Thursday, February 26, 2015

{Blog Tour} A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC + GIVEAWAY guys! Today I am SO excited to be on the blog tour for A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. If you've been around here at all, you know how much I love this book. I haven't been this excited for a book in a really long time, actually. You can read my gushing review of the book here. Today, we're in Red London. I got to ask Victoria a question, but before we get there, let's check out the (amazing) book and author.
Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E Schwab
Series: A Darker Shade of Magic #1
Publisher: Tor
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.
Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London - but no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.
But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.

V.E. Schwab

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | tumblr | Pinterest | YouTube | Goodreads

V. E. SCHWAB's first adult novel, Vicious, debuted to critical praise and reader accolades. Schwab is the author of YA novels The Near Witch, The Archived, and The Unbound, and the Everyday Angel series for middle grade readers.

Sounds amazing, right. Well, IT IS. Anyway, let's get to the question, shall we?

Q. What would you consider your world-hopping essentials?
A. Well, ideally, a coat with many sides (and thus many pockets ;) ) but the essentials would be a bar of dark chocolate, some breakfast tea, a pen and a blank journal. Everything else I could do without, but I’m quite particular about my tea and chocolate, and I ALWAYS take something to write on, no matter where I go.

Still can't get enough of ADSOM? Check out the official site. Or take this quiz to see which London you would be in (I got Black London... still not sure how to feel about that). And check out this awesome book trailer for the book!

Tor has been awesome enough to provide a giveaway! One winner will win a copy of A Darker Shade of Magic as well as a signed double-sided poster! (If you haven't seen these posters, look here.) And this giveaway in INTL! Enter below and Good luck!

Rules: Must be 13+ or have parent permission. Winner will be notified by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be chosen. Entries will be checked, and cheaters disqualified. The winner's name and address will be forwarded to the publisher, who will send out the prize. We are not responsible for lost packages.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Darker Shade of Magic {by V.E. Schwab}
Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Series: A Darker Shade of Magic, #1
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Source: finished copy from publisher
Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.
Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London - but no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.
But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.
There are no words. You know those books that you love so much, that there really aren't words to describe how much you love it? You just want to throw it at everyone you know. It's been a long time since I've read a book like that, but this was one of them. I was only halfway through when I ordered Vicious, as well as the UK edition of ADSOM. And I have never ordered the UK edition for a book before, much less for one I already owned. So that is seriously the highest praise. This was the first book I've read by Schwab (I can feel the glares) but it definitely won't be the last.

Kell is a Traveler, one of only two existing. He can travel between the parallel universes, between the Londons--Gray, Red, White. He legally is only allowed to bring letters from the monarchs between worlds, but illegally he smuggles items for people who want a taste of magic. Lila lives in Grey London, the one that is boring, plain, and magic-less. She is an aspiring pirate, although at the moment, she is just a, well, criminal. The two cross paths when Lila steals something quite dangerous from Kell, and their paths are tied from then on.

The world-building in this one was phenomenal. To create, in a sense, not only one London, but THREE. Each was done so well, in such detail, that distinguished each one from the other. The settings were described so detailed that I could see the palaces in my mind, the streets, the taverns. Each was unique, and I could tell how each one was different from the other, what made them stand out.

Some might say the story starts out slow, but Schwab needs time to build the world. Between the world-building, and the magic-building, you will be entranced by this crazy awesome world that Schwab has created. My biggest issue with fantasy novels is that I usually get confused, on what's going on, or how things work. But Schwab takes time to set up the magic and the systems of this world, and I wasn't confused at all.

Of course, we also have our characters. Kell is one of my favorite characters of all time now. He was a complex character. He's a prince, sort of, yet still has this urge to smuggle artifacts, even though he knows it's illegal and could get into serious trouble. I loved the interactions between him and Rhys, and the different sides of him that were shown. And I loved Lila. Strong, sassy, independent. Both of these characters fall into some gray areas, but I love how that was explored, and how that made way for some serious character development. I also loved how well-written the side characters were, especially Rhy. But even the side characters were written with such depth and precision, that you could really understand where they were coming from, or their purpose in the story.

Above all, this was just a really well-written book. I usually don't tab quotes in books, but there were so many I had to mark in this one, and more I'm sure I'll mark every time I reread it. If you haven't seen the hype for this one, or have seen it and it makes you wary, I'll just let you know that this book is worth every bit of it. I already want to reread it (and probably will when my UK copy gets here) and cannot wait for the sequel.

This review can also be found on   Goodreads

V.E. Schwab

Website | Twitter | tumblr | YouTube | Pinterest | Goodreads

Friday, February 20, 2015

{Blog Tour} Review: Just Pru by Anne Pfeffer
Title: Just Pru
Author: Anne Pfeffer
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
"My mother once joked that my dad had wanted to name me Obedience. As if Prudence wasn't bad enough. I was not a Prudence and I never would be."
When twenty-five-year-old Pru Anderson—braless, pajama-clad, and clutching her cat, Chuck—is rescued from her burning Los Angeles apartment, the thing that scares her most is meeting the neighbors. New people make her hide in the bathroom, counting by sevens, but when her home is destroyed, she must turn strangers into friends … or crawl back to the controlling parents she only recently escaped.
What would her idol, Pepper Hathaway, do? That’s a no brainer: the detective-slash-supermodel heroine from Pru's favorite TV series would take no prisoners while looking fierce in a tankini and stilettos. So when the chance comes to live with her upstairs neighbor, Ellen, a playwright, Pru goes for it.
Thus begin the adventures of Pru, who's never had a job, a friend, or a first kiss. Swept into Ellen's whirlwind life, Pru begins to build her own, as director's assistant for a new play, muse to brooding actor Blake, and possible love interest to adorably neurotic neighbor, Adam.
Only one thing can derail Pru's exhilarating ride. Well, actually, it's two things—and they're in a car headed straight for LA to torpedo her life. When the past that nearly destroyed her comes calling, who will she be: a Prudence or a Pepper?
This book was so cute. It was hilarious, fun, charming, and sweet. This is an adult book, so it's not necessarily coming of age, per se, but it was about finding yourself, and living your own life, and I just all-around loved it.

Pru has just moved to LA, when her apartment complex catches fire. Now she has no place to stay, no money, and not even any clothes. However, Pru has just escaped her controlling, restrictive parents, and isn't about to give up and go back. Pru also has anxiety, keeping her shut up and closed off, and has never even met her neighbors. But when Ellen takes her in, Pru has to learn to come out of her shell. 

Pru was hilarious. She was sweet and funny. She struggles throughout the story, a lot. With her weight, with her anxiety, with her parents, with having feelings for a guy for the first time ever. She was so naive about things, and it was heartbreaking yet adorable at the same time. 

I also loved the side characters from Adam, with all his quirks and adorableness, to Ellen and her crew of actors. Blake and Becca and their drama. Well, except for Pru's parents. They were beyond ridiculous. The way they were so controlling and oppressive, made my skin crawl. All of Pru's life, they tell her she isn't like normal kids, can't do things like normal kids, and basically keep her locked up. But they played their part in the story, and the fact that I dislike them show much shows how well they were written. The secondary characters brought life to the story, and added depth. 

But I loved this message, and what this story has to offer its readers. Empowerment, independence. Pru has to learn to stand on her own two feet. She has to decide to live life the way she wants to, and not the way her parents have been telling her. She has to be comfortable in her body, doing what she loves to do. And hey, a cute guy doesn't hurt either ;)

I loved this story from start to finish. It was hilarious, but relatable. We may not all struggle with the level of anxiety and other mental issues that Pru does, but I think we all still, on some level, understand. This was a great and powerful story, and one I definitely recommend. 

Anne Pfeffer:

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Two (2) winners get a paperback set of Anne Pfeffer's books, Any Other NightGirls Love Travis WalkerThe Wedding Cake Girl and Just Pru. Open to US only. Ends March 4, 2015
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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day #booklove!

Happy Valentine's Day, booknerds! I think I speak for most of us when I say that books are, and always will be, our first love. I personally don't usually do much to celebrate Vday (except use it as an excuse to bake treats).

However, I saw that Jessica Brooks was doing a #booklove giveaway to spread love. Click the image below to be taken to her post, which has a GIVEAWAY, but basically she is asking to spread the book love by crossposting reviews to Amazon/BN/other purchase sites. This is an easy and simple way to spread the love for your favorite authors and books, especially if you have some favorite Indie/self pub books.

I thought I would also take a moment to spread the booklove by showcasing some of my recent favorites as well. As much as I would like to, I can't review every book I read, and some slip through the cracks. So these are just a few of my recent favorites, as well as some of my indie favs.
Jackaby by William Ritter
This is my most recent favorite. I loved this book so much. I mean, it's pitched as Doctor Who meets Sherlock, so how could I not? Not to mention a stunning cover. But I loved, loved this book.

Just Pru by Anne Pfeffer
I actually just finished this self-pub, but it surprised me in the best way. It was hilarious and fun, but still dealt with serious topics. Pru is one of my new favorite MC's.

Solving for Ex and First World Problems by Leigh Ann Kopans
LeighAnn Kopans is one of my favorite indie authors, so of course I had to mention her again, even though she's technically not a "new" fav. SfE is YA, and FWP is NA, but they are both amazing and I love them both so much.

Fish Out of Water by Natalie Whipple
I know I already reviewed this one, but it was so cute that I had to mention again. Also self-pub, I loved how cute and fun this was and how awesome Mika is.

anything by Rachael Anderson
If you're into (clean) adult romance, then Rachael Anderson is your girl. Her books are super cute, sweet, and fun to read.

The Superlatives Series by Jennifer Echols I loved this series, but Most Likely to Succeed was my favorite, hands down. It was cute, and fun, and hilarious, and I loved the characters (but especially Sawyer). They're the kind of cute, sweet reads that would be perfect for Valentine's Day, actually.

I could go one forever about books I love, but I figured I should just stick with books I've read recently so we aren't here forever. In fact, I might start doing this every once in a while to highlight books. So, tell me, who are you spreading the #booklove to today?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Mini Reviews: Working it Out, The Reluctant Bachelorette
Title: Working it Out
Author: Rachael Anderson
Genre: Clean Adult Romance
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Source: eBooks for Review
A chance encounter . . .
Grace Warren's life is safe and predictable—exactly the way she likes it. But when she gets roped into going to an auction to help out a friend, everything changes. She meets Seth Tuttle—a guy who unexpectedly kisses her then disappears, leaving her flustered and upset. If she never sees him again, it will be too soon.
A chance for love . . .
Weeks later, when Seth limps into Grace's rehab clinic post surgery, he's every bit as frustrating and annoying as she remembered. Yet there's something about him that makes her second-guess her carefully placed boundaries even though he's everything she's sure she doesn't want in a man. But maybe Seth is exactly what Grace has needed all along—assuming she's willing to risk safe and predictable for a chance at love.
This was a cute, fun read. It was light, fluffy, and so sweet. It was quick, but also entertaining. I can count on Anderson for a sweet, romantic read and she did not disappoint.

I liked both our characters. Grace is a physical therapist, and she's worked hard to become the best in the area. While she used to be more adventurous, she has put that behind her to live a safer life. I like her because she was independent and hard-working (although she was kind of a workaholic). She cared for her brother, even when he wasn't the easiest to care for. Seth is a thrill-seeker. Although he comes across as egotistical at first, he has a good heart and is a lot of fun. 

The romance wasn't instant, which was good. In fact, at first Grace can't really stand him, although he's attracted to her from the beginning. Their banter was humorous, as we watch Seth try to get under her skin--a lot. But it was cute and fun and I loved seeing them together. 

I also loved how this one went past them getting together, as most of the time romance stories just stop there. But after they got together, there were still problems. But they worked through them, and I appreciate that being shown because everything isn't all perfect after two people get together. There can still be issues, but the key is to work through them. 

I flew through this one, because it was cute and fun. I also appreciate how Anderson keeps her stories clean without slacking on quality. If you enjoy romance, then you will definitely enjoy this one.

This review can also be found on   Goodreads
Title: The Reluctant Bachelorette
Author: Rachael Anderson
Genre: Clean Adult Romance
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Source: eBooks for Review
Luke Carney has no idea what possessed him to move back to Shelter Springs, Colorado, to set up his veterinarian practice. His parents have long since left, the small farming community is on the brink of extinction, and only one close friend from his childhood remains--Taycee Emerson, his best friend’s little sister, who isn’t so little anymore.
Then there’s the matter of Shelter’s Bachelorette, an online reality dating show created to raise some much needed funds for the town.
Unwittingly cast as the bachelorette, Taycee wants out, especially when she discovers that Luke, her childhood crush, is back in town and will be one of the bachelors. To make matters worse, it's up to the viewers--not her--to decide which bachelors stay or go. And they all seem to like Luke.
Unwilling to let him break her heart again, Taycee launches a subtle attack on Luke’s good name with the hope of getting him voted off the show. But she’d forgotten that Luke's an eye-for-an-eye kind of guy, and when he discovers what she's up to, it means revenge.

I really enjoyed this one. It was fun, and different, and all-around cute. I was intrigued by the bachelorette part, and that's what made this story fun and unique. 

Taycee loves flowers. She owns a little flower shop in her hometown of Shelter and loves her job. However, she can't seem to settle down or find a serious boyfriend, because all her thoughts are tainted by her first love--a guy that left town 10 years ago, and never looked back or kept in touch. Until the day she finds out he's coming back to shelter. 

At the same time, Taycee's best friend Jessa has signed her up to be Shelter's bachelorette for an online reality dating show to help save the farms. And guess who's one of the bachelors…

I liked Taycee, as she was spunky and independent but still minimal. She likes simple things, likes her small town, and doesn't like change. But she was fun. I liked the supporting characters as well, from Taycee's brother, to the bachelors. I did not like Taycee's best friend Jessa. Just couldn't stand her. 

The bachelorette show was a little iffy. Not sure if it really would have worked that way, as I feel like there wasn't much to go on in the episodes. But it was still a different plot point, and made things interesting. 

All in all, this was a cute and fun story that I really enjoyed reading.

This review can also be found on   Goodreads

RachaelRachael Anderson: 

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

At Home in Last Chance {by Cathleen Armstrong}
Title: At Home in Last Chance
Author: Cathleen Armstrong
Series: A Place to Call Home, #3
Genre: Christian Romance
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Received from publisher
Kaitlyn Reed and Steven Braden have always had a similar philosophy of life: when the going gets tough, they get going--out of town and away from the problem. Now they are both back in Last Chance, New Mexico, and trying to start over. Kaitlyn is working to reestablish a relationship with the seven-year-old daughter she left behind six months earlier. Steven is trying to prove to his family that he is not the irresponsible charmer they have always known him to be. As Kaitlyn and Steven find themselves drawn to one another, one big question keeps getting in the way: How will they learn to trust each other when they don't even trust themselves?
I have mixed feelings on this. I liked it, I think even more than the previous book One More Last Chance, but ultimately I wasn't wowed. I did read this in almost one sitting, really quickly, so obviously it did engross me and interest me. 

Kaitlyn is in the last place she thought she would be: Last Chance. After abandoning her daughter to her brother and going off, Kaitlyn is back and trying to right her wrongs. But that is not going to be as easy as she hopes. She isn't sure how to be a mother, she hates working at the diner, and everyone seems to be waiting for her to screw up again. I liked Kaitlyn. She's done making excuses, but it's still hard for her to adjust. She still has issues with her temper, and listening to people, but she's trying to be better. Kaitlyn does grow and change over the course of the book. While she doesn't completely change who she is, she does grow into a more mature version of herself. She becomes a better mother, and sister, and stops trying to compare herself to everyone else, and just be herself. 

Steven is also back in Last Chance. He's been getting by in life thanks to his good looks and charming nature, but that's not enough anymore. He helps his aunt and uncle on their ranch, but he can't help but be attracted to Kaitlyn, even as prickly as she is. I liked Steven as well, as he had a good guy hiding underneath, even if he didn't like to show it much. But he realized he had to grow up and mature, and so he did. 

The romance wasn't instant, which was nice. In fact, Steven couldn't figure out why his charms weren't working on Kaitlyn, which was humorous. I love how Olivia, Kaitlyn's daughter, was such a big part of the story. Of course, our favorite characters in the series are back, including Chris and Sarah and Miss Elizabeth. 

All in all, this was a good story of redemption and forgiveness--even for yourself--and had a great message. The romance was sweet without being overbearing. The characters were likable and fleshed out. This was a pretty good, quick read. 
This review can also be found on   Goodreads

Cathleen Armstrong:

Friday, February 6, 2015

How to Unbreakup {by Rebekah L. Purdy}
Title: How to Unbreakup
Author: Rebekah L. Purdy
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Received from publicist

First rule of breakups: There’s no going back.
For three years, seventeen-year-old Grace Evers has regretted breaking up with Sage Castle.
That day, she lost her boyfriend and best friend. And let's be honest, it's impossible to just be friends with the one person who gets you, faults and all, and loved you anyway. It's impossible not to think about how it felt to be held by him, or the way he looked right before he was about to kiss you with the most perfectly yummy kiss goodnight.
And now that things are over between them, they've become strangers to one another. Sage won’t even look at Grace, let alone talk to her!
Breakup life sucks and Grace is utterly miserable, doing whatever she can to ease the pain of losing Sage. She's spent the better part of high school pretending to be something she’s not and hanging out with people who probably wouldn't notice if she wasn't there. Crappy dates, backstabbing friends, and Sage's cold shoulder have taken their toll.
So when her parents propose going away to their house on Lake Michigan for the summer, Grace is thrilled. No more massively bad dates with horrible kissers or lunch with frienemies. Just three months of swimming,
hiking, and relaxing before senior year starts.
But when Grace learns Sage and his family will be joining them, she readies herself for a totally awkward family vacation of disastrous proportions. How can it be anything but awful if Sage won't even acknowledge she exists?
This is it, Grace's last chance to get Sage back and unbreakup.

This was such a cute book. Cute boys and Star Wars and beach houses and I'm not sure what more you could want. 

Grace and Sage were best friends. They grew up together, played soccer together, has lightsaber battles with each other. So when they started dating at 13, it seemed natural. Until Grace broke up with Sage, and lost her best friend. Now, they're 17, about to enter their senior year, and Grace hasn't gotten over him. So, with the help of his sister, Grace makes a list of How to Unbreakup and starts putting her plan into action. 

I liked Grace. She broke up with Sage when they were 13, because she needed to find herself, and become her own person. I can respect that. She's a closet nerd, but has decided that senior year, she's ditching her fake friends and letting her inner nerd come out, regardless of what anyone thinks. I also admire that. She was awkward, funny, kind, impulsive, scared. She was a well-rounded character that made me chuckle with her antics. I liked her, and the person she became throughout the story, truly finding herself. 

Sage I wasn't sure what to think about. I get that Grace broke his heart, but that was THREE years ago. They were THIRTEEN. That doesn't give him the right to be such a jerk for so long. Sage also kept bringing up the fact that Grace was "fake", just another popular girl, but I didn't see that from her. I know we really didn't see her in school, or with those fake friends, so maybe she was, but I couldn't see it. But he did eventually win me over. 

Of course, there were other love interests for both Sage and Grace. But Grace keeps going on with her list, determined that even if it doesn't work, at least she tried. I loved the side characters as well, as they added depth and humor to the story, especially the parents. 

With a Star Wars cosplay (or two), things catching on fire, campfire singalongs and…pirates? This book was cute and hilarious. (And maybe will give you some ideas for your own unbreakup needs?)

This review can also be found on   Goodreads


Rebekah L. Purdy

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Fish Out of Water {by Natalie Whipple}
Title: Fish Out of Water
Author: Natalie Whipple
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Received via author

Mika is about to fulfill her dream of working at the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium when her plans are derailed by an unexpected arrival-her estranged grandmother Betty. Betty has dementia, and is no longer able to take care of herself. Betty is in need of her family's help-and she's not going to be particularly nice about it. Mika has to give up her summer internship at the Aquarium and stick to working part-time at AnimalZone in order to take care of Betty. The manager at AnimalZone has hired his nephew Dylan to work there, and Mika thinks he's entitled and annoying. Or is he just trying to become a better person? Mika is trying to be as patient as possible with her grandma-but Betty doesn't make that easy. And neither does Dylan.

I loved this story. It was cute, and fun, and may have been fluffy but it totally worked. I loved the characters, and the diversity, and the setting, and how perfectly everything was portrayed. 

Our main character is Mika. Mika loves fish. Her parents are marine biologists at the Aquarium, where she is hoping to get an internship over the summer, in addition to her job at the pet shop. But suddenly, her perfect summer ends up not-so-perfect. Her grandmother Betty shows up. The grandmother Mika has never seen because she's racist against Mika's Japanese mother. The grandmother who now has Alzheimer's and oh, guess who gets to watch her during the summer? To make matters worse, her boss's nephew is working at the pet shop, and he's more than kind of a jerk. 

I loved Mika. Mika has her passion, and she doesn't care if anyone else thinks it's weird. I also found her pretty smart and mature for her age. Her schpiel about how "if it's true goldfish have such a short memory, shouldn't we make every memory a good one?" and how she later learned to apply that to her grandmother really stuck with me. Yeah, Mika has her moments of acting out, of overreacting, of basically being a dumb teenager. But she also realizes it, and tries to keep it from happening again. And I mean, she's pretty entitled to her feeling. Between her grandmother and Dylan, she's dealing with a lot. 

Once Dylan gets over his entitlement and arrogance, he was a pretty decent guy. He makes mistakes, but he also learns from them. I do tend to like my hate-then-love romances, and this one was done pretty well. I wasn't particularily swooned by him, although he was still pretty hot. 

But this is more than just a romance. I mentioned the diversity, and this one deals with it so well. Not just having diverse characters, but showcasing what it's like, and also the issues that still go on, even though we like to think they don't. From Mika and her mom dealing with racism from her own grandmother, to her friend Shreya and her Indian parents' old-fashioned ways. (I mean, duh I have a little more love for Indian characters, I'm biased after all. But also, so much food! I was hungry by the end of it. Seriously. Raging for some butter chicken and naan right now.)

Mika also deals with the big issues, like her grandmother's Alzheimer's and how to care for someone like that. It's hard, but I admire Mika and how she dealt with that. 

Sure, you have some of your typical romance cliches, especially at the end but I was totally sucked in to the story by this point. If you love contemporary, then this is the book for you. But don't be fooled: while it might seem like a fluffy romance, it deals with so much more than that. I loved it. 

This review can also be found on   Goodreads 

Natalie Whipple:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | tumblr | Goodreads

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Paper or Plastic {by Vivi Barnes}
Title: Paper or Plastic
Author: Vivi Barnes
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Received via NetGalley
Welcome to SmartMart, where crime pays minimum wage...
Busted. Alexis Dubois just got caught shoplifting a cheap tube of lipstick at the local SmartMart. She doesn’t know what’s worse—disappointing her overbearing beauty-pageant-obsessed mother for the zillionth time…or her punishment. Because Lex is forced to spend her summer working at the store, where the only things stranger than the staff are the customers.
Now Lex is stuck in the bizarro world of big-box retail. Coupon cutters, jerk customers, and learning exactly what a “Code B” really is (ew). And for added awkwardness, her new supervisor is the totally cute—and adorably geeky—Noah Grayson. Trying to balance her out-of-control mother, her pitching position on the softball team, and her secret crush on the school geek makes for one crazy summer. But ultimately, could the worst job in the world be the best thing that ever happened to her.

This was a cute book. It was the perfect light, fluffy read. Lex just got caught shoplifting. In exchange for not reporting her, the manager agrees to let her work there. Except, SmartMart is where the losers work. And that ruins ALL her plans for the summer--softball and volunteering. Nothing she does will please her high-maintenance mother anyway.

Lex starts off the book as not very likable. She's entitled, rude, and kind of snobby. She goes through a lot of growth, though. She spends way too much time caring about what her friends would think, although that starts to change. Throughout the book, we see her put aside what she first thought, and what her friends would think to befriend Ruthie, the "strange" greeter, make friends at work, and even fall for the adorkable geek boy, Noah. 

Noah. Ah, Noah. Definitely cute and geeky. Although Noah has been ostracized in their high school for "tattling" on Lex's best friend Bryce two years ago. Bryce has it out for Noah, which means Lex can't tell him when she and Noah become friends…and then more than friends. Noah himself has some secrets. But finding out who the real Noah is with Lex was part of the fun. 

We see the real Lex the most when it comes to her grandmother, who has Alzheimer's. Also the way she became friends with Ruthie, and you could tell she really cared for her now. Of course, there were still the normal cliches, but it was still cute. My only lingering issue was her attitude towards Miller, when he confessed what he did. Frankly, that was between him and Noah, and Noah can make his own decisions. Even after she realized she did the same thing to Noah, she was still such a jerk to Miller. I don't know, I just felt like it was hypocritical, especially about something that didn't even concern her. 

All in all, this was such a cute book. It was a pretty fast read, and although light and fluffy, still dealt with many deeper issues. I would definitely recommend this for any contemporary fans. 

This review can also be found on   Goodreads

Vivi Barnes:

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Monday, February 2, 2015

#JLBGivesAwayanIndie: Elsker

Hey guys! So today I have a fun announcement. I'm excited to join up with author Jessica L. Brooks and Ashley+Anna of For the Love of Books to help spread the word and love for indie books. AND to help give them away! That's right, every month, there will be a new giveaway! Some of you may remember #JLBGivesAwayaDVD. Well, this year, it's #JLBGivesAwayanIndie

This year, to make things more fun, we have also decided to do a fun photo-a-day challenge! So follow us on Instagram (@authorjessicabrooks, @thenerdherdreads, @fortheloveofbooks__) and grab the graphic to play along. Plus, participating in the challenge gets extra entries into the giveaway!
So I'm sure you just want to get to what we're giving away, right? ;) This month, we're giving away Elsker by S.T. Bende, a Norse-mythology inspired series. Elsker is currently free on all major ebook retails, so there's no excuse not to check it out :)
This giveaway is in INTL, although the prizes are a little different. If the winner is US, they will win a paperback of Elsker (+$5 Amazon egift card and swag). If the winner is INTL, they will win a paperback of Tur, the prequel novella (+$5 Amazon egift card and swag). So enter below and good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway