#SRC Review – Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Maybe in Another Life
By: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction

*I received a free print copy of Maybe in Another Life from BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge 2015 in exchange of an honest review.

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Synopsis

Life is long and full of an infinite number of decisions…

At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. Shortly after moving back to her hometown of Los Angeles, she goes out to a bar with her best friend, Gabby, and reconnects with her high school boyfriend, Ethan. Just after midnight, she is offered a ride home by each of them.

What happens if she leaves with Gabby?
What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

As these two realities run their course, Maybe in Another Life raises questions about fate and true love: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps, most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?

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My Thoughts

Maybe in Another Life is SUCH a good book. I read it within the span of two days, and that’s only because I had to be at my day job. Otherwise – you bet I’d have finished this within 24 hours! This book is similar to the pick your own adventure books, but from the point of view of the main character – Hannah Martin. Unlike the PYOA books, we get to see both adventures for Hannah. The decision to get a ride from either Gabby or Ethan can take her life on very different courses. As we move back and forth through each path during alternating chapters, I found myself being sucked into each storyline; as the chapter ended, I felt momentarily cut off while I revisited the other potential line.

Hannah is a lost soul with nowhere that she can call home. After living in many places and coming out of a rough relationship, she has decided to go back to her childhood home. This is where we meet her best friend, Gabby, and her ex, Ethan. I LOVE Gabby – she’s a strong character with a notion of success and equality. Ethan was a good character, as well, though I don’t find myself as attached to him. Perhaps he’s just not my type. 😛 There are some other excellently developed characters within both of Hannah’s realities, but I’m not going to talk about them since I don’t want to give anything away.

Life has a funny way of working itself out and often we find ourselves wondering “What if I had made this decision differently?” I know I have. For me, I love where I’ve landed, but maybe in another reality I’ve landed somewhere else and feel just the same? This book really makes you think, and I appreciate that. With such a difficult task of pretty much writing two books and combining them into one, I’d say this is an overall success for Taylor Jenkins Reid.

PS. I am a huge fiend of cinnamon buns, as well. Read the book and you’ll understand what I mean.

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The Final Countdown

Characterization – 5/5 Stars
Dialogue– 4.5/5 Stars
Plot – 5/5 Stars
Visual Imagery – 4.5/5 Stars
Ending 5/5 Stars

Total: 4.8 Stars

Buy Links:

— Amazon: Follow This Link
— B&N: Follow This Link

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AUTHOR BIO

“Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author, essayist, and TV writer from Acton, Massachusetts. Her debut novel, Forever, Interrupted, has been optioned with Dakota Johnson attached to star. Her second book, After I Do, was called a “must read” by Kirkus. Her most recent novel, Maybe In Another Life has been featured in People, Cosmo, Bustle, Good Housekeeping, PopSugar, USA Today and more.

In addition to her novels, Taylor’s essays have appeared in the Los Angeles TimesThe Huffington Post, xoJane, and a number of other blogs.

She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and their dog, Rabbit.” (From author’s website)

Author links:

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Blog Tour: An Absence of Light by Meradeth Houston

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An Absence of Light
By: Meradeth Houston
Publication Date: October 31, 2014
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction, Young Adult

*I received a free ARC of An Absence of Light from Xpresso Booktours in exchange of an honest review.

Synopsis

Leah’s always seen the shadow creatures. She thought she was immune to their evil—until now.

She’s walked into a massacre, stolen a BMW, and is running from the law for a crime she didn’t commit. Nineteen-year-old Leah’s life just went from mildly abnormal to totally crazy at lightning speed. But no one will believe that the shadow creatures are framing her for the murder, because she’s the only one that can see them. At least that’s what she thought.

When Leah stumbled across a group who share her ability, she discovers they have something she doesn’t: a way to fight back. When the group offers to teach her how to kill the shadow creatures, Leah jumps at the chance. But something is brewing with the creatures. They’re tracking down the hunters like there’s no tomorrow. Leah suspects that maybe there won’t be, and it’s up to her to make sure tomorrow comes. Because she’ll do anything to stop the shadows, including risking her life—and the life of the one she loves—to keep the world from being lost to darkness forever.

Welcome to my stop on the An Absence of Light Blog Tour! 

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Book Review – Smother by Lindy Zart

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Smother
By:
Lindy Zart
Publication Date: 5/12/2015
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Blurb:
You won’t like me.
I am not the nice girl.
I am not your friend.
I don’t care about you, but most of all, I don’t care about me.
Go ahead, hate me.
We all have secrets.
I have them as well—dark, terrible secrets.
The only time I can breathe is when I forget.
I need to be numb. You don’t want to know how.
But as long as I can breathe, the past cannot smother me.

*~*

I appreciate that I can always count on Lindy Zart to deliver a great story. I know that when she’s working on a project, one of her many WIPs, it’s going to be something good. And they’re all so different from one another, keeping her readers on their toes, that we don’t really know what to expect next.

I’ve been a little busy lately; between editing, school, my full time job, and growing a baby so I really haven’t had as much time to read as I’d like… but I made it a point to bump Smother to the top of my list. This was a “before bed” read – you know, the kind that you’re already tucked in tightly under Displaying smother14.jpg.pngthe covers, between the walls of your pregnancy pillow, and you tell yourself “Just one more page” and swipe your finger across your Kindle about 25 more times, repeating this mantra as your eyes droop closed? Ya, this was that kind of read.

I love Smother. Beyond love. There’s something about a darker novel that takes you to a different place. I don’t often opt for the darker stuff, but I’m so thankful I did with this one. Zart conveys the struggles of the effects of the past on a person with grace and realism. The past can haunt us in so many ways and how that manifests itself is different with each person. Zart does an excellent job building the characters in this story and really driving their flaws home. I went into this novel with preconceived expectations, “You’re going to hate the main character at first.” However – it was quite the opposite. I was intrigued and wanted to know more. And boy did Zart deliver! The details are all there, the darkness doesn’t have many flecks of light, and the dialogue is shifty and true to reality. Each character has their own speech patterns and pesky little habits that make them stand out, or blend in.

Another thing I found to be intriguing and wished there was more of was the use of art and pictures to depict what the mouth is unable to say. This story is truly a showstopper and is rough around the edges (in such an excellent way), just like the characters. The notion of only allowing ourselves the things we believe we deserve hits each of us in some way; most of us have been in a dark place because of one thing or another. Those dark places can remain dark for a day, a week, years, or even a lifetime. Good doesn’t always manifest itself from bad, we need to feel we deserve it and accept it. These are the challenges so many face, and Zart’s Smother makes you think so much deeper about these notions.

Great job, Lindy Zart! Can’t wait for the next one.

*~*

The Final Countdown

Characterization – 5/5 Stars
Dialogue– 4/5 Stars
Plot – 5/5 Stars
Visual Imagery – 4/5 Stars
Ending 4.5/5 Stars

Total: 4.5 Stars

 

 

Book trailer link:

Goodreads TBR Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23657398-smother

About the author:

Lindy Zart is the USA Today bestselling author of Roomies. She has been writing since she was a child. Luckily for readers, her writing has improved since then. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, two sons, and one cat. Lindy loves hearing from people who enjoy her work. She also has a completely healthy obsession with the following: coffee, wine, Bloody Marys, and pizza.

smother6You can connect with Lindy at:

Lindyzart@gmail.com

Twitter.com/lindyzart

Facebook.com/lindyzart

Lindyzart.com

Listen to the playlists for Lindy’s books on Spotify.com

Get an eBook autograph from Lindy at Authorgraph.com

B: Book Boys and Lady Loves

So, I figure I can go with something a little more fun for this post and utilize two of my very popular posts. This post is from my Book Blog Writing Month challenge and I’ve also linked book boyfriend and lady loves post from a while back.. I should probably go in and update it.

I love to read about strong, well-developed characters… but then there are those characters that come along that really make an impact. Some of

Book BF 2them inspire you to be better, some make you realize that your problems aren’t so bad, and then others make you drool. I’m a married woman, but I have a whole lot of book beaus and babes.

It’s always really exciting for me to find these characters, the ones that make you swoon. But I despise when they’re put in a story for that purpose alone. I like a character to have substance. I don’t find a character woo-worthy if they are stereotypical jerks, thugs without a cause, are Book BFviolent, or don’t respect women/children/animals/other people. A bad boy can be “bad” on the exterior, but there needs to be some kind of promise in him.

I also won’t read a book solely for the purpose of a “hot guy.” No 50 Shades for me; though no judgement to anyone who has read it. To each their own. That’s just not my own.

Who are some of your favorite book boyfriends and lady loves? What draws you in to their character?

Blog Tour | Review | #Hater by Cambria Hebert

Hater Blog Tour Banner

#Hater (The Hashtag Series #2)
By: Cambria Hebert
Publication Date: January 12, 2015
Genres: New Adult Contemporary, College Romance

*I received a free ARC of #Hater in exchange of an honest review.

Goodreads Link:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23561961-hater

Blurb

It started with unspoken animosity. The bitter bite of jealousy. And now its full blown hate.

It was during my first football game that I first felt the first chill of hate. I looked it right in the eyes and felt its sticky tentacles reach out for me. I’d never experienced something so cold and empty before.

The effect of that look lingered, like an unspoken promise, long after it was gone.

Becoming a couple – becoming the other half of a campus celebrity wasn’t easy. I let down walls guarding my heart and he looked past my glasses and accident prone tendencies. Romeo and I are an unlikely match, a #nerd and a jock. But we made it.

And we’re happy.

Zach doesn’t want us to be happy. He wants Romeo to pay for getting him kicked out of Omega and for the night he spent in jail. He’s going to use anything and everything he can to get his revenge. Including me.

As the weather on campus grows cold and the days become dark, revenge becomes the center of someone’s life and the happiness Romeo and I worked so hard for is threatened.

I can’t help but worry that our love is going to be overshadowed by hate.

*~*
Follow this link to see my review of book #1 in The Hashtag Series.

The Final Countdown
Characterization
– 3.5/5 Stars
As expressed in my review of the first book, the characters in #Hater are developed well and there is a bit more depth to them. Rimmel Hudson has grown quite a bit since the first book in the series and it’s nice to see her growing confidence in herself. She’s battling some demons and has some rough things going on, but she’s got a great sense of self that is fun to read. Roman “Romeo” Anderson is still his jock-self and I hate to admit because I know he has a huge following – but I just don’t like him. He’s just not the type of person I enjoy reading because his personality is such a stark contract to what I like in a guy. And then there’s Braeden – he’s pretty great. He’s a fantastic character and I can’t wait to read his spinoff.

Dialogue – 3.5/5 Stars
The dialogue fit the story well and was very straight forward.  I wish there were more Alpha Buzz alerts. They were really funny in the first book.

Plot – 3.5/5 Stars
The plot was constructed well, though there wasn’t anything unique about it. That’s not a problem, so don’t mistake it for one. The story is a fun read and I found myself laughing throughout it. The pace kept well and it was a fast read for me.

Visual Imagery – 3/5 Stars
There was enough description to push through the story, but the wordplay was what stands out the most. I enjoyed reading about the various outfits that Rim was dressed in throughout that were a bit further out of character for her. The moments when they were outside of Romeo’s home by the pool were also described well.

Ending 4/5 Stars
The ending for this book was really good. There was enough to keep you wondering what happens next, but it wasn’t one of those crazy cliffhanger endings that makes you angry. I really look forward to seeing what comes in the third book!

Total: 17.5/25 Stars

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Buy links: 

#Hater (Hashtag #2) Buy Links:

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/oeze38l
Amazon CA: http://tinyurl.com/mhgusab
Amazon UK: http://tinyurl.com/n9scdhx
Amazon AU: http://tinyurl.com/k5t7d2q
Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/n4zwxg9
Kobo:  http://tinyurl.com/kk9u8c3

#Nerd (Hashtag, #1) buy links:

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/orco23a
Amazon CA: http://tinyurl.com/njn3x8q
Amazon UK: http://tinyurl.com/opfgr6l
Amazon AU: http://tinyurl.com/ms2kx2s
Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/qch9b9z
Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/ou6lgod

Youtube Video for Chapter 1 Read from Cambria:

Direct Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzBqwJPk_Ms&feature=youtu.be

Author Bio:

Cambria HebertCambria Hebert is a bestselling novelist of more than twenty books. She went to college for a bachelor’s degree, couldn’t pick a major, and ended up with a degree in cosmetology. So rest assured her characters will always have good hair.

Besides writing, Cambria loves a caramel latte, staying up late, sleeping in, and watching movies. She considers math human torture and has an irrational fear of chickens (yes, chickens). You can often find her running on the treadmill (she’d rather be eating a donut), painting her toenails (because she bites her fingernails), or walking her chorkie (the real boss of the house).

Cambria has written within the young adult and new adult genres, penning many paranormal and contemporary titles. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense. A few of her most recognized titles are: Text, Torch, Tryst, Masquerade, and Recalled.

Cambria Hebert owns and operates Cambria Hebert Books, LLC.

 

Social media Links:

You can find out more about Cambria and her titles by visiting her website: http://www.cambriahebert.com.
Email: cambriahebert@rocketmail.com
Facebook: http://smarturl.co/CambriaHebertFanpage
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cambriahebert
Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/cambriahebert/pins/
GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5298677.Cambria_Hebert
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Cambria-Hebert/e/B00CYQ2ROK/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1420126269&sr=8-1

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Review/Giveaway | Chandrea – The Return of the Avatar Queen by Marlene Wynn

Chandrea – The Return of the Avatar Queen
By: Marlene Wynn
Publication Date: December 22, 2014
Genres: New Adult, Fantasy

*I received free ARCs of Chandrea – The Return of the Avatar Queen from Xpresso Booktours in exchange of an honest review.

Synopsis

Chandrea Averill thinks she’s just like any other normal young woman. But, on the day of her 23rd birthday, her life changes forever.

Surrounded by magical creatures, dangerous sorcery, and insidious political intrigue, Chandrea desperately wants to return to Earth and the only life she’s ever known. But, the longer she stays, the more she realizes that she may be the only one with the power – both magical and political – to save the people of Lyrunia. Will she find the courage to remain and fight for her home world?

Welcome to my stop on the Chandrea-The Return of the Avatar Queen Blog Tour! Below is my review AND a pretty awesome giveaway! Click on the image at the bottom of the screen for the rafflecopter! I have also included my Facebook page for this blog – go follow me there. 🙂
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The Final Countdown
Characterization
– 4/5 Stars
Each of these characters has their own personality, and I love that. Chandrea is a strong female character who has just been thrown for a crazy life twist. I think she handles it pretty well, all things considered. I found myself enjoying taking part in Chandrea’s story and watching how she handled different challenges. Denae is another female character I really loved reading about; she’s independent, but very caring and loyal. My favorite male character of the bunch is definitely Shawn; he’s valiant and has some great tricks up his sleeves. The other characters in this story were very well-constructed, though I would have loved to know more about Ian and Adelaide. The baddies in this book are definitely pretty bad. They had my toes curling a time or two.

Dialogue – 4/5 Stars
There were so many moments in this story that made me laugh out loud, particularly when Shawn is taking part. For me, most of the dialogue was realistic, all things considered (with it being a Fantasy novel and all.) I enjoyed the scenes that had dialogue the most, as they strengthened the story and kept it moving along. The more sinister characters were clearly identified through their words and speech patterns, which helped enhance their creep-factor.

Plot – 4/5 Stars
I love me a good fantasy storyline.. and, by George, this definitely had it. There were so many twists and turns and fun adventures. At first I was a little thrown by the quick changing of character focus in each character, but as I got the swing of things I found that I couldn’t wait to see what character would be the focus next. As things got more climactic, I had a few audible sighs at the cliffhanger chapters. Luckily, the story always picked up where it left off and gave a bit of closure.

Visual Imagery – 4/5 Stars
I don’t know why, but I always find myself setting the standard for visual imagery in a fantasy novel quite high. Maybe I do that because of the mystical creatures that take part in them or just simply because that’s how most of the best fantasy novels are written. This one was not a disappointment. I loved that everything is described well, but not too much detail. One of my favorite scenes is when Chandrea is in the La Shura Gardens; everything is described to vibrantly that I could almost picture myself there with her.

Ending 4/5 Stars
To say as little as possible, I was not disappointed. 🙂 Without giving anything away, there was a lot going on in this book, which leaves some things left to be seen. I truly can’t wait to read the next book in this series. I don’t read a whole lot of fantasy novels, but this one was a breath of fresh air.

Total: 17/25 Stars

Goodreads: Follow This Link
Purchase:
–Amazon: Follow This Link
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AUTHOR BIO

Marlene Wynn is a Utah native – fondly referred to as “Utonian” by a friend.  She transplanted herself in 1992 from the majestic Rocky Mountains to the beachy shores of sunny Virginia Beach, Virginia and has been there ever since.  Though she has worked in the Benefits field for several years, she finally worked up the courage to chase her dream as an author.

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Author links:
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Giveaway:
Tour-wide giveaway (US and Canada) – Image Below
A print copy of Chandrea – The Return of the Avatar Queen
A handmade fairy
A set of character trading cards
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#BookBlogWriMo Day 21 – My First Reviews and Thanks

21 my first reviews

#BookBlogWriMo Day 21 – #FlashbackFriday – My First Reviews

To say they were rough was an understatement. I posted my first review for The Devil Wears Prada and was really proud of it. Actually, I thought I nailed it on the first try. Thank goodness for awesome commentors, though, because I learned I didn’t give enough detail and reasoning. Sure, I can tell you how I felt about something, but the why and examples are also very important. One thing I need to remind myself frequently is that I don’t need to put so much pressure on myself to write a review. If I don’t have much to say, they I shouldn’t force it; I say my piece and then I’m done. If I have a lot to say, then readers beware! Some of my reviews can end up quite lengthy.

My next reviews definitely improved: Complete by Lindy Zart and Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris.

30 Days of Thanks – Day 21

I am thankful for clear, star-filled skies and full moons.