Friday, August 19, 2016

Review #20 "The Summer Before Forever" by Melissa Chambers

It's Friday and what could be better on a Friday than a chat about books! I am reviewing yet another from a publisher that has quickly been moving up my list of favorites.

The Summer Before Forever
(Before Forever #1)
by Melissa Chambers
Publish Date: August 22, 2016
Published by: Entangled Publishing
Genre: YA Romance
Buy It: Amazon
Source: Publisher/Author in exchange for an honest review

How Many Stars? 4

Synopsis: Some boys break your heart. Others teach you how to heal it. 

Chloe Stone's life is a hot mess. Determined to stop being so freaking skittish, she packs up her quasi-famous best friend and heads to Florida. The goal? Complete the summer bucket list to end all bucket lists. The problem? Her hot soon-to-be stepbrother, Landon Jacobs. 

Landon's mom will throttle him if he even looks at his future stepsister the wrong way. Problem is, Chloe is everything he didn't know he wanted, and that's . . . inconvenient. Watching her tear it up on a karaoke stage, stand up to his asshole friend, and rock her first string bikini destroys his sanity. 

But there's more than their future family on the line. Landon is hiding something - something he knows will change how she feels about him - and she's hiding something from him, too. And when the secrets come out, there's a good chance neither will look at the other the same way again . . . 

My Scribbles: I really enjoyed this book. I wasn't sure I was going to like it when they first started getting into the romance part because, well, they're going to be brother and sister by the end of the book. Not blood related but still. So I found myself reading along, intrigued to see how the author was going to solve that problem. And along the way, I fell for Landon, too. He's sweet and considerate and he stands up for Chloe, protecting her not only like a brother but also like a really amazing boyfriend. The more the book went on and I expected to be weirded out, I really wasn't. And Chloe! She's this shy girl in the beginning. She's been through some rough stuff and so her best friend, Jenna (not my favorite character but a pretty loyal best friend), comes up with this bucket list of things for Chloe to do to build up her confidence. So you get to watch shy Chloe, who's never really been in love before, go through these amazing changes as she works to be a stronger person. And it was a great love story, too. Definitely a great summery read!

Check out my review on Goodreads, too!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Review #19 "The Watchers of Eden" by T.C. Edge

The Watchers of Eden
(The Watchers Trilogy #1)
by T.C. Edge
Publish Date: November 1, 2015
Genre: Dystopian
Buy It: Amazon
Source: purchased on Amazon

How Many Stars? 4

Synopsis: Her gift is her curse. Her world is her prison. Her fate is bigger than she knows . . .

In the hot and harsh farming region of Agricola, 16 year old Cyra prepares to be tested to discover what duty she'll hold for life. All school leavers across the regions are in the same position, and few expect anything more than to follow in their parents' footsteps and stay in the region they live in. 

For Cyra, there was never a choice. With her father dead and brother and sister assigned elsewhere, she's desperate to stay close to her sick mother so she can take care of her. 

On the day of the Duty Call, however, Cyra's world turns upside down in one stroke. She's to be assigned to Eden, the largest and most powerful sea city and central hub of control. Only the most important live there, and no one from Cyra's town has ever been assigned there in her lifetime. 

So, she sets off on a journey away from everything she knows without knowing what her duty will be. Soon, she discovers that she, along with a small number of school leavers from across the regions, has a special power; a gift that will pit her as a secret protector of the nation.  

Only, it's not a gift, it's really a curse, and before long Cyra will learn that her once small world is filled with a great deal more corruption and injustice than she ever thought possible. 

Other Books in the trilogy: 

My Scribbles: First off, I love these covers! What initially attracted me to this book was the cover, then of course the description. I am always looking for new dystopian reads. That being said, this book reminded me a lot of Divergent by Veronica Roth. Not saying that's a bad thing. And this book wasn't an exact copy. But the main themes were definitely very similar. Whether the rest of the series is going to follow the Divergent series, I don't know.

As for this book, I really enjoyed the premise. Where there are similarities to Divergent, this book is also very different. The characters follow their own paths and I liked the way it went. I thought it was just a bit slow in the beginning because it's the first book in this new dystopian world. So, naturally, a lot of ground had to be laid. I won't say it was boring. I didn't struggle through this book at all. 396 pages seemed to fly by like nothing. And it definitely satisfied my dystopian craving.

The characters really worked well together. I felt like there was a good balance between them. Relationships came naturally. They didn't seem forced. They weren't always good relationships but they all seemed to make sense. In that part, I really liked the idea of the Pairing (each School Leaver being paired - basically an arranged marriage - with another School Leaver). That part, of course, reminded me of Matched by Ally Condie.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. If you're looking for a great dystopian read, I would definitely recommend it!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Kids Book Review #8 "Harvey Hippo Wants to Fly!" by Lisa Sankar-Zhu

Disclaimer: Little Boy and I received this e-book free from NetGalley in exchange for our honest review. 

Harvey Hippo Wants to Fly!
by Lisa Sankar-Zhu
Publish Date: May 9, 2016
Format Read: Kindle
Buy it: Amazon
Source: NetGalley

How Many Stars? 5

My Scribbles: I downloaded this book for Little Boy and he really enjoyed it. The illustrations are gorgeous and I thought it was a cute story. Of course, Little Boy loved that it was about a hippo! And this little hippo wants to fly but he can't because . . . well, he's a hippo! As we were reading, Little Boy kept saying "too heavy" whenever Harvey couldn't fly. Each time his wings and contraptions don't work and the other animals tell him he won't be able to fly for one reason or another. Of course, Harvey eventually comes up with an ingenious solution (I won't tell you what it is . . . you'll have to get the book to see for yourself) and I really liked how it ended. Little Boy really enjoyed the colorful drawings and we took our time through this book, pointing out the different animals and waiting to see if the little hippo would ever get to fly! 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Feature & Follow #4 - Favorite Bookish / Non-Bookish Podcasts

Hey look! I'm doing a blog hop again! I know, for the longest time, I got lazy. Well, not really lazy but very, very busy reading (and trying to do Camp NaNoWriMo). What better blog hop to jump back into than Feature & Follow Friday (hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read). It's a fun little hop where you answer a prompt question and then go visit other blogs (especially the Feature) and follow people. This is a great way to get new followers and find new blogger friends!

The Prompt: What are your favorite podcasts - both bookish and non-bookish?

My #FF answer: Oh, this is embarrassing! Would you guys believe I have never listened to a podcast? I've always been meaning to, just never got around to it. And, podcast-naive me, I never knew there were bookish podcasts! So this week, I am going to ask for your help. Can you guys please give me some bookish podcast suggestions? I am a super podcast-newbie! Thanks bunches!!

This week's Feature Blog: 

Don't forget to go and follow our Feature (it's only polite). I do have one teensy little favor, too . . . if you are going to follow me, I would love a "like" on my Facebook Author/Book Blogger page :) Otherwise, GFC is great, too! Happy Friday!!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Kids Book Review #7 "Pumpkin Patch Blessings" by Kim Washburn

Pumpkin Patch Blessings
by Kim Washburn
Illustrated by Jacqueline East
Published by Zondervan
Publish Date: August 2, 2016
Source: BookLook Bloggers and Zondervan
in exchange for an honest review

How Many Stars? 5

My Scribbles: I requested this book in the middle of a hot spell here because it was about pumpkins and autumn. What better to read when you're stuck indoors because it's too hot out? Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year and last year we got to take Little Boy on his first hay ride and pick out his first pumpkin. Of course, he loved all the pumpkin pictures in this book, the vibrant fall colors. It was so much fun to read it with him and watch him point out the different animals and things. I'm so glad it was a board book, too, because he can sit and read it (well, look through the pictures and make up his own story) without me thinking he's going to tear the page or bend it. I also really liked how this book teaches that all these autumn goodies are God's creation. It's a refreshing perspective when you don't hear about much being God's creation anymore. Summary? We loved this book! Highly recommend it for all seasons and all ages! 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Review #18 "Mix 'n Match" by Lindzee Armstrong

Mix 'n Match
(No Match For Love #3)
by Lindzee Armstrong
Publish Date: July 27, 2016
Published by: Snowflake Press
Genre: Romance
Buy the Book: Amazon / Audible
Source: Author in exchange for

How Many Stars? 5

Disclaimer: minor spoilers if you haven't read the previous books in this series.

Synopsis: Fire and ice aren't supposed to mix. 

For Zoey Carlson, being maid of honor is more than she bargained for. The groom is a billionaire, the bride is hounded by the press, and the super-secret wedding is across the ocean in France. Zoey will do anything to keep away the media - even spend two weeks wedding planning in Paris with Mitch, the uptight best man who drives her crazy. 

For Mitch, keeping the press away is about more than making sure his best friend has a perfect wedding - it's his job. And as far as he's concerned, chaotic and spontaneous Zoey is an attractive liability. 

When a reporter follows them to France, Zoey and Mitch must work together to make their best friends' wedding day paparazzi-free while fighting their growing attraction to each other. Can these two opposites admit they're not so different and build a life together? 

My Scribbles: This book has me conflicted. Until this point, Brooke and Luke were my favorite. They were like Ken and Barbie. The perfect couple. They're essentially the patriarchs of this story, the love story that started it all. Then there was Andi and Ben. I liked them. But now . . . now there's Zoey and Mitch. Fire and Ice. And while I'm not quite prepared to push Brooke and Luke off my favorite couple pedestal, look out guys because Zoey and Mitch are making their way up! 

I loved Zoey! Her personality is so spontaneous and entertaining. Seeing her and Mitch clash throughout the story, you just know something is going to come of it. They fight and then they get all flirty and then they're back to fighting again. It was so entertaining to see how they tried so hard to convince themselves that they weren't good for each other because of their differences. Who was the one who said "opposites attract"? Well, with Zoey and Mitch, it's so true! They couldn't be more opposite but you can feel the attraction. 

I cried at the end of this book. Sitting at work, trying to look like I didn't have tears in my eyes over a book. But yes, I did. This one is definitely in the running for Best Book of 2016! 

Check Lindzee out on: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Goodreads / Website

Monday, August 1, 2016

Book Review #17 "Over Easy" by Pamela Ford (and interview!)

Over Easy
(Continental Breakfast Club #1)
by Pamela Ford
Publish Date: May 10, 2016
Published by: Aine Press
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Buy the Book: Amazon
Source: author in exchange for review
iRead Tour: here

How Many Stars? 4

Synopsis: Allie Parker's had enough. Just because she's a dog groomer, her overachieving family of doctors and lawyers treats her like a child. She's convinced that a successful husband is all she needs to change their attitudes. So when she and her friends come up with a brilliant new way to meet eligible men, Allie squeezes into her sister's stylish clothes and sneaks into continental breakfast at an upscale hotel to find herself the perfect guy. Before Allie has taken her last bite of syrup-laden waffle, she's met the man of her dreams. But what she doesn't know is that he's a jewel thief who mistakenly thinks she's his contact - and so does everyone else who's after his stash of diamonds. Suddenly Allie's world is crazily upended. And as she scrambles to prove her innocence and get back to her old life, she discovers happily ever after sneaks up when you least expect it.