Thursday, September 18, 2014

Book Review: Misunderstandings (Woodfalls Girls #2) by Tiffany King

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Berkeley Trade
304 Pages

Just when she thought things were going up…

Two years after a devastating breakup, Brittni Mitchell has moved on from Justin Avery—or so she tells herself. But when she returns to Seattle for her best friend’s engagement party, Brittni finds herself the victim of a disastrously timed elevator breakdown. She’s trapped with the last person she wants to face, and forced to recount the past she desperately wants to forget.

She’s going to have to look back…

When Brittni left her podunk hometown for a big city college experience at the University of Washington, hooking up with a guy like Justin Avery was not part of her plan. Between Justin’s attention-grabbing tattoos, cigarette smoking, and bad boy attitude Brittni quickly chalked him up as �Mr. Wrong.” But his charm was unrelenting, and Brittni’s decision to give Justin a chance quickly turned into the worst choice she ever made.

So that she might be able to move forward.

Now she’s stuck with Justin—literally—and the complicated web of misunderstandings that tied up the truth for two years is about to unravel.

I have a knack for reading books in a series out of order. It’s just this thing I do. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It worked here. I loved King’s writing and the way she told both the past and present stories. It was a great way to learn about their histories without having the giant info dump.
Imagine having a horrible breakup with probably the love of your life and then being trapped in an elevator with them two years later – after having no contact during those years. Not the most ideal situation. Brittni and Justin have so many unresolved issues based on the ending of relationship neither wanted to end, but either didn’t know how to keep it. 

Brittni fell hard for Justin during college and the two embarked on what appeared to be an epic romance of two people who wouldn’t likely fall for each other. But all too quickly things got out of control. Justin started to wonder if he can really be the guy Brittni needs and Brittni kept secrets – important secrets. Ultimately, they exploded.

While I liked Brittni, at times I felt it was hard to relate to her. She wanted so much for Justin to just know her every thought and every feeling when she was doing anything to hide them. Justin, on the other hand, I fell hard for. I’ve read some other reviews where he gets so much flack for how he handled everything with Brittni, but truthfully, with the secret she kept, he deserved to be angry. 

The relationships and the writing made this a very good read for me and definitely made me want to check out the first book in this series and others from this writer. 

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Friday, September 12, 2014

ARC Review: Before He Was Gone (Starstruck #2) by Becky Wicks

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: August 25, 2014
Publisher: Self-Published
259 Pages

Standalone sequel to Before He Was Famous (#1 in Coming of Age, FREE Kindle Books) Sometimes, you have to get lost to find yourself...
When her rock star boyfriend breaks things off out of the blue, Alyssa applies to hit reality TV show Deserted and to her shock she gets through. Abandoned on a remote island with a bunch of strangers and none of the luxuries she’s become accustomed to, it’s not long before an undeniable attraction to the mysterious Joshua starts complicating things even further.

Joshua's different to everyone she's ever known - a traveller, a man with no plan, a world away from the celebrity life she's left behind. As a series of challenges test their wits and weaknesses, things start heating up in paradise, but in a game designed to break people down, it soon becomes clear that Joshua is hiding a painful secret - one he won’t risk anyone finding out.

Struggling to know where she belongs, Alyssa will have to choose - a life she once loved that wants her back, or a brand new reality that heartbreakingly may just have its limits.

˃˃˃ "Becky does it again, delivering a searingly hot, emotionally intense and brilliantly written book. I loved it." - Sarah Alderson (author of Hunting Lila, Fated, The Sound)

***Warning: this book contains graphic language, sex, and mature situations. Not intended for young adult readers.***

Sometimes, you have to get lost to find yourself...

Well, how about putting yourself on a remote island with strangers competing for a grand prize? Is that lost enough? For Alyssa, it was the perfect escape. Recently dumped by her superstar boyfriend, she was tired of being known as ‘that girl’, she was tired of her dead-end job. She just wanted to get away. When she finds out that Deserted, a hit reality show, is looking for contestants for their next season, she jumps at the chance to audition. What does she have to lose?

It’s on this island where she meets Joshua, another contestant. Joshua is the resident drifter. He never stays in one place for too long and he doesn’t have long-term relationships. Basically anything that will hold him to one place, he discards it. But he’s on the island with one goal in mind – to win. He needs the prize money desperately – although for what, we don’t find out until the end.

The Survivor-esque type background definitely fueled this book. We all know that reality TV is mostly staged and competition ones don’t always show things as they happen, but instead focus on what will get the most ratings. Before He Was Gone showed us what happens behind the scenes, what the cameras don’t show us. The island was a beautiful backdrop to watch Alyssa and Joshua get closer together. 

I adored Alyssa. She knew what people thought about her – that she was the spoiled celebrity girlfriend. But boy did she prove everyone wrong. She was smart, a quick thinker, and willing to learn everything she could to survive there. Then there’s Joshua who was such a mystery. He never quite says what’s going on with him but instead his internal dialogue (mixed with other people’s observations) hinted at something big. I loved reading his scenes, he was very at one with the Island. 

The side characters – aka the other contestants – rounded out this book nicely. Along with the challenges, the vote-offs and tribunal meetings, I felt like I was partaking in a reality show. You definitely do not need to read Before He Was Famous prior to reading this, what you need to know are mentioned in the story. And in my opinion, this book surpasses the first. 

I received an e-copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Book Review: No Attachments (Woodfalls Girls #1) by Tiffany King

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Berkeley Trade
304 Pages

Ashton Garrison walked away from her current life to escape the one thing she’s unwilling to face. She knows her decision may be selfish, but in the end, leaving will be far less painful for everyone. Now she has one goal: live life to the fullest with no regrets and no attachments. What Ashton doesn’t count on is how fate always seems to find a way to screw up any good plan.

Nathan Lockton specializes in locating a mark. He’s done it over and over again—no attachments and no emotion necessary. What he thought was a routine lost-and-found job has forced Nathan to deal with something he has always ignored—his feelings. He’s never fallen for a target, yet he’s never met anyone like Ashton. Now deep in a dilemma, Nathan must decide to follow his heart, or complete the job he was hired to do.

Love can come when you least expect it. The question is: If the odds are stacked against you, how far are you willing to go for the one you love?

Have a one-night stand steamy affair with no attachments – check (kinda).

Meet Ashton, a girl literally running from her past, who just wants to live and check things off of her to-do list of sorts. Conquer a fear, go canoeing, have a one-night stand, those sorts of things. When she sees Nathan at a local bar, she believes that she’s found her one time lover. What she doesn’t know is that Nathan knows who she is and was actually paid to track her down for a client. Once they meet, they are immediately taken with each other. Ashton decides she wants a steamy affair instead of a one-night stand and Nathan decides he just needs more of her before he turns her over to his client. A no attachment deal is struck. And we all know how those turn out…

The mystery of why Ashton ran from her past kept me highly intrigued for most of the book (until I figured it out). I liked her determination and she was funny. It took more time for me to warm up to Nathan. He was obviously lying to her from the beginning, and while she lied about parts of her past, I felt his lie held more weight. He had to work for my approval, but, not going to lie, by the end of the book, he had it. 

This was my second King book (I actually read the second in this series first) and I enjoy her writing. It’s relatable and the characters are likeable. Looking forward to the third book in this series. 

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Monday, September 1, 2014

"Real" Book Challenge August Recap

Real Book Challenge on Swoony Boys Podcast and Fiction Fare

August was a much better reading month than the two before. And it brought me two books I have been waiting forever for, Isla and the Happily Ever After and Sacrifice (both were brilliant by the way). Also, a cabin vacation was perfect to catch up on some reading. So here's the actual books I read during August.

Total So Far: 52
Current Level: Real Book Queen

Finally made it to Queen! I didn't really set a goal before this challenge, other than to make Queen. I would like to shoot for 100 books, but I'm not sure I can do that. But I'm going to keep going. See you all next month!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Book Review: Before He Was Famous (Starstruck #1) by Becky Wicks

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: May 29, 2014
Publisher: Self-Published
279 Pages

One guy, one girl. One in the spotlight. One in the shadows.

Falling in love with your best friend isn’t always a great idea, especially when he’s Noah Lockton - the sexiest, most famous new talent on the planet. When 21-year-old small-town photographer Chloe Campbell is offered the chance of a lifetime – to join her celebrity childhood friend Noah on tour as an exclusive blogger for a New York magazine – she’s certain both have put what happened four years ago behind them. But his eyes still burn; his voice is still a jackhammer to her heartstrings; all his songs are about her. Is it possible that that night still haunts them both?

The music industry is a machine, spinning hype and rumors as much as his records. It’s not just Noah’s girlfriends who’ve got it in for Chloe (there’s no stopping the Twitter-obsessed, cat-loving pop-star Courtney Lentini for starters). Pretty soon, the jealousy and media frenzy surrounding these so-called-friends takes a life-changing turn and it seems making love means making enemies at every turn. When tragedy threatens to pull the final curtain on their relationship, both Chloe and Noah must make a choice. As much as this world leaves them starstruck, is living their dream really worth living without each other?

A story of lifelong friendships, love and hope, set in a world of celebrity, fame and social media gone very, very wrong.

From International Bestselling HarperCollins Author, Becky Wicks, comes a new adult romance that will leave you starstruck.

***Warning: this book contains graphic language, sex, and mature situations. Not intended for young adult readers.***

I’m a sucker for stories set in a Hollywood-type feel. Growing up I was always fascinated with what goes on behind the scenes, how everything works and that’s just carried over to books. So of course I had to read Before He Was Famous

Noah Lockton basically wins American Idol and goes from small town boy to superstar almost overnight and is thrust into the “celebrity” lifestyle. Chloe Campbell is Noah’s best friend and jumps at the opportunity to travel with him as his own personal blogger so to speak. But as with most boy-girl friendships, there’s underlying emotions especially after a certain night that happened almost four years ago that neither one will acknowledge. It’s a tale of how no one actually talks about their feelings and just lets them simmer until one or both of them explode. 

The base plot (small town boy becomes famous) was what intrigued me. However, our first glimpse at Noah was not all that great. He has a girlfriend but was thinking about how another contestant on the show had given him a blowjob recently. But that’s not cheating. Umm, ok… So right away, I was not impressed with this guy. I went back and forth with him over the course of the book. There were times I liked him and could see why Chloe was in love with him. Their friendship was one of the saving factors of this story. 

Our first impression of Chloe was this girl who was in a relationship with some guy she didn’t trust or love and was seriously pining for her best friend. While I didn’t dislike Chloe’s character, I wanted more from her. I wanted her to be stronger and more motivated, determined even. She just kind of went with the flow and bummed herself out when things didn’t magically go the way she wanted. And of course, she was the queen of running away when confronted with the truth.

This story was very modern, set basically in the now. Twitter and Instagram were heavy factors as were the celebrities the author name dropped in. While some were fun to read about, I do wonder if this will date the book in the future. Aside from the celeb shout outs, Peter Pan was a major theme. Now I just need to say here that I am a huge Peter Pan fan. It’s one of my favorite Disney movies of all time so when Noah and Chloe called each other “Peter” and “Pan” I was all, awwww. It was adorable and made sense with their history (they were in a Peter Pan play when they were kids). But I’m not going to lie, it became a little much when almost every page had a reference to my beloved movie. Nicknames, quotes, songs…it was just a little overboard. I think the author was trying too hard to make the audience have a connection that it just got weighted down with pop culture. 

Overall, it was an okay story. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it either. The overly done side characters I could have done without and I wish the author would have stayed away from the drama for the sake of drama that was the last half of the book, but I did enjoy watching Chloe and Noah navigate their feelings in the spotlight. 

I received an e-copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Blog design by Imagination Designs using papers from the Santa Monica paper pack by Mally Mac and Me