Goodreads || Amazon

Let me preface this review with two things:

#1: I have not read any Lovecraft.
#2: I have not read We Are All Completely Fine.

Does this make a difference in my opinion of the book? Probably. But I don’t think it’s too much of an issue, because no background information is necessary to understand what’s going on.

Harrison Harrison, or H², has just moved to Dunnsmouth, MA with his marine researcher mother. It doesn’t take him long to realize that something’s a bit off with the locals. Not only is the high school probably the weirdest place he’s ever been, but the students all look the same, speak some kind of silent language, and attend the same creepy church services. To top it all off, there’s no connection to the outside world, what with there being no cell phone signal or internet service in the area.

Shortly after arriving in Dunnsmouth, Harrison’s mother disappears in a freak accident similar to the one that took Harrison’s father (and Harrison’s leg) when he was just a small child. A whole host of interesting characters come into play as Harrison searches for his mother, determined to prove the local police wrong and uncover the conspiracy that’s clearly lurking within Dunnsmouth.

As a story, Harrison Squared is just fine. I can’t say it wowed me, but I can’t say that I disliked it, either. I found it hard to connect with most of the characters and couldn’t help but feel that something was missing throughout. Had it been a little creepier, or a if there was something more nefarious going on, I might have enjoyed it more. I actually felt that the ending was a bit of a letdown.

But that’s not to say that this is a bad book. It’s actually very well-written when it comes to language and how the plot flows. Unfortunately, this just wasn’t the right book for me at the time that I read it.

And like I said before, maybe if I were a big Lovecraft fan, or if I’d read We Are All Completely Fine, I would have enjoyed it more.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy.

For my 2015 reading challenge, I’m crossing off #10 a mystery or thriller.

Final rating: ★★★☆☆

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Book review: Addicted To You by Krista & Becca Ritchie

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Addicted to You is the story of childhood friends Lily and Loren, both of whom are struggling with their own addictions. Loren is an alcoholic and Lily is addicted to sex. The two of them have spent their entire lives covering for each other – Lily hiding bottles and Loren getting rid of random men – and never mentioning that the other might need help. Part of their cover is a fake relationship, but lines become blurred and things get complicated as Lily and Lo make their first new friends in years. Can they keep up the act?

I really don’t know how to feel about this series. It’s almost compulsively readable – you just have to know what happens to these characters next. Will they get themselves out of the latest problem? But on the other hand, it’s so incredibly frustrating. They are causing all of their own problems. They don’t think straight. They don’t realize that they’re causing all of their own problems. It’s because of their addictions, and while I was reading, I knew that. But that doesn’t make it any less frustrating. I can’t tell you how many times I just wanted to tell them to snap out of it.

I did love the side characters, and I’m looking forward to reading the spinoffs. Rose, in particular, I think was one of my favorites. I loved that, at the beginning, she was painted as the kind of stuck-up, snotty older sister who thought she was better than everybody else, and it turns out that she’s the one that Lily can turn to the most. I also liked Connor, because anybody who can keep up with someone like Rose has to be a winner. I also appreciated the budding friendship between him, Ryke, Lily, and Lo.

I’m giving Addicted to You three stars because I can’t really come up with a reason to give it more or less. I’m definitely going to keep reading this series, because I have to know that everything turns out ok for Lily and Lo. (It does, right? No. Don’t tell me. I want to be surprised.)

Final rating: ★★★☆☆

ARC review: The Virgin Romance Novelist by Meghan Quinn

The Virgin Romance Novelist by Meghan Quinn
Rating: ★★★★★
Links: AmazonGoodreads
Publication Date: March 10, 2015
Source: ARC via Netgalley

 

Her bosom heaved at an alarming rate as his rough hand found its way down to her soft, yet wiry briar patch…

Can you say briar patch in a romance novel? What about meat sword? That’s what it is…a meat sword, right, all meaty and sword like, slaying through the inner dungeons of a woman’s dark desires. What about breasts? Do bosoms really heave?

God, I have no idea what happens when private parts touch.

I’m a virgin trying to write a romance novel and can’t seem to write past a sex scene thanks to my lack of experience.

My two best friends encourage me to drop the pen for a while and gain some real life practice through multiple dating facets such as blind dates, online profiles, and random hookups.

But losing my virginity is proving to be tougher than expected…

Rosie Bloom loves to escape in a good romance novel. She’d love even more to write them. But she’s unable to even utter the word “sex” (she prefers “friskiness”), and she’s recently found out from her roommates that “briar patch,” “pleasure garden,” and “lady folds” are not good euphemisms. Consequently, Rosie’s finding that her virgin status might be impeding her future career. With help from her two best friends, Henry and Delaney, Rosie sets off on a whirlwind dating tour, trying whatever she can to gain some experience. She goes on date after date with co-workers, dating site matches, friends of friends, and even random strangers – each one ending worse than the last. Her hilarious, cringe-worthy dates are bad enough that any sane person would give up… but not Rosie.

The Virgin Romance Novelist has to be the most hilarious book I’ve read this year. From the first page, the easy writing style and witty dialogue won me over. I laughed so hard that I woke my boyfriend up. I may have even woken the neighbors up. I wouldn’t be surprised – that’s how funny this book is. But it’s not just funny. It’s also heartwarming. And a little angsty. Very embarrassing. And romantic. Not to mention sexy. It’s a little bit of everything, really. But mostly funny.

Throughout the book, I knew exactly how it was going to end, but getting there was a great ride. I was rooting for her love interest all along, and I’m so happy that she ended up with him. I know this is a standalone, but I would not hesitate to read another book about Rosie.

Even though it’s only March, I have no doubt that The Virgin Romance Novelist will be one of my favorites this year.


For my 2015 reading challenge, I’m crossing off #8: a funny book.

Book review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
Series: Rebel Belle #1
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • Goodreads
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Source: Purchased

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.

Harper Price just wanted to be Homecoming Queen.  And really, everything would have been fine if she’d just remembered her lip gloss.  But no, there she was, stuck in the bathroom putting on the sub-par color she’d borrowed from her best friend when her entire life changed.  The janitor came running in, mumbling something about pals and profusely bleeding underneath his disguise.  (And why, exactly, was the janitor wearing a disguise?!)  He gave her a weird, chilling kiss, and suddenly she was super strong with crazy fighting abilities!  As if that wasn’t weird enough, her history teacher burst into the bathroom – with a SCIMITAR – and called her a bimbo before trying to kill her, too.  To top it all off, as she’s trying to recover from all the craziness, David Stark (her mortal enemy) witnesses her looking less than her best and plasters it all over the school newspaper the next day.

The next thing Harper knows, she’s a Paladin assigned to protect, of all people, DAVID STARK, the one guy on the planet that she can’t stand.  Why?  Because David is an Oracle, and there’s a mysterious organization trying to kill him because historically, boys make really bad Oracles.  Her formerly perfect life is falling apart, and she can’t even tell anyone why!  (And if she did, would they even believe her?)  Harper’s the queen of multitasking, but balancing her homework, extracurriculars, friends, boyfriend, and her new duties as Paladin might be a little much, even for her.

Rebel Belle is probably the most fun book I’ve read in recent memory.  I picked it up on Friday night intending to just read a few pages before going to bed.  Next thing I knew, I was about 200 pages in.  After a quick sleep, I picked it back up and finished the rest before lunch.

Why is Rebel Belle so great?  Lucky for you, I’ve compiled a list.

  1. Harper is very girly, and she’s never belittled for it.  She loves high heels, pretty dresses, makeup, and cute boys.  She can’t wait for Cotillion.  She’s head cheerleader.  She’s Homecoming Queen.  She goes out for tea and bakes fancy cakes.  And she can perform her duties as Paladin just as well as any of the men who came before her.  The only people who give Harper a hard time about being girly are the bad guys.  Everybody else in her life accepts her as she is.
  2. Harper, a female, is assigned to protect David, a male.  How frequently does that happen?  (Not often.)  And again, it’s not a big deal.  There’s never a scene where David claims that he can protect himself, that he doesn’t need Harper’s help.  In fact, David is just thrilled that there’s somebody there who can help him and that he can talk to about all this crazy stuff in his life.  And although David and Harper never got along before, he makes it clear that he trusts her to do her job – and do it well.
  3. Everything that I usually critique in books was great!  The character development, the pacing, the continuity, the dialogue – everything.  Even the more fantastical elements (mages, magical potions, visions of the future) were introduced in such a way that they felt natural.  The writing was very accessible, almost to the point where I forgot I was reading and felt more like I was watching everything play out in front of me.
  4. I appreciated how the author handled the love triangle.  (Have I ever said that before? I don’t think so…)  There was just so little drama, with no fighting, no tears, no screaming or arguing or angst.  The end result just felt right, and all three parties agreed.
  5. The whole thing just kind of reminded me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which is one of my favorite tv shows of all time.

I can see how some people wouldn’t enjoy Rebel Belle.  Harper seems to be a love her or hate her kind of character.  Personally, I loved her, and I’m eagerly awaiting the release of Miss Mayhem.


For my 2015 reading challenge, I’m crossing off #39: a book with magic.

Goodreads || Amazon

Just a Little Flirt is the second book in Renita Pizzitola’s Crush series.  See my review of Just a Little Crush on my blog, or on Goodreads.

Fallon has a bit of a reputation.  You know, that girl who never says no to another drink.  That girl who’s not afraid to go home with a different guy every night.  That girl who prefers a good party over actually going to class.  That reputation is starting to catch up with her as Fallon realizes that her grades are slipping, and if she doesn’t do something big, and soon, she might just flunk out of college.  Her new internship in the pediatric ward of the hospital might be just the thing to get her back on track.  After all, she can’t quite show up hungover to a morning shift with sick kids.  So with the help of a bet that forbids her from hooking up with anyone at work, Fallon starts making an effort to get her life back on track.  The summer internship is only six weeks anyway, and what’s six weeks of celibacy?  …Or so Fallon thinks, until she runs into the hottest guy ever in the stairwell at the hospital.  

Cade is everything Fallon would never go for.  He’s the golden boy, and unlike her, his whole life is on track.  He does well in school, holds a steady job, and volunteers as a therapy dog handler in his spare time.  That’s right, he lets sick kids play with his dog to make them a little happier.  To make matters worse (at least for Fallon and her goal of celibacy), Cade is the most perfect human on the planet.  He’s the most patient, understanding, non-judgmental person she’s ever met.  He’d never go for someone like her, and even if he did, he’s totally off-limits.

Just a Little Flirt is the second book I’ve read by Renita Pizzitola, and I have to say that she’s a very talented author.  She takes your average, typical romance storyline and puts a twist on it with great characters who have great chemistry.  She’s equally good at writing steamy and sweet scenes, and her dialogue is always spot on.  I actually love every character in this series… how rare is that?

One of the things that I’ve loved about both books so far in this series is that the girls keep up with the rest of their lives throughout their new relationships.  In so many books, the characters spend all their time with their significant other, completely ignoring their friends and families, and making the reader question whether they ever leave the house to go to work.  In Just a Little Flirt, just like in Just a Little Crush, the main characters keep up their other friendships.  Fallon still hangs out with Brinley and Mason, Cade regularly spends time with his roommate, and the two of them together hang out with the other people from work.  And, if anything, Fallon throws herself more into her work to prove that she can do her job well regardless of her relationship with a co-worker.

I really enjoyed Just a Little Flirt, and I’m looking forward to reading the third book in the series.  I just hope it features Mason!

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for inviting me to review this book!

Final rating: ★★★★☆

Just a Little Flirt will be released on March 31, 2015.

ARC review: Twisted Souls by L.L. Collins

Twisted Souls by L.L. Collins
Series: Twisted #1
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: AmazonGoodreads
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Source: ARC via Netgalley

What if your soul is so intertwined with someone else’s that it’s impossible to imagine yourself without them?

Blake McIntyre and Liane Kelly’s families have spent their vacations together on Sanibel Island their entire lives, and the two have always been the best of friends. But as they get ready to go to college, they admit that friendship isn’t enough for them anymore and spend a whirlwind two weeks daring to dream of their future together.

But building sandcastles and lazy beach walks filled with moonlight kisses isn’t the same as real life, and soon they are faced with a new reality. Can their hope of forever survive past their summer, or does fate have its own twisted plan?

Blake and Lianne have been best friends their entire lives. Ever since they can remember, their families have vacationed together at Sanibel Island. And even though they only see each other for a couple weeks each year, they’ve formed an unbreakable friendship. Or so Blake thought, until he confessed his feelings to Lianne and she shut him out. For years.

But now, as the two just finished high school and are preparing to start the next chapter of their lives, Lianne decides to give Blake another chance. He might like her like that, but that doesn’t mean they need to ruin their friendship. She’d rather have him as a friend with an awkward crush than not at all.

Just before heading down to Florida, Lianne’s long-term boyfriend dumps her in the worst way possible. To make matters worse, in the years she’s gone without seeing Blake, he’s grown up. Her best friend is now seriously good-looking, and she’s seriously heartbroken. Finally willing to give it a try, Lianne and Blake enjoy two blissful weeks on the beach. But as Lianne comes to realize that she may very well have been harboring secret feelings for Blake all these years, a horrible turn of events threatens to ruin their new status as a couple.

So, what can I say about Twisted Souls? I liked Lianne, I liked Blake, I hated Ronan. Just like I was supposed to. I thought it was cute that the families supported Lianne and Blake’s relationship so much. It was like they’d been waiting for that moment since childhood, and their dreams finally came true. And while the writing wasn’t amazing, it was pretty good. I didn’t find much to complain about.

What, then, didn’t I like? Prepare yourself, because I’m about to get ranty.

One of the reasons I read new adult romances is for the happy endings. I can’t think of a single new adult romance I’ve read that hasn’t had a happy ending. The characters get thrown around, their lives fall apart, their hopes and dreams crash and burn… but everything works out in the end. By the time you hit that last page, they are content with their lives. Everything has worked itself out, and the good guys are happy. Always. In every book I’ve read. EVERY BOOK EXCEPT THIS ONE.

This does not have a happy ending. The characters all end up miserable. They make stupid decisions that could have easily been avoided – I cannot even sympathize with the stupid things Lianne did. And the adults! How were the adults so awful?

A spoiler or two.

Why did Lianne’s parents go along with her ridiculous plan to MARRY Ronan, the very guy who made her life miserable? (Side note: Why did she have to marry Ronan anyway? Why not just tell Blake what had happened?) Why did Lianne blindly accept that the baby was Ronan’s? Why did the first OB she saw just blindly agree with her that the baby HAD to have been conceived when she was taking antibiotics? (That seemed like such a stupid reason. More believable would have been that in all the excitement at the beach, she missed a pill.) Why did Lianne’s parents keep Blake from the wedding? Clearly Lianne would not have married Ronan if she’d known that Blake still cared about her. And finally, that flippant doctor at the end! “Looks like you weren’t as far along as we initially thought.” I can’t. I’m done.

If you like having your heart ripped out and questioning the stupidity of literally every character, maybe you should read this one. Otherwise, steer clear. I’m pretending that it ended when they left the beach.

This is really more of a 2.5, but I rounded up to 3.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy.


For my 2015 reading challenge, I’m crossing off #34: a book with a love triangle.

           Goodreads | Amazon

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These are my cats, and I love them.  Actually, I love all cats.  I don’t think I’ve met a cat I haven’t loved.  I’ve been called a crazy cat lady by more than one person… just this week.

What I’m getting at is that I really like cats.  So, really, it should be no surprise that I’m a fan of Cat vs. Human. Or that I was a big fan of this book.

Poetry’s not really my thing, but cat poems?  That’s something I can get behind.  I found myself smiling and laughing at several of them, because they’re true, and even though some of those poems were hundreds of years old, cats haven’t changed.

Also, the artwork is amazing.  This book is worth it for the artwork alone.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy.