issues they both have to deal with and grow through, and these issues are keeping them both apart. How can you be with someone when, on some days, you can’t even stand being with yourself? This was definitely a deeper book than Wait for You was, but for the purpose of how this book was written, it worked very well! This made both of the books distinct, which I like! Because, guys, there’s nothing worse than reading a book that has a sequel, expecting the sequel to be amazing, and then realizing that it’s basically the same story rewritten. It’s true. I know a few books like that. I’m sure you do, too.

The personality of this book and both of the characters is also very different. This is what makes it very hard to compare this book to Wait for You – because you can’t! It’s like comparing Christmas with your birthday. You get presents on both, but you can’t call one better than the other. They are just too different! But you CAN pick favorites. Just saying.

But I will say this – Jennifer, if you could PLEASE open up a school to teach boys to be as mouth-watering as your characters, I will highly support, stand-by and FUND the project! Because not only do I have Cam in my boy-dreams, now I also have Jase?! This does not bode well for me! I will have a heart attack in my sleep!

Jase is for all you girls who are into country-men. He lives on a farm, which means he rides horses and lifts heavy objects and rides in trucks and all that manly-man stuff that makes him built and tanned. Mmm. Yummy tan. And he’s also very alpha. I said Cam was more alpha, but that doesn’t stop Jase from being completely overbearing and in charge and just… so hot! And when him and Cam face off against each other… I think I swooned a few times. Way too much testosterone in the air! I would have fainted if I were there for real.

He’s the type to see a girl in trouble, swoop her up over his shoulder and take her to his man cave to protect her. He will stand outside your window with a stereo over his head playing your favorite song until you come out. He will go out of his way to get you your favorite cupcakes every day, just to see a smile on your face. He’s basically the kind of guy that makes the real guys in life seem very disappointing, because no matter what they do, they cannot possibly be perfect like Jase is. Buuut – he’s got a secret! And boy, that WAS a secret! I mean, I was so not expecting Jase to… and then he was, so I was like WHAT?! But it’s okay cuz he’s just very *sigh*! Yes, that is me censoring myself. It’s hard! You read the book and try to work around it!

Tess is just infuriatingly awesome! She’s completely bull-headed and clever and just as manipulative as Cam can be. She’s dealing with her own issues, and sometimes makes some stupid choices that provide a lot of entertainment for those of us who enjoy the embarrassment of others. But she’s also very likeable and fun and someone who you would love to hang out with. She is constantly thinking of others, and even though she’s not the strong heroin you want her to be in the beginning, she does get there eventually.

The ending caught me completely off guard! I think that Jennifer Armentrout lulls you into this false sense of security in the book, where you’re seeing a sort of pattern form so you know what to expect next. And then BAM! A whole lot of stuff happens at once, starting with the stuff that goes down with her roommate and then going onwards to the end. The last half of the book was just chaos and beating hearts and me possibly being scared off of living on residence at a college/university EVER. The book took a completely surprising turn and played off it so well! It completely set the first book apart!

This is what redeemed this book for me.

Because, now that I have told you about how much I loved this book, there is a small confession here. I actually did not like it as much as I liked the first book. It was amazing! Totally worth reading and awesome in its own right! But I think I was reading this with the expectation of it being completely like Wait for You, but it wasn’t! It was a different feel and situation and had its own crazy bouts of awesomeness! You cannot possibly compare these two books because they re so distinct, so the only thing to do is to treat them as completely different books that have nothing to do with each other. And Cam – the reason I fell in love with Wait for You – is not Jase!

I think that now that I realized this, if I reread it I would enjoy this book a lot more. Because, honestly, it is one of the better books I have ever read. If I hadn’t read Wait for You first, I would probably think that this book is my favorite EVER! But I did read Wait for You first, and so I’m sorry but… Cam wins.

4.8 Stars! So close to being as awesome as Cam, but not quite there.

Now if you excuse me… I’m gonna reread it. :D Cuz even though it’s not as awesome as Cam is… it’s still pretty darn awesome!

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Sharing You Cover Reveal!

26 Mar

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