Monday, January 26, 2015

|Review| Between Everything and Us by Rebecca Paula

Title: Between Everything and Us

Published Jan 20th, 2015
Genre: contemporary NA
Rating: B-
Purchase Amazon | B&N | Kobo
Goodreads summary:
Matisse Evans is determined to make her sophomore year of college successful after failing out of a prestigious art school and spending a horribly boring gap year at home. Despite her focus, time isn't on her side as she struggles to hold down three jobs so she can afford her first apartment while juggling course work. In the chaos of it all, Beau Grady moves in and shakes up her world. A college dropout and tattooed bad boy, the rumors about Beau mean one thing for Matisse—trouble. Paralyzed by the fear that she's missing out on life, Matisse discovers plans may unravel, but what rises in their wake can be worth the uncertainty.

After spending the summer couch surfing, Beau Grady moves into an empty room at his ex-girlfriend’s Portland bungalow, skipping his senior year of college to spend his days working at a Vietnamese food cart instead. Once a star hockey player and gifted student, he’s put his life on hold after receiving a life-altering diagnosis, complacent to live in the moment. Hiding behind false rumors and bad habits, Beau falls for Matisse, letting her believe the worst until their relationship blooms into something they both can’t ignore. Falling for her means having to face a future he’d rather forget, but loving her just might be worth it.
Between Everything and Us is Rebecca Paula's sophomore novel. Her debut is Everly After, which I LOVE and cannot recommend enough! Just like Everly After, Paula delivered once again with  Between Everything and Us. Writing, characters and emotion... big fat check! 

Katherine Locke calls Between Everything and Us "lyrical and moody," which is just SPOT ON. Everly After was so lyrical and moody it almost killed me (in the best way possible) and so is Between Everything and Us. Rebecca Paula's writing is just so so so so pretty, you will want to roll around in her words. 

Now, I like my books subtle. I don't like over the top drama which is why a lot of NAs are miss for me but something about Paula's writing makes the angst in her book the type of angst that you love to read about. Not tacky and never a soap opera but the right type of emotion which, paired with the beautiful writing, is an awesome combination.

So, Beau and Mati. Two complicated characters who fuck up and that is MY FAVORITE to read about! I really liked Mati who's an artist trying to really find herself but honestly, Beau stole the show for me. He kept making awful decisions and kind of digging his own grave which just made me love him more and more. My love for the fucked up knows no bounds!

I loved the writing, I loved the emotion, I loved the characters but one thing I didn't love and it was actually almost a deal breaker for me is the pacing. The beginning was really hard for me to get through because I felt like I was reading snapshots and not a chapter. The book jumped scenes and I didn't know how much time has passed. Is it the same day? Did a week pass? A month? It actually got on my last nerve and really jarred the reading experience for me. I felt like I was reading an incomplete draft because of the pacing which is not a problem I had with Everly After.

Anyways, besides the pacing, I really enjoyed Between Everything and Us and for sure recommend it! Will I be reading the next Sutton College novel? UMM HECK TO THE YEAH! Between Everything and Us is an NA that's not insane, the type of NA that non NA readers are asking for but it  also won't disappoint regular NA readers because Rebecca Paula writing is pretty much to die for. PLUS, if you haven't Everly After, get to it!

This cover captures the tone of the book PERFECTLY! Edgy and beautiful!
Amazon | B&N | Kobo
Rating: [B-] So many people want MORE from NA and Rebecca Paula is giving us more! I can't wait for her next book!

I'm part of the blog tour for Between Everything and Us which was put together by Mary at Love Between the Sheets. Visit Rebecca Paula's website, Facebook and her Twitter (she's the best, no joke!) There is a pretty fabulous giveaway for the tour that I urge you to NOT enter because HELLO annotated copy which *I* want! (Just kidding. Kind of...)

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

|Review| Worth the Fall by Claudia Connor

Title: Worth the Fall
Published  September 9th 2014 by Loveswept
Genre: contemporary romance
Rating: C+
Goodreads summary:
They meet on a beach. . . . Abby Davis isn’t wearing a skimpy bikini or sipping umbrella drinks, not when she’s busy chasing around four little ones. And Matt McKinney isn’t looking for fun—he’s a Navy SEAL, a grown man with a long list of missions . . . and fallen brothers.

They only have a week. . . . Abby has brought her children to this beach to start over, to give them the enjoyable memories they deserve. Matt’s been sidelined by a combat injury, and haunted by the best friend he lost and the promise he made: to remain a SEAL—focused and dedicated. This leaves no time for what he’s always wanted: a family.

But a week is all it takes. . . . Matt opens her heart while Abby soothes his soul. And though they plan to say good-bye when the week is over, something magical happens on that beach, something neither can forget. Something utterly, completely worth falling for.
Most of my romance recommendations come from Twitter and this one was no different. A few people praised the book, someone linked the page to Amazon, I accidentally clicked "one click" and turns out it works super fast! Even if you stop the page, the transaction went through in that nanosecond and I'm glad it did! Why would I not enjoy a romance with a Navy SEAL hero and a pregnant, widowed heroine who already has four kids? No reason!

Worth the Fall delivered and I can definitely see why it's been circling the romance Twitterverse. The beginning is set at the beach where Matt meets pregnant Abby and her four kids Annie, Jack, Gracie, and Charlie. Jack and Gracie kind of pull Matt into the family and it was just so heartwarming to read these scenes. The kids played a big part of the story and they were not just caricatures. Jack and Gracie, who who had the biggest role, had so much personality which made me so happy! I love romances where the hero or heroine have kids because I like the complexity that presents but its usually never used to its full potential in books. However, it was just perfect in Worth the Fall.  I LOVED the kids and their scenes with Matt were some of my favorite.

Now the only thing I didn't like about Worth the Fall and what's keeping me from giving it five stars is the drama at the end. All romance books has the drama inducing misunderstanding at the end where the couple separates before they have to learn grow up and they have the "I love him/her!" epiphany. Well, Worth the Fall had about twenty of those moments. One ended, we think its time for the heavily ever after then boom, another drama inducing misunderstanding. On their own, it wasn't bad-but-back to back drama llama misunderstandings? It was too much for me. I barely tolerate the stupidity of the drama inducing misunderstanding in the first place so having more than one just killed the ending for me. If you have a high tolerance for drama, this won't bother you as much.

Despite the nature of the end, I don't regret reading the book and I see myself rereading the first 70% of the book. The romance was just that sweet! Matt and Abby were really well matched and they overcame the obstacles holding them back quite well (widowhood, the Navy, dramadramadrama). The beginning portion of the book that is set at the beach and it's just 10 star worthy. I felt like I was the beach and seeing Matt slowly join the family just completely warmed by heart and it was swoony!  To sum everything up, the romance was so sweet and touching, the kids were the cutest and I'm more than ready for the next book! So do I recommend Worth the Fall? Yes!

Recommended for: readers who like their romance sweet flavored or readers who enjoy hunky brothers series!

Rating: [C+] Don't let my rating fool you, I thoroughly enjoyed this romance & recommend it!
"You ever notice that hot, mostly naked chicken don't show up in a snow covered train whenever you pop open one of these?"

Gracie grabbed Matt's free hand and tugged. "Come on. I have to show you somefin. It's weally portant."

Sunday, January 4, 2015

(Bout of Books 12) Sharon's Goals & Updates

As some of you may have noticed, I've been MIA lately; I also haven't been doing much reading. Of books, that is. Blame Once Upon a Time and its amazingly talented fanfiction writers. But I spent the second half of December catching up on my reading (it was a close call, but I made it to 100 books for the year!), and it was great! I'm getting back into reading more, trying to find a good balance between fangirling and being a book blogger (and, you know, work and a life and those crazy things). I've missed reading more books and spending time with you all! So Bout of Books really comes at the perfect time for me!

I'm taking it pretty easy this time around. They're actually doing this awesome thing where you don't have to set goals, so if they stress you out or you just don't know what to do with them, you can just skip them altogether! I decided to go ahead and keep them, if for no other reason than my irrationally fanatic love of lists. I'm also a Bout of Books expert, so if you have any questions, feel free to ask me here or on Twitter (@starsaloft)!

My Goals for Bout of Books 12
   • Read 1,000 pages
   • Discover some awesome new blogs and friends
   • Participate in at least one of the Twitter chats (Hopefully I can! I haven't double-checked them against my work schedule.)
   • Participate in four or more challenges

Books To Read

No, I'm not insane. I doubt even Kelly could make it through this many books during the short duration of awesomeness that is Bout of Books. But what I am doing is setting a limit: I'm only allowed to read books I already own! I have a terrible habit of picking up boatloads of books at used book sales, then never reading a large chunk of them. I've been wanting to do dedicate a BOB to this for a while, and now seems like the perfect time! Plus, I just bought Gone Girl, which is probably the only thing I'm 100% absolutely going to read.


Well, I failed right off the bat at my self-imposed restrictions, because the first thing I read was from the library. WHOOPS? Haha. I'd meant to finish it last night, but I got home super late due to car troubles, and I was exhausted, so I only wound up reading about 5 pages. OH WELL. So I read the last 100ish pages of TFIOS during Bout of Books. Not the end of the world! I shall just make sure not to cheat again...probably.

Books Read Today:
  Completed: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (103 pages)
  In-Progress: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (50 pages)
#1: Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt, hosted at Caught Read Handed.

1. Find an author with the same initials as you
Her Best Friend by Sarah Mayberry. My initials are SM, and I had a moment of sad panic when I read through this challenge list the first time, because I figured I wouldn't have anything. Even though my initials are pretty common. But lo and behold, SO MANY AWESOME AUTHORS share my initials! Sarah J. Maas, Sarah Morgan, Sarah Mayberry. I went ahead and picked Mayberry because I've loved her the longest of the three. But still, it made me so happy!

2. Find a book with the color yellow on it
Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas. Because you know if I have an opportunity, I am going to include a Travis book.

3. Find an author’s name with the letter “S” in it
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas. I already had HoF pulled out as a possibility for the first category, so I went ahead and used her here. Because LOVE. (Even though I actually haven't read this one yet? Whoops?) Plus, pretty cover is pretty!

4. Find a book with a female protagonist
Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier. I wanted to include a variety of genres, so I decided to go with a classic. The most addicting classic I've ever read; SO GOOD.

5. Find the longest book you own
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Not counting compendiums or Bibles, I am 99% sure this book is the longest one I own.

6. Find a book with a map in it or on it
Graceling by Kristin Cashore. This was another category I wasn't sure I would be able to fill, but Katsa to the rescue with the first YA fantasy book I read!

7. Find a book with a face on it (photograph or illustrated)
The Morning Gift by Eva Ibbotson. I have a LOT of books with faces on them, but this one is featured the most predominantly without being cut off (due to the massive Showing Half the Face cover trend).

Bonus: Find something on your shelf that isn’t a book.
My Friends DVDs! They always stay on shelf #1 in the living room, as you can see from the above pictures of my bookshelves.

#2: New Years Resolution, hosted at The Book That...
This is perfectly related to Bout of Books for me, because I have two main bookish resolutions this year (besides the obvious one, to read more books and slightly less fanfiction), and I'm using BOB to get a jump on both!

The first is to actually read hyped books. I tend to avoid super hyped books for a variety of reasons: I'm afraid they won't live up to the hype; I just get sick of hearing about them; I talk about/hear about/see them so much that I start to feel like I've actually read them (no, seriously, be a book blogger and work part time at a library and full time at a bookstore, and see if that doesn't happen to you); I don't want to be That Person Who Jumped on the Bandwagon Just Because It Was Cool (which is ridiculous, and I hate that I even sometimes think that because seriously, SO WHAT? But that is another rant for another time.). But I know I am missing out on some good books this way, so I am resolving to read more of them in 2015!
Books related to this challenge: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (just finished) and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (just started).

My second resolution is to read the books I own! The books I own but have yet to read are piling up to the point where it's embarrassing, so I need to actually read some of them! A perfect example: Love, Come to Me, because seriously. Gorgeous cover, check. Historical romance, check. Civil war romance, even! Check. LISA FREAKING KLEYPAS, check. Yet it has been sitting on my shelves for 2+ years. WHY HAVE I NOT READ THIS BOOK YET? In 2015, I shall put an end to the madness!
Total Books Read: ~.5
Total Pages Read: 153

Books Read Today:
  Completed: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (372 pages)
Challenge: N/A.
Total Books Read: 1.3
Total Pages Read: 525

Books Read Today:
  In-Progress: The Ruin of a Rogue by Miranda Neville (210 pages)
Challenge: Character Coupling Challenge, hosted at Writing My Own Fairy Tale. This was a fun one! I tried not to overthink it, but there are just so many possibilities! I decided to just go with one of my first thoughts: Katsa from Graceling and Celaena from Throne of Glass. Neither of these ladies is used to having female friends, so I think it would take a while to warm up to each other, maybe. But then they would gradually start to talk about fighting strategies and whatnot and realize what all they have in common. They could be fabulous friends! And pity the enemy they go up against because ouch.
Total Books Read: 1.86
Total Pages Read: 735

Books Read Today:
  Completed: The Ruin of a Rogue by Miranda Neville (162 pages)
  In-Progress: Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally (20 pages)
Challenge: Synopsis Challenge, hosted at Lulo Fangirl. I'm going to create my synopsis for Gone Girl.
A woman stands in the kitchen, making crepes for her husband on their fifth wedding anniversary.
Hours later, she's gone.
What happened?
Something you will never see coming.
Total Books Read: ~2.4
Total Pages Read: 917

Books Read Today:
  Completed: Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally (284 pages)
  In-Progress: Match Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (14 pages - DNF)
Challenge: Describe Your Book in Pictures, hosted at The Book Monsters. For this challenge, I'm describing the first book I read today: Racing Savannah.

Total Books Read: ~3.3
Total Pages Read: 1,215

Books Read Today:
  In-Progress: Fancy Pants by Cathy Marie Hake (50 pages)
Challenge: N/A
Total Books Read: ~3.5
Total Pages Read: 1,265

Books Read Today:
  In-Progress: Fancy Pants by Cathy Marie Hake (120 pages)
Challenge: N/A
Total Books Read: ~3.75
Total Pages Read: 1,385

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 5th and runs through Sunday, January 11th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 6.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team