Author: Jen (page 2 of 84)

BOOK REVIEW – Death and the Girl Next Door (Darklight #1) by Darynda Jones

BOOK REVIEW – Death and the Girl Next Door (Darklight #1) by Darynda JonesDeath and the Girl Next Door (Darklight #1)
by Darynda Jones
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Ten years ago, Lorelei's parents disappeared without a trace. Raised by her grandparents and leaning on the support of her best friends, Lorelei is finally beginning to accept the fact that her parents are never coming home. For Lorelei, life goes on.

High school is not quite as painful as she thinks it will be, and things are as normal as they can be. Until the day the school's designated loner, Cameron Lusk, begins to stalk her, turning up where she least expects it, standing outside her house in the dark, night after night. Things get even more complicated when a new guy―terrifying, tough, sexy Jared Kovach―comes to school. Cameron and Jared instantly despise each other and Lorelei seems to be the reason for their animosity. What does Jared know about her parents? Why does Cameron tell Jared he can't have Lorelei? And what will any of them do when Death comes knocking for real? Thrilling, sassy, sexy, and inventive, Darynda Jones's first foray into the world of teens will leave readers eager for the next installment.

Review:

Death and the Girl Next Door was so much fun and a quick read.  The story-line was easy to follow, and within those first few chapters I knew some of the characters and I would get along just fabulously.  There was  a wonderful mix of personalities, and I loved how many of them had sarcasm as their form of humor.  While I had a few hangups with some of the people, and not wanting info dragged out longer than should need be, Death and the Girl Next Door was still exactly what this paranormal lover was looking for.

Nothing would ever be fine again.

Lorelei has had visions for as long as she could remember and it would occur, at times, when she touched someone.  The visions would be a peak into that person’s life, whether it was a glimpse into their past or their future.  There were also times when the visions didn’t make any sense at all.  But regardless, I loved how she accepted that this was just a part of who she was.  And her two best friends, Brooklyn and Glitch, did too.

“Oh my god,” Brooklyn said.  She swung her surprised look at me.  “Just what did you two talk about this morning?”
I beamed, not daring to breathe as he walked towards us. “Oh, you know, the usual.  School.  The weather.  How many children we want.”
I expected Brooklyn to at least giggle, but apparently her current state of shock had immobilized her vocal cords.  What I hadn’t expected, however, was the faint laughter from Jared.  He lowered his eyes like before, as though embarrassed by what someone had said.  As if embarrassed by what I’d said.  No way could he have heard me.  Not from that far away.

But things started to get weird when the class loner Cameron, who they’ve known since grade school, started appearing everywhere Lorelei was.  Including outside her house all night long.  Creepy!  And then things become even stranger when we met the new hot guy at school, Jared.  Jared had a lot mystery surrounding him from just his name (I was like uhhh really, that’s how you’re going to play it?! Lol) to how he made Lorelei feel.  So when push comes to shove, and Lorelei’s whole world explodes on a city street, things got a lot more interesting!

He leaned forward and whispered in my ear.  His warm breath sent shivers cascading over my body.  “You intoxicate me, Lorelei McAlister.  You will be my downfall.”

I absolutely loved Lorelei.  So I was happy to struggle right along with her, with not only trying to figure out what some people were, but also who was good and who was bad.  Because while she’d always known Cameron, he acted a little psychotic lately.  And while she didn’t know anything about Jared, he made her heart do crazy things and I wanted him around just as much as she did.  So be warned, there was a little bit of insta-love going on in this book.  But regardless, I loved both of those boys!  Cameron and Jared were broody, grumpy, held on to their secrets extremely tight and I just wanted to learn everything about them.  And don’t worry, there wasn’t a love triangle at all.

“…..My desires are a bit more…self-serving.” he said with a wry gleam.  “So, no, Lorelei, I should not be here.  In a thousand different ways, I shouldn’t be here.”

Normally friends can fade into the dark when supernatural elements get involved, but thankfully Brooklyn and Glitch got to learn right along with Lorelei.  Btw, I loved Brooklyn.  She was funny, warm and I saw a lot potential for a possible future love interest for her.  But Glitch? *shrugs*  He never won me over, I never connected with him and I just didn’t care about him.  I’m sorry Glitch.  Another thing I never connected with were the twins, Ashlee and Sydnee, and I didn’t get Lorelei’s hatred towards Brooke – those were people they all went to school with.  But even with my issues towards not understanding feelings or not caring about certain characters, it was still so easy to become lost in their world.  I absolutely adored this book, and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the series goes!  Plus I can’t wait to spend more time with Jared so I can fall even harder for him, and Cameron too!

PS Yes, I know I didn’t talk a lot about what happened in the story, but but but spoilers.  It’s hard to say anything without giving everything away. 😉

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)
death and the girl next door darynda jones
Death and the Girl Next Door #1
Reviews:

Jen
death, doom and detention darynda jones
Death, Doom and Detention #2
Reviews:
Jen
death and the girl he loves darynda jones
Death, and the Girl He Loves #3

FRIDAY STARS – Your Weekly Must Knows 03/03/17

Friday Stars.13
Life:

Last Friday afternoon, I learned even more about what was happening at my son’s private school.  So my husband and I pulled him out of his Kindergarten class.  In the middle of the year.  What was once a hard decision, became a hell of a lot easier once we learned even more facts that twisted my stomach and is still making me cry to this day.  My heart breaks for those children that were hurt by others their own age, and at the same time I can’t be thankful enough that nothing happened to my little boy.  Okay…….. *wipes tears from eyes and takes deep breath*.  So, he had his first day at public school this last Tuesday.  Oh my gosh, I was SO nervous for him.  I didn’t even sleep the night before, and the whole day he was at school I was a bundle of nerves.  And when I picked him up, he was so happy.  It’s only been a few days, but each day he tells me all about what happened and the new friends he’s making.  I couldn’t be more thankful and grateful that this has worked out better than I ever could have imagined.  While there is a slight hiccup, he’s exhausted because of the longer school days, I’m hoping that will get easier in the coming weeks.  His safety and his happiness are my top priorities, and I’m so thankful that we have found both of these at his new school!

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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Just Finished and Loved:

There weren’t any books, that we read in the last week, where we loved every single tiny detail. But here’s one that I truly enjoyed:

4 Stars:
The Vincent Boys: Extended and Uncut (The Vincent Boys #1) by Abbi Glines → Jen’s Review

 

PS – Chelsea loved A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab, but her baby girl has been a little rough on her lately.  She’s hoping to write a full review!  And just a heads up – less than 30 days till their baby girl should arrive, YAY! 🙂

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Reading Next:

death and the girl next door darynda jonesDeath and the Girl Next Door (Darklight #1) by Darynda Jones

Ten years ago, Lorelei’s parents disappeared without a trace. Raised by her grandparents and leaning on the support of her best friends, Lorelei is finally beginning to accept the fact that her parents are never coming home. For Lorelei, life goes on.
High school is not quite as painful as she thinks it will be, and things are as normal as they can be. Until the day the school’s designated loner, Cameron Lusk, begins to stalk her, turning up where she least expects it, standing outside her house in the dark, night after night. Things get even more complicated when a new guy—terrifying, tough, sexy Jared Kovach—comes to school. Cameron and Jared instantly despise each other and Lorelei seems to be the reason for their animosity. What does Jared know about her parents? Why does Cameron tell Jared he can’t have Lorelei? And what will any of them do when Death comes knocking for real?

 

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Upcoming Releases:

There aren’t any books releasing in the next week that we are dying to read.  But we do have a huge list of books that we are counting down until they are released.  You can check them out here → HERE

 

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BOOK REVIEW – The Vincent Boys: Extended and Uncut (The Vincent Boys #1) by Abbi Glines

BOOK REVIEW – The Vincent Boys: Extended and Uncut (The Vincent Boys #1) by Abbi GlinesThe Vincent Boys: Extended and Uncut (The Vincent Boys #1)
by Abbi Glines
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

There was something wicked about Beau that drew me to him. What was wrong with me? Why did I want to sin so badly?

Ashton is getting tired of being good, of impressing her parents and playing ideal girlfriend to Sawyer Vincent. Sawyer is perfect, a regular Prince Charming, but when he leaves town for the summer, it’s his cousin Beau who catches Ashton’s eye. Beau is the sexiest guy she’s ever seen, and even though he’s dangerous, Ashton is drawn to him.

Beau loves his cousin like a brother, so the last thing he wants to do is make a move on Sawyer’s girl. Ashton is off-limits, absolutely. That’s why he does his best to keep his distance, even though he’s been in love with her forever. When Ashton wants to rekindle their childhood friendship in Sawyer’s absence, Beau knows he should say no.

Ashton and Beau don’t want to hurt Sawyer. But the more they try to stay away from each other, the more intense their urges become. It’s getting way too hard to resist...

Review:

The Vincent Boys was sweet, addicting, hot, a little dirty and so much fun!  You quickly emerge into their lives and everything becomes so clear, so fast.  Ashton, aka Ash, has been friends with the Vincent Boys since she was a kid.  And the Vincent Boys, Sawyer and Beau, are not only bffs, but cousins too.  The three of them did everything together, although Ash and Beau were the trouble makers.  The things they did as kids, oh my goodness lol, thank goodness they had Sawyer who was always there to bail them out.  But then three years ago, Sawyer and Ash started going out, and their little group of three completely changed.  

Watching her laugh and play as we dove into the oncoming waves made it feel as if our years apart had just disappeared. There was then and now. The lost time in between was erased. Being with her made me feel complete. She’d always been the one to hold me together when my world crumbled around me. – Beau

On that first page, you watch Ash come across a drunk Beau and his girlfriend.  She doesn’t want to stop and help them out, but she knows that’s what Sawyer, her boyfriend, would do.  Since Sawyer’s away for part of the summer, and she’s always trying her hardest to be as good as him, she stops.  From just that one interaction, a domino affect occurs.  Ash and Beau start hanging out, and they realize how much they miss each other’s company.  But nothing is as simple as it was years ago.

If I’d ever taken the time to wonder about my soul being as black as this town seemed to believe, I knew the moment Ashton stepped out of her little white Jetta, looking like an angel from heaven, that my soul was damned to hell. – Beau

And this is where I have to stop for a second.  Because normally I loathe books about cheating.  I’m one of those people who won’t forgive the characters for their transgressions and my star rating will plummet because of how they hurt someone they love.  But I wasn’t attached to Ash and Sawyer’s relationship.  I never saw it and I had no loyalty to him whatsoever.  And maybe it’s horrible to say, but I was shocked when I realized how much I wanted Ash and Beau to cheat.  I wanted to see them together, because their friendship was beautiful and their chemistry was addicting.  

The right thing to do would be to say no. But I always did the right thing. Always. Just this once I wanted to do what I wanted to do. I let the bad girl out just a little. – Ash

So here’s Ash, the town’s preachers daughter, and Beau, the town’s trouble maker, sneaking around so they could spend time together.  And with Beau, Ash doesn’t have to act or pretend.  She can be her true self.  I loved how similar Ash and Beau were in certain ways.  They were both passionate, thoughtful, kind-hearted and they both liked it a little dirty.  I won’t ever forget how Beau liked to talk dirty to Ash.  Usually that’s not my thing, but hey a girl can change her mind.  Especially when Beau is the one doing the talking lol.  So their moments together were hot and it was so addicting watching everything spiral out of control.

“Touch me,” she whispered. The fact she was Sawyer’s girl no longer seemed to matter. I couldn’t tell her no. Hell, I couldn’t tell myself no. – Beau

While the story was at times cliché and had some conversations that were a little cheesy, it didn’t matter.  Because they were done in a way that I loved.  So if you’re looking for a book that’s filled with drama, friendship, true love and finding out how far you’re willing to go to not only find yourself but for the one you want, then this could definitely be your book!

FRIDAY STARS – Your Weekly Must Knows 02/24/17

Friday Stars.13
Life:

I’m making the hard decision of whether I should move my oldest son from private to public school.  There’s been some things that have happened in the last month, to other kids there (bullying and something else I can’t write about), that has made me lose my trust in the administration, certain teachers on their staff and some of the students.  A few parents have pulled their kids out of the school.  And I’m struggling with – do I move my son from a small class size of now 12 with a teacher he loves to a new teacher with a class of 24, but he’ll still know 1-2 kids in his new class?  He’s not in their after school care program, so he won’t be around the children I’m concerned with bullying, since they are Pre-K and he’s Kindergarten.  And he doesn’t play or ever interact with a child in his class that I’m also concerned about in regards to an issue I can’t write about.  So I believe it won’t affect him.  Yet he’s in a school with toxic people and children.  And while I know there will always be problems wherever we go, it’s private school and I’m paying for him to go there.  But it all breaks my heart.  I didn’t send him to school today, and I’m definitely going to use the next 3 days to think through everything.  So this last week I have been snuggling with my children more, here’s a picture of Jacob and I doing that here, and I’m looking forward to another 3 day weekend with my boys. ♥  Here’s hoping you aren’t struggling with hard decisions this week too.

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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Just Finished and Loved:

There weren’t any books, that we read in the last week, where we loved every single tiny detail.  But there were 3 books that we enjoyed reading and they are:

4 Stars:
Pretty Face (London Celebrities #2) by Lucy Parker → Anna’s Review

Making Faces by Amy Harmon→ Jen’s Review

By Your Side by Kasie West→ Chelsea’s Review

 

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Reading Next:

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

The final book!  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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the vincent boys abbi glinesThe Vincent Boys: Extended and Uncut (The Vincent Boys #1) by Abbi Glines

There was something wicked about Beau that drew me to him. What was wrong with me? Why did I want to sin so badly?
Ashton is getting tired of being good, of impressing her parents and playing ideal girlfriend to Sawyer Vincent. Sawyer is perfect, a regular Prince Charming, but when he leaves town for the summer, it’s his cousin Beau who catches Ashton’s eye. Beau is the sexiest guy she’s ever seen, and even though he’s dangerous, Ashton is drawn to him.
Beau loves his cousin like a brother, so the last thing he wants to do is make a move on Sawyer’s girl. Ashton is off-limits, absolutely. That’s why he does his best to keep his distance, even though he’s been in love with her forever. When Ashton wants to rekindle their childhood friendship in Sawyer’s absence, Beau knows he should say no.
Ashton and Beau don’t want to hurt Sawyer. But the more they try to stay away from each other, the more intense their urges become. It’s getting way too hard to resist…

 

✩✮✩✮✩✮✩✮✩✮

Upcoming Releases:

till-death-jennifer-l-armentroutTill Death by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Releases 02/28)

It’s been ten years since Sasha Keaton left her West Virginia hometown . . . since she escaped the twisted serial killer known as the Groom. Returning to help run her family inn means being whole again, except for one missing piece. The piece that falls into place when Sasha’s threatened—and FBI agent Cole Landis vows to protect her the way he couldn’t a decade ago.
First one woman disappears; then another, and all the while, disturbing calling cards are left for the sole survivor of the Groom’s reign of terror. Cole’s never forgiven himself for not being there when Sasha was taken, but he intends to make up for it now . . . because under the quirky sexiness Cole first fell for is a steely strength that only makes him love Sasha more.
But someone is watching. Waiting. And Sasha’s first mistake could be her last.

 

 

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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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BOOK REVIEW – Making Faces by Amy Harmon

BOOK REVIEW – Making Faces by Amy HarmonMaking Faces by Amy Harmon
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

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.

Review:

Making Faces was beautifully lyrical and truly unique. While it took me a few chapters to connect to the story, since it’s written in 3rd person, I was so happy when everything clicked into place.  The characters who took you on their journey were multifaceted and fascinating.  And the flashbacks that were sprinkled throughout the story, helped craft a full picture of their history and what they meant to one another.  This book was heavily character driven, with a touch of Beauty and the Beast, and it left me looking forward to discovering the rest of her books!

“Why do terrible things happen to such good people?” Ambrose asked.
“Because terrible things happen to everyone, Brosey. We’re all just so caught up in our own crap that we don’t see the shit everyone else is wading through.” – Ambrose & Bailey

Starting out you meet Fern, Bailey, Rita and Ambrose.  While there’s many more characters I adored, those were my top ones.  They’ve started their final year in high school, and will soon be finding their place in the world.  But by that second chapter, I didn’t realize that I was stepping back into 9/11.  My  own memories slammed into me like a cold sheet of ice.  The terror I had for my fellow citizens, and the terror I had for one of my good friends who worked next to the towers, hit me just as hard today as it did years ago.  So watching the horrifying events take place put tears in my eyes and a sense of dead in my heart for what would unfold.

“She lost her son, Fern,” Ambrose said softly. His own anger dissipated as he spoke the simple truth. He took the towel from Fern’s hands and used it on her hair, wrapping and squeezing, absorbing the moisture, the way he used to do on his own. She stilled, obviously not used to a man’s hands in her hair. He continued his ministrations, and she sat quietly, her head lolling to the side, letting him.

Ambrose ended up enlisting in the military, to support his country, along with four of his best friends.  And their little tiny town was shocked to the core.  Ambrose, from his wrestling career, already had a full ride scholarships to college. Yet none of them took the path that was expected of them.  But I’m getting ahead of myself, I have to explain how they’re all connected.  Ambrose’s wrestling coach was Bailey’s dad and Fern’s Uncle.  And I loved how the team saw Bailey as one of them, how Ambrose stood up and protected him.  Because while Bailey attended meets, offered advice, and tracked their statistics, he couldn’t participate in the actual sport since he had Muscular Dystrophy and was in a wheelchair.

“Do you think there’s any way someone like Ambrose could fall in love with someone like me?” Fern caught Bailey’s gaze in the mirror again, knowing he would understand.
“Only if he’s lucky.” – Fern & her cousin Bailey

Fern, Bailey’s cousin, had been in love with Ambrose since she was a little girl, yet she never acted on it.  He’s this beautiful, muscular God in her eyes, and she’s very plain with her pale skin, thick glasses, a stick thin body and red hair.  Yet while that may describe how they looked on the outside, it doesn’t even a shine a light on who they were on the inside.  Fern was a caring, compassionate girl who loved and took care of her cousin, Bailey, so fiercely that it was powerful.  Their friendship was one of the most beautiful relationships I’ve ever read about.  And the other friendships in this book were beautiful too.  It made for such a strong theme.

“News flash, Fern Taylor!” Ambrose barked, slamming his hand against the dashboard, making Fern jump. “Everything has changed! You are beautiful, I am hideous, you don’t need me anymore, but I sure as hell need you!”

And while I watched the past and the present unfold into a beautiful story of friendship, hardships, school and war, we then moved ahead. To when Ambrose came back from war, alone.  And Making Faces took on a Beauty and the Beast element, that I loved!  Ambrose and Fern’s positions have flipped, yet their shaky friendship was still there.  While Ambrose wanted to hide from the world, Fern was determined to get close to him.  So watching Fern and her tenacious will was captivating, while watching Ambrose as he suffered, was heartbreaking.  

Death is easy. Living is the hard part. – Bailey

I did have a few hiccups throughout the story though. There was a strong religious theme, and I struggled with Ambrose not suffering more from losing his friends and from the horrific situation he was in at war. And lastly, Ambrose’s speech, at a certain event near the end of the book, felt off to me. It was too much about him, and that felt wrong. But regardless, I definitely recommend this book to people who are looking for something out of the ordinary, and who want to meet characters that you won’t find in every other book. Making Faces is also for people who want a story line that takes risks and shows the uglier side of life, whether it’s bullying, domestic abuse or even just the struggle of accepting who you are. While not everyone got their happily ever after, my heart was still happy with how the majority of theirs lives closed in those last few pages. And as an epilogue junkie, that ending was perfect!

PS Towards the end, there was a little touch of a spiritual or some could even say paranormal element (depending upon your view point on life), that I loved too.

*ARC kindly provided by Spencer Hill Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

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