Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday #61

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Author: Gae Polisner
Release Date: September 6, 2016

The powerful story of two teenagers finding friendship, comfort, and first love in the days following 9/11 as their fractured city tries to put itself back together.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, sixteen-year-old Kyle Donohue watches the first twin tower come down from the window of Stuyvesant High School. Moments later, terrified and fleeing home to safety across the Brooklyn Bridge, he stumbles across a girl perched in the shadows. She is covered in ash and wearing a pair of costume wings. With his mother and sister in California and unable to reach his father, a New York City detective likely on his way to the disaster, Kyle makes the split-second decision to bring the girl home. What follows is their story, told in alternating points of view, as Kyle tries to unravel the mystery of the girl so he can return her to her family. But what if the girl has forgotten everything, even her own name? And what if the more Kyle gets to know her, the less he wants her to go home? The Memory of Things tells a stunning story of friendship and first love and of carrying on with our day-to-day living in the midst of world-changing tragedy and unforgettable pain—it tells a story of hope.

I'm a New Yorker, born and bred, so something like this just hits me. I remember that day with a lot of clarity and this take on the day seems something I can relate with. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday! Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do or Learn About After Reading Them

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish

1) Archery - Being a fan of Hunger Games, Arrow, and thinking Hawkeye is the coolest Avenger I tried out archery. IT IS HARD! I knew I had weak upper body strength but after an hour lesson of holding that bow, my arms were shaking. I would like to try it again but if it ever became a committed hobby of mine, I better start lifting weights first.

2) Sword fighting or fencing - This comes from being a huge Star Wars fan and wishing I could really become a Jedi Knight. I never tried fencing or sword fighting, as I am not at all athletic. But if I were to pick up another sport besides archery, I'd want to do this.
This would be me though:

3) The book I am currently reading is The Secret Ways of Perfume by Cristina Caboni and the main character creates new and customized perfumes for her customers. The way she speaks about scents and the emotions it evokes has mad me wish I could have a customized perfume of my own. So maybe if I win the lottery I can commission one.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Blog Tour: Smash & Grab by Amy Christine Parker - Review & Favorite Quotes! (@amychristinepar @The_FFBC)

Smash & Grab
by Amy Christine Parker
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: July 19th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, Fiction

My Rating:

Ocean’s Eleven meets the star-crossed lovers of West Side Story.Grab some popcorn and get ready for an adrenaline-filled heist!
LEXI is a rich girl who loves a good rush. Whether it’s motorcycle racing or BASE jumping off a building in downtown Los Angeles, the only times she feels alive are when she and her friends are executing one of their dares. After her father’s arrest, Lexi doesn’t think twice about going undercover at his bank to steal the evidence that might clear his name. She enlists her hacker brother and her daredevil friends to plan a clever heist.
CHRISTIAN is a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. The local gang has blackmailed him and his friends into robbing banks, and he is desperate for a way out. When the boss promises that one really big job will be the last he ever has to do, Christian jumps at the chance for freedom. In fact, he’s just met a girl at the bank who might even prove useful. . . .
Two heists. One score. The only thing standing in their way is each other.
Told in alternating points of view, this caper is full of romance and fast-paced fun. Hand to fans of Perfect Chemistry, The Conspiracy of Us, and Heist Society.

This was my first heist book. Where I was promised Ocean’s Eleven meets West Side Story, I ended up with something of a shadow of those two concepts. I didn’t hate what was given to me, but I was just left with wanting more.  

Lexi along with her brother Quinn and group of friends are adrenaline junkies. When Lexi and Quinn’s dad gets locked up for fraud, what’s the best way to relieve that stress? Base jumping off a building of course. That is until Lexi ends up running into Christian. Teenage bank robber going on his last heist before getting out of the business. So what is the logical choice? Team up together and do the ultimate rush, rob a bank.

I will say it now, I didn’t like Lexi. She felt too much to deal with as a character for me. She felt ignorant at times and there was nothing I could grab hold on to even care about her. I felt sympathy for her

I did appreciate Christian. I liked how his character felt a little more developed than Lexi. Maybe that was the influence of the Mexican mafia or his want to get out of the bank robbing business. Something about him felt more genuine. I could see the West Side Story comparisons when it came to him and Lexi.

Where the story lacked in believability, it made up in writing. The writing wasn’t bad at all. I quite liked the pace it all went through. If it wasn’t for Lexi, I would have liked this 10 times more but I didn’t hate it. The dual perspective helped a lot. Maybe I’m being greedy and just wanted more. 

"I did my best to flirt, but truth is, I always feel like a giant tool putting on the charm." - Christian

"You want me to enroll in UCLA so I can apply for this?" I ask. "That seems sort of over complicated, don't you think?" - Lexi

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Follow the Smash & Grab by Amy Christine Parker Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

AMY CHRISTINE PARKER writes full-time from her home near Tampa, Florida, where she lives with her husband, their two daughters, and one ridiculously fat cat. Visit her at and follow her on Twitter @amychristinepar.

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Blog Tour: To Have and to Hold by Lauren Layne - Review! (@TastyBookTours @_LaurenLayne)

To Have and to Hold (The Wedding Belles #1)
Author: Lauren Layne
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
Published: Pocket Books
Source: Tasty Book Tours / Netgalley

My Rating:

USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne is the “queen of witty dialogue and sexy scenes” (Rachel Van Dyken)! Now, Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in The Wedding Belles, her sizzling brand new contemporary romance series about three ambitious wedding planners who can make any bride’s dream come true... but their own.
Discovering her fiance is an international con man just moments before they exchange vows devastates celebrity wedding planner Brooke Baldwin's business—and breaks her heart. Now a pariah in Los Angeles, she seeks a fresh start in New York City and thinks she’s found it with her first bridal client, a sweet—if slightly spoiled—hotel heiress. Then she meets the uptight businessman who’s holding the purse strings.
Seth Tyler wishes he could write a blank check and be done with his sister Maya's fancy-pants wedding. Unfortunately, micromanaging the event is his only chance at proving Maya’s fiance is a liar. Standing directly in his way is the stunning blonde wedding planner whose practiced smiles and sassy comebacks both irritate and arouse him. He needs Brooke’s help. But can he persuade a wedding planner on a comeback mission to unplan a wedding? And more importantly, how will he convince her that the wedding she should be planning... is theirs?

Hold on. Back up. Back all the way up. What do you mean you’re getting married?” It was eleven p.m. on a Wednesday, and Seth Tyler was exactly where he always was these days: behind his expansive mahogany desk at the Tyler Hotel Group, suit jacket slung over the back of his ergonomic chair, tie begging to be undone, impeccably pressed white shirt cuffed at the wrists. He raked a hand through his thick light brown hair in frustration and fixed his younger sister with his best no-nonsense glare, an approximation—like everything else he seemed to do lately—of his deceased father. When Seth's father dropped dead of a heart attack eight months ago, Seth had thought the hardest part about his father’s passing—other than the mourning, of course—would be taking over the family company. Sure, Seth had been groomed for the role. He’d wanted the president and CEO title. He’d always wanted it. Eventually. But not yet, for God’s sake. Seth had no problem admitting that he was a perfectionist, and he’d been bound and determined to take over the family company his way. The right way. And the right way, as Seth had determined it, was spending at least a year shadowing each of the senior-level Tyler Hotel Group executives. Seth had wanted to learn every possible detail, every in and out of the business, before even thinking about taking over the reins of the Fortune 500 company. But his father’s heart had had other plans. Mainly, up and quitting during a routine round of golf. And so, quietly, per his father’s wishes, Seth had become CEO two years ahead of schedule. Not a day passed that Seth didn’t wish his father was still with him, but in truth, taking his place at the head of the boardroom table had been easier than Seth had anticipated. The investors hadn’t freaked out. The executive team hadn’t left in mass exodus. Even Hank’s longtime assistant, Etta, had stuck around, seemingly content to call Seth boss even as she busted his balls about not eating enough vegetables, getting enough sleep, or getting his hair cut. But if taking over the family company was easier than Seth had expected, there was one ramification of Hank Tyler’s death that Seth hadn’t been in the least prepared for: A wedding. Maya Tyler inhaled a long, patient breath, as though preparing to deal with a difficult child. “Well see, marriage, Seth, is when two people fall in love and decide to spend the rest of their lives—” “Yes, I’m aware of how marriage works,” Seth interrupted. Although, not as aware as well as he’d like, as it turned out. He wouldn’t be getting any firsthand knowledge of how marriage worked any time soon. Maya bit her lip. “I’m sorry. I didn't mean to remind you of Nadia.” Seth glanced down at his desk to avoid his sister’s too-perceptive gaze. She wasn’t wrong. He’d gotten to the point where he could go most days without thinking of his ex, but he hadn’t yet figured out how to think about marriage without hearing the incredulous laugh she’d let out when he’d gone on one knee and showed her the ring he’d spent months picking out. “Can we not?” he said curtly. “Don’t get pissed. It’s a wedding. You’re supposed to be happy.” “I’m not pissed; I’m just surprised.” That was an understatement. Seth had not seen this coming, and for a man who exercised precision in all things, he couldn’t say he was enjoying the shock value of Maya’s announcement. Especially not on the heels of his father’s death. A death that everyone but Seth had seen coming, because Seth had been the lone outsider on the knowledge that was his father’s longtime heart condition. Apparently, Hank had considered his only son a control freak—had known that Seth would have stopped at nothing to try to halt death in its tracks. His father had been, well, right. It was hard to admit, but if Seth had known about his father’s condition, he’d have devoted every waking hour to researching experimental treatment and the best doctors. Hank Tyler hadn’t wanted that for his final months. Not for himself or for Seth. Still, Seth resented not having the choice. Resented his father nearly as much as he missed him. But he’d put that behind him. Mostly. Hank was gone, and Maya was still here. Maya was all he had. He had known she was dating a new guy—Neil something or other. But Seth hadn’t thought a thing about it. Maya had whipped through a constant string of casual boyfriends since high school, and other than a two-year relationship in college, they had never been serious. And it certainly hadn’t gotten close to marriage. What’s worse, Seth hadn’t even met this man that was apparently to be his brother-in-law. But none of this would have mattered, not really, if Seth’s instincts hadn’t been buzzing that something was amiss with the way this was all going down. Something was off. He knew it down to his gut. “How long have you been seeing this guy?” he asked. Maya slumped back in the plush chair facing Seth’s desk with a groan. “Don’t do this. I knew you were going to do this.” He frowned. “Do what?” “The big brother thing,” she said. “Hard not to, what with me being six years older and all,” Seth said. He didn’t add that he was doubly obligated to be protective given Hank’s death just months earlier. Maya had definitely been Daddy’s Little Princess. She still got tears in her eyes every time their father’s name was mentioned. Maya leaned forward, her pale blue eyes much like his own, although her blond hair was lighter than his, thanks to her frequent trips to the salon. “I love him, Seth. I know you’re jaded these days, but Neil is exactly the type of guy we women spend our entire lives dreaming about.” Seth bit his tongue to stop from saying that he bet Maya was exactly the type of girl that guys like Neil dreamed about, too. Young, pretty . . . and filthy rich. Or so Neil likely thought.

Reading the novella, From This Day Forward, prepared me for the magic world of The Wedding Belles. Starting this series off in a good way is how I saw it. And the first book didn’t disappoint either. It made me want to watch every wedding movie I know or go out and find a husband. You can guess which option I went to. *Points to empty wedding finger.*

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday #60

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Author: Kim Zarins
Release Date: September 6, 2016

In this contemporary retelling of The Canterbury Tales, a group of teens on a bus ride to Washington, DC, each tell a story—some fantastical, some realistic, some downright scandalous—in pursuit of the ultimate prize: a perfect score.
Jeff boards the bus for the Civics class trip to Washington, DC, with a few things on his mind:
-Six hours trapped with his classmates sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.
-He somehow ended up sitting next to his ex-best friend, who he hasn’t spoken to in years.
-He still feels guilty for the major part he played in pranking his teacher, and the trip’s chaperone, Mr. Bailey.
-And his best friend Cannon, never one to be trusted and banned from the trip, has something “big” planned for DC.
But Mr. Bailey has an idea to keep everyone in line: each person on the bus is going to have the chance to tell a story. It can be fact or fiction, realistic or fantastical, dark or funny or sad. It doesn’t matter. Each person gets a story, and whoever tells the best one will get an automatic A in the class.
But in the middle of all the storytelling, with secrets and confessions coming out, Jeff only has one thing on his mind—can he live up to the super successful story published in the school newspaper weeks ago that convinced everyone that he was someone smart, someone special, and someone with something to say.
In her debut novel, Kim Zarins breathes new life into Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales in a fresh and contemporary retelling that explores the dark realities of high school, and the subtle moments that bring us all together.

In high school, I loved The Canterbury Tales. I'm excited to see what she does with this retelling. Especially since I'm not a huge fan of retellings.

Author: Traci Chee
Release Date: September 13, 2016

Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible
This sounds like an amazing adventure with a lot of action and a good mystery. Plus, am intrigued about a world with no books. Like, WHAT!?