Five Flavors of Dumb

Five Flavors of DumbFive Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

Publication Date: November 11, 2010

Publisher: Speak

Synopsis:

North Seattle High School senior Piper is known for being smart. What she isn’t known for being is popular. So when she’s presented with the challenge to get her high schools popular band a paying gig, she accepts. There’s only one problem: Piper’s deaf. Can she manage a band without actually being able to hear them? No one but Piper seems to think so. She’ll just have to prove them wrong.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I’ve read a few books with deaf characters and Five Flavors of Dumb is definitely one of my favorites. I loved how the author portrayed Piper. She felt real to me. She was strong and witty, but definitely had her teenage issues.

Piper’s family dynamic was amazing. The problems she was having with her parents were so tough and I couldn’t help but empathize with both sides. I loved her relationship with her brother, Finn. He was one of my favorite characters in the book.

The band characters were a lot of fun. I liked how each of them had their own issues and that I got to really get to know them. I especially loved Ed.

Being from the greater Seattle-Tacoma area, the musical journey through Seattle’s famous musicians was extremely cool. I loved how The Showbox and a daily talk show (think New Day) were incorporated into the story.

Five Flavors of Dumb is a book I would highly recommend to readers looking for a great YA rock star novel with a lot of heart. There’s no sex, drugs or violence. There is school skipping, forgery and going against parents’ wishes.

Saving Toby

perf6.000x9.000.inddSaving Toby by Suzanne McKenna Link

Publication Date: August 26, 2013

Synopsis:

Everyone in town knows the Faye boys are bad news, but Claudia can only remember Toby Faye as a nice kid. So when Claudia receives a job offer that will have her working with Toby and his mother, Julia, she accepts it.

Claudia never thought working near Toby would be such a measure in self-control. Toby’s made it obvious he wants her. Claudia can’t deny that she wants him, too. Just as they’re beginning to fall for each other, Toby is linked to a brutal hate crime. Claudia knows Toby couldn’t be involved, but her policeman father isn’t so sure.

As the police investigate, Claudia is be forced to choose sides and try to hold together a relationship that may have been doomed from the start.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I absolutely loved Saving Toby. It was fun, romantic, intense and fast-paced. The chemistry between Toby and Claudia was amazing.

I couldn’t help but fall in love with Toby’s cocky personality. The way he antagonized Claudia made me smile. It was just what her uptight personality needed. 

Despite her age, Claudia was very mature. I was surprised at how mature she was through the second half of the story. I don’t think many young adult women could handle things the way she did.

The hate crime part of the book was so intense! I could see what was going to happen and I was so worried for Toby! (I admit I may have had to take a little break from reading because it was stressing me out — but in a good way!)

Overall, Saving Toby was an amazing New Adult read. The writing was excellent and I was completely drawn into the story. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, Keeping Claudia. I would highly recommend Saving Toby to fans of authors Colleen Hoover, Tammara Webber, and Jessica Park.

Thank you to Suzanne McKenna Link for the opportunity to read and honestly review Saving Toby.

ARC Review: Unshakable

Unshakable (Wayward Fighters, #4)Unshakableby J.C. Valentine 

Publication Date: July 28, 2015

Publisher:  Malachite Publishing LLC

*Unshakable is included in the Red Hot Candy Boxed Set and it’s out today!

Synopsis:

Don Freyer lost both his wife and his fighting career to cancer. He was a bitter old man until Jami came into his life. Jami’s the son Don never had. Don knows Jami’s life was rough growing up and he wants to ensure Jami and his wife can provide stability for the baby they are about to have. Don’s about to make that happen for them when life throws another hurdle his way.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Unshakable is the epilogue to the Wayward Fighters series. It’s a short story told in Don and Jami’s POV’s. In order to understand the characters, it’s best to have read the previous novels.

I love that J.C. Valentine gave us one last glimpse into the lives of the Wayward Fighters family. It was short and sweet and really wrapped up the entire series in a great way. Fans of the series will love it.

Thank you to J.C. Valentine for the opportunity to read and review an ARC of Unshakable. 

Other books in this series:

Knockout (Wayward Fighters, #1)  Tapout (Wayward Fighters, #2)  unDefeated (Wayward Fighters, #3)

Coming In From The Cold

Coming In From the Cold (Gravity Book 1)Coming In From The Cold (Gravity #1) by Sarina Bowen

Publication Date: March 13, 2015

Publisher: Rennie Roads Book

Synopsis:

Dane “Danger” Hollister is an Olympic ski racer trying to outrun an illness that cursed both his mother and brother. He lives each day as it was his last. It’s what makes him such a good racer. It’s also what makes him avoid relationships that last longer than a night.

Willow Reade has the worst luck ever. Thanks to her ex, she’s stuck in the Vermont countryside taking care of an old house and a bunch of chickens.

When a blizzard blows in and drives them both off the road, Dane and Willow spend and unforgettable night together. Both are rocked by the passion and the consequences their time together will have.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Coming In From The Cold was a really cute sports related love story. I liked that it was centered around a winter sport (skiing). Dane was the typical jock that doesn’t do relationships — except his reason isn’t the one you normally find in romance novels. Willow’s sweet and strong. Their chemistry was hot. It was a really fun read for my latest camping trip.

Contemporary romance readers that like a romance with hot athletes will enjoy Coming In From The Cold.

Kiss Me

Kiss Me (Fool's Gold, #17) Kiss Me (Fool’s Gold #17) by Susan Mallery

Publication Date: June 30, 2015

Publisher: HQN Books

Synopsis:

Phoebe Kitzke is a fixer. She fixes things for people. Clients, friends, boyfriends. They’ve all benefited from Phoebe’s kindness.

Phoebe’s latest gift of kindness is costing her big. Not only is she suspended from her real estate job, but she’s in jeopardy of losing it all together. So, Phoebe’s come to the decision that she’s not going to be a doormat anymore. No more favors. Well, except for one last one. She’s going to join her best friend, Maya, at her family ranch in Fool’s Gold. She’s been promised there will be plenty of hunky scenery.

Zane Nicholson is not happy that he’s stuck leading a cattle drive for some tourists, but he’s determined to teach his half-brother a lesson. The last thing stubborn Zane expects to happen on the cattle drive is to fall for sweet Phoebe. He knows he should fight his longings for her, but it’s pretty hard when just seeing her makes his day brighter.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Fool’s Gold novels are always fun to read. You can read them in order or as standalone novels. There are some overlapping characters in each book, but not enough to bother you if you haven’t read one of the previous novels. I actually started the series in the middle and then caught up with the beginning books later. There are so many and they have been written for years, so it’s easy to get them from the library. My library even had the majority of them in a digital format.

So, having read all of the previous seventeen Fool’s Gold novels and all its novellas, I was a little nervous about reading Kiss Me. It pains me to admit it, but Hold Me (Fool’s Gold #16) wasn’t one of my favorite Fool’s Gold novels. It just didn’t have enough of a love story for me. The background stories of the characters were amazing; I just wanted more of the love birds together. I was worried maybe the series was going to start to fizzle for me.

I was happy to find that was not the case. Kiss Me was a fun cowboy romance. I say cowboy because the majority of it is set on the cattle drive in Fool’s Gold. Phoebe was a hoot. I loved her relationship with the animals. She was a little too sweet for me at times, but grumpy Zane definitely rounded her out. The sexual tension between them was hot.

I also enjoyed all of the supporting characters’ stories. They were unique and added a lot to the entire cattle drive experience. I do wish there would have been more of the town of Fool’s Gold in it. It always makes for cool and interesting storylines.

I’m very happy Kiss Me brought back my love for the Fool’s Gold series. It’s a series I’d highly recommend to contemporary romance readers that like a series with an interesting setting and characters.

Other books and novellas in this series (in order):

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)

Some Favorite YA Books I’ve Read So Far in 2015

I was thinking back on some of the books I’ve read this year. Having only recently started A Novel Glimpse, there are some really good books I didn’t get to review. I thought for fun, I would give a list of some my favorite YA books I’ve read so far this year. They are in no particular order. Some have been around for a while, while others are new. Maybe my list will inspire you to read one of them.

Saint Anything   Vendetta (Blood for Blood, #1)  This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales  Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles  V is for Virgin by Kelly Oram  Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver  The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick  Never Never by Colleen Hoover  Home is Where You Are   The Distance Between Us

What a Girl Wants

What a Girl Wants (Fillmore & Greenwich, #1)What a Girl Wants (Fillmore & Greenwich) by Kate Perry

Publication Date : June 15, 2015

Publisher: Phoenix Rising Enterprises, Inc. 

Synopsis:

Ariana Warren has always felt like she didn’t quite fit in her family. Her father, mother and sister all found their talents early and quickly. Ariana has spent years searching for hers, but she’s finally found it in her natural skin care line. She loves her small business. If only that was good enough for her businessman father. But it’s not and now he’s sicking his business associate on her.

Sebastian Tate has returned to the U.S. from his extended visit to London to fulfil a debt to an old business partner. Edward Warren wants Sebastian to help his daughter, Ariana, expand her skin care line. Once he sees the skin care line, Sebastian knows he can accomplish this goal — if only Ariana was willing to accept his help…and his love.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Kate Perry never fails at delivering books that make me smile. Her stories always make me happy. They’re filled with fun, interesting and sometimes odd characters. I love how they’re always finding their happily ever after, while also finding themselves at the same time. I also really enjoy how Perry always works in a secondary love story into her novels.

As for What a Girl Wants, it was fun getting to know Sebastian from the Summerhill Series a little better. He always seemed like he might be hiding something in that series and it was finally nice to find out what that was. I liked how his business minded personality melded with Ariana’s free spirit approach to life. I would have liked to read even more of his life in the novel. The storyline mainly revolved around Ariana.

Ariana was definitely my favorite character in What a Girl Wants. I liked the storyline involving her family as much as I liked seeing her falling in love with Sebastian. It was really cool to see how her family viewed her compared to how Ariana viewed herself. I think there are a ton of people who can identify with the feelings Ariana had.

I also thought Esme the psychic was a cool addition to the story. I’m looking forward to seeing what she has in store for the characters in future Fillmore & Greenwich books. I can’t wait to read about George, the mechanic.

Honestly, you can’t go wrong with a Kate Perry contemporary romance novel. They’re filled with great relationships, laughs and some fun, steamy scenes. Not to mention, they always end with a happily ever after. I like that even though they’re part of a series with related characters, you can easily read each novel as a standalone.

I would like to say thank you to Kate Perry for the opportunity to read and honestly review an ARC of What a Girl Wants.

Amber to Ashes

Amber to Ashes (Torn Hearts, #1)Amber to Ashes (Torn Hearts #1) by Gail McHugh

Publication Date: June 9, 2015

Publisher: Atria Books

Synopsis: 

Amber Moretti made it through a tough childhood, one horrible moment defining her entire existence. Now, thanks to her amazing foster parents, Amber’s starting college and getting a chance to start her life over. No one there will know about her past. Nor will they know how she used to escape from the memories that still haunt her.

But just as one moment defined her childhood, another moment will define her life now. When Amber walked into the college dining hall, she never expected to meet and connect deeply with one man, let alone two. She’s always kept herself emotionally unavailable to men, but she can’t help but need both of them now.

Brock Cunningham and Ryder Ashcroft may be completely different in looks and attitude, but they both want Amber in the same intense way. Brock is the hunky football player that every girl wants. Amber can’t help but be attracted to his slick words and the way he wants to be everything she needs. Ryder is Brock’s opposite. He’s tough, tattooed and pierced. His every word disgusts Amber….until he kisses her. Then, she feels powerless to his touch.

Quickly, Amber finds herself falling for these two men. She knows she can’t possibly be in love with each of them, but she finds it harder and harder to fight her feelings for them. Amber knows she’ll be forced to choose to between Brock and Ryder, but she has no idea what would lead up to her decision.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Um….Wow. I’m not quite sure what my reaction should be after reading Amber to Ashes. This book was so gritty, dirty and all sorts of messed up…but I think I liked it. It’s hard to say because, while I was really disturbed by most of the story, I couldn’t put the book down. It was crazy. Every time I thought the story couldn’t get any more disturbing, it did.

I wanted to know how everything was going to play out for Amber and her need for both Brock and Ryder. Each character was so messed up with their own issues that all together they were just one gigantic disaster waiting to happen. I couldn’t see how this could end positively for any of them.

I really liked how most of the book was in Amber’s POV, but that I also got a sprinkling of Brock and Ryder’s as well. That really helped shape their relationships with each other — especially Brock and Ryder’s relationship. Which was a good thing, considering how Amber felt about both of them.

My least favorite parts of the book were the violent ones because I’m just not into violence. BUT I will admit the violent parts were a good addition to the storyline. They made this more than just a love triangle story.

The ending, though. The ending killed me! What a cliffhanger! I’ll definitely be reading the next book because I have to know what happens.

If you’re interested in reading this book, I’d just warn you ahead of time to be prepared for a lot of sexually explicit encounters (one F/M/M), violence, and drug use. The story will suck you in and then twist and turn in ways you aren’t expecting. It’s an entertaining read, but in it gets messier and messier the deeper into the book you go. It’s definitely not for someone expecting a HEA filled with sunshine, rainbows or unicorns.

Thank you to Atria Books for the opportunity to read and honestly review Amber to Ashes.

unDefeated

unDefeated (Wayward Fighters, #3)unDefeated (Wayward Fighters, #3) by J.C. Valentine

Publication Date: May 26, 2015

Publisher: J.C. Valentine

Synopsis:

Undefeated is the third book in the Wayward Fighters Series. The story continues from the end of Tapout and is in Spencer and Olivia’s POV’s.

Spencer’s trip to rehab has finally brought him to terms with the gambling addiction that ruined every good relationship he had. His goal now is to stay away from those he loves and prevent them from facing any future harm his addiction could bring. But when he has no where else to go after rehab ends, he find himself on Olivia’s doorstep.

Olivia tried to give Spencer the support he needed to face his addictions. He made it pretty obvious he didn’t want anything from her. So when Spencer shows up on Olivia’s doorstep, she hopes it will bring them closer together. But Olivia has demons of her own and her insecurities with their relationship may cause her to self-destruct. Will their relationship give them the strength they need to survive their addictions or cause them both to spiral out of control?

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

In the previous books in the Wayward Fighters Series, it was hard to find anything redeeming in Spencer. He caused so much pain for Jami, Ally and Olivia. I wondered if I was going to like reading unDefeated with him as one of the narrators. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, while I didn’t absolutely love him, I didn’t hate him so much anymore. I may have actually started to like him by the end! Reading from Spencer’s POV about his background and his struggles with his addiction made him more human and less of a monster. The way he tried to take care of Olivia in her lowest points, really helped redeem him. I could finally see what she saw in him. I loved how their relationship started bringing out the best in each of them. I also loved the way he dealt with the fall out of his actions and their impact on his relationship with his best friend, Jami.

Overall, unDefeated was a great story about love, friendship and the ongoing struggle with addiction. I think fans of the series will be extremely happy with Spencer and Olivia’s story of redemption.

Other books in the Wayward Fighters series by J.C. Valentine:

Knockout (Wayward Fighters, #1)  Tapout (Wayward Fighters, #2)

On the Fence

On the Fence

On the Fence by Kasie West

Publication Date: July 1, 2014

Publisher: Harper Teen

Synopsis:

It’s no surprise that sixteen year-old Charlotte “Charlie” Reynolds is a tomboy. She’s been competing against her three older brothers and neighbor, Braden, in every physical competition they can come up with her entire life. Her single father hasn’t been much help in all things girly either. Charlie knows nothing about clothes or makeup. She’s completely fine with that until one too many speeding tickets forces her to get a job at a boutique.

Working at the boutique opens up a whole new feminine world to Charlie. Not only is she learning about fashion, she’s making female friends. Charlie even meets a boy that’s interested in her and not just competing against her.

But Charlie isn’t completely comfortable with the changes she’s making and finds herself hiding her new found femininity from those closest to her. When hiding becomes too much for her, Charlie finds herself confiding in Braden. Their late-night talks have Charlie wondering if she wants more than friendship with Braden.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I absolutely loved On the Fence. It had me laughing from the very beginning. Charlie and her brothers were hilarious. It was so much fun to read their competitions with each other. It was also easy for me to identify with Charlie. I may not have been quite the tomboy she was, but I’ve never been big on wearing makeup. I can remember wearing it for the first time and looking into the mirror. I’m pretty sure I felt just as awkward as Charlie!

Kasie West has quickly become one of my favorite YA contemporary romance authors. I honestly couldn’t put this book down. It was cute and funny. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a nice, fun read to brighten their day. You won’t stop smiling the entire time you read it. It’s also very appropriate for any age reader. There’s no sex or even talk about it in this one.