Before the Blog #14: The Weight of Blood

Before the Blog is a weekly blog meme hosted by Karis Jacobstein over @ YA Litwit. It’s an opportunity to showcase books a blogger read and loved prior to starting their blog .  I love this idea because there are so many amazing books I haven’t reviewed on A Novel Glimpse because I read them a long time ago. The only rules to this meme are to answer the following questions about the book chosen to review:

  • Why did you choose this book? 
  • When did you read this book? 
  • Who would you recommend this book to? 

The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

Publication Date: March 11, 2014

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Goodreads Synopsis: 

The Dane family’s roots tangle deep in the Ozark Mountain town of Henbane, but that doesn’t keep sixteen-year-old Lucy Dane from being treated like an outsider. Folks still whisper about her mother, a bewitching young stranger who inspired local myths when she vanished years ago. When one of Lucy’s few friends, slow-minded Cheri, is found murdered, Lucy feels haunted by the two lost girls-the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn’t protect. Everything changes when Lucy stumbles across Cheri’s necklace in an abandoned trailer and finds herself drawn into a search for answers. What Lucy discovers makes it impossible to ignore the suspicion cast on her own kin. More alarming, she suspects Cheri’s death could be linked to her mother’s disappearance, and the connection between the two puts Lucy at risk of losing everything. In a place where the bonds of blood weigh heavy, Lucy must decide where her allegiances lie.


My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Why did you choose this book? 

The Weight of Blood had me on edge the entire time I read it. It was suspenseful and had me worried with Lucy’s every move to find the truth. I loved how the story wove past and present and different character points of view. I especially enjoyed Lila’s point of view.

When did you read this book? 

May of 2014

Who would you recommend this book to?

Readers who like a good thriller and books by Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins would enjoy The Weight of Blood.

All I Want

All I Want (Animal Magnetism #7) by Jill Shalvis

Publication Date: October 6, 2015

Publisher: Berkley 

Synopsis:

Pilot Zoe Stone is ready for a real relationship. No more quick hook-ups or crappy men. She’s going to find the perfect guy and settle down in her favorite Idaho town of Sunshine.

When her brother Wyatt’s best friend Parker comes to stay with her for a week, Zoe’s plans to find a nice, stable guy are thrown out the window. There’s a mutual attraction and chemistry between them that can’t be denied. But Zoe and Parker both know their relationship can’t last. Zoe’s tied to Sunshine and Parker’s tied to his job as a U.S. Fsh and Wildlife special agent.


My rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Okay, I’m going to complain about this beautiful cover. It’s beautiful and I love it but there is no beach in the book. It takes place in Idaho. That kind of drives me a little nuts.

As for the actual story, it started off really great. It had Jill Shalvis’ trademark humor from the start. Zoe and Parker’s chemistry was hot. The way they were trying not to fall for each other was cute. My favorite part of their non-relationship was their banter. It made me smile so much.

Then, the story kind of lost me for a bit. Parker’s job took over. His job didn’t interest me as much as his relationship with Zoe did. I know those parts were necessary for the build up, but they took a little something away from the book for me. I wanted a humorous romance. I got that, but I felt like I also got a little romantic suspense. I guess I just wanted more Zoe – Parker banter.

I did like the ending, though. It revolved around Parker’s side story, but it included Zoe and I think that made the difference.

Overall, I truly did enjoy All I Want. It was a good addition to a fun series. I’m looking forward to seeing which character is going to get their own story next!

If you’re looking for a great contemporary romance series, I would highly suggest the Animal Magnetism series. The books can be read in order or as a standalone.

Other books in this series:

     

WWW Wednesday: October 14, 2015

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading but is now hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

So here we go…


Currently reading:

  

I have started all three of these books. I’m supposed to be reading The Boyfriend Thief by Shana Norris for a Goodreads group read, but I haven’t gotten very far into it yet. I also started Making Faces by Amy Harmon. I really, really want to read both of those books but I think I need to be in a different mental place to do it. Weird, I know, but I’ve read a lot of sad stuff lately and I need something that is happy from the start. So, I started reading The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak. I adored her novel My Life with the Walter Boys, so I’m hoping this book will get me out of my funk.


Recently finished:

   

Last week, I read Jill Shalvis’ All I Want (Animal Magnetism #7). The Animal Magnetism series is my favorite series by Ms. Shalvis. They are fun contemporary romance reads. My review for it is posting today and can be found here.

I also finished reading The Isle of the Lost by Melissa De La Cruz with my seven-year-old daughter. We both thought it was fun to read. I interviewed her after reading it so you get not only my perspective but her as well. You can find the review here.

And I finally read Kristin Hannah’s The NightingaleIt was so good! I’ll be reviewing it later this week.


Reading Next:

One of my upcoming reads will be Outspoken by Lora Richardson. I’m really looking forward to getting to read this one!


What are you currently reading? What’s next on your list?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Author Duos You’d LOVE To See Write A Book Together

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is Top Ten Author Duos You’d LOVE To See Write A Book Together.


 

1.  Jessica Park and Ginger Scott

I’m just imaging all the incredible characters and feels this combination of authors would bring!


 

2. Marie Force and J.D. Robb

Both of these authors have successful romantic suspense series. I would love to see Sam Holland meet Eve Dallas. I think they’d be perfect solving a case together.


 

3. Kristan Higgins and Jill Shalvis


Both of these ladies’ contemporary romance books make me laugh. I can only imagine what the characters would be up to if these two writers collaborated.

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4. Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

I know, I know. They’ve already written Him together, but I can’t help it. I want to read another book with them as co-authors!


 

5. Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

Yep. I’m doing it again. I know they have written the Never Never series together, but I don’t care. I want more books from these two authors! They’re a match made in heaven.


 

6. Bella Andre and Kate Perry

These lovely ladies have written great contemporary romances filled with siblings. I would love to see the two of them pair up for a series set in San Francisco.


 

7. Beth Flynn and Gillian Flynn

They have the same last name. Isn’t that cute? But that’s not the reason I would team them up. They both create surprising twists and turns in their books. These two ladies would shock the heck out of everyone if they wrote together.


 

8. Ali Novak and Kasie West

I can only imagine how sweet a YA contemporary romance written by Ali Novak and Kasie West would be.


 

9. Veronica Roth and Suzanne Collins

Who better to write the ultimate dystopian novel than these two? I wonder what world and choices they would come up with?


 

10. Lauren Oliver and E. Lockhart

I would love to see E. Lockhart and Lauren Oliver write a book with multiple unreliable narrators together.


What authors would you pair together? Any the same? Any other combinations?

The Isle of the Lost: Review & Interview with the Kiddo

The Isle of the Lost by Melissa De La Cruz

Publication Date: May 5, 2015

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:

Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were banished from the kingdom of Auradon and made to live in virtual imprisonment on the Isle of the Lost. The island is surrounded by a magical force field that keeps the villains and their descendants safely locked up and away from the mainland. Life on the island is dark and dreary. It is a dirty, decrepit place that’s been left to rot and forgotten by the world.

But hidden in the mysterious Forbidden Fortress is a dragon’s eye: the key to true darkness and the villains’ only hope of escape. Only the cleverest, evilest, nastiest little villain can find it…who will it be?

Maleficent, Mistress of the Dark: As the self-proclaimed ruler of the isle, Maleficent has no tolerance for anything less than pure evil. She has little time for her subjects, who have still not mastered life without magic. Her only concern is getting off the Isle of the Lost.

Mal: At sixteen, Maleficent’s daughter is the most talented student at Dragon Hall, best known for her evil schemes. And when she hears about the dragon’s eye, Mal thinks this could be her chance to prove herself as the cruelest of them all.

Evie: Having been castle-schooled for years, Evil Queen’s daughter, Evie, doesn’t know the ins and outs of Dragon Hall. But she’s a quick study, especially after she falls for one too many of Mal’s little tricks.

Jay: As the son of Jafar, Jay is a boy of many talents: stealing and lying to name a few. Jay and Mal have been frenemies forever and he’s not about to miss out on the hunt for the dragon’s eye.

Carlos: Cruella de Vil’s son may not be bravest, but he’s certainly clever. Carlos’s inventions may be the missing piece in locating the dragon’s eye and ending the banishment for good.

Mal soon learns from her mother that the dragon’s eye is cursed and whoever retrieves it will be knocked into a deep sleep for a thousand years. But Mal has a plan to capture it. She’ll just need a little help from her “friends.” In their quest for the dragon’s eye, these kids begin to realize that just because you come from an evil family tree, being good ain’t so bad.

Note: This review is going to be a little different from my other reviews. Since I read The Isle of the Lost with my 7-year-old daughter, I’m going to give you a quick review and then I’m going to interview my daughter about the book.


My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


I decided to read The Isle of the Lost to my daughter after watching Disney’s Descendants movie. My daughter loved it, so I thought it would be a good way to get her interested in chapter books without pictures. I struggle getting her to read them because she wants all of her book to have pictures (in color, if possible). This was the perfect way to branch out.

The Isle of the Lost was a fun read. Since my daughter and I were already familiar with the characters, we could try to guess what was going to happen next or who was responsible for something. Each chapter wasn’t too long or too short. It was perfect for reading out loud for 10 to 15 minutes prior to bed. The story was entertaining and we were both excited to see how Mal, Evie, Carlos and Jay became friends. There were new settings to see on the island and we even got a peak at what was going on with Prince Ben in Auradon.

If you or your child loved Disney’s Descendants movieThe Isle of the Lost is sure to be a big hit.


What My Daughter Thought of The Isle of the Lost

Me: If you could give The Isle of the Lost between 1 to 5 stars, 1 being worst and 5 being best, how many would you give it?

Kiddo: 5 stars

Me: What was your favorite part of the book?

Kiddo: Them going to the castle.

Me: Who was your favorite character?

Kiddo: Mal. I like her purple hair and purple clothes.

Me: What didn’t you like about the book?

Kiddo: Nothing. I wish it had pictures.

Me: Would you tell your friends to read it?

Kiddo: Yes!


Here is the trailer for Disney’s Descendants, in case you haven’t seen it yet.

Until Friday Night

Until Friday Night (The Field Party #1) by Abbi Glines

Publication Date: August 25, 2015

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Synopsis:

Maggie Carleton doesn’t speak. She hasn’t since she told the police her father killed her mother two years ago. Maggie chooses to stay silent to protect herself from the pain.

Football player West Ashby is cocky, popular and too cute for his own good. He has girls lining up for a chance to be with him. What people don’t know is that he uses it all as a front to hide his pain. West’s father is dying slowly of cancer. He doesn’t want anyone to know, so he hides it with football, beer and girls.

When Maggie moves to live with her aunt and uncle in Lawton, she has no plans to start talking. She’s content to hide her pain within herself. What Maggie doesn’t count on is West. When he takes his pain out on her at a post-game field party, it starts the beginning of a friendship. West needs someone to talk to, someone who won’t blab his problems around. Who better to confide in than a girl that doesn’t talk? But as Maggie gets closer to West, she feels the need to share her wisdom with him — by talking.


My review: 4.5 out of 5 stars


I loved this book. Really, truly loved it. Abbi Glines created a group of characters that were so much fun, even if the story was a little sad. I loved the strength both Maggie and West had. Their friendship was so sweet. It was so much fun watching them try to avoid falling for each other.

I also loved the dynamic between West and his friends. Their dialogue made me smile! I really want a book in this series about each of them! I’m hoping that’s what Abbi Glines has planned since this is the first book in the series. I’m not quite sure with the way this book ended.

That brings to me to why I didn’t give it 5 stars. Even though the storylines were wrapping up, the ending felt abrupt to me. It ended and I was like, “That’s it?!?!” I wish there would have been a little bit more.

I would definitely recommend this to YA readers (FYI – There is a few sexual acts mentioned. Actual sex was not described. There is also drinking in the story.). Until Friday Night captivated me from the beginning. The writing was amazing. I think it just might be my favorite Abbi Glines book that I’ve read so far.

Marry Me at Christmas

Marry Me at Christmas (Fool’s Gold #19) by Susan Mallery

Publication Date: September 29, 2015

Publisher: HQN Books

Synopsis:

Bridal boutique owner Madeline Krug has the biggest crush on actor Johnny Blaze. She was excited when he moved to Fool’s Gold, but she’s tongue-tied every time she sees him in town.

Madeline is going to have to get herself together, though. Thanks to Mayor Marsha, Madeline is going to be helping Johnny plan his sister’s wedding. That means she’s going to be spending a lot of time with the actor.

Johnny moved to Fool’s Gold looking for normal. He never planned on finding love. When he meets Madeline he finds her not only beautiful, but refreshing. She doesn’t care that he’s Johnny Blaze the actor. Madeline treats him like a normal person.

As they plan his sister’s wedding, sparks begin to fly between Madeline and Johnny. But will they be able to have a normal relationship with Hollywood interfering?


My rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Marry Me at Christmas was a cute holiday romance. Just like previous Fool’s Gold romances, it was filled with fun characters and silly moments.

Madeline was sweet and a little bit insecure. Johnny was a gorgeous actor looking for a normal life. I loved them together! But I have to admit it was the moments between Johnny, Eddie and Gladys that were my favorite parts of the book. Those two old ladies bring such humor to Fool’s Gold!

My only complaint about the story was the ending. It felt too rushed for me. I don’t want to give it away but I didn’t quite buy it. But hey, it’s a Christmas-time novel. It was definitely fun and sweet. Marry Me at Christmas will put readers in a jolly holiday mood.

Other books in this series:

Chasing Perfect (Fool's Gold, #1) Almost Perfect (Fool's Gold, #2) Sister of the Bride (Fool's Gold, #2.5)  Finding Perfect (Fool's Gold, #3)  Only Mine (Fool's Gold #4)  Only Yours (Fool's Gold, #5)  Only His (Fool's Gold, #6)  Only Us (Fool's Gold, #6.1) Almost Summer: A Fool's Gold Novella (Fool's Gold, #6.2)   Summer Days (Fool's Gold, #7)  Summer Nights (Fool's Gold, #8)  All Summer Long (Fool's Gold, #9)  A Fool's Gold Christmas (Fool's Gold, #9.5)  Halfway There (Fool's Gold, #9.75)  Just One Kiss (Fool's Gold, #10)  Two of a Kind (Fool's Gold, #11)  Three Little Words (Fool's Gold, #12)  Christmas on 4th Street: Yours for Christmas  When We Met (Fool's Gold, #13)  Before We Kiss (Fool's Gold, #14)  Until We Touch (Fool's Gold, #15)  Yours for Christmas (Fool's Gold, #15.5)  Hold Me (Fool's Gold, #16)  Kiss Me (Fool's Gold, #17) 

Why Not Me?

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Publication Date: September 15, 2015

Publisher: Crown Archetype

Synopsis:

Welcome to Mindy Kaling’s mind. In this memoir, you will read about her experiences before and after fame. You will learn her thoughts on beauty, weight, dating and friends.


My rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Okay, so if I’m being completely honest Why Not Me? should probably be more of a 3 star review. I gave it 4 stars because I love Mindy Kaling. I want her to be my friend (Maybe I should have gone with 5 stars…). She’s super funny and would fit right in with the rest of my friends. We would have so much fun together!

So, while Why Not Me? was not particularly Earth shattering, it did have great entertainment value. Like her first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), It’s ramblings from Mindy’s mind. It was funny. I can honestly say there were several parts where I laughed out loud. (Criminals, Will, emails–if you’re reading it and want to know.) I liked getting to know more about Mindy and get a glimpse into what life’s been like for her.

If you’re a Mindy Kaling or Mindy Lahiri fan, you will enjoy this book. If you’re not a fan and she annoys the crap out of you, don’t read this book. You’ll just be torturing yourself.

ARC Review: The Fifteenth Minute by @SarinaBowen

The Fifteenth MinuteThe Fifteenth Minute (The Ivy Years #5) by Sarina Bowen

Publication Date: October 13, 2015

Author’s Summary:

Just because she’s famous doesn’t mean she’s happy.

Freshman Lianne Challice is known to millions of fans as Princess Vindi. But sometimes a silver screen sorceress just wants to hang up her wand, tell her manager to shove it, and become a normal college student. Too bad that’s harder than it looks.

She’s never lived a normal life. She hasn’t been to school since kindergarten. And getting close to anyone is just too risky — the last boy she kissed sold the story to a British tabloid.

But she can’t resist trying to get close to Daniel “DJ” Trevi, the hot, broody guy who spins tunes for hockey games in the arena. Something’s haunting his dark eyes, and she needs to know more.

DJ’s genius is for expressing the mood of the crowd with a ten second song snippet. With just a click and a fade, he can spread hope, pathos or elation among six thousand screaming fans.

Too bad his college career is about to experience the same quick fade-out as one of his songs. He can’t get close to Lianne, and he can’t tell her why. And the fact that she seems to like him at all? Incredible.

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My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


When you see the cover or read the summary of The Fifteenth Minute, you might think you’re getting just another typical New Adult romance filled with angst. You would be totally wrong.

That’s one of the things I love about Sarina Bowen’s The Ivy Years series. Each book is a New Adult romance but you also get a special story dealing with an issue that is relevant to today’s college age adults. It’s those stories that set books like The Fifteenth Minute apart from other NA reads.

In The Fifteenth Minute, Lianne is dealing with the pressures of growing up in Hollywood. She wants to make the transition from child to adult actress without giving up too much of herself. Lianne also wants to be a typical college student, which is near impossible when everyone knows who she is.While this isn’t something most people are going to relate with, it’s easy to relate with the part of Lianne that wants someone to be interested in her for her, not who she’s supposed to be or looks like. I think we all want to be loved for who we are on the inside.

What really stood out about The Fifteenth Minute, though; was DJ’s story. I don’t want to give anything away, so I’m just going to say I think it’s very relevant to college culture today. I also liked the message it sent about believing in yourself, fighting for what’s right and the truth.

As for the romance aspect of the story — Dang, it was cute! I couldn’t help but sigh dreamily every time DJ called Lianne “smalls.” It was so adorable! I also loved the way he wanted to protect her.

I absolutely loved The Fifteenth Minute. If you’re looking for a sweet college romance filled with real life issues, this one is for you.

**I received an electronic copy of The Fifteenth Minute from the author in exchange for an honest review. For more about the book, check out an excerpt below and links to pre-order/purchase The Fifteenth Minute.

Excerpt from The Fifteenth Minute:

Lianne Challice is chatting me up.

As I fetch the pizza I ordered from the window, I try to decide whether or not I’m going insane. Maybe all the stress in my life has finally cracked me.

But no. When I deposit the pie on a table, her big eyes cut from the jukebox over to me, before darting away again. She is so freaking cute and so feminine that it’s making me crazy. Her mouth is like a little red candy that I’m dying to taste. And who has teeth that straight? She intimidates the fuck out of me, to be honest.

I make another trip to the pizza counter for paper plates and napkins. Usually we just grab slices off the tray like animals. But tonight I’m trying to be classy. The idea makes me snicker to myself. As if. Impressing Lianne Challice isn’t something I’m capable of. But I’m having fun trying. And there hasn’t been a whole lot of fun in this year for me. So that’s something.

Years from now I’ll look back on this night and laugh. Guys, did I ever tell you about the time I chatted up a movie star? I mean, my father is still telling people about the time he sat one table over from Tina Fey at Nobu.

Lianne sneaks another glance in my direction and I beckon to her. “Have a slice?” If she wants one, now is the time. In a minute my brother and his teammates will fall on the pizza like seagulls.

“Thank you. I guess I should. I didn’t make it to the dining hall tonight.”

“Your enthusiasm for Capri’s pizza overwhelms me,” I tease. “Aren’t you a fan?”

She slides a slice onto a paper plate, considering the question. “Pizza is like a nineties hit. Pretty good, especially if that’s all there is and you’re hungry.”

My own slice stops halfway to my mouth and I laugh. “Seriously?”

“What?”

“I don’t know if we can be friends,” I say before taking a bite.

“Because I don’t love pizza?

I shake my head. “Who doesn’t love pizza? It’s, like, a basic human desire.” I cram a bite into my mouth to prove my point. Smooth, right?

She bites her bottom lip, and I realize I’d rather have that for dinner. “It’s okay. But it’s mostly just something you eat when you’re in a hurry or need to feed a crowd on the cheap.”

“Ah, I see,” I say when I can speak again. “The problem is that you haven’t had any great pizza. You’re a freshman, right? You don’t know all the glory that is Harkness pizza. Have you been to Gino’s Apizza?”

Lianne shakes her head. “I don’t think so.”

“She doesn’t think so,” I scoff. “Baby, if you’d had great pizza, you’d remember.” And now I sound like a real perv, but Lianne Challice is smiling at me, watching me with her big doe eyes, and I feel it like a drug. “They make everything from scratch. Even the sausage. We’ll go together, so I can prove my point.”

Annnd I think I just asked a movie star out on a date. Here comes the crash and burn.

First her eyes widen just a smidge. Then two pink spots appear on her face, one on either cheekbone. “Well, it would be a shame to live in this town and never know its true pizza greatness.”

I replay that sentence in my head and realize that she didn’t turn me down. “True,” I agree. “Do you think Thursday would be a night to experience pizza Nirvana?” I’m overselling the hell out of Gino’s now, but it’s working for me.

She gives me a serious frown, and I’m hoping she’s not busy on Thursday. Because I have back-to-back hockey games to DJ on Friday andSaturday. “Thursday it is. I shall prepare to be amazed.”

​You can pre-order The Fifteenth Hour NOW! !:

Amazon – iTunes – Barnes & Noble – Kobo

Other books in this series:

  

  

Before the Blog #13: Confess

Before the Blog is a weekly blog meme hosted by Karis Jacobstein over @ YA Litwit. It’s an opportunity to showcase books a blogger read and loved prior to starting their blog .  I love this idea because there are so many amazing books I haven’t reviewed on A Novel Glimpse because I read them a long time ago. The only rules to this meme are to answer the following questions about the book chosen to review:

  • Why did you choose this book? 
  • When did you read this book? 
  • Who would you recommend this book to? 

 Confess by Colleen Hoover

Publication Date: March 10, 2015

Publisher: Atria

Goodreads Synopsis: 

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…


My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Why did you choose this book? 

I haven’t reviewed a novel by Colleen Hoover because I read them all prior to beginning A Novel Glimpse. I don’t even know how to adequately express why you should pick up any Collen Not only is Colleen Hoover an amazing writer, but her stories are just…so cool. And emotional. She had my heart hooked from the prologue with Confess. I absolutely loved the (real life) confessions and Owen’s paintings aspect of the story. It was so unique and interesting. (I really wish I would have bought the paperback instead of the Kindle version so I could see them in color while I was reading.) And the ending –perfect! I feel like I could go on and on about Confess. I won’t, though, because I really think it’s one that the less you know going into it, the more fun it is to read.

When did you read this book? 

Honestly? The minute it came out.

Who would you recommend this book to?

Mature readers that enjoy a unique contemporary romance.