Review of Saint Anything

Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.
 
Sarah Dessen is one of those YA authors at is well-known in the bookish world. I personally haven’t her books, so when the cover of Saint Anything started to float around, I was pulled in. I needed to read it because I was head-over-heels for the cover!

Likes:
  • The more contemporary works I read, the more I enjoy them. I would typically pick books that were more on the dystopian, post-apocalypse genre before I started blogging. I knew that I needed to diversity for my own sake, and to be a well-rounded blogger. I LOVE contemporary right after an intense book and definitely in the summer.
  • Sydney was an interesting main character. I can not imagine growing up in her situation. She was the little sister of a “bad kid” and she lived in his shadow the whole time. For all the times Peyton screwed up, Sydney was the one left to deal with the judgements of her parents and the strict rules that she was forced to follow at all times. She was not even able to make a little mistake without huge consequences.
  • I loved the whole Chatham family. They were so close, so fun and had their own little dramas. In the imperfection, there was love. It was a great family unit. I wanted to be friends with Rosie, hang out at the pizza parlor and Mac, oh Mac. Boy was Mac amazing. I loved his stories, his commitment to his health and the walks in the woods.
  • I would have loved to learn more about Peyton. I thought he was a great character, but wished that he had more page time. I realize that Sydney was the MC, but I wanted to know more about Peyton. It would be awesome to read the book from Peyton’s POV.
Gripes:
  • No real gripes. It was hard to read at points when Syndey’s parents were so awful, but it was realistic.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23009402-saint-anything



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Review of Blood Promise

Rose Hathaway's life will never be the same.

The recent attack on St. Vladimir's Academy devastated the entire Moroi world. Many are dead. And, for the few victims carried off by Strigoi, their fates are even worse. A rare tattoo now adorns Rose's neck, a mark that says she's killed far too many Strigoi to count. But only one victim matters ... Dimitri Belikov. Rose must now choose one of two very different paths: honoring her life's vow to protect Lissa—her best friend and the last surviving Dragomir princess—or, dropping out of the Academy to strike out on her own and hunt down the man she loves. She'll have to go to the ends of the earth to find Dimitri and keep the promise he begged her to make. But the question is, when the time comes, will he want to be saved?

Now, with everything at stake—and worlds away from St. Vladimir's and her unguarded, vulnerable, and newly rebellious best friend—can Rose find the strength to destroy Dimitri? Or, will she sacrifice herself for a chance at eternal love?
I loved the first three books in the Vampire Academy series, so I am not sure why I stopped reading them. After finishing Bloodlines, I knew that I needed to go back to the series. I missed Rose and needed to figure out how Sydney from Bloodlines fit into the story. I am glad I did – I am definitely bingeing these last three books.

Likes:
  • Rose is one of my favorite all-time MCs. I love her style, her wit and her personality. I want to be her best friend. Lissa and her are awesome friends and I totally enjoy the realistic aspect of their friendship. I have 5 college girls who I feel like I am bound to and will always be there for each other. We often know when to call each other and have insight that something is wrong without even talking to each other.
  • Dimitri, seriously Dimitri. He is one of my favorite book boys. I so ship Rose and Dimitri and it was hard to listen to this book knowing that Dimitri was now a Strigoi. The battle between the mind and the heart was evident. I know that it would have been really hard to be in Rose’s shoes. To be so in love and knowing that there was a small, but horrible way to be together, or to follow his wishes and actually kill him.
  • I loved Dimitri’s family and am interested in seeing how they play into the rest of the series. I especially love Dimitri’s grandmother. She was so funny, she definitely made you learn the hard way.
  • Adrian. He is that bad boy that I easily fall for. I love getting to see more and more of his teddy bear personality.
  • I think I might be the only one who actually liked the Vampire Academy movie – and I so hope that they continue with either the movies or TV show. Maybe it will switch over to a TV show like the Shadowhunters coming to ABC Family. But I want it to be the same Lissa, Rose and Dimitri!
Gripes:
  • No real gripes, excited to see where the series goes!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5996153-blood-promise



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Waiting on Wednesday with A Madness so Discreet

http://breakingthespine.blogspot.com/
Grace Mae knows madness.

She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.

When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that exists in all of us.

Seriously a twisted, historical thriller written by Mindy McGinnis - YES PLEASE! I cannot wait until October 6th!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24376529-a-madness-so-discreet


 
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Review of The Good Girls

From Sara Shepard, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars series, comes the shocking sequel to The Perfectionists—with an ending you'll have to read to believe!

Mackenzie, Ava, Caitlin, Julie, and Parker have done some not-so-perfect things. Even though they all talked about killing rich bully Nolan Hotchkiss, they didn't actually go through with it. It's just a coincidence that Nolan died in exactly the way they planned . . . right? Except Nolan wasn't the only one they fantasized about killing. When someone else they named dies, the girls wonder if they're being framed. Or are they about to become the killer's next targets?



Oh, the Good Girls. I am glad that I read The Perfectionist right before The Good Girls was released, so that I could binge the duo. Sara Shepard has skills, that girl can write angsty teen mysteries like no other. It is easy to see why Pretty Little Liars has such a following.

Likes:
  • I loved that we got answers in The Good Girl. Season after season of PLL has left me worn out on the guessing game. I was so glad that Sara decided to do these books as just a duo and let us in on the game.
  • I liked that the book did catch me off guard a little bit. I didn’t really see the ending coming and a surprise is always my favorite. I love those ah-ha moments.
  • I love Sara’s easy writing style. She is modern and her work flows smoothly, keeping you intrigued and making you want more.
  • I loved getting to know the girls more and the back stories. There was some predictability, but alas, that is just what happens when you read a truckload of books.
Gripes:
  • I would have liked to know more at the ending. Maybe it will spur a novella or something. I was just left with wanting a little more.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23171368-the-good-girls



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Review of Armada

Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.

And then he sees the flying saucer.

Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders.

No, Zack hasn’t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.

It’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can’t help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little…familiar?

At once gleefully embracing and brilliantly subverting science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline could, Armada is a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before—one whose every page is infused with the pop-culture savvy that has helped make Ready Player One a phenomenon.

I had super high expectations for Armada. I loved Ready Player One so much and geek out every time I talk about it. I practically forced my husband to read RPO and even sent it to my OTSP Secret Sister because I felt EVERYONE needed to read it. I will be a the theater at midnight if the movie gets produced! So, seeing how much I loved RPO, you can see how high I set the bar for Armada.

Likes:
  • I had to listen to the audiobook, because once again, the amazing Wil Wheaton narrated! I am such a huge nerd and hearing Wil narrate just makes me quiver with excitement (LOL)
  • I love how Earnest Cline works all of his pop culture loves into his books. This one talked about old video games and sci-fi entertainment, like Ender's Game.
  • Zack was a fun main character, he was smart and witty, but a little broken after the death of his father. He uses his skills playing video games and that ends up propelling him into a situation he never would have imagined.
  • There is a little romance in the book and I have to say that was one of my favorite parts. I loved the flirting, nerd flirting is really the best!
Gripes:
  • There seemed like so much build up and then the ending just came tumbling together. I kept looking at my percentage thinking that there was no way for the story to wrap up in so little time.
  • The story was pretty blah for quite some time. I was not as immediately involved in the story like I was with RPO. It just felt like it was missing something.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16278318-armada

 
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Pampering & Prose with Honey, Honey and An Abundance of Katherines



Today’s highlights for Pampering and Prose are Honey, Honey Healing Body Crème and An Abundance of Katherines.

 I am obsessed with Honey, Honey. It feels so good and smells amazing. It is fresh and sweet. I love how quickly the apricot kernel oil absorbs into the skin. It is the same base as in the Big, Fat, Yummy Hand Cremes and it works so perfectly. I haven’t been able to try it out yet, but I have heard that it works great as an insect repellant too. Bugs hate lemon! I am definitely eager to try that out, I hate the smell of bug spray, plus I would love to use something more natural. The main ingredient is honey. Honey is a moisturizing and skin-conditioning ingredient that functions as a humectant. Honey also has anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties, providing some protection against UV rays. Honey absorbs impurities and is an ideal cleansing agent.

Honey, your skin needs to be healed, loved, soothed, and moisturized. Apricot kernel oil absorbs into the skin like a dream, leaving only hyper-hydrated skin—no annoying, greasy residue. Apply as often as needed for super soft skin with a delightfully sweet raspberry lemon meringue scent!


 I really enjoy John Green’s writing style. He is witty and has a great bookish background that he incorporates into his books. I have finally read all of his books, An Abundance of Katherines being my last. Sadly, it was the book I liked least out of his work. I am not sure if I had too high of standards or if it just didn’t really work for me personally. Colin was a smarty pants and he had a bit of an odd personality. I could compare him to Spencer from Criminal Minds ( although I have a HUGE crush on Spencer). Colin has only dated girls named Katherine. It wasn’t really intentional, but it happened that way, 19 times in fact. And he was dumped by the Katerines. He decides to go on a road trip with his best friend and work out an equation to figure out why he was dumped so much. He stops in a small town and ends up meeting a girl, getting a job and figuring out more about himself. Colin himself had a fairly good character arc, but I think that I enjoyed the side characters in the story a lot better. I loved the small town and the interviews that Colin did for work.
The story itself just was flat-lined for me. I wasn’t involved and didn’t have an emotional connection to the characters. I listened to the audiobook, which tends to get me more involved and invested, but I really struggled to stay involved with the book.

http://www.poshwithmissies.com

On a side note – make sure that you sign up for Posh Perks! You can 250 points just for signing up and 500 points to spend in your birthday month! You get perks for each time you order that you can use on your favorite products or Perk exclusives! LOVE LOVE LOVE! Posh is rewarding you for buying the product you love, and you don’t even have to be the hostess to get the perks – EVERYONE can get them!

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Waiting on Wednesday with The White Rose

http://breakingthespine.blogspot.com/
Violet is on the run. After the Duchess of the Lake catches Violet with Ash, the hired companion at the Palace of the Lake, Violet has no choice but to escape the Jewel or face certain death. So along with Ash and her best friend, Raven, Violet runs away from her unbearable life of servitude.

But no one said leaving the Jewel would be easy. As they make their way through the circles of the Lone City, Regimentals track their every move, and the trio barely manages to make it out unscathed and into the safe haven they were promised—a mysterious house in the Farm.

But there’s a rebellion brewing, and Violet has found herself in the middle of it. Alongside a new ally, Violet discovers her Auguries are much more powerful than she ever imagined. But is she strong enough to rise up against the Jewel and everything she has ever known?

The White Rose is a raw, captivating sequel to The Jewel that fans won’t be able to put down until the final shocking moments.



I really enjoyed the Jewel and am excited to see how The White Rose continues the story! The White Rose is due to be released October 6th.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24585267-the-white-rose

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Review of Bloodlines

I wasn't free of my past, not yet.

Sydney's blood is special. That's because she's an alchemist - one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives. But the last encounter Sydney had with vampires got her in deep trouble with the other alchemists. And now with her allegiences in question, her future is on the line.

When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she's still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir - the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir - is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill's guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the unlikeliest of places: a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. The last thing Sydney wants is to be accused of sympathizing with vampires. And now she has to live with one.

The Moroi court believe Jill and Sydney will be safe at Amberwood Prep, but threats, distractions, and forbidden romance lurk both outside - and within - the school grounds. Now that they're in hiding, the drama is only just beginning.

I kinda decided to read this series without realizing that it connected with the Vampire Academy series. It worked out ok that I knew who some of the characters were - Lissa, Rose, Dimitri, ect. but I wasn't sure who Sydney was and how she fit in the whole story. I did finish Bloodlines but ended up going back to the 4th book in the Vampire Academy series, Blood  Promise.

  • I really enjoyed Syndey. I realized how well Richelle Mead does with creating diverse characters who hold their own. I totally loved Rose and felt such a connection with Syndey even though they were two very different people. I loved how she felt suck between what her family stated were her responsibilities and also how she perceived the world. 
  • One of the best parts of the book for me was Sydney's character arc. I still do not know the whole situation between Sydney and Rose, but I liked how Sydney is starting to view the people around her as more than a title or a race, she is starting to see them as real people who are caring, even if they drink blood to survive. 
  • I really enjoy how Richelle does a great job creating full stories within the series. I have said this over and over, like beating a drum, but I really enjoy when each part of a series has a plot and climax, even though it is also part of a series. 
  • Adrian, oh Adrian. Even in the Vampire Academy books, I am draw to him. I am not normally a girl who falls for the bad boys. I will think they are cute, no doubt about that, but I tend to stray away from them in the dating aspect. But Adrian is like a super hot bad boy with a teddy bear inside. 
  • I liked the story itself. It kept me entertained and I liked the twists I did not necessarily see coming. 
  • No major gripes. I really just didn't rate it a 5 because I normally save those for the books I will want to read over and the books that stick to my insides, making their footprint on my heart. (Man I am a HUGE book nerd!)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8709527-bloodlines 



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Review of Tiny Pretty Things

Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars in this soapy, drama-packed novel featuring diverse characters who will do anything to be the prima at their elite ballet school.

Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette's desire to escape the shadow of her ballet star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever. When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best.
I was never a dancer, but I really wish that I was. I have a bit of resentment toward my mother for never putting me in dance class. I LOVE watching dance movies/tv (Step Up, Center Stage, Dance Academy, Save the Last Dance) and have always wondered what it would be like to dance with that skill. So, when books or movies come out with dancers, I live my curiosity a bit.

  • The synopsis states that the story was Black Swan meets Pretty Little Lairs. I wouldn’t really state that Black Swan was in the story, but it definitely had some PLL aspects.
  • I loved the story from multiple POVS. First there was Gigi, an African-American student from California. She was a naturally born dancer and started to be cast as the lead in many dances, making her a target to her peers. Then there is Bette who was the younger sister of a prima ballerina and was required by her mother to be the best. And finally, June, a Korean student and perfectionist. Each other the girls had complicated back stories and histories that wove into their stories at the dance academy.
  • The book had the aspects of PLL with all the jealousy and accidents that happen during the book. I am saying accidents lightly as they were actually girls trying to sabotage each other. It really shows how easy it is for females to compete rather than lift each other up. I think that is a lesson that everyone needs to learn.

  • The writing in my book was unique for me, I liked it, but I felt like I had to pay attention. I was reading it over 4th of July weekend, so there was a lot of activity going on and sometimes I had a hard time focusing.
  • I felt like the ending was left so open. I immediately looked at Goodreads to see if it was supposed to be a series, but I did not find anything. I am hoping that something is planned, but if it was put there to allow for a sequel if it sold well. I wanted a complete story.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18710209-tiny-pretty-things


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