FRIDAY STARS – Your Weekly Must Knows 02/17/17

FRIDAY STARS – Your Weekly Must Knows 02/17/17

Life:

This week my sister and her husband were supposed to be here for a visit.  For 5 days long, eeks!  I was looking forward to snowboarding, spending time catching up in person and laughing hysterically together.  But she is sooooo sick and had to stay in California.  Boo.  Her visits are always so therapeutic and I kid you not when I say we laugh constantly.  My stomach always hurts.  It’s the best kind of hurt.  So while I was scanning through my few thousand pictures on Facebook – I’m so bad and post a ridiculous amount of pictures on there lol – I finally decided to post a personal one on Twitter.  It’s us together last fall (she looks super cute, but my smile is all funky lol).  If you want to check out my reminiscing, click here.  🙂  So yup, that’s about it!  Here’s hoping you had a much more successful week than I did!

In case you aren’t familiar with our Friday Star Posts, we like to take a look at what’s happened around here in the last week, what’s coming up that we are excited about and anything else that we may have to share!

♥ Enjoy!

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Giveaways:

guardian of secrets tour Last day to enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card with Guardian of Secrets by Brenda Drake swag pack. International winners will only get $50 GC. Enter → here.

 

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RB-LoveStory-LLayne_FINALTwo days left to enter to win a Gourmet Chocolate Champagne Box and a Set of 4 Edge Champagne Glasses from Crate and Barrel to celebrate Lauren Layne’s release of Love Story!  Enter → here.

 

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urlEnter to win A copy of Frostblood by Elly Blake & branded nail polish duo in shades of fire and frost. Enter → here.

 


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Just Finished and Loved:

adorkable-cookie-ogormanAdorkable by Cookie O’GormanChelsea’s Review

5 Stars!  But from the moment I picked this up, I knew it was just what I needed. Light-hearted, funny, heavy on swoon…

Adorkable (ah-dor-kuh-bul): Descriptive term meaning to be equal parts dorky and adorable. For reference, see Sally Spitz.
Seventeen-year-old Sally Spitz is done with dating. Or at least, she’s done with the horrible blind dates/hookups/sneak attacks her matchmaking bestie, Hooker, sets her up on. There’s only so much one geek girl and Gryffindor supporter can take.
Her solution: she needs a fake boyfriend. And fast.
Enter Becks, soccer phenom, all-around-hottie, and Sally’s best friend practically since birth. When Sally asks Becks to be her F.B.F. (fake boyfriend), Becks is only too happy to be used. He’d do anything for Sal–even if that means giving her PDA lessons in his bedroom, saying she’s “more than pretty,” and expertly kissing her at parties.
The problem: Sally’s been in love with Becks all her life–and he’s completely clueless.
This book features two best friends, one special edition Yoda snuggie, countless beneath-the-ear kisses and begs the question:
Who wants a real boyfriend when faking it is so much more fun?

 

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4 Stars:
Love Story (Love Unexpectedly #3) by Lauren Layne → Jen’s Review

A Matter of Fate (Fate #1) by Heather Lyons → Jen’s Review

 

2 Stars:
King’s Cage (Red Queen #3) by Victoria Aveyard → Chelsea’s Review

 

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Reading Next:

by-your-side-kasie-westBy Your Side by Kasie West

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.
Only he doesn’t come. No one does.
Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn at first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

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making faces amy harmon Making Faces by Amy Harmon

Ambrose Young was beautiful. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She’d been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have…until he wasn’t beautiful anymore.
Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl’s love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior’s love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast, where we discover that there is a little beauty and a little beast in all of us.

 

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Upcoming Releases:

a-conjuring-of-light-ve-schwab A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab (Releases 02/21)

The final book in the trilogy!!  In the first book, A Darker Shade of Magic, Kell is one of the last Travelers-magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes, connected by one magical city.
There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad king-George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered-and where Kell was raised alongside Rhys Maresh, the rougish heir to a flourishing empire. White London-a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.
Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

 

 

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You can check out the rest of the books that we can’t wait to be released → HERE

 

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Sales:

$0.99


New Sale

5 Stars!
Jen’s Review
Chelsea’s Review

5 Stars!
Jen’s Review

4.5 Stars!
Jen’s Review
Chelsea’s Review

5 Stars!
Jen’s Review
Chelsea’s Review

5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review

4 Stars!
Laura’s Review
 

$1.99


New Sale 5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review

New Sale

New Sale
Chelsea’s Review

5 Stars!
Jen’s Review

5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review
Anna’s Review

4.5 Stars!
Anna’s Review

4.5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review

4 Stars!
   

$2.99


5 Stars
Chelsea’s Review

5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review

4 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review

4.5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review

4.5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review

4.5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review

$3.99+


5 Stars!
Cheslea’s Review

5 Stars!
Jen’s Review
Chelsea’s Review

4.5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review

5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review
Anna’s Review

5 Stars!
Anna’s Review

5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review

Anna’s Review

5 Stars!
Anna’s Review

4.5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review

5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review

4 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review

4.5 Stars!
Anna’s Review

5 Stars!
Cheslea’s Review

5 Stars!
Anna’s Review
Laura’s Review
Jen’s Review
Chelsea’s Review

4.5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review
 
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4 Stars!
Anna’s Review

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King’s Cage (Red Queen #3) by Victoria Aveyard

King’s Cage (Red Queen #3) by Victoria AveyardKing's Cage (Red Queen #3)
by Victoria Aveyard
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl's spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother's web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare's heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

 

I’m not leaving this place unless I leave behind his corpse—or mine.

Well…

No one can possibly understand how much love and adoration I have for this series. Book one and two were literal obsessions for me. I loved them so deeply that I literally took the time to annoy each and every one of my closest friends who chose to give a shit…even though 4/5 of them didn’t care for this series. I can’t even count all the times throughout a year that I say the name ‘Cal’. I know for a fact that I induced many an eyeroll from everyone around me. All year long it was Cal this, Cal that, epic ending this, epic ending that….it was unforgettable, if only to me. This was my world, and I longed for it every moment I couldn’t have it. And then…this.

It’s almost comical. Every step I take explodes in my face. I tried to save Kilorn from conscription and maimed my sister instead. I became a maid to help my family and within hours became a prisoner. I believed Maven’s words and Maven’s false heart. I trusted Cal to choose me. I raided a prison to free people and ended up clutching Shade’s corpse. I sacrificed myself to save the people I love. I gave Maven a weapon. And now, try as I might to thwart his reign from the inside, I think I’ve done something much worse.

Look, I’m clearly the weak link here. You can go to the book’s page and clearly see that the four and five star reviews are just rollllling in. And what the funniest thing to me is, where the hell were these reviews for book one and two? When I needed someone to fangirl with, when I just needed a fix, a quick look at a new perspective from someone who truly loved this series as much as me-where the hell were these amazing, glowing reviews? There was so much hate for the first two books that, okay, yes, were a bit cliche and a bit over the top, and even were a bit repetitive with the phrase ‘lightening girl’, and now people like this one? Okay…that last one was said A LOT, but still. My point is this: there was no more wrong with those two books than this book, yet the praise keeps rolling in for KC. In fact, I really wonder what made this such a success in so many people’s minds?

Like I said in my pre-post after just finishing-Its not about the teams and its certainly not about who she will ultimately choose…or not choose. I just think there was so much potential for this story and it fell so so flat.

The smell of smoke gets stronger as I push on. Hope flares. Where there’s smoke, there’s a fire prince.

Let me start with my least favorite part of this whole book and what I had thought was a shoe in for being my favorite: The extra POV. I mean….what. The fuck. WAS that?? Cameron was not only a character that I hated more than I could ever POSSIBLY have hated Mare, but she was an absolute brat. She was grouchy. She was judgmental. And, what do I care what anyone thinks, I’m just going to say it: She did nothing but talk shit about Cal. FINE. It’s fine-And believe me when I say that if this was the only problem I had with this book, I would have GLADLY handed this book yet another five-I love this series SO MUCH that I’d have wholeheartedly dealt with the self-righteous and obnoxious Cameron (to this I ask reviewers why they love Cameron so much? You all have hated Mare so much…yet Cameron is just Mare on crack. She calls Cal and others out…but she might be just as bad, if not worse, than Mare. So…why?) with a smile on my face. No. Believe me when I say there are far more problems than something as simple as my bias.

Nights spent curled against Cal. Forcing Cameron to join our cause. Stolen moments rereading Maven’s sickening notes. Memories of who I thought the forgotten prince was. My cowardice. My nightmares. My mistakes. Every selfish step I took that led me here.
Look what you did. Look what you did. Look what you did.

For one….I’ve read a million and one books that are bridges to the final story, and not felt an ounce of the boredom I felt for this one. It’s just a whole lot of nothing, if I’m being honest. I suppose there was plenty of political planning, war strike planning, and even some pretty decent action scenes, but it felt so contrived, so forced that I couldn’t help but feel wholly disconnected.

Which is my next problem: Do you ever feel like you’re an outsider looking in? I mean, in a way, aren’t books kind of supposed to be like that? Of course we are merely the readers, simply observing our favorite characters from outside the book, rooting them on and hoping they make it out alive? Well, yes, in a way this is correct. But, if you really think about it, how often do you ACTUALLY feel this way? The answer should be never. You should never feel separated from your characters, you should always be so fully immersed in the world that you can’t tell where your fictitious book world ends and real life begins. There’s a fine line here you don’t want to cross, and it happened here. Not once in this series have I ever felt like the twice-removed cousin hanging out like a creeper in the back…but this book made me feel so left out, so apart from the story, that when I finally got to the part I pined for, I just couldn’t fall back into the story. In fact, when that moment hit? I deflated like a balloon. I knew for a fact I wasn’t going to love this story, no matter how much went my way. And, believe me, a ton did, all the way up to a twisted, fucked up ending. I just…simply ceased to love, to care. And this might be why my heart is still completely shattered.

Even now, when I am painfully his, he won’t let go. I would prefer death to this cage, to the twisted obsession of a mad boy king.

And, sigh, the elephant in the room, on my end: Maven. If you look back at my reviews, you can see I have never hated Maven. Sure, he has been an obstacle between Cal and Mare, and this brings out the competitive juices in me. But never has there been utter hate. I even liked Maven in book one-not as her love interest, but as a person. He was never a true problem for me because, in the end, I loved Cal so deeply that the Maven moments were inconsequential. So, when I heard this was mostly a Maven driven book, it didn’t deter me in the least. Who cares?? But I did feel that there was something icky about how he was handled. We all know he’s not truly a monster. He’s a wounded boy who grew up with odd circumstances and a repulsive mother. But we also know Victoria Aveyard’s intention is not for Maven to be a love interest-she has made this more than clear. So then…why all the Maven empathy? Isn’t it kind of fruitless after 30% to continue laying on the Maven mind games? He loves Mare in the only way he can…but even Mare can see a screw is loose. So I guess I just felt like it was cruel to Maven fans, honestly. Which is something I never thought I’d say.

I wonder if he has nightmares of the assassination attempt. Nightmares of his mother, dead by my hand. His father, dead by his action. His brother, in exile but a constant threat. Funny, Maven called himself Cal’s shadow, but Cal is the shadow now, haunting every corner of Maven’s fragile kingdom.

Sigh. And Mare. Oh Mare-she can make or break your love for this series….where I sit wholeheartedly in the middle. She definitely isn’t someone I’d say is a favorite heroine (or even one I truly like) but I don’t feel the way most readers do. She is kind of a badass, really. And yes, she has made me so mad I could throw my iPad across the room, but no, she isn’t unbearable, to me. She was the best she’s ever been-I can assure everyone of that. I won’t get into it, but I will say this: my biggest problem is what COULD be. I don’t know how Aveyard will end this…but I do have a problem with one outcome, and I’ll leave it alone because I, quite frankly, don’t want to be harassed about it. Just know, there is a super…depressing way this could end, and I sure hope she doesn’t choose to end it that way, because it would really break my heart.

“If your heart’s not in this, you’re going to get a lot of people killed.”
He whirls, almost knocking me on my ass with the speed and force of his movement. I have seen his fire firsthand, but never so strongly as the flame blazing in his eyes.
“Cameron, my heart is quite literally in this,” he hisses through gritted teeth.

And I’ll make my normally longer than life paragraph about Cal short and sweet. He had some extremely swoony, wonderful, amazing quotes and moments in this book-some that I could only dream of actually happening-I was beyond ecstatic. His love for Mare (and actual declaration of it) made my soul soar and I was on cloud nine…but only to an extent. That’s as far as it went because of that ‘feeling like an outsider’ deal I mentioned earlier. I could only immerse myself so far…and that might have been the final nail in the coffin, for me: My darling baby Cal feeling like the shell of the man he could be. Just….OUCH.

So, I guess that’s that. A lot of ramble, but a whole lot of deep truths from me. I can only be truthful and I can only say what I feel-there’s no room for half-truths or false pleasantries. I liked a few things about this book but, in the end, I just wanted and needed more. Evangeline was a definite plus in this book, seeing as I’ve always liked her from afar (and now I adore her), but not enough to save the breaks in this story and my expectations. I’m glad people are loving this….I’m just devastated I’m not one of them.

“Then what do you want?” When Kilorn asked me that same question, it gave me focus, purpose, a clear path in darkness. “What do you want, Cal?”
He answers quickly, eyes blazing. “You.” His fingers tighten on mine, hot but steady in temperature. He’s holding himself back as much as he can. “I am in love with you, and I want you more than anything else in the world.”

I hope even Victoria can read this review and understand I have no ill intent-I will forever be a huge fan of this series and I STILL love book one and two way more than is acceptable for my health. It is never my intention to attack an author, to attack other people’s opinions-I simply have to get my thoughts out, for my voice to be heard by those who care enough to hear it. I think I’ve always been a fair reviewer, and I hope people can see that the only thing I’m trying to say in my review is this: I’m just a girl who is obsessed with this series, and my heart and soul hurt because I couldn’t find a connection with this story, whatever the reason. It hurts me more than it hurts anyone reading this, and I have nothing but hope for an amazing final book. And if not?? I’ll forever adore the first two books and they will always be in a prime spot on my nerdy bookshelf/shrine in our living room. I just hope people can see that-I give up on series for way less than this…yet here I sit, ready for book four and hoping for all the best. I just hope my heart doesn’t get ripped in two next year. I guess we’ll see, won’t we?

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NO one knows how painful this is for me to rate and feel this way. It has nothing to do with Maven. It has nothing to do with my precious baby Cal, who, by the way, I will still marry someday and who can STILL do no wrong in my eyes. And, actually, it has nothing to do with Mare. I don’t care if you’re team Cal, Maven, Mare, Kilorn, or Evangeline. In fact? It had nothing to do with this hideous representation of the characters in this story, at all.

What it comes down to? This story sucked, plain and simple. Boring without an ounce of inspiration, this book is nothing more than filler, extra drama, and a total bridge to the final book. And, if I’m being completely honest, I, for once, don’t see how the next book can be any better.

I’ll hold out hope, though. Cal is a number one BBF, and I will see this all the way to the end.

RTC.

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AHHHHH CAL TIME CAL TIME CAL TIME CAL TIMMMMEEEE I CAN’T EVEN AHFDFJKSFHKJSFHSKDJHLFKHDSFHLSDFJKLSDHFHSDLKJFHLSJDHFSDHFJSHDJLKFH

Me-


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Finally.

View all my reviews

BOOK REVIEW – A Matter of Fate (Fate #1) by Heather Lyons

BOOK REVIEW –  A Matter of Fate (Fate #1) by Heather Lyons

I fell madly in love with A Matter of Fate. This story refused to be put down, and now I can’t wait to finish the rest of the series. Have fun reading my 4 Star Review below!

BOOK REVIEW –  A Matter of Fate (Fate #1) by Heather LyonsA Matter of Fate (Fate #1)
by Heather Lyons
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Chloe Lilywhite struggles with all the normal problems of a typical seventeen-year-old high school student. Only, Chloe isn't a normal teenage girl. She's a Magical, part of a secret race of beings who influence the universe. More importantly, she's a Creator, which means Fate mapped out her destiny long ago, from her college choice, to where she will live, to even her job. While her friends and relatives relish their future roles, Chloe resents the lack of say in her life, especially when she learns she's to be guarded against a vengeful group of beings bent on wiping out her kind. Their number one target? Chloe, of course.

That's nothing compared to the boy trouble she's gotten herself into. Because a guy she's literally dreamed of and loved her entire life, one she never knew truly existed, shows up in her math class, and with him comes a twin brother she finds herself inexplicably drawn to.

Chloe's once unyielding path now has a lot more choices than she ever thought possible.

Review:

A Matter of Fate was captivating, slowly intoxicating and emotionally charged.  While everything unfolded at a slower pace, and it was heavily character driven, I found myself glued to the pages.  We’re taken through daily struggles, friendships, battles, love, and even learning and watching how Magicals influence the universe.  But what was at the heart of this story, in my eyes, was the most emotionally gutting love triangle I have ever read.  And I will most definitely be continuing on with this series, because my heart has to know what happens next.

Why does this hurt so much? If this is how it’s supposed to be, then why do I feel like I’m breaking apart?

We’re led through the story with Chloe, who is a Magical.  And within the Magical race, she is a Creator.  This means she will be asked to create and destroy anything and everything in the world, including civilizations.  I felt suffocated right along with her.  Fate has mapped out her life, and she few choices for how it’ll all go down.  On top of that, her parents are heartless and leave her clueless about what it means to be a Magical, since she lives on the human plane and goes to a human high school.  But thankfully she doesn’t feel entirely alone, since she has her Cousins in her life.  They’re not all technically related to her, but each of them are Magicals and have different ways that they’ll influence the Universe.  I adored Cora, Meg, Lizzie and even Alex.

I look out the window, at the streaking colors, now muted with growing shadows. And then I find myself telling him the truth. “I’d want to go somewhere and be anyone who wasn’t me.”
For a long moment, the only sounds are that of tires on blacktop. Rather than saying something unhelpful like, Why would you want to do that? Kellan merely says, “You and me both.”

But her whole world shifts in class one day, physically and emotionally.  A boy walks into the classroom that she knows, but she’s never met him outside of her dreams.  Since they were four, they’ve been together in Chloe’s dreams.  They slowly became each other’s best friends and even fell in love.  But a year ago he disappeared, and she was heart-broken that he was gone from her dreams.  So seeing Jonah in real life floors Chloe.  And in those first few pages we see Jonah, I was captivated by him.  He was sexy, alluring, and oh so beautiful.  But he doesn’t approach her, and before she can talk to him, everything gets flipped upside down.

And like a fool, I take a step closer, unable to resist the pull toward him any longer. He is confused, wary . . . and yet also unable to resist the pull, because he tentatively reaches out his hand and touches my face so lightly, I wonder if the fingers are even there or not.

You see, Chloe realizes Jonah has a twin.  One she never knew about.  And his name is Kellan, and he has no problem approaching Chloe.  Their moments together made me gasp and giggle.  I adored Kellan and I couldn’t get enough of him.  So it was inevitable that I fell head over heels in love with him.  He commanded my full attention and he made my heart race.  Kellan was funny, caring, loving and intoxicating.  I loved his words, his mannerisms, every single tiny thing about him.  Now here’s the but.  But while Chloe has always loved Jonah, she ends up with Kellan, and I was selfishly okay with that.

Beneath my ear, his heartbeat speeds up. Finally, “If you need me, I will always be here for you.”
These words mean more to me than he’ll ever know. I press my face harder against him, clutch at his shirt tighter. He is my anchor. He is my strength. He is here, for me, and even though I don’t deserve it, I take it.       

So I struggled.  Because while Jonah takes more of a backseat throughout certain parts of the story, and that was perfectly fine by me, then you learn stuff.  And it threw me for a loop.  So my heart was on the line constantly while Chloe vacillated between the twins.  Chloe broke my heart apart, because while I desperately wanted her to just be with Kellan, I got why she kept getting drawn back to Jonah.  And usually I end up screaming and wanting to pull my hair out at love triangles, but this time I got it.  And I never once got mad at Chloe.  

“Fate sucks,” I say, trying hard not to cry. Which is stupid, because he knows I’m upset, and even worse because he knows it’s over his brother.
“Yeah,” he says quietly. “Sometimes, it really does.”

I became completely invested and totally addicted.  The writing, story line and characters pulled me in, and I’m scared yet excited to see where this story goes.  So wish me luck, because I’m reading Jonah’s novella next – Beyond Fate.  And while I hope he’ll just die to make the story easier, yes I know I’m awful lol, I’m scared to death I’m going to fall for him.  Just like Kellan.  *Takes a deep breath*  Here I go……

*ARC kindly provided by Author via Inkslinger PR in exchange for an honest review*

 

My Fate Power:

So in the tour, we were asked – If you had a power like Chloe, tell us what that “power” would be and how you would use it.  At first, I was going to say an Emotional.  Because I’d love to be able to know what others are feeling around me.  Whether it’s people you first meet, or others that you’ve known forever, I’d love to get into their head and know what they’re truly feeling.  To see if their words line up with their emotions.  But then after thinking about it some more, I realized I would want to be a Healer like Cora who is Chloe’s Cousin.  To take the pain away and help heal those I love would be the most beautiful gift I could ever be given.  So that’s definitely my final answer.  If I was a Magical, I would hope to be a Healer. ♥

 

Reading Order:
a matter of fate heather lyons beyond fate heather lyons a matter of heart heather lyons a matter of truth heather lyons a matter of forever heather lyons

✿ A MATTER OF FATE (Fate, #1)
Amazon ✩✮✩ iBooks ✩✮✩ Kobo ✩✮✩ B&N

✿ BEYOND FATE (Fate #1.5)
Amazon ✩✮✩ iBooks ✩✮✩ Kobo ✩✮✩ B&N

✿ A MATTER OF HEART (Fate, #2)
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✿ A MATTER OF TRUTH (Fate, #3)
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✿ A MATTER OF FOREVER (Fate, #4)
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About Heather Lyons:

Heather Lyons is known for writing epic, heartfelt love stories often with a fantastical twist. From Young Adult to New Adult to Adult novels—one commonality in all her books is the touching, and sometimes heart-wrenching, romance. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. She and her husband and children live in sunny Southern California and are currently working their way through every cupcakery she can find.

Website ✩✮✩ Facebook ✩✮✩ Twitter ✩✮✩ Instagram ✩✮✩ Goodreads ✩✮✩ Pinterest ✩✮✩ Amazon ✩✮✩ Newsletter

 

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BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY – Love Story (Love Unexpectedly #3) by Lauren Layne

BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY – Love Story (Love Unexpectedly #3) by Lauren Layne

I’m so happy to be on the Love Story Tour because this book was beyond adorable! Check out my 4 Star Review below and enter the fabulous giveaway! Enjoy!

BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY – Love Story (Love Unexpectedly #3) by Lauren LayneLove Story (Love Unexpectedly #3)
by Lauren Layne
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

When Lucy Hawkins receives a job offer in San Francisco, she can’t wait to spread her wings and leave her small Virginia hometown behind. Her close-knit family supports her as best they can, by handing over the keys to a station wagon that’s seen better days. The catch? The cross-country trip comes with a traveling companion: her older brother’s best friend, aka the guy who took Lucy’s virginity hours before breaking her heart.

After spending the past four years and every last dime caring for his sick father, Reece Sullivan will do just about anything to break free of the painful memories—even if it means a two-week road trip with the one girl who’s ever made it past his carefully guarded exterior. But after long days of bickering in the car turn into steamy nights in secluded motel rooms, Reece learns that, when it comes to Lucy, their story is far from over. And this time, they just might have a shot at a happy ending.

Review:

I quickly devoured Love Story in one sitting, and absolutely adored Lucy Hawkins and Reece Sullivan.  Their friendship was volatile, hot and filled with history that we got to witness through flashbacks.  It was all centered around a road trip which made for a cute, fun read, that left me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside when I finished that last page.

He laughs, and my heart hurts at the flood of memories. Of how we used to talk so easily, how we used to laugh so much . . .

Lucy and Reece have known each other almost their whole lives, since Reece is Lucy’s brother’s best friend.  After his mother died, when he was a little boy, he became an even bigger part of Lucy’s world.  Her family took him in, to a certain extent.  But from the beginning, Lucy couldn’t help fall for Reece.  Even if she knew he only saw her as his best friend’s little sister.  They were the truest of friends, until they pushed their relationship past the friendship boundary.  And from that point on, they barely spoke to each other.

“Not at all,” I say sweetly. “See, I just watched the way you attempted to juggle multiple girlfriends and failed, and then did the exact opposite.”
He glances at me then, a mocking smile on his face. “Oh, sweetheart. When did I ever claim you as my girlfriend?”
I suck in a quick breath, because it’s one of the more hurtful things he can say— dismissing that summer as though it were nothing.

Years later, they’re both headed to California for new jobs, and they end up getting stuck together for a road trip.  A two-week road trip.  Oh this made me so giddy!  Because from just those first few minutes being together in the car, I couldn’t stop smiling.  Sexual tension and friendship simmered and exploded between the two of them.  So emotions definitely flew high, and it made for an exciting trip that was filled with tears, jealousy, anger, and lots of desire!

I glance down at my towel, considering throwing some clothes on first, but then I shrug. It’s just Reece.
My inner skank rolls her eyes. There’s never been anything just Reece about what’s between us.
A fact I’m reminded of when I open the door and his gaze rakes over me.

My favorite thing about this story was definitely the characters.  They were the reasons I read this book in one sitting!  First off, Reece.  I love tortured men, and Reece played the part perfectly.  He was highly jaded from his past, since everyone he loved except Lucy’s family left him in one way or another.  Yet he seems to harbors so much anger and hatred towards Lucy.  And I was dumbstruck why.  Things she would say or do would set him off so easily, he was so explosive towards her.  Which felt ironic to me, since it was his fault their relationship blew up in a fiery inferno.  So Reece was a fun mystery to unravel!  And his moments of tenderness that alternated with want towards Lucy made me easily fall for him.

When she held out her small hand expectantly for the card, he took a deep breath and handed it over, meeting her eyes. “Thank you. For staying with me.”
Lucy blinked , looking a little confused, as though it was the most obvious thing in the world that she’d spend an afternoon with a crybaby.
Then she gave him a small smile, looking a little shy for the first time since going to him, as though she’d just realized something. “I’ll never leave if you don’t want me to.”

I liked Lucy from the get go.  She was driven and knew exactly what she wanted in life.  Whether it was her future job or Reece.  But what made me really connect to her were the flashbacks.  I loved watching their friendship unfold right from the start!  BUT the flashbacks didn’t feel seamless to me.  Each and every time I desperately wanted to stay in the present, even though I loved the moments the flashbacks showed.  I just wish they would have fit in a little differently to the story-line.

I blow out a breath. “Thanks.”
“For?”
I pluck at the hotel comforter. “For yesterday. For coming after me and holding me, even though I know you hate me.”
I hold my breath, waiting for him to confirm that he
doesn’t hate me. Which is stupid. He has no reason to hate me. He’s the one who ruined things.
I hold my breath anyway. Deny it. Say you miss me like I miss you.
There’s a rustling noise, then the creak of a crappy couch. “Night, Lucy.”

So Love Story was an enjoyable, quick read that I easily devoured.  While I guessed how a few things turned out, it didn’t take away from how much fun their story was.  And just so you know, each book in this series is a standalone and the characters don’t interact with one another from book to book.  Except they did listen to a Jenny Dawson song on the radio woohoo, which was a shout out to Good Girl.  If you adore road trips and hate to love stories, then there’s a good chance you’ll like Love Story too!

PS The nicknames were kinda different…. Spock, Horny ummm okay lol.

*ARC kindly provided by Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

 

About Lauren Layne: 

Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen romantic comedies.
A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career.
She lives in midtown Manhattan with her high-school sweetheart, where she writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush. In LL’s ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

 

 

Giveaway:

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Adorkable by Cookie O’ Gorman

Adorkable by Cookie O’ GormanAdorkable by Cookie O'Gorman
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Adorkable (ah-dor-kuh-bul): Descriptive term meaning to be equal parts dorky and adorable. For reference, see Sally Spitz.

Seventeen-year-old Sally Spitz is done with dating. Or at least, she's done with the horrible blind dates/hookups/sneak attacks her matchmaking bestie, Hooker, sets her up on. There's only so much one geek girl and Gryffindor supporter can take.

Her solution: she needs a fake boyfriend. And fast.

Enter Becks, soccer phenom, all-around-hottie, and Sally's best friend practically since birth. When Sally asks Becks to be her F.B.F. (fake boyfriend), Becks is only too happy to be used. He'd do anything for Sal--even if that means giving her PDA lessons in his bedroom, saying she's "more than pretty," and expertly kissing her at parties.

The problem: Sally's been in love with Becks all her life--and he's completely clueless.

This book features two best friends, one special edition Yoda snuggie, countless beneath-the-ear kisses and begs the question:

Who wants a real boyfriend when faking it is so much more fun?

 


“But why? I don’t get it.”

“You don’t have to.”
“But Becks,” she whined, “I don’t understand. Why her?”
“Nothing to understand really,” he said, smiling down at me. “Sal’s my girl. Always has been.”

Adorkable is one of those books that just LOOKS like it’s going to be, well, adorable. Yet, every time I saw it and what people were saying about it, I thought it was going to be cheesy as hell. So, for as long as this has been out, I have passed it up and never marked it on my TBR. Stupid, really, considering all I’m ever looking for is my next addicting YA contemporary that makes me happy even on the saddest of days.


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So it wasn’t until recently that my good friend, Jen, read it and told me my preconceived notions were not only false, but that it was actually better than one of my favorites. To this, I thought, bring it on. Why not? What do I really have to lose in the grand scheme of things. My most anticipated releases of the year are rolling out at full steam (always spring time and early winter, why is that???) and I’m just reading fun books during the week to pass the time. If I didn’t like it, the worst that would happen is that I get to pick up an anticipated release right after. Not a shabby deal.

So I picked up this book immediately, heavy on skepticism, low on give-a-shit. I truly didn’t expect much. But from the moment I picked this up, I knew it was just what I needed. Light-hearted, funny, heavy on swoon…I really had no complaints. Sure, there was a little cheese factor, I mean, all the best books have a little bit of cheese when it comes to teen romance, right? But there was just something so sweet and special about this book. I can’t even begin to explain it.


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It’s definitely the purest form of ‘first love’, the kind where you pine for your best friend (or, I guess, just your guy friends since that’s how I felt in High School) and just know he couldn’t possibly feel the same about you. Cue the eye roll, I know. But that’s what’s so sweet. How couldn’t it be? Aren’t these sometimes the best forms of YA romance, if done correctly? Well, they are to me. And, even better, we get to add in the ‘fake relationship’ trope and this book just got a whole lot more interesting.


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What starts out as a ploy to get her other best friend, Hooker (sigh), to stop setting her up on blind dates becomes much more real, much quicker. Becks does everything in his power to be the alpha boyfriend, the ‘don’t touch my girl’ boyfriend, the one who is wanted by everyone and yet doesn’t want her to grab anyone else’s attention. I mean, we’ve all seen it, right? Hell, that was my husband and I in High School (though, I’d say we were on a pretty level field of ‘don’t you dare fucking look at my girl/guy, takennnnn’). Totally believable.

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As everyone knows, this is like my favorite thing ever, so I was all SQUEEEEEEEs and EEEEEEEEEs as I read, loving every little look Becks gave Spitz (AGAIN, sigh), every secret emotion he revealed not-so-subtlety. Sally was a moron for not seeing it, sorry, but it’s true. And that might be my largest gripe for the whole book. And, come on, why not just say something!!! What’s he going to do, dump your ass as the best friend he’s ever had since SECOND GRADE?! Not hardly.

“There’s only one thing I know—have always known—that I wanted out of life. And it’s you.”

And, for those of you wondering if this just might suit your fancy enough to be your next ‘mindless YA romance’, here are the only triggers I can think of that people get all fussy about (obviously not me. Girl please, I could care less):

-Girl on girl crime, ie, slut shaming
-An extension of that might be calling other girls names (I think? I can’t remember completely)
-Oblivious to the obvious true love thing they have going on
-I suppose everyone has different opinions on cheesiness, so I’ll say that is one thing
-Jealousy where there shouldn’t be, on her part
-A little back and forth (but honestly, this is my biggest pet peeve and I barely think it applies, that’s up to you)
-Dramatic scene before they make up, like every other book

I mean, I feel like I lost my steam there, forgetting what I was going to say for those of you that get bothered by such things (damn pregger brain), but that just goes to show you how little it bothered me. If you know me, and somewhat agree with me on most things, I imagine most of this doesn’t bother you. But for those of you who do get bothered by slut-shaming and have never read my reviews before, I guess I’d say be very aware of that factor…meaning: don’t blame me, ye be warned.

So, I can’t say I disliked anything about this book. From the moment I met Becks, he stole my heart and I ached for the moment I could pick the story up again just to see how much he loved Sally. It was addicting, heart-warming, and, without a doubt, an instant favorite. And, even though it’s completely cliché….this book was absolutely adorable.


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