Thursday, July 25, 2013

Decked With Holly

Decked With Holly
Marni Bates
244 pages
Released: September 25, 2012
Publisher: KTeen
Source: purchased

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

There comes a time in the middle of every hot summer that I start yearning for the holiday season and all it's cheerfulness.  It hit me a couple weeks ago, so I picked up Decked With Holly, which I purchased on my birthday last year but had yet to read.  So here you go: a review of a Christmas book just in time to celebrate Christmas in July.

Holly has lived with her grandfather ever since her parents died when she was just a young girl.   This year, Grandpa is taking everyone on a cruise to celebrate his birthday, though the thought of being out in the ocean with her evil cousins isn't exactly appealing to Holly.  On top of that, she is experiencing some serious motion sickness on the ship.  Bursting into an open suite, just to throw up in toilet, she's met with pepper spray to face and that's how she meets Nick... the drummer from her favorite band, ReadySet.  Suddenly caught in the midst of a tabloid scandal, Holly must act like Nick's girlfriend in order to save face.

I was immediately drawn in by the fun plot in Decked With Holly.  Imagine accidentally finding yourself face to face with the drummer from your favorite band, and then having to be his pretend girlfriend for two weeks.  Sounds like a dream come true, right?  Well, not necessarily for Holly and Nick, who don't exactly hit it off right away.  But the chemistry between them was strong and listening to them banter back and forth was infinitely amusing.

The pair spends the next two weeks both on and off the cruise ship, playing the happy couple for the press.  They eat breakfast, frolic on the beach, and Holly even gets a makeover and the star treatment for her own birthday.  Hilarity and hijinks ensue.  But what happens with the cruise is over and both are left to return to their own separate lives?

There's nothing deep or prolific about Decked With Holly, but it has been one of my favorite reads of 2013 so far.  It's light, fun, and a great escape.  Five stars!  Decked With Holly is a ridiculously fun, spirited read.  Pick it up for a good time and even if you're a grinch who complains about all things holiday outside of December, pick it up and save it for Christmas Eve.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Reading Road Trip 2013!

 Last year I participated in the first ever Reading Road Trip, and I'm happy to be participating again this year!  This year my state is Georgia, which is exciting because that's the state I currently live in!  There are several literary things that I love about Georgia, but it's where Gone With the Wind was written, one of my favorite books and the longest book I've ever read.  There are several Gone With the Wind museums around the Atlanta area and they're great fun.  I've even been to Margaret Mitchell's apartment!

Now for the fun part.  Enter with the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins, one of my all-time favorite YA series.  Like, ever.  If you've read the first book, you can opt to receive the second or third book in the trilogy.  Or if you prefer a copy of Gone With the Wind, I would be happy to oblige.  Enter below, US only, 13+, runs through 7/23/13.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 8, 2013


Jackson Pearce
218 pages
Released: April 24, 2012
Publisher: Little Brown
Source: swapped for

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

I called in sick to work for today and while I was sitting on my couch, decided I needed a short, quick read to distract me, instead of continuing on with what I've been reading.  Sometimes there's nothing better than a super short book for a quick escape, and at only 218 pages Purity provided me that escape for a couple hours.

I've really enjoyed Jackson Pearce's fairy-tale retellings in the past, so I was looking forward to reading a contemporary by her.  When Shelby's mother died years ago, Shelby promised her three things: to listen to her father, to love as much as she could, and to live without restraint.  Shelby thinks she knows what that means, but when her father starts planning the Princess Ball, where daughters pledge in front of their fathers to remain pure, Shelby is suddenly faced with a dilemma - she doesn't want to pledge to remain a virgin until marriage since that seems to go against her third promise to her mother, to live without restraint.  The only solution, it seems, is Shelby has to lose her virginity before the ball.

It might seem a little silly: so what if Shelby makes that purity pledge, it doesn't seem like any of the other girls participating are taking it that seriously, so if she wants to back out later, what's the big deal? The big deal is that would go against her first promise to her mother, to listen to her father.  The only solution she and her best friends Jonah and Ruby can come up with is to ditch her virginity before the ceremony.  I can see how this book might cause a lot of controversy.  It's obvious that teenagers have sex in high school quite frequently these days, but there's still a small part of me that hopes they aren't throwing their virginity away as carelessly as Shelby tries to.  It gets down to the point where she'll take just about anyone.  Um, gross.

But I can't hold that against Shelby or Jackson Pearce.  Shelby really is a good girl and she was only trying to obey her dying mother's wishes.  Despite her willingness to sleep with someone, anyone, so hastily, Shelby is probably one of the most innocent and good girls you can find in YA lit.  Proving that you can have sex before marriage and still be a good girl.

But Purity is about more than just Shelby's sex life.  The bigger picture is about a teenage girl's relationship with her father.  Shelby didn't have much of a relationship with her father before they started planning the Princess Ball together.  Their relationship was filled with awkwardness, something I know a lot of teenage girls feel about their relationships with their fathers.  It was wonderful to see their relationship grow throughout the novel.  Finally, a YA book where the parents aren't mysteriously missing.

If you're looking for a fast, cute, contemporary read, Purity is for you.  It's got lighter moments that made me laugh out loud, but it's also got a great message that's sure to spark at least some internal debate.  Give it a read!

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Beautiful Fate

A Beautiful Fate
Cat Mann
312 ebook pages
Released: June 11, 2013
Publisher: the author
Source: the author

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

It's been such a long time since I've read/reviewed a self--published novel that when Cat contacted me about her novel, I jumped on board because it seemed interesting and I hoped it would be a refreshing break from all the contemporaries I've been reading recently.  The cover was interesting to me, based the description I'd read, I couldn't figure out why there were scissors on the cover, though that soon became evident as I read.

Ava Baio, heiress to the Baio fashion empire, has had her world turned upside down after her mother's untimely death.  She lives for a short time with her grandmother, who then sends her to a boarding school in California.  It's there that she meets several new people, including Ari, whom she falls for quickly.  Their relationship is intense, and after meeting his family Ava learns something about who she really is and what her purpose is in life.  But now there are six men after her who want her dead.  Can she fight them off before it's too late?

A Beautiful Fate was an absorbing novel to read.  I had a hard time putting it down and even took it to work with me in the hopes that I could get some reading done there during lunch.  Anyone who knows me knows I love a good story with a boarding school.  There's just something about those boarding schools... so I was drawn in right away and even though I don't normally go for mythology based books, I really enjoyed this one.  It was interesting and held my attention all the way through.

I only had one problem with this book, and that's Ava and Ari's relationship.  If you thought the romance in Twilight moved fast, well, Bella and Edward have nothing on Ava and Ari.  Their relationship is intense and moved way too quickly for my likes.  I don't want to give away too much, but I was a little shocked by their actions towards the end of the book.  And since their relationship was such a huge part of the book, that's why A Beautiful Fate gets a three star rating from me.

A word about the ending, and I mean the literal last page, paragraph, sentence, words of the book... oh my gosh.  I cannot believe that's how the book ended.  Cat Mann, what are you doing to me?  She makes it near impossible to not crave the next book in the series.  Fans of the supernatural, but who are sick of all the current YA trends, and fans of mythology will both enjoy this book.  Give it a look!

June Recap!

I so wish I had more time to read in general.  In June I managed to squeeze in nine books and I actually got a good chunk done while I was out of town.  Links below go to my review, or if I haven't reviewed yet, go to their Goodreads pages.  It was a good month for reading, I would say!

The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
45 Pounds by K.A. Barson
Parallel by Lauren Miller
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau (Probably won't review, but it's a five star book. Read it!)
A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger
Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes
Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky
Anatomy of a Single Girl by Daria Snadowsky

Monday, July 1, 2013

In My Mailbox (72)

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

This post covers a couple weeks of book acquirements and doesn't include all of them... because my organization system has failed me.  What I really need is a separate library room with at least five full sized bookcases so I can organize myself better.  But I live in a one bedroom apartment.  Ack!!

Vigilante Nights by Erin Richards
The Fury by Alexander Gordon Smith (whew, this book is a chunker at 681 pages)

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Ink by Amanda Sun

Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson
Echo by Alyson Noel
Dreamland by Alyson Noel

BZRK by Michael Grant (My mother-in-law bought this for me when we were in Miami! Yay!)
The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller (trying to get back into book club; this is our July pick)
Joyland by Stephen King
Gone by Michael Grant

Broken Wings by Shannon Dittemore
Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross
Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Now if you'll excuse me, clearly I have some reading to catch up on...